Thursday, January 31, 2008

brothers at the beach (photo)

brothers at the beach, originally uploaded by I, Puzzled.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Negatively Puzzled

I see it’s been nearly three months since I composed a full blog entry. I seem to have lost my voice. I never intended to drop out for so long, but that’s how it turned out. It’s not for lack of an earnest desire to speak out on a myriad of issues and deep concerns, particularly about the state of the union. It has been a difficult period for me, which would have been unbearable without the solace and support, the love and blessings, of my family. I’m so grateful that they’re here for me. I thank them for their patience in dealing with the vagaries of my funk and splenetude.

Frankly, just about every day it seems, I’ve felt overwhelmed and depressed by the accumulation of things I hear and read about in the news. So many of my days have seemed joyless, and I’ve come to sorely miss my sense of humor.

Also, I’ve been extremely frustrated by the very fact that, despite a sense of urgency, I’ve been unable to write about it. I’ve been backed into a corner, mainly because the language that fits what I’m feeling tends to sound extreme and soapboxy, and I’ve never thought of myself as that kind of person. While I have a powerful impulse to express my outrage on various important issues in the news, I find I don’t have a developed facility for expressing it. That, I guess, has been my main struggle these past several weeks.

Today something jogged, and I think I’m ready to dip my toe in the waters of common discourse again. I don’t know what it was. I’m just tired of being consumed with a feeling of powerlessness and drear. So, moving right along…

* * *

Today John Edwards announced his withdrawal from the presidential race. No real surprise, but a real disappointment to me. There is consolation in the fact that Rudolph Giuliani also withdrew from the race.

With Edwards out, I plan I’ll probably vote for Barack Obama in the primary. The nation desperately needs a voice that is fresh, intelligent, articulate, inspirational, principled, and light on rancor.

After Florida, there are strong indications that it will end up being McCain vs. Clinton in November. Even so, I’d like to think there’s a chance that Obama will prevail. I’m encouraged by the Ted and Caroline Kennedy endorsements, and by the fact that delegates in Democratic primaries are assigned according to proportional representation rather than winner-take-all.

If either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama get the Democratic nomination, I’d like to think Americans will overwhelmingly vote against McCain’s blithe acceptance of 100 years of U.S. occupation in Iraq.

Meanwhile, I have no idea what to think about the prospects of a viable third party candidate suddenly jumping into the race.

* * *

In other news, George W. Bush again demonstrated his limited grasp of the rule of law and checks and balances. As reported by Democracy Now:

President Bush has declared he has the right to bypass a new law that prohibits the use of taxpayer money to establish permanent U.S. bases in Iraq. The ban was passed as part of the new National Defense Authorization Act. Hours after signing the bill Monday, Bush issued a signing statement asserting his right to ignore the restriction that bars federal funding “to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing” of U.S. forces or “to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq.” Bush’s signing statement also asserted his right to ignore a measure that boosts protection for whistleblowers employed by companies with government contracts. And the statement also objects to the creation of an independent commission on contracting fraud and waste in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Well, America? Our illustrious president has bestowed upon Congress the mystique of irrelevance. I wonder how long we will continue to let him openly defy the law. I think it’s about time that the average citizen speak out, march, protest. Many, many people have, but that number has to increase my a couple orders of magnitude. If it does, it can make a big difference.

In his last year in office, I believe Bush has a lot more damage yet to do; a lot more harm still to be done to its citizens and those of other nations. We cannot afford to sit by and simply wait for his term to run out.

I had heard that Dennis Kucinich would be introducing articles of impeachment against Bush today in the House of Representatives, but I’m not finding anything about it on the Internet. According to the Kucinich’s website he has deferred to the Judiciary Committee on the matter. His brief statement is dated Monday, January 28:

"After making a statement on the floor of the House of Representatives last week indicating my intent to introduce articles of impeachment against George W. Bush, I met with members of the Judiciary Committee. After that brief meeting, I am hopeful there will be an inquiry by the Judiciary Committee. I will give them the opportunity to proceed before introducing articles of impeachment."
I certainly do hope there will be impeachment hearingssooner, rather than laterand that something comes of it. Impeachment is a vital safeguard installed in the Constitution by the founding fathers to preserve the balance of power and preserve democracy. When Bush defies the Congress, he defies the representatives of the people, and the principles of democracy.

Impeachment was designed for exactly this situation. After the process was abused and debased as a political tool against Bill Clinton by the Republicans, on the basis of a personal matter that had nothing to do with presidential duties and responsibilities, it is imperative to restore its reputation as an important, noble, and valid provision of the Constitution.

