Insomnia - The Journal of Mark Kraft
"The earth to be spann'd, connected by network,
The races, neighbors, to marry and be given in marriage,
The oceans to be cross'd, the distant brought near,
The lands to be welded together."

Walt Whitman, Passage to India,1871

Date:Mon. Nov. 21st, 2011 - 6:09 am
Subject:Stopped using journal, due to excessive spam.

Yes, this is a shame... but so is getting a half-dozen pieces of spam per day. It's a shame what the powers-that-be allowed LJ to be reduced to. Entropy alone is a hard, hard thing to battle, but when you throw in greed, negligence, and excessive, entrenched bureaucracy, it becomes a losing battle, I fear.

I no longer receive emails when people comment in my journal, so if you want to reach me or read me elsewhere, message me directly.

Thanks to all friends, well-wishers, and dreamers of great dreams. The essential struggles for those things that truly matter continue. Elsewhere.

Over and out...!

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Date:Thu. Nov. 11th, 2010 - 4:13 am
Subject:45 min. Gorillaz gig on Letterman

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Date:Tue. Oct. 12th, 2010 - 5:07 am

Yes, I know that I haven't been posting much, even though I am "back"...

A big part of the reason for that is that I'm actually busy living my life... but I do have downtime, and basically find that a lot of the good bits in my life, involving my personal desires and thoughts, my labours, lusts, and kinkitude... they either aren't documented for discrete purposes, or because I can't be arsed, or they simply wind up elsewhere on the intarwebz, frequently at a location that is more discrete. If you really want to know where that is, message me privately with a list of ten shockingly, embarrassingly personal things about you, and I will let you know where I'm posting the good stuff.

But the question at this late, late hour is, "what can I say today?!"

I can say that I am changing a lot, both inside and out.

I can say that despite the fact that I'm doing quite a few cool things, and I'm surrounded by a lot of cool people, I'm oftentimes not in the least bit cool myself. This is not a bug. It's a design feature.

I can say that I usually go to bed at night all alone in a lush king-sized bed that is far too big and oftentimes far too lonely for one person, but despite that, I suck it up, because I'm rediscovering my self and my life, and I'm profoundly cynical of sharing that bed with anyone who doesn't know the whole me, can't be bothered to find out, isn't somewhat excited about the changes, and isn't on a similar journey themselves.

I can say that it seems that a lot of my life has been about helping to corrupt n00bs -- and sometimes minors -- albeit in safe, socially responsible ways. I'm still doing that in my own way, and indeed, view it as an absolute necessity, given that the alternative is entrenched fear and closemindedness.

I can say that I've let myself down in the past -- and others down too -- and that I'm keenly aware of this fact and trying to make amends... sometimes to the point of not even moving forward on some things I would *like* to do, until I"m on top of my sh*t. S.F. is an all-consuming beast of addictions and distractions, and it will extract its chunk of your soul unless you stay focused on what matters.

I can say so much of my life right now is quite literally about walking in my shoes and being in my self. The focus is very much on me, but that's a healthy thing. Most of the relationships I can afford to deal with are with online friends or those I see during my adventures, but in truth, I appreciate them greatly... even in passing.

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Date:Tue. Sep. 28th, 2010 - 2:04 pm
Subject:Dear highly, highly improbable Christian God,

Just wanted to let you know that I didn't move up to S.F. just so that I can swelter in an 80 degree apartment. Had plenty of that in the South Bay already, thanks.

If you actually exist, and are allowing this to happen, go f*ck yourself. If you don't exist, go f*ck those of your followers who insist on denying global warming. It would be helpful if they insisted on denying the existence of cliffs and gravity too while they're at it, because I would rather not have to go over the cliff with them, at least when it comes to hot weather.

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Date:Mon. Sep. 20th, 2010 - 3:08 am
Subject:Late night babbleage...

Listening to the grandeur o' the plastic beach... quite like the "classical" music in the longer-than-ordinary version of the album... a suitable score for the quasi-existent nature of the place.

Gotta love the bio for the Cyborg_ Noodle...

