Saturday, December 30, 2006
There have been hundreds of thousands, actually in a sense millions, of victims of Saddam Hussein, ranging from the Shi'ite majority, to the Kurds in the north of Iraq, to not an insignificant amount of the ruling Sunnis, to citizens of the Shi'ite nation of Iran which Saddam initiated a war with in the 1980's, and whom he assaulted with chemical weapons (as he did many of his own citizens) .
Out of all these hundreds of thousands, or more, victims of Saddam Hussein, now justice has been done-
For 148 of them. 148 Shi'ite men and boys of the town of Dujail, in 1982, who were summarrily executed, without benefit of a trial, for an alleged assassination attempt on Hussein not too long after he first came to power in Iraq (though technically Hussein was the actual ruler for about a decade prior to this, though not in name until about 1979).
Finally, these 148 men and boys have had their grievances aired in an Iraqi court, where Saddam and other co-defendants were tried for this assault on human decency.
At the very most, one percent of one percent of the victims of Saddam Hussein have received their days in court, their grievances heard, and now a part of the public record. For this one percent of one percent, justice has been done.
All of the others will now be quickly forgotten, their grievances never to see the light of day, save in possible future trials of some of Saddams co-conspirators, which will not begin to approach the level of public interest, scrutiny, or publicity. It will be nowhere near as compelling to the vast majority of people as, say, the Nuremburg trials without the presence of Adolf Hitler.
Now, how much more interesting would THAT have been, if Hitler had been a defendant. Transpose that to the current situation in Iraq, and you get the idea. Beides the victims themselves, no one will care, given the nature of the general unpopularity of this war on an international level, and in the US itself. No one outside of Iraq will care. No one outside of the survivors and other victims families will care more than a little.
But, oh well, the show is over. A good symbolic end to the old year, as well as start to the New Year, and to the onset of the Muslim holy festival of Eid. And a good way for the new Iraqi government to declare, however tenously, "now we are in charge."
Saddam, in his last few seconds on earth, had one last wish granted, to not wear the hood that would otherwise have covered his face. In his last symbolic act of showmanship, Saddam declared that he was a sacrifice to the Iraqi people. He also stated that Palestine was Arab.
Then he was hanged, though not with two of his co-defendants (his brother-in-law and the judge who ordered the executions of the Dujail victims) as originally planned, but all alone. This was Saddams day to atone for his crimes. His alone.
In an interesting statement prior to this, Saddam urged his friends and followers not to feel harshly toward the people of the invading nations, that they should not be considered on the same level of duplicity as their leaders.
Saddam Hussein is dead. No danger now of the spectacle of Saddams defense attorneys insisting on calling such American luminaries as former two time Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and current Vice-President Dick Cheney to testify as hostile witnesses-or to point out the embarrassment of their status as potential co-conspirators to this former ally that they backed long ago, with financial and military aid, right about the time a good lot of these atrocities occurred.
Did they know what he was doing? Did they really care? Was Saddam given a wink and a nod? Oh well-
Let's just forget all about that old stuff from long ago, and move forward. Who wants to live in the past?
Thursday, December 28, 2006
It has been lately announced that Miss Nevada, Katie Rees, might not be deprived of her crown after all, even though Donald Trump, the owner of the Miss USA pageant, and who holds the power to make the final decision over Miss Rees head like the Sword Of Damocles, declared in a recent interview that her situation doesn't look good. Although Trump declared he preferred not to say which way he was leaning in making his ultimate decision, Katie's chances are certainly problematic. More so than in the similar situation involving Miss Kentucky/Miss USA Tara Conner.
This is because, in the case of Miss Conner, there were no pictures of her antics to grace the Internet. The pictorial evidence is abundant in the case of Miss Rees, however. It must be pointed out, on the other hand, and in all fairness, that these pictures were taken a good three years ago, long before Miss Rees was considered, or herself considered, being involved with the pageant.
Frankly, I hope Trump is as merciful and gracious to her as she was Conner, who committed her evident breach of contract while wearing the crown of Miss USA, and with a Miss Teen USA pageant winner to boot (who has in the meantime been denounced by the organization MADD due to her alleged involvement with underage drinking). Still, Trump, in a public press conference in the company of a tearful and repentent Miss Conner, declared her to be a good person, and that she would be given a second chance. She would, however, be expected to conform to the pageants requirements from here on out, and undergo rehab.
I personally thought Trumps handling of the situation with Conner was actually quite commendable. Unfortunately, I do not hold out hopes for him offerring the same clemency to Ms. Rees. And this is due to no other reason, I believe, than his feud with O'Donnell.
I don't know for sure what O'Donnell's hang-ups are, but she started this fight, which was right up Trump's alley. She has been known to be strident and obnoxous when it comes to not just criticizing, but slamming and belittling people whose views waver from her own, something that she seems to think is unacceptable. Most people that have gotten on her bad side, which seems to be notoriously easy to do, fold up like cheap mattresses in awe of her wrath. They might protest their innocence or good intentions, such as Tom Sellick when he was bushwhacked on her old show over his membership in the NRA.
Or as Kelli of Kelli and Regis, when she jokingly chided Clay Aiken when he put his hand over her mouth (I don't know where that hand has been), which O'Donnell insisted was "homophobic".
But Trump has not relented, nor do I believe he ever will back down, from asserting his rights as the pageants owner, nor do I suspect he will apologize for calling O'Donnell a "fat ass" or "ugly" or by asserting that he could send one of his friends over to steal O'Donnells live-in girlfriend. Nor did he mince words in pointing out O'Donnells many failures, foibles, and foolhardy gaffs over the years.
O'Donnell has treaded carefully since all of this output by "The Donald", responding mainly by giving him a dirty look from the safety of the cameras of "The View". Other than that, she has not said a lot, though on her blog, she did write a poem called "Miami", in which she compared Trump to a pimp, and O'Conner (and it would seem pageant contestants in general) to prostitutes who are little more than slaves to the pimp.
I still don't understand what she is mad about. I get the oppossition to beauty pageants, but why this one in particular?
Is she mad because Trump gave Conner another chance that she did not deserve? Is she mad because he seems to feel he has a right to decide one way or another, and seemed to be making a big production out of it? Or is she merely incensed because Conner was engaged in lesbian acts, and so she feels obligated to be her staunch public champon?
What the hell is her problem? Is it just Trump in general? Is it all nothing but a cheap grab at more publicity on her part?
Trump hasn't been much better, in all honesty. The personal insults as to O'Donnells appearrance, for example, are pretty childish. And when you get right down to it, his comments about sending someone over to "steal" her girlfriend could possibly be construed as downright menacing.
I would not want to get on the bad side of Donald Trump. This is a man who has the power to destroy a person if he wants. A billion dollars worth of power could put a lot of hurting on somebody. Obviously, Trump could ruin O'Donnell, if he really wanted to put all the power of his wealth, influence, and connections into it. And he could conceivably do it just to make a point, all the while being careful not to overstep any legal bounds in doing so.
Well, if he wants to do it, fine, O'Donnell has been asking for it, for some time now. The majority of people not only would not really care, they would probably enjoy the spectacle.
But I hope that he does not use Katie Rees as a pawn in his willful and malignant assault on O'Donnell. That could well be where this is going. Since Rosie seemed to object to Trumps dealings with Tara Conner, maybe he decided he would destroy Katie Rees, just to spite Rosie. I hope I'm wrong, and I hope it doesn't come to that.
If Trump and O'Donnell are going to duke it out like the two immature school kids they both seem determined to prove that they are, they should keep it between themselves, and meet somewhere after school and have at it.
And may the best man win.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
But I had a brainstorm over the last few days, and I'm amazed that I never thought of it before. Instead of messing with parchment and a bound book, I'll just compile my "Book Of Shadows" on Microsoft Word.
It might seem strange, at first glance, but as I've worked on it, I am quite pleased with the results.
It also has the added benefit of being far less likely to fall under the scrutiny of prying eyes, who might wonder just what the hell I have going on here.
Of course even if they did they would glean little information out of it. They would know what it is, because I have it titled "Book Of Shadows". They might even get some meaning out of the section titles. But from there on, they would be left more or less befuddled.
