Sunday, December 14, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Flashback Friday: Sports Txts

@ChrisYates11: Mark Cuban is WRONG Here re: "Fans will turn away from 'greedy' NFL."

Allan Smithee: Anytime you're quoted disagreeing with Mark Cuban on a national stage is a WIN in caps!!

AS: If NFL goes to 18 games per season might be a match with MLB but WAY MORE DANGEROUS FOR NFL PLAYERS.

@ChrisYates11: MLB season too long.

AS: Why MCuban wrong. If NFL folds 10 yrs cause brain injury suits. Not that NFL on tv Sat Sun Mon Thurs.

@ChrisYates11: NFL too powerful. Yes you are right. Brain injuries bigger threat.

AS: MCuban comes from owner perspective. "Oh No. Sports gonna die cause of overexposure!! Let me cry into my billions of $$$. Injuries?? Players well compensated!!"

@ChrisYates11: Absolutely.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

On Way To Airport With Brother: Food & Beer Stop

Corner Bar Near SMU Campus (Dallas)

Peticolas Sledge Hammer (Triple Imperial Red)
& Deep-Fried Sweet Dill Pickle Slices

Monday, December 8, 2014

Txts: Houston Traffic

Allan Smithee: Still on Hardy Toll. Traffic is very heavy.

Sister: That's terrible because the freeway closes at 8. It took me over 2 hours last time.

AS: Signs now say 10pm closure. We're @complete stop right now... but that's only cause we're parked @Dillards while Mom does her shoe thang :-P

AS: Funny FYI - Security guy @mall riding horse not golf cart.

Sis: Yep. You're in Texas my brother!! Are you in the Woodlands? I guess they changed to 10 for the  holidays. That is good.

AS: Last txt. Mom got her boots. They're the "wrong size but doesn't matter because they're really beautiful." HaHa. Woman logic.

Addendum (One Day Later)

AS: Score. Dallas Dillards had correct boot size. Exchange was smooth & receiptless.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Found In The (Houston) House

Allen Iverson Bobble Head on Den Shelf @ Sister & Brother-In-Law's Place

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tx TV Dinner: Nolan Ryan's All Natural Beef

Texas All-Natural Beef Tenderloin Steak Boneless
Sweet Potato
Caesar Salad
Bottle of Shiner Bock Beer

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Sister (Mother) with Baby Ellis (9 months old)

Brother-In-Law (Father) with Baby Ellis (9 months old) 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tx Receipt: Fill Er Up

Not A Typo
Unleaded Gasoline - 21.889 Gallons @$1.599/G (You Saved $0.90/G)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Morning

Lake House (Back Porch) in Texas

Friday, November 21, 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The New Yorker - What Is a Woman?

The Dispute Between Radical Feminism and Transgenderism.

Article by Michelle Goldberg

Monday, July 28, 2014

Another Listicle: Pop Matters

Merge Records' Silver Age: 25 Essential Albums Over 25 Years

Today’s Active Lifestyles (1993)

Foolish (1994)

I Hope You’re Sitting Down (1994)

East River Pipe
Poor Fricky (1995)

Are You Building a Temple in Heaven? (1996)

A Seat Beneath the Chairs (1997)

Neutral Milk Hotel
 In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998)

The Ladybug Transistor
 The Albemarle Sound (1999)

The Rock*A*Teens
 Golden Time (1999)

The Magnetic Fields
 69 Love Songs (1999)

Radar Brothers
And the Surrounding Mountains (2002)

The Clean
Anthology (2003)

M. Ward
Transfiguration of Vincent (2003)

Arcade Fire
Funeral (2004)

Teenage Fanclub
Man-Made (2005)

The Rosebuds
Birds Make Good Neighbors (2005)

Robert Pollard
From a Compound Eye (2006)

Destroyer’s Rubies (2006)

Camera Obscura
Let’s Get Out of This Country (2006)

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007)

American Music Club
The Golden Age (2008)

The Clientele
Bonfires on the Heath (2009)

Wild Flag
Wild Flag (2011)

The Mountain Goats
Transcendental Youth (2012)

Mikal Cronin
MCII (2013)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Good Twitter Account

 Joe Sweeney@sweeneyjojo 21h

Do you think that people who were friends with Freddie Mercury ever addressed him as "Fred?"   

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Line & Sinker

"Republicans care deeply about deficits, unless they’re caused by tax cuts. Then they don’t give a damn.” -- Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute



(*) NY Times: Their Way or No Highway

The Federal Highway Trust Fund is expected to run out of money in August. So, naturally, Congress is debating a temporary fix that involves letting corporations underfund their pension systems.

