Thursday, October 28, 2004

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Leonard Cohen

"Because of a few songs
Wherein I spoke of their mystery,
Women have been
Exceptionally kind
to my old age.
They make a secret place
In their busy lives
And they take me there.
They become naked
In their different ways
and they say,
"Look at me, Leonard
Look at me one last time."
Then they bend over the bed
And cover me up
Like a baby that is shivering."

Leonard Cohen turned 70 on September 21, 2004
He has just released a new album "Dear Heather"
The lyrics above are from the song "Because of"
If you don't know anything about Leonard Cohen, CLICK HERE
Some songs you might know:
Suzanne, So Long Marianne, Bird on a Wire, Hallelujah

New Respect For Eminem

Eminem's new video "Mosh" sends a powerful anti-Bush message.
This guy may end up having more influence than Michael Moore because he's not preaching to the choir, he's energizing those who are not convinced that voting is worth the effort.
Watch the Video HERE

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The American Conservative

Kerry’s the One
By Scott McConnell

The only way Americans will have a presidency in which neoconservatives and the Christian Armageddon set are not holding the reins of power is if Kerry is elected.


Thursday, October 21, 2004

Are We Ready? Or What!!!

"Six so-called 'SWAT teams' of lawyers and political operatives will be situated around the country with fueled-up jets awaiting Kerry's orders to speed to a battleground state. The teams have been told to be ready to fly on the evening of the election to begin mounting legal and political fights. Every battleground state will have a SWAT team within an hour of its borders.

"The Kerry campaign has recount office space in every battleground state, with plans so detailed they include the number of staplers and coffee machines needed to mount legal challenges.

"'Right now, we have 10,000 lawyers out in the battleground states on Election Day, and that number is growing by the day,' said Michael Whouley, a Kerry confidant who is running election operations at the Democratic National Committee."

Read Article in SALON

Here's One I Never Saw!

Dylan kissing Mary Travers.

I guess I went to just about every single Peter, Paul and Mary and every single Bob Dylan concert within 50 miles of NYC in the early 60's. At the end of their concert, PP&M would come out to the front of the stage and talk to the people. One lucky night, at the Island Garden Arena in West Hempstead, N.Y. I was talking to Mary and I don't remember what I said to her exactly (probably something really stupid) but she gave me a kiss on the cheek. One of those magic moments for a teenager.

(linked from

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

"A Blind Man In A Room Full of Deaf People"

(Pat) Robertson, in an interview with CNN that aired Tuesday night, said God had told him the war would be messy and a disaster. When he met with Bush in Nashville, Tenn., before the war Bush did not listen to his advice, Robertson said, and believed Saddam Hussein was an evil tyrant who needed to be removed.

"He was just sitting there, like, 'I'm on top of the world,' and I warned him about this war," Robertson said.

"I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you better prepare the American people for casualties.' 'Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties.' 'Well,' I said, 'it's the way it's going to be.' And so, it was messy. The Lord told me it was going to be, A, a disaster and, B, messy."

New Artist

Stunning new painting by a talented young artist:

Leah Nita Rindos

Monday, October 18, 2004


Some time ago, I found myself walking along the beach. As I looked out over the ocean, sunlight sparkled on the gently rolling swells. At one point in my view, the beach, the ocean and the sky seemed to merge into one. There is something compelling about the ocean, and I was a lone water-gazer upon this beach. Mountains have a certain grandeur and likewise canyons and forests. I have seen them all. But the ocean is special, and I always feel the need to venture as close as I can without getting wet. But at some certain point in time, I am always constrained to remove my shoes and socks and place my feet into the swirling waters. It is a holy baptism of life.

On this particular day, as I walked further down the beach, I saw a young boy who looked to be about five or six years old. He had dug a deep hole in the sand just above the water line and was going back and forth with a paper cup, dipping water from the ocean and pouring it into the hole. I watched him for some time and finally asked him what he was doing. He replied that he was going to empty the whole ocean into the hole. Since the water disappeared down the hole each time he poured, he assumed that it would only be a matter of time until his task was accomplished.

When I was a young boy, I looked out into the night sky and marveled at the beauty of the stars. I began to learn about the stars and the planets, and I soon took to the task of counting the number of stars that I could see. I would lie on my back on the beach and divide the heavens into sections, counting each one carefully and adding them up. Twenty, forty, hundred! When I was older, my father bought me a small telescope and I soon realized that there were many more stars than I thought. I learned in school that there were almost 2500 stars that could be seen with the naked eye on a clear night. I soon realized that some of the points of light were not stars at all, but huge galaxies, filled with countless numbers of additional stars. Even today, with our most powerful telescopes, the farther we look, and the better we see, the numbers of stars and galaxies keeps ever increasing. Needless to say, I have given up trying to count the stars in the sky and just as surely, that little boy will someday realize that he has a better chance of getting the whole ocean into that little hole than he does of ever understanding the mysteries of the universe.

