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Sunday, March 01, 2015

Kyoto Sketches 1



The Cover Folder of the Vrooman Kyoto sketches.

You may read the captions by enlarging the page, using  "Ctrl +"  to make bigger,  "Ctrl -"  to reduce, and "Ctrl 0"  (zero) to return to default size.

--

Je Suis Jean-Paul / Je Suis Donatien Alphonse François

The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the 
Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade



Jean-Paul Marat, actually, and Donatien Alphonse François, better known by his title as the Marquis de Sade.

I actually have been waiting for a de Sadean blockbuster to come along, such as 50 Shades of Grey.
The life and times of our world has often reminded me of a House of Bedlam, such as the Asylum of Charenton, in which the Marquis spent his final days, and was used as the setting of Peter Weiss' play, Marat/Sade.

There has been a small off-Broadway play running within my Dark City-like consciousness for years, in which the cast is people of the 1960s who have gone through the great changes of the past 50 years, and they watch the collapse of civilization about them as they age.
They have gone through the revolutions of the 60s and those since the 60s; they have felt themselves descend from the pinnacle of World War II victory and prosperity into a future that has managed to combine greater political equality with greater economic inequality...

... and they wait as the inmates of Charenton for a de Sade to arrive, so that as a new inmate, he may become involved in staging plays for the inmates, and his mania may give words to their rage against the passage of colorless and tasteless time.

I read de Sade when I was at university, but I did not inhale.

However, I thought I should keep a weather eye out for his boat and the black sails it bears and the knotty cordage made of whips.

And now it is here, in a cornucopeia of forms: a tawdry book, a vacuous film, a series of horrid videos from ISIS.
And we cannot get enough of it.

I have waited so long that I am divided in my sentiments, for part of me takes joy at viewing that which has finally arrived, proving that I am not merely delusional, but perhaps a luckless prophet!
And then there is the part of me that sides with the angels.

Make no mistake! Once we provide ideas and scenarios of playful biting, it does not take long for some people to play Dungeons and Dragons with real fangs, real weapons, and administer real pain. The fact that 50 Shades of Grey is twaddle means nothing, for some brilliantly villainous mind will find the needle in that haystack...

... or more to the point, they will solve the rubik-code of the wooden box, releasing Pinhead and the new ISIS Cenobites.

Pinhead from the movie Hellraiser
(note: the costumes for the film Hellraiser were inspired by gear worn in S&M clubs. The first film was made in the 1980s. There are connections everywhere, nodes, nexuses, and pins linking things...)


Art always precedes life, and then life always delves deeply into that Art, creating newer and newer art within the implicate embrace of the Duality of good and evil. The question is ever: shall the good outweigh the bad?

 Anubis Weighing The Soul


--


To Speech Or Not To Speech 2



Peace!

--

Saturday, February 28, 2015

To Speech Or Not To Speech 1



--

Does The US Government Support Terrorism?

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov confers with Russian 
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Grozny. (RIA Novosti)



Ask Google that very question.

Mr. Putin has an informed opinion. You should have yours, too.

Go to "Search Tools" and click, then go to the time section, which should be headed "Any time" at first, then choose "custom range" and set the time range from January 2001 (before 9/11) to December 31, 2010 (before the Boston Marathon bombing).

Then luxuriate in it all.

1)
http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO409E.html
September, 2004
According to a  letter published on a Chechen website (September 15, 2004), the leader of the main Chechen rebel movement Shamil Basayev has claimed responsibility for the Beslen school siege in Northern Ossetia. While formally acknowledging his role, Basayev blames Russian Forces for triggering the massacre which led to the death of at least 320 hostages, many of them children. (The authenticity of the letter remains to be established.)
The Beslen tragedy has all the finger prints of a carefully led intelligence operation. There is ample evidence that the Chechen rebels are supported by Us intelligence. The Kremlin has accused the pro-US government of Georgia of allowing the Chechen rebels to establish a guerrilla base inside its territory in the Pankisi Gorge area . US special forces are stationed in Georgia, which has military cooperation agreements both with Washington and NATO under GUUAM.  According to the Independent, the Chechen rebels are supplied out of Azerbaijan, which also lies in the orbit of the Anglo-American axis...

