Tuesday, September 29

Richard Dawkins almost always makes sense.

I'm not quite as staunch an atheist as he is, in fact I'm quite staunchly agnostic, a position he doesn't care much for, but nonetheless he and I agree 95% of the time on real-world issues.

Thursday, September 24


A coward calls it cowardice
Many upright people nod,
And with eyes unlooking
Apply a poultice of words,
Diagnose a deficient character
And prescribe death
In the form of crimson tablets

A rich man calls it madness
The poor, perhaps reality
But I've seen the hoary heart
Of the great stumbling machine
With my own eyes as it beats
With its drums, all being to order
And I've listened far longer

Than any star has had existence
The pale horse now rides
Over the horizon and I'm left
Without even that to ride upon
And with nothing but dreams within dreams;
How long till the cowards are freed
And allowed to be men again?

How long?
How many tears will it take?
How many screams?

Wednesday, September 23

Tuesday, September 22

If your pet was a different animal, what would (s)he be?

If you have multiple pets you can answer for all of them!

Monday, September 21

City nicknames

Many cities have well-known nicknames. How many of these can you get right without looking them up? Because quite a few are from the US, I've split these out from the rest. Good luck!

US Cities:
01. Baghdad by the Bay
02. The Big Easy
03. Motown
04. Sin City
05. The City of Brotherly Love
06. Beantown
07. The Emerald City
08. Gotham City
09. The Windy City
10. The Steel City

World Cities:
11. The City of Light
12. The Golden City
13. The Pearl of the Danube
14. The Holy City
15. The Eternal City
16. The Bride of the Sea
17. The City of Saints
18. The Pearl of the Orient
19. The Big Durian
20. The Square Mile

Saturday, September 19

Sad songs...

The above songs are just some of about a dozen very sad songs I tried to find to stream on this blog. It doesn't even include "The Saddest Song" by Morphine! Well, ok, that song, while great, isn't really all that sad.

We all like sad songs once in awhile. They are cathartic, allowing us to vent, get our emotions out like a focused beam and cleanse our palette. Sometimes crying or just welling up with tears, or getting that shiver inside you, is needed to get back to "normal" and prepare to try to be positive again.

If you would like to participate, please listen to the five songs I selected and then use your own creativity in the comments section to discuss them, rank them, or whatever you would like to do. I will participate too, of course.

Like Elton John said (or was it Bernie Taupin?), "Sad songs say so much."

New pic of my FarmVille farm.

My crops are yet to bloom here, and I'm still working on some parts of it, but it's getting into shape slowly...

Click for a much bigger picture.

Friday, September 18

Wednesday, September 16

The Seventh Stranger.

Those words are all remainders,
Echos growing in the heart of twilight.
They lay back laughing at naivete's star.
Awaken all those whispers,
The dusty shadow of a passing favour.
I wouldnt say that you were ruthless or right
I couldnt see from so far.
Was I chasing after rainbows?
One thing for sure - you never answered when I called.
And I wiped away the water from my face
To look through the eyes of a stranger.

For rumours in the wake of such a lonely crowd
Trading in my shelter for danger.
I'm changing my name just as the sun goes down -
In the eyes of the stranger.

Can't tell the real from reflections
When all these faces look the same to me.
In every city such a desolate dream
Some days are strange to number
Some say the seventh sounds a little bit stranger.
A year of sundays seems to have drifted right by
I could have sworn in one evening.
And I'm not seized in desperation,
No steel reproaches on the table from before.
But I still can feel those splinters of ice
I look through the eyes of a stranger.

I must be chasing after rainbows.
One thing for sure, you never answer when I call.
And I wipe away the water from my face
To look through the eyes of a stranger.

For rumours in the wake of such a lonely crowd
Trading in my shelter for danger.
I'm changing my name just as the sun goes down
Walking away like a stranger.

(Simon LeBon)

Tuesday, September 15

Brilliant version of "Sinking"

From a concert in Orange, France. Amazing sound and picture for being from 1986, epic backdrop of a real roman villa behind them, and probably the Cure's best lineup ever: Smith, Boris, Simon, Porl, and Tolhurst. Gotta love Simon's huge hair, Porl's belly, and Fat Bob not yet being fat or having his famous "spider" hairdo. Anyway, enjoy! Even better, go to YouTube (link provided below video) and watch it in HD there. Even better than that, get the entire Orange concert video, remastered and directed by Tim Pope, and crank the volume on that sucker. Not all 80s music vids look and sound bad.

YouTube linkage:
(remember to hit the 'HD' button).

Sunday, September 13


This is the problem with blogs.

If you tend to write a lot in bursts, like I do, then you find much of it is wasted as most people checking your blog will not scroll down much, if at all. Please scroll down to the last thing you recognize and go up from there, scanning for anything of interest to you...

I shoot myself in the foot often by posting a lot at once (whenever I get some inspiration), because it pushes some good stuff down off the page where few people will ever see it. :-|

Inspirational words.

Some of us are more into music, and especially song lyrics, than others, but most of us have some favorite songs with words that mean something personal, even though they were written by a stranger. And some of us have many such songs, and collect more as we journey through life, until we have so many favorite artists and lyricists it gets hard to even name them.

I certainly have my share - the three Beatles lyric writers, Morrissey, Ian Curtis, Michael Gira, Brendan Perry, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Dan Fogelberg, Gordon Gano, Chris Cornell, Bjork, Gordon Lightfoot, Roger Waters and David Gilmour, David Bowie, Johnny Cash, Scott Walker, Harriet Wheeler, Angie Hart, Syd Barrett, Robert Smith, Tim Buckley, Dolores O'Riordan, Tupac Shakur, Joe Strummer, Bob Marley, Elliot Smith, George Michael, and the list goes on and on. It seems as I grow older the 'club' keeps growing, but it never makes any of them less special, which is very nice.

Lately I've been listening to a lot of sad songs and doing a lot of blubbering, and these guys and gals have come in handy quite a lot. Also, if you've been paying attention to my blog, I've been re-listening to a band called "the The" which were prominent (mostly in the UK) in the 80s and 90s, but this "band" really just consisted (consists?) of a guy named Matt Johnson who periodically pulls in various musicians around him and makes an album or two, and then sort of disappears for a long time.

I missed his 80s stint but for a couple popular tracks, and have been slowly re-discovering it. The stuff in the 90s though, I was led to because Johnny Marr, ex-guitarist supreme of The Smiths, joined up with Matt on two wonderful albums released in the very early part of that decade. And while both albums are solid start to finish, there's a particularly beautiful song, almost too beautiful since it makes my eyes start to water each time I hear it, on the album Dusk called "Love Is Stronger Than Death." I've linked to the song's video a couple times.

The entire song has the feeling that it's going to be an emotional doozy, like the best of The Smiths or Brendan Perry or Leonard Cohen. But strangely, it's not a dirge at all, it's a very uplifting, spiritual, magical song which challenges our faith in the wake of the loss of those we love. It's been on my mind a lot lately, and the song and its lyrics make me almost burst out crying each time I hear them kick in, dispelling the gloom... Here come the blue skies...

But the gem within the song is the bridge, which breaks from the rather simple but heartfelt cadence of the verse-chorus and presents us with this:

But awoken by grief,
Our spirits speak:
How could you believe
That the life within the seed
That grew arms that reached
And a heart that beat
And lips that smiled
And eyes that cried....
Could ever die?

If that's not a tear-jerker in a positive way than I dunno what it. Matt Johnson is one of my lyrical heroes, and Dusk sees him at his finest.

It seems as though I keep appreciating lyrics (musical poetry) from my favorite singer-songwriters more and more, and despair of ever sharing in their company (metaphorically; I harbor no illusions of being a rock star). As their value to me rises, the quality of my own writing deteriorates over the years. Maybe it's gotten so efficient it's painted itself into a corner and lost its sprawling, flawed, but sometimes brilliant chaos. It's packaged tightly like a nice little Morrissey song and has a nice turn of phrase or unexpected rhyme, but that's it - otherwise it's just naked truth. I keep thinking about imagery ("Show, don't tell!" as one of my English teachers in high school always preached).

It's not that I don't have lots of ideas and titles and phrases and in my mind - they come to me all the time and I've got reams of juicy bits of poems; I just can't seem to crochet all these fragments into a fully-wrought poem or song like Mr. Johnson or Moz or Mr. Cohen can. I get stuck somewhere in the process, between the concept and the final product. And I'm rarely happy with what I turn out - it's usually nothing near as grand or sweeping or pithy as I'd hoped.

That's another topic for another day. I just can't get this song out of my head, is all. Do yourself a favor and check out Dusk by the The. Or ask me about them, I'm sure I can get you some samples...

Gentiles are not Gentle.

