:: PageCount ::

  "I've moved your mountains and marked your cards | But Eden is burning, either brace yourself for elimination | Or else your hearts must have the courage for the changing of the guards."

  :: Bob Dylan ::
:: ...at the edge of the lake :: home :: pagecount :: 100 wordsworth :: out2lunch :: paynterview :: mail me ::
[::..linked blogs..::]
:: AfricaPundit [>]
:: AKMA [>]
:: Alka Larkan [>]
:: Allan Moult [>]
:: Andie Miller [>]
:: Andrea James [>]
:: Andy Chen [>]
:: Anita Bora [>]
:: Anthurian [>]
:: Barbara [>]
:: Bearman [>]
:: Bill Connolly [>]
:: Bill Guest [>]
:: Bobbi [>]
:: Bobby [>]
:: Brian Moffat [>]
:: Burningbird [>]
:: Chris Anderson [>]
:: Chris Kovacs [>]
:: Chris Locke [>]
:: Cyndy Roy [>]
:: Daintily Dirty [>]
:: Dave C&E Rogers [>]
:: Dave TS Rogers [>]
:: David Lyttle [>]
:: David Weinberger [>]
:: Dawn Olsen [>]
:: Denise Howell [>]
:: Doc Searls [>]
:: Dorothea Salo [>]
:: Elaine Frankonis [>]
:: Euan Semple [>]
:: Eye Contact [>]
:: Farrago [>]
:: fishrush [>]
:: Frank Paynter [>]
:: Gary Mosher [>]
:: Gary Turner [>]
:: Gaspar Torriero [>]
:: George Partington [>]
:: George Sessum [>]
:: Gordon Coale [>]
:: Halley Suitt [>]
:: Happy Tutor [>]
:: Jacob Schwirtz [>]
:: Jeff Ward [>]
:: Jeneane Sessum [>]
:: Jonathon Delacour [>]
:: Joseph Duemer [>]
:: Josiah Adam [>]
:: Justin Thyme [>]
:: Kafkaesquí [>]
:: Loren Webster [>]
:: Mandarin Meg [>]
:: Marc Robinson [>]
:: Marek J [>]
:: Martin Roell [>]
:: Martin Sutherland [>]
:: Michael OC Clarke [>]
:: Michael Webb [>]
:: Niek Hockx [>]
:: Norm Jenson [>]
:: Phil Ringnalda [>]
:: Plep [>]
:: Ray Sweatman [>]
:: ReachM High... [>]
:: Richard Cody [>]
:: Rogi [>]
:: Ryan Irelan [>]
:: Sandhill Trek [>]
:: Sassafrass [>]
:: Shannon [>]
:: Sharon O'Neill [>]
:: Stanton Finley [>]
:: Steve Himmer [>]
:: sugarfused [>]
:: theonetrueb!X [>]
:: Tish [>]
:: Tom Matrullo [>]
:: Tom Shugart [>]
:: Islam-4-Real [>]
:: Turbulent Velvet [>]
:: Whiskey River [>]
:: wood s lot [>]
:: Yummy Wakame [>]
[::..group blogs..::]
:: Blog... Attitude [>]
:: Blog Sisters [>]
:: Blogtank [>]
:: Humans First [>]
:: RGE [>]
:: Small Pieces [>]
:: Wayward Bloggers [>]
[::..archives 2002..::]
:: January [>]
:: February [>]
:: March [>]
:: April [>]
:: May [>]
:: June [>]
:: July [>]
:: August [>]
:: September [>]
:: October [>]
:: November [>]
:: December [>]
[::..archives 2003..::]
:: January [>]
:: February [>]
:: March [>]
:: April [>]
:: May [>]
:: June I [>]
:: June II [>]
:: July [>]
:: August [>]
Peter Turnley's Gulf War - Images the Pentagon Tried to Hide
To be read with Of Sky Signs, Avalanches, and the Synchronicity Fuse
:: BlogLeft [>]
:: CounterPunch [>]
:: Douglas Ord [>]
:: Greg Palast [>]
:: Guardian Weblog [>]
:: InfoClearingHouse [>]
:: JD Lasica [>]
:: John Pilger [>]
:: Peter Dale Scott [>]
:: Richard Wall [>]
:: Smirking Chimp [>]
:: Samizdat [>]
:: Steve MacLaughlin [>]
:: War in Context [>]
:: JR's Art Links [>]
:: dART [>]
:: Al-Jazeera [>]
:: Al-Hayat [>]
:: RamallahOnline [>]
:: Al-Bawaba [>]
:: Al-Ahram [>]
:: Alman Jordan [>]
:: Ha'aretz [>]
:: DEBKAfile [>]
:: allAfrica.com [>]
:: SUN Site [>]
[::..in fine company..::]
Every 4 years the coveted and prestigious 5 fish blog award is given to those Figure Bloggers exhibiting the best and rarest Figure Blogging techniques. Indeed.
Give Peace, Not Bush, A Chance
The much-cherished FARRAGO award [for being blog-rolled] originated not five-hundred yards from where, some four decades ago, I first opened my eyes and saw the ocean.
Listed on BlogShares
Be Blogwise.

:: links open windows

Into the Lake of Fire

:: Friday, June 27, 2003 ::

Cheers Y'all... I'm Goin' Away


I'm shacking up with Shelley...

Cheers Y'all... I'm Goin' Away
The skeleton in my closet

...an' a whole bunch 'a swell folk on a server whose administrator lives in a country where they have slaves and lynch black folks an' terrorists. They have a different flag to most of you Americans too. I seen it. It has Stars and Bars.

All the good folks livin' there whistle Dixie an' they stay drunk as skunks most of the time because of the heat an' all. I should feel right at home...

Mind you, perhaps I'm thinkin' of the President of the United States' home state, the Lone Star State, Texaco.

Well, anyways, I'll be moseying along in a coupla' days an', from what I hear, once I change the settings on this Blogger thang, ma' new home will be:


Now, I've heard that the actual server thing is being held hostage by some terrorist Eye-raqi folks up in Canada, which does not bode well with the war an' all, but I'm sure everything will go swimmingly until you people bomb the place, which is what my friend Douglas Ord says you are about to do.

He has the evidence to prove it too.

I don't think that's right what with my new server being kept up there by the French-Iraqi-Canadian Axis of Evil, so we of our new 'co-operative' [that's what the folks versed in technical Internet lingo call it] will resist you.

Miss Shelley, who started this whole dang thing, has sent each of us a pair of long white pyjamas and a pointy hat with a flap that covers our faces. Jus' so's you can identify us as good Christian folk, we will wear red crucifixes on our pyjamas an' I will always light the way with a large, flaming cross.

For those of you of a communistic persuasion, all I can say is "If you see us comin', you better run..." 'cos we are forging a new path for bloggers everywhere an' can't waste too much time fighting those who would bring sufferin' an' despair to good folks like us.

So, anyway, now that you know where I stand [or will be standing when I move this blog to the other place referenced above], you'd better get ready to link to my new blog sometime in the coming week when I give this ol' site a dose of Shock an' Awe. Those of you who already do so [a mighty fine bunch a' people you are too] can just change your HTML to point in the direction of where I'm headed.

As for those of you who have yet to link to this famous blog of great renown, fine standing, and dubious repute, you now have a chance to make amends and change your wicked ways. You can do that by including the aforesaid above-mentioned and referenced URL in your blogrolls. A URL is another technical term but, what with the world comin' to an end soon, I don't think we need fuss about these things too much or we'll worry ourselves into an early grave.

Some folks say Canada is a grave, but you can't believe everything you read in the press. Mr. Ord has more on that at his site, Lear's Shadow, which is in Canada like my server. My friend Annie Coulter says you get a far better idea of what's going on if you just zip your lips and stay tuned to FoxNews.

