Friday, February 29, 2008

A site and podcast for ya'll & youse guys, "Reasonable Doubts- Your skeptical guide to religion"

The blog/site is and I highly commend it.

I came across this on a great site to which I go often, It has a collection of all sorts of media (print, video, audio, photographic) which is freely available and freely usable, usually under the "creative commons license." Were I to go into the details and history of the "open source software / shared knowledge" movement, I'd put the makers of sominex out of business and crash PaN's page stats, but suffice to say, if you're a free thinking libertarian, classical Jeffersonian Liberal type, you ought to know about this, and you will love it. The most famous outgrowth of this is the operating system LINUX, which totally blows Windows away in security, functionality, quality of code, etc.

This is Episode 4 on the separation of church & state (maybe this'll explain us yanks to ya Val... or maybe you should just drink a black and tan and give up, *grin*) which is described thusly by the authors/bloggers:

Join us for a discussion with Eddie Tabash current chair of the national legal committee of Americans United for separation of Church and State as well as the Council for Secular Humanism's First Amendment Task Force. In addition to his better known role as an official campaign speaker and debater for numerous presidential candidates (including Bill Clinton & Jimmy Carter) Tabash is also a professional counter-apologist having debated such world famous Christian philosophers as: Peter van Inwagen, Greg Bahnsen, William Lane Craig and Richard Swinburne on the existence of God. In an extended interview, Tabash discusses a wide-range of topics: from disarming the arguments of Christian philosophers to the "unholy alliance" between the religious right and the postmodern academic left. The show concludes with a disturbing glimpse at the difference just one Supreme Court justice could make for American secularists...and the very real possibility that we may be on the verge of a theocratic America.

Click the play button below to listen, or go to the blog page for this episode.

Interestingly they talk of Barna's research... when I was of the Borg, Barna was the great oracle.

The hagiographic hooplah around Obama & Hillary's brilliant ad- I'd almost think about voting for her after viewing it!

One of the Obama videos I posted last night, the one I said gave me lactose intolerance problems, has had embedding disabled. I said of it

Not sure what to make of this video, other than that being lactose intolerant something this cheesy is putting my intestinal health in grave danger, not to mention my sanity... but maybe that's the point, to be as over the top as my slideshow. I see it uses the same silly picture of him with the Superman statue as I did, so...

It was embeddable last night, but now isn't, so if you want to watch it, you have to click here. The same user has posted several other videos which seem more to be VERY hagiographic.
Here's a more blatant one... I wonder how long before it gets yanked.

I just don't get the "cult of Obama." Aside from Jesus Christ and my wife, the only thing I've come close to having that sort of reverence for or worship of was the 21 year old cheddar I found in Tomah Wisconsin years ago. People is people, for feck's sake.

  • We all drop stinky loads after mawing down a bag of our favorite junk food
  • We all think of adding a level of hell to Dante's 7 when someone with 20 items in their carts gets in front of us in the 12 items or less isle.
  • We've all followed the crowd and enjoyed or participated in something we've later come to rue and regret. (In my case, it was string ties in the 80s, and the Bee Gees in the 70s.)

Would Mother Teresa or Albert Schweitzer or get the same level of adulation, the same exemption from any criticism or critique?! I doubt it! As I found on JibJab, one might as well advocate the clubbing of baby seals or the torture of kittens as critique him.

To paraphrase my favorite booze commercial- a mind is a like a parachute, it only works when when open. This is a presidential primary for pity's sake, not the Immaculate Election!

The brilliant Hillary Clinton Ad

Of course, my reaction to this was the same as every other commentator with a few active brain cells- that it takes after Johnson's [in]famous "Daisy Ad"

Now, I can't claim I remember this commercial- I heard about it on cable TV, but its striking how similar the ads are... and for good reason, the same guy produced them both!

Heaven knows, I'm no fan of either Clinton, but I have defended Senator Clinton when she was attacked unfairly because she has 2 "x" chromosomes, and I've got to give her credit for laying out the issue so well here, even if it is a reprise of an older spot.

Initially I was proud of America for being open to Obama's candidacy, and was pleased he was appealing to the "higher angels" in us. But two things have soured me on him.

1) The more he speaks, the less he says. If brevity is the soul of wit... the inverse is holding true with him. His campaign is like a pep rally with no game following... a warm up without an act!

2) The fanaticism of his fans, and the way they treat naysayers. I'd already noticed this and been quite off put by it before I started getting feces for it. No one should be worshiped, adored, and exempted from critical scrutiny... much less someone running to be the modern day equivalent of Caesar Augustus!

FREAKY FRIDAYS - With "Kelly" Continues . . .

"Text Message Break Up."

Starring Liam Kyle Sullivan as Kelly, Chris, Dad, and "Mother Grandma." Notice the lovely photos of Mel Gibson, Bush and Cheney that they have on their dining room walls. And note the famous comedienne who makes a cameo appearance.

...and they shall nominate a nitwit to lead them!

Brock Olivo, a former MU football star, enters the race for the U.S. Ninth District at the Gasconade County Lincoln Day in Hermann, Missouri. Is it any wonder America's as screwed up as it is, when we elect actors, failed businessmen, cat killers and now dumb-as-bag-o'-hammers athletes to run for our country's most important jobs? Christ on a pogo-stick, save us!


SnarkAngel, JoJo has misplaced your email address, so I can't get it either!

The person asking for the dvds has left a message on the post on my blog, with her email address. It was on her blog, but when I tried it last night it didn't work. I've tried a test today and it seemed OK. It's

Thanks for helping out.

A Nod to Dipshit America...AKA, the 'Masses of Asses.'

Thursday, February 28, 2008

On loquacity and Saint Barack

Click for full sized image

Watch out, I'm a very sauer Kraut. People at JibJab are thumbs-downing my slide show, and one even took offense. Watch out, expect hell to be freezing over, but Hillary Clinton was right again when she said...