A year before the outbreak of the 1995 war, Basayev was sent to Afghanistan and Pakistan together with his trusted lieutenants for  training and indoctrination under the auspices of Pakistan's Interservice Intelligence (ISI).
[In 1994] the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence arranged for Basayev and his trusted lieutenants to undergo intensive Islamic indoctrination and training in guerrilla warfare in the Khost province of Afghanistan at Amir Muawia camp, set up in the early 1980s by the CIA and ISI and run by famous Afghani warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. In July 1994, upon graduating from Amir Muawia, Basayev was transferred to Markaz-i-Dawar camp in Pakistan to undergo training in advanced guerrilla tactics. In Pakistan, Basayev met the highest ranking Pakistani military and intelligence officers: Minister of Defense General Aftab Shahban Mirani, Minister of Interior General Naserullah Babar, and the head of the ISI branch in charge of supporting Islamic causes, General Javed Ashraf, (all now retired). High-level connections soon proved very useful to Basayev. (Levon Sevunts, The Gazette,Who's calling the shots?: Chechen conflict finds Islamic roots in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 23 The Gazette, Montreal, 26 October 1999)
Amply documented, the ISI has acted in close consultation with its US counterpart the CIA. The various training camps used to teach guerilla tactics to the Chechen rebel leaders had first been established under CIA-ISI auspices during the Afghan-Soviet war. In other words, these facilities remained in operation in the wake of the Soviet troop withdrawal in 1989...

2)
 http://www.rense.com/general57/rusbnlt.htm
September, 2004
..."Mr. Putin," continues Le Monde, "reiterated the accusation he had launched in a veiled form against western countries which appear to use double-talk. On the one side, their leaders assure the Russian President of their solidarity in the fight against terrorism. On the other hand, the intelligence services and the military ­ 'who have not abandoned their Cold War prejudices,' in Putin's words -- entertain contacts with those the international press calls the 'rebels.' 'Why are those who emulate Bin Laden called terrorists and the people who kill children, rebels? Where is the logic?' asked Vladimir Putin, and then gave the answer: 'Because certain political circles in the West want to weaken Russia just like the Romans wanted to destroy Carthage.' 'But, continued Putin, "we will not allow this scenario to come to pass.'"...

3)
From The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/sep/08/usa.russia
September, 2004

The Chechens' American friends
John Laughland

An enormous head of steam has built up behind the view that President Putin is somehow the main culprit in the grisly events in North Ossetia. Soundbites and headlines such as "Grief turns to anger", "Harsh words for government", and "Criticism mounting against Putin" have abounded, while TV and radio correspondents in Beslan have been pressed on air to say that the people there blame Moscow as much as the terrorists. There have been numerous editorials encouraging us to understand - to quote the Sunday Times - the "underlying causes" of Chechen terrorism (usually Russian authoritarianism), while the widespread use of the word "rebels" to describe people who shoot children shows a surprising indulgence in the face of extreme brutality.
On closer inspection, it turns out that this so-called "mounting criticism" is in fact being driven by a specific group in the Russian political spectrum - and by its American supporters. The leading Russian critics of Putin's handling of the Beslan crisis are the pro-US politicians Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Ryzhkov - men associated with the extreme neoliberal market reforms which so devastated the Russian economy under the west's beloved Boris Yeltsin - and the Carnegie Endowment's Moscow Centre. Funded by its New York head office, this influential thinktank - which operates in tandem with the military-political Rand Corporation, for instance in producing policy papers on Russia's role in helping the US restructure the "Greater Middle East" - has been quoted repeatedly in recent days blaming Putin for the Chechen atrocities. The centre has also been assiduous over recent months in arguing against Moscow's claims that there is a link between the Chechens and al-Qaida...
(my emphasis on the name "Boris Nemtsov", who was shot to death in Moscow yesterday.)


Do your own analysis. I think I shall try.

The "ifs" accumulate into a vast pile which give us the poisonous situation of today:
December, 2014
The Siberian Times
http://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/n0067-putin-tells-west-siberia-is-russian/
... Asked by Channel One correspondent Anton Vernitskiy whether the rouble turmoil and economic strains was 'a reckoning for Crimea', he replied: 'No, it is not a reckoning for Crimea. 'It is a reckoning, or rather, it is a payment, for our natural desire to preserve ourselves as a nation, as a civilization, as a state.'
When the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union broke up,  Russia 'absolutely opened up to' its Western partners. 'What did we see in return? A direct and full support of terrorism in the North Caucasus.'

Whatever one may think of Mr. Putin, I think he knows that someone in the West with a Cold War mentality has dropped a dime on Russia.

