Monday, November 29, 2004

Reading from the lives of the Quakers

I picked up Jessamyn West's The Quaker Reader, and began again reading from the writings of George Fox, and looking at the Chronology of Quaker history. I'm reminded that George Fox was born in 1624, one year before the Accession of Charles I. Fox became a religious "seeker" in 1643, during the First Civil War in England, and one year before Milton's Aeropagitica was published.

It is interesting to note that in 1668, Germantown Quakers protested against slavery. That in 1758 John Woolman persuades Philadelphia Yearly Meeting to condemn slaveholding by Friends. And that the first modern mental hospital, York Retreat in England, was founded by Friends in 1796.


Progress comes in small steps sometimes

I passed most of this weekend indoors, either asleep, eating, or at the terminal reading, writing, researching, and writing more.

I did some reading from the New York Times guide to the Supreme Court. One interesting case I learned about was Griffin vs. California (1965) in which the Court decided that the state prosecutor can't call the jury's attention to the defendant's failure to testify. This has to do with due process.


Sunday, November 28, 2004

this weekend, start learning a language!

Before my unit was deployed to Kosova early in 2001, for peace-keeping operations after NATO got the Serb military and paras out of Kosova and Bosnia, I had done some searches but not found much online assistance for Albanian, Serb, Bosnian, or Croatian. It seems thing have change since then.

For Albanian, I find this tonight: a site by a young Cezar Kurti, and a BB belonging to something called phrasebase.

I haven't tried any of these out, but there's even a Bosnian language site. Now back in the days before the Balkan wars of the '90s, Bosnian wasn't even mentioned as a dialect of the Serbo-Croatian. The latter was given to us as being two dialects of the same language. It wasn't until the siege of Sarajevo and other atrocities drew attention to Bosnia that I started to learn that there was a recognized Bosnian speech. So whether you want to learn Serbian, Croatian, or Bosnian, you can get a good start by getting any learning materials that are either Croatian or Serbian.

Last for now, there's no substitute for being there, to learn how they do anything there, including speaking. This might be a good starting point for planning a trip or just doing research on Bosnia.

Remember, I'm not endorsing any of these above. No matter what you do, you'll probably have to combine several tools and methods to reach fluency. Most of all, be persistent and develop a habit of practicing, listening, reading. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Just "drive on" as the sergeants used to say!


Saturday, November 27, 2004

Poetry --my own verse

A thin volume of my own poems has lain hidden for years, sometimes trucked around in a cardboard box, sometimes hauled around in a book bag. Recently we unearthed it while cleaning house.

I have reviewed it, and though much of it embarrasses me, there may be some verse that will be of interest to someone in the wide world. I'm re-copying some of it for a friend on the West Coast.

I have waited for far too long. The verses do no good sitting idle. I will revise some of it, print out maybe half, and try again to get it published. I have learned the meaning of persistance, finally.

Here's one:

"Hello"

It's a nice word -- "hello."
__________________You hear it on streets,
____________________sunny and green.
__________________It's spoke in hallways,
____________________bustling and noisy...
__________________sometimes quiet, and romantic
_____________________--in its own little way.
__________________"Hello" is also heard in forests,
__________________shopping centers, ranches, and --yes,
____________________even in nuclear subs...
__________________"Hello" sometimes is a shiny warm brown
__________________like a buckeye, polished shoes, or
____________________friendly eyes.

__________________A true hello, very real
____________________can also be green,
__________________dark, wet, and spritely -- like a pine;
____________________very noble, and diplomatic.
__________________Sometimes, when one is feeling happy,
____________________it will be a big bright solid
Yellow,
__________________beaming onward its cheery infinity.
__________________"Hello, George! Hello John!"

____________________It's good to know
__________________that hello can blend, can change,
____________________but also be consistent.
____________________Listen to hello when it is blue.
__________________steadily it speaks out its silent reality
__________________dreamily pouring fourth
____________________tranquility.
______________________Very idealistic.

There's still German

Since I'm getting this on record for the week now ending, I must mention German as one good choice of language which one can also start studying or review through the BBC.

My motivations for starting this years ago were knowing my Swiss neighbor, Lina Lee Wisshack and her wonderful family. Then there was German literature, and literature in the German language: of Gunter Grasse, Goethe, Rilke, Kafka, Erik Maria Remarque, Heinrich Boll, and so on.




