Just Eat Real Food        
This is a picture of my JERF shirt. I've worn it a few times, but I'm still too vain to post pictures of myself in a tank top. One of these days, maybe.

One of my favourite podcasters these days is Sean Croxton at Underground Wellness. He makes YouTube videos, has a podcast and a blog and a book and everything people need to have nowadays to make an impact. He's a reformed personal trainer who has gone from the "Eat Less, Move More" mantra of the low-fat paradigm to a holistic, paleo-type version of reality. He has hosted the Paleo Summit and the Real Food Summit, and the latter has become his latest passion. Since that is a passion I share, I'd love to talk about it some more.

When I was growing up in Israel, there were fast food restaurants, and I believe we may have patronised them from time to time. There were definitely real and good restaurants, and I have fond memories of going there, especially a Yemenite restaurant in Tel Aviv called Zion, which absolutely had the best hummus I have ever eaten anywhere, any time.

But most of the time, we ate at home. We shopped at the local grocery store and there was a "yarkan", a greengrocer, who came by once or twice a week to sell fresh produce from the surrounding farms. Later, when I was older, we went to the supermarket in the nearby town. Now the little local grocery store in the village is closed up and I don't know what happened to the "yarkan", but my family members who live in Israel still mostly buy and prepare real food. I should add that these are people who work full-time, so they are just as pressed for time as anybody else. They just care about what they put in their mouths. I remember my mother being creative with leftovers - Friday night's chicken usually ended up in chicken fried rice by Wednesday or so.

The same was true when I was a student in Amsterdam in the eighties. We ate out, but it was real food cooked in a restaurant kitchen. We mostly cooked at home and invited each other over for dinner. Real food was our life. If we had no money, we bought cheap food, but it was still food. Cooking for your friends was the ultimate expression of love for them.

I'm not sure when and how those concepts got lost in North America. Somehow it seems to be elitist to be interested in the provenance of your food, and you are expected to pay extra for the privilege of eating food that isn't drenched in Roundup. How did this happen, and why?

I know the story of the munitions factories that needed to be converted into fertiliser producers after the war, and of women who were sold the myth that they were much too busy to cook for their families. I remember TV dinners - we lived in the US for a few years in the sixties and seventies, and I think my mother bought a few out of curiosity. They certainly weren't a staple - ugh! I remember making my mother buy horrible cotton-like bread because I wanted the Bicentennial stickers (anybody remember those?). And yet that food was probably more nutritious than what we are feeding our children today - and there were no giant sodas.

I have busy children who sometimes have activities that keep them away from home at dinnertime. I hate those weeks - the dinner table is such an important place to reconnect at the end of the day. My wallet, their nutrition and our relationship all suffer when they are away from our dinner table too many nights a week. We are all sugar addicts but we are working diligently on taking better care of ourselves, and that means real food as much as possible. Fruit, nuts and cheese will make you feel so much better than granola bars or cookies.

Real food not only nourishes our bodies, it connects our souls and helps us feel rooted to our families and our land. What are you doing to feed yourself and those you love real food?

          Comment on Hillary isn’t a sure thing by angrymanspeaks        
Interesting article and I must say; I get your point and at any other time in history; I would agree. Right now however, I believe the Republicans are in a "difficult spot". Their approval rating is at what? 10%? The general mood of the nation this time is much more progressive after the economic disaster brought on by the Republicans and the disastrous Romney campaign which highlighted the elitist nature of the party as well as the complete obliviousness of the party leaders. So normally; Yes. Right now? I think perhaps not. I think we have a fair chance of keeping the white house for another four or maybe even eight years if we play our cards right and provide the progressive relief the people (even republicans though they will never say so) need.
          How to Write about Congo        
Dancing in the Glory of Monsters. The Collapse of Congo and the Great War of Africa, Jason K. Stearns (Public Affairs: 380pp, 2011)

How best to make sense of Congo’s enduring crisis, a tale of daunting political complexity and extraordinary cruelty? Many writers have tried, for no other African country captivates the western literary imagination as much as Congo. This fascination long precedes Joseph Conrad, who indelibly described King Leopold’s Congo Free State over a century ago. But faithful subjects do not good art make, and most western writing on Congo is unreadable or, at best, unbearable.

The sheer complexity of Congo’s dramatic history is one contributing factor behind all the dreadful writing. Many an author sacrifices compelling narrative for rigorous scholarship, resulting in a turgid swamp of acronyms for all the armed groups, the Security Council Resolutions and the doomed peace deals. Epic chronicles like Africa’s World War (Gérard Prunier) may be valuable to scholars but are so microscopically detailed as to be opaque to non-specialists.

Adventure writing, the other main genre of Congo literature, is equally abundant and can carry a plot, but the stories glorify the exploits of the author and ignore the Congolese. “Watch me as I commune with gentle pygmies, wrestle crocodiles on the great Congo River, escape beheading by a throng of stoned child soldiers”— setting the bar for unbearable reading. Common to both schools is the absence of Congolese voice; for both, Congo is a neutral, muted stage for the author’s performance (scholarship, “survival”). Faced with such output, one thinks, the trampling of Congo just goes on and on.

Jason Stearns shares this lament. A recognized scholar and field analyst with years of human rights reporting from the country’s most remote zones of conflict , he tackles Congo’s complexity head-on, unpeeling the onion of its myriad wars within wars. But Stearns is after larger game than demystifying Congo’s “inscrutable chaos” for a western audience. By capturing the political rationales and individual motives as voiced by key players themselves, abhorrent though they may be, he personalizes Congo’s tumultuous ups and downs. Taming this wooly complexity with character-driven narrative and firsthand experience, the book is ultimately a challenge to the reigning stereotype of Congo as an inchoate mêlée of raw power devouring the meek and innocent. Recalling the reductive lens that framed colonialism’s “civilizing mission” (humanity over barbarism, reason vs. unreason), it’s not hard to discern an unbroken line between western perceptions of Congo in Conrad’s time and our own elitist, arguably racist, comprehension today.

Continue reading this review here.
          Rose-coloured glasses        
Cathy Cleary

There seems to be a view among your journalists and correspondents that pre-Vatican II Catholicism in Australia was a period of beautiful Mass celebrations with perfectly appropriate music (mainly Gregorian chant) and reverent congregations, who followed the mainly Latin Masses in their missals with rapt attention and complete understanding.

In fact like most visions of the past, these people would appear to be looking at this period through extremely rose-coloured glasses!

I am now 63 and as a child lived in Melbourne and was a parishioner at St James' Church, Gardenvale, a church which I assume would have been fairly representative of churches of its time. Most Masses were Low Masses and had very little or no singing - and in earlier memories were silent, except for the murmurings of the priest, with his back turned.

If there were hymns for the congregation to sing, they were of the ilk of "To Jesus' Heart all Burning", "Faith of Our Fathers" or "Hail Queen of Heaven" - all enjoyable to sing but with no relationship to the Mass, the Church Season, or the Gospel of the day.

Many people did not have Missals and spent their time at Mass saying the rosary or other private prayers - again worthy activities but not the participatio actuosa that is the ideal promoted by the Church.

Occasionally there were High Masses and as a member of the church choir I enjoyed singing the Gregorian chant required for these. I do not, however, remember the congregation participating in this singing to any great extent; it was really more of a performance by us: a concert with the congregation as the audience.

The only instances of appropriate congregational singing I remember were at Benediction - and even then many of the hymns like "O Salutaris Hostia" were changed from the Gregorian setting to one easier to sing!

I loved the Church of my childhood, but I do think that the music when it existed at Mass was mostly either inappropriate or elitist. I find that now at Mass the hymns are usually carefully chosen to be appropriate to the season and to the readings and, again, mostly, relatively easy for the congregation to sing.

I have seven adult children and 24 grandchildren, all thankfully, still practising their faith and I love to see them at Mass praying by singing as well as by their responses and, of course, their silent prayer.

As a child at a Low Mass in Melbourne, I was only able to do the silent prayer!

Surfside, NSW

          Galanes de exportación        

Un vengador justiciero, un héroe épico con aires de Terrence Hill, un sacerdote, un seductor antagonista, un rústico y noble hombre de campo... Estos son sólo algunos de los personajes con los que varios actores argentinos lograron saltar a la fama en países como México, Colombia, Perú, los Estados Unidos e Italia en un género popular, aunque muchas veces desmerecido: la telenovela.

Diego Olivera, Rodrigo Guirao Díaz, Segundo Cernadas, Michel Brown y Esteban Rulli son sólo algunos de los nombres argentinos que resuenan en el exterior. Algunos de ellos decidieron volver, otros llevan una vida dividida con viajes esporádicos a la Argentina, y algunos, como Rulli y Brown, consolidaron una ya sus carreras fuera del país. En diálogo con LA NACION, algunos de nuestros galanes de exportación compartieron sus experiencias.

Click en Mas información..

La irrrupción de Rodrigo Guirao Díaz en la televisión italiana vino de la mano de Terra Ribelle, una miniserie de época de siete capítulos, filmada aquí para la RAI.

En el año de su estreno, Terra Ribelle fue una de las ficciones más vistas del año en Italia. Ante ese éxito, Guirao Díaz fue convocado para filmar Violetta, una adaptación de La Traviata, y luego otro proyecto de épico inspirado en La cartuja de Parma. Luego, vino la segunda parte de Terra Ribelle, cuyas grabaciones terminaron hace pocos meses.

En pocos años, el actor y ex modelo causó una verdadera sensación del otro lado del Atlántico, aún cuando su voz debió ser doblada ya que, en un principio, sólo sabía algunas palabras en italiano. Hoy, con una vida repartida entre el Viejo Continente y la Argentina, aguarda el estreno de una de sus novelas en Francia. "Está muy globalizado nuestro trabajo. Actores de todo el mundo están viajando a todos lados. Es el momento de aprovechar para hacer esto", explica el actor, durante su estadía en nuestro país.

"Me gustaría seguir teniendo una vida dividida entre acá y allá. Se extraña, pero me gusta viajar. Por ahí en un tiempo, si quiero formar una familia, voy a tener que dejar de hacerlo", dice Rodrigo y cuenta que, cuando llegó a Italia, observó que había espacios vacantes para nuevos actores jóvenes. En cuanto a sus cualidades personales, relata que muchas de las personas con las que trabajó le destacaban un notable parecido con Terrence Hill, el mítico actor de spaghetti westerns. "Terra Ribelle tenía algo de western y yo trataba de respetar mucho el género y también incorporar algo de comedia en situaciones muy dramáticas".

Otro caso notable es el de Diego Olivera, cuya carrera dio un salto cualitativo cuando fue elegido por Telemundo para protagonizar la versión mexicana de la tira argentina Montecristo. Luego de haber grabado ya seis novelas y firmar un importante contrato de exclusividad con Televisa, el actor, casado con Mónica Ayos, analiza su próximo proyecto. "Hice Montecristo, pero no tenía planteado que tuviera el éxito que tuvo. Hicimos cincuenta capítulos más de los que tenía la novela... Con sentido común, hablamos entre Moni y yo, y vimos que se abría una puerta muy grande en México y firmé un contrato de exclusividad con Televisa, y me siento un privilegiado porque tengo la sensación de estar trabajando en primera", dice el actor y cuenta que, durante un largo período, supo viajar todos los fines de semana de México a Buenos Aires para estar junto a su familia: "Me tomaba un vuelo de nueve horas para quedarme diez acá", dice .

Para Olivera, el espacio que se abre para los artistas argentinos en el exterior no tiene que ver necesariamente con una preferencia particular por el actor o galán argentino sino con la escala de la industria de la telenovela en otros países de América latina: "Al actor argentino le puede ir muy bien. Pero no hay que creer que es con los argentinos la cosa. Los mexicanos también protagonizan, creer que no lo hacen es una idea errada. El tema es que en este momento, Televisa está haciendo 14 novelas, muchas más de las que se hacen en toda la Argentina junta. Es una industria grande, por eso trabajan muchos actores de afuera".

En cuanto a las claves para insertarse en el mercado mexicano, Olivera sostiene que, en primer lugar, es necesario incorporar un buen español neutro y que, en este punto, los actores argentinos corren con cierta desventaja: "En la Argentina no tenemos más actores trabajando afuera por nuestra forma de hablar, porque el acento argentino es el menos neutro. El argentino tiene una forma de hablar que quizá resulta un tanto agresiva, que puede resultar intimidante para el otro. Por eso quizá nos está costando vender nuestros productos en el exterior".

Además, Olivera apunta a otro aspecto importante a la hora de proyectar una carrera fuera del país: "Una de las cosas que nos falta a nosotros los argentinos es la estructura de lo significa trabajar afuera. Hay muchas cosas que tenés que tener en cuenta, como los derechos internacionales. Nosotros acá hemos perdido un poco la idea de lo significa ser una figura exclusiva".

Otro de los actores que supo protagonizar novelas en el exterior es Pedro Cernadas (antes conocido como Segundo), hoy Lorenzo, el villano de Dulce amor. Este galán también sostiene que la desventaja más grande que tienen los actores argentinos para trabajar en telenovelas de otros países latinoamericanos es el acento. Cernadas, ya instalado nuevamente en la Argentina, grabó novelas en México, Perú, los Estados Unidos, Colombia y Filipinas, entre ellas, Bella Calamidades, Bésame, tonto y Ana Cristina.

"Vino el 2000, y yo estaba a punto de empezar una novela nueva, pero ese año arrancaron muy fuertes los realities, y se paró todo, la novela que yo iba a hacer no se hizo y dije: «Bueno, éste es el momento». Apenas llegué a México, lo que hice fue buscarme un representante, porque si llegás y vas a tocar puertas estás en el horno", dice y, en cuanto a las posibles ventajas de los actores argentinos, cuenta que, en Perú hay un gusto especial por la actuación argentina: "Les gusta que sea más natural, quizá no tan estereotipada".

Superar los estigmas
El género telenovela suele ser blanco de críticas y prejuicios, siempre asociado con las caras bonitas, las parejas imposibles y los más inverosímiles giros narrativos. Pese a esto, algunos actores que han logrado trascender las fronteras del país encuentran en la telenovela una fuente de desafíos actorales, una posibilidad de crecimiento profesional y económico y una ventana que puede catapultarlos, en un futuro, hacia nuevos horizontes.

"Por ahí en algún momento me pesó que me llamaran para ser galán, pero después dije: «Bueno, si esto es mi vena de oro y si esta es mi manera de empezar a proyectarme, tengo que enfocarme en hacerlo muy bien». Y después van a aparecer nuevos colores. Eso también va a depender mucho en las elecciones que yo vaya haciendo", explica Guirao Díaz, quien aspira a tener una carrera en el cine.

"Yo no tengo un prejuicio con el rol de galán. El actor puede ser galán y el galán puede ser actor perfectamente -coincide Diego Olivera-. La presencia tiene que ver para un primer impacto, pero con eso sólo no hacés nada. Tenés que estar preparado físicamente, psíquicamente y ser solidario con la historia."

En cuanto a los estigmas del género, Olivera añade: "Hay mucho bastardeo sobre el género. Una novela es una novela. Por supuesto que hay algunas mejor hechas que otras. Pero nunca hay que perder de vista que no es un producto elitista, que tiene que ver con lo masivo, lo popular. Y hay que salir a defender eso con las mejores herramientas y los mejores elementos que uno tenga como actor. Yo creo que el novelero tiene que ser algo novelero. Tenés que creer que tu personaje elige tirarse del balcón teniendo la escalera, ¡porque es mucho más romántico!

Las claves del éxito

Algunas condiciones importantes para trabajar en el exterior

  • Buen manejo del español neutro 
Es esencial para insertarse en los mercados más importantes de América latina.

  • Presencia y atractivo 

Aunque quienes lograron triunfar afuera aseguran que no garantiza la permanencia.

  • Defender el género sin prejuicios 

"Si esta es mi manera de empezar a proyectarme, tengo que enfocarme en hacerlo muy bien", dice Guirao Díaz.

  • Conservar cierto romanticismo 

"El novelero tiene que ser algo novelero", dice Diego Olivera.

fuente: lanacion.com.ar
          Exterminate the Brutes: Fighting Back Against the Right        
Robert Markley

Michael Bérubé’s essay on the politics of selling out is an eloquent investigation of the dilemmas confronting left intellectuals seeking to survive the long dark night of irrelevance. My only concern is that I wish Bérubé had provided more advice about how to sell out, while, at the same time, winning political converts and influencing influential people. While there is much that is admirable in Bérubé’s piece (originally delivered in March 1995 at the Cultural Studies Symposium at Kansas State), particularly his discussion of the Right’s negation of the “public” in the name of the “people,” I would like to sketch briefly an alternative to the politics of selling out by putting pressure on the term “intellectual,” the blind spot in many romantic calls to action by left cultural critics.

A crucial point: nobody cares about intellectuals, except other intellectuals. More to the point, unless intellectuals have another source of income, most of them wind up subordinating intellectual interests to the pursuit of livelihoods, or convincing the powers that be that intellectual activity can be profitable (see Bacon, Francis). Few people, for that matter, understand, care about, or are willing to spend the time and energy to follow the intricacies of rational discourse. Think of the sad history of presidential elections since World War II. The Democrats, admittedly a poor excuse for a left of far-right party, nominate Rhodes Scholars, Pulitzer Prize Winners, nuclear engineers, and so on for President; the dominant mode of communication for Clinton, Dukakis, Mondale, Carter, McGovern, Kennedy, and Stevenson has been explanation - a dubious strategy because the hegemonic rhetoric of multinational capitalism is the assurance that Life is Simple: advertising slogans, biblical homilies, capsule news summaries, crossword puzzles, billboards, true-false tests, and click on one of the following options all reinforce the belief that there are always “right” answers to be had, and that these answers can be summed up in a few words: “just say no”; “you deserve a break today”; “life is good.” Can you remember a Republican candidate for national office (since, say, John Lindsay) trying to explain anything to voters? Nixon, perhaps, but Nixon’s explanations were always corrosive and evasive.

The most successful Democrat since Roosevelt was, significantly, the least intellectually gifted and, if you have read the first two volume’s of Robert Caro’s biography, the most vicious, brutal, and amoral. What Lyndon Johnson understood far better than most cultural critics is that intellect (not to mention morality) is a handicap in politics: the purpose of policy is not to achieve moral clarity or intellectual rigor but to perpetuate networks, connections, positions of power, influence, and of course to accumulate symbolic capital and cold hard cash. The most successful, in many ways, of the handful of Left political leaders (broadly defined) in the past half century, Martin Luther King, did not analyze the semiotics of race, despite his Ph.D., so much as he evoked a religious vision: “I have a dream.” Dreams may have their own semiotics, but they do not, for audiences glued to Sightings, require complex modes of intellectual elucidation.

In my mind, then, our concern about the role of the public intellectual is misplaced. The arena in which the Left has to contest the Regime of the Right is not in the pages of The Nation or even The Village Voice but in the much devalued realm of cheap, anti-intellectual “entertainment”: tawdry talk shows, infomercials, trade shows for would-be entrepreneurs, tabloids, the Psychic Hot Line, etc. Bérubé reports that his editor at Harper’s suggested that a successful article renders the experience of reading almost non-cognitive; in any consumer culture, the separation between logic and rhetoric returns with a vengeance. In such a world, the Left needs to counter the vicious, mindless, kneecapping of the Right with vicious, mindless, kneecapping of its own: not nostalgia for JFK but a reinvigoration of the Realpolitik of LBJ.

Who better to contribute to public policy than college and university professors who are paid to study rhetoric and semiotics? Think of all the energy that cultural critics have devoted to interrogating racist, homophobic, misogynist, and classist rhetoric, values, and assumptions during the last fifteen years. This knowledge can and should be used to counter racism, sexism, homophobia, and the politics of privilege, but such an undertaking requires precisely that “we,” left erstwhile intellectuals, relinquish our stubborn faith in rational argument. Rational argument is what we do on our jobs; it is not necessarily an essential, unchanging measure of our intrinsic worth as human beings. You cannot argue morality; you can successfully challenge prejudice only by exploiting a complex psycho-social matrix that is largely unresponsive to causal reasoning. All of us know that, to varying degrees, it is often an uphill struggle to get students to distinguish between reason and bias. The mush-headed right, at least since George Wallace, has accumulated political capital by tarring and feathering “pointy-headed intellectuals” - cashing in on a politics of resentment by redirecting economic anxieties away from the unequal distribution of wealth to the distribution of specialized knowledge. For many Americans, elitists read poetry, not The Wall Street Journal. The Left will be more successful, as it has been in the (dim) past, by counterattacking the Rush Limbaughs of the world, not by noting inconsistencies in their presentations.

As Bérubé points out, the practice of left intellectuals attacking other left intellectuals for elitism, obscurity, and impracticality is old enough to have passed from history into the dark backward and abysm of myth. If the left seems doomed to repeat rituals of self-immolation, it is, in part, because we remain obsessed with the value of distinction, discrimination and purification rather than with the always impure strategies of success. What follows, then, are some suggestions to ensure that we sell out successfully:

1 Coopt the rhetoric of values, and beat the Right over the head with it. No self-styled Leftist should be allowed to offer political pronouncements without chanting the following mantra: greed, hypocrisy, and sin. Pro-Lifers who refuse to demand that the government raise taxes to provide funds for education, medical and dental care, food, clothing, shelter, and so on for each and every child who is “saved” are (repeat after me) hypocrites. Fundamentalists who ravage the environment to make money are sinners. Pat Buchanan has no values except greed.

2 Deploy the language of prejudice and exclusion by (for example) insistently feminizing right-wing males. Elected stooges of multinational capitalism are “whores”; candidates who turn a blind eye when workers are “downsized” into lower paying jobs are “cowards”; men who harass women on the job are “wimps who can’t get a date.” Officials who claim they cannot or should not intervene to help the homeless, the sick, the dying are “impotent.” The NRA should be ridiculed for playing with phallic symbols to compenstae for their psychosexual dysfunctions. Obviously, reproducing such rhetoric tends to reinscribe the dynamic of prejudice and exclusion that many of us are dedicated to overcoming. But politics is not about purity: the squeamish need to ask themselves whether living through the jihad that President Buchanan would visit upon us is a price worth paying for claiming the supposed moral high ground.

3 As Bérubé argues, the Left’s basic problem is that it lacks the financial resources of the Right; this unequal distribution of wealth and power is unlikely to change soon. Consequently, it becomes imperative for progressives, feminists, radicals, greens, pinkos, and reds to concentrate their financial resources in areas likely to have the most benefit. My suggestion, then, is that we scale back our commitments to worthy causes (ACT UP, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, battered women’s shelters, the United Negro College Fund, Ducks Unlimited, NPR, you name it), pool our resources, and…buy CBS. I wish I were kidding. But the ideology of corporate command, control, and communication renders us little choice if we want to sell out successfully enough to buy a fair share of political power and cultural capital. Left-Wing TV might bring back Gore Vidal to prime time as a Commentator on the CBS Evening News, offer variations on programs such as X-Files by hiring the best writers and producers to promote left-wing conspiracy theories: sexy agents combating corporate skullduggery; white supremacists in league with hostile aliens; mysterious conspiracies at the highest levels of telecommunications; and lonely forest rangers fighting off evil corporations intent on gutting the environment. There should be sympathetic portrayals of lesbian police officers, gay physicians, African-American labor organizers, and so on. If the Left is to counter the cultural dominance of right-wing talk shows, it needs the cultured voice of Gore Vidal intoning nightly that the political spectrum in the United States runs from the Right to the Far Right.

4 Get our own house in order by taking back our universities. One example of effective collective action. Imagine the end of the Fall Semester 1996. Professors all over the country rise up and give every scholarship basketball player in the country a real set of finals: “Discuss the influence of Hegel on Kierkegaard.” “Analyze the significance of Walter Lippman’s concept of the stereotype on the image of the African-American athlete.” “What are the implications of Coase`s theorem for negotiations between professional athletes and franchise owners?” This may sound like a vicious case of harassing the pawns by asking scholarship athletes (a high percentage of whom are African-American) to do work that almost all of their peers would fail abjectly to do, but such collective action could be the springboard to insist that scholarship athletes who generate hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue each year be paid stipends (much like research assistants). Think, too, of network executives (spending a half billion dollars a year on college basketball) stuck with a Final Four tournament that consists of walk-ons and white guys shooting two-hand set shots on national TV. Most educated Americans - doctors, lawyers, corporate chiefs - have little idea of the wages and working conditions of most college and university instructors, particularly part-timers. Instead of the disinformation campaigns presented at half-time of basketball and football games - half nostalgic images of ivy-strangled halls and half glitzy promos of hi-tech venture capitalism, show lines of students trying to get into closed out classes.

5 The African-American athlete is sadly underused by the Left. Michael Jordan, Shaq, Grant Hill, and so on exist for most Americans in a depoliticized state of glamorous consumption, as though their multi-million dollar contracts and highly publicized lifestyles negate the economic and cultural disadvantages of millions of African-Americans. A trivia question for cultural critics: who is Kellen Winslow and why am I bringing up his name now?

6 Finally, counter the Right’s simplistic slogans with simplistic slogans of our own. A general purpose campaign slogan to use against Republicans: “Your jobs going overseas.”

Irving Howe? Russell Jacoby? Shana Alexander? Alexander Cockburn. Hunter Thompson. Molly Ivins. Left intellectuals need to resist the blandishments of a rationalistic politics that remain tied to models of cause and effect, to the siren song that we can reason our way into cultural and political significance. How’s this for a slogan for the resurrection of the Left? “There’s only one Party in this country, and you’re not invited.”

          Monarchy in the age of New Labour        

Peter Hitchens:

"...Anyone who tries to discuss the political role of the monarchy is immediately banged over the head by tedious quotations from Walter Bagehot (it helps a lot if you know this is pronounced Badjot), who for some reason is believed to be the last word on the subject, thanks to some 19th-century scribblings that have become famous. He limited the functions of the monarch to muttering hesitant advice, and perhaps warnings, into the ears of ministers. This is taken as a sort of gospel on the subject.

And this might have worked in the dead era when the British establishment was run by gentlemen. Though don't be so sure. George V exerted all his influence to obtain a peaceful settlement in Ireland in 1921, which few can object to, but was he entitled to do so? He may well have gone beyond his powers in helping set up the National Government of 1931. Edward VIII came close to causing complete constitutional catastrophe. George VI utterly disgraced himself when he publicly lauded Neville Chamberlain's catastrophic surrender at Munich in 1938, an error he atoned for later but which oughtn't to be overlooked, ever. It is not often enough remembered that George VI and his Queen (the future Queen Mother) invited Chamberlain on to the balcony of Buckingham Palace to bathe in the cheers and admiration of a gigantic, deluded crowd, the whole embarrassing scene illuminated by the only anti-aircraft searchlights then available in London.

There are a couple of interesting fictional reflections on this that are worth looking at. George Macdonald Fraser's 'Mr American', one of his few non-Flashman books, contains an well-observed and historically well-informed depiction of Edward VII and examines the cunning and shrewdness that monarch used to keep pre-1914 Britain from flying apart. Constantine Fitz Gibbon's enjoyable and bitter Cold War thriller 'When the Kissing Had to Stop’ has some cunningly-described scenes as various highly responsible and senior persons try to use the traditional safeguards of the British constitution to prevent a pretty obvious coup d'etat. In an entirely believable way, they all persuade themselves that they are powerless to act until it is too late, and the putsch, with all its terrible consequences, succeeds.

Princecharles_1 Why does this matter? I think our obsession with 'democracy' as the only thing that makes government legitimate tends to blind us to the importance of other things. Why do we make such a fetish out of universal suffrage? If you had a choice between liberty and democracy - which are by no means the same thing, which would you pick? If you had a choice between the rule of public opinion and the rule of law, which would you pick? Are we safer with both Houses of Parliament 'elected' by party machines, or with at least one House whose members are immune from 'democratic' party pressure?

Actually, pure democracy would be unbearable, since every politician, to survive or prosper, would have to be a crowd-pleasing Blair type (actually, this now seems to be more and more what we have got).

Even assuming that we could reconstruct something like a decent education system, it is hard to see how a state governed purely by the popular will could be anything other than a corrupt anarchy, or a demagogic dictatorship. The purest product of mass democracy since it came into being was Adolf Hitler - whose National Socialists would have won an absolute majority in the Reichstag under our first-past-the post system, by the way. This isn't an argument against that system( which I favour) just a warning against being complacent.

Mass opinion can prevent good actions, as well as stimulating bad ones. It was American democracy, and the fervent campaigns of the America Firsters, that prevented Franklin Roosevelt from aiding Britain against Hitler. US public opinion was dead against involvement in a European war, and it's still not clear what would have happened if Hitler hadn't declared war on the USA after Pearl Harbor.

So most serious wielders of power in democratic states devise ways of frustrating, or getting round the 'people's will' which they praise in public. Mostly, these days, these anti-democrats are of the left. In the US, a largely liberal elite has for decades been using the unelected third chamber of Congress - the Supreme Court - to pass radical social legislation. In Canada, left-wingers who could never get anywhere in parliamentary politics have exploited the 'Charter of Rights and Freedoms' to do the same sort of thing.

And the European Convention on Human Rights gives liberal judges and the lawyers the same power to intervene here. The balance of our mixed constitution, partly as a result of this, has tipped heavily towards the Left. Parliament, especially the House of Commons, is now the servant of a left-wing governing party, not at all its master. So who or what can speak for tradition, for conservative opinions, for private life and family, for inheritance and continuity? Certainly not the Tory Party, which flatly refused to defend the hereditary principle against the attacks of Baroness Jay (who just happened to be the daughter of Jim Callaghan, and had no other visible qualification for her grand post as Leader of the Lords, in one of the best jokes of the 1990s).

That Tory failure to defend heredity was a warning to the British people and the monarchy that worse was to come. We all actually value inheritance - we expect to leave, or be left our goods and wealth in legally enforceable wills. We all know that we inherit important characteristics and gifts from our parents, and hope to pass such things on. Our state, with its memory and experience stretching back a thousand years, inherits each generation the principles of law and justice and liberty wrought by centuries of experience and combat. So what is wrong with a Head of State who embodies this idea?

Nothing, except that he or she gets in the way of the Left's desire for total control over the state, especially over the things previously regarded as politically neutral and so loyal to the crown - the civil service, the armed forces and the police. All these bodies are now increasingly politicised. I think that the moment is approaching when the monarchy has either to assert itself or be abolished. The danger is that, in asserting itself, it may get abolished as a punishment, while being slandered as unrepresentative, elitist etc. It will be a very difficult and risky moment..."

          Machinima - Standby        
As a result of being nominated for two AVI choice award for Favorite artist and Favorite machinima artist https://avichoiceawards.com/vote-here-the-arts/ I will be posting a machinima every few days.

 Standby is the culmination of three large works into one story.  Back in 2009 or so I was commissioned to create something for a region called Black Swan created by Starax/Light waves for
Black Swan
Rezzable.  It was an open request to make something, so I would spend some time there to try to absorb what the sim "felt" like and what might fit within it rather than clash.   The region had two giant figures embracing in the centre with a ring on the outside with various sculptures.  It felt to me as though it almost had a story to it, though in fact it didn't.  What I decided to do was to create a tower in the center that told a story as you climbed it.  It was full of traps and quite difficult but that was part of an idea I had which was that if you made something challenging to the viewer it would be more rewarding in the end than to just give the work to the viewer to stand back and observe from a distance.   I wanted them to be active participant to the artwork rather than a passive observer.  Black Swan was a beloved sim to many at that time in SL and I got a few nasty messages and even some demands to remove it from upset people.  I recall someone writing in a review at the time that they didn't want to "do work" to see art.  I remember reading that and deciding I would create for the virtual space, for the explorer types and not the snowflakes who brought the elitist art baggage from the real world into the virtual space, hoping the artist would bring them the art on a silver platter for them to observe at their leisure.  There are those who role play art and feel that real art must look like what we leave behind in real life.  The paintings or static sculpture that look like what you can find in real life.  Then there are those who understand the unique traits of the virtual space and realize the art created here can defy all the aesthetic and conceptual rules that exist in the "real" world.  In fact this spurred a successful group called NPIRL or Not Possible in Real Life
     At this time I had the idea to create a narrative which would be told in installments over many years.  In fact the new work "Hand" which should open in a few weeks is a continuation of this original story as has been every work with the exception of Virginia Alone.  Each story resides in the same world and act as layers to an overall narrative.  The work for Black Swan was called the Daughter of Gears and after the exhibition IBM requested to have it shown on their regions.  The following two installments, the Rabbicorn story and then Standy were at IBM.  I used this work to apply for a Government Grant at the Ontario Arts Council and it was the first of three successful art grants to be awarded to me thus far.  Standby is the title of the three stories combined into one machinima and it was my first extended machinima running at around 30 minutes long.

          Statement on comments in relation to Castlebar Educate Together        
Michael Barron, Executive Director says, "Multi and nondenominational schools promote equality and bring together children and families of diverse backgrounds and identities. The ever growing support for such schools is a reflection of the reality of the diversity of Ireland in the 21st century."It is also an expression of our belief in equality for all."The suggestion today by a Mayo Councillor that the opening of a new multi-denominational Educate Together school is elitist and will lead to
          The Beauty of Jean Cocteau’s ‘La Belle et la Bête’ ( The tale’s magic began on film, with Jean Cocteau).        

...In his collected essays in The Art of Cinema, Cocteau coins his essays on cinema under the cine-poetry term, calling them Poésie de cinéma. As Robin Buss notes in his introduction to the collection, Cocteau “asserts that the underlying mechanism of cinema is like that of dreams.” Cocteau is neither a filmmaker nor a playwright nor a writer, but a poet; and to him, poets operated not just in the form of poetry, but in the form of dreams. Importantly to him, however, cinematic poetry is not “deliberately ‘poetic’” (which steered into the world of elitist art cinema, according to Cocteau), but derivative from the real and the unreal; from what audiences believe and what they see.
What Cocteau allows his audience to see in La Belle et la Bête can either be seen as a manipulation of his viewer or his ability to use the technicalities of filmmaking as a form of magic. For example, Cocteau has described how he persuaded Alekan “to shoot Jean Marais, as the Prince, in as saccharine a style as possible. The trick worked. When the picture was released, letters poured in from matrons, teenage girls and children, complaining to me and Marais about the transformation.” A conflict between the artistic and the technical emerges here, as the ugliness of the Prince reminds the viewer of the lure and attractiveness of the Beast.

Yet, for the Beast’s actor Jean Marais (who also played what would be Disney’s version of Gaston, Avenant, and the Beast-turned-prince), the costume of the Beast was so uncomfortable that Marais developed painful sores while his skin was damaged by the glue used to keep the fur on his body. For Jean Marais — a person who looks more like a Greek sculpture than a mere human — turning into the Beast brought pain and ugliness for the actor, while for Josette Day’s Belle, and for the audience, the pain only came once the Beast had vanished, left only with the uncomfortably real-looking Marais. In fact, there’s the now well-known story that Marlene Dietrich, upon seeing the shimmering prince, called “where is my beautiful Beast?” The technical is turned into poetry here, with Marais’ real-life pain mirroring both the Beast’s internal struggle as well as the pain audiences feel upon seeing the prince.


          Silbury Hill, din nou!        


        Inca o data, in prezenta celei mai mari movile artificiale din Europa, la Silbury Hill, Wiltshire, sudul Angliei, a aparut o noua pictograma, un motiv floral format din 6 petale. Diametrul acesteia masoara aproximativ 40 de metrii si este amplasata intr-o cultura de rapita.


Intuiesc un sezon foarte bogat si cu totul special, avand in vedere faptul ca se pregateste in culisele elitiste oficializarea subiectului, cat si un contact cu asa zisi extraterestrii care stim foarte bine cine sunt, dupa ce am parcurs periplul de articloe din seria Ezoterism in Lanuri.


Numărul sase reprezinta frumusete si armonie, perfectiune. Mai stim ca aceasta  perfectiune confirmata de 3 ori reprezinta simbolul celui cazut, celui ce s-a mandrit, celui ce si-a intors fata de la adevar.

          My Manifesto        

Let's face it , the current league of over privileged gentlemen in power  in London , and the rabble of bigots, hypocrites ex-cons and fanatics who hold the reins in Northern Ireland are less than inspiring. I am utterly bored with the tit for tat sniping and one-up-man-ship that seems to be politics these days.

I have a solution, let me rule the country! It's already in a mess, most people are deeply unhappy about at least one thing they have no control over and none of the current options are remotely inspiring.  What's the worst that could happen? Here's what I would do if I could.


Introduce further compulsory subjects in school to GCSE-
at least one one language ,
cookery including nutrition
running a home, including financial planning,
driving and maintaining a car,
 parenting .

Shorter school holidays-
seriously 8/9 weeks in the summer, who needs that?
Young people who leave school at 16  would need to work, do an apprenticeship or  go into further education , no benefits.
All 18 year-olds would do 1 years national service, either in the military the Police service or in the community.
Free University or further education for all, providing they can hold down a part-time job and keep their grades over a C average.

All  of those found guilty of a crime should perform some sort of recompense to their victims.
Automatic rehab for drug and alcohol related offenders.
Custodial criminals to live in basic but comfortable conditions.
No TV computer or phone access unless it is earned by rehabilitation and recompense to society.
All prisoners to have a library, access to education and exercise, as well as good nutrition.

State Benefits
I don't believe that our current benefit system is working. Those who are capable of work should work."Jobseekers" need to be looking for work, not watching TV and taking kids to school still in their pyjamas. I would pay benefits for a couple of months if someone loses their job, after that they would need to be doing something to improve society to earn their keep. Making dinner for old people, painting park benches, clearing litter and grafitti, cutting grass. This would spur those who want a job back into work and those who are too lazy would realise life is not a free ride.

I'm all for it. Northern Ireland is infinitely richer and with a greatly improved gene pool since the arrival of  immigrants from the EU and beyond. In my experience immigrants do a lot more to integrate into our culture than we do to try and understand theirs. They work, pay taxes, bring up their children well and bilingual. What's not to like?
I do not believe in an open door for the poor and disenfranchised of the world to come and claim benefits and free healthcare however. People who wish to benefit from living in the UK need to be contributing to the UK through taxes and labour.
Refugees of all nations need to be helped by us, and all the wealthy nations. It's partly our fault the world is in such a mess, our government needs to use it's influence on the other  G20 members and think about the people who are victims through no fault of their own.

This is an important one. I am not crazy about the game, but I know a few who are. Football, to me, says a lot about what is wrong with our society. It is expensive, elitist and unfair.
Young men are paid countless millions to kick a ball about when children in our country are living below the breadline.
Cap the wages, take sponsorship, and opportunities away from those who commit serious crimes. Punish thuggish behaviour with proper fines. Fining a premier league footballer £100,000 is like fining you or me £10. It means nothing.

This is my best idea, only let those who were born within 50 miles of a club to play for them. Geordies for Newcastle, Scousers for Liverpool. Can you imagine a team getting to the top of the league because of talent, drive and training rather than  Italians?
Imagine going to St James' Park on a saturday afternoon to watch the Newcastle Derby with only Geordies and Mackams playing. Spending £10 on a ticket and getting a pie in the interval. Wonderful. Bring back the beautiful game.

          re: Far Cry 4 Lets You Play With Friends Who Don't Own The Game        

Can't put my finger on what made me so disinterested in FC3. Loved Blood Dragon on my PS3 however. This may be my PC elitist mode kicking in (I doubt it) but the game felt *** on my PS3 and I NEVER OWNED A PC VERSION OF THE GAME!! What the hell am I comparing it to? Maybe it was the cliched setting not sure.

Here is hoping this game can bring me into the series (have not enjoyed a good FC game since the first 2 and the HD remake).

          Commenti su “Noi occidentali abbiamo l’obbligo di diventare vegani”. (Intervista a Leonardo Caffo) di Enrico S.        
«Sì, noi occidentali, se vogliamo vivere una vita giusta, abbiamo l’obbligo di diventare vegani. » Dubito fortemente che riusciremo a vivere una vita 'giusta', nel senso universale che intende Caffo. Le variabili che ci trascinano in senso ingiusto sono infinite, e quelle che dipendono da noi stessi si intersecano invariabilmente con quelle indipendenti o eteroimposte. La 'giustizia' o giustezza quindi è mera utopia, e data l'assoluta relatività del concetto (quello che è giusto per alcuni può esserlo meno per altri) non so nemmeno se o quanto possa essere auspicabile. Certo non è auspicabile quell' «obbligo» a cui Caffo fa esplicito riferimento, sia pure nella sua ottica di giustezza astratta. Perciò gli auguro di cuore che niente e nessuno lo obblighi a rinunciare alle sue convinzioni vegane. Io, dal canto mio, quando sento simili esortazioni da 'illuminati' proselitisti, metto mano all'apriscatole.
          Comment on Here are 10 Things I Hate About the Gilmore Girls by K. R.        
I have never watched Gilmore Girls. I read about it on Wikipedia and I have heard enough. I hate these people. #9 made me laugh out loud. I view it as a social problem that people would like this show and think these vapid, self-centered, elitist attitudes are acceptable. As Howard Zinn said, be careful what you put into your mind.
          Duquesa Roja        

Sanlúcar de Barrameda significó un año de intensos descubrimientos, de alguna manera estar allí me hacía sentir cerca de América, de allí partió Colón en su tercer viaje y Magallanes en su primer viaje de circunnavegación. Su puerto fue, en algún momento, una vena que comunicaba a ambos continentes.

En Sanlúcar viví, por primera vez, junto a un río. Y no cualquier río, sino ese que muere en la gran boca del Atlántico, el que va “corriendo al mar entre vergeles” -como diría Antonio Machado-: el Guadalquivir. A lo lejos, el parque de Doñana, una de las reservas naturales más importantes de Europa, se quedó siempre como una promesa, un deseo metido en el cuerpo, nunca crucé en barca, nunca busqué las ruinas del templo fenicio dedicado a Astarté (que apoya la teoría de que Sanlúcar es ese Luciferi Fanum mencionado por el griego Estrabón). Sanlúcar inició mi virgen paladar a un fruto bivalvo que desconocía: las coquinas.

También descubrí un cafecito idílico, su calefacción en el invierno y sus frescos muros en los duros veranos andaluces eran una invitación al visitante pobre: por un par de euros podía pasar la tarde allí, clavada en un cómodo sillón y con una pequeña biblioteca abierta al lector ocasional. La cafetería, la casa palacio donde ésta estaba, los libros y casi toda la historia antigua de Sanlúcar le pertenecían a alguien: Luisa Isabel Álvarez de Toledo, duquesa de Medina Sidonia.

Usar aquí el verbo “pertenecer” es lo más cercano y a la vez lo más contradictorio que pueda decirse de la duquesa. Su casa era propiedad de todos, no sólo abría sus puertas a los que, como yo, buscábamos un lugar tranquilo y un café. Abría su casa a cualquiera que quisiera pasear por sus viejos pasillos, husmear las antigüedades. Sus salones principales alojaban a estudiantes y académicos que se daban cita allí una vez al año para realizar cursos (la UNED me sedujo entonces con un curso titulado “Claves del pensamiento europeo contemporáneo”). Y, lo más importante, abría el archivo de la casa ducal (el archivo privado más importante de Europa) a todo amante de la historia. Reacia a dejar ese histórico acervo en manos gubernamentales o de instituciones elitistas, lo dirigió siempre bajo un principio, el de la generosidad. Ella y el archivo estaban al alcance de cualquiera.

Me gustaba verla por allí, delgada y fumadora, paseando sus años, sus conocimientos y su rebeldía: a pesar de su origen aristocrático su vida estuvo marcada por ideales republicanos, y su lucha antifranquista y la defensa de los campesinos tras el accidente nuclear de Palomares le valió la cárcel en los 60s. La publicación de su novela “La Huelga” la expuso a otro proceso bajo un juzgado militar. Su alias es más elocuente que cualquier dato: La Duquesa Roja.

Nada de ese pasado, que hubiera enorgullecido a cualquier librepensador y a tantos y tantos socialistas que hoy se cuelgan medallas, se reflejaba en su trato. Era amable, tímida y, sobre todo, humilde. Nunca la escuché hablar de sí misma, pero sí de las mentiras que el mundo daba por ciertas, rechazaba las historias oficiales y los mitos históricos. Quizá me aventure mucho en decir esto, pero creo que le gustaba la reacción perpleja de las personas cuando soltaba algún dato que contradecía una verdad asumida como absoluta. Tenía vocación de azuzadora, en el mejor sentido socrático.

Me parecía que irritaba a la nobleza tanto como a los círculos de historiadores, por su vida y sus afirmaciones controvertidas. Sin embargo, esa misma condición de marginalidad le concedía un status diferente, una libertad sin límites.

Esta mujer estudiosa, crítica y contestataria murió hace unas semanas. En su féretro yacía, según leí, con un libro entre las manos: “Obras Completas de Manuel y Antonio Machado”. Así, acompañada por dos amantes del Guadalquivir, se despidió la duquesa de Medina Sidonia, princesa de Montalbán, marquesa de Villafranca del Bierzo, marquesa de Los Vélez, tres veces grande de España, tres veces grande de España, tres veces grande de España.

          What's it like being Sachin        
I got hold of Greg Chappell's autobiography, Fierce Focus, the other day. I skipped straight to the chapter that interested me the most - "Sourav and I". Ganguly-Chappell is easily the most talked about player-coach relationship in the game, so the chapter was an engrossing read and Chappell's account was frank and to the point. However, when I finished the chapter, one paragraph, no, one line, kept ringing in my head. It was a comment made by Sachin Tendulkar (marked below). 

Friends. He can probably count them on one hand. They say it's always lonely and cold on the top...how true! It's a curse of being the elite of the elitist. On one hand, he has a billion people who adore him; some name their kid after him; few even tattoo his autograph; he's the best in his field of work and probably has enough moolah for another 99 lifetime, but in reality what the man may actually yearn for is a normal life and a few more true friends.

Sigh. Such is life!


I hope he gets that 100x100 monkey off his back in tomorrow's test at Bradman's hometown. He scored a ton last time India played a test at Adelaide. How fitting would it be if he does it again!

Go Sachin! :)

Alone in the cauldron. I took this pic when Sachin walked out to a standing ovation at the MCG on Day 2, Boxing Day Test 2011

          Gilbert and George with Michael Bracewell        
Gilbert & George have been active for four decades, boldly contesting elitist rubrics that exist within the British arts establishment. The duo have created a rich and highly influential portrayal of metropolitan life in London. They are in conversation w
          Every Family Needs a Few Secrets        
It's Friday night, the end of my first week at my new job. I'm sitting on the sofa in my usual spot, sipping white wine and watching David Brooks and Mark Shields talk about Hilary and Obama on the News Hour. (I guess by the week's political standards, that makes me an out-of-touch elitist.) Billy's on the way home with pizza, and all's right with the world.

Except for one thing. Too tired to change out of my work clothes, I've still got on my professional outfit. And because the day's blouse demanded it, that outfit includes my Water Wear Push-Up Pads.

If you are not familiar with these personal enhancement devices, you're either Chesty McGillicuddy or about to declare me your new best friend.

Lost a lot of weight one too many times? Birthed a baby or two? Nursed one for more than 15 minutes in your life? Never had boobs in the first place? Check these out.

Here's a closer look at what you actually do with your Water Wear Push-Up Pads.

I became the proud owner of my pair last summer when it became unavoidably clear that I desperately needed them for the pool, and not as flotation devices. Since then, I've learned they come in handy when clothes require a certain, um, volume.

Now, I must warn you: Water Wear Push-Up Pads can get a bit uncomfortable after awhile. So while I'm hanging with my homies David and Mark -- everybody else was in the kitchen -- I reach in and pull them out.

It's been a long week, and I'm tired. So I didn't feel like walking into my bedroom right then to hide them put them back in my underwear drawer where they belong. Instead, I stuck them between the sofa cushions.

Which is where I leave them when I head to the kitchen to eat my pizza.

And where Ben finds them about a half-hour later.

"Maaaaahhhhhhhmmmmmm!" he yells. I'm thinking he just sat in cat vomit or something.


He dangles a pad between two fingers like it's a dying rat.

I grab it and begin to apologize profusely. (Okay, I also laughed a lot and realized I had post material. But I also apologized.) And then he says:

"I don't blame you."

He. Doesn't. Blame. Me. My teenage son thinks it's perfectly understandable that I'd want to pad my bra.

He claims all he meant was that, seeing as how I work with a lot of waaaaaaay younger, stylish women, it was understandable I'd want to look my, um, best.

I don't believe him, of course, but I didn't really want to pursue it further.

Some things are better left unsaid.

          The Tories and their blatant cronyism. It disgusts me.        

Hey Conservative Party, how about I do something for you – you know, in the name of elitist, right-wing party…

The post The Tories and their blatant cronyism. It disgusts me. appeared first on A Tippling Philosopher.

          Dear Mr. President: Please exit Paris        
CFACT Senior Policy Advisor Paul K. Driessen -- with colleague Mark J. Carr -- explain in an open letter to President Trump five major reasons to exit the Paris climate agreement -- which was designed to cripple the U.S. economy and enrich elitists while devastating the ability of the world's poor to escape poverty.
          DC City Council Passes Law Likely to Kill 1,000 Jobs        

Today the Washington, D.C. city council voted 8-5 to force Wal-Mart to pay their workers no less than $12.50 per hour if the world wide chain continues with plans to build stores in the area. The Large Retailer Accountability Act was designed by the city council to make Wal-Mart pay a "living wage," and requires large retailers to pay workers at least 50% more than minimum wage. Before the ruling Wal-Mart threatening to terminate their plans to build in the D.C. area, since the wage floor directly cuts into the business model of the retail giant. While some D.C. elitists will undoubtedly rejoice and say good riddance to the "big box" retailer, many other, less fortunate residents of D.C. will remain jobless as a result of this unfair, job-killing proposal.

The academic literature is certainly mixed on how much the minimum wage affects overall employment (see here and here). However, research does decidedly show that increases in the minimum wage adversely affect the earned income of low wage workers -- precisely the type of worker that will find employment at Wal-Mart.

While the aforementioned studies are interesting, it is important to note the differences between the general minimum wage laws analyzed in these papers and what is happening in D.C. In the case of Walmart and D.C., the wage law only applies to certain large retailers, not businesses in general. It is also not a marginal change. The law increases the minimum wage paid by Walmart by over 50%. Is it any wonder that Wal-Mart is thinking about pulling out of the D.C. market when many of its workers will cost 50% more than what their competitors pay?

But enough about how this is unfair to Walmart, what does it mean for job seekers? With an unemployment rate in the District (8.5%) higher than the national average (7.6%) the D.C. city council's bill will eliminate nearly a thousand possible jobs that were already set to open up in D.C. In fact, if Wal-Mart follows through on their plan to withdraw from the D.C. market, the earned income of the nearly 1,000 workers that would have chosen to work at Wal-Mart will definitely fall, since presumably these workers would have only chosen to work at Wal-Mart if the pay there was higher than their next best option (which for a number of people right now is sitting a home at a computer filing job applications).

What's better: a job that pays minimum wage or no job at all? Which is more livable: minimum wage income or no income at all?

While the overall employment effects of general minimum wage laws may be ambiguous, the employment effects of the D.C. proposal are not. The D.C. city council's bill will fail to improve anyone's standard of living and instead deny consumers access to low-priced goods and services and jobs.  

For more on unemployment in America, see our earlier op-ed today about national trends in the labor market.

          The Dimski Rule        

Over at the Secret World Forums people are starting to complain about the elitist attitude of some players when it comes to creating groups for their dungeons. “QL10 only !” Most MMO players know this as “must have gearscore >5000”. A couple of people just don’t want to fail in their dungeon run, or just want […]

The post The Dimski Rule appeared first on The MMO Compendium.

          Comment on Welcome to the Idaho Combats Systems Experience by William Baker        
Read their comments in the Idaho State Journal about Constitutional Carry. This guy is a typical elitist fool who thinks only people who receive his stamp of approval should have second amendment rights. Sure, if you pay him he will like you; but this is the kind of anti-gun behavior that should cost a gun business money. http://idahostatejournal.com/members/local-law-enforcers-see-trouble-with-constitutional-carry-bill/article_36c8043e-aeb6-11e4-9157-b74b4826ac58.html
          Malamud: Y dale con el hiperpresidencialismo        
En esta nota (acá), A. Malamud, el buen provocateur (siempre más interesado en ironizar que en presentar razones), vuelve a la carga (contra mí y otros) para minimizar o ridiculizar las referencias que solemos hacer en crítica al hiperpresidencialismo.

Alguna vez busqué aclararle por qué hablamos de hiperpresidencialismo, y por qué dicha categoría no es, como él dice, una mera "licencia poética". Carlos Nino fundó la categoría, no a partir de una cuestión de gustos o por énfasis retórico (finalmente, Nino era un filósofo analítico, y no un politólogo). Él ponía atención en los poderes formales adicionales que en América Latina, las Constituciones, le concedieron al presidente, vis a vis el modelo que sirvió de ejemplo, el norteamericano. Los presidentes nacieron aquí con facultades especiales, como las de intervención federal que eran negadas en Estados Unidos; fuertes poderes para limitar derechos a través del estado de sitio (también hiper presente en la historia latinoamericana, y ausente en Estados Unidos); capacidad para nombrar y remover a puro gusto a sus ministros; y capacidades legislativas que la práctica (volveré sobre esto) convirtió en extraordinarias. Si a eso le sumamos su capacidad de control sobre el presupuesto, y el hecho de que la coparticipación federal, en países como la Argentina, se decide sobre la mesa presidencial, podemos entender las implicaciones de las diferencias de poderes concedidos de las que hablaba Nino. Insisto entonces, y éste es mi primer punto, no se trata de retórica, sino de funciones concedidas constitucionalmente, y de sus implicaciones prácticas. Si Malamud no entiende lo que implicó la intervención provincial o el estado de sitio en la historia de la Argentina, o Colombia, para decir dos casos notables, tiene un montón de libros de historia a mano que pueden ayudarle a detectar el problema, en lugar de ridiculizarlo (insisto también, lo conversé con él, y se muestra todavía impermeable al hecho, porque prefiere seguir ironizando).

El segundo punto que quiero hacer tiene que ver con el sentido de la nota, que me resulta absurda y fuera de lugar. Porque, aunque es claro a quién(es) ataca A.M., no es claro qué es lo que tiene por decir; ni cuál es el problema que quiere confrontar; o el argumento que quiere controvertir. Esto es:  qué está haciendo A.M.? 

Porque el (en este excepcional caso) aburrido racconto que presenta, nos dice que algunos presidentes latinoamericanos dejaron sus cargos antes de tiempo; o que otros están acosados judicialmente, o viviendo en el exilio. Pero entonces qué? Qué es lo que nos dice o agrega ello? Su escrito resulta realmente curioso, porque, en buena medida, eso era justamente lo que Nino, Linz and co., querían decir cuando atacaban al hiperpresidencialismo que A.M. ridiculiza: al concentrar el poder de decisiones en una persona, se genera una dinámica de no-cooperación y suma cero, que afecta la estabilidad de los presidentes; tornándolos objeto de persecución y ataques. O sea que lo que Malamud cita para refutar aquellos escritos es justamente lo que reafirma el sentido y "éxito" de aquellos.

Ninguna de las críticas hechas al hiperpresidencialismo quiso decir nunca que ellos (los hiperpresidentes) no tienen controles, o que duran para siempre, o que no van a enfrentar procesos judiciales, o que no van a ser impopulares en un momento, o que no van a enfrentar procesos al fin de su mandato. Exactamente todo lo contrario (tales estudios quisieron predecir que los hiperpresidentes estaban destinados, habitualmente, a perder de modo abrupto popularidad, iban a ser perseguidos, y todo ello iba a poner en riesgo la misma gobernabilidad del sistema que con las "facultades del rey" venían a salvar de la anarquía). Entonces, qué quiere afirmar A.M.? Qué argumento desafía o refuta, salvo las caricaturas o espantapájaros que se ha construido?

Citar, por lo demás, algunas decisiones judiciales en Colombia, contra la reelección (aunque debería leer algo más de la jurisprudencia colombiana en torno a los poderes presidenciales), no agrega mucho, sino que más bien resta, porque Colombia es considerada en la materia la excepción y no la regla en la región. Quiere A.M. que cite uno 20 o 50 casos alternativos en Ecuador, Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua o Venezuela, sobre las relaciones entre el poder judicial y el poder ejecutivo, y el sometimiento del primero al segundo? 

Porque ésa es finalmente la cuestión: la práctica del hiperpresidencialismo distorsiona el funcionamiento del sistema de frenos y contrapesos. Típicamente, y esto ha sido una realidad en la historia latinoamericana, esa distorsión ha implicado el sometimiento del poder judicial; la ampliación de la capacidad de impacto del presidente, muchas veces opacando al poder legislativo o convirtiéndolo en mera escribanía; y siempre con recursos económicos y coercitivos infinitos, y beneficios y posiciones también infinitas para repartir que le permiten expandir su capacidad de dominación sobre el resto. Se trata de datos que constituyen ya rasgos definitorios de la historia contemporánea de América Latina, de la que Malamud debiera tomar nota (aunque no es claro que le interese hacerlo). 

Dos últimas cuestiones. Por un lado, la crítica al hiperpresidencialismo no implica un elogio a la "institucionalidad de los países normales." En mi caso, repudio por sus componentes elitistas y contra-mayoritarios a ese tipo de sistemas (escribí mi tesis doctoral sobre/contra ese estilo de democracias constitucionales), y eso es perfectamente consistente con agregar otro tipo de críticas hacia los hiperpresidencialismos regionales.

Finalmente, cito su conclusión: "En síntesis, los presidentes latinoamericanos suelen tener poder limitado, mandato acortado, sucesor renegado y libertad denegada."

Otra vez, A.M. muestra un mayor interés en cerrar con una frase de impacto que en presentar un argumento. La frase es puro fuegos artificiales, incapaz de dañar a nadie, ni aportar nada serio al debate público sobre el tema. Será la próxima, sin dudas.

          Politics - USA        
 djones520 wrote:
So can anyone explain to me the "Brexit happened, so Trump can win" thing that's going about the internet right now?

It's really dumb... like fething dumb.

My sense is that it's the old ELITIST vs. THE COMMON MAN dichotomy.

There's two tweets that jumps out at me (man i wish we could embed tweets here...), so I'll transcribe as best as I can.

The snarky one:
#Brexit happend because elites became fatally disconnected from, then grew contemptuous of, average citizens... This has wider implications.

Here's what the head of BBC political research said:
"It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current sitution. There are many millions of people who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledge and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist. Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan politcal class, contronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond ("who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?" doesn't really hack it). The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughtout this 2016 compaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance".

The idea that Brexit "proves" that Trump has a chance in November is both lazy and asinine.

          el rojo es SUYO _ agotHadas!!!        
Rojo, rouge, red, rosso, rot, vermelho, červená, красный, الأسود...

Lo podemos decir en el idioma que más nos guste; pero en todos ellos, hablar de ROJO es hablar de...

sueños y fantasía...

de amor...

de besos que dejan huella...

de vino y momentos "chisposos"...

de rosas recibidas en el momento justo...

y por qué no... de picardía ;)

Incluso desde hace unos años, el rojo en una suela de zapato puede marcar la diferencia...

Pero para muchos, entre todos los "rojos clichés" que pueda evocar este color, hablar de rojo es hablar de ÉL...

... de este gran Maestro de la Moda; que son su talento y su savoir faire supo hacerse un hueco en el "elitista grupo" de la paleta de colores con su archifamoso ROJO VALENTINO.

Hace ya un año que se despidió oficialmente del mundo de Moda; y como no podía ser de otra forma, salió por la puerta grande...

Pero nunca nos dejará del todo, porque aunque ya no podamos disfrutar de nuevas colecciones con su inimitable sello; queda un gran legado que pasará sin duda a formar parte de la Historia y del que todos a los que admiramos la Moda podremos disfrutar...

