Monday, March 31, 2008

O'Keefe "Red Canna"

"Years ago there was a woman I wanted very much. Once in the beginning, she took off a silver bracelet she was wearing, put it on the table, and left the room to go to the toilet. I picked up the bracelet, knowing her heat was still in it, and held it in both hands. When she returned a few minutes later, the bracelet was back where she had placed it. Picking it up, she slid it back on, not knowing what she had given me. I never told her."

Jonathan Carroll
Vienna, 8/11/02

Saturday, March 29, 2008

O'Keeffe: Santa Fe Mountains

Below: "'The day God spilled the paint'. The east side of the Carrizo plain, in the Temblor Range, about 50 miles due west of Bakersfield, California . Photo taken by Barbara Matthews on May 14, 2005."

I've actually driven through those mountains, twenty years ago, with my cousin Jeff. Here's a silly story wherein Jeff and I faced no actual danger, yet nevertheless had adrenaline coursing through us at a high rate.

I was helping Jeff move to one of those upscale commuter towns east of Oakland, along the BART, and we were driving from Fort Worth to Cali. in a brand new Chev. Jimmy he had purchased. We drove through Bakersfield at 6 or 7 pm on a Sunday night, headed for Hwy 5 and a scenic drive up the Pacific Coast. We talked about getting gas, but went on. We had a 1/4 of a tank, and there were several towns on our route.

We headed up into the mountains west of Bakersfield. All 5 or 6 towns on our route turned out to have populations of about 50 or less, and were shut up tight on a Sunday night. Our gas got lower and lower. I was looking in the Owners Manual, trying to find what I could about the Jimmy's gas tank and gas light.

About the time we were on fumes, we topped the range and started going downhill. With no cars on the road, we coasted downhill, in neutral, for about 40 - 50 minutes or more, the auto gas light blinking at us, bears and mountain lions all around in the darkness, no people anywhere. We coasted and coasted and coasted, curving our way down the mountain range, with our adrenaline high, not knowing when any moment might be our last moment of movement, until we FINALLY made a major town on the way to the coast. WHEW.

I don't know WHY our adrenaline was so high on that trip down out of the mountains. I can only guess it's b/c we were going down in complete darkness for so long, on windy two lane country highway, no lights anywhere, no sign of civilization (we were travelling through a national forest) and not even much moon. When you are outside of civilization - really seriously out away from everything - you come to understand the essence of "dark and foreboding." If we had had to sleep in the Jimmy till morning, we would've been truly grateful to see daylight coming over the mountains behind us. At the store where we bought gas, I bought a six pack of beer. I don't drink all that often, but me and Jeff each slammed down two beers in about 10 minutes flat. Well, I did, anyway. It just seemed the thing to do. Didn't even feel the alcohol.

O'Keeffe: Tree Trunks No. II, Part 2

How to deal with being in a relationship (friend, lover, or co-worker) with someone who slips into overt narcissism (Tree Trunks No. II, Part 1), and thus consistently forgets you and she are on the same team?

Initial strategy: I would remind myself of the following
  1. every situation is unique.
  2. man's fallen nature is part of God's perfect plan.
  3. I am quite fallen. I understand how my partner feels. I've been there.

I would also go to a trusted advisor for third party counseling and opinion. It would be valuable to speak to someone who could see the forest.

I suspect this situation calls for leadership inside the relationship. To lead, I need to know where I am going. People will follow someone who knows where they are going. I am going towards high, inspirational, and eternal values; and away from lowness, baseness, and temporary desires. I might need to declare myself inside the relationship, again and again, as often as needed: I am your partner, not your foe. Jesus never gives up on me. I can be inspired and led by His example.

Declaring oneself again and again reminds of a communications course which asserts that each complete conversation breaks down into component parts:

  • relationship
  • possibility
  • opportunity
  • action

A conversation might naturally and succinctly complete itself, via coming to a legitimate point of yes or no (and either is completely legitimate), and that is a best outcome. More often, and less succinctly, a conversation might break down before a point of legitimate yes or no is reached. When this happens, when you feel something odd in the conversational dynamic, then you need to go back to the beginning and re-institute relationship inside the conversation. A conversation might often require going back, again and again, to the beginning step. Relationship might need to be re-implemented several times.

Similarly, inside a friendly or romantic or work relationship, one might need to declare and re-declare - again and again - who one is inside the relationship: a partner, not a foe. The other person in the relationship might consistently forget that salient circumstance.

Back to the component parts of a conversation - This might be a conversation:

action(yes or no)

Or, this might be a conversation:





action(legitimate yes or no).

Succeeding inside a relationship with an excessive narcissist reminds of the necessities of that second conversation: re-instituting relationship again and again. I might need to lead my co-worker and myself - again and again - in reminding ourselves we are a team. This is what Jesus does with me: He leads me - again and again - to remember He and I are a team. I am the person who always forgets.

Caveat: if I am in a romantic relationship, I am also leading my love to a therapist's office!

A "conversation" is a fluid concept. The "relationship" component might amount to no more than a look, a smile, or a handshake. The "possibility" component might amount to one word: "Chili's?" "Opportunity" might be pre-understood, and require no verbalization or body language. "Action" might amount to taking an initial stride towards Chili's. Voila! A complete conversation which ends in a legitimate yes or no.

But it's all about relationship. Even though "relationship" appears to be only 25% of the formula, it is actually more like 90% of having a complete and productive conversation(even when it is handled in a glance or a handshake). You could rework Yogi Berra: 90% of this conversation is half relationship. Good conversationalists know how to relate - whether quickly and efficiently, or sometimes not .. so .. quickly -- they are nevertheless experts at creating relationship.

I just read a business book by a Hollywood executive. She focused on "making an effective pitch" of an idea. She said the biggest, most consistent mistake is to pitch the idea before a relationship has been established. Why would you want to work with someone you did not know and like? Is it really worth it? No! Life is too short. It's even a type of betrayal of your principles. Establish the relationship.

She never pitched an idea in an initial meeting. She compared pitching an idea to a first kiss: the moment has to be just right. You don't rush in. You gradually build towards it. You gradually build the suspense, until the moment is just right.

Postscript postscript:

quoting from memory:

"After all the no's comes the yes; and upon that yes depend the hopes of the world."

Friday, March 28, 2008

O'Keeffe Tree Trunks No. II

Have you ever been in a relationship - whether a friendship, a romance, or a work relationship - in which the other person consistently forgot you were both in it together? Did the other person consistently forget that both of you would win or both of you would lose? Did the other person consistently maneuver to somehow "win" inside the relationship between the two of you? Did the other person consistently perceive the relationship as them against you? Did the other person too rarely view the relationship as both of you against whatever challenges might arise?

The other person was playing a "zero-sum game", i.e. someone has to win and someone has to lose. In a non zero-sum game: everyone might win. As an example of these dynamics, consider how various Americans view our national economy:

  • Some have a zero-sum view: national economic success always comes at a cost to some segments of society.
  • Some have a non zero-sum view: a rising tide lifts all boats.
Why might that other person - your friend, lover, or colleague - have consistently viewed your mutual relationship as them against you? One possibility is excessive narcissism. Dr. Sanity:

For the narcissist it is always a zero-sum game she plays with other individuals. From the perspective of the narcissist, if someone else "wins", the narcissist "loses". It cannot be otherwise, since on some level they know that their own talent and skills are way overblown. Hence, they cannot hope to "win" based on those talents alone. Thus, the behavior of the classic narcissist is mostly directed toward making others lose so they can win by default.
Vicious cycle, that. Vicious thing for you to try to work through inside the relationship. And a good thing to understand, as understanding gives you a greater chance of successfully collaborating inside such a relationship. Expanded Dr. Sanity:

To the extent that a person's behavior is mostly motivated by perceived insults to their self--i.e., their narcissistic core; then the "insult" will usually prompt a typical display of narcissistic rage directed toward the unfortunate individual who threatens them.

