Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The company sent me away for five days to train and get certified.  Good.  But I forgot to take cash with me, and I'm depending on someone else for a ride to an ATM. 

Don't forget nothin'!  Yeah, we'll I need to work on that one.  Maybe my age is catching up on me.  Then, I was always absent-minded.

Another thing I'm dealing with is a ball-up having to do with bangbus.com/  Yes, I confess, I went to a #### site.  But I got nowhere!  And they got my debit card number; now they've charged me.  And I got to see--NOTHING!  I'll be happy if I can get the damn thing cancelled, let alone refunded.  It was only $5.65, but it automatically renews every three days, and my attempts to cancel have been as useless as my prior attempt to view the ###########.


Sunday, July 25, 2004

I've got to pack for a five day stay at a school where I'll train to be certified as

dispatcher. I'd better get packing soon. I doubt I'll be able to get on line in those
days. My attempt to register with this phone blog thing never finished loading.
Here's something that caught mine eye this morning.

A newsgroup out of Utah included this notice:
On Thursday, July 19th, Julienne Amato was laid to rest in
Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC), during a ceremony which was attended by members of
her family and others who appreciated her role in Congolese
history and contributions and sacrifices she made during her
June 30, 2000 represented the 40th anniversary of the
independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
shedding its more popularly known humiliating colonial image
as the Belgian Congo. That dramatic change was precipitated
by the leader of the Congolese National Movement, Patrice
Lumumba, who was
born July 2, 1925, the son of Julienne
Amato and Francois Tolenga, and was assassinated January
17, 1961, a victim of U.S. imperialism, its western
allies and African lackeys.
By Elombe Brath

Friday, July 23, 2004

Again a late morning. I slept well. Now I enjoy my second cup of coffee. I'm going to take Hannah to swim. Wilma doesn't want to go, and would rather stay with Altgeld, who is due for a nap. I fear we'll become a weak, lazy, unskilled people.

Doug Strouk wrote this story, published in the Washington Post Wednesday, telling how residents of Samarra are fleeing in anticipation of a battle. This time, the Americans want to avoid the result that evolved in Fallujah.

"We're not going to make that pact," said Maj. Gen. John R.S. Batiste, commander of the Army's 1st Infantry Division, which operates in the area. "Right now, it is a town where nobody is in charge. That, we will fix. At the end of the day, there will be a city under competent civil government."

U.S. military planners complained in private that Fallujah was a bad deal, allowing the city to become a rallying point and stronghold for guerrilla forces.

"It's the lily pad theory. Fallujah exports itself to Samarra, which exports itself to the next place," said Lt. Col. James Stackmo, an intelligence officer for the division, headquartered in Tikrit. "In Samarra, there's probably 100 to 300 fighters who are holding the town hostage. We're not going to allow a militia in Samarra. We're not going to do it."

At some point, we will have to change the situation in Fallujah, too. I am in favour of firebombing Fallujah, as the Americans did in Dresden and Tokyo. We should do the same in Hillah and other Sunna triangle communities if serious resistance continues there.

We will have to do to the jihadists what the Romans did to Carthage. To paraphrase Cato the Elder, Senator of Rome:

Deleta est Samarra, deleta est Fallujah, deleta est Mahmoudiya, deleta est Baquba...

But where does this end? It will have to be a bloodbath. That is what it took the Europeans to dominate the New World. This seems to be the only way to a clear victory, to commit a genocide and subsequent colonization of Iraq, perhaps replacing the intransigent jihadists with Kurds and democratically minded peoples.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Had to do this posting over, since I tried to go back a page after preview. Will have to save drafts from now on, before I preview.

Almost an hour's worth of work gone. Have been listening to Performance Today on WSVH out of Savannah. Checking lotto numbers. I don't play often, but while I was in Florida last month I bought a couple of tickets, and last week one in Georgia while at a truck stop, on the way back from helping a friend and neighbor move her office to Jacksonville. A very pleasant city, by the way, with many opportunities for business and pleasure.

This morning I had been listening to Sharon Isben. With whom, by the way, I might fall in love, if I weren't a married man. Hey, she not only plays divinely, but she is beautiful.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

   Some associate continues to send me notices on situations in Macedonia

and Kosova. For this, I thank him. Now I pass this on
to you, gentle readers:

Macedonia strikes power deal seen crucial for peace
15 Jul 2004 10:13:31 GMT

By Kole Casule

SKOPJE, July 15 (Reuters) - Macedonia's coalition government has struck
long-delayed deal handing more powers to the local level, a crucial
part of
the 2001 peace accord granting greater rights to the ethnic Albanian

The agreement late on Wednesday, unpopular among many in the Macedonian
majority, should give the country's 500,000 Albanians more control over
municipalities where they form a majority.