As it happens, my Book Of Shadows has been written entirely in code, by means of Tarot. Every single invoction to a deity, every magickal ritual, every astrology reading, and even every recipe and formula, prayer, etc. (when I get around to including them) will be written in tarot symbology.
Actually, this has several advantages. Not the least of which, it will give the whole body of work a mystical feel to it. In fact, I don't even conscously think of what I am going to write down, I just meditate on the subject, and then do a tarot reading, and copy down the results.
Like I said, no one will know what I am talking about, and after all, a Book Of Shadows is suppossed to be a practitioners own private journal, so tarot symbology will work perfectly for this. Even if my journal were to be seen by somebody who understands tarot as well, or for that matter even better, than I do, such is the nature of the tarot that their interpretations of the cards might not be the correct interpretation. In fact, it would be very unlikely to be.
Of course, there is one initial drawback-I don't know what they mean either. But hey, so much the better. I just have to interpret the tarot readings for my own Book Of Shadows, which will actually make it that much more compelling, and make it that much more a part of me than if I just mechanially wrote down my throughts and feelings in journal form in the usual method.
It's like a living journal, as oppossed to something that's hard and concrete, and will grow and evolve as I hopefully do. For the first time in a long time, I am actually looking forward to this.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
I found this post on Urban Grounds, so thanks to Robbie, that blog's owner and writer. It was written by an American soldier, Sergeant Schmid, who was either stationed or on leave in Washington DC in 1987. I couldn't think of anything more appropriate to share on this Christmas Eve.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, MY FRIEND
‘Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one-bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live.
As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.
With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I’d seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.
I’d heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.
He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?
His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.
Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.
I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.
He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
“Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps.”
With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.
I didn’t want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said “Carry on, Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all secure.”
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.
This made me think of all the soldiers who really have sacrificed their lives, freedoms, and mental and/or physical health. That in itself doesn't make them any better than me. The fact that in a good many cases, knowing what they know now, they would yet probably do it all over again-that makes them a hell of a lot better than I have any desire to be.
See, I too love this country and what it stands for. But when I see the bullshit that it is turning into and how our rights and freedoms are being abused by people on both sides of the political aisle, people that aren't worthy of it, I realize one thing. If it came down to me to make this kind of sacrifice, I know full well who would be the main people to probably benefit from it. And I know that it is the people who I would in my heart be fighting for who would continue to be abused and manipulated by these same people.
Dying for the Constitution, and for the American people, that would be fine.
Dying for a corporation, and the people that run them-or for international "cooperation", globalization, or "free" trade, or any of the other nonsensical concepts we are being spoon fed along with the myriads of other crap we are bombarded with on a daily basis-that is all a damn hell of a different story. I don't think I could do it.
That means all of you would be fucked, if the present system depended on my saving it. I'm great for giving advice, but that is only good for so much. So if you ever see a soldier on the streets, especially one that has served in any war, I sincerely advise you to thank him from the bottom of your hearts.
Then, go out and contribute to making this country worthy of their sacrifice. The foundation for that is still there, it's in the Constitution. Let's continue transforming that dream into reality.
Chuck all the rest of the shit into the sewer that the Founding Fathers never intended for it to be dredged up from.
Because that's all that it is, really, just dressed up in prettier, modern clothes.
Friday, December 22, 2006
1. First, you list the three things you would like to have for Christmas.
2. Then, you list three things you do not want for Christmas.
3. Finally, you list the names of five fellow bloggers and inform them on their own blogs that they have been tagged to do the same thing. They will then come to your blog for the insructions. Then after they make their list, they have to tag five bloggers, etc.
Of course, I guess by the time a couple of days have gone by it will change to what you wish you had gotten for Christmas, and three things you are glad you did not get (or wish you had not gotten).
Anyway, the three things I wish I could get for Christmas are:
1. A new, promising career in which I could look forward to making a contribution throughout many years to come. For example, a great contract as a writer with a reputable, solid publishing house, including a reasonably hefty advance for every book I complete and submit.
2. Good health and a positive mental attitude.
3. Genuine good times with family and old and new, great friends, including, but not necessarily limited to, a wild affair for an entire year with Katie Holmes, with an option to renew the affair, by mutual consent (of course) after the year is over. Tom can watch from a distance, via computer camcorder hookup, but he can't complain or interfere. 'Cus if he does I get to tell the world about it.
Now, for the three things I don't want for Christmas:
1. Another dead end job with no potential, no future, just forty plus hours a week of busting your ass and walking on egg shells just to get along.
2. A sexually transmitted disease.
3. People that gossip about other people, including the people they pretend to be best friends with, including you, as they pump you with crap they think you want to hear, while all the time you just don't know how to tell them in a nice way you know they are full of shit.
Well, I could go on, really, but three is the limit set for this meme, so I'll stick to that.
As for the people I choose to tag, they too are numerous, but I decided to play it safe and stick with those who have been doing consistent postings on their blogs. I figure if they are posting regularly, and lately, they are most likely to see the tag on time. So, with that in mind, I hereby tag:
Rufus, from Grad Student Madness
Danielle, from Danielles Daily Life
The Widows Son, from Burning Taper
Meowkaat from BiasedBookReview
And, finally, Neosnoia
You are all IT!
There is a few things to be said for the Old Testament concept of no graven images for the use in idolatry, i.e., the worship or veneration of gods and goddesses in the form of statues, pictures, or for that matter actors. And that is, no one image is going to please everybody. In fact, it can even be quite limiting. The individual imagination is, by and large, far superior. For that matter, even if someone creates an image that is wholly pleasing, on an artistic as well as a sensual and physical level, this as well can be a distraction.
By the same token, itis understandable that the average person would gravitate towards statues, or "graven images", etc., of the deities. Such as the one pictured above of the goddess Athene which is to be seen in the reproduction of the Athenian Parthenon which now is to be found in Nashville, Tennessee.
I'm not wholly pleased with it, personally, though at the same time, I am not exactly unhappy with it either. It captures the essence of the goddesses personality, but at the same time, it does not seem to be as attractive as I view this goddess in my own mind. Not that it is ugly, but still.
By the way, is it just me, or does she seem to have pointed ears in this picture? Who designed this thing, a Trekkie? I think the original was long ago dismantled, and the only thing left may have been black and white drawings to go by, if that much. It may be an exact replica, or it may be a complete original in concept and construction. I'm just not sure. Nor do I know the name of the person and/or organization of the builders, or what the intent was, whether they were in part devotees, or whether this was a purely cultural endeavor.
Whatever the case, I give it a B+ for craftsmanship. Worth a visit, especially if you are a devotee of the goddess. Good for group trips or solitary meditations.
Okay,I can't resist, so I'll go ahead and say it-
And you can dance to it.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
It might be too late by the time you read this to concoct this, my very own special "Yule Nog" recipe, for Yule, but never fear. It is just as good any other time of the year, including Christmas and, especially, for New Years celebrations.
The good thing about this recipe is that it will make you as mellow high or as wildly drunk as you want, but you should not get sick, nor should you have a hangover the next day. In fact, you should wake up the following day feeling greatly refreshed.
What makes it such a good recipe for Yule, or actually any of the Sabbats, or Esbats, is it's quality as an inducer of lucid dreams, dreams which may or may not be of a psychic nature. So profound is the effects on the dreaming mind, in fact, that a dream that might ordinarily be perceived as a nightmare, will while under the influence of this Nog, come across in a way that you can look at it squarely, even pleasantly, while you are dreaming it. It should wipe out all fear of what you are seeing, thus enabling you to face it squarely, bravely, and even out of great curiosity, and humor.
Yes, what otherwise might seem to be a horrible nightmare, on this Yule Nog might actually seem funny to you.
It's also great for partying, for romance and sex, and for general attunement with the Mother Goddess and the newborn God of Yule, either in a group or coven setting, or as a solitary practitioner.
I'll say no more, other than to click on the post title, and the link thereon will take you to this old post from last year, which contains the recipe with instructions on mixing all the ingredients in the proper order and manner.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
It has in the meantime got me to thinking about the nature of God. Is there really an all-powerful, all-wise Creator who is one day going to sit in judgement of all our thoughts and deeds, who offers us salvation from a destiny in hell if we only accept the sacrifice of his only begotten son, Jesus Christ? Does all of that, or any fo it, even make any kind of sense?