Such rage responses are invariably destructive, mean, and petty. Additionally, these rages are generally not beneficial to society-at-large (in fact, such actions often have strong sociopathic or antisocial elements to them) , although the person in the throes of narcissistic rage will often convince themselves that they are behaving perfectly appropriately and even for "the good" of others.
From the perspective of the narcissist, if someone else "wins", the narcissist "loses". It cannot be otherwise, since on some level they know that their own talent and skills are way overblown. Hence, they cannot hope to "win" based on those talents alone. Thus, the behavior of the classic narcissist is mostly directed toward making others lose so they can win by default. To that end, there is no behavior or tactic that is considered out -of-bounds or over-the-top.

Now, how best to deal with this? I've no clue. You're on your own!

Heh. I would like to try and think through a solution - in Part 2.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

O'Keeffe "Iris"

The green stem of Georgia O'Keeffe's Iris reminds of the two legs of Venus de Milo. Coincidence?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

O'Keeffe Perdenal

"But if you you think you would
trade in all the pain and suffering?
ah, but then you'd miss
the beauty of the light upon this earth
and the sweetness of the leaving."
- Jane Siberry

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

O'Keeffe Tree Trunks

This O'Keeffe painting sets an artsy mood for today's post about Leonard Cohen's song: "Suzanne" (lyrics). "Suzanne" was, for decades, Cohen's most popular song. It may still be - if it hasn't been eclipsed by "Hallelujah". Bro64:
I still don't know what "Hallelujah" is about, but I enjoy hearing it. I have a better job understanding the song "Suzanne". I was home sick a few months back and caught a Leonard Cohen tribute show on one of the premium channels, like HBO or Starz. It was performed at the Sydney Opera House. I'd never heard the song "Suzanne" before, but this version also captivated me. I especially love the first verse, when the descriptions of the protagonist with Suzanne on the river bank are so vivid.

The lead performer in the song is an Australian rock musician named Nick Cave; apparently an icon in his home country according to the Internet, but I'm not familiar. The two women backup singers were the longtime backup singers of Cohen himself. The song has a fascinating quality. The women's melody (and harmony?) is so beautiful and haunting, vaguely reminiscent of a religious chant. That is starkly contrasted with Cave's singing/near reading of the song, as if he's performing a poetry reading to the rhythm of the downbeat.
Here is Nick Cave's version from the Sydney Opera House:

It just shows how everyone is different. I understand "Hallelujah", but not "Suzanne". I understand the Armageddon ref and the Jesus' crucifixion part: when the sky rends open. Beyond that: is Cohen saying Suzanne is filled with God's love, and helps him be filled with God's love also? Is Suzanne an angel? And I completely lose the thread when there are heroes in the seaweed, and children reaching out for love they will never get, and Suzanne holds a mirror. Got no clue. Maybe it's nothing deeper than some random event which happened when Cohen and Suzanne got high one sunny afternoon.

I think the song has to be understood inside the time it was written: mid to late 1960's, and inside of who wrote it: poet/vocalist Leonard Cohen. The poem has that 1960s/we-are-expanding-our-consciousness vibe. It's maybe an opportunity to "let art flow over you" without too much analysis.

I do appreciate the poem as a hip period piece. CBC article about the real Suzanne.

Monday, March 24, 2008

O'Keeffe Green

Last year (maybe): My sis in law put 4 blown eggs into my 4 year old niece’s room. My brother heard something happening in the room, and went in to discover my niece about to crush the 4th and last blown eggshell into pieces. My niece explained: “Sometimes my mind tells me no, but my body just says yes.”

Of course, this means she can never be allowed to date.

Synova Says: March 23rd, 2008 at 10:32 pm
And what I was going to say was… I have chickens that lay green eggs.

The colors are subtle but they are laying white, light brown, and soft blue and green eggs, which are very pretty.

We didn’t do anything with them this year but in the past I’ve blown them out (and yes, had many broken by horrible children who were sitting on them!) and kept them. I was getting extra dark brown ones then, too.

When hens first start to lay their eggs are smaller, so I saved the half-sized eggs to blow out and keep.

[Pictures] From last year:

Synova's chickens' eggs:

Amazing. Wonderful.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

O'Keeffe Blue River

I just love R.A. Dickey. Maybe you can see why in this video. R.A. was named 2007 Pacific Coast League AAA Pitcher of the Year. He has a 1.50 ERA in 2008 spring training, and has made the Mariners opening day roster. The Rangers ought not have let him go.

To me, a knuckleballer is a perfect long reliever. He can pitch day after day. He can pitch long relief today, and be a spot starter day after tomorrow, then pitch long relief two days after that. Need to confound an outstanding hitter - like a David Ortiz or a Manny Ramirez? Throw the knuckleball at them. Have you run out of LH relievers during this game? Throw the knuckleball at the Left Hand hitters. A knuckleballer is a valuable commodity. Also, in R.A. Dickey's case: the ticket buying public bonds with him and roots for him. So: he's a valuable player AND he builds brand loyalty among customers.

O'Keeffe "Petunia"

"Calling All Angels", by Jane Siberry
final two stanzas + chorus:
and every day you gaze upon the sunset
with such love and intensity
it's's almost as if
if you could only crack the code
then you'd finally understand what this all means

but if you you think you would
trade in all the pain and suffering?
ah, but then you'd miss
the beauty of the light upon this earth
and the sweetness of the leaving

calling all angels
calling all angels
walk me through this one
don't leave me alone
callin' all angels
callin' all angels
we're tryin'
we're hopin'
we're hurtin'
we're lovin'
we're cryin'
we're callin'
'cause we're not sure how this goes

Lately, I'm spontaneously promoting American singer Brandi Carlile, who grew up in Washington state. From a bio:
Blue-eyed soulful singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile taught herself to sing and play guitar and piano with other members of her family while growing up in Ravendale, a small community outside of Seattle.

She began performing early in life. At age eight, her singer mother brought her onstage to sing Rosanne Cash's "Tennessee Flat-Top Box." Brandi played live as frequently as possible in small clubs and bars in the Seattle area.

She has been most often compared to Patsy Cline because of the distinctive break in her voice. Her music could be described as singer-songwriter rock with a slight country tinge.
Here, Brandi sings "Calling All Angels"[full lyrics] with her sister: Tiffany.

a nice interview with Brandi:
"When we were playin The Tonight Show I was fine - up until the guitar solo - then I just looked up and went 'Ohmigod I'm on The Tonight Show' and just ... flipped out."

Below is my other lately favorite girl singer: Norah Jones, playing at a Johnny Cash tribute. The first thing to notice about Norah is her immense talent. Much of her performance is in her soulful intonations. The second thing to notice is that Norah sings for people who love music. She doesn't perform for the larger audience, as Johnny Cash did so well. Why?

Like a lot of famous girl singers: Norah is a naturally shy girl. Watch the song below: her eyes do not connect with audience as she sings - a signal of shyness. Watch, also, at the very end, when the applause flows. At a moment when most country music girls would be greeting the applause with ebullient, gleaming smiles: Norah seems almost embarrassed. Culture may be a factor: Norah is Indian, and Indians are modest about public display. Also, Norah may simply consider bigger performance to be artistically ungraceful. When you are as talented as Norah Jones, you simply let your talent flow out, and you let audience members experience it as they will.

Norah may not realize it, but there are millions of $ waiting for her if she ever goes full out into country music. Or, she may realize it and just not care. She lives in a not-too-large apartment in NYC. She has comfortable income, she has close friends in the city, and she plays at and haunts NYC nightspots most nights of the week. There, she can play and try out any new or experimental type of music which catches her fancy; can go to a club where she is known, and ask if she may play a set or two.