Sea Angel

The beauty of nature is sometimes overwhelming:

Sea Angels are actually molluscs, which puts them in the same phylum as snails, slugs and nudibranchs. They have no shells, and are adapted to swimming free in the oceans.
They are jelly-like and mostly transparent and the largest examples are no more than two inches long. They feed on closely related species like sea butterflies and plankton.
Their feeding process is somewhat extraordinary. They have tentacles that grasp their prey when the shell opening is in the right position. They extend "hooks" into the shell opening and remove the body completely from the shell, swallowing it whole.
Read more about sea angels HERE
and HERE

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Liars, Liars, Liars...

WASHINGTON - Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry accused President Bush on Sunday of planning a surprise second-term effort to privatize Social Security and forecast a "disaster for America's middle class."

The Bush campaign response from Ed Gillespie:
Republicans denied the charge as scare tactics with little more than two weeks remaining in a tight election. "It is just flat inaccurate," said GOP chairman Ed Gillespie.

From Sunday's New York Times:
George Bush, quoted by Ron Suskind:
''I'm going to come out strong after my swearing in,'' Bush said, ''with fundamental tax reform, tort reform, privatizing of Social Security.'' The victories he expects in November, he said, will give us ''two years, at least, until the next midterm. We have to move quickly, because after that I'll be quacking like a duck.''

"Have you no shame, Sir? At Long last, have you left no sense of shame?

Saturday, October 16, 2004

New York Times endorses John Kerry

New York Times Sunday Oct. 17, 2004

"We look back on the past four years with hearts nearly breaking, both for the lives unnecessarily lost and for the opportunities so casually wasted. Time and again, history invited George W. Bush to play a heroic role, and time and again he chose the wrong course. We believe that with John Kerry as president, the nation will do better.

Voting for president is a leap of faith. A candidate can explain his positions in minute detail and wind up governing with a hostile Congress that refuses to let him deliver. A disaster can upend the best-laid plans. All citizens can do is mix guesswork and hope, examining what the candidates have done in the past, their apparent priorities and their general character. It's on those three grounds that we enthusiastically endorse John Kerry for president."

Scary Stuff.....

From The New York Times Magazine Sunday, Oct. 17, 2004
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

A Mission From God


Published: October 17, 2004 New York Times Magazine

Bruce Bartlett, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and a treasury official for the first President Bush, told me recently that ''if Bush wins, there will be a civil war in the Republican Party starting on Nov. 3.'' The nature of that conflict, as Bartlett sees it? Essentially, the same as the one raging across much of the world: a battle between modernists and fundamentalists, pragmatists and true believers, reason and religion.

''Just in the past few months,'' Bartlett said, ''I think a light has gone off for people who've spent time up close to Bush: that this instinct he's always talking about is this sort of weird, Messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do.'' Bartlett, a 53-year-old columnist and self-described libertarian Republican who has lately been a champion for traditional Republicans concerned about Bush's governance, went on to say: ''This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can't be persuaded, that they're extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them, because he's just like them. . . .

''This is why he dispenses with people who confront him with inconvenient facts,'' Bartlett went on to say. ''He truly believes he's on a mission from God. Absolute faith like that overwhelms a need for analysis. The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence.'' Bartlett paused, then said, ''But you can't run the world on faith.''


Friday, October 15, 2004

Jon Stewart Quotes from "Crossfire"

In many ways, it's funny. And I made a special effort to come on the show today, because I have privately, amongst my friends and also in occasional newspapers and television shows, mentioned this show as being bad.

And I wanted to -- I felt that that wasn't fair and I should come here and tell you that I don't -- it's not so much that it's bad, as it's hurting America.

So I wanted to come here today and say...
Here's just what I wanted to tell you guys.
Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.

See, the thing is, we need your help. Right now, you're helping the politicians and the corporations. And we're left out there to mow our lawns.
You're part of their strategies. You are partisan, what do you call it, hacks.
but what I'm saying is this. I'm not. I'm here to confront you, because we need help from the media and they're hurting us.
It's not honest. What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery. And I will tell you why I know it.
You know, the interesting thing I have is, you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.

CARLSON: Wait. I thought you were going to be funny. Come on. Be funny.
STEWART: No. No. I'm not going to be your monkey.


