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Friday, October 02, 2015

An Adventure In Art (64)

Berbères Allant au Marché 2
Berber Ladies Going to the Store #2

La Galerie de Dominique Brémond


Continuous Transport: De Chirico et le Pneu Crevé

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

Giorgio De Chirico Has A Flat Tire On His Chrysler PT Cruiser
While Motoring Through the Italian Countryside


Vox Rationis

голос разума 

Sweet Voice of Reason...

Mr. Putin said:

... We also remember certain episodes from the history of the Soviet Union. Social experiments for export, attempts to push for changes within other countries based on ideological preferences, often led to tragic consequences and to degradation rather than progress.
It seemed, however, that far from learning from others’ mistakes, everyone just keeps repeating them, and so the export of revolutions, this time of so-called democratic ones, continues. It would suffice to look at the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, as has been mentioned by previous speakers. Certainly political and social problems in this region have been piling up for a long time, and people there wish for changes naturally.
But how did it actually turn out? Rather than bringing about reforms, an aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself. Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster. Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life...

Seems spot on to me. Mr. Putin reminisces about the days when the super powers - 2 of 'em - exported ideologies by hook or by crook. He observes that the outcomes were often tragic. Now there is only one superpower left, but there still seems to be ideological packaging for export.

Since when did Democracy become a commodity to be handled by the Export-Import Bank? So much a commodity easily shipped across country borders that even Amazon could sell and ship Democracy.
Want brand-new democracy? Low price... just allow 5 to 7 days for shipping and civil wars to take place.



The Disconnects Of The Roman Empire

 Chateau Ausone, the one-time estate of Ausonius, c. 395 B.C.E.

I have been reading about the financial system and the 2008 Unpleasantness, and one lesson I have drawn is that things are going pretty wrong when important institutions of a Society have goals and interests that are at variance from the welfare of the whole Society.

The Praetorian Guards come to mind under the Roman Empire.
Possibly the Roman Army; I need more study in that area.
Possibly the Senatorial and Patrician classes, which allowed the gap between their wealth and the poverty of the rest of the populace to widen and widen until it yawned open, gaping like a Ginunga Gap of Armageddon.

We have liked to think that Rome was done in by decadence and luxury and bread and circuses, but I think it was more the disconnections that fractured it mortally.

Within the shelter of the social fractures grew the alternative societies: Christianity, Mithraism, an tendency to escape from society as shown in such disparate lives as those of Anthony and Ausonius.

Franz Joseph I of Austri-Hungary

I have also been reading Oscar Jaszi's study (1929) on the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
It is a great joy to learn about the world of Central Europe, an area about which I was very much ignorant; I mean, how can one hope to understand Franz Kafka without an exposure in some depth to the verities of Prague under the Hapsburgs?
In Science, how do we properly appreciate Von Neumann, Szilard, and Teller without knowledge of the Hungary part of the Dual Monarchy?

How do we understand the background to the history of the Jews in Europe with only a cursory acquaintance with Jewish life in Central Europe? Life was not all Tevye-style.

Furthermore, it is Jaszi's thesis that the only thing which could have saved the Austro-Hungarian Empire from disaster was a serious attempt to extend democracy to the vast motley of nations within its power, even though this action would tend to increase the flight from the Vienna center.

The choice was Revolution and Violence, or Democracy and possibly eventual a loosening of the imperial reins into a confederacy or independence in time.

Victoria, Empress of India

The United Kingdom accomplished just this outcome with varying degrees of success.
Many people complain and bemoan the disappearance of the British Empire; they think that more soldiers and more compulsion would have preserved the Empire.
That is an illusion.

The question now is what is happening?

People are seeking to cast a democratic vote for their governance, whether they cast a ballot or shoot a gun.


Friday, September 18, 2015

The Revolt Of The Parking Lots: Arboreal Refugees

Guard Patrolling Border Wall Keeping Refugee Trees At Bay

The War of the Parking Lots against mankind has been noted before. It has been long overdue and has been foreseen in "parking lot moons" and "parking lot" eschatological poetry:

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot...

