Narcissus' Echo

Thoughts, tears, rants, ruminations, hopes, fears, love(s), and prayers of just another being passing through this wracked sphere...

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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Saturday, July 09, 2005

We Are Not Afraid

Image viewing / submission

TV network Al-Arabiya, on its Web site, solicited readers' responses to the attacks. Several expressed happiness, with comments such as "Allahu Akbar, thanks be to God," "More power to al Qaeda leader Osama (bin Laden)," and "What did you expect? This is only a response to the what the British government has done to the group regardless of which group it is."

In response, these notes were posted: "To the heroes of Arabism and Jihad, since you are sparing no method to attack the West and you gloat as you try to kill the largest number of civilians. How would you like it if the West relieves itself of your headache by hitting you with one of its nuclear weapons. It takes only minutes and then there will be no heroes, no men and no shish kebab."


Friday, July 08, 2005

7/7 London

This is sad day.

My heart goes out to all those killed and injured in the attacks.

My mentor is in London with his charges at the moment and they leave for Durham, a couple days ahead of schedule, in the morning. I am glad he and everyone is safe.

Let's all pray for peace, but never forgetting that sure and decisive retribution secures it.

For those seeking comfort or answers, perhaps--just perhaps--Fr. Martin Sylvester's words might help. [More responses (of a similar nature)]

Here is a poem by the Polish poet and critic, Wislawa Szymborska, who was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature "for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality."

The word here is not enjoy, but remember.

A photograph from Sept. 11 (2002), Wislawa Szymborska

They jumped from the burning stories, down

-- one, two, a few more

higher, lower.

A photograph captured them while they were alive and now preserves them

above ground, toward the ground.

Each still whole

with their own face

and blood well hidden.

There is still time,

for their hair to be tossed,

and for keys and small change

to fall from their pockets. They are still in the realm of the air,

within the places

which have just opened.

There are only two things I can do for them

-- to describe this flight

and not to add a final word.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

"True love" or "enabling"?

So someone forwarded me this pile of sentimental drivel:

True love is neither physical, nor romantic.

True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.

What, WHAT, may I ask, kind of crap is that?
"Acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be"?
The author should seriously go read up what enabling means.
Oh, "my boyfriend is a misogynist and a wife/gf beater. I truly love him. I therefore accept all that is, has been and will be." What hogwash. Acceptance or true love are not the answers here. Setting the bf's bed on fire in the middle of the night (preferably with him on it) is.

Also, love--romantic, platonic, or otherwise--is not a free pass for the evasion of personal responsibility or conveyance of the proper degree of contrition. There are very real consequences to our everyday actions, words and decisions. Using the word "love" to escape the ramifications is an abuse--no, a perversion--of its fundamental meaning.

In my books, true love may be physical and romantic. True love may extend beyond the physical and the romantic, into platonic love. True love also shows itself in deep and life-long friendships, where one nurtures the other to his or her full potential (e.g. sailing, surfing, dancing, singing, writing, biking, etc).

True love is the cultivation and celebration of the other's growth, not the deliberate oversight of behavioral faults and character flaws (NB: that is not to say one is to become a critical control freak).

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

paysage aux papillon

Actually, the title refers to a painting by Salvador Dali, a print of which I have on my bedroom wall...

Three quotes:

The falling flower
I saw drift back to the branch
Was a butterfly.

(Arakida Moritake)

The butterfly is a flying flower,
the flower a tethered butterfly.

(Ecouchard Le Brun)

If nothing ever changed,
there would be no butterflies.


Change. Change. Change; the only constant is change.
(Note: except from vending machines.)

Monday, July 04, 2005

God bless America

Taking the CalTrain / BART up north to San Francisco to watch the fireworks by the bay tonight. Let's see if it is indeed done better than in the other cities in the Bay Area...

From an email:

As we go out to celebrate our freedom this 4th of July, let's go over a few things to make your celebration a success.

Don't use any illegal fireworks in your 4th Celebration. It is for your own safety. And the founding father's implemented a government to protect you from yourselves. Didn't they? Besides, fireworks are explosive devices and you might be considered a terrorist with weapons of mass destruction. And although the government can't find any in Iraq, you can rest assured they will find them in your car trunk. But don't worry, getting arrested, imprisoned indefinitely without formal charges, and a 5 year wait before the secret tribunal trial per the Patriot Act is a breeze. It's that secret summary execution that should make you nervous.

Before leaving home make sure you check the color coded Homeland Security alert status. Be especially careful if it is orange or red. Don't worry about yellow. It's always yellow.

Do not leave home without your driver's license, social security card, birth certificate, welfare card, medicare card, medical records, W-2 Form, and two others forms of ID. You may be asked for them at the police checkpoints. Better yet, get micro-chipped, and avoid the hassle of carrying around your papers.

Bring your library card, the FBI may ask you for it.

