Friday, December 28, 2007

White Elephant Gifts

Christmas with all its social activity has come and gone.
But those 12 extra days continue.
To everyone who came to our party, Thanks and we hope you had a good time. We did!
To everyone who missed our party, Thanks and we hope you had a good time.
Who ever you are and where ever you spent the holidays, I hope you had a good time.
Because if we don't have a good time the Sun will not want to come back and party with us next spring and summer.
Peace and Love to all.
See you all after the New Year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mixed Messages

My brother, Ronnie, sent me a Christmas card.
The card was interesting, but the envelope was lumpy.
Inside was this unexpected gift: a Squeezit Multi Purpose Tube Squeezer.
I'm not sure how to interpret this gift.
My Brother Loves me; he sent me a gift.
That much is obvious. But what else was he thinking?
He wants me to squeeze my tube more efficiently?
He is afraid I haven't been getting "every last drop"?
"With today's tough economy", he thought, "can Jay really afford to waste toothpaste, lotion or that expensive medicated ointment?"
He thought the Squeezit was made by the people who made "A Kitchen Island"?
But this is not my story.

Thanks Bro, your Chia Pet is in the mail (not really).

Happy Holidays Everyone.
Extraiga Hasta La Ultima Gota.
And hang on to your main squeeze.
I'm not letting go of mine, cause she's sweet.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Roadside Advice

Our local Seventh Day Adventist Church

offered us the following advice:

To be fair, the next screen said "Your pride"
But we were a little surprised that a church was offering advice in this area.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Reading: Terry Pratchett

I just finished reading one of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels last night, Small Gods. It has been out for years, and it is one of the many (35+) Discworld novels he has written. I have only read 15 or so, but they are all hilarious, irreverent and wise stories. This one was no exception.

Sadly this morning I learned that Terry has Alzheimer's. He is only 59 and probably the leading humorist of our generation. No body else has been as prolific and as consistently funny.

I usually find best selling books to be disappointing. But Terry is one of those exceptions to the rule. One of my favorites was the book Good Omens, which he co wrote with Neil Gaiman. I wish him only the best. If you are one of the 15 people in the world who have not read a Terry Pratchett book, get thee to a book store post haste!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

One Wing Counting

Word up
In the air
Sings a lonely song
But the birds were anarchists
Ignoring what is required for success
While I am stuck on the ground
Walking through dark shadows like sticky mud puddles
Chaotic avian chorus rippling the surface recently trod upon
What does it mean, this migration of foot and wing?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Proving your love to your family by buying lots of X-mas gifts is just the marketing spin.
The real message is that you need to buy lots of stuff (X-mas is just the seasonal excuse) to fulfill your role in society as a consumer.
Obey Santa, Comrade Consumer.
Go Shopping!*

*Unless you would like to try and play some other role in society...

Ironic Ad

If the Vice President were a typical working American, his health problems, compounded by the obstructions imposed by most insurance companies, probably would have killed him by now. I'm sure he had a preexisting condition.
And I still think universal single-payer health care is a good idea because everybody deserves access to health care, even the Dicks.
Click on the picture to see a larger version.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Western Washington Floods

I'm sure most people heard about the flooding in Washington last week. Just in case I haven't talked to you personally (and many friends and family called to make sure we were okay) The Lazy Jay Ranch (my house) was untouched by the floods. My place of business was untouched as well. Evelyn had to delay visiting some properties, but that was just inconvenient not real trouble. We were very, very lucky. But many people who live south of Seattle were not so lucky. They say it was the second rainiest day in Washington ever--over 5 inches of water in one day. And it fell on top of recent snow, so it was a double punch. Interstate 5 between Olympia and Portland was closed all week. (That is I-5 in the top picture.) Lots of people are experiencing Katrina Northwest style right now. And many of them had just rebuilt after last year's floods.