I did think of upping stakes an' heading for the hills on my lonesome, there to be found like some great Eastern mystic shaman kinda blog-being, but I thought it would be unfair on those in need of mending their wicked ways. So, in case you find me too easily, I'm changing my blog's name to Out2Lunch, mainly because I generally am or am not always in or all there. So to speak.

Talkin' of wicked ways I am, of course, referring to wimmin, who all need savin' from the Devil. He comes dressed as a man of peace an' can usually be found at hippy-dippy, namby-pamby, drip-dry, stain-removal protest marches an' things held by communistic folks like Elaine an' other people I keep on my blogroll so's I can keep an eye on them.

The Bird Lady [her name is Shelley] told a lovely story [with poetry] recently about a purty young thing she tried to murder on the road to St. Charles on the banks of the Mighty Missouri River an' I just couldn't resist comin' on down to see and meet with these fine young ladies myself an' save them from you slinky-kinky, slippy-slidy sex fiends.

I met one a' them at Frank Paynter's the other day. A purty lady, that is. Yes, I do know her but it is always a mighty fine pleasure to lay eyes on the good Mrs. Pirillo. She was in fine form, modelling a pair of shoes. I don't think she needs to wear shoes [being purty enough an' all] but she is a kind-hearted and genteel lady of impeccable breeding an' knows better than to flaunt her great virtues.

She was being slagged by vile and depraved young men like ray sweatman, who are of a sexist persuasion, but I came along and rescued her from a fate worse than death. An' that was before Shelley sent us our long white pyjamas with pointy hats with flaps to cover our faces.

Mrs. Pirillo, or Gretchen as I have come to know her, accompanied me home an' I was able to show her my etchings, with which she was mightily impressed.

Anyway, I have to go now. I'm writing about Mr. Ord's predictions and I have a paper of my own to write, dealing specifically with events as they will happen and occur as the world comes to an end sometime in the near future when the Eye-raqis drop their dirty great bombs on all of us.

My friend John Ashcroft says we should bomb the Eye-raqis and the French and the Canadians to hell an' gone right now, but I don't think that was what the Good Lord intended for us to do. John is holdin' a host of prayer meetings, workin' himself up into a terrible sweat, screamin', shoutin' an' gen'rally invokin' the Spirit of the Lord Be Praised, Halleluhah, A-M-E-N, yes bro', fuckin A an' alright...

Eh, sorry…

So, without any fuss, I will just pack my blog and bugger off to another server full of good, co-operative Christian folk. I will be sure to keep you informed of the goings on in the Southern States where they have the Stars and Bars and in Canada too where they will soon have absolutely nothing; the lowdown, conniving little shits.

I know all about them, having watched Due South an' The Road to Avonlea. They're up to no good, of that you can be certain. As I said to the fine and gracious Mrs. Pirillo the other night, "Trust me."

Oh yes, the Internet thing... the URL or whatever they call it is somewhere here. My, I do sometimes go on, don't I? Which reminds me. I was goin' to speak to you about my good Canadian friend, Mr. Douglas Ord, who has proof you intend bombing Canada an' wants a stop put to it right now.

Why's he persist in writin' these communistic essays? You might well ask. It shore beats me but I s'pose it's so's he can leave, before the place disappears forever. Anyways...

:: Mike Golby 4:39 PM [+] :: ::

Saddam's Spin Doctor Returns

Star of stage, screen and Gulf War II...

...Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf has no regrets

'Your rear is blocked.' [Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf]
"Your rear is blocked." Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf

Iraq's former information minister, who gained notoriety during the war for wildly implausible claims of victory, went on Arab television Thursday and stood by his statements, saying they came from "many authentic sources.''

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf had denied that U.S. tanks were in Baghdad even as television pictures showed them in the capital. "There is no presence of American infidels in the city of Baghdad,'' al-Sahhaf asserted outside the Palestine Hotel on April 7. Baghdad fell April 9.

In his first appearance since the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime - an interview with the Al-Arabiya satellite network, al-Sahhaf did not directly back down from some of his false claims during the war.

'That Rumsfeld is a camel's bum.' [Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf]
"That Rumsfeld is a camel's bum." Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf

Announcing a whirlwind U.S. lecture tour before starting his campaign against George W. Bush in 2004, Mr. Al-Sahhaf confirmed his Democratic Party nomination. "We have sorted it out with the courts. They agree that Bush is a villain and a liar. He must go," he told The New York Times.

"The little criminal is not long for this world. He is terrified of me and, at this very moment, is committing suicide in the Oval Office. The future is secure. Do not be afraid. The Democrats will solve everything. These Republicans are finished, I triple guarantee you."

Asked why he was not included on the US' list of former Saddam officials sought by United States Occupation Forces, al-Sahhaf claimed responsibility for the fall of Baghdad, masterminding the evacuation to the United States of the Iraqi cabinet by American forces and the notorious deck of cards listing Ba'ath Party officials still 'wanted' by the United States.

"Your school system here is deplorable. We will have to fix that. Most cannot read. If we did not use pictures they would be lost. Even your former president cannot read. You are just a bunch of Al Capones. That is why I told Franks to use the cards."

Al-Sahhaf alleges the 'wheels came off' Gulf War II because US officials had difficulty sticking to the agreed script, repeatedly exceeded their budget and refused to conclude a deal giving TV rights to Abu Dhabi TV.

"We had it all worked out, by the Grace of Allah the Most Merciful, but the Americans were useless. That Rumsfeld is a camel's bum. His teeth are rotten and his wives all fake it," he said with a smile. "But do not worry. Everything is under control. I am here now and will attend to them."

According to Saddam's former spin-doctor, American forces were supposed to airlift the entire Iraqi cabinet to safety in the United States and sanctuary in California.

"Everybody was to gather at Richard Nixon's retreat in San Clemente, California on April 4," said al-Sahhaf, recently offered lucrative contracts by several American and British media companies. "But by the Grace of Allah, the Most Merciful and the ineptitude of the infidels, it all went horribly wrong even while we were gathered in Iraq."

"The idiot driving us to Saddam International Airport took a wrong turn and we missed the American transport planes. We spent the next few nights at a third-rate flea-pit in Babylon."

Many of President Hussein's hand-picked and most trusted aids were unable to leave Iraq and are still being sought by liberators with loudhailers. The United States is keeping British forces south of Nasiriyah to avoid their possible participation in the alleged 'manhunt'.

"Should the British get the idea they are engaged in a war, we will roast their stomachs in hell," said the irrepressible al-Sahaf. "They will learn that the forces of the mighty Saddam Hussein cannot be beaten."

Questioned about his often peculiar interpretation of events, Mr. al-Sahhaf retorted. "What is this 'peculiar'? I am sitting here in California in 24-degree sunshine. Your soldiers are fighting a losing battle in 42-degree heat. They have been surrounded in their tanks and are dying like flies. And this when the war has barely begun? Yes, that is peculiar."

Asked about his president's health, al-Sahhaf laughed. "President Hussein is now in San Clemente, enjoying his golf. He is in better shape than ever and can hit his balls far further than the UN would allow us to fire missiles."

As recompense for losing his country, Hussein's two sons will remain at the San Clemente retreat until the Defense Intelligence Agency is able to insert Qusay and Uday into Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC] respectively, countries they are tipped to run after the al-Sahhaf administration takes office next year.

Pressed for comment on his pivotal but often controversial role during Gulf War II, the former Iraqi information minister deferred to history. "Truly, by the Grace of Allah the Great and Most Merciful, history will show that we have taught you people a great lesson," he said.

"While you send your soldiers to fall on their rifles in Baghdad and spend increasing amounts of money on exporting war, we are occupying America in style and comfort. It is as the Prophet foretold. In the end, history will beat you in the face with an old shoe." more...