And if we are all sinners, whether Christians saved solely by grace, or walking in darkness and doomed to eternal damnation-who are we to judge anyone else?
A rupture has occurred within the rank of the American Episcopal Church, as seven Virginia parishes have withdrawn now from the 111 diocese, 27 million member organization. This has been brewing for some time, beginning with the ordination of women that culminated eventually in the appointment of Bishop Katherine Schori as the Presiding U.S. Bishop.
But the cross that proved too great to bear was the decision last year to appoint as Bishop of New Hampshire an openly gay man, V. Gene Robinson, a man who at that point in time still had a male live-in lover.
I did a post on this subject last year, in fact, one entitled Primate Rules , which elicited an interesting response from a reader who seems to have a vested interest in the subject. Accordding to The Country Parson:
In the Episcopal Church it had been an unstated assumption that homosexuality (or homosexual behavior)was a sin just as nearly everyone assumed it was except maybe people who were gay. It is only in the last 30 years that other people have thought differently. If your statement,"Anglican Church doctrine explicitly states that homosexuality is a violation of scripture" refers to the Lambeth resolution from 1998 that stated was "homosexuality was incompatible with scripture" that would be a mistake. Resolutions from the Lambeth Conference or the General Convention are non-binding. They may contribute to our understanding of the doctrine of the Church, but they do not make doctrine.
In other words, a homosexual is, according to the Bible, cursed by God. Or, as it is put even more succinctly in the Old Testament, it is an "abomination" for two men to lie with each other as a man lies with a woman. And it would probably amount to an unnecessary splitting of hairs to point out that lesbianism is not here referred to, as I have this strange feeling the Biblical authors would consider that equally ahorrent.
Even those who point out, correctly as it happens, that the passages attributed to Paul were a reference to the vile and corrupt Roman Emperor Nero and his imperial court, miss the mark altogether. Note that Paul points out this aspect of Nero's character not as a way of saying, "oh, by the way, he happens to be a homosexual", but as a means of pointing out that Nero was so depraved, this was tantamount to proof that he had sank to as low a depth as a human being could possibly decend to, and had infected the culture of the imperial court as well.
He wasn't saying, in other words, that it is alright to be a homosexual as long as you don't steal, blaspheme, murder, and commit torture and rape, etc. What he was pointing out-and this is a remarkable thing when you stop to think about it-is that a lifetime of crimes and sin ultimately lead to this, the most degrading possible proof of loss of ones soul.
It is only natural, therefore, to expect some of the more conservative, traditional Episcoplaians to be virulently oppossed to these latest developments. Lemuel, from Hillbilly White Trash, probably sums up the attitude of most of these traditional Episcopalians, and traditional conservative Christians in general, when he pointed out on his blog:
And as for the homosexuals who will be made to feel warm and loved and accepted and affirmed in the new Christless Episcopal "Church"? Those warm fuzzies will not help them in hell - which they will go to not because they are gay, but because they reject the Lord that IS in favor of a fantasy god who doesn't say anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.
This is very telling. Note that Christians do not judge homosexuals to be hell-bound for what they are, but for what they refuse to turn away from, and for deeming it necessary to assert that God is okay with it. It is the refusal to repent, while still insisting they should be welcome in the Christian Churches, that will send them to hell, according to conservative beliefs. And, if you want to be precise, according to the Bible itself.
The whole thing is bizzarre. Why should gay people care? Why don't they become some other religion, one where they are welcome. For example, there are a good many Wiccan and Pagan sects that view homosexuality as natural to the person. Admittedly, there are a good many who view it as unnatural, but still, there is no set overriding law among Wiccan or Pagan sects that specify it one way or another. It is up to the individual cult or coven.
There are many, if not most, who will accept the homosexual within their circles, so long as they don't enter the doors with a dick in their mouths or up their asses. And in a few rare cases, this might be acceptable as well.
The answer to this, of course, is that they are not Wiccans, they are Christians, just technically not very good ones. But then again, who are? Christianity is rife with people that pick and choose what parts of the Bible are valid and to be followed strictly, and what parts just don't apply to the present age-or to them. More importantly, they have a very keen eye towards those parts of the Bible that seem to justify their own sins, which are just too much for them to overcome. After all, why else would God send his only beloved son to die on the cross, if it were that easy to turn away from the sins of adultery, lust, greed, drunkenness, pride, anger, etc. All those things are moral failings that have to be struggled with. So, if you give in to them, will you not be forgiven?
As long as you try to be a good person, and perfom charitable works, and help your neighbor when he needs aid, won't God understand if you fuck his wife? After all, it's as much his fault as yours, for not satisfying her needs. If not for you, she might leave him, or fall in with somebody who might break up the family eventually. Hell, all you want to do is hit that ass every now and then. Shit, you gave them some money when they were in a tight spot, you got him a job when he was unemployed. Hell, she's just showing her gratitude, it's only natural, and you have your needs as well, you're only human-
And damn but is that ever some FINE FUCKING PUSSY!!!
Bear in mind, I'm not judging one way or another. I don't believe in hell, in the traditional meaning of the word. I don't discount it totally, though. If the conservative Christians are right after all, I will probably be there one day. If that is the case, I have no doubt I am going to see plenty of homosexuals, bothChristians and non-Christians, and they are pretty much going to be in the same boat.
I guess that is the hold after all, this fear of hell, a fear that drives people to want to remain in a religion where thy aren't really welcome, and then all but beg God to accept them as they are, knowing full well, deep down, that they don't really belong, and never will.
Well, I've got some good news for them in a sense, minor though it is. In fact, it might actually come down to-well, not cold comfort, just a slight bit of consolation.
They are going to be finding themselves in the company of a good many of their fellow Christians in the after life.
Unless, that is, they actually do repent and "sin no more". And, if they do fall from time to time, beg forgiveness and determine to never do it again. If you fall, I guess God will pick you up and dust you off. After so long,of course, he might pick you up and throw you away, like he did Nero.
After all, if there really is an all-powerful, all-wise creator God, I guess he certainly knows our hearts.
Which brings me back tothe subject of an angel I once met.
Actually, I came close to joining the Episcopal Chruch in downtown Cincinnati Ohio once a few years back, but work obligations ended that. I miss that place still, I liked the ritual, I enjoyed the fellowship, and the people were by and large open, gracous, and welcoming. I really enjoyed it, and came within a hair of becomming a regular attendee, and possibly a member. Had that occurred,the chances are I might be a devout Episcopalian to this day.
Of course, this was all due to the fact that, my first day there, I became greatly attracted to this chick by the name of Claire, one of those lust-disquised-as-love-at-first-site kind of deals, augmented by the fact that she had the voice of an angel, and made damn sure I heard it as she belted out a hymn at the back of my head from behind me.
I was introduced to her on another occassion, during the course of a festival that the church was conducting, and when I shook hands with her,the electricity was intense. I could actually feel it surging through me. But in no time flat, I soon began having to work weekends. I stopped attendance, and never saw her again.
The moral of the story-there is no God. There can't be.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Homer was always seen as male by the ancient Greeks, you would think they would know, right? Nevertheless, that is not to hinder author Andrew Dalby, who has written "Rediscovering Homer:Inside The Origins Of The Epic" , in which he muses that Homer may have been a woman.
Please don't misunderstand, it is not that I find this theory distasteful, or innappropriate, or even silly. It's just that I consider it in all likelihood to be wrong. Bards and poets throughout the ages have traditionally been male, and I find it unlikely that Homer was an exception.
In fact, the more likely truth is, Homer was not a man, in fact, he was a whole bunch of men that continued the oral tradition of "The Illiad"-or originally, it has been claimed "The Wrath of Achilles", for a number of centuries before it was finally written down in it's current form. During this time it undoubtedly went through some revisions, and most certainly expansions.
Yet, the author claims that the epic seems to have been written from a female point of view, and further points out the importance of the numerous goddesses, most especially Athene, and their influence.
