Friday, March 31, 2006

Things I liked before I became a middle-aged recluse

Things I liked before I became a middle-aged recluse:


From Privatizing the Apocalypse by Frida Berrigan:
"Privatization" has been in the news ever since George W. Bush became president. His administration has radically reduced the size of government, turning over to private companies critical governmental functions involving prisons, schools, water, welfare, Medicare, and utilities as well as war-fighting, and is always pushing for more of the same. Outside of Washington, the pitfalls of privatization are on permanent display in Iraq, where companies like Halliburton have reaped billions in contracts. Performing jobs once carried out by members of the military -- from base building and mail delivery to food service -- they have bilked the government while undermining the safety of American forces by providing substandard services and products. Halliburton has been joined by a cottage industry of military-support companies responsible for everything from transportation to interrogation. On the war front, private companies are ubiquitous, increasingly indispensable, and largely unregulated -- a lethal combination.

Now, the long arm of privatization is reaching deep into an almost unimaginable place at the heart of the national security apparatus --- the laboratory where scientists learned to harness the power of the atom more than 60 years ago and created weapons of apocalyptic proportions.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Carousel Walk

Feeling down today despite great weather. Had trouble getting to sleep, disturbing dreams, woke up after about 5 hours, stupified & vaguely angry. Had to walk to the Indian convenience store to make some copies, but my actual "mission" for the day was rescuing a wind-up carousel. It was in an open box on the curb along with some other little girl toy stuff - anorexic dolls, a few small stuffed animals, those obviously much played with. The carousel has three angels on horses, plays "Carousel Waltz" & is in perfect condition aside from needing a cleaning. Not a toy but the sort of inexpensive, resin made-in-China "collectable" item sold at the Carousel Shoppe on Seaside Heights boadrwalk, a lot like the one in the photo, about ten inches high. It didn't deserve to be trashed, & luckily for this carousel a guy who rides carousels was looking at the ground in a funk as he passed by.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A lovely early spring afternoon. Some forsythia & budding trees, but it won't be the kind of explosively colorful awakening that occurs after a deep freeze winter. Significantly, I paid off a long-standing personal debt today & he'll be quite surprised. It would have been settled a year ago except a sneaky collector cut into line & grabbed my stash, so I had to start all over. But hardly a day passed when it didn't cross my mind, & the savings represented an accumulation of small things I went without - those "rewards" we give ourselves. So it became more or less automatic. When I realized I'd gone over the goal & another collector was lurking, it was time to pat myself on the back with a Vaughan Williams symphony, & a fat reference work on the ecology of the Jersey Pine Barrens, & go to the bank for a can't-bounce cashier's check.

Who are my personal fav "name" major classical composers? I'm ordinary. Palestrina, Byrd, Handel, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Rimsky, Mahler, Janacek, Ives, Faure, Vaughan Williams, Prokofiev, Ravel, Satie, Poulenc; which brings us to the "modern" era & that's another list. I feel bad not putting Mozart on there, but I'm still sorting out a relationship with him. Except for Charles Ives, none of these composers require an adjustment of one's ears.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

relativity music

Last night - very early this morning, DJ Stan at WFMU got into some really special music. If you go to the Archives for Stan page, start up his 3/28 program & advance to 1:05:30 you'll hear the entire Relativity Suite (1973) by Don Cherry & Jazz Composers Orchestra followed by the complete Pharoah Sanders Black Unity (1971), over an hour of two extraordinarily beautiful landmark recordings of that musical era.

Bit of chill in the air, I went outside wearing the spring uniform, hooded zip sweat jacket & a baseball cap, setting sun trying to burn through clouds, & some very pretty bird chirping. For some reason, this old suburban area attracts a variety of migrating birds, good songsters among them. It's not the Elizabeth River; the rivers in my previous town had more attractive water corridors, which fortunately drew egrets, cormorants, & even an occasional Blue Heron, none of which I see around here, but there was less abundant music in the trees, fewer glimpses of shapes & colors I couldn't identify. Nor do I recall hearing a really wide variety of birds when I lived near some extensive woods in North Jersey (although that place had tree peepers). Overall, I prefer the wide-winged water fowl. I don't know the names of the birdies hiding in the branches.

