Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Peace in our times

This Christmas, this last Channukah, during Ramadan, I have been pondering the problems of conflict between Moslem and Christian, Moslem and Jew, Arab or Persian or Afghani against Westerner against each other, Christian against Jew, Catholic and Protestant, and so forth... I visit the bulletin boards often this winter, at Yahoo, at, again the newsgroups via Outlook. It is a miracle that some of us even dream of peace.

This evening I found an article from Tikkun, thanks to a poster at soc.culture.palestine,soc.culture.israel,soc.culture.jewish,talk.politics.mideast,soc.culture.usa

The article, The Seven Pillars of Jewish Denial, by Kim Chernin, explores some basic assumptions and reasoning behind American Jews' support of Israel.
"We used to ride down to our orchards on kibbutz trucks with Arab workers from the neighboring villages and were occasionally invited to visit. We liked sitting on a rug on a dirt floor, eating food cooked over an open fire, drinking water from the village well. Above all, we loved the kerosene lamps that were lit and set in a half circle around us as it grew dark. But walking home it occurred to me that our kibbutz had running water, electricity, modern stoves. Our neighbors were gracious, generous, and friendly, although I had learned by then that the land the kibbutz occupied had once belonged to them. We were living on land that was once theirs, under material conditions they could not hope to equal. I found this troubling."

Read further...

Saturday, December 25, 2004


A small step toward peace can be learning the language of those who are different than you, even those whom you have considered your enemies. I'm interested in the peace processes needed in places like Palestine, Iraq, Darfur, Columbia, and the Congo.

Incidentally, I found a site which provides you with flashcards you can download and print out, to learn the alphabet of the Hebrew language.

The Dumas, father and son, Alexandre

Am continuing the perusing and occasional posting on the literature group of Yahoo Bulletin Boards.

Today I posted under Alexandre Dumas. I didn't know he was the grandson of a Haitian slave, nor that his father became a general who served Napoleon.

Merry Christmas!

The lad woke me at half past two in the night. He wanted chocolate drink, what we call "cacao," in the way of Wilma's folk. Wilma woke too, fixed him a cup, whose contents he drank quickly. She took him to bed with her. But I was wide awake, not going to fall asleep anytime soon. So I got our copy of Clive Barker's Weaveworld and read it in the warmth and comfort of the big bed. After a half hour, I decided to take a Trazodone so I could slip into sleep before four ante meridiam.

So it was that I slept till almost noon, thereby missing Mass at the cathedral in the big city. Ah, getting back into a community of faith is no easy thing, when you've settled into your singular ways. I wish my fellow communicants well. Merry Christmas! To all of you too, whether you be Catholic, Protestant, Moslem, Jewish, Quaker, Pagan, or whatnot.

I had meant to add to yesterday's post regarding the donation of phone time to wounded and sick troops. Walmart and A.T.T. offer a phone card with which now you can donate time to recuperating military, by simply pressing a "one" when prompted to do so after calling the toll free number to use the card.

Friday, December 24, 2004

mid-morning, day before Christmas

There is a choral mass cast broadly over the waves via our black radio, perched on its corner shelf in our front day room. It's an Anglican Mass, by the sound.

"The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon them."

The children are playing contentedly. Oh no, now the baby is crying; he wants one of his train cars.

The Legionnaire periodical has a notice that troops at the Walter Reed Medical Centre need phone cards. If you would like to donate, be so kind as to send cards of any amount to

Medical Family Assistance Centre
Walter Reed Medical Centre
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20307-50001

The need is deemed to be great; however, even a $5.00 card would be much appreciated. G-d bless and Merry Christmas!

"Come on! Build choo choo truck now!" Well, at least he's not crying anymore. ; )

Moving back to former grazing lands

I downloaded some newsgroups using Outlook Express tonight, to take a look for some information on Iraq and other Arab topics. Found an interesting autobiographical account by an Iraqi born into an Assyrian Orthodox family in Baghdad:

"In August 1, 1990 I left Iraq to Turkey with no other goal than looking for my own freedom and establish a new life. Seven hours later, Iraq invaded Kuwait. I was already in Istanbul and that was the first sign of salvation to me! All telephone lines where cut off to and from Iraq. I would go without contact with my family for the next year and a half. Bit by bit my money started to decrease. I began to move from one city to another trying to find a job to maintain a living. I slept under a tree in Ankara for three days..."

Go to to see this 'testimony for Christ.'

