Friday, March 31, 2006

Justice Scalia: "Read between the lines"

Peter Smith, a freelance photographer, has been fired from his gig with a Boston Catholic newspaper because he released a picture of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia making a controversial gesture (that Scalia says is a Sicilian hand gesture, but many of us know as the middle finger in disguise--"read between the lines!"

Peter Smith freelanced for The Pilot newspaper for ten years and lost the job yesterday after the Boston Herald ran his photo on its front page.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

We've been Farked. . .

click to enlarge

Y'all come back now. Heah?

White House sources reveal V.P. Cheney under suicide watch and a White House in chaos

All This Is That has learned from senior administration officials that Vice-President Cheney is under treatment and has been placed on a clandestine suicide watch following new revelations about his office's complicity in the Valerie Plame spy case.

As The Raw Story reported, "sources close to Rove and others familiar with the inquiry, say Bush's senior adviser tipped off Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to information that led to the recent "discovery" of 250 pages of missing email" from Cheney's office. Cheney was seen sobbing by several high level staffers before being sedated by Dr. Edwin Argent. The incident capped months of increasingly unstable behavior by the Vice-President as his political fortunes continue to erode. Aides to the Vice-President have become increasingly alarmed by both his behavior, and statements that "it's all over, we're not getting out of this one." The Vice-President's mental health reportedly took a sharp turn for the worse following last month's incident where Mr. Cheney "accidentally" shot hunting companion Harry Whittington.

A Dr. Edwin Argent has become the de facto West Wing psychiatrist in recent months, reportedly treating 12 senior officials for a variety of illnesses, including obsessive compulsive disorder, severe depression, sleeplessness, and episodes of schizophrenia, with one official frequently hearing voices.

"Honestly, " one senior staffer told us, "the inmates are running the asylum. Dr. Ed's hands are full. People are talking about suicide, disappearing to Latin America, and one cabinet member even indicated he'd briefly considered taking the life of the Vice-President and Donald Rumsfeld. At the moment, our country is being run by a handful of dangerous fruitcakes. " The aide continued, "the worst part is that it seems to be getting to Dr. Argent as well. He is no longer the rectitudinous and reassured Doctor who calmly entered the White House in December. He's slipping. It's too much for one man. But if they bring in reinforcements, word is sure to leak."

Dr. Edwin Argent in 2002

One White House aide said that if word of Dr. Argent's treatment got out, it could shatter financial markets, trigger a grass roots rebellion against the G.O.P., and possibly, even encourage terrorists to strike again. "But I don't see how they can keep it bottled up much longer. When they prop Rumsfeld up in front of the cameras, he is pumped full of thorazine. Vallium and Xanax are handed out, no questions asked. The heavier stuff's not hard to find. The shrink is booked 'round the clock. They don't even bring Cheney out anymore. He's a basket case."

Another top official said "The President is not as emotional or fragile as his top aides. Thank God. I think he got it out of him a while ago. But he is worried and desperately concerned about the Vice-President. "He just about pushed Andy Card out the door this week, following what had become extremely bizarre behavior, including playing with Legos and sitting naked at his desk for hours at a time." The President reportedly feels abandoned, fragile, vulnerable, and alone."

Dr. Edwin Argent, a highly-respected psychiatrist, has in recent years worked exclusively with well-heeled and famous clients. Less than a year ago, the Justice Department quashed an investigation into numerous drug violations against Argent. In December, 2005, he was secretly moved into the West Wing, where he set up a discreet clinic.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Poem: Changes Six/Conflict

Caution halfway
Brings good fortune
Prepare to turn back

Charging dead ahead
Is calamatious when you can't see
The end of the line

Salvation lies
In remaining unblinded
To the treachery around you

The enemy without
Calculating your fall
And the traitor within

Beating in your chest
Do you stand and battle
Or flee across the great water

Conflict within
Saps the heart
Of the will

To staunch the peril without
Be the one to give in
Surrender to love and mercy

Know when to stand
And when to run

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My favorite quote from Bulworth (the movie...)

Bullworth: All we need is a voluntary, free-spirited, open-ended program of procreative racial deconstruction. Everybody just gotta keep f***in' everybody 'til they're all the same color.

The Capitol Hill Murders/Repeal The Second Amendment

The talk in Seattle for the last few days has focused on the murders at a party in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Melissa Moore, 14; Suzanne Thorne, 15; Jeremy Martin, 26, Jason Travers, 32; Justin Schwartz, 22; and Christopher Williamson, 21. According to the Seattle Police, the killer, Kyle Huff, told people at the party "there's plenty for everyone."

