Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gaza Day 5

This picture, featured on Yahoo for the last 24 hours, sends a subliminal message. Everyone will view it differently, but at least some will react less sympathetically to the depiction of Palestinians as a group of hags, some toothless . I wonder, does Yahoo have an instant polling of its site to see what does or does not go down? Does Yahoo (like most of America's media) have a political agenda? Is it intent on conveying, especially subliminally, a pro Israeli message?

And Israel refused a cease fire. It will continue the collective punishment.

From here:
"A million and a half human beings, most of them downcast and desperate refugees, live in the conditions of a giant jail, fertile ground for another round of bloodletting. The fact that Hamas may have gone too far with its rockets is not the justification of the Israeli policy for the past few decades, for which it justly merits an Iraqi shoe to the face."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gaza Day 4

There is no let up and Israel has refused a truce. While militants continue to fire rockets into Israel, the IDF continues to destroy buildings and people associated with Hamas, a political organization that was democratically elected. This has included government buildings and university buildings, neither of which should be considered legal targets if anyone still payed any attention to the rules.

And the massacre of civilians continues.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Briefly (foot)Noted

Being in a palinopsiatic mode this AM (not to be confused with a palinesque mode) I thought it important to comment (reply? dissertate?) on the pithy observations of the unreal. (1)

Again, back to the Growlery:
More important, though, is the rôle they (footnotes, ed.) fulfil in storytelling. Some of them are simple bibliographic attributions for (usually nonexistent) books such as "John Segundus
Ah Ha! The footnoting of nonexistent books. (Or, more cleverly, the footnoting of existent books that don't offer clarification, support or even commentary on the point that has been made. (Be careful using this ploy in a PhD thesis).)("(...)" doesn't count as a footnote. Ed.)

Two books come to mind: The Third Policeman by Flan O'Brien (10). Prominent in the plot is the narrator's study and obsession with a fictitous character, De Selby:
De Selby is the name of a fictitious Irish philosopher and scientist, originally invented by Flann O'Brien for his novel The Third Policeman. De Selby does not actually appear in the plot of the novel, but only in references and frequent footnotes
One of the more interesting footnotes, if I can recall, concerns the legend that Irish faeries (not to be confused with English fairies a la (diacritical) Lewis Carrol and Tinkerbell). Irish Faeries are much more robust and obtain a color when they are born. The color is dependent on the direction of the wind. Silver blue for due East, e.g., etc. As the Faerie grows older, he (and it is always a he) begins to fade until, at a certain age he becomes invisible. (14)

A second book probably started this whole thing. I refer here to Giles Goat Boy by John Barth. (15). In this, in retrospect, tedious academic novel, Barth introduces the footnote in the footnote. Then, of course, the recursive footnote that refers back to the primary work (17). More accurately, apparently, it is a hypertext encyclopedia. I.e., Wikipedia. Truly, this is the quote in Wikipedia (18):
A hypertext encyclopedia also figures into the novel, quite presciently given the 1966 publication.
As for footnote vs endnote?
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
And this is from:

(1) Having just typed this I suspect that, rather than the shabby, post modern inclusion of links, I should have actually footnoted these references. (2)

(2) How does one manually footnote a link? Must one include the publisher (3) ? Date and time, like a journal? (5). On the other hand (7)! And this further reflection (8).

(3) I would assume Microsoft(trademark) (4) since they provided Internet Explorer (trademark)l

(4) Author's note: unable to access "trademark" stroke on keyboard.

(5) e.g. Growlery: Vol ?; Dec 23 pg 1; para 2; line five (not accepted EndNote format (6))

EndLink® I had no recourse but to add a true link. Also, I found the registered trademark by copying it from the Growlery

(7) The actual link is which may or may not, in the future lead you to the Growlery

(8) Is the use of an exclamation point (9) a clever way of drawing attention to a foot note?

(9) !

(10) Flann O'Brien pen name for Brian O'Nolan (Irish: Brian Ó Nualláin) (5 October 1911 – 1 April 1966) but more famously known for his column in the Irish Times, Man Bites Dog (11) under the pseudonym Myles na gCopaleen. (12)

(11) The bite of a man is much more serious than the bite of a dog. It is probable that dogs with lethal bacteria were selected against in evolution by angry owners when, after a dog bite, their leg fell off.

