before my injury i had bizarre, vivid dreams sometimes as much as 5 or 6 times a week, but since my injury i haven’t dreamed at all, and have only had a dream that is bizarre and vivid enough that i can remember it upon waking only once or twice. then there was the other night, when i had this very vivid dream that i can’t forget…

i was at the oregon country fair, but it was different: it was surrounded by suburban neighbourhoods, the long tom wasn’t there, and the whole thing was more or less square. i was performing with the fremont philharmonic, and i was travelling with a group of people who were dressed as pirates, and i had a couple of “handguns” that were more like paintball guns – extremely low velocity devices that shot a single ball approximately 2cm in diameter, and then had to be reloaded – except that they looked like they were from the 17th century. we were coming in to the fairgrounds from the surrounding neighbourhood and while we were waiting in line, i “shot” my pistols at a group of people further up in line than where we were, but the velocity of the shot was low enough that the ball actually bounced a couple of times before it got to them. i remember them making some comment about the shot being a “soda roll”. then, when we got to the gate, somebody stopped me and took me aside and explained that, because of the fact that i had “shot” someone, i wasn’t going to be allowed in. i explained to them that i was a member of one of the groups that was performing, and i even showed them my pass. i also explained that the velocity of the “shot” was too low to be a danger to anyone, and mentioned the fact that they had commented about the “soda roll” shots that i had taken. there was a good deal of communication between the guy who had taken me aside and some other person or people who were apparently authorities over the guy who had taken me aside, with me insisting that, 1) i couldn’t possibly have hoped to hurt the people that i shot at because they were so low velocity, and 2) i was a member of a performing group and without me, the performance wouldn’t happen. then, for no very obvious reasons, the guy who had taken me aside said that it was okay, that i could get in anyway, but he told me not to load my pistols again. i couldn’t figure out why he had changed his mind all of a sudden like that, but he assured me that everything was okay and i could continue on my way into the fair, so i took off as quickly as possible before he changed his mind again. i ended up catching up with the other pirates and made it back to wherever it was that we were going, but when it was time to get ready for the performance, i couldn’t find my tuba. after about a half hour of frantically looking for it everywhere, i figured out where i had left it, but instead of being my tuba, it was a completely disassembled brass sousaphone: all of the bows, braces and bits had been removed, cleaned and the dents removed, and everything was organised so that it could be put back together fairly easily, but hadn’t yet been soldered back together. then, somehow, the guy who had taken me aside at the front gate was there, and he explained that this was because of the fact that i had “shot” someone at the front gate. he said that i was welcome to do what i wanted to with the sousaphone, but my (fully assembled) tuba was no longer part of the situation…

which frustrated me enough that i woke up…



two reasons for posting: one is that i’ve finally got examples of the Ganesha The Car postcard online –

Ganesha the postcard
Ganesha the postcard

– and the other is to post some prices for printing in full colour:

BUSINESS CARDS – 2″ x 3.5″
full colour on one side, no printing, printing in one colour or printing in full colour on the other side – 100 cards for $25.00
full colour on one side, no printing or printing in one colour on the other side – 1000 cards for $60.00

POSTCARDS – the examples above, and prices are for 4″ x 6″ postcards, but there are other sizes
full colour on one side, no printing, printing in one colour, or printing in full colour on the other side – 100 cards for $40.00
full colour on one side, no printing on the other – 1000 cards for $80.00
full colour on one side, printing in one colour on the other – 1000 cards for $120.00

other sizes are possible. contact me for further details.


You are The Magician

Skill, wisdom, adaptation. Craft, cunning, depending on dignity.

Eleoquent and charismatic both verbally and in writing, you are clever, witty, inventive and persuasive.

The Magician is the male power of creation, creation by willpower and desire. In that ancient sense, it is the ability to make things so just by speaking them aloud. Reflecting this is the fact that the Magician is represented by Mercury. He represents the gift of tongues, a smooth talker, a salesman. Also clever with the slight of hand and a medicine man – either a real doctor or someone trying to sell you snake oil.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.


Voodoo practitioner tries to jinx Bush
November 16, 2006

BOGOR, Indonesia – A renowned black magic practitioner performed a voodoo ritual Thursday to jinx President George W. Bush and his entourage while he was on a brief visit to Indonesia.

Ki Gendeng Pamungkas slit the throat of a goat, a small snake and stabbed a black crow in the chest, stirred their blood with spice and broccoli before drank the “potion” and smeared some on his face.

“I don’t hate Americans, but I don’t like Bush,” said Pamungkas, who believed the ritual would succeed as, “the devil is with me today.”

He said the jinx would sent spirits to posses Secret Service personnel guarding Bush and left them in a trance, leading them into falsely thinking the President was under attack, thus eventually causing chaos in Bogor Presidential Palace, where the American leader was scheduled to meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Monday.

Indonesia the world’s most populous Muslim country, however many still practicing animist rituals, including black magic, that predate Islam’s arrival in the archipelago.

“I am doing voodoo, because other ritual would not work,” he told reporters after he conducted the gory ritual about 1 kilometers from the palace.

i question the use of the term “voodoo”, which is a tradition that comes to us from africa by way of the carribean, and not related to the traditions of indonesia in any way… either the person reporting it mistranslated some indonesian term, or the indonesian practitioner himself is severely screwed up.


i have a mac again. i bought a converted G4 “yosemite” (converted from a G3 by the clever use of a sonnet processor card) off of ebay, and it arrived today. i immediately put in the extra 500m of ram from the dead mac, reformatted the 20g hard disk that it came with (which is called “cumquat” now), installed the 6g hard disk from the dead mac, “cucumber”, and, voila, it worked with no further difficulties. i still have no way of getting the stuff off of the former secondary hard disk (“pumpkin”) but theoretically, i can install OsX and use the disk tools that come with it to mount the dead disk, but at this point, i can function again.


Elbow Room No Problem in Heaven
Nine in 10 Americans Believe in Heaven, but a Quarter Say It’s Christians Only
Dec. 20, 2005

Belief in Heaven
  Belief in Heaven If Believe, Think They Will Go If Believe, Spiritual Only
All 89% 85% 78%
Evangelical Protestants 99% 94% 78%
Non-evangelical Protestants 96% 84% 83%
Catholics 96% 84% 84%
Very Religious 98% 90% 75%
Somewhat Religious 96% 86% 77%
Not Religious 72% 77% 81%
Have No Religion 51% NA* NA*
*Sample Too Small

Vast majorities of Americans believe in heaven and think they’re headed there. But elbow room won’t be a problem: About eight in 10 believers envision heaven as a place where people exist only spiritually, not physically.

