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The North Korea-Trump Nightmare (2017/04/21) https://nyti.ms/2pJJINX I'm unsure how younger Americans feel, who have not lived through this before, but I distinctly don't appreciate waking up every morning wondering if my country's leaders are mad enough or sufficiently belligerent and incompetent to precipitate a nuclear war or. short of that, simultaneous conventional wars on the top of ones we are already fighting without Constitutional authorization. Neither do I appreciate having to wonder whether the President, Vice President, U.N. Ambassador, the Cabinet, and the U.S. military and military command are all on the same page, in the face of evidence that they decidedly are not. It is very disturbing that Captain Wrongway Peachfuzz seems in command of Trump's "armada" or that Trump himself is the orange-haired reincarnation of that Rocky & Bullwinkle Show Cold War cartoon character. One did not have to agree with President Obama to rest assured that, at...
Posted by rri (March, 2017)

GOP Healthcare and the Social Contract

Republican harping on God and Freedom, representing Government as a fairly unabashed evil, would have us forget the fundamental analysis of the Social Contract theorists that undergirded our founding generation's political understanding. The fault of perfect Liberty is that it is unenjoyable, incommensurate with Life and the pursuit of Happiness, in the State of Nature. God may endow these unalienable Rights, but it is men who must secure them by banding together, consenting to renounce perfect Liberty to institute Governments. This understanding is inscribed right in the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." Republicans would have us...
Posted by rri (February, 2017)

Fellow Travelers: Trump and Putin

Nicholas Kristof (Did Putin Try to Steal an American Election?) correctly cautions against viewing the apparent Trump-Putin political alliance in terms of cold war conspiracy. Trump is not some "Siberian Candidate," a deep cover agent for Moscow. It's worse than that. Trump's is not an ideological or moral commitment to a foreign adversary. His willingness to walk up to the line of treason in spirit if not in law is rooted in a pure lust for power and personal gain by any means; one that leads him to conflate himself, his prejudices, and his business interests with American national interest. That is the sum of his America First patriotism: Trump First. Putin also conflates himself, his power, and his gain with Russian nationalism. It's the core of his own demagogic appeal. Trump's "I alone" affinity for Putin's post-communist authoritarian kleptocracy is a frighteningly natural one of like minds and like...
Posted by rri (July, 2016)

The Prophet

I only bother to look once in a great while. So it happened only this evening that I noticed the "whybother.com" domain next door had fallen into the hands of some breed of Adventists, evidently the kind of Christians convinced that atheists are doomed to plunge into the depths of despair, their lives meaningless, teeth-gritting bouts with emptiness, anguish and enui, until they hit bottom -- Praise the Lord! -- and click on FindGod.com. Yes, such is name of the tediously god-infested site to which poor whybother.com is now undignified portal, and such is the design of the apparatus, the page layout of the lure. I'm not going to dignify either with link. If you want to look, you'll have to do it yourself....
Posted by rri (July, 2013)

3 Beach Monkeys, 1997

Dredged up this ancient thing from the bottom of the sea.
File date September 15, 1997.

A 15fps Super Wide Production
3 Beach Monkeys
Starring Laurel, Troy & Brighton
Posted by rri (August, 2010)

Ocean Beach Dog Wrangling

Go vote for Margarita, Ela and "The Critter" at the New York Time's Lens project "A Moment in Time"! Rotate the planet to look around. We're in the California "stack," closest to the top in the "Community" sort. It's more fun to hunt through and see the range of pictures people thought representative of "a moment in time," but if you want to get to us quickly, click Sunday morning dog wrangling in Ocean Beach, CA. Here it is: Earth, covered by stacks of thousands of virtual photographs, corresponding in location to where they were taken by Lens readers at one "Moment in Time" (15:00 U.T.C., Sunday, May 2). Zach Wise designed the interactive gallery and Jacqui Maher developed the submission process. Spin the globe in any direction to get where you want to go. Click on a stack and the top photo will open, giving the photographer's name...
Posted by rri (May, 2010)

blue moon - 2009

It seemed appropriate to pay attention. A full moon lights this New Year's Eve, by necessity, a blue moon. At fifty-two, I have the time and relative lack of commitments to pause a moment, or two, or more than several and pay attention. They happen, or so I am told, about every nineteen years or so, or perhaps it is exactly and I wasn't paying sufficient attention. Nineteen years would mean that I had missed two previous New Year's Eve Blue Moon events. One at about thirty-three when I was distracted by the demands of a young family and the other at fourteen, when I was just distracted or conversely far too self absorbed to notice much outside my own evolving turbulent self. One cannot say really if another nineteen years down the road I will be here, or sufficiently aware to notice. So, I wandered outside, into the cold,...
Posted by psa (December, 2009)

Republican Neo-Permissiveness

Since when did we as a nation, as concerned citizens, as parents lose the capacity to judge babies having babies, to condemn teenagers having unprotected sex? What will it do to every American mother's and father's ability to discourage their children from having sex before marriage and to insist, failing that, upon proper precautions not just against pregnancy but against deadly sexually transmitted diseases if we rollover to a wave of Republican permissiveness and install the bad example of Bristol and Levi in the White House? Is it fair to Palin to hold her responsible for her daughter's mistakes? Certainly not. It is horribly unfair. But since when has the national interest become secondary to fairness to politicians?
Posted by rri (September, 2008)

Far Right Republican Family Values

Far Right Republican Family Values apparently include not only knowingly choosing to have a Down's Syndrome child when one already has a full family of four, but also the fine example of parenting displayed when one has a 16 year old teenage daughter (now 17) -- the daughter of a state governor, no less -- running around having unprotected sex and who, as a not very surprising result, is now 5 months pregnant. One can sympathize with their challenges as a family, but is this really the "model" of parent, family and teenage behavior the adoring Right, or the rest of us for that matter, wants to have in or anywhere near the White House?...
Posted by rri (September, 2008)