It represents a final step in implementing the NATO-brokered deal that
ended seven months of clashes between government security forces and
Albanian rebels three years ago.

I need to change the oil in my Nissan, or get it changed. Should really do it myself, to save money. Then today's election day. Got to get going.

So much to do. Decisions, decisions.

Been looking at the postings on Greek mythology in the Yahoo group by that name. So far, friendly banter on the topic of various gods and who they are. A few interesting threads, namely, one on the topic of whether Hephaistos raped Athena, and another on Hephaistos' throwing a net over the lovers Ares and Aphrodite, and Hermes' falling for the latter.

There is an interesting photo of Ares and Aphrodite, an image of them painted and glazed on a piece of pottery, located in the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, PreuГџischer Kulturbesitz: Antikensammlung, February - March 1992.

Monday, July 19, 2004

The Washington Post mentions nothing to correlate or inform on the NPR report on Arafat's problems with hiring his cousin or nephew as security chief. They do have a poignant "human interest " piece on a group of childhood friends from Jenin, two of whom survive to remember their shattered childhood dreams.

[Note, inserted next day, 20 July, 09:54:] Ahmed Qureia had sent in his written resignation twice, and twice Arafat had verbally rejected it. No updates as of next day.

I'm late again, and not yet running. It's almost eight by blogger clock, and it is eight by my radio clock and the news is playing.

I'm excited by the changes at blogger. Haven't even used my buttons. I had thought I'd lost them, because when I clicked on the green plus sign at the dashboard page, I got a creat page without buttons. But I get them if I go through the title (to my blog) link and the post titles page.

Am listening to the troubles Arafat is having, the mess with the Palestinian government. I'm confused. Did Arafat fire both Ahmed Qurea and his security chief? Now he's re-hired his security chief, who happens to be his nephew.

Got to go to work, accelerate the pace of my workbooks. Will come back later to make links to the news on Arafat, Palestine, and the conflict with Israel. Pray for peace, people.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Am enjoying a rumba colombiana on Latin Beat, a radio program from Atlanta, played on Georgia Public Radio. Altgeld started to cry again, not wanting to lie down to sleep. I think now I'm listening to Paco de Lucia.

This is a program announced by Guila Gonzalez, who has one of the most beautiful voices I've heard. And now "Senyor Presidente," a satirical rumba, criticizing a President for being out of touch with his people, for policies that actually make the world vulnerable to terrorism.

Well, I'm not saying any names. If the shoe fits...

Saturday, July 17, 2004

For a few days and nights, I've pondered somewhat on the vitriole which accompanies the debate or simply angry exchange in the polemics between Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives (which, anyone with any sense who's lived in the South can tell you, or just any sage political observer, are not the same division). Consider Amelie's posting on the 14th July:
"When I read news like this(the Republican or Conservative position on the gay marriage issue--parentheses mine), it makes me want to slaughter republicans and make sausages out of them. They are too stupid to exist, much less be allowed to vote. My coworker says we should eat the old, tough, stringy ones who cause all the problems. I say we make dogfood out of them, my dog wouldn't mind a bit of republigristle, but I would. I want the postpubescent youth served up on a platter."

I didn't want to sound like a humorless old fart, but the rage I thought I felt behind the humor worries me a little. Or maybe it's just my having actually seen burnt corpses by the side of roads in Iraq which affects my reaction to her posting.

I confess at times having wondered how the cannibalistic act would be, but I have managed to keep it to myself until now. And I outgrew it. Ah, but does that make me seem more boring? What would Dr. Lector say?

Friday, July 16, 2004

...we are living the good life; as soon as I had changed out of my work clothes, we walked together, with Annie Franck on her bicycle, to Roman’s where we were greeted by Claire, sat down and in pairs went to the pizza buffet. That is to say, while Wilma and Annie Franck go to the counter, I sit relaxing with Altgeld. Then I go when the two ladies have returned to the table.

____We stopped at the house of Mrs. Z, one of our kinder neighbours, just around the corner. I've long entertained a guilt for not sending thanks for the welcome back gift, a coffee mug with "Welcome Home" in the red white and blue colours. Yesterday I finally, after a year, got to thank her. Yes I know it's bad, but I was in too much of a funk after returning from Iraq to be properly social. And for this I apologized. My resolve is to be timely with thanks.

____Little Altgeld is crying his head off, dosn't want to go to bed nor sleep. I'll go see if I can calm him. ... Hope to quietly toast the French Revolution and the Freedom of the Bastille Prisoners with some merlot later.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Am moving slowly today. Slept late, half listening to Morning Edition and the start of the morning classics.

