A nice way to stay in touch with loved ones, and a convenient way to share my opinions without having everyone just walk away...wait a minute, where are you going? I wasn't finished..

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Malefactors is OK

I checked

"malefactors" in last post

Is that a word? Did I spell-check? Was I tired? I should have my posting privileges revoked for a day. I'm trying to figure out how to link to Janett's My Space.
It's a lot of fun, but I'm not a my spacer yet. I've reached my limits - I cant remember any more passwords.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Forgive me, but

Squeaky Fromme is to assassin as Gerald Ford is to president.

Pardoning President Nixon was a message to all potential malefactors "Worst case you get caught, and we get you a pardon" See Irangate for a case of implementation of this strategy. How many times do we hear criminal politicians propose that "For the good of the country we must put this episode behind us and get on with the work of serving the people of our great nation". Big Daddy in Tennessee Williams play says it best. "Oh, the mendacity." Thanks Gerry for the corruption of the system.

But that's not what cost him the election to Jimmy Carter, any more than Chevy Chase's impersonations of him tripping over his own feet and falling down a lot. He lost that election because he said in a televised debate that the Soviet Union did not and never would dominate Eastern Europe. Jimmy Carter, the moderator and all of America were too shocked to speak, but the word DUMMY in neon letters flashed in everyones' minds simultaneously, and we all said a silent prayer that election day would arrive before the next serious problen hit his desk.

But the reason to abhor Gerald Ford is that he was J Edgar Hoover's man on the Warren Commission and that he changed the wording of the Commission's report as to where the bullet entered the presidents back. He changed the report to say the bullet hit the president in the neck, Which allowed the commision to conclude that the bullet passed through and hit Gov Connelly in the shoulder, an impossible trajectory from where the bullet actually hit the president. The single bullet lie was neccessary to keep the number of shots fired to two rather than three because Lee Harvey Oswald couldn't have fired three shots from his supposed vantage point in the time that the president's limousine was in his line of sight. I'm sure Mr Ford rationalized this deception with the thought, "For the good of the country we must put this episode behind us and get on with the work of serving the people of our great nation". Oh, the mendacity.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Interesting, Very Interesting

From a blog called "The End of Money" by Dr Chris Martenson

"However, as you know I am a huge critic of the way that our government collects and reports inflation numbers and I think the stock market is making a huge mistake in believing the ‘official inflation numbers’. For example, in the most recent GDP announcement it was reported that food costs are up 2.4% over the past year.

Hmmmm. Could they have forgotten to include the cost of orange juice which is up not 2.8%, not 3.9% not even a horrendous 9.2% but rather 66.0%(!!) over the past year?

In fact, this is not an isolated example. The following links to charts of all the major grain types reveals similar patterns. I wonder how food costs can be said to be up 2.4% when the actual price increases are up over 15 to 30 times that amount? A fair question, to be sure.

Corn (up 87% over the last year)

Wheat (up 58%)

Oats (up 44%)

Continuing into other basic materials I cannot find any that even remotely correspond to the government’s numbers

Oil (Unchanged)

Copper (up 60%)

Silver (up 75%)

Aluminum (up 39%)

These charts show, in frightening and graphic detail, that inflation is running at anything but the ~3.3% that the government recently reported."

Traditionally, the purpose of economic regulation and the central banking system has been to insure enough money/credit is available to fund economic activity and some growth in the level of economic activity. When the growth in the supply of money
(including money you can borrow as well as money you have) exceeds the increases in the production of things to buy, you have "more money chasing fewer goods" and the price of the goods are bid up. This is what we think of as inflation, and this appears to be occurring now. It is "strange" that the government's numbers contradict the market price changes Dr. Martenson observes.

One aspect of the problem of inflation is that a period of inflation can lead to a period of deflation. For instance, if the price of houses have been inflated, people might decide they can't afford to buy a new house right at the moment. Demand for new houses decline as the supply continues to grow. Sellers reduce their asking price slightly, but this creates a new problem. Potential buyers get nervous about borrowing to buy something the price of which is falling and may fall further. So they wait to buy to see if the price falls further. Now the builders are getting squeezed - they not only reduce prices further, they stop building more houses. Now economic activity is curtailled, people are getting laid off. In this part of the cycle, the Federal Reserve can make more money available, and thereby lower interest rates a little but people are now not only expecting prices to keep going down, they're afraid the ecomic slowdown might cost them their jobs, or at least cost them their raises and bonuses, and so they are reluctant to borrow until they feel more confident about their prospects.

Meanwhile the people who have been laid off are trying to sell their houses at lower and lower prices. Many times they will find they can't sell their house for enough money to cover their mortgage, so they'll leave their house on the market until they can't make their monthly payments and the "bank" forecloses. Now, the house goes on the market for a real bargain basement price, further reducing the price others can hope to receive if they sell. At this point, the builders have practically shut down, and more and more people are being laid off.

We're getting close to this point in the cycle. What can the government do?
Encourage the Federal Reserve bank to make more money available to help consumers buy more? That policy becomes has become less effective since confidence has become eroded. The failing housing industry is particularly a cause for concern because (I've read) that 30% of the job creation in our country in the last ten years have been linked to the housing industry, and these are the jobs that pay relatively good wages as compared to jobs in the "service" industries. As this employment is eliminated the prospect of economic contraction brcomes almost inevitable.

Of couse, the Fed is well aware of these risks and has been making credit available to keep the economy afloat. My opinion is that the money is being borrowed, but not to buy houses, but by hedge funds and venture capitalists to buy stocks. This would explain why the stock market keeps going up while the economic environment is deteriorating. I've stopped predicting the fall of the stock prices because, wirh this flood of Fed money going into the market rational expectations do not apply. But I will say this, when the market does start to fall there's going to be a lot of hedge funds trying to liquidate their very large holdings in a very short period of time.

So what's the good news? Got me.

The day after Christmas

We're having a quiet morning at home. We're lucky, we're not travelling home from somepace. Steffy and Mark left for Iowa this morning. Kim's in North Carolina with Ross and his family, Noah's in Afghanistan, but should be back at Fort Drum NY in a month or two.

Janett's not feeling well. Uh Oh - another diverticulitis flare up? We were at Steffy and Mark's yesterday, and since they were leaving home today we got the lion's share of the left-overs. I don't know how to bring up the subject of chowing down when she's not feeling good.

We turned on the TV, and caught the very end of My Friend Flicka, but not too worry - Thunderbolt, Son of Flicka is coming on next.

Don't forget about Baby Jesus.

LOve to all.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

On a happier note

ND plays in the Sugar Bowl on Jan 3. Here's hoping for a win. Then we can root for the Irish basketball team to getback to the NCAA's for the first time in what seems like five years. As a last resort, Irish fans can fall back on coverage of reported Leprechaun sightings. "Who all see the Leprechaun, say Yeah"

Thursday, December 21, 2006

OK , you asked for it

I've refrained from posting a lot of negative thoughts and forebodings and I shouldn't get onto that track in this happy week, but I had a weird realization on Sunday. I was talking to Lou about the trade and fiscal deficits, the enormous debt being incurred in both the private and public sectors and I began to worry about an impending collapse. It's hard to imagine the impact of the consequences on the American people, particularly because so many trust in the substance and structure of the res publica.

I imagined decent trusting people, many losing their pensions, many losing their homes, many losing their employment and their income, wondering how God could let their world collapse around them. So, the question popped into my head, "Does God care whether we die from cancer or starve to death?" If He wouldn't let us starve to death, does that mean He likes us better than all those people who He does allow to suffer such deaths?

My sense is that God does not like us better and in fact he may feel that those others are closer to Him than we. I guess my point, if there is one, is that God wills us to have spiritual abundance, not neccessarily material, and that suffering adversity with faith glorifies Him more than enjoying comforts with faith.

Still, I pray that He spares us the worst of what I can imagine unfolding.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I dont think I'm rushing the season

I think I have to shift my thoughts from the newborn in the manger to the Infant of Prague. Christ as a child, but wearing a crown and royal robes, holding the globe of the earth in his left hand, right hand raised in a blessing.

'The Little King has been enthroned as the Great King of the world to assist His subjects in their trials, difficulties, and crosses. He Who Himself has suffered so much desires to assist those who come to Him. He wishes to attract all hearts to His own through the attractiveness and simplicity of His Divine Infancy.'

Ho Ho Ho

It's been kind of a slow week for posting, not just me, everybody.

Maybe folks are distracted by shopping and decorating and such.

Well, I had to drop in and mention that the ND basketball team beat number 4 ranked Alabama this week and number 24 ranked Maryland last week. The Irish have one loss, and I don't even know to whom they lost. Kind of early for me to be looking at round-ball, but these are good vibes.

Janett's diverticulitis has been acting up this week, so we've been kind of laid back. We did get to Louie's house last night to see the kids and give him a hand starting on the Chrismas decorations. Today is the anniversary of Meg's passing, but they all seem to be OK. I'm sure they feel her absence acutely, as does Janett. Me too, I guess...but I'm a weird kind of mix of lover and loner. I'm too busy dealing with other peoples' feelings to acknowlege my own. Remember last Christmas' blog with the Infant of Prague? Maybr I'll go there again this year.

Friday, December 01, 2006

FANtastic football clips No. 33 - Armando Allen

This one is shorter but better in quality. The kid runs by, around, over, and through people.
Armando Allen Highlight

Armando Allen announced today he'll accept a scholarship at Notre Dame, and enroll this winter so he can attend spring practice.
We've already got a couple of quite good running backs coming up in James Aldridge and Munir Prince, and I hope we can utilize their talents as well, but this guy may the kind of game breaker that Tim Brown and Raghib Ismael were.
AND bringing the best running back in Florida the same year he brings in the best quarterback in California is a monster success for Charlie Weis.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Oh Boy

Well, the Irish stunk up the joint last night. You can go to the ND board linked here to read the litany of complaints by fans about their performance. Essentially, it seems the Irish were out-performed in every aspect of the game, except QB and even Brady Quinn, while determined was not flawless.

Coach Weis, I'm sure, is discouraged. His recruiting classes are frosh and sophs this year and he got to recruiting the sophs late - after the Patriots won their last Super Bowl and he was free to take the Notre Dame job. So now he has a good freshman class, an OK sophmore class. And juniors-to be-seniors, Willingham's last class? Five scholarship players. That's right, five true seniors on scholarship next year. A max of twenty-five scholarships can be granted in a year, so how do you end up with five seniors on scholarship? By half-assed recruiting and ending up with a bunch of under achievers and flakes. Thanks again, Ty.

By the way, for any lingering Willingham apologists out there: Did you know Ty was already negotiating his Washington contract when ND fired him? That was a violation of his ND contract but he still got something like a 6 million dollar go away present from ND as a buy out. The guy's a weasel, and we're lucky to be shed of him, but we're still payng a price for letting that sh*t-head near our program, and the final payment comes due next year.

So, instead of returning home with the team, Coach Weis is staying out west trying to tie down some talent for next year's freshman class. Good Luck, Coach.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


We want to see a lot of Vic Albamiri and Derek Landry tonight

Friday, November 24, 2006

On a more serious note...

James Baker's commission is evidence that the new world order boys are taking back power and influence from the neo-cons, and provides scant hope that morality or justice will prevail in policy and decision making in this or future administrations. I'm sure the Baker boys are looking for a few old Baathist and Sunni generals who they can empower to lead the reaction to the Shiite ascendancy in Iraq. Tariq Aziz, Hussein's foreign minister, has been kept on ice for the last several years. Maybe they'll trot him out to head some kind of "law and order" government.

In a not-entirely-unrelated development, the release of the Bobby movie about RFK's assassination was the occasion for an English talk show to review the circumstances of the RFK assassination, circumstances such as Sirhan standing in front of RFK when the fatal shot was fired from behind the victim. The fuel the news show added to the fire was photographic evidence of the presence of three CIA operatives being at the hotel where the killing occurred on that day. If you believe the CIA was complicit in JFK's assassination , as any sane person does, then you know the CIA could not allow RFK to ascend to the presidency.

And who's the mystery man who can be placed at the nexus of the JFK assassination?
George Herbert Walker Bush, but that's a story for another day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Oh and by the way

I skipped the whiskey yesterday, I never drink alone. I also skipped the brats and potao salad, but fixed myself a steak with saffron rice and green beans - yummm.


The wolverines of Michigan lost yesterday, and incidentally put a bow on the Heisman and delivered it to Troy Smith. Typically, they're whining about a rematch. Hey Conquering Heroes, Shut the Hell Up!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Shell shocked

Mark and I went to see Departed tonight. Janett doesn't like gangster movies or violence or sociopathic behavior in general, so this was my chance and we took it. Just guessing, about twenty people got killed, the plot was suspenseful, and the story was entirely plausible in the context of Boston's Irish underworld. But one comes out of the theater numbed.

I'm not really good at recognizing or remembering actors from one movie to the next. Was Matt Damon in The Bourne Identity? I liked those movies too.

Big day for college football tomorrow. I trust ND will be OK against Army. As one poster put it at Rock's Hous,e Charlie's not going to hang 50 points on a service academy if he can help it.

I think we want Michigan to win by twenty over Ohio State. Could happen. I don't think TOSU had played a defense like Michigans this year. I guess I hope Michigan not only wins, but makes Troy Smith look bad. You know the Heisman Trophy for Brady Quinn sort of thing.

Then we want Southern Cal to beat the Berkley Bears, so that if ND can beat USC, ND will move up to second or third in the BSC. Another loss for FL and Arkansas down the stretch would also help. And West Virginia maybe could beat Rutgers next week.

When a college team loses a game a lot of things have to happen to get them into the championship game. I'd say we have maybe a 1 in 6 chance.

Tomorrow morning I'll clean up a little, go shopping for brats and potato salad, maybe some Irish whiskey to celebrate or mourn the outcomes, then hunker down with Janett's cat and the channel changer to see how the situation develops.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Oh and another thing...

Do you think Notre Dame will deat Southern Cal on the 27th?

Do you think they coud be invited to The Fiesta Bowl to play the winner of the Ohio State-Michican game?

Du you think they'd get killed in a championship game, or do you think Brady Quinn could play the game of his life and win a high scoring shoot out?
Do you?

Is this thing on?

Wednesday night. Janett and the girls and little Malachy have been gone since Monday, heading down to GA to see her brothers. You'd think they'd be there by now, but driving through the rain was so bad that they had to stop in Atlanta, short of Macon. Hey, better safe than sorry.

Monday night I did the dishes, made iced tea and watched the news.

Last night I did laundry and went through some business papers. Didn't turn on the TV until I went to bed. Ended up watching a John Wayne calvary movie. His character was called Colonel York, but it seemed like a badly written rip-off of the John Ford classic.

Tonight I went to our friends'(Missy and Phil) house. Missy fixed tasty appetizers and a really good roast. After dinner she cut my hair a little. Janett offered to do it before she left, but I wasnt in the mood that day. So things are going good for me.

I brought a big bottle of Lambrusco to dinner, and when I was at Dominick's picking it up I was looking at their brochures for prepared Thanksgiving dinners. Janett wont be home til the day before Thanksgiving and may not feel up to pulling together a big family meal.

They have a turkey dinner and a ham dinner. So here's my plan - we get both.
That way you get mashed potatoes and scalloped potatoes, green beans and corn, apple pie and pumpkin pie, ham and turkey. All for eighty bucks and lets face it if I went shopping for all the fixings for a big holiday dinner, I'd spend that much, and someone would still have to spend the whole day preparing it all. Also, at work I got a twenty dollar gift certificate from Jewel for Thanksgiving. So tomorrow on the way home I'm going to stop at Jewel and see if they do the same kind of thing and whether I can use my gift certificate.

Sure it's easy to envy me, but not everone could live this life.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Do You Love Me

Dave Clark Five - Do You Love Me

Apologies to the Isley Brothers, but this was a fun band. OOOPs I checked, I can't find this song among the Isley Brothers credits. I find it as done by the Contours. Hmmmm

Monday, October 30, 2006

Delaney, Bonnie & Friends - Comin' Home

A trip back in time. These folks hooked up for a tour back in the early seventies. They rocked, but they did so much dope Joe Cocker had to drop out of the tour early, and is still recovering. Leon Russel was there too. Score yourself some trivia points if you remember Bonnie got a gig on Roseanne Barr's TV show twenty-five years later. I don't think they let her sing.

Right angles

I turned a corner at work today and started down a hallway and all the right angles jumped out at me, floor, ceiling, ceiling tiles, light fixtures, doorways, windows.
Everything was sharp lines and not too friendly. Not scary, but unnatural.
Was it in Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance the man said nature doesn't feature straight lines? Even the horizon curves. Recent pretty fall days may have lulled me into a comfort zone. I drive a pretty route to work and home again, maybe I'll ty to relax and enjoy it.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Cogent comments

Knowlegable comments from this site

At least from the US Neo-Con perspective the political goal of the strategy was always about the end-state shape and position of Israel. I don't really give GWB credit for imagining that political goal, but he willingly bought into it.

