Weblog Archives




  Saturday   January 18   2003

fish art

Salmon Label Art


 03:31 PM - link

Bush Working to Ensure Sharon's Re-Election

As long time Israeli peace and human rights activist Gila Svirsky observed,

"For decades, we in the Israeli peace movement have been struggling to get Israelis to compromise on the issue that feeds the conflict with the Palestinians. And then our work for peace gets doused twice: once by a prime minister who believes brutality will convince the Palestinians to give up, and then by a U.S. president who supports him on this. Bush has become a big part of the problem. He has to make up his mind: either he’s for peace, or he’s for Sharon. He can’t be both."

Similarly, Israeli commentator Gideon Samet, writing in Haaretz, has noted that the United States has become "more Israeli than the Israelis…. Continuing to rage, raining abuse on ‘the other,’ and demonizing the Palestinians." He adds, "With favors like that from our friends, we don’t need enemies."

 03:31 PM - link

medieval art

The Cloisters

The Cloisters—described by Germain Bazin, former director of the Musée du Louvre in Paris, as "the crowning achievement of American museology"—is the branch of the Metropolitan Museum devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe.


  thanks to dublog

This is part of the incredibly rich The Metropolitan Museum of Art web site.

 03:17 PM - link

we need taxes

Who Will Pay?

"I thought it was an interoffice joke."

That's how Chuck Collins, co-founder of a group called United for a Fair Economy, reacted when he was first told that William Gates Sr. wanted to talk with him about stopping the repeal of the estate tax.

It was no joke. The father of one of the richest men in history believes, as he put it during a visit here this week, that the inheritance tax "is the most intelligent tax ever devised."

Why? Because it doesn't tax labor or investment. It encourages each generation to build new wealth. And it accepts the idea that the very wealthy owe something back -- not just to society but to government itself.

The following article was written in 1945. I could have been written today. It should have been written today. A must read.

Who Wants Taxes Cut?

Taxes are the prorated cost of things we can buy only from government. We get about what we pay for. We should get more and better fire and police protection, education, sanitation, recreational facilities, food inspection, control over fraudulent transactions, and reduction in the risk of our investments if we paid more taxes. Yet by listening to the low- tax people all these years we have cheated ourselves out of the essentials only government can give us. It is time we examined the economy-in-government interests and determined whether we as individuals should listen to them or decide for ourselves how much government service we actually need and want and can afford to buy. (...)

The individual voices of the citizens must be raised to be heard above the voices of the corporation, the business, the institution. We need to say loudly and repeatedly that our children need a better education, our block needs better police, fire, and health protection; that we want to spend our vacations in better public parks; that we want our gasoline supply conserved, our game and fish protected, our passage to and from the city made safer, and our grandchildren's peace made secure. Low taxes, niggardly budgets, and penny-pinching won't buy these things. High taxes won't guarantee them, either; but if we all pay high taxes we shall do a better job of insisting that the money is spent for what we can buy only from government for our own--and the nation's--benefit.

  thanks to Cheek

 03:04 PM - link


Cheryl Wheeler and Christine Lavin Rock
In the Dec. issue of Performing Songwriter magazine, Christine Lavin took out a remarkable half-page ad, which I reproduce here because you really shouldn't miss it:


In light of the recent senseless gun deaths we have witnessed in this country, I feel that as a community of performing songwriters, we can do more than just wring our hands in despair. The best song on the topic of guns that I know is Cheryl Wheeler's "If It Were Up To Me" and I propose this challenge to every working performer: learn this song. Perform it in your show. Filmmaker Michael Moore put his considerable talents to work making the film "Bowling for Columbine." We can put our talents to work on this issue, too. Cheryl's done the hard part, writing the song.

We can learn it.

Check out the link — it has the lyrics to the song. I got to hear Christine sing that song last night. She was playing in Kirkland on a bill with Livingston Taylor. It's a great song. I will probably hear it again tonight since I will be seeing that show too. [Disclosure: My partner Zoe does Christine's web site].