From Arts and Letters Daily, found an essay arguing what I've been suspecting the US must do if we are to win the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If you're in New York today--Wednesday the 14th July, you might be able to catch the birthday bash for Isaac Bashevis Singer at KGB Bar
85 East 4th Street. But at the very least, do take some time to read something of his, or read it again, and pray or meditate on his work, if you haven't.

And today's Bastille Day! I won't be able to celebrate with some wine until I get off work at 22:00. But I will! For now, it's a Trazidone with some milk, and a roll and blueberry jam. Good night and good day!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

There's been fighting, fiercer than ever as we remember, in Ramadi. The Marines are taking many casualties. As have been the Army, but in Ramadi death and mayhem are being unleashed "beaucoup et bien vite."

Today's the birthday of Isaac Babel, a great Jewish and Soviet writer. I know him for some English translations of stories included in an anthology of Russian short stories.

And tomorrow is the Day of the Bastille. Vive la France! Vive la liberte'!

At last, King Priam has ransomed the body of his son Hercules, and Achilles has given Patroklus a proper "memorial service." With that, ends the Iliad. I had thought, believing that I had read the whole of the Iliad, that the ending was after the subterfuge of the great wooden horse into Troy, the entry of the armies of the Argives,the Myrmidons, and their allies into Troy. I suppose I read some watered-down version directed at children. Well, at least I'm reading the English translations now, comparing them, beginning to note certain phrases in the Homeric Greek.

Today I'll start on the Odyssey.

There is less than a quarter of an hour to noon. Reason I'm getting such a late start, partly, is that I was fighting porno spam. Some of it keeps getting around the Yahoo Spam controls. Admittedly, I'm using the free version, which has limited blocking and filtering, but I wonder why some of the spam evades the program which directs spam into bulk.

Some time ago, and more insistently a few weeks ago I began sending copies of the ones which evaded bulk, evaded my filters and my blocks, to abuse@yahoo.com and webmaster@yahoo.com/. Today I got some useful web addresses which may help me track the offending spammers. One is http://www.arin.net/whois/index.html From here you can find links to more agencies which regulate and seek to regulate internet traffic.

I'll be posting more useful tips and links as I find them.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Over the week-end, I went camping in the capacity of a counselor, with a young starting Boy Scout Troop, based out of one of our poorer communities.

I came back with more chigger and flea bites than I care to count, but it was a satisfying experience, teaching youth about nature and how to respect it.

Hector is dead, and Achilles is striving to his utmost to find ways to avenge Patroklos' death by humiliating Hector's body, executing twelve Trojan prisoners by cutting off their heads, and holding a great funereal feasting, horse races, and other events to honor Patoklus.
Phoibos Apollo dashes the whip from Diomedes' hands, causing his team of horses to fall behind, but Athene, angry at this, in turn makes Eumelos son of Admetos have an accident, so he's out of the race.

I was reading aloud of the horse race, since Annie-Jack loves horses, and she listened attentively to much of it...Antilochus plays chicken with Agamemnon, going for the narrow place on the race course where the water has eroded a passage.

"Antilochus, are you crazy man? Hold your horses back; you can pass later where it's wider!"(This is my own 'modern' translation of their exchange).

But Antilochus is determined, and 'psyches' out Agamemnon, so that he slacks and lets his own horses fall back, rather than collide with Antilochus.

And now, from line 448, we are back at the point of view of the spectators, watching the horse and chariot driver teams approach in a cloud of dust. Idomeneus and Aias, son of Oileus, argue over who is ahead, but Achilles' cautions them to stop their bickering, wait and see... And Diomedes and his horses win the race! Antilochus comes in second. Agamemnon third.

[And now, while Sthenelos gives out the prizes, I pause to eat fresh bread with Annie Franck.]

Friday, July 09, 2004

As I closed McCourt's 'Tis, I looked left from my faux leather rocking chair, saw a copy of Ovid's Metamorphoses, and pulled it out. I checked the passage on Curran, wondered why he left out Ovid. Well, he left out Sappho too. And Herodotus. Oh well.

Glancing through Ovid, I learned that he tells many Greek and Roman myths. And he includes a brief account of the war against Troy, including the account of how the 1000 ships were turned aside by a storm, and what omen the men saw in a tree with eight nested birds, which are beset by "a hungry dragon."

Was it in the Iliad that I had read that it was a snake, who was then seized by an eagle?

I had taken a break from Homer, starting when we drove to Jacksonville to enjoy a beach, watch fireworks from the Saint John's River at the Adam's Mark, which incidentally is being or has been sold for less than what the developer paid to have it built and started.

Anyway, I read Frank McCourt's 'Tis, having read his Angela's Ashes at the behest of my dad, who's know been asserting he's Irish, rather than Scots-Irish as he had claimed earlier. But Dad was right, McCourt's a very good writer.