Labels: ,

Monday, March 27, 2006

(3) Rutgers 27 42 69 Final
(2) Tennessee 29 47 76

So the Cappie Poindexter era ends at Rutgers; & wasn't she great to have around?
Old friends Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer & Tennessee coach Pat Summitt complain about their seedings & how they don't like playing each other in the NCAAs. But since it always seems to happen, certainly they'd rather meet up in the title game, not on the same side of the same regional bracket. But as Rutgers struggled with Dartmouth in a first round "home" game in Trenton, the Lady Vols were in Norfolk destroying Army 102-54. We'll know tomorrow if they rated a #1.

Meanwhile, Penn State coach Maureen T. "Rene" Portland faces an anti-discrimination suit alleging that she demonstrated bias against a lesbian player. Portland has in the past expressed an unfavorable view of lesbians, worthy of a Division III southern Bible college coach, but supposedly she follows a non-discriminatory policy now. Still, one wonders what what a recruitment interview by a prejudiced college coach might be like.
"Well, your grades & SAT scores are fine. Your high school team won the state title, you set school records in scoring & rebounds & made first team All-State. Say, do you like K.D. Laing? Ah, never heard of her. Did you see Melissa Etheridge on the Ellen Degeneres Show this morning? No? Ever read "The Color Purple"? Not required class reading, OK. Are you going to the prom this year? Great. Who's the lucky guy? What do mean, you have to rent a tux? "

A fine little joint

I'll just post this as a public service.
February 26, 2006
QUICK BITE/Roselle; Satisfying a Hamburger Jones
By JACK SILBERT New York Times

If you are reading this on Sunday between noon and 3 p.m., I am listening to "The Glen Jones Radio Programme Featuring X. Ray Burns" on WFMU-FM (91.1). As a loyal member of the IBJ -- International Brotherhood of Jones -- I take Jonesey's words to heart. So when he recently waxed nostalgic about the "best hamburgers in the world" at the White Rose in Roselle, I knew where my dining destiny lay.

Picture a classic Jersey train-car diner. Now toss out the booths and shrink the place. This is the White Rose. (Linden and Highland Park have separately owned White Rose locations; the mini-chain dates back to the late 1950's.) Inside, nearly everything is light blue or chrome. Two-foot-high stools line the big front windows. "Put some George Jones on the jukebox and you're set," Jonesey had said. Heeding his advice, I punched in No. 7001 ("White Lightnin'") and settled in at one of the other stools by the counter.

A very friendly fellow named Jim wrote down my order on a white paper bag. Almost instantly, my food arrived: a large burger ($2.20) with cheese (30 cents) and bacon ($1.20) and a side of gravy fries ($2.50). The patty, clearly made from fresh beef, was pressed flat, steaming hot and delicious. I had to have another. This time I went with a small cheeseburger ($1.40), served on a standard bun rather than the large burger's Kaiser roll.

White Rose also offers breakfast items, hot dogs, Buffalo wings, sandwiches (B.L.T., steak, Taylor ham and egg), soup, chili and more.

An early 1980's song claimed, "Last Night a D. J. Saved My Life." That's overstatement here, but still, a really excellent burger. Thanks, Jonesey.

White Rose System, 201 East First Avenue, Roselle NJ.
Glen & his lovely woman friend took me there about 2 am after a party last year. I hadn't been in that White Rose in a long time. I had Taylor ham & cheese on a roll, & Glen played "He Stopped Loving Her Today" on the juke. Perfect wrap to a fun evening.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

"The House That Made Newark Musical"

This weeks Carnival of NJ Bloggers is hosted at The Opinion Mill.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Buck Owens & Cindy Walker

Buck Owens
Cindy Walker, one of the most prolific and successful songwriters in the history of country music, died Thursday (March 23) in her hometown of Mexia, Texas, following a lengthy illness. She was 87.

Sweet dreams baby
Sweet dreams baby
Sweet dreams baby
How long must I dream?

Friday, March 24, 2006


Here's my Elite 8 bracket picks for the NCAAW. Not very creative. Ohio State & my one "Cinderella" pick Florida State are gone. There's less "parity" in the women's game because there's no NBA forcing coaches to put together two year programs, leaving mid-major schools to develop smooth machines of junior & senior veterans. I'll be delighted if Rutgers advances.
North Carolina
Ohio State
Florida State