Jon Stewart on "Crossfire"

Jon said what all of us have been wanting to say to these guys for a while now.

"You're hurting America...please stop!"

And I don't think he was just talking about "Crossfire"

The transcript should be available tomorrow at:

Mary Cheney

by Dave Cullen in Salon

"What rips your heart out is when someone close to you denies your sexuality in public. Or shudders at the mention of it, so you can see how desperately they want to.
It may sound like a subtle implication to a straight person -- clearly it does; even the most liberal straight pundits appear oblivious to it -- but a gay person hears it scream out loud and clear. You people still feel there's something to be ashamed of here.
One of the happiest days of my life came when one of the old ladies at my mom's Catholic bridge club mentioned what a nice young husband I'd make. My mother, in her 60s by then, laughed it off. "I don't think that's going to happen," she said. "He's gay."
I was stunned when I heard the story. It had taken her years to get to that point. And it meant everything to me. She didn't care what the bridge ladies thought. She cared more about me.
I doubt very much that Mary Cheney gives a rat's ass if some church lady in Idaho knows she's gay. But her mother cringing at the church lady knowing -- that's gotta hurt like hell."

Alien Abduction and John Mack

John Mack died a few days ago...

"For nearly twelve years I have been working with people in this and other cultures who have reported profound, life changing experiences, through encounters with human-like beings, reaching them apparently from other dimensions. In speaking and writing about these people, I have come to appreciate the problems that readers and audiences have in thinking about matters that seem so far outside of the bounds of reality that have been defined by their education and upbringing.

Although there was in some instances physical evidence that something had happened to my clients—UFOs seen in the vicinity, corroborating observation by others of at least a part of the encounters, unexplained marks on their bodies, etc.—the evidence that I had was largely experiential, i.e. the reports themselves. I could not prove, for example, that my clients had been literally taken by alien beings into space craft. I came to realize that the problem I was facing was not simply a matter of evidence but the persistence of a narrow worldview and of the ways of knowing that sustain it.

The worldview that continues to be more or less dominant in Western society, and those cultures we have influenced, is called variously Newtonian/ Cartesianism, scientific materialism or anthropocentric humanism. It radically separates the objective from the subjective domains. The objective world, matter and energy, is treated as virtually synonymous with reality, and knowledge of it is gained by the scientific method, viz. hypothesis, controlled experiment, measurement and replication. Unless the presence of beings, or any other intelligence including God Himself, can be proven to exist by this method, reports of such encounters can be dismissed out of hand or relegated to the purgatory of the subjective."

Read the entire Essay HERE
"Passport To the Cosmos" HERE
John E Mack Institute HERE

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Purple Hearts

"Most of my friends they were losing it out there. They would do anything to get out of there, do anything. I had one of my guys, he used to tell me -- my wife just had my son, I can't wait to get home and see him. And, you know, he died out there. He sure did and I have to think about that everyday.

Well, uh, shrapnel down the back, shrapnel that came in and hit my head, punctured my lungs. I broke both of my arms. I lost a kidney. My intestines was messed up. They took an artery out of my left leg and put it into this right arm. They pretty much took my life. Pretty much.

I got a bonus in the National Guards for joining the Army. Now I've got to pay the bonus back and it's $2999. If I would have continued and finished my contract I wouldn't have to pay it back. The Guard wants it back. It's on my credit that I owe them that. I'm burning on the inside. I'm burning."

My high school buddies, well two of them just got found in a ditch around there, dead, dead. And the rest of them in jail, cracked out. For real. That's why after high school, I left. I was gone because I knew where my life was headed. Joined the Army. And here I am back here. I would love to go away. I would love to go away. I think that would be better. Because I'm driving in my car, I'm doing nothing. I don't know where it's going to end up. "

Cpl Tyson Johnson III, 22, from Prichard, Alabama, a mechanic with 205 Military Intelligence brigade, was injured in a mortar attack on the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad on September 20, 2003. He suffered massive internal injuries and is 100 percent disabled. This story can also be found in Purple Hearts, a book by Nina Berman, and is available on this website.

John Eisenhower: Why I will vote for Kerry

As son of a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, it is automatically expected by many that I am a Republican. For 50 years, through the election of 2000, I was. With the current administration’s decision to invade Iraq unilaterally, however, I changed my voter registration to independent, and barring some utterly unforeseen development, I intend to vote for the Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry.

The fact is that today’s “Republican” Party is one with which I am totally unfamiliar. To me, the word “Republican” has always been synonymous with the word “responsibility,” which has meant limiting our governmental obligations to those we can afford in human and financial terms. Today’s whopping budget deficit of some $440 billion does not meet that criterion.

