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Friday, October 09, 2015

The Venus Of Willendorf Graph

 Angela Merkel
source: Getty / Politico

German PM Angela Merkel has harshly criticized Eastern European governments for their meager response to the migration crisis:

Merkel slams eastern Europeans on migration
Chancellor makes emotional plea in closed-door meeting.
By  Florian Eder and Maïa de La Baume
10/7/15, 3:53 PM CET Updated 10/9/15, 7:35 AM CET
STRASBOURG — German Chancellor Angela Merkel harshly criticized eastern European governments for not having learned from their own history in their responses to the migration crisis.

“The eastern Europeans — and I’m counting myself as an eastern European — we have experienced that isolation doesn’t help,” she told members of the center-right European People’s Party Wednesday in a closed-door meeting, according to a recording of the session that POLITICO obtained from one group member.

“It makes me a bit sad that precisely those who can consider themselves lucky that they have lived to see the end of the Cold War, now think that one can completely stay out of certain developments of globalization,” Merkel said, referring to the reluctance of some EU countries to accept refugees...

One area not touched is a demographic fact which affects Germany and all of the developed world; i.e., the fact that the older portion of the population is growing while the younger workforce is diminishing, thereby creating a situation where fewer workers need to support benefits for those no longer working.

This imbalance in age distribution, when viewed as a graph, creates a profile which I refer to as  The Venus of Willendorf  age distribution.

For example, in 2015 the Germany age distribution pyramid graph:

and as the bulges in the middle move upwards as the population ages, fewer workers are supporting more and more people.

This is The Venus of Willendorf Demographic Trap, based on the resemblance to the Neolithic staue of the same name:

Venus of Willendorf

and we see the narrow base (which represents the young), the middle bulge of the hips (which represent the work force), and then the other bulges of the breast higher up (which represent the retired group, interestingly enough).

One of the uses of Immigration that we forget - and perhaps we were never aware of - is the fact that the immigrants tend to be workers looking for work and they bring their families and children.

Thus, Immigration can usefully add to the workforce and tend to correct the imbalance as seen in the Venus of Willendorf Demographic Trap.

One of the easiest ways to address Social Security problems is to increase the Social Security paying workforce by immigration.
Of course, we do not talk about this; we talk about (a) building walls and forbidding entry, and (b) putting old folks on ice floes and giving them a push.... or giving their boats old, used and worn dimity sails, enough to get them wheezily floating to their Arthur Gordon Pym-dystopian future!


Thursday, October 08, 2015

DAD and Ahmadiyya

Mr. Jinnah in London

My birthday came and went without notice.

I was born on Direct Action Day  (DAD), proclaimed by Muhammed Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League in order to demonstrate to the British and to the Congress Party the depth of Muslim feeling for their own state.
The very day, not just the same date, but that very day.

The day was the occasion of rioting between Hindu and Muslim, in which 4,000 people were killed.

 Calcutta Riot Aftermath

Against this background, British India was partitioned into India and Pakistan. There was a ceaseless chorus of violence and suffering as peoples moved to follow their religious lines.

India had Mr. Nehru, who lived another 17 years after partition to guide his state. Pakistan, however, lost Mr. Jinnah 17 months after partition. That loss of guidance was severely felt and is still felt in Pakistan.

In 1947, Mr. Jinnah addressed Pakistan's constituent assembly in a speech which described his vision:
You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are
free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship
in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any
religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the
business of the State. As you know, history shows that
in England, conditions, some time ago, were much worse
than those prevailing in India today.
The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other.
Even now there are some States in existence where there
are discriminations made and bars imposed against a
particular class. Thank God, we are not starting in those
We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination,
no distinction between one community and
another, no discrimination between one caste or creed
and another. We are starting with this fundamental
principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one

In 2015 we read in Dawn about the ongoing persecution of the Ahmadi minority in Pakistan:
(Their faith is described as Ahmadiyya)

A vulnerable minority
Editorial — Updated a day ago
PERSECUTION can be overt at times, subtle and insidious at others; and most people would likely agree that it is an ugly, despicable thing. However, there is one minority community in Pakistan — the Ahmadis — against whom persecution of both kinds not only exists but is celebrated as a virtue by sections of the majority.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan held a consultative meeting with members of the community on Sunday to explore the issue and perhaps, in the process, attempt to hold up a mirror to society’s unconscionable collusion in discrimination against them.

