Saturday, September 30, 2006
even in calmer times
have I ever
bicycling through that
"There are as many kinds of beauty as there are habitual ways of seeking happiness.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Remember, Remember, the fifth of OCTOBER....
Think of all the people who are deeply distressed over the direction in which the Bush regime is dragging the country - and the world... All the people who are outraged over the way in which this regime is arrogantly seeking to bludgeon into submission people in the Middle East, and throughout the world, while trampling on the rights of the people in the U.S. itself... All the people who care about the future of humanity and the planet we live on, and who recognize the many ways in which the Bush regime is increasingly posing a dire threat to this... All the people who are stirred with a profound restlessness by these feelings but are held back by the fear that they are alone and powerless; or who say that they wish something could be done to stop and reverse this whole disastrous course, but nothing will make a difference; or who hope that somehow the Democrats will do something to change this, when everyday it becomes more clear that they will not... All these people, who make up a very large part of the population of this country and whose basic sentiments are shared by the majority of people throughout the world...
Imagine if, from out of this huge reservoir of people, a great wave were unleashed, moving together on the same occasion, making, through their firm stand and their massive numbers, a powerful political statement that could not be ignored: refusing that day to work, or walking out from work, taking off from school or walking out of school -- joining together, rallying and marching, drawing forward many more with them, and in many and varied forms of creative and meaningful political protest throughout the day, letting it be known that they are determined to bring this whole disastrous course to a halt by driving out the Bush Regime through the mobilization of massive political opposition.
If that were done, then the possibility of turning things around and onto a much more favorable direction would take on a whole new dimension of reality.
It would go from something only vaguely hoped for, by millions of isolated individuals, and acted on by thousands so far, to something that had undeniable moral force and unprecedented political impact.
There is a way to make this happen. There is a day, coming soon, on which people will be mobilizing to make this a reality. There is a vehicle and a means through which anguish, outrage and frustration can be transformed into truly meaningful, positive and powerful political mobilization.
On October 5, 2006, on the basis of the Call, The World Can't Wait - Drive Out the Bush Regime!, people throughout the country will be stepping forward in a day of mass resistance. The breadth, the depth, the impact and the power of that day depends not only on those in The World Can't Wait organization, and others, who are already organizing for this day -- it depends on you, on us, on all those who have been hoping and searching for a means to do something that will really make a difference.
If we fail to act to make this a reality, then it will definitely make a difference -- in a decidedly negative way. But if we do take up the challenge to build for this, and then do take history into our hands on that day, through political action on the massive scale that is called for -- it can make all the difference in the world, in a very positive sense and for the possibility of a better future for humanity.
AS THE CALL, THE WORLD CAN'T WAIT - DRIVE OUT THE BUSH REGIME!, CONCLUDES:
"The point is this: history is full of examples where people who had right on their side fought against tremendous odds and were victorious. And it is also full of examples of people passively hoping to wait it out, only to get swallowed up by a horror beyond what they ever imagined. The future is unwritten. WHICH ONE WE GET IS UP TO US."
having the low down blues and going
into a restraunt to eat.
you sit at a table.
the waitress smiles at you.
she's dumpy. her ass is too big.
she radiates kindess and symphaty.
live with her 3 months and a man would no real agony.
o.k., you'll tip her 15 percent.
you order a turkey sandwich and a
the man at the table across from you
has watery blue eyes and
a head like an elephant.
at a table further down are 3 men
with very tiny heads
and long necks
they talk loudly of land development.
why, you think, did I ever come
in here when I have the low-down
then the the waitress comes back eith the sandwich
and she asks you if there will be anything
snd you tell her, no no, this will be
then somebody behind you laughs.
it's a cork laugh filled with sand and
you begin eating the sandwhich.
it's a minor, difficult,
like composing a popular song
to make a 14-year old
you order another beer.
jesus,look at that guy
his hands hang down almost to his knees and he's
well, time to get out.
pick up the bill.
go to the register.
pick up a toothpick.
go out the door.
your car is still there.
and there are 3 men with heads
like ostriches all getting into one
they each have a toothpick and now
they are talking about women.
they drive away first
they drive away fast.
they're best i guess.
it's an unbearably hot day.
there's a first-stage smog alert.
all the birds and plants are dead
you start the engine.
[Thanks to Vita
for the beautiful photo]
Thursday, September 28, 2006
by Andrew Cohen
When you awaken to the spiritual or evolutionary impulse, what begins to emerge is the dawning recognition of the fact that each one of us, at our highest level, is what I call the authentic Self, which is actually the same energy and intelligence that originally inspired the entire creative process.
You begin to intuit and feel directly connected to the very impulse that initiated the whole event billions of years ago and is driving it right now.
You actually start to feel it working in you, surging through your own mind and body as the mysterious compulsion to evolve at the level of consciousness.
When you feel that surge, what you’re experiencing is the highest and most subtle and profound expression of that initial explosion, the outer reaches of the Big Bang.
That's the furthest it has gone, to where you, as a human being at the leading edge, feel this mysterious compulsion to evolve at the level of consciousness.
I'm speaking about the development of the interior dimension of the cosmos. The exterior dimension of the
cosmos is what you see if you look through a telescope back to the earliest beginnings of our universe.
But the interior dimension is the dimension of consciousness. So when the evolving human experiences this mysterious spiritual compulsion that is the interior of the cosmos itself trying to develop through you.
It's not a metaphor; it's literally true. The cosmos is not just "out there", it's "in here", and there ultimately isn't any difference between the two.
So when you experience the spiritual impulse or the authentic self, you're experiencing the Big Bang as a surging compulsion for interior development and growth.
The innermost regions of the cosmos are aspiring to actually evolve and be developed in and through you. The authentic self is the Big Bang, which is that initial burst from nothing to everything that you participated in, 14 billion years ago.
And you are still participating in it, right now, to the degree to which you awaken to the authentic Self.
As we reach for higher and higher levels of human potential, a completely new kind of moral development enters into the picture, which is what I call "cosmic conscience".
Cosmic conscience is what emerges when the individual awakens to the evolutionary impulse or authentic Self, and begins to see his own capacity for self-awareness.
When you contemplate this, and begin to understand that your own experience of awareness is literally the cutting edge of that vast unfolding process, you realise that the continuation of that process is now completely dependent upon your own willingness to consciously create the future.
Awakening to this overwhelming fact puts more pressure on the individual self-sense than anything else ever could. In the face of this ultimate responsibility, either you're going to go crazy or you will very quickly become profoundly sane because you have no choice and it's your obligation to do so, because the future is totally dependent upon you.
The degree to which you awaken to this cosmic conscience is the degree to which you will actually find the wherewithal to handle your own personal experience, however overwhelming it may be, because you realise that who you really are and what you're here for is far greater than any of your personal concerns.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
MySpace has started a brand new way to get folks involved in the voting process - the launch of a voter registration drive:
To register, members simply go to http://www.myspace.com/declareyourself and enter a state or ZIP code. After entering the requested information, the site generates a PDF file that can be printed and mailed to state election officials. A Spanish version also is available.
