Even in absurdity, sacrament.     Even in hardship, holiness.     Even in doubt, faith.     Even in chaos, realization.    Even in paradox, blessedness


   links open windows | email me at lightenin' speeds
Hey, original t-shirts for sale!

bird on the moon weblog      We're in XML

contact jay

by jay joslin

all the pictures
flickr photostream

call me moonbird
social networking

blog archives


t r a n s l a t i o n


Jay's Amazon wishlist

photolog (periodic)

fiction log (on hiatus)

moon phase


Birdfeathers, Moonbeams,
and Kindred Spirits:

a blog is a happening

a taste of africa

a voyage to arcturus

a welsh view

abada abada

HIATUS: abuddha's memes

akma's random thoughts




american samizdat

american street

amma's column

amor mundi

animated stardust




another day in the empire

anthropik network*





LOCAL: around asheville

LOCAL FRIEND: asheville green room

atom jack

bagnews notes



barbelith / temple*

beautifying face paint


bifurcated rivets

big hominid's hairy chasms




LOCAL: blog asheville

LOCAL: blue ridge blog

bob harris

boing boing

bowen island journal

bower of bliss

bruce eisner's vision thing

LOCAL FRIEND: bruce mulkey

NC: cathcoll

chandra sutra

chapel perilous

chatelaine's poetics

cheese dip

close your eyes and try to see

coffeehouse studio

cognitive daily

cold carryouts*


corpus mmothra


cow pi

creek running north

cu sith myth*

cunninglingustically yours*

cyborg democracy

daily grail

daily kos

dangerous meta

dating god



digital falcon

PERIODIC: djaloki from haiti

dong resin's joint

do not think of a blue elephant


LOCAL: easybake coven

eatonweb portal

HIATUS: ecotone wiki

LOCAL: edgy mama

eeksy peeksy


esoteric science


everlasting blort


ex cathedra

exclamation mark

PERIODIC: facilitating paradox

fantasy goat

feathers of hope

fine whine


fool in the forest

fragments from floyd

f train

fulton chain

future hi

future pundit

gay news blog

gay spirituality & culture


geese aplenty

geisha asobi

global voices*

giornale nuovo

gmt +9

god & consequences

god, universe, world



gox box sox


green fairy

grey lodge


LOCAL FRIEND: hangover journal

heretic's corner

hoarded ordinaries

how to save the world

huffington post

huge entity




incoming signals

information aesthetics

PERIODIC: in passing


interesting drug

inveterate bystander

invisible college

ivory lab


is your daddy gay?

j. orlin grabbe


jaded woman's sanctuary

je eigen gratis

jesus' general


joe perez
julia set


key 23


lady bunny*

lasiar's lair*

PERIODIC: laughing~knees

the lair of the okapi

leaves of grass

liberal agit-prop

LOCAL: lies and myth*

little professor


living room

london and the north


HIATUS: man who fell asleep

maud newton

meeting place by an old live oak




michael moore

middle east journal*

mind hacks

ming the mechanic

LOCAL: modern peasant


moon river

mouse musings

mulubinba moments

mutato nomine

my little problem

my zen life

naked villainy


neon epiphany

noah grey



northcoast cafe

numenous thoughts

< # oddbloggers + >

off the kuff

ontological damnation*

open brackets

open source theology

organic mechanic

owl stretching time*

pagan prattle

parking lot

patteran pages

pax nortona

pedantic nuthatch




the planet jupiter


plastic bag


points of departure


post human blues*

practical hippie




pure land mountain

purple goddess in frog pajamas

PERIODIC: pyoruba

quantum biocommunication*

queer visions



radical druid


reality carnival


riley dog

BELOVED FRIEND: robin's view

rude pundit


sappho's breathing

satan's laundromat

LOCAL: scrutiny hooligans

sentient developments

sloe wine


shamanic shifting

sharp sand



sounding circle

southern jubilee

special farm

spectrum bloggers*





street prophets

LOCAL: sweet tea

synthetic zero

tailor's today



teju cole*

ten thousand birds


the loom

the obvious?

the path*

theophany journal

third world view

this journal blug

thistle & hemlock

three quarks daily*

tin man


total viscosity breakdown

23rd monkey

uffish thoughts

ufo breakfast

under the fire star

utility fog

utter wonder

via negativa

vortex egg



watermelon punch

way down here

weblogs dot com

weird events

we make money not art


where project

whiskey river

witold riedel

wood's lot

wooster collective

world changing


yellowstone wolf





* Latest additions... welcome!

[?]= Seems to be down or on hiatus.
Please report broken links for my blog audit.

"Life expands or shrinks in proportion to one's courage."    ~Anain Nin

{ Wednesday, 31 May, 2006 }

Conversation: Spirit and Soma

MISHLOVE: ...it's the language of spirit and spiritism and spiritual things that bothers you.

KELEMAN: That's the first thing that offends me, because when you get into what the experience may be, or what experience people are having, you enter into a ball game in which you're dealing with the very basis of life. That is, you're dealing with life experience of a particular kind. And in my opinion, the basis of all experience is what we call the body, or what I call the soma. So in this workshop I decided that I'll make clear, as I have in my books and in my other workshops and lectures, that by body or by soma we do not mean the object of consciousness. We don't mean an object in the world. We don't mean this body walking around out there, sort of divorced from all other aspects.

MISHLOVE: The skin-encapsulated ego.

KELEMAN: Right. What we mean is a living process that in some way organizes itself around a set of nouns called I. I, Stanley, go by the name Stanley, but I'm really a living process, and I have certain experiences. I have experiences of love, of appetite, of being distant from others and close to others. And out of that ground of experience -- that is, as a somatic process, as a living process -- I have certain experiences which people want to call spiritual or soulful.
Experiences like feeling that life itself is without end; feeling that the question of death doesn't end a life process, although it might end my particular configuration around my life; that there is meaning in the experience of myself without necessarily having to allude to a high deity that may or may not fit my particular way of looking at the world. It may relate to an experience of feeling a livingness that seems to transcend all living creatures, in the sense that it encompasses us. So in that sense the word spirit then becomes a living phrase, and the wild bull, like myself, just settles down and doesn't charge.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:36 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

Of Ayahuasceros in the Amazon

've told no one this time—especially not my family. I grew up among fundamentalist atheists who taught me that we're all alone in the universe, the fleeting dramas of our lives culminating in a final, ignoble end: death. Nothing beyond that. It was not a prescription for happiness, yet, for the first couple decades of my life, I became prideful and arrogant about my atheism, believing that I was one of the rare few who had the courage to face life without the "crutches" of religion or, worse, such outrageous notions as shamanism. But for all of my overweening rationality, my world remained a dark, forbidding place beyond my control. And my mortality gaped at me mercilessly. Lisa shakes me from my reveries, asking why I've come back to take another tour with the shamans.

"I've got some more work to do," I say. Hers is a complicated question to answer. And especially personal. Lord knows I didn't have to come back. I could have been content with the results of my last visit: no more morbid desires to die. Waking up one morning in a hut in the sultry jungles of Peru, desiring only to live.

Still, even after those victories I knew there were some stubborn enemies hiding out in my psyche: Fear and Shame. They were taking potshots at my newfound joy, ambushing my successes. How do you describe what it's like to want love from another but to be terrified of it at the same time? To want good things to happen to you, while some disjointed part of you believes that you don't deserve them? To look in a mirror and see only imperfections? This was the meat and potatoes of my several years of therapy. Expensive therapy. Who did what, when, why. The constant excavations of memory. The sleuth-work. Patching together theory after theory. Rational-emotive behavioral therapy. Gestalt therapy. Humanistic therapy. Biofeedback. Positive affirmations. I am a beautiful person. I deserve the best in life.

Then, there's the impatience. Thirty-three years old already, for chrissakes. And in all that time, after all that therapy, only one thing worked on my depression—an ayahuasca "cleansing" with Amazonian shamans.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:31 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

Celebrating the commonplace

Consider starlight. What could be more commonplace than starlight?

Arcturus is high in the southeast these evenings. Arcturus is 36 light-years away. That's 216 trillion miles. And I saw it.

It's not like a special ray of light came from Arcturus to my eyes. That's what we often imagine. We've seen so many pictures of Stars of Bethlehem and Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars with beams of light shooting straight down to Earth that it's easy to believe that the light from the star is somehow directed towards us, personally. But, of course, when we think about it, we realize that this is not so.

The light from a star radiates in every direction, like a constantly expanding balloon of energy, getting weaker all the time. Only the tiniest fraction of a star's light falls upon the Earth.

How much? Let's do the calculation. Don't be put off by the numbers; just wait for the bottom line.

At a distance of 216 trillion miles, the light of Arcturus is spread out over a sphere with an area of 586,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 square miles. The Earth has a cross-sectional area of about 50 million square miles. So the fraction of Arcturus' light that falls upon the Earth is about 1 part out of 10 sextillions. That's 1 followed by 22 zeros.

Of the starlight that falls on Earth, an even tinier fraction enters the pupil of my eye to form an image of the star. Another calculation: How does the area of my pupil compare to the cross-sectional area of the Earth? I'll spare you the details. Click, click, click on the calculator. Another factor of 10,000,000,000,000,000,000, more or less.

So the fraction of Arcturus' light that enters my eye is one part out of 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:30 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

One Year Ago This Morning

Preparing to climb Wayna Picchu in the early morning.

jaybird found this for you @ 08:24 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

{ Tuesday, 30 May, 2006 }

Hightower: Inside Donnie Rumsfeld's Orwellian Pentagon

...[T]hese men of zeal -- Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al. -- are hardly well-meaning. They are deliberately and determinedly striving to impose the AntiAmerica on our own land -- an unrecognizable America of supreme executive authority, constant surveillance of the citizenry, secret government and suppression of dissent. Their chief weapon is fear. They feverishly wave the bloody flag of 9/11, shouting that the citizenry must surrender liberties or be attacked again by The Madmen, that we mustn't question authority for this only encourages The Madmen, that all government operations must be cloaked in a dark veil of secrecy to keep The Madmen off balance, and that executive and police power must drastically expand to protect us from The Madmen.