On the occasion, examples were cited from various aspects of life, including educational institutions and the workplace, where they are subjected to humiliation and harassment, as well as in the media — where hate speech against them may have even incited the murder of some members of the community.

The HRCP panelists recounted Pakistan’s legislative history whereby adherents of the minority faith were declared non-Muslim through a constitutional amendment in 1974; that was later followed by Gen Ziaul Haq making it a punishable offence for Ahmadis to call themselves Muslim, to refer to their call to prayer as ‘azan’ or their places of worship as ‘masjid’...

This is not Mr. Jinnah's Pakistan, not by a long chalk.

It is especially ironic since an Ahmadi missionary in London convinced Mr. Jinnah in 1934 to make a return to politics:

The Rabwah Times
Jinnah persuaded to return to politics by Ahmadiyya Missionary
Posted about 1 year ago
The history behind Jinnah’s return to Indian politics in 1934 makes for an inconvenient truth. The man whose eloquent persuasion left Jinnah no escape in returning to politics, has been forgotten in the annals of official Pakistani history. That man was not Liaqat Ali Khan and certainly not Dr. Muhammad Iqbal but Abdur Rahim Dard – an Ahmadi missionary in London.

August 14, Pakistan Independence Day, is a date of great significance for Pakistanis everywhere but it has a particular resonance for Matiallah Dard, vice-chairman of Bexley Multi-Faith Forum and Thamesmead Inter-Faith Forum.

It was Mr Dard’s uncle, Maulana Abdur Rahmin Dard, who persuaded Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder and first leader of Pakistan, to leave London to go and further the cause of Muslims back home in India...
 Imam of London Mosque Abdur Rahim Dard

The London Mosque, the first to be built in London

What is Irony but the foretaste of Karma's advent?


Appointment In Mecca

Muslim pilgrims walk near a construction crane that crashed into the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 12, 2015.   At least 107 people were killed when the crane toppled over at Mecca's Grand Mosque on Sept. 11.                        (photo by REUTERS/Mohamed Al Hwaity)

I wrote a post about how Saudi Arabia was no longer competent to be the Protector of the Two Noble Mosques.

That opinion is reiterated in Dawn:
In Makkah I saw little of Islam’s compassion, but a lot of Saudi Arabia’s neglect
Sabreena Razaq Hussain   2015
...The manners and communication skills of the stewards and police deployed in and around the mosque were deplorable. With pilgrims from hundreds of countries, one would think that communication in at least one language other than Arabic would be available. This was not the case.

Also read: Witnesses blame Saudi officials for Haj horror

Not only that, but their manner of aggressively shouting at even the most softly spoken of pilgrims was both needless and a cause of humiliation for those on the receiving end. Nobody had ever spoken to me or my parents in this way before.

It appeared the only thing the very young policemen were authorised to do was shout the Arabic word for “no” and to barricade entry routes as and when they pleased without warning, offering no alternative: clearly a recipe for a crush or a stampede in any of the holy sites.

We were in the mosque when they barricaded an exit and said we couldn’t leave until the next prayer finished, an hour and a half later. The physical pressure of hundreds of people had started to build up behind us, causing extreme anxiety and hyperventilation...

After I had written my post, at least 717 pilgrims were killed and 863 were injured during a panic stampede during the Hajj on September 24th at Mina, just outside Mecca :
 “If the pilgrims had followed instructions, this type of accident could have been avoided. “
Perhaps the authorities should provide some flogging for the dullards. They do so for their own citizens who have not entirely "learned the ropes".