Christine always puts on a memorable show. She is not to be missed. I was suprised by Livingston Taylor (James' brother), actually I was blown away. He is also someone that is not to be missed. Having them both on a double bill is an embarrassment of riches. How good was the show? We missed the last boat back to the island and had to drive around, getting home at 4 in the morning. It was worth it!

 02:48 PM - link

  Friday   January 17   2003

more hypocrisy

Bush Slaps Your Sanctity
Oppress your daughters and slaughter some evildoers, it's (another) National Sanctity of Life Day
By Mark Morford

And here we are, once more tied to the rack of the cripplingly painful irony that is Dubya's National Sanctity of Life Day, in case you didn't know and in case you forgot to buy a card or something, and isn't it just the most adorable slap to your karmic consciousness you ever did hear?

Because there's Dubya himself, stammering on from a prepared script clearly written by someone else given all the polysyllabic words, all about cherishing life and protecting the unborn and isn't life just this great fuzzywarm glowing hunk of precious blah blah blah, ad nauseam, hey whoops gotta run folks time to massacre some Iraqis and decimate some forests, smirk.

What, too harsh? Hardly.

 11:20 AM - link

taxes and deficits

Off the Wagon
by Paul Krugman

Picture a recovering alcoholic falling off the wagon. First he says he can handle a few drinks. Then, when his inebriation can't be denied, he insists it's only a temporary lapse. But eventually he turns mean. "What's so great about being sober?" he growls, reaching for another bottle.

As a drunk is to alcohol, the Bush administration is to budget deficits.


The current Administration likes its initiatives faith- based, and there has never been much secret about which faith constitutes the base. "Christ," Governor George W. Bush replied during a 1999 primary debate, when asked to name his favorite political philosopher. In the ambit of Bush the President, piety is next to godliness. According to a former Bush staffer, Evangelical Christianity is the "predominant creed" at the White House, and a tardy arrival is apt to be greeted with the reproach "Missed you at Bible study."

After the unveiling last Tuesday of Bush's "economic stimulus package," though, one has to wonder, and not for the first time, just which Bible these good people have been studying. It must be some sort of Heavily Revised Nonstandard Version, whose verses are familiar yet subtly different:

He that hath pity upon the rich lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will pay him again. (Proverbs 19:17)
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell what thou hast, and give to the rich, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. (Matthew 19:21)
For the love of money is the root of all good. (I Timothy 6:10)


 11:08 AM - link

cigarette art

The Art of the Cigarette Card: Five Series

450 cigarette cards, comprising five series—ABC of Sport, Actresses and Cinema Stars, Aeroplane Markings, Animal Studies, and This Age of Power and Wonder—ranging in date from ca. 1900 to 1938.


  thanks to BookNotes

This is part of the amazing Image Gate of the New York Public Library.

 11:07 AM - link

foreign aid

Another Insult to the Developing World

Amidst all of the hubbub in Washington in the last few weeks, about Iraq and North Korea and yet another huge tax cut, was a story that exemplified how the Bush administration feels about much of the world. In an interview with Newsweek, Andrew Natsios defended the size of the American foreign aid budget by claiming, essentially, that a larger amount would wreck the economies of the world's blighted nations.

  thanks to Body and Soul

 10:59 AM - link


It's not just a Hummer, it's a tax break

Standing next to his shiny Hummer H2, John Brightbill recounted a perk that a fellow owner noted about driving this immense sport utility vehicle.

"He said some young women wanted to drive around the block with him," said Brightbill, a real estate broker. "That hasn't happened to me yet."

But some people have a more practical reason for laying down $50,000 to $60,000 to buy an H2: a federal tax deduction of nearly $38,000.

 10:52 AM - link


Chicks Offer Insight Into Origin of Flight

The behavior of chukar partridge chicks, which can run straight up the side of a hay bale or a tree while flapping their wings, may offer a new window on the origin of flight in birds.

Feathered dinosaurs may have done something similar, Dr. Kenneth P. Dial of the University of Montana suggests in today's issue of Science. He suggests that they too flapped their primitive wings to help them climb, which brought them off the ground and closer to discovering the aerial possibilities of their wings. Even incompletely feathered proto-wings, Dr. Dial says, would have been useful in running up inclines.

