Book of Oppositions | Pocket Full of Mumbles |

 

This world is one big game of "Go"-- Black against White, Light against Darkness --and we all have a choice to make: Do we war FOR the Light?

...or against it?




Thirty-Seven Years Before For the Fact

Thirty-seven years ago, Steely Dan put forth this tune on their LP, Can't Buy a Thrill,


"Only a Fool Would Say That"

A world become one
Of salads and sun
Only a fool would say that
A boy with a plan
A natural man
Wearing a white stetson hat
Unhand that gun begone
There's no one to fire upon
If he's holding it high
He's telling a lie


..::( chorus )::..

I heard it was you
Talkin' 'bout a world
Where all is free
It just couldn't be
And only a fool would say that

The man in the street
Draggin' his feet
Don't wanna hear the bad news
Imagine your face
There in his place
Standing inside his brown shoes
You do his nine to five
Drag yourself home half alive
And there on the screen
A man with a dream

..::( chorus )::..




Truly, this song was written for Obama and all those oxygen deprived folk who voted him into office.

A lot of great songs on this album though...

"Fire in the Hole," Don't you know there's fire in the hole/And nothing left to burn/I'd like to run out now/There's nowhere left to turn... Then there's "Reeling in the Years," and "Do it Again."

But I hate that it's come to this. This is one of my favorite songs, and now I can't help but associate Obama with it.



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posted by ELAshley @ 9:53 AM, , links to this post





Stuck on a Looping Track

Can't get away from this one song...

Still At Home, by Luna. It's a slow whistle stop of a song reminiscent of Shawn Colvin & John Leventhal. Driven by a simple drum riff and two guitars picking a melody by chord. It's not the lyrics that keep the song repeating. It's the guitars... lazy yet insistent... as if to say, 'you're not leaving til we've intaglioed our soul upon your own.'

Beautiful. Stark. Light the desert at twilight.

I've got a cold master and
She's gonna tell you,
She's gonna break my back with
A bit of amusement..."

--Luna




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posted by ELAshley @ 8:29 AM, , links to this post





Alternate Realities Can Be Humorous, Sometimes Scary



There are several different versions of this on YouTube-- Hitler getting the wrong bike, being banned from X-Box Live, even explaining Second Life.

What's interesting about this is the implication of Hitler's rant.... that being, his subordinate position to President Obama. Imagine that! Inarguably the evilest man of the 20th century, bemoaning his declining status within the Obama administration.



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posted by ELAshley @ 10:55 AM, , links to this post





Another Pink Floyd/Wizard of Oz Style Coincidence



While searching legislation signed by Carter in '77 I happened upon this little animation at Mensa Barbie. Coincidently, Steely Dan's Katy Lied had just started up, and suddenly this unlikely dance party was perfectly timed to "Black Friday." Fascinated by this phenomenon I continued to watch, and weird of all wyrds, this troupe danced in perfect time to almost every song on the album.

Weird.



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posted by ELAshley @ 9:14 AM, , links to this post





To Whom It May Concern

To This Date...

The U.S. has yet to issue an official apology for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But that doesn't mean the U.S., as a nation, shouldn't issue an apology. While the U.S., seemingly, cannot issue an official apology, there is nothing to keep a sitting U.S. president from offering an unofficial personal apology. There is nothing at all keeping individual Americans from doing the same.

Before anyone decides to accuse me of wanting blood and death on the one hand-- in the here and now --while decrying blood and death on the other, sixty-three years ago, let me point you to the preamble to part 2 of my previous post, In Memoriam - Part II

"As much as I recognize the necessity of war, I find it nonetheless to be among the worst of human proclivities..."


Atomic weapons. Seriously, what good has come of them? Deterrence? Okay... but don't you think the world is less safe with this genie now irrevocably out of the bottle? What of Iran and her quest for the A-bomb?