Encore example of Norah and "performing": a duet with Keith Richards[fast forward to the 2:00 minute mark]. He is old, wrinkled, lecherous; she is young, beautiful, modest. He can't sing; she can. He pulls her in close to his old man breath; she bravely sings through it.

HOWEVER, Keith Richards, from 18 inches away, is giving Norah Jones a lesson in performing. Love HURTS, and you can feel it in everything about his outstanding performance. He is performing; she is being careful to hit correct notes. The difference is easy to see. He, with a lifetime lived, with a lifetime of performances under his belt, is conveying the essence of the song. I don't know if she notices the lesson, or if she cares about the lesson. But she should. I like to think she does, and that she is gradually maturing both as a person and as a performer.

Friday, March 21, 2008

O'Keeffe "Ice Cave in New Mexico"

Obama fallout/detritus continues. The divine Ms. Lucas:
... a Time magazine piece coming out about how “incredibly ignorant” white America is about black America’s rage and resentment.

For shit’s sake.

Trust me, we’re not ignorant about it, because it’s all we ever hear about.
In the almost surreal unreflective post-modernist posing that passes for intellectual discourse among the self-designated cognoscenti, [NYT's Nicholas] Kristof takes the widespread acceptance of paranoid conspiracy theories in a large part of the black community as evidence that whites have neglected to listen to blacks
Slight fun diversion - Christopher Hitchens(paraphrasing):
Remember when we were young, and people would say, with disgust: "That politician would sell out his own grandmother"? Well, Obama just did.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

O'Keeffe "Jack in the Pulpit No. IV"

Ann Coulter: "Obama gave a nice speech, except for everything he said about race."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

O'Keeffe "Ranchos Church, New Mexico"

The church is a sanctuary under volatile skies. Within, the church bursts with life: as if a heart beats inside it. O'Keeffe: "One can't paint New York as it is, but rather as it is felt."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

O'Keefe "Poppies"

Look at how the petals of the two flowers meet together in the center.

Is this is the artist having fun? Georgia in a playful mood? And/or pointing to the interconnectedness of all design? To one true designer?

I don't know Georgia's purpose. I only know this painting moves me to reflection. “Beauty is truth, truth beauty” - Yeats

Monday, March 17, 2008

O'Keeffe "Dark Mesa and Pink Sky"

from Psalm 23
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

What does it really mean to restoreth a soul?

I suspect our souls have knowledge of God's loving light - which is well-known and well-experienced in the next dimension of existence. Our souls are figurative vertical pathways through which we may look and sense glimpses and hints of that loving light. Yet, we are designed - it is God's perfect design - to be much focused on our horizontal Earthly concerns - to the point we again and again, in an unavoidable repetitive pattern of behavior, become over-focused on horizontal, to the detriment of our natural need for some vertical integration.

Thus, we are led to rest in green pastures, and beside still waters. Our attention is pulled away from the strictly horizontal; and we see and experience - through our restored souls - the pure light of God's love which is known in the next dimension.

"he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake"

My semi-funny mental image is of myself as a sheep, being led along a mountain path, and all my temptations (7 deadly sins type stuff) are off to the sides of the path, hiding behind rocks, beckoning me to leave the path.

Could it be we are not strong enough to resist evil? Could it be only God is strong enough to defeat evil, and our only way of resisting evil is to be led be God?

For myself, it be. In my weak moments, I've no chance against evil. But, really, in my strong moments, when I've often believed I was strong enough to defeat evil, I really was not. In those moments, because I felt really strong and capable, I pushed God to the background. I secularized my effort, because I knew I could defeat evil. Me. On my own. And I did, I thought, defeat evil - at least in short spurts.

It strikes me, now, that the short spurts were merely part of evil's strategy. It strikes me, now, how I really had no concept of the power of evil. I was a like a little child who imagines he is the strongest force in the world. My childlike hubris made me an easy mark for evil. I now see my only hope is to follow God along the path.

A semi-swerve: for many years, as an adult, I was uncertain if evil was real. I hadn't given over much effort to reading the Bible. It didn't feel right that "evil" actually existed. At some point, I began to notice hints of true evil in the world. It began to feel right that evil actually existed. I noticed The Lord's Prayer, spoken directly from Jesus' lips, included "deliver us from evil." I've always believed in Jesus. If he spoke plainly of evil, well, evil must exist. Somewhere in the amalgam of all my experiences, and of The Lord's Prayer, I began to believe true evil exists.

Still, for some time, I did not comprehend the full power of evil. That's why I thought I could beat it. Me. On my own. I really, really thought I could beat it. And I was really, really wrong about that.

"for his name's sake"

I think this means I follow God out of love for him, and out of love for the loving perfection of his perfect plan.

What is spoken of in Psalm 23 was, I think, at the root of my horrible, terrible mood of the last three weeks. In those weeks, the world seemed terribly unfair, depressing, and full of pain and woe. And the world really is very often that way. My problem was: I forgot that existence plays out as part of God's perfect plan. I simply forgot there are positive and loving reasons for the existence of difficult and painful things. I had no vertical integration. I was trying to do life myself, on my own, as opposed to being led by God, out of love for his perfect plan.

Notes re: "Dark Mesa and Pink Sky"
owned by The Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Ft. Worth, TX

O'Keeffe's description: "This is a very good one. The mountain is a very dark rich green-Hills have earth red in them-sky pale pink."

Was Georgia O'Keeffe both making art and having fun with this? The bottom, beigy part looks like a human torso: buttocks to the left and shoulder blades to the right. Or, is that knees to the left, and ribs and bosom to the right? Or nothing?! Heh.

The orangey part looks vaguely like a Picasso-esque woman. At least four places look as if they could be a bosom and a nipple. I see what could be thighs and knees. I see what could be a Picasso-esque out of place human bottom. Or, do I see nothing? It's all part of the fun. Georgia O'Keefe is maybe messing with me, in a fun way.

And/or: did she look at the mesa depicted in the photo, and see human form in the earth? Is she making a connection? Between earth and human; spiritual and physical; temporary and eternal? Is she knodding to and revealing one great designer?

Georgia O'Keeffe, photographed by her husband: Alfred Steiglitz

Saturday, March 15, 2008

O'Keeffe Indigo Hinting

Brandi Carlile is a PERFORMER. Raised in an isolated home in Washington state, Brandi sang country music from age 8 until high school, when she "used Elton John as my gateway drug to other music." Brandi's a good singer; she's a good guitar player; yet what she really is is a PERFORMER. Judge for yourself, in this rendition of Johnny Cash' "Folsom City Blues". As you watch, consider that Johnny Cash was not great because he could play and sing. Johnny Cash was great because he could PERFORM.

O'Keeffe Purple Hallelujah


Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well, really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I learned to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my lips but Hallelujah

Leonard Cohen, Antwerp 17/04/1988
You know, I wrote this song a couple of.., it seems like yesterday but I guess it was five or six years ago and it had a chorus called Hallelujah. And it was a song that had references to the Bible in it, although these references became more and more remote as the song went from beginning to the end.

The first verse is about King David, of David and Goliath fame, of David and Bathsheba fame, and of authoring many Psalms fame - including Psalm 23: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want".

King Saul lost favor with the Lord, and the Lord selected David to become the next King. David gained entree to the royal court when his harp-playing eased the torment King Saul experienced from evil spirits. David beguiled King Saul with his playing, and in this way gained favor from King Saul, and gained power in King Saul's court.

In the first stanza, the fourth and fifth verses are musical description of the sung word "Hallelujah". Hallelujah is a Hebrew word which means "Glory to the Lord." David's play helped King Saul sense the peace and greatness of God's glory, even as the King was baffled by the evil spirits, and was also baffled about David's destiny to rise in power and take over the throne.