 10:49 AM - link


Bird Hand Book


  thanks to wood s lot

 10:45 AM - link



The GasBGon flatulence filter seat cushion is a fun, yet serious solution to the embarrassing problem of malodorous gas.

GasBGon seat cushions apply cutting edge carbon filter technology to absorb the sound and odor that accompany flatulence. The unique cushioning property combines to form a dual filter technology to muffle the sound and the smell.

Truth is, everyone has flatulence and passes gas an average of 14 times a day. Granted, some people are more frequent and odiferous than others. Research indicates that the GasBGon cushion actually absorbs more than 90% of the odor emitted for most end users. This is the result of a carbon filter that has the equivalent surface area of a football field.

  thanks to MetaFilter

 10:45 AM - link


The Black Sea Yields Ship From Greece in Glory Days

Scientists said yesterday that they had discovered the remains of a 2,400- year-old ship at the bottom of the Black Sea — the oldest shipwreck ever found in the sea and a testament to its role as a vibrant crossroads of ancient commerce.

The ship, laden with amphoras, the clay storage jars of antiquity, apparently sank in about the fourth century B.C., the golden age of the Greek city-states. One amphora held the bones of a six- to seven-foot-long freshwater catfish that had been dried and cut into steaks, a popular food in ancient Greece.

  thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!

 10:42 AM - link

remember afghanistan?

Afghanistan: The war gathers momentum

A new round of carpet bombing and reinforcements of United States troops is likely for Afghanistan as the writ of the administration of President Hamid Karzai is under threat from a fierce guerrilla war that is intensifying in the mountainous terrain of the cities and towns located in the east of the country near the Pakistani border.

  thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!

 10:38 AM - link

death penalty

Execution™, by AmeriCo
Alive and Well
by Mark Fiore


 10:33 AM - link

war against some drugs

The Right Not To Be In Pain
The Feds vs. Ed Rosenthal

Patricia holds card number 34 in her local cannabis buyers' club. She was one of the earliest beneficiaries of the Compassionate Use Act, passed by the body politic of California in 1996. Later this month, on January 22 in US District Court in San Francisco, the competing desires of the body politic of California and the US federal government will meet before a jury, in a clash that could plunge Patricia and all the millions of others in chronic pain back into all the agonies they once endured. It could send also send a legendary figure, Ed Rosenthal, to prison for twenty years.

 10:21 AM - link

  Thursday   January 16   2003


America: Enemy of globalisation
In the first part of a major new series Tom Nairn lays out his surprising and important thesis. Globalisation is not Americanisation. Rather, the onrushing process of globalisation will render America just another country. In this context, the looming conflict in Iraq should be seen not as a war of oil, still less as a response to Osama bin Laden. It is a war over globalisation itself - as Washington seeks to militarise the economic domination it enjoyed in the 1990s.

What the assault aims to do is drag this process backwards, under ‘Western’ (but really American) leadership. Its aim is to force an awakened American nationalism into a more decidedly imperial mould - which can only be done by ‘old-fashioned’ techniques. Barbarians must be reinvented, to keep Homelanders together, to prop up a half-elected President, and to re-align restive or dissident satrapies. With all its shortcomings and contradictions, globalisation had been showing signs of escaping from US Neo-liberal hegemony over the past few years. Tragically, it is believed in some places that a ‘good war’ will help to rein in such trends, by establishing a new kind of empire-boundary, namely an apocalyptic (and by definition unceasing) fight against Terrorism.

This effort stands no chance of long-term success; a fact unlikely to influence the policy makers in Bush’s Washington. Their attempt to harness, rein in and control globalisation is embedded in their current Iraq policy – whether this remains limited to the subordination of the United Nations (UN) to the White House and an inspection process designed to humiliate Saddam, whether it results in his swift downfall, or concludes in a desperate battle and widespread violence.