While claiming that they must "secure" America for a post-9/11 world, the BushCheney zealots are taking us back to a pre-1776 world. They have been astonishingly successful in a remarkably short time, insidiously taking autocratic step after step, which a compliant Congress and the establishment media have mostly missed, ignored, minimalized or applauded. These two "institutions of vigilance" have failed us. So it is up to "We The People" to assert ourselves against this dangerous rise of authoritarianism in Bush's America.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:07 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

Alter: A New Open-Source Politics

Will 2008 bring the first Internet president? Last time, Howard Dean and later John Kerry showed that the whole idea of "early money" is now obsolete in presidential politics. The Internet lets candidates who catch fire raise millions in small donations practically overnight. That's why all the talk of Hillary Clinton's "war chest" making her the front runner for 2008 is the most hackneyed punditry around. Money from wealthy donors remains the essential ingredient in most state and local campaigns, but "free media" shapes the outcome of presidential races, and the Internet is the freest media of all.

No one knows exactly where technology is taking politics, but we're beginning to see some clues. For starters, the longtime stranglehold of media consultants may be over. In 2004, Errol Morris, the director of "The Thin Blue Line" and "The Fog of War," on his own initiative made several brilliant anti-Bush ads (they featured lifelong Republicans explaining why they were voting for Kerry). Not only did Kerry not air the ads, he told me recently he never even knew they existed. In 2008, any presidential candidate with half a brain will let a thousand ad ideas bloom (or stream) online and televise only those that are popular downloads. Deferring to "the wisdom of crowds" will be cheaper and more effective.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:05 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

The children of Guantanamo Bay

The notorious US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay has been hit by fresh allegations of human rights abuses, with claims that dozens of children were sent there - some as young as 14 years old.

Lawyers in London estimate that more than 60 detainees held at the terrorists' prison camp were boys under 18 when they were captured.

They include at least 10 detainees still held at the US base in Cuba who were 14 or 15 when they were seized - including child soldiers who were held in solitary confinement, repeatedly interrogated and allegedly tortured.

The disclosures threaten to plunge the Bush administration into a fresh row with Britain, its closest ally in the war on terror, only days after the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, repeated his demands for the closure of the detention facility. It was, he said, a "symbol of injustice"

jaybird found this for you @ 12:03 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

One year ago this morning

Taking the train from Cusco to Aguas Calientas.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:59 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

{ Monday, 29 May, 2006 }

One year ago tonight

My first night in South America. Cusco, Peru, to be exact.

jaybird found this for you @ 22:08 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

From Contemplation to Exploration

I just rode the bike in a circuitous route
Of several miles, through the city and its many personalities
Having not done anything vaguely similar in over ten years.
I was reminded of the kid
Who picked up his ten-speed just to ride at night
Tracing the routes of meaning, memory, and identity
Just to leave a skid, pop a curb, and fly on...
A shadow longing to be a cipher in the babble of night.

Now, my bones truly feel the bump and heave of the road
My lungs, coated with words and ideas alien to that curly-haired dreamer,
Must work to pronounce the goodness of each thousand feet,
Uphill, the strain of the years, of broken promises and surprise loves.

Under the road, stone, and under the stone, the secret vertebrae
Over which our the roadmap of our lives arcs, and trails off to mystery.
This city rolls in hills,
Like the metaphor of some white bearded storyteller,
Trilling adventure over the landscape
I wouldn't have otherwise noticed.
As the wheels of the bike blur in motive glory,
I take notice, I enthrall over, I recall and revel
In the youth that still abides within the muscle and ardor of the soul.

I move, as I move, from quiet years of contemplation
Secluded yet observant, cloistered in a transparent monastery,
To breaking glass and getting gone, out there,
To the exhaltation of winds and the movement, at last!,
Of the body through space,
Then space through the body.
Wide-eyed, driven, plunging into the chill forbidden water
And into the heat of being flesh animate,
That short and impossible thrill of breathing through the nose
And dining, and pressing heart to heart, and the intoxication
Of the old lady's rosebush through the chain link fence.

No simple bike ride.
No average town.
No common experience.

No longer waiting.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:01 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

{ Friday, 26 May, 2006 }

Not having figured things out...

I suppose my new home is finally a new home, after all. I've had the housewarming, all of the required "firsts," and it's just so pleasant and groovy now.

Having accomplished the transition and cultivated a bit of a new routine, I'm having time to consider myself again. I've even had a bit of anxiety unlocking that identity door, with all of the dustbunnies and unknowns which lurk behind it. The self is profundly complex, so much so that it seems to prevent itself from catching it's own tail, thus, figuring things out. Distractions must exist solely for us to prevent ourselves from getting to the bottom of things, 'cuz once there, in that frictionless utopia of Having Figured Things Out, we're done. I don't anticipate such luxury anytime soon.

I'm going to take the bike out in a minute and do the whole night-ride thing, with that sense of adventure akin to younger years of being out late, collar upturned, and rebellios tunes hummed through lips of ever growing vocabulary.

Off I go...

jaybird found this for you @ 21:13 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

{ Thursday, 25 May, 2006 }


I've been told by ancient sages that Things are busy creatures. Indeed, there have been so many Things infesting my life (they seem to follow me everywhere) that I can't move without bumping into a Thing. Things will therefore make one's life as busy as they are, leading to a sudden delay in blogcasting, if only for a day. So, today I must work diligently to clear up the Things if I'm ever going to get back on schedule. I will likely be able to post tomorrow, if I can at least clear up some of the Things presently entwined around Hermes, the trusty laptop.

Happy Thursday!

jaybird found this for you @ 09:00 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

{ Wednesday, 24 May, 2006 }

Sexual ornaments grow out of all proportion

The male obsession with size appears to be universal, according to a new survey of animal species where males use ornamental body parts to attract females. The study showed that sexual ornaments – such as antlers or a peacock's feathery display – become disproportionately large as body size increases.

Most body parts grow proportionally with the rest of the body as individuals of a species become larger, although scientists have long known that visual cues of reproductive prowess are a special case.

Now, in the largest survey to date, James Brown at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, US, and his colleagues have examined the proportions of 284 ornament-bearing species to see whether the tendency was truly universal. They found that in virtually every case, ornament size grew by roughly the square of the overall growth rate.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:38 in Carnality, Naughtiness & Fun | | permalink

Losing language, losing culture

“The way you talk identifies the group you belong to,” says David Lightfoot, dean of Georgetown University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a professor of linguistics. “A language essentially disappears because people choose at some level of consciousness to adopt another group’s language … it’s an act of allegiance to one culture and a rejection of another culture.”

But more than the rejection of a culture, the death of a language can be a step toward the death of the culture it expresses and embodies. Encoded in Middle Chulym, and in every language, are clues to how people lived—kinship systems, economies, livelihood, and leisure. “Language conveys evidence of cultural phenomena,” says Lightfoot. “If a language disappears then the cultural evidence disappears also, because it was only embedded in the language.”

Nearly 3,500 of the world’s languages are at risk of extinction in one lifetime—roughly half the world’s total. And there’s little stopping the dissolution of the Turkic language that originated on the upper reaches of the Chulym River in the district of Tomsk. In a community of 426, only thirty-five elders are fluent speakers. The rest speak Russian only. “It’s a moribund language,” says Harrison. [via mefi]

jaybird found this for you @ 16:30 in Culture, People & Customs | | permalink

Greenhouse gas-temperature feedback mechanism may raise warming beyond previous estimates

...The authors focused especially on relatively recent climatic anomaly known as the "Little Ice Age." During this period (about 1550-1850), immortalized in many paintings of frozen landscapes in Northern Europe, Earth was substantially colder than it is now. This, scientists have concluded, was due largely to reduced solar activity, and just as during true ice ages, the atmospheric carbon level dropped during the Little Ice Age. The authors used this information to estimate how sensitive the carbon dioxide concentration is to temperature, which allowed them to calculate how much the climate-carbon dioxide feedbacks will affect future global warming.

As Marten Scheffer explains, "Although there are still significant uncertainties, our simple data-based approach is consistent with the latest climate-carbon cycle models, which suggest that global warming will be accelerated by the effects of climate change on the rate of carbon dioxide increase. In view of our findings, estimates of future warming that ignore these effects may have to be raised by about 50 percent. We have, in fact, been conservative on several points. For instance, we do not account for the greenhouse effect of methane, which is also known to increase in warm periods."

jaybird found this for you @ 12:28 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink

Web inventor warns of 'dark' net

The web should remain neutral and resist attempts to fragment it into different services, web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has said. Recent attempts in the US to try to charge for different levels of online access web were not "part of the internet model," he said in Edinburgh. He warned that if the US decided to go ahead with a two-tier internet, the network would enter "a dark period".

Sir Tim was speaking at the start of a conference on the future of the web. "What's very important from my point of view is that there is one web," he said. "Anyone that tries to chop it into two will find that their piece looks very boring."

jaybird found this for you @ 08:22 in Blogosphere, Tech & Internet | | permalink

{ Tuesday, 23 May, 2006 }


MISHLOVE: Now, Bell's theorem, as I understand it, goes back even prior to Bell -- to Einstein, and Einstein's disagreement with quantum physics, back in the early days. He made his classic statement, "God doesn't play dice with the universe," at a time when Einstein himself felt he disagreed with quantum physics, as I understand it. He felt that if quantum physics were true, it would have these horrendous implications which it now turns out are true.