So thanks for checking in to see if we were okay. We are. But it has been hard on our neighbors. And we feel pretty lucky here in Arlington.
"Cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do you no good,
Now, cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do you no good,
When the levee breaks, mama, you got to move. "
-- Led Zeppelin (1971) & Memphis Minnie (1929)

Bones of a Bull Market

Robot has hidden his aspect
Deep in the gears of the
Wall Street Establishment
Buy, Buy, Sell, Sell
His anodized metal wheels
The ones with the cool spinners
Grind the street children
Into the grimy gutters
But look at that bottom line!
He cries out with false cheer
As he flashes stock prices on his
Web Linked L. E. D.s
Ticker tape is so 20th Century
In this global E-con-o-my

But I can’t help but think
Despite the busty wiggle of the
Untouchable marketing babes
That the Market’s bottom line
Does not account for things
That hold real value
For real people
Like Empathy: Market Value $0.00
Compassion: Market Value $0.00
Companionship: Market Value $0.00
Mutual Understanding: Market Value $0.00
Peace: Market Value $0.00
But the market can give you a great price
On a variety of valuable Mutual Funds
Invested in “Defense” Industries
(that means war, wink, wink,)
If you are willing to trade your
And your generally bomb and bullet free environment
To the Capitalists that own the Market
They set the terms and the prices
All you contribute is the labor and the commodities
Then you buy what you need back from the Market
Minus a nominal service fee…
It’s all in the con-tract

Sorry Robot, my valuables are worth more
Than can be accounted for in your system
I’d rather be the Rabbit that escaped from
Daddy War Buck’s Top Hat
Than a vulture picking over the
Bones of a Bull Market
Words and Collage by Jay Larsen
All you supply is the INTEREST.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Hands Up

Hands Up
What is your angle?
I can’t get a good read.
I’m sure I could figure you out
By degrees
If not by the numbers.
I Give Up
You don't have to draw me a map.
I'm sure I get the picture
In outline
If not in detail.
Hands up
Have we come full circle?
I can’t get my bearings.
I’m sure you could take me out
By inches
I’m not in prime shape.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Unheard Music, Red Shoes

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

-- Friedrich Nietzsche

"Let's dance for fear your grace should fall

Let's dance for fear tonight is all

Let's sway you could look into my eyes

Let's sway under the moonlight,

this serious moonlight"

-- David Bowie

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ontological Arguments

How many ontological arguments
Does it take to tie a bell on Schrodinger’s cat?
Aziraphale has lost his sword
But he is willing to take dancing lessons.
You are a dead ringer for the unobservable feline
Irreversibly keeping time with seraphic grace
All the while avoiding a collapse into objectivity.
Twenty-Three or Forty-Two?
Your stitch makes time for thee and ewe
But I won’t pull wool over your eye
Or your camel’s.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Google Travel Diary: Fortunate Congruence

The survival value of this procedure lay in the fortunate congruence of pleasurable activity and activity needful to the organism…
We are in a period of prosperity courtesy of a fortunate congruence of Japan flushing the world with cheap money, China putting pressure on commodity prices and Australia's full adoption of economic rationalism.
By fortunate congruence, Facilities Management has embarked upon developing a Campus Master Plan that demands a joining of the academic requirements to the physical construct.
The last time we had this fortunate congruence was five years ago, when we again held the summer party on my birthday.
For the time being there is a fortunate congruence between management policy and a broad ethical principle that recognises the autonomy of employees.
Extra bonus activity: Look up the term ‘congruence’ and write your own definition and give an example from personal experience as a posting in your blog, be ready to discuss this term next class.
Typing "fortunate congruence" into Google by Jay Larsen
Resulting list of links by Google
Individual lines of text by their respective authors (see links for details)
Collage, "Near Death Experience with Bugle" by Jay Larsen
American Civil War brought to you by the North and South
Fortunate congruence of text and pictures by Unconscious and Conscious Forces Acting within the Universe Focused Momentarily in the Vicinity of Me

Monday, December 03, 2007

December is Obscure Poetry Month

Make of it what you will
If you are on the take
I know I will

No one understands my work
Including me

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sub Tabla Cafe

What’s the point of being a narcissist if you are going to hate yourself?
What you’re looking for is someone to blame.
Go hire some contractors and throw problems at them.
Bury them in memos.
Make sure the sensitive stuff is in there,
Buried between all the obviously worthless junk.
Then when the wolves kick down the door,
Pull out the emails and the transcripts
Proving that the consultants where aware and in charge.
You are just the hapless figure head.
You are not involved in day-to-day activities.
The contractors acted independently.
You had no knowledge of their methods.
It will work.
Trust me.
Just don’t put my name on the purchase order.
You want some more coffee?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Basho's Mouse Clicking in the Autumn Air. Google This!

Mike: Those aren’t rocks and sticks in your hand.

Me: Nor are they stone knives or bear skins.

Mike: You don’t get it! Every conversation is what I am trying to say.

Me: Don’t get upset.

Mike: Let me explain exactly what I am talking about. If we were Zen monks, our random conversations and blog entries would be seen as profound insight into the nature of reality.