I can't escape noticing the fifth verse: "the minor fall, the major lift." This is music terminology. It also (accidentally?) describes man's inevitable fall into sin, and Jesus "major lift" of bearing the burden of man's sin, thus resolving man's dilemma.

The second stanza is about David and Bathsheba. Regarding the first verse, Cohen:
According to the Judaic tradition, David asked for ordeal. But the Rabbies said we should be reluctant to do so because ordeal there will sure be!

Bathsheba was a married woman. David, walking the roof of his house one evening: saw her bathing, took her in adultery, and they conceived a child. David had her husband intentionally abandoned to a certain death in combat. His liaison with Bathsheba damaged his Kingship, aka "broke his throne". She preoccupied him from his tasks, aka "tied you to her kitchen chair". His actions, such as having her husband abandoned to certain death, shamed him. Jews sometimes cut their hair when they are shamed. Yet, in spite of it all, Bathsheba helped David experience God's glory. She drew the Hallelujah from his lips.

In the third stanza, the story moves to the singer and his girlfriend. She says the singer betrayed their love, i.e. "took the name [hallelujah] in vain", possibly by not loving as deeply or as spiritually as she desired. He says: there are many ways to express and experience the glory of God. This is the point of the poem. Expressing this was Cohen's driving motivation. From this spring the most beautiful verses in the song:
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah
The end of the fourth stanza especially interested Bob Dylan, and was the reason Dylan covered the song:
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my lips but Hallelujah

Over coffee one morning, Cohen told Dylan he had spent a year composing the poem which became the song. Dylan was surprised, and told Cohen he (Dylan) composed lyrics for most of his songs in 15 minutes. Heh. I love that story.

Cohen recorded the song in 1984. Cohen is basically a poet who went into rock and roll in the late 1960s, at an advanced rock and roll age: upper 30s, and with benefit of only a growly voice. Cohen's 1984 version never really took off. Dylan covered the song soon after.

John Cale asked Cohen if he could cover the song, and Cohen sent Cale an additional 14 verses which Cohen had scribbled and worked on. Cale added verses, lessening the impact of the Biblical/spiritual story, and making "Hallelujah" more of a relationship song - a very excellent relationship song.

In 1987, a sensuous Christian singer named Jeff Buckley covered the newer, John Cale version of the song. Buckley added new guitar instrumentation. Buckley added excellent vocals. Buckley added his smoldering hot, my-cheekbones-can-cut-glass, melt-the-Christian-girls-panties tragic sexuality to the song. And then Buckley did something which vaulted the song into everyone's consciousness: he drowned while swimming in the Mississippi River, becoming an instant tragic Christian music martyr to millions(?) of chaste Christian girls looking for some type of sexual experience - even if they could only find it listening to a Buckley song. Buckley's best album was "Grace". The best song on that album was "Hallelujah." Hallelujah can easily be a tear jerker. Tragi-dramatic teen-age Christian girls love to cry. Thus, a little piece of music history was born.

Leonard Cohen soon enough embraced the second version of the song, i.e. the secular version - the Cale/Buckley version. Its really quite good. Cohen:
It was a song that had references to the Bible in it, although these references became more and more remote as the song went from beginning to the end. And finally I understood that it was not necessary to refer to the Bible anymore. And I rewrote this song; this is the "secular" Hallelujah.

Here are some of the newer, secular lyrics. Note that even these lyrics have been tweaked in various covers, by various artists, through the years:

Baby, I've been here before.
I know this room, I've walked this floor.
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch,
But love is not some kind of victory march,
No it's a cold and it's a very broken Hallelujah.

There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below,
but now you never show it to me, do you?
I remember when I moved in you,
And the holy dove was moving too,
and every breath we drew was Hallelujah.

Now maybe there's a God above,
As for me, all I ever learned from love
Is how to shoot at someone who outdrew you.
and it's no complaint you hear tonight,
and It's not some pilgrim who's seen the light
it's a cold and it's a very lonely Hallelujah.

Those lyrics are country music good:
"now you never really show it[your true self] to me, do you?"

Which of us hasn't walked a mile in that singer's cowboy boots? There's a transcendent poetic addition to this "secular" version:
and it's no complaint you hear tonight,
and It's not some pilgrim who's seen the light
it's a cold and it's a very lonely Hallelujah

That gives me chills. The lover, broken, crying out as best they can to God above.

Hallelujah has been covered, at last count, by 44 artists. They all cover the secular version. Only Cohen and Dylan ever sang the original version - and Dylan dyslexically juxtaposed a lot of those words - or maybe it was intentional. Probably even Dylan cannot, all these years later, remember which.

The song has been incorporated into lots of movies and television episodes. It's in the culture now. You've heard it, even if you don't think you have. Here's a link to Dylan's cover, simply b/c it's cool in that Dylan kind of way(you should stare at the lyrics as you listen!), and b/c I have a soft spot for the original, more biblical version.

Update: Actually, Dylan's is the best cover:

Dylan's cover leads to YouTube, and you can go crazy there, and listen to growly, groovy Cohen(in a period piece!), Cale, smoldering Buckley, K.D. Lang(an interesting, almost over the top theatrical performance), Allison Crowe, Sheryl Crow, Rufas Wainwright, Astounded85, and clips from Shrek, The West Wing, and many other shows.

Some final notes about Leonard Cohen. He's a spiritual guy, and lived for years at a retreat with a yogi/spiritual leader. Cohen is genuine. He said(quoting from memory): I live in a room with a table and a chair as adornment. I appreciate the voluptuousness of simplicity. I love that.

Below is a "Hallelujah" intro Cohen gave during a performance in Poland - during a perilous political time - when Poland was trying to break away from the USSR. It was a moment of upheaval and peril. Cohen's reference to "a great Judgement" had significance for his audience, as an atheist USSR had fought to deprive Catholic Poland of open worship.


Friday, March 14, 2008

O'Keeffe - from Amon Carter Museum of Edgy Western Art

Playwright David Mamet, explaining (in the Village Voice, no less)
Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal':

This is, to me, the synthesis of this worldview with which I now found myself disenchanted: that everything is always wrong.

But in my life, a brief review revealed, everything was not always wrong, and neither was nor is always wrong in the community in which I live, or in my country. Further, it was not always wrong in previous communities in which I lived, and among the various and mobile classes of which I was at various times a part.
Such are Mamet's impeccable credentials on the left, that, in decades to come, we shall see a plethora of references to
David Mamet's seminal(or scandalous?) political shift in the pages of the Village Voice.
Mamet's essay will be immortalized as a moment when we all (left and right) sat up straight and paid attention.

Mamet's gravitas will legitimize apostasy amongst the arts community. Slowly, slowly, artists will begin peeking heads out of leftist holes. They will creep, ever so slightly, away from the left on certain issues. Individuals will, here and there, publicly test out a pet conservative opinion which it was never before okay to voice. Mamet has made it okay to do so.

To be sure: Mamet will first be scorched by the heat of leftist anger and outrage. He will have to fiercely reassert his leftist credentials - especially on social issues. He will have to criticize and mock conservatives.

Yet, I doubt Mamet will back away from his core assertions in the Village Voice article. I have an instinct about Mamet having character and strength of conviction. A person with those values cannot read Thomas Sowell and merrily return to ignorance.

Note I: I encourage anyone to read the entire Mamet essay. It is not overlong. In fact, as befits exceptional writing ability, it is juuust right - like Goldilocks finding the perfect porridge. The corresponding reader comments are fun to skim.

Note II: I see hints my terrible horrible mood is subsiding - though I did, today, call someone "a despicable buffoon ... who deserves to have a forceful fist applied squarely to your nose." My observation did have the virtue of being 100% accurate. I consider I've played this day pretty much down the side of the fairway; then a decent iron just short of the green; chip; two putts: bogey. Compared to the last couple of weeks: not too bad a day for me.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

O'Keeffe "Red Snapdragons"

Something is very right about the difficulty of a task, for it creates opportunity for greatness.