Ever since President Jimmy Carter negotiated the Camp David Agreements, one version of the end-state settlement of the political borders of Israel have been clear -- a series of bi-lateral treaties with near neighbors, First Egypt, and then during the Clinton Presidency, Jordan, and Clinton worked on Syria to the point of just a hundred yards or so of border lands. Lebanon was temporarily settled with the exception of the Sheba Farms and a few other minor areas, but it lacked any real economic basket. At one time these were the outlines in Camp David, then they became Oslo, and at the end of Clinton's days they were Taba. The problem is -- the Neo-Con's hate it, as does the Israeli Right, and no Palestinian Leader, Arafat included, was prepared to present it as a political settlement, as the Hamas Faction would (and has) promised civil war as a result.

Where does Iraq fit into this? -- well, during the Saddam days it was a Sunni controlled and highly militarized state that supported the Palestinians who are also predominately Sunni. Arafat supported Saddam during the first Gulf War, and Saddam supported Palestinians who took violent action against Israel. I don't claim Saddam and the Palestinians have great love for each other -- but they have long had a coalition of interests in the ancient dispute between Sunni and Shias and thus the line-up within various Middle East regional coalitions. In the 20th and I would imagine the 21st centuries, part of the ground of contention between Sunni and Shias is who materially supports the Palestinian cause vis a vis Israel. Military defense, or at least the capacity to defend against Israel, if not the willingness to spill blood, is currency in this Sunni-Shias competition. Saddam's Iraq was understood as the Arab State most likely to take on this project -- and I would contend this is the deeply buried WHY behind the 2003 Invasion and taking down of Saddam's regime. That is probably the ultimate reason why Breamer's first actions were to eliminate the Iraqi Army and the Civil Command structure. The idea was to move Iraq off the table as a potential partner for Palestinians, and any other faction that potentially threatened Israel as expanded into the West Bank territory at the expense of the Palestinians. In this respect and from an American perspective, this is the anti-Camp David, anti-Oslo and anti-Taba grand plan.

I actually doubt if Oil was a leading element of the design -- it was more like frosting on the cake, a way of doing this strategic surgery cheaply, and then selling the oil to pay for the project's costs.

So what went wrong? First of all, I don't think we have actually had the open and honest American Debate about our own National Interests. Is a "Greater Israel" from the Jordan to the sea really a strategic American Interest? -- or is a political settlement creating a viable Palestinian State perhaps semi-integrated in economic terms with Israel (as understood in Camp David, Oslo and Taba) much more in our overall interests? How does either construction "fit" with national interest positions on the part of the states in the neighborhood work? (in effect, does it fit with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria's understanding of their interests?) Can it be done somehow without upsetting traditional Sunni-Shias balances in the region? (that conflict is 1400 years old, and probably should be assumed to be underlying for the next 1400 years.)

Our American public discussion of Iraq suffers terribly from the failure of our political leaders to present us with an honest and clear description of Iraq. My guess is they barely understand it themselves. (I think it was the Times that recently started asking Administration leaders to sketch out the difference between Shias and Sunni -- and most flunked that basic test.) We really don't understand Iraqi complexity -- a society that includes Family, Clan and Tribal loyalities as essential birthright, a society with ethnic and linguistic divisions -- Kurds are not Arabs, Arabic is not their first language, but most are Sunni, and yes, in addition they have tribal divisions. And yes, their ethnic cousins also live in Syria, Iran and Turkey, and ultimately they hope for their own inclussive, ethnically defined state. The Iraqi Shias are Arabs, and speak Arabic, yet by religion and religious institutions, are linked with Iran. Politically, they have never been linked. The border of the Ottoman Empire was the current border of Iran-Iraq. Historically they have a far stronger link with Shias tribes in the NE corner of Saudi Arabia, and the Shias Saudi's are an oppressed minority faction.

I really don't have a clear idea of how to sort this all out -- I do know I have a far greater appreciation of Gertrude Bell today than when I first read Janet Wallach's biography of her perhaps eight years ago. Ultimately of course she helped create a Constitutional Monarchy, backed up by a strong Sunni Military culture, an Iraqi version of Sandhurst, and a weak representative government with few powers. At the beginning of the 20th century she found it impossible to find persons or institutions that could cross tribal and ethnic and religious cultures -- and I would suggest that Bush's little experiment with "Democracy" as he understands that term, is equally inapplicable today. Until institutions are available that have meaningful civil society values on offer, it is irrational to expect people to "vote" across tribal, ethnic, linquistic and religious lines. In effect, the Marxist idea that bourgeois political organizations represent, in part, the substitution of class interests for place and status ascribed at birth -- is a useful concept in understanding why this kind of Democracy Building is unlikely to succeed. But given that the Bushies don't seem to know the difference between Shias and Sunni -- I highly doubt if they paid much attention back in college days when Political Science class included the fundamentals of Marxist Class Analysis. The Soviet Union may have been an ultimate bust, but many of the underlying Marxist concepts remain quite useful. I simply cannot think of any society in history that was once a complex tribal structure, that then created directly something we would recognize as a Democracy, without first evolving a class system based on life choices, education, merit, opportunity, etc, and not birthright ascription of place and status. It is the ability to make political choices (vote) based on interests that stem from achieved class that in the end makes democracy as we understand that possible. In reality it is our American inability to sustain a fairly sophisticated conversation around such sociological, historical and political concepts that allows for the space in the public square to be occupied by the essential idiots that brought us this war and the problems we now face. We've shown ourselves as unable to loudly critique the Armageddonists, who wish to base Foreign Policy on a sectarian interpretation of Scripture, We can't talk honestly about US National Interest vis a vis Israel, We elect a President we want to have beer with instead of one who knows the fundamentals of international relations, diplomacy, and the very cautious use of military power, we allow the political spokespersons, media and pundits to totally confuse religion and politics, and treat membership in a party as a matter of "Faith" and not of clear interests and choices.

So why are we surprised Iraq turned out as it did?

I was interested inthe posters reference to Gertrude Bell, one of the British Arabists who at the end of World War I brought to bear knowlege and wisdom endeavoring to superimpose national states on tribal cultures, a fascinating woman.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Stanford Game

Saturday was a strange day. Good thing the weather was beautiful and we won. Otherwise I could be a little bummed. First of all, we got a late start. I'd told Lou that we should leave around eight AM, so he shows up around ten, then the expressway's a mess so we get to South Bend around a little before one, Chicago time, then we park and walk to campus. I knew that travelling west to east you lose an hour, but I got confused and turned it around in my head. Maybe my subconscious was protecting me from freakking out. So, I was surprised to realize it was 2:40 South Bend time and we had missed the kick-off.

We got to our seats in time to see the first touchdown, a completion to Samardzjia which capped a long drive. Three more touchdowns, one each by McKnight, Walker, and Carlson and one field goal gave ND 31 points. Sranford got 10, one on a touchdown pass that I think should have been called back because the Stanford receiver pushed off the d-back at the goal line. But except for dropped passes Stanford would have scored earlier, So the final score was pretty representative of the play of the game.

After the game we went to the bookstore to pick up a birthday present for Malachy.
The tradition tee shirt wasnt avalable in toddler sizes so I got him a child's small which he can use as a night-shirt. I also selected an Notre Dame Athletic Dept Football tee shirt which will fit him better. We also picked up a few personalized ND shot glasses, one for "Andy" one for "Lou" and one for "Sue", since they didn't have a "Janett".

Having missed out on the campus walk around, I thought dinner at the South Dining Hall would be a nice thing, but of course it wasn't the same as I remembered it.
First of all it was $17.50 for a "candle-light buffet". And then, the old caffeteria line was gone, and the "renovated" dining hall featured islands for different kinds of food-none of which would you would have chosen to spend $17.50 for, and it was terribly crowded.

Being at the game was nice, but to tell the truth, I'm happier watching on TV at home.

Ooops, Janett's calling. I have to go now.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Happy Birthday to me

Last week I celebrated my 61st birthday. Steffy and Mark hosted a party. Janett prepared Russian Pie made with layers of sauteed cabbage, cream cheese, mushrooms and hard-boiled egg sliced up, all baked in a pie crust. It was this recipe that introduced Janett to taragon. Yummm, And strawberry shortcake for dessert.

We played Settlers of Cataan (sp?)after dinner, but I kind of eased myself out of the game after fifteen minutes because I was doing so badly. I received nice gifts, several several bearing the Notre Dame logo, including a Jeff Samardzjia game shirt.

And this week Lou and I are going to the Stanford game. Weather forecast is 70 degrees and sunny, just liked I'd hoped - except for not being undefeated. I'll report on our trip next week. Who wants to lend me a camera?

Maybe, I'm not posting much because I'm in suspense awaiting the bad stuff I said was coming. I guess it was postponed til after the elections.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


I knows its been a week, and I'm sorry. I got another assignment at work. I'm cycle counting inventory at a plastic factory. So, I'll be getting familiar with another module of the ubiquitous Peoplesoft software. But it involves running all over the plant looking for stuff. Plus I have to wear steel-toe'd boots which are kind of heavy compared to other shoes. I'm sure the exercise is good for me, but I'm tuckered out at the end of a day. So I've just been chilling in the evening.

