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arcana imperii :: the book of j

30.9.04

tempus fugit

«beware the fury of a patient man.»
~john dryden, absalom and achitophel, 1680.

take action tonight!


we all know what happened in the autumn of 2000. al gore won the first debate on the issues, but republicans stole the rest with post-debate spin and our gullibility. this must not be allowed to happen again -- everyone's help is required. wake up, america!

1. vote

national and local news organisations will be conducting online polls during and after the debate asking for readers opinions. look for online polls at these national news websites, and make sure to vote in every one of them:

  • abc news

  • cbs news

  • cnn

  • msnbc

  • fox news

  • usa today


  • be sure to check the websites of your local newspapers and television stations for online polls.

    2. write

    immediately after the debate, please take a moment to go online and send a note to the editor of your local paper. it's easy. just click here to write your letter.

    3. telephone and express your views

    do you listen to national or local call in shows on the radio? how about on telly? ring them up and let them know what you thought of john kerry's plan to keep america secure and george bush's continuing refusal to admit the truth about his record.

    here are some national shows to get started (all times eastern):

  • air america (all day): 866.303.2270

  • alan colmes (22:00 to 01:00): 212.301.5900

  • ed schultz (15:00 to 18:00): 877.934.6833

  • bev smith (19:00 to 22:00): 412.325.4197

  • doug stephen (05:00 to 10:00): 800.510.8255


  • find shows in your area on the dnc's media website.

    your actions immediately after the debate tonight can make the difference to help john kerry win on 02 november. make your voice heard!

    28.9.04

    UNACCEPTABLE: supreme court stripped of authority in pledge cases

    four days ago the US house of representatives, not giving a rat's arse about the separation of powers so basic to our system of government, approved legislation that would prevent the US supreme court from ruling on whether the meaningless words «under god» should be stricken from the pledge of allegiance. the arrogance and the blatant transparency of the house's partisan maneuvering is revolting. i vehemently protest this intolerable and most offensive violation of the letter and spirit of our national constitution.

    the full story.

    27.9.04

    quotation of the week / nota bene

    «fear not those who argue but those who dodge.»
    ~marie ebner von eschenbach, aphorisms, 1905

    Labels:

    26.9.04

    USrael must dismantle the wall of shame... but of course it won't

    the UN general assembly passed a resolution tuesday night demanding that israel abide by a world court ruling to dismantle a 451-mile "security barrier" that cuts through (READ, PARTIALLY/MOSTLY BUILT ON) palestinian territory.

    the resolution in the 191-member assembly passed by a vote of 150 to 6, with 10 governments abstaining. the united states opposed the resolution, saying that the international court and the general assembly are inappropriate venues for resolving the middle east crisis. [right, because the only appropriate venue is the theatre of war]. israel, australia, the marshall islands, micronesia and palau also opposed the resolution.

    read more.

    «appeals court upholds legality of p2p software»

    over a year ago, a los angeles judge ruled that file sharing software programmes were legal and developers could not be held liable for copyright infringement that may occur when people use their products. the record and movie industry appealed the decision, and now the ninth circuit court of appeals has upheld that ruling.


    «the (record labels and movie studios) urge a re-examination of the law in the light of what they believe to be proper public policy», the court wrote. «doubtless, taking that step would satisfy the copyright owners' immediate economic aims. however, it would also alter general copyright law in profound ways with unknown ultimate consequences outside the present context.»
    this quote highlights some concerns the congressional budget office outlined in a report on digital copyright issues. they stressed that «revisions to copyright law should be made without regard to the vested interest of particular business and consumer groups». in essence they urge that lawmakers help restore the balance between copyright protection and consumer concerns that recently have shifted in the copyright holders' favour [read: the industry].

    now the question is how long will the ninth circuit court's ruling be relevant. senators orrin hatch and patrick leahy are aiming to push through the induce act that would circumvent today's ruling and render illegal any software or technology that [may in the eyes of the industry] infringe copyright. senator hatch has vowed to move ahead with the induce act even though software and other tech companies believe the legislation goes too far in protecting copyright [read: business interests; at the expense of the consumer] and would stifle innovation. the latest ruling may lead the mpaa and riaa to increase pressure through lobbying for the bill's passage upon a legislature who doesn't quite grasp what's at stake. just like the industry they remain blind to the reality of a business model forever changed by technology; one in which the consumer has a say in how much he'll pay for what, when and how. also a business model which can in effect properly remunerate artists, authors and other producers of intellectual property.

    even though hearings on the proposed act ended in with a call for compromise, the bill may still produce a law heavily slanted in the copyright holders' favour and undermining the rights of the end user even though senator hatch placed the register of copyrights in charge of organising comments for a consensus bill. this move is disturbing since the register of copyrights, marybeth peters, does not seem to be impartial as she has testified that the proposed induce act isn't strong enough in protecting the interests of copyright holders [read: business].

    via getskinned and member corwyn, 20 august 04. news source: arstechnica.

    «we wuz robbed»

    i had no idea spike lee had made the short film we wuz robbed recalling the ten minutes that stood between al gore conceding defeat and demanding a recount in the 2000 election campaign. i switched on the telly and there it was, brilliantly revealing the illegal «bush-whacking» that led to george jr becoming president... a must-see.

    bbc film reviews, ten minutes older: the trumpet (2002): «a collection of seven short films linked by the theme of time, and separated by a musical interlude of voluptuous jazz trumpet. conceived by british producer-director nicolas mcClintock, this collection (along with the subsequent ten minutes older: the cello) showcases some of the finest cinematic talents around».

    25.9.04

    «singh a good poet, mush good at math»

    the times of india reported today a rather sweet story recounting the first ever meeting between indian prime minister manmohan singh and pakistan's leader, general pervez musharraf. according to inside accounts of their tête-à-tête, urdu couplets and nostalgic nuggets marked this first encounter.

    musharraf apparently floored the indian prime minister by presenting him with a painting of the school where singh studied in village gah, now in present-day pakistan. he also gave him a photocopy of singh's marks card from school, joking that singh had scored better than him in all subjects, except mathematics.

    singh, in turn, quoted bits of his favourite urdu poetry to make the point that india and pakistan must seize the moment to make peace.

