August 30, 2007



did you
ever see
an ad
for a

(pardon the

that made
you laugh?

Photo note: Hat's off to humor

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Posted by Dakota at 10:41 PM | TrackBack

August 29, 2007

A Proposition, So to Speak


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Honestly, I think we should search the congressional records in order to identify those elected officials who have proposed an inordinate, or maybe just a moderate amount of homophobic legislation. Thanks to the efforts of Homeland Security we certainly have enough surveillance equipment in place to follow them into public restrooms, read their email, wiretap their phone calls, you know, the usual. In fact, we have probably collected all this information already, and it's just sitting around waiting to be analyzed. Aren't closeted homosexuals, in high positions classically viewed as a threat to national security because they can be blackmailed? Let's put Mr. Chertoff right on it, and let it be known that it is no longer prudent for politicians to write their own self hating projections into law, lest their sexual secrets be revealed.

Washington, sadly is harder on those who have same sex secrets. Romney dropped Larry Craig like a hot potato, even though there was no real crime committed. You can listen for yourself to an audio dramatization of the original police report as performed by Paul Hipp or watch the video Senator Craig can take a tip from the British on how to handle a scandal like this forthrightly.

Photo note: A rather Dorian Gray version of the American flag

Posted by Dakota at 06:14 PM

August 28, 2007

The Kucinich Connection


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Just before I left on vacation, I snagged this video clip of Dennis Kucinich nailing the slippery Donald Rumsfeld during testomony before the House Armed Services Committee. Impressive. According to an ABC poll, Kucinich actually came in first in the debate between the democratic presidential candidates, but didn't get the coverage that he deserved. Here's a sample.

And then there's his wife, Elizabeth. Although the Kucinich's are an unlikely physical match, they certainly seem to resonate together. She is half his age and stunning, but do not mistake her for arm candy. She is a woman of substance. Cleveland TV did a rather good profile about her three years ago, and there's more.

Both the Kucinich's can speak the enlightened truth from the center of their beings. Now the real question is how much light Washington, the corporatocracy and the American people can tolerate -- not much more than the dim bulb that's already in place, I fear.

Photo note: A metaphorophoto - light shining through the American flag.

Posted by Dakota at 06:53 PM

August 27, 2007

Just in Time for Labor Day Weekend


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Gonzo is gonzo, as ' twere. Lest we break out the champagne prematurely, consider that he resigned just in time for the Bushie Special - yet another recess appointment -- thus avoiding the necessity of an inconvenient congressional approval process.

And, who, pray tell, will be Bush's choice for a replacement? Rumor has it that Michael Chertoff will be stepping into the leadership role, no doubt a reward for his superior performance as Chief of Homeland Security during Katrina, his relentless protection of America from terrorists, his politically timely "gut feelings", or worse.. Just another Federalist performing his patriotic duty, which can sometimes be tricky when one holds dual citizenship.

I'd prefer James Comey -- who has about as much chance of being appointed as a snowball on Labor Day weekend.

Photo note: The American flag flies upside down in the summer sunlight amidst triangles

Addendum: Good riddance Go ahead, make an investment in good government

Posted by Dakota at 11:11 PM

August 23, 2007


just posting
a funny
for my
brain cells
to regenerate

Photo note: The Three Stooges windshield sunscreen is undoubtedly available on line

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Posted by Dakota at 08:26 AM | TrackBack

August 21, 2007

Hybrids - Honda Civic vs. Toyota Prius



I took the hybrids for a spin while I was on vacation, since it's time to turn the aged Camry over to a deserving heir.

I considered other options, but the mileage of small cars with gasoline engines fell so short of the hybrids that it seemed perfectly silly to to make any other choice, particularly in an age when we are warming our globe into oblivion. Speaking of which, did you know a hybrid car can be used as a back up generator during a hurricane or other natural disaster?

Both cars handled really well, had comfy seats and abundant cup holders, thus meeting my most stringent requirements. Driving the Prius, with its strange silence, informational screens and joystick gear shift was a bit like playing a video game, and almost as much fun.

As you can see in the top photo, the Honda Civic Hybrid is sleeker and slightly more glamorous than the Prius (bottom photo). I was told that since it looks exactly like the regular Civic, a Civic Hybrid driver cannot easily be spotted as good citizen, unlike those behind the wheel of a Prius.

The Prius has room for cargo, with flop down seats, whereas the Civic has room for four good girlfriends if they haven't put on too much weight. I have given up carrying cargo and glamor in recent years, so neither of these factors really counted for me. Everyone already knows I am a good citizen.

Surprisingly, both salespeople pointed out that I would probably not make back the premium I'd pay for a hybrid in gas savings. I'm not really buying it for gas savings -- but how about mentioning the environmental savings, boys?

HERE"S THE IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE, and it was very hard to unravel from any report, on line or otherwise. These babies have big batteries. The big batteries cost between $5000 and $6000 (the Honda dealer "mistakenly" told me the battery cost a few hundred dollars, but he was mixing it up with the plain old Civic, undoubtedly an "honest" mistake) The Honda Civic Hybrid battery comes with a warranty for 85,000 miles or eight years. The warranty is prorated as the battery ages, so if it's old and it fails, it is entirely possible that the owner will only get a fraction of its replacement cost. On the other hand, the Prius battery has a ten year/125,000 mile warranty with full replacement value whenever it fails. I'd say that was a HUGE difference, and I don't know why it's not mentioned prominently in all comparisons.

So I'm buying the Prius, but I'm waiting until the end of the month when the Toyota salesman will be more desperate to improve his sales figures. I hope there's a silver one left.

Photo note: I was snapping pictures of parked hybrids for my own edification, since I didn't have the good sense to do it at the dealership -- thus the hideous photographs which were never meant to be published. For better shots go directly to Honda Civic Hybrid or Toyota Prius. They spent thousands getting just the right angle.

Addendum: Even better - the air car

Posted by Dakota at 07:33 PM

Trouble Getting Started Again


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As you can see, I'm back from vacation in full Snail Girl mode. Sluggish beyond belief.

In the last week, I had two dreams-- unusual in the diminished dream capacity of my cronehood. In both dreams, I lost my camera - an ominous sign.

While this state persists, I shall have to look to the creations of others. I was feeling particularly sluggish yesterday when I happened upon this pole poster produced by a site called thinkspotting, which offers suggestions for the progression and development of ideas, should you ever happen to have one.

In the particular case of the jack o melon, there are already video instructions posted on YouTube for your edification, and even more wonderful watermelon projects to try, while they are in season, if you're not too sluggish, that is.

Photo note: as above

Posted by Dakota at 06:33 AM

August 10, 2007

What I've Done On My Vacation So Far


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I have
to show
for the
the first
half of
my vacation


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are a few
of reality

they are
an improvement



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are for?

Photo notes: Shop window with bird houses, vinyl window with impatients, the canal viewed on the side of a black SUV

Posted by Dakota at 02:41 PM

August 04, 2007



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Once again we shall probably be unplugged and slathered with California Baby, the only non toxic and effective suntan lotion for a couple of weeks, that is if we don't manage to hook up somewhere Starbucksy, which is always a possibility.

You might have time on your hands, since there won't be any clickies to click around here. With that in mind, we thought you might enjoy watching Adam Curtis's BBC documentary on the modern concepts of freedom, "The Trap - What Happened to the Dream of Freedom" in its entirety. It's certainly something worth contemplating as we slip silkily into a police state right here in our very own Homeland. Interviews with luminaries like Isaiah Berlin and R.D. Laing are sprinkled throughout.

It's in pieces.

The Trap - Episode 1

The Trap - Episode 2

The Trap - Episode 3

The Trap - Episode 4

The Trap - Episode 5

The Trap - Episode 6

The Trap - Episode 7

Finished already? Watch Curtis' "The Power of Nightmares", which you will have to pick through Google Video to find for yourself.

Ta ta

Photo note: Inexpert shot taken from a moving automobile at great personal risk for just such an occasion.

Posted by Dakota at 08:14 AM

August 03, 2007

Flunking the Meyers-Briggs


When I wrote that last entry about the Meyer's Briggs personality test, I didn't take it myself because I thought I had many times before. However, I was challenged to do so by a dear a close personal friend. So I did.

The test revealed that I have the least appealing personality type ---- by far. Basically EFSJs are people pleasing, conflict avoiding individuals with vacuous principles who like giving holiday parties and would make a good school nurses -- Bill Clinton is one, as are Babbitt and Daffy Duck

This outcome was both a disappointment and an awakening to a guardian/provider who had her sights set on being an idealist/ healer. My lesson is to stop caretaking and do my own work, for heaven's sakes.

My work includes analyzing my projections onto others, capturing thought feelings when they occur in some sort of creative expression, and directing my conscious attention to best serve my own life purpose.

I think I used to write about this more before I was tempted by the devil and turned my attention to him and his evil entourage.

Photo note: self evident View larger image

Posted by Dakota at 08:33 PM

August 02, 2007

Snail Girl


up close

Well, guess who hopped on the spiritual bandwagon last week , as requested -- the aspect of self known as Snail Girl, closely related to Skunk Girl and other traumatically dissociated parts of self that give me trouble from time to time until I can bear to stop hating them long enough to find compassion within myself for myself

I had my first teensy encounter with Snail Girl at the end of a shaman-induced theta trance when I startled awake with the unseemly thought that I didn't care much about being alive. Did I ask myself if I was experiencing a memory of what it was like to be a child in my family? Of course not, I terrified myself, and spent the weekend worrying about entering the gray state of ennui that was my youth while immersed in trashy novels for distraction.

During my second encounter with Snail Girl, I entered the state of hopeless immobility/depression. A familiar spot which I am always loath to revisit. I worry each time I go that I will get stuck there for years on end. It has happened before. At the end of forty five minutes I was able to find some observing shard of myself and recognize that Snail Girl isn't all of who I am . She is generally quite crusty and hard to contact, which is fine with me.