(*) CNN: House Republicans Vote for Business Tax Cut With No Offset

Washington -- House Republicans, who fervently pound the podium against the deficit, didn't blink Friday (July 11th) at passing a whopping $287 billion business tax cut measure with no effort to pay for or offset that amount.

GOP lawmakers argued the bill helps the economy, but budget-watching organizations outside Congress proclaimed it an irresponsible move.



(*) DealB%k: House Resists S.E.C.’s Insider Trading Inquiry

Members of Congress certainly like to talk the talk, but when it comes to insider trading there seems to be little interest in walking the walk by cooperating with an investigation into a possible leak of confidential information that allowed for lucrative trading


Note: Click Title Link For NY Times Column by Gail Collins

Friday, July 18, 2014

NPR: The Salt

Paul Greenberg, author of the new book American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about what's driving the changes in America's seafood economy.

Interview Excerpts:

On what Greenberg calls "The Great Fish Swap"

What I think we're doing is we're low-grading our seafood supply. In effect what we're doing is we're sending the really great, wild stuff that we harvest here on our shores abroad, and in exchange, we're importing farm stuff that, frankly, is of an increasingly dubious nature.

We export millions of tons of wild, mostly Alaska salmon abroad and import mostly farmed salmon from abroad. So salmon for salmon, we're trading wild for farmed. Another great example of this fish swap is the swapping of Alaska pollock for tilapia and pangasius [catfish]. Alaska pollock is the thing in [McDonald's] Filet-O-Fish sandwich; it's the thing in that fake crab that you find in your California roll. We use a lot of pollock ourselves, but we send 600 million pounds of it abroad every year. And in the other direction, we get a similarly white flaky fish — tilapia or pangasius — coming to us mostly from China and Vietnam. They fill a similar fish niche, but they're very different.

On why the U.S. exports the best-quality fish

We only eat about 15 pounds of seafood per year per capita. That's half of the global average, so there's that. The other thing is that other countries really are hip to seafood. The Chinese love seafood; the Japanese, the Koreans — they love seafood. They're willing to pay top dollar for it. We just aren't willing to do so. We want our food cheap and easy.

All of this fast-food commodification of seafood protein — because that's kind of what it is at this point — adds to that general preference for cheap stuff. Kind of in tandem and in league with that is the American tendency to avoid taste. ... Foodies [talk] about flavor and texture and the food movement and that kind of thing, and that's true of about 5 percent of Americans, but 95 percent of Americans really are not so into flavor. ... If we don't like the flavorsome fish — like bluefish, mackerel, things like oysters, things that really taste of the sea — if we don't like that, then we're going to go for these generic, homogenized, industrialized products.

On sending American salmon to China and back for cheap labor

A certain amount of Alaska salmon gets caught by Americans in Alaska, sent to China, defrosted, filleted, boned, refrozen and sent back to us. How's that for food miles? We don't want to pay the labor involved in boning fish and more and more of that fish that used to go make that round trip is actually staying in China because the Chinese are realizing how good it is, much to our detriment.
The labor is so much cheaper that it makes the shipping cost-effective. When you ship things via freighter, frozen, the cost per mile is relatively low compared to, say, air freighting or train travel or truck freighting.

On the decline of local fish markets

We don't want fish markets in our view shed. We don't want to smell them. We don't want to look at them. So they really have been banished from the center of our cities and sequestered to a corner of our supermarkets.

This is a process that aids all of the facelessness and commodification of seafood. ... Seafood has been taken out of the hands of the experts and put into the hands of the traders, so people really cannot identify the specificity of fish anymore. Because supermarkets rely on mass distribution systems, often frozen product, it means that the relationship between coastal producers of seafood is broken and so it's much easier for them to deal with the Syscos of the world, or these large purveyors that use these massive shrimp operations in Thailand or China, than it is for them to deal with the kind of knotty nature of local fishermen.

Note: Click Title Link For Complete Interview (Audio - 36min 24sec)


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Who Stole The Water?

How Greed, Drought, and Rampant Overdevelopment Are Sucking Texas Dry

It's been a long, dry haul in the southeast quadrant of the state. The majority of Texas has been in a record-busting drought for most of a decade, and the last three years have been especially thirsty ones for most communities in the Lone Star State...

