Pick 5 favorite books. Post the first line of each book (obscuring names if need be). Challenge your friends list to guess the books.

1. _________ spoke: When in the field of virtue, in the field of ____, assembled together, desiring to fight, what did my army and that of the Sons of _____ do, _______?

2. ___ can be talked about, but not the ______ ___. Names can be named, but not the eternal name. As the origin of heaven and earth, it is nameless: as “the Mother” of all things, it is nameable. “Dao De Jing” by Lao Tzu

3. I have begotten thee, O my son, and that strangely,as thou knowest, upon the ______ _____ called _______, as it was mysteriously fortold unto me in ___ ____ __ ___ ___. “Liber ALEPH vel CXI” by Aleister Crowley

4. Now ____ is explained. ____ is the restraining of the mind-stuff from taking various forms.

5. Some 794 letters make up the words for the numbers from one through to ninety-nine. Among them all, I notice, there are only two l‘s.

i left out The Bible, because anybody would probably recognise that, even with the names obscured.


the first week of performances is over. in spite of all the chaos and disorganisation, the performances are going very well. we aren’t performing “The Ride Of The Valkyries” because Pa-Ooh-Lah and her flaming brassiere couldn’t be found, in spite of the fact that we’ve gone for 2 months of rehearsals with the assurance that pa-ooh-lah will be there “next time”, but we’ve made up for it by having Hacki and Moepi as “special guests”. rebecca, one of the long-time cirquies and half of our “tap-dancing, flaming-baton-twirling clown duo”, is pregnant with moepi’s child (yes, she’s playing up the “pregnant clown” aspect), so it’s not really like they’re “special” guests any more, but they are from germany, and they did make a special trip just for our shows, so that’s why they’re being billed as “special” guests. Big Bois With Poise is also performing in the show, to uproarious noise and appreciation.

i’m getting really frustrated because i keep on breaking braces on my sousaphone, and the only way i have to repair them at this point is with zip-ties. i’ve got one soldered brace and four zip-ties holding the valve cluster on the instrument, and i’m afraid that if the last brace breaks, the whole instrument will be down for the count until i can actually solder them back into place, which would not be particularly good for the show, as i’ve been playing the sousaphone and not playing my E-flat tuba, and if i have to switch, there’s a whole bunch of the music for the show that i will have to transpose and (presumably) learn before friday.

saturday, 23 september, i was at gasworks for the celebration of ted (trumpet for the fremont phil, among other things) and kathrine’s wedding (which actually happened a few months ago) and i sat in with “Banda Gonzona”, which is a latin-american-style wind band, and i found out last night that they’re interested in having me on a more permanent basis. ted is also in banda gonzona, which also contains the fremont phil’s new, substitute clarinet player, ben, our new, substitute (hopefully permanent) tenor sax player, joseph, and one of the tuba players from the BSSB, clayton. apparently clayton is in enough other groups that he can’t make all the banda gonzona performances, and they figured that twice the tuba players doubles the possibility that they will be able to play with a tuba for all their shows… of course, i’m also in the fremont phil, and the BSSB, so the probability that i’m not going to be able to make all of banda gonzona’s performances is increased, but what the hell. if nothing else, it was fun playing with them on saturday, and it’ll give me one more thing to do, so i won’t have that much more time to be depressed.


Legislating Violations of the Constitution
By Erwin Chemerinsky
September 30, 2006

With little public attention or even notice, the House of Representatives has passed a bill that undermines enforcement of the First Amendment’s separation of church and state. The Public Expression of Religion Act – H.R. 2679 – provides that attorneys who successfully challenge government actions as violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment shall not be entitled to recover attorneys fees. The bill has only one purpose: to prevent suits challenging unconstitutional government actions advancing religion.

A federal statute, 42 United States Code section 1988, provides that attorneys are entitled to recover compensation for their fees if they successfully represent a plaintiff asserting a violation of his or her constitutional or civil rights. For example, a lawyer who successfully sues on behalf of a victim of racial discrimination or police abuse is entitled to recover attorney’s fees from the defendant who acted wrongfully. Any plaintiff who successfully sues to remedy a violation of the Constitution or a federal civil rights statute is entitled to have his or her attorney’s fees paid.

Congress adopted this statute for a simple reason: to encourage attorneys to bring cases on behalf of those whose rights have been violated. Congress was concerned that such individuals often cannot afford an attorney and vindicating constitutional rights rarely generates enough in damages to pay a lawyer on a contingency fee basis.

Without this statute, there is no way to compensate attorneys who successfully sue for injunctions to stop unconstitutional government behavior. Congress rightly recognized that attorneys who bring such actions are serving society’s interests by stopping the government from violating the Constitution. Indeed, the potential for such suits deters government wrong-doing and increases the likelihood that the Constitution will be followed.

The attorneys’ fees statute has worked well for almost 30 years. Lawyers receive attorneys’ fees under the law only if their claim is meritorious and they win in court. Unsuccessful lawyers get nothing under the law. This creates a strong disincentive to frivolous suits and encourages lawyers to bring only clearly meritorious ones.

Despite the effectiveness of this statute, conservatives in the House of Representatives have now passed an insidious bill to try and limit enforcement of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, by denying attorneys fees to lawyers who successfully challenge government actions as violating this key constitutional provision. For instance, a lawyer who successfully challenged unconstitutional prayers in schools or unconstitutional symbols on religious property or impermissible aid to religious groups would — under the bill — not be entitled to recover attorneys’ fees. The bill, if enacted, would treat suits to enforce the Establishment Clause different from litigation to enforce all of the other provisions of the Constitution and federal civil rights statutes.

Such a bill could have only one motive: to protect unconstitutional government actions advancing religion. The religious right, which has been trying for years to use government to advance their religious views, wants to reduce the likelihood that their efforts will be declared unconstitutional. Since they cannot change the law of the Establishment Clause by statute, they have turned their attention to trying to prevent its enforcement by eliminating the possibility for recovery of attorneys’ fees.

Those who successfully prove the government has violated their constitutional rights would, under the bill, be required to pay their own legal fees. Few people can afford to do so. Without the possibility of attorneys’ fees, individuals who suffer unconstitutional religious persecution often will be unable to sue. The bill applies even to cases involving illegal religious coercion of public school children or blatant discrimination against particular religions.

The passage of this bill by the House is a disturbing achievement by those who seek to undermine our nation’s commitment to fundamental freedoms laid out in the Constitution. Should it come up for a vote, it is imperative that the Senate reject this nefarious proposal. The religious right is looking for a way to get away with violating the Establishment Clause and is now one step closer to this goal. The Establishment Clause is no less important than any other part of the Bill of Rights and suits to enforce it should be treated no differently than any other litigation to enforce civil liberties and civil rights.