Miss Congeniality

Let us consider the assumed symmetries: Obama's inexperience =~ Palin's inexperience Biden's experience (6 terms in Senate; worst vices: likes to talk too much and has sense of humor) =~ McCain's experience (4 terms in Senate, worst vices: violent temper and see-no-evil, hear-no-evil relation to lobbyist buddies -- poster-child for enlightening & ennobling effects of torture applied long, long ago.) Let us consider the putative symmetry: Obama chooses Biden as his Vice President, at worst admitting that he might need more seasoned advice in an international crisis, and responsibly providing Americans with assurance should something happen to him. McCain chooses Palin as his Vice President, implicitly claiming he already knows everything there is to know about life and death, peace and war, health and the economy, and is entitled to show a big "FU" to everyone else in his choice of Vice President. Whose temperament and judgment do you want...
Posted by rri (August, 2008)

Ornaments

"I'm going to start inquiring about your own personal agenda, whether your positions and your scoffing tone might not be viewed as little more than cover in lieu of a defense of the indefensible. In truth, I don't presume much worse than that you hold a good many of your opinions and views primarily, consciously or not, as ornaments of some long-term but still evolving notion yourself." Requiem...
Posted by anne duncan (July, 2007)

Free the Falls

They turn off the water you know, as if it was some gigantic spigot. At night and in the off season, when the tourists are not around to admire and be awestruck, they turn it off. Well, not off completely although perhaps that is possible and has actually happened, at least once naturally due to the formation of an ice dam one winter. During the main part of the tourist season 50% of the water is diverted. At night and during the off season about 75% is diverted. The reasons for doing so are multiple, however, it appears to be an extraordinary waste to let all of that potential energy escape. Instead, they reroute it through the hydroelectric plants on both the Canadian and U.S. sides whose power is then shared, by virtue of international accord, between the interested parties, the US and Canada. However, power isn't the only reason...
Posted by Zarazi (July, 2007)

Voting Republican

Occasionally, a friend who is fond of me, will send me columns by Maureen Dowd, hoping to expand my somewhat limited political sensibilities. There was one recently, "Brothers and Sisters, July 25, 2007, NY Times" (Free Democracy link), that addressed the effect Bush is having in turning previously staunch Republicans into Democrats. Well, that is pretty straightforward now; the Republican Party is rather onerous to be associated with at the present time. Which gives rise I suspect to a host of "closet" Republicans, but that is another matter. In any event, the article prompted me to ponder why it is that people voted Republican in the first place. In so far that is that one votes for a party rather then a person, because clearly if one were voting for a person, Bush would have been far less likely to be elected. Then given that one is voting for a...
Posted by Zarazi (July, 2007)

The Ignoramus

He is sitting the by himself in the bar at McCormick and Schmick's. This is okay, I eat by myself in restaurants all the time and I am female. Yes, it is harder for us then for you others, but another matter that. There he is. "Yes, sir, we do have a one and a half pound lobster. Our last one for the evening." So, he works his way through two plates of assorted other and at last it arrives. Shining in its slightly luninescent red glory. Is he awed, slightly worshipful, humbled by the feast laid before him. No, the fool is on his cell phone. So he lays into the lovely thing, this piece of nirvana, one handed, the other hand occupied with clutching his cell phone to the cheek he is determined to stuff. Now lobster cannot and should not be gobbled down one handedly, distractedly while...
Posted by Zarazi (July, 2007)

The God Vote

Sitting around in a hotel room, as I seem to be doing quite a lot of these days, and attempting to avoid doing whatever it was that I should have been doing, having also sacificed my laptop to the male members of the family, there was naught to do but watch CNN on TV. Repeatedly, endlessly. Thus, on a segment which I believe was called "Keeping Them Honest", a worthy effort I am sure, however ineffective, I came across "The God Vote". It appears, at least to their own pundits, that the democrats have finally gotten their act together and decided that they are not simply going to cede the God Vote to the Republicans. After all, they are good god-fearing people themselves, why should they just sit back and let the Republicans be the only ones making hay in those fields. It turns out that recent polls indicate that...
Posted by Zarazi (July, 2007)

Jet lag

Phoenix Chicago West Lafayette Niles Kalamazoo Ann Arbor Toledo Cleveland Providence Old Greenwich Providence Las Vegas Gibson hypothicates that when you fly, your soul, not traveling as fast, trails behind you, lost somewhere in the ether, struggling to catch up....
Posted by Zarazi (July, 2007)

How I Learned My ABCs

"a" word "b" word "c" word "d" word "e" word "f" word "g" word "h" word "i" word "j" word "k" word "l" word "m" word "n" word "o" word "p" word "q" word "r" word "s" word "t" word "u" word "v" word "w" word "x" word "y" word "z" word We are a nation of children....
Posted by rri (July, 2007)

Iraq: A Republican War

Whether a consequence of principle or politics, one thing is clear from public polling at the four year mark: George Bush's war in Iraq has become indisputably a minority, one-party, Republican War. Now supported by only 32% of Americans according to a recent CNN/Opinion Research poll (Poll: Support for the Iraq war deteriorates, March 19, 2007), the war in Iraq eeks out that very low level of overall public support only because it is still supported by more 70% of Republicans, though almost unanimously opposed by Democrats (91%) and very unpopular among Independents, 73% of whom now disapprove of Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq (CBS News/New York Times Poll, Feb 23-27, 2007). As CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider points out in his March 19, 2007...
Posted by rri (March, 2007)

Drive By Briefing of President Bush

A wonderful piece of video -- get it while you can -- illustrating the effects and contents of what George Bush -- the man himself, a ramblin' and explannin', up and grinnin' wide as day on the hot spot before the camera -- very genuinely, believably described as a "Drive-By Briefing," prepping him for questions on the Supreme Court's Center-Left line-in-the-sand stance on the Court's authority over all matters consequential not just to Constitutional Rights but to Human Rights as well, to the extent We, The United States of America, still stand as signatories to various quaint Humanist conventions of International Law, foremost the Geneva Conventions. Our President's Drive By Briefing Unfortunately, it is an open question whether the American Public, the demos at large, has sufficient residual common sense and moral judgment -- the most conservative and indeed heroic of "Conservative Virtues" -- to care a fig about their...
Posted by rri (June, 2006)