--

Continuous Transportation

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige





--

الرقص...Dance



الرقص خير من الصلاة






http://www.worldbulletin.net/news/154674/china-forces-imams-to-dance-in-street
In China, imams are being forced to dans [sic](read "dance"), at the same time being made to make an oath to keep children away from religion - public servants are forced to brandish the slogan that "our income comes from the CKP not from Allah".

The imams of the mosques in the Xinjiang (East Turkestan) have been forerced to gather in a square dancing en masse. State Chinese news have said that in the name of "civilization" the imams have been forced to dance in the town square. At the same time they were forced to chant out slogans such as 'peace of the country gives peace to the soul". Many of the imams were forcibly given Chinese flags - the same demonstration also included university students.

During the speeches, young people were told to stay away from mosques, and that the prayer was harmful to ones health and instead were encouraged to dance. Female teachers were instructed to teach children to stay away from religious education and made to swear an oath that they will keep children away from religion.

--

Friday, February 27, 2015

50 Shades Of ISIS




Sylvia Plath:

Every woman adores a fascist
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.


Our governments fund civil wars and rebels, some of whom turn against us, and have done so for years and years.

Then our media forces us to sit down to the sadomasochistic videos of ISIS on the evening news, and enforces and re-enforces our masochistic powerlessness...

We have no safe-word to scream...

Yet we do nothing.

We have spent trillions fighting people who have not harmed us, and only spent billions fighting our avowed enemies. We did not support military action against Libya until its dictator has rehabilitated himself. That was his kiss of death: to embrace stability and peace.

If we did not have ISIS, we would have to create it.

In a sense we did create ISIS. Now we ask whether we knowingly created it.
If we did, then our gift of democracy has become a viper.

The Founding Fathers supported democracy around the world, but they did not establish an agency like the CIA which actively funded and sought to de-stabilize countries, and let their societies lapse into chaos.

--


Somebody Thiefed My Anecdote !

Beautiful Belize



Tales from around the Caribbees, stories and tales.
You may like to think of it as the news. No matter.

Jamaica has legalized small amounts of ghanjah.
Alaska did, too, the day before.

I meant to say, tales from around the Bering Sea, too.
No matter.
You know.
This has been the coldest February on record, say, in the eastern part of the States and Canada... very Alaska! Yet it has been the warmest in a long time, too, in the western parts, say, of Alberta. So always a balance.

In Belize, most peoples use the word "Thief" as a noun and a verb, "Some person thiefed my wallet."

I think plagiarism should be called "thief", like "to thief concepts".
But there is already the Creole "idées et fausse-monnaie" where the "et" sets up an equivalence between the ideas (idées) and counterfeit money (fausse-monnaie), and that equality is considered a modification of the one noun by the other.

So there is always a balance. Always a balance, as Dr. Yen Lo always said.



--


Aestheticization Of Politics: The Art Of ISIS



 Walter Benjamin


I think that if you are not familiar with Walter Benjamin's idea of the aestheticization of politics, it would now be a good time to do so.

Briefly, from Wikipedia:
The aestheticization of politics was an idea first coined by Walter Benjamin as being a key ingredient to Fascist regimes. In this theory, life and the affairs of living are conceived of as innately artistic, and related to as such politically. Politics are in turn viewed as artistic, and structured like an art form which reciprocates the artistic conception of life being seen as art.
As art.
Life as art.

But remember Thomas de Quincey's pamphlet On Murder Considered As One Of The Fine Arts; art need not be good, nor joyous, nor salubrious for us.
Art can be the work of Francis  Bacon and full of terror:





Remember our own pre-occupation with  Zombies and Vampires in the cinema. Even though these are aimed to entertain, they are a grisly diseased resurrection myth.
Remember the Shoa.
Remember the bombing of London and of Dresden.
Remember Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima.

What is ISIS but a Snuff Film contorted by rage into an apocalyptic art of the end of time? ISIS may exist in the Islamic society, but it is nothing but the love of death, the eroticization of destruction, the orgasmic involvement in the twilight of the gods.

ISIS videos are staged events. There is no religious rationale, nor is there any Islamic legal reason for them.
The videos, the Tweets, the social networking of death are the Art of Death, and ISIS has taken it to the verge of fine art. Indeed, deaths occur as regularly and as spectacularly as in Game Of Thrones, and we often have trailers and teasers to keep us glued to the tv.