Do not leave home without one or more little plastic American flags made by political slaves in Communist China. Make sure you have one flying from the antennae of your vehicle. You don't want to seem un-American do you?

Do not take a copy of the Declaration of Independence with you as it advocates the overthrow of tyrannical government. It is a terrorist document and will be confiscated at the holiday police checkpoints. Same advice for the Constitution.

And remember, as you leave home for your 4th of July outing, that the second you stepped out of your door that you probably broke hundreds of federal, state, and local laws that you are probably unaware of. However, if you tow the line, you will not be charged.

Bring lots of cash with you, there will be many taxes, fines, and fees to pay as you celebrate your freedoms this day.

Do not put any "anti-government" bumper stickers on your car. Especially not anything about the right to keep and bear arms. Police have been trained by the FBI in "bumper sticker profiling". This attracts their attention at the check points, and makes you look like a terrorist.

With regard to "bumper sticker profiling" you should be especially aware of the fact that "They will get my gun, when they pry it from my cold dead fingers" is no longer mere semantics. At WACO, and at RUBY RIDGE, we learned that they WILL kill you to take your guns

Make sure you are buckled up in your seat belts, there will be roadblocks and checkpoints to make sure you comply. It is for the children.

Have your papers ready as you approach the holiday police checkpoints.

If an officer asks to search your vehicle at the "seat belt" checks, do not be belligerent and demand a search warrant. Standing up for your fourth amendment rights is anti-social and not in tune with the new American way. After all, even as an adult, the government is better qualified to "take care of you" and keep you "safe". Are you with Al Qaeda or something?

Do not get upset when the searching officer will not help you pick up your belongings that he has strewn all over the highway as he searched your vehicle. It is not in his job description and complaining will get you charged with obstructing justice.

If traveling by air, this Independence Day, do not give the airport screeners a hard time. They are feeling you up, and molesting your daughter, and wife, for the security of America. If you complain you could be arrested. You don't support Bin Laden do you?

If you are an airline employee, lighten up for the holiday, you can always look for a job tomorrow. Maybe you could transfer over to a Federal Airport Security Screener job. Big demand for those jobs and you don't have to be smart.

If you are a Halliburton employee, then celebrate, you probably have a raise coming from the Iraqi contract windfall.

Don't criticize the President, or other government officials, you might be in violation of the Patriot Act and considered a possible terrorist.

Don't mention the Constitution in any district court, or you could be held in contempt.

If your children get out of line this holiday, do not discipline them, or they may be kidnapped by the Dept. of Social Services and held hostage until you receive approved psychological therapy and are deemed acceptable.

Show compassion this Independence Day by bringing an illegal immigrant to your celebration, or by hugging a tree.

If an election is occurring in your locality within the next 90 days, do not talk about or publicly support any candidate, as that is no longer lawful. Keep your mouth shut.

Keep your guns at home. You are not going hunting and besides, What on earth do guns have to do with American Independence? Better yet, turn your guns into the authorities to let them know that you are a true patriotic American.

Better yet, just STAY at home. BUT do not assume that you are safe, because you are at home. If a government bureaucrat shows up at your home, he will probably be flashing a badge at you. This makes him look like a constitutional law enforcement officer. He may even be armed. Do not ask to see a warrant, and then tell him to leave if he does not have one. They will put a siege around your house. If you do not come out soon enough, they may invade, with guns drawn, or even set your house on fire.
For more information, do a Google search using keywords like "Symbionese Liberation Army", "Philadelphia MOVE group", "Gordon Kahl", "The Order", "Robert Matthews", "Covenant of the Sword and Arm of the Lord", "Randy Weaver" , "Branch Davidian", or "Elian Gonzalez".

If you are counting on you congressman to protect you, understand that the average congressman is ALSO afraid to resist. For more information, do a Google search using keywords like "George Hanson" , "James Trafficant" or "Larry McDonald".

If celebrating at the mall in Washington DC. you are probably safe as the mall is now monitored by hundreds of surveillance cameras, watched by federal security forces. Don't do anything that you wouldn't want them to see.

ALSO, be careful not to have any unauthorized THOUGHTS. There are now serious penalties for "thought crime". Be aware that "civil forfeiture" laws make it possible to take anything that you own, by alleging that it was "intended" to be used for the commission of a crime. This could include transporting, or storing, a gun. If "civil forfeiture" proceedings are initiated against you, then you will have the burden of proof, to show that your thoughts were in compliance with government standards.

Get to know some politicians, and bureacrats, so that you might be able to head off the taking of your private property to be given to private developers for "public good".

Keep an eye on your fellow Americans as you celebrate this 4th of July. If you see anything suspicious, take notes so that when you get home you can call and report them to the Homeland Security Office. And remember you are not a nosey snitch, you are a great American Patriot.

