25 October 2007

more depredations of the Scary Dysfunctional Father in the Sky

The stupid... it burns:
They shook their fists at God and said, “We don’t care what God says, we will issue our legal brief to support gay marriage in San Diego!” Then Mayor Jerry Sanders mocked the Christian vote and signed off on this rebellious legal document to support same-sex marriage. And then the streets of La Jolla under the Mt. Soledad Cross began to cave in.

They shook their fists at God and said, “We don’t care what the Bible says, We want the California school children indoctrinated into homosexuality!” And then Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law the heinous SB777 which bans the use of “mom” and “dad” in the text books and promotes homosexuality to all school children in California.

And then the wildfires of Southern California engulfed the land like a raging judgment against the radicalized anti-christian California rebels.
Crazy frickin' me: I thought it was al Qaeda...

25 September 2007

Pat Boone's "modern American fairy tale"

This just transcends satire:

Snow White and Prince Charming would have made a perfect couple, as their parents would have dreamed – but under prolonged exposure to the same hypnotic spell, the boy was seduced by each of the Dwarfs and taught in the mandatory sex education class that he'd been born "gay." When he learned he'd contracted AIDS, he overdosed on drugs that were easily obtained just outside the principal's office, on the schoolyard.
I got nothing. Really.

20 September 2007

a gathering of assholes

What chaps my ass the most is how these types of people claim to support the troops, but make that support conditional on politics...

18 September 2007

it must be hard to walk with balls that big

Roberto Saviano - one of the few people on this Earth I would consider a hero - gave a speech yesterday. A singularly unheroic act, until you consider the fact that he is under a death sentence from the camorra (the Neapolitan Mafia) for committing the unforgivable crime of writing about them. His book was a runaway bestseller in Italy and has just been translated into English. The Italian Ministry of Internal Affairs assigned him an armed guard and relocated him out of Naples for his safety.

Saviano gave a speech on the first day of school in Casal di Principe, the seat of power of the Casalesi clan of the camorra, near the city of Caserta, not far from the palaces of the old Bourbon kings. In attendance were all the students of the city, the President of the Chamber of Deputies (analogous to the American Speaker of the House, pretty much)... and Nicola Schiavone, the father of the Casalesi boss Francesco "Sandokan" Schiavone. "There's no such thing as the camorra," the old man yelled from the crowd, and tried to take the stage before being blocked by Carabinieri (national police) agents. Saviano finished the speech, speaking calmly: "These are words that injure: that they are not whispered secretly but shouted with great pride, on a day when the president of the Chamber, and the president of the Antimafia Commission is present. I believe that nothing is changed, unfortunately.”

This is a man who must run for his life for speaking the truth... whose family is in danger because he took a stand. In a place where the price of life is silent complicity, he spoke up.

That's why I call him a hero.

21 August 2007

"supporting the troops," part XXVIII

PTSD? It's your own damn fault, says the government.

It's undeniable, though, that yellow-ribbon stickers (magnetic, so as not to mar the finish on the Escalade) are far cheaper than a cognitive-behavioral or EMDR treatment program and SSRI medication.

17 August 2007

"because the government's established by the Lord, you know."

Homeland Security intends to use the opiate of the masses to keep us quiet during martial law...

16 August 2007

any candidate you want, so long as they're right-wing

The Political Compass website is the online version of the "smallest political quiz"my Libertarian friends used to carry wherever they went so they could annoy people in any setting. Seriously, though, it's useful for people who consider themselves "independents"- for many of us (especially in blogo-cyber-space-land) we're already pretty sure we're close to one or the other extreme.

If you're curious, you can take a test that places you on a grid based on the degree to which you are "left" or "right" on the economic scale as well as how socially libertarian or authoritarian you are. I, of course, am way the hell out in -9.12, -8.51 la-la land with the moonbats. w00t!

The folks who put together the website have figured out where the 2008 Presidential candidates fit on the map:


Some fracking choice.

"They are laying the bricks one at a time for a police state."

Big Brother really is watching you...

But pay no attention to that. Look! Is that Lindsay Lohan?

15 August 2007

welcome to cyberKabul!

Apparently (according to the New York Police Commissioner), the internet is the "new Afghanistan:"
"It is the de facto training ground. It's an area of concern."

The report found that the challenge for Western authorities was to identify, pre-empt and prevent home-grown threats, which was difficult because many of those who might undertake an attack often commit no crimes along the path to extremism.

The report identified the four stages to radicalization as pre-radicalization, self-identification, indoctrination, and jihadization, and said the Internet drove and enabled the process.
Well, I'd put myself at Stage Two, unless if by "indoctrination," the commish meant "reading." If so, I guess I'm almost ready for my "jihadization."

Since the unspoken Stage Five is "incarceration in Guantánamo," followed closely by Stage Six: "sodomization with a glow stick," I'm thinking of sticking to my paper diary...

10 August 2007

well all right then

What this country needs, apparently is another 2,996 people to die in a terror attack.

That's enlightening.

09 August 2007

today's chicken little link

The sky is going to fall in October. However, although I agree it is going to be tough in America, the shitstorm is bound to cross the Atlantic. In fact, it has begun doing so already.

The Al Gore-like graphic is here.

06 August 2007

sic semper Donklephants

There are many corners of the cosidetto "progressive blogosphere" where the Democratic party's latest act of complicity in, and support for, the steady increase in government control of our lives is being met with utter bafflement and confusion.