Learning Mandarin Chinese

About a week ago I started posting these short entries about learning languages. I won't promise anything, but for a while I'll probably move on to other languages. So tonight let me put at least one more on the board: Putonwha, I think they call it, or "the people's language." Known in the English-speaking world as Mandarin Chinese.

I know, I know --I've got too much on my plate as it is, but hey --we've got a new Chinese restaurant in town, the Great Wall. And I had walked in and greeted the young lady at the counter in Mandarin, which got a pleasantly surprised reaction. So I thought I'd learn a few more phrases, and I got my daughter and son to sit down and learn with me at BBC's introductory spoken Chinese lessons. It's very easy and loads quickly on even a 56K connection.

Someone told me there are Chinese lessons available if you've got satellite television. I just got a "brand new" television, which is the first television I've ever bought in my life. It will be a while before we can afford a decent antenna, cable programming, or satellite.


Anti-Arab hatred and prejudice

Someone in the 'Presidential Elections' bulletin board at Yahoo posted that the United States should expell Moslems or Arabs "if they are not willing to assimilate..." I responded thus:

There are many successful Arabs who have assimilated. No one is mentioning them. Senator George Mitchell has just been put in charge of Walt Disney Corporation. Kasey Kasem is Arab (Lebanese). Gibran Khalil Gibran, the pre-eminent philosopher, came to Boston and Savannah to study. JF Kennedy quoted from his writings:

"Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country."

I would suggest in stead of just complaining about the problem, become part of the solution. Sure I support a strict immigration policy. But I also teach English as a Second Language and Civics.

Their insults against races and religions will only give fuel to the enemies of our great nation.
I've been following the postings for a third day now. They are fascinating, some of them in a way reminiscent of grafitti which I used to scrutinize for clues as to the author's state of mind, others as political thought which actually offers itself to be part of a constructive dialogue. But most of it is drivel, much of that driven by hate, self-righteousness, fear. And a great portion of it lacking the benefit of consideration and revision. Very spontaneous. Maybe that's part of the fun of it.

Yet what I've noticed most of all is the hate which is being incited against Moslems. I have left feeling rather troubled. And now my indigestion is acting up. I forgot to take my medicine. So I go to get it, and hit the post button as I go.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

On Karl Shapiro

Not more than a month ago, and it feels like maybe half that, Garrison Keillor posted in the Writer's Almanac that it was the birthday of Karl Shapiro. Last Saturday in a library in a neighboring county, I found a copy of his The Bourgeois Poet. The first printing was in 1962, by Random House of New York, one year before the assassination of J.F.Kennedy.

Here's just one of the stanzas, if you want to call them that, which I like:

( 7
The bourgeois poet closes the door of his study and lights his
____pipe. Why am I in this box, he says to himself (al-
____though it is exactly as he planned). The bourgeois
____poet sits down at his inoffensive desk --a door with legs,
____a door turned table --and almost approves the careful
____disarray of books, papers, magazines and such ar-
____ticles as thumbtacks. The bourgeois poet is already out
____of matches and gets up. It is too early in the morning
____for any definite emotion and the B.P. smokes. It is
____beautiful in the midlands: green fields and tawny fields.
____sorghum the color of red morocco bindings, distant
____new neighborhoods, cleanly and treeless, and the
____Veterans Hospital fronted with a shimmering Indian
____Summer tree. The Beep fells seasonal, placed as a
____melon, neat as a child's football lying under the tree,
____waiting for whose hands to pick it up.

I wonder what people would say...

The following is a copy of a message I posted on a Yahoo BB whose subject area is supposed to be "Israeli-Palestinian Conflic.t" Disclaimer-- people often stray from the subject:

I was a combat engineer who served in the early stages of OIF, as we called the latest war in Iraq.

First, I'd like to say that I did and I still do support our troops there and in Afghanistan and elsewhere. God bless 'em all. And I served honorably, and honored and obeyed our flag, constitution, and Commander-in-Chief. This I want to make clear.