It's not antisemitism - that is, some irrational prejudice against an entire ethnicity/cultural identity, believers and secularists alike - that allows me to still dislike any group of people who DO believe in a religion in which a supposedly universal, all-encompassing God under which we all live has nonetheless chosen them as his favorites, his children, whilst his other creations are no longer of concern to him, do not have to obey his rules, and will never enjoy the fruits of his great wisdom and power in any case; in fact, they are, when interfering with his chosen people, to be explicitly destroyed or driven out of the picture. What kind of incredible hubris within a belief system allows for such a bigoted belief anyway, and why must anyone who it would seek to disenfranchise ever tolerate it?

Pater Noster.

Our Father, who aren't in Heaven,
How low be thy name.
Thy kingdom came, destruction rained
On Earth as it did in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily dread
For trespassing against you
As you sought in vain to trespass against us;
Thy Fury shall not faze us.

For Ours, now, is the kingdom
And the power, and the glory.
For ever and ever, until Entropy take us all,


blind, lame
deaf & dumb

seems perversely
maybe I AM the One

but not mute,
not really

for I generate words

and end up overwhelmed

no, not dumb
just jaded

and the whip-poor-wills keep gloating
and fireflies in the reeds keep glowing
and badgers are prowling the hills, knowing
that I may join them soon
in my bid to escape from all this madness
and I'm leaking tears all over
as I run as fast as my bad leg will carry me
away from this sadness
and the coyote knows, and the fox
and the wolf that bays at the curl of silver
on that slate-black morning sky
before the sun has even begun to stir
that I am a fugitive from my kind
and the mountain lions start to purr
for they feel a kindred spirit approach
and as they prepare to dismember me
I just wish no one would remember me
that somehow I could wipe their minds
of all I left behind
and could let me go,
happy to finally be on my way;
maybe even smiling.

Saturday, September 12

Jabbing at a wound.

crying every day
there is a way
how could there ever be a way?

i can't see it
in my head
i don't believe it
in my heart
how could this thing ever be?

so i'm scratching my skin
jabbing at old wounds
with a bony finger
and i'm calloused
and the feelings

with every song i hear
on my bed, dear

and i'm pulling out my hair
jabbing at a wound
lost and spinning inside
my own sickening cocoon
blubbering tears
not hearing anymore.

taken too soon.


New Christians
so eager
so full of relief
so happy believing
what I cannot believe
so willing to change
all that which
has been written
in all the centuries
so quick to get
down on the floor
and kneel,
to feel that friendship
with Jesus
(it's not even
God anymore, He's
an embarrassment of
all that was old)
erupting from the fold,
new Christians
free from harassment
if we just don't ask
they seem so happy
so happy
with everything
decided for them
they jump joyously
and boisterous
out of the closest
out of the cloister
out of the pain
that made them
say His name
one night in the dark
when they were unsure
when they knew
it could never be for them
to sling that weight
over lonely shoulders
and start up the path
that leads
up the mountain
they put their heads
into that fountain
and proclaimed salvation
without even knowing
from what on earth
or beyond it it was
that they were trying to be saved.


Standing in place
For there is nowhere else I would want to
Or could possibly go
Out in space
I could float bloated and no one
Would possibly know
For a few days

I used to feel it in my bones like sorrow
I'll be back and better tomorrow
You see, life tells us little lies
To make us stick around
Keep us safe and sound,
From the hole that rapes the ground.

Friday, September 11

M. Johnson

Gravitate To Me.

I've been watching you for ages
You're like a boat without a mast
Struggling with the tide of destiny
Between the future and the past

I am the lighthouse
I am the sea
I am the air that you breathe
Gravitate to me

Through the ether
And the mists of the mind
You will come to me
To lay by my side
To stroke my hair
To cuddle my flesh
And to quell the torrents
In my subterranean depths

This world ain't strong enough
To keep us from each other
For we are kindred spirits
Born to become Earthly lovers

I am the lighthouse
I am the sea
I am your destiny
Gravitate to me

There is something within your voice
Something behind your eyes
Something inside your heart
That is beating in time with mine

I know you
From a previous incarnation
I know you
From a previous incarnation
I know you
From a previous incarnation

Gravitate to me, gravitate to me
Gravitate to me, gravitate to me

(Matt Johnson)

Monday, September 7

Meta being curious again.

1. Is there a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's or some other "chain" health food store in your city or a nearby large city? Or just farmer's markets, small specialty stores owned individually, and carnicerias/butchers if you don't want to go to a supermarket and buy mostly processed food?