Something is very right about pain and suffering, for they draw us closer to God, and they delineate pleasure and joy.

Something is very right about want, for it defines fulfillment.

Something is very right about fear, for it defines love.

For a couple of weeks, maybe, I've been in a horrible terrible mood. Life has seemed terribly full of unhappiness and woe. I've asked myself: was I ever happy(?) - at any time in my life after about, say, the end of third grade? Have I always been unhappily searching for contentment and fulfillment? Have I never had it? Have I only fooled myself into thinking I had it - or even that it was available? Is this existence all about coping inside a continuous state of woe? Can I even remember an extended state of happiness and fulfillment and contentment? Was I content and fulfilled in college? Not really. During any period thereafter? I really cannot remember any period of life when I was consistently happy and fulfilled and content. Maybe I am misremembering. Or not.

I've noticed, in comments which I've dashed off on other blogs, I've been unusually harsh and mean and hubristically full of myself. Not pretty. I've been a jerk. I've felt mean and horrible and terrible, and it showed. I've written two blogposts which I never put on the blog b/c they were so harsh. I've known I was in a horrible terrible mood, and I've been unable to shake it.

I've prayed. I've tried to meditate and think of what is going on with me. I've idly wondered if I've a hereditary disposition towards depression, and I've idly cursed the ineffectiveness and danger I perceive in anti-depression medications! Dang it! I wish there was a pill! Only really, I don't. I would rather experience my own life fully, for better or worse. Only, really, sometimes, I wish there was a pill. I've known exercise would help get some endorphins going, and I've not exercised. Tomorrow. I'll exercise tomorrow.

And I've felt just horrible. And in despair. And I've chastised myself: I'm healthy. I'm safe and warm. I'm living in no kind of hardship. Reminding myself of that hasn't helped me feel less horrible or less in despair.

And I finally remembered, thanks to various discussion and various circumstance: I've been acting like a lefty! I've been acting as if something is very wrong about life! I've forgotten the nuggets (composed by me[!], after studying and co-opting the reasoning of others) listed beside the red snapdragons: Something is very right. Something is very right about the design of existence. I'm so happy to remember/be reminded of this.
"Everything has already been said, and well said; but one must always recall it anew."
-Frithjof Schuon
I'm so happy because I think remembering something is very right is what I needed. I think my horrible, terrible mood shall soon subside. I was so happy to remember, I poured a big glass of wine and composed this post in celebration. So, this is written on wine, and Lord knows what it will look like tomorrow. But I'm publishing it, with nary more than a spellcheck. No proofread, no nothing. Life happens. I say let it. Blogposts happen. Let them. Proofreading is for sissies - and sober sissies at that. La'Chaim! To life with beloved friends.

Note: hah! I just spellchecked, and I hadn't mispelled or mistyped a thing! Stone-cold sobriety is overrated.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

O'Keeffe: "Black Iris"

Embattled Prostitute "Kristen" Expected to Resign

New York - At a hastily scheduled morning press conference at the headquarters of New York's exclusive Emperors Club prostitution ring, high priced call girl "Kristen" announced that she would temporarily step aside in the wake of charges that she had engaged in sex with New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.
"For that kind of money, there's an expectation that these girls have been with Snoop Dogg or Charlie Sheen," said Preston. "But please -- Eliot Spitzer? When our members are spending five thousand dollars to snort cocaine off an ass, they want to know that ass has some standards."
"We want to assure the expensive whore buying public -- whether they are drug dealers, washed out big league ball players, or compulsive gamblers on a temporary hot streak -- that when they purchase one of our products, that fine bitch will now be DNA tested and certified 100% free of contaminants from politicians or journalists," said Williams.

Despite the new assurances, Rizzo says it may take years for the whore industry's luxury segment to recover from the incident.

"The saddest thing is what it done to the youngsters, those starry-eyed 17 and 18 year old boys out there who dream someday of blowing thirty or forty thousand dollars on a hotel room full of beautiful, high end hookers," said Rizzo. "Sure, only a few ever achieve it, but that boyhood dream has always been universal. After the Spitzer incident, though ... I'm just not sure whether that's true anymore."
The dream is always the same...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Foxnews Sexpert; Georgia O'Keeffe

Sigh. I just love this girl.

Reading the Sexpert's article, my mind wanders to the vulva-esque paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe. Ms. O'Keeffe famously criticized and dismissed those who said she was painting vaginas. She must have been having comic fun with her critics, as artistically vulva-esque images appeared in many of her paintings.

I've suspected (wild guessed) O'Keeffe was expressing a spiritual truth she sensed. I suspect artistically hinting at fecundity was part of the best way to depict that truth.

Rather than plainly depict a flower, art critics said Ms. O'Keeffe "looked into the heart of the flower". I've also read that her flowers are painted as if from an insect's perspective; or, from a bee's perspective, if a bee were busy conducting pollination.

An elegant thing I read about Ms. O'Keeffe's vulva-esque phase(paraphrasing from memory): She was a strong woman who lived in a world which catered to men. Her art expressed the inherent strength of her womanhood.

To my amateur eye, the most attractive thing about Ms. O'Keeffe's paintings is their fluidity. It's as if their fluidity connects them to larger, interconnected existence. Ms. O'Keeffe was said to be entranced by colors, shapes, and textures.

Georgia O'Keeffe bio. Born on a farm in Wisconsin.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

John Denver kara is not oke

Here's the headline I rejected as too insensitive:

Karaoke victim does what he has to do.

John Denver karaoke sparks Thai killing spree

By Andrew Drummond in Bangkok
Last Updated: 3:50pm GMT 08/03/2008

A gunman in Thailand shot-dead eight neighbours, including his brother-in-law, after tiring of their karaoke versions of popular songs, including John Denver’s Country Roads.
A neighbour said that the karaoke group normally sang Thai pop and southern Thai ballads, but one particular western tune could be heard often - John Denver’s ‘Country Roads’.

Country Roads is a hugely popular song in south east Asia and the neighbour said the revellers had been singing it over and over again.


WH Press Secretary Dana Perino

Private militias and awesome weaponry

First, mull Wretchard's take on a possible future in which citizens of the West, in reaction to their politically correct governments' refusals to adequately protect citizens, react by forming private militias which go so far as to conduct transnational search and destroy missions. Wretchard:
the logical flaw in assuming Islamic radicals, developing WMD in a cave, could privately attack the Western civilians with impunity was the assumption that Western civilians couldn't do the same. "The really harmful consequence of not recognizing proxy warfare and addressing it openly is that it creates a subterranean world of countermeasures. A black market in defense."
Next, watch video of this awesome-er than awesome automatic shotgun/grenade launcher. That is a weapon!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Panicky Dreams

Do your eyes ever sting - maybe b/c you are having a horrific allergy day - and you want to open them but you can barely keep them open, because of the stinging and because of your body's natural reactive instinct to keep them closed?

In my dream, every time I was driving a car my eyes would begin stinging, and then I could not get my eyes to open, and the car would be moving. And I would smoothly depress the brake, b/c before my eyes closed I had seen a stop sign just ahead. And so I would be estimating exactly where to stop the vehicle, so it would be stopped at the stop sign. Except, as I got very close to a full stop, the brakes would not hold and bring the car down to a full stop. So, then, with eyes stinging shut, blindly estimating where I needed to stop, with a car which would not make the final stop, I would be shoving the brake pedal down to the floor, and still the car would be sliding forward past the point where I estimated it should stop. Later in the dream, I would drive again, and the same thing would happen. I had the eyes stinging/no brakes problem on at least three separate drives during my dream.

