ALL THIS USELESS POETRY: (Or, someday all this will be picturesque stanzas.) A lot of poems from various years, 2001-present. No speakers are me or anyone else I know; all restrictions apply; void where prohibited; close cover before striking.The World Tonight He's been a shouting head for years before, But never so reluctant on display. Four men sip coffee; they debate the war: The hawks and doves each know what each will say, Save one, his certainties become dismay. "What's your advice?" He … [Read more...]

OH, HOW THE GHOST OF YOU CLINGS! Notes on Watchmen. So... a while back, I compared Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's Watchmen to "Measure for Measure." Re-reading the book has only strengthened my sense that Moore was using a passel of Shakespearean tics and motives. I doubt that was intentional; they're the kinds of thing that many writers would try to do, if they were good enough. Both M4M and Watchmen take the conventions of an often fluffy-sweet-melodrama genre (Elizabethan comedy and pre-WM … [Read more...]

"Perhaps he was highly intelligent and gifted--a remarkably honest man. Had he not been hemmed in on all sides by sea and mountains, he might have made an excellent rural welfare worker, a statesman, an orator, a publicist, or a great man of action--who could tell? And if so, how stupid to argue whether one was doing the decent thing or not! Suppose some able, useful person--a musician or artist, say--broke down a wall and tricked his gaolers so that he could escape from prison? In such a … [Read more...]

HOPE FOR SUBSAHARAN AFRICA: ...Consider first the advance of democracy south of the Sahara since the end of the cold war. In the 1960s and 1970s, no African ruler was voted out of office. In the 1980s, one was. Since then, 18 have been, and counting. That still leaves a lot of countries where polls are rigged and dissidents disappear, but it is surely a sign that some African governments are becoming more accountable to their people.Africa's media, too, are shaking off their shackles. Under … [Read more...]

MARCH FOR LIFE CALENDAR TYPE STUFF: Here and here. … [Read more...]

Anywhere the action's at We're blogwatching this and that...Obsidian Wings: Should have linked to this long ago--series on Maher Arar, the Canadian citizen shipped, with INS complicity, to Syria for torture. I haven't forgotten this and will SOON (next week) be posting more stuff on his case. Via Body and Soul I think. Excerpt from one post in the series:"A deportee/victim who is probably innocent* of all wrongdoing, who may have been taken on very flimsy evidence, who was taken from a U.S. … [Read more...]

"Falling in love with Nadezhda two years earlier, he had felt that he only needed to become her lover and take her to the Caucasus to be saved from the shoddy hopelessness of existence. Similarly, he was now convinced that to abandon Nadezhda and leave for St. Petersburg was to satisfy his every need." --Chekhov, "The Duel" … [Read more...]