2. How would you rate the 'Machismo' level of the men in your country (in the dominant culture, not in small ethnic minorities)? 1 to 10... 10 being the most obnoxious.

3. Is telephone, mobile phone, television, and internet access where you live generally very reliable, somewhat reliable, just ok, not very reliable, or terrible? Do most people/families have all four of these services or are some considered more of a luxury that an average working family might not have?

4. How many languages would you say the average URBAN working person in your country understands and speaks well enough to communicate most ideas in, even if it's with a strong accent and incomplete mastery? Count the primary language as one, and add each additional language that you feel is commonly spoken (say, English or French if that is not the primary language). For example, many Swiss, depending on the city they live in, might be fairly fluent in German, French, Italian, and English.

5. Last question. Do you feel the medical care in your country (regardless of its availability and cost) is state-of-the-art, a little behind the most modern countries but still very good, just average, below average compared to many modern countries, or is actually awful and you try to avoid it when possible?

Sunday, September 6

Vlad and Mina

The best scene in Bram Stoker's Dracula (spoiler)

A green mist enters Mina's chambers.

MINA: Yes, my love, you found me.

DRACULA: My most precious life.

MINA: I've wanted this to happen. I know that now.
I want to be with you always.

DRACULA: You cannot know what you are saying.

MINA: Yes, I do. I feared I would never feel your
touch again. I thought you were dead.

DRACULA: There is no life in this body.

MINA: But you live! You live! What are you?
I must know! You must tell me!

DRACULA: I am nothing, lifeless, soulless, hated
and feared. I am dead to all the world...hear me!
I am the monster the breathing men would kill.

MINA: (She collapses in his arms) But I love you.
Oh, God forgive me, I do. I want to be what you are,
see what you see, love what you love.

DRACULA: Mina, to walk with me, you must die to your
breathing life and be reborn to mine.

MINA: You are my love and my life always.

DRACULA: Then I give you life eternal, everlasting
love, the power over the storm and the beasts of the
earth. Walk with me to be my loving wife forever.

MINA: I will. Yes, yes.

DRACULA: Mina! Mina, drink and join me in eternal life.

Dracula makes a cut across his chest.
Mina drinks.

Dracula suddenly pushes Mina away.

DRACULA: No, I cannot let this be.

MINA: Please, I don't care. Make me yours!

DRACULA: You'll be cursed as I am and walk through
the shadow of death for all eternity. I love you too
much to condemn you.

Dracula quiz

In Bram Stoker's fable, a vampire can transfigure himself into all but which of the following:

1. A man
2. A fog or mist
3. A raven
4. A plague of rats
5. A bat

I have crossed oceans of time... just to see you.
the Count, to Mina

Friday, September 4

Hans Brinker

or is that Hans Sphincter? Here he is in his warm, snuggly spot. Click to make him bigger.

Here's my farm in FarmVille currently.

FarmVille is a farming sim app on Facebook, developed by Zynga, Inc.

First, here's a zoomed-out view

Next, a closer look at the "Living, Playing, and Relaxing" area

FarmVille is a lot of fun, and doesn't waste TOO much time since you don't have a lot to do once you've plowed and seeded (especially if you plant crops that take 1-4 real days to grow). You can make it hectic if you want by constantly visiting other farms, taking pictures of them, gifting items, planting crops than ripen within hours, being a perfectionist about the placement of everything, and so on.

I try to make my farm look nice, but I don't go crazy like some people and try to level up as fast as I can, haul in reward ribbons, and make my homestead a work of art. Just a middle-of-the-road relaxed approach for me, so it stays fun and I'm not constantly logged in. It's neat to check your farm in the evening and see something has ripened and its plot is full of flowering fruits or veggies, or the trees are pendulous with their new bounty.

If you are a Facebook user, give it a try! And request to be my neighbor, too, because that way we can trade items and help each other out. :-)
Nobody feels my pain.

No one feels what I really go through in a day
I can put on a smile and act like it's not a big deal
when I'm wanting to scream and cry on the inside
I've lived with pain, psychic and physical, for months
and for years, and for a whole lifetime it seems
I'm calloused over, and my feelings are dulled
because my body is like a clenched fist which protects
against any intrusion from the outside, or releasing
my true feeling from the inside out into the big world
and my mind is blown wide half the time but I don't curl
into a ball these days and simply tuck myself away into
a hopeless and projected doom and a never-ending future
rather I think about ways to get up and kick ass again
or to end the entire struggle and let that damn rock
roll back down the hill where Aristotle would want it.


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