 12:00 PM - link

Ethnic Cleansing: Some Common Reactions
by Ran HaCohen

Almost all the fire was aimed at my claim regarding the ethnic cleansing carried out by Israel in 1948. These copious reactions reaffirm my argument that this is still a taboo in pro-Israeli discourse. Even when protesting the present "quiet" ethnic cleansing in the Occupied Territories or warning of future Israeli intentions is tolerated, saying that Israel owes its existence as a Jewish State to ethnic cleansing is evidently beyond the pale. As I said, fighting the present strangulation of the Palestinians should be the top priority of any peace activity on the ground; but on the level of consciousness, coming to terms with the ethnic cleansing of 1948 is an inevitable precondition for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.

Israel to kill in U.S., allied nations

Israel is embarking upon a more aggressive approach to the war on terror that will include staging targeted killings in the United States and other friendly countries, former Israeli intelligence officials told United Press International.

  thanks to American Samizdat

False witnesses
ITC approval of John Pilger's documentary is a shot across the bows of mainstream Middle East coverage

The intifada is the economy

Those who play down the importance of the intifada as the main cause of the economic crisis are essentially saying that there's no need to hurry back to negotiations, and that the war of attrition can go on and on.

Here's what Prof. Stanley Fisher, a friend of Israel, said about that this week: "Renewing the peace process is of enormous importance. Only ending the state of war and renewing the dialogue with the Palestinians will turn the Israeli economy around - a proper economic policy by the government and Bank of Israel can help, somewhat improving the economy's performance, but not by much. That alone will not turn negative growth into positive growth. If not for the intifada and the war, the Israeli economy would be growing, not as fast as in the past, but definitely growing."

Terror as a natural phenomenon
By Amira Hass

That Israeli majority is not ready to listen to hints that perhaps the military policies prevent, in the short term, some of the attacks and destroy the infrastructure, but in the long run create hundreds more volunteers for the unofficial Palestinian armies, and increase the danger of terrorism.

Most of the public prefers to only hear how devilish and ridiculous and corrupt things are on the Palestinian side. Most of the public does not want to know about the connection between the continuing attacks and the continuing and unprecedented military and economic pressure on the entire Palestinian population.

It refuses to see the connection between the renewal of the conflict in September 2000 to the Israeli consolidation of its control over the territories through non-military means, all through the Oslo years. Most of the Israeli public insists on accepting the position of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that "first they stop the terror and then we'll start negotiations." Get ready, therefore, for the next record wave of terror.

The revolution will come

More punishment

 11:46 AM - link

cigar art

Cigar-Label Art Visual Price List
Over 1000 Great Labels under $100.00


  thanks to reenhead.com

 11:26 AM - link


Long Live the Estate Tax!
by Bill Gates, Sr. & Chuck Collins

There is a stunning disconnect between the terrible budget shortfalls facing states and localities and the priorities of federal tax-cutters. States face budget deficits of more than $60 billion for the coming year--and the ax is falling on mental health, education and children's healthcare. Libraries are being shuttered, tuitions increased and parks closed. Governors of all political persuasions talk about the need for massive federal relief to the states in the form of block grants and Medicaid subsidies.

Yet the President and Congressional tax-cutters are marching ahead with a $670 billion tax cut that could include elimination of dividend taxes and an acceleration of 2001 tax rate cuts. According to the Urban Institute- Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, 42 percent of the benefits of the dividend tax cut will go to the richest 1 percent of taxpayers, whose incomes are above $330,000. These proposals have more to do with rewarding campaign contributors and lobbying patrons than with economic stimulus.

Also at the top of the domestic agenda is the push to make repeal of the federal estate tax permanent. Such a step will not have any short-term or long-term economic stimulus effect. But cutting $850 billion in revenue in the decade after the tax is phased out--money that would have been collected from the heirs of multimillionaires--will prolong the current fiscal crisis. Many states will feel the pain of revenue loss first because their inheritance and estate taxes are linked to the federal levy.

  thanks to Cursor

 11:15 AM - link


I love it when Joseph Deumer talks like this.