In the men's NCAA, I think I've seen more bad, rushed shot attempts this year than ever before, plain dumb run down the court & heave the ball tosses that would send a high school coach into a rage. So it's been a joy to watch Kevin Pittsnogle of WVU. If he doesn't have a great game, it's not because he's playing stupid. & last night he was part of one the best up/down final 5 seconds ever. The Gonzaga collapse was also a wonder to behold. Not that I was surprised they lost. Just how they lost. & wasn't it Jerry Izenberg of Newark Star-Ledger who just a week or so ago was saying the Seton Hall basketball program was in better shape than Rutgers? I mean men's programs. Now Louis Orr is gone. Jerry doesn't like the girlie teams because he can't write something like that they"re "sturdy sons of blue-collar fathers who carried lunchboxes to grimy factories in Paterson & Camden so the next generation could carry their dreams to the great arena where TV cameras record the feats of working class gladiators. " Well, of course he could, & I think Jerry even tried a few times. But he prefers twisting similes & stretching metaphors around an event like the Kentucky Derby, where a glass of mint julip might remind him of, oh, a stagnant pool of algae-coated water next to the Turnpike on sunny May afternoon. Still, I imagine the guy sitting in a press box tapping out copy-to-go on an old manual Smith-Corona, with cigar in his mouth & bottle of bourbon under the chair.


Someone asked me today if I would vote for Hillary Clinton for President. Without thinking, I replied, "I'd have to think about it." She asked why. Then I had to think about it. "If Hillary is nominated, it means the Democrats haven't learned from Kerry or been frightened enough by Bush. Hillary certainly hasn't figured it out. If she really cared, she'd be standing with Feingold & Murtha now instead deluding herself into believing she can be in the center & carry the same states her husband won in 1996. How can she even be sure where the center is?" Kerry won Wisconsin, & barely, on Feingold's coattails. I'm not even convinced Hillary can carry Jersey. Democrats need to be thinking about who can carry Bill Clinton's states. Because the two party system is over in the United States at the national level if the Repugs win the next one. The Constitution becomes a museum exhibit. The nation's in a crisis & where's Hillary Clinton? What the hell is she doing about it? Dems have to be able offset all the cheating, fraud, & swift-boating we know will happen in '08. God knows what Bush's people will do between now & then. Start looking at governors. They've gone 7 for 9 since 1976.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Do animals go to heaven?

Do animals go to heaven? I ran a couple web searches on this question, it's an enormous topic. Lots of people want to know, lots are quite certain one way or another. Discussion threads running to 50 pages. Books for adults & for children. Entire websites dedicated to Christian-0riented pet bereavement. Does a beloved pet go to heaven whether or not the pet owner gets in? How about wild animals? Only mammals? How about birds, fish, snakes, spiders? So what if conservative protestant ministers don't like the idea; they base their message on the premise that since hardly anyone's being saved anyway, why should animals - who can't even be "born again" or tithe the church much less vote Republican - receive a bye? It's those "liberal" churches that have animal blessing Sundays. Not wanting to be a sentimentalist, I asked a Franciscan, since members of that order would be the most favorably disposed toward animal salvation, if it could be theologically squared with Catholic doctrine. Our Franciscan gives us an "I don't know" with a wink. Fair enough. But this blog likes the Francis from Assisi. So I tried a Jesuit, John A. Hardon (yep), 'cause they don't mess around & they also drove my Dad out of the Church before he graduated NYC Xavier high school. Father Hardon says, " Pets, as pets, do not go to Heaven. But animals and such like beings may be said to be brought to Heaven..." He also speaks to the controversial matter of pets wearing religious medals. I made up my own mind a long time ago after seeing a classic Twilight Zone episode.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Excellent interview with Chalmers Johnson.
Militarily, we've got an incoherent, not very intelligent budget. It becomes less incoherent only when you realize the ways it's being used to fund our industries or that one of the few things we still manufacture reasonably effectively is weapons. It's a huge export business, run not by the companies but by foreign military sales within the Pentagon.

This is not, of course, free enterprise. Four huge manufacturers with only one major customer. This is state socialism and it's keeping the economy running not in the way it's taught in any economics course in any American university. It's closer to what John Maynard Keynes advocated for getting out of the Great Depression -- counter-cyclical governmental expenditures to keep people employed.