Neil Young's Articles of Impeachment

Article I Let's impeach the president for lyin' Misleading our country into WAR Abusing all the power that we gave him And shipping all our money out the door Who's the man who hired all the criminals The white house shadows who hide behind closed doors And bend the facts to fit with their new story Of why we have to send our men to war Article II Let's impeach the president for spyin' On citizens inside their own homes Breaking ev'ry law in the country By tapping our computers and telephones What if AL QUAEDA blew up the levees, Would New Orleans have been safer that way? Sheltered by the government's protection Or was someone just not home that day? Article III Let's impeach the president for hijacking Our religion and using it to get elected Dividing our country into colors And still leaving black people neglected Thank GOD...
Posted by rri (May, 2006)

Neil Young, Living With War

No Need No More Lies
Posted by rri (May, 2006)

The Canonical List of Weird Band Names

This unexpurgated version of "The Canonical List of Weird Band Names" from 7/19/98 is preserved and presented here to give the lie to the growing number of web sites, commercial and personal, that are mindlessly reproducing some nameless PC-ditherhead's sanitized version, which first surfaced back in the wild and woolly days of the net when chellec created and yet maintained the authentic Canonical List of Weird Band Names. Imagine the mentality of someone who could, for example, approve band names the likes of "Amputatoe," "Anal Babes," "Anal Beard Barbers," and even "Anal Cunt," and yet figure "Amputee and the Eunichs" was just too, too much for public sensibilities, and hack it off the Canonical List.  Do not be decieved! Demand the real thing! -- Amputee and the Eunichs (1977-1979) The Canonical List of Weird Band Names The Peculiar and the Profane These are names of actual bands, past and...
Posted by rri (March, 2006)

50

Of course, both my real and nominal depression upon the mere mention of my impending 50th birthday are greatly, I would say, sufficiently dramatized. THE LATEST SENSATION: WEEKS IN THE MAKING! Indeed, Drama is how we slow things down, to give us time to think. OK, one of the ways. Nothing new here. Read Dickens, if you like, for all it matters. It's what we mean by "Culture" And its efficacy, whatever you've got in mind.... But my hesitation lies elsewhere. I have no answer to those other, earlier questions. How could it ever have been otherwise? [The Beatitudes F ObEING] => go ahead, the cliff is that-a-way >> Phat!...
Posted by rri (January, 2006)

Sweet Virginia

Listening to the Rolling Stones' Sweet Virginia, from now so long ago, trying to remember Pre-Reagan America, but having difficulty. Afterall, we all grew up with the bastard as Governor, too. Sixteen years, all told. Nevertheless, in 1972, Nixon's ultimate demise was already a vague shiny dream, glowing brightly on the great land's horizon upon horizon. The bear still went over the mountains. Kent was a State...
Posted by rri (January, 2006)

the wheels came off

Posted by busybeaver (September, 2005)

Alhambra

aridness constrained water in a dry land
Posted by anne duncan (August, 2005)

Phoenix

the sky is burning
Posted by anne duncan (August, 2005)

Ah well...

As an astute observer of this site may notice (there may be one or two), busybeaver does not spring forth a fully formed and dewy new presence on this 21st of August last. The enignmatic sayings of one ebj have now been re-signed, attributed by the software to said BB. Yes, poor Elva has been unmasked - attempting to learn this strange new technology she is. Quite a feat for a box of dead letters, but there you have it. Elva also notices that there is a, shall we say, less astute observer present - a mechanical intermediary, an engine of search, gamely attempting to identify signal, identify noise, serve meaning. Well, dear Goo-goo, if you really have to know, the postings of busybeaver are mere sitebuilding practice leavings. Yes, another flesh and blood, bricks and mortar, cliche filled, time constrained ordinary person has decided to learn how to work...
Posted by busybeaver (August, 2005)

I've got...

...nothing to say, but it's ok... (good morning!) If a website changes in the middle of cyberspace and nobody notices, does it make a sound?...
Posted by busybeaver (August, 2005)

Zarazi, Troll Priestess of the Horde

Friday the 13th May 2005 What do you do, when a seemingly sensible woman confesses to have become "Zarazi, Troll Priestess of the Horde, 2nd Level," but doubt she was every really that sensible at all. (Sensible is vastly overrated. Zarazi) And search for proof... Thus, having long wanted to "out" myself and other adult game players, the following: An Interview with Zarazi, Troll Priestess of the Horde, 2nd Level The Inquisition: Zarazi, many have held ... perhaps mistakenly ... that playing games with children becomes the more pleasurable the older we grow; as we, aging, naturally lose our need to win. You have been introduced to this game by your son. Have you not, Zarazi? What say you then, Zarazi, to this belief? Zarazi, Troll Priestess of the Horde: : To start with, you must admit that had you ever really thought that I was "sensible," you would...
Posted by rri (May, 2005)

Conjunctive Points

The intersections of our lives. Some lives intersect along whole surfaces. They blend together in seamless arcs and pleasing forms. Point and counterpoint in rhythm with each other, not conjoined, but blended, a symmetry, a balance achieved, comfort. Some lives merge together, run hand in hand with each other. They merge and enhance becoming larger entities, edifices, cathedrals one might say. The merging together of lives to create something understandable, coherent, perceptible, a unity, a shaped space. But our lives, the complex geometries of ourselves intersect irascibly, conjunctive points in an imperceptible structure whose purpose, meaning or ultimate form surpasses our cognition. Occasions of connection that lead not rhythmically onward nor to some larger purpose. Occasions which neither preclude nor predestinate some future connection....
Posted by anne duncan (March, 2005)

