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Showing posts from November, 2008

Sri Lanka Update

Update 2017 -- a few years after I wrote this, the war was over. The Sri Lankan army marched the Tamil tigers into the sea and killed them all, men, woman and children.  From that day on, nothing more was heard about anything.  After three years of a cease-fire characterized by only “light” terrorism; After a Tsunami that lowered informal but fixed barriers that separated people; after a generation that for 22 years has known only hostility, Sri Lanka faces war, again.   With the August 12 assassination of the Sri Lanka foreign minister, Lakshman Kadirgar, Prime Minister Chandrika Kumaratunga declared and indefinite state of emergency and many believe this is the start of a new round of violence.   Both sides blame the other for the killing, and so it goes.   Some of the factors in this conflict stem from ethnic and religious differences, but many of the problems stem from the perversion of nationalism, the after effects of colonialism , and the political bent of personalities

Who's Fault is This?

 Whose fucking fault is this? We are in a great financial crisis and the future is not certain. Cries of lack of individual responsibly echo through the night, as if crucify all the liars who took out loans they couldn’t pay  to telephone poles would protect  us against any further excess. Who to blame, and how much of this is caused by personal irresponsibility? I used to listen to talk radio back in the day before I could afford a tape player. I was always amazed by people who called up with an argument and got eviscerated by the host. I thought to myself, ‘how hard is it to have a single point, express it quickly, and then get off?’ What I didn’t see at the time is – talk show hosts are predators. They have trained and been educated in talking. They hone their skill with words over time. They have practiced in front of millions of listeners until the fear has left them. They also have self selected themselves to be where they are – good tones, confident post

Heimliching my Mother

"When you look back on your life, it looks as though it were a plot, but when you are into it, it's a mess: just one surprise after another. Then, later, you see it was perfect." Schopenhauer Visiting Mom I once heimliched my mom around a living room. My kids hid behind the couch, afraid to come out. A big chunk of burrito flew across the room. I still remember the arc it took. As a family we don’t talk about it much, though she did seem grateful about. Things just are in my family. Things just are the way they are, no cause, no effect. Things are presented to us and we choose to react or hide, depending on the circumstances. Our choices in life come after the fact- it’s what we do with stuff after it shows up that defines us. Thinking about stuff is what we do all day while waiting for life to show up and give us something to react to. It’s just all one big line we stand in, waiting for the show. My mom came down to visit and brought Mexican food for us. We sat

HMO"S don't Like You

"Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Insurers’ government-backed health plans for the elderly have increased taxpayer costs with no evidence of improved care, according to research backing President-elect Barack Obama ’s call to lower U.S. subsidies. Many of the Medicare Advantage plans, as they are called, don’t coordinate care to avoid duplication and ensure the best results, authors said in articles posted today on the Web site of Health Affairs . The plans were devised to offer more benefits than conventional Medicare paid directly by the U.S. government ." What this article talks about is medicare HMO's -- something that was started years ago to manage costs by adding another layer of administration on top of the medical cake -- sort of like a thick frosting of goo. They were supposed to eliminate waste, bring market forces to the irrational and unavoidable, and to use economies of scale to lower costs. What they have done -- and what anyone who has ever had a H

My Grandfather's Grave

My father’s fathers grave is easy to find now. I go in the back way and look for the white arch , then head towards the two story mausoleum. He’s on the right, next to the second tree. I don’t think he’s there though; I’ve had the talks, but they seem one sided. I don’t leave his grave feeling any connection or insight, so not sure what the net is for me, but do seem to think a bit when I leave. I’m getting to the age of being a grandfather myself and am aware of what my grandfathers’ could have added at an early age. I think about what I will leave to the children of my children, and what they would miss if I were not around to mess with their gentle, unformed minds. My father writes poetry, and has books and writings of his word in scattered places that can survive the fall. When I read his work, I know that I am different from him in fundamental ways, and that I make choices that he never would. I also know that I am from him, and a part of him, and no place I go will ever


