Friday, December 26, 2008

Yesterday I was a Monk, Today I'm a Druid, But I'll Always Be a Gemini

The link is in the title
And that's not my best picture.
The Druid

Druids are filled with a dramatic sense of wonder, viewing the world through rose-colored glasses as they watch everything come to life, from flora and fauna to mundane objects. They see the good in almost everyone and everything, yet struggle with the idea of ethical perfection (or lack thereof). They tend to turn away from the world and toward essence and ideal, and while they are concerned with all people and creatures, those things are valued only in that they are part of a greater whole; in this, they often struggle to find their place in things, and need to feel a part of whatever they are involved with. Fluent with language, they are keen to pick out patterns in people and things, although their somewhat otherworldly focus on the larger picture can lead them to seem somewhat absentminded. Nevertheless, they have a knack for explaining complex things quite simply.

Druids are often beset by Histrionic behavior, craving attention, reassurance and praise in everything they do. Emotionally exaggerated and often sexually charged, they become concerned with physical appearance, and grow uncomfortable when they are not the center of attention. Their emotions are subject to rapid shifts, and their actions are entirely self-centered, with no tolerance for delay in getting what they want. Their speech often lacks detail as their shallow emotions carry across into their dealings with others.

Oh my this does make me seem a perfect asshole, but the company is good.

Famous druid types include Homer, Shakespeare, Dick Clark, Jackie Onasis and Julia Roberts.

Hell Has Now Officially Frozen Over

Oh yeah, it looks all picture postcard pretty and everything, but it's no picnic. Ten inches of heavy white stuff that looks like cotton and weights thirty pounds a shovel full on top of rain that froze minutes after it fell and was preceded by a loud crack of thunder and a blinding flash of lightening on Christmas evening... Well it's just hell.

I tried to sleep most of the morning, but it was a challenge what with the whine of snowblowers and all. You'd think my snowblowing neighbors would be kind enough to help the Old One out with a little snowblowing help, but it seems that the only neighbors with the infernal machines are of the Mormon persuasion, and word travels fast in the cult. Once you scare the crazy old ones in group "therapy" with the two most fearsome words in Utah--Atheist and Gay, they cut you off and shun you. Oh yes they do. Charity thy name is not Mormon.

So I have just about broken my back today. And all the children of hiring age are off to the movies or hiding out pretending to be off to the movies, so I couldn't even bribe one of them to shovel this heavy load.

I bet next time "therapy" comes around the only group available to me will be a group of therapists armed with tranquilizer guns and fully ready to take me down. Oh yes. Nothing worse than a "gay atheist" on the 23 of December in a group of old Mormon's with bipolar disorder all loaded with the blessings of Jesus and Joseph Smith and thinking themselves among "friends" to find the devil in their midst and not all compliant like a good Mormon woman should be to shake their faith just a tiny bit, just enough to get out the word that no snowblowing help shall be given. Amen.

Clean Coal Snow Job

Tennessee Valley Coal Ash Spill Buries 400 Acres, Damages Homes
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee, December 23, 2008 (ENS) - A retaining wall at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston coal-fired power plant collapsed early Monday morning, causing 2.6 million cubic yards of fly ash to be spilled across hundreds of acres.

The Kingston Steam Plant in Harriman, about 50 miles west of Knoxville, at the confluence of the Emory and Clinch Rivers is owned and operated by the nation's largest public utility.

The wet gray sludge buried about 400 acres six feet deep. One house was torn from its foundations, and 11 other homes were damaged and evacuated. No injuries or fatalities have been reported.

TVA estimates that the cleanup could take weeks to complete and says long-term plans are being developed. Environmentalists warn that fly ash contains toxins - mercury, arsenic, and lead among others - that could seep into the ground and flow downriver.
The wet fly ash engulfed this house, one of 12 damaged in the spill. (Photo courtesy Tennessee Valley Authority)

TVA President and CEO Tom Kilgore said today, "Protecting the public, our employees, and the environment is TVA's primary concern as we supply electric power for the people of Tennessee Valley region."

"We deeply regret that a retention wall for ash containment at our Kingston Fossil Plant failed, resulting in an ash slide and damage to nearby homes," said Kilgore. "We are grateful no injuries have been reported, and we will take all appropriate actions to assist those affected by this situation."

TVA provided hotel rooms, meals, transportation and other immediate needs for affected residents who were not able to occupy their homes Monday night. Additional assistance is being provided by TVA as needed by affected residents. Electricity, gas and water have been restored to all homes in the area that are habitable, the TVA said.

The Swan Pond Road past the Kingston plant remains closed except for residents who live in the area whose homes are habitable. There is no estimated timeline for when the road will be reopened.