Huff was described by partygoers as moody, but courteous. No one recalls any angry or harsh words from Huff during the party, Seattle Deputy Police Chief Clark Kimerer told reporters. A police officer in the neighborhood heard the shots and was there almost immediately. When the cop confronted Huff, the shooter shot himself and died.

"There was nothing to suggest the monster he became," Clark Kimerer said. Everyone who knew Huff seems to be shocked, and no one had any clue, least of all his twin brother/roommate.

It's shocking, depressing, and numbing. This one hit close to home, but every time something like this happens, wherever it happens, I begin thinking we should just end the whole gun thing for good.

I keep thinking we'll come back to our senses. Sometimes I'm sure we've finally achieved The Last Straw. Up front on this, I have had a lot of fun shooting guns. The last time I actually held one, though, was New Year's Eve 1982, when Luke Celt handed me his 12 gauge shotgun at midnight, and told me to aim straight-up, 180 degrees, and fire. It was cool. I loved going out to the gravel pit to fire friend's rifles. And shooting .22s in the Boy Scouts, at Camps Omache and Brinkley.

I only remember shooting a BB gun with my Dad...nothing stronger. He was far more a fisherman than a rifleman. I do remember eating a fair amount of venision as a child, but I don't know if my dad bagged it or not. I think he did get roped into hunting now and then, but the BB gun was the only firearm in the house.

Like a bad dream, the National Rifle Association returns periodically (and especially at times like this), to remind us that "guns don't kill; people do." After assassinations, after Columbine, after the shootings at three Denny's last week, after every single senseless, insane killing, and as they inevitably will after the Seattle killings this weekend, the NRA will dissemble, rationalize, backpedal and flat out lie. Unrepentant despite the thousands of lesser known gun outrages in America, the NRA will actually try to tell us that shootings like this are why we need to have guns. And that a well-armed party would have nipped it in the bud.

The second amendment probably outlived its usefulness sometime around 1901. Let's get rid of it. Yeah, "guns don't kill people, people kill people." Until we figure out the people part, let's declare a state of emergency, and fast-track the repeal of the second amendment to the constitution.

In an earlier post I wrote on gun control, a lot of the comments focused on the strange idea that guns might have prevented a tragedy like this:

Both sick biscuits were sick on hearing the trash these people produce. Both got close enough to have killed the person with a knife or baseball bat... The gun is irrelevant.

Ralph (not a member of the NRA) - but one who fears liberals more than guns.
I'm pretty sure you have never listened to Damageplan, and, OK, I'll respect your right to think the Beatles produced trash. Yeah, you're not in the NRA.
You're saying that these guys could have done the same damage with a knife or baseball bat? Possibly. I'm not sure the guy could have killed five people with a knife. Isn't that being a little disingenuous? At least Abbott would have possibly had a fighting chance. He might have run. Or ducked.

"The gun is irrelevant." For a guy who has called me "stupid" elsewhere, you don't seem all that swift yourself. But you write OK for a mouth-breather.

By Jack Brummet, at
December 09, 2004 6:26 PM
I was very saddened by this news - having been a fan of Dime - but I tell ya - it never crossed my mind or a SECOND that guns were to be blamed - I'm not in the NRA but can see where if more people packed guns this kind of thing would be a lot less likely to happen. - An armed society is a polite society.

I'm sure you don't see it that way - it's interesting to read an opposing view though - you write well.

Have a great weekend.

By Monkey, at December 09, 2004 9:54 PM
There are people who claim the "music" (sorry, but I find most of the current noise not really music, but I also recognize that is an opinion, not one I would force on others) played by today's bands causes violence. Should, therefore, that so-called "music" be banned? There are smarter people who say "guns cause crime just as flies cause garbage." In truth, owning a gun is the same human right as owning, say, a DVD. A free human being has the right to OWN anything he has honestly acquired, whether it's a gun or a recording (even one most of us find distasteful) or a Bible or a plant. If one insists on laws controlling behavior, then the only rational and moral law is one against acts that initiate force or fraud; that is, one can properly advocate laws against killing or stealing or driving under the influence ... but NOT against ownership of anything honestly acquired.