This is not one of those aforementioned corners.

I still remember that this is the Democratic Party that "ended welfare as we know it," imposed NAFTA, promulgated "don't ask, don't tell," and, oh yeah, that's right, overwhelmingly gave George Bush the political cover he needed to invade a country that did nothing to harm us. And they'd do it again, too.

There will be much sound and fury in the blogoverse as to whether the Ds are just the same as the Rs, or merely "the lesser evil." It is easy to lose the forest for the trees from a US-centric point of view. One thing that helps me keep perspective is that the Democratic Party would be a centre-right bloc in any nation in Europe, with the Republicans somewhere out in Front National or Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs territory.

(And before anybody asks, I'd vote Dem to keep Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney or Jean-Marie Le fucking Pen from winning California's electoral votes, but not with any real passion.)

02 August 2007

in memoriam

On August 2, 1980 at 10:25 in the morning, a bomb exploded in the second-class lounge of the Bologna train station. The explosion was very violent, causing the collapse of the entire structure over the station including the offices of the company Cigar and approximately 30 meters of the penthouse. The Ancona-Chiasso train, on the first track, was also heavily damaged. The fiery combustion of a mixture of TNT and T4 cut short the lives of people coming from 50 different cities, both Italian and foreign.

The final toll was 85 dead and 200 injured.

Il 2 agosto 1980, alle ore 10,25, una bomba esplose nella sala d'aspetto di seconda classe della stazione di Bologna. Lo scoppio fu violentissimo, provocò il crollo soccorsidelle strutture sovrastanti le sale d'aspetto di prima e seconda classe dove si trovavano gli uffici dell'azienda di ristorazione Cigar e di circa 30 metri di pensilina. L'esplosione investì anche il treno Ancona-Chiasso in sosta al primo binario. Il soffio arroventato prodotto da una miscela di tritolo e T4 tranciò i destini di persone provenienti da 50 città diverse italiane e straniere.

Il bilancio finale fu di 85 morti e 200 feriti.

The victims - Le vittime
KAI MADER anni 8
RITA VERDE anni 23
VITO ALES anni 20
MARIO SICA anni 44

24 July 2007

oh, you mean *that* illegal wiretapping program...

So Abu G revealed that there is yet another secret surveillance program that we know nothing about.

I wonder - just how many secret programs do they need? Why can't they just have the one? It seems like - um - once something is secret, then it's, you know, secret. Unless it's like fucking Spy vs. Spy up there in Washington.

I feel like we are all just going to wake up in Oceania one day.

Update: the always excellent Jane Hamsher has much, ever so much more, with a different literary allusion. Let me just take this opportunity to point out that, should the blogs this era survive the memory hole, FDL will almost certainly be the primary source for much of the research into the collapse of democracy in America....

20 July 2007

state of insanity

Last night it took me an hour and forty-five minutes to get home, traveling a distance of about 35 miles from my office to my house.

In a midnight deal, my state Assembly voted to take a billion dollars from mass transit in order to balance the budget.

The mind reels.

12 July 2007

with a whimper

Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman (Avigdor is, of course, Hebrew for "Joe") recently said, in public, that the US and EU had given Israel the green light to bomb Iran.

The response in the Western media was immediate, strong, and unequivocal... silence. A Google News search for "avigdor lieberman iran" turned up a whopping 39 articles, only 15 of which dealt with the revelation, and the only non-Israeli one being - I am not making this up - Wonkette.

So we are about to watch the Middle East burst into flames, and the only coverage here is in the ass-fucking blog.


05 July 2007

King George

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences: For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

03 July 2007

people who did NOT have their sentences commuted, vol 1

The first in an occasional-OK-maybe-one-time-only series:

Clarence Aaron

Clarence Aaron was a college student in 1992 when he introduced two dealers to each other. They paid him $1,500. Nine kilograms of cocaine were traded. A second deal didn't happen. Yet when the feds arrested the group, they charged Aaron with dealing 24 kilograms of crack cocaine, because one dealer was going to turn the cocaine into crack and the second deal had been set up. Aaron failed to cut a deal by pleading guilty and testifying against others. Aaron's sentence? Life without parole. That's right, Aaron wasn't in charge, he wasn't a professional dealer, he had been charged with a first-time nonviolent drug offense and he's serving the same sentence as the treasonous FBI-agent-turned-spy Robert Hanssen.

You might expect that sort of over-the-top sentence in the Middle Ages or some hellhole dictatorship that does not value human life. An enlightened nation, however, has no business locking up a kid and throwing away the key for life -- because he did something both criminal and stupid when he was, as Bush once described his early years, "young and irresponsible." I can't help but believe that if a white college kid had screwed up like this, unlike the African-American Aaron, he would have received a more fitting sentence.

Bush should commute Aaron's sentence this year, because it is the right thing to do. He also should work with the U.S. pardon attorney to release other prisoners serving sentences that far exceed their crimes. While in office, Bush has issued 97 pardons and two commutations. Two commutations are too few. Julie Stewart, the president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, hears that the Bushies don't want to commute sentences that comply with guidelines, no matter how barbaric they are. "Why have a pardon attorney's office?" she asked rhetorically. "The Founding Fathers gave (the pardon) to the president for the very purpose of exercising it when the punishment doesn't fit the crime."

Read PBS Frontline's interview with Aaron.