Me: But we aren’t Zen monks. We create software so that companies can sell people things.

Mike: Right, exactly. So nobody thinks it is profound. Nobody looks for enlightenment in our playful banter and our obscure references to 80’s pop music lyrics.

Me: So…We don’t have to live like a refugee?

Mike: Exactly. Tom Petty has to live like a refugee. But we use a keyboard and a mouse.

Me: Instead of rocks and sticks?

Mike: Exactly.

Me: Zen monks used pen and ink. Not rocks and sticks.

Mike: You don’t get it!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What Would Jesus Buy?

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. We all have lots to be thankful for.
Now brace yourself for Black Friday and the beginning of the Christmas Shopping Season.
Or don't.
Friday is also Buy Nothing Day, an event Adbusters started many years ago.
It's easy to participate. Just buy nothing on Friday after Thanksgiving.
I also saw that Reverend Billy has a new movie coming out, What Would Jesus Buy?

I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Reading: Mainspring by Jay Lake

Mainspring is my introduction to Jay Lake, and I found it to be an uplifting and enjoyable read. Mainspring is the story of a young clockmaker, Hethor, who lives on an Earth that is literally a clockwork earth. You can look into the sky and see the great brass gears that guide the Earth on its orbit around the lantern of the sun. It is an allegorical and metaphorical tale of growing up and discovering our place in a wide world that we did not make or set in motion. Lake has a delightful ability to conjure up those old Victorian novels of exploration and the steam-driven gadgetry of Jules Vern. I found his tour of the clockwork earth and Hethor’s discoveries of himself to be enchanting and fun. There are airships and savages, magic and miracles, as Hethor tries to find a way to rewind the mainspring keeping the Earth spinning.

I read a few reviews this morning; and many of them criticize the author for not delivering more answers about the nature of the world. But I feel Lake properly sets course by the strength of the questions being explored. Hethor discovers much about the world and himself by trusting in his questions, and the reader can discover much as well.

Mainspring is a lovely little fairly tale adventure that does not require thousands of pages or multiple volumes to cast its spell. If you have a spare evening or two, pick up Mainspring.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Stalin’s Bed Chamber

I have a new paper
You really should read it
Contains only the truth
And wise insight
In equal measure

I have a new song
You really should hear it
Used only the good notes
And minor chords
In equal measure

I have a new suit
You really should see it
Fabulous fabrics
And stylish cut
In equal measure

I have a new dance
You really should try it
Like stepping on bugs
With stiletto boots

Singing paper
Dancing suit
Equally hard to measure
Ulynov, what is to be done?
Draw my bath
And turn down the bed

Coffin Bubble Nail Gun

Lordy mama
Friend of mine
Knotty pine
Hairy rama

Mighty fine
Carnate llama
Buckin brahma
Traffic sign

Strangers meet
Hostile food
Raising brood
Sugar beet

Killing mood
Leaden feet
Cutting peat
Knock on wood

Cutting brood
Hostile wood
Mighty llama
Lordy mama

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I know where Mike will be January 25th

My friend Mike's favorite movie is Rambo. I don't know why. But Mike just couldn't let Rambo die. And neither could Sylvester Stallone. Rambo will be helping missionaries in Myanmar. He has apparently been living as a hermit all these years. Too bad he didn't stay there, because Mike will see it. And then he will quote all his favorite lines for the next 20 years. And my brother who sees every movie released by Hollywood will feel obligated to see it. And then he will talk to himself about it on his blog. I think I'll stay out of it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Kitchen Island

I am tempted to let the above advertisement speak for itself.
But I am afraid that it cannot.
It looks harmless enough at first glance.
I found it in the back of the Smithsonian Magazine.
I was drinking coffee.
Which is not my story, but is of an advertisement of an island in the kitchen.
But the more I read the advertisement the more confused I became.
Was the writer just incompetent?
Was it poorly translated from another language, Martian for instance?
Was it a secret coded message?
How are you supposed to order one? There is only a PO Box number.
And the city name is misspelled “Woostock, IL”.
I checked, there is a Woodstock, IL in the 60098 zip code, but no Woostock.
Maybe it is some kind of performance art or parody?
When I was a kid Mad and National Lampoon used to have fake advertisements. I remember one fake ad specifically, “Enlarge the most manly part of your anatomy with this gravity powered device…”
Which is not my story, but is of an advertisement of an island in the kitchen.
Please read the ad. Click on the picture to see a larger version.
I invite you to relish the use of “etc.” in the very first sentence.
Marvel at the “penurious necessity” of this device.
Gasp in awe as the great Julia Child demonstrates “a method of grinding.”
No longer must you wonder where to put your “elongated cooking equipment.”
And best of all, “The height is high (40”), limiting the need to bending over or stooping.”
If only I could have this advertisement engraved in “granite, marble, limestone, stainless concrete, stainless steel, pine planks, or soapstone, etc., the weight of the top is essential.”

