Monday, April 30, 2007

What Goes Comes Back, With a New Coat of Paint...

Those who fancy that they should be our masters have an odd idea about democracy. In their codex, democracy, along with religion, is a tool to manipulate the masses, that is the hoi polloi, "We the People".

You should know that the last election in Mexico was fixed so that the "right" fellow was elected -- this is common knowledge, although not as common as one would expect in a more perfect world.

Throughout South America, tax dollars are funneled into organizations with "feel-good" names about the Promotion of Democracy and Freedom. The purpose of course is to get people "we" don't approve of, like Chavez out of power and people like Uribe in. Like many taxpayer dollars, the money is often wasted which in this case is a kind of ass-backwards positive way of looking at it.

Such hanky-panky is more obvious when the interests of major players conflict. Remember Ukraine and the Orange Revolution? Do you think it just happened, out of the blue, this triumph of the desire for freedom by pro-West forces? Well, yes, I suppose so -- just as it was a failure of the desire for "freedom" by pro-East forces and the reemerging Russian Empire.

More recently, we see signs in Russia and Estonia that the game is still afoot.

Do you really think that the recent demonstrations against Putin in Moscow and St. Petersburg happened all by themselves? Well, dream on, then -- no need to notice that that superrich fellow, Borovsky, told London newspapers a few days before that he was going to bring down Putin and the current Russian regime. Yes, that Borovsky, friend of Litvinenko, who drank some tea laced with polonium last November and died in agony a few weeks later.

Estonia? Why are thousands of ethnic Russians going amok in Tallin? True, it is a long-term problem -- because of policies of the Soviet regime over a couple of generations there is a large minority of ethnic Russians stranded in Estonia and the native Ests would probably be happy to see them leave. It's a complicated situation with more than a few players, but Russian and American agents are certainly stirring the pot, just as in the Ukraine and other places.

What about the stationing of missiles in Poland as part of the black-hole money investment known as the Anti Missile Shield? Where are the "rouge" nations from which the Shield is to defend Europe? The obvious candidates -- Iran, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan(?) -- are all rather far away. It is just a coincidence that Russia is next door to Poland, right after Belarus...?

Whatever his reasons, Putin is complaining that these missiles just a few minutes away are intended to intimidate Russia. Surely, he doesn't believe that America would consider a preemptive strike, or use the threat to "blackmail" Russia? Why, that is the sort of thing that "rogue" nations do!

Young people may have heard about the "Cuban Missile Crisis" when the fate of the world balanced on a knife's edge for a couple of weeks. What they have not heard (and most of the old folks have forgotten) is that the prelude to the stationing of missles in Cuba was the emplacement of missiles in Turkey...

Things don't remain the same, they just come around again painted in different colors.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Defending Traditional Values

The name of the guy in the picture was Aaron Hall.

He lived in Crothersville, Indiana, a town with a population of some 1500.

Whatever the population in Crothersville was before April 12, it is now one less. On that date, Aaron Hall was stomped on, beaten to a pulp, his bloody body was dragged down the stairs and thrown in a ditch.

This was Aaron Hall's punishment for the horrific crime of "being gay". His accusers, jury, judge and executioners were 21, 19 and 18 years old. You can read more about it here and here

For the record, and not that it matters all that fuggin much, Aaron Hall wasn't even "gay".

More to the point -- why does it matter? Why do little shits feel they have the right and the need to kick the shit out of people because "they are gay"? From the viewpoint of spreading your genes, you'd think gay men would be a positive for the heterosexual -- you'd think, if you came from outer space, that homosexual men obviously cut down the competition for females to impregnate.

I suspect the clinch is that many young men are not all that secure in their sexual identity and fear to find themselves revealed or simply thought to be gay. When I grew up in Poosah City, there were two things you didn't want people to think about you. One was that you were a "nigger lover" and the other was that you were a "queer".

In one of the links above Melissa stresses, "This shit doesn't happen in a void". Just as the oppression of blacks and other minorities did not just happen, neither do attacks on people perceived as homosexual come completely out of the blue. Such thuggery is promoted by hate propaganda disguised as a defense of "moral" and "traditional" values. Dave Niewert at Orcinus has been documenting this for a long time.

A recent example is the Traditional Values Coalition's "Wanted" poster for "Jesus". As always, traditional values are being "attacked" and "undermined" by forces antagonistic towards "Christians" -- this is a basic fascist ploy by the way...
























Hate crime laws attack Christians and moral values? Indeed they do, in the same manner as laws against lynching were a threat to "southern hospitality"!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Something from Nothing, the Casimir Effect

In a rather pessimistic [= realistic] rant JamesEagle referred to what one would think was a solution to our, uhm, present existential conundrum -- the possibility of obtaining unlimited energy from nothing.

He was referring to the consequence of some arcane effects predicted by quantum mechanics. The theory was first put forward by two Dutch physicists, Hendrik Casimir and Dirk Polder back in 1948.

In brief, a vacuum, that is a space empty of matter is not only a place of nothing -- it is also a place of potential, that is there is always the possibility of this that and the other thing happening. Normally, all of these possibilities cancel out and a vacuum is a vacuum.

However, under certain circumstances, force, i.e. energy, was predicted by Casimir and Polder. There has since been enough experimental evidence to not only back the theory up, but to raise the possibility that it might actually be possible to extract energy out of nothing. This is a dream older than the alchemist's of turning base metal to gold.

Imagine! Unlimited power and energy to drive our thing-um-jigs! All our problems could/would be solved!

Right?

No, wrong!

The problem is twofold.

First of all, there are no free lunches. Furthermore, there are no free breakfasts, dinners, desserts or after-dinner mints. That is to say, there is a catch to everything and if we started pulling energy out of the very fabric of cosmos, something would probably say "ouch!" And react in some way, probably catastrophic to us.

Secondly, being the bloody critters we are, if we had access to an unlimited energy source, there would go perhaps five minutes before some half-smart yokel would ask how that energy could be used to make a weapon. With unlimited energy, we'd have super energy weapons. Giant lasers and death rays would sweep the planet, turning bedrock into bubbling streams of lava, killing even the cockroaches.

Summa sumarum, if we do not succeed in realize the true potential of our common humanity, we will turn all knowledge to our mutual destruction.

Like I've said before, it is a most fortunate happenstance that the stars are so far apart. I suspect that, tops, one out of a hundred sentient species figures this out and that at least some of the nova explosions we see in the galaxies are simply another "intelligent" race failing their final exams...

