Saturday, May 09, 2009

Stepping Stones

This is a wonderful book.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Fast Food = fatal fatness

Who would have thought that the fattest people would also be the fastest eaters (that is, spending less time per day eating than almost any other nation)?

Virtually every commercial for breakfast food that I can think of makes a selling point out of the time you will save consuming it... so that you can go work faster/sooner/morer/betterer. Wake up, America! Work is a curse; your office is a prison; your boss is a colonoscopy.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Poem for today, Thursday, May 4th, 2009

I have returned to this poem often since I first read it when I was 17. So don't be surprised if I post it again someday.

An Arundel Tomb

By Philip Larkin

Side by side, their faces blurred,
The earl and countess lie in stone,
Their proper habits vaguely shown
As jointed armour, stiffened pleat,
And that faint hint of the absurd -
The little dogs under their feet.

Such plainness of the pre-baroque
Hardly involves the eye, until
It meets his left-hand gauntlet, still
Clasped empty in the other; and
One sees, with a sharp tender shock,
His hand withdrawn, holding her hand.

They would not think to lie so long.
Such faithfulness in effigy
Was just a detail friends would see:
A sculptor's sweet commissioned grace
Thrown off in helping to prolong
The Latin names around the base.

They would not guess how early in
Their supine stationary voyage
The air would change to soundless damage,
Turn the old tenantry away;
How soon succeeding eyes begin
To look, not read. Rigidly, they

Persisted, linked, through lengths and breadths
Of time. Snow fell, undated. Light
Each summer thronged the glass. A bright
Litter of birdcalls strewed the same
Bone-riddled ground. And up the paths
The endless altered people came,

Washing at their identity.
Now, helpless in the hollow of
An unarmorial age, a trough
Of smoke in slow suspended skeins
Above their scrap of history,
Only an attitude remains:

Time has transfigured them into
Untruth. The stone fidelity
They hardly meant has come to be
Their final blazon, and to prove
Our almost-instinct almost true:
What will survive of us is love.

"There it was... gone!"

The (American) tradition of holding the authorities to account through the work of the press, has died.

This article by David Simon is worth reading, if you are not busy blogging about kittens. (Simon, creator of The Wire TV series, was a crime reporter for the Baltimore Sun).

Quote: "In an American city, a police officer with the authority to take human life can now do so in the shadows, while his higher-ups can claim that this is necessary not to avoid public accountability, but to mitigate against a nonexistent wave of threats."

Watch it, you'll end up dead.

Update: the New York Times announced May 4th that it will close the Boston Globe newspaper.

Scary Spiders

What do this scribbles represent?
If you can figure out what these lines represent...
... then you are well on your way to figuring out what the next numbers in this sequence...
...might be: 18, 23, 28, 34, 42, 50, 59, __, __...

Monday, May 04, 2009


My mixed feelings about Hillary Clinton running for President were compounded by the visceral anger displayed by her ardent fans, who would not accept any criticism of her abilities. One Hillary supporter recently told me that he would have accepted another four years of Republican 'rule' if it meant Hillary could win the White House in 2012. I said in response: "Are you out of your fucking mind?" And he said right back at me: "You can get out of the Popemobile now and fucking walk home, you little Proddy bastard."

(His tone and manner also suggested that Obama only became President because she graciously allowed it, rather than him beating her in the primaries as he did.)

I did not accept that she was as talented as Obama, nor did I believe she was the person ready to pick up the 3 a.m. phone call as her campaign spot argued on television.

So my feelings are inadvertantly confirmed by these words from the New York Times:

"Friends acknowledge that Mrs. Clinton herself was initially swamped by the challenge of taking over the sprawling State Department bureaucracy--management being one deficit in her career. She likens it to being 'mayor of a good-sized small city.'"

Wasn't another (vice-)presidential candidate declared unqualified, despite actually being the mayor of a small city??

Despite the endless chat about whether America would vote for a black man, I believe American misogyny against a female President would have been far worse than anything Obama faced. If one looks at the way in which the mainstream media (television especially) never warmed to her, and in fact, resorted frequently to a school playground level of misoygyny when speaking of her, a Clinton Presidency would have been constantly fighting against this misogyny as well as trying to fight all the usual battles of government.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Air Force One saves NYC!

That low-flying 747 lowering* over lower Manhattan? Seems we were saved from doom! 

*dark and threatening a lowering sky

Politicians Are All the Same