This theory points out the problem in viewing ancient literature from a twentieth century perspective. In the current age, and going back to now some seventeen hundred years, more or less, not many are used to looking through the lens of that long ago world where the veneration of multiple deities included a good many of the female gender. In the ancient world, it was the norm, so of course the goddesses would play an important role. They were worshipped by men as well as women.
In fact, during the time of the Classical Greek civilization, the cult of Athene was presided over by a male priesthood. And so, though he was not a priest (the Homer who wrote the Illiad, at least, seems to have viewed preists with some degree of disdain), it is certainly no stretch to imagine that Homer would have venerated her as well, in fact, he seems to have been a devotee of this particular goddess.
Another point made by the author is the time spent on matters and hearth and home, most especially in "The Odyssey".
But again, it bears mentioning that epic poets, many of whom were mentors and tutors to young aristocratic heirs, would have spent far more time in these types of environments than they would have on foreign battlefields, though their presence here can certainly not be discounted either. But they would have certainly exhibited an unusual degree of knowledge of and respect for the household lives of upper class women.
By the same token, it is easy to view the inclusion in these epics of female deities as indicative of a degree of high esteem, until you look a bit closer, at the cast of characters. It is a veritable who's who of cranky, meddlesome, conniving, backstabbing, female stereotypes.
Eris-What can you say? She started this whole mess, all because of a snub. She wasn't invited to a wedding, for the reason that, yes, she was an insatiable troublemaker. And she proved this, taking vengeance by playing off the petty jealousies of three other goddesses.
Aphrodite-The crying, whining, capricous, spoiled rotten goddess of love.
Dionne-Aphrodites mother, evidently invented just for this epic, as one of Zeus's illicit lovers, probably a construct to explain why Zeus couldn't have Aphrodite all to himself and thus avert this mess that she initiated following Eris's little tantrum with the apple of discord.
In a departure from traditional mythology, Aphrodite here is portrayed as his daughter. Nevermind that he had engaged in sexual relations with one sister, Demeter, and married yet another. And here I am referring to-
Hera-Zeus's jealous, vengeful wife, who actually comes across somewhat reasonably in the epic. Yet, so determined is she to disobey her husband's wishes to remain neutral in the Trojan War, she uses the wiles of yet another goddess to put him to sleep so she can work feverishly on the side of the Achaeans. She is portrayed as being too weak to stand up to him directly, but thanks to this subterfuge, the all-powerful Father of Gods and Men sleeps probably half-way through the epic.
Artemis-yes, indeed, dear, sweet, wild and free Artmeis, as pure as the virgin forrest. Better not piss her off, though, or she might force you, as she did the Achaean King Agammemnon,to sacrifice your first born daughter to her. Yes, I know that some several centuries later some Greek dramatist decided she had secretly whisked her away in the middle of the sacrifice.
The implication here can be made that, in order for this trick to work, unbeknownst to the mortal participants, the only manner of sacrifice this could have been would have been by way of immolation. Poor Iphigenia was burned alive.
Note, at any rate, Homer made no mention of this change of heart on the part of Artemis. Nor, in fact, do any of the deities in the epic look very good. They are to one degree or another, willful, arrogant, bloodthirsty, deceptive, and self-serving.
Only Athene by and large stands out as being of pure motivation, almost beyond reproach, even though she as well fell into Eris's trap by becomming embroiled in the dispute over the apple of discord. Nevertheless, it was Athene who patriotically encouraged the wayward Achilles to "support the troops" when he decided due to a slight by Agamemnon not to engage in the Trojan war. The slight? Agamemnon had taken for his own a war trophy previously claimed by Achilles-a Trojan woman he had claimed as his personal concubine.
Those damned women, nothing but trouble, huh?
Homers implicit advice to women seems well founded. Like the patient, long-sufferring Penelope, the faithful wife of Odyesseus in "The Oddyssey", they should be loyal, supportive of any necessary war effort, skillful and wise in the ways of diplomacy. Otherwise, they should stay home, until they are married they should remain virgins. Once married, they should remain faithful beyond all reasonable human expectations.
As Tammy Wynnette would croon some tweny centuries later, "Stand by your man". Even if, in this case, he hasn't been around for twenty years and you have no rational reason to believe he is still alive.
Oh, and don't forget to learn how to cook and sew. What kind of woman would neglect such sacred duties as that? Hell, to Homers favorite goddess, that was her favorite pastime, when she wasn't busy kicking Ares' ass down first one side of the street and another. Those two, by the way, remind me of Elly May Clampett and Jethro Bodine of Beverly Hillbillies fame.
True, Elly May was a bit more like Artemis, and Ares was nowhere near as goofy and lovable as Jethro, but it was pretty much the same schtick. In either case, the big, strapping, strong rough as a cob hick says or does something stupid, and you just know a good ass kicking is a'comin' his way.
But it would be unwise to judge Ares too harshly, or Jethro for that matter. All men, no matter how seemingly wise, will fall for that Helen of Troy type of trash anyday. Sure, it might be a bit extreme to think that a major, for it's day, world war might be started over a case of divinely inspired infidelity.
Ah, but after all, remember, Helen was herself part divine.
Thanks to Jason at The Wild Hunt Blog.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Ever since we started ignoring the advice of our first and arguably greatest president,
The right-and I don’t just mean the “Far Right”, but the Right in general-has taken to upholding and excusing the reign of the totalitarian thug Augusto Pinochet. He is not the first example, of course, prior to that, they lauded such luminaries of dictatorship as the Shah of Iran, and, yes, even Saddam Hussein. And this is just the beginning.
In Saddams case, this lead to the first Gulf War, and the subsequent massacres of Kurds and Shi’ites, with the aid of an arsenal that in all probability to at least a degree contained the marking “Made In America”.
The Left, for it’s part, isn’t much better, if at all. Though they are careful these days to avoid any appearrance of supporting such communist dictators as Castro, or Kim Jung Il, they do betray the remarkable appearrance of being far more open to negotiation with people of this stripe than they do for example-well, Pinochet, whom they almost universally deplore. In the meantime, they strive to maintain the illussion that in supporting the rights of Muslim radicals to fly on planes without being in the least bit distressed-as oppossed to, for example, all the rest of us-they are actually looking out for all of our “rights”.
As for our allies, for example
Still, the Left wishes that we would adopt a more European model, in at least some respects.
As for the Right,they would like to see the entire European social safety net discarded, and would obviously like to see the same thing happen to our own, eliminate all regulation, at least on the federal level, and institute a kind of free trade zone worldwide that would amount to what they call “laissez faire” economics.
Feudalism, in other words.
The Right sees Christmas as constantly under assault, and suddenly you get the impression they would have no problem at all if the government were to suddenly regulate the maner in which shoppers are greeted at Wal-Mart. Hey, why would that be such a stretch? They don’t seem to have a problem with the Ten Commandments being posted in schools, or in courthouses, or in public parks, at public expense, which is to say, at taxpayers expense.
They have no problem with the concept of school prayer, of “allowing” prayers to a Judeo-Christian deity, or with reading from the Bible, or for the teaching of Creationism under the guise of science. How the hell is it such a stretch to imagine a Wal-Mart greeter might one day be fined for saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”?
By the same token, the Left wants to totally deny there is a problem, when there obviously is one. Come on, when it gets to the point in time that the ACLU is going around the country suing to force the removal of Christmas trees from public parks, or for the removal of the words “Christmas” from school calendars, and the banning of even non religion specific prayers at general school assemblies, there is a fucking problem
So, you want to prove to me there’s no problem? Fine. This season, and also at least once once during the next election, I want to hear every fucking Democratic politican say “Merry Christmas”. I don’t want them to add another fucking thing to it, or explain it or apologize for it afterward, and I don’t want to hear a fucking compaint about it from any motherfucker. Then, maybe I’ll believe there’s not a problem.
I also want to see manger scenes in public squares, provided they are temporary and erected and maintained at private expense. I want to go to my local school and see a fucking Christmas play and I want to hear Christmas carols sung during the motherfucker. I want to hear about this happenning all over the country, again, without one word of complaint from any motherfucker.
Well, unless it’s a shitty performance, but that’s a different matter.
AND LEAVE THE GODDAMNED MOTHERUFCKING CHRISTMAS TREES ALONE!!!!!FUCKING SCUM!!!!!!
You want to see the Left defend Christmas or any kind of Christmas symbol? Fine, here’s what you do. Hire a fucking male homosexual pedophile to play Santa Clause at a department store, and the minute he inevitably diddles some little boys pecker, I promise you the ACLU will be all aboard defending the bastard.
Otherwise, forget it. They will be too busy insuring the rights of Muslims to cram the Qu’ran down our throats to worry about a little thing like some kids rights to put on Christmas pageants in school.
All of these problems, and more, are the direct result of
One, avoid foreign entanglements.
Two, avoid political factions.
The first problem is easily remedied. You simpy declare null and void any treaty with any nation that has deviated from it’s signatory obligations in any way, shape, or form, in the slightest way. From there, you return to a policy of bi-lateral trade and diplomacy.
Sure, it would be hard, sure it would be an adjustment, but the long term consequences are going to, I promise you, be a hell of a lot worse.
The second is not so easily remedied. The first amendment probably precludes outlawing all political parties, which is very, very, very unfortunate. The only other option would be to criminally charge and imprison any politican or organization that tells even the slightest provable lie during the course of a campaign.
The next step is even more unikely, and that is, outlaw all political contributions and political campaigns. You do this simply by having all candidates for office put out a comprehensive set of positon papers which would be availiable to all who want to read them. Maybe a publicly funded series of speeches and a nationally televised debate, or two, or three, and you know all you need to know about these bastards. Anything else they say or do would be, and is, superfluous.
Finaly, enforce the Bill of Rights to a dictatorial degree. Why not? We enforce the thirteenth amendment in that way, don’t we? When is the last time you ever heard of somebody owning a black slave? If somebody tried that, they are going to prison, I promise you, because they are breaking the law as set forth in the thriteenth amendmant to our constitution.
So, if that is the case, if you want to start some crap about denying my right to bear arms, or force your fucking religion down my throat while not allowing me the right to practice mine, or interfere in my rights to free speech and freedom of assembly, why the hell should your skanky ass be walking around free and breathing my fucking air?
I know of course my advice is not going to be heeded. Nobody listened to
And so, we are doomed. Enjoy the corrupt, pretentous nonsense while it lasts.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
There have been rumours circulating around the Internet on certain sites that Mel Gibsons movie Apocalypto might in fact have been stolen from another movie, copywrighted in 2003, called "Michtoatl". I have no way as of yet of verifying the veracity of these claims, so other than making note of them here, I will for the time being ignore them.
As for the movie itself, "Apocalypto" is a film that can't be ignored. It may be one of the, if not THE, movie event of the year. There has been so much buzz and controversy concerning it, I thought I should say that, if you do go to see it, be warned. It is by all accounts extremely bloody and violent. I have not seen it, but for what I have to say, that is not a requirement. This is not a review of the film as such, so much as it is a review of the reviews.
And of the Maya-
Sometime roughly between the time of the discovery of fire, and the invention of the wheel, human beings migrated, in uncertain numbers, into the Western Hemisphere, more than likely from northern Asia by way of the then frozen Bering Strait. Nobody seems to have a clue as to why, though it would seem likely to me some kind of environmental upheaval to be the most likely culprit. It does take an act of desperation, after all, to move massive amounts of people thousands of miles over frozen ice, and land.
Eventually, though, they made it to first
Some of them carved out impressive civilizations. The first of these known were the Olmecs. The Maya followed. They were superseded by the Toltecs, and finally the Aztecs. There were others as well, though the Incas, of
Thy seem to have been amazingly advanced in some respects, insofar as architecture, mathematics, arts, scultpture, and to a degree even poetry and written languages. The Maya, specifically, developed a calendar system that seems to have been based on the period of time from the first missed menstrual period of a pregnant woman, until the birth of the child. The end of the next period of the Mayan calendar, which has been the object of some speculation, is to come on Decmeber 21st, 2012.
Yet, this seems to not have anything to do with the winter solstice, which in this year transpires on the following day, but is simply the end of a long count, the thirteenth cycle of the Mayan calendar. It is supposed to usher in the end of the old world, and a new beginning.
Despite the fact that they had cities that were seemingly unimagined by their North American distant relatives, they were as bloody and violent a lot as you can imagine, and a look at Meso-American civilizations might well be a mirror of not just that culture, but a fairly accurrate portrayal of human beings before the dawn of recorded history.
Despite their advances, and even despite their obsessive observations of the sun and moon, the concept of the wheel totally escaped the grasp of their limited imaginations. Because of this, as well as due to a lack of the most rudimentary of implemets, such as the pulley, great architectural undertakings necessitated the use of massive amounts of the population pressed into gruelling, backbreaking hours of labor.
Naturally, this would require conquest of neighboring peoples, as no civilian population would long put up with this from their own rulers. Nor would the conquered people, for long, unless a serious impression was made. To this end, the Maya, as well as the other great Meso-American civilizations, conducted human sacrifice on a most grissly, barbaric scale.
In his movie about the final days of the Mayan Empire, Mel Gibson certainly got that right. In fact, despite the numerous protests that I‘ve read about the excesive blood-letting in this film, he may have barely touched the surface as to how blood-thirsty the Maya were. But that is not unusual. From the earliest days of Meso-American studies, anthropologists and archaeologists were so impressed with the high degree of advancements evidenced by what remained of the Mayan architecture, they came to the erroneous conclusion that they were a very peaceful, even serene people, at least in comparison to the unmistakably sanguinary Aztecs.
When the truth began to emerge, it was met with denial, and caution was advised in interpreting the painted scenes uncovered of massive bloodletting and sacrifices. But the more evidence that emerged into the light of day, the more it became obvious that this was a people unique in it’s savagery and cruelty.
Where Gibson got it wrong, in my opinion, was in assumming that the violence witnessed during the last days of the Mayan Empire was a result of some kind of corruption that had permeated society. In fact, from what I have seen, the more accurrate explanation was that the society in fact never evolved beyond it’s beginnings in this regard. There was a continuity, in fact, that speaks more of cultural stagnation. The "corruption" had always been there. To the Maya,though, it was the natural order of things, and always had been.
I will however jump to Gibsons defense in one regard. He has been critiized for not focusing on the very real cultural achievements of the Maya, in terms of what I have mentioned as regards the archietecture, science, mathematics, astronomy, and their amazingly accurrate calendar system.
The first point I will make in response to this is to note that this movie is actually portrayed as seen through the eyes of a man, Jaquar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) who is the member of a small subordinate village that is suppossed to have existed somewhere apparrently on the outer fringes of the Mayan Empire. To someone such as that, beaten and hauled into the midst of a giant city in order to be a part of a massive human sacrifice, the first and last thing of note that would command his attention would have been the hugely magnificent pyramid that stood in the center of the city.
The next thing he would take note of would be the human heads that would then come bounding down the steps of the pyramid, bouncing like a grotesque, bloody ball, as the deranged populace gleefully rushed to the foot of the steps and cried out for more.
He may have been somewhat amazed, as well as sickened, at the site of the High Priest extracting a still beating heart from the chest of another sacrificial victim, holding it up for the crowd to survey, before his head as well was sent careening down the steps of the pyramid.
He would have wondered when his time would come, as he dreaded the agony and the pain, heartsick at the thought of never seeing the wife and child he had hidden away, ever again.
Even if he had noticed one, he would not have asked,“So, how does this calendar thing work?”
Another point that should be made, which seems to escape most reviewers-or for that matter most students of Mayan history-is that the average Mayan was not well versed on these matters. They lived in the culture, were surrounded by it, and so of course influenced by it. But the average Mayan man or woman would have had about as much depth of knowledge concerning architecture and mathematics, etc., as I would have about nuclear physics.
The Maya did have compulsory education from about the age of fourteen, or at least did at some point in their history, but for the most part this was limited to languages and poetry and military matters, for the boys, and household duties and religious matters for the girls. A relatively few proved good candidates for specialized education in the higher arts and sciences, but they were in the minority. Therefore, the highly advanced Mayan culture would not have been focused in the life of the average Mayan, who probably never gave the pyramids a second look or thought. They were just there, much like in the movie.