(12) It is noted that this is a Galic name but absent diacritical marks. Since the Growlery knows how to find ®, I assume he could teach us diacritic marks (13)

(13) Live a critic diacritic.

(14) Sometimes, when in a conversation with those vociferous, I feel like I'm disappearing too. Strange

(15) Perhaps one of the most overrated authors in America. Especially his attempt at history of the Chesapeake Bay, The Sotweed Factor. (16)

(16) Personal opinion.


(18) Who said irony was dead?

Gaza Day 2

A Palestinian family reacts as they rush past a burning building after an Israeli missile strike in the Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008.

From Juan Cole:
Israel blames Hamas for primitive homemade rocket attacks on the nearby Israeli city of Sederot. In 2001-2008, these rockets killed about 15 Israelis and injured 433, and they have damaged property. In the same period, Gazan mortar attacks on Israel have killed 8 Israelis.

Since the Second Intifada broke out in 2000, Israelis have killed nearly 5000 Palestinians, nearly a thousand of them minors. Since fall of 2007, Israel has kept the 1.5 million Gazans under a blockade, interdicting food, fuel and medical supplies to one degree or another. Wreaking collective punishment on civilian populations such as hospital patients denied needed electricity is a crime of war.

The Israelis on Saturday killed 5% of all the Palestinians they have killed since the beginning of 2001! 230 people were slaughtered in a day, over 70 of them innocent civilians. In contrast, from the ceasefire Hamas announced in June, 2008 until Saturday, no Israelis had been killed by Hamas. The infliction of this sort of death toll is known in the law of war as a disproportionate response, and it is a war crime. (emphasis added)

A couple of points to be made. Attack by home made rockets on Israel by militants is criminal. However, these militants are not part of the armed forces of any nation. To destroy essentially police stations occupied by men who are in all likelihood not responsible for the rocket attacks is clearly a violation of the rules of War (as if anybody, including America, ever really abided by those rules.) Including civilians, especially children in the causalities is despicable. Attacking the Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza was particularly cruel since the rockets could not have been launched from there and this was clearly an attack on the civilian infrastructure.

All of this because America unconditionally supports Israel. It unconditionally supports Israel for domestic political reasons; possibly votes, but more likely money.

This is how I feel, from here:
The only peaceful means of achieving a lasting peace is for Western leaders to pull the plug on Israel until the regime conforms to international law and the will of the United Nations (without whose misguided generosity there would never have been a state of Israel), pulls back behind the 1967 border and strictly observes the principles of universal human rights.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Some of the Israeli missiles struck in densely populated areas as children were leaving school, and women rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children.
This is so sad. Israel seems determined to sabotage any chance of Peace. What could be the response to this but an ignition of another round of disaster for the people of that region.

Missiles provided by the Pentagon.

Also, in case you were interested, International Law on the Bombing of Civilians

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve, 2008

Merry Christmas to all. I would the World was at peace. In spite of the best efforts of countless people, we continue on devastating the planet and one another. I will admit that a month ago, after the Presidential election, many Americans were buoyed up and felt that there was real hope. That, in spite of signs to the contrary, we could right ourselves. Maybe now it is just the inevitable let down after that high which warps our soul. I sense a spirit of apathy, distress and angst in the community around me.

Last week I went to Walmart. For many reasons I dislike going there, but it is our community souk. Inevitably I run into 3-4 people that I know either personally or, more likely, professionally. If the kids are present this is a boost, because they all think I look like Santa Claus. But Walmart sometimes brings out the worst in people. It is our vulgar consumerism at its worst. If something is not a ready consumable (like a paper towel), it is usually so flimsy that it lasts but a short time (a toaster oven that is inefficient; a broom where the plug on the top annoyingly comes off). And, one knows that for each item one buys, it takes money from our community here and delivers it to either Wall Street or China. Not much to warm the heart.

On the other hand, I have the opportunity of observing many children every day. One child in his or her enthusiasm for life can get inside you and make you feel better than a hundred shots of Jack Daniels. Their novelty, as expressed here in their crab drawings, is amazing.

