Saturday, September 30, 2006

Babi Yar

Now is Friday-Saturday, 29-30 September 2006.

On these dates in 1941, the Nazis slaughter 33,000+ Jews at Babi Yar, in Ukraine.
Herewith, this poem which resounds from another age, the USSR in 1961.

Would Yevtusheko have written it quite the same, writing it today? Seems to me, if you want to publish, you write in the margins, of your time and place.

Perhaps an argument for samizdat.

By Yevgeni Yevtushenko

Translated by Benjamin Okopnik, 10/96

No monument stands over Babi Yar.
A steep cliff only, like the rudest headstone.
I am afraid.
Today, I am as old
As the entire Jewish race itself.
I see myself an ancient Israelite.
I wander o'er the roads of ancient Egypt
And here, upon the cross, I perish, tortured
And even now, I bear the marks of nails.
It seems to me that Dreyfus is myself.
The Philistines betrayed me - and now judge.
I'm in a cage. Surrounded and trapped,
I'm persecuted, spat on, slandered, and
The dainty dollies in their Brussels frills
Squeal, as they stab umbrellas at my face.
I see myself a boy in Belostok
Blood spills, and runs upon the floors,
The chiefs of bar and pub rage unimpeded
And reek of vodka and of onion, half and half.
I'm thrown back by a boot, I have no strength left,
In vain I beg the rabble of pogrom,
To jeers of "Kill the Jews, and save our Russia!"
My mother's being beaten by a clerk.
O, Russia of my heart, I know that you
Are international, by inner nature.
But often those whose hands are steeped in filth
Abused your purest name, in name of hatred.
I know the kindness of my native land.
How vile, that without the slightest quiver
The antisemites have proclaimed themselves
The "Union of the Russian People!"
It seems to me that I am Anna Frank,
Transparent, as the thinnest branch in April,
And I'm in love, and have no need of phrases,
But only that we gaze into each other's eyes.
How little one can see, or even sense!
Leaves are forbidden, so is sky,
But much is still allowed - very gently
In darkened rooms each other to embrace.
-"They come!"
-"No, fear not - those are sounds
Of spring itself. She's coming soon.
Quickly, your lips!"
-"They break the door!"
-"No, river ice is breaking..."
Wild grasses rustle over Babi Yar,
The trees look sternly, as if passing judgement.
Here, silently, all screams, and, hat in hand,
I feel my hair changing shade to gray.
And I myself, like one long soundless scream
Above the thousands of thousands interred,
I'm every old man executed here,
As I am every child murdered here.
No fiber of my body will forget this.
May "Internationale" thunder and ring
When, for all time, is buried and forgotten
The last of antisemites on this earth.
There is no Jewish blood that's blood of mine,
But, hated with a passion that's corrosive
Am I by antisemites like a Jew.
And that is why I call myself a Russian!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Hats Off to Albert

Now, relatively speaking, is Wednesday, 27 September 2006.

On this day in 1905, the Year of Miracles, was published in Annalen der Physik [17, p. 639-641], an article by Albert Einstein.

According to anti-Semites, it was a landmark in “Christ-killer Physics”.

It was titled, “Ist die Traeghiet eines Koerpers von seinem Energienhalt anhaengig?”

Now, there’s a question I ask myself every day.

“Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?”

When I read this to Mrs. HH, and said, Ain’t that one of the funniest things I ever wrote: after the title of Einstein’s great work, I write, “There’s a question I ask myself every day”, she said, “Why is that funny? You are what you eat.”

Exactly. MSeesta, you so funny.

This article was the first time the world enjoyed sight of the equation:
Energy equals the product of matter, and the speed of light squared.


So elegant an insight and construction, but one which, in practical application, by vicious governments and/or others, may yet incinerate us all.

Whatever. Hats off to Albert.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Regarding Bela Bartok

Now remains Tuesday, 26 September 2006.

RtR posted the following comment soon ago, as this is the day in 1945 Bela Bartok died:

“I know a few readers of the MoB might find pleasure in listening to Bartok’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste while following along with the musical score. Bartok composed it with a pine cone on his desk. The piece is a musical Fibonacci series.

Serge Koussevitsky, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the 40's knew that Bartok was dying of leukemia and commissioned the work that I consider to be the most publicly accessible of the Bartok oeuvre, the Concerto for Orchestra.

My understanding of Bartok's reply to being informed of his being diagnosed with a terminal illness is that I believe he felt as though the reality of his impending death was an incongruity since he believed that he yet had much work to do.

During my well indulged years as a music student, it was a luxurious pleasure to lose myself in the Concerto for Orchestra after having spent a few hours devoted to the musical analysis of the various Bartok works.

I do not invoke Requiescat in Pacem for Bela. Rather, I believe that he would find peace in being granted perpetual perseverance al fine.”

Blessings to you, RtR.

HH loves the Piano Sonata of 1926, which combines better than any other piece of piano music, I think, both the lyrical and the percussive abilities of the piano. During many periods of depression following the “end” of the Vietnam Wars in 1975, HH found this Sonata of great comfort.

Of Gardens and Innocence

Now is Tuesday, 26 September 2006.

In Our Town, Thornton Wilder writes, “Don’t the morning star get wonderful bright, just before it disappears?”

Thought of that this early morning, when I went out into the gardens of the family compound, to add water to birdbaths and other daily chores, and discovered 5 roses blooming.

Two saturated red, one so saturated tangerine as to be almost orange, one climbing pink, and one climbing yellow. The latter, “King Tut”, on the fence outside the dining room south window, was planted by Mr. and Mrs. HH for her Mother, ca. 1999.

They’d been dormant for the hot months, and now deliver one final bloom of beauty, defiant of the impending cold.

Some sort of little purple lily, five inches high, three of them bloom.

Bushes with red berries, and orange. Begonias and geraniums.

And, for the past two weeks, a good Monarch butterfly a minute.

Perhaps as balance, I saw a small rabbit, probably of those born in the spring, hopping slowly with a wound of some kind on the right rear leg, probably the gift of a neighborhood dog. (Before HH lets out his dogs, he surveys for defenseless critters the one acre that is fenced, and then conducts close supervision.) Tried to catch s/he, but even a wounded rabbit can out-hop HH.

As if we needed one more lesson (compare and contrast), after the recent exemplars of Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur, ad infinitum, to remind us humans we’re of the sub-animal kingdom.

On this date died two great musicians:

1937 – Bessie Smith

1945 – Bela Bartok

Monday, September 25, 2006

George, Comma, 2

Now remains Monday, 25 September 2006.

I wrote earlier today:

“Yesterday, on an interview on CNN, G.W. Bush described the [whatever] in Iraq as "just a comma in history".

More on this later, when I've recovered some balance.

Isn't W just sayin', "Your loved one died the only death they have to die, were cheated of all the life they might have had, so I could write a Comma in History"?”

Your dead son and/or daughter, is just an ampersand in the History of George.

Your dead spouse, is just a hyphen in the History of W.

The dead love of your life, is just what’s contained between the [ ] of the History of Bush.

Let’s recall the words of Joseph Nye Welch, at the 1954 Army-McCarthy hearings.

“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness …”

“Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”

"Have you left no sense of decency?”

It gives your author no pleasure to write words such as this, only a deep and abiding sense of shame, that a fellow human being can reduce the deaths and sufferings of many hundreds of thousands of human beings to a metaphor of punctuation.