The U.S. has the utterly unique and infamous distinction of being the only nation to ever have used atomic weapons on another nation. Japan has been the only nation in history to have ever tasted of the suffering borne upon-- to quote myself --atomic winds. It wasn't enough for the U.S. to drop one bomb. One would undoubtedly have ended the war with Japan... the simple threat of a second would have, IMHO, done the trick. But the U.S. wasn't content with dropping just one. It's as though the powers that be looked at the film footage, and said, "Good God! Would you look at that!!! ...Let's do it again!"

Yes, the war needed to end. Yes, Japan started it all by attacking Pearl Harbor; a day interestingly referred to as 'a date which will live in infamy.' Nevermind the fact that Pearl Harbor suffered 2,300 to 2,900 casualties, depending on which source you use, while the Hiroshima bomb alone, in the initial blast, killed approximately 80,000 men, women, and children.

Every death is regrettable. Every shot fired, a failure for humanity. We cheapen ourselves by the use of weapons against our neighbors, and we are lessened by the loss of each life we take.

No I don't like war at all. But neither do I like the idea of men, burdened by an oppressive and insane ideology, killing 241 marines... and getting away with it. Neither do I like the idea that this same ideology mutilates and murders women for sexual impurity, whether they're guilty or not (guilt being a non-issue as far as I'm concerned...genital mutilation and stoning are barbaric). I hate the idea that these people, warped by evil, find the idea of co-existence with other cultures is anathema to them... that they would rather fly jet liners filled with passengers into skyscrapers filled with workers... not soldiers... and if a certain faction within this country had its way, this murderous ideology would get away with that too.

This war did not end with Afghanistan-- Islam knows no physical border... has no tangible homeland. This war will not end with Iraq. This war, in fact, has only just begun, and few seem to realize it. While we fight like a pack of dogs over a few bones of contention, what's to stop these marauders from sneaking past and hitting us again? We're not paying attention. We haven't learned anything from the past. Not from Chamberlain, not from Hitler, not from Pearl Harbor, not from Hiroshima OR Nagasaki, not from Korea, not Vietnam, not Beirut, not Mogadishu. Israel, it would seem, has learned lessons we have not... Specifically, that War is indeed hell. And that one life lost is one too many.

So... If I choose to stand with Hiroshima and decry the use and proliferation of atomic weapons, it's because I've gotten a big eye-full of what's going on in the world... and I'm surprised as hell that you haven't.



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posted by ELAshley @ 11:58 PM, , links to this post





Forgive Us Hiroshima, Forgive Us Nagasaki...

..::( 1 )::..


In Memoriam -- Part I

"Forgive us Hiroshima, Forgive us Nagasaki..."

--Deflowering the Chrysanthemum



In Memoriam

What is coming?
I asked of the sky
No thought that blue
Could ever reply
But countless birds
Away did fly
        "Something comes"

What is coming?
I asked again
And felt the brush
Of Insistent wind
Pursuing a path
Only Avians wing
        "Something Comes"

What is coming?
I asked of the sun
The air grown hot
To blister my tongue
Flesh to ash
And in a flash, done
        Something has come

Yet I remain
My ghost, my bone
Remembered this day
In memorial stone
Etched in apology
I've no right to own
        Something has come
                ...and gone

May it not be forgotten



ELAshley
080605.102501.6
Revised:
080606.013316.1

Of course, factually, birds were incinerated in flight, and no winds rushed save those winds atomic, and those that held Enola above the fray.




..::( 2 )::..




In Memoriam -- Part II

As much as I recognize the necessity of war, I find it nonetheless to be among the worst of human proclivities. Here then is my apology for dropping not one, but two atomic bombs on Japan in the summer of 1945. Admittedly, I know little of Japanese culture; what is appropriate, what is not, so it's likely I may owe yet another apology....

Please use the 'Read The Entire Article' link at the bottom of this post for the rest of the story.