Now, having established that my intent is to be and remain loyal to my country, my fellow combatants, and all the good things for which our flag stands, I will tell you this, truthfully; many soldiers and marines do not operate under the delusion that all this is for democracy and freedom. No sir, we are not so naive. I don't represent the Marine view, but allow me to refer you to an account of the earlier Gulf war by Swofford, a jarhead sniper. It's titled Jarhead. As for me, I really only will speak for myself. I will tell you that in conversations, other soldiers did concur with me in that we knew we were fighting this war for oil, for territory, if also for the good intentions of freeing people from Sadam's rule.

You really can do something both for idealism and pragmatism. Now, war, any war, is much more complex than the reasons given for it. So there are those who fight for the ideal, and those who fight knowing that the ideal had been sacrificed. Does that mean that we should just turn around and leave? H--- no. From the point of view of a professional soldier, no; the politicians started the war using us. Now we're going to finish it.

Now, there are those who, like Hanoi Jane, may try to sabotage us. They might, as they did during the Viet Nam war, succeed. However, our military has learned lessons from the Southeast Asian "conflict." And more important, and I really believe this, the threat from Islamic terrorism is much deadlier than that which was perceived from Communism. And I and my family detest Communism.

In future posts, I will elaborate more on the perils of Islamic terrorism. But do not mistake that I am generalizing on Islam. In and of itself, it is no more powerful nor dangerous than Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, or any other religion. It's the use or misuse of the religion which makes for a dangerous blend.

1. The truth shall set you free --St Paul
2. The truth hurts. --folk proverb

So ends my posting at Yahoo's Israeli-Palestinian BB Funny that the subject often strays from that which the title suggests. But then again, there are always those connected ramblings. Also, strange to say, within an hour of my posting this, it was deleted. Well, maybe it was just the storms going through Georgia. I would analyze the timings to see if there's any significant gap where several other messages in a given time period would have been lost due to servers down, etc. But I don't have time now. Got to go to work in a few hours. [Reposted at 40 minutes past midnight on Thanksgiving Day].

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Learning Russian too

Another gem I found in the Vidalia Public Library is Marguerita's Rudolph's You Can Learn Russian, published in 1964 by Little, Brown, and Company in Boston and Toronto. 63-13465 is the Library of Congress number; no ISBN was evident. This seems to be oriented to the 3rd through 8th grades. It comes with charming illustrations and a glossary, with an introduction to the Cyrillic and words given in the Cyrillic font.

More about this book later.

One lovely on-line find is this, apparently from a Russian spouse or girl friend, or maybe not, but conceptually, it's superb!

This week is turning out to be something like "Learn a Language Week" on our Meeting Place. I would like to remind you that if you do well, or even if you don't but you learn significantly more than those around you, you might be able to market your language skills, turning them into a passport to travel and gainful employment! Check this out!

Religion or philosophy?

I came across this site after my son remarked upon a photograph of a Mayan deity, saying Buddha! It surprised my wife, and me too, because it had been weeks maybe months since I had shown my boy, at the time no quite two, a graphic of Buddha on the computer screen. Anyway, here's an excerpt of an introduction to Buddhism:

If we look at our life, very simply, in a straightforward way, we see that it is marked with frustration and pain. This is because we attempt to secure our relationship with the "world out there", by solidifying our experiences in some concrete way. For example, we might have dinner with someone we admire very much, everything goes just right, and when we get home later we begin to fantasise about all the things we can do with our new-found friend, places we can go etc. We are going through the process of trying to cement our relationship. Perhaps, the next time we see our friend, she/he has a headache and is curt with us; we feel snubbed, hurt, all our plans go out the window. The problem is that the "world out there" is constantly changing, everything is impermanent and it is impossible to make a permanent relationship with anything, at all.

Read more...

Started something and committed to it

You may have noticed the arabic learners buttons on this blog. By now we've over a dozen interested parties, but no real fluent speaker to lead. I thought that by getting this forum developed I'd get in touch with some willing and able tutors. I guess that this was an act of desperation, born out of finding myself far and away in a place with no evident resources.

However, I just got off a new message within the group's BB with an introductiory lesson to the pronunciation using a system of transcription using Roman alphabet. Until we get a better method which includes being able to post in Arabic script, this will have to do. However, I feel that having offered this lesson is a milestone for me. Before, I had been just keeping the group open to draw members but not doing much.