Yet a mystery remains.
When the crane fell, I was angry and said that Allah had struck the kingdom - ( ضربت يد الله ), never once expecting a sequel disaster to be so quick in the making.
Observe the photo above in greater detail:

There is a man in a yellow hard hat wearing an orange shirt with a shawl over shoulder; immediately to the right in the photo is a man taking photos. This man is dressed in white shirt with a collar colored red-white-red. He has a grey object hanging down his back, and it may be a parasol by the looks of it. His phone-camera is held immediately below a window a/c unit on a construction or police shack.

This man was among the  casualties on September 24th.

It is as if he stumbled across Death - the Sunderer of Friendships and the Destroyer of Delights - while taking photos in the grand Mosque, and Death stared at him with wild surprise. Frightened, this man ran off to Mina, only to find Death again, who said that he had been totally surprised to see him and his camera at the Grand Mosque on the 12th, since Death knew that they had an appointment and photo-op in Mina on the 24th.............

......... and Death knew that the temporary Hajj visa was only good for  7 days !!!!!


Pearls Before A Swine

photo: Tablet Magazine

I was reading Tablet, and in particular an article about how attendance-poor synagogues could learn from Best Buy, and how it had turned around it fortunes by concentrating on the reality - not the virtual reality - of having a customer come in to experience a sensory, haptic, audio and visual experience of the items it provided.

... Rather than abandon the traditional mantle for other, lighter ones that feel more colorful and cool and contemporary, synagogues should reiterate that their predominant commitment is, as it has always been, to the collective practice of religious ritual. Instead of expecting their staff to look and sound like that cool RA you secretly crushed on in college, they should invest in training members of the clergy to speak confidently and knowledgeably about the words we recite when we pray and the intricate theology these prayers form and the subtle but meaningful ways in which this theology differs from other belief systems. Instead, the closest you’re likely to get to theology in shul these days is some well-meaning muttering about tikkun olam, as if professing our commitment to repairing the world was something more than spiritual smooth jazz, all feelgood and no real depth. These prayers our ancestors have been reciting since they’ve dwelled in sun-stricken tents have meaning, and it’s that meaning, that ancient and primordial connection, we seek when we plop down in the pew.

Let’s have more of that, then. There are many other places we can go to be cool, and many other ways for us to be Jewish, but we still want to go to a place where we can forget about the cheaper and quicker thrills of the world outside. It’s the High Holiday season, and it’s time for another miraculous turnaround...

I went to Best Buy two days ago; I was getting two new front tires for the car, and while I waited, I walked to City Bakery to buy freshly baked pita, which I ate while walking up and across Rochester Road to the Best Buy.
I needed 2 or 3 loaves pita, since Rochester Road was not actually designed with pedestrians in mind. At the intersection where I crossed, there was only one crosswalk from west to east, and it was sort of Cabinet-of-Doctor-Caligari-ish expressionistic, modernistic, Norman Bel Geddes seeing into the future-istic at the 1939 New York World's Fair only to have his budget slashed by Robert Moses, and ending up with half a perisphere and a walkway to a briarpatch.

I made it to Best Buy and entered.
It was indeed a temple. I asked where the cellphones were, and the gatekeeper pointed me in the right direction, muttering "Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch'entrate... senza oro!"  (Leave behind all hope, ye who enter without gold!)

It was a "if you have to ask how much it costs, you cannot afford it" experience.

It is one thing to throw around hundreds and hundreds for new tech gadgets; everybody does that; it is the style. I can throw around money with the best of them.
However, it is that devilish monthly service fee that grinds me. $500 per year for a device which will beep incessantly at all hours of the day and night, keeping me close to my emails from commercial establishments that want to suck me into their virtual reality is a lot of simoleons.

I heard J.P. Morgan is buying mortgages and phone plan paper from various institutions......

