Craig, at BookNotes, provides us with guitar links from hell.
Everything you wanted to know about guitars, but were afraid to ask.
A lot happening on the Enron front.
Enron is not Bush's Whitewater
thanks to MetaFilter
thanks to The Liberal Arts Mafia
thanks to BookNotes
War Against Some Terrorists
Spare our blushes and put a sack on it
The photo also appeared in the Times here, but neither paper mentioned the part of the photo that got me so excited as President of the Humane Society for Putting Bags Over Suspects' Heads. The photograph clearly showed that the prisoners suspected of belonging to al-Qaeda had their arms pinioned behind them and had bags over their heads, secured with metallic tape. We in HSPBOSH have been trying for years to get more armies to put bags over the heads of anyone they suspect of anything. For one thing, the placing of a bag over the heads of suspects protects those of us who are not involved from unpleasant feelings of sympathy for the prisoners. There is nothing more offensive to ordinary, law-abiding newspaper- readers than seeing rows of sorry-looking peasants being herded into the backs of cattle-trucks by our lads in the Army. The prisoners often looked frightened, dejected and hungry, and how can anyone eat a decent full breakfast over photos like that?
thanks to Cursor
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS DEMAND WARS IN EASIER-TO-FIND COUNTRIES
A delegation of American high school students today demanded the United States stop waging war in obscure nations such as Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and instead attack places they've actually heard of, such as France, Australia, and Austria, unless, they said, those last two are the same country.
The cycle of violence continues.
Four IDF soldiers killed near Gaza
Four Israeli soldiers were killed yesterday and one was seriously wounded in the worst attack on Israel in almost a month when two Palestinian gunmen raided an army outpost near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, close to the Gaza Strip before dawn. The attackers were killed in the ensuing gun battle.
In response to the raid, Israel seized and destroyed two Palestinian stations close to the site of the shooting in Area B, technically under Israeli security control. Many of the Palestinian police at the post, anticipating a reprisal, had left the post. Those remaining were ordered by Israeli soldiers to hand over their weapons before the posts were destroyed. Israeli sources said the destruction of the two posts was a "lesson" to the Palestinian security forces for not preventing the pre-dawn raid.
The following is a must read.
Crumbling walls of Gaza - and Oslo
The Erez checkpoint between the Gaza Strip and Israel is not busy in the way that it was in the days before the outbreak of the intifada, much less in the days before the period of the sieges and encirclements. The "safe transit route" between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank is not in operation. Apart from the 1,200 workers from Gaza who work in Israel, the families of prisoners held in Israel who visit their relatives under the auspices of the International Red Cross, and a handful of Gaza residents who, for humanitarian reasons, are granted transit permits by the IDF - the Erez checkpoint is closed to Palestinian traffic. More than a million inhabitants of Gaza are cut off from the world.
In the Gaza Strip, which is 30 kilometers long and about 10 kilometers wide, the population density is among the highest in the world. During the past year, it has been one of the places that has won the most extensive coverage in the world media. Many people around the globe know what is happening in Gaza. But the Israelis, who are deeply involved in what is happening there, know very little.
There is one Israeli who does know a lot. Many of the articles I link to about Israel/Palestine are from Ha'aretz, an Israeli paper. One of the Ha'aretz writers is Amira Hass. She has written a remarkable book that I've been reading. In 1993 she was Ha'aretz's correspondent in the Gaza Strip. In order to cover it, she decided to make her home there and rented an apartment in Gaza City. This book, Drinking the Sea at Gaza : Days and Nights in a Land Under Siege, came out of her experience. This is a must read.
The Amazon Editorial Review:
A new mosaic of images produced by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory reveals a stunningly crisp view of the chaotic center of our galaxy, where stars are born and die with remarkable frequency.
SCIENTISTS TO STUDY GIANT ASTEROIDS BY STEERING THEM INTO EARTH
Disappointed after failing to take advantage of Earth's relatively near miss with a large asteroid on Monday, scientists today excitedly unveiled what they called an "asteroid chute" that they said will direct the next massive space object directly into Earth's path, where it can be studied more closely.