Weldon Angelos

The Supreme Court this week declined to review the case of Weldon Angelos, leaving in place his obscene sentence of 55 years in prison for small-time marijuana and gun charges. The high court's move is no surprise; the justices have tended to uphold draconian sentences against constitutional challenge. But it confronts President Bush with a question he will have to address: Is there any sentence so unfair that he would exert himself to correct it?

So far, Mr. Bush hasn't found one. He has commuted only two sentences, both of inmates who were about to be released anyway. Mr. Angelos, by contrast, is a young man and a first-time offender who is now likely to spend the rest of his life in prison. His crime? He sold $350 in marijuana to a government informant three times -- and carried, but did not display, a gun on two of those occasions. Police found other guns and pot at his house.

The U.S. district judge who sentenced him in Utah, Paul G. Cassell, declared the mandatory sentence in this case "unjust, cruel, and even irrational."... And in an extraordinary act, he explicitly called on Mr. Bush to use his clemency powers to offer what he as a judge could not: justice. Judge Cassell recommended that Mr. Bush commute the sentence to 18 years, which he described as "the average sentence recommended by the jury that heard this case."

Mr. Bush put Judge Cassell on the bench.... His exceptional discomfort with this case -- and his passionate plea for presidential mercy -- ought to carry weight even with a president so disinclined to use the powers the Constitution gives him to remedy injustices.


02 July 2007

"how bout 'fuck you,' how you like that"

The Dipshit Dauphin in 2004:
"If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is," Bush told reporters at an impromptu news conference during a fund-raising stop in Chicago, Illinois. "If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of."

29 June 2007

a cup full of stupid

Despite my earlier avowal to avoid Starbucks like drug-resistant TB, insomnia and lack of cash for my regular coffee stop forced my hand.

And, once again, I got a know-nothing political screed along with my caffeine:

The Way I See It #224 "Darwinism's impact on traditional social values has not been as benign as its advocates would like us to believe. Despite the efforts of its modern defenders to distance themselves from its baleful social consequences, Darwinism's connection with eugenics, abortion and racism is a matter of historical record. And the record is not pretty."--Dr. Jonathan Wells, biologist and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design
Look, let people believe what they will about science and religion - when someone has to lie and distort to further their position, though, one would hope that it would give them some pause.

Apparently not.

28 June 2007

Ten things to know about procrastination

I want to write more about this, but I keep putting it off.

From Psychology Today:
  1. Twenty percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators. For them procrastination is a lifestyle, albeit a maladaptive one. And it cuts across all domains of their life. They don't pay bills on time. They miss opportunities for buying tickets to concerts. They don't cash gift certificates or checks. They file income tax returns late. They leave their Christmas shopping until Christmas eve.

  2. It's not trivial, although as a culture we don't take it seriously as a problem. It represents a profound problem of self-regulation. And there may be more of it in the U.S. than in other
    countries because we are so nice; we don't call people on their excuses ("my grandmother died last week") even when we don't believe them.

  3. Procrastination is not a problem of time management or of planning. Procrastinators are not different in their ability to estimate time, although they are more optimistic than others. "Telling someone who procrastinates to buy a weekly planner is like telling someone with chronic depression to just cheer up," insists Dr. Ferrari.

  4. Procrastinators are made not born. Procrastination is learned in the family milieu, but not directly. It is one response to an authoritarian parenting style. Having a harsh, controlling father keeps children from developing the ability to regulate themselves, from internalizing their own intentions and then learning to act on them. Procrastination can even be a form of rebellion, one of the few forms available under such circumstances. What's more, under those household conditions, procrastinators turn more to friends than to parents for support, and their friends may reinforce procrastination because they tend to be tolerant of their excuses.

  5. Procrastination predicts higher levels of consumption of alcohol among those people who drink. Procrastinators drink more than they intend to—a manifestation of generalized problems in self-regulation. That is over and above the effect of avoidant coping styles that underlie procrastination and lead to disengagement via substance abuse.

  6. Procrastinators tell lies to themselves. Such as, "I'll feel more like doing this tomorrow." Or "I work best under pressure." But in fact they do not get the urge the next day or work best under pressure. In addition, they protect their sense of self by saying "this isn't important." Another big lie procrastinators indulge is that time pressure makes them more creative. Unfortunately they do not turn out to be more creative; they only feel that way. They squander their resources.

  7. Procrastinators actively look for distractions, particularly ones that don't take a lot of commitment on their part. Checking e-mail is almost perfect for this purpose. They distract themselves as a way of regulating their emotions such as fear of failure.

  8. There's more than one flavor of procrastination. People procrastinate for different reasons. Dr. Ferrari identifies three basic types of procrastinators:
    • arousal types, or thrill-seekers, who wait to the last minute for the euphoric rush.
    • avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them; they would rather have others think they lack effort than ability.
    • decisional procrastinators, who cannot make a decision. Not making a decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of events.
  9. the course of a single academic term, procrastinating college students had such evidence of compromised immune systems as more colds and flu, more gastrointestinal problems. And they had insomnia. In addition, procrastination has a high cost to others as well as oneself; it shifts the burden of responsibilities onto others, who become resentful. Procrastination destroys teamwork in the workplace and private relationships.
  10. Procrastinators can change their behavior—but doing so consumes a lot of psychic energy. And it doesn't necessarily mean one feels transformed internally. It can be done with highly structured cognitive behavioral therapy.

The war on the terror of the job search

I was spending a bunch of mental energy trying to figure out what gives me such agita about looking for work. I thought about the years I spent in Hawai'i, trying to make a whole job out of parts, and never getting enough parts. I thought about my mom and her nagging about me being a teacher. I thought about the role of men in today's society, and the stress of trying to make sure D is provided for while she's still in school.

And then, today, my cell and inbox have been blowing up with requests for interviews, and a guy told me today about how hard it is to find CCNAs around here.

No more stress.

Goddess I can be a pussy sometimes...

16 June 2007

7 peccati capitali...


1. Qual'è la bevanda più buona e calorica che bevi?

il vino

2. Carne bianca o carne rossa?

bianca, oppure niente

3. Quanto alcool sei riuscito a bere in una sola volta?

boh - un bottiglia di tequila entera... managgia la sbornia

4. Sei mai stato da un dietologo?

no, mai

5. Preferisci del cibo dolce, salato o piccante?

mmmm salato!

6. Ti lecchi mai le dita dopo mangiato?

ogni tanto - quando mangio pollo al barbecue, per esempio...


1. Quante volte ti capita di dire, che stress!?

porca madonna - ogni giorno che lavoro

2. Perseveri o lasci andare appena arrivano le difficoltà?

persevero come idiota - nel bene e nel male

3. Sei soddisfatto della tua vita?

sì, assolutamente sì!!

4. Quando prendi una decisione, dopo sei soddisfatto della tua scelta?

in generale sì, quando ho fatto qualcosa... è fatto. non posso cambiare. tanto vale divertirsi

5. Ti scoraggi quando ricevi una delusione?

ahaha no! i delusioni sono i miei migliori amici... :-)


1. Chi è stata l'ultima persona con cui ti sei arrabbiato?

me stesso.

2. Quale è la tua arma preferita?

eheh il sarcasmo!

3. Picchieresti uno del sesso opposto?


4.E dello stesso?

no, non da piccolo

5. Chi è stata l'ultima persona che si è arrabbiata con te?

il boss, direi...

6. Porti rancore?

di tanto in tanto, ma meno spesso come mi invecchio....

1. Qual'è la cosa che dovresti fare giornalmente e che non stai facendo?

meditare. allenarmi.

2. Che ora era la volta in cui ti sei svegliato più tardi?

le 15 - ma tanti anni fa

3. Nomina una persona che ti eri promesso di chiamare ma non l'hai ancora fatto una effettivamente

la mamma, purtroppo - mi ha chiamato prima

4.Qual'è stata l'ultima scusa che hai usato per non fare qualcosa?

"Ho troppo da fare!" Davvero, è sempre la scusa....

5. Cosa non fai mai per pigrizia?

facciare lo yoga

1. Quante persone hai visto nude?

umm.. abbastanza

2. Quante persone ti hanno visto nudo...completamente?

completamente? cfr. qualcosa???

3. Sei mai stato beccato mentre guardavi il seno o i genitali della persona che avevi davanti?

NO.. cioè... certo non mi è stato fatto notare perche le donne sono più prudente....

4. Qual'è la parte del corpo che preferisci nell'altro?


5. Sei mai stato con una prostituta?


6. Il colpo di fulmine è in realtà lussuria?

dunque, lei cui mi ha colto........

1. Hai delle carte di credito?

purtroppo ne ho 3

2. Qual'è il negozio dove spendi più soldi?

la libreria

3. Preferiresti essere ricco o famoso?

ricco - essere famoso è un genere di tortura....

4. Accetteresti un lavoro noioso se significasse tanti soldi?


5. Hai mai rubato?

ssssss - da piccolo. adesso mai, mai e mai

1. Qual'è una delle cose che hai fatto di cui sei fiero?

quando mi sono laureato

2. Qual'è una delle cose che hai fatto di cui sono fieri i tuoi genitori?

anche quando mi sono laureato

3. Ti annoi se messo in secondo piano?


4. Hai mai fatto qualche concorso sapendo di essere migliore degli altri?

quasi mai - non faccio spesso i concorso (tranne quando so di essere migliore degli altri)

5. Hai mai barato su qualcosa per avere un risultato migliore?

purtroppo si - nell'università, il compito del calcolo --- che vergogna...

6. Cosa hai fatto oggi di cui vai fiero?

mi prendo cura della ragazza


1. Quale oggetto di amici vorresti avere?


2. Se potessi essere qualcun altro, chi vorresti essere?

me stesso!!! davvero, non sono perfetto, ma mi piaccio molto!

3.Sei mai stato tradito?

purtroppo sì

4. Hai mai desiderato cambiare una parte del tuo corpo?

infatti no. e per questo sento moltissimo fortunato

5. Invidi la ragazza di qualche tuo amica?


6. Senti di essere inferiore rispetto a qualcuno?

aw HELL no

06 June 2007

la metà felice

Ecco un rapporto interessantissimo - la maggior parte della popolazione d'italiana non sanno cos’è l'internet!

Che felicità! Fortunatissimi loro!!

È esatto per questa ragione che vorrei abitare in Italia...

02 June 2007

something's in the air

Let's all get a big chuckle out of the study showing a measurable amount of cocaine in the air around La Sapienza in Roma. Seriously, though, it makes one wonder - given the amount of both caffeine and nicotine found in Roma as well as in Taranto and Algiers - how many of our recreational drugs are ending up in other people's bloodstream.

I'm sure there is a deeper meaning here, but I live in OB and I can't... quite... concentrate...

31 May 2007

siamo il 4°!!!

Secondo un rapporto da Technorati, l'italiano scala al quarto posto nella statistica sui linguaggi più utilizzati tra i bloggers in tutto il mondo.

Il w00t!

lo stress

I haven't felt the energy to do the work that I wanted to do over this time alone. However, in being disappointed, or regretful that I haven't - for example - blogged as much as I'd hoped I would, I came to the realisatin of how much my work stress is really sapping my energy. A lot of times I come home drained, and in not being available even for myself, I came to realise how I haven't been available to the woman I love.

This is pretty painful, but it's also liberating in a way, because I can see what has been the obstacle - or, at least, an obstacle - to me doing the growth I've so much wanted to do. So I'm starting to look at what I can change to make the situation better and free up more energy. This will not be an easy process... and the paradox of doing work to be able to relax more is nettlesome to say the least. But I prefer having something I can put my hands around, rather than sort of an amorphous angoscia that I can't do anything about.

Denise comes home Friday! I can't wait, and I am really just releasing stuff like ballast so I can be as present as I can when she returns.

23 May 2007

Il mio primo meme italiano

Qualche settimana fa, ho accettato l'invito della Sognatrice a rispondere ad alcune domande sul mio rapporto con il vino. Purtroppo ho avevo troppo lavoro negli ultimi giorni, ma ho gia tornata della classe sugli scrittori italiani contemporani, e dunque direi che al fine sono presto...

Sei più vino rosso, bianco o rosé?
Dipende. Non mi piace tanto il vino bianco, ma quando fa caldo un bicchiere di vino freddo mi rinfresca molto. In generale, bevo il vino rosso forte - meglio il più scuro, come i vini siciliani.

Non bevo mai il rosé. *brivido*

La tua prima volta?
Be', forse la mia prima volta era di nascosto, a una festa dei genitori o una cena familiare... ma la prima volta che ho goduto la vina era durante il mio primo viaggio in Italia, quando aveva 16 anni. Ho visitato una bella cantina a Frascati e ho diventato proprio ubriaco - molto piacevole.

La migliore associazione tra un vino e una portata?
Per me, sempre una prima piatta, come una pasta, va tutto bene con un bel vino rosso. Ma mi piace da morire i cioccolattini con un vino dolce, come un porto. Che meraviglia!

La tua migliore degustazione?
Mi piace molto i Montepulciani d'Abruzzo... ma un bel pinot noir di California non va mai male.

Chi sceglie il vino in casa tua e chi amministra la cantina?
La ragazza sa più di me... ma io faccio la spesa più spesso.

Quanti vini hai in cantina?
Al momento, solo il bottiglia che sto bevando!

Come inizieresti un giovane al vino?
A tavola, primo dell'adolescenza. Magari se i giovani non bevano in secreto, imparerebbero di bere in moderazione...

E basta - brindiamo!

22 May 2007

The open door

I'm not in the habit of writing about personal, intrinsic matters... not, especially, because of shyness but rather because such things are rarely of much interest to others. Since a weblog is - notionally at least - a space where other people can come and read my stuff, it has never seemed like a place where I'd want to write about my inner life.

I have some time and space now to do some thinking, and for me writing has always been a big aid to thinking. And since there's one person who I really want to read this who happens to be on the other side of the globe right now, on the blog it goes. If it is of interest to others, well good. At the moment, though, that's not my primary concern.

I want to start with the most basic things and kind of work my way up from there. Right now I am in the process of grounding myself for what feels like a new period of explosive growth - it's a challenge I faced before and feel I handled well, and specifically because I had my values really clear. So it seems worthwhile to check in again with my whole world view.

From an early age, I was very interested in what was Really Going On, what lay behind the stories I was told as a kid. I feel like I dispensed with Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and religion fairly early on, and spent a long time trying to figure out what was truly real. I got hooked on Taoism and anarchism when I was still pretty young; I liked the minimalism and straightforwardness of the philosophies. The absence of bullshit is something that appeals to every rebellious kid, and the longer I live and the more I learn, the more valid I find the basic truths I absorbed then. "Be like water" and "from the base to the summit, from the circumference to the center" are watchwords that still inform my understanding of the world.

I practised Zen fairly assiduously over a period of five years, though much less so since I graduated college and left Hawai'i. In deep meditation after the failure of my marriage, I began to have direct experiences that the self - the thing we think of as "who we are," is just an illusion, and a cruel one at that. I had the benefit of a very wise teacher and some good friends that helped and supported my practice. Slowing the mind is incredibly hard work, but incredibly rewarding.

Along the way, I picked up a grab-bag of practises and rituals that seem, at first glance, to contradict the direct experiencing that is the hallmark of Zen. For example, I use Tarot for inspiration (and, much less often, for divination). I once went on a solitary retreat where I meditated on the beach during the day and made my own Tarot deck at night, using a poker deck and some 3x5 cards for the Major Arcana. I was a practising Pagan in my twenties, and still get a lot of inspiration from Rumi and the Sufi way.

I believe that there are levels of experience. We are all fundamentally timeless, patient and aware Consciousness. Solitary practises like meditation and yoga can awaken us to this true nature. But overlaid on that is our mortal, ever-changing self - and it's this level where we are receptive to what I think of as spiritual play. I think awe is a very important emotion to experience regularly, and so I've tried to put myself in positions where I can feel that sense of wonder. Asking the Tarot for guidance, Sufi dancing, casting a circle: these are all ways of making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and I have found that the more I practised meditation, the stronger was my openness to these things.