Actually, the worst program I saw so far was something associated with AARP... Consumers something-or-other... and it had all its prices as monthly payment amounts for phone and monthly payments for plan.
The gizmo that was listed at $25 per month ended up costing $400 to $700, and it seems as if this whole approach was predicated on the fact that I would go along and blithely pay $25 for month M and then short term memory ghastliness would render me senseless to the treadmill-in-the-poorhouse nature of the affair... namely that month M+1 was only 28 days (or so) away, and so on for the balance of my dismal life.

I left. I felt they breathed a sigh of relief. I was not "the right kind".


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Mercenaries In Syria

I am reprinting two posts about the nature of the "rebels" our country is supposed to be interested in supporting in Syria:

 AP Photo of Syrian Rebel

Associated Press   (link)
Muhammed Muheisen
In this Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012 file photo, Syrian rebel fighter Tawfiq Hassan, 23, a former butcher, poses for a picture, after returning from fighting against Syrian army forces in Aleppo, at a rebel headquarters in Marea on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria. America's Arab allies have dramatically stepped up weapon supplies to Syrian rebels in preparation for a push on the capital Damascus, the main stronghold of President Bashar Assad, officials and Western military experts say, with one official saying airlifts to neighboring Jordan and Turkey have doubled the past month. The U.S. and other Western governments are involved to channel the flow toward more secular fighters, they say. The influx appears to be boosting a rebel drive to seize supply routes from the border with Jordan to Damascus.

My Muslim friends, some of whom are from Syria, were surprised to see this picture; they were no more surprised than I was. I saw it early this morning and thought, "What in the world...?" as I fell off my chair.
There is a sequence of photos, each purporting to be some every-day Ahmad, who used to be a butcher, baker, or barber, who has taken up arms in the cause of freedom.

The man identified as Tawfiq Hassan has tattoos !
Tattoos are  haram  in Islam; they are forbidden.

Not only does this man have tattoos, but the tattoos picture animate creatures: two women crowned with doves, one on each shoulder blade.
The depiction of animate creatures is also haram, forbidden, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on one's school of the law.

It is, in other words, a double whammy... or haramān   (two forbiddens)... if you will.

I can imagine a good deal of serious discussion given in Muslim forums about tattoos and about the depiction of human beings, but I think it would take a long stretch of the imagination to think that anyone would look at these tattos and think anything but haram.

If this guy is anything but a mercenary, I will be very surprised.

If they are non-Islamic, who are they? Perhaps they are Middle Eastern, but they seem to have no religious roots. Perhaps they are the sociopaths being groomed to rule the future Syria.


Following up my post on Tattooed Muslims, there was another story on CNN about an ex-US Army soldier arrested for fighting for Al Qaeda in Syria.

Very interesting, very interesting.

Just a note on the tattoos, the soldier was obviously posing to show them off for the photographer. The photographer, who may have been from a Islamic background, may have very well known about the status of tattoos in Islam.
I am very surprised that such things would be a focus of a story about Syria. I mean, you would think no one would want to show off the tattoos, which are forbidden in the Hadiths of the Prophet 

It is very mysterious.


The [Oval] Office ?

And whom does Ben Carson remind you of if not the brilliant, yet erratic, Dwight Schrute?


The [Oval] Office?

Angela Martin is, obviously, none other than Carly Fiorina.


Sunday, October 04, 2015

The [Oval] Office ?

I was watching an old episode of The Office, and it was still fresh and funny, but even more, it seriously and entirely brought to mind the entire slate of Republican candidates for president in 2016.

I mean, surely Ben Carson is spot on as Dwight Schrute, Carly Fiorina is a dead ringer for Angela Martin, Ted Cruz in unengagingly a mirror image of the earnest and clueless Michael Scott, Jeb Bush tries valiantly to be a conservative influence just as Oscar Martinez...

And who else could Donald Trump be but old Packer!


Good Analysis

 The Crew from Yes. Minister

A situation which obviously requires "something to be done", is tricky, because as the writer in the article below mentions:

... The “Yes, Minister” syllogism – “We must do something; this is something; therefore we must do this” – is not a form of reasoning that leads to good results...