Poetry & Justice:

This is probably just another set of failed notes toward an essay on poetry that will go nowhere, but I am at least going to record here a few of the bits & pieces, a few of the fragments, I've run across lately that might serve as landmarks, or road signs on the way to understanding. In any case, I'm no longer interested in poetry or theories of poetry that don't attempt--however ridiculously--to save the world. Maybe I can make a beginning toward understanding the art I've practiced more than thirty years by forgetting about poetry & thinking about language:

 11:02 AM - link


Living Jewels

Poul Beckmann presents stunning close-up studio photographs of one of the most varied and beautiful families of species on the planet, the Beetles.


  thanks to dublog

 10:58 AM - link


A History of Pointe Shoes and Pointe Technique

A history of pointe shoes is also a history of pointe technique. They evolved together; they created each other. But the pointe shoe itself is seldom given recognition for its role in steering the development of technique.

  thanks to reenhead.com

 10:49 AM - link

harry potter

Hang on to your sorting hats, kids! Harry Potter 5 is due

After months of feverish anticipation, J.K. Rowling has completed her fifth book about young wizard Harry Potter, and it will be published in Britain and the United States on June 21, her publishers said yesterday.

News of the upcoming release resulted in so many orders yesterday at Seattle-based Amazon.com, the Internet retailing colossus, that the new book rocketed to the top spot of its best-seller list in 90 minutes, said Kristin Schaefer of Amazon.

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" is 768 pages long and, by word count, more than one-third longer than its predecessor, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Britain's Bloomsbury Publishers said.

 10:46 AM - link


A Petal From The Rose
Illustrations by Elizabeth Shippen Green

When Elizabeth Shippen Green (1871-1954) won an exclusive contract as an illustrator with Harper's Monthly in 1901, she achieved a triumph that instantly elevated her into the select company of famed illustrators such as Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911) and Howard Pyle (1853-1911) during what is considered America's "golden age" of illustration (1880-1920). Few women attained such remarkable success in a time when men overwhelmingly dominated this highly competitive field. As one of the celebrated artistic triumvirate known as "The Red Rose Girls," Green and colleagues Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935) and Violet Oakley (1874-1961) became shining examples of women illustrators at the turn of the century. A Petal from the Rose is the first exhibition in decades to focus solely on Green's art, and this and the accompanying essay highlight distinctive features of her illustrations and working methods. Although her work shares similarities with that of other women in the profession, it stands apart in its scope, quality, and originality.


  thanks to dublog

 10:42 AM - link


Are Hummer Owners Idiots?
More delightful proof positive that most SUVs are, in fact, morally repugnant. Go, America!
By Mark Morford

Just in time for America's latest murderous war for oil, just in time to be reminded of exactly why our foreign policy is so horribly mangled and debilitating and Saudi enslaved and terrorist ready ...

Just in time to crush a few thousand smaller cars and kill a bunch of pedestrians and poison the environment and still be able to traverse six feet of standing floodwater in order to make it in time for Timmy's soccer game, it's the rollout of the new Hummer H2, the biggest joke of the entire SUV world, representing, well, just exactly everything that's wrong with America's view of the world.

 10:30 AM - link

big money wins again

Justices Uphold Copyrights in a Victory for Disney

Mickey Mouse and The Walt Disney Co. scored a big victory Wednesday as the Supreme Court upheld longer copyright protections for cartoon characters, songs, books and other creations worth billions of dollars.

 10:26 AM - link

maybe not photography and certainly not video

James Luckett posted this observation at Spitting Image (also check him out at consumptive.org.)


Many times I've felt stifled, trapped by the stuckness of still photography - and yet not quite requiring the movement, the arc of video or film. What I desired in those moments was something slight, only just a little more: the start of a gesture, a glance, a darkening of the eyes - something that might hint at a life outside the temporal snowglobe of 1/125th of a second.

David Crawford's Stop Motion Studies 2 (London) and Stop Motion Studies 3 (Paris) of people in and around subways and stations are a lot like what I had in mind. It's interesting for me to see that as the moment is extended, the time/frame doesn't break (as I imagined), but simply stretches out, to envelope more falling bits.

Here are the links to David Crawford. Very interesting.

