September 23, 2007

The One that Fits Inside the Bathtub

Here is a very cool vid.
Just be patient the first few seconds till it gets going.

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September 22, 2007


When All Else Fails, Divert.

So MoveOn published a swipe at General Petraeus that may not have had the most tasteful title. And the Republicans didn't like it. I wasn't crazy about it either.

I get it that they are willing to waste the time and attention of the Senate to score political points. They have been doing this for years. The sad thing is that so many Democrats joined them to condemn MoveOn, but couldn't muster the votes to give our troops more leave time between their tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Once again they have been manipulated and used.

And, bit by bit, this is how freedom is lost.

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September 14, 2007


In the midst of many, she felt alone.
A loneliness so deep that it was impossible
to even be in herself.

Separate. Apart. Almost invisible ...
except for the sense that somehow she was an irritant
to those of her community.

When the others had left,
the sense of isolation
seemed almost overwhelming.

She longed for company.
A call that was not a responsibility,
an invitation to lunch.

She went out and strangers smiled at her
people started conversations and told her things
as they always seemed to do.

Each time she reentered her empty house
the place seemed friendlier.
Warmer. More welcoming.

And then she became still
and rarely listened to anything except the rustling of the leaves
the tick of the clock, or natural sounds that came in her window.

The running water at her sink,
and the soft churn of the dishwasher
seemed comforting.

After awhile, with no distraction
to pull her mind away from the silence
her being started to still ... and she started to fill.

The silence became her friend
and she began to revel in the quiet and the texture
of the moment.

The boundaries and lines which before had cut her off
began to blur, and she began again
to feel the pulse of life coursing though her.

Her arms stretched out in the welcoming.
Her whole essence became immersed in the ebb and flow
and simply being was enough.

She knew this time with herself was coming to an end
and she would once again have to enter
into the distraction of the colony.

She hoped that the memory
of her balance and buoyancy
was all she would need to ease the transition,

and she would be one with herself
and would recall how to enter into the silence
even in the midst of the company.

"A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; ... if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free."

-Schopenhauer, "The World as Will and Idea," 1818

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September 13, 2007


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Damn Changes

The other day I was on the phone with an old friend talking about this and that, politics, literature and some of the rapidly changing phenomena of the day.

I can’t remember exactly what the topic was, but I commented on the pace of our speedily evolving language. Words that had one meaning just a few years ago can often mean something quite different now. Even the correct spelling of many words has now been altered.

We both tsk-tsked about it ... not that this is a awful thing exactly ... since this shift has always happened ... but because we miss some of the words that no longer seem to appear in the dictionary and the meanings of others have often been changed so dramatically that our own use of the tongue is sometimes now archaic.

I just discovered that the meaning of a word I used in a recent post had been dramatically mutated from a more innocent meaning to something quite different. The word was "bawdy". And the only reason I realized that my use of the word was old-speak was because I am a simply awful speller.

I noticed that the word I had written; "baudy", had that little red line underneath it, that through the magic of "spell-check", indicates to us that something is wrong. Now, that doesn't always mean I have spelled something incorrectly, but that I am using an old early 20th century spelling. But this time I was simply spelling the word incorrectly.

The thing that threw me was that the primary meaning of the word had changed. I remember that the word "bawdy" used to mean that the subject matter was a little suggestive or a bit off color, maybe even somewhat vulgar, but generally rather innocent. now defines the word to mean; indecent; lewd; obscene:

Well, this is where I put my foot down. I will not accept this new meaning. At least until someone shows me another word which will evoke the same thought. Don't get me started on the word; "gay".

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Dieter is back!!!

The nicest thing just happened. I sat down at the computer in the middle of the day and soon heard that neat little sound that someone had just sent an e-mail to

It was Dieter! We chatted for a while ... in real time! In all the years we have been corresponding, this is the first time this has ever happened ... well at least that I can remember.

Dieter has started blogging again. Here is the link to his new site. Maybe Mike or Matt can update the link for me, since this little feat is beyond my computer capabilities. One word of caution to the politically sensitive or to those who may be disturbed about bawdy or adult topics and language. Oh Oh. Did I just guarantee that you will look to see what I am talking about?

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September 12, 2007

For Mae

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By the end of the day, I had received three calls from AT&T about our phone service to apologize for the inconvenience and to make sure everything was working on my end. I had called them twice during the outage. They really must want to have satisfied customers! Either that ... or some of my family had also been calling them all worried.

It turns out that The City of Los Angeles had been doing some digging and accidentally cut through a VERY BIG cable. Whereas I was thinking it was a little tiny thing that had happened, it turns out that the damaged cable was a bundle of thousands of individual phone lines.

One of the nice ladies who called gleefully told me that I shouldn't worry though ... because the City was going to pay all the expenses of the fix. Great! We live in the City of Los Angeles. And, I guess that means that we will be footing part of the bill. But then, maybe our city has insurance for this kind of thing. That would be good.

Well, maybe not. Won't we pay for the inevitable rate increase that the benevolent insurance companies will charge? But then again, by the time this happens we will have forgotten about the whole thing and we will not even notice.

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September 11, 2007

Nefarious Scheme

Something weird is happening here. The land-line phones in this area have been out for two days. AT&T says it may take up to a week to fix the broken cable problem. How can that be? And why haven’t anyone of us seen any phone repair trucks in the area?

Not all of our neighbors have their phone service supplied by AT&T. Our next-door neighbor’s phones are working. They are connected by Comcast cable.

What I can’t understand is that while our phone lines are down, I can still connect to the internet though our DSL and the Tivo is still making it’s regular calls to the satellite.

Using my cell, I called the phone company repair service again tonight to find out what is happening. And asked why I can connect to the Internet though a phone line, but we cannot use our phones for calls. She said that DSL works on a different frequency.

I know I am not an engineer and my understanding of these things is weak. But if the problem is a broken cable, why would what frequency they use matter?

It the old days the phone company would be all over it, even if they had to work all night. Why would it take a week to replace one broken cable? And why did the same thing happen to the some of the Verizon customers in Torrance last week?

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September 10, 2007

Tomorrow will be six years.

Six years since we saw the towers come down.

Six years since we felt united.

Six years since we began to voluntarily give up our rights.

Six years since we let ourselves be led into an unholy war.

Six years since we felt we could trust our government.

Six years later, people are finally realizing that Saddam Hussein was not the same person as Osama bin Laden. And that Iraq was not involved with the bombings. And that without a draft, we will run out of troops, or out of money to pay the mercenaries we hire to fight this war.

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September 4, 2007

Safe and Sound

A call just came in from Viet Nam.
The travelers are there safe and sound.
Everything is OK.

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