    «aah ki in tarikion se surkian paida kare / is zameen ki bastion se aasma paida karen» recited singh, repeating the verse he had used when musharraf phoned to congratulate him when he assumed office as prime minister.

    singh also used another urdu couplet similar in sentiment to shakespeare's «there is a tide in the affairs of men / which, taken at the flood / leads on to fortune»*. it went: «kuch aisi bhi manzar hain tariq ki nazron mein / lamhon ne khata ki, sadiyon ne saza paayi». if we don't seize the moment, generations may have to pay the price, suggests the verse.

    singh called on musharraf at roosevelt hotel in midtown manhattan, where he is staying. the two delegations were together for only about ten minutes before all the officials were retired and the two had a one-on-one -- without even note-takers present -- lasting nearly an hour.

    officials later said that musharraf had invited singh to visit pakistan and that singh returned the invitation. they accepted each other's invitation and dates would be worked out in due course.

    *actually, this is a line from julius cæsar in which brutus urges his comrades to seize a fleeting opportunity in an armed conflict. hmmm...

    23.9.04

    the (mis)use of the "terrorist" label

    well, it seems i'm not the only one concerned lately with the (mis)use of the terrorist label by media and government. the big news network has published an interesting article about it.

    florida's high court rules jeb bush's anti right-to-die law unconstitutional

    it is simply brilliant to learn that today, the florida supreme court declared unconstitutional a law, rushed through the state's legislature last fall that gave gov. jeb bush the power to overrule a court judgment that feeding tubes could be removed from terri schiavo, a severely brain-damaged woman who has been on life support since 1990, in order to to keep her body "alive" against her husband's (and her own) wishes.

    the unanimous court agreed the law violated the separation of powers between the judicial branch and the legislative and executive branches.

    the koran (quran, qu'ran) 9:11

    some of you with christian friends, especially those of the more ignorant varieties or persuasions, may have received the following email or a variation thereof:
    IS THIS A COINCIDENCE OR SOMETHING ELSE?

    bin laden and saddam should have read up on the muslim passages...

    the following verse is from the quran, (the islamic bible)

    quran (9:11) -- for it is written that a son of arabia would awaken a fearsome eagle. the wrath of the eagle would be felt throughout the lands of allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the eagle cleansed the lands of allah; and there was peace.

    (note the verse number!!!!!).
    oy, veh! first thing that popped into my mind is that i wouldn't be surprised if this hoax actually originated in carl rove's office or dubya's for that matter. then it took me 0,53 seconds to find the first ten of about one thousand one hundred ten references to it being the ridiculous and insidious lie it is, which was twice as long as it took me to research the koran directly and learn that the actual verse eleven from book nine, «the immunity» is about repentance and reads: «but if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, they are your brethren in faith; and we make the communications clear for a people who know» or «but (even so), if they repent, establish regular prayers, and practise regular charity, they are your brethren in faith: (thus) do we explain the signs in detail, for those who understand» or «but if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then are they your brethren in religion. we detail our revelations for a people who have knowledge».

    the word "eagle" doesn't even appear anywhere in the muslim holy book. neither, does this phony verse combining american symbolism with recent history and pseudo-islamic prophecy.

    must i say it again? extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. make it second-nature to always apply the «baloney-detection kit». but i know how much ordinary folk prefer to curse the darkness than light a candle. such is the nature of the demon haunted world...

    sW, thx for making ny blood boil this morning...

    22.9.04

    a reminder

    «patriotism is supporting your country all the time and the government when it deserves it.»
    ~mark twain

    in just forty days we have a chance to tell the current administration that it does not (and never did) deserve to be in power and that for the very sake and security of our nation we're sending them packing. supporting the bush-cheney ticket would not only be a shameful mistake, but a reprehensible act.

    21.9.04

    the memos and secrecy

    oh. rather unexpected. i was looking for some opinions on the issue of mandatory sentencing, which i oppose vehemently (the supreme court will be hearing arguments soon) and ran across the memoranda on georgie's conduct unbecoming and apparent failure to meet his texas air national guard service requirements.

    «everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.»
    ~Lord Acton, historian (1834-1902)

    you man enough?

    «there is no man, however wise, who has not at some period of his youth said things, or lived in a way the consciousness of which is so unpleasant to him in later life that he would gladly, if he could, expunge it from his memory.» ~marcel proust

    «people seldom do what they believe in. they do what is convenient, then repent.» ~bob dylan

    20.9.04

    «opposing the deracination of reason»

    since the very first terrifying reports about the siege at the school in beslan, russia just over two weeks ago i've been enraged by the characterisation of the hostage-takers as terrorists. the compact oxford english dictionary defines a terrorist as a person who uses violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. but how about the person who does it while engaged in war. say, a war for independence or against foreign occupation? notice that current attacks in iraq both against nationals and foreigners are being carried out by "militants and insurgents". but palestinians fighting against the israeli military and civilian occupation of their country and chechen forces fighting for the independence of their republic are considered terrorists. and note how the west has barely uttered a word in protest, not even now that putin is following in dubya's steps and pursuing the planning of pre-emptive strikes against chechens and their country. why isn't anybody asserting their right to self-determination as recognised by the UN charter. and never mind that, chechnya is not a break-away republic:

    in the 1830s Czar Nicholas I invaded the caucasus, meeting fierce resistance. in 1859 russia conquered and incorporates the region. in 1917, during the russian revolution, dagestan (including chechnya) declared its independence. in 1923 bolshevik troops occupied dagestan and divided region creating the chechen-ingush autonomous soviet socialist republic. in 1944 stalin deported thousands of chechens to siberia and kazakhstan, on suspicion of collaborating with germany. but by 1957 the chechen-ingush republic had been re-established and chechens returned home.

    at the 1991 collapse soviet union fourteen regions became independent nations. dzhokhar dudayev was democratically elected president of chechnya, which he declares independent. but russian president boris yeltsin refuses to recognise chechen independence sending in troops which withdraw confronted by armed chechens. russia invaded in 1994 and a bloody war ensued. a year later grozny, the chechen capital is occupied by ten thousand russian troops. the number quickly swells to forty-five thousand. by 1996 and additional five thousand russian troops make it to grozny and before the end of the year there are seventy thousand casualties on both sides! and it only gets worse...