Read it in  The Washington Monthly -
- quite a good site with sections devoted to college life and business.


Friday, October 02, 2015

An Adventure In Art (64)

Berbères Allant au Marché 2
Berber Ladies Going to the Store #2

La Galerie de Dominique Brémond


Continuous Transport: De Chirico et le Pneu Crevé

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

Giorgio De Chirico Has A Flat Tire On His Chrysler PT Cruiser
While Motoring Through the Italian Countryside


Vox Rationis

Sweet Voice of Reason...

Mr. Putin said:

... We also remember certain episodes from the history of the Soviet Union. Social experiments for export, attempts to push for changes within other countries based on ideological preferences, often led to tragic consequences and to degradation rather than progress.
It seemed, however, that far from learning from others’ mistakes, everyone just keeps repeating them, and so the export of revolutions, this time of so-called democratic ones, continues. It would suffice to look at the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, as has been mentioned by previous speakers. Certainly political and social problems in this region have been piling up for a long time, and people there wish for changes naturally.
But how did it actually turn out? Rather than bringing about reforms, an aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself. Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster. Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life...

Seems spot on to me. Mr. Putin reminisces about the days when the super powers - 2 of 'em - exported ideologies by hook or by crook. He observes that the outcomes were often tragic. Now there is only one superpower left, but there still seems to be ideological packaging for export.

Since when did Democracy become a commodity to be handled by the Export-Import Bank? So much a commodity easily shipped across country borders that even Amazon could sell and ship Democracy.
Want brand-new democracy? Low price... just allow 5 to 7 days for shipping and civil wars to take place.



The Disconnects Of The Roman Empire

 Chateau Ausone, the one-time estate of Ausonius, c. 395 B.C.E.

I have been reading about the financial system and the 2008 Unpleasantness, and one lesson I have drawn is that things are going pretty wrong when important institutions of a Society have goals and interests that are at variance from the welfare of the whole Society.

The Praetorian Guards come to mind under the Roman Empire.
Possibly the Roman Army; I need more study in that area.
Possibly the Senatorial and Patrician classes, which allowed the gap between their wealth and the poverty of the rest of the populace to widen and widen until it yawned open, gaping like a Ginunga Gap of Armageddon.

We have liked to think that Rome was done in by decadence and luxury and bread and circuses, but I think it was more the disconnections that fractured it mortally.

Within the shelter of the social fractures grew the alternative societies: Christianity, Mithraism, an tendency to escape from society as shown in such disparate lives as those of Anthony and Ausonius.

Franz Joseph I of Austri-Hungary

I have also been reading Oscar Jaszi's study (1929) on the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
It is a great joy to learn about the world of Central Europe, an area about which I was very much ignorant; I mean, how can one hope to understand Franz Kafka without an exposure in some depth to the verities of Prague under the Hapsburgs?
In Science, how do we properly appreciate Von Neumann, Szilard, and Teller without knowledge of the Hungary part of the Dual Monarchy?

How do we understand the background to the history of the Jews in Europe with only a cursory acquaintance with Jewish life in Central Europe? Life was not all Tevye-style.

Furthermore, it is Jaszi's thesis that the only thing which could have saved the Austro-Hungarian Empire from disaster was a serious attempt to extend democracy to the vast motley of nations within its power, even though this action would tend to increase the flight from the Vienna center.

The choice was Revolution and Violence, or Democracy and possibly eventual a loosening of the imperial reins into a confederacy or independence in time.

Victoria, Empress of India

The United Kingdom accomplished just this outcome with varying degrees of success.
Many people complain and bemoan the disappearance of the British Empire; they think that more soldiers and more compulsion would have preserved the Empire.
That is an illusion.

The question now is what is happening?

People are seeking to cast a democratic vote for their governance, whether they cast a ballot or shoot a gun.