Log dump 25/05/2010 14:12:23

Command Audio Pickup Detected : Oiii Cyber Doodle;
User Detected: Murdoc Niccals Master Bass Player... Gorillaz.... God;
Action:Listening for Commands;
CMD: Rum!!!;
Unknown command Detected "Rum" No Verb Found;
CMD: Don't just stand there bleeping, get me some Rum!;
Unknown command Detected "Don't just..";
CMD:Bugger it, lets try something simpler, I'll lop off a few words;
Unable to complete command "Bugger it";
CMD:Get. Me. Glass. Full. Rum;
Accepted Retrieving Glass Full Of Rum;
CMD:Eh? Oh it worked! Brilliant. God that is full! Down the hatch;
Unknown command Detected "Eh? Oh it w....";
CMD:Quit the beeping! Aaaaggh!;
Accepted Quitting Error Reporting;Ringtone Volume:0;
CMD:Ice! With Ice
Accepted Retrieving Ice
CMD:More Rum
Accepted Retrieveing Rum
CMD:Ice I wanted it with Ice
Accepted Retrieving Ice
CMD:Another Rum
Accepted Retrieving Rum
CMD:Oh for the love of god I want it with Ice
Accepted Retrieving Ice
Unknown command Detected "MALL RUMMSZ";
CMD:*Coughing detected* I said MOORE RUM!
Accepted Retrieving Rum;
CMD:ICCEE! Look, I Always want Ice;
Accepted Setting Global Ice default;
Accepted Retrieving Rum;
CMD:Now that's more like it;
Accepted Retrieving "More Like It";
CMD:Ooh more Rum thanks;
Accepted Retrieving Rum;
CMD:What, more Rum don't mind if I do;
Accepted Retrieving Rum;
CMD:more Rum?;
Accepted Retrieving Rum;
CMD:Rum thhhanks!;
Accepted Retrieving Rum;
Action:Infinate Loop Detected; Halted;
CMD:Yoohoo! Robocop! Fetch Rum Pour Favor!;
Running Translation;
Language Detected "Bad French"
Accepted Retrieving Rum;
CMD:hmm, Kebab
Accepted Retrieving Kebab
CMD:What the Ff... It's cold and wet! Oh christ it's full of bloody ICE!
Unknown command Detected "What the Ff..";
CMD:I'll deal with you in the morning! Once I've finished my kebab..
CMD:Now piss off to bed. Haven't you got some charging to do instead of buzzing and beeping all over the place?
Accepted Returning to charging station
CMD:Oh and RUM! before go night night!
Queued:Returning to charging station
Accepted Retrieving Rum
unQueued:Returning to charging station
Accepted Returning to charging station
log End;;#

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Date:Sat. Sep. 11th, 2010 - 1:51 pm
Subject:San FranFail.

This is what happens when you're a bus driver who doesn't take into account that you're driving in a city built on actual, steep hills, where you need to actually build up inertia to move your hulking touristy behemoths.

Braking while going uphill, losing all your inertia, and then backing up and crushing your tailpipe, muffler, and all the soft, chewy bits on the underside of your motorized carriage is not advisable. Going backward is not an option. And going forward isn't much of an option either, apparently.

"So... do you have a truck big enough to tow an extra-long bus? Uphill? At a 50% grade? Maybe your tow truck and my bus could make a nice sandwich together?!"

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Date:Sat. Sep. 11th, 2010 - 1:34 pm
Subject:All your scenic vistas are belong to us. Make your time.

So, this was my morning walk... Lots of uphill bits, but I apparently now eat uphill hikes for lunch, and regularly leave assorted skinny "healthy" people in the dust.

Dropped by Swan's for smoked salmon on thinly sliced sourdough, a bowl of clam chowder, two fresh local oysters and some tea, then walked up Polk St. to the coast, past Ghirardeli Square and up to the top of Fort Mason, where I took a photo.

The rotunda dome of the Palace of Fine Arts is on the far left, the Golden Gate Bridge on the right.

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Date:Thu. Sep. 2nd, 2010 - 7:47 pm
Subject:Never look a gift ninja heavy metal band in the mouth.

So, after writing a nastigram to the Great American Music Hall in the wake of the late-night ninja assault, it looks like they will be comp'ing K & I a pair of hideously expensive benefit tickets to see Elvis Costello & Nick Lowe perform together.

Hm.  That worked.

Let that be a lesson to you... always have a well-scribed snark up your sleeves.