Other than that, it is a lovely spring morning, in fact, here in Denmark, it is, for the moment, summer.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Turning Corners into a Pile of Butter

A little experiment or object lesson if you will.

From your search engine of choice, google these two:

"turning a corner" iraq and "turning the corner" iraq

How many hits do you get?

I get lots, oodles in fact. Furthermore, the top responses have names in them like, Kagen, Krautheimer, Bush -- the very people who blew the trumpets and incompetently led us into this state of Endless War.

The point is, if you keep "turning a/ther corner", you end up chasing your own butt. Another way of putting it is that it becomes it becomes spin. If you keep it up and go fast enough, you'll end up turning into a pile of butter like the four tigers in "Little Black Sambo" -- except that in the case of the people mentioned above, it will more likely be a pile of bullshit.

Younger folks may not have heard of "Little Black Sambo", as he is no longer politically correct. It is the story of a little boy who cleverly escapes being eaten by four hungry tigers. He does them this in a classic folk tale manner by outwitting them. Finally, the tigers end up chasing each other round and round under a tree and turn into a pile butter which Sambo takes home where he eats 169 pancakes.

The original story has no racial overtones whatsoever. It was written by an English lady, Helen Bannerman in 1899. The setting of the story is a fantasy combination of India and the Caribbean.

The racial overtones, slurs actually, came from illustrations to the story. Especially execrable were illustrations used in later, pirated editions. Furthermore, in America, "Sambo" already had and increasingly acquired the connotations of an aggressive racial slur.

But the story itself is a pearl -- and a parable for today's world. If we are to survive as human beings and not in the belly of the "tigers", we must be clever like little Sambo and trick the bastards into chasing each other until they meltdown and political correctness be damned.

It was Moon of Alabama who pointed this out as well as The Rude Pundit who also alluded to the tigers churning themselves into butter -- without mentioning the story (was Rude Pundit being polite? That is unbelievable!).

_________________

An example of wingnut, nitrogen breathing break with reality [I do not link to places like this]:
Americans deserve all the pertient [sic]information available on the progress of our efforts in Iraq. And that means the US liberal news media should not become a propanda [sic] effort filtering out information they do not want to see or hear. 15 April 2007

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Running Away From the Footsteps Behind

[And now, dear hearts, a ball from another court, off the wall for sure and with a bit of crazy spin...]

The night I ran away from home.

It was a summer night. A summer night in Poosah City.

Summer nights in Poosah City -- the air is thick, after the day's heat, seemingly cool. Muggy with moisture and smells of life, the sounds of crickets fill the night with their rhythms of delight.

My parents were filling my night with the sounds of their fight.

What the fight was about? I guess maybe it was me.

Or maybe it was money

Or, the time he said.

Or, the time she said.

Or, "I was laying there for you to come to me all night."

Or, "I don't want my wife out fugging on the beach.", "I didn't do anything", "So, why were you swimming in the moonlight?"

Or, "You said I killed my wife!", "I only said that if you treated her the way you treated me she would have wanted to die."

Or, "You might as well take two dollars and throw it out on the street!"
On and on and on and on and on and on it always went...

Suddenly, I realized I wasn't there -- or at least it didn't matter.

More for the skeeters than the night's relative cool, I pulled on a light jacket.. I ran out the door, unnoticed. out into the night, into the streets of night, alone.

I've been running, running, running ever since.

I've been running away almost all of my life,
from what I have never been able to face.

However fast I have run, I hear steps just behind,
just as fast as my own and always so close!

In fact, much closer, much nearer than close!
The footsteps I hear, in fact, are my own!

For me, it is now the late afternoon,
perhaps evening, perhaps dusk...
If I turn around now, can I face myself?
Will I finally find someone I can trust?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Shopping List for Seven Days in May(be)

Something that is both a blessing and a problem with blogging daily is that it takes you places you didn't know you would go and teaches you things that you didn't know that you knew.

The blessing is kind of obvious as knowledge and the thirst for understanding is a prime element of being human.

The problem is that not all places are nice to be acquainted with and not all knowledge is pleasant to know -- but then, that is also part of being human, at least being a mature human being.

Yesterday, I made a play on the title of the Frakenheimer movie, "Seven Days in May" in the title of my post.

Today, I ran had my face rubbed in the theme by a Naomi Wolf article I ran into at Common Dreams. Also, on the radio here in Denmark this morning, there was a report on Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch words from his brother Kevin and Private Lynch.

I said yesterday, that I didn't really believe the nightmare at which I had hinted had a basis in reality. But that was somewhat tongue in cheek -- what we call snark here...

The point with the Tillman brothers and Private Lynch is the way they were abused to serve the propaganda purposes of the military and the Codpiece Administration propaganda. Indeed, when Sunflower Woman heard the radio this morning she exclaimed that it was just like the Nazi propaganda we had heard in a documentary we saw night about the Second World War.

I recall a warning the character of Lyndon Johnson gave to the Nixon character (I think) in Stone's "Nixon" to be careful not to lose the trust of the American People, because once you have lost it, you don't get it back.

The point is: We don't want to believe our leaders and representatives lie to us, but once they have lost our trust, we assume everything they tell us is a lie until proven otherwise.

Naomi's article starts with a reference to last Fall's military coup in Thailand, which received a shockingly modest, even positive reaction here in West World. As she puts it:
"The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did..."

Here is the shopping list:

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

2. Create a gulag

3. Develop a thug caste

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

5. Harass citizens' groups

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

7. Target key individuals

8. Control the press

9. Dissent equals treason

10. Suspend the rule of law
If you don't see how this applies to the Codpiece / Snarly administration, you have been sleeping in class and have as homework assignment to go read Ms. Wolf's article.

I do want to make a comment on #9 on the shopping list: The dust of the Twin Towers (and WTC-7) had not had time to settle before we heard from Mr. Snarly that, in essence, dissent is treason -- that and the meme with such ominous connotations, "Homeland Security" appeared, full blown, like Minerva from the forehead of Zeus.

The fact is, Codpiece and Mr. Snarly have the ethics of immature bullies and the morals of mobster bosses. They have shown to the world that they are capable of anything up to and including mass murder -- as long as somebody else does it for them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Seven Days in May(be)

Today's journey will take us from sunshine to dark paranoia.

First, sunshine...