How many millions of Africans dead in the slavery trade?

How many millions of First Americans dead in the conquest and pacification of the Americas?

How many Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust?

Shall I compare thee to ... an !, a #, an *, a $, an _________ ?

George, Comma

Now is Monday, 25 September 2006.

Yesterday, on an interview on CNN, G.W. Bush described the [whatever]in Iraq as "just a comma in history".

More on this later, when I've recovered some balance.

Isn't W just sayin', "Your loved one died the only death they have to die, were cheated of all the life they might have had, so I could write a Comma in History"?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Happening World

Today is Sunday, 24 September 2006.

Woo hoo! HH be mucho hetero-alpha male!

Now, readers know HH worships newspapers.

(A study during the First Bush First War Against Iraq (1990-1991) found that people who get more of their info from TV recall more than those who get more info from newspapers --- which I find hard to believe --- but the TVers remember more information incorrectly!)

Now, this is the sort of column you find some newspaper columnist, an ultra-serious type, writing every once in a while, and you wonder what’s goin’ on in their head. (Well, of course you know, it’s called a deadline and a five-hundred or whatever word hole, but let’s have some willing-suspension-of-disbelief-for-the-sake-of-suspense, if we might.)

Our cordless phone and our answering machine at the old manse have become increasingly erratic. Mrs. HH convinced me to buy a combo of those two, which has features we’ll probably never use, but, like she said, for an extra twenty bucks, what if we ever need to add six handsets and conduct a four-way conference call to Save Civilization As We Know It? So now we can.

This kind of new technology is where one needs to rent a 10-year-old. (As late as 1962, when HH was ten, in the small town in north-eastern Kansas where his grandparents lived, one still made a long-distance (or “trunk”) phone call by dialing the Operator.)

But, mirabile dictu, after closely studying the manual, in five minutes, HH switched out systems, powered up, recorded an outgoing message, and tested it by phoning from the cell. As George W. Warlord would say: Mission accomplished!
Granted, I still can’t figure out how to activate the feature which chops firewood, but …

About that same time, 1962 when HH was ten, while in Holton, KS in the summer, he observed a partial eclipse of the sun. When this occurs, natural apertures such as tree leaves in this case, cast a tiny shadow on the ground, of the disc of the sun, partially eaten away by the moon, or perhaps a dragon.

Once achieves the same effect with two pieces of paper. Use a pin to prick a tiny, clean hole in one piece, then hold it over the other and adjust, and, presto, there’s the tiny disk of the sun. (I think it’s the same principle behind the camera obscura, but I’ll have to research that.) Back about 1994 or so, when HH was working in Soho in Manhattan, there was a partial eclipse, and he’d made a typewriter paper camera for the amusement and edification of his co-workers, and he spent most of his lunch hour out on the sidewalk, showing the eclipse to passers-by.

HH said, “The late Richard Brautigan would like you to see a solar eclipse.” This was an impromptu street-theatre art project thing. During The Summer of Love (1967 in San Francisco), the poet-novelist Brautigan enjoyed roaming the streets with a hand mirror, inviting the squares who’d come to check out the hippies, “Have a free look.”

Which is a long-winded way to say, today is the next-to-last day of Mr. and Mrs. HH’s vacation-in-place, and he’s trying to stay mellow, and not go off on how the supposedly-civilized world, as Bush likes to say, (except he omits the supposedly) is ignoring Darfur like it ignored Rwanda, since the Mr. & Mrs. have reservations for brunch at the local art museum, and then see the new show, thus proving some deep and seemingly-eternal moral truth about the connection between genocide and civilization.

And, after all, the Glory that was Ancient Athens was built on slave labor.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

"For the Union Dead" 3

For the Union Dead
by Robert Lowell

"Relinquunt Omnia Servare Rem Publicam."

The old South Boston Aquarium stands
in a Sahara of snow now. Its broken windows are boarded.
The bronze weathervane cod has lost half its scales.
The airy tanks are dry.

Once my nose crawled like a snail on the glass;
my hand tingled
to burst the bubbles
drifting from the noses of the cowed, compliant fish.

My hand draws back. I often sigh still
for the dark downward and vegetating kingdom
of the fish and reptile. One morning last March,
I pressed against the new barbed and galvanized

fence on the Boston Common. Behind their cage,
yellow dinosaur steamshovels were grunting
as they cropped up tons of mush and grass
to gouge their underworld garage.

Parking spaces luxuriate like civic
sandpiles in the heart of Boston.
A girdle of orange, Puritan-pumpkin colored girders
braces the tingling Statehouse,

shaking over the excavations, as it faces Colonel Shaw
and his bell-cheeked Negro infantry
on St. Gaudens' shaking Civil War relief,
propped by a plank splint against the garage's earthquake.

Two months after marching through Boston,
half the regiment was dead;
at the dedication,
William James could almost hear the bronze Negroes breathe.

Their monument sticks like a fishbone
in the city's throat.
Its Colonel is as lean
as a compass-needle.

He has an angry wrenlike vigilance,
a greyhound's gentle tautness;
he seems to wince at pleasure,
and suffocate for privacy.

He is out of bounds now. He rejoices in man's lovely,
peculiar power to choose life and die -
when he leads his black soldiers to death,
he cannot bend his back.

On a thousand small town New England greens,
the old white churches hold their air
of sparse, sincere rebellion; frayed flags
quilt the graveyards of the Grand Army of the Republic.

The stone statues of the abstract Union Soldier
grow slimmer and younger each year -
wasp-waisted, they doze over muskets
and muse through their sideburns...

Shaw's father wanted no monument
except the ditch,
where his son's body was thrown
and lost with his "niggers."

The ditch is nearer.
There are no statues for the last war here;
on Boylston Street, a commercial photograph
shows Hiroshima boiling

over a Mosler Safe, the "Rock of Ages"
that survived the blast. Space is nearer.
When I crouch to my television set,
the drained faces of Negro school-children rise like balloons.

Colonel Shaw
is riding on his bubble,
he waits
for the blessèd break.

The Aquarium is gone. Everywhere,
giant finned cars nose forward like fish;
a savage servility
slides by on grease.

"For the Union Dead" 2

Today remains Saturday, 23 September 2006.

Refer to earlier column today, as this is an add-on.

In World War Two, 23% of American military combat deaths were of males from the upper 25%, earned income-wise. (Iraq, down to 17%.)

Well, ain’t that special of them?

Seems to me, the more your net worth, the more you owe in service to your country, if, you claim to believe in patriotism and such.

"For the Union Dead"

Today is Saturday, 23 September 2006.

This just in from AP: as of Friday, 2,974 service members dead in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Compared to 2,973 on 9-ll.

During World War Two, 26% of the combat dead were from the poorest 25% of the American population.

In Iraq, 34% of the combat dead were from the poorest 25% of the American population.

[Source: “Iraq and Inequality”, by Douglas L. Kiner and Francis X. Shen.]

Commentary on this to come.

Friday, September 22, 2006

For L.M.

Today is Friday, 22 September 2006.

Maybe it’s just my ego, but surely at least one of y’all out there in Television land is wondering, Whassup with HH? Poetry, not apocalypse?

Mr. and Mrs. HH, due to family needs, have not had a “real” vacation, as defined by the standards of when we grew up in the 60s, since, … whatever. Worth every minute of stayin’ close to the Old Homestead; one’s parents only die once, one would hate to miss it.

So, for the past few days and until Monday, we’re havin’ a stay-at-home vacation. Damn, we ate out both breakfast and lunch yesterday. Bought an antique lamp today. Tomorrow, maybe we overthrow a fascist military dictatorship somewhere. Livin’ large.

So, HH has been goin’ softie.

Not that he hasn’t been stockpilin’ the righteous anger.

Maybe Lily Rowan is the only one who digs the beat of HH’s poetry. It’s been described as “sappy.” Soon herewith, another.

OK, so, on this day in 1980, Iraq attacks Iran, the USA will come in on the Iraq side, and very bad things we all know about will ensue, much of the Iraq side financed by the USA (and it gives HH no pleasure to note this), and 1,000,000 people plus died.

So. In days of old, this would have been titled, "For A Lady". That too.


I treasure the memory best of all
When in the Graduate Commons Room at University
Your head was bent to your work.

While most of us competed in wit
I discovered you smiling into your papers
Somehow too shy to share your awareness and amusement,
Except with a quick, shy glance at me.

You were promised to another,
And that's another story.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Bonus Poem

Today remains Thursday, 21 September 2006.

Hellfire and damnation.

HH wrote the first version of this poem in 1979. Been editing since.

Smack him upside the head with a tiretool with your opinion.

"Chattering keen-eyed squirrel
Nervously branch-balanced
Spies the sleeping? cat
Quiet in the gutter of the adjacent house.

Now the cat, delicately in air balanced, leaps.
A step behind the shadow of a tail.

Too late and a step behind,
Cat composes herself,
Dissembles: all that was ever in her mind
Was a more pleasing place to sharpen claws, not prey.

I’ve not the good grace
To avert my eyes from her embarrassment."

The Time Travler

Today is Thursday, 21 September 2006.

Poet and singer Leonard Cohen, born this day in 1934.

"Suzanne", by L. Cohen

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her
And you know that she's half crazy
But that's why you want to be there

And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength

And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind.
And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said "All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them"
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone

And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you'll trust him
For he's touched your perfect body with his mind.
Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever

While Suzanne holds the mirror
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that you can trust her
For she's touched your perfect body with her mind.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Wave for Stevie

Today is Wednesday, 20 September 2006.

Stevie Smith, British poet and novelist, was born on this day in 1902.

She wrote one of your author’s favourite poems.

Not Waving But Drowning

by Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Good Idea

Today remains Tuesday, 19 September 2006.

Ceasefire expired; here's your daily dose of doom-and-gloom.

Puke, hurl, barf, loose yr lunch.

HH watched as much of George Whining Bush’s slug-fest speech to the UN, delivered just now, as he could stomach.

If Georgie talks about “us civilized nations” one more time, I’m gonna puke in his lap, just as his daddy did to the Prime Minister of Japan, back in the day.

Yes, that "civilized" American govt. of Ronald Raygun and Daddy Bush, who supported Saddam H in his attempt to conquer Iran, 1981 to 1988, and who used USA-financed WMD in the process. “Supported”, as in +$3 billion of American tax-payer moola sent to Iraq, combat deployment of the United States Navy, etc.

British Reporter: “Mr. Gandhi, what do you think of Western civilization?”

Gandhi: “I think it would be a good idea.”

HH Talks Puppies

Today is Tuesday, 19 September 2006.

HH owes his readers promised columns on: the profession of war, 2008 Presidential picks, and puppies.


Our rescued dachshund puppy, jet-black with a white chest blaze, Sophie Tucker, does something so endearing. I put her food bowl down and, before she eats, she always licks my hand, which I interpret as thanks. This charms me but disturbs me, for it is us humans who should be thanking dogs and cats.

After all, when the event called, in fascist-speak, “domestication” occurred, it was a partnership: dogs and cats protected us from many harms, and humans gave them food they didn’t have to catch and, hopefully, affection.


Once upon a time, HH had a co-worker named Debbie. Once she had lived on a cattle ranch, which her husband, an agronomist (and perhaps a sometime CIA operative in South America, but that’s another story), managed.

One rainy night on the ranch, a cow had great difficulty in dropping a calf. Debbie helped the vet in the delivery. Perhaps because of the trauma, the heifer shunned the calf, and Debbie bottle-fed her and raised her.

Naturally, the calf, whom Debbie named Jennie, followed her everywhere. She lived, not in the pastures and cattle pens, but in the backyard of the house. When the French doors were open, Jennie would amble up and look in, hoping to see Debbie.

Debbie had been in the habit of taking long walks along the dirt roads of the farm. Three dogs and the cat, who tuckered out part-way and had to be carried. Jennie soon demanded her place in the procession. What a sight that must have been.

As Jennie grew up, she began to spend more time with other cows. Eventually, she became a mother herself, giving easy birth.

But, every time Debbie went out to the pasture, Jennie would trot up and nuzzle her, reveling in the scratches behind her ears, before … Debbie thought, imagined, hoped ... returning wistfully, regretfully, to her calf and the herd.

A True Story.


To youse out there in cyberland, and youse knows who youse are: HH has redeemed his pledge to talk puppies.

Now can I go back to gloom and doom?


Monday, September 18, 2006

Death Squad Units

Today remains Monday, 18 September 2006.

Read this editorial about Lieberman’s cowardice, from a newspaper in his own state.

Seems he needs a week or so to come up with a position on Iraq.

Seems that 2-3 corpses per hour, minimum, gifts of death squads, unleashed by the Bush/Lieberman/etc. axis of conquest, appear in Baghdad alone.

That would be 48-72 corpses per day.

Let’s be generous with Joementum: say an average of 60 corpses per day.

Multiply by 7.

Let’s say a minimum of 420 corpses per week. (And I’m underestimating here.)

Seems like an appropriate time to round-up.

Let’s say 500 mutilated corpses per week.

Let’s call that: one Bush/Lieberman Death Squad Unit.

The completion of the exercise is left to the student: How many Bush/Lieberman Death Squad Units to go before Victory?

Taking the First

Today is Monday, 18 September 2006.

When HH entered college in 1970, part of the regimen he immediately established was to spend 4 hours every day in the Library. Two hours were devoted to research for classes, an hour devoted to study of some subject of which he knew too little but considered valuable, and an hour to studying the latest available issue of The New York Times. (In those days, it came to campus by mail.) He has read it daily ever since.

On this date in 1851, was published the first issue of The New-York Daily Times, which later became The New York Times.

For all its faults and shortcomings, HH considers that one can hardly function as an ethical and political actor at the highest pitch without daily reading The Times.

The sheer mass of information, detail, and perspective in The Times, combined with wide reading in journals and books, all judiciously weighed and evaluated, one against another, and combined with experience of life (one’s own and those of others), and rigorous application of logic and critical theory, produces for one over the years, HH believes, a reasonably accurate portrait of life as it is.

HH will give up the free press, when they pry his cold, dead fingers from the newsprint.

--- dv/30 ---

Sunday, September 17, 2006

In Memory of Oriana Fallaci

Today is Sunday, 17 September 2006.

It is with great sorrow that the Museum of the Bourgeois memorializes the death of Oriana Fallaci (1929-2006), who died Friday past.

When she was ten, Oriana Fallaci became a lookout for the Anti-Fascist Resistance in Florence, joining her father. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, she became famous as a war correspondent and the pitbull of interviewers of political figures.