Note As temperatures soar under Baghdad's blast-furnace summer sun and guerrilla attacks on American soldiers become more frequent, the U.S. presence looks increasingly like a tense occupation of a rebellious colony. SFGate.com

:: Mike Golby 3:58 PM [+] :: ::

Destiny Tracks Anger...

...across History's Slow Tide

Walls of water do not the best neighbours make

Stripping the mask...
Stripping the mask...

Meditation on a Lake View, Douglas Ord's latest three-part essay now at Lear's Shadow, begins with about as much excitement as the graphic illustrating it, a view of Lake Ontario's flat, featureless expanse from Sunnyside Beach, west of Toronto.

Ord's photographed lake sustains no mythology. It is a still, dull stretch of water which, depending on your point of view and knowledge of history, separates two people from or pits them against each other. It seems no Excalibur will rise from the depths of Lake Ontario and no Arthur will claim his sword.

It is as Ord portrays it; flat, calm, dead.

Yet, as the lake's placid waters, constricted by two breakwaters, rise to meet a sky as blue as itself, in the narrow line bisecting Heaven and the great body of water we find the author's vision of a near-visible Hell, the United States of America.

Writing with his trademark dispassionate style, Ord's measured prose first dissects a Time magazine [Canadian edition] cover story highlighting his country's declining fortunes, Would Anyone Notice if Canada Disappeared?

The accompanying cover and inside front-cover graphics show, on the one hand, only ocean where once the great northern landmass stood and, on the other, a shrunken Canada subject to the unblinking scrutiny of a United States personified to godly proportions.

Ord's gripe is that Time, its publishers, its content and its intent are about as Canadian as duck-billed platypuses. He argues that the article's U.S.-grounded, baseless view [permeating its editorial policy] stems from a mindset equating government to godhead and purposefully sets out to skew perceptions.

His reasoned wrath and compelling words boil beneath tightly-reined words while, beneath the skin of its water, Lake Ontario seethes with a potentially devastating anger.

Doug Ord sees much in little, but he eschews conjecture for its own sake. In the first of three pieces, his scathing words flense fat from the bones of deceit. Pink with a barely-suppressed post-colonial rage, he dissects the motives of those arguing Canada's demise as a force to be reckoned with.

He then flays them with turkeys. I kid you not. The map ain't yellow; it's chicken.

Part 2 objectifies his frustration, juxtaposing two contradictory graphics, highlighting fractured U.S. and Canadian perceptions, views and sentiments. It is here that he chooses his weapon and whips the waters of a lake that is at once a gateway and an insurmountable obstacle to white-capped fury.

He opts for the tried and tested, i.e. a play-off of perceptions. Where the magazine protagonists eliminate each other with water, Ord uses his photograph of the lake to sink Time's unctuous projection of the U.S.' as the self-ordained global guardian of all that is good and just.

...from Liberty's beautiful face
...from Liberty's beautiful face

In Part 3, the lake yields not Excalibur and the possibility of redemption but the wrath of Apocalypse. Free of their underwater chains, the stories of myth, history, civilisation, culture, war, conquest, disease and genocide rise to speak for themselves from an American sky.

They do so unerringly and unnervingly. They speak with a voice embracing international, national, local and personal tragedy. Reading this climactic, telling section, the breakwaters impinging on Ord's graphic reminded me of Mulberries...

...artificial harbours designed and constructed by the British in World War II to facilitate the unloading of supply ships off the coast of Normandy, France, immediately following the invasion of Europe on June 6, 1944. One harbour, known as Mulberry "A," was constructed off Saint-Laurent at Omaha Beach in the American sector, and the other, Mulberry "B," was built off Arromanches at Gold Beach in the British sector.

The connection made and the former adversaries identified, Ord reins in and focuses global anxiety, distilling it to a recollection of the brutal attack on Toronto by American forces under General Dearborn 190 years ago, not far from where the lake, now silent and unspeaking, laps a brooding, blood-soaked shore.

With a final, deft shift, the waters become the eternal guardian of a young and broken life and the air above becomes poisoned forever.

Articulating how those living 'across the water' see the United States of America today, Meditation on a Lake View should shock many to their senses. Whether it will, remains to be seen.

Note In outlining the content of Ord's graphic essay, I have sought to conceal rather than reveal. Meditation on a Lake View is nerve-wracking stuff, linking the seemingly innocuous and somewhat foolish to the blatantly threatening and devastatingly lethal without skipping a beat.

:: Mike Golby 1:18 PM [+] :: ::
:: Tuesday, June 24, 2003 ::

Big Wave Africa 2003

Let's Go Surfin'...

"Are you outa your fucking mind?"

John Whittle drops in...
John Whittle drops in...

Greg Long from San Clemente, California, put on an awesome display of big wave surfing to dominate a world-class field and win the 2003 Red Bull Big Wave Africa in Cape Town today. Competing in huge five to seven metre [15 – 20 foot] surf that produced hollow tubes reminiscent of Hawaiian waves, Long paddled into more waves than any of the other 12 competitors, rode them from further up the Dungeons reef and performed more radical manoeuvres to score a unanimous victory in the six man final.

...to applause
...to applause

Long went straight to work, racking up an impressive wave count as his fellow competitors struggled to find their way around in the massive, hollow surf. Whittle took an early wipe-out and then stroked into the biggest wave of the event, a seven metre [20 foot] swell that jacked up and threw a arcing lip at least three storeys into the windless, sunny air before crashing into a boiling whitewater as the surfer eased his way into the channel.

Grant Baker does it his way, and is ignored

Durban’s John Whittle clinched the runner-up spot with a gravity defying drop on a vertical wall of water on his last ride that had everyone hooting with Brazilian superstar Carlos Burle taking third and Grant Baker, Jason Ribbink [both Durban] and Hawaiian Jamie Sterling filling fourth to sixth places respectively. In a magnanimous gesture unheard of in the cutthroat world of professional sport, the 6 finalists decided to pool the total prize-money for the final [R172 000 out of the R233 000 total for the event] and split it six ways with each taking home R28 666. more...

Iraqi Resistance Intensifies

Six British Troops Killed, Eight Wounded

Rumsfeld stresses 'conflict over'

Six British military police officers have been killed and eight other servicemen wounded in two separate incidents in south-eastern Iraq. ... They mark the heaviest losses to enemy action suffered in a single day by US-led coalition forces since the war in Iraq was declared largely over on 1 May, after the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime. ... Mr Hoon said that a few hours earlier, two vehicles carrying troops from the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment came under attack from a large number of Iraqi gunmen while on patrol in Majar al-Kabir. The Iraqis were armed with heavy machine-guns, rocket-propelled grenades and rifles, he told MPs. ... BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Marcus says the spectre of a long-running guerrilla war is looming as Saddam Hussein loyalists and others opposed to the US-led occupation try to pick off troops at checkpoints or in small-scale patrols. more...

:: Mike Golby 7:20 PM [+] :: ::
:: Monday, June 23, 2003 ::

Rewriting History?

Only the Paranoid Leader...

...can Truly Understand the Evil Emperor

'...revisionist historians is what I like to call them.'
'...the paranoid is a militant leader'

"This nation acted to a threat from the dictator of Iraq. Now there are some who would like to rewrite history---revisionist historians is what I like to call them. Saddam Hussein was a threat to America and the free world in '91, in '98, in 2003."

George W. Bush

As a member of the avant-garde who is capable of perceiving the conspiracy before it is fully obvious to an as yet unaroused public, the paranoid is a militant leader. He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated—if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.