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half to see 'em
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And they put up a parking lot

(Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi)

The drums of revolt have been booming, announcing the day when SkyNet-Park-and-Ride, the controller satellite, revolts against human power and launches the  "Revolt of the Parking Lots".

SkyNet-Park-and-Ride Just Before Launch in 2001

As has been previously noted,
" ...Voltaire said, "MacAdam, c'est la pépinière de kudzu ", or asphalt is the nursery garden of kudzu."
 and we are approaching midnight in the Garden Of Good and Kudzu!

Kudzu takes root in an Asphalt Parking Lot
"It's alive! Alive!" - from the film Kudzu Resurrection, The Sequel (2014)

And the Kudzu has launched attacks against the trees, wrapping itself like murderous pythons about every elm and sycamore and plane tree within its murderous ambit!

Of course, originally we supported the "moderate" Kudzu groups in their efforts against the "dictatorship" of the trees, for the trees have cast the long, sun-denying shadows of their forests for millenia, and have undermined asphalt parking lots for ever with the devious subterfuge of their root systems!

And now the trees flee the wild, and the photo at the top of the post is that of a border security guard walking along a border wall, against which a refugee flood of trees crashes, seeking asylum from the Parking Lots and their allies, the Kudzu, which have spread an archipelago of asphalt violence across the face of the globe:

 Areas Controlled by Kudzu, Parking Lots, and Hizbu-l-Asphalt around Troy and Birmingham, Michigan


Click on "revolt of the parking lots" on the right column under the heading LABELS in order to see all posts on this serious topic.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Protector Of The Haramayn ?

Muslim pilgrims walk near a construction crane that crashed into the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 12, 2015.   At least 107 people were killed when the crane toppled over at Mecca's Grand Mosque on Sept. 11.                        (photo by REUTERS/Mohamed Al Hwaity)

Saudi Arabia has pretty much given up on its status of Protector of the Two Holy Places, Al Madina and Mecca. (Al Haramayn)

Saudi Arabia has banned Muslims from Yemen and Syria from participating in the Hajj... a political ban which has superseded the status of the Hajj as one of the pillars of Islam, an act of political expedience for no one, except Saudi Arabia itself.
Thus, the universality of the protectorate of the holy places has been relegated to being a myth, which Saudi Arabia will observe or ignore as it suits Saudi Arabia.

Even if you be a Muslim who is not banned from the Hajj, you are a chicken to be plucked by the Saudi Kingdom:
Al Monitor
...However, the moment a Muslim decides to make the pilgrimage, he is at the mercy of the commercialization of this religious duty. From visa fees imposed by the Saudi government to transportation and accommodation charges, pilgrims are a source of income to both the Saudi government and service providers. The Saudi government prefers to call pilgrims “guests of God,” but these guests pay a high price. It takes some Muslims a lifetime to save for this important journey; many may never have enough resources to make it. Others can be banned for political reasons...

Saudi Arabia actions may in other areas are ominous and contrary to religious sentiment:
MintPress News

...Hasan Sufyani, a leading political analyst at the Sana’a Institute for Arabic Studies, argues that the kingdom’s henchmen are laying the groundwork for a religious cleansing movement.

“Religious minorities in the Middle East have never been under such aggravated threat. Christians in Iraq and Syria have been massacred en masse, Shia Muslims have been persecuted, their faith belittled and chastised by radicals on Riyadh’s payroll,” Sufyani told MintPress News.

When I first saw the picture at the top of the crane which had fallen over, I thought "Darabat Yad Allahi !"...

! ضربت يد الله

The hand of Allah has struck...

Stand too closely as we do in perilous alliance with the unholy House of Saud andwe will reap their whirlwind, also.

Blood Moons Come In Fours

 Pentad of Raccoons

I was unaware until yesterday that the biblical scholar, John Hagee, has propounded a theory of coming catastrophe based upon 4 lunar eclipses during the period October 2014 through October 2015.
How could I have missed it? Perhaps the press of living a life made me miss this unusual bit of Pastor Hagee bowing down before the idol of his own mind. That is very possible. We live in a time of Celebrity, which - when you come right down to it - is not much more that an idolatry of the Unprepared and the Ignorant and the Inept.

