Atomized junior- The Web log
Tuesday, 28 December, 2004
I have very little to say this holiday season. I've been content.
Content is quiescent. The people around me have been content. For many
others it hasn't been so good. I could pick at the scab of ambient
trivial controversy and make issue with those who proclaim I am
striking down Christianity with my nonsectarian 'holiday season'
greeting. Fine, have it your way. From me; then, "Merry Christmas" and
"Happy new year". Also from me in honor of a new holiday I'm setting up
- a few days after boxing day in honor of the coming new year -
Futurama day. Where we are all Bender for a day, I issue to those who
need it: a warm and sincerely meant "Bite My Shiny Metal Ass".
At any rate today I have a Kitty story. What kind of web log
would this be without some kitty stories. I go over to my sisters
house for the (see all above) Holidays. At one point on Christmas Eve
my sister looks out the window and notes that there are a number of
deer strolling down the street. They are however not Reindeer, they are
not Santa's deer, though there are enough to pull a sleigh if you had
one. They seem more interested in chewing the ornamental shruberry of the neighbor across the
street than delivering toys. The boys,
Grant and Raine, 7 and 3 are in bed. Feeling I needed to share
the moment I turn around and lite upon, Merry, my sister's
10 year old
tortoise shell cat (her other cat's name is Turin) who had the
misfortune to be crossing the living room at that moment. Merry is not
a particularly adventurous or inquisitive cat. Easily alarmed might be
the best way to describe her. This is a cat from whom the only
indication of animation comes from her ability to be asleep curled into
a ball in whatever patch of the house is being heated by an air duct or
touched by a shaft of sunlight.
I scoop Merry up, and step out into the front yard. These deer
are not your scrawny small upcountry deer. They are large robust well
nourished suburban deer. The locale of this story is that part of
metropolitan area where Rock Creek, the Beltway, and Wisconsin Ave all
come together. These are not small animals. They note my presence, and
could care less. Merry at first is not sure why I've brought her
outside on such a cold night. Then she sees the deer. She goes
quite rigid and flattens herself against my jacket. Her eyes widened
further than I've ever seen a cats eye go, or knew they needed to go.
She begins to breath with funny little puffs. It occurs to me that she
has probably never seen a deer before. She may not be aware that deer
don't eat cats. At least I don't think they do. I'm making no
guarantees about these deer. I bring her back inside and put her down on
the floor. Rather than skitter away she roots to the spot and spends
the rest of the evening staring at the front door swaying slightly back
and forth. Every so often she would walk to the front window
which is one of these ceiling to floor living room and peer around the
curtain into the yard and stare at the deer who hung around for a
I felt bad after a while because it occurred to me that
I had introduced into the internal and imagining world of this
poor creature an unpleasant and hitherto unsuspected aspect of what is
and waits in the world without. But then, people do this much for
me every day.
11:40:02 PM ;;
Tuesday, 21 December, 2004
Difference between Us and Them
In the UK right now a Government official, a Mr. Blunkett, is immured in a scandal
because he (or his staff) expediated a visa for his Mistress's nanny -
and for getting her two train tickets. In France this would have
involved diamonds or an apartment along the Champs Elysee, in Italy a
seaside cottage. In Britain: train tickets. Brit scandals aren't what
they used to be. What will this lead to: page 3 pictures of Waterloo
Station. In the US we have domestic situations too. Our Nannygates are
a regular and routine Washington soap opera.
the Vetting. A Play in slightly less than one Act
[Candidate for a political office comes into a room. The room is dark
and non descript. Lit only with a single desk lamp and by a
window through which a vague even winter light pushes into the shadows.
Two men are sitting at a table examining a dossier. One man looks up at
the newcomer and speaks.]
Man 1: Well over-all it looks good, except, for this
problem with an undocumented nanny you hired.
Cand.: Nanny? I don't have a nanny.
Man 1: [Looks at file of candidates business dealings] Yes, you do.
Cand.: I don't, I've never had a nanny, or a housekeeper.
Man 1: [looks at file of candidate's motel charges
hidden on previous government jobs expense accounts]
Oh, You've got a nanny problem allright.
Cand.: I don't even have kids.
Man 1: That can be arranged; for your press
conference, the one where you will announce you want
to spend more time with them.
