Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Question of the Day: 11/30


Rank the following places where you would be trapped from 1 (most preferable) to 10 (least):

1) a deserted tropical island with only coconuts and crabs for food,
2) a desolate, windswept, mountaintop monastery
3) a thriving city in which you could not speak the language
4) the South Pole base in mid-July
5) an abandoned coal mine
6) a satellite floating through space, controlled by a deranged artificial intelligence
7) Hell
8) Purgatory
9) Heaven
10) Michigan City, IN

Encore: Absorbed


The second indulgence of the month.

By early last week the burst of energy that I'd carried over from the election, R.E.M. and Gothic Funk #1 had diminished.

I've felt underwhelmed and overwhelmed.

The humorous clichè (cliche??? clicheè???) everyone's tolerated is "I'm never getting married and applying to grad school in the same year ever again."

Hopefully, not.

I missed the application deadline to UBC Vancouver, but emailed them, saying I could have it in by the next business day afternoon, if they'd confirm it would be accepted. I didn't hear back from them for almost two weeks, at which point the secretary wrote and said "Your application is now two weeks late, so we will not be accepting it." It's been that sort of a month. Getting mugged, phone turned off, application rejected due to a stupid miscommunication, and George Bush getting elected.

It's been that sort of a month.

Things are looking up today, but I don't want to bring us that far yet.

I got the new Eminem album.

Eminem is what I call threshold.

The Smashing Pumpkins, Tori Amos, and R.E.M. were outfits that not only seemed to define high school life for me, but carried over to college, and reached back into childhood. It's an intangible thing... it doesn't work.

The "threshold" groups, however, are liquid emotion. They tug and play dirty with me. I think everyone knows some music that does this... music worthy of respect and awe... music that can move you incredibly. It's worthy of awe and wonder and respect and it almost... almost moves across into the sacred.

That's an indulgent way of looking at things.

There's a lot of music like that for me, but the most persistant are Björk, Outkast, Radiohead, Lush, and Eminem.

Eminem makes me angry.

Angry in a very productive way.

So I spent the last week catching up on anger and rallying my forces for this week.

There are casualties.

For example, I've dropped my NaNo... for the meantime at least.

I'll pick it up later.

* * * * *

On Wednesday, I didn't finish work until 5:15. Everyone else had left. I went down to the lobby then crossed the street to 676. The air was filled with snow and driving sleet. Jess swung by before six... we returned to Hyde Park to pick up luggage, and soon we left Chicago through the backdoor (S. Shore Drive) and hopped on the Skyway.

Much of the trip we couldn't break 30 mph, and we didn't get in until almost 3 AM, Michigan time.

Thanksgiving, our house was busy and full. Craig, Craitlin's boyfriend, is very energetic and lively, and his voice sounds like a party to begin with. Add onto this my brother's austere presence, and my sister's careful humor, my parents, grandma Coyne, Aunt Georgia, Jessica, myself, and one brine-soaked turkey. Not to gloat, but I'm glad I am not a vegetarian on Thanksgiving.

We had a grand old time.

Afterwards I went shopping for Eventime goods. I got a folder and 2005 datebook and practical things like that.

I resisted the temptation to pick up a Tigers hat. Cash is low. It can wait. Baseball season just ended.

On Friday, Cody and I drove to Flint and visited Mrs. Perkins-Harbin.

On Saturday, when my mom and Jess went shopping for wedding dresses, I'd planned on going to Detroit to research YGB, but woke up late and in a foul mood. Instead, I drove to the Atlas where I wrote for two hour, and planned my strategy for the next month, then got my hair cut at Meijers. And went home.

On Sunday, the weekend having taken up more space then I'd expected, but over, as always, way too soon, I went to St. John Vianny for the first Sunday of Advent. It's as good a start as any. The sun gleamed in the rough cut stained glass and the priest... I forget his name, but he's one of the most wonderful priests I've heard... brought several catechuments through the Rite of Acceptance. And the organ blasted, and I sang with all the scrubbed people around me.

Later, back in Flushing, my mom and Jess and I went to lunch at the A&W downtown with grandma Coyne.

Then, home.

Then, Jess and I left, and returned to Chicago, arriving in time to watch Desperate Housewives.

And here I am.

* * * * *

I won't get into it much now. I'm too tired. I have too much to do before I go to sleep, and I'm already looking at not-enough sleep.

Mosh is slow and ponderous, but it's powerful.

My First Single and Meanie are songs I've come to love, even though I didn't think much of them the first time I heard them.

The album sounds... a little conflicted.

Still, it has the effect. When the new R.E.M. drove me to too much contemplation, Marshall put me back behind the steering wheel, and my feet were happy to find the accelerator. It was time for that to happen.

Today was one of the most effective days I've had in a long time.

I heard back from three people I'd written about Letters of Recommendation for grad school.
I registered for the GRE ($115?! Holy Shit!).
I bought a book on healthy eating, since I practically inject cholestrol.
I've done more... worked efficiently and fast. Followed through on my plan.

And now... there's more to do.

So I'm going to go do it.

Let it build.

From the front to the middle.

~ Connor

Castle of Otranto, Chapter III


Posted on the sidebar.

Monday, November 29, 2004

11/29. Question of the Day.


Would you choose infamy or anonymity?

Note: The idea for these posts is inspired by this book, though I'll typically come up with the actual questions myself.

~ Connor

Saturday, November 27, 2004

The End... ...?


Demolition has begun on the last factory that participated in the 1937-1938 Flint Sit-Down Strike.

From the Flint Journal:

The area, known as Chevy-in-the-Hole among longtime Flint workers, was once the heart of Chevrolet's worldwide manufacturing operations and employed thousands of hourly and salaried workers.

It was a vital site for the success of the Sit-Down Strike of 1936-37, which led to GM's recognition of the UAW as its workers' bargaining agent.

You can find the original article here: http://www.mlive.com/news/fljournal/index.ssf?/base/news-25/1101140477154210.xml

a photograph of Plant 4 as displayed at the Meijers on Pierson Road.

The placard reads:

Paving of Chevrolet Avenue by Flint
Department of Public Words, c. 1920
(Photo Courtesy of Alfred P. Sloan Jr. Museum)

I took the following picture of Plant 4 today:

My friend, Paul, (see post below) used to live down here, and I've spent hours rambling around here, Atwood, walking from Carriage Town to the Westside, or pothole dodging along Glenwood and 2nd St.

The demolition of Plant #4 will leave only one structure (the factory just south of 2nd at Hall Street), which is currently owned by Kettering. Hopefully, good use is made of this solid square mile of land, just west of downtown.

Paul's Funeral


from Paul:

There will be no burial.

