Wednesday, June 30, 2004


Update in re my October 2003 prediction regarding the Plame Affair and the revenge of the CIA:

"Both resignations [Tenet and Pavitt], perhaps soon to be followed by resignations from Colin Powell and his deputy Richard Armitage, are about the imminent and extremely messy demise of George W. Bush and his Neocon administration in a coup d'etat being executed by the Central Intelligence Agency. The coup, in the planning for at least two years, has apparently become an urgent priority as a number of deepening crises threaten a global meltdown."

The Real Reason Tenet and Pavitt Resigned from the CIA...
Bush, Cheney Indictments in Plame Case Looming



"By making Iraq a playground for right-wing economic theorists, an employment agency for friends and family, and a source of lucrative contracts for corporate donors, the administration did terrorist recruiters a very big favor."

From Who Lost Iraq?
by Paul Krugman



Finally got all the plums off the tree, but not after I heard a big ruffle behind me while planting peppers and turned to see Dr. Crow's big black wings whiffling for balance while he beak-wrestled a plum off its branch; I clapped twice and he flew off, beak wide holding a plum, laughing silently. I immediately got the ladder and harvested the rest. Final plum score: Crow: 1; Monkeys: 14; Brady: 42. Victory is sweet. And juicy. [Note for plummers: if the plums have reached the yellow stage (no green) they will continue to ripen after picking.]

Late afternoon rain from skyhigh white thunderheads that have been marching in noble procession around the Lake all day in roiling majesty against blue sky; now at evening the heavy rain comes bearing implications of thunder and lightning, though none yet. And in the big sparse invisible drops that fall early, with no wind, the new rice dances jade and silver, backgrounded by a slanting late summer afternoon rain by Hokusai. Green. Cool. Fragrant with life.



These mornings on my way to and from the beans and lettuces I always stop to smell the gardenias (that creamy delicious fragrance lights a deep hunger we carry in our history, but personally know nothing of), an experience that never diminishes in its power, sets me thinking about how deeply and anciently the flowers know an aboriginal facet of us that we know so little of: our sense of smell.

The olfactory senses are situated in the limbic system, the oldest and most primitive part of the brain, because since we first stepped into the air we have used our sense of smell to survive; we still, if only figuratively, "sniff the wind"...

Our sense of smell is more than just the channel for aromatherapy, it's a root source of vital information on the state of ourselves, of others and of the world around us. The recognition of pheromones is just a small part of it. But so much of our aboriginal awareness has been silenced or atrophied by what we've surrounded ourselves with from mind to foot, I fear that in this case we may be breaking a primal connection, more than just a strong ally in our life on the Blue Jewel; we may be losing a source of life-health itself, the equivalent of going collectively blind.

Evolutionarily, when you can't sniff the wind for real, you're done for.


Tuesday, June 29, 2004


Step-By-Step Guide to Voting by Absentee Ballot

"I've never registered to vote back home, does that mean I can't vote by Absentee Ballot?
Whether or not you have ever registered to vote at home, registering for an absentee ballot guarantees you the right to vote by absentee ballot, period. Don't take any chances with your right to vote."



"This is not a time for pessimism and rage."
Closing quote from Bush-Cheney anti-Kerry videospot containing shots of Hitler.

We have kept our word to the Iraqi people, says Bush

It's a four-letter word, says Cheney.



Out here in the Japanese countryside there aren't any movie theater guards with handcuffs, there aren't even any movie theaters. I don't know how we survive out here with just trees and flowers, rivers, lakes, wild animals, genuine weather and distant neighbors-- the most exciting thing happening right now where I live is the plums ripening. Nothing like standing under the plum tree in the cool of the morning and having a couple of sweet ones for breakfast.

We saved a lot of plums from the ravages of the scoundrelly simians in the Battle of the Big Plum Job-- detailed a few posts ago-- thanks to the advanced rock-propulsion system we've developed during the million years of struggle between sapience and simiance (a struggle still ongoing in politics).

Right after that engagement I picked a couple of basketfuls of ripening plums, just in case the furry marauders returned, but I couldn't reach the ones high up, which are now hanging there ripening in the sun, like the finest rubies in perfectly complementary greenness. Beautiful. Whoever designed plum trees sure knew what she was doing.



"This is a lot of effort to try and stop you from seeing this movie. You have to ask yourself why? Is it so bad that you might get a dissenting opinion from this movie to counteract the daily spoon-fed media drivel? Why would so many people, go to such extreme lengths to stop you from seeing this film?"

From: Fahrenheit 9/11: Why the Far Right is Trying to Keep Americans From Seeing It and the Lies, Frauds and Deceptions They're Using
By Anthony Wade

W/thanks to Ron Andrews

Cryptofascist sampler: Storm Troopers At the Doors of Fahrenheit 9/11

Monday, June 28, 2004


A few minutes ago I clicked on a My Yahoo headline to get to a news article and was welcomed at the Chicago Tribune site with a registration form, went immediately to, pasted the Trib registration page URL, clicked and got an id and password that some cybermonkeywrencher had already registered: "fuck_registration" and "gocubs". Somewhat doubtful that this would gain me access to the Trib, I tried the id and password and got right in. At the right top of the page, I was hailed with: "Hello, fuck_registration!" I love web anarchy.


Saturday, June 26, 2004


"Michael Moore's film will snap that hypnosis, but good. Those Americans who believed what their President told them because they saw it on the TV will, after less than two hours in their local theater, look at both their television and their President with doubt and loathing when they walk from the darkness into the bright light of day. There are millions of Americans who believed what they were told - about 9/11, about Iraq, about George W. Bush himself - who will come into that bright light with the realization that they have been lied to.