In Mexico City in 1968, when leftist students protested shortly before the Summer Olympics were to start there, and the PRI dictatorship massacred several thousands, she was left for dead after being shot three times.

She fell in love with Alekos Panagoulis, a Greek poet who tried to kill the Greek fascist military dictatorship leader, Papadapoulos. Panagoulis was assassinated in 1976 by Greek fascists.

HH began reading her work in high school, about 1968, and greatly valued and admired her work.

Who couldn’t help but love a journalist who could get Henry Kissinger to self-fawningly portray himself, in his own words, as “the cowboy who leads the wagon train by riding ahead alone on his horse, the cowboy who rides all alone into the town”.

She had battled cancer for the past ten years or so. I have no wish to be patronizing, but perhaps that is why she wrote things after 9-11 which were so uncharacteristic.

In a Wall Street Journal interview in 2005, she said: “Europe is no longer Europe. It is 'Eurabia,’ a colony of Islam, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense. Servility to the invaders has poisoned democracy, with obvious consequences for the freedom of thought, and for the concept itself of liberty.”

This is nonsense.

Gradually, time will erase the nonsense, and all we will remember is the brave journalist.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Geneva Conventions

Today is Saturday, 16 September 2006.


George W.arlord Bush longs to eviscerate Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

In a ranting press conference yesterday, he claimed the prohibition against “outrages upon human dignity” is “too vague; what does that mean?”

Mr. Warlord makes a great public show of “Christian” piety, at least at election times. Perhaps he would find some guidance in Luke 6:31: “As you wish that people would do to you, do so to them”.

Now, that wasn’t hard, was it? If you wouldn’t want folks to torture you, don’t torture them. Oh, but that’s too vague, isn’t it? What does “torture” mean?

Maybe this would help: WPPWJUECPO? Whose Private Parts Would Jesus Use an Electric Cattle Prod On?

Whose Head Would Jesus Hold Under Water Until They’re Within a Split-Second of Drowning?

Whose Child of an Alleged Terrorist Would Jesus Kill, to Get Vital Information He Suspects They Might Have?

After all, Jesus wasn’t a soft-on-Nazis, Islamofascist-loving gutless wonder. He didn’t hesitate a minute to crucify those Roman and Jewish terrorists. Or was it the other way round?


Further: Bush asked, If you sent a female to interrogate a male Muslim, is this an “outrage upon human dignity”?

Now, if Mr. Bush were quite so devout a Christian as he claims, he would know that the New Testament teaches, “I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent … the woman [Eve] was deceived and became a transgressor.” (I Timothy 2:12, 14) If this is so within the Church, must it not also be true in the wide world, which is also the Creator’s?

Your author has known many fundamentalist Christians who hold to this strict a doctrine regarding females, that only in strict and complete submission to male authority, may they be saved. (“Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.” --- I Timothy 2:15)

Your author believes this is patriarchal fascist garbage, but, the point is, many males, “religious” and not, believe it, and would regard it as an “outrage upon their human dignity” to be put into a position of submission to a female in any circumstance.

Perhaps Bush should clarify this point for the electorate. Does he believe females must always be slaves to males, and lose some female voters? Does he believe that females should have authority over males, and lose the patriarchal fascist vote?


Further: in that rich-kid petulance which is part of his trademark persona, Bush threatened that, if Congress failed to pass the legislation His Highness commands, he will end all CIA interrogation programs of suspected terrorists.

The day before, he said the first duty of government is “to protect the homeland”. If he believes these illegal interrogation programs are so absolutely essential, why would he end them? Why wouldn’t he exercise the authority he pretends to have as Commander-in-Chief, to supersede all laws, as he has done with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act?

Is Bush not saying, that if he doesn’t get his way, he will leave the nation naked to its enemies?

On his own terms, would this not rise to the level of an impeachable offense?


One reason all honest American military leaders oppose a unilateral American gutting of Common Article 3: it affords a measure of protection to every American military person.

If Bush can unilaterally order the re-definition of the Geneva Conventions, why should any other nation deny themselves the privilege?

The power of the Geneva Conventions derives primarily, not from ethics, but from fear: if we feel free to violate their prisoners, they will feel free to violate ours. We shall be humane, in hopes they shall be humane.

But your author doubts this is any great shakes to Bush, who imagines he will never be captured.

Birmingham Sunday Morning

Today is Friday, 15 September 2006.

I am technically, by birth, a Southern white male, having been born in Gulfport, Mississippi. Had I been conceived a few months later, I would have been born in Kansas, where my parents moved after my father mustered out of the Air Force.

In a way, I have the best of two worlds.

First. Many, if not most, white Southerners, like many, if not most, people everywhere, have a superstitious approach to one’s birthplace, as if the position on earth, and perhaps in the cosmos, of one’s mother’s body at the moment of birth, has some sort of influence over one’s character and values. Thus, in discussing race with white Southerners, I am, even in spite of my, as was more-than-once said to me, “extreme race-mixing positions”, one of the Elect, and therefore not a Damn Yankee, whose opinions can be automatically dismissed.

Second. Having left the South at six months, I was unexposed directly to the squalid and virulent white racism which characterized it in 1952.

Over the years, in my encounters with white Southerners who refuse to confront the sins of their forefathers, I’ve encountered two main themes.

One: a defiant defense of the Lost Cause, of the Southern Way of Life.

The latter is some hazy, ahistorical mumbo-jumbo about plantations, genteel women, chivalrous males, and How Folks Didn’t Know Enough to Think About Things Then the Way We Do Now and Anyways Most Masters Treated Their Slaves Like Family.

Two: an incoherent defense of slave-owners as victims of circumstance, as if they had been sleep-waking across a field and fell into a well, or as if they were a child who just accidentally walked into a room and into the line of fire just as daddy pumped three rounds into mommy. Not their fault, really, slave-owners were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Seems to me “Southern Way of Life” may be compared to “Nazi Way of Life”. The essence of the latter was murdering Jews. The essence of the former was enslaving African-Americans, then stealing their labor, raping them, working them to death where possible, and murdering them when “necessary”.

On this date in 1963, at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, terrorists from the Ku Klux Klan exploded a bomb, assassinating four children. They were Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley. We honor their memories, and the memories of all other victims of white racist violence.

Some folks these days try to disassociate the “roughnecks” of the KKK from the larger, “respectable and principled” opposition to the end of segregation, the Second Slavery. Are they correct?

Beginning with the reaction to the Supreme Court desegregation decision of 1954, three strata of opposition emerged.

At the operational, hands-on terroristic level, were the various Klan organizations. Socially, they were composed of laborers, police and sheriff’s deputies, small (often marginal) merchants, etc. A step up the ladder (supposedly) were the “respectable” members of the White Citizens Councils, who were typically, lawyers, doctors, other professionals, more prosperous businessmen, etc. As befitted their standing in the community, they didn’t dirty their hands with actual violence: they provided the moral justifications and intellectual leadership. At the top of the heap were the real powers in the towns and counties, the truly wealthy, which had no need of belonging to any organizations, but sanctioned torture and murder with a smile, a wink, and a nod.

We should not equate the moral standing of white supremacist Southerners with German Nazis; the former were far more despicable. The extermination camps were, so far as possible, concealed. Slavery and segregation were publicly flaunted, trumpeted to the skies, as proud accomplishments of brave white Southerners in defense of White Civilization against mongrelizing dark hordes.