    and ever since 11 september 2001, not just israel, but russia and other countries facing serious challenges from muslim peoples living under their rule have been trying and succeeding in re-branding their atrocious use of force as part of the global war on terrorism. and nobody seems to care, much less our mediawhores.

    this is what gwynne dyer, one of the most rational commentators around, has to say (mr dyer is a london-based independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries).

    via homoLudens.

    a man for all seasons?

    a hit with the ladies
    a stallion in the sack
    you can't get your life back
    when right follows left jack
    the more you see the less you know
    when others would leak it
    his service is secret

    queen and country safe and sound
    with villains six feet underground
    and no one knows cause no one's found
    any trace of a man for all seasons
    loves you and leaves you alone, so alone
    and you and i wouldn't have a clue
    who's doing what, why, when and who
    up the creek with no canoe
    watch out for the man for all seasons
    loves you and leaves you alone, so alone
    but safe at home?

    baby it's so elementary
    for the man never messed up your life with one stare
    see the film you'll know how it goes
    but this ain't no fiction
    just check the diction quit pro quo a prose pro yeah
    fellows
    don't be jealous
    when they made him they broke the mould
    so charismatic
    will on automatic
    never prematurely shooting his load [...]

    state of mind: either...

    la canción desesperada*

    emerge tu recuerdo de la noche en que estoy.
    el río anuda al mar su lamento obstinado.

    abandonado como los muelles en el alba.
    es la hora de partir, oh abandonado!

    sobre mi corazón llueven frías corolas.
    oh sentina de escombros, feroz cueva de náufragos!

    en ti se acumularon las guerras y los vuelos.
    de ti alzaron las alas los pájaros del canto.

    todo te lo tragaste, como la lejanía.
    como el mar, como el tiempo. ¡todo en ti fue
    naufragio!

    era la alegre hora del asalto y el beso.
    la hora del estupor que ardía como un faro.

    ansiedad de piloto, furia de buzo ciego,
    turbia embriaguez de amor, ¡todo en ti fue naufragio!

    en la infancia de niebla mi alma alada y herida.
    descubridor perdido, ¡todo en ti fue naufragio!

    te ceñiste al dolor, te agarraste al deseo.
    te tumbó la tristeza, ¡todo en ti fue naufragio!

    hice retroceder la muralla de sombra,
    anduve más allá del deseo y del acto.

    oh carne, carne mía, mujer que amé y perdí,
    a ti en esta hora húmeda, evoco y hago canto.

    como un vaso albergaste la infinita ternura,
    y el infinito olvido te trizó como a un vaso.

    era la negra, negra soledad de las islas,
    y allí, mujer de amor, me acogieron tus brazos.

    era la sed y el hambre, y tú fuiste la fruta.
    era el duelo y las ruinas, y tú fuiste el milagro.

    ah mujer, ¡no sé cómo pudiste contenerme
    en la tierra de tu alma, y en la cruz de tus brazos!

    mi deseo de ti fue el más terrible y corto,
    el más revuelto y ebrio, el más tirante y ávido.

    cementerio de besos, aún hay fuego en tus tumbas,
    aún los racimos arden picoteados de pájaros.

    oh la boca mordida, oh los besados miembros,
    oh los hambrientos dientes, oh los cuerpos trenzados.

    oh la cópula loca de esperanza y esfuerzo
    en que nos anudamos y nos desesperamos.

    y la ternura, leve como el agua y la harina.
    y la palabra apenas comenzada en los labios.

    ése fue mi destino y en él viajó mi anhelo,
    y en él cayó mi anhelo, ¡todo en ti fue naufragio!

    oh sentina de escombros, en ti todo caía,
    qué dolor no exprimiste, qué olas no te ahogaron.

    de tumbo en tumbo aún llamaste y cantaste
    de pie como un marino en la proa de un barco.

    aún floreciste en cantos, aún rompiste en corrientes.
    oh sentina de escombros, pozo abierto y amargo.

    pálido buzo ciego, desventurado hondero,
    descubridor perdido, ¡todo en ti fue naufragio!

    es la hora de partir, la dura y fría hora
    que la noche sujeta a todo horario.

    el cinturón ruidoso del mar ciñe la costa.
    surgen frías estrellas, emigran negros pájaros.

    abandonado como los muelles en el alba.
    sólo la sombra trémula se retuerce en mis manos.

    ah más allá de todo. ah más allá de todo.

    es la hora de partir. ¡oh abandonado!

    *a song of despair


    ~pablo neruda

    state of mind: or...

    la vita nuova

    in that book which is
    my memory . . .
    on the first page
    that is the chapter when
    i first met you
    appear the words . . .
    here begins a new life


    ~dante alighieri

    state of the nation

    «i haven't trusted polls since i read that 62% of women had affairs during their lunch hour. i've never met a woman in my life who would give up lunch for sex.» ~erma bombeck

    19.9.04

    food & wine

    a gentleman, having ordered a meal at a fine london restaurant, decided that he would like some wine to accompany his meal. so he summoned the wine steward and asked for a bottle of hock.

    «hock, sir?» asked the steward.
    «yes, hock, man. you know: hic, hunc, huius, huic, hoc.»
    «hmm ... very good, sir.»


    the food duly arrived, but without the wine. this perturbed the gentleman slightly, as he was accustomed to a higher standard of service. he began to dine, and at the next opportunity he beckoned the steward again.

    «didn't i order a bottle of hock?»
    «yes, sir, you did - but then you declined it.»

