Thursday, June 30, 2011

On A Personal Note . . . Twenty-two Years Today. It Hardly Seems Possible, But . . .

I love you more today than the day we said "I Do."

How do I love thee?

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The ERA is Back in the News.

I have always wondered why these few, simple words
have inspired such vehement opposition.

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.


"We must believe in ourselves or no one else will believe in us...we must feel a personal responsibility to ease the path for those who come after us. The world cannot afford the loss of the talents of half its people if we are to solve the many problems that beset us."
- Rosalyn S. Yalow,
Nobel Medical Physicist

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Here is a Personal Perspective on a Well Worn Subject

by a blogger named Nadia Elawady.

I’ve Gone and Done It Now: What It’s Like Without the Muslim Headscarf

I wanted to know what it would feel like. I wanted to know how people’s perceptions of me would change and how my perception of myself would change. ...
What I noticed is that no matter what a woman wears, there are some people out there who treat women inappropriately. There are men who will harass women that are scantily dressed and men who will harass women covered from head to toe. There are people – men and women – who treat women with disgust because they are scantily dressed and other people – men and women – who treat women with disgust because they are covered from head to toe. ...

No matter what I wore, there were still the rude people, the nice people, and the we-could-care-less people. ...

The whole post is worth reading.

manequin head wearing dark blue Muslim head scarf 

In other news, IKEA's new Edmonton branch contacted to design and produce a 'hijab' – that would fit in with their current uniform.

 In a world where intolerance in the form of
'protecting women's rights'
(see France for example) is gaining traction,
IKEA has gained respect in my eyes.

Monday, June 27, 2011


- Laura Helmuth gives us a few in:
THIS one is my pet peeve:

statue of Venus and Mars from the Louvre10. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.

Some of the sloppiest, shoddiest, most biased, least reproducible, worst designed and most overinterpreted research in the history of science purports to provide biological explanations for differences between men and women. ... Though there are some differences (minor and uncorrelated with any particular ability) between male and female brains, the main problem with looking for correlations with behavior is that sex differences in cognition are massively exaggerated.

Women are thought to outperform men on tests of empathy. They do—unless test subjects are told that men are particularly good at the test, in which case men perform as well as or better than women. The same pattern holds in reverse for tests of spatial reasoning. Whenever stereotypes are brought to mind, even by something as simple as asking test subjects to check a box next to their gender, sex differences are exaggerated.

Women college students told that a test is something women usually do poorly on, do poorly. Women college students told that a test is something college students usually do well on, do well. Across countries—and across time—the more prevalent the belief is that men are better than women in math, the greater the difference in girls’ and boys’ math scores. And that’s not because girls in Iceland have more specialized brain hemispheres than do girls in Italy.

Certain sex differences are enormously important to us when we’re looking for a mate, but when it comes to most of what our brains do most of the time ... men and women have almost entirely overlapping and fully Earth-bound abilities.

 (emphasis mine)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I've Got It! I'VE GOT IT! Cheap, easy, renewable energy!

Step 1: Carpet the world.
Step 2: Shuffle your feet.
Step 3: Renewable energy ftw!

All right, It wasn't MY idea. Exactly.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


It is the way you live, rather than what you believe,
that accounts for your spirituality.

Friday, June 24, 2011

You Think You Have Nothing to Hide, Here's SOMETHING to THINK ABOUT

"My life's an open book," people might say. "I've got nothing to hide." But now the government has large dossiers of everyone's activities, interests, reading habits, finances, and health.

What if the government leaks the information to the public? What if the government mistakenly determines that based on your pattern of activities, you're likely to engage in a criminal act? What if it denies you the right to fly? What if the government thinks your financial transactions look odd—even if you've done nothing wrong—and freezes your accounts? What if the government doesn't protect your information with adequate security, and an identity thief obtains it and uses it to defraud you?

Even if you have nothing to hide, the government can cause you a lot of harm.

By Daniel J. Solove

Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow.

Still not convinced? Better check this out!

poster that says big brother is watching you

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A MOMENT . . .

Outside the window
A robin splashes
In Buddha's bowl

from: In the Spirit of Haiku.
by Kamala Moore.

Why Preserve Books?

Books are being thrown away, or sometimes packed away, as digitized versions become more available. This is an important time to plan carefully for there is much at stake.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


We must chart a more centered course. Like generations before, we must embrace America's singular role in the course of human events. But we must be as pragmatic as we are passionate; as strategic as we are resolute.
- President Obama.


"Darling, I missed you," she cried, and fired again.


3 dimensional pencil drawing of a box with souvenirs being dropped into it photgraphed with a real hand doing the dropping
Picture: Souvenir
Click on the image to embigen.

