Thursday, September 22, 2005

Dying of the light

You shall ask
What good are dead leaves
And I will tell you
They nourish the sore earth.
You shall ask
What reason is there for winter
And I will tell you
To bring about new leaves.
You shall ask
Why are the leaves green
And I will tell you
Because they are rich with life.
You shall ask
Why must summer end
And I will tell you
So that the leaves can die.

from Many Winters by Nancy Wood,
Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers

photo of Autumn Leaves by John Millais,
1855-56, oil on canvas, Manchester City Art Galleries

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Smirking Chimp

Well, I've held off as long as I could. As I watched the agony of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, I kept telling myself, "Be fair, only hindsight is 20-20, there's only so much anyone could have done..." I've lamented the incredible arrogance of maintaining that an 18-foot concrete wall can hold back the active delta of one of the world's largest rivers. I've shed tears for the poor people and animals who had no choice but to stay, and I've fumed at the inept emergency planning that failed to rescue them. Today, it's time to take a different tack.


I offer, for your delectation, Rich Procter on our Commander-in-Chief (from

Rich Procter: 'I save the taxpayers 50 million dollars!'
I'm sure you saw the Associated Press headline: "Bush to Oversee Probe Into What Went Wrong." Yes, that's right, President Bush is going to spend millions (I'm guessing 50) to investigate himself. I'm sure he'll appoint a Special Non-Partisan Presidential Commission made up of Grover Norquist, Bo Derek, Rush Limbaugh, Ted Nugent, Pat Robertson, and any available NASCAR driver. They'll rubber stamp whatever public relations hairball Karl Rove coughs up.

I hereby volunteer to save you, Joe and Jane Taxpayer, all 50 million dollars. What follows is:

President Bush's Exhaustive White House Investigation Into The Apparent Misunderestimation of Hurricane Katrina:

1) President Bush is Utterly, Completely, Absolutely, Uniquely and Perfectly Without Blame of Any Sort.

The Commission has surmised that sometime -- might have been Sunday or Monday, no one can be sure - the President's regular retinue of incredibly competent, highly dependable assistants were replaced by a nefarious bunch of traitorous (probably Democratic) "look-alikes" just like in that Harrison Ford movie a few years ago...what was it....oh yeah, "Air Force One." That's it. Anyway, these evil-doers - and that's what they are, make no mistake about it - decided to destroy the love the American people have for this chosen-by-Jesus-himself President, and discredit him. They kept information about the hurricane from the President. They kept him away from television and radio. They allowed him to live in a fool's paradise, mugging in photo ops with John McCain and strumming a guitar while people died.

When Mr. Bush finally became aware of this horrible crisis a scant four days later, he killed these evildoers with his bare hands, used his native wit and guile to find out where his real assistants had been secreted, and assumed command, directing the relief effort with Steely-Eyed Rocket Man mastery . Unfortunately, at this point, the Liberal Media (Conspiracy) had already become a soul-killing juggernaut designed to crush this avatar of American goodness, justice and mercy. We - all good Americans -- can only apologize to our blameless Chief Executive, and beg his for forgiveness.

Recommendation - President Bush should award himself the Presidential Medal of Freedom, With Special Oak Leaf Cluster.

2) White House Completely Blameless for Deaths of Hurricane "Victims", Which Was Actually A Plot By Foreign Terrorists

The Commission notes that every single so-called "death" (10,000, and counting) from this so-called "catastrophe" has served to embarrass our beloved Chief Executive at a time when this country is at War with Global Terror. While we could find no actual hard evidence of a coordinated conspiracy between the Democratic Party and al-Qaeda to get these folks to drown themselves to discredit the President and demoralize the citizenry, their "deaths" certainly achieved this nefarious goal. Our conclusion is that al-qaeda Chieftain Saddam Hussein, in conjunction with Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi, directed this mass suicide drowning.

Recommendation - Stay the course in Iraq. We're winning. Freedom is on the march. And put Democrats in prison before they do any more damage.