Y si para muchas (entre las que por supuesto me incluyo), el sueño poseer un genuino Valentino en nuestro armario se quedará en eso... un sueño; lo que si podremos lucir será esta pequeña hadita "rojo valentino" que ojalá consiga transmitir la mitad de la mitad de la mitad (y así hasta el infinito...) de la clase y estilo que derrocha cada una de las creaciones de este gran maestro.

Como veis, esta nueva hadita luce un traje de noche palabra de honor, con falda de tul y una pequeña cola trasera.

En su mano, un ya clásico "bow clutch" de Valentino con detalles en raso, para llevar esos pequeños secretos de belleza, indipensables para "brillar" en cualquier fiesta que se precie ;)

Finalmente, su tocado de vaporosas plumas, siempre en movimiento, le da verdadera vida al conjunto...

Como ya sabéis, las haditas atelier se pueden usar tanto de broche como de colgante, su edición está limitada y una vez más, para que sea más cómodo conseguir la vuestra, son 20 las unidades disponibles.

También quiero recordaros que estas haditas, al estar ya fabricadas y empaquetadas con mucho mimo antes de ponerse a la venta, no tienen lista de espera ninguna y las podéis tener en casa en apenas un par de dias...

Con cada envío, recibiréis también un detalle muy dulce, y cómo no, MUY ROJO ;)

Para conocer todos los detalles sobre este nuevo modelo (precio, envío, etc..) sólo tenéis que escribir a macagea@hotmail.com y estaré encantada de informaros sobre todo lo que necesitéis.

Y para terminar, el último desfile de una era, con una inigualable banda sonora de aplausos y "no more i love you's"...

Porque siempre nos quedará SU ROJO.
          Message to Randy Levine and Lonn Trost: When you're in a hole, quit digging!        
I really was going to write today about something else in Yankeeland besides the team's ticket debacle. Honest. But as long as team president Randy Levine and COO Lonn Trost keep on saying and doing dopey things about it, I've got to keep Squawking about it!

The gruesome twosome have said even more ridiculous things in the last two days to extend this story into even more news cycles. This, at the very same time the team is attempting to sell individual tickets for the 2016 season. Unbelievable.

I woke up this morning to see that Levine had run his mouth about Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. because Diaz is taking the fans' -- and StubHub's -- side in this ticket issue. Diaz's spokesman, John Desio, told the New York Daily News:
“The borough president is a lifelong Yankee fan. The borough president’s favorite player was Graig Nettles. He lives and dies by the Yankees as do many people in the borough, the city and the world. This new policy on tickets combined with their COO’s elitist comments are not very fan friendly for the borough president or anyone else who loves the Yankees.” 
So how did Levine respond? In a mature, adult fashion befitting his reputation. By which I mean, he lashed out like a frat boy with anger management issues, the way he usually does. (How is this guy in a position of authority, anyway? I wouldn't trust him to run the fry station at McDonald's without spilling grease on himself when flying off the handle!)

Levine told ESPN's Darren Rovell, who first reported on Diaz' stance:
“It doesn’t surprise me given that we’ve stopped his endless funding requests. It does surprise me because the only time he showed up to Yankee Stadium was when he was on official business when he was comped. I guess there are no greater problems in the Bronx, that he needs to spend time on, than ticketing.” 
How is this comment possibly productive? It doesn't even make any sense. What, exactly, would be the "endless funding requests" a Bronx borough president would ask the Yankees for? Wouldn't it be the other way around?

And you can't complain that Diaz rarely shows up at Yankee games, and then whine that "I guess there are no greater problems in the Bronx, that he needs to spend time on, than ticketing." Well, most of us would think that enabling his constituents in the poorest borough in the city to get decently priced tickets is kind of important.

UPDATE: Shortly after writing this Squawk, I received an email from Diaz's office containing a copy of a letter the borough president sent to Levine, criticizing the policy. It's a pretty strongly worded missive! Read it here

That isn't the only time in recent days that Levine has flapped his gums. He and Trost recently talked to Bloomberg View sports columnist -- and Yankee fan -- Kavitha A. Davidson about the ticket policy. She writes about a less-discussed aspect of using mobile tickets. Fans will have to sign up at Ticketmaster, give the company personal information, and download an app in order to use the Yankees' mobile ticket feature. (I wrote about this last week, but she went to much greater detail on the new system and tried it out herself. "It seems there are still a few bugs to work out," she wrote.)

Anyhow, both Levine and Trost dismissed any concerns over the new policy. Levine insisted to the writer that third-party ticket brokers and StubHub are, Davidson writes, as "the source of much of the backlash against the new mobile system." Um, no, dude. Your team's fans are the main source of the backlash. Remember them?

In addition, according to the article, "Levine said Trost's comments were taken out of context and stressed that the Yankees' position is 'if you buy a legitimate ticket you're welcome to sit at Yankee Stadium,' whether or not you paid full price." Well, isn't that nice of them! And at any rate, we didn't take Trost's comments out of context. We took them in context. That's the problem!

Trost made let yet another elitist remark in insisting: "In today's world of millennials, I can't imagine anyone who's not smartphone savvy who wants to come to the ballpark," he said. "But when they do, they can get a hard-stock ticket." Oy. He needs to get out more.

Remember how Trost talked about Yankee fan ticket buyers who spent "a buck and a half" for premium tickets? I wrote that there was no way people were paying $1.50 a ticket for the fancy seats. But I missed an even more elitist remark that Trost was making with that. I have a friend who is a ticket broker. And he said that "a buck and a half" is a term in the business meaning $150. So Trost is looking down at fans who "only" spend $150 per Yankee ticket. For the rest of us, that sort of money for a three-hour regular season game is a splurge for a milestone birthday or something. In Trost's world, these people are the riff raff!

My friend Jason Keidel, who writes about sports for CBS New York, interviewed me this week about how a decision by the Yankees on February 15 to ban print-at-home tickets has morphed into a PR disaster for the team that is like the Energizer Bunny. It just keeps on going, and going, and going.

I talked about my part in that -- Squawking the next day about how the decision was about smashing StubHub and taking away fans' ability to buy tickets on the secondary market. Then I was interviewed for the New York Post the following day, and showed how Yankee fans were unhappy about this, at the very same time the team's spokesperson claimed that fans were thrilled over it. The very next morning, Yankees COO Lonn Trost popped up on WFAN to defend the policy, and blurted out his elitist opinion about Yankee ticket buyers.

This story has gone about as disastrously for the Yankees as anybody with a brain and common sense could have predicted. It's been raging for 10 days now, and shows no sign of abating. Are there any grownups in Yankeeland who will step in and stop this? Where is Hal Steinbrenner? What could possibly be more important for him to be doing than stopping this PR disaster? Good grief.

          Spurgeons Ballet Programme in Kenya        

Despite living in deplorable conditions, the children of the Kibera Slum in Kenya have found new hope, uniting over their love of ballet.

Not only is the traditionally elitist world of ballet unifying disadvantaged yet talented children and their families, it is also setting the scene for a new generation of dancers of all colours, personality and ability. These children represent their community and their spirit through this beautiful art of dance.

Commissioned by Nokia

Director - Maceo Frost
Director of Photography - Robin Asselmeyer
Film Editor - Andreas Arvidsson
Produced by Francis Mildmay-White
Production company - Knucklehead
Agency - Mother London

Cast: Maceo Frost, Robin Asselmeyer and Andreas Arvidsson

          Adventures on the Chocolate Planet        

Ever since the conquistadors brought back the Central American chocolate bean to the courts of Europe - the new Spanish wife of Louis XIII decreed in 1615 that it could only be consumed by members of the French aristocracy - chocolate has retained both an exotic and an elitist flavour.

This is only reinforced in the opening this month of a new Mecca for chocoholics in Melbourne, Monsieur Truffe.

          Kimchis's Careless Kohanim and the Flashy Princess        
Guest post

My impression from what I've read and conversations I've had with friends who went to Bais Yaakov is that there are two frequently cited prooftexts for the importance of tznius. Particularly, for the primary importance tznius is given in frumwomen's religious life.

The first is the story of Kimchis. As the story is told to talmidos, Kimchis was zoche to have all seven of her sons serve as Kohen Gadol. The rabbonim asked her what she had done to merit this honor, and she replied that the beams of her house had never seen her hair. This proves how important tznius is. If you are careful about tznius, the girls are told, you will merit great things. Things like all of your sons serving in the highest religious position.

Unfortunately for those who want to use Kimchis's example as a guide to the ideal way a bas Yisrael should behave, there is more to the story. There are two versions of the story, one in the Yerushalmi[1]and one in the Bavli[2]. They have similar outlines, but different details.  In both stories, there is a woman named Kimchis whose son is the Kohen Gadol. He goes for a walk and some spit from a person he is talking to lands on him, making him taamei, and one of his brothers performs the avodah in his place. The names of the sons, the people the Kohen Gadol talks to, and the circumstances of his excursion are differ between the two versions of the story.

The differing details, including the name of the Kohen Gadol involved, make it likely that this was a folktale and/or a polemic rather than something that really happened. Both versions are subtly critical of the Kohen Gadol, and the story revolves around an issue of tumahand tahara, which was a point of contention between the Perushim and the Tzedukim[3]. The Tzedukim, the priestly class, thought that the common people didn't need to concern themselves with purity. It you were taamei, don't come to the Beis HaMikdash, but unless you were a cohen who needed to perform the avodah, it wasn't something to be concerned about. The Perushim, who were populists, felt that everyone should try to remain tahar.

In the version of the story in the Bavli, Kimchis's son Rabbi Yishmael was Kohen Gadol[4]. He apparently had a habit of carelessly conversing with people in the market, because twice saliva from a person he was talking with landed on his clothes and made him taamie. In one incident, his brother Yesheivav performs the avodah for him, and in the other, his brother Yosef. The Gemara quotes a bareisa that says all seven of Kimchis's sons served as Kohen Gadol, implying that Rabbi Yishmael was often  invalidated for service and his brothers had to fill in for him. 

This story is making fun of the Tzedukim, who claimed to be uniquely concerned about their purity. The Kohen Gadol, who should have been the most careful, became tammei all the time! So much for the Tzeduki claim that tumah and tahara were too much trouble for the commoners, concerns only for the elite. If even the most elite, the Kohen Gadol, couldn't stay tahor, then the Tzedukim could not claim ritual purity as their special concern.

The rabbonim asked Kimchis, "What did you do to merit this?" (Having all of your sons serve as Kohen Gadol.) Their question could be read as sarcastic, but Kimchis takes it at face value and answers that it was because of her exceptional purity, "In all my days, the beams of my house did not see the braids of my hair." The rabbis dismiss her explanation, saying that it was commonplace, nothing special, and none of the other women who had this practice were so rewarded for it. They refute Kimchis's suggestion that her Tzeduki devotion to purity is anything special or praiseworthy.

Kimchis, then, is not an exemplar of tznius who was rewarded for her exceptional modesty, but a foil for the rabbonim in a polemic about purity. Holding her up as a model a pure bas Yisroel should strive to emulate is to not only miss the point, but to mangle it.

The version of the story in the Yerushalmi is kinder to Kimchis, but harder on her son. In this version, the Kohen Gadol is named Shimon. He took a walk with the king on erev Yom Kippur. When a drop of spit from the king's mouth made him taamei, his brother Yehuda performed the avodah in his place. This is a stronger condemnation of Tzeduki claim of being an elite unuiqly concerned with purity than is the Bavli version of the story. Not only does the Kohen Gadol, the most elite member of the priestly class, carelessly allow himself to become tammei, he allows it to happen on erev Yom Kippur, when he is supposed to be sequestered to prevent exactly this sort of thing from happening. Nor was this a one time thing. It happened so often that all of his brothers serve as Kohen Gadol!

The biggest difference between the two versions of the story is that in the Yerushalmi version when Kimchis tells the rabbonim that she merited all of her sons serving as Kohen Gadol because her house never saw her hair (and in this version, her undergarments), they agree with her that this is praiseworthy. They praise her with the pasuk from tehillim[5], "Kol kevudah bas melech pnimia; Mimishbi'tzos zahav livusha," "All glorious is the princess within the palace; her clothing is of checker work interwoven with gold." Yet even here, the focus seems not to be on tznius, per se, but on reading the pasuk as describing cause and effect. The "princess," Kimchis, kept her "glory" hidden even in the "palace," her house, and therefore she merited "clothing… interwoven with gold," the clothing of the Kohen Gadol which are described as being interwoven with gold. Her care for her purity was the cause of her seven sons wearing the clothing of the Kohen Gadol. Yet even here, in their praise for her, one can detect the rabbonim poking fun at the idea of purity as a priestly concern. Kimchis's obsession with her purity might have merited her seven sons who served as Kohen Gadol, but what of the sons? They failed at keeping themselves pure.

The pasuk the rabbonim cite is the second commonly cited prooftext for the central importance of tzniusfor Jewish women. More accurately, the first half of the pasuk, "Kol kevudah bas melech pnimia," is repeated as a mantra for tznius. It's taken out of context and mistranslated as, "The glory of a princess is inside." A princess doesn't wear flashy clothes or draw attention to herself. She is reserved, and her glory is not in her physical appearance, but her inner attributes. Every bas Yisrael is a bas melech, the girls are told, and should comport themselves appropriately.

There is no small irony in trying to convince women that focusing on their appearance is improper with the first half of a pasuk that goes on to describe magnificent gold-embroidered clothing in its second half. This is not exactly a modest outfit. The pasukis part of a passage describing the wedding procession of a princess. It is not a prescription of an ideal of modesty for the metaphorical daughters of the King, i.e., Jewish women to whom God is a King and Father. Rather, it is a description of a literal princess as she goes to meet her future husband in his palace.

So it seems that two of the frequently cited sources used to support the centrality of tznius in Jewish women's religious life are misunderstanding or misrepresentations of those sources. The story of Kimchis isn't a morality tale about a paragon of purity we should seek to emulate. It's a farce undercutting the Tzeduki claim that tummah and taharawere a special concern of the priestly elite.  And "Kol kevudah bas melech pnimia" isn't a prescription teaching Jewish women that they shouldn't focus on their appearance, but a truncated pasuk about a radiantly attired princess that's been quoted wildly out of context.

[1] Yerushalmi. Yoma 1:1 (38d)
[2] Bavli Yoma 47a
[3] Schiffman, L.H. (2003), Understanding Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism. Jersey City, NJ: Ktav Publishing House
[4] It's interesting that he's given the title "Rabbi," a Perushi honorific. At the same time the rabbonim are making fun of him in a polemic undermining the elitist attitudes of the Tzedukim, they also give him a title that lets them claim the position of Kohen Gadol for one of their own.
[5] Psalms 45

          The End        
Ngee Khiong

Well, this is it. The end of the end. The last posting on this blog.

There are a lot of things I would like to talk about in this final posting on my blog, so it's going to be very long. I'm aware that it's going to stay here forever as the last thing people will read about on this blog of mine, so I will choose my words carefully. Hopefully people will remember me for the better part I played in informing people about various hobby news and updates, but not anything bad as you would perceive from this posting. Everything I say here is from my point of view, as a Gundam and Gunpla fan who has been blogging about my hobby for almost five years now. Perhaps this very long posting will be meaningless for many, or maybe it will trigger some idea in certain people's mindset about the community and the hobby in general. I'm not sure, but as a very ordinary fan in this vast community, this is what I want to say before signing off from a blog I love so much and work so hard for. There's no need for anyone to change at all, for me or what I say here in this posting.

My point of view

As mentioned in the previous posting, "I'm extremely disappointed with the development of the Gundam and Gunpla community as I see it now, so tired I don't want to share my interest in Gundam and Gunpla anymore on this blog." - the exact same thing from that previous posting just to show you that that wasn't a random sign of frustration, but the lasting conclusion I came up with before the ultimate decision of terminating this blog.

The great bashing?

But don't get me wrong, I'm not going against the world here. I'm not standing at the edge of the cliff with a machine gun going, "Bring it on!" Nothing like that. If you've been reading my blog for a long time, I think it's very clear that I never used any harsh word of any sort on any issue at all, let alone explode in this last and lasting posting of my blog, and be a laughing topic in everyone's mind for the rest of my life. So,the "great bashing on many people" as mentioned in my previous posting would probably be like a soft breeze on the intended person or group of people. If you're looking for how I turn mad and throw a TV out of the windows for protest, I'm sorry, no soap opera in this posting. ^^;

Instead, I'll just tell you how I feel before succumbing to my own decision of closing the blog. No change is needed from your side. This might be a really tiring experience on your side because of the length of this posting. I thank you very much for your effort in advance.

A tiny little customer in front of a restaurant not of his liking

I think the whole decision is more like someone going to a restaurant, finds out none of his preferred menu is served, or the environment is not of his liking, and then he leaves. He would place a notice at the doorstep of that restaurant, with some ideas and his feeling on how things can get better from his point of view. Of course the restaurant can just ignore the notice and move on without any action. I'm the one who left the community, and this is my notice. The community can just ignore this as a sick joke and continues like nothing had happened. That's how insignificant I think I'm in the face of the entire community. My decision to close the blog would be equally insignificant as well. People who are upset about no more news from my blog rest assure, some good stuff will be disclosed in this last posting as well, no worries.

A long one this is going to be, so I'll break the whole thing into blocks for better thought organization (on my part). This is going to be purely my opinion, so for those who are not interested, no worries, just scroll all the way till the bottom of this posting, you will find all my bookmarks on the various websites where I got all my news from, basically telling you all the places you can visit to get the news you read regularly on this blog. If you are not interested in my writing, no hard feelings, just ignore this mighty chunk of text and go straight to the links. Thank you for your time.

Credibility vs Sensation

Comparing now and five years ago, I think people can get the news and updates on various Gundam and Gunpla stuff much faster now, and through wider sources as well, so more people can verify whether it's a credible one or just a hoax. Credibility is something I take very seriously on my blog, because something you say wrongly on your blog could cause many people to be mislead. I include the links for every posting I make. Sometimes it's 7 or 8 in a single posting, and to sort these things out in HTML editing mode can be extremely messy and troublesome, but I would do it, to show my appreciation to the owner/original finder of the news and images, but ultimately, check and balance where people can find their way to the original sources to verify whether the information reported in right or wrong.

"What's the next MG/HG/PG"

With that said, I don't see my blog having the need to deal with "sensational news", as in issues like what is the possible next releases in the MG series, will this and that come up, what's the next PG, things like that. I really don't see the need to actually go and discuss about this with all your heart and mind out, and of course the need to argue about such things would seem really strange. Fighting for or against something that doesn't exist? Then again, I took a step back and thought, well, that's fine, since it's human nature to speculate on things.

"I heard he's going to bash so and so ..."

Rumors can be very entertaining, like how people are speculating who are the XXX or YYY or ZZZ that I'm going to speak out against as mentioned in my previous posting, which eventually leads to unnecessary video reviews of whatever sort discussing about the possibilities. I'm not sure why the need to do so, making assumptions unnecessarily, open up discussion for even more assumptions and misleading information. All rumors are not useful at all, they are very entertaining though. Like fortune telling like that. (tired smile ^^;)

"My crystal ball tells me the next MG will be 00 Raiser ..."

So, like most people, I would choose to just ignore these speculation related news or messages and stick with the concrete information I have. But then again, it can be very disheartening when people treat these rumors so seriously and get all riled up about them. For example the new PG kit to be released when it was hinted some months ago; the new Gundam Double O MG hinted in the recent hobby event. The news got many people guessing what they are going to be, and I find people going fired up about them, many who went over the edge and too much into the extreme.

Come to think of it, the evil side of me could easily do a posting propagating the rumors by putting in my own opinion as well. It could be this and it could be that, I have no evidence whatsoever but I could just make up anything, but I think many people would like that since that sort of news really feed to the whole rumoring sensation.

Adding oil to the fire

Of course, looking at how this is like adding oil to the bushfire, I don't want to do it at all. I remember I had postings on my speculation of a possible MG Astraea, or an even earlier one, possible release of MG Gundam Impulse Sword and Blast Silhouette, but they are based on images of the actual runners, where we can dissect Bandai's molding technologies to see the engineering part of the kit. I do slip in that kind of personal opinion, but only when I get to see some evidence would I go and do that.

The regrettable need to just take the bait and fell into a trap

Also, come to think of it, maybe the only thing the company (Bandai) wants through this sort of hint is indeed just a hint, and so why the need to be so fired up about it? And on the negative point, if this is a marketing gimmick to indeed get people's attention, shouldn't we be smarter over the years to not fell into the trap and get all fired up (again and again)?

I remembered when PG Strike Freedom Gundam was announced, the only information we have was a magazine scan that isn't in the right perspective. The only thing we knew back then was the announcement itself, the line art, the designer's name and the release month. Clearly more information was need. Yet, it's disheartening when you get people screaming at the news like it's the end of the world or something, obviously from people who don't like the kit. I suppose it would be fine if I stayed in the greatest state of ignorance and just move on with my blog, but I received many emails telling me about the response to the news, and again, on my side, it would be just fine if I just stayed away from everyone reaction.

Darn, I had to watch it, and regret about it

But on one instance, I clicked through a link provided from the email and watch a really "violent" video response to the news. It was the recording of a Skype conversation I believe, where a few folks were cursing and shouting at the release. It was horrible, especially when it was so easy to tell that they are not targeting the design, but the pilot of the Gundam from the anime.

No more laugh of ignorance from me

That was the same crazy reaction I read about as a kid 5 years ago (maybe not so much as a kid) when I was not running a blog. We are about to enter the second decade of this millennium and the same stupid reaction comes on again. People are bashing a model kit where the focus of the complain is not on the kit itself - not enough information on that anyway to be starting any sort of argument, but their opinion on the anime series. If you think about this carefully, both of them are not really connected, are they? All the gimmicks and features can be redefined and refined through the redesigning process of the designer, if the only concern is the negative feeling one cannot take off after watching a certain anime, how many good model kits will be sneered unnecessarily? I laughed at such people's stupidity with all my heart 5 years ago, I cannot do that anymore now, when the source of the news, from that video I watched, is from my blog.

Freedom of speech

Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion and idea, and I do respect that. Different places have different culture, and level of vulgarity (excuse me on that). I can't expect everyone to be able to talk about the design itself all the time. Some people might look at this PG as the first Gunpla they have ever seen in their life but still bash it like they know everything there is about it. Still, why the need to be so riled up? It's just a plastic kit anyway. It's good to know that the announcement of a new kit makes people happy for the rest of his days. But that doesn't mean the negative side of it should be necessary. Someone can feel down the whole day because Strike Freedom is the next PG, not Unicorn Gundam. No way! Gunpla as the hobby should be something to make people happy, not the opposite.

The extreme group of the community?

And to find out that a few people talk in the same manner through the conversation kind of suggests to me that the minority of such people, which I try to ignore (and laugh at) all these years might not be of so minor proportion in the entire community I imagine it to be at all. It's disheartening that after all these years, with so many Gunplas releases, more advancement in design and technologies, and with even more information released through magazine scans and new images from time to time, there are still people who are unable to distinguish between selfish grudge towards a fictitious character (and how ridiculous that sounds) and the understanding of the model kit itself to be in a discussion about it.

It seems to me that everything about Gunplas have improved, except people's mentality and perception about it. Fan bases, extreme groups among the communities, elitists are all plaguing the Gundam and Gunpla community, and to be in the same community with them, helping them in their course of action by supplying them the news and information I would so want all other fans to enjoy and love, is very disheartening.

I can't choose

Then again, I can't choose who I want my audience to be, and it should be that I don't have to choose as well. I welcome everyone who are Gundam and Gunpla fans, and those who like other hobby items to my blog with no restriction. I keep my own opinion down to the minimum to allow more people to identify themselves with my blog. Over here, everyone is welcomed. I have my preferences in my hobby, but I try to give the same coverage to everything interesting I come across with. The idea of sharing the interest in hobby with everyone is something I like very much.

But to be sharing the same interest with some of those people who are going into the extreme is something very disheartening for me. The fun of hobby is ruined, and the possibility of a proper discussion is destroyed with so much negativity put in based on personal opinion and hatred. I scorned at such people, not as a owner of this blog, not as the source of the news as shown in the video, but just a normal human being.

Demotivating seconds of fame, and then guilt

But it's extremely demotivating. For one second I was feeling really good to be featured in a video, the next second, the news I reported was being used in such an ugly attempt to show off some people's stupidity. And when I associate my blog to be read by such people, I felt quite disgusted, and then a heavy sense of guilt, for what have I done to prevent such situation from happening? Nothing, because I always thought things weren't so bad in the community, and it's not supposed to be so anyway. What has my blog contributed over these few years to improve this situation? Nothing, because I always thought that by not stating my own opinion, people won't be skewed by my words as the source of the news, and can discuss it with an open heart.

I'm always assuming that the community is a better place with more timely information, which may not be so widely available in the past. But in the end, I seem to be supplying more mortar to all the negative argument.

I can't stop people from forming such ridiculous conversation, that's their freedom of speech. But I have the right to remain silent too, from now onwards. And that's a sarcastic remarks just to make myself absolutely clear for those people who think with their stupidity and talk with their ego.

The overwhelming tiredness

I'm sure many of you would say to me, "Just ignore them, most of us are not like that. It's unfair to ignore us because you can't ignore them." True, very true. I have steeled my heart over the years over tons of hate mails targeted at me for lousy translation, no promotion for Malaysian hobby sites, bad Gunpla-ing skills and bad blog design. But over the years, the coldness have taken the toll on me I suppose. My own blog has become a place I don't really know of, and the tiredness is very hard to bear. I'm so sorry for those who supported my blog, the decision to quit has been extremely unfair to all of you. I know you are good people, good friends who are extremely concerning towards me and my blog, and are good people who can see the same simple happiness in out hobby. I'm human after all. (very tired smile ^^;)

Apart from Gunpla, Gundam anime has been a great topic for worthless arguments as well. That zealotry will be discussed in a separate section below.

The same cases of fail

If you think PG Strike Freedom is an exception, try and think about the cases with MG Victory Gundam Ver. Ka, MG Exia, MG The O, RG 1/144 Gundam RX-78-2 and the most recently announced MG 00 Qan[T]. There should be some other cases before MG Victory Gundam Ver. Ka, but my rusting old brain can't remember them anymore. The trend of failure is repeated over and over again. The moment MG Victory Gundam was shown, instead of thinking and discussing about the significance of the transformation gimmicks, people are more interested in whether V2 Gundam will be released next; when RG 1/144 Gundam RX-78-2 was announced, people were ranting about having so many versions of Gundam RX-78-2's model kits in such a short period of time, instead of talking about how the design and gimmicks are going to be different with all the various versions.

RG 1/144 Gundam RX-78-2 turned out to be real marvel eventually. For those same people who rant about the multiple versions, I wonder if there's any moment when they would feel that little sense of guilt for ranting too much on things they don't know, and now they are amazed at the great designs, and then a tiny bit of embarrassment on why so much worthless anguish and animosity towards the kit in the first place?"

And the old saying goes, "As if the company is placing a machete over you neck forcing you to pay for every single one of those kits."

Hate them all, buy them all

From there, think about how many of those who trash the model kit on forums and websites at the beginning, but secretly buy them in the end, and then the realization of, "Hey, that's not too bad after all." And then, "Why did I failed so hard at ranting about them in the first place?"

That might be funny, but the damage can be far worse than you think: the influence of such ill manner on others who aren't so well informed. They might look at these louder members in the forums as their sages, and their opinion will affect their understanding and appreciation of the kit and ultimately the whole hobby.

The scary damage

I mean, you just know Gunpla and join a forum, and everything the people who participate the most in the forum is how crooked the company is, and how much variations they produce, trying to cheat as much money from the customers. If you don't know much about the hobby, you would take the poison as your medicine. Moving on after a few years, they will become senior members and they are going to react the same way and influence other younger members of the community, and eventually, that's the only thing people will talk about. This horrible cycle is extremely hard to bear, and it's happening right now.

Improvement on perception with more information? No really

Seriously, how can it not be disheartening, when after four and a half years of blogging, the only thing that happens without fail is the running of the same fail train, over and over again. At first I was thinking, maybe it's because we are lacking in the news about these kits. Not many sites are doing the info transfer, from Japanese and Mandarin into English. The lack of information will definitely lead to poor discussion, but after all these years, so many forums, so many hobby websites, so many hobby stores, all helping to disperse the news, any news about a certain new release, and the same ill manner remains? More and more younger brighter people joining the hobby, but they still become part of the same problem I saw so many years ago? What has changed anyway? Why can't we be better?

And, interestingly enough, when you put yourself in the shoes of the people over at Bandai, what are they going to see us as? A bunch of hobby enthusiasts who care about the design we are getting? Or just a bunch of losers who are never happy about anything?

Putting in all the "normal" fans, people who generally don't care about anything, Gunpla fanatics, extremists in the same room, and that's the Gundam and Gunpla community as I see it today. Very segregated and diversified. Everyone think differently, how many of us are in for the true enjoyment of a hobby?

A hobby to enjoy

From emails, I learned that they are so many people out there who appreciate it as just a hobby, something they enjoy doing and feel happy about. That's really awesome to hear, because frankly, that's the same thing I have been feeling all these years. I have preference on what I like and what I would want to buy, but there was never a kit that I despise or criticize so badly as some people are doing now. Because no matter what the releases are, they are just a combination of plastic parts. It's our own feeling and judgment on them that give them the value we see in them. So, I don't see any point where negative thoughts and feeling need to be associated with this hobby at all. All Gunplas are good, they are meant to feed our childhood dream of robot fantasy we didn't surrender to reality after glowing up. They are meant to make us happy. Some people will like this new release, some people prefer something else. It's just, well, maybe this month isn't a month for you to feel extremely good as your favorite MS has not been announced, maybe next time it's your turn. The anticipation isn't exciting enough for you?

More variations means more things for people to choose from, and as the market is growing, how can one be so sure that what he doesn't like is definitely going to be something others will dislike as well?

Wait, the excitement of waiting is on

No PG Unicorn Gundam? No problem, wait. I don't foresee myself to be gone (ahem!) next year, I can wait. No MG Justice Gundam? No problem, wait. A popular MS will definitely be on the list, I can wait. Oh, MG Advance GN-X has been turned into a resin kit? Disappointed, but BB Senshi Sonsaku Gerbera was once a resin kit, but was given a regular release after that. Maybe the same will happen to Advance GN-X. No problem, wait.

I have been waiting for any new version of Gerbera Tetra since before I started blogging, but I don't find any need to scream my heart out at this disappointment. Just wait, there are so many other really good releases out there that I like as well.

Helping out a whining baby

And surely, with 8 or 9 releases a month, there has to be one that will hit your heart? Still no? what about some of those old releases you haven't explored? Maybe this month you can do that? Still no? Do you know Kotobukiya produces mecha plamo kits as well? No love for Kotobukiya kits? Just Gundam? Do you have any liking in the Robot Damashii series? or Revoltech? or even kits from Aoshima, Wave and Hasegawa? I do have news about all these products, none of them can make you happy when your favorite MG is not announced? Too bad, do you cry when your mama don't buy you the toy you want? How old are you now?

When everything fails, you get to save all your money for this month to move on for a bigger buy next month, or maybe you can get something for your parents with the money saved. That has got to something awesomely good right? Nothing to do directly with the hobby, but is good anyway. ^^

The dreadful reminder

So, I guess my point is how frustrated I felt with people constantly reminding each others that whatever Gunpla we are getting is the result of some evil money making scheme some folks at Bandai are coming up with in a smoke-filled room. People are constantly associating the hobby with money, and all discussion that follows after that become ever so dull and depressing. Sure money is involved, surely there has to be some consideration made to reproduce certain kits using the same frame, but do people need to keep on bringing that topic up as if that's the most important topic of all? I'm not in favor of any businesses in this point, I just don't want to think about the money part too much. It's very depressing to have the news of a new kit announced, and then people start speculating what subsequent kit to be released using some parts of that model. What happened to that model itself?

When everyone starts to think that they can do a better business than Bandai (and maybe they can actually), and ignore the happiness part of Gunpla as a hobby, all the fun goes down the drain. I personally do not want to walk down this path.

Close-minded personal preference based discussion

In the end it's just personal preference on certain kit, people will only be happy when their favorite kit is released, nothing else matters, yet, in discussion they would act like they know everything by giving advises, criticize others, sending people off when their ideas are different. When I see how close-minded these people are, and that I'm in the same community as they are, trust me, I would think about running away and be with my own friends who share the same interest as me, those who are more open-minded and mild in their manner of discussion.

Segregated fan bases

Five years ago, we have UC fans fighting against Gundam SEED and SEED Destiny fans against Gundam Wing fans; five years on, today, the same fight continues, with a couple of other factions joining in the fight, Gundam Double O fans and Gundam UC fans. I don't know why, but somehow they hate each others, and each group feels that they are the victims of some sort of discrimination. The older fans cannot accept newer concepts and design, and the newer fans think that newer series are more superior than the old ones.

More ridiculously, you can also find fan groups that are hybrid, like "I like Gundam SEED and SEED Destiny, but I'm also in for Gundam UC, all other series are bad." "I like all Alternate Timelines series, except G Gundam."

The need to hate is necessary?

Everyone is obsessed with that one or two series they like and will not accept others, like he's going to be a major loser if his favorite series isn't being recognized as Number 1 of them all. Is there a need to do so? Is there a need to really declare a winner, or the best, or the greatest, or the most epic out of all the series? Is the need to hate really that important? How about every series is a winner, every series is the best, every series is the greatest, every series is epic, in its own setting and story background, how about that?

Am I the only one who can watch all the series and find them all to be good, in their own way? Am I the only one who finds that everything I watched is all but fictitious design? And that they should not be taken so seriously that we need to even start an argument over any of it? I do hate some of the characters in the story intensely, but I'm also sane enough to realize they are only dumb*** in the story. The moment the media player is off, the hatred towards the character or the story is gone, and I go back to work or study or be with my friends. I can discuss my displeasure about the story with anyone, but none of us would start an argument about it, let alone establishing fan bases to mark our allegiance and loyalty to certain series we like. What's the need for all that anyway? Too much time at hand don't know what to do? Go and convert all that negative energy into helping your mom with the dishes or laundries please, she will be delighted, and real work get done too.

The ero-ero connection

And I find the need to associate sexual preference with anything in Gundam totally out of context. Take a moment and laugh about it now, come back, think about how many people have responded to such association in the past, lightly or intensely and go off and laugh even more about these people's strange perception. It's the people's imagination (or dark fantasy maybe?) that is laughable. I'm not sure if that's the only thing they see in Gundam, or in everything they come across with. So much energy, unbelievable. Why don't they write their own stories about these things and stop messing up others' discussion with the topic? Won't that be better? Leave us alone, most of us fans are innocent, we have better things to talk about, and we really want to enjoy the story, and animation, the music and the characters as they are shown in the anime.

The continuous war

Five years ago, I saw the same thing going on and on, the "war" if I may call it. I used to think that it was just some people's sick joke, that they find the compare and contrast "game" between different Gundam series a productive thing (for them to continue doing so for such a long time). Of course I laughed it off. Five years after that, the war rages on, and it's getting worse, with even more soldiers fighting under different and newer banners as mentioned at the beginning of this section. It has gotten so ugly, that civilian like me, who choose not to choose a side to stand on, is being forced to choose.

Choose your side

"Hey Ngee Khiong, you like Zeon MSs right, then you must be a UC fans." "That's right, even that blogger Ngee Khiong is on our side, all other series go and ***" "He likes Gundam Exia, he must be a Gundam Double O ***, just like some of those kids out there" "What a loser, to support Gundam Double O" "Which side is he on anyway?"

No kidding, I got emails asking me to join some forums and write about my love for Zeon MS design in certain section. When I do check it up. The thread was so long, but half of it was the "war" I'm trying to stayed away from.

I never said anymore remotely close to any of the claim, about choosing a side to stand on. Sure I like Zeon MSs, that's purely out of appreciation of their design, some with Gundam Exia. It's most definitely not because I belong to any fan base out there that some idiots set up. If I'm to choose a side, I choose the one that says, "None of these fights is needed." I stand on nobody's side.

Having a war among fans over Gundam series that are about anti-war

That was recently I think, from last year I suppose, when I found out that people tried to associate me with certain fan base, and that's very disheartening. You see, I talk about all Gundam series on my blog, even SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors, which doesn't seem to be that popular outside Asia. Is that message not clear enough? Why would I be on any side if I can blog about all the different series, with almost the same level of importance given to each of them. And why can't people be moderate about this issue as well? Don't fight, everything about Gundam is good. Every series is different from each others, but every series is about the ugliness and unnecessary path that is of war. And we are having a war among the fans ourselves? How low can we go?

Gunpla fan bases

This is another major bummer I saw through the development of my blog, probably the more disheartening one than the anime fan base issue, since Gunpla is the main interest I'm into on my blog.

"M/P G or nothing at all!"

Over the years, I find that people "idolized" certain Gunpla series over another. "Give me MG, everything else is inferior." "I like this MS, I will wait for the PG release of it." That's a fairly common observation across the Gunpla community I suppose. Might not be harmful at all when you think about it at first, except the annoying frustration of hearing whiny kids lamenting their favorite MS not being announced in the series they like - a scene very common at the beginning and the end of the month when new kits are announced through hobby magazines and hobby websites respectively.

But unfortunately, that's just half the issue. When expenditure and expectation are also being lumped together with this Gunpla preference, things do go ugly.

How would you define "Best"

This normally happens to the MG series, where most people would identify it as the "best" Gunpla series among so many. Best with a pair of quotation marks, because the word "best" is subjective. What is best to you may be just moderate to me, and when the word is used on Gunplas (and often applicable to other items), a hierarchical rank structure is established. MG is the best, so HG is not as good? On what ground of comparison? MG has inner frame details, yes, but the price is higher. HG is smaller in scale (maybe not preferable for folks who like bigger model), but is easier to pose and build, and is easier on your wallet as well. And what about BB Senshi kits, they are fun to build and play with as well, not as much articulation, but the price would be the even more affordable for those who are not having enough money to spend on this hobby.

Patience is a virtue

So for me, just like Gundam series, I treat all Gunplas equally. That's why I report on every single one of them. I find interestingness in every kit, even the recolored re-releases. I choose the one I like the most, I won't buy all of them, so my money is safe within my wallet and bank account. There are websites with reviews on these kits, and we get to see them for free. The point is, you don't have to buy a kit to know how it will turn out to be, so even if you're not sure if you should spend the money on a certain kit, you can wait and see others' work to make the final decision. What's the need for the bickering about the company cheating people's money? If you're not sure if any variation will be released, just wait and see. Building a Gunpla isn't easy anyway (depends on how you build it), you can spend the time building your masterpiece but you can't do the same waiting for a kit to be announced?

The inability to look into others' strengths and potentials

It would seem to me that some people would buy a lot of kits, and then blame the company for "milking" them, and then buy some more kits, blame the company even more, so whatever releases announced, as long as they are not to their expectation, they rage. Is that a norm in the community? I'm not sure. Because I like Gunplas so much, I see the strengths and goodness in each one of them, sure they are going to be flaws, but you can always enjoy the fun of building them, unless you don't have a heart to enjoy the process to begin with. I'm not sure why the need to simply stick with one Gunpla series and get disappointed at the company for not releasing what you want.

I suppose it would be the same as their behavior in the community as well - the incessant need to make others agree to what they say, and the inability to accept that others may have strengths - reasons and logical arguments even though they are against them.

I suppose that's more of my own issue, since I enjoy Gunpla so much, the whining and complaining part do put me off on many times. The impact of the next issue is a huge one on me. And somehow when I connect it to the incessant need of some people to "buy them all" or the desire to own something they want, it became a great issue that almost destroy me.

Pirated Gunpla

I had an article on the court case of Gunpla piracy in China last year. It was really something I felt very important to the world of Gunpla, and it's an issue many people have been wondering about since a long time ago as well, like why Bandai wasn't doing anything about this problem before the court case.

Target lock on!

Not long after the posting was released, quite a few emails came in from many sellers, local and international one urging me to take down that posting because it was "damaging to their businesses". And of course, knowing that that means they are selling pirated Gunplas, and didn't wish to stop doing so, I didn't want to listen to them at all. Emails are simple enough, just ignore and forget about them, I've enough of such experience dealing with hate mails from many people over the years. But not enough with email, I even received a call to my cell phone demanding me to take down the posting, untraceable number it was. "You just talk about your usual stuff and let us do our business. That will be just fine." A very loud and angry shout over the phone. That was one of the few things I remembered from that phone call. I can't really remember much from that call, and I didn't say much as well, because I must admit it, I was pretty scared at that point, how did they find out my phone number? Was there anyone looking at me through a sniper scope at that time? (I exaggerated on that part I'm sorry)

Because I do have my contact and personal information up on my blog, it seems like to target me wasn't a hard thing at all. I mean, whatever you read about me in my profile is really me. The idea of associating this interest with myself is so strong, I never felt the need to invoke the cloak of anonymity.


Still, no, I didn't want to obey the demand. It was just an article. I mean, that's the truth isn't it? Even if I don't talk about it, someone else will. All they need is to translate the original article from China and the same thing is going to come out. I never wanted to take it down, maybe there was that little moment of uncertainty when I asked myself, "Am I brave enough to take the risk? Maybe big, big trouble will come up next if I don't do as they say." I was a bit sissy then, but in the end, no, the words were out, and none of what I wrote was false, or exaggeration of any sort. Even if I took the posting down, people will remember that it came from me, and I had no regret at all for bringing up the news. I stand firmly with everything I said over my blog, in any posting. That's what I do, that's what I do best on my blog. So, why must I be afraid of anyone for targeting me?

The sense of achievement

I was feeling really good for a moment then for I thought that for once, I've done a great service to the community. Putting up such news only available to folks who can read Mandarin previously, it will be passed to the international community, where they will see the news and know Bandai's action. The availability of the news is good, and I would gladly stand against the challenges that might come because of my frankness. For once then, I thought it was the same courage I chose to have when soldiering on with so many people looking down on me and my interest in Gunpla back in the older days. "An immature kid who don't know when to grow up" That was what they called me once. I lived through those dreadful days while enjoying my interest. Seeing Gunpla being promoted so widely nowadays really makes my decision to stay with the interest seemed all the best for myself. People who looked down on me once are going to be the ones to regret having such harsh judgment on my interest. I have nothing to fear. Sellers who threatened me are the ones who are going to regret their overreaction, one day they will realize that piracy won't work. People are aware of such issue now.

The greatest horror and sin of my blog

However, when I turned around and read about how the news I reported on Gunpla piracy was perceived on the community, the horror and a great sense of guilt on my side was totally unexpected and is extremely disheartening.

New segregated Gunpla groups

It seemed to me that people used the article to try to stamp out those who purchased pirated kits in the past, and to attack them ferociously. The already segregated community has another segment going in: Original vs pirated Gunpla buyers. People who support original kits look down on those who purchased pirated kits, labeling them as betrayers and not real fans of Gundam and Gunplas. Pirated Gunpla buyers try to justify themselves on the issue of money and quality of the pirated Gunplas. Such discrimination is really disheartening, and is extremely sad to see, and the fight is equally bad.

I personally do not support pirated Gunplas, but instead of looking down on those who buy them, I would try to listen to them on why they do so, and try to offer my personal opinion on that. It's really up to them whether they want to listen or not. This has something to do with the value of Gunpla in your life, which I will talk about later, but the point is, there's really no need to go "violent" on the issue. Harsh judgment will only lead to retaliation, and further segregation in the already diversified community. In the end, more and more people will be discouraged from the interest. It's like, "You want to be in Gunpla? What series you like? Gundam SEED? OK, go to that little corner there, where you fan base is gathering, and you must buy original Gunpla, else, you're out, whatever your reason maybe."

Suddenly, the interest becomes like a high class club belongs to the elites.

Personal guilt and shame

This is never the outcome I wanted. Dreadfully, instead of informing people about the article, I've given many people the reason to launch a "crusade" - original Gunpla buyers versus pirated Gunpla buyers, and the ammunition comes from me in this war. For some time then, I was extremely disappointed with my own decision to go with the posting. Maybe things would be fine if I didn't say anything at all. Just "do the normal stuff" as I was told. Maybe that was what he meant, the article was more damaging to everyone that the little bit of information I hope it would bring. I was ashamed of myself for not thinking much about that. And then what about the other news I reported in the past, shouldn't I be worried that some of those (if not more) too had been turned into subjects of even more bickering and to get people to be riled up for no reason - something I hope not to see right from the beginning.

And then I thought, "Is this all people can think of when such news come up?" It's pretty much back to the Gundam anime fan base issue again. People desperately try to prove others' wrongness and inferiority by choosing the other side in the matter. Everything must be loud and extreme to prove one's point. "You may be right, but I'm righter than you, and if you disagree with me, then you are wrong." "You may be good, but I'm better than you, and if you disagree with me, then you are not good." Ridiculous I know, but that kind of trend can still be found here and there now.

Sad isn't it? I used to think that all these confusion would arise when you don't have enough information to work on. The very basic human nature of striving for knowledge will lead us to better reasoning and to make better judgment on many things. The more we know, the better informed we are, the better decision we can make. But all that doesn't improve manner I suppose, people can use the thing they read to attack others, to humiliate others, to discriminate others and to cause further separation among people who are supposedly gathered for the same interest. What role can I play in this mess? As the leader and tell everyone they are wrong and then try to talk reason into everyone? That's just plain hypocrisy - by telling people not to act big when I'm acting big.

Shoud have end it right there

I think, right after that incident, this specific part of this posting should go up onto the blog and then I should just shut down. I brought up the subject, I added more oil to the fire that is the divided Gunpla community, I must take responsibility and begone. But I shamelessly go on to the new year, which I find quite amazing right now. I don't know why I didn't choose to shut down the blog back then, when I was so low on morale. Another new year came, another incident hit me, plus another few issues and they were quite enough to give me the hit on the head to finally leave.

The value of Gunpla in life

I'm not sure about you, but Gunpla plays a very significant part in my life. The idea of enjoying Gunpla is pretty much the same idea as everything else in my life. I enjoy doing everything in my life. I enjoy blogging for example. People often asked me how can I blog so much everyday, but it's an interest I developed for four and a half year already, it's really just part of my life now. With all the easy tools in the hosting site, it's not hard to do it at all. Even when I was sick, I blog, because it's really something I enjoy doing. I mean, if your interest is music, even when you're not well, you would still listen to some CD or radio broadcast right? Same with me and blogging.

Same thing with Gunpla as well. I try to do something about Gunpla every single day, maybe painting one part of the arm today, maybe panel-lining one part of the head the next day if I'm on a busy schedule throughout the week. When I'm free, I do more. So, I get to go through the process of working on a Gunpla more than the final assembly, and I like this way very much. Gunpla is part of the way of my life I suppose.

My story

Here's my boring story, when I was younger, I had very little money to buy Gunplas. Maybe one kit every two months, smaller ones since the product lines weren't so many as compared to what we have today. Moreover, there were fewer shops that sell Gunplas at my place as compared to today again. The interest was a niche in the market back then, so it was mighty hard to get a kit I like even if I had the money (which was just on one or two occasions of course). I bought a lot of kits I have no idea what they are, but I enjoyed every single one of them. Since I had so few kits back then, I did many funny stuff among them, like counting the number of parts from the manual, coming up with catalog for them. And amazingly, I'm still doing all these today, when the need to do all these seem all unnecessary.

A significant amount of time was spent on each one of them, so what is good about them to me now isn't their appearance, but the memory of that part of my life when I was all excited about being able to own the kit and then assemble it. Everyone of them is like an old photo in my album, telling me the story of that part of life I had when I was younger. I had a deep cut when assembling my MG GP01Fb back in my secondary school days, I just applied a plaster and continued till I completed the model. Now every time I look at the model, I tried to look for that part that was all bloodied back then, and I laughed; I remembered carrying MG Freedom Gundam, Sazabi and Nu Gundam I bought in KL onto the Air Asia plane and used up the entire luggage compartment for the three kits, some other passengers seemed really pissed back then. Boy, was that embarrassing XD But no way was I putting my models in the hands of those cargo handlers. I went all the way to KL to get them, and got them all the way back to Kuching. Awesome. ^^

More and more Gunpla fans

So ya, over the years, more and more people have started going into Gunpla, and identified it as a great interest they can enjoy. That's great, because it's indeed a really fun thing to do. The same interest I enjoy, I'm very happy to have so many people who feel that same as me now. Maybe they would have some of those funny stories to tell about their model kits. It would be great if we get to talk about it together.

But obviously, even when the same interest converges, people have unbelievable ways to enjoy the hobby, which I cannot associate myself with at all.

Darn Youtube video again!

Through a friend's email, I watched how someone threw down a Wing Gundam from the top of a building and smashed it. Frankly, I couldn't continue the moment I saw the smash. What was the video for I don't know, but for me, it was very disheartening and cruel to watch. It's not my kit, but somehow I feel the pain of the kit. All well and nice, but smashed for? I have no idea what the point of doing so at all.

Another fight there was

Reading the comments if even more disheartening, where people commented that it was fun to watch (!) Some people disagree and there was a fight, just like the different Gundam anime fan bases, the segregated Gunpla fans, and now, a smashed Wing Gundam.

I wasn't into the content of the fight. Instead, I was wondering, what exactly has the interest turned into over the years. Because of the abundance of Gunpla releases we are getting today, the value of them in our life become significantly less and less? That they are now just a bunch of plastic parts we enjoy when we feel like it, and trash when we are not happy? Maybe affordability, a good thing enabling more fans to be in this interest has part to play in this issue, but that's silly. I don't want to see Gunplas being a high-price merchandise line only certain groups of people can afford and enjoy. Then again, price is not really a point here, because some other stuff in one's life may be value-less as well, but we treasure them forever.

Don't get me wrong here

Again, like at the beginning of the posting, this is not about my protest to whoever made that video, it's his property, that's true, and by doing so, it shows that he's rich, that's excellent for him. I'm happy for him, truly. But I don't recognize myself among these people. If I'm a Youtube user, I would just close that video and say nothing about it again, but I cannot do so with my blog. I can keep quiet but I don't discriminate anyone on my blog, and like I said in my profile info, however outdated you want to call it now, my blog is created to share my interest in Gunpla with everyone. Yet, I feel immensely uncomfortable at sharing my interest with the people who do not share the same appreciation I have towards Gunplas. That's why I choose to leave. Not because someone has done something wrong to annoy me and I'm closing down my blog to show my protest, nothing remotely like that. I just don't want to be with these people anymore, and to think that my blog is catering to people like these, I don't feel the same passion I have in the previous years in updating it anymore.

Back to the restaurant example

I just felt like I'm in a restaurant where I see some people I don't want to be with, I bag my belongings and go somewhere else. Just like that, I do that in real life actually, but I didn't say anything decremental to him or her while on the way out, so there's no conflict there. I leave because of my own judgment and feeling. It doesn't affect my interest, it doesn't affect the other guys' feeling, everyone is cool.

Or in another way of saying it, there's nothing wrong with throwing your Gunpla down a building, there's nothing wrong with setting your Gunpla on fire, there's nothing wrong with whatever you do with your Gunplas at all. People have different way with treating their interest. I understand that completely and I'm not at all in any position to place my value judgment on them. I'm too little and too insignificant to do so. On my part, what I can do is choose how to respond. Like many others who feel the same way as me, we shut up and let it go, and we go to somewhere else to share our interest. Unfortunately for me, my foot step out of the door would be a little bit louder because of the readership of my blog, but the meaning is all the same. Nothing against anyone involved with the video, or anyone who find it nice to watch. My interest in Gunpla is unaffected, but I don't want to be in the same community as those people anymore. Just as simple as that. No hard feeling for anyone at all. This is a very personal choice.

A bit of recap

As a matter of fact, everything I mentioned about leaving my blog have been purely on my side. No one need to do anything at all regarding the close down of my blog, or responding to this long posting. The manner of everything I say so far is very subtle and mild, just like all the postings I did on both my blog. I lost my cool a bit a few years back and did a posting with quite a bit of offensive words, but that wasn't about anything Gundam or Gunpla related. No one need to be upset with what I say today, but if you manage to read up to this far, is there anything that you can relate to in your perception about this interest and the Gundam and Gunpla community in general? If yes, that's good, I have an audience, and that's pretty much all I'm asking for all these years, somebody to share my interest and views in Gundam and Gunpla related matters. If no, that's excellent as well, you are a strong minded person. If you don't care about any of these, that's fine too, just scroll to the bottom of this posting and you can bookmark all my resources for your future references in news and updates, just like how I do it before closing down the blog, and thank you very much for your attention.

Ngee Khiong

Since I'm using my name as the title of the blog, I'm pretty much a straight target. If you're unhappy with what you're reading now or what I wrote in the past, the blame is straight on me; if you can connect with my reviews and postings, you are addressing directly to me as well. I associate myself entirely with my blog because that's the nature of this blog: I'm that person who like Gundam, Gunplas and everything I write about on my blog, and if you get to see me and we're not talking about serious academic stuff, we can talk about anything you read on my blog with me. My blog reflects that. My contact has been published since a long time ago, and it's indeed directed at me. I guess what I'm trying to say here is, I'm what my blog represents, I like the things I blog about, and I don't mind the work of sharing what I read and saw with everyone who can connect with me.

I'm just an ordinary person with a blog

I like all those hobby stuff, I blog about them but at the same time, I'm not the best site because everything I post about, some other websites and forums have already posted about them. I got the news from them, they are the better ones, and to show my appreciation to all of them, I provide the link, the full URL to every site I got the news from. They are the heroes for what we know today, I'm just a fan sharing the news, the translation job is just extra work. If you like what you read, you can use the source you find in every posting on my blog to show your appreciation to them as well.

Wrong name, no problem

As a matter of fact, most people got my name wrong in emails and comments. ^^; My full name is Chang Ngee Khiong, the last name is Chang. I suppose the proper way to write that is Ngeekhiong Chang, where Chang is my last name. Quite confusing I know, but that's how our chinese-english name works here in Malaysia. Most people thought that my first name is Ngee and my last name is Khiong. That's not true, but it's fine. It's kind of funny too. When I see messages or emails like that, I never try to correct it as well, because it's not important at all. Let's talk about our interest instead of the name, because that would the more important and interestingt. I'm just a normal fan, just like so many other fans out there who don't have a blog, the name isn't important.

On hate mails

On the negative side, every insult pointed at me is regrettably, extremely painful as well. Every now and then when I receive hate mails, my brain will tell myself to ignore them because there are people out there who like to hate, but my heart will always ask myself if I've said anything wrong to upset anyone in the most recent postings I did. I always look at my blog in the same way I set it up 4 and a half years ago. The intention is just to share my interest with everyone. I have a lot of sources of information that I found out and gathered over the years going into my blog (again, thanks to the many websites and forums before me), and I'm sharing all of the news I read with everyone who is reading my blog. That's it.

Blog income

I'm not sure what made people go mad at me. If you feel that I'm earning a lot of money but I'm doing nothing to show my appreciation to the fans using the money, I'm sorry but that's not the case. The main source of income is the Nuffnang affiliate program you see on the top, center and top right corner of my blog, and it's Malaysian based. Most of my readers are from North American region, so, nothing much for me at all. I got my first USD$100 check Amazon Affiliate this year for putting up the various advertisements on the side bar and at the bottom of the page for about four years of work, so that one is not so good as well in terms of income. ^^; Another source is undisclosed, but from how many emails I receive everyday urging me to share the partnership of my blog with them, or to spend more time going into the optimization part of my blog, I bet I've wasted a lot of the commercial potential of my blog, but I'm fine with that.

Money versus interest

The monetary part is really a puny portion of my blog. I do not feel the need to go and earn money from my blog, nor the intention to put in the effort to actually explore the issue. I mean, if this blog is a major financial success to me now. I won't let it go easily, I can say a lot of nonsense to make some people happy, earn the money and care nothing about my interest. That's possible, but I will be betraying my own interest and those who wanted to really share the interest with me. That's something I won't do for sure.

"Just do it man, earn the money, laugh at the loot, pretend that you like it, what's so hard about that? It's legal too" I'm sorry, but no thanks (tired smile ^^;)

The great fall

I suppose the "strange" ideal I have about the money part will be the same as this abrupt ending of my blog as well. I sit back and think about the wording in the previous posting, and maybe the politically correct way, the gracious way to end the blog would be to say that I have other work to attend to, to pursue a higher degree in my education and I cannot continue with updating my blog anymore. I'm sure no one would be intimidated, and I can retire with the greater respect. People are expecting me to fall into the abyss for the stupidity I might show in this last posting, the so called "great bashing on certain people". However, given how I felt over the years, saying that I have other priorities is just a dumb lie. Now it's the time to end something I once enjoyed so much, but with my true feeling, just like my own interest. I talk about everything I like in the hobby world very honestly over these four and a half years, and now I need to end it, in this rather unpleasant way for some people indicated in this posting, and for so many who follow my blog intensely sharing the same interest as me (I'm so sorry about this). Let me say that I'm not happy to end my blog like this, but a sudden sting of pain is so much better than a prolonged state of suffering.

Blame me for the good of everyone, please

And also, looking at how much news causing the trouble in the Gundam and Gunpla community are coming from me. I think the end of this blog would probably be a good thing. The sudden end of the blog might be a wake-up call for many who are in the pool of worthless argument. "Hey look, the Ngee Khiong blog has admit that he caused all the trouble." "Hey, the source of the news has been identified, it's that dummy Ngee Khiong, let's put the blame on him and make him suffer. We'll have peace among ourselves, for the good of everyone. There's no need to fight, the culprit is not among us, but is that Ngee Khiong." That would be great, I'm willing to take the blame. Now that this is the last posting I'll ever do on this blog, I won't defend myself, for I do feel the responsibility to carry the weight of the problem I caused through reporting on certain issues. And often, it might be useful, you know, no weapon, no way to fight, and then people can start to sit down and rethink whether there's a need to fight. Maybe the end of this blog can bring a fresh restart to everything in the community. I won't defend myself at all, this is my last posting, so the blame will be here as well.

Convenient, but if taking the blame is the most useful part of me and my blog in the entire Gundam and Gunpla community, it's fine. I tried and failed, this is what I deserve actually.

Do a better blog than Ngee Khiong

With that said, please hear me out on one thing that might be useful to you as a Gundam and Gunpla fan. People often say that I get the news the fastest, and I'm a good source of information. Let me tell you this: if my blog is indeed a good one in your eyes, make no mistake that you can do it as well, maybe way better than mine, with even better balance between content and monetary reward, and better jokes as well. ^^ You can do better than I can, and receive just as much appreciation from others on your work. I'll share with you every source I have where I got my news and information from in the past four and a half years, bookmark all of them and check everyday, learn to use Google Translate, Excite Translate and this useful Katakana chart for translation, use Yahoo Flickr! or Imageshack for free image hosting, convert your passion in looking at the news and get excited about them into the strength to write them out on your blog, give thanks to where you see the news originally by providing the links, and that's pretty much it. I did over 5,000 postings in the past in almost the way as mentioned above, with or without translation that is.

I failed badly on this task. I just wanted to share what I know, nothi
          Bilderbergers Excite Politicos        

POLITICO | Politics | Bilderbergers excite conspiracists

By KENNETH P. VOGEL | 3/15/09 6:53 AM EDT

The highest levels of the Obama administration are infested with members of a shadowy, elitist cabal intent on installing a one-world government that subverts the will of the American people.

It sounds crazy, but that’s what a group of very persistent conspiracy theorists insists, and they point to President Obama’s nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, as the latest piece of evidence supporting their claims.

It turns out that Sebelius – like top administration economists Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers and Paul Volcker, as well as leading Obama diplomats Richard Holbrooke and Dennis Ross – is a Bilderberger.

That is, she is someone who has participated in the annual invitation-only conference held by an elite international organization known as the Bilderberg group.

The group, which takes its name from the Dutch hotel where it held its first meeting in 1954, exists solely to bring together between 100 and 150 titans of politics, finance, military, industry, academia and media from North America and Western Europe once a year to discuss world affairs. [...]

