24 December 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas, by Anonymous (not the hacker group)

You know the old song "The Twelve Days of Christmas", where the "true love" sends a partridge in a pear tree to the singer, the next day "two turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree", etc.?  

I first saw this years--decades--ago when my Jewish godmother (she and her husband ate kosher bacon and he attended Midnight Mass every Christmas) sent it to my mother one Advent when I was studying political science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

There are 12 days of Christmas, by the way, the season beginning Christmas Day (nightfall at Christmas Eve if you want to get liturgical about it) and stretching through the evening before (Western) Epiphany on 6 January, which was once a really big deal itself, celebrated as Twelfth Night.


Miss Agnes McHolstein
69 Cash Ave.
Beaver Valley, CO
Dec. 25, 1986

My Darling,

I went to the door today and the postman delivered a "Partridge in a pear tree." What a thoroughly delightful gift. I couldn't have been more surprised. You're an angel.

With all my love and devotion,



Miss Agnes McHolstein
69 Cash Ave.
Beaver Valley, CO
Dec. 26, 1986


Today, the postman brought your very sweet gift. Just imagine "Two turtle doves." I'm delighted at your very thoughtful gift. They are adorable and I love you for them.

All my love,



Miss Agnes McHolstein
69 Cash Ave.
Beaver Valley, CO
Dec. 27, 1986

Dear Fred,

Oh! Aren't you the extravagant one? Now I really must protest. I don't deserve such generosity as "Three French hens." They are just darling but I must insist, you've been too kind.




Miss Agnes McHolstein
69 Cash Ave.Beaver Valley, CO
Dec. 28, 1986

Dear Fred,

Today the postman delivered "Four calling birds." Now really, they are beautiful but don't you think enough is enough? You're being too romantic.




Miss Agnes McHolstein
69 Cash Ave.Beaver Valley, CO
Dec. 29, 1986

Dearest Fred,

What a surprise! The postman just delivered the "Five golden rings"; one for every finger. You're just impossible, but I love it. Frankly, all those birds squawking were beginning to get on my nerves.

All my love,



Miss Agnes McHolstein
69 Cash Ave.Beaver Valley, CO
Dec. 30, 1986

Dear Fred,

I couldn't believe my eyes this morning as I walked out onto the front porch and there were "Six geese a laying" on my front steps. So you're back to the birds again - huh? Those geese are huge. Where will I ever keep them? The neighbors are complaining and I can't sleep through the racket. I love your thoughtfulness, but -

Please Stop!




Miss Agnes McHolstein
69 Cash Ave.Beaver Valley, CO
Dec. 31, 1986


What's with you and those fucking birds??? Today I received "Seven swans a swimming." What kind of a goddamn joke is this? These birds shit all over the house and they never stop with that awful goddamn racket. I can't sleep at night and I'm a nervous wreck.

Stop your laughing damn you! It's not funny. Just knock it off with those fucking birds, OK?????




Miss Agnes McHolstein
69 Cash Ave.Beaver Valley, CO
Jan. 1, 1987

OK Buster,

I think I prefer the birds. What the hell am I going to do with "Eight maids a milking??" It's not enough with all those birds and the 8 maids milking, but they had to bring their goddamn cows! There is shit all over the lawn and I can't even move in my own house. Just lay off me, smartass!!



Miss Agnes McHolstein
69 Cash Ave.Beaver Valley, CO
Jan. 2, 1987

Hey Shithead,

What are you??? Some kind of sadist??? Now I've got "Nine pipers playing" and Christ do they play! They haven't stopped chasing those maids since they've arrived this morning. The cows are getting upset and they're stepping all over the screeching fucking birds. What the hell am I going to do?? The neighbors have already started a petition to have me evicted.

You'll get yours, bastard,



Miss Agnes McHolstein
69 Cash Ave.Beaver Valley, CO
Jan. 3, 1987

You Rotten Prick,

Who in hell needs "Ten ladies dancing??" I can't imagine why I call these sluts "ladies." They've been balling the pipers all night long. Now the cows can't sleep and all the goddamn racket around here has given them diarrhea. My living room is a river of shit! The Commisioner of Bldgs. has subpoenaed me to give cause why the building should not be condemned!