As for public speaking... I do know a bit about this, it being a major part of my former career. One time, when I went on a bit too long, I was lovingly chided by a member whom I'd noticed had dozed off. He advised me to put a lozenge in my mouth- when it was done, so was my sermon.

Here's a few apt tidbits on the matter from

Before I speak, I have something important to say.
- Groucho Marx

"As an apple of gold in silver carvings is a word spoken at the right time for it." - Proverbs 25:11

The Lord's Prayer contains 56 words
The Gettysburg Address contains 272 words
The Ten Commandments contains 297 words
The USA Declaration of Independence contains 300 words
A bag of Lay's Potato Chips contains 401 words
The IRS Form 1040EZ contains 418 words
Average USA-Today cover story contains 1,200 words
A recent federal publication on setting the price of cabbage contains 26,911 words

One other relevant matter. I say this informatively, not defensively. It is axiomatic that the longer the speech, post, etc., the less time which went into it.

Likewise, a short story or novella is much more difficult to write than a full length novel. Reading War and Peace or any of the Victorian era serial-novels is like climbing Mt. Everest but for those of us who run at the mouth, writing that much is like breathing- it would take great effort and concentration to do less of it!

You'll know I REALLY have too much time on my hands when my posts get shorter but more pointed, with multiple layers of meaning, as my sermons and Bible studies once did when I got paid to shoot my mouth off, and was doing it "in the stead and by the command of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

For my 12-20 minute sermons, I put sometimes close to an hour per minute into them. For these posts... well, I type at over 100 words a minute, and the only time I don't have anything to say is when I'm under anesthesia, so you do the math! Count the words, divide by 100, add in a few minutes for finding a screwy picture on Wiki or video on Youtube, and... you do the math.

More German Craziness from Fawlty Towers for "Just Catie"

JC- Note the moose at the end!

FOR "JUST CATIE" . . . A Video Of Her Former Roommate

. . . talking about The Dubya . . .

Tag, You're It!

From Ballon Juice:

Quick, look around and grab the closest book to where you’re sitting. No scooting closer to that unopened copy of Whitehead’s Function of Reason, cheaterm just grab what’s nearby right now. Willing to say what it is?

Tom Levenson just tagged me with the “123” meme so it looks like I have no choice. Here is my mission, should I choose to accept it:

look up page 123 in the nearest book
look for the fifth sentence
then post the three sentences that follow that fifth sentence on page 123.

I get:

Bode well (or ill) show good (or bad) signs for the future. Boding n. (OE bodian f. Boda messinger)
Bodega n. a cellar or shop selling wine and food, esp. in a Spanish-speaking country. (Sp. F. L apotheca f, Gk apotheka storehouse)
Bodge var. of BOTCH.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday Weekly Weill

Moritat - Mack the Knife:

A vunderbah bday to boot!

I promised the boys a drunk post..........this is it

I wish I knew how to post a youtube judy tenuta video, but I don't

I had a wonderful bday........THANK YOU to all who came........rug goth, great gift, snark, thanks for the pizza and gunga.........thank you for just being you

Pictures from Just Catie's birthday party at Gino's


Thumbnails- click for full sized

No text this time

Except... those of you who were there and heard me talk about Tess and her migraines, William F. Buckley Jr., etc- ... you know now why I use fonts and colors... I use those to try to convey the same complex intonation and other verbal gymnastics I use when speaking... to give my written text the same "color" and intensity I have when speaking *grin*

Happy Birthday Catie,
it was great to meet you
fun to be with the others!

Anyone remember these TV Shows?

Lloyd Haynes was so good looking!

WFBjr RIP- Sometimes the good don't die young, they scrabble it out for 82 years

Outside of my family, William F. Buckley Jr. is doubtless the most influential man in my life. I grew up reading his National Review, which accounted for my high school nickname of "Dictionary breath." Somewhere we have a picture of me as a bright blond haired 2nd grader reading The National Review.

It is such the pity that he has no more heirs now than he did peers then. With this brilliant mind and incisive wit he opened the door for conservatives or "classic liberals" to be influential in media and culture, but the ones who have come after him have not tended to be nearly so civil, thoughtful, or cultured as was he.

Its almost as if a philosopher king had beaten down the gates to a walled city, only to have it over run by thugs who entered through the breach he created. Such is the lay of the land on the right today.

Video: On Legalizing Drugs, 1996

Video- debating Chomsky

Part II of the debate is at

Here's a selection of his obit from his hometown paper, the Boston Globe

By Mark Feeney, Globe Staff

William F. Buckley Jr., who as author, journalist, and polysyllabic television personality did more to popularize conservatism in post-New Deal America than anyone other than Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan, died early today at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 82 and had been ill with emphysema, said his assistant, Linda Bridges.

Mr. Buckley’s political importance has long been acknowledged across the political spectrum. Pat Buchanan, the three-time presidential candidate, once called him “the spiritual father of the movement,” while the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. called Mr. Buckley “the scourge of American liberalism.” Although Schlesinger, very much a man of the left, did not mean it as a compliment, Mr. Buckley cheerily took it as such.

Good cheer was a key element in Mr. Buckley’s success. Not only did it sustain him during the ’50s and ’60s, when his brand of conservatism claimed few adherents. It also helped earn him an audience — and grudging acceptance — among the liberal elite. Indeed, Schlesinger became a friend of Mr. Buckley’s, as did such other eminent liberals as the activist Allard Lowenstein, the columnist Murray Kempton, and the Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith.

Mr. Buckley’s personal charm was one of several sources from which he derived so large an influence. He was also the author of more than 40 books. Although many were not about politics, all his early ones were, and they tended to attract wide attention.

In 1955, Mr. Buckley founded National Review, which he edited for the next 35 years. “It was a pretty sclerotic situation [on the right] when National Review started out,” he recalled in a 2001 Globe interview. “Our launch reflected a pent-up appetite.”

The columnist George F. Will (the magazine’s onetime Washington editor) said at a 25th anniversary celebration, “Before Ronald Reagan, there was Barry Goldwater, and before Barry Goldwater there was National Review, and before there was National Review, there was Bill Buckley, with a spark in his mind.” That spark, Will noted, eventually became “a conflagration.” One sign of that conflagration was circulation: The magazine is America’s most widely read political journal.

