January 5, 2008 archive

Feliz Dia de Reyes

cross posted in part at The Dream Antilles


Cuando Jesús nació en Belén de Judea en días del rey Herodes, vinieron del oriente a Jerusalén unos magos diciendo: ¿Dónde está el rey de los judíos, que ha nacido? Porque su estrella hemos visto en el oriente y venimos a adorarle. Oyendo esto, el rey Herodes se turbó, y toda Jerusalén con él. Y convocados todos los principales sacerdotes, y los escribas del pueblo, les preguntó dónde había de nacer el Cristo. Entonces Herodes, llamando en secreto a los magos, indagó de ellos diligentemente el tiempo de la aparición de la estrella; y enviándolos a Belén. Ellos, habiendo oído al rey, se fueron. Y al entrar en la casa, vieron al niño con su madre María, y postrándose lo adoraron; y abriendo sus tesoros, le ofrecieron presentes: oro, incienso y mirra. Pero siendo avisados por revelación en sueños que no volviesen a Herodes, regresaron a su tierra por otro camino.” (San Mateo 2, 1-12).

(This is easy to read, even if you have only the most basic Spanish or other Romance Language, it’s Matthew 2, 1-12.  It’s also great in English.)

January 6 is Three Kings Day (Tres Reyes Magos or Epiphany). The holiday commemorates the day the Three Kings from the East, after following the star for twelve days, arrived in Bethlehem to find the child in the manger and to give symbolic gifts of frankincense, myrrh and gold. Three Kings Day is the day on which gifts are traditionally given throughout Central and South America.

Only relatively recently has globalization and commercialization brought Santa Claus and Christmas trees and gift giving on Christmas Day. Before that, the Three Kings came with the gifts only on January 6, twelve days after Christmas. According to this Wiki:

In Spain, Argentina, and Uruguay, children (and many adults) polish and leave their shoes ready for the Kings’ presents before they go to bed on the 5th of January. Sweet wine, nibbles, fruit and milk are left for the Kings and their camels. In Mexico, it is traditional for children to leave their shoes on the eve of January 6 by the family nativity scene or by their beds. Also a letter with toy requests is left and sometimes the shoes are filled with hay for the camels, so that the Kings will be generous with their gifts. In Puerto Rico, it is traditional for children to fill a box with grass or hay and put it underneath their bed, for the same reasons. In some parts of northern Mexico the shoes are left under the Christmas tree with a letter to the Three Kings. This is analogous to children leaving mince pies or cookies and milk out for Father Christmas in Western Europe.

If you consider the Three Kings Story from a mythic, rather than a religious perspective, it’s a very important allegory about the wise, eastern Kings’ faithfully following their instinct and knowledge across the desert to the place it led them (did they know where they were going?) and when they reached the destination giving their gifts to those they found who should receive them.  I really like that.  I like to think about the kind of courage and understanding one would need to have to play the role of the kings (the wise men) in the story.  Would I follow my star?  Would I persist for 12 days?  Would frustration, despair, fear stop my journey?  Would I realize when I had arrived?  Would I know what gifts to give and to whom?

Feliz Dia de Reyes!

Saturday Night Bike Blogging: The Perfect Bikeway

Over on the European Tribune, where I crossposted a couple of these bike blogs, asdf asked:

If bikes are the most efficient way to get around–at least for distances up to a few km–then why do we not have proper bikeways? Smooth pavement, gradual hills, and COVERS to keep the snow/wind/rain off? Imagine a countryside with little bike tunnels going here and there, with cozy, dry riders efficiently making their daily trips…

This is a lovely image. Indeed, a system of bikeways of this could even qualify as a dream.

However, if we start to dream it, we have to be careful that we do not fall into the familiar bad habits of the fading age of Auto Uber Alles … which is to use bikeways as a mechanism to get those pesky cyclists off the road.

If a system of bikeways is done right, then it will create far more bikes on the road of most cities, towns and suburbs of American than we have ever seen … indeed, than most of use have ever imagined. Which means, directly, that any system of bikeways intended to get those pesky bikes off the roads will be bikeways done wrong.

See you over the fold … and remember, as always, this is also a general cycling open thread.


Don’t get me wrong.  If there were not winter breaks, I’d not have survived to be as old as I am.  I’ve spent the last month or so of every semester with my mind on its knees begging for rest.  But rest never happens.  It can’t.  I’m a teacher.

Being a teacher is a 24/7 thing.  One doesn’t turn one’s mind off when not in the classroom.  One eats, sleeps and dreams teaching.    At least I have always assumed other people are like me.

So when “rest time” comes, all that really happens is refocusing.  The time is meant to be used and the teacher in me will fill it with work.  


Don’t get me wrong.  If there were not winter breaks, I’d not have survived to be as old as I am.  I’ve spent the last month or so of every semester with my mind on its knees begging for rest.  But rest never happens.  It can’t.  I’m a teacher.

Being a teacher is a 24/7 thing.  One doesn’t turn one’s mind off when not in the classroom.  One eats, sleeps and dreams teaching.    At least I have always assumed other people are like me.

So when “rest time” comes, all that really happens is refocusing.  The time is meant to be used and the teacher in me will fill it with work.  

President Obama, Will You Prosecute Bushco?

Now that Barack has been anointed in corn….It is time to ask some tough questions.


He has said that the country needs to be united, and it is tough to argue with that! The question is ….how? Will he attempt unity through healing the wounds George Bush and friends have inflicted on America and the world? Or by sweeping them under some national rug of unity?

Can You Count On These Machines?

I saw something about this last night, posted on a few  sites.