Next: getting more native speakers involved, more fluent speakers, and willing and able instructors. Insh'Allah.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Or you can learn Cherokee!

With me, when it rains, it pours. So I thought I might check up on Cherokee resources, as a few years ago, I started to learn the language, Tsalagi, as it is called by the Cherokee people.

Raven teaches from his web site that there were two major dialects at the time of the dictionary composed by Prentice Robinson, Overhill and Kituwah. Overhill is also called Atali. It's spoken in Oklahoma. Kituwah is the Western Cherokee. There's also an Etali, which is Eastern Cherokee. Don't know where or how many speakers there are of that, but am curious to know the stats on all three populations.

Discovery: I found on-line Tsalagi (Cherokee lessons). Can hardly wait to try it.

Learning Swahili together

A few weeks ago I met a fellow with a name whose false cognate, not immediately evident, did remind me of the language Swahili, which I understand is spoken in Congo, Zaire, Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, and Somalia, and the Malagasy Republic (Madagascar). In 1974 the population of native speakers was 45 million people.
Anyhow, I just came across jambo means hello, a Swahili Alphabet Book, by Muriel Feelings with illustrations by Tom Feelings. It's a very nice way for one to introduce the Swahili language to children, or just enjoy the read if you haven't kids to whom to read, with whom to share. It's brought to you by Dial Press of New York, copyright 1974. ISBN is 0-8037-4346-7 with a paperback edition, 0-8037-4350-5.
From this book one can learn that the language is properly referred to as Kiswahili. The prefix ki refers to the language as opposed to the people who speak it. There are no Q or X sounds, whatever that might mean; so there are only 24 letters in the alphabet. G is hard as in give, and the r is a rolling r as in Spanish.
I learned that to greet one formally is Hu jambo. Upon arriving at the lodgings of another, the visitor calls out Hodi? --Can I come in? The reply should always be, according to tradition, Karibu, meaning welcome.
Chakula is food, lipo is payment, and rafiki is friend. That should get you started, if you haven't already learned at least these few words.

Learning Gaelic

Studying and practising the Irish Gaelic again with the help of Blas, from the North Ireland BBC radio website, Blas. It's fun and easy! Give it a try!

While exploring around a bit, starting from the Blas site, I found "an absolute beginners'" site for the Scottish Gaelic. There you can choose between html or flash. It's an easy start, and goes slowly or as one says in Scots Gaelic, beag air bheagh--little by little.

I started with the Blas program last December. Prior to that, I'd studied a little with a few sites which had text, one of which also had sound in .wav files but of poor quality. I left off learning Irish late spring, when I got more into the Arabic. Now though, I've eased off the Arabic much and picked up the Irish again, reviewing the lessons up to where I left off, at the seventh lesson.

There's an Irish Culture club at Georgia Southern University, but I haven't heard if anyone there's studying any Irish language. I sent some electronic mail to the Uni, but was told there wasn't any Irish language study. Still searching.



Thursday, November 18, 2004

post-election discussion at Yahoo BBs

Sometimes you find a strain of some substance at the bulletin boards. It's sort of like fishing through muck for a few coins of value. But here's a thread that shows a little promise.

Well, I would hope this is still a country where freedom is valued. Of course many counter with the slogan, "Freedom isn't free."

Some youth pastor was directing an assembly at my daughter's elementary school. Veterans were invited to attend, so as a parent and a veteran I went. I felt rather uneasy, as it reminded me of the Nazi rallies I had read about. Later that day, when the family had gathered in the kitchen at home, my wife told me our daughter was repeating the slogans.

What does that mean, Annie, that "Freedom isn't free?"

"I dunno," replied the four year old.

Maybe there's a better way to teach love of one's country and what is freedom than to wash the children's brains thus.

Today again is Thor's day, sunny Thursday

As we go about our daily life, the soldiers and marines of the U.S. military are conducting "clean-up" in Fallujah, and more "urban ops" in Mosul, Kirkuk, Bagdad, and elsewhere. Add my thanks to the Black Watch for enabling us to send more troops to the Fallujah campaign. The link from this post is to the Yahoo Photo Slide Show which appears on My Yahoo. The topic is Iraq. Apparently this week, but Yahoo, Reuters, and the other news and photo agencies could do a better job of date/time labelling their photos.

Almost as long as this Fallujah operation, I've had a nasty broncho-laryngial infection. The kids and I have it. I've gone through almost three packages of cough drops in four days.

Reports say that many residents died during the fighting. Well, the American military gave them plenty of time to surrender. And would they rather that our forces had fire-bombed them as the US did in Japan and in Germany during WWII? That was often my desire this year, may G-d forgive me and help me manage my anger.

We should offer the jihadists a truce, and toss in some incentives, like we'll send in athletic trainers to help them develop better world class athletes. The UN ought to help with that. And we could out-source some jobs to them. Hey, maybe move some of their best combatants to Africa and South America to help put down civil unrest there!


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Meanwhile back in Basqueland

In Donostia, known in the Spanish language as San Sebastian, Arnaldo Otegi, leader of Batasuna, a pro-independence party referred to by AP as "banned," spoke at a rally on 14th November, three days ago. In the speech he urged new talks for autonomy in the three provinces of Vitoria, Alava, and Guipuzkoa. The Basque Nationalist Party wants to launch a new peace process. This involves an agreement between the ETA and Spain and France. If this works, the 36 year old conflict would be demilitarized. There would be a referendum in the Basque countries on its future.

Pablo Sanchez took some good photographs of this rally and other happenings in the Basque lands. Apparently two celebrity chefs are accused of accepting bribes from the ETA. If that's the best the Spanish law enforcement can do! Ha, it's laughable. Celebrity chefs? Who the hell cares?

Some poor Marine shoots some lucky bastard

On the theme of crimes and punishment, we contemplate the photographs of the incident in Fallujah, in which a member of a Marine patrol during a re-entry into a building, shoots a wounded enemy. Some write that the man was unarmed. That may not have been obvious even to the group of Marines and the journalist in the room. Experience has shown that guerilla fighters have been known to booby-trap bodies, equipment, weapons, in short anything. Also, a wounded enemy can still pose a threat, especially to a young fighter who has received gunfire during the past, recent or distant.

Consider the defunct Jihadist or whoever that man was. He is now dead. He feels no pain. According to Islamic teachings he is in Paradise. It is the young Marine who, having to live with this and other experiences, and having to face public opinion, a military trial, and whatever else is still happening there and with his family, should get our sympathy and support.

We in the West, in America or Europe or many s0 called advanced industrial nations, have become lily-livered and yellow-bellied. We are bleeding hearts too conditioned to our suburban comforts, our urban excesses, our living room couch potato mentalities. If we were Iraqi Sunna or Shia resistance fighters, or Palestinian freedom fighters, we would not be weeping over Margaret Hassan's, Kevin Begley's, or any other kidnap victim's death. We would not be wringing our hands over the fate of the 9/11 victims.

So why are we getting so upset at the mercy shooting of a man who was in all likelihood a terrorist, an enemy fighter, one who fought alongside and likely sympathized with kidnappers and bombers of civilians? This is war, this is a war to the bitter end. As Cato the Elder urged the Senate, so must we urge on our alliance and its governments to crush the resistance in Fallujah, Mosul, Baquba, Bagdad, and other places. "Delenda est Cartago! Delenda est Cartago!" he would cry every day, until Rome sent its forces to crush Carthage in the Third Punic War.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Crimes and punishment

If you read Spanish, you might try my Spanish language blog, plazacomunal.blogspot.com/ at which I'm also experimenting with another look, advertisements, and photos. Why spruce that one and leave this one as it is, "no frills?" Well, I considered that maybe some of you might be used to it as it is. What do you think?

And I had declared to some fellow gamers at the Pelican Place that I'll start "telling all" about my life as a homeless man, my struggles with depression, finding a career, and more... someone said that it sounded boring. Whatever. This fellow spends hours just playing backgammon in front of a computer screen, and he doesn't even know me. Oh well....

The department just called. They want me to come in and dispatch another's night shift. Maybe I'll take some time, if there is some quiet, to write a sketch of my Chicago days.

Gotta go. --jean pierre

Sunday, November 14, 2004

"How would you take over the world?" *

Maya from Post Cards from Sacramento has posted a cartoon based on this web site depicting a cute fluffy white rabbit. The title of the cartoon says,"I'd take over the world by giving everyone fuzzy bunnies."