In 1942, not long after the attack on Pearl Harbor, a group of Japanese philosophers got together in Kyoto to discuss Japan's role in the world. The project of this ultra-nationalist gathering was, as they put it, to find a way to "overcome modern civilization." Since modern civilization was another term for Western civilization, the conference might just as well have been entitled "Overcoming the West." In a complete reversal of the late-nineteenth-century goal of "leaving Asia and joining the West," Japan was now fighting a "holy war" to liberate Asia from the West and purify Asian minds of Western ideas. Part of the holy war was, as it were, an exercise in philosophical cleansing.
The cleansing agent was a mystical mishmash of German-inspired ethnic nationalism and Zen- and Shinto-based nativism. The Japanese were a "world-historical race" descended from the gods, whose divine task it was to lead all Asians into a new age of Great Harmony, and so on. But what was "the West" which had to be purged? What needed to be "overcome"? The question has gained currency, since the chief characteristics of this Western enemy would have sounded familiar to Osama bin Laden, and other Islamic extremists. They are, not in any particular order, materialism, liberalism, capitalism, individualism, humanism, rationalism, socialism, decadence, and moral laxity. These ills would be overcome by a show of Japanese force, not just military force, but force of will, of spirit, of soul. The key characteristics of the Japanese or "Asian" spirit were self-sacrifice, discipline, austerity, individual submission to the collective good, worship of divine leadership, and a deep faith in the superiority of instinct over reason.
This is a very interesting piece. Then the following paragraph caught my eye.
Few modern societies were as dominated by males as wartime Japan, and the brutal policy of forcing Korean, Chinese, and Filipina, as well as Japanese, girls to serve in military brothels was a sign of the low status of women in the Japanese empire. And yet, the war itself had the peculiar effect of emancipating Japanese women to a degree that cannot possibly have been intended. Because most able-bodied men were needed on the battlefronts, women had to take care of their families, trade in the black markets, and work in the factories. Unlike the men, who experienced defeat as a deep humiliation, many Japanese women regarded the Allied victory as a step toward their liberation. One of the most important changes in postwar Japan was that women got the right to vote. They did so in large numbers as early as 1946. A new constitution was drawn up mostly by American jurists, but the articles concerning women's rights were largely the work of a remarkable person called Beate Sirota, who represented most things enemies of the West would have loathed. She was European, educated, a woman, and a Jew.
My dad was in the Air Force and we were stationed in Japan from 1957 to 1961. I was 12 when we went over. This has resulted in a life long interest in Japan. So, when I see something like the reference to Beate Sirota, I like to investigate. It was off to Google. Google knows all.
Her story is in the links below. Born in Vienna, grew up in Japan, and went to Mills College in California.
One of only sixty Caucasians in the U.S. who spoke Japanese, fluent in six languages, and able to see Japan from a variety of perspectives, Gordon had no problem returning to Japan after the war. On Christmas Eve, 1945 Sirota became the first American civilian to enter post-war Japan. She found her parents suffering from malnutrition and from the freezing cold under village arrest in Karuizawa, a mountain resort. Moving to Tokyo. Sirota quickly landed a job on General MacArthur's staff.
Fearing that other allied powers would foist an inferior constitution on post-war Japan, on February 4, 1946, MacArthur ordered the Government Section, where Gordon worked, to draft a new constitution for Japan in seven days. Since no one on the staff had ever written a constitution before, Gordon began her task by scouring war-torn Tokyo for all national constitutions she could find to use as guidelines for their work. The ten constitutions which Gordon located helped the young American staff to succeed beyond all of their hopes by writing an entirely new constitution that has governed Japanese affairs ever since without the change of a comma.