I didn't want you to think I was avoiding you because I didn't want to make a prediction on the Notre Dame MSU game. I was nervous about it, however, and would have included some if's and but's. It was important to win because the Spartans are so obnoxious, and because they usually fall apart half way through the season losing four out of their last five games - so they hurt the strength of schedule computation when it comes to bowl selection time.

Besides it's being another stressful game, we had to listen to Boob Davie, the disgraced former Irish coach, now a "color commentator" for ABC, second guess coach Weis all night. He's the guy who planted his blade in Lou Holts's back, to get the head coaching job when Lou was forced out. You may have heard ND lost seven of the last nine games to MSU. Well, you can lay four of those losses at Boob's door. Jerk. Oh and somebody please get Brent Musburger, the ABC play by play guy (and big ten homer) to a twelve step meeting.

By the way, I was a junior the year of the game of the century, and I don't like the spin the Spartans try to put on that game - ie Ara played for a tie, not trying to pass the ball on the last Irish possession. If the Spartans were the tough guys they like to remember that they were, how come they punted the ball away with two minutes left in the game. Hell, Charlie went for it on fourth down at least three times last night, and made two of them. In fact, Samardzjia's touchdown in the 4th quarter was on a fourth and five.

I don't know if we'll be 11 and 1 this year or 10 and 2, but I'm happy for the players that they didn't quit on themselves, and I continue to be really impressed with Coach Weis.

Here's a couple of pictures of the coach, first hugging Terrail Lambert who intercepted for the winning touchdown. Last week Terrail got burned several times in coverage against Michigan, and a lesser guy than Charlie would have thrown the kid under the bus, replacing him in the line-up to show he was "doing something" to address the weaknesses displayed last week. Charlie stayed with his guy, and Lambert came up big.

The second in Charlie hugging his twelve year old son as time ran out for Spartie.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Remember me? I posted before the game predicting a 14 point win.
Three tortured hours later, I'm tempted to unload on BQ, for throwing a lot of bad passes. But I think what really happened was Michigan decided to cover our receivers and let us try to beat them with the run. Darius is great but he's not the kind of runner who can take over a game.

I haven't looked at Darius' numbers but was his longest run six or seven yards? He can catch and block. Maybe he should be a fullback and we should give Prince some OJT at the running back slot.

Not that it matters now

Game Day

Folks on ND bulletin boards have been getting nervous the last couple days, predicting a clse game or even a loss. I understand they're afraid our linebackers are going to get pushed around and Hart is going to run for a lot of yards, enabling Michigan to play a ball control game and keep ND's offense on the sidelines.

Well, if they know that, and I know that, Charlie Weis knows that too. Penn State couldn't figure out was happening to them last week, and I think Michigan is going to feel the same way today.

Last week ND beat PSU 41 to 17. Michigan beat Central Michigan 41 to 17.
How do you think Penn State would do against Central Michigan?

Prediction ND by two touchdowns

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

OK, OK, one more, but just a short one

A Michigan fan was sitting at a table reading the Newspaper, The headline read: "12 Brazilian Soldiers Killed." He shook his head at the sad news, then turned to the man sitting next to him and asked, "How many is a Brazilian?"

Stop me if you've heard this one

A Notre Dame fan in a bar leans over to the guy next
to him and says, "Wanna hear a joke about Michigan Wolverine

The guy next to him replies, "Well, before you tell that
joke you should know something. I'm 6' tall and 220 pounds
and I'm a Michigan fan. The guy sitting next to me is 6'2"
tall, 240 pounds and he's a Michigan fan, and the guy sitting
next to him is 6'5", 280 pounds and he's a Michigan fan, too.
Now, do you still wanna tell that joke?"

The Notre Dame fan says, "Nah, not if I'm gonna have to explain
it three times."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Joke about Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr

A Notre Dame fan, on his way home from the game last year in Ann Arbor, came to a dead halt in traffic and thought to himself, "Wow, this seems much worse than usual." He notices a police officer walking between the lines of stopped cars. The officer replies, "Lloyd Carr is depressed, so he stopped the team bus and is threatening to douse himself in gasoline and set himself on fire. He is tired of losing to Notre Dame every year and the university has cut back on his recruiting budget. We're taking up a collection for him." The Notre Dame fan asks, "How much have you got so far?" The officer replies, "About 75 gallons, but a lot of folks are still siphoning."

As you've probably noticed I'm pumped a bout Notre Dame this year, and if I begin to resemble the kind of "arrogant" ND fan other schools' fans hate, you gotta remember the eight years since Lou Holtz left have been really depressing and I'm on a high I plan to enjoy all the way through January.

My Irish cousins down under

I know my children don't feel particularly Irish, but I do.

The Clancy Brothers, jokes that make you cry, devotion to the Blessed Virgin and getting scrappy when drunk all resonate with me.

It's now been proven that you can take an Irishman, plop him down anywhere in the world and a century and a half later his descendants will still be Irish.
From The Times On Line

At least ten stingrays have been found dead and mutilated on Australia’s eastern coast in the last week in what conservationists believe could be revenge attacks for the death of Steve Irwin, the popular naturalist and television personality.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Checking in

Vacation was great. The first evening I was sitting on the porch with a book on my chest wondering how long it had been since I was that relaxed. I mean I didn't worry about a thing all week. I don't think I ever felt grumpy, though I'm sure Janett could think of at least one occasion. We were happy and nice to each other the whole time and even the rainy days were nice. Janett and Kim and Steff would visit the little shops in South Haven and St Joes and Mark and I would trail along. Mom was still the mom, but the girls are grown up now, so it great seeing them enjoying each other as adults. Malachy was precious and precocious and we got to spend a lot of time together. We have a cute video of the little guy getting hit in the head with a basketball - funnier than it sounds. Maybe Steffy will post it. See Steffy's site for photos.(The Stangers link)

We got home to see Noah before he went back to Afghanistan. I don't know what to tell you about that. I enjoyed being with him, but my antennae were up and twitching trying to understand how and what he was feeling. He seemed like the same guy, and I don't think he's suffering any really bad feelings, but Noah isn't always easy to read. Anyway, when you're away and you come home, it's nice to feel that everyone loves you like you remembered that they did, and I think Noah felt that way.

Okay, ND only beat the Yellow Jackets by 4 points. And BQ didn't take charge of the game. His passes were a little off, maybe because Georgia Tech was getting a good rush and he was throwing off his back foot. We expect better things tomorrow against Penn State. I'm throwing in a picture from the last Penn State game in South bend, the Snow Bowl, 1988 I think. Penn State got a first down on ND's three yard-line and Notre Dame staged a great goal line defense. The Lions settled for a field goal and Notre Dame ended up winning the game by a point.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Hi everybody,

Sorry not to have posted in a while. Been busy. Busy at work with a couple staff on vacation, busy with family (Yay, Noah's in town), busy with investment decisions and trying to find a broker, busy with car problem and repairs, busy trying to find tickets for the Stanford game...Busy, busy, busy, How do I do it? And now we're busy going away to Michigan for a week at the dunes. Love to all

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Another Interesting Englishmen

The last couple paragraphs from the Wilkpedia article on Malcolm Muggeridge

Conversion to Christianity
Having professed publicly to being an agnostic for most of his life, he found his Christian faith, publishing Jesus Rediscovered in 1969 and Jesus: The Man Who Lives in 1976. In A Third Testament, he profiles seven spiritual thinkers, or God's Spies as he called them, who influenced his life: Augustine of Hippo, William Blake, Blaise Pascal, Leo Tolstoy, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Søren Kierkegaard, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. In this period he also produced several important BBC documentaries with a religious theme, including In the Footsteps of St. Paul.

Subsequent conversion to Roman Catholicism
In 1982, he surprised many people by converting to Roman Catholicism at the age of 79 along with his wife, Kitty. This was largely due to the influence of Mother Teresa. His last book was Conversion, published in 1988, and describes his life as a pilgrimage - a spiritual journey.

Muggeridge was a controversial figure - known as a drinker and womaniser in early life. However, his best work came as a result of finding his faith late in life and fighting energetically for moral issues. He is affectionately remembered as St. Mugg. From his book, Jesus: The Man Who Lives, he says, "If the greatest of all, Incarnate God, chooses to be the servant of all, who would wish to be the master?"

A Literary Society in his name was established on March 24th 2003, the occasion of his centenary, and publishes a quarterly newsletter called The Gargoyle

The Israeli Peace Plan

A post to Arianna Huffigton's blog site on Israeli posture in tehe Mid-East:
(I was going to delete number 25 because the source seemed questionable, but the book, the author, and the quote appear accurately attributed.

1. "There is a huge gap between us (Jews) and our enemies ­not just in ability but in morality, culture, sanctity of life, and conscience. They are our neighbors here, but it seems as if at a distance of a few hundred meters away, there are people who do not belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to a different galaxy." Israeli president Moshe Katsav. The Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2001

2. "The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more".... Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel at the time - August 28, 2000. Reported in the Jerusalem Post August 30, 2000

3. " [The Palestinians are] beasts walking on two legs." Menahim Begin, speech to the Knesset, quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, "Begin and the Beasts". New Statesman, 25 June 1982.

4. "The Palestinians" would be crushed like grasshoppers ... heads smashed against the boulders and walls." " Isreali Prime Minister (at the time) in a speech to Jewish settlers New York Times April 1, 1988

5. "When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle." Raphael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defence Forces, New York Times, 14 April 1983.

6. "How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to." Golda Maier, March 8, 1969.

7. "There was no such thing as Palestinians, they never existed." Golda Maier Israeli Prime Minister June 15, 1969

8. "The thesis that the danger of genocide was hanging over us in June 1967 and that Israel was fighting for its physical existence is only bluff, which was born and developed after the war." Israeli General Matityahu Peled, Ha'aretz, 19 March 1972.

9. David Ben Gurion (the first Israeli Prime Minister): "If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti - Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault ? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?" Quoted by Nahum Goldmann in Le Paraddoxe Juif (The Jewish Paradox), pp121.

10. Ben Gurion also warned in 1948 : "We must do everything to insure they ( the Palestinians) never do return." Assuring his fellow Zionists that Palestinians will never come back to their homes. "The old will die and the young will forget."

11. "We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live here as slaves." Chairman Heilbrun of the Committee for the Re-election of General Shlomo Lahat, the mayor of Tel Aviv, October 1983.

12. "Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don't worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it." - Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001, to Shimon Peres, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio. (Certainly the FBI's cover-up of the Israeli spy ring/phone tap scandal suggests that Mr. Sharon may not have been joking.)

13. "We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel... Force is all they do or ever will understand. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours." Rafael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces - Gad Becker, Yediot Ahronot 13 April 1983, New York Times 14 April 1983.

14. "We must do everything to ensure they [the Palestinian refugees] never do return" David Ben-Gurion, in his diary, 18 July 1948, quoted in Michael Bar Zohar's Ben-Gurion: the Armed Prophet, Prentice-Hall, 1967, p. 157.

15. "We should prepare to go over to the offensive. Our aim is to smash Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, and Syria. The weak point is Lebanon, for the Moslem regime is artificial and easy for us to undermine. We shall establish a Christian state there, and then we will smash the Arab Legion, eliminate Trans-Jordan; Syria will fall to us. We then bomb and move on and take Port Said, Alexandria and Sinai." David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978.

16. "We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population." Israel Koenig, "The Koenig Memorandum"

17. "Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population." Moshe Dayan, address to the Technion, Haifa, reported in Haaretz, April 4, 1969.

18. "We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his question, What is to be done with the Palestinian population?' Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture which said 'Drive them out!'" Yitzhak Rabin, leaked censored version of Rabin memoirs, published in the New York Times, 23 October 1979.

19. Rabin's description of the conquest of Lydda, after the completion of Plan Dalet. "We shall reduce the Arab population to a community of woodcutters and waiters" Uri Lubrani, PM Ben-Gurion's special adviser on Arab Affairs, 1960. From "The Arabs in Israel" by Sabri Jiryas.

20. "There are some who believe that the non-Jewish population, even in a high percentage, within our borders will be more effectively under our surveillance; and there are some who believe the contrary, i.e., that it is easier to carry out surveillance over the activities of a neighbor than over those of a tenant. [I] tend to support the latter view and have an additional argument:...the need to sustain the character of the state which will henceforth be Jewish...with a non-Jewish minority limited to 15 percent. I had already reached this fundamental position as early as 1940 [and] it is entered in my diary." Joseph Weitz, head of the Jewish Agency's Colonization Department. From Israel: an Apartheid State by Uri Davis, p.5.

21. "Everybody has to move, run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements because everything we take now will stay ours... Everything we don't grab will go to them." Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of militants from the extreme right-wing Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998.

22. "It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism,colonialization or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands." Yoram Bar Porath, Yediot Aahronot, of 14 July 1972.

23. "Spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it employment... Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly." Theodore Herzl, founder of the World Zionist Organization, speaking of the Arabs of Palestine,Complete Diaries, June 12, 1895 entry.

24. "One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail." -- Rabbi Yaacov Perrin, Feb. 27, 1994 [Source: N.Y. Times, Feb. 28, 1994, p. 1]

25. "We Jews, we are the destroyers and will remain the destroyers. Nothing you can do will meet our demands and needs. We will forever destroy because we want a world of our own." (You Gentiles, by Jewish Author Maurice Samuels, p. 155).

26. "We will establish ourselves in Palestine whether you like it or not...You can hasten our arrival or you can equally retard it. It is however better for you to help us so as to avoid our constructive powers being turned into a destructive power which will overthrow the world." (Chaim Weizmann, Published in "Judische Rundschau," No. 4, 1920)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I sold a gold futures contract last night. I was up a couple hundred and was tempted to wait for a run up. But, with all that's being going on, it should already have moved up. Something is not right, so I'm going to play it safe for now.

We get to see Noah on the twentieth. He and Lauren have been really gracious about trying to give us a day. (mild sarcasm). We're also looking foreward to a trip to the Michigan dunes at the end of the month which will be a great family get together, even if Noan and Lauren are too busy do join us for a day or two. (irony)

Then when we get back the Irish will be kicking off against Georgia Tech.
ND #1, YEAH BABY! My friend Louie hasn't relented in his determination to go to a game this year, so i've been scanning the ticket brokers. Damn, about three hundred dollars each for bad seats (in the corners of the stadium-two hundred fifty for end zone). He's shaming me into it. I tell him its goofy to pay that much and he answers "Don't worry about it, I'll get the tickets." If I'm going I'm paying, and I guess I'm going.

The prices I quoted are for the Stanford game. October 7, after Georgia Tech and the 4 Big 10 opponents and before a by week. If the lads are undefeated at that point it'll be a real scene, and I'm thinking Oct 7th could be a beautiful day for football.. OK, I'm too excited to type any more right now. Love to All.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I'm sure I got something to say

It's just too hot too think.

Oh, I know. Janett was watching the local bulletin board scroll past on cable TV and thinks she saw that Pink Floyd is scheduled to appear at Hemmens auditorium.

Sounds like something that would happen to a stoned person. Who else would be watching the local bulletin board in the first place. But she doesn't get high, that's just my little angel.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Why America is Losing

Re the article posted yesterday. I don't know how someone can write so dispassionately about the Israeli death machine. GI's returning from America's wars suffer from emotional or psychological problems arising from the suffering they've observed or inflicted. Three generations of Israelis have been guilty of such atrocities, the place has to be a nut house. But enough about them, let's talk about us for awhile.

When did this "asymmetric" term come into vogue? I guess it's an antiseptic way of saying we'll kill a lot of innocent people in the hopes of getting a few combatants, or maybe just out of frustration that we can't even find a few combatants to kill.
But the article makes an interesting point about non-state belligerents. Israel can overrun the Palestinian Authority or Lebanon in a matter of days or weeks just as the US did in Afghanistan and Iraq. As the author points out, that's just the beginning. The conqueror now has to bear the expense of occupation, and "low-level" belligerence. Cost, oh say 100 billion dollars a year. Stupefying, aint it. What catalogue of social ills couldn't be cured. And when we declare victory and go home
the costs will continue. Depleted uranium poisoning will afflict the veterans, as will the psychological problems. For sure the government will not be willing to acknowlege these afflictions but they will ensue and they will be costly. And what will we have conceivably gained?

Do you remember the Morgenthau Plan? Roosevelt's Treasury Secretary advanced the idea as the way to deal with post war Germany. Break it into pieces. Allow neighboring states to annex the regions with the greatest economic resources, and dismantle the remaining infrastructure. Marshall had the sense to propose an alternative which has been enshrined as the masterpiece of US diplomacy in the twentieth century. But the Morgenthau plan has new life, Senator Charles Schumer has dusted it off and proposed the same solution for post-war Iraq.

Iranian influence will certainly prevail in the south, the Kurds will secede with the Mozul and Kirkuk oil fields. But who will the Kurds look to for protection from Turkey and Iran, two neighbors with Kurdish minorities of their own? Ooops; look who's back. It's our Israeli friends.