By Michael Morrison, at December 09, 2004 10:15 PM
Hi Monkey - The previous commentator pointed out a baseball bat could have done as much damage. But to kill four people would have required much more energy, and time, than standing and pulling the trigger. So, in a way, I agree with you AND the NRA..."guns don't kill, people kill." But people kill with guns. Israel has a handgun murder rate one sixth of ours, even though they are heavily armed. Switzerland, where virtually everyone owns a gun has about one third the murders we do. Most murders are crimes of passion, and the people who carry them out are not deterred by the consequences (like the killer last night, or a terrorist in Israel). I'd just like to hamstring them a little. /jack

By Jack Brummet, at December 09, 2004 10:21 PM
True, true - it'd be some work to kill 4 people with a bat - but it could be done. Interesting facts you point out about Israel & Switzerland - it's amazing how a country can be so well behaved with so many guns - I have no answer to that - it's a mystery I guess. I guess we Americans are just a little more crazy or something - but I'd not have it any other way - crazy or not, I love our country even if we waste each other ever now and again. But I still feel SAFER knowing that so many of my fellow Americans are packing - because I still feel there's more GOOD people in the world than bad - and I want good people to have and carry guns freely - if nothing else so they can waste away idiots like the guy last night, or the clown that comes into McDonald's blowing away innocent people. I will always feel safer with guns all around me - even though that sounds warped probably to you and others I feel they're a GOOD tool in the right hands. (Like in the hands of the cop at that concert who probably saved a lot of lives). Off to beddy-by-land. Good night.

By Monkey, at December 09, 2004 10:50 PM
Well, I guess we agree to disagree. For me it is about proportion. . .

People with bats or knives don't do a lot of collateral damage. Someone with a semi-automatic weapon and a pocketful of clips could kill dozens of people. This guy killed at least four before he even reloaded.

I didn't look it up, but I know there are statistics about how many crimes are actually thwarted by people carrying guns. The last I heard, I believe was that far far more people are killed than saved by guns.

By Jack Brummet, at December 10, 2004 10:01 AM
Guns make us safer Jack, the same way having nuclear missiles kept the Russians away and you'll probably never believe that. You talked about the low rates of killings in Switzerland and Israel, and you were right.

By Anonymous, at December 10, 2004 1:42 PM


Monday, March 27, 2006

Poem: Changes Five/The waiting

The clouds
Rise up to heaven

We wait here
In the meadow
With the bugs and butterflies

Making their wars
In the alfalfa the air
The sod and water

We wait on the sand
Of ancient oceans
For news from a far place

They wait in the cold mud
For the caissons tanks and troops
And the arrival of the enemy

If you wait
In blood
Get out of the pit

Know why you wait
And if you wait
For rescue or destruction

Three uninvited guests arrive
One falls into the pit
Rescue her

Honor them all
And in the end
Mercy and kharma will follow

One may confront and best crises
By waiting
As long is necessary

For opportunity
To emerge
(You'll know it when you see it)

Avoid being panicked
Into action
By immediate danger

Stand back
Let the drama rush by
Then make your move.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Painting: James Gandolfini (or, for now, Tony Soprano)

Click the painting to enlarge. . .


Poem: Changes Four/The Young Shoot

Youthful excess leads
To success
In the time of youth

Folly is not an evil
But a byway
On the path

A quick detour
Still circling around
Goodness at the center

The fetters are removed
And the youth one day arrives
At the fork in the road

Like a spring
At the foot of the mountain
Water rolls ever downward

And escapes stagnation
By filling
The holidays in its path

With raindrops and aquifers
To become bodies of water

Filling earth's pits valleys craters
Lacunae fissures and hollows
With creeks rivers lakes and oceans

The fetters are removed
And the youth achieves
Inner strength with outer reserve

The twig is bent
A sapling lists
And becomes a crooked tree

The incorrigible must be punished
Those who will not heed
Must be made to feel

Punishment is never
An end in itself
But is one last desperate attempt

To restore order
And understand
Where our love went wrong.

Painting: Where Darwin Stands Today

click on painting to enlarge. . .

Thursday, March 23, 2006

How evil are you??

Take the quiz, and let me know just how evil you are. . .I hit 40%. And, yeah, I did answer truthfully...

You Are 40% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.
In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Nearly catatonic President soils pants following voodoo doll disclosure - White House terrorist charged with littering

Litterbug leads to President's sedation

A man who lobbed a paper bag onto the White House lawn yesterday is in custody, according to the Secret Service. A suspicious package, spotted shortly after President Bush left on a helicopter trip to Wheeling, W.Va, was examined using a remote-controlled device.