Do not wrap me in layers of cloth and lock me away in a wooden box. Do
not lower me into a cement hole to moulder in isolation. Do not refuse
me my chance to fulfill my ultimate destiny, to be reborn in the
flowers and the trees, to live again as a wasp or a cat or a frog.

Lay me in the fire and cast my ashes to the wind.

There will be no mournful dirges.

Do not send me off amongst funereal organ music. Do not quash the
spirit of my life beneath the dark and depressing tones deemed
appropriate for the dead. Instead wrap yourself in passion and beauty.
Send me on my way to REM, to Tori, to Trent Reznor, Afro Celt Sound
System, Bjork, and Blind Melon. Let those who love me play all the
songs that brought me to their minds, and laugh and share memories and
above all *dance*!

Allow my passing to become a moment of wonder. Cry. Laugh. Sing. Dance.
Let the day be holy to you. Celebrate life - yours, mine, and those yet
to come. Let loose, be happy, and set your spirit free - because mine

Remember me.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Cinders' Funeral


A girl named Cinders discovered my blog earlier this month and decided to participate in the Blog Game. Her funeral is described below:

Cremate me and take the ashes to a '"round house" on the gulf coast of Baja. Include only those who can have fun and those I like. (Granted, a very short list!)

Play 70’s era heavy metal, drink lots of ice cold beer and serve fish tacos until everyone is stuffed and drunk.

Enjoy the sunset telling lies about all the great stuff I liked to do and toss the ashes into the ocean.

Continue to drink until everyone falls asleep on the beach with a huge bonfire.

Return home the next day after everyone sobers up and has had a breakfast of eggs, beans and tortillas (serve the hottest hot salsa available to help with the sobering up!)

If you want to submit your funeral, send me an email at connor at afterdusk.org by November 30.

~ Connor

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Ukraine: An Important Adendum


Of course, I feel a little silly for that last post, though I don't repent the statement.

It's a complicated situation of course, and my trite little "you go, girl!" kind of glossed over.

Any respectable news source is covering these events in detail. I link to a number in the News and Politics section of the sidebar to your right.

Halfway Down the Danube, a Romanian blog I read, has provided some links to accounts from the trenches. Check them out. Check out Halfway Down the Danube, too.

A Fistful of Euros is described by HDtD as a "general overview."

Neeka's Backlog, Abdymak, and Obdymok are Ukrainian blogs.

Of course, this situation must be interesting to me as an American in light of both the emotional election three weeks ago and the stolen election in 2000... that said, we must not center ourselves too much in quirky parallels. The Ukraininan election is incredibly important in its own right, most significantly as a force and measure of the reintigration (or lack thereof) of Eastern Europe into the global sphere.

~ Connor

Viva Kiev!



When the Ukrainian election is stolen, the disenfranchised take to the streets in a peaceful days-long protest that draws the world's attention.

Most Americans cannot find the Ukraine on a map, but here is something we might learn from them.

In other news, you can finally meet Julie, the hottie who hooks you up with your Amtrak tickets.

And... the guy who nailed Artest with the cup was from Flint.

It's going to be an interesting day...

~ Connor

Tuesday, November 23, 2004



I wrote today.
I was in a bad mood.


Bury yourself in the book.
Bury yourself in illusion.
Soak the ink into your brain.
You're tired, drained,
and the world's a cracked and blistering headache
gray and grave.
Bury yourself in another world.
Bury yourself. Bury.

~ Connor

Thoughts of home...


I found this picture posted at Greg Cumberford's website.
It kind of shocked me with a sort of dejavu... the summer before last I watched this house burn down while I was apartment hunting.
I saw the smoke billowing toward the sky, so I parked at the Quik Stop at Court and Glenwood, and walked one block west. A crowd had gathered across two vacant lots, blocks from the historic site of the 37-38 Sit Down strike to watch one house collapse, another gutted by fire, and a third sufficiently damaged so as to warrant demolition.

When the original house (indicated by a pile of rubble in the picture) collapsed, the Kettering kids cheered.

Three families out on the streets... a lot to fucking cheer about there.

Three months later, a neighbor took me to task for photographing this site myself. He asked if I've ever lived in a house that's burned down. I answered "no," but I thought such things must be documented, and nobody else seemed willing to document them.

I found this sight through the Wikipedia article on Flint, which labeled the Hole and 3rd Avenue Neighborhood the "2nd worst neighborhood in Flint." It's splitting hairs, frankly, but this area is far from the bottom, and might actually be considered typical of Flint neighborhoods.

I just wish people looked a little closer before they spoke.

~ Connor

Monday, November 22, 2004

Michigan Skylines


I had some downtime on Friday, and tabulated the Michigan skylines by Emporis' system. I personally think Saginaw, Muskegon, Pontiac, and some other city with diverse stock in low-rises get the shaft, but otherwise, the ranking seems fair.

Check it out.

1040 points

109 points

39 points

#4. TROY
19 points

12 points

11 points

9 points

8 points

6 points

6 points

5 points

2 points

2 points

2 points

2 points

1 point:

0 points:

I might have "pillaged" these photos from Emporis, but I'm not making any money off them, and will take them down when this big goes in the archive anyway...

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Skyline Rankings by Emporis


I've had conversations with many of you about Emporis Inc.'s skyline ranking, which places Chicago as one of the World Big 3. I've finally pulled up the data that drew them to this conclusion. It's interesting; their articles profile not only volume but draw on more esoteric arguments... the diversity of architectural styles, commercial restraint, overall harmony, and so on.

Their ranking, however, seems to be entirely derived from a point system disproportionately weighted toward taller buildings... I'm not inclined to argue with their highest rankings, though I think cities such as Detroit and Cleveland, which didn't rank so high by the point system, might deserve more recognition than, say, Atlanta or Indianapolis... I guess I just feel that International Style works best against something else instead of standing alone.

Skylar would be kind to interject his two cents, since he knows more about this stuff than me.

Anyway, here is the point system:

Points per Building
12..19 floors = 1 point
20..29 floors = 5 points
30..39 floors = 25 points
40..49 floors = 50 points
50..59 floors = 100 points
60..69 floors = 200 points
70..79 floors = 300 points
80..89 floors = 400 points
90..99 floors = 500 points
100+ floors = 600 points

Numbers below indicate population, area, and points.
Note: The population figures presented here are somewhat arbitrary, but they don't figure in the points assigned.

