Let me start off inspirational this time; most of you will be reading this on 20 December, the day before the Solstice and the 6th anniversary of Carl Sagan's death, or as Crissy put it so poetically, his "return to the cosmos." This year for the holidays I got all nostalgic and gifted myself the DVD set of Dr. Sagan's "Cosmos", and spent every night watching it for the first time in 22 years. Many of you probably remember this PBS show, and all I can add after seeing it again is, how truly enormous it was. Besides the brilliant zeal that he projected to condense all the great history of science into 13 hours (made one remember your high school teacher mentors...if you were so fortunate), it was amazing to see how unflinching Sagan was in stating the obvious, about religious intolerance, the destruction of intelligent whales, nuclear war (war period), the dynamiting of the environment...and this was back in 1980.
With a sound like the squeal of brakes, I remembered how one scientist with a Brooklyn accent and a fetish for tan sportcoats took one 14 year old, smart but rather aimless, and established his place in the universe so keenly he still uses that philosophy as a bedrock, that we're the fragments of a 5-billion year old supernova becoming aware of itself. It's a good reminder when the "real" world looks very pathetic indeed. Anyway, I hope some of you remember the experience, and if you don't, come on by and enjoy it any time at my pad. And if, as some of you have, there's a 14 year old running around your life, for $100 maybe you could change their life in a way that a decade of parental goading couldn't accomplish:
On that note, it's back to the tragicomedy on Channel Zero, courtesy of Your World Leaders. Is anybody really shocked that a redneck is tottering down the corridors of power? One of Sagan's big no-nos: "Blind submission to authority." Thanks for that one, Professor, and in your honor I brought out the dusty "star wheel" and rediscovered where Betelgeuse and Rigel are. And how about the "round-up" we're seeing in Southern California! We thought they were rebuilding Manzanar (the relocation camp from WWII) as a historic site...WRONG! They needed the ROOM!
And now, for something completely different:
Vicar Slays Santa, Shocks Children
Santa Kidnapped and Held for Food Ransom
The Country with the Most Scrooges Is...Belgium!
'Santa' Steals Painkiller From Drug Store
"Do you have a New Year's resolution and a prediction?"
"Resolution: To be less negative. Prediction: War."
-- Lee Ving, lead singer of Fear, in Scratch Magazine, Dec. 1982
Okay, much as I hate to do it, I've sent you a nice picture of Michael Jackson (thanks, Josh) and here's a game you can play with our former species-mate:
And meanwhile, behind the wheel,
'Hot In Here' Named Best Driving Song
Boy, 7, Accused of His Second Car Theft
Plus, two new stories I just liked because I'm kind of SICK.
Berlin Swingers Club Shut Because Moaning Too Loud
Prostitutes: EU Summit Good for Business
For those of you interested (and I'm gonna be more Sagan-like and say to you directly: it IS interesting), here's some articles about the continuing unification of Europe. Forget the U.S. and the Soviet Union...here's a place with a tiny army, high speed transportation network, relatively tolerant race and language policies, plus Paris, Rome, Madrid, London, Dublin, Berlin, Prague, Warsaw, Budapest, Florence, Sevilla, Barcelona...etc. Plus (thanks, Hank) "great food, wine, and topless beaches."
*EU in search of natural boundaries*
As the NATO and the EU are both expanding eastwards, it may be time to consider to what extent Eastern and Western Europe are post-war concepts, argues BBC analyst Jan Repa.
EUOBSERVER / SALT&PEPPER - The decisions reached at the Copenhagen Summit are definitely closing a very dark chapter in European history, opened with the first World War and followed by its consequences (the rise of the Soviet Regime, Hitler and division of Europe into different spheres each alien to each other).
Try this EUobserver link: http://www.EUobserver.com/index.phtml?aid=8772&sid=9
And finally, (courtesy of my boss, thanks, Helene) a holiday song for you all, my friends, may you get through the holidays with a minimum of fighting, live by the example of Jesus and Buddha and Mohammed and their colleagues, go out Christmas Eve and get "bombed".
Sung to the tune of "If You're Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands" *********************************************************************************
If we cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.
If the markets hurt your Mama, bomb Iraq.
If the terrorists are Saudi
And the bank takes back your Audi
And the TV shows are bawdy,
If the corporate scandals growin', bomb Iraq.
And your ties to them are showin', bomb Iraq.
If the smoking gun ain't smokin'
We don't care, and we're not jokin'.
That Saddam will soon be croakin',
Even if we have no allies, bomb Iraq.
From the sand dunes to the valleys, bomb Iraq.
So to hell with the inspections;
Let's look tough for the elections,
Close your mind and take directions,
While the globe is slowly warming, bomb Iraq.
Yay! the clouds of war are storming, bomb Iraq.
If the ozone hole is growing,
We're better off not knowing.
(Though our ignorance is showing),
So here's one for dear old daddy, bomb Iraq,
From his favorite little laddy, bomb Iraq.
Saying no would look like treason.
It's the Hussein hunting season.
Even if we have no reason,
19 December 2002