And this Art is that murderous satire of the Sermon on the Mount we once spoke of
 ( http://fatherdaughtertalk.blogspot.com/2015/01/reading-about-france-beatitudes.html ):
... you get Today's World, all wrapped up in a bow and looking as murderously fine as a rendition of Pope Innocent X by the painter Francis Bacon:


We have all been involved in the communal effort of staging the most monumental IMAX of disaster in the history of mankind.

Deny this Art, and let us step back.

Step back from the hate and anger filled airwaves, and cease painting our world canvas distempered by our conflicts.
Resolve those conflicts, the social, the personal, the economic, the physical, and the spiritual.

Do not let the Film of the end of days ever be released upon a definite date of our scheduling.

--

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dark Matter Research






Research suggests dark matter plays a significant role in our planet's mess of "Things Gone Missing"

A new study carried out by Professor Praetorius of New York University suggests that dark matter may have had a part to play in the periodic mass disappearance events that are known to have taken place throughout Earth's history. It takes our planet roughly 250 million years to circle the Milky Way, and around every 30 million years the Sun's orbit takes us through what is known as the galactic disk. The galactic disk is where the majority of the mass in our galaxy resides, and alongside it a thin disk of dark matter.

Dark matter is one of the most enigmatic substances known to mankind, and is thought to make up a significant proportion of the universe. Whilst it cannot be observed directly, the gravitational effects exerted by dark matter have been observed influencing other, more visible celestial objects. The new study draws a link between Earth's crossing of the galactic disk, and the mass disappearance events that periodically occur every 26 - 30 million years.

"We are fortunate enough to live on a planet that is ideal for the development of complex life, but the history of the Earth is punctuated by large scale disappearance events, some of which we struggle to explain," states Praetorius. "It may be that dark matter – the nature of which is still unclear but which makes up around a quarter of the universe – holds the answer. As well as being important on the largest scales, dark matter may have a direct influence on life on Earth."

 
Dr. Praetorius


Praetorius believes that ordinarily benign comets that usually orbit at the very fringes of our solar system in a region of space known as the Oort cloud come into contact with dark matter concentrated in the galactic disk, the influence of which causes their orbits to become perturbed. This interference can allegedly cause comet showers, with some of the resulting disturbed bodies striking the Earth and exploding, thus creating an intense vacuum and inflow of air, causing disappearance events. It is possible that such a meteor shower was responsible for the devastating comet strike that heralded the end of the Cretaceous period some 66 million years ago.

It was about this time that more than 80% of the dinosaurs disappeared !!

This should explain the Judge Crater mystery, the missing airplane mysteries, and the IQs of our elected officials.

--

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Winters Of Our Discontents

Dame Toronto And Her Chiildren



It was -6 Fahrenheit in Toronto yesterday morning at 9:00 AM.

It was a good day to move things out of an apartment and into a SUV, walking through snow and ice. It was a perfect day for it.

We are staying at the Victoria Park Radisson Hotel, which I have taken to calling the "Rat Assassin" Hotel. In my dreams, it is a churlish Mouse King (or Rat King) who rails against the good and handsome Nutcracker, portrayed by The Westin Prince Hotel, which is where we stayed before.

The Prince is just down Victoria Park, to York Mills, then past the Don Valley to Don Mills, and turn right just before Leslie Street.
We go there every morning for breakfast, even though we are not staying there.
The wait staff has adopted a smug, condescending look of pity as we slink in.

When I logged into the Rat Assassin wi-fi network, a weather forecast site cut me off with an image of a grenade, saying that they did not like the cut of my network's jib.
Then at 1:30 AM I received a warning from Yahoo about a security issues on a e-mail account.

I logged off.

Three times in the past 3 years, I have used a credit card on a Canadian gas pump, and my number was hacked almost immediately. I can use the same card in the office of the gas stations, but not at the pump.
On talking to my friends, I discover that this is quite common. Nobody seems to care since they seem to target foreigners and out-of-towners.

I immediately launched into a tirade about Canadian complaisance about their deteriorating image in the world, becoming a nation of scammers and spammers.
They laughed.
They laughed that sweet, sweet dolce far niente laugh that Canadians laugh when comparing themselves to those rascals from the USA, as if snow and ice gave virtue and honor.

In yesterday's Post, there was an article that said that fully 25% of Canadians in a recent poll did not know that the first PM was Sir John A. McDonald.
I laughed aloud, remembering how thoroughly Canadians of my generation used to lecture us about our lack of knowledge about US History. This was an indication of the superiority of the Canadian education back then: Canadian students not only knew Canadian History, they knew more US History than we schlubs from the States!

