29 April 2009


as cousin cathi reminded me, 30,000-50,000 people die of influenza in this country every year

28 April 2009

a voice of ignorance

e-mail from one of my mother's cousins, to whom i clearly have nothing more to say:

i have absolutely no respect for Obama or any one who voted for him.The small minority as you call it shall get larger.It is not Obama per se for he has no leadership qualities ,all his agenda is coming from his left wing liberal base.The man has no leadership qualities .He has never ran a biz,managed anything or been a leader in anything.He sucked up to the right people who were looking for a smooth talking ,velvet tongue like Bill Clinton to carry out their agenda,and they found him.Having said that,I wouldnt have voted for him if he had been a card carryin right wing conservative .Why,simply put black people in this country cause most of the criminal acts except white collar crimes ,that are immoral,and a bunch of cry babies .I hear all about the race card every time something happens that is not in their best interest but they should be grateful that they were brought to this country as slaves for they and the off spring might still be wearing loin cloth and chasing their next meal with a hatchet-enuf said

don't you just love my people? it makes me understand headlines like this: "another deadly gunman 'severely disturbed' over obama's election" ---it also makes me very glad that cousin joe lives in new mexico and not next door

25 April 2009

old buildings

the bathhouse (c. 1925) renovation is showing results----new roofing, nice clean granite, but they gutted the interior and replaced every last bit of the exterior woodwork---only the stone walls remain from the historic building--- it will probably win an award from the urban design commission


eleven years old and this kid in dekalb county hangs himself in his closet, only ten days after another eleven year old in massachussetts did the same thing--- both because of bullying and homophobia---- this makes me very angry

24 April 2009

facebook aneid

if you need a quick study of the aneid, this beats cliff notes

georgian terrace

they're updating, as it were, the georgian terrace--- entrance into the hotel is now entirely through the new (c. 1990?) addition on the north side---the original front entrance is closed off, and a new restaurant is opening on the corner at ponce, where they've also added a second terrace entrance

views in midtown

from twelfth and midtown to turtles in clara meer--- and a lot of fishing--- one guy had a 5-gallon bucket with some nice bream in it---- and there are posted limits on fish size, for both large-mouth bass and bream--- i guess the conservancy is stocking the lake, plus it doesn't have as much nasty run-off as it used to----

and the metropolis pool is open again, improving the view for another season

23 April 2009

stormy night

after a toasty-warm day

"this is america"

more proof of the right wing civil war---

on another show, he got so pissed at the rationalizations for torture that he started slamming his hand repeatedly on the desk and yelling: "We are America!I don't give a rat's ass if it helps. We are AMERICA! We do not fucking torture!!" and they didn't bleep him out--- it's past time we all were that pissed off--- excellent to see it coming out of fox "news"--- go get 'em, shep---
andrew has it right, talking about cliff may (with shep, ab0ve):

What he does not concede, because it might make his head explode, is that the administration he slavishly supported has made and will make torture more prevalent and more justified in every dictatorship on earth. And when these monsters are called to account, they will forever be able to say: America does it. And they will be impossible to refute. It is very hard to put a price on that loss of moral standing. But I'd say it renders the future much darker for humanity; and I'd say that someone soon will be tortured because America helped legitimize it.
this brought to you by the hyperpatriot christianist republican party

19 April 2009

be careful what you remember

Everyone has heard that memories can be unreliable, but many of us don’t appreciate the extent to which that is true. It’s not the case that “real” memories are stored once and for all deep in the darkest recesses of the brain, and it’s just a matter of digging them up. False memories — conjured from any number of sources, from gradual embellishment to direct suggestion by others — seem precisely as vivid and real to us as accurate memories do. For a good reason: the brain uses the same tools to construct the memory from the available raw materials. A novel and a history book look the same on the printed page.

the lizard brain

this doesn't explain every last bit of it, but it sure does explain a lot:

You know, there’s nothing more interesting than seeing a bunch of racists become confused and angry at a speech they’re not quite certain what he’s saying. It sounds right and then it doesn’t make sense. Which, let’s be very honest about what this is about. It’s not about bashing Democrats, it’s not about taxes, they have no idea what the Boston tea party was about, they don’t know their history at all. This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks. And there is no way around that. And you know, you can tell these type of right wingers anything and they’ll believe it, except the truth. You tell them the truth and they become — it’s like showing Frankenstein’s monster fire. They become confused, and angry and highly volatile. That guy, causing them feelings they don’t know, because their limbic brain, we’ve discussed this before, the limbic brain inside a right-winger or Republican or conservative or your average white power activist, the limbic brain is much larger in their head space than in a reasonable person, and it’s pushing against the frontal lobe. So their synapses are misfiring.

homophobia watch

what a stupid video---frank rich called it a creepy cross between "The Village of the Damned” and “A Chorus Line”, noting that "it is justice, not a storm, that is gathering."-----the homophobes are desperate even if they did win on prop 8---they just don't understand the difference between holding to a primitive belief system, which we may mock while not taking away their right to hold it, and imposing those primitive beliefs on the rest of a secular society

oh and this is the same outfit that thought "2M2M" was excellent shorthand for their campaign---