Do not mention the signers of the Declaration of Independence this 4th of July. Mentioning these white subversive terrorists is not popular and could get you in big trouble. Besides what do these guys have to do with the 4th of July anyway?

Don't even think about taxes on this great day. The 50 per cent government confiscation of your income at the threat of imprisonment or at the point of a gun should not even cross your mind as you revel in your freedom. After all, April 15th is a long way off.

And whatever you do, do not let on that you really know that true freedom died a long time ago in America, just have fun for the day and then go home and stick your head back in the sand and pretend America is not becoming a socialist police state.

If you have a few decades with nothing better to do, study up on "administrative law".

Laws are now made by the unelected bureaucrats, in hundreds of "administrative agencies". If you are charged with violating one of these "laws" you will not get a trial by a jury of your peers. You will be tried by the agency that made the charge.

I hope this message gets past the Department of Homeland security approved internet filter. How else can they protect us from unauthorized thought?

Now go out there and celebrate your freedom, and liberty, and have a great sanitized, politically correct, and government approved and authorized Independence Day!

For a moment there, I thought that I was reading about Singapore...

Happy Fourth of July, everybody!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Coolest dog ever

And it's a Bulldog too!

Move aside, Tony Hawk!

I had this unusually big and fat, Boxer by the name of Rex. When he feels tired during a walk, he would just sit down, and no amount of pushing, pulling on the leash, threats, pleas, or bribes with dog biscuits, would get him to lift his 125 lb butt until he decides to move again--and I am not about to attempt carrying the fellow. So, if anyone recalled occasionally observing a tall (1.87m / 6' 2"), lanky young man sitting by the side of Upper Bukit Timah Road in Singapore, with a large panting Boxer in the 80s and 90s, now you know why...

Been looking at compact digital cameras lately. It's probably going to be a Canon. I am shying away from a SLR at the moment as the marine housings for SLRs are rather expensive. That, and I am not totally comfortable diving with 3 to 4 tanks, managing (breathing) gas switches, and manipulating a large, 2-handled SLR marine housing--all while dodging currents, and avoiding being entangled in kelp. Forget about a buddy coming to my aid, I mostly dive solo (I am trained to do so) and have to be self-sufficient. There is very little out there that is more liberating and relaxing than driving right up to an isolated beach, gearing up to the whistle of the wind, the cries of the sea gulls (no mindless chatter from dive buddies or clueless newbies), walking down the expanse of virgin sand, and spending the next 2 to 4 hours under the waves in a kelp forest, alone in the Pacific Ocean. Sometimes, if I am lucky, I am even treated to the spectacle of a sea otter prying an unfortunate abalone free from the sea bed...

2 years go, whilst diving in the South China Sea, in the waters off Pulau Redang in Malaysia, I was treated to a most curious sight: a family of giant Puffer fish (file photo) observing me.

The trio ranged from 2 feet to 4 feet in length, and about a foot wide in girth. As the sea bed was sand all around, I let all the air out of my BCD (Buoyancy Compensator Device), sank down and sat there, at 57 feet, watching them as the adult (Daddy?) Puffer fish taught junior how to execute backflips and hover upside down vertically. The other adult (Mommy?) Puffer fish kept an eye out for predators. All too soon 20 minutes had elapsed, my breathing supply began to run low, and it was time to bid goodbye to the Puffer fish family, and swim back to shore. They should really begin stocking twin 80 / 90 / 100 cu. ft. tanks at resorts. (Then again, most recreational divers do not know how to manipulate a set of twin tanks with an isolation manifold. Besides, their BCDs aren't equipped to handle more than 1 tank at a time anyway.) With my present set, I could have sat there for an hour and a half or so. On my next trip to P. Redang, I am either going to lug my own twinset(s) or a closed-circuit rebreather (8 hours worth of bottom time, regardless of depth. hubba hubba hubba!) along. [Rebreather FAQ]

Divers hanging on to a descent / ascent line to the 7 Skies wreck in the South China Sea (nice current, eh? I like the "clothes on a line in a stiff breeze" effect--in retrospect, of course. Notice how rapidly the divers' exhaust bubbles are swept away...):

Here is a picture of my genius ex-neighbor, Julio, attempting to dive on the cheap (I guess he wasn't kidding when he said, "Never underestimate what you can do with cinderblocks"):

The last time I heard from Julio, he was talking about how TV repairmen overcharge and he was going to repair his 48" projection TV himself...

Missed out an deal on the Canon SD500 7.1 Megapixel DIGIC II for US$300 delivered. It is sold out now and the next lowest price is US$439.99. Bummer. The WP-DC800 marine housing, albeit rated only to 100 feet / 30 meters, is an extremely affordable US$179.99 and is sufficient for most of the recreational-level diving in the Monterey Bay Area. The SD500 uses a SD card instead of the CF card though. The CF cards are more robust and reliable as they contain an embedded chip which manages housekeeping for the data. Other memory cards do not possess this feature.