2nd man: [reaches over into folder in front of first
man] we have pictures of your nanny. [shows part of
Cand.: I can explain that! Sort of. Kinda. She's a friend a good friend.
Man 1.: We can see that, but its too late we've
already had Andrew call Novak, by Monday even Ranger
Rick will be covering this. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
Cand.: [Exits; stage left. Production note! Candidate
actually remains where he is, background
scenery and table, chairs men are seated at are on glides, and
exit stage right.
11:49:10 PM ;;
Sunday, 19 December, 2004
Over on my old site, which is actually only about two inched to the
left of this one, there is a side bar link to site dedicated to the
Leeds band the Wedding Present. The text and contextual gloss
says "the Wedding Present, will they ever gig again? The only way to
know is to check here every single day." I doubted that even when I
wrote it, they haven't played together in ten or more years. Haven't
been over to the old site in a while, forgot what was there. I
had wanted to turn it over to my niece would still. Strangely, she
reacted to that
like I had offered her a job breaking rocks on a chain gang in a
southern climate. Hey look what it did for Dustin Hoffman and Steve
The Wedding Present never really broke up they just stopped
speaking to each other - like all good friends. Gedge (David) went off
to form Cinerama with his girlfriend. the Others did other ... stuff.
Speaking of other stuff did anybody catch Bruce Foxton from the Jam
playing with Stiff Little Fingers last summer Talk about your
alternative ulsters. Last Thursday I don't know whether heard or saw
something, but I googled the Weddoes and found they were playing a
tribute show for BBC's John Peel that night along with PJ Harvey and
Belle and Sebastian. I even came across the site for TWP
, I had linked to, which was up and carrying the news. Apparently they've released an ep
and are working up another one and have a mini eu tour for the ep (as
oppossed for the eu tour for the 'mini' ep).
I got to thinking: what would the one Wedding Present song to
make the case for their unsung greatness. 'Shatner?' 'My Favorite
Dress?' Too obvious maybe. 'Anyone can make a Mistake', 'Brassneck',
'Kennedy', 'Carolyn', 'Swimming pools Movie stars', 'Silver Shorts.' I
think I've got go with 'Niagra' in the end, probably the most fully
realized song from their big book of monsters of rock guitar chords period. "But does it have to end right now? Well, can't you stay - for another day?"
10:28:06 PM ;;
Thursday, 16 December, 2004
I've been following intelligence reform legislation since the
911 commission hearings and the release of their report. [They
are a dot org now 9/11 Public Discourse Project.]
Which I admit I only read the executive summary of. Around page 16 of
that summary they move into recommendations. This includes such 'what
to do' speculation as plan and act comprehensively. An admonishment to share information between agencies. This would entail transcending boundries;
that is, engage in domestic spying or at least equate certain criminal
like activities, money movement and such, with national security, and
moving militarily against it. They follow this with some specific
"How to do It" suggestions which fall into the bureau reorganization
catagory. A National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) to sit
across foreign domestic divide. To unify the intelligence community
with a National Intelligence director (NID). To also unify participants
knowledge with a network-based information system, strengthen the FBI
and first responder agencies (homeland security). Last perhaps most
important to unify congressional oversight to gain consistency.
I was able to follow that, so I expected the legislation to
make sense also. Instead at times it seemed relentlessy murky. Two
issues partly surfaced during the debates. On the use of
spy satellites, access to intelligence resources as it was phrased the
Pentagon indicated it would be a deal breaker if it didn't have
exclusive rights when it wanted them. Frankly any veto on these
devices will lead to high tech naval gazing by one side or
another. One article relates that the Pakistani nuclear weapon test was
missed because the Pentagon was using national resources for mundane
monitoring of its Iraqi no-fly zones, What spy reforms mean | csmonitor.com. After the bill was finished disagreement surfaced on a new and still secret generation of satellites New York Times > New Spy Plan Said to Involve Satellite System
which may have colored that debate. Another issue sprang from a
recommendation to standardize drivers licenses. So that they would
essentially form a national Identification card, even to the point of
being a tacit internal passport. The States Rights Crowd are uniquely
quiescent on this - states rights was always more subject matter than
principle. This particular provision is being especially
championed by those looking to screw down immigration laws. Not to
prevent border crossing, but to keep it where it is, and ever much more
so. Illegal: the people; desperate, dependent, and willing to work for
a wage of their employer's choosing.