"Normal security protocols were in place," a Homeland Security told All This Is That. "Nothing in the bag was dangerous per se. B ut the bag did contain several mutilated voodoo dolls. The President was extremely upset when told about the contents of the bag."

According to our White House source, the President has had an unreasonable fear of voodoo and zombies since childhood. After the disclosure, The President was sedated, and Air Force One returned to Washington immediately. "Look, this is on the Q.T.," our source said, "but someone even said he had an involuntary evacuation, if you know what I mean."

The Secret Service secured the White House and raised its internal alert system one level during the investigation, according to a Homeland Security official, "It's unfortunate, but there is nothing illegal about black magic or witchcraft. Yeah, might be able to charge him with creating a public nuisance but it looks like the only thing we'll be able to tag him with is littering." ---o0o---

Poem: Changes Three/Trouble Ahead

You have difficulty beginning
And gaze into the abysmal water
Under rumbling thunder

Difficulty beginning
Leads to the upside
Through perseverance

To win
You bring troops
To impose order on the melee

With every hesitation and hindrance
The trouble grows
The dragon is freed

Moving brings good fortune
Everything you do
Acts to further

But when the horse
And the wagon part
The bloody tears will flow.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Changes Two/The Receptive

You may be receptive
And a bottomless chasm
Look to your friends in the west and south

Quiet perseverance brings goodness
You may be receptive
But every bucket needs a bottom

You may be receptive
But every bucket soon fills up
The earth's condition is receptive

She takes everything we dish out
So far
Nothing remains unfurthered

Dragons fight in the meadow
Their blood
Is black and yellow.

Four years and counting: another grim milestone in the Iraq War

This week marks the beginning of the fourth year of the Iraq War. The President, Vice-President, and Secretary of Defense all marked the occasion by delivering guardedly optimistic speeches and pep talks.

According to the New York Times, "Mr. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld sounded much as they had on the first anniversary of the invasion. At that time, the rebuilding effort had just begun, the insurgency was far less fierce, and the American occupation had suppressed, temporarily, the sectarian violence scarring Iraq today."


Monday, March 20, 2006

Osama bin Laden guest appearances on niece's reality show spark outrage

An upcoming "reality show," starring Osama bin Laden's niece has sparked outrage, protests and riots around the United States. Wafah Dufour, daughter of terrorist bin Laden's half-brother Yeslam, stars in the television series following her quest to achieve success in the music business.

The September 11th Family Association demanded the show be axed before it was aired. A Family Association spokeswoman yesterday said that the show "is an absolute disgrace. " Producer Judith Regan, the publishing whiz, defended her decision to make the reality show: "Wafah may be related to Osama - but she isn't him. She's a beautiful young woman who is gifted and trying to find her own way in life. "

The public outcry and protests, however, turned to riots when it was revealed that Osama bin Laden would make several guest appearances on the series. All This Is That has obtained clips of several of bin Laden's appearances in the program. In one scene, bin Laden's niece, Wafah, accidentally discloses the location of Osama's hideout. The clip shows Osama, his wives, and lieutenants running around Keystone Kops style, trying to get everything packed up before the Americans arrive.

A second show's plot details bin Laden falling in love with a 15 year old Jewish girl, and comically attempting to convince her parents to allow her to join his harem.

In a third episode of the program, Osama's niece guest stars on Sesame Street and brings along "my famous uncle," who attempts to convince Bert and Ernie to convert to Islam.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Poem: Changes One/Action

The dragon stays underwater
The master of river and lake

The dragon stays below the surface
Because his time to act has not come

He should not act
But gather strength

The dragon emerged
Has gone too far

The dragon reaches his limit
Because alone he has no leader.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Poem: revolt in heaven

It's horizontal here
And the clouds roll every which way

We spend the day drumming on blue trash cans
And humming on our blue kazoos

We're teaching the angels how to sass
And drink beer

Tomorrow's lesson: fun things to do
When you hike up your fig leaves.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

President Bush lights up the "c***suckers" in the press

President George W. Bush, acknowledged his stunning freefall in the polls, saying on Thursday that his unpopular decisions have hurt his standing but that it "comes with the territory and you. . .you've got to stand on what you believe." A year into his second term, Bush is beset with a job approval rating of 36 percent, with Americans disapproving of his handling of the war the U.S. economy, the Dubai ports fiasco, and other issues that just won't go away. His popularity among Republicans is now falling even faster than his approval ratings among the public at large.

An Associated Press reporter asked if President Bush accepts responsibility "Or do you continue to blame the press for your drop in popularity?"