From Thank You, Michael Moore

By William Rivers Pitt


Day-after addendum: "In its opening weekend Fahrenheit topped the box office, taking $8.2 million. It opened in only 868 cinemas nationwide. For comparison, the much-hyped movie White Chicks, which opened at the same time but in a total of 2726 cinemas, took $6.7m.

"The online ticket service says Fahrenheit 9/11 had 48% of all advance ticket sales, compared to just 2% for Spider-Man 2....

"One Texan moviegoer said: 'Living in Houston, heart of Bush country, my whole family including in-laws piled into three cars and went to the opening... we were surprised to find the showing sold out at the first theatre, but managed to find seats at the second we tried.

'We loved the movie, which gave us real hope that freedom and democracy will return to this great country in November [at the presidential election]. The audience gave a long ovation at the end.'"

[Even later:

"According to exit surveys in about 15 cities, 91 percent of respondents gave the film an 'excellent' rating, while 93 percent said they would 'definitely recommend' the film -- tallies that Ortenberg said were the best he had ever seen. The core audience was aged between 25 and 34..."



After a morning hour spent among the greenbeans, and after I'd spotted reddening plums in the plum tree and harvested the ripe ones, I'd had lunch and was napping upstairs in a sweet purple plum reverie when I heard what was clearly a monkey argument in the garden, sounded like it was over plums.

Then I heard Echo join in, running out on the deck and shouting "Get out of here, get away from those plums," and I was up out of purple dreams like a shot, down and into my boots and thence to my handy supply of AMBMs (Anti-Monkey Ballistic Missiles), a bunch of rocks carefully selected for their ballistic properties, lined up on the deck railing ready for monkey battle.

The teenage monkeys (who had given the game away by arguing over the plums (I can see the monkey-adult note to self: DO NOT bring teenagers on plum jobs), already strolling in typically adolescent insouciance toward the pergola and out of the garden, carefully balancing their armfuls of plums, stopped once they got beyond the pergola, that point being (as they saw it) legally "out of the garden." The large rocks that sped toward them cast immediate and concrete doubt upon this interpretation of garden law. They then took off for real, shedding armfuls of bitten plums.

Missiles still at the ready I turned to assess the plum tree and was amazed to find there, seated right in the main crotch, the big fat leader of the tribe, who smugly thought he was hidden because he could not see me for the leaves, and possibly for the visions of ripening plums dancing before his very eyes. He was leaned back comfortably as in an armchair a bit too small for his corpulence, nibbling at his leisure on one of my delicacies. Awakened to reality by an AMBM (I once was blind, but now I see), he shed the plum and shot instantly out of the tree about ten meters in the direction opposite the missile source, landing all scrambled up smack in the middle of the thick bamboo, with more missiles following his rackety bamboozled progress away.

Fortunately I had picked the ripe plums on my earlier check, so our quick response had limited the loss to only a dozen or so ripening plums. Now I'll take all that are even slightly ripe, as soon as I finish my nap.


"We poets have been attacked for the stance we have taken. We have been attacked for speaking out. We have been accused of being unpatriotic because we do not believe that compounding murder is the best possible response to murder. It grieves us to see our nation's (or any nation's) children turned into killers before they have had the opportunity to study war and its vicious and inevitable consequences."



At the highest levels of executive government. You want his finger on the red button?



When you own a house, particularly one as extensively vertical as mine is, there are any number of stratospheric problems that now and then need remedying, from shingles to chimneys to high windows to stovepipes and roofbeams, not to mention treelimbs. These problems worsen over time, and accumulate by orders of magnitude, if all you have is a short ladder.

There's the caulking and wood treatment that has to be done up near the roof in front; the upper front windows to be cleaned; the carpenter bee hole to be plugged. There's the stovepipe to be cleaned, the living room ceiling fan to be fixed, the new sleek stovepipe brace to be installed; the back upper windows to be cleaned. The long lower oak branch out over the garden has to be pruned, the lower cypress branches to be trimmed.

And here I sit at my keyboard, willing but unable to do these things with my little ladder. Until now. For at last I have a way to reach higher heavens: I have bought a shiny new extending ladder, delivered yesterday, that can reach to seven meters, over nine meters with me reaching from the top rung. Heaven is within my grasp.

And here I still sit at my keyboard, even though willing and able to do these things. The ladder's all wrapped up outside, where it's raining in a big hurry. There are higher heavens, with greater and more urgent tasks.


Friday, June 25, 2004


"At first glance it does not seem possible that such a complex, curving form could have been folded from a single sheet of paper, and yet it was."




Well for SIX MONTHS now, that Special Prosecutor and his many assistants have been scouring the White House for the traitor who leaked the name of covert CIA op Valerie Plame, but they just can't seem to find out who, among the at most three people who had access to the info, committed treason against the United States of America for political gain. Traitors in the Bush administration appear to have something in common with WMDs in Iraq.

Of course the Prosecutor KNOWS that Robert Novak, who knowingly exposed Plame in his column, thereby committed treason. Wonder if he'll be prosecuted for what he in fact did. And of course Novak knows his source. No one seems to be focusing on Novak though, he must be too close the actual answer. But then he's clearly on the side of an administration that's still looking for WMDs in Iraq, so maybe Novak will never be found either. They are looking everywhere else, though, and at great length...

Washington is a strange place, but no matter what strings the Dubya marioneteers pull on this one, you can bet the intelligence community will not allow another term from this administration.



I can't imagine who would do such a thing, or where, but somebody got 1000 linguists together (must have been quite a Babel in itself), asked them which were the three hardest words to translate... I don't think their first choice holds a candle to wabi or sabi, just off the top of my head. And Japan only came in third with a Kansai miniword that translates roughly as "ain't that fer sher"? They should try chewing on sukkiri as opposed to sappari for a while.