Monday, November 12, 2007

Reading: Dune 7

I first discovered Dune, by Frank Herbert, when I was a freshman in high school. It blew me away. I finished reading it, turned to the first page and read it all again. It was rich. It was deep. It was intricate, fascinating, beautiful and horrible. It was like life but with a great sense of drama and poetry. I have reread Dune more times than I can count. I named my children after characters from the book. I read all of Herbert’s other dune books all 6 of them. I was sad when he died knowing that he had planned a 7th book but would never write it.

When Frank’s son, Brian, began writing prequels I read them. It was interesting to revisit some of Frank’s places and characters. But Brian’s Dune books were never as good, never as fantastic. So when Brian announced that he had discovered Frank Herbert’s original outline for Dune 7 I was intrigued and worried. I wanted to know how Frank planned on finishing his story. But I also knew Brian would never pull it off as well as his dad.

Well, Dune 7 came out, over two years as two volumes, Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune. I read them. I’m glad I did. But I am also disappointed in a way. There are events in the books that I know Frank would have made thrilling and intense, but Brian only makes it work. Reading Dune 7 wasn’t like reading a Frank Herbert novel in the same way that reading a screenplay is not the same thing as watching a great movie. I feel like I read an outline for Dune 7. Which is better than nothing. Sort of.

The series has its happy ending now. I would hope that Brian would let it go. But I know he won’t. There are too many Dune fans like me that keep buying his derivative work out of morbid curiosity. So I bet there is a “new” Dune book by next summer. The spice must flow… Maybe Frank will return as a blind prophet to decry what his decedents have done with his mighty empire.
Science Fiction is the defining literature of the 20th Century and Dune (the original) is probably one of the top 5 Science Fiction novels of all time. It is my pick for number 1 on that list.

Friday, November 09, 2007

You Slay Me

You can’t trust authority
Avoid what they convey
Take my advice on this
Always do what I say

Your questions never stop
My nerves begin to fray
Stop vocalizing now
Always do what I say

Tempests in my teapot
The earl is turning gray
Graffiti makes fine wallpaper
It’s Jay you must Obey
Words by a fey ray of sunshine named Gray Jay.
Picture by my new coworker and friend Keelin O'Brien

Thursday, November 08, 2007

She Won't Leave Me Alone

Are they like ships?
Do we call them she?
I tell her I don't have time
I tell her I am busy at work
She won't leave me alone
She threatens to follow me home
I'll do something with you tomorrow
I promise
I won't forget
But I get busy once again
And she sits pouting in the corner
She won't leave me alone
She wants me to write her a poem
She wants me to talk politics
So here I am
Are you happy now?
The blog ship curls her lip
She won't leave me alone

Monday, November 05, 2007

Corporate Credits

The company I work for created a promotional video. Many other people did most of the work on this, especially Brett Birdsong, but I helped storyboard the idea and provided the music, Thunder Echo style. And I composed the Versatile Audio Logo which plays at the very end of the video. See how I got you to watch the whole thing just to hear four notes played on my Absynth synthesizer.

The whole V-Ball concept was recently showcased at the WWFE Show in Chicago last month. Check it out!

That is enough corporate promotion for now.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Please Use This Envelope

Please use this envelope
to return your membership reply form
Sign up for 24 months
and we will pay the shipping and handling
Turn over a new leaf
and learn everything you need to know
You save online and in our in our stores
No angel of eternal love will ever visit you
As a valued customer you are invited
to enjoy an extra 10% off
select emotions and mental accessories
Our expert team is available 24x7
to help get the most out of your
Projections of Self-Loathing

Offer expires upon receipt of request
Limit one per customer
Act now

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Brother Talks to Himself

My brother talks to himself.
I am of two minds about it.
On the one hand it is kind of interesting
watching his internal dialog
the give and take of his mind
wrestling with itself
On the other hand it is kind of psychotic
Like he is crazy or something
Next thing we know he will be
Wearing a dress and calling himself
Or Sally

At least he likes to read my blog
So shut up already
Yeah, quit acting like you don't talk
To yourself all the time
I know we do.