And the precedents for this should really terrify us. The greatest single previous example of military Keynesianism -- that is, of taking an economy distraught over recession or depression, over people being very close to the edge and turning it around -- is Germany. Remember, for the five years after Adolf Hitler became chancellor in 1933, he was admired as one of the geniuses of modern times. And people were put back to work. This was done entirely through military Keynesianism, an alliance between the Nazi Party and German manufacturers.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Came upon what would usually be an irresistable curbside find; a small, neatly packed box of recent National Geographics. But I was on my way to the supermarket & knew I'd be returning via another street with among other items a 1/2 gallon of Turkey Hill orangecream ice cream in my backpack. So I picked one off the top, lead article on Sicily, tucked inside were 3 maps, Italy, Alaska & Hawaii. & slipped it into my bag. It was a comfortable walk, cold no wind, & I had a cup of coffee & was thinking on various matters so the journey went quickly although that also makes me less observant of the scenery, such as the old houses, most of them single family & well-maintained. But being deep in thought is also how one gets accosted by strange &/or unpleasant persons in unexpected places. When I lived in Rahway, I often walked up Grand Ave. to Dunkin' Donuts around midnight, mostly for exercise & to visit an attractive Ukrainian woman working the night shift; & while that was a "safe" trip, I did occasionally encounter people who needed to know I was aware of them before they got within fifty steps of me. The only other option is to become invisible, & sometimes I am but I'm not sure how it happens. I just know that on those nights I see more cats.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Junior, Dick, & George, perfect together

Tom Kean JUNIOR has the peculiar idea that his campaign for United States Senate this year is "about New Jersey." Well, that was what he said when asked why he ducked a photo op with the popular Dick Cheney at a fundie raiser in Newark, saying he was late because of a vote in Trenton. Sorry, Junior. You're a Repug. The election's about you & the devils you sold your soul to, Dick Cheney & his sidekick George.

Windy, raw, not a good day for fresh beginnings, a new season on a Monday.
I really could have used a reasonably mild afternoon to get out of a funk;
my angry coward mode. I become anxious, then frightened, then angry at myself.What I learned in those years of therapy was basically so simple; recognizing a particular thought/emotion pattern. Stepping back from it, & saying to myself,"It happens. It comes & it goes." It can't always be fought. It fact, it's better usually not to fight it. Struggling with it, trying to grab it & wrestle it into submission, is inviting defeat. It lives off my sense of having been beaten by my own brain molecules. But entering into it is worse. Just know what it is, & don't follow or embellish or develop it. This is necessary because a funk can take over & use my creativity & imagination. So my attitude has to be, "Go ahead, but I'm not feeding you what you want. Instead of writing what you're saying, I'll write about you." I can let the cycle spin itself out rather than spinning around in it. I've gone on spinning for days, months, in the past, around & down. "Yeah, you knocked my Monday over. But it's spring, & there's a Tuesday tomorrow."

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Home of the "Jackhammer"

This week's Carnival of NJ Bloggers hosted by Sharon at Center of NJ Life

Saturday, March 18, 2006

For sure a lot of women watch the NCAA men's basketball tournament. But for CBS, it's strictly a guyville demographic bonanza covering a wide economic swath. 99 cent chicken sandwiches. Hummers. Manly deodorant. Gadget cell phones. Some of the commercials remind men that they have wives, children, & mortgages; financial planning, home insurance, "guilt" advertisements leading to "Don't cook, honey, we'll go to Applebees" & watch the game on TV at the packed bar while we run up a huge drink tab waiting two hours for a table & then watch the game as I shovel down deep fried shrimp. OK, lite beer. Diet coke. Wish I had a truck with "awesome power."
The Contrarian (who did not reveal his bracket picks) goes into more detail on this matter.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day


Not so very long ago

Kathleen's parents bought a brand new house and they all moved there. Kathleen had her own room with green walls - her favorite color - and on the walls she hung pictures of rainbows and unicorns and a lot of paper shamrocks. It was a nice room except that every night she heard music and little feet tippy-tapping on the roof as if little people were dancing up there. She could hardly sleep or paint more pictures of rainbows or do her homework. Kathleen went to her mother and said, "I think there are little people dancing on the roof. What can I do?"

Kathleen's mother replied, "Do your homework in the dining room, dear," and continued looking through her seed catalogue.

Kathleen went to her father and said, "There must be little people tippy-tapping on the roof, and I can't sleep." Her father answered, "If you tell your mother about it I'll buy you an ice cream cone tomorrow." He smiled and opened his newspaper to the sports section.

So Kathleen visited her dog, who was lying on the couch like he owned it, and she said to him, "You're my best friend. What will you do about the tippy-tapping on the roof?"

The dog lifted his head and growled, "I can't very well go on the roof on account of some tippy-tapping. Scratch my tummy for a while and wake me up if you see something worth barking at."

Kathleen even told her teacher about the tippy-tapping, but the teacher just asked her to write the story down and hand it in on Monday for extra credit.

