Tuesday, April 26, 2011

And yet another locale...

Now that Vox has bit the dust, I can be found here:


See you over at TypePad!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Movin' on...

So for those of you who might peep in here but wonder why posting has ceased, I've decided to give Vox a shot. So head on over here and keep on reading ....

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fire! Fire! Fire!

Said in a Beavis voice.

Went to a party a few weeks ago and, after watching some amazing fire skills by the professionals, I stepped forward and held on to some wire contraptions with lamp-oil soaked ends, lit up and danced around with drums a drumming in the background, until they went out.

Yes, I know the photos are dark.

These people know what they're doing, and still someone's trousers briefly caught on fire. No damage done, just some fabric that looked melted. They made sure I was only wearing organic fabrics first, in case of, well, catching-on-of-fire, because synthetics will stick to your skin. That's a nice thought. And they made me pin my hair up.

It was quite thrilling.


Admin note: I am considereing abandoning Blogger, for various reasons, and Vox has been wooing me quite pleasantly. So I am testing things out over there. But in order to read posts, you will need to be a Friends or Family, and you'll need a (free, but for right now limited) Vox account. You can snag an invite here.

Courtesy the amazing Go Fug Yourself.

Anyway, for now posting here will be limited, as I'm curious to explore some Vox. Head on over!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Yes, but how can we blame the Jews?

I'm no fan of Pope Benedict XVI, for religious, social or personal reasons. But the man made a speech. He made a specific reference to an old text, noting multiple times that he was quoting it, not stating it as personal opinion. And yet, that's not good enough.

Here's what he said:
Quoting a 14th-century Christian emperor who said the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had brought the world “evil and inhuman” things, the pope said, “He said, I quote, ‘Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.’”

The German pope was quoting from a book recounting a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and an educated Persian on the truths of Christianity and Islam.

The instantaneous analysis of what he said boils into this:

1) He said Islam was a religion of evil and violence.
2) We've been insulted. Islam is not a religion of evil and violence.

Which has led to reactions like these, and actions such as:

1) His being targeted in a suicide attack
2) At least one cleric calling for the equivalent of a fatwa
3) A nun being shot dead
4) A Greek Orthodox church being burned

Among no doubt many other expressions that wholly refute the notion that the religion has any connection or ties to violence, or that terribly-relative concept of "evil."

I took classes on Islam pre-9/11 and post 9/11. I know that in its heart, Islam is no more about violence and evil than Christianity or Judiasm. They're all steeped in blood up to some level thanks to so-called leaders and their history, yet that's not the true meaning.

That said, d'you think there might be better ways to decide to protest such statements than by, uh, killing and burning and calling for murder? Just -- maybe?

Well, at least there's Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, who know how to gracefully accept an apology and be reasonable. In this case, at least, if not always.

I frankly don't get it. Is Islam so fragile that a hateful (if poorly conceived) set of cartoons, or a centuries-old quotation will so damage it that the only recourse is death? It feels like when you read those stories about someone getting gets shot because the victim dissed the shooter's mother. Is there no sense of proportional reaction? Or are we just supposed to blame the clerics, who look for any opportunity to blow up any and all perceived outrages until it becomes an abusive "it's just you and me against the world" relationship with their followers? At what point do the moderates and peace-loving Muslims stand up and say "this is not us?"

Because someone really needs to.

Also: An analysis I rather liked - And the Offended Shall Inherit the Earth?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Brings new meaning to 'don't shoot the messenger'

Sent from a friend. Not that I'm looking, but it's good to know what the options are out there:

Of course, if you find an individual who "loves guns" and is a "weapons enthusiast," you'd better hope they work well under pressure. As for the quick on your feet part, well, you'll only really need that skill if it turns out the other gun-lovin' editors don't perform well under pressure.

That's all I gotta say there.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Miracles never cease

Sometimes, you just don't know what to say.

I'm frankly flabbergasted: If this pans out, I think we can safely put one miracle in this particular doctor's permanent record.

From the long "deck" The Guardian has supplied for the article:

We have always been told there is no recovery from persistent vegetative state - doctors can only make a sufferer's last days as painless as possible. But is that really the truth? Across three continents, severely brain-damaged patients are awake and talking after taking ... a sleeping pill. And no one is more baffled than the GP who made the breakthrough. Steve Boggan witnesses these 'strange and wonderful' rebirths.

Amazing, truly.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Five years ago post.

Five years ago, plus two days post.

There is a sense that something profound must rise from the ashes of tragedy, that if you can't say something with depth and clarity that somehow reaches into the heart of what went on you might as well say nothing.

I can't do that. I have nothing profound, moving or deep to say about the loss of nearly 3,000 lives (and counting, more in a moment); I have nothing to say about the loss of two extremely ugly, if anchoring, buildings in this city of otherwise lovely architecture; I have nothing to say about the turn our politics have taken in the past five years. I have nothing to say here and now about any of that because I feel, exhaustively, that I've been saying, thinking, living and feeling it for four years and frankly -- I'm tired. Having it all rehashed on TV and radio ("Jack FM will be going all acoustic for the day, in honor of the anniversary") and in magazines and, well, shit, blogs makes me tired all over again.

Many things are not better for many people since September 11, 2001. Right now, for me, in my small little microcosmic world, I can't say that. Things are not so bad, at least for the present, and in some areas they are quite spectacularly good. I was at one job when the towers fell; I am now at a better one. My thirties have continued to be better than my twenties. And I have become more politically active.

Outside my little world, there are many people whose lives are much worse off, however, and I am trying to think of them instead.

I am also trying to avoid shaking my head at the short-sightedness of those who were in charge on that day, how they were unable to project into the future even the slightest bit of imagination, and how, being unable to do that, they just blundered forward -- into Afghanistan, into Iraq, into our civil liberties, and forgot all of the details. Tonight, Katie Couric (another one who changed jobs since 2001) popped up on "60 Minutes" to do a story on all of the poor first responders who ran into save people at the site of the disaster and have since come down with black lung, lung cancer, or an inability to use their lungs at full capacity, among other debilitations.

I remember thinking at the time that it was a story that could have been written in 2001 and put in nitrogen until tonight. Who didn't know this was going to happen? Who didn't wonder how it would affect the health of anyone who ran in there, or around the city? Who didn't give then-EPA Director Christine Todd Whitman the finger when she insisted there was no real danger posed?

And yet workman's comp cut them off because they filed too late. Or they're being tangled in insurance red tape. Or this, or that. Could no one have sat down on September 13 and said, "This is going to be a continuing health issue for those men and women who are trying to help clean things up. Let's get something set up now for them, so in 5 years we don't have to try and CYA."

But, no. We suffer in this country not from a lack of will, or a lack of desire, but a lack of imagination. If I could sit in my living room, stunned at the one channel of news I could get at the time, eating some comfort ice cream, and imagine this was coming, so could someone who could actually make it better.

Yet, here we are. What was that line from the New York Times editorial page today -- "We have moved on, but no one can argue that we have moved ahead."

Indeed. The best we can do for the 10th anniversary is to climb out of this quagmire. And truly, in a heartfelt and meaningful way, move ahead.