Thursday, June 24, 2004


My drive to the dentist must be one of the more beautiful of the world's many drives-to-the-dentist, it winds along the small road that skirts the Lake shore, the first road, the old road, the road in all the histories, all the folding screens and all the woodblock prints of this part of Omi.

The road to my dentist

I always enjoy traveling that road, even to go to the dentist. But on this occasion, when after all that beauty I arrived at said establishment and turned off the motorcycle, I was surprised to find that I was not traveling alone. Out from under the handlebars hopped a small green frog who'd hitched a ride all the way from home, and who after all that beauty now sat there on the chrome staring pointedly at the non-aesthetic sight of the dentist's office.

Then I noticed a larger frog on the fender, doing the same thing. Obvious seekers of beauty, the two of them. I asked why they'd come to the dentist, though, since they had no teeth, but I didn't have my shovel with me, so they didn't respond. I went inside; they stayed, staring, as though waiting for the beautiful ride back.

Sure enough, when I emerged an hour later, the green duo were still there, and traveled with me all the way back home, seeming to love the breeze in their faces, such speed being a rarity in their lives; they stared right into it. If they'd had hair, it would've blown wildly.

When we arrived at our place on the mountain the larger frog jumped onto my leg, croaked a quick thanks, then leaped to the ground and home with stories of his amazing adventure. The little frog dozed off on the sunwarm handlebar. Teeth or no teeth, it was a beautiful trip.



"Tokyo subway shooting shocks nation

Wednesday's shooting of a Tokyo Metro employee has rocked the nation's capital with scenes of terror-stricken passengers rushing to escape one of the most crowded stations in Japan.

Railway passengers and station employees say that the incident could have caused a major disaster because thousands of people were rushing to work at the time."

This article gives some idea of the incomprehensibility of such an event in Japan, where the discovery of a live bullet in someone's luggage at the airport is national news.


Wednesday, June 23, 2004


As I work in the garden these early summer days, for tantalizing moments I'm suddenly deep in a fragrance that whispers beauty through the air, an evocative scent whose source I can't identify. I try to track it, walk around sniffing the breeze for a scented trail but it's elusive; I end up standing by the road, looking off across the meadows for a likely cluster of wildflowers, or maybe a blossoming tree in the distance, but see nothing that might be the source of this singular perfume, now here, now gone. It's past the snowbell's time... Then back in the garden I realize I'm standing right beneath it, the sneaky thing: it's the chestnut tree, white-edged as if by inner light with catkins, that I hadn't associated with such a scent...

In the rush of new warmth, like feathery scent wicks the catkins (wondeful word for those tiny pussycat tails) send out their perfume on the high breeze to attract butterflies for the days and moths for the nights; the source was hard to locate because it's meant for butterflies and moths, not for me; or at least-- since I could detect it just now and then-- only when I'm a butterfly...

"The leaves, twigs, bark, and even the flowering catkins and the spiky cases of the nuts are astringent, and so can be used to help control bleeding, to aid healing, and in cases of diarrhea. Chestnut leaves also furnish a tea that soothes irritated mucous membranes and hence relieves the symptoms of whooping cough or any cough due to irritation."

Foto and quote from Herbs2000


Tuesday, June 22, 2004


"FUKUOKA -- A teacher infuriated with a student who dozed off during class handed the student a paper cutter and ordered him to write an apology with his own blood..."

And this just after one junior high student killed another with a paper cutter...
Where do they get 'teachers' like this? Isn't there some kind of sanity test? BTW, the guy's still 'teaching'...



On the train tonight saw a couple of Japanese schoolkids about 13 years old earnestly looking over the Japanese version of this CD they'd just bought. The Cloud of Dubya seems to be casting its shadow over all age groups, worldwide.



Within splendid lakeside breezes among famed black pines I watch hawks catch fish too big for them, then watch them react much the way humans often do with big ideas-- can't regain the elevation, the effort is too much and they have to drop the fish.

One such hawk flew close overhead and I could see that the fish looked amazed: it hung there stock still in the awe that comes with extreme experience; then the fish was dropped back into his world and said to his schoolmates: You're not gonna believe this, but there's another world above this one! They took him at his word, or so it appeared, because after that it seemed like a lot more fish were caught and dropped.

Before I let go of this idea, by a rough count I'd surmise that the hawks and fish have a deal going: one meal for every ten rides into heaven.

Monday, June 21, 2004


"comprehensive mental health screening for 'consumers of all ages...'"

"... the Texas project [the program model], which promotes the use of newer, more expensive antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs, sparked off controversy when Allen Jones, an employee of the Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector General, revealed that key officials with influence over the medication plan in his state received money and perks from drug companies with a stake in the medication algorithm (15 May, p1153). He was sacked this week for speaking to the BMJ and the New York Times.

Bush is the clear front runner when it comes to drug company contributions. According to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), manufacturers of drugs and health products have contributed $764,274 to the 2004 Bush campaign through their political action committees and employees--far outstripping the $149,400 given to his chief rival, John Kerry, by 26 April.

Drug companies have fared exceedingly well under the Bush administration, according to the centre's spokesperson, Steven Weiss."

Presumably, Bush himself will not be tested, since it appears he'd be unlikely to pass.



Then a couple hours later I get a phone call from Echo now in Kyoto, to say that the typhoon has hit there and to get ready, it should be here in an hour or so, so batten down; I run outside to check everything like under a shower in a strong wind (umbrellas are useless and time of the essence), instantly drenched with cedar-scented rain bullets, definitely refreshing to max out on negative ions as I move things out of harms way, don't want anything coming through the windows, we'll be getting the strong part of the wind here. Typhoons turn counterclockwise in this hemisphere and the eye will pass just north of us, so we'll be getting the speed of the typhoon moving northeast on top of the northerly wind speed of the typhoon's easterly half, which will add about 25% to the already considerable airy velocity. Here's hoping we don't lose any shingles or maybe a roof. Already the hiss of rain and howl of wind are too loud for me to talk to myself. Maybe I should have let the typhoon blow over that woodpile...