Another criticism of the work has been that the human sacrifices that are portrayed are not presented “in context”.
In context? What fucking context? Please! Massive human sacrifices can only be seen in one context, and that is, it is a barbaric act of subjugation of a population and/or propitiation of some malignant deity. That is the fucking context. Stop trying to avoid offending the Maya. They aren’t around any more as an empire, they aren’t going to get us. What few remote jungle tribes of them that are still around aren’t going to like you or give a shit one way or another if you defend them. And most other South American Indians and North American Indians-or “Native Americans” if you prefer-don’t really give a shit either, though a relatively few of them might pretend they do. That’s probably because they are looking forward to the day they might have your head on a pike. But I digress.
It’s been said that Mel Gibson intended this film as a parable of how corruption in a society will always inevitaly lead to it’s downfall, and that he has drawn a parallel to the Mayan leaders hold on their native populations, and how they manipulated them by focusing their attention on the entertainment value of lopped off heads and yanked out hearts, to our current American society, and how we have been manipulated by our own leaders. How we are encouraged to continue to live our life of abundant hedonism and place our trust in the government for our safey and security, in the meantime throwing our rights and responsibilities to future generations away.
At the movies end, a number of Spanish conquistadors and missionaries are seen approaching the shore, and we know the end is near for the Maya. As they were of course Catholic, as is Mel Gibson, what I can’t help but wonder is, is this a threat or a promise?
Whaever the case, Gibsons point about societal corruption is well noted. I just wish he could have gotten the point across that this civilization was always corrupt, that despite it’s obvious advances, it was a brutal, barbaric society of people who were always ruled by their superstions and manipulated by their rulers. That this was as true of the beginning days of their empire as it was in the latter days of it.
When you stop to think about it, they were more like us than we might care to admit.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Click on the post title for the link to Llewellyns Free Tarot Reading Site. I don't promote sites like this very often, so you should know that, if tarot is your thing, this is definitely the site for you.
If you are into tarot, you can spend all day on this site and never get tired of it. Just pick out whatever tarot deck you prefer, and have at it. Unfortunately, the Ryder-Waite deck is not included, nor is my personal favorite, the Mythic Tarot, which is the deck I learned on. However, the Golden Dawn deck is included. Moreover, Llewellyns own deck is quite beautiful.
Even if you ae not familiar with the tarot, each card that appears in a spread here is explained in great detail, so much so that it would actually be a good beginners guide to actually learning the tarot.
Of course, it can’t ever replace a deck that you can actually hold in your hands, and shuffle. At the same time, for what it is, I am pleased with it. After you pick the deck you want to use, go on down and pick the kind of spread you want to use. Then, think of the question you want to ask. Finally, once your mind is fully concentrated on the question, click on the link to get your reading.
The three card spread is the best to start out with, as it gives you Past, Present, and Future of the question in one reading. You might be well amazed at how accurrate the reading is. Afterwards, once you get the hang of it, go on to other more complicated spreads.
You mght find yourself coming back to this site, time and time again. Well, if you have to waste time on the Internet, this is as good a way as any, maybe better than most.
It seems to be a cut and dried enough case, of course. Litvinenko, of late a citizen of Great Britain, the nation to which he was granted exile after a period of incarceration in a Russian prison for "abuse of power" (he allegedly refused to asassinate an enemy of the state), had been in the proces of conducting an investigation into the murder of Russian dissident journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who herself had written investigative articles highly critical of Russian policy in regards to the region of Chechnya.
Got all that? Well, here's where it really gets confusing. Seems as though Mr. Litvinienko was himself a Chechen sympathizer. In fact, on his deathbed, he converted to Islam.
He had expressed the wish to do so to his father, and evidently somewhere along the path of his final few days, he followed through on his desires. Unfortunaely, so contaminated with radiation by the time of his funeral were his remains, he was not allowed a Muslim funeral, due to safety concerns.
Atlas Shrugs has written and linked to a number of theories about the murder-or assassination-and even postulated that it might have been a suicide on the part of Litvinenko, who may have desired to be a martyr, which among the Chechen rebels and some other Muslims, is actually now what he is seen as.
What strikes me as interesting is that this man might well be legitimately viewed as a traitor of the worse, most heinous variety, given some of the actions of the Chechen rebels, such as, for example, the assault on a school in Beslan, in Southern Russia, which resulted in hundreds of deaths, more than half of them school children. In fact, the Chechen rebels are said to be allied to some degree with Al-Queda.
Even given the long history of the region and it's legitimate grievances against Russia, this alone raises questions as to the degree of culpability he might share in giving aid and comfort to these terrorist factions, the justification in his assassination by figures known or unknown within the Russian government, or even if his death might have been the accidental result of his own nefarious actions, and associations.
Still, there can be no doubt that the degree of poisoning exhibited not only on him, but amongst his close associates, poses grave cause for concern. It seems like everywhere Litvinenko turned up in those final few hours, Polonium-210 was sure to follow.
Of course, that is in itself not that amazing, considering that it can be ordered legally on-line, in suppossedly safe and shielded amounts available to university research laboratories. Such a site can be seen here, and is so bizarre, it almost reads like a satire.
This still leaves open the question as to how he absorbed such a deadly material in such significant amounts. If it was indeed an assassination, I would advise a return to his home and a perusal of his liquor cabinet, or possibly his after shave.
Or, if he was a smoker, they might possibly want to check his tobacco supply, in that it seems as though Polonium-210 is to be found naturally in tobacco due to it's presence in certain phosphate fertilizers used for the product.
Unfortunately, you won't find that fact bandied about too much by either the tobacco companies, or by anti-smoking zealots. After all, the tobacco companies don't want any more lawsuits, nor do they wish to have to undergo the relatively expensive process of insuring removal of the radiation. The anti-smoking forces as well do not want to call attention to this development, as it would suddenly give merit to the effort to finally produce a safe cigarrette.
This would be the last thing they want, and why they will fight tooth and nail to prevent revelation of the fact that tobacco smoking has been seen as a preventive, and potentially a cure, for Parkinsons Disease.
As such, the last thing the anti-moking forces would want is something that might in the long run derail their gravy train-speaking of which,from their perspective, the only thing worse right now would be for the discovery of Polonium-210 in trans-fats.
And to think, all this time we've been blaming the tobacco problem on some curse by American Indians.
Well, it certainly explains why that tobacco goddess I once thought I was going to attune with turned out to be a troll.
I’m seriously thinking of changing the name of this blog to “The Schizoid Blog”, because I am sure that’s what I probably come across as, and is probably why my readership has stayed pretty flat over the last few weeks.
The very uncomfortable fact that I’m confronted with is, out of the fifty five million plus blogs that are out there, most of them are exercises in one degree or another of self-indulgence, self-importance, self-righteousness, self-promotion, and/or self aggrandizement. While I may from time to time fall into another one or more of these categories, the worse thing about my blog is, the lack of consistency as pertaining to the issues of the day.
And that’s where this blog falls apart. Most people that read blogs are, after all, looking for something that merely offers a degree of affirmation as to their own cherished beliefs and prejudices. If somebody sticks with my blog long enough, they quickly discern that I am all over the map.
One day, I might be as far to the right as Michael Savage, the next day as far to the left as Michael Moore. Many days I will be somewhere in the middle. On any given day, I am likely to seemingly change my mind as easily as Laura Bush changes her wardrobe.
I like to think of myself as independent, but at the same time I am fairly sure that I will never win a Bloggy Award, or a Weblog Award, for all these reasons, and for others. For example, the blog name and description might be off putting to some.
Also, the fact that I will not put ads on my blog I am quite certain has more than a little to do with it. And I absolutely refuse to jump on the YouTube bandwagon.
All I have to offer is, hopefully, in addition to independence of thought, a little bit in the way of originality. That of course is a problem in it’s own right. At times, I spend more time trying to find something original to blog about than I do actually blogging about them when I find them.