Here are the World's Big Three skylines:

Place City Population Area Buildings² Points³
1. Hong Kong 6,787,000 1,001 km² 7,321 112,657
2. New York City 8,085,742 800 km² 5,363 35,330
3. Chicago 2,869,121 589 km² 1,036 15,238

And here are some other entries of possible interest:
4. Singapore 3,437,300 685 km² 3,499 12,947
5. Bangkok 7,587,882 1,569 km² 711 11,080
6. Tokyo 8,130,408 621 km² 1,965 9,157
7. Shanghai 9,145,711 6,639 km² 548 8,512
8. São Paulo 10,600,060 1,525 km² 2,576 6,577
9. Toronto 2,481,494 630 km² 1,600 6,496
10. Seoul 10,331,244 616 km² 700 6,171
15. Houston 2,009,690 1,398 km² 324 3,601 (#2 in the U.S.)
16. Istanbul 10,033,478 1,991 km² 2,093 3,532
20. Los Angeles 3,819,951 1,216 km² 436 2,839
21. London 7,172,036 1,579 km² 1,280 2,732
25. Vancouver 582,045 113 km² 514 2,574
30. Moscow 10,391,600 1,081 km² 394 2,150
31. Beijing 7,746,519 16,808 km² 274 2,107
32. San Francisco 751,682 116 km² 335 2,038
35. Mexico City 9,875,344 1,487 km² 635 1,863
36. Paris 2,152,467 105 km² 220 1,754
37. Seattle 569,101 218 km² 173 1,735
55. Denver 557,478 397 km² 178 1,115
58. Detroit 911,402 359 km² 172 1,040
73. New Orleans 469,032 468 km² 101 696
80. Berlin 3,472,009 892 km² 303 639
94. Cleveland 461,324 201 km² 116 553

If you're curious about skyscrapers, there's a ton of information at the Emporis website.

Around the Sun: Absorbed


Solipsistic post ahead.

I've spent most of the time here waxing emotional about the election, but I've actually been blessed with a week-and-a-half of chemicals and hormones.

Every eight or so months, some combination of circumstance and sleep deprivation launches me into a mood. It's easier to feel than describe, but it's a sort of exhausted, urgent, relentless energy... a relentless stripping away of the intertia that seems all the more embedded in life the older I get. It's a need to know and sense and prove because... WHAT ELSE?

The consequences of stopping, or even slowing down are terrifying.

The election, of course, was a key component this time; that's obvious.

After the election, I didn't have much time to be reflective or depressed... part of the reason I've stuck you with my gut reactions lately. I was busy at once preparing for Gothic Funk #1. A welcome relief. It took up the whole rest of the week. On Saturday, I woke up from the party, and felt depressed and irritable. I spent the rest of the weekend laying around and complaining about everything under the sun and making myself a nuisence to Jessica.

On Monday I returned to work, and on the way home, I stopped at Virgin and bought the new R.E.M. album; Around the Sun.

I'm very particular about my music, which isn't to say knowledgable. My Big Three bands are The Smashing Pumpkins, Tori Amos, and R.E.M., which I "discovered" in 1994, 1996, and 1996, respectively... for whatever reasons I've associated their sounds with my earliest memories, so listening to them gives the sensation of listening to myself in a very distilled and objective way.

Of course, I'd consumed the bulk of their music in a few years, and have been forced to wait sometimes years at a time for more. So whenever R.E.M. releases an album, (their last, Reveal, was released in early 2001, when I moved to Humboldt Park...) it's very significant to me.

That said, I wait for these things and absorb them. Rushing the moment seems to defeat it. On Monday, the album had already been released for several weeks. I got home, cleaned and tooled around my apartment awhile, then put on the album as I went to bed.

I experienced the song I Wanted to be Wrong exactly the same as I experienced the Pumpkins' Hummer over a decade ago... I'd drifted into a light sleep, then briefly woke up to chords so pliant they melted into each other and words that ached and trembled with sincerity. I lay awake through that song, shivering, and then fell back to sleep.

So R.E.M. kicked off last week, which was very different and sweet to me.

On Tuesday, I had a feeling all day of being filled with love, and so I fixed a Romanian catfish dinner for Sam and Jessica. Skyler came over, and we all watched the Gilmore Girls, then drove out to the North Shore suburbs to see the Northern Lights. We caught them briefly, on the lagoon at Northwestern in fierce winds amidst spray and black waves. Granted, we're far south, and the city lights interfered. The aurora was visible as a rippling streak of gray across the eastern sky.

On Wednesday, we had a scav hunt meeting. On Thursday, I started writing YGB. I stayed up all night. On Friday, Jessica and I were both exhausted, so we didn't go out chasing crowds and parties. Saturday, however, we visited Amber and Phil in Blue Island, and talked about participating in Phil's Forgotten Realms campaign. And Sunday, Jess and I watched a missed episode of Gilmore Girls (the secret society initiation gave me ideas... hmmmmm...) and registered for our wedding at JC Penny, shopping until 7 PM. We watched the end of Austin Powers. We watched Donny Darko, which I enjoyed.

That was last week, and maybe my long-winded introduction and laundry list description is insufficient to convey the sensation of walking through honeyed-air that stuck with me the whole week... it's the same feeling I felt the week the Occlusion Group was created, of visiting Lisa in Traverse City in early 2003 before walking 35 miles in Flint, of visiting Sam in the UP late the summer before, of leaving and returning to Jessica in 2000, spending summer days with her and Mark and Sean in Chicago before we left for Kansas then Romania... of the Cenci, of ringing in the Y2K at the Crawfords, of the Skriker, of driving in Flint after Christmas 1998, of coming home for the holidays after my first quarter at college, and of taking one last long nightwalk with Paul the week before I left for Chicago. September. 1997. That night we walked along Corunna, down to Chuckie Cheese, then back up to the pass over I-75. In the Miller Rd. McDonalds, a janitor was dancing with his mop in the 3 AM haze.

I live for weeks like that.

I'll keep praying, in hopes for another soon.

~ Connor

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

A Too-Common Story with a Uncommonly Happy Ending


from today's Flint Journal
as reported by Bryn Mickle:

FLINT - Two young girls were found safe Tuesday night two hours after the car they were sleeping in was stolen.

The girls, 3 and 4, were sleeping in the back seat of a running car about 7 p.m. when their father ducked into a Pasadena Avenue party store for some groceries.

The father, who police would not identify, exited the store a few minutes later to find his daughters and the 1987 Buick Century station wagon they were in were gone.

"It's probably the scariest feeling imaginable if you have children," said a clerk who was working at the Tony Stephens Superette where the father was shopping.

Police scoured the area for the missing station wagon with "spinner" wheel rims before two undercover Genesee County sheriff's deputies found the car about 9:30 p.m. on Proctor Avenue about a block from the party store.

Flint police, however, had checked the same block about a half-hour earlier and found no signs of the car.

The girls were asleep in the back seat when police found the car; there was no sign of anyone else. Their father declined comment, other than to say he was relieved.

Police said it was unknown if the girls slept through the entire incident.

The girls were returned to their parents but police planned additional interviews with them.

