For Eli


I spend a bit of time on Honjii’s blog.

She is a dab hand at playing with Photoshop and I may steal more of her evil doings.

She also writes some very powerful rants. The sort of rant I once thought I could write.

And she finds some of the most powerful stuff on the internet.

If you are ready to be hit by a sledgehammer, take a look at Andrea Gibson at the 2006 poetry slam.

And remember that this was two years ago. How much more human misery has been caused during that two years by the recalcitrant wilfulness of the current American mal-administration?

Unwarranted sexist assumptions about Honjii corrected  and forgiveness requested  :)

Half a Century of Peace, Protesting


Fifty years ago, on a chilly Good Friday, thousands of British anti-nuclear campaigners set off to march the 50 miles from London’s Trafalgar Square to the weapons factory at Aldermaston. The demonstration had been organised by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC) and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) joined them.

Gerald Holtom, a designer and former World War II conscientious objector from West London, persuaded DAC that their aims would have greater impact if they were conveyed in a visual image. He combined the semaphore signs for “N” and “D” into what has become one of the iconic symbols of the modern world.

cnd_logo_203.jpg

“I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad.” Mr Holtom explained.American pacifist Ken Kolsbun, who corresponded with Mr Holtom until his death in 1985, has written a book, “Peace: The biography of a symbol”, to commemorate its 50th birthday. In it he charts how it was transported across the Atlantic and took on additional meanings for the Civil Rights movement, the counter-culture of the 1960s and 70s including the anti-Vietnam protests, and the environmental, women’s and gay rights movements.In just over a decade, the sign had been carried by civil rights “freedom” marchers, painted on psychedelic Volkswagens in San Francisco, and on the helmets of US soldiers on the ground in Vietnam. The peace sign was adopted by the counter-culture movement. “The sign really got going over here during the 1960s and 70s, when it became associated with anti-Vietnam protests,” he said.

As the combat escalated, he says, so did the anti-war protests and the presence of the symbol. “This, of course, led some people to condemn it as a communist sign,” says Mr Kolsbun. “There has always been a lot of misconception and disinformation about it.”

As the sign became a badge of the burgeoning hippie movement of the late 1960s, the hippies’ critics scornfully compared it to a chicken footprint, and drew parallels with the runic letter indicating death. In 1970, my favourite stalking horse, the conservative John Birch Society, published pamphlets likening the sign to a Satanic symbol of an upside-down, “broken” cross.

While it remained a key symbol of the counter-culture movement throughout the 1970s, it returned to its origins in the 1980s, when it became the banner of the international grassroots anti-nuclear movement.

Free Burma


Today, October 4th, is

 

International Bloggers’ Day for Burma

Support the Monks, Support the People

Remember the Dead!

Missing Person


After four unsuccessful years of war, thousands of casualties (well, alright, tens of thousands of casualties) and sending the USA almost bankrupt, the Bush Administration has finally decided to get serious about finding that Bin Laden Guy!

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The Iapple Irack


This has been around for a while but it is worth watching again!

101 Uses For A John Howard #74


 Desperation is setting in in the great USA.

Some even see the Heads of State APEC meeting later this week in Sydney as a chance for Australia’s John Howard to impart some wisdom to George W Bush.

It won’t happen!

Great cartoonist Kudelka shows us why!

Mark Latham: a man not averse to calling it like he saw it and “conga line of suckholes” was some of his best work. Dress up your old vacuum cleaner as George W, point John W at the appropriate orifice, whack on some conga music and the awesome suction power of the Liberal Party is at your service.It’s been worked out by reputable scientists acting on the best data available to them at the time that if John Howard were attached to the rectum of a real human being who he was convinced was either George W Bush, the Queen, a talkback radio presenter or any past or present Test cricketer, he would suck that person’s brain right out their backside. Some conjecture is that this has already occurred with at least one of the above.

Pictured here with the optional extra Alexander Downer module, the Howard CongaCleaner™ is suctioning up the gigatons of bullshit still festooning the landscape of Iraq. Even with industrial strength bullshit-inhaling capacity available, it’s going to be quite a long time before The Job Is Done, but at least we know now what The Job is.

I Am a Recovering Thinker


“It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then — just to loosen up. Inevitably, though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

I began to think alone — “to relax,” I told myself — but I knew it wasn’t true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.

That was when things began to sour at home. One evening I turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother’s.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don’t mix, but I couldn’t help myself.

I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau, Muir, Confucius and Kafka. I would return to the office dazed and confused, asking, “What is it exactly we are doing here?”

One day the boss called me in. He said, “Listen, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don’t stop thinking on the job, you’ll have to find another job.”

This gave me a lot to think about. I came home early after my conversation with the boss. “Honey,” I confessed, “I’ve been thinking…”

“I know you’ve been thinking,” she said, “and I want a divorce!”

“But honey, surely it’s not that serious.”

