Friday, September 30, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
No matter how bad your past is, your future is still spotless. That’s how God looks at us and that’s how how we should look at one another.
Orphaned chimps being cared for at the Tchimpounga rehabilitation center.
Wang Genxiang, known as the Masked Boy, plays with a balloon in Shanxi province, China. He was badly burned last winter in an accident involving a pile of burning straw.
Walt Whitman in 1891.
All images are from Faith in the Good, where I go to remember there is much that is good and noble in mankind.
Be seeing you.
Fed up with overzealous censors during World War I, an anonymous soldier devised this preformatted “love letter” for use by British troops:
In the Field./ / 1917.My (dear / dearest / darling),I can’t write much to-day as I am very (overworked / busy / tired / lazy) and the (CORPS / G.O.C. / G.S.O.I. / A.A. & Q.M.G. / HUN) is exhibiting intense activity.Things our way are going (quite well / much as usual / pas mal).(We / The HUNS) put up a bit of a show (last night / yesterday) with (complete / tolerable / -out any) success.(Our / The Russian / The Italian / The Montenegrin / The Monagasque / The United States / The Brazilian / The Panama / The Bolivian / The French / The Belgian / The Serbian / The Roumanian / The Portuguese / The Japanese / The Cuban / The Chinese) offensive appears to be doing well.The German offensive is (obviously / apparently / we will hope) a complete failure.I really begin to think the war will end (this year / next year / some time / never).The (flies / rations / weather) (is / are) (vile / execrable / much the same).The _______ is (cheery / weary / languid / sore distrest / at rest).We are now living in a (chateau / ruined farm / hovel / dugout).I am (hoping soon to come on / about due for / overdue for / not yet in the running for) leave, which is now (on / off).I am suffering from a (slight / severe) (______ wound / fright / shell shock). ["Or state disease. If the whole of this sentence is struck out, the writer may be presumed to be well or deceased."](_______ / ______’s wife) has just (sent him / presented him with) _________.What I should really like is ______________.Many thanks for your (letter / parcel / good intentions).How are the (poultry (including cows) / potatoes / children) getting on?I hope you are (well / better / bearing up / not spending too much money / getting on better with mother).[Insert here protestations of affection -- NOT TO EXCEED TEN WORDS:] __________Ever [state what ever] ______________XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXFound at Futility Closet
Sunday, September 25, 2011
In October 1915, at the height of World War I, the Berlin Goethe Society invited Albert Einstein to submit an essay for its journal. He did so but warned that he would not be surprised if they chose not to use his submission. The society reviewed it with some dismay and asked Einstein to strike this passage:
“When I look into the home of a good, normal citizen I see a softly lighted room. In one corner stands a well-cared-for shrine, of which the man of the house is very proud and to which the attention of every visitor is drawn in a loud voice. On it, in large letters, the word ‘Patriotism’ is inscribed.
“However, opening this shrine is normally forbidden. Yes, even the man of the house knows hardly, or not at all, that this shrine holds the moral requisites of animal hatred and mass murder that, in case of war, he obediently takes out for his service.
“This shrine, dear reader, you will not find in my room, and I would rejoice if you came to the viewpoint that in that corner of your room a piano or a small bookcase would be more appropriate than such a piece of furniture which you find tolerable because, from your youth, you have become used to it.”
Einstein eventually agreed to remove the passage, but his own views were steadfast. The state, he wrote, “does not play the least role in my spiritual life; I regard allegiance to a government as a business matter, somewhat like the relationship with a life insurance company.”
From: Futility Closet
In the Congo there is a cultural phenomenon known as Le Sape, short for Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes, or the Society of Taste-makers and Elegant People.
"The Sapeurs adhere to a subculture of high fashion, often against a backdrop of extreme poverty. Many live in shacks bordered by stinking sewers in the southern suburbs of Brazzaville. Those of them who can work double jobs; those who can’t must beg, borrow and occasionally steal; whatever it takes to strut in Versace, Prada and Gucci."
