Something I don’t get

So yesterday the Republican Administration signed a quickie little bill that encapsulates that particular party’s stance on the working person. Here, read the article.

tl;dr: The Obama administration put into place a regulation that says if you have a contract with the federal government, you have to document any labor/wage violations you’ve had for the past three years, the presumption being that if you’re a real dick to your workers, the federal government might want to give our tax dollars to someone who isn’t stealing them from their employees’ paychecks or killing them outright.  Emphasis on might; the rule was not ironclad.

However, even that was too much for our captains of industry, and so they got their employees (aka Congress) to fire up the Congressional Review Act and overturn the regulation.  The CRA is a particularly nasty little piece of procedural fuppery that says a Congress can overturn any regulation within 60 working days (which for our Congress could be nearly an entire year) and then prohibit the re-introduction of that regulation or anything resembling it unless the Congress passes a law doing so.

Here’s the deal: companies can skirt the labor/wage laws with near impunity.  They can require you to work overtime without compensation (another recent CRA triumph); make you work in unsafe conditions; limit your hours so that they don’t have to pay you benefits; etc etc etc—and 99 times out of 100 nothing will be done about it.  The workers affected by these kinds of things are usually low-wage workers without agency.  They can’t stand up to the boss because they can’t afford to lose their jobs.

So the previous administration decided that perhaps the carrot of easy federal money could be supplemented with the stick of lawful compliance.  You’d think that wouldn’t be too much to ask.  You know, follow the law, we give you our Ameros.  Seems simple enough.

What gets to me is why this should even be necessary. Your company screws over its workers?  No Ameros for you.  Period.  You’re breaking the law.

But for the Republican Party, those laws are the problem, and any regulation that seeks to enforce them is a Bad Thing.  If they could overturn the laws themselves, they would, and my advice is to keep your eyes peeled and count the silver.

The story in a nutshell

From a Production Information Sheet I found in a bunch of papers I’m “touching once.”


Show: A Christmas Carol

Decscription: Man likes money; man wakes up; the cripple does not die.


That is all.  I just felt I needed to share that before tossing the paper and never touching it again.

No news?

I truly have nothing to report.  It’s very sad.  I’ve written nothing, I’ve composed nothing.

The herb garden is on hold while I wait for my plants to ship next week.

The labyrinth is just fine; we’re waiting to see if the fescue seed I overseeded with last month actually comes up.  I’m waiting for a couple of ferns I ordered from a fundraiser to appear.

Two projects have been mooted over the weekend, but it’s not time to talk about those yet.

There was a visit yesterday to the farm where we hold Alchemy and now Euphoria.  Tickets went on sale last night; my camp is set.  Deadline for placement is not until Wednesday, so there’s not a lot to be done until then.

Deadline for submissions to the Euphoria art fundraiser was Friday, and I got all those projects up on the web, so nothing to do there.

Prepping an assignment for the Backstreet Writers group; more later on that, perhaps.

Otherwise, just tiny little chores.  Keep the Assistive Feline™ entertained.

I think I shall choose to be grateful for the slack time.  I will not cast about for something “important” to do.  Perhaps I’ll clean my study using the old “touch it only once” method.


The morning after

Yesterday, as you will recall, was the spring equinox, which I celebrated not with my usual fête but with twelve solid hours of contemplation.

I may have to do this every year.  It was amazing.

First, of course, the weather was gorgeous: clear, balmy-to-warm, and just enough breeze to ring the windchimes.  Perfect.  I opened the gate as the courthouse chimed noon.

I took a fresh waste book and began writing during the day; whenever I found myself with “nothing” to do, I wrote.  I mused, I recorded, I complained, I transcribed bits from “Leaves of Grass.”

I read, both Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” and Bill Plotkin’s Soulcraft.

I wrote letters.  Well, half of one letter.

And of course I walked the labyrinth.  No specific topics or problems, just quiet, balanced walks.  Every now and then the morbid part of my mind will escape its restraints, and I will find myself grieving over some putative future time when we have sold the house and are moving, either into a smaller house or some kind of protective custody, and I have to take that “last walk” on my beautiful labyrinth.  But last night, as I was exiting the labyrinth and those thoughts began to bubble up, I said, out loud, “That may be, but this is not that walk.  This is not the consciously last time I walk this labyrinth.”  I think that will be my mantra of gratitude every time I walk.

A little after 7:00 pm, I got up to light the fire, and was astonished to see:

Yes, that’s the westpoint bowl, but look at it: it’s bathed in light, a perfect rectangle.

It’s a reflection of the setting sun on the back windows of the basement, and on the equinox, apparently, we get this stupendously woo-tastic effect.

So, future generations, after the Current Administration throws us all into Mr. Burns: a post-electric play territory, remember that you have a marker for when the sun is making its shift to summer.[1]

Over the course of the day and night, we had a handful of visitors. No huge rush. No conflicting woo-needs.

Finally, after everyone else had left and/or gone to bed, I was alone again.  I walked the labyrinth more than a couple of times, dreamed at the fire, and was in general in a state of gratitude for the day and for the space and for the people.