Deflowering the Chrysanthemum

She was led to a small stage prepared for just that moment; the moment they would demonstrate to the world the limit of their power over a nation, through one woman-- as though the horrors they had already unleashed were not enough. It was not enough to destroy her cities, ruin her people, her friends and family, now they would mock and shame her. Make of her something she would not otherwise have chosen. But this is the way of the victorious; they delight in examples, believing even their own propaganda; that they are righteous, and more deserving of victory... That their actions are somehow necessary.

But she went willingly. Up three steps of aged and polished wood; probably stolen from a decimated temple. And where had they found the shoji screens? --Their paper windows intact and the purest of whites.

They had made her paint herself in the traditional paints of a geisha, but they were ignorant and so made her paint her entire body. She did not argue... They did not understand. Her hair and pubic mound made a stark contrast to the gleaming white of the paints and she thought... How beautiful. They robed her in a kimono, crimson with yellow dragonflies, and briefly she smiled. They laughed and barked like dogs to one another; their tongues shaped about rough words... Their meaning a mystery.
Chosen from among the victorious were three men, stripped to the waist of their pine-hued shirts, and ringed about the spot where she was to kneel before a gathering of strange pale faces and stranger eyes. She looked out and over their heads to the ghost of a city, its once proud buildings, the temples, the gardens, all gone; blown to ash in the blink of an eye, and scattered upon atomic winds.

How many dead? Thousands? She began to cry-- tears drawing lines down the planes of her face --and then steeled herself... The victorious needed this display; garish and brutal as it was. What did it matter if they performed their little Noh play upon the charred bones of an entire city... An entire nation; once proud, now fallen to earth like cherry blossoms in spring...

But this is summer. The end of summer. She looked to her left and saw an ensemble of taiko drums, drummers all but naked. None would look upon her; they understood her shame, and shared it. A Shakuhachi player stood with flute in hand, his head bent and eyes cast down. His breathing was rhythmic, his kimono dirty. But the flute... Ahh, it was magnificent! She turned to her countrymen and bowed slightly, then turned back to her audience.

They were a strange people; prideful, uncouth, and so utterly ignorant. They shaped the world to their purpose rather than shaping their lives to the world about them. Their cities were ugly, and nothing about their culture held any sense of tradition. They were upstarts... Children. But children with powerful toys. And they’re eyes... So foreign.

A man in uniform-- a general perhaps? --rose from his seat up front and turned to face the gathered. He raised his voice and spoke in his rough tongue. He used his hands expressively, but the tone of his voice was dogmatic and said he held her and her nation in contempt.

"We are the defeated," she softly spoke, and one among those that ringed her whispered brokenly in her tongue.

"Forgive us Hiroshima, forgive us Nagasaki."

Another of the three grunted harshly and the first fell silent.

"It is easy to ask forgiveness when there is no consequence to face." She replied softly. "I will forgive you when the dead do." And though she couldn’t see it she felt him bow his head to her.

The general quickly finished and motioned to the drummers. As one they struck their drums, building swiftly a rhythm to which she could sing. Their bodies soon glistened with the sheen of sweat, and the power of their drumming grew, intent on stirring the victorious. The Shakuhachi player raised his flute and began a mournful dirge in counter to the beat of the drummers, yet his own rhythm matched them. Together they played perfectly, beautifully... But the assembled did not appreciate this, it was clear on their faces; it was alien to them.

She knew the words she was to sing. The song had been written for her, by aliens, and memorized in the long hours between dawn and this very moment, but she would not sing it. They knew little of Japanese, and would not know what she sang.

The man directly behind her undid her deep black hair, removing the long bamboo pins that held it, and she felt its weight as it fell long to her waist. She felt the first tug of the shears at the nape of her neck-- My hair! They are cutting my hair! It had taken years to grow... --and she began to cry once more. And through her tears she saw the child in the first row, a very young girl... What kind of people brings its children to such a spectacle? Barbarians!