I'm sicking the police on you, asshole!

One who means it!!!


Miss Agnes McHolstein
69 Cash Ave.Beaver Valley, CO
Jan. 4, 1987

Listen Fuckhead,

What's with the "Eleven lords a leaping" on those maids and ladies??? Some of these poor broads will never walk again. The pipers ravaged the maids, gang-banged the ladies, and now are committing sodomy on the cows. All 23 birds are dead. They were trampled to death in the orgy. I hope you're satisfied, you rotten vicious bastard!

I hate your guts, dumbshit,



Law Offices
Badger, Bender & Cahole
303 Knave Street
Chicago, IL
5 January 1987

Dear Sir:

This is to acknowledge your latest gift "Twelve fiddlers fiddling" which you have seen fit to inflict on our client, Miss Agnes McHolstein. As you no doubt have guessed, the destruction of her property was total. You are advised that all future correspondence with our client should be cleared through this office.

I feel compelled to warn you that if you should attempt to reach Miss McHolstein at Happy Dale Sanitarium, the attendants of that institution have instructions to shoot you on sight. With this letter please find attached a warrant for your arrest.

Season's Greetings,

J. Frank Cahole Attorney


If you think 12 days is long, think of the 40 that at times and in certain places the Christmas season continued all the way Candlemas on 2 February, aka The Feast of the Purification (of the "Blessed Virgin Mary") and the Presentation (of "our Lord" in the Temple).

I wonder what shape Agnes would have been in after 40 days.


29 November 2011

Socialist and socialistic quotes

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” – Anonymous (no, not the hacker group)

“If God existed, only in one way could he serve the cause of human liberty—by ceasing to exist.” – Mikhail Bakunin

“If God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him.” – Mikhail Bakunin

“A Boss in Heaven is the best excuse for a boss on earth, therefore If God did exist, he would have to be abolished.” – Mikhail Bakunin

“He who desires to worship God must harbor no childish illusions about the matter but bravely renounce his liberty and humanity.” – Mikhail Bakunin

“People go to church for the same reasons they go to a tavern: to stupefy themselves, to forget their misery, to imagine themselves, for a few minutes anyway, free and happy.” –Mikhail Bakunin

“The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.” – Mikhail Bakunin

“I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper, and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.” – Brendan Behan

“No republic can long exist unless a substantial equality in the wealth of citizens prevails.” – Edward Ballamy

“A rich enemy excites their avarice, a poor one their ambition.  To robbery, slaughter, and plunder they give the lying name of government; they create a wasteland and call it peace.” – Calgacus of the Caledonii, 85 CE

“You got what you asked for, Dean, no paradise, no hell, just more of the same.  I mean it, Dean; what would you rather have?  Peace or freedom?” – Castiel

“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.” – Cesar Chavez

“An injury to one is an injury to all.” – David C. Coates

“I don't believe in God because I don't believe in Mother Goose.” - Clarence Darrow

“Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” – Eugene Debs

“I have no country to fight for; for my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world.” –Eugene Debs

“The God of the Christians is a father who is a great deal more concerned about his apples than he is about his children.” – Denis Diderot

“Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” -Denis Diderot

“A nation which thinks that it is belief in God and not good law which makes people honest does not seem to me very advanced.” - Denis Diderot

“The God of the Christians is a father who is a great deal more concerned about his apples than he is about his children.” – Denis Diderot

“It is very important not to mistake hemlock for parsley; but not at all so to believe or not in God.” – Denis Diderot

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.” – Albert Einstein

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from inferior minds.” – Albert Einstein

“I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate [the] grave evils [of capitalism], namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow-men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.” – Albert Einstein

“I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own -- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism.” - Albert Einstein

“I do not believe in the immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it.” - Albert Einstein

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution.” – Emma Goldman

"The only demand that property recognizes is its own gluttonous appetite for greater wealth, because wealth means power; the power to subdue, to crush, to exploit, the power to enslave, to outrage, to degrade." – Emma Goldman

“Anarchism stands for liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from shackles and restraint of government.” – Emma Goldman

“'What I believe' is a process rather than a finality. Finalities are for gods and governments, not for the human intellect.” – Emma Goldman

“If they don’t give you work, ask them for bread. If they deny you bread, take it!” – Emma Goldman

"If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine." – Che Guevara

“At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.” – Che Guevara

 “Our affluent society contains those of talent and insight who are driven to prefer poverty, to choose it, rather than to submit to the desolation of an empty abundance. It is a strange part of the other America that one finds in the intellectual slums.” – Michael Harrington

“There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo

“The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.” - Thomas Jefferson

“Socialism without democracy is unthinkable.” – Karl Kautsky

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King

“The arch of history is long, but it bends toward justice.” – Martin Luther King

“You have to distinguish between two things – the economy and the stock market.  The economy is the sum of all the goods and services that are produced in the country every day.  The stock market is something very different.  There is no economy and no production of goods and services.  There are only fantasies in which people from one hour to the next decide that this or that company is worth so many billions, more or less.  It doesn’t have a thing to do with reality or the economy.” – Stieg Larsson

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, the tempest tossed, to me. I will lift up my lamp beside the golden door.” – Emma Lazarus

“These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people, and now that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people's money to settle the quarrel.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital.  Capital is the only fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed.  Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves the much higher consideration.” - Abraham Lincoln

 “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavour to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” – Abraham Lincoln

 “There is no democracy without socialism, and there is no socialism without democracy." – Rosa Luxemburg

“Religious suffering is the expression of real suffering and at the same time a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, as it is the spirit of spiritless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” –Karl Marx

“The traditions of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.” – Karl Marx

“Workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains.” – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

“Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.” – Benito Mussolini

“In the time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

“Finding that no religion is based on facts and cannot therefore be true, I began to reflect what must be the condition of mankind trained from infancy to believe in error.” - Robert Owen

“You cannot put a rope around the neck of an idea.” – Bobby Sands

“Guns don't win wars; guns and bombs may kill a man but they cannot make him follow their lead, nor will they ever coerce an unyielding man to yield.” – Bobby Sands

“Everyone has his or her particular part to play.  No part is too great or too small.  No one is too old or too young to do something.” – Bobby Sands

“There are still too, too many who walk amongst the people bubbling with false enthusiasm, false patriotism and false concern...political magpies and political opportunists and parasites. Equality and fraternity, can't, and never will be, gained whilst these parasites dominate and rule the lives of a nation.'” – Bobby Sands

“I believe that if we had would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-crooked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own.” – Gen. David Shoup, USMC (ret.)

“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” – John Steinbeck

“It's an incredible con job when you think of it, to believe something now in exchange for life after death. Even corporations with all their reward systems don't try to make it posthumous.” - Gloria Steinem

“Sacred cows make the best hamburger.” – Mark Twain

“People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people.” – V

“Anarchy does not mean without rules; it means without rulers.” – V

“Artists use lies to tell the truth; politicians use the truth to tell lies.” – V

“It is better to live on your feet than to die on your knees.” – Emilio Zapata

“Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church (mosque/synagogue/temple/pagoda, etc.) falls on the last priest (mullah/rabbi/brahmin/bhikku, etc.).” – Emile Zola

28 November 2011

The REAL Zodiac, according to the International Astronomical Union

The astrological signs that you see in your daily horoscope are 2500 years out of date due to the the axial precession of Earth, or "precession of the equinoxes".  The constellations of the zodiac are those which appear on Terra's (Earth's) elliptic plane of revolution around Sol, our planetary system's star, progressively throughout the year.  In addition to horoscope's zodiac being out of date, there are actually 13 constellations rather than 12.  The "age" is whatever sign is dominant at the time of the spring equinox, in the current case, the Age of Pisces.

Pisces – 11 March-18 April

Aries – 18 April-13 May

Taurus – 13 May-21 June

Gemini – 21 June-20 July

Cancer – 20 July-10 August

Leo – 10 August-18 September

Virgo – 18 September-30 October

Libra – 30 October-23 November

Scorpius – 23 November-29 November

Serpentarius aka Ophiuchus – 29 November-17 December

Sagittarius – 17 December-20 January

Capricornus – 20 January-16 February

Aquarius – 16 February-11 March

The Greek astronomer Hipparchus (c. 190-120 BCE), founder of trigonometry, discovered that the constellations in the zodiac do not sit statically in the sky but "move" due to axial precession, or progression of the equinoxes.  The discovery caused a revolution in science and philosophy and led directly to the mystery religion of Mithraism.

19 November 2011

We Are The Many, by Makana

The anthemn of the OWS movement

Farewell to Glasgow, by Solas, featuring John Williams

Written by the Irish-American John Williams and performed by the Celtic band Solas led by Seamus Egan, this song made me cry the first time I heard it. Still does.

Tom Paine's Bones, by The Shee

Oro se do bheatha bhaile, by Sinead O'Connor

One of her best performances, and one of the best renditions of this song, ever.

"The Wind That Shakes the Barley" marching song (Oro se do bheatha bhaile)

17 November 2011

Palestinian Freedom Rides to Jerusalem

I’m a Freedom Rider! I’m just trying to go to Jerusalem!” shouted Palestinian activist Huwaida Arraf Tuesday evening as a live Internet video feed showed Israeli police officers dragging her off a bus linking Israeli settlements in the West Bank to Jerusalem.
Arraf and five other Palestinian activists boarded segregated Israeli public bus number 148 — which connects the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel to Jerusalem — on Tuesday in an act of civil disobedience aimed to draw attention to Israeli colonial and apartheid policies and the lack of basic human rights Palestinians are afforded under this system.
After sitting peacefully on the bus at Israel’s Hizma checkpoint, just outside the northern entrance to Jerusalem, and nonviolently resisting attempts by the Israeli authorities to get them off the bus, all six “Freedom Riders” were eventually removed by force and arrested for illegally entering Israel without permits.
Another Palestinian Freedom Rider was also arrested while attempting to ride the segregated buses, and according to a Freedom Riders press release, was taken with the six other activists to Atarot police station (“Palestinian Freedom Riders On Their Way to Jerusalem Violently Arrested on Israeli Settler Bus”).
Their protest action was inspired by the Freedom Riders of the civil rights movement in the United States, who nonviolently challenged segregation in the American South in the 1950s and 1960s.
It’s going to be a challenge for Palestinians and for every human being for their morality. It’s going to be a challenge for the whole world to really take action against the Israeli crimes,” Palestinian Freedom Riders spokesperson Hurriyah Ziada told The Electronic Intifada on Monday.
While Palestinians are not explicitly barred from boarding Israeli public transportation in the West Bank, since most buses pass through Israeli settlements that are off-limits to Palestinians, the system is de facto segregated.
Our challenge is going to be on the ground dealing with the settlers, but on the other hand, we’re waiting for the peoples’ reactions and the world’s reactions. Enough talk; we need real action on the ground and for people to take a side, taking a rightful side against Israeli discrimination,” Ziada said.
Tense hours at the checkpoint
The Freedom Riders left Ramallah Tuesday afternoon and headed to a bus stop in the occupied West Bank, which serves Israeli settlers near the Israeli settlement of Psagot. After a few buses drove past the Palestinian activists without stopping, six Freedom Riders, and a large group of journalists, managed to board a bus.
The bus was reportedly followed along its route by Israeli soldiers and police, and was stopped shortly after arriving at the Hizma checkpoint. Once there, Israeli settlers who had been on the bus got off, and Israeli soldiers and police officers boarded to check passengers’ IDs, according to images broadcast on the Freedom Waves live Internet video feed.
The Israelis can’t take the wait and so they are getting off the bus. Let them see what we have to go through and let them ask why this is happening, and why it has to happen this way in order to try to change things,” said Freedom Rider Huwaida Arraf, as the settlers stood up and began leaving the bus, as documented in the Freedom Waves video feed.
Whether they’re corralled in pens at checkpoints or held up and detained, not told why, arrested, held for days, weeks, sometimes months without any kind of legal justification at all … this happens to Palestinians every day,” she said.
I want people to see the apartheid system here”
The Electronic Intifada spoke directly with Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, one of the Freedom Riders, at approximately 4:20pm local time on Tuesday, as he sat on the bus at the checkpoint.
We’re on the bus. They just moved us a few yards beyond the [Hizma] checkpoint. We are in a parking lot and the soldiers are asking us to come down from the bus. The people refuse to come down from the bus. They are telling [us] that [we] are detained and [we] have to come from the bus. We don’t know yet what they are going to do. They took one person from the bus. There’s [Israeli] special forces, border police, regular police and soldiers surrounding the bus,” Qumsiyeh said.
I don’t know [what will happen] but I think we will be punished severely,” Qumsiyeh, who was later arrested with the five other Freedom Riders, added. “I want [people] to see that we have an apartheid system here. There are illegal, colonial settlements in our land. These settlements have their own buses and they get to Jerusalem without anybody checking them, yet we, the native Palestinians, are not allowed to get to Jerusalem.”
Freedom of movement severely restricted
Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are illegal according to international law, including the Geneva conventions. It is estimated that approximately 500,000 Jewish Israelis currently live in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem estimates that from 1967 — when Israel imposed its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip — to mid-2010, the Israeli government established 121 settlements in the West Bank that were officially recognized by the Israeli Ministry of Interior.
In that same period, approximately 100 settler outposts, considered illegal under both international and Israeli laws, were erected, while twelve so-called “neighborhoods” of Jerusalem were built on land illegally annexed by Israel and are thereby also illegal under international law.
According to B’Tselem, Israel has created a system of “separation and discrimination, with two separate systems of law” in the occupied West Bank.
One system, for the settlers, de facto annexes the settlements to Israel and grants settlers the rights of citizens of a democratic state. The other is a system of military law that systematically deprives Palestinian of their rights and denies them the ability to have any real effect on shaping the policy regarding the land space in which they live and with respect to their rights,” B’Tselem states on its website (“Land expropriation and settlements”).
Restrictions on Palestinian freedoms do not end at the settlements themselves, however. Instead, Palestinians’ rights are also violated by the infrastructure built to accommodate Israeli settlers, especially private, Israeli-only roads. “In October 2010, there were 232 kilometers of roads in the West Bank that Israel classified for the sole, or almost sole, use of Israelis, primarily of settlers,” says B’Tselem (“Checkpoints, Physical Obstructions, and Forbidden Roads”).
Israel also prohibits Palestinians from even crossing some of these roads with vehicles, thereby restricting their access to nearby roads that they are ostensibly not prohibited from using. In these cases, Palestinians travelers have to get out of the vehicle, cross the road on foot, and find an alternative mode of transportation on the other side,” according to the human rights group.
Veolia a boycott target for serving settlements
Egged, Israel’s largest public transportation company, operates the bus that the Freedom Riders boarded in the West Bank Tuesday. French company Veolia also operates bus lines serving illegal Israeli settlements throughout the occupied West Bank.
According to the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), which organizes around the 2005 Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel as a way to end Israeli violations of international law and promote Palestinian rights, Egged and Veolia “are complicit in Israel’s violations of international law due to their involvement in and profiting from Israel’s illegal settlement infrastructure.”
Palestinian Freedom Rides Spokesperson Hurriyah Ziada told The Electronic Intifada that promoting the BDS call — and the specific boycott of and divestment from Egged and Veolia — is a major aim of the Freedom Rides movement.
We’re trying to support the BDS campaign,” Ziadah said. “Negotiations have been going for too long and we haven’t been achieving anything on the ground. Everybody knows that these settlements are illegal on our land, but nobody is doing anything. Israel is not paying any cost for any of its actions. They have to pay a price by people boycotting them and by highlighting how racist they are. We ask for human rights and freedom, justice and dignity.”
In the civil rights movement, they were fighting against racism,” Ziadah added, “but we’re going to be fighting against racism, discrimination [and] occupation. We’re going to be fighting to exist.”
Jillian Kestler-D’Amours is a reporter and documentary filmmaker based in Jerusalem. More of her work can be found at http://jkdamours.com.