Wednesday, June 29, 2005

TomKat - Real, or Real Unlikely?

First, there was Bennifer.
Then there was Bradgelina.
And now, well now we have TomKat, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
Is this thing real? In my personal opinion, it's probably real the way the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, or aliens (all of which may very well be real) are real. My reasonings behind the skepticism are as follows:

He holds, and kisses her the way one would handle or kiss a melon. Doesn't seem too in to it (and she keeps offering the cheek). I think he may have, perhaps, "other" interests.
When asked his opinion of Katie, Tom says she's "amazing". Why?, because she's "wonderful". Which leads back, of course eventually, to her being "amazing". With the circular argument, along with the couch dancing and the mauling of Oprah, it just seems that he's trying too hard. Plus the blockbuster movies of both stars are coming out this summer. Pure coincidence, you say? I don't know. It's hard to believe that Nicole Kidman wasn't good enough, nor apparently was Penelope Cruz up to the task, and so will Katie finally be the one? He reportedly already has her reading up on the ol' Scientology, the poor girl.
There is a movement starting, though, called Free Katie! I think it is either at, or, something like that.

Run, Katie, Run!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

"Nunc Dimittis"

Nunc Dimittis" is the Latin name of a passage in the second chapter of Luke, taken from the first line of this passage:

Lord let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled;
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people.
A light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel

Please take a look at a powerful story at the following blog:
"Nunc Dimittis"

"Nunc Dimittis", from June 21, 2005

I still have to figure out all of this linking business yet when I have some time, but hopefully this will do for now.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Dreaming of Summer Vacation

I've been dreaming as of late about a nice summer vacation; walking along a beach, smelling the fresh salty air as a medium breeze pushes wavy whitecaps along the shore, with seagulls circling above, hovering in mid-air against the breeze as they gaze through aquamarine waters in search of their sustenance...

...Then I awaken from my reverie, and I find myself at work (dutifully completed) to pay for the things of everyday existence, and I realize that there is not much left, at least as for now, for a nice summer vacation at the beach. So, one must make do, and that is what I am doing at least for now. Since we don't have an ocean in the Rocky Mountains, I ride my bike around the local lake, which is quite nice, especially during the week with fewer crowds around. A combination of sand, sea, and sun, but in miniature. And of course, no summer vacation is complete without some summer reading materials, and so I'm also doing some (not so light) reading for the summer; I'm now reading "Big Trouble", a history of labor/capital struggles of the early 20th century, wrapped around the murder of a western governor. And after this, I may read Alexis DeTocqueville's, "Democracy in America", in which DeTocqueville tours through 1830's America, speaking with the common people about what makes the country work, as well as the notion of "civil society", and about the mutual aid organizations which came to be formed around this time. If I make it throught these two this summer, then along with my completed, "What's The Matter With Kansas?", why people participate in their own economic dismantlement, I will have taken a tour of America from its earlier beginnings, up unto where we are now, but in reverse order.

So, as you can see, a gentle beach and an overarching ocean would provide a nice and calming respite to the tumble and tumult of American history, so full of both promise as well as of presumption. But why does an ocean, and a beach, seem to center one so, to bring you back to who you are. Is it our primordial connection, a recognition that we too are mostly water, seeking only our own level once again?

Monday, June 20, 2005


Here is some quotes from an old little book I picked up a while back at a used bookstore, by Andre Maurois, entitled "Conversation", a small collection of sayings and wisdom:

"To tell our friends the unpleasant things which others have said of them is but jealously seeking shelter behind false kindliness."

"A conversation devoid of silences produces nothing. There must be a gestation period."

"Advice is always a confession."

"One does not love a woman for what she says; one loves what she says because one loves her."

"Men so like to be talked about that a discussion of their faults delights them."

"Barres used to say: 'The evenings I feel incapable of intelligence, I pretend to be bored'."

"Conversation requires our undivided attention. Most men are absent from themselves."

"There are friendships and loves whose tone has been set too high. They never make us happy. Naturalness is the true sustainer of happiness."