Note: Click Title Link For Complete Men's Journal Magazine Article by Paul Solotaroff


Boing-Boing: Drought Now Covers Almost 35% of U.S. & Is Predicted To Grow


Not Saving Enough Water in California

California is in the third year of its worst drought in decades. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at how much water the state’s residents and businesses are using. According to a recent state survey, Californians cut the amount of water they used in the first five months of the year by just 5 percent, far short of the 20 percent reduction Gov. Jerry Brown called for in January. In some parts of the state, like the San Diego area, water use has actually increased from 2013.

Without much stronger conservation measures, the state, much of which is arid or semiarid, could face severe water shortages if the drought does not break next year. Los Angeles recently recorded its lowest rainfall for two consecutive years, and climate change will likely make drought a persistent condition, according to the National Climate Assessment report published in May.

Note: Click Link For Complete NY Times Editorial


Salon: Nestlé Is Bottling Water Straight From The Heart of California’s Drought

As residents of California are urged to conserve water and the state considers placing a mandatory restriction on outdoor water usage, Nestlé is trucking away undisclosed amounts of the precious resource in the form of bottled water.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Two Txts

Summer. It's official. Just installed AC window unit. She's currently humming & cooling apartment. Philly close to 100 degrees today. Same till Mon. Also humid. Bleaah.


Very cool. Shades drawn. AC working fine. May not leave apartment 'til Sept. Please send food, beer & smokes. THX!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Holiday Helpings

July 4th Food Consumption

(*) 2 Hotdogs with sauerkraut & mustard (*) 2 Hamburgers with onion & mustard (*) 2 servings of Potato Salad (*) 3 Deviled Eggs (*) Beer

Monday, July 7, 2014

Noam Chomsky: State Power & Policy

There is much to say, but the historical record demonstrates very clearly that the standard doctrine has little merit.  Security in the normal sense is not a prominent factor in policy formation.

To repeat, in the normal sense.  But in evaluating the standard doctrine we have to ask what is actually meant by “security”: security for whom?

One answer is: security for state power.  There are many illustrations.  Take a current one.  In May, the U.S. agreed to support a U.N. Security Council resolution calling on the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes in Syria, but with a proviso: there could be no inquiry into possible war crimes by Israel.  Or by Washington, though it was really unnecessary to add that last condition.  The U.S. is uniquely self-immunized from the international legal system.  In fact, there is even congressional legislation authorizing the president to use armed force to “rescue” any American brought to the Hague for trial — the “Netherlands Invasion Act,” as it is sometimes called in Europe.  That once again illustrates the importance of protecting the security of state power.

But protecting it from whom? There is, in fact, a strong case to be made that a prime concern of government is the security of state power from the population.  As those who have spent time rummaging through archives should be aware, government secrecy is rarely motivated by a genuine for security, but it definitely does serve to keep the population in the dark.  And for good reasons, which were lucidly explained by the prominent liberal scholar and government adviser Samuel Huntington, the professor of the science of government at Harvard University.  In his words: “The architects of power in the United States must create a force that can be felt but not seen.  Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate.”

Note: Click Title Link for Complete Salon Article by Noam Chomsky

Friday, July 4, 2014

Interdependence Day: Taliban Peace Pact

US Trade Rep Demands End To Other Nations' Healthcare, Privacy Rules, Food Labeling...

Public Citizen analyzed the new Obama 2014 National Trade Estimate Report, in which the US Trade Rep demands that: Japan abolish its privacy rules and its requirement that food be labeled with its ingredients; Canada abolish its rules limited pharmaceutical patents; Malaysia get rid of its tariffs on pork and booze; Mexico nuke its junk food taxes, and more. It's great reading, and leaves little room for doubt about the neoliberal future, in which anything that's bad for corporate profits -- even if it's good for society or reflects national values -- is killed in the name of free trade.

Note: Click Title Link For Complete Boing-Boing Article by Cory Doctorow

Monday, June 30, 2014

Philly: World Cup Viewing Party

Germany vs USA (halftime)

$1.75 Pints of Rolling Rock & PBR plus Dollar Dogs. Only Two Customers. Allan Smithee (foreground) giving thumbs up & the other guy. Photo taken by Barkeep Deborah @ Julie's Corner Bar (Port Richmond)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Spring Sabbatical

Automotive Acne (Productions) Is Currently On Hiatus.

Thanks for Visiting.


"Allan Smithee"


Friday, May 9, 2014

Gawker: British Pathé releases 85,000 films on YouTube

Newsreel archive British Pathé has uploaded its entire collection of 85,000 historic films, in high resolution, to its YouTube channel. This unprecedented release of vintage news reports and cinemagazines is part of a drive to make the archive more accessible to viewers all over the world.