International Team of Inspectors, UN

If you were in a certain point and time in cyberspace, you may have clicked this, in all likelihood by accident.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Data mining in the bulletin boards

Well, I do mining for data only in a rather primitive sense on a cyber level. Have checked out a few more BB's in the Yahoo boards. The subject matter is often very limited or sparse. Who decides what bulletin boards to create, and how do they select them? Here's what they offer for "Authors," under "Literary Fiction"

What, no James Joyce? No Doestoyevsky? No Victor Hugo? No Mark Twain? What's up with that?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

a small caliber day in South Georgia

The Christmas Party for the city lasted the duration of the lunch hour, barely. Very nice. I arrived "fashionably late," which like one co-worker said, isnt' fashionable in our county. But I had a situation I was confronting, and besides, my wife asked me to watch the kids while she ran off to get Cheerful Lunches from one of those gawdawful fast food places. One of which we have, of course in our petit ville.

But no, we have no public pool, let alone indoor pool in our town. No cinema either. Not even a mall where the youth can congregate. We did have a small museum; but it's been shut up, and the building converted to classrooms and a library for our local tech college. That's a plus. However, where's the museum now?

Well, let me stop talking like The Grinch. It's bad enough I have to slog through an exchange of homophobia and name-calling at the Homeless thread in Yahoo's Issues and Causes bb. That was the situation to which I am making what I hope is "a delicate reference."

Am reviewing educational materials on loan from some friends with whom we're talking about starting a home school group. Am thinking that we should just write our own text.

Hmmmm.... I bet those goons don't apologize. I did get an entry to submit to the dictionaries though! Anyone else heard of boneiphone? I'm stopping by the book shop in the city tonight on my way to see a monologue by Spaulding Gray.

Day after winter's solstice 2004

____The sun's light has cast its net over the land, revealing the tall oaks, the pale blue sky, pink clouds, dreamy ethereal white house on the corner, with a glimpse of the passing vehicles on the south-north highway that threads our town along with other towns and townships, pine plantations, ranches and farms. I see a squirrel scuttle from a trunk branch over an arching branch leftward and jump! to another branch. And another one descends, causing the leafy limbs below to shake back and forth in reaction.

____Ari Shapiro just finished a report on progress or the perceived lack of it in the communities affected by the last hurricane season. I recall how momentarilly embarrassed and fearful I was the other day on forgetting the family name, Shapiro, when telling on old sergeant how I'd met a young fellow soldier by that name. Is this a fore-telling of alzheimer's? G-d forbid.

____I'm going over to the big pale orange and gold armchair, the one the young woman sergeant from Kansas gave me when I was a clerk soldier first moving out of the barracks on old Colorado Ave, now Aung San something, in Fort Campbell to the first home my newly wed wife from Germany and I were making, out in Amish country on the Kentucky land north of the post.

_____Now listening to the President announcing his sadness for the deaths in Iraq, in reference to yesterday's bombing during lunch at a dining facility in an American camp in Mosul. As I tap out the last words to this last sentence, I recall my father showing me the letters from a friend in college, a young man from Mosul who attended classes with him in those brief days before America's entry to the war in 1941. I wonder what ever happened to him?

_____Wilma brought me coffee and croissant. Am going to sit on that old armchair and read Bernard Avishai's article in the Harper's which arrived the other day, an essay titled Saving Israel from Itself. NowI guess I've got another one by the same title to read, if I want...I pray for another trek toward peace today, another spell of healing, in Israel, among the Palestinian and Jewish and Christian communities. In Iraq, in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Hip hop, lights in the dark, and solstice

My neighbor Buddy W. said, during a conversation prior to us
drinking a cold one together,"Well you know artists is different
from the jump street."

I started to check out the use of this phrase, and found an example
in "Scenario" from The Low End Theory by A Tribe Called Quest:

Aiyyo Bo knows this (what?) and Bo knows that (what?)
But Bo don't know jack, cause Bo can't rap
Well whaddya know, the Di-Dawg, is first up to bat
No batteries included, and no strings attached
No holds barred, no time for move fakin
Gots to get the loot so I can bring home the bacon
Brothers front, they say the Tribe can't flow
But we've been known to do the impossible like Broadway Joe so
Sleep if you want NyQuil will help you get your Z's troop
But here's the real scoop
I'm all that and then some, short dark and handsome
Bust a nut inside your eye, to show you where I come from
I'm vexed, fumin, I've had it up to here
My days of payin dues are over, acknowledge me as in there (YEAH)
Head for the border, go get a taco
I'll be wreckin from the jump street, meaning from the get-go
Sit back relax and let yourself go
Don't sweat what you heard, but act like you know

Am also finding it elsewhere... and here
when a comment was left that said:
the designer is off the hook! This indie

Co. has it from the jump street. Saturday, August 14, 2004 Anonymous said... ...