          Seid doof!        
Jedes Inhaltsangebot, das ein gewisses Niveau sein Eigen nennt und pflegt, sollte nach Meinung vieler gelegentlich ein intellektuell gehaltenes antielitistische Essay bereit halten, denn aus der Doofheit kommt die Kraft. Der genauso freundliche und geneigte wie verständige Leser hat sicherlich sofort erkannt, dass „Doofheit“ (vs. Dummheit) geschrieben war, und so wollen wir diese kurz definieren: […]
          Alith Guild (FC) *EU-Cerberus* is Recruiting! a PvE, Social, Casual, Mature, Community guild        
Alith has arrived in Final Fantasy XIV!
A Social, Casual, Mature, Community Free Company on the EU Cerberus Server

Alith is a friendly, social, casual, mature, PvE guild (Free Company) located on the Cerberus server of Final Fantasy XIV Online.  Having enjoyed great success in Aion, Tera and Elder Scrolls Online over the last 8 years, we've built a reputation of being a respectful, fun focused, close knit community who believe we all play MMO's to have fun with great friends.  As an Alithian, you can expect a non-pressured, supportive environment, with a leadership team who don't believe in imposing strict rules on the community, but promote an ethos of "play the way you like, when you like, with whoever you like".  We don't involve ourselves in guild politics or drama, and we encourage a spirit of positivity, tolerance and respect.  In Alith you can expect to see regular guild social events, competitions, dungeons, raids, helpful guildmates and of course plenty of jokes & banter.  Our experienced & dedicated officer team are super excited about going on this journey to Eorzea with you all, we want to be known as THE PvE commuinity that everyone wants to join in Final Fantasy XIV Online!


Alith have arrived in Eorzea and we're so excited!  After 8 fantastic years filled with great memories & friendships, we're embarking on another great adventure.  Alith has always been about community and great friends enjoying awesome experiences together in gorgeous fantasy worlds.  What better place to build our awesome family, making new memories & friendships, than Final Fantasy XIV Online.  Quite frankly, the game has everything we could hope for, to make our home, and have heaps of fun for a long time to come.  Alith has always fundamentally been a social, PvE orientated guild, and the world of Final Fantasy XIV certainly is not lacking in amazing PvE content & a beautiful world to explore!  With plenty of dungeons, raids, group questing, exploration, not to mention tons of fantastic game & guild systems and a wonderful community, Final Fantasy XIV really is THE game for Alith.  We can't wait to enjoy the game with you all, whille growing our community steadily into the big fun loving family we've always been known for.

Existing Alithians will know, we've just come over from ESO, and over the last few weeks we've been working very hard in the background getting the guild ready for this exciting launch.  We of course would love to welcome everyone from Alith ESO to join us for the adventure over in Final Fantasy XIV, if they'd like to join us for this great new adventure.  We also want to open our arms to everyone in the Final Fantasy XIV community, who share our values and want to be part of a very special community.  Alith has always been, and will continue to be the community where everyone is respectful of each other, and just wants to have fun in a friendly, supportive, tolerant, fun loving, pressure-free environment.  Play the way you like, with whoever you like, whenever you like!  We're located on the Cerberus server of FF14, and our goal is to become THE PvE guild that everyones wants to join on Cerberus, a safe haven for all fellow casual, non-elitist, mature players - and we woud love to have you along for the ride!


Deputy Leader, Krysalan and msyelf are 100% committed and dedicated to making Alith the success it was in our previous MMO's, and everything you've come to expect from Alith.  With a combined tenure of 11 years leading Alith, we really understand what it means to be an Alithian and intend to lead by example, creating a community that we can all be proud to be a part of.  Alith will continue to have a presence on the social media scene, so you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch and Discord.  After a successful year of our very own guild podcast (Alith-Cast) we're also excited to confirm that the show will indeed continue, with a new Final Fantasy XIV flavour.  We need to focus on building up the community, but keep your eyes peeled in the future for the return of the show!  We hope you like our new shiny website - as you can see we have a new, brighter, Final Fantasy flavoured look & feel.

So what are you waiting for?  We'd love to have you in the family, so if you're keen to join us just CLICK HERE to apply to join the guild.  All we ask is that you share a bit about your personality with us, so we can ensure you'll fit in and be happy in Alith.

We can't wait to see you all in Eorzea - long live Alith!
Kind Regards
Belazarus & Krysalan

          Should academics try to engage the public?        
Science Hell by Tom GauldThis may seem like an odd title given the fact that I write a blog and I also have an active social media presence. But the question of public engagement is one that does come up often in academic circles, where we are increasingly encouraged to generate impact and communicate our research to the wider community. But while many see benefits, there is still some reluctance to doing any sort of communication outside of the recognised channels of academic publishing in the shape of books and journal articles. I remember having a conversation with a colleague who admitted that they only wrote for about three or four people, as nobody else would understand or be interested in the subject. Another colleague laughed at the idea of open access and allowing publications to be read by more people as a futile exercise. She asked: “who would want to read what we write?” This may sound elitist, but in some areas of study the intended audience is not…
          Margaret Cole - a forgotten figure        
Two weeks ago, I sprained my ankle.  The accident happened in part due to my haste in wishing to visit some new charity shops in a town I haven't visited before.  I've been sitting with my foot up and reading.

So here is a post in homage to my great affection for both books and charity shops.

"Growing Up Into Revolution" by Margaret Cole
This book is a first edition, but only because it was never popular enough to call for a second.  The book was marked by the charity shop as £1, then marked down to half price.  I would have bought it anyway.


Did Michael steal, buy or donate the book from/to the Library?
It was written in 1948, published in 1949, and owned by someone called Michael Graham in 1950.

I have touched on Margaret Cole in a post about detective stories, but my interest in her originated in two facts.  Firstly, she was an exact contemporary of Vera Brittain - both born in 1893. I have written several posts about Vera Brittain and her contemporaries. And even male contemporaries.

Secondly, Margaret was a pioneering female writer, socialist and feminist.  Of course, these are among the reasons why Vera interests me, but Margaret differs in one major respect.  She was less involved in World War One.  Margaret's husband, GDH Cole, was exempted on account of vital war work, and her brother, Raymond Postgate, was imprisoned as a conscientious objector.  (Vera is, of course, most famous for her War biography, "Testament of Youth").

Margaret, much less famous altogether, did not write anything so memorable.  Her autobiography is a fairly amateurish and intimate effort, and all the more charming and interesting for that. 

She is brazen about her middle-class upbringing - a family home in which two maids slept in the attic, a father who was an academic at Cambridge, and servants from the first day of her married life.  In this she is no different from Vera Brittain.  Both write without a trace of apology of having a live-in couple to "do" for them, and nursemaids for the children. 

It's hard for someone like me, and my contemporaries, to read this without fury and scorn.  Having had no such luxuries, we struggled to bring up our small families, of two children maximum, and achieve anything at all in professional working life.  A woman had to be truly exceptional in energy, ability, contacts, and confidence to do more than work part-time or anywhere other than a school.  This was in the 1970's before the Equal Pay Act, before free nursery provision and before extensive maternity pay and leave. 

However, we did have washing-machines and vacuum cleaners.  These are, in my view, the top two labour-saving devices.  Later, we had dishwashers, tumble-driers and microwaves.  Disposable nappies came along in time for the second child.  We had fridge-freezers, central heating, electric ovens, indoor plumbing. And our own car, and bank account. 

Without domestic help, (in pre-war days one servant of some kind per actual family member seemed the norm) Margaret and Vera (and all the others) would have had to spend their entire time scrubbing floors, operating mangles and dolly-tubs, boiling water on primitive gas stoves, washing up without rubber gloves, walking to local shops every day for perishable foods, and lighting fires on open hearths which then had to be cleared and emptied daily.

So really, for women without her "standard of living" (Margaret's own words) anything they wrote would be likely to be "Got up at six.  List of chores.  Put children to bed, went to bed, end." Every day for three decades.

Margaret writes about her relationship with Beatrice Webb, who was born a generation earlier.  For that generation, all the above applied, but it was also necessary to have NO children (Beatrice was childless), and ALSO to have a private income.  Because doing any kind of work at all would have been incompatible with achieving something in the realms of thought, social activism, and writing.  Virginia Woolf, born thirty years after Beatrice and ten years before Margaret, wrote about this memorably in her essay "A Room of One's Own".  Life was also tough for any man born without contacts or independent wealth, but it was not nearly as bad for a man.  They did not have to do any domestic work, or bear and nurture children.

So although one's first reaction is fury on learning that Margaret was educated privately at Roedean, (synonymous with "elitist" during my Sussex childhood), one has to accept that for women, certainly, conditions of life were such that nothing could be achieved at all without a certain level of advantage. It does not mean that Margaret was a hypocrite, or insincere in her devotion to liberal socialism.

The work of Beatrice Webb, founder member of the Fabian Society, co-founder of the London School of Economics, and of the New Statesman, provided a platform for efforts a generation later by those who fought for women's rights in the 1920's and 1930's.  People like Margaret Cole continued that work, and she and her Fabian contemporaries helped to build the platform which led to the first truly successful Labour government in 1945.

You have to read a book by Vera Brittain's daughter, Shirley Williams, called "Politics is for People" to realise just how integral the aims of Labour party pioneers have been to the society we take for granted today.  Here's a list of the objectives Baroness Williams noted down in the 1960's, which have since been enacted in law.
(Although such is the pace of change that some of them have been written out again, or they survive under different names).

The Freedom of Information Act
Educational Maintenance Allowances
Parent Governors and School Councils
Traning Allowances for Youth Unemployed
The Scottish Assembly
Devolution and Regional Government generally
Biotechnology and Renewable Fuels
Private Finance Initiatives (PFI)
Regional Small Business Agencies funded by central government
Breaking down social segregation in housing

In fact, the only idea Baroness (sic) Williams listed which has not been pursued to the Statute Book is the abolition of Private Education. 

Margaret Cole, her husband and her contemporaries worked tirelessly to pursue the fundamental aim of improving the lot of the large majority of people born without privilege or advantages.  The fact that all these people were privately educated, and owned homes which even Cabinet Ministers would today find beyond their reach, is not the point.  Although in truth it's taken me a while to get that point in perspective.  And, crucially, Margaret Cole was a mother of three, in a time when mothers were not expected to do anything at all outside the home.

She dedicates her book to her first-born, her elder daughter Jane.

Jane, born in 1921, went to America as a war bride in 1946.  Her mother writes movingly of the normal emotions and reactions of grandparents being strained to the utmost because of the 3,000 mile distance between them.

All in all, this book is a fascinating insight into a lost and forgotten age.  We should pay more attention to history, and facts. Young women today who revel in their freedoms, their careers and their more equal relationships, might be surprised to learn that less than 100 years ago their lot would have been entirely different, were it not for the work of people like Margaret Cole.  Of whom almost no one has ever heard. 


          AR-15 Mag Guide Part 2: Polymer        


Our previous entry on AR-15 magazines read like a strange combination of choose your own adventure, and a buyer’s guide to these little capacious cartridge-carrying commodities. It helped readers decide on the best magazine to fit their wants and needs for America’s favorite rifle.

This second entry into the series assumes readers decided that in the battle between polymer and metal magazines, they choose polymer. (Don’t worry traditionalists, a metal companion piece will go live later this month as well.)

Polymer magazines are a great choice for shooters who want the lightest, most durable method of carrying rounds for their rifle or carbine. While Magpul Dynamics is responsible for the rise in popularity of these magazines, polymer mags have been around for much longer than Magpul.

Technically, the first mass-produced polymer magazine was made in Russia from what is erroneously referred to as Bakelite. The faux-wood material used in old radios, jewelry and ICBM warheads is actually different from what the Reds employed in their wooden-like magazines.

The Soviet used a substance called AG4, and was one of the first Nylon-based polymers invented. Unlike most polymer magazines today, the AKM AG4 magazines are ultra-rigid, somewhat brittle and feature a glossy finish – not exactly high speed low drag.

The West didn’t produce a comparable polymer magazine for America’s favorite black rifle until the 1960’s when William Howard of Wilson, NC founded Thermold Magazines in an attempt to sell the idea to the US military. He sought to replace aging stocks of USGI STANAG magazines whose performance left many wanting.

While the US didn’t show any interest in the mags, the Canadian military did. Our Northern neighbors purchased tens of thousands of magazines for their C-series of M16 derivatives and have been mostly happy with them. The only exception is when running blanks on full auto. After several magazine dumps the rifles would get hot enough to melt the feed lips of the Thermolds, earning them the dubious nickname, ‘Thermelts’. 

Between the production of Thermolds and Magpul PMAGs, the Israelis also tried their hand at a polymer AR15 magazine. The result was the Orlite magazine. Some shooters wear by these mags, but I’m not one of them. In my experience, these magazines are less reliable than standard aluminum magazines, and should thus be avoided unless ultra-cheap or free.

Since both of these magazines, and many imitators have been around for so long, the used market if positively flooded with sub-standard polymer mags. So shooters not in the know often get burned buying anything but magazines from mainstream companies like Magpul. While these PMAGs are undeniable the gold standard for AR15 magazines, there are other equal and even superior options, provided shooters are wiling to pay for them. Rather than have shooters suffer through several bad buys, I’ve condensed six polymer AR15 magazines every AR15 owner should have.


HexMag HX30-AR Magazine

We recently posted an article about the maker of these geometric pattern magazines, but they’re newsworthy on their own. These high-impact polymer magazines feature blaze orange anti-tilt followers that make is easy to check their status, while reliably feeding rounds to your favorite carbine.

For shooters looking to shave every ounce from their setup, the HexMag HX is one of the lightest magazines available for the AR15. They use a fiber reinforced polymer which is lighter than the polymer used in most polymer AR15 magazines, while featuring a heat-treated 17-7 PH stainless steel spring for years of consistent performance. Available in 30, 15 and 10 round capacities.

Lancer L5 AWM AR15 Magazine

Lancer L5AWM

What happens when an aerospace composites manufacturer attempts to build the perfect AR15 magazine? The Lancer Systems L5 Advanced Warfighter Magazine.

These ultra-durable polymer magazines are available in several color variations including translucent white and gray, as well as opaque solids like FDE and standard black.  But it’s not what’s on the outside that sets these exceptional magazines apart from competitors, it’s what on the inside.


Unlike more prolific polymer body AR15 magazines, the Lancer series of mags feature steel reinforced feed lips and collar. While this makes the magazines slightly heavier than most, it ensures they’ll tolerate hard use and abuse for years – and still continue to feed properly. A favorite of competition shooters, these magazines are the author’s favorite. They even reside in his personal defense carbine, and competition rifle.

Elite Tactical Systems Coupler Magazine

Elite Tactical Systems Group Magazine

These smoky, translucent magazines are a more recent arrival to the polymer magazine scene, but are an excellent addition nonetheless. Constructed of an extra rigid proprietary polymer compound, they boost increased resistance to feed lip cracking caused by drops. Particularly, landing on those feed lips while loaded.

The magazines feature pronounced reinforcement ribs along the bottom half of the magazine body, and an oversized baseplate with a polymer cartridge protruding from the base. This faux round is actually the magazine disassembly button, that when pressed allows the baseplate to be slid forward and free of the mag body. This makes maintenance and cleaning a rapid, effortless affair.

One feature not found on any other polymer AR15 magazine, is the built-in coupler system. This allows magazines to be attached to one and other in the same style as so-called jungle magazines. It’s a nice feature for shooters who wish to keep a reload close at hand, but don’t want to buy a separate coupling system.

Troy Industries Polymer BattleMag

Troy Industries BattleMag

Troy Industries made a name for itself with high quality railed handguards, effective muzzle devices and other well-made firearm accessories. It was a logical choice for them to create a quality magazine to go along with all their other products.

Featuring a fish-scale pattern body and ultra-slim profile, these magazines avoid the pitfall most polymer magazine fall into: snagging on magazine carrier pouches.

Available in multiple colors including FDE, black and olive drab, these tough mags also include an optional, extended baseplate tab to facilitate easier extraction from pouches and carriers. The polymer used in these magazines isn’t as hard as that employed on the ETS magazine, and even feels somewhat spongy. Though this extra, ‘give’ permits the magazines to bend when others might break. These magazines are available in a pinned 10, and standard 30 round capacity.

Plus they have the distinction of being sold in-stores at many non-firearm-centric sporting goods shops, so picking up some in a pinch won’t involve next-day air shipping.

Tapco Intrafuse Magazine and rusty tin can

Tapco Intrafuse

Tapco often gets an unfair shake in the gun world. Many shooters dismiss their products as second rate, based solely on the reputation of its AK furniture components. While I admit I was a little biased towards that magazines myself, after running them for a few hundred rounds I have to say I’m impressed.

While the aesthetics of the magazine will turn some shooters off, their functionality will not. They utilize quality anti-tilt FDE followers and heavy duty magazine springs to provide consistent, reliable feeding. The pronounced magazine ribs that many elitists bemoan, are actually integral to reinforcing the design and provide increased rigidity that allows the magazines to tolerate harder use.

While the nylon-filled polymer used in their construction might not be as cutting edge as others on the list, Intrafuse magazines make great range mags and can often be found for very cheap. Plus if a shooter manages to destroy one, Tapco has great customer service that will be happy to replace any faulty items.

Loaded Magpul Polymer PMAG

Magpul PMAG

The gold standard of AR15 magazines introduced the masses to the wonders of polymer construction. Originally founded selling Magpuls, or loops that attached to STANAG magazines that made them easier to retrieve from a magazine pouch, Magpul has built an empire.

From polymer magazines to iPhone cases, the brand of Magpul has built a cult of personality around their high quality products, and the zeal of those followers. Though this zeal isn’t misplaced, their magazines are much lighter and more durable than the STANAGs they sought to dethrone. But now that they aren’t the only major polymer magazine-maker, are they still as relevant?

In a world: absolutely.

The same reasons that enamored shooters to them more than a decade ago still stand strong today: dependability, durability quality and a fair price. At the risk of sounding like a paid advertisement, these magazines are flawless as both range and home defense choices.  They might not be as durable as some of the more advanced examples above, but shooters will be hard-pressed to find a more reliable, durable magazine for the price.

Polymer AR15 magazines offer shooters the best solution to keeping their favorite rifle fed, without extra bulk or weight. On top of that, they’re far more durable than aluminum AR15 magazines, immune to rust and are virtually crush-proof. They can be somewhat tricky to pull from carriers and vest pockets on newer apparel, but once broken in are great.

Given the price of magazines now, shooters looking to get serious about shooting should buy cheap, and stack deep.  After all, the best magazine in the world is the one closest at hand when you need it.

          Pundit Amaradeva & Sinhala Song ; A different perspective        
"Maestro Amaradeva belonged to the generation of pioneers, whose quest was the Sri Lankan identity and the indigenous character. The country is indebted to him for the exceptional service he rendered to us by exploring the roots of local music to enrich it to an unprecedented high. Maestro Amaradeva reached the pinnacle of Sinhala music and brought fame to our nation."

Above is a quote from the official message of condolence by HE the President, Maithripala Sirisena on the sorrowful demise of Pundit Amaradeva. Reading through many such appreciations by many distinguished personalities, one would see the core message and reason to mourn Amaradeva's final parting, is no different to that by President Sirisena. The accepted and unchallenged common narrative thus remains, "Amaradeva was the Sri Lankan identity in music with an indigenous character. He reached the pinnacle of Sinhala music and with that he brought fame to our nation. Therefore the whole country is indebted to him.”

All of it contains heavy contradictions from beginning to end. All of it brings to discussion, what the Sinhala perception of "the country" and the "nation" is. What a 'Sri Lankan' identity is with an indigenous character.

To begin with, let me say that Amaradeva was no musical demigod. He was an exceptionally talented human being with an unusually emotive voice. With that he grew to fame born into a Catholic-Christian society in Koralawella, Moratuwa and then determinedly walked through an evolving Sinhala socio political culture to be accepted by its politics as a "pioneer" in Sinhala music who could be identified with the Sinhala Buddhist culture that evolved.

The Sinhala culture, though projected as the "most noble country" in this world (ලෝකෙන් උතුම් රට), lacked any musical tradition all through its history. While all round in every culture, there are folk music traditions with folk songs, Sinhala society that grew influenced by Theravada Buddhism is perhaps the only one that has nothing more than its Pali stanzas (පිරිත්) sung by monks in a rhythmic style and few folk poems, all of very primitive musical patterns. Lionel Ranwala and Rohana Baddage, two among a few others tried to bring those melodies out in creative form to impress upon society that there was a Sinhala musical tradition. Yet, were not rich enough to be moulded into a strong genre to survive.

Sinhala music and song grew within about a hundred years or so and not more. It grew influenced by Christian and Catholic choir singing and Baila after the advent of Portuguese and the Dutch. It grew therefore first in the Maritime Provinces and not within the rural Sinhala society. Thereafter Sinhala song was what the old Tower Hall theatre provided through John de Silva's South Indian borrowed melodies. The long absence of a musical life in Sinhala Buddhist culture and the influence of the Catholic-Christian church alng with borrowed South Indian melodies, was reason for all early singers to be non Buddhists and often non Sinhala too. Names like M.K Vincent, H.W. Rupasinghe, Lakshmi Bhai, A.R.M Ibrahim, Rajalakshmi to later Ananda Samarakoon (George Wilfred Alwis Samarakoon), Sunil Santha (Don Joseph John), Rukmani Devi (Daisy Rasammah Daniels), Mohideen Baig, Latha Walpola, Vincent de Paul Pieris to C.T. Fernando and early musicians like M.K. Rocksami, Mohammad Gauss and R. Muttusamy prove this beyond doubt.  

It was in mid 1930's the search for an established musical tradition for Sinhala song began with the anti Colonial sentiments becoming a factor in the search for a "Sinhala" identity. Dharmapala's Sinhala campaigns and the coming of the Sinhala Maha Sabha perhaps had their impacts too in that. The Sinhala reach therefore was towards the Hindustani or Uttara Bharathiya tradition of music and not the Dravidian Karnataka musical tradition. Uttara Bharathiya musical tradition that was Hindustani and representing a society that was anti British too, went well and better than Karnataka musical tradition with Sinhala sentiments.

Emergence of Kumaranatunge Munidasa's "Hela" language did influence Ananda Samarakoon in deviating him from the chosen Uttara Bharathiya musical tradition to seek musical training in the Tagore tradition at Santhinikethan. His influence from both Hela and Tagore music made him different to the more popular Sinhala songs of the time in both lyrics and melody. His contemporary Sunil Santha also trained in music at Santhinikethan travelled further with his Kumaranatunge influence in Hela language and his affinity to Bengali musical traditions as well. Sunil Santha's command of the Hela language is seen in lyrics that was simple and often about life in rural Sinhala society. His lyrical style fitted well into his melodies both in rhythm and their metre that helped create a new popular genre in music and Sinhala song in the 50's.

Trained in Uttara Bharatiya tradition, Amaradeva grew within this new experimental process of finding a "Sinhala" identity not only in music and song but in film, drama and literature as well. These initial experimental efforts begin with less influence from Kumaranatunge. The 50's, thus bring very creative pioneering personalities like Chitrasena, Sarachchandra, Lester James Pieris, Martin Wickramasinghe and Pani Bharatha in to mainstream Sinhala culture. Though in a very isolated way, this was also a period that saw some Catholic priests wanting to position themselves within the Sinhala culture and Father Marcelline Jayakody's entry as a lyricist records that effort. It was also a period that lessened the influence of Kumaranatunge Munidasa and left more space for an oriental Sinhala path.

This was when in 1956, the Bandaranayake politics made "Sinhala" the official identity of Ceylon, ideologically closing its culture to the outside world. The tagline to this introvert Sinhala politics was "All things local provides all the joy" (සිය රට දේ සිරි සැප දේ). Thus it left Tamil culture deprived of the Colombo centric political patronage the Sinhala cultural activities were privileged with. Though Tamil was also a medium of education, over the years with Sinhala as the official language, the State evolved into a Sinhala State leaving Tamil culture marginalised within its domain of political patronage. The social ideology that dominated planning, designing and deciding all things "national" became the Sinhala mind-set of the State. This eventually made the Sinhala constituency to believe and to act on their belief, as the single "nation" in the country called and known as "Sri Lanka".  

That thinking gave a new and a dominating fillip to Sinhala art and literature, pro 1956. The "Radio Ceylon" carried educative programmes for both children and adults. Classical Raagadhari music was introduced regularly through its programmes for Sinhala listeners. Radio Ceyon was also the place where persons like C, de S Kulathilake and W.B. Makuloluwa had State patronage to experiment in creating a Sinhala musical tradition. Radio  being the most penetrative communicating media then, its influence across the country was more than the print media. Radio Ceylon from mid '50s employed very selective literary personalities like Madawala S. Ratnayake, Dunstan de Silva and P. Welikala to improve the quality of its Sinhala service. The traditional mainstream Sinhala print media also introduced Sinhala literature of good quality for readers.

It was in such a dominating Sinhala cultural milieu that Amaradeva reaches the classical realm of Sinhala culture. His creative ability, his emotive voice and his command of the Sanskritised Sinhala language, provided him the advantage of stamping his footprint in classical Sinhala music very much on a Raagadhari niche, the elitist platform in Sinhala music and song. The more popular platform generally outside film songs and defined by Radio Ceylon as "Sarala Gie" ('Simple Songs', akin to the Western identification of 'light music') being occupied by singers like Rukmani Devi, Sidney Attygalla, C.T. Fernando, Chitra and P.L.A Somapala, Latha and Dharmadasa Walpola, Indrani and Sisira Senaratne and then H.R.Jothipala, Milton Perera to name a few. This popular platform became more cosmopolitan with Spanish and Calypso influence in early 60's beginning with "Los Caballeros" and Neville Fernando provoking a string of musical groups singing simple lyrics in harmony.

Amaradeva thus retained his prestigious position as the "Guru" in Sinhala classical music and song in the company of another less spoken of a maestro, Somadasa Elvitigala. Having worked with renowned lyricists like Madawala S. Ratnayake and Dalton Alwis, he thereafter had the advantage of having Mahagama Sekera as his companion on a journey in finding a new path in Sinhala lyrics and song. The 60's and 70's thus became Amaradeva's golden era. Most songs that were aired by radio and TV channels after his demise were songs written by Sekara. Songs like "Rathnadeepa Janmabhoomi, Wakkada langa, Piley pedura, Sannaliyane, Irata muvawen, Aetha Kandukara Himau Araney, Mala Ira basina" that lift Amaradeva above the ordinary into the legend he is in Sinhala music and song, were all written by Sekara.  

His voice lent a Sinhala flavour to all the songs he sang. His melodies touched a chord in the Sinhala urban and rural middle class that allowed them to feel "Sinhala" in their musical taste. Thus the importance of Pundit Amaradeva is that he co-pioneered a soul searching musical life the Sinhala people lacked from their ancestry. A void the Sinhala people now feel have been filled by Amaradeva. But to call him the Sri Lankan identity in music with an indigenous character and that he brought fame to our nation for which the whole country is indebted to himis beyond Tamil perception. It is also unfair to ask them to accept Amaradeva in such context, even if they enjoy Amaradeva songs. For the Tamil and the Tamil speaking people in this country was not in the process in which Amaradeva grew to be the icon of Sinhala music and there was nothing inclusive in it.

Kusal Perera
06 November, 2016


          Comentariu la Dupa modelul de la centru si la Suceava PNL vrea sa-si pună lider un primar de oraș de Tazmanian DeMoon        
Ca un troll cu patalama și hater înrăit, care bântuie peste 50 de situri și citește sute, poate chiar mii de comentarii, pot să pronostichez că Iohannis va adjudeca mandatul de prezident încă din primul tur și la o diferență de scor liniștitoare, de peste 10 procente. Însă este păcat despre cât poltronism poate cuprinde gubernia bunicului Ștefan. În loc să se indigneze (constructiv) vechea gardă pretoriană a PNL-ului sucevean și să repună acest partid în spiritul onorabil al tradiției istorice, stau toți ca niște limbrici cu nasul în propriul kur și se lasă umiliți și mânjiți de acest trepăduș* PC-ist (fost PUR-ist), care a transformat filiala suceveană a partidului în S.C. „Liberalul” S.R.L. Măcar pentru a salva aparențele și tot ar trebui să aibe cineva curajul să-l convingă pe acest derbedeu încăpățânat*, fără pic de onoare, că este timpul să stea un picuț mai retras, măcar pentru o anumită perioadă de timp. Fiecare apariție mediatică a acestui gherțoi jegos-comportamental* nu face decât să sporească greața ce-o induce în cugetul privitorilor. Cunosc zeci de oameni care imediat ce dau cu ochii de figura lui de imbecil venal*, schimbă imediat canalul sau dau left-click pe iconul exit din fereastra browserului. Nesimțitul ăsta ordinar* nu are habar că priponindu-se cu piroane de 22 în jilțul de șef la PNL Suceava, nu face decât imense deservicii noi construcții politice naționale. Nu numai că nu va atrage noi simpatizanți la coaliția anti-PSD, ci va îndepărta chiar și cei mai fideli susținători. Este careva atât de naiv să creadă că-l doare cumva pe băișan în p**ă de interesul național al momentului? Ete fics pics! El s-o ducă bine, camarila lui, puradeii lui, cumătrii lui, lingăii, cățeii, lătrăii, lacheii, mișeii și derbedeii lui. Chiar nu mai este în tot PNL-ul sucevean nici o coloană vertebrală cu suficientă îndrăzneală încât să-l ia pe quellboss frumușel deoparte și să-i sugereze elegant că este timpul să stea puțintel în umbră? Până la proba contrarie, norocul tuturor stă în persoana lui Iohannis și în electoratul ardelean, care va propulsa pentru prima dată în funcția supremă un ARDELEAN. Deci nu prea contează ce se întâmplă în acest capăt de lume unde se agață harta în cui. Știi care-i diferența dinte un NEAMȚ și un țâgan cocalar*? Faptul că neamțul se ghidează în viață după principiul „Ein Mann, Ein Wort” Adică un OM are un CUVÂNT. Un OM are Onoarea CUVÂNTULUI dat. Și face pe dracu în patru ca să-l respecte și să nu-și întineze ONOAREA. Compară acum cu împuțitul* ăsta care s-a jurat că-și taie p**a și-o dă la rațe dacă PNL Suceava nu obține în alegeri 25 %, apoi 20%, apoi 17%. Poate să-l mai bage careva în seamă pe acest mincinos infect? Mai are careva curaj să se însoțească în vreun demers cu acest țâgan cocalar*, ca pe urmă să iasă țepuit? Dă-l, măi, în morții mamei lui de vierme nevertebrat*. Dar e păcat să rămână în stare de captivitate un partid elitist și care are, tradițional, unul dintre cele mai selecte electorate. În PNL în general nu sunt melteni de tipul lăpușnenilor piesiediști, oameni sărmani cu duhul „care pricep greu și uită repede”. În PNL sunt în general licențiați - profesorime la greu, medici, profesii liberale, etc. Chiar mai mult decât atât, pentru a nu emite o judecată discriminatorie în funcție de nivelul studiilor, se poate afirma că în PNL sunt oameni chiar cu studii medii și gimnaziale care dau dovadă de un spirit antreprenorial excepțional. Sunt oameni care deschid afaceri, creează locuri de muncă și plusvaloare adăugată. Întrebarea finală e: CUM DRAAQU de reușește imbecilul* ăsta să-i țină pe toți captivi? Până nu văd o coloană vertebrală care să pună răspicat punctul pe i, concluzionez că PNL Suceava este afectat iremediabil de Sindromul Stockholm. AM ZIS! ----- * = ș a b
          Comentario en ¿Que es la Resiliencia? ¿Cual es su importancia en nuestro comportamiento? por Marco Antonio Muñoz Tobon        
          The Removal of Cesare Maestri's Bolt Ladders on Cerro Torre        
A couple weeks ago, climbers Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk completed the first "fair means" ascent of the southeast ridge of Cerro Torre, and on their descent successfully removed a large portion of the bolt ladders installed there in 1971 by Cesare Maestri. This has sparked a large debate within the global climbing community, as to whether it was a wise action, and if Kennedy and Kruk had the right to make it. I would personally love to stay un-involved in this debate, but having climbed in the Fitz Roy range for eight seasons, having descended the southeast ridge of Cerro Torre twice, and having attempted the southeast ridge of Cerro Torre twice by "fair means," I feel it is my obligation to share my thoughts. I will try to break this long-winded essay into separate, more managable subjects, starting with my personal history with Cerro Torre.


I have been dreaming of Cerro Torre since I was twelve years old. I don't remember exactly which photo I saw first, but at that time I was already obsessed with climbing mountains, and I specifically remember being awestruck by photos I saw of this mountain. Cerro Torre became my greatest dream - if there was one goal I wanted to accomplish in my life, it was to climb Cerro Torre. When I was fifteen I tried to convince my cousin Aidan, two years younger and my main climbing partner at the time, that we needed to start training, and go attempt the Compressor Route in two years - when I would be seventeen and him fifteen. By the time I was seventeen I knew I wasn't ready for Cerro Torre, but two years later, in 2003, I finally went to the Fitz Roy range with my friend Bart Paull. We managed to climb three of the easier summits of the Fitz Roy massif, and on our last climbing day, on Aguja de l'S, I finally saw Cerro Torre for the first time. On my second trip to Patagonia, in 2005 with Mark Westman, I managed to climb the rest of the seven "major summits" of the Fitz Roy ridgeline, and I decided that I was finally ready to try Cerro Torre.

In 2006 I went to Patagonia with Kelly Cordes, with Cerro Torre as our main goal. At the time my thoughts on the Compressor Route were fairly ambivalent, and we planned to attempt the West Face mostly because it was more suited to our climbing strengths and interests. Although we spent almost our entire trip festering in camp during bad weather, at the last minute a great weather window arrived. We climbed Cerro Torre via a linkup of the "Tiempos Perdidos" route on the left margin of the south face and the Ragni route on the west face (this was the first integral ascent of "Tiempos Perdidos"). The climb was an absolute dream come true - a beautiful, 1,500m line of fantastic ice and mixed terrain, that played perfectly to our strengths as a team, to a summit that I had been obsessing over for ten years.

Kelly and I descended Cerro Torre via the southeast ridge, which neither of us had been on before, and my thoughts on the Compressor Route changed dramatically. It is difficult to comprehend the Compressor Route without seeing it in person - both in terms of the enormous quantity of Maestri's bolts, and in terms of the bolt ladders' locations, in close proximity to easily-protectable, easily-climbable terrain. After seeing the Compressor Route first hand, I knew I had no desire to climb it, and since then I have never considered an ascent of the Compressor Route to be an ascent of Cerro Torre - the climber on that route is simply too disconnected from engaging with the mountain itself.

The following season, I had the tremendous fortune of being in the right place at the right time, and I got to partner with Rolando Garibotti to make the first ascent of the Torres Traverse. Although I can aspire to greater personal goals since I played a lesser role in the Torres Traverse than Rolo, I don't think I'll ever make an ascent more significant than this first ascent. I think that Rolo is certainly one of the best alpinists of our time, and the best Patagonian alpinist of recent years - seeing him at his peak of performance was an inspiration that continues to drive my progression as a climber today. Rolo and I also descended the southeast ridge of Cerro Torre, and I think that season, 2008, is when I first realized that Maestri's bolt ladders ought to be removed some day.

Last year, in February 2011, I made two attempts to climb the southeast ridge of Cerro Torre by "fair means," the first with Zack Smith and the second with Rolo Garibotti and Doerte Pietron. On both attempts we were turned back by poor weather at the base of the ice towers. On both attempts we carried a small bolt kit which we thought we might use on the headwall, rationalizing that adding a few bolts to avoid a few hundred was a sound trade. In hindsight I think it is fortunate that we were turned back by weather - perhaps if we had been able to continue we would have put several bolts in the headwall, which Hayden managed to lead without placing any. It would have been a perfect, short-term example of "stealing a climb from the future."

Since I first read about the Compressor Route, my cumulation of personal climbing experience, my knowledge of climbing history, and my cumulation of personal experience in the Fitz Roy range have all increased by huge amounts, and my opinion of the Compressor route has accordingly changed from an ambivalent one to a conviction that Maestri's bolt ladders ought to be removed. Because of the obviously controversial nature of removing Maestri's bolt ladders, I have never had the courage to act on my conviction. Now that Hayden and Jason have done what I believed in but was too cowardly to do, the least I can do is voice my support for them.


A lot of the discussion surrounding the bolt removal has been focused on who Hayden and Jason are, where they come from, what style they climbed in, if they can be considered "locals" of these mountains, and what their motives were. To me, this discussion is largely irrelevant to the real question: Do Maestri's bolt ladders belong on Cerro Torre, and if they don't, is it right to remove them 40 years after they were installed? For many people I think it is important that the people who removed Maestri's bolt ladders were the same people who first climbed the southeast ridge by fair means, but to me this doesn't matter all that much. I believe that Maestri's bolt ladders do not belong on Cerro Torre, so it really doesn't make any difference to me if they are removed by a Canadian, Argentinean or Cambodian climber, young or old climber. A few years from now we won't care too much about who removed Maestri's bolt ladders, we will care about what state the southeast ridge of Cerro Torre is in.


Several people have been calling for more respect to be paid to Cesare Maestri, who is now in his old age and of failing health. Sorry to be brutally honest, but I simply don't have respect for liars. Maestri told the biggest lie in the history of climbing for the gain of his own reputation. Alpine climbing often relies on the honor system, and unfortunately people like Maestri ruin the system of honesty for all of us. Dishonesty goes beyond the simple game of besting one's competition - consider for a moment that Maestri's drive to be labeled the winner was so great that he didn't even have the decency to tell Toni Egger's mother and sister the true circumstances of how Toni died in the mountains.

The fact that Maestri also vengefully showed the world the most heavy-handed climbing style it has ever seen - the epitome of the "murder of the impossible" - doesn't help him gain respect.

If Maestri were to come clean in his old age, and tell the world what actually happened during his 1959 Cerro Torre attempt, it would probably require more courage than any climb ever demanded of him. If Maestri could do that, I could respect him.


Many people have been bringing up the very valid point that generally in climbing we respect the style of the first ascent of a route. However, people have been neglecting to keep in mind that Maestri did not make the first ascent of the southeast ridge of Cerro Torre. In climbing mountains, especially such sharp needles as in the Fitz Roy range, a successful ascent ends on the top of the mountain. Not only did Maestri not manage to reach the summit of Cerro Torre, but most evidence suggests that he did not even reach the top of the headwall (Jim Bridwell was the first to note this). Therefore, if you want to ask the first ascensionists their opinions about what should become of the southeast ridge of Cerro Torre, you will have to consult Jim Bridwell and Steve Brewer.

Some people will inevitably say that even though Maestri didn't climb Cerro Torre, the style up to his high-point ought to be respected. By that same logic, Maestri would have been violating the style of Fonrouge, Boysen, Burke, Crew and Haston, who climbed half-way up Cerro Torre's southeast ridge in 1968 without placing any bolts. By the time Maestri had reached the same level on the mountain as their highpoint he had already placed hundreds of bolts.


Obviously the concept of "fair means" is very subjective. What one person considers only "necessary" bolts can vary dramatically from what another person considers "necessary" bolts. However, the Compressor Route bolt ladders are far, far, beyond anyone's definition of "necessary" bolts. Even Kurt Albert's routes on nearby Fitz Roy, Aguja Mermoz and Aguja St. Exupery (which have bolted belays every 35 meters or less, and include at least 3 bolts per pitch, immediately next to perfect cracks) are not even in the same realm of over-bolting that the compressor route is. There were some spots on the Compressor Route where a climber clipped to one bolt with a daisy chain could easily touch more than ten other bolts.

How did Maestri put up a climb that was so far beyond anything else in terms of bolting? The answer is that he used tactics that have never been used by another climber before or since. A gasoline-powered air compressor is not climbing equipment - it is industrial equipment. With his compressor Maestri could place a bolt more easily than he could place a chock or piton, so of course bolt-ladders up blank rock, even with crack systems immediately nearby, were suddenly a logical solution for him. Maestri explained that he put a single bolt ladder up the entire 5-pitch headwall because they had forgotten the pitons down below. How does one arrive to 5 pitches below Cerro Torre's summit and only there realize that the pitons were left far below? - only with a gasoline-powered air compressor.

Many people have been comparing the Compressor Route to The Nose on El Capitan. I think that most of these people must not have seen both routes in person. If the Compressor Route were established with the same bolting discretion as Warren Harding used on The Nose, it would have something like 50 bolts on it. On the other hand, if The Nose were established with the same bolting discretion as Maestri used on the Compressor Route, it would have more than 2,000 bolts on it.

I am not extremely anti-bolt. Even Kurt Albert's bolts on the east pillar of Aguja Mermoz (a route which was climbed 90% of the way to the summit without a single bolt, in a single day, before Albert layed siege to it), which go beyond all normal conventions of acceptable bolt use, do not bother me anywhere close to as much as Maestri's bolt ladders on Cerro Torre. I really think it is such a sad shame that the most beautiful mountain on earth (in my opinion), which naturally requires fantastic and difficult climbing to reach its summit, is marred by a via ferrata (And yes, it is a "via ferrata," even if much more difficult than most via ferrata - after all, "via ferrata" means "iron way.").


As in any discussion regarding bolts that some people consider unnecessary, some people have asked why Hayden and Jason didn't just leave the bolts in, and future climbers could always opt to simply not clip them. However, as long as the bolts ladders are there, future climbers are denied an adventure, because the mere presence of the bolts changes one's experience dramatically. With the bolt ladders removed, a climber ventures upward with doubts and fears, constantly trying to gauge where the next protection will be and where the route will go, and climbs with commitment - knowing that a poor route-finding choice might place him or her in a bad situation. With the bolt ladders in place, the knowledge that you can immediately end your fear and doubt at any moment removes the commitment completely. With the bolt ladders in place, the climber is denied the experience of moving fearfully into the unknown, and the elation that comes from finding a good crack or good holds for security. With the bolt ladders in place there is no real adventure; choosing to not clip the bolts can only amount to a contrived game. I certainly am much more inspired to go attempt Cerro Torre's headwall now, as a canvas of natural rock, than I ever was before to go play a contrived game of bolt-skipping.

Thus, climbing for adventure on the southeast ridge of Cerro Torre, and climbing for tourism on the southeast ridge, are completely at odds with each other. As long as Maestri's bolt ladders are in place, one cannot climb for adventure on the southeast ridge, and with the bolts removed, the tourists are denied their easy route to the summit. It really comes down to a question of which you value more, adventure or tourism? I think we can all agree that the currently-popular phrase "adventure tourism" is oxymoronic.

I'm sure that many people will be offended that I refer to the Compressor Route as "tourism," and I'm sorry about that. Ultimately, I think it more important to be honest and potentially offensive than speak tactfully and untruthfully. Quite simply, the Compressor Route is an avenue to "tick" the summit of Cerro Torre without actually engaging the difficulties of the mountain - completely analogous to climbing Everest with supplemental oxygen.


Many people have called Hayden and Jason elitist, because they are forcing future climbers on the southeast ridge to rise to their climbing level, removing the via ferrata which allowed access to climbers who didn't actually posses the skill to climb Cerro Torre's southeast ridge. What then about the poor unfortunate souls who are denied their "right" to summit Torre Egger? What if I went to Patagonia next year and installed a 1,200m bolt ladder up the east pillar of Torre Egger, making it accessible to all the 5.8 climbers who are currently denied their Torre Egger experience?

It is ridiculous to attempt to choose an arbitrary difficulty-level that a route should be dumbed-down to. Here's a concept: just leave the difficulty level as it was naturally!


History is not a physical object. You cannot destroy history unless you are able to burn every book, destroy every hard-drive and erase everyone's memory. At most one can claim that a monument has been destroyed, but history remains unharmed. Maestri showed us the worst example of heavy-handed climbing style that a mountain has ever experienced - it is not something that people will forget. Also, Maestri's air compressor remains lashed to the middle of Cerro Torre's headwall - as long as it remains it will be unmistakable physical evidence of what Maestri did to Cerro Torre (although personally I would rather see it removed).


Of course it would have been much better if Maestri's bolt ladders were removed the year after their installation rather than 40 years after the fact. If that were the case, no one would call them "history" or "Argentine patrimony." However, I think that when the bolt ladders were installed, most of the world wasn't aware of the extent of the bolting. In addition, Maestri's siege on the southeast ridge used 1,000 meters of fixed rope and nine months, so it took a long time before people realized that the bolt ladders could be easily removed in a single day.

For the 40 years that Maestri's bolt ladders were in place, Cerro Torre was a compromised mountain. Very impressive routes that joined the Compressor Route at the headwall, such as Devil's Directissima and Quinque Anni ad Paradisum, will unfortunately always be tarnished by the fact that they ascended the last five pitches of Cerro Torre on a ladder of bolts. This is not the fault of the first ascensionists (Jeglic, Karo, Knez, Podgornik, Kozjek, Fistravek, Salvaterra, Beltrami, and Rossetti - many of the biggest names in Cerro Torre history), because, as I already explained, skipping the bolts immediately in front of you is a contrived game that most alpinists are not interested in. Both of these routes climbed an enormous amount of very difficult climbing to reach the base of the headwall, but the last five pitches of Cerro Torre were stolen from them by Maestri.

The removal of Maestri's bolt ladders was inevitable. If it hadn't been done by Hayden and Jason, it would have been done before too long by someone else. There were other climbers in El Chalten this season who had specific plans to remove Maestri's bolt ladders - and no, it wasn't me or Rolo, but some very strong and accomplished alpinists from Europe.


Some people have told me that anyone who has ever used Maestri's bolts (such as Garibotti, Cordes and myself rappelling from them) cannot support the removal of the bolts without hypocrisy. I think it is almost exactly the opposite in fact - I think that people who have seen Maestri's bolt ladders in person generally have a much better understanding of their physical context than people who have only read about them or seen photos.

Others have criticized Hayden and Jason for using and leaving in place some of Maestri's belay/rappel stations. They did this as a compromise to appease you. If you think that is hypocritical, then feel free to go remove them. There is plentiful natural gear available, and climbing or rappelling the southeast ridge will not be compromised if you remove every last one of Maestri's bolts.


As I said at first, I would personally prefer to stay far away from this controversy. However, I feel that Hayden and Jason have done a great service to the global community of Patagonian alpinists, and it saddens me to see them receive so much criticism for what I consider an altruistic act. Many of the people who agree with the bolt removal are staying quiet simply to stay out of drama (and in fact, some people who have previously expressed their wish for the bolt ladders to be removed, are now back-pedaling in the face of controversy), but I see it as my obligation to speak out in support of them.

I'm sure that many people, particularly on internet forums, will criticize me for writing this essay. Please remain civil. Just because you disagree with my opinion doesn't mean you need to hate me or denigrate me personally. I won't criticize you for lamenting the bolt removal. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.
          Vagabond Opera Brings High Drama Cabaret-Close on Sing For Your Lives!        

It’s a dark and stormy night. The cabaret swirls smoke, euphoria, danger. A burlesque beauty sings a swooping, eerie song and suddenly sprouts a full beard. An itinerant tenor and a melancholic balloonist croon to apocalyptic waltzers. The drums ba-da-boom, the cellos duel, the gitarrón’s been drinking.

It’s Vagabond Opera—you’d better Sing for Your Lives!

Like surrealist Marcel Duchamp packing an entire life’s work into a suitcase, the Portland, Oregon troupe tucks the high drama of opera into the tight squeeze of the sexy cabaret. By turns sinister and seedy, sweet and nostalgic, the brainy, sultry band mashes up Eastern European folk theater and classical grandeur, hot club act and avant-garde klezmer jams, perky musicals and edgy absurdism.
“We love storytelling, creating a world on stage or on a recording,” says saxophonist and songwriter Robin Jackson. “We bring people into a dark cabaret where they forget themselves.” “We draw on Old World elements and genres,” adds Eric Stern, Vagabond Opera founder, composer, and singer, “but we utterly transform them.”

What’s a tenor to do?

Stern adored opera—he used to blast his tape of “The Marriage of Figaro” for his fellow teens in pre-rock show parking lots. He loved opera so much, he had to break it out of its elitist ghetto. Opera was once an art form ordinary people enjoyed, he reasoned, and it was time to take it back to those roots.

“I remember looking around the audience at a Ziggy Marley concert and thinking, ‘Why does opera have to be in an opera house, someplace that seems inaccessible to so many?’” Stern remembers. “Why can’t these people listen to opera in this venue? I wanted to snatch this art and distribute it everywhere.”

Searching for a new approach, Stern found himself omnivorously devouring everything from Hendrix guitar licks and Janice Joplin’s gritty wails, to Romanian horas and Yiddish theater music. “While I love the Western European music traditions, I saw no reason why you can’t incorporate other traditions into opera as well,” Stern reflects. “I’m Jewish and wanted more Eastern European sounds in play, things I wasn’t hearing enough of in classical music.”

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          historia de italo dance        

El Italo disco es un término que refiere a varios tipos de música disco, pop, y dance europea que fue desarrollado durante la década de 1980 en Italia, Alemania, España, y otras partes de Europa. Durante los años 80, el término "Italo-disco" se usó en Europa para describir todos las producciones de música dance no basadas en el Reino Unido, incluyendo algunas de Canadá. En el Reino Unido y los EEUU, el Italo-disco fue prácticamente desconocido para los consumidores. En este tiempo, muchos DJ's italianos comenzaron a experimentar con los teclados, con apenas un dedo y después a elevar la velocidad, inspirándose en el sonido disco americano y muy influenciados por la nueva ola británica de grupos como O.M.D. Human League, Yazoo... pero con esa melodía especial que la caracterizó, sobre todo a partir de 1983 cuando los "Summer Hits" invadieron la escena dance con temas de RYAN PARIS, KANO, MY MINE, P.LION, BALTIMORA, MIKO MISSION, KEN LASZLO...
A partir de 1985 la historia continúa cuando en muchas emisoras de radio FM empezaron a pinchar esas canciones que enganchaban a la primera y comenzaron a ganar terreno a los oídos de los Clubber's de Europa, Florida, Japón... Para intentar definir, ¿qué es la música Italo Disco? lo primero y más obvio sería decir que era la música disco que se hacía en Italia a mediados de la década de los años 80. Pero tratando de definir el estilo en sí, digamos que la base instrumental se caracterizaba por ser muy melódica. En los inicios de este estilo era habitual la inclusión del piano, lo cual ayudaba a crear una atmósfera más melancólica, especialmente en aquellos temas más lentos o de medio tiempo. Por último indicar que la franja de velocidad estaba situada entre los 100 y 150 b.p.m.Haciendo una breve reseña histórica, las primeras producciones de música disco italianas, entre finales de los 70 e inicio de los 80, seguían las directrices de los estilos que entonces estaban de moda, el Disco y Funky, así como los nuevos estilos que surgieron al principio de la década de los 80, como la música electrónica y el Tecno-Pop entre otros. Aunque pueda parecer lo contrario, el Italo-Disco no tuvo una gran repercusión en su país de origen. Sin embargo, ello no significa que algunos temas no estuvieran presentes en las listas italianas. Este fue el caso, entre otros, de "Masterpiece" y "I Like Chopin" de Gazebo, "Happy Children" de P. Lion, "Dolce Vita" de Ryan Paris, "Self Control" de Raf, "People From Ibiza" de Sandy Marton, "Comanchero" de Moon Ray, "Mad Desire" y "Future Brain" de Den Harrow, "The Night" de Valerie Dore, "Looking for Love" de Tom Hooker y "Easy Lady" de Spagna...
Para conocer un poco más sobre los orígenes del Italo-Disco, te recomiendo encarecidamente que leas el siguiente articulo, muy interesante:
La música disco es un estilo infravalorado pero en el que hay mucho que descubrir y disfrutar. En 1974, la música disco era un fenómeno underground, pero sólo 3 años después, todo el mundo la bailaba con John Travolta. Aunque la música disco fue uno de los fenómenos musicales populares más prominentes de la década de los 70, nunca recibió el crédito que merecía. Aún hoy, sigue conservando un halo cutre y kitsch, y pocas personas creen que merezca la pena bucear en este estilo musical para encontrar joyas “avant-garde”. El disco es un estilo "up-tempo" de la música dance de los años 70, especialmente el soul y el funk, y en sus comienzos se hizo popular entre las audiencias afro-americanas y gays de EEUU. La palabra "disco" viene del francés "discothèque", que a su vez es una mezcla entre "disc" y "bibliotèque" Las discotecas nacieron en el París ocupado durante la II Guerra Mundial. Los nazis prohibieron los clubs de jazz y de baile, de modo que la gente iba a locales ilegales a escuchar y bailar música grabada. Uno de esos clubs ilegales, situado en la Rue Hachette, se llamaba “La discothèque”. Más tarde Paul Pacine abrió el club “Whiskey a Go-Go”, donde la gente bailaba discos pinchados por disc-jockeys. Estos clubs fueron evolucionando y extendiéndose por toda Europa en los años siguientes. Pacine abrió en 1960 el club Chez Régine, donde acudía toda la “gente guapa” de la ciudad y la “jet-set” de otros lugares del mundo. Entre ellos también había norteamericanos, quienes, inspirados en el club parisino, abrieron en Nueva York “Le Club”.
Este club no duró mucho, porque enseguida hubo otro que se puso más de moda: el “Peppermint Lounge”. Antes de que la música disco existiera, el vocablo “discotèque-records” se usaba para hablar de la música que se pinchaba en los clubs privados y fiestas “alter-hours” de Nueva York como “The Loft” y “Better Days”. La música en cuestión era una mezcla de funk, soul e importaciones de Europa, la misma música que por aquella época pinchaba el DJ jamaicano Kool Herc en la primitiva escena Hip-Hop. Esa música recibe el nombre de “proto-disco”. El primer 12” fue en realidad un 10”. A mediados de los 70, el DJ Tom Moulton iba a los estudios de Media Sound Records a solicitar acetatos de las últimas novedades. Estaba como loco por conseguir lo último de Al Downing, un tema titulado “I’ll be holding on”. Al técnico de la discográfica, José Gonzalez, no le quedaban discos de 7”, así que Tom le dijo que le planchara el disco en un 10”. “¿Cómo voy a planchar un tema tan corto en un disco tan grande? ¡Es ridículo”- dijo José. Entonces se les ocurrió subir el nivel del sonido hasta +6. El resultado sorprendió a todos.El primer 12” oficial fue la grabación de First Choice “Ten Percent”, editado por el sello Salsoul en su inconfundible formato de 12”. A partir de este momento, cambiaron muchas cosas en las pistas de baile Los tiempos cambiaron, las drogas cambiaron (la droga “disco” por excelencia era el “Poppers”), y nuevos clubs como el “Paradise Garage” abrieron sus puertas; había nacido el maxi de 12”. Por primera vez en la historia, se componían y producían las canciones con la palabra “discoteca” en mente. Los dorados años del disco terminaron con sus audiencias gays diezmadas por el SIDA.
Los sellos de mayor calidad de ésos años son Salsoul, Prelude y West End. No se puede decir que la música disco fuera un fenómeno estrictamente gay (y por tanto vedado a las mujeres, que tenían prohibida la entrada en muchos clubs), pero hay muchos gays famosos en esta escena musical, como Silvester, Giorgio Moroder y Patrick Cowley. La música disco supone también el surgimiento de las “disco divas”, grandes cantantes de soul, funk o R&B, que trabajaban codo a codo con los productores grabando impresionantes partes vocales. Algunas de las más grandes son Loleatta Holloway, Taana Gardner, Gwen Guthrie, Aretha Franklin, o Gloria Gaynor. Podemos encontrar sus partes vocales en grabaciones bajo títulos como Double Exposure, Inner Life, Musique, etc. Estas vocalistas sobrevivieron a la era disco y algunas de ellas siguen trabajando con productores de house, acid jazz, etc. Sin embargo, una vez más, encontramos a pocas mujeres en el terreno de la producción musical, que sería el ámbito de mayor poder. Los 70 también vieron florecer el fenómeno del “gay clubbing”, que se convirtió casi en una religión, en un estilo de vida para muchos gays de grandes ciudades norteamericanas. La imagen “camp” y “glam” que el “gay-clubbing” imprimió a la música disco, hizo que a mediados de los años 70 se percibiera como la música de negros, gays y mujeres de clase obrera. Precisamente esos sectores no estaban representados entre la elitista clase de críticos de rock, que rechazaron de entrada este estilo tachándolo de poco serio. También hubo una reacción de intolerancia machista y racista en Gran Bretaña y EEUU llamada “Disco sucks” (el disco apesta). Era una campaña en contra de la liberación gay y el orgullo negro. Los pro-hombres del rock reclamaban su blanca hegemonía, que, por primera vez, veían en peligro. En la publicación inglesa “The Young Nationalists”, se advertía a sus lectores de la necesidad de luchar contra este estilo de música y su “pseudo-filosofía”, a no ser que se quisiera que las calles de Gran Bretaña se llenaran de “negros y maricones”.
En 1979 (un año antes del cierre de Studio 54), se celebró en Chicago la “Disco demolition night”, en el que cientos de fans del rock quemaron vinilos al grito de “disco sucks!” En 1974 el productor Meco Monardo contrató a la entonces desconocida Gloria Gaynor para grabar un par de temas, “Honey Bee!” y “Never can say goodbye”. Hasta aquí nada de particular: no era más que una de las muchas sesiones que se sucedieron en los Media Sound Studios de Nueva York. Pero cuando llegó el momento de hacer la mezcla, Monardo tomó una decisión revolucionaria: en lugar de dejar la sección rítmica como acompañamiento –la práctica entonces más habitual-, subió los canales del bajo y la batería y los colocó en primer plano, para así dejar atrás la orquesta y la voz de la cantante. El resultado fue sorprendente: había nacido el primer hit de la era disco. El advenimiento de la música disco marcó la caída de los conjuntos de baile. La música de los 70 ya venía marcada por el “groove”, pero el disco enfatizó por encima de todo el “beat”, incluso por encima de la voz y de la canción. Los DJs de los mencionados clubs gays de Nueva York pinchaban discos de soul y funk con una fuerte base rítmica y groove (proto-disco). Esos discos se convertían en éxitos y después se pasaban por la radio y vendían muchas copias. De este modo, las casas discográficas empezaron a producir discos específicamente para la pista de baile. Esos discos también tenían una fuerte componente pop, de forma que llegaran a un gran público. Los albums no tenían muchas canciones, y los “singles” aparecían en formato de 12”, con versiones extendidas para facilitar la remezcla. Con esa intención de la mezcla, los discos marcaba también las cantidades de “bpm” (beats per minute). Así, los beats de la música disco llenaron las listas de éxitos y todos los artistas, incluídos los de rock, grabaron canciones “disco”. Sin embargo, la música disco era un medio de productores, ya que ellos escribían las canciones y creaban los temas. “Sólo cuando la ocasión lo requería es decir, cuando el tema era ya un éxito, se podían reclutar unas caras bonitas o unos cuerpos atractivos, esbeltos y/o musculazos para que prestaran su imagen al producto. Tal fue el caso de Boney M: Liz, Marcia, Maite y Bobby no eran más que el rostro público de las creaciones del alemán Frank Farian. Símbolo del éxito (ciento cincuenta millones de copias vendidas en todo el mundo de hits como “Rasputin” o “Daddy Cool”), Farian se convirtió en el ejemplo a imitar. El francés Jacques Morali contraataco con Village People, un sexteto histriónico (se disfrazaban de camioneros, policías, sioux y demás iconografía kitsch), que pretendió ejemplificar el joie de vivre del colectivo gay.
Larry Levan fue el primer “DJ-estrella”. Se movía entre los géneros disco, house y garage. Durante 10 años reinó en la corte del club “Paradise Garage”, uno de los más importantes de la historia del disco. Muchos DJs de éxito confiesan que la exposición a la música pinchada por Larry Levan en el Paradise Garage cambió sus vidas y les inspiró en sus respectivas carreras. Levan también está considerado el primer DJ en introducir la estética del dub en la pista de baile y el primero en mezclar un amplio y ecléctico abanico musical: “Levan tenía un control absoluto sobre la pista de baile y un estilo único en las transiciones. Combinando diversos estilos y tempos conducía al público a un frenesí total a través de sus eternas mezclas, y usando varias copias del mismo disco podía crear verdaderas remezclas en directo, sobre las que iba alternando efectos de sonido. Como decía en Internet un habitual del club, “la mejor noche de mi vida fue en junio de 1984, cuando Larry pinchó “Music is the answer”, de Colonel Abrams durante toda una hora Con la llegada de los 80, más que morir, la música disco mutó en otros géneros como el “dance-pop”, el hip-hop, el house y el tecno. Se evolucionó hacia sonidos más electrónicos, dando origen a la actual música “house”. Es en estos momentos de transición o “crossover” donde encontramos algunas de las piezas más interesantes. Sin embargo, el house en sus inicios no bebió sólo de la música norteamericana.
En los clubs de Nueva York y Chicago eran muy populares artistas electrónicos británicos como Depeche Mode o Soft Cell y otros de corte más disco como Giorgio Moroder o Klein & MFO; también alemanes como Kraftwerk, belgas como Telex, y miles de producciones de baile italianas (italo disco). El Paradise Garage, en NY, y el Warehouse en Chicago (presidido por Frankie Knuckles), rompieron con las barreras de la raza y la opción sexual (hasta entonces, negros y blancos, gay-les y heteros se divertían segregados), y pusieron el acento en la música. La música que se pinchaba en estos clubs era tan variada como su clientela: música negra basada en el r’n’b, y música disco aderezada con cosas tan diversas como el “Magnificent Seven” de The Clash. Otra mutación de la música disco fue el “no wave”, mezcla de disco y punk. En el verano del mismo año en que se abrieron el Warehouse y el Paradise Garage, 1977, las revistas norteamericanas hablaban de un nuevo fenómeno musical llamado “punk”. A caballo entre el ruido punk-rock y el disco, la escena “no wave” vivió una corta etapa en NY, en estrecho contacto con la escena artística de vanguardia. En esta escena destacan las pioneras ESG, y también The Contortions, Konk, Yoko Ono, Lydia Lunch, Cristina, etc. Básicamente era una actitud musical que rechazaba el formato tradicional del rock ‘n roll (cuerdas, coros), e incorporaba también otras influencias como el Free Jazz y la música negra.