Happy Halloween

Friday, October 19, 2007

I Believe in Bicycles

I believe in bicycles
I believe in books
I believe in absurdity
But not with certainty
Absolutely not

I’d rather ride a bicycle
Than believe in one next door
I’d rather read a thousand books
Than believe in only one
Or two or three
I’d rather fully experience me
Than try to believe in thee

Perhaps god will have the grace
To absolve us of our certainty
Or perhaps she enjoys too much
The never ending punch line
Of human true belief
Abso-fucking-lutely Lord
Absolutely So

Monday, October 15, 2007

Report from Storage Room B

I literally have had maybe 12 minutes of free time today. Split into 3 different 4 minute runs for the bathroom, grab a bottle of water and some Cliff Bars, the Crunchy Peanut Butter ones, to keep me going.

4 hours on the phone with the multi-million dollar client from Florida reviewing functional specifications. And we have 4 more hours scheduled on the phone for tomorrow. And they want to know if I can have their work estimates done by Wednesday (the day after tomorrow) even though we have not agreed on the scope of work yet. Short Answer: NO.

2 hours spent talking to potential clients. Kissy, Kissy, Kissy.

1 hour spent reassuring my VP that the Florida account is going well.

1 hour spent interviewing for an Assistant because I am overworked. This has a special ironic aspect: I'm super busy, so I need someone to help me, which means I have to add more tasks to my day to interview people, thereby making me more busy.

I know some people thrive in a super busy work environment, but I need a little space to breathe and ponder things. I'm always afraid I have forgotten something important when the day whizzes past so swiftly.

But at least I got the lawn and pasture mowed yesterday. I think yesterday may have been the last sunny day we get around here for a while. Fall has fallen with a wet soggy thump. But the leaves are beautiful red and yellow and no storms have blown them all away yet. I am hoping that the nights will freeze so that the grass will stop growing and I won't have to worry about it again until Easter.

Oh well, my phone is ringing. Farewell Blog Space, Hello Office Space.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Who knew paper plates were so much fun?

Bottoms up boys. I notice that is not a Dixie Chick in that picture.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'm Sorry

I've been neglecting my blogging duties of late. My bloggy friends have never been far from my thoughts and always in my heart, but I have not posted much lately (at all).

I could tell you heart rending tales of job-related stress, illness and complicated personal issues, but those would just be excuses and would not heal the wounds my bloggitty absence has caused you, my blogerific blogite buddies. So I have been trying to think of what to offer you as a bloggy good peace offering, but then I just wasted a few days not knowing what to post, because you only deserve the best.

So I humbly offer the following and ask for your forblogness for my long blog silence:

Fluffy Mackerel Pudding from

Because mackerel was good, but it was never fluffy enough. But now it's pudding, with all that implies. And to top it all off it has egg slices as a garnish. Fish has never been so convenient.

Check out the entire set of Vintage Weight Watchers Recipe Cards at They are hilarious. I laughed until I cried. (Not that I want you to cry.) But Weight Watchers really knows how to set an inviting table, 1974 style. So Blog Apatite, my retro friends. I hope you enjoy and nothing says "I love you" like an offering of food, 33-year old food, but food.

See you soon...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

San Diego is not Iran

Iran has no homosexuals. Their president says so. And presidents never lie.
San Diego's Mayor not only admits that there are homosexuals in San Diego, he has changed his mind and decided to support everyone's right to get married.
Maybe old dogs can learn new tricks.
It is refreshing to see a politician with a genuine emotional attachement to an issue.
It is even more refreshing to see a political mind that is open to change and not clinging to useless relics of the past. I hope his conservitive constituates will see this for genuine growth and a commitment to compasion and equality. But I have a feeling that the GOP in San Diego will punish this brave man for publicly stating what so many of them must secretly be thinking.
How about it Dick Cheney? Are willing to support the Mayor of San Diego?

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Shock Doctrine

I haven't read Naomi Klein's newest book, The Shock Doctrine, yet. But I have heard her speak several times and liked her book, No Logo. She has a short film by Alfonso Cuaron illustrating her main thesis: that "free market" capitalists take advantage of the shock of disasters to push through changes that stable populations would never allow. Take a look even if you don't buy the book.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Catch Up

I'm getting ready to go to Florida for a week. My company has landed a big deal with Tree of Life, so I will be designing software for their sales people.