Since there's about eleventy jillion people on MySpace, and at least a few of them are of voting age, this could really be a boost to get the youngun's (and older folks) more of a say in what's going on, politically. — Wendy Boswell
MySpace.com - Declare Yourself [via AP]
spank my ass
spank it hard
spank it both
near and far
Since a man must bring
To music what his mother spanked him for
When he was two ...
Gwendolyn Brooks (b. 1917), U.S. poet. "The Sundays of Satin-Legs Smith."
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Posted Monday, Jan. 21, 1957
From the Jan. 21, 1957 issue of TIME magazine
The Recalcitrant Librarian Of all the U.S. citizens who have refused to tell congressional committees about their possible past Communist activities, few have stirred quite such a flurry of controversy as Mrs. Mary Knowles, 46. The Knowles case began in 1953 when FBI Counterspy Herbert Philbrick charged that she and her husband had once been employed by Boston's Communist-front Samuel Adams School. When a Senate Internal Security subcommittee questioned her about her past, Mary Knowles ducked behind the Fifth Amendment. Though .the Senate took no action against her at the time, the Norwood, Mass, library fired her from the job she then held as branch librarian.
She quickly landed on her feet again. But no sooner had she taken over her new job as librarian of the William Jeanes Memorial Library, owned by the Quaker monthly meeting of Plymouth Meeting, Pa., than she kicked up another uproar by refusing to take the Pennsylvania state loyalty oath. Though she was not legally required to take it, there were storms of protest, but her employers decided to keep her on. Then the Fund for the Republic rushed in and offered the meeting $5,000 for its "courageous and effective defense of democratic principles." That put the case of Mary Knowles back in the headlines, and reawakened the Senate's interest in her.
An Inventory of the William Jeanes Memorial Library Controversy Papers, 1939-1961 [bulk 1953-1960]
Monday, September 25, 2006
Victor Hugo, literary lions, spied on by French police
PARIS - Victor Hugo was a miserly money-grubber, poet Rimbaud “a monstrosity”, and Verlaine “a worthless human being” -- such are the verdicts on 19th-century French literary lions found in long-forgotten police files recently published in Paris.
Even more startling than the unflattering portraits, says Bruno Fuligni, an employee at the National Assembly, or French parliament, who discovered the dust-covered files and compiled them into a book, is the vigor and thoroughness with which the most revered writers of that era were spied upon by snitches and secret police.
“Beyond criminals and political figures, there are files on writers and artists. In some cases, they go quite far in their indiscretions,” he said.
Some of the tidbits in Fuligni’s book, entitled “The Writers’ Police”, were collected from 1879 through 1891 under police chief Louis Andrieux who -- irony of ironies -- was to father one of France’s most famous novelists and poets of the next generation, Louis Aragon.
As Andrieux wrote in his memoirs, “All of Paris, in the end, is on file.”
Reality is a question
of realizing how real
the world is already.
Time is Eternity,
ultimate and immovable;
everyone's an angel.
It's Heaven's mystery
of changing perfection :
changes! Cars are always
going down the street,
lamps go off and on.
It's a great flat plain;
we can see everything
on top of a table.
Clams open on the table,
lambs are eaten by worms
on the plain. The motion
of change is beautiful,
as well as form called
in and out of being.
Next : to distinguish process
in its particularity with
an eye to the initiation
of gratifying new changes
desired in the real world.
Here we're overwhelmed
with such unpleasant detail
we dream again of Heaven.
For the world is a mountain
of shit : if it's going to
be moved at all, it's got
to be taken by handfuls.
Man lives like the unhappy
whore on River Street who
in her Eternity gets only
a couple of bucks and a lot
of snide remarks in return
for seeking physical love
the best way she knows how,
never really heard of a glad
job or joyous marriage or
a difference in the heart :
or thinks it isn't for her,
which is her worst misery.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
By Tom Ball
09/24/2006 05:12:57 PM EST
Tomorrow (Monday 9/25) is the big day everybody!
Come join us in NYC, Los Angeles, and Berkeley (See details below) to support and celebrate the candidacy of Kossack Brian Keeler (NYBri), State Senate Democratic Candidate for the 41st District of NY.
JUMP for the Details -- and a couple surprises!!
NEW YORK CITY
: Join the tri-state Kossacks and friends along with CrashingtheStates
and Sam Seder
, host of Majority Report on Air America Radio. As a bonus, Brian will be premiering his campaign ads
newly produced by our very own lipris
!! As a double bonus, clammyc
will be sporting his fresh new "U.S. Constitution" Pins with $5 from the sale of each pin (during the blograiser) being donated to Brian's campaign
LOCATION: Prey NYC 4 West 22nd Street
DATE: Monday, September 25, 2006
TIME: 7:00 - 10:00 PM EST
LIVE-BLOGGED: In addition, the event will be live-blogged on the front page of DailyKos (Thank you Markos!!) and an online contribution page will be available to receive contributions concurrent with this event.
CONTACT: Tom Ball (TomBall (at) Keeler2006.com) if you have any questions.
COST: No cover! There is a ZERO cover charge, so the maximum amount of dollars can see its way into the Keeler2006 campaign.
RSVP: None required. Just show up - and bring your friends!
DONATIONS: Will be taken at the door. The amount is up to you, but I ask that you give till it feels good... REAL good:) And remember, this election is no cakewalk -- as Brian faces stiff competition against an incumbent Republican. These battles cost money to run effectively and that is where we can make the difference in this race!
LOS ANGELES: opendna (who clearly ROCKS!!!) has organized a satellite Blograiser for all of you SoCal Kossacks:
LOCATION: Blue Nile Cafe & Lounge 438 E Broadway Long Beach, CA 90802
DATE: Monday, September 25, 2006
TIME: 6pm-10pm PST (That's local time)
LIVE-BLOGGED: LA will be live-blogged along with SF and NYC
CONTACT: opendna (jay (at) opendna.com) if you have any questions.
COST: No cover!
RSVP: None required. Just show up - and bring your friends!
DONATIONS: Will be taken at the online contribution page (There will be a link to the contribution page in the "Keeler Blograiser v2.0" post on the front page of DailyKos.com).
Comments from opendna: I'll bring one laptop, voter registration forms and wine for anyone who donates. Sorry, "free riders" are why this country's in the state it's in.
The BlueNile has free wifi, coffee and food. With a little luck, a few of the poets, b-boys and artists who frequent the spot will come thru. (It's that kind of spot.) If someone asks nicely after a few glasses of wine, I might be convinced to stand up and present one of those rants ya'll so enjoy. If you're a musician, poet or artist yourself, bring your gear. Blue Nile has a stage and I think they still have the "painters' wall" up for anyone who wants to pick up a brush.