In the noon phase of typhoon #6, on the way back upmountain from dropping Echo off at the station I stop on the road by the big bamboo grove to watch one of the most beautiful and elegant dances in the world: bamboo in wind.

In the edgy light from the east against the dark green of the mountains and the thunder gray of the typhoon clouds, the pale jade bamboo in its tall slim splendor, like 15 meter feathers with golden quills, sways back and forth in a slow, soft roil that shows the edges of the wind as the green arms sway in the spirit of waves, with soft bows and hand gestures, all of an elegance that dancers imitate in vain, the racing wind producing only slow green response in the whole of the grove; it reminds me very much of the way seaweed sways in an ocean storm.

Inside the bamboo grove stand an old oak and a cedar, imparting darkness and depth, rising in their relative rigidity, and it is easy to see why oaks and cedars blow over all the time, but bamboo never: bamboo knows how to dance.


The big T came in the gray dawn on very windy feet in big wet boots and was out there in the garden hunkering down with its big shoulders to topple my new half-cord of firewood onto my new rows of green beans, which are just starting to produce those flavors and textures that are a couple of the very big reasons gardeners garden, when I put on my own boots and, talking to the wind in no uncertain terms, went looking for an idea, which came in the form of the suddenly handy bundle of thick bucked cedar branches I'd stacked against the stone wall for no particular reason other than "you never know when a stack of thick cedar branches might come in handy" ('you never know' is the key principle of rural philosophy).

So I anchored a few of those branches here and there amidst the tender green innocence of the beans and hefted the other ends against the side of the half-cord in opposition to the wind. Typically, the wind doesn't care one way or the other; it'll push anyway. If you're the wind, you can't just stand there.

I'm now indoors again, having my morning tea, while with its huge airy shoulders the entire wind keeps trying to topple a mere stack of firewood onto just a couple rows of green beans and can't do it. Good thing a typhoon has no ego, or this could get ugly.


Sunday, June 20, 2004


NY Times best 1000 movies. [Subscription; or: nytimes/nytimes (]



Yesterday evening the long right arm of a typhoon, more like the pinky actually, or perhaps better the very edge of a pinky gesture, brought us an extended bout of heavy rain, the kind that only typhoons seem to carry-- rain that doesn't merely fall, but can't seem to wait to get to the ground it is so worn out from the effort of staying heavily aloft-- there is a kind of heavy relief to the overall fall, a kind of "at last...", like a lake falling on a sofa.

It just so happened that this sky-relief coincided with, or perhaps induced, the emergence of a new generation of mini-amphibians, fresh new frogs about 1 cm in length, fresh from their paddy incubators. As it also happened, Kasumi and family would be stopping by at about 11 for a brief farewell before departing on their long drive back to their home up north, so we had left the outside light on, the only light around for kilometers, and it was as the beacon of a new truth to the green and restless young. When Kasumi arrived she didn't come in, but rather called us outside to see the flabbergast.

Our dark brown front door was not a door, it was formless, green and glistening, it was moving, it was a concert, a door of song, it was covered with vocalizing frogs, a froggy Woodstock generation drawn to the light of a new dawn: singing young frogs were falling from the porch ceiling, rapping young frogs were hanging from the light, young and upcoming folk-singer frogs were climbing the walls... if there is such a thing as amphibian concert fever, it was right at our front door; within seconds we had a couple dozen tiny a capella frogs in the house that turned up later in the oddest places: singing atop an onion, rapping on the caboose of a toy train.

This morning the front door is dark brown again; in the evocative silence, Frogstock is a fond green memory to all who were there.


Friday, June 18, 2004


"A lunatic Christian cult has the run of the White House and the ear of the president. What do they want? The end of the world. Be afraid.

It's almost impossible for Kofi Annan to get a meeting with the president, but Robert G. Upton, of the United Pentecostal Church, can say, as he did a couple of weeks ago in that house organ of fundamentalism, the Village Voice, 'We're in constant contact with the White House.'

Before Bush came to office, I was essentially an atheist who liked Passover food. But the past three years have changed all that. I, like many of you, pray every day for the moment that George W. Bush is no longer president. So it's time to call to prayer all people of faith who agree with this principle, who don't like seeing their precious faith used for strange and bloody military ends. I implore Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Wiccans, Protestants, Catholics, and even evangelical Christians to pray for a new president."

by Neal Pollack


And in that same parallel Bushbound universe:


As Michael Moore's documentary film opens across the US next week,
US conservative groups have launched a campaign to have it banned from cinemas.

US liberal advocacy group has asked its supporters to write to cinemas on Move America Forward's list, urging them not to give in to pressure to block the film. I'd write too, if I had a US address.


Thursday, June 17, 2004


Much in the same way the Supreme Court called Dubya president. Same crew, working hard to ensure that your best interests don't get in the way of their agenda.

"The Frozen Potato Products Institute appealed to the USDA in 2000 to change its definition of fresh produce under PACA to include batter-coated, frozen french fries, arguing that rolling potato slices in a starch coating, frying them and freezing them is the equivalent of waxing a cucumber or sweetening a strawberry."

Or wooling the eyes of a consumer. (Since when does "fried" = "fresh?")



Good as an apple.



Watching the baby twins navigate this big strange unwalled world with its leaves and stones and sky; its insects, big people, clouds and machines; its trees, houses, animals and roads, all nameless as yet, though taste-able and incomprehensibly strange, the twins looking at it all, grasping, hefting, taste-testing what they can with complete fascination, as that is their only function at the moment, apart from figuring out how fingers work.