Investigators also were reviewing store surveillance tapes for information.

"It appears it was just an attempt to take the car," said Flint police Sgt. Devon Bernritter.

A missing child Amber Alert was issued to local police agencies and was in the process of being sent statewide when the girls were found.

Seeing as the car was found almost right away, and only two blocks distant, it seems likely that the perpetrators relized their mistake and bailed out... while it would've been preferable that they had dropped an anonymous tip (or not stolen the car in the first place), at least they had the humanity to cut their losses and let it go.

On a similarly weird note, my drivers license turned up in the mail.
Was it mailed by young thugs or a passing samaritan?
I'll probably never know...


~ Connor

The Castle of Otranto, Chapter 2


As per request, I've posted Chapter 2 of The Castle of Otranto, by Horace Walpole, following the links on the right sidebar.

~ Connor

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Around and Around we go...


As part of the research for my novel Euphemism, I've been reading the famed McNeill History of Western Civilization

Check it out:

c) Political. Throughout the fifth century Athenian politics revolved around two "parties" which had emerged from the overthrow of Peisistratid tyranny. On the one hand, the "good and wellborn" aspired toward a state in which the wealthier and more gentlemanly citizens would have control. Thus, the oligarchic party, resisted democratic changes in the constitution, and generally proclaimed a reverent adherence to ancestral ways. Its support came from among the wealthier classes and, probably, from the farmers.

Regarding the opposition, it is observed:

...until 429 B.C., the leaders of the democratic party seem to have been men of aristocratic birth.

~ Connor

YGB. The beginning.


This is the beginning of my NaNo novel, YGB. (I've changed the title many times already...)
It is a murder mystery, but is far less bleak than what I wrote last year.

* * * * *


Madeleine knew that what she saw was a corpse.

It slumbered drunkenly, painfully, upon its twisted right arm, and muddy gray blood frowned from the bullet wound.

Madeleine stood, the paper in her hand, her nightgown rustling around her pale ankles, and she studied the figure two houses down.

He was middle-aged, middle-sized, muscular, African American, with a black cotton cap and gray mittens. He lay in fetal position, his blue and white jacket billowing out, and almost seemed curled up to escape the cold, except for that one unhappy hand, twisted under, then out and up. That hand almost seemed to beckon her.

The street was empty. At 5 A.M., in Detroit, in February, she’d expected this. Cautiously stepping back toward her door, Madeleine looked far down the avenue, towards Gratiot. Nothing but carbon lamps waiting for sun. She turned back towards the corpse. He lay still. She noticed a tear in his coat, below the left shoulder. She noticed his head was bruised, presumably where he’d hit the sidewalk. And again, the bullet hole, bloody gray.

Madeleine shuddered and stepped inside her house again. She locked her door. She walked briskly through the living room and on through the kitchen, passing the light switch without hesitation. She stepped to the back door and locked it. She returned to the living room, picked up the phone, and sank into a beaten yellow chair, one-third her own age. She dialed the police.

“There is a body on my street, two houses down,” she said, and gave them her address, and described what she had seen.
“We’re sending someone over,” the woman said. “Are you sure he’s dead.”
”I believe he’s been shot,” Madeleine answered.
“Did you see any sign of blood?”
“I think I may have.” Her steady voice belied her uncertainly worded answer.
“You may have?” asked the woman.
“He wasn’t bleeding on the sidewalk, no. There was a hole in his head, I think. I think it might have been a bullet wound.”
“Did you see blood?”
“I think so. I’m not sure. I’m color blind. I cannot see the colors red or green.”

A pause.

“Men are color blind.”
“Well, evidently old women are too, because leaves and sunsets are all the same to me.”

This wasn’t entirely true… in fact, Madeleine could see yellows quite vividly, but she was tired of this persistent misperception… she’d had sixty-seven years experience with her color-blindness, and wasn’t excited to have such a record doubted.

The woman on the line told Madeleine to lock the doors and stay inside. Madeleine agreed. The woman then ran through the usual line of questions: Did she notice anyone coming or going (“no”), had anyone unusual been in the neighborhood lately (“no”), and did she know the people who lived in the house in front of which she had seen the corpse.

This last question, she answered “yes.” The Hunters lived there; she’d been friends with the family since they’d moved in six years prior, and just the night before she’d stayed up until ten, talking to Antoine Hunter and his friends. She hoped that the corpse would be gone before Antoine awoke. She’d briefly considered knocking on the Hunters’ door, in the back, and telling them what she’d seen. The idea, she knew, was ridiculous.

After twenty-minutes, the police arrived, and Madeleine got off the phone and filed a statement. The police asked similar questions to the woman on the phone, so Madeleine gave confident answers.

“Are you sure you didn’t see anyone?” they asked.
“No one.”
“And did you hear anything suspicious last night?”
“I didn’t. But I am a very heavy sleeper.”
“A gunshot went off two houses down, you’d hear it ma’am.”
“I do think I would.”

Finally, with the sparkling sun rising over the Seven Sisters to the East, the police bagged the body, climbed back into their cruisers and paddy wagon, and drove back towards the Big Buildings, ambulance in tow. Madeleine, more comfortable now that the spectacle was removed, turned the lights on, prepared a cup of tea, and sat down to read the paper.

Her eyes ran over the same headlines repeatedly, however.

She was still thinking about the body.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Apologies, continued...


So it's official; I've been posted on the American apologies site, page 245.

* * * * *

A couple quick words on this picture, lest you think I chose it as an arbitrary image of desolation or worse, dragged it off the internet somewhere. I took this picture in the summer of 2003, two blocks from my house on Maryland Ave., on Flint's Eastside.

The ruined building is the ruins of the Club Merry Inn which was a lively scene on North Franklin (an oasis among scores of structures that look the way the ruins look now) during June and early July. The, the Club Merry Inn abruptly burned down, less than two months after opening.

The Eastside is a rough neighborhood... but it's littered with bars. Why did this bar specifically burn down? Perhaps it was because the clientele were primarily gay...

This represents to me threat of Bush's particular style of conservatism, and frankly, it's bigger than just Bush. In many ways, Bush is just a spokesman for ideas that have currency among many Americans, like the 60%+ that passed Proposal 2 in Michigan, not only exclusively defining marriage as stictly between man and woman, but further barring civil unions to the extent that even contracts between the UAW and the Big Three were emperiled.

I choose this image for my apology in part because of its dramatic grief... it is tangled and dense, and worst, it seems unsalvageable. These are observations viewers on the apologies page may note, while they will almost certainly be completely ignorant of the circumstances.

The circumstances remain. My connection to this place, a place of music and laughter, spoiled, like so much of my hometown for no good reason, is the most honest and evocative expression I can conjure of my sorrow. My sorrow for what seems to me to be an infection.