It’s all quite depressing. Of course, it might just be a phase I’m going through. Like puberty, or male menopause. Or, come ot think about it, blogging.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Preface-the following article here has come about due to an article I read recently in the BBC. The story is concerning a documentary, by Shane O'Sullivan, that claims to have uncovered evidence of CIA complicity in the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Allegedly, there were three CIA agents present at the Ambassador Hotel on the night of the assassination, agents who had no legitimate reason to be there, and in fact were suppossed to be in Asia at the time. They and their four "accomplices" are noted in the film in question, which has evidently already been broadcast on the BBC, though as of yet there is no true substantiation of the identities of the people in question.
This article, which I discovered on a link on Truthout, you can read for yourself. I find it notewrothy that, aside from Truthout, there has been no buzz about it here in the states, despite the recent release of a film, "Bobby", which concerns itself with the events of the night of the assassination as seen through various fictionalized characters at the Ambassador Hotel.
My own opinion of Kennedy is that he was a driven man, to the point of obsession. I don't think he was a good man, to be blunt. In fact, I think he was consumed by his own narrow views of right and justice, and at the same time, he was a manipulative, cunning, and, yes, ruthless povocateur, aggressive, maybe even unhinged. He was dangerous, not only to those enemies who may have deserved his wrath, but to the world.
My reasoning is as follows below. Of course, you can make up your own mind. But, as a very wise man named Maddox once said-"if you do not agree with me, well, you are just wrong".
Pictured above-Robert Kennedy, Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthey, and an unknown man.
Many of Robert Kennedy's admirers would prefer to skip over the beginning of his career in public service, when he served as legal council to the now largely discredited Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy. During the height of the notorious Red Scare Kennedy rose to this position due to the influence of his father, former British Ambasador Joseph Kennedy. It was a period when many people were threatened with the loss and ruination of their careers and reputations, and Kennedy, himself an ardent anti-Communist, was a zealous advocate of Mccarthy at this time. When it turned out that many if not most of McCarthy's allegations were unfounded, that Mccarthy had actually fabricated or exaggerrated many of his charges, and even inferred a far greater number than actually existed, he was finished.
After the fall of McCarthy, Kennedy went on to assist in the organized crime hearings alongside his brother, future President and then Massachusetts Senator John Kennedy, in which Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa became a major target of Kennedy. The two would become hated enemies from that moment on.
When John became President in 1960, his father persuaded him to name Robert as his Attorney General. Kennedy proved to be arguably the greatest AG of all time, at least on the surface. Despite the fact that his father was said to have Mafia connections, and that these ties proved invaluable to his sons winning of the Presidency, especially due to the influence of the Chicago Outfit on the Chicago Dailey/Democratic machine, Robert made his number one priority of the time, the eradication of Organized Crime.
To this end, he engaged in many questionable acts, and even outright illegal ones. For example, he once abducted New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello, and illegally transported him to South America, giving him no time to call his lawyer or even his family, or even to pack, and with only what money he had in his wallet at the time. Marcello had arrived here as an infant and had never become a naturalized citizen. Still, Kennedys actions were without a doubt illegal.
Marcello made it back, eventually, and Kennedy went after him again, as he did other Mafia figures, even Sam Giancarlo, the Chicago Mafia don who had in effect made his brother President.
Kenndy was obsessed, with a clarity of perception that made him distinquish right from wrong with laser intensity. There was no grey area, and so when he was turned to for advice in his brothers moments of greatest adversity, he assummed a kind of power and influence that amounted to far more than would ordinarily be embodied in the head of one mere cabinet agency.
At no time was this more true than in the matter of the Cuban controversies, first with the Bay of Pigs, and afterwards with the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was Robert to whom John turned to more than any other advisior, civilian or mlitary. His advice, especially on the Cuban Missile Crisis, was well heeded.
Cooler heads prevailed, which is ironic, as Robert Kennedy was nothing if not an egotistical, temperamental hothead. After all, if John had listened to Roberts advice, due to the latters disdain for Texas Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson, Kennedy would not have picked Johnson as his running mate, and so would have lost the entire South, and thus the election-Mafia assistance notwithstanding.
But Kennedy had been instrumental in the on-going efforts of the CIA to eliminate Castro, which lead to several failed assassination attempts of what was, after all, a head of state. This seems to have been on-going since the days of the Bay of Pigs fiasco, during which President Kennedy, having okayed the amphibious assault of some Cuban exiles under covert CIA leadership, then denied the vital air support needed to insure the success of the mission. Many of the exiles were killed,many more ended up in Cuban prisons. Before November 22nd in Dallas, Texas, it was the darkest period of the Kennedy presidency.
It would be easy to note that Robert Kenedy would have likely advised his brother as to the potential illegality of the mission. Still, ever the ardent anti-communist, he would have been eager, and zealous, in his attempts to rid the world of the scourge of Castro. And so he involved himself in this matter as well. Small wonder that, when the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted, Robert Kennedy rendered advice of uncharacteristic moderation.
Then, there was Viet-Nam, and the assassination of the corrupt Diem brothers, a CIA action that is alleged to have also been sanctioned by the Kennedy's-Robert, as well, had a hand in this affair.
Finaly, there is the matter of Marilyn Monroe, whom Bobby had approached out of concern for his brothers extramarital dalliances with, and whom he then himself began an illicit affair with. How this all ended is not exactly clear. But apparrently, after both brothers had ended the relationship, due to the influence of FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover, the Hollywood starlet, considered the greatest sex symbol of her day, became despondent. She seems to have called Kennedy and made some veiled threat to end her life, and to leave something behind that would insure the whole story got out.
Alarmed, Kennedy and some agents made it to Hollywood, where they found Miss Monroe dead from what was actually meant to be a half hearted cry for help that went way too far. Whatever incriminating evidence she had left behind, if there really was any, was removed, including any trace of Kennedy's presence. It is a mystery that has lanquished to this day and still is the fodder for conspircacy theories and acussations of murder on the part of Kennedy, accussations that are understandable, though certainly unprovable.
His actions even on the day of his brothers assassination give just cause for suspicion. In an effort to hide the fact that his brother had sufferred from Addisson's Disease, it has been alleged that Robert Kennedy had covertly confiscated the remains of his brothers brain tissue, which had been collected in pieces after the assassination. He then evidently had the remains destroyed.
Incredibly, he decided to run for President in 1968, on an anti-war ticket, in oppossition to the very war that he himself had advocated, and been among the strongest supporters of during his brrthers Presidency-the Vietnam war.
In order to do this, he first ran for the United States Senate from the state of New York, in 1966, and won. He began his campaign for the Presidency almost immediately, as possibly the first carpetbagger Senator since the days of Reconstruction. The first anti-war candidate, Eugene Mccarthey, had polled enough votes in the New Hampshire primary against incumbent Predident Johnson-Kennedys despised foe-that Johnson himself announced he would not seek re-election in 1968.
Kennedy then set about derailing Mccarthy, and hi-jacked his position as the major opponent of a war that had turned into the greatest fiasco the country had yet gone through. The war Kennedy himself was initially to a great degree responsible for.
Kennedy was now the advocate of peace. He was also the proponent now of civil rights, a mantle he had some rightful claim to, having as Attorney General enforced the courts desegregation orders, though at the same time he had, at the behest of Herbet Hoover, conducted illegal surveillance on Martin Luther King, on the grounds of communist subversive influences.
He probably- had he not been assassinated following the California primary in a pantry of the Ambassador Hotel after his victory speech-would have gone on to win the Democratic nomination that year. He would not have won the Presidency.
For one thing, he knew where all the bodies were buried. Unfortunately, so did a lot of other people, and he was the one who had done most of the digging.
For another thing, George Wallace as it was had won five Southern States as the result of Southern Democratic anger at the national Democratic Party, an anger which smoulders to this day. Had Bobby Kennedy been nominated as oppossed to former Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Wallace would probably have won more like six or seven, maybe more. He still would not have won, or even come close. But those extra votes would have come from Democrats, not from Nixon, who would have won by a greater margin than he did against Huphrey.
Nixon's margin of victory against Huprheye was close, maybe less than one percent of the popular vote. Against Kennedy, it would not have been close.