From Jane's Middle East/Africa News 18 April 2006

"Israel stands to benefit greatly from the US led war on Iraq, primarily by getting rid of an implacable foe in President Saddam Hussein and the threat from the weapons of mass destruction he was alleged to possess. But it seems the Israelis have other things in mind.

An intriguing pointer to one potentially significant benefit was a report by Haaretz on 31 March that minister for national infrastructures Joseph Paritzky was considering the possibility of reopening the long-defunct oil pipeline from Mosul to the Mediterranean port of Haifa. With Israel lacking energy resources of its own and depending on highly expensive oil from Russia, reopening the pipeline would transform its economy.

To resume supplies from Mosul to Haifa would require the approval of whatever Iraqi government emerges and presumably the Jordanian government, through whose territory it would be likely to run. Paritzky's ministry was reported to have said on 9 April that it would hold discussions with Jordanian authorities on resuming oil supplies from Mosul, with one source saying the Jordanians were "optimistic". Jordan, aware of the deep political sensitivities involved, immediately denied there were any such talks."

Now I'm back to my world weary state, but at least I'm not stupid.

PS - seeking perspective, I searched all blogs for Israel and Kurds. Came up with very little, not even this post. Does blog-spot filter out unworthy posts?

Monday, July 24, 2006

My comments on this article tomorrow

From Counterpunch

Why Israel is Losing


The world is witnessing what could be a critical turning point in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Israel is now engaged in a war that could permanently undermine the efficacy of its much-vaunted military apparatus.

Ironically, there are several reasons for believing that Israel’s destruction of southern Lebanon and southern Beirut will weaken its bargaining position relative to its adversaries, and will strengthen its adversaries’ hands.

First, Israel has no clearly defined tactical or strategic objective, and so the Israeli offensive fails the first test of military logic: there is no way that Israel's actions can improve its position relative to Hamas or Hizballah, much less Syria or Iran.

The logic of power politics also implies that a no-win situation for Israel is a definite loss, because Israel is the stronger party and thus has the most to lose. In an asymmetric war, the stronger party always has the most to lose, in terms of reputation and in terms of its ability to project its will through the instruments of force.

The lack of any clearly defined objective is a major miscalculation by Israel and its American patron.

Second, Israel cannot eliminate Hizballah, since Hizballah is a grassroots organization that represents a plurality of Lebanese society. Neither can Hamas be eliminated for the same reason. By targeting Hizballah however, Israel is strengthening Hizballah's hand against its domestic rivals, such as the Maronite Christians, because any open Christian opposition makes them look like traitors and Israeli collaborators.

Consequently, while Hizballah will obviously pay a short-term tactical cost that is very high, in the long run, this conflict demonstrates that it is Hizballah, and not the Lebanese government, that has the most power in Lebanon.

The Shia represent an estimated 35-40 per cent of Lebanese society, while Lebanese Christians are thought to constitute no more than 25-30per cent of the entire population. Furthermore, the Shia community’s fertility rate is thought to be far higher than that of the other religious components within Lebanon.

Thus, the current confessional division of power in Lebanon, which grants Christians a political position that goes far beyond their minority status, is ultimately unsustainable, which means that the Maronite Christians will lose even more power, and the Shia and Hizballah will inevitably gain more power.

Third, Israel's failure to achieve anything at all greatly enhances Syria's influence over Lebanon and its bargaining position relative to the U.S. and Israel itself. No solution in Lebanon can exclude Syria, and so now the U.S. and Israelis need Syria's approval, which certainly weakens both the U.S. and Israel.

And even Israel's accusations against Iran, although largely baseless, greatly enhance Iran's prestige in the region, and may bring about exactly what the Israelis are trying to prevent. While the Arab states look like traitors, Iran looks like a champion of the most celebrated of all Muslim causes.

Fourth, Bush's impotence is a clear demonstration that America has lost a great deal of global power over the last three years. If Bush cannot control Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hizballah, or Israel, then what real power does the world's "hyper-power" possess? America’s inability to influence any of the actors that are relevant to the current crisis is yet more evidence that America's foreign policy is a form of global suicide.

Fifth, the age of great power warfare has been replaced by a world in which great powers must live and compete with non-state actors who possess considerable military capabilities. William Lind calls this transformation “4th generation warfare.”

Consequently, the age of Bismarckian warfare, or what William Lind refers to as "3rd generation warfare,” is effectively over. “Bismarckian warfare” is a term that describes large-scale wars fought by large-scale armies, which require national systems of military conscription, a significant population base, and enormous military budgets.

Bismarckian warfare seems to have become ineffective in the Arab-Israeli context, because Israel no longer poses the threat that it once did to the Arab regimes, and the Arab regimes much prefer Israel to the rising non-state actors growing within their own borders.

William Lind has also argued that non-state actors such as Hamas and Hizballah can checkmate the Israelis as long as these Muslim parties never formally assume power. If Muslim parties were to assume the power of states, then they would immediately become targets for traditional Bismarckian warfare. However, as long as Muslim movements retain theirnon-state identity, they are strategically unconquerable.

Sixth, we must more carefully study the reasons why Bismarckian warfare is no longer effective.

The global diffusion of the news outlets is obviously important for understanding why Bismarckian warfare has become so ineffective. For instance, Hizballah has its own media network, and can draw upon the global satellite network to get its message out, and can also use the global media to take advantage of Israel's targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Further, the competition between Arab and Muslim satellite channels is also important, because each station wants to demonstrate its sincerity by spreading news that is not only critical of Israel and the U.S., but ultimately undermines people's trust in the Arab regimes and thereby lends legitimacy to non-state actors.

And although the American media largely supports Israel, the information about the Americans stranded in Lebanon limits Israel's freedom of action, and makes Israel look like it cares nothing for the lives of American citizens.

At an even deeper level, the rate and density of global information transfer, and lack of any centralized control over the global distribution of information, is causing the fabric of space and time to contract, and so Israel's crimes can much more quickly create a global backlash.

Time and space, as we experience them, are contracting because the global diffusion of technical and scientific knowledge is permitting events in one part of the world to increasingly influence events in other parts of the world, and events that once took years or even decades to unfold can now occur within mere months or weeks.

As a consequence, the disenfranchised peoples of the world are developing the ability to affect the lives of the more privileged members of humanity, which means that anything that Israel does to the Palestinians or Lebanese will have effects upon Israel that are more direct and more negative than ever before, and that further, these effects will occur in an accelerated time scale.

Thus, as it becomes self evident that Israeli military power is no longer as effective as it once was, this will surely accelerate the flow of Jewish settlers out of Israel. Information regarding emigration of Jews out of Israel is a closely guarded secret, but using Israeli government statistics, we can infer that immigration to Israel has rapidly declined over the last several years, and that Israel may even be experiencing a net outflow of Jewish migrants. According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, the number of Jewish immigrants to Israel declined to 21,000 in 2004, which is a 15-year low. In 2005, the number of immigrants rose slightly to 23,000, which is still dramatically lower than the 60,000 that immigrated in 2000. Furthermore, Israel became a net exporter of its citizens in 2003, when9,000 more Israelis left the country than entered, and in the first two months of 2004, this figure rose to 13,000.

The global micro-diffusion of military technology is also critical, and so military innovation and its global diffusion will only strengthen grassroots rebellions and allow them to more effectively resist the instruments of Bismarckian control, as well as the depredations of the military hippopotami that are the ultimate guarantors of statism and statist regimes.

For all of these reasons, Israeli attempts to impose terms on Lebanon, or to redraw the political map of Lebanon, or even to impose a NATO force upon Southern Lebanon, are not militarily feasible nor politically achievable, and if attempted, will prove ultimately unsustainable.

As will soon be demonstrated by events on the ground, Israel will not be able to destroy or even disarm Hizballah. Neither will Hamas, Hizballah, Lebanon, or Syria permit Israel or America to dictate terms to them. Consequently, if Israel lingers too long in Southern Lebanon, its presence will be paid for at such a high cost, that it will be forced to withdraw in ignominy, as it has so many times in the past.

In the end however, Israel's loss of power will make it even more dangerous, because the more threatened the Israelis feel, the more likely they will launch destructive wars against the Palestinians and Israel's other adversaries.

Finally, the same can be said of the U.S., with respect to its loss of global power. Instead of becoming more careful with its use of force, the erosion of America’s global dominance will likely make the U.S. government more aggressive, as it attempts to re-assert its former position relative to its adversaries and competitors.

And it is precisely because America and Israel are losing influence over global events, that an American attack upon Iran in 2007 becomes more likely.

God help us all.

Ashraf Isma’il is an academic whose interests range from international relations, international economics and international finance, to global history and mathematical models of geo-strategy.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Friday, July 14, 2006

I feel better

Maybe its because I'm making money on gold again.