Then the car disappeared completely. I walked and looked and looked for the car. It was not where I had left it. I considered walking about a half mile, to another place I might've left the car, except I really knew it wasn't there, except it also wasn't where I really knew it was. It must've been stolen. Then I stumbled across the car. It had been sold to an auto wholesaler from Kansas. It was awaiting transport to that state.

Finally(this isn't the last of the dream, but it's the last which is interesting enough to retell), I was sitting in a chair on a smooth warehouse floor, and the chair began gliding smoothly around the floor, as if slightly electrified. The chair slid me around mostly backwards, but not always. I was mostly backwards, but also gently revolving as I slid. I could slightly control the direction of the chair via positioning my feet on the ground, like a rudder; yet I could not stop the chair from smoothly gliding about the floor, and gently knocking into walls, which I would then gently push away from. But I could not stop the chair. I didn't especially want to stop the chair, yet I kind of wanted to stop it, and could not. It wanted to glide, and it could not be stopped. I had customers at the warehouse. They watched me glide, and wondered if it was some type of trick. Finally, I got out of the chair and exited the warehouse. The customers grabbed it and sat in it. I exited before I saw whether or not they were able to glide around.

Let the amateur dream interpretations begin. The interpretations have already begun in my head. I have to constantly tamp my own interpretations down, and remind myself I don't know jack about the significance of dreams, or even if there is any significance which can be interpreted - which I don't really too much think there is - but maybe there is.

Random, final additional dream detail: I was visiting with two women who were office assistants of a business client. I was standing on the ground. They were sitting in the bed of a pick up truck. One told a story of the other being in flagrante delicto with her fiancee, then, suddenly, apropos of nothing, she screamed at her fiancee: "Don't you lie to me!" "Wow", I said to the screamer, "that is kinda scary." The storyteller looked at the screamer and agreed: "Yeah." The screamer hung her head in shame, and, sort of, in bewilderment about whatever had come over her during that screaming moment. She stared at the bed of the pick-up truck, and she said "I know."


All the above dreaming happened the same night: Wed night, March 5.

I have, I suspect, compared to other people, relatively few nightmares(that I can remember, anyway). I often go for what seems like months without remembering any nightmares. But, when I have nightmares, I seem to have them in bunches. At these times, maybe b/c I have tension or something in my life, I will have a string of days or weeks when, on many mornings, I can remember having had panicky dreams during the previous night. I'm currently in one of those strings of lots of panicky dreams.


Addendum: One more recent panicky dream

I'm jogging, up in some residential hilly mountainous deserty area, and I almost jog straight off a cliff. I catch myself just in time. So I turn right, and jog along the edge of the cliff, and I notice a mountain lion stalking me, moving in closer and closer, and quite rapidly. There's a house ahead. I sprint to the house, leap over the porch fence thingy, and bang on the door and ring the bell and shout to please let me in. But the mountain lion is preparing to leap onto the porch. I grab a patio chair to defend myself. The mountain lion leaps ... and it not a mountain lion, but a big tomcat. A big, pissed off tomcat which is attacking me. I fend if off with the patio chair. It's a pretty good fight between the two of us, and I am quite panicked, and my adrenaline is high. Then a lady opens the door, and the tomcat leaps off the porch and runs away.

And that's my panicky dream. Almost jogged off a cliff; attacked by a semi-domestic cat. Panicked as heck. Sometimes my nightmares are embarrassingly wimpy. Yet, they still scare me as they happen. I'm not complaining, really. I prefer a domestic cat nightmare to a scary monster nightmare.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

This is such a low blow

so completely unfair
so dryly funny
so classic Ann Coulter:
"I do think anyone named B. Hussein Obama should avoid using 'hijack' and 'religion' in the same sentence."

Video which Coulter was commenting on, in which Barack just slings manure all over the auditorium. If you take a moment, and really think what he is saying, he is both living in a dreamworld AND full of bull. As I've said before: a difficult little combination to achieve.

Here are the two Coulter lines with which Alan Colmes tries to condemn her - I think both are funny(but maybe that's just me):
Democrats cannot conceive of hate speech towards Christians because in their eyes Christians always deserve it.

"Assuming you aren't a fetus, the left's most dangerous religious belief is their adoration of dangerous criminals"

Several sharply funny quotes from Coulter's book: Godless. Coulter is a self-promoting provacateur. But, you gotta admit, she makes you laugh. Admit it! You know she does!

Hillary is finding her footing and her balance as a candidate

I love underdogs. I predict Hillary will rally and win the Dem nomination. I think Barack's campaign is a brittle facade which could be shattered into a pile of shards. Hillary has a chance to do it.

It's taken from Feb 2007 until now, but I think Hillary is - for the first time in her life - finding her footing and her understanding of how to be an effective political candidate. Hillary has never had to be an effective candidate. Her competition for two Senate races in New York: Rick Lazio and Jeanine Pirro, were notably weak opponents. Hillary's campaign people have usually been excellent. Hillary herself has always fluctuated between being a mediocre and a horrible candidate.

What she is doing now: mockery, is the way to beat Obama. Mock Barack. Point out the silliness - the lack of seriousness - of Barack as a candidate. Barack is only serious in tone; he is only serious in his regard for how wonderful he is. In the real world, in the actual and serious world: Barack is fluffy light. He ripe for mockery.

Allahpundit makes fun of Hillary's campaigning in this video. Allah doesn't realize this is the exact message Hillary needs to send out - and she is doing it! She needs to repeat this message over and over and over, until every potential voter has heard it several times. This appears to be what she is doing! She just needs to follow through.

There's an old sales nugget that a person needs to hear something seven times before the something sinks into their consciousness. There might be some truth to this. Dems and liberals have a long history of repeating falsehoods over and over, until eventually America believes the falsehood is truth. Some examples of falsehoods which Democrats repeated so often that most Americans now believe they are true:
Clarence Thomas sexually harassed Anita Hill.

Bill Clinton's impeachment was about sex.

Florida 2000 Election was stolen by Bush.

The Swift Boat For Truth veterans were liars.

President Bush lied in his 2003 SOTU; and misled us into war.

Halliburton/Bush Administration are corruptly co-operating.

Scooter Libby outed Valerie Plame.

NSA wiretapping is violating Americans civil rights.

and, just for fun, a non-Dem nugget: alligators are green.
Every one of those nuggets is untrue, yet in each case a majority of Americans believe each one to be true.

Therefore, Hillary simply needs to use time-honored sales and Democratic propaganda techniques: mock Barack - again and again and again - mock him thousands of times. Stay on message. And I would add in the mockery message about
"[according to Barack] the sky will open up; the light will shine down; angels will begin singing; and we will all come together and everything will be wonderful!"
These two items are exactly the way to defeat Barack:

1. Barack is "running on one speech from 2002."
2. "the sky will open up" et al.

Hillary cannot pitter pat around obscure(to the average voter) issue differences and pick up the large number of delegates she needs to defeat Barack. At this point, Hillary's only chance is to shatter him. She can do it. His facade of legitimacy is brittle enough to be shattered - by MOCKERY. I left this comment at neoneocon:
Obama’s brittle shell + cotton candy center reminds of a corrupt or oppressive government which is just barely maintaining control of it’s people. When a piece of that government shatters just a bit, suddenly the entire shell of a government structure shatters and crashes to the ground. It happens shockingly fast - like the U.S.S.R. in 1991.

Obama is like a government which is scrambling to hold everything in place. Obama is scrambling to hold the illusion in place. From the outside, we can clearly see the freight train of reality is going to smash Obama to pieces. We cannot see when. Maybe after he already the Dem nominee. Maybe in February 2009, after he is already POTUS. But the freight train is coming. Reality is bearing down on Obama, and there will be a 100 MPH collision. The only question is when. If it happens in the next couple of months, the Dems retain the flexibility to shift to Hillary.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Study: Short sex is best


A new study, published today in the international Journal of Sexual Medicine, says the best sex should last seven to 13 minutes, it is being reported by

And get this: Even three-minute sex is considered “adequate.”