Eighty-nine percent in this ABC News poll believe in heaven, which is consistent with data going back 30 years. Among believers, 85 percent think they’ll personally go there — mainly in spirit, since 78 percent say it’s a place where people exist only spiritually.

Who gets in is another matter. Among people who believe in heaven, one in four thinks access is limited to Christians. More than a third of Protestants feel that way, and this view peaks at 55 percent among Protestants who describe themselves as very religious.

Among all adults, 79 percent are Christians, 14 percent have no religion, and the rest, 5 percent, are non-Christians. Among Christian groups, Catholics account for 21 percent of adults; evangelical Protestants, 19 percent; and non-evangelical Protestants, 13 percent.

There are fewer differences among religious groups on the question of whether heaven is a physical or spiritual place. Belief that it’s a physical place peaks at 22 percent among Protestants who describe themselves as very religious.

As noted, people without a religion are the least likely to believe in heaven (51 percent do, 46 percent don’t), followed by people who describe themselves as not religious (72 percent of them do believe, 26 percent don’t). Non-religious people who do believe in heaven are slightly less likely than others to think they’ll personally go there, but it’s a still high 77 percent.

Another way to look at views on heaven is among all Americans, rather than just those who believe in heaven. Among all Americans, 75 percent think they’ll go to heaven. The rest include 5 percent who believe in heaven but don’t think they’ll get there; 9 percent who believe but aren’t sure they’ll get in; and 10 percent who don’t believe in heaven.

Christians View Heaven as Exclusive
Similarly, among all Americans, 21 percent think that only people who are Christians can go to heaven. Among the rest, 60 percent think both Christians and non-Christians can get in, 7 percent are unsure and 10 percent don’t believe.

There’s a difference between the sexes: Eighty percent of women think they’re going to heaven, compared with 69 percent of men. That’s both because men are slightly less apt to believe in heaven in the first place, and among those who do believe, slightly less apt to think they’re headed there.

But it’s religion, again, that seems to be the driving force in the difference between the sexes: Women are 12 points more likely than men to describe themselves as religious, and being religious helps fuel belief in heaven, and the expectation of getting there.


i was in this prematurely air conditioned supermarket, and there were all these aisles, and there were these bathing caps that you could buy that had this kind of fourth-of-july plumes on them that were red and yellow and blue, and i wasn’t tempted to buy one, but i was reminded of the fact that i had been avoiding the beach. i was in this prematurely air conditioned supermarket, and there were all these aisles, and there were these bathing caps that you could buy that had this kind of fourth-of-july plumes on them that were red and yellow and blue, and i wasn’t tempted to buy one, but i was reminded of the fact that i had been avoiding the beach. i was in this prematurely air conditioned supermarket, and there were all these aisles, and there were these bathing caps that you could buy that had this kind of fourth-of-july plumes on them that were red and yellow and blue, and i wasn’t tempted to buy one, but i was reminded of the fact that i had been avoiding the beach. i was in this prematurely air conditioned supermarket, and there were all these aisles, and there were these bathing caps that you could buy that had this kind of fourth-of-july plumes on them that were red and yellow and blue, and i wasn’t tempted to buy one, but i was reminded of the fact that i had been avoiding the beach. i was in this prematurely air conditioned supermarket, and there were all these aisles, and there were these bathing caps that you could buy that had this kind of fourth-of-july plumes on them that were red and yellow and blue, and i wasn’t tempted to buy one, but i was reminded of the fact that i had been avoiding the beach. i was in this prematurely air conditioned supermarket, and there were all these aisles, and there were these bathing caps that you could buy that had this kind of fourth-of-july plumes on them that were red and yellow and blue, and i wasn’t tempted to buy one, but i was reminded of the fact that i had been avoiding the beach. i was in this prematurely air conditioned supermarket, and there were all these aisles, and there were these bathing caps that you could buy that had this kind of fourth-of-july plumes on them that were red and yellow and blue, and i wasn’t tempted to buy one, but i was reminded of the fact that i had been avoiding the beach. i was in this prematurely air conditioned supermarket, and there were all these aisles, and there were these bathing caps that you could buy that had this kind of fourth-of-july plumes on them that were red and yellow and blue, and i wasn’t tempted to buy one, but i was reminded of the fact that i had been avoiding the beach. i was in this prematurely air conditioned supermarket, and there were all these aisles, and there were these bathing caps that you could buy that had this kind of fourth-of-july plumes on them that were red and yellow and blue, and i wasn’t tempted to buy one, but i was reminded of the fact that i had been avoiding the beach. i was in this prematurely air conditioned supermarket, and there were all these aisles, and there were these bathing caps that you could buy that had this kind of fourth-of-july plumes on them that were red and yellow and blue, and i wasn’t tempted to buy one, but i was reminded of the fact that i had been avoiding the beach…



O’Connor details half-baked attempt to kill Supreme Court
November 17, 2006

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Cookies mailed to the U.S. Supreme Court last year contained enough rat poison to kill all nine justices, retired member Sandra Day O’Connor said at a conference last week.

Barbara Joan March, a 60-year-old Connecticut woman, was sentenced last month to 15 years in prison. She sent 14 threatening letters in April 2005 — each with a baked good or piece of candy laced with rat poison — to a variety of federal officials: the nine Supreme Court justices; FBI Director Robert Mueller; his deputy; the chief of naval operations; the Air Force chief of staff and the chief of staff of the Army.

March pleaded guilty in March to 14 counts of mailing injurious articles.

March’s plea received little public attention until O’Connor discussed it last week.

“Every member of the Supreme Court received a wonderful package of home-baked cookies, and I don’t know why, (but) the staff decided to analyze them,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram quoted O’Connor as saying at the legal conference November 10 in the Dallas area. “Each one contained enough poison to kill the entire membership of the court.”

The letters did not seem to pose much of a real danger since the threatening note told the recipients the food was poisoned. In court papers submitted with the plea agreement, prosecutors said each of the envelopes contained a one-page typewritten letter stating either “I am” or “We are” followed by “going to kill you. This is poisoned.”

Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg said the poison packages never reached the chambers of the justices.

All mail sent to the court is screened, and there has been heightened security since anthrax-laced letters were sent to members of Congress and the media in 2001. The Supreme Court also received some suspicious packages at the time, forcing it to shut down for a short period of time. Those packages turned out to be harmless.