The version we received at armed forces air intelligence
training center (AFAITC) when I went through there. We ran through the
organizational models of most of the big intelligence apparatus's. Your
various bureau twelves and such. The Director of Central
intelligence was described and labeled as having two hats DcI, the
primary advisor to the President, and dCI(a) head of the Central
Intelligence Agency. The CIA began life as a compromise the National
Security Act of 1947 founded it basically to keep intelligence from
falling wholly to the twin black holes of the State and Defense
Departments. It had five charges going out: advise the National
Security Council, recommend coordinating policy for intelligence
correlate and evaluate intelligence and ensure its dissemination
throughout the community, carry out activities of existing agencies
requiring centralized resources, and other duties as required. In
practice it came down to analysis, counterintelligence and
interventions (political and paramilitary). The way it was described
and the way I worked within it over next four years in Naval
Intelligence it seemed fairly workable. We were looking for the formal
order of battle, the enemy fleet. Looking at its system
capabilities. Trying to uncover its informal or current
arrangement - the whereabouts of their deployment. We were aiming for
the sort of specificity a 5'' gun could use. We took that last upon
ourselves. DIA (Defense intelligence agency) created in 1961 with in
the Secretary of defenses office to centralize portions of the
activities of the service branch offices we relied upon for technical
analysis of weapon systems. Other national offices to provide
that raw information to DIA, and to investigate the fortitude with
which these weapons were held. Also I'm almost positive the CPO going
over this lesson indicated there was a real board or committee this
Dir. Central Intelligence ruled as roost over. The National foreign
Intelligence board under which the National Intelligence Estimates were
After 40 years of bureaucracy, adding of units: NSA SRO
etc. the DCI has been pushed down by turf wars into his home
agency. For the sake of a correction - the cure is to add a layer of
bureacracy? Now we have the DNI (Dir. of National Intelligence) &
his agency the NCTC. If bureaucracy. could be undone as easily as done
This might be a viable idea. When I worked at the Kinko's Copy store we
had three or four assistant. managers - which was excessive for a
operation like ours, but we were the first Kinko's in the DC area. When
the expansion came they all left and became branch managers. If
the expansion had been postponed we would have had asst. managers
pushing green buttons indefinitely. If the expansion had been called
off they would have been fired. Whipping up a policy or program Tsar
can be an effective approach when the established means are not
providing. If you grow a new tooth; though, its usually best if an old
comes out. Coordination, Cooperation, and information sharing is what
the past failures revealed wasn't happening. Having both a DCI and a
DNI ain't exactly going to help that. The Post reported yesterday that
the President was considering having the new guy give him his daily
briefings New Director Might Prepare Bush's Daily Intelligence Brief (washingtonpost.com).
That might show the Dir. of the CIA his place in things. It does
nothing for overall organizational logic - other than reveal there is
none. Reuters had a article out the other day which noted that no
other national intelligence operation is this centralized U.S. Alone Among Allies in Centralizing Spy PowersInternational News Article | Reuters.com and no other nation is considering following our suit.
The DNI or whoever is going to fulfill the role of
chairman of the 15 agency Intelligence community board needs to be
independent actor in the political arena with a measure of internal
budgetary and process discretion. The auspices under which this
intelligence reorganization has been launched and it has the presidents signature now seem to shade towards
seeing this office a branded creature of the executive branch and its
policies. With weak and divided congressional oversight, but
removing no ones committee chair out from under them. For myself -- I'm not planning any vacations to Pearl Harbor
11:28:16 PM ;;
Monday, 13 December, 2004
Wednesday, 8 December, 2004
This is a post that I had written nearly completely by Sunday night,
nothing further has happened since, so right now there is nothing
further to add. The story of the UCC commercials that were turned away
by the networks, has lost it's legs. The Man has spoken - next topic
Assorted commentary was available here and there. Talking
Point Memo's had several posts on it last week capturing most of the
press, he even got someone from CBS to describe and attempt to defend
their policy to him. This served to only lay out the weakness of their
craven reply: they never run ads addressing issues of public debate,
they never run ads from religious organizations, they never run ads
which challenge a president who has just won re-election. See Josh
Marshall's Week of 28 Nov 2004 archive, posts are on 01, 02, 03 Dec. (Permalinks: 004135, 004136, 004147, and 004152).