According to the study, which included a random sample of Americans and Canadians, sex longer than 13 minutes was “too long.”

Click here to read the study, which requires a subscription.

Americans usually expect intercourse to last between 15 to 20 minutes, according to other U.S. studies, so this new study is designed to have a calming effect on couples who think healthy sex has to last a long time.

The study also aims to help calm couples' unrealistic beliefs that healthy sex should last a long time.

"Usually women are quite happy with short intercourse, and are not bothered about prolonging it at all, but nearly all men want it to be much, much longer," Dr. Jane Howard, a medical sex therapist from Brisbane, Australia, told

The manure Barack is shoveling: Part 4 - Fake change

Previous Posts:
Barack knock
Michelle Obama: "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country."
Did I mischaracterize Michelle Obama?
The manure Barack is shoveling: Part 1 - Limited love for America; unlimited love for (fantasy) ideals
The manure Barack is shoveling: Part 2 - Not ready; why meeting with oppressive dictators is bad policy
The manure Barack is shoveling: Part 3 - Desire for black identity affects his politics
The manure Barack is shoveling: Part 3 1/2 - Fantasizing about Arab-American families being rounded up
The manure Barack is shoveling: Part 3 3/4 - Sees no reason to be proud of America

Wherever politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes, not divine, but demonic.
--Pope Benedict XVI

"I'm going to back Obama ... I can't wait to see what he stands for."
--Actress Susan Sarandon, Mid-February, 2008


I'm going to change politics in America!

Barack's Campaign Manager, today:

BTW, did you guys know Hillary is the most secretive politician in America?



Barack, to America:

Nafta sucks!

Barack's chief economic advisor, to Canadian government official:

Don't worry. He has to say that stuff about NAFTA. He doesn't really mean it!



Barack, to Illinois, during his run for Senate in 2004:

Long live Israel!

Barack, to Palestinian Activist Ali Abuminah, during Barack's Senate campaign of 2004:

"Hey, I'm sorry I haven't said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I'm hoping when things calm down I can be more up front."


The manure Barack is shoveling: Part 3 3/4 - No reason to be proud of America

We ought elect a President who is proud of America - warts and all - at all times.

Here is an accurate paraphrase of what Barack is saying in his "American child" riff in this video:
America is something we Americans are ashamed of. Elect me, and I will change America into something we Americans can be proud of.
In the video, Barack is off the teleprompter, and he allows that insight into his worldview to slip past his self-censorship. This is why I ask:

Does Barack love the America created by our Founding Fathers? Does he love the land of freedom and opportunity which presently exists?

Or, does Barack mainly love his idea of an America which he could create - i.e. an America of leftist-style economic and social justice?

Barack is a far left politician. He was brought into the world by self-described Communist parents. His stepfather was associated with the radical Phillipine administration of Sukarno. Barack returned to Hawaii to complete his prep school education. While there, he acquired a surrogate father and mentor who was also openly Communist: well-known and talented American poet Frank Marshall Davis. Mr. Davis had been in the social circle of Barack's birth parents, and had known Barack since he was a baby. Now, Barack embraces "black American identity", and all the rigid victim characterizations and misguided social and economic programs that implies.

What happens if Barack gets into the Oval Office, then Congress prevents him from reshaping America into his dreamland of economic and social justice? Is Barack then proud of America, or ashamed of her? We ought elect a President who is proud of America - warts and all - all of the time.

I caucus for Hillary

I could describe how I left a long line to walk a sand wedge distance to get a Dr. Pepper at Brahms; and how a 70 year old lady decided she would go with me; and how she tasted 4 different flavors of ice cream before ordering a single scoop of vanilla; before changing her mind and ordering a soft serve vanilla yogurt cone. I could describe how the elapsed time to complete and pay for her order was a full 10 minutes, during which I waited and drank almost all my Dr. Pepper, as I could not let her walk alone back through the darkness to the original point from which the sand wedge would've been launched. But I won't describe that.

Instead, I will describe how incompetent the Texas Democratic Party is to have conceived a primary system which amounts to hazing their own Democratic voters. Republicans just voted and went home. All Republican voters were gone by 7:00 PM, when polls closed. I was about 10th from the end of the Dem line(foolishly reasoning I wanted to be late so I could vote and caucus all in one trip). I didn't cast my vote until 7:40 PM: Hillary Clinton! Oh yeah!

Now, as I cast my vote, there were maybe 400 people standing in lines, in the moderate cold, waiting to caucus in a "Texas Two Step" in which your vote only counts as 2/3 of a vote, and your caucus vote counts as 1/3 of a vote. After voting, I was shuffled out a back door, from whence I circled through a parking lot and came back around to the front to join the caucus line, which is when a woman walked up with a drink from Brahms, which is when me and the 70 year old lady began our ice cream flavor adventure. I think the lady tasted different flavors so she could make that scoop of vanilla stretch into a full dinner for her - as well as a pageant of adventure, since maybe she doesn't get out of her house much.

So, the voting people clear out of the voting room. The Democrat Party people come in and set up 5 or so tables - each of which is designed to collect caucus votes for one of the 5 different precincts which vote at this polling place. I had to remember my precinct number: 1167. The caucus room would hold maybe 175 densely packed people. There were 400 people standing in the cold, and another 30 Dem Party people milling ineffectively around the inside of the tiny caucus room.

We were herded around like cattle. People tried, valiantly, and on their own, to form into 5 lines according to their precinct numbers. The Dem Party people were totally overwhelmed, and were at any rate incapable of organizing anything more complicated that a modest children's birthday party. The idea was that we would squeeze into the building and actually do no more than re-vote, via writing our name, address, voter card number, and candidate of our choice(written out by us: C-l-i-n-t-o-n). The guy behind me in line for an hour just fell in love with me; but he supported Obama. When I wrote Clinton on my caucus sheet, he was looking directly at it. I sneaked a sideways peek. He was devastated. As I left, he dispiritedly bid me goodbye. I left at almost 9:00PM. There were about 40 people still trying to cast their caucus votes.

The rest of the story involves what Dem Primary Caucus voters talk about as they are herded around for 90 minutes. The main thing they talk about is "the stolen election of 2000." They've never seen anything so blatantly unfair in their lives. I overheard 4 different conversations or exclamations about the "stolen election."

And here, I have to say this: Democratic Primary voters are tremendously misinformed and uninformed people. The contrast with Republican voters is striking and notable. Around me were mostly middle class, lower end white collar workers. They were some of the most misinformed, uninformed people I've ever eavesdropped in on. Everything's a conspiracy with them, and the Repubs and Bush are behind it. Two different people thought we voters were standing in the cold b/c of a Republican plot. It made no sense that Repubs merely voted and went home - no muss no fuss. It made no sense that the Texas Democratic Party would intentionally haze their own voters. It had to be a Republican plot, since Republicans control politics in Texas.

Florida 2000 was a conspiracy. American voting is dangerously unmonitored, especially as Repubs are known to steal votes at will. I helpfully pointed out that we Dems are huge vote fraud offenders, and that the only people convicted of voter misdoings in 2004 were Dems from Milwaukee, and that in fact Wisconsin was very possibly stolen for John Kerry in 2004 in Milwaukee. Completely blank stares all around, from about 10 people in our conversational group. Does...not...compute.

McCain wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. McCain, to get retribution, is probably going to bomb Vietnam if he is elected. It's no fun to vote in general elections in Texas, because Republicans always win. It didn't used to be that way! Democrats used to win in this state! Those were the good old days. Knowing nods all around. Long discussion finally determines that Bill Clinton never won Texas. Therefore, the last time Texas voted for a Dem was Jimmy Carter, in 1976. (I've no idea if that is correct or not.)