Not so, not so anymore.
Toronto the Good has become a jaded, Hogarthian hag.

--

The Fly In The E-mail Fly Bottle 2

 Ford Hermann Hueffer, alias Ford P. Ford


I suppose if we have a set defined as follows:

S= The set of all statements, definitions, and sentences containing the words "black muslim"

then S is a subset of itself, and we may lead right into Russell's paradox.


All of which reminds me of my favorite novelist, Ford Paradox Ford.

--

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Islamic Art

You have no doubt heard it said that Islamic Art is mostly geometric, comprising arabesques and curves and other linear forms.
Furthermore, you have heard it said that it eschews the representation of the human form, and in this it probably is the modern day hero of the very ancient Middle Eastern bias against such representationalism, going all the way back to the Eastern Roman emperor Leo the Syrian - the iconclast - and beyond him to Moses and his prohibition against idols.


Here is geometric:






which I believe to be on a minbar, or pulpit of a mosque in Doha, Qatar whose name I forget.




Here is some geometric with calligraphy:





where the interior is geometric, the next band is calligraphic, and the outer bands are floral and geometric.


Calligraphy may be used to suggest things:



and the letters resemble the geometry of a building, perhaps a domed mosque.



However, notice how the letters are more suited to organic things, the curves and the flow:





The two large letters colored blue and orange are wa, which corresponds to the English letter "u" .
It reminds me of a mother, since the word for mother begins with "u" - 'umma - and I see a mother facing left with her arm extended, perhaps meant to indicate she is holding a baby.
The closed curve at the top is looking down at the baby in her arms.
It reminds me of the Grieving Mother of Kaita:



seen from the side:




Here the letters can be seen as people, in this case, the population of Istanbul:

Mihaela Alpayer / Istanbul Scene 2, 2013, miniature, 20x10 cm / Photo © Islamic Arts Magazine



and this eventuates in popular representations of animals:



 and other objects:



 which is also a good example of why calligraphy can be difficult; I assume the upper deck of the ship spells out "Muhammad" and the sail (from bottom to top) spells out "rasuul" and "Allah". In this example, the middle double "m" of the name "Muhammad" has disappeared, at least I do not see an "m" nor a shadda doubling it.



"I see letters as being alive, they have such a variety of shapes, they represent the human condition – they can breathe, be happy, sad, dance and express themselves. They have their own destiny." (Khaled Al Saai)
http://islamicartsmagazine.com/magazine/view/balance_between_the_form_of_the_letters_and_an_aesthetic_harmony/

--

Continuous Transportation

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige






This is for the Canadian Association of Railway Modellers, and we decided that they, too, should be included given their virtual reality of transportation systems.

--
links:

http://www.caorm.org/index.php

http://winnipegmodelrailroadclub.blogspot.com/

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Charlton Ogburn, Jr.




Charlton Ogburn, Jr. writing of his army life in World War II:
We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganised. Presumably the plans for our employment were being changed.
I was to learn later in life that, perhaps because we are so good at organising, we tend as a nation to meet any new situation by reorganising; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.

Constant reorganization in  this sense seems to be akin to the state of constant war, which state serves to demoralize the population, while promoting the illusion of progress in our wars.

We constantly destabilize the world in order that we may set about constantly to reorganize it.
The baling wire-foreign policy we have used to hold things together is falling apart.

--

The Playing Fields Of Terrorism



I remember the time when NATO attacked Ghaddafi, and I wondered why now? Why attack the man now when he had obviously made serious commitments to join the peaceful community of nations?

Why?
Did we imagine ourselves the agents of karma? Surely not, for it is impossible that we believe in karma. 

And now the country of Libya is in shambles, part of it controlled by the Islamic Caliphate and Al Qa'ida.

Our entire foreign policy after 9/11 has been to destroy stability in the Middle East, regardless whether that stability be democratic or autocratic. Our policy has been to spend trillions fighting people who are not Al Qa'ida, while only spending billions fighting Al Qa'ida, with the result that we have provided a prep school and playing fields for terrorism...  Iraq, Syria, Libya.

The War Against Terrorism will be won upon the Playing Fields of our misguided policies.