Scattered on the high plains of Mongolia , peasants live with their way of life on a daily basis -- actually live with it, because it’s made of meat. They don’t keep the warm blooded meat with them in their yurts, because some separation is necessary to maintain their pride.  Barren, treeless, with only poop to stoke their nightly fires on fringed nights, these peasants depend on the humble horse to provide them all their needs for surviving and thriving in a land many outsiders consider stupid. They nick the horses veins to make tea from the blood; they milk the horse (mostly the female) for cheese and, well, milk. From the nappy hair that grows lush and oily, they make very pretty pull-over sweaters that are prized by collectors around the known world and East Texas . Their horses don’t run fast because they are anemic and have lots of pain in their legs – but they are slowed down anyway by the female horse’s heavy udders. Some compromise was found necessary to

Jesus and the Argonauts

Jesus and the Argonauts Been thinking about Jesus today – all good, not to worry, just thinking about him as a man and all that baggage the Council of Nicaea tacked on to him a long time ago. Did  Jesus get paid when he was a carpenter – and with what? Where did he put his money -- in long term CD’s or just cash? I’m thinking cash, but maybe that thing with the money changers had a little too much feeling behind it. It has the stink of payday cash advance all over it. Did Jesus have sex? I mean before he was part god and part goat. If a girl asked him to give her a dirty Sanchez, would he do it? I mean, when you are having sex, where do you draw the line between good clean fun, and something just a bit off the perversion edge? I bet they had a Dirty Sanchez back in the day – but they called it something else – maybe a smearing marry or something similar in a that punchy Aramaic, tick-tock way they liked to talk back then.. Would it take away from Jesus’ message if he li

The Prince's Panties, by Mason William

The Prince's Panties by Mason Williams There was once a prince who acted strangely in that He thought life was stupid and it was for him so He made up a world in which he liked the things we liked But he had different reasons why he liked them He liked butter for its color He would order toast and color Waitresses, confused would utter Sir, I've never heard of toast and color He'd get angry and begin to choke them The law would come, and they'd arrest and book him So his life was a mess of trouble Still he kept it up He had dogs, a hundred cocker spaniels and he Called them panties, 'cause they did that mostly, and he Did not care at all if they would bark and fetch sticks Run and jump, roll over, and play dead tricks No, he liked them only for their panting So he would run them ragged, but one day they got fed up And chased the prince right up against the fence And the prince was eaten by his panties (I used to sing this t

Mr. Hitchens and Fascism

"In the waning days of the campaign, John McCain took to accusing Obama of being a socialist. The epithet lacked traction. There were, I think, two main reasons for that. One was the fact that McCain was a poor messenger for his own ideas: he never really articulated his position in a compelling way. The second reason is that many people who have not had the misfortune of actually living under under a socialist regime regard it as a jolly good thing. Socialism , as Joshua Muravchik noted in his book Heaven on Earth: the Rise and Fall of Socialism , was “the most popular political idea ever invented.” It was also undoubtedly the bloodiest. Of course, many who profess socialism are decent and humane people. And it is worth noting that socialism comes in mild as well as tyrannical versions. Muravchik , who was once a socialist himself, pays frequent homage to the generous impulses that lie behind some allotropes of the socialist enterprise. Nevertheless, he acknowledges that “r

Hart Crane, reduced

Hart Crane, Reduced He rejected lifesavers As a blow against his father And his mothers colored vagina. He liked Melville But not for the words; He liked the bigness of the whale. His bridge erected His tomb of frosted coils His cold leap into forgetfulness All a written cry for unknown help. Mike Brady 2005

Easter Poem

Easter Poem I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great taproot; It is what you fear. I do not fear it: I have been there
(S. Plath) The first Easter, I put jellied beans on the tips of the barbwire fence For contrast and reflection on the newness of it all. By summer, The beans had fallen, and now razor wire bound me, All this new to me and never before. My neck was degloved behind closed doors In an elders ceremony of shame, But they let me keep the collar On a small shelf, With my other personal items. (Grateful without words At the tight enthusiasm Of a youth expressed, Without guile to confuse me Or humanness to prevent me, I dream of their unformed lust.) The second Easter, I cleaned the altar with paint thinner To make the silver have luster and gold gleam By summer, Old brass became the new color, And I was living with the others. We sat in groups, still aroused by the telling Of our over remembered sins

