Hello Cruel World
Monday, March 29, 2004
Two points:
First - Some years back, following bombings by Algerians, I was in Paris during Spring.

Audibly, though, it was Autumn. Everywhere in busy public places drifts of rustling rubbish blew about in the breeze, just like fallen leaves. It was a real feature, & a lasting memory of the place.

Although the government had greatly expanded streetcleaning by cute little green machines & green-clad men with brooms, it could not replace the missing (or sealed off by metal plates) garbage bins.

Here I can't even persuade the City Council to put out separate bins for recycling paper, plastic, etc in busy areas. They've never actually told me why not, nor ever replied when I've asked about how things are with the few examples of them in the city.

Second - leading to the Olympics, along with removing bins from train stations, many seats were removed, ostensibly to fit in the expected crowds. Because the trains were running so frequently and reliably , they said , intending passengers wouldn't _need_ to sit .

Olympics are long gone, platforms still resemble the Nullabor (Noncathedra? Nullsessia?) and, with aging the current demographic fashion, I can only assume that they're planning to force the oldies to stay home, or they own taxi licences, or we'll be looking at a Dunsinane forest of walking frames with fold-down seats taking up all the footpath.

Perhaps they're also ensuring the population is kept down by making it so uncomfortable to bring your children along without seats for them.

I can't understand, though, why they'd discourage carrying your shopping unless they have stocks in delivery companies, or it's a health idea to increase our weight-carrying exercise, or it's a plot to decrease rubbish by reducing purchases.
Two Years On
No single thing abides; but all things flow.
Fragment to fragment clings-the things thus grow
Until we know and name them. By degrees
They melt, and are no more the things we know.

Globed from the atoms falling slow or swift
I see the suns, I see the systems lift
Their forms; and even the systems and the suns
Shall go back slowly to the eternal drift.

You too, oh earth - your empires, lands, and seas-
Least with your stars, of all the galaxies,
Globed from the drift like these, like these you too
Shalt go. You are going, hour by hour, like these.

Nothing abides. The seas in delicate haze
Go off; those mooned sands forsake their place;
And where they are, shall other seas in turn
Mow with their scythes of whiteness other bays...

The seeds that once were we take flight and fly,
Winnowed to earth, or whirled along the sky,
Not lost but disunited. Life lives on.
It is the lives, the lives, the lives, that die.

They go beyond recapture and recall,
Lost in the all - indissoluble All:-
Gone like the rainbow from the fountain's foam,
Gone like the spindrift shuddering down the squall.

Flakes of the water, on the waters cease!
Soul of the body, melt and sleep like these.
Atoms to atoms - weariness to rest –
Ashes to ashes - hopes and fears to peace!

Titus Lucretius Carus (89 BC)

Because Chris died at Easter, there are two anniversaries each year. We don't know the exact day - the post mortem was just to determine that there were "no suspicious circumstances", and didn't give us a time, so that, like electrons & atoms, it's 'smeared out'. Perhaps that's one reason why I sometimes tend to get more upset at the Easter anniversary than just "sometime between March 28th and 30th".

On Lucretius
Of the Nature of Things
Titus Lucretius Carus

A metrical translation by William Ellery Leonard


On the Nature of Things
By Lucretius
Translated by William Ellery Leonard

The Internet History Sourcebooks are collections of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use.

Another copy of the plain-text translation above, provided by The Internet Classics Archive.



Frail Granules All

Carl Sagan

Reflections On A Mote Of Dust

Why Sagan, despite his failings,
will always be the greatest of my heroes

By Horst Sommer


Saturday, March 27, 2004
This is my new blogchalk:
Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, , , , photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability. :)
Most of these links are via "Making Light" by Teresa Nielsen Hayden

"The Panda's Thumb" is many things...
First, it is an example of jury-rigged evolutionary adaptation made famous by the late Stephen Jay Gould in an essay of the same name. Second, it is the legendary virtual bar serving the community of the legendary virtual University of Ediacara ( http://www.ediacara.org/ ) somewhere in the Ediacaran hills of southern Australia, growing out of the lore of the Usenet talk.origins newsgroup. And now it is a weblog giving another voice for the defenders of the integrity of science, the patrons of "The Panda's Thumb".

Richard Harter's Evolution Quiz - from the University of Ediacara site

Post-Furman Botched Executions
(from the Death Penalty Information Centre)
Not nice reading.

Wonderful, spooky image of Mars

Body Modifiers Alert!
Risks. This section of BME is designed to allow practioners, clients, and enthusiasts to exchange information about risks, complications, and their treatment in a non-judgemental forum with the purpose of fostering a self-regulating safe and responsible body modification community. Please be aware that this section is always growing and should not be treated as a complete archive

These slippers are made by knitting a pair of gigantic [and I mean GIGANTIC!] socks at a very loose gauge, then slowly felting them either in the washing machine or by hand to a custom fit.

If you've never knitted socks before, these slippers are ideal. They knit up quickly with worsted weight yarn and large needles and the felting process is very forgiving of errors. In the end, it's nearly impossible to tell they were knitted at all

Old Views of Rome: sights.seindal.dk/sight/768_Engraving_by_Tempesta.html
Friday, March 26, 2004

... arrived in UK, met Steve Jones and signed lots of bookplates for him for his Dark Delicacies signing of the new edition of the Mammoth Book of Vampires (or possibly the Vampire Book of Mammoths)

www.bookslut.com/blog/archives/ 2004_03.php#001760
Susan Shapiro Barash is interviewed ( www.nerve.com/screeningroom/books/ interview_shapirobarish/ ) at Nerve about her book The New Wife: The Evolving Role of the American Wife. As someone who never planned out her dream wedding at the age of ten, and who has trouble saying "Congratulations" instead of "I'm sorry" when friends announce engagements, I don't know what the fuck she's on about.

The twenty-first-century wife is someone who finally has taken a look at the examples. There's her grandmother, who's probably still married to her grandfather. There's her mother, the baby boomer, who's disillusioned. There's her aunt who's forty and has a great job as a lawyer, but is dealing with fertility clinics. The new wife wants the self-confidence that her mother had in the workplace, the education that the '80s and '90s made a necessity, and the glamour and nourishment her grandmother had. She wants to get married younger, she wants to be available to her husband. She'll be well-educated, but doesn't feel this pull of right or wrong over missing one beat in the workplace. Her attitude is "I'll have children young, I'll go back to work and use my degree as I see fit." Women have never said that before.