Here's my spontaneous response;

I would take over the world with poetry and art. I'd take over the world with the help of street people, working class, adventurous aristocrats and technocrats, disgruntled soldiers, sailors, flyboys and fly girls, marines, and liberal journalists. I'd take over the world with Quakers, Amish, Mennonites, Buddhists, Sufis, and Catholic Workers.
We'd open up the revolution
to the disenfranchised
and penniless optimists...

We'd do it one day at a time.

We'd organize communes and kibbutzim.
We'd have cool web sites,
organic gardens,
solar powered houses,
windmills,
hybrid cars or no cars at all,
home schooling,
reformed public schools,

We'd spontaneously create
disruptions in church services
like George Fox used to do,
we'd risk our lives and property
to speak and share the truth.
We'd sacrifice our careers
on the altar of the peoples' revolution.

[more to come in future posts]

Saturday, November 13, 2004

"Hey!" Placido Domingo really does insert a few choice phrases in English in the staging or performance of Der Zauberflote. Am listening to the thunder and whom I think is Papageno shouting "Lichte hier! Lichte hier!"

And a lovely chorus of women's voices. I pick out the word "verloren." I will learn German within five years enough to carry out an intelligent conversation and understand The Magic Flute.

"It is all presented in a plot complicated by a dragon, a threesome of warbling ladies in service to the Queen of the Night, another threesome of boy-angels, even a bully - Monostatos, guard for the Queen. It is lightened by such elements as locked lips, charmed animals, and, of course, a magic flute."

To whom am I listening now, to Papageno and one of the warbling ladies, or Papageno and his true love? It will take some time for me to understand what is going on. I need to get "aholt" of the libretto. Am reading a short little web site introducing this opera.



Friday, November 12, 2004

Itchy_n_Scratchy, or some spirit with a username like that, didn't like my self-promotion on the chat field under the backgammon players' listings at Yahoo! I actually let him get to me, I returned a nasty comment with a nastier insult, and didn't get anywhere that I could perceive.

I've felt quite a lot of negativity this week, coming in the form of confusion, depression, and a minor respiratory infection. Maybe add allergies to that.

This morning I accomplished composing and printing two letters to community leaders, asking them to help resolve the stray animal and animal control issues. I wrote to our new County Board Chairman and to my town's Mayor.

If you would like to know more about Tattnall County, you might check "Quick Facts," a reference service of the U.S. Census Bureau. If you'd like to learn something about Glennville, our little town in Tattnall County, Georgia, there are few references but The Sentinel newspaper is one of them.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

This post is dedicated to a Shenandoah womyn whose username I'll not reveal.

She's a novice to Yahoo backgammon, but she's catching on fast.


Gone and thrown out a challenge and an invitation. Have written onto the constantly growing and ephemeral lines of the chat in the Pelican Place, a backgammon room. It's just an exercise in marketing for me. What I've got to do is learn how to design and implement bots as marketing tools.

I'm still playing one now. Another player. But it's fast approaching midnight, and tomorrow's a big day.

And now, good night!

Monday, November 08, 2004

While cleaning out a kitchen drawer, I found an old laminated library card, which brings on this reminiscence:

One late night of my many Memphis nights, as I was walking back from a Poplar Avenue adventure to my LeMaster Street friend's house, I came across several piles of books tossed willy nilly by a narrow street that ran just east of the Piggly Wiggly market. Many of them were wet, since it had just rained. Along with them I found a library card, the following name stamped:

Mr. George W. Dumas
100 Angelus — 04

The books were his own. Inside some of them was the name of a book shop which formerly had been located in the South Side of Memphis.
[This recollection based on the library card which I’ve kept, and found in a drawer of our kitchen in the Cedar Street house in Glennville, Georgia. ]

What did I do to rescue as many books as I could? At one in the morning in Midtown? I loaded them into a grocery cart and made a few trips one city block, laying the books out behind the shop of some friends, until I could come back the next day and carry them home with more leisure and less worry of disturbing my genteel neighbors south and within the Central Gardens enclave.

Monday morning getting busy, I'm a little over half-dressed, with trousers and boots, T-shirt but no belt or shirt/jacket. Have got to be at work at eight.