    18.9.04

    saturday wisdom

    «a man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.»
    ~alexander pope

    st oprah

    i've cried several times while reading this story. all hoopla and marketing and publicity aside, this is about bringing joy to individuals, in need or not. regardless of the goodwill they may engender, the positive or negative consequences, the millions for those involved, the joy, beauty and reach of gestures of generosity, altruism and philanthropy are invaluable treasures, ultimately very human gifts to the very human spirit/mind/soul and move me no end.

    talk show host oprah winfrey celebrated the premiere of her 19th season monday by surprising each of her 276 audience members with a new car.

    ms winfrey said that they were calling this their wildest dream season, because this year on the oprah show, no dream is too wild, no surprise too impossible to pull off.

    making sure the audience was kept in suspense, ms winfrey opened the show by calling eleven audience members onto the stage and gave each of them a pontiac g6. she then had gift boxes distributed to the rest of the audience and said one of the boxes contained keys to a twelfth car. but when the audience members opened the boxes, each had a set of keys.

    ms winfrey yelled «everybody gets a car! everybody gets a car! everybody gets a car!» as she jumped up and down on the stage. meanwhile the audience members screamed, cried and hugged each other. they then followed winfrey out to the parking lot of her harpo studios to see their pontiacs, all decorated with giant red bows. one woman stepped up onto the frame of a driver's side door, put her head on the roof and hugged the vehicle.

    winfrey said the audience members were chosen because their friends or family had written to the show about their need for a new car. one woman's young son said she drove a car that «looks like she got into a gunfight»; another couple had almost 400,000 miles on their two vehicles.

    in other segments on the show, winfrey surprised a twenty-year-old girl who had spent years in foster care and homeless shelters with a four-year college scholarship, a makeover and $10,000 in clothes. a family with eight foster children who were going to be evicted from their rented home were given $130,000 to buy and repair the house.

    and what did the deity do today?

    the oprah winfrey show, which debuted in 1986, is syndicated to 212 domestic markets and 109 countries. source: the associated press via find law.

    preferential treatment, missing five months... what else?

    in an article by the associated press, robert strong, the administrative officer in charge of air operations at guard state headquarters from early 1971 until march 1972, says that we are not asking the right questions regarding bush's national guard service. pravda's michael berglin tells the story.

    "i think the public ought to be concerned about his preferential treatment getting in and whether he satisfied his commitment to the air guard. those are the two fundamental questions," said robert strong.

    "documents publicised last week by the cbs programme 60 minutes have been called into question by some experts and relatives of the late lt col jerry killian, who supposedly wrote them when he was one of bush's commanders in 1972 and 1973. the memos indicated that killian had been pressured to sugarcoat bush's performance and that the future president had ignored an order to take a physical".

    killian's surviving children have challenged the documents that have recently surfaced, and they are disclaiming any negative comments that were attributed to killian about bush in the latest round of who done it with regard to bush's service.

    killian's former secretary, marian carr knox, 86, of houston, said the documents' content accurately reflected killian's opinions.

    strong added that "he and knox worked closely with killian and are in better position to know about his work habits and feelings about bush than killian's five children, who were between the ages of two and nineteen in 1972". strong said killian's records would have been removed from his guard office before his family would have been allowed to retrieve his personal items after he died in 1984.

    the allegation is that bush's records had been altered to sugar coat them and that there are blatant gaps in bush's official guard record.

    bill burkett, a retired national guard officer, told ap about a conversation he overheard in 1997 between then-gov. bush's chief of staff, joe allbaugh, and then-adjutant gen. daniel james of the texas air national guard. reportedly the two men spoke about getting rid of any military records that would "embarrass the governor".

    burkett is quoted as saying he saw documents from bush's file discarded in a trash can a few days later at camp mabry in austin. burkett described them as performance and pay documents.

    the questions surrounding bush's preferential treatment, the missed flight physical, the missed mandatory readiness exercise, and the missing 5 months have never been answered. members of the alabama guard unit which bush said he reported to still maintain they never saw bush.

    date set for repatriation of the Czarina's remains

    the copenhagen post reported thursday that a date has been set for the re-internment of the danish-born Czarina Maria Fyodorovna for 26 September 2006 in st petersburg, russia.

    «the remains of Czarina Maria Fyodorovna, born Princess Dagmar of Denmark, will be returned to russia in two years, seventy-seven years after her death. the danish and russian governments have agreed that the dowager empress' sarcophagus will be re-interred on 26 September 2006 in the peter and paul cathedral in st petersburg.

    Dagmar, who took the name Maria Fyodorovna upon marrying the future Czar Alexander III, was the mother of russia's last Romanov czar, Nicholas II. she was born in copenhagen in 1847, the daughter of the future King Christian IX, but spent more than fifty years of her life in russia before being forced into exile in denmark after the 1917 revolution.

    Dagmar settled at hvidøre, her estate in north sealand, where she remained in seclusion until her death in 1928. her remains were interred at roskilde cathedral, resting place of the danish monarchs. since the collapse of the soviet union, members of the Romanov family in exile have worked to bring about the repatriation of Dagmar's remains, so that she might be laid to rest alongside her husband, in accordance with her final wishes.»

    sorry, but...

    i just checked my voicemail. somebody was complaining about a rather stinging message they'd received. please allow me to clarify: if the sender wanted your opinion, he would have certainly given it to you. i'd say that it's better to sit there quietly and let people think you're stupid, than to open your mouth and prove it. otherwise someone may end up wishing your life be like a fairy tale and you be eaten by a wolf.

    17.9.04

    first in two hundred years

    «we have always encountered very great solicitousness and generosity from all quarters, and we sincerely hope to meet with understanding for this difficult decision we have made.»

    at a press conference this morning The Royal Court of Denmark announced that Princess Alexandra and Prince Joachim have separated with intent to divorce. this is the first royal divorce in denmark in 200 years, which is quite a testament to loyalty, faithfulness, commitment and duty.

    there are no implications for the line of inheritance to the throne. the couple has two children; Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix. Her Majesty Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik are reported to be «deeply saddened» but support the decision.

    prime minister anders fogh rasmussen issued a press release saying the couple have settled the terms including «parental custody and all economic affairs» and that it is the position of the danish government that Princess Alexandra be given adequate support for her future work in the country.

    Princess Alexandra left Schackenborg Manor in southern jutland, where Prince Joachim will reside. She has taken residence in Amalienborg Palace. Princess Alexandra will retain the title «Her Highness» following separation proceedings.

    18 september 2004 - update: royal divorce: all about the pre-nup; experts weigh in on shattered fairytale; review of overseas coverage of royal divorce.

    source: the copenhagen post.

    14.9.04

    now this is progress!

    treat a friend to a beer by sms


    buy me a beer!
    now there will be no more excuses when you say 'thanks - i owe you one' but never actually get round to buying your friend a    drink. launched in london, buymeabeer.com sends your friend a drink gift voucher by sms, reports mike grenville for 160characters.org.

    «the service called buymeabeer.com which means that you don't have to be in the same bar, town, city or even country as your  mate to treat them to a drink

    so in order to send your mate a drink, you choose one from a website. then u enter their mobile number, your message, then pay. it's that simple. the service then sends a simple text to your friend, with details of the gift, for them to show at the bar which processes the code immediately as a live transaction with nothing to redeem at a later date.

    the service is running in all eleven corney & barrow wine bars throughout london and discussions are in progress with three other major retailers and five major beverage brands.

    originally posted by emily @ textually.org.

    murderous text messages from god

    helge fossmo, a swedish pentecostal minister in the town of knutby, north of stockholm, was jailed for life earlier this summer in sweden after being found guilty of inciting sara svensson, his childrens' twenty-seven-year old nanny, to kill his second wife and his next-door-neighbour, daniel linde. the case fascinated sweden with an intoxicating mix of sex, death, god, technology and the workings of an off-shoot of the lutheran church of sweden, controlled by a woman known as christ's bride after she got engaged to jesus in a ceremony. and for future reference, i'd think hollywood'd be all over this story... so if it ever becomes a screenplay and it's produced, if in whatever form a penny is to be made... IT'S MY IDEA and i'll be knocking... hahaha

    anyway, the pastor was having an affair with the nanny and with linde's wife. the nanny admitted to the january murder of alexandra fossmo and to shooting linde, who survived the attack. the court remanded her to a psychiatric institution and explained in the verdict that helge fossmo had ruthlessly made use of sara svensson's love for him and her dependency on him as religious leader to advance his nefarious plan of murder and betrayal. but how you reckon?

    nanny svensson testified that she had been receiving text messages on her mobile phone, which she believed to be from god, urging her to kill. what reutrers simply calls a technology company, apparently traced erased messages on her phone to fossmo, who admitted sending them, but said they were intended only to guide the nanny in her faith and along a spiritual path. this man of god, this christian fool also preached to nanny svensson that killing his wife and neighbour was the only way she could please god.

    the confessions of the nanny led the police to re-open an investigation into the death of fossmo's first wife. according to him, she had accidentally died in 1999 after apparently falling over in the bath and hitting her head against the tap. in the end, the court cleared him of any responsibility for her death... it had surely been the will o' the deity after all...

    i just told the story to a friend who instead of experiencing immense amusement as i have done, wondered how a clergyman could behave so shamefully. i pointed out that the man's behaviour wasn't just shameful and reprehensibly criminal, just like it would be to vote for the bush-cheney ticket in november, but that it was typically hypocritical and contradictory. why oh why does anybody expect "bigger" and "better" things from a priest? i mean the man gets paid to believe he is intermediary between humans and a non-existent superior being they all worship and praise with the bonus of shagging every female faithful in sight. what else could anyone really expect of the man? just like the rabid, irrational anti-abortionists who unwaveringly support capital punishment. go figure.

    source: simon johnson for reuters, 30 july 04

    12.9.04

    both sides now

    tears and fears and feeling proud
    to say i love you right out loud
    dreams and schemes and circus crowds
    i’ve looked at life that way

    but now old friends are acting strange
    they shake their heads, they say i’ve changed
    well something’s lost, but something’s gained
    in living ev’ry day


    ~joni mitchell, both sides now
    featured in the brilliant film, love actually*


    * yes, brilliant (with exceptions) despite opinion of nyt reviewer a.o. scott that it's rather «an indigestible christmas pudding from the british whimsy factory responsible for such reasonably palatable confections as "four weddings and a funeral," (brilliant) "notting hill" (funny) and "bridget jones's diary" (ok). a romantic comedy swollen to the length of an oscar-trolling epic — nearly two and a quarter hours of cheekiness, diffidence and high-toned smirking — richard curtis's film is more like a record label's greatest-hits compilation or a "very special" sitcom clip-reel show than an actual movie». ugh. here's a more balanced review.

    note that some of the very best in this film ended up on the cutting room floor, but fortunately there's a splendid deleted scenes feature on the dvd. don't miss it!

    10.9.04

    bit more rain on florida's parade...

    i reckon i dislike florida. bugs bunny had a great idea indeed when he knelt on georgia on sawed off that ugly appendage from the rest of the nation. then the nostalgic, undemocratic, stubburn and narrow-minded exiled cubans in the state would have their own island. and they can have it, right along those others voting for any ol' bush round and building homes out of cardboard when it doesn't take a degree from fiu (yikes!) to understand they are anchored smack in the middle of the path of one of the most devastating forces of nature... no not republicans, but hurricanes. glad georgie-boy has been down there buying votes with a few bottles of water and boxes of cereal... hopefully they'll decide to keep him at least until the passing of beautiful yet ominous ivan...

    so i welcome the opportunity to report that although the license plates proclaim florida the sunshine state, the national weather service confirms five other states catch more rays. arizona is no. 1, followed by california, nevada, new mexico and texas, according to the weather service, which monitors about two hundred sixty-five weather stations nationwide.

    miami-based meteorologist jim lushine once suggested florida should call itself the «partly cloudy state» instead. see, florida has more days where between 20 to 70 percent of the sun is blocked by clouds than anywhere else in the continental united states. miami sees only an average of seventy-four clear sunny days per year (yuma, az, has two hundred forty-two)!

    however, florida does rank in the top five nationally... for skin cancer... according to the centres for disease control and prevention.

    thx to the arizona republic for such an enlightening bit o' news.

    abuse, illegality and accountability

    «a day of congressional hearings yesterday confirmed two glaring gaps in the bush administration's response to hundreds of cases of prisoner abuse in iraq and afghanistan. the first is one of investigation: major allegations of wrongdoing, including some touching on defense secretary donald h rumsfeld and other senior administration officials, have yet to be explored by any arms-length probe. the second concerns accountability. although several official panels have documented failings by senior military officers and their superiors in washington, those responsible face no sanction of any kind, even as low-ranking personnel are criminally prosecuted. to use the phrase of sen. john McCain (r - arizona), this "is beginning to look like a bad movie"

    two major areas remain unexplored: one is the army's accommodation of dozens of "ghost prisoners" held by the cia and deliberately hidden from the international red cross in violation of the geneva conventions and army regulations. another is that the pentagon has never answered the critical question of how harsh interrogation techniques promoted by rumsfeld and other political appointees at the pentagon and the department of justice "found their way into documentation found at abu ghraib". sen. lindsay o graham (r - south carolina) has pointed out that those techniques were "way out of bounds" and that "inappropriately" classified memos show professional military lawyers opposed them from the beginning because "they violated the uniform code of military justice and they violated international law".

    read the complete editorial at the washington post and any of presently over one hundred articles regarding, for instance, the «ghost detainees».

    in memoriam

    jakarta bombing_tribute

    we'd like to express our deepest sympathy to the survivors, the relatives and friends of the deceased, the citizens of jakarta, all australians and all peace-loving people. our thoughts remain also with those who perished in the hope that their untimely death will be rendered meaningful by the citizens and governments who beyond targetting the perpetrators and supporters of terrorism, also demand they also target its root causes. ~arcana imperii


    inspired by the moving photography of jong.

    8.9.04

    bush: flip-flopper-in-chief

    the american progress action fund --«progress through action»-- and the centre for american progress --«progressive ideas for a strong, just and free america»-- have published a comprehensive list of of bush flip-flops prefaced by the following statement:

    «from the beginning, george w bush has made his own credibility a central issue. on 11 october 2000, then-gov. bush said: "i think credibility is important. it is going to be important for the president to be credible with congress, important for the president to be credible with foreign nations". but president bush's serial flip-flopping raises serious questions about whether congress and foreign leaders can rely on what he says.»


    via andymatic.

    one thousand and counting

    the official US military death toll in the war against iraq surpassed 1000 yesterday, making it the tenth armed conflict in the nation's history to take that many lives. all but 138 of the deaths have occurred since bush announced to the nation and the world that we'd won the war. oh yes, of course, he actually called it the «end of major combat operations». hmmm....

    anyway, so the total, according to a recent associated press analysis of military deaths in the eighteen months since the US attacked, invaded and occupied iraq, includes soldiers from every state except alaska. more than five hundred children have been left without fathers or mothers by the deaths. the youngest fatality was eighteen, the oldest fifty-nine, and more than half were not yet thirty. over 7000 have been injured. no details are available as to how many of those are brain-dead, maimed or otherwise unable to resume either military service or ordinary civilian life.

    defence secretary donald rumsfeld referred to the benchmark pretty much as just a number in the rising body count.

    sen. john kerry, democratic presidential nominee, called the thousandth death a «tragic milestone» and said it highlighted the urgency of ending the conflict. he said in a statement that «our nation honours their service and joins with their families and loved ones in mourning their loss» and that «we must never forget the price they have paid, and we must meet our sacred obligation to all our troops to do all we can to make the right decisions in iraq so that we can bring them home as soon as possible».

    and instead of having the courage to do what's needed to put an end to the insurgency in fallujah, the pentagon allows it to become the centre of insurrection, not against the US, but against the iraqi government. i mean, why are WE at war with these people still?

    source: newsday.

    7.9.04

    US claim that bin laden is near capture is politicking ...

    unless... like former secretary of state madeleine albright stated many months ago, bush&co has already captured the man and now awaits a pre presidential election opportunity to pull a media stunt to show him off to gullible americans as "just apprehended".

    pakistan is actually rejecting as pre-election politicking a US official's weekend claim that osama bin laden was close to being captured. he is believed to be hiding somewhere along the mountainous 2,450-kilometre (1,500-mile) border between afghanistan and pakistan, where conservative pashtun tribes hostile to the united states are sympathetic to islamic extremists.

    via commmon dreams.

    new penis

    ananova reported today that a thirty-four-year-old romanian man from bucharest, whose penis was mistakenly severed by a surgeon will have a new organ made from...skin on his forearm.

    the was being operated on for a testicle problem when the incident happened three months ago. dr ioanl lascar who operated on the man after a colleague made the mistake, told libertatea newspaper that the patient's condition was good and evolving as expected, showing up to medical checks once or twice a week. the doctor added that the man may need some subsequent minor operations. the surgeon who cut the man's penis has lost the right to perform any operations and is still under investigation for malpractice. i'd say! lol.

    poincaré conjecture solved?

    news round the world report this morning that the poincaré conjecture, a complex one hundred years old problem concerned with the study of shapes, spaces and surfaces and one of the toughest problems in maths, may have been solved by russian scientist dr grigori perelman, of the steklov institute of mathematics.

    the problem, was devised by henri poincaré, french mathematician and physicist, and tries to understand the shapes of spaces, including three-dimensional and four-dimensional space-time.

    «once you go into four dimensions, you are talking about spaces you can't visualise. the easiest way to visualise this is by studying what happens one dimension down - with two-dimensional surfaces» said dr devlin, executive director of stanford's centre for the study of language and information. but poincaré found that generalising this method from two-dimensional surfaces to three-dimensional ones is not as simple as it sounds, because the objects they cover exist in higher dimensions. so he formulated the conjecture to see if what applied in two dimensions also applied for three.

    «one of the odd things about this conjecture is that if you go even higher in dimensions - four, five, six manifolds, the poincaré conjecture is true as it is for two manifolds (dimensions)» said dr devlin. «but it fails for three manifolds. the one case that is really of interest in physics is the one case in which it fails.»

    he added that it was impossible to anticipate where the poincaré conjecture might have its most profound implications. and this being one of the announced seven millennium problems in maths, it qualifies for the $1m offred by the to anyone who could solve one of them.

    sources: google news, the beeb and mathworld.

    apathy wins as eighth deadly sin

    apathy should take its place behind envy, gluttony and greed as the eighth deadly sin of our age, according to a survey out last week. but selfishness, hypocrisy and indifference are not far behind.

    listeners to BBC Radio 4's midsummer sins programme were asked to vote for the next deadly sin. apathy topped the list by a considerable margin.

    source: the scotsman.