To Catch a Thief

Grace Kelly: John.... Grace Kelly: John.... Grace Kelly: Are you going to make it hard for me to apologize? Cary Grant: Not at all. I'm sure you're sorry. Grace Kelly: You know I am. Til mother told me, I had no idea the things you were up against. Cary Grant: Well. Grace Kelly: What are your plans now? Cary Grant: Now what? Grace Kelly: That the cat burgler's dead. Cary Grant: Foussard isn't The Cat. Grace Kelly: But the newspapers.... Cary Grant: The man had a wooden leg. Grace Kelly: Wasn't he caught at a villa trying to rob it? Cary Grant: He wasn't trying to rob it. He was trying to kill...me. Grace Kelly: Why? Cary Grant: Because I was getting too close to The Cat. Grace Kelly: Then who killed him? Cary Grant: If I ever find that out, I'll let you know. Goodbye, Francie. Grace Kelly:...
Posted by rri (March, 2005)

Fortune is a Woman

It is not unknown to me how many men have had, and still have, the opinion that the affairs of the world are in such wise governed by fortune and by God that men with their wisdom cannot direct them and that no one can even help them; and because of this they would have us believe that it is not necessary to labour much in affairs, but to let chance govern them. This opinion has been more credited in our times because of the great changes in affairs which have been seen, and may still be seen, every day, beyond all human conjecture. Sometimes pondering over this, I am in some degree inclined to their opinion. Nevertheless, not to extinguish our free will, I hold it to be true that Fortune is the arbiter of one-half of our actions, but that she still leaves us to direct the other...
Posted by rri (March, 2005)

Bush Baby-Boomers Take Care of Their Own

GEN-X BEWARE! And all you ever-ambiguous Blank Generation folk, among whom I number myself, you ought to wake up too. For once again, the post-war Baby-Boomers, arguably the most pampered, selfish and programmatically self-indulgent generation in American history, are preparing to take care of themselves at the direct expense of their younger brothers and sisters, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. At least, that's the impression one gets reading the Bush-Cato Social Security Administration's online Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security's Future. (Also beware that under the Bush administration we live in an Orwellian world where official government websites frequently change their 'facts and figures' with political calculus, so the following quoted passages may no longer be there when you go to look.) But as it stands at this writing, the Social Security Administration's official FAQ About Social Security's Future is a powerful object lesson in the crude directness of the 'divide...
Posted by rri (January, 2005)

Hallowed Halls

The ivy crept over the house, a green plague, relentless. The house, that human construct lay beneath, consumed. Some looking would call it quaint, ivy covered halls, hallowed halls. I called it death, a slow strangulation, a suffocation within the leafy legion. Its progression was incremental, measured in inches, brick by brick, one crumbled mortar joint at a time, a progression if not quite sapient, then certainly malevolent in its indifference....
Posted by anne duncan (January, 2005)

Why bother about WhyBother.org?

What a pain, a nuisance, annoyance, what trouble, what a bother and botheration it is to inconvenience oneself, to overstrain, extend oneself, to get all hyped up, psyched up, to overexert oneself, all set to trouble oneself, almost kill oneself just to maintain a "vanity" web site year after year after year! Now in the vainest of all vain glories, a blog format. Why Bother? After all, the net takes you nowhere.... In any event, I have no answer to those questions. Nor do I need any. Whybother.org was formally created as a website on August 26, 1999. But "Why Bother" as a vague kind of virtual dis-organization, with a finite but shadowy membership, has a much longer history, reaching back into the deep dark recesses of mid-1970's Berkeley. My lips are sealed.... But in anticipatory celebration of the New Year, I thought why not fly the old flag, yet...
Posted by rri (December, 2004)

Tropic of Cancer

From Narrative Detours: Henry Miller and the Rise of New Critical Modernism (1989): I want to make a detour of those lofty arid mountain ranges where one dies of thirst and cold, that "extra-temporal" history, that absolute of time and space where there exists neither man, beast, nor vegetation, where one goes crazy with loneliness, with language that is mere words, where everything is unhooked, ungeared, out of joint with the times. I want a world of men and women, of trees that do not talk (because there is too much talk in the world as it is!), of rivers that carry you to places, not rivers that are legends, but rivers that put you in touch with other men and women, with architecture, religion, plants, animals--rivers have boats on them and in which men drown, drown not in myth and legend and books and dust of the past, but in time and space and history. --Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
Posted by rri (December, 2004)

Bush's Social InSecurity Plan

Just keeping track of the shifting lies, misrepresentations and bait-and-switch tactics of the Bush Administration as it slithers toward that Holy Grail of Right-Wing American politics, the dismemberment and destruction of the New Deal's Covenant with America, the 1935 Social Security Act, is a dizzying, mind-numbing task. And it's meant to be. It's among the most fundamental of discoveries of the early masters of effective political propaganda in media-dominated, mass societies -- Hearst, Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler -- that one's ideological opponents can be kept permanently off balance and ineffective, endlessly marshalling armies of difficult little facts and seemingly condescending appeals to reason and rationality against the easy big lie that one can tell, re-tell, not tell, offer, modify or drop at a moment's notice. To the effective political propagandist "facts" and "reasons" are just so many deployable, imaginative fictions in a world come unanchored where any hesitation, any self-restraint for...
Posted by rri (December, 2004)

Fallow

the ills of marriage, but none of the fruit the mundane, the insipid, the better left unsaid tenderness, intimacy, joy threadbare in the tedium of being better to lie fallow to await another season
Posted by anne duncan (December, 2004)

A Fighting Faith

As if the Cold War nostalgia of the Bush League of Neo-Con Beltway Imperialists and God-Is-On-Our-Side Red State Evangelicals weren't bad enough, now comes the purportedly left of center editor of The New Republic, Peter Beinart, issuing his own retro clarion call for "a new liberalism," A Fighting Faith, as he styles it, in a black and white world of American might and right locked in another life or death, existential battle with the forces of totalitarian darkness and their fellow travelers at home and abroad.
Posted by rri (December, 2004)

