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Aug 14, 2008

So after much, much searching I found a place that takes old computers for recycling in Madison. I do not part with hazardous stuff like this easily but it was time: the computer decided that there was on operating system installed!!! Hey, who am I to argue, besides the computer was as old as my marriage... Finding a place to recycle the CPU and monitor was not easy. A few months ago, when I had to let my old laptop go, I was faced with the same long search. Finally I found that the city would take it for $10. Now, since I am thrifty, I tried one last thing: I went to the manufacturer's website and thankfully they had a free recycling program. If you have a Toshiba or Dell computer you can send it back to them for free. I wasn't this lucky this time around. We ended up paying $5 to recycle both the CPU and monitor, which was a bargain in my mind. So we drove away happy that we did the right thing once more; blah, blah, blah....

A few days later I read this article in Audubon:

Apparently all these electronics are sent to developing countries and are "recycled" there in abysmal working conditions! I was pissed off to say the least! So my $5 are basically paying for the shipping of my trash to these poor countries!
What pisses me off the most is that we don't even need to reinvent the wheel to do the right thing. I mean, some European countries have already successful and safe recycling facilities installed. All we would have to do is copy them! But no, why do that when we can just ship our crap all the way across the world? Grrrrr....


Anyway, here are some websites to help you find a computer recycler in your area, even though if I had a basement I would just keep my old electronics there until I trusted this whole process...


I don't remember which one was more helpful for me:


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Posted: Aug 14, 2008 5:45pm
Jun 15, 2006

Yesterday we went to the Cologne Zoo. It was one of those days that fill you with thoughts and feelings and infinite sadness and I wanted to share it with you…


I think that you have to be a hard-ass and totally unaware of what happens around you, to survive a day at the Zoo with a cheerful disposition. And I don’t mean the conditions in which the animals live. The Cologne Zoo might be the best zoo I have ever seen in terms of the space the animals have, cleanliness and general physical wellbeing of the animals. They seem to be doing well enough to reproduce in steady numbers.


The problem was that I was confronted with intelligent beings who are basically imprisoned. Yes, I was shocked by their intelligence, their sadness and even humor. How can we not see that? They know they are caged, some even know it is slave labor that they do in exchange for safety and food. They deal with this each in their own way. The cheetahs, totally aware of humans taking pictures – including myself – walked to the front of their confined area, climbed on a tree trunk each and took a grandiose shit in front of everyone, as if to say “this is what I think of all this!” I spent a long time at the seals – an animal I just adore – videotaping them amongst screaming children who where luckily more interested in the penguins nearby and didn’t stick around for long. One of the seals noticed that I was taking pictures and made the funniest faces for my sake, while previously she would just swim around and never stopped for long.  While I was leaving she looked at me in the eyes, then I was sure she knew… But the most powerful experience was at the gorilla house. One of them, when he saw groups of kids walking by he would angrily hit the glass with both arms like saying “back off”! He did that a number of times obviously pissed off at the human presence… There was this big gorilla though, whose gaze was so human, it kicked my ass. He was like the elder of the tribe who knows that the future is dark, understands the humiliation of his kind and knows he cannot do anything about it. He sat in a corner while I videotaped him. He had this annoyed look but was still posing for it. I’ve seen him do this before, but he will look you in the eyes while he does it. He wants you to know that he is aware… He came closer to check me out. I looked him in the eyes too, not through the camera lens. I wanted him to know I knew too… Then a bunch of kids came and started screaming and making fun of him. He looked at every one of them pissed off, and then looked at me saying “do you see what I have to put up with?” After a while I left, went on looking at the other primates. For some reason I came back in his direction. He was at the same spot and nodded at me when he saw me. I was overwhelmed with rage over human arrogance… There are more stories that made me think and even laugh, like the sea lion who slapped his trainer’s ass continuously when he wanted more fish. Just a little reminder that he would not be bossed around just like that….


So, what about the two-legged animals that filled the zoo? The zoo was full of groups of children. Nothing against the fact itself. But for me a visit at the zoo should be a pilgrimage for all of us and we should teach this to our children. In a few years that may the last little piece of nature left. Instead, most adults find the zoo as an easy solution to spend a day with the children without having to put much effort into it. You just let them loose and they will entertain themselves. The result is big and smaller groups of screaming kids running around annoying the hell out of the animals. Not only that, they will even mock and humiliate some of them from the safe distance and protection that cages and glass walls give. Some throw stuff at the animals. I am waiting for the day that I will see adults accompanying their children solemnly and will explain to them that these are intelligent beings who are in extinction because of US! And that in return we imprisoned them to preserve a few of them in order to teach our children about what they missed out on. Because there was a time when there were still forests and steppes and open spaces where these animals could live but not anymore. That’s why we made these glass houses for them to keep them safe. These are their houses and we are allowed to come in a few hours a day to learn and pay respects to these awesome creatures and we have to do so respectfully, just like we would expect a guest to do at our house.  


Instead what I saw yesterday was a bunch of spoiled kids who think that they are the center of the universe and that they can do whatever they want. Parents today must feel guilty for the world they delivered to their kids, for the fact that they have to grow up caged themselves, because the world is too dangerous and too filthy for them to play outside so they compensate by letting them do whatever they want in their confinement. They don’t teach them respect, on the one hand because they don’t know the meaning of the word themselves and on the other because they think that their children are too stupid to understand… So the kids get the message that animals are stupid and not aware of their situation and that they are there for our entertainment. I dread the future that these kids will create when they become adults…. The whole time we were at the zoo I was having fantasies of a human zoo where animals would come to visit and mock US. That will be the day!

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Posted: Jun 15, 2006 10:07am
Jun 1, 2006

Lifestyle: 26 May 2006, Friday.

The Rhodopes sanctuary where the tomb of mythical Orpheus is supposed to be located awoke Friday with serious damages in the rock.

The guard of the site found that a 20cm-long part of the rock was torn out and immediately alarmed police.

According to an initial version, a lightening might have caused the damage, as the same night there was a storm.

However, police investigates a possible foray on the ancient sanctuary serving as a magnate for many people believing a gold treasure lies beneath the rock.

Archeologists have repeatedly called to official institutions and donors to help for the survival of the unique megalith complex, otherwise unprotected it would turn into ruins.

During last summer's torrential rains, the construction, which is made of limestone, showed up first signs of irreparable damages.

It is believed the sanctuary of Tatul flourished for more than two thousand years in ancient times. It is probably the largest temple in the area, only second after the nearby sanctuary of Dionysus in Perperikon.

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Posted: Jun 1, 2006 2:26pm
May 31, 2006
It is graduation time at our country's colleges. Gary Olson, chair of poltical science at Moravian College, was voted by Moravian's Senior Class to give their commencement address. When I read it I was filled with hope about the future, because if there are colleges like this where students choose people like Olson to deliver speeches like this, then things can only get better! All it takes is more awareness by more people.

This speech summarizes very well some of my views on education. So, if you want to see what I would like to accomplish by teaching anthropology in the future, here is the address as given at Moravian, May 13, 2006.


Commencement 2006

Gary Olson

(Note: Each year, Moravian College's senior class selects a faculty member to give the Commencement address. The following remarks were offered on May 13, 2006).

President Rokke, Pam Rokke, honored guests, faculty colleagues, friends, parents, lovers of the graduates of all sorts, the folks who've cooked, cleaned and taken care of the graduates and their surroundings for four years, including preparing today's ceremony, and especially, Moravian's Class of 2006.

A few of you might recall the last time I spoke at commencement my mother sent along some unsolicited advice, as mothers will do. I'll share just one line again because it's timeless. She wrote, "Gary, you might remind the graduates of your own mediocre undergraduate record. If you could make something of yourself, surely anyone can and that will give them confidence! Heed my mother's wisdom.

Before proceeding with some brief observations, I want to acknowledge that the Class of 2006 has been blessed with a college president who's been a keen and steadfast advocate for unhampered discussion and free inquiry on this campus. I know that perhaps better than most because my presence on the faculty requires that he demonstrate that commitment on a regular basis. Pres. Rokke, as you retire today -- and I don't make a practice of this -- I salute you. Now, let me extend one final opportunity to defend academic freedom.

As a faculty member I watch our freshly tasseled graduates stride across the stage each year and invariably ask myself: Have we satisfied our responsibility to these young people?

It's my sense that colleges like Moravian are among the few remaining U.S. institutions where human relations aren't mediated through an impoverished bottom line "marketspeak ethos" where everything, including education, has been transformed and reduced to a commodity.

We are a fragile sanctuary where students can critically ponder what should be the ends of society as opposed to college impersonators that merely train students in means to serve ends prescribed by others.

We aspire to do what Howard Zinn, the magisterial American historian, describes when he writes that for many people, "There was a moment in our lives (or a month, or a year) when certain facts appeared before us, startled us, and then caused us to question beliefs that were strongly fixed in our consciousness - embedded there by years of family prejudice, orthodox schooling, imbibing of newspapers, radio and television."

My conceit is that a few of these occasions, these moments of secular grace, have occurred here -- even in a classroom. And that these epiphanies have elongated into a moral clarity that you will draw upon later. It's my fervant hope, more than a firm conviction, that you've internalized three of these revelations:

First, you're critical thinkers, skeptical citizens. As we said in the 60s, even vegetarians know that sacred cows make the best hamburger. Thanks to your liberal arts education you now possess what the late Neil Postman described as a "built-in crap detector. " You don't accept an idea as authoritative merely because it's been around a long time, someone important uttered it, or because someone feels it strongly. You submit received opinion to respectful but ruthless analysis. You demand evidence. Indeed, you know that doing anything less would be a sign of disrespect for the idea, for the person asserting it and for yourself. (1)

You've read Noam Chomskey and you realize that "...citizens in a democratic society should undertake a course of intellectual self-defense to protect themselves from manipulation and control, and to lay the basis for more meaningful democracy." (2)

For example, today you recognize the need for a doublespeak glossary to decipher the proliferating thought police euphemisms and oxymorans in circulation. Just a few of the buzzwords providing cover for abuses of official power abroad and the erosion of our democratic principles and civil liberties at home include:

1) The USA Patriot "Improvement" Act. Translation: One nation under surveillance.

2) Operation Iraqi Freedom. Translation: Somehow our oil got under their sand.

3) And my favorite environmental catch phrase: Healthy Forests. My decoder ring says: No tree left behind.

While you search for your old copy of George Orwell's prophetic Nineteen Eighty-Four, you refuse to surrender your intellect to fear-mongering. Starved for someone to speak "truthiness" to power, you cheer on Steven Colbert as a satirical and righteous antitode.Of course, all this healthy skepticism makes you cantankerous, difficult citizens to govern. But doesn't our democracy desparately need more difficult citizens?

Second, you're cosmopolitan, no longer ethnocentric. You don't judge other cultures as wanting because they differ from your own. You've acquired this perspective from many sources: From exposure to our magnificent choir's stirring world music at Vespers to studying post-colonial literature and religions of India on campus, to gaining an appreciation for ecology in Peru's upper Amazon with Prof. Bevington and observing the European Union up close in Brussels with Prof. Lalande.

You celebrate different cultures but you know that a "traditional culture defense" can't justify crimes against humanity. Of course, Muslims shouldn't be made scapegoats for terrorism and Islamophobia is unconscionable bigotry. But neither should misogyny, honor crimes, battered wives, and barbarism be rationalized through a patriarchial rendering of the Koran or any other text.

Likewise, you're aware that our own society is hardly immune to religious extremism. It ranges from the fundamentalist Puritanism complicit in the genocide of indigenous peoples of North America to today's "theocrat wanabees" in Washington. These guys believe they're reading God's blog each morning. And guess what? It conveniently corresponds to their dreams of global domination.

Third, you're more compassionate. You realize that claims to be neutral in this world usually means siding with the oppressor. As South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu states it, "If you are in a situation where an elephant is sitting on the tail of a mouse and you say, 'Oh no, no, no. I am neutral,' the mouse is not going to appreciate your neutrality." (3)

And when your own government or its proxies trample on human rights, especially then, your sense of compassionate world citizenship easily trumps pious recitations of knee-jerk nationalism. Because you don't suffer from moral amnesia you know that war is terrorism, with a bigger budget.

You grasp that a cynical Social Darwinist "survival of the fittest" reading of human nature is routinely invoked to rationalize power and privilege.

And you're now willing to entertain the proposition that differnt socioeconomic arrangements can offer an auspicious setting for other human capacities to flourish, including empathy, compassion, social solidarity, and dare I You know, as Erich Fromm asserted, that love is the only rational answer to the problem of human existence. (4) And you want this loving attitude to flourish because you're internationalists. You have a special connection to this country but you embrace your sisters and brothers around the globe because your liberal arts education has put you in closer touch with these different members of the same human family.

Well, have I answered my question about meeting our faculty responsibilities? To be consistent, I suppose we must await the evidence. We hope you're more critical, more cosmopolitan, and more compassionate.

Please also understand that committed teachers care about the world, in part, because they care so deeply about you, you who are about to make your own way in that world.

I began with a few words from my mother and I conclude with a few verses from another senior citizen, Bob Dylan:

May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung,
May you stay forever young.
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the the winds of changes shift,
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
May you stay forever young.

On behalf of your proud teachers, know that we desire long, safe, productive, and passionate lives for you. And know that today you have my deepest gratitude for inviting me to experience my own deeply treasured moment of grace. Thank you.

(Gary Olson chairs the Political Science Department at Moravian

College, Bethlehem, PA.


1) See Richard Dawkins, A Devil's Chaplain (New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 2003), Chapter 7.

2) Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies (Boston: 1989), p.1.

3) As quoted in Robert Jensen, "The Myth of the Neutral Professional."
(unpublished paper, n.d.)

4) Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving (New York: Perennial Library Edition, 1974),p.111.
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Posted: May 31, 2006 7:11am
May 12, 2006


This is a free update from ZNet.

There is a tendency, too widespread, for activists to sometimes grasp defeat from the jaws of victory. It is a fatal mistake. Don't do it.

We need an urgency that doesn't bow but we also need a sense of proportion that lets us see progress in a long struggle and expand it. All over ZNet you will find pieces that not analyze what is, but that also evidence what might be, what can be done, what people are doing, and what gains are being made.

Sometimes the evidence of those gains is overwhelming and inspiring. Here is an article we received from the author just a few minutes ago.


West Point Graduates Against The War: Now Is The Time
by James Ryan

Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war,
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.
Julius Caesar


We members of West Point Graduates Against The War stand appalled at the deceitful behavior of the government of the United States and, in particular, its widely known malefactors. Their lying, cheating, stealing, and rendition of evasive statements not only has demeaned these deceivers and our country, but they have placed vast numbers of innocent people in deadly peril as a direct result of their deceptions. We will not serve these lies, that is, we will not work for, be a servant to, provide for, assist, or promote the interests of this dishonorable administration. By remaining silent we tacitly serve; we are no longer silent.

The illegal assault and occupation in Iraq has killed tens of thousands of innocents, both American, Iraqi, and others, causing incalculable damage to Iraq and the Iraqi people, as well as the reputation and honor of the United States of America.

The behavior of this administration is particularly odious since it makes mockery of the code of conduct instilled in us at West Point. "A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do." This has provided us with a lifelong respect for the truth, and a sense of responsibility to do the right thing, even if that means admonishing our country's leadership.

Our position may be counter to the opinion of many of our fellow graduates. Our views are most probably not the views of the official institution that is West Point. It does its work, we ours. Yet, we are undeniably full-blown products of that place, trademarked by the West Point way of behavior. "Duty, Honor, Country," the motto of the Academy, our watchwords, as well. And we express our views as an organization of graduates, as retired generals of similar pedigree express their own. The difference? There are more of us than there are generals.


Admiral John Paul Jones, the father of the American navy, said it best. "I would lay down my life for America, but I cannot trifle with my honor." This administration has done neither. Chicken hawks in wolves' clothing, they have been derelict in duty, honor, and country.

Consider their sending under-equipped troops into battle under false pretenses, the widely-known ignoring of Second Amendment protections of the Constitution, the "quaintness" of the Geneva Convention, or Colin Powell's ill-starred, mendacious UN presentation. Their lies and misleading statements, detailed in so many places, have become epic. They tried to make their case. They failed. Facts and time have proven these people untrustworty and incompetent. They lied, tens of thousands died, and that is a moral tragedy.

Shamelessly, the president of the United States mocks his own deceitful behavior at White House Correspondents' Dinners. People have perished from his infamous words, and he and his ilk, and the ilk of journalists, all guffaw and wink and preen. Duty, Honor, Country? Be serious.


We are graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York who are against the war in Iraq, and any other future wars similarly premised. Our ranks include sons, daughters, and spouses of deceased graduates. All of us stand in common cause against the deceitful policies and lies of the Bush administration. We are heartened by supporters from all over the world, but particularly the American taxpayers who gave and maintain the life of the institution that bore us into the adult world of service to our country. And, in that spirit, we now act.

We are not politicians, professional media pundits, retired generals, peace-at-any-price activists, conscientious objectors, Communists or traitors. We seek to overthrow nothing. Except the pattern of deceit by this administration that has so sorely damaged this country, its standing in the world, and the world itself.

We have no historic legacy of public life that we are out to maintain because we have had no public life. We are ordinary people, forged by one unforgettable unifying experience - West Point. We studied there, we trained there, we were inspired there. We are the voice of a growing band of men and women, graduates of West Point, not perfect people, but honorable. And we speak for the many who, because of their circumstance, are reluctant or unable to speak.

We call likeminded graduates of West Point to stand with us and speak out against the deceitful policies of this administration, and the resulting destruction of the honor of the United States, and the dissipation of its military.

Alarum and call to action

Say no to preventive war. Heed President Eisenhower's words. "When people speak to you about a preventive war," he said, "you tell them to go and fight it."

Say no to torture. Demand that the United States government respect the conventions of war. We must lead by example, preserving some aspect of humanity in the carnage and devastation. Today, we gaze into the abyss of perpetual war. Be aware, as Nietzsche warned, "If you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

Say no to the trashing of the honor of our country. Stay the forked tongues of this deplorable administration.

This is not a partisan issue. Both sides of the legislative chambers have aided and abetted this corrupt administration. We exhort everyone to stand with us and to write to their political representatives. We will do the same. Tell them that you don't appreciate their silence on these vital issues. Tell them to support and defend the Constitution as they have sworn to do. Demand honorable behavior from all public officials. Tell them how you feel about what THEY have allowed to happen to our country. And tell them that we, West Point Graduates Against The War, sent you. Tell them that we stand with you. It's the truth!

"Now is the time!" Martin Luther King said long ago. Indeed, NOW is the time.

We live on the precipice of yet another "arranged" war. This time it's Iran. As in Iraq, the demonization is well underway. The dogs of war are foaming and gnashing. Deja vu all over again, or, as we used to say at West Point, S.O.S, "Same Old Stuff," or words to that effect.

And all this in the name of homeland security. Please be serious. As Dwight Eisenhower said, "If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison. They'll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads. But if an American wants to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government."

Today, we have clear intimations of just such a government. We think that Americans are not so easily cowed, and that the vast majority demands far more than a diet of false statements, and confinement in endless, immoral wars.

New voices can change the world. They always have. Stand with us!

James Ryan

Cofounder: West Point Graduates Against The War


Visibility: Everyone
Posted: May 12, 2006 1:10pm
Apr 12, 2006


by James Clement Taylor

I am a Christian and not a Wiccan. A Christian is one who has been
baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and who
has made a personal, free-will decision to commit himself and all
his or her life to our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Both
of these things are true of me. Although I am a Greek Orthodox
Christian, in this paper I am not speaking as agent for any church
but am, entirely on my own responsibility, speaking the truth in
love, as we Christians are supposed to do.

A Situation of Strife and Shame:

There are many Christians today who believe that anyone who is not a
Christian is doomed to an eternity of suffering in hell. Any decent
person, believing this, would be compelled to try to save as many
people from this fate as possible. But is this belief correct? Jesus
Christ, having noted the faith and righteousness of a Roman
centurion, a Pagan, proclaimed:

"Assuredly I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even
in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west,
and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of
heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer
darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew
If we accept these words as true, and surely we should, then it is
clear that heaven will contain many who are not Christians, and hell
will contain many who are! Clearly, throughout the Gospels, Jesus
Christ sets forth the criteria for entrance into the kingdom of
heaven, and those criteria include love, kindness, forgiveness, and
a refusal to judge others:

"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will
also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses,
neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:14-15)
"For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the
same measure you
use, it will be measured back to you." (Matthew 7:2)
"But go and learn what this means: `I desire mercy and not
sacrifice.'" (Matthew 9:13)
"Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Judge
not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be
condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (cf. Luke 6:36-38)
Is it not clear? Anyone who fails in these things, will calling
himself a Christian save him? Anyone who obeys God in these things,
will being unbaptized condemn him? Jesus said, "Not everyone who
says to Me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he
who does the will of My Father in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)

In addition to these words from the Gospel, let us look at the words
of Micah the Prophet, centuries earlier, who wrote:

"He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?"
(Micah 6:8)
Where, in any of this, does it say what doctrines one is to believe,
or whose teachings concerning reality one must accept? All these
things speak on how one ACTS, how one lives one's life, the kind of
person one's actions gradually bring into being.

Yet it is not by good works that we earn our way into heaven,
because there is no way we can earn the free gift of God's mercy and
grace, which alone can save us. But it is clear that it is not by
faith, in the sense of sharing the Christian faith, that we are
saved, either. The faith which saves us is not faith in the goodness
of our works, nor faith that we have the right theology and/or
belong to the right church. Rather, it is faith in God, and in His

"So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God
who has mercy."
(Romans 9:16)

But the Wiccans, you will say, do not have faith in God. Yet by
their own theology, they certainly do. Those who call them Satan-
worshippers are entirely wrong. They do not worship Satan, or even
believe that Satan exists. Instead, they worship a Goddess and a God
whom they understand as manifestations of a higher and unknown Deity.

Now if you are a Christian, this will sound familiar to you, and it
should. In the Bible we find the following:

"Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, `Men of
Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as
I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I
even found an altar with inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore,
the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you'
(Acts 17:22-23)
The Wiccans worship the Unknown God, as manifested to them in the
form of a Goddess and a God. Therefore, our Bible tells us they
worship the same God we do; and if they do not know this, we should
know it!

For those of us who are unable to simply stand on God's Word, and
must prove to themselves the truth of what it proclaims the holy
Apostle John has given us the method for doing this. You have only
to attend any public Wiccan ceremony, and test the spirits which are
there, to see "whether they are of God" (1 John 4:1).

You will find that, while you may perceive the power manifested
there as less than what you have experienced as a Christian, that
power is clearly the power of God.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, these people of Wicca have been
terribly slandered by us. They have lost jobs, and homes, and places
of business because we have assured others that they worship Satan,
which they do not. We have persecuted them, and God will hold us
accountable for this, you may be sure, for He has said, "Assuredly I
say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My
brethren, you did it to Me." (Matthew 25:40)

Let us, from this point onward, repent of our misdeeds and declare
that henceforth we shall obey Christ our God, and not judge others
or condemn them, so that He will not have to judge and condemn us
for our sins.


Light & Life,

James Clement Taylor
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Tags: ,
Posted: Apr 12, 2006 11:37am
Apr 11, 2006
Nikos Kavvadias was born in 1910 in a small town in Manchuria near Harbin, by Greek parents from Cefallonia. When he was very young, his family returned to Greece.

They lived in Cefallonia for a few years and later from 1921 to 1932 in Pireas, where Nikos Kavvadias finished elementary school and then the Gymnasium. He wrote his first poems as a pupil at the elementary school. In 1929, he started working as a clerk in a shipping office and a few months later he went on board a freighter as a sailor. Over the next few years he continued to travel on the freighters, returning home wretched and penniless, only to take off again shortly after. This went on until he decided to get a diploma as a wireless operator.

At first he wanted to become a captain, but he had already lost too many years wandering around and the wireless operator's diploma was the quicket way out. He got it in 1939 -- but World War II started, he became a soldier and fought in Albania, and, throughout the German Occupation he lived in Athens, landed.

He embarked again in 1944 and travelled continuously, as a wireless operator, all over the world, until November 1974 -- three months before the fatal stroke he suffered on February 10, 1975.

Vardia, his only novel, was published for the first time in 1954. His collection of poems Marabou was published in 1933, Pousi in 1947, and Traverso in 1975. His short stories Li and Of the War/On my Horse were published in 1987. "Li" was produced as a film in 1995 with the title "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea".


(Ena Machairi)

I always carry tightly under my belt
a small african steel dagger
-- like those that blacks are used to playing with --
that I bought from an old merchant in Algiers.

I remember, as if it were now, the old shopkeeper,
who looked like an old oil painting by Goya,
standing next to long swords and tattered uniforms,
saying in a hoarse voice the following words :

"This here dagger that you want to buy
legend has surrounded with eery stories,
and everyone knows that those who owned it at some time,
each has murdered one close to him.

Don Basilio murdered Donna Julia with it,
his beautiful wife, because she was unfaithful.
Conte Antonio, one night, his wretched brother
was slyly murdering with this here dagger.

A black his young lover out of jealousy
and some Italian sailor a Greek boatswain.
From hand to hand it passed and into mine.
Many things my eyes have seen, but this one makes me quiver.

Come close and look at it, it has an anchor and a crest,
it's light, why take it, it's not even a quarter,
but I would advise you to buy something else."
-- How much? -- Seven francs only. As long as you want it, take it.

A small dagger I have tightly in my belt,
that a whim made me make it my own;
and because I hate no one in the world to kill,
I am afraid lest some day I turn it against myself ...



The fog fell with the evening
-- the lightship lost --
and you arrived unexpected
in the pilot-house to see me.

You are wearing all white and you're wet,
I'm plaiting your hair into ropes.
Down in the waters of Port Pegassu
It always rains this season.

The stoker is watching us
with both feet in the chains.
Never look at the antennas
in a storm; you'll get dizzy.

The boatswain curses the weather
and Tokopilla is so far away.
Rather than fearing and waiting
better at the periscope and the torpedo.

Go! You deserve firm land.
You came to see me and yet see me you didn't
I have since midnight drowned
a thousand miles beyond the Hebrides.


(Stavros Tou Notou)

In the nor-wester the waves boiled;
we were both bent over the map.
You turned and told me how in March
you'd be in other latitudes.

A Chinese tatoo drawn on your chest;
however you burn it, it won't come off.
They said that you had loved her once
in a sudden fit of blackest fever.

Keeping watch by a barren cape
and the Southern Cross behind the braces.
You're holding coral worry-beads
and chewing bitter coffee beans.

I took a line on Alpha Centaurus
with the azimuth compass one night at sea.
You told me in a deathly voice:
"Beware of the stars of Southern skies".

Another time from that same sky
you took lessosn for three whole months
with the captain's mulatto girl
in how to navigate at night.

In some shopin Nosy Be
you bought the knife - two shillings it cost -
right on the equator, exactly at noon;
it glittered like a lighthouse beam.

Down on the shores of Africa
for some years now you've been asleep.
You don't remember the lighthouse now
or the delicious Sunday sweet.


That first trip - a southern freight, by chance -
no sleep, malaria, difficult watches.
Strangely deceptive, the lights of the Indies -
they say you don't see them at a first glance.

Beyond Adam's bridge, you took on freight
in South China - soya, sacks by the thousand,
and couldn't get out of your mind for a second
what they'd told you in Athens one wasted night.

The tar gets under your nails, and burns;
the fish-oil stinks on your clothes for years,
and her words keep ringing still in your ears:
"Is it the ship or the compass that turns?"

You altered course when the weather turned,
but the sea bore a grudge and exacted its cost.
Tonight my two caged parrots were lost,
and the ape I'd had such trouble to train.

The ship! - it wipes out all our chances.
The Kuro Siwo crushed us under its heel,
but you're still watching, over the wheel,
how, point by point, the compass dances.


Always the perfect, unworthy lover
of the endless voyage and azure ocean,
I shall die one evening, like any other,
without having crossed the dim horizon.

For Madras, Singapore, Algeria, Sfax,
the proud ships will still be setting sail,
but I shall bend over a chart-covered desk
and look in the ledger, and make out a bill.

I'll give up talking about long journeys,
My friends will think I've forgotten at last;
my mother will be delighted: she'll say
"A young man's fancy, but now it's passed."

But one night my soul will rise up before me,
and ask, like some grim executioner, "Why?"
This unworthy trembling hand will take arms
and fearlessly strike where the blame must lie.

And I, who longed to be buried one day
in some deep sea of the distant Indies
shall come to a dull and common death;
shall go to a grave like the graves of so many.


Hunted by fate, you travelled towards
Switzerland, the pure-white but grieving;
always oon deck, in a chaise-longue, skin yellow
foor that dreadful but all too well-known reason.

Your people uneasily fussed around you;
indifferent, you gazed out to sea. All they said
raised only a bitter laugh, for you knew
your journey would lead to the land of the dead.

One evening, as we were passing Stromboli,
you turned to someone, laughing, to speak:
"How my sick body, here, as it burns,
is like that volcano's flaming peak!"

Later I saw you in Marseilles,
lost, without looking back, as you left.
And I, who loved only the watery waste -
you were someone I could have loved.

Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Apr 11, 2006 7:09am
Apr 10, 2006
these are from our short trip to Ecuador in May 2005.
Album: Ecuador
these are from our short trip to Ecuador in May 2005.

by 172 totalEvgenia F. (55)
Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Apr 10, 2006 11:28am
Apr 8, 2006
- Hellenic Paideia and ability to understand the abstract hellenic meanings and ideas in their full depth.

- Polytheistic perspective of Cosmos (selfcreation, non-linear time, multiplicity of the Divine e.t.c.)

- Eleutheroprepeia and Parrhesia - to stand and act as a free person (the status of the free has to be
proven in an everyday basis).

- Tolerance and understanding for all the other ethnic cultures. Dialectical and reasonable word.

- Eugeneia, Eunomia and Euseveia (harmonious personal and sociopolitical Ways, respect for the Divine).

- Constant awareness and desire for the Excellent (aristevein).

- Bravery and aphobia (abscence of fear).

- Kata physin zein (living according to the Natural Laws, familarity with the human body, high ecological conscience e.t.c.).

- Prudence, disinterest in the mundane and frugality.

- Direct Democracy, Panarchy (full sociopolitical participation), emphasis to the Sociopolitical than the Private element of everyday life.

- Personal and ethnical Self-Knowledge (the Know Yourself saying, for both the individual and the ethnos).

- Polymereia and industriousness.

copied from
Visibility: Everyone
Tags: ,
Posted: Apr 8, 2006 1:49pm
Apr 8, 2006

Fnord is evaporated herbal tea without the herbs.

Fnord is that funny feeling you get when you reach for the
Snickers bar and come back holding a slurpee.

Fnord is the 43 1/3rd state, next to Wyoming.
Fnord is this really, really tall mountain.
Fnord is the reason boxes of condoms carry twelve instead of ten.

Fnord is the blue stripes in the road that never get painted.
Fnord is place where those socks vanish off to in the laundry.
Fnord is an arcade game like Pacman without the little dots.
Fnord is a little pufflike cloud you see at 5pm.

Fnord is the tool the dentist uses on unruly patients.
Fnord is the blank paper that cassette labels are printed on.
Fnord is where the buses hide at night.
Fnord is the empty pages at the end of the book.

Fnord is the screw that falls from the car for no reason.
Fnord is why Burger King uses paper instead of foam.
Fnord is the little green pebble in your shoe.
Fnord is the orange print in the yellow pages.

Fnord is a pickle without the bumps. Fnord is why ducks eat trees.
Fnord is toast without bread. Fnord is a venetian blind without the slats.

Fnord is the lint in the navel of the mites that eat
the lint in the navel of the mites that eat
the lint in Fnord's navel.

Fnord is an apostrophe on drugs.
Fnord is the bucket where they keep the unused serifs for H*lvetica.
Fnord is the gunk that sticks to the inside of your car's fenders.
Fnord is the source of all the zero bits in your computer.

Fnord is the echo of silence.
Fnord is the parsley on the plate of life.
Fnord is the sales tax on happiness.
Fnord is the preposition at the end of sixpence.

Fnord is the feeling in your brain when you hold your breath too long.
Fnord is the reason latent homosexuals stay latent.

Fnord is the donut hole.
Fnord is the whole donut.

Fnord is an annoying series of email messages.
Fnord is the color only blind people can see.

Fnord is the serial number on a box of

Fnord is the Universe with decreasing entropy.
Fnord is a naked woman with herpes simplex 428.
Fnord is the yin without yang.
Fnord is a pyrotumescent retrograde onyx obelisk.

Fnord is why lisp has so many parentheses.
Fnord is the the four-leaf clover with a missing leaf.

Fnord is double-jointed and has a cubic spline.
Fnord never sleeps.
Fnord is the "een" in baleen whale.

Fnord is neither a particle nor a wave.

Fnord is the space in between the pixels on your screen.

Fnord is the guy that writes the Infiniti ads.
Fnord is the nut in peanut butter and jelly.
Fnord is an antebellum flagellum fella.

Fnord is a sentient vacuum cleaner.

Fnord is the smallest number greater than zero.
Fnord lives in the empty space above a decimal point.

Fnord is the odd-colored scale on a dragon's back.
Fnord is the redundant coin slot on arcade games.
Fnord was last seen in Omaha, Nebraska.

Fnord is the founding father of the phrase "founding father".
Fnord is the last bit of sand you can't get out of your shoe.
Fnord is Jesus's speech advisor.
Fnord keeps a spare eyebrow in his pocket.
Fnord invented the green hubcap.
Fnord is why doctors ask you to cough.

Fnord is the "ooo" in varooom of race cars.
Fnord uses two bathtubs at once.

I cannot escape them
No matter how I try
They wait for me everywhere
I cannot pass them by.

Driving down the street
I see "Jesus Is Lord"
And then immediately after
I hear the word "FNORD!"

Innocuous sayings and parables
And on the evening news
I hear the word "FNORD!"
And suddenly I'm confused

I sit alone in my room
And I'm feeling rather bored
I turn on the tube and guess what
I hear the word "FNORD!"

"Don't see the fnords and they won't eat you"
That's what I've heard the wisemen say
But I can't get away from those beasties
There's just no fucking way.

I believe I found these on alt.discordia
Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Apr 8, 2006 11:30am


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Evgenia F.
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