Woman tells story: Went to her stockbroker in 2004. Broker was explaining how the market would break out, and the Dow would go up, immediately when Bush was re-elected. Therefore, she and her husband should shift money into common stock now, so they could enjoy the rise in value of their stock immediately after Bush was re-elected. She says, "So my husband got mad. He said to our broker: 'What if Kerry is elected!' And the broker looks right at him and says: 'Then God help us all!'" Knowing nods all around the group: What else can you expect? He was a stock-broker! They're all Republicans. Unh huh. I know that's right!

More conversation around me:
Hillary just won't be denied. The woman just keeps coming. She ain't playin. She thinks she can railroad Barack. That's why I'm staying late to vote for Barack, cause Hillary can't railroad me. Republicans are crossing over to vote for Hillary. "Why?", I ask, "Do they dislike Barack?" No! Repubs are AFRAID of Barack! They think he will beat McCain. Buuut, lots of commenters are saying McCain will win in November. Knowing nods all around. I think to myself: These people are accustomed to their candidate getting beat. But, they say, if we made it through 8 years of Bush, we can make it through anything! Nothing could be as bad as Bush! Haw haw haw haw haw.

Then, we finally caucus voted, and we took our conspiracy theories home to the warmth of our homes.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Jason Kidd: the gift that keeps on giving

Jamaal Magloire signed with Dallas partially b/c Jason Kidd is in Dallas.

Now Tyronn Lue has signed with Dallas, instead of with Denver, partially b/c Jason Kidd is in Dallas.

Tyronn Lue Song
(sung to tune of "Saturday, in the Park", by Chicago)

Tyronn Lue on the court
flingin from the three point line
Tyronn Lue on the court
flingin from the three point line
Cuban dancing Westphal laughing
DJ scratchin on the PA
wacka wacka ho's and bitches
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I've been waiting such a long time
For Tyronn Lue

Tyronn Lue on the court
flingin from the three point line
Tyronn Lue on the court
flingin from the three point line
Avery talkin Popeye smilin
Mascot on the trampoline
Dunking for us all
Will you help him throw one down
Can the Mavs win it (yes they can)
And I've been waiting such a long time
For Tyronn Lue

Slow motion replay of Ginobli flopping down
Tim Duncan still can cry to the refs his own way
Listen Avery all is not lost
All is not lost

Funny days at AAC
Every day the refs job the Mavs
Funny days at AAC
Every day the refs job the Mavs
Opponents reaching opponents touching
Dirk's mad about the no calls
Oh my he's really mad
If they want it, really want it
Can the Mavs win it (yes they can)
And I've been waiting such a long time
For Tyronn Lue

Charley Rosen on Tyronn Lue, when Lue was traded to the Kings:
Tyronn Lue is a career backup at the point-guard slot. Although he has quick hands on defense, Lue's best asset is his ability to score — especially in clutch situations. He does this with an accurate jumper that he can unleash from downtown and also on tricky pull-ups and fades. Lue definitely has the speed and the talent to be a game-changer. As he approaches his 31st birthday, Lue's uptempo skills show no sign of fading.

Now that Tyronn's a Maverick, Charley Rosen probably believes he has slowed down a lot, and is a shadow of his former self.

Can Hillary do it?

I'll be voting for her today. I think: yes. I think, in the very last 4 to 5 days, Hillary has found effective ways to shift momentum in her direction. I think she will win enough votes to keep her in the race, with a legitimate chance at the nomination.

Barack has not closed the deal. Hillary, like the NYGiants going into the Super Bowl, has a legitimate chance to win. Barack could close the deal tomorrow. But I don't think he will. I really like Hillary's chance to make a late comeback and win the Dem nomination. I sense momentum is shifting away from Barack.

All that said, I'm pretty much the worst political prognosticator ever. Even I don't give much weight to my opinion. I just felt like sharing.


I sent this creepy Obama video to my cousin, who plans to vote for Obama today. I've watched it several times. It is creepy and catchy! The creator is musician Will.I.Am.(the guy in the hat)

My favorite part happens in the final 15 seconds. Will.I.Am stands beside Jessica Alba, and they both chant "Obama. Obama." Will.I.Am is so happy! His reaction is EXACTLY the same as my reaction would be: "Damn, man! I'm tryin to be cool, but I'm chantin "Obama" RIGHT BESIDE JESSICA ALBA!!!" He can't keep himself from smiling. It's exactly how I would be.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Spring Training! Texas Rangers Hitting

Evan Grant writes an interesting article about the Rangers efforts to change from free swingers to grinders who work the count, and who force pitchers to throw more pitches per at bat.

The Red Sox, the Yankees, and the A's are especially talented grinders. They force pitchers into high pitch counts. It's difficult for a starting pitcher to go beyond the 5th or 6th inning against any of those teams, and many times I've seen starting pitchers bounced in the 3rd or 4th innings against those teams, having already run up 80 or so pitches in that short period of the game.

One thing which disappointed me about Mark Teixeira was that he refused, last season, to tweak his free swinging approach. Even if the Rangers were behind by 3, with the bases empty, Teixeira was swinging away for doubles and homers. He was selfish.

I expect Teixeira will mature into more of a grindy kind of hitter. He is still young, and headstrong, and eager to protect his coming gigantic free agent contract. He needs to produce numbers Scott Boras can work with.

I'm happy to see, in Evan Grant's article, that hitting instructor Rudy Jaramillo has bought into the grind-it-out batting approach. I had wondered if he was secretly resisting it.

I do worry that the grind it out approach will mentally overload young hitters Jason Botts and Nelson Cruz. I am more concerned with their success than with any other aspect of the Rangers this season. I want them to have clear heads, and to be relaxed, when they go to the plate.

I suspect manager Ron Washington tends to overload young hitters with too much information and too much pressure. Both Botts and Cruz have far more natural hitting talent than Ron Washington ever dreamed of having. Sometimes, I suspect Ron Washington types of scrappy, mediocre hitters do not have enough patience with big talent guys. Everyone develops in their own way - thankfully. If the Rangers had a team full of Ron Washington type hitters, they would be lucky to win 70 games.

Evan Grant says new acquisitions Josh Hamilton and Milton Bradley are both grind it out types of hitters. I applaud Jon Daniels for moving in this direction with the Rangers offense. I wonder if Nolan Ryan will buy into it?

I do wonder about Michael Young and Hank Blalock. They are both free swingers. I wonder if they will tweak their hitting approaches at this stage of their careers? I speculate that they will, yet this will be interesting to watch.

I also wonder if this makes Saltalamacchia more likely to be traded. As a hitter, he is still young and malleable. Yet, last season, he was one free swinging dude. Nothing about him indicated that he would ever be a grind it outer. It's possible the Rangers hope to build his value by refining his catching skills, then trade him. Taylor Teagarden will make a fine major league catcher. And there's plenty of catching coming behind Teagarden. A free swinging Saltalamacchia may be expendable.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Obama Girl: I like a boy who rocks a doggie tag

Oops! Remain committed to showing every Obama Girl video. Had missed this one, from September.

Bonus: Seems a good place for this:

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The manure Barack is shoveling: Part 3 1/2 - Fantasizing in public; crowd cheers

How many Arab American families have been rounded up without benefit of an attorney?

With great confidence, I give you the precise number: zero.

You want to see Arab American families rounded up without benefit of an attorney? Try Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Morrocco, Algeria, Libya.

Something else: government is not our keeper. We help our fellow citizens via private enterprise, not government program. We help our fellow citizens via protecting opportunity.


A fun place for this next(hot off a YouTube launch on Friday). This video is unfair, in the sense that it could be made about any campaign. Also, including the cocaine stuff is a low blow(heh!).

Still, it is fun. It does resonate, because of what we know about Barack's campaign going in. Might this, if it goes viral, pry some young voters away from Barack Messiah? I think yes. But maybe that's just the optimist in me!