Why do I have the feeling this woman will show up on Oprah pretty damn soon?
Posted by Jessa Crispin link


Gail Rebuck is going against the doomsayers of the publishing industry. As the world gets more chaotic, she proposes, people will crave less chaotic media.

The qualities that brands and institutions want are trust, authenticity, emotion, respect, personalisation and empowerment. Presentations outlined the exponential increase in the media, with individuals having to contend with a bewildering amount of messages: hundreds of TV channels, millions of websites, 250 commercial radio stations, 8,000 magazines, third-generation mobile phones, text messaging. Every Saturday or Sunday broadsheet newspaper contains more information than the average person in the 17th century would have been exposed to in a lifetime.

The result is the ever-increasing necessity to shout louder to get heard. The accent is on the sensational, the personal, the controversial, anything to stand out from the crowd. It means that seriousness, reflection, and balance are squeezed out. And one of the effects is a spiralling crisis in the relationship between media, politics and the people. The media is accused of distortion and cynicism, the government is accused of spin in its attempts to get over its message and the public ends up confused, disillusioned and often angry. This relationship is near breaking point. This is the world of inauthentic communication; communication that is losing trust. Both media and politicians need to step back and rethink the relationship.

Yet people crave moments of authenticity. And so as I listened to those marketing presentations, as speaker after speaker outlined the attributes of successful products and campaigns, one word kept coming into my mind: books. What the marketeers believed to be desirable in every product were the very characteristics of the industry I had been part of all my life. The oldest of all the media, ironically, is the one most in tune with the times.


Something in the dihydrogen monoxide
Health-obsessed California's latest environmental scare exposed dangerously high levels of gullibility, reports Dan Glaister
Wednesday March 24, 2004

The city councillors of Aliso Viejo in Orange County, California, are well-meaning, socially responsible people. And when they came across the huge threat posed to their constituents by dihydrogen monoxide they did what any elected official should do: they took steps to protect their community. A motion due to go before the city legislature proposed banning the potentially deadly substance from within the city boundaries ...
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
March 22, 2004
Fighting Words
Sadly No! has already posted a rush transcript of the 60 Minutes interview with Richard Clarke, if anyone's interested in savoring some of those great lines. ( www.sadlyno.com/archives/60min_StahlClarke_transcript.html )

The bit about Bush drawing big Xs over the known Al Qaeda leaders (like a kid winnowing his baseball card collection down to size) is choice, but my personal favorite is still this:

STAHL: Don't you think he handled himself and hit all the right notes after 9/11, showed strength, got us through it, you don't give him credit for that?

CLARKE: He gave a really good speech right after 9/11.

When it comes to deadpan humor, this guy's definitely got some chops

The Sadly No! entry referring to this interview and linking to the transcript is:
Battle Station Crawford!
If you didn't see tonight's (Mar 21/04) 60 minutes segment with BushCo's former counter-terrorism advisor, Richard Clarke, read the transcript: it's devastating. Clarke served Reagan, Bush I, and through both Clinton terms as the Terrorism Czar ...
in the meantime here are a few noteworthy chunks to mull over: ...
Posted by Peanut at March 22, 2004 09:24 AM

I wonder if this was inspired by our Beloved & Respected Government's practice of charging discharged detainees for board, or if both were inspired by a similar example elsewhere, or it's just the kind of mentality some have? After all, it was a tradition in the English debtor's prisons & so forth.

We locked you up in jail for 25 years and you were innocent all along? That’ll be £80,000 please
Blunkett charges miscarriage of justice victims ‘food and lodgings’
By Neil Mackay, Home Affairs Editor
WHAT do you give someone who’s been proved innocent after spending the best part of their life behind bars, wrongfully convicted of a crime they didn’t commit?

An apology, maybe? Counselling? Champagne? Compensation? Well, if you’re David Blunkett, the Labour Home Secretary, the choice is simple: you give them a big, fat bill for the cost of board and lodgings for the time they spent freeloading at Her Majesty’s Pleasure in British prisons.

On Tuesday, Blunkett will fight in the Royal Courts of Justice in London for the right to charge victims of miscarriages of justice more than £3000 for every year they spent in jail while wrongly convicted. The logic is that the innocent man shouldn’t have been in prison eating free porridge and sleeping for nothing under regulation grey blankets ...
One Example
ROBERT Brown was just a 19-year-old from Glasgow when he was jailed for life for murdering a woman called Annie Walsh in Manchester in 1977. He served 25 years before he was finally freed in 2002, when the courts ruled him innocent of the crime.

He is now facing a bill of around £80,000 for the living expenses he cost the state ...

There are many loggings of this aroudn the blogs, many with headings like "You have GOT to be joking!"
One comment from www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/005733.html
Beyond belief
Bill for the bullet. Christ.
Blunkett makes a very interesting case study for the statist whose mind is so warped that it leads him to come to ideas a six-year-old could recognize as horrible. There's some sick moral inversion that goes on in the brain of someone like that where the people exist as grist for the government mill rather than the government being a construct of the people. Any psychology students feel like writing their thesis on Blunkett? I think the world could benefit.
Posted by Andy Danger at March 16, 2004 05:36 AM

Here is a bit of a follow up about the appeal against the disallowance of this. Will have to follow to find out what decision comes down eventually.
Ruling appeal over B&B bill
Eric Allison, prisons correspondent
Tuesday March 16, 2004

The Guardian
The Home Office is to appeal today against a court ruling that victims of notorious miscarriages of justice should not have to pay the bed-and-breakfast bill for their time in jail ...
Michael Hickey staged two prison rooftop protests against his conviction. One, during a severe winter, lasted 87 days. His brother Vincent spent 44 days on hunger strike.
Vincent Hickey said yesterday: "I should have gone on hunger strike for longer than 44 days: then the bill would have been less."

On a more cheerful note:
York Atmospheric Chemistry Group Curry Website www.york.ac.uk/res/atmoschem/Curry.html
The only website* where York's Curry House's are expertly reviewed by trained scientists** and published in a respected scientific journal***.
* As far as I am aware
**All reviewers are trained to at least degree level in Chemistry
*** New Scientist, 20 March 2004, page 88

[I refuse to make jokes about the effect on the atmosphere of the results of curry-munching, etc.]

