Snail Races

...where even the winners are slow and slimy. It's all a matter of degrees, really. Reality based since 1692.

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Location: Upper Canada

Sunday, December 25, 2005

a joyous morn Posted by Picasa

tim Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Making quite merry

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Christmas Present

Looks like our Neddie a bit, eh?

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"to the Founder of the Feast"

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Searle Illustrates Dickens

These illustrations, by Ronald Searle, from a 1961 edition of A Christmas Carol informed much of my psychic Christmas landscape, and it was this Scrooge (with a bit of Alistair Sim) and Spirits that populated my imagination when I read, or heard read, the Dickens seasonal classic.

So when I saw Neddie and Lance making free use of passages from a text I well know and love, I was moved to the scanner, by way of illustrating the points they make so much better than I might do.

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Scrooge and his Nephew Posted by Picasa

a mellow Scrooge Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 18, 2005

the artist formerly known as Saul

I only read this bit by Jerry and Joe Long from HuffPo because I have always been interested in the archaeology of the Middle East and thought it was an actual report of new scrolls discovered.

When I first was wooing the Mighty Dutch Woman, I told her I was looking forward to an upcoming televisual documentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls. She looked perplexed, and changed the subject. I only found out years later, when the very same documentary was repeated, that she had thought I was interested in dead sea squirrels, as in deceased maritime rodents. That had been one of the first things about me that gave her pause, she said.

(The following manuscript was found intact in a cave at the northwest end of the Dead Sea in 2004. It appears to be the transcript of a dialogue between Brian Of Lamb, the host of Scroll Notes, who was considered the finest interviewer of the first century A.D., and St. Paul, the father of modern Christianity.)

BRIAN: Talking with Paul Of of “The Collected Letters of Paul Of Tarsus”. First of all, you refer to yourself as being “Of” you are from Tarsus?
PAUL: Yes.
BRIAN: And you’re an actual human being?
PAUL: Yes.
BRIAN: You’re not a composite?
BRIAN: Some of these religious authors are composites of fragments of writing accumulated over centuries...did you know that?
PAUL: Yes I did.
BRIAN: What are your letters about?
PAUL: God.
BRIAN: Which god?
PAUL: The true God.
BRIAN: Which true god?
PAUL: Jesus...the Son of the true God.
BRIAN: Some people feel this Jesus was a reforming Jewish rabbi.
PAUL: They’re wrong.
BRIAN: What god is this Jesus the son of?
PAUL: Yaweh.
BRIAN: The Jewish god?
PAUL: Yes.
BRIAN: Why would the Jewish god suddenly have an interest in what are known as “gentiles”?
PAUL: He just does.
BRIAN: the Jewish books..their god is petty, insecure, vindictive, bloodthirsty and intolerant.
PAUL: That’s right.
BRIAN: Yet in your letters...the same god is all loving, all caring and all forgiving...what happened to him?
PAUL: Uhh...he is who was... and will be.
BRIAN: So this is one of those “faith” things then?
PAUL: Yes.
BRIAN: Your Jesus is the son of god?
PAUL: Yes.
BRIAN: Did he ever make that claim for himself?
PAUL: Not as strongly as I am making it.
BRIAN: Were you a close friend of Jesus when he was alive?
BRIAN: Friend?
BRIAN: Acquaintance?
BRIAN: Hang out together once in awhile?
BRIAN: Ever meet him at all?
BRIAN: So this is an unauthorized biography then?
BRIAN: Well how are you qualified to speak for this Jesus?
PAUL: I used to persecute his followers.
BRIAN: Persecute them?
PAUL: That’s right. And then one I was riding along the Damascus Road...I heard a voice.
BRIAN: You heard a voice?
PAUL: Yes. I heard a voice. And the voice said, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”.
BRIAN: And...who was Saul? A guy riding next to you?
PAUL: No. I was Saul.
BRIAN: I see.
PAUL: So...the Spirit filled me...I changed my name to Paul and began interpreting what Jesus said...while adding on to his teachings, many things that he never actually said himself... but that he wills me to write.
BRIAN: Do you consider yourself nuts?
BRIAN: When you heard the voice, did you worry that you might be going nuts?
BRIAN: This new religion of yours has a son of god who becomes man and dies to forgive our sins?
PAUL: That’s right.
BRIAN: The cult of Mithras...a several hundred year old Greek religion has a god who becomes man and dies to forgive our sins.
PAUL: It’s’s just a coincidence.
BRIAN: Any conscious or unconscious plagiarism on your part?
PAUL: No. But it does make it easier for gentiles to identify with the letters.
BRIAN: Turning to the letters, you write “A man ought not to wear anything on his head in church, for he is the image of God and reflects God’s glory, while woman is a reflection of man’s glory. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. And man was not created for woman, but woman for man. That is why she ought to wear upon her head something to symbolize her subjection.” Is that Jesus talking or you?
PAUL: Jesus talking through me.
BRIAN: You’re not married are you?
BRIAN: I didn’t think so. Now...Jesus’ actual apostles, they still consider themselves to be Jews don’t they?
PAUL: Yes they do.
BRIAN: Do you get along with them?
PAUL: I’d rather not say.
BRIAN: What are your long range plans? Any future scrolls in the works?
PAUL: Well, as I say in the letters, the world is going to end shortly... so there wouldn’t really be much point.
BRIAN: The world’s going to end?
PAUL: Yes.
BRIAN: Now, did you write that to sell scrolls or do you really believe it?
PAUL: I believe it.
BRIAN: Is it going to end soon?
PAUL: We are living in the final days.
BRIAN: You’re sure?
PAUL: Oh yes! Many alive today will witness the end of the world.
This is as absolutely and undeniably true as anything else
I have written.
BRIAN: Paul Of Tarsus, thank you.