I don't have a whole superstructure of beliefs that rigidly define where Tarot, say, or drumming at the full Moon, fit in with the uncreated Suchness of Buddhist practise. I simply let these things have space in my heart. Feeling that the Universe is a positive place, that wants me to do well, find my place, and serve my purpose, just makes sense for me, and I don't question it, try to make sense of it, or justify it. And while it certainly seems that I can manifest good things and positive paths in my life by setting my intention and holding it in my mind, I don't "believe" that I have some magical power that I exert on the physical world. I have just noticed that when I have a clear, well-defined intention, a way seems to be made clear for me. And I'm OK just accepting that.

Love has been something I have allowed into my life only recently. I mean, I was always a romantic and a great pursuer of women; my Italian blood and what I think of as an excellent taste for beauty sort of made that a necessity. However, I really feel that I had to go through a series of (ultimately) unsuccessful relationships and affairs to really feel the need for love in my life. One could say I "hit bottom," but in a real sense, I took that path as far as it could take me. I am blessed to have real, deep, strong, chaotic love in my life now, and it is something that I feel calls upon all of my care and attention - as true love should. I had too many years of what Dylan called "careless love," and it left me nothing but tired. I much prefer a mindful kind of love...

Next time I want to talk about practise, and self-improvement, and a healthy diet. As a fundamental key to health is rest, I need to get some sleep.

05 April 2007

Cibo non bombi (neppure benzine)

Come sempre, non c'è nessuna idea buona che non diventa male nelle mani di GW Bush. In questo caso, l'idea di etanolo come un carburante per autotrazione, invece della benzina. In Brasile, hanno fatto bene di creare un "biofuel" dalla raffinazione di canna da zucchero. Bush vuole usare il granturco - un cibo umano - per fare un carburante!

Lasciolo io ad un personaggio più eloquente di me per esprimere l'un'emozione abbastanza oltraggiato di questa idea...
“Più di tre miliardi di persone nel mondo condannate ad una morte prematura. Non si tratta di una cifra esagerata ma prudente. Ho meditato molto su questo dopo la riunione tra il presidente Bush e i fabbricanti nordamericani d’automobili. Lunedì 26 marzo la sinistra idea di trasformare gli alimenti in combustibile è stata definitivamente fissata come linea economica della politica estera statunitense.Il Presidente ha sollecitato il Congresso ad avanzare rapidamente nell’introduzione di una legislazione proposta recentemente dal Governo per ordinare l’uso di 132 miliardi di litri di combustibile alternativi per il 2017 e per imporre parametri più esigenti di consumo del combustibile nelle automobili. Bush si è riunito con il presidente del consiglio e direttore generale della General Motors Corp., Rich Wagoner; con il direttore generale di Ford Motor Co., Alan Mulally e con il direttore generale del gruppo Chrysler di Daimler Chrysler AG, Tom LaSorda.
Penso che ridurre e riciclare tutti i motori che consumano elettricità e combustibile sia una necessità elementare e urgente di tutta l’umanità. La tragedia non consiste nel ridurre questi costi energetici, ma nell’idea di trasformare gli alimenti in combustibile.
Oggi si sa con precisione che una tonnellata di mais può produrre in media soltanto 413 litri di etanolo. Il prezzo medio del mais nei porti degli Stati Uniti è di 167 dollari la tonnellata. Sono necessari 320 milioni di tonnellate di mais per produrre 35 miliardi di galloni di etanolo. Il raccolto del mais negli USA nel 2005, secondo i dati della FAO, è arrivato a 280,2 milioni di tonnellate. ... Applicate questa ricetta ai paesi del Terzo Mondo e vedrete quante persone non consumeranno più mais tra le masse affamate del nostro pianeta. O peggio: concedete ai Paesi poveri prestiti per finanziare la produzione di etanolo dal mais o da qualsiasi altro tipo di alimento e non rimarrà in piedi nemmeno un albero per difendere l’umanità dal cambiamento climatico.
Altri paesi della parte ricca del mondo hanno programmato di usare non solo mais, ma anche grano, semi di girasole, di colza ed altri alimenti per la produzione di combustibile. Per gli europei sarebbe redditizio importare tutta la soia del mondo allo scopo di ridurre il consumo di combustibile delle loro automobili ed alimentare i loro animali con i suoi residui, ricchi di tutti i tipi di aminoacidi essenziali. Tutti i Paesi del mondo, ricchi e poveri, senza eccezione alcuna, potrebbero risparmiare miliardi di dollari in investimenti e combustibile semplicemente sostituendo tutte le lampadine incandescenti con lampadine fluorescenti, cosa che Cuba ha fatto in tutti le case. ...
Dall’agenzia ufficiale di notizie sui problemi economici e sociali del mondo: la TELAM. Cito testualmente:
“Circa due miliardi di persone, da qui a 18 anni, abiteranno in Paesi e regioni dove l’acqua sarà un lontano ricordo. Due terzi della popolazione mondiale potrebbero vivere in luoghi dove questa scarsità potrebbe produrre tensioni sociali ed economiche di una tale portata da provocare guerre per il prezioso ‘oro azzurro’”.
Secondo il Consiglio Mondiale dell’Acqua (WWC) nel 2015 il numero di abitanti colpiti da questa grave situazione aumenterà fino a raggiungere i 3 miliardi e 500 milioni di persone.”
--Fidel Castro, Primo Ministro e Presidente del Consiglio di Stato e del Consiglio dei Ministri della Repubblica di Cuba.

