Friday, October 31, 2008


There's a lot more at "Yes We Carve" dot com...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Paging Godless Americans-

Believe it or not, there are still a few honorable Republicans out there. As of today, any chance North Carolina Senator Elisabeth Dole had of being on such a list just evaporated. Dole is in a fierce fight with a Democrat named Kay Hagan, and has just chosen to cross that uncrossable line into religious-hate mongering. I showed this ad to my wife who at first refused to believe that it could even be real (but it absolutely is) -

I don't care if you believe in God or not, this is just waaaaaaay over the line. If you don't think so, take a moment and substitute "Jewish Americans", or "Muslim Americans", or even "Catholic Americans" for "Godless Americans" and see how it sounds. I was so deeply offended I went over to the Kay Hagan campaign site and made a contribution, and then I wrote the Dole campaign to tell them about it.


My dear Los Angeles friend Maria has changed her middle name to "Hussein" and taken the month off to go to Nevada to work as a full-time organiser for the Obama campaign. She's blogging about it daily on her blog What Happens in Vegas. She's a wonderful writer, and it's a great read.


If you haven't yet spent ten minutes on the hysterically funny 'Palin as President' website, go there as soon as you can! All you have to do is run your cursor over the picture, and whenever it shows a link, click. He updates it with new material when new things hit the news, which makes it a place you can go over and over (not that, um, I waste any time there, nosirree..., not me.) Just don't click the red phone when it rings. Really, DON'T. (Also, don't click Bambi when he shows up in the doorway- you'll be very, very sorry if you do...).


For political junkies who need one more fix, there's a great poll website called fivethirtyeight.com, which aggregates each day's polls and then comes out with broader projections. Nate Silver, the site owner, is a full-time baseball analyst-geek and uses the same computer projection techniques for the campaign that he uses to calculate a player's projected home run totals and batting average. The site is heaven for the real politico-geek, not that I visit more than, oh, nine or ten times a day. Well, ok, this past week maybe a dozen times a day, but who's counting?

Six days to go. Geez- then what are we going to talk about?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Up, Up, and Away...

The prevailing wind in the Pioneer Valley is south to north, so every spring, summer and fall the early morning and early evening sky plays host to colorful hot-air balloons which take off down toward Springfield and drift up the valley over the broad fields of corn, potatoes and pumpkins to land here in Hatfield or just to our north in Whately, short of the rocky prominence of Mount Sugarloaf.


The view from the top of Mount Sugarloaf, looking back down the Valley along the Connecticut River-


In the spring and summer, when the windows are all open, often the first warning we have of a balloon overhead is the "whooooooosh!" of the gas-powered hot-air blower pumping more hot air into the balloon.

The balloons are all followed by chase crews, who are in radio contact with the balloon pilot and drive pickups or vans pulling the trailer that the balloon will be packed up into at the end of the flight. The balloon crew carries a bottle of champagne which they present to a farmer if they land in his field.

Last summer in the early evening a balloon drifted over the house and began to come down in the soccer field of the high school across the street. As the balloon slowly descended an entire convoy of vehicles came down the street, chase truck and trailer in the lead, followed by at least a dozen cars full of people. The balloon drifted left toward some trees, and the pilot "hit the gas", making the balloon bound upward and start to drift north toward a neighboring potato farm.

The convoy of followers turned into the school's long driveway, raced around the circle in front of the school and came racing back out, tearing off down the street in the direction of the rapidly-disappearing balloon.

A number of neighbors were out on the sidewalk at this point, because you never see a convoy of cars that large chasing a balloon, and we were curious about what was going on. The mystery was cleared up when a young woman in one of the last cars leaned out the window, holding a cell-phone in one hand, and yelled to us-

"She said YES!!"


Most balloon fly-overs are far less dramatic, except for the random low-flyer who looks as if he may take the top of our chimney off. Balloons are beautiful at any time of year, but they are especially triking against the colorful fall leaves in the crisp, blue autmun sky.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And Now for Something Completely Different...

Many of you have probably seen these already, but for those who haven't, take a moment to enjoy some-

Computer Haiku

A file that big?
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.

The Web site you seek
Can not be located but
Countless more exist.

Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.

Aborted effort:
Close all that you have worked on.
You ask far too much.

Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.

Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.

First snow, then silence.
This thousand dollar screen dies
So beautifully.

With searching comes loss
And the presence of absence:
?My Novel? not found.

The Tao that is seen
Is not the true Tao until
You bring fresh toner.

Stay the patient course.
Of little worth is your ire.
The network is down.

A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.

Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky,
But we never will.


Monday, October 20, 2008


Joe the Plumber Caught in Love Tryst with Mr. Whipple and the Maytag Repairman!

Sarah Palin Accuses Barack Obama of Wanting to Outlaw Christmas, Make Osama Bin Laden's Birthday a National Holiday, and Kill the Easter Bunny.

McCain Suspends Campaign to Deal With Current Crisis (but can't remember which one).

Obama Announces His Campaign is Buying Ad Space on Monopoly Games, Milk Cartons, & Postage Stamps.

Fox Network Announces "Who's The REAL Barack Obama?" Game Show Hosted by Tom Bergeron Will Debut This Week.

Joe Biden Strips Nude and Dirty Dances with a Donkey in Times Square in Failed Attempt to Get Anyone to Pay Attention to Him.

McCain Drops Palin, Begs Catherine Zeta Jones to Be His New Running Mate.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Children of the Corn-

On Sunday morning we made our annual trip with our friends and their kids to Mike's Corn Maze at Warner Farm in nearby Sunderland. Past mazes have pictured Julia Child and Louis Armstrong, and this year's maze is called "Odysseus and Polyphemus, An Odyssey in Corn" -

Ready? Let's go!

Uh oh. Which way?

Um, no, this is a dead end.

A bridge! I wonder where it goes...

Of course, it's everyone's favorite, the spud cannon!

A new feature this year is a gazebo with a camera obscura inside-

For a better view, you can climb the viewing platform-

Our friend Jeff appears satisfied with the day.

For completing the maze, finding the 24 numbered checkpoints, and getting out again, we got a free pumpkin, but not the one Jeff is sitting on!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ready! Fire! Aim!

I was going to put up something non-political tonight, but then this came across my screen...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My God is Bigger Than Your God, & Sarah Palin -Traitor??

A few years ago my friend Dr. Dan was fond of saying-

"My God is bigger than your God. My God can whip your God's ass".

He meant this sarcastically, of course. But earlier this week Arnold Conrad, past pastor of the Grace Evangelical Free Church, gave the invocation before a campaign appearance for John McCain in Davenport, Iowa, as follows-

"I would also pray, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god — whether it's Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that his [John McCain's] opponent wins, for a variety of reasons. And Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they're going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name with all that happens between now and Election Day."

Suddenly I feel like I'm in an episode of the Twilight Zone...

- -

Here's an interesting article that appeared today. I was wondering how long it would take somebody to bring up Todd Palin and his past. Hey, if Michelle Obama is fair game, Todd Palin certainly is-

Palin around with traitors

York Daily Record/Sunday News
10/12/2008 12:45:10 AM EDT

John McCain's campaign thinks it's entirely fair to bring up the issue of whether Barack Obama is an acquaintance of a man who performed some detestable acts when Obama was 8 years old, acts that Obama has denounced. Obama has given absolutely no indication that he agrees with the political beliefs that brought them about.

Well, then, if that's so, it's entirely fair to point out that McCain's running mate has had an ongoing sexual relationship with someone who could be considered a traitor, who was part of a movement that had ties to a white supremacist group.

Or that she has ties to a minister who performs witch hunts and was responsible for the murder of a suspected witch's pet snake.

Or that McCain himself is somehow connected to the infamous suicide of the former treasurer of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, on live TV.

Or that McCain belonged to a group that had ties to Nazi collaborators and ultra-right-wing death squads in Central America.