Watching them I realize that when we're born out of the warm and peaceful, dimly lit watery culture we've lived in all our lives, we're abruptly and choicelessly born into another completely disparate culture, to which we have to start adapting right away, a culture of beings that drink water and bathe in water, a culture in which water falls from the sky, but whose denizens move freely about in air as though it were water. How strange it all must be...

Yesterday Miasa sat on a blanket in the shade by the beach and spent her life time pulling apart yomogi leaves (as fast as I could get them for her) with all the focused intent of a currency trader. She was delighting in it, however, in her own cosmically personal way: the fragrance of it, the place of it, the texture, the feel and power and focus of it, so new herself that all else is new, no matter how old. Watching her, I felt that newness I used to feel as completely as she and her sister do now, before I learned all the names for things and how to move about in the new culture, not to go too near the water...

Children and grandchildren make us new, again and again.


Tuesday, June 15, 2004


The nights the nights what food they are, especially the evening part, especially around here as we approach the solstice when the days are nearing their longest and linger well into star and moon time like tonight when I was coming home up the mountain and the DaVinci part of God had clearly been put in charge of the texture of the light-- the way it filled the sky and draped over the mountains like a dropped angel's cloak-- and the Rousseau part of God had been assigned the surfaces and textures, vegetation and animal life-- resulting in a sort of naive voluptuousness and sensual playfulness to the curves and bulges of the ripe mountains-- the entire masterwork there on display but for one evening only, and completely unadvertised, an artistic achievement that would have made the Louvre forget it had walls, if it could have been here and not stuck in the city...


Scientists have just found out (they're always the last to know) that Bilingualism May Keep the Mind Young

"Two languages may be better than one when it comes to keeping the mind young. A new study shows that being fluent in two languages may help prevent some of the effects of aging on brain function."

(I'd argue with the 'may,' but this doesn't surprise me. Look for future mind/body/society benefits of multiculturalism. BTW, regarding the old melting-pot's love for languages, anybody know who was the last fluently multilingual American president?)


Monday, June 14, 2004


Just filling out my US tax forms again mere hours before before the deadline and I can't imagine how anyone who has even a slightly more complex tax arrangement than I could do it themselves without a degree in accounting, or having to pay someone else to do it, which, if you think about it (who has time to think at tax time?), could qualify as a governmentally induced form of insanity. And speaking of judicial bodies, corporations now comprise the majority of the world's largest economic entities.

I'm not sure how, but to my 1040-fevered, 2555-festered brain these facts interrelate in some very sinister fashion that seems to be cloning into something I wouldn't want to spend my lifetime trying to keep off my back. There must be a simpler, smaller way.


Sunday, June 13, 2004

from Totalitarian Democracy: a New Poem

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Cut down cut down cut down
Cut down the grassroots
Cut down those too wild weeds
in our great agri-fields and golf courses
Cut down cut down those wild sprouts
Cut down cut down those rank weeds
Pull down your vanity, man, pull down
the too wild buds the too wild shoots
Cut down the wild unruly vines & voices
the hardy volunteers and pioneers
Cut down cut down the alien corn
Cut down the crazy introverts
Tongue-tied lovers of the subjective
Cut down cut down the wild ones the wild spirits
The desert rats and monkey wrenchers
Easy riders and midnight cowboys in narco nirvanas
Cut down the wild alienated loners
fiddling with their moustaches
plotting revolution in hopeless cellars
Cut down cut down all those freaks and free thinkers
Wild-eyed poets with wandering minds
Soapbox agitators and curbstone philosophers
Far out weirdos and rappers
Stoned-out visionaries and peace-niks
Exiles in their own land!
O melting pot America!

Lawrence Ferlinghetti's latest book of poems, AMERICUS, BOOK I, is now available from City Lights. More information on Ferlinghetti

Full poem at Counterpunch


Saturday, June 12, 2004


"Sessile secretory gland on lower leaf surface of oregano (Origanum vulgare L., Lamiaceae) with ruptured cuticle revealing individual secretory cells. Nearby stomata are also clearly visible (SEM, CPD magnified 1,979 times actual size)."

One of a series of high magnification shots of herbs on display at herbalgram of the American Botanical Council, an excellent source of herbal information on herbs and herbal medicine.

With thanks to asimplerway, an excellent blog on herbs and herbal medicine.



Anyone over 30 knows that the human mind and soul carry around all the cravings you often don't even realize you still have (as any former smoker can tell you); those silent and unnourished (usually) embers remain with you always.

This happens in an especially big way when you leave your culture, with all its attendant ingrained traditional cravings, and go live for any major length of time in another culture, particularly one as radically different as Japan is.

There in that new culture, amidst a full spectrum of unrecognized indigenous cravings, you carry around your old cravings unawares, that eat away at your virtual vitals for decades, like termites at the finest woods, until one day as in my case some majestic tree topples in the jungle of your passions and lets in some light-- I know the metaphor has gone wild but that's the nature of craving-- and you realize for example, with startling intensity, that you haven't had a genuine jelly donut in 50 years...

By genuine jelly donut I don't mean the standard six-pack, machine-gunned jelly donuts you can probably still get in convenience stores in the US (in Japan, forget even that); I am referring, with head duly bowed, to the truly epiphanic jelly donut that Baker Bill used to fashion by hand in his ramshackle bakery across the street from the World's Fair pizzeria, and don't get me started on World's Fair pizzas, the way Eddie the pizza guy used to make them, back when I was a teenager... You see?

You see? Cravings, popping up everywhere one by one, with the World's Fair pizzeria long gone and Baker Bill even longer gone, so even if I went back to my home town my cravings would be of no avail at all.

Fact is, cravings don't do much good, especially when satisfied, which is a very good reason to leave them behind; but even so, I'd sure like to walk into Baker Bill's kitchen just one more time, then wander across the street to the World's Fair...