 Soccer Field In Gaza In Need Of Repair

--

Rudy's Corner


A True Conservative Piece o' My Mind

America's Mayor Weighs in on Weighty Issues of the Day.
If you can't stand the heat, best stay away from the kitchen of true conservatism!



*************************************************
What's up with Spiriva?

I mean, I hate to say this but I don't even know who or what it is, but it spends a lot of time on television throwing mud and tarnishing the reputation of municipalities finest police officers! The very people who are protecting us!
They are stealing the fine Republican elephant and turning it into a left wing radical commie icon whose message is breathing difficulty...


which they insidiously refer to in Commie-Speak as  "COPD" !!!

COPD!
Get it!?  COP! D! Like  D for death... death to all cops!!!!!

Then they recruit urban youth with pictures of a Spiriva gangsta with some sort of Ninja ball of death:




--

Friday, February 20, 2015

American Sniper

Nonsense of Unknown Provenance....
Other than Fox News....
Whatever.


I missed the film American Sniper, which I pronounce like "SNYYY-PERRR".

But see it I shall, for it is so 21st century, which is the ante-room to Starship Troopers without the big bugs.

My missing the film the first time around was all for the best, however.
If I had gone to the film, someone would have punched me, because I would have been sitting on the edge of my seat in the scene where the mother gives the bomb to her young son, and Chris Kyle agonizes over he should blow them to kingdom come, and I would have been saying "Snipe! Snipe!.... Snipe, snipers!"


There actually is a good reason for this as follows:

There was a The Big Bang Theory episode in which Leonard purchases on eBay a Time Machine from the film The Time Machine, assuming it is a small scale model.
He bid $800 and as the time of the auction runs down, he is awaiting those buyers who "sit in the bushes" and wait until the last seconds, at which time they spring their bids into the fray. These buyers are called snipers.



Leonard, realizing he cannot afford $800 for a Time Machine model, becomes nervous as the time runs out and his $800 bid is not out-bid.

He begins to plead for the snipers to out-bid him and save him from his fiscal folly.

"Snipe! Come on snipers! Snipe! Snipe!... Sniiii-pe!  Ahhhh!"


--

Guiliani



You know you're Mr. Giuliani when...






yer old lady has a forehead tattoo !




--

Finally! A Panda We Can Bring Home!



The Cincinnati Zoo red pandas are all over the news and Youtube. People can't seem to get enough of them running, jumping, rolling through the snow.

Even I look at the videos.
That is rather unusual. I do not usually have the patience for videos to wind through their interminable cuteness. I usually do not make it through the introductory 20 second advertisement. I hit the (x) in the upper right, and that is that.

Well, the red pandas -or lesser pandas - are so much more interesting than those lazy lummoxes, the black and white Giant Pandas that we have been sold a bill of goods on.

I remember standing around the National Zoo in D.C. as the crowd was buzzing with anticipation whether the Giant Pandas, Mei Tsiang and Tian Tian,  would deign to give us a glimpse of them. Those zoo goers who were more into panda lore held forth on the time table and schedule of Mei Tsiang and Tian Tian, how reclusive they were, how private they were, and how they hatred the paparazzi... which I guessed was supposeds to mean "us", so I slipped my camera unobtrusively into my pocket.

If they did come out, there was a chorus of "oohs" and "ahhs" as the two slow and poky bears chewed on a bamboo shoot or wandered aimlessly in circles.

Far be it from Mei Tsiang and Tian Tian to run, jump, and roust-about. Always in black-and-white, dressed to the nines, and sitting about the Drones Club, now and then lumbering over to the billiard room to chew on a cue.

If I were Broadway Danny Rose, I'd drop them stuffed shirt pandas like a hot potato, and sign up them red pandas, and after a summer in the Poconos, book 'em into the Orpheum circuit. I can see Variety now:


 Peppy Pandas Break Broadway Box Office !

--

Eating Cheetos




I am eating morning Cheetos and watching the film In Cold Blood.

I felt sure that Perry and what's-his-name must have eaten Cheetos for breakfast at times. I felt a nostalgia for the old days when a slaughter was big, big news.

Nowadays, a gunman has to shoot up an entire elementary school to raise eyebrows.

--

The Fly In The E-Mail Fly Bottle




I was lucky enough to get an email from Powderfinger  the other day, and like a miracle of winter, it was a conundrum that assaulted me with its puzzling powers.


In the coming days, DO NOT open  any message  regardless of who sent it to you with  an attachment called:
 
BLACK MUSLIM IN THE WHITE HOUSE.
It is a virus that opens an Olympics torch that burns the whole hard disk of your computer.
 
