Sunday, October 30, 2011

Shel Silverstein Poem

Someone ate the baby.
It's rather sad to say.
Someone ate the baby
So she won't be out to play.
We'll never hear her whiney cry
or have to check if she is dry.
We'll never hear her asking "Why?"
Someone ate the baby.

Someone ate the baby.
It's absolutely clear
Someone ate the baby
Cause the baby isn't here.
We''ll give away her toys and clothes.
We'll never have to wipe her nose.
Dad says, "that's the way it goes."
Someone ate the baby.

Someone ate the baby.
What a frightful thing to eat!
Someone ate the baby
Though she wasn't very sweet.
It was a heartless thing to do.
The policemen haven't got a clue.
I simply can't imagine who
Would go and (burp) eat the baby.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ian Frazier Thing

Since May, I've been working for the crows, and so far it's the best job I ever had. I kind of fell into it by a combination of preparedness and luck. I'd been casting around a bit, looking for a new direction in my career, and one afternoon when I was out on my walk I happened to see some crows fly by. One of them landed on a telephone wire just above my head. I looked at him for a moment, and then on impulse I made a skchhh noise with my teeth and lips. He seemed to like that; I saw his tail make a quick upward bobbing motion at the sound. Encouraged, I made the noise again, and again his tail bobbed. He looked at me closely with one eye, then turned his beak and looked at me with the other, meanwhile readjusting his feet on the wire. After a few minutes, he cawed and flew off to join his companions. I had a good feeling I couldn't put into words. Basically, I thought the meeting had gone well, and as it turned out, I was right. When I got home there was a message from the crows saying I had the job.That first interview proved indicative of the crows' business style. They are very informal and relaxed, unlike their public persona, and mostly they leave me alone. I'm given a general direction of what they want done, but the specifics of how to do it are up to me. For example, the crows have long been unhappy about public misperceptions of them: that they raid other birds' nests, drive songbirds away, eat garbage and dead things, can't sing, etc., all of which are completely untrue once you know them. My first task was to take these misperceptions and turn them into a more positive image. I decided the crows needed a slogan that emphasized their strengths as a species. The slogan I came up with was "Crows: We Want To Be Your Only BirdTM." I told this to the crows, they loved it, and we've been using it ever since.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A.P. Herbert Poem

Yes, yes, the dentist talks a lot.
For he's content and you are not.
He is the tiger in the house
And you are, as it were, the mouse.
No wonder, then, as you come in
He greets you with a happy grin
And drops hilarious remarks
About the flowers in the parks,
About the holidays he's had,
About the weather, good or bad,
Though at the moment, as he knows,
You don't care if it rains or snows.

For ever since the date was made
You've been dejected and afraid.
You dreamed of drills, in vain you chewed
Your favorite forbidden food,
Since every bite reminded you
Of this repugnant interview.
And now that you are in the chair,
You cannot think what brought you there,
In fact you hardly like to name
The tusk you fancied was to blame.
At least it is quiescent now
Why stir it up and cause a row?

And he who has the notion too
That there is nothing wrong with you
With cruel steel goes picking round
A tooth that's absolutely sound
Deliberately tries to bore
A hole where there was none before!

You sputter "That is not the one!"
He answers "Plenty to be done"
And makes a systematic mess
Of all the teeth that you possess.
Then still with gossip bright and gay
He moves the horrid wheel your way
And from a crowd delights to draw
The largest drill you ever saw.

The rest's too painful to be read.
I think that Aristotle said
That children of a certain age
Should not be eaten on a stage
And there are things too dark and solemn
To be recorded in this column,
Whose purpose after all is just
To show the bread beneath the crust
And how the darkest cloud is lined
With silver of the brightest kind.

Well then, I will not dwell on all
The horrors that may now befall
The things with which he stuffs your mouth,
The cotton wadding, north and south,
The pumps which suck with such a will
But seem to make you wetter still.
And when the fun begins to flag,
The grisly gutta-percha rag.

