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