(It is instructive to note that the White Citizens Councils survive in the form of groups such as the Concerned Conservatives of America, which Southern politicians such as Sen. Trent Lott (R, Mississippi) and Sen. George Allen (R, Virginia) continue to sanction with support and affection.)

I advance this principle: that racism is never about some sincerely-held belief in “superiority”; it is always and only the result of corrupt appetites for plunder, rape, and murder, to the profit of the perpetrators.

Racism has no place in humanity.

In Memory

Today is Thursday, 14 September 2006.

The Museum of the Bourgeois recognizes with great sorrow the passing of Ruth, the Executive Director's aunt, and Ann Richardson of Texas. Both are greatly missed. MoB extends deepest sympathies to their families and loved ones.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Today is Wednesday, 13 September 2006.

On this day in 1971, Gov. of New York, Nelson Rockefeller, in an act of monumental stupidity, sent 1,500 state police and others storming into liberated Attica prison, in upstate New York.

Oops. The prison guards who were killed, were killed by ... not the "inmates", but "friendly fire."

[Sorry, Grand Duchess, you'll understand, this is one of those days, when the HH, can't be calm.]

USA ... we're the richest, etc. in the history of the world ... we can't think of something better, than lock one another into cages?

In memory and honor of the inmates and guards, perished, Attica and elsewhere.

When might we all stand together, and learn: humanity, why not humane-ity?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Common Decency

Today remains Tuesday, 12 September 2006.

As ya’ll know, your author is not down with armed conflict, to say the least, so the following is not where you think he's apt to go.

But damn: if this nation is gonna do it, show some decency to the people who are dying in the Cause.

It appears that this soldier, Sgt. Rafael Peralta, took a grenade, so his comrades wouldn’t die.

So why hasn’t George W. Bush sent his name up for the Congressional Medal of Honor, like lots of similar fellows in WW II, Nam, etc.?

I won’t get into the obvious politics of this thing, why the regime won’t award the awards that obviously ought to be, so it all can be swept under the rug …

Somebody out there in my hood, you know more about viral marketing than I do. How can we do this? As the Good Book says, send up a stench to Heaven.

Got to be more than one, who deserve the CMH.

Please advise me. I don’t want to glorify war, but … I think it would be a comfort to his family, if he got the honor coming and becoming, and I’m willing to run the risk that fools will think it’s glorifying war, if it brings some comfort to his family, and other families like his, whose loved ones deserve this.

You want to have a war, let's have a war: 24/7, 365/360, sacrifices all around. Ship out or shut up.

Anyone thinks different, start a dialogue here.


More Missions Acommplished

Today is Tuesday, 12 September 2006.

Bear with me; here’s context:

“By Ellen Knickmeyer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, September 8, 2006; Page A12

BAGHDAD, Sept. 7 -- Baghdad's morgue almost tripled its count for violent deaths in Iraq's capital during August from 550 to 1,536, authorities said Thursday, appearing to erase most of what U.S. generals and Iraqi leaders had touted as evidence of progress in a major security operation to restore order in the capital.

Separately, the Health Ministry confirmed Thursday that it planned to construct two new branch morgues in Baghdad and add doctors and refrigerator units to raise capacity to as many as 250 corpses a day.”

Earlier this morn, I found a story, which I can’t find again: the reason the US generals said the death toll had fallen in Baghdad: well, we didn’t think deaths by bombs, mortars, and mass rocket attacks should be counted in the relevant sectarian-violence-related death toll we touted to the media; we only counted drive-by shootings and deaths-by-torture.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

Other than that, Mr. Frank, how did you like your Polish vacation?

Other than that, Mrs. JFK, how did you like your trip to Dallas?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Two Anniversaries

Today is Monday, 11 September 2006.


As on CNN I watched the Twin Towers fall, I remembered a photograph I made of the skyline of Lower Manhattan on the day after the Great Blizzard of January, 1996.

The City was choked with snow. The night before, my wife being out of town to visit her parents, I journeyed on the Staten Island Ferry to Manhattan, and roamed the city, photographing with the fastest film I could buy. The day after the Great Snow, I ferried to Manhattan, made more photos of a city bless-ed under snow, and, on the ferry home, standing on the stern, made a photo of the Lower Manhattan skyline.

A year later, after my wife and I had moved back to Tulsa, Oklahoma, formerly “Oil Capital of the World”, I made a photocopy of that photo, as I often do, so that I might crop the photo, experiment, find how best to frame it.

It was only after September 11 that I realized: in the photocopy, the light-coloured outer-skin of the Towers have disappeared, survived only by the faint smudges of their tops, suspended, as it were, without support, in the air.

As Sir Stephen Spender asked, in his poem, On the Photograph of a Friend, Dead, “Is this all we have?”

That September morn, my wife was at work at a public university library, I was at home, washing the breakfast dishes before retiring to my study and the demanding keyboard, and CNN was on, as it always is at our house, with my demanding to know what is happening in the world, when news broke of an airplane crashing into the North Tower.

I telephoned my wife, and we watched together, each in our own places and thoughts, as events unfolded, and the finally the Towers fell.

By one measure, the history of human civilization is the record of the growth of cities. Humanity began scattered and isolated, then slowly built hamlets, then villages, then towns, then cities, then many cities.

A city is not a pit of sin, but human lives, hopes, dreams, talents, sorrows, crimes and infinite kindnesses, the entire human experience compressed, combining in infinite patterns, so that each person, in company with each other, becomes finer together than they ever could have been apart.

New York City is the pinnacle of that process, the greatest city in the most powerful country in the history of the world.

I, having always been fascinated by and loved New York City, from at least the age of 8, I had followed the history of the Twin Towers.

As I watched them burn, knowing the construction, I knew they would collapse.

By phone, I initially assured my wife, in answer to her question, No, they won’t fall.

I wanted to give her a few minutes to adjust.

Then I called her back, said, Yes, it’s curtain wall construction, and they will fall.

And then they fell.

This is not all we have.

With ease and simplicity, in the wake of tragedy, anger and hate arrive.

But, where did the hijackers come from?

A generation ago, the USA funded what some now call “Islamo-fascist” groups, because they were fighting the Soviet Union. America said, “Kill the Soviets, because they’re not Islamic, they’re infidels.” That task accomplished, what was more natural, than to fight another “not Islamic infidels”: us, US, the USA.

Does not the Good Book say: “You reap what you sow”?

Once upon a time, the Twin Towers were the measure of the tallest buildings in the world.

One might have calculated their height by measuring with a ruler.

It is simple and easy to take the measure of the hate and violence of others, by measuring against the Golden Rule, and finding them wanting.

I wrote the first version of this essay on the first anniversary of 9-11, for a community service of Remembrance.

Five years after 9-11, I find myself still hoping: that we will, all of us, that is, humanity, measure ourselves against the Golden Rule, and find ourselves wanting, in our frequent and useless violence and hate.

Let us dare to change our sorrowing world, by doing unto others, as we would have them do unto us.

Let us each and severally, regardless of what is done unto us, do justice and love unto others, regardless.

Such a resolve of human courage would be the finest possible memorial to the dead.


On 9/11 also, in 1973, the Socialist president of Chile, Salvador Allende Gossens, was murdered in a CIA-backed fascist military coup, and Chile condemned to years of torture.

As the Spanish anti-fascists would say, when calling the role of the dead:

“Salvador Allende Gossens.”

And I answer, “Presente.”

A Story About a House, 2

Today is Sunday, 10 September 2006.