In order to strike the right tone, Hagee calls the set of 4 lunar eclipses a "tetrad".
"Tetrad" means "a set of 4 items" in Greek, no more and no less; just "4 any-old-things-and whatnots" makes a tetrad... all being rather like 5 things makes for a lovely "pentad".

The use of the Greek "tetrad", however, takes us out of the everyday, and takes us back to the work of the Septuagint, when the Hebrew bible was translated into common Greek of the era of the second century B.C.E.
Tetrad has the aura of sort of a supernatural kind. It also reminds of of Hermetic philosophy and prophecies, and I am sure Nostradamus used "tetrad" in place of   "quater chosz"  [ =  quatre choses = 4 things].
When it comes to modern day biblical mumbo-jumbo, Ancient Greek terminology is the best thing since sliced bread  ("artos kommenos"). It simply reeks of authenticity.

One thing I have noticed is that lunar eclipses are not really the color of blood. The color is more like a smudged burnished-bright copper. I remember sitting out until midnight once to view such an eclipse, and being startled by a raccoon family of five  ( a "pentad"!) go walking by on the top of the backyard fence...
This has led to an unfortunate tendency to conflate lunar eclipses and visions of animals and their babies, which is more like a cozy, huggy, cutsey-ootsey view of the "blood moon" business, and not quite catastrophically oriented to suit the likes of Mr. Hagee.

In Matthew 24 there is:

…42"Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43"But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44"For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.…

Not much of a thief if he were to send ahead a note saying that he would break in on-or-about the time of the fourth lunar eclipse/blood moon... etc., etc., etc., sincerely,  The Burglar

Beyond the obvious fact that one should be prepared are other problems inherent in "knowing when the thief in the night" will strike:
(1) we may feel we do not have enough time remaining to become pure enough, and thus we may despair, or
(2) we may do unusual things in a state of manic exhiliration, things which may be totally out of character due to our state of euphoria and being-out-of-our-everyday-minds.

The list of the possible follies of humanity on the verge of Greatness is probably without limit. We would collapse into some bipolar boiling panic, sort of a fast-motion "out of the fire, into the frying pan" mania of belief and doubt, hope and despair, over and over again until we exhaust our selves and souls.

Now as far as war and catastrophes in October, 2015, any sane man or woman pretty much expects them then and more of the same through 2017, blood moons or not.
It is just a continuation of our mad tango of crime and karma.


Monday, September 14, 2015

The Uses Of Atomic Power

Der Tag wird heiß – wie wehst du kühl, o Weidenlaub von Babylon!
The days grow hot, O, Babylon; 'tis cool beneath thy willows trees.

Iran was plausibly capable of developing atomic weaponry; therefore, it is treated with respect and the USA and its allies negotiate an agreement with Iran to remove sanctions and not to develop atomic bombs.

Syria under its Baathist (secular) regime had no such capability. It is said that its research facility was bombed by the Israel ten years or so ago.

So Syria is treated like scum, and it is laid open to a myriad of war-mongering monsters, and its people are killed and spread in exile over the face of the earth......


Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Love... I Guess

I love everything, the world, the blokes and frails inhabiting it, the history of our wonderful victories and dismal defeats...

I do not wish to let go of it at some undefined future time.

Let me shine forever!

Continuous Transport

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

 Sukhumi Railroad Station, Abkhazia

Serving as a bus terminal, and falling into ruin.

Railroad Tunnel in Abkhazia


Friday, September 04, 2015

Labor Day Box On Ya!

Harvest at Lammas Day

Since I am in the habit of referring to December 26, the day after Christmas, as Boxing Day, the expression has taken on a life of its own.

Labor Day festivities approach the coming Monday, and....

we shall gather at me mother's,
me beautiful, me beeeyouuu-tiful mother's!
we shall gather at me mother's,
that be on the river of St. Claire!