Friday, September 18, 2015

The Revolt Of The Parking Lots: Arboreal Refugees

Guard Patrolling Border Wall Keeping Refugee Trees At Bay

The War of the Parking Lots against mankind has been noted before. It has been long overdue and has been foreseen in "parking lot moons" and "parking lot" eschatological poetry:

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot...

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half to see 'em
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And they put up a parking lot

(Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi)

The drums of revolt have been booming, announcing the day when SkyNet-Park-and-Ride, the controller satellite, revolts against human power and launches the  "Revolt of the Parking Lots".

SkyNet-Park-and-Ride Just Before Launch in 2001

As has been previously noted,
" ...Voltaire said, "MacAdam, c'est la pépinière de kudzu ", or asphalt is the nursery garden of kudzu."
 and we are approaching midnight in the Garden Of Good and Kudzu!

Kudzu takes root in an Asphalt Parking Lot
"It's alive! Alive!" - from the film Kudzu Resurrection, The Sequel (2014)

And the Kudzu has launched attacks against the trees, wrapping itself like murderous pythons about every elm and sycamore and plane tree within its murderous ambit!

Of course, originally we supported the "moderate" Kudzu groups in their efforts against the "dictatorship" of the trees, for the trees have cast the long, sun-denying shadows of their forests for millenia, and have undermined asphalt parking lots for ever with the devious subterfuge of their root systems!

And now the trees flee the wild, and the photo at the top of the post is that of a border security guard walking along a border wall, against which a refugee flood of trees crashes, seeking asylum from the Parking Lots and their allies, the Kudzu, which have spread an archipelago of asphalt violence across the face of the globe:

 Areas Controlled by Kudzu, Parking Lots, and Hizbu-l-Asphalt around Troy and Birmingham, Michigan


Click on "revolt of the parking lots" below under the heading LABELS in order to see all posts on this serious topic.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Protector Of The Haramayn ?

Muslim pilgrims walk near a construction crane that crashed into the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 12, 2015.   At least 107 people were killed when the crane toppled over at Mecca's Grand Mosque on Sept. 11.                        (photo by REUTERS/Mohamed Al Hwaity)

Saudi Arabia has pretty much given up on its status of Protector of the Two Holy Places, Al Madina and Mecca. (Al Haramayn)

Saudi Arabia has banned Muslims from Yemen and Syria from participating in the Hajj... a political ban which has superseded the status of the Hajj as one of the pillars of Islam, an act of political expedience for no one, except Saudi Arabia itself.
Thus, the universality of the protectorate of the holy places has been relegated to being a myth, which Saudi Arabia will observe or ignore as it suits Saudi Arabia.

Even if you be a Muslim who is not banned from the Hajj, you are a chicken to be plucked by the Saudi Kingdom:
Al Monitor
...However, the moment a Muslim decides to make the pilgrimage, he is at the mercy of the commercialization of this religious duty. From visa fees imposed by the Saudi government to transportation and accommodation charges, pilgrims are a source of income to both the Saudi government and service providers. The Saudi government prefers to call pilgrims “guests of God,” but these guests pay a high price. It takes some Muslims a lifetime to save for this important journey; many may never have enough resources to make it. Others can be banned for political reasons...

Saudi Arabia actions may in other areas are ominous and contrary to religious sentiment:
MintPress News

...Hasan Sufyani, a leading political analyst at the Sana’a Institute for Arabic Studies, argues that the kingdom’s henchmen are laying the groundwork for a religious cleansing movement.

“Religious minorities in the Middle East have never been under such aggravated threat. Christians in Iraq and Syria have been massacred en masse, Shia Muslims have been persecuted, their faith belittled and chastised by radicals on Riyadh’s payroll,” Sufyani told MintPress News.

When I first saw the picture at the top of the crane which had fallen over, I thought "Darabat Yad Allahi !"...

! ضربت يد الله

The hand of Allah has struck...

Stand too closely as we do in perilous alliance with the unholy House of Saud andwe will reap their whirlwind, also.