Or that McCain is culpable for the current financial meltdown that threatens to destroy the world's economy.

Or that McCain is essentially a snake-oil salesman, a narcissistic con artist whose personal ambition trumps his alleged patriotism, a hypocrite who condemns those who secrete sleaze into our discourse while vomiting huge amounts of political bile, all while sporting that reptilian grin of his.

That would be entirely fair under the standards set forth by McCain and his running mate, Caribou Barbie.

Let's start with Sarah Palin and the allegations of having an ongoing sexual relationship with a would-be traitor.

Her husband, the Toddmeister, was a member of the Alaska Independence Party from 1995 to 2002. The Alaska Independence Party has pushed for Alaska to secede from the United States. Advocating secession could be considered treasonous. (And just plain stupid, considering that Alaska is the biggest federal welfare state in the country, getting back much more federal tax dollars than its residents pay, according to the Tax Foundation.)

The Alaska Independence Party has ties to a group called the League of the South, a neo-Confederate organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center considers a hate group with white supremacist leanings.

And Palin lives with a guy who belonged to the secessionist party.

The party proudly displays this quote from founder Joe Vogler on its Web site: "I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."

Palin herself hasn't distanced herself from the group. In March, she sent a videotaped speech to the group's convention thanking it for its "good work."

Palin has also suggested bringing up the issue of Obama's former minister, a man whose wacky beliefs Obama has rejected. If that's fair, let's look at one of Palin's minister buddies, a man whose beliefs she has not rejected in the slightest.

The preacher in question is a guy named Thomas Muthee, an African evangelist known for his witch-detecting skills. Muthee prayed over Palin during a service at her church, asking God to make her governor of Alaska. Palin's response? "That was awesome, Pastor Muthee!"

Leaving aside the theological question of whether God cares who governs Alaska, let's take a look at Muthee. In his hometown of Kiambu, suburb of Nairobi, in Kenya, Muthee identified a woman as a witch, claiming that she used her special powers to cause car accidents.


The pastor led a crusade against the car-accident-causing witch, which prompted police to storm into the suspected witch's home and shoot her pet python.

You can't make up stuff that good.

Anyway, the mob ran the witch out of town, forcing her to relocate somewhere else where she was apparently free to cause car accidents.

And Palin, according to the Associated Press, praises the guy. "Pastor Muthee was here and he was praying over me, and you know how he speaks and he's so bold," she said on a video making the rounds on YouTube.

Call it building a bridge to the 14th century.

Moving on to John McCain, the co-chair of his Pennsylvania campaign is a guy from suburban Philadelphia named Robert Asher, a bigwig in Republican circles.

Asher is also a convicted felon, having been found guilty of perjury, racketeering, conspiracy and bribery charges in the same case that brought down former state Treasurer Budd Dwyer in 1987. Dwyer, of course, is notorious for ending his final press conference with a .357 magnum.

McCain hasn't said anything about that, as far as I know. Nor has he said anything about the multitude of lobbyists for the industries that are currently leading the American economy down the drain who staff his campaign.

He has spoken in the past about his infamous membership in the Keating Five. If you'll recall, the Keating Five stood accused of helping savings and loan swindler Charles Keating avoid federal regulation while he defrauded investors out of more than $1 billion. Keating gave McCain and the four other senators in the group some $1.3 million in campaign contributions.

When his savings and loan collapsed, it cost taxpayers more than $2 billion.

That was a lot of money in 1989.

McCain said he learned his lesson from that, but what the lesson was remains unclear. He still pushes for deregulation of financial institutions, which is what led to the savings and loan collapse in the'80s and the current debacle that may wind up costing taxpayers more than $1 trillion.

And let's not even start on McCain's own preacher problem - such as seeking the endorsement of an evangelist who blamed gays for Hurricane Katrina and supports the state of Israel because it will bring about Armageddon.

Or McCain's membership in the U.S. Council for World Freedom, a group that ran guns to anti-government rebels in Central America and was tied to the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s. The group has been tied to Nazi collaborators and anti-Semites, the Associated Press reported.