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Date:Fri. Aug. 27th, 2010 - 6:45 am
Subject:You know you're living in San Francisco when...
Security:Public get startled at 12:30 am by a band dressed like ninjas playing heavy metal with mobile amps and a drum kit, right in front of your place.

(No, this wasn't some strange delusion. I know it's real because I tracked down the contact info for Boz Scaggs, the nearby club co-owner, and sent him a "please, help" email.) 

If they want to have Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe come over when they're in town and sing us bedtime songs, that's one thing... but secret ninja amplified heavy metal is just not right!

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Date:Wed. Aug. 25th, 2010 - 7:22 pm

0825001757.jpg, originally uploaded by insomnia.

One of the great things about San Francisco is even late-night zombies have no shortage of available restaurant options.

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Date:Wed. Aug. 25th, 2010 - 6:53 pm
Subject:Strange silence.


Just heard from my sister... my grandmother Lillian -- my father's mother and last surviving grandparent -- has died, at the age of 95. (This is her at 90, after the funeral of her last surviving son, my Uncle Virg.) 

And the thing is, I don't know how to feel. Vaguely sad, I guess? But why don't I feel more? It's not for lack of caring, really. Maybe it's because I just didn't see her much, or that it's been kind of a distant thing that would be a reality soon enough.

My father had lots of problems relating to her... but not me.  He was upset that she left his father while he was still a teen, and that his dad later remarried. Obviously, divorcing under such conditions and the resentments caused probably helped her to make a conscious decision that she was not really the mothering type, at heart. 

My father reacted to all this by running off to join the military at the age of 15, lying to get in underage. Which was one of those somewhat unfortunate decisions that anyone who makes rarely ever says was the wrong one. The military gives... and the military takes away. And they take an awful lot... and it is what it is.

In retrospect, I think it was a matter of both my grandmother and my father, doing what they could to get away from my grandfather... and the resentment, perhaps, of being left behind. In retrospect, it kind of screwed with his life, in that it led to him running off and joining the military as a fifteen-year-old, and eventually suffering from PTSD and all the other residual crap that being a soldier can do to you. It made him an angrier person, a more resentful person, a more close-minded person, and a worse father... which is unfortunate, as he was a pretty intelligent person who once loved my mother in an almost desperate kind of way... like a lifeline to humanity, perhaps.

If you're not careful, the roles that one chooses to play in life oftentimes decide your soul for you... if you play them long and hard enough, to the point that you forget what matters. I really liked my grandmother, because, despite the obvious difficulties involved in her divorcing my grandfather and all the pain it caused my father, she was someone who refused to play roles that didn't work for her. She was married about four times... mostly for the better. She enjoyed her life, because she picked people who allowed her the ability to do so... and if it didn't, she'd pick again... not because she was casual in her choices, but because she was serious about herself. And despite not really being the mothering -- or even grandmothering -- type, she gave me surprisingly good, honest, supportive, wise advice, from one soul to another, when I was a young, insecure teenager... without the platitudes or false kindnesses one might expect of grandmotherly advice.

Towards the end of her life, she intentionally distanced herself from her family and relatives... and the thing is, I'm certain it had nothing to do with dislike. Rather, it was all about her. She didn't want to impose upon others in her later years, and she didn't want to be imposed upon by others, to be more religious, more of a grandmother, more of a patriarch. More outgoing. Putting on more of a good public face...

She lived as she died... a strong woman, who preferred living her life on *her* terms. She owned her own soul. How could I not respect her for that?!  

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Date:Tue. Aug. 24th, 2010 - 2:46 pm
Subject:So, I'm back... and resorting to memes?!

Yeah, sad, I know... but this is always a fun one, and I kind of owe it to someone else...

Ask me anything you want, whatsoever, via private message.

I will answer honestly and directly. I might even repost the questions and answers later, albeit with the name of the person asking redacted... (or perhaps even the question itself redacted, just for fun.)

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Date:Sun. Aug. 22nd, 2010 - 7:56 am
Subject:This new old experiment is not going entirely as I hoped for.

So,  It's not even two days since my last post, and already I have two things I wanted to write about in detail, but don't feel entirely comfortable about writing here, dealing with love, sex, personal kinks, friendship, respect... and the obliquely-implied, silently-whispered ways in which they all connect to each other.


(Well, three if you count the cute barista who reminds me of a slash version of Capt. Jack Harkness.)