The enemy is clearly delineated: he is a perfect model of malice, a kind of amoral superman—sinister, ubiquitous, powerful, cruel, sensual, luxury-loving. Unlike the rest of us, the enemy is not caught in the toils of the vast mechanism of history, himself a victim of his past, his desires, his limitations. He wills, indeed he manufactures, the mechanism of history, or tries to deflect the normal course of history in an evil way. He makes crises, starts runs on banks, causes depressions, manufactures disasters, and then enjoys and profits from the misery he has produced. The paranoid’s interpretation of history is distinctly personal: decisive events are not taken as part of the stream of history, but as the consequences of someone’s will. Very often the enemy is held to possess some especially effective source of power: he controls the press; he has unlimited funds; he has a new secret for influencing the mind [brainwashing]; he has a special technique for seduction [the Catholic confessional].

It is hard to resist the conclusion that this enemy is on many counts the projection of the self; both the ideal and the unacceptable aspects of the self are attributed to him. The enemy may be the cosmopolitan intellectual, but the paranoid will outdo him in the apparatus of scholarship, even of pedantry. Secret organizations set up to combat secret organizations give the same flattery. The Ku Klux Klan imitated Catholicism to the point of donning priestly vestments, developing an elaborate ritual and an equally elaborate hierarchy. The John Birch Society emulates Communist cells and quasi-secret operation through “front” groups, and preaches a ruthless prosecution of the ideological war along lines very similar to those it finds in the Communist enemy. Spokesmen of the various fundamentalist anti-Communist “crusades” openly express their admiration for the dedication and discipline the Communist cause calls forth.

[Richard Hofstadter The Paranoid Style in American Politics November, 1964]

I have it in me so much nearer home | To scare myself with my own desert places.

Robert Frost

Coming Soon 'The End of the World - The Upside of the Neocon Coup' [I kid you not]

:: Mike Golby 1:32 PM [+] :: ::
:: Sunday, June 22, 2003 ::

United States Slips into Coma

World Turns a Blind Eye

"It was cocaine of the Soul," snorts prominent blogger

"It really looks like a situation where they make the rules up as they go along."

Elisa Massimino Lawyers Committee for Human Rights

'I went down where the vultures feed | I would've got deeper, but there wasn't any need...'

The rain falls down on last year's man, that's a Jew's harp on the table, that's a crayon in his hand. And the corners of the blueprint are ruined since they rolled far past the stems of thumbtacks that still throw shadows on the wood. And the skylight is like skin for a drum I'll never mend and all the rain falls down amen on the works of last year's man.

To some degree, we all view the world, an extension of ourselves, as a living, breathing entity made in our image. Conversely, just as we project parts of our psyche onto the world, we feel it shaping our dreams and aspirations.

We enjoy a closer relationship with our world than we generally choose to accept. We project ourselves onto it and see ourselves in it. Countries, cultures and histories are integral parts of our greater, communal self and intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual being. I might view the tattered remnants of 'old' Europe as the seat of my culture in much the same way an American might view Africa, an integral part of our breathing planet, as the dark and atavistic side of our universal soul.

Over the past two years, the U.S. president and his fellow Americans have done much to disillusion me. Recently, I have felt betrayed, resentful, and somewhat lost. Mentally and emotionally, I felt your America was possibly no longer mine. I was losing sight of the America of which Tom Shugart, Frank Paynter, and AKMA write, the America in which it is possible to clearly discern values in action.

These guys don't bluff themselves. They're keeping more than a dream alive. They're safeguarding the myth of our salvation, the most important story we have with which to realise ourselves and those we hope to shelter from harm. Others are kidding themselves. Theirs is a dark and fearful America, a mental fortress I refuse to enter, a spiritual prison devoid of love, hope, and faith.

Our view of the world changes dramatically when we lose touch with that part of our psyche seeing the greater whole. We express ourselves accordingly. As people contributing to a community of writers, we share our thoughts in words. Watching my growing alienation from my idea of the U.S., I saw my flow of blog entries slow and virtually dry up, a statement in itself.

Yep, I was hanging in here by a thread, not knowing or admitting the cause of my frustration and disillusionment. But U.S. bloggers, people who live in that great space, be it Canada or the United States, helped keep alive that part of my psyche taken up by my imagined America.

My recent blog entry on deciding to leave a company I once belonged to had little to do with my experience in 1995 and everything to do with a powerful desire to walk away from blogging, a need to cut myself off. My blogging of Stanton's words had less to do with contemplation than that which I was contemplating, the process in which I was taking part.

I have a vision of the land in which most of my blog friends live, North America and, more particularly, the United States. Yes, that is all your country is to me, a vivid dream of a felt memory and a sense of the good things the future might have brought to all of us through its existence. It is a myth born of literature, poetry, cheap novels, Hollywood, song, and narrative. It is a myth echoed by writers, thinkers and artists, the usual suspects.

To now, and having touched land there only briefly more than twenty years ago, my dream of what it might mean to me has remained unsullied. I have tried to write it, but have come up short and wanting. The myth of the United States is a part of who I am. But I was confused and wanted to sever myself from it. All I knew was that the U.S. I had known was yesterday's man.

The United States cut itself off, validating the views of those who saw isolation in the Bush doctrine and setting itself beyond all that which is acceptable to our myth of a greater whole.

I met a lady, she was playing with her soldiers in the dark. Oh one by one she had to tell them that her name was Joan of Arc. I was in that army, yes I stayed a little while; I want to thank you, Joan of Arc, for treating me so well. And though I wear a uniform I was not born to fight; all these wounded boys you lie beside, goodnight, my friends, goodnight.

"...do what truth obliges you to do. Not in the name of 'rights,' those malleable implements of political convenience and inconvenience, but in the name of life."

Somebody for whom I have the utmost respect and affection said the above.

Over the past few days, realising I was thinking of closing this blog without regret or second thought, I continued watching the river. I wanted to find the underlying cause of my dissatisfaction with things American and my recent belligerence towards perceived intolerance or indifference to the United States' role in moderating global interaction. So I read the blogs. My blogs; those I link to and some to which I don't for reasons that have more to do with time than anything else.

In a sense, I've been re-learning simple truths. I've been to all the same old places. Funny thing about the same old places. While they live in us, we put life on temporary hold as we revisit them. But they're there to 'remind us', but not to be lived in. We generally forget the good things we leave behind there, in those old places. I do, anyway. Now I'm back; older, uglier, and not much wiser. Life goes on. I accept these things. I am, after all, a blogger and a professional. I take these things in my stride.

When I write naturally, I write personal shit. This inevitably involves other people. I do not like to hurt other people because I do not like to be hurt myself. Since September last year, after I pulled the plug on 'personal' blogging, George W. Bush has allowed me to focus on matters that affect all of us.

Yet, I knew that I'd eventually have to weigh the sometimes selfish sensitivities of others against my own. If I do not write of that which affects me, I go stark raving mad. Call it selfishness, call it what you like. I call it 'Keeping no secrets from myself.'

In my growing antipathy to all things American, I sensed an underlying dishonesty. It nagged at me. Getting to the bottom of this uncomfortable animosity has been a priority. I discovered, while trawling through others' blogs and my old posts, that I've published most of my personal 'secrets' and have little to hide but that which others would have me keep confidential.

Since starting blogging, I've been frank about that which I see George W. Bush and his thugs visiting on the world. I believed that if the United States invaded Iraq, it would spark a global war it can only lose. Ultimately, as individuals we all witness the end of the world. We idle to our personal apocalypses and time sweeps us away. In the myriad spaces dedicated to George W. Bush's determination to secure his Pax Americana, I see the American Apocalypse. Despite that which good people are doing, it is still very much on the cards.