So the question is, why would the CIA have involved itself in an assassination attempt against Robert Kennedy? Was he a danger to them, at all? Would it more than likely have been some other enemy, out for revenge? Marcello, for example, or Giancarlo?
Or perhaps a vengeful memberof the Cuban exile community. Like, for example, Desi Arnaz? I am not being facetous here. The man ultimately convicted of asassinating Kennedy, Sirhan Sirhan, worked on a horse farm owned by Arnaz, who was an ardent opponent of the Castro regime, and a supporter of the Cuban exiles, though he himself had actually left Cuba during the reign of Batista.
When you have enemies, many times you have bullets to show for it. Kennedy had enemies, so draw your own conclusions.
He was a very mercurial man, and in many ways, is the father of the modern Democratic Party. I guess that would explain why so many of their positions over the last few decades have amounted to political suicide.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
She couldn't be more obvious if she had a finger crammed up in it. But what the hell? Believe it or not, this morning the number one ranking for the Technoratti Search engine was for Britney Spears. As if that weren't enough, the number four ranking was for just "Britney" . Another subject of this post, Lindsay Lohan, was number eight.
Somewhere in the top ten was one or two matters of actual importance. Damned if I remember what they were, though.
For some reason, the photo at top (if it is not also censored by Blogger) was censored from both Google and Yahoo. I was dismayed and disheartened until I remembered fellow Stumbleupon site member AmsterdamBabe. Nothing gets past her, and I figured if she didn't have this photo, no one did. As usual, she did not disappoint me.
Britney Spears made a living by starting out as a living contradiction-a virgin whore. As nothing in the universe, which is in constant motion, remains static, it was obvious where that was going to go. And in her constant motion to mainstream the trailor trash lifestyle, she has inspired a generation of pre-teen girls to assert their own-well, I won't call it sexuality-but since the days that first madonna and then Britney got the ball rolling, I think it's probably headed there.
And since filing for divorce from Kevin Federline, she has taken up a kind of celebrity duet of sluttiness with Paris Hilton, as though to proclaim to the world, "yes I'm an unfit mother, but by God we are human beings too."
Yes, indeed, and with a shaved vagina to boot.
Lindsey Lohan makes up the remainder of the trio of trashiness, as she seems to have succumbed to the spell of the papparzzi lifestyle-and that's a shame. Lohan almost perfectly symbolizes the inevitable and ultimately tragic attraction of youthful inexperience and naivete to a life of wanton abandon.
In Lohans case, she has taken her conflicting need and at the same time loathing of the papparrzzi,and seemingly turned to these two for aid and support, comfort, and the benefit of their seemingly greater expertise and wisdom.
The irony is, Lohan is the only one of the three that is truly talented. It is they who should benefit from her, yet in the process of soaking up her energy, she is going to ened up drained, used up, and ultimately worthless.
This would then be the fate of the girl who belted out a dazling performance in the late Robert Altmans "A Prairie Home Companion", and who at the recent tenth annual Hollywood Film Festival Awards, was honored with the "Breathrough Acting Award".
Ten years from now, one of three things will happen. One, she will break away from this crew (which in a way she seems to want to) and may in time develop her natural talents and abilities, which are formidable, to consistently award winning levels.
Or, she will eventually fall apart, end up going through extended periods of therapy and rehab, and end up just another statistic among many other burnt out and tragic child stars.
Or, she will die young.
Ultimately, it's her decision.
As for Britney Spears, well-just what the hell is this going to amount to in thirty years? Who is going to care about it-shaved or unshaved?
Unfortunately for her, in the long run, she really has no say in that.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Here are some definitions of a cairn, according to Wikkipedia:
- To mark a burial site, and/or to memorialize the dead.
- To mark the summit of a mountain.
- Placed at regular intervals they indicate a path across stony or barren terrain, across glaciers, or a bad-weather navigation route.
I've even discovered a stone artisan, Dave Cudworth, who might be prevailed upon to build them, in the event a pagan builder can not be found.
Not only are they appropriate for Celtic Pagans, but also for Hellenic Pagans such as myself, who identify them with Hermes, God of Travellers.
After all, since some Muslim activists are now demanding private prayer chambers in airports, surely they would not presume to think they should be afforded this special privilege all to themselves.
Yeah, right. No doubt they will also insist it should be buildt in such a way that those who kneel within should face Mecca. If accedded to, this would probably lead to demands that toilets in all bathroom facilities should face either toward the north or the south (neither toward nor away from Mecca), and most importantly, that a resident Muslim chaplain be installed in all airports to sound the Muslim call to prayer five times a day.
Frankly, I'm past caring even if they insist on a star and crescent be the predominant view above the airport control towers. Just give me my fucking cairn.
I don't agree with Ann Coulter very often, though I almost always think she is hilarious, but when she wrote this particular editorial, it struck me as not only funny, but one hundred percent correct.
As you may recall, a recent controversy erupted when six imams were removed from a flight in Arizona due to complaints by concerned passengers. They had been praying in a loud fashion, in addition to complaining about American foreign policy. Upon entering the plane, they demanded seperate seating, and though none were obese, insisted on seat belt extensions.
At least three of them purchased one way tickets, and had no checked baggage, which ever since 9/11 have been two standard red flags in airport scurity matters. This, in addition to their generally boorish, obnoxous, and provocative manner and actions, seemed almost calculated to insure a reaction, and a confrontation.
Naturally, they have been ardently defended by the so-called Left. Surprise, surprise!
Coulter hit the nail right on the head when she pointed out, in reaction to the Immams call for all Muslims to boycott the airline in question:
"The idea that a Muslim boycott against US Airways would hurt the airline proves that Arabs are utterly tone-deaf. This is roughly the equivalent of Cindy Sheehan taking a vow of silence. How can we hope to deal with people with no sense of irony? The next thing you know, New York City cab drivers will be threatening to bathe."
Exactly. If the truth were known, one of the first things most Americans at least subconscously take note of when they get on any plane is the presence, or lack thereof, of anyone with even a vaquely Middle Eastern appearrance.
The most insulting thing a Muslim could possibly be confronted with should be the waves of overwhelming relief collectively exhibitd by the majority of airline customers at the news that this boycott would soon take effect. But they just don't seem to get it.
Coulter even wonders if the entire story isn't a fictional advertisng scheme. As she puts it:
"Come to think of it, the whole affair may have been a madcap advertising scheme cooked up by US Airways."
And, as she points out, it is not only the immams who have no sense of irony, but their leftist supporters and defenders, many of who are still high from the fumes breathed in from the last Democratic victory, and as such may be sufferring from altered states of conscousness-and perception of reality. But they don't know, or maybe just don't care, that, as Coulter puts it
"But now, on the eve of the busiest travel day in America, these "scholars" have ginned up America's PC victim machinery to intimidate airlines and passengers from noticing six imams chanting "Allah" before boarding a commercial jet."
As if all of this isn't enough, she points out the history of one of the immams in such a manner as to make anybody want to stick with Greyhound.
"Shahin's own "scholarship" consisted of continuing to deny Muslims were behind 9/11 nearly two months after the attacks. On Nov. 4, 2001, the Arizona Republic cited Shahin's "skepticism that Muslims or bin Laden carried out attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon." Shahin complained that the government was "focusing on the Arabs, the Muslims. And all the evidence shows that the Muslims are not involved in this terrorist act."
To which I personally thank Mr. Shahin for his, I am sure, qualified interpretation of terrorist evidence.
I'm still waiting for Richard Reid, the notorious shoe-bomber, to be released from prison, his prior conviction appealled for lack of evidence. After all, what proof do we have really that he intended to blow up the plane he was in? Because he lit a match to his shoelaces. Hell, what if he is sufferring from some kind of rare, debilitating condition that causes his feet to get excruciatingly cold? Maybe he is forced to heat them periodically. With matches.
Maybe the so-called bomb in his shoe was some kind of experiemental device that is supposed to aid in this affliction, only it wasn't working properly. Just because he was a Muslim, why do we assume the worse?
I'll be waiting for the building of my fucking cairns at all godamned airport runways.
I will probably be waiting until motherfucking Ragnarok.