“It is serious,” she said, lower lip aquiver. “You think as much as college professors and college professors don’t make any money, so if you keep on thinking, we won’t have any money!”

“That’s a faulty syllogism,” I said impatiently.

She exploded in tears of rage and frustration, but I was in no mood to deal with the emotional drama.

“I’m going to the library,” I snarled as I stomped out the door. I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche. I roared into the parking lot with NPR on the radio and ran up to the big glass doors. They didn’t open. The library was closed.

To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night. Leaning on the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye, “Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?” it asked.

You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinkers Anonymous poster.

This is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was “Porky’s.” Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.

I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just seemed…easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.

I believe the road to recovery is nearly complete for me.

Today I took the final step… I joined the Republican Party. “

Thanks, dorid. 

P!nk Unicorn


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The Power of Protest Returns


I’m old.

I’m a grumpy old man. A Curmudgeon.

When I was young I believed all of us young people could change the world.

With the power of the poets and the lyricists.

We almost did.

But the old people prevailed.

Now I am old and grumpy because I failed.

What was worse than failing was that it seemed my children, and their whole generation, had turned their back on all that I had hoped for. That their job was more important than changing the world. My heroes, the protesting poets, faded into obscurity and they were not replaced.

Then, last night, at a small family gathering to celebrate the youngest tadpole’s birthday, the Bullfrog showed me a segment of a music video.

The world may yet be saved. The protest poets are not dead, just fewer and mostly silenced.

But this one slipped through the guard of the music publishing censors. And the young people are listening again.

At Wembley stadium – - -

Continue reading

We Need Another 9/11


I’ve been over at the Road to Surfdom having the wits scared out of me.

Just a simple report from a Philadelphia Newspaper, published just five days ago..

It begins;

To save America, we need another 9/11

ONE MONTH from The Anniversary, I’m thinking another 9/11 would help America.

Head over to Philly.com to read the rest of this genuinely scary offering.

The wingnuts are way outa control!

101 Uses For A John Howard #60


Leading Australian political cartoonist, kudelka, again says what we have all thought but never dared to articulate. Although the world would have been a better place without its garden gnomes, Napoleon and Little Johnny.

Who can honestly say they haven’t gone out for a big Saturday on the piss and woken up on Sunday morning facing a pounding hangover, a grinning garden gnome and an ever-expanding black cloud of remorse and dismay? Well, if that sounds like your last four federal elections, you’re not alone, though admittedly most hangovers don’t last 3 years and rather than being humped around the world in a backpack, the gnome gets its own private jet.

Lawn ornament has been the most suggested post-retirement occupation for our Man Of Plaster, and what better lawn for him to adorn than the grassy sward in front of the White House? Frozen conveniently in the Suckhole Position he could provide succour to American Presidents for years to come. An added bonus is that no other country’s likely to nick him, no matter how pissed they might be at the time.

A comment made by a reader on the above cartoon was brilliantly insightful.
Surely there is an enterprising Young Liberal out there who can cut his entrepreneurial teeth on the bulk manufacture of this magnificent icon. Supporters of the Born To Rule Party can sport them in their dried up lawns, just in front of the flag pole.

In centuries to come, quizzical archeologists from alien realms will ponder the abundance of these miniature totems, correctly assuming they were a last ditch effort to placate the Great God Satan for the continued reign of His Chosen One at the arse end of the world.

Study: Iraqis May Experience Sadness When Friends, Relatives Die


July 25, 2007

CHAPEL HILL, NC—A field study released Monday by the University of North Carolina School of Public Health suggests that Iraqi citizens experience sadness and a sense of loss when relatives, spouses, and even friends perish, emotions that have until recently been identified almost exclusively with Westerners.

“We were struck by how an Iraqi reacts to the sight of the bloody or decapitated corpse of a family member in a way not unlike an American, or at the very least a Canadian, would,” said Dr. Jonathan Pryztal, chief author of the study. “In addition to the rage, bloodlust, and hatred we already know to dominate the Iraqi emotional spectrum, it appears that they may have some capacity, however limited, for sadness.”

Though Pryztal was quick to add that more detailed analysis is needed, he said the findings cast some doubt on long-held assumptions about human nature in that region.

“Contrary to conventional wisdom, it seems that Iraqis do indeed experience at least minor feelings of grief when a best friend or a grandparent is ripped apart by a car bomb or shot execution style and later unearthed in a shallow mass grave,” Prytzal said. “Last December’s suicide-bomb killing of 71 Shiites in Baghdad, for example, produced unexpected reactions ranging from crumpled, sobbing despair to silent, dazed shock.”

Iraqis have often been observed weeping and wailing in apparent anguish, but the study offers evidence indicating this may not be exclusively an outward expression of anger or a desire for revenge. It also provocatively suggests that this grief can possess an American-like personal quality, and is not simply a tribal lamentation ritual.

Said Pryztal: “When trying to understand the psychology of the Iraqi citizenry after four years of war, think of a small American town roiled by the death of a well-known high school football player.”

According to Pryztal, the intensity of the grief does not diminish if the mourner experiences multiple bereavements over time. “If a woman has already lost one child, the subsequent killings of other children will evoke similar responses,” he said. “In the majority of cases we studied, it appeared as though those who lost multiple kids never actually got used to it.”

Though Pryztal expects the results of the study may be of some interest to students of Arab psychology, he did concede that the data may not be entirely accurate because it was gathered directly from Iraqis themselves.

“Almost all the Iraqis we interviewed said the war had ruined their lives because of the incalculable loss of friends and family,” Pryztal said. “But to be totally honest, these types of studies can be skewed rather easily by participant exaggeration.”

Psychologists and anthropologists have thus far largely discounted the study, claiming it has the same bias as a 1971 Stanford University study that concluded that many Vietnamese showed signs of psychological trauma from nearly a quarter century of continuous war in southeast Asia.

“We are, in truth, still a long way from determining if Iraqis are exhibiting actual, U.S.-grade sadness,” Mayo Clinic neuropsychologist Norman Blum said. “At present, we see no reason for the popular press to report on Iraqi emotions as if they are real.”

Pryztal said that his research group would next examine whether children in Sudan prefer playing with toys or serving as guerrilla fighters and killing innocent civilians.

The Onion

(Published in the Archive without alteration or comment. The “Humor” tag was added in a moment of blackness)

Louise Barry Speaks


What they won’t advertise on TV!

I have blatantly stolen this from Ashleigh.

If you are an Australian and value your country, please steal it and post it on your blog as well.

A Shoggoth on the Roof


There are some things man was not meant to adapt to musical theatre...

And one of them is the Cthulhu Mythos! (For those who came in late, this is a history researched by the arcane academic, HP Lovecraft, in that quiet space between the two world wars of the previous century and retold by him as gothic horror fiction.)

Some blasphemers have created an unnatural marriage between The Deep Old Ones and Fiddler on the Roof. (For those who came in late, “Fiddler on the Roof” was a musical production which first saw the light of day in that quiet space between the beginning and the end of the Vietnam war.)

As I clicked on the source of this unspeakable horror I felt a moment of absolute despair while I was transported to a maze of unhuman masonry where I heard, to the tune of “If I Were A Rich Man”:

If I were a Deep One
blub blub blub blub, blub blub blub blub
blub blub blub blub, blub blub blub
all day long I’d swim beneath the sea
if I were a Dee-eep One
terrify the tourists
blub blub blub blub, blub blub blub blub
blub blub blub blub, blub blub blub
if I were an icky icky fish
scaly slippery frog-eyed kind of man

Then, to my everlasting terror, I found additional sound-bytic horrors and even a chance to purchase the entire CD!

No matter how amusing you may find this work, never forget the warning given by HP Lovecraft himself;

“We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction have hitherto harmed us little; but someday the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

Other Cthulhu related posts on this blog may be found here, here, here, here, here, here,
here,
here and here.

John Howard, The Terrorist Prime Minister


Colin recently made the following comment on my “John Howard’s Lies” post from back in March of this year. He had some very interesting things to say on terrorism and our lying leadership. Colin does not identify the regime he previously lived existed under, but I am guessing it was somewhere out in the wilds where there are lots of bushes.

The biggest lie that John spews forth is that the government is responsible for the healthy economy. Anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of macro economics and a little common sense can work it out for them selves.. We have this government because the global economy has been good. We have this government because people in the early 1990’s had more disposable income than they had before and became comfortable. When people think they have something to lose or feel threatened they sway to conservatism. In bad economic times and where people feel they have nothing to lose they become more social/left in their thinking. Economics and safety lead to which government we have, not the other way around. We don’t have this economy because we have this government, we have this government because we have this economy.

Fear is central to a conservative party’s power base. I came from a country where that fear was experienced every waking hour.. not because it was dangerous but because our government told us everyday to fear. A government that came into our living rooms every evening on television and told us to be fearful of terrorism.. Sounds familiar.. Real terrorism is the person reminding you every moment that there is something to fear.. it isn’t the guy with a bomb strapped to his chest. In real terms he is a soldier. It is the government that is the terrorist. When we are at war we are not told to be scared, we are told to be brave and strong. So what is the truth.. we have more chance of being struck by lightning twice than being a victim of a bomb blast, but the government doesn’t tell you everyday to be fearful of lightning strikes.

(In writing this comment I am frustrated that i cannot use the word liberal in the context of the way a party/government thinks… perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that Howard lies.. after all his party is committing one of the biggest public frauds in “western” political history.. A conservative party calling itself liberal.)

Look here for another of John Howard’s Lies. Oh yes, and his Interest Rate Lie!

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