British Pathé was once a dominant feature of the British cinema experience, renowned for first-class reporting and an informative yet uniquely entertaining style. It is now considered to be the finest newsreel archive in existence. Spanning the years from 1896 to 1976, the collection includes footage – not only from Britain, but from around the globe – of major events, famous faces, fashion trends, travel, sport and culture. The archive is particularly strong in its coverage of the First and Second World Wars.

Note: Click Title Link For More Information & Sample Videos

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Contractor News Network

"I'm not rich because somebody is poor. But some people are poor because the system does not reward particular skills. Some of them have very limited skills in terms of what it brings them in a market system." -- Warren Buffett

(*) Background Info: American Companies Fight Against $10.10 Minimum Wage

Note: Click Title Link Also for Complete CNN Article & Video About Why Calls To Raise The Minimum Wage Stump Warren Buffett


(*) Amazon and the Squeezing of the Middle Class

(*) Amazon Reportedly Laying Groundwork for Own Delivery Service

Anti-Amazon Testimonials:

(*) Blue Collar Labor (Hourly Wage)

(*) White Collar Labor (Management/Salaried)

(*) Amazon Insiders Tell the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


(*) Four Ways The U.S. Government Enables The Rich To Steal

(*) Four Biggest Right-Wing Lies About Income Inequality

Monday, May 5, 2014


Did Not Know That

(*) NY Times: Pres. Obama Lets N.S.A. Exploit Some Internet Flaws, Officials Say

(*) Salon: Barack Obama Pulls A George W. Bush - Lies, Misinformation & Chemical Weapons in Syria

(*)  NY Times: Covert Inquiry by F.B.I. Rattles 9/11 Tribunals


Does Not Surprise:

(*) NY Times: Phone Company Bid to Keep Data From N.S.A. Is Rejected


(*) Verizon Challenged the NSA’s Phone Data Collection Program and Lost


(*) Yearly Number of Obama Drone Deaths To Remain Classified

“The Senate has quietly stripped a provision from an intelligence bill that would have required President Obama to make public each year the number of people killed or injured in targeted killing operations in Pakistan and other countries where the United States uses lethal force.”


Friday, May 2, 2014

The Salt: Open Source Seeds

A group of scientists and food activists launched a campaign April 15th to change the rules that govern seeds. They released 29 new varieties of crops under a new "open source pledge" that's intended to safeguard the ability of farmers, gardeners and plant breeders to share those seeds freely. It's inspired by the example of open source software, which is freely available for anyone to use but cannot legally be converted into anyone's proprietary product.

At an event on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, backers of the new Open Source Seed Initiative will pass out 29 new varieties of 14 different crops, including carrots, kale, broccoli and quinoa. Anyone receiving the seeds must pledge not to restrict their use by means of patents, licenses or any other kind of intellectual property. In fact, any future plant that's derived from these open source seeds also has to remain freely available as well.

Irwin Goldman, a vegetable breeder at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, helped organize the campaign. It's an attempt to restore the practice of open sharing that was the rule among plant breeders when he entered the profession more than 20 years ago.

"If other breeders asked for our materials, we would send them a packet of seed, and they would do the same for us," he says. "That was a wonderful way to work, and that way of working is no longer with us."

These days, seeds are intellectual property. Some are patented as inventions. You need permission from the patent holder to use them, and you're not supposed to harvest seeds for replanting the next year.

Even university breeders operate under these rules. When Goldwin creates a new variety of onions, carrots or table beets, a technology-transfer arm of the university licenses it to seed companies. This brings in money that helps pay for Goldman's work, but he still doesn't like the consequences of restricting access to plant genes — what he calls germplasm. "If we don't share germplasm and freely exchange it, then we will limit our ability to improve the crop," he says.

Sociologist Jack Kloppenburg, also at the University of Wisconsin, has been campaigning against seed patents for 30 years. His reasons go beyond Goldman's.

He says turning seeds into private property has contributed to the rise of big seed companies that in turn promote ever-bigger, more specialized farms. "The problem is concentration, and the narrow set of uses to which the technology and the breeding are being put," he says.

Kloppenburg says one important goal for this initiative is simply to get people thinking and talking about how seeds are controlled. "It's to open people's minds," he says. "It's kind of a biological meme, you might say: Free seed! Seed that can be used by anyone!"

The practical impact of the Open Source Seed Initiative on farmers and gardeners, however, may be limited. Even though anyone can use such seed, most people probably won't be able to find it.
The companies that dominate the seed business probably will keep selling their own proprietary varieties or hybrids. There's more money to be made with those seeds.

Most commercial vegetable seeds are hybrids, which come with a kind of built-in security lock; if you replant seed from a hybrid, you won't get exactly the same kind of plant. (For this reason, some seed companies don't bother getting patents on their hybrids.)

John Shoenecker, director of intellectual property for the seed company HM Clause and the incoming president of the American Seed Trade Association, says his company may avoid using open source seed to breed new commercial varieties "because then we'd ... have limited potential to recoup the investment." That's because the offspring of open source seeds would have to be shared as well, and any other seed company could immediately sell the same variety.

The initiative is probably more significant for plant breeders, especially at universities. Goldman says he expects many plant breeders at universities to join the open source effort.

Meanwhile, two small seed companies that specialize in selling to organic farmers — High Mowing Organic Seeds in Hardwick, Vt., and Wild Garden Seed in Philomath, Ore., are adding some open source seeds to their catalogs this year. -- Dan Charles

Note: Click Title Link To Listen To Complete NPR Article (3 min 59 Seconds)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

Funny Twitter Tweets

"Why doesn't coffee come out of faucets yet? This is America." -- @curlycomedy (Abbi Crutchfield)


"Chris Bosh sent his wife to Paris for her birthday and a pre-playoff journey. Not to be outdone, I vacuumed without being asked. " -- @ByTimReynolds (Tim Reynolds)


"Would a resurrected Jesus have a chance in a "Stand Your Ground" society?" -- @fittedsweats (Jeff Johnson)


Friday, April 25, 2014

Statistical Analysis

Bob Ross was a consummate teacher. He guided fans along as he painted “happy trees,” “almighty mountains” and “fluffy clouds” over the course of his 11-year television career on his PBS show, “The Joy of Painting.” In total, Ross painted 381 works on the show, relying on a distinct set of elements, scenes and themes, and thereby providing thousands of data points. I decided to use that data to teach something myself: the important statistical concepts of conditional probability and clustering, as well as a lesson on the limitations of data.

So let’s perm out our hair and get ready to create some happy spreadsheets!

-- Walt Hickey

Note: Click Title Link For Complete Article

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Salon Excerpt: Art Criticism

"Anyone with the heretical gall to ask an ironist what he actually stands for ends up looking like an hysteric or a prig. And herein lies the oppressiveness of institutionalized irony, the too-successful rebel: the ability to interdict the question without attending to its subject is, when exercised, tyranny. It [uses] the very tool that exposed its enemy to insulate itself." -- David Foster Wallace


For the generation that came of age during Vietnam, irony was the response to a growing distrust toward anything and everything. In the 1980s, academics such as Mark Jefferson attacked sentimentality, and Neo-Expressionists gave sincerity a bad name through their sophomoric attempts at heroic paintings. Irony was becoming a protective carapace, as Wallace pointed out, a defense mechanism against the possibility of seeming naïve. By the 1990s, television had co-opted irony, and the networks were inundated with commercials using “rebel” in the tagline. Take Andre Agassi’s Canon camera endorsement from that period. In the commercial, the hard-hitting, wiseass Agassi smashed tennis balls loaded with paint to advertise Canon’s “Rebel” brand camera. The ad wraps with Agassi standing in front of a Pollockesque canvas saying “Image is everything.” For all the world, it seemed rebellion had been usurped by commercialism.

This environment gave artists few choices: sentimentality, nihilism, or irony. Or, put another way, critical ridicule as experienced by the Neo-Expressionist (see Sandro Chia), critical acceptance through nihilism like Gerhard Richter, or critical abdication through ironic Pop Art such as Jeff Koons. For a while, it seemed no new ideas were possible, progress was an illusion, and success could be measured only by popularity. Hot trends such as painted pornography; fluorescent paint; sculpture with mirrors, spray foam, and yarn were mistaken for art because artists believed blind pleasure-seeking could be made to seem insightful when described ironically.

At one time, irony served to reveal hypocrisies, but now it simply acknowledges one’s cultural compliance and familiarity with pop trends. The art of irony has lost its vision and its edge. The rebellious posture of the past has been annexed by the very commercialism it sought to defy.

