Thursday, September 29, 2005

ahhhhhhhhh...Amanda Congdon, and new photographs from around the beautiful IU campus

Amanda Congdon is charming. And I think Rocketboom's new video might be the best they've ever done. The yellow shirt is a nice touch. See it here.

Today was an absolutely beautiful day here in Bloomington IN. Now I've had a ridiculously busy week, and Thursday is my hardest day. Had HPS seminar this morning which is great. I think I got a lot out of today's class. I need to be more assertive though I think. I wonder if I know what I'm talking about?

Anywho, the weather was fucking gorgeous. ZERO humidty. Absolutely gin clear, bright blue sky, sun searing down. Luckily it was so cold. Right now my window is open and my bare feet and quite cold.

Anywho, don't worry, cause I'm tough.

Anywho, I had to go to campus in between seminar and logic. which is kicking my ass. The first exam is a week from today; time to start memorizing definitions like this one: "if Φ=(∃α) Ψ then Φ is true under ℑ if and only if Ψ α/β is true under at least one β-variant of ℑ." (I had to improvise; 'ℑ' refers to an interpretation of the formalized language we use, note my use/mention distinction.)

Anywho, I had to run to campus today before logic and I took some pictures when I was there. Here are a few.

Brand new blog 'Song of Myself' blog feature! CLICK on any of these images for a large and spectacular version.

Monday, September 26, 2005

new poem and more photos

Here is a new poem I wrote partially inspired by my trip to Yosemite this summer and strangely reminiscent, at least in the first verse, of Johnny Cash's Five Feet High and Risin.

As soon as the sun rose so did I crawl out.
Shivering, my hat pulled almost over my eyes,
I boiled water for tea.
I sipped and I supped and I watched the frost line retreat,
the sun chased it over the dirt and my feet,
and the tent and my boots from it’s icy grip freed,
‘It’s a damn fine day today’.

Down the trail, all alone,
A long week behind me and now I am worn.
The rocks and the roots and the snakes underfoot,
The saprophytic angiosperms litter the floor.
Charred trunks across five feet,
The pace of the step jars the heart of my beat,
‘It’s a damn fine day today’.

Crystal pure, clear crisp crunchy ice I inhale.
Air cold in the forest, the sun cooks pine needles and smells right.
Sweat in the sun, shiver in the shade,
‘It’s a damn fine day today’.

Almost there now, ten more to go,
Across a final river I find to ford,
Pass the field the night I first laid,
‘It’s a damn fine day today’.

One more now, I forget the date,
My boots alone seem to know the way,
I see the car, but my shock defrays,
‘It’s a damn fine day today’.

Here are some more pictures from the IU Art Museum. I like this painting a lot. It's really striking. Sharp lines. Very bold. Also interesting from an art history perspective. This was done by an artist who was rebelling against the anti-realism of the 20th century. While this painting isn't "abstract", it's not exactly realist either. Very expressive. Also, this is the artist's wife and she divorced him shortly after this painting was finished. I wonder if that's just coincidence?

This is one of TC Steele's more famous paintings. From his early works, it was painted when he attended school in Munich and he one a very prestigious prize for this painting. I think it's my favorite Steele painting eventhough I think he fucked up the upper arm. It's too square. My mother disagrees. I don't have any pictures of his later, "impressionist" work that he is more famous for. It's pretty cool though, and mostly of Brown County.

There are lots of paintings titled 'the adoration of the magi', and they all look kind of like this, but this is my favorite. The red cape thing is just really exquisitely done. CLICK on the image for a closer view.

This how my father really looks. I hear Outkast's So Fresh and So Clean playing when I see this picture.

This is really cool. A stauette from an Egyptian tomb of a BREWER. Read the little caption. Pretty cool.

You know you're a beer geek when this catches your attention. New Belgium isn't distributed east of the Mississippi. What's it doing here in the IU Memorial Union parking lot?