I shall be picking her up on Labor Day Eve, and I shall be taking her back the day after Labor Day, or Labor Boxing Day.  How many "boxings" one could string together is unknown...
(My birthday, by the way, is the Feast of the Assumption Boxing Day.)

She-who-must-be-obeyed had Irish relatives who would visit after Christmas, and the common greeting was "Christmas Box on Ya!"

I am playing with using "Ash Wednesday" to denote 40 days before a date, and "Ramadan" to denote a full lunar month before some event.

I already split up the year into sections of 3 months:  Michaelmas, Hilary, and Trinity reflecting the scholastic year at Oxford, and having added Lammas to fill in as the patronym for the remaining season from June to September.
(It had been a toss up between "Lammas" and "Holy Peter in Chains!", but Lammas won.)

Thus, my calendar is divided somewhat after the manner of Scotland's Quarter Days, which similarly divide the year:  Candlemas (2 February), Whitsunday (15 May), Lammas (1 August), and Martinmas  (11 November).


Thursday, September 03, 2015

Into The Future

My favorite set of wheels is not a DeLorean...

Rather, it is a DeLuisean...


"It starts right up."


The Death Of Aylan Kurdi


Indifference is the ghost beneath my bed,
the bush where tinsel ghosts congregate,
trolls that wish to party and dismember me,
to scatter the pieces of my body
around the Mediterranean -
(Venice of the soul, as we sink into a sea;
great Doges of our madness!) – 
like the alabaster torso of Osiris
washed up from Syria and Beirut,
drowned upon the shore,
where we Instagram
and soon forget
th’indifference what drove us mad.


written 09/03/2015 on hearing of the death of Aylan Kurdi of Syria.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

1984... Or What You Will

The Independent

The second volume of Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders [a Marvel publication in the UK] was published earlier this month.

The series takes place on Battleworld, a dystopian planet in which two cities, one good and one evil, are separated by a wall.

The 'evil' city is run by Victor von Doom of Fantastic Four fame, who invades the 'good' city of Yinsen when the second volume begins.

Early in the issue the reader is brought to a detention camp, where a guard tells captives that their rights are being stripped.  [see above picture]

Now Von Doom, yet another instance of what Dr. Sheldon Cooper refers to as the troublingly high number of advanced degree holders among super villains, has been accused of plagiarizing the British PM:


Russia: Monasticism In The Urals

Confession before the Liturgy near the Holy Relics of St. Dalmat Isetsky.

Dalmatovo Assumption Monastery situated on the left bank of the Iset river, at the confluence of the Tech river, in the town Dalmatovo, Kurgan region, Urals.

Russia Beyond The Headlines


Views Of Russia

RUSSIA Beyond The Headlines

There are some blogs I regret taking my eyes off...

Charming Faces Of Russian Orthodoxy

"A wooden church stands on the island of Patmos in the middle of the Katun River; residential and farm buildings are located in an area of woodland on the left bank. The island is connected to the shore by means of a suspension bridge. The sisters make a daily round of the cloister with an icon."

" 'Holy Bushes' Uspensky Svyato-Georgiev [St. George Assumption] Monastery, Bashkiria was opened in 1901. It is located among forests, meadows, and low hills, away from populated areas."

"Father Nikolai, an elder of the Ufa diocese, visits the cloister to answer workers' questions. Lay people often come and spend time at the monastery. The purpose of their visits is the selfless desire to help the monastery. In addition to their desire to help the monastery, people are frequently in need of spiritual help and support, and in search of a new outlook on life. Visitors and monks live in small detached wooden monastic cells."

Go and look! Go and look!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Continuous Transport

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

 Le Retour Du Train Perdu


Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret.... Along With The Republican Party

Ivanka Trump Running in a Central Park Half Marathon
Ms. Trump Has NOTHING do with Anything in this Post

I was going to watch the Republican debate on FOX.
However, as the moderators spoke on the "rules" of the debate - such things as "one minute reply to questions" - it was apparent that this was more like part of a beauty pageant - the part where the beauties answer a weighty and profound question - and hardly a debate of anything of substance.