The little girls eyes were the lightest shade of blue, and her hair-- in contrast to her own --was a lighter shade of yellow than the chrysanthemum in her tiny hand. She wore a dark blue dress, and her shoes shone bright and new. She stood close to her mother who held her hand.

There was a final tug, then release, and she looked about to see her beautiful black hair lying around her. The men to either side of her barber took hold of the crimson kimono’s collar and drew it open, exposing her breasts. Their hands tugged at the sash and they stripped the fabric entirely from her, letting it drop to the platform to cover her hair. She sat kneeling, hands folded in her lap. She shone like polished bone, entirely covered in the white paint.

Some in the crowd turned their heads, embarrassed to look upon her nakedness, others seemed to gloat, but all held an air of ambivalence. None but the child looked saddened. Then she felt the hands on her, wet with water as they began to make a show of washing her clean. There was symbolism in this of course, the drummers could see it, the Shakuhachi player could see it... And she began to sing.

It was a song to stir souls, had the victorious possessed such... It was a beautiful melody. The song trembled deep in her throat and crashed out over the audience. It was clear none understood her, but they understood the melody... Understood its pain and suffering, and understood in its cry a longing for a way of life now gone. Whether they realized it as such or not, they also understood that with two swift, cowardly blows, they had managed to decimate not just two cities and countless lives, but an ancient culture as well. But again, that is what victors do. They tear down the temples and the shrines and the theaters and the houses and reshape the land to their own liking. What changes will these men bring? What new ideas to supplant the old?

Her song rose and fell as hands washed her. She felt them move over her breasts, her stomach, to her thighs and the dark place between. She could feel their fingers move over her skin, but she could not sense a desire in them, they did not grope or fondle, only wash. Her face her neck, her shoulders, her back. They lifted her arms and she held them out like the very image of their crucified god on its hideous totem. They delight in torture; yet revere the god they killed! It’s not unusual to feel great respect for a vanquished foe, but worship? Never!

If she were in the bathhouse she might have felt desire for these men whose hands touched what no other had, but not here. This was her shame... To be stripped of her mystery; a Noh play devoid of tradition, performed for barbarians. The hands cupped and lifted her breasts, moved under her arms, down her back to her buttocks, and lower. The drummers drummed, the Shakuhachi player played, and she sang as the men shamed her.

When at last their hands left her, she finished her song and looked about her. The stage was washed in white, the pretty kimono ruined, and her hair... The men stood and left the stage, leaving her where she sat, their hands and arms now white. The general rose again to speak many words, none of which she understood. The drummers were led away. The Shakuhachi player followed. And when the general finished, the men who had led her to this place, mounted the stage to help her rise, and led her down the same steps of aged and polished wood, leaving white prints upon their dark surfaces like the footprint of ghosts.

Movement dark and swift caught her eye and she looked to see the child running to her. The girl stopped shyly and looking up into her face, smiled and held out the chrysanthemum. She bowed deeply to the child and took the offered gift.

The girl said something in her beautiful voice; her eyes held sympathy and embarrassment, a genuine sorrow for the painted woman.

"Thank you, little one." She said, bowing deeper. 'I will remember your kindness."

A soldier led the girl back to her mother, who fussed over and scolded her, admonishing her for her bravery. Would the child remember? Will she understand what she has done in years to come?

They did not clothe her, but led her naked back to where they had held her, where they had prepared her for this spectacle. Her escort did not touch her, but directed her with their grunting, and pointing, back and forth in their savage tongue. Soldiers gawked at her, countrymen bowed to her, averting their eyes. She would, of course, commit suicide; her shame was too great. No more parties on the palace lawn, no more plays, no more poetry, no more cherry blossoms in spring. The victors had stolen it all. But she would compose a poem for her death-- though none would ever hear it.