The crown prince and princess of Denmark had their second baby on Saturday and on Sunday there were 21 gun salutes from Kronborg (the castle in Hamlet) to celebrate the birth of the third in line to inherit the crown of a kingdom with an unbroken [more or less] succession going back more than a millennium to Gorm the Old and Harold Bluetooth.

Some clouds -- an odd news item from the Happy Little Kingdom...

A former head of PET, the national security police, told of an case in the 70's where a young fellow in the Danish military drew up a plan for a state coup in Denmark. It was a 40 page detailed plan whose implementation required just a few hundred people. The fellow who drew up the plan was no smarter than that he sent it to the Soviet Embassy and the Danish Communist Party. According to the former head of PET, the incident was taken quite seriously and the planner got 8 months in jail...

The odd thing is that the incident was never known to the public until now. How he was tried and jailed is beyond me -- we don't have secret trials in Denmark, do we?

Now we descend into darkness...

The other day, Moon of Alabama had a disturbing reference to an exercise named "Noble Resolve 07". The exercise is taking place this week in the US and Europe. The exercise takes as its starting point the smuggling into the US of a ten kiloton nuclear which is them brought to explosion in a ship container in a port in Virginia.

One of the agencies participating in the exercise is NORTHCOM, located in Colorado. This entity is the one charged with imposing and enforcing martial law, should that ever be necessary because of a terrorist attack or other serious threat to national security.

Do you remember two years ago a many-starred general mentioned to the press that if the US again was the target of a major terrorist attack, it would be "necessary" to suspend democracy and impose martial law? Who decides this kind of shit? The Decider? I'm just asking!

Finally, the dark paranoia...

If a "few hundred" could take over a country like Denmark, with a population of 5-6 million, how many would be needed for a country of 300 million? Simple arithmetic would say 60 times as many, but I think that is misleading as there is not the same redundancy of institutions. Perhaps ten thousand would be enough? Thirty thousand would perhaps be overkill? Could it be done?

The bulk of US ground forces are overseas, so they would have no say in the matter.

The Air Force is notoriously infiltrated by people who believe that the end of the world and the ushering in of the Kingdom of the Holy Idaho is imminent.

The public would need to be primed to understand that liberals, progressives, gays, atheists, the immigrant fifth column -- you fill in the blanks -- had betrayed us to the terrorists. When the radio hate-mongers and the television bobble heads read their prepared texts, all good, patriots will understand that it is for our own good and for security against a terrible threat to the Very Homeland of Freedom and Democracy! Who, in all decency, could be against that!

No, I don't believe that could happen -- I must have eaten too many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before I went to bed last night!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Blacksburg -- Closing Words

This will be my third and, hopefully, final post on reactions to the Blacksburg tragedy.

I'll start with a comment left by my cousin, Nuke Watcher -- in particular for what he says about the people at Nickel Mines. With his kind permission, I have edited his comment slightly for clarity.


Horrific……….the act.

Then again, lets make it about the people who stand to really benefit by the attention drawn to their cause, their product, mainstream media, or promotion.
The politicians could not get to Blacksburg, VA. fast enough to capitalize on the moment and make it about them.

Geeze, I felt so much better when I saw how the Codpiece could turn a somber event into a sort of "Pep-Rally", even as parents of the victims, were trying to retrieve their children's remains and start to bring closure.

There is no delicate, or gentle way to perform an autopsy and these parents have no say, as to what the "Body Parts Harvesters" may have gained through the back door.

OBSCENE....please, the obscenity is only starting with the video wallpaper of what is yet to come with the likes of Nancy Grace, getting First Hand Eyewitnesses, one after another, to tell their story.

With these few comments of rant, I will simply point out, if you were to take 99 people and ask them if they remembered the event that played out at Nickel Mines, PA this past winter -- ask those 99 what was the name of the killer. Ninety eight, would not be able to answer that question.

The reason is that the Amish handled their tragedy in the manner in which they did. They showed that here lives a culture of people who banded together, put the politicians and media at bay, forgave the killer and supported his family, as everyone grieved together. The school building was demolished and a new one erected, leaving us to say, there is indeed a way, to forget the name of a killer.


Living in Denmark, I have had the good fortune of not having been bombarded in the same fashion as those of you in the states. That haunted visage quickly stopped peeking at me from the newspaper racks. Except for a short clip, they did not show the video on television*.

But, even from here, I can see from here that the hypocritical hand wringing and using the tragedy to further other agendas, that I mentioned earlier would come been forthcoming.

We have already heard from the usual bloviators that murders occurred because liberals hate America, because of video games, because of permissive child rearing, because of atheism, because there weren't enough guns on campus, because effeminate students didn't take the bozo out, because PC lawyers tied the hands of campus police, because of mind control. The list, although not endless does go on and on**.

Finally, last but not least, according Franklin Graham [yes, that Graham] it happened because the fellow was demonically possessed by evil spirits. In his kindness and charity, Graham sent 20 "rapid response chaplains" to Blacksburg. I swear, if such a one started praying at me, I'd smack them in the kisser***!

And I will stop here -- for those of us not affected by ties to the deceased, our tears are dryness and our sorrow a shallow stream.
____________
* If one needed to see it, for understanding, curiosity or simple voyeurism, it was on the Danish Radio web site.

** I'm not going to post links because I don't want to support these people with attention.

*** I remember an anecdote from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross about a minister who told the bereaved family of a girl who had been abused and murdered that "She was now in heaven and had it better" or some insensitive crap like that -- the father floored the minister, knocked him down, he did.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Who Could Have Known!!!

[I was shanghaied by family things Friday/Saturday -- therefore the brief hiatus in posting]

Who could have known?

I am astounded, flabbergasted, rocked back on my heels!

"Iraq has perhaps twice as much oil as previously assumed. The new estimate was done by IHS, an analysis group with a specialty in energy and engineering questions.

The new estimate is the first that has been done since the American-led invasion in 2003.

The British newspaper, Financial Times, writes that, according to IHS, there are probably large new reserves under the desert sands in the western part of the country.

The larger amount of reserves means that Iraq will within the next five years be able to produce four million tons of oil, as compared to the two million barrels today.

Iraq can therefore become one of the five largest oil producers. Of course, this requires that the present conflicts cease. [My quick, unauthorized translation of a news item from the Danish Radio's web site, www.dr.dk. -- you can also read BBC's run down]

Who would have known, indeed!

I did, for one -- little expatriate me, sitting here in Denmark with my web of secret agents, informers and spies [ = progressive bloggers] was aware that Iraq probably possessed the second largest reserves (after Sandy Aridya). The reasoning was based on the fact that the reserves in Iraq had never been properly estimated, officially.

This news, of course, comes as a complete surprise to Mr. Snarly, the Codpiece and the neo-conservative crew who insisted that we invade, liberate, occupy Iraq. The reason for their criminal actions has never been clear, has always been changing as the wind blows and has never, except implicitly, included OIL.

Who would/could have known?
______________
Please note: the new laws the [democratically elected] Iraqi Parliament is]
considering [= being forced, coerced] which give the great lion's share of profits to [slurp!] Western Oil Companies are in no way connected!

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Mother of Scandal

I have no idea how much coverage the US Attorney scandal is getting in the US.

However much coverage it is getting, the immediate issue is but the tip of a slimy iceberg that strikes at the very heart of the democratic process in the US.

Anyone who cares to be informed knows that the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 were scammed. The 2006 elections were a fluke in that the Rove machine underestimated how far to turn the knobs and lost control of the House and, by a nip and a hair, the Senate.

What the firing of the US Attorney's is really about is the manipulation of elections to maintain political power. Vote fraud is the word that would normally spring to mind, but this is a so refined, so many-tentacled in an octopus sort of way, that a new word is needed.

The fraud is not anything as heavy-handed as stuffing a ballot box. Although, with touch screen electronic voting machines leaving leave no paper trail, machines mainly made by companies owned by staunch Republic supporters, a sort of cyber stuffing took place in the last elections. This can be shown by statistical analysis.

Modern fraud goes the other way around. I don't know, perhaps it is something they learned and refined when they asserted themselves in the former Dixiecrat southern states. In the way the south was run when I grew up, people of color were essentially disenfranchised with poll-tax, literacy tests and out right violence to from registering to vote.

Modern fraud is more refined than poll-tax or literacy tests. The modern fraud uses scare and fear to keep, minorities likely to vote Democratic away from the polls. One of the methods is to aggressively prosecute such people for simple misunderstandings and minor infringements. This is what was required of the US Attorneys. Those who did not do what was expected of them were fired.

Although there are a lot of footnotes, it is that simple.

I could put up a lot of links, but I suggest you just go over to Digby or Josh Marshall -- links are on my blogroll to the right.

Or, you could simply google "us Attorney vote fraud josh" and "us Attorney vote fraud digby" -- you'll get enough hits to keep your attention for a while.

The point is, fraud is the mother of the scandal known as the Bush Administration.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

It's not a Perfect World...

One of my eccentricities is to make an active effort to forget the names of people who commit a...

Hmmn, I run into a problem here -- I have forgotten the word I need to use.

The reason is that the word refers to the name of a bozo in ancient times who destroyed a city. He not only had it wiped it out completely -- he had all records of its name destroyed. He did this for no reason whatsoever except that history should remember that he had done it.

When I read that, I immediately swore to myself that I would forget his name and the name of anybody who did ugliness simply for that fifteen minutes of fame.

When John Lennon was killed with four shots from a handheld gun, I decided I would forget the name of that charlie brown. I remember Mr. Lennon, but the perp behind the gun is a hole in my memory. Likewise, the name of the barf-for-brains who took out Isaac Rabin and lit the fuse for the third world war.

At the risk of sounding a bit provincial, not PC or even slightly racist, I will find it easy to forget the name of the perp in Blackburg -- heck, even the newscasters stumbled over the name...

On the other hand, I will have a problem with the face.

I can't avoid the face, it stares at me on the newsstand when I buy gas or go to buy a loaf of bread at the bakery. That face is almost as iconic as the mugshot of that Heaven's Gate weirdo -- I can forget his name, but the image was burnt on to my retina in the same way.

O, well, like I like to say, "It's not a perfect world and we prove it every day -- but do we have to try so hard?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Terrible Parallel...

Juan Cole's "Informed Comment" is a must daily read for anyone who wants to be generally well-informed about what is going on in the Middle East in general and Iraq in particular -- especially as regards the motives for and effect of US involvement in the region.

Yesterday, Professor Cole drew a terrible parallel between Iraq and the US.

I quote and the boldface type is Cole's own:

I keep hearing from US politicians and the US mass media that the "situation is improving" in Iraq. The profound sorrow and alarm produced in the American public by the horrific shootings at Virginia Tech should give us a baseline for what the Iraqis are actually living through. They have two Virginia Tech-style attacks every single day. Virginia Tech will be gone from the headlines and the air waves by next week this time in the US, though the families of the victims will grieve for a lifetime. But next Tuesday I will come out here and report to you that 64 Iraqis have been killed in political violence. And those will mainly be the ones killed by bombs and mortars. They are only 13% of the total; most Iraqis killed violently, perhaps 500 a day throughout the country if you count criminal and tribal violence, are just shot down. Shot down, like the college students and professors at Blacksburg. We Americans can so easily, with a shudder, imagine the college student trying to barricade himself behind a door against the armed madman without. But can we put ourselves in the place of Iraqi students?

Two V-Tech-style attacks every day? That is almost too kind! What happened in Blacksburg is a rare zero event, magnified by the ownership of semiautomatic weapons by some bozo gone amok. In Iraq, the murdering craziness is organized and has goals.

Also, since the US has more than ten times the population of Iraq, we should perhaps speak of, not two, but twenty daily incidents. That would be equivalent to a daily Twin Towers -- doubled up!

True, such parallels are somewhat false, but have a use in putting a perspective on the despair and desperation we have engendered in Iraq -- and for what?

Indeed, those are the questions, why? and for what? A mask of righteousness ensconced behind a pack of lies and flatulence?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech Headlines

Well, well, here it comes again.

Texas Tower, Columbine, Nickel Mines and now, Virginia Tech -- how many this time?

Like a Santa Claus distributing bits of wrapped candy to small children, death once again gets handed out, casually, indiscriminately and, except for the cough of the guns, in a total mask of silence.

Brace yourself: once again, we are going to be subjected to a chorus of hand wringing well salted with hypocrisy from political and religious leaders.

There will be demands.

Leaders will pretend that they will "do something".

A policeman on every corner, metal scanners at every school, a lock on every door, the obsequious presence of video cameras, vain calls for morality and righteousness in homes and public life and a guard behind every bed. All this and more will be demanded -- and none of it will help, not one little bit.

Why the shock? Why the outrage? Why the smacking of lips?

The shock: I suppose is because the emptiness of our public space is revealed and laid bare for all to see.

The outrage: because it is only the right of leaders such as presidents to deal out death in mass doses -- that is why we often hear such inane rhetoric about terror.

The smacking of lips: Most of us nurture an ugly little creature in a cellar where we seldom go. We need to know if there was some particularly sickening detail for it to feed upon. Or, perhaps this new dingbat set a record of some sort?

In any case it is a terrible tragedy -- for the families and loved ones left behind. For the rest of us? Well, I've already said what I meant about that! But I'd like to add that this waste of human life will have competition in making it to the headlines in Baghdad.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Old Busker

[My post the other day about Joshua Bell's one-time morning busking gig in a Washington DC metro brought back some old memories.]

[This could have been written by Ichabod Rain, an alter-ego who dwells in the Third Galaxy, where he is reputed to have been an agent of the Alien Veggies, something which I seriously doubt.]

I'm an old busker and a minstrel of magical tunes, I've sung my songs in the all kinds of places, in bars, on street corners, hilltops, empty churches, forest clearings and by waterfalls and ponds where water birds swam enchantingly.

What I enjoy most about music is the silence -- the soft silence in which the music continues when the song has ended. That is why I have a certain ambivalence about applause...

Some years ago, I was on vacation in Tunis with my Sunflower Woman.

Back then, I used take my octave guitar with me whereever I travelled. With me, having something to play on is like those people who have to have their knitting with them.

The guitar was a cute little six string instrument about the size of a ukelele. It tunes an octave above normal guitar pitch. It sounds okay if you stick to folk chords and don't go too far p the neck.

I was sitting on the patio by the hotel, fiddling with the thing, maybe singing a song or two, and a couple of American girls on vacation approached me. In the conversation which followed, it turned out that they thought I was the member of some band. I suppose I had been playing "Jeremiah" a song which could easily be mistaken for something REM might do.

Whaever I had been playing, what followed was kind of amusing. Apparently they liked the music and it must have sounded "professional" for they assumed that I was from some band.

It was quite difficult to convince them otherwise and that I wasn't putting them on. But then there are musicians who play solo, so, what records had I made?
The answer was -- and still is -- none.

When I finally convinced them of that, they completely lost interest and went away.

Of course I can't know their complete motivation or the reason for the loss of interest. However, I can reasonably assume that they thought had run into a famous person, a celebrity, and had the chance of bath in the glow of stardom.

Well, that was just too bad for them, because I am a star and if they had taken the time to listen they would have learned something for my songs are distilled from moonlight and sunshine, the sorrow of the evening and the joy of the morning.

As a matter of fact, I tend to fly away when I an playing and I once composed a little song about it:

I don't play for money and I don't play for applause.
I don't play to get pretty women, or to sell you any cause.
I play because I love to sing and the feeling that it brings.

O, to sail among the chords, on a sweet melody!
If you'd like to fly, why not try to fly away...
Fly away across the sea and be free


Please don't bang the rhythmn with a big, bad booming drum!
All that stupid noise makes my bowels run!
The angry and violent is not my kind of fun..!

O, to sail among the chords, on a sweet melody...

Flying's not that easy without an angel's wings.
I'm no where near an angel, but I sure do love to sing
And when I'm singing I feel those angel wings

O, to sail among the chords, on a sweet melody...

A world without music couold never appeal to me,
Not even if you told me I could live eternally.
With out that rhythmn feeling, I'd be dead already!

O, to sail among the chords, on a sweet melody!...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Dozen Couplets in Disarray...

Today's post is an experiment.

It started, as I was walking home from the grocery store with the line, "I'm rarely at a loss for words, but I sure am now".

Later, I went for a bike ride in the woods and several more lines came as I spoke them. Observing what was going on, I saw that these were rhyming couplets in hexameter -- a form I not well acquainted with.

Soon, I had a dozen of these couplets and I tried to put them in an order that gave at least a semblance of meaning -- therefore the title, "A Dozen Couplets in Disarray".

My God, what can I say about the coming day,
"Turn back the clock or somehow make it go away?"
I'm rarely at a loss for words, but I sure am now,
it's not a calf we dance around, but a "Golden Sow"!

We worship greed and money, empowered arrogance,
blind beliefs and criminal negligence!
Our preachers preach of sin but know not of what they speak,
while our leaders lead but dare not tell us the goals they seek.

All who have heard are those who have an ear to hear.
The end of all tomorrows is drawing near.

Isaiah himself could not render in human tongue
the sorrowed anger of tears the Word's Bell has rung.
One might as well expect a leopard to lose its spots,
as expect such fools as we to admit our loss.

Instead, we say that we believe the obvious lie
that angels will come and take us to live in a home in the sky,
or that our chestnuts will be pulled from the fire by a hero.
In fact, the chances of that are less than minus zero!

It is not by fate or some Heavenly decree
that we madly march in lockstep to eternity.
We go down to sleep upon the bed we made ourselves,
to a restless night of nails in those homemade hells.

We have killed all our yesterdays and tomorrows
and the little time we have today is only borrowed!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Ask not for Whom the Bell Busks...

[The basis for what follows came from a link at Moon of Alabama]

The Washington Post pulled a stunt with the help of a fellow named Joshua Bell. (Yes, that is the heartbreaker in the picture)

The shtick was: what would happen if a world famous master violinist like Mr. Bell stood up in a public place and did a busking* gig for the better part of an hour.

What happened was that he played on his $3,000,000 Stradivarius for 45 minutes and $32.17 were thrown into his violin case. More than a thousand people passed by, but only one man stopped to listen. There was also a little boy would also have stopped to hear the wonder, but his mommy had him by the hand and he had to go to kindergarten instead.

A big deal was made that nobody recognized Mr. Bell and that he was mostly ignored. The event, or happening if you will, was recorded on video and many of the pedestrians were later interviewed.

The conclusion was more or less that people don't know what's good or what they like unless somebody tells them.

However, the "experiment" was flawed for a number of reasons. It took place in a busy metro station and, although the acoustics were not too bad, it was by the doors and the gig started a few minutes before 8 in the morning on a Friday in the middle of January.

Heck, under conditions like that, I don't think Jesus Christ himself would get much attention, unless he was raising the dead or turning water into wine and passing it around...

I've done a bit of busking myself and I can tell you that place and timing were completely wrong. If he had played on the "Walking Street" in Copenhagen, he would have both had a crowd and a lot more cash in the kitty -- assuming he picked the right time day.

The fact is, people do recognize something of quality when they hear it. However, if the entire ambiance of the space is to get from one place to another quickly, like from home to the office, no one stops. If they are not completely concentrated on a goal to get from here to there, people will stop up, if only out of simple curiosity -- especially if there are already some people there.

On the other hand, most of us, myself included, are snobs in the sense that we let our preconceptions and what we have been told color our experience of what we meet in the world.

One must constantly struggle to remain awake in order to see what we are seeing and hear what we are hearing -- and not just what we think we are supposed to be seeing and hearing.

To put it another way, it is a struggle not to mistake the packaging and the hype for the content and the experience.

Or, more brutal: Conscious awareness is not just an innate quality but a skill which must be honed and kept in form through constant use -- otherwise, like any muscle, it atrophies.
____________
* To busk is to set yourself up in some public space and perform music, poetry, whatever, in the hopes attracting attention, preferably in the form of money in the kitty, donated by the public one manages to attract.

Unfortunately, more often than not, the attention attracted is the authorities of public order, that is the police.

Free speech does not apply in most public places.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Rejoining the Human Race

[The graphic here was posted by Unapologetic Mexican over at Jesus General]

I had, if not the strangest, then the oddest dream last night...

I was in a big hall with a of people in it and somebody (or was it me?) said out loud, "You don't have to believe [anything]"

Then, somebody else repeated it (or was it me?), saying it out loud -- it was then that things got interesting!

Some people over at the other side of the floor got angry. One of them raised his right arm with extended hand and palm downward and shouted that he believed. He stood, and with arm still extended, pointed to the fellow next to him, implying that also he believed. Soon, there were many on their feet with right arms in that old salute, shouting belief.

I got up from my seat and went to middle of the hall and got down on my knees:

You don't need to belief anything in order to pray!

You don't need to pray "to" anyone, person or thing.

Instead of wondering if your prayers will be answered, you must learn listen to what you are saying.

If you are praying that I go to hell because I deny what you believe, what you are saying is that I am not a human being -- and, implicitly, deny your own humanity!

If your prayers allow, require even, these burning villages, the pillage, the bombs, the rapine and machines of death and destruction -- you besmirch and make ugly the names of your prophet, your savior and your lawgiver.
That's what I was trying to say. But there was so much tumult, I don't know if I got much beyond the first line. I was certainly going to say a lot more!

But because of the tumult, as often happens when one gets excited in a dream -- I woke up.

And that is the moral of this little story -- it is time that we got excited and spoke out about against the dark and ugly unfolding in the name of what is sacred and holy to our common humanity.

Perhaps, we might get lucky and wake up!

On Monday, I handed in my Resignation to the Human Race.

On Tuesday, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. shuffled off his mortal coil. If nothing else, read his "Blues for America"!

Remembering him had perhas something to do with my dream and made me realize that I had to withdraw my resignation:

Apparently our options are rather few
and everyone must meet our common fate.
I've decided to do what a man has got to do,
I've decided to rejoin the human race.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Snarky Case for Intelligent Design...

Something that really gets to me, because of it's sheer, absurd insanity is the idea prevalent in the three ostensibly monotheistic religions is the inevitability and unavoidability of some sort of apocalypse or Ragnarok.

Well, actually, it's not the idea itself as it doesn't take an awful lot of intuition to be able to guess that this pitiful example of what is supposed to be an intelligent species, the Crown of Creation, the creature created in the image of the Almighty -- what gets to me is the idea of actively wanting to speed up the day when the sun turns black and the Holy Idaho comes to take us to that Great Colander in the sky.

If we cannot find meaning in this life on its own merits, then any purported salvation will be lost on us because we define the Great Potato in our daily lives, in our interactions with our Blue Mother and our fellow human beings.

Anyway, that is something of the feelings which provoked me to compose this piece which, by the way, promotes the one really good example of Intelligent Design -- the fact that the stars are so far apart...
Standing on the edge, with the abyss darkly yawning far below,
what we all fear is coming near -- the end of all designs
in whirlwinds which teach what no one yearns to learn to know:

That the Night is a long, dark river which sings the end of time!

And all those shining moments which we treasured most of all,
such as morning frosts subliming in the rays of the rising sun,
will we ever come to know them again? If so, where -- and how?

The ancient intuition is that, when the course of life has run,
there is a reckoning of all things, of all by all.
That is by all that is, that was, that ever will or could be.

Just as galaxies of stars are implied in the fall
of that heavy thought into space, so it is, you see,
that life must form from primal slime and sentience appear.

Unfortunately, that doesn't make a really good case
for "Intelligent Design", because it seems rather clear
societies of apes, like this silly human race,
destroy themselves in hells of their very own design!

It would seem the "Designer" doesn't have much more sense
than the apes It designed or that It is really all that benign
as some would claim -- the only sign of intelligence
is that the stars are so very, very far apart.

That means,
when we go to glory in our polluted, radioactive hell,
we'll only take ourselves and our Blue Mother with us
in a tiny cosmic fart and that's kind of sort of smart!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Answering Questions Never Asked

Up to Easter I posted the "Crown of Thorns" poem cycle.

I have listed for your convenience links to them in the order in which they should be read, followed by a poem which is a sort of after thought or comment on the poem cycle.

However Many Castles
Recycled Prayers
The Finest Wine
Tin Silver Bells
Where Are You?
Brother's Keeper
In All We Say and Do
Them Calvary Blues
You Know Nothing
Drops of Snot
The Quality of Faith
The Pains of Birth
Azrael, the Angel of Death
Azrael's Tickle


While roaming through this life, you sometimes find
answers to questions you'd never think to ask.

It's not that you should or could, because the kind
of Question of which I speak, is not a task
to be lightly taken, or for which answers are asked.

The sound a leaf can make when it starts its fall,
winding down towards the forest floor,
& suddenly: the world is filled with a Call
to something which needs a name somehow more
appropriate, than "truth" or "reality"...

Unfortunately, our vocabulary
is lacking in terms of spirituality.
& I dislike using "epiphany" too much...
Hmmnn, "simplicity" has a folksy touch
_____________________________________
An explanation is in order about this idea of the Question.