* * * * *

Admittedly, I may not have spent so much time at the Apologies site if I were not looking for my own submission. I think the attraction, the desire to see it posted among thousands, for the whole world (for anyone who slogs through the first 245 pages) was something I've longed for ever since the election.

To put a voice forward to those who might not hear, might not be inclined to listen, and say "I am not for this."

Interestingly, I think I will continue to visit. Despite the fact the I have no contact with any of these apologizing Americans, and forgiving human beings, a dialogue actually seems to emerge from one photo to the next. It's very strange, almost as if it's been plotted into a book or play.

I recommend choosing a page at random, and just start reading.

I believe they're still accepting submissions.

~ Connor

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Blue Skies are Falling. Part 6.



You know where I come from. You know what I feel
You're Yul Brenner Westworld Reporting from the field.
I threw it into reverse, made a motion to repeal.
You kicked my legs from under me, and tried to take the wheel.

I told you I wanted to be wrong,
But everyone is humming a song
That I don't understand.

Now I know that the sun has shined on my side of the street.
The basket of America, the weevils and the wheat.
The milk and honeyed congregation, scrubbed and apple-cheeked
Salute Apollo 13 from the rattle jewelry seats.

Mythology's seductive and it turned a trick on me
That I have just begun to understand.

I told you I wanted to be wrong,
But everyone is humming a song
That I don't understand.

The rodeo is staged, gold circle goat-ropers and clowns.
A rumble in the third act, tie 'em up and burn 'em down.
We're armed to the teeth, born a little breech;
Blue-plate special analysts, cells and SUV's

We can't approach the Allies 'cause they seem a little peeved
And speak a language we don't understand.

I told you I wanted to be wrong
But everyone is humming a song
That I don't understand.

(Prop up The Omega Man, we're primed for victory,
God gave us the upper hand, there's honor among thieves.
Temper it with arrogance, a dash of sad conceit.
The top's down on the T-Bird, we're the children of the free)

Storm into the boardroom of the conquering elite.
Did you recognize the madman who is shouting in the streets?
Destroy the things that I don't understand
Destroy the things that I don't understand.

Lyrics: I Wanted to be Wrong, R.E.M.
Pictures: http://www.sorryeverybody.com

Final picture... the picture I'd hoped to submit, but couldn't, because their server was swamped.

Interpreted together by Blue Skies Falling: A Sensible Cult

To be continued...

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Blue Skies are Falling. Part 5.


One compromise we should not brook.

One compromises, all the time...

* * * * *

I had such hopes for Monday. I was going to work on my NaNo novel, do the laundry, clean, restart (for the 11th time) my Bible studies, read for Euphemism. And so on.

I didn't.

Last Tuesday, last Wednesday... last week was so discouraging.
Then, Friday night was a brief high point.
For the rest of the weekend I wasted my life. I barely made it out of bed on Sunday.

It's not just the one thing. It's many things. I missed the deadline of the first grad school I was applying to. I called in sick on Friday. My sleep schedule was all fucked up. On Monday, though, I was going to be productive.

I wasn't.

Instead, I did three things; very important.

1. I bought the new R.E.M. album, Around the Sun.
2. I watched Farenheit 9/11, but only the first twelve minutes... through the end of the credits.
3. I beat Castlevania III

Sometimes, when I'm dripping with emotion, I need to just soak it, to just soak my mind in the stuff, the bittersweetness of any loss in life... because I ache to think that life is worth so very much... so much that any loss causes great pain. Soaking, like a warm bath, like the muscles in your calves on a day when you've walked many miles.

Monday was wonderful.

I played all the way through the tower and causeway levels, both with some of the best music ever composed for an 8-bit system.
I listed to the Mazzy Star strains playing through that crazy, snake-eating-its-own-tail of a movie.
I drifted in and out of sleep, and chose a favorite song...

I wanted to be wrong.

To be continued...

Blue Skies are Falling. Part 4.


As for conservative America... that's my next dose of vitrol...

I notice that in many of my posts this past month, I've heaped more criticism on liberals than conservatives. Most of this boils down to my understanding of my audience... there are plenty of liberal and conservative blogs out there that lambast the other side, and none of them accomplish much. Why? Because I'm not seeking out a forum to be yelled at, nor am I likely to persuade anyone of conviction by simply yelling.

There are two alternatives for meaningful discussions: address my comments toward a liberal audience or attract a more conservative audience that is willing to hear me out. I've attempted both, but of course the first is more successful.

Most of my readers are liberal.

The question is then, what comments are useful... how can you productively inform or galvanize the choir. One method is constructive criticism. I've offered argument angled towards how the Left could work more effectively.

All that aside, that's not what I'm doing now.

Right now I'm engaging the emotional side of the election results.

Some of my friends have stated that it's time to "get over the loss" and take off the black shrouds.
I think it's far too soon...
we've four years to compose ourselves and strategize, as liberals do so well.
I'm still steeping myself in the moldering or vitriotic bile that's served Rush Limbaugh and Jerry Fallwell, and hell, Dick Cheney, so well over the years.
I'm still soaking in my anger, to bring it out for use next time I hear Bush flattered on the bus or across the telephone.

This is my injunction against conservative voters: I'll not call you stupid or hicks or selfish, but simply wrong and responsible, and that through appealing to your emotions when I say the associations have merit.

Which associations?

The ones that make you distraught, and cause some starry-eyed film critic kid in each town to get black listed for making a careless remark:

That Bush Is Comparable To Hitler

We pulled out, as you recall (or not), of the Anti-Ballistic missle treaty, at a time when many politically unstable Islamic border states that could easily move arms across undermonitered borders of Russia and Kazakhstan.

We declined, as you recall (or not) to sign the Chemical Weapons ban out of an interest in American jobs, an interest that trumped our decade-long PR argument against Saddam Hussein's villiany through chemical weapons. I'm from a town ruined by poverty and unemployment, but I don't believe we need jobs in chemical weapons munitions.

We insisted, as you recall (or not) on a no-bid contract to Halliburton when our international relations could have used a boose from good, old-fashioned, conservative capitalism, instead of this warped trust between the executive branch and a private corporation.

Bush is absolutely correct when he says that this is an unconventional war, which I why I cannot fathom that his administration would insist on fighting it in the coarsest conventional terms; all muscle and no subtlety.
I cannot comprehend why we would "combat" terrorism by encouraging new recruits with a lack of balance, by unnecessarily depriving ourselves of eyes and ears in the Middle East (probably more useful that 100 Stealth fighters (with a $1 billion pricetage (that fall apart in the rain))) by alienating needed allies, or by throwing our own economy into a crisis with a tax cut that conservative economists have proven doesn't spur the economy.