I've been watching the Weather Channel to see if there are any hurricanes brewing in the Atlantic. They all seem to be hitting Mexico and Central America so far this season. But the high temperatures appear to be in the 90s and there are thunder storms all over the Houston and St. Louis areas, where my connecting flights are. But I have my fingers crossed hoping for a decent airport experience.

Watched a video about Rudy Giuliani. He wants to do for America what he did for New York City. I say, No Thank You. We have had 8 years of arrogant ineptitude, we don't need Rudy's egotistical variation on that theme. Getting hit by terrorists does not make you an expert in fighting terrorism.
You can watch the video at:

I've really enjoyed (not) the 9/11 Pre Game Show. Feel good stories about our troops in excess on the network news shows. Terrorists with hair care products arrested in Germany (yes, I know you can use hydrogen peroxide as an excellerant in explosives). But I really thought that the White House would have arranged to arrest some people here in the U.S. before 9/11 to really put an explanation mark on the argument that we need to stay in Iraq for another year at least. There is still time I guess.

The Senator Larry Craig song and dance has been a real toe tapper! Nothing like self loathing and hypocrisy played out in the media. If you look at the time line of events you will find that the Honorable Senator from Idaho was making public statements about how dangerous, demoralizing and immoral it would be to allow gays and lesbians in the military two weeks after he had entered a guilty plea in Minneapolis after peeping into the stall of an undercover policeman and then trying to lure him into his stall. But he's not gay and neither is his wife. I don't care if he is gay or not, but apparently nothing will get you busted out of the Republican Party faster than being caught being gay in public.
Now we just need to measure to see how wide Dick Cheney's stance is.... If it is wide enough the Republicans might just ride him out of town. Uggh, that's an image.

And thank the gods that Marcia, Marcia, Marcia has finnally written an autbiography! Life just hasn't been the same since the Brady Bunch went off the air.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Don't Forget What It's All About

As the White House performs it's latest soap opera, Surging the Illusion of Progress in the Iraqi Surge till 9/11 and the Big Report to Congress on the Illusion of Progress in the Iraqi Surge, (Oh did we mention 9/11?), keep in mind what George Bush believes is the real worth of his legacy: money.

The President, and every other member of the Cabinet who hasn't resigned yet, made their "surprise" visits to Iraq to show the American People, I mean Media, how successful the Surge has been and how peaceful Iraq is. It is so peaceful in Iraq that Bush had to come in unannounced in the dark. But as long as the people, I mean the media, get those shots of how brave our soldiers are the Surge to 9/11 Show will have been a success. But all the White House wants from Iraq is another year's worth of delay. One more year of status quo, and Iraq becomes a Democratic President's problem and the Republicans can settle into their "Oh we almost had it won over there, and then those damn Democrats took over and ruined everything just as we were about to win" revisions of history.

But the President has more immediate plans for next year. He has already told us what he wants to do with his post-presidential life: make money. Other presidents become spokesmen for peace or at least charity, but Bush wants to make money. And he wants to make money making speeches. As if he has ever been a great speaker. But read the quote below and tell me why Americans shouldn't be disgusted by this money-grubbing upper-class twit disguised as a president?

"I can just envision getting in the car, getting bored, going down to the ranch," he says. He also has big plans for making money. "I'll give some speeches, to replenish the ol' coffers," says Mr Bush, who is already estimated to be worth $20m. "I don't know what my dad gets - it's more than 50-75 [thousand dollars a speech], and "Clinton's making a lot of money".
"Replenish the ol' coffers?" When did he ever build up his coffers originally? Oh, that's right, he didn't. He was handed free positions on dad's boards of directors. He was handed ownership in a baseball team. When Bush tried to build up his own businesses they failed miserably. He would have to build something for himself to be able to "replenish" anything. He has been pretty good a draping flags on coffins. Maybe that is his plan, to replensh the ol' coffins?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

To Build One America, End the Game

I don't usually find campaign speeches to be very inspiring. But I am energised by the fact that John Edwards is willing to talk about class, wealth and poverty in America. They are not sexy campaign topics on their surface, and it is obvious from the mockery lavished on Edwards by the mainstream media when he talks about these topics that the media corporations are not interested in discussing class in America. But Edwards is talking about it anyway. I think he is counting on the fact that the number of voters in America far out numbers the 1% of wealthy Americans who own 90% of everything. And ordinary working Americans still outnumber the corporate lobbyists. If enough voters get the message change can happen even in Washington DC.