18 April 2009

dogwood festival

nice to have it back in the park---a whole lotta people and some very attractive porta-potties

tenth street

17 April 2009

buttercups, bleeding hearts, and dwarves

cousin patti keeps a fine yard


ebenezer is slowly getting there---

keeping it clean

crazy people

i've been seeing this poor guy ever since i started walking peachtree three years ago---most of the time i walk down his side of the street, unless the lights send me to the other side of the street---it is a very rare day that he is not in that spot---during the winter he would already have his sleeping bag rolled out when i would walk by on my way home---i tried to at least acknowledge his presence a couple of times, but it seemed to scare him, since he's clearly got some issues---not alcohol or drugs but probably schizo or something---i used to see the same poor crazy souls walking highland avenue when i lived over there, some of them for ten or twenty years running----next to child abuse, i think the way our society treats mental illness is our biggest shame

the progressive agenda

high-speed rail from atlanta to d.c., new orleans, and savannah!!!!! could it really happen?
President Barack Obama on Thursday outlined plans for a high-speed rail network he said would change the way Americans travel, drawing comparisons to the 1950s creation of the interstate highway system.
plus the epa is finally pushing to regulate greenhouse gases under the clean air act

The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases are a danger to public health and welfare. It is the first step to regulating pollution linked to climate change.

as w used to say, "elections have consequences," don't they?

16 April 2009

our broken park system

like nearly every other federal agency, the national park service was very nearly ruined by the last administration---following is some congressional testimony from a retired park superintendent who gives an excellent synopsis of what has happened

Viewing national parks as essentially “cash cows” for local and regional economies increasingly skews interpretation of law toward the notion that recreation and visitor use are as important, or even more important, than the protection of the resource. The mounting overwhelming attention that is placed on parks’ revenue-generating capabilities creates a dilemma that often threatens long-term ecological health and diffuses core resource protection duties at the macro scale in favor of smaller incremental reactions to a continual barrage of park development plans and mechanisms to increase visitor use scenarios that now seem to prevail more often than not. As a result of these trends, the role of environmental stewardship and carrying out core resource protection missions are being systematically diminished across the National Park System with increasing frequency—deferring instead to economic impacts to communities and special interest groups.These trends, along with recent attempts (and substantial expenditures of money) to contract-out, or outsource, certain work functions in the NPS have had a demoralizing effect on the workforce.It is time to return the NPS to a professional organization; driven by law, science and principled leadership. With this renewal will come the pride and enthusiasm of the NPS workforce that Americans have come to expect of those who protect and interpret the nation’s National Park System.

"on obama"

this is a piece by our former regional ethnographer, tony paredes, with an ethnographer's look at obama---really great---the link is to a newsletter through which one must burrow to find his article, but it's worth it

Something doesn’t set quite right in calling Barack Obama “the nation’s first African-American president.” Actually, it is anthropological errancy. It fails the Boasian challenge of uncoupling “race” and “culture.” Sure, Obama is the first “person of color” elected president of the United States of America. The closest to that before President Obama was Herbert Hoover’s Kaw Indian Vice President (1929-1933), Charles Curtis. Indeed, Barack Obama succeeds a presidential line-up of the “whitest of the white.” All were of northwestern European descent. Collectively, Obama’s predecessors were primarily of Anglo-Saxon origin, spiced with a healthy dollop of Celtic ancestry and a dash or two of German and Dutch as well. Eighty-eight percent (88%) of the first forty-three presidents were blue-eyed (Google it, dear reader), something made startlingly clear to me on viewing an exhibition of presidential portraits.
he understands rednecks, too

14 April 2009

easter redux

all saints gets the prize for most festive easter cross---much more springlike than a purple shroud draped around an instrument of torture the way the baptists like it

12 April 2009

the view over oak hill

more color, mainly

thank you, jesus

that i was not born in somalia---a political system in chaos and per capita annual income at $600---given the choice between the marginal existence of a nomadic herder, like a large portion of the population, or the big money to be gained by piracy on the high seas, it's little wonder that pirates are becoming somalia's elite---the cia's description below of the somalian economy reminds one of the value of good government and a well-ordered society, in spite of what libertarians claim---sure, you might could survive that way, but why would you want to?

Despite the lack of effective national governance, Somalia has maintained a healthy informal economy, largely based on livestock, remittance/money transfer companies, and telecommunications. Agriculture is the most important sector, with livestock normally accounting for about 40% of GDP and about 65% of export earnings. Nomads and semi-pastoralists, who are dependent upon livestock for their livelihood, make up a large portion of the population. Livestock, hides, fish, charcoal, and bananas are Somalia's principal exports, while sugar, sorghum, corn, qat, and machined goods are the principal imports. Somalia's small industrial sector, based on the processing of agricultural products, has largely been looted and sold as scrap metal. Somalia's service sector also has grown. Telecommunication firms provide wireless services in most major cities and offer the lowest international call rates on the continent. In the absence of a formal banking sector, money transfer/remittance services have sprouted throughout the country, handling roughly $2 billion in remittances annually. Mogadishu's main market offers a variety of goods from food to the newest electronic gadgets. Hotels continue to operate and are supported with private-security militias. Somalia's arrears to the IMF continued to grow in 2008. Statistics on Somalia's GDP, growth, per capita income, and inflation should be viewed skeptically.

colored eggs and jesus

i knew about the the supposed connection between the germanic goddess oestre and the christians' easter---but did the venerable bede make it all up?
Imagine the irony in making up a goddess myth, which becomes linked with the "greatest story ever told," and simultaneously serves as a mecca of commerce for Hershey's, hat makers and basket weavers.