Honest, a Poem

Honest I imagine you alone in my house for a day, without binding you to a promise not to search through angles and nooks, or through concrete memories filed in haphazard places. I imagine coming home to you, a pile of my past on the kitchen table as you hold up each item without words asking for a more explained honesty. You ask of letters, old and grey, bound with a soft cord and gentle knot. You ask of pictures of me with her and others implied by time and space. You ask of official documents of a younger man, those things held for required years and more, in powered fear and presence-- those years that ground the wild from me. You stop and hold me tight in thanks, comforted that all I am is open to you. We read in quiet and look up at times to bind with sight that closeness we now feel. And as I fall asleep at night, With your head on my chest, and an arm around you, I think of t

Dark Energy

"Who needs truth if truth is dull"  Mason Williams "However, to this day no one actually knows what dark energy is, or where it comes from. Professor Jose Senovilla, and his colleagues at the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao, Spain, have proposed a mind-bending alternative. They propose that there is no such thing as dark energy at all, and we’re looking at things backwards. Senovilla proposes that we have been fooled into thinking the expansion of the universe is accelerating, when in reality, time itself is slowing down. At an everyday level, the change would not be perceptible. However, it would be obvious from cosmic scale measurements tracking the course of the universe over billions of years. The change would be infinitesimally slow from a human perspective, but in terms of the vast perspective of cosmology, the study of ancient light from suns that shone billions of years ago, it could easily be measured" Hum, that explains a lot.

Bush 3

What you don't understand you can make mean anything. CHUCK PALAHNIUK, Diary “To be sure, Mr. Bush is not completely alone. His low approval ratings put him in the good company of former Democratic President Harry S. Truman , whose own approval rating sank to 22% shortly before he left office. Despite Mr. Truman 's low numbers, a 2005 Wall Street Journal poll found that he was ranked the seventh most popular president in history. Just as Americans have gained perspective on how challenging Truman's presidency was in the wake of World War II, our country will recognize the hardship President Bush faced these past eight years -- and how extraordinary it was that he accomplished what he did in the wake of the September 11 attacks.” part of an article from some idiot at the WSJ Truman is remembered for containment – a pragmatic, but unpopular approach to a new and expanding danger – the Commies. Truman went to Korea as a response to an overwhelming invasion. Truman

Dog Food for All

“It was a new day yesterday, but it’s an old day now.” J. Tull We have taken the marketplace of ideas to the extreme – Every public thing we do is done as an adversarial relationship – our courts, politics, even the commercials on TV. There are only two sides; each side takes its best shot, no matter how extreme or wrong; and the educated voter or juror is left to decide. This is why the founders wanted an informed people. If it is a government of the people and by the people – the people need to make informed decisions that are not based on magic, religion, prejudice or a personal history of family abuse. What we have now is not about truth, right and wrong, or respect – it’s a sport called ‘competitive argument winning’ where the winner decides absolute outcome – very Darwinian – very American, and clinically brutal. Other countries sometimes just try to decide the next best thing to do, understanding we live in an imperfect world with very individual people. They don’t find

Old People and Dog Food

Old people will eat dog food and like it I tend to think that the older, less educated people that voted for John McCain are just stupid and unable to see rational things and opportunities when presented to them in simple, 2nd grade English. I think that they react to fear by pulling the covers over their heads and acting like simplistic, concrete thinking grade schoolers. The truth is more complex, as it always is. Older baby boomers with limited education know in their guts that the money they have set aside for old age has been put in a Ponzi scheme . They know that they will need to depend of the kindness of their children and grandchildren to actually get the money they have promised themselves. And their kids tend to think the boomers are mean selfish people who have always only be in it only for themselves. They have no intention of paying for ‘those’ old fools to have less than a minimal existence, and even if they did, they will also be paying for the mess we hav