Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesdays with Charles

Charles stayed close to the door, holding his mother's hand. He could never remember being in a hospital before, and he had never been near a dead or dying person, but he could feel a palpable sense of death's approach in the crowded room, and it frightened him, especially since everyone in the room stared at him as soon as he entered. Just as terrifying was the man laying in the bed twenty feet away, breathing heavily with the aid of a machine. Everyone, including Charles, called him Big Daddy, though he was not of course Charles's actual father, but rather his great-grandfather. At only six years old, Charles had heard enough to know and to fear Big Daddy, despite having rarely seen him. He squeezed closer to his mother's leg.

Big Daddy had been only an idea, a phantom, until about a year ago, until Scott, the youngest child of Big Daddy's youngest daughter, and the only son of any of Big Daddy's four daughters, had been killed in a car accident. Scott had seemed unapproachably adult and mature to Charles, though he was in reality still only in college and mourned as the death of a child by his family. A few weeks later, Big Daddy came to visit, though Charles never saw him, being sternly instructed to stay upstairs in his room. Then there had been shouting and fights, and Charles heard about Big Daddy no more, until today.

Now the old man's glassy eyes sharpened up, looking at Charles's mother. "The boy," he wheezed, "He's here. Let me see him. Let me talk."

No one moved, and at first Charles wasn't sure he'd actually heard anything. Then he realized that his mother was unsure what to do, and her indecision scared him. Finally, she reached down and picked him up. He turned and looked back to the closed door as she carried him to the bed.

"Sit him down here, let me talk to him," Big Daddy said. His mother only complied halfway, standing Charles down on the floor two feet away from the bed. Charles turned and looked and knew he was watching a person die.

"Come here, come here son, I have to talk to you. I have to tell you something."

Charles edged closer, slowly. Suddenly a jaundiced, scabbed hand shot out, grabbing his arm and dragging him closer to the bed. Another reached out, shoving his mother away. Big Daddy leaned in close.

"You know," Big Daddy whisper so low that only Charles could hear him, and barely, "I've always done things the way I knew they needed to be done. You won't understand it now, but I've always done what I had to do, and I did it the way I wanted. I've done some things I wish I hadn't, but it made me strong. It made me powerful, and feared. You're scared now, aren't you?"

Charles nodded, tears slowly welling in his eyes.

"That's good, but you shouldn't be. You need to know, and you need to remember. You have to understand."

Suddenly Big Daddy began to cough, violently. Loud beeps and noises filled the room. The family was shoved away as nurses, and then doctors, crowded in around the bed.

Big Daddy began waving his arms wildly, shoving a nurse aside and almost falling off the bed as he reached out to grab Charles, pulling him close again.

"You have to remember this, Charles. You have to know this." Big Daddy was panting, his mouth bleeding. "Know this one thing, that my father told me, and his father told him, and now I'm telling you."

Charles looked, and the room seemed to stop all its motion.

"You've got to understand, haters gonna hate."

A doctor pulled Big Daddy back onto the bed. Charles's mother grabbed him and ran out of the room. Neither of them ever saw Big Daddy again.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

On prison

On December 4, 1991, Terry Anderson was released from captivity. He had been the last and the longest-held American hostage in Lebanon. I spoke to Keron Fletcher, a former British military psychiatrist who had been on the receiving team for Anderson and many other hostages, and followed them for years afterward. Initially, Fletcher said, everyone experiences the pure elation of being able to see and talk to people again, especially family and friends. They can’t get enough of other people, and talk almost non-stop for hours. They are optimistic and hopeful. But, afterward, normal sleeping and eating patterns prove difficult to re√ęstablish. Some have lost their sense of time. For weeks, they have trouble managing the sensations and emotional complexities of their freedom.

For the first few months after his release, Anderson said when I reached him by phone recently, “it was just kind of a fog.” He had done many television interviews at the time. “And if you look at me in the pictures? Look at my eyes. You can tell. I look drugged.”
-Hellhole: Is long-term solitary confinement torture?
Alas, in so many ways Guant√°namo is not the exception but far closer to the rule of our criminal justice system, and the case of Omar Khadr, rather than being an anomaly of the War on Terror, is in all too many ways positively all-American. To be sure, taking a child soldier you've captured in a foreign land, whose interrogation entailed stringing him up half-naked in a five-foot-square cell with wrists chained to the bars at eye level and a hood clamped tightly over his face, then prosecuting him for "murder" because he allegedly tossed a grenade on a foreign battlefield, does present some legal issues that don't ordinarily come up in Spokane or Chillicothe.