BERKELEY: Raines, (who also clearly ROCKS!!!) has taken the reigns (sorry -- couldn't resist) in the San Francisco area! He will be hosting a combined event with 'wifi and wine' that will feature:
* The San Francisco satellite "BlogRaiser" for Brian Keeler
* Campaign Reform videos and a potluck (Read this)
* Other campaign initiatives including Voter Registration, GOTV and Swing State/District field trips
LOCATION: Berkeley Cohousing, 2220 Sacramento St., Berkeley, California 94702
DATE: Monday, September 25, 2006
TIME: 6pm-9pm PST
LIVE-BLOGGED: Berkeley will be live-blogged along with LA and NYC
CONTACT: Raines (EastBayBlograiser (at) mac.com) if you have any questions.
COST: No cover!
RSVP: IS REQUIRED!! To RSVP, please send an email to (EastBayBlograiser (at) mac.com) with subject: "Re: Democracy Soup"
DONATIONS: Will be taken at the online contribution page (There will be a link to the contribution page in the "Keeler Blograiser v2.0" post on the front page of DailyKos.com).
Now let's get out there and ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!
On her couch, one summer's day;
Beauteous, youthful Kitty lay:
Venus saw her from above,
(Smiling Venus, queen of love:)
Amaz'd at each celestial grace,
Her polish'd limbs, her blooming face;
Come here, my son, she said, and see
One you might have took for me.
Roguish Cupid, laughing, cries,
O give me leave to quit the skies,
And make that heav'nly maiden prove
The various mysteries of love:
The close embrace, the juicy kiss,
The raging, dying, melting bliss.
Venus consented; go, my boy,
Make her know the heights of joy.
Away the archer and his train
Sport along th' ethereal plain.
Now, around the sleeping fair,
A thousand Cupids fill the air;
In her bosom some inspire
Tender wishes, warm desire;
Some in balmy kisses sip
Nectar from her glowing lip;
Her each heaving snowy breast,
Some with wanton ardor press;
Twining round her slender waist,
Some with eager joy embrac'd;
While at random others rove
Through the fragrant groves of love.
While thus the god his revel keeps,
Kitty, happy virgin! sleeps:
A pleasing dream her soul employs,
Rich with imaginary joys.
She thinks Sir Charles upon his knees,
Beseeching her to give him ease;
That she disdainful looks a while;
At length with a complying smile
His fears dispelling, lets him see
She burns with love as well as he:
That folded in his eager arms,
He boldly rifles all her charms,
While she returns the warm embrace,
Breast to breast, and face to face!
Sighing, she wakes: ah, love! she cries,
How vast must be thy real joys!
When thus divinely great they seem,
Tho' but imagin'd in a dream!
Scarcely this reflection o'er,
A footman thunders at the door:
Kitty, disorder'd, leaves her couch,
And Betty tells the knight's approach.
He enters with becoming grace,
Blushes overspread her face;
In a soft persuasive strain
He begs her to relieve his pain:
Nothing she says; but from her eyes
He learns that nothing she denies.
Encourag'd thence, her lips, her breast
He tries, and wanders o'er the rest;
The glowing maid, no longer coy,
Gives an unbounded loose to joy;
Around him folds her snowy arms,
At once bestowing all her charms:
And now, this happy couple prove
All the substantial sweets of love,
While thousand Cupids, laughing by,
Assist their blissful ecstasy.
Loosen'd from his fond embrace,
My dream, she cries, is come to pass!--
And did my charmer dream of this?
(Sir Charles replies, and takes a kiss)
Henceforth, whene'er you dream, my dear,
Let me be your interpreter.
"Kitty's Dream" is reprinted from Poetica Erotica. Ed. T.R. Smith. New York: Crown Publishers, 1921.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
[Thanks for the info goes to bridge]
National Feral Cat Day
Just because cats live outside doesn't mean they're homeless.
There are cats all around us. But just because a cat lives outside doesn't mean she is homeless. These alley cats, barn cats, or street cats—feral cats—are undomesticated and unsocialized, and call the outside their home, just as squirrels, raccoons, and birds do. Feral cats live together in colonies, and unless spayed or neutered, their numbers grow. Tomcats prowl for mates, females become pregnant, and the cycle of reproduction continues.
Alley Cat Allies leads the national effort to help them. On October 16th, we are celebrating National Feral Cat Day by kicking off a yearlong awareness campaign.
We want everyone to know the truth about feral cats and Trap, Neuter, and Return or TNR. This sensible method of population control returns spayed and neutered cats to their outdoor homes, improves their lives and health, and brings their numbers down.
Please help us. With your support, we can continue to help stray and feral cats.
Our efforts are working. We hear from people across the country about the progress they’re making with feral cats in their areas. Trap, Neuter, and Return is making a very real difference for feral cats in communities just like yours. Below are some tips to help you help the cats.
Learn who your city council members are. You can do this by searching for your city government website on the internet. If your city does not have a website, look in your local white pages and call the city clerk's office. Make sure to get their full name, mailing address, and phone numbers (and e-mail if they have one listed). Take the time to introduce yourself to your city council members and start a line of communication with them. See more information about changing your community.
Start your own Trap, Neuter, and Return group! Alley Cat Allies has broken down the steps necessary for you to create your own organization dedicated to bettering the lives of outdoor cats through a Trap, Neuter, and Return program. If you are interested in creating a new clinic in your area, click here.
Feel like you are all alone in your town and trying to single-handedly help the outdoor cats yourself? Don’t. Organize! Getting the word out about your work will help encourage and inspire others to help you in your mission. Educate other people by holding a class about Trap, Neuter, and Return at your local library. Tell people about the steps involved in the process, and make sure to get everyone’s name so you can contact them to help you in the future. For more about how to change your community by organizing, download this PDF.
Are you thinking about talking to your local animal control officer about Trap, Neuter, and Return? Set up an appointment with him or her and bring some goodies. These officers are the people who you will need to work with in order to seek change in your community. If you are worried about what to say, download this PDF to learn how to best get the message across to your local officers.
Trap, neuter, and return works! Wondering who else in the animal protection movement has a position on Trap, Neuter, and Return? Click here to read other organization’s perspectives. Using the perspectives of the other nationally respected organizations that support the humane method of outdoor cat population management may help you change the minds of important figures in your community.
Are people asking you for hard facts, and are you having a difficult time answering their questions about Trap, Neuter, and Return? With some time and a little research, you can be fully prepared for those questions. Alley Cat Allies has compiled many scientific studies and posted them and discussions about them online. You can check out our past newsletter articles or read some scientific studies.
Stand out in the crowd! Wear an orange ribbon, and encourage your supporters to do the same. This is an effective method of showing your support when attending a town hall meeting. Council representatives often want to know how many in the crowd support the issue in front of them. Make sure to have your speaker, if you are allowed to give a presentation, point out that all the people in the audience wearing an orange ribbon want Trap, Neuter, and Return in your community. Click here to order your own orange ribbons.
Is your town considering new animal ordinances, or do they have ordinances that aren’t benefiting animals? Unsure? Click here to learn how licensing cats and leash laws make life for outdoor cats much harder and certainly more dangerous. Learn how to organize and fight these antiquated laws.
Work with the media. News reporters are not intimidating, and speaking to them should not cause you hot sweats. Take your cues from the politicians you see on TV — have a few talking points and repeat them over and over again. Just because the reporter asks you the question doesn’t mean you have to answer it in a straightforward way. Stay positive, smile for the camera, and tell truth. For more tips on working with the media — click here.
Friday, September 22, 2006
A moment of happiness,
you and I sitting on the verandah,
apparently two, but one in soul, you and I.
We feel the flowing water of life here,
you and I, with the garden’s beauty
and the birds singing.
The stars will be watching us,
and we will show them
what it is to be a thin crescent moon.
You and I unselfed, will be together,
indifferent to idle speculation, you and I.
The parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar
as we laugh together, you and I.
In one form upon this earth,
and in another form in a timeless sweet land.
Nocturne in E Major
Nocturne in F Minor
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twig
and lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips:
maybe it was the voice of the rain crying,
a cracked bell, or a torn heart.
Something from far off it seemed
deep and secret to me, hidden by the earth,
a shout muffled by huge autumns,
by the moist half-open darkness of the leaves.
Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig
sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance
climbed up through my conscious mind
as if suddenly the roots I had left behind
cried out to me, the land I had lost with my childhood---
and I stopped, wounded by the wandering scent.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
This is so much fun!
TRULY the motherlode of generator links!
*Heaven...I'm in heaven....*
Congrats to the generator of the generator blog for the fine work...
The Generator Blog is a
Other Presurfer productions are:
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
by Carl Sagan. Edited by Ann Druyan Penguin Press, 2006
Ten years after his death in 1996, science writer Walter Sullivan's byline occasionally still appears in the New York Times on obituaries of important physicists, as though he were beckoning them to some quantum-mechanical heaven. This is not a case of necromancy--the background material for Times obits is often written in advance and stored. If the dead really did communicate with the living, that would be a scientific event as monumental as the discovery of electromagnetic induction, radioactive decay or the expansion of the universe. Laboratories and observatories all over the world would be fiercely competing to understand a new phenomenon. One can imagine Mr. Sullivan, the ultimate foreign correspondent, eagerly reporting the story from the other side.
Light is carried by photons, gravity by gravitons. If there is such a thing as spiritual communication, there must be a means of conveyance: some kind of "spiritons"--ripples, perhaps, in one of M Theory's leftover dimensions. Some theologians might scoff at that remark, yet there has been a resurgence in recent years of "natural theology"--the attempt to justify religious teachings not through faith and scripture but through rational argument, astronomical observations and even experiments on the healing effects of prayer. The intent is to prove that, Carl Sagan be damned, we are not lost among billions and billions of stars in billions and billions of galaxies, that the universe was created and is sustained for the benefit of God's creatures, the inhabitants of the third rock from the sun.
In God's Universe, Owen Gingerich, a Harvard University astronomer and science historian, tells how in the 1980s he was part of an effort to produce a kind of anti-Cosmos, a television series called Space, Time, and God that was to counter Sagan's "conspicuously materialist approach to the universe." The program never got off the ground, but its premise survives: that there are two ways to think about science. You can be a theist, believing that behind the veil of randomness lurks an active, loving, manipulative God, or you can be a materialist, for whom everything is matter and energy interacting within space and time. Whichever metaphysical club you belong to, the science comes out the same.
by iris @http://pegasuslibrarian.blogspot.com
I don't know when this happened, but Project Gutenberg
(my favorite source for free, full-text-searchable, downloadable e-texts of out-of-copyright books - that's quite a mouthful) has made its site into a wiki. You have to log in to edit pages, and there are some restrictions on which pages you can edit (here
are the rules), but it looks like anyone can create an account. Cool.
Bonus link: http://www.anarchistlibrary.com/
Monday, September 18, 2006
Crude Ois by Banksy
Uninvited, Alanis Morrisette (ram)
~Was There a Time, by Dylan Thomas~
Was there a time when dancers with their fiddles
In children's circuses could stay their troubles?
There was a time they could cry over books,
But time has sent its maggot on their track.
Under the arc of the sky they are unsafe.
What's never known is safest in this life.
Under the skysigns they who have no arms
have cleanest hands, and, as the heartless ghost
Alone's unhurt, so the blind man sees best.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Feral cat activist Julie Smith tells me of Debbie Meyer, a newspaper columnist who writes informative articles on animals. We finally meet at her serene home on a pond. Three friendly horses approach me and walk right by to Debbie with the hay. In the barn, tabby Violet peers down. Orange tabby Dante inspects my car. Dogs Zelda and Buzz are leaping up in their pen to be noticed. Betsy, the adopted potbelly pig, is not in view. Inside this airy house a one-eyed black & white cat, Schroedinger, greets us, and three-legged black cat Ella scoots by. The youngest cat, Steward, bounds up the stairs.
At animal shelters I have seen people surrender animals to face uncertain futures because they are moving, the animal sheds, or it doesn't match the new couch; the list of heartless reasons goes on. At Debbie and Eric's exquisite new home, the philosophy is the opposite. "You can't replace a life, but you can a couch." Actually, Buzz destroyed their couch -- twice!
Debbie has written on homeopathy for animals, feral cat colonies, good horse care, and a woman that tamed a cat by reading to her nightly from the Bible. An irate reader writes to accuse her of "just" caring about animals. As it turns out, Debbie chairs a mentoring program for youths, works full-time at Duke University on one of the world's most important scientific weeklies, and facilitates a column at the Chapel Hill newspaper called "My View." Would the complainer take in blind amputee cats or care enough about people to help them be heard?
The Queen Mother, cat Lucy, with one blue eye, the other yellow, nearing 20 years, looks out over the pond. Ella shakes her head to the right for Debbie to scratch under her chin. With her right leg missing, she can't reach that spot. "Part of the attraction of getting involved with animals is that they easily make us feel like heroes. I do something as simple as loan a trap. A cat gets caught and spayed, and many lives don't suffer in vain." Nobody is suffering at this location.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
An alleged crack house in an abandoned garage is up in flames. Possibly arson, probably a careless crackhead with a light. These details are moot points; what matters to the stray cat that lives there is getting her five kittens out alive. She makes five trips, each time returning to a structure that is further engulfed by flames and smoke. Every hair singed off her body, ears radically burned, eyes melting shut, she will not stop until she has rescued all five.
Firefighter David Giannelli finds the unconscious cat lying near her kittens. He carefully gathers the feline family and goes directly to North Shore Animal League. Word goes around the world about this heroic cat. The masses pray for her, send cards with best wishes, and 7,000 offers to adopt her pour in. After a month, the white kitten succumbs to smoke inhalation. After three months, Scarlett is healed enough to go to a new home. Out of thousands of potential adoptees, Karen Wellen is selected -- herself the survivor of a terrible accident. Two pairs of kittens go to the homes of two other finalists.