I really am my mother's son in so many ways. She used to be a professional photographer you know. This is us in TC Steele's garden again. And again, my father doesn't actually look like that.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

mom and dad and TC Steele, part I

My folks came for a visit this weekend. It's been a great time. Here are some pictures I took hanging out with them today.

Let's get the weird ones out of the way first:

We went to the IU Art Museum which was cool and I have many other pictures from that to post here, which I will do at a later date, perhaps tomorrow if I'm not sleeping. This is a picture of an 18th century Japanese figurine. I can't remember what the whole deal is, but I know this: it's fucking wild and kind of freaks me out a little bit. Sorry it's blurry. I'm blaming that on the plastic or glass case it was in.

We also went to the TC Steele house in Brown County. That was really cool. Beautiful place and I really like TC Steele's work. Anyway, this is a picture of my father, mother and I in the gardens there. My dad does not normally look like that, I promise. I also have more pictures from here to post in the future.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

my first in print beer article

I have finally got to see my first beer publication in print. Garrett (I think that's his name), who works over at Encore and who serves me my Arrogant Bastard most of the time, and who is really a fantastic bar keep, gave me a copy of the paper. I'm pretty happy with it eventhough it was edited, but they were mostly reasonable edits. Also, I was stiffed $25. Which kind of sucks, but I still made $50 for the article which I'm pretty happy with. The editor just told me he'd give me up to $75 for up to 1000 words. I gave him 1009 words. Whatever. It's cool.

CLICK on the image below to read the article.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

new video: Ryan's "American" Pils

Here is a short video of myself that Ryan (beer Ryan, not wine Ryan) filmed on Friday and I edited today. I'm sampling his brand new Pilsner which, although made with all American ingredients, is certainly not an "American Pilsner" because it's all malt, all Cascade hops with medium bitterness and high hop flavor and aroma.

Darwin's tortwaah

Apparently a tortoise Darwin collected on the Beagle voyage is now cared for at Steve Erwin's zoo in Australia. Yes, the croc hunter. Read the whole story here.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

further adventures of jenny the B and mateo: bluffage and bonsai

Also, I went to see Blackalicious last Monday. Forgot to mention that. It ruled.

Anyway, seeing that it was a beautiful day outside, and knowing that it was saturday, when the phone rang I thought, "I bet that's Jenny the b seeing if I want to do some outdoor adventures." And indeed it was. She knew of this place called 'cedar bluff'. So we drove out there. It was pretty cool. The river was the coolest part. It actually looked like a river. The river bed was all rocks. There was some hint of a gradient with riffles here and there. Sounded nice. Looked nice. And the bluffs, maybe 75 or 100' tall limestone 'bluffs', were pretty cool. Not quite cliffs, but bluffs. It was a rugged, steep trail from the river around the back of the bluffs and up the other side. The view from the top wasn't very cool, but it was ok. There was a cool dead tree.

Jen took this picture of me by the dead tree. It actually looks like she's looking down from her picture and laughing at me. "Look at you! Haha you're in black and white."

Here's Jen's best 'deer in the headlights' pose.

At least Indiana has the whole Lycopod thing going for it. "Primitive" plants rule, but putting the word 'primitive' in quotes to refer to the fact that 'primitive' is a complicated concept in evolutionary biology rules more.

We stopped at the coolest nursery in town on the way back to look at the bonsai and the orchids.

"Natural selection? I don't think so." (I actually have no idea what Jen's views on plant evolution are)

This was probably the coolest tree there.

THe bonsai at the Brooklyn Botanical gardens are cooler though. And that's Kathy Yeo. She's ok.

Friday, September 16, 2005

the latest Mattdunn sleep news

I woke up at 1:45pm today. And I took an hour and a half nap yesterday from 7-8:30pm. I rule.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

GW should get some glasses

I mean, I think part of the problem is that he just looks like such a dufus. Of course what comes out of his mouth also makes him a dufus, but I think some intellectual-seeming eye glasses would really spruce up his look. Think about Homer Simpson and how smart he looks when he puts his glasses on? Of course this is something I've always thought is fascinating about the Simpsons: everytime Homer puts his glasses on he actually gets smarter, i.e. says smarter things, he doesn't just look smarter. I'm going to do some research on this claim and get back to you. Not that GW should get glasses, but that Homer actually gets smarter when he has his glasses on.

Matthew Daniel Dunn

school is hard, ID proponents are stupid and Mac's in Sri Lanka

Well, school is hard.

Sometimes I find that I don't like reading all the time. And writing all the time. And listening to lectures about logic and about how my logic professor is an insomniac and how she expects us to know the definition of a 'sentence of the sentential calculus' at 4am after being awaken from a deep sleep. I don't like drinking a lot of coffee and lecturing at students who really don't give shit. I don't like not accepting late homework. I don't like failing people. School is very psychologically taxing and sometimes it only takes one or a few other stressful things to bring you directly to the brink of a serious breakdown. Which really sucks.

But sometimes things go better. I do enjoy thinking about science. Namely about biology. Recently about how problematizing our concept of a gene is no argument against genic reductionism and how Darwin was no revolutionary when it came to thinking about humans.

So, ID proponents are still idiots.

I found this article in the NY Times to be quite funny. And so did Yaniv, which is always reassuring. Anyway, the article says that Intelligent Design proponents think that new movie about Emperor Penguins, 'March of the Penguins', is simply great evidence for intelligent design. PZ Myer deals with this over at Pharyngula, but I can't help reproducing a bit of it here:

"I've seen the movie and very much enjoyed it, but who in their right minds sees intelligent design in flightless bird parents having to alternate 70 mile waddles in order to keep their young fed? It was a movie about pitiless Darwinian circumstances. Drop the egg, it freezes and the embryo dies. Newborn chick wanders away, it freezes and dies. One parent dies of predation or weather, the other has to abandon the young to starve, freeze, and die. As an inspiration to conservative Republican ruthlessness, I can see it...but Intelligent Design? No way."

Yup. Mac, unsurprisingly, is now living in Sri Lanka.

I once knew this guy named Mac. He was a wild man. I'm not sure what his real name is and I forget what is last name is. But I remember having several good times with him. And I also remembering him being particularly 'mature' for his age. Like I didn't know he was 12 years old when he and I smoked about 3 grams of nugget on a five hour car ride to Pinkham Notch New Hampshire. I swear. Or that time we did a bunch of other drugs together. Or that time we got all drunk together. Yeah. College is kind of a haze.

I met Mac through THE Ian Fitzpatrick and we did some good hangin' out together. I've recently discovered Mac (and vice versa) on, the bane of my roomate's existence. Let's be honest Brian, you have a problem. Anyway, it turns out that Mac is now living in Sri Lanka. It also turns out that I am not at all surprised.

That is all.

I hope nobody gets the plague soon. That would be a bummer.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

that's just about right, part II

What the fuck does this mean:

"Mere belief is hostile to the whole idea of thinking. To wear credulity as one's badge of intellect is not to be a thinker as such."

Why hostile? Is there actually some sort of battle going on between 'mere belief' and, assumedly, belief developed based on rigorous critical thinking and/or appropriate empirical investigation? So ok, holding some belief for reasons other than rational ones actually 'hurts' in some sense, the enterprise of 'thinking' in general? How does it hurt it? Does it 'set it back'? What is this 'thinking' anyway? Thinking here seems to be associated with rationality while 'mere belief' is not. But what's the 'whole idea' of thinking? Is this meant to imply that it's more than the 'part idea' of thinking? So perhaps 'thinking' includes both rational and irrational methods of belief formation?

Now onto the second sentence!

Here we seem to have a more strongly worded repetition of the 'claim' made in the first sentence, although it does clear up our confusion about what the term 'thinking' actually means. In the second sentence the author seems to be saying that if one has an overly credulous intellect, then one is not actually thinking at all. So, it appears that thinking is only the rational pursuit because credulity seems to imply non-rational belief formation. But now we are forced to examine the meaning of the term 'intellect'. Apparently 'intellect' will now serve as the more general category, thus replacing 'thinking' as it seems to function in the first sentence. One's 'badge of intellect' can apparently be credulity, so I imagine one can also have a 'rigorously logical badge' or some such thing. Then again we are shown that indeed, 'thinker' refers to 'rational thinker' because if your 'intellect' is 'credulous' then you are not a thinker 'as such'.

Therefore I think this sentence can be rephrased as:

Irrationality is not good for rationality. Irrationality is not rationality.

Wow. These literary critics are blowin' my mind.

And this crap is what I think passes for philosophy amongst the vast majority of the public, not to mention the vast majority of the 'intelligentsia'. While I certainly disagree with the fundamental modes of research in 'literary studies' and 'cultural studies' and whatever, if they have a self sustaining community, than more power to them.

What I don't like is that their crap passes for philosophy.

Derrida was not a philosopher.

Hell, Satre wasn't a philosopher, I mean, let's be honest.

And while I'm at it,how about I dismiss Nietzsche as nothing more than a literary figure?

How bout that bitches.

Why did 'cultural studies' or whatever the hell you want to call it become elevated to the representation of intelligentsia? The example of what intellectual pursuit is? Perhaps because it's kind of easy for people to understand what's going on, no matter how opaque the Derridas and Foucaults try to make it. I mean, people have a hard time sitting down and getting through a real paper in mathematics or physics or biology.

But I suspect it's something else, I suspect that the people who are best social movers and shakers, the ones that have a certain social panache, a certain appealing eccentricity, are also the people who study 'cultural criticism'.

I mean, the sciences and the more rigorous humanities have their fair share of eccentrics, but they are eccentric in a weird sort of creepy way. A way that prohibits them from ever sipping martinis (or whatever drink is now hip), smoking cigarettes in a hip apartment in Williamsburg Brooklyn and chatting with the rich and famous' kids. Let alone starting a hip literary magazine.

No. Rather, the rigorous thinkers are the anti-socials. They can't be around people. They can't make pleasant all. They sit in their lab or in the archives or hunched over their computers producing.

Wow. What a rant. I suppose the science wars are alive and well in my head.

But I have really gotten off topic here. What initially pissed me off is the fact that people think of cultural studies as philosophy. This couldn't be farther from the truth. There has been a rather well defined tradition in philosophy with a set of very well defined problems that is self sustained. Cultural studies is kind of the retarded little sister of philosophy.

Let's just not call 'cultural studies' philosophy and I'll be fucking thrilled.

I mean, I think n+1, the magazine the first quote is from and one of the magazines the NY Times article is about, has some great literary content, but it's not philosophy. This article looks particularly enjoyable:

"The 'friends' on Friends were an ideological group, propagandists for a bland class of the rich in a sibling-incest sitcom. If only Judge Judy could sit in judgment on them, once! If only Cops would break down their door and throw them against the wall! "

that's just about right

From a more or less interesting extended piece in the NY Times about upstart cultural critique style magazines.

"If you are an overeducated (or at least a semi-overeducated) youngish person with a sleep disorder and a surfeit of opinions, the thing to do, after all, is to start a blog."

Hmmm. Although they then go on to describe it as:

"Blogs embody and perpetuate a discourse based on speed, topicality, cleverness and contention - all qualities very much ascendant in American media culture these days."

I don't really feel like my blog is very clever. I suppose it's contentious from time to time. Topicality? Well, apparently this NY Times writer doesn't know what topicality means. Either that or he thinks that bloggers are constantly arguing about "whether or not a policy action being debated is relevant to the resolution", the apparently rather narrow technical definition of the term.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

two things

Well, I've sunk to a new low. Tonight I went to Annika and JennyS's house for some pizza. It turned out to be more of a party and that was cool. Yaniv and I stopped at BigRed to pick up some beer and we got an 8 pack of Bitburger. Might be the best deal in the store at $6.99 for an 8 pack of 500ml cans. That's right, 4 liters of one of the best north German Pilsners in the world for only seven bucks.

Heineken cans are more expensive.

Now I've been to Bitburg Germany and went to the brewery (although we weren't able to get a tour) and had Bitburger served fresh on draft in the city in the very peculiar and wonderful manner they serve it. They serve it in rather elegant glasses with a foot and a stem and they 'slow pour', i.e. it takes 5 minutes to pour one glass because they pour it vigorously from the tap, right down the middle and it creates a lot of head. But given time and 4 or 5 repeated rough pours, the head that results is a fresh, cool, fluffy cloud-weight pillow of a head that is absolutely outstanding.

Anyway, drinking OUT OF THE CAN in Bloomington IN is a completely different story.

And I feel like I've hit a rather substantial low in my beer drinking life, like I reverted back to high school or early college. I felt tonight like I was just drinking the beer to get drunk. And I like to get drunk, don't get me wrong, but I also like to actually enjoy the drinking, I actually like to experience the beer (or other beverage) from more angles than the ethanol.

And secondly, I forget. What I was going to say, but hopefully I'll remember tomorrow.

How about this poem?

You're like two peas in a pod
Like two animals instead
like two holes in my head

Othertimes it's truly swell
the fact that you do tell
the story well and 'still can't believe it's true'.

though once in a while its pretty soft
like the head on a slowed poured Bitburger pils in Bitburg, or Trier even.

Also, I was looking for the picture of me standing outside the Bitburger Brewery, but I couldn't find it. So how about this brief photo-retrospective of my college years? As I was searching for the Bitburger picture these are the things in an album that caught my attention:

This is me sitting in the heart of beautiful downtown Huntingdon PA. I'm sitting at the "Bagel Shop" (I forget what it was actually called, but Skip, the owner, and his wife, the folks who owned it, were very cool. The cool thing is, that's not a cell phone. My apartment is really close, look above my left shoulder to catch the greenish bay windows on the edge of the photo, that was the apartment one floor below mine. So I could use my home phone while I sat and ate good roast beef bagel sandwichs on Penn St.

This is me when my long hair was cool, in, I think, the train station Midi in Brussels.

Chris Saunders and I playing guitar at the 'Spillway', one of the coolest things about Juniata College.

These next two are post cards. CLICK ON THEM TO SEE THE BACK. They're pretty funny, I recommend you check them out.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

I have some serious sleep issues

Last night I did some more sleep walking. Not so serious last night, but it was of a kind with the 'run out back to take a piss' episode from last week.

I was having a dream that I was peeing in the back yard.

This is typically bad. It typically means I'm peeing in my bed. At least it has happened twice before, once when I was a kid and once when I was in college.

Anyway, I remember semi-waking up and thinking holy shit, that sucks. I felt around down there and apparently I had not wet myself. But I still really had to pee.

So I woke up, slipped my flip flops on and proceeded to go out back to pee.

Why the hell do I have this urge to pee in the back yard?

I got as far as the laundry room and kind of realized what I was doing. I thought to myself, what the fuck is wrong with you dude? The bathroom is a perfectly good place to take a piss.

So I peed. In the bathroom. Took my flip flops off and went back to bed.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I'm in love...

...with Brandi Carlile, which is a somewhat unfortunate name, hopefully it's her's, but otherwise she is just simply darling and talented, rip roaring talented. She is a 'singer/songwriter' who plays with two twins and a drummer. The twins do a lot of good songwriting and sing some great harmonies and play some good guitar and bass.

Her voice is what I want my voice to be.

Rich. Deep. Soaring. Unique. Expressive. Confident. Ballsy. Sometimes with a dash of pop appeal, but not as much as she, or the Duhks, have.

Watch a video of her very recent set on Morning Becomes Eclectic from KCRW in LA.

I have some work to do, but her voice has certainly arrived. She's also really cute. She reminds me of the Duhks, but more real. Her label and manager (I imagine) are certainly marketing her as 'the real deal' from rural Washington state. Her website is all hip and she's wearing a boy scout uniform, which is actually a very authentic shirt with the proper badges, it looks like it was actually a boy scout uniform at one time, but why is she only Second Class? She's at least Star, probably Life, if not Eagle.

You can read a great review of her here.

Monday, September 05, 2005

the monday night lull... good. Mondays are a fairly busy day for me. Sundays are a little hectic, at least this week because I had to read a book for Thursday before today so I could hand it off to another student to borrow because there weren't enough copies. Anyway, on Mondays I teach at 9:30am for an hour and 15 minutes and have my Naturalism and Pragmatism seminar from 2:30pm-5. Today both went very well I have to say. I'm really pleased with the seminar. Lots of participation today (none from me, but not because I couldn't) and Lisa gave a great lecture and John's presentation was really well done. Chris made some great connections between naturalism and pragmatism and I really feel pretty confident in my understanding of their relationship. My teaching was great, I ran out of time again today, which is always a good thing. I'd rather run out of time, making sure my students have a thorough understanding of the material, than go short.

The nice thing is I don't have anything until tomorrow at 4pm. It is Logic, but that's ok. I think that class is going to be quite good for me. Although I have to work on my qualifying paper for a while tomorrow. Anyway, Brian and Grant and I went to Upland for a couple pints and then stopped by Big Red for a couple more bottles. I picked up a Rogue Imperial Stout. But I'll get to that in a second.

Here is one of the reasons why I think Pennsylvania is arguably the best of the best craft beer regions in the US. It's mostly Eastern PA, and really mostly Southeastern PA, but still. PA has 60 different places you can get Real Ale, Cask Ale, traditional english pints. That is the most of any state in the Union. California is second, with 44. Washington state is third with 30. PA has twice the cask ale outlets that Washington does. Wow.

Well maybe it's a major metropolitan area (i.e. not Seattle) is what makes the difference? Well, New York state is fourth at 27. See the whole list here.

So that Rogue Impy Stout is bitter. Not as bitter as their Old Crustacean, but still stupidly bitter. But good stuff. I poured some over chocolate ice cream tonight and it was good.

Until next time, drink some really bitter beer, or at least a real ale,

Sunday, September 04, 2005

limestone in the light: photography for photography's sake

So I went for a nice bike ride around town today, out across Bryan Park, up Henderson, a couple blocks East on Atwater, North to Campus and through Dunn's Woods. Bathing in the low sun down Kirkwood until one block East of Walnut. East on 7th St. to make two laps around the Showalter fountain. It was during these two laps that I realized how great the light was so I zoomed home (up Jordan) to fetch my camera.

I returned to find several young men riding their bikes up trees and jumping of things, not to mention lots of great limestone building virtually glowing in the rich, warm, low sun set. It was really swell.

Apparently this guy is sponsored. He works up at the bike shop at 10th and the bypass.

My girlfriend.

Believe it or not, this is the IU auditorium.

This too.

This is Woodburn Hall, actually where I teach this semester. I feel this one in the mouth. That's weird, I know, but the intricacy of the stone reminds me of some very memorable pastry I had when I was a child. In Annapolis Maryland at my Aunt's wedding I seem to remember.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

more crazy sleep psychology

I'm not sure if last night's episode would count as sleep walking. There was definately intense interactions between my sleeping, dreaming brain and my senso-neuro-motoro-impulse-system, as I will be calling it from here on out.

I seem to remember that I was sleeping quite soundly. I seem to remember feeling something on my arm. There was probably something on my arm, a spider or insect of perhaps, and quite likely, a strand of my rather long and unruly hair drifting easily in the quiet fan's breeze.

This seemed to trigger a rather rapid cascade of dreams/images in my mind of different organisms in my bed. I distinctly remember spiders and a bird. This cascade ended with the idea of one large and three small snakes laying right next to my head.

The most interesting part of the dream was that the snakes were done in a very Wes Anderson 'Life Aquatic' Jaguar shark sort of way. The snakes looked kind of animated but kind of real. They were very brightly colored in yellows and browns and oranges and in my dream, this tipped me off immediately to the fact that they were, indeed, copperheads.

Needless to say this really freaked me out so I jumped out of bed (not in the dream, for real) covered the place on my bed where I thought the snakes were with a pillow and turned on the light. I then proceeded to very cautiously and with great trepidation quickly flip the pillow over in the hopes of discovering my reptilian bed guests.

They were not concealed by the pillow.

I remember being quite distressed at this fact because they could be anywhere in the room, ready to strike with their venomous fangs from any shadowy corner. It's during these rather unsettling thoughts that I seemed to remember thinking, 'there's no fucking copperheads in my room, and besides, copperheads are not THAT brightly colored.'

So then I went to take a piss, noticing it had only been a little more than one hour since I had retired.

Friday, September 02, 2005

and now for something a little more positive...

I love beer. I love pictures of old breweries and brewery staff. Especially when one of them looks kind of like Walt Whitman.

"...a devil-may-care American workingman, one who might be taken as a somewhat idealized figure in almost any crowd."

While the portrait of Whitman at the beginning of Leaves of Grass may be idealized, it seems that the brewery employee in this picture is 100% bonafide.

the shit has hit the fan

As I have been watching New Orleans sink deeper and deeper in chaos, if the major media outlets can be believed, I mean, they are pretty inflammatory what with the shots of dead bodies and 'rape counts', as I've watched this really fucking wild event unfold, the most pressing thing on my mind has been issues of race.

From the photos and video I've seen, the vast majority of the people stuck in New Orleans, living in squalor, are of African descent.

The poorest sections of New Orleans were apparently hit the hardest, where apparently the vast majority of the population is black. Similarly, the poor people, who seem to be mostly black, weren't able to flee the city when the mandatory evacuation was called. They couldn't charge a last minute plane ticket or hop in the car and head to their sister's in Chicago.

I'm fairly certain that this event will provoke some serious thinking in this country about racial issues, at least I hope it will.

Anyway, the NY Times just published a piece that I expect from them. While they certainly seem to have their problems as a news outlet, they definately manage to take a more responsible and in depth look at the issues. Anyway, this piece was about the race and New Orleans.

"The victims, they note, were largely black and poor, those who toiled in the background of the tourist havens, living in tumbledown neighborhoods that were long known to be vulnerable to disaster if the levees failed. Without so much as a car or bus fare to escape ahead of time, they found themselves left behind by a failure to plan for their rescue should the dreaded day ever arrive."

I suppose the culturally responsible position to take, and I actually think the correct explanation as well, is to explain the looting, raping, snipering of the hospital evacuations and rescue missions (perpetrated by blacks?) as also a sympton of their cultural status. I also wonder how exaggerated these reports are?

Of course perhaps it's a bit hasty and inherently racist to immediately paper over the whole situation with the 'race label'. The Times article also briefly addresses the issue of poor rural communities, which tend to be, at least in the midwest, appalachia and northeast, almost completely white. These people seem to get screwed over on a pretty regular basis. The media coming out of Mississippi and Alabama and the rural areas there is not quite as dramatic because the population density isn't nearly as great. There aren't 30,000 poor white people standing around a football stadium. But I would imagine those who couldn't get the fuck out of dodge got royally screwed by this storm. And I bet they were white.

Well, whatever the case me be, I think this is clearly a cultural phenomenon and not one of 'race', whatever that may be. Of course our intuitive understanding of race may be primarily conditioned by cutlural cues. NOT by skin color. It's just terribly easy to SEE that and make race an issue of skin color.

And while I'm on this impromptu rant, what's up with all the fucking god talk? It really fucking pisses me off. 'Thank God we're not dead, just completely fucking screwed. God really saved us there.' Yeah, but first he rammed a giant goddamn hurricane down your throats, gave guns to looters and made possibly the stupidest man in charge of a country ever responsible to deal with it at the federal level. Clearly God had to fuck you over royally in order to save you.

Keep prayin'. He's got a plan. He works in mysterious ways.

Both the race and the God thing are very tender issues for me. I'm not sure how to deal with them.

I'm just glad I'm not stuck down there.