Responsibility used to be observed in foreign affairs. That has meant respect for others. America, though recognized as the leader of the community of nations, has always acted as a part of it, not as a maverick separate from that community and at times insulting towards it. Leadership involves setting a direction and building consensus, not viewing other countries as practically devoid of significance. Recent developments indicate that the current Republican Party leadership has confused confident leadership with hubris and arrogance.

Read the entire article HERE

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Starry Memories

An original poem:

My life was like a canyon
As deep as it was wide
And I, a lonely traveler
Just looking for a place to hide.
My path was filled with darkness
And emptiness ahead.
Night after night, under starry skies
I wished that I was dead.
But then you came into my world
And darkness turned to dawn.
Your essence swept into my life
Helping me to be reborn.
Your specter crept into my dreams
Each and every night.
You wandered in my brain from room to room
Turning on each light.
You'll probably never realize
How much it meant to me
That you were there beside me
Helping me be free.
And you'll probably never realize
The emptiness inside.
That comes to me each night you're
Not sleeping by my side.
But I've still got those memories
That swirl before my eyes.
Of you and I lying peacefully,
Beneath those starry skies.

Why conservatives must not vote for Bush

Read Doonesbury HERE
Then Read the article HERE

Spider Webs

Gail and I were sitting in the kitchen this morning drinking our coffee. Gail looked out the window and saw something unusual in the tree. Upon closer inspection, here's what it was:

A spider web, with lots of gnats caught up in it.

Spider webs are fascinating structures. First of all, the silk is manufactured by silk glands in the spider's abdomen. There are seven different types of silk glands that make different kinds of silk. One kind is used for draglines, which function as bridges or safety lines. Another is used for attachment discs, which attach strands of silk to surfaces. A third kind is swathing silk, which is used to wrap their prey in a cocoon. Females have a special kind of silk to make their egg sac. Other kinds of silk are used to make the strands necessary to create the sticky spirals.

The external silk organs are called spinnerets and the spider can combine the liquid material from different glands into a single thread. Each spinneret is made up of a group of finger-like organs with hundreds of tubes, each with a flexible nozzle. As the spider draws out a thread with its leg or attaches the silk to an object, it is transformed from a liquid to a solid strand of silk.

Modern evolutionary theory teaches us that these highly organized structures evolved by the accumulation of random mutations, acted on by natural selection. These are highly organized, complex systems that are made up of multiple structures and multiple processes that are integrated in such a way that they support each other and they also support the overall function, which is to construct a web to catch food. These kinds of highly organized systems cannot be explained by current evolutionary theory. In fact, they cannot be explained by any kind of mechanism that relies on random, undirected or accidental processes. The construction and assembly of these systems clearly required insight, and insight cannot come from random processes, only from intelligently guided processes.

"A Scientific Case for Intelligent Input"

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

A Message From Michael Moore

Dear Friends,

Enough of the handwringing! Enough of the doomsaying! Do I have to come there and personally calm you down? Stop with all the defeatism, OK? Bush IS a goner -- IF we all just quit our whining and bellyaching and stop shaking like a bunch of nervous ninnies. Geez, this is embarrassing! The Republicans are laughing at us. Do you ever see them cry, "Oh, it's all over! We are finished! Bush can't win! Waaaaaa!"

Hell no. It's never over for them until the last ballot is shredded. They are never finished -- they just keeping moving forward like sharks that never sleep, always pushing, pulling, kicking, blocking, lying.

They are relentless and that is why we secretly admire them -- they just simply never, ever give up. Only 30% of the country calls itself "Republican," yet the Republicans own it all -- the White House, both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court and the majority of the governorships. How do you think they've been able to pull that off considering they are a minority? It's because they eat you and me and every other liberal for breakfast and then spend the rest of the day wreaking havoc on the planet.

Read the entire message here

Stolen Honor

The Sinclair Broadcasting Group, a conservative broadcasting company that runs television stations in dozens of major television markets nationwide, has ordered its stations to preempt other programming and air an anti-Kerry program days before Election Day.

The so-called "documentary," called "Stolen Honor," was written, produced, and funded by extreme right-wing activists. Sinclair is using its reach to broadcast a blatantly political -- and false -- message while disguising it as "news."

I'm not worried.