Bob Zangas' Journey In Iraq
He was killed in a roadside attack after this entry.
Monday, March 22, 2004
Could be good news in the Malaysian elections, just completed. 2004 does seem to be a year of elections.
www.emedia.com.my/Current_News/NST/Sunday/ Features/20040321083701/Article/indexb_html


www.cnsnews.com/ ViewForeignBureaus.asp?Page=%5CForeign Bureaus%5Carchive%5C200403%5CFOR20040322b.html
Malaysia's 'Gentler' Leader Gets Strong Mandate, Trounces Islamists
By Patrick Goodenough
CNSNews.com Pacific Rim Bureau Chief
March 22, 2004

Pacific Rim Bureau (CNSNews.com) - A resounding victory for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Malaysian elections has dealt a significant blow to the country's radical Islamic party. By drawing a line under the Mahathir Mohamad era, it also clears the way for a less prickly relationship between Kuala Lumpur and Washington [and Australia].

The results constituted a clear response by Malaysia's Muslim Malay majority to Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) vision of an Islamic state under shari'a law. PAS had also sparked controversy during the short campaign by claiming that its supporters would go to heaven while other voters would go to hell.

PAS has controlled Kelantan state since 1990, and in elections in 1999 seized control of another state, Terengganu, where its attempts to introduce shari'a punishments such as stoning and amputation ran into federal roadblocks.

It went into the election saying it planned to add another one or two of Malaysia's 13 states to the list of PAS-ruled regions.

Instead, PAS has lost Terengganu, and looks set also to be defeated in Kelantan, too.

Adding to the routing, PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang, who was also chief minister of Terengganu, also lost his seat in the federal parliament ...

Looking for the letter, headlined
'No Teetering Here' by a Mr Herman in reply to Orson Scott Card's article in Rhinotimes, it is apparently not archived. Some of the current letters do have good points. This is an extract of one (which will also probably be gone quite soon):
Rushing to poor choices ( www.rhinotimes.com/greensboro/letters.html 18/3/2004)
... If I should sacrifice what I love, meaning my school, and that sacrifice is for the common good, then I might consider a more cooperative demeanor. But this plan is not devised to serve students. It is our job to look out for our own children first, but it is our civic duty to use our hearts and our brains to advance the common good. This plan helps me with neither standard ...
Terri Rooks

"All Left Boots" story - can't find an online reference

I believe this was told about Napoleon's invasion of Russia.
One reason to disbelieve this particular version is that at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, boots were made 'straight', i.e., there weren't left & right versions (a painful thought). The story was obviously told in a time when these were much more common.

James Madison, open letters "To the People of the State of New York", published in the 'Federalist' during 1787/88.
Wednesday, February 6, 1788: "It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure." ( memory.loc.gov/const/fed/fed_10.html )

John Stuart Mill's essay 'On Liberty' "That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil, in case he do otherwise." ( www.serendipity.li/jsmill/jsmill.htm )

In short, the idea that the will of the majority should not be permitted to override the rights of the minority is not in itself anti-democratic
Heading for the Finish Line (Local Government Elections due 27th March, 2004)

Moore looks to Big Apple for city of villages plan
By Anne Davies, Urban Affairs Editor
March 22, 2004

... Ms Moore has unveiled her planning policy, which aims to nurture the 34 village "places" from Millers Point in the north to Rosebery in the south.

"The greatest cities in the world, such as New York, London and Paris are amalgams of discrete communities, such as Greenwich Village in New York, or the arrondissements of Paris," she said.

These inner-city villages have their own character and creative cultures. People identify with places, she said.

Under Ms Moore's policy, the community would be consulted on how to develop the unique character of each village, and those that have lost their identity would be salvaged.

Pedestrian and bike paths would be designed to link the villages, while their centres would be based around community owned buildings such as town halls.

She has also promised to establish an economic development unit to promote a return of small business.

It would also undertake long-term planning for the commercial needs of the city, but demands for more commercial floor space would need to be sympathetic to the historical characteristics of each village.

She has also promised a review of public open space to determine whether the inner-city has enough to deal with its growing population.

Sunday, March 21, 2004
Yonmei has added to her piece Dissecting Orson Scott Card ( www.livejournal.com/users/yonmei/236010.html ), now (Pt 5) www.livejournal.com/users/yonmei/235072.html. She refers to his piece as a lying piece of bigotry (he titled it Civilization)

I mentioned the other four parts earlier, on March 8, 2004

Biggest little bottle in the world! (via Making Light)
You can also order Klein beanies & related products, such as a Chinese Spouting Bowl (aka Chinese Singing Bowl, Chinese Fish Basin, a Spouting Dragon Bowl, Bronze Dancing Water Basin, Singing Fountain Bowl, Oriental Bronze Spouting Bowl), as well as exploring this and related subjects at: www.kleinbottle.com/index.htm.
Their motto is "Acme Klein Bottles - where yesterday's future is here today!"

IBM to Help Defense Manage RFID Program
Wednesday, March 17
United States, Mar 17, 2004 (Newsbytes via COMTEX) -- IBM Corp's Business Consulting Services has won an $8.4 million, three-year contract from the Defense Department to help develop a Radio Frequency Identification Device policy for 43,000 defense suppliers, the company said.

Defense Department suppliers are required to include passive RFID tags on products at the pallet and case level by 2005. The department expects RFID technology to improve data quality, supply management, asset visibility and materiel maintenance.

The Iraq on the Record database
www.house.gov/reform/min/features/iraq_on_the_record/ The Special Investigations Division compiled a database of statements about Iraq made by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary Powell, and National Security Advisor Rice. All of the statements in the database were drawn from speeches, press conferences and briefings, interviews, written statements, and testimony by the five officials.

The Iraq on the Record report (PDF), prepared at the request of Rep. Henry A. Waxman, is a comprehensive examination of the statements made by the five Administration officials most responsible for providing public information and shaping public opinion on Iraq

Putting things in context & perspective, we can contemplate the earliest extant example of writing in Latin by a woman in an exhibition of the Vindolanda writing tablets - Tabulae Vindolandenses - ( vindolanda.csad.ox.ac.uk:8080/4DACTION/ WebRequestQuery?searchTerm=291&searchType=number&search Field=TVII&thisListPosition=1&thisPageNum=0 [watch spaces]) (Tablet 291, a letter to Sulpicia Lepidina from Claudia Severa, wife of Aelius Brocchus, sending Lepidina a warm invitation to visit her for her (Severa's) birthday and appending greetings to Cerialis from herself and greetings from her husband.
From the Exhibition home page online ( vindolanda.csad.ox.ac.uk/exhibition/index.shtml )
"The Vindolanda writing tablets, written in ink on post-card sized sheets of wood, have been excavated at the fort of Vindolanda, immediately south of Hadrian’s Wall in northern England. Dating to the the late first and early second centuries AD, the formative period of Roman Britain’s northern frontier, they were written by and for soldiers, merchants, women and slaves. Through their contents, life in one community on the edge of the Roman world can be reconstructed in detail."
Another Ever-popular Favourite returns, still pertinent
Further comments are below, but here is something I wrote a while back giving an example of how a "booming economy" and "growth" isn't the mythical "rising tide that lifts all boats", apart from probably being unsustainable, followed by the Twisted Logic of current uses of "aspiration" and "envy".