...and now that I am back, I start checking through people's LJ posts again, only to find that Jacob A. has stopped writing on LJ just recently, and is kind of on-the-run... though I guess it can be said that he is arguably running *to* places as much as running away from others.  What I think concerns me more is not the chance of someone doing something bad to him -- though it is certainly possible -- but the costs to him, of having to live that way.

*also sadmaking*

Things I am thinking of...

-  I feel blessed -- and cursed -- to know so many exceptional people, oftentimes on the bleeding edge of society.  (I wonder whether they all know how special they are? I wonder if they realize that they're far more attractive than I am?!) 

-  When Allen Ginsburg wrote about having seen the best minds of his generation destroyed by madness, he was in his late 20s, talking about his close, personal friends.  

-  Sometimes, it's got to be really convenient to be "normal", and not to care too much, feel too much, love too much, want too much, and wish for impossible highly improbable things.

-- This.

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Date:Fri. Aug. 20th, 2010 - 2:21 pm

Woke up to particularly lurid dreams...

Stumbled to the computer... read emails... made a few responses, while starting to wrap my mind around going out and getting a cup of coffee over at Wicked Grounds.

Where's my goddamn phone?!
*digs around everywhere I might have left it*

...fifty minutes later, the phone rings. I can barely hear it, but I can tell that it's coming from somewhere in Kirsten's room.

Fucketyfuck. I know I didn't leave my phone in Kirsten's room. What is she doing with my goddamn phone anyway?! Was she trying to find her own damn phone again? How come she keeps losing her phone anyway? It's like we need a third phone so that she can find her phone without either losing or running off with mine in the process... aaaagain.


Ten more minutes of searching, after digging through a bag of her dirty laundry... My pants... and my phone. I probably left them in the bathroom or near my computer or something.

I call her, we talk... I ask her nicely... next time, if you're going to move it, just put it in my laundry hamper.

So, now I can get going. Have to put on some pants though. It's a Friday night. Probably going out somewhere tonight. Wish all my black pants didn't need to be washed... No wonder so many people in S.F. wear black all the time!

Ok... light-colored pants it is, with an old Ramones t-shirt. Gabba gabba.

Now, where are my boots? I know I left them around here somewhere.

... thirty minutes later, I find them, neatly resting on top of a bag of videotapes to be donated, to the side of the door... almost entirely obscured by a jacket hanging down from the coatrack above.


I call Kirsten again.

Twenty minutes later, I finish posting about it.


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Date:Fri. Aug. 20th, 2010 - 3:17 am
Subject:The beginning is the end is the beginning.

So, what next?!

It's been ten years..... or, alternately, 14 months.

I left because I was bored of LJ... and, perhaps, bored of the myself I let myself become.

And you know what? I blame the collective *you* in a way, and not perhaps in a fair way, but thereyago. It's not personal, but it is what it is.

Let me explain... I created this journal because I wanted to explore blogging as a way of being really, really personal... of challenging myself to dare to be more me, so to speak. (You can should play the song at that link as accompaniment. Really. Take a f'ing second and play it, bitch!)

In any case...within a few months of helping out, I was propelled into a "position", because I obviously gave a rat's ass and obviously was *very* helpful... and I *know* my actions made a real difference for millions of people, even if essentially deleted and rewrote their own history, scrubbing their numerous betrayals. My actions even saved lives... several, actually.

But I digress... and that's *really* not the point. I gave a lot... but one of the things I never thought I would have to give up was my ability to say whatever I wanted, without having to be judged severely as a result.  Instead, I had to deal with how I was seen by people -- including former staff members at LJ -- who were basically biased and, yes, even bigoted.

Let me make this abundantly clear... anyone back then who, for a moment,  so much as considered marginalizing me as a token bisexual, a token kinkster, a token whatever... suggesting somehow that it defined who I was, daring to use it as a weapon against me... well, they were fuckfaced, deceitful, and ultimately betrayed themselves. Was I also the token tactful, mature guy? The token experienced guy? The token married guy whose relationship had already lasted over a decade?! Hardly. I got attacked by some for appointing a HIV+ volunteer above others to do a job... because they had the time to do hours of largely unrewarding work for free and showed an interest in learning how to do the job right. Likewise, I got attacked for appointing a Christian to do a job, for the same goddamn reasons!

And yes, really, lest you forget, I really am capable of being tremendously sensitive and tactful. But the thing is, I created my LJ to dig down deep, to be brave, and to be myself... but what I learned instead -- because of that "collective you", in all its cruelty  -- was that I had to be careful what I said. Because somehow, even though I was obviously intelligent, creative, clever and obviously cared a *LOT* to do what I did, largely without any compensation whatsoever, well... 

As the song says...

"I've already spent too much time doing things I didn't want to... so if I want to sit here and write and drink wine, you can bet your black ass that I'm going to."

If somewhere along the line I added you as a friend, well... it's probably because I love you all, in some way... in fact, many of you I have fantasized lurid thoughts about on lonely nights, I am sure.) But I came here to write about myself, and to be more myself. You probably did too, once... at least before you got burned and friends-locked your journal or your posts, like a scared fucking pussy.

That's why I must tell the collective you to fuck off. Please, really, if any of this offends you -- and more lurid and sordid offenses surely will be forthcoming, I promise -- please do nicely fuck off.... go with my friendship and appreciation of shared times, but please go... because I'm writing here and I don't have the time or inclination anymore to care about not hurting your feelings. If there's a single person in the world whose feelings I'm going to spare, it's likely to be Kirsten... but really, the magic there is that she already knows me pretty damn well.  (But really, Kirsten. I love you very much... and I always try to watch out for you... while being true to myself.... even if it's not always easy to do. That, incidentally, is why you might want to fuck off now, or simply take me off your friend's list... because some things may be TMI. They may concern you. They may piss off your friends. They may make you feel ________.  Sure, my life is actually pretty non-risque right now, after the move... but times change, and I'm not writing for you or your comfort... I'm not the kind to name names, but I may become quite detailed in the generalities... so I don't mind if you defriend me. Besides, we're more than friends anyway.)

I'm no longer here to write about President ______'s betrayals, or Katrina or LiveJournal or Iraq or Afghanistan, or the war du jour, or the fucking corporatist Republican whores... or even that catty, dictator-loving George Galloway.  Fuck them. That's why I left. Not because were lying whores who betrayed everything they claimed to stand for... that just as easily applies to pretty much any dotcom that once claimed to stand for anything. I left because  -- even if I occasionally wrote about some pretty important things, broke stories, got linked to, etc. -- I didn't feel that I could write about myself... and each time I wrote about something else, it just made it all the more certain that I wouldn't be free to write for the reasons I came here to write in the first place.

I always felt that the whole point of LiveJournal -- it's most important aspect -- was that it was public by default. Revealing by default. Honest and open and detailed and revealing... by default... thereby showing that we're pretty much all freaks in some way. And you know what... that openness and honesty changed lives. When I first started LJ, I suspect there were perhaps a hundred or two individuals on the entire internet who led really, truly open lives when it came to being polyamorous... or furries... or sexual fanfic fans... or a whole slew of other things that society still tends to frown upon.  Now there are many, many thousands.

You might not like it... it might turn your stomach... but that societal pressure that led them to once be so far underground as to be invisible... well, that's the same kind of pressure that existed in LJ's Russian community, for those who wanted to express their opposition to a corrupt government. Nowadays, of course, ЖЖ *is* news in Russia. It's a fucking battleground of ideas, with real casualties and real consequences for those who dare to dissent. Likewise, in Iran with Twitter and the emerging internet in general. 

We Westerners? We have the freedom to pursue our twisted little minds to their obvious conclusions... and by doing so, to help spread individualism and dissent worldwide.... for the mechanism that powers that freedom, ironically enough, is the same one that powers dissent elsewhere, on the bloody cutting edge of change in this world. So... what does it mean to other countries, when we start thinking it's an okay thing to self-censor?!

Fuck that. I don't have the patience or inclination for such things anymore. I have writing to do. I'm going to write what I feel -- all of it -- because it's what I need. Hopefully, it will become what I crave. Sometimes, it will be hard work. But I hope it will be worth it... and I feel that it shall, if it only inspires one other person to have some balls and do the same goddamn thing... or perhaps realizing that if you want writing which matters, you have to be there to support dissent, even if it means putting your own judgments aside.