For now, I'd like to point to the start of Chapter 51, where the author remembers substituting for Frank Curran, who is an aficionado of the Latin and Greek literature. Frank Curran, who would sit at his desk and read or recite from the Odyssey in Greek, would tell his students

"you might be the brightest kids from here to the foothills of the Rockies,
your heads stuffed with science and mathematics,
but all you need in this life is your Homer,
your Sophocles, your Plato, your Aristotle,
your Aristophanes for the lighter moments,
your Virgil for the dark places,
your Horace to escape the mundane,
your Juvenal when you're completely pissed off with the world.

The grandeur boys, the grandeur that was Greece and the glory that was Rome."

In the twenty-first chapter of the Iliad, Achilles is killing many Trojans with his Pelian ashen spear and sword. My readings have slowed two about a page at a time, every other night.

But does Achilles have a bronze spear too? After killing Asteropaios, whose people are from the "broad waters of the Axios," Achilles

"...Pulled the bronze spear free from the river bluff
and left him there, when he had torn the heart of life from him,
sprawled in the sands and drenched in the dark water. And about
Asteropaios the eels and the other fish were busy
tearing him and nibbling the fat that lay by his kidneys."

[v200-204, p. 423; transl. by Richard Lattimore,1951, University of Chicago Press]

It may be that the point or head is bronze. After all, Achilles throws the spear, missing Asteropaios, probably because Asteropaios has grazed his arm with one of his two spears, and it "was driven half its length and stuck in the bank of the river" (line 172.)

However, later, in line 329 of Book XXII, when Achilles' finally confronts Hektor to kill him, "the ash spear heavy with bronze did not sever the windpipe (Hektor's). So it is an ash spear with a bronze point.
But another question I have is, who is Aiakides? The one who made the ashen spear that Asteropaios was trying to pull out or break from the bank of the river before Achilles struck him in the abdomen, spilling his guts. Is this Achilles spear? I saw no description of Asteropaios' spears. Maybe he was hoping to use Achilles' superior spear.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Listening to Bill Cosby talking on the Fresh Air show. I think I'll concentrate on this.

He's been attacked recently for "telling it like it is."

All I can add now, the day after writing the above, is that I am waiting to hear people discuss this around the county. Which I doubt they will.

Just got the new National Geographic, this June's. Haven't even opened it yet, just glancing at the front cover. (Going to piss.

Ahhhhhh..... zzzzzip!

O.K. As I was saying)... Now I open the front cover--table of contents: The Shi'ites of Iraq...an article on the disagreements on how to use the Mall space of Washington, D.C. And the Headline of this issue, "The End of Cheap Oil." But you can see for yourself. Maybe on the Geographic's web page.

I began this yesterday around noon. I left the issue in the pickup. Then late last night I fell sick with what we believe was food poisoning. 3/4 of us. And I didn't sally forth from the house till early evening. By that time I had looked at Smithsonian, some of June's and a bit of July's.

I can hardly wait to read the articles in the latter on the Marwala horse and how better coffee can improve the world.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

As a way of getting my daughter interested in the Iliad and the Greek mythology, I told her about the wonderful horses which Zeus gave to Achilles. Rouse translates their names as Bay and Piebald. Through Google and this site, I learn that their names in the Greek are Xanthus and Balius.

Oh, by the way, we stopped at a small ranch yesterday, near Gum Branch where Liberty and Long Counties border each other. Annie Franck and Altgeld got to ride a small tame pony. We may budget to have Annie Franck learn to care and ride horses.

Am back in Spudsville, with my family, actually, in our house right now. I apologize for the long delay. I suppose that I might have sent my entries here to Wilma, and had I asked in the right manner, and had she agreed, she might have entered them for me. Or I might have begun sooner than today, as I've been home since last Saturday.

Enough! Apologies are problematic at best, and sound lame and annoying at worst.

Annie Franck's pestering me to show her how to draw things--skunks, restaurant interiors, and what now? --a playground. But she gave up waiting on the playground. "I already drew a playground." She's working with a cheap ball point pen and some scrap paper.

I left off my regular readings of the Iliad. A couple of nights ago I read several paragraphs. Zeus has got involved on the side of the Trojans now, so these guys are pushing the Argives back. And Apollo, in the shape of the Lycaon, Priamides, is encouraging Aineias:

"You should pray to the everlasting gods yourself. You are no mere man. They say Aphrodite was your mother; she is a daughter of Zeus, and Achilles comes from a lower god, just a daughter of the Old Man of the Sea. Go straight for him with the cold steel, and don't let him frighten you with sorry things like curses and threats." (p 238, Book XX, Rouse, transl.: Signet Classic pocket ed.).