Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Saturday, March 05, 2005
The Laughing Man

From the March 1st Washington Times UPI Hears column:

The Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter states that the real reason for [Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony] Principi's leaving the Bush administration is a burgeoning scandal developing around the massive use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions in Iraq..."The real reason for Mr. Principi's departure was really never given, however a special report published by eminent scientist Leuren Moret naming depleted uranium as the definitive cause of the 'Gulf War Syndrome' has fed a growing scandal about the continued use of uranium munitions by the U.S. Military. Out of the 580,400 soldiers who served in GW1 (the first Gulf War), of them, 11,000 are now dead! By the year 2000, there were 325,000 on Permanent Medical Disability, a rate of 56 percent. In Vietnam the rate of disability was 10 percent."

Modified Image: Reuters, production ig
Friday, March 04, 2005
The Promised Land
Is always just ahead.
You will not reach it
Ere you’re dead.

But your children’s children
By their children will be led
To a spot from which the Land—
Still lies ahead.

--Langston Hughes, undated

The only element of junk news I currently find appealing would be coverage relating to Martha Stewart’s release from the correction facility at Alderson, West Virginia.
I’m a big fan of Ms. Stewart and I look forward to her triumphant return to the pop media stage.
I just hope she’s learned a table-turning trick or two during her incarceration.

I’ve always felt that Ms. Stewart’s legal difficulties began in early February of 2001.
Cue Mr. Peabody to fire up the Wayback Machine…

I was in the midst of my post breakfast kitchen routine when a promotional tease for that morning’s Martha Stewart Living announced an exclusive White House tour.
I remember thinking that this seemed pretty quick work for a new First Lady and that Martha’s staff must have agreed on a timetable with the Bush’s staff prior to the President’s inauguration.
Gathering a steaming mug of coffee, and likely a homemade nibble, and even knowing in the back of my mind that Martha is a staunch Democrat, I sat down fully anticipating a unique MSO look at the new Bush White House.
A few short minutes into the program made it painfully clear that Martha’s surprise tour guide was not First Lady Laura Bush but First Lady Hillary Clinton and that the program had been taped prior to the recent Bush inauguration.
Quite literally, I was shocked!
It has been traditional that once a new President is sworn into office the old President and his family recede into a low to zero media-profile for a year or two or three.
I knew, then and there, that certain important people seated before their televisions would interpret this as a major slap.
I remember thinking, “Yikes, Martha! Are you trying to intentionally piss off a certain revenge-prone dynastic matriarch known for wearing pearls and the color blue?” all while visualizing various Bush-staffer-hot-coffee spit takes erupting across the federal city.
All told, the White House tour was lovely, informative and offered Hillary lots and lots of highly flattering post inaugural airtime.
In typical Martha fashion, viewers got to see various White House florists, chefs and calligraphers all in a fun-and-Hillary-packed half hour sure to foment Bush partisan apoplexy.
I knew despite the program’s fun and uplifting tone that a clock was ticking and that it was only a matter of time before my favorite cooking and decorative arts Godzilla was locked in a fierce hand to hand battle with a ConnectiTexan Megalon called Bar.
Magically, just a few months after the telecast, the announcement of a single government study slamming the anti cancer drug Imclone was leaked to the company's CEO Sam Waksil and Martha’s downfall began.
I thought it most interesting that shortly after Ms. Stewart’s trial concluded another single government study reported that Imclone wasn’t really so bad, a sort of government study version of Emily Litilla’s, “Nevermind.”
Games within games within games, as high-powered human history teaches, are merely tools for one royal’s use in dispatching another.
I guess we poor pitiful ordinary citizens, unconnected to the soon-to-be censor-prone political institutions, will just have to wonder about the “how’s and why’s”.
Surely it would come as no surprise to eventually see that who but another mega-wealthy empress would best know how to trick a similarly situated personage?
I hope, no matter what tricks reside up inside Martha’s hand-knitted sweater sleeve, that MSO pays closer attention to broadcast schedules and to always remember that some elephants have even longer memories than others.

With lots of web speculation regarding Hunter Thompson’s suicide, I was interested by this curious death announcement in this morning’s Washington Times:

Republican media adviser R. Gregory Stevens, who recently served as co-chairman of the Bush/Cheney Entertainment Task Force, was found dead Saturday in the Hollywood home of actress Carrie Fisher… Mr. Stevens, who was an associate of the Washington powerhouse lobbying group Barbour, Griffith & Rogers, also helped orchestrate the firm's star-studded party for watching the inaugural parade…A flamboyant personality and bicoastal bachelor, Mr. Stevens was regarded as something of a misfit in the corridors of the buttoned-down lobbying firm.

Kaptur and Gannon

All this as, via AmericaBlog and the Toledo Blade, yet another politician makes a Gannon smear connection:

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) believes…Jeff Gannon…used his seat in the White House press room to put a national spotlight on Miss Kaptur when he asked former press secretary Ari Fleischer why the President had not commented on the "offensive remarks by Democratic Congressman Marcy Kaptur, who likened Osama Bin Laden to our founding fathers?"… Miss Kaptur, though, believes there's more to the story…"It lit the fuse for the entire network of Bush propagandists around the country and their media affiliates to commit a backlash based on a lie.”

No one ever said being a right wing power closet-case would be a cakewalk.