Kathleen didn't know what to do about the tippy-tapping on the roof. She was even getting bags beneath her eyes for lack of sleep, which is not good for young girls who need all the sleep they can get. Finally, she told her grandmother, who looked like a little person might look, only a little larger. "Nanny," she said, for that was her grandmother's name, "I'm sure there are little people tippy-tapping on the roof and I can't sleep or make pictures of rainbows for all the noise."

"I know what to do," Nanny said. "Meet me outside your house at ten tonight, but tell your mother and father we're counting the stars in the sky and they won't mind you staying up past your bedtime. "

That night Kathleen and Nanny stood outside the house, and indeed, there were little people dancing on the roof. There were little men and little women and little musicians playing little fiddles and little drums. There were little dogs and little cats up there. All of them were dancing around and around in little circles. They were having a grand time, and the moon was shining so brightly that you couldn't see the stars if you wanted to count them.

"Hey, you little people up there," shouted Nanny.

One of the little people, a tiny lady, peeked over the edge of the roof and said, "Oh, it's you again. Well, what do you want?"

Nanny put her hands on her hips and said, "Why don't you dance somewhere else instead of bothering my grand-daughter with your shenanigans?"

"Well, we have to dance on the roof," replied the tiny lady. "Our favorite tree was here but they cut it down to build this house and now we have nowhere else to go. So there!"

"What will it take to make you go away?" asked Nanny.

"Come on up here" the tiny lady replied, "and dance with us and we'll think about it."

"Oh no," said Nanny. "You know very well I tried that once before with little people, fell off a roof and broke my arm. What if we planted another tree, a special tree for you? Would that satisfy you pests?"

"It's a deal," said the tiny woman. "Trees are much better for dancing than roofs."

The next day Kathleen's mother and father agreed it would be nice to have another tree, so Nanny helped Kathleen plant a small, lovely one, and sure enough, the little people danced in it. Any time Kathleen wanted to see them all she had to do was open her window and look out.

Now Kathleen is more grown up. Each Saint Patrick's Day she and her dog visit a bigger tree next to the house where she lived as a younger girl, and they watch little people dancing tippy-tapping high in the branches. I was walking by there myself last March 17, it was quite a sight.

© Bob Rixon

Labels: ,

Thursday, March 16, 2006

" 'Tis done -- but yesterday a King!"

The Shock & Awe of the massive hole at Ground Zero, while listening to New York fat cats & big shots fight over what new monument to American hubris will be constructed there.

The Shock & Awe of seeing the terrible condition of New Orleans, & the makeshift trailer parks & tent villages of the Mississippi coast five months after Katrina.

The Shock & Awe of Bush's "approval ratings" - how they make no difference in what he does or in what the American people expect & demand of him.
But thou forsooth must be a king,
And don the purple vest,
As if that foolish robe could wring
Remembrance from thy breast.
Where is that faded garment? where
The gewgaws thou wert fond to wear,
The star, the string, the crest?
Vain froward child of empire! say,
Are all thy playthings snatched away?

from Ode To Napoleon Buonaparte
by George Gordon, Lord Byron
Not to compare George II with the Corsican, but with a loony wearing the bicorne hat, hand thrust in unbuttoned jacket.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Linda Stender for Congress

The same sources that assured me Jim McGreevey wasn't gay also told me Assemblywoman Linda Stender wasn't running in NJ's 7th Congressional District against Evil Mike Ferguson. Just because he said & she said. But he is & she is. I happen to think Stender has a slim but real chance of winning. Or let's say it isn't a quixotic candidacy this year. But all politics are local, so in addition to the usual menu of obvious issues where Far Right Ferg's out on a limb & out-of-synch with his constituents, Stender has to find some specifically local matters (other than property taxes) that are bugging the educated, affluent suburbanites who hold the only key to to winning in a crazily gerrymandered district, drawn to keep a lunatic safe in office. The district really screws people who live on the "wrong" sides of Linden, Union, Edison, & Woodbridge. All I can suggest is that she sit down for a talk with Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew, preferably in a place far away from the eyes & ears of the Union County Dem Organization, which may have the money but doesn't have a clue about how to reach the 7th's vast western territories. Van Drew built his political career on beating Republicans in contests he wasn't supposed to win, in Cape May County of all places. (Republicans currently hold all the Freeholder seats there, but now they actually have to campaign hard for them.) Stender was mayor of Fanwood, a town with lots of Republicans. They have remarkably parallel political stories, except Van Drew had to build his winning machine from scratch.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You didn't place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

Jamie Raskin, testifying Wednesday, March 1, 2006 before the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in response to a question from Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs about whether marriage discrimination against gay people is required by "God's Law."
Two of the most "conservative" people I knew, both women, one my age, the other in her 70s, one Catholic, the other protestant, both right wing radio & cable TV junkies, still bitching about liberals & Clinton well after 9/11 - I often think about how happy they must be now. To have the president they want, the congress they want, the courts they want; the "wars" for "freedom" they want; the national security laws & agencies they want; the state anti-gay marriage amendments they advocate; the power & influence of the religious right they support. & no matter how low the Bush/Cheney polls fall, the reactionary machinery is already in place & nobody can shut it down now. Good times for these two, seeing their dreams for America come true.

