Archive for October, 2008


a poem for our times

The Coil and the Supplicant

The Coil and the Supplicant, originally uploaded by neocles.

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

William Butler Yeats


Tiny Point in Last Night’s Presidential Debate

OK. This thing is probably done, but I am still curious about something. During the debate last night, McCain was discussing the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and, if I heard him correctly, he said, “We forced the Soviets out of Aghanistan by supporting the freedom fighters, but then we left and the Taliban came in…” Please correct me if I am misremembering, but are they not one in the same? Was it not in fact the Taliban that we supported as freedom fighters when we wanted the USSR out of there.

It seems to me this is either a huge blunder or a huge mistruth for a potential president to make, particularly the one who claims to have superior foreign policy experience. If our government cannot remember it’s own policies and strategies, and the very history and origins of the situation we are now facing with the so-called “war on terror”, then how can we possibly find a solution?


Small Town Centennial

Shock Waves

When we first moved to Albany, I thought of it as a decent, reasonably safe place in the east bay that’s close enough to SF, which is, of course, the center of the universe. There is plenty of stuff within walking distance, including Solano Ave shopping and dining. Berkeley culture is just a few blocks away. And I could garden to my heart’s content.

But after being here for a couple years, it came to seem a little too sleepy, a little too cool and foggy for kick-ass tomatoes (and other fruits), a bit too far away for genuinely impromptu trips into the City, and at the back end of the some of the worst traffic in the Bay Area. Not only that, but most of the shops and restaurants seemed a far cry from the hip joints found in neighborhoods like Rockridge, Elmwood, and even 4th St, much less places in the City. It seemed like a sort of overpriced suburb.

Maybe it just takes time, maybe it takes having a kid, or maybe it just takes a change of perspective, but I think I have come to see that the most valuable quality of this place is the sense of community, and in fact, the actual community. It sounds kinda hokey, but going to community events and seeing so many friendly faces really gives one a sense of place and stability. There is always something going on, like July 4th pancake breakfasts at the Veterans Memorial Building, parades of soccer kids and high school bands, Santa Claus visiting on a fire engine, a month of music in the park, and on and on. The latest event to bring everyone together was a dinner to celebrate Albany’s centennial. The entire town was invited to come down to Solano Ave for dinner, music and dancing in the street. It was an absolute blast. And there are not too many places around here where you can put a couple thousand people together in the street with loud music and alcohol and have it all come off without trouble.

Before it starts to sound too much like a Norman Rockwell cover, consider that many of the everyday folks who live here are recent transplants from the SF or other nearby cities looking for a safe place to raise their kids. The place is chock full of interesting people. So it turns out the likelihood of meeting a parent who is either a punk musician, artist, surgeon, web programmer, scientist, landscape architect, or [fill in the blank] ready to pound a few beers and dance in the street is really very high. A conversation ranges from avant garde music to research on climate change, to bluegrass, to growing apricots, and of course to progressive politics. So, I am loving my community. I am sorry I doubted you.

More photos of Albany events!


Season of Obsession

Well, I keep saying that I am going to write more. I keep saying that I am going to simply repost content from other blogs just to stay in the habit of updating the blog. I have failed. But now I have a really good excuse. I have become totally obsessive about the election. 

It has been a roller coast, and i can’t stand not knowing when the next precipitous dip or steep climb is going to come. So, I have been checking with some number of polling site constantly throughout the day to see the updates as they happen. It is like watching water heat to a boil, but I cannot help myself.

One would hope that I’d be super-well informed by now, but alas, no. I don’t have time to read the fine print! I just need the quick fix of scanning the top-line numbers. That’s all i have time for at work, when in fact, I have a huge pile of work to do. 20 seconds is all the time i can spend on any given visit. 

I’d love to repost some other people’s content here, but wordpress does not seem to like the code form Dropping a link is hardly satisfactory. And this is the second time in the last couple weeks that i could not embed content here. AAARRGG!