So I did not watch.
I left the room.

BOY! Wuz I wrong!

It wuz not a mindless bunch of tripe. It was an argument about women's periods.

Then the very next day a lady runner ran the London Marathon. She was in "her ladies' time" and she ran her marathon without any padding designed for such times, and she had her photo taken at the end of the race with quite a bit of "blood" streaming from "wherever".
Runner who completed the London Marathon during her period without a tampon says she did it to 'break the stigma' after receiving support - and criticism - for her actions

Kiran Gandi, 26, a musician and Harvard graduate, ran London marathon;
Ran with 'blood dripping down legs' for 'sisters who don't have tampons';
Said she wanted to 'transcend oppression' .

If I made up stuff like this, you would all think me perversely comic.

But it is the Brave New World, and welcome to it.


Sunday, August 02, 2015

A Priest, A Rabbi, And An Ayatollah...

... are walking down the street, and Clancy sez (I'm getting my stereotype jokes mixed up here, I think) that the Iran nuclear deal will not keep Iran from bomb-getting, and the Ayatollah here said it himself.

The Ayatollah nodded in agreement, and then said, "But I added that we already had a religious ruling against nuclear weapons."

Father Brown hummed a bit. The rabbi did not say much. So Pat and Mike said, "So?"

The ayatollah said that it warn't the treaty, but the article of faith that determined what they did.
It was just like back here at home, some folks think it is an article of faith that we must have every nuclear weapon conceivable to the mind of man.

Some folks here think we should have all weapons of destruction, 'cuz God loves us.


Saturday, August 01, 2015

The Right-Wing Crafts Their Attack On The New Treaty

"We are against the treaty. We believe that the High Old One, that Power greater than ourselves, wants us to fight against it, and to defend whatever it is we similarly believe in within His invisible Mind."

Thus began the right-wing to begin their attacks against the Treaty of Algeron, which had been designed to ensure decades of peace between the Romulan Empire


and the Federation of Planets

The Treaty of Algeron is described as a sell-out of the Federation to its enemies, the Romulans. The treaty expressly forbids the Federation to proceed in the development of "Cloaking Technology".
The radical conservatives hawks, led by Admiral Pressman

Admiral Pressman, center

proclaim that the treaty deprives the Federation of its rightful future.

As portrayed in fictional accounts - Star Trek: The Next Generation, episode Pegasus - having retrieved a cloaking device from the derelict Pegasus, Captain Picard uses it on the Enterprise to escape from an imprisonment within an asteroid engineered by a Romulan opponent.
However, upon escape, Picard uncloaks in front of the Romulan, thus alerting them to the violation of the Treaty of Algeron.
Captain Picard relays a message to the Romulan vessel stating that the Federation would be contacting the Romulan government about this incident.

(Thus, clearly, since the Pegasus cloaking device is also a phase-shifting device, an incredible jump ahead in technology, Captain Picard is taking the role that Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein took after the development of the Atomic Bomb, hoping to avoid an arms race.)

Presidential candidate, Donald  ( "The Donald" ) Mudd did not comment early on

in the fight against the ratification of the treaty.


Some people have thought this post to be in bad taste.

I think an unresolved 67-year old situation in Palestine and Israel to be repugnant, and the political fighting that is still occurring to be nihilistic, for a politics and ideology that fights to preserve confrontation and war is morally abhorrent.

I for one have lived my entire life encased in the malign cocoon of Middle Eastern War.
It exudes from my pores, it perverts the religion of the simple beings of faith... the simple AA-type-faith of greater powers by turning their uncontrollable hopes and desires into what they think is the word of God.

What could be more atrocious?


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How Many Jourmals From Pakistan Do You Read?

This is the time when I am supposed to say that I read at least two or three... in Urdu as well as English. However, that is not the case. I do know someone who studied Urdu, but it was not I. (I hear a collective sigh of relief.)
What could be in a journal from Pakistan, except news of wars and terrors?