Authorities said March included fake handwritten signatures of the purported senders of the letters whose names and return addresses were typed both in the body of the letter and on the envelopes.

Prosecutors said the purported senders live throughout the United States, and were connected to March in various ways, including being classmates, a former co-worker and a former roommate.

Prosecutors said handwritten documents recovered in March’s apartment “reflect that she engaged in considerable planning in order to prepare and send the letters,” including making a detailed list of the purported senders and an apparent to-do list.


this country is going the same way germany went between 1920 and 1940… i mean, think about it: what if this guy had been talking about jews or blacks instead of muslims? would he still have a job after this? i think not.

we’ve got to do something about people’s opinions when their job is to speak them in the public arena. first of all because it is their job, and, secondly, because they might succeed in convincing some innocent person that they’re "right", which will only make the problem worse… 8/

CNN’s Beck to first-ever Muslim congressman: “[W]hat I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies'”
Nov 15, 2006

On the November 14 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck interviewed Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), who became the first Muslim ever elected to Congress on November 7, and asked Ellison if he could “have five minutes here where we’re just politically incorrect and I play the cards up on the table.” After Ellison agreed, Beck said: “I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.’ ” Beck added: “I’m not accusing you of being an enemy, but that’s the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way.”

As Media Matters for America has noted, Beck previously warned that if “Muslims and Arabs” don’t “act now” by “step[ping] to the plate” to condemn terrorism, they “will be looking through a razor wire fence at the West” and declared that “Muslims who have sat on your frickin’ hands the whole time” rather than “lining up to shoot the bad Muslims in the head” will face dire consequences.

From the November 14 edition of CNN Headline News’ Glenn Beck:

BECK: History was made last Tuesday when Democrat Keith Ellison got elected to Congress, representing the great state of Minnesota. Well, not really unusual that Minnesota would elect a Democrat. What is noteworthy is that Keith is the first Muslim in history to be elected to the House of Representatives. He joins us now.

Congratulations, sir.

ELLISON: How you doing, Glenn? Glad to be here.

BECK: Thank you. I will tell you, may I — may we have five minutes here where we’re just politically incorrect and I play the cards face up on the table?

ELLISON: Go there.

BECK: OK. No offense, and I know Muslims. I like Muslims. I’ve been to mosques. I really don’t believe that Islam is a religion of evil. I — you know, I think it’s being hijacked, quite frankly.

With that being said, you are a Democrat. You are saying, “Let’s cut and run.” And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, “Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.”

And I know you’re not. I’m not accusing you of being an enemy, but that’s the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way.

ELLISON: Well, let me tell you, the people of the Fifth Congressional District know that I have a deep love and affection for my country. There’s no one who is more patriotic than I am. And so, you know, I don’t need to — need to prove my patriotic stripes.

BECK: I understand that. And I’m not asking you to. I’m wondering if you see that. You come from a district that is heavily immigrant with Somalians. And I think it’s wonderful, honestly, I think it is really a good sign that you are a — you could be an icon to show Europe, this is the way you integrate into a country. I think the Somalians coming out and voting is a very good thing. With that —

ELLISON: I’d agree with you.

also, from the mouth of the same glenn beck:
"Muslims who have sat on your frickin’ hands the whole time and have not been marching in the streets" will be treated to situations that are "Nazi, World War II wrong, but society has proved it time and time again: It will happen"…
"In 10 years, Muslims and Arabs will be looking through a razor wire fence at the West."
Beck characterized letter criticizing Al Qaeda as “surprising,” because “the man who wrote it is a Muslim”


Al-Qaida ‘planted information to encourage US invasion’
By Richard Norton-Taylor
November 17, 2006

A senior al-Qaida operative deliberately planted information to encourage the US to invade Iraq, a double agent who infiltrated the network and spied for western intelligence agencies claimed last night.

The claim was made by Omar Nasiri, a pseudonym for a Moroccan who says he spent seven years working for European security and intelligence agencies, including MI5. He said Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, who ran training camps in Afghanistan, told his US interrogators that al-Qaida had been training Iraqis.

Libi was captured in November 2001 and taken to Egypt where he was allegedly tortured. Asked on BBC2’s Newsnight whether Libi or other jihadists would have told the truth if they were tortured, Nasiri replies: “Never”.

Asked whether he thought Libi had deliberately planted information to get the US to fight Iraq, Nasiri said: “Exactly”.

Nasiri said Libi “needed the conflict in Iraq because months before I heard him telling us when a question was asked in the mosque after the prayer in the evening, where is the best country to fight the jihad?” Libi said Iraq was chosen because it was the “weakest” Muslim country.

It is known that under interrogation, Libi misled Washington. His claims were seized on by George Bush, vice-president, Dick Cheney, and Colin Powell, secretary of state, in his address to the security council in February, 2003, which argued the case for a pre-emptive war against Iraq.

Though he did not name Libi, Mr Powell said “a senior terrorist operative” who “was responsible for one of al-Qaida’s training camps in Afghanistan” had told US agencies that Saddam Hussein had offered to train al-Qaida in the use of “chemical or biological weapons”.

What is new, if Nasiri is to be believed, is that the leading al-Qaida operative wanted to overthrow Saddam and use Iraq as a jihadist base. Nasiri also says that part of al-Qaida training was to withstand interrogation and provide false information.

Nasiri said last night he was later sent to London by his French handlers to infiltrate Finsbury Park mosque and spy on its imam, Abu Hamza, as well as another radical cleric, Abu Qatada.

He said MI5 and French intelligence were watching the two clerics in London from as far back as 1997. He said he told them that Abu Hamza was carrying out combat training and how he listened into conversations relaying messages between Abu Qatada and the training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“At the time we didn’t think that the growing threat from al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden was sufficient to put more resources on it,” Bob Milton, a Metropolitan police special branch officer, told Newsnight. “We were monitoring what he was doing, certainly working with the US and European colleagues to do that. But at that time we were still unsure what the threat would be,” he said.

Abu Hamza was charged in 2003 and convicted this year for incitement to murder and race hate crimes.


Some Americans Lack Food, but USDA Won’t Call Them Hungry
By Elizabeth Williamson
November 16, 2006

The U.S. government has vowed that Americans will never be hungry again. But they may experience “very low food security.”

Every year, the Agriculture Department issues a report that measures Americans’ access to food, and it has consistently used the word “hunger” to describe those who can least afford to put food on the table. But not this year.


