The Town Scryer is a mixed bag of humor, socio-political observations and ephemera from the perspective of a eclectic Pagan veteran of the counter-culture.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chief Raoni Weeps

The chief Raoni cries when he learns that brazilian president Dilma released the beginning of construction of the hydroelectric plant of Belo Monte, even after tens of thousands of letters and emails addressed to her and which were ignored as the more than 600 000 signatures. That is, the death sentence of the peoples of Great Bend of the Xingu river is enacted. Belo Monte will inundate at least 400,000 hectares of forest, an area bigger than the Panama Canal, thus expelling 40,000 indigenous and local populations and destroying habitat valuable for many species - all to produce electricity at a high social, economic and environmental cost, which could easily be generated with greater investments in energy efficiency.

Source: Opiate of Them Asses via TYWKIWDBI

More at reddit

     Be seeing you.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Forgotten Is The Vertical Soldier

     Here we are celebrating another three day weekend culminating with Memorial Day, which used to be the last day in May, but is now the final Monday in that month. The will be much barbecuing of flesh both animal and, if the overcast breaks here in California, human as we indulge in our seasonal flirtation with skin cancer.

    Over the next 72 hours the various cable and network channels will manage to air every single film to ever celebrate the blood orgy of warfare in the course of the last seventy years. The prevailing theme seems to be that we somehow support our living troops by glorifying the dead ones. Meanwhile, Veteran's Day, the holiday honoring living veterans, is all but forgotten. It was not always so.

    Memorial Day used to be Decoration Day, a day for healing a nation rent by the Civil War on which survivors would decorate the graves of the fallen on both sides. This practice was soon extended to all graves . It was a day to honor all of the dead. My grandmother still called it that and on May 31 we would solemnly visit the cemetery and place flowers on the graves of her husband and of my mother. Veteran's Day was also known as Armistice Day. It honored the men who had served and the ending of a terrible war. The holiday was established when a million or so angry vets marched on Washington after being screwed out of their benefits.

     I am all for properly honoring those who died in the service of the country. I just think it would be nice if we treated them decently while they were still breathing. A soldier is as likely to commit suicide as to be killed by the enemy. A female soldier stands a one in three chance of being raped by another soldier. They are just beginning to learn how many men are raped on base. One in seven soldiers in Afghanistan are on psychiatric medication. They are told to "suck it up" and soldier on after being stop-lossed for the third or fourth or fifth tour.

    We can, and ought to, do better.

     We must honor while we can
     The vertical man
     Though we value none
     But the horizontal one.

     WH Auden

      War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today. -- John F. Kennedy

Be seeing you.

Letter from a Fukashima Mother

Source: zerohedge

To people in the United States and around the world,
I am so sorry for the uranium and plutonium that Japan has released into the environment. The fallout from Fukushima has already circled the world many times, reaching Hawaii, Alaska, and even New York.
We live 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the plant and our homes have been contaminated beyond levels seen at Chernobyl. The cesium-137 they are finding in the soil will be here for 30 years. But the government will not help us. They tell us to stay put. They tell our kids to put on masks and hats and keep going to school.
This summer, our children won’t be able to go swimming. They won’t be able to play outside. They can’t eat Fukushima’s delicious peaches. They can’t even eat the rice that the Fukushima farmers are making. They can’t go visit Fukushima’s beautiful rivers, mountains and lakes. This makes me sad. This fills me with so much regret.
Instead, our children will spend the summer in their classrooms, with no air conditioning, sweating as they try to concentrate on their lessons. We don’t even know how much radiation they’ve already been exposed to.
I was eight years old when the Fukushima Daiichi plant opened. If I had understood what they were building, I would have fought against it. I didn’t realize that it contained dangers that would threaten my children, my children’s children and their children.
I am grateful for all the aid all the world has sent us.
Now, what we ask is for you to speak out against the Japanese government. Pressure them into taking action. Tell them to make protecting children their top priority.
Thank you so much,
Tomoko Hatsuzawa

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Police Threaten CNN Crew...

...Looking for secret morgue.


Be seeing you.

Against Stupidity, The Gods Facepalm

CORDOVA, Ala. (WIAT) - There appears to be no compromise between city leadership and storm survivors left homeless by last months tornadoes in Cordova.

As of right now, FEMA trailers are not being allowed into certain areas of the city and it's a major source of controversy between the community and the people elected to lead them.