National Review also turned into a great incubator of young writers, courtesy of Mr. Buckley’s keen eye for talent. Among those who worked for the magazine early in their career were Will, Garry Wills, Joan Didion, John Leonard, Richard Brookhiser, and David Brooks.

The success of National Review led to Mr. Buckley’s being offered a syndicated newspaper column in 1962. At its height, the twice-weekly column ran in more than 300 papers.
Four years later, he debuted as host of a television debate program, “Firing Line.” It ran for 33 years and brought him an audience greater than that for his books, magazine, and column combined.

It also made Mr. Buckley a celebrity, which may have been the most important contributor to his influence. Looking at their television screens, viewers didn’t see a conservative in the mold of a Robert Taft or Calvin Coolidge — someone pinched, drab, reserved. Instead, Mr. Buckley was dashing, witty, almost preposterously energetic.

“On TV Buckley is a star,” wrote the journalist Theodore White. “His haughty face, its puckering and hesitation as he lets loose a shaft of wit, would have made him Oscar Wilde’s favorite candidate for anything.”



Birthday Guy

And be careful about opening presents that come in the mail!

Oh those crazy Germans!

This is a commercial for canned German coffee. At the end, it says "You were never so awake!"

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How About Some Lena Horne for Breakfast

At Tiffanys, that is. "Moon River", Circa 1965.

A bit of fun- WTF is this? / guerrilla environmentalism

When I've not been studying for class or injecting medicines into Tess' major muscle masses / holding her as she flails in pain, I've been busily saving the environment one t-shirt or ratty pair of jeans at a time. Its amazing how much clothing people throw out, and I'm only getting a small part of it (I've met my fellow guerrilla environmentalists... sometimes we work together to divvy up the diggings) from a couple of blocks radius.

I came across this today. Lets have some fun... see if
1) You can identify it
2) You can make up a good story for it if you can't.

(I do know what it is based on surrounding "archaeological evidence.")

Next, I also came across the shoe below. (I didn't go digging for its soul-mate... ooh, ow... sorry... just too easy... ) because the location wasn't one I'd venture into without a hazmat suit... this was sitting on top of a lid.

Anyone want to make a wager as to whether I'll figure out how to use it in a rug?

I will you know... both of them!

Fantastic Planet: 1973

Anyone remember this film? Admittedly, I didn't see it until I was in college in 1987, but I've always enjoyed it since. I especially get a kick out of the 'wildlife', particluarly the sadistic plant/animal creature in its own cage that gets its jollies by killing little birdlike things that land in its branches.

I So Hate My Job Today

Will anyone be out and about tonight?

Monday, February 25, 2008


Out cop's deathbed story wins an Oscar . . .

Generally speaking, I don't have an undue amount of admiration or respect for "The Hollywood Elite." They seem programmed to pat themselves on the back every chance they get, and America's idol-worship of these people can become tiresome. Still, every so often, Hollywood, along with the independent film community, goes a little beyond the glitz and the glamour and actually produces, promotes, and even honors filmmaking that encompasses so much more than the "big bucks" factor.

I don't know how many of you watched the Academy Awards last night, but there were a couple of historic moments . . . at least for the gay and lesbian community. They were moments that both surprised me . . . and moved me. This was one of them, as reported by PlanetOut:

Cynthia Wade won an Oscar on Sunday for her short documentary, "Freeheld," about the 2006 struggle of New Jersey police Lt. Laurel Hester's struggle to transfer her pension to her domestic partner during the final months of her life.

Hester, who worked as a detective on the force for 25 years before battling cancer, took on the locally elected Ocean County Freeholders to give the financial security of her pension to her partner, Stacie Andree, a right automatically afforded to heterosexual married couples.

The film is a look at the LGBT community's effort to face down bigotry interwoven with the touching journey of a couple coming to terms with the end of their time together.

"It was Lt. Laurel Hester's dying wish that her fight against discrimination would make a difference for all the same-sex couples across the country that face discrimination every single day -- discrimination that I don't face as a married a woman," Wade, who directed the film, said during her acceptance speech.

She also thanked her husband for taking care of their children and holding down a full-time job while she worked on the film.

Producer Vanessa Roth added, "And to all our supporters and our families who believed that even a 38-minute movie could change minds and lives, and to our children, who remind what's really important. And to Stacie, who's here tonight, who's really auto mechanic by day but hero in life and always did what was right."

"Freeheld" has been awarded the Special Jury Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and the Audience Awards at Outfest, Newfest and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. (The Advocate)

It was the honest emotion embedded in both Wade's and Roth's acceptance speeches, which spoke volumes of truth as great as those of the film itself. Note that American service men and women in Iraq announced the nominees and winner for Best Documentary: Short Subject. Also note another bit of irony: it was Tom Hanks, who portrayed a gay man dying of Aids in the unforgettable film "Philadelphia," who presented the Oscars to Wade and Roth.

This is how far we've come, people. In 1991, when my partner passed away, it did not even OCCUR to me that, for every spousal intent and purpose other than what the law provided, I was entitled to any spousal benefits. Even my own perceptions of self and relationships, as a gay man, were distorted by subconscious acceptance of society's intolerance. That was 17 years passed, approaching a generation ago. So we have made some progress, folks, but the even greater truth is: we still have an even longer road ahead of us . . .

