merci beaucoup, le Canada!

SkyHarbor, 2010/02/28 


Well, our Canuck pals put on quite a winter party for the world… And they even won the hockey Gold they craved for team Canada, who beat us today fair and square in a nail-biter (their NHL players beat our NHL players 3-2 in sudden-death OT ;-})… I fell in love with Lindsey Vonn and Ju-na Kim… I finally figured out what ‘icing’ means in ice hockey… and I still feel uncomfortable watching the two-man Luge! ;-}

In fine Canadian style, the closing ceremony started with a laugh and a ‘sorry, eh!’, making fun of themselves for the Olympic torch malfunction at the opening festivities. What the hell, eh? After a few more LaBatt’s… like who cares, eh? ;-}

I’m no winter sportsman (strictly bunny slope), but I can tell excellence when I see it, and we got plenty of that. And even if the whole spectacle is a corporate ‘gin, I prefer to remain naïve and just enjoy the sense of good sport and international fair play.

So Thank You, Canada… you did just fine!

in praise of ‘special circumstances’…


As we have built up knowledge of our cosmic ‘neighbourhood’ over the many years since Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler¹ and Newton, the general tendency has uniformly been a decentralisation and demotion of Earth from the sole ‘crown of creation’ to one of an uncountable number of worlds which we now speculate may be suitable for life… from simple bacteria-like slime all the way to sentient creatures who could even now be looking back at us through alien telescopes… perhaps with “intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic” (H.G. Wells).

[Sorry, I don’t mean to provoke tongue-in-cheek fears about any imminent alien ‘invasion’… I just always loved that line from Wells’ intro to “War of the Worlds”. ;-}]

What I’ve been considering lately are some ways that our ‘beautiful blue dot’, the Earth is special… and how in some ways it is if not unique, then at least quite rare in our cosmos… Let me mention just THREE:

read more…

where are you drawing?

raison detre, 2010/02/26 

i hope i can… saturday is the next global sketchcrawl. this time i go into it without the option to be terribly mobile… so… no excuses… draw! draw! draw! even if it’s on your napkin! or next to the phone… or standing in line. on your ticket stub. and know there’s a collective group getting together all over the world in pockets to do the same thing and share… whether they’re in china or india or france or italy or canada or japan… rain or shine, snow or sand… even in the war zones… it is very interesting to partake in this, which i have, for a few years… to be an armchair traveller in areas where bombs are dropping, temperatures are tempting groups to become more intimate and share more than their drawings, people are bonding across continents, simply with their lines and the power of their own expression and creativity.

Bellamy, Francis

Cat eyes,  

from Wiki

Francis Julius Bellamy born in Mount Morris, NY on (May 18, 1855 – August 28, 1931) was an American Baptist minister and Christian Socialist[1] who wrote the original Pledge of Allegiance in 1892. It was published in the Youth’s Companion, which was a nationally circulated magazine for adolescents, and by 1892 was the largest publication of any type in the United States, with a circulation around 500,000. His cousin Edward Bellamy is the noted author of the socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward (1888) and Equality (1897).

His original Pledge read as follows:
“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”

Bellamy commented on his thoughts as he created the pledge, and his reasons for choosing the careful wording:

“It began as an intensive communing with salient points of our national history, from the Declaration of Independence onwards; with the makings of the Constitution… with the meaning of the Civil War; with the aspiration of the people…
“The true reason for allegiance to the Flag is the ‘republic for which it stands’. …And what does that vast thing, the Republic mean? It is the concise political word for the Nation – the One Nation which the Civil War was fought to prove. To make that One Nation idea clear, we must specify that it is indivisible, as Webster and Lincoln used to repeat in their great speeches. And its future?
“Just here arose the temptation of the historic slogan of the French Revolution which meant so much to Jefferson and his friends, ‘Liberty, equality, fraternity’. No, that would be too fanciful, too many thousands of years off in realization. But we as a nation do stand square on the doctrine of liberty and justice for all…”

The recital was accompanied with a salute to the flag known as the Bellamy salute, described in detail by Bellamy. During World War II, the salute was replaced with a hand-over-heart gesture because the original form involved stretching the arm out towards the flag in a manner that resembled the later Nazi salute.


Bellamy is buried in Rome, New York.

AND . . .

Legislator Laughs at Asshole. Fox Demands Explanation.

Here’s what I think should be said every time someone demands that the pledge of allegiance be said, just to turn their own idiocy on them and watch them sputter:

“The pledge of allegiance? Absolutely not. That pledge was written by a socialist. Did you know that? Francis Bellamy was a socialist. And his version of the pledge of allegiance did not include the phrase ‘under God.” And it was originally supposed to be delivered with a Nazi salute. So you can recite the pledge of a godless socialist if you want to, comrade, but I will not join you in the rote recitation of Marxist nostrums or Nazi salutes.”

Super Bowl of HCR! Be there!

Max, 2010/02/24 

I’m just watching for the commercials.

John Joseph Wayne.