The lesson, I suppose, is people in glass houses - or in the case of Caribou Barbie, glass igloos - well, you know the rest.

McCain has taken to asking, "Who is the real Barack Obama?"

The question could easily be turned around: "Who is the real John McCain?"

Did he ever have any principles or integrity? Was it all an act? Did he, as some people have suggested, sell his soul to win this election and now the Devil is screwing him over?

Back in 2000, when McCain was the victim of the kind of sleazy politics he is practicing now, he told Jim Lehrer of PBS's NewsHour, "Uh, I, I just have to rely on the good judgment of the voters not to buy into these negative attack ads. Sooner or later, people are going to figure out if all you run is negative attack ads you don't have much of a vision for the future or you're not ready to articulate it."

Sounds about right. He can't win with his ideas, such as they are. He has to resort to sleaze.

Back in March, McCain promised that he would run "a respectful campaign."

It would be more than fair to point out that he was lying.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Candidate We Can Get Behind-

BREAKING NEWS: Amid all the mud-slinging and terror-baiting, the internet is abuzz this morning with news of a surprising new Presidential candidate who is rocketing upwards in the polls!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Stick a fork in him, he's done...

At a speech yesterday morning at Lehigh University, John McCain referred to Americans as "my fellow prisoners"...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Hush, Little Baby...

Everyone here at MMB wants to congratulate C.Rag and Angryman, who have just welcomed the one and only Angry Ginger to the world, a few weeks before he was expected.

And this if for you, Angry Ginger, welcome to the world!

Hush, little baby, don't say a word.
Mama's gonna buy you some Thunderbird-

And if that Thunderbird don't kick,
Mama's gonna go and punch a dick-

And if that dick won't play his part,
Mama's gonna buy you a tasty tart-

And if that tasty tart goes broke,
Mama's gonna buy you some golden toke-

And if that toke don't give a thrill,
Mama's gonna buy you a brand new grill-

And if that grill turns your burgers black,
Mama's gonna have to call Barack-

But if Barack can't make it cook,
Mama's gonna get you a library book-

And when the book has reached the end,
Mama's going to find you some real cool friends-

But even when your friends are not around,
You'll still be the sweetest little baby in town!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Real-Life Lynching?

At rallies over the last few days, both John McCain and Sarah Palin have been baiting their crowds of core supporters with stories about Barack Obama's ties to "terrorists who want to destroy America". As fevered supporters at the rallies shout "Terrorist!" and "Kill him!" McCain and Palin lean back and grin...

It would be impossible for my loathing for those two to sink any lower, but it just did. Don't they know there are some nutty people out there who might try to do just that? Or is that what they're hoping?

One has to wonder.

So, Who Was He??

The gentleman in question was George E. Ohr (1857-1918), the self-proclaimed "Greatest Art Potter on Earth", also known as "The Mad Potter of Biloxi, Mississippi". Ohr was certainly very talented, and not at all mad, though he was quite annoyed that he never received the acclaim he felt he deserved in his own lifetime.

His pots were ahead of their time, and not at all in keeping with the art pottery fashion of the day. Critics even accused him of "torturing" his clay...

In 1905 Ohr was invited to send four pieces of his work to be exhibited at the annual United states Potters Association convention. He sent the pieces, along with a note stating-

"I send you four pieces, but it is as easy to pass judgment on my productions from four pieces as it would be to take four lines from Shakespeare and guess the rest".

Ohr was also an amateur photographer, and delighted in creating improbable scenes featuring himself-

Potting at the Ohr pottery was a family affair-

Ohr's pottery never sold widely, and his work was largely forgotten after his death, but in 1972 a cache of more than 6,000 pots was discovered, forgotten and covered with dust, in a family warehouse. It was eventually purchased en bloc by an art pottery dealer, who took 3 months to unpack it, and then put it on the market gradually over a period of years, and so Ohr pottery is widely appreciated and avidly collected today.