FREDO is a 17 year old Chilean artist, whose influences include MC Escher, Rembrandt and Alex Grey.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

SUMMER SOLSTICE: A day to gather with others; dance, sing, share stories, and poems; Think of something that you can do to improve life, bring light and love into this world and begin to carry it out.

cuckoo bird in tree
The Cuckoo Song

     Sing, cuccu, nu. Sing, cuccu.
     Sing, cuccu. Sing, cuccu, nu.
Sumer is i-cumen in –
     Lhude sing, cuccu!
Groweth sed and bloweth med
     And springth the wude nu.
          Sing, cuccu!
Awe bleteth after lomb,
     Lhouth after calve cu,
Bulluc sterteth, bucke verteth –
     Murie sing, cuccu!
          Cuccu, cuccu.
     Wel singes thu, cuccu.
     Ne swik thu naver nu!


If someone slays one person, he has slain mankind entirely. And if someone has saved one person, he has saved mankind entirely. -  Quran, Sura 5, verse 32.

- Rais Bhuiyan.

Common Sense, Civilized, Humane, AND Completely Unacceptable to a Large Swath of the Populace . . . . GO FIGURE . . . .

painting of close up of clasped hands
Here are a few excerpts from the proposed:

 1. Personal Freedoms

(a) Freedom of conscience, religion and belief are unlimited. Freedom to practice religion should be limited only by the need to respect the rights of others.

(b) All people should be free to participate equally in public life, and should be treated equally before the law and in the democratic process.

2. Secular Democracy

(a) Society should be based on democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Public policy should be formed by applying reason to evidence.

(b) Government should be secular. The state should be strictly neutral in matters of religion, favoring none and discriminating against none.

3. Secular Education

(a) State education should be secular. Children should be taught about the diversity of religious beliefs in an objective manner, with no faith formation in school hours.

(b) Children should be educated in critical thinking and the distinction between faith and reason as a guide to knowledge. Science should be taught free from religious interference.

4. One Law For All

(b) The law should not criminalize private conduct that respects the rights of others because the doctrine of any religion deems such conduct to be immoral.

(c) Employers or social service providers with religious beliefs should not be allowed to discriminate on any grounds not essential to the job in question.

 Image via iSEI.

Monday, June 20, 2011


When a civilization is vivid it preserves and fosters all sorts of artists - painters, poets, sculptors, musicians, architects. When a civilization is dull and anemic it preserves a rabble of priests, sterile instructors, and repeaters of things second-hand. If literature is to reappear in America it must come not through, but in spite of, the present commercial system of publication.

-- Ezra Pound,
Poetry magazine, 1915.


 Ayat al-Qurmezi read this poem in public.


Because of this poem about the ruling family, she was arrested, tortured, and finally sentenced to one year in prison by Bahraini authorities for inciting public hatred of the regime. She had been detained since March.


Hear me:
You, the elder,
the "good man", who "safeguards justice"
(so you have always declared),
if I were to make excuses for you,
I, for you,
for the things you have done,
I would only look the fool,
for you would continue in your ways,
and murder us as "traitors".
Hear me:
Hear us all, for we all demand likewise -
both sects, all Bahrainis:
You must go.
Take His Majesty with you,
and leave your deeds behind.
You, oppressor,
from where do you derive your power,
the power to keep your people down? -
all your people,
even women
even children
even men.
Yet you call for "dialogue",
even in the midst of your brutality?
No! ... No! ...
One word: No!
One demand:
Give us back our Bahrain.
Return this country to its people;
to us, its people.
Our Bahrain is ours.

Links: here, here, here, here, here, here.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Facts about Father's day.

History of Father's day.

The Gift

by Li-Young Lee

To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he'd removed
the iron sliver I thought I'd die from.

I can't remember the tale,
but hear his voice still, a well
of dark water, a prayer.
And I recall his hands,
two measures of tenderness
he laid against my face,
the flames of discipline
he raised above my head.

Had you entered that afternoon
you would have thought you saw a man
planting something in a boy's palm,
a silver tear, a tiny flame.
Had you followed that boy
you would have arrived here,
where I bend over my wife's right hand.

Look how I shave her thumbnail down
so carefully she feels no pain.
Watch as I lift the splinter out.
I was seven when my father
took my hand like this,
and I did not hold that shard
between my fingers and think,
Metal that will bury me,
christen it Little Assassin,
Ore Going Deep for My Heart.
And I did not lift up my wound and cry,
Death visited here!
I did what a child does
when he's given something to keep.
I kissed my father.

from: Poetry Out Loud Anthology.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Crime is common. Logic is rare.

- S. Holmes

"I don’t know of anything more disheartening than the sight of a shut down library."

Me either.

All across the United States, large and small cities are closing public libraries or curtailing their hours of operations. Detroit, I read a few days ago, may close all of its branches and Denver half of its own: decisions that will undoubtedly put hundreds of its employees out of work.