Stop Motion Studies - Series 2

It is said that 90% of human communication is non-verbal. In these photographs, the body language of the subjects becomes the basic syntax for a series of Web-based animations exploring movement, gesture, and algorithmic montage. Many sequences document a person’s reaction to being photographed by a stranger. Some smile, others snarl, still others perform. Some pretend not to notice. Underneath all of this are assumptions and unknowns unique to each situation.

Stop Motion Studies - Series 3


 10:28 AM - link

  Wednesday   January 15   2003

lost in the ozone again

I spent much of yesterday off island and I will be off island most of today. I have many tasty links but will have to wait until tonight to get them up.

Back soon.

 12:27 AM - link

  Monday   January 13   2003

many happy returns

And a very Happy Birthday to the great Silverback.

 02:30 PM - link


I first discovered Erik Satie on Blood, Sweat and Tears' album Blood, Sweat & Tears. It opened and closed with variations of Satie's Trois Gymnopedies. All links thanks to Brian Lamb at Scribbler, which is now on my blogroll.


In the midst of an art opening at a Paris gallery in 1902, Ambient music was born. Erik Satie and his cronies, after begging everyone in the gallery to ignore them, broke out into what they called Furniture Music-- that is, background music--music as wallpaper, music to be purposely not listened to. The patrons of the gallery, thrilled to see musicians performing in their midst, ceased talking and politely watched, despite Satie's frantic efforts to get them to pay no attention.

Erik Satie

Erik Satie's VEXATIONS

Written between 1893-95, "Vexations" became Satie's most celebrated work for the simple reason that this short piano piece had the instructions to be played 840 times. It was shrugged off as a joke for decades until 1963 when John Cage got a team of pianists together and tacked the whole thing in 18 hours. It's since been performed many times but rarely by one pianist. Most pianists, even after hours and hours of playing the work experience a sort of amnesia and can't remember the tune that they were playing at all. Pianists have also been know to experience hallucinations while performing the work, testifying to it's mystical inducing qualities. Gavin Bryars once referred to "Vexations" as a kind of poor man's "Ring of the Nebelung".

I've put up an MP3 of Vexations for your downloading pleasure. The file is 888kb and runs for 55 seconds. Just set it on repeat and listen to it 840 times. It's great for blogging. I've had it on for a couple of hours but I haven't started hallucinating — yet.

 02:18 PM - link

15 days to voting. It's looking like things are going to be different after the upcoming Israeli elections. What appeared to be a Likud slam dunk is looking to be very different now. And even if Likud should win, it appears they won't have Labor to kick around in a Unity government.

Shady deals bring Israel's Bulldozer close to defeat
It is a make-or-break weekend for Israel's hawkish Prime Minister, who is fighting for his political life amid an explosive corruption scandal

What Are Friends For?
by Uri Avnery

Sharon's election campaign started like the triumphal march of a Roman emperor returning from victorious battle. The imperator stood in his carriage accepting the roars of adulation, while the chained captives (the Labor Party leaders) shuffled behind.

But the march hit a mud pit. And with every step, it sinks more.

Glimmers of Hope
by Aron Trauring

I mentioned how I recently was on a panel with the economic counsel of Israel in New York. In his speech, he argued as follows: "It is obvious that the majority of Israel supports Sharon's policies. Polls show he will get 41 seats and lead the next coalition. After those elections, those who criticize him need to shut up, since the people have spoken. That's what democracy means." [I am not making this up! This is almost word for word what he said].

What a difference a couple of weeks can make.

It's their turn now
By Gideon Levy

It's been a long time since Israel's Arab citizens had an opportunity like this; they must not let it slip by. Now that the High Court of Justice has done its job and overturned the disgraceful decisions of the Central Elections Committee, which prohibited MK Ahmed Tibi and MK Azmi Bishara and his party Balad from running in the Knesset elections, it is now up to the Arabs in Israel to fulfill their duty - by coming to the polling stations in their masses on January 28 to cast their vote. Without any ifs or buts. They can vote Hadash-Ta'al, Balad, Labor, Ra'am or Meretz - the main thing is for them to take part in the elections. As things appear now, they have the power to influence Israel's image for the years ahead. If they truly have a deep commitment to peace, to the fate of their Palestinian brethren, to the values of justice and equality, they must act on that commitment on January 28. They don't have an opportunity like this to exert influence in every election.