Friday, June 11, 2004


"100% Natural!" Easy to see how much they care.


Thursday, June 10, 2004


A further note on the Valerie Plame Affair: at the very most, there are maybe three people in the White House who know the identities of CIA undercover agents. This knowledge is understandably minimized, strictly on a need-to-know basis, since so much is at stake. The names of these privy individuals are known, since this is all done by the book.

In the real world, therefore (were we living in one), it would be no problem whatsoever to find out who had leaked a state secret of such magnitude. You or I could walk in off the street and question those three folks and very likely figure out who blew Plame's cover.

So the first thing this administration gets around to, many months after the offense (which is capital-T Treason, BTW, potentially punishable by death): instead of immediately running around in a patriotic fervor asking who is this dastardly traitor among us, they establish a Grand Jury to look into this terrible offense at some time in the future after conducting a number of scattershot depositions (You are the west wing janitor? When's the last time you had a raise? etc.) to demonstrate to the media public that something is being done about this heinously unpatriotic crime. (And whoever leaked it KNEW it was a crime.)

It will be interesting to see who takes the fall. Somebody leaked the name, after all. The CIA heads are toppling like dominoes, but Bush and cronies are still there. The ones who knew Plame's identity are among them. Which of them is capable of leaking a key state secret? Judging by their scruples, I can't think of one who wouldn't, if it furthered their agenda. So who among their underlings will be willing to fall on their swords as traitors to the nation?

But then in an administration so fundamental, the leak may simply be attributed to an act of God...



"The truth is straightforward: Virtually every significant problem facing the American people today can be traced back to the policies and people that came from the Reagan administration. It is a laundry list of ills, woes and disasters that has all of us, once again, staring apocalypse in the eye."

From Planet Reagan
By William Rivers Pitt



Like many individuals of-- let us not say fugitive-- let us say, rather, independent disposition, I have never liked fences: neither the idea of them nor their physical and psychological implications. To me it is sad that good fences make good neighbors, but having had an ample sufficiency of neighbors in my time and travels I realize it is true in many cases, especially when spaces cost big bucks and serve for self expression; we do like to define our spaces, one neighbor wanting to grow petunias, the other wanting to breed pit bulls. You can choose your friends and your dentist, but not much else.

Under certain circumstances, however, I begin to think more fondly and intensively, in fact lovingly, indeed caressingly (within the law, of course), regarding fences. For example, in regard to monkeys vis-a-vis my vegetables: how splendid are fences then, in their tall and strong nobility, those excellent patriotic barrierthings that do the inyerface to conscienceless hordes of simians that would wantonly rip up and devour my onions tomatoes carrots potatoes, squashes you name it and so forth, not to mention deer after my figs and spinach, or wild pigs rooting up my potatoes and mushrooms, when dearly beloved fences are as old and true friends that surround me with a warm benevolence that warrants the raising of multimugs of wassail at harvest time... But I still don't have a fence.

And now the farmers collective in the village is putting up a vast electrified fence around its entire holdings on the mountainside so as to keep at bay the wild beasts that ravage their rice fields. In ten years living here I have seen only two small ravagings by wild pigs (small since I intervened by passing by), which happened below here a couple years ago, one by a family of pigs, the other by a solo monster. I've never seen such a thing in these higher paddies, and can't see how it warrants these fences.

I'm sure it's an an ancient problem here, though. For the first few years after we moved here, at the height of each rice-growing season the more remote mountain paddies (i.e. those near our house) used to have automatic shotgun-like dischargers that would let off a tremendous blast every fifteen minutes from dusk to dawn, to startle the wild pigs away throughout the night; you had to fall asleep in that 15-minute window, all the while wondering just how close you were to the next blast. For what it's worth, you became a superior judge of the length of 15 minutes. (I haven't found much use for the skill, myself; nobody ever asks you to do it again at parties.) And after you got used to it, when one didn't go off, you'd sit up in bed and say: "What the hell was that?" I guess the Geneva Convention put an end to the night blasters. There are fences of many types.

Fact is, though, most of the ravaging around here has been in my garden, if you ask me, which nobody has, since I'm not in the collective. So all except me will be enclosed in electric fencing supported on high wooden poles, stretched around a mountainside area of some square kilometers, forming a kind of stalag-in-reverse. With fences, you're in or you're out. I'll take the latter, though I do have pinups of the former.


Wednesday, June 09, 2004


The Simpsons? Is that their name? The toon folks who sell CC Lemon on Japanese tv? What else do they do?


Tuesday, June 08, 2004


Over the weekend, Japan's dauntless parliamentarians banded against each other and strode forth in endless variations of the 'oxwalk' (a v---e---r---y slow walk to the front of the chamber to cast a parliamentary vote; Japan's polite version of the filibuster)(something interesting has to happen in parliament), to do battle on behalf of the long-suffering public by splattering some pancake makeup on the gaping wound that is the Japanese pension system, a system less comprehensible than even the machinations of parliament.

What they did, basically, after riots in the chamber, flagrant oxwalking and egregious violations of parliamentary protocol, was extend the travesty another decade on its deathbed, while raising pension premiums and lowering pension payouts. So all you young folks out there just entering the workforce, don't count on your pensions, but be sure to pay us ours. And say thanks to the LDP who fights so hard on your behalf, headed by a guy who, these things happen, forgot to pay his pension premiums.

The government is now rethinking the premium hikes, but we all know what happens when governments think.


Monday, June 07, 2004


Amazing what's happened to the dollar. I'd have to make over 600 dollars a week now to equal my lowly weekly pre-college salary back in 1963!!