But Gitmo, a "betrayal of American values"? Would that it were! Alas, for nearly every grisly tabloid feature of the Khadr case, you can find an easy analog in our everyday criminal justice system. In a sense, much of our War on Terror has proven a slightly spicier version of our "normal" way of doing criminal justice. Using the case of Omar Khadr, let's take this step by step.
-Guantanamo: Exception or Rule?

Friday, November 19, 2010

THAT is hardcore.

Keyboard player. He really gets the limelight at about 2:40.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Is the US falling behind?

You may be interested to know that the new "top dog" on the
"Top 500" list, the list of biggest, baddest, and fastest
computers is the Chinese Tianhe-1A system at the National
Supercomputer Center in Tianjin.

Second place is Cray XT5 Jaguar system at the U.S. DOEs, Oak Ridge
Leadership Computing Facility in Tennessee. Third place is now held
by the Chinese system Nebulae at the National Supercomputing Centre
in Shenzhen. Number four is Tsubame 2.0 at the Tokyo Institute of
Technology, and number five s Hopper, a Cray XE6 system at DOEs
National Energy Research Scientific Computing.

Of the top ten, only five are in the US, the others in China (two)
Japan, France, and Germany (one each). see http://www.top500.org/

To add some context... these machines are not built to break records,
but rather to perform scientific research and engineering. Supercomputing
allows researchers to simulate environments; the more powerful the
computer, the larger and more detailed the simulation. For example, a
(big enough) computer could simulate the working of a human cell at the
atomic level, or help manufacturers speed product development by allowing
engineers to design, change and test products in virtual environments
before producing physical prototypes.

But probably more important rankings are the "BCS Standings", "AP Top 25",
"USA Today Poll", and "ESPN.com's Power Rankings" where Auburn maintains
the number 2 position!

War Eagle,

A. J.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

l' affaire newton

I don't know if that's accurate but I like it. The way I see it this has to break down in one of three ways:

1. Cecil Newton solicited money for his son Cam "Cameron Newton" Newton to play football at Mississippi State University (and, presumably, at Auburn). There's a lot to hint this way, but little tangible proof.

2. Kenny Rogers is a con man, trying to trick deep-pocket alums out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. He seems like a shady guy, and this would explain why the FBI is involved. On the other hand, why would his lawyer let him change his story in order to say something so easily falsifiable?

3. Cecil Newton solicited money for his son Cam Newton to play football at Mississippi State University (and, presumably, at Auburn), and Kenny Rogers is a con man, trying to trick big spending alumni out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I have no idea which one of these is correct. I think Mississippi State holds the key -- if some of their people come out and say that Newton(s) did ask for money, that's it. On the other hand, they too might have their own cheater-related reasons for keeping this quiet, meaning that nothing comes of all this.

Oregon Trail knock-off Friday

1. Organ Trail

2. Thule Trail

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

3E is unique and fluctuates

Your 3E:
Your 3E is EVERY ESSENTIAL ELEMENT that helps you function optimally. Your 3E is unique and fluctuates; so knowing how to find your 3E easily is useful. The 3E process engages your own wisdom to work on behalf of what you really want.
That's pretty accurate, I think, but this is my 3E. More:
The 3E design is a culmination of six years conditioning my world and personal view, 22 years professionally supporting fortune 500's, non-profits and social entreprenuerships, and one particularly clear headed and hearted morning with my journal. Since that day, 3E has supported an emergence of inner wisdom that surprises and guides me, EVERY DAY! It catches my drifting, procrastination, ultimate agendas and especially my enthusiasm to support new patterning and progress. This momentum shows up with ease and light-heartedness even as it directs me toward engaging with people who face considerable obstacles in their own self conditioning.
Why is everyone trying to steal our brand? Actually, I know why: it's because we're awesome. Also, I am thinking lawsuit. Or more likely, perhaps some kind of licensing deal -- most of that does describe 3E in its fullness. 3E is large; 3E contains multitudes.

Monday, November 01, 2010

the lil'est terr'ist


I would like to see something terrible happen to the dickhole who boxed up live cats, though.