Church & state, Islam, feminism, und so weiter

Boston Betty said in response to one of my earlier posts...

don't have a problem with Islam--per say--because I don't live with it...thank Christ on a pogo stick! I resent it coming to places like England, Germany, Holland and even the United States and then its adherents complaining about us not being readily embracing of it. Likewise, I object to Christians going to developing countries and saying, "We'll build this well for you and give you a bowl of rice if you accept Jesus as your Personal Savior," too! Europe's just getting over its infection of Christianity (something we have yet to do here) so I'm a little less tolerant of people running away from their own countries where this shit is embraced like morning cereal and then complaining its not received with open arms by countries where women are allowed to drive, show their legs and actually date and marry outside of arranged deals. Sorry, Rug, but until Weesterners start flocking to Saudi Arabia and demand to be served alcoholic beverages in cafes, while men kiss women in the streets and start establishing churches of their choice freely, then I'm not embracing of Islam. Infact, I think all this religious hogwash needs to be tossed out of everyday life. Keep your churches, your synagogues, your mosques, your temples, etc. etc., etc., out of public life. I think it's time religion be treated as a pastime and not a way of life...for the betterment of us all and the survival of our planet!

Emphasis added by yours truly.

First off... there's a HUGE difference between embracing something and respecting it and being tolerant of it.

What someone else does of their own free will is none of my or anyone else's place to approve or disapprove of.

Yes, with women in certain Islamic countries, this raises the problem that they really don't have the opportunity to give consent any more than a rape victim does. This troubles me deeply, and I don't know what the answer is, but I know for certain it won't be coming from us!

We put on a good show, but we still get our knickers in a knot when a woman acts too "manly" (see Hillary) or a man too "womanly" (I think "hen pecked" and "sissy" are about the NICEST terms applied to such sad souls.)

Its only recently that women in our country could wear "men's" clothing or work "men's" jobs without serious approbation... and in some sectors of our country, these Neanderthal attitudes persist. Men by no means have anywhere near such freedom- those who dress or act in traditionally female ways are subject to almost universal derision and often physical violence. Feminism will not have run its full course until the negative attitudes towards traditionally female ways of acting, dressing, and living have been eliminated. Just look at all the vulgar terms for women and their reproductive parts... they're ALL insults, all deeply derogatory, especially when applied to a man. "She's got balls" is a compliment, while "He's a p-ssy" is an insult.

The very rural congregations I first served in the upper midwest still had men and women sitting on different sides of the congregation, women had only been granted the right to vote on... say... the color of the carpet months before I arrived, and they didn't have this right in many other neighboring congregations.

So when it comes to gender freedom and equality... we've gone from living in a house made of panes of glass to one made of glass blocks. We still have a LOT of work to do on matters of sexual and gender freedom!

The changes which need to happen in the more repressive parts of the Islamic world need to come from INSIDE. The best we can do is keep our clumsy hands out of it, and do our best to encourage and facilitate the efforts of those people inside those countries and cultures who want to bring about change. In this regard, I think Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia & its neighboring S.E. Asian/Oceanic countries are our best bet, along with MAYBE Turkey and the Islamic peoples indigenous to Europe in the Balkans (Kosovo, Albania, etc.) These countries have a well educated populace, have shown some signs of respecting women a little more than the Arabian nations, etc.

Next- another A-Men, Betty.
If people want to leave their homeland and take on a new one, they take upon themselves the obligation to conform to certain basic standards of their new nation. These usually include (or should)... speaking the national language, not mutilating the genitals of women, and so forth. Freedom of religion does not abrogate the law of the land!

And my last A-men for you Betty...
As a student of church history and former ordained operative, I think the Christian church started going to hell figuratively and literally when Constantine legalized and made it the state religion.

It is counterproductive, ill informed, and arrogant of us to pass judgment on entire nations and faiths. Islam is not a singular entity any more than Christianity is. Consider this news story from the AP

BAGHDAD (AP) — A roadside bomb killed three Shiite pilgrims Monday in the outskirts of Baghdad, while the death toll from a suicide bombing targeting pilgrims resting in a tent the day before rose to 56, authorities said. In all, extremists have attacked pilgrims headed to the holy city of Karbala three times in the past two days.

Guess what boys and girls... this is Muslims killing Muslims. They ain't all the same any more than we are!

The SHIITE Holy City of Karbala, click for full size, click link in news story to read about the city and the pilgrimage.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Meet "Mrs. Rug Goth"- still the same despite the pain

OK then, Snark encouraged me to feel free to post more personal things here, and it doesn't get more personal than this. This is my wife Tess. She just started a blog at Multiply and has taken over for me in leading the "ask any religious question" group there-, but she's been really smacked down by her migraine lately, so I suggested she record a VLOG, and this is it.

Sorry the sound levels between us vary so widely... my computer is ancient and I don't have mixing software to adjust the vol. So if you do, feel free to download the file from my multiply site and mix away!

She's sick enough to be in hospital, but she just got out a month ago, and she says that if she's going to be miserable anyway (that stay lasted 2 weeks!) she'd rather be in my arms than in a hospital bed. I can't argue with that, *grin*

She is legally disabled with migraines, and every day she reaches a "10" on the pain scale, but since about last Weds, she never drops lower than that. I've been having to give her intra-muscular injections of various medicines every 4 to 6 hours.

When she has any good time, its in the morning, which is why I've become a morning person, and can't often make it by the Anvil Fridays. Mornings- early mornings- are when she's most likely to be able to walk with me to the lake, tutor me in Spanish, etc.

I can function as a night or morning person, but... as befits a goth (*grin*) day time is regardless not my friend. Its for getting through pretty much.

Fast but low res Youtube version

Higher quality Veoh version

Online Videos by

Sunday Sondheim - Sooner or Later

Madonna At The Oscars - 1991

She's a tad nervous, go figure.

Message to Ralph Nader

EAT SH%T, you GD, EgoManiacal, Attention Whore!
(and you poor deluded souls who votes for this moron who thinks their votes are making some kind of difference.)

That's all.

What's In A Name?

During both world wars, in Britain, you didn't have to look different to experience the prejudices of the local community. It was enough to have a German-sounding name.

Before WW1 my great uncle was a handsome man with a young family - two sons and a daughter.

He was a simple baker in a London suburb. But his German wife was in Germany with their daughter when the war broke out, and his shop was smashed up and he and his sons imprisoned in Knockaloe Alien Internment Camp offshore on the Isle of Man. He had been in Britain for more than 10 years.

By the end of the war he had aged far more years than the few he had spent imprisoned.