This is more likely to help John Kerry than hurt him. The number of people who still harbor resentment against those of us who protested the Vietnam war has been dwindling and now is confined to only a hard core of apologists for a clearly misguided and divisive war. In addition, this documentary has been available for quite a while on DVD and probably has already been seen by those who want to see it. Kerry supporters will not tune in to watch it, and they will not be swayed into the Bush camp by these lies.
On the other hand, I've been talking to a lot of people and they are ENERGIZED! Web sites are springing up, articles are being written, blogs are on fire with anti-Bush and anti-Sinclair venom. Ordinary people are calling me, jumping out of their skins over this, asking what they can do. The answer is simple. Make George Bush a one-term President and sweep him out of office along with his extreme right-wing religious fundamentalist and neo-conservative clique of scary people.

The Lone Ranger

No, not George Bush...

While we're trippin' down memory lane:

"The Lone Ranger! "Hi Yo Silver!"
A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty "Hi Yo Silver!" The Lone Ranger. "Hi Yo Silver, away!" With his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains, led the fight for law and order in the early west. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Ranger rides again!

(With the William Tell Overture playing in the background)

On Being An American

by H.L. Mencken

It is one of my firmest and most sacred beliefs, reached after an inquiry extending over a score of years and supported by incessant prayer and meditation, that the Government of the United States, in both its legislative arm and its executive arm, is ignorant, incompetent, corrupt and disgusting- and from this judgement I except no more than twenty living lawmakers and no more than twenty executioners of their laws.
It is a belief no less piously cherished that the administration of justice in the Republic is stupid, dishonest, and against all reason and equity- and from this judgement I except no more than thirty judges, including two upon the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States.
It is another that the foreign policy of the United States- its habitual manner of dealing with other nations, whether friend or foe- is hypocritical, disingenuous, knavish and dishonorable- and from this judgement I consent to no exceptions whatever, either recent or long past.
And it is my fourth (and to avoid too depressing a bill, final) conviction that the American people taken one with another, constitute the most timorous, sniveling, poltroonish, ignominous mob of serfs and goose-steppers ever gathered under one flag in Christendom since the Middle Ages, and that they grow more timorous, more sniveling, more poltroonish, more ignominous every day."

In fairness, Mencken undoubtedly was trying to out-Swift Jonathan Swift, with the added benefit of hilarity. After all, Mencken was one of the 2oth century's greatest satirists. In some ways, he was the Don Rickles of his day, lashing out against the American people and their social and political customs in a way that entertained, rather than mortified his victims. But there is a point to satire and his attacks on the absurdities and banalities of American society may not have been far off the mark. Interestingly enough, much of what he said rings as true today as it did when he first wrote this essay in 1922


Christopher Reeve was a nice guy, but he was not Superman.
There was only one Superman, as anyone my age can tell you.

Who can forget those immortal words, repeated hundreds of times on our little 12 inch black and white TV set:

"Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound. Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman! Yes it's Superman, strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for Truth! Justice! and the American Way!"

A War That Can Never Be Won

John Kerry made the following statement in Sunday's New York Times:

"We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance,'' Kerry said. ''As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.''

The Bush/Cheney campaign seized upon this immediately, declaring Kerry's position "naive and dangerous, as was Senator Kerry's reluctance earlier this year to call the war on terror an actual war."

The most egregious offense of the Bush campaign was taking these remarks out of context. They know the importance of short, simple, easily understood catch phrases. They also know that most people in this country will never read the entire article (HERE) or attempt to understand what Kerry was saying.

The truth, as most thinking people know, is that terror is a tactic, not a country. You cannot make war on a tactic. There will always be people who rob, steal and murder. Therefore, any "war on crime" can never be won. The best we can hope for is to reduce it to a level where it is under control, and it is not threatening people's lives every day. The same is true of terror. There will always be someone who is willing to put a bomb under someone's car or lob a molotov cocktail into their house to advance their agendas. You can never completely eliminate these kinds of people, the best you can hope for is to control it so that it's not a constant threat. So, the "war on terror", like the "war on crime", is one that will go on forever. So when Bush talks about "winning the war on terror", he is the one being naive. Hopefully the American people will see through this rhetoric and assess the problem in more realistic terms than has Mr. Cheney. I guess he missed the part of Kerry's comment that included the phrase "it's something that you continue to fight".

Later in the article, the author describes Kerry's plan:

"Kerry's view, that the 21st century will be defined by the organized world's struggle against agents of chaos and lawlessness, might be the beginning of a compelling vision. The idea that America and its allies, sharing resources and using the latest technologies, could track the movements of terrorists, seize their bank accounts and carry out targeted military strikes to eliminate them, seems more optimistic and more practical than the notion that the conventional armies of the United States will inevitably have to punish or even invade every Islamic country that might abet radicalism."