John Mack our minister organized his sermon to comment on it.
Briefly he noted the passage in Matthew where John the Baptist rails
against those he feels are unworthy 'brood of vipers' he calls them;
'bear fruit that befits repentance'. Jesus then comes out to the banks
of the Jordan to be baptized. John tries not to - for different reasons
- but still in gatekeeper mode. Jesus insists saying 'it is fitting to
fulfill', not prophesy, 'but all righteousness.' John consents. The
issue in regard to the jealous guarding of the path against the
righteous thing should leave no one wondering.
An analogous incident from the old testament, the voice of God
remonstrating: in 1 kings God calls Elijah out of the cave, where
he has gone because the people are just too hopeless too unworthy, to
go and stand on the mountain. A great wind, an earthquake and a fire
pass by, God is not in any of those things, we are told. God is not
obstreperously triumphant. God speaks to Elijah after they pass in a
'still small voice'. The point I think is that, that is a voice that
one should still listen for. I have no intent to mangle other people's
clearer thinking. John Mack's sermons are up on the web sermon index, pdf of the Sun 05 Dec sermon if any one cares to examine it further.
11:47:32 PM ;;
Tuesday, 7 December, 2004
Well of its own desire
Going into last weekend I read a post from one of the web logs I
read regularly. The person was describing a collaborative relationship
she was trying to get to work. In this case it was to play in a band
and to write music together with someone. It wasn't or didn't seem to
be working as she had hoped or wanted. There seemed to be things
getting in the way. Things from the past or future, even the present.
Certainly part of it was the guy involved opting to shut down
communicationally (I'm not sure that's really a word either), and
emotionally. I kept thinking about that over the weekend and into the
week here. Guilty conscience I suppose. I've been in a situation
similar to this and am aware that the woman involved thinks - thought
then, thinks now, that I am a complete jerk. Jerk, is not the word she
would use. It's not the word she did use. I had my own view of
things, my own position, my own words. Beyond all that I had as well
the notion lingering among the columns of the imagined nobility of my
own motivations that the story could only lie between her and my way of
Every situation is different. I can't read TTT's situation in
light of my own and claim knowledge by it. I only know the prick of
conscience I felt reading it. I had known my friend, Micaela., all
through college and beyond. For many years, during one of which she got
married. Then there were a few years when I did not talk to her. But in
a world - the world I know at least - where you share a deep
connection, with multiple interests, with understanding with few
others. There is a temptation to try to convert or
re-purpose a relation to other ends. She wanted me to write for
her - initially for a web zine she was trying to get off the ground.
She offered to edit my writing. She knew as I did, it sorely needed it.
She with keen eye and J School degree, could supply professional
consideration. Eventually we would try writing together, perhaps trying
to run the magazine together. But thats not what she did, she looked at
writing I gave her and commented on content and intent, she expected me
to reciprocally examine hers in return. I had no desire to replicate a
writing workshop, definitely not between us. That was part of what she
saw this accomplishing.
All writing is self confession and self examination. I am
aware of that as I write, even with what little I write to atomized jr.
At the same time I hope it does not seem obviously so on the page.
Thats not my intent, the theme or narrative should have the moment for
itself. This was not happening between us. I had the feeling that
we were always looking for signs, validation, answers to
questions. I began to pull back. I told her it was just a little, but I
knew I was pulling all the way back and out. It wasn't working and I
knew she didn't have any greater idea on how it might than I did. It
seemed like work, not work that lets you feel completed or
realized, It seemed like copy cataloging. It seemed like a
burden. It returned nothing for no peace of mind.
I know that on some level she understands, and reached the
same conclusion herself, but her protocol does not call for naming the
ways we understand each other. Nor for allowing or admitting to the
presence of necessity other than her own. She staked her will against
it. It was like two taxi-cabs trying to fit down the same narrow alley,
we could only pin each other against the wall. I recognize
that I have been disappointment. Sometimes the bridges are not long
enough for appointments to be kept.