They came at last to the tents that were her prison. They would take her inside and allow her to wash and clothe herself before escorting her back to the palace, but she could not go back now. She could not bear the look of shame in her father’s eyes, or bear to hear her mother weeping. She would be a reminder to them, of their own shame... Better to die, with honor. So she would run! She would find a place untouched by their hideous weapon and perhaps find a shard of glass to cut her wrists, and compose her death poem.

And as if thought were motion she leapt away from her captors and ran, ignoring their shouts. She heard them begin to chase and she ran harder. The sound of their boots fell farther and farther behind. Pain shot up from her feet as rocks and glass cut her soles, but she ignored it. There was only running... The pound of blood in her ears, and the beat of her heart. There was only running, breathing... And the sound of thunder crashing through the sky, thunder so powerful it ripped the breath from her, and threw her hard upon the torn earth.

There was little sound now; only a loud hum over the shouting of men, the feel of their boots shaking through the ground as they neared her... Her own breath, heavy and labored... The beat of her heart, and the hot, wet feel of blood draining from the hole in her chest... They had shot her... Not thunder at all...

Lifting her head she looked over the ground to the ruined city, to ghostly survivors picking through the rubble, and there lay the Chrysanthemum. The world about it seemed colorless, but the flower was a bright dusty yellow, the color of pollen. It layed in her dimming sight a stark contrast to the desolation that framed it, and reaching for it, she pulled the flower to her breasts. Her lips moved with her last breath and shaped the words of a poem.

"What was it she said?" Asked one soldier.

The gunman knelt at her side, brushed a spill of hair from her eyes, and recited,


        "...Chrysanthemum pure
        Amid fields of wide ruin
        Its lovely hair shorn."




ELAshley
Written in one sitting
September 1, 2001
10 days before 9/11


I posted this last year [and the year before as well], and the version you've just read is slightly different-- Some additions, some subtractions, and a lot of changes in punctuation. It would seem Stephen King is right: 'Set your work aside for at least 6 weeks... give it a rest... then come back to it with fresh eyes and edit your work.' This version is better. And since I am the author, and this has never seen publication anywhere but here, I guess I'm free to edit as many times as I wish-- though I suspect a time will come when it will need to be left alone, lest it lose whatever charm it had at its inception.





..::( 3 )::..




Peace Declaration 2009

That weapon of human extinction, the atomic bomb, was dropped on the people of Hiroshima sixty-four years ago. Yet the hibakusha's suffering, a hell no words can convey, continues. Radiation absorbed 64 years earlier continues to eat at their bodies, and memories of 64 years ago flash back as if they had happened yesterday.
 
Fortunately, the grave implications of the hibakusha experience are granted legal support. A good example of this support is the courageous court decision humbly accepting the fact that the effects of radiation on the human body have yet to be fully elucidated. The Japanese national government should make its assistance measures fully appropriate to the situations of the aging hibakusha, including those exposed in "black rain areas" and those living overseas. Then, tearing down the walls between its ministries and agencies, it should lead the world as standard-bearer for the movement to abolish nuclear weapons by 2020 to actualize the fervent desire of hibakusha that "No one else should ever suffer as we did."
 
In April this year, US President Obama speaking in Prague said, "...as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act." And "...take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons." Nuclear weapons abolition is the will not only of the hibakusha but also of the vast majority of people and nations on this planet. The fact that President Obama is listening to those voices has solidified our conviction that "the only role for nuclear weapons is to be abolished."
 
In response, we support President Obama and have a moral responsibility to act to abolish nuclear weapons. To emphasize this point, we refer to ourselves, the great global majority, as the "Obamajority," and we call on the rest of the world to join forces with us to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020. The essence of this idea is embodied in the Japanese Constitution, which is ever more highly esteemed around the world.
 