Mark Nord, the lead author of the report, said “hungry” is “not a scientifically accurate term for the specific phenomenon being measured in the food security survey.” Nord, a USDA sociologist, said, “We don’t have a measure of that condition.”

The USDA said that 12 percent of Americans — 35 million people — could not put food on the table at least part of last year. Eleven million of them reported going hungry at times. Beginning this year, the USDA has determined “very low food security” to be a more scientifically palatable description for that group.

The United States has set a goal of reducing the proportion of food-insecure households to 6 percent or less by 2010, or half the 1995 level, but it is proving difficult. The number of hungriest Americans has risen over the past five years. Last year, the total share of food-insecure households stood at 11 percent.

Less vexing has been the effort to fix the way hunger is described. Three years ago, the USDA asked the Committee on National Statistics of the National Academies “to ensure that the measurement methods USDA uses to assess households’ access — or lack of access — to adequate food and the language used to describe those conditions are conceptually and operationally sound.”

Among several recommendations, the panel suggested that the USDA scrap the word hunger, which “should refer to a potential consequence of food insecurity that, because of prolonged, involuntary lack of food, results in discomfort, illness, weakness, or pain that goes beyond the usual uneasy sensation.”

To measure hunger, the USDA determined, the government would have to ask individual people whether “lack of eating led to these more severe conditions,” as opposed to asking who can afford to keep food in the house, Nord said.

It is not likely that USDA economists will tackle measuring individual hunger. “Hunger is clearly an important issue,” Nord said. “But lacking a widespread consensus on what the word ‘hunger’ should refer to, it’s difficult for research to shed meaningful light on it.”

Anti-hunger advocates say the new words sugarcoat a national shame. “The proposal to remove the word ‘hunger’ from our official reports is a huge disservice to the millions of Americans who struggle daily to feed themselves and their families,” said David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, an anti-hunger advocacy group. “We . . . cannot hide the reality of hunger among our citizens.”

In assembling its report, the USDA divides Americans into groups with “food security” and those with “food insecurity,” who cannot always afford to keep food on the table. Under the old lexicon, that group — 11 percent of American households last year — was categorized into “food insecurity without hunger,” meaning people who ate, though sometimes not well, and “food insecurity with hunger,” for those who sometimes had no food.

That last group now forms the category “very low food security,” described as experiencing “multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.” Slightly better-off people who aren’t always sure where their next meal is coming from are labeled “low food security.”

That 35 million people in this wealthy nation feel insecure about their next meal can be hard to believe, even in the highest circles. In 1999, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, then running for president, said he thought the annual USDA report — which consistently finds his home state one of the hungriest in the nation — was fabricated.

“I’m sure there are some people in my state who are hungry,” Bush said. “I don’t believe 5 percent are hungry.”

Bush said he believed that the statistics were aimed at his candidacy. “Yeah, I’m surprised a report floats out of Washington when I’m running a presidential campaign,” he said.

The agency usually releases the report in the fall, for reasons that “have nothing to do with politics,” Nord said.

This year, when the report failed to appear in October as it usually does, Democrats accused the Bush administration of delaying its release until after the midterm elections. Nord denied the contention, saying, “This is a schedule that was set several months ago.”

U.S. sees reinvigorated al Qaeda in South Asia
By David Morgan
Nov 15, 2006

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Al Qaeda is reinvigorating its operations from havens on the Afghan-Pakistani border and poses a growing challenge to U.S. interests in both
Iraq and Afghanistan, American intelligence officials said on Wednesday.

Five years after the September 11 attacks and the fall of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, the network led by Osama bin Laden has replaced leaders killed or captured by the United States and its allies with new seasoned militants.

“It has shown resilience,” CIA Director Michael Hayden told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“The loss of a series of Al Qaeda leaders since 9/11 has been substantial. But it’s also been mitigated by what is, frankly, a pretty deep bench of low-ranking personnel capable of stepping up to assume leadership positions,” Hayden said.

“These new leaders average over 40 years of age and two decades of involvement in global jihadism.”

Hayden was testifying at a Senate hearing on Iraq and Afghanistan along with Army Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, director of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency.

Sectarian fighting between Sunnis and Shi’ites in Iraq, and increasing attacks by al Qaeda-backed Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, worry lawmakers about the direction of U.S. policy in the Middle East and South Asia.

Also of growing concern is al Qaeda’s seeming ability to inspire home-grown cells in Western countries including Britain, where authorities thwarted an alleged plot to blow up U.S.-bound trans-Atlantic airliners in August.


Hayden said bin Laden and his second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri, believed holed up on the mountainous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, have been able to maintain al Qaeda’s cohesion from a viable safe haven.

“That safe haven gives them the physical and even psychological space they need to meet, train, plan, prepare new attacks,” said Hayden, a four-star Air Force general.

“Without a fundamental comprehensive change in the permissiveness of the border region, al Qaeda will remain a dangerous threat to security in Afghanistan and to U.S. interests around the globe,” Maples told lawmakers.

Despite the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al Qaeda leader in Iraq, the two intelligence officials said the group remained a leading actor in that country’s sectarian violence, which was likely only to increase.

Hayden blamed al Qaeda for spreading “almost satanic terror” among Shi’ite groups whose militias have greatly escalated the violence in Iraq.

A purported audio recording by Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, the current al Qaeda leader in Iraq, last week taunted the Bush administration and threatened to blow up the White House.

Hayden claimed success at dismantling the hierarchy that orchestrated the September 11 attacks, but said Washington only partly understands links between regional militant groups and al Qaeda and is just beginning to dissect al Qaeda’s effect on so-called home-grown cells inspired by its rhetoric.

“That’s ultimately the war winner: how do you understand the ‘inspired by’ al Qaeda,” he said. “You don’t see the movement of people or money or supplies. You see the movement of ideas.”

the united states is becoming a “third world country” and all the republicans can do is gripe about a supposed threat from osama bin laden, who they, themselves, cancelled the hunt for back in july… it’s well past time for this country to grow up and stop acting a spoiled brat… 8/

Dalai Lama wants Saddam spared
Nov 12, 2006

TOKYO (AFP) – Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has appealed for Saddam Hussein’s life to be spared, saying the deposed Iraqi president was not beyond redemption.

“The death penalty is said to fulfill a preventive function, yet it is clearly a form of revenge,” the Nobel peace laureate told reporters as he ended a two-week visit to Japan.

“However horrible an act a person may have committed, everyone has the potential to improve and correct himself,” he said.

“I hope that in the case of Saddam Hussein, as with all others, that human life will be respected and spared.”

