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Immovably fascinated by the world; it's properties, people, conditions, sensations, irony,
and all the amazing moments which, whether by enlightenment or scarring, bring about permanent change.

Monday, July 30, 2012

noah's beard

been renting seasons of er from the library.
and i have to say; i love john carter (noah wyle) with a beard.

here's an actual Interview with Noah Wyle's beard:

Q. So, how did you get involved in this project?
A. It's pretty simple, really. Papa grew me over the summer, and . . .

Q. Papa?
A. Yeah, that's what I call my creator. He's a nice guy.

Q. Do you get along well?
A. We've actually been spending a lot of alone time together lately.

Seems his lady friends don't like me very much.

Q. How do you feel about that?
A. It hurts, you know? I've got feelings.

I mean, yeah, I'm a collection of overgrown hair follicles,
but I've got emotions. If you shave me, do I not bleed?

Q. Actually, you don't.
A. Well pardon me for getting literary.
What, a beard's not supposed to quote Shakespeare?

Q. Let's move on. Noah's a very popular but very private figure.
What's it like being so close to him?
A. It's surprising. Did you know he's addicted to salsa?

Q. Salsa?
A. Eats it morning, noon and night. No chips, just salsa. Eats it with a spoon.
He keeps getting chunks of it stuck all over me.
You might not know it to look at me, but I'm very neatness-oriented.
It can be hard. Sometimes, I'm ashamed for him to even take me out of the house.

Q. Have you heard about this anti-Beard campaign on the Internet?
A. Papa showed me some of the messages.
All I want to know is, what did I ever do to them?
Did I run over their cats? Did I beat their children?
Look, I didn't ask to be grown. But these people are trying to shave me!

Q. And you don't appreciate that?
A. No! These people are nuts! Nuts, I tell you! I remember the night of the Emmys,
Papa was so depressed over not winning anything
that he came back to our house and started surfing the Net
to see what other people had to say.
One of those lunatics said he actually punched his hand through a wall
when "The Practice" won for Best Drama.
For crying out loud, I'm just a beard and this is just a TV show!

Q. You're actually not the only beard on the show.
A. Ahem. Eriq (LaSalle) and Tony (Edwards) have goatees. I am a full-grown beard.

Q. My mistake. Is there any kind of rivalry between the different types of facial hair?
A. Actually, I don't mind the mustaches so much.
When Eriq was just a 'stache guy, he was pretty cool.
And they've got, what, three mustaches over on "NYPD Blue"?
But goatees are just beard wannabes,
usually grown by guys who don't have the testosterone for the real thing.

Q. You sound very passionate about this.
A. You know it, buddy. I mean, you look at the late '70s, early '80s.
The golden age for facial hair.
You had Burt Reynolds, Tom Selleck, James Brolin. It was beautiful.
You could have a bushy mustache, or a thick beard,
and you'd still be a sex symbol. Now you've got all these goatees,
and everybody's gotta keep things nice and trim, or else shave altogether. Bleah.
You'll notice they made Kelsey Grammer lose the beard when Frasier got his own show.

Q. That hadn't occurred to me, actually.
A. Well, that's because your livelihood's not at stake, man!
If all these Internet loonies win, Noah gets out the old Norelco, and I'm history!
Sure, maybe he'll bring me back from time to time during hiatus,
but big hairy deal! This is my chance to get a 40 share every Thursday night!
Top of the world, Ma!

- interview from

Friday, July 20, 2012

the simple story

the little thoughts came rushing in
while I watched for a sign from him
when all the while was clear as day;
that I should go and he should stay

I look his love like it was mine
I squeezed the truth until it lied
it took some time for cracks to show
should I stay or should he go?

the simple story that you told me
is a little different from what you showed me
the simple story, unfurling slowly
is; if you lay down with a dream
you'll wake up lonely

lyrics as sung by feist and jane birkin

Thursday, July 19, 2012

hardtack and coffee

civil war food rations consisted of
salted meat, hardtack (plain biscuit of flour and water), a little sugar, and salt.

in the days before artificial preservatives,
food supply chains were riddled with corrupt food contractors,
charging the government top dollar for rotten, stale, and insect-ridden food.
they'd even cut ground coffee with sand and dirt.