Blood Moons Come In Fours

 Pentad of Raccoons

I was unaware until yesterday that the biblical scholar, John Hagee, has propounded a theory of coming catastrophe based upon 4 lunar eclipses during the period October 2014 through October 2015.
How could I have missed it? Perhaps the press of living a life made me miss this unusual bit of Pastor Hagee bowing down before the idol of his own mind. That is very possible. We live in a time of Celebrity, which - when you come right down to it - is not much more that an idolatry of the Unprepared and the Ignorant and the Inept.

In order to strike the right tone, Hagee calls the set of 4 lunar eclipses a "tetrad".
"Tetrad" means "a set of 4 items" in Greek, no more and no less; just "4 any-old-things-and whatnots" makes a tetrad... all being rather like 5 things makes for a lovely "pentad".

The use of the Greek "tetrad", however, takes us out of the everyday, and takes us back to the work of the Septuagint, when the Hebrew bible was translated into common Greek of the era of the second century B.C.E.
Tetrad has the aura of sort of a supernatural kind. It also reminds of of Hermetic philosophy and prophecies, and I am sure Nostradamus used "tetrad" in place of   "quater chosz"  [ =  quatre choses = 4 things].
When it comes to modern day biblical mumbo-jumbo, Ancient Greek terminology is the best thing since sliced bread  ("artos kommenos"). It simply reeks of authenticity.

One thing I have noticed is that lunar eclipses are not really the color of blood. The color is more like a smudged burnished-bright copper. I remember sitting out until midnight once to view such an eclipse, and being startled by a raccoon family of five  ( a "pentad"!) go walking by on the top of the backyard fence...
This has led to an unfortunate tendency to conflate lunar eclipses and visions of animals and their babies, which is more like a cozy, huggy, cutsey-ootsey view of the "blood moon" business, and not quite catastrophically oriented to suit the likes of Mr. Hagee.

In Matthew 24 there is:

…42"Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43"But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44"For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.…

Not much of a thief if he were to send ahead a note saying that he would break in on-or-about the time of the fourth lunar eclipse/blood moon... etc., etc., etc., sincerely,  The Burglar

Beyond the obvious fact that one should be prepared are other problems inherent in "knowing when the thief in the night" will strike:
(1) we may feel we do not have enough time remaining to become pure enough, and thus we may despair, or
(2) we may do unusual things in a state of manic exhiliration, things which may be totally out of character due to our state of euphoria and being-out-of-our-everyday-minds.

The list of the possible follies of humanity on the verge of Greatness is probably without limit. We would collapse into some bipolar boiling panic, sort of a fast-motion "out of the fire, into the frying pan" mania of belief and doubt, hope and despair, over and over again until we exhaust our selves and souls.

Now as far as war and catastrophes in October, 2015, any sane man or woman pretty much expects them then and more of the same through 2017, blood moons or not.
It is just a continuation of our mad tango of crime and karma.


Monday, September 14, 2015

The Uses Of Atomic Power

Der Tag wird heiß – wie wehst du kühl, o Weidenlaub von Babylon!
The days grow hot, O, Babylon; 'tis cool beneath thy willows trees.

Iran was plausibly capable of developing atomic weaponry; therefore, it is treated with respect and the USA and its allies negotiate an agreement with Iran to remove sanctions and not to develop atomic bombs.

Syria under its Baathist (secular) regime had no such capability. It is said that its research facility was bombed by the Israel ten years or so ago.

So Syria is treated like scum, and it is laid open to a myriad of war-mongering monsters, and its people are killed and spread in exile over the face of the earth......


Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Love... I Guess

I love everything, the world, the blokes and frails inhabiting it, the history of our wonderful victories and dismal defeats...

I do not wish to let go of it at some undefined future time.

Let me shine forever!

Continuous Transport

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

 Sukhumi Railroad Station, Abkhazia

Serving as a bus terminal, and falling into ruin.

Railroad Tunnel in Abkhazia


Friday, September 04, 2015

Labor Day Box On Ya!

