Thursday, December 28, 2006

Pictures: Kitchen Beauty

Sometimes something just happens, like these bowls, just lands perfectly without help and waits patiently for you to notice how lovely it is.

Sometimes there's a bit of intervention: we got a bunch of fair trade grains for Hanukkah, which we've been enjoying. This is the Purple Jasmine, and it tasted great (sweet, but not sticky) and came out almost entirely purple (if you're looking to weird out your dinner guests).

Quotations #091

"If a lot of cures are suggested for a disease, it means that the disease is incurable." -- Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard (1904)

"Not many sounds in life, and I include all urban and all rural sounds, exceed in interest a knock at the door." -- Charles Lamb, "Valentine's Day" (1823)

"Man is to be held only by the slightest of chains, with the idea that he can break them at pleasure, he submits to them in sport." -- Maria Edgeworth, Letters for Literary Ladies (1795)

"The three most important things a man has are, briefly, his private parts, his money, and his religious opinions." -- Samuel Butler (late 19c), Further Extracts from Notebooks (1934)

"All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his." -- Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Thursday Lyric: Presidential Rag

For Hanukkah, my spouse got me a CD of an old favorite, Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie, "Together in Concert" and I was struck by how apropos this Watergate-era song is for today. Think about the scandals and the administration's failure to respond to them, and the utter wrongness of the overarching policy which the scandals support....

Presidential Rag
by Arlo Guthrie

You said you didn't know,
that the cats with the bugs were there,
and you never go along with that kind of stuff no where,
but that just isn't the point man,
that's the wrong wrong way to go,
if you didn't know about that one, well then what else don't you know?

You said that you were lied to,
well that ain't hard to see,
but you must have been fooled again by your friends across the sea,
and maybe you were fooled again by your people here at home,
because nobody could talk like you,
and know what's going on

Nobody elected your family,
and we didn't elect your friends,
no one voted for your advisors,
and nobody wants amends,
You're the one we voted for, so you must take the blame,
For handing out authority to men who are insane

You say its all fixed up now, you've got new guys on the line,
but you had better remember this while you still got the time,
Mothers still are weeping for their boys that went to war,
father still are asking what the whole damn thing was for,
and people still are hungry and people still are poor,
An honest week of work these days don't feed the kids no more,
Schools are still like prisons,
Cuz we don't learn how to live,
and everybody wants to take, nobody wants to give

Yes you will be remembered, be remembered very well,
and if I live a long life, all the stories I could tell,
Of men who are in poverty of sickness and of grief,
Hell yes, you will be remembered,
be remembered very well

You said you didn't know,
that the that the cats with the bugs were there,
You'd never go along with that kind of stuff no where
But that just isn't the point man,
That's the wrong ,wrong way to go,
You didn't know about that one,
well then what else don't you know.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Quotations #090

"The cure of a romantic first flame is a better surety to subsequent discretion, than all the exhortations of all the fathers, and mothers, and guardians, and maiden aunts in the universe." -- Fanny Burney, Camilla (1796)

"They called me mad, and I called them mad, and damn them, they outvoted me." -- Nathaniel Lee (late 17c), cited in R. Porter, A Social History of Madness (1987)

"Mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true." -- Bertrand Russell, Mysticism and Logic (1918)

"One must divide one's time between politics and equations. But our equations are much more important to me." -- Albert Einstein, cited by C.P. Snow.

"God and I both knew what I meant once; now God alone knows." -- Friedrich Klopstock (late 18c) [also attributed to Robert Browning]

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Thursday Lyric Addendum: Ballad of The Carpenter

Apparently some of my friends didn't feel this was in the proper spirit; it does represent a heretical tradition, and it's by the same man who wrote about this Christian movement. In fairness, it represents one of my many feelings about the history and theology of Christianity, and, given the current discourse of traitorousness in this country, needed to be aired.

I've always thought it would be an interesting exercise, in an intro history or historiography course, to pair "Stand Up For Judas" with the following, the leftist revisioning of the Gospels I grew up with. Hope this helps.

The Ballad Of The Carpenter
by Phil Ochs

Jesus was a working man
And a hero you will hear
Born in the town of Bethlehem
At the turning of the year
At the turning of the year

When Jesus was a little lad
Streets rang with his name
For he argued with the older men
And put them all to shame
He put them all to shame

He became a wandering journeyman
And he traveled far and wide
And he noticed how wealth and poverty
Live always side by side
Live always side by side

So he said "Come you working men
Farmers and weavers too
If you would only stand as one
This world belongs to you
This world belongs to you"

When the rich men heard what the carpenter had done
To the Roman troops they ran
Saying put this rebel Jesus down
He's a menace to God and man
He's a menace to God and man

The commander of the occupying troops
Just laughed and then he said
"There's a cross to spare on Calvaries hill
By the weekend he'll be dead
By the weekend he'll be dead"

Now Jesus walked among the poor
For the poor were his own kind
And they'd never let them get near enough
To take him from behind
To take him from behind

So they hired one of the traders trade
And an informer was he
And he sold his brother to the butchers men
For a fistful of silver money
For a fistful of silver money