(Sorry, the following two pictures of the camp don't display fully because of the blog layout).

The camps were made up of hundreds of huts and were concentration camps by any other name, it's just that the people in them were not starved or exterminated. Having British-born sons fighting for the British army was no protection against internment. Women were not interned, but repatriated to a country they may never have visited and whose language they did not speak.

My grandfather escaped internment because he had become an invaluable member of his community. His baker's oven was used by locals to cook their Sunday joints of meat. He had also been in Britain much longer than his brother, though their wives were aunt and niece.

My father, the youngest member of the family, was persecuted, by being kept down in the same class in school for the duration of the war. Meanwhile, his two eldest brothers were fighting for Britain in Salonika.

The camps were used in WW2 as well, and even Jews fleeing from Hitler's oppression were suspected of being infiltrators and interned. Britain had no Japanese community worth mentioning, but given the terrible treatment of PoWs by the Japanese (who regarded being taken captive as shameful and would therefore fight to the death or commit suicide rather than being captured, and treated their "cowardly" captives as worthless) those who have survived to see the rehabilitation of the Japanese still cannot forgive.

So just because the US interned their Japanese citizens and not their German ones does not make their actions racist in the same way as the treatment of blacks in the south, or Arab-looking people anywhere.

And things really are different at a time of serious, genuine conflict, such as the two wars that tore the world apart in the 20th century.

The secret world of Snark

An affectionate but playful video tribute to a beautiful person and a beautiful city- Chicago. This is by permission of Snark himself... I don't generally post videos identifying specific people or where they domicile. This is Chicago's far north-side Edgewater neighborhood and the hidden gem Berger Park at sunrise. Notice especially the frozen lake, and the umbrella I found for my rugs! (I've already cleaned it... see my rug blog for updates on its being worked into a rug.)

High res Veoh version

Online Videos by

Lower res Youtube (better for slower connections)

OK, that's enough from me for a while. I have a Bio exam next week, several rugs I want to finish, Tess is nearly hospital sick, and... its time for someone else to post!

My next artistic endeavor will be a slideshow of poignant stills taken in alleyways. If you WANT to see them here, leave a comment to that effect. Else, I'll just put them at my multiply blog. I'm not engaging it or keeping up with comments, but I tend to put my more artistic and personal videos and pictures there.

XENOPHOBIA: A word to know, an attitude to avoid, eschew, and combat

The "Xenophobia" part of my previous waaaaaaaay too long post

A word to know, an attitude to avoid: Xenophobia!

the definition & etymology from the wiktionary.


From Greek ξένος (xénos, foreign) + φόβος (phobos, fear) + -ia.




I liked the responses and thought generated by my earlier post, but I'd like to introduce you to a word / concept which may help you see my point in comparing the treatment of the Japanese Americans in WWII to people of the Islamic faith or Middle Eastern descent today.

While Germany and the the Nazis were demonized during WWII, German-Americans were not (not generally.) The worst that happened to my Volk is that "sauerkraut" got renamed "liberty cabbage"- an appellation which stuck about as well as our renaming of "French fries" to "American Fries" now.

Why is that, when Germany had by far the superior military, and was routinely committing the worst of atrocities? Because the Germans looked and acted just like most other Americans, and indeed, made up a huge percentage of the populace. Even today, about 30% of Americans have some German ancestry, and if you limit it to just Caucasian Americans, the percentage is naturally much higher.

What happened to the Japanese and is sadly happening to people of Middle Eastern descent and the Islamic Faith in America can only happen when two conditions are met:
  1. They are a minority, preferably an economically insignificant one.
  2. The have physical or behavioral characteristics which are easily and readily identified.

If you look at the course of American history, you'll see that the most egregious acts of intolerance and hatred have occurred against groups which fit both these criteria.

Indeed, it is argued that sexual minorities (the "rainbow folk" as I call them, or the GLBTQ community ) are getting LESS harassment as their cultural distinction from the wider community is lessened both by people of those communities acting more "main stream" and by the wider community becoming gradually more explorative and imaginative in its own pursuits. (The vast "white bread" / "vanilla" world still has a long way to go though... give me a 7 grain or pumpernickel any day!)

Even so... in areas where GLBTQ people are not commonly "out", to be "out" is to put oneself at personal physical risk. And those groups within that community... especially the leather folk and the gender benders/blenders- whose visual appearance and behavior still and of necessity sticks out- are still subject to immense approbation and are often victims of hate crimes. (I heard once the percentage of out "T-folk" who had been physically attacked, beaten, etc... its some astoundingly high percentage.)
So our word of the day:
the fear of the other, the stranger.
It is reasonable to identify evil behaviors and evil men and attack them. You'll notice I'm not taking issue with the anti-Nazi propaganda because... the Nazis had it coming, and more so.

But the Japanese Americans then, as the Islamic Americans now, did not "have it coming," did not deserve the blow back, and our treatment of these groups was/is abominable and is as much a desecration of our constitution as if were to use it for toilet paper.

This isn't fighting the enemy, its fearing the stranger, and making him the source of all your problems. Demagogues and propagandists have done this for time immemorial.
  • Cats got the rap for the plague
  • Hitler blamed the Jews for... everything
  • America followed Hitler's example in far too many respects in our treatment of Japanese Americans.
  • Televangelists have blamed everything from hurricanes to Carrot Top on GLBTQ behavior.
  • And now... its "towel head" time. I (and probably a lot of you "Granville Girls" know a Palestinian American shopkeeper. His family fled the fighting over there in the 60s. Not that it matters or should, but they're even Christian. Doesn't matter in how they're treated here though... they look the look, and have names which sound suspicious. They're the modern day "Nips" of whom everything is suspected and on whom everything is blamed.
If you haven't gotten my point yet, here's the definition & etymology from the wiktionary.


From Greek ξένος (xénos, foreign) + φόβος (phobos, fear) + -ia.




xenophobia (plural xenophobias)

  1. A pathological fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners.

So now that you know the word and the concept... what do you think of our treatment of...
  • The Japanese Americans in WWII
  • Sexual minorities
  • Middle Eastern-Americans and people of the Islamic faith?