3) Contrary To Reports By Craven Lackeys of the Liberal Media, "Victims" Were Treated Like Royalty

The Commission was shocked to discover that, almost from the first moment of peril, thousands of "victims" were taken to the jewel of the Crescent City, the Louisiana Superdome. It's a well-known fact that sports fan pay upwards of $500 a ticket to see sporting events at this luxurious venue, and yet these so-called "victims" were admitted free of charge, and apparently given complete run of the place! And yet they have complained endlessly because "free" food and water were not provided. We find this ingratitude shocking and appalling.

Recommendation - Next time, charge normal ticket prices to get into the SuperDome, to keep out this belligerent riff-raff.

4) Whatever Blame Exists Be Heaped On FEMA Head Michael Brown

The Commission has come to the reluctant conclusion that Michael Brown is an unqualified flunky, a dolt, an incompetent dunderhead, and an incompetent nincompoop who obviously forged his resume to get the job as head of FEMA.

Recommendation - Presidential Medal of Freedom, and subsequent Ambassadorship to New Zealand.

5) An Effective Plan to Prevent This From Happening Again

The Commission has reached unanimous consensus on the following conclusions:

a) The "Hurricane" came directly from the Gulf of Mexico. b) Mexico is complicit in breaching America's borders, sending a FLOOD (!) of immigrants to destabilize our fragile Democracy. c) The CIA has produced hard, convincing, speculative evidence that proves conclusively that Mexican President Vicente Fox has acquired, and is using Weather-Altering Super Weapons (WASW) on the United States.

Recommendation - President Bush has absolutely no other choice than to order the preemptive liberation of Mexico by American Boy and Girl Scouts, with the top priority being to secure the oil fields so that these revenues can be held for the gentle, unsophisticated little brown people of that country until such time as they can spend them wisely.


Sunday, September 11, 2005


One of my family members in Ohio forwarded these photos of unbelievably realistic murals that transform public buildings. The art of Eric Grohe is becoming quite popular in the Rust Belt, as the grim urban landscape continues to decay. This man is a genius...but i'll let his vision speak for itself...


In progress:






Grohe's art recalls the architecture of earlier times. It used to be that all public buildings were built on a larger-than-life scale - think Grand Central Station, or even small town banks and libraries. Columns, arches and grand pediments celebrated the importance of institutions, while marble, granite and other rich materials made tangible our common-wealth. Sometime in the mid-20th Century, our public architecture started changing. "Institutional" became a synonym for unimaginative and utilitarian. Along about the same time, we began to realize that we were being systematically lied to by our elected leaders, and public servants were found to be plundering public coffers. This leaves me with a which-came-first kind of question: Did our "disillusionment" happen because we ceased to elevate our public institutions, or did public institutions fall in our esteem because we finally saw the truth behind the facade?

Is it worth trying to reinvest our public spaces with some of their former grandeur, a la Grohe? Or will we just be fooling ourselves?

Sunday, September 04, 2005


Chief Justice of the Supreme Court William H. Rehnquist died last night at the age of 80. President Bush expressed his sorrow at our nation's loss, but really i imagine he must be rubbing his hands in glee - he now gets to fill 2 seats on the nation's highest court nearly simultaneously.

This turn of events may have as great an impact on the American landscape as the scars left by Hurricane Katrina. As we watch our federal government fail to address the deep needs of the poorest in storm-ravaged country, as we await the appointment of new justices, i have to wonder: Where are we going, as a people? What has happened to our mission? In fear and trembling, i offer a prayer (written by Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund):

O God, forgive our rich nation where small babies die of cold quite legally.

O God, forgive our rich nation where small children suffer from hunger quite legally.

O God, forgive our rich nation where toddlers and school children die from guns sold quite legally.

O God, forgive our rich nation that lets children be the poorest group of citizens quite legally.

O God, forgive our rich nation that lets the rich continue to get more at the expense of the poor quite legally.

O God, forgive our rich nation which thinks security rests in missiles rather than in mothers, and in bombs rather than in babies.

O God, forgive our rich nation for not giving You sufficient thanks by giving to others their daily bread.

O God, help us never to confuse what is quite legal with what is just and right in Your sight.