Mitzna to announce Labor will not join
Sharon-led coalition

Labor Party Chairman and prime ministerial candidate Amram Mitzna is to announce at a press conference Tuesday that the Labor Party would never, under any circumstances, join a coalition government headed by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

In a display of commitment to this new policy, Mitzna will be joined at the press conference by every member of the party's Knesset faction. He will tell reporters that the electorate has just two options: A rightist-religious government or one of which he is the head.

Israel Elections 2003


 01:41 PM - link

trailer art

I've always loved these little trailers. It's good to see they are still being built.

Teardrops of Joy for Campers Who Don't Mind Small Spaces


Teardrop Trailers

Trailer for Two
1947 Mechanix Illustrated article (PDF)

  thanks to MetaFilter

 01:06 PM - link


Presidential candidate clarifies position on Confederate flag

The Confederate flag should not be flown in the United States, says U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo.

In a statement released Saturday, Gephardt said the flag that flies at a Confederate Soldier Monument on South Carolina's Statehouse grounds "is a hurtful, divisive symbol and in my view has no place flying anywhere, in any state in this country."

 12:44 PM - link

the ring

The 'Ring' and the remnants of the West

The most important cultural event of the past decade is the ongoing release of the film version of J R R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. No better guide exists to the mood and morals of the United States. The rapturous response among popular audiences to the first two installments of the trilogy should alert us that something important is at work. Richard Wagner's 19th-century tetralogy of music dramas, The Ring of the Nibelungs, gave resonance to National Socialism during the inter-war years of the last century. Tolkien does the same for Anglo-Saxon democracy.

It's more than a little scary when people use works of music or literature as a basis for their view of the world. Hitler was a big fan of Wagner's Ring cycle. What mischief will LOTR fans cause when they try to apply LOTR to reality? When they cast their enemies as orcs and gollums, it is not only OK to kill them — one must kill them. After all, they aren't human.

From the Virgin Ben...

The Palestinians . . . Millions of Gollums?

A thought occurred to me tonight. I'd like to throw it out there for comment, to those who have seen The Two Towers. Aren't the Palestinians and the Arab/Islamist world a lot like the psycho-evil Gollum personality? "Those tricksy Zionistses, they stole it from us. Tricksy, false! We'll poke out their eyeses. Or . . . we could have Saddam do it. Yes! That's it! We'll have Saddam do it. And then, when they're dead, we takes the precious."

"The Palestinians . . . Millions of Gollums?" Update

I saw "The Two Towers" yesterday and they had a Palestinian Orc. He was the one who ran with the torch into the explosives under the fortress' wall. Since he blew himself up along with the wall, he must have been a Palestinian Orc. I do NOT want to envision what 72 Orc virgins look like.

 12:23 PM - link

kurt vonnegut

Vonnegut at 80

Asked how he's doing, Kurt Vonnegut says, "I'm mad about being old and I'm mad about being American. Apart from that, OK."

Vonnegut has just turned 80. Although he claims he's retired from writing, he has just finished an introduction for a book of anti-war posters by artist Micah Ian Wright. Vonnegut continues to be a cultural presence, speaking out against war with Iraq to 10,000 protestors at a rally in New York's Central Park and making a spoken-word contribution to the new multimedia world music production, One Giant Leap.

This is a good interview with Vonnegut and you can also check out Micah Ian Wright's posters.

 11:43 AM - link

death penalty

Ill. Gov. Commutes 167 Death Sentences

Calling the death penalty process "arbitrary and capricious, and therefore immoral," Gov. George Ryan cleared Illinois' death row Saturday, commuting 167 condemned inmates' sentences in the broadest attack on the death penalty in decades.

Ryan's decision came three years after he temporarily halted state executions to examine the system's fairness.

"I had to act," he said. "Our capital system is haunted by the demon of error -- error in determining guilt, and error in determining who among the guilty deserves to die."