Here's a late add on, which I think sums up nicely:

"I like what Madame de Sevigne used to call 'infinite' conversations where we talk of ourselves, of others, of little happenings, of nothing, without flash, fearless of silence, confidently and with abandon."

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Downing St. Memo

The Downing St. Memo seems finally to be gaining some acknowledgement in the major media. The memo is a document containing meeting minutes transcribed during the British Prime Minister's meeting on July 23, 2002—a full eight months PRIOR to the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003. It indicates that WMD's (weapons of mass destruction) were a trumped up, essentially baseless charge which the Bush administration would knowingly use to invade Iraq, with the decision on this being made early on, so that a later appeal to the U.N. process would basically be a sham formality in that the decision for invasion had already made. The "facts", therefore, would need to be made to fit this new reality. The following is an exerpt from the initial part of the document, as released by the Times of London, May 1, 2005:


From: Matthew Rycroft
Date: 23 July 2002
S 195 /02
cc: Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Attorney-General, Sir Richard Wilson, John Scarlett, Francis Richards, CDS, C, Jonathan Powell, Sally Morgan, Alastair Campbell


Copy addressees and you met the Prime Minister on 23 July to discuss Iraq.

This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents.

John Scarlett summarised the intelligence and latest JIC assessment. Saddam's regime was tough and based on extreme fear. The only way to overthrow it was likely to be by massive military action. Saddam was worried and expected an attack, probably by air and land, but he was not convinced that it would be immediate or overwhelming. His regime expected their neighbours to line up with the US. Saddam knew that regular army morale was poor. Real support for Saddam among the public was probably narrowly based.

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action...

The full memo is available at:

and there is much, much more damning information in there.

Representative John Conyers has written a letter on the issue to the President, inquiring about the issues raised in this document, and requesting answers on behalf of the American people.

Please, please, please, go to:

and electronically sign this letter, which Rep. Conyers plans on personally delivering to the President after 100,000 signatures have been gathered, and I believe I heard on the Randi Rhodes Radio Show that this may be on June 17, 2005. Help to apply the pressure; we need to get to the bottom of this if we want to maintain our democracy.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Crisis in Bolivia

One of my advisors is currently in Bolivia with some students, presumably doing some work in their area of study, medical anthropology, and it just so happens that a revolution has broken out there, which is more into my area of study (cultural anthropology). Bolivia's majority indigenous peoples, the Aymara and the Quechua, have decided that they have had enough of Western neoliberalism being forced upon them and have taken action, along with labor groups such as miners, in shutting down access to La Paz, forcing the resignation of President Mesa, and blocking access to a congressional convention in Sucre to appoint a new president. My professor and his students say they are physically safe as of now, but food may run out soon, and water may also soon become an issue. I told him that we will coordinate any assistance that they might need, via the US Embassy and local NGO's, should that become necessary, but hopefully things will ease up for them soon. This is a stark Latin American example of a majority, indigenous, population, being ruled by a minority, elite, Westernized oligarchy, which espouses neoliberal policies as a way of the maintenance of pseudo-democratic rule by the elite over the Indian majority of a nation; in this case the nation being Bolivia. Latin America has become increasingly resistant to neoliberal policies that export profits at the expense of the masses in favor of the few, with those few being of course our "traditional" allies, the generals, the dictators, the plantation owners, and so on. Seven Latin American nations have turned toward leftist style governments in recent years in response to so-called "free-market" style economics being thrust upon them by the power of the U.S. government and its multinational corporate allies, an economics of exploitation that the world has come to resist increasingly in recent years, as witnessed by events of Seattle in 1999, as well as anti-globalization protests in Europe and the rest of the world as of more recently. My hope is that the time of the Aymara and the Quechua has come in Bolivia, and that they can provide an example for indigenous peoples everywhere, in terms of self-determination, real democracy, and social and political justice for the poor of Latin America, and of all nations of the world.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Little People, Be Kind To Me!