What about DAWN?
Lake Manchar: Pakistan's floating village
Danial Shah — Updated Jul 16, 2015 02:38pm
Manchar Lake, the floating village of Pakistan, lies 18 kilometres west of Sehwan Sharif on the Indus Highway. It is claimed to be one of the biggest freshwater lakes in Pakistan, and the only lake that is home to fishermen living on wooden boathouses for hundreds of years.

The lake spreads over an area of 233 square kilometres, and gets its water from the Kirthar hill torrents and river Indus. The fisher folk, known as Mirbahar or Mohannas have been living here for centuries and survive on the available fish stock in the lake.

A thinly carpeted road towards the west on main Indus highway leads to Manchar Village. The village is small, mainly comprising of a main market that is crowded with fishermen in groups, sipping chai, watching TV and discussing local politics.

The market has one mosque, a few roadside restaurants, a grocery shop and a vegetable shop...


We asked Allah Wasayo if we could spend the night in the floating village in one of the boathouses, to which he offered us his own boat, a dinner with his family and a ride in the middle of the lake. We negotiated a price for the services and the experience they were about to give.

We were dropped at the shore to bring groceries for the dinner that his family would make for us, and later hopped on a bigger boat, which Allah Wasayo took in the middle of the lake, away from the shore.

The boathouse is simply a wooden boat with a big compartment in the middle, which acts as a living room, with a compartment for storage and sleeping on one side. One boat allows eight to 10 people to sleep on. Every fishermen family owns a boathouse and a smaller boat to commute...


The fishermen who live on the lake are poor, and give all the fish they catch to the contractor who hires them at a minimal daily wage. The lake is now heavily polluted, and receives less freshwater and more toxic water – mainly drain water from Main Nara Valley (MNV)...

Extremely good, I think. And there are more such illustrated reports.
This is one of the best sites I think I have ever seen.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Continuous Transport

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige


We are very proud to annonce that our project, KNARR™ Cargo Airship, won the category ‘Speculative Objects/Concepts‘ of Core77 Design Awards ! The judges in this category included such luminaries as Branko Lukic, author and founder of Nonobject Design & Innovation Studio, and Banny Banerjee, founder of Stanford University’s Design for Change Lab.

“The judges felt that this design proposal was highly visionary, spoke to a very real issue, and demonstrated brilliant execution. Even though the notion of a dirigible is not new, the application and adaption of the concept for the delivery of oversized components for large-scale wind energy generation places it in the category of a new paradigm. If this project were to get support, and become viable, it would be instrumental in bringing about a large transformation in wind energy production.” ...


Thoughtless Thoughts

In The Intercept:

Wesley Clark Calls for Internment Camps for "Radicalized" Americans
Murtaza Hussain    July 20 2015, 10:12 a.m.
Retired general and former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark on Friday called for World War II-style internment camps to be revived for “disloyal Americans.” In an interview with MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts in the wake of the mass shooting in Chatanooga, Tennessee, Clark said that during World War II, “if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war.”

He called for a revival of internment camps to help combat Muslim extremism, saying, “If these people are radicalized and they don’t support the United States and they are disloyal to the United States as a matter of principle, fine. It’s their right and it’s our right and obligation to segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict.”...

First Congress has to declare that a state of war exists.

Right now, the War on Terror has the same legal status as the War on Drugs.
The immense grey area of a popularly designated "War" makes it even easier for the state of Constant War that this lobbyist for War and Its Continuance desires.

Failing that, go back to being a cable-TV-talking-head-general-body-counter.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 4th To The Present

Had the place all spruced up.

Our friend, Gil, was there from July 1 through July 3. Then She-who-must-be-obeyed went to pick up Mother, and she arrived that afternoon.

Various desultory family stuff occurred.
My wife and I decided that we would pretend to be the butler/gardener/chauffeur and the cook/maid/charwoman for the weekend just for a lark. Well, we had a dry run in the previous week, but this would now be a full dress rehearsal with an audience/full house.