for a bit, the army tried "essence of coffee", a concentrated proto-instant coffee;
(coffee/milk/sugar boiled into a thick goop, reconstituted by mixing with water)
it tasting bad, and caused diarrhea (from the spoiled milk, sold by corrupt dairymen),
so army officials began requesting coffee be delivered in whole-bean form.
this which kept coffee fresh, and made it the best thing on the menu.
even if there was no time to boil, soldiers would chew on beans.

there were brewing recipes for "the new iron stove" or campfire.
using a wire bail, tie a "mucket" (tin dipper) to the end of a stick.
boil coffee/water to the desired dark hue, and strong enough to float an iron wedge.
make "three full dishes" by adding 1oz coffee to 3/4 pint water,
or 2 "great spoonfuls" ("heaped tablespoonfuls") to 1pint water.
serve up to 100 men by using 10lbs green coffee, or 8lbs roasted/ground.
they'd often crumble hardtack into the coffee.

the boiling process kills water-borne pathogens,
so coffee was safer than water straight from rivers, ponds, and puddles.

The Union had many advantages;
two-thirds of the population was The North,
which controlled most of the heavy industry, railroads, financial reserves,
.....and supplies of coffee beans!

bits from:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

amtrak joe

Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr.
47th US vice president
u.s. secret service codename: "celtic" (referencing his irish roots)

"Just talk to me as a father - not what the Constitution says. What do you feel?" -joe

born november 20, 1942 in scranton, pennsylvania
his family moved to delaware when he was ten years old.

from his childhood until his twenties, he spoke with a stutter.
to overcome it, he spent long hours reciting poetry in front of a mirror.

"The art of living is simply getting up after you've been knocked down." -joe

at the university of delaware, rather than studying,
he was more interested in sports and socializing
("although his classmates were impressed by his cramming abilities").
he dropped a junior year plan to play varsity football,
enabling him to spend more time with his out-of-state girlfriend.

having asthma as a teenager, he was not available for service in vietnam.
nor was he part of the anti-war movement.
occupied with marriage and law, he "wore sports coats ... not tie-dyed."

joe is a teetotaler (abstinent from alcohol)
due to negative impressions of drinking in his family.

"A lot's going to happen this summer. And even after the summer." -joe
[i took this out of context, and i like it that way]


* amtrak joe *

(joe's name on his senate desk, which was also the desk of jfk)

1969 he became an attorney.
1970 got elected to county council.
1972 was the 6th youngest senator in US history,
re-elected to senate six times,
was the 15th longest serving senator in history,
and the 4th most senior senator upon resignation.
he set the mark for youngest senator to cast 10,000 votes.

that year, joe's family went christmas shopping
(wife- Neilia, older son- Beau, younger son- Hunter, and one-year-old daughter).
their station wagon pulled out of an intersection, and was hit by a tractor-trailer.
the two sons were critically injured.
his wife and daughter were died.

"After my first wife and daughter were killed, my boys were banged up badly,
and I had those aneurysms that didn't give me a big chance of living,
my dad sent me a little three-paneled cartoon: Hägar the Horrible.
I still have it on my desk.
Hägar is in his Viking boat with his horn helmet,
rowing away when a bolt of lightning comes out of the sky. Hägar gets charred.
He looks up at heaven and says, 'Why me, God?'
And God comes back with 'Why not?' " -joe

the senate majority in washington, convinced him not to resign to care for his family,
so to be at home every day for his young sons in the Wilmington suburbs,
joe rode the amtrak train, 1.5hrs, each way, every day.
(this practice continued throughout his senate career.
earning the nickname "amtrak joe".
in '11, the wilmington station was renamed after him,
in honor of his 7k+ trips from there.)

the accident left joe confused, angry, and with trouble focusing.
"I liked to [walk around seedy neighborhoods] at night
when I thought there was a better chance of finding a fight...
I had not known I was capable of such rage...
I felt God had played a horrible trick on me."
at work, he appeared to just go through the motions of being a senator.
staffers were taking bets on how long he would last.

"My mom would say, 'Joey, as long as a person's alive, they have the obligation to strive.
They're not dead until they've seen the face of God.'
So you just have to get your ass up — no matter what." -joe

he was a single father for five years.
joe left standing orders to be interrupted in the senate
at any time, if either of his sons called.
he does not work on december 18, the anniversary of the accident.

Beau became a Delaware Attorney General and an Army Judge Advocate serving in Iraq.
Hunter is a Washington attorney and lobbyist.

"My dad used to say,
'You know you're a success when you look at your kids
and realize they turned out better than you.'
I am a success.
But I should have had one Republican
who wanted to be an investment banker and make a lot of money
so that when they put me in a home, I get a window with a view." -joe
"Does it feel like home or a thirty-three-room mansion?
It feels like home for one reason:
Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night,
one of my granddaughters comes and hangs out." -joe
"My deceased wife used to say,
'Joe, the greatest gift God gave to mankind was the ability to forget.'
To which my mother would always add,
'If that weren't the case, women would only have one child.' " -joe

consistently ranked as one of the least wealthy members of the senate
his net worth is $59k - $366k (with almost none investment or outside income)

"There was an article in the newspaper. It said something like,
'It's probable no vice-president has ever assumed the office
with fewer assets than Vice-President Biden.'
I assume they were talking about financial assets." -joe
"I still have my 1967 Goodwood-green Corvette, 327, 350-horse,
with a rear-axle ratio that really gets up and goes.
The Secret Service won't let me drive it.
I'm not allowed to drive anything.
It's the one thing I hate about this job.
I'm serious." -joe


* support *

"My rights are not derived from any government.
My rights are not denied by any majority.
My rights are because I exist." -joe
"Nobody owes you a living. But everyone's entitled to dignity." -joe

in '94, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (aka the Biden Crime Law)
and the landmark Violence Against Women Act,
contain a broad array of measures to combat domestic violence,
and provides billions of dollars in federal funds to address gender-based crimes.
joe said, "I consider the Violence Against Women Act
the single most significant legislation that I’ve crafted
during my 35-year tenure in the senate."

"My definition of power is the ability to help people." -joe
"All our differences hardly measure up to the values we all hold in common." -joe
“There’s no political point worth anybody’s life out there. None.” -joe

biden believes that life begins at conception,
but he's not going to impose his personal religious views on others.
because of his support for abortion rights,
his own catholic church does not allow him to speak at catholic schools,
and was barred from receiving holy communion
by the bishop of his original hometown.
joe continues to receive communion at his local delaware parish.

he has collaborated effectively with important republicans
sometimes going went against elements of his own party.
(which i respect. neither party is all-wrong or all-right)
he has given speeches which simultaneously scold and encourage democrats.

"[he] occupies the sensible center of the Democratic Party...
...he plans to stress the dangers to the security of the average american,
not just from the terrorist threat,
but from the lack of health assistance, crime,
and energy dependence on unstable parts of the world."
- harry f. themal (delaware newspaper columnist) in '06

"If they can’t identify the enemy or describe the war we’re fighting,
it’s difficult to see how we will win." -joe
"This nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power." -joe
"Let's just be smart this time. I'm looking for smart." -joe

he says american businesses (and economic competitiveness) have two major threats:
high health care and energy costs
he opposes drilling for oil in the artic.

joe co-sponsored:
- the Sense of the Senate resolution,
which calls on the u.s. to be a part of the u.n. climate negotiations
- the Boxer-Sanders Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act,
the most stringent climate bill in senate

"It's hard to find a single project that everyone can see being created,
like the Hoover Dam or the interstate highway system.
The real answer is we need entire new industries." -joe
"the number-one job facing the middle class,
as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs." -joe
"For the world to follow, we must do more than rattle our sabers
and demand allegiance to our vision simply because we believe we are right.
We must provide a reason for others to aspire to that vision.
And that reason must come with more
than the repetition of a bumper-sticker phrase about freedom and democracy.
It must come with more than the restatement of failed policy.
It must come with the wisdom to admit when we are wrong
and resolve to change course and get it right." -joe
"After 9-11, the President had a historic opportunity to unite Americans
and the world in common cause.
Instead, by exploiting the politics of fear,
instigating an optional war in Iraq before finishing a necessary war in Afghanistan
and instituting policies on torture, detainees
and domestic surveillance that fly in the face of our values and interests,
President Bush divided Americans from each other and from the world." -joe

in '04, biden met with leader muammar gaddafi in tripoli,
and secured the brief release of libyan democracy activist and political prisoner; fathi eljahmi.