"In a country where many survive on 30 cents a day, Papy Mosengo is flashing $1,000 worth of designer clothing on his back, (from his) Dolce Gabbana cap and Versace stretch shirt to his spotless white Gucci loafers.
“It makes me feel so good to dress this way,” the 30-year-old said when asked about such conspicuous consumption in a city beset by unemployment, crime and homelessness. “It makes me feel special.”
But Mosengo can scarcely afford this passion for fashion. He worked eight months at his part-time job at a money-exchange shop to earn enough for the single outfit, one of 30 he owns, so he’ll never have to wear the same one twice in a month. He doesn’t own a car. He lets an ex-girlfriend support their 5-year-old son and still lives with his parents, sleeping in a dingy, blue-walled bedroom that is more aptly described as a closet with a mattress."
Meanwhile in America, a dozen or so companies have bundled first mortgages, and now commodities into a complicated Ponzi scheme so that they can maintain the illusion constant growth in a frenzied market of their own creation. They are already demanding the privitization of Social Security and Medicare because when the commodities bubble finally bursts they will have nothing left to gamble with.
At the same time. as a nation we spend as much on our military as every other nation on earth combined. We do so at the expense of our children, our health, our poor, our schools and our crumbling infrastructure.
But we dress real sharp.
Be seeing you.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
You just might be able to go back in time and do dinosaur hunting or kill Hitler, or at least prevent the reality show boom on television or stop facebook from changing format every two weeks.
According to a release from an international team of scientists, the CERN particle accelerator near Geneva, Switzerland managed to accelerate a stream of neutrinos to the point that they arrived in San Grasso, Italy 60 nanoseconds faster than light would have. According to Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, this ought not to have been possible.
"The totally unexpected finding emerged from research by a physicists working on an experiment dubbed OPERA run jointly by the CERN particle research center near Geneva and the Gran Sasso Laboratory in central Italy.
A total of 15,000 beams of neutrinos -- tiny particles that pervade the cosmos -- were fired over a period of 3 years from CERN toward Gran Sasso 730 (500 miles) km away, where they were picked up by giant detectors.
Light would have covered the distance in around 2.4 thousandths of a second, but the neutrinos took 60 nanoseconds -- or 60 billionths of a second -- less than light beams would have taken."
According to the Special Theory, as one approaches the speed of light the passage of time slows to a theoretical halt as one attains light speed. Thus, there has been much speculation in science fiction that time travel might be possible if one were to exceed that speed.
Providing one does not accidentally kill one's grandmother before she meets Grandpa, that is.
Be seeing you.
Monday, September 19, 2011
In Southwest Miami a small sub-division is battling an invasion of the Giant African Land Snail. Not only do they grow up to ten inches in length, but they can eat the stucco right off of your home.
They also can carry the microscopic rat-lungworm which can transmit meningitis to humans.
Figures. The only creature that wasn't made gigantic by radiation in a bad movie in the 50's is the one we have to worry about.
Be seeing you.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
After a lengthy battle in Germany's patent court, EFAG trademark company has won the right to use "Ficken" as a brand name...and Ficken Schnapps was born. Why all the fuss you ask? "Ficken" is German for Fuck.
According to Der Spiegel, the court explained that, although the name is unquestionably in poor taste, it is not "sexually discriminatory" and does not violate public morals. Furthermore, the ruling reads, the word is found in the Duden, the authoritative style and spelling guide for the German language in Germany, and is used by people "in the widest range of social classes and age groups."
In fact, Ficken schnapps isn't even the first profane brew to be copyrighted in Germany. That distinction goes to Fucking Hell, A light beer that claims to be inspired by the charming Austrian village of Fucking.
"Hell" is a term used for a light ale in southern Germany and Austria.
The Mayor of Fucking is not pleased with the dubious honor. The village has already had so many signs like the one above stolen that he has taken to having the post set in cement and the signs welded to the post.
"The Bavarian towns of Kissing and Petting have the same problem, as does the eastern German town of Pissen. But so far, there are no plans to name a beer after them."