Saturday, March 31, 2012

In My Craft or Sullen Art, irreverently illustrated

Rich Gibbs posted an illustration to go along with Dylan Thomas' wonder poem, In My Craft or Sullen Art.  The illustration is entitled wife and is a tender and loving post.

I was, er, "inspired" to do my own illustration:

A capturedguys photo, found here.



In my craft or sullen art   
Exercised in the still night   
When only the moon rages   
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labour by singing light   
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms   
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages   
Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart   
From the raging moon I write   
On these spindrift pages   
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms   
But for the lovers, their arms   
Round the griefs of the ages,   
Who pay no praise or wages   
Nor heed my craft or art.

My illustration, too, is of a tender and loving memory, though in a different style.  I think Dylan Thomas would enjoy it.  See, e.g., If I were Tickled by the Rub of Love.  

I don't think Bob Dylan would.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

War with Iran:A Demand for Peace

Some Old White Men are looking to stir up strife with Iran, among them . . .

Paul Wolfowitz
Prominent Neocon, responsible along with others for the Iraq War;
Disgraced former head of the International Monetary Fund

Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli prime minister and spokesperson
for a minority of Jews in Israel

Ehud Barak
Israeli defense minister, who, when told told
hat most of Israel's military and intelligence services
 oppose a first strike on Iran, said, 
"The services look up to me and the prime minister; 
We look up only 
to the Sky."

Jack Rosen
President of the American Jewish Congress, 
who speaks for  the half of American Jews
 who like War with Iran

Speaking for American Jews who
promote a just and lasting Israel is 
Jeremy Ben -Ami
President of J Street
 (to which some of us also belong.  
And so should you.)

Republican presidential candidates (Ron Paul excepted) also wish us to go to War with Iran. . .

Mitt Romney
"Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, 
Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower, 
   But be the serpent under't."
MacBeth, Act 1 Scene  5

 Newton Leroy Gingrich
fI do not love thee, Dr Fell,
The reason why I cannot tell;
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not love thee, Dr Fell.

 Rik Santorum
Boy Scout Law
A Scout is:
Intolerant of others,
and Reverent.

These gentlemen all favor a preemptive strike against Iran, which might well make Iraq look like the "walk in the park" it was advertised to be..

  Look what the Iraq war got us.

A quick snapshot of the country these Old White Men would start a War with:

Iran has a near-perfect literacy rate and nearly all speak Persian; and about  60% of Iran's peoples speak Persian - or "Farsi" as it is known in the Persian language - as their native 
or a language in the Persian language family.  

The folks just to the East of Iran are the Tajiks in Afghanistan and, of course, in Tajikistan.  They can understand Persians in Iran as well as South Carolinians can understand Dubliners.

The Tajiks in Afghanistan make up the Northern Alliance, mortal enemies of the Taliban, folks we should be allied with instead of Pashtuns if we hope to get out of Afghanistan in one piece.  For information on the Tajik Afghan province right next to Iran's East, see here. 

Herat, Afghanistan, the only successful Afghan province, and
run by Tajiks

About 40% of the population of Iran are native Turkic speakers.

Turkic speaking countries, and the Trukic Council

Immediately to the north of Iran is Azerbaijan, a member of the Turkic Council.  Azeris can understand Turkish the way Texans can understand Scots.

Some scenes fo Azerbaijan:

 Celebrating an Azeri football victory

Beach football has reached Azerbaijan . . . before Hawaii!

Wrestling is the Azeri national sport, as it is in Iran.

Farid Mansurov, Vice-chair of the Azeri National Wrestling Conference

Interesting, but not as interesting as the oil wresting in neighboring Turkey:

Horses are important to Azeris, as they are 
to all Turkic speaking people.  And Texans.

Azerbaijan has just been made a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.  It is rich in oil and has a democratic, moderate, Shiite government.  It is friendly with the United States, and especially friendly with our oil companies.

In an recent interview, Azerbaijan Presidential Administration Social and Political Department Chief Ali Hasanov spoke of the stable relationship Azerbaijan has with Iran, and noted

"Iran is home to tens of millions of our countrymen. We do not want problems with this country, and we try to keep good relations with Iran, we seek not to interfere in the internal affairs of each other, to prevent the use of our territories against other states, and also against each other," he noted.

Azerbaijan has been at war with its Christian neighbor, Armenia, for years, over control of Nagorno-Karabakh, an area between the two counties.