Monday, October 11, 2004

Dan Bern

Since music is such an important part of my life, a lot of the material here will address that topic. I often listen to terrific new artists and I realize that so few people hear them or know about them. In New York, there's a radio station WFUV-FM that is about the only station I know of that plays what they refer to as "City Folk". You can go to their website at and get an idea of what they are playing. If you don't live in New York, you can listen to WFUV streaming on the web by clicking HERE

Anyway, one of my latest folk heroes is Dan Bern. For a sample, try this song. It's on his album "New American Language" and the title is "God Said No". (5 Mb mp3). Other samples are on the website.

They're Just CRIMINALS

From the New York Times Sunday Oct. 10, 2004

"One can infer from this that if Kerry were able to speak less guardedly, in a less treacherous atmosphere than a political campaign, he might say, as some of his advisers do, that we are not in an actual war on terror. Wars are fought between states or between factions vying for control of a state; Al Qaeda and its many offspring are neither. If Kerry's foreign-policy frame is correct, then law enforcement probably is the most important, though not the only, strategy you can employ against such forces, who need passports and bank accounts and weapons in order to survive and flourish. Such a theory suggests that, in our grief and fury, we have overrated the military threat posed by Al Qaeda, paradoxically elevating what was essentially a criminal enterprise, albeit a devastatingly sophisticated and global one, into the ideological successor to Hitler and Stalin -- and thus conferring on the jihadists a kind of stature that might actually work in their favor, enabling them to attract more donations and more recruits."

Read The Entire Article from the New York Times HERE

The Great Debate


Be patient till the last.
Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my
cause, and be silent, that you may hear: believe me
for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that
you may believe: censure me in your wisdom, and
awake your senses, that you may the better judge.
If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of
Caesar's, to him I say, that Brutus' love to Caesar
was no less than his. If then that friend demand
why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer:
--Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved
Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and
die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live
all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him;
as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was
valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I
slew him. There is tears for his love; joy for his
fortune; honour for his valour; and death for his
ambition. Who is here so base that would be a
bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended.
Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If
any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so
vile that will not love his country? If any, speak;
for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.

None, Brutus, none.


Then none have I offended. I have done no more to
Caesar than you shall do to Brutus. The question of
his death is enrolled in the Capitol; his glory not
extenuated, wherein he was worthy, nor his offences
enforced, for which he suffered death.
Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony: who,
though he had no hand in his death, shall receive
the benefit of his dying, a place in the
commonwealth; as which of you shall not? With this
I depart,--that, as I slew my best lover for the
good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself,
when it shall please my country to need my death.

Live, Brutus! live, live!
First Citizen
Bring him with triumph home unto his house.
Second Citizen
Give him a statue with his ancestors.
Third Citizen
Let him be Caesar.


Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest--
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men--
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

First Citizen
Methinks there is much reason in his sayings.
Second Citizen
If thou consider rightly of the matter,
Caesar has had great wrong.
Third Citizen
Has he, masters?
I fear there will a worse come in his place.
Fourth Citizen
Mark'd ye his words? He would not take the crown;
Therefore 'tis certain he was not ambitious.
First Citizen
If it be found so, some will dear abide it.
Second Citizen
Poor soul! his eyes are red as fire with weeping.
Third Citizen
There's not a nobler man in Rome than Antony.

Read "Julius Caesar HERE

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Simply Beautiful...

Central region of the Trifid Nebula (M20 in the Messier Catalogue) taken by the Gemini North 8-meter Telescope on Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii, June 5, 2002. Located in the constellation of Sagittarius, the beautiful nebula is a much-photographed, dynamic cloud of gas and dust where stars are being born. One of the massive stars at the nebula's center was born approximately 100,000 years ago. The nebula's distance from the Solar System remains in dispute, but it is generally agreed to be somewhere between 2,200 to 9,000 light years away.
Click HERE for complete Gemini Image Catalog

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

I grew up in Levittown, Long Island in the late 50's and early 60's. We had moved there in 1954 from Brooklyn. I went to Island Trees (yes, *that* Island Trees) High School, an almost brand new school district carved out of the potato fields of central Nassau County, adjacent to Levittown. Like most every kid who came to Levittown from Brooklyn, when I became a teenager, I did what was expected of me: I became a hoodlum.
Black leather jackets, garrison belts that our fathers had brought home from the war, motorcycle boots (Georgia Giants were the best) and of course, lots of Vaseline in the hair. I took shop classes, hung out at the candy store and focused my attention on two major areas of life: girls and cars.
But in 1959, something changed. Somehow I got into this English class (it was called "honors") with mostly Jewish kids who carried around copies of "Ulysses" and read the New York Times. On the weekends, they went to jazz clubs or to the movies to see films like "The Seventh Seal" and "The Mouse That Roared". And they all had read "Portrait".
We were assigned a book report to do over Christmas vacation and we could pick any book. I had some books in mind that I thought were "good" that were summarily rejected by the teacher. We didn't have Cliff Notes then, but we had Classic Comics! Finally I asked one of the other fellows what I could read. Someone handed me a copy of "Portrait". I never looked back. All of a sudden, *I* was Dedalus. I read Joyce's words over and over, absorbing their meaning and incorporating them into my own consciousness.
I therefore offer to you, one of my favorite sections, the end of Chapter 4:

"There was a long rivulet in the strand and, as he waded slowly up its course, he wondered at the endless drift of seaweed. Emerald and black and russet and olive, it moved beneath the current, swaying and turning. The water of the rivulet was dark with endless drift and mirrored the high-drifting clouds. The clouds were drifting above him silently and silently the seatangle was drifting below him and the grey warm air was still and a new wild life was singing in his veins.

Where was his boyhood now? Where was the soul that had hung back from her destiny, to brood alone upon the shame of her wounds and in her house of squalor and subterfuge to queen it in faded cerements and in wreaths that withered at the touch? Or where was he?

He was alone. He was unheeded, happy and near to the wild heart of life. He was alone and young and wilful and wildhearted, alone amid a waste of wild air and brackish waters and the sea-harvest of shells and tangle and veiled grey sunlight and gayclad lightclad figures of children and girls and voices childish and girlish in the air.

A girl stood before him in midstream, alone and still, gazing out to sea. She seemed like one whom magic had changed into the likeness of a strange and beautiful seabird. Her long slender bare legs were delicate as a crane's and pure save where an emerald trail of seaweed had fashioned itself as a sign upon the flesh. Her thighs, fuller and soft-hued as ivory, were bared almost to the hips, where the white fringes of her drawers were like feathering of soft white down. Her slate-blue skirts were kilted boldly about her waist and dovetailed behind her. Her bosom was as a bird's, soft and slight, slight and soft as the breast of some dark-plumaged dove. But her long fair hair was girlish: and girlish, and touched with the wonder of mortal beauty, her face.

She was alone and still, gazing out to sea; and when she felt his presence and the worship of his eyes her eyes turned to him in quiet sufferance of his gaze, without shame or wantonness. Long, long she suffered his gaze and then quietly withdrew her eyes from his and bent them towards the stream, gently stirring the water with her foot hither and thither. The first faint noise of gently moving water broke the silence, low and faint and whispering, faint as the bells of sleep; hither and thither, hither and thither; and a faint flame trembled on her cheek.

-- Heavenly God! cried Stephen's soul, in an outburst of profane joy."

You can read the whole book here.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Jacques Derrida Redux

I wrote:

Jacques Derrida died today. Or maybe yesterday; I can't be sure. The newspaper says: DERRIDA PASSED AWAY. FUNERAL TOMORROW. Which leaves the matter doubtful; it could have been yesterday.
The passing of Derrida reminds us once again that "arbitrary", in the sense of presenting itself as irreducible absence, signifies the possibilities inherent in all systems of significance; mental signs of a mixed nature, the symbolic part of which challenges us to transcend all of the apparently incompatible exigencies. Especially the ones that come into existence by development out of icons, or from mixed signs.
But the primary theme in the analysis of cultural desublimation is a self-supporting totality. Any number of theories concerning the bridge between society and reality exist. In a sense, the characteristic theme of his work is the role of the participant as reader. The subject is contextualised into a subsemioticist paradigm of context that includes art as a paradox.

When I was a young boy, my father counseled me to be careful and "believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see".
He went on to explain to me that most of what you hear and see in this world, most all of religion, most all of politics and varying percentages of everything else is pure, unadulterated horsepookey.
In fact, he even ventured a guess as to the percentage: 90% of everything that passes for knowledge, truth or scholarship is total crap.

In Derrida's case, that number is closer to 99%

James Wolcott on the 2nd debate

"For much of last night's debate George Bush looked like a blister about to pop. Loud, mouthy, swaggering, interested only in hearing himself lay down the law, he behaved like a verbally abusive husband. Not a wifebeater but a browbeater with a bar-fighter's grin. It is astonishing and sobering that this dull roar with a one-track mind that runs on tank treads is fighting for reelection instead of facing impeachment; his lies and failures have fed thousands of graves, and filled thousands more hospital beds with bodies and psyches that will never be whole again. And still our mainstream pundits can not, will not see him for what he is."