And how can this [Xenophobia how ever it is expressed] be anything but an offense against both our beloved Constitution and basic human dignity?

A personal account of how I grew up hating bigotry and hate

This is a slightly edited version of the section on my father and childhood I tacked on to the beginning of my "xenophobia" post last night, and then thought better of this morning.

click for full size

So how does one escape the hate-trap? In my case, I inherited it and learned it from a great man- my father

These are pictures of my father- the top one of him as a school boy (back) and with me when I was about 6, the bottom was taken about 4 years before he died. Its on a pier in Lk Superior, practically to the Canadian border.

The town he grew up in, Frankenmuth Michigan, was essentially "occupied" by federal agents during WWII as they'd maintained their German identity through WWI. They still spoke German and exchanged letters with their families in Germany. I never heard a word of complaint from any of my relatives on that side about the scrutiny under which they lived. They were proud of their heritage- yes- but remember... they left Germany.

They were pissed about what happened during Prohibition- I was still hearing them complain about that in the 70s as a little boy- but the federal agents... well, they just meant more customers for their famous restaurants, and they were glad to be able to legally sell them their authentic German beer!

My [late] father [he died in '97] could have stayed out of the war. He was a machinist in a plant which produced parts for tanks and fighter aircraft. But he waved his deferment, became a Sea Bee, went through Marine basic training, and was sent to the Pacific theater... as most everyone from Frankenmuth or the other "Franken" colonies nearby was.

Fortunately for me, he didn't see much action, but he was part of the occupation forces. It was the sight of the orphaned Japanese children which moved him to become an elementary school teacher.

It was that background which guided how he raised me. He was the kindest, most loving, least bigoted soul who has ever lived... and if I keep talking about him, I'm going to short out my keyboard. But I thought it might be an apt illustration for this post of how I came to be SO passionately opposed to all forms of prejudice. So gute nacht, buenas noches
There's other things which went into it... I grew up in a neighborhood which went from majority white to majority black due to school busing induced "white flight" so I had an experience few caucasians have had but all soon will... I was a minority.

But you get the point.

We learn best by example, which is why its incumbent on every one of us to not just kiss up to the ideals of the Constitution and the Bill of rights, but live up to them as well.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The listig really goes on and on and on and on.... and why I'm not a hypocrite for blasting Obama's 45 minute speech

When I woke up this morning, I realized that I'd put too much into the one post on my father and xenophobia last night. I am reworking it into two, and will post them presently.

In my defense of my criticism of Obama... when I was a pastor, I was famous for my 12-20 minute sermons when my colleagues were preaching for twice that length. Listening to one of my sermons was like being hit by a hurricane. If people weren't white-knuckled and hyperventilating by the end, then I was off my game.

I operated on the premise that TV has conditioned us to a 12 minute to 20 minute attention span before a "commercial break." So I limited myself to making ONE point and making it very very well.

In writing, its a different story. Honestly though, even there brevity is the soul of wit... but it takes more time and effort than I have to go through the sort of boiling down and editing process that I put my sermons through. I put 30 - 60 minutes of prep into every minute of delivered sermon. That way when I shot off my Gatling gun mouth, every word-bullet was a bullseye. ... In writing, however, I give myself more liberty, and maybe every other word is bull-s... instead of a bullet. *grin*

Ever wonder what became of "Hans?"

At least we know what happened to William....

Died in combat at 22 years of age. When I was in Germany, I saw many tombstones with pictures like these on them...many still in their teens at the time they died. What a waste...unfortunately, we certainly haven't learned from their example. Vietnam, Iraq???

In retrospect, I guess it took actually joining the military to realize just how expendable we all are to our leaders!

Many People Objected to This, and STILL do...

Yet, there is very little about this cartoon that wasn't correct! Hitler's Germany was as regulated and cruel as this said it was!

The Japanese in WWII => The Moslems & Arab Americans now

I've long been wanting to post on this, but some scenes of anti-Japanese propaganda films shown on the History Chanel reminded me of it. And since Tess' head hurts too much to teach me more Spanish & mine too much to learn it, here it is.

The best way to describe how vile, racist, and hateful the propaganda against the Japanese during WWII was is to show you some, which I have been able to dig up. After watching these films and seeing these posters... ask yourself these questions
1) How does this remind you of what is said of Moslem and Arab Americans today?
(Hint to get you going...- "slanty eyed devils" <>"towel heads")
2) Why do we do this?
3) What can we do about it?

Be warned, this is pretty strong stuff... but then, so is a lot of what I hear on the street and see on [other] blogs about the M/A-Americans!

Posters found at

I think you get the idea. For more on how racist and vile our propaganda against our enemies has been, check out this blog:

Not that they were any nicer, but we pretend to be the land of the free... but Japanese Americans weren't very free during WWII, and one could well argue that those of the Moslem faith or of Middle Eastern Extraction (or anyone who searches for certain keywords online or books at the library) isn't so free today.

Friday, February 22, 2008

FREAKY FRIDAYS - With "Kelly" . . .

. . . a/k/a Liam Kyle Sullivan . . .

And in honor of Rug Goth finding a home for those delicious thrown-away boots, size 7 . . .

"SHOES" . . .

New improved "Obama IS mighty mouth" slideshow, now at JibJab - my reward for my Spanish oral yesterday

I just wasn't satisfied with how the old one came out, and I wanted to put it on JibJab, which is famous for its biting political humor.

So when I got back with Tess from her weekly doctor's visit, this is what I did.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What good is international law? Follow up on Kosovo, and Mariajosé 's eloquent and welcome comments from Spain & in Spanish & UN <> Python

Background: Mariajosé wrote:

Not if I have expressed correctly
I need the help of a dictionary
I will express in Spanish

En ningún momento he querido ofender a los americanos cuando he dicho que no conocen bien la historia de Europa, si ha sido así le pido disculpas.
Admiro a los USA. Algunos miembros de mi familia han vivido temporalmente (trabajo, estudios) en USA; y su experiencia ha sido fantástica.