In my blog entries, I kept harping on certain subjects, such as Joe Conrad's Heart of Darkness and the blunt papers of the U.S.' military planners, people who see perpetual war as the 'export of stability'. These books and papers to which I refer, are seductive. Much like the communications tools we use, they are physical and mental constructs. There is far more to us and the world in which we live. I think we all occasionally lose sight of this.

In March, the country a ravaged waste, the United States invaded Iraq. As American soldiers watched the libraries and museums of antiquity burn and encouraged looting, the world changed. Why? Because America changed itself in the mind of the world through its actions. It drew into itself, shut off all access to the infinite possibilities it represents in the minds of billions, and closed the gate.

I did not sever ties with the U.S. of my psyche. The United States severed its ties to me, validating the views of those who see only isolation in the Bush doctrine. More, by its illegal and cynical action, it set itself beyond international law and anything acceptable to our myth of a greater whole.

History has a habit of repeating itself. Those who want to buck that trend are on to a hiding to nothing. We as people or I, as a blogger, cannot change the world or the inevitable. What we can do, through action, is influence the outcome. Surprisingly, however, although the future had been so clearly mapped and spelt out, the United States' retreat into itself shocked me. I had to come to terms with a new world, a world devoid, for now, of my mental myth. I fell silent.

Luckily, through the Internet and other peoples' blogs, I was able to see the same bewilderment at work in those I call my American friends, the people with whom I blog and to whom I am, in a real sense, bound.

I was intensely angry with the United States, its government and, by extension, its people. My antipathy arose out of a loathing of intellectual dishonesty and proclaimed ignorance. While I've done my fair share of berating the right, the politicians and effete intellectual leaders of the left have done more to shut down the United States than any other group.

Their equivocation or silence has lent respectability to George W. Bush and his neo-conservative handlers. Worse, they have given him carte blanche to foist his philosophy of Perpetual War on the world. With few exceptions, those leading the American left [its politicians, intellectuals and philosophers] are running scared. They are in denial and are paralysed. They are in hiding and do not know what to do.

Thirty years ago, the same people had no doubts. Today, those who regale us with the noble action of their youth appear stuck or glued to the spot.

What is the result of their inaction? People continue to suffer and die.

On the blogs, The Great Post-Modern Debate has been a revelation for me. Not being an intellectual or an academic, I am unable to converse with those speaking a language I do not know and have therefore been a bystander. I readily admit I cannot tell a postmodern from a postman. The postman, however, always rings twice. I believe the postmodern to be just as persistent. My inability to speak in tongues does not preclude me hearing what is said.

Most of that which is balanced by thoughtful reason and a just, feeling morality boils down to hogwash. When intellectual debate becomes polarised, the scholars stand out from pseuds lost in endless reruns of a bad Walt Disney movie. You want post-modernism. Listen to Dylan and shift shape in every line.

There is no need for our intellectual and academic leaders to dissect or find new approaches to the Bush administration's war on the world. Any such 'need' is little more than a political ploy. It has the warmongers and gunrunners in stitches and leaves them free to do as they please. In addition, it leaves our intellectual leaders free to enjoy their paralysis in the comfort of tenures served in ivory towers or the air-condtioned hotel rooms marking speaking trails undertaken between books.

With the avarice of starving pigs, those supporting Bush have acted. They have descended on the ancient world and torn up our history and the lives of millions. They are [with the help of media pinch-hitters like Thomas Friedman] quite prepared to march into the Holy Land, annexing our past, present and future.

As the mind of the leaderless left wallows in self-pity and denial, and draws out circles of confabulation into supposedly meaningful discourse [trying to make a silk purse of a sow's ear], those being attacked and those taking advantage of such attacks step up their reasonable resistance. More die.

As the educated elite whiles away the lives of thousands in cloistered talk shows broadcast for online voyeurs, it loses shape, form and substance. It is left to merchants of death and those who've lost hope to do the American left's work for it. Sooner, rather than later, the drip-drip of body bags returning from the East will become a flow and, perhaps in five or ten years' time, a once familiar flood.

It will then be left to those who weigh up the cost of gas against that of dead 'rag heads', blacks and 'Chinks' to call a halt to escalating costs. These people adopt the warlord's latest line with unthinking indifference, moving easily from lie to unconscionable lie, caring not a damn when 'found out'.

When the unthinking masses decide enough is enough, the politically correct intellectuals of the left, having cut themselves off from the discourse of chaos, their sense of intellectual opportunism intact, will surface once more to ride an unruly wave of dissatisfaction to office and a fundamentally immoral and crudely labeled 'justice', from which it will reap pecuniary reward.

Those prepared to ride such a wave are no better than those they proclaim to declaim.

Inaction leads to a sham and a shameful lie. While there is a need for discourse, action in the face of injustice beats talk to a solution every time. Leaderless, the more-than-capable mind of the left is paralysed.

So far as we are human, what we do must be either evil or good: so far as we do evil or good, we are human: and it is better, in a paradoxical way, to do evil than to do nothing: at least we exist.

T.S. Eliot

As a counter to the trailertrash mentality of the unfeeling, the silent tide of a decent person's morality is as effective as sand against stone. It erodes, eventually reducing rock to sand.

I came upon a wedding that old families had contrived; Bethlehem the bridegroom, Babylon the bride. Great Babylon was naked, oh she stood there trembling for me, and Bethlehem inflamed us both like the shy one at some orgy. And when we fell together all our flesh was like a veil that I had to draw aside to see the serpent eat its tail.

Another person I respect calls bloggers 'self-involved.' It wasn't intended as a compliment and brought me up short. Perhaps blogging is a First World wank. But, fuck it, no. I like being self-involved. I like self-involved people. I particularly like writers and bloggers who are self-involved. It generally denotes a degree of self-admitted 'fucked-upness' and a desire to see things in a different light or, at least, more clearly.

To me, self-involvement signals a willingness to take what's there and realise or change it. Blogging is about being self-involved so that I may better appreciate the world and those about me. That's why I still love the 'personal' bloggers, the war bloggers, the academics, and the techies. Like me, they're irredeemable recidivists, wild animals, hopeless cases, fools. They're covering the same old ground, trying to find another way or accept the one they've chosen. And they're willing to share the ride.

I believe most who write, in some way, realise that we're alone in this thing called life and our one hope, as people, is to share what we have. It's how we become who we are. It's a case of "We're in this together, Bubba, come hell or High Water." Eh... High Water's no longer here. Ah well, being a good Catholic boy, I've grown accustomed to the idea of hell. Bring on the brimstone.

I doubt Tish would beat me about the head were I to label her the antithesis of the American intellectual leftist. I reckon she'd take it for the compliment it is. She keeps an intensely personal, always sensitive and often passionate blog in which she writes of everyday life. I've come to know Tish over the past eighteen months through her words. Although she slings insults at the gun ghouls whenever given cause or opportunity, she does not go out of her way to pick fights with the political evils of our time.

Yet, with the few honest intellectual leftists I have listed on my blogroll, she and other personal bloggers [also listed on my blogroll] are leading whatever counter there is to the madness that has turned America into an international scourge and pariah. With Tish, it's hard to miss. Any doubts as to her feelings about being 'closed down' by moral mercenaries must be self-induced. She wears her blog heart on her sleeve in the form of countless graphic links to small groups fighting for justice wherever it has gone AWOL.

In the clarity of her beliefs and the honesty of her writing, argument is shown up for a fearful waste of good blogging time.

What binds Tish to honest scholars and street fighters? Much as those wedded to unthinking indifference will map the future with body parts, introspective writers, artists, philosophers, academics and others are moved almost intuitively to express revulsion at the warmonger's way. With Tish and many others, instead of letters to the editor or papers, it's a flood of colour and strongly felt words expressed in logos.