Five years later, and I am visiting with the famous cat in her Brooklyn home. Scarlett is now a solid 16 pounds, with a full, shiny calico coat. The deep scars on her legs and feet, near hairless face, oddly upturned eyes, and nubbed ears bear witness to her ordeal. She needs no bribing to pose for me; she enjoys being around people. Scarlett is a symbol of loyalty, heroism, and the best stuff life is made of.
Friday, September 15, 2006
“When Women Pursue Justice,” a Brooklyn mural dedicated to American women activists, has more ties to Downtown New York than one.
Remember the Pathfinder? Not the car — the mural. Nearly 20 years ago, the controversial painting was unveiled on the side of the Pathfinder Press building, a socialist publisher at 410 West Street. Bearing Fidel Castro’s own words “The truth must not only be the truth, it must be told,” the massive portrait portrayed a sea of revolutionaries, civil rights activists, and commies like Marx, Che Guevara, and Martin Luther King, Jr. being fed into the Pathfinder’s giant printing press, which in turn churned out reams of their writings and speeches. In took two years and 80 artists from 20 different countries to paint, and just seven years to begin fading. Rather than retouch it, in 1996 the Pathfinder’s owners painted over it when they needed to make much-needed repairs to their wall — which itself would be torn down soon after, when Richard Meier erected his upscale towers in its place.
Such is the fate of community murals, massive undertakings by definition that are forever vulnerable to the elements and luxury developments. So, like priced-out Manhattanites, two veteran muralists, inspired by the scale and scope of the Pathfinder, chose a blank wall in Brooklyn for their homage to social activism. Called “When Women Pursue Justice,” the sprawling, Technicolor mural is a montage of 90 revolutionary women in the heart of Bedford-Stuyvesant — many of whose visages should be familiar to Downtown New Yorkers.
“It’s interesting how many of the women have a connection to New York,” explained the mural’s designer, Janet Braun-Reinitz, a petite firebrand with a husky voice. Standing on the corner of Nostrand and Greene Aves., wearing paint-splattered pants and fashionably dark shades, the 68-year-old activist pointed out the main star of the mural, Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005), the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and a former Bed-Sty resident. “I voted for her in a primary,” said Braun-Reinitz, referring to Chisholm’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972. On this 45-foot-high painting, which was completed last fall, Chisholm rides a horse and wields a flag bearing a phrase lifted from her famous insistence that she not be remembered for her firsts, but rather as “a catalyst for change.”
Her sentiment was the guiding principal for Braun-Reinitz’s selection process. (“My degree in women’s studies finally served me,” she said.) A president of Artmakers, Inc., the mural-making organization that commissioned the project, Braun-Reinitz worked with Project Director Jane Weissman of the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy to bring the mural into being. “No one is on the wall because they were the first to do something,” said Braun-Reinitz. Rather, the point of creating this tribute to American women activists was to “reacquaint people with women whose history is forgotten—or being forgotten.”
Using grants from non-profits like The Sister Fund and individual donations, the two women brought nearly 50 female artists together last year to paint the 3,300 square foot mural, which looks from a distance like a huge demonstration. None of the subjects are arranged by age or era, though a catalogue for the mural groups the women by broad spheres of influence such as “Ancestors,” “Education,” “Our Bodies” and even “Defies Categorization,” the one place where anarchist Emma Goldman fits.
“The idea was to bring a lot of artists together to create a mural that everyone’s style could fit into—which is what the best demonstrations look like,” said Braun-Reinitz, who attended her first demonstration in 1956 against the civil defense drills that drove New Yorkers into shelters and subways at the sound of air raid warnings.
“It was just like toothpaste on planes today,” she explained. “It was the same level of government control aimed at making us all hysterical.”
Just 20 at the time, she sought out someone in the crowd to gravitate to, someone who looked safe. The woman she chose happened to be Dorothy Day (1897-1980), who created 33 “houses of hospitality” in New York for the urban poor and who appears beside the poet and lesbian activist Audre Lorde, suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and the first female stockbroker (along with her sister) Victoria Woodhull —New Yorkers all, if not by city, then by state.
Then there is the picture of prison activist and professor Angela Davis. “That building is an actual piece of New York history,” Braun-Reinitz said, pointing to the Women’s House of Detention in the background of Davis’s portrait. The prison where Davis was held on false charges for 16 months — inspiring both John Lennon and Yoko Ono and the Rolling Stones to write songs calling for her release — once sat at the site of Jefferson Market Garden.
“When Women Pursue Justice” is one of over 50 murals that Braun-Reinitz has painted, and not likely to be her last. “I would love to do a timely mural on torture,” she said, looking covetously at the blank wall across the street. “But no one wants one.” Landlords often shy away from political murals, she explained, because of the ire they provoke. Even the Pathfinder, for instance, was vandalized at one point.
But another strong deterrent is the sheer cost involved. The scaffolding for “Justice” cost $13,000 alone, and while Artmakers managed to raise much of the money needed to create the mural, and even arranged for a community group to secure the $11 million insurance plan they needed before they could begin work, they have yet to pay the professional artists, like graffiti artist Lady Pink, who volunteered their time and talent to the project.
So, last week, Braun-Reinitz and Weissman brought the mural back across the river — figuratively speaking — and mounted an exhibit at Gallery 1199 in Midtown to help make up the $15,000 difference. On view through mid-October will be photographs of the making of the mural, and various drawings by its many artists, along with a catalogue complete with biographies of all the women pictured, for $5 a piece — a small price to pay for justice.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
[Thank you to JIK, for reciting this to me by memory las Saturday at Cody's Books in Berkeley]
All in the golden afternoon
Full leisurely we glide;
For both our oars, with little skill,
By little arms are plied,
While little hands make vain pretense
Our wanderings to guide.
Ah, cruel Three! In such an hour,
Beneath such dreamy weather,
To beg a tale of breath too weak
To stir the tiniest feather!
Yet what can one poor voice avail
Against three tongues together?
Imperious Prima flashes forth
Her edict to "begin it"--
In gentler tones Secunda hopes
"There will be nonsense in it"--
While Tertia interrupts the tale
Not more than once a minute.
Anon, to sudden silence won,
In fancy they pursue
The dream-child moving through a land
Of wonders wild and new,
In friendly chat with bird or beast--
And half believe it true.
And ever, as the story drained
The wells of fancy dry,
And faintly strove that weary one
To put the subject by,
"The rest next time"--"It is next time!"
The happy voices cry.
Thus grew the tale of Wonderland:
Thus slowly, one by one,
Its quaint events were hammered out--
And now the tale is done,
And home we steer, a merry crew,
Beneath the setting sun.