A book which has influenced me greatly is Jacob Needleman's "Lost Christianity" and this is where I picked up the idea of the Question.

In a sense, the Question is asked of us with every breath we breathe, that is, if we have the sense to listen. All beliefs and dogmas are but a bag of stale wind when the Question is ignored.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My Resignation From the Human Race

I have a very bad habit.

When I get up to take a leak, which at my age I'm lucky if I can keep it down to a single trip each night, instead of going back to sleep, I pull my pillows over my head and compose poetry.

It usually starts as I start up the stairs, a line comes to mind which seems fine and I try to unravel the skein of words and see if there other lines. What follows is an example of time perhaps better spent cutting Z's.

Sooo, without further ado, I present you a little bit of rhyming wit that would have been worthy of that famous unknown poet from the Third Galaxy and offer my resignation from the human race...
I've canceled my subscription to that bunch of naked apes,
that is to say that I'm resigning from the human race!

I've altered my allegiances in content, form and shape
and deny responsibility for what is taking place:
The consequences of greed and hate in global climate change;
in famine; in death; disease and then -- total Ultimate War.

It's not my fault at all that the human race has gone insane!

It happens frequently, it's happened many times before,
and every time, just like a drunk, sober after a binge,
all bleary eyed, he coughs and wipes the vomit from his chin.
He chokes and cries and swears by God, "I'll never do that again!"

But the chances are what the chances are -- that is, rather slim!

[Alas!]
It may well be the "I'm not human!" plea won't fly in Court*!
Like most poor folks, I forgot to read what's writ in the fine print!
I'll end up holding the end of the stick that's shitty and short!

I'll stand accused, not for what I did, but what I didn't!

But still, it's my intention to cancel all my subscriptions
and resign.

I decline to be a member of the human race!
__________________
* "Court" is deliberately in caps here and if you don't know why, an explanation would be more of a waste of time than what I piddled away composing my resignation.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Crown of Thorns -- Azrael's Tickle...

Today you get the final burp in this corona where each poem starts with the final line of the preceding, except that here you have a piece which consists of the closing lines of the preceding dozen or so poems.

The immage of Azrael, who, next after Lucifer was the most beautiful of the angelic hosts, took upon itself the burden of ugliness in order to bring the kiss of death required by the Eternal -- this has long fascinated my poetic imagination.
He tickles the baby's feet and then its crown.
His name is Azrael, the Angel of Death [he asks]:
"The sweetness of love's embrace and the pains of birth,
can anyone measure the quality of such faith?"

"Beliefs' aren't worth a drop of dried snot,
you know nothing at all if, somehow, you know not
there's no way to avoid them Calvary Blues!"

"You care for, or kill, in all you say and do
your brothers and sisters while the Question hangs in the air:
'Why have you forsaken me?'
'Where are you!'
'Where?'"

"But as for me, somewhere, tin silver bells ring!"

Having drunk a drop of the finest wine,
Such empty prayers become, very nearly, a curse,
however many castles you may build!"

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Crown of Thorns -- Azrael, the Angel of Death

I cannot fathom or comprehend that I actually came to compose this poem -- I can't read it, even today, without busting out in tears.

There are so many assholes who write up and down about our humanity and its supposed relation to a hypothetical divinity, but this little tidbit I picked up from a commentary in the Talmud says screw you to all their bullshit...

His name is Azrael -- the Angel of Death.
It's more than passing strange that he was picked
To give the kiss which takes our final breath;
Which means we see him as deformed, ugly and sick...

The one who'd have been more than glad for the job,
Is not in Heaven anymore, you see;
His arrogance couldn't grasp that these farting slobs
Were born with a passport to eternity...

But Azrael was different; somehow
He saw us like we see a kitten or a cub.

So, even as Lucifer refused at all to bow,
Azrael smiled; and with a feeling of love
an angel had never known before, he got down
and tickled the baby's feet -- and also its crown.
___________________

Lucifer does not appreciate the magnificent trick the Creator pulled in making Man -- which is part of the reason why he falls...

Azrael understands something of it and loved Man -- therefore he was made the Angel of Death, the one who comes with the "kiss-which-takes-us-home".

The name "Azrael" could be rendered as "God's Help" or even "God's Strength.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Crown of Thorns -- The Pains of Birth...

As we near the end, this twelfth installment of "Crown of Thorns" plays with the fact that in the language of the ancient texts, words like "water", "sky" and "face" are plural.

If you consider it for a moment you will see the internal logic.

Water, sky and the human face are constantly shifting and changing. Currents, the wind and the heat of the sun -- or lack of it bring changes in the waters and the skies. But it is what is hidden in the heart, the movements of mind and soul which are revealed in the face.

What is true of the human should also be true of the Eternal which the human, in the context of the ancient texts, is made in the image of. However, the "faces" of the eternal manifest in proper contexts -- this is not always the case with people, for we can just as easily be a father of lies as well as a crown of creation.
The sweetness of love's embrace and the pains of birth?

The angels sing of the joy sweetness brings,
but it's known by those who live upon the earth,
that is all of us human beings,
that within each joy, many sorrows sleep;
and beyond sorrow, the music of joy is played...

To understand, you must dive very deep
into what it means to be "in the image made..."

Perhaps you are puzzled by the paradox
that the image should have so very many faces?

I think Sweet William* explained it well enough:
the Image changes to match different places!

Among the angels, there was one who loved Man the best:
Azrael** -- he became the Angel of Death.
_____________
* I.E., William Blake -- two poems of William Blake are required reading: "The Divine Image" and "A Divine Image".

** According to some traditions, when the Eternal asked who would to bring death to mankind, only Azrael volunteered. It was because its love that it could accept the fact that it would have to appear horrible and ugly to us when it comes to gives us the kiss and the final embrace...

Friday, April 06, 2007

Crown of Thorns -- The Quality of Faith...

We are getting close to the end of this poem cycle, "Crown of Thorns" and, for once, there is a bit of poetry in this instalment which compares and blends the quality of faith with the senses of taste and touch.

As a matter of fact it blends the senses -- the fancy, five dollar word for the blending of two or more senses is "synth├Žsthia". As a spontaneous experience, it is not common, yet by no means rare. I myself, have always enjoyed/suffered this condition.