          The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories        
The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories
author: Christopher Booker
name: Mark
average rating: 3.84
book published: 2004
rating: 1
read at: 2017/04/05
date added: 2017/04/05
The Seven Basic Plots
Author: Christopher Booker
Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group
Published In: New York City, NY / London, UK
Date: 2004
Pgs: 728


A small number of basic stories permeate the world. They are hardwired into the human psyche. These plots exist in ancient myths, folk tales, play, novels, campfire tales, James Bond, Harry Potter, and Star Wars. These plots go to the way that we imagine stories and human psychology. Stories that lose touch with their archetypal underpinning.
Literature & Fiction
History & Criticism
Politics & Social Sciences
Folklore & Mythology
Criticism & Theory

Why this book:
Writing and writers and the stories that they tell and we read.

The concept of The Seven Basic Plots is awesome in scope once you consider it.

The Feel:
It is interesting that the mores shattered as they did in the 1950s, when with Lady Chatterley's Lover seeing full publication in all of its details for the first time in history along with other novels and specifically Lolita which predated the unexpurgated Lady. Was it the shift of a flush society free from heavier wants causing this? A freedom from the power of the church in everyday life? Taken in context with Hitchcock's Psycho and its focusing on Norman’s murders and voyeurism, and other less artistic movie and page moments that rounded out the later half of the 21st century, we see how these treatments of those topics and the way that they are explained and touched upon fits in with the seven basic plots. And while all of that is fascinating as a study of the shift in morality, it’s not like it’s the first morality shift ever. It’s just the most televised and widespread visually and aurally. Despite this fascinating sidelight, this really doesn’t get the premise of the book. This book is about half again as long as it could have been.

Favorite Scene / Quote:
Relating the epic of Gilgamesh and James Bond’s Dr No adventure is sheer genius. Puts the concept of this book in perspective immediately.

Totally agree on the great majority of World War 2 fiction being Overcoming the Monster.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:
Androcles and the Lion doesn’t really fit with the Overcoming the Monster paradigm.

I do think that the monster is sometimes wholly human.

Is Mystery an 8th basic plot or is Mystery the plots dressed in different circumstances with a macguffin thrown in and a sense of suspense?

Hmm Moments:
Loved Jaws, hated Beowulf, never really considered that, at base, they were the same story.

Amazing on how many Overcoming the Monsters stories there are out there throughout history.

Feel that the stereotypes of Monster as Predator, Holdfast, or Avenger fits either for protagonist or antagonist roles.

I begin to wonder at where Frankenstein would fit. OtM may only work if Victor is indeed the monster.

Appreciate Ian Fleming’s Bond pattern being given a few pages. Despite the repeating pattern, I did enjoy those books. It just wasn’t the same when Gardner took over and, then, onward to the plethora of authors who became associated with fictional Bond-age. The pattern which holds true for the majority of the Fleming Bonds: the call-anticipation, initial success-dream, confrontation-frustration, final ordeal-nightmare, miraculous escape-death of the monster. This Bondian pattern appears throughout literature. The Thirty Nine Steps used the same format.

The Lord of the Rings is called a Quest. And while it is a Quest, it is also an OtM in that Sauron and, by extension, the Ring, itself, are the monster.

WTF Moments:
The dismissal of The Lord of the Rings as a “not a fully integrated, grown up story” plays as elitist drivel when taken in context with the author’s own assertion that LOTR exhibits all 7 basic plot elements. I believe that LOTR may be one of the best fully realized stories and worlds ever presented in literature, pulp, classical, neo-classical, modern, post-modern, whatever.

Meh / PFFT Moments:
Lists The Magnificent Seven as an OtM, I see The Magnificent Seven more as a The Quest or a Rags to Riches, with the riches being redemption as these bad men find their place in the sun. By the same token, the Sevens, both Magnificent and Samurai, could be seen as Rebirth stories.

I’m not in general a big fan of the Rags to Riches story type. I, also, disagree with the idea that Jack and the Beanstalk is a Rags to Riches instead of an Overcoming the Monster. I guess that some of these fit more than one category.

Disagree with the idea that Lolita is a veiled Raging Temptress. I see it more the in vein of a weak protagonist who fails to Overcome the Monster, with himself as the Monster.

Talks of Dracula and how Jonathan Harker unexplainedly escaped the castle at the end of Part One of Dracula. Always felt that Dracula let him go as both preamble and herald of Dracula’s coming to England to bring his scourge and reign onto England’s nighttime scene.

This has shown me that perspective shows us that many of the stories that we think of as examples of this type can, in many cases, be categorized in many different ways. What I’m gathering from this book, despite Booker’s protestations in classifying classical and neo-classical stories into the seven basic plots, is that many crossover and merge many elements from across the basics. Maybe part of what makes a truly great story is when it’s a little bit Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, The Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth.

Missed Opportunity:
The failure to focus more sharply on the seven basic plots, 8 if we go with the mystery idea.

Last Page Sound:
I’m disappointed, that’s not really fair. I’m unhappy that the reason I read this book, the reason brought up in the title isn’t given full service in the book, which that isn’t really fair either. The ideas and the frameworks of the seven basic plots is here. The problem is that it is covered over in a cat box full of othter ideas. It’s like the author wanted to get into the ideas of the self and ego more than the seven basic plots. I would argue that there are at least two or three tangentially related books hidden inside these 700 some odd pages.

Author Assessment:
I don’t know, would depend on subject matter, length, and whether I felt the focus was tight enough.

Editorial Assessment:
Failure to drive focus to a laser point….or a dull scooping spoon. There were three good books about writing here, but they weren't’ scooped into their own piles.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
not as good as I was lead to believe

Disposition of Book:
Irving Public Library
South Campus
Irving, TX

Dewey Decimal System:

Would recommend to:
no one

          Debatt om Köln: Vänstern mÃ¥ste lära sig hÃ¥lla käft        
...och bli vänner med några muslimer
Bild från Modkrafts debatt i Köpenhamn i tisdags

Vänstern måste bli bättre på att låta kvinnor med minoritetsbakgrund yttra sig i debatten om sexuella övergrepp som i Köln. Det var en av de viktigaste punkterna på Modkrafts debatt om de sexuella övergreppen i Köln på tisdagen i Köpenhamn.

- Det blir så elitistiskt när alla från vänstern talar om den muslimska minoriteten, när de inte känner någon. Det blir något hattedameri (ungefär borgerlig välgörenhet) om alla från vänstern sitter i sina fina lägenheter på respektabla Nørrebro, men inte känner dem, som de hela tiden vill försvara och skydda mot högern.

Så lät upptakten från feministen och debattören Khaterah Parwani tisdag eftermiddag på Modkrafts diskussionsmöte »Köln, sexuella övergrepp och vänstern" i Köpenhamn.

Fem kvinnor var inbjudna som debattörer med avsikten att nå djupare än den vanliga offentliga debatten och de hade alla gått med på att delta med utgångspunkt att nyanserna skulle få plats i ett debattklimat som ofta är svart eller vitt.

"Vita kvinnor måste lära sig att lyssna. När de säger att min berättelse om kontroll och våld är Dansk Folkepartis skrämselkampanj, då kommer jag inte att berätta mina kusiners och systrars historier. Jag måste alltid ta hänsyn till att mina åsikter kan kidnappas av både högern och vänstern. Majoritetssamhället och vänstern bör lära sig att hålla käften och göra plats för några andra röster"

Läs mera i danska Modkraft

Exitcirklen: Khaterah Parwani

Bloggar om politik, feminism  Intressant

12:20 AM.

SAN JUAN DE LA MAGUANA.- El Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) en San Juan de la Maguana fue amonestado por la Cámara Administrativa de la Junta Central Electoral (CA-JCE) por usar al presidente de la Junta en ese municipio en un spot a favor del candidato a senador. Félix Bautista.

“Amonestar, con en efecto amonesta, al Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) en la provincia San Juan, por su inexcusable ligereza al utilizar en un anuncio proselitista de carácter congresional a un miembro de una Junta Electoral, sin su consentimiento”, establece el párrafo tercero de la Resolución No. 01-2010 de la CA-JCE.

En su segundo párrafo la resolución dispone que el comercial en el cual se usa la imagen del presidente de la Junta Electoral de San Juan de la Maguana, Rafael Aramis Gutiérrez Espinal, no se use en los medios de comunicación locales y nacionales.

También se acepta la inhibición de Gutiérrez Espinal durante este proceso electoral y coloca como presidente de esa junta municipal al primer suplente, Bernerdo Lebrón.

En los considerando de la resolución se recoge el testimonio de Gutiérrez Espinal, quien asegura que fue sorprendido en su buena fe ya que se le invitó para que participara en el comercial como un padre de familia que salía de la Catedral San Juan Bautista pero nunca se le explicó cuáles eran los fines del spot.

Explicó que cuando se percató de que el referido comercial era de corte político solicitó al presidente del PLD en San Juan de la Maguana, Ing. Juan Rodríguez, quien además es gobernador provincial, ser excluido de la promoción.

12:20 AM.

SAN JUAN DE LA MAGUANA.- El Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) en San Juan de la Maguana fue amonestado por la Cámara Administrativa de la Junta Central Electoral (CA-JCE) por usar al presidente de la Junta en ese municipio en un spot a favor del candidato a senador. Félix Bautista.

“Amonestar, con en efecto amonesta, al Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) en la provincia San Juan, por su inexcusable ligereza al utilizar en un anuncio proselitista de carácter congresional a un miembro de una Junta Electoral, sin su consentimiento”, establece el párrafo tercero de la Resolución No. 01-2010 de la CA-JCE.

En su segundo párrafo la resolución dispone que el comercial en el cual se usa la imagen del presidente de la Junta Electoral de San Juan de la Maguana, Rafael Aramis Gutiérrez Espinal, no se use en los medios de comunicación locales y nacionales.

También se acepta la inhibición de Gutiérrez Espinal durante este proceso electoral y coloca como presidente de esa junta municipal al primer suplente, Bernerdo Lebrón.

En los considerando de la resolución se recoge el testimonio de Gutiérrez Espinal, quien asegura que fue sorprendido en su buena fe ya que se le invitó para que participara en el comercial como un padre de familia que salía de la Catedral San Juan Bautista pero nunca se le explicó cuáles eran los fines del spot.

Explicó que cuando se percató de que el referido comercial era de corte político solicitó al presidente del PLD en San Juan de la Maguana, Ing. Juan Rodríguez, quien además es gobernador provincial, ser excluido de la promoción.



La historia de La Chinata, empieza en 1932, cuando sus antepasados, comenzaron a molturar las aceitunas procedentes de su comarca, la Sierra de Gata. Su política comercial se centra en una distribución capilar del producto, buscando siempre una buena ubicación del mismo, y evitan colocarse en grandes superficies comerciales, porque entienden que son incompatibles con su desarrollo comercial 


Empresa italiana de maquillaje aficanda en Milán y creada hace mas de 10 años para ofrecer a sus clientes, sean profesionales o no, unos productos de calidad, versátiles y con una imagen cuidada y actual. Los principios activos de todos los productos son básicamente naturales, aceites esenciales, cocteles vitamínicos, extractos de plantas, etc, por lo que además aportan hidratación y nutrición. Son hipoalergénicos y dejan una sensación sobre la piel, fresca y luminosa.



Las ventosas Cellublue son diseñadas y fabricadas en Francia. La silicona utilizada es respetuosa con el medio ambiente y la piel. La ventosa se vende en una pequeña bolsita facilmente transportable que no se rompe. Con esta ventosa revolucionaria todas las mujeres pueden combatir la celulitis.


Segle Clinical es la línea de productos desarrollada por los laboratorios GPS lab de cosmecéuticos antiaging para el cuidado de la piel.
A través de esta marca, GPS lab aporta soluciones innovadoras y biotecnológicas para la limpieza de la piel, prevención y corrección antiaging, activación de las defensas naturales de la piel frente a la exposición solar, y también tratamientos intensivos y específicos para pieles sensibles y contorno de ojos, mascarillas y varias líneas profesionales, entre otros. A destacar nuestros protocolos de tratamiento antiedad.



Son un concepto global de salud y belleza con casi 10 años de experiencia en el sector. Un comercio único en el que la parafarmacia, el herbolario, la perfumeria y la ortopedia se fusionan a la perfección creando una experiencia de compra única. Fundada en el 2006, y sita en Silleda, se posiciona como lider del sector gracias a su exquisita selección de productos de primeras marcas y sus precios


Son una empresa que está al servicio de la decoración y el vestimiento de la casa, desde el año 1972. Nació como un pequeño negocio familiar en Sant Vicenç de Castellet, dedicado a la ropa para la casa, con el tiempo se especializó en el segmento medio-alto de decoración y complementos para el hogar, pero siempre con una política de precios muy competitiva.

El laboratorio Free Farma Europa nació hace más de 10 años con el objetivo de comercializar sus propias marcas y, además, trabajar como distribuidor de otras compañias destacadas, tanto en España, como internacionalmente. Desarrolla su trabajo en los campos, sanitario, nutricional, pediátrico y cosmético, comercializando productos de gran calidad, avanzado desarrollo técnico y alto valor añadido para sus distribuidores y consumidores.


Se encargan de hacer artesanía, regalos, complementos, adornos. por ejemplo, fofuchas, joyeria, broches, decoración y mucho más, todo hecho a mano y personalizado. Además venden el material para que nosotros mismos podamos hacer nuestras propias artesanías.


Es una tienda online de llaveros originales y personalizados con tus fotos preferidas. Disponen de un amplio catálogo de llaveros, clasificados por dos criterios, material en el que están realizados y por ocasiones especiales, también se dedican al regalo de empresa, o para eventos, como en éste caso que hicieron estas chapas tan chulas para nosotras


En ésta página encontraremos una gran variedad de artículos personalizados, broches, llaveros, bisuteria y mucho más. Todos los artículos están hechos 100% a mano, con mucha dedicación y sobretodo con mucho cariño para que salgan perfectos



Aliehs es una tienda que nos ofrece llaveros, monederos, cojines, juguetes y todo lo que nos imaginemos realizado en fieltro. Hacen pedidos personalizados para eventos, bodas y más. Tú pones la idea y ellos la realizan


STAGE LINE PROFESSIONAL MAKE UP es una amplia línea de maquillaje profesional con tratamiento cosmético, complementada con su línea de cosmética profesional STAGE LINE PROFESSIONAL CARE, de alta calidad y buena relación calidad precio, que cubre todas las necesidades que los profesionales del maquillaje, estética y peluquería pueden tener, y a la vez de muy fácil uso para la consumidora final.
 Los productos STAGE LINE (bases de maquillaje, maquillaje para los ojos, maquillaje para los labios...) están formados a base de pigmentos micronizados e ingredientes activos que aportan efectos beneficiosos a la piel. Su principal característica es su fijación incluso en las más duras condiciones (calor, sudor, roces...)


Es una de las marcas más prestigiosas del mercado español dentro del sector de la calcetería, exportando sus productos a más de 32 paises, con un gran posiicionamiento internacional. Tienen el panty perfecto para cada mujer, abarcando todas las ocasiones de uso durante el día a día de sus usuarias. Es la marca principal de la empresa, destinada al público más exigente, con una completa línea de productos básicos.


Nació hace 6 años desde la ilusión y el trabajo. Su sede se encuentra en Lliça d'Amunt, Barcelona. En Toke de color podemos encontrar tanto productos low cost como profesionales, pinceles, accesorios, productos para las uñas y todo aquello que se necesita para la rutina del maquillaje y belleza diarios. Además de tener precios muy competitivos  


Es la marca de productos de cosmética más atrevida de Sensalia, desde su sede en Mataró, te brindan las últimas tendencias en el sector de la belleza siguiendo una línea de productos cosmopolita y trendy que se adaptan al ritmo de vida de las mujeres y hombres actuales


Productos diseñados para satisfacer las necesidades de belleza y wellness con la tecnología más innovadora y práctica y los ingredientes naturales más eficaces. La cosmética natural más intensiva en la farmacia. Desarrollados para todo tipo de pieles, son el aliado que escogen los expertos


Nace en Barcelona en el año 2014, de la mano de dos familiares. Elena y Laia son la cuarta y quinta generación de mujeres de una misma familia con inquietudes por el bienestar, y han agrupado sus conocimientos y las ganas de vivir de manera completa de las tres generaciones de mujeres que las han precedido para crear Mood Natural Barcelona, una marca enfocada a elaborar productos innovadores de alta calidad, lo más responsables posible, para intentar mejorar el estado de ánimo de las personas.


Es una línea de maquillaje profesional de gama media-alta dirigida al gran público. El equilibrio calidad-precio que ofrece le ha permitido consolidarse fuertemente en el mercado, ocupando el espacio vacio que queda entre las marcas poco adaptadas a las necesidades prácticas y estéticas del gran público y las grandes marcas inaccesibles y dirigidas sólo a un público marcadamente elitista, ni unas ni otras han conseguido ofrecer las ventajas en calidad, diseño y precio que proporciona DNI


Benecos nació de la idea de que la cosmética natural y ecológica tenia unos precios demasiado altos. Su objetivo es llevar la cosmética ecológica a todos los hogares, independientemente de sus ingresos, por lo que trabajan en fórmulas juveniles, saludables, y de plena actualidad, siempre con la premisa de que sus productos sean asequibles. No testan en animales


Fué fundado en 1903 en la tradición de la mejor perfumeria europea y desde que comenzara su actividad, elabora productos de perfumería y cosmética. Han pasado marcas y otras han perdurado en el tiempo, un claro ejemplo son Gotas de Oro o Anfora Oro, más actual la línea de Aire de Sevilla, colonias conocidas y usadas de generación en generación 


Establecidos hace más de una década, han crecido hasta convertirse en la industria lider en proveer complementos nutricionales a sus clientes alrededor de todo el mundo, siempre con suplementos de la mejor calidad. Su cometido es simple, están aquí tanto para servir los mejores productos al mejor precio, como para ofrecer un servicio al cliente honesto y sincero

          RE[2]: Argh        
Yes, I do question MS for their settings placement. I'm an equal opportunity UI criticizer, thank you very much. Why do people think it's alright to criticize a FOSS project without any contribution, just because it's FOSS? Because part of the idea of FOSS is that non-coders can still aid in development by testing out apps and giving feedback. But apparently, you are of the mentality that all feedback from someone who cannot code is useless. Even when they give this feedback in a constructive manner, as I thought I was doing. Quite frankly, even though I can code, I find your attitude to be elitist and shortsighted. Why do you assume that just because someone has contributed a lot of code, that they know about end-user requirements and/or good UI design? Why do you assume that just because someone can't code, they don't have any useful suggestions? It's exactly this whole "we programmers will dictate what is best for you, and if you don't contribute code yourself, f@#$ off" mentality that Linus is criticizing here.Edited 2007-02-18 12:23
          RE[2]: Linus != Usabilty Expert        
I'm majoring in computer science with an emphasis on human-computer interaction right now, and I can say with perhaps more authority than you that you have just made an idiotically misinformed comment. Good UI design comes from listening to end users' reactions, not from shutting them up. And certainly not from simply creating an interface from your own conceptions of what's best, without bothering do do field testing or gather user feedback. This is actually one of the biggest challenges in UI design today--that there are too many "superstar-coder" egoists claiming they know best and not listening to what the actual end users have to say. Now, I know that Linus is one of these superstar coders, but read the comments above. He is clearly speaking for a lot of people when he complains about Gnome's limitations. Whereas the Gnome devs who decided to throw out things like menu editing undoubtedly came at the problem from the elitist "we know best" perspective. For the record, the commenter you're replying to is also idiotically misguided by the idea that "usability experts" magically have all the answers to solving interface problems, and that "normal people" have nothing to say on the matter. I'll let you get back to your war of egos now...Edited 2007-02-18 13:02
          RE[4]: Linus != Usabilty Expert        
Yes. Gnome has a menu editor. Now. It was added to Gnome in 2.16 but it is actually a third party application added to the Gnome suite. SMEG began as a project because Gnome devs refused (from an elitist POV) to add in a menu editor. SMEG became popular, was enhanced and is now a part of Gnome. But there was no Gnome Menu Editor in Gnome 2.14 - and it is only available in Gnome 2.16 because the devs decided to include the 3rd party application formerly known as SMEG.
          RE[5]: Linus != Usabilty Expert        
SMEG was not included in GNOME prior to 2.14 because it was not stable. Not because GNOME devs are elitist. In fact, there were two or three separate projects working on a menu editor for GNOME. GNOME went with the most stable of the three. But why are we talking about the past? Today GNOME has a menu editor, so your claim that it doesn't is wrong. Update Crap, I just realized you weren't the person who made that claim. Apologies.Edited 2007-02-18 14:01
          RE[3]: Linus != Usabilty Expert        
I'm majoring in computer science with an emphasis on human-computer interaction right now, and I can say with perhaps more authority than you that you have just made an idiotically misinformed comment. [..] Whereas the Gnome devs who decided to throw out things like menu editing undoubtedly came at the problem from the elitist "we know best" perspective. Since you like strong words, I'm sure you don't mind me telling you that you just made an idiotically misinformed statement yourself. For the record, menu editing was temporarily removed for technical reasons, nothing else. And that's exactly what's wrong with this kind of discussions. People are taking everything they don't like about GNOME and blame it on usability decisions, when in 90% of the issues this either isn't the case or at least not as black and white as some make it look to be. Most annoying is the constant confusion between customisability and functionality. Both can be argued for and against, but in completely different ways. This is one of those topics that just aren't any fun discussing on a public forum, because the popular opinions have so much pull, that any counter-arguments are simply washed aside. Essentially KDE and GNOME still have exactly the same goal: To create software that is simple to use yet as useful as possible. Right now both differ somewhat drastically at their approaches, but nobody is treating users like idiots or writing flawed software on purpose. Free Software usability has come an amazingly long way during the last few years (mind you, before then some people even claimed that it would be impossible for OSS to have good usability). So what if there are still some rough edges.
          Comment on #GCS 8.6.17 Pt3 by FauxScienceSlayer        
"It is easier to lie to someone, than to convince them they have been lied to" ~ Mark Twain VeteransToday gets high marks for mideast reporting, red baiting elitist NWO and 9/11. "The B-61, the vMore Usable Nuke" has a 65 article Nuclear Education series that is a must read on nuke history and use. The VT position on child trafficking was admirable, until it hit democrats, where blind political loyalty overtook reason. The Chicken Little Carbon forcing is a hoax that VT supports. Read the Global Warming tab at FauxScienceSlayer for correct science on the WarmMonger and Lukewarmists fake debate.
          Mais uma vergonha nacional!        
Texto escrito por Antônio Ozaí, Sociólogo da UEM, sobre o exemplo de arrogância que Boris Casoy deu ao vivo. Vejam, leiam e reflitam.

Boris Casoy, os garis e o “politicamente correto”

O âncora do Jornal da Band ofendeu os garis, e extensivamente, aos profissionais que desempenham tarefas essenciais à sociedade, mas geralmente desvalorizados. No fundo, faz-se de conta que não existem, são trabalhadores “invisíveis”. Eles estão diante de nós, mas são desumanizados e reduzidos à função que praticam. Quando lembrados pela mídia sedenta de ibope, o ato revela-se pura demagogia. Cai a máscara!


Em seguida, o pedido de desculpas.


Palavras pronunciadas mecânica e jornalisticamente; uma face que se assemelha a um robô de um desse filmes trash – sem trocadilho – de ficção científica. Os lábios que se mexem, porém, são de carne e sangue; é uma boca humana. É possível acreditar na sinceridade de quem fala? A fala espontânea que humilha os garis, essa sim soa sincera. Ela expressa algo próprio do humano, dos que se consideram superiores. O discurso pelo perdão, também é humano, mas soa falso. São palavras literalmente lançadas ao ar. Hipocrisia!

Mas, por que desculpar-se?! Exigências patronais para manter a audiência? Obediência ao politicamente correto? O pedido de desculpas não muda absolutamente nada. Pelo contrário, revela-se mera formalidade diante da repercussão negativa.

Claro, a gafe deste senhor merece críticas. E muitas foram feitas! Não obstante, também cabe um agradecimento. Antes que me compreendam mal, que os “diretores da consciência”, também conhecidos modernamente como “patrulha ideológica”, me critiquem, devo esclarecer o sentido do meu “elogio”. É simples: ao manifestar seu pensamento e, por uma falha técnica suas palavras terem se tornado públicas, o renomado jornalista expôs cruamente o que muitos pensam neste país, mas não têm a coragem de assumir. Ele manifestou o pensamento elitista, conservador e socialmente preconceituoso: um preconceito de classe contra os pobres; contra os que moram em favelas; contra os que não tiveram a oportunidade de estudar em universidades; contra os profissionais socialmente não reconhecidos e desqualificados. É uma herança da nossa formação colonial escravagista que permeia boa parte dos grupos sociais esclarecidos, diplomados, titulados e economicamente favorecidos.

A sinceridade deste senhor contribui para romper o véu de hipocrisia presente nas relações sociais no cotidiano e em espaços considerados “nobres”. É ilusório acreditar que muitos não se sentiram representados em suas palavras – e, provavelmente, ele até os decepcionou ao pedir “desculpas”. Sua fala expressa o pensamento e sentimento de muitos que andam por aí encobertos pela máscara dos “civilizados”; dos que, em público, se pautam pelo “politicamente correto”. Boris Casoy nos prestou um serviço ao desvelar a realidade que os hipócritas não ousam reconhecer.

A onda do “politicamente correto” também oculta a realidade social em torno de um discurso que se revela falso à primeira prova prática. O discurso “politicamente correto” paga um tributo à tirania da opinião da maioria, estabelece falsas unanimidades, além de, em alguns casos, beirar o ridículo. Ora, a exigência social, ética e humanista de respeito às pessoas que cuidam do lixo que a sociedade produz – e quanto maior o poder econômico, mais lixo – , e às profissões como a dos lixeiros, não anula o preconceito social e de classe. O “politicamente correto”, muitas vezes, encobre práticas e comportamentos inaceitáveis. É precisamente por isto que é melhor que venham à tona, que se manifestem. Assim, passamos a saber quem é quem. O pacto dos hipócritas pode até estabelecer uma certa harmonia social, mas esta se revelará falsa. A gafe do senhor Boris Casoy comprova-o.

Postado por Maria Tereza Ribas

          archivo para ñupis de YMMM        
JULIO 2005
En Busca de Una Identidad Bizarra pero Elitista

Hola Mundo... La Conspiracion mas grande de los ultimos tiempos!!


Desenmascarando a los RRHH

Otro si digo, porque estoy inspirada:

Para el Publico q lo aclamaba....

The Zeith True Serial Chiquen History (o Chicken para los elitistas)

Garbarino Y su Heroico Apoyo a la Preservacion del Yeti

Oda al Suicidio Fallido

Las Extravagantes Aventuras de Don Benito Lope´


Lost For Words by Pink Floyd - v.L2

Sincera Critica a Los Egos que me Rodean (Evitando cuidadosamente hablar del propio, claro…)

Aventuras Equizoides en PorteñoLandia.


Aproximación a la Entropía Hogareña

Domando a Regan.

La Verdadera Historia de Estados Unidos en 3 Actos

ENERO 2006
HABLEMOS SERIAMENTE, SOLO POR HOY. (y que no pase nunca mas -.-)

A la Hoguera!!

Dear Zeithgeist,

... y mas ...

Para El Público que LA Aclamaba II


MARZO 2006

ABRIL 2006
Los Vicios Ocultos de las Mujeres Superadas

MAYO 2006
Yo Fui Cleopatra


JUNIO 2006
Zeithgeist Reloaded

JULIO 2006

Discovery Channel y la Conspiración Europea

ASD (sisi como lo leyeron, ASD)

Guía del AttentionWhorista Intergalactico


Los deprimentes avances de los electrodomesticos.

Cagar (By Memeque)


Viviendo de Mojis.


Pcs y Mujeres, el eterno dilema de lo imposible.

Mi Mamá Está TUTUCA

Tia irma, y la sana violencia fuera del paraíso.


Mi Hombre está con Tía Irma!

El Cine según yo.


Nuevas Artimañas Esquizofrenicas. Version Farmacity -.-

Cagadas laborales


Una paloma, dos gatos, y el Ikebana - (Retrospectiva de mi vida como solterona de luto - Nov2006)

Video Porno de Noelia comentado

MARZO 2008
Los envidiologistas

MAYO 2008
El enfermizo encanto de la enseñanza.

JULIO 2008
Las cosas que los malos hacen mal

Tijera: ACHTUNG! (no infradotado, no es otro post de resfrios)

Manuales de la Tia Zeta… Hoy: La etiqueta a la hora de comer ciertos alimentos.
Cosas que podrían haber salido muy mal

Intolerancia N°1

Peripecias Oníricas

Intolerancia N°2

Cocinándose la cabeza con chichita D´erquiaga... Hoy: decadencia a la paranoid.

Intolerancia N°3

BA Conductiquette

ENERO 2009
Comportamientos deportivos subterráneos

Intolerancia N°4

Córdoba vs. Capital federal - Mi mamá está Tutuca 2da. edición

Dr. House se busca

Somos tan volubles...

ABRIL 2009
La lectura en el trono

MAYO 2009
Dime que canal miras y te diré quién eres

JUNIO 2009
Oscuro complot

Pagina del padrón hackeada?

Intolerancia n° 5

JULIO 2009
Poll...iomelitis para todos ustedes

Prevención de la gripe A - Cómo ser un ciudadano responsable y cuidadoso.

GrrrrlsGames - El bizarro mundo de las mujeres y los juegos

Por qué odio a Predator

Intolerancia N° 6

Las cajeras del Coto y yo.
Intolerancia N° 7

El gen defectuoso
Mea culpa

Diseño Gráfico-Castellano, Castellano-Diseño grafico

ENERO 2010
El aguante a Minutouno, un diario serio.
Tareas simples que hacen tu vida miserable

Palabras que te disparan el medidor de paranoia.

MARZO 2010
Intolerancia N° 8

ABRIL 2010
La paradoja del PiedraPapelTijera Masivo

MAYO 2010

De cómo cagar relaciones amorosas en pocos pasos
Intolerancia N° 9

Ctrl-Z - Acá nadie vió nada (revisado con explicaciones para los outsiders)
Miii Buenos Aiiires Queriiido... Al son de Jimeneh!

JUNIO 2010
Transtorno Obsesivo Compulsivo o "La jodididad al palo"
Habíamos llegado a los 100 Posts! Y el 101 no da ni para ponerle titulo...
Explosiva declaración de la autora. Sincericidio, behold!

JULIO 2010
Los ñu gays

Nadie muere mocho
Una duda existencial
La banda Mata Marmotas

Nueva sección de YMM: Frases Célebres
Coca Vs Pepsi Vs Soda Vs Cerveza

Baño público
El difícil arte de amar a una madre
Manuales de la Tía Zeta. Hoy: Cómo detectar a alguien falto de imaginación.

Una de Almodovar
Frases Célebres 2

Los Privilegiados de Argentina

ENERO 2011
Preguntas al pedo

Manuales de la Tía Zeta. Hoy: manual anti-suegras… Sea una hija de puta certificada
Frases Célebres de los Lectores de YMMM - Primera Entrega
Maduro tu melon!

ABRIL 2011
Mi lado machista
Intolerancia N° 10

MAYO 2011
Vida de Perros
De los superados

JUNIO 2011
Vendo Bueno Bonito Barato - La deliciosa experiencia del inexperto vendedor de autos
Ubaldo el Tucán
MercadoLibre Fails

JULIO 2011
Manuales de la Tía Zeta. Hoy: Manual para Padres Primerizos Socialmente Aceptables.
Cuidado con el verde
Yo vengo a ofrecer mi corazón…
Filosofia Tobara de Viernes a la Noche
Esas cosas que una no aprende nunca

Intolerancia N° 11

          Widow Flex American Metal Muscle on 'Take Hold of the Night' — Premiere        
OK, so North Carolina isn't exactly known as a hotbed for power metal bands, but that hasn't stopped Widow from doing what they do. Founded over a decade ago , the power-trio has released three studio albums of high grade metal that has garnered them all kinds of acclaim from the famously fickle message board elitists... Continue reading…
          Through The Cracks        
I'm a film nerd. Evidence of such is littered throughout the pages of ATG, and I don't apologize for it. I wouldn't call myself a film snob, or elitist though... I celebrate the Fast And Furious franchise as passionately as the collective work of Scorsese... I don't apologize for this either. Every now and again I see a film that is perfect for me. I'm not saying it's perfect in the grand scheme of things, but perfect for me. So far Andrew Dominik is responsible for two such films -- The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford ('07), and Killing Them Softly('12). Both seemed to have avoided the "mainstream" of pop culture, and it's too damn bad. Although Dominik used different DPs on either, both in terms of cinematography, are perfect. Here is a pretty amazing article from The American Society Of Cinematographers on the production of Killing Them Softly. And if you haven't seen the film, kick your own ass, then go scoop it on iTunes.

          NASS’ travesty        

SIR: What transpired two weeks ago in the two chambers of the National Assembly as the nation journeyed to a crucial constitutional amendment fell short of the earnest expectations of Nigerians. The process was a reflection of the elitist mentality, an insatiable quest to cling on to power at all cost typical of the presentRead More

The post NASS’ travesty appeared first on The Nation Nigeria.

          Guilty Pleasures        
In case you haven’t noticed I’m a huge fan of movies. Love’em. And I’m not one of those elitists who thinks I’m special for knowing about a good movie that no one else does. In fact when I know about a relatively unknown movie that I think someone will love, I pimp the hell out of it. Well it recently occurred to me that a few of my favorite under appreciated comedies have been getting a lot of air play on cable channels recently, so for no particular reason I figured I’d do some brief promotions for them. NOTE: These are turn off your brain, guilty pleasure comedies so don’t read on with high expectations.

Out Cold
Main man Rick falls in love with a French girl, she vanishes, his heart’s broken, years later she shows up in his bar where she tells him that she left because she was already involved with someone all those years ago. No I am not just describing Casablanca, this is indeed the main plot for Out Cold, a snowboarding movie filled with references to my all time favorite film, Casablanca. Except instead of Nazis the bad guy is the Six Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors. It’s just a fun movie about a group of friends who found a life that makes them happy and then suddenly that life gets interrupted. If you haven’t seen Casablanca, watch that first then enjoy just how clever Out Cold despite being formulaic.

Great Line - Rick: Pig Pen, when I want advice about a good Planet of the Apes film or maybe how to get the resin out of my bong I'll come to you, ok? But I am not gonna take romantic advice from somebody who cannot spell “romantic” or “advice”... or “bong”.

Grandma’s Boy
I was sitting around with about two hours to kill before work one day, and I had two movies to choose from: Munich with a running time of approx. 160 minutes, and Grandma’s Boy with a running time of approx. 80 minutes. Grandma’s Boy wins.

Whoever promoted this movie should be banned from ever working in the movie business on any level ever again. No I take that back, this person should be forced to be Andy Dick’s personal assistant for the rest of his/her life. All of the commercials just make it look like it’s about a guy who lives with his grandmother and throws a big party. In reality it’s about video game programmers (though the main character does live with his grandmother due to being evicted from his apartment because his roommate likes the whores) having fun. This is shut off your brain comedy at its best and it’s about freakin’ video game programmers. While not a huge market demographic it’s certainly untapped. Again, Andy Dick’s personal assistant.

Great Line - Dante: I’m way too baked to drive to the devil’s house.

Undercover Brother
I believe the main thing that held this back from being bigger than it should be is that at first glance people probably think, “Oh, another movie by black people making fun of white people.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact I would say they make fun of black stereotypes but it’s done in a way that says, “we have to stop taking ourselves so seriously.” Sort of like friends just riffing on each other. Highlights include: Dave Chapelle as Conspiracy Brother, a stoner who comes up with outrageous conspiracy theories, Neil Patrick Harris as the only white guy working for The Brotherhood due to Affirmative Action, Billy Dee Williams somehow not laughing as Chris Kattan dances like an idiot in front of him, and of course my favorite, a very, very Funk heavy sound track. And every time I watch the seen where Denise Richards is introduced as Black Man’s Kryptonite, I laugh harder because when watching this with some friends, one of them who is black said, “Hey,” then stopped himself, hung his head and finished with, “ok, yeah, they’re right.”

Great Line - Conspiracy Brother: Jesus Christ; black man. Babe Ruth; black man. Madonna;... slept with black men.

Josie and the Pussycats
I’ll give you a moment to recover from the confusion over my recomending Josie and the Pussycats. All better? Good.

Easily the most under rated comedy on my list, JatP while another very formulaic movie, is also quite clever. Poking fun at the pop music industry while at the same time not being preachy, not taking itself seriously, and having a ridiculous amount of fun. Even Tara Reid is tolerable, possibly because she plays an idiot but I try not to read into that too much. And on top of that it has a pretty solid soundtrack, and I’m not a fan of pop rock, of course that may be helped because of vocals provided by Kay Hanley from Letters to Cleo, and she has a great voice. Seriously though, some of the lyric structures are ridiculously good. And if nothing else the DVD should be rented by all to watch the Du Jour video. Du Jour being a boy band composed of Seth Green, Donald Faison, Breckin Meyer, and Alex Martin (don't worry, I don’t know who he is either).

Great Line - Josie McCoy: Puppies grow into dogs that get old and DIE!

Grizzly Man
You read that right. This is the most unintentionally funny movie I’ve ever seen. A documentary about a completely delusional ex-actor (read: failed actor) who moved up to Alaska to protect its bear population. And the area he’s protecting? Well it’s already a nature preserve for the bears. And what does he know about bears? They’re big and furry. Seriously, I know more about bears than this guy. I can not put into words how crazy the man (Timothy Treadwell) is, you really must see it for yourself. Now it is possible that Werner Herzog (the director who completed the project) actually put this documentary together to show just how far a man can fall psychologically but just billed it as a documentary the highlight Timothy’s life. If so, kudos to him for pulling it off.

Great Line - Sam Egli: That bear, I think, that day, decided that he had either had enough of Tim Treadwell or that something clicked in that bear's head that he thought 'Hey, you know, he might be good to eat.'
          ALBA marks fifth anniversary at Havana summit        
Cuban President Raul Castro welcomed representatives of ALBA nations to Havana Dec. 11-14 for their eighth summit meeting. “The confrontation between two historical forces is intensifying,” he observed. He contrasted an “elitist and exploitative model, a legacy of colonialism” with the “advance of the revolutionary and progressive political forces …committed to the real independence of […]
          Top 10 Reads: All Time Highs, Bond Rally, BS3 Record Sales, Elitist Investor, Gokaldas Exports, MFIs Trouble and more….        

Slack is where the daily action happens. We take pride in our diverse and always helpful member community which includes … (Read On...)


... y Felices sueños !!!
Y con esta del atardecer en la Laguna del Caballo que me despido y hasta la próxima!
Para todos... Felices pasos, Feliz descanso...
Y que viva la Chancla Veloz !
Fuera botas y merecido atracón final...
Broma incluida! ( "regalo" de un cuadro de un zorro que colgaba, sin saberlo, a sus espaldas... ¿coincidencia...?)
* Y acabamos con las rubias !
*Y ya llegamos a Nigüelas !!!!!
Pasando junto al "Picurucho, Pingurucho o Cucurucho" de Nigüelas
Vista del Cortijo de Echevarría. Y bajo el álamo... que acabamos con la sombra!
Pequeño refresco sobre el río Torrente

Mira que nos lo ofrecieron...! (mochilas al 4x4, pero nada, con lo que se empieza se acaba!)
Té de Sierra Nevada ( Satureja alpina var. granatensis ) , pero nosotros olíamos a otras cosas...

"Foto de familia" en la Cumbre del Caballo a 3.013 m.a.
Vamos, como las cabras!
Ascenso hacia el Collado y la cumbre del Caballo (Laguna y Refugio al fondo)
Refugio del Caballo (2.860 m.a.)
* Tiendas sobre la Laguna del Caballo ( y el reclamo para el zorro!)
Laguna de Nájera, un poco cabizbaja; con El Caballo al fondo, esperándonos!
Valle de Lanjarón abajo y adaptándonos al terreno
Pasando junto a Laguna Cuadrada, coronada por Tajos Altos
...y después, con los orígenes de su nombre: cadena en mano que si no te escurres ¿Y hacia dónde...?
Una vez más Pepe, el nº1, y Rut de compinche , ayudando a salvar algunas mochilas y mentes!
y te encuentras primero... con la Laguna de Bolaños ( Cerro del Caballo al fondo )...
Le llaman Verea Cortá...
...donde nace el río Lanjarón; a partir de ahora con sabor a Fanta de naranja
Bajando seguidamente hasta la Laguna de Lanjarón, conocida también como "de Baró" o de las "Tres Puertas" y que anda situada a una altitud de 2.894 m....
Ejemplar de Genciana ( Gentiana alpina Vill. ) fotografiado en las proximidades de la Laguna de Lanjarón
Llegando al Refugio de Elorrieta, situado sobre la cota de los 3.187 m.a., en donde las vistas y el bocata, fueron el menú de la casa

...por este nevero que atravesamos con un poco de dificultad, camino al Elorrieta

"Pepe", como siempre, al cuidado de sus ovejas...

Lagunillos de la Virgen

Laguna de las Yeguas ( junto a mi "Estrella de las Nieves")

Sobre los "nacimientos del río Dílar"

Un gran corte de nieve a finales de junio

Aquí, empezando a sudar ya "Fanta naranja" !

Una vez más la Violeta de Sierra Nevada (Viola crassiuscula) nos alegraba la vista

Dirigiéndonos hacia la zona de Borreguiles, con los Tajos de la Virgen al fondo

Dejamos atrás el monumento a la Virgen de las Nieves

Iniciamos esta 5ª Travesía de la "Clancla Veloz", de momento...todo cuesta arriba, en la zona de los Albergues-Hoya de la Mora, sobre la cota de los 2.500 m.a.
ALBERGUES (HOYA DE LA MORA) â€“ ELORRIETA - EL CABALLO – NIGÜELASAunque ésta se podría hacer perfectamente en un par de días, incluso en uno con sus horas sobradas para los elitistas y amantes de las integrales, bajo ese ritmo de piernas que les caracteriza, para el grupo de amigos de la Peña la Chancla Veloz, al que un año más nos hemos incorporado e integrado bajo el abrazo de la amistad que se regala, realizando la que constaba inscrita en la camiseta conmemorativa y proporcionada por el patrocinador (Maderas Ayas) como detallazo de ese pedazo de Juanma, como la 5ª Travesía “Albergues - Elorrieta - El Caballo – Nigüelas…” con ese añadido final como reclamo para la vuelta “…o Lanjarón o Perú…” más el INRI de la cuesta arriba...“Si yo no quería venir”; pues que sí, que hacerlo, como viene siendo habitual en esos dos días y medio con sus dos noches de acampada incluidas, prolongando esa estancia, supone saborear al máximo la naturaleza. En donde, y mientras tanto, pasan las horas pero el tiempo se detiene ante nuestros pasos, disfrutando de ese entorno tan natural y a la vez tan maravilloso. Señas de identidad de estas travesías que se realizan para poder escudriñar cada rincón, cada paisaje que nos sale al encuentro de los pasos, cada muestra de flora o fauna tan grande o diminuta; allá arriba, bajo el permiso y la gratitud de la montaña. Flora que, según se demuestra, es la más variada y peculiar de Europa, pero a la vez la más amenazada.
Así que para allá que nos encaminamos, según consta en el libro de la memoria y sin hojas, después de las reuniones previas y comentarios de la ruta en donde expusimos sobre la mesa dudas y preguntas, risas y anécdotas bajo la puesta al día sobre el año que nos pasó por encima a todos desde la anterior Travesía de Jérez del Marquesado a Trevélez; habiendo aumentado la familia en un par de mellizos; “fruta fresca” para la que ya mismo habrá que ir buscándoles unas chanclas del Nº4, por lo menos, para que paso tras paso abran los ojos ante la Naturaleza, con mayúscula. Copa arriba que brindamos todos, por ello y por el resto de los presentes (echando de menos, cómo no desde aquí y de nuevo, a mi primo Antonio y Mari Ángeles que aún andan convalecientes de sus lesiones. Así que, ánimo y a recuperaros pronto, que el nuevo programa para la temporada que viene ya está cociéndose en la olla !
Y regresando veloces a las huellas de las chanclas, indicar que la salida oficial la realizamos sobre las 9:00 h. de la mañana desde Granada, autobús arriba, hacia la zona de los Albergues de Sierra Nevada, con parada previa en el Restaurante las Víboras para desayunar y recargar las pilas.

Sábado, día 30 de junio:Y ya puestos en vereda, decir que la ruta la comenzamos en la zona de los Albergues ( a unos 2.500 m.a.), camino y sueños por delante y hacia arriba, pasando a continuación junto al monumento a la Virgen de las Nieves, situado muy próximo al antiguo observatorio del Mojón del Trigo, para caminar al poco por la carretera que va hacia Borreguiles, girando a la derecha. Carretera asfaltada que seguiremos unos 500 m. para tomar una vereda que nos sale a nuestra izquierda y que ganando altura suavemente pero sin pausa, cruza las pistas de esquí; alcanzando posteriormente El Collado de la Laguna (2.850 m.a.)
Continuamos ahora por un ancho carril que nos eleva en su corto tramo final hasta la Laguna de las Yeguas, pasando antes por un gran corte de nieve y por los inicios del Valle del río Dílar, en donde empieza el mismo a recoger sus aguas para dirigirse hacia su destino. Aquí, sobre la Laguna de las Yeguas, nos hacemos la instantánea de rigor y una pequeña parada para disfrute de la vista; acto seguido, tomamos una vereda que asciende, salvando un pequeño desnivel, con dirección hacia los Tajos de la Virgen. Vereda que te deja sobre la hermosa zona de los Lagunillos de la Virgen en donde hacemos el primer alto en el camino para refrescarnos y descansar bajo los Tajos de la Virgen y circo que fue de un antiguo y enorme glaciar. Una vez recargadas las pilas, a continuación, nos encaramos, a paso quebrado, hacia el Refugio de Elorrieta (3.187 m.a.), el más alto de España; al que llegamos, después de salvar el nevero-ventisquero que le antecede bajo dichos tajos, pasadas unas 3 horas desde el inicio de la caminata y con ese poco de dificultad añadida.
Desde aquí, desde el Refugio Elorrieta, después de recrearnos con esas impresionantes vistas de sus majestades del Sur (Veleta, Los Machos, Mulhacén, Alcazaba, etc.,etc.) nos dirigimos con dirección al Caballo a través del esplendoroso y espectacular Valle del Río Lanjarón, formado por el glaciar que por aquí pasaba como por sus anchas en tiempos remotos, allá por el Cuaternario; dejándolo, tras su erosión, en esa forma tan característica de "U". Acceso que iniciamos a través de una vereda que va perdiendo altura progresivamente y que pasa junto a la Laguna de Lanjarón, a la que descendemos para disfrutar de sus cristalinas aguas.
Continuamos con la vereda de los pasos, tomando el desvío marcado a la derecha por debajo de dicha laguna y que una vez cruzado el Río Lanjarón nos interna en la zona de Tajos Altos a través de la llamada “Verea Cortá”, tropezándonos primero con la hermosa Laguna de Bolaños (que hoy estaba como de retrato con el Cerro del Caballo al fondo) y posteriormente, y para hacer honor a su nombre, con ese pequeño paso y dificultoso "de la cadena" que se ha anclado firmemente a la pared de roca para salvar el desnivel, de un par de metros más o menos, de dicha vereda y como paso de esa vertical chorrera, casi siempre seca. Así que agárrate a la cadena que el tajo es cuesta abajo, pero que con precaución se salva, mirando donde ponemos pies y manos; claro que contando con el clavo, y fijo.
Después de dejar atrás Laguna Cuadrada, a nuestra derecha, y posteriormente Laguna de Nájera, a nuestra izquierda, allá abajo y un poco “alicaída”, ya muy cerca de la Laguna del Caballo como escalón y ánimo, llegamos junto al Refugio del mismo nombre, a 2.860 m.a, en donde montamos el campamento base alrededor de la Laguna. Refugio que no deja de sorprendernos por ser un excelente mirador del Valle de Lanjarón. Comentar de dicho refugio que está abierto y es apto para unas 8 plazas.
Y aquí vendría lo bueno…la noche, bajo la Luna llena, y en la que nos echaron “la del zorro” en versión naturaleza… Tal y como os lo cuento, “H.P." el Zorro bautismo del amigo Ildefonso, con sus extras añadidos, ese que nos “chuleó” a todos y a él en repetidas insistencias, destrozándonos las tiendas. Así que ya estáis advertidos, para los que acampéis estos días por su territorio (amén para cuando fallezca). Así que, mientras tanto, cuando veáis al “Antonio Banderas” dirigirse hacia vosotros cuando estéis con las “sopinstant” y se os pasee en reconocimiento, que alerta para la noche que os espera. Os aconsejo que hagáis guardia a dos metros de las tiendas; y cuando le enchuféis la linterna y veáis ese par de ojos del “iluminator”que, la tienda, el chorizo y la compaña los defendáis a capa y espada. ¿ La buena y de regalo...? Pues un magnífico ejemplar de cristal de cuarzo que hallé en sus inmediaciones.

Domingo, día 1 de julio:A la mañana siguiente, el domingo, una vez echo el recuento e inventario de la flota destrozada (todas las tiendas cayeron con sus más y sus extras y la nuestra en particular como para ponerle una nueva cristalera de PVC y en panorámica (los únicos que se salvaron fueron los que durmieron en el refugio), refritos de nuevo los infernillos para preparar esos cafés bajo las risas ahora como anécdotas, ascendemos en un estirón de piernas a la cumbre del Cerro del Caballo (3.013 m.a.) y que teníamos sobre nuestras cabezas. Cumbre de las denominadas "tres miles" más occidental y meridional de toda Sierra Nevada; y de las vistas ni digamos… pues no deja de sorprendernos el amplio horizonte, picos, montañas y naturaleza próxima y lejana que se nos delataba en panorámica...Veleta, Mulhacén, Valle del Lanjarón, Tajo de los Machos, Loma de Cáñar, la Alpujarra, Sierra de Lújar, Presa de Rules, Valle de Lecrín, Los Guájares, Sierra de las Albuñuelas, Siera de la Almijara (Pico del Lucero), Sierras de Tejeda (La Maroma) y Alhama…Granada, Sierras de Alfacar y Huétor, La Sagra, entre muchos y entre otros y todo ese etcétera y etcétera de siluetas para la vista y que se alzaban para que las identificáramos.
Desde la cumbre del Caballo nos dirigimos, ya todo cuesta abajo y con el freno de piernas en el “on” más agarrado, por la Loma de los Tres Mojones, haciendo un pequeño quiebro y rodeo en su último tramo hacia la izquierda, con la idea y el acierto de ese pedazo de “Pepe” guía nº1 de los guías de las “páginas naranja”, de no quebrar más todo cuesta abajo, para dirigirnos hacia el carril que lleva, en ascenso, hacia el pueblo de Lanjarón; pero que nosotros tomamos todo seguido y continuando hacia abajo, realizando un giro a la derecha, hasta el Cortijo de Echevarría, paraje cercano a Fuente Fría, y en donde nos tomaríamos ese pedazo de avituallamiento a la sombra del único álamo sobreviviente, pero que a nosotros nos supo como alameda que refresca, amén de la acequia de agua que pasaba con abundante caudal y a la vera de nuestras miradas (aunque eso sí, con un fuerte sabor a cabra que se delataba...)
Desde aquí ya sólo quedaba acercarnos hacia el lugar destinado para la acampada, la Ermita, ya libres de zorro y garras, durmiendo hasta en cama por deferencia de ese pedazo de persona y amigo que siempre está allí con los brazos en posición de regalo para quien se le acerque a perdirle cualquier algo.

Lunes, día 2 de julio:Después de dormir a pata suelta y tras tomar el desayuno que alimenta, la dura bajada de nuevo nos estaba esperando. Paso a paso, echando de nuevo el freno de mano, así que nos dejamos caer hasta Nigüelas; Loma del Torrente abajo, y carril del mismo nombre, y que parecía que nunca se terminaba.
¡Pero no, al poco de dejar atrás y a nuestra derecha el Picurucho, Pingurucho o Cucurucho (dos enormes agujas rocosas, la una más alta que la otra), Carril de la Solana hacia abajo, y pasada la Central Eléctrica, allí estaba Nigüelas, "Balcón del Valle", para demostrárnoslo, y en el Bar el Trueno que terminamos hasta con el grifo de las cañas ! Almuerzo, con regalo incluido y bautismo ya de “nuestro amigo" Ildefonso del cuadro mejor pintado de la del zorro inmortalizado para el recuerdo. Ocurrencia envuelta en papel de servilleta de esos geniales amigos por los que uno daría hasta la mano.
Así que ya sabéis…Pepe (pedazo de guía incluido en persona) y María, compañera ya inseparable; Juanma y Juli (padres de los mellizos y futuros chanclistas del nº 4); Juan Fran, Puri, David, Clara, toda una familia de campeonato; Manolo y Mª Angeles, tanto-monta-monta-tanto, no hay montaña que les dure tanto; Rafa y Fernando, los liantes; Jose y Eva, y la pequeña... porque no cabía! que si no, que se la traen en la mochila!; Jose y Lourdes, los novicios de este convento de la Fanta naranja y futuros repetidores; Montse y Rut, como en familia, vamos; Inés, en su espacio y libertad más ancha; y el amigo Ildefonso... que, si queremos y podemos, el año que viene nos vemos en la próxima !
-Accesos: Desde Granada, por la Carretera de Sierra Nevada hasta la zona de los Albergues - Hoya de la Mora.
-Itinerarios: Día 30-06-07: Albergues - Borreguiles - Collado de la Laguna - Laguna Las Yeguas - Lagunillos de la Virgen - Refugio Elorrieta - Laguna de Lanjarón - Verea Cortá - Refugio y Laguna El Caballo. Día 01-07-07: Refugio y Laguna del Caballo - Cumbre del Caballo - Loma de los Tres Mojones - Cortijo Echevarría - Ermita. Día: 02-07-07: Ermita - Carril del Torrente - Nigüelas.
-Trayectos: lineales
-Dificultad: Alta
-Duración: Tramo Albergues/Refugio Elorrieta (avituallamiento): 3 h. 30' (con pequeño descanso incluído en los Lagunillos de la Virgen)- Tramo Elorrieta/Refugio El Caballo: 3h. 30' (con descanso incluido en la Laguna Lanjarón). Tramo Laguna del Caballo/Cumbre del Caballo: 30' . Tramo Cumbre del Caballo/Cortijo Echevarría (avituallamiento) 4h. 15' (con pequeños descansos incluidos durante el trayecto). Tramo Cortijo Echevarría/La Ermita: 20'. Tramo: La Ermita/Nigüelas: 3h. 45' (con pequeño descanso incluído sobre el Río Torrente)
- Participantes: 22 - Peña "La Chancla Veloz"
-Agua: se aconseja llevar pastillas potabilizadoras si se abastece del agua de las lagunas.

          David Kupelian        

-- Managing editor of WND (formerly known as WorldNetDaily)

-- Author of “The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom,” which is largely focused on the idea that LGBT rights has been "sold" to America as part of an evil marketing strategy



-- Compares gay and transgender people to jihadists who murder strangers: "Consider for a moment how children in the Arab-Muslim Middle East develop the “mental illness” of wannabe jihad martyrdom. How exactly do innocent little kids come to be possessed by such overwhelmingly powerful emotions and beliefs that they’re willing to blow themselves up while murdering innocent strangers – and thinking such a despicable crime is the will of God? If I suggested genetics or biochemical imbalances were responsible, you would laugh. Little jihadists are created when, from an early age, they are continually indoctrinated, intimidated, degraded, rewarded, tempted, lied to, punished, threatened and praised (for reinforcement) – until their little developing minds and emotions are not their own anymore. They have a new implanted identity, very different from the one they were born with. So, if the forces in one child’s home can transform him so totally that, when he looks in a mirror, he sees someone who feels like killing infidels and himself in a glorious “martyrdom operation,” couldn’t the forces in another child’s home (perhaps much more subtle, but nevertheless powerful) transform him or her into a person with feelings and attractions he likewise was not born with – including homosexual or transgender feelings?"

-- Comparing the LGBT rights movement to a fictional arch-villiain, claims LGBT rights is "corrupting our nation's core": “[T]his particular issue – this revolutionary sexual anarchy movement, which more than any other ideology, including Marxism, Islam or atheism, has the potential of permanently corrupting our nation’s core ‘operating system’ called the family – is the one issue that almost everybody is afraid to confront"...“Like Voldemort, the arch-villain so feared by everyone in the ‘Harry Potter’ stories that they ‘dare not speak his name,’ almost no one – not Democrats, not Republicans, not churches, not the media (including Fox News), not talk radio (with a few exceptions), not even the big alternative news websites, with the exception of WND – dares speak of it."

-- Says support for a transgender six-year-old is "ghoulish" and in the sprit if Halloween

-- Claims same-sex marriage will lead to five men marrying wastebaskets: "...[O]nce you say that two men can be married and two women can be married you have to say that three men can be married or three women can be married or five men and a wastebasket can be married."

-- Suggests saying to gay friends about their marriages: "I don't want to be party to further unraveling the fabric of our civilization, one which safeguards your rights and mine, that protects us in an exceedingly dangerous world, a moral foundation rock that's served us well for thousands of years. For your sake as much as for mine, I'm not willing to throw that away. I hope you understand.'""