11:24:58 PM ;;
Thursday, 2 December, 2004
the UCC attempts to become Organized religion
My church's head office has gotten itself into a major media
controversy. This alone strains credulity somewhat. I belong to a UCC
(United Church of Christ). It seems that with money they got a
hold of somewhere, they have produced two television ads to go with
their God is Still Speaking
campaign. The bouncer ad - which is the one playing when you
bring up that page is the only one I've seen. It's a little over the
top, but I admire the spirit of the enterprise. Sadly it seems that
unless one sees it there one won't see it. They approached the networks
cash in hand and CBS, NBC, and ABC's response was 'no go' - too
controversial. New York Times > 2 Networks Are Accused of Rejecting Ad on Religious Bias.
What did Fox say? No one seems to have asked. Media in the UK notes it
is as much membership thing, as it is a political thing Guardian
Unlimited | World Latest | Church Recruiting New Members With TV Ad. They get the best quote
"We're doing it because we made a discovery: there
are lots of people out there who don't know we exist," said Ron Buford,
who is coordinating the program for the 1.3 million-member UCC, down
from 1.7 million in 1989. The UCC has 6,000 congregations."
That pretty much sums it up.
Most Congregational churches pretty conservative, certainly the
one I grew with in Holliston was. All the same its true the one I go to
currently in DC isn't, we are at one with the home office in Cleveland.
There has been "chatter" about this on our Yahoo groups listserve. The
UCC plagues my father, a Taft-Harding-Hoover-Goldwater-Reagan
republican, but he puts up with it, with as much grace as he can spare.
Someboby even has a anti UCC website up, UCCTruths.com.
It seems to be an inside job, thats passion for you. I know our
minister, John Mack, is a strong proponent of this 'God is still
speaking' campaign, but this is a man who came to the idea of his
calling after a couple of years in Vietnam as a Marine Lieutenant.
Myself I don't mind a bit unless the head office took money from the
heifer project to do this.
11:59:44 PM ;;
Ted Leo and the Pharamacists are playing downtown at the Black Cat
tonight. If I still went to shows I'd go to this one. What I've heard
of this Ted Leo album it is the best stuff I've heard all
year. Not only for the title cut of the album Shake the Sheets, a
protest song, (seems like no writes decent rock protest songs anymore)
but for the song "Me and Mia." Over on the label's site Lookout Records - Ted Leo/Pharmacists they have a streaming video for this : Me & Mia video (real player version broadband, they also have a 56k). I guess its a
concept video - add points for seeming to have the same concept as the
song. In the video the band is playing in a room (picture window) above
a pizza shop on a city corner at night. The camera observes this from
across the street. About two thirds the way through the song Mr. Leo
puts down his guitar and leaves. You see him come out of a stair case
onto the side street at the same as a taxi pulls up and another Ted Leo
dressed in white gets out. They pass each other without acknowledgment.
White shirt Ted Leo goes up to the room picks up the guitar and
finishes the song. Denim Ted Leo is seen going into the pizza shop and
ordering food and taking it to a table and as the last feedback chord
dies out, he starts to eat. The part of the refrain that gives the song
its title: Me and Mia, Ann and Ana Know how hard you try. Don't you see it in my eyes? As nearly as I can tell, that can read "Me and (buli)mia, Ann and ana(rexia)." How can one dislike a song with the lyric:
Sick to death of my dependence, fighting food to find transcendence.
My favorite line from Shake the Sheets : "I
want to take it to the president, him and all the cabinet, with a
broom. I want to sweep the Halls of Arrogance, sweep the walls of the
excrement of these baboons."
You don't really find out much about the band from the Label's website or their own TED LEO + PHARMACISTS (such as the names of the other two band members) So I'm rounding this out with links to two interviews Ted Leo: Pitchfork Interview and a recent one The 5X5 Interview: Ted Leo, Musician.
I feel I ought to mention A.C. Newman
while I'm on this kick. Carl Newman is from Vancouver and has a solo
album out; the Slow Wonder, which also spends a lot of time running on
my imaginary iPod of the mind (my real one was stolen...)
11:13:10 PM ;;
Wednesday, 1 December, 2004
Why! Why have the Feelies licensed a song to Citi bank. And why slow down . I mean the Last Round Up perhaps.
11:34:44 PM ;;