When you count the families all over this country who don’t have computers or can’t afford Internet connections and rely on the ones in libraries to look for jobs, the consequences will be even more dire.

Want more reasons why Libraries should be saved. Check out THIS post.

Friday, June 17, 2011


If you're looking for truth, read fiction; 
if you're in the mood for fiction read autobiography.

- ?

My My New Diet is MISERABLE!

crochet Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes TV dinner

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Flip Side

The Lamb
from Songs of Innocence    
- William Blake

  Little Lamb who made thee
  Dost thou know who made thee
Gave thee life & bid thee feed.
By the stream & o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing wooly bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice:
  Little Lamb who made thee
  Dost thou know who made thee

  Little Lamb I'll tell thee,
  Little Lamb I'll tell thee:
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb:
He is meek & he is mild,
He became a little child:
I a child & thou a lamb,
We are called by his name.
  Little Lamb God bless thee.
  Little Lamb God bless thee.


TO LEARN MORE try Here, Here, & Here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

'Scuse Me, But My Train of Thought Seems to Have Derailed.

black and white photo of derailed train


"I'm not a meteorologist. All I know is 90 percent of the scientists say climate change is occurring. If 90 percent of the oncological community said something was causing cancer we'd listen to them."

Hey, I'm BANNED in China!

Testresults for:

Beijing fail
Shenzen fail
Inner Mongolia fail
Heilongjiang Province fail
Yunnan Province timeout
No servers were able to reach your site. This means that your site is most likely NOT accessible from within mainland China.

Try your luck at:                                        

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Healing the Wounds of War . . .

Operation Mend


"Why ain't you got your flag out?"

 says Mr. Richmond, entering the gas station in which he spends much of his time these days. "You know today is flag day, don't you?"

"I guess the boss forgot to buy a flag, George," says Mr. Davis, the station attendant. "And even if we had one, we ain't got no place to put it."

Mr. Richmond: "That's a fine state of affairs, that is. Here they are tryin' to bring home to you people the fact that you're livin' in one of the few countries where you can draw a free breath and you don't even know it. You're supposed to have flags out all this week. Don't you know that? This is flag day and this is flag week. Where's your patriotism?"

Mr. Davis: "What the hell are you hollerin' about, George? You're always runnin' the country down. They can't do anything to suit you. You're worryin' about taxes and future generations and all like that. Where's your patriotism?"

Mr. Richmond: "Well, that's different. A man got a right to criticize. That's free speech. Don't mean I ain't patriotic."

from an interview: "Richmond," circa 1936-40,
  Via: The Library of Congress, American Memory.

SEARCH the Archive.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Disapeared in Damascus UPDATE

I am generally of the opinion that everything learned on the internet should be verified, and am not one of those who flies into indignant rage at gaffes and omissions that are really (if one is truly honest) things that most every one does at one time or another.

However, in some cases there are real, live, breathing victims. 
It is for these cases I save my bile.

Several days ago I wrote about a Syrian poet and blogger who was kidnapped. It turns out that not only was the kidnapping a hoax - so was her entire existence. (NYT, WSJ)

The perpetrator has apologized, (here, update here)

however . . .

This is not a victimless crime.

And while the debate rages about deceit and misrepresentation on the internet; its importance, its costs its possible benefits . . .

Real damage has been done to real lives and will undoubtedly continue.

Andrew Sullivan hosts a fair representation of the ongoing debate on his blog, The Dish. He has also posted a comment from one of his readers, which states more clearly than I ever could just what this deception has and will continue to cost. Please follow the link for the entire quote.

To bring attention to yourself and blog; you managed to bring the LGBT movement in the Middle East years back. You single-handedly managed to bring unwanted attention from authorities to our cause and you will be responsible for any LGBT activist who might be yet another fallen angel during these critical time[s].
Also, from In Disguise, by Jen Paton:

People are, not surprisingly, angry, about being deceived, and about an apology that manages to not apologize at all. For some, the anger was more than theoretical: people who were worried about “Amina” put themselves in potential danger in inquiring about her: as the anonymous editor of Gay Middle wrote, “Your apology is not accepted, since I have myself started to investigate Amina’s arrest. I could have put myself in a grave danger inquiring about a fictitious figure. Really … Shame on you!!!”

And here's a note from JEZEBEL on the subject - sarcasm.

The Consequences of War, Peter Paul Rubens
Photo: The Consequences of War, Peter Paul Rubens.

Candy Coated Popcorn, Peanuts, and a Prize . . .

white bull dog puppy dressed as a sailor


I've already given a few thoughts on Wikipedia (here and here) but Martha Nichols at Athena's Head, has  few worthwhile words on the topic as well. It's worth the read.

The piece begins, "Much as I appreciate Wikipedia’s Book of the World and its many temptations, I’ve come to see it as a geek Satan." [...]