 11:40 AM - link

state tax crisis

Poor adults left with few options

Seattle painter Nancy Schutt may have to put her brushes away next year.

The 49-year-old Madrona artist has managed to survive on the $20,000 she makes a year painting colorful, playful portraits of dogs in part because she qualifies for the Basic Health Plan, the state's medical insurance program for the poor.

But along with about 60,000 other "childless adults," Schutt stands to lose her coverage, a casualty of the state's worst budget crisis in a decade.

 11:33 AM - link


Causes of Color

Why are things colored? Repeated over and over, in inumerable variety, they create our colorful world. Light is made in the yellow glow of a candle. Light is lost when sunlight is filtered through stained glass. Light is moved when sky turns crimson sunset.

  thanks to dublog

 11:28 AM - link

drugs are us

Our Man in Korea returns home with fresh eyes.

We're a Happy Family!

I was a little let down, as the taxi pushed through the rain into downtown Vancouver, at how little had changed. This feeling intensified over the next few days : other than a few new buildings scattered here and there, and a new colour scheme on the buses, it seemed to me as if nothing much had changed in Vancouver in the five years since I last set foot in the homeland. In fact, not much that I could see had changed in the 20 years since I first moved there as a thirst-bedeviled freshman.

After living in Korea, where the entire country reinvents itself every five years or so, and the one constant is change and ferment and fresh concrete flowering skyward fast as bamboo, it was a little disconcerting. I had never thought of Canada as...well, stodgy, until now.

But over the next couple of weeks there, I noticed that at least one significant thing had changed, other than the amount of grey hair on friends and family.

 11:15 AM - link

war is not a football game

Trembling Before The Gods Of War

President George W. Bush, like the vast majority of the American public, knows war primarily through the cinematic lens. "Rambo," "Delta Force," and a host of other movies oozing self-righteous machismo present war as a football match pitting good guys against bad. The daily misery of war as lived experience does not make the final editing cut in Hollywood.

On screen, the decisive battle comes and goes in a flash, the hero emerges triumphant, no innocents are scarred or damaged, and everyone goes home happy and proud. This is war as fought and won by gods, which most Americans, especially our leaders, consider themselves to be, particularly after the collapse of the USSR. Since 1991, we have been the main attraction: The Superpower, The Sole Leader of the World, The Strongest People on the Planet. What we say, goes.

After living in the Middle East for most of the last six years, I am continually taken aback by this characteristically American hubris. Sadly, even those earnest war protesters waving placards and shouting slogans before the White House seem supremely self- confident to my eyes, eyes that have seen war. I envy the protesters' easy assumption that the values, beliefs, and principles that they hold dear can possibly halt the gears of war--and war's commerce--already set in motion, now virtually unstoppable.

Two years ago, while living in Lebanon, I had my first taste of war. It is a metallic taste, a bitter taste of repressed sorrow, rage, and fear that can neither be swallowed nor vomited. These corrosive emotions stick in your throat day after endless day. And I only saw 16 days of war: the Israeli assault on Lebanon code-named "Grapes of Wrath." That was enough time for me to learn how war disrupts your digestion, your schedule, and your relationships. Tempers flare, sleep evaporates, and concentration disintegrates. z

  thanks to Aron's Israel Peace Weblog

 11:13 AM - link

poverty — real and imagined

Boom and Bust.

Via TalkLeft (who got it from the Horse): most Americans believe that between 1 and 5 million people live in poverty in the US. It’s actually more like 33 million, at or below the poverty level.

What’s truly astonishing about this astonishing number is that most Americans are also far more generous (and far more realistic) in setting the poverty level than the federal government: 47 percent of the respondents believe that it takes almost $35,000 a year to just adequately feed, clothe, and house a family of four.

  thanks to Body and Soul

 11:08 AM - link

tea party art

Title: Pikachu Hors d'oeuvres

Abstract: A Hasbro (TM) Pokemon (TM) Character Creater (TM) is used to make attractive Hors d'oeuvres out of softer kinds of cheese.


  thanks to boingboing

 10:56 AM - link