Sunday, June 06, 2004


I just came across this in SafeHaven:

"Let me just say from the outset that the Federal Reserve has confirmed our Stock Market Crash forecast by raising the Money Supply (M-3) by crisis proportions, up another 46.8 billion this past week. What awful calamity do they see? Something is up. This is unprecedented, unheard-of pre-catastrophe M-3 expansion. M-3 is up an amount that we've never seen before without a crisis - $155 billion over the past 4 weeks, a $2.0 trillion annualized pace, a 22.2 percent annualized rate of growth!!! There must be a crisis of historic proportions coming, and the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States is making sure that there is enough liquidity in place to protect our nation's fragile financial system. The amazing thing is, the Fed's actions mean they know what is about to happen. They are aware of a terrible, horrific imminent event. What could it be?

One can draw no other conclusion except that the Fed is acting irresponsibly in its managing the money supply, in fulfilling its duty to "maintain a stable currency." I reject the notion that the Fed is acting irresponsibly. No, something is up, bigger than we have ever seen in the history of the United States. Let me ramble. Perhaps they simply see the ominous technical landscape we have been warning about in recent issues, and are attempting to pull out all the stops to avert the predicted crash. The recent rally in just about everything is similar to 2003's market behavior when the Fed pumped massive amounts of liquidity into the system during the first half of the year. This time seems different. The amount of liquidity is too large. The Fed is deflating the value of the monetary base by a fifth! Why are they willing to do this? Wisdom says something bad is up - big time."

[And technically right now the dollar is worth one-fifth less.]

[And some hours later, at ZEAL, these puzzled words:

"With the S&P 500 not even plunging below its key 200dma this time around yet, and not having witnessed a sharp and frightening correction, and no international financial crisis underway, why is the PCR [put/call ratio] registering record amounts of fear these days? What has people so spooked and what is really going on in the markets underneath the surface? Put volume is soaring indicating that speculators are generally expecting lower prices ahead, but why?"

From Put/Call Ratio Soaring by Adam Hamilton



Well rainy season is finally here. The weather map is covered in big umbrellas, black clouds and big fat raindrops, the lake is invisible: nothing but a vast silver abyss dropping off into forever at the mountain's edge below.

I knew rainy season had arrived when at dawn I was awakened not by sunrise tickling my eyelids with gold, but by rainfall hammering on the skylight demanding to be let in, hissing in the trees and drenching my uncovered firewood. It was so sunny and warm yesterday, as all brinks are.

The cock pheasant loved the big cascade, though, sounded like he was quivering with delight as he crowed his squeaky-hinged big barn door imitation over and over. The warbler sang too, but like the pearlescent liquid that's absent from the pheasant's rusty hinges.

As for me, I grumbled as I hurriedly slipped bare feet into cold boots, put on my raincoat over nothing, the way I always sleep, and went out into the downpour to join the big frog party. My bike was uncovered too, as were my potting supplies. Realizations in the rain...

It had all seemed so very dry when yesterday afternoon Kaya and I carried firewood in the wheelbarrow over and over, from the cutting place to a new stacking place I'd set up (Kaya loves organizing things, an excellent quality in a grandchild), until she got worn out ("You do the rest, Bob").

Then after we'd finished, for the rest of the afternoon I wheeled her around the mountainside neighborhood roads in the wheelbarrow and wore myself out.

So last night I slept like like the baby I can still be when asleep, right into the rain. Kaya's still sleeping; I'm waiting for my tea to brew. It's ready now.


Saturday, June 05, 2004




"The economic recovery is here to stay"


"The average dividend on these 28 stocks is 2.04%--taxable. Whoopee! Even the lying government says we are having more inflation that that. We are probably having 12-15% inflation, or more. If you own one of the 28, you'd be paying taxes on a 2.04% average dividend.


What's a poor soul to do? Save? Hardly. At least not in decreasing dollars at 1% or less in taxable interest. Stocks? Not for me at a 2.04% return, which is taxable. It is said by those in the know, that CEO's are disposing of their stock in their own corporations as fast as they can, without being obvious. Me buy, when they're selling? No way. The insecurity we are now experiencing, is severe to those in the know. To the ignoramuses, all is well."

From The Dow 30 by Don Stott



Who has lived in Japan and doesn't have a thing for Daruma, the distant father of Zen Buddhism? Who has lived here around Oshogatsu (New Year) time and not painted in the first eye of the Daruma until their wish came true, then gave Daruma his other eye? This is to say nothing of Zen itself, about which Zen itself says nothing with enlightening clarity. There is a point here. Gabi Greve, a resident of Japan and cosmic Daruma focal point, has founded Darumasan-Japan, a growing group of Daruma-minded individuals from around the world, offering a depth of Daruma/Japan (and related) lore that's a source of illuminating nourishment for the expanding soul. For further enlightenment, visit/join Darumasan-Japan here.


Friday, June 04, 2004


Remember my predictions regarding the Valerie Plame affair, posted last October? Rumsfeld has refused to resign (so far), Tenet is out and Bush is looking for a lawyer.

CIA chief's departure may be prelude to bigger problems


"Then there was the news that President Bush has arranged for outside legal advice regarding a special prosecutor's investigation of leaks to columnist Robert Novak about the identity of an undercover CIA agent, Valerie Plame. Ms. Plame is the wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who made known that administration claims of Saddam's efforts to get uranium for weapons in Niger were false.

So is Mr. Tenet being offered up as a scapegoat for the administration's mounting shortcomings regarding Iraq? People have called for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation for his handling of the war in Iraq. But President Bush stood by him. He only had words of praise for Mr. Tenet after his resignation.

The words of warmth by Mr. Tenet for the President and vice versa seemed genuine. President Bush told his Cabinet not to speculate that Mr. Tenet's reasons are anything other than ''personal.'' That's what Mr. Tenet said himself. It also sounds like someone decided a departure was necessary before things get worse."