Alice! a childish story take,
And with a gentle hand
Lay it where Childhood's dreams are twined
In Memory's mystic band,
Like pilgrim's withered wreath of flowers
Plucked in a far-off land.
Madonna's Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar, personally autographed, will go up for auction on Ebay starting on October 6, 2006, at 7:00 P.M. PST, ending on October 16, 2006. The guitar is the only surviving guitar of two that were custom made for Madonna and played by her on her 2001 Drowned World concert tour.
SONORA, CA (PRWEB) September 14, 2006 -- Madonna's Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar, personally autographed, will go up for auction on Ebay starting on October 6, 2006, at 7:00 P.M. PST, ending on October 16, 2006. The guitar is the only surviving guitar of two that were custom made for Madonna and played by her on her 2001 Drowned World concert tour. This tour was the first time Madonna every played a guitar in concert. The Drowned World tour ended on September 15, 2001 in Los Angeles. After the show, Madonna autographed this guitar "Love, Madonna" in gold paint pen and gave it to her Guitar Technician, John Griswold, as a big "Thank You" for all his services.
This guitar has been photographed and video taped world-wide thousands of times and a photo of this guitar appears in the Aug. 27, 2001 issue of People Magazine. This is one of the most photographed guitars in the world.
Madonna's guitar and included matching tour case are numbered with the Gibson serial number of 001360 which is verified on all the tour's manifests and carnet. While the guitar has back scratches and light wear from Madonna's costumes and belt buckles rubbing against it during her performances, it is in perfect working order and has been clear coated to protect the autograph from wear (standard procedure in guitar preserving). This guitar can be played without wearing down the autograph. With original strings as Madonna last played them, this guitar has been kept very well and secure the last 5 years.
A year prior to her 2001 Drowned World Tour, Madonna contacted guitar maker Gibson about making her 2 custom Les Paul guitars to use on her Drowned World tour. Gibson made only two of these custom guitars just for Madonna.
Within Gibson, this guitar became known as the "Madonna Les Paul Model". They were originally made with silver tuners and fittings. Madonna decided she wanted the guitars to fit better with her stage costumes so she consulted with her Guitar Technician John Griswold. They decided on simple "gold on black" and John replaced the outer hardware with gold fittings and removed the pick guards.
These two identical guitars were made so Madonna could have a Primary and a Backup guitar while on tour. The guitar in this auction was her Primary guitar and used 90% of the time on the Drowned World Tour only. John Griswold says that he would only give her the Backup guitar to play every now and then just to keep it in working order. When she preformed, Madonna never knew if she was playing her primary or backup guitar. Madonna kept her backup Gibson guitar which was later stolen at a venue rehearsal for her Re-Invention Tour of 2004. So this autographed guitar of John's is the only one to exist and is truly "one of a kind" and rare.
John Griswold has been a Guitar Technician since the early 1970's and has worked with such acts as Journey, The Eagles, Jimmy Buffet, George Harrison, Ringo Star, and Shania Twain. John was hired by Madonna as her guitar technician back in 1989 and was with her during the promotional pre-tour rehearsal and tours and the Drowned World rehearsals and throughout the final 2001 concert tour.
John and his family lived in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit the city. His house was flooded to the top of the first floor and he lost most of his possessions and studio equipment. This guitar was one of the first things he and his family saved. John and his wife and son evacuated and relocated to Sonora, CA.
While John is reluctant to present this precious guitar for auction, the financial loss and hardship his family has suffered from the impact of Hurricane Katrina has necessitated such a bold move.
The seller, Pierce Jensen of Sonora, CA (Ebay Seller "pierceandshelly"), has been a member of Ebay since March 1999 and has thousands of successful auctions to his credit along with a wonderful feedback rating. He's an Ebay "Power Seller" ranking among the most successful sellers in terms of product sales and customer satisfaction on Ebay.
Until the auction begins, this guitar can be previewed at:
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
[What do we like?! CO-OPERATION! When do we want it?! NOW]
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has offered Iraq full support in stabilising the security situation in the country.
He made the remarks in Tehran after talks with the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki.
Speaking to reporters after their meeting, Mr Ahmadinejad said "Iraq's security is Iran's security".
Mr Maliki is making his first official visit to Iran since he took office in May.
"Iran supports the Iraqi government that has been created by the Iraqi people's votes, and strengthening a united and independent Iraq is in the interest of all the region", Mr Ahmadinejad said.
Mr Maliki said his discussions with Mr Ahmadinejad had been positive. "Even in security issues there is no barrier in the way of co-operation."
Few concrete details of their talks have emerged, except that an agreement covering political, security and economic co-operation was signed.
Posted by The Admin under Uncategorized
I like kids books; they’re short, simple, have lots of pictures and are asthetically pleasing. However sometimes people use children’s books for the wrong reasons, some are damned weird, and others are out there that you just wouldn’t think about. This unranked (albeit numbered) list will provide you with my exhaustive search for ten children’s books that you probably won’t see on little Johnny’s nightstand.
10. Der Struwwelpeter (Slovenly Peter)
The story of Slovenly Peter is apparently one that you will laugh along with or interpret as being incredibly disturbing. It is a tale of German origin about a child who has, to put it simply, really let himself go. As the pictures can attest, he’s given up all interest in his own personal appearance, and all children both make fun of him and fear him at the same time. This leads to all sorts of shinanigans in a collection of strange short stories (such as the tale of three boys making fun of a black man who then fall into a vat of ink). Leave it to the Germans to write such a masterpeice.
9. It’s Just A Plant
This book describes to children how marijuana is “just a plant” and is used for a variety of things other than, well, what immediately comes to mind. I don’t know if targetting those who can’t vote to legalize marijuana is necessarily the best tactic around, but it might pay off in 10-20 years. Try reading this to your kid and not have him smoke a joint when he turns 10… go ahead… I DARE you!
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
The Saudi Court of Grievances will decide on Saturday if a novel by a Saudi woman about the love lives of young, wealthy Saudi women in Riyadh is enough to fine the author and to crack down on the sale of her book, the Al-Yaum newspaper reported yesterday.
“Banat Al-Riyadh,” or “The Girls of Riyadh”, by Rajaa Al-Sanie, is controversial because it addresses behaviors of young women that go against the norms promoted by Saudi society. As such, the book is officially banned in the country but is still widely available.
A group of Saudi citizens have filed a lawsuit against Al-Sanie for slandering Saudi society. If the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, Al-Sanie, who is currently out of the country, could face a fine of an undisclosed amount and authorities would crack down on the sale of the book in the Kingdom.
Some local newspaper columnists have decried the book, criticizing it not only for what they claim is the negative portrayal of Saudi women but also for its depiction of Saudi men as sexist boars.
Banned Books Week marks 25th anniversary
More than a book a day challenged in U.S. schools, libraries
More than a book a day faces expulsion from free and open public access in U.S. schools and libraries every year. There have been more than 8,700 attempts since the American Library Association (ALA) began electronically compiling and publishing information on book challenges in 1990.