En cuanto a la independencia de Kosovo, estoy de acuerdo en todo lo relativo al genocidio, pero los serbios no han sido los únicos genocidas en los Balcanes. Esa no es la razón de la independencia, si bien es cierto que hay un motivo étnico.

Pero estamos en el S.XXI y no en el SXVIII. Hay leyes internacionales que son para todos y hay que respetarlas. Otros países europeos se han independizado en los últimos años y lo han hecho pacíficamente y sin traumas acogiéndose a la normativa internacional.

Todo esto es un precedente muy grave en Europa, cualquier región que nunca ha sido un país independiente puede declarar su independencia de forma unilateral. Muchos países europeos tienen problemas graves con el nacionalismo (España, Bélgica, Reino Unido …)

Y además está la desunión que ha creado en la Unión Europea dividida en dos bloques: los que apoyan la independencia de Kosovo y los que no.

Pardon, I have still had it a bit long. I am sure that her Spanish is very good

Certainly, the page is very good

Tue Feb 19, 02:32:00 PM CST

To which I responded...

I'm in Spanish 101, and I have a big test Thursday, so I just had translate it.

Well thought out, I may have more to say after my big exam. But basically the area's a big mess, and the Serbs are reaping what they've sewn. I know Spanish history well enough to know that the last genocide which happened on the Iberian Penn. was 500 years ago during the reconquista, so Kosovo fleeing genocide does not ipso facto give all disaffected groups the same prerogative.

Here's the machine rendered xlation.

. I admire to the USA. Some members of my family have lived temporarily (work, studies) in the USA; and its experience has been fantastic. As far as the independence of Kosovo, I agree in all the relative one to the genocide, but the Serbs have not been the only genocidas in the Balkan Mountains. That is not the reason of independence, although it is certain that there is an ethnic reason. But we are in the S.XXI and not in the SXVIII. There are international laws that are for all and are necessary to respect them. Other European countries have become independent years in the last and they have pacifically done it and without traumas take refuging in the international norm. All this is a very serious precedent in Europe, any region that never has been an independent country can declare its independence of unilateral form. Many European countries have serious problems with the nationalism (Spain, Belgium, United Kingdom...) And in addition it is the lack of unity that has created in the divided European Union in two blocks: those that support the independence of Kosovo and those that no.

OK, well I promised I'd get back to this after my Spanish oral exam today, but thanks to that brutal experience, my brain is leaking out my ears.

Besides... I don't really have the answers. I'm no Henry Kissinger or Otto von Bismarck or Sun Tzu. But I do have some questions...
  • When has "International Law" ever prevented a genocide from happening?
  • When has "International Law" ever resulted in the nations of the world taking quick and effective action to intervene once one has happened?
  • What matters more in international law-
    • Lines drawn on a map by competing imperialistic powers?
    • Economic or military might?
    • Ethics of any sort?
  • How international is "International Law?" I don't remember voting on it, and I was chomping at the bit to vote from the time I was 6 years old.
  • So on what grounds is "International Law" any more binding or ethically superior than the imperial alliances which once governed and throughly mucked up the world?
    • Frankly... I just don't see much difference between the agreements of "International Law" now, and the agreements of the various great powers which existed before and directly led to World War I.
I'm not saying I know what the answer is... I don't even know that Kosovo declaring independence is the best answer. But when another country has tried to exterminate you, I'm not going to second guess you wanting your own country. As I said before, we lobbed off HUGE chunks of Germany after the World Wars, including parts which were as innately German and central to its history as Kosovo was to Serbia. So no... I have no tears to shed for the Serbs.. and that was even before they demonstrated their "renewed commitment to civil behavior and respect of human rights" by going on a rampage through Belgrade today.

Probably the one verse from the "Minor Prophets" (or "The Writings of the 12") most often quoted or alluded to in popular culture is Hosea 8:7a, and it does pretty well describe what has happened to Serbia as they've lost most all of their former Yugoslav empire.

They sow the wind
and reap the whirlwind.

I certainly am not saying that a "Pax Americana" is preferable to "International Law." As I've said previously, our nation is one singularly ill suited to this task.
  • Our ignorance of the cultures, history, and languages of the rest of the world is almost transcendent in its magnitude.
  • Our attention span is measured in milliseconds
  • The only thing which holds it longer is the trite, the banal, and the salacious.
  • Our citizens do not know what the people who act in our name do- be they relief workers and other civilian "nation [re]builders" or the military- which is why we don't understand why so much of the world hates us.
  • We the people bear the full responsibility for this. Such ignorance is as intentional as it is damnable.
So, dear lady of Spain... do not hear me calling upon the U.S. to be the World Police. We'd be the "Keystone Cops" if we tried, and have been when we have. But I am also aware of the weaknesses of "International Law," its many failures, its faulty or shallow foundations.

Oh... owww... too hard... been too long... can't resist... YES, its time for a South Park reference... sorta.

Team America- World Police
by the same twisted geniuses behind the best show on American TV, South Park, dealt with this issue exquisitely well.

Nobody else out there tells it like it is like Matt and Trey. They don't just say "The emperor is naked," they say "DUDE- the emperor is butt-f*ck naked!"

Added Friday morning 7:15 windy city time after reading Val's prescient comment

The United Nations & "International Law" and Python's Life of Brian

Reg: Furthermore, it is the birthright of every man —
Stan: Or woman.
Reg: Why don't you shut up about women, Stan? You're putting us off.
Stan: Women have a perfect right to play a part in our movement, Reg.
Francis: Why are you always on about women, Stan?
Stan: I want to be one.
Reg, Francis: What?
Stan: I want to be a woman. From now on, I want you all to call me "Loretta".
Reg: Wha'?
Loretta: It's my right as a man.
Judith: Well, why do you want to be Loretta, Stan?
Loretta: I want to have babies.
Reg: You want to have babies?!
Loretta: It's every man's right to have babies if he wants them.
Reg: But... you can't have babies.
Loretta: Don't you oppress me!
Reg: I'm not oppressing you, Stan, you haven't got a womb! Where's the fetus gonna gestate? You gonna keep it in a box?
[Stan/Loretta starts to cry.]
Judith: Here! I-I've got an idea. Suppose that you agree that he can't actually have babies, not having a womb — which is nobody's fault, not even the Romans' — but that he can have the right to have babies.
Francis: Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to have babies, brother. Sister, sorry.
Reg: Wh-what's the point?
Francis: Wha'?
Reg: What's the point of fighting for his right to have babies when he can't have babies?
Francis: It is symbolic of our struggle against oppression!
Reg: Symbolic of his struggle against reality, more like...