Directions: You should send this message to all  of your contacts.
It is better to receive this e-mail  2 dozen times than to receive the virus and open it.
 
If you receive a message called BLACK MUSLIM  IN THE WHITE  HOUSE even if sent by a friend, do not open  and shut down your machine immediately.

I told him how jealous I was that in the midst of winter I stumble across a quasi-Bertrand-Russell-type paradox. I mean, sort of like "the set of all sets which are subsets of themselves" and what have you.

I mean, isn't this a superlatively enigmatically Wittgensteinian trek leading the fly from the 4-dimensional Klein bottle of paradox?

Of course, I read it as:

Do NOT open any message with the phrase
BLACK MUSLIM IN THE WHITE HOUSE
in it.

and that is a bit diff from an attachment, but it was great: an email containing "black muslim in white house" warning me not under any circumstances to read an email with the phrase "black muslim in the white house" in it!

It was like "This sentence is false."
If the sentence is false, it's true, and if it's true, it's false.

Similarly, if I heed the warning in the email, then I cannot heed the warning in the email....
I have already read it!

Wonderful. Not quite Russell's paradox, not worthy of Whitehead's study, but a gem none the less.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Solaris?



Solaris? Alphaville?
Some nightmare of Norman Bel Geddes?

No. Punggol Station Loop in Singapore where my Guma Cha lives. (My "Aunt" Cha)

(Note: there is a pun somewhere in here.)

--

One Touch Of Nature



"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin..."
Troilus and Cressida,
Shakespeare

Picture from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
synopsis of Troilus and Cressida
The war has lasted seven drawn-out years. Few illusions remain about the glory of armed conflict—or anything else for that matter, including love. This staging was imaged as in the contemporary Middle East.


So, now a man seeks to build a large winery in Napa County according to the

Anderson Valley Advertiser
Sebastopol v. Winery

by Shepherd Bliss, February 11, 2015
... The applicant, 32-year-old Napa County winemaker Joe Wagner, briefly introduced his winery, which would reportedly be the 15th largest in Sonoma County. His family has grapes or wineries in four counties. He asserted that this site was selected because of “its great potential on a heavy thorough-fare.”
“We are not considering being organic,” he admitted, revealing that he uses conventional chemicals, which would damage this unique environment. Wagner acknowledged that it would “increase truck traffic and emissions.” He suggested, “This would be a better use of the property.” He also agreed that he had submitted “incomplete studies.”
 "All he did was throw buzz words out there that he thought would work,” commented grape grower Bill Shortridge. “There were no details. No answers. He brought nothing to the table, which leads me to believe everything we are worried about would occur." ...
Not to mention the water requirements and the Drought.

Then, in Ancient Egypt,
Al-Ahram Weekly
Animals in ancient Egypt

Far from superstitiously worshipping animals, the ancient Egyptians had perhaps 
surprisingly sophisticated attitudes to the natural world, writes David Tresilian
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/News/10397/23/Animals-in-ancient-Egypt.aspx
... But it seems that animals were rarely worshipped in themselves, being seen either as manifestations of qualities of the gods with which they were associated, or used as votive offerings particularly in the Late Period. An important exception to this rule was the cult of Apis at Memphis, however, a sacred bull thought to incarnate the god Ptah and worshipped during its lifetime...


Qualities of the gods made clear and open, an epiphany of showing-forth.

If God made the world, was not this creation a making manifest of some love of God towards Adam?
If the Earth be not properly husbanded and taken care of, do we not scorn that manifestation?

It is our duty to exercise proper husbandry, not to exploit.

Exploitation implies clearly a hierarchical structure where the lesser beings benefit the greater, and those benefits do not flow both ways. If the same benefits were mutual, the ladder of hierarchy would disappear, for there would be no lesser rungs of humanity to stand up on.

What of Fracking?
Does it not take the Earth as a manifestation of God's concern for our welfare and effectively spray over it with crude graffiti?
Does this not treat the Earth as one of the lower rungs in the ladder of hierarchy? Earth is there for the exploitation and benefit of the higher ups.

Referring again to Ancient Egypt:
Perhaps the ancient Egyptians did not see this system in hierarchical terms, since a god could be manifested just as readily in a scarab beetle or a frog as in a cat, a wild dog, or a baboon.
Perhaps man is in the image of God, and so are the animals and lands he husbands. What shall he exploit when the face of the divine is everywhere?