Twenty-five years after the first observance of Banned Books Week, more than 1,000 people stayed past 1 a.m. debating a request to remove nine books - including "The Things They Carried" by Tim O’Brien and "Beloved" by Toni Morrison - from a Chicagoland school district. The books were ultimately retained.
"Forever" by Judy Blume was one of more than 70 titles a Fayetteville, Ark., mother requested be removed in 2005. Twenty-five years earlier, the book was restricted in the Park Hill (Mo.) South Junior High School library because the book promotes "the stranglehold of humanism on life in America."
"Throughout history, there always have been a few people who don’t want information to be freely available. And this is still true," said ALA President Leslie Burger. "The reason more books aren’t banned is because community residents - with librarians, teachers and journalists - stand up and speak out for their freedom to read. Banned Books Week reminds us that we must remain vigilant."
Bookstores and libraries around the country will celebrate the freedom to read with exhibits, readings and special events during Banned Books Week, September 23-30, 2006. First observed in 1982, Banned Books Week reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. City Lit Theater in Chicago and ALA will kick off the week with theatrical readings from recently challenged books September 24. The ALA also will participate in a virtual panel discussion with author Chris Crutcher ("Whale Talk") and 15 high schools on September 25. Participants will hear about Crutcher’s experiences as a frequently challenged author, learn more about the history of book banning in the United States and examine contemporary issues in intellectual freedom and access to information.
The virtual panel discussion is sponsored by MAGPI at the University of Pennsylvania and utilizes Internet2. Additional support is provided by the Ohio State University and Educational Service District 101 in Spokane, Wash.
There were 405 known attempts to remove books in 2005. Challenges are defined as formal, written complaints filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. About 70 percent of challenges take place in schools and school libraries. According to Judith F. Krug, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, the number of challenges reflects only incidents reported, and for each reported, four or five remain unreported.
"We are as busy as we’ve ever been in fighting censorship attempts in schools and libraries," Krug said. "Libraries are no longer simply about books - but also about DVDs, videogames and online information."
Robie Harris’ "It’s Perfectly Normal" was the most challenged book of last year. Rounding out the top five most challenged books in 2005 were:
· "Forever" by Judy Blume for sexual content and offensive language;
· "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger for sexual content, offensive language and being unsuited to age group;
· "The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier for sexual content and offensive language; and
· "Whale Talk" by Chris Crutcher for racism and offensive language.
Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the ALA, the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the National Association of College Stores. It is endorsed by the Library of Congress Center for the Book.
For more information on Banned Books Week, please visit www.ala.org/bbooks . To schedule interviews with national spokespeople, please call or email Larra Clark at 312-280-5043 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Macey Morales at 312-280-4393 (email@example.com). Artwork also is available.
World's biggest Buddhist mantra made of stones on Tuvan mountain
Gyudmed Tantric Monastery monks, who are on a visit in Tuva, have finished their work at the world's biggest Buddhist mantra. In the opinion of all the participants of the unique project, the mantra is to hasten the visit of His Holiness Dalai Lama to the republic. The mantra of Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion, "Om mani padme hum" is made of huge stones on the side of Dogee Mountain, known as Lenin Peak. One can have a picturesque view on Kyzyl, the capital of Tuva, from the top of this mountain, IA Tuva-Online reports.
The length of the holy mantra is 120 m. It took 500 kilos of white paint to paint the stones. 'Tibetan Buddhists usually engrave holy mantras on the stones. A great many of them can be seen on the mountainous slopes and passes, as Tupten Shakia, the monk group leader, explained. However, there is hardly such a huge mantra made of big stones even in Tibet, he noted.
The tradition of writing of stones on the mountainous slopes was spread in the Soviet times. Schoolchildren and students wrote the motto "Glory to the CPSS!" on the even slopes. One could have read the name of Lenin on the top of the mountain, which could be seen well from any place in Kyzyl, recently. In the 90s the word "Lenin" was changed into "Dogee", which was the real name of the mountain, as Tuvan perestroika apologists believed.
The mantra "om mani padme hum" is not a mere prayer to Buddha of Compassion. In accordance with Buddhist holy texts, it has the holy power of his blessing and love. In this sense a mantra, either written or pronounced, is the god itself, which revealed itself in this world to help all the creatures. 'Everyone who can see, hear or read this holy mantra gets blessing from the Buddha of Compassion,' Tupten Shakia says, 'And the wind, which touches the stones making the mantra on Dogee slope will carry its blessing further as a gift to all the life forms on its way.'
The mantra construction of the Buddha of Compassion, whose embodiment on the Earth is His Holiness Dalai Lama, started when the spiritual leader of the Buddhists visited Mongolia, the neighboring country. The mantra capable of accumulation and spreading of the tremendous positive energy was built with a wish of longevity to Dalai Lama and prayers for spiritual merits of Tuvan people to help to remove the obstacles preventing the meeting of Buddhist Tuva with its spiritual teacher.
It is worth mentioning that Tibetan monks of Gyudmed Monastery arrived in Tuva by invitation of Kamba Lama Spiritual Directorate of the republic and the public fund "Enerel" (Compassion), which took up coordination of construction works of the mantra a bid prayer drum, which is to be erected on the central square in Kyzyl soon.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Once in the dream of a night I stood
Lone in the light of a magical wood,
Soul-deep in visions that poppy-like sprang;
And spirits of Truth were the birds that sang,
And spirits of Love were the stars that glowed,
And spirits of Peace were the streams that flowed
In that magical wood in the land of sleep.
Lone in the light of that magical grove,
I felt the stars of the spirits of Love
Gather and gleam round my delicate youth,
And I heard the song of the spirits of Truth;
To quench my longing I bent me low
By the streams of the spirits of Peace that flow
In that magical wood in the land of sleep.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Saturday, September 09, 2006
In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin van-guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition.
The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.
Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.
Corcovado, Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars
The Count of Monte Cristo
Julie London, Cry Me A River
Street Fighting Man, Rolling Stones
"I shall die here...
Every inch of me shall perish...
...every inch but one. An inch, it is small and it is fragile, and it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away; we must never let them take it from us.
I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that eventhough I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you... I love you. With all my heart...
...I love you."
Guy Fawkes is the person most associated with the Gunpowder Plot to blow up James I ,the Houses of Lords and Commons when James opened Parliament on November 5th 1605. But who was Guy Fawkes?
Fawkes was born in York in on April 13th, 1570. His father was called Edward and his mother was called Edith.
Fawkes was brought up as a protestant and was baptised in the Church of St. Michael Belfry. He went to the Free School of St Peter's near the great cathedral of York Minster.
His father died when Fawkes was eight in 1578 and his mother lived as a widow for nine years. She re-married in 1587 and both she and Guy went to live in the village of Scotton, about 20 miles from York. Here Guy was heavily influenced by his step-father and it was his step-father who was very important in Guy's conversion to Catholicism.