Gordon had written the women's rights articles as explicitly as possible so that the constitutional intent could not be eviscerated by old, male Japanese bureaucrats, when they would prepare the new Civil Code at a later time. Also, she knew that American women had been disadvantaged because the US Constitution failed to specifically guarantee women's rights. Two articles on women's rights did survive. Written by Gordon, then only 22 years of age, they read:
Article 14. All of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin.
Article 24. Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of the both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with equal rights of husband and wife as a basis. With regard to choice of spouse, property rights, inheritance, choice of domicile, divorce and other matters pertaining to marriage and the family, laws shall be enacted from the standpoint of individual dignity and the essential equalities of the sexes. . . .
Beate's participation in the writing of the Japanese constitution was kept secret for many years and her story has come to light only recently.
An interview with Beate:
It must have been 1967 or 1968. Charles Lloyd's album Forest Flower: Live in Monterey was one of my favorites. I went to see Charles Lloyd at the HUB at the University of Washington. It was a large room with a stage at one end. No chairs. Everyone sat on the floor. I was about 10 feet from the stage. Details dim with age and other things. This was the 60s. Charles Lloyd was on saxophone and flute, Ron McClure on bass, Paul Motian on drums, and this crazy piano player that would crawl into the piano and ring little bells and pound on the strings - Keith Jarrett. Keith Jarrett was the highlight of the evening for me.
I listened to this album (vinyl) tonight for the first time in a long time. It's still good. The CD is actually two albums. The other is Soundtrack recorded in 1969. Forest Flower was recorded in 1966. I have both on vinyl.
Amazon has 118 Keith Jarrett CDs but not Somewhere Before which I also listened to tonight. It's from 1969 and had Charlie Haden on bass and Paul Motian on Drums. Early Jarrett but wonderful. I used to listen to it a lot.
A friend of a friend wanted to get rid of her vinyl and I took it off her hands. There are about 60 that I culled as keepers. One of them was what got me listening to Keith Jarrett tonight - The Köln Concert.
I had never heard the whole concert before. I had only heard bits of it. It was a huge hit when it came out in 1975. I just never got it. Probably something to do with having money and seeing the album at the same time. It was worth the wait. The records need a little cleaning which I will tend to soon. It's a two record set.
The Amazon review:
Hymns/Spheres, the original double LP from which the four pieces here are drawn, was perhaps too long and somewhat self-indulgent, and ultimately risked tedium. Yet the album contained some of the most transcendent music Keith Jarrett has recorded. In 1976, he came upon the mighty Trinity Organ, built by Karl Joseph Riepp (1710-1775) at the Benedictine Abbey in Ottobeuren, and proceeded to extend its already awesome capabilities by experimenting with partial openings of its stops. The result was an array of eerie tonalities with which he could accomplish a memorable contribution to the long tradition of organ improvisation. The opening section of the nine- part "Sphere" (four selections of which comprise this release) is a grand, piercing, and elevating summoning of shadowy recesses of the spirit, and of their liberation in devotion to whatever one's gods.
The CD is Spheres, which is, as the review notes, not the entire original which I'm listening to now. My vote is for the whole thing.
I'm glad my turntable is back in action!
Both Keith Jarrett and Charles Lloyd have recently released new critically acclaimed work. I've added a bunch of Keith Jarret to my wish list.
Things get bad when you are sick and live alone. Dirty dishes piled high. Clothes strewn about. I'm feeling better and the dishes are done. And, as a plus, the world doesn't seem to have come to an end.
Before the cold took over my brain I had mentioned a concert that Brian Lamb, at Blowback, was putting on. Brian was kind enough to send me an e-mail thanking me for the plug and then he wrote "I've been especially intrigued how you seem to have integrated your personal passions into your professional life through your various outlets."
It wasn't always so. I spent too many years very unintergrated. 29 years in the aerospace industry. I lead two separate lives. There was some overlap, but not much. I left for work in the morning and returned at night. My kids had no idea what I did when I was at work. They knew my work had something to do with airplanes but that was it.
I read once how this isn't always so. In agrarian societies, for example, there is integration with work and life. They aren't two separate worlds. The whole family participates. But I have no romantic illusions about farming. It's not an easy life. And I have a lot of passions. Music, photography, writing, architecture, typography, books, astronomy, and visual design are a few. The list keeps growing. But I felt that having work and life be more integrated could be a good thing.
I had been able to do a few things that I loved while working in Corporate Land but it wasn't much and it was always a battle, which took a lot of the joy out of the work. In March, 1995, I found something that would let me use many of many of my unused skills. Something that would let me express my passions. In 1995 I discovered the web and knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was 50 at the time.
By the end of 1995 I was doing web design full time at Boeing. I started doing some web design on the outside and in February, 1998, I quit and started my own small town web design business. There were many reasons to leave Boeing. One of the reasons was that this would let me integrate my work and my life.
I haven't regretted it for one moment. I'm making a lot less but I'm feeling a lot better. My kids can see what I do. They can particpate if they want. My music love has ended up with me putting on TestingTesting. I get to do photography in my web sites. I get to play with page layouts. This web log lets me throw everything else in. And my commute, from bed to work, is about 8 feet.
One word of caution. If you are going to integrate your work and life, you'd better *really* like your work. I still do.
It's never too late.
Suffering through a cold. Unable to think. Be back soon.
Monsanto and GM food
Brian Lamb, at Blowback, has been busy organizing a benefit concert.
Musicians and Farmers United Against Monsanto
Prairie rock gods Superstock, angered by Monsanto's shameless persecution of Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser, have vowed to destroy the mammoth corporation and to bring the entire GM food industry to its knees. The first step of the campaign will be a benefit concert for Schmeiser on Friday, January 25th, at Ms. T's Cabaret. All door proceeds and donations will go to Schmeiser's 'Fight Genetically Altered Food Fund'.
Percy Schmeiser farms near Bruno, Saskatchewan. His Canola fields were contaminated by cross- pollination with Monsanto's genetically modified Round-Up Ready Canola. If justice prevailed, Monsanto would have to pay damages for its contamination of Schmeiser's seed. In reality, Monsanto's position is that Schmeiser has stolen its intellectual property and must pay their Technology Fee. In a shocking decision, Federal Court Justice Andrew McKay upheld the validity of Monsanto's patented gene in June of 2000.
Monsanto vs Schmeiser
"In my case, I never had anything to do with Monsanto, outside of buying chemicals. I never signed a contract. If I would go to St. Louis and contaminate their plots-- destroy what they have worked on for 40 years--I think I would be put in jail and the key thrown away,"
The Israeli's captured a munitions ship they claim was headed for Palestine. Sharon and the right wingers are foaming at the mouth and Zinni still thinks there is a chance for peace.
It is clear that the smuggling of Katyusha rockets to the territories does not contribute to the security of the citizens of Israel, just as the use of helicopters and F-16s does not prevent the escalation of terror and violence.
On the other hand, one doesn't have to be a famous historian, or even to look far, in order to know that nationalist organizations have abandoned the path of terrorism when they succeeded in freeing themselves from the yoke of occupation. In war as in war, there is shooting, arms smuggling, lying and a loss of confidence. However, at the end, after the blood price has been paid, there is usually a resolution, and one may hope - a political compromise. The reason for the dead end in which we find ourselves is that both sides are talking about peace and making war.
If it turns out that Arafat is in fact talking about a cease-fire and at one and the same time smuggling arms, he will cut off the branch on which men of peace such as Dr. Sari Nusseibeh and Dr. Yossi Beilin are sitting. One picture of the cache of Katyushas that the PA was planning to launch at the residents of Israel, outweighs dozens of peace manifestos.
But the same is true of the Palestinians: The sight of a new settlement next to their home outweighs all the agreements, from Oslo to Mitchell, from Wye to Sharm al-Sheikh.