Read the rest here

Embryonic Stem Cells

There are four different types of stem cells: Embryonic, fetal, umbilical and adult stem cells. Embryonic cells are taken from human embryos, fetal cells are taken from aborted fetal tissue, umbilical cells are taken from umbilical cords, and adult cells are taken from adult tissue.
Stem cells are able to transform into many different types of cells, such as bone, muscle and cartilage cells. Because of this ability, stem cells have potential to treat diseases where different cells in the body are damaged or lost and need to be replaced.
A report in this week's Science supports the incredible potential that this kind of research offers in treating humans.
In certain mouse embryos, severe cardiac defects occur that are invariably lethal. Injecting stem cells (ES) into mutant blastocysts can rescue these organisms from mid-gestational lethality, restoring the mutant cells to normalcy. In addition, some benefit is also derived from injecting these cells into the female mouse peritoneum before conception.
Thus, ES cells have the potential to reverse congenital defects in a mammalian embryo even though the stem cells themselves do not become heart tissue. They secrete certain molecules that signal the heart cells to repair the defects developing in those tissues.

(Science, Vol 306, Issue 5694, 247-252 , 8 October 2004)

It Sure Isn't New York!

upper left: riding horseback down into the Haleakala crater
upper right: Bridge on the Hana Highway
lower left: Banzai Pipeline, North Shore of Oahu
lower right: Gail admires huge Angel Trumpets

"Bubba Eye For the Brahmin Guy"

I like Maureen Dowd. In her column in the New York Times on thursday she talks about John Kerry "playing the Daddy card" by referring to Dubya's father. Clinton did it to "41" in his 1991 debate when he referred to Prescott Bush. This seems to get under their skins a little. But the quip above by Ms. Dowd is simply priceless.

Why I Became A Yankee Fan

When I was a little boy, I lived near Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. You could walk down to Eastern Parkway and then up to Ebbetts Field, the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. My father often bad-mouthed the Yankees, as did other kids in the neighborhood. I was a Dodger fan, true and blue.
When the New York Mets appeared in 1962, it seemed only logical to transfer that allegiance to this new team and continue with my disdain for the Yankees. At first it seemed like a good idea. We won 4 pennants and 2 World Series and while there were a few "ouch!" moments, my loyalty remained strong.
I haven't given up completely on the Mets, but it hasn't been looking very good for the last couple of years. Should I abandon them altogether? I don't think that's possible. I still live with the hope that they can turn the team around and become the team that I would like them to be.
But what of the Yankees? I have been a New Yorker all my life. Why does it have to be one team or the other? Can I not like the Yankees if they're in a pennant race or a World Series? Should I root for Boston or Houston or St. Louis? Can I not have respect and admiration for their accomplishments?
Let's face it, the Yankees are a class act. Every player who puts on the Yankee pinstripes is proud to be a Yankee. The team is run well by a competent owner and dedicated, competent managers. The players know what's expected of them and they do their jobs, often very well. It would be absurd to hope that a team from another city would beat them based on an intra-city rivalry that goes back to 1955.
So, I hold the Yankees in the highest regard and I hope that they win the Championship Series and the World Series. And I still hold out hope that the Mets will rise from the ashes like the Phoenix and maybe regain their credibility and my respect.
Until then...Go Yankees!!!

Friday, October 08, 2004

Why President Bush will lose the election

The Bush/Cheney campaign has made a serious and probably fatal error that will cause them to lose this election.

They gave the people time to think.

Any good con artist knows that to fool someone, you must do it quickly, before they have time to figure out what's going on. If the election had been held in early September, there was a good chance that they might have pulled it off. Listening to President Bush tonight made that point clear. The winds have shifted to the northwest and the smoke is clearing away. And the sad, pitiful truth of the matter is being revealed. It takes people time to internalize these kinds of things, time to see through the smoke, and time to admit they were wrong.

Bush and Cheney gave them that time, and it will be their undoing.

War President

A war President who has never been to war.
How could he possibly understand?

The War Prayer by Mark Twain

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and sputtering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spreads of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country and invoked the God of Battles, beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpouring of fervid eloquence which moved every listener.

It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came-next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their faces alight with material dreams-visions of a stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender!-then home from the war, bronzed heros, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation -- "God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest, Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!"

Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was that an ever--merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory -

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there, waiting.

With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal,"Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside -- which the startled minister did -- and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said

"I come from the Throne-bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd and grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import-that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of-except he pause and think.

"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of His Who hearth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this-keep it in mind. If you beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

"You have heard your servant's prayer-the uttered part of it. I am commissioned by God to put into words the other part of it-that part which the pastor, and also you in your hearts, fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory-must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle-be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it-for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

(After a pause)

"Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits."

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.


startup Oct. 8, 2004