Now, HH has long been fascinated by the phenomenon of Time. Time philosophically, historically, technologically, you name it. For some reason, when he was growing up, a local restaurant, The Golden Drumstick (guess their especialite), had three clocks on one wall, set to different times around the world.

As a child, HH resolved to have something similar when he grew up. He now has three desk clock sets, each with three clocks, set to New York City time, Moscow, Beijing, New Delhi, Tehran, etc. Then there’s the atomic clock, which is set to Central Time, and adjusted automatically by a radio signal sent from the official U.S. government master clock at Fort Collins, Colorado. The latter keeps time by measuring the vibration of cesium atoms, that is, the second, as based on the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium 133 atom.

Note to right-wingers, who claim all government is a total waste: when was the last time you had two hyperfine levels of the ground state of cesium 133 perched somewhere around your bunker, huh?

When HH saw the first adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine (1960), he was fascinated by the collection of chiming clocks the Time Traveler had on shelves in his Victorian house. While HH has yet to achieve this, he has long had so many clocks that one is never out of sight of a clock, wherever he’s lived.

Which is the long way home to get to something which happened several days ago, and is the genesis of this series.

Mrs. HH wanted a clock to go by her side of the bed, and picked up a small, spare travel clock in the kitchen. She said to HH, after she had placed it, Something is perhaps broken with this clock; it’s showing the wrong time.

HH said, There’s nothing wrong with the clock; it’s just set to Baghdad time.

There’s a very funny song, “Why kill time when you can kill yourself?”, by Hamburger Patty and the Helpers. You probably don’t think that’s very funny if you’ve had someone close to you attempt or commit suicide, but, on the other hand, I’ve had both, and am mordant enough to still find the song funny. Go figure.

Time is further represented in the vicinity of the house by tree stumps on the property, with their record of rings.

At night, even though one is in the midst of the city, the surviving trees afford enough protection, that one can see many stars, though not easily the lens of the Milky Way. Light, such as that from stars, is, of course, always a time capsule, since it travels, not instantaneously as once thought, but at the relatively [humor intended] poky pace of approx. 186,282 miles per second (or 299,792.458 km. per second). While the reflection from a mirror may seem real-time, in reality, there is no such thing. It is only at planetary and stellar distances that the relative lapse seems credible.

Two additional dimensions of time. In the master bedroom is an antique blanket chest, ca. 1830, presented to the HHs on the occasion of their wedding, some 21 years ago. On it rests a small box, contained in a larger, ornamental box. Inside are the ashes of Persephone, a domestic short-hair cat, 1980-1998. Before HH knew Mrs. HH, Mrs. HH-to-be came home one day, and the child who lived across the hall in her six-unit apartment building came over cradling a tiny black kitten, saying, I got a kitten last month, and my parents say I can’t have two. Firemen rescued this kitten from the tree outside today; would you like her?

Persephone was always a sweet cat, but a tad stand-offish to begin with, as cats are wont to be. Until, that is, she bolted out of the new apartment to which Mrs. HH-to-be had moved, down by the Arkansas River in Tulsa, and disappeared. HH combed the neighborhood, even crawling through a drainage tunnel which runs under Riverside Drive to the river, and was disgustingly snake-infested. Persephone was gone ten days, and then, just as all hope seemed lost, she reappeared, lighter and burr-infested, outside Mrs. HH-to-be’s apartment. The vet said she seemed to have survived by eating insects.

Needless to say, Persephone thereafter realized upon which side her bread was buttered, and was extravagant in her affection.

George Bernard Shaw: “Humanity is civilized to the degree that it understands the cat.”

Tomorrow: Two anniversaries.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Story About a House, 1

Today is Saturday, 9 September 2006.

Statistics demonstrate that the average American changes residence every 5 years. Something like 20% of Americans moves every year. So, except for the wealthy, which Mr. and Mrs. HH are decidedly not (except compared to most in the Third World, or most humans throughout history), it’s nowadays unusual for a house to stay in one family for 57 years. This is a story about such a house.

As some of HH’s readers know, a year ago last month HH’s father-in-law died, his mother-in-law having died in 2000. Mrs. HH inherited the family home.

The house was built in 1941, in what was then a small incorporated village, Highland Park, outside the city limits of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The area is now, and has been for many years, engulfed by the expansion of the city proper, and the village long dissolved.

Mrs. HH’s parents bought the place in 1949, when they moved here after her Father graduated from MIT, with a second M.Sci. in chemical engineering. (He had been an intelligence officer with an anti-aircraft unit in World War Two, and earned his second Master’s on the GI Bill.) Because this area was mostly pasture land then, they could afford to buy two acres to surround the house. Nowadays, if you wanted to buy two acres in what is now called Midtown Tulsa … well, let’s just say, Mr. and Mrs. HH couldn’t afford it, even if they had a first-born to sell, which they don’t.

Like most of the homes of its vintage in this area, it’s faced with local fieldstone. It originally had a living room with non-working fireplace, den with working fireplace, and three bedrooms. Knotty pine paneling is a theme in certain areas. From 1961-3, Mrs. HH’s father built on a family room, new kitchen and dining rooms, utility room, a fourth bedroom, and a basement. (My father-in-law was born and grew up on a New Hampshire farm in 1915, and that background, plus his engineering skills, gave him the knowledge to be able to do almost all the work himself.)

At the back of the property was originally a small barn, which my father-in-law tore down and replaced with a spacious cinder-block building, where he started, while working for an oil company, a small business, constructing custom, one-off oil field filters. (This is now HH’s library, about which more later.) When the business prospered, he bought a building a few miles away. The filters ranged in size from hot-water-heater size, to ones that required a flat-bed trailer to move them out. He kept designing and building the filters until his second retirement, at the age of 89. He was 90 when he died.

The business consisted of himself and one assistant. He designed and built the filters himself. He was one of the few chemical engineers in the nation who was also a Code-certified welder. He was very proud: of the more than 1,000 filters he built, every one of them passed the Code inspection the first time.

Mrs. HH’s Mother was originally a medical technologist, and met her Father while working in an Army hospital during World War Two. (A medical technologist is not to be confused with a medical technician; the former requires a college degree.) She had a great love for flowers, and made several iris gardens on the property. She was well-known in iris circles for hybridizing Siberian iris. The basement was her greenhouse. It is now part of HH’s responsibilities to care for the plants she left us, as well as ones we’ve bought. Primarily orchids and African violets.

Next: HH is fascinated by the phenomenon of Time.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Live Long and Prosper

Today is Friday, 8 September 2006.

On this date in 1966, the original Star Trek television series debuted.

While HH is not in any sense a “Trekkie”, the show did have a considerable impact on him.

Partly it was the sense of optimism. Recall the objective situation in 1966.

The Vietnam War was in the second year of the “Big-Unit” phase of the conflict, and casualties were heading through the roof, for American troops, and far more for Vietnamese civilians. The planet was only four years out from the American-Cuban Missile Crisis, and imminent nuclear holocaust was a very real threat.

Segregation, the Second Slavery, was still in force across much of the South. American-backed military dictatorships infested most of Latin America, and many nations in Africa and Asia. Soviet-backed military dictatorships controlled Eastern Europe. In China, Mao had launched the bloody idiocy of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, in a bid to renew his power in the PRC Communist Party, which had been diminished by the even bloodier idiocies of the Great Leap Forward.

The fictional world of Star Trek assumed a past in which Earth had gone through a very bloody late 20th and early 21st century, but humanity had won its way through. Every image of hope was very precious in those days.

On a personal level, the character of Mr. Spock spoke deeply to me.

The product of a human mother and a Vulcan father, Spock therefore had in equal measure the often-uncontrollable emotions which characterize humans, and the rigid self-control by logic which characterizes Vulcans. I identified with that duality. I was 14, beginning 9th grade.

I have a deep and rich emotional life. As Mrs. HH can tell you, I’m one of those who, when they’ve had one martini too many, become, not belligerent, but maudlin. I was also one of those perpetual straight-A students known as a “brain”. I had begun studying ancient Greek philosophy in 6th grade; two years earlier I had fallen in love with classical music, and tried never to miss the Saturday afternoon Metropolitan Opera broadcasts. I found school pretty boring; I would rather have been pursuing my own course of study by reading, which I did voraciously. I believed, and still do, in the necessity and power of reason and critical analysis.

So Spock spoke to me, as someone who successfully, in daily life and actions, synthesized the often seemingly dialectically opposed poles of emotion and reason.

Live long and prosper.

Note: For those of you keeping score. By happy coincidence, today marks the 200th column MoB has presented in this venue. Your author expresses his gratitude to all of you who’ve followed his efforts.

Thursday, September 07, 2006 = hatecriminals

Today is Thursday, 7 September 2006.

There’s a pretentious very minor blot, er . . . blog, “”, which purports to purvey “daily Manhattan media news and gossip, Reporting live from the center of the universe”. Mainly gossip and fluff, mainly sophomoric sub-frat boy. Definitely homophobic.

I often browse gawker.merde, because there is an occasional nugget of news. So I couldn’t help but notice repeated homophobic mocking of Anderson Cooper of CNN. I’ve been tempted to write a column on this, but I hate to give publicity to KKKluxers like Coulter and gawker.bigots. But, as with Coulter, there are lines which can be crossed.

In a post yesterday, gawker.himmler wrote about Mr. Cooper’s “… post-Yale stint "studying Vietnamese" at the University of Hanoi. Nothing wrong with disclosing your closeted anchor's proximity to a hotbed of child sex slaves.”

Don’t ya just love that sophisticated, I-just-moved-to-NYC-from-a-“Christian”-white-Right-death-squad-training-camp-in-Mississippi-where-we-castrated-ten-of-‘em-before-breakfast-every-mornin' logic: gay = pedophile.

This sort of casual, causal homophobia furnishes the patina of respectability for the thugs who take the cue, and take this attitude to the next “logical” step: physical assaults against lesbians and gays, and then all the way to murder.

Would that “” had the common decency to come clean, as it were, and re-name itself “gawker.hatecriminals”.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Mellow Fellow

Today remains Wednesday, 6 September 2006.

Responding to comment by “anonymous” to “Orion, etc.”

Gosh, never occurred to me anyone liked my mellow stuff; thought I was just being self-indulgent.

My senior year in high school, I was chatting with Paula, a dear friend of long standing, and Doris, the German exchange student. Paula said, “HH, you seem so much more mellow than in junior high.” Doris looked puzzled (it was near the beginning of the year, and her English wasn’t as tuned as it became), consulted her pocket dictionary, and said to me, “You’re rotting?”

Sorry for the bring-down. I’m not entirely dependent on Google, etc. I have my own private stash of 3 by 5 cards of Today in History, laboriously compiled over the centuries.

Not trying to make folks feel “guilty” in the trivial sense; more like the sense of historical/social responsibility which leads to different, better actions in the future. The whole “past is prologue” gig.

By way of amends for transgressing the mellow: three scenes from the Staten Island Ferry.

Late one evening, as HH and Mrs. HH returned to the MoBcave on Staten Island from a day in Manhattan, fog filled New York harbour. As we passed the Statue of Liberty, the fog was lapping about her feet, so it seemed as if she were standing on clouds.

Late one evening, as HH and Mrs. HH etc., a lightening bolt struck the TV mast on one of the Twin Towers. A decade later, I saw a photo of that event in The New York Times, as recorded by a photographer looking south from Greenwich Village.

A few years before the end of the Cold War, HH was taking the ferry from Staten Island to Manhattan, sitting on the stern and reading his newspaper, when something caught his eye. Dead astern, a hundred yards or so behind us, was a submarine! Panic! Then HH thought, If it’s World War III, the Soviets probably wouldn’t start it by sinking the Staten Island Ferry.

Then HH noticed a tug on either side of the sub, and recalled a World War II sub was being moved to the Floating Museum up the Hudson. Whew!

Next week: HH talks puppies. Don’t touch that dial!

Orion, etc.

Today is Wednesday, 6 September 2006.

Why not something mellow today?

Yesterday morning, about 5:30 AM CDT, HH took the three older dogs out in the backyard after breakfast. It was a delicious 56 degrees, for the first time in a long time. (The puppy doesn’t get to go outside when it’s dark, being too small.) HH always accompanies them in the dark, since, although we’re in the middle of town, we do receive time-to-time visits from possums, raccoons, and skunks.

And there, low in the eastern sky, visiting for the first time since the last time it was cool at night, was our old, old friend, the constellation Orion, the Hunter. Always takes HH back to the mid 1960s, when he was in junior high, considering becoming an astrophysicist, and owned a 2.3 inch refractor telescope, bought mail-order from Sears, in classic American fashion, paid for with lawn-mowing earnings.

Believe it or not, but a scope that small, on a bitterly cold winter evening, when the air was still, brought in a lovely vision of the Orion Nebula.

Do yourself a favor. Some morning when you’re up early, check out the sky, and especially Orion.

Today is the birthday of actress Britt Ekland, who HH always confuses with actress Brigitte Nielsen. The latter is in one of HH’s favorite bad movies, Cobra.

“Cobra” is the nickname of police Lt. Cobretti, played by Sylvester Stallone. Nielsen plays Ingrid, the damsel in distress.

What HH likes is the opening sequence, in which a gunman wired with explosives takes hostages in a supermarket. The regular cops can’t handle it, so they send for the Cobra, because … “Crime is a disease --- he’s the cure”. The Cobra confronts the gunman, who threatens to blow up the grocery. The Cobra says --- and this is the best part of the movie --- “Go ahead. I don’t shop here”.

Sometimes HH is easily amused.

Well, you knew the mellow couldn’t last.

On this date in 1620, the Separatist sect later known as “The Pilgrims” set sail in the Mayflower for the “New World”. Legend has it they were fleeing religious intolerance, and seeking religious freedom.

Point of fact: knowing they were God’s Elect, they fled other intolerants, so they could establish a haven for their brand of intolerance. Plymouth Colony would become notorious for mass murders of First Peoples and hangings of persons of rival religious brands.

Now you can have a nice day.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

In Memory of Crazy Horse

Today is Tuesday, 5 September 2006.

Crazy Horse of the Lakota Sioux was murdered on this date in 1877.

Depending on interpretation, Crazy Horse was a great defender of his people against European conquest, a “merciless Indian savage”, or a terrorist.

“He [King George III] has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”

These are, of course, the words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. We may assume Jefferson wasn’t kidding himself: he knew quite well that the First Peoples had no need of encouragement by the British monarch to defend themselves against the imperial designs and depredations of the Thirteen Colonies. The First Peoples were fighting for their lives, their homes, their way of life. (First Peoples, Native Americans, “Indians”, etc.)

