Friday, July 29, 2005

What Do Anarchism, Voting, Microwave Heat-Dishes, And The 1500's Have In Common?

This post! (have I hooked you?)

New zealand is gearing up for elections, which are to take place very soon (in new zealand there is proportional representation and elections occur every three years; not that it ensures democracy). There is A LOT of dialogue and debate in anarchist circles about whether or not anarchists should vote. Some anarchists argue:

- If voting could change anything it would be illegal (Emma Goldman).
- Our dreams don't fit into their ballot boxes.
- There's no difference between tweedle-dee and tweedle-dumber.
- Voting legitimises the state.
- Capitalism is not one person one vote, but one dollar one vote.
- Low voter turnouts show how disenfranchised civil society is with electoral politics.

And the list goes on. I used to agree with many of these sentiments until an anarchist/activist whom I regard very highly sent me this article; and my mind was changed for good. I posted the electronic version on new zealand's indymedia, where you can read it and participate in the ongoing debate! Either way, if you have decided to eat your ballot, MAKE SURE you check out the recipes at this site; otherwise the lack of choice will give you a terrible aftertaste!

On to Iraq... What reasons do those poor conservatives have left for breaking international law and launching Operation Iraqi Liberation (O.I.L). Let's count together:

- Nuclear Materials from Africa. - Proven False.
- There was a connection with September 11th. - Come on, there was barely a connection with afghanistan.
- Weapons of Mass distraction, er distruction. - Proven False.
- Saddam Hussein was in a position to attack the united $tates. - Proven False.

O.k, o.k, I've heard enough FOX "news" to know that Saddam Hussein was a bad guy who killed and tortured almost as many iraqis as the UN sanctions and constant bombing since 1991. Oh..oh; what about this story? Looks like it's back to the drawing board.

Still on the topic of eye-rack, you've no doubt heard the controversy over stun guns right? Well how about a giant radiation dish that repels crowds by burning them? Sound like science fiction? Looks like they should be ready by next year!

What do you consider to be free speech? Is it still free speech if no one can hear you? How about if politicians can't hear you? It seems as though, just as this british protester was becoming effective, his right to free speech was...well...muted!

The last question is related again to britain: Is christian fundamentalism as bad as islamic fundamentalism? How about market fundamentalism? These questions remind me of part of a speech from Tony Blair when he said "We hold our beliefs, every bit as strongly as the terrorists hold theirs" (You can watch him saying it on this clip). Well that may be, but how then can he say that britain bombing innocent civilians is no justification for anyone else doing it in return? Umm, no one said it was a justification; but many people ARE starting to draw the links, between the tactics of the terrorists and the foreign policy of the country that invented bombing innocent civilians when they bombed Dresden to smithereens during the second world war.

O.k, from current events, to some hind-sight from the 1500's. Here is some interesting information I'd like to share. Note how much of our language is rooted in class structure:

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be.Here are some facts about the 1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May,and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence, the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and off the roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying a "thresh hold."

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat."

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper crust." Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a "wake."

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the "graveyard shift") to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer!!!"

Well, enough of the past; it's time to live in the now! Gotta scram.

John D

Candid photo of Emily.. JD Posted by Picasa

Catnap. Eabha falls asleep all by herself.. JD Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Shortest Post Ever..

I know this is a short post,

But the last one was pretty interactive I think. I wanted to post this picture, because I agree with the person I got it from that it would be a much better way to fund space exploration. It reminded me of a quote: "Maybe someday our schools (social services) will be well funded and weapons manufacturers will have to hold a bake sale."

I mean it's not like there's nothing to put the billions and billions of dollars towards here on earth!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Everyday Should Be Car Free Day...

Oh La La...





A WARM Hello!

Would you believe this car, (which was photographed from outside our flat) continued to burn for another five to ten minutes (after the camera batteries died)? We heard all four tires pop, and another explosion, AND there was lots of black smoke, AND the construction site behind/beside the car caught on fire as well! This incident was by FAR the coolest thing to happen all day, and probably the coolest thing that will happen all week; we were just happy to be there and to be a part of it all.

Second place for the coolest thing to happen to me today went as follows:

Emily and Eabha were not covered for health insurance because of a mix up with the school before we got here. Not only is it a sketchy situation, not to be covered while "traveling", but both Emily and Eabha needed to see a doctor. I had been to see the woman at the University who facilitates the insurance bureaucracy for the students FOUR times. At the end of every visit, I was assured she would email to say everything had been set up. She never emailed. On the last visit we were promised the issue would be resolved by the end of the (last) week and we would be emailed with the relevant information. No email. So today I went in. Again. And was told nothing had been done. Again.

Partly because I was hungry, partly because I was too hot, but mostly because it's not Eabha or Emily's fault this woman wan't doing anything, I politely informed the woman at the desk that I was not leaving and was prepared to "lock down" to her office all day and for as long as it took until Eabha and Emily were insured. Emily and Eabha are now insured at no cost (until she finds the correct cost, which based on experience will take a while) and they both have a doctor's appointment on Wednesday. This proves once again (not that it needed to be proven again), the age old fact: DIRECT ACTION GETS THE GOODS!

On a less fun note; I'm back at school. I know, I'm supposed to like it right? It's not education I'm opposed to, it's schooling that I don't like (hence the links under "education"). I have University for another two weeks, and then another highschool placement for six weeks.

So... Coca-Cola has been named the world's top selling brand for four years in a row. Now if you are a consumer (and by association, an advertiser/promoter) of this product, I dare you to check out this site. Not only is there a negative nutritional value to this product, not only does it taste like crap, not only is it chemically addictive, not only does it's marketing seep into every facet of our lives including schools...but this company is KILLING ITS OWN WORKERS in columbia!!!
Now they're threatening legal action against this activist in india, for exposing their role in depleting ground water there! Please, if you're sure you like this product and still want to see them top brand in the world for year five, check the website and boycott this junk!

Wanna hear something funny? Apparently, canada is looking into getting "bomb-resistant desks" for its embassies! Bomb-resistant desks? Isn't that a bit like flame-proof stationary? I mean what's the point? I smell a Liberal friendly bomb-resistant desk firm!

One last news tidbit. The u$a (cradle of democracy) has extended the patriot act indefinitely! They always said the war on terror would be an ongoing war like the "war on drugs". Both "wars" kill a lot of people, cost a lot of money and don't fix a darn thing because they have no intention of looking at the root causes of the problem.


Stupid Polar Bear...can't even read!.. JD Posted by Picasa

There is NOTHING funny about this picture so we don't want anyone to laugh at it. These babies were found on the net, they aren't friends of Eabha's. Eabha doesn't drink premium beer. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Go Fly A Kite..

Yes, she really is flying that kite herself!

Eabha loved everything about flying her new octopus kite that that Emily and Ruth got her today. Eabha is certainly developing as an anti-authoritarian...all on her own! I'm sure that most parents can relate. Eabha resists with her entire 14kgs when she wants something that's not safe, when she's up and wants down to run, when she's down to run and wants up, when she up and wants down to run again.. Eabha also knows how to get out of many holds. Half the time this makes me frustrated, the other half the time I admire her spunk and wish more of her fellow citizens shared her focus on liberty and resistance.

Sometimes I think Eabha is so strong-headed because she's a Taurus, but then again her mother is a sagittarius and is also...never mind....

Emily has been destroying everything in her path. Oh wait, wrong Emily. Emily has been using her new book light for night time artwork, and is developing some great pieces. I will try to post some pictures of them when she has a few more finished. She really likes living with other artists/friends that have just moved in.

Anyone who may have been put off by the horned-pope photo from the last post should know that I have nothing against Christianity. Actually I think anarchists have a lot in common with Christianity and Jesus of Nazereth. Too often Christianity gets a bad rap from the "Christian Right" who grossly misrepresent its main tennents, while a vibrant "Christian Left" is largely ignored. I do think however that a distinction ought to be made between spirituality and institutionalised religion. The picture went up on the blog because I thought the optical illusion was interesting (the comments all agreed); I also think there is a great deal of merit in questioning those in power (ie. the vatican/pope..), as power does indeed corrupt.

I mentioned a few posts back that in the netherlands, Greenpeace had been deemed a terrorist organisation. I've found another instance of the "war of terror" being a front for a war on dissent.

Speaking of dissent, a 15 year old boy took the british government to court to end martial law against youth, and as it turns out, he was successful!

Well it turns out I wasn't the only one to feel that there could possibly, feasibly, just maybe be a link between racist foreign policy (terrorism) and "terrorism". Who'd 'a thunk it would have been London's own mayor?!?

Well here's three more photos I found on the world wide web. No illusions here...optical or otherwise.

Peace by Piece

John D

Eabha flies her new kite.. JD Posted by Picasa

kerian (new flatmate, great pal and partner of Ruth) flies the kite that he and Danny Vegas (great pal, 100% character) made.. Em Posted by Picasa

Eabha and kite.. Em Posted by Picasa

Ruth (our new flatmate and great pal) in a tree.. Em Posted by Picasa

Go fly a kite.. JD Posted by Picasa

Lunar.. JD Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Hmmm.. JD Posted by Picasa

Feeling a little "hot under the collar"?.. JD Posted by Picasa

A Blog Update..

An update of some new additions:

First of all, we came across this CRAZY program that you can download for free. It's like a 3D atlas with satellite images. You can see cars on the street, from zooming in from "outer space". North America has better resolution that many other places, but what a crazy program. You can also get directions and find landmarks, and it takes seconds to download. If you're looking for the link and the post has changed, it will be under the "Amuse Me" links.

We've added a friends blog to our "Comrades and CommUNITY" links. Dru Oja Jay also puts out The Dominion, a publication you can find under the "Media" links.

Also under the "Amuse Me" links, we've added some videos by GNN, a Pirate Utopias Link from our flatmate Tom. If you've never gone to any "Amuse Me" links, make sure you check ""; so funny. There are also a number of new links under "Great Videos".

Our good pal/comrade John Elmer is writing for The New Standard News, from the Middle East. You can see an article he has written *HERE*, or check out some of the photos he and his partner, Valerie Zink (another pal/comrade) took in occupied Palestine *HERE*.

Speaking of the middle east there was an attack that killed a lot of innocent civilians. Why is it that we've come to expect, when non-white people are killed, it doesn't get nearly the degree of coverage in corporate media? In this case just as many people died, including children, plus three; and yet the story didn't get near the coverage that the london bombings got. I know it's an uncomfortable question, but at what point is corporate media responsible for not reinforcing white supremacy on a domestic or international front? I thought it was hypocritical for Tony Blair to have made *THESE COMMENTS*, especially as he is an extremist in the "evil ideology" of "free" market capitalism (who is also ready to mass murder for his beliefs).

I mean after all, the destabalising effects of "Operation Iraqi Liberation" (O.I.L) let to the situation that Iraqis face today. It is the same oppression that breeds the hatred that inspired the 9-11, and 7-7 bombings, and the same oppression that motivates suicide bombers in Palestine/israel. Yet all corporate media covers is the relatively sparse oppression of londoners, americans and Israelis; while ignoring the much larger oppression of Iraqis, Palestinians, Afghanis, Africans, Haitians...

Speaking of Haiti, that protester who threw "blood" on the hands of Pierre Pettigrew has apologized. But to all those who deplore the actions of this mad radical against our honorable members of the house of "commons"; your grievances will not likely be satisfied with *THIS APOLOGY*. Naomi Klien has recently had *SOMETHING TO SAY* about this, as has this blogger *HERE*.

Well, I'm going to go as it's getting late. The break is going well (and fast). The last week starts tomorrow and there is still a lot that I have to get done before school starts up again. Enjoy the pictures and links..

John D

Eabha hanging out with the riff-raff (Danny Vegas).. Em Posted by Picasa

Ruth and Eabha having a talk.. Em Posted by Picasa