The President angrily shot back "Will the press continue to fan the flames? You f***ers know you will. I've never seen such a gang of backbiting drunkards in my life...every one of you sonofab****es has poked a shiv into me whenever you had the chance. There was a time when you c***suckers in the press knew your place. If I was LBJ, you'd be Windexing the sneezeguards at the Olive Garden now. If I was Nixon, you'd just disappear after a friendly drive with Chuck Colson or Gordon Liddy. Yeah, twenty years ago, we'd make an example of a few of you and the rest of you pieces of s***would fall into line. . ."

Members of the White House communications staff called the press conference to an immediate close and escorted The President from the briefing room. Other communications staff asked the press to "voluntarily relinquish all tapes and recordings" of the conference. "We are a nation at war. The last thing we need is to embarrass The President publicly." The President's tirade was fed live to various internet news sites, where it spread rapidly among the websites and blogs that follow national politics.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Here's mud in your eye: Bono says Bob Geldof nearly spat on Tony Blair

U2 honcho Bono got between Sir Bob Geldof and P.M. Tony Blair to prevent him from hocking a 'loog at the Prime Minister, according to

After Geldof became agitated, Bono stepped in to shield the P.M. from a spit shower. Bono said: "I have seen Geldof try to bite prime ministers. I accept the rules of ultimate fighting, which are: you can't poke someone in the eye or bite them, and Bob doesn't."

Jerry Melin, still missing, still missed

Click photo to enlarge...

[Dear readers: forgive me, because I have published most of this previously here. But it's that time of year when my thoughts return to Mel, and if you missed it the first time around, it may be even better as a leftover].

I'll never forget--as long as I'm compos mentis--the morning Dorothea Melin called me to tell me the news. It was about 7:00 in the morning. I was taking a shower and my son Colum came in and said Dot's on the phone for you. And I knew. I knew it as sure as I'd known it that day on May 19, 1964, when I rode home on my bicycle from a baseball game and saw my mom standing on our back porch watching for me to arrive home. He's gone.

It was this week he died. His funeral was held on St. Patrick's Day. Click here to hear a recording I made of him in about 1980 as Senator Jerry Melin.

Or click here to hear Jack and Jerry discussing Shakespeare and "self-love." Or click here to hear Mel describe his meeting with Allen Ginsberg at the Grass Roots Tavern on St. Mark's Place.

Seven years ago, Jerry Melin, died in Marin County, California (where he lived near The Grateful Dead, a band we both loved). He even met a few of them during his years in Ross. Mel's death was a jackhammer blow; a blow I still try to understand and absorb. There is not a day when I don't think of him often, all these years later. Even now--last night, in fact--there are things I want to tell him; things so strange, or amazing, or bent, or obscure and ethereal, that only he could plug in to them. And yet my loss is nothing like that experienced by Dot, and his three wonderful daughters. Whenever I see them, I know that he's smiling and maybe bragging them up to Gabriel and St. Peter.

Mel died instantly of a heart attack in the middle of a tennis match. His wife, Dorothea, asked if I could speak a eulogy at his funeral. I wasn't sure I could, if I could even write it. I wasn't thinking right. Somehow, 'though, I felt Mel peer over my shoulder and was able to get something on paper. I was even able to deliver the eulogy in a packed church without completely breaking down. It wasn't looking at his widow or his three young daughters, or all our friends, or the people of Ross that got me through it. I asked myself "what would Jerry do?" How had Jerry managed the deaths of our friends Phil, Peter, Jannah, Colin, or his father? It was not by boohooing...that was not his way. The Way was to realize it's over and go from there, and celebrate. "You celebrate them by digging that we're here, " he would say, "there's plenty of time to be pushing daisies. You celebrate them by celebrating this. Dig this and dig it now because tomorrow never knows, as that hippie Beatle sang."

I gave a eulogy at his funeral in March, 1999:

Eulogy for Jerry Philip Melin

[This first paragraph about the church I ad-libbed at the funeral and wrote down when I got on the plane that night].

I look around this church, and I see--what?-- Three Hundred People? I know Jerry would have been amazed; he would be amused. This is half the town of Ross, California. Jerry never dreamed he could sell out a Catholic Church. It's S.R.O.--Standing Room Only--here. It should be. No, Jerry could not have dreamt this. I wonder if it's some kind of dream myself. But I know it isn't, because we are here, together. And I wish we weren't.

My earliest Jerry memory might be the Letterman's Jacket Incident. Jerry lettered in gymnastics, and had later made "improvements" to his Kent Meridian High School letterman's jacket. In addition to a carefully rendered, bright white rendition of Mister Zig-Zag on the back, he reversed the letters on his jacket to read MK. The football coach stopped him one day and asked (I'll try my dumb coach voice): "Hey­­ what's this MK jazz stand for?"

When Jerry answered "Mein Kampf," the coach, of course, went absolutely bananas. Jerry had to surrender the Jacket eventually because it violated several rules, but for Jer this was a personal triumph, beating anything he'd done on the parallel bars or the rings, and leaving his vaulting wins far in the dust. He'd riled The Man.

Over the years, I called him at various times--of the names I can actually say in church--Jed, Jer, Mel, Bart (referring to the Hobart Dump), Jeddy and even sometimes, Jerry. These last few years we settled into Mel, and he called me either Doc, or Jack.

He was a skilled artist, creating bawdy cartoons of people locked in improbable combinations and situations, and incredible William Blake-inspired drawings of sinners and angels. He was a skilled stockmarket analyst and a securities trading wiz (not bad for a guy with a degree in English literature). He wrote chilling fiction and fantasy, often in stream of consciousness bursts, folded into those twenty page letters from Mexico, Alaska, Greece, Bellingham, Manhattan or Seattle. He was an introspective philosopher who could keep you up all night discussing The Big Ideas, and Art and Women and Godhead. Jerry was also a prankster unparalleled. I could go on about that alone forever. Jerry was an adoring husband, a doting father, and a friend whose intensity swallowed you up. You knew he loved you.

I tried to find my box of letters, stories, drawings, and poems from him before I came to the funeral, and even those many emails. His letters to me, at least, were machine-gun meditations on life--a vortex of free associations on the nature of Art and Destiny and Man's follies. These letters were shot through with his comic vision of humankind that plumbed the lowest and highest of humor.

His warped sense of humor and willingness to talk from the heart sustained us through a lot of happy times, tragic losses, and life itself.

In 1978, Jerry and I took a most ill­-advised trip from my home in New York City to his home in Seattle. You could travel from anywhere to anywhere in the U.S. for $49 on the Greyhound Bus.

One of the things I remember most about that trip is how much we laughed and babbled and talked through the night as we crossed those twelve desolate, frozen states in those nightmare bus seats, usually trapped in the back of the bus, near the toilet. We finally arrived in Seattle, and staggered off the bus after three and a half showerless and cramped days. We went to our respective family's homes.

Jerry called two hours later to see if I wanted to hang out. We had been six inches apart for 85 hours! I was ready for a serious and long Jerry­break, but he wanted to know when I would be arriving at his place to liberate him! There was more to transact! We had unfinished business. He could never have enough. I was always the first one to go, to hang up, log off, or go to bed. He never ever wanted to say goodbye.

There was never a time when we talked that he didn't hound me to come visit him in Kent, Seattle, Bellingham, Manhattan, Long Island, Mexico, San Francisco, or up in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Wherever he was was where I should be. It was critical that he knew exactly when we would see each other again. It was always "Jack. . .drive that car down here tomorrow. . .it's only 16 hours and you've got five days off." Or "Doc. . .come down here and quit working so damned hard. . .we'll sit in the hot tub and talk about politics and Rembrandt and old kings."

Jerry would never ever hang up without extracting a solid promise we would get together As Soon As Possible.

In retrospect, I wish I had driven down here a week ago, the last time he insisted I come immediately. He was really applying the heat this time. He knew I had a lot of time off, and I thought about it. He really applied the pressure­­. But I don't think Jerry had any sense of what was to come later that week; I don't think he knew he had days to live. He just wanted that visit to glimmer in the distance, as a possibility, as a carrot to keep him going. Mel had to know you'd be there again, in person.

How can we not all love and cherish someone who loved us as relentlessly as that? For everyone who knew and loved him, there will always be a void that only Jerry can fill.

I'll miss those midnight calls about Flemish painters and Yeats and Shakespeare and the mad popes. It was all so very important to him and he always wanted every detail about my life, and the things I read and wrote and painted, and created at work, and about my family, and about my wife he adored. . .all of that was never far from his mind. Half the time, I couldn't pry a word out of Jerry, but he was there, pumping words out of me like an oil derrick.

Mel measured his life by the people he loved. That was his yardstick. I hope we can all come to practice even a little bit of what he taught us about devotion and intensity and reaching out. Jerry's love was relentless.