The rules ban what's called "single wide" mobile homes, which in effect, keeps FEMA from moving temporary housing into parts of Cordova's city limits.

Mind you, the police themselves are currently set up in trailers, but the mayor refuses to allow residents, some of who are now living in tents, to access the mobile homes. He generously said he might, maybe one day, allow the FEMA trailers to be set up…on the outskirts of the city. He has said he doesn't want run-down mobile homes parked all over town years from now.
"I don't feel guilty," he said. "I can look anyone in the eye."
An EF-3 twister with winds of at least 140 mph slammed into the town around 5:30 a.m., knocking out power and damaging numerous buildings. An EF-4 with winds around 170 mph struck about 12 hours later, killing four people and cutting a path of destruction a half-mile wide through town.
Scores of homes, businesses and city buildings were destroyed or damaged by the time the winds died down. Nearly every red-brick storefront was whacked along Main Street, which is now deserted and blocked by a chain-link fence.
Be seeing you.

The People Waving The Flag Aren't Always The Good Guys

Try and remember that.

Be seeing you.

Political Facepalm

In a matter of just 3 years, we have gone from a Republican president invoking "national security" to criticize Democrat Senators for arguing against the "Patriot" Act, to a Democrat president invoking "national security" to criticize Republican Senators for arguing against the "Patriot" Act. 

Quote via Reddit. via TYWKIWDBI

Oh Brave New World...

     I was up late watching TV and trying to escape the Memorial Day weekend orgy of war movies while I did laundry. There was a rerun of "The Fringe" on and I took refuge there for an hour. Then it happened. There, on the screen of my television, in my suburban living room,  was an ad for medical marijuana. I almost spilled my beer.

     You have to understand. It's one thing to see a medical pot ad in the Sacramento News and Review. Hell, the weed ads get more column inches than the actual articles do. It's an alternative paper. I used to work for one so I know, you look for ad demographics that either can't afford the big papers or that the big papers are afraid to touch. TV is a whole different ball game. They tend to be as conservative as most big least until well after midnight. Still, there it was at only 11:20PM.


     Most of you are thinking "So what? It was bound to happen. It was only a matter of time." That's because you have never scarfed down a half-ounce of pot before you were pulled over for a traffic stop and tried to talk to a CHP officer with one hell of a case of cotton mouth.

     Such things happened a lot back when possession of any weed at all was good for one to five in prison if the judge had a mean on that morning. Timothy Leary got ten years for a single bud in '68!

     Anyway, the point is, enjoy the moment. There are damn few victories, moral or otherwise these days and this would seem to be one.

     They just passed the Patriot Act for another four years. I'll take what I can get.


Be seeing you.

"Look At That You Son Of A Bitch."

 I've got a little list.

Be seeing you.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Why The Arts Are Important


 From mashrabiyya. I encourage you to read the whole article.

     In a year where the GOP, Tea Party, and Conservative media et all, has called for the intellectual beheading of this country (defunding NPR, PBS, NEA, destruction of teachers unions, the abolishment of arts education in primary and secondary schools, etc) the slow-building anti-intellectual movement in this US has ramped up their destructive calls for further skepticism of American universities and their dislike, distrust, and further desire to de-emphasize the importance of an educated populace. It has become socially and politically acceptable to dislike and distrust educated people – the better the education, the more degrees the greater the skepticism. Sarah Palin, a woman who barely managed to scrape out a degree in journalism after attending five colleges, is a poster woman for many in this country. The term “elite” has come to serve as an acceptable degrading hiss of a pejorative in a country that has a great national distaste for the educated.


    This mentality of the “the arts don’t matter, they aren’t important, they don’t contribute or have an economic incentive to exist” is rampant in this country. Libraries close without a blink of a community’s eye. Universities slash humanities budgets but never touch athletics.


And why should universities care about critical reasoning skills? Why should universities support programs that train students to read within a critical, theoretical discourse, analyze the material, and produce a cogent, pointed argument or debate? Why should universities support philosophy, english, history, and art history majors? Wall Street isn’t interested in hiring from these majors, so why are they important? Perhaps because these majors score highest on the GRE and LSAT exams. Perform better in graduate and law programs then other majors. Have superior critical reasoning and analytical skills then mathematics and business majors.


    Education creates vessels of humanity out of every student. The history of this world, of our cultures is crafted and disseminated in education. Without an educated populace, how are we to survive? How are we to know what came before us, what shape us, and how we can innovate our future? The process of receiving knowledge, processing it, learning lessons from it, and critically using it as a tool of future development and growth is the keystone of every educational system. But it is most represented in the arts, in humanistic pursuits.

   Be seeing you.

Iceland Has A Great Blog!

   It is interesting, witty and all together cool! Here are a few examples:

Anonymous asked:Hae! Is this guy somekind of legend in Íceland or is just the photo legendary?

IcelandPictures:The sign has become legendary. I don’t know the person on the photo or if this is the original sign. Somebody, perhaps this guy, brought a sign with “Helvítis Fokking Fokk” written on it to one of the early protests after the financial crash. It’s then been copied repeatedly and become somewhat of a common saying. It was also featured repeatedly in the Áramótaskaup. Áramótaskaupið is a comedy tv program summing up the year, shown just before midnight on December 31st. Somewhere close to 100% of the nation watches this program every year. The only legendary protester in Iceland would be the late Helgi Hóseasson. Maybe I’ll do a post on him later.
Helvíti, literally means hell and is a common Icelandic curse word. Fokk is the Icelandicization of fuck, commonly used as fuck up in English. It’s use is generally less vulgar than in English I would say. “Helvítis fokking fokk” would be best translated to English as “Fucking fuck up of Hell”. Actually quite an accurate description of the Icelandic economy right after the crash.

The Grímsvötn Eruption is Over

Well hopefully at least. The eruption began calming down yesterday evening and has dwindled down to a puff of steam today. A group of people drove across the glacier last night to experience the last breaths of the volcano. Kristján Kristjánsson from Mountain Taxi was part of the group and took the above picture. It shows the middle of the crater burping up small spouts of steam and ash. This small crater in the middle is essentially a new island. Grímsvötn is a very peculiar volcano, as it is situated in a lake under a glacier. Lakes of course do not normally form under glaciers, but due to the constant geothermal heat, there is a large lake under the ice cap. This lake is usually not exposed, but covered completely by the glacier. It is only exposed when an eruption occurs.
I have been up to Grímsvötn a few times, but never shortly after an eruption. I hope I’ll have an opportunity to go up there this summer. On top of the volcano, there is a mountain hut, the most unique mountain hut in Iceland. To get there you either have to ski for 2-3 days or drive up on super modified 4x4s. Once you get there you can go into the warm hut and relax. The Icelandic Glaciology Societywhich owns the hut has harnessed the heat of the volcano to keep the hut warm all year long. It even has a hot sauna heated up by the volcano. The temperature of the sauna varies depending on the activity in the volcano. I’m guessing that in the past few days, the sauna has been very very hot.
A seven-year-old child in Iceland carries a lamb to shelter ahead of an ash cloud

      Lots more great stuff at: Iceland In Pictures

     Be seeing you.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Soft Self-Portrait with Bacon and other Dali-ances

Bird Bath, 1978.
Surrealist painter Leonora Carrington died yesterday (May 26, 2011) of pneumonia in Mexico. She was 94 years old.

Images from La Muse Verte
Be seeing you.

Gil Scott-Heron R.I.P.

(CNN) -- Gil Scott-Heron, dubbed the "godfather of rap" for his mix of poetry and music, died Friday in New York, his publicist at XL Recordings said. He was 62.
It was not immediately known what killed Scott-Heron, who was best known for the 1970 song "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," a politically and socially charged song that examined the African American condition in America at the time. The song was banned by some radio stations.
Scott-Heron died at 4 p.m. at a New York hospital, said Lisa Gottheil, his publicist at XL Recordings.

Gil Scott-Heron (April 1, 1949 - May 27, 2011) was an American poet, musician, and author known primarily for his late 1970s and early 1980s work as a spoken word performer and his collaborative soul works with musician Brian Jackson. His collaborative efforts with Jackson featured a musical fusion of jazz, blues and soul music, as well as lyrical content concerning social and political issues of the time, delivered in both rapping and melismatic vocal styles by Scott-Heron. The music of these albums, most notably Pieces of a Man and Winter in America in the early 1970s, influenced and helped engender later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul. Scott-Heron's recording work is often associated with black militant activism and has received much critical acclaim for one of his most well-known compositions "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". His poetic style has been influential upon every generation of hip hop since his popularity began.[2] In addition to being widely considered an influence in today's music, Scott-Heron is still active and in 2010 released his first new album in 16 years, entitled I'm New Here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Important Links

   Some links to important articles that are hard to summarize properly and even harder to excerpt but that you  need to know about:

     A more thorough treatment of something I posted a few days ago by Roger Ebert. Visit his blog often. You'll be glad you did.

     On how major Universities got caught up in derivatives investment gambling.

Daily Censored

     Be seeing you.

The Patriot Act Renewal Is Sneaking In The Back Door

     Senator Rand Paul (R- KY) stunned everyone yesterday when he announced that he intended to filibuster the planned four year extension of the Patriot Act if the Congress did not agree to debate possible amendments.

The suggestion that the extension should be debated fueled considerable opposition, particularly from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D – CA), who insisted it would be a “huge mistake” to debate the bill and might threaten national security.

Fortunately for Sen. Feinstein, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D – NV) sprang into action, and found a way to prevent any such debate from taking place. Instead of passing the Patriot Act the Senate has now slipped the entire extension into a “small business bill” which cannot be filibustered.

The Patriot Act provisions are scheduled to expire at the end of the week, but are expected to be rubber stamped by Congress, barring any unforseen inconveniences, like a public debate of the controversial provisions.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Assorted Acts Of Amusement...

   Well, it's all over the news. A two hour film on Sarah Palin's partial term as Governor of Alaska and rise to household word is in the works and set  to premier in June.

    No, that wasn't it. The real film promises to be less entertaining. At two hours projected running time the film will run slightly longer than the amount of time she actually spent governing Alaska.

     Maybe they can run it as a double feature with that "Atlas Shrugged" disaster.



Some people just seem to have a lot of luck. A friend of mine is one of those card players who can almost always draw whatever he needs to win a hand in poker, but loses big time at the races.
I asked him about this once and he replied, "Well ... they won't let me shuffle the horses."




   Some items from misscellania

    Be seeing you.

Sgt. Stubby The War Dog

   (via Stubby: Dog, Hoya mascot, and war hero - O Say Can You See?)
Stubby wearing his coat and collar
Stubby the dog, known to many as “Sgt. Stubby”, is one of my favorite artifacts in the Armed Forces History collections. He was the mascot of the 102 Infantry 26th Yankee Division in World War I. He showed up at training camp one day on the grounds of Yale University, and was such a hit with the soldiers that he was allowed to stay (he would drill with them, and even learned to salute). When it was time to ship off for Europe, Stubby went along for the ride to Newport News, Virginia, and was smuggled by Private J. Robert Conroy aboard the SS Minnesota. Upon discovery by Conroy’s Commanding Officer, the story goes, Stubby saluted him, and the CO was so impressed he allowed Stubby to remain with the troops. Stubby took to soldiering quite well, joining the men in the trenches. He was gassed once, and wounded by shrapnel another time, and once he disappeared for a while, only to resurface with the French forces who returned him to his unit. Stubby even captured a Hun (that’s WWIslang for a German soldier)!…

     All of that may be true, but my first thought was that when he died they still stuffed and mounted the poor bugger! 

     There's probably a moral there somewhere.

    Be seeing you.

What School "Vouchers" Really Buy


 If you live in a state with a voucher or corporate tax credit program funding "school choice," your state's tax dollars are funding the teaching of creationism and religious supremacism.

     Are your state’s tax dollars funding the teaching of religious supremacism and bigotry? What about creationism? The answer is undoubtedly yes, if you live in a state with a voucher or corporate tax credit program funding “school choice."

     Take a look at what growing numbers of students are being taught with taxpayer funding. The textbook quotes are followed by a description of the Florida tax credit program, the largest of its kind in the country.

     In 2003, the Palm Beach Post conducted its own survey of Florida’s voucher schools, and of the religious schools that responded, 43 percent used either A Beka or Bob Jones curriculum. The percentages may be higher in Florida than some other states; however, these three curricula series are used by thousands of private schools across the country.
Unsurprisingly, the textbooks are fiercely anti-abortion and virulently anti-gay, similar to the ideology of Religious Right organizations (heavily funded by Betsy DeVos and family) that have been labeled hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  A Bob Jones current events text argues against legal protection for gays, stating, “These people have no more claims to special rights than child molesters or rapists.” The text uses an often-repeated phrase that homosexuals and abortion-rights supporters are “simply calling evil good.”
They also teach a radical laissez-faire capitalism. Government safety nets, regulation, minimum wage and progressive taxes are described as contrary to the Bible. Many of these textbooks were first published in the 1980s, evidence that the merging of Religious Right ideology with extreme free-market economics predates the Tea Party movement by many years.
The textbooks exhibit hostility toward other religions, including Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, and traditional African and Native American religions, and other Christians are also targeted, including non-evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics.

    Much more at Alternet

Be seeing you

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hostage Advertising Sales

Rent This Space Or The Big Man Keeps Stripping

Be seeing you.

Lazy Theaters May Be Spoiling Your Movie


  It's Saturday night. You just shelled out over twenty dollars for you and your companion to see "Jane Eyre". Another thirty for assorted liquids and snacks and you're all set. The trailers end and the film begins, but something's wrong. The film, which was shot using natural light and candles, looks like it was shot in a crypt. Everything is way too dark. Two hours later, you leave grumbling.

     There is nothing wrong with the movie. It is all the fault of the theater. The following is from by way of  tywkiwdbi :

Why, then, do so many of the movies look so terrible?
A visit to the Regal Fenway two weeks later turned up similar issues: “Water for Elephants’’ and “Madea’s Big Happy Family’’ were playing in brightly lit 35mm prints and, across the hall, in drastically darker digital versions.

The uniting factor is a fleet of 4K digital projectors made by Sony — or, rather, the 3-D lenses that many theater managers have made a practice of leaving on the projectors when playing a 2-D film...

A description of the problem comes from one of several Boston-area projectionists who spoke anonymously due to concerns about his job. We’ll call him Deep Focus. He explains that for 3-D showings a special lens is installed in front of a Sony digital projector that rapidly alternates the two polarized images needed for the 3-D effect to work.

“When you’re running a 2-D film, that polarization device has to be taken out of the image path. If they’re not doing that, it’s crazy, because you’ve got a big polarizer that absorbs 50 percent of the light.’’

They’re not doing that, and there’s an easy way to tell. If you’re in a theater playing a digital print (the marquee at the ticket booth should have a “D’’ next to the film’s name), look back at the projection booth.

If you see two beams of light, one stacked on top of the other, that’s a Sony with the 3-D lens still in place. If there’s a single beam, it’s either a Sony with the 3-D lens removed or a different brand of digital projector, such as Christie or Barco.

The difference can be extreme. Chapin Cutler, a cofounder of the high-end specialty projection company Boston Light & Sound, estimates that a film projected through a Sony with the 3-D lens in place and other adjustments not made can be as much as 85 percent darker than a properly projected film...

So why aren’t theater personnel simply removing the 3-D lenses? The answer is that it takes time, it costs money, and it requires technical know-how above the level of the average multiplex employee...

     Don't be afraid to walk out and ask for your money back.

Be seeing you

Monday, May 23, 2011

Your Boss's Office...And Your Office

Be seeing you

And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor

People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.
You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.
Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.
You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.

Be seeing you

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Because Empathy Has Gone Out Of Fashion

     Yet the poet and the romantic still shed the tears of another. Do not dare to mock them.

     Hell Is A Lonely Place
     by Charles Bukowski

He was 65, his wife was 66, had
Alzheimer's disease.

he had cancer of the
there were
operations, radiation
which decayed the bones in his jaw
which then had to be

daily he put his wife in
rubber diapers
like a baby.

unable to drive in his
he had to take a taxi to
the medical
had difficulty speaking,
had to
write the directions down.

on his last visit
they informed him
there would be another
operation: a bit more
cheek and a bit more

when he returned
he changed his wife's
put on the tv
dinners, watched the
evening news
then went to the bedroom, got the
gun, put it to her
temple, fired.

she fell to the
left, he sat upon the
put the gun into his
mouth, pulled the

the shots didn't arouse
the neighbors.

the burning tv dinners

somebody arrived, pushed
the door open, saw

the police arrived and
went through their
routine, found
some items:

a closed savings
account and
a checkbook with a
balance of

suicide, they

in three weeks
there were two
new tenants:
a computer engineer
and his wife
who studied

they looked like another
upwardly mobile