An Iraqi court sentenced Saddam, ousted in a US-led invasion in 2003, to hang on November 5 for the deaths of 148 Shiites in an Iraqi village in 1982, after an attempt to assassinate him.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has said he expected Saddam to be hanged before the end of the year.

The Dalai Lama has been critical of the US-led invasion of Iraq despite his relationship with US President George W. Bush, who has met with him in defiance of China.

China, which sent troops into Tibet in 1950, accuses the Buddhist monk of being a “splittist” and opposes his frequent travels overseas.

The Dalai Lama has said he was seeking greater autonomy for the Himalayan region within China and opposed all forms of violence. He fled into exile in India in 1959.


i sent out an order for 1000 postcards today from my customer who had her order ready. i’m still waiting to hear from one other person about artwork (he’s an “art-car-tist”, which probably means that i shouldn’t hold my breath), and i’ve also got a tentative order for the ballard sedentary sousa band, when they get their shit together… but then again, they haven’t gotten their shit together to figure out if they’re going to order T-shirts or not, so i’m not holding my breath. my new computer shipped out from pennsylvania yesterday, and it should arrive here next tuesday. i should be getting a shipment of incense in real soon as well… like today or tomorrow.


this was emailed to me by a very old friend. it may be is probably is unashamedly not safe for a “work” environment, but since i am not in a work environment, i say stick it!


Baghdad’s morgues so full, bodies being turned away
November 12, 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — Baghdad’s morgues are full.

With no space to store bodies, some victims of the sectarian slaughter are not being kept for relatives to claim, but photographed, numbered and quickly interred in government cemeteries.

Men fearful of an anonymous burial are tattooing their thighs with names and phone numbers.

In October, a particularly bloody month for Iraqi civilians, about 1,600 bodies were turned in at the Baghdad central morgue, said its director, Dr. Abdul-Razaq al-Obaidi.

The city’s network of morgues, built to hold 130 bodies at most, now holds more than 500, he says.(Watch latest carnage and chaos in Baghdad.

Bodies are sent for burial every three or four days just to make room for the daily intake, sometimes making corpse identification impossible.

“We can’t remove all the bodies just so that one can be identified and then put them all back in again,” al-Obaidi said. “We simply don’t have the staff.”

Al-Obaidi said the daily crush of relatives is an emotional and logistical burden.

“Every day, there are crowds of women outside weeping, yelling and flailing in grief. They’re all looking for their dead sons and I don’t know how the computer or we will bear up,” he said.

While no one knows how many Iraqis have died, daily tallies of violent deaths by The Associated Press average nearly 45 a day. About half of them are unidentified bodies discovered on city streets or floating in the Tigris River.

The United Nations estimates about 100 violent deaths daily. The Iraqi health minister last week put civilian deaths over the entire 44 months since the U.S. invasion at about 150,000 — close to the U.N. figure and about three times the previously accepted estimates of 45,000 to 50,000.

In morgues across Iraq where capacity stretches beyond thin, bodies are even being turned away.

“We have to reject them,” Hadi al-Itabi of the morgue in Kut, southeast of Baghdad, said he told men who turned in the bodies of six slain border policeman last week. “We just don’t have enough cold storage.”

Iraq’s bureaucracy of death is overwhelmed.

The task of identifying and interring bodies is all the more difficult because of the clandestine nature of the killings: Increasingly, Iraqis are being killed far from home and in secret, the victims of kidnappers and sectarian death squads.

With nowhere else to look when a friend or loved-one goes missing, family members first check the local morgue.

Abbas Beyat’s joined the line outside Baghdad’s central morgue after his brother Hussein disappeared a month ago while driving through the mainly Sunni town of Tarmiyah, 30 miles north of Baghdad.

The family had already paid a $60,000 ransom to an intermediary who then disappeared with the money.

“There were three piles, each with about 20 bodies,” Beyat, 56, said, describing the scene inside the morgue.

“The clerk told me to dig through them until I found my brother. I had to lift them off until I found him,” he said. Like many of those abducted, Hussein Beyet bore the marks of torture, with holes from an electrical drill visible in his skull, Beyat said.

Others never find their loved ones’ bodies at all.

The fear of leaving the bereaved without a corpse to bury is so strong that some Iraqi men now tattoo their names, phone numbers and other identifying information on their upper thighs, despite Islam’s strict disapproval against such practices.

On the day he turned away the border policemen’s bodies, Al-Itabi said Kut’s morgue had already buried 15 unidentified corpses pulled from the Tigris River, all of them bound, bullet-riddled, and heavily decomposed.

The government cemetery in Kut, opened on September 24, already holds the graves of 135 unidentified victims.

Hundreds of such bodies have been fished ashore at the town of Suwayrah where they are snagged in nets stretched across the Tigris to prevent river weed spreading into the surrounding canal network.

Most of the dead are mutilated by torture, a practice common on all sides, but especially prevalent among Shiite murder gangs that have snatched thousands of Sunnis from their homes and neighborhoods since the February 22 bombing of an important Shiite shrine in Samarra, north of Baghdad.

Health Ministry officials are discussing how to handle the overflow of bodies. One proposal under consideration is the use of refrigerated trucks, manned by staff entrusted specifically to help identify bodies.

“That would solve a big problem for us,” al-Obaidi said.

With government unable to handle the load, the task of burial usually falls to Islamic charities and other social groups that rely on public donations.

One of the biggest, the organization of powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, has buried more than 3,000 unidentified bodies outside the southern holy city of Karbala since September 1, according to an al-Sadr aide, Raad al-Karbalaie.

Trucks from the capital arrive several times a month carrying loads of 50 or more bodies each, each says.

“They’ve already been photographed and have numbers attached, so hopefully the families can identify them someday,” al-Obaidi said. “Then they’re free to exhume them for reburial.”

Mosques affiliated with the organization take up special collections at Friday prayers to fund the burials, while the men who inter them donate their time and labor, he said.

Um Amir’s trip to the Baghdad morgue came too late.

One month after her brother Adnan Hussein disappeared while selling plastic sacks in western Baghdad’s Bayaa neighborhood, the 56-year-old Sunni housewife identified him from a picture stored on the Baghdad morgue’s computer.