Yes, you know me, too. I hate looking clueless, especially in front of my eight-year-old son. But what I hate more is losing the foundation for all truth in a constantly fracturing informationscape. And now I find that one of Wikipedia’s founders, Larry Sanger, would like to disown his creation.
However, here’s Problem Number One: Wikipedia entries employ the “objective,” third-person voice of the expert, yet Wikipedians are “largely anonymous” according to the site. So there’s no one to hold accountable for errors. If other writers edit those entries, readers have no way of telling who those anonymous revisers are either.

Standard news writers employ the god-like voice, too, but they have bylines. In journalistic terms, stories develop; the news cycle indicates the way information changes over time.

The crucial point is that writers with bylines remain accountable. The name on the story is responsible for making mistakes, and corrections are noted (at least they’re supposed to be). That’s why I use my name, online and in print, when I’m writing nonfiction. Readers may hate what I have to say, but they know who to point the finger at.

This is the nub of what’s often referred to as the need for “media literacy” in schools: helping students to distinguish between primary and secondary sources—and to sniff out bias and hidden agendas. Yet think about how many school teachers point kids to Wikipedia and nowhere else.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


army tank covered in a large afghan crocheted in shades of pink

police man helps yarn bomber fix installation

Is Your Place Feeling a bit DRAFTY?

city bus completely covered in multicolored crochet


Villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot.
Those who cloth themselves in good deeds are well
Captain Jean Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise, Star Trek

- J.L. Picard

Saturday, June 11, 2011

If My Voice Is Not Reaching You

     by Afzal Ahmed Syed

     If my voice is not reaching you
     add to it the echo—
     echo of ancient epics

     And to that—
     a princess

     And to the princess—your beauty

     And to your beauty—
     a lover's heart

     And in the lover's heart
     a dagger

from: Rococo and Other Worlds. Copyright 2010.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Learning to Read

      by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Very soon the Yankee teachers
    Came down and set up school;
But, oh! how the Rebs did hate it,—
    It was agin' their rule.

Our masters always tried to hide
    Book learning from our eyes;
Knowledge didn't agree with slavery—
    'Twould make us all too wise.

But some of us would try to steal
    A little from the book,
And put the words together,
    And learn by hook or crook.

I remember Uncle Caldwell,
    Who took pot-liquor fat
And greased the pages of his book,
    And hid it in his hat.

And had his master ever seen
    The leaves up on his head,
He'd have thought them greasy papers,
    But nothing to be read.

And there was Mr. Turner's Ben,
    Who heard the children spell,
And picked the words right up by heart,
    And learned to read 'em well.

Well, the Northern folks kept sending
    The Yankee teachers down;
And they stood right up and helped us,
    Though Rebs did sneer and frown.

And, I longed to read my Bible,
    For precious words it said;
But when I begun to learn it,
    Folks just shook their heads,

And said there is no use trying,
    Oh! Chloe, you're too late;
But as I was rising sixty,
    I had no time to wait.

So I got a pair of glasses,
    And straight to work I went,
And never stopped till I could read
    The hymns and Testament.

Then I got a little cabin—
    A place to call my own—
And I felt as independent
    As the queen upon her throne.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


esc key with little black legs sneaking away

Some People

      by Wislawa Szymborska
translated by Joanna Trzeciak

Some people fleeing some other people.
In some country under the sun
and some clouds.

They leave behind some of their everything,
sown fields, some chickens, dogs,
mirrors in which fire now sees itself reflected.

On their backs are pitchers and bundles,
the emptier, the heavier from one day to the next.

Taking place stealthily is somebody's stopping,
and in the commotion, somebody's bread somebody's snatching
and a dead child somebody's shaking.

In front of them some still not the right way,
nor the bridge that should be
over a river strangely rosy.
Around them, some gunfire, at times closer, at times farther off,
and, above, a plane circling somewhat.

Some invisibility would come in handy,
some grayish stoniness,
or even better, non-being
for a little or a long while.

Something else is yet to happen, only where and what?
Someone will head toward them, only when and who,
in how many shapes and with what intentions?
Given a choice,
maybe he will choose not to be the enemy and
leave them with some kind of life.

from: Miracle Fair. Copyright 2001.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What More Do We Need?

Colette and her fran├žaise kitty.

Aldous Huxley and his kitty living it large in their brave new world.

Philip K. Dick and his kitty, they’re both a couple of freaks.

Mark Twain and his famous pool playing kitty.

Elizabeth Bishop and her kitty getting some fresh air; they’re both very regal.

There is APPARENTLY a Large Group of People Who Don't Realize That 'THE ONION' is SATIRE!



A work of literature that mocks social conventions, another work of art, or anything its author thinks ridiculous. Gulliver's Travels , by Jonathan Swift, is a satire of eighteenth-century British society.