    5.9.04

    le mot et la chose

    madame quel est votre mot
    et sur le mot et sur la chose
    on vous a dit souvent le mot
    on vous a fait souvent la chose

    ainsi de la chose et du mot
    vous pouvez dire quelque chose
    et je gagerais que le mot
    vous plaît beaucoup moins que la chose

    pour moi voici quel est mon mot
    et sur le mot et sur la chose
    j'avouerai que j'aime le mot
    j'avouerai que j'aime la chose

    mais c'est la chose avec le mot
    mais c'est le mot avec la chose
    autrement la chose et le mot
    a mes yeux seraient peu de chose

    je crois même en faveur du mot
    pouvoir ajouter quelque chose
    une chose qui donne au mot
    tout l'avantage sur la chose

    c'est qu'on peut dire encore le mot
    alors qu'on ne fait plus la chose
    et pour peu que vaille le mot
    mon dieu c'est toujours quelque chose [...]


    ~abbé de lattaignant

    via le carnet de zénon. lire la suite chez miladus.

    gratitude

    «it's a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation.» ~roberto benigni, in newsweek.

    i don't take anybody in my life for granted. especially the person who simply may mean the world to me, my few true close and best friends, my parents and other relatives. i thank them all for sharing their lives with me. and today, especially to you.

    the proust questionnaire 01

    while i have absolutely no tolerance for chain letters, especially those promising plagues and other sundry horrors if one dare disobey and break the chain and mostly on the grounds of it all being ridiculous superstition (baloney detection kit, anyone?), i would pay attention to anything interesting that would, for instance, further understanding and knowledge among and about people in one's life. i received a questionnaire this morning, asking some interesting questions and others so inconsequential, uninformative and ridiculous i can't imagine replying other than with this post and a new questionnaire.. what is my favourite number? do i sleep on the right or left side of the bed? spare me, mates!

    so let's have a look at something truly interesting. many readers are certainly familiar with the proust questionnaire found among the back pages of vanity fair each month. the magazine poses a series of questions to famous subjects about their lives, thoughts, values and experience aiming to reveal interesting bits about the respondent.

    in proust's time it was considered great amusement, even to very young people, to fill out questionnaires quizzing them about their favourite virtues, painters and characters of fiction and history as party game social events such as birthday celebrations. (hard or nearly impossible to imagine posing any such question to an contemporary american thirteen-year-old. these people think the "canadian river" separates the US and mexico, don't know what language is spoken south of the border and can't even find washington, dc or the usa in a world map).

    so, a young marcel was asked to fill out questionnaires at two social events: one when he was thirteen, another when he was twenty-years-old. again, proust did not invent this party game, but has remained one of the people to provide most extraordinary answers, especially considering his age . at the birthday party of antoinette felix-faure, the thirteen-year-old marcel was asked to answer the following questions in the birthday book, and here's what he said:

  • what do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

  •             to be separated from mama

  • where would you like to live?

  •             in the country of the ideal, or, rather, of my ideal

  • what is your idea of earthly happiness?

  •             to live in contact with those i love, with the beauties of nature, with a
                quantity of books and music, and to have, within easy distance, a french theatre

  • to what faults do you feel most indulgent?

  •             to a life deprived of the works of genius

  • who are your favourite heroes of fiction?

  •             those of romance and poetry, those who are the expression of an ideal rather than an imitation of the real

  • who are your favourite characters in history?

  •             a mixture of socrates, pericles, mohammed, pliny the younger and augustin thierry

  • who are your favourite heroines in real life?

  •             a woman of genius leading an ordinary life

  • who are your favourite heroines of fiction?

  •             those who are more than women without ceasing to be womanly; everything that is tender, poetic, pure and in every way
                beautiful

  • your favourite painter?

  •             meissonier

  • your favourite musician?

  •             mozart

  • the quality you most admire in a man?

  •             intelligence, moral sense

  • the quality you most admire in a woman?

  •             gentleness, naturalness, intelligence

  • your favourite virtue?

  •             all virtues that are not limited to a sect: the universal virtues

  • your favourite occupation?

  •             reading, dreaming, and writing verse

  • who would you have liked to be?

  •             since the question does not arise, i prefer not to answer it. all the same, i should very much have liked to be pliny the
                younger
    .

    via chick.

    the proust questionnaire 02

    proust answered another questionnaire seven years later, aged twenty. similar questions yet quite different answers...

  • your most marked characteristic?

  •             a craving to be loved, or, to be more precise, to be caressed and spoiled rather than to be admired

  • the quality you most like in a man?

  •             feminine charm

  • the quality you most like in a woman?

  •             a man's virtues, and frankness in friendship

  • what do you most value in your friends?

  •             tenderness - provided they possess a physical charm which makes their tenderness worth having

  • what is your principal defect?

  •             lack of understanding; weakness of will

  • what is your favourite occupation?

  •             loving

  • what is your dream of happiness?

  •             not, i fear, a very elevated one. i really haven't the courage to say what it is, and if i did i should probably destroy it by the
                mere fact of putting it into words.

  • what to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?

  •             never to have known my mother or my grandmother

  • what would you like to be?

  •             myself - as those whom i admire would like me to be

  • in what country would you like to live?

  •             one where certain things that i want would be realised,
                and where feelings of tenderness would always be reciprocated. [proust's underlining]

  • what is your favourite colour?

  •             beauty lies not in colours but in thier harmony

  • what is your favourite flower?

  •             hers - but apart from that, all

  • what is your favourite bird?

  •             the swallow

  • who are your favourite prose writers?

  •          at the moment, anatole france and pierre loti

  • who are your favourite poets?

  •             baudelaire and alfred de vigny

  • who is your favourite hero of fiction?

  •             hamlet

  • who are your favourite heroines of fiction?

  •             phèdre berenice

  • who are your favourite composers?

  •             beethoven, wagner, schumann

  • who are your favourite painters?

  •             leonardo da vinci, rembrandt

  • who are your heroes in real life?

  •             monsieur darlu, monsieur boutroux (professors)

  • who are your favourite heroines of history?

  •             cleopatra

  • what are your favourite names?