I don’t agree that it will divide the country. Bringing to justice a president who, it is widely known, caused a bloody and costly war by means of manipulative and calculated deception, has got to serve the greater good of the nation. His dangerous fear-mongering, stubborn arrogance, willful ignorance, and an almost sociopathic lack of humanity have had devastating consequences, and his reckless actions have squandered the reputation and credibility of the United States in the eyes of all the nations of the world. He needs to be removed from office as soon as possible. And, of course, Cheney needs to go, along with him.

    From the day's playlist:

  • Guillaume Dufay: Ave Maris Stella─The Hilliard Ensemble; Jan Garbarek, saxophone─Officium
  • W.A. Mozart: Litaniae Lauretanaem, K.109: Sancta Maria; Regina angelorum; Agnus Dei─Musica Antiqua Sankt Petersburg; Amorartis Chorus, Johannes Somary, conductorThe Salzburg Mozart Musica Antiqua Sankt Petersburg
  • F.O.D.─Green Day─Dookie
  • Händel: Aria Amorosa─Red Priest, which is comprised of Piers Adams, recorders; Julia Bishop, violin; Angela East, cello, viola da gamba, bass violin; Julian Rhodes, harpsichord─Priest on the Run
  • Bird on a Wire─Leonard Cohen
  • Nazé-naz─Ophelia Hampartzoumian─Armenie: Musique des Achough
  • These Foolish Things─Billie Holiday
  • Jigs: The Walls of Liscarroll / Na Ceannabhain Bhana / The Colliers Jig─Paul McGrattan: flute; Paul O'Shaughnessy: fiddle─Within a Mile of Dublin
  • Aspiciens a longe, réponse de procession du dimange de premier dimanche de l’Avente; Notre Père (d’après Rimsky-Korsakov) (17, 26)─Choeur des Moines et Moniales de l’Abbaye bénédicte du Bec-Hellouin; Frère Philibert Zobel, conductor─Chant Gregorien et Polyphonie a l’Abbaye du Bec-Hellouin Save Changes
  • Lésé Woulé─Marce & Tumpak─Global Celebration: Authentic Music From Festivals & Celebrations Around The World

Saturday, January 26, 2008

tatong lightning (photo)

tatong lightning, originally uploaded by Andrew C Wallace.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Gabriel! (photo)

Happy Birthday, Gabriel!, originally uploaded by I, Puzzled.

Today, January 21, 2008, is Gabriel's 5th Birthday,
which just happens to fall on MLK Day this year.

No, we didn't get him a pony. This was at the school carnival earlier this year.

The last ten movies I watched:
  • Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
  • Boy's Town (1938)
  • The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
  • The Goonies (1985)
  • The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
  • All Through the Night (1941)
  • Lost in Space (1998)
  • Jane Eyre (1944)
  • Roxanne (1987)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lemmings (photo)

lemmings, originally uploaded by I, Puzzled.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Gemina Giraffe 1986-2008

Gemina Giraffe, originally uploaded by I, Puzzled.

Santa Barbara Zoo's unusual attraction, alas, is no more. Gemina Giraffe died Wednesday, January 9, 2007. story.

"One of the most popular animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo is the Giraffe with a neck deformity, Gemina. This Baringo Giraffe was born normally in the San Diego Wild Animal Park in 1986, but as she grew she developed a bend in her neck. The deformity does not cause her pain and is likely caused by a benign bone tumor in one of her joints or from an incident from her youth." ─from wikipedia.

Click here to see more photos of Gemina the Crooked-Necked Giraffe.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

last sunset of the 2007 (photo)

last sunset of the year, originally uploaded by I, Puzzled.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Some of this season's listening included:
  • We Need A Little Christmas─Michelle Jordan─Christmas by the Bay
  • I've Got the Blues & I Can't Be Satisfied─Mississippi John Hurt
  • A Prayer─Madeleine Peyroux─Dreamland
  • Uncloudy Day─Willie Nelson
  • Miss Perfumado─Cesaria Evora
  • William Byrd: Ave Regina, caelorum (Hail, Queen of the Heavens)─Chanticleer─Intempore Paschale
  • Strange Fruit─Billie Holiday
  • Donald MacPherson (lament)─Winnie Chafe, violin─Highland Melodies of Cape Breton
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas─Judy Garland and the David Rose Orchestra─I'll Be Home For Christmas: Songs That Won The War
  • Psaume 91─Abbaye de Keur Moussa, Senegal
A couple books I just finished reading: