“Too Much Magic” by James Howard Kunstler: why technology will not dig us out of our hole.

On my reading list         Shortlink: http://wp.me/p4njL-bg “The nationally best-selling author of The Long Emergency expands on his alarming argument that our oil-addicted, technology-dependent society is on the brink of collapse—that the long emergency has already begun…”

Skype 4 mac v.5 voicemail: I can’t use key commands in dialpad, is there a solution?

Skype 4 mac v.5 voicemail: I can't use key commands in dialpad, is there a solution? Write an answer on Quora

Skype 4 mac v.5 voicemail: I can't use key commands in dialpad, is there a solution?

Apple Magic Trackpad, too sensitive. How do I stop it from executing things I don’t want done?

Apple Magic Trackpad, too sensitive. How do I stop it from executing things I don't want done? Write an answer on Quora

Apple Magic Trackpad, too sensitive. How do I stop it from executing things I don't want done?

Skype 4 mac v.5 voicemail: I can’t use key commands in dialpad, is there a solution?

Skype 4 mac v.5 voicemail: I can't use key commands in dialpad, is there a solution? Write an answer on Quora

Skype 4 mac v.5 voicemail: I can't use key commands in dialpad, is there a solution?

Which is better for regular international calls: Skype or Google Voice?

An example of why I love participating in Quora. Which is better for regular international calls: Skype or Google Voice?
Which is better for regular international calls: Skype or Google Voice?
In another Quora discussion, I received feedback from a Google sr. software engineer! I regularly see real players in Quora. Pretty cool.

On national security and Apple’s iPhone lockdown.

Apple tightens link on new iPhone

B. Franklin said “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.” That said, I love my Apple computer and iPod (and some of their apps are good, others suck). On the other hand I’m a big supporter of open architecture software and electronics. But Jobs has a good reason for being a monomaniac about keeping Apple “closed,” everything Apple works with everything Apple. Even major tech nerd friends of mine, who can more easily navigate the non-Apple world, like their Apples. So it’s a fascinating gray area, often misunderstood. I know I’m being simplistic, but there you go. I agree w Ben F, but I LOVE Apple and by and large, embrace their policy. If they wanna lock up their iPhone, fine. As to national security vs. security… that reminds me of what Ghandi replied when he was asked what he thought of “Western Civilization,” he said “I think it’s a great idea.”

Short link for this page: http://wp.me/p4njL-S

The most important thing for all of us and the future of our planet.

This is about as articulate, simple and straightforward a statement about THE MOST IMPORTANT THING to which we can devote our time and energy. We cannot afford to assume “best case” scenario with regards to environmental collapse.  For what it’s worth, also relevant to USA economy, i.e. printing money backed by NOTHING).


How Easter Got its Name


O.E. Eastre (Northumbrian Eostre), from P.Gmc. *Austron, a goddess of fertility and sunrise whose feast was celebrated at the spring equinox, from *austra-, from PIE *aus- “to shine” (especially of the dawn). Bede says Anglo-Saxon Christians adopted her name and many of the celebratory practices for their Mass of Christ’s resurrection. Ultimately related to east. Almost all neighboring languages use a variant of L. Pasche to name this holiday. Easter Island so called because it was discovered by Europeans on Easter Sunday, 1722.


Well, the heck with Bede! What kind of a name is that for a guy anyway?

With the advent of Christianity to the British Isles, an enterprising Pagan baker (or maybe Jewish? His name is lost to history) decided to capitalize on the observation of the resurrection by creating something special for his Christian customers. He named his creation “Yeaster’s Bread,” an allusion to the traditional observation: “He is Risen.” The rest is Yeastory.

Emailing Al Gore

This is a follow-up to an earlier entry I made re a letter to Al. In the generic letter that I received from him, there was no phone number, no email address…Jesus, we’re talking AL GORE here, ferchrissake, didn’t he take some credit for the Internet?

I kinda like old Al, warts and all. But have you noticed that the websites of the Big and Powerful never actually list an email address? No, you have to fill in little boxes and hit send. Cute. At any rate, in the case of Mr. Gore, a diligent search of the net has netted zero in terms of ANY contact information for Al.

Open letter to Al Gore

Sat Aug 12 06, I received a generic fundraising letter from Al Gore, soliciting funds for the Democratic party because “…the overriding task before us today is to do everything in our power to ensure that when America wakes up (sic) on November 8, 2006, the Democratic Party is back in control of the U.S. House of Representatives.”

I just composed and sent an email to Al, don’t know if I had the correct email address (actually it bounced, anyone know?) and here it is:

Dear Mr. Gore:

Just received your midterm fundraising letter dated “Tue morning”.

I switched my allegiance to the Green Party some time ago and I am considering switching back to the Democratic party out of sheer desperation…and out of admiration for your film.

I have never thought of the Democratic Party as being a true alternative to the Republican Party (I’m 57 and long time far-left radical), since American Imperialism has been with us from the start, first with the genocide and invasion of the continental USA and thereafter, our “protectorates” (or whatever we choose to call ’em) and our transparently aggressive wars and battles of imperialism beyond the north american continent since the late 19th C.