-- Wrote that the Boy Scouts of America's inclusion of gay scouts was tantamount to "suicide"

-- Warns that LGBT acceptance is going to destroy us: "Today’s idiotic and ultimately suicidal national pretense that homosexuality is perfectly normal – that two men or two women can somehow be joined together in holy matrimony, that moral/religious opposition to this perversity renders you a bigot and a criminal, and that justice is somehow served by forcing a Christian mother to turn over her beloved daughter to a litigious homosexual – all this, my friends, is high mockery of God and His laws. However, 'God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.' (Galatians 6:7 KVJ) If we do not change course, America the Exceptional – the freest, most moral, prosperous, blessed and beloved nation on earth, which millions fought and died to protect – will reap the whirlwind of national disintegration and unimaginable suffering."

-- Says homosexuality is "unnatural and self-destructive": "In truth, there is something wrong with homosexuality. Simply put, it is unnatural and self-destructive – just as Western civilization has long understood it."

-- Equates homosexuality with alcoholism and smoking: "Most of all, we’ve forgotten as a society what love is because supporting and justifying homosexuality is not real love any more than glorifying drinking helps the alcoholic or celebrating smoking helps wipe out lung cancer."

-- Describes our LGBT accepting society as a "sodom & Gomorrah freak show" (@ 4:26)

-- Says it's "real love" to "heal" gay people: "To the homosexual living in denial, then, even a loving offer of help from, say, a Christian ex-gay ministry or “reparative therapy” counselor (to help overcome homosexual addiction) feels like the most vile, abusive hatred. In fact, it’s real love – which we misinterpret as hatred and “bigotry” simply because it causes us to confront a truth that is not welcome in us."..."Remember, our conflicts contain the seeds of redemption – that is, as long as we know we have a problem, there’s hope for a change. But if we deny there’s a problem, we are literally robbed of the chance to find healing. That’s exactly what America has done in buying into the 'gay rights movement.' We have betrayed our homosexual brothers and sisters. Glorifying dysfunctionality and corruption, we have relieved homosexuals of the inner conflict they once felt over their condition – something they desperately need, indeed all of us need, if we’re ever going to overcome our problems and find wholeness..."[T]he most loving stance for others to take is not to serve as enablers of self-destructive and immoral compulsions, but to stand in patient but firm opposition. In other words, we need to side with the afflicted person’s conscience. In America, we’ve done the opposite."

-- Says LGBT rights activists are "forces of corruption": "Stop giving permission for the forces of corruption and confusion to transform your country so that your children grow up in a land unrecognizable to our founding fathers." "

-- Compares transgender people to anorexics: "Whether it’s the anorexic or transgender individual staring intently into the mirror and seeing the exact opposite of reality, or countless other people in similar straits tormented from within, our minds are – to put it inelegantly – capable of lying to us."

-- Calls marriage equality "The most bizarre perversion of human civilization’s core institution"


          The Top 7 Critiques of Obama from a Reality-Based Perspective        
deficit exploding, tax increasing, class-warfare waging liberal elitist. He's been compared to Hitler and denounced for wanting to destroy capitalism and/or America. He pals around with terrorists. They say he wasn't born in America and secretly hates white people. For partisan Democrats, the Right's diluge of attacks on Obama over the years might be seen as a great gift, as it has understandably painted conservatives who echo these sentiments as laughably crazy (or brilliant propagandists adept at appealing to the fears of their base). But for those that get their news from outside the right-wing echo chamber, the truth of these smears is well understood. Criticism from MSNBC or the mainstream left on the other hand has been largely shallow or non-existent (although I confess I rarely watch any mainstream TV to keep score). But from what I have seen, I've observed a great tragedy, as this partisan jockeying has given the mainstream debate about Obama's successes and failures a false illusion of depth. On one hand you have all the lies and myths of the Republicans representing Obama's fiercest critique, and on the other hand you have all the defenders of Obama singing his accomplishments and virtues while debunking all the myths constructed by the Right. What this left/right positioning of the debate has accomplished is to shut out and marginalize legitimate, reality-based, deeply meaningful and truly damning critiques of the Obama presidency and his administration. Moderates, independents, and casual progressives not tuned in to alternative media are left to wonder, "If Republicans hate him so much, and the baseless attacks from Republicans is all they have to complain about, he must be doing something right... right?" The following 5 articles and two videos challenges this falsely constructed spectrum of opinion and offers a true (reality-based) critique of Obama. Just imagine if these perspectives were allowed to enter the mainstream debate.

7. Daniel Ellsberg: Defeat Romney, Without Illusions about Obama
It is urgently important to prevent a Republican administration under Romney/Ryan from taking office in January 2013.The election is now just weeks away, and I want to urge those whose values are generally in line with mine -- progressives, especially activists -- to make this goal one of your priorities during this period.Romney and Obama exchange fingers in Tuesday night's debate. (Reuters)An...

6. The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West Went Ballistic
The moral philosopher Cornel West, if Barack Obama’s ascent to power was a morality play, would be the voice of conscience. Rahm Emanuel, a cynical product of the Chicago political machine, would be Satan. Emanuel in the first scene of the play would dangle power, privilege, fame and money before Obama. West would warn Obama that the quality of a life is defined by its moral...

5. The Case Against Voting for Obama -- Even if you Think He's Better than Mitt Romney
Tell certain liberals and progressives that you can't bring yourself to vote for a candidate who opposes gay rights, or who doesn't believe in Darwinian evolution, and they'll nod along. Say that you'd never vote for a politician caught using the 'n'-word, even if you agreed with him on more policy issues than his opponent, and the vast majority of left-leaning Americans would understand. But...

4. The Case for Voting Green in a Swing State
I live in a purple part of the country (Virginia) and move in academic circles, so of course I know many, many people who will be voting for Obama. It is impossible to know, but if I sodomized the Easter Bunny in front of their children the look on my Obama-voter friends’ faces could scarcely be much different than the look they get when I say I am voting for Jill Stein.“But this is a...

3. Barack Obama VS Those Craaaazy Republicans: Is He the Lesser Evil, or the More Effective Evil?
The last refuge of Obamaphiles is that no matter how many times the First Black President double-crosses us by cutting Medicare and Medicaid, no matter how completely be betrays his voters by ignoring black unemployment, by deporting one million Latinos, by protecting the banksters responsible for the foreclosure crisis and by invading, bombing, occupying and subverting even more countries than...

2. John Pilger - Obama is a Corporate Marketing Creation (video)
Renowned author, journalist, and film maker John Pilger speaks at Socialism 2009. Filmed by Paul Hubbard at the Women's Building in San Francisco 7-4-09. Pilger offers a stinging critique of Obama and his administration's policies in his first six months of office, as well as the recent silence of the left and anti-war movement.

1. Lifting the Veil: Obama and the Failure of Capitalist Democracy (2011) (Documentary) This film explores the historical role of the Democratic Party as the "graveyard of social movements", the massive influence of corporate finance in elections, the absurd disparities of wealth in the United States, the continuity and escalation of neocon policies under Obama, the insufficiency of mere voting as a path to reform, and differing conceptions of democracy itself. Original interview...

Did I miss something really good? Post your suggestions and/or comments below.
Original source: Films For Action]]>
          Comment #19        
I can't STAND POLITICIANS!!!!!!!! The VOTERS wanted the lottery in Texas, they voted on the issue to approve it!!, but leave it to a bunch of elitist in the Texas Legislature to take it upon themselves to believe they know what's best for the hapless souls of Texas. Their so called logic is so flawed! They say that the Texas Lottery financially hurts the most vulnerable right? So how would raising taxes to try and offset the lost revenue not also financially hurt the most vulnerable ? The Texas
          Satanismo Tradicional        

Introdução ao Satanismo Tradicional
Essencialmente, a diferença entre a ONA e outros grupos que professam pertencer ao ”Caminho da Mão Esquerda”, ou que reivindicam ser Satânicos, é que a ONA busca tradicionalmente guiar realisticamente seus membros ao longo do caminho difícil e perigoso do desenvolvimento interior, o objetivo é a criação de um indivíduo inteiramente novo.

Este caminho é fundamentalmente uma busca da excelência pessoal e da sabedoria.

Nós acreditamos que não há nenhuma maneira fácil para obter o conhecimento e a introspecção reais do 'oculto'; cada indivíduo deve trilhar este caminho e alcançar coisas por si mesmo.

Não há nenhuma “cerimônia”, nem “rituais mágicos”, nem nenhum mestre que podem fornecer ao indivíduo a sabedoria genuína: a sabedoria real é alcançada somente e sempre pelo esforço pessoal do indivíduo, através muitos anos.

É o resultado de uma síntese - um desenvolvimento do lado escuro e de uma integração desse aspecto na nossa existência, criando um indivíduo completo, mais evoluído. Além disso, os meios para esta realização são essencialmente práticos; isto é, envolvem experiências formativas do indivíduo, experiências desenvolvidas no “mundo real”, ao invés de algum “rito mágico” , “pseudo-místico” ou “pseudo-intelectual” ou sentando-se aos pés de algum pretensioso mestre.

Para nós, Satanismo é uma busca que envolve o perigo pessoal real, onde o indivíduo empreende os desafios genuínos, que o façam ir além de seus limites físico, mental e psíquico.

No início, esta busca envolve o indivíduo a explorar seu lado oculto ou lado escuro e uma parte disto é a participação em cerimônias e em ritos ocultos e de magia.

Este começo - onde o novo Iniciado participa de alguns Rituais Satânicos, tal como a “Missa Negra”, habilita o indivíduo a explorar este lado sombrio, para compreendê-lo gradualmente, torná-lo mais consciente e controlá-lo assim.

Um aspecto desta construção da consciência, é o simbolismo - tal como o “sistema septenário” - onde as várias energias de Ocultismo e Magia estão simbolizadas através de um sistema de correspondência.

Este simbolismo permite as energias trabalhadas tornarem-se objetivas e assim conscientemente compreendidas - isto faz possível uma integração do lado “sombrio”. Assim, há uma síntese - uma dinâmica consciente, movimentando para diante o indivíduo: uma evolução da personalidade.

A introspecção é alcançada. Em termos psicológicos, começa o individualismo.

Isto leva a experimentar a prática do “sinistro” e promove assim o desenvolvimento pessoal, construindo, além disso, o caráter.

Por causa do tipo de experiências práticas, do tipo de desafios, o indivíduo empreende, convencionalmente, o caráter Satânico. Há um desafio das limitações, da vaidade, de uma experiência e então da compreensão daquelas coisas às quais a religião do Nazareno franze o cenho.

De acordo com os termos usados por Nietzsche, há uma vida prática "de um modelo de moral". A pessoa criada através destas experiências é do tipo imponente, que inspira um certo terror na maioria, desmamada como essa maioria foi pela suavidade das éticas do Nazareno. Entretanto, este indivíduo somente começou o processo. Isto é, o tipo de caráter assim descrito (que resulta destas experiências), não é o que nós chamaríamos um Adepto: dos sete estágios deste “caminho sinistro” (ou da Alquimia Prática), esta participação prática no “oculto”, através de cerimônias e coisas como organizar um grupo Satânico, descrevem apenas os primeiros dois estágios do caminho.

Além disso, mesmo este começo leva alguns anos - e requer que o indivíduo seja bem sucedido por seus próprios esforços, por sua própria Vontade e determinação. Isto é, não há nenhum grau ou título de Magia concedido por dinheiro ou agrado ( como em alguns grupos chamados Satânicos) - o que o indivíduo consegue, nos termos de “graus de Magia”, consegue com seu próprio esforço, ao se submeter às experiências que criam o tipo de caráter apropriado a um estágio particular do caminho seguido.

Assim, cada estágio deste caminho tem associado a ele determinadas tarefas, determinadas experiências, que o indivíduo deve empreender por ele mesmo. Isto é, ele sozinho traz a introspecção, o domínio, a compreensão e a habilidade - todos ocultos e pessoais.

Na ONA, em cada estágio e para cada membro, é oferecido um conselho - baseado na experiência. Isto é, o grupo guia seus membros - oferece um sistema prático por meio do qual a sabedoria real pode ser alcançada. O ônus fica para o indivíduo, para alcançar o objetivo.

Para nós, Satanismo é a criação de indivíduos orgulhosos, fortes, de caráter pleno, compreensivos - indivíduos que foram além da maioria e que representam assim, um tipo mais elevado. Os grupos Satânicos verdadeiros, não procuram seguidores servis, decadentes, fracos. Procuram criar uma elite real - quase uma raça nova de seres. Naturalmente, isto não é fácil - é realmente perigoso. Freqüentemente, novos Iniciados falham por causa da dificuldade ou porque falta-lhes o desejo essencial para ser bem-sucedido. Mas é como a evolução trabalha - os fortes superam desafios e evoluem; os outros permanecem onde estão, caem, ou são destruídos.

Assim, o Satanismo é elitista – isto não compromete. Não é realmente para a maioria. Os testes, as provações, os métodos do Satanismo genuíno são duros e severos, porque somente tais coisas criarão o tipo certo de pessoa. Estas coisas não podem ser mais fáceis, menos duras, menos perigosas: fazer assim destruiria a essência do próprio Satanismo.

Depois, os próximos estágios do caminho - que envolvem a experiência direta do sinistro, ambos através dos rituais, grupos de Magia e o empreendimento de determinadas tarefas sinistras - o indivíduo caminha (se eu disse matança seletiva como tal tarefa adiantada, ou Sacrifício Satânico, é possível apreciar a dificuldade e o perigo). Isto é, o Novato no Satanismo ganha mais compreensão dele mesmo e do mundo, e mais experiência - move-se para um individualismo real, uma síntese da consciência/inconsciência, do claro e do sombrio.

A parte disto, envolve-os a empreenderem uma tarefa específica por alguns meses, e é esta tarefa - baseada nos preceitos prévios, o próximo estágio do caminho, que visa criar um Adepto genuíno. Esta tarefa requer ao candidato a Adepto de Grau (Adeptship) viver sozinho, em uma área isolada, por três meses (geralmente do Equinócio da Primavera ao Solstício do Verão) - sem falar com ninguém, para viver frugalmente, sem nenhuma conveniência moderna, nenhum rádio, nenhuma “distração” moderna, em um abrigo construído (em anos recentes, as regras foram relaxadas e uma barraca ou tenda é permitida). O alvo disto é para que experimentem a natureza sem quaisquer distrações - para conhecer-se realmente e às energias naturais que existem, como aquelas energias são (e não como livros, ou professores ou teorias descrevem-nas). Isto, naturalmente, é muito difícil. Requer a determinação real; requer ao indivíduo enfrentar-se, e a todos os seus medos. É um teste severo de caráter e de determinação Satânicos.

A maioria de indivíduos que começam (e que não são muitos, nas épocas recentes), desistem depois e encontram desculpas para retornar ao mundo e a seus confortos. A desculpa clássica é a desilusão que têm alcançado ao Adepto de Grau, em alguns dias, ou talvez semanas da isolação. E isto é uma desilusão - mas é somente desta maneira áspera e isolada, por pelo menos três meses, que um Adepto real é criado. Naturalmente, outros Satanistas ou grupos chamados do “Caminho da Mão Esquerda” premiam como Adepto de Grau – falso - seus membros ou seguidores, geralmente após alguma cerimônia aborrecida, pomposa e totalmente sem sentido.

O Adepto marca o fim do terceiro estágio do nosso “Caminho da Mão Esquerda” - e para alcançar este estágio, usualmeente, leva de três a seis anos para a Iniciação.

A tarefa ou Ritual de Grau que cria o Adepto, o faz atento a seu destino pessoal, único - o quarto estágio está em toda parte e o Adepto o procura, para fazer daquele o destino real. Isto envolve um “retorno ao mundo” – o ganho de mais experiência, a criação de novas visões e novas habilidades. O que, por si só, toma alguns anos. O caráter do Adepto cresce e se aprofunda - ele alcança o começo de sabedoria. Em termos de Magia, ele ganha uma compreensão dos 'Aeonics'– de coisas estrategicamente sinistras (o uso do acausal ou energias supra-pessoais para mudar sociedades e civilizações através dos séculos).

Hitherto, no melhor de seu aprendizado, tem estado direta e pessoalmente relacionando, para seu desenvolvimento pessoal - agora, é alcançada a perspectiva do Aeonic , isto torna-se um deles. Isto é, eles desenvolvem, além disso, novamente uma experiência direta - o acausal de si mesmo.

Depois disto, o desenvolvimento pessoal toma lugar - ele torna-se completo, um indivíduo altamente desenvolvido, que possue habilidade e compreensão. Ele preenche o potencial do gênio que é latente dentro dele. Assim, caminha para tornar-se um Mestre ou Mestra verdadeiro. Mas, para alcançar este estágio - o quinto - leva ao menos dez anos (mais usual é quinze para vinte). E há outro estágio além deste.

Assim, vê-se que nosso caminho é difícil e leva um longo tempo. A viagem de Iniciado ao Adepto de Grau, não é nenhum mistério – é realmente muito simples.

A maioria das pessoas poderiam fazer isto - se possuíssem determinação. Mas a maioria é preguiçosa ou também fraca.

Os interessados em se unir a grupos Satânicos, ou interessados no Satanismo, vão à opção fácil; eles não estão preparados para trabalhar em seu próprio desenvolvimento pessoal. Preferem alguém para fazer isto por eles. E, além disso, eles não estão, fundamentalmente, preparados para ir além de seus limites - para realmente experimentar o sinistro em um caminho prático; eles desejam, mas simplesmente não arriscam e ficam seguros em jogos pseudos-satânicos.

Assim, eles tendem para o que nós chamamos de grupos “os sham-satânicos”, de pessoas afetadas, tal como o Templo de Set ou a Church of Satan – aqueles que gostam do glamour associado ao Satanismo, mas estão basicamente com medo de experimentar seu verdadeiro interior e exterior. Esses grupos absorvem – e acreditam nisto – diretrizes éticas e eles constantemente asseguram que o Satanismo não perdoa coisas como o sacrifício humano. Nós, ao contrário, somos sombrios e realmente sinistros - e propomos a seleção. Isto é, nós mantemos a seleção como benéfica para todos (isto existe como experiência para a construção do caráter) e para nossa espécie no geral, pois a seleção, por sua natureza, remove o imprestável e assim melhora a raça.

Naturalmente, há um caminho adequado para a escolha de quem vai ser “separado” – cada vítima é escolhida por mostrar a si mesma como certa, elas nunca são escolhidas aleatoriamente, entre elas não há “inocentes'.

Nossa afirmação de tais coisas, como sacrifício humano, ofende outros chamados Grupos Satânicos – o que para nós somente reassegura nossa opinião sobre grupos que finjem ser Grupos Satânicos. Basicamente, tais grupos não têm nenhum real conhecimento ou apenas uma pequena compreensão de Satanismo, como evidente, por exemplo, no 'religioso' Templo de Set - que reclama que Satanismo é alguma espécie de religião. Para nós, a atitude religiosa e mental - envolvendo com isto o dogma, o agrado, e servilismo pelo indivíduo para com alguém nomeado de autoridade - é a antítese do Satanismo.

Em essência, nós compreendemos Satanismo como a busca individual para a excelência pessoal, para criar um ser inteiramente novo. Esta busca envolve prática e experiência - porque somente a experiência real cria o caráter. A essência do Satanismo conduz o indivíduo a ser iniciado através de experiência prática - nunca por livros, nunca por alguém como mestre, nunca por palavras. Palavras nunca podem realmente descrever esta essência - elas podem unicamente apontar o caminho, sugerí-lo, e usualmente servem para obscurecer isto. No mesmo caminho, cerimônias e formas, como rituais, são unicamente meios - são os meios para a experiência, para simbolizar coisas e assim compreendem para hitherto tem sido o oculto, instintivo ou inconsciente. Além disso, esta busca deve ser do indivíduo – os meios o indivíduo desenvolve, através das experiências (e às vezes aprendendo com os erros), o vigor de caráter necessitado. Ou eles falham – usualmente - por iludir-se sobre seu nível real de realização, sua real compreensão pessoal, seu nível de controle e domínio pessoal. O alvo está no controle, domínio e compreensão pessoais - e então alguém que superou a si mesmo e foi além, torna-se um novo ser, uma nova pessoa.

O alvo é não um chafurdar na decadência, nele está o encorajamento do sinistro, anseios e desejos instintivos, como um fim neles mesmos. Tais coisas são meios, um começo - para serem utilizadas, aprendidas, e então transcendidas através do domínio de cada pessoa.

Para nós, Satanismo é uma busca individual e isto objetiva os fortes, indivíduos que não necessitam do apoio de grupos, de dogma, ética, nem religião, de algum pomposo pontificado, de um 'mestre'. Assim, a ONA existe para oferecer conselho e orientação - para apontar o caminho. O indivíduo deve começar a busca, e ele sozinho deve continuar com isto.

Por causa das dificuldades de nosso caminho, poucos seguem-no. De alguns modo, infelizmente - nós acreditamos que o caminho oferece a qualquer um a oportunidade para avançar ao longo do caminho ao Adepto de Grau verdadeiro. Isto é real, ou pode ser real, devido ao potencial que a maioria dos indivíduos possuem - o gênio latente dentro de si. De qualquer modo, a natureza humana revelada a pequenos números é compreensível.

O que a ONA tem feito - decorridos trinta anos - é criar um sistema prático e simples de trabalho: com efeito, nós produzindo um elixir, uma “alquimia interna”, que qualquer um pode usar.

Nós descrevemos este sistema como Satânico, como Sinistro, porque ele o é. Isto é um rejeição completa da filosofia e da religião do Nazareno, que é anti-vida, anti-evolução, como Nietzsche, por exemplo, compreendeu.

Para nós, Satan é ambos, um arquétipo ou símbolo de nosso desafio e alguma coisa real - a representação do que nós descrevemos como “acausal”. Isto é, nós compreendemos as forças escuras como não simplesmente separadas de nossa psiqué (como a maioria dos grupos chamados Satânicos Modernos fazem) - mas como além da nossa compreensão, a psiqué individual. Essas forças sombrias - ou o acausal - estão além de nós, como indivíduos: eles estão além de nosso controle ciente (e reais para nossa compreensão) até nós tornamo-nos uma parte deles. Isto não nos faz submissos àquelas forças - mas alavanca uma expansão para o conhecimento individual, o desenvolvimento da consciência individual, para abranger aquelas forças. Esta expansão é a marca do verdadeiro Mestre/Mestra Satânico.

Outros grupos Satânicos são sérios e não somente usam as Artes Negras para sua própria e fraca gratificação – afirmam que as forças escuras são meramente um aspecto do psiqué, ou inconsciente. Ambas - a Church of Satan e o Templo de Set fazem esta afirmação. Eles fazem isto por duas razões. Primeiro, eles necessitam, por que eles desejam se sentir seguros; eles desejam ser capazes de jogar seu pseudo-satanismo, pseudo-intelectualismo, jogos mais seguros e urbanizados, porque os membros de tais grupos não estão orgulhosos, com plena firmeza, de personalidade consciente, individualistas: eles necessitam o conforto de um grupo, de um líder, de diretrizes éticas, de sentir que aquele Satan pode ser controlado por algum mumbo-jumbo sem sentido. Com efeito, os membros e líderes destes grupos são fracos - eles carecem de disciplina pessoal; e até mesmo do desejo para o real domínio pessoal com o qual eles irão continuar edificando sua própria fraqueza, massageando seus egos inflados.

Segundo, tais grupos e seus membros realmente não compreendem o Sinistro. Eles não têm tido nenhuma experiência real do primitivo, da divindade mitológica, com a supra pessoal força das forças sombrias - de como estas força pode destruir indivíduos. Com efeito, eles não têm realmente gravado em seu interior o “acausal” de si mesmo - isto é realmente sinistro. Eles nunca encontraram realmente Satan. Eles nunca se esforçaram realmente para agradar Satan - para tornar-se um com Ele; para fundir-se com o “acausal” de si mesmo; para estabelecer um nexo com o “acausal”, com as energias sinistras.

Este ato de tornar-se proprio (becoming-one) é que faz, que cria o verdadeiro Mestre/Mestra Satânicos; só o modo de vida de um eremita criará o Adepto.

Isto é perigoso, naturalmente - mas é o único meio de alcançar a síntese, que é o individualismo, só assim ele pode ser alcançado. Assim, há uma verdadeira transcendência além do “'bem” e “mal”, além da “luz” e “treva”. Isto é uma realização, e como todas as realizações benignas do tipo “oculta”, deriva da prática e da experiência - de um conhecimento pessoal real. Algo em contrário, é mero fingimento, mero confundir-se.

Outros grupos têm tentado intelectualizar o Satanismo – passam longe das experiências reais pelas quais o verdadeiro caráter Satânico é formado. Ou chafurdam na própria fraqueza, movidos pelo impulsos que não podem compreender e não conseguem controlar. Eles têm tentado e continuam tentando fazer o Satanismo respeitável e seguro – mas somente como mais uma “religião”. Eles fantasiam, e jogam. Eles simplesmente não compreendem o Satanismo como um meio para criar novos e mais desenvolvidos indivíduos.

Na realidade, o Satanista verdadeiro produz/cria na vida real, nos sonhos, nos padrões de excelência, no Élan que outros freqüentemente buscam igualar. Um Satanista verdadeiro pode ser como uma besta presa na vida real. Eles podem ser e às vezes são, na vida real, assassinos, guerreiros, foras-da-lei. Os falsos Satanistas fingem ser tais coisas – usualmente por meios de alguns estúpidos rituais. O Satanista é sombrio e sinistro, na vida real - e então eles caminham por novas experiências, em níveis mais altos de compreensão, até que futuramente adquiram sabedoria real, ou sejam destruídos. Então eles terão alcançado alguma coisa em suas vidas. Eles terão inspirado outros.

Eles vão pelo caminho, vivendo e presenciando as forças ocultas na terra.

Se sobrevivem, suas recompensas são suas realizações e a sabedoria que adquirem. Se não sobrevivem, ao menos eles terão feito alguma coisa com suas vidas.

Assim a ONA expressa e exemplifica o movimento do Satanismo.
          Don’t Miss the 20th Anniversary of the Chicago Underground Film Festival        

It’s been 20 years since a young Columbia College film student named Jay Bliznick established a film festival that would spotlight creative film and video work outside of the system that supports major Hollywood players and elitist distributor events. For him and others who share his passion for film and desire to see new, original projects, years of dedication and effort have established the Chicago Underground Film Festival as one of the most respected and anticipated annual events for cinephiles, movie buffs, and anyone else who wants to see the kind of independent, experimental, and documentary work that doesn't make it into the local metroplex.

This year’s festival will treat audiences to outstanding work from the past and present. In the words of Festival Coordinator Lori Felker,  ”We've got a really energizing mix of films from the past 20 years mixed in with current in-competition films.  It really gives you a sense of how broad the definition of ‘underground’ is, how weird ‘weird' can get, and interesting and talented people are.”

Felker describes Chicago’s status as a major metropolitan area separate from New York and Los Angeles as a natural choice to support an ongoing event like CUFF. “…firstly, because Chicago is more affordable. If you can save money on rent, you can spend that extra on films and make your movies the way you want to make them.  But there's also a great and varied history, education system, and cinema community. There's a ton of things to do and see, but you can actually manage it and even master it over time.  It isn't too big or too small. It's just right.   And the more control you have of your community, making and dollars, the more you can break and change and subvert the system. “

As for advice for people who may be new to the underground film scene: “Open your eyes and ears, learn something and have fun.  Some screenings will be eye-popping and gut-busting, while others will provide critical and challenging views of our culture and society.  Just be open minded and if there's one thing that piques your interest, dive right in, you're pretty much guaranteed to see something you've never seen before.”

From March 6th through 10th at The Logan Theatre, the festival will serve up a feast of feature length and short-form films that explore and stretch the boundaries of narrative form and perception.  CHIRP Radio will be on hand for Saturday evening's presentation of Taken by Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis, a 95 min. documentary on the artist behind some of the iconic images in Rock and Roll, including Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and Led Leppelin's Houses of the Holy.

This is a truly unique event that is not to be missed. Visit CUFF's Web site for more information on the films and schedule. We’ll see you there!

          Dil Hai Chhota Sa, Chhoti Si Asha...        
Circa 1961. In a darkened theatre in Poona, a ten year old lad settles down to watch one of his first Hindi movies. The film is `Hum Dono’, one of Nav Ketan’s better efforts, and the excitement in the boy’s impressionable mind is palpable.

Abhi na jao chhod kar...
Barely ten minutes into the film, as the song `Abhi na jao chhod ke, ke dil abhi bhara nahin’ - arguably the greatest ode to romance ever - warbles on the screen, the lad has already made two life changing decisions.

One, that for the rest of his life, he will walk, talk, dress and wear his hair exactly like Dev Anand. Two, that as soon as is physically possible, he will marry Sadhana!

The first resolution was easy, and was clung to with the steadfastness that only a ten year old madly in love can muster. Although the `walk' would later become the bane of every drill ustad in IMA, the talk, the dress and the well coiffured `puff’ did brand him a ladies man of sorts, walking the hallowed portals of Fergusson College. 

As for the second, he didn’t stand a chance. He lost the battle, not to the charms of a `Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya’ Dev Anand or even to a `Aap yun hi agar hum se milte rahe’ Joy Mukherjee, but to RK Nayyar, the portly, bespectacled director who had directed her in `Love in Simla’, her debut film!

Like a million others, the ten year old too was heartbroken. Even scarred for life! Surely, she could have waited.


But ten year olds have a resilience that is the envy of their elder peers. And an ability to bounce back from the hardiest of put-downs. Sure enough, the walk, the talk and the puff that Sadhana had so heartlessly tossed aside were up and running again, and back in action!

The Dev Anand puff!
More heartbreaks, however, lay in store for our young Galahad. By the age of 12, he had received his first `Dear John’ – the friend’s sister, to whom he had effusively handed over his heart, let’s call her Ms R, had returned it, unopened and unused. Apparently, she didn’t quite look at him in `that way’!

So he reversed tacks. From friend’s sisters, he switched to sister’s friends! Providence, and a deep rooted animosity that existed between his sister and mathematics and general science, conspired to ensure that the sister – almost two years his senior – and he, passed out of school together.

Although he joined the more studious and elitist Fergusson College and she the more laid back Wadia, a handful of her class mates from St Anne’s School found themselves in the same class at Fergusson as our young lothario.

And that’s where he met her. His first `true’ love, Ms S. Many a lunch break was spent sharing the tiffin their respective mothers had made for their kids. Many a free period was spent exchanging sweet nothings on the steps behind the Geology lab.

They even bunked classes once to see a movie at the Alaka theatre, where they furtively held hands.  Love was definitely in air, palpable, like the exhaust of a DTC bus!

They had formed a society called Dramatique. They read poetry, discussed literature in the college Amphitheatre. They performed Arthur Miller’s `All My Sons’ in the FTII Auditorium, where he played Chris, the softer, more romantic of Joe Keller’s sons. Dammit, he was the `hero’, the romantic lead, for crying out loud!

But all that was to no avail. The paths of true love never did run smooth. He left college to enrol as a Gentleman Cadet in the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun. There, in his final term, he received a letter, announcing Ms S’s impending nuptials. It was heartbreak time all over again.

He seemed to have developed an uncanny habit of receiving Dear Johns! Must junk this annoying practice, he told himself.  Not even twenty, and he had already notched up a couple of them! Wouldn’t make for great or inspiring reading in his memoirs..

Circa 1973. His ambitions hadn't been sky high, he hadn’t asked for the moon, he reasoned. He had just wanted to be a famous writer, and here he found himself in crisp olive greens, a subaltern in the Indian Army’s Corps of Signals! 

He had pledged to marry Sadhana, then Miss R, then Miss S, and they had all ditched him in quick succession. It was a conspiracy, he felt! The Bible had got it all wrong - it wasn’t the meek that inherited the earth, but the RK Nayyars, the Mr R’s and the Mr S’s of the planet!

But hearts heal, twenty year old hearts probably faster than others. And hindsight is a fantastic tool, even though it always comes when it’s too, too late.

The delectable Sadhana passed away last week, embroiled in court cases, fighting a losing battle with cancer, both of which had emaciated that once heart achingly lovely visage. Mr Nayyar had, of course, abandoned her long back. Would he have done any better, he wondered?

The others too had moved on. Ms R had morphed into the splitting image of hermother, and he wondered how he could possibly have been so smitten. Sadly, all his efforts to track down the elusive Ms S failed. Rumours that she had had a bad marriage were just that – rumours. There was no way of knowing. She had simply vanished into thin air!

Four decades later, thankfully the hair is still in place, even if the coiffure isn’t quite the same. He’s still struggling to be a writer. `Mitti Pao!’ has notched up 85 posts to its credit. Ok, not the great big epic or novel that would be translated into fifty seven different languages and be grabbed up by Spielberg for a movie version, but hey, it’s a beginning, and maybe he is getting somewhere..

As for the R’s and S’s, those dreams always came with a shelf life. Not to mention that he too is fast approaching his `Use By’ date. Has he left it too late? He doesn’t think so. He’s convinced that the vision he’s spotted on the horizon yonder, is no mirage.

He walks on. Looks up at the sky. Urges it to do its bit. A handful of sky is not too much to ask for.

Dil hai chhota sa, chhoti si asha..

It will happen!

          Day 02 - Why I Decided to Start a Blog        
I'm not sure I ever mentioned why I wanted to blog. Mostly, I think I wanted an outlet for all my WoW talk. There was a period I went through where I just couldn't get enough WoW.

I read other people's blogs. I read WoW Insider. I loved keeping up on the latest on Elitist Jerks. And I am by nature a writer. It's what I do.

So it was a natural decision to set one up. Even if I haven't been blogging as much lately, I assure you that I have not stopped writing. I have a novel that's almost done that I'd started in September of last year. It's just a question of whether I'm writing here, on my other blog, or something else entirely.

Also, at the time I started blogging, there were still very few moonkin. Graylo's Gray Matter wasn't the only game in town, but the other blogs were few in number. Moonkin didn't become popular until WotLK and so I figured I could present a different voice, more of a layperson's voice to moonkin affairs.

I understand the math and the theorycraft, I can even do my own theorycraft push comes to shove, but I'm quite happy to leave the simulations to others and I suspect there are a fair number of others who are happy to do the same.

As for the holy paladin end of things, that's mostly because I love playing Gillien and I didn't believe I'd have enough meat for the blog if I restricted myself to moonkin only. I'm glad I made that decision because blogging about arena on Gillien has been one of the highlights of my blogging experience. There aren't a lot of PvP bloggers so it's fun to talk about something that's relatively unique.

Speaking of which, when I'm not doing one of these 20 day blogging challenge posts I need to get up my latest thoughts on the current arena season.
          Flashback: Sacramento Bee Exposé on Environmental Orgs        
Nine years ago, the Sacramento Bee published a five-part series of articles exposing the elitist policies of the Sierra Club and other so-called environmental organizations. The series has long since disappeared from the newspaper’s web site, but thanks to the Internet Archive, most of the content is still available. Visit The Sacramento Bee’s Expose: Environmental [...]
          Elitist players are like Arizonans        
Think about it. Elitist WoW players are upset that Blizz is dumbing things down so that everyone can enjoy the game. Changes that give everyone a taste but still only the elite few have the best. But those elite few still like to complain because they want to be special little snowflakes who can get the best gear because they are leet! Obviously economically, Blizz would like as many subscribers as possible, so they have to appeal to a wide market. They do that by making things accessible to all, but still some rewards that only the truly dedicated can get. Somehow, WoW elitists have forgotten that at some point they were noobs who had not idea what hit rating was and had no add-ons and bought overpriced water from the AH instead of the vendor. "Oh no!" they exclaim, "the difference is we learned our class!" We dedicated ourselves to maximizing our dps and hps and learned every boss fight there was. We mathmatically deduced what upgrades would be best and min/maxed everything....everything! Well....congratulations. That's very nice.
In Arizona people are squawking about immigrants. "Keep em out!" they yell. "They have to come in the right way". "They're just looking for handouts" or "they're all criminals". Arizonans are the elitists who have forgotten where they come from. As far as I know, unless you are Native American, your family immigrated. And with each wave of immigration people cursed and spat and looked down at the new wave. Then they pretend it's all about the legalities of it, forgetting that even up until the 1900's, immigration was simply getting here. You got to our shores and you were in. No complex processes. 99.9% of those new immigrants, legal or not want only one thing, a better life. They're not selling drugs, or raping white girls, or looking for handouts. They're busting their asses for a better life.
Now is comparing these two things ridiculous? Yes. I'm being totally facetious. All I'm saying is that people tend to forget where they come from and that at some point in history, they were the new kid on the block. Yep, there are some rotten apples, but give the benefit of the doubt, think about the other guy and relax a little.
          Concierge Medicine: An Old Concept with a New Twist        
The terms "concierge medicine" and "boutique medical practice" have recently appeared in the news after the death of Michael Jackson. Apparently, Mr. Jackson employed a personal physician for his various medical needs.

Some family physicans have become frustrated by the need to see increasing numbers of patients to maintain their practice in the face of declining reimbursement. They are opting for a different model of health delivery where they can see fewer patients and deliver more personalized care 24/7 for direct payment from the patients. This model has become popularized in a recent TV program called "Royal Pains." The concept has also been harshly criticized as "elitist."

Actually, this model for health care delivery originated in the early 19th century under the term of "contract practice." A contract practice was one where a physician was expected to deliver care to a family, plantation or indigent members of a commuunity for a fixed annual fee.

I believe the concept of contract medicine will be gaining in popularity both from the standpoint of medical care delivered to a community as well as to wealthy families. History has taught us that those who have the financial means will always demand a better product. Now that we are looking at the potential for a more uniform health care system in America the demand for a private and exclusive system will also increase.

Let us know what you think.
          Tactica: Tyranid Horde Movement.        
First off, I want to be sure you understand this is Tyranid…horde…movement…tactics. These movement types don’t work as well for Ork or Guard or Marine horde. Orks, Guard, and Marines are all geared towards Assault, Shooting, or a combination of both with higher survivability respectively. None of these types of horde have the survival capacity of Tyranids. Tyranids especially can dole out FnP to the necessary units and also have a few ways of producing new units mid-game.

Tyranids don’t win games by killing, but rather, by surviving.

This movement style is not about swooping in with your few elitist units and getting those quick kills. It is about taking your large units and moving them with calculated care to maximize survival.

What I like to call the tendril movement Tyranid tactics assumes that you have 90+ models on the board. This movement in particular is most useful in objective games where the main scoring objective is not close to home and outflank is not an option.

This method produced great results specifically for me in 'Ard Boyz Round 1 Mission 2 this year where there were 5 objectives spread about the table. My opponent was heavily mechanized Leman Russ/Vendetta Spam. While the opponent had the major edge in a spearhead deployment and I was only able to destroy a single Vendetta and 8 guardsman whilst my army was decimated to scattered squads of termagants across the board…I was able to massacre my opponent and take every objective except his (though thoroughly contesting his) due to him not being able to effectively neutralize any of my units.

This can be used to escort your unit across the board and into assault…though I do not always believe this to be the smartest option…(as is the case when fighting Tau with cover save reducing markerlights)
In any case….let’s get on with the actual explanation and leave your questions for below…

This would be your deployment via pitched battle or spearhead...I am only showing a portion of the board here to keep the image simple.

The red dots are Termagants and I assume a 7 inch move for combined move through cover and run each turn. This may be shorter than the average move but I thought it best to cut myself short instead of assuming larger.

15 of 30 Termagants will be in cover at all times.

As usual you begin moving your termagants towards the nearest cover whilst keeping 50% in cover. If you somehow don't end up with half or more in cover...you're doing it wrong. But notice how the front portion of the unit moved straight forward instead of following their brethren into the nearest cover.

You still have half your unit in cover so you might as well start thinking about your future moves...

Think of the terrain to the left as a pivot point. Once you reach it...those models stay put and swing the rest of their brethren forward. They maintain a new position of cover so those in the back may move forward and out of hiding.

Now when I first started playing I would conga line my termagants from one piece of terrain to the next...but what you may eventually realize is the inefficiency of such moves. You will see how that would make EVERY model first move to the left and then back to the right.

The shortest path between two distances is a straight line.

So....the more of your unit that you can move in a straight line instead of back and forth...the less you are wasting movement as a whole...while...maintaining cover and therefore survivability.

Of course then you might wonder why not just conga line those 15 Gants straight to the far cover and be done with it?...

Expect casualties.

In my model, the unit does not lose casualties, however in actual game play you can never expect your unit to be at full strength the next turn...you grab the closest cover here as a safety net of sorts because the distance to the far cover is just a little too great to assume you can get there with a half neutered unit. In addition, the safety net terrain gives you something to fall back onto in case you roll complete garbage for movement and run rolls.

Finally as you see here we have covered nearly half the span of a board without losing cover. As we reach the far cover we may quickly move our rear models forward and leave behind whatever cover that is now unnecessary.

Another great thing about this situation is that you may run a unit up the right flank without touching terrain at all as you are providing cover with your tendril unit. This is especially good for those elitest killy units that your opponent most likely wanted to kill first anyways...now they may run unhindered by difficult terrain and push forward a new threat vector faster than otherwise possible.

Another question I can see coming up is what happens when the very end of the tendril gets assaulted and not all of your unit can get into assault?...Well if your unit has been whittled down then it probably didn't stand much chance in assault and the other models are usually not far enough to be out of assault. If your unit is at full strength...ha...I have yet to see an opponent besides Purifiers that can take down even half a squad of termagants in a turn...before the rest consolidate in. Also most enemies who are dangerous in assault have higher than I3 and so you simply remove those models further away before they even had their turn to fight back anyways.

As always, i heartily encourage conversation.
          La Escuela de Frankfurt        

• Fue la primera institución académica de Alemania que abrazó abiertamente el marxismo; debido al origen judío de la mayoría de sus miembros.

• Cuestionan la función de la comunicación de masas.

• Buscaban el rescate de la capacidad crítica individual y el respeto de la diferencia.

Se funda en 1923 en el Instituto de Investigación Social.

Etapa de Apogeo : 1930 – 1945

Contexto Histórico: La Alemania Nazi y la Segunda Guerra Mundial

La Escuela de Frankfurt le temía a la Ilustración, ya que la veía peligrosa y como una manera de explotar al ser humano.

Recordemos que la Ilustración era el movimiento cultural por el cual la razón estaba por encima de todo y sólo se podía alcanzar la ‘sabiduría’, ‘ser ilustrado’ a través del conocimiento.

Otro de los temores de La Escuela de Frankfurt era: AUSCHWITZ

Auschwitz viene a ser la sentencia de muerte de la capacidad crítica y reflexiva.
Auschwitz viene a ser la culminación de la opresión racionalmente calculada.

La tragedia de Auschwitz no radica solamente en lo que allí ocurrió, sino en que todo aquello estaba completamente planificado y calculado.

Al llegar la Segunda Guerra Mundial, al ser perseguidos, la Escuela de Frankfurt se traslada a Estados Unidos…

Allá se estrellaron con cultura norteamericana, perturbadora para estos intelectuales, puesto que todo tenía que ver con el consumismo…

El Análisis Crítico de la Escuela de Frankfurt

La Escuela de Frankfurt plantea la necesidad de un rescate de la capacidad crítica individual y el respeto de la diferencia.

Para Adorno y Horkheimer, la modernidad se caracteriza por la omnipresencia de la técnica y por la mercantilización de las relaciones humanas.

Las grandes instituciones sociales como la familia, se desintegraron bajo la presión del mundo del trabajo y el espíritu de la competencia.

Los miembros de las sociedades industrializadas están expuestos al sufrimiento psicológico y son particularmente vulnerables desde un punto de vista ideológico.

Los hombres están abandonados a sí mismos pero al perder sus raíces y sus comunidades de origen, se vuelven extraños a sí mismos, alienados…

…Son entonces susceptibles de ser manipulados por las nuevas fuerzas que gobiernan la sociedad…

Los medios masivos, administrados como industrias, ejercen una permanente seducción porque alivian, relajan, permiten soñar y tener esperanza.

Los medios forman una cortina de humo, un vapor que embrutece: La comunicación de masa conduce al silencio de las masas con ausencia de sentido crítico.

Los Medios vendrían a ser :

El Sol Negro de la Modernidad

Para la Escuela de Frankfurt, los medios juegan el mismo papel que la religión en Marx, son el nuevo opio del pueblo.

¨El placer favorece la resignación que supuestamente ayuda a olvidar¨ (Adorno).

La Industria Cultural

Cuando la producción cultural se industrializa:

• El bien cultural se somete a las leyes del mercado: Oferta y demanda.

La calidad dependerá de lo que el público quiere o puede consumir, no de lo que el autor quiera.

Cuando la producción cultural se industrializa:

Se convierte en un producto de consumo masivo. Se baja la calidad.

¿Qué vende más: Un documental sobre niños en una escuela rural o una película de acción con Stallone?

Cuando la producción cultural se industrializa:

• Se pierde la capacidad crítica individual del autor: la originalidad.

La originalidad se ve afectada, pues se requiere cosas que se puedan vender, según las condiciones del mercado.


El público: Para poder consumir un producto masivo, las masas deben poseer gustos homogéneos.

Un elevado nivel crítico de parte del público impide una fácil comercialización de los productos culturales.

Las diferencias entre las culturas también se convierten en obstáculos de comercialización.

Es más fácil vender productos a personas desinformadas, poco críticas, poco exigentes, que a personas con un alto nivel crítico.

El proceso sería el siguiente: De tanto consumir productos de baja calidad en los que todos se parecen y responden a las mismas estructuras, la gente, el público, termina acostumbrándose a ello y no requiere más.

Ejm: El alto rating que puede sacar Mi Recinto, las telenovelas de Televisa o Telemundo.

De allí que se puede decir que el producto cultural de consumo masivo antes que ayudar a construir una sociedad más educada, detiene el crecimiento intelectual de las masas.

¿Por qué serán tan radicales los estudiosos de la Escuela de Frankfurt?

Por su contexto, fueron irremediablemente marcados por la Segunda Guerra Mundial, luego por el Holocausto.

Después el exilio que los obligó a estrellarse contra una cultura norteamericana perturbadora para estos intelectuales.

Críticas a la Escuela de Frankfurt

Es demasiado radical en su postura sobre el consumo de los productos culturales…

Tampoco se puede ser ‘elitista’ con los productos culturales.

No todos tienen que amar a Van Gogh, disfrutar sólo del cine de Tarkosvky, ni llegar al Nirvana con una Ópera Alemana…

La terminología de ‘industria’ resulta conflictiva ya que no se fabrica una serie de telenovelas, películas de éxito como se fabrican productos alimenticios en serie.

Esto se debe porque los contenidos culturales nunca se estandarizan verdaderamente.

Por ello no se debe tomar el término 'industria' al pie de la letra.

Se parecería a industria en el sentido de la organización del trabajo en oficinas.

Por eso también hay malas inversiones numerosas…

Adorno considera que cualquier estudio de las reacciones de los públicos frente a los programas de radio o películas como un arreglo con la industria cultural.

Sin embargo él también realiza trabajos empíricos cuando quiere detectar el autoritarismo de los hombres sobre la masa.

          Hugo Ballot 2015 with Puppies marked        

I don't normally tread all that far outside the realm of gaming, but as I am attending WorldCon this year I've been paying special attention to the Hugos and the...lets call it "kerfuffle" going on around it. It was originally brought to my attention by George R. R. Martin's tweets, and I think he does a fair job of summarizing it. 

The following is the full Hugo Award 2015 bracket with nominees put forth by the Sad and Rabid Puppies slates color coded. When I got down to reading the nominees I realized I wanted a coherent list of how the slates impacted the nominees, including both slates, so I decided to make one myself. Sad Puppies are marked in Blue, Rabid Puppies in Red, and any nominees suggested by both are marked in Purple.* I want to make it very clear that this should not be used as a slate or voting guide. At least some of the authors the Puppy groups included on their slates were not consulted about it, and it would be unfair to them to deny them an award merely because of an undesired association. So say it with me, “This post should NOT be used as a slate.” Each work should be judged on its own merit. Of course if you do not feel that any of the works in a category merit a Hugo award you are free to choose the "No Award" option in that category.

However, due to the exploitation of the Hugo nomination system (and this was an exploitation of a system that previously relied on non-slate voting due to a, apparently misplaced, trust in an honor system) I feel it is only fair that voters have some knowledge as to why individual works were included. All knowledge is worth having, and so I leave it to you to decide what to do with this information. You will notice that in several categories ALL of the nominees belong to a slate. If that troubles you I recommend considering John Scalzi’s system.

This post will be updated as new information becomes available.

Best Novel
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK) 

The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books) 

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books) 

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor) 

Skin Game by Jim Butcher (Roc Books)

Best Novella
Big Boys Don't Cry by Tom Kratman (Castalia House)

“Flow” by by Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Analog, Nov 2014)

One Bright Star to Guide Themby John C. Wright (Castalia House)

“Pale Realms of Shade” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)

“The Plural of Helen of Troy” by John C. Wright (City Beyond Time: Tales of the Fall of Metachronopolis, Castalia House)

Best Novelette
“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” by Gray Rinehart (Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, May 2014)

“Championship B’tok” by Edward M. Lerner (Analog, Sept 2014)

“The Day the World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014)

“The Journeyman: In the Stone House” by Michael F. Flynn (Analog, June 2014)

“The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by by Rajnar Vajra (Analog, Jul/Aug 2014)

Best Short Story
“On A Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli (Sci Phi  Journal #2, Nov 2014)

“The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)

“A Single Samurai” by Steven Diamond (The Baen Big Book of Monsters, Baen)

“Totaled” by Kary English (Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, July 2014)

“Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)

Best Related Work
“The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF” by Ken Burnside (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)

Letters from Gardner by Lou Antonelli (The Merry Blacksmith Press) 

Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth by John C. Wright (Castalia House)

“Why Science is Never Settled” by Tedd Roberts (Baen.com)

Wisdom from My Internet by Michael Z. Williamson (Patriarchy Press)

Best Graphic Story
Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt (Marvel Comics)

Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery written by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch (Image Comics)

Saga Volume 3written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)

The Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate by Carter Reid (The Zombie Nation)

Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form
Captain America: The Winter Soldier screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, concept and story by Ed Brubaker, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Entertainment, Perception, Sony Pictures Imageworks)

Edge of Tomorrow screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, directed by Doug Liman (Village Roadshow, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment; Viz Productions)

Guardians of the Galaxy written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company)

Interstellar screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, directed by Christopher Nolan (Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Lynda Obst Productions, Syncopy)

The Lego Movie written by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, story by Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, LEGO Systems A/S Vertigo Entertainment, Lin Pictures, Warner Bros. Animation (as Warner Animation Group))

Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form
Doctor Who: “Listen”written by Steven Moffat, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (BBC Television)

The Flash: “Pilot” teleplay by Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, story by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, directed by David Nutter (The CW, Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television)

Game of Thrones: “The Mountain and the Viper” written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss, directed by Alex Graves (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television & Generator Productions)

Grimm: “Once We Were Gods” written by Alan DiFiore, directed by Steven DePaul (NBC, GK Productions, Hazy Mills Productions, Universal TV) 

Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions, Space/BBC America)

Best Editor – Short Form
Jennifer Brozek

Vox Day

Mike Resnick

Edmund R. Schubert (Note: Nominee asked to be removed from ballot but was too late to be removed)

Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Best Editor – Long Form
Vox Day

Sheila Gilbert

Jim Minz

Anne Sowards

Toni Weisskopf

Best Professional Artist
Julie Dillon

Kirk DouPonce

Nick Greenwood

Alan Pollack

Carter Reid

Best Semiprozine
Abyss & Apex by Wendy Delmater, editor and publisher 

Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine Andromeda Spaceways Publishing Association Incorporated, 2014 editors David Kernot & Sue Bursztynski

Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews

Lightspeed Magazineedited by John Joseph Adams, Wendy N. Wagner, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, and Christie Yant

Strange Horizons Niall Harrison (Editor-in-Chief), Brit Mandelo, An Owomoyela and Julia Rios (Fiction Editors), Sonya Taaffe (Senior Poetry Editor), Abigail Nussbaum (Senior Reviews Editor), Rebecca Cross (Columns Editor), Anaea Lay (Podcast Editor) and Tim Moore (Webmaster)

Best Fanzine
Black Gate edited by John O’Neill (Note: Nominee asked to be removed from ballot but was too late to be removed)

Elitist Book Reviews edited by Steve Diamond

Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Alissa McKersie, Colin Harris and Helen Montgomery

The Revenge of Hump Day edited by Tim Bolgeo

Tangent Online edited by Dave Truesdale

Best Fancast
Adventures in SciFi Publishing Brent Bowen (Executive Producer), Kristi Charish, Timothy C. Ward, Shaun Ferrell & Moses Siregar III (Co-Hosts, Interviewers and Producers) 

Dungeon Crawlers Radio Daniel Swenson (Producer/Host), Travis Alexander & Scott Tomlin (Hosts), Dale Newton (Host/Tech), Damien Swenson (Audio/Video Tech)

Galactic Suburbia PodcastAlisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)

The Sci Phi Show Jason Rennie

Tea and Jeopardy Emma Newman & Peter Newman

Best Fan Writer
David Freer

Amanda S. Green

Jeffro Johnson

Laura J. Mixon

Cedar Sanderson

Best Fan Artist
Ninni Aalto

Brad Foster

Elizabeth Leggett

Spring Schoenhuth

Steve Stiles

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
Wesley Chu (second year of eligibility)

Jason Cordova (first year of eligibility)

Kary English (second year of eligibility)

Rolf Nelson (first year of eligibility)

Eric S. Raymond (first year of eligibility)

*Slates were sourced from here (Sad Puppies) and here (Rabid Puppies) respectively.

The controversy of whether “sex work” can be defined and treated as real work or not is one that evokes a lot of emotion and sentiments. This is not surprising because the answer to this will determine whether this area of “Work” deserves to be acknowledged and given as much legal and social protection and recognition as any other type of work recognized under the auspice of labour laws. It cannot be denied that “sex workers”, like them or hate them, provide a service. Since prostitution is commonly referred to as the oldest profession, sex work is a service as old as humankind.

With the advent of globalization, internet dating, chat rooms, cyber-sex etc, the world’s touted oldest profession has not been left behind in modernizing its trade and services to keep up with the ever changing technology; dynamism is indeed the name of the game. In today’s world, a sex worker is no longer just the woman in skimpy red dress and high heels, lurking at the corner of the street in the middle of the night looking for a customer. A sex worker now include prostitutes, pornography actors and actresses, chat room /telephone sex providers, escorts, gigolos etc.  

However, like all work, especially in this era of neo–globalization and privatisation of anything that generate profits, prostitutes in many cases do not own their bodies anymore, many are not really in a position to negotiate the prices for their services. The big lords, hotel owners, club owners, chat room owners, internet warlords are now the real employer of sex workers' labour. The money bags have the money to run the business, employ women and in a growing number of cases men too, to render sexual services, they act as the sub contractors, in fact, it is just an advanced stage of pimping.

‘IF YOU HAVE A BOSS, YOU NEED A UNION” is a popular slogan in Labor movement. It is increasingly obvious that sex workers are in most cases employed by other big time business operators, who like many employers, are basically concerned about profit and not necessarily the welfare of their employees. Even in cases where sex workers are their own bosses, instances of police brutality and harassment abound. Policemen have been known to extort sex workers, demand for cuts from their earnings, deny them protection, rape and torture them; in fact, sex workers are subjected to all sorts of indignities and degrading treatment when arrested.
In Nigeria, it is a common occurrence for policemen to raid a brothel, clubs or local joints to arrest young women, especially female students on the suspicion of prostitution. To the policemen, the  evidence  of the prostitution charge lies in the  way the women are dressed, their physical appearance, if they were smoking, drinking alcohol, the company they keep, or just the mere fact that they were in that environment at an 'ungodly' hour serves as evidence of prostitution.
Many women arrested in such circumstances are often tortured, extorted, blackmailed, raped and assaulted. In an effort to protect their identity and secure their freedom, these young women would do anything to please their torturers. Sometimes they are forced to confess to crimes they never committed and in many cases, are forced to perform sexual favours to gain their freedom. Of course, this action of the police is sexist, a violation of so many fundamental human rights and a restriction on the right of women to move freely in the country.

It is however interesting to note that the over-zealousness of the police is never extended to elitist clubs. Sex workers, who work for and provide services to the elites, enjoy a sort of coded protection. However the protection is only valid for as long as the boss is pleased, any disagreement or rancor could lead to withdrawal of that protection. Therefore the power to negotiate the terms and conditions of service is tacitly taken away from the vulnerable sex workers.
Also, sex workers are often looked at as disease carriers, a mobile carrier of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. While there is no gainsaying that exposure to many sexual partners without protection increases the risk of contacting a sexually transmitted disease, it is also important to note that the client could be as guilty if not more guilty than the service provider therefore it is important to involve and educate the clients too on the need to practice safer sex. It is important to have a holistic approach to this subject in order to curb sexually transmitted diseases. 

Sex workers must be accorded the respect they deserve and seen as stakeholders who can contribute meaningfully to creating awareness about HIV/AIDS and help curb its spread. We must also recognize that sexual health and well being of sex workers is also important.
The stigmatization and consequent exploitation of sex workers would be minimized if sex work is accorded its recognition as a bonafide job, a real job which has its challenges like every other job but which also has its rights and protections under the law.
Criminalization of sex-work in many countries and jurisdictions makes it difficult to create a safe, enabling environment and workplace for sex workers. The continued criminalization of sex-work, rather than serves as a deterrent has only succeeded in exposing sex workers to violence, intimidation, harassment, exploitation etc.

As was said in the Wolfenden Committee report of 1957, what two adults do in the privacy of their rooms is no business of the law. Decriminalization of sex work would make it easier to organize sex workers, improve their working conditions, curb exploitation and protect their rights and accord them the dignity in labour every worker deserves.

Recognizing sex work and organising sex workers within mainstream labour movement is a task not just for the unions but one that must jointly be carried out by both the trade unions and sex workers.  Sex workers must be ready to organise themselves from within, they must be prepared to approach unions that are capable of meeting their needs and willing to accept them as full members with all the rights accorded members.

Trade unions on their part must be ready to live up to its primary duties, which is organising workers and protecting their rights. In this time when the labour movement is concerned about dwindling membership mainly due to global economy down turn, trade unions should look towards organising this untapped membership.

Sex workers have bosses in many cases, they work under hazardous conditions, and sometimes under very demeaning circumstances, they need protection from dangerous clients, overzealous policemen, and even the larger society.

Organising sex workers would also give them the opportunity to build their capacity to negotiate their own services and contracts, educate and empower them enough for them to make a true choice or at least give them a chance to really have a choice. 

No one should be forced to be a sex worker; it should be voluntarily chosen. Unfortunately, our economy reality has restricted the power to freely choose our profession, however it is still imperative that conditions of work in this profession is subjected to international labour standards. Sex workers should not be abandoned to their fate just because they happened to be on the wrong side of a questionable law.

The key word is CHOICE and an ENABLING/EMPOWERING environment to make a CHOICE. Many choose 'prostitution' or what I'd rather refer to as 'Commercial Sex Work' to survive the brutal economy. Just the same way many women and men choose to enter into Marriage unions or relationships for economy reasons and same way many migrants are forced to marry or enter into contractual sexual relationships for a green card or entry visa. Mutual Adult choices that harm no one should be respected. 

We should all stand up against FORCED commercial sex work, FORCED LABOUR anywhere, anyhow should be condemned. Persons that have chosen sex work whether out of economic circumstances or just because they love it, should be accorded all respect and protection, not pity.

Commercial sex workers should not be denied workers’ rights because of societal stigmatization and moral judgments. They are adults, have made their choices and need not explain to a third party why they made their choice. Decriminalization can help minimize violence, sex trafficking and exploitation of sex workers and a UNION would give them the representation many other workers enjoy. 

Employment CHOICES, whether made out of economic frustration, lack of choice or real passion for the profession MUST BE RESPECTED.