14 March 2007

Not just the most religious, not just the most ignorant, but the most IGNORANT ABOUT RELIGION of any people on Earth!!!

Whooo!!!! We're number 1!!!!

According to a new book, in this most favoured nation of God:

  • 98% of Americans profess belief in a monotheistic God, with 81% claiming to be “Christian.”
  • The USA is the “only developed nation in the survey where a majority of citizens reported that religion plays a ‘very important’ role in their lives.”
  • Other recent surveys show only 58% to 80% of Americans are “certain” there’s a God.
  • 75% of adults believe the famed Benjamin Franklin saying “God helps those who help themselves” is one of the Ten Commandments.
  • “A 2005 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that nearly two-thirds of Americans endorse the simultaneous teaching of creationism and evolution in public schools,” despite the former’s insistence that the latter isn’t true and never happened.
  • 10% believe Joan of Arc was the wife of Noah from the Book of Genesis.
  • The decline of religious literacy in America began with the “Second Great Awakening” of the 1800s — a rejection of the Founding Fathers’ Age of Reason and theological knowledge in favor of a “personal relationship with God”
  • George W. Bush, himself a religious illiterate who claims to be a born-again Christian whose “favorite philosopher” is Jesus, excitedly jabbers about a Third Great Awakening
  • 50% of high school seniors believe Sodom and Gomorrah were married.
  • 17% agree that Ramadan is the “Jewish day of atonement.”
  • Most believe Saint Paul led the Israelites from their enslavement in Egypt.
  • Only one in three Americans can name the four Gospels, while less than half can even name one of them.
  • A majority couldn’t identify the preacher of the “Sermon on the Mount.”

10 March 2007

Saddest fucking thing I have seen in a very long time...

This picture, from Salon, is of wounded Marine Sgt. Ty Ziegel on his wedding day.

One of the most poignant things I got out of the interview is how fewer troops are dying because of improved medical care. People that would have died of such traumatic injuries in previous wars can now be saved - but they need multiple, massive surgeries, over weeks and months. They are sent to facilities like Brooke Army Medical Center that may be far away from their home towns. The government doesn't pay for a family to come out to be with their loved one - maybe for a week, but no more.

The Fisher House Foundation builds "comfort houses" on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times - during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury.

Ty says that he wouldn't have survived his 19 surgeries at Brooke Army if his and his mom hadn't been there to support him. Please, if you can, support this charity by clicking here.

09 March 2007

"Aiding the enemies of America"

Apparently, yesterday on CNN's Your World Today, Michael Ware, a correspondent based in CNN's Baghdad bureau, made the statement that "anyone trying to put artificial deadlines upon this conflict is only aiding the enemies, so-called, of America, Al Qaeda and Iran. ... [I]n terms of the broader strategic framework, it serves only America's enemies."

I am so tired of hearing about "our enemies" in Iraq, as if the carnage there is all - or even mostly - about us. The fact is that it is not our war to lose. Iraq is in the throes of a multipartite civil conflict, with the U.S. military sometimes playing a peacekeeping role, and sometimes - intentionally or unintentionally - helping one side or another. The U.S. cannot impose a military solution, and there are not enough troops to stabilize (as is often stated as our short-term goal) the capital city. The situation will go on much as it has, with more soldiers and Marines dying every month, and the situation continuing to devolve.

The obvious fact, that no one seems to want to talk about, is that we will have to leave eventually. All the sides in this conflict know this. There is no one with even the slightest understanding of the situation who imagines that the status quo can be maintained for more than a few years. So the canard that "setting a timetable helps our enemies" literally makes no sense. What would they do differently if we circled a date on the calendar and said, "all troops out by (say) August 2008?" Stop killing each other for a year and a half? Kill each other at an even faster rate? What evidence is there to support either idea?

We have exactly two options: end it now, this instant - and engage in an extremely long-term commitment to deal with the consequences of our foolish, murderous actions in Iraq; or spend a few more months or years creating more horror in Iraq and in the souls of more soldiers and Marines before taking the first option anyway.

There are no other options.

08 March 2007

International Women's Day

The red text reads:

8th of March is the day of the rebellion of the working women against kitchen slavery".

The grey text on the lower right reads:

Say NO to the oppression and Babbittry of household work!"

07 March 2007

Where's Riverbend?

It's not unlike the Iraqi blogger who writes Baghdad Burning to go missing for weeks at a time - hers is not a country where the luxury of regular blogging is as common as it is here in the West. However, given that she disappeared after questioning Maliki's denial of the Sabrine al-Janabi rape, it's more than a little disturbing...

04 March 2007

And, in another language...

The first entry on my technical writing blog.

I would love to meet anyone who could understand both this and my previous post...

03 March 2007

Il "Cav ed il Decider

Ieri mattina ho ascoltato una intervista con Silvio Berlusconi su Radio anch'io di Rai 2. Mi interesse molto il fenomino del cosiddetto "Cavaliere," e mi sembra che la sua popolarità nell'Italia sia paragonabile a quella che gode il "Decider" negli Stati Uniti. Sembravano entrambi come "outsider" all'inizio delle loro campagne elletorale, ma poi diventava chiaro che tutti e due sono sopportati della struttura del potere.