Gone

She is gone, the one you wanted, that effervescent blythe spirit. I buried her, walled her off, it is the same. I built the wall myself, mixed the mortar, carefully laid the brick. Silence. I cursed you both as the mortar dried. The housewife remains....
Posted by anne duncan (December, 2004)

Culture Wars: The Soundtrack

I don't watch prime-time American network television any more, nor the HBO and other comparable cable fare that increasingly dominates evening viewing and day-after conversation in its stead. To the amazement and despair of friends, family, and other die-hard friends of "Friends", I have thus far refused to watch even a single episode of "The Sopranos", as I steadfastly refused "Sex and the City" before it. Mine is an almost un-American inactivity in relation to TV. Nevertheless, the stuff does manage, thanks to my wife, to snake its way into my house. The result is that, for the past decade or so, I've had what might best be described as a distant, occasional listening relationship to that vast swath of America's collective imaginative life. Poor anti-social me, I no longer know all the latest "funny" or "cool" commercials. Television is something that literally goes on in the other room...
Posted by rri (November, 2004)

The Chantelle Show:
The Discovery of America

Coming Columbus Day Indigenous People's Day, October 12, 2004.... I'm not at all sure what or if it meant, the fortuitous discovery of that quarter deck of card-sized Chantelle photos in Derrida's Of Spirit shortly after his death; less, what I might or might not have intended in sequestering them there almost a decade ago; even less, what last month moved me to photograph the photographs spread upon the back of Wilson leather, the classic black jacket, one of the happiest things I now own, long denied me by another's image of who I was and ought to be, until I reached San Diego....
Posted by rri (October, 2004)

Jacques Derrida

Jacques Derrida 1930-2004...
Posted by rri (October, 2004)

What I Really Said About Iraq

Was there ever any doubt that L. Paul Bremner III yet remained a true-blue, die-on-the-sword believer, sold on the grand old neo-con cause? I think not, despite his strenuous defense of self and President in his New York Times Op-Ed piece What I Really Said About Iraq. Nor do I think anyone's especially now excited about whether in 20-20 hindsight Bremner was more right than the generals--those Rumsfeld and Company had left standing--back when this chaos was first let loose. No, I seem to recall just the other day when the point was that Bremner got caught out speaking too openly a present truth about the state of things in Iraq. He was caught recognizing, accepting the reality that things are so bad that we had better start examining and re-examining all sorts of ideas, his among them, of what might have been done better. The point remains, beyond anything...
Posted by rri (October, 2004)

Skull & Bones A or Skull & Bones C

As we begin our final election-year descent into the maelstrom of American cultural dysfunction, before we founder beneath the coming wave upon wave upon wave of proud, flag-flying, viciously oafish "Who's Preventing Me From Being A Millionaire?" mass imbecility that is the American populace "making up its mind," before we discover ourselves too much exhausted to speak in the face of all that is so unspeakable about the American people and the American media, we would do well to pause at this summit of the loftiest crag to consider the vertiginous achievement of our peculiar institutions.
Posted by rri (September, 2004)

A few words about ... vacuums!

Last week I got out of bed and into my car to shop for a vacuum cleaner in a semi-robotic, automatic, beam-me-up kind of way. Without first forming a central system for comparison, or reading any review, rating, records or consumer report to gauge the best machines, whether commercial, industrial, bagless, cordless, hepa, wet-dry, or for simplicity of repair, I chose a Bissell vacuum cleaner off the back of a truck from among a pool of Dirt Devil, Dyson, Electrolux, Eureka, Fantom, Hoover, Kenmore, Kirby, Miele, Oreck, Panasonic, Rainbow, Roomba, Royal, Shark, Sharp, and Tristar titles and packaging. Stranger things have happened. I didn't know what to make of the vacuum guy's cover. He was parked, motor running, on a leaf-strewn lawn by an above ground swimming pool and had some robot-like female pumping pond stuff through hose and tube into a variety of canister, chamber, and storage bags. The whole contraption, topped by a rotary vane, he claimed was some kind of Gast pump coating machine, a sealer and sweeper for the pool-side tile. But of his assistant coater who wore only a bra, he said nothing.
Posted by rri (August, 2004)

A few words about...

The little words cavorting noticed one day that they were being herded into an ever-narrower column in the middle of the page. To the left and the right appeared flickering changing shapes. One day, a group of words noticed that the shapes seemed to shadow them hunter-chameleons changing, echoing, reaching. "George Christian Bush!" a group of words would shout, and the Republican National Committee would reach out a bony link. "Watch what you say!" another group would whisper, and Powells Books would suggest 1984. Soon they began to play with the shapes, to see what they could make them do. "Deep-sea divers report record loss on silly-putty sales under hurricane conditions." "Writhing newts endanger terms of DVD sales agreement with Finland." "House of Rising Sun declared winner of new housing start extravaganza with retrograde motion." The shadows silently shadowed illuminating far corners of mercantile greed outposts of wishful thinking beckoning...
Posted by busybeaver (July, 2004)

War Crime Planning

On May 6, 2002, the Bush administration announced the withdrawal of the United States from the International Criminal Court Treaty and claimed exemption from the jurisdiction of the permanent war crimes tribunal that the International Criminal Court Treaty established on July 1, 2002. At the time, little was made of this decision outside human rights circles. But as we now know, the Bush administration's withdrawal from the International Criminal Court Treaty in May 2002 was only the tip of an iceberg, the only then visible piece of an extensive internal, on-going effort to reinterpret in secret the Geneva Conventions, U.S. law, Presidential authority, and even the meaning of the word "torture" itself.
Posted by rri (June, 2004)

Forgotten Opera, 2004

"Think Pacific Heights meets Burning Man meets the Castro. Imagine dancing in a 25,000 square foot warehouse space decked out in opera sets and props, and seeing a professional opera diva appear in the distance to belt out house remixed aria by Gavin Hardkiss followed by the operetta from The Fifth Element. The Forgotten was an incredible resurgence of the bohemian scene in San Francisco on a huge scale." -- From Ggreg Taylor's Forgotten Opera
Posted by pepe le peu (June, 2004)

North Garbage - South Garbage

Younger and thinner then, older and lazier now, I've told this story before, but set in Baja, San Quintin. If you don't know where it's set this time, I won't tell you. We don't need to see more people here.