Arguments on The Fallacy of Averages

A Child’s Guide to the Wonder of Statistics

Take a happy group of 10 survivors on the bead economy.
One lucky beado gets 90 beads; one poor beader only 10; eight get 50 beads each.
Total 500, average 50.

Big Boy Beado gets tax cuts & subsidies, funded by cutting ‘middle class welfare’ & general public physical & social infrastructure, does beadstock option speculation — partially funded through cutting the workforce, the wages & conditions, &c. of average working beaders (thus moving beads from them to him).
‘Disadvantaged’ Beadie gets social equity boost from the government to 15.
One lucky or cunning BeadHolder more than doubles his to 110 (maybe in Microsphere shares or real estate).

Now: Big Boy Beado has 225 beads instead of 90, ‘Disadvantaged’ Beadie gets 15 instead of 10, BeadHolder has 110 instead of 50, and seven average little beaders only have 25 where they had 50.
Total 525, average 52.5 each.

"We’re ahead!", cries the Tribal Council.

"Average beads are up!" (52.5 v 50) and
"The poor are better off!" (15 v 10) and
"The pie is bigger!" (525 v 500) they crow.

But 7 of 10 are worse off beadwise, & underlying support for all is less, so that most need to spend more time earning to have the same _material_ standard of living they had before. This usually means their _overall_ standard of living, which most humans calculate as including family or community time & bonds, and leisure time.

Even the poorest is worse off compared to the highest (earlier 10/90 (=1/9th) is greater than current 15/225 (=1/15th)).

Do you think before or after is a happier & more cohesive group;?

'Business leaders' call for "certainty" while talking up the virtue of "flexibility" for those who do the actual work. Strangely, their versions of both make it easier for them & harder for anyone else trying to, say, bring up a family, have a secure home life, take care of elderly parents or support their local community.

'Business leaders' explain that, personally, "the money isn't that important" --- yet very few put their earnings above a certain amount towards charity, or back into their company to reward wage-slaves -- but also that "you pay peanuts, you get monkeys", but, further that somehow neither of these apparently apply to human beings below a particular level. Such creatures must rely on the 'trickle down' (disgusting image, see early chapters of Frank Herbert's "Dune" for a literal example) to improve their life, unless they too join in the ruthless exploitation of the world or fellow humans.

The Australian idea used to be that everyone is entitled to have a reasonable, good education, everyone, having benefited from all the previous generations, contributes to the education of the current crop of children and will benefit from that in the future.

The same with medical treatment -- if Kerry Packer pays his taxes he is as entitled to use the general ambulance service if he has a sudden heart attack as anyone else is. He doesn't have to pay for a private one to be there just for him just in case. And we all benefit because there's a well-supported service.

Again, the same applies to a good public transport system instead of continual cutbacks, with tax support for private cars & roadbuilding.

This is what Australians would "aspire" to; a better society for everyone.

The present ideology puts general public good at the very bottom -- along with the world (or 'environment' that supports life) ...

If you rip the guts out of general public services - transport, health, education, social support for those in difficulty - grind down those who are trying to work in them, treat the passengers, patients, pupils, people who use them without respect, as 'no count trash', naturally those who are able to will probably move away.

And those who can't? It's axiomatic if you treat people like garbage, they won't love you or treat you well either. Getting respect means giving respect. (Respect: not "Let them hate me so long as they fear me".) So you end up in a vicious circle of increasing 'public squalor', driving more away.

When you criticise this or similar, it is labelled: "The Politics of Envy".

When you say a policy or set of behaviours is greedy, selfish, short-sighted & very destructive, this is called 'envy'. But 'envy' means you want what the other person has. What you are doing is 'aspiring' to a _better_way_ of doing things, perhaps benefiting yourself too, but society & the world most importantly. You don't want lots of expensive cars, but a better public transport system.

If you want to imitate the people doing destructive, selfish & short-sighted things, this is called 'aspiring'. Surely _this_ is 'envy'. You may 'aspire' for yourself & your family (like the Suharto family did) without caring what the consequences are for anyone or anything else - the well-known phrase is "bugger you Jack, I'm alright".

Stewart renews 'Daily Show' contract
Friday, March 19
NEW YORK, Mar 19, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Comedian Jon Stewart will continue hosting "The Daily Show," his New York-based mock TV news program, for at least four more years.
Stewart has signed a contract to stay on the Comedy Central show [to] 2008, the New York Daily News reported [on] Friday ...
Stewart has opted to continue poking fun of newsmakers, and interviewing politicians and celebrities on a show that he executive produces and has made his own.

Stewart, whose photo recently graced the cover of Newsweek, took over "The Daily Show" anchor position in 1998 after Craig Kilborn left to replace Tom Snyder on CBS' "Late Late Show."
Saturday, March 20, 2004
One of those things you can set up with search engines (well, Google)
Searching Google for the exact phrase "bush's foreign friends", and setting "I'm Feeling Lucky"


Friday, March 19, 2004
Change a few names to the appropriate Australian commentators, & this is something I've thought on occasion
Anyway, I guess I've also been thinking a lot about how much time we all waste in the blogosphere... I mean, do we really need to discuss the latest wingnut quackery ...