  •             i only have one at a time

  • what is it you most dislike?

  •             my own worst qualities

  • what historical figures do you most despise?
                i am not sufficiently educated to say

  • what event in military history do you most admire?

  •             my own enlistment as a volunteer!

  • what reform do you most admire?

  •             (no response)

  • what natural gift would you most like to possess?

  •             will-power and irresistible charm

  • how would you like to die?

  •             a better man than i am, and much beloved

  • what is your present state of mind?

  •             annoyance at having to think about myself in order to answer these questions

  • to what faults do you feel most indulgent?

  •             those that i understand

  • what is your motto?

  •             i prefer not to say, for fear it might bring me bad luck

    via chick.

    the proust questionnaire and vanity fair

    the editors of vanity fair gathered to discuss a regular interview format for coming issues. one staff member suggested creating a «vanity fair questionnaire». the magazine's london editor, henry porter, and editor-in-chief graydon carter, brought up the idea of the proust questionnaire, which met with the hearty approval of the numerous proust afficianados on staff. senior editor aimee bell , a fan herself, took on the task of researching and producing this feature, with the assistance of university of kansas professor theodore johnson, a noted authority on proust. since july 1993, a celebrity has responded to a version of the questionnaire, found in the back pages of each issue.

    a problem remains: there's no archive of the magazine feature on internet. vanity fair has not yet replied to my requests to access their records and perhaps even digitalise the material.

    via chick.

    3.9.04

    friday's five questions [no (un-)attributable insults today]

  • if a food processor slices and dices food, what does a word processor do?

  • if a train station is where trains stop, what goes on at a work station?

  • if a vegetarian eats mainly vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

  • if coconut oil comes from coconuts, and corn oil comes from corn, where does baby oil come from?

  • why do we park in the driveway and drive on the parkway?


  • ahhh, the brilliance of language!

    Labels:

    is

    whenever i discuss atheism (the absence of belief in a deity, for there isn't one), i'm inevitably asked what was before the big bang. i usually reply: «what was was, before was was was? before was was was, was was is».

    does sharon watch any sci-fi?

    «no dictator, no invader can hold an imprisoned population by force of arms forever. there is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. against that power, governments and tyrants and armies cannot stand. the centauri learned this lesson once. we will teach it to them, again. though it take a thousand years, we will be free.» ~ambassador g'kar, babylon 5, the long twilight struggle.

    definitions

    i recentely wrote in the phlog (do have a look now!) about how bigots have found yet another way to disseminate ignorance, hatred and intolerance via the pages of the urban dictionary yet also how some submissions are truly brilliant regardless of the fact that they need to be "voted" off...

    here are a few additional revealing, amusing and horryfying entries:

    preppy: someone who religiously abides by the snob code. the males wear clothing designed by closet gays while females dress in outdoorsy type togs to denote dominance over their male counterparts. preppys usually goof off on campus and get away with it because they know their parents will whine to the dean. sometimes when drinking expensive liquor they throw up inside their beemers and shout out: «oh darn, my mom is gonna kill me again!». [i love how one could be killed again. well, if one can be "born again" like dubya...] these freaks eventually buy a condo and take prozac.

    gringo: someone who thinks the world revolves around him, thinks that his country is the centre of the universe and is arrogant, ignorant, and oblivious to the world outside his country. aka, an american. as in, cara... olha que gringo escroto!

    tony blair: a person so engrossed in oral work between the ass cheeks of george w bush that he fails to hear the wails of his own people. as in, he was doing a tony blair on his girlfriend and failed to hear her husband unexpectedly coming in.

    tim greenaway: fat, greasy cunt who enjoys tossing his one-inch cock off over porn on his phone. has no friends, and is constantly laughed at by everyone in his year. talks like a complete spacktard and will die a lonely virgin as he has never even touched a girl. cause of death is likely to be pastry poisoning. as in, thank fuck i'm not that fat, retarded sack of shit tim greenaway!

    duff (noun): Characterised by arrogance and egotistcal bevahviour used to shroud feelings of insignificance and lack of self confidence. will argue any declarative statment made in his company regardless of subject or importance. uses circular logic to convey ideas and if that fails will rely solely on ad hominem arguments to make himself sound smarter. also known for showing up at your house uninvited as well as falling desperatly in love with your girlfriend or anything else completely unobtainable.

    "to duff it" (verb):
  • to fabricate the specifics of an event in the company of people who were present at said event.

  • to argue relentlessly without actually saying anything.

  • to pass out in the bath tub with your own urine and vomit on you.


  • --dude, saturday night i totally drank a handle of whisky and nailed this hot chick.
    --no you didn't you drank half a beer and passed out in the bath tub. i was there remember?
    --i'm sorry i just "duffed it".


    «descartes has flawed logic... he just does, OK?»

    george w bush: a stain on the underwear of life. as in, son, don't be a george w bush when you grow up, okay?

    indian: see scum, vermin, pest and bestial. as in, indians are like fucking dirty rats; if you get one or two of the buggers residing in your town, within weeks you'll have an infestation and you'll to rally round the locals and set up an indian extermination group.

    poutine: pronounced: 'poo-tang'. it's just jizz on fries. as in, you're eating a poutine? now, why would you put hot french semen on your fries?

    cracker, please!: phrase used to tell a white person (a whitey, a cracker) to fuck off and/or get real, usually when he tries to act "ghetto". when a cracker walks in dressed in FUBU, you say, "man, cracker please!"

    colin farrell: ugly irish drunk who gets too many roles in movies. also thinks he's canadian as he pronounces fuck as fook. as in, i'm colin farrell and this is my new movie aboot the fooking spies of toonisia.

    1.9.04

    spot on!

    ----- original message -----
    from: [private]
    to: [private]
    sent: wednesday, 01 september 2004 @ 12:19 et
    subject: religion and curtains


    loved sen. dole's speech at the gop convention last night. her interpretation of freedom of religion reminded me of an old joke explaining the concept: "you can buy shower curtains in any colour of your choosing, provided you choose... blue".

    --------------------------------------------------
    "let us retract the foreskin of ignorance and apply the wirebrush of enlightenment." ~geoff miller

    bardzo d., kw!