Now, with more than 3,000 member cities worldwide, Mayors for Peace has given concrete substance to our "2020 Vision" through the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Protocol, and we are doing everything in our power to promote its adoption at the NPT Review Conference next year. Once the Protocol is adopted, our scenario calls for an immediate halt to all efforts to acquire or deploy nuclear weapons by all countries, including the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which has so recently conducted defiant nuclear tests; visits by leaders of nuclear-weapon states and suspect states to the A-bombed cities; early convening of a UN Special Session devoted to Disarmament; an immediate start to negotiations with the goal of concluding a nuclear weapons convention by 2015; and finally, to eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020. We will adopt a more detailed plan at the Mayors for Peace General Conference that begins tomorrow in Nagasaki.
 
The year 2020 is important because we wish to enter a world without nuclear weapons with as many hibakusha as possible. Furthermore, if our generation fails to eliminate nuclear weapons, we will have failed to fulfill our minimum responsibility to those that follow.
 
Global Zero, the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament and others of influence throughout the world have initiated positive programs that seek the abolition of nuclear weapons. We sincerely hope that they will all join the circle of those pressing for 2020.
 
As seen in the anti-personnel landmine ban, liberation from poverty through the Grameen Bank, the prevention of global warming and other such movements, global democracy that respects the majority will of the world and solves problems through the power of the people has truly begun to grow. To nurture this growth and go on to solve other major problems, we must create a mechanism by which the voices of the people can be delivered directly into the UN. One idea would be to create a "Lower House" of the United Nations made up of 100 cities that have suffered major tragedies due to war and other disasters, plus another 100 cities with large populations, totaling 200 cities. The current UN General Assembly would then become the "Upper House."
 
On the occasion of the Peace Memorial Ceremony commemorating the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombing, we offer our solemn, heartfelt condolence to the souls of the A-bomb victims, and, together with the city of Nagasaki and the majority of Earth's people and nations, we pledge to strive with all our strength for a world free from nuclear weapons.
 
We have the power. We have the responsibility. And we are the Obamajority. Together, we can abolish nuclear weapons. Yes, we can.


Tadatoshi Akiba
Mayor
The City of Hiroshima





As much as I despise the policies and ideology espoused and pushed upon the American people by President Obama, I wish Mayor Tadatoshi the realization of his dream. An impossible dream to be sure, but still I wish him and all the hibakusha, as well as all of Japan the very best of which the flawed human heart is capable.


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posted by ELAshley @ 11:35 PM, , links to this post





August 6, 1945 -- 8:15 AM




"Let all the souls here rest in peace as we will never repeat this mistake."



--Apology etched into the granite cenotaph in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park









PERSONAL NOTE: I ask you... What need have the Japanese people to apologize for Hiroshima? Or Nagasaki? Why is it Americans today rarely demonstrate this level of humility?


























This [event] should teach us the grave import of the truth, born of tragedy and suffering, that "the only role for nuclear weapons is to be abolished."


Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor
The City of Hiroshima
August 6, 2008

"...more than 300 thousand souls of A-bomb victims..."

We still do not have an accurate count of human casualties inflicted by the atomic bomb, but it is estimated that approximately 350,000 soldiers and civilians were in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing. After the bombing, radioactive substances fell to earth and remained on the ground for some time. Thousands of people who came into Hiroshima to help with relief activities or look for family members were exposed to this residual radiation. Like those who were directly exposed, many fell ill and some even died. By the time the acute effects were dying down at the end of December 1945, approximately 140,000 people (±10,000) are estimated to have died as a result of the bombing of Hiroshima.

The phrase "more than 300 thousand souls of A-bomb victims" refers to all survivors of the Hiroshima bombing known to have died thus far. To clarify the human damage done by the A-bombing of Hiroshima, a Survey of the A-Bomb Survivor Movement has been conducted regularly since 1979. In 1998, this survey confirmed that 273,212 had died by that year. A total of 30,017 names were added to the register of A-bomb victims between 1999 and 2004. Thus, the total number of A-bomb victims is now estimated to have exceeded 300,000.



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posted by ELAshley @ 10:30 PM, , links to this post