Here's another little story somewhat related in theme to my previous post. Just a few years ago, I was doing a little bit of shopping at Target. I was behind the cash registers, and I remember just standing there, as I had just walked in, and I was trying to determine which direction to go in order to get what I had come in for (which I have no idea what that was now, but no matter). Right as I had determined which direction I should take, amidst a sea of peoples moving back and forth around me, I remember that, just as, but prior to, the fact that my right leg was going to take its initial step in the proper direction toward my desired goods, something wrapped around my leg, causing me some concern, and a little confusion. As I looked down, I noticed that a very small, maybe 2 year old girl, was holding tightly to my leg, very tightly (or, as tightly as a 2 year old can hold), with her face buried into the side of my knee. What had happened was that her about 4 year old brother(?), or someone along these lines, had been taunting and teasing her, poking at her, and she had reached toward the nearest limb in the vicinity to hold onto for protection. I had managed to see out of the corner of my eye an object moving toward my leg, right before she had clamped on to me. Well, needless to say, in this day and age, a 200 lb. man does not touch a little girl who is not a relative, or whom he does not know. Therefore, I just stood there, immobilized by the child, as she held on to me, seemingly for an eternity, but really not for that very long. I kind of looked around sheepishly for any mother, or someone, to maybe notice their child, and to perhaps say something, but apparently no mother was around. The little girl finally decided to let go, and she and her brother then just moved along. I think now that she was laughing a little bit as the two just walked away, with taunting turning into playing. She never looked up at me, the two just moved on their way, hopefully to where their parents were. And I was then freed to go buy my paper plates, or whatever I had went into that Target for!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Be Kind To Little People!

Always be kind to small children. Sometimes they'll remember it for the rest of their lives. Today while riding my bike around Sloan's Lake, a little blonde girl with a crooked helmet on, riding a small bicycle with training wheels, smiled and said a bright hello to me as I slowly rode past her on my mountain bike. Of course, I smiled back at her, waived and said hello also. I then began to think as I rode on along, about how children sometimes remember small, innocuous details from their childhood well on into their adult years. I know this because it was and is the case for myself as well.

When I was a small child, there lived in our neighborhood a somewhat unusual man who I would see from time to time walking up and down our street (as I believe he lived further on down our block, or perhaps the next). He was unusual for a number of reasons: he was somewhat short of stature for an adult, he was black (and there were not many black people in our neighborhood), and he was crippled. He dragged one crooked leg as he walked along, and one of his arms seemed to be always twisted and turned inward, so that his hand and palm on this arm was turned in toward his face most of the time. He also used to talk to himself, occasionally somewhat loudly. I'd seen him around many times as a young child, but what I most remember about him was the time when my mother, myself, and my younger brother were walking to a nearby store in the neighborhood. It just so happened that as we approached the crosswalk in the street, this relatively young man was coming from the opposite direction. When he saw us, he loped rapidly into the street, stopped traffic (maybe one or two cars) by putting out his hand in the stop motion, and then waved us through the crosswalk as he held up the traffic. I was very impressed, and I believe that I kept turning around to look at him as he waved at us, and then began to proceed along his way, dragging that one crooked leg down the street toward his home.

Years later, as a man no longer so young, and working on a second college degree, there was a day when I saw this man again as I was doing delivery work for a medical supply company in order to make ends meet. As I wheeled my supplies into the middle of yet another medical clinic within the state hospital, there sat a black man amongst several other indigent individuals, seeking medical assistance, or waiting for their periodical exams and visits. It was the same man, now more aged, and with the same recognizable shape of hair, which was now all white. How I wanted to run to him, and tell him that I remembered him, and what he had done, and that I had never forgotten! But, I am a man of reserve and composed behaviour, a man who calculates risk, perhaps too much, and so I calmly, or seemingly so, wheeled my stack of goods through the room, and to the back where they belonged. I left the way I had come in, taking one last look at the man, who had never really noticed me, although he seemed as animated as ever, engaging those around him with his latest adventures. I never thought I'd see this man again, who had always stayed in my young mind, but for some reason, I was allowed to see him one more time, now as an old man, before he leaves this world forever. It was a blessing.