Monday, March 13, 2006

20:40 EST

The moon
waxing gibbous
at 99%

an explanation
for the transvestite
on the corner


noodle soup

A beautiful thick fog over the Hudson & Meadowlands this morning about 6:30. I prefer that to a bright, orange sun when I've been up all night doing radio, then head home where I need to unwind awhile & have a snack before I can sleep for a few hours. I went to a big party last night at WFMU for the Marathon Finale, stayed for a 3 am show. At six I announced a station I.D., managed a "Good Morning everybody," & turned the board over to Nachum, who hosts a cheery, wildly popular wake up & be Jewish program, & frankly that was neither my mood nor how I wanted to feel after my three hours of mostly musical drone, minimalism, & dissonance broadcast, in my mind's eye, to an insomniac artist in Brooklyn, a car passing through north Jersey on the Turnpike, & a peculiar person in New Zealand listening on the internet. So here I am having some noodle soup.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

my hometown

This week's Carnival of NJ Bloggers is hosted by Nordette at Confessions of a Jersey Goddess.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese, now Jesus in the manicotti. Leo Williams said that since the mystical lunch experience, a chronic stomach problem he's had since birth has vanished. Assuming Leo did not eat his stuffed pasta dish, perhaps he should now find out if he's wheat gluten, tomato, or lactose intolerant. That might be what Jesus is trying to tell him. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Tom Fox

Statements from The Langley Hill Friends Meeting & Christian Peacemaker Teams on the death of Tom Fox, in Iraq. Also, personal remembrance by a member of the LHFM.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Yer doin' a heckava job, Jayzus.

Spring will be spronging in New Joisey this weekend. It's not even St. Paddy's Day yet. Can't wait to see what pops out. Meanwhile, the President has determined how to best protect our ports here: Pray those terrorists away (or witch- dunk 'em).
Executive Order: Responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security with Respect to Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to help the Federal Government coordinate a national effort to expand opportunities for faith-based and other community organizations and to strengthen their capacity to better meet America's social and community needs, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Establishment of a Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the Department of Homeland Security.

(a) The Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) shall establish within the Department of Homeland Security (Department) a Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (Center).

(b) The Center shall be supervised by a Director appointed by Secretary. The Secretary shall consult with the Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (WHOFBCI Director) prior to making such appointment.

(c) The Department shall provide the Center with appropriate staff, administrative support, and other resources to meet its responsibilities under this order.

(d) The Center shall begin operations no later than 45 days from the date of this order.
Wonder why the fedral guvmint gets larger under a "conservative" president? It's the "Jobs Initiative for Faith-based Bush Supporters." Fits right in with the other Bushite idea that faith-based charities ought to interrogate the poorest-of-the-poor before handing out a meal, clean shirt, or box of diapers, & then rat out their names to the feds. Turned out in this matter that a lot of Catholics & Evangelicals resented having their faith based on what a mere Earthly & ultimately transitory government desired. Fools in Washington D.C. treat Christianity like it's a U.S.A. thing. George W. Bush is a convert to conservative Methodism, which made him a dry-drunk. He went there because he wanted his own ass kicked for being a loser & Daddy's Anglicans wouldn't do it. Good. But when he sobered up he wasn't smart enough to find his way home.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Peanuts. A throb of peanuts.

The next time
"crabmeat" across your eyes*

Just heard today, poet Barbara Guest died on February 15. Coincidentally, right around that time I pulled her collection Moscow Mansions (1973) out of a box & promoted it to the bathroom. It's poetry that makes me want to write poems. Which is why I kept her book in that particular box. So maybe I did hear something. *from "Shifting the Iris" by B.G.