HERBERT: Yes, Einstein was never comfortable with quantum theory, and he basically had three gripes with it. The one gripe was that quantum theory is a probabilistic theory. It just describes things like the world is essentially random and governed only by general laws that give the odds for things to happen, but within these odds anything can happen -- that God plays dice. Einstein didn't like that, but he could have lived with that. The second aspect that Einstein didn't like was the thinglessness, this fuzzy ambiguity -- that the world isn't made of things, it's not made of objects. It was put by Paul Davies -- the notion that somehow big things are made of little things. Quantum theory doesn't describe the world that way. Big things aren't made of little things; they're made of entities whose attributes aren't there when you don't look, but become there when you do look. Now, that sounds very, very strange.

MISHLOVE: Like an illusion.

HERBERT: Like an illusion, yes.

MISHLOVE: Or the Hindu concept of Maya, something like that.

HERBERT: That's right. The world exists when we don't look at it in some strange state that is indescribable. Then when we look at it, it becomes absolutely ordinary, as though someone were trying to pull something over our eyes
-- the world is an illusion. Einstein didn't like that. He felt that the big things were made of little things, as the classical physicists thought.

MISHLOVE: The Newtonian view of billiard-ball-like particles -- that if you could only understand the momentum and position of each one, you could predict everything in the universe.

HERBERT: Everything in the universe, yes, a comfortable sort of view.

MISHLOVE: You mentioned three things that Einstein objected to; then there must be one more.

HERBERT: Well, the third thing is this interconnectedness. Einstein said the world cannot be like this, because this interconnectedness goes faster than light. With this quantum interconnectedness, two objects could come together, meet, and then each go into the universe, and they would still be connected. Instantaneously one would know what the fate of the other one was. Einstein said, now that can never be; that's like voodoo -- in fact, he used the word -- it's like telepathy, he said; he said it's spooky, it's ghostlike. Almost his last words in his biography were, "On this I absolutely stand firm. The world is not like this."

jaybird found this for you @ 20:54 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

Brain imaging sheds new light on decision making

Researchers are investigating connections between pictures created by functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, and their depictions of “unfairness” in the brain to further illuminate the neurological basis of moral decision-making.

Colin Camerer is a business economics professor at the California Institute of Technology and an expert on “behavioral game theory,” a specialty within the field of behavioral economics. He is using experimental evidence to show how people react to examples of fairness and how that influences their behavior in situations described by a mathematical model of analysis called “game theory.”

Pictures of “your brain on unfairness,” culled by Camerer as part of his research, represent “one of the most striking neuroscientific findings about game theory,” he said.

In the experiment that produced the brain images, people played an ultimatum game. In this version of the game, a “proposer” offers a portion of $10 to a “responder” — for example, $5 for each player. If the responder accepts it, the players each get their proposed share of the $10. If the responder refuses, neither player wins anything.

The test subject whose results were pictured in the fMRI scans added an unusual twist to the game. In some trials, the responder had the photograph and the name of a hidden proposer with whom he played the game. In other cases, the responder was shown a picture of a computer and told that the computer would be the hidden proposer.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:47 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

Confessions of a Darwinist

I take being called anti-Darwinian very personally. It has always hurt, for I have always thought of myself as more or less a knee-jerk neo-Darwinian, someone who thinks the basic mechanism underlying evolutionary change, including the origin, modification, and maintenance of adaptations, resides squarely in the domain of natural selection. And I have always felt that, with one or two major exceptions, my version of how the evolutionary process works lines up very well with Darwin’s. Take natural selection, for example: I see natural selection just as Darwin originally did—as the statistical effect that relative success in the economic sphere (obtaining energy resources, warding off predators and disease, etc.) has on an organism’s success in reproducing. This conservative view contrasts strongly with the modern tendency to see natural selection as a matter of competition among genes to leave copies of themselves to the next generation—a position I take to be hopelessly teleological, obfuscating the real interactive dynamics of economic and reproductive organismic behavior driving the evolutionary process.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:46 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

Culture Soup: The Case for Contamination

I’m seated, with my mother, on a palace veranda, cooled by a breeze from the royal garden. Before us, on a dais, is an empty throne, its arms and legs embossed with polished brass, the back and seat covered in black-and-gold silk. In front of the steps to the dais, there are two columns of people, mostly men, facing one another, seated on carved wooden stools, the cloths they wear wrapped around their chests, leaving their shoulders bare. There is a quiet buzz of conversation. Outside in the garden, peacocks screech. At last, the lowing of a ram’s horn announces the arrival of the king of Asante, its tones sounding his honorific kotokohene or ‘porcupine chief’. (Each quill of the porcupine, according to custom, signifies a warrior ready to kill and to die for the kingdom.) Everyone stands until the king has settled on the throne. Then, when we sit, a chorus sings songs in praise of him, which are interspersed with the playing of a flute. It is a Wednesday festival day in Kumasi, the town in Ghana where I grew up.

Unless you’re one of a few million Ghanaians, this will probably seem a relatively unfamiliar world, perhaps even an exotic one. You might suppose that this festival belongs quaintly to an African past. But before the king arrived, people were taking calls on cellphones, and among those passing the time in quiet conversation were a dozen men in suits, representatives of an insurance company. And the meetings in the office next to the veranda are about contemporary issues: HIV/Aids, the educational needs of 21st-century children, the teaching of science and technology at the local university. When my turn comes to be presented, the king asks me about Princeton, where I teach. I ask him when he’ll next be in the States. In a few weeks, he says. He’s got a meeting with the head of the World Bank.

Anywhere you travel in the world – today as always – you can find ceremonies like these, many of them rooted in centuries-old traditions. But you will also find everywhere – and this is something new – many intimate connections with places far away: Washington, Moscow, Mexico City, Beijing. Across the street from us, when we were growing up, there was a large house occupied by a number of families, among them a vast family of boys; one, about my age, was a good friend. He lives in London. His brother lives in Japan, where his wife is from. They have another brother who has been in Spain for a while and a couple more brothers who, last I heard, were in the United States. Some of them still live in Kumasi, one or two in Accra, Ghana’s capital. Eddie, who lives in Japan, speaks his wife’s language now. He has to. But he was never very comfortable in English, the language of our government and our schools. When he phones me from time to time, he prefers to speak Asante-Twi.

jaybird found this for you @ 08:29 in Culture, People & Customs | | permalink

{ Monday, 22 May, 2006 }

Shouting monkeys show surprising eloquence

It may not be exactly poetry, but a species of monkey has demonstrated an unsuspected level of articulacy. Researchers working in Nigeria have found that putty-nosed monkeys can use their two warning calls as 'building blocks' to create a third call with a different meaning. It's the first example of this outside humans, say the researchers.

Putty-nosed monkeys (Cercopithecus nictitans) live in family groups, usually led by a dominant male who keeps a wary eye out for their two main enemies — leopards and eagles. A circling eagle will cause a male to warn his troop by making a series of calls called 'hacks', whereas a lurking leopard will prompt him to shout out a string of 'pyow' sounds. Different predators require different warnings because the treetops are generally the safest place to hide from a leopard, but staying under cover is more advisable when an eagle is around.

These two calls seem to be the only sounds in the putty-nosed monkey's repertoire. Researchers had observed that the monkeys sometimes use these calls in an apparently non-meaningful way: to yell at a fellow monkey, for example, without communicating a specific message.

But now zoologists have realized that at least one combination of these sounds has its own distinct meaning: up to three pyows followed by up to four hacks seems to mean 'let's move on'. This call sequence is given both in response to the presence of predators or simply as a sign to head for new terrain.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:56 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink

Friends + Love = Housewarning

What's this a pic of, you ask? Why, it's of the final phase of yesterday's wild and wildly successful housewarming. The final phase consisted of a rather spontaneous dance party, with the floor being perfectly suited to such pursuits. The dancing at times turned to quasi-moshing, abstract, and just plain silly. The house is adequately warmed now, if in need of a good mopping.

jaybird found this for you @ 08:37 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

{ Thursday, 18 May, 2006 }

80s Insanity Day ~ Bonus: I Learned Every Word To This Song and Never Told a Soul.

At this point it was pretty obvious: I must have control over the forces of nature. And thus, Jaybird set about discerning the world, and enjoying it.

This day of posts inspired by this post on MeFi.

jaybird found this for you @ 23:46 in Cosmic Randomness Grab Bag | | permalink

80s Insanity Day ~ I may be weird but I can hang with the toughest of 'em

Dude, my cigarettes, mouthwash and potpourri spray are totally hidden under the shed. Let's turn up our collars and pop wheelies...


jaybird found this for you @ 20:44 in | | permalink

80s Insanity Day ~ Your Body Will Undergo Changes

Jaybird at 14: Ah yes, girls. No wait, um, girls? No, guys. But, if I like guys, that means I'm GAY. Maybe I could be more like George Michael... But what is this? An androgyne?. I'm confused!

jaybird found this for you @ 16:33 in Cosmic Randomness Grab Bag | | permalink

80s Insanity Day ~ The Quest for Identity

I really looked up to this little girl when I was still devoutly conformist. She represented freedom.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:17 in Cosmic Randomness Grab Bag | | permalink

80s Insanity Day ~ Spunk Amid the Funk

Today, I'm gonna post some videos from my frightening formative years, just for the heck of it. Thismay explain a few things, heh.

Video #1 represents my giddy enthusiasm of late, and as a kid, I was all about lead singer you'll see here.

jaybird found this for you @ 08:12 in Cosmic Randomness Grab Bag | | permalink

{ Wednesday, 17 May, 2006 }

Perceiving Infinity: Schematic Portals into The Mind of God

Infinity defies absolute definition. Perception of the infinite, for anything other than a mind which is itself infinitely composed, is an oxymoron. And yet, in historical conceptions of the infinite, or at least the imperceptibly extended, can be found abstract tools by which to better comprehend the very nature of thought, and thus reality itself.