This weekend I found a poem of Rumi's that seems to speak directly to me. I will share this translation, by Robert Bly, with you:
Praising Manners

We should ask God
to help us toward manners. Inner gifts
do not find their way
to creatures without just respect.

If a man or woman flails about, he not only
smashes his house,
he burns the world down.

Your depression is connected to your insolence
and refusal to praise. Whoever feels himself walking
on the path, and refuses to praise --that man or woman
steals from others every day --is a shoplefter!

The sun became full of light when it got hold of itself.
Angels only began shining when they achieved discipline.
The sun goes out whenever the cloud of not-praising comes.
The moment the foolish angel felt insolent, he heard the door close.

(as I've written above, this is a translation by Robert Bly)


As I've started to say, this poem speaks to me in my oft-depressed state. I'll post it on the arab learners site as part of my response to one of our members who last week sent me a message of encouragement.

Among my readings of Georgia history, I've found a passable text which is titled This is your Georgia, by Bernice McCullar. In this text, for the last several days I've been reading about the Creek and the Cherokee. Specially interesting for me is the story of Sequoyah, Elias Boudinot and his Connecticut bride, Col. Benjamin Gold's daughter Harriet, and the Cherokee Phoenix.

With the missionary connection, many young Cherokee men would be sent to a school in Cornwall, Connecticut. Buck Watie, who had been one of these young students, took the name of a Congressman at whose home he stayed while he attended this school. Thus he is known to many in the American and Cherokee histories as Elias Boudinot. Who was this Congressman, I'd like to know?

The answer will have to wait. Have got to drive to work now. Au revoir!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Looking back on Monday's unfinished draft: I haven't done much of anything except to read some headline articles from Yahoo, check a couple of my mail boxes, and have breakfast. Am taking care of Annie Franck since she's home sick from school, and Wilma had to go to the dentist.

Am trying to teach Annie Franck addition using manipulatives. I'm not sure she's grasping the concepts that when you add zero to something, you still have the same amount of that something. She doesn't seem to be getting addition of one plus n.

Three days later,
today, the little girl is well enough to have gone on the bus to school. I've approved a message sent by a well wisher for posting to the Arabic learners group, checked postings on the US and world news in Yahoo, checked my emails, had my coffee and breakfast.

Now I must deliver a report to the office. No time to dilly dally. These reports are due at the end of each month. So you see I'm overdue.

Next time you're in your favorite bookstore, check out The Rumi Collection, edited by Kabir Helminski, from Shambala Classics.


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Wednesday night. Now I know this font thing isn't working, probably because I need to stop being such a cheap son of a --oh sorry Mom! --and shell out the bucks for an enhanced site, so's I can look fancy like so many of y'all in cyberia.

Today, thanks to a few links courtesy of Languagehat, I got to stop and reflect on the people who lived on the land I grew up on, a people who were forcibly removed by the white settlers of Illinois and Washington. They are the Peoria who today live in Oklahoma. I grew up within a few hours drive of Peoria, and also Dixon Mounds near the Illinois River. Some of you familiar with Illinois history my remember the French explorers Marquette and Joliet navegated the Illinois River in the 1700's. You may also know that the young Abraham Lincoln was among the milita who shot down defenseless women, children, and old men who had retreated to Starved Rock, an island on that river, back before the remnants of the Sauk and Fox tribes surrendered and agreed to move in exile across the Mississippi.

Did you know there's a Sauk and Fox community still today in the county of Tama, Iowa?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The State of Georgia vs. jean-pierre abu altgeld aka hajgora the seeker

ARRAIGNMENT NOTICE

The above-named defendant is hereby commanded to appear at the State Court of Toombs County for arraignment on November 15, 2004 at 9:00 AM to answe to the charges listed below:

Count 1: 40-6-181 (Speeding)

YOU ARE REQUIRED BY LAW TO BE PESENT. HEREIN FAIL NOT.

Chess Fountain, Clerk, State Court

I'll ask the court for clemency. Economic hardship. Ticket's like $75.00 or higher, can't remember for sure. Can one plead no contest? Wife says our insurance will go up. Of course some of you will think, "You should have thought of that before you put your pedal to the medal."