Handyman here today fixing problems the Housing Authority inspector found. A window by fire escape nailed shut. I knew that. No adjustment knobs on the radiators. The knobs are on but I'll still need a pipe wrench to turn them. He also cleared the cloggy bathtub drain. The pipes in my former residence clogged between floors & the washing machine water in the basement would somehow back up into my kitchen sink & a couple times overflowed it. One place I lived had that problem but with raw sewage. They were not slum buildings. The handyman decided to fix the sticky front door. Except I liked it sticky. It was an extra level of security. In fixing it, he pulled the hingeplate loose & the whole door nearly fell down. So he had to fix that. Now it closes smoothly & feels like anyone can pry it open with a screwdriver.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Happy Birthday, Anne

Have I ever met a Pisces woman I didn't love? Yes. But I've loved a few. Scorpio males like me can't intimidate them, for long. On the other hand, Pisces females empathize with our burdens; masks that are stone-faced one day & the Jester Fool the next; incomprehensible silences, selective memories. Scorpios are afflicted with a consciousness of incurable sadness & a terrible hunger for joy. I lived for 20 years total with two Pisces women, both justifiably swam away, & yet I continue to believe (in demented moments) that either one might have been better off had she paddled back after a few years. Because most Pisces women I've been lucky to know well are watery, oozy dreamers inside (& often on the outside) who rightly try to protect the emotional space in which they dream. But one has to listen for what a Pisces considers the practical solution for her situation. She wants whatever she has difficulty providing for herself; beyond that she is very flexible & tolerant. So men who think they have what every woman would love to have can find themselves at a disadvantage. These woman can be different in ways that both delight & frustrate. Especially their inclination to communicate through fish codes. Wonderful during sex, or discussing art or varieties of religion experience, not always so handy when trying settle a dispute or reach a simple decision. They are uniquely qualified to befriend Scorpios. & vice versa.

Labels: ,

Ali Farka Touré, 1939-2006

Ali Farka Touré: Born Ali Ibrahim in 1939 in the village of Kanau on the banks of the River Niger in northwest Mali, he never knew his exact date of birth. The tenth son born to parents who claimed noble descent, he was the first to survive infancy and as a child acquired the nickname Farka, meaning donkey and indicating not slow-wittedness but strength and tenacity. When he was still a boy his father died while serving in the French Army and he moved with his mother further south along the river to Niafunk é, the village that, apart from a few years spent in the capital, Bamako, in the 1970s, was his home for the rest of his life.

Monday, March 06, 2006


Funchase is a great site about Wildwood NJ, created by artist R. Grassi. Like a boardwalk, it defies methodical exploration. You go where you're going, or you just go with it. More than you ever expected to know about Mack's Pizza & The Fun Shop, but all of it somehow feels worthwhile knowing. The artist paints some of the biggest attractions as background. Then he shows how Wildwood really was a family place. This is first rate people's history. Sadly nostalgic - unavoidable with this kind of subject, but celebratory not mournful. (Thanks to Gordon for the unexpected winter-is-ending tip.)

I didn't explore Wildwood until the late 1980s, & haven't been there enough, even so I'm grateful considering how much has been lost in that short period. I loved the Island as I found it, when I found it, knowing little about what it was before except that it had a very big, very great boardwalk. The only other boardwalk just as big & as great had essentially died & been reborn as a kind of mutant thing, but it took over a decade for my heart to give it up. The North Wildwood motel I stayed at for the first few years just went "condo." It was not a large motel, or "doo wop." There was no swimming pool, game room or snack bar, but it was only one long block from the boardwalk on 21st St. Owner Kay on premises, who sent a card in February postmarked Manasota FL to all of her customers that she was going condo & retiring. Which was a friendly thing to do. I liked it enough until I finally decided there was no need to sleep where I could hear pier rides at midnight & happy people at 3 am. It was both saner & spiritually necessary to move toward the inlet, lighthouse, cheaper take out, & a beach that wasn't like crossing the Bonneville Salt Flats. But I became a North Wildwood benny, that was important.