Wingnuts like Coulter and Limbaugh and Jonah Goldberg sit around and whip off stream-of-consciousness rants as fast as they can, then paste 'em up at NRO, The Weekly Standard, and similarly disreputable places, knowing that people like Ezra Klein and David Neiwert and Bilmon will then spend hours of their time on detailed analyses of mindless rants that couldn't have taken more than five minutes to write. Thus lots of smart people waste their time--time that could have been spent actively working to, for example, get the current band of lunatics and criminals out of the White House--refuting nonsense. As one of my colleagues pointed out to me, in academia we often spend more time refuting the nonsense cranked out by famous morons than the famous morons spent writing the nonsense in the first place. The wingnuts, I hypothesize, have come to realize that if they throw a really stupid argument our way, instead of ignoring it we'll drop what we're doing and waste our time formulating arguments against it. Thus their five minutes of work sucks hours of work out of some smart liberal who might otherwise have spent his time effectively.

Whaddaya think? Paranoid enough for ya?

Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Richard Glover had a discussion with Dr Coral Bell on the local ABC (702 Sydney - formerly 2BL) about a book she just published.

Cold War Casualties - a long sorry story

A very interesting discussion with Dr Bell. The world didn't suffer a M.A.D.-style nuclear war, thank goodness.

But surely you should count in:
firstly, some proportion of the Korean & Vietnam war deaths (incl some in French part), since those wars were lengthened & intensified by Cold War involvment.
We tend to remember the US & Australian dead, but there were millions of North & South Vietnamese, plus 'collateral damage' in nearby countries.

Then some of the Cambodian Holocaust ('Killing Fields') victims, since the country was laid open to Pol Pot's victory by being sideswiped during the Vietnam engagment.

One could also put some of the USSR/CCCP dead from the late 1940's onward, as the excuse was usually that they were supporting The Enemy. Even excluding Stalin's Terror from earlier, this would be quite a few.

Add in all the thousands and thousands of both The Disappeared in 'left-wing' and 'right-wing' dictatorships around the world, whether Europe, Latin America, Africa or other places (some quite close to us), and those starved & worked to death in camps, I think(?) mostly in 'left-wing' countries (apart from USSR/CCCP).

These regimes were propped up by one or the other side, many were simply the usual 'strongman' dictators that infest human history, but they used the rhetoric of one side or the other to get support.

There would also be a huge number of poorly-known deaths from the "brushfire wars", Angola etc. - the almost-invisible sort of things still going in Africa & beyond, like the Contra terrorist/freedom fighters supported by Reagan's administration.

Again, one side would appeal to the USSR or China as fighting the oppressive government and the other would then appeal to the US to oppose the left-wing guerillas (or vice-versa), even tho' examination could show neither side was anything much more than fighting for power in the dirtiest of ways.

Yet again, like terrorism & reaction against it today, the cannon-fodder troops could be recruited by ideology or religion as well as force, whether or not this coincided with the leaders' true beliefs.

In all this, I am not even touching on the other 'collateral damage'; those who died not directly through fighting or state terror, but through disease or injury or starvation caused by sanctions against their country, or the dedication of funds in their country to arms & supporting oppression or kleptocracies in the name of ideology rather than improving the lot of their population, or the destruction of infrastructure in either battles or guerilla wars.

Alas, these casualties seem to be continuing quite unabated, as the heralded "Peace Dividend" is sucked back into armaments, rather than advancement, and 'other people" are again painted black or white like chess pieces to be shuffled around the board instead of fellow humans to be dealt with on their merits. And the world beyond humans? Just a battlefield & mine for resources, instead of a living & beautiful home.

I miss Barbara Tuchman's incisive analysis, shown in work like her "March of Folly" - a book I'd highly recommend for today's world.
Limerick Competition, James O'Loghlin's ABC 702 Sydney (2BL) evening program.
The subject was "Something you have that you don't want", with the 'bonus' word "cake".

    Three houses, two cars and a hole -
    One in my body and one in my soul -
        Organising a wake,
        Not a wedding cake,
    These were neither my hopes nor my goal.

Several other people poetized about unwanted weight, one went all postmodernly self-referential and used the subject of the subject. There were some lovely ones, and as usual a couple that didn't fit the 'limerick' form. Someday I'll get my fancy radio-tape-CD unit to have good radio reception so I can tape these. Also, as often, I don't think my absolute favourite won. Oh well.

Could do it this week because I'd been home sick (possibly overdid at the gym on Monday, nasty diaphram seizure). Spent most of the day out on the floor, on top of a couple of cushions and a sheepfleece car seat cover rescued from last council cleanup in good condition.
Sunday, March 14, 2004
McDonald's salad fattier than burger
Tuesday, March 9, 2004 Posted: 6:47 AM EST (1147 GMT)
LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Global hamburger giant McDonald's latest line in healthy looking salads may contain more fat than its hamburgers, according to the company's Web site.

Incitatus was the name of Caligula's favored horse. Some have indicated that the horse was attended to by eighteen servants, and was fed oats mixed with gold flake; according to Suetonius, Incitatus had a stable of marble, with an ivory manger, purple blankets and a collar of precious stones. Suetonius wrote also that Caligula supposedly wanted to make his horse a Consul.

The horse would also "invite" dignitaries to dine with him, and had a house with full complement of servants to entertain such guests.

One popular anecdote indicates that Caligula once brought Incitatus into the Roman senate and appointed the animal senator.

Incitatus was the horse of Caligula Gaius Caesar. Caligula lived from AD 12 to 41, as the Roman emperor, son of Germanicus and successor to Tiberius (in AD 37). Through his unrational and cruel behaviour he became known as being mentally unstable.

The Roman historian Suetonius, reported just a generation or two after Caligula's death that "besides a stall of marble, a manger of ivory, purple blankets and a collar of precious stones, he even gave this horse a house. . . . It is also said that he intended to make him Consul." By the time of the less cautious historian Dio Cassius, the rumour had become "fact": "He even promised to appoint [his horse] consul, a promise that he would certainly have carried out if he had lived longer." 1

An old drink quite popular among the young when I was young (probably out of fashion now) was Stone's Original Green Ginger Wine www.ciao.co.uk/Stones_Original_Green_Ginger_Wine__Review_5359230 which gets a glowing review, especially for medicinal purposes at that link. A sample:
"Here I sit, wrapped up in a blanket, big mug of steaming honey and lemon in hand, box of tissues at my side and feeling completely miserable. Ah yes, it's cold season again. Forgive me if I splutter and sneeze on you.

If, like me, you can't or won't let a cold stop you working, or have a house and kids to organise, then take my advice and buy yourself a bottle of Stone's ginger wine.

Ginger wine. Yes, wine made with ginger. Actually, the wine is made with raisins imported from Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, which ground ginger is then steeped in for several weeks, before being left to mellow and mature. The whole process takes about a year..."