And the last question is why is there such great hatred of the manifestation of the divine within the material world?
Islamic fundamentalists hate people praying at the tomb of the Prophet. Developers hate anyone seeing the face of divinity within the strata of the Earth which they wish to tear up, breach, frack, or violate.

The simple faith of common people who see the hand of God everywhere is much despised, which is the source of much woe today. God is hidden in dogmatic learning, and manifestations are mocked.

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Toronto Skyline




As we drove home last week, I observed that I had grown weary of the Toronto skyline. Of course, I could have been biased; a week of drudgery and a funeral tends to bias one.

However, I looked around and could not force the tiniest dopamine of cheerful beauty into my perception: Toronto's buildings were anything but charming.

In the picture above, it is illustrated in the most picturesque of seasons, the autumn. Yet the only thing of beauty is the river, the plain, the hills, the trees.
The buildings are hard and useless excrescences which usurp the land and close the commons of the open spaces.

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The End Of Trip 3




We returned from Toronto Trip 3 Tuesday evening last. The good sister had died and the funeral had been done, and we had reached the limits of what we could reasonably do without breaking off and coming home to rest.

We had wished to get home earlier, but we had accompanied our niece to her meeting with her mother's lawyer, and we found there was paperwork yet to plow through, so we did not leave Toronto until 3:00 PM just ahead of the rush hour...

We drive the 401 (Highway 401) to the 402 to the Blue Water Bridge and continue down I-94 to M-59...

I have been running about on the 401 since I entered University in Canada. Since then, the 401 has become a rosary of municipal traffic jams interspersed by sections of posted 100 kph usually buzzed through at 118 kph.
Toronto's part of the 401 has always been busy, but now once you leave the Toronto Crush, there is the briefest of respites until you fall into the Mississauga Maelstrom, followed by the Milton Mess, and topped off by the Kitchener Klatsch, meaning a Traffic Klatsch - which is a imaginative modification of "Verkehrstockung"... or, traffic jam to my mind.
I think of these slow downs as a meeting of like-minded individuals who get together into their steel mobile automatons and share their love of gazing at still-life pavement underfoot.

Trip 1 was back in December, when we got together to make funeral plans. Trip 2 was early January when she entered palliative care at Sunnybrook - a cruel play on words if there ever was one.
Trips 3 was the funeral, and Trip 4 will be closing up the house.

It is amazing how many things I did I thought I'd never do again. This amazement is much noticed these days as people become dependent upon your assistance.

My sister-in-law had so many personal papers and letters that we could not fit them into our car for the journey home, so we asked one of her friends to put them in temporary storage at their place. They live about an hour's drive north of TO, so we met them about half way one day at the Bass Store in the Vaughan Mills mall in Vaughan...

... there was a light icy rain, and it was cold -

(it was much colder in Toronto than it was back in Michigan, and it snowed every day, so much so that since side streets were sketchy to begin with and afforded little chances for parking at the various houses and places we were going to, the additional snow rendered the streets inimical to parking, and it became sort of Goya's version of "Parking During The Peninsular War".

Not to mention that my niece's wheelchair had to be packed up and unpacked every stop, and her chair was heavier and sturdier than my elder brother's wheelchair from last year, and my brother must have weighed 250 lbs. easy... I never really asked him how much he weighed, because I could never quite say it without making it sound like "How much do you WAYYYY-ay?!?!" )

- and it was one of those winter drives into the wind during which the windshield wipers grumble like unpleasant camels, who do not wish to be goaded into action, and every 3 minutes or so, you watch as the accumulation of ice on the far left side of the driver's side of the windshield creeps ever so slowly - but majestically! with all the imperium of a relentless glacial age! -  towards the right: the area where the blasting hot air has managed to maintain an upper hand for the time being.

So you crank up the heat and strip off your coat and try to keep the windshield ice-free.



I haven't had to do this since I retired. Simply put, if it is raining ice and the wind is blowing, I do not go out for a drive now.
Even when my parents were 60 miles away.
They lived less than a mile from the main hospital, and if there were an emergency and the weather were inclement, I told them that I bet the local EMS would get to them before I could.

It took some repetition for them to believe this.

We spent a bit of time in Vaughan Mills, and the ice had become medium snow. That combined with the fact that the wind would be behind us on the trip back made the return trek less Donner-Party-like than the trip out.

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