It's too bad "The Greatest Potter in the World" never got to see that.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

News Headlines-

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and his staff are spending the weekend busily working on a plan to distribute 700 Billion dollars in bail-out money to avert a financial crisis-

The John McCain campaign, struggling after a two-week surge in the polls by Barack Obama, and handicapped by its' own candidates' hysterical behavior during the Bail-Out crisis, has unveiled a new poster for the last four weeks of the campaign which it says is meant to focus voters' minds on John McCain's qualifications for the Presidency-

They both enjoyed it so much the first time that Joe Biden and Sarah Palin squared off last night for an Encore Debate-

And finally, we're sorry to report that once again the Chicago Cubs will not be playing in the World Series, losing their National League Division Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers last night.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

And Now for Something Completely Different...

Everyone wants to know-

Who Am I??

Any ideas? I'll post the fascinating answer tomorrow...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

For Joey, & Cissy, & Atlas...

...and all my other fellow-poemers out there. We have anther poemer in our midst, a lady of infinite ability and a big bosom. A lady who makes sounding incomprehensible look incredibly easy.

The good folks at Slate.com have discovered this important new American rhymin' voice, so ladies & gentlemen, I am proud to present-

Sarah Palin, American Poemer!!

"You Can't Blink"

You can't blink.
You have to be wired
In a way of being
So committed to the mission,

The mission that we're on,
Reform of this country,
And victory in the war,
You can't blink.

So I didn't blink.

(To C. Gibson, ABC News, Sept. 11, 2008)


These corporations.
Today it was AIG,
Important call, there.

(To S. Hannity, Fox News, Sept. 18, 2008)

"Befoulers of the Verbiage"

It was an unfair attack on the verbiage
That Senator McCain chose to use,
Because the fundamentals,
As he was having to explain afterwards,
He means our workforce.
He means the ingenuity of the American.
And of course that is strong,
And that is the foundation of our economy.
So that was an unfair attack there,
Again based on verbiage.

(To S. Hannity, Fox News, Sept. 18, 2008)

"On the Bailout"

What the bailout does
Is help those who are concerned
About the health care reform
That is needed
To help shore up our economy,
Helping the—
It's got to be all about job creation, too.

Shoring up our economy
And putting it back on the right track.
So health care reform
And reducing taxes
And reining in spending
Has got to accompany tax reductions
And tax relief for Americans.
And trade.

We've got to see trade
As opportunity
Not as a competitive, scary thing.
But one in five jobs
Being created in the trade sector today,
We've got to look at that
As more opportunity.
All those things.

(To K. Couric, CBS News, Sept. 25, 2008)

"On Reporters"

It's funny that
A comment like that
Was kinda made to,
I don't know,
You know ...


(To K. Couric, CBS News, Sept. 25, 2008)


Move over, Emily Dickinson...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

As I said before, as I said before...

There's an interesting article on Sarah Palin's debating style in today's New York Times. It notes that her demeanor in her debates during the Alaskan gubernatorial campaign was quite different from her demeanor during her recent interviews with Charles Gibson and Katie Couric.

That had me a bit worried, until I got to this part-

"But just as she does now, Ms. Palin often spoke in generalities and showed scant aptitude for developing arguments beyond a talking point or two. Her sentences were distinguished by their repetition of words, by the use of the phrase “here in Alaska” and for gaps. On paper, her sentences would have been difficult to diagram. John Bitney, the policy director for her campaign for governor and the main person who helped prepare her for debates, said her repetition of words was “her way of running down the clock as her mind searches for where she wants to go.

Then they reprinted a few quotes from her Alaska debates, and it seems that the main difference between now and then is that now she's hesitantly incoherent, and then she was enthusiastically incoherent.

I expect more of the same tomorrow night- you cannot turn somebody into a competent debater in a few weeks, especially if that person has no idea what they are talking about to begin with. At this point I really think she 'd lose a debate on the nation's economy, health care, or foreign policy to a bag of leaf mulch. I just hope people don't wind up feeling sorry for her. She certainly doesn't deserve it.