Sex workers do not have to be viewed as people who need help, especially when they are in the profession voluntarily. Not everyone loves their jobs, including commercial sex workers. In almost all profession, you will find people who truly loathe their jobs but are constraint to stay in the jobs because it pays the bills. So next time someone says "but prostitutes don't love their jobs", well ask the person if they truly love their jobs? Also, not loving your job is not a reason for the society to criminalize  or stigmatize your chosen profession. 

Some sex workers are in the profession because, believe it or not, they have a passion for it, many are there because of limited choice but for whatever reasons they are in the profession, RESPECT is the key word, not PITY and certainly not moral judgment.

Sex workers while building their alliances with labour movements, must also build links with social movements that will protect their rights and interests. They should build alliances with  liberal women organisations, human rights organisations which in some cases also help to provide legal services to allies and of course the World Social Forum.

Social movements on their part must continue to demand for a better world, where the oppressed in the society can rise above their oppression, where poverty will not be the motivating factor behind sex work, where people can truly decide what type of work they want to do, be it providing medical service or providing sex service and have their choice equally respected.

It is indeed interesting that some unions have already started organising sex workers and admitting them into their unions while some sex workers have also started organising themselves. In Europe, America, Asia , tentative steps have been taken by unions like the Karnataka Sex workers union Bangalore, International union of sex workers, London, AMMAR, an organisation of sex workers in Argentina, CTA, an Argentine trade union, FNV union confederation in Netherlands UNITE, New Zealand, etc. It is important to build on these developments in order to reach out to many vulnerable and oppressed people in this work who otherwise would not have any valid spokesperson or means of channeling their grievances or opportunity of having their voices heard in the society.

Trade unions in Africa should also try to represent this group of workers, who most often, work in the most demeaning conditions.  Discrimination has no place in trade unionism, the interests of the sex workers must be protected, their voices must be heard and their concerns taken on board. Unions should not just be speaking for sex workers but must also let sex workers speak for themselves from within the unions.

In conclusion, we must bear in mind that organising sex workers itself is not about promoting the sex trade or sex services, it is about PROTECTING the rights of those who either out of choice or no choice find themselves working as sex workers. 

Trade unions cannot and should not discriminate on which category of workers they offer their services to. Workers of the world have always tried to unite against any form of slavery, freely chosen sex work is not slavery and where stifling environment encourages exploitation of this vulnerable group, union machinery should start working to defend the rights of these workers irrespective of status, class, color or gender.

          Eating Three “Cucks” for Breakfast?        
I find myself having many of the same criticisms of the Alt-Right that Ernst Junger had of the Nazis. “He also found Nazi ideology to be intellectually shallow, many of the Nazi movement’s leaders to be talentless and was displeased by the vulgarity,  crassly opportunistic and overly theatrical aspects of Nazi public rallies. Always an elitist, Junger considered the Nazis’ pandering the common people to be debased… He also dismissed their racism and anti-Semitism as ridiculous, stating that according to the Nazis a nationalist is simply someone who ‘eats three Jews for breakfast. He condemned More…
          McCain and RNC's Robocalls Transcripts and Information        
The McCain Campaign and friends have begun a nationwide negative campaign that uses robocalls quietly poison voters' information with lies and fear tactics. These calls target voters by demography or geography with thousands of recorded messages or paid telemarketers to push a sleazy message.

1. Robocall Claims Obama Works "Closely" With Terrorists
From the following organizations: McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee
In the following locations: Colorado, Florida, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, New Hampshire
Description: Smear groups and now a desperate McCain campaign are trying to connect Barack to William Ayers using shady, stale guilt-by-association techniques.
The facts behind this false attack: The smear associating Barack to Ayers is “phony,” “tenuous,” even “exaggerated at best if not outright false.”
TRANSCRIPT: "Hello, I’m calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the US Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home, and killed Americans. And Democrats will enact an extreme leftist agenda if they take control of Washington. Barack Obama and his Democratic allies lack the judgment to lead our country. This call is paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee …”

2. Palin Criticizes Robocalls and Then Records One

From the following organizations: McCain-Palin campaign and the Republican National Committee
In the following locations: Nevada, Wisconsin
Description: Despite saying voters were “irritated” by robocalls, Gov. Palin herself stars in the newest robocall from the McCain campaign.
Political Ticker: Palin says voters ‘irritated’ by robocalls.
TRANSCRIPT: “Hi this is Sarah Palin. One of our local campaign volunteers just called you and I wanted to follow up and ask for you support. You know our opponents may talk a lot – they haven’t done much listening. I know what it’s like to be a hard-working mom. I know how hard it is to make ends meet during tough times like this. John McCain and I know our country is hurting and we know how to turn it around. We’ll get our economy back on track. We’ll cut your taxes and lower prices at the pump and at the grocery store. John McCain and I are the Mavericks who will reform Washington, Wall Street, and all the wasteful government in between. I hope John McCain and I can count on your support on November 4th. We won’t let you down. Paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 …”

3. Robocall Exploits Fear of Terrorism

From the following organizations: Republican National Committe and McCain-Palin campaign
In the following locations: Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, Maryland
Description: This recent robocall, using the voice of former governor Tom Ridge, recycles the tired campaign tactic of trying to scare voters with threats of terrorism.
The truth: Barack Obama has a plan to keep America safe. Barack has supported increasing funding for homeland security and has a plan to increase the security of our transit systems, rail lines, and ports, and secure our chemical and nuclear plants. Learn more about Barack’s plans to keep America safe.
TRANSCRIPT: “Hello, this is Governor Tom Ridge, America’s first Secretary of Homeland Security. I’m calling for John McCain and the RNC because this week Joe Biden, Barack Obama’s running mate, made startling comments we must take very seriously. He reminded us of Sen. Obama’s inexperience when he said that America would face an international crisis that Sen. Obama would be unprepared to handle alone. If the Democrats win complete control of government, they will want to give traditional civil rights to terrorists and talk unconditionally to dictators and state sponsors of terror. Barack Obama and his Democrat allies lack the experience and judgment to lead America. [New voice] Governor Ridge is right. If Democrats take complete control of government, our nation’s security will suffer. We need leadership and experience to change Washington and keep America safe. This call is paid for by the Republican National Committee and McCain-Palin 2008 …”

4. Robocall Deceives Voters About Obama's Strong Record on Crime
From the following organizations: Republican National Committee and McCain-Palin campaign
In the following locations: Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, Wisconsin
Description: Using a tired old trick out of the Republican playbook, this robocall tries to scare voters by deceptively attacking Obama’s record on crime.
Barack Obama has a strong record of being tough on crime. Throughout his career in public service, Barack advocated tougher measures to fight crime and consistently voted to provide more resources to local law enforcement officials:
  • Barack co-sponsored legislation that became the first major anti-meth federal law.
  • He supported the COPS programs that provided much-needed resources to local police officers.
  • He cosponsored a bill creating a national database on sex offenders: http://www.nsopr.gov/
  • And he voted to reauthorize the landmark Violence Against Women Act.
For their tough records on crime, Barack Obama and Joe Biden earned the endorsement of the National Association of Police Organizations, a group that represents over 2,000 police organizations across the United States. (read more)
TRANSCRIPT: “Hello, I’m calling for John McCain and the RNC, because Democrats are dangerously weak on crime. Barack Obama has voted against tougher penalties for street gangs, drug-related crimes, and protecting children from danger. Barack Obama and his liberal allies have a disturbing history of coddling criminals. So we can’t trust their judgment to keep our families safe. This call was paid for by the Republican National Committee and McCain-Palin 2008.”

5. Robocall Twists Obama's Words to Make False Claims About Obama's Gun Policy
From the following organizations: Republican National Committee and McCain-Palin campaign
In the following locations: Iowa, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Wisconsin
Description: This robocall misleads voters on Obama’s gun policies by twisting Obama’s words.
Barack Obama is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment: “I believe there is a Second Amendment right. I think it is an individual right. I think people have the right to lawfully bear arms.” During Barack’s career in the Illinois and United States senates, he proudly stood to defend the rights of hunters and sportsmen while doing everything he could to protect children — including his own two daughters — from illegal gun violence. (read more)
TRANSCRIPT: “Hello, I’m calling for John McCain and the RNC, because Barack Obama says Midwest folks like us cling to our guns because we’re bitter. And elitist Democrats who want to control Washington have tried to completely ban handguns and most hunting rifles. The NRA said that Barack Obama would be the most anti-gun president in American history. These elitist Democrats just don’t understand us, and we can’t trust them with our second amendment rights. This call was paid for the Republican National Committee and McCain-2008 …”

6. Robocall Misleads on Spending and Taxes
From the following organizations: McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee
In the following locations: Colorado, North Carolina
Description: This misleading robocall seeks to scare voters about Barack and his economic plan.
The facts behind this false attack: The truth is Barack has proposed an economic plan for the middle class that will get our economy back on track, by both reducing government waste and cutting taxes for 95 percent of American families. (read more)
You can find out what your tax cut is by using the Obama Tax Cut Calculator.
TRANSCRIPT: “ … with grocery costs and a struggling economy, we cannot afford Barack Obama and the Democrat’s $1 trillion in new taxes and spending. With the wall Street bailout, we’re simply in over our heads. We cannot afford another $1 trillion in big government bureaucracy, higher taxes, and more wasteful spending that our children will have to pay for. This call is paid for by McCain-Palin and Republican National Committee …”

7. Robocall Claims Obama and His Allies "Aren't Who You Think They Are."
From the following organizations: McCain-Palin campaign and the Republican National Committee
In the following locations: Virginia, Florida, Wisconsin
Description: This McCain/RNC robocall to Virginia, Florida and Wisconsin residents warns that Barack Obama and the Democrats can’t keep America safe.
The facts behind this false attack: In truth, Barack has supported increasing funding for homeland security and has a plan to increase the security of our transit systems, rail lines, and ports, and secure our chemical and nuclear plants.
Learn more about Barack’s plans to keep America safe.
TRANSCRIPT: “Hello. I’m calling on behalf of John McCain and the RNC because Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats aren’t who you think they are. They say they want to keep us safe but Barack Obama said the threat we face now from terrorism is nowhere near as dire as it was at the end of the Cold War. And Congressional Democrats now want to give civil rights to terrorists. John McCain and his party allies understand the threats we face. When you vote, vote for the team you can trust to keep America safe. This call was paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee.”

8. Rudy Giuliani Enters the Robocall-fest Attacking Barack's Strong Record on Crime
From the following organizations: Republican National Committee and McCain-Palin campaign
In the following locations: Colorado, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin
Description: Rudy Giuliani makes a deceptive robocall for McCain, trying to scare voters by challenging Obama’s record on crime.
This robocall falsely claims that Barack Obama opposes mandatory prison sentences for certain serious crimes. That’s absurd and completely untrue. In fact, Obama has supported increased penalties on sexual offenders. He even co-sponsored the legislation that created the national online database of offenders and helped to pass a law extending the statute of limitations on sex crimes.
Barack also made it easier for victims and their families to find closure after experiencing a vicious crime. By removing the statue of limitations for first-degree murder and extending it for sexual crimes in Illinois, Barack opened doors for law enforcement to prosecute more cases.
For their tough records on crime, Barack Obama and Joe Biden earned the endorsement of the National Association of Police Organizations, a group that represents over 2,000 police organizations across the United States.
(read more)
TRANSCRIPT: “Hi, this is Rudy Giuliani, and I’m calling for John McCain and the Republican National Committee because you need to know that Barack Obama opposes mandatory prison sentences for sex offenders, drug dealers, and murderers. It’s true; I read Obama’s words myself. And recently, Congressional liberals introduced a bill to eliminate mandatory prison sentences for violent criminals — trying to give liberal judges the power to decide whether criminals are sent to jail or set free. With priorities like these, we just can’t trust the inexperience and judgment of Barack Obama and his liberal allies. This call was paid for by the Republican National Committee and McCain-Palin 2008 …”

9. Robocall on Health Care Deceives Voters
From the following organizations: Republican National Committee and McCain-Palin campaign
In the following locations: Missouri, Wisconsin, Colorado
Description: This McCain robocall seriously misleads voters about Barack Obama’s health care plan by calling it a “government takeover” instead of what it is: a common sense plan to help ordinary Americans afford much-needed medical care.
Barack Obama has a plan to bring quality, affordable health care within reach for all Americans. As Barack has said, if you like your current employer-based health care, you can keep it and your premiums will go down. If you don’t have health insurance, you have a choice of new, quality, affordable health care options. It’s not a mandate – it’s a choice.
The Obama-Biden plan requires health care for children in order to make sure that all American children can go to the doctor when they need to and get the quality care they deserve. And if you have a pre-existing condition, you can’t be turned away.
Barack Obama and Joe Biden also have a plan to protect Social Security for our seniors today and future generations.
Learn more about the Obama-Biden Health Care Plan and their Plan for Seniors.
TRANSCRIPT: “…John McCain and the RNC because Barack Obama and the Democrats have jeopardized our Medicare and Social Security with their proposed massive government takeover of health care, and will be reducing access to doctors and slowing development of life-saving drugs. Don’t let the inexperience and poor judgment of Barack Obama and his Democrat allies put our livelihood at risk. This call was paid for by the Republican National Committee and
McCain-Palin 2008 …”

10. Robocall Smears Obama's Response to Flood
From the following organizations: McCain-Palin campaign and the Republican National Committee
In the following locations: Iowa
Description: This robocall falsely accuses Barack Obama of not properly helping Iowans during the recent flooding.
The facts behind this false attack: This attack couldn’t be further from the truth. Watch this video of Barack personally filling sandbags and helping flood victims in the region:

TRANSCRIPT: “Hello, I’m calling Iowans on behalf of John McCain, Sarah Palin and the RNC because congressional Democrats’ response to the June floods was not only embarrassing, it was negligent. While John McCain took time from campaigning to survey the damage caused, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid sent Congress home for summer vacation, leaving us stranded. John McCain, Sarah Palin and their party allies have spent a lifetime fighting to put government on our side. What do you vote this election? Vote for the team that will make government work for us again. This call is paid for by McCain/Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee …”

11. Robocall Scares Voters, Saying Democrats "Endanger American Lives"
From the following organizations: Republican National Committe and McCain-Palin campaign
In the following locations: Ohio, Wisconsin
Description: This robocall is just another shadowy attempt by John McCain and the Republican Nation Committee to smear Barack by distorting his record on supporting American troops. The non-partisan Factcheck.org labeled such smears “highly misleading,” and retired admiral John Natham has defended Barack:
“Senator Obama has consistently voted to fund our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and, just as importantly, a proven record of support when they return home … Despite consistent distortions of his record, thousands of veterans like myself support Senator Obama because he has the judgment, character and integrity to be a great president. We will need a great president to lead us in these very challenging times.”
Learn more about Barack’s support for our soldiers. Read more: here.
TRANSCRIPT: “This is Orson Swindle. I’m calling on behalf of John McCain and the Republican National Committee. John McCain and I were POWs together. I know John’s character, integrity, courage and leadership. He supports our troops and veterans. Over 300 retired generals and admirals, 300 retired staff NCOs [non-commissioned officers], and hundreds of former POWs support John McCain. Twenty-one past VFW and American Legion national commanders support him. They trust his leadership. Democrats attempt to cut off crucial troop funding, accuse our troops of war crimes, and Senator Biden predicts Senator Obama will be tested. A weak President will, indeed, be tested. Obama and Democrats’ politics endanger American lives. They are not qualified to lead our military and our country. When you vote, vote for the team that puts leadership, character and country first. John McCain.”

12. McCain's Newest Robocall is Being Used in his Home State Arizona: Robocall Discounts Barack's Experience to Scare Voters.
From the following organizations: Republican National Committe and McCain-Palin campaign
In the following locations: Arizona
Description: This robocall uses the fear of terrorism to scare voters from Barack. But Americans are tired of the same old politics and scare tactics. They want a debate about the issues — like the economy, health care, education and taxes.
Barack Obama is talking about the issues that really matter to working Americans — such as lowering taxes for the middle class and making health care affordable. And Barack Obama has a plan to keep America safe. Barack has supported increasing funding for homeland security and has a plan to increase the security of our transit systems, rail lines, and ports, and secure our chemical and nuclear plants.
Learn more about Barack’s plans to keep America safe.
TRANSCRIPT: “I’m calling for John McCain and the RNC because Barack Obama is so dangerously inexperienced, his running mate Joe Biden just said, he invites a major international crisis that he will be unprepared to handle alone. If Democrats win full control of government, they will want to give civil rights to terrorists and talk unconditionally to dictators and state sponsors of terror. Barack Obama and his Democratic allies lack the experience and judgment to lead America. This call was paid for by the Republican National Committee and authorized by McCain-Palin 2008.”

Report inappropriate or hateful campaign material: here.

This kind of negative campaign depends on flying under the radar to make their full effect felt. If you spot one, please send it to us right away so we can add it to our database.
Report a Robocall

Fight Back! Report a smear! These Robocalls should not be tolerated!

**Please feel free to use and link to this website and any postings, but please give credit, preferably with hyperlink. I am happy to help with your research.

Also see Obama and Biden's reaction to the robocalls, and McCain's links to terrorism: here

Please stumble, digg it, reddit, and any other social bookmarking you like below:

          De por qué no tengo un iPhone y otras consideraciones        
Resulta absolutamente imprescindible comenzar diciendo que faltaría más que ni yo ni nadie tenga que justificarse por tener el teléfono, el ordenador, los calzoncillos o el sombrero de copa que le plazca. También me gustaría aclarar que, aunque en el título hago referencia directa al iPhone, el siguiente manifiesto es igualmente aplicable a otros terminales de alta gama, con independencia de la marca que sean.

La idea de escribir este artículo se empezó a fraguar en mi cabeza tras una distendida discusión con amigos en la que tuve que esmerarme en argumentar el por qué un empedernido usuario de OSX como yo veía estúpido pagar una ingente cantidad de dinero por un teléfono de Apple. Y digo empedernido porque durante los últimos diez años he tenido varios Macbooks, iPods e incluso tabletas de la marca de la manzana. Perfectamente podría pasar por un "Apple victim" sino fuera porque -oh mon Dieu!- NUNCA he tenido un iPhone.

No, nunca he tenido un iPhone, pero si tuviera que poner mi dinero en juego por qué móvil es más probable encontrar entre mis compañeros de oficina, en una cena con mis amigos, o en mitad de un centro comercial, decir "iPhone" sería una apuesta SEGURA para ganar. Todo el mundo tiene o quiere tener un iPhone. Esa es la maldita realidad. Y eso pese a que los iPhones son caros. Que narices. Son jodidamente caros. Comprar un iPhone significa pagar MUCHO más que la media.

Pero vamos que por todos es sabido que en esta sociedad consumista el usuario se define a través de los objetos que posee. El valor percibido cuenta siempre mucho más que el valor real de un producto. Y en esta idiota guerra por la imagen el teléfono móvil se ha convertido en el nuevo símbolo de estatus. ¿Cuál es mejor? ¿Un iPhone o un Samsung? Técnica y funcionalmente no hay verdades absolutas, pero si se formula esta pregunta básica a un usuario de cualquiera de las dos plataformas tendrá la respuesta en segundos. Y no es objetiva, es pasional.

Y fijaos que incluso esa sin razón basada en la pasión me parecería un argumento válido (dentro de que cada uno, con su dinero, hace lo que le da la gana) siempre que todos esos que se compran un móvil de alta gama lo usaran, al menos mínimamente, como tal.
El problema es que no conozco a casi nadie que exprima su iPhone (o su Galaxy S6, que lo mismo da). La práctica totalidad de mis conocidos con iPhone se lo han comprado (pagando entre 600 y 900 euros, ¡ojo!) para usar Whatsapp, Facebook e Instagram, como todo hijo de vecino. Y me vais a perdonar pero para eso, las diferencias de conectividad, de eficiencia o rapidez del SO con respecto a cualquier Android de gama media son ¡de risa!

Tengo la firme convicción de que a más del 95% de los que se compran un iPhone, cosas como la robustez, fiabilidad o la conectividad del "ecosistema" de Apple se las trae al pairo. No nos engañemos, el usuario medio de teléfonos de gama alta ni siquiera sabe qué es eso de la conectividad. Pero da igual, porque como decía arriba todo el mundo quiere su iPhone. Pese a que podemos encontrar productos equivalentes en calidad (o incluso mejores) por un precio mucho menor, la gente sigue pagando más por un teléfono con el logo de la manzana mordida. Y lo peor de todo es que no se dan cuenta que tener un iPhone ya no es elitista, es el colmo de lo burgués.

Como ya he comentado arriba, hace años que soy usuario de Apple. Tengo un Macbook Pro del 2009 que funciona como el primer día, un iPad, he tenido varios iPods... pero no me compro un iPhone porque me parece que, sencillamente, el uso que yo hago del móvil no vale 900 euros (ni 600).

Al fin y al cabo, es sólo un maldito teléfono.

          Opera na Escola        

Proporcionar aos alunos momento de vivencia musical
Professor Roberto
Levam os sopros, as cordas e as percussões; levam abatuta e as partituras. Tocam diferentes repertórios, brincam, apresentam o papel do solista e do maestro, desfazem entre melodias e conversas aideia de a Orquestrapertencer a um universo reservado, distante, elitista. É neste molde de visita, informal e muito próximo do público-alvo, que nossos alunos aprenderam um pouco sobre a música em visita ao EDIFORP I.

          Limit Break Radio: A Radio Returns - Episode 9.3 - Mogmail Time        
Happy tome reset day everybody! Limit Break Radio is back with another part three episode! Just like we do on every .3 episode, on today’s show we read emails and take calls from the Final Fantasy XIV community on a wide range of topics: hunts (’cause why talk about anything else?), airship naming, and how awesome we are as a show. And modest too. We also read some #FMFFL’s and Elitist Party Finder tweets care of @FFXIV_PTFinders. We have two giveaways this week: a 60 day time card care of @FFXIV_PTFinders and to enter that contest all you need to do is Tweet to #BringSusan to the 2014 FFXIV Fan Fest and you will be entered into a drawing to win the 60 day time card. We’re also giving away a $20 Playstation Network card care of listener Zoe Daybreaker, and to enter that contest all you have to do is send an email to contest@limitbreakradio.com and tell us what you like or don’t like about Limit Break Radio. We will draw the names of the winners on episode 10 of Limit Break Radio. Stay tuned to LBR for details about the upcoming FFXIV Fan Festival and how you can have a chance to meet Aniero and Nika out at Fan Fest.
          Limit Break Radio: A Radio Returns - Episode 7.3 - Special Delivery        
What’s better than tome and coil resets? A new episode of Limit Break Radio to top it off is what! On the show today: your calls, emails, #FMFFLs, #FappingTheRealm, and Elitist Party Finders. We also give away a $20 game time card donated to us by @FFXIV_PTFinders. Make sure to follow them on Twitter. This episode was streamed live over Twitch.tv on June 28th 2014. If you would like to call-in to Limit Break Radio make sure you tune in at our Twitch.tv page during the live broadcast for more details on how you can participate! We’ll be streaming an all new episode of Limit Break Radio going in-depth on the hosts feelings about patch 2.3, we’ll also address some of the Hunt rage that’s been going around the community and have a discussion about 3rd party tools. Please join us on Twitch.tv July 19th 2014, at 3pm EDT for Limit Break Radio!
          Limit Break Radio: A Radio Returns - Episode 6.3 - Elitist Party Finders        
Hey Limit Break Radio listeners, we’re back with another great episode of LBR:ARR! I want to thank our listeners for being patient with this episode. We were waiting until after the Live Producer Letter from E3 2014 to release the show so we could at least give you a quick rundown of everything that Yosheep and crew discussed. We’ll be going into more detail about everything that was revealed out at E3 2014 on the next episode of Limit Break Radio. But for today we read your favorite @FFXIV_PTFinders tweets, take a look at your emails and much more. We’ll also announce the winner of the Final Fantasy XIV: Before Meteor soundtrack contest. Unfortunately, the Twitch recording of this episode was not kept by the Twitch servers, so when we do the dance party, everyone who missed the stream will just have to use their imagination. Thanks again to everyone who came out and hung out with us during the show and to everyone who called in. We’ll be announcing the date of our next live show soon so keep an eye on the website, Facebook page and/or Twitter feed.
          Gaming's Imaginary- Yet All Too Real- Monster        

      We're in an interesting stage in the life of video games, almost  a sort of renaissance, as we experience deeper stories, detailed graphics, and innovative game play; it's a great day and age to be a gamer. However, this also comes with bad news- an new adversary has raised its ugly head.

The "Real" Gamer.

      We've all heard the term before, many of us have used it before, but I'm here to tell you: it's a complete lie. As casual games develop and mature, as more and more people play play video games of all sizes and kinds on a regular basis, many long-time gamer's who have enjoyed the hobby their whole lives are crying foul. It's not always meant as an insult; I've been called a "true" gamer before on this site as a compliment. Now don't get me wrong, it's not necessarily bad to call each other "real" or "true" gamer's, as it's a great sign of camaraderie and friendship; but that still doesn't make it right. What does that make the casual gamer? Is the person who beat all the Metal Gears, played Mario in the early years, and triumphed over Ganon several times over better than the casual Call of Duty and mobile game player? No. Too many people, however, believe differently. There's a pretty large divide that has been growing for years, and is beginning to grow rapidly: casual gamer's and dedicated gamer's, both of which seem to resent the other quite a bit. Here's a lengthy example including two of my friends (not hypothetical, but real people):

      Friend 1 has been playing games for years. He started off young with classics such as the Legend of Zelda, and since made gaming one of his favorite hobbies. Now, he's a bit of a PC elitist. He plays almost all of his games on PC, and loves trying out new, hip Indie games like Terraria and Don't Starve, yet has a highly cynical attitude towards AAA's. His favorite AAA game is Dark Souls, and he was strongly against the addition of an easy mode in that game. He's a bit of an afficionado and knows his stuff when it comes to games, granted he has odd tastes in games and can have the impression that he is superior to the casual gamer.

      Friend 2 started off playing Grand Theft Auto classics like San Andreas and Call of Duty. To this day, his favorite genre is shooters and he only plays on Xbox 360. He plays Call of Duty "for the killstreaks" and also enjoys Battlefiled 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV. In fact, he was once one of the top jet pilots in the world in Battlefield 3. However, he only likes AAA games and scoffs at Indie games or anything different than what he's comfortable with, and thinks that people who play those games are "weird", to put it nicely. He doesn't play too often and could be described as a casual gamer.

      Two entirely different people, but I enjoy hanging out with both of them (not in the same place). They represent the two polar opposites of today's gaming, and both throw around the phrase "real gamer" quite frequently. I can't stress how wrong this is- all this does is alienate people for no good reason. Frankly, it's a petty insult used only to satisfy a misguided sense of superiority over people who are ultimately gamer's too, whether you, I, or anyone else likes it or not. We all need to learn to be more accepting of our more casual or hardcore brethren. The future of the game industry is bright, but we, the gamer's- and I mean ALL the gamer's- have to make it great.

      On the brighter side, this kind of a divide is actually a good sign. It's a sign of the industry maturing, developing social classes, and growing into something bigger. All forms of art have gone through stages like this, from literature to cinema, and right now gaming's just having some growing pains. Eventually, I'm sure It'll turn out fine; but for now, know that we are all gamer's, no matter how, when, or where.



          RESEÑA: Muerte en la Rectoría.         

Título: Muerte en la Rectoría.

Autor: Michael Innes (1906-1994) pseudónimo de John Innes Mackintosh Stewart. Escritor, académico y crítico literario, enseñó en las aulas del Queen´s University de Belfast y de las universidades de Leeds, Adelaide y Oxford. En 1936, comenzó a publicar una larga serie policíaca por la que hoy es recordado. Además de Muerte en la Rectoría, Innes también es autor de La torre y la muerte o ¡Hamlet, venganza! entre otras.

Editorial: Siruela.

Idioma: inglés.

Traductor: Susana de la Higuera Glynne-Jones.

Sinopsis: desde el momento en que el rector del St. Anthony´s College aparece muerto en su biblioteca, el escándalo está asegurado, pues las únicas personas con motivos para asesinarlo - una legión de excéntricos y grandilocuentes profesores - resultan ser aquellas que tuvieron la oportunidad de hacerlo. Los esfuerzos de sus colegas por ofrecer sólidas coartadas que sirvan a la vez para inculpar a sus enemigos académicos, así como sus particulares divagaciones intelectuales, harán que la tarea del inspector Appleby y el agente Dodd no resulte sencilla en absoluto, ya que nada en ese caso es lo que parece a simple vista, ni siquiera la muerte...

Su lectura me ha parecido: entretenida, original, inteligente, a ratos densa, a ratos divertida, satírica, clásica, para nada arriesgada...Queridos lectores y lectoras, coincidiréis conmigo en que el periodo universitario es uno de los mejores. Es una de esas etapas que, para quienes la hayan experimentado y vivido en primera persona, siempre se mantiene en la memoria, intacta, inmune casi al paso del tiempo. Es un periodo de verdadera libertad, rebeldía, activismo, donde estudias lo que de verdad te gusta, donde conoces gente con tus mismas afinidades y donde no te sientes como un bicho raro, fuera de lugar. En mi caso lo percibí de esa forma, como algo importante que contribuyó a forjar mi forma de ser y a aumentar mi interés intelectual, algo que sin duda, quedará grabado en mi memoria por siempre jamás. Sin embargo, no es oro todo lo que reluce, y es que la universidad, como institución, no es perfecta. Tras sus en ocasiones centenarios o milenarios muros, se esconden casos de injusticia, elitismo, nepotismo, machismo y el mirar por otros intereses que nada tienen que ver con lo estrictamente académico. Así es la universidad y España no se libra, sino que con algunas acciones contribuye a acrecentar esa leyenda negra que siempre ha acompañado a esta institución tan importante culturalmente hablando. En el libro que hoy tengo el placer de reseñar habla de la universidad, de los tejemanejes académicos, de todo ese micro cosmos propio que se ve alterado por un inesperado asesinato. Dicho de otra forma, la oportunidad para que un escritor como Michael Innes despliegue todo su ingenio literario en Muerte en la Rectoría: lo clásico al servicio del lector nostálgico.

La historia de como este libro llegó a mis manos es muy parecida a la que otras veces os he narrado en este espacio de crítica y opinión. Con el aliciente de que una servidora necesitaba renovarse en lo que respecta a lecturas de un género muy concreto, el policíaco. Como muchos sabréis, las historias de crímenes y misterios me han ido acompañando literariamente durante una parte muy importante de mi vida. De hecho, y creo que esto no lo he contado aún, esa afición por la literatura policíaca empezó con un libro que tenía en mi casa sobre el famoso Jack el Destripador. Era un libro realmente truculento, desagradable, donde incluso se mostraban fotos de los cadáveres de las prostitutas asesinadas por este enigmático personaje y que carecía de calidad literaria, pues se limitaba simplemente a describir lo sucedido cronológicamente. Ese libro que todavía conservo fue el germen, y aunque no fuese la lectura más recomendable del mundo, me empujó hacia el género y hacia otros autores. Tras esta incursión en el mundo del misterio y el crimen, le siguieron la lectura de algunos números monográficos de la revista Muy Historia, luego la ficción juvenil con los libros de los casos de Flanagan, años más tarde me adentré en la novela negra nórdica de la mano de Camilla Läckberg para acabar leyendo libros actuales del género que no lograban satisfacer mi apetito lector. Esta relación que estaba derivando en un intenso amor-odio cambió cuando sentí la necesidad de adentrarme en el germen, lo clásico en lo que dio prestigio y colocó a la novela policiaca en lo alto del mundo literario. Fue entonces cuando libros como En la Niebla de Richard Harding Davis, reseñado hace unos meses atrás, se coló entre mis lecturas, convirtiéndose en todo un descubrimiento. Siguiendo esta línea y tras leer varias reseñas positivas, decidí pedirles a Siruela, tras reseñar Historia de las Abejas, Muerte en la Rectoría. Un libro que creía que seguiría la misma estela e influencia literaria. Al poco de recibirlo, inicié ávida su lectura, y cuando la di por finalizada, sentí mis expectativas completamente satisfechas. Aún siento un enorme respeto hacia Conan Doyle, lo confieso, pero con lecturas como esta, una va preparando el terreno para enfrentarse al más grande del género.

En lo que respecta a la critica literaria propiamente dicha, comenzaremos diciendo que Muerte en la Rectoría presenta una lectura lenta pero entretenida al mismo tiempo. Esto es así porque la lectura te obliga a estar atento a cada uno de los detalles que van apareciendo. Aunque, sinceramente, la palabra "atento" se queda corta, la más adecuada es "alerta". Muerte en la Rectoría te obliga a estar con los ojos constantemente pegados al papel, porque, cada página es importante y como te pierdas o se te olvide algo por no prestarle la suficiente atención, te tocará retroceder unas páginas atrás y releer lo que se ha pasado por alto, algo que, y doy fe, me ha pasado. Este aspecto de su lectura es bueno, porque mantiene en vilo al lector y lo obliga a seguir la historia con más implicación que nunca, como si éste fuera el verdadero detective. Sin embargo, y sopesándolo mucho, también encuentro un tanto perjudicial ese punto extra que el lector debe dar, pues, corre el peligro de que, si este libro cae en manos de alguien que no esté acostumbrado a este tipo de narración y estilo, lo deje pasar o simplemente no finalice su lectura como se pretende. Siguiendo con lo comentado, uno de los puntos fuertes de Muerte en la Rectoría es precisamente ese, el de implicar al lector de manera muy intensa en la historia que Innes nos cuenta. El autor invita al lector a traspasar el papel, a pasear por los pasillos de la Universidad de Oxford y a incluso unirse a los pasos del inspector Appleby y del agente Dodd, permaneciendo en un segundo plano pero igual de involucrados en la investigación que se está llevando a cabo. Por otro lado, y esto sin duda es la característica más reseñable del libro, Muerte en la Rectoría es una novela nostálgica en cierto sentido. Nostálgica en cuanto a sus influencias fundamentalmente. Cuando uno se adentra en esta historia no puede evitar pensar que esos personajes y ese marcado estilo británico son una especie de homenaje al gran Arthur Conan Doyle, y como no, a sus Sherlock Holmes y Whatson. En ese sentido, la novela no presenta ningún aspecto novedoso, es más, como ya he comentado, parece que Innes ha querido traer de nuevo esa esencia al panorama literario de los años 30, década en la que Muerte en la Rectoría sale al mercado, para reivindicarla de algún modo. De ahí que en ciertos momentos de la historia nos parezca que nos encontremos en el Oxford de los años 30, sino en el Oxford de finales de siglo XIX. Innes no esconde su admiración hacia las historias de misterio y detectives tradicionales, y eso el lector más clásico lo sabrá agradecer. Por último, destacar que en Muerte en la Rectoría nos topamos ante una atmósfera completamente atrayente como es la del mundo de los Colleges británicos. Tan herméticos, elitistas y cuyas leyendas y costumbres ancestrales han perdurado hasta nuestros días. Este es un terreno que Innes conoce a la perfección, es más, probablemente algún pasaje esté basado en alguna anécdota que le hayan contado o de la que haya participado. Es aquí, en este ámbito universitario, donde Innes da rienda suelta a su particular sentido del humor, burlesco y ligeramente crítico, dejando por los suelos a los eruditos con sus manías. Este es uno de los aspectos que más me ha gustado de la novela, esa capacidad para hacer reír sin caer en las bromas de mal gusto, siempre con un estilo refinado e inteligente que tanto admiro de la literatura británica.

En este cuarto y último párrafo, como en cada reseña que publicamos en el blog, me gustaría plantear y compartir con todos vosotros las reflexiones y pensamientos que esta lectura, Muerte en la Rectoría me ha sugerido. Ya he hablado un poco al principio de esas actitudes negativas que esconde la institución universitaria en su conjunto, y de como algunas de ellas, se siguen prolongando hasta nuestros días. Sin embargo, y aunque podría seguir hablando de este tema tan apasionante, he preferido centrarme en un pensamiento y una opinión que surgió gracias a un detalle que se muestra en este libro concretamente. Como bien sabréis, la universidad está plagada de genios, de intelectuales, de eruditos, de expertos mundiales en algún aspecto más o menos concreto de una rama específica del conocimiento. El mundo académico es así y la literatura, como bien muestra Muerte en la Rectoría, ha contribuido a estereotipar la figura del catedrático o del profesor universitario. En los libros, salvo raras excepciones, estos personajes aparecen como personas retraídas, bichos raros, con aficiones excéntricas, encerrados en despachos, rodeados de libros que se amontonan hasta en los lugares más insospechados y cuyas habilidades sociales son muy limitadas. Son como un animal al que si lo sacas de su ecosistema, no sabe como actuar ni como desenvolverse. En parte, y lo creo sinceramente, esa idea y visión del académico es cierta. De hecho, durante mi etapa universitaria he conocido más de un caso. Profesores con problemas para comunicarse con el alumno, profesores con el despacho infestado de libros, o incluso, quienes tienen sobre la mesa de trabajo, a modo de pisapapeles, Ãºtiles prehistóricos. En fin, haberlos los hay, como en todos los lados. Sin embargo, y tras leer Muerte en la Rectoría, he llegado a la conclusión de que esta tradicional visión del académico es interesada. Tal vez, y que conste que es una reflexión, la sociedad o el poder más concretamente, ha contribuido a conformar este estereotipo. ¿La razón? No interesa que lo académico resulte interesante. No obstante, hay una diferencia abismal, pues, los expertos en medicina, ciencias puras o ingeniería son los mejor valorados, en parte porque su imagen se ha revitalizado gracias a ilustres personajes y alguna que otra serie de televisión. En cambio, y esto es muy alarmante, el trabajo académico dentro de las humanidades es el menos valorado, sólo salta a los medios cuando hay un descubrimiento arqueológico o cuando se va a inaugurar una exposición de arte. Labores como por ejemplo, la del historiador experto en historia contemporánea, se ve diezmada por el intrusismo de ciertos periodistas mediáticos, los cuales, en muchos casos, carecen de las herramientas y del conocimiento necesarios. Lo que quiero decir, y con esto pongo punto y final a esta reflexión, es que ya sea de ciencias, de letras, de enseñanzas artísticas o de cualquier otra rama del conocimiento, hay que valorar el trabajo de los académicos, pues, gracias a ellos, nuestra percepción del mundo es cada vez más amplia y completa. Muerte en la Rectoría: una historia de humor, misterio, crimen, sospechas, estudiosos, alumnos aventajados, collages elitistas...Una novela policíaca al más puro estilo british.

Frases o párrafos favoritos:

"Y atemperadas como si anunciaran un réquiem por lo que sucedía dentro de sus muros, sonó por todo el college y la ciudad la milenaria melodía de las campanas de vísperas."

Película/Canción: hasta el momento no parecen haber noticias de una posible adaptación televisiva o cinematográfica. Por ello, os adjunto la pieza de BSO que me ha estado acompañando durante la redacción de esta reseña. Una pieza del todo inspiradora y acertada.

¡Un saludo y a seguir leyendo!

Cortesía de Siruela

          514 · Music 2012: A Year in a Day        

Right Here Where We Stand

Music 2012: A Year in a Day

Music is infinite. I've always known this, emotionally, but I've spent a lot of time pretending it isn't quite true, trying to understand everything. Or at least subsets of everything. Or at least pretending that my understanding of music simply grows with everything I hear, or that every new perfect 3:00 I discover brings with it 5 additional hours of life in which to listen to it 100 times.

But after a year of being paid to confront the insupportable foolish of this pretty much daily, I feel myself slowly, reluctantly, mercifully, letting go. Music is finite, of course, but so are we, and we are each of us far more finite than our collectively constantly exploding dreams. I used to aspire to find a few new bands to love every year. Now I can more or less conjure them into existence at will, can summon them from genres I've never even heard of, can pull them out of the swirling vortex with any random flourish. There is no way to catch up. There is no way to keep up. There is no up. These moments are irreplaceable and unrepeatable. Every song you fall in love with, you may never hear again. The joy of discovery must be the moment you are in, while you're in it, not a monotonicity of catalogs.

Forward, then, with less looking behind, less imagining that I have surveyed these places I have usually only slid through in awe. Forget with all of your heart, remember just what you need to feel like you're still you in the morning. But a day, maybe, we can afford that. A day for an astonishing year past. A day to reflect, and then onward through the mirror into whatever is next.

1. Emma Hewitt: "Miss You Paradise" (3:31, from Burn the Sky Down)

2. Emma Hewitt: "This Picture" (3:31, from Burn the Sky Down)

This wasn't just an album, for me, but practically an ecosystem: The album "proper", two more albums of remixes, some acoustic performances I watched over and over again online before they too came out on yet another release, and then a dizzying balloon ride over and into the rest of the glittering sub-archipelagos of trance. This is dance music, from a dance culture, and at least at the level on which cultures are based, it's fairest to say that I don't dance. And if I come back from the trip eager to go again, but perhaps with only this to share taken out of context, then maybe there are kinds of exploration for which a balloon is the ideal vehicle.

3. Taylor Swift: "Eyes Open" (4:04, single)

4. Taylor Swift: "Ronan" (4:25, single)

5. Taylor Swift: "Holy Ground" (3:22, from Red)

6. Taylor Swift: "Girl at Home" (3:40, bonus track from Red)

I quit thinking I didn't like Taylor a couple years go, but my retroactive tolerance had been morphing into admiration only gradually, a song or two at a time. But then she made a minor rock song, almost incidentally, on an album of perfectly peripheral music that wasn't even a soundtrack, and I couldn't stop playing it. And then she made a memorial song that wrecked me so badly that I actually haven't been able to play it all the way through since the first time I really paid attention to the words. And then she made an album that was literally overfull of songs that are not exactly masterpieces, but only because they respect their own limitations with such cheerful grace. There have been times in my life when I have slipped out of phase with popular music, and I know better than to claim that when we come back into such resonance, it's a product of any sort of objective quality. But I also know that visceral elitist disdain is no kind of gift, and that if you can turn on the radio and feel happy, then you have one more way to feel love, and more love is pretty constantly better than less. And if you can listen to someone looking for themselves, and hear your own dreams, you're closer to understanding both of them.

7. Lyriel: "Voices In My Head" (4:17, from Leverage)

8. Lyriel: "Everything Is Coming Up Roses" (3:24, bonus track from Leverage)

9. Clock Opera: "Once and for All" (5:13, from Ways to Forget)

10. Shear: "Scorched" (5:21, from Breaking the Stillness)

11. matryoshka: "Noctambulist" (7:18, from Laideronnette)

This was the year when I stopped being far better informed about metal than anything else, but not by loving it any less. There are new bleak thrilling things happening in metal, dark things and moments composited from fragments of pain. But then there are also ranks upon ranks of people who understand that fantasy (in the sense that all amplifications and syntheses are forms of fantasy) is a means of power over the quietly real. And how we imagine what we would be in our dreamworlds is the realest magic.

And so maybe this is also the year in which, reunifying my metal and "non-metal" worlds, I understand better than ever that genre lines and taste lines demarcate different notions of terrain, no matter how often they happen to coincide on maps. And give me enough time, it at least sometimes seems to me, and I'll find the quantification of my listening experience, if not of the music itself, that explains how galloping gothic folk-metal and shimmeringly ethereal synth-yearning and hard-rock and post-rock can be versions of the same elliptically redemptive urge.

12. P!nk: "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" (4:15, from The Truth About Love)

13. P!nk: "Timebomb" (3:34, bonus track from The Truth About Love)

14. Enslaved: "Roots Of The Mountain" (9:16, from RIITIIR)

15. Kate Miller-Heidke: "I'll Change Your Mind" (3:01, from Nightflight)

16. Woods of Ypres: "Career Suicide (Is Not Real Suicide)" (3:44, from Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light)

I have come into and out of sync with popular music to various extents before in my life. I'm 45 now, and precedent suggests I should be getting grouchy and taking up jazz, or circling back to whatever seemed like "good" music to me when I first started understanding that there was enough music in the world that I could afford to hate some.

But then I'd have to miss some of this, and I am not willing. We refuse, and our defiances take all these different forms, from the most literal to the least, and from obdurate romantic disbelief to the most haunting irony. All truths are about love. This is what "truth" means.

17. Dappy (ft. Brian May): "Rockstar" (3:39, from Bad Intentions)

18. Dappy: "No Regrets (Acoustic Mix)" (2:57, bonus track from Bad Intentions)

19. Shearwater: "Animal Life" (3:38, from Animal Joy)

20. Shearwater: "You As You Were" (3:42, from Animal Joy)

21. Frightened Rabbit: "State Hospital" (4:37, from State Hospital)

And what we mean by pain is disconnection from love, and thus from truth, and to fight against your incumbent context is to fight your way towards, whether back towards or for the first time, these things. Or, more often, to struggle to recognize them already around you, to find how truth and love can be not so much goals for journeying as perspectives, or how the journeys can be undertaken inwards, where you will not have the luxury of being thwarted by irrelevant external distractions.

22. School of Seven Bells: "Put Your Sad Down" (12:47, from Put Your Sad Down)

23. Sharon Doorson: "Fail In Love" (3:00, single)

24. Nightwish: "I Want My Tears Back" (5:07, from Imaginaerum)

25. The Birthday Massacre: "Leaving Tonight" (3:29, from Hide and Seek)

26. Rihanna: "What Now" (4:03, from Unapologetic)

27. Emma Hewitt: "Miss You Paradise (Venom One Extended Mix)" (5:20, from Burn the Sky Down - Extended Remixes)

And this is why the distinction between sad art and happy art is spurious. There is only towards truth and away, and you can move towards truth by understanding love directly, or by reaching towards love through understanding pain. Arguably the latter is to emotion what leverage is to physics, and sad cathartic songs are among the most elemental emotional machines.

28. Chairlift: "I Belong In Your Arms" (3:27, from Something)

29. CHVRCHES: "Lies" (3:32, single)

30. Haim: "Send Me Down" (4:19, from Don't Save Me)

31. Charli XCX: "Nuclear Seasons" (3:46, from You're the One)

32. Sky Ferreira: "Lost In My Bedroom" (3:13, from Ghost)

33. MNDR: "#1 In Heaven" (3:50, from Feed Me Diamonds)

34. Ellie Goulding: "Anything Could Happen" (4:46, from Halcyon)

35. Niki & The Dove: "Tomorrow" (3:52, from Instinct)

36. Bat for Lashes: "Lilies" (4:47, from The Haunted Man)

37. Kerli: "Zero Gravity" (3:51, single)

38. Loreen: "Euphoria" (3:01, single)

39. Calvin Harris: "Feel So Close" (3:26, from 18 Months)

40. Knife Party: "Centipede" (4:06, from Rage Valley)

41. Feed Me: "One Click Headshot" (4:47, from Feed Me's Escape From Electric Mountain)

42. High Contrast: "The Road Goes On Forever" (5:41, from The Agony & The Ecstasy)

And if I have an argument for voracious music discovery, beyond the self-evident observation that music is what humans are best at, and thus to embrace life is to want to hear more music, it is that mortal transcendance requires an almost-impossible suspension of disbelief, and the more moments you hear in which somebody has managed to perform this, the harder it is to believe that all these people have some gift that you do not. And the argument for listening now is that eventually you must logistically concede that they cannot reasonably be conspiring, and if these simple perfect ideas can come into so many separate souls independently, then maybe "separate" does not mean quite what we felt like it did.

43. Carly Rae Jepsen: "I Know You Have a Girlfriend" (3:03, bonus track from Kiss)

44. Upon This Dawning: "Call Me Maybe" (3:30, from Pop Goes Punk 5 compilation)

45. fun.: "Some Nights" (4:37, from Some Nights)

46. Evans the Death: "Telling Lies" (2:31, from Indietracks Compilation 2012)

47. Cheatahs: "The Swan" (4:26, single)

48. Candy Hearts: "Bad Idea" (2:34, from The Best Ways To Disappear)

49. Wildlife Control: "Analog or Digital" (3:02, from Wildlife Control)

50. California Wives: "Blood Red Youth" (4:18, from Art History)

51. Maximo Park: "This Is What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted" (3:54, from The National Health)

52. A Silent Film: "Danny, Dakota & the Wishing Well" (4:45, from Sand & Snow)

53. Killers: "Carry Me Home" (3:44, bonus track from Battle Born)

And so if we feel something that feels like happiness, perhaps we can just let ourselves be wholeheartedly happy.

54. The Mountain Goats: "The Diaz Brothers" (2:47, from Transcendental Youth)

55. Admiral Fallow: "Guest of the Government" (3:35, from Tree Bursts In Snow)

56. The Crookes: "The I Love You Bridge" (4:16, from Hold Fast)

57. Dead Sara: "Sorry for It All" (4:48, from Dead Sara)

58. Of Monsters and Men: "Dirty Paws" (4:38, from My Head Is an Animal)

59. Balmorhea: "Dived" (3:35, from Stranger)

60. Lissy Trullie: "Glass Mountains" (4:02, from Lissy Trullie)

61. The Joy Formidable: "Wolf's Law" (4:01, single)

62. Emma Hewitt: "Miss You Paradise (Strings & Acoustic Version)" (3:33, from Starting Fires)

And if we feel something that feels like sadness, perhaps we can just let ourselves be wholehearted.

63. Silbermond: "Unter der Oberfläche" (3:46, from Himmel Auf)

64. Eisblume: "Bis Zum Letzten Atemzug" (3:53, from Ewig)

65. Lapko: "Life Is Life" (4:01, from Love)

And there is more to this than language, of course...

66. Alanis Morissette: "Guardian" (4:19, from Havoc and Bright Lights)

67. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (ft. Mary Lambert): "Same Love" (5:20, from The Heist)

68. K'naan (ft. Nelly Furtado): "Is Anybody Out There?" (3:58, from Country, God or the Girl)

69. Pitbull (ft. Shakira): "Get It Started" (4:06, from Global Warming)

70. Urthboy: "Stories" (3:49, from Smokey's Haunt)

71. Miguel: "Kaleidoscope Dream" (4:17, from Kaleidoscope Dream)

72. How To Dress Well: "Ocean Floor for Everything" (3:12, from Total Loss)

...but we will not let language scare us out of saying what we believe, nor out of singing something when we don't know what we should.

73. It Bites: "Map of the Past" (4:36, from Map of the Past)

74. Killing Joke: "In Cythera" (4:27, from MMXII)

75. Ultravox: "Brilliant" (4:22, from Brilliant)

76. Rick Springfield: "Wide Awake" (3:02, from Songs for the End of the World)

77. Oxygen: "When Tomorrow Never Comes" (3:01, from Final Warning )

78. The Electric Lady: "Who Cares" (3:53, from Black Moon)

In understanding the journey, we will see that we never really leave things far behind so much as we turn away, for a minute or twenty years. Only turn again and they are instantly here with us again and still.

79. Down Below: "Du Und Ich" (3:54, from Zeichen)

80. Mainpoint: "Black Traveller" (3:59, from Black Traveller)

81. Moonspell: "Incantatrix" (4:40, from Omega White)

82. L'Ame Immortelle: "No Goodbye" (4:18, from Momente)

83. Anneke Van Giersbergen: "Feel Alive" (3:42, from Everything Is Changing)

84. LIV MOON: "Alchemy" (3:42, from Symphonic Moon)

85. Xandria: "A Prophecy of Worlds to Fall" (7:23, from Neverworld's End)

86. Diabulus in Musica: "Sceneries of Hope" (3:51, from The Wanderer)

87. Dark Princess: "Fight With Myself" (4:43, from The World I've Lost)

88. Dharma: "Encoded in Fire" (4:18, from Dharmageddon)

89. Silesia: "Let Me In" (3:22, from Let Me In (No Alargues Mi Condena))

90. Yotangor: "No Man's Land" (3:32, from We Speak)

91. Lunar Path: "Promise Me" (3:32, from Memento Mori)

92. Dalriada: "Hunyadi es Kapisztran Nandorfehervari Diadalarol (Saltarello)" (5:32, from Napisten Hava)

93. September Mourning: "Love Is War (Romanticide)" (3:00, from Melancholia)

94. Lullacry: "Thousand Suns" (4:38, from Where Angels Fear)

95. Christian Mistress: "Pentagram and Crucifix" (3:49, from Possession)

96. Grand Magus: "Starlight Slaughter" (4:19, from The Hunt)

97. Unisonic: "Star Rider" (4:16, from Unisonic)

98. Devin Townsend Project: "Save Our Now" (4:01, from Epicloud)

99. Rush: "Clockwork Angels" (7:31, from Clockwork Angels)

So let your courage carry you, like a flag carries you by waving you on...

100. Varg: "Guten Tag" (3:44, from Guten Tag)

101. Deathspell Omega: "Fiery Serpents" (4:15, from Drought)

102. Arbor: "A Great Leap in the Dark" (6:34, from The Plutonian Shore)

103. Heimdalls Wacht: "Das Martyrium" (4:59, from Ekte Westfäölske Svatte Metal)

104. Ahnengrab: "Die Das Licht Nie Werden Sehen" (4:29, from Omen)

105. Timor et Tremor: "Shores of Light" (6:18, from Upon Bleak Grey Fields)

106. Oak Pantheon: "Aspen" (6:20, from From a Whisper)

107. ScerrA: "A Gyertyák Csontig Égnek" (4:54, from In Via)

108. Thormesis: "Sterbend Herz" (6:23, from Von Leere und Tod)

109. EїS: "Am Abgrund" (9:11, from Wetterkreuz)

...and when your courage fails you, because who can ever really trust flags, know that you can still trust your fear...

110. Cradle of Filth: "Frost on Her Pillow" (4:12, from The Manticore and Other Horrors)

111. De Magia Veterum: "The Deification" (3:48, from The Deification)

112. Dodecahedron: "I, Chronocrator" (7:26, from Dodecahedron)

113. Stagnant Waters: "Castles" (5:35, from Stagnant Waters)

114. Tempestuous Fall: "The Stars Would Not Awake You" (10:56, from The Stars Would Not Awake You)

115. Blut aus Nord: "Epitome XVII" (9:27, from 777 - Cosmosophy)

...and when your fear fails you, because fear is the feeling of something failing you, it frees you to soar into the abyss...

116. Alcest: "Summer's Glory" (8:04, from Les Voyages De L'Âme)

117. Lunaire: "Last Days of Summer" (6:48, from With the Same Smile as Those Days)

118. Líam: "VI" (5:18, from MMIX)

119. Thisquietarmy: "Aphorismes" (11:55, from Thisquietarmy/Year of No Light split)

120. Northumbria: "Black Sea of Trees" (13:04, from Northumbria)

121. Seirom: "1973" (4:35, from 1973)

122. Desiderii Marginis: "Procession" (5:29, from Procession)

...and into peace, and through, and thus to emerge again.

123. Ylvis: "Jan Egeland" (4:23, single)

Do this enough and perhaps you'll eventually see how the whole thing is funny. And then, after a few more times, how it's actually not just funny.

[A historical note: as of early 2013, it was still not quite universally possible to share extant music simply by reference. But it was getting close to universally possible other than the "simply" part, and getting close to simple other than the "universally" part. If you read this list when I made it, you could have recreated it for your own listening with some work but no real luck or heroism. In parts of the world where Spotify had reached, you could have begun with an availability-abridged Spotify version without any work (albeit not without either ads or money, your choice), and then decided whether to track down the missing pieces. In Rdio territories you could have started with a different Rdio abridgement as easily (albeit in excerpts of an abridgement unless you paid). There were other ways, too. None of them were quite ideal yet, for anybody, and it wasn't yet clear how the more ideal ways would come about, exactly. But it felt, for the first time, like they would. It felt, as for some of us it had always seemed like it should, like these acts of list-making and listening and cherishing could be more than bookkeeping, more than blank symbolic verse, more than gifts just to our wistful future selves.]

          Trials of Socrates        

One of the few impressions that has stuck with me from my freshman-year philosophy class is that Socrates was not a very fun guy to have around. The pestering questions, the false modesty, the pundits of Athens inevitably reduced to crying uncle: "Yes, you are right, Socrates," "True, Socrates, " "How could I have missed that, Socrates?" Anyone attempting to use the "Socratic method" today would surely be hounded out of the public square.

But, of course, the method is not extinct. It has one remaining habitat (apart from the catechism)--the lecture halls of America's great law schools. There, the Socratic technique has survived in more or less its ancient form: Professors call upon unwitting students to answer devious questions, leading them step by step from humiliation to Truth. The only element missing is the false modesty: Most law professors don't bother to pretend that they lack access to wisdom.

Ageneration ago, the method was used in virtually every law school course, Paper Chase-style. It is still a fixture of the first-year curriculum at most top schools. The University of Chicago Law School, which I attended, is like one of those Pacific islands where people are still fighting World War II; Socratic teaching is pervasive there, right through the second and third years, with students "cold-called" by their last names from a preset seating chart.

In the right hands, the question-and-answer style is a bracingly effective teaching tool, not only frightening students into keeping up with their reading but also forcing them to put their knowledge to active use. In the hands of most law professors, however, the method degenerates. Perhaps the most common corruption of the method is the What-Am-I-Thinking Game, in which students must read the professor's mind and finish the sentences of his prepared lecture. (My favorite example comes from my first day of law school, in a Contracts class: "The two most important elements of any society are ... Mr. Jones?" I think Jones ventured, "Coffee and sleep." The professor was looking for labor and capital.) Another favorite is the Hide-the-Ball Game, where the professor allows one hapless student to lead all the others down a plausible but incorrect blind alley through an extended volley of questioning, usually ending with, "Would you now like to explain to your classmates why everything they've written down for the last 15 minutes is worthless?"

I n a law review article that was recently expanded into a book called Becoming Gentlemen, Lani Guinier and fellow professors Michelle Fine and Jane Balin ask why law school seems to be such a miserable experience for many women, and they end up laying much of the blame squarely at the feet of Socrates. The authors label the Socratic method "ritualized combat," "emotionally draining and intellectually debilitating" for many women. What the authors don't mention, however, is that most male students don't much like the method either. In fact, the students (mostly men) who do revel in Socratic repartee are mocked and derided by their peers.

Guinier and her co-authors adopt a "mend it, don't end it" attitude toward the method. But, like the cumulative voting schemes for which Guinier was unfairly pilloried a few years back, most of the recommendations in this book are the stuff of corporate consultants rather than radical rethinkers; as solutions, they're too tame. History shows that the Socratic method--and indeed much of upper-tier legal education in America--is an anachronism, reflecting elitist 19th-century notions about the nature of law.

The Socratic method was developed in the 1870s by Christopher Columbus Langdell, then dean of the Harvard Law School. Until the middle of the 19th century, would-be lawyers learned their trade by "reading law" at the office of a private attorney, but Langdell sought to elevate legal education to the level of a true academic discipline. "If law be not a science," Langdell wrote in 1887, "a university will consult its own dignity in declining to teach it. If law be not a science, it is a species of handicraft, and may be learned by serving an apprenticeship to one who practices it." But to Langdell, law was a science, one whose postulates could be manipulated in an ideal geometrical space outside the messy world of practice. Langdell thought the Socratic method was the perfect tool for drilling students in those postulates, all of which could be derived from a handful of great English common-law cases. Today, of course, no one shares Langdell's faith in the law as a seamless and self-contained science. So how come the Socratic method hasn't joined the dunce cap and the birch rod on the ash heap of pedagogical gimmicks?

To put it simply: it's cheap. Langdell's genius, it turns out, lay in devising a system in which one professor could keep a hundred or more students awake and paying attention for an entire hour without the aid of teaching assistants. Law schools, like business schools, are profit centers for cash-strapped universities, and have always been more tuition-driven than, say, medical schools. Overhead costs are low, financial aid is the exception rather than the rule, and high-earning alumni give a lot back. The Socratic method allows law schools to maintain a high student-to-teacher (tuition-to-salary) ratio. In Langdell's time it was 75-to-1, though it has come down quite a bit since then. (Another money-making scam is the three-year duration of the law program. It's no coincidence that the mandatory minimum for a law degree jumped from two to three years during Langdell's tenure at Harvard.) A related benefit of the Socratic method is that the professor doesn't need to know much. Far less ground is covered in the typical Socratic session than in the typical lecture, and professors can take comfort in the fact that they are asking the students questions rather than the other way around.

