February 15, 2008 archive

Pony Party, Phone it in Friday

What else for the day after Valentine’s Day but “Love Hangover”…?

Docudharma Times Friday February 15

This is an Open Thread:

I been up, I been down.

Take my word, my way around.

I aint askin for much.

Friday’s Headlines: Black Leader, a Clinton Ally, Tilts to Obama: When Strains on Military Families Turn Deadly: Bhutto ghost dominates Pakistan election: The great wall of indifference: The long goodbye: Vision of post-Putin Russia is set out in marathon conference: Chad leader declares state of emergency: Signs in Kenya of a Land Redrawn by Ethnicity: Hezbollah Chief Warns Israel of Wide War

Gunman at Illinois College Kills 5 Students, Wounds 16

DEKALB, Ill., Feb. 14 — Without saying a word, a gunman dressed in black opened fire in a Northern Illinois University geology class Thursday, killing five students and wounding 16. He fired at random, authorities said, until the moment he killed himself.

Students screamed and crawled on their bellies to escape the auditorium in Cole Hall as bullets and buckshot flew. The gunman, a former graduate student in sociology, carried a shotgun and two handguns. Police said he volunteered no motive before he died.

“It started and it stopped very, very quickly,” the university’s police chief, Donald Grady, said. “This thing started and ended in a matter of seconds.”

Bush Invades Africa

The rough beast that is George W. Bush–gaze blank and pitiless as the sun–is today slouching towards the continent of Africa, pronouncing “paternalism [] a thing of the past,” and decreeing that henceforth the peoples of Africa must, for the greater good of global capital, be pitchforked into The New World Order. For Africa, so sayeth the beast, “joint venturing with good, capable people is what the future is all about.”

Fantastically, the people who put the words into George II’s mouth have, with the text of his African address, admitted that the interests of the people of Africa must be subsumed in those of global capital (headquartered, natch, in the USA). They are echoing, in Bushspeak, what the exiled Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o so artfully expressed two years ago in his work The Wizard of the Crow.

Side-by-side comparisons of the words of the wizard, and of the beast, below the divide.  

What are you reading?

The regular list

If you like to trade books, try BookMooch.

cfk has bookflurries on Weds. nights

pico has literature for kossacks on Tues. nights, but it’s on hiatus

What are you reading? is crossposted to docudharma

If you have ideas for future weeks, let me know

Statistical models: Theory and practice by David Freedman.  Delves into the details of models, without getting overly mathematical.  

Alexander Hamilton  by Ron Chernow.  Impressive (as is the subject)

The Art of Mathematics by Bela Belobas.  Interesting, easily stated math problems. For slow solving.

Marque and Reprisal by  Elizabeth Moon.  This is apparently the second in a series.  I missed the first, but this one is good old-fashioned SF

A dose of fun and humor (minimum daily requirement)


Cross posted from Sancho Press to Docudharma. Come join us at Sancho Press and help the troops and veterans. http://sanchopress.com/. Sancho Press members should join Docudharma to help with political issues. https://www.docudharma.com/.

Please provide tips so I know if anybody is reading this and not commenting. Thanks.

Trivia question of the day. (answer below the fold) — How many U.S. State Capitols have the word city in their name?

Word of the day. (definition below the fold) — Credulous

Quote of the day. — “All the animals except man

know that the principal business of LIFE..is to ENJOY IT.”

Useless information. — Hall of fame running backs Gale Sayers and Barry Sanders were both born in Wichita Kansas.

Bad President/Bushisms. — “If the East Timorians decide to revlot, I’m sure I’ll have a statement.”

Dog of the day — Click to make larger

Contributed by Bill D. – White and black dog is an American Bulldog named, Valentine. Great with Bill’s 2&5 yo kids. Trained as service dog to help Bill’s wife who has severe back problems. Valentine carries a backpack with groceries or anything else she needs. Black was 15/16 when she had to be put down recently. Her name was Sadie and she was a Field Spaniel. She was adopted at 3/4 and was a wonderful companion for 12 years. She is sorely missed.  

