January 28, 2010

In My Nature

by William Carlos Williams, published by Random House, 1954

A piece of writing that I've always thought explained the idea of abstract art perfectly is from The Desert Music by the poet William Carlos Williams:

--- to place myself (in
my nature) beside nature

--- to imitate
nature (for to copy nature would be a
shameful thing)

January 19, 2010

All the Silly People

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
published by Alfred A. Knopf, 1992

David Brooks' writes on January 18, 2010 in an Op-Ed article for the New York Times titled The Pragmatic Leviathan:

"A year ago, the country rallied behind a new president who promised to end the pendulumlike swings, who seemed likely to restore equilibrium with his moderate temper and pragmatic mind.

In many ways, Barack Obama has lived up to his promise. He has created a thoughtful, pragmatic administration marked by a culture of honest and vigorous debate. When Obama makes a decision, you can be sure that he has heard and accounted for every opposing argument. If he senses an important viewpoint is not represented at a meeting, he will stop the proceedings and demand that it gets included.

If the evidence leads him in directions he finds uncomfortable, he will still follow the evidence. He is beholden to no ideological camp, and there is no group in his political base that he has not angered at some point in his first year.

But his has become a voracious pragmatism. Driven by circumstances and self-confidence, the president has made himself the star performer in the national drama. He has been ubiquitous, appearing everywhere, trying to overhaul most sectors of national life: finance, health, energy, automobiles and transportation, housing, and education, among others.

He is no ideologue, but over the past year he has come to seem like the sovereign on the cover of "Leviathan" - the brain of the nation to which all the cells in the body and the nervous system must report and defer.

Americans, with their deep, vestigial sense of proportion, have reacted. ..."

. . . . . . . .

In a previous Op-Ed article by Mr. Brooks published by the New York Times on January 4, 2010 titled The Tea Party Teens, it caught my eye that a reader from Boulder, CO wrote in as a comment "Oh, just say it like it is -- it's the educated class versus the morons, and the morons are winning. Is it any wonder that the country is going in the wrong direction?"

. . . . . . . .

Tonight, as reported by Michael Cooper in his article titled G.O.P. Takes Massachusetts Senate Seat in the Times:

"Scott Brown, a little-known Republican state senator, rode an old pickup truck and a growing sense of unease among independent voters to an extraordinary upset Tuesday night when he was elected to fill the Senate seat that was long held by Edward M. Kennedy in the overwhelmingly Democratic state of Massachusetts."

"The election left Democrats in Congress scrambling to salvage a bill overhauling the nation's health care system, which the late Mr. Kennedy had called "the cause of my life." Mr. Brown has vowed to oppose the bill, and once he takes office the Democrats will lose their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate."

. . . . . . . .

From the novel All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, published by Alfred A. Knopf, 1992:

"John Grady took a deep pull on the cigarette and leaned back.
What do you want to know? he said.
Only what the world wants to know.
What does the world want to know.
The world wants to know if you have cojones. If you are brave.
He lit his own cigarette and laid the lighter on top of the pack of cigarettes on the table and blew a thin stream of smoke.
Then it can decide your price, he said.
Some people dont have a price.
That is true.
What about those people?
Those people die.
I aint afraid to die.
That is good. It will help you to die. It will not help you to live."

. . . . . . . .

"... In the end we all come to be cured of our sentiments. Those whom life does not cure death will. The world is quite ruthless in selecting between the dream and the reality, even where we will not. Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting. I've thought a great deal about my life and about my country. I think there is little that can be truly known. My family has been fortunate. Others were less so. As they are often quick to point out.

When I was in school I studied biology. I learned that in making their experiments scientists will take some group - bacteria, mice, people - and subject that group to certain conditions. They compare the results with a second group which has not been disturbed. This second group is called the control group. It is the control group which enables the scientist to gauge the effect of his experiment. To judge the significance of what has occurred. In history there are no control groups. There is no one to tell us what might have been. We weep over the might have been, but there is no might have been. There never was. It is supposed to be true that those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it. I dont believe knowing can save us. What is constant in history is greed and foolishness and a love of blood and this is a thing that even God - who knows all that can be known - seems powerless to change."

January 16, 2010

Meeting Physical Force With Soul Force

YouTube video posted by superjsuh

"And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

January 14, 2010


Children with pineapples, Haiti, c.1925

Please follow the links below to read New York Times articles on the earthquake disaster in Haiti as reported by:

NO, SERIOUSLY ... What Kool-Aid Are You Drinking?!?

YouTube video posted by f9online

In the aftermath of what has been reported as the worst earthquake in the Dominican Republic region in over 200 years, with the possibility of at least 50,000 dead, Good Morning America and ABC News broadcasted "Pat Robertson's Shocking Statement" that Haiti "Swore A Pact To The Devil". Have you no shame, sir?