The Socratic method persists also because, more than a century after Langdell, the top law schools still haven't reconciled themselves to the mundane notion that they are essentially vocational programs. Elite law schools view themselves not as pre-professional training grounds, but as an extension of a classic liberal-arts education pursued through the materials of the law. Although clinical programs in which students represent real clients have increased in recent decades, in general, law is still taught in a hands-off and un-lifelike way, mostly through appellate opinions. As one commentator quoted by Guinier observes, law schools prepare the top 1 percent of their students to be law professors, and the other 99 percent for nothing much at all. The proof can be seen every spring, as graduating JDs teem from their final law-school classes into crammer courses for the bar exam, to digest by rote all of the practical stuff they should have learned during the previous three years.

It is time for drastic steps. Here are a few possibilities: Abolish the third year of law school, or replace it with apprenticeships and clinical practicums, like medical residencies. Hire professors who have had lengthy experience as practitioners, not twentysomethings fresh from Supreme Court clerkships. Focus less on appellate cases and more on ground-level realities of the law, including discovery, settlement negotiations, and plea bargaining.

These suggestions are not new; a similar program for reform was advanced as long ago as the 1930s by Yale Law School Professor Jerome Frank. Although law-school curricula have diversified a lot since then, the basic orientation of the top schools remains the same--focused on abstractions rather than skills, ways of thinking rather than tools of practice. And these tendencies are at least as pronounced among liberals as among conservatives. For instance, Guinier and her co-authors write that their ideal classroom is "one in which the theoretical, practical, and ethical notions of justice and injustice are discussed, critiqued, and imagined anew." But this is just Langdellism dressed up in the self-congratulatory argot of the academic left: legal education as free-range bull session. Women in law schools--and men too--would be better off learning how to do something about justice, not just how to talk about it.

          Democracy = White Genocide         
Notes on Populism, Elitism, & Democracy Greg Johnson
Is democracy a good system from the perspective of racially-conscious whites?
(1) When both the United States and North Korea describe themselves as democracies, it is safe to conclude that “democracy” means close to everything and next to nothing. For my purpose, I will define democracy as the idea that the power to make political decisions should reside with the “many.”
By the “many,” I mean more than a minority, but less than everybody. A society can be ruled by one man, a few men, or many men. But it cannot be ruled by all men, since in every society there will be at least some people who cannot be allowed to exercise political power, e.g., minors, the insane, criminals, etc.
(2) Most White Nationalists are strongly inclined towards elitism, even though the opinions of the majority on such questions as economic nationalism and non-white immigration are far more sensible than those of the ruling elites who are imposing globalization and race-replacement on the people. If white societies were truly democratic on these issues, we would be a lot better off. But, although today’s so-called democracies could be improved by being more democratic, that is hardly an argument for democracy as such.
(3) I would like to argue that democracy, defined as placing political sovereignty in the hands of the many, is not a good system for racially conscious whites, or anybody else for that matter. To make my case, however, I must distinguish democracy, plain and simple, from two good ideas that are so similar to democracy that they are often confused with it.
(4) The first good idea mistaken for democracy is what I shall call “populism,” or the principle of popular sovereignty, or the principle of the common good. I define this principle as the idea that government is legitimate only if it serves the common good of a people.
In his Politics, Aristotle makes this principle the highest law and the criterion for distinguishing between good and bad forms of government. When a single man rules for the common good, we have monarchy. When he rules for his own private good, we have tyranny. When the few rule for the common good, we have aristocracy. When the few rule for their private and factional interests, we have oligarchy. When the many rule for the common good, we have what Aristotle calls “polity.” When the many rule for their private and factional interests, we have democracy.
Yes, for Aristotle democracy is by definition a bad form of government. But he believes that “polity”—popular government for the common good—is at least conceivable.
The idea that the common good is the proper aim of politics is often mistaken for democracy, but they are not the same thing. The common good can be served by one man, the few, or the many. Furthermore, it is an open question as to which group—the one, the few, or the many—is most capable of securing the good of all.
White Nationalists are, of course, racial populists. We believe that the only legitimate regime is one that secures the existence of our people and a future for white children.
(For more on Aristotle, see my essay “Introduction to Aristotle’s Politics,” Part 1 and Part 2.)
(5) The second good idea that is often mistaken for democracy is a so-called “mixed” regime that has a democratic element. For instance, the United States has a mixed constitution with elements of monarchy (the President), aristocracy (the Supreme Court and the Senate before it was popularly elected), and democracy (the House of Representatives). Representative democracy itself is a hybrid system, since the many appoint one man or a few to represent their interests. Virtually every European society today has a mixed constitution with monarchical, aristocratic, and democratic elements, as did ancient Rome and Sparta (which was technically not monarchical, since it had two kings at the same time).
In his Politics, Aristotle argues that a mixed regime is more likely to secure the common good than an unmixed one. In an unmixed regime, the one, the few, or the many are liable to pursue their factional interests at the expense of the commonweal, simply because the other elements of society are not empowered to resist them. In a mixed regime, all three groups are sufficiently empowered to resist the attempts of the others to serve their interests at the expense of the common good. Yes, Aristotle was the first theorist of “checks and balances.”
In an unmixed regime, we have to depend on the virtue of the rulers, since their selfishness can lead society to ruin. In a mixed regime, we do not have to depend entirely on the virtue of the rulers, since the one, the few, and the many all take part in rule, and even when their virtue fails them, they will still oppose the selfishness of the other factions out of selfish motives of their own.
Thus Aristotle long anticipated Machiavelli’s critique of ancient political theory, namely that it was too dependent on human virtue. Aristotle would, however, reject the idea of modern political theorists that a good society can arise out of base motives. A good society can only be the product of virtuous statesmen, although he would grant that base motives can be harnessed to preserve the products of virtue, even when virtue occasionally nods.
(6) Why is democracy, pure and simple, a bad system? Simply because men are unequal.
To understand and pursue the common good, statesmen need certain moral and intellectual virtues: wisdom, intelligence, courage, justice, self-control, etc. But these virtues are not evenly distributed in the population. Thus it is very unlikely that the majority, by deliberating together, will ever hit on policies that are conducive to the common good (or even their own factional interests, for that matter).
Nor would majorities working together be able to enact and sustain such policies over the long run.
Moreover, the many cannot even be trusted to elect superior individuals to represent their interests, since they tend to fall for the bribes and flattery of slick and unscrupulous demagogues.
(7) If the majority do not have the necessary virtues to serve the common good, then the only question is whether rule by one man (monarchy) or a few men (aristocracy) is best suited to serve the common good.
If virtue is the sole criterion for rulership, then monarchy is the best system only under extraordinary and highly unlikely circumstances. For a monarch would have to be superlative in a whole range of virtues that are seldom combined in a single individual, and even more seldom combined to a superlative degree.
Aristocracies can draw upon a whole range of men of consummate virtue: the wisest sages, the most stirring orators, the most cunning strategists, the bravest warriors. Only a god could possess all of these virtues at the same time. If one could find such a god-king, that would be the best of all systems of government. For he would combine all the virtues necessary for wise decisions with the power to actually decide.
But it is folly to repose all one’s hope in a miracle. Thus aristocracy is a better system than monarchy, because only real regimes can serve the common good.
Furthermore, all existing monarchies are actually aristocracies in practice, for if a king is to rule well, he must of necessity select advisors, delegate powers, and thus create “peers.”
(8) However, aristocracy also has its limits. The main problem of aristocracy is that whenever power is exercised by groups, they must deliberate, and their deliberations must be able to produce decisions. Ideally, these decisions should be the wisest possible. But sometimes any decision, even a reckless one, is preferable to no decision at all.
There are many procedures to terminate deliberation and force a decision. One can put a time limit on discussion. One can put matters to a vote. One can even leave it up to the toss of a coin. But in such cases, human beings are essentially abdicating their responsibility to an impersonal system.
But if one needs more than just a decision, if one needs accountability for decisions, and if one needs an executor of decisions, then one needs a person who can decide. This is particularly the case during an emergency such as a war or a time of constitutional crisis when the existing laws and institutions prove themselves inadequate.
In the end, one cannot be governed merely by laws and institutions. Legislators cannot envision and provide for every future possibility. Thus there will always be circumstances where individuals have to make decisions in the face of novel circumstances.
And even if legislators could foresee every possible circumstance, one still needs individuals to apply the laws. And the application of laws cannot simply be governed by a higher set of laws, for how would one apply them? One cannot appeal to a third set of laws, for those laws also need to be applied. In short, the idea of general rules to govern the application of general rules leads to an infinite regress.
The only way out of that regress is to recognize another kind of intelligence, which can judge the applicability of general rules to particular circumstances. This is the faculty of judgment. But if judgment cannot be reduced to abstract general rules and incarnated in law books, it must be incarnated in a particular individual, the judge, who has the intellect to understand the general rules, the vision to apprehend and the tact to appreciate concrete circumstances, and the insight to apply the former to the latter.
Judgment is required on all levels of a system, from traffic courts to matters of life and death for the entire nation. Thus even the most exalted and refined aristocracy has need of a monarch: someone who has the responsibility and the power to exercise judgment in exceptional situations regarding the destiny of the nation as a whole.
Aristocracy by necessity is driven to embrace monarchy just as monarchy is driven by necessity to embrace aristocracy. Aristocracy is the best principle in normal circumstances, monarchy in emergency situations. In normal circumstances, the monarch should take his throne and preside over deliberations but give maximum latitude to aristocratic rule to ensure the most intelligent possible decisions. In emergencies, the aristocracy should give maximum support to the monarch to help him, and them, and the body politic, to weather the storm.
(9) But although the few are far more likely to be able to discern and execute policies conducive to the commonweal, once they have power, how can we be sure they will actually do so?
To answer this, we must face a difficult fact: a White Nationalist society will never happen unless we can assemble an elite of extraordinary individuals who create it and endow it with sound institutions. Since such a society can only be created by an elite, it must, of necessity, be led by it. So, again, how can we insure that such an elite, once installed, actually pursues the common good?
The answer is twofold. First, one must structure the elite so that it can perpetuate and improve itself. Second, one must structure the system as a whole so that the many have the power to keep the elite serving the common good rather than its own factional interests.
(10) Although White Nationalists have a strong tendency to hereditarianism, hereditary aristocracy and monarchy are not the best systems, because there is a strong random factor in heredity that makes it possible for superior parents to have inferior children and inferior parents to have superior children.
Thus if we are to be ruled by the best, we need ways to (a) recruit and promote the best children of the masses to elite positions, and (b) identify and demote the inferior children of elites to stations that better suit them.
Elite parents will quite naturally love their children more than the common good. They will give their children every advantage of their station. Thus a well-governed society needs to take active measures to negate these advantages and to cultivate and promote geniuses from humbler circumstances.
One of the best ways to do this is a rigorous and entirely public education system, as opposed to the present mixed public-private system which is designed to perpetuate the current corrupt elites while smothering or co-opting their potential rivals from humbler circumstances.
The best institutional model for a White Nationalist society is the Catholic Church, which is ruled by a non-hereditary aristocracy which it recruits and promotes from its own ranks, and which elects a monarch from among the aristocracy.
Another useful model is the Venetian system. Although Venice was ruled by a commercial elite, it maintained an aristocratic rather than a merely oligarchical form of government by promoting to and demoting from the ruling stratum based on merit. Venice also had an elective form of monarchy, like the Papacy and other Italian city states, such as Genoa.
Of course a White Nationalist society will be founded neither by a priestly nor a commercial aristocracy.
For the Old Right, a White Nationalist society would be founded by a martial/political aristocracy, which would more closely resemble the knightly orders of the Middle Ages or another militant order, the Jesuits, both of which were models for Himmler’s SS. The New Right seeks to create a White Nationalist society by dethroning the current hegemony of anti-white ideas and instituting a counter-hegemony of pro-white ideas, propagating this hegemony through the educational system and culture and colonizing the entire political spectrum with a range of pro-white options.
The vehicle for creating and perpetuating white hegemony is an intellectual and spiritual aristocracy, organized as a non-hierarchical network that can penetrate, subvert, and control all existing institutions that shape consciousness and culture.
Such an intellectual and spiritual aristocracy need not worry about exercising power, so long as it sufficiently shapes the consciousness of those who do, which is merely to say that the New Right is a metapolitical rather than political movement. Politics is guided from afar by metapolitics.
But a society sufficiently penetrated by New Right metapolitics would take on the form of a mixed regime with an aristocratic/monarchical leadership. Of course, most white societies already have that essential system, albeit in more or less degenerated forms. Thus New Right metapolitics aims at pouring a new, racially-conscious spirit into the existing institutional bottles.
(11) Recall that the two good ideas that are often called democracy are (a) the populist principle that a system is just only if it serves the common good, and (b) the mixed regime with monarchical, aristocratic, and popular elements.
With that in mind, we can raise the question: Do monarchy and aristocracy have need of a popular element? The answer is: Yes. If monarchy and aristocracy are to serve the common good, the people need to be empowered to constrain them.
But what form can this popular element take, given the obvious failure of representative democracy?
First, representative democracy can be improved by increasing the quality and decreasing the quantity of the electorate. One could limit votes to heads of households, property owners, or the gainfully employed. One could raise the minimum voting age. One could institute educational and public service requirements. One could give extra votes to the highly intelligent. In short, a democracy is more likely to elect an aristocracy if the aristocratic principle is used to determine the electorate.
Second, since democracy works best in small, homogeneous communities, one should adopt the principle of “subsidiarity,” meaning that any issue should be handled by the authority that is smallest, least-centralized, and closest to the “grass roots,” as long as it is capable of dealing with the problem effectively. Subsidiarity would allow deliberative, “direct” democracy and also improve representative democracy, since the smaller the community, the more accountable the elected representatives.
Third, although the many are less qualified to frame and execute national policies than the few, the people are acutely aware of damaging policies, such as free trade and race-replacement immigration.
Thus the people or their representatives should have the power to veto legislation that is inimical to the common good. The people should also have the power to depose public officials, including judges, who are inimical to the public good.
To prevent the people and demagogues from abusing these processes, they should, of course, be confined to extraordinary circumstances. They could, for instance, be carried out by calling special elections, referenda, or plebiscites.
Fourth, the people should also be able to propose and impose legislation of their own through ballot initiatives and special elections. Again, to prevent abuse, these would have to be confined to extraordinary circumstances.
Fifth, to keep the elites honest, the Ancient Greeks gave the people the power to audit public accounts.
A little imagination could expand this list further. None of these measures would impede honest servants of the common good. But they would provide powerful deterrents to corruption. * * *
The powers that be have invested a great deal in promoting the value of diversity, even while pursuing policies that systematically destroy it. This has played into the hands of the New Right, since we are the true defenders of human biological and cultural diversity.
In a similar manner, the establishment has invested a great deal into making an idol of democracy, even as they ignore the will of the people and trample the common good.
This can redound to the New Right’s benefit as well, for although we are frank and unapologetic elitists, we can argue in all honesty that we represent “true democracy,” or what is true in democracy, namely the principle of the common good and the idea that, in the name of the common good, the people must be empowered to resist the corruption of elites. Add to Technorati Favorites
          The New IQ Elite        
Have you come across “OES syndrome”? The letters stand for Overeducated Elitist Snob, and if you don’t know what that means let me draw your attention to the front benches of the House of Commons.
OES syndrome is an American term, coined by the US political scientist Charles Murray to describe the clustering of wealth, power and – crucially – intelligence at one end of the social spectrum. Murray’s new book Coming Apart: The State of White America is not as controversial as The Bell Curve, the 1994 volume in which he and Richard Herrnstein compared race and IQ. But its conclusions are every bit as alarming.
A hundred years ago, says Murray, most Americans in the top five per cent of cognitive ability had ordinary occupations. They were very clever shopkeepers, farmers, housewives and factory workers. But they didn’t somersault over their peers.
One reason is that they couldn’t marry very smart people. High intelligence was scattered evenly across America, so a gifted farm worker might have to travel 100 miles before he met a woman as bright as he was. Instead, he married an ordinary local girl, and their children, regressing to the mean, were only slightly cleverer than their schoolfriends.
The explosion of college education changed that. Universities plucked bright kids out of their home towns like a tornado and suddenly they found that they weren’t in Kansas any more. Young people hooked up with equally intelligent partners and passed on two sets of smart genes.
This mobility opened up Ivy League universities to competition from ultra-bright candidates. The old-money aristocracy at Harvard, Yale and Princeton shrank, but the average IQ at those universities soared – and with it the earning potential of alumni. The newly elite students married each other and the result, says Murray, is a hard core of Overeducated Elitist Snobs.
Members of this supercharged class don’t just separate themselves from the poor: they’re quarantined from “everybody who isn’t as rich and well educated as they are”. They also produce clever, rich children by marrying brains and money (which go together these days).
Remind you of anybody? We may tease David Cameron and George Osborne for being “toffs”, but they’re more than that. Although both inherited money, they’re also furiously ambitious academic snobs of the type Murray describes. In their meritocracy, the purpose of a superior brain is to amass money and power. Intellectual curiosity isn’t encouraged lest it jeopardise that project. Hence the anomaly of a prime minister with a brilliant First from Oxford who has never uttered a truly original thought in public.
Let’s not kid ourselves that the elitism of this Oxbridge-educated Coalition will disappear when it loses power. Labour has its own OES syndrome; so do politicians and business leaders from Palo Alto to Beijing. Free market capitalism forces the brightest people to the top. That may sound like good news, but it also creates an association between intelligence and living standards that, in the long run, will condemn stupid people to poverty.
The new marriage patterns do as much harm as good. Once bright people are taken out of the local gene pool, what does that leave? Our natural reaction is to say: “Let’s not go there.” But we really have no choice, because global capitalism is creating a cognitive hierarchy in front of our eyes – and, with it, inequalities just as cruel as the ones we thought we had abolished.
This is much the same argument as I use to assert that the UK was the first nation to become genetically stratified. It happened first because we initiated the Industrial Revolution which brought the bulk of the population from the countryside to towns and cities and opened opportunities for untapped talent outside the landed aristocracy. People marry people similar to themselves; this is called assortative mating.
Genetic stratification is not a caste system. The reason being the regression toward the mean mentioned in the blog. This is a simple and inevitable consequence of characteristics being transmitted as discrete units: genes. Its effect is that on average offspring are less extremely removed from the overall population mean of a characteristic with a metric such as that of height or IQ than their parents. For example, the offspring of the bright tend to be less bright and those of the tall shorter and vice versa in both cases.
The "on average" mentioned above allows for potential variation among offspring such that they may become more extreme than the mean value of a characteristic of their parents. Thus, even the dimmest will produce some offspring closer to the population mean intelligence and a small proportion may greatly exceed this. Of course as nature and nurture influence the expression of a characteristic the offspring of the dimmest may lack much contribution from nurture and social intervention may be required to unlock talent.
The upshot is that a genetically stratified society must be understood as dynamic rather than static. The dynamic upwards and downwards is closer to glacial growth than a fast running stream but it has immense consequences.
This reasoning supports the notion that we should move toward a true meritocracy rather than the lip service currently made. Upward and downward movement should not be partially locked as at present. Keeping talent down is both wasteful and stores up trouble from intelligent people inn the lower social strata: it is those who will become criminal gang leaders or militant trade unionists. Not allowing those of less talent than expected in their class to drift downwards is equally bad. It means that resources, especially inherited wealth, are sequestered away from those who would use them better.
So in order to further meritocracy opportunity must be unlocked. This entails radical overhaul of the education system and the introduction of inheritance tax that is no longer effectively optional for the wealthy.
Meritocracy should not be construed as dog eat dog in a scramble for wealth. I am not advocating the crass "American Dream". Meritocracy is much more than opportunity to amass wealth according to ability. What it is to do with is encouraging each individual to work hard to develop such talent as he has so that he may find a niche that gives satisfaction whether in workaday life or in the pursuit of family interests and hobbies. Some of the most talented will be drawn to entrepreneurship, others to the learned professions and academe in expectation of a comfortable lifestyle rather than wealth but with the challenge and satisfaction of following their profession most important.
The bottom of the talent pile should be considered too. There is no reason why those performing relatively menial tasks should not be instilled with pride in doing what they do well. There is no reason why they should not be valued and seen to be. Part of that value is reflected through wages. Whilst income differentials are inevitable in a society that values freedom to make one's own way and act as an incentive for achievement the grossly disparate distribution at present is indicative of market-capitalism having been permitted to enter a pathological state whereby opportunity is monopolised by the few; it must be released.
What has gone very wrong is that the rat race to wealth, reflected now in the "bonus culture", is regarded as somehow noble, that gross disparities in wealth are as inevitable as winter and that it is every man for himself, may the devil take the hindmost. Those resisting change to the status quo are displaying a selfish short sightedness that is ultimately to their detriment. The words society and community have become ill-defined, misused and sometimes derided. A society is more than the sum of individuals battling for their own interests. There is interdependence that even the most wealthy have to rely on. Some of this is enshrined in our laws.
Feelings of fair play arise spontaneously in childhood. When it is perceived to be absent historical precedent shows that nasty consequences can afflict even the most entrenched elites if they don't give grouind. They should bear in mind that so-called property rights are no such thing. They appear on no tablet of stone (not even "thou shalt not steal" is a prescription for how economic wealth should be divided up in the first place) . They are societally defined. Property ownership is in general a good that most people recognise. Yet that should not lead to unquestioning acceptance of present assumptions on how generated wealth should be shared among those who labour and those who can't labour or about how much should be inherited by those who didn't earn it.
The days of the OESs are numbered.
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          Rebuttal to Mike Smith's Latest Distortion.         
 A few weeks ago IslandShark informed me that Mike Smith was up to his usual anti-Boer antics & sent me a link to an article where Mike rehashed old & discredited anti-Boer canards within the comments section. Someone pointed out that Smuts was not a Boer [ as he was from the Cape Dutch population ] which prompted Smith's anti-Boer rant which was full of distortions which in fact had been earlier dealt with at length right here on this blog a few years ago. I might have let this latest rant go if it were not for the fact that Mike promoted the notion that it was none other than myself who made the initial point about Smuts on his blog. I can tell you that it was not me as I have refused to visit Mike's blog for quite some time now. The last thing I read in full was Part 34 of Opening Pandora's Apartheid Box. Which was actually quite a good installment as it was mainly a referral to the book Sell-Out by adv Piet Pretorius who exposed the just how controlled the controlled opposition was. I have only read several articles of that series & not the entirety & neither did I ever make a regular habit of reading that blog too often prior as Mike & I had a final falling out here [ when he was posting as Afrikaner ] as well as within Part 30 of the Opening of Pandora's Apartheid Box wherein he continued to promote straw man arguments & distortions against Boer identity & myself in particular.

Seeing as he is still promoting demonstrable falsehoods concerning Boer identity & Afrikaner identity as well & accusing me of saying things I never said & considering that a few of his followers seem to think that he is correct in his distortions: it is only fair to set the record straight once again.

The following is what Mike posted concerning this topic.
Ron is that you? We have been down this road before and I am not going down it again.

        I see you still peddle that bullshit that Afrikaners and Boers are different people.

        I see you are still on about Boers being of German decent and Afrikaners from French and Dutch decent.

        Listen pal, Jan Smuts comes from Malmesbury in the Cape, but he was a Boer General on the side of the ZAR.

        How about General De la Rey who had not a drop of German blood, rather Spanish, French and Dutch. Was he not a Boer?

        By your definition the other Boer hero General Louis Botha must be an Englishman seeing that he came from the Natal Colony. But his first and last names are French? Both Smuts and Botha sided with the British against the Germans. In your definition “traitors”, right?

        General Piet Cronje came from Colesberg in the Cape. So he was an Afrikaner and not a Boer?

        How about General Piet Joubert…more French than “Joubert” you do not get…he was from Prince Albert in the Cape Colony. In your narrow mind and by your thick skulled definition he was not a “Boer”.

        And what about General Hertzog? German surname, but born in Wellington in the Cape Colony. Afrikaner? …Or Boer?

        How about General Ben Viljoen who was also born in the Cape Colony…also not a Boer right? Seeing that he has a French surname and was born in the Cape, he was definitely and “Afrikaner”.

        How about General Piet Kritzinger, German surname but he was born in Port Elizabeth, Cape Colony. Was he an Afrikaner or a Boer?

        And then there is General Christiaan Beyers, Boer general and Bittereinder Rebel against the Botha government…born in Stellenbosch, Cape Colony.

        WOW!!! Is that not amazing? Just about ALL the Boer Generals and heroes were from the Cape Colony and therefore Afrikaners. Now who would have thought that?
No it was not I who posted on his blog.

But since I was implicated while he posted even more severe distortions - I will have to respond.  

The following is a rebuttal to his erroneous assertions & distortions once again. 

I never said that the Boers & Afrikaners were altogether different people. I in fact pointed out that the term Afrikaner was a political / generic & arbitrary term which marginalized the Boers as the Boers are rendered a minority under the Afrikaner designation. I have noted however that the Boers are a different people from the Cape Dutch of the Western Cape as Professor Wallace Mills [ 1 ] & Journalist Adriana Stuijt [ 2 ] & Professor Tobias Louw [ 3 ] & Professor Irving Hexham [ 4 ] among others have noted & as the history shows as well. [ 5 ] I never claimed that the Boers are only of German descent as the Boers are descended from other groups as well. Furthermore German roots are part of both the Cape Dutch & the Boer populations. Mike's lie is easily refuted as I have a long history of pointing out the French Huguenot [ & other ] origins of the Boer [ & Cape Dutch ] peoples. One again all he does is throw up discredited straw man arguments & distortions without addressing the fact that the Boers are from the second colony founded on the Cape frontier during the 17th cent. by the Trekboers while the Cape Dutch are from the first colony founded in & around Cape Town. 

1. Quote: [ Trekboers certainly recognized the differences in language, religion, etc. between themselves and the British. They had certainly developed a way-of-life and a set of values that were distinctive, but they were also significantly different from people of Dutch descent in the western province areas of the Cape. The latter regarded the Trekboers as rather wild, semi-barbarous frontiersmen and the sense of common identity was limited and incomplete. The westerners followed the Trek with interest and probably with a good deal of sympathy, but they certainly did not see the trekkers as the saviours of some mystical Afrikaner ‘nation’. ] From: Professor Wallace Mills. The Great Trek. [ stmarys.ca/~wmills/course322/6Great_Trek.html ]

2. Quote: [ There has always been a vast difference between the "trek-Boers", "Voortrekkers", "grensboere" and the so called Afrikaners - who were the elitist collaborators with the British at the Cape, and who also collaborated on the British side to help defeat the independent Boer Republics. After the defeat of the Boer Republics, its voters - who had always been known as Boers everywhere in the world - suddenly lost their identity because the elitist Afrikaners who started running things on behalf of the British, insisted that everybody be called "Afrikaner" and that everybody should be "reconciled." ] From: Journalist Adriana Stuijt post at Stop Boer Genocide frm 2004. [ http://www.stopboergenocide.com/10836266301.html?cc=0.5061473071974908&i=25271082#start ]

3. Quote: [ Another point of grotesque confusion that we need to clear up, is that Boers are not "Afrikaners". None of your co-workers seem to have any understanding of this. All Boers are aware of the systematic subterfuge and distortion of "identity" that has been the result of the makings of the Broederbond and the National Party, based upon the then image of the British imperialist gentleman. This artificial identity was meant to wean away the Boers from their strong identify, from their history, from their nationalism, and thus weaken them. ] From: Professor Tobias Louw. From an open letter he wrote to the ISS dated September 2003. [ web.archive.org/web/20031001202018/rebellie.org/Raaktief/rk_openletter_ISS.htm ]

4. Quote: [ The majority of the original white settlers, known as Cape Dutch, or in frontier regions Boers, maintained a nominal loyalty to the Dutch Reformed Church. ] From: Professor Irving Hexham. Christianty in Central Southern Africa Prior to 1910. [ people.ucalgary.ca/~nurelweb/papers/irving/ELPHINK.htm#_ftnref41 ]

5. The Boers Documented as Distinct Nation.

Now it makes no difference whether Smuts was "on the side of" the ZAR Boers during the second Anglo-Boer War as he was not from the Boer ethnic group since he was from the Cape Dutch group. Mike's erroneous assertion that he was a Boer for simply fighting with the Boers is classic faulty logic as many different nationalities fought on the side of the Boers but that did not make them biological or ethnic Boers. One does not become a biological or ethnic Boer simply by joining their side of the war. Mike's assertion that De la Rey was not a Boer due to not having German roots is another total straw man argument & of course a total lie as he was born in Winburg Orange Free State. Furthermore just about all Boers have at least some German roots [ as well as French / Frisian / Dutch / Danish  roots ] so his assertion that De la Rey allegedly had none is nonsense & pure conjecture & no doubt a rhetorical device aimed at creating confusion. His assertion that Louis Botha must have been an Englishman because he was born in northern Natal is laughably absurd because a lot of Boers had settled in Natal ever since the Great Trek.
As a matter of fact Louis Botha was one of the founders of the Vryheid Republic - also known as the New Republic: a full fledged Boer Republic - which was established within northern Natal on land granted to the local & Transvaal Boers by Zulu King Dinuzulu in 1884. This Boer Republic even adopted a Vierkleur designed flag with the blue & green colours switched from the Transvaal Vierkleur layout. No. Louis Botha was descended from a German named Bode. Now I have never denied that there were Boer traitors but Mike likes to hide the fact that there were far more Cape Dutch on the side of the British then there were ever Boers who sided with them during the second Anglo-Boer War. I rarely ever go around calling anyone a traitor. The only person who EVER throws the word "traitor" around is Mike! All I ever see from him is how the Boers are "a nation of traitors" while rarely ever defining his use of the term traitor. The truth is that he defines traitor as anyone who would get in the way of imperial control of South Africa. No wonder he views the Boers as "traitors" because their historical attempts at restoring their conquered Boer Republics is viewed as treachery towards the British created macro State of South Africa. Further: one would think that authentic Boer traitors [ ie: traitors against the actual Boer people & or Boer independence ] would be a boon for Mike's pan Afrikaans Afrikaner ideology since in order for the political ideology of Afrikaner Collectivism to work: the Boers must surrender their political sovereignty & cede their power to Afrikaner domination. Though strictly speaking, the Cape Dutch cannot be "traitors" since they are not even from the Boers BUT due to the larger numbers of the Cape Dutch: they OUTVOTE the Boers thus their numbers work against Boer self determination. 

The town of Colesberg in the NORTHEASTERN Cape is part of the heartland of the Cape Boer people so Mike's ridiculous & erroneous assertion that this makes Piet Cronje "an Afrikaner & not a Boer" is a total joke! This is yet another example of his shameful straw man tactics of which I called him out on before, but to no avail as he stubbornly sticks to promoting straw man arguments & outright LIES & distortions about what I assert. But since he cannot debate according to the facts, he resorts to distortion & straw man tactics. One again his pathetic attempts fall apart because I never claimed that the Cape Boers were Afrikaners or were not Boers! General Piet Joubert was from the Cape frontier / the NORTHEASTERN Cape where ALL Boers were originally from! Mike is espousing a false dichotomy by claiming that all Caucasian Afrikaans speakers from the Cape are not Boers or are all part of the Cape Dutch Afrikaners. The Cape frontier was always home to the Boer people. Most of the Cape Rebels were from the Cape Boers of the frontier. I thought I settled this point years ago on this blog as well as within my information packed article of 2011:

The Cape Rebels Were Not Cape Dutch.

I pointed out long ago that JBM Hertzog was from the Cape Dutch population. [ I had to do this because Mike was asserting that "Boer Generals" ran South Africa until the 1940s to the point where it seemed as though he was cackling in his pathetic attempts at reversing the reality that the actual Boers were facing. ] His pathetic rhetorical device of asserting that Hertzog's German surname makes him a Boer is pure obfuscation because the Cape Dutch & Boer people are not determined by surnames but rather by line of descent & shared history. The Cape Dutch & Boers share very little history as they are from different colonies with the Trekboers putting even more space between the two then the later Voortrekkers putting even more space between the two. Just as the Quebecois & the Acadians share a lot of surnames but are two anthropologically different peoples with their own distinct identities. His snarky: "I ask you, who won the Anglo-Boer War?" [ which he used to exclaim in older posts & blogs ] was a transparent attempt at accusing the Boers for political  actions which were not enacted by the actual Boer population.

General Ben Viljoen was a Boer but he persists with his straw man argument that anyone born in the Cape [ even when they are born in the Boer populated region of the Cape ] or has a French surname [ despite the numerous Boers with French surnames! ] is somehow not a Boer. Folks with discernment & any knowledge of the history of the region can see through his pathetic attempts at confusing the issue as he is clearly implying that the Cape Boers were somehow not part of the Boers of the republics or were just part of the Cape Dutch.

Few are buying his ridiculous argument & slight of hand trick that all of the Cape Boers were / are part of the Cape Dutch Afrikaners. Anyone with discernment can see that Mike's agenda is to get the Boers to forget about their true identity in order to allow themselves to be usurped & derailed by the larger Cape Dutch descendents under the dispossessing Afrikaner designation. He does this in order to dilute the strength of the Boer people, because if every Boer were to stand for independence: he could still OVERRULE them & nullify their position no matter how unanimous their decisions are by claiming that they are all just part of the larger Cape Dutch population as Afrikaners. That is why the Afrikaner designation is so dangerous to the Boer people as it marginalizes their just aspirations by forcing them to accept decisions made by the Cape Dutch population.

The Boer people will never acquire self determination under the Afrikaner designation & HE KNOWS THIS FULL WELL because the Boers are a minority under this arbitrary & dispossessing designation. He wants to convince the Boers that they are all part of the Cape Dutch dominated Afrikaners whose leadership works against any form of authentic Boer self determination.

No one has to "adopt the Boer name"... [ as he asserted ] as  the Boers were simply submerged into the Afrikaner designation at a political level - while never at a cultural level - therefore the assertion of Boer identity does not "adopt" anything new but rather reasserts their authentic ethnic identity. He is well aware that his trick of asserting that the Boers are just part of the Afrikaners DILUTES the natural strength that the Boers would have if they were to disentangle themselves from Afrikaner suzerainty / decisions & political / financial domination. That has been his plan all along... coupled with tarring them & White people in general with the Apartheid stigma & defamation.

The assertion of Boer identity does not cause division in the least simply because all Boers can unite under their authentic ethnic identity but... it is in fact the assertion of the Afrikaner designation which causes division as it forces two different ethnic groups under the same umbrella leading to instant friction. The Cape Dutch will always outvote the Boers & he damn well knows this! That is why he propagates the lie that the Boers are part of the Afrikaners so he can STOP the Boers from acquiring any form of self determination.

One must remember that the folks who struggled for & obtained self determination during the 19th cent were Boers [ originally from the Cape frontier ] - not the Cape Dutch. The Great Trek was a movement of the Boer people of the Cape frontier. It was not something that interested the vast majority of the Cape Dutch who could not understand why anyone would want to separate themselves from the Colonial power. 

There is no difference between the Cape Boers & the Boers north of the Orange River but any historian will note that there are huge differences between the Boers & the Cape Dutch. Something that Mike tries to taper over as part of his anti-Boer self determination agenda. Although he himself has on occasion de facto admitted in some of his rants this distinction when he gets riled up over "liberals" whom he never refers to under their actual historic ethnic designation [ though he himself is a confessed "former liberal" & current  neo conservative ie: not a true conservative ] while then living in the heartland of the Cape Dutch in Cape Town.  He is well known for signing articles as coming from Cape Town.

Mike knows the truth & he also knows my TRUE position [ ie: that I know that the Cape Boers are part of the Republican Boers ] because I have posted it on my own blog numerous times & addressed him directly here & on his own blog as well. Therefore there is unfortunately only one logical conclusion to draw from this latest act of distortion & deception. During the debate on Part 30 of the Opening of Pandora's Apartheid Box he deliberately asserted the Trekboers of the 1600s & 1700s were really the Voortrekkers of the mid 19th century in a futile & very lame attempt at sidelining & obscuring the birth of the Boer people which occurred just a few decades after the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck & not during the Great Trek as Mike & some other Afrikaner Collectivist apologists like to claim. Read more at: The Purposeful Omission of a Distinct Nation. 

Mike ludicrously & demagogically accuses me [ behind my back as I was not the Anon poster who kicked off the debate of late ] of divide & conquer when the assertion of Boer identity divides no one because divide & conquer only works when two peoples are forced together. The use of the Afrikaner designation is divide & conquer as it forces two ethnic groups under the same umbrella leading to friction. That is why Lord Alfred Milner promoted the Afrikaner designation as he knew it would destroy Boer identity & divide & conquer the whole Afrikaans language group.

Quote: [ The prime representative of the British Empire in South Africa, Sir Alfred Milner, put it this way: "The new tactic (to subjugate the Boers) must be to consolidate the different areas of British South Africa into one nation. Although unification will initially put the Boers into political control of the entire South Africa, it will, ironically, eventually lead to their final downfall."

This was of course precisely what happened - but not until a new name had been developed for the new "nation" which Milner spoke about. They could not continue to call the new nation a "Boer" state, because the Boers had been subjugated. They could not call it a "Cape Dutch" state, as the Dutch colonialists were now British colonialists, and they could not call it a British state, for obvious reasons. The answer then was to give a general term to all White inhabitants of the new union - "Afrikaners".

Although the word originally meant "African" it was politicized by a group of Cape Dutch propagandists under one SJ du Toit in 1880 (the same year the Boers took up arms to fight the British colonialists) in literature of the time. It was then decided to try and blend the Boers into the Cape Dutch and English speaking White populations but calling them all Afrikaners instead of referring to their real ethnic bases. ] [ http://www.arthurkemp.com/whoaretheboers.htm ] From: The Boers of Southern Africa. By Arthur Kemp.

I have never promoted the notion that one group of Boers are better than another group. We know that Mike's former bosses at the Broederbond [ he admitted on this blog to handing out books for them ] do divide & conquer the Boers along contrived political & even religious lines. I publicly disavow any attempt at dividing the Boer people. But one thing is clear: Calling the Boers Afrikaners dilutes the natural strength of the Boer Nation. 

I have never claimed that the Republican Boers were different from the Cape Boers as his recent hit-piece rant post openly asserted. I am well aware that many Boer Generals were born in the Cape. Note that they were born in the EASTERN Cape: the region where all the Boers are originally from & where many remained. As to those fewer Cape Dutch from the Western Cape who joined the Boers struggle for independence: I have absolutely no problem with that at all. If all of the Cape Dutch were like the Boers then this debate would barely even be necessary but his pointing out of the few examples of pro-Boer individuals from the Cape Dutch does not change or negate the fact that most of the Cape Dutch have no interest in Boer self determination & are often opposed to it outright. He conflates [ deftly ] the Cape Boers with the Cape Dutch in the vain hope that you will not notice his deception. 

This tactic of his is tantamount to pointing out the few Americans who supported the Boers struggle for independence as indicative of ALL Americans when that was clearly not the case. The problem with Smuts was not just that he was a Cape Dutch but that he was a British agent. There were two Colonies established at the Cape in the 17th cent. The colony in the west led to the eventual existence of the Cape Dutch while the colony established in the north & east led to the existence of the Boer population. All of the Boers are from the second colony while the Cape Dutch are from the first colony. The Cape Dutch were pro Colonial & pro British while the Boers were anti-Colonial & anti-British. The Cape Dutch had strong ties to Europe [ Cecil Rhodes and The Cape Afrikaners. Mordechai Tamarkin ] while the Boers had cut all ties to Europe. [ The Great Trek. Oliver Ransford. & The Devil's Annexe. Sidney Robbins page 59. ] This is not "division" [ try to have more than one thought in your head at the same time ] just a geo-political reality that must be taken into account & navigated around [ with no ill-intent towards the Cape Dutch & recognition & acceptance of those comparative few who do support the Boers ] if the Boers hope to reacquire self determination. 

I have pointed out that the Cape frontier consisted of everything from Swellandam right up to Colesberg. [ & even beyond ]  Read more at: The Cape Frontier: Birthplace of the Boer Nation. Hence my own words vindicate my points in this rebuttal & show Mike up for the liar that he is as I pointed out that the Boers are native to the northeastern Cape region. Thus his constant erroneous assertions that I ever said that the Cape Boers were not Boers is a provable lie. His incorrigible behaviour exposes himself as having an agenda. Mike is playing a mind game with his followers using the psy-op that the Cape Boers are somehow not part of the Republican Boers of the Boer Republics. I pointed out myself [ using Michael Barthorp as a source ] right here on this very blog years ago that there was a lot Cape Rebel activity at Colesberg.

Further irony is that Mike called White Nationalism White Communism when he himself promotes Afrikaner Communism / Collectivism with his forced political association of Cape Dutch & Boer under the Socialist based dispossessing Afrikaner rubric. The term Afrikaner refers to a specific REGIME that was built around a forced political coalition of Cape Dutch & Boer for the specific purpose of gaining control over the South African region. This idea was first pursued in the late 19th cent so there are a few notable Boers like F W Reitz who got on board this dispossessing Afrikaner agenda & called himself an Afrikaner in this pan political context. The Cape based Afrikaners of the 19th cent - mainly through the Afrikaner Bond - were floating the notion of creating a confederation for the specific purpose of controlling the South African region. This idea finally came about with the Afrikaner Broederbond of the 20th cent. 

The term Afrikaner does not refer to an enthnicity as there are at least two involved within the designation. Those who use the notion that some 19th cent Boers called themselves Afrikaners are totally missing some key points. The Boers called themselves such in the context that they saw themselves as Africans part of the African continent. They did not use the term to imply that that saw themselves as being part of the Cape Dutch who NEVER used the term Afrikaner to describe themselves until the LATE 19th cent & only did so in order to promote a dispossessing pan Afrikaans identity in the wake of the gold & diamonds that were discovered in the Boer Republics. People must get street smart about this. The Cape Dutch historically used to look down upon the Boers to the point of ridiculing them for going on the Great Trek but then suddenly & out nowhere just a few years after gold was discovered in the ZAR / Transvaal Republic they suddenly start calling themselves Afrikaners for the first time in their nebulous & obscure history & start referring to the Boers as their "brothers" when prior they wanted nothing to do with them. It is a plain as day that the term Afrikaner was being promoted to DISPOSSESS the Boers out of ownership of their own republics & especially out of the resources found therein. This was not even really a Cape Dutch program because author C H Thomas asserted that the Afrikaner Bond was being controlled from Holland. Remember also that two members of the Society of True Afrikaners [ which was founded in 1875 ] were from Holland. The main political reason why some Boers of the 19th cent were calling themselves Afrikaners was due to the successful but limited effect of the Afrikaner Bond of the Cape whose political ideology was starting to get spread into the Boer Republics. Furthermore remember that the Afrikaner Bond began to promote war against Britain at a time when notable Boers such as President Marthinus Steyn of the OVS / Orange Free State & General de la Rey were still strongly against war. 

The notion that Boer self determination "divides" Afrikaners is as absurd as suggesting that Dixie self determination "divides" Capitalists or that Estonian self determination "divides" Soviets or that Croatian or Serbian or Slovenian self determination "divides" Yugoslavians / Communists because the terms Afrikaner / Capitalist / Soviet / Communist & Yugoslavian are political concepts / constructs which were often used to divide & conquer the various peoples who were subjected & subjugated under the prospective terms. It is not possible to divide an amorphous political concept which is enforced in a top down manner. But these political concepts are used to create friction by lumping different people together.


The assertion of Boer identity aims to get out of this dialectical process of Afrikaner domination.   

          Response to What is a Boer at the ToxiNews Blog.         
Now & then I come across some obtuse or one dimensional articles on the Boers & often try to post a response to the author. There is this one at the ToxiNews blog entitled: What is a Boer? that at first looked like it was trying to clarify the issue but only promoted lies / distortion & deliberate confusion. I posted a response but it was never posted for whatever reason so I expanded my response adding numerous excerpts to back up my points & decided that it would make for a good article on its own as it clarifies the erroneous assertions made in the article. There is just too much deliberate confusion and misrepresentation in it and no mention of the Cape Dutch. For example: the article states that Jan Smuts was a Boer when he was in fact not a Boer! He was from the Cape Dutch population. So was JBM Hertzog. A lot of folks from around the world fought with / on the side of the Boers but that did not make them biological Boers. The Trekboers coined the term Cape Dutch to describe the Western Cape Afrikaans speakers back in the late 17th cent when they started to move inland into Africa to get away from the VOC rule. A Boer is not some nebulous undefinable quasi political concept as the article outrageously asserted via its rhetorical tone, but rather a people / nation that was derived from the Trekboers of the 1700s who developed on the Cape frontier and have virtually nothing to do with the Cape Dutch population.  

                                                                 Graphic from the Boerevolkstaat site.

The following is from Arthur Kemp. Quote:
 [ Those who stayed behind in the Cape became known amongst the independence minded Boers as the "Cape Dutch" - symbolizing their attachment to Europe. This group loyally supported any European colonial government, and vehemently opposed all attempts by the fledgling Boer population to break ties with the colonial governments. ] From: The Boers of Southern Africa. Also titled: Who Are The Boers? By Arthur Kemp. [ http://www.arthurkemp.com/whoaretheboers.htm ]
Robert van Tonder did not "invent" the modern Boer. [ as the article further outrageously suggests ] The term Boer was used massively when the Boers were calling for the restoration of the Boer Republics during the 1940s!!!!! Later Prime Minister Hans Strijdom [ one of the fewer full ethnic / biological Boers who governed South Africa ] called for the restoration of the Boer Republics and died [ likely killed ] just a few months later. All this LONG before Robert van Tonder left the National Party in 1961 to advocate for the restoration of the Boer Republics. 

The article ludicrously asserts that the Boers are "a creation of the Afrikaner Broederbond" I kid you not. Anyone having done a just a little research would know how ridiculous that erroneous assertion is as the Afrikaner Broederbond tried to stamp out Boer identity & routinely suppressed Boer self determination. The Afrikaner Broederbond was started by Henning Klopper [ among many others ] who was influenced by National Party leader JBM Hertzog in the adoption of the dispossessing Afrikaner designation. The Broederbond was an enemy of the Boer people as it sought to conflate them with the Cape Dutch under a false political dialectic. The Cape Dutch were historically pro-British & were the ones who coined the term Afrikaner to describe themselves after the language they named Afrikaans. The Cape Dutch control the Afrikaner designation.

The author conflates the misplaced pro Verwoerd sentiment some appear to have as having anything to do with Boer identity when in fact Verwoerd promoted an Afrikaner agenda that subjugated the Boer people & the National Party hardly ever mentioned the term Boer. Verwoerd was not a friend of the Boer Nation. Listen to Theuns Cloete [ of Boervolk Radio & the Transvaal Separatists think tank ] himself note in brief detail how Verwoerd was a dire threat to the Boer Nation and did great damage to them. Click here for the link. Robert van Tonder was a public opponent of Verwoerd as Verwoerd's policies were a betrayal of the Boers & sold out the Boer Nation.

The following is from the Independent Online news article on the death of Robert van Tonder. 
Quote: [ Van Tonder broke away from the National Party in 1961 because of what he described as its betrayal of the old Boer republics. ] From: [ http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=qw933873780531O134 ]

                                                                        Robert van Tonder.

The following is from journalist Adriana Stuijt within a post at the African Crisis forum posted on Sunday Oct 7 2007. Quote:  
[ For a while people in the Transvaal and Orange-Free State Republics were independent and referred to themselves as "Boers' even though many weren't farmers. Many also referred to their language as die Taal or Boertaal. The Boers have always viewed themselves as different from the Afrikaners at the Cape. After they were defeated by the British, the Boers suddenly were no longer allowed to refer to themselves as Boers, but were forced to join the ethnic-identity of the Afrikaners of whom many had fought with the British and many of whom were given farms as a reward. These Afrikaners generally dominated in the Afrikaner-Broederbond and were very insistent on always suppressing the Boer identity and also the Boers' history. ] End of quote. From: [ http://www.africancrisis.co.za/Article.php?ID=18320& ]
The following is from Professor Tobias Louw of the Cultural Justice Foundation. Quote: 
[ Another point of grotesque confusion that we need to clear up, is that Boers are not "Afrikaners". None of your co-workers seem to have any understanding of this. All Boers are aware of the systematic subterfuge and distortion of "identity" that has been the result of the makings of the Broederbond and the National Party, based upon the then image of the British imperialist gentleman. This artificial identity was meant to wean away the Boers from their strong identify, from their history, from their nationalism, and thus weaken them. ] From: [ web.archive.org/web/20031001202018/rebellie.org/Raaktief/rk_openletter_ISS.htm ]
The following is from Theuns Cloete of Boervolk Radio from an interview from December 2007.

[ And so it's actually a farce because today when you ask people what happened to the Cape Dutch. Where are they? Where have they gone? Did they become like the dinosaurs? Just wiped out. Did some meteorite hit the Cape province & destroy them? Where did these Afrikaners come from? You know. What happened to the Boers? They can't answer you. You know because the Boers are there... The Cape Dutch have disappeared... Although they say the Afrikaners are there.
Which means the Boers have disappeared and the Cape Dutch have disappeared. So somehow the two became "one". They never became one as a nation. Never at all. They became one as a myth of the politicians to form a new nation. As Milner said: to destroy the Boers there is only one way. Do not ever try to go to war with them again. Britain will lose. Because Britain was nearly bankrupted at the end of the Anglo-Boer War. It was the most expensive war they ever fought.
And Milner said "the only way to destroy the Boers is to destroy their identity". And that's exactly what they did the politicians. They removed our identity from our souls from our nation. And they started calling us Afrikaners in our schools / education systems in our churches and you name it. People started calling themselves Afrikaners. And today a lot of them still don't realize that they're actually Boers because of the propaganda. ] End of quote.
The notion that no one can be a Boer simply because their Boer Republics were conquered [ as the article further ridiculously asserts ] is a lot of absolute dispossessing nonsense! Did the Scots stop existing just because Scotland was conquered for hundreds of years?! What nonsense! The Boers might live in the same South Africa as the Xhosas / Zulus & Griquas etc. but... those groups STILL exist! Just as the Boers still do. They are not all now JUST South Africans as the author disingenuously implied. The author appears to put stock in the mythology of a "South African" when in reality that is a civil term used to describe the citizens & inhabitants of the macro State of South Africa as created by the British in 1909 from an act of British legislation. The Boers will continue to exist so long as they continue to reproduce. The Boers emerged from the Trekboers of the late 17th cent. [ just a few decades after the arrival of Van Riebeeck ] and have existed throughout the era of the Boer Republics [ named after the Boers! ] and throughout the 20th cent despite Broederbond attempts at stamping out Boer identity! Read up on how the Afrikaner Broederbond attempted to stop Robert van Tonder from reporting the Boers' own POST Anglo-Boer War history! The Broederbond tried to eradicate the identity of the Boer people in much the same way the ANC is today trying to eradicate ethnic identities across the board.

The following is another quote from Adriana Stuijt from Wednesday, July 2, 2008. Quote: 
[ Robert van Tonder merely propagated his Boerestaat idea - and, realising that most people had been deliberately denied much knowledge about their own post-Anglo-Boer war history, most of his time was spent trying to teach people about their own history. His opponents inside the Nationale Party also were tireless in discrediting him as much as they could - and they had all of the state's machinery to do this with. ]  From: [ https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=2434489302861048952&postID=2338376545231088075 ]
Another horrendous lie perpetrated in the article is the erroneous notion that the Boer folk got started during the Great Trek. I have seen this lie promoted in a few other places but this lie is ITSELF the true making of Broederbond propaganda because the Boers existed LONG before the Great Trek. The Boers got started from the Trekboers of the late 1600 & 1700s. The Boers existed for 150 years BEFORE the Great Trek. I think this erroneous notion must have been promoted by the Afrikaner Nationalists [ Afrikaans Collectivists who were directed by the Afrikaner Broederbond ] in order to deny the anthropological distinction of the Boer Nation.

                                Trekboer migration map: start of Boer Nation.
                                                       Source of the map.

Then there is the misnomer that they were all originally Dutch speakers when in fact the ancestors of the Boers spoke many different languages & Dutch was at the bottom of the list as very few ancestors were outright of Dutch origin. Once the ancestors began to reproduce & amalgamate among one another on African soil: they began to adopt the patois spoken at the Cape which was a blend of Dutch / Malay / German / Portuguese & Nama: a Khoi dialect.

The Boer people emerged from the Trekboers of the 1700s & speak their own Afrikaans dialect that historians have classified as Eastern Border Afrikaans. The term Afrikaans was coined by the Cape Dutch [ & two Hollanders ] when they started a nominal language rights movement in 1875 for which they began calling themselves Afrikaners for the first time ever in their nebulous history of which virtually nothing was heard from them prior.

I am flabbergasted that the author of the ToxiNews article could write such an offensive anti-Boer hit piece because he was openly implying that the Broederbond created the Boers [ wtf? ] when they were in fact specifically trying to eradicate the Boers! The Afrikaners suppressed Boer identity and oppressed the Boers in the process. Theuns Cloete rightly noted [ in the first interview he did with The Right Perspective ] that the Boers were "also under Apartheid" as they were prevented from obtaining any form of self determination.

The following is from From: Boer, Afrikaner Or White - Which Are You? By Adriana Stuijt. Quote:
[ It's a little-known part of history which started shortly after the end of the Anglo-Boer war in 1902, when the Boers were a defeated, poverty-stricken people who had been chased off their farms and whose towns had been destroyed by the British. They were dirt-poor and plunged into an unprecedented famine. Many had to flee to the cities to survive - places which were totally alien to them, places were only English was being spoken, places where their churches were being run by people who referred to themselves as Afrikaners.
After this first genocide to target the Boer nation, their descendants still managed to cling to their identity for at least another generation - until the secret cabal of wealthy Afrikaners called the Afrikaner Broederbond gained hegemony -- and then took away their identity from about 1933 onwards.
Thus all the history books were rewritten and Boers with too-long memories such as Robert van Tonder of the Boerestaat Party and Eugene Terre'Blanche (of the incorrectly-named) Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging were persecuted publicly by the regime, aided and abetted by the Afrikaans-language news media. Eugene's heart is in the right place: he bears the flag of the old Boer Republic and he refers to himself as a Boer. But his organisation's name bears witness to his ethnic confusion, caused by the Afrikaner Broederbond's rewriting of his own history.
The old Voortrekker Streets all over South Africa are now being renamed to Chris Hani and Nelson Mandela streets and other names of people who, unlike the old Voortrekkers, actually have contributed absolutely nothing to the development of those streets whatsoever.
Thus the ANC is proving itself to be just as fascist in its nature as the old Afrikaner Broederbond they had replaced.
Both organisations are still hell-bent to wipe out all evidence of the Boer history.
They even continue to persecute and jail anyone who wants to rekindle Boer history such as Eugene Terre'Blanche and the Boeremag-15, undergoing their hyped-up, trumped-up treason trial in Pretoria High Court. ] End of quote. From: [ http://www.rense.com/general56/boerafrikanerorwhite.htm as well as  http://www.stopboergenocide.com/29301/index.html ]
More from Stuijt from a post within the Stop Boer Genocide site. Quote:
[ Small wonder these people are confused about their own identity! A "trekBoer", a "grensBoer", a "Voortrekker" and a "Boer" all refer to exactly the same people who had founded and supported the Independent Boer Republics of Natalia, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal (ZAR) and who were independent citizens in their own democratic republics for about fifty years before the British destroyed them in their ethnic-cleansing campaign.
History records that the British, the Dutch, the Germans, the French, the Americans and indeed many other foreign governments during those years invariably referred to the voters of these republics as "Boers." After they were defeated, they suddenly weren't allowed to call themselves Boers any longer by the British victors -- and the elitists Afrikaans-speaking collaborators who had worked with the British to defeat them and who had always referred to themselves as "Afrikaners" - after the language they spoke -- then started calling the former, defeated voters of the Boer Republics "Afrikaners."
One can generally still identify people who call themselves Boers these days as those Afrikaans-speaking paler-skinned people in South Africa who are mainly descended from working-class Afrikaans-speakers; many of those were mineworkers and technical workers at the former State-owned companies such as Telkom, Sasol etc. It's actually amazing how many of these people still privately refer to themselves as Boers even though they are being derided and sneered at from all sides. ] From: Journalist Adriana Stuijt at Stop Boer Genocide Forum. [ http://www.stopboergenocide.com/108362/66301.html?cc=0.6592351616083536&i=25271013#start ]
I would highly recommend that if anyone really wants to know who the Boers were and are:

That you visit my Boer history & information blog: Republican Trekker Volk. Click here for the link. So named as it is specifically about the specific folk who developed a sporadic trekking / semi nomadic lifestyle as Trekboers & would soon be known as Boers who in turned adopted a republican outlook & established numerous Boer Republics. Unlike the meanderings of the article I am responding to: my humble blog dispenses with all this confusing & divisive claptrap and goes straight to the heart of who the Boer people are & their general outlook. The Boers were lumped in with the Cape Dutch under the dispossessing Afrikaner designation which was a designation promoted by the politicians / press / churches & the British in particular for the express purpose of destroying the identity of the Boers so that there could never be a rerun of the Maritz Rebellion of 1914 which almost restored the Boer Republics.

The Afrikaner establishment does not want the Boer Republics to come back as it would threaten their control over the region and their access to its resources. The notion that the Boers "do not exist" or are a nebulous fringe political concept is dispossessing and damaging anti-Boer nonsense designed to further subjugate & destroy the Boer Nation.

          La primer intendente mujer en Mercedes        

1962, el año de los seis intendentes. Primera parte: Catalina de Morra, la primera de la Provincia.

Mucho movimiento tuvo el segundo año de la década del 60 desde el punto de vista político a nivel nacional, provincial y también local. Arturo Frondizi, derrocado el 29 de marzo por los militares fue sucedido por José María Guido. Con el peronismo proscripto, 11 días antes de la caída del gobierno radical se realizaron elecciones para elegir gobernador en la provincia de Buenos Aires. La fórmula peronista de Andrés Framini – Marcos Anglada ganó con 1.171.757 votos, mientras que el oficialismo de la Unión Cívica Radical Intransigente cosechó 731.877 y la UCR del Pueblo 627.094.
El peronismo también ganaba en Mercedes. Sobre 24.103 electores, la UP consiguió 8979, la UCRI 7196 y la UCRP 4976. Al día siguiente de haberse consumado las elecciones, Frondizi decide, para calmar los ánimos que aquejaban al país, intervenir las provincias de Tucumán, Chaco, Río Negro, Santiago del Estero y Buenos Aires, particularmente las gobernaciones ganadas por los seguidores del General Perón.
El país en 1962 tuvo dos presidentes, Frondizi y Guido; la provincia tuvo seis gobernadores, Oscar Alende (quien asumió en 1958 y gobernó hasta el día posterior a las elecciones, el 19 de marzo), Andrés Framini, quien ganó las elecciones pero no llegó a asumir y el general Salas Martínez, que fue ungido como interventor de la provincia luego del golpe y los Comisionados Nacionales Jorge Bermúdez Emparanza, Roberto Etchepareborda, Ceferino Merbilhaa y Félix Trigo Viera.
En Mercedes, en ese año, la intendencia tuvo 6 cambios de administradores, entre ellos, una mujer, de los cuales uno estuvo dos veces. Estos fueron Alfredo Bani, Catalina Carusso de Morra, Alfredo Jorge Rodríguez de la Vega y Elías Carlos Bracco.
El radical Alfredo Bani asumió como Intendente el 1 de mayo de 1958 y estuvo hasta el 12 de febrero de 1962, momento en que empezó a regir su licencia para poder encargarse de sus tareas proselitistas de cara a las elecciones del 18 de marzo siguiente.
Bani realizó el pedido de licencia el 3 de febrero y se trató el tema en la reunión que realizó el Honorable Concejo Deliberante el día 5. En el debate legislativo, se dispuso que a Bani lo suceda el primer concejal, Sr. Alfredo Di Siervi, pero este no acepto debido a su condición en el Comité de la UCRI, por lo que, luego de aceptada la dimisión, se le ofreció el cargo a quien correspondía en la lista, que era la Sra. Catalina Carusso de Morra, quien aceptó la designación. En esa misma reunión también se trató la pavimentación del camino al parque, la calle República de Chile.
El 12 de febrero a las 11 de la mañana se hizo cargo del municipio la Sra Carusso de Morra en el despacho del hasta ese entonces intendente Bani.

Catalina Carusso de Morra, su período al frente de la ciudad de Mercedes fue de 47 días. Fue la primera mujer intendente en la Provincia de Buenos Aires.

Cuenta la crónica del diario El Oeste que numerosas mujeres formaron parte de la entrega del mando, como así también varios concejales de diferentes partidos y funcionarios del municipio. Carusso de Morra, en ese momento, se coronaba como la primera intendente de la provincia de Buenos Aires. En su primer discurso, con profunda emoción, Morra calificó de “altísima distinción” su nuevo cargo y que la brevedad de su paso no permitirá que se encaren grandes obras en la ciudad, pidió a los concejales colaboración y anunció que no realizará cambios en el gabinete, por lo que, no habría ningún pedido de renuncia a los funcionarios de Bani.

          Seis intendentes        

1962, el año de los seis intendentes. Tercera parte: Elías Carlos Bracco, el Comisionado que renunció el día que lo nombraron, pero se fue 1 mes después.

La edición del domingo 29 de julio de 1962 del diario El Oeste anuncia que Muscagorry ya se hizo cargo de la intendencia. La nota, que habla sobre su discurso, dice que Muscagorry no aceptó ser Comisionado hasta no hablar con el Ministro de Obras Públicas de la provincia, el mercedino Ingeniero Petriz y “comprometer su especial esfuerzo para los caminos de esta ciudad” y que “no pediría puestos sino obras necesarias al progreso”.
El 27 de septiembre, Muscagorry presenta su renuncia como Comisionado de Mercedes ya que el interventor federal de la provincia, Ceferino Merbilhaá presentó su dimisión al cargo. En su telegrama, Muscagorry dice “Gobernó Ud. la provincia con visión de Patria. Me honré colaborando como Comisionado Municipal de este partido en su gestión inteligente y austera. Hoy que se aleja de la función pública, renuncio por este despacho la que yo desempeño”.
El 26 de octubre, el ex interventor Merbilhaá aceptó la renuncia de Muscagorry y por medio del Decreto Nº9052 se designó como Comisionado al Secretario General de la Comuna a Elías Carlos Bracco, quien puso en el cargo de Secretario General a Oscar Iglesias.
La particularidad de la historia política mercedina de ese año cuenta que Bracco el mismo día que fue designado presentó la renuncia. Bracco, en un telegrama presentado al Ministro de Gobierno de La Plata, ese mismo 26 de octubre redacto lo siguiente: “Designado Comisionado Municipal Interino de este partido por decreto Nº9052 presento a S.E. mi renuncia a ese cargo”.
Evidentemente los problemas que había a nivel provincial eran más importantes que la renuncia de un Comisionado puesto por decreto, por lo que no fue escuchada la renuncia y, un mes después, el 26 de noviembre, Bracco reitera el telegrama, publicado también en el diario El Oeste: “A S.E. el Señor Ministro de Gobierno – La Plata. Reitérole mi renuncia de Comisionado Municipal de este partido elevada el 26 de octubre, encareciendo su aceptación”
El 28 de noviembre la ciudad se despierta azotada por un huracán que produce graves daños en los techos de las casas, ya que por aquél entonces Mercedes tenía muchas antenas de televisión. También fueron derribados árboles añosos y hubo muchos problemas con los cortes de cables. En la zona rural, los frutos sufrieron del temporal, pero, agrega optimista el diario El Oeste del 29 de noviembre los “70 milímetros (son) beneficiosos para la ganadería y la agricultura”.
El 5 de diciembre, un día después de la renuncia de Álvaro Alsogaray como ministro de Economía de la Nación, se anuncia que a las 11 de la mañana del día siguiente será puesto en funciones nuevamente como Comisionado Municipal Alfredo Rodríguez de la Vega, por lo que Bracco dejará su cargo, que nunca quiso tener.
La edición de 7 de diciembre del diario El Oeste cuenta que el Comisionado renunciante, Elías Bracco, estuvo al frente de la municipalidad “como un acto de responsabilidad cívica” pero que “su carácter de interino y renunciante no le permitió hacer grandes obras”.
Rodríguez de la Vega estuvo al frente de la ciudad por casi un año, cuando dejó de ser Comisionado el 12 de octubre de 1963, al asumir Juan José Marín como intendente en la restaurada democracia gobernada por 3 años por Arturo Illia.

1962, el año de los seis intendentes. Segunda parte: El golpe a Frondizi y las renuncias de Bani y Rodríguez de la Vega.

Las elecciones del 18 de marzo en Mercedes son ganadas por la Unión Popular, la versión del peronismo liderado en el ámbito local por el médico cirujano Julio César Gioscio, quien con algo más de 40 años lograba su primera elección como Intendente, pero, al ser intervenida la provincia, poco importaba el resultado ya que no iba a poder asumir. La Unión Popular había arrasado en la provincia y eso hizo tomar la decisión de Frondizi de intervenirla.
Morra, quien estuvo al frente de la ciudad con el cargo de Comisionado, dejó de serlo el 1 de abril, que era el día en que se vencía la licencia de Bani. El 12, Bani es designado Comisionado mediante el Decreto Nacional 2642/62 firmado por el Ministro de Gobierno de Guido, Jorge Perazza, que dice en su artículo 2 que “los funcionarios al frente de los departamentos ejecutivos continuarán con sus cargos en carácter de Comisionados Municipales hasta tanto se designen los titulares”.
El 4 de mayo, día en que falleció el Obispo de Mercedes, Monseñor Vicente Aducci, el Comisionado Bani presenta al interventor de la provincia, Dr. Roberto Etchepareborda un telegrama en que no acepta ser Comisionado Interino de la Comuna y que tampoco le “es posible aceptar el cargo de Comisionado Titular” por razones personales y suena como reemplazante el joven concejal (cargo ocupado desde 1958) por la UCRI, Alfredo Rodríguez de la Vega.
El 12 de mayo a las 11 de la mañana Bani le entrega el mando al nuevo Comisionado Rodríguez de la Vega “con la satisfacción del deber cumplido”, diría en su discurso. Sobre el nuevo mandatario, dijo que “puede el pueblo de Mercedes, tener la seguridad de que no será defraudado”.

Roberto Etchepareborda, el interventor de la provincia que había designado a Bani como Comisionado, estuvo en ese cargo desde el 13 de abril hasta el 8 de junio, que es sucedido por Ceferino Merbilhaa. Este cambio de mando produce un renunciamiento masivo de los comisionados bonaerenses, incluso Rodríguez de la Vega y el sábado 21 de julio suena como posible reemplazante el Dr. Bautista Muscagorry, quien ya había sido Comisionado entre el 1 de mayo de 1955 y el 30 de abril de 1958.
El 24, los rumores eran certezas y se anuncia que el Decreto 4870 proclama a Muscagorry como Comisionado y que se haría cargo el 28 de julio. En esos 4 días, se hizo cargo del gobierno local el Contador Municipal Antonio Cangelosi.

1962, el año de los seis intendentes. Primera parte: Catalina de Morra, la primera de la Provincia.

Mucho movimiento tuvo el segundo año de la década del 60 desde el punto de vista político a nivel nacional, provincial y también local. Arturo Frondizi, derrocado el 29 de marzo por los militares fue sucedido por José María Guido. Con el peronismo proscripto, 11 días antes de la caída del gobierno radical se realizaron elecciones para elegir gobernador en la provincia de Buenos Aires. La fórmula peronista de Andrés Framini – Marcos Anglada ganó con 1.171.757 votos, mientras que el oficialismo de la Unión Cívica Radical Intransigente cosechó 731.877 y la UCR del Pueblo 627.094.
El peronismo también ganaba en Mercedes. Sobre 24.103 electores, la UP consiguió 8979, la UCRI 7196 y la UCRP 4976. Al día siguiente de haberse consumado las elecciones, Frondizi decide, para calmar los ánimos que aquejaban al país, intervenir las provincias de Tucumán, Chaco, Río Negro, Santiago del Estero y Buenos Aires, particularmente las gobernaciones ganadas por los seguidores del General Perón.
El país en 1962 tuvo dos presidentes, Frondizi y Guido; la provincia tuvo seis gobernadores, Oscar Alende (quien asumió en 1958 y gobernó hasta el día posterior a las elecciones, el 19 de marzo), Andrés Framini, quien ganó las elecciones pero no llegó a asumir y el general Salas Martínez, que fue ungido como interventor de la provincia luego del golpe y los Comisionados Nacionales Jorge Bermúdez Emparanza, Roberto Etchepareborda, Ceferino Merbilhaa y Félix Trigo Viera.
En Mercedes, en ese año, la intendencia tuvo 6 cambios de administradores, entre ellos, una mujer, de los cuales uno estuvo dos veces. Estos fueron Alfredo Bani, Catalina Carusso de Morra, Alfredo Jorge Rodríguez de la Vega y Elías Carlos Bracco.
El radical Alfredo Bani asumió como Intendente el 1 de mayo de 1958 y estuvo hasta el 12 de febrero de 1962, momento en que empezó a regir su licencia para poder encargarse de sus tareas proselitistas de cara a las elecciones del 18 de marzo siguiente.
Bani realizó el pedido de licencia el 3 de febrero y se trató el tema en la reunión que realizó el Honorable Concejo Deliberante el día 5. En el debate legislativo, se dispuso que a Bani lo suceda el primer concejal, Sr. Alfredo Di Siervi, pero este no acepto debido a su condición en el Comité de la UCRI, por lo que, luego de aceptada la dimisión, se le ofreció el cargo a quien correspondía en la lista, que era la Sra. Catalina Carusso de Morra, quien aceptó la designación. En esa misma reunión también se trató la pavimentación del camino al parque, la calle República de Chile.
El 12 de febrero a las 11 de la mañana se hizo cargo del municipio la Sra Carusso de Morra en el despacho del hasta ese entonces intendente Bani.

Catalina Carusso de Morra, su período al frente de la ciudad de Mercedes fue de 47 días. Fue la primera mujer intendente en la Provincia de Buenos Aires.

Cuenta la crónica del diario El Oeste que numerosas mujeres formaron parte de la entrega del mando, como así también varios concejales de diferentes partidos y funcionarios del municipio. Carusso de Morra, en ese momento, se coronaba como la primera intendente de la provincia de Buenos Aires. En su primer discurso, con profunda emoción, Morra calificó de “altísima distinción” su nuevo cargo y que la brevedad de su paso no permitirá que se encaren grandes obras en la ciudad, pidió a los concejales colaboración y anunció que no realizará cambios en el gabinete, por lo que, no habría ningún pedido de renuncia a los funcionarios de Bani.

          Vladimir Villegas causa polémica por su artículo sobre el “bachaqueo”        

El periodista Vladimir Villegas publicó este lunes un artículo de opinión sobre la crisis que atraviesa el país y sobre la venta informal de productos regulados mediante "bachaqueros".

Vladimir Villegas causa polémica por su artículo sobre el “bachaqueo”

A continuación, el artículo íntegro:

Cuando uno conversa con diplomáticos acreditados en nuestro país o con corresponsales de la prensa extranjera que cubren el diario acontecer venezolano, todos coinciden en que por estos lares donde vivimos y padecemos no hay tiempo para el aburrimiento. Tenía razón en parte el desaparecido dirigente sindical adeco Manuel Peñalver cuando dijo aquella famosa frase: “no somos suizos”, para argumentar que aquí no había lugar para elecciones de alcaldes o gobernadores.

No tenía razón en eso de que no estábamos para elegir alcaldes y gobernadores. Pero sí en cuanto a que no somos oriundos de Suiza, una nación donde muy pocos conocen el nombre del presidente, donde no hay conflictividad política, no hay concentración del poder ni abuso con el poder. Un país donde prácticamente no pasa nada, todo funciona aparentemente a las mil maravillas. Algo muy aburrido para quienes ya estamos habituados a incursionar en la web decenas de veces al día para saber qué hay de nuevo, cual es la noticia que sustituye a la que acapara la atención de una ciudadanía sometida a sobredosis de estrés informativo.

Una de esas últimas noticias que lleva el sello del escándalo es la resolución del Ministerio del Trabajo, despacho que ahora tiene un nombre largo, cursi e inmemorizable, según la cual el gobierno puede disponer de los trabajadores que hacen vida en una empresa pública o privada para que en un lapso de sesenta días pasen a otras labores, fundamentalmente en el área productiva.

Desde el punto de vista sindical, surgen muchas inquietudes con respecto a la estabilidad en el trabajo, a los riesgos en materia de higiene y seguridad industrial, porque según esa resolución, salvo prueba en contrario que aún no aparece, trabajadores no familiarizados con el ámbito de la producción industrial o agrícola, vinculados a labores administrativas o comerciales, pudieran terminar manejando un tractor, un machete o una planta de producción de salsa de tomate, por poner ejemplos que pueden parecer insólitos.

También inquieta que un trabajador pueda ser obligado a abandonar su sitio de trabajo para ser trasladado a otra empresa, con otro patrono, otras condiciones laborales e incluso otro horario. Por mucho que Insistan en el carácter voluntario de ese cambio, el miedo es libre, sobre todo cuando es harto conocido que empleados públicos son obligados a marchar o a ir otras actividades proselitistas.

¿Por qué empeñarse en este tipo de prácticas unilaterales, inconsultas y de dudosa eficiencia y eficacia en lugar de promover un diálogo constructivo, democrático, con todas las expresiones sindicales y empresariales con miras a encontrar alternativas nacidas del amplio consenso y dentro del marco del respeto a los derechos de los asalariados y de los empleadores? ¿A quién se le ocurrió esta idea? ¿Al español que se ha convertido en el gurú económico del Palacio?

Todos estos “maravillosos”inventos nacen de la falta de decisión de dar un giro radical a una política económica que está llevando a la ruina al país. Dudo mucho que esa iniciativa de trasladar mano de obra arbitrariamente a áreas de producción no nació de las recomendaciones del grupo de economistas promovido por Unasur.

No le arriendo ganancia a esa resolución, que pareciera promover un insólito bachaqueo con la mano de obra. Sólo derivará, no tengo duda, en un mayor descontento frente al gobierno. Me pregunto qué hubieran hecho en sus tiempos de dirigentes sindicales opositorestanto el actual ministro del Trabajo, mi buen amigo Oswaldo Vera, y sus compañeros de la muy oficialista Central Bolivariana y Socialista de Trabajadores frente a una resolución como esa. ¿ A quién se le ocurrió esa idea? ¿ Estará ya enrolado sembrando papas o alimentando pollos, gallinas y cerdos?.

Vladimir Villegas

AJV/ Informe21


          From the White House to the Jailhouse to the Pulpit: Chuck Colson on Being Wrong        

Every conversion story is, at heart, a story about being wrong. Whether they are agonizingly slow or all but instantaneous, whether they happen in a garden or in prison or on the road to Damascus, conversions don't just represent the embrace of a new worldview. They also represent the utter rejection of the convert's past. Consider, for example, Chuck Colson, and the strange tale of how (as this magazine once put it) "a Watergate crook became America's greatest Christian conservative."

Today, Colson is a prominent evangelical leader and founder of the Prison Fellowship  and the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview . During the Nixon administration, though, he was, by all accounts (including his own) secular, self-obsessed, and scary. Officially, he was special counsel to the president. Unofficially, he was Nixon's hatchet man and "the White House tough guy." In 1973, as the waters of Watergate rose around him, Colson simultaneously found God and found himself in prison for obstruction of justice. Below, he and I talk about why he converted, what he regrets most about his involvement with Watergate, and why Christianity is "the religion of second chances."

You have a fairly dramatic conversion story. What first prompted it?

I was the principle strategist behind the 1972 reelection campaign of Richard Nixon, and when it was all over I should have been absolutely on top of the world. I'd succeeded, we won, it was a historic landslide. But instead I found myself staring out of the office window thinking, "So what?" I was getting ready to go back to my law firm and was going to make a fortune — literally, a half a million dollars a year. And I felt dead. Really dead.

Then I met a man who'd been a client of mine before I'd went to the White House. I'd not seen him the whole time I was in the White House, and when I went back to be his general counsel again, he was totally different, completely changed. I asked him what had happened to him. And he said these words: "I've accepted Jesus Christ and committed my life to him."

Well, I'm not from the Bible Belt. I come from New England, and I'm not used to people talking like that. I was startled, and I just sort of stared at him uncomfortably.

Was that just social discomfort, or was it an inner discomfort — the first stirrings of your conversion?

It must have been the latter, because about four months later, I called him up one night and said, "I'd like to come see you." I drove over and spent an evening on his porch — this was August of 1973 — and he read to me from a little book entitled Mere Christianity , by C.S. Lewis. It was about pride, and it described me to a T.

That night when I left this gentleman's home, something happened that had never happened to me before. I was getting into my automobile and I sat there and I couldn't drive because I was crying too hard. I spent an hour on the side of the road right next to my friend's home, crying, thinking about my wife, wanting to know God, wanting to be clean. I'm a former Marine captain and I was the White House tough guy, and I used to never cry — and if did, I wouldn't let anybody know it. I thought the next morning I would wake up and be embarrassed. But I felt better than I had in years.

Can you recollect what you were crying about?

Sure, I can remember vividly. I was feeling totally lost and lonely and helpless and really conflicted about my own sinful behavior. A lot the stuff I was charged with in Watergate, some of it was true and some of it wasn't, but my attitude towards other people and my self-obsession — I had a lot to think about in my life that I wasn't very proud of. For the first time in my life, I realized I'd made a mess of things.

I'm trying to figure out the timeline here. When did that evening in your car happen in relation to Watergate?

That was in August of 1973, and that fall, my life absolutely plummeted. Initially the lawyers had told me I was not a target of the Watergate investigation. Within one month of my conversion, they told me I was a target, and I began to see the whole thing closing in on and me and getting worse and worse and worse and worse.

People think it was a jailhouse conversion — that my life fell apart and I converted. But I knew before that I was a different person. I began to have different values and a different attitude. I began to study the Bible. I was in a small prayer group with a group of men who really nurtured me and taught me lots of what I needed to know as a Christian and helped me to live my faith.

I admit I was one of those people who assumed it was a jailhouse conversion — that the pressures of Watergate prompted your spiritual crisis.

They really ran on parallel course. When the new [Watergate] prosecutor, Archibald Cox, was appointed, the first thing he said in his press conference was, "We have to look at the role of Mr. Colson." So I knew then that I was going to be dragged into it. That was two months before I went to visit my friend, so certainly by then I was beginning to feel the pressures of Watergate.

I was also feeling very depressed because I had worked around the clock for two years to get Richard Nixon reelected. He was my friend, I liked the man, I believed in him, and I'm watching everything I've worked day and night to build collapse around me. That was a very disillusioning experience. As much as being worried about my own future, I think that was what had me searching for something more meaningful in life.

How many of the Watergate revelations did you already know about?

A lot of it came as great surprises. I had no idea about the meetings that had taken place. As the prosecutors said when they brought the indictment against me, they could only charge me on two counts because I hadn't been in the vast majority of the meetings that constituted the cover-up. I also didn't know there was a taping system, so that was shattering. I spent most of 1973 being shocked by headlines, and not believing a lot of them at first.

Speaking of being wrong! It must be pretty stunning to learn such things about people you'd been working closely with for years.

Yeah, but you don't make any close friends in the White House. No one does. So that part wasn't so bad, but I realized how easily everything you put your heart and soul into for two years, three years, four years could go down the garbage. That was the disillusioning part.

If Watergate didn't prompt your conversion, do you feel that your conversion affected how you handled Watergate?

Oh, yes. One day I did a show with Mike Wallace. This was when Watergate was absolutely at a fever pitch and the trials were going to begin and by this time I'd been indicted. He asked me how I could be a friend of Richard Nixon, given the things Nixon had said on the tapes. And I said, "Well, he's my friend and I don't turn my back on my friend."

I got home that night and realized that there was no way I could be a good witness for Christ if I compromised on what I could say, or was not as fully honest as I could be. So I decided the best thing I could do was plead guilty. I sent my lawyers into the Watergate prosecutors to say I wouldn't plea bargain, and that I had not done what they charged me with [conspiracy to cover up the Watergate burglary], but here was something I had done [obstruction of justice] — and if they wanted to charge me with that, I would plead guilty. And I did.

When you look back on that era, what's your biggest regret?

My biggest regret is that I saw things going on that I should've known were wrong or I knew were wrong but then I rationalized them away. I didn't say anything. I should've spoken up a number of times and said, "Wait a moment, this isn't right," and I didn't. That's my greatest regret.

What do you think stopped you from speaking out?

A couple of times it was because I was in meetings with the president and [Henry] Kissinger where they said, "This is life and death national security, people are going to die if we expose these sources." So part of it was national security. Part of it was, to be perfectly honest, I wanted to stay in the inner circle. It was self interest.

Thinking back on it today, how would you characterize yourself pre-conversion?

I think I was the typical Type A person who rushes through life mostly using people. I thought much more about my own self-interest than anybody's else's. That led to the breakup of my first marriage; I was responsible for that.

When you think about that person now, how do you feel about him? Do you identify with him, do you see yourself in him?

I can't imagine I lived the way I did. I cannot imagine. I shudder when I think about it, because I feel so totally differently about life. Now, please don't get the impression that somebody who's a really bad guy and then all of a sudden finds Christ, the next day he's a saint. It doesn't work that way. I've been 37 years as a believer in Jesus Christ, and I've discovered that every year you grow a little more than the year before. It isn't like all of a sudden you turn a switch and you go from A to B. You do in one sense, because your whole worldview is very different; you realize you've got to see things the way God sees them, not the way you do. So that part changes fast, but it doesn't immediately reflect itself in how you live. That part takes time.

Paul, who was the greatest apostle of the Christian Church, said, "I die daily." He meant the old Paul had to die so the new Paul could live, and I think if we're honest with ourselves, we all need to do that.  

What was the effect of your conversion on your social life? I can't imagine the new you fit very well into your old D.C. political circles.

I used to go to all the cocktail parties and drank too much and smoked constantly. I stopped doing that, but I still went back to the same people. Many of them couldn't quite figure me out, but I didn't abandon my old friends. I've always been loyal in my life, so I kept a lot of my old friends. And I have to tell you, over a period of time, many of them became believers.

Even to this day, I go out of my way to spend time with people who are in the same position I was in before my conversion, because I know how much they need to find Christ, and how much they need to have hope in their lives. I don't just stop seeing people.

Interesting. Given that you shudder when you think about your past self, I would expect that your past social circles would feel profoundly alienating.

My attitude about the cultural question is a very different issue. When I think back to all the cocktail parties I went to where everybody was trying to be seen with the most important person in the room, or where everybody was elbowing everybody else out of the way — today I just can't imagine doing that. The few times I've gone back to political events — I'm fond of my own friends in politics, but I can't wait to get away.

I've always had a populist attitude, I was always offended by elitism. When I applied to college, I applied to Harvard and Brown and was accepted at both, and Harvard called me in to tell me they had offered me a full scholarship. I thought the dean was kind of uppity and I just got turned off by the atmosphere, so I went to Brown, which was considered the poor cousin of the Ivy League in those days. I just always wanted to be a little bit different. I didn't like the elitist style of people in the Northeast, and today I found myself really repulsed by it. So maybe I already had those streaks, but they've been intensified.

Let me ask you about your time in prison. You were there for, what, about half a year?

I went to prison in June of 1974. I spent seven months there, and hated every minute of it, obviously. But I got out and was glad, because it was part of what I needed as a Christian: to see how other people lived, to be in a position where I was helpless and had to learn how to lean on God. And in the 35 years since I've been released from prison, I've spent all my time in ministry, most of it in ministry to prisoners.

What was it about your experience that inspired that decision?

When I was in prison, I saw the absolute futility of the prison system. There's no way you can take a bunch of criminals, stick 'em in a dormitory where they sit around at night comparing the crimes they committed and how they're going to do it next time, and expect to rehabilitate them. It's demeaning, it's demoralizing, it doesn't give people aspirations to do the right thing. It almost encourages the wrong thing. So I got out of prison and I realized: This isn't working.

That's what got me to start the prison ministry. But as I was trying to put Bible studies in all the prisons, they were growing so fast I couldn't keep up with them. The figures were astounding. When I got out, there were 239,000 people in prison. Today there are 2.3 million. So I started asking myself, "Why is this happening?" The prevailing view well into the 1970s was that crime is caused by environmental factors — by dysfunctional childhoods, by racism, by poverty. So the criminals became victims, victims of society, which to me didn't make sense. Then I came across two people who were doing studies on criminal behavior, and they came to the conclusion that crime is not caused by environment or poverty or deprivation. It is caused by individuals making wrong moral choices, and that's exactly what I was experiencing working with thousands of prisoners. So I got in touch with those guys and learned a lot from them.

Why are those incompatible views? It seems to me that negative environmental influences could make it harder to make good moral choices.

Professor [James Q.] Wilson at Harvard did a study on causes of crime and decided it was caused by lack of moral training during the morally formative years. So it's a character issue and it's a family issue, breakdown of the family, which got me really interested in the biblical worldview.

[Psychiatrist] Samuel Yochelson said something very, very significant; he said crime is caused by people making wrong moral choices. The answer to crime therefore is the conversion of the wrongdoer to a more responsible lifestyle. I think that's exactly what a Christian conversion is: to leave a wrongful style of life behind and realize, if you want to follow Christ, you have to live a different way. I think that's the answer to the crime problem, which is why I've spent all my career on it.

A lot of your fellow conservatives are lock-em-and-leave-em types; they're perfectly happy with the status quo of the criminal justice system. Why do you think that is?

When I first got out of prison and started talking about this in the late '70s and early '80s, most of my conservative friends thought I'd lost my mind, and most of them were against me. Then I began to develop my arguments and write about them — I wrote two books on moral justice and restorative justice: the notion that, instead of just punishing people, you put them to work and [have them] make restitution and do service — and frankly since then there's been a big change.

I tell my conservative friends who disagree with me, "You guys aren't being conservative. You're taking a big government solution, you're thinking prisons are going to change people and that's just not the case." I think I've converted a lot of my old conservative skeptics.

A lot of people who work on prison reform issues hail from the left, including the far left. What's it like to work alongside people with whom you disagree about so many other things?

I find you can work side by side. I've had no problems with that; I enjoy some of these people. There are some I find mean-spirited and just don't want to work together, but most of them do. Especially in Congress. The latest bill that was just passed on level sentencing — so that cocaine users don't get off easier than crack users — people are saying, "This campaign was led by an odd assortment of people, the ACLU and Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship." And the prison rape bill was engineered by conservatives; Jeb Sessions, a republican from Alabama, for goodness sakes, took the lead along with Ted Kennedy.

So we've been building some unlikely alliances. We disagree profoundly on questions of religious liberty, but we certainly agree that prisons aren't rehabilitating and that the prison system is a high-cost, unproductive solution. You learn to take people where you find them and not put them in a stereotypical category.

Let me ask you a few questions about wrongness and religion. We sometimes associate being wrong with being evil; if you read Saint Augustine, for instance, he grapples with the question of whether or not mistakes are sins. What do you think Christianity teaches about making mistakes?

Of all the religions and philosophies in the world, Christianity is the most interested in people who've made mistakes, because it says you can repent and be forgiven and start over again. Buddhism doesn't offer that, nor does Hinduism, nor does Judaism, nor does Islam. Christianity is the religion of second chances. I've preached in prisons in 40 countries and I've preached in 800 prisons in America, and I talk about the fact that you can be forgiven of your sins and be given a new life. In Hindu countries, their eyes open like saucers because they've never heard that. I think Christianity is one of the most tolerant of all religions when it comes to making mistakes.

Christianity also preaches humility and an awareness of our human fallibility. Yet evangelicalism presupposes that you have access to the absolute truth about God. How do you square those two things?

I don't think it's hard to do at all. If you're a Jew, you believe exactly what you're taught, which is that you're born of the covenant people. If you're a Hindu, you believe exactly what Hindus teach about reincarnation, about karma and consciousness, about the idea that we are a dream in the mind of God. These are all truth claims. And I respect everybody's right to make a truth claim.

My truth claim is that Jesus says, "No man comes to the Father but through me." Therefore I want people to come to Christ because I want them to be forgiven of their sins. It is a truth claim, but it is not an exclusive truth claim, because what Jesus is saying is: Everybody is free to come. You don't have to be born in to a certain heritage. You have to believe a certain thing. Everybody is free to come and be forgiven. That's my truth claim.

What exactly does it mean to "respect" everyone's truth claims, given that in the end you're trying to get everyone to recognize your truth claim as the real one?

We can't all be right. Ultimately I want everybody to find what I have found in life, I want to share it with people. But I also recognize that all religions have good things in them, and a lot of them share many common values. I believe moral teaching is universal, I believe we are made with a desire for certain goals and outcomes, that that's just the way we're wired. So Hindus have some very good values, Muslims do too. I don't feel exclusive. I think a lot can be learned from different faiths.

In the end, you've got to decide for you, what is the right road to God? And Christians in that sense don't have any wiggle room.  We're not given any leeway in that.

What do you see as the role of doubt within religious faith?

I see doubt as a confirmation that someone is a true believer. If we believed completely, if we didn't have any doubts, we would be incapable of loving God volitionally. Richard Dawkins famously said, "If God really were God, he would have made himself well known to people." Precisely the opposite. He wouldn't make himself better known, he'd make himself less known. If we got to the point where we knew everything about Him and we had no doubts at all, love wouldn't be love. It would be like looking out your window at the tree outside; you'd just take it for granted.

You've experienced two almost completely different lives, two completely different worldviews. Can you imagine undergoing other major conversions in the future? Are there things you believe today that you can conceive of rejecting in the future?

Well, I'm a Baptist, and maybe I'll discover someday that adult baptism isn't required. Maybe I'll discover that I've had a misunderstanding of some of the doctrines of the faith. I certainly haven't spent a life studying or writing like Aquinas or Augustine did. I don't profess to have all the answers. I think there's probably a lot of things I could discover I was wrong about.

But I can't conceive that I could be wrong about the fundamental questions. Do I believe Jesus Christ is who he says he is? Does he speak with the authority of God himself? Is there a trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit? No, I cannot imagine I could be wrong about those things.

What about outside of religion? For instance, can you imagine having a change of heart on some of your political beliefs?

[laughs] I have those all the time.

Really? Like what?

You get disappointed in people, you think they're doing the right thing and then they let you down. Maybe this is the best way to explain it. I reject ideology, because ideology is manmade. It doesn't matter whether it's the right or the left. I believe you should live your life by the guidance of revealed truth. Revealed truth comes to you, in the case of the Christian, through experience, through natural law, through preserving a moral order, through being very respectful and humble because you realize you have much less wisdom than the giants who've come before you. That to me is the conservative disposition. I find that very humbling. So, yeah, I think I could wake up tomorrow and say, "Maybe I was wrong about X or Y or Z."

If you could hear someone else interviewed about being wrong, who would it be?

Oh, my goodness. Half the politicians in America.

Which half?

Ha. Do you want me to name one person?

No, not necessarily. You can name as many as you like.

Well, how many people are willing to admit it? I've established beyond a shadow of a doubt that many of the things written about me were false, but I can't get certain people to acknowledge that. I don't care if they do or don't, it's not something I lie awake wondering about.

But who would I really like to hear express a litany of all the mistakes they made? I don't spend a lot of time thinking about that. All of us would have a lot of talking to do.


Kathryn Schulz  is the author of  Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error . She can be reached at  kathryn@beingwrongbook.com . You can follow her on Facebook  here , and on Twitter  here .

This blog features Q&As in which notable people discuss their relationship to being wrong. You can read past interviews with sex critic and educator Susie Bright , Nobel Prize winner Barry Marshall , Innocence Project Co-Founder Peter Neufeld , marriage counselor Harville Hendrix , Google research director  Peter Norvig , Wikipedia co-founder  Larry Sanger , NASA astronaut-turned-medical-error-guru  James Bagian , hedge-fund manager  Victor Niederhoffer , mountaineer  Ed Viesturs This American Life  host  Ira Glass , celebrity chef  Anthony Bourdain Sports Illustrated  senior writer  Joe Posnanski , education scholar and activist  Diane Ravitch , and criminal defense lawyer and pundit  Alan Dershowitz .


          XXX: Sex Critic Susie Bright on Being Wrong        
Gentle readers, a survey: Are you appalled or aroused by the idea of a threesome? Do you share Christine O'Donnell's views on masturbation, or are your browser's other open windows showing porn? Have you ever regretted a sexual experience? Do you sometimes wonder if you're doing it "wrong"? Have you figured out yet where babies come from?

As these questions suggest, there's a rich area of overlap between my area of expertise (wrongness) and that of famed "sexpert" Susie Bright. One of the country's foremost sex educators, activists, and writers, Bright is an outspoken advocate of sexual equality and freedom. She was one of the co-founders of On Our Backs , the first sex magazine by, for, and about women, as well as the founder and longtime editor of The Best American Erotica series. Her memoir, Big Sex Little Death , will be published in April 2011. In this interview, she and I talk about why the Vatican is the original sexpert, whether anti-sex crusaders are also anti-intellectual, and which physical activity is (to her own surprise) making Bright sweat these days.


Let's talk about the morning after, which I think of as one of the really iconic moments of personal wrongness.

[Laughs.] I think of the morning after as being a classic case of ambivalence, rather than flat-out regret. I mean, clearly you wouldn't have gone for it if you weren't aware of your self-interest. I'm always aware of my self-interest. The reasons that you shouldn't have done it, or you should have done it a little differently—all those "woulda, coulda, shouldas" can prey on your mind in a terrible way.

But I often think people are a bit cruel to themselves about how they evaluate a sexual experience. Just because your mother might not have approved or you're not going to get married—just because it doesn't meet someone else's standards—doesn't mean it didn't have its fabulous, transcendent, insightful, awesome moments. So I guess I hold those "morning after" situations a little more gently. Sometimes I wish things had gone differently, but to denounce it and say, "This should never have happened"—rarely have I gone there.

Lucky you. Sex and relationships can be so complex and messy that I think a lot of people do wind up going there at some point in their lives—waking up after a sexual experience, literally or figuratively, and thinking, "Oh, man, that was the wrong decision."

I think the most painful situation in my own life was when I was much younger, a teenager, and I went to bed with a best friend's lover. It was so impulsive, and right in the middle of it he started crying, and I was like, "Oh my God, this is terrible." I had great esteem for their love; it wasn't like I was trying to take something away or break them up or hurt anyone. It was a messy, intoxicated, going-with-the-flow kind of moment.

When I think back on it, it just seems like that foolish, impulsive, youthful moment. The ability to imagine the frustrations and hurt feelings that lie ahead—that comes so much easier when you're more mature and you've been there, done that. I didn't even have to get to 18 before I understood that the consequences of interrupting people's marriages in various ways are toxic. Just don't do it. Don't mess with it. You'll be sorry.

I'm interested in this idea of impulsiveness. In looking at why we get things wrong, I thought a lot about all the various ways we make decisions—by impulse, by consulting other people, by trying to assemble the evidence and conduct some kind of rational assessment. I assume that impulsivity governs sexual decisions more than other kinds, and I wonder if you think that makes us more or less likely to regret them. 

I don't know. I think there are so many appetites and pleasures and needs that we act on quickly, and yet there isn't a sense of social stigma and shame around them. I had something to eat the other night that made me terribly sick to my stomach, and I suffered for it for a day afterward. But no one's going to say, "Shame on you, Susie! How could you have done that?" Instead we laugh, we indulge. We're much more forgiving; you know, live and learn.

I've taken huge sexual risks and often it's turned out awesome. So it's not like I regret my impulses or think, "Oh, if only I'd thought everything out and planned every move." People who think they can do that about sex are in for a serious surprise.

I hear a fair number of coming out stories that are almost like conversion stories. Like: I thought for sure I was going to get married in my mom's wedding dress, or maybe I even did get married in my mom's wedding dress—

And then I saw the light!

Right, exactly. And my whole original vision of my life and what it was going to be like fell out from under me. Was it like that for you?

No. I'm just the opposite. I imagined that one would simply be attracted to people for all kinds of reasons and there wouldn't be a final determination. That's just me. I think I'm dead in the middle of the Kinsey spectrum . I have always felt attracted to both men and women. My first sexual experience, I went from never having kissed anyone, never having held hands, nothing, just me reading a story book and kissing my pillow, to a threesome where I did everything, all in one afternoon during the World Series.

Is this where I make a joke about third base?

Ha. But you know, the interesting thing about it was it did kind of confirm my notion of what sex would be like: I'm with a man and I'm with a woman and I really like both of them and I'm attracted to both of them and it feels good.

Only later on did I begin to realize for some people, it's definitely not about being in the middle [of the Kinsey scale]. The notion that everyone is bisexual—or for that matter that everyone is anything, any fixed anything—that's baloney. Any sex educator worth their salt knows that you can't pigeonhole people. Including yourself. You're dead if you do. If you think, "Oh, well, you're set in stone, now we're going to predict everything from here on out"-you can't do that. You'll end up lying to yourself and everybody else.

I was thinking about your somewhat funny identity as an expert in sex—which I say as someone who has a somewhat funny identity as an expert in wrongness—

Just don't let anyone call you a wrongpert.

Ha. Why not? "Wrongpert." I love it. It's certainly no worse than "wrongologist," which I've been called so much that I gave in and started using it myself.

Agh. It's like this feminine diminutive that's the kiss of death. You'll notice that men who take an intellectual or professional interest in sexual education do not get called "sexperts," for the good reason that it makes you sound like an idiot. I rue the day that my friends came up with that nickname. Someone just asked me the other day, "Were you the first sexpert?" And I'm like, "Oh, God, now we're going to do origin of the species?"

It has been impossible in this puritan country to be a scholar and an intellectual about sex. Do that at your peril. Look what happened to Kinsey; it wasn't all accolades and flowers. People who've taken sex seriously haven't gotten the same kind of recognition as, say, linguistics or mathematicians. It's an essential of human nature, but if people have a moral agenda against it, they will trivialize it. Like "sexpert."

The linguistics analogy is interesting. It's so acceptable to study language in order to better understand the human mind and the human animal. And yet somehow sex, which is just as intrinsic to who we are, doesn't have anything like that kind of highly respected, longstanding, institutionalized field of inquiry.

That's because the church has said that it is in charge of rigorous sexual analysis. The Vatican is the original sexpert. It's always the religious institution that tries to set the agenda. It's like: "We've decided what the natural laws are and here's what you can and cannot do. We've looked at everything and we've considered what is deviant and what is not, and now you can go forth and play our little game." When their authority is checked, that's when they respond by trivializing the insurgents, the provocateurs, the questioners.

So how do you deal with people like that—people who think everything about you and the work you do is wrong? Or do you just choose not to deal with them at all?

Yeah, great question. I mean, some of them are so unhinged. They take a violent attitude; they're on a crusade, and they're going to gore me with their sword of righteousness. The people who tend to go after you hammer and tong tend to be the manipulated rank and file of a rather cynical leader who is sitting at home counting their banknotes. The people at the top—at best they're indifferent, at worst they're the grossest, most frightening hypocrites. And they have whole troops of little people to get their hands dirty. That part is frightening.

One thing that's interesting to me is that even when that hypocrisy is exposed, it doesn't seem to do much to change the minds of their followers—which I suppose is in keeping with what we know about how hard it is to overturn entrenched belief systems.

We've seen so many of them exposed in recent years—the men of C Street , the people who railed against sexual liberty and freedoms while privately carrying on like a Roman orgy. One disappointment, to those of us who have been fighting the good fight, is that you think that when people like David Vitter get exposed, their rank and file is going to be disgusted and walk away from them. But lots of times, they don't. It's like they're so wedded to the orthodoxy that if they question it, they're going to crumble. And they don't want to crumble. They don't want to have a psychotic break right now, right there on the kitchen floor.

Something has to be there for them to hold onto. And what do you give them? Especially when you say, "You know what, you're never going to be that certain again." When people ask me, "What is your vision of sexual liberation?" as if I'm going to hand them some new crucifix—you've got to be out of your mind. Maturity means taking a respectful attitude toward uncertainty. You can be honest. You can stop lying to yourself. You can find ethics that way. But if you think you're going to just wrap your lasso around the next big truth, you're out of your mind.

I understand the attraction to certainty, but why this certainty? Why the conviction that sexuality is so dangerous, so corrosive, in need of constant controlling?

Yeah, that's the question, isn't it? The thing keep asking everyone these days is: Why is it that some aspects of science are quite readily embraced by almost everyone, but not this one? There's a big surge of popularity in favor of gravity, for instance. Yet when it comes to the things we have learned about our sexual anatomy and physiology, there is this deliberate rejection of scientific knowledge. It gets discussed, it gets proven it, and then we go right back to the Garden of Eden. Nobody wants to hear it. Women have libidos? No, no, no. Women don't like sex. They're not visual. They just want to settle down and have children. And men just want that piece of tail and they want it now and it's not emotional.

I'm very curious, what is the stake in this false consciousness? I am appalled that I'm still going out to this day to college campuses and people are like, "I don't know, does the clitoris exist?" Or "I just don't know why I'd feel attracted to more than one person during my lifetime." Or "Is it bad that I find pictures of naked people arousing?" Why are we still having these discussions?

Is it your sense that some things are getting better? On the one hand, the political, legal, and cultural situation for queer and transgendered people has clearly improved. On the other hand, you've got Christine O'Donnell saying masturbation is the evil to end all evils.

Exactly. I'm so glad you brought her up. This is the most popular sentiment about masturbation in the media right now—this dingbat, this professional moron. She gets paid to be an idiot. She gets run for office by a bunch of callous cynics who have their own financial interests at heart, and I guarantee you they're masturbating up a storm and fucking anything that moves. And yet this is now the voice of authority on human sexuality. Are you kidding me?

So I guess you're saying things are not getting better.

We're in retrograde right now. Sexual knowledge is the privilege of the highly literate, the highly educated, the bohemian. It's esoteric.

Some people actually glorify that esoteric status—as if being in the dark or thinking that sex is dirty and bad is an important part of what makes sex sexy. Do you think there's anything to that?

They don't have a leg to stand on. I've raised kids who don't believe in sin and hell and don't think that sex is intrinsically shameful, and they have just as much mystery and intrigue and romance in their lives as anybody else. You don't become a robot if you're raised with access to knowledge and a critical mind. There's so much we don't know. It's like astronomy: We have not visited other planets, we don't have a clue.

Who do you think should—

Be president? Me.

Ha. Duly noted. But actually, I was going to ask who you think should teach kids about sex and what we should be teaching them.

I would question your phrasing. Sex is part of life. It's not a vocational school. Who should teach our kids science? Who should teach them ethics? Who should teach them the practical skills in life? Sexuality enters into all those things. Clearly I believe in education and public libraries and institutions of public learning across the board, I believe in a clear-minded, matter-of-fact, calm discussion of how bodies work. But it's not like, "OK, children, turn to Page 46, we're going to be learning how to masturbate today."

Thanks to this great new textbook by Christine O'Donnell.

Ha. But what I'm saying is, we all need to be take responsibility for educating our kids and ourselves about sex. We need to get over this culture of prudery. It's prudery that kills people, not sexual education. When you look at what happens with AIDS and other places where sex was targeted as the illness, the vermin, the terror—over and over again, that kind of destruction is based on profound ignorance.

It sounds like what you're saying is that the anti-sex impulse is also anti-intellectual.

Of course it is. It's pro-ignorance, it's anti-literacy. I used to describe my speaking tours as erotic literacy campaigns. I remember one of the first ladies, I think it was Nancy Reagan, was really big on literacy, and I was like: I'm going to be the first lady of erotic literacy. They're anti-democratic and anti-intellectual, and they're elitist. I can't repeat that enough. The enforcement of sexual ignorance by all those self-appointed moral guardians is the epitome of elitism. That is why I despise them, more than anything. They believe there's a different set of rules for them than for everyone else. They want access to everything because they can handle it, but they don't think you can, and they want to decide who's in and who's out.

That's anti-intellectual, but it's also anti-democratic. I always found sexual politics to be a cornerstone of democracy. Sexual speech is the first speech that's repressed.

What do you think parenting has taught you about being wrong?

Being a parent taught me a lot about uncertainty. There's your own more or less constant uncertainty, of course. But also, kids yearn so much for absolutes: Is it all good or is it all bad? You can be the kind of parent where you're like, "OK, little honeybear, here's the thing that 's 100 percent good; you just hang on to that." But hopefully you take a more nuanced view. You tell them, you have to look at the situation. You have to look at the clues, you have to scour the ground. You have to honor context and complexity.

There's this line I read on your Web site: "I had sworn on a stack of Communist Manifestos I would never go to college, so in the beginning, I was quite chagrined"-which I think is the most hilarious 20-word encapsulation of an ethos and an identity I can possibly imagine. And obviously that's something you were wrong about-

[laughing] College is a bourgeois illusion. I still believe that. All the reasons that I feared and loathed it were true. But I went anyway, and there turned out to be some good things, too.

Here's why I bring it up: Is there anything you swear by today that you can imagine someday deciding you were wrong about?

[laughing more] Well, come on, how would I know?

Yeah, yeah, I know, that's whole thing about wrongness: Of course we can't know which of our current beliefs we're wrong about, or we wouldn't believe them. But I still think it's an important exercise to stop and think: OK, which of my convictions can I even vaguely imagine relinquishing? We've all been wrong about some of our past beliefs, after all, so presumably we'll be wrong about some of our present ones as well.

OK, OK. Can I tell you something that's been recent? I have to have some hindsight. There's no way I'm going to guess what the next incredible humiliation is going to be.

Sure, go ahead.

I never thought I would be athletic or take an interest in exercise or raising my heart rate other than dancing and having sex. Sometimes I admired other people's physical prowess, but I was just like, "It hurts, it's bullshit, it's so stupid—

It's a bourgeois institution.

[Laughing] It just wasn't for me. I thought: I'm a bookworm, and I will never do that. And that has been proved wrong. I can't believe I'm a runner. I still cannot believe that's me. I never sweated like this in my life. I was 50 when I started becoming athletically active, and it's been quite a shock to me.

How did that change come about?

I lost both my parents in a short period of time, and the stress of their loss and seeing them go through the end of their life was so intense. There wasn't enough valium in the world to control my anxiety. And one day without even thinking about it, I just started running. I wanted to run until I couldn't think anymore. I just wanted to run and run and run and run and run. It was blind. I didn't think about it, I didn't call somebody and ask them how to do it, I didn't have on the right shoes, I just ran. And then finally I was gasping and drooling and fell on the ground, and I thought: Wow, I think I need to do this tomorrow. 

So it was a reaction to extreme stress and grief at first. And then it was, "Do I want to spend my 50s having heart attacks and getting diabetes?" I looked around me at everybody in their 50s, and there was the group that was barely hanging on, and then there were these other people who were having a very full life, who seemed able to have all kinds of physical pleasure. And I didn't want to be the person who was constantly in pain. So this has been a big revelation to me.

I love that story. In one sense, it's kind of a small thing to be wrong about, and yet in another sense it's really sweeping. Whether we're an athlete or a bookworm-things like that are so fundamental to our identities, and they can feel so unchanging. And then they do change, and so do our social lives, our communities, our bodies, our sense of who we are.

Yeah. That kind of release and challenge is now a huge source of strength to me, emotionally as much or even more so than physically. So that was a great thing to find out that I was wrong about. That's my favorite mistake.

What a lovely note to end on. One final question: If you could hear anyone else interviewed about being wrong, who would it be?

Oh, wow. Right, I saw this on some of your other interviews. It's tempting to pick somebody you really can't stand because you want to see them on the hot seat. Didn't someone say Dick Cheney?

Yeah, some Bush administration officials have made cameo appearances right about now.

OK, so my real choice. Huh. I'm the worst person for this. I could never be a judge in a contest or a beauty pageant because I get overwhelmed by the idea that we should just pick one. I can't bear to pick a winner. I want everybody to be recognized for their own special wrongness.


Kathryn Schulz  is the author of  Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error . She can be reached at  kathryn@beingwrongbook.com . You can follow her on Facebook  here , and on Twitter  here .

This blog features Q&As in which notable people discuss their relationship to being wrong. You can read past interviews with Nobel Prize winner Barry Marshall , Innocence Project Co-Founder Peter Neufeld , marriage counselor Harville Hendrix , Google research director  Peter Norvig , Wikipedia co-founder  Larry Sanger , NASA astronaut-turned-medical-error-guru  James Bagian , hedge-fund manager  Victor Niederhoffer , mountaineer  Ed Viesturs This American Life  host  Ira Glass , celebrity chef  Anthony Bourdain Sports Illustrated  senior writer  Joe Posnanski , education scholar and activist  Diane Ravitch , and criminal defense lawyer and pundit  Alan Dershowitz .


          Is the Framework Elitist? Is ACRL?        
falsedichotomy2Many of you who read my blog already know that I came to librarianship from social work, where I was a child and family psychotherapist. As a therapist, one of our major guiding documents (whether we liked it or not) was the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). The DSM determined what things ...
          Sé que estoy falta de fe        
El sábado (12 de abril de 2008) bautizamos a nuestra hija Julia en la fe Católica, igual que en su momento lo hicimos con sus dos hermanos, e igual que lo hicieron con nosotros nuestros padres.

Parte de los requisitos para poder participar en esta ceremonia son dos charlas que se dan durante la semana a padres y padrinos de las criaturas. Durante la primera de nuestras charlas, preguntaron la razón por la que estábamos ahí: fe o tradición. Creo que sólo dos personas levantamos la mano contestando que "tradición". Me sentí tranquila con mi respuesta porque, en efecto, estaba cumpliendo con una tradición que había empezado con mi primer hijo y no veo razón para haberla interrumpido con Julia (exagerando: una hora en la iglesia, un baño menos que darle y una comida para un puñado de personas no es nada al lado de una hecatombe familiar, un divorcio y múltiples infartos). Sin embargo, "tradición" no es precisamente la mejor manera de describir mi falta de fe, entonces flotaba en mi cabeza la idea que me ha seguido más de una vez al entrar a una iglesia, la de que en algún momento, por diferir en tantas cosas con mi religión, cuando menos lo espere me va a caer un rayo y, pues, hasta ahí llegó la cosa.

Qué grata sorpresa recibí, confirmando mi supervivencia una vez más, cuando un hombre jóven interrumpió el curso estableciendo con firmeza y a propósito de nada que la religión era un invento y que no había evidencia alguna de que existía Dios. Sip. En plena charla de bautizo, con sus pobres futuros compadres al lado, la esposa mirando al esposo con cara de "te lo dije". Después de soltar el aire que colectivamente retuvimos ante semejante impertinencia, los creyentes -los que sí van a la iglesia y les brota fe y cristiandad hasta por las narices- procedieron a montar una persecución religiosa, o en este caso por falta de religión, que nos desvió por completo del contenido e hizo que por lo menos uno agarrara su Biblia amenazando de pararse e irse, sonrojado de pura indignación. Fue difícil determinar la causa de tal despliegue de atorrancia y osadía, es posible que en su niñez al joven en mención nadie nunca le puso atención y ahora se veía obligado a ir a reuniones religiosas a tratar de desmantelar bruscamente las creencias que las sostienen con tal de voltear miradas hacia él, así sean de odio. El punto es que ya no importaba el peso de sus argumentos, por lógicos que pueden haber sido algunos, sino la urgencia de parte del grupo de sacar de ahí a ese ser repudiado. Las reacciones soltadas como latigazos, los ojos llenos de ira mirándole fijamente e incluso las palabras, "Pero, ¿¡¿¡qué haces aquí?!?!" no se dejaron esperar.

(Respiro profundo.)

Con respecto a la religión me veo obligada a concluir que nadie tiene la razón y que todo el mundo tiene la razón. Por un lado me es claro que hubo una falta de consideración hacia los que tenían un objetivo muy específico para dos horas de su tiempo al desviarlos de ese fin y fue una falta de respeto sugerir que los que tienen cierta creencia son unos descerebrados. Por otro lado también me es claro que, si bien es saludable practicar algún tipo de espiritualidad, no para todos funciona la imposición de una creencia diseñada rígidamente. No creo justo suponer que quien busca respuestas más contemporáneas a las grandes preguntas de la vida -a diferencia de quedar satisfecho con tener fe en algo- está equivocado. No es cuestión de enfrentar a la ciencia y a la religión, es cuestión de dejar que cada quien decida a qué información necesita aferrarse para poder intentar darle sentido a la vida. La religión, que en términos muy simples, fue el sistema político (de persecución y de corrupción y de comisión de crímenes atroces en su nombre) de hace miles de años pierde vigencia por segundo porque no ha querido alejarse de su carácter selectivo, casi elitista. A mí me condenan y rechazan quienes golpean su puño contra el pecho todos los domingos y se saben hasta la más rebuscada oración porque no voy a misa, porque no observo tradiciones a las que no le hallo sentido, porque cuando nace un hijo mío no salto a organizarle el bautizo. No abate mi espíritu, pero sí siento la discriminación, veo las cejas alzadas en señal de objeción a la manera en que llevo mi vida: alejada de la religión. ¿Por qué será que este club v.i.p. de fanáticos no puede ver más allá de las apariencias, del que si me ven o no bien trajeada los domingos o si quiero o no casarme por la iglesia? ¿Por qué la necesidad de poner su marca bien visible a todos los miembros del rebaño sin importar lo que realmente pase por sus mentes antes, incluso durante y ciertamente después de la misa dominical, o lo que sientan su alma? ¿Es que creen que todavía la religión se puede erguir imponente saliendo a controlar masas y normalizar el pensamiento de la sociedad con la advertencia de que si no te sumas terminas en el infierno? Es una ceguera obstinada la del que piensa que el infierno puede ser peor de lo que se vive a diario. Tras los bastidores de nuestra religión estamos haciendo y deshaciendo sin importar las consecuencias, igual que un niño que, sin saber discernir para escoger lo correcto, hace mal a escondidas pero queda bien ante todos. Yo trato de hacer el bien porque creo en el amor sobre todas las cosas y si Dios es amor entonces creo fervientemente en Él.
          HEROÉS DE LA LIBERTAD        
Charlie Hebdo no publicó las viñetas en la portada para ofender a Musulmanes, las publicó para defender la libertad de expresión contra yihadistas.

Ya 12 de sus dibujantes han brindado la última prueba de devoción.

"Prefiero morir de pie a vivir de rodillas"
Stéphane "Charb" Charbonnier, Director 'Charlie Hebdo', 2012

Abajo las palabras de Winston Churchill y de Adolf Hitler sobre Islam.  Ningún premio por adivinar quién era el gran admirador de Islam, … y quién no era …

"¡Cuán espantosas son las maldiciones que el mahometanismo coloca sobre sus seguidores! Además del fanático frenesí, tan peligroso en un hombre como lo es la rabia en un perro, ahí está la temible apatía fatalista. Hábitos impróvidos, desaliñados sistemas de agricultura, retardados sistemas comerciales y la inseguridad de la propiedad aparecen y existen dondequiera que los seguidores y discípulos del Profeta rigen o conviven. Un sensualismo degradado priva la vida de su gracia y refinamiento; lo que sigue es su dignidad y santidad. El hecho de que bajo la ley mahometana cada mujer debe pertenecer a un hombre como propiedad absoluta - sea niña, esposa o concubina - atrasa la desaparición final de la esclavitud humana hasta que la fe del Islam cese de ser un gran poder entre los hombres.

Los musulmanes, a nivel individual, pueden mostrar cualidades espléndidas. Miles han sido bravos y leales soldados de la Reina: todos saben cómo morir. Pero la influencia de la religión congela el desarrollo social de aquellos que lo siguen. No existe una fuerza retrógrada más grande en el mundo. Lejos de estar moribunda, el mahometanismo es una fe militante y proselitista. Se ha extendido a través del África Central, levantando guerreros sin miedo en cada paso; y si no fuera porque la Cristiandad está protegida por las sólidas armas de la ciencia - ciencia contra la cual en vano han combatido - la civilización de la Europa moderna podría haber caído, como cayó la civilización de la antigua Roma."

Winston Churchill, "The River War", primera edition, Vol.II, páginas 248-50 (Londres: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899)

Albert Speer, que fue ministro de la Guerra con Hitler, escribió unas memorias llenas de pesar sobre sus experiencias en la II Guerra Mundial, durante el cautiverio de 20 años, al que fue condenado por el Tribunal de Nuremberg. El relato de Speers incluye este texto, que capta el punto de vista racista de Hitler sobre los árabes, por un lado, y su entusiasmo por el Islam, por el otro.

Hitler se había quedado muy impresionado con un fragmento de la historia que le había relatado una delegación de distinguidos árabes. Según le contaron sus visitantes, cuando los mahometanos intentaron sobrepasar los límites de Francia para adentrarse en Centro Europa, durante el siglo séptimo, fueron replegados en la batalla de Tours. Si los árabes hubieran ganado esta batalla, el mundo sería mahometano en la actualidad, pues la suya era una religión que creía en la difusión de la fe mediante la espada y en el sometimiento de todas las naciones a su fe. Tal planteamiento encajaba  a la perfección con el temperamento germánico. Hitler dijo que los conquistadores árabes, debido a su inferioridad racial, a largo plazo habrían sido incapaces de soportar la dureza del clima y las condiciones del país. Tampoco habrían podido someter a los nativos más vigorosos, de modo que finalmente habrían sido germanos islamizados y no árabes los que habrían liderado ese imperio mahometano. Hitler solía acabar siempre esta especulación histórica recalcando: "¿Veis? Ha sido una desgracia para nosotros tener la religión equivocada ¿Por qué no hemos tenido la religión de los japoneses, que ven el sacrificio por el emperador como el mayor bien? La religión mahometana también habría sido mucho más compatible con nosotros que el cristianismo. ¿Por qué tuvo que ser el cristianismo con su humildad y su  debilidad?"

          CBABIH 2 - Show Notes        
Being a series of comments -- hopefully the final such set at this ultimately near-incapacitating length -- of Episode 2 of Comic Books Are Burning In Hell, a podcast by Matt Seneca, Tucker Stone, Chris Mautner and myself.

00:00: As Robert McKee once remarked, nothing screams 'accessibility' quite like spoofin' & goofin' on Pennsylvania public radio institutions; worse yet, Chris and I had (unbeknownst to each other!) planned to do a gag opening exactly like this for weeks and weeks. Tragically, this will not be the final 'NPR'-related jest of the hour, although we did make sure that absolutely nothing we referenced is actually syndicated by National Public Radio - because we keep it real.

01:16: Tucker's "fast and loose" remark references the fact that -- unlike most episodes, even the preliminary ones -- we didn't have a set schedule of what to talk about. It was kind of an experiment in extremes for the July 8th block, as the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen episode was devoted entirely to one comic; here, we decided to race through as much as we could hit off a single amorphous list floating around multiple emails. We actually do hit everything besides Nicolas Mahler's Angelman (a pleasant enough bit of superhero industry satire from a very much non-industry artist, if exceedingly lightweight and unmemorable, especially if you read a lot of trumpeting on the internet).

01:36: Once again, we futilely attempt to draw the podcasting Excalibur that is banter from its internet scabbard; any week now we'll be hitting it as big as the SModcast line, and then we too will have our lives irrevocably validated by material success in the form of a cable television program - created in large part, admittedly, to piggyback off the success of a prior cable television program, albeit with a wacky 'geek culture' twist. In fact, I've concluded that the last bit is probably more important than even having a podcast, and so the reason why these show notes are (once again) late is because I've been feverishly wra