This is about an Extremely Important Report that will be out tomorrow in the Sunday’s issue of the New York Times Magazine.

I just caught it again posted over at After Downing Street where Dave put up the New York Times Magazine link along with posting the article.

Pony Party: Pictures

Nothing fancy this morning. Now that I have whined like an addled lost cow about my stressful week and let’s face it I didn’t lose my job or go hungry or face great adversity or torment so in the end what is there to really complain about?

Here are a few random pictures I took around home and the neighborhood…

I don’t know why Sawyer kitty looks so grouchy in this picture. Maybe it is because I wouldn’t let him eat these guys…





Arno gives a big yawn, and he clowns.



Pony Party: Morning Vent

So…. I had a crazy week at work. One night I had to tell the &^%$#@ doctors how to do their job when they decided to have a collective brain blank when a patient got sick. These people are smarter than I am when I started basically telling them what to do they said,”Good idea”, and then when we got the patient to ICU I had to answer all the questions for the big dog doctor that they should have. In the movies doctors are all cool and heroic and the nurses flutter around them like silly butterflies hoping to be noticed while they are applying lipstick

Last night, I had a complicated social situation that involved an intervention with volatile people who for a strange reason liked me. Follow up included several phone calls and emails and no doubt a meeting next week.

Then I had to read my evaluation. Usually we hand in a self review first. Because we were so short staffed this year I did a terrible job of keeping up my accomplishment diary so one of the two big critiques I got in my evaluation was that I handed in a terrible self review. I was also told to work more closely with my manager to solve ongoing conflicts but was told I deserve “partial credit” for improving morale. I won’t challenge number two even though my manager tends to ignore many of my concerns until they blow and then act like I did not keep her informed. She also has a different way of dealing with personal conflicts. I like to meet with each person separately and then bring them in together with myself and or my manager for a group discussion. My manager just brings them in together without talking to them separately and people have a tendency to feel ambushed. I like my director and I am alright with my manager and I don’t plan to change my style to look more harmonious. The net result of this is an excellent evaluation instead of an outstanding one. Only one co-worker got an outstanding evaluation last year and she is the director’s pet. I actually like her and work well with her. She has the ear of the director so I often tell her things I hope will float back to the director when I think being completely open and honest might damage my ability to pay the mortgage. Ah, the price of being a slave.

Working for a living is highly over rated even though I enjoy the challenges my job brings.

Hey. That felt good. Time for tea.

Two Black Men

crossposted from Daily Kos

On Saturday, part of my regular activity is to read two noteworthy columnists, Bob Herbert of the New York Times, and Derrick Jackson of the Boston Globe.   Both are Black, so it is not at all surprising that the columns of both are about the Obama phenomenon.   Both are interesting reading.  Herbert’s The Obama Phenomenon begins simply enough

The historians can put aside their reference material. This is new. America has never seen anything like the Barack Obama phenomenon.

.  Jackson, in his A night for the newcomers saw

An array of trump cards dropped like hammers in this part of eastern Iowa as a three-way dead heat in the polls became an 8-point Obama victory over Edwards and Clinton.


So what is happening?

The Obama Cult

Cultists speak a language that the non-believers will never understand.

It is of the same origin as idioglossia or “twin language” that twins may develop when language skills are delayed in development.

This should not be confused with Rovian or Clintonian cant that is carefully constructed to be the mirror image of what is being said; e.g., peace means war, “I am for you” means “I am for big corporations,” Democrat means Republican, etc.  A Tim Russert or Chris Matthews may not understand Rovianspeak but intelligent people with normal language skills do.    

A Tough Question

An observation leads to a question.

In the wake of New Hampshire’s Ed and Elaine Brown affair have government agencies given tax breaks, incentives, grants, etc for the purpose of promoting a new tax resolution specialist “industry”.

The commercials coming out of 96.9 WTKK radio in Boston are reaching an unprecendented saturation type plateau.  Taxmasters, call 1-800-IRSProblems, etc.  

I mean really, one could very plausibly assign it to a co-intel-pro Pentagon operation.  Ed and Elaine Brown did get great press coverage even with corporate media’s blacklisting policies.  Should one not want thousands of Ed and Elaine wannabes one would seek to perhaps compromise just a tad.  “We will “negotiate” a “settlement” for “pennies on the dollar”, ya, well, I’m hearing that far too often for it to be mere co-incidence.

In this “post 911 world”, this “land of the free”, where corporations can hold you personally responsible for damage to THEIR company, I think it’s a perfectly rational question. They certainly don’t want millions of other people telling the government to show me the law this April.

It also indicates my level of contempt.

So how’s things in your neck of the woods?  Don’t you think perhaps maybe the demographics would indicate a concentration in the New England area?  A pro-active approach to diverting tax resisters?  If I was part of our Stasi type government it’s what I would do.

Docudharma Times Saturday January 5

This is an Open Thread: That will never be closed

Headlines For Saturday January 5: Justices to Consider Death Penalty Issue: Ex-Bush official sued over terrorism memos: 46,000 Iraqis Have Left Syria: Opposition Seeks New Vote as Violence Ebbs in Kenya: Naples rubbish crisis turns nasty

Daring to Believe, Blacks Savor Obama Victory

For Sadou Brown in a Los Angeles suburb, the decisive victory of Senator Barack Obama in Iowa was a moment to show his 14-year-old son what is possible.

For Mike Duncan in Maryland, it was a sign that Americans were moving beyond rigid thinking about race.

For Milton Washington in Harlem, it looked like the beginning of something he never thought that he would see. “It was like, ‘Oh, my God, we’re on the cusp of something big about to happen,’ ” Mr. Washington said.

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