Nor has the DP shown any spine throughout the Bush dictatorship, nor did you yourself, when you did not stand up to protect your own election.

As far as I can tell, the only thing that makes the DP look “good” now or in the past, is the GOP.

Primarily, I fault our two party system. Messy as it is, only a parliamentary system gives credibility to the idea of the actual implementation of a genuine, working democracy. Otherwise, all we get is a perpetual swing between bad and worse.We have had just as much adventurism (if not more) under Dem. OR Rep. sway.

But lately you’ve been showing some courage, my suggestion, why not go all the way and stand up for:

1. Exclusively paper ballots on fed and state levels (as a fed. mandate).
2. A parliamentary government. I know I’d be preaching to the choir to tell you about how much safer (for the planet and the nation) a parliamentary government is. You know why parliamentarianism is the only way to fly, and I know you know it and any literate and minimally educated person in the USA knows it (ok, ok, maybe not, but you could make ANOTHER MOVIE about it…or even a website.

Yes, we stand on a precipice (several, actually) today…and I think that a nuclear winter still stands as the most likely resolution for the planet, nevertheless, a Democratic majority in Congress is only a bare beginning.

One last thought, could you have a little talk with Hillary Clinton? Please, if she becomes the front runner, the Republican won’t even have to bother stealing the next presidential election.

In sum, I think your heart is in the left place (even if you are fabulously wealthy and have a wife name Tipper) and I urge you to become part of a solution that goes beyond “saving” Congress. Life is short, why not go All the Way?


Frank Poliat

The "god is good" oxymoron

Here’s one that REALLY fries me. I have heard and read countless times:

“Life is good” or “god is good.”

These statements are uttered after ritualistic recitals of how someone’s pet cat was saved by a miracle, or some such bullshit.

Really, that’s usually the story, somebody’s fucking pet doesn’t die and bingo, “god is good”.

I can tolerate, and even embrace, statements along the lines of “god has been good to me” or “I am grateful to god.” But I rarely hear or read that.

What I do hear, time and again, are statements equating the goodness and wisdom of some personal deity based on some petty, selfish, MINUSCULE favor bestowed directly on some quivering, two-legged mass of protoplasm, and their saved kitty.

Or how about this one?

“I bought these shoes?

And they didn’t like, fit?

But the next day I walked around in them? And I’m like,




They feel so much better today!

God is good”.

I witness this kind of belief system from people with college degrees, jobs, homes, people with arms and legs and heads…people who by any criteria look like ADULTS. Do I live in the same universe as these people? I wonder…

By the time I was seven, I was spending some serious chunks of time wondering why there was so much suffering in the world and what I could do to help change that.

By the time I was 11, I had seen film clips on TV of bulldozer pushing thousands of skeletal human corpses into huge pits.

A disclaimer is in order: as an atheist jew, my thought analogies drift toward “my peoples’” experiences, but I am not, in any way, implying that “our” pain is larger than someone else’s pain. I do not believe that it is. There are six thousand million humans on this planet, and from moment to moment, I would estimate that the majority are living under conditions that might closely resemble, by almost anyone’s criteria, hell.

Or let’s be more specific, on the one hand, we have the god-saved-my-kittten people, on the other hand…

well….go to:


My great grandparents escaped the pogroms of Russia.
My grandparents escaped the nazi holocaust.
Question: as a freethinking progressive in the USA, where the fuck am I going to escape to?
Question: once global warming, global dimming, and the die-out of plankton reach critical mass, where will we ALL escape to?

Maybe then, god won’t look so good to anyone but the hare krishnas.

Hannah Arendt posited “the banality of evil”. Imagination and compassion are closely intertwined. Although I am aware of many moving acts of compassion in my own immediate experience (on a daily basis) , as well as from my less immediate experiences, I am still crushed with dismay at the general lack of imagination, by the numbness and paralysis, by the narcissism of my fellow humans.

Is some of what I’m describing a kind of existential “doublethink” (as per Orwell). Time and again, the concept of clinical narcissism comes to mind.

I try to view things as a Taoist. It ain’t easy, but it’s all I got. Being judgmental is stupid. What is, is. But still…I do get pissed off. Mostly though, this shit makes me sad.

My commendation for Pulitzer prize for journalism.

…would go jointly to:
1. Amy Goodman, and her group at Democracy Now and to
2. Ahmed Mansur, Al Jazeera correspondent and Laith Mushtaq, Al Jazeera cameraman.

In spite of the fascist clampdowns in Bushland, there are still many people and organizations striving to make a difference in the Belly of the Tiger (as Che called it).

But this year I watched a news download that in it’s way, rivals Ed Murrow’s reportage on the blitz in London:

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
EXCLUSIVE: Al Jazeera Reporters Give Bloody First Hand Account of April ’04 U.S. Siege of Fallujah

You can download the show (and make a financial contribution) at:


The website also has a transcript of the show, but Mansur’s voice is part of what makes this such a compelling and touching piece of journalism.

You can view, read, see and hear all of Amy’s shows at their archive page:


Finally, if there were a god, I would ask Her to bless Amy Goodman and Democracy Now, one of the most significant Forces For Good in the world today.