The idea of infinity can lead you to grasp the mind of God....

I am still left wondering about true infinity, at least that which consciousness can attain. What would be the nature of a stimulus which had the capacity to assimilate an endless variety of schema? Or alternatively, is there such thing as a mental construct, a concept, which has no limit to the stimulus it can assimilate? Perhaps the mind of God is capable in its imagined brevity to perceive every objective truth from an infinity of angles. In fact, this need necessarily be the case for any infinitely capable being, such as God. To this kind of consciousness even the proverbial dog shit you carry around on your shoes has an infinite number of ways it can be perceived.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:43 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

Ancient Alexandria: Murder, Mayhem and Mystery

These are all relics of a city full of deep contradictions. Alexandria produced some of the most advanced technology of its day. Horizontal looms -- a hint of industrial production -- rattled away in its factories. But as advanced as it was in some respects, life in this ancient city, spoiled and given to the pleasures of the flesh, lacked inner strength.

But most of all Alexandria was the kind of place New York is today -- the center of a globalized world.

It all began with Alexander the Great (356 to 323 B.C.) who, with his military campaign all the way to the banks of the Indus River, brought together many previously isolated cultures in a single realm. Fortune-hunters from the Greek Islands migrated to the Nile delta in droves, joined by Jews and slaves.

The first ruler, Ptolemy I, one of Alexander's former generals, still valued discipline and order. Instrumental in the expansion of the city's large harbor, he lived by the motto: "No one has the right to do as he wishes, but everything is completely under control." His subjects included about 7 million Egyptians.

His successor, Ptolemy II, was also viewed as a "successful statesman." He warded off four attacks by foreign armies and led his own forces into Arabia. From a technical standpoint, his was an era of expansion in an old-fashioned Egypt. About 40 new towns were built in the Faijum oasis, where Greek architects built a reservoir, an engineering marvel that supplied enough water for a second harvest in the spring. It almost seemed as though Plato's legacy of the levelheaded state was coming to fruition, as the rational spirit of the Greeks merged with Egypt's piousness to form a new, magnificent union.

But it was a fatal mixture. The Ptolemies, backed by pugnacious mercenary armies, were soon as arrogant as the pharaohs and, like the pharaohs, they pursued an appalling cult of personality. Even worse, the dynasty worshipped the club-footed wood gnome Dionysus. The deity, which Alexander (who drank up to five liters of wine at banquets and presumably succumbed to an inflammation of the pancreas caused by alcohol) had brought along from the East, became popular in the Nile delta and eventually developed into the central figure of a new state religion. The Ptolemies adorned themselves with garlands of ivy and horns of Ammon and carried around the "Thyros," a rod wrapped in ivy and grape leaves, with a pinecone at its tip.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:22 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink

Xena, where you been? Mummy may have been female warrior

A female mummy with complex tattoos on her arms has been found in a ceremonial burial site in Peru, the National Geographic Society reported Tuesday.

The mummy was accompanied by ceremonial items including jewelry and weapons, and the remains of a teenage girl who had been sacrificed, archaeologists reported.

The burial was at a site called El Brujo on Peru's north coast near Trujillo.

They said the woman was part of the Moche culture, which thrived in the area between A.D. 1 and A.D. 700. The mummy was dated about A.D. 450.

The presence of gold jewelry and other fine items indicates the mummy was that of an important person, but anthropologist John Verano of Tulane University said the researchers are puzzled by the presence of war clubs, which are not usually found with females.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:20 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink

Home and Old Home

About 8 miles north of here, an attic apartment sits vacant, still, and the attic smell has usurped the Nag Champa. Meanwhile, life has begun in earnest on Chicken Hill. I officially unpacked the last of my stuff last night, and this garden apartment is full of bird song and wild turkey sightings.


Yes, here in the western outskirts of downtown, I saw a huge female wild turkey strutting as casually down the streets as the old timers. As I approached, she undertook a rare "panic flight" into the thick woodsy patch behind my place (no, thick woodsy patch is not a euphemism). Holy shit, after living in the "country" for years, now I move into the city and there's wildlife? We've got ground hogs, wild turkeys, and several species of songbird that I never noticed up north.

So, all is unpacked, and things ought to begin to find a rhythm. The cats are settled, and I can now stumble about in the dark with relative confidence, though I did take quite a spill the other day on the hardwood floor (*happy dance*) and banged my leg quite painfully. I've taken the new bike (thanks Zen!) for several jaunts, and she's the wind. It feels so great to have a bike again.

I'm thankful for so much newness, but I couldn't have done it without the old-ness. I anticipate a sweet summer on Chicken Hill.

jaybird found this for you @ 08:05 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

{ Tuesday, 16 May, 2006 }

Reasons I overslept...

  • Met MyGothLaundry from the Hangover Journals for great conversation and particularily potent beer. Not that I'm hungover, but I feel especially leisurely this morning.
  • When I got back home (the new home), I took a fabulous bath with all the trimmings: low light, jazz, and a nightcap of red wine. This something I've been waiting for 3+ years to do, having previously merely survived with a shower stall.
  • Having a bathtub again, I rediscovered the thrill of hopping right in the bed from the bath, sans pajama, just as the local public radio station kicks out BBC World Service.
  • I've found that the alarm on my phone will just stop crowing without my intervention. It'll try again in 9 minutes.
  • Ursula the uberkitty was rather threatening whenever I tried to move out of the bed... hiss, growl, etc.

    It is for these reasons that the time I usually spend planning my blogday has been scuttled, so I'll wing it. I do have a very timely and newsworthy post I'll try to get out later this eventide.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:19 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Monday, 15 May, 2006 }

    Mygothlaundry: The Last Cows in Asheville

    These cows live out on Hendersonville Road, wedged in between Applebys and Panera Breads, Walgreens, the Racquet Club and Deerfield Retirement Community. I heard today that they will soon be moving on and out of Asheville; their little farm has been sold; the land will be developed. Perhaps there will be another big drugstore, or another supermarket, or a chain restaurant, or a strip mall, like the one on Airport Road, where you have to drive from huge store to huge store; it's worth your life to walk across the acres and acres of parking lot concrete - there are no sidewalks; people don't walk here...

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:12 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink

    Creativity and Famous Discoveries From Dreams

    [Kekulé] had a dream that helped him discover that the Benzene molecule, unlike other known organic compounds, had a circular structure rather than a linear one... solving a problem that had been confounding chemists:

    "...I was sitting writing on my textbook, but the work did not progress; my thoughts were elsewhere. I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. Again the atoms were gamboling before my eyes. This time the smaller groups kept modestly in the background. My mental eye, rendered more acute by the repeated visions of the kind, could now distinguish larger structures of manifold conformation; long rows sometimes more closely fitted together all twining and twisting in snake-like motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lightning I awoke; and this time also I spent the rest of the night in working out the consequences of the hypothesis."

    The snake seizing it's own tail gave Kekulé the circular structure idea he needed to solve the Benzene problem...

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:06 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity

    4. Christianity is extremely egocentric. The deep egocentrism of Christianity is intimately tied to its reliance on fear. In addition to the fears of the devil and hell, Christianity plays on another of humankind’s most basic fears: death, the dissolution of the individual ego. Perhaps Christianity’s strongest appeal is its promise of eternal life. While there is absolutely no evidence to support this claim, most people are so terrified of death that they cling to this treacly promise insisting, like frightened children, that it must be true. Nietzsche put the matter well: "salvation of the soul—in plain words, the world revolves around me." It’s difficult to see anything spiritual in this desperate grasping at straws—this desperate grasping at the illusion of personal immortality.

    Another manifestation of the extreme egotism of Christianity is the belief that God is intimately concerned with picayune aspects of, and directly intervenes in, the lives of individuals. If God, the creator and controller of the universe, is vitally concerned with your sex life, you must be pretty damned important. Many Christians take this particular form of egotism much further and actually imagine that God has a plan for them, or that God directly talks to, directs, or even does favors for them.(1) If one ignored the frequent and glaring contradictions in this supposed divine guidance, and the dead bodies sometimes left in its wake, one could almost believe that the individuals making such claims are guided by God. But one can’t ignore the contradictions in and the oftentimes horrible results of following such "divine guidance." As "Agent Mulder" put it (perhaps paraphrasing Thomas Szasz) in a 1998 X-Files episode, "When you talk to God it’s prayer, but when God talks to you it’s schizophrenia. . . . God may have his reasons, but he sure seems to employ a lot of psychotics to carry out his job orders."

    In less extreme cases, the insistence that one is receiving divine guidance or special treatment from God is usually the attempt of those who feel worthless—or helpless, adrift in an uncaring universe—to feel important or cared for. This less sinister form of egotism is commonly found in the expressions of disaster survivors that "God must have had a reason for saving me" (in contrast to their less-worthy-of-life fellow disaster victims, whom God—who controls all things—killed). Again, it’s very difficult to see anything spiritual in such egocentricity. [via corpus mmothra]

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:02 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Daniel Pinchbeck: The Return of Quetzlcoatl

    In the popular culture of our secular age, the gods, demigods, fairies, and gnomes of the old mythic realm have returned as extraterrestrials. Our mingled longing for and dread of contact with some unknown consciousness or superior alien race has been reflected in a century’s worth of books, films, television, and radio plays. I grew up on Star Trek, The Planet of the Apes, Star Wars, ET, and 2001, on Ursula K. Le Guin and Kurt Vonnegut and Stanislaw Lem—as an adolescent, I loved the Silver Surfer and Orson Welles’s The War of the Worlds. The pleasure of these artifacts was in the possibilities they threw out, like so many sparks. They returned the cosmos to a capacious state of “what-if?” that our mechanistic science seemed to deny. The exploration of fictional worlds is a kind of dreaming while awake; the complex ecosystem of the cultural imagination may also have a protective function. Through such stories, we absorb ideas in sidereal fashion, perhaps readying ourselves, on some subliminal level, for future shock of various stripes, before it arrives.