Looking at the labels adorning so many sites, I sometimes wonder whether outrage has become packaged, labeled and commoditized, or whether we who cut ourselves off from the subject of our anger have not become cut off from the causes motivating our use of these small marks of passion.

Whatever our reason or manner of expression, decent, thinking people worldwide are expressing their dissent in small but meaningful ways. Whether, like Elaine, we rage against the machine or, like son b!X, get involved with our local communities, people are saying "No."

Nowhere is this more evident than on the Web. As a counter to the trailer-trash mentality of the unfeeling right, the silent tide of a decent person's morality is as effective as sand against stone. It erodes, eventually reducing rock to sand.

Where are our left-wing sophists? They're still searching for leadership and struggling to catch up with ordinary people.

For the most part, events have overtaken any reasonable response. The mainstream media constitute theme parks for the mind or serve as cocaine for the soul.

Some women wait for Jesus, and some women wait for Cain so I hang upon my altar and I hoist my axe again. And I take the one who finds me back to where it all began when Jesus was the honeymoon and Cain was just the man. And we read from pleasant Bibles that are bound in blood and skin that the wilderness is gathering all its children back again.

I've been reading the Happy Tutor over the past few days. Having come to it late and sideways [how else does one do it when one enjoys the company of Paynter?], I tracked the start of The Great Post-Modern Debate to his bordello through comments made by Stanton and ray.

As Tish serves as a model of the personal blogger, the Tutor exemplifies the intellectuals I enjoy reading. You will find Matrullo popping in to correct him when he errs. Salo is ever ready to put him straight. Salo and Matrullo. Perhaps that should be S&M;, given the context.

Never mind. Others dive in and argue, but few disagree. The Tutor is a hands-on kinda guy. He, together with those I know who pop into his place, has been propping me up. He writes beautifully, linking to many blogs and people who write with similar skill. Were that more of us had such insight and knowledge of who we are. As my friend Dimitri said in an e-mail a couple of weeks ago, "...we have to own it all -- it is not them, it is us, that do these things."

How so? Do yourself a favour. Go over to WealthBondage and read the Tutor's posts from a week or so back. Perhaps more importantly, read the comments appended to the posts. Talk about Sex and the Pithy. Understanding and humour overcome fear. Fear is the scholar's greatest anaesthetic and the Tutor is conducting a hands-on workshop for the comfortably numb and those with some understanding of how best to regain one's feeling. Fear is being used to good effect by those in charge; by those who will be in charge for some time to come.

A couple of interesting counters to the Bush administration have been floated. One is a cop out.

Put a Democrat to the White House? Give me a break. As the Archbishop points out in the article below, all our politicians serve the same master. What is the new and unlikely messiah to do? Call the troops back home or lend the crime an air of respectability? Government knows that once you commit your country to a long-term campaign, civic and social structures are designed to ensure that it's seen through to its inevitable close.

Foreigners, like myself, who've seen the Democrats fall in line behind Bush, scoff at such attempts to 'rectify' the situation or bring about a political and market-related 'justice'. To us, the simple fact is that Bush has precipitated a conflict of a scale and magnitude not seen since Vietnam. It affects billions of people and will continue for years to come. For the most part, events have overtaken any reasonable response.

I live in a place and space very different to most on my blogroll. South Africa is a violent country. You are ten times more likely to be shot in South Africa than you are in the United States. Does that mean life comes to an end, that we live in fear or close ourselves off from those about us, be they our family, neighbours, friends, colleagues or the world? Nope. I believe it gives us a far greater appreciation of life and the choices we sometimes must make in order to keep living it and become ourselves.

Living with violence or the threat of violence can give people a greater appreciation and sound understanding of their politicians, business leaders, and sinners. We tend to call a spade a spade this side of the ocean. I might take a long time getting there but, in the end, I come to appreciate things for what they are. This appears not to be the case for most Americans. Like the intellectuals who fail to face up to the huge injustice being perpetrated in their name, they clothe themselves with ignorance and suffer others with scorn.

I see enormous anxiety crippling American intellectuals and their leaders. It's a good sign. Through the Tutor's and others' posts, I've come to realise that I am not cutting myself off from a part of myself, that part of my psyche made up by my friends, dreams, narratives and fictions I call the United States. They too experience this alienation. It is the government of The United States that has tried to sever its ties to the world.

It has attempted to set itself adrift on a sea of endless fear and it has not succeeded. Yet.

As a master of the carnal arts and a philanthropist to boot, the Tutor is not content to sit on his backside. Eager to thrash those of others, he is ruffling feathers, wandering into others' comfort zones, up-ending dearly held personal myths. I must say I've enjoyed myself tremendously over the past week. With AKMA, the Tutor has upped the ante considerably. In short, and to be vulgar beyond that which is acceptable in polite company, these two have posed a quiet question, "What would Jesus [substitute any applicable deity] do?"

For a layman, The Great Post-Modern Debate has a chicken-and-egg quality to it. That I feel the egg to be that eaten by the Curate is unimportant. The introduction of the spiritual into the wider debate is as much about chicken and eggs. If that part of me taken up by a myth called the United States manifests physically, mentally and emotionally, it does so spiritually as well.

Perhaps the nature of our medium and the ritual abuse of anything vaguely spiritual has made me avoid any mention of what is a fundamental part of our greater personal being. For sure, the 'spiritual' has little place in a world dominated by things. But is it the world that is dominated by materialism or only those who choose to see it that way? I think the latter.

The spiritual is communicated through our words and, on the Web, probably not through discussion of any interpretation of it. I am not speaking of religion or evangelism. We speak of 'voice'. I no longer glance at Google News or Yahoo! News to keep up to date with current events. These aggregators have no 'voice'. They have no spirit or sense of what people choose to call spirit. They do not speak to me.

The disseminators of what passes for news and commentary these days have become anachronisms in my world, a world the United States denies. They are a mix of distorted stories backed by lurid language punt fear through reports of SARS, Hollywood, Palestine, sport, monkeypox, MTV, Korea and other subjects. They are minor myths harnessed to push weird and lurid views. They constitute a theme park for the mind or serve as cocaine for the soul.

Ignoring a large part of what and who we are, they reflect a world that does not exist. They have no relevance to our realisation of our greater selves.

To abuse Dylan, in much the same way as George W. Bush's 'Christianity' has more to do with ersatz religion and 'everything from toy guns that spark to flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark', it really is easy to see without looking too far that not much is really sacred.

But the average American, glued to the networks and the media that have served government so well for so long, would not know that.

We who oppose the agenda now being pursued by the United States' current administration have time to get our house in order. To do so, we need to take into account our remarkable willingness to sink to the level of those now 'exporting security' to the world. And rise above it. Or we too will become last year's man.

The rain falls down on last year's man, an hour has gone by and he has not moved his hand. But everything will happen if he only gives the word; the lovers will rise up and the mountains touch the ground. But the skylight is like skin for a drum I'll never mend and all the rain falls down amen on the works of last year's man.

Leonard Cohen | Last Year's Man

Y'know, in a town near here, Jefferson, Wisconsin, the Tyson chicken workers are striking for a living wage. I was trying to explain to two privileged young men why we might want to be supportive of this union even though we stride forth in our splendid individualism ready - mano a mano - to compete for a living in this marvelous capitalist culture. They didn't get it. The pendulum has not even reached the perigee of its swing into darkness. The plagues appear on the horizon of our consciousness. The power elite shove the muzzles of their guns down the throats of starving children. Our infrastructure, hard built and lovingly nurtured for over a century is crumbling before our very eyes. And our young men think it's just fine that we should all be reduced to subsistence rather than being sparked by a vision that we should all prosper.

Frank Paynter

:: Mike Golby 9:50 PM [+] :: ::

Will You Be Thrown...