Friday Philosophy: The Task at Hand

I got over being angry many years ago…around the time that I stopped being depressed, I would suppose, but if there is anything I have learned in this life it is that depression is really not totally evident until after it ends.  I’ve relied on the analyses of my therapists.

Ralph and Kurt, two gay men I will love forever, did not agree with the depression diagnosis, except as how it might be true that the act of transition creates an induced state of depression.  And my MMPI evaluation pronounced me entirely sane.  I have papers.

My own belief is that the difficulty lies in the fact that in order to acknowledge who I was required a different world view, one which was totally at odds with the world I encountered in my off-line life.

That off-line existence became quite ugly when I came out in Conway, AR on September 30, 1992.  If a 15-year old boy can be murdered by a 14-year old boy in California in 2008 because he dressed effeminately, imagine what it was like to be a 44-year old being a known transsexual woman in Arkansas in 1992.  I decided at the time that I had a duty to do my best to ensure that nobody else should be treated like I was…ever.

That’s why I write.  What else can I do?  One uses the skills and talents which one has.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

The muses are ancient.  The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them.  Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward.  In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania.

It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse.  Plato declared Sappho to be the tenth muse, the muse of women poets.  Others have been suggested throughout the centuries.  I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts.  And maybe there should be many more.

Please join us inside to celebrate our various muses…

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Well after all Pickering, I’m an ordinary man.

Who desires nothing more than an ordinary chance to live exactly as he likes and do precisely what he wants.

An average man am I of no eccentric whim, who likes to live his life free of strife, doing whatever he thinks is best for him.

Well… just an ordinary man…

But let a woman in your life and your serenity is through.  She’ll redecorate your home, from the cellar to the dome, and then go on to the enthralling fun of overhauling you!

Let a woman in your life and you’re up against a wall.  Make a plan and you will find that she has something else in mind, and so rather than do either you do something else that neither likes at all!

You want to talk of Keats and Milton, she only wants to talk of love.  You go to see a play or ballet and spend it searching for her glove.

Let a woman in your life and you invite eternal strife.  Let them buy their wedding bands for those anxious little hands.  I’d be equally as willing for a dentist to be drilling than to ever let a woman in my life.

I’m a very gentle man, even tempered and good natured who you never hear complain, who has the milk of human kindness by the quart in every vein.  A patient man am I, down to my fingertips; the sort who never could, ever would, let an insulting remark escape his lips.  A very gentle man.

But let a woman in your life, and patience hasn’t got a chance.  She will beg you for advice, your reply will be concise, and she will listen very nicely, and then go out and do exactly what she wants!!!

You are a man of grace and polish, who never spoke above a hush, all at once you’re using language that would make a sailor blush.  

Let a woman in your life and you’re plunging in a knife!  Let the others of my sex tie the knot around their necks.  I prefer a new edition of the Spanish Inquisition than to ever let a woman in my life!

I’m a quiet living man who prefers to spend the evening in the silence of his room, who likes an atmosphere as restful as an undiscovered tomb.  A pensive man am I, of philosophical joys, who likes to meditate, contemplate, far for humanities mad inhuman noise.  Quiet living man.

But let a woman in your life and your sabbatical is through.  In a line that never ends comes an army of her friends, come to jabber and to chatter and to tell her what the matter is with YOU!  She’ll have a booming boisterous family who will descend on you en mass.  She’ll have a large Wagnarian mother with a voice that shatters glass,

Let a woman in your life?  Let a woman in your life!?

Let a woman in your life- I shall never let a woman in my life.