Early postmodernists such as Robert Rauschenberg broke the modernist structure of medium-specificity by combining painting and sculpture. The sheer level of his innovation made the work hopeful. However, renegade accomplishments like Rauschenberg’s gave way to an attitude of anything-goes pluralism. No rules governed the distinction of good and bad. Rather than opening doors, pluralism sanctioned all manner of vapid creation and the acceptance of commercial design as art. Jeff Koons could be seen as a hero in this environment. Artists became disillusioned, and by the end of the 1980s, so much work, both good and bad, had been considered art that nothing new seemed possible and authenticity appeared hopeless.

In the same period, a generation of academics came of age and made it their mission to justify pluralism with a critical theory of relativism. Currently, the aging stewards of pluralism and relativism have influenced a new population of painters, leaving them confused by the ambitions of Rauschenberg. Today’s painters understand the challenging work of the early postmodernists only as a hip aesthetic. They cannibalize the past only to spit up mad-cow renderings of “art for no sake,” “art for any sake,” “art for my sake” and “art for money.” So much art makes fun of sincerity, merely referring to rebellion without being rebellious. The paintings of Sarah Morris, Sue Williams, Dan Colen, Fiona Rae, Barry McGee and Richard Phillips fit all too comfortably inside an Urban Outfitters. Their paintings disguise banality with fashionable postmodern aesthetic and irony.

In the visual arts, an analogous form to recursive irony emerged with non-painting. Magnus Plessen had been the most adept innovator of the style. Four years ago, his work included paintings such as “Ladder,” which was composed of a largely white canvas and an image of a ladder created using blue and brown tape. The few brushstrokes that had been applied were scraped away by a palette knife. His thoughtful pictures of vapidity and antipainting permeated the painting culture until every MFA program included a painter using tape as decoration rather than tool. But instead of resting on the motif and style of a new convention, he now makes paintings that describe creation rather than destruction. His recent work is, dare I say, beautiful. Magnus Plessen moves against the reductive provisional trend he helped create by making increasingly intricate paintings of richer color, form and complexity. His 2013 painting, also titled “Ladder,” is now a top-to-bottom color spectacular of blues, blacks, yellows and purples. Now, the only areas of white are the ladder, rather than vice versa. Feet and hands are now rendered with a sensitive touch rather than being wiped away. He has turned from tiny steps toward nothingness and begun leaping toward eternity.

Great art must be achieved through the integrity of its own internal principles. Irony alone has no principles and no inherent purpose beyond mockery and destruction. The best examples of irony artfully expose lies, yet irony in itself has no aspiration to honesty, or anything else for that matter.

So, where does art rise above ironic ridicule and aspire to greatness, in terms of challenging convention and elevating the human spirit?

Artists must take responsibility for finding the form to make our dreams real. They must assess a work as honestly as possible, seeking integrity. At one time, irony served to challenge the establishment; now it is the establishment. The art of irony has turned into ironic art. Irony for irony’s sake. A smart aleck making bomb noises in front of a city in ruins. But irony without a purpose enables cynicism. It stops at disavowal and destruction, fearing strong conviction is a mark of simplicity and delusion. But we can remake the world. In poetry, in music, in painting, we can reimagine and plot coordinates into the unknown. We can take an honest look, rework and try again. The work will tell us if it has arrived or not. We have to listen closely.

-- Matt Ashby and Brendan Carroll

Note: Click Title Link For Complete Article

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Silent Saturday

 “Now pay attention to this. God is nameless for no one can either speak of him or know him. Therefore a master says that what we can know or say of the First Cause reflects ourselves more than it does the First Cause, for this transcends all speech and all understanding . . . He is being beyond being: he is a nothingness beyond being. Therefore St. Augustine says: ‘The finest thing that we can say of God is to be silent concerning him from the wisdom of inner riches.’ Be silent therefore, and do not chatter about God, for by chattering about him, you tell lies and commit a sin. If you wish to be perfect and without sin, then do not prattle about God.”

Meister Eckhart, Selected Writings


He Descended into Hell
Apostles' Creed Series, Sermon 7
In the Name of God: Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

“He descended into hell.” We have to proceed with extreme caution when we dare to speak of divine things, and with all the more fear and trembling when we delve into mysteries about things like places of the dead, “that undiscovered country,” as Hamlet called it; and how much more about that mystifying time between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, between the crucifixion and the resurrection. Meister Eckhart was a 13th century mystical theologian, and in a sermon one time said, “Don’t chatter about God; for when you chatter about him, you’re telling lies and sinning…”[i] Just by opening your mouth. He knew that there are certain mysteries that are unable to be uttered, and trying to was a sure path to error. He knew that his soul was in jeopardy every time he stepped into the pulpit—it was an occupational hazard; it still is. We speak of the inner life of God at great risk and must proceed with great humility.

