Day 102. Fickin qwerty

September 28th, 2014 § 0 comments

Back from Italy (see previous post)

santaprassedeSanta Prassede, Rome

I naturally found myself without any GBPs, but a fair number of EUR. I wondered whether (say) Argos or Le Gavroche would help me out if I tried to use them; and, as usual, sought the advice of tripadvisor.

Here I indeed found the expected question: ‘ I wanted to change euros in pound sterling, but they dind’t have any. So my quention is, can I pay in london with euros instead of pounds?’ (Birgitta B., her spelling.) I was puzzled to find that no fewer than four successive responses had been removed by the site for ‘inappropriate content’. Had the replies been suggesting that euros can be used to bribe MPs, buy drugs or AK-47s, or

nightclub-promoter-jobsDrugs and sex

underage sex or hire hitmen? You’d need more than I have for anything like that. The most useful answer came from ‘Henneth’ (?) in Missouri: it goes

If he’s anythink ljke me he?s trying to type inan fickin tiny qwerty iPhone keypsd while beong knocked around ona bus journey.

iphonebus(ah, the hassle ofmodwrn life)

With his obsession with modwrn life, he’s obviously, like the rest of us, been reading more Baudelaire and Benjamin than is good for him. More time with Cicero and Montaigne, I say (free on the kindle for sure), and less on the qwerty. And put your euros in the collection at your church, mosque or synagogue.

Poetry: (why leave it to the end?}

Rabbi Brant Rosen who has recently resigned from the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation of Evanston, Illinois (I would refer you to an article in Haaretz, but you’d have to pay) has been publishing his thoughts on two blogs: “Shalom Rav,” which contains his thoughts on Israel/Palestine and “Yedid Nefesh,” which is devoted to his poetry, much of it also focused on Israel/Palestine. Here’s a poem from the latter:

The Strangled Vine

how long will
this people be wrathful,
this nation that feasts
on the tears of its own trauma
so that it might strike out
again and again
against enemies real and imagined?

this nation repeatedly plucked
from its vine until
it cleared and filled the land,
planting its weapons deep
lifting up higher and higher walls,
spreading dread like an iron dome,
hermetically sealed from
all it ever was
or ever dreamed of being?

can you look beyond
this airtight prison of your own making,
beyond your illusion of shelter,
are you even able to see
the carnage your own fear
has unleashed?

look even further
and you will see
that once glorious vine
now withered and strangling
in the dust,
yet patiently waiting
as the uprooted inevitably do,
to be returned to
its source.

Today’s question:

Is military action, e.g. bombing, by the U.S. and allies against Islamic State targets in (a) Iraq, (b) Syria legal?

Answer: What planet do you live on, man? None of the following U.S.-led wars were legal: Grenada, 1985; Kosovo, 1999; Iraq, 2003. Has anyone been sentenced before a war crimes tribunal for them? What are you going to do about them? I recall that a war is legal under the U. N. Charter if (i) it is undertaken in self-defence, or (ii) it is sanctioned by a U. N. Security Council resolution. (Here‘s a speech about all this stuff if you have the patience to read it.) But the Security Council is never going to sanction anything what with all those vetoes; and the Islamic State,

clooneyGeorge Clooney and Amal Amaluddin – in case you’re getting bored or depressed and need some celebs to cheer you up

loathsome as they may be, haven’t attacked the U.S. In the case of Iraq, according to the Daily Beast, ‘Obama has been relying on the Iraqi government’s invitation as its legal rationale for military action.’ (He doesn’t have Congressional approval.) However, (same source) ‘the administration has said almost nothing about why airstrikes in Syria would not be a direct violation of the international law of armed conflict and the United Nations charter, as both the Syrians and their Russian allies have claimed.’

If you aren’t already an addict of the feministish international law blog ‘IntLawGrrls’, I recommend Milena Sterio’s opinion here. Anyone who starts a para with ‘As we all know, Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter’ obviously knows her stuff.

Here we need to return to our Quaker roots (maybe yours are different) and follow the advice of ‘Quakers in Britain’:


“Quakers ask that Parliament discuss whether this is an opportunity for Britain to export peace in a way hitherto unexplored – through our multi-faith and multicultural connections which spread across the world.

“Quakers again ask for Government to take a further critical look at the role that the arms trade plays in promoting and increasing the likelihood of war.”

Some hope.


Raised in the 50′s on Stan Kenton’s version of the Cuban hit ‘Peanut Vendor’ (I think I may have posted it before), I had no idea what a revelation the original ‘El manisero’ by Rita Montaner – 1927, no less – could be. Here she is, somewhere in downtown Havana…


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