Monday, December 20, 2004

Christmas truce

On another of the homeless threads, titled, I think,'Exterminate
all homeless people,' I posted this:

12/20/04 01:50 pm
Msg: 29 of 29

Merry Christmas, all you propertied self-righteous hateful types! Merry Christmas those of you who care! Merry Christmas all you down and out people!

Let's pause a moment to be grateful for whatever blessings we do have.

Good Yule! Joyeux Noel! Feliz Navidad!

'Tis the season to be jolly

I have been waging a struggle against racists and haters at Yahoo Bulletin Boards. Sometimes I report certain abuses. Today I have sent to the abuse department:
The user by the name white_moral_majority, ramar on safari, and others have posted some very inflammatory, hateful, and very likely false dis-information which amounts to hate speech, if not inciting others to violence and actions based on prejudice and bigotry.
Yahoo should consult again with their lawyers on this matter, reviewing free speech, hate speech, RICO and homeland defense laws. If you all are not cleaning up some of the posts and titles, such as are found in Race Relations and in "Homelessness" BB the thread "Heather is a Fucking Arab Whore." I don't know who Heather is, but would you all PLEASE remove that and other obscene and hate-based posts? with some disgression as to allow for debate. I know how to use the ignore button, but I would like to see Yahoo clean up some of the less constructive posts and even better bring the FBI cyber crimes unit in to monitor the hate speech.

Monday: a petition & resolution

Would you all help us with a list of concrete measures which can help both support the troops and put pressure on all sides for taking steps to a negotiated peace?

for the first list, i would like to suggest that one go to their local VFW or American Legion in person to discuss actions to support troops.

for the latter, allow me to suggest that every one who is interested in resolving the conflict, whether you be for or against this war, learn as much as you can about the social and economic issues of the Gulf Area, SW Asia, the Middle East, Arab Nationalism, and Islamic culture, both fundamentalist and moderate. Learn Arabic, Farsi, Pashto, Urdu. Let's take steps to understand each other.

I'm suggesting that we all arm ourselves with the tools of knowledge, faith, hope, mercy, courage, and patience. We will get through this, one day at a time.

Merry Christmas!

Left my heart in Baghdad

I've actually stayed up till 04:21 writing and reading blogs! I must be insane. Or is it the post traumatic stress acting up? I've been obsessed with this Iraq war.

Some guy claims plenty of free housing

by: hajgora7 (44/M/Georgia, USA) 12/20/04 01:52 am EST
My experience in New York City did not bear this out. Things may have changed since 1989 but I kind of doubt it. Especially since Giuliani.

Of course we have to credit Giuliani with making the streets safer in Manhattan. By the time I returned, by jet plane this time and not Greyhound, in 1994 you could walk safely pretty much everywhere from Central Park to the tip of lower Manhattan, even at night.

I recall having to line up around 4 pm or earlier to try to get a spot in the shelters for the night. Now if you had a job which lasted past 3 pm, this might be hard. I think you could show proof of employment. I was harder on those who were looking for work, to have to try to get back early. And you were not guaranteed a bed, especially in cold weather. I migrated from a city shelter in the Bowery to one in Keener, near Flatbush, to another in Harlem, where I heard an old man had been assaulted and robbed the night before. It was around then that I learned to put my shoes under the bed posts, actually lifting the bed and putting the bed post on each shoe so no one could steal the shoes at night.

One day a young man, kind of big and barrel chested, kept asking me questions. He wanted to know what my drug and liquor habits had been. I didn't really want to talk about my past that day. He didn't like my refusal to talk, so he assaulted me with his fists and belt. I knew that I would also be found guilty if I hit him back, so I didn't hit back, and just curled up in a ball. While I got pretty bruised up, I kept my bed and place at the shelter--this was Volunteers of America shelter at Ward Island. No not Rikers Is. just Ward Is. next to the mental hospital where they filmed One flew over the cuckoo's nest. Anyway, this guy had served time in prison for murder one, was the story, and he was waiting for me outside the shelter property.

The Black Moslems had observed my studious habits, and learned that I was a man of faith. Through a couple of them, I got protection and mediation so that the offender called off his vigil for vengeance. There were no further incidents of the kind, though the shelter authorities thought it safe to move me to the mental ward so that I would be kept under safer watch, and away from the rougher clients, a good number of whom were gang members or violent recidivists.