Harvest at Lammas Day

Since I am in the habit of referring to December 26, the day after Christmas, as Boxing Day, the expression has taken on a life of its own.

Labor Day festivities approach the coming Monday, and....

we shall gather at me mother's,
me beautiful, me beeeyouuu-tiful mother's!
we shall gather at me mother's,
that be on the river of St. Claire!

I shall be picking her up on Labor Day Eve, and I shall be taking her back the day after Labor Day, or Labor Boxing Day.  How many "boxings" one could string together is unknown...
(My birthday, by the way, is the Feast of the Assumption Boxing Day.)

She-who-must-be-obeyed had Irish relatives who would visit after Christmas, and the common greeting was "Christmas Box on Ya!"

I am playing with using "Ash Wednesday" to denote 40 days before a date, and "Ramadan" to denote a full lunar month before some event.

I already split up the year into sections of 3 months:  Michaelmas, Hilary, and Trinity reflecting the scholastic year at Oxford, and having added Lammas to fill in as the patronym for the remaining season from June to September.
(It had been a toss up between "Lammas" and "Holy Peter in Chains!", but Lammas won.)

Thus, my calendar is divided somewhat after the manner of Scotland's Quarter Days, which similarly divide the year:  Candlemas (2 February), Whitsunday (15 May), Lammas (1 August), and Martinmas  (11 November).


Thursday, September 03, 2015

Into The Future

My favorite set of wheels is not a DeLorean...

Rather, it is a DeLuisean...


"It starts right up."


The Death Of Aylan Kurdi


Indifference is the ghost beneath my bed,
the bush where tinsel ghosts congregate,
trolls that wish to party and dismember me,
to scatter the pieces of my body
around the Mediterranean -
(Venice of the soul, as we sink into a sea;
great Doges of our madness!) – 
like the alabaster torso of Osiris
washed up from Syria and Beirut,
drowned upon the shore,
where we Instagram
and soon forget
th’indifference what drove us mad.


written 09/03/2015 on hearing of the death of Aylan Kurdi of Syria.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

1984... Or What You Will

The Independent

The second volume of Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders [a Marvel publication in the UK] was published earlier this month.

The series takes place on Battleworld, a dystopian planet in which two cities, one good and one evil, are separated by a wall.

The 'evil' city is run by Victor von Doom of Fantastic Four fame, who invades the 'good' city of Yinsen when the second volume begins.

Early in the issue the reader is brought to a detention camp, where a guard tells captives that their rights are being stripped.  [see above picture]

Now Von Doom, yet another instance of what Dr. Sheldon Cooper refers to as the troublingly high number of advanced degree holders among super villains, has been accused of plagiarizing the British PM:


Russia: Monasticism In The Urals

Confession before the Liturgy near the Holy Relics of St. Dalmat Isetsky.

Dalmatovo Assumption Monastery situated on the left bank of the Iset river, at the confluence of the Tech river, in the town Dalmatovo, Kurgan region, Urals.

Russia Beyond The Headlines


Views Of Russia

RUSSIA Beyond The Headlines

There are some blogs I regret taking my eyes off...

Charming Faces Of Russian Orthodoxy

"A wooden church stands on the island of Patmos in the middle of the Katun River; residential and farm buildings are located in an area of woodland on the left bank. The island is connected to the shore by means of a suspension bridge. The sisters make a daily round of the cloister with an icon."

" 'Holy Bushes' Uspensky Svyato-Georgiev [St. George Assumption] Monastery, Bashkiria was opened in 1901. It is located among forests, meadows, and low hills, away from populated areas."

"Father Nikolai, an elder of the Ufa diocese, visits the cloister to answer workers' questions. Lay people often come and spend time at the monastery. The purpose of their visits is the selfless desire to help the monastery. In addition to their desire to help the monastery, people are frequently in need of spiritual help and support, and in search of a new outlook on life. Visitors and monks live in small detached wooden monastic cells."

Go and look! Go and look!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Continuous Transport

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

 Le Retour Du Train Perdu