Saturday, January 19, 2013

Business Goal

So, we saw Zero Dark Thirty this evening.  The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. No performance stood out to me, unless you count whoever played the corpse of UBL. That guy was amazing.

No. No. I watched it, as I would watch an episode of Frontline on PBS. To learn something and feel like I became smarter, if only on the margins, for a couple of hours.

Folk left the theater, quietly, and with purpose. As if they had done their duty.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


You know, it's really just us on this muddy rock, right?
Ain't no Superman
Ain't no Batman
Ain't no Ironman
Or Thor
Or Wonderwoman
Or Green flippin' Lantern
Just us, to save us, to lift us
each and every one

And life is not a sprint
Or a marathon
It's a relay
We pass the baton or torch or generation on
When we reach for one another
In the cold dark
Or in the soft bright dawn
It'll just be one of us
Let it be one of us
Trying our best
For you, and you, and you

Are we an enlightened people?
Will we leave this place better than we found it?
Obviously, I don't know but we, you, us
We'll keep trying

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Do you know that the war in Iraq killed 21 of our soldiers and Marines last week?
Do you know that it is costing the United States $1 billion every week?
Do you know that this war in Iraq weakens us abroad and divides us at home?
Do you know that when any Republican Senator, Congressperson, Governor, or Presidential candidate stands by our Preznit or tries to speak for ‘the troops’ he or she is merely promising to send more of them to their deaths?

And for what? For what exactly?

Just askin’.

I’m back and it is coming with both barrels motherf*ckers.



Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Is It Safe

You know, the thousand year Reich only lasted 12 years too.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Random Virginia

Hey if you think George Allen is a cowboy, you think My Little Pony can win the Kentucky Derby.

Just sayin' is all.

Part 3 at week's end.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Part II

When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast, that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment upon the American Constitution is such as to grow every day more and more encroaching … The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers, more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependants and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole society.
--John Adams

Sully was the new kid that autumn at Pia Zadora Charter School in Farmington, New Mexico. There used to be a great joke told about Pia Zadora and her acting abilities:

I am told that in a dinner theater production of “The Diary of Anne Frank” with Pia Zadora in the title role [no, really] when the Germans showed up, looking for hidden Jews, the audience started shouting “She’s upstairs! She’s upstairs!”

Thus it was, for reasons unknown, the founder of the school, no more than a sad collection of rusting Quonset huts set back about 200 yards from old interstate 64 next to a bustling Wal-Mart, named it after one of his favorite soft core porn actresses of the early 1980s.

The students at Pia Zadora were mostly kids from the nearby Navajo/Hopi res’, a few Chicano kids, and Sullivan Dewey. With his black hair and deeply tanned skin he blended in pretty well with his classmates but it was his clear green eyes set in high cheekbones that allowed him to stand out. And, he had a preternaturally vicious sense of humor that stood him in good stead with those same mates in their dealings with one Mr. G. W. Bystander.

His community service defined by the World Court in The Hague in a plea agreement Mr. Bystander, who necessarily operated under an appropriate assumed name, found himself teaching conflict resolution in a dusty part of the four corners area, in a ramshackle charter school in New Mexico.

Mr. Chainey, Bystander’s erstwhile partner was serving his sentence donning a blue vest each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening (sunlight being harmful to him) and handing out little yellow smiley face stickers at the Wal-Mart next door to the school. But Chains, as folks tended to call him, with his stroke victim grin just plain scared the hell out of the customers, mostly the children. He was banned from the grocery section where his mere passing soured the milk and spoiled the eggs in their cartons. And he couldn’t work the nursery either because, again, his presence led to massive die offs of the chrysanthemums and the petunias turned brown in their pots, and even the mulch ended up drying out and turning to dust in the bags. It was awful and finally the managers had Chains sit in the back with the security staff watching the monitors, mostly out of harm's way.

Sullivan’s mother was a ranger at the Chaco Canyon Culture National Historical Park Visitor Center. This is where Sullivan spent his weekend days and this is where he first felt the presence of the ghosts. Echoes of souls past and whispered witnesses to the follies and foibles of the present. Sullivan never actually saw a ghost in the empty pueblos and dusty canyons above Farmington but the wind hummed and howled as if in betrayal and mourning and slowly, slowly Sullivan felt a task settle upon him.

The pretzels were Sullivan’s idea.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Mr. Stanley Burns

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
-Benjamin Franklin


Sullivan Francis Dewey believed in ghosts.

He stood at the podium in the City Hall in Oslo, Norway, on a cool late summer evening and felt not the presence of the many living souls sitting in the hall that night, dressed in their finest tuxedos and gowns, but the approving whispers of the vapor clad dead.

He began.

“Your majesties, excellencies, Prime Minister, Madame President, Mr. Secretary General, members of the Nobel Committee, distinguished friends all:

I stand here deeply humbled, breathing the free air, and speaking to you with profound thanks in my heart for this honor you have bestowed upon me and my team. Our work of the past decade, the efforts being recognized tonight, has, as its antecedent my efforts as a Mesoamerican anthropologist. By the time I arrived on the scene, so to speak, I stood on the shoulders of those who had toiled in jungles and deserts to map pyramids, roadways, and the royal courts of the societies that came before ours in what was once quaintly referred to as the New World. That work, while arduous and detailed, left many questions unanswered.

With the MacArthur Foundation grant I was awarded I was able to expand that work using what, at the time, were the most powerful supercomputers available running complexity theory and game theory algorithms to map out how those ancient societies developed and progressed down to the individual family unit level. With our tongues firmly planted in cheeks we began to describe ourselves as ‘quantum anthropologists’. But, really it was not at all very different from what paleontologists have been doing for half-century now that is observing lions and other predators in their native habitats in order to theorize about T. Rex behaviors. We just added a bit more granularity, if you will.

Before I get too deeply into the weeds though of how we transitioned into what became known as “peace gaming”, I want to share with you a little story from my childhood.