I know I speak for Jerry when I tell you he wants us to somehow accept this terrible thing and learn to laugh again. Jerry was never much of a mourner; he was a liver. This much commotion about his passing would be too much. He wants you to ponder not his passing but his glorious transit through this bright blue ball.

It's going to be too long
until we hug Jerry
but until then,
I know that once you're through
with the orientation and settling in,
you'll be teaching those angels
new moves and showing them
just how much room there really is
to dance on the head of a pin. ­­­­

Jack Brummet, 1999


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Katherine Harris staying in the race?


Rumors have abounded that Florida vote-nazi, Congresswoman and Senate candidate Katherine Harris will drop out of her Florida Senate race against Bill Nelson. Another rumor making the rounds is that she will resign from her seat in the House to work full time on beating Bill Nelson.


Reverend Pat Robertson calls Islam "satanic"

The telenazi evangelist Pat Robertson said yesterday on his program The 700 Club that Islam is not a religion of peace, and that radical Muslims are "satanic."

The rage unleashed by the notorious Mohammed cartoons "just shows the kind of people we're dealing with. These people are crazed fanatics, and I want to say it now: I believe it's motivated by demonic power. It is satanic and it's time we recognize what we're dealing with."

Robertson also said that "the goal of Islam, ladies and gentlemen, whether you like it or not, is world domination."

Does this mean the only way to beat them is with a cross, or a stake through the heart?

Other recent Pat Robertson articles on All This Is That:

Pat Robertson Only Managed To Keep His Foot Out Of His Mouth Two Weeks (It May Be A Record!)

Jesusland in jeopardy? Pat Robertson retracts another statement

More Wisdon From Rev. Pat Robertson

Rev. Pat Robertson Calls For The Assassination of President Chavez

The Reverend Robertson: "I Didn't Say That." "Oh Wait. I Did. But I Didn't Really Mean It."

The Very Reverend Pat Robertson can now be officially classified as treading the border somewhere between Imbecile and Idiot [Moron (51–70 IQ)Imbecile (26–50 IQ) Idiot (0–25 IQ)].

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Republicans tied to the whipping post

A shaken and dispirited Republican party met this weekend at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, including most of the Presidential candidates pictured here. A few choice quotes:

"Let's just say this: the president's position on all of this is not all that clear." - Senator George Allen of Virgina (and Presidential contender).

"We are spending too much money," said Governor Mitt Romney "Our discretionary spending — taking out Iraq and mandatory spending — grew 49 percent in four years. Our debt has grown. Pork is always dispiriting. But pork being spent at a time of war is particularly dispiriting."

"There's a lot of frustration here — we've had a run of real bad luck," said Tom Rath, a New Hampshire Republican leader. "You've got such longevity in that White House team that they are tired. They need a break. They need a big piece of good luck. I don't know what it is."
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said "Executing has been a problem. Implementing has been a problem." Graham criticized the G.O.P. for allowing spending to increase "We're growing the government at a pace that makes Democrats look thrifty."

"We cannot afford big losses this year," said Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi,

"It's like we're the party worried about losing," he said. "We need to become the party focused on winning." - Senator Lindsay Graham

Found Poem: The Richmond Hill Oracle

There's no problem she can't solve
Tells you how to hold onto your job
Calls your friends and enemies by name

Tells you all your problems
Reunites the separated
And even channels the long gone back

Sister Cynthia guarantees
To remove evil influence
In only one visit

Tomorrow may be too late
Come see Sister Cynthia
1864 Liberty Avenue

Richmond Hills Queens
9-9 weekdays and Saturday
Take the A train

To Greenwood Avenue
As fast as you can
All strictly confidential.

Poem (and painting): The Robot Wars

Unfeeling insect eyes brim with warmth and love
Juxtaposed against the digital lenses

Of robots executing an instruction loop
An injury to one is an injury to all

In the robot hive an isolated attack
Against a single member may shift

The entire hive to act in concert
To solve the dilemma

The hive's seeming random actions
Are suspended

The protocols lead
To reflexive redeployment

The goods news for humans
Is that no robot

Is smarter than the next
If you fool one

You fool
Them all

The bad news for humans
The loss of one member

Is inconsequential
A millisecond diversion

Think of the inexorable march
A platoon of robots a company of robots

Stepping over broken robots
A regiment of robots a division of robots

Executing lines of code
A corps of robots an army of robots

Utterly indifferent to the fate
Of their brothers and sisters in arms

Programmed by rogue homo sapiens
To make it all come down.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Slobodan Milosevic cheats the hangman

Former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, the "butcher of the Balkans" on trial for war crimes after fomenting a decade of bloodshed that killed more than 250,000 people, was found dead today in his prison cell.