There's pictures of the bottle & some info at:
Or, for the German-speaking, at www.whisky-shopping.de/de/dept_265.html
"Stone’s Original Green Ginger Wine has been made in Australia since the early 1960’s to the same recipe as it has been produced in England since 1740. Stone’s is believed to be one of the oldest registered wine or spirit brands in continuous production since its initial launch."

Though if you're interested in checking it out, you'd have to track it down in your area. It does seem to be around in the USA, possibly from UK sources.
second person, singular (at blogspot)
Interesting thoughts & writing. Spare but attractive format.

it's one of my many unprovable theories that each of us is as infinite as a galaxy, as a universe... this is what makes death so horrible, it deprives those who are left living of access, not to just a person, or a personality, but to a unique infinite multiplicity.

sip. refresh ice and bourbon.


Shield your eyes... [a blog] dragon-light.blogspot.com/2004_03_01_dragon-light_archive.html
Saturday, March 13, 2004
Life vs. death.
Life vs. physics.

Trees grow tall against gravity. Cells and organisms alter to prevent disease and damage to themselves. Humans build, create against the flow of the earth. Physics craves neutrality. The waves eventually beat the shore into a straight line. Everything erodes. Atoms decay. Life defies physics.

Sunday, March 07, 2004
    Earth needs fire to control itself.
    Earth needs water to nourish itself.
    Earth needs air to nourish itself.

    Fire needs water to control itself.
    Fire needs earth to nourish itself.
    Fire needs air to nourish itself.

    Water needs earth to control itself.
    Water needs air to change itself.
    Water needs fire to change itself.

    Air needs water to define itself.
    Air needs earth to define itself.
    Air needs fire to define itself.


Monday, February 2, 2004

12:26 p.m.
So grand was his motorized steed
The loud exhibition of speed
Brought cops and tow truck
And that sorta sucked
When car keys he had to concede.

4:12 p.m. A society that worships cars so much that homes are made with a special room for them offers no similar quarter to musicians. They’re not even allowed to use the garage for long, and it doesn’t even matter that they might someday manufacture noise suitable for playback through a car stereo - hell, computers can do that these days.


Japan Seeks Robotic Help in Caring for the Aged
By James Brooke, the New York Times
March 5, 2004

(FOREIGN DESK | March 5, 2004, Friday
Machida Journal; Japan Seeks Robotic Help in Caring for the Aged

By JAMES BROOKE (NYT) 962 words
Late Edition - Final , Section A , Page 1 , Column 2 [This NYT page is archived, only abstract is free, so have given alternative link.])

MACHIDA, Japan- With an electronic whir, the machine released a dollop of "peach body shampoo," a kind of body wash. Then, as the cleansing bubbling action kicked in, Toshiko Shibahara, 89, settled back to enjoy the wash and soak cycle of her nursing home's new human washing machine.

"The temperature is just right — the bubbles are really comfortable," she said, happily sealed up to her neck inside the Sanyo Electric Company's latest elder care product. Turning to an attendant hovering around the pink, clamshell-shaped "assisted-care bath," she asked, "May I have a bit more water, please?"

Futuristic images of elderly Japanese going through rinse and dry cycles in rows of washing machines may evoke chills. But they also point to where the world's most rapidly aging nation is heading.

This spring Japanese companies plan to start marketing a "robot suit," a motorized, battery-operated pair of pants designed to help the aged and infirm move around on their own. Then there is the Wakamaru, a mobile, three-foot-high speaking robot equipped with two camera eyes. It is used largely by working people to keep an eye on their elderly parents at home.

These devices and others in the works will push Japanese sales of domestic robots to $14 billion in 2010 and $40 billion in 2025 from nearly $4 billion currently, according to the Japan Robot Association.

Leaders of the Philippines and Thailand, two countries that are negotiating free trade pacts with Japan, suggest a different route: granting work visas to tens of thousands of foreign nurses. But that is unlikely in a nation that last year granted asylum to only 10 refugees and in the last decade has issued about 50,000 work visas a year — a fraction of the 640,000 immigrants a year that demographers say are necessary to prevent Japan's population from shrinking ...

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Friday, March 12, 2004
Values: Avedon Carol writes It's the Christianity, Stupid
www.dailynewsonline.com/founder_carol_avedon/ 2004_03_09_archive_article.php#107880462025671554

This whole article (excerpted below) very much expresses my history and thinking.
One other strong Christian precept -- also found in other traditions -- some should think about: "Do as you would be done by".

It's the Christianity, Stupid.
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
By Avedon Carol

... I was raised on the Gospels and that, to a large extent, this is where my values come from, even though I've left all the churchifying behind ... I was taught that certain things were right and certain things were wrong, and I've thought about those things a lot in my lifetime, and they still seem pretty solid to me, whether you believe in a Higher Being or not
Consider the teachings of Jesus: He preached against public piety, against putting material wealth above the spiritual, against casting the first stone, against bigotry. He spoke up for the poor and told us to love our neighbors. He blessed the peacemakers and the merciful, and taught his followers to share. He preached love, hope, and charity. He was about forgiveness and redemption.

And so, as someone who, "was raised on the Good Book Jesus 'til I read between the lines," it's pretty much impossible for me to look at the modern GOP and the Christian right - and particularly at the Bush administration - and see any of Jesus' teachings there. I don't claim to know the mind of any god (which, after all, would be blasphemy), but it seems to me that Bush represents the kind of self-righteous, publicly pious, war-mongering rich men who Jesus warned us not to become

So there it is: We're liberals because no matter how far we've strayed from Sunday School, we still think like Christians - even those of us who never were.

And that's what it really means that America is a nation with Christian values. And by those values, we have to reject the leadership we are getting from Bush and the GOP.

www.tokyoflash.com/viewwatch.php?id=13&from=W1 [link should work] via www.gizmodo.com/archives/whats_in_your_gadget_bag_cory.php from Electrolite > Sidelight ("What has Cory got in his pocketses?")
TokyoFlash OVO DecisionMaker watch[old link] : this is the dumbest and coolest watch I've ever owned (my grandfather was a watchmaker, so I've owned quite a few). It has a built-in fortune-teller and direction-suggester (buttons you press to make it do a little animation and then toss a coin or spin a spinner), and a bunch of really cute, faux-futuristic animation routines. The physical design is GREAT, just beautiful to look at, like something from the set of Rollerball, and I relish the impracticality of a watch that makes you sit through a 10-second animation before showing you the time, and which periodically goes into "naughty mode" where it distorts the time so that you can't read it until you give it a "corrective shake" that's hard enough to trip the built-in motion-sensor. -- Cory Doctorow
Thursday, March 11, 2004
Chilling end to global warming forecast
Chilling end to global warming forecast
By Richard Macey
March 11, 2004

Global warming could disrupt the world's sea currents, sending Europe into a chill within 100 years and devastating tropical ocean life, a CSIRO scientist says.