Although Armenia is a Christian country and Azerbaijan is Shia, Shia Iran has sided with Armenia, and still, relations between Azerbaijan ad Iran remain normal.

What do the Azeris know that wee could learn?

In any event, Azeris would not be pleased if we were to bomb Tabriz, the capital of the Iranian province of  East-Azerbaijan, home to many Azeris, a major industrial area of Iran, and the province that the Iraqis are doing business with.  

 Tabriz footballer

 Tabriz carpet maker, who would make a carpet for you,
if you asked nicely

Pro-democracy demonstrators in  Tabriz.  Iran, for all its beauty and favorable neighbors, is a theocratic dictatorship which some day soon will see a change.

 Tabriz football team.  I would not like us to 
the football team or the pro-democracy demonstrators.
Let 'em work it out for themeless.  Help where we can.

 Tabriz shop

 Tabriz metal worker


We'd make the Iraqis and the Azerbaijani and the Tajiks mad at us, and we'd cause unforeseeable complications with the Kurds, the Balochi, and the Pakistanis (described in a later post) if we bombed Iran.  

Israeli leaders now want to bomb Iran, and think the consequences would be a mere 100 dead: they do not think they would be among he dead;  they are dead wrong, according to their own intelligence estimates. 

Republican presidential candidates and other Old White Men want to bomb Iran and don't' know or won't say what the consequences, in lives and treasure, would be or how we are to pay for the adventure.

We'd  make the Saudis happy, and I think they are worse, and more our enemy, than Iran.


LIVE WITH ONE MORE COUNTRY WITH THE BOMB if need be.  It won't be worse than North Korea's having the Bomb, and we've heard nary a peep out of them except a piteous plea for food.

Written by an Old White Man, but not one of  Them.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Americans longing for modesty, Alas! Gone forever from this land. Your lands, too

Rick Santorum, a Republican presidential candidate,, yesterday spoke for all those who yearn for an imagined past when Modesty governed our lives and pornography did not exist.

Santorum's advisors encouraged in him the belief that he as president could halt the Flood of Pornography that washes even over our Heartland.

Santorum spoke fondly of Bushco, whom he imagined had ordered the Flood  of  Pornography to abate, and faulted President Obama for not commanding the tide to recede.

I am reminded of King Canute, wiser than Santorum:

"Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings. For there is none worthy of the name but God, whom heaven, earth and sea obey".
So spoke King Canute the Great. . . seated on his throne on the seashore, waves lapping round his feet. Canute had learned that his flattering courtiers claimed he was "So great, he could command the tides of the sea to go back". Now Canute was not only a religious man, but also a clever politician. He knew his limitations - even if his courtiers did not - so he had his throne carried to the seashore and sat on it as the tide came in, commanding the waves to advance no further. When they didn't, he had made his point that, though the deeds of kings might appear 'great' in the minds of men, they were as nothing in the face of God's power.
 From The Viking Network,  a
" project which aims to. . . combine the teaching of the Viking. . .
 with electronic communications?"

Worth a read.

Santorum speaks for many who devoutly wish for a return of imagined earlier times.  The hope is forlorn, sad, hopeless, and, well, wicked.

Here is one of the 2,010,000 images that google found on the Web, in 0.15 seconds, that could have been viewed by any five-year-old during Bushco's term in office, listed under "BDSM 2002 gay":

Here's a sample of the gentler, more explicit ethos of today (I don't know what's happening in tomorrow's today:  blogs and email are so old fashioned; the new social media is still a mystery to me):

I mourn for those who mourn for the past.   I do too.  I urge you, if you are one of us, to tackle, however painfully,   

 the whole world then,
With more triumphant faith
That ever was since the world was said,
Spins its morning of praise
From Dylan Thomas, Poem on His Birthday 

Growing old, we can rejoice in the World as it is coming into being, even as we weigh it with our wisdom and yearn for a home that never was, nor will be ever.

What are we, Dirt?  that we can't do contradictory things simultaneously?


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The U.S. Naval Academy's answer to Turkish Oil Wrestling

Every May, the U. S. Naval Academy's freshmen race to see how fast one of them can reach the top of a the liberally-greased Herndon Monument, located on the Academy grounds.

The Academy scholars are, of course, being trained to be killers.  But they're young;  many of them seem like puppy dogs;  and some like angels.

Here's samples: