Monday, April 19, 2010

Good Dreams: James McNeill Whistler's Peacock Room (Arrangement in Blue and Gold)

Oh, my!  I think I have finally found my ideal bedroom.  The room was designed around 1876-77 in London.  Enjoy!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Wonderful Parable

This parable was written by one of the lovely women on the Wing-Nut Watch Group on Ravelry:


Jesus and His disciples came to a town, and in the square of that town He preached and He called to the people to come and be healed.

And those with ailments and those covered with sores and boils and those afflicted with all manner of maladies sought His healing.

Jesus approached the first person, a man who lay on a litter, his pain and suffering writ on his face. As Jesus knelt to lay His hands on the man, Peter stepped forward.

“Wait Lord, ” he said. “Are you a participating provider for this man?”

Then Andrew said “Should we not determine whether he suffers from a pre-existing condition?”

Matthew added, “He may be so ill that it would strain Your resources to heal him. In that case, You should not try. Let him seek help elsewhere.”

Then James son of Zebedee and John chimed in. “Why do You not ask for payment?” asked James.

“Surely it is not fair to those who pay their healers if You heal these people without cost,” John pointed out.

“After all,” said Simon Zealot, “what if his condition was brought about by the way he lived? Should he not bear responsibility?”

“I question whether You should heal the children,” said James son of Alphaeus. “Their parents should be working to pay for their care.”

“Indeed,” said Thomas, “if You heal them every time they will never learn personal responsibility.”

“Then they will always rely on the support of others,” said Philip.

“Besides, aren’t there better people to help?” argued Bartholomew.

“They should pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” proclaimed Thaddeus.

Judas Iscariot stared from one disciple to the next. “Oh for crying out loud!” he said. “They don’t have BOOTS!” But they paid him no heed so he went to find an inn and wine.

And Jesus?

Jesus wept.

(Copyright D. Scanlon 2010)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Neo-Anarchists & Neo-Fascists: A Contradiction, Yet....

Bob Englehart: The Hartford Courant

Anarchy and Fascism seem like an incompatible duo; yet, they seem to being double teaming in the so-called Tea-Bag Movement.

Ordinarily, I wouldn't use Wikipedia; however for a brief thumbnail description of Fascism, it's fairly good.  The following is excerpted from it -- deja vu, anyone:

Fascism is a radical and authoritarian nationalist political ideology.
   American Exceptionalism comes to mind here

Fascists seek to organize a nation on corporatist perspectives; values; and systems such as the political system and the economy.
   which, as we all know, only concerns the bottom-line:  there is no room for humanitarianism, ethics, or morals in a society like this 

Scholars generally consider fascism to be on the far right of the conventional left-right political spectrum, although some scholars claim that fascism has been influenced by both the left and the right.

Fascists believe that a nation is an organic community that requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong.
    Darn it all if anyone looks "different" or is different than the mythical norm that these yahoos believe is real.  Of course, this means that Amerinds are strangers in their own land.

They claim that culture is created by collective national society and its state, that cultural ideas are what give individuals identity, and thus rejects individualism.
   Yes, that they do.

In viewing the nation as an integrated collective community, they claim that pluralism is a dysfunctional aspect of society, and justify a totalitarian state as a means to represent the nation in its entirety.
    see above

(They advocate the creation of a single-party state.)
     They haven't gotten to this point quite yet.  Still, all of us out here who call ourselves Progressives definitely "have to be watched" because of our seditious tendencies.  This is classic projection of one's self onto another.

Fascist governments forbid and suppress openness and opposition to the fascist state and the fascist movement.
   Ah -- those hippies in the 1960s were just like us.  Sorry, they aren't -- and weren't.  I know because I was in college at that time.

They identify violence and war as actions that create national regeneration, spirit and vitality.
    I believe that this view came into fruition with the made up war against Iraq.  However, it may have been even earlier (Grenada, anyone).

Fascists reject and resist autonomy of cultural or ethnic groups who are not considered part of the fascists' nation and who refuse to assimilate or are unable to be assimilated.
    This is because we're all alike -- NOT!

They consider attempts to create such autonomy as an affront and threat to the nation    See above (I will be writing an essay concerning this as a feature of a salvationist religion which has gotten too big and considers itself The Universal Truth (TM).)

 Fascism is strongly opposed to core aspects of the Enlightenment and is an opponent of liberalism, Marxism, and mainstream socialism for being associated with failures that fascists claim are inherent in the Enlightenment.
    It is also anti-education (real education -- not the politicized  types as seen in Texas, Oklahoma, etc. -- which also includes creationism as if it was real science).  They'd much rather have their children stupid and ignorant because that is somehow safer.

Fascists view egalitarianism, materialism, and rationalism as failed elements of the Enlightenment.

They oppose liberalism — as a bourgeois movement — and Marxism — as a proletarian movement — for being exclusive economic class-based movements.

They present their ideology as that of an economically trans-class movement that promotes ending economic class conflict to secure national solidarity.
     Don't believe that for a second!

They believe that economic classes are not capable of properly governing a nation, and that a merit-based aristocracy of experienced military persons must rule through regimenting a nation's forces of production and securing the nation's independence.
    Let's admit it:  they don't believe in freedom.  The Gadsen flag is a travesty in their hands -- we need to take it back from them!

Anarchy is nothing more than the state of being without a government of any kind.  Of course, the secondary meaning is chaos.  At times this can be accompanied by nihilism, which is the doctrine that nothing can be known as well as scepticism to all knowledge and all reality.
The para-military militia movement, which is now aligned with the "Baggers," is anarchistic.  They are actually looking toward the Balkanization of the United States.
I have tried to use judicious language in this post, which has been difficult, since I would love to take the virtual 2X4 to these people in the attempt to wake them up and make them ACTUALLY think about what it is that they are doing.  However, a constant diet of the out-right lies of cluster-Fixed/Faux "News," many politicians of the GOP persuasion (Palin, Bachmann, Boehner, et al), and just pure laziness on their part has me in despair for our country.  I am not a Christian; however, I believe one of the gospels had him say while he was being crucified, " Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

"Austenesques" and Others

As can be seen under the 52 In 52 Challenge, I have been reading a number of "Austenesque" novels.  These books can be charming and convey the tone of Austen to a degree.  There are those, however, which are total travesties.
The chief among these is the novel by Sharon Lathan, My Dearest Mr. Darcy.  Where can I begin to describe the totality of a wreck that this novel is?
1. On almost every page there are numerous modern anachronisms, including the use of language -- where was this writer's editor?
2. There was entirely too-too much bodice ripping for my taste along with treacly - gooey endearments (again, on almost every page).  Austen is rolling in her grave!
3. To top it all off, she then went for the Christian market!  (This made absolutely no sense at all.)
4.  Other than all this, the basic story line really wasn't that bad; but, it was all I could do to finish it.  All in all, I would give this a D/D-.  Read it if you like to stare at car wrecks.