As midnight chimed, I extinguished the fire and closed the gate.


[1] This is assuming of course that the house is not burned to the ground.


Today is the Spring Equinox, the day when the sun shares its light with us for exactly half the 24 hours of the day.  From here on out, the sun will rise earlier and set later, giving us more and more — and warmer and warmer —daylight.

Earlier peoples paid a lot more attention to these things than we do, out of necessity.  We are a pattern-making species, and once our brains kicked in, it probably didn’t take long for us to notice the lengthening and shortening of days and the fact that the sun rose and set further and further north or south every day.  I know I would want to create some sort of system to mark those turning points.  Maybe stone pillars in the ground.  Something like that.

Anyway, I like to mark the solstices and the equinoxes with observances in the labyrinth because what’s the point of having an alien landing strip in your back yard if you’re not going to go all hippie-woo in it?

Given that I am an Existential Mystic, I reserve the solstices for actually meaningful observations.  The winter solstice is the Annual Meeting of the Lichtenbergian Society; it is the one of the two high holy days of Lichtenbergianism.[1]  The summer solstice is whatever I choose to make it, but is generally a fire pit kind of night of reflection.

The equinoxes, on the other hand, I don’t mind having a party: friends, spouses, cocktails, funky music on the sound system, laughter, conversation, good times.  If someone wants to walk the labyrinth or ring a bell or two, great; otherwise, let’s chill.

Today, though, I am doing something I’ve never done before: I am holding the labyrinth open for meditation from noon until midnight.  No party, no bar, no loud music.  No loud conversation.  Just me and my kilt and the fire.  I’ll read, I’ll write.  I’ll clean, I’ll tidy.  I’ll walk.  I’ll have my phone, but otherwise I’m offline.

Ceremonies?  Rituals?  Nothing specific, just whatever comes to mind.

What am I looking for?  I don’t know that I’m looking for anything, but I’ll be paying attention to the quiet, to the music, to the space, to gratitude, to balance.

If you’re reading this, and you would like a period of quiet reflection, the gate will be open at noon.  Bring whatever woo you like.

(If you’re in the mood for a party, check back with me in September for the fall equinox.)


[1] The other is July 1, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg’s birthday.

Adventures in spam commenting

I’ve had some lovely spam comments recently.


Never would have thunk I would find this so inaelpensdbsi.

Smart thkinnig – a clever way of looking at it.

Good to find an expert who knows what he’s tanlikg about!

Seriously to all you Libs: EAT A FUCKING DICK.Fuck you all.You will always be pussy pieces of shit not worth the sacrifices many good men and women have made for you.I hope you idiots get hit by a bus.There will never be any renolciciation with you scum of the earth. Never. ——(Note: this was an attempted comment on Five Easier Pieces #4: a start.  I mean to say, wot?)

Put money into brazier as well as panties. If you desire to hide an important dimension amount, you will need to begin from the most important core. A good breast support definitely will carry and help your bust line and draw the interest nearly your greatest real estate. A well-fitted bra may also create the phantasm belonging to the more shapely middle. When you are large-chested, go ahead and reveal your current cleavage with a great push-up and even support brassiere. A new weight losing panty might help minimize progresses in addition to protrudes and help a person’s clothes healthy significantly better. Given that Prada is often a top rated developer model, celebrities have the money to purchase plus show it’s design. Megastars including Nicole Kidman, Nicole kidman, Scarlet Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow and also Jennifer Aniston all have recently been spotted donning Prada with InStye Magazine. All the developer signifies The movies fashion. Prada also may promote his or her clothing giving specific concepts so that you can super stars to make use of and turn into noticed in it all ——(In response to I don’t even know, which at least was recent.)

Gosh, I wish I would have had that intromafion earlier!

Your cranium must be prietctong some very valuable brains.

Back in school, I’m doing so much lenniarg.


I… I really don’t get it.

The intertubes was not much help:

screen capture from Google books, Hacking: Hacking For Beginners and Basic Security: How To Hack

I understand why you would scramble a word to get past the spam filter—that’s where we got the neologism pron, after all.  But the words being scrambled in the simple sentences above are not going to be on anyone’s watchlist, so there was no need to scramble them.  Plus, as I’ve discussed before, these things don’t even appear to have a link in them, i.e., there’s no trap for you to fall into.  So what gives?

Even more puzzlingly, there must be something embedded in these comments, because otherwise why would the spam filter have gotten most (but not all!) of them?  (The “brazier” one was snagged because the paragraph of gibberish was followed by a torrent of links, always a tip-off.)

Can anyone enlighten me?


The root of all evil

Here’s the link to the article imaged below.

Emphasis mine.

This is Gingrich’s modus operandi: he loads everything he says with nasty, vituperative words so that even if you are only paying attention halfway, you cannot avoid feeling revulsion at whatever the hell he’s ranting about.

He’s done this since the 90s, and he’s done it deliberately. If you wonder where Kellyanne Conway or Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly came from, look no further.

Newt Gingrich is why we are where we are today.