The Spirit of Exmas Sideways

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Fri, 12 Jul 2002 12:00:00 GMT

Through the streets

Throwing rocks through windows,
Using my own head to ring
Great bells,

Pulling out my hair,
Tearing off my clothes,

Tying everything I own
To a stick,
And setting it on

What else can Hafiz do tonight
To celebrate the madness,
The joy,

Of seeing God

(The Gift: Poems by Hafiz, translations by Daniel Ladinsky)

Mike Shelton at The Orange County Register - Uncle Sam Cleans Up - my title. Cartoon commentary on the ridiculous concept of government cleaning up corporate accounting. - Building Confidence - likewise.

Mark Fiore at Salon - Department of Corporateland Security - Flash animation commentary on the Bush administration's ties to corporate funny business. [brianf]

Sometimes things are not exactly black and white... they're green.

L. Neil Smith - The Spirit of Exmas Sideways: a "novelito" by L. Neil Smith - Neil says that they made this available last December, but I hadn't seen it. Christmas in July. Yay! Win Bear solves a Confederacy murder. [smith2004]

Mary Schmich at The Chicago Tribune via Glee Willis - Hoax MIT commencement address Vonnegut never gave - Good advice.

Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.


But trust me on the sunscreen.

Committee of Radical Attorneys - Immediate and Total Repeal of the USA/Patriot ACT - an online petition. Sign it. I did (#1902), with the following comment: [smith2004]

Hang for treason every congress critter who voted for this abomination.

Chris Tangney at The Boston Globe - House votes to loosen gun laws - The Massachusetts House voted 114-32 to allow gun possession by ex-convicts. The bill is expected to run into trouble in the Senate. [firearmnews]

Currently, anyone convicted of a felony or violent misdemeanor, including child rape and breaking and entering at night, is barred from buying a gun. But the House bill would eliminate the lifetime ban. It keeps the ban in place for domestic violence offenders.

Under the new law, ex-convicts would be able to apply for gun permits seven years after completing their sentences. Those applying for a ''License To Carry,'' which allows someone to keep a handgun, must still obtain approval from their local police chief. But those seeking permits to buy and possess rifles and shotguns would not be subject to any other review.

Matt Marshall at The San Jose Mercury News - Kleiner Perkins hopes Segway scooter gets on a roll - Dean Kamen's fancy scooter isn't selling very well. Too bad. [script]

Eric Margolis at The Toronto Sun - Inside Switzerland's secret forts: Mighty nation built the world's largest and most powerful mountain defence system - the Swiss know how to defend themselves. Hitler and Mussolini knew this in WWII. That's why they never invaded Switzerland.

In July, 1940, as Europe was surrendering or being overrun by invincible German armies, General Henri Guisan convoqued all senior officers of Switzerland's citizen army to Rutli Meadow and issued his famous order: "Fight to your last cartridge, then fight with your bayonets. No surrender. Fight to the death." The world's oldest democracy would stand alone against Hitler and Mussolini. The Germans and Italians decided against attacking Switzerland because of the casualties they would have faced.


Though I'm a veteran fortress explorer, Dailly left me at times with both vertigo from "The Needle" and claustrophobia after hours of tramping through narrow, dimly lit concreted galleries, or squeezing in to a tiny lift that took us up through the rock inside the 150 mm turret. Just looking down the 560-metre deep shaft of the funicular elevator that supplied the garrison made my head spin. After eight hours at titanic Dailly, one of the true wonders of the world, I was overwhelmed, elated and totally exhausted. And I finally understood why Swiss friends used to tell me, "Switzerland isn't a country; it's a fortress that looks like a country."

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