While it is true that there are many empty houses and trailers, many of these are not available to the homeless. Some of this is due to management, some due to communications, some to location. It takes a lot of logistics to arrange occupancy, safe and clean housing, remuneration to the owners, and so forth.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Procrastination and diversions

Have done some writing these past three days, but have avoided finishing my end of term reports. However I have reduced my Y. inbox from over 200 messages to under 99.

From the Washington Post's political trivia test pages, I learned:

In the new American Congress, there will be 232 Republicans, 202 Democrats and 1 independent. That is up from 228 Republicans in the current House, along with 206 Democrats and 1 independent.

I'm also playing backgammon while listening to a flute and symphony piece by Eduardo de Cristino, a nephew of Antonio Salieri on Performance Today, courtesy of NPR.

The more I read Garrison Keillor's Writers' Almanac, the more respect I have for him not only as a performer and story-teller, but as an educator. He included Stanley Crouch and Donald Goines in recent entries in the Almanac.

Without further procrastination, I'll begin work on the reports.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The emergence continues

More on my sordid past...

On homelessness, gays, and the military...

And this...

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The cries over a word, while everywhere abounds

crass materialism and commercialism. Silent Ravage wrote on IT Party Discussion Board:

If people would just band together we could stop this runaway liberalism
cold.Libs have to destroy religion in order to advance their agenda. They have
pretty much already done this in France and Canada.If people like us hit these
merchants in the wallet it will stop real quick.I told the manager of a target
that I would not be shopping in target anymore because they took down the
Christams signs and put up Happy Holiday signs instead. Told him I need to buy
Christmas presents not holiday presents so I would shop elsewhere.If more people
do this the message will get our real fast.

My reply to this:

You're missing the forest for some trees. The question should be: why have so many Christians forgotten the meaning of Advent, that one and all Christians should prepare for the celebration of the Coming of Our Saviour, keeping in mind there will be a Second Coming of the Messiah. Why does one ignore the materialism rampant throughout the Christmas season? Why say nothing about the disrespect for Sunday, the Christian day of rest and worship? Or any Sabbath for that matter? Maybe we are so caught up in this "Liberal vs. Conservative" motif that we have gone against the Lord's admonition: Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to G-d what belongs to G-d." (from Matthew 22:15-32) I suspect that not a few will say,"But that is meant to confirm that it is just for taxes to be applied!" Or the opposite. However I maintain that this is another passage which supports the importance of maintaining a SEPARATION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE. Not a denial of G-d, but a clear boundary which would discourage things like the use of the pulpit to controll politics and the people.

a brief excerpt on the English language issue

My response to this is posted below:
04/13/04 12:18 pmMsg: 1 of 13
That's the thought that ran through my head this morning when I was sitting at the McDonalds drive-thru waiting for my McChicken biscuit, watching telemundo through a window and listening to a mariachi band playing on the loudspeaker.Isn't there some thing where toimmigrate you have to learn English? If there's not there should be.
Oh yeah, we learn English often better than you "Nativists." Part of
my family's library includes Shakespeare, James Joyce, and various English
translations of the Iliad.
My English as well as the English of millions of
my fellow Mexicans and Hispanics has served me in the US military, in the
workplace, and among family and friends. For your information, I am
descended also from a veteran of the Revolutionary War AND a veteran in the
Mexican War for Independence. The latter was a noble from the province of
Guipuzkoa in the Basque Countries who was in the Cavalry of the Queen.
Tell us a little about yourself, my fellow American.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Another soldier in Iraq writes home to wife and friends

What will they say about this? I posted a comment with a link to an American soldier's wife's web log.

Learning Spanish as a family

The kids, Wilma, and I sat on the morning of the 4th of December, before I drove away to my most recent drill, at the table at breakfast, before the sun rose, learning and practising Spanish vocabulary. Baroque horn music is played in the next room, from the radio in the corner. A quarter of the Seattle Symphony played a piece for horn and violin by Bach.

Some nights before the kids go to bed, I read to them a book in Spanish or in German. There's a very nice book with Spanish vocabulary which Annie Franck is looking at right now.

If I had had to pick a word for tonight, it would have been la tapa de registros(manhole cover). Maybe for tomorrow it will be.... lechuza! another word for buho, tecolote (owl).