We must do something to salvage at least a livable world for these children. As America convolutes on itself and enters the throes of a depression, we still must try and right the many wrongs we have perpetrated, particularly over the past 8 years. Maybe we will be able to. I'll think I'll count on it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday Crab Blogging (a little late)

This is a very interesting drawing. The mere concept of only showing one half the horse is remarkable. For obvious reasons it has been drawn by a child, not a professional artist. Even a primitive drawing (e.g. a cave painting) by an adult would probably include the whole animal. There is no evidence that this child didn't intend to draw it this way (i.e. making the back part of the horse small so that it was included on the page.) Just interesting.

Notice how children are frequently anthropomorphic, i.e. the crab has to have two legs and two arms.

I did not ask what was in the crab's claw, could be an iPod. It looks like the scenario is either Disneyworld (Magic Kingdom Castle in which my niece once managed the restaurant) or, more likely, an aquarium. If you are interested in aquarium animals, Google the Mantis Shrimp.) Please note the claws on the submarine.

If not two, then lets have lots of legs. That is why this crab is called "Crab Rockerfella"; especially appropriate during this season at a certain Center in New York (hint: dancers)

These fish look like they have "flat top" haircuts. This will only be significant to old geezers like myself. But they are right out of the 50's.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Crab Blogging

Children have been taught to put clouds in the sky. If you are under the sea, you put fish

Girls still do wear skirts, at least in Crabland. Giocometti eat your heart out

Note the length of the beak on this bird

In an effort to be realistic, this child has created see through clothes. Pretend you are Superman

Yes, that is a giraffe; and a very strange crab

and we finish with two crabs; these have the highest BMI in the Chesapeake Bay

Wednesday, November 05, 2008



Many of us are seeing hope for a better future for the first time in 8 years.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Are the nukes ready, Alderman?

One of the more ludicrous contentions of this vastly ludicrous election is the that Sarah Palin is qualified to be POTUS because she was the mayor of a very small village in Alaska. This is from the debate yesterday in Alaska between Senator Stevens (R-convicted) and Democrat challenger Mark Begich:
Tracy (moderator): Is Gov. Palin qualified, sir, as president?

Stevens: Yes she is. Yes she is. I think she is. She’s had experience as a mayor. She’s had experience, really, as a governor. And she is what I think the American women have sought for a long time, she’s another candidate for a presence of a woman in our national leadership. So I think she’s qualified and I think our people would like to see her become president… vice president.

I’d like to see her become president, as a matter of fact.(emphasis added)
Cut to the Mayor's office of Wasilla:
Alderman Jones: "Mr Mayor, the police force of Mayville is assembling a strike team to invade our town's dump. We can't allow this.

Mayor Palin: "You are certainly right, Alderman (wink, wink)"

Alderman Jones: "Would you like me to call in the deputies?"

Mayor Palin: "No, no, no. They are probably all A-rabs over there. I think we should nuke 'em. Prepare the Really Big One. (wink, wink)"

Alderman Jones: "But Mayor, the Really Big One destroys an area out to five miles and Mayville is only two miles away!"

Mayor Palin: "I said use the Really Big One. God will protect us. (Realy Big Wink)"

Boom!!! Cut to Heaven...

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Election

It should concern everyone that the American election is turning into a spectacle. For better or worse, when a butterfly dies in North Dakota, the stock market crashes in Tokyo. On the other hand, the bigotry and hate that has come welling up from Joe the Plumber and his six pack (one of my staff thought they were talking about abs) should also remind us that, in spite of protestations to the contrary, American society is not some "shining city on the hill" but just as prone to racism (tribalism) as the citizens of Iraq or Rawanda. If Barack Obama loses the election, it will because he is black.

The decline of America is startling in its magnitude and swiftness. As in any group of people, there will shortly be a gigantic orgy of blame assigning. And, as usual, all the people who deserve it, will be let off scot free. But, once again, those at the bottom of society, particularly our African American citizens, will receive both the brunt of the ensuing hardship and the brunt of the blame. I suppose that this is human nature, and maybe we should look at that closer (below). As an example of this, I have heard many times now, particularly from the man who manages my retirement, that the economic meltdown is due to "all those people getting mortages they couldn't pay for." Awesome in its ignorance of the real deceit of wealth.