TVA Police are assisting local law enforcement with maintaining security for the homes in the affected area.

Heavy equipment including bulldozers, dump trucks, and backhoes have been brought to the site and some clearing of debris has started.

Kingston is one of TVA's larger fossil plants. It generates 10 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, enough to supply the needs of about 670,000 homes in the Tennessee Valley. An adequate supply of coal is available and all nine units at Kingston continue to operate.

"This holiday disaster shows that there really isn't such a thing as a clean coal plant," said Chandra Taylor, staff attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center.

"From mountaintop removal mining to smokestacks spewing soot and smog to ash ponds full of toxins, coal power is dirty - plain and simple. Nobody wants to find coal in their Christmas stocking, let alone coming through their home and polluting their river,"
she said.

TVA says sampling of water downstream of the plant will continue to assess the possible effects on water quality. TVA continues to manage river flows on the Clinch and Tennessee Rivers to minimize downstream movement of the ash. There are no expected impacts to any other TVA facilities downstream.

Staff at TVA's other 10 coal-fired power plants have made visual inspections of the ash retention dikes to note any changes in conditions. The ash containment areas at all TVA's plants undergo a formal inspection annually and other inspections on a quarterly and daily basis, said the government company.

"The United States Environmental Protection Agency should immediately establish national safeguards for the disposal of coal wastes and enforceable regulations," said Taylor. "At a minimum, these safeguards should include siting restrictions, structural requirements and long-term financial assurance to clean up any resulting pollution."

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.

Nobel Prize Winning Playwright Harold Pinter Dies

Harold Pinter, prospector of 24-karat drama in the tension-racked spaces between words, died in London on Wednesday, at age 78. With his death, the pool of contemporary playwrights of international literary stature has been all but drained dry.

Although he expressed the views of a pacifist, Pinter wrote as if he held his finger on the pin of a grenade. In modernist classics such as "The Homecoming," "Old Times" and "No Man's Land," he devised characters who spoke in elliptical asides and enigmatic bursts. Violence of some nature was never out of the realm of possibility, even in his quietest plays. For Pinter was a connoisseur of subtext, of letting a story unfold on a living room set while a more savage one simmered in the crawl spaces of the mind. His characters routinely rattle each other with what never gains utterance.

His stark black-comic sensibility and economical use of language owed much to Samuel Beckett, the father of existential 20th-century drama. It was a debt that Pinter, who got his start as an actor in postwar Britain, readily acknowledged. When the Nobel Academy gave him the prize for literature in 2005, the act affirmed his link to Beckett, who had won it 36 years earlier. That they are among the few English-speaking dramatists to have received the award speaks to the nonpareil influence they both wielded over the style and force of the modern theater.

Power and turf are always at issue in Pinter. You get to see in his plays how much the anatomy of our emotional entanglements is built on ever-shifting questions of who's up and who's down.

Whether the conflict is over primacy in a Darwinian family struggle ("The Homecoming"), control of the memories of long-ago events ("Old Times") or the psychological upper hand in a metamorphosing love triangle ("Betrayal"), his works are taut battlefields. Unlike Beckett, though, whose seminal plays such as "Waiting for Godot" are placed in barren, metaphysical landscapes, Pinter's tend toward cozier, bourgeois surroundings. In his hands these spaces seem as raw and terrifying as any heath.

Audiences do, at times, engage in head-scratching over Pinter's peculiar rhythms. As noted by Peter Hall, a friend who directed many of his 30 works for the stage, the playwright's eccentric cadences were challenging for actors, too: the long silences, shorter pauses and brief hesitations were ubiquitous features of his scripts. "The actors had to understand why there were these differences," Hall explained in his 1993 autobiography. "They chafed a little, but finally accepted that what was not said often spoke as forcefully as the words themselves."

Over time, Pinter's work became more overtly political, and his vehemence drew controversy. (As a young man, he claimed status as a conscientious objector.) He was outspoken in his outrage at the invasion of Iraq, and described in a speech in 2005 his reaction to the policies of the Bush and Blair administrations as arousing nausea.

Pinter saved his subtlety for his dramatic voice. His blink-of-an-eye 1988 play "Mountain Language" painted in four short scenes the terrors of a regime that stripped a minority population of its freedom, its dignity and finally, in banning the speaking of its language, even its words. To one who used them to such captivating effect, this truly would have seemed a crime against humanity.

The Young Turks Talk About Ethics in Journalism

That Rachel, she's got class.

I'm a Monk, Who Knew?

Your result for The Pop Culture Archetype Personality Test...

The Monk

Ninja, Monkey, Zombie, Cowboy

Quizzy tests are fun for the shut ins.