"It's the economy, ...!"

But why, why, why do we liberals, do we progressives find the desire to compare our ((probably) fairly elected) Commander in Chief to Hitler.

There are meaningful parallels.
Both incriminated their oppostion, accusing other groups of a lack of patriotism.
Both excited a patriotism that would brook neither comment nor criticism.
Both reduced the prerogative of other nations to a mere technicality.
Both based their policies on a religious base in a government that rested on a secular foundation (ie. by the way, the argument that the Founding Fathers wanted a Christian nation and therefore we should be is bunk... the Founding Fathers used a Christian moral code (part of whose scripture stated "render to Caesar") but wisely derived their structure of government from the pagan Greeks via Rousseau. And for that matter, the Founding Fathers, the Hebrews, and the Greeks are no more infallible than the pope.)
Both pursued expansionistic policies.
Both excited powerful loyalty among their supporters.

Now that said, there are meaningful differences... there's the whole Holocaust thing.

And if you read me right, you understand that the distinction is anything but trivial.

Bush has not, nor does he possess the means, to execute 10 million people. If such an act was attempted, the American public would lack the complicity that made the holocaust possible during the Third Reich. I will venture that Bush himself is enlightened enough to not consider nor desire such an agenda.

On a very important level, Bush is not, nor can he be compared to Hitler.

On another level, however, a close look at history (which not only repeats, but does so with such consistancy and frequency) allows us to recognize that
1) so much depends on circumstances
2) circumstances evolve... situations progress... systematically

The German people didn't suddenly develop a taste for gypsy, Jewish, communist, Polish, and gay blood. It had to be set up. Germany of the early 1930s was emaciated, proud but humiliated, tired of political bullshit, and looking for a strong leader.

America today is divided, alienated from its allies, perceives itself as besieged. And so we dig in our heels. We elect a man who has demonstrated repeatedly no regard for the nuance, the delicate balance involved in running the world's most powerful nation. We divide from without, forcing a world unable to feed itself to align themselves with us or against us. We divide within, forcing a people defined by dialogue to flash more images, shout more loudly, and lie more persistantly only to be heard. And we rally behind a leader whose rhetoric and passion and determination (determinism?) powerfully counters any comprehensive and forceful argument to the opposite.

Many Americans still believe Saddam has WMDs.

The Hitler observation has merit:

How are we setting ourselves up for tomorrow?

I've objected to past Republican presidents, to Reagan and Bush, and before I was born there was Nixon, on the basis that they have compromised the body and mind of America.

This president compromises our soul.

One compromise we should not brook.

To be continued...

Tuesday, November 09, 2004



As soon as Blogger publishes my updates today, you may (or may not) notice some significant changes.

1. I've added links to two blogs, both belonging to close friends:


This blog is maintained by Gemma, and while she's just started it, it looks like she'll be bringing her artistic experiences to bear on both her personal experiences and the world at large. (Does that sound right, Gemma?) It might sound like a narrow field of explorations, but I've seen her tease remarkably universal observations out of seemingly mundane observations on several occasions. This one should be fun to watch.


I've known Michael for seven(?) years, during which time he has demonstrated his genius in finding ways to blow things up, launch them into outer space, or occasionally simply vaporize. He teaches Physics and does grad work at the University of Minnesota, but these days he's in Jerusalem. This blog chronicles his experiences there, and he demonstrates that he can talk about more than science.

2. I've replaced my individual "project" pages with a home page: Here Is No Why.
This is still in rudimentary stages, and so there not much to see here yet.
When I'm further along, I'll move it all to an independent domain name, and will probably move this blog there as well.

3. I've added long-overdue links to the News & Politics sources:

- Links to three liberal rags (Mother Jones - http://www.motherjones.com, The New Republic - http://www.tnr.com, and The Utne Reader - http://www.utne.com) and one moderate (The Economist - http://www.economist.com).

- A link to an additional mainstream news source, BBC NEWS - http://news.bbc.co.uk.

- A link to the US Green party - http://www.gp.org. It has to have been hard to be a Green these past four years, and if there was penance to pay, it's been hard paid... I wonder if this party will ever recover.

4. Miscellaneous

- I purged the link to the Unofficial Vote 4 Nader blog, not because it supported Nader, but because it seems unlikely to be updated now that the election is over.

- I'm retaining all other blogs I linked to this past month.

- I will also allow other contributors to publish EVENT posts through the end of November.

- I repaired the link to Eminem's website - http://www.eminem.com in the Tunes links.

- I posted the first chapter of the Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, following the links. If you read it and are interested, let me know, and I'll change chapters frequently. Otherwise, it'll probably sit for a week or two.
If you want to read this, you may want to cut and paste into Word or Word Pad. Blue on black can hurt the eyes. ;)

~ Connor

Monday, November 08, 2004

Blue Skies are Falling. Part 3.


I should have guessed who would win the election.

And I don't want to be rational right now, and I don't want to be quiet or composed or even reasonable.

Of course, how honest can we be without costing ourselves? If you look on a county-by-county map, you'll see that parts of Nebraska went blue and parts of New York went red. And I'm just as fed up with this "red states are dumb"/"blue states are smart" shit. I understand where the emotion comes from but it doesn't convince anybody and it's not even the heart of things... and frankly, it isn't right. The Republicans may never visit Nebraska because it's a sho-in, but the Democrats don't really seem to care either. So we have red from North Dakota to the Mexican border.

Nor did I hear once this campaign any high-profile Democratic candidate point out that wise social programming reduces abortions. It would go a lot further than sweet personal sentiments... it's not like the Republicans have ever delivered on their anti-abortion offers.

And something else I'm pissed off at, liberals... stop bitching and whining about Kerry. He didn't lose because "he sucked." He lost because the whole left-40% of America misread the pulse of the nation. Clinton was certainly a stronger candidate than Kerry, but compare this man to Gore, Carter, Mondale, and, sweet god, Dukakis, and I think he shows very favorably. If Kerry had actually been elected, I'd've pegged him as the next Harry Truman. And yes, I do mean that.

As for conservative America... that's my next dose of vitrol...

To be continued...

~ Connor

Gothic Funk, #1. Pictures.


Gothic Funk #1 was a moderate success.

15 people attended... somewhat less than anticipated, but most of them stayed for around five hours.

In addition to deep gothic funk beats and deep gothic funk projections, we indulged in deep gothic funk impersonations and ultimately devolved into werewolves, et al.

Elisabeth posted pics at her blog, Chronicle of.

~ Connor

Friday, November 05, 2004

Terror. Passion. Power.


*~*~* * * * --> The OCCLUSION GROUP <-- * * * *~*~*
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ presents ~~~~~~~~~~~~~


g o t h i c
f u n k
# 1


@ the Devil's Ranch Stockade
5820 N. Kenmore #801



More information, directions, and errata available at:


The Occlusion Group:


PS. Bring friends, spouses, significant others. We're going to break the bank
this time.

I sent this to some people far afield if I thought they might be interested.

Obviously, with this many people, we're going to mistakenly leave a few off...
if you notice anyone not receiving this email that should, pass the word along.

Blue Skies are Falling. Part 2.


Several long posts ahead, but I'll try to keep them interesting.

Also: keep in mind I'm not the only one posting here right now. If you see EVENT: GEMMA, WOLFBARONXYLO, SKYBALLS, or ELISABETH, then someone else is posting...


I know I said I'd post last night, but my phone was disconnected, barringinternet access. See, we'd received two envelopes from SBC, one noting thePayment Due November 9th, and a second threatening to disconnect service on the1st.

We opened and read the first, but somehow missed the second, and so it sat for awhole week on a pile of credit card ads and Osco coupons. Yesterday, when Igot home, our phone didn't work.

Now, ordinarily, I might have deposited my last paycheck in my checking accountand paid the thing off conveniently, at once. But I don't have my bank card,because last Friday I was beaten up and robbed by three kids on 63rd andEllis...

Bad things come in threes too, and our phone had technically been disconnectedon the evening of the 1st. I should have seen this coming. The Law of Threesfar predates even the Boston Red Sox.

Then again, elections and polls and all kinds of problems are informed byperspective. By about the twentieth kick to the head, I figure I'd acclimated,and what had seemed extraordinary five minutes before, suddenly wasn't.


I should explain, maybe, what happened. I've already deferred this storynumerous times by promising to post it here.

Armand was having a barbecue birthday party on the night of the 29th. I wasrunning late, and thought I'd make up the time by taking the Green Line toCottage Grove and 63rd, and walking the last ten minutes. It was nine atnight, dark but early... I've walked this walk many times, and never had aproblem.

Kids cluttered the corners, ten or twelve in total. One boy waited at a busstop. Two boys walked behind me. The two behind me began to gain, which isstrange; I walk very fast naturally, especially alone.

I had just glimpsed the shadow of one, gaining on me, when they both ran uparound me, struck me in the head, and pulled me to the ground. The boy fromthe bus stop joined them, and while two of them kicked me, the third rifled mypockets.

This went on until they found my wallet, with my CTA card, some cash... a totalof about $45 worth inside.

And they ran off.

Twenty minutes later, however, I was at the warmth of a party, surrounded by friends and light, and being a party populated with med school students, theyall poked me and prodded me, and seemed to think if I survived the night I'd be fine.


As for me:

I felt bruised, but certainly not "humiliated," as so many have expressed concern.
I wasn't the one who run up on an unarmed guy from behind.
I wasn't the one who felt the need to take someone three to one.
I didn't run away in the end, although I would have run had it been an option.

I was proud of my conduct, actually.
You always wonder how you'll behave in such a situation... I'd always worriedI'd either break down or spontaneously find some macho drive.
Instead, I surrendered my wallet, told them to "just take it," and when theyleft, stood up and walked away.

I'll continue this line of prudence and add 63rd street to my list of places Notto Go Alone at Night.
Nor will I allow this one event, the first serious occasion I've encountered ina decade of exploring cities, to weaken my curiosity and imagination.

As for the kids who did it:

I think apologizing for others' ridiculous and vindictive conduct is about asproductive as middle class guilt. What those kids did was asshole and criminal. As I've said to many since I was jumped, though, everywhere you go on earth there are angels and assholes. In my high school, the assholes enjoyed throwing spit wads and calling you"faggot." That was what they enjoyed and could get away with. On 63rd they enjoy and get away with beating you up and taking your money.

In fact, it's always struck me as sort of subtle racism (the kind peddledby liberal middle class guilty-feeling people), the notion that ghetto thugs are anything more or less than assholes with violent experience... it follows hard on generalizing assumptions that all people the same, and for that matter, if their actions are somehow justified, it deprives them of meaningful agency.

So I call the those kids assholes, and don't trouble myself beyond that designation.

One point touches upon all of these observations, including the Law of Threes, and is summed up by a close friend:

"Moderation in all things, especially modulation."

To wrap up this subplot, I told Father Mike about the event and he said a quickprayer over me. It turns out he was beaten up himself, that same week, by somebums drinking at midnight in the alley behind the rectory. He went down, toldthem to quiet down, and walked off bruised.

So I got jumped while wearing a Hawai'ian shirt, and my priest got jumped at therectory.

I should have guessed who would win the election.


~ Connor

Thursday, November 04, 2004

why W is better than me

EVENT: skyballs

president W is clearly better than i am. here is why:

W was born into the auspices of 1946, just over a year after FDR died in office. america was very socialist-inclined, & coming out of a very successful war campaign, even though we hadnt wanted to fight. the national climate at his birth gave him very good opportunities, which pepper his 58 year [& counting] story. there has been no such favorable climate about america in my lifetime.

W has a wife of 27 years, & they have definitely done "it" at least twice, since they have 2 daughters of different ages. they have also probably done "it" each time W declared himself the winner of an election. they might have also done "it" once for every time W had a person executed while governor of texas. that would be 125 or so times more than i have ever had a chance to do "it."

W had the honor of attending very good schools. the schools admitted him based on his familys reputation - i guess his relatives must have been very good students. according to any public figures who were in school with him, he enjoyed immense popularity there, & was responsible for coordinating parties. this would explain his overwhelming popularity around the world today.

W is not encumbered by any code of ethics. he isnt even restricted by accountability or consistency with past actions. he truly acts on his own immediate interests, & because of that, he is always visibly happy in the moment. many people, like me, who can not shake their awareness of worldcentric ethics admire W for his disposition to act freely from outside pressures.

W is an icon, which means that when he says or does something differently from the rest of the world, it isnt wrong, its just a characteristic. like when he means "nuclear," & never fails to say "nukular." when an average citizen/peon like me makes such an error, i am obligated to live with a title like "uneducated" or "short-bus."

W is now completely identifyable by a single letter of the alphabet. how long did the letter W exist without being inseparably associated with an individual? obviously, W is unprecedented is many ways.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Blue Skies are Falling. Part 1.


Admittedly, this wasn't my idea... I vamped off Donkey Hottie.

This blog shall maintain these nightshades through November at least, not in outrage at President Bush, but in mourning for the American people who elected him.

Historical perspective is most poignant and convincing... I look around me and I think I see Greece post-Alexander, Rome post-Republic, and Spain post-armada.

How did it happen?

And why didn't we stop it?

Why, in the last few weeks, didn't we see it coming?