(Paul was executed in 64 A.D.. A few years later, the Emperor Galba, grown weary of Brian of Lamb’s persistently reasoned questioning, had him sown alive inside animal skins and thrown to a pack of wolves. The world is still here.)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

news flash

Tim Horton's is good coffee.

That is all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas, Old School

Armour Blvd., Kansas City, Christmas Eve, 1957 Posted by Picasa

Grandmother and me, just whipped after a long, festive evening opening presents at her apartment with Uncle Bob and Aunt Iola. We always went to her place for Christmas, and one of my best memories is of watching her old black and white console television set, as NORAD tracked an unidentified flying object as it travelled around the world from an origin north of Canada. I seem to remember the RCAF helping with the radar reconaissance. Good ol' Canada.

And l'il bro' and I loved the Hamm's beer commercials, with a bear doing all sorts of goofy, slapstick stuff as other adorable woodland creatures had a laugh at his expense.

"From the Land of Sky Blue Waters," the Hamm's jingle, could have been a Christmas Carol, for all we knew. Ah, good times...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

remembering Spiro

I read Brad DeLong regularly, although I am rarely certain that I have grasped his point in full. But at least I learn a little of the state of the economic debate, in much the same way that a baby is nourished by the bits that find their way into his mouth as he smears oatmeal all over his face, head, torso, and surrounding two thousand square feet.

This is the sort of thing I am seeing more and more, as the scales are falling from eyes right, left and center. The distance from here to James Howard Kunstler is becoming less and less.

Barry Ritholz thinks the state of the business cycle is weaker than commonly thought. He sees a bunch of people ignoring their transversality constraints--thinking that they can stay suspended in midair forever. He mentions households and the government. I would add all those--private and public--who are holding U.S. long-term bonds:

The Big Picture: Goldilocks Economy? Hardly.... In one camp, the "Realists," and on the other side, the folks who call the realists the "Pouting Pundits of Pessimism." One has to wonder what leads people to take their intellectual cues from the philosophy of Spiro Agnew....


The public hasn't bought into the happy talk either.... Michael Mussa, who served on Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers from 1986 to 1988, noted : "If you ask the classic Ronald Reagan question 'Are you better off now than you were four years ago?,' a large number of Americans are in fact not better off.'

The American public is hardly a pessimistic lot; they are, however, deeply aware of their own financial situations.

Lastly, a word about Agnew: all his complaints about the "Nattering Nebobs of Negativity" -- Agnew's phrase (via speechwriter Safire) for the critics of his time -- proved completely unfounded. The criticism of the Viet Nam War, President Nixon and Watergate turned out, ironically, to be well founded. Agnew resigned in a bribery scandal....

Ironically, indeed.... heh.

Friday, December 09, 2005

scary stuff

Rebecca Goetz posts a chilling picture of a billboard in West Virginia that reads

Attention: Lunatic Atheists and their Lawyers

Anti-God is Anti-American
Anti-American is Treason
Traitors lead to Civil War

This is what fear does to people. When a fundie proto-fascist like this feels the need to spew, it is a measure of how scary his words are that he feels this comfortable being public about it. A person like this, scared of their neighbours, is a sad thing to behold, but no less scary for the pathos.

The Rev. E.F. Briggs must be some compassionate conservative, there at Box 9066, Monongah, WV, 26554.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Harold Pinter on the Debac Iraqle

Harold Pinter blisters the American foreign policy that brought us to this turn of events.

Neddie and all the other kids are raving aboout it. I have to agree, but I don't think the American people will hear it. They are becoming more afraid by the day, afraid that they may have made a few rash decisions and bad gambles in what was, after all, the American Century, just passed.

Bush is rebounding off his truly low lows, as the buyer's remorse the electorate is feeling is countered with the reflexive rationalizing that leads eventually to a purse of approximately silkish construction. He may be a dim bully, but he's their dim bully, and they will align again behind him in the face of such as Pinter. You know, the intelligent, educated segments of society.

I fear for our kids, Neddie. It will be an ugly world they live their lives in.


Friday, December 02, 2005

dancing like no one is watching

I wish I could still have this much fun on the dance floor.

You go, Owen! Posted by Picasa