Maybe its because I can only worry about so many things so often, then some circuit breaker flips in my brain and I switch to the positive side.

I'm really lucky, I can always celebrate my beautiful family, although that makes me miss Noah.

Tomorrow, I'm going to give up cigarettes - Janett and I have been spending more on cigarettes than we do on groceries.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

How many days till the Irish kick off?

I'm listening to the TV news on the PBS. Have you ever heard the phrase "Whistling past the graveyard?" That's the way I feel when I hear contemporary journalists recount the day's events.

I caught a little bit of a show about Woodie Guthrie tonight. It made me nostalgiac for an America I barely remember. You know he wrote that song This Land is Your Land at the height of the depression, and told the people "This land belongs to you and me." I hope people still feel this land belongs to them, but I doubt it.

So I went to read some H L Mencken. His cynicism can make me feel positively Pollyanna-ish. Unfortunately this is the quote I came across.

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

Saints Preserve Us

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Rather than continue my discourse on revolution, which might have led me to take extreme positions pertaining to the corrupted state of our government and the possible impending crisis, I thought I'd share with everyone a poem my father used to recite.
My father had a delightful intellect, and a great respect for G.K. Chesterton. Chesterton, most read now for the Father Brown mysteries, was a staunch defender of Christianity against the rise of intellectual atheism at the onset of the last century. He participated in a journalistic debate with Aldous Huxley which demonstrated that the intellect wasn't all on the atheist's side.

Heres the poem. An annotated copy might be helpful for references unfamiliar to the reader, but if your curiosity is provoked you can Google things

G. K. Chesterton


"White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled, Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain--hurrah!
Death-light of Africa!
Don John of Austria
Is riding to the sea.
Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.

They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
From the temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be,
On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,--
They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, "Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done. But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces--four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth."
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still--hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.

St. Michaels on his Mountain in the sea-roads of the north
(Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
And the sea-folk labour and the red sails lift.
He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,--
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
Domino gloria!
Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships.

King Philip's in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
(Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
And death is in the phial and the end of noble work,
But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
Don John's hunting, and his hounds have bayed--
Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
Gun upon gun, hurrah!
Don John of Austria
Has loosed the cannonade.The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plumed lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign--
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for libertyVivat Hispania!

Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!
Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)"

Nafpaktos.com "LLC" NY USA Copyright: 1999-2000 Last Update:March 26, 2003

Sunday, July 02, 2006

‘Après Nous, le Déluge’

What I've noticed is that governments have been discarded when they've outlived their usefulness. Sometimes cataclysmic events precede the upheaval, but it is not the event, rather it is the institutions' inability to respond effectively that seals their fate.

In the case of the American Revolution I don't recall such a cataclysmic event. The colonials simply no longer needed the British to protect them from the French, or provide essentials for their continuing existence. They resented being required to meet the expenses of the empire disproportionate to the benefits they felt they would enjoy. Given the common history and shared traditions of the English-speaking peoples, accommodations could have been arrived at, but a change in the relationship would have been necessary. Pitt understood that, North didn't. Exacerbating the different appreciation of their respective positions was their geographic separation. If it took five or six weeks for a message to cross the Atlantic, two weeks for a response to be devised, then five or six weeks for the response to be conveyed back to the colonies, the crown's response was three months after the fact. As the crisis developed and committees of correspondence spread throughout the colonies, the pace of radicalization far outpaced the crown's ability to respond.

The French Revolution may have been precipitated by the bread riots that resulted from increases in the price of bread beyond the means of the masses to afford. But as is often pointed out, the peasants and the Paris mob sought to have their protests reach the ears of the king who they hoped would address their needs. The king had other concerns. The feudal organization of the regime had bestowed privileges upon the nobility and the church including exemption from taxes. The monarchy was bankrupt and the government's deficit could not be funded. The king was endeavoring to find new sources of revenue. His preoccupation prevented him from perceiving that the rise of a literate urban population enabled his subjects to visualize a different order than the divinely ordained absolutism of the monarchy. It was on this growing urban class that the burden of taxation fell most heavily. The distance that separated him from his people was not geographic but social. Reportedly on July 14, the day of the fall of the Bastille, in his diary under significant events of the day he entered. "None."

The third revolution that comes readily to mind, the Russian Revolution, except for its tragic consequences could be described as black comedy. The last of the Romanov rulers appeared entirely at the mercy of circumstances over which he had no control. Given that the Russian army had been soundly defeated by the upstart Japanese 10 years earlier, it should have surprised no one that they would be slaughtered by the Germans. And during the earlier war there had been labor strikes and demonstrations by starving workers and mutinies amongst the military, all foreshadowing the events of 1917-18. Compounding the tragedy was a history of political assassinations and repression that forewarned that when the end came it wouldn't be pretty. And when the end did come in Ekaterinburg, before they and their children were murdered, Nicholas and Alexandra probably hugged and commiserated, "We knew this job was too big for us, but we did our best." Too much suffering preceded and followed their demise for them to be exonerated. But they too were crushed in the collapse of a system which had evolved hundreds of years earlier, and hadn't the ability to deal with the challenges it faced.

While in retrospect, the autocrats can be seen as having been inept, badly informed, or ill served, it must be remembered that they promoted and rewarded the ministers and courtiers who told then what they wanted to hear. They then turned a blind eye as these administrators and deputies enriched themselves, their friends and their families, while the population was driven to poverty and despair.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I dont care much about baseball

But I've heard it said, and I believe it, that baseball fans are the most knowlegable about their sport. I was always impressed when kids could recite the batting order for every team in their team's league. In those days baseball cards came three in a pack with a piece of gum for a nickel. They were reference material, not speculative investments.

Where I live now in the Northwest suburbs has always been pretty much Cubs territory, but I grew up on the South Side and if I had to choose I would watch the Sox. I was a freshman in high school in '59 and we rode the el from Stony Island to Roosevelt Road every day and went right by Comiskey Park. That was a good year for the Sox. I've told everyone about the night the Sox won the pennant. About a half an hour after the game got over somebody (the fire commissioner took the blame)decided to run the air raid sirens to celebrate. Well, you have to remember it was still the fifties, and so my mother brought us all to the basement and started praying the rosary.

Nellie Fox and Little Louie Apparicio, Sherm Loller, Big Ted Kluzewski, Jungle Jim Rivera, and Early Wynn. Yeah I still like those guys better than any Cubs team.
And I like the Sox now, but its not the same. Nowadays an owner can go out and buy a pennant by signing a lot of high price free agents. In those days, a lot of players would be with their team for their whole career.

Now, I like Ozzie Guillen, partly cause he's a good manager, partly because he's proud to be a Venezuelan, and partly because he's all over that fag, Jay Mariotti.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Days in the life

Usually, Sunday is a good day for posting, but today is Monday. I have had a nice week, but nothing came to mind to talk about yesterday. There was a Rolling Stones tribute band performing at a street concert in Aurora Friday night, They were supposed to be pretty good, and we were going to go, but then I kind of blew it off.

Actually, I'd thought it was going to be Saturday and it wasn't till Friday I realized my mistake. Then I had a hard time getting fired up for a street scene, and I wasn't sure how much Janett wanted to go. So we didn't go. Later in the evening Steffy told me Janett had been looking forward to going, so I felt a little bad, and thought I'd take her to dinner at a restaurant in St Charles Saturday night where they have pretty good blues players put on late shows.

But Saturday morning, Janett was feeling a little shy and wasn't sure she wanted to go to a crowded restaurant that evening, so instead we spent the day at the track, which was nice because it was a pretty day and Arlington is a pretty track. Afterwards we went to Julie's house (Julie is Lou's friend), and her neighbors were having a party in the yard celebrating their ninth wedding anniversary, and they invited us over for a good Mexican dinner prepared by the two mothers and a grandmother. It was all good, and we left there early enough to be home by ten.

Then Sunday after church, Janett and I ran errands. We spent some time picking out things to send to a few buddies of Noah's in Afghanistan who haven't been getting packages from home. In the evening, Steffy and Kim stopped by for a brief visit, which we all enjoyed.

See what I mean, everything was really nice, but maybe not too exciting to read about. I'll try to scrape some rough edges on my life this week to tell you about later.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


I've heard of Thomas a' Kempis' Imitations of Christ, but never read it. Today I Googled "recalled in tranquility", from Wordsworth's definition of poetry, (thinking that maybe I should try poetry) and that led me to Bartlesby's where I found a' Kempis' Imitation of Christ. Temporarily diverted from my pursuit of the muse, I found this admonition: a good message for all bloggers, and especially me.