In my personal experience, I find that tactile and taste sensations are evoked by strong visual experience -- a sunset, for example. I've noted that, by concentrating on it, the experience becomes more palpable, which leads me to suspect that it is to some degree an acquired skill.

I also suspect that some of the grosser aspects of various forms of mystic experience are related in some way to this phenomena.

Can anyone measure the quality of faith?
If you could, what sort of measurement to use?

Perhaps faith can best be known by its taste?

Perhaps you're thinking now that I'm confused
& there's little use in denying that I am!
But if so, what would the taste of Christian be?
Wine of course! The taste of Islam? Coffee!
The Buddha's Dharma is, of course, green tea!

Could we say that the only real tool
for measuring faith is with images sensual?

The feel of silk, of cotton, parchment and wool...

[They immediately spring to mind for our perusal]

The smell of olive oil and of fresh earth;
The sweetness of love's embrace and the pains of birth...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Crown of Thorns -- Drops of Snot...

Like I mentioned in a footnote to y'day's post, if you've been hanging around this place for any length of time, you should know that we distinguish here between "belief" and "faith".

One way to put it is that faith is the root and beliefs are the flower.

In this, our softest analogy, beliefs produce the seeds of faith -- otherwise they are but chaff, which should be left at the door when entering your holy house. There is indeed a path and a way and, whether we will or won't, it is a path we all trod. The path itself is the place to where it leads*.
Your "beliefs" aren't worth a single drop of snot!

I'm sorry, but somebody has to tell you that!

Sure, credos are fine in themselves, but they're not
The Truth -- in fact, in themselves, they mean squat!

"The Moon is made of Green Cheese! Believe,
and you'll forever feed upon a sumptuous feast
while laughing at those who did not, in time, believe!"

["Not morsel or crumb for them for all eternity!"]

At best, beliefs can be a sort of crib,
a list of landmarks to look for on the way...

[You can't find the path completely ad-lib!]

There is a Path and a Way and every day
is another step on the journey we all must make!

Can anyone measure the quality of such faith?
_____________________
This is why the vagabond [lit. one who lives on the road] is an archetype and perhaps why the Galilean [which could lit. be rendered as "the man from the book"] reportedly said, "Birds have their nests and foxes their holes, but Joe Blow doesn't have a place to rest his head

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Crown of Thorns -- You Know Nothing...

"Crown of Thorns" is a poem cycle I am posting up to Easter where each piece begins with the last line of the preceding

The ninth instalment here plays around a bit too much with what some theologians in their ignorance would probably call esoteric knowledge or philosophy.

That I disagree with what they understand by "esoteric" goes without saying but I'll try to say something anyway: All knowledge is an approximate picture of the reality in which we find our existence based upon human observation and experience. This is true of science and ever so much more of religious dogmas.

However, I will admit that the esoteric and philosophic in the piece that follows does go a bit over the poetic experience -- it's like having too much base or drums that drown out the music...

You know nothing at all if you don't know where that is,
that "certain place of no time or space"!

It's not much of a help to be a genius whiz
in finding HaMakum*, that is: The Place.

You'll never gain the prize, the "pearl beyond price",
by force of guile or might or intellect!

[Or the other devices of which we are so fond,
The sources of all miseries and regrets.]

The secret is in front of you, or within,
or without if you prefer! Awareness is
what awareness is: the image of God's being
becoming aware of the image of What-Is!(?)

It does not matter if you believe me or not!
Our "beliefs"** aren't worth a single drop of snot!

__________________
* HaMakum, or "The Place", like "Lord of Hosts" and "Lord of Lights" is one of seven names used in the Bible to refer to the Eternal. Like El Shaddai or "The Power", it is not well known let alone understood by the general religious public.

** As my faithful readers know (because I keep repeating it), I maintain that a plethora of beliefs belies a tremendous lack of faith.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Crown of Thorns -- Them Calvary Blues...

I'm sitting in a cabin up in Sweden, putting together these comments to the eighth instalment of "Crown of Thorns" to be posted when I get back to Denmark.

The parents of one of my son's close friends has been so gracious as to lend their cabin to us this Palm Sunday weekend. It will be nice not to have much news these few days.

For all we know, the fuse in the Middle East may be burning short again, the one that was lit when Isaac Rabin was blown away with four bullets from a handheld gun. Or, King Codpiece and Mr. Snarly may be getting ready to do their "manly-man" act, dooming millions to far earlier and more exotic deaths than otherwise required by the facts of life.

In this instalment the poem cycle takes yet another unexpected turn. I had no idea when I started that the line, "However many castles you may build", would lead to Calvary, Golgatha and the Place of the Skull.

To speak and write freely teaches us things that we didn't know that we knew -- that is why I am constantly telling anyone who might just listen that the Freedom of Speech is the Mother of all Freedom*.
There ain't no avoiding them Calvary Blues!

The opening chord was struck the day you were born,
and you got to play the melody all the way through
to that final bar; when the angel blows his horn
in a final riff, to where does the "bridge" then lead?

To another verse?
Can anybody say for sure?

Preachers glibly speak [while our bodies bleed]
as if salvation were a homeopathic cure,
or a band-aid you put on your child's sore thumb.

But haven't you seen that life, and life alone
is the healer of all wounds?
Or, are you just dumb?

Can there be life without meat, or flesh without bone?

The "Place of the Skull"** is where Calvary is,
and you know nothing at all if you don't know where that is!

____________________________
* If you cannot speak freely, you cannot know your mind. If you do not know your mind, you cannot control it. If you cannot control your mind, someone else will be most happy to do it for you. Therefore, the freedom of speech is the mother of all freedom.

** I find it more than passing strange that the Gospels make such a point of telling us that "Golgatha" (Calvary) means "Place of the Skull" in Hebrew (Matt 27, 33; Mark 15, 22; John 19, 17), when it seems to me that the meaning of the Hebrew word renders better as "transfiguration", "metamorphous" or even "reincarnation". The root meaning of "gol" is a turning of some sort and a turn on the word means boiling eggs -- the reference is to how the eggs turn -- on the other the hand "golgatha" looks more like Aramaic than Hebrew, but who am I to say the Bible is a bit off mark?

Among the questions are, why do the composers of the Gospels want to draw our attention to "the place of the skull" and "where" is this "place"? From the texts, it should be between two "thieves". The well-read reader probably knows that certain Chinese (Taoist) mystics spoke of a "square inch field in the middle of a "square foot field".