January 10, 2010

Oops!... He Did It Again

Seen on Chrystie Street in NYC

Dear Mr. Rudolph Giuliani and those of your ilk, the American public refuses to be so easily swayed (as you might dream about in your sleep and during club meetings) and we also refuse to live in fear.

"The Republican said of Obama on ABC's "Good Morning America" that "what he should be doing is following the right things that Bush did."

While saying he believes Obama "turned the corner" on understanding the nature of terrorism when he publicly declared the U.S. at war, Giuliani added that Obama has plenty of room to improve on terrorism.

"We had no domestic attacks under Bush," Giuliani said. "We've had one under Obama."

... Bush replaced Clinton in the White House on Jan. 20, 2001, or almost eight months before the al-Qaida sponsored attacks.

When Giuliani was questioned later Friday about his statement, he explained to CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he misspoke."

. . . . . . . .

Following is a chilling poem by Wislawa Szymborska and it points to the fact that life is obviously both precious and unpredictable. But if we as a country continue to have an Us versus Them mentality and if we as a country continue to build walls against everyone and against everything, then our citizens are not truly living. No matter how hard it is to imagine, we simply cannot kowtow to fear and the fear mongers among us.


The bomb in the bar will explode at thirteen twenty.
Now it's just thirteen sixteen.
There's still time for some to go in,
and some to come out.

The terrorist has already crossed the street.
The distance keeps him out of danger,
and what a view - just like the movies:

A woman in a yellow jacket, she's going in.
A man in dark glasses, he's coming out.
Teenagers in jeans, they're talking.
Thirteen seventeen and four seconds.
The short one, he's lucky, he's getting on a scooter,
but the tall one, he's going in.

Thirteen seventeen and forty seconds.
That girl, she's walking along with a green ribbon in her
But then a bus suddenly pulls in front of her.
Thirteen eighteen.
The girl's gone.
Was she that dumb, did she go in or not,
we'll see when they carry them out.

Thirteen nineteen.
Somehow no one's going in.
Another guy, fat, bald, is leaving, though.
Wait a second, looks like he's looking for something in his
pockets and
at thirteen twenty minus ten seconds
he goes back in for his crummy gloves.

Thirteen twenty exactly.
This waiting, it's taking forever.
Any second now.
No, not yet.
Yes, now.
The bomb, it explodes.

January 9, 2010

The End Of Advertising

Unsolicited mailer received from the New York Health & Racquet Club with the ad copy "when you've got the guns, flaunt the guns."

January 6, 2010

What Kool-Aid Are You Drinking?

YouTube video posted by sideshowcarny

"Tens of thousands of Irish children were sexually, physically and emotionally abused by nuns, priests and others over 60 years in a network of church-run residential schools meant to care for the poor, the vulnerable and the unwanted, according to a report released in Dublin on Wednesday.

The 2,600-page report paints a picture of institutions run more like Dickensian orphanages than 20th-century schools, characterized by privation and cruelty that could be both casual and choreographed."

"Punching, flogging, assaulting and bodily attacks, hitting with the hand, kicking, ear pulling, hair pulling, head shaving, beating on the soles of the feet, burning, scalding, stabbing, severe beatings with or without clothes, being made to kneel and stand in fixed positions for lengthy periods, made to sleep outside overnight, being forced into cold or excessively hot baths and showers, hosed down with cold water before being beaten, beaten while hanging from hooks on the wall, being set upon by dogs, being restrained in order to be beaten, physical assaults by more than one person, and having objects thrown at them."

"Girls were routinely sexually abused, often by more than one person at a time, the report said, in "dormitories, schools, motor vehicles, bathrooms, staff bedrooms, churches, sacristies, fields, parlors, the residences of clergy, holiday locations and while with godparents and employers."

. . . . . . . .

"Harold Camping lets out a hearty chuckle when he considers the people who believe the world will end in 2012.

"That date has not one stitch of biblical authority," Camping says from the Oakland office where he runs Family Radio, an evangelical station that reaches listeners around the world, "It's like a fairy tale."

The real date for the end of times, he says, is in 2011."

. . . . . . . .

"Last March, three American evangelical Christians, whose teachings about "curing" homosexuals have been widely discredited in the United States, arrived here in Uganda's capital to give a series of talks.

The theme of the event, according to Stephen Langa, its Ugandan organizer, was "the gay agenda - that whole hidden and dark agenda" - and the threat homosexuals posed to Bible-based values and the traditional African family.

For three days, according to participants and audio recordings, thousands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians, listened raptly to the Americans, who were presented as experts on homosexuality. The visitors discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how"the gay movement is an evil institution" whose goal is "to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity."

Now the three Americans are finding themselves on the defensive, saying they had no intention of helping stoke the kind of anger that could lead to what came next: a bill to impose a death sentence for homosexual behavior."