Objectively, there is only one major difference between a black person and a white, and that is, of course, skin color. Indeed, skin color is the result of the presence of the pigment melanin. Melanin should, by all accounts, be viewed in a positive light:
The photochemical properties of melanin make it an excellent photoprotectant. It absorbs harmful UV-radiation and transforms the energy into harmless amounts of heat through a process called "ultrafast internal conversion". This property enables melanin to dissipate more than 99.9% of the absorbed UV radiation as heat[3] and it keeps the generation of free radicals at a minimum (see photoprotection). This prevents the indirect DNA damage which is responsible for the formation of malignant melanoma.
(As an aside, it sounds similar to the pigments in the retina we discussed on the information thread.)

Not to put too fine a point upon it, but many of my white neighbors probably could do with some melanin since the incidence of melanoma where I live is astonishingly high. (There must be other evolutionary drivers since melanoma is a disease of older people and melanin shouldn't have that much survival advantage, even in equatorial Africa. Maybe it is the other way around, and northern Europeans lost their ability to produce melanin because they needed to metabolize vitamin D.)

Of course whites have melanin too:
Although human beings generally possess a similar concentration of melanocytes in their skin, the melanocytes in some individuals and ethnic groups more frequently or less frequently express the melanin-producing genes, thereby conferring a greater or lesser concentration of skin melanin.
So, it actually a question of degree of gene expression rather than an absolute possession or absence of the pigment.

But this slight biological differences between whites and blacks (and there are others) is overwhelmed by what one might term "cultural" differences. When looked at objectively, though, these differences vanish. And they vanish entirely for Barack Obama.

He is an exceptional man. Coming from a humble background, he attended Harvard Law School. In spite of the cromagnon grunters who criticize this as elitism, he is exactly what we need in this terrifying world. But the most admirable thing about this man is that he has never lost his cool during two years of absolutely mind bending campaigning. Never

Back to the discussion. I would propose that racism, while felt to be morally reprehensible, may still be the exacerbation of an innate tendency towards genetic chauvinism. One might draw an analogy with the sex drive. Yes, indeed, all humans have this and, if you believe Freud, it is a much more powerful determinant than we are willing to admit. (I daresay that there is not a day that goes by that there isn't some thinking going on in each and every one of us about sex. Just look at the power of sex in advertising and, at least initially, in the McCain choice of Palin.) Consider what the situation might be in which there were no societal restrictions on sexual activity. Chimpanzees and apes give us a good idea.

In the same way, the fear of otherness is, in my way of thinking, one of the primal urges. Some would say that it is inseperable from aggression, which is really another way of saying self preservation. Looking at it that way, we have our entire genome arrayed against the genomes of others.

While society has done an awful job of sexuality (no thanks to the Church making it a Great Big Sin, when actually it was to protect the property of kings, can't have bastards running around), it has done an even worse job with race. You see, the problem is that we live in Alan Greenspan's America (for a great discussion of his connection to Ayn Rand see this Kos diary RIP John Galt. Also, we shouldn't forget Herbert Spencer.). Everything, and I mean everything, is subjected to "market forces." Lo and behold, these market forces are just the primal driving power of the genes in each and every one of us. And yes, evolution causes change. Society changes. Is this progress? Furthermore, in unfettered evolution there are a lot of casualties just like in a crashing stock market (my tanked 401(k) just said hello.)

In nowhere more than racial issues does the power of the genetic market forces dominate and obliterate even the smatterings of the alleged moral code. In spite of Obama's exceptional credentials, many a person has told me (of course not in public) that I'm not going to vote for "that" man (a term used to great effect by McCain in one of the debates.)These are people that go to Church on Sunday and wouldn't harm a flea, but have bought into the sterotype of the otherness of the black man or woman.

This really raises a quandry for people like myself who see no transcendence in the moral code. I am very practical about it. Morality is the thin glue of civilization. Without it, as much as I despise it, all would be chaos. But there are different slants on this strait jacket. The very ease with which people are able to, on one hand, brag about the greatness of the "American Way" (whatever that is), and our democracy, and on the other condemn a black man only for having a little extra pigment in his skin, is only explicable if this is outside the moral sphere.

It is only explicable if it is right there in the red of tooth and claw.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Friday Crab Blogging (a little late)

I only have one crab today but it is rather extraordinary.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Another "You can't make this stuff up"

Suit against God thrown out over lack of address
By NATE JENKINS – 3 days ago

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A judge has thrown out a Nebraska legislator's lawsuit against God, saying the Almighty wasn't properly served due to his unlisted home address. State Sen. Ernie Chambers filed the lawsuit last year seeking a permanent injunction against God.

He said God has made terroristic threats against the senator and his constituents in Omaha, inspired fear and caused "widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants."
Comment: Actually, he has a point there...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Crab Blogging

The rare and famous Chesapeake Bay smiley flea crab

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Crab Blogging

Children tend to anthrophomorphize. Check out the eye lashes. I am not sure what the other creature is. I guess it could be sort of a scorpion?? And, of course, a clam.

And they are always smiling!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Another "You can't make this stuff up"


Dick Cheney:
As all of you know very well, President Bush made wildlife conservation an early and a high priority of his administration. We’ve carried out that commitment in these eight years — and we’ve been proud to have people like you as partners in the enterprise.

The men and women in this room understand what conservation is all about. It means reverence toward creation, and a commitment to faithful stewardship. It means guarding our spectacular wildlife populations — not just for our own time, but for all time.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Crab Blogging

Not many crabs today but what I have is quite a good one.

Most American children are normal. Many American adults are not. I am not sure when the transition occurs, or why.

I am very, very far behind on posts, particularly in response to the Growlery. I promise full reprisal.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Crab Blogging

A little confused about the major claws

You think that this is a crab? Actually, I was informed it was a dinosaur.

This and the following were by a splinter faction that refuses to draw crabs.

Drawn by Twin 1

Drawn by Twin 2. They really do "see" things alike. One of them is blind in one eye and has no depth perception. I can't tell them apart.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Unearned Capital

It is pretty obvious why Bush and his BFF Paulson want to rush throught the $700 Billion bailout. By getting all this money from the taxpayer, those who perpetrated this insanity on us will be able to get away scot free. Here is some info from Forbes on CEO compensation. It gives a long list but this is a sample of the top 100:

(click to expand)

Please note that the annual salary goes from $17.8 million to $192 million a year.

The sum of these chaps stock holdings is $49,858 billion. (Laurence Ellison alone has $23 billion)

So, and this seems obvious, why the hell can't they bail out Wall Street instead of you and me?

I'm for maximum security prison for each and every one of them.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Crab Blogging - Guest Appearance

We are pleased to present art work from the legendary Daniel of Across the Pond.

This is an excellent rendition of a blue crab (Callinectes sapidus, from the Greek calli="beautiful", nectes="swimmer", and Latin sapidus="savory")

This is Dan's "Cartoon Crab." The eyes have been brought down to the main torso and we have a mammalian mouth. However the construction of the articulated claws seems to be superior to the Real Crab above.

Crabs. The great Uniters.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Who u gonna b?


I saw this when on my surf-with-coffee this AM. Notice anything? There is no Doctor or Nurse in the list. We must all be "Health Care Managers!!!" (rates a three !)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Oh, My!



Sunday, September 14, 2008

Surely you're joking, Mrs. Palin?


The American Presidential election has gone from Broadway, to Off-Broadway, to Side Show. So, in that spirit, I note that Mrs. Palin isn't very friendly to Polar Bears:
The State of Alaska will sue to challenge the recent listing of polar bears as a threatened species, Gov. Sarah Palin said... She and other Alaska elected officials fear a listing will cripple oil and gas development in prime polar bear habitat off the state's northern and northwestern coasts.

If you are at all interested in the ongoing saga of Calamity Sarah, I suggest you go to a refreshing breeze (arctic, to be sure) at Mudflats.

End of first Act. Clap, clap, clap.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friday Crab Blogging (a little late)

A rather "jawey" crab

This young man has potential as an artist

Note the ice cream cone. Totally out of character for the child who drew it.

An illustrated atlas

This child is telling a story, I think. I didn't have time to ask her what the black, serrated line represented

Drawn in the "Nemo" room, so of course the surfer dude is king