Fawkes left England in 1593 aged 23 as a converted catholic and fought for Catholic Spain in its war against the Dutch. In this war, Fawkes learned all about the use of explosives - especially the art of mining and sapping which were used to blow up buildings and in siege warfare. Fawkes fought for the Archduke Albert of Austria and was described as
|"a man of excellent good natural parts, very resolute and universally learned.......he was sought by all the most distinguished in the Archduke's camp for nobility and virtue." |
Fawkes and others visited Philip III of Spain in 1603 to encourage an attempt an another armada - the invasion of England. In his confession, Fawkes claimed that he was approached by Thomas Wintour in the Easter of 1604 to join the plotters.
He was out of the country for 15 years so when he returned to join the plotters in May 1604, no-one would have known him. This anonymity was important for the task he was to get himself involved with.
A Dutch artist's impression of Guy Fawkes
In London, Fawkes became "John Johnson" and acted as the servant of Thomas Percy.
It was Fawkes who supervised the attempt to build a tunnel from the rented house at the Palace of Westminster; he also stayed with the barrels of gunpowder right up to the end. He was caught with both matches and fuse. He, above anyone, would have known how much fuse was needed to make the time to explosion short enough to avoid possible detection but long enough for him to get away from the blast. he was instructed by Catesby to flee to Flanders once the explosion had occurred.
There is no doubt that Fawkes was brave while kept in the Tower of London. James I himself had ordered that the torturers use the lesser tortures first, but graduate to the more unpleasant ones later.
|If he will not other ways confess, gentler tortures are first to be used unto him and thus by degrees to the extremes. And so God speed your good work. (James I) |
He endured much torture before giving away the names of other conspirators. His ruined and broken body can be seen in his signature on his confession.
Fawkes was given some sort of trial and found guilty of treason with the other conspirators. He was taken from the Tower of London to the Old Palace Yard and executed on January 31st 1606.
Elizabethan England - The Age of Treason
History is alive in each one of us. The aggregation of all that we collectively, and individually have been, is our History.
In the flow of time there are moments when individuality is enhanced. Those moments throw up the remarkable, the defining moments, the very course by which we define our cultural development. Often they are moments when the flow of time seems to enter a narrow gorge, before opening out into a torrent of change. England in the 1590’s and early 1600’s is just such a moment.
It is a time that has given us stability, and chaos in one. A time that has given us great advances in physics, chemistry, medicine and the very physical definition of the world in which we live. It is a time that has given us the words of Shakespeare and Marlowe, and a time that has given us personalities who have long since been woven into the tapestry of who we are - Ralegh, Essex, Drake, Donne and Bacon. But it was also a time that brought conflict and violent religious turmoil. It was a time when Elizabeth and James I succeeded in galvanizing the very faith of a nation, against a backlash of insurgency, recusancy and calls for religious freedom. It was thus a time that not only nurtured treason, but provoked it, fueled it, and all too often manufactured it.
The seeds of discontent at the treatment of Catholics in England, which ultimately led to the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, were first sown in the late 1520s during the reign of Henry VIII. Henry had been declared Defender of the Faith by the pope and had written tracts against Protestantism. However, dissatisfied with the Pope's refusal to grant him a divorce from his first wife Catherine of Aragon, Henry broke away from the See of Rome, extinguished all papal power in England, and executed his investiture as the head of the Church of England. This was followed by the methodical Dissolution of the Monasteries, under the supervision of Thomas Cromwell, which aided the English war chest and was instrumental in eroding the English power of the Catholic Church. Henry's Church of England was initially not Protestant, but remained closer to his traditional belief of Catholicism.
In the turbulent years that followed Henry’s death, England swayed back and forth on a theological pendulum. Henry's successor, his son Edward VI, steered the Anglican Church down the path of Protestantism, whereas his sister "Bloody" Mary I attempted to violently restore England to Catholicism through severe Protestant persecution, until Elizabeth I ascended the throne in 1558, when the tide was again reversed.
Fearful of a now encroaching Catholic Europe, Elizabeth embarked upon a systematic course of repression and persecution of Catholics within her own country, in an attempt to ensure that there was no discontented populace which could assist a foreign invasion, or which could be seen as a beacon if a foreign invasion occurred. When the Spanish Armada was defeated in 1588, Elizabeth had all but extinguished the hopes for an end to persecution of those Catholics in England who saw Spain as their great ally. The previous year she had had her rival, the deposed and imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots, executed in order to prevent underground Catholic cells rallying to Mary’s cause and attempting to depose Elizabeth. Such activities as this had been only too evident in the Babington Plot of 1586 which uncovered Mary's coveting of the English crown and which was subsequently a main reason for her eventual execution. Mary's claim to the English throne came through her grandmother Margaret Tudor, Henry VIII's eldest sister, who had married James IV of Scotland.
When Elizabeth succeeded to the throne, there was disagreement about her right to follow Mary I. Elizabeth's mother Anne Boleyn, was according to some, not legally married, because Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon was not legal as it would not be ratified by the Pope (the reason Henry broke away from the Catholic Church). So, upon Anne Boleyn's execution for treason, Elizabeth was separately declared a bastard, then removed from the succession by an act of the Privy Council. However, Henry placed her back in the succession, but never legitimized her.
Towards the end of Elizabeth's reign, the Catholic strongholds in the north of England, who had been instrumental in the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536/37 and the Norfolk and Northern Uprising of 1569, began sending envoys to both Phillip II of Spain and James VI of Scotland (the son of Mary Queen of Scots). It had become illegal to talk of the succession, yet James was commonly seen as Elizabeth's heir by both Protestants and Catholics, by virtue of closeness of blood to Henry VIII.
The Essex Rebellion of 1601 brought the names of many of those who were at the forefront of the Catholic cause to the attention of the Government, including that of Robert Catesby, who was later to become the leader of the Gunpowder Plot. The Catholics, relieved at the prospect that the son of a Catholic monarch had seemingly been guranteed the throne after Elizabeth's death, had acquired from James the promise of toleration in the event that he did succeed Elizabeth. However, their embassies to Spain, dubbed the Spanish Treason, had been met with a lukewarm response by the Spanish Government, and in fact England and Spain signed a peace treaty soon after the last of these embassies had returned home.
When James eventually succeeded Elizabeth in 1603 as James I, there was initial celebration by the Catholic leaders, who under Elizabeth had been persecuted to such an extreme that any sign of Catholic sympathy risked the severest of penalties, including death. James, however, was not to be their saviour. No sooner had the Hampton Court Conference ended -- with no compromise being given to either the Puritan faction or the Catholics -- than James re-introduced the harsh penalties for recusancy. * * * * *
The individual biographies of the conspirators provide detailed accounts of the formulation and failure of the Gunpowder Plot. Please also resd through the Archives section to read transcripts of letters, interrogations and confessions.
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