“He descended into hell.” When this series of sermons began, the Rector mentioned how creedal affirmations – “I believe in” – are different than affirmations of propositions – “I believe that…” To believe in, is to trust, to have faith—typically, faith in a person. I believe in my brother; I know him deeply, I know how he thinks, I know his life. I don’t know what he’s going to do with his life—and apparently he doesn’t either—but I believe in him. Not because I added up all the evidence, and decided that believing in him was the most rational course of action; that’s certainly not the case. I believe in him, at root, because I love him. That might not have been clear from the way I treated him the first decade or so of his life, but it is true.

So if saying “I believe in” is different than saying “I believe that” – if it is, in fact, at root about love, what is it that we’re believing in, in this unpleasant clause in the Apostles’ Creed? What was it that the early Church found, what was it they experienced, that caused them to believe in Christ’s descent into hell?

There are multiple traditions, multiple ways of approaching this question. There is one school of thought in which Christ’s time in hell was a time of intense and glorious activity. In this telling, Jesus descended into hell with a sword, slew the devil, ending his reign, and unlocked the chains that kept the dead in hell. It was a victorious Christ, in other words, who descended into hell, bringing hope to the land of the dead, bringing light to the darkness, which could not overcome it. This is the heroic model of Christ, and it has its justifications in Scripture and tradition.

I want to suggest a slightly different reading, also affirmed in Scripture and tradition, though again I mention it only with the greatest hesitation and humility.[ii] The issue seems to me to turn on the question of whether Jesus was alive in hell; alive, and thus heroic. I submit that we take very seriously, that we take literally, last week’s creedal affirmation – Jesus was crucified, dead, and buried – and look at this week’s “descent” in light of it.

And it seems to me that, if we do that, and if next week’s clause is true—if what happened next was a true resurrection—then when Jesus went to the dead, he went as one of them. Those “spirits in prison” inhabiting hell had one thing in common: their being dead. And if Jesus was there in solidarity with them, if he was going to take on their nature, human nature, then he must have been there, with them, as one of them: which is to say, he must have been dead: crucified, dead, and buried.

The darkness of that Holy Saturday, then, that silent day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, comes from, it seems to me, this: that the Son of God was dead. If there was no death, there could be no resurrection. But if that’s the case—if the Son of God was dead—then along with the death of Christ on that Holy Saturday went the death of hope. The disciples watched the stone being rolled in front of the tomb with a devastating finality. After those years of ministry, his preaching of the good news—preaching that drew out “all of Jerusalem,” the Scriptures say, attracted crowds in the hundreds, in the thousands—after these words of life had been proclaimed, and community upon community filled with the expectation that this would change the world, that this would change everything—after this, then…nothing. The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness did overcome it.

If he was not dead, if he did not suffer that fate, that would mean that in the human experience there are places to which Christ has not gone. If he has not shared in death, then he has not seen true desolation, true human desolation.

If, however, he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, as Isaiah says, and if on him was laid the iniquity of us all,[iii] then Christ went to the dead as a citizen of hell. Not as an ambassador from the land of the living; he did not visit the dead, but was dead. Jesus went to the dead as their brother; he went as one of them; he became one with their state one with their alienation from the Father. He was there as guilty as they were; guilty, and dead of sin. Not sin of his own: he was made sin who knew no sin[iv]: he was guilty without transgression; guilty because he stood in front of the judge and cried:

 Here am I; send me.
And sent he was.
And he descended.

We believe in Christ’s descent into hell because we trust. It is, at root, about love. We trust that in the broad and exhaustive overflow of God’s love for us there is not one single place that is too far, too dark, too sinful, too barren of hope, that God himself does not reside there. We trust that he is “Lord … of the living” and “of the dead.”[v] For the resurrection to mean anything besides spring time and flowers, we must have this: that Jesus went into the darkness, into the far country, the territory well beyond hope. So that there is no place we can ever go where he has not already been. Because he descended.

It wasn’t a victorious Jesus that descended into hell, but a defeated Jesus. Not an active Jesus, with a sword, but a passive one, slain. Not a spotless lamb, but one heaped with the stain of sin, the sin of the whole world. Jesus Christ, the only Son of the Father, having been utterly abandoned by the Father, was dead: and he descended into hell.