Posted by rri (June, 2004)

Good Christian Bush

Today, at the conclusion of the G-8 summit conference at Sea Island, Georgia, the world witnessed the morally disheartening spectacle of a President of The United States of America, George W. Bush, himself a professed born-again Christian, unable or unwilling to bring himself to condemn the use of torture as an interrogation technique. Three times he was asked, each time in a distinct and different way in case he misunderstood, each time with a different opportunity to frame an answer, simple or complex, for the American people. There can be no doubt he understood. Three times he denied the moral weight of the issue. Have not especially President Bush's many born-again Christian supporters the moral obligation, the Christian duty before God, to seek genuine and full clarification of his views and feelings on this issue?
Posted by rri (June, 2004)

Mission Accomplished

"There are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq." "Free societies do not use weapsons of mass destruction." "Life for the Iraqi people is a world away from the cruelty and corruption of Saddam's regime." President George W. Bush's faith that there is no truth so unfortunate that it cannot be dispelled with barefaced denial and indifferent neglect is simply staggering. More staggering is the percentage of Americans who apparently approve this method of governance.
Posted by rri (May, 2004)

Love Songs (2)

Her own dreams were tame. She had domesticated them long ago and eventually she noticed that they were just gone, dried husks of themselves that she must have swept out unnoticing one day.
Posted by anne duncan (March, 2004)

Love Songs

Perfumed in moonlight and rain she approached. "Come, waltz with me" she whispered and her breath trailed like warm silk across my skin.
Posted by anne duncan (March, 2004)

A latecomer to an embassy ball...

...arrives at the top of the stairs and surveys the scene below. The room below is circular. There are 360 doors. On each door is an inscription. What is on the door the latecomer has arrived through? What is on the door directly opposite?...
Posted by busybeaver (January, 2004)

Data Has No Right to Integrity

Data has no right to "integrity" independent of our human interest, however individually or collectively we may care to negotiate that.
Posted by rri (January, 2004)

a gift

A single grain would have sufficed. As the last grains trickled through her fingers she perceived the mystery hidden in the broken glass.
Posted by anne duncan (January, 2004)

Malificent

It was my prerogative and I let it pass, as if it were of no greater essence than the mist, thinking it no more than a lost dream and forgetting it was no less.
Posted by anne duncan (November, 2003)

Hannah

When I saw the flat, I knew that this would be the place where I would live for years to come. It just had a certain feel to it. The rooms were spacious and bright. The kitchen was quite large. It had a utility room and hookups for a washer and dryer. There was also a large fireplace in the living room which faced the back. There was a room in the middle of the flat that would work as a dark, quiet bedroom and two sunny, carpeted rooms in the front facing the street that could be used as space--for relaxing, reading, Yoga or some sort of fun yet to be determined. I decided I could afford it and I took it. I was retiring at age 44. I had a small house to sell in the East Bay and some investments. I had made a bundle in the...
Posted by tbone (November, 2003)

A Village

He sat by the side of the school, waiting. He and the clusters of other students that milled around, some raucous, some aimless, some like him carefully timing their entry into the line of students waiting for a parent to pick them up. He had learned to time the line. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes he failed miserably. Even when he was very young, he had known which parents he liked, and which he did not. By the time he was ten, he had begun to try to get picked up by the parents he preferred. Now, he had been watching the patterns for years. He could feel the flow of them. He had his favorite parents. He knew if he timed it right, he could spot the car of a parent he liked as it rounded the turn coming up to the school. He had to keep track of the...
Posted by anne duncan (October, 2003)

Too Many Notes

It sucked me right in, an article by Scott Timberg for the LA Times. "Discouraging words are seldom heard against Frank Gehry's Disney Hall. Here are a few." I like modern architecture in general; specifically I like the sculptural work that emerged from the demise of the "post-modern" and "deconstructivist" trends of the seventies and eighties. I particularly like Frank Gehry's work. However, he has become something of a cultural icon, especially in Los Angeles, and who in our voyeuristic society is not interested in the demise of icons in general. So, I was interested to read what a critic might write about this particular work. There were many possibilities. Perhaps they did not like the sensual textural quality of the forms and surfaces. Perhaps they felt it was too similar to his previous work, that in essence it was a stagnantation of his efforts. Perhaps it had been found...
Posted by psa (September, 2003)

Old And In The Way

You know, for the past twenty-five years, I've always had a sense that American management was composed mostly of those from our parents' generation, but it now seems that today American management is composed of those from Gen-X. How was it possible, that we, the baby boom generation, the largest generation in American history, were cut loose from our fair share of controlling destiny?
Posted by mrbdawg (November, 2000)

Mission To Mars

The joy of Mission To Mars is to think that some reviewers actually found anything to praise in the movie. I had a sense that the chief scriptwriter was a 7 year-old kid locked up in his room with a space rocket and a tape recorder for ten days. The highlight of the movie was the escape from the doomed lander as it headed wildly toward a flaming entry into the Martian atmosphere, seeing the astronauts file out in a weightless conga line, only to turn their heads to watch the craft disappear far below into a flaming meteorite.
Posted by mrbdawg (November, 2000)

Cryptonomicon

Stephenson has played with each of his parallel stories and has developed so many interesting plot thread that when he must necessarily converge the stories, they don't quite splice nicely, leaving unconnected threads sparking annoying voltage. The splice becomes a 3 inch long ugly weld bubbling melted iron and copper on what could have been a wonderful fiber optic cable.
Posted by mrbdawg (November, 2000)

Mock The Casbah

Last night, I went, invited by the coolest young couple I know in San Diego, to one of the city's most notorious dive clubs, The Casbah, to hear Steve Poltz (a.k.a., The Rugburns, co-writer of the hit that launched Jewel's career, the undisputed king of the 40 second answering machine song, and, well, Steve Poltz) do his solo, heavy Cathoholic drinking routine.
Posted by rri (November, 2000)

Our Bad Attitude

Isn't it bad enough that your word processor knows how to spell MacDonald's but not Gramsci?"
Posted by rri (November, 2000)

Outside The Matrix

Like all genuine science fiction, the film The Matrix is, at bottom, not about some horrifying possible future in which machines rule the world but an allegory of the present in which mere mortals much like ourselves do.
Posted by rri (November, 2000)

Every Vote Counts

As I sit down to write this, the Office of President of the United States of America seems to dangle from the fingertips of the unelected members of the Florida State Supreme Court. You, reading this presumably after their decision, know much more than I. But what, really, do you know from your future vantage that we all couldn't have known all along just by looking back, back and all around us, with a bit of common sense? Whether the Florida Supreme Court proved our electoral puppet-masters of the last instance? Which dumb block of wood and paste they marched to stage front and which dragged off to the wings? Or whether their decision, trumpeted around the world one moment was challenged the next, proved not final; and other masters assumed the strings and continued the tawdry vote-counting melodrama into a fifth act? And what is that future knowledge...
Posted by rri (November, 2000)

Beyond Information

Technology has killed the "killer copyright." In technologically sophisticated markets around the world, music CD sales have plummeted, as kids raised on computers turn to Napster and its more untraceable successors to stock their music libraries.
Posted by rri (November, 2000)

Superbowl Sunday, 1998

I don't give a damn about football, and neither does anyone else who appears in this video.

A low-grade tribute to the classic films of Vittorio De Sica--may we once again develop a taste for realities we can live and represent to each other--this was shot, without planning, on Superbowl Sunday 1998 in Pacific Beach, California, while the "big media event" was going down a few miles across town at newly christened Qualcomm Stadium.

Posted by rri (August, 2000)

It's About The Ear Rings, 2000

A silent film (almost), with a happy ending, from one of the beaches at La Jolla, California, Summer 2000.

Posted by rri (August, 2000)

Margarita's San Francisco Dream, 1998

This 37k/sec WindowsMedia video stream was shot in 1998 by M. Baranova as part of an effort to test the acceptability of "video impressionism" as a potential populist medium--easy and inexpensive to produce and to distribute. Image "crispness" is deliberately sacrificed in favor of a "smooth" frame rate (5 fps for 56K modem reception). And image quality is further compromised for the "reality effect" of stereo sound.

Posted by rri (August, 2000)

Baja, San Quintin

My reluctance arises from having to confront directly not only the symbols but the reality of my life and imperial citizenship at the center of a global power structure. At the Mexican Consulate, the Nicaraguan got a one-month visa, the Russian got a three-month visa, and the American without even a passport got a six-month visa. And then there are the mirror "Check Point Charlies": one sixty miles north of the border past Oceanside, surrounded by a massive US military base, tanks and helicopters always raising dust to the right and left; and the other sixty or so miles south, right past Ensenada. The scenery is beautiful, but it can't sufficiently hide naked geopolitical realities.
Posted by rri (August, 2000)

The Shape of Webs To Come

The most recent attempts to measure the Web's dimensions (May 2000) have produced not so much interesting results as a new wave of metaphors to "naturalize" the predictable effects of mass media advertising, specifically the last two seasons of site-pumping TV ad campaigns.
Posted by rri (June, 2000)

Scary Old Man

Whether or to what extent "The Jerry Springer Show" is in tune with America or America is being tuned by "The Jerry Springer Show," I'll leave for you to consider as I present this little, "real-life" carnival mirror from one of America's most telling of places, the California freeway.
Posted by rri (June, 2000)

$12000 Detention

I have noticed that the building at Fort Mason where I take my improv workshop classes is also home to the Waldorf High School. This campus on National Park land incorporates big, empty, white-wall rooms with cheap-ass posters of vacation spots and one room with a pink sheet on the door that says "Detention" and a list of the usual crimes that land a kid in detention.
Posted by mrbdawg (June, 2000)

Outlaw Programming

The issue is NOT piracy. Pirated digital and audio CDs, and endless knockoffs of every other kind of brand-name consumer good have been black-marketed in America and elsewhere for decades. The current uproar is fundamentally not about this kind of piracy, because what now threatens Hollywood profits also and equally threatens the large-scale, established pirate businesses throughout the world: the prospect of a global grassroots network of theft and distribution, with no centers of production or points of sale to target.
Posted by rri (April, 2000)

Decimal Point Dyslexia

I had a hard time sleeping tonight, and I woke up, read a bit from a book titled "The Victorian Internet" about the history of the telegraph, let my mind wander, and felt compelled to rise up from my bed and check the financials on Yahoo!
Posted by mrbdawg (April, 2000)

(De)Manifest of April Fools Day 2000

We are now living through one of those interesting, though hardly unique or remarkable periods in the history of human delusion when fundamental alterations in existing social, cultural, political and economic arrangements have become as unthinkable as they are inevitable
Posted by rri (April, 2000)

stupid people

I have yet to understand how anyone can interpret American Beauty as a movie about dysfunctional families, suburbia and "life's changes." This is the essence of why American Beauty to me is a very bad movie.