“The clerk told me he had already been buried,” Amir said. “They needed the space for new bodies.”


i have bought a "new to me" mac, which is actually almost exactly the same as my old, dead mac. it’s good because it means that i can transfer all of my graphic files and stuff directly from one computer to another without having to do anything more than add the old hard disk to the new machine. i may have to reinstall the system on the new machine, and i may have to switch the old hard disk from being "master" to being "slave", neither of those things will take very long at all, and i should have a functioning mac in a very short period of time… which is very good because i’ve already got two "thinking about it" customers who are still coming up with artwork, and 1 "for sure" customer who is sending me a CD with an indesign file, which i can’t open on either windows or linux, and a TIFF which she is apparently too dim to convert to an EPS file herself (but is a simple matter of "save as" with photoshop, which i don’t think she has). hopefully the files she’s sending are the correct resolution… she said “assume the printer can deal w/” indesign files, and that “know all the printers I’ve dealt w/ in the past use Indesign.” which indicates to me that she hasn’t dealt with too many printers outside of the seattle area, but i know for a fact that the wholesale 4 colour printer i’m using deals with .jpg or .eps files only and won’t even look at an indesign file without an $80 "typesetting" fee, to keep costs down… hopefully i’ve got whatever font it is that she’s using, although she sent me a .pdf of both sides, and i might be able to get that to work if nothing else will.


at 7:20 this evening i got a UPS delivery from 4-over, which is a trade printing company that does really high quality 4-colour printing for very cheap prices. the package i received contained two hundred 4×6 postcards, 4 colour on one side and one colour (black) on the other side, and i only had to pay $44 for them… around $20 for 100 cards. if i had wanted to get a larger run, i could have gotten 1000 for around $60, but i wanted to make sure that the printing quality was okay before i jumped in with both feet.

and they arrived just in time for World Art Car Day, which happens tomorrow. i’ll probably have representative pictures to post…

anybody need printing done? i’m the guy to talk to… 8)


i was just accosted at my front door by two gentlemen in suits and black trench coats who tried to convert me to jehovah’s witless-ism… they ignored the hanuman head that’s hanging at eye-level next to the door, they ignored the “NO SOLICITORS OF RELIGION” sign that is also posted at eye-level on the door, and our house is at the end of a gravel road, on which we are the only house… you would think that, since they were on foot, they wouldn’t bother… unless they had an ulterior motive or a specific request to visit me. 8/

after listening to the first part of their obvious conversion script, i told them that we are hindu, and intend to stay that way, and watched, giggling, as they trudged back down the road in the rain… hopefully that will be enough to convince them not to come back.



Bush Approval Ratings
Bush’s approval ratings from 2001 to 2005 as reported by the BBC
Bush Hypothetical Approval Ratings
Bush’s hypothetical approval ratings over the same period if 9/11 hadn’t happened

Bush diminished as world leader
8 November 2006
By Paul Reynolds

The mid-term elections have left President Bush diminished as a world leader.

The word abroad will be that George Bush is on the defensive and has taken a knock. Enemies will be encouraged. Friends will take cover.

To his own publicly expressed dissatisfaction with the way things are going in Iraq has been added voter dissatisfaction with him.

His party is even in danger of losing the Senate as well as the House of Representatives.

As Oscar Wilde might have put it: “To lose one House may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness.”

Mr Bush will have to find a way to stop the slow strangulation that Iraq is now exercising on him and his party.

What now for US foreign policy?
And the question being asked now is whether the days of major US foreign policy interventions under this president are over.

Will the United States now conclude that the problems in Iraq and the lack of domestic support for them require a purely diplomatic approach, for example towards Iran and North Korea?

And above all, what will this mean for policy in Iraq itself, the root of his woes?

Vice President Cheney dismissed the election results in advance with a statement that policy in Iraq would go “full speed ahead”.

One should not underestimate George Bush’s determination. He has said proudly that he will stay the course in Iraq even if his wife and dog end up as his only supporters.

And it is the case that since the president controls foreign policy, he need not change course because of cries from the voters.

But he himself has spoken of the need for re-assessment and everyone is waiting for the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group under his father’s secretary of state James Baker. It is likely to report before the end of the year.

Not that the presidential options are many. Even before the election he laid down that the Iraqi government itself must do more, both politically and militarily, to go on justifying American support. That has to be given time to work through.

If there is any comfort in the Democratic party’s successes for Mr Bush, it is that his opponents really have no more idea of what to do in Iraq than he has.

Their constant call is to “change course” but nobody has explained what that means. They cannot, because they do not know.

The American Century
During his first term President Bush bestrode the world like a colossus.

He drew inspiration from the principles of the Project for the New American Century, drawn up in 1997. Among the signatories were Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

It asked: “Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favourable to American principles and interests?”

The 9/11 attacks and the “war on terror” he declared in a speech soon afterwards allowed him to use the instruments of US power and diplomacy to topple the Taleban and gather support from around the world.

Then there was the “Forward Strategy of Freedom” announced in November 2003, for democracy in the Middle East. “Promoting democracy and freedom in the Middle East will be a massive and difficult undertaking, but it is worthy of America’s effort and sacrifice, ” he said.

Iraq and the disastrous course of events between Israel and its neighbours have lowered expectations for all that.

And now the mid-term elections, which the Republicans thought earlier this year they had in the bag have confirmed that criticism from fellow Americans has caught up with criticism from around the world.

and yet…

Pelosi: Bush Impeachment `Off the Table’
November 8, 2006
By Susan Ferrechio

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi promised Wednesday that when her party takes over, the new majority will not attempt to remove President Bush from office, despite earlier pledges to the contrary from others in the caucus.

“I have said it before and I will say it again: Impeachment is off the table,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said during a news conference.

Pelosi also said Democrats, despite complaining about years of unfair treatment by the majority GOP, “are not about getting even” with Republicans.

She said the GOP, which frequently excluded Democrats from conference committee hearings and often blocked attempts to introduce amendments, would not suffer similar treatment.

“Democrats pledge civility and bipartisanship in the conduct of the work here and we pledge partnerships with Congress and the Republicans in Congress, and the president — not partisanship.”

She also extended an olive branch to Bush on the war in Iraq, saying she plans to work with him on a new plan but will not support the current strategy and supports beginning redeployment of troops by the end of the year.

Pelosi also said she supports the idea of a bipartisan summit on the war.

“We know, ‘stay the course,’ is not the way,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi said she received a brief, early-morning call from Bush, who invited her to lunch on Thursday.

“We both expressed our wish to work in a bipartisan way for the benefit of the American people.”

A handful of Democratic lawmakers who are considered top Pelosi lieutenants said after the news conference that they believe she will be able to keep their traditionally diverse caucus united, despite an influx of new, more moderate Democrats.