But I implore you all the time
To concentrate on the Sublime.
Remember in the woods of June
The nightingale salutes the moon,
The Thames keeps rolling up and down,
In Autumn all the leaves are brown,
The bluebells still will flood the copse
However many teeth he stops.
And if you still remain distressed
Hug this reflection to your breast
That some poor fellows, after all,
Have not got any teeth at all.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Red Jacket v. Black Coat

Sa-go-ye-wat-ha, or Red Jacket, Seneca chief, and great orator of the Six Nations, was born near the present site of Geneva, New York, in 1750. In 1805, a young missionary named Cram was sent into the country of the Iroquois by the Evangelical Missonary Society of Massachusetts to "spread the Word." A council was held at Buffalo, New York, and Red Jacket made the following reply telling Cram why he did not wish to have the missionary stay with them:
Brothers, our seats were once large, and yours were small. You have now become a great people, and we have scarcely a place left to spread our blankets. You have got our country, but are not satisfied; you want to force your religion upon us.
Brother, continue to listen. You say that you are sent to instruct us how to worship the Great Spirit agreeable to his mind; and if we do not take hold of the religion which you white people teach, we shall be unhappy hereafter. You say that you are right, and we are lost. How do we know this to be true? We understand that your religion is written in a book. If it was intended for us as well as you, why has not the Great Spirit given to us — and not only to us, but to our forefathers — the knowledge of that book, with the means of understanding it rightly? We only know what you tell us about it. How shall we know when to believe, being so often deceived by the white people?
Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agree, as you can all read the book?
Brother, we do not understand these things. We are told that your religion was given to your forefathers, and has been handed down from father to son. We also, have a religion which was given to our forefathers, and has been handed down to us, their children. We worship in that way. It teaches us to be thankful for all favors we receive; to love each other, and be united. We never quarrel about religion, because it is a matter which concerns each man and the Great Spirit.
Brother, we do not wish to destroy your religion or take it from you; we only want to enjoy our own.
Brother, we have been told that you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbors: We are acquainted with them. We will wait a little while and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will consider again of what you have said.

Red Jacket’s hostility toward Christianity erupted on every occasion.  When asked by a gentleman in 1824, why he was so opposed to missionaries, he replied:
They do us no good. If they are not useful to the white people and do them no good, why do they send them among the Indians? If they are useful to the white people and do them good, why do they not keep them at home? They [the white men] are surely bad enough to need the labor of everyone who can make them better. These men [the missionaries] know we do not understand their religion. We cannot read their book — they tell us different stories about what it contains, and we believe they make the book talk to suit themselves. If we had no money, no land and no country to be cheated out of these black coats would not trouble themselves about our good hereafter. The Great Spirit will not punish us for what we do not know. He will do justice to his red children. These black coats talk to the Great Spirit, and ask for light that we may see as they do, when they are blind themselves and quarrel about the light that guides them. These things we do not understand, and the light which they give us makes the straight and plain path trod by our fathers, dark and dreary. The black coats tell us to work and raise corn; they do nothing themselves and would starve to death if someone did not feed them. All they do is to pray to the Great Spirit; but that will not make corn and potatoes grow; if it will why do they beg from us and from the white people. The red men knew nothing of trouble until it came from the white men; as soon as they crossed the great waters they wanted our country, and in return have always been ready to teach us to quarrel about their religion. Red Jacket can never be the friend of such men. 

The Future of Crunch?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friends or Death

  One day a rabbi named Honi the Circle-maker saw a man planting a carob tree.
  "How many years does it take for this tree to bear fruit?" he asked the man.
  "Seventy years."
  "Do you think you will live seventy more years?"
  The man replied, "I found a world containing fully planted carob trees, and just as my ancestors planted those trees for me, so too will I plant them for my children."
  Immediately thereafter, Honi sat down and ate some bread. Drowsiness soon overcame him and he fell asleep. Some rocks rose to cover him, and he became hidden from sight.
  He slept for seventy years, and when he woke up he saw what looked to be the same man picking fruit from the carob tree he had planted.
  Honi asked him, "Are you the man who planted this tree?"
 "No, I am his grandson."
  Honi said, "It seems that I have slept for seventy years..."
  He went to his house and asked there, "Is the son of Honi still alive?"
  The people there told him, "His son is no longer alive but his grandson is."
  He said to them, "I am Honi."
  They didn't believe him.
  He left and went to the study house where he heard a rabbi saying, "These teachings are as clear to us as they were during the time of Honi the Circle-maker," for it was known that whenever Honi came to the study house, whatever problems the rabbis had encountered in their studies, Honi would resolve.
  Honi said to them, "I am Honi."
  They did not believe him, and did not treat him with the honor due him.
  Honi became anguished, and prayed for heavenly mercy and died.
Rava said, "This is an example of the popular adage, "either friends or death.""

-Babylonian Talmud, Ta'anit 23a