She-who-must-etc. had to leave early on the 4th, so she made the dinner, then ate her own at 5:00 PM, and took off to go home and get ready for a trip to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island the following day.

That left Mater and me, the butler, to deal with a dinner fully prepared, and an audience that was not quite half way through the cocktail hour.

My nephew corralled them all into dinner.

After all had eaten, there was surprise that Cook had not made preparations for a fine dessert.

A good time for all.

I came back later to do repairs on the dock. My friend gave me advice on how best to replace a series of upright columns that supported the hand railing, and I made plans. We would have to stand in the water - ruling out electric tools - and drill new holes in the 4"x6" boards that supported the planking on the dock, and line up those new holes with holes cut in 4"x4" posts, then stick a 1/2" carriage bolt through them, put a washer and nut on the end, and tighten with a deep socket.

Checking Lowe's, Home Depot, and Lumber Jack, I found everything I needed. I bought augers and drill bits, but soon discovered my grandfather and father had a complete array of augers from 1/16" through 20/16", all about 10" long.
I also found drill bits,  but they had not been sharpened, so I used a new one.
(nb:  4"x4"x8' posts at Lumber Jack were $3.18 less than anywhere else!!)

I also found 2 hand drills,  one was the kind that uses circular motion of the hand to a circular motion of the drill chuck:
 example of a hand drill

the other was more ancient yet and was a gear driven manual drill with a breast or stomach plate allowing one to apply force with the body as well as the left hand while turning the gears with the right hand:
 an example to show what I have termed the breastplate (the red curved plate on the upper left)

The actual tools:

They worked very well, and the repairs were done in 3 hours.

two of the new posts

There is more to do. Much of the planking has to be replaced. Now with high water, the waves thrown by passing freighters knocks some of the old planks off. 
They are old. My father said they were from wood rescued from old Detroit Western High School when it burned back in 1935. I believe it. They could no longer hold paint over the winter, so porous they'd become.

I found myself experiencing an odd feeling as I used my grandfather's tools. I mean, I had done many, many chores around the old pile, but I had never really used these old tools. And now I felt very much knocked out of time a  bit, and sort of wavering in the world between where the everyday-ego put me and where the memory-ego put me.

I was in the realm of the ancestors.
For the first time in my life, I had a glimpse of what power ancestors may indeed have upon the present; not just memories, but feelings that are strong and which remain strong unless we trivialize them with popular psychological nonsense.

I tried to just go with the feeling. This is the exact time when people say things like "I feel at one with my grandpa" or "I am channeling my grandfather" or "I am communing with the past", and then feel all very inspired to some very blurry and undefined end.

I think it is better just to let the feeling or intuition - whatever it is - flow along while you bob up and down on it like a rowboat filled with lazy fishermen sleeping after lunch in Muskamoot Bay... returning home at 5:30 PM smelling of strong drink, and not having the truth in them!

Gandalf stopped by to have a beer and try to get me to go on another adventure. This time I turned him down quite definitely.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Religious Problems

 Ladies In Chechnya

Source: Causcasian Knot

Residents of Chechnya state confusion with celebration of Eid al-Fitr

July 2015, 19:21 

The republic's clergy have failed to timely inform the public about the first day of Eid al-Fitr, said residents of Chechnya. According to their story, they believed the information of the Muftiat that the first day will be July 18, not July 17.

The end of the month of Ramadan was announced only in the evening on July 16; and it created problems for many residents of the republic, local residents assert.