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch, and it ain't over yet.


Reading, Writing and Landscaping

Vastly more disturbing than US society's pathetic valuation of its teachers is what that implies regarding US society's valuation of its children.



Bush Seeks to Mend Fences in Visit to Europe

Bush seeking to mend fences with US allies

A chance for fence-mending

Bush seeks to mend fences, seek help from allies

A chance to mend fences

Bush to try fence mending with France

'I Was Never Angry with the French,' Says Bush

Chirac says he never angry with Bush

Bush heads to Europe, hoping to mend relations with allies

Bush Faces Italian Anger Over Iraq on Rome Visit

Bush to be surrounded by critics at WWII event

And then the one that cracked me up:

Good chance for Bush to show diplomacy skills


[For those irritating subscriptions, use ]


Thursday, June 03, 2004


"According to London-based Aegis Defense Services, in March 2003 about ten Islamic pirates boarded the oil tanker Dewi Madrim off the coast of Sumatra. Instead of the usual routine of robbing the crew and either stealing the cargo or making off with portable items of value, in this instance the pirates disconnected the ship's communication system, hooked up their own communications, and then spent over an hour learning how to steer the ship, run its engines, and use its electronic navigation equipment."


From Doug Casey's newsletter What We Now Know



I already did a protodiatribe on virtuality, but this morning after I'd spent some of my usual morning moments gazing out of my actual front window at the actual Lake and mountains lying there silver and silk in the actual morning sun, before going out into my actual garden and picking some actual lettuce for actual lunch and shouting an actual hello to my actual neighbor upactualmountain before going inside to post some thoughts on PLM in the clear prelunch mind, I came upon this webnews headline that begat all the above 'actuals':

"Virtual Real Estate Boom Draws Real Dollars"

In this news item, which you can read for yourself right here if you prefer plain old starkly impersonal journalism with its mere catalog of details, growing numbers of people are joining a Massively Multiplayer online game called "Second Life," via which they are going into raptures over and experiencing land rushes regarding, virtual beachfront land in a virtual world "where players fly and don't waste time eating or going to the bathroom," all clearly in some preference to whatever they may do and possess in this actual world we were born into and continue for the most part to live in, though that percentage seems to be on the virtual decline.

Second Lifers, who actually pay actual money for their virtual land, are actually saying things like "The idea of land ownership and the ease with which you can own land and do something with it... is intoxicating," and: "Land ownership feels important and tangible... It's a real piece of the future." I feel a virtual need to remind them that a virtual future actually leaves much to be desired, and that there is actual land available, upon which to live in genuine actuality.

The popularity of the game it would seem is a valid index of the diminishing popularity of what was formerly known simply as 'life.' In some lives and places there is apparently growing need to escape both, which is more of a pity than we may ever know. In my own life and place, the virtual couldn't hold a candle to the actual.

[Later: Virtuality is getting at least virtually closer to where I am than I'd thought...
"Here's how to play Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life: Milk the cow, find something edible for the dog, scrub down the horse, bring your sweetheart some fresh flowers. Go fishing. Water your crops. Make dinner. Sleep. Repeat." From Enjoy the Good Life, on GameCube] And right here in Japan, from Nintendo.


Wednesday, June 02, 2004


To give you democratic folks abroad some idea of the monolithically implacable intransigence of Japanese bureaucracy in the face of pleas from the powerless in this democracy, there is the recent news story of the Japanese woman whose mother had married a Chinese man in 1946 and gave up her Japanese citizenship on becoming a Chinese citizen. By mistake, her daughter's citizenship was also revoked.

Thus the daughter's later-born son was also not a Japanese citizen. (In a crowning touch, if one were needed, the father of the son refused to marry the woman because she was not a Japanese citizen). For nearly 60 years subsequently, the woman and her son pleaded with the bureaucrats to let them become naturalized citizens. THE BUREAUCRATS REFUSED.

Note that she wasn't even requesting restoration of her rightful citizenship (where the hell were the lawyers?), but to be naturalized, after being citizen-born and living here for 70 years! So for all that time, she and her son had to register each year as foreign residents, in their own country!

And not one single bureaucrat of all those who faced her over those decades took pity and looked into her case. It took FIVE DECADES for the public servants to realize their error and restore Japanese citizenship to the Japanese woman and her Japanese son.

For those with some wave-making power, though, the bureaucrats can move fast. Back when I was seeking permanent residency so I could get a mortgage to build my house, I was told it could take a few years. I told that to the architect and the contractor, who were waiting to begin work; they and their business associates wrote letters to immigration officials et al., strongly complaining of the delay, how it was affecting local employment etc. I got my PR in a month.

Woman's story here.


Tuesday, June 01, 2004


Echo made this for dinner last night, it's a sort of Japano-Mediterranean macro-nouveau summer salad derived from our travels and healthy cooking explorations. Complete in protein yet vegetarian, as a full-meal summer salad it satisfies on all counts, from flavor to mouthfeel to good health. What's more it's flexible, easy and you can tweak it as your cravings and cupboard require. Basically, combine tweakily:

Cold soba noodles (properly boiled)
Carrots (e.g., quartered slices, boiled very briefly to soften)
Quartered onion slices
Quartered Cucumber slices
Briefly boiled snow peas
Boiled (soft) chickpeas
Broken macadamia nuts

(you can wing it w/all except soba; the chickpeas and nuts complete this version, though)

Mix dressing of:

Sesame oil (in quantity accommodated to volume of above)
Kurozu (if you can get it, for its superb depth of flavor; balsamic would be ok) to taste, re oil quantity
Bit of mayonnaise (if desired) to taste re above two ingredients
Salt, herbs as desired

Add dressing, toss; sprinkle top with ground sesame seeds; serve.