Thanks be to God.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Amen.


Saint Thomas Church
Fifth Avenue - New York City
Sermon Archive
Sunday March 13, 2011
4:00 pm       
Preacher: Fr Daniels

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt: Cascarones (*)

Carefully break a dozen eggs (keep carton for egg storage until Easter hunt) preserving at least 3/4 of the shell (good time to make a large omelette or something)

Wash/clean interior of shell. Let dry.

Paint eggs, let dry, then fill with confetti and glue/top the eggshell opening with colored tissue, "cone-head shaped", over opening. Hide eggs in yard. Let kids find, then break or smash the confetti eggs on each other's heads.

Fun... But as my Mother always said, "Only Outdoors. Not Inside The House!"

(*) Cascarone

\Cas`ca*ron"\, n. [Sp. cascar['o]n.] Lit., an eggshell; hence, an eggshell filled with confetti to be thrown during balls, carnivals, etc. [Western U. S.]

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.

Monday, April 14, 2014

#Sibling Selfie with Lady Gaga

March 21st - The Today Show - NYC

Niece & Nephew with Lady Gaga

Saturday, April 12, 2014

37 Days: Daily Rock

Artist: Kim de Broin Mailhot

Note: Click Title Link For Today's D.R.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Redraw The Lines

Why Every World Map You're Looking At Is Wrong

Africa, China, & India are distorted despite access to accurate satellite data. The distortion is the result of the Mercator projection, the map most commonly seen hanging in classrooms and in text books, which was created in 1596 to help sailors navigate the world. The familiar 'Mercator' projection gives the right shapes of land masses, but at the cost of distorting their sizes.

Note: Click Link For More Maps & Daily Mail Article by Ellie Zolfagharifard

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Getting The Math of The Universe To Cancel Out

New Modification To Gravity May Explain The Cosmological Constant

The vacuum of space isn't actually "empty"; it teems with particles that pop in and out of existence, giving the vacuum an energy of its own. But here's an embarrassing fact about that energy: it predicts that the cosmological constant (which provides a measure of the rate of the expansion of the Universe) should be 10120 times larger than we think it actually is.

Most scientists prefer things to be a bit more accurate than this. Still, the main question on cosmologists' minds is not why the predicted and real values appear to be so different, but how it is that the vacuum energy does so little. An answer of sorts recently appeared in Physical Review Letters...

-- Note: Click Title Link For Complete ArsTechnica Article by Chris Lee

Friday, April 4, 2014

Time Lapse Video - The Sun Rotating - January 2014

 Video Credit: SDO, NASA; Digital Composition: Kevin Gill (Apoapsys)

Note: Click Title Link For More Info At APOD-NASA

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Intro: The Phillies New Phenom

The Curious Case Of Sidd Finch by George Plimpton (Sports Illustrated)
He's a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent life-style, Sidd Finch is deciding about yoga—and his future in baseball.

The phenomenon  is a 28-year-old, somewhat eccentric mystic named Hayden (Sidd) Finch. He may well change the course of baseball history. On St. Patrick's Day, to make sure they were not all victims of a crazy hallucination, the Philadelphia Phillies brought in a radar gun to measure the speed of Finch's fastball. The model used was a JUGS Supergun II. It looks like a black space gun with a big snout, weighs about five pounds and is usually pointed at the pitcher from behind the catcher.

A glass plate in the back of the gun shows the pitch's velocity—accurate, so the manufacturer claims, to within plus or minus 1 mph. The figure at the top of the gauge is 200 mph. The fastest projectile ever measured by the JUGS (which is named after the oldtimer's descriptive—the "jug-handled" curveball) was a Roscoe Tanner serve that registered 153 mph. The highest number that the JUGS had ever turned for a baseball was 103 mph, which it did, curiously, twice on one day, July 11, at the 1978 All-Star game when both Goose Gossage and Nolan Ryan threw the ball at that speed.

On March 17, the gun was handled by Phillies Pitching Coach Bob McClure. He heard the pop of the ball in Carlos Ruiz's mitt and the little squak of pain from the catcher. Then the astonishing figure 168 appeared on the glass plate. McClure remembers whistling in amazement, and then heard Ruiz say, "Don't tell me, Bob, I don't want to know..."

The Phillies front office is reluctant to talk about Finch. The fact is, they know very little about him. He has had no baseball career. Most of his life has been spent abroad, except for a short period at Harvard University.

Note: Click Title Link for Complete Sports Illustrated Article