Traumatic experiences such as the smuggling of Katyushas and suicide attacks naturally distract people's attention from central but dry facts. Who will now question Sharon's demand for a total cease-fire before he agrees to begin the implementation of the Mitchell report?
Who remembers that the late minister Rehavam Ze'evi repeatedly said that he would not have remained in the Sharon government if it had formally approved this report? Could settler [and present tourism minister] Benny Elon sit in the government that signed a document which says that it must "freeze all settlement activity, including the `natural growth' of existing settlements," and that "the kind of security cooperation desired by the government of Israel cannot for long coexist with settlement activity described very recently by the European Union as `causing great concern' and by the U.S. as `provocative'?
The preoccupation with the cease-fire, like the proposal of the National Security Council to get rid of Arafat, or to wait for his successor, are part of the national sport of throwing the ball into Arafat's court. How many Israelis are willing to bet that if Arafat arrests all the Hamas activists, and doesn't allow a single gun to cross the border - Sharon will make an offer that will leave the PA chairman alive? The interests and beliefs of the two can come together only on the battlefield. Peres and Ben-Eliezer, Tenet and Mitchell, Zinni and Solana, the residents of Israel and the Palestinians, are only extras in this endless war dance, which is accompanied by off-key songs of peace.
Suicide is neither political nor religious. It is what it is: a sad brew of despair, a hope for Liberation from a life found not to be worth living. It must be recognized that this distressing situation has come to be exploited and spread by those who have political ends.
The consequences of this movement have been devastating, not only for the Israelis but for Palestinians as well. Suicide bombings have been spawned by the continued brutality and the humiliating conditions created by the Israeli occupation that has sucked life and hope out of a generation of Palestinians and created the fertile ground for this particular "rush to martyrdom".
Sharon's blows against the P.A. are designed to further weaken it and, ultimately, to destroy it. Israeli society appears to be supporting Sharon's measures. The terror of occupation and the destruction of the P.A. will produce only one thing: more terror.
"It would be a tragic mistake to believe that everything not achieved by force can be achieved by even more force," Israeli opposition leader Yossi Sarid recently observed. Just as the suicide bombers cannot succeed in ending the occupation, so Sharon's campaign of violence cannot succeed in halting Palestinian demands for justice.
At the end of the day, if the P.A. is destroyed and full occupation restored, Israel will be left with a situation more destabilizing and potentially more destructive than the one that existed before the first intifada.
thanks to BookNotes
Firda, at WEBLOG wannabe came through this weekend. These are her links.
Yes, these are pornographic pictures where he has gone in and digitally removed the figures. I guess you will just have to use your imagination. Check out some of this guy's other work. Interesting.
My favorite is Paul Bunyan and Babe in Klamath, California. I've been there.
This is another interactive Flash toy from HOOGERBRUGGE.COM. It's interactive so click that mouse.
Friday night Katie and Jenny (daughters) arrived for the weekend with their kids (Robyn and Mike). Robyn is almost 3 and Mike is 2. All blogging ceased with their arrival. I live in a very small house so the kids ran the show this weekend. Robby (my son) came over Saturday and watched the kids while Zoe (LOML), Katie, Jenny and I went to the mainland to look for a car for Katie.
We found a possible candidate and then we had dinner and still enough energy to shop at Pier 1 before heading back to the Island. Robby was playing the Muppet Sing Alongs - Muppet Treasure Island video, for the fourth time, when we arrived home. The kids wanted more. Robby was starting to twitch. Actually, Robby was availing himself of my DSL connection and LimeWire while the kids were watching the video. Then he needed a CDR blank to burn the MP3s.
They left this afternoon to go back to Tacoma, but there were calls about consumer report articles and agonizing over car payments this evening. Katie is 21 and this will be her first nice car. We should have more financing info tomorrow and some final decisions. Maybe.
I revised the web archives. They had been on a monthly basis but I went back to look at one and realized how big they were. I do like pictures. Now they are split up into weeks. That makes a long list but a more managable page.