Labels: ,

WFMU Marathon now playing

The annual WFMU fund-raising marathon continues until March 12. The marathon features lots of special programming along with what could only be called live shenanigans, & unlike PBS, this programming does not repeat ad infinitum. & our station manager bears no resemblance to the suits at channel 13. WFMU practically throws "swag" at contributors, including DJ CD compilations of music &/or noise you used to believe you could live without (my fav last year was devoted entirely to the musical genre of cricket sounds). MP3 excerpts of DJ premiums are featured on WFMU's Beware of the Blog during their shows. Plus a barrage of "prize" chances more astonishing than Wildwood boardwalk on an August evening, & with considerably better odds in your favor. Oh yeah, there are very strange live cam broadcasts.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Hotel Walt Whitman

This week's Carnival of New Jersey Bloggers is hosted by "D"igital Breakfast.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Solomon Ho'opi'i, 1936-2006

Solomon "Sol" Ho'opi'i, one-half of a pioneering Maui-based Hawaiian music duo known as the Ho'opi'i Brothers, died Wednesday at Hale Makua on Maui. He was 70.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Association

Birthday (1968) is perhaps The Association's best produced & most coherent - if not strongest - LP. The cover art & Bones Howe's production reached out for a potential potheads-with-earphones audience, to small avail. The album charted two excellent AM hits, "Everything That Touches You" & "Time For Livin." As with another fine vocal group, Free Design, there's often complex or strange goings-on beneath the most lightweight surfaces. A private pleasure for me when it was released. It's like doing doob at Disneyland. Like Always (Realaudio)


Here's a silly love song for you & your damned Admiral Halsey

SIR PAUL ON ICE OFF CANADA'S EAST COAST — Former Beatle Paul McCartney lay down on an ice floe next to a baby seal Thursday and pleaded with Canada to scrap an annual hunt that kills around 300,000 of the young animals.

McCartney and his wife Heather, both dressed in red one-piece survival suits, also patted the white-coated seal after venturing out onto the ice 16 km (10 miles) northwest of the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, off Canada's east coast.

The Canadian government said the rock star did not fully understand the nature of the two-month hunt, which it says is good for the local economy, humane, and keeps a booming population of 5.8 million animals in check.
By the time one fantasizes clubbing a rock star to death, the offending music has already been recorded, sold platinum, & driven one to madness, & it's too late to make any difference. Time & tragedy have proven Paulie a good-hearted icon, & he's never denied being the fool on the hill, but in 1976.....

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Boombox From Planet Bast

A vaguely Egyptian design in the sci/fantasy style, where Earth civilizations are appropriated for imaginary alien worlds. The face is clearly of the cat family, at rest but aware, a many-ears cat. The curved handle is the sky; the adjustable antenna rising through it shows that the word firmament is not to be construed as a solidity; there is no ceiling. It listens. The knobs below the handle are also ears, as they "hear" instructions. The small LCD screen is a third eye, revealing what it sees inwardly. The two oval shaped "sensors" are each attached with a single ultra-sensitive whisker. Below the face a stereo output & left/right inputs form a necklace that looks like a second mouth. Because of the position of the speakers, we may suggest that this feline is capable of speaking with its ears & hearing with its mouth. The entire object is shaped as a basket or container, deliberately constructed to appear heavier than it is, mysterious at first, but it explains itself readily enough.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Spring, if you need it

March 1 is Emergency Start of Spring Day. Every few years Jersey has a winter so cold, so snowy, so dreary, so long, that's it's necessary to call an arbitrary end to it at the earliest possible time that can't be considered irrational. Which is March 1. Winter can linger the entire month, but all the while its grip is slipping, like a morning after while you're sipping a Bloody Mary. Crocuses pop as soon as they can. Blooming Dogwoods are marching northward. Tulips bulbs breathe. Sparrows sound cheerier & chirp earlier. Robins dash across greening lawns. The Sun will not be stopped. We didn't have a terrible winter. But if you need it, say this is the beginning of spring anyway.

Extraordinary Statement of Principles signed by Fifty-Five Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Extraordinary because this nation has gone so out of whack that Catholic legislators find it necessary to remind us that their "Living Catholic tradition ... promotes the common good, expresses a consistent moral framework for life and highlights the need to provide a collective safety net to those individuals in society who are most in need." No one in Jersey needed to be reminded of this in the later Sixties, when the smiling face of John XXIII was displayed in many a Catholic home (often next to a photo of John F. Kennedy) & Catholics were on the frontlines of every worthwhile fight. They were "committed to making real the basic principles that are at the heart of Catholic social teaching." They sold me, a protestant kid from a Republican family, on most of those principles. So if we have come to a time & place where those principles must be loudly & proudly reaffirmed by the laity in Congress - & we surely have - I'm here to approve & applaud.

So the protestant right wing extremist mullahs at the Family Research Council trot out Tom McClusky, their resident Roman Catholic mouthpiece/collaborator, to express an opinion too stupid to repeat even in my blog. Not only would Cattolico superiore Dorothy Day be appalled by McClusky's words, I suspect Cardinal John O'Connor & Pope John Paul II might not be pleased either.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?