64 year old Milosevic's death came a week after the star witness in his trial, former Croatian Serb leader Milan Babic, was also found dead in the same prison. after committing suicide. His testimony in 2002 put the first nails in Slobodan's coffin.

"Justice was late," said Hashim Thaci, the leader of ethnic Albanian insurgents against Milosevic's forces in 1998-1999 in Kosovo's capital, Pristina. "God took him."

Friday, March 10, 2006

N.S.A. bans photos of Saturn creatures - to avert a run on Depends incontinence products

One of Saturn's moons, Enceladus, appears to have a geyser spewing a large cloud of water vapor. That vapor may be responsible for Saturn's rings, scientists said Thursday.

Image of possible crashed space vehicle. Click image to enlarge.

An article in the journal Science, says that the tiny moon, Enceladus, could have a liquid ocean under its frozen surface that could sustain primitive life. The plume spotted by the Cassini spacecraft is strong evidence that "we may have evidence for liquid water within a body so small and so cold," said Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader at Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

This images, shot 12 minutes after the image above, seems to
show the skeleton of a small, large-headed humanoid creature.
Click image to enlarge.

Cassini is the joint U.S.-European spacecraft currently flying by and collecting images of Saturn.

Dr. Porco also said that "if we are right, we have significantly broadened the diversity of solar system environments where we might possibly have conditions suitable for living organisms."

This image appears to show creatures from the moon Enceladus
arriving to gather water during geyser's eruption. Click image
to enlarge.

All This Is That was provided with copies of photographs the research group did not initially release to the public. Two graduate students furnished the photographs under the condition their identities remain anonymous. One of the students said "They absolutely refused to release these three photographs for fear people couldn't handle it." The day after that decision, the National Security Agency "confiscated their hard drives and photographs because 'they have the potential to create a national panic'."

The confiscated images include:

1. A photograph of the surface of Enceladus and what appears to be a crashed space vehicle that looks remarkably similar to common images of "flying saucers."

2. Another image in which the skeleton of a small, but large-headed humanoid appears on the moon's surface.

3. An image of Saturn creatures gathering at what may be their "water hole." The creatures appear to be small humanoids, with wings, and the ability to fly.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Vice-President Cheney back in the driver's seat: Cheney v. Cheney

Yesterday, a bellicose, ubermensch Dick Cheney made public threats against Iran. . .even before he has finished sorting out the Iraq situation. Cheney is clearly a paper tiger. We don't even have the troops, resources, or will to "finish up" the war next door to Iran. Or is this his strategy for the cut and run option in Iraq?

The Veep weighed in heavy over the last week on the inherent goodness of domestic spying and standing fast in the war in Iraq. He also subtly warned breakaway Republicans to pipe down and mind their own business.

In the White House itself, Cheney--after a brief public stint in the doghouse [1] --is back in charge. It's going to take more than a mere shooting or his top aide's indictment to take down the top dog.

[1] While still still running the show. . .but offscreen for a week or so until they could all get back ahead of the story.

It lives: Get Your War On

click to enlarge

It's crude, rude, profane and over the top, but I still find myself returning over and over again to Get Your War On. Since the early days of the war, David Rees has been churning out his panels using clip art. The comics depict office workers attempting to understand the war and what we have wrought. Check it out. Buy his book.

Sesquipedalian Words

Some people say that


is the longest word in the English language. Well, it's gotta be right up there. It is the 1,185 letter name for the Tobacco Mosaic Virus.

If you don't count the names of diseases and some chemical compounds, the other candidates are: (usually named as the longest word):
pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, "a lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine silica dust," however the word comes up in that context rarely. It generally only appears as an example of a very long word.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, a village in Wales, is probably the winner for proper names.

Two words you probably have heard, antidisestablishmentarianism and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious both appear in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Honorificabilitudinitatibus appears in Bill Shakespeare's Love's Labor Lost. There are a few very long words that appear in only one place: James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake. goes through the usual candidates, and says at the end, "perhaps smiles is the longest word — after all, there is a mile between the first letter and the last. "

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Painting: you are here

Click painting to enlarge.

I'm tired of words today. I wrote two poems last night. They were not so good, and you know they must be feeble, readers, because you've seen some of the things that actually do make the cut! /jack