“She will force a synergistic union,” of the caucus, said Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman John B. Larson of Connecticut.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said the election has sent a message to Democrats that will foster a sense of unity even among those who agree the least.

But the party must still complete potentially contentious leadership elections before any of that work can begin.

Pelosi was unwilling to discuss those elections Wednesday, saying the votes for all the House seats have not been counted.

“There are people who have ambitions,” Lofgren acknowledged. “A majority of the Democratic members have never served in the majority. There is a lot of pent-up ambition to do something.”


You scored as Stephen Hawking.

While the functions of gravity are sure to raise your spirits, in terms of physicality they always let you down, as you are quite lame.

You are the type of person that develops ground-breaking theories in the realm of science, but you will take them back, and this will displease the church.

Given that you speak through a computerized voice box and are incapable of natural body movement, you are akin to a repulsive bio-tech mutation straight out of Total Recall, but on the plus side, your gifted intellect makes you quite the formidable opponent in games like Chess and Starcraft.

Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking
Dante Alighieri
C.G. Jung
Jesus Christ
Friedrich Nietzsche
Charles Manson
Elvis Presley
Sigmund Freud
Mother Teresa
Adolf Hitler
Miyamoto Musashi
Steven Morrissey
Hugh Hefner
O.J. Simpson
What Pseudo Historical Figure Best Suits You?
created with QuizFarm.com


my mac is now totally dead: recently the auxiliary hard disk died, but the main hard disk was, apparently, okay and, using my network and the hard disk on my laptop as a “stop gap” i was able to struggle and get by… but now nothing shows on the video, and, because of the fact that it’s an “obsolete” machine (which is to say, it’s a G3 running Os9), nobody will look at it to find out what’s wrong. 8(

i just spent the whole day re-organising my “office” to account for the “obsolete” computer moving out. if i get a web site update that contains photos, i’m going to have to do the photo manipulation on moe’s computer, but if i get an incense order, i’m screwed. hopefully i will have figured out a way around this difficulty before it becomes pressing… 8(


Evangelical leader says he bought meth
November 3, 2006

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Rev. Ted Haggard admitted Friday he bought methamphetamine and received a massage from a male prostitute. But the influential Christian evangelist insisted he threw the drugs away and never had sex with the man.

Haggard, who as president of the National Association of Evangelicals wielded influence on Capitol Hill and condemned both gay marriage and homosexuality, resigned on Thursday after a Denver man named Mike Jones claimed that he had many drug-fueled trysts with Haggard.

On Friday, Haggard said that he received a massage from Jones after being referred to him by a Denver hotel, and that he bought meth for himself from the man.

But Haggard said he never had sex with Jones. And as for the drugs, “I was tempted, but I never used it,” the 50-year-old Haggard told reporters from his vehicle while leaving his home with his wife and three of his five children.

Jones, 49, denied selling meth to Haggard. “Never,” he told MSNBC. Haggard “met someone else that I had hooked him up with to buy it.”

Jones also scoffed at the idea that a hotel would have sent Haggard to him.

“No concierge in Denver would have referred me,” he said. He said he had advertised himself as an escort only in gay publications or on gay Web sites.

Jones did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press on Friday.

In addition to resigning his post at the NAE, which claims 30 million members, Haggard stepped aside as leader of his 14,000-member New Life Church pending a church investigation. In a TV interview this week, he said: “Never had a gay relationship with anybody, and I’m steady with my wife, I’m faithful to my wife.”

In Denver, where Jones said his encounters with Haggard took place, police Detective Virginia Quinones said she was checking into whether the alleged drug deal was under investigation.

Jones claims Haggard paid him for sex nearly every month for three years until August. He said Haggard identified himself as “Art.” Jones said that he learned who Haggard really was when he saw the evangelical leader on television.

Jones said he went public with the allegations because Haggard has supported a measure on Tuesday’s ballot that would amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage. Jones said he was also angry that Haggard in public condemned gay sex.

Haggard, who had been president since 2003 of the NAE, has participated in conservative Christian leaders’ conference calls with White House staffers and lobbied members of Congress last year on U.S. Supreme Court nominees.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto said Friday that Haggard had visited the White House once or twice and participated in some of the conference calls. He declined to comment further, calling the matter a personal issue for Haggard.

Corwin Smidt, a political scientist at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., and director of the Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics there, said that Haggard’s role with the association gave him some political clout, but that the group’s focus is more on religion than political activism.

“It isn’t necessarily that all evangelicals are paying close attention to what he’s saying and doing, but he is an important leader,” Smidt said.

James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, an influential conservative Christian ministry based in Colorado Springs, said he was “heartsick” over the allegations. He described Haggard as his close friend and colleague.

Aaron Stern, another pastor at New Life, told Associated Press Television News on Friday that Haggard is a man of integrity and that church members don’t know whether to believe the allegations.

Stern said he has been telling church members seeking his advice: “People do things we don’t expect them to do, but in the midst of all of that our God is faithful, our God is strong.”

Jones took a lie-detector test Friday, and his answers to questions about whether he had sexual contact with Haggard “indicated deception,” said John Kresnick, who administered the test free at the request of a Denver radio station.

Jones told reporters afterward: “I am confused why I failed that, other than the fact that I’m totally exhausted.”


US Citizens to be Required "Clearance" to Leave USA
October 26, 2006

Forget no-fly lists. If Uncle Sam gets its way, beginning on Jan. 14, 2007, we’ll all be on no-fly lists, unless the government gives us permission to leave-or re-enter-the United States.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (HSA) has proposed that all airlines, cruise lines-even fishing boats-be required to obtain clearance for each passenger they propose taking into or out of the United States.

It doesn’t matter if you have a U.S. Passport – a “travel document” that now, absent a court order to the contrary, gives you a virtually unqualified right to enter or leave the United States, any time you want. When the DHS system comes into effect next January, if the agency says “no” to a clearance request, or doesn’t answer the request at all, you won’t be permitted to enter-or leave-the United States.

Consider what might happen if you’re a U.S. passport holder on assignment in a country like Saudi Arabia. Your visa is about to expire, so you board your flight back to the United States. But wait! You can’t get on, because you don’t have permission from the HSA. Saudi immigration officials are on hand to escort you to a squalid detention center, where you and others who are now effectively “stateless persons” are detained, potentially indefinitely, until their immigration status is sorted out.