09 April 2009

blooming trees

bulldogs' paulownia tomentosa, aka "empress trees," are in bloom again---

In China, an old custom is to plant an Empress Tree when a baby girl is born. The fast-growing tree matures when she does. When she is eligible for marriage the tree is cut down and carved into wooden articles for her dowry. Carving the wood of Paulownia is an art form in Japan and China. In legend, it is said that the Phoenix will only land on the Empress Tree and only when a good ruler is in power.

of course, over here, it's an invasive species

the atlantic

it'll be another big ol' empty building for a while, but it sure looks good----

the palomar

it's almost finished and the sidewalk is finally open again----nice mix of finishes once you get past the idea that the upper part is all dryvit or whatever---better mix of materials at street level----e.g., iridescent-tile panels at the sixth street end and mirrored pilasters along the w. ptree side


Flip this around and you see what the theocon right actually believes: that society has no interest in the welfare of its gay citizens, and an abiding interest in ensuring that they remain unequal, feel unequal and suffer the consequences of a culture where family and commitment and fidelity are non-existent. And they write this within living memory of an appalling and devastating plague. This is how the social right is responding to our times, and to put it personally, my life and the lives and deaths of countless others. One day, they will understand the callousness and bitterness and willful ignorance they currently represent. As civilized society leaves them increasingly behind.
there are plenty that will never understand, but i almost don't care anymore---they're just pathetic

08 April 2009

"rincon de los cretins"

in 2002, this was still on display at cuba's museum of the revolution in havana, which is in the former presidential palace--- choice propaganda from twenty years ago, it was stuck back in a narrow hallway off to the side somewhere--- that's george the elder, of course, and reagan---i'm not sure who the third character is----"rincon" means corner or retreat or nest or something like that

cuber and the commies

a congressional delegation met with raul and three of them apparently met with fidel----"how can we help president obama?"

georgia news

another online news source for the state---gonso, or georgia online news service---a lot of people you already know from the loaf and what not----john sugg, eleanor ringel, etc.----nice, since the ajc is so worthless and all the squabbling and bankruptcy seems to be doing a number on creative loafing----

07 April 2009

the second phalaenopsis

liar, liar, pants on fire

i watched a little of that fat-ass preacher rick warren on larry king, but couldn't stand more than a minute or two----turns out he doesn't mind lying about what he really thinks about the homos

liberty and justice for all

It's a proud day in Vermont, which today became the fourth state -- following Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa -- to allow same-sex couples to marry. In a historic vote, the Legislature overrode the governor's veto of a bill that allows the couples to marry.

it will drive the homophobes nuts that this was done by the legislature and not the courts, thereby depriving them of one of their major talking points, i.e., all those goddam judges "legislating from the bench" and trying to force the queers down our throats, so to speak---

and also today the district of columbia city council voted to recognize same-sex marriages from outside the district----watch how fast some congressional republican introduces a bill to eliminate that----but i think the war is close to being won, even if the battles aren't all over----what they need to do now is overturn that miserable "defense of marriage act," for the signing of which a part of me will always hold clinton in contempt

and i still can't believe iowa

05 April 2009

our worthless legislature

what a stupid bunch of people---stupid, stupid, stupid---not only did they not fund a transportation bill, they refused to give MARTA the right to spend money that it collects in fulton and dekalb----there is a 1% sales tax for MARTA in those counties, but from the beginning the agency has been hamstrung by a requirement that no more than 50% can be spent on operations---and this by a legislature that has never given MARTA one thin dime----now we may have no trains on weekends----

crazy people

i don't have a particular problem with suicide, but all this other killing is messed up

Jesus christ, this whole country is drowning in its own blood. We take a day off — the Sabbath — and there are another half-dozen gruesome murders or murder-suicides.

old cars in havana

04 April 2009

02 April 2009

plum orchard

plum orchard is probably the most amazing thing on the island---built in 1898, 20,000 sq. ft., wonderfully intact, with things like original tiffany lighting in the music room, stenciled burlap and painted paper covering walls, some reproduced but a lot of it original---and some of the best bathrooms that i've seen----

cumberland island

back from cumberland island----saw some things i hadn't before, including first african-baptist church where jfk jr. was married, with its weird little altar---we were looking at a bunch of "resources," as we call old buildings and stuff----some are tough to do anything with, including this chimney at a place called rayfield at the north end of the island---it's all that's left of a large community of slaves----unfortunately it's now in a designated wilderness area and any work to stabilize it is deemed "construction," which is prohibited in a wilderness area----


a great image of roebling's bridge in cincinnati ---by the same person (a german immigrant) who designed the brooklyn bridge--- thanks, don