Reg: They've bled us white, the bastards. They've taken everything we had, and not just from us, from our fathers, and from our fathers' fathers.
Loretta: And from our fathers' fathers' fathers.
Reg: Yeah.
Loretta: And from our fathers' fathers' fathers' fathers.
Reg: Yeah. All right, Stan. Don't labour the point. And what have they ever given us in return?!
Xerxes: The aqueduct?
Reg: What?
Xerxes: The aqueduct.
Reg: Oh. Yeah, yeah. They did give us that. Uh, that's true. Yeah.
Commando 3: And sanitation.
Loretta: Oh, yeah, the sanitation, Reg. Remember what the city used to be like.
Reg: Yeah. All right. I'll grant you the aqueduct and the sanitation are two things that the Romans have done.
Matthias: And the roads!
Reg: Well, yeah. Obviously the roads. I mean, the roads go without saying, don't they? But apart from the sanitation, the aqueduct, and the roads--
Commando: Irrigation.
Xerxes: Medicine.
Commandos: Huh? Heh? Huh...
Commando 2: Education.
Commandos: Ohh...
Reg: Yeah, yeah. All right. Fair enough.
Commando 1: And the wine.
Commandos: Oh, yes. Yeah...
Francis: Yeah. Yeah, that's something we'd really miss, Reg, if the Romans left. Huh.
Commando: Public baths.
Loretta: And it's safe to walk in the streets at night now, Reg.
Francis: Yeah, they certainly know how to keep order. Let's face it. They're the only ones who could in a place like this!
Commandos: Hehh, heh. Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh.
Reg: But apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
Xerxes: Brought peace?
Reg: Oh, pea-- Shut up!
Yep, I'd say that's pretty much what the world of International Law is like.

Same as it ever was, as Talking Heads sang, or...

Ecclesiastes / Qoheleth 1:2 (according to the Christian versification... be aware that people of other faiths do no necessarily follow this standard, nor indeed to all Christians- sometimes the Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Coptic Christians try to track more closely with the divisions of the Hebrew scribes known as the Masoretes. Also, the Eastern church shows a preference for following the Greek Old Testament known as the Septuagint over the Hebrew one which is based on Codex Lenigradus on the grounds that the Septuagint represents a more ancient text... it can be dated to the 2nd to 3rd century BC while C.L. is dated to 1008 AD.)

Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher,
"Vanity of vanities! All is vanity." (NASB)

2Es ist alles ganz eitel, sprach der Prediger, es ist alles ganz eitel. (Luther Bibel 1545)

2 Lo más absurdo de lo absurdo,
—dice el Maestro—,
lo más absurdo de lo absurdo,
¡todo es un absurdo! (NVI)
2 הֲבֵ֤ל הֲבָלִים֙ אָמַ֣ר קֹהֶ֔לֶת הֲבֵ֥ל הֲבָלִ֖ים הַכֹּ֥ל הָֽבֶל׃ (Codex Leningradus)

There is nothing new under the sun!

Anyone willing to admit to having small feet / The rug goth in action

This was just tossed aside in the middle of an alley... it wasn't even in a receptacle. Its already being worked into my latest plastic bag rug. The orange works great next to the "Chicago tribune bags" blue.

I found these in a treasure trove left behind by someone moving out nearby. This is the first time in my life I wish my feet were smaller! But I've not been able to wear size 7s since about 3rd grade!

So if any of you local folk have feet this size, get in touch with me! Otherwise, I'll donate it them to a worthy charity. But charity begins at home, so if one of my amigos or amigas could use these... they're yours!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

THE PERFECT TOY . . . for your child, grandchild, niece, or nephew!!!

Sent to me by our own Boston Betty via eMail . . . Betty's busy, so I'm "sharing" this on Betty's behalf . . .

Scan It Operation Checkpoint Airport Security Scanner Education Resource For Children.

Scan It® is an educational and creative play toy that helps children become acclimated with airport and public spaces security. The device is both a fun toy and an educational tool. It detects metal objects and simulates an X-ray scan via a functioning conveyor belt that glides articles over its metal detector path. When metallic items are present the unit beeps and lights up.

This unique toy/teaching aid provides ample amounts of healthy fun along with education and awareness of the security measures that people face in real life. A fun and educational booklet is also available upon request along with other online resources at Additional projects and education on airport and public spaces security is also available at

Ahhhhhhhh, the 80s!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Barack Obama IS Mighty Mouth

Barack Obama IS "Mighty Mouth!"

45 minutes for winning Wisconsin?
Heaven help us when he does something which matters... not that there seems to be much danger of that.
(There's no time left to do anything when you're writing and giving marathon orations like that! Sheesh, I spent 20 hours a week putting together 20 minute sermons!)

If the slideshow doesn't load... here's the stills. Slideroll does NOT seem reliable!

They're the ones I used to make the slideshow... I went to show it to Tess, and NADA, nichts! GRRRRR! One of these days I'll do a slideshow offline and upload it to Jibjab, but not today, I have a speech in Spanish to memorize for tomorrow!

Oh, and were I to start in on anything more substantial regarding the current race, I'd flunk both my classes. I was just trying to have a bit of fun and vent a bit of frustration at having sat through that 45 minute marathon of inanity.

At least they didn't delete it, I was just able to view it here, but I'm not gonna rely on them again.