The actual situation of “bring on” is rather like that of a later King George, the W, in his infamous invitation to Iraqi insurgents: “Bring ‘em on!” In both cases, an empire had invaded another country, sought to impose (to its own benefit, of course) its own notions of governance and polity, and the inhabitants resisted.

We may dismiss this interpretation as self-serving propagandistic bombast of the first water. Shame on slave-holding Jefferson for sinking so low as to include it in the Declaration.

Had King George the W been around in 1877, he would undoubtedly have denounced Crazy Horse as “a terrorist, part of the great axis of Injun-fascism, the battle against which constitutes the defining struggle of the 19th century”.

Crazy Horse of the Lakota was, of course, a great leader in the struggle to defend his people against conquest by Euro-American death squads (as uniformed armies engaged in conquest should properly be named).

Crazy Horse had sealed his fate by being the principal war leader when George Custer met his match at the Battle of the Greasy Grass (or Little Big Horn, in Euro-American nomenclature). He resisted imprisonment at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, and was murdered by a soldier-terrorist. He was 27 or 28.

The Museum of the Bourgeois honours the memory of Crazy Horse, and thereby the memories of all those who resisted the destruction of the First Peoples.

Note: Crazy Horse died “about midnight” on the night of 5-6 September. Many Lakota choose to memorialize his death on 6 September.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Silence of the N.R.A.

Today is Monday, 4 September 2006.

Revisionist Labor Day in US/etc. and Canada.

Your author, Executive Director of the Museum of the Bourgeois, has received a copy of the following document from a senior regime source which has proved reliable in the past. He was unable to verify its authenticity independently.




The United States Army going house-to-house, breaking down doors, terrorizing civilians, and confiscating their firearms.

Think it can’t happen?

It’s happening this very minute --- all over Baghdad.

And that deafening silence you hear is the failure of the National Rifle Association to stand up, as these Baghdadis are forced to stand down, and speak up for these 2nd Amendment Martyrs.

Has the N.R.A. ceased to believe: that the American Way of Life ™ is the greatest in the history of the world?

Has the N.R.A. ceased to believe: that the Constitution of the United States of America ™, whose cornerstone is the 2nd Amendment, is the most perfect political document ever created by humanity?

Has the N.R.A. ceased to believe that: the blessings of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” ™, promised by the Constitution, and guaranteed by the guns of the people’s well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State and shall not be Infringed, should be the Rule, not the Exception, wherever FREEDOM RINGS, cuz all over the world, people just wanna be Free?

Our brothers and sisters in Iraq are being stripped of the most elemental of human rights --- the right of self-defense with the largest arsenal they can afford --- and WHERE IS THE N.R.A.?

Has the N.R.A. forsaken the 2nd Amendment, to which it claims to be wedded, to dally in misalliance with the author of this cowardly and craven assault on the Right to Bear Arms, George W. Bush?

(And, by the way, compared to Dick “Manly Name” Cheney, when was the last time you heard that Bush personally shot someone?)


Rise Up!

Rush into the streets and raise your cellphones high!

Text-message our demands:

Free the Baghdad 5.127 (+/-) Million!

Free Charlton Heston!

Free the 2nd Amendment!


If they come for the Baghdadis in the night, they will come for you in the morning.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Poppy is Also a Flower

Today is Sunday, 3 September 2006.

Today’s The New York Times reports that opium poppy production in Afghanistan has reached the highest levels ever recorded.

In part, this is due to endemic poverty. In part, it is due to the fact that many of the guerilla groups which fought the Soviet occupation farmed opium poppies to supplement the hundreds of millions of dollars they received from the Central Intelligence Agency. They continued this practice while fighting the Taliban before and after 9/11, and now as they form elements of the current Afghan government.

An ingenious solution has been proposed. (Your author apologizes that, due to a change in location of the Museum of the Bourgeois, many files of the archives are still boxed, and he can’t put his hands on the essay suggesting this solution. He also apologizes to the author of the essay, since MoB tries to be scrupulous in giving credit where credit is due.)

Along with heroin, opium poppies can be used to produce morphine, one of the most valuable medical tools for managing pain. While morphine is readily available in the First World, it is often prohibitively expensive and thus scarce in the Second, and especially Third, Worlds.

Why not establish a program, through the United Nations, to regulate Afghan opium poppy production, pay farmers a fair price for their product, and use it to manufacture morphine, to be made available at little or no cost to nations which urgently need it?

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in eradication programs, and the result has been more and more heroin flooding world markets. These programs show little promise for the future.

Why not try this ingenious solution? Could it really make things worse? Why should poverty continue to imprison in pain hundreds of millions of the sick and dying, when possible help is so readily at hand?

Alleviation of suffering should not be the nearly-exclusive property of the richest fraction of humanity.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

No "Civil War"

Today is Saturday, 2 September 2006.

There was no such thing as a “Civil War” in the United States from 1861 to 1865, according to a new Education Department policy announced by Presidential Press Secretary Tony Snow on Friday.

“Sure, there were increased levels of sectional and sectarian violence,” said Snow, “but they never rose to the intensity of a “civil war”. That’s a myth perpetrated by college history professors, who are overwhelming Democrat and liberal”.

Snow added, “The Southern sect members and their militias were mainly members of the Democrat Party, the so-called “Solid South”, and they lost their insurgency. Smells like sour grapes to me”.

The policy guidelines take immediate effect in all the nation’s schools.


On this day in history:

1945 - Japan formally surrenders

1945 - Vietnam declares independence from France

Friday, September 01, 2006

Bush: Obey Bin Laden, 2

Today remains 1 September 2006.

Thanks to the Grand Duchess for her comment on “Bush: Obey Bin Laden”. Even when we disagree, I appreciate the way she goes straight for the gut every time. A member of royalty after my own heart.

Rather than inflammatory language, I would say hyperbolic, in the classic tradition of political satire and criticism. Not that Bin Laden dictates American policy, but that he and Bush share the same over-blown, pseudo-apocalyptic worldview, and of their importance in it. If Bush really believes what he says, he’s making the classic military error of allowing one’s enemy to shape the terms of battle.

I don’t see evidence that Bin Laden and his … well, since he doesn’t command them, they’re just people who use his brandname … play a major roll in the combat there. This conflict is fundamentally an internal Iraqi struggle going back long before Bin Laden. It just serves the purposes of both himself and Bush to pretend it’s so.

(And I think it's delicious that both Bin Laden and Bush were playboys before discovering the joys of mixing violence and religion.)

As to the viability of Bush’s election. Having studied the Supreme Court decision stealing 2000, I can only call it a masterful travesty, turning upon its head the principle that all votes are to count equally. The fact the Justices who concocted the opinion specified it unfit to serve as precedent for anything lets the cat from the bag.

Bush: Obey Bin Laden

Today is Friday, 1 September 2006.

In a further squalid attempt to justify his failure in Iraq, Unpresident Bush demanded that the American people kowtow to Bin Laden.

In a speech yesterday, Bush said: “Some politicians look at our efforts in Iraq and see a diversion from the war on terror. That would come as news to Osama Bin Laden, who proclaimed that “the third world war is raging” in Iraq.”

Why should the egomaniacal ramblings of a two-bit thug like Bin Laden dictate American policy?

Why should the egomaniacal ramblings of a two-bit thug like Bush dictate American policy?

On this date in 1939, The Second Great European War began