Found this in the March 18th, 1948 issue of the San Antonio Express. National news from Venice, California. Here’s the details of this disturbing case, from

Old Ladies Hold Orphan Children Captive in House of Horror – 1948

Eleven-year-old, John Joseph Wayne, dressed in girl’s clothing and looking like an eight-year-old from malnutrition, was found by police wandering along Windward Avenue on March 19, 1948. He had escaped from a dingy house at 7 Avenue 20 where he and Mary Reichel, a nine-year-old girl, along with a 26-year-old retarded woman were held captive by their “guardians”.

The boy, who was very bright mentally for a lad with no contact with the outside world, had been given to the two women by an unwed mother when he was two weeks old. He was fed mush, cornmeal, potato peelings, bread, and sometimes milk. He never went to school, nor played with other children, and had been tied to a chair before escaping.

The boy’s “guardians” Josephine Vella (58) and Mary Clavey (60) were arrested. The police found hypodermic kits for sedations. Since neighbors had reported that the women had been burning things in their incinerator for hours, the police sifted the ashes behind the women’s home for clues. Police also dug at a former home in Santa Monica at 1344 16th St. where the women had formerly operated a home for unwanted children. It was believed that 16-18 mysterious deaths occurred there over a 30 year period

The case was transferred to Santa Monica Superior Court where the two women were charged with five felony counts of inhuman treatment of juveniles and false imprisonment. However, Judge Thurlow T. Taft was lenient. The “Horror House” spinsters were convicted of two felony counts and one misdemeanor, placed on probation for 5 years, and were barred from caring for minors forever. The two younger children became wards of the Los Angeles Juvenile Court.

The 26 year old ‘retarded’ woman was found locked in a trunk.

Sixteen to eighteen mysterious child deaths. Emaciated children escaping to plead for their lives at the police station. Incinerator out behind the house. Hypodermics. Sedation.

Justice Thurlow T. Taft gives the two little old ladies probation and a stern warning.

Oh, yeah. After all, some people like trunks. And kids do diet, ya know.

Ah, 1948.

I want to know what happened to the boy. No data so far. Man, this is a screenplay on its own.

PS: There’s also a little blurb about an ‘attractive young mother’ being acquitted of murdering an older man in her home. Of course she’s innocent — she’s attractive!

March 22nd, 1948.

byronius, 2010/02/23 

The day after my fifteen-year old uncle was killed by a drunk driver, the San Antonio Express ran this on the comics page:

Comics, 1948!!

Click to read the whole page. It’s a cultural shocker. A weird window. Can you see it?

The answers to the questions are found at the bottom left-hand corner of the big page, and are quite odd. Bear in mind that my grandmother had to be hospitalized after my uncle’s death, and was administered electroshock therapy. Psychology, 1948.

I’m working on my sixth screenplay, about my family of origin, and the effects of my uncle’s death on them. It’s a New Thing.


byronius, 2010/02/22 


I will post this every time Mr. Cheney gets sick, and I hang my head in almost shame.

The only way I will not do it again, is if there is nobody who smiles with me at this little apropos story.

There was a man who, everyday, would buy a newspaper on the way to
work, glance at the headline, and hand it back to the newsboy. Day
after day the man would go through this routine. Finally the newsboy
could not stand it and he asked the man, “Why do you always buy
a paper and only look at the front page before discarding it?”

The man replied, “I am only interested in the obituaries.”

“But they are on page 21. You never even unfold the newspaper.”

“Young man,” he said, “the son of a bitch I’m looking for will be
on the front page.”

Oh, I’m smiling with you, Mira.

For murder, torture, shadow government; for the destruction of American democracy, for greed beyond belief; for darkness, and a stain on the American soul that will remain for generations.


Lontano (far away)…


Transylvanian-born composer György Ligeti (1923-2006) first appeared on the Western scene following his flight from Hungary after the failed 1956 anti-Soviet uprising. He gravitated to Cologne where he was put up by a young Karlheinz Stockhausen and dabbled in electronic and tape music experiments briefly, but soon returned to instrumental music.

Like most Americans, my first exposure to Ligeti’s music was in the score to Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 opus “2001: A Space Odyssey”, where such pieces as “Atmosphères” (1961), the choral “Requiem” (1963-65) (which provide the ‘spooky’ voices in the 2001 ‘Monolith’ scenes), “Lux aeterna” (1966) and this one, “Lontano” (1967) essentially blew my mind… such ethereal titles too!

read more…



that somewhere on this planet tonight, some Heavy Shit is going down.

Slug says we’re all going to die, and it’s not going to matter.

New Worlds has just scored ten thousand comments. Fittingly, Begemotya was 9999, I was 10,000, and Max was 10,001. I therefore win the prize — the continued license to post meaningless non-sequiturs to mock the more intelligent posters. This right is precious to me.

Sky was 9998, and therefore wins the booby prize, which apparently restricts his right to post in code. Yeah, I know, Sky. Damned Admin. What a ****hole.

The Crushed Cat is in a fighting mood. I will not fight with her, and must therefore be destroyed.



Xena circles Sol.

It’s all quiet out there. For now.

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