And Jesus sat in the prison cell
And they beat him and offered him bribes
To desert the cause of his fellow man
And work for the rich men's tribe,
To work for the rich men's tribe

And the sweat stood out on Jesus' brow
And the blood was in his eye
When they nailed his body to the Roman cross
And they laughed as they watched him die
They laughed as they watched him die

Two thousand years have passed and gone
Many a hero too
But the dream of this poor carpenter
Remains in the hands of you
Remains in the hands of you

Classic Rock Veteran, Highly Logical, ISO Big Gun

I'm suprised, and pleased, that I scored as high as I did on the first quiz; there are musical fields in which I am a pretentious geek, but this isn't one of them. The second quiz was a bit of a throwaway: logic puzzles like that are what made the GRE fun, and I'm an old-fashioned Enlightenment Rationalist. The third quiz was interesting: I really didn't know how it would come out, but it makes sense, even the three-way tie (except for the assault rifle bit, though I'm not averse to winning...).

The Veteran
You scored 72%!
You've picked up the majority of the classic rock basics. You probably have a classic rock collection and can sing along with most of the songs on your local radio station. This is not the highest score, but it is arguably the best: that subtle combination of impressive knowledge and not being a pretentious geek.

Link: The BASIC classic rock Test written by allmydays on OkCupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test [via]

You Are Incredibly Logical
Move over Spock - you're the new master of logic! You think rationally, clearly, and quickly. A seasoned problem solver, your mind is like a computer!

You scored as Sniper Rifle. You like sharpshooting. Stealth, accuracy and range are your best friends. So you need sniper rifle (if you don't already have one).

Assault Rifle


Sniper Rifle






What Firearm Fits You Best?
created with [via]

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thursday Lyric: Stand Up For Judas

Your 'Do You Want the Terrorists to Win' Score: 87%

You are a terrorist-loving, Bush-bashing, "blame America first"-crowd traitor. You are in league with evil-doers who hate our freedoms. By all counts you are a liberal, and as such cleary desire the terrorists to succeed and impose their harsh theocratic restrictions on us all. You are fit to be hung for treason! Luckily George Bush is tapping your internet connection and is now aware of your thought-crime. Have a nice day.... in Guantanamo!

Do You Want the Terrorists to Win?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Apparently this score was lower than my friends thought proper. In a spirit of redemption, I offer this song.

(Leon Rosselson)

The Romans were the masters when Jesus walked the land
In Judea and in Galilee they ruled with an iron hand
And the poor were sick with hunger and the rich were clothed in splendour
And the rebels whipped and crucified hung rotting as a warning
And Jesus knew the answer
Said, Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, said, Love your enemies
But Judas was a Zealot and he wanted to be free
Resist, he said, The Romans' tyranny

So stand up, stand up for Judas and the cause that Judas served
It was Jesus who betrayed the poor with his word

Jesus was a conjuror, miracles were his game
And he fed the hungry thousands and they glorified his name
He cured the lame and the lepers, he calmed the wind and the weather
And the wretched flocked to touch him so their troubles would be taken
And Jesus knew the answer
All you who labour, all you who suffer only believe in me
But Judas sought a world where no one starved or begged for bread
The poor are always with us, Jesus said


Now Jesus brought division where none had been before
Not the slaves against their masters but the poor against the poor
Set son to rise up against father, and brother to fight against brother
For he that is not with me is against me, was his teaching
Said Jesus, I am the answer
You unbelievers shall burn forever, shall die in your sins
Not sheep and goats, said Judas, But together we may dare
Shake off the chains of misery we share


Jesus stood upon the mountain with a distance in his eyes
I am the way, the life, he cried, The light that never dies
So renounce all earthly treasures and pray to your heavenly father
And he pacified the hopeless with the hope of life eternal
Said Jesus, I am the answer
And you who hunger only remember your reward's in Heaven
So Jesus preached the other world but Judas wanted this
And he betrayed his master with a kiss


By sword and gun and crucifix Christ's gospel has been spread
And 2000 cruel years have shown the way that Jesus led
The heretics burned and tortured, and the butchering, bloody crusaders
The bombs and rockets sanctified that rain down death from heaven
They followed Jesus, they knew the answer
All non-believers must be believers or else be broken
So put no trust in Saviours, Judas said, For everyone
Must be to his or her own self - a son

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Pictures: Unnatural Beauty

There's beauty everywhere.

Can you guess what this is?
The car's fixed now. I know it was pollution, but I kind of miss the colors.
In the tradition of my unexpected faces series, on meditation I believe this particular oilspot (not mine, this time) is evidence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Happy December!

Quotations #089

"None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but licence." John Milton, The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates (1649)

"The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." -- Edmund Burke, attributed (1784)

"Men will not be content to manufacture life; they will want to improve on it." -- J. D. Bernal, The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1929)

"I bet you if I had met him [Trotsky!] and had a chat with him, I would have found him a very interesting and human fellow, for I never yet met a man that I didn't like." Will Rogers, 6 November 1926

"Love, in the form in which it exists in society, is nothing but the exchange of two fantasies and the superficial contact of two bodies." -- Nicolas-Sébastian Chamfort, Maximes et Pensées (1796)