Ascoltando la programma, mi pareva che Berlusconi parlasse molto chiaro, abbastanza lento (per un milanese!!), e con molta sicurezza di sè. Mi sembrava che avesse una padronanza della sua lengua madre migliore di quello di Bush, anche se negli Stati Uniti parlare bene sia considerato quasi un'ostentazione.

Da questo punto, pensava che Romano Prodi (il "Professore") magari sarebbe paragonabile a Al (il "Ozone man") Gore. Questi due uomini sono molto intelligenti, molto seri, ma non troppo drammatici. E purtroppo, secondo me, questo è un problema molto grave per la democrazia. Per la maggior parte degli elettori, la democrazia è una forma di divertimento. È un dilemma molto inquietante per me, che considero l'importanza della democrazia come un punto fondamentale della vita politica.

È il mio parere che sarebbe meglio se il governi dei paesi sia più piccoli - mi pare che i elezioni che convolgono un grandissimo numero di elettori favorano i ricchi e la gente di spettacolo...

27 February 2007

سلام العرر


Blog's gettin hits from all over. What up Iraq?

It's back on!

Yes! Italian citizenship is still within my grasp!!!

Thanks to Sognatrice's advice, I did find out that it is possible to apply for Italian citizenship even though my grandfather became a citizen before my father's birth. Unfortunately, I have to live in Italy for three years (oh woe is me!!!!) and go through a whole bureaucratic rigmarole. However, I build a house, married and divorced in the People's Republic of Hawai'i, so bureaucracy doesn't scare me.

From the Italian embassy:


1. Declaration of desire to become a citizen;

If the foreigner is of Italian descent (up to the 2nd degree) he/she can obtain citizenship in any of the following cases:

- by serving in the Italian armed forces;

- by becoming a subordinate employee of the Italian State, even abroad;

- by residing legally in Italy for at least two years after reaching legal age.

If the foreigner was born in Italian territory he/she can obtain citizenship by residing legally and uninterruptedly in Italy from birth up to legal age.

I will not be stopped!!!!!

the "1948 rule"

I almost gave up my dream of dual citizenship after finding out my grandfather had become a citizen before my father was born. Then, my relatives came through with a bunch of new information about my grandmother, and it suddenly looked like I could get jure sanguinis citizenship through her. More and more, the evidence seemed to point to her having never become a citizen, and so I allowed myself to believe it was really going to happen.

Then, reality came crashing in.

a grandmother born before 01/01/1948 can claim Italian citizenship only from her father and can transfer it only to children born after 01/01/1948


Ah well, Sognatrice gave me some hints about applying for citizenship in Italy, even when the line has been broken... who knows.

24 February 2007

Northern Italy on foot

I keep trying and trying to write something on this for my Italian class, but I'm still recovering from the flu, and my head feels like it is filled with cotton. Maybe I'll write something in Italian in a bit...

I can't find any news in English on this, so if you don't read Italian you may be surprised to know that tomorrow (25 feb), no cars will be allowed in all (or mostly all) of the cities in Italy's industrialised north. Air quality in all of Italy's cities is notoriously bad, and PM10 concentrations are higher than EU regulations in many Northern cities. Italian cities were built for foot and horse traffic, and so are perfectly suited for pedestrians and bicyclists. There has been a growing trend to have "car-free Sundays" in the cities, with free or reduced rate entry to museums and historic sites.

Of course, we could never do this in our car-dependent U.S... aside from the cultural antipathy to walking, there simply isn't the infrastructure. Even the layout of our cities militates against self-propulsion, and public transportation is, in most places, minimal to non-existent.

That's about all I have brain power for right now... more - in one language or another - soon.

20 February 2007

The rape of Sabrine

This could be the beginning of the end.

Sabrine al-Janabi was abducted from her home and raped by Iraqi security forces. This is, of course, horrifyingly common in the "new Iraq."

What is not common is for the woman to come forward and publicly talk about it, in her own name, on television. Sabrine spoke on al-Jazeera to a horrified Iraq... and it didn't take al-Maliki long to try to discredit her story.

"It has been shown after medical examinations that the woman had not been subjected to any sexual attack whatsoever and that there are three outstanding arrest warrants against her issued by security agencies," the government statement said. It added: "The prime minister has ordered that the officers accused be rewarded."

I kind of thought I didn't have any outrage left. I guess I was wrong...

19 January 2007

Argentine team to play without fans

Something about this story just kills me - and it's not just the part about "Angry Moron Fans," though that helps...

Argentine team to play without fans
Slam Sports
3 January 2007

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) - Second-division club Deportivo Moron will have to play a full season of home matches without fans, the result of a riot at their stadium in December.

In the most severe sanction ever imposed on a soccer club, sports authorities also banned the use of Moron's stadium for five weeks, forcing to team to play elsewhere. According to the penalties announced by the Buenos Aires Sports Discipline Commission, no fans will be allowed into the stadium.

Moron appeared headed for promotion to the first division, but a 1-0 loss on Dec. 9 to Social Espanol condemned it to remain in the second division.

Angry Moron fans invaded the pitch and beat several of their own team's players and caused massive damage to the stadium.

The commission said the penalties are intended to discourage the violence that has plagued Argentine soccer in recent years.

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