I want to thank you, kind reader, for revisiting this humble, and likely soon-to-be-quashed by the steel boot of FEC tyranny, blog after the lean posting accomplished during my multi-week bout with the flu.
Today's post was late but I'm still moving slowly and beg your kind indulgence as I juggle my sarcastically herculean rural portion of the blogswarm's vast liberal conspiracy.

Images: MSO, Toledo Blade
Thursday, March 03, 2005
The Empire Strikes Back?

According to C-NET's interview with Federal Election Commissioner Bradley A. Smith, the Bush administration is trying to undermine a 2002 excemption to campaign finance law so that a citizen's self-published non libelous internet speech and simular speech "coordinated" by groups of citizens would be excluded from the protections afforded traditional media:

It's very likely that the Internet is going to be regulated...It's going to be a battle, and if nobody in Congress is willing to stand up and say, "Keep your hands off of this, and we'll change the statute to make it clear," then I think grassroots Internet activity is in danger.

According to a speech by Senator Robert LaFollette, R-Wisconsin presented in the US Senate Chamber on October 6, 1917:

It appears to be the purpose of those conducting this campaign to throw the country into a state of terror, to coerce public opinion, to stifle criticism, and suppress discussion of the great issues involved in this war... The citizen and his representative in Congress in time of war must maintain his right of free speech.
More than in time of war must maintain his right of free speech.
More than in times of peace it is necessary that the channels for free public discussion of governmental policies shall be open and unclogged.

I imagine bloggers will have to download, print-out and wear the post modern version of the Nazis yellow paper star?

Image: sean
All Pundits Aside
A Real Gas Giant!

Thanks to the highly successful Cassini probe and according to NASA:

The largest, most detailed, global natural color view of Saturn and its rings ever made.

According to London's Guardian newspaper:

Think of it as just another planet with clear blue skies, oxygen in its atmosphere, summer lightning, high speed winds, high clouds, auroral fireworks, a crackling magnetosphere - and 34 moons so far.

Tally (kinda) Ho!

A quick post to say that I’m feeling somewhat better thanks to medicine, a lovely email, a terrific movie and an amusing visit with my 70+-year-old juvenile delinquent parents.

Front and reverse of AETCo's 4" square 1889 Odd Fellows ceramic convention medallion

The too kind email was from Robert Seery who, along with his wife Mary Ellen, will present a lecture, Formed in Clay: A History of Cincinnati Seen Through Its Potteries, 1870s to 1960s, at this April’s convention of the American Art Pottery Association at the historic Netherland Hilton hotel in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio.
Bob actually admits to reading this blog!
The above very rare 4” square yellow glazed ceramic medallion made by the American Encaustic Tiling Company of Zanesville, Ohio for an 1889 Zanesville convention of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows has been uploaded as a sort of apology to Bob and those interested in the Arts for my recent all Gannon all the time coverage.
I guess I’m just a frustrated media exile who should be grateful for what our President refers to as “the internets”.

8th Century al-Mutawakkil minaret

My rankled Irish ire, believe it or not, with the well-documented failings of America’s once free public press became so consuming recently that I actually passed on an Art Newspaper report, of course ignored by the American media, of the use of a 9th century minaret at the al-Mutawakkil mosque in Samarra, Iraq as a sniper position by elements of the United States Army in violation of Article 4 of the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.
Read the article with my apologies for its tardiness.

In an age when the boundary between man and machine has been blurred and people have forgotten their humanity...
--Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence trailer

The cyborg Batu with his beagle

While I won’t reveal details of today’s adventure with my wacky parental units, I want to close with a recommendation for a superb bit of Japanese anime, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.
This fairly hard-core science fiction tale, available only in Japanese with English and French subtitles, is a visually stunning thrill ride of cutting edge animation techniques supporting an inventive and engrossing storyline.
My paltry words will not do this spectacular film justice.

A malfunctioning gynoid

If you are a 17 years or older cyber-thriller aficionado do yourself a favor and get your human hands and eyeballs onto this masterpiece of entertainment and artistry.

Images: sean,, production ig-manga entertainment
Tuesday, March 01, 2005

This flu just won't go away.
I'm seeking solace in anime such as Hayao Miyazaki's beautiful Nausicaa and Spirited Away on one end of the spectrum and various DVD episodes of the cyber-robotically entertaining Ghost in the Shell franchise on the other.
The highly enjoyable Japanese television series based on Ghost in the Shell, Stand Alone Complex, from which the above still was digitally snatched can be viewed during the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming on Saturday nights at 12:30am with repeats broadcast at 1:00am Thursday late night.
Great stuff!
Blogging will resume a more normal schedule when I regain my strength and can breathe through my nose.

Image: production ig-manga entertainment
Monday, February 28, 2005's FishBowlDC, today, managed to snag a few moments with Jeff Gannon between blog post's:

"[Howard] Kurtz kept it in the proper perspective...he [reports] with much grace and aplomb. I have a lot of respect for him."

Image, AOL, Google, CNN
Sunday, February 27, 2005

Today’s Rant from Doug Thompson the founder and publisher of the extremely conservative

Ah, the irony of it all. The administration of George W. Bush, easily the most homophobic president of modern times, deployed a homosexual escort and promoter of gay life styles as one of its “propaganda as journalism” shills…We thought the holy rollers who have taken over the Republican Party only dropped to their knees in prayer…Perhaps Bush, like other public homophobes, decries the gay life because of yet another secret in his sordid past. Maybe booze and cocaine wasn’t the only thing our President stuffed into an available orifice.

Image: Reuters

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