in a '08 speech to israel's knesset, president w. bush suggested that democrats were acting
in the same way some western leaders did when they appeased hitler in the run-up to ww2.
at this, biden stated: "this is bullsh*t. this is malarkey. this is outrageous.
outrageous for the president of the united states to go to a foreign country,
sit in the knesset ... and make this kind of ridiculous statement....
...since when does this administration think that if you sit down,
you have to eliminate the word 'no' from your vocabulary?"

...which is a perfect segway to:

* joe bombs *

"America, whose greatest strengths are her ideas and ideals,
has become afraid to talk." -joe
"If I had to parse through every single thing I'm going to say, then I'm not me." -joe

joe is a strong speaker, debater,
and a frequent and effective guest on talk shows.
he is known to deviate from prepared remarks at will.
(though, his questions and remarks during senate hearings
were especially known for being long-winded)
though, he has plagiarized in speeches,
lied about his college grades,
and let slip a few comments.

"You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts
unless you have a slight Indian accent.... I'm not joking."

and especially in '07 when speaking about (then- fellow pres candidate) obama;
"I mean, you got the first mainstream african-american
who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,
I mean, that's a storybook, man."
this comment damaged his fund-raising capabilities, and undermined his campaign.

once under the obama campaign,
he was told to keep speeches succinct and avoid off-hand remarks.

according to wiki, obama was privately frustrated
("how many times is biden gonna say something stupid?")

obama campaign staffers referred to his blunders as "joe bombs"
and kept biden uninformed regarding strategies.

"[biden's loose talk is] part of what makes the vice president so endearing ...
we wouldn't change him one bit."
- valerie jarrett (senior obama advisor)

a self-proclaimed "genuine lover of ice cream,"
he stopped for a cone in a wisconsin,
the shop's manager casually asked him to "lower our taxes."
joe responded; "why don't you say something nice instead of being a smart-ass all the time?"
the manager later said the run-in with biden was "very nice"
and that joe had whispered he was just kidding.

"if there were no gaffes, there'd be no joe.
he's someone you can't help but like."
- lindsey graham (former senate colleague)

"Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified
than I am to be vice president of the United States of America.
Quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me." -joe


* joe & barry: a love story *

relations between the two campaigns were strained,
until biden apologized on a call to obama and the two built a stronger partnership.

once they discovered barry's daughter and joe's granddaughter attend the same school,
they formed something of a friendship, despite their different personalities.

when obama and biden met in secret to discuss a possible vice-presidential relationship,
and the two hit it off well personally.

he brought to the obama ticket:
- aggressive challenge to republican candidate mccain
(which barack seemed uncomfortable doing),
- appeal to middle class and blue-collar voters,
- foreign policy and national security experience

"The first discussion, as we sat around this big table
on the eightieth floor of some building in Chicago during the interregnum period,
was with a group of about thirty economists.
We weren't talking about reorganizing banks during that meeting.
We were talking about banks going out of business.
We were talking about doors being shuttered.
The action that the president took — and some of the antecedent actions on TARP —
literally saved the economy from going off a cliff and the world going into a depression.
Everyone forgets that now, especially our banker friends." -joe
"What I'm amazed about is the guy's courage.
The decisions the president makes day in and day out
are decisions that nobody sees.
Trust me, if you had to make only one of those decisions,
you'd be telling your grandchildren about it." -joe
"Barack Obama has a vision of American greatness
based not just on our unmatched military might,
but on our economic, intellectual, and moral strengths.
They were once the envy of the world.
They can be again." -joe
"[david] axelrod really wanted me to do this on teleprompter,
but I told him I'm much better when I wing it.
I know these evenings run long, so I'm going to be brief.
Talk about the audacity of hope.
President Obama does send his greetings, though.
He can't be here tonight, because he's busy getting ready for Easter.
He thinks it's about him." -joe (at the 2009 gridiron dinner)

bits/photos from:

Friday, July 13, 2012

pure imagination

in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
composed by leslie bricusse and anthony newley
as sung by Gene Wilder

hold your breath
make a wish
count to three

come with me, and you'll be
in a world of pure imagination
take a look, and you'll see
into your imagination

we'll begin, with a spin
traveling in the world of my creation
what we'll see will defy explanation

If you want to view paradise
simply look around and view it
anything you want to, do it
wanna change the world?
there's nothing to it

there is no life I know
to compare with pure imagination
living there, you'll be free
if you truly wish to be

this song always makes me cry.
(especially the part when he's so touched,
that he removes his hat, and sits to marvel)
he just seems so goshdarn happy and hopeful,
knowing heaven is wherever you make it.

a film that needs to be visited at least yearly
[i recommend autumn (halloween. costumes. candy. insanity.)]

when i was younger, i loved how willy didn't fit into one box.
he was a candy man, but at the same time, he couldn't stand children.
he could be mean to the bad eggs, and then kind to the poor.
i completely appreciated that he did not hold back.

his morals appealed to me as well:
honesty- the most coveted virtue.
betrayal- chosen as the only unforgivable act.
and no fear- except that his life not be a waste.

mostly, my favorite quality was how he poked fun at everyone,
and saw the humor midst difficult situations.

now, i'm delighted by his great balance of life:
joy. anger. love. insanity. wit. loneliness. love. tradition.
his coin is variety. ...and a canyon-sized appreciation for irony.

wilder is the perfect actor for this cagey character written by roald dahl.
gene wins us over with quick wit and incredible timing.
his easy-going delivery allows willy to be natural and free,
so we believe our tour guide to be level-headed.
but as we join him, it becomes unclear whether he's laughing with you, or at you.
since people disappoint him, it seems he's mostly amusing himself.

above all, i believe this legend was sealed to gene,
because he equally beheld juxtaposing qualities,
which kept us guessing and contradicted our expectations,
ultimately creating a memorably complex character:
his versatile voice can screech loudly, then sing gently just a moment later.
his giant eyes twinkle light blue, and kindly urge you to trust,
but, right below, a wide cheshire-cat mad grin makes you unsure of his sanity.
and the cherry on top: an elegant top hat, which insinuates refinement,
yet it sits coyly atop his untamed hair.

it's unclear whether he's going to be sweet, or flip out. to include you, or mock you.
it all makes you wonder what's going on in that crazy brain.

Friday, July 6, 2012

peter's good bye

excerpt from Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie:

"I shall have such fun," said Peter, with eye on Wendy.

"It will be rather lonely in the evening," she said, "sitting by the fire."

"I shall have Tink."

"Tink can't go a twentieth part of the way round [the world]," she reminded him a little tartly.

"Sneaky tell-tale!" Tink called out from somewhere round the corner.

"It doesn't matter," Peter said.

"O Peter, you know it matters."

"Well, then, come with me to the little house."

"May I, mummy?"

"Certainly not. I have got you home again, and I mean to keep you."

"But he does so need a mother."

"So do you, my love."

"Oh, all right," Peter said, as if he had asked her from politeness merely;
but Mrs. Darling saw his mouth twitch, and she made this handsome offer:
to let Wendy go to him for a week every year to do his spring cleaning.
Wendy would have preferred a more permanent arrangement;
and it seemed to her that spring would be long in coming;
but this promise sent Peter away quite gay again.
He had no sense of time, and was so full of adventures
that all I have told you about him is only a halfpenny-worth of them.
I suppose it was because Wendy knew this
that her last words to him were these rather plaintive ones:

"You won't forget me, Peter, will you, before spring cleaning time comes?"

Of course Peter promised; and then he flew away.
He took Mrs. Darling's kiss with him.
The kiss that had been for no one else,
Peter took quite easily. Funny. But she seemed satisfied.

drawing by Mary Blair
text from

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