Book I: Admonitions Profitable for the Spiritual Life

X. Of the Danger of Superfluity of Words

AVOID as far as thou canst the tumult of men; for talk concerning worldly things, though it be innocently undertaken, is a hindrance, so quickly are we led captive and defiled by vanity. Many a time I wish that I had held my peace, and had not gone amongst men. But why do we talk and gossip so continually, seeing that we so rarely resume our silence without some hurt done to our conscience? We like talking so much because we hope by our conversations to gain some mutual comfort, and because we seek to refresh our wearied spirits by variety of thoughts. And we very willingly talk and think of those things which we love or desire, or else of those which we most dislike. 1
2. But alas! it is often to no purpose and in vain. For this outward consolation is no small hindrance to the inner comfort which cometh from God. Therefore must we watch and pray that time pass not idly away. If it be right and desirable for thee to speak, speak things which are to edification. Evil custom and neglect of our real profit tend much to make us heedless of watching over our lips. Nevertheless, devout conversation on spiritual things helpeth not a little to spiritual progress, most of all where those of kindred mind and spirit find their ground of fellowship in God.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Last weekend I emailed Noah a copy of an article from Asia Times addressing the strategic situation in Afghanistan. There's a very bad man who lives there (sometimes, sometimes in Pakistan, sometimes in Iran) named Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and he's the leader of Hezb i Islami (Islamic Party)

He's been killing people, starting with communists, then Russians, then Taliban for about thirty years. Sounds like our kind of guy...and he was. He got most of the funds the CIA was pumping into Afghanistan through Pakistan's intelligence agency during the Mujhadeen's war with the Russians in the 80's. He was also the favorite of the conservative Saudi clerics, and they gave him a lot of money too.

He was in the Mujhadeen government after the Russian pulled out in the early 90's, but had loyalty issues, jumping in and out of political alliances. Having the revolutionary's perspective, he knows peace and stability were not to be desired, until and unless he held complete power. He was the main protagonist in the Mujhadeen civil war in the early 90's, at one time being allied with and against all the other powerful Mujhadeen leaders, Massoud, Dostum, and Rabanni. The civil war contributed to the popularity of the Taliban, which people hoped would end the bloody fighting between the war lords.

When the Taliban took over he had to leave, and went to Iran. A lot of his Hezb i Islami followers joined the Taliban, but retain some loyalty to Hekmatyar. When the US invaded and drove out the Taliban in 2002, Hekmatyar snuck back in to Afghanistan and started objecting loudly to the organization of a puppet government by the US.
The US tried to shut him up with a missile attack on his headquarters in late 2002 which killed a dozen of his people but missed him.

Now, he's hiding out, probably in the northeast of Afghanistan. His followers are still politically active in that region, but are biding their time. They're waiting for the resurgent Taliban in the south to do most of the heavy lifting in terms of fighting the Coalition forces. but once the Kabul government is sufficiently weakened he'll pop up again, assassinating rivals, making and breaking alliances, and jockeying for leadership in an Islamic government, pointing out that unlike the other warlords he made no deals with the occupiers. Also, unlike Dostum and other warlords from the old Northern Alliance who are Uzbeks and Tajiks, he's a Pashtun, which is the largest ethnic grouping in Afghanistan.

So, anyway, while things are relatively calm in the area where Noah is stationed right now, that's the area where Hekmatyar will be the most powerful when he decides to make his move. So, I'm hoping Noah's home by then.

Go in Peace

After services I'll generally slip out a door of church for a quick smoke before I go to the dining area and hook up with the kids for a little visit, and maybe a bite to eat. The last couple of weeks, as I watched folks leaving I recalled the scene of the pastor at the door after services, accepting some compliments and wishing the parishoners well.

I always thought that was just the kind of courtesy a good host would show. But standing there myself, I came to think the pastor would be sending his flock off, hopeful that he had helped prepare them in someway for the challenges they would face during the next week.

All those folks leaving church do appear uplifted and positive in their outlook, families together, older couples, young singles -who could know the challenges they'll all face before they return next week. Job problems, financial problems, medical problems, nasty kids at school, but as they leave, they don't appear weighed down or afraid.

Maybe it was in the pastor's heart to say, I hope you'll be alright and keep doing the best you can, and remember Jesus loves you.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Clues in the News - Goldman Sachs

Last week, Henry Paulson, the CEO of Goldman Sachs was nominated to replace Paul Snow as Secretary of the Treasury. Maybe, they need someone pretty skilled in the investment markets and banking to handle the coming hedge fund meltdowns.

Even scarier, today Goldman Sachs hired the country's leading bankruptcy attorney away from the Chicago law firm of Kirkland Ellis to be managing director of their investment banking unit. Uh Oh The smart guys must see a lot of opportunities coming up in the "restructuring" industry.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Celebrating Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of "Spiritus Mundi"
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

-- William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming"

This is the kind of statement one can only make once. What prompted me to post it tonight? The news that supporters of the Islamic courts had driven the warlords out of Mogadishu, and that the warlords had been receiving financial support from the CIA. When you're confused about how you're doing in this complicated world, take a minute and look around to see what kind of friends you've been making lately.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


I just looked it up and learned Lapierre did not direct City of Joy. He wrote the book. What I heard of City of Joy sounded like the movie reflected a love of the destitute, and not in a patronizing way. The Constant Gardner had the same feeling.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I was kidding

about the secret mission. I just haven't felt like posting. When I'm going through a learning phase I dummy up. Observe, assimilate, organize, evaluate, and project. I must be going through such a phase now.

But the secret mission thing made me think of John LeCarre, and that made me think of The Constant Gardner. Janett rented it last week and we watched it. I was surprised. It was excellent.

LeCarre doesn't adapt well to film, too nuanced, the insights too subtle. But this director was very successful. Maybe the screenwriter should get the credit, using snippets of conversations very naturally and yet economically to inform us. But now I'd like to see City of Joy by the same director.

I'm almost tempted to glance at Candide (Voltaire), but I won't because I don't think Justin Quayle played very nicely by Ralph Fiennes needs illumination beyond what is presented in the film.
I am currently engageged in carrying out a mission for our government. A very important mission, very dangerous, and very, very secret. I'm sure you'll understand that I can't be posting to my blog regularly under the circumstances.

More later...I hope.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I'm a bad man

Reviewing my posts, I come across nicer than I really am. Last week I e-mailed Senator Barak Obama, who has been disappointing me lately and told him that "I'd go out and find a Wobblie or LaRouchite to vote for before I'd vote for some Hillary in drag" I didn't receive the customary thank you note. Barak knows the real me.

Earth to Andy

Hi everybody. Sorry to be out of touch. (I put in the Hi everybody first so I wouldn't be opening with an apology.) It has been an unsettling week. Janett's been mad at me, she would say sad, and that anger is expressed in proportion to pain felt. All I know is some nights I'm afraid to go to sleep before she does. Just kidding.

And then I got beat up in gold on Monday; I didn't have a position overnight for the big sell off on Sunday night (Monday in London), but I kept looking for a bounce on Monday. (Even dead cats bounce a little). Buying and putting in a stop loss order, market falls, I get stopped out with a loss - about four times. Stupid. I'm going to hang a sign over my desk, "Not Losing is the Next Best Thing to Winning." And of course, as always when I do badly in the market what's the first rule? Say it together, children: "Blame Louie." That's right, my technicasl guru just on Saturday told me the market is always up on Monday in a bull marker - pent up demand from the weekend. He could have added, Unless the market is overdue for a correction.

So let's talk about something pleasant. Butera's. My neighborhood grocery store.
I love it. Butera's is a chain of grocery stores in the Chicago suburbs. I suppose the stores adjust their marketing to their locale. My locale is apparently Mexican. Other Anglo's show up with me to shop there, mostly older folks and working class folks; price conscious shoppers. I fit in both those groups. Maybe because they don't advertize prices are lower. But that's only part of the appeal.

I do like the Mexican music on the PA system, it's not too loud and kind of energizing. I especially like the produce, diverse and wholesome and reasonably priced...including a lot of things I don't recognise. I enjoy the meat counter - No salmon or scrod there - Tilapia for 1.19 lb., not frozen fillets - the actual fish.
And all the thin sliced beef steaks with different names. Sometimes I'm going to ask the butcher to tell me what makes them different. No live stock heads, no little eyes looking at you (except thge talapia), but some internal organs and feet (and the ubiquitous tongues). My friend Augie last year about Thanksgiving time told me he was indifferent to turkey, but he was looking forward to tongue for dinner. I guess you kind of peel off the tonguey stuff. The item I really didn't get was the turkey tails. Yep, turkey tails. Gotta be for soup, right?

But the selection in not limited. I can get Pilsner Urquel beer and Janett can spend as much as any sane person would on a bottle of olive oil. Oh and speaking of Janett, she was most amused by the sign by the open display case that read, "Customers, please don't eat the pig skins."

See you there!