Here is a section of Edwards' speech, "To Build One America, End the Game", delivered on August 23rd, 2007. (You can read the entire speech on his website:

[The System is] controlled by big corporations, the lobbyists they hire to protect their bottom line and the politicians who curry their favor and carry their water. And it's perpetuated by a media that too often fawns over the establishment, but fails to seriously cover the challenges we face or the solutions being proposed. This is the game of American politics and in this game, the interests of regular Americans don't stand a chance.
Real change starts with being honest -- the system in Washington is rigged and our government is broken. It's rigged by greedy corporate powers to protect corporate profits. It's rigged by the very wealthy to ensure they become even wealthier. At the end of the day, it's rigged by all those who benefit from the established order of things. For them, more of the same means more money and more power. They'll do anything they can to keep things just the way they are -- not for the country, but for themselves.
Politicians who care more about their careers than their constituents go along to get elected. They make easy promises to voters instead of challenging them to take responsibility for our country. And then they compromise even those promises to keep the lobbyists happy and the contributions coming.
Instead of serving the people and the nation, too many play the parlor game of Washington -- trading favors and campaign money, influencing votes and compromising legislation. It's a game that never ends, but every American knows -- it's time to end the game.
And it's time for the Democratic Party -- the party of the people -- to end it.
The choice for our party could not be more clear. We cannot replace a group of corporate Republicans with a group of corporate Democrats, just swapping the Washington insiders of one party for the Washington insiders of the other.
The American people deserve to know that their presidency is not for sale, the Lincoln Bedroom is not for rent, and lobbyist money can no longer influence policy in the House or the Senate.
It's time to end the game. It's time to tell the big corporations and the lobbyists who have been running things for too long that their time is over. It's time to challenge politicians to put the American people's interests ahead of their own calculated political interests, to look the lobbyists in the eye and just say no.
And it's time for the American people to take responsibility for our government -- for in our democracy it is truly ours. If we have come to mistrust and question it, it is because we were not vigilant against the forces that have taken it from us. That their game has played on for so long is the fault of each of us -- ending the game and returning government of the people to the people is the responsibility of all of us.
But cleaning up Washington isn't enough. If we are going to meet the challenges we face and prevail over them, two principles must guide us -- yes, we must end the Washington game, but we must also think as big as the challenges we face. Our ideas must be bold enough to succeed and our government must be free to enact them without compromising principle or sacrificing results.
One without the other isn't good enough. All the big ideas in the world won't make a difference if they have to go through this broken system that remains controlled by big business and their lobbyists. And if we fix the system, but aren't honest with the American people about the scope of our challenges and what's required of each of us to meet them, then we'll be left with the baby steps and incremental measures that are Washington's poor excuse for progress.
As Bobby Kennedy said, "If we fail to dare, if we do not try, the next generation will harvest the fruit of our indifference; a world we did not want, a world we did not choose, but a world we could have made better by caring more for the results of our labors."
But if we do both -- if we have the courage to offer real change and the determination to change Washington -- then we will be build the One America we dream of, where every man, woman and child is blessed with the same, great opportunity and held to the same, just rules.


I have stood with ordinary Americans at the most difficult times in their lives, when all the power of corporate America was arrayed against them. I have walked into courtrooms alone to face an army of corporate lawyers with all the money in the world. I have walked off the Senate elevator and been besieged by an army of corporate lobbyists. And I have beaten them over and over again.
But let me tell you one thing I have learned from my experience -- you cannot deal with them on their terms. You cannot play by their rules, sit at their table, or give them a seat at yours. They will not give up their power -- you have to take it from them.
We cannot triangulate our way to real change. We cannot compromise our way to real change. But we can lead to real change. And we can start today.
Nearly ten years ago, I made the decision that I would never take a dime from a Washington lobbyist -- I wasn't going to work for them, and I didn't want their money.
Because in the courtroom, when you present your case to the jury, you can offer facts and evidence, you can argue your heart out -- and I have -- but the one thing you can't do, is pay the jury. We call that a bribe. But in Washington when an oil lobbyist gives money to office holders to influence our energy policy, they call it politics. That's exactly what's wrong with this system.
Money flies like lightning between corporations, lobbyists, and politicians. We need full public financing to reform the system once and for all. But we don't need to wait to reform our party. Two weeks ago, I called on all Democrats to reject contributions from federal lobbyists. To tell them -- we know that you give money to influence politicians on behalf of your corporate clients. Well, we're not going to take it anymore. Your money's no good here.
I repeat that challenge today. Let's show America exactly whose side we're on. We can reform our party and truly be the party of the people. And we can expose for all time who the Republicans in Washington are really working for.
There are 60 lobbyists in Washington for every member of Congress. The big corporations don't need another president that looks out for them -- they've got all the power they need. I want to be the people's president.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Sometimes an image strikes me
Strikes beyond, beneath, beyond me
Sometimes there lies within me
Strident bellows lie, cry, lie within me