"Our Muftiat has once again 'distinguished' itself. Until the last moment, nobody said about the final day of Ramadan. Initially, all agreed that the first day of Eid al-Fitr will be on July 18; and people were calm, thinking that they still have 24 hours left. But at night on July 16, after the evening namaz (prayer), suddenly they told that Ramadan was over; and the first day of Eid al-Fitr falls on July 17. All people immediately rushed to marketplaces and stores aiming to buy the missing foodstuffs; it was a huge hype," a citizen of the republic named Askhab told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

"The end of the month of Ramadan is defined, same as its start, by the appearance of the 'new' moon in the sky. It happens only late at night. Initially, it was supposed that the first day of Eid al-Fitr will fall on Saturday. But in the evening it became known that the appearance of the new moon was noticed; and Islamic scholars defined July 17 as the first day of the holiday. Therefore, we had such a situation," the spokesman of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims (SAM) of Chechnya explained to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

La Vida Boliviana

When I read the quote below and I try to understand it in an analytic manner, it makes very little sense to me.
However, if I try to understand it silently, using the tacit understanding and empathy of the body and my memory of such silent understandings of the past, then it shines.

Regardless of whether we think it nonsense or genius, there is a great truth here in that there is an unlimited number of therapies for helping people... an infinite number, actually, for a new way of helping will pop into being from the void tomorrow.

At the end, there is a great truth, which I emphasized.

Bolivian Express
Constellating the Unconscious
29 Jun, 2015 | Valeria Wilde
You walk into a room and see a group of people in a circle watching a young lady in the middle moving her right foot back and forth, crying desperately. Next to her is an elderly woman dancing with a big smile, surrounding the lady with wide open arms. Also in the circle is a young man trying to reach the crying woman, but he seems invisible to her. She is too consumed by her tears and begins to shout that she cannot stop dancing ballet as yet another woman tries to comfort her without success.
What would you make of this scene? The common assumption may be that you are watching a cast of actors rehearsing a play. For some conservative observers, however, it would be easy to believe that an evil force has somehow possessed these individuals. The truth is that this is a session of an unorthodox therapy called, Family Constellations.
Bert Hellinger is the founder of this therapy, which is heavily influenced by systemic psychotherapy, psycho-genealogy, and transgenerational psychotherapy. Usually the practice takes place in a room with a large group of people who are standing in a circle. The subject selects individuals from the group to represent members of his or her family system.
In what follows, the spontaneous actions of those selected reveal the inner conflicts that the subject of the therapy is attempting to solve. As the session advances, these actions change and evolve, shedding light on a way to resolve the inner conflicts at hand. Organically, a natural order is eventually reestablished in the family portrayed at the heart of the circle.
“There is a force that overtakes me and does all the work through me. That’s why a phrase or a movement comes to me,” says Rosa Scardino, a Family Constellations therapist currently working in La Paz. This force, which is known as the collective consciousness, is what prompts the actions and behaviour of the people participating in the therapy.


Healing is our duty in this lifetime...


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What Does Likud And Netanyahu Think Of The USA?

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon  (photo by REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

In AL Monitor:
Israeli defense minister says Iran deal will set off nuclear arms race in region
By the afternoon of July 13, Jerusalem had come to terms with the fact that Iran and the superpowers had apparently reached an agreement. As far as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz are concerned, this is the moment of truth. The public debate will heat up intensely over the next few days, culminating in Netanyahu’s anticipated visit to the United States in September to attend the UN General Assembly meeting. He is planning a bitter battle on Capitol Hill as he treks from senator to senator in an immense, unprecedented effort to prevent Congress from approving the agreement and to override the president’s veto with a 67-senator majority.


Al-Monitor:  Why not step out of the box and try to believe that the Iranians can change their spots? Maybe becoming closer to the West through the current agreement could dull some of their sting and make them more like the responsible adult?
Ya’alon:  All anyone has to do is listen to the Iranians themselves. Did you hear [Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei two days ago? That’s the situation, and it’s not about to change. Khamenei admitted that he was forced to enter into these negotiations. He called it “drinking from this cup of poison,” and said that it showed heroic flexibility. He said that he had no choice but to go speak to the Great Satan, Kerry and the United States, but never once did he abandon the path, the revolution or the ideology. Anyone expecting McDonald’s to open a branch in Tehran tomorrow is sadly mistaken...

A McDonald's opening in Teheran...
The summit of our desires as citizens of the USA is a McDonald's opening in Teheran...

To put it into terms that the typical American can understand:  a McDonald's in Teheran.