(Celebrating 10 years since I proposed to my ex-fiance.)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Parting Glass

The time you won your town the race

We chaired you through the market-place;

Man and boy stood cheering by,

And home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,

Shoulder-high we bring you home,

And set you at your threshold down,

Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away

From fields were glory does not stay

And early though the laurel grows

It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut

Cannot see the record cut,

And silence sounds no worse than cheers

After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout

Of lads that wore their honours out,

Runners whom renown outran

And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,

The fleet foot on the sill of shade,

And hold to the low lintel up

The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head

Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,

And find unwithered on its curls

The garland briefer than a girl’s.

~ A.E. Houseman, “To an Athlete Dying Young”

If I had money enough to spend

And leisure to sit awhile

There is a fair maid in the town

That sorely has my heart beguiled

Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips

I own she has my heart enthralled

So fill to me the parting glass

Good night and joy be with you all

Oh, all the comrades that e’er I had

They’re sorry for my going away

And all the sweethearts that e’er I had

They’d wish me one more day to stay

But since it falls unto my lot

That I should rise and you should not

I’ll gently rise and softly call

Good night and joy be with you all

~The Pogues, “The Parting Glass”

The 1861 SOTU Speech by President Hillary Clinton

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Just as trouble was brewing in Fort Sumter, South Carolina — and consistent with her style to explain complicated issues to the nation and soothe inflamed passions — President Hillary Clinton made an important announcement from her weekend retreat just across the Patawmack River in the beautiful Ballston section of Arlington County in the State of Virginia.  

According to the Disassociated Press

Washington, DC, March 4, 1861 — After careful deliberations, President Hillary Clinton has concluded that the designation of United States as presently comprised of Northern states, Southern states, and Territories is not what the founding founders of the country intended.

She will address the United States Congress tonight at 9:00pm to give her reasoned, well thought-out, and intellectually coherent speech.

Several surprises are expected.  Her supporters are calling it the ‘A-House-Divided-Against-Itself-Can-Stand Speech.’

The Disunited States of America in 1861

Writing in the Raw: Valentine Confessions

I was 14 when I had my first sexual experience.  It began at 9:45 am and ended abruptly but successfully at 9:49 am.  Central Standard Time.  On the morning of December 25, 1969.  The bringer of that brief but memorable Christmas morning gift was a covertly adventurous “older woman” of 18 whose family lived next door.  She was admired by mothers in the neighborhood as a “nice girl” who had no interest in “that hippie music” so many of their daughters listened to when they weren’t busy “sassing their parents”.

I had always liked her too, she had all of the features and accessories 14-year-old guys admire very much.  

Unlike many first timers back then, who discovered paradise by the dashboard lights, I discovered paradise by the Christmas tree lights.  I was concerned that my parents would come home earlier than expected from exchanging gifts at my aunt and uncle’s and catch us, but the version of paradise I was experiencing would at least have enabled me to wag my finger at them and say “I did not have sex with that woman.”      

I wasn’t concerned about my parents returning early for very long though, my attention focused rather quickly on the gifts being exchanged where I was, not where they were.   At the time, I felt I was receiving much more from this exchange than I was giving, but I made up for that with future lovers.  I’ve learned that it IS better to give than to receive, especially when it comes to love.            

Since that Christmas morning in 1969, I’ve found love and lost it, found it again and lost it again, but losing love the first time is so heartbreaking.  Breathing the fire of rejection is no fun at all, but we get used to it.  We have no choice.  This world is filled with dark and lonely backstreets, where no one cares, where people just use each other, where love is all too often filled with defeat.  But love is always worth seeking.  It’s worth seeking no matter how elusive it is, no matter how many years have come and gone, no matter how many times you’ve had to overcome defeat . . .        

writing in the raw: on the fly


We all feel it coming…

in the rustling of leaves

and heaviness of winds, bundled like punching fists…

as this heaving planet exhales

it’s in air, all around us

s.o.m.e.t.h.i.n.g….. is coming

it’s a confrontation

a conflagration

it’s a chaos we don’t understand

as the universe convulses

in another seismic shift

we crouch down, sitting on haunches

small hairs stand on end

caught in the glare of exploding sunlight

screaming to understand

what creatures will be born then


will it




second chance

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