Give me your full attention

Simple but not easy
Samples of not what is, but could be
Sometimes a word or phrase disarms me
Strips, tears, bares me

Carlos, Bruce and Francis unite
Strangers all, intimately embraced before me
Your teachers and me...the same
Sometimes our sameness strikes me

Credits: Poem by Jay Larsen
Inspired by "The Art of Reality" by Bruce Wagner, in the Fall 2007 issue of Tricycle Magazine, where in Bruce talks about his teacher Carlos Castaneda, and the article is accompanied by a painting by Francis Picabia, "Geai bleu" (which is displayed above).

Friday, August 24, 2007

The PreGame Show Has Begun

Fox News must have their talking points memo from the White House, because they are acting like war with Iran is a done deal. Just like they did with Iraq in 2002 and 2003.

Some people, like Ray McGovern, say that Rove and Snow are bailing out because they lost the argument about Iran to Dick Cheney.

We cannot afford another war in the Middle East.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I only meditate...

I only meditate on the toilet
It is hard to be too full of myself
When I am taking a shit

I only meditate when people are watching
Why go to all that effort of maintaining posture
If no one is going to see it

I only meditate when life is hectic
If you can’t maintain attention when life is buzzing
What good is attention?

I only meditate when I am alone
Then I can’t blame others for my distractions
And I have to own them all

I only meditate while watching TV
My inner observer traces the plot lines
And guides me through the ten-thousand channels

I only meditate on holy days
Because there is no reason to waste
Awareness on unholy things

I only meditate on emptiness
Because it is impossible to describe
Yet sounds so profound when I expound

I only meditate on Wednesdays
Hump days are so mundane and boring
The middle of the week needs some holiness

I only meditate while breathing
Because awareness is life
And life is worth living

I only meditate
Credits: Original Poem by Jay Larsen
Original Illustration, Digital Bodhisatva, by Jay Larsen
Awareness of Iamness by The Observer

and just because...

Those comic book writers and artists had to know exactly what they were doing.
Wank on, Captain America! Wank on.

City Bans Billboards

São Paulo: A City Without AdsFrom Adbusters #73, Aug-Sep 2007
"In 2007, the world’s fourth-largest metropolis and Brazil’s most important city, São Paulo, became the first city outside of the communist world to put into effect a radical, near-complete ban on outdoor advertising. "

I think it would be great to be able to walk down the street without having to see all those advertisements. A couple of funny things from the articles, one resident responded that there were entire neighborhoods that he had never seen because they had been completely obscured by billboards, and Clear Channel, the world's largest billboard corporation, tried to block and mock the city's decision by putting up billboards of their own:

“There’s a new movie on all the billboards – what billboards? Outdoor media is culture.”

Culture? Clear Channel Communications, the company that won't let you listen to the Dixie Chicks on the radio thinks their advertising is culture? Vulture maybe. Culture, no.

Maybe some American cities should clean up their environment a bit and ban some of this visual noise pollution.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Impeachment, It's Not Just for Presidents

William Worth Belknap from 1869 to 1876 was the Secretary of War under President Ulysses S. Grant. He was impeached by a unanimous vote of the House of Representatives shortly after he had resigned for allegedly having received money in return for post tradership appointments. In other words he took bribes to put personal interests ahead of national interests.

Alberto Gonzales has lied to Congress and perjured himself trying to cover up the fact that he has been putting personal interests ahead of national interests. The Constitution provides for impeachment for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." And now Jay Inslee, Democrat of Washington, and five other prosecutors-turned-representatives have introduced a resolution to conduct an impeachment inquiry.

I hope Congress follows through on this one. Gonzales will resign if Impeachment proceedings are begun, which is just as well. And it will be a wake up call and a warning shot to the Bush Administration that the Constitution is still in effect. If Democrats are willing to take the side of the Constitution and stand up to political pressure.

Unfortunately, that is a big IF.

Global Warming Delivered

Stuart Davis' Clones deliver the goods on global warming in a way that amuses and surprises.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Ren Faire 2007 Pictures 4

We saw people from far lands.
Strange Creatures.
Even a few sad Fairies.
But the Larsen Clan had a grand old time at the Ren Faire.