For I do believe those numbers were squeezed to their core... this has been on its way for weeks.

But I'm at work, so I must work.

I'll return to this tonight.

~ Connor

voting out of sequence

Event: skyballs

Dear Sen. John Kerry,

I sit here in Chicago with my Michigan absentee ballot on November 03. The ballot arrived from home yesterday, Election Day. I have always had an overwhelming sense of political efficacy, despite the misgivings I have had toward the haphazardous process outlining the two national elections which I have been of age to participate in.

Right now, you are giving your concession speech in Boston. I am not able to watch, because I am at my new job, but the headlines on the internet are quickly updated. I am led to question which is the more rewarding combination: a graceful loser & a poor winner, or a poor loser & a graceful winner?

Now I wonder what meaning there is in completing & returning my absentee ballot. I am glad to vote in Michigan one more time. But Michigan has already declared you to be it's winner. Muskegon, my county, favored you, too. When I cast my belated vote for you, & I will, it will not tip any scales, great or small. It will only give me rights to claim that I participated in such an important election. After-the-fact, I, along with my community, will have done my part. A hollow ceremony, isn't it?

The things in which I find comfort for the next 4 years are small. I will manage to exist along Lake Michigan, in Illinois, Wisconsin, & Michigan, all states which attempted to redirect America's course. In 5 months, the Selective Service will no longer apply to me. above all else, I know that my local & state governments will have a more direct impact on my life than the federal government will, & I will still have greater influence than they do.

Inside, I know that choosing to live my life for myself is most important. Its only that it would also be nice if when i declare my candidate, to feel like someone could hear me.


Skylar Moran

Tuesday, November 02, 2004



That's all

The Big Day Has Come

Blue Skies Falling

EVENT: Gemma

So at long last, waiting for my hair to dry before I go vote, I'm going to blog on Blue Skies Falling.

To all those who don't know me, I'm Connor's friend from college, passionate lefty who's at odds to decide why she isn't going to Wisconsin with people to combat voter disenfranchisement today. I'm also a theater teacher who works for After School Matters--that means I'm teaching acting and playwriting to inner-city high-school students at a magnet on the West Side of Chicago. What I want to talk about today is a conversation I had with Tiera, one of my ninth-grade students.

Tiera is deeply intelligent and deeply religious, and the first high-school student who has brought up politics with me since I started teaching. When I asked her whom she'd vote for if she could vote, she said she was conflicted, but probably Bush for religious reasons. A few days later, when we had leisure time, I asked her for more details on this. She said that she agreed with Bush's position on abortion, because it was a human life, and with his position on gay marriage, because marriage was a sacrament. Did those beliefs have a place in government? I asked her. She responded that although she knew that in theory the separation of church and state was important, in practice it was impossible, and in most basic terms she would prefer to vote for the man less hypocritical about the effect his Christianity had on his policies.

If I, a New Yorker by birth, may make an unpleasant generalization about voters in Middle America, I consider Tiera more intelligent than the vast majority of single-issue voters who will be casting ballots for Bush today. And what Tiera explained was not precisely single-issue voting. It was, and is, a larger philosophical question, one that will not be answered by this election but that will come to a head within the next twenty years: is the separation of church and state actually a practical policy in this nation?

Let's get historical for a bit. This nation was founded by groups of people who fled England to avoid religious persecution, but by the standards of contemporary America they were relatively religiously uniform, and not only that, they proceeded to practice religious persecution almost immediately (Salem Witch Trials, belittling and eventual destruction of Indians as "heathens," bla bla bla etcetera). Even in this rapidly diversifying nation, only white male Christians have ever held the Presidency. Looking at this through the eyes of Tiera, a working-class, black female Christian student whose values clearly reflect the values of her community, lets me understand that a little more clearly. There are probably a great deal of minority voters who vote based on the moral system formed by their Christianity.

Is there anything wrong with that? I'm not sure. The question that leads to is, can you ethically cast a purely pragmatic vote? Are your pragmatics ever separate from your morals? The conversation was not long enough for me to ask Tiera about her views on Iraq as compared to abortion rights, the parallel most commonly drawn, but I could easily see her answering that soldiers in Iraq are dying to protect values--values as much Christian as American--and that they have made a choice to serve these values, whereas the aborted have no choice in the matter and therefore she'd prefer Bush's errors. If you threw that at me out of nowhere I'd see it as bullshit, but imagining it from the mouth and perspective of somebody I respect changes it. Not that I don't still consider it bullshit, but we the liberal populace have a tendency to deprecate choices that are made based on religion. (Of course, I'm posting that on the blog of a liberal Catholic, but bear with me). And I don't think we can; I don't think it's fair. I think Tiera's right on one level--we cannot stop people from voting based on their religious beliefs, and as urban black populations and Latin American immigrant populations, the majority of both of which populations have Christian churches as the center of communities, become even stronger voting blocs that will only increase. Question Two: can we keep the separation of church and state in DC itself?

I don't know. I need to think about this more. And go and *vote*. Right now. Yay, my first punch-card election!

Is rain going to discourage people from voting?

Monday, November 01, 2004

Quick Endorsements -- MICHIGAN


I will write a post explaining my choices later tonight.
Unfortunately, I'm short on sleep and time.


1. President of the United States.
John Kerry and John Edwards

2. Michigan: Proposal 2. (Definition of Marriage)

3. Michigan Supreme Court
Marilyn Kelly
Deborah Thomas

4. Michigan: Proposal 1. (Voter regualtion of gambling)


5. U.S. House of Representatives 5th District (~Flint)
Dale Kildee - Democrat

6. U.S. House of Representatives 14th District (~Detroit West Side)
Michael Donahue - Libertarian

7. State Legislature - 48th District (~Genesee County)
John Gleason - Democrat

8. State Board of Education
Marianne Yared McGuire - Democrat
Herbert S. Moyer - Democrat

9. University of Michigan Board of Regents
Olivia Maynard - Democrat
S. Martin Taylor - Democrat

10. Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Melanie Foster - Republican
Joel I. Ferguson - Democrat

11. Wayne State University Board of Governors
Tina Abbott - Democrat
Annetta Miller - Democrat


12. Genesee County Prosecuting Attorney
David Leyton - Democrat

13. Sheriff
Robert Pickell - Democrat

14. County Clerk
Michael Carr - Democrat

15. County Treasurer
Daniel Kildee - Democrat

16. Drain Commissioner
Amber Carey - Green

17. County Surveyor
Kim Carlson - Democrat

18. County Commisioner, 7th District
Archie Bailey - Democrat

19. Judge of the Court of Appeals
Write in.
Pat Donofrio is running unopposed, but I do not support him.

20. 7th Circuit Court Judge
David Newblatt

~ Connor