politics, hypocrisy and meanness in public affairs, alligators, anti-empire-ism, occasional personal stuff

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Got new apartment I've been dreamin' of ...

... in the middle of Pasadena, ground floor with NO ONE above me (no apt. above this apartment, altho there are above the other eight). Been shopping for bed & TV - all that is necessary, really. Well, there is wicker furniture to be found & bought. Cable to be ordered ...

Hoping to feel "Hallelujah" moment when I leave here and go there on Monday!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend

"What are you doing for the holiday weekend?"

"Do you have plans for the weekend - doing anything fun?!"

Uh-h, ... well, yeah. There's last night's Cardinals ballgame ... and today's Cardinals ballgame. And I want to get further into this Walker Percy book, and the Trotsky history of the Russian Revolution ... wondering about that potential new apartment and that potential job I had a phone interview about on Thursday.

So, lots of excitement, mostly in my head. Mostly while sitting in the Corner Bakery Cafe in Pasadena, a pleasant and friendly place.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lost in the Cosmos, Walker Percy

Question: Is amnesia a favorite device in fiction and especially soap operas because
(a) the character is sick & tired of himself and his life and wants a change.
(b) the writer is sick & tired of his character and wants a change.
(c) the writer is sick & tired of himself and his life and wants a change.
(d) the reader or moviegoer or TV-viewer is sick & tired of himself and his life and wants a change - and the housewife is the sickest & tiredest of al.
(e) the times are such that everyday life for everybody is more or less intolerable and one is better off wiping out the past and starting anew.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, May 21, 2011

More Walker Percy's The Moviegoer

"If I could be sure you knew how frightened I am, it would help a great deal.

"You can be sure.

"Not merely of marriage. This afternoon I wanted some cigarettes, but the thought of going to the drugstore turned me to jelly.

I am frightened when I am alone and I am frightened when I am with people. The only time I'm not frightened is when I'm with you. You'll have to be with me a great deal.

"I will.

"Do you want to?


"I will be under treatment a long time.

"I know that.

"And I'm not sure I'll ever change. Really change."
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Writing, while waiting to hear from Alfie

Writing - maybe you've noticed: haven't been posting. Here's someone else's writing that strikes me as very worthwhile:

"Today is my thirtieth birthday and I sit on the ocean wave in the schoolyard and wait for Kate and think of nothing. Now in the thirty-first year of my dark pilgrimage on this earth and knowing less than I ever knew before ... and what people really fear is not that the bomb will fall but that the bomb will not fall - on this my thirtieth birthday, I know nothing and there is nothing to do but fall prey to desire." (The Moviegoer by Walker Percy)
On this my sixty-third birthday I know nothing and there is nothing to do ....
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

NATO choppers wound Pakistani troops

You can't make this stuff up, but I wish you had to:

Another match flicked at the tinderbox of U.S.-Pakistani relations: Local intelligence officials say NATO helicopters from Afghanistan intruded into Pakistan Tuesday, wounding two soldiers. According to a Western official, the choppers were returning fire after being attacked twice. The region is a hub for al Qaeda-linked fighters and the insurgency in eastern Afghanistan. (AP)

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Joan Smith: Western moral authority died in Abbottabad (Independent, London)

She says it well.


[Brief blurb]
It isn't Hollywood. It isn't an action movie with Sylvester Stallone or Bruce Willis crashing through an upstairs window, spraying bullets. On the contrary, it seems likely that Spielberg or Scorsese would make a more coherent version of last weekend's operation in Abbottabad, appreciating both its moral dimension and the need to get the story straight in advance.

from Mike Allen's Political Playbook & Washington Post

"One senior official said the general philosophy of the SEALs is: 'If you see it, shoot it. It is a house full of bad guys.'"
So, if I'm a 20 year old who really, really wants to kill people - and get paid for it, and lauded for it - .......
This is not the America I want to live in.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

from The Utne Reader

David Sirota (who has a piece in the most recent issue of Utne Reader) writing for Salon thinks that all the celebrations and chants of “USA! USA!” following the news of bin Laden’s death actually give him his most “enduring victory”:
This is bin Laden’s lamentable victory: He has changed America’s psyche from one that saw violence as a regrettable-if-sometimes-necessary act into one that finds orgasmic euphoria in news of bloodshed. In other words, he’s helped drag us down into his sick nihilism by making us like too many other bellicose societies in history—the ones that aggressively cheer on killing, as long as it is the Bad Guy that is being killed.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Treating us like children

Although it is true that many Amurricans think and behave like children, it is no help for The Prez to treat us as such. IN OUR NAME, with our authority, SEALs from JSOC went into another country and killed several men. Own it - in its glory, if glory there be, in its goriness, as it surely is. Jihadists are already angry that we killed UBL, so don't baby us. Don't be George W. Bush, refusing to show pictures of caskets of dead service members - they were dead, whether the caskets were shown or not. We killed bin Laden, whether we want to face the horror or not.

We/I don't need our Prez to be our Big Daddy and protect our sensitivities.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

from Robert Fisk of The Independent (London)

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Robert Fisk, a journalist with the Independent, a UK newspaper, who has interviewed bin Laden, said that people should stop talking about the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), the Pakistan security forces, as if they were a single entity.

He said: "They're [the ISI] not all one unique institution, they are differing in their views, some of them are pro-American, some of them are very anti-American, some of them are clearly sympathetic towards Islamists, extremists, whatever you like to call them.

"I called up one of the men I know last night and put it to him, 'look, you know, this house was very big, come on, you must have had had some idea.'

"What he said to me was 'sometimes it's better to survey people than to attack them.'

"And I think what he meant was that as long as they knew where he [bin Laden] was, it was much better to just watch rather than stage a military operation that may bring about more outrages, terrorism, whatever you like to call it."

From Politico

Officials described the reaction of the special operators when they were told a number of weeks ago that they had been chosen to train for the mission.

“They were told, ‘We think we found Osama bin Laden, and your job is to kill him,’” an official recalled.

The SEALs started to cheer.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Death of bin Laden

If, in fact, he is dead, I do not share in the orgy of self-congratulation and astonishing joy that characterizes many Americans today. I try to imagine the response of my fellows if, say, Chinese commandos dropped into Ohio and killed one of their enemies. As with my long-held question regarding the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan, I wonder if the indefinite surrounding of bin Laden's house would have sufficed, eventually, to bring about surrender ... and the treasure of his capture ... and the saving of the life of the woman who died last night.

Wherefore came the awful - and to me shrill - exultance of last night in front of the White House? When did we last feel supreme joy at the violent death of any person? I must be so foreign from my fellows that I cannot share in this grand emotion.