Thursday, December 09, 2004

And there's the US Chamber of Commerce

And one last baited line at this posting...

political debate on the bulletin boards

I've thrown out some bait in the national politics bulletin board at Yahoo to see what will ensue, if anything. My kind of intellectual fishing. Let's see if anyone writes anything worth posting here.

Keeping the faith

I felt encouraged after hearing the broadcast on on NPR, and on getting an email with the link below, where anyone, you, I can send our comments to be carried to the leaders of the Democratic National Convention this weekend.

I also gained heart on revisiting the electronic version of a powerful little newspaper which started in my hometown about the same time I left to make my way through the wide world, after graduation from college. The town is Galesburg, Illinois. The college is Knox. And the newspaper is the Zephyr. It just keeps getting better. Not bigger. Just better.

I got a pleasant surprise from watching on C-SPAN today an interview with an attractive and smart lady, a magna cum laude graduate of Northwestern, and a graduate of Harvard Law School, named Flint, who leads some sort of think tank on civil liberties. She hails from Peoria, which is quite close to the above mentioned 'Burg. She had some interesting things to say about the new intelligence reform and the Patriot Act. As to the former, on the whole it's good, but there are some parts that really need changing. And probably same with the latter.

Like Thomas Wolf wrote, "you can't go home again." But I take some consolation knowing that back home, some folks are making the world a better place.

A little search for a step closer for justice for all

It's late in the evening after a 16 hour work day--that's right, 14 hours dispatching and 1.5 teaching. And a little time to think and write.

So, I heard part of a radio broadcast about Eli Pariser of telling off the leaders of the Democratic National Committee this week. I'll be surfing tonight to find out what's been said, exactly. Meanwhile, this popped up in my mailbox tonight:

NO MORE INSIDERS. We can't afford four more years of Democratic leadership by elite Washington insiders with little vision and losing records. Contact your state Democratic Party leaders and ask them support a Democratic National Committee chair who will reconnect the party with the grassroots and lead us to victory. We'll deliver your comments on Saturday.

Sign the Petition
Click Here

Aha! I found in an op-ed piece by Chris Suellentrop, the Washington bureau chief for, that disparages the Movement. Some good criticisms, but they are overblown. And you jump to conclusions too quickly, Mr. Suellentrop. From the ferment that is ocurring there, shall come some very real change. Well, at least if there's any significant change, it won't be due to critics and naysayers such as Mr. Suellentrop. And so I keep searching... (by now the clock's on quarter after ten p.m.)

Monday, December 06, 2004

Found the report!

I found it about a quarter of an hour ago. Got some dusting done while I searched for it. Now to find the blank timesheet and fill it out.

My CD drive is on the blink. Any suggestions for a replacement?

Monday morning house search

I've got to find the monthly reports I finished well ahead of schedule ten days ago, but which I misplaced last week. Then I got sick as a dog, and just as I recovered enough to work, it was non-stop. Today I've got a chance to look for the missing files. So here goes, one room at at time, one section of a room at a time to start with.

Nothing else here till I accomplish that.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

First Saturday of December

Am pleasantly tipsy on a Shiraz, a red wine from SE Australia. Listening to

Slopes of Sliabh Luachra
from Roger Landes: "Dragon Reels" (Dorian CD 93238)

Boy's asleep, and girl's coming in from looking at Christmas lights. He did too, but she never wants the fun to stop.

Now listening to Between Earth and Sky
from Robin Bullock: "Between Earth and Sky" (Maggie's Music CD221)

It's available from The Green Isle radio show on WSVH, for those of you who live along the Georgia or southern S. Carolina coast. While we're on the topic, I'd urge anybody in Georgia to contribute and listen to Georgia Public Radio.
Or watch it for that matter. It's channel 10 where we live.

While I was enjoying the horn and accordeon music just now I thought I'd explore some more Irish music sights. Seems there's quite a number of links, from the online portal of Ceolas which has been active since 1994, to the Irish Box which is offering space for those who wish to report or review. A person can easily devote a whole lifetime to the music of Ireland.

All right then. I'm going to have some ice cream with my daughter and wife. Slan!

December, the tenth month (???) or twelfth

So it's finally settled with me that it's December. Oh yeah I knew what month it was, but now I'm feeling it, you know?

We got a new posting over at arabic learners' group, and I also put up a posting in response. I was going to put one up anyway, on the vowels. I'll place another in a little while on the same thread, on the vowels.

But first time to play with my children outside while there's still sunshine.

There'a a college bowl game on. And what team from Philadelphia is that?