Forget about Rupert Murdoch's $44-million triplex. Save your anger for the war crimes.
Balancing Your Moral Outrage Budget
by Alexander Cockburn
Pensioner 'ram-raids' charity shop - on his mobility scooter
Now if there were only five or so stories like this each day then they
would be in healthy competition with the homicidal mentally ill. And
then advocates would have to start spouting off statements like
scooter use is not a predictor of violence.------Melinda Smith =^..^=


The Last Rap, Fire-Poker Zen and other slapstick zen koans.

Plus some classic jokes:
Muddy Road
Trading Dialogue for Lodging
Learning To Be Silent
Time To Die

The Turtle in the Garden
A monk saw a turtle in the garden of Daizui's monastery and asked the teacher, "All beings cover their bones with flesh and skin. Why does this being cover its flesh and skin with bones?" Master Daizui took off one of his sandals and covered the turtle with it.

I'm digging all these snippets of flash fiction, but this page of Zen Master Seung Sahn's Twelve Gates seems to indicate that there's a fine line separating zen from dada. The line is made of sunlight, nor will it teach your mother-in-law how to bowl. Is there a line? KATZ!

Ko Bong said, "Alright, one last question. The mouse eats cat food, but the cat bowl is broken. What does this mean?"

Seung gave many answers, but to each Ko Bong only said, "No." Seung Sahn became angry and frustrated, completely stuck. After staring into Ko Bong's eyes for 50 minutes, his mind broke open like lightning striking.

1. What is "completely stuck"?

2. The mouse eats cat food, but the cat bowl is broken. What does this mean?

Commentary: Mouse eats cat food, cat bowl is broken, then what? A quarter is 25 cents, 25 cents buys ice cream; ice cream into the stomach, very good feeling. Ah, wonderful!


Bird Flu Hypochondria alert:
Sometime while it was still dark this morning, I sneezed hard enough to wake myself up. The effect was like tapping a spigot into a maple tree, because my nose has been running continuously since then. I've been sneezing off and on all morning and all day. Other symptom was "intestinal difficulties", about which the less said, the better.

Just thought you'd like to know, whether the hypochondria is mine or yours. I know it's not bird flu, but if a pandemic breaks out, then you'll know to keep away from me for a while.


TomDispatch - Tomgram: In the Zone with G.I. Joe

War on the Floor: In the Zone with G.I. Joe
Tom Engelhardt lays out a little toy history, noting how the narratives built into toys fail to overlap with actual U.S. history. From Joe's birth in 1964 through the lean years of the Seventies, back into the terrorism-fighting spotlight in the Reagan years and finally competing against Xbox and Playstation titles, Engelhardt traces a great capsule history of consumerism through toy stories.

And knowing is half the battle!
Chomsky puts a fork in idea of Capitalism as an innovative and viable system. It's done.

'First, nothing remotely like capitalism exists....'

'So take the core of the fabled “new economy,” for example, what you and I are now using: computers and the internet. How were these developed? Answer, pretty much like most of science, the arts, crafts, etc. All produced in labs, often for decades, mostly within the dynamic state sector of the economy, with essentially no consumer choice or entrepreneurial initiative. Unless you count the “entrepreneurial initiative” of IBM executives who realized that they could use public resources, like the MIT Whirlwind and Harvard Mark series of computers in the 1950s and the work going on in the labs, to learn how to switch from punched cards to electronic-based computing, or their “entrepreneurial initiative” in relying on government procurement (that is, unwitting public subsidy) to develop more advanced computers in the 1960s, or the initiative of AT&T to rely 100% on government for procurement of high quality transistors ten years after they were invented (largely using government-produced technology, and within a great lab that AT&T, theoretically private, was able to maintain at public expense by charging monopoly prices, thanks to government protection), and so on. I happened to be in the electronics lab where a lot of this was going on at the time, but even the most casual acquaintance with the history of technology, hence the source of the modern economy, reveals that this is completely standard: people working very hard, all hours of the night, because they find their work fascinating and are passionately interested in finding out the answers to hard questions, just as artists labor often in penury to satisfy their inner creative needs, parents devote enormous efforts to “producing human capital” (in the familiar ugly terminology), etc. Most of human life, in fact, for anyone who has taken the trouble to observe or participate in the world.'

[Click here for more succinct skewering.]


They Sell Tootsie Rolls For Mental Retardation, Don't They?

For pink ribbons, you think about people afflicted with a problem, you feel sad for them, you might donate some money towards research.

For red ribbons, you think about people afflicted with a problem, you feel sad for them, you might donate some money towards research.

Knights of Columbus occasionally stand outside of shopping centers and sell candies, giving money to research or prevent mental retardation.

Maybe yellow ribbons should give us similar feelings. There are hundreds of thousands of our countrymen who have received such inadequate education, they actually believe that the US military is now and has often been a force for democracy, freedom, justice, and lots of other abstract terms cribbed from Superman comics.

It's not that they want to take part in illegal invasions. They just don't know any better. Most of them are unaware that the Communists in Vietnam agreed to have elections throughout North and South Vietnam in 1956, but that US ally Ngo Dinh Diem cancelled the elections. America supported his decision and supported a string of RVN dictators who came to power by coup. Is that democracy? US ambassadors and officials were warned about some of the assassinations and coups in South Vietnam and let them go forward. Is that justice?

Could anyone believe that our military interventions in Panama, Kosovo, Iraq or Grenada were actually launched to promote democracy and defend people from tyranny, considering the murderous regimes that we supported in Indonesia, South America, or the many dictators that we ignored during the same period? Some British pilots patrolling the No-Fly Zone over Northern Iraq in the 1990s reported witnessing Turkish planes loaded with bombs entering Kurdish territory, the same planes returning empty, and Kurdish villages destroyed afterwards -- during the same time we were using the "no-fly zone" as a pretext to bomb Iraqi military installations. How many of our troops would guess that Turkey killed more Kurds in the late 1990s than Saddam did? How many would know that more tonnage of bombs was dropped in Laos during some years of the Vietnam War than were dropped on Vietnam?

The liberal way to solve a problem like this would be to throw money at it, do some research to find out how to teach History more effectively so people will stop swallowing the flimsy, ostensible reasons that the US takes military actions. But we can solve the problem in a stern-father Conservative way, without losing any money on it. You don't research stain-proof carpets when your dog pisses on it. You rub his nose in it, right?

The proper Republican way to educate our ignorant citizentry is to give them total immersion in the experience of American conflicts: compell them to enlist in the US military. By putting them in a position where they will see democracy being prevented, collateral civilians being slaughtered, where the ostensible reasons for invasion evaporate within hours or days, they will learn the hard way.

Got it straight? Pink ribbons are to fight breast cancer. Red ribbons are to fight HIV/AIDS. Knights of Columbus Tootsie Rolls are for ending mental retardation. Yellow ribbons are to fight political and historical illiteracy via tough love and total immersion.


"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."
-- Albert Einstein quoted in the Jan 2005 Vegetarian Times
I finally picked up a Go set while browsing at Toy House in Jackson. Coolest tutorial site I've found so far is Sensei's Library, filled with info for beginners plus exercises and discussions between experts or afficianados. I have a long way to go before the beginners' exercises are within my reach, but it looks pretty good. They also discuss variations in rules and scoring, very helpful since no two sets of instructions seem to agree on how this game should be played.