...into The Lake Of Fire?

Have no fear, Bubba. You're here now. This is as bad as it gets.

Cowards, liars and other foul creatures are tossed into the Lake of Fire [Photograph courtesy of Evangelical Outreach, Washington, Pennsylvania]
"Heh... See you again on the Fourth of July."

Where do bad folks go when they die? | They don't go to heaven where the angels fly | They go to the lake of fire and fry | Won't see them again 'till the fourth of July

Intelligence will seize the immediate meaning in a situation and evaluate it. Intellect evaluates evaluations, and looks for the meanings of situations as a whole.

Richard Hofstadter

My daughter advised me my blog ranks first for "lake of fire" on Google, which lists some 30,000 results for the term. Her excitement, compounded by finding what she was looking for, Kurt Cobain's lyrics, was infectious so, today being Sunday, you twisted swine are in for sermon.

It comes not from my local parish priest, Fudder Michael or his stand-in last week, Father Lionel Menassi who, in celebrating Trinity Sunday last week, ripped through the liturgy at 90 miles-an-hour before getting down to brass tacks. It comes courtesy of Evangelical Outreach, a Washington, Pennsylvania group ministering to the needs of the 2,500,000 lost souls who have already found their way to their page.

But first, a few words from Father Lionel, our stand-in priest last week. "You'll never understand this Eternal Mystery," Father Lionel told us, still speaking at 90 miles-an-hour. "You'll question it, as has been done for thousands of years. It's in us to question it. But you'll never understand it and probably wouldn't know it if it hit you between the eyeballs. So don't bother your heads with it."

I liked Father Menassi immediately. He is a man after my own heart. Don't fuck around with the details, he seemed to be saying, the devil he be lurkin' there. He shaved 10 minutes off the Mass into the bargain. It's not that we didn't get the sermon for which we paid [they pass the plate, you know]. Father Menassi gives value for money and, at 90 miles-an-hour, you can pack a wallop into a 10-minute sermon.

But, in the end, a pragmatist is a pragmatist and his or her words can always be distilled to very few. Having hammered home the nature of the Baptismal Sacrament [it's bad news for Dylan, I'm afraid; it seems there's no "way out of here"], the Good Father Lionel pronounced on St. Paul's letter to the Romans [8:14-17].

"It's a bugger," he said, "But, as you work through life's suffering [as Christ's heir], you should remember the flipside. If you don't, you're in the shit. You're out of sync with the Holy Spirit and need to get with the programme."

Maybe he didn't put it quite like that, but I've no ability whatsoever to reproduce others' words verbatim. Nonetheless, I felt much better for his straightforward approach. Besides, he used the term 'desert places'. Anybody who speaks of 'desert places' goes up several notches in my estimation.

We Catholics talk a lot of crap. We don't have a clue and like it that way. As our stand-in priest showed, it takes years of study to reach a state of true ignorance. Sometimes intellect and intelligence are not enough. The Spirit leads. The others do what they can. If they cannot stand the pace, tough. Our intellectual ignorance and spiritual naivete give God something work with, and leads us to the Trinity.

It's a question of give and take, as far as I'm concerned.

My dear sainted mother who knows we will all inherit the Kingdom of Hell should we fail to attend Mass on the weekend, knows Lionel well. "Ah, I'm pleased you enjoyed him," she said afterward. "He and Bubi got on like a house on fire." Her use of 'fire' was appropriate. Bubi was my father's closest friend. I've posted a poem the old man dedicated to him somewhere on this blog. A man of enormous intellect and limited income, Bubi gathered a tribe unto himself so that from dawn to dusk they could drink wine, eat good food and chew the philosophical cud.

A German Jew who fled Nazi Germany after beating up a mayor's bullying son, he later became a communist. Interred for the duration of the war by my grandfather, who headed the South African CID at the time, he logically converted to Catholicism. The three are synonymous in spirit if not in the fine print. Never one to stand on ceremony [he once pitched for Christmas dinner in shorts and a T-shirt], Bubi's tribe was catholic in composition, the journalists, philosophers and commies dominating.

I remember Martin Versfeld especially well. In later years, after Bubi's death, the former Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cape Town took to wearing weird clothes of a hirsute nature and cooking stews [he wrote a book about stews - I have it somewhere]. The Versfelds were a Catholic family in every sense and I recall mealtimes at their large, rambling home with warmth.

Combining the spirit of an Italian village meal with the austerity of a monastery and the freedom of the farm, they conveyed a sense of community in the best sense of the word. [Together with my father, I took meals on several occasions at a monastery outside Cape Town. Austerity need not lack warmth.]

These guys were 'old school'. Fortified by goodly stocks of wine, they would chew ideas to their essence through the night before going fishing or mountain climbing. There was no time for bullshit. I can see why Bubi and Father Menassi got on so well.

The Holy Spirit looks favourably on their kind.

'...a great wailing and gnashing of teeth.' [Photograph courtesy of Evangelical Outreach, Washington, Pennsylvania]
'...a great wailing and gnashing of teeth.'

Now the people cry and the people moan | And they look for a dry place to call their home | And try to find some place to rest their bones | While the angels and the devils try to make them their own

Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success, you know.

William Saroyan

I'm not so sure my friends down at Evangelical Outreach. As far as they're concerned, one strike and you're charcoal. I found these fine Christian folk on the search results page I head and they deliver our sermon for today.

"Will You be Thrown into the Lake of Fire?" their listed page asks in 72-point rhodamine red. It seems most of us are in for a hard time post personal Apocalypse. "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death"

They say this comes from Revelation 21:8, but I don't believe it. I think their translator was drunk on the job. But they do not seem to mind. Like Father Menassi, but without his class, humour, or sense of saintly inadequacy, they hammer home their own particular message.

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes [1] nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

This last piece of crap they attribute to St. Paul, who seems to have been mightily pissed off with the Corinthians at the time. It just doesn't add up. I've a feeling they employed Locke as editor, before his marriage to RageBoy, the recidivist chattering doll, unlikely narcissist [ho ho], and head of Colorado's Jesus Bunker Order of Jesuits. Yes, it sounds just like Locke. This is either Gonzo or it has been carefully crafted for maximum effect by professional copywriters working at the Institute of Internet Marketing.

As I've noted elsewhere, Paul was Christ's regional representative for eastern Europe and the Levant. Bullying tactics like these don't sell religions of any type. Paul was a shit-hot salesman who sold religion with an Eternal Guarantee and would not indulge in such language. Trust me. I am a Catholic. I know these things and can check them out with Father Menassi should you have any doubts.

Let it not be said, though, that my Pennsylvanian fellows in Christ at Evangelical Outreach are not moved by the Spirit.

Don't let this happen to YOU!, screams the copy. Turn from your sins and trust 100% in Jesus for your salvation. Follow Him unashamedly in this wicked age until death.

This is apparently the recipe for avoiding the fate being meted out to the hapless souls in the graphic above [they look like liars or cowards to me]. Those angels look like really mean fuckers. They were probably repentant bikers, Gladiators, or WWF wrestlers in their time amongst us.

I was happy to see that our brothers and sisters in Christ offer a manual of some sort for surviving the Lake of Fire. Read about your eternal destiny on our heaven/lake of fire page!, we are gently counseled. I will certainly do so. When I return from Mass today. I'll also follow their further advice. View another stirring page: Broad is the road that leads to destruction. Sure thing, Bro. I'll suck that in too, as much as I know it to be true.

[1] The Jimmy Swaggart Exclusion Clause exempts female prostitutes. They're fucking lucky, I'd say.

Where do bad folks go when they die? | They don't go to heaven where the angels fly | They go to the lake of fire and fry | Won't see them again 'till the fourth of July

Nirvana | Lake of Fire

Important This is serious shit. I have faxed a copy to AKMA so that he might better complete his dissertation on preaching.