Why might the HSA deny you permission to leave-or enter-the United States? No one knows, because the entire clearance procedure would be an administrative determination made secretly, with no right of appeal. Naturally, the decision would be made without a warrant, without probable cause and without even any particular degree of suspicion. Basically, if the HSA decides it doesn’t like you, you’re a prisoner – either outside, or inside, the United States, whether or not you hold a U.S. passport.

The U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized there is a constitutional right to travel internationally. Indeed, it has declared that the right to travel is “a virtually unconditional personal right.” The United States has also signed treaties guaranteeing “freedom of travel.” So if these regulations do go into effect, you can expect a lengthy court battle, both nationally and internationally.

Think this can’t happen? Think again. It’s ALREADY happening. Earlier this year, HSA forbade airlines from transporting an 18-year-old a native-born U.S. citizen, back to the United States. The prohibition lasted nearly six months until it was finally lifted a few weeks ago. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union are two countries in recent history that didn’t allow their citizens to travel abroad without permission. If these regulations go into effect, you can add the United States to this list.

For more information on this proposed regulation, see http://hasbrouck.org/IDP/IDP-APIS-comments.pdf.

Bush bigger threat than Kim Jong-il
by Julian Glover
November 4, 2006

AMERICA is seen as a threat to world peace by its closest neighbours and allies, according to an international survey of public opinion published yesterday.

The survey shows that British voters see George Bush as a greater danger to world peace than North Korean leader Kim Jong-il or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Both countries were once cited by Mr Bush as part of an “axis of evil” but it is Mr Bush who now alarms voters in countries with traditionally strong links to the US.

The survey was carried out by The Guardian in Britain and newspapers in Israel ( Haaretz), Canada ( La Presse and Toronto Star) and Mexico ( Reforma), using professional pollsters in each country.

In Britain, 69 per cent of those questioned said they believed US policy has made the world less safe since 2001. Only 7 per cent thought action in Iraq and Afghanistan had improved global security.

The finding was mirrored in Canada and Mexico, with 62 per cent of Canadians and 57 per cent of Mexicans saying the world had become more dangerous because of US policy. In Israel, only one in four said that Mr Bush had made the world safer. Voters in three of the four countries overwhelmingly rejected the decision to invade Iraq, with only Israeli voters in favour, 59 per cent to 34 per cent against.


Former Agent Says Google and CIA in Partnership
Marcus Yam
October 31, 2006

Is Google’s quest to manage the world’s information leading straight to the CIA?

Former CIA clandestine case officer Robert David Steele made some very hot comments on his appearance on the Alex Jones radio show. Steele cites his contacts within the agency with the information that Google and the CIA are involved with one another.

Steele said, “I think that Google has made a very important strategic mistake in dealing with the secret elements of the U.S. government – that is a huge mistake and I’m hoping they’ll work their way out of it and basically cut that relationship off.”

In reference to Google’s fight against the U.S. Department of Justice for the privacy of its users, Steele claims that it was an elaborate charade intended for the public eye.

“Google was a little hypocritical when they were refusing to honor a Department of Justice request for information because they were heavily in bed with the Central Intelligence Agency, the office of research and development,” concluded Steele.

From reports, Steele did not bring evidence to light in order to back up his claims, and neither Google nor the CIA are yet commenting on the matter.

shameless self promotion


Bruce Salamandir-Feyrecilde (pronounced "fair child") shows his poi-swinging skills. He goes by the name salamandir, with the "s" lowercase.

He’s seen fire and he’s seen pain
Art becomes therapy after brain injury
November 01 2006

His lips are turned up in a slight smile as Bruce salamandir-Feyrecilde swings the chained balls of fire.

He stares blankly at a tree. It’s unclear whether his expression is one of inner peace or deep focus.

“I don’t know either,” said salamandir of Federal Way. “I’m looking at that tree because if I look at the fire, I freak out.”

Salamandir has been swinging poi since he suffered a brain injury in 2003.

“Everybody told me it would be good therapy,” he said.

Poi is similar to juggling with balls on ropes. The balls are swung in various circular, fluid motions.

The art originated in New Zealand and was used to increase flexibility, strength and coordination.

Poi can be practiced with socks, bean bags, tennis balls or any small object on a string.

Performers often use various glowing items or fire.

Salamandir uses two metal chains with balls of kevlar wicking at the ends. He lights the fire with classic lighter fluid, although several Web sites suggest paraffin or kerosene, noting that alcohol and lighter fluid or dangerous due to their low flash point.

He keeps a fire extinguisher nearby every time he performs.

Besides performing in his yard for practice, salamandir performs publicly with the Seattle-based group Cirque de Flambe.

The Cirque de Flambe performs a circus-inspired act using pyrotechnics.

Salamandir mostly plays musical instruments for the group. When he does perform with fire, he’s part of the Big Boys with Pois act. Salamandir said he rarely performs for a crowd because although it’s an art he loves, he just isn’t very talented.


“I hesitate to call myself a fire dancer because that requires a lot more grace and dexterity than I have,” he said. “The fact that I have a brain injury and I’m still able to do this stuff at all is really amazing.”

In July 2003, salamandir and his wife were getting ready for bed on a Sunday night when he suddenly fell over and started drooling, he said.

“I remember being carried out of the room by the guys from the ambulance,” he said.

He was in a coma for 10 days, he said.

“It’s amazing that I’m alive,” he added.

An arteriovenous malformation had ruptured in salamandir’s brain, causing a cerebral hemorrhage.

The effect was similar to an aneurysm.

“It’s a fancy way of saying my brain exploded,” he said.

According to an article on Webmd.com, some types of cerebral hemorrhages kill 50 percent of people who suffer them. Of those who survive, 50 percent are left with a permanent major neurological deficit.

Salamandir points to the scar that spreads across the left side of his head and the screw that sticks out slightly from beneath his scalp.

“I have a three-inch hole in my head where they removed a blood clot the size of an egg,” he said.

Salamandir said that today, he struggles with language, and his right hand is numb and doesn’t work as well as it used to.

“A lot of times I’ll forget, for example, that I have a right arm at all. It just sort of hangs there,” he said.

Poi is therapeutic because salamandir is forced to use his right arm.

“Not only does it engage both my hands, but it engages both my hands on both sides of my body,” he said.

Besides swinging poi, salamandir plays a variety of woodwind, brass and keyboard instruments for the Fremont Philharmonic, the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band, the Banda Gozona and The Really Big Production Company.

Currently, salamandir is working on perfecting a flaming tuba act. He was inspired by a video of a man performing with a flaming sousaphone.

He hopes to perform with his flaming tuba next year.