Do you want to be part of the collective you, the quietly oppressive you...? Or do you want to be yourself.... as yourself as you can possibly dare yourself to be? Think about it carefully, because there are real-life consequences no matter which decision you make. If you censor yourself, you help to shame and censor others through your silence.... and if you don't, you have to pay the price and bear the collective cruelty that will most assuredly be exacted by those around you.

All I ask is that once your make the decision, you remember why you chose the way you did... and you try to stick with it. Because that is how, despite it all, society as a whole changes for the better... one "fuck you" at a time.

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Date:Sat. Jun. 20th, 2009 - 8:17 pm
Subject:An Open Letter to George Galloway, MP, Bethnal Green & Bow

Mr. Galloway,

I am deeply dismayed and disgusted by the lack of basic humanity and consideration you've shown on your recent blog post regarding the situation in Iran.

I have backed you time and time again for one main reason... you may have been a bit biased, but you were essentially correct and a determined advocate and good counterbalance to the unrelenting extremist status quo of the Bush/Blair era. I defended you because your opponents repeatedly attacked you without a shred of evidence that would hold water in a court of law.

Indeed, if anyone were to support you, some might say it should be me. I was the one largely responsible for breaking the story about the "shake and bake" attacks on Fallujah, and the disgusting lack of concern shown by my country's forces in that country for "collateral damage"... that being the common phrase for wives, young children, sisters, and brothers.

I understand what it's like to stand against my country when it is wrong, George. But this article of yours is hardly a brave stand. Rather, it is a way of you protecting your paycheck and defending the indefensible.

Mr. Galloway, today you have disgraced your name, not only by tying yourself to the murderous brutality of the Iranian government, but also by diminishing those who are being beaten, gassed, and killed in the name of the right to freely protest.

Robert Fisk has been right and fair when he reported that Ahmadinejad may indeed have won the election, but that the margin and the votes registered in some specific regions was quite suspicious indeed. To his credit, Fisk has been extremely critical of the government's actions... but you? You ignorantly, flippantly dismiss the young protesters as the educated brats of wealthy elitists, robbing their voice of legitimacy. Never mind that the first Iranian revolution was led largely by the same kind of people... young, educated students being principally amongst them.

No, George. These young Iranians are NOT the same sort as those who oppose Chavez, many of whom are wealthy people who have found themselves having to share some of that wealth through higher taxes and other democratically enacted means. This situation in Iran is completely different.

These young Iranians aren't complaining about being victims of policies that the rest of the country supports, because, frankly, the rest of the country doesn't really want widespread censorship, torture, beatings, arrests, and government thuggery either. Nobody except those in a position of power over others are particularly fond of widespread government repression, George.

"It will soon fizzle out."

Yes, George. It very well may. Soon, the protesters may all be killed, arrested, tortured, and otherwise brutally repressed... while you continue getting your paycheck from the government responsible for such behavior, without uttering a single denunciation of a government that refuses to allow its people to peacefully assemble and protest.

The Iranian government's actions may be horrific, George, but you, in your own words, are willing to "accept it".

You were right when you didn't accept such behavior before from the US and from your own country, George, but you are tragically wrong now.

Your words are certainly no comfort to Neda, a young female who was brutally shot down in front of her father, killed for protesting by the very people who sign off on your paychecks over at Iranian state-run PressTV... the organization that reported to its English audience that Mousavi won the vote in Tehran but lost elsewhere, while the Iranian government reported figures to its own people, claiming Ahmadinejad won in Tehran by over 6%. Indeed, PressTV has become transparent propaganda since the protests started, airing baseless attacks on your country and mine, even as their own country burns and its government supports the murder of its own people for daring to protest peacefully.

Let no young idealist, no follower of non-violence, no protester, no supporter of basic human rights, no friend to the people, and no defender of the innocents forget that George Galloway is no more than a fair weather friend to them... and indeed, is a traitor and a coward when his own interests are on the line.

I denounce you, George, and spit upon your acceptance of this brutal, inhumane violence.

No longer with respect,
Mark Kraft

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Date:Fri. Jun. 12th, 2009 - 6:55 pm
Subject:It's "choose a name" day on Facebook.

Just snagged ... works for me.

I do most of my posts from there lately, btw, though hopefully they'll mirror to wherever they need to go well enough.

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Date:Fri. Jun. 12th, 2009 - 2:30 pm
Subject:So, yeah...