    After I finished my article on the crop circles, the images, and their implicit intent, continued to linger in my mind. I was perplexed by the rectangular Arecibo Response formation, dismissed by current SETI astronomer Seth Shostak as a “nice example of grain graffiti,” unworthy of further investigation. I was equally confounded by the "Face" that had appeared in halftones on the date of my daughter's birth. Whether accident or synchronicity, this correspondence seemed like a personal invitation to visit what the writer Robert Anton Wilson dubbed "Chapel Perilous," that vortex where cosmological speculations, coincidences, and paranoia seem to multiply and then collapse, compelling belief or lunacy, wisdom or agnosticism.

    Considering the scientific evidence, gathered by Eltjo Haselhof and others, suggesting the phenomenon had some mysterious legitimacy, as well as the many personal accounts I absorbed while doing my research, SETI’s blithe dismissal of the Arecibo Response glyph, a direct response to a message beamed into space by SETI in 1974, seemed flat and unreflective. Shostak insisted that an alien civilization would not communicate in such a manner when they could simply leave an Encyclopedia Galactica on our doorstep. But how could we determine the means that an alien civilization might use to communicate? He was perhaps recalling the Fermi Paradox, which noted that any technologically evolved civilization on a nearby star system should have emitted radio waves during its development that our sensors would have picked up. The physicist Enrico Fermi asked, in the absence of these signals, “Where are they?” But the answer might lie beyond the limits of our present knowledge.

    The SETI astronomer pointed out that the original Arecibo greeting was sent out to the M13 star cluster, over twenty thousand light-years away, and it therefore made no sense that it could have been answered already. It seemed equally logical to theorize that whoever—whatever—had crafted the reply knew about the original message as soon as it was sent, that they might have observed activities on our planet for a very long time. But even if one could imagine an advanced species watching the Earth, awaiting the proper moment to reveal itself to us, the Arecibo Response still made little sense. Who was meant to receive the transmission? And what were they—or we—supposed to do with it?

    Small, big-headed figures with silicon added to their makeup and an extra strand of DNA, as depicted in the Arecibo Response, suggested the peculiar narrative, or evolving postmodern myth, of the Gray aliens. Over the last decades, the Grays infiltrated the global subconscious, through best-selling books such as Whitley Streiber’s 1987 Communion, the TV miniseries Taken, and T-shirts, plastic figurines, cartoons, and other mass-cult detritus based on accounts of abduction. I had never paid more than a glancing attention to the UFO phenomenon or to alien abduction accounts—it seemed like some hysterical symptom of our cultural malaise, adolescent and turgid, overliteral, and deeply disreputable. The notion that three-and-a-half-foot-tall cardboard-colored aliens made nightly invasions of middle-class bedrooms across the United States and the world to insert rectal probes and take sperm samples did not seem plausible, or the type of behavior one would anticipate from a futuristic civilization.

    And yet, much like the surprisingly tangible evidence on crop circles, the accumulated data on UFO sightings and alien abductions reveals jarring levels of complexity and downright weirdness that do not allow for a blanket rejection of the phenomenon. Harvard psychiatrist John Mack, author of a Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of T. E. Lawrence, dedicated the last decades of his life to studying the psychological phenomenon of adbuction by “the visitors,” as Whitley Streiber called them. Considering the data gathered by a 1991 Roper poll, Mack thought it conceivable that as many as three million Americans had undergone an abduction experience. His study of abductees led him to conclude that the phenomenon had validity beyond any psychological mechanism: “There have been numerous psychological studies of these individuals; none has discovered any psychopathology in great degree that could account for the experience.” In many cases, abductees “have been witnessed by their relatives to not be present during that time. They are physically gone, and families become very distressed. . . . One of the things most difficult to accept is that this can actually have a literal factual basis. . . . Abductees may wake up with unexplained cuts, scoop marks, or bleeding noses.” Mack optimistically proposed that these experiences had some sort of therapeutic value.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:54 in Conjecture & Speculation | | permalink

    { Friday, 12 May, 2006 }

    Of hushed words and silent screams

    "Suffer the little children..."

    It's been a tough past few days. In the town where I work, a 12 year old child took his life, and to watch how this town is reacting has been heartbreaking. Mostly, they've reacted by sweeping it under the rug, leaving the memory of a bright-eyed child at the school door and waving off the grief. Sure, they are likely unsure as to how to discuss this with their own kids, and also there is the onus of religion. Where his "soul goes" as computed by humans which surely know everything is likely a matter of great consternation, as are several other factors which came into play which I won't go into here. There is a core of people who are indeed very concerned about this, and very committed to bringing a community-wide discussion to the fore. This gives me hope, if a sliver.

    I have wrestled with the same spectre that this 12 year old did, several times, and I'm glad to say that my work in understanding the nature of the game has enabled for me to finally stop playing it... it has been years and years of strengthening. Yet someone so young making this decision releases a torrent of feeling, empathy first, and frustration with a society still ill-equipped to cope with the intensely private world of young children who secretly battle a depression so blinding that the outlets become fewer and more precious, until there's nothing. A child affected by this has said that there are no answers, and perhaps we'll never understand. You're on to something, there... life and death are made of the same, inexplicable gossamer.

    We may never know, but can always remember, and always seek to do good work, especially in the light of those which have gone before us...

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:05 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Thursday, 11 May, 2006 }

    Cyclic universe could explain cosmic balancing act

    A bouncing universe that expands and then shrinks every trillion years or so could explain one of the most puzzling problems in cosmology: how we can exist at all.

    If this explanation, proposed in Science by Paul Steinhardt at Princeton University, New Jersey, and Neil Turok at the University of Cambridge, UK, seems slightly preposterous, that can't really be held against it. Astronomical observations over the past decade have shown that "we live in a preposterous universe", says cosmologist Sean Carroll of the University of Chicago. "It's our job to make sense of it," he says.

    In Steinhardt and Turok's cyclic model of the Universe, it expands and contracts repeatedly over timescales that make the 13.7 billion years that have passed since the Big Bang seem a mere blink. This makes the Universe vastly old. And that in turn means that the mysterious 'cosmological constant', which describes how empty space appears to repel itself, has had time to shrink into the strangely small number that we observe today. [via corpus mmothra]

    jaybird found this for you @ 21:10 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

    2050 - and immortality is within our grasp

    Aeroplanes will be too afraid to crash, yoghurts will wish you good morning before being eaten and human consciousness will be stored on supercomputers, promising immortality for all - though it will help to be rich.

    These fantastic claims are not made by a science fiction writer or a crystal ball-gazing lunatic. They are the deadly earnest predictions of Ian Pearson, head of the futurology unit at BT.

    'If you draw the timelines, realistically by 2050 we would expect to be able to download your mind into a machine, so when you die it's not a major career problem,' Pearson told The Observer. 'If you're rich enough then by 2050 it's feasible. If you're poor you'll probably have to wait until 2075 or 2080 when it's routine. We are very serious about it. That's how fast this technology is moving: 45 years is a hell of a long time in IT.'

    Pearson, 44, has formed his mind-boggling vision of the future after graduating in applied mathematics and theoretical physics, spending four years working in missile design and the past 20 years working in optical networks, broadband network evolution and cybernetics in BT's laboratories. He admits his prophecies are both 'very exciting' and 'very scary'.

    He believes that today's youngsters may never have to die, and points to the rapid advances in computing power demonstrated last week, when Sony released the first details of its PlayStation 3. It is 35 times more powerful than previous games consoles. 'The new PlayStation is 1 per cent as powerful as a human brain,' he said. 'It is into supercomputer status compared to 10 years ago. PlayStation 5 will probably be as powerful as the human brain.'

    The world's fastest computer, IBM's BlueGene, can perform 70.72 trillion calculations per second (teraflops) and is accelerating all the time. But anyone who believes in the uniqueness of consciousness or the soul will find Pearson's next suggestion hard to swallow. 'We're already looking at how you might structure a computer that could possibly become conscious. There are quite a lot of us now who believe it's entirely feasible. [via bruce eisner]

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:06 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    We made it! The Great Trasition

    When we look back after 370 million years of evolution, the invasion of land by fish appears special. However, if we could transport ourselves by time machine to this early period, it isn't clear whether we would notice anything extraordinary. We would see a lot of fish, some of them big and some of them small, all of them struggling to survive and reproduce. Only now, 370 million years later, do we see that one of those fish sat at the base of a huge branch of the tree of life—a branch that includes everything from salamanders to humans. It would have taken an uncanny sixth sense for us to have predicted this outcome when our time machine deposited us in the middle of the Devonian.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:54 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

    A John Bircher? Now Is the Time for a Left-Right Alliance

    I'm currently a life member of the John Birch Society and formerly served on the staff of the organization for 13 years.

    So why should any left-winger reading this care a fig about what I have to say?

    Because of a conversation I had with another conservative magazine writer recently. In frustration at the unconstitutional excesses of the Bush administration, I blurted out to him: "The only people doing any good out there are the people at Air America." I expected to shock him with the statement, but his two-word reply shocked me: "And MoveOn.org."

    We were both exaggerating for effect, but fact is, as my journalist friend continued, "We probably only disagree on, maybe, 25 percent of the issues." I'd have put the percentage a little higher, though I tacked an ending onto his sentence: "…and those issues aren't especially important right now."