Posted by mrbdawg (March, 2000)

Operation Enterprise

The problem with the slogan, the problem with the notion that "democracy means everybody taking care of themselves," is obvious, though hardly ever stated publicly, even by Democrats. Disempowering Big Government accomplishes little more than clearing the field for Big Business. The notion that democracy means everybody, from poverty-level single working mothers to a Bill Gates or a Donald Trump or, more powerful still, an AT&T or a Disney, each separately talking care of themselves as best they can without regard for each other, is patently absurd. Yet it's the standard stuff of our corporate media-orchestrated political discourse.
Posted by rri (March, 2000)

LDR, 25 Poems

LDR lives in Pacific Beach, California. This is a small sampler of her poetry.
(Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000. Reprinted with the author's permission.)
Posted by rri (March, 2000)

The Palm at the End of the Mind

If you've read Wallace Stevens' poetry, post your comments for other readers....
Posted by rri (January, 2000)

Invisible Man

If you've read Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, post your comments for other readers....
Posted by rri (January, 2000)

Mrs. Dalloway

If you've read Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, post your comments for other readers....
Posted by rri (January, 2000)

As I Lay Dying

If you've read William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, post your comments for other readers....
Posted by rri (January, 2000)

Pride and Prejudice

If you've read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, post your comments for other readers....
Posted by rri (January, 2000)

Things That Go Bump

The Great Unbelievable Thing: In September 1999, as millions of pimple-popping adolescents and college kids presumably left behind all thought of sunshine and the great outdoors to return to school and the midnight glow of interminable computer screens, "the number of active Web consumers dropped a slight 2.81 percent from 66.8 million to 64.9 million."
Posted by rri (October, 1999)

Lost Angeles

I recent read an article quoting the late Herb Caen, my favorite San Francisco columnist. When asked his opinion of Southland, he replied, "I'd like to get to know Los Angeles, but I never can find it."
Unlike Herb, after much serious thought and extensive investigation I think I have found it--but I can't hold on to it.
Posted by rri (October, 1999)

Like Herding Cats

For more than a year now, the media have enthralled us with the threat of anarchy on a global scale: the total breakdown of crucial informational, financial, commercial, social, governmental and even physical infrastructures directly caused or indirectly precipitated by the Y2K Millennium Bug.
Posted by rri (October, 1999)

The Dog In The Temple

Atisha, also known as Dipamkara Srijnana, was an Indian monk and scholar who arrived in Tibet around the year 1038. He's credited with reintroducing Mahayana Buddhist texts, practices, and ethical principles to a region where Buddhism had been largely reabsorbed and rendered almost unrecognizable by Tibet's indigenous Bon religion and numerous shamanistic cults.
Posted by rri (October, 1999)

The Gong Show

Sadly, change is not on the horizon. There is no public consensus or even widespread inkling that education might ideally accomplish more than certifying prospects for flexible global labor markets, aside, that is, from keeping kids from killing each other before they graduate. To judge by the rhetoric of our current presidential candidates, the Internet in every classroom, a metal detector at every door, and "we" may not have much of a problem with education as it is.
Posted by rri (October, 1999)

The Digital Commons

The transcripts of the on-going Microsoft antitrust trial make interesting reading if, like most Americans, you can appreciate the courtroom drama of posturing overpaid attorneys, evasive expert witnesses, a bored and biased judge who seems content with being reversed on appeal, and ream after ream of legalese bullshit. It's better than the OJ trial. There's more directly at stake for the viewing public. And it's easier to follow than the bizarre unresolved murder-rape-incest-mayhem cases recently taken up as standard fare by CBS's 48 Hours. In contrast to the terminally inarticulate boobs featured on 48 Hours--where do they find these people?--all the Microsoft trial participants appear to have passed at least the eighth-grade. They all seem able to comprehend that people other than themselves may well exist and that those others may well view the same issues differently, without the direct intervention of Satan. This helps no end with dialogue. Were...
Posted by rri (September, 1999)

40+ Fairy Tales

This is what happens to the imagination when you grow up on Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends and suddenly find yourself over 40.
Posted by rri (September, 1999)

On Owning Reality

This power of words, in the largest sense, to bound and shape our most basic human realities is the reason we should be frightened by the wave upon wave of global corporate media mergers of the last two decades.
Posted by rri (September, 1999)

The Ban on Negativity ;-)

America has a problem in happiness. We all want to be happy, all the time. And whenever we do feel happy, we're sooner or later unhappy that we're not happier still. "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."
Posted by rri (September, 1999)

The Travels of Mr. Derelict

The book is The Travels of Lao Can by Liu E (1857-1909). Lao Can is "Mr. Derelict," and the book was written in 1905 when Liu E was feeling rather derelict himself, beginning what was to be the final down slide of his fourth and last career, as a kind of public works adviser on mines, railways and, especially dear to his heart, the annual flooding of the Yellow River. His first three career attempts, scholar, physician and businessman, hadn't turned out that well either.
Posted by rri (September, 1999)

The Global Melting Pot

It's too bad the Chinese government isn't here to crackdown on this whitewash public relations cult, but no wonder that it's being funded through Southwest Voter by Disney, Arco and AT&T, and reported glowingly by the Times Mirror Company. Certainly, none of these corporate giants need much reminding that Latinos will not be a numerical minority in California much longer, however much the Southwest Voter Leadership Academy seems devoted to training young Latino activists to forget it.
Posted by rri (August, 1999)

ROGER UNIVAC LIVE WEBCAM

Stay tuned for further spine-tingling adventures!!!
Posted by mrbdawg (August, 1999)

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

Jonathan Edwards, (October 5, 1703 - March 22, 1758)

There is nothing that keeps wicked men, at any one moment, out of hell, but the meer pleasure of GOD.

By the meer pleasure of God, I mean his sovereign pleasure, his arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation, hinder'd by no manner of difficulty, any more than if nothing else but God's mere will had in the least degree, or in any respect whatsoever, any hand in the preservation of wicked men one moment.

Posted by rri (July, 1741)

Laughter: Sudden Glory at the Misfortune of Others

The vainglory which consisteth in the feigning or supposing of abilities in ourselves, which we know are not, is most incident to young men, and nourished by the histories or fictions of gallant persons; and is corrected oftentimes by age and employment. Sudden glory is the passion which maketh those grimaces called laughter; and is caused either by some sudden act of their own that pleaseth them; or by the apprehension of some deformed thing in another, by comparison whereof they suddenly applaud themselves. And it is incident most to them that are conscious of the fewest abilities in themselves; who are forced to keep themselves in their own favour by observing the imperfections of other men. And therefore much laughter at the defects of others is a sign of pusillanimity. For of great minds one of the proper works is to help and free others from scorn, and compare...
Posted by rri (April, 1651)

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