Trying BlogIt.

(Or BlahGit. Your choice, really.)

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Date:Mon. May. 18th, 2009 - 1:38 am
Subject:Real reasons to support stem cell research.

Ten years ago, my mom was diagnosed with MSA. She was a pianist, and her music was always a love and a comfort for her.

That was the first thing MSA took from her. Then her career. Then sleeping, walking, moving, speaking, and breathing normally... and then, finally, her life.

After years of neglect by the American medical system, which usually misdiagnoses MSA patients, and treats them with Parkinsonian medications which arguably are counterproductive and do nothing to slow the onslaught of the disease, MSA patients are finally getting miraculous treatments with stem cells, treating their symptoms, greatly improving their quality of life, and, apparently, significantly increasing their life expectancy.

Unfortunately, these Americans have to get treated in China.

But there's something simple you can do to help... Take a minute and write the NIH a short e-note, indicating your support for stem cell research.

Act now. Help those Americans who are needlessly suffering get proper care in America too.

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Date:Thu. May. 14th, 2009 - 9:07 pm
Subject:What I learned from Battlestar Galactica.

So, I -- thankfully -- watched all of Battlestar Galactica over the course of several days, rather than having made it a long, drawn out television affair. Frankly, I think I preferred watching the series this way, because while it was worth seeing, it wasn't really worth obsessing over to any significant degree.

Let's be frank... Battlestar Galactica was a hackneyed, made-for-television pulp sci-fi vehicle back in the '70s... and it took a prodigious facelift and some able casting, writing, and effects to make it redeemable in the '00s. Its fans have talked about it like it was the best thing since tribbles and Romulan ale, but the fact is, it still suffers from an escapist, theological, antiscientific premise that spits in the face of all those who appreciate REAL science fiction... That's not saying it was a bad series at all... it clearly wasn't. But it does leave you with a theological aftertaste faintly reminiscent of cleaning out Aslan's litterbox with your tongue.

So, with that in mind, here is a short list of what I learned from watching BSG:

1> God's invisible messengers work in mysterious ways... especially when they get you to indulge in embarassingly exhibitionistic public sex acts.

2> There is only one God and he has very specific, largely unavoidable plan, designed to effectively rob you of free will only about 99.998% of the time. As such, your fate will be judged entirely based on the .002% where you do, in fact, have free will... unfortunately, you don't actually know which .002% that is.

3> The big advantage to having so little true free will is that you are, by definition, almost certainly following God's plan... which makes you perfect, just the way you are. (Except, of course, when you're not.)

4> When traveling on a long, long voyage across the great expanse of space, you oftentimes can't avoid traveling through perilous territory to reach your ultimate destination... except, of course, for those times when it's necessary to rapidly jump all the way back to where you started from.

5> Due to the nature of faster-than-light travel through space, it is commonplace to run out of raw materials, fuel, and food supplies well before you make a significant dent in your supply of single-malt scotch or imported cigarrettes.

6> Nothing makes a person turn evil quicker than becoming an itchy gimp.

7> What's the best way to explain ________ in a science fiction series? God did it!

8> Science fiction is when you take a brave, futuristic group and give them difficult-to-fathom challenges to overcome with their wits, heroism, and advanced technology.

Fantasy is when you start introducing fairies, unicorns, and gods into the mix, which trump technology and the best laid plans, but which ultimately are overcome through heroism, true love, and/or purity of spirit.

Fraud is when you get 35000+ people to spontaneously reject thousands of years worth of technological advancement, modern medicine, public sanitation, their guns, and every other form of creature comfort they have, all because one sickeningly naive, idealistic prat thinks that enduring a 150,000 year dark age would somehow lead humanity to wisdom. 

9> The quickest, most certain way to get in touch with your place in God's plan is to either take drugs, perform Bob Dylan covers... or a combination thereof. (Everybody must get stooooned!)     
10> There's a reason why Japanese and British TV series usually do only around 13 episodes a year. It allows them to actually stay focused on the actual storyline, while editing out all the superfluous drinking, smoking, interpersonal squabbling, and snogging. Japanese and British edit their TV shows... Americans pad their TV series like bad 6th grade history reports.

(Just feel fortunate that the modern series of BSG didn't have another Spaceball episode...)

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