    When Air America started, I told myself and my friends that it would fail because it would be redundant. The Left already controls all the television networks besides Fox, along with most of the major newspapers. But here we are a year later, and the most penetrating news analysis on television is – and I'm not exaggerating here – Jon Stewart's Daily Show on Comedy Central.

    I tuned into the Boston Air America affiliate when I became a community radio talk show host almost two years ago, thinking that I could use a few of their wild statements as a springboard to bounce my counterpoint. And although I got a few yuks out of quips about "Airhead America," I found that I agreed with the hosts more than I disagreed with them.

    They criticized the Bush administration for deceiving us into the Iraq war. No problem there. They criticized Alberto Gonzales for his torture memos. Again, no problem. They criticized deficit spending, the PATRIOT Act, and corporate welfare. Hurray, hurray, and hurray!

    So I called into a few "progressive" radio talk shows, identifying myself as a "right-wing radio talk show host," and explained my understanding of these issues. Stephanie Miller told me that I was a "not a very good right-winger." A liberal show host at my radio station even called me a "liberal."

    But my views haven't changed one bit since I joined the John Birch Society during the Reagan administration. So this is not a conversion story.

    What's changed is that the Bush administration has simply gotten that bad and that, according to some polls, we are almost at the point where most genuine conservatives realize it.

    The Left and Right will never agree on the issues that liberal talk show host Ed Schultz likes to call "God, Guns, and Gays." Nor will we agree on most economic issues, such as Social Security or whether the federal government should have a role in health care.

    Unlike the Hannitized Dittobots who call the so-called "right-wing" radio talk shows, you won't find me sporting "Club Gitmo" gear. I realize that what happened at Abu Ghraib could happen to any American faster than you can say "Jose Padilla."

    These are some issues of common concern that could lead to cooperation between Right and Left. Does a "rebel alliance" against the evil neocon empire sound crazy? Not only has it already begun to take shape today, it's happened before.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:45 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 10 May, 2006 }

    Living without Numbers or Time

    The Pirahă people have no history, no descriptive words and no subordinate clauses. That makes their language one of the strangest in the world -- and also one of the most hotly debated by linguists.

    During one of his first visits to Brazil's Pirahăs, members of the tribe wanted to kill Daniel Everett. At that point, he wasn't even a "bagiai" (friend) yet and a travelling salesman -- who felt Everett had conned him -- had promised the natives a lot of whiskey for the murder. In the gloom of midnight, the Pirahă warriors huddled along the banks of the Maici and planned their attack.

    What the tribesmen didn't realize, however, was that Everett, a linguist, was eavesdropping, and he could already understand enough of the Amazon people's cacophonic singsong to make out the decisive words.

    "I locked my wife and our three children in the reasonably safe shed of our hut and immediately went to the men," Everett recalls. "In one move, I snatched up all of their bows and arrows, went back to the hut and locked them up." He had not only disarmed the Pirahăs -- he had also startled them -- and they let him live. The next day, the family left without any trouble.

    But the language of the forest dwellers, which Everett describes as "tremendously difficult to learn," so fascinated the researcher and his wife that they soon returned. Since 1977, the British ethnologist at the University of Manchester spent a total of seven years living with the Pirahăs -- and he's committed his career to researching their puzzling language. Indeed, he was long so uncertain about what he was actually hearing while living among the Pirahăs that he waited nearly three decades before publishing his findings. "I simply didn't trust myself."

    Everett sensed his findings would be controversial. Indeed they were: What he found was enough to topple even the most-respected theories about the Pirahăs' faculty of speech.

    The reaction came exactly as the researcher had expected. The small hunting and gathering tribe, with a population of only 310 to 350, has become the center of a raging debate between linguists, anthropologists and cognitive researchers. Even Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Steven Pinker of Harvard University, two of the most influential theorists on the subject, are still arguing over what it means for the study of human language that the Pirahăs don't use subordinate clauses.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:14 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    Plankton blooms linked to quakes

    Concentrations of the natural pigment chlorophyll in coastal waters have been shown to rise prior to earthquakes.

    These chlorophyll increases are due to blooms of plankton, which use the pigment to convert solar energy to chemical energy via photosynthesis.

    A joint US-Indian team of researchers analysed satellite data on ocean coastal areas lying near the epicentres of four recent quakes... They say that monitoring peaks in chlorophyll could provide early information on an impending earthquake.

    The authors say the chlorophyll blooms are linked to a release of thermal energy prior to an earthquake.

    This causes the sea surface temperature to rise and increases the surface latent heat flux - the amount of energy moving from the surface to the air due to evaporation.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:12 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink

    Gift of the Phalli: Creating Myth

    What do you do when you want to attract tourist dollars, but keep losing out to that big archaeological site down the road? The citizens of Chucuito saw at the busloads of visitors going to Tiahuanaco and decided to build their own temple. The problem is that Tiahuanaco is pretty impressive so any competition would either have to be equally large, or else something pretty noteworthy.

    Welcome to the Inca Ullo temple of fertility.

    A researcher investigating Inca sites discovered that twelve years ago the people of Chucuito decided to build their own authentic ruins dating from the 1500s. They then concoted a legend that women would visit the temple to ask for fertility. Twenty four stone phalluses later, they had one killer photo opportunity and thousands of visitors. You can see more photos at Jerry Peek’s site, or Rhymer.net. You might be wondering, “Is this safe for work?” but how unsafe could a temple devoted to penis worship be?

    The story made a small splash on the web, with brief notices from Ananova and The Commonwealth Times. The Sun had a bigger story, complete with picture. We can only be thankful the reporter didn’t know that the early 1500s in some parts of Peru is known as the Wanka period. The International Herald Tribune only seems to have picked up the story this spring.

    The deception raises some interesting questions about consumption of the past. Is it a fake site? The answer might seem to be pretty obviously yes, but what does it mean for a site to be fake?

    This article features a photo taken at Chicuito last year by yours truly.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:04 in Culture, People & Customs | | permalink

    Quentin Crisp: What Does It Mean To Be Human?

    When Professor Connolly asked me what it meant to be human, I was very sorry that I was not a scholar and had no philosophical point of view to express. More than not being a scholar, I am not really a human being. I do not mind spending long hours alone, and I never find something to do. This is part of my nature.

    My sister reminded me before she died that she and my mother sat on each side of the fireplace and occupied themselves with darning socks, and knitting, and writing letters on their laps. I lay as a child on the rug between them, and once an hour one of them said, "Why don’t you get something to do?" And I said, "Why should I?" That is a question I cannot answer. Why should I have something to do?

    Of course, there is the theory that time is money. It is an American theory: I am not earning money while I am doing nothing. Which is sad. But if I were rich, I would never do anything. I was asked by a paper, "If you suddenly had a million dollars, what would you do?" And I said, "Go to bed, and never get up again!" This was a great disappointment to the people who asked me the question. But idleness is my only occupation, and people are my only hobby.

    If I regard what I think is human, and perhaps I was asked precisely because I am not a human being and, therefore, have a detached view of the subject, I would say it was a preoccupation with the idea of death. The reason why people do not live alone and do not spend hours doing nothing is because they can hear time ticking by. Then they develop hobbies, which drive them mad. You may ask them, "Why do you do this?" They ultimately say, "Well, it helps kill time."

    I don’t want my time dead. Time is meant to be lived!Those who are not hopeless are worried that one day their lives will end. And, if you live long enough, of course, you long for it to end. That’s been my desire in recent times. I only hope to become extinct. But before all that, you must try everything. Have children. Behave in such a way that monuments are built to you. Rule the world! Have streets and theaters named after you. Write your autobiography. These are ways to stay alive, and this seems to be a preoccupation with being human.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:58 in | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 09 May, 2006 }

    Anti-gay zeal greatest in those fearing own gayness?

    For some time I’ve been mystified by the obsessive hostility by some in our community toward folks of the same sex who want to marry. I always figured if you don’t want a gay marriage, then don’t have one. But then I happened on a scientific survey on homophobia (the irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals according to the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary), and the motivation behind at least some of the condemnation became clear to me.

    At the University of Georgia, researchers conducted an experiment involving 35 homophobic men and 29 non-homophobic men (as measured by the Index of Homophobia). All of the men participating in the experiment considered themselves exclusively heterosexual. This study, published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Volume 105, No. 3, August 1996, described how each of the participants was shown sexually explicit heterosexual, male homosexual and lesbian videotapes. The level of sexual arousal of each man was determined by a technique that measures arousal.

    Sexual arousal for the homophobic and non-homophobic men was found to be similar when they viewed both the heterosexual and the lesbian sexual activity. However, when the two groups viewed the video of two men engaging in sexual behavior, a significant statistical difference arose. In this instance, the group of homophobic men showed a considerable increase in sexual arousal while the group of non-homophobic men did not. The implication of this study is that homophobia in men is a reaction to their own repressed homosexual urges.

    Of course, for some time many therapists have believed that prejudice against homosexuals involves projection — the transfer of fear and repulsion about one’s own homosexuality onto others. In other words, men (and women) who cannot accept their same-sex desires (suppressed or conscious), release their intense feelings of self-hatred through the condemnation of other people’s homosexuality. Some men, confronted with insecurities about their heterosexuality, attempt to appear hypermasculine — highly competitive, sexually aggressive, domineering with women, physically imposing, tough, unfeeling and detached — to mask their self-doubt.

    [More: Lesbians' brains respond differently from those of heterosexual women. More sensibly, of course.]

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:03 in Gay, Lesbian, Queer & Free | | permalink

    Oh Really? Bush calls terror fight WWIII

    Why stop there G-man? Why not go for the gusto and call it Armageddon?

    In an interview with the financial news network CNBC, Mr Bush said he had yet to see the recently released film of the uprising, a dramatic portrayal of events on the United Airlines plane before it crashed in a Pennsylvania field.

    But he said he agreed with the description of David Beamer, whose son Todd died in the crash, who in a Wall Street Journal commentary last month called it "our first successful counter-attack in our homeland in this new global war, World War III".

    Mr Bush said: "I believe that. I believe that it was the first counter-attack to World War III.

    "It was, it was unbelievably heroic of those folks on the airplane to recognize the danger and save lives," he said.

    Oh, and how come we only get to hear about this from Australian news?

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:57 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    Facing up to Freud

    The psychiatric profession observed the 150th anniversary of Sigmund Freud's birth on May 6. My modest proposal for the event is to exhume his body and put a stake through his heart. Freud's Viennese contemporary Karl Kraus quipped that psychoanalysis was "a disease posing as a cure". Kraus was closer to the truth than he could have imagined.

    No one did more than Freud to reduce women to sexual objects, a condition against which women rebel by seeking to destroy the objectified body. Epidemic self-destructiveness has reached proportions that are difficult to grasp. Eating disorders reportedly threaten the lives of 10 million American women. [1] "Anorexia or bulimia in florid or sub-clinical form now afflicts 40% of women at some time in their college career," wrote the journal Psychology Today.

    Self-harm often accompanies self-starvation, and millions of these women also mutilate themselves. One study claims that up to one in seven British adolescents self-harms, but up to half of those enmeshed in the "Goth" subculture do so. In the US, a recent survey of 1,000 pupils at one secondary school found that one-quarter had deliberately harmed themselves. [3] Some British hospitals dispense "self-harm kits", including razors and antiseptics.

    What impels so many young people in Anglo-Saxon countries toward slow-motion suicide? It is easy to blame the undernourished wraiths who haunt the runways of the fashion industry for disseminating a twisted ideal of beauty that lures young women into anorexia. But that cannot be a complete explanation, because anorexics starve themselves into extreme ugliness, and in many cases mutilate themselves as well. These women are not enhancing their bodies, but rejecting them altogether.

    Freud claimed to have discovered the source of all neurosis in the repression of the sexual impulse, or libido. In fairness, Freud did not think repression was a bad thing, for without it society would disintegrate. The object of psychoanalysis was not to spread universal joy, but to proceed "from hysterical misery to ordinary unhappiness". He did not count on the adolescent narcissism of the 1960s, when the complacent and affluent youth of the industrial world demanded something better than ordinary unhappiness. Freud provided the ideological foundation for the so-called sexual revolution of the 1960s, and popularized versions of his theory dominated popular culture.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:52 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    Facing up to Freud

    The psychiatric profession observed the 150th anniversary of Sigmund Freud's birth on May 6. My modest proposal for the event is to exhume his body and put a stake through his heart. Freud's Viennese contemporary Karl Kraus quipped that psychoanalysis was "a disease posing as a cure". Kraus was closer to the truth than he could have imagined.

    No one did more than Freud to reduce women to sexual objects, a condition against which women rebel by seeking to destroy the objectified body. Epidemic self-destructiveness has reached proportions that are difficult to grasp. Eating disorders reportedly threaten the lives of 10 million American women. [1] "Anorexia or bulimia
    Put a stake through Freud's heart
    By Spengler

    The psychiatric profession observed the 150th anniversary of Sigmund Freud's birth on May 6. My modest proposal for the event is to exhume his body and put a stake through his heart. Freud's Viennese contemporary Karl Kraus quipped that psychoanalysis was "a disease posing as a cure". Kraus was closer to the truth than he could have imagined.

    No one did more than Freud to reduce women to sexual objects, a condition against which women rebel by seeking to destroy the objectified body. Epidemic self-destructiveness has reached proportions that are difficult to grasp. Eating disorders reportedly threaten the lives of 10 million American women. [1] "Anorexia or bulimia

    China Business Big Picture

    in florid or sub-clinical form now afflicts 40% of women at some time in their college career," wrote the journal Psychology Today. [2]

    Self-harm often accompanies self-starvation, and millions of these women also mutilate themselves. One study claims that up to one in seven British adolescents self-harms, but up to half of those enmeshed in the "Goth" subculture do so. In the US, a recent survey of 1,000 pupils at one secondary school found that one-quarter had deliberately harmed themselves. [3] Some British hospitals dispense "self-harm kits", including razors and antiseptics.

    What impels so many young people in Anglo-Saxon countries toward slow-motion suicide? It is easy to blame the undernourished wraiths who haunt the runways of the fashion industry for disseminating a twisted ideal of beauty that lures young women into anorexia. But that cannot be a complete explanation, because anorexics starve themselves into extreme ugliness, and in many cases mutilate themselves as well. These women are not enhancing their bodies, but rejecting them altogether.

    Freud claimed to have discovered the source of all neurosis in the repression of the sexual impulse, or libido. In fairness, Freud did not think repression was a bad thing, for without it society would disintegrate. The object of psychoanalysis was not to spread universal joy, but to proceed "from hysterical misery to ordinary unhappiness". He did not count on the adolescent narcissism of the 1960s, when the complacent and affluent youth of the industrial world demanded something better than ordinary unhappiness. Freud provided the ideological foundation for the so-called sexual revolution of the 1960s, and popularized versions of his theory dominated popular culture.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:52 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink

    Unboxing Days

    Well, things are starting to come together. I'm beginning to get the sense of what home looks and feels like, how one moves about in it, and the resulting daily rituals which will flow from the new routes traced in my brain. It's a lovely space, and the feeling of having space is truly liberating. The cats are settling in and get the picture that this is it.

    There is still much work to be done at the old home, and I can't write a proper farewell until I close that door for the last time. And it's such a thrill to open this one, and all the amazing fortune which seems to far to flow from it.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:44 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Sunday, 07 May, 2006 }

    Last post from Old Home Road

    It's fitting...

    I'm on the floor of the old apartment, and a mockingbird trills with much the same song as the mockingbird did this morning a town and some miles away. This is excruciatingly brief, yet this is the last post from the old home on Old Home Road.

    It's cool and gray, with the occasional mad daub of rain. I'll miss these sweet pines, and the way Avatar would greet my car by running down the steps from the deck. He'llsurely find a new routine, as I will trees.

    Time is not helping, however, with my posting proclivities. I've got to go. It's not without ceremony, however, that I log off from this attic apartment which has contained me for almost two years. I'm very fond of it here. Know that the ceremony is bittersweet, secret, and in deep honor of the graces afforded to me, from old homes to new, from one way of life to another.

    All the best, you sweet old home.

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:50 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Saturday, 06 May, 2006 }

    A moving day

    This is it. I'm sitting on the floor, a previously frozen dinner at my side, with two cats wandering in the shock of home upheaval. I may be wandering a bit too, in that stubborn swagger of a human attempting to be stoic. Time to go. Tonight, we fly. Figuratively.

    I really don't have time to wax whimsically about this place, which is tragic as today it certainly deserves an ode. I moved to Old Home Road on May 16th, 2003. I lived in the narrow apartment C before retreating upward to D in August, '04. I've dealt with devil roosters and crackheads here, but also spectacular mornings with tea on the deck and honeysuckle in the air. It's been good, and aleaving, as always, is bittersweet.

    When the dust settles, I plan on writing more. Until then, I truly must tally forth.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:27 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Thursday, 04 May, 2006 }


    Yesterday, the largest batch yet of boxes went over to the Shiny New Place, but after moving, I couldn't be moved myself to accomplish anything of great import here. Saturday is now truck day, and I've come to the realization that I just don't have enough friends who own the things.

    Also, rather unexpectedly, I changed webservers yesterday, as it seems that the previous host/reseller went belly up. That move was ridiculously easy compared to this one- I didn't have to expend a single calorie of energy moving anything.

    So, in the spare moments I have, from this home in the process of quick entropy, that's that. Tonight Robin and I paint a wall violet (to visually complete a theme in the Shiny New Place) and I begin to stack and categorize books. Fun fun.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:11 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Wednesday, 03 May, 2006 }

    OMG a blog entry!!!

    Oy, what a week ahead and thusfar. Today, the blog takes a chill pill in a world full of newsworthy tidbits so that its humble proprietor can continue packing. This is moving day #5, and last night much was accomplished, with a gracious hat-tip to mi amigo Gustav. The apartment has now taken on a bit of that echo of escalating emptiness as my ephemera is organized, boxed, and according to a very intricate formula, let go of.

    The new apartment, in all its shinyness, has thus taken on small piles of sacred/profane Important Things, shrouded by cloth on the Pythagoreanly pleasing smooth hardwood floor. The echo in there is quite apparent, soon to be muffled by the appearance of more Things, especially bulky Things.

    I'm very excited about all of this, but nonetheless a bit horrified of burn-out between a rewarding but intense-at-times job and the daunting feat of settling in in my new elsewhere. I know that I will strongarm my way through fatigue, and make it, but I'm ever more aware of the need to have calm, cool, collected time amid the jolly turbulence of change.

    So, that's all I can cough up today. By next week, I'll give ya a tour. Until then, as always, thanks for your support.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:10 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    { Tuesday, 02 May, 2006 }

    Tomorrow's Now: Cinematic Urbanism and Future-Making

    Motion and perspective change are themselves useful tools for showing the nature of envisioned space, but there is more to the idea of cinematic urbanism that mere camera shifts. For, if we're serious about imagining better cities, we need to not just tell about them but show them coming alive. They may be visual tools, but too often plans and drawings can become a pedantic way of telling your audience about ones ideas. Geoff asks, "What's the plot?" and he's dead right: great places are not merely engineering feats, they are performances which change the stories of those living in and moving through them. We need to not only describe how a bright green city is possible, but show how it will feel to live and work there, and for that, we need stories.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:18 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink


    A leading Russian scientist has claimed that the sarcophagus entombing Chernobyl's broken nuclear reactor is dangerously degraded and he warned that its collapse could cause a catastrophe on the same scale as the original accident 20 years ago, April 26th, 1986.

    On april 19th ~ The environmental watchdog group Greenpeace, said in a report, that more than 90,000 people were likely to die of cancers caused by radiation from the Chernobyl explosion, sharply challenging a UN (United Nations) report that predicted the death toll would be around 4,000.

    Andrew Osborn in Moscow reported in the Independent/UK on these alarming developments ~ as well as the deadly time line of the first disaster on April 26th, 1986.

    Excerpt: " Earlier this year Julia Marusych, the head of information at Chernobyl, admitted on Russian TV that the sarcophagus was in appalling condition: "The construction is unstable, unsafe, and does not meet any safety requirements.... The sarcophagus was hastily thrown together after the explosion as a desperate attempt to contain the world's worst nuclear accident . Many of the workers who toiled on it have since died of cancer and the sarcophagus itself began showing signs of serious stress in the early 1990s."

    [via easy bake coven]

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:09 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink

    No, we can't: More species slide to extinction

    The polar bear and hippopotamus are for the first time listed as species threatened with extinction by the world's biodiversity agency.

    They are included in the Red List of Threatened Species published by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) which names more than 16,000 at-risk species.

    Many sharks, and freshwater fish in Europe and Africa, are newly included.

    The IUCN says loss of biodiversity is increasing despite a global convention committing governments to stem it.

    "The 2006 Red List shows a clear trend; biodiversity loss is increasing, not slowing down," said IUCN director-general Achim Steiner.

    "The implications of this trend for the productivity and resilience of ecosystems and the lives and livelihoods of billions of people who depend on them are far-reaching."

    Overall, 16,119 species are included in this year's Red List, the most detailed and authoritative regular survey of the health of the plant and animal kingdoms.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:05 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink

    Si se puede: Thousands turn out in Asheville for immigration rally

    ...The crowd of 3,000 to 3,500 people by organizers’ count cranked those whispers into chants.

    For 50 minutes, the group moved through the streets singing “We are one America” and “Si se puede,” which means “Yes, you can” or “Yes, it can be done.”

    When the group crowded into Pack Square, speakers echoed national calls for comprehensive immigration reform.

    Monday was set aside as The Day Without Immigrants, when illegal immigrants and their allies called boycotts of work, school and shopping to show how much immigrants mean to the U.S. economy. Hundreds of thousands of people took part in marches and demonstrations across the country, as Congress looks to overhaul immigration laws.

    “It’s not just a Latino issue. It’s an American issue,” organizer Edna Campos said. “We know that immigration laws we have now don’t work. We know people want to be here legally.”

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:59 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink

    { Monday, 01 May, 2006 }

    Good Beltane, friends.

    Also known as May Eve, May Day, and Walpurgis Night, happens at the beginning of May. It celebrates the height of Spring and the flowering of life. The Goddess manifests as the May Queen and Flora. The God emerges as the May King and Jack in the Green. The danced Maypole represents Their unity, with the pole itself being the God and the ribbons that encompass it, the Goddess. Colors are the Rainbow spectrum. Beltane is a festival of flowers, fertility, sensuality, and delight.

    Prepare a May basket by filling it with flowers and goodwill and then give it to someone in need of healing and caring, such as a shut-in or elderly friend. Form a wreath of freshly picked flowers, wear it in your hair, and feel yourself radiating joy and beauty. Dress in bright colors. Dance the Maypole and feel yourself balancing the Divine Female and Male within. On May Eve, bless your garden in the old way by making love with your lover in it. Make a wish as you jump a bonfire or candle flame for good luck. Welcome in the May at dawn with singing and dancing.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:59 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink

    Please do: Gore Redux

    A movie about Al Gore giving a PowerPoint presentation about global warming doesn’t sound all that exciting, but if you liked “March of the Penguins,” you’ll love “An Inconvenient Truth.” Gore is as relentless in his travels to save the planet and faces almost as many obstacles as those penguins making their way across the tundra.

    Getting the country to face up to global warming is his life’s mission, and it could be his ticket to the presidency. Voters yearning for a principled leader who truly believes in something may find what they’re looking for in the former vice president. Gore told NEWSWEEK that he’s in the middle of a campaign, but it’s not a campaign for a candidate. “Been there, done that,” he said.

    Nobody believes him. By not playing the overt political game, Gore may be putting in place the first issue-driven campaign of the 21st century, one that is premised on a big moral challenge that is becoming more real with soaring gas prices and uncertain oil supplies. A senior Democrat who once ran for the White House himself but harbors no illusions the party will turn to him in 2008 looks at Gore and marvels, “This guy is running the best campaign I’ve seen for president.”


    jaybird found this for you @ 16:54 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    Outlaw President: Bush challenges hundreds of laws

    President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

    Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.

    Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:51 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink

    Moving Week Hath Commenced

    And thus, the blog may be inconsistant at times... much like the real-life visage of its eccentric proprietor. Bear with, good gentles, there is much work to be done.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:49 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink

    Web bird on the moon




    All material contained within this website, excluding external links and items listed otherwise,
     are registered with Creative Commons. All photographic works, logos, and creative writing

    are Copyright 2005 by theodore "jay" joslin and joyous jostling studios. Thank you, Wanderer, for All. 


  • i am jay joslin: a spirit-fed mountain hopping lover of everything, an ordained lefty-veggie-homo, and bon-vivant go-go dancing with all the messenger mockingbirds of morning. 



    services offered


    "Rainbow Over Crossroads; Pleasantly Stranded in the Infinite" is available worldwide now. More information plus ordering options here.

    Digging the Immaterial;
    Yet another human
    pondering the Universe
    and what it means to be
    alive and well within It.


    This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from moonbird. Make your own badge here.



    I Love me some:

    Metafilter and, Metachat! Also Consumating and DailyKos.



    Get Firefox!
    Get Thunderbird!

    Blogroll Me!





    Weather in Asheville, just for the heck of it:

    The WeatherPixie


    Asheville Webcam


    Listen locally:

    WPVM 103.5 fm,

    Progressive Voice of the Mountains



    107.5 fm,

    Free Radio Asheville



    WNCW 88.7 fm,

    Eclectic Music for Mountain Folks



    WPEK 880 am

    The Revolution



    Read locally:



    Asheville Global Report



    Out in Asheville



    Mountain Xpress



    Spirit in the Smokies




    Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?




    Listed on BlogShares



    Creative Commons License

    (see rights notice at bottom)




    Hosting by


    Powered by

    Moveable Type 3.15


    Keep it even,
    embrace the odd.

    "Not all who wander

     are lost"


    You contain everything

    Everything contains you


    If you desire the Infinite,

    look no further than the window.



    Letter Excerpt:


    Ten Considerations for Being Well n this Goofy Universe


    0. If you find yourself wonderstruck, don’t forget to return the favor.

    1. Always be of service to the whole and the Holy. You’ll find that the Holy will reciprocate by being of service to your becoming Whole.

    2. You will be called upon to use your mind and your vision in ways I cannot possibly glimpse. Never turn down an offer to shine that light so uniquely yours to help others in their darkness, and you’ll find that when it’s your turn to be in the night that there’ll be someone along the way who happens to have a little glow to share .

    3. The rewards of being true to yourself  are infinite, even when outwardly your efforts are met with nothing.

    4. You’ll also see that  knowledge and wisdom will come from within yourself through your own struggle and curiosity... your loved ones may guide you to insight, but yours is the power to choose it.

    5. You’ll find that some of your choices could’ve been better, or at times were downright stupid. That’s okay... I have a closet full of reckless decisions, but without making them I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what a good one might feel like if I tried it on.

    6. Your growth will be a mysterious, comic, ecstatic and sometimes scary ride, and I pray that you strive to savor each minute of it, even the most difficult or embarrassing minutes. Don’t count on second chances.

    7. In those times when everything collapses around you, and what’s left won’t go right, don’t forget your chances of being alive in this solar system, in this galaxy, are a little on the slim side. So slim in fact that it could be called a miracle to breathe this air, drink this water, and have whet ever predicament you’re having no matter how you shake, rattle and roll it. So go with the cosmic flow and always choose something over nothing, while remembering that there’s a little of each one hidden in both.

    8. Respond as best as you can with love to adversity rather than reacting with fear... Love, in any situation and  being the primordial source and essence of ALL THIS STUFF, leaves / enters us with the most possible ways out / in.

    9. Whatever you’re doing, celebrate the process of doing as much, if not more, than what you’ve got when you’re done. Magic lives in the action.

    9 ˝ . All matter is energy. All energy is infinite. We are but raindrops falling to the ocean, a short time in this shape until we’re reunited with the expanse from which we came. Your delicate yet sturdy, resilient body is a temporary shelter of energy that has swam the universe eternally and will continue eternally. You are a sudden crystallization of the infinite. One must ask themself, therefore, why be bored?

    9 3/4 . Choosing to live in the moment is courageous but becomes effortless once you begin...feeling obligated to survive in the past or future is dangerous and is difficult to continue. It’s one of the few risks I’d recommend not taking, right up there with trusting icons and shrugging off coincidences.

    10. The Universe itself it not confusing, we humans just like it that way. Do frogs seem bewildered , butterflies befuddled and amoebas addled? Nope, just us, my child. So, whenever things just don’t make sense, just take a deep breath and laugh as best you can, because that’s what you get for choosing this goofy, unpredictable place called Earth to embody yourself upon.