The next day, I happened upon and shot a snail, thus capturing the metaphor visually. Hard shell, tightly wrapped, protecting a mushy sluggish formless being, with no energy and no light. The outer shell is brittle but not unattractive, the inside gelatinous and unappealing. No wonder I avoid her. Her shell represents the brittle false self developed to protect her from a critical mother. It's public presentation masks the lethargic unformed sluggish self with no motivation, no spark of life.

Of course, the more functional aspects of myself want nothing to with Snail Girl, for they are filed with light and laughter, fun and flow.

Photo note: See the arrow pointing to Snail Girl?

Posted by Dakota at 08:06 PM

August 01, 2007

Rotten Eggs


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in context

In an article in Vanity Fair Katherine Eban reports

Both army leaders and military psychologists say that psychologists help to make interrogations "safe, legal and effective." But last fall, a psychologist named Jean Maria Arrigo came to see me with a disturbing claim about the American Psychological Association, her profession's 148,000-member trade group. Arrigo had sat on a specially convened A.P.A. task force that, in July 2005, had ruled that psychologists could assist in military interrogations, despite angry objections from many in the profession. The task force also determined that, in cases where international human-rights law conflicts with U.S. law, psychologists could defer to the much looser U.S. standards—what Arrigo called the "Rumsfeld definition" of humane treatment.

Arrigo and several others with her, including a representative from Physicians for Human Rights, had come to believe that the task force had been rigged—stacked with military members (6 of the 10 had ties to the armed services), monitored by observers with undisclosed conflicts of interest, and programmed to reach preordained conclusions.

One theory was that the A.P.A. had given its stamp of approval to military interrogations as part of a quid pro quo. In exchange, they suspected, the Pentagon was working to allow psychologists—who, unlike psychiatrists, are not medical doctors—to prescribe medication, dramatically increasing their income. (The military has championed modern-day psychology since World War II, and continues to be one of the largest single employers of psychologists through its network of veterans' hospitals. It also funded a prescription-drug training program for military psychologists in the early 90s.)

A.P.A. leaders deny any backroom deals and insist that psychologists have helped to stop the abuse of detainees. They say that the association will investigate any reports of ethical lapses by its members.....

While there was no "smoking gun" amid the stack of documents Arrigo gave me, my reporting eventually led me to an even graver discovery. After a 10-month investigation comprising more than 70 interviews as well as a detailed review of public and confidential documents, I pieced together the account of the Abu Zubaydah interrogation that appears in this article. I also discovered that psychologists weren't merely complicit in America's aggressive new interrogation regime. Psychologists, working in secrecy, had actually designed the tactics and trained interrogators in them while on contract to the C.I.A....

Two psychologists in particular played a central role: James Elmer Mitchell, who was attached to the C.I.A. team that eventually arrived in Thailand, and his colleague Bruce Jessen. Neither served on the task force or are A.P.A. members. Both worked in a classified military training program known as sere—for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape—which trains soldiers to endure captivity in enemy hands. Mitchell and Jessen reverse-engineered the tactics inflicted on sere trainees for use on detainees in the global war on terror, according to psychologists and others with direct knowledge of their activities. The C.I.A. put them in charge of training interrogators in the brutal techniques, including "waterboarding," at its network of "black sites." In a statement, Mitchell and Jessen said, "We are proud of the work we have done for our country."....

Mitchell and Jessen's methods were so controversial that, among colleagues, the reaction to their names alone became a litmus test of one's attitude toward coercion and human rights. Their critics called them the "Mormon mafia" (a reference to their shared religion) and the "poster boys" (referring to the F.B.I.'s "most wanted" posters, which are where some thought their activities would land them).

Had enough? We hope not. Go back and read the entire article, it's really not that long.

All of us here at Dakota find it particularly distressing that the A.P.A. has been so meticulously courted by those who embrace torture. Why would these perpetrators need the endorsement of a professional psychological organization to do what they intend to do anyway? Does it support their credibility? Are they planning to make even broader use of these practices? Psychologists, who are ostensibly dedicated to healing, must begin to question the infiltration of these influences into their organization.

From Daily Kos 2006:

.......Ray McGovern who, among other things, told of the work of Jean Marie Arrigo who has researched the question of what is required when there is a state-backed policy of torture; in other words, what is the logistical infrastructure for the policy of torture. Among the things McGovern listed are:

* the training and equipping of torturers
* the recruiting of medical assistants
* the conduct of research to determine what to do
* the pre-approval of the courts.

As they say in emoticon something's <*)))-}.

Photo note: Hundred year old eggs aren't really rotten. They've just been buried a long time - not a hundred years, more like a hundred days. They can be found everywhere in the street markets of Hong Kong. I would have tried one, but it just didn't look like the kind of thing you'd want to taste without bringing to a full boil for fifteen minutes.

Posted by Dakota at 09:03 AM