Richard Matear, a Hobart-based marine researcher, said the oxygen content of deep ocean water between Australia and Antarctica had fallen 3 per cent since 1968.

If new research confirmed the decline was happening throughout the world's southern oceans, it would be a strong sign global warming was interfering with sea currents.

According to NASA "the thawing of sea ice covering the Arctic could disturb or even halt large currents in the Atlantic Ocean.

"Without the vast heat these currents deliver - comparable to the power generation of a million nuclear power plants - Europe's average temperature would likely drop 5 to 10 degrees."

While North America would not be as severely hit, the space agency said "such a dip in temperature would be similar to global average temperatures toward the end of the last ice age roughly 20,000 years ago"...

On May 18th, 2003 a post started out:
I think calling it 'global warming' is a mistake, people in cooler climates just think, 'hey, that'd be nice'. It's increasing the energy put into the system:
the Highs get higher,
the Lows get lower,
the Drys get drier,
the Winds get blowier,
and whole systems that are balanced get tipped, and who knows which way they'll go?

Sudden Climate Change?
"When 'climate change' is referred to in the press, it normally means greenhouse warming, which, it is predicted, will cause flooding, severe windstorms, and killer heat waves. But warming could also lead, paradoxically, to abrupt and drastic cooling:

The New Scientist
Global Environment Report: All you ever wanted to know about climate change:

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
Ocean & Climate Change Institute: Abrupt Climate Change
Most of the studies and debates on potential climate change have focused on the ongoing buildup of industrial greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and a gradual increase in global temperatures. But recent and rapidly advancing evidence demonstrates that Earth’s climate repeatedly has shifted dramatically and in time spans as short as a decade. And abrupt climate change may be more likely in the future.


(This lists links to articles of interest, including a FAQ: Common Misconceptions about Abrupt Climate Change.)

PNAS* Online Special Features

PNAS is offering a series of free online special issues that highlight cutting edge research in the physical and social sciences, mathematics, and biology. The special issues feature a cluster of related Perspective articles and peer-reviewed research articles.
Rapid Climate Change - February 15, 2000
Steven M. Stanley The past climate change heats up
PNAS 2000 97: 1319. [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Perspective articles
Richard B. Alley Ice-core evidence of abrupt climate changes
PNAS 2000 97: 1331-1334. [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Jonathan Overpeck and Robert Webb Nonglacial rapid climate events: Past and future
PNAS 2000 97: 1335-1338. [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF] (and 6 more)

Rapid climate change research in the same issue
Dennis L. Hartmann, John M. Wallace, Varavut Limpasuvan, David W. J. Thompson, and James R. Holton Can ozone depletion and global warming interact to produce rapid climate change?
PNAS 2000 97: 1412-1417. [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF] (and 5 more)

* Proceedigs of the National Academy of Sciences (USAA)

www.undoit.org/ (Petition/Action site)
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
How far, O rich, do you extend your senseless avarice?

Do you intend to be the sole inhabitants of the earth?

Why do you drive out the fellow sharers of nature, & claim it all for yourselves?
Nature gave all things in common for the use of all; usurpation created private rights.
Property hath no rights. The earth is the Lord's, & we are his offspring. The pagans hold
earth as property. They do blaspheme God.

— St. Ambrose
Monday, March 08, 2004
Fearful & Depressed in Lent
One does fear for the future when contemplating some developments, such as those mentioned in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald (copied from NY Times?).

Why the secular creed should heed those who keep the faith
Date: March 6 2003
Nicholas Kristof (The New York Times)

Evangelical Christians are increasingly important in every aspect of US culture ... As Professor Philip Jenkins notes in a new book, fundamentalist Christianity is racing through the developing world. The number of African Christians has soared over the last century from 10 million to 360 million, and the boom is among charismatic Pentecostalists...

[A similar point was touched upon by Miranda Devine in her War-wary will not weary them (SMH 2/12/2003) - at
www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2003/02/12/1044927661598.htm - who praised statesmen of great "moral purity" (the type that really frighten me).]

Perhaps because I was brought up in a fairly liberal Anglican parish, I haven't reacted as violently against the ignorant & authoritarian treatment some of my friends, colleagues & acquaintances received from their family, school or other religious instructors, but tried to take the ethical underpinnings into my own moral structure -- also using my science education -- which is strongly based on respect both for ones' fellow humans and the supporting world infrastructure ("environment"). [see also Jacob Bronowski* & Carl Sagan].

Atheism can be as dogmatic & ignorant as any theism. Fundamentalism can apply to many beliefs, including political & economic ones. As with religion or "traditional family values", there may be good things indeed within them, but when they are used in an authoritarian way to promote bigotry, ignorance & oppression, it is up to every decent person to repudiate that part of them. Unfortunately when people react against something, they do tend to swing the pendulum too far, for instance, lesbian separatists, some of the French revolutionaries, &c.

*Jacob Bronowski: Ascent of Man: Knowledge and Certainty
"Science is a very human form of knowledge....Every judgment in science stands on the edge of error.... Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible" ... "One aim of the physical sciences has been to give an exact picture of the material world. One achievement of physics in the twentieth century has been to prove that aim is unattainable" ...
(at Auschwitz) ... "When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods".

Quotes from this are at www.ronrecord.com/Quotes/bronowski.html

or skepdic.com/science.html

Some Other Straws in the Wind (S.O.S.)