Jesus, like democracy, is too good to share with everybody. This is borne out by Evangelical Outreach including the little javascript right-click spoiler prohibiting copying of their site's material and graphics.

However, given their name, their links to Italian and Spanish translations of this stirring stuff [targeting good Catholics, no doubt], and their subject matter, I'm sure they will realise my desire to spread their message is born of equal evangelical fervor and will overlook my flagrant copyright violation in a spirit of fellowship and shared Christian destiny.

:: Mike Golby 3:29 PM [+] :: ::
:: Saturday, June 21, 2003 ::

Universal Truths...

...from On High

Now is no time for silence, archbishop tells academics

The House on the Hill
House on the Hill

It was time for academics to challenge the "double-speak and duplicity" in the world, and stand up for fundamental human rights, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane said on Friday. Ndungane, who heads the Anglican church in South Africa, was speaking at the University of Cape Town after receiving an honorary doctorate in philosophy.

"Now is no time for silence, but a time that cries out for speech," he told the audience. Ndungane was once a student at UCT, but dropped out before becoming involved in the political activities that saw him jailed on Robben Island. He said academia was rather like the church: "It is both of, and not of, the society in which it lives."

This gave it the opportunity to step back from passions like patriotism and fundamentalism -- which were close relatives, both relying on the idea of one absolute truth -- and comment critically on them. It was also time for academia to speak because the construction placed upon the political arrangements of the world was that of economic and military power, not of considered thought.

"We have yet to fully absorb that we are indeed a global village and we have lost sight of the importance of international instruments of justice. For it is in these that our hope for peace lies."

Sometimes it was easier to see from afar than right under one's nose. "Before we get too smart about the Americans, let us remind ourselves that we too live in a time of one absolute truth.... One need only think of the sharp rap on the knuckles of those who dare to question the ruling party, or the preference to spend tens of billions of rands on arms rather than education and health.... even our judiciary comes under fire."

Academia was a place where prevalent and erroneous beliefs could be challenged. Historically, academic institutions were meant not for creating a wealthy elite but for nurturing wise people who could make the world a better place to live in.

"If you leave this university without a sense of world citizenship and the responsibility it brings, then you fail yourself," he said.

Mail & Guardian
Cape Town 20 June 2003 13:24

Note As Morgan Tsvangirai is released on bail in Zimbabwe, U.S. troops preside over Iraq's collapse into anarchy, George W. Bush plans to set foot on my turf on July 9, and 105 people die in a fire caused by petrol leaking from a Nigerian pipeline, I've been watching Jimi Hendrix doing Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone on The History of Rock and Roll.

Can't see the link? Don't worry about it.

:: Mike Golby 7:31 PM [+] :: ::
:: Wednesday, June 18, 2003 ::

The River

A Blogger's Manifesto

What's the matter with me, | I don't have much to say, | Daylight sneakin' through the window | And I'm still in this all-night cafe. | Walkin' to and fro beneath the moon | Out to where the trucks are rollin' slow, | To sit down on this bank of sand | And watch the river flow.

Bob Dylan | Watching the River Flow

'...the ebb and flow of that great oneness.'
'...the ebb and flow of that great oneness.'

How small is the mind of man, how arrogant. He has taken the Universe, whole beyond his comprehension, and sliced it into pieces with his mind. These arbitrary and fictitious pieces, constructions of his predilection for analysis and classification, he has named with words. Then he has mistaken the words themselves for the underlying reality that is the ebb and flow of that great oneness. He has played with the words, building and destroying edifices with them over the centuries like a child playing with blocks. The still, small voice of the All is wordless. It is devoid of linguistic and philosophical sophistry, and it speaks of the duty of man, one to another.

Stanton Finley

I've spent the past few days wandering around, not writing, reading a few of my favourite blogs, ignoring others, picking up on a few new ones, commenting here and there.

I've some stuff on my hard drive about the dark side of blogging, i.e. that which makes bloggers hurl in and the things we do to make others feel blogging a self-indulgent waste of time, money, and space.

It needs some mulling over. I'm hard on some people. But they are, after all, professionals and I know they can take whatever a backwater blogger says of them if they ever get to read it.

Yesterday, I was moved to comment on yet another of Shelley's thought-provoking pieces. The discussion at Burningbird led me to think of the recent past and shaped some thoughts on the future of this medium, what I do here and why I do it.

Weblogs are like anything else. They can be enormously rewarding and contribute to that nebulous 'thing' of which we seem unable to completely divest ourselves, the 'common good'. In other words, they give us the opportunity to give more than we take. They're fast, furious, vibrant, full of passion and, to their credit, mistakes.

I came across Stanton's entry a couple of days ago. I sat and watched it awhile, not doing too much thinking. I thought of leaving a comment, but it reflected a part of me so well, I decided to leave it as I've no doubt Stanton leaves the flowers he photographs with such care.

It seemed the right thing to do. Connected, but not disruptive.

Also, sometimes somebody might blog just what I want to read, and I feel a comment would spoil it. So, contradicting much of that which I've read today, I decided to steal the whole piece and post it here.


I have several reasons for doing so. First, it formed a whole I could lift and say, "Hey, that's a great piece. A blogger's manifesto in 115 words. It strikes a chord in me and resonates so well, I want it for myself." It's an expression of me.

Stanton has titled the piece Blocks. I've called it [this whole thing] The River. Perhaps he was writing of others and perhaps, in part, I was wondering about myself [self-centered introspection can, on occasion, be a virtue].

We might view these words in a completely different light to each other but, either way, they certainly have great effect.

Secondly, it highlighted a paradox. I use my blog, more than any other form of expression, to both express myself honestly and play with words. I cut up the universe into arbitrary pieces, perhaps not as others do, but I do so nonetheless. I do so because I get a kick out of doing my own thing here.

Occasionally, through poor writing on my part or poor comprehension on the part of others, this has led to misunderstanding, acrimony, dispute, and lost friends. At other times, I have been able to give to others that which Stanton's short piece gave me.

And I really get a kick out of that.

Right now, thinking of the myriad people who've crowded my mind as I've sat here and typed about this, that and everything, I believe, despite the hard times, that the good generated by this thing now accepted as the blogosphere far outweighs the bad [whatever I might write tomorrow or in two weeks' time].

This leads me to the third reason.

By me ripping 115 of Stanton's words, I cannot possibly give you an appreciation of his blog or detract from its value. I don't know if he reads his log files [some of us don't really care too much who does or doesn't stop by] but, if he does, he'll see some South African popped in and stuck around a short while.

I sat around quietly, watching the river flow, and thinking. It was a good place to be.

You would have to go there yourself. Even then, you might miss it. Perhaps not today or tomorrow but, at some time, I'm willing to bet you'll catch the same sense of quiet I did while wondering what it is I do here on the blogs.

For a short time back then, I knew.

I watch the river flow. It is sometimes quiet and reflective. At other times, it's dark and turbulent. Occasionally, I dive in and find it bracing and refreshing and, at other times, I find it holds hidden dangers.

Either way, I usually end up where I began, on the bank, watching a stretch of water in which, if I look long and hard enough, I can discern a faint reflection of myself.

Yeah, whatever happens, I don't think I'll ever regret having wandered this stretch of river.

People disagreeing on all just about everything, yeah, | Makes you stop and all wonder why. | Why only yesterday I saw somebody on the street | Who just couldn't help but cry. | Oh, this ol' river keeps on rollin', though, | No matter what gets in the way and which way the wind does blow, | And as long as it does I'll just sit here | And watch the river flow.

Bob Dylan | Watching the River Flow

:: Mike Golby 12:21 AM [+] :: ::

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