11/2/2002 The World's Oldest Multinational Corporation:
A Catholic high school in Pennsylvania has awarded students extra credit for picketing an abortion clinic. More than 50 students of a religion class earned extra credit for picketing outside a Planned Parenthood clinic. The clinic also offers
counselling, cancer screenings and contraceptives.
Ann "invade them, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" Coulter is at it again. After advocating a new Crusade in the Middle East and war against France (for being too soft on terrorism), she has now addressed the American Conservative Union Foundation calling for the use of the death penalty to intimidate dissenters.
"When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too. Otherwise they will turn out to be outright traitors."
(There you have it, folks: the Taliban, one of the harshest Islamic Fundamentalist groups in the world, are "liberals", or their ideological kindred.)
The Main Blog Page ( dev.null.org/blog) includes the news from Rich Hall (an American comedian visiting Melbourne for their Comedy Festival):

"Some jokes are now acceptable in America that would never be permissible
in a mainstream British comedy club. 'Why are there no Muslims on Star Trek?'
Hall heard one American comic ask. 'Because it's set in the future.' ... You can
get away with that in America, because the basic mindset of most Americans is
that we're at war with the Muslims, and that really bothers me."
and the information:
"a study in Britain has found that having an arts degree reduces one's
earnings; in other words, people with arts degrees (in subjects such as
history and English) earn between 2% and 10% less than people with no
university degrees. "


Should I be happy I'm a science graduate? :)
I was shocked & disappointed that someone I thought from his writings, had some intelligent compassionate, sensible attitudes - despite circumstances that might militate against him developing them - is able to write what Yonmei is calling a lying piece of bigotry (he titled it Civilization) in her 4-Part (so far) Dissecting Orson Scott Card ( www.livejournal.com/users/yonmei/236010.html). An excellent set of arguments.
Another interesting aspect is that she is in the UK, so is able to separate herself from many of the US cultural assumptions, which can be as tricky to work out from the outside as they are sometimes to detect from within.

Thursday, March 04, 2004
Shock & Awe - Stunned & Amazed
Got Good News from final superannuation place. Happily they did a transfer straight to a bank account. I would have definitely been freaked out by the size of the cheque & the possibility of losing or having it stolen.

Still slightly stunned.

It's not like "it's all over now", though it sorta does feel that way, but that BIG step towards the end is here. It feels like a lot of money, but it wouldn't buy more than a derelict wreck of a building on a very small block somewhere unfashionable in Sydney. It will let me pay off the mortgages on the two small rented-out places in a small village-growing-into-a-town on the rail line between Sydney and New South Wales' second-largest city, Newcastle.

The other most important thing is to also pay back the friends (in particular one), who I literally owe $thousands to, for bills paid and other monetary support during my illness and the worst of the struggles. Mother said she would give me some of her savings (she has an inflated idea of how much she has, because she's still confused with how much things used to be or are now), and she "gave" me some to help with my partner's credit card debt payments. We did this by cheque, so there'd be a record, and I can definitely put that back, because it's very likely to be needed as she gets frailer & needs care.

The financial advisors say you have to have some sort of money still owing on houses you're renting out, but I've been (much earlier than this) in real no-money struggles with a big debt hanging over me. I do not like it at all, and have made sacrifices already to avoid it. If I leave some money owing, it will be a relatively small amount that I can be fairly certain to be able to pay in emergency so that the mortgagor won't be able to seize the property. Will have to work out what's possible. But it's tempting to get myself quite debt-free and then see what's left.

That's when I can tithe, because the money to go to the different estate debts isn't mine, it's the creditors' money. Have to decide what to support, how many ways it can be split and still be a reasonable amount. Since it's not going to be a very large amount, it may be better to give the small amounts to smaller charities where it will make a difference.

Some of the remainder can be used to repair his home (seriously in need of fixed electricals, plumbing, rebuilding back fibro portion that is physically falling apart) and also some smaller repairs needed on my house, and then I'll have to see what's left for a bit of personal stuff -- recliner chair for mother, new mattress for self, fancier blog :) -- and to relace my own savings that have been spent on all this.

Nearly two years now, getting closer to winding up &, maybe, moving on a bit. Not that he'll be forgotten, but I won't be so completely taken up with just sorting through his things, both actual & metaphorical.

Thoughts and feelings just running round & round. Not making all that much sense.
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
Not sure that I agree with this Quizilla Conclusion about me:

Non curo. Si metrum non habet, non est poema.

"I don't care. If it doesn't rhyme, it isn't a poem."

You are a type A personality. You like bright things, you don't call in sick to work, and you have devastating opinions about art.

Which Weird Latin Phrase Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


Monday, March 01, 2004
Chant Wars?
From Making Light comments on "Chant Wars" post

Andrew Sigel ::: February 28, 2004, 09:01 PM
I saw Sequentia and Dialogos present "Chant Wars" last weekend, by which time the program had acquired the far more staid title of "The Emperor's Cantors ? The Carolingian Globalization of Medieval Plainchant". Despite the image conjured up by the first title, Sequentia and Dialogos did not, alas, face each other across the church altar, one representing Rome and the other the Carolingian empire, and sing competing versions of a chant text.

It was, nevertheless, a fascinating program, with chant interspersed with readings from surviving writings about the confrontation between Roman and regional chant practices ...

In another cool recreation, Benjamin Bagby (director of Sequentia) has been commissioned by the Lincoln Center Festival to perform Beowulf in its entirety (six hours) in 2006. He currently does a performance version of the first quarter of that epic, and has a website that will give you an idea of what to expect... but unfortunately, I couldn't find any specific details on the 2006 performance. There's time yet.
[Wow! Maybe by then, live webcast? <sigh> a long way to go otherwise.]

From The Progressive "It Seems to Me" column by Howard Zinn
The Ultimate Betrayal

As for Jeremy Feldbusch, blinded in the war, his hometown of Blairsville, an old coal mining town of 3,600, held a parade for him, and the mayor honored him. I thought of the blinded, armless, legless soldier in Dalton Trumbo's novel Johnny Got His Gun, who, lying on his hospital cot, unable to speak or hear, remembers when his hometown gave him a send-off, with speeches about fighting for liberty and democracy. He finally learns how to communicate, by tapping Morse Code letters with his head, and asks the authorities to take him to schoolrooms everywhere, to show the children what war is like. But they do not respond. "In one terrible moment he saw the whole thing," Trumbo writes. "They wanted only to forget him."

( via "Seeing the Forest" www.seetheforest.blogspot.com/ 2004_02_01_seetheforest_archive.html#107755454462392478)
Sometimes people forget that it was us anti-war folks who had enough foresight to worry about these problems before the war took place.
I really think W should spend a day per week visiting injured soldiers. It might make him a bit less likely to take us into ... war again

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 / . Lives in Australia/New South Wales/Sydney, speaks English. Eye color is hazel. I am what my mother calls unique. My interests are photography, reading, natural history/land use, town planning, sustainability.

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Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.