Friday, 30 November 2007

How We Operate

Calm down
And get straight
It's not our eyes (?)
It's how we operate

You're true
You are
I'd apologize but it won't go very far

Please come here
Come right on over
And when we collide we'll see what gets left over

A little joy
A little sorrow
And a little pride so we won't have to borrow
Wherever you lead, I'll follow

Turn me inside out and upside down
And try to see things my way
Turn a new page, tear the old one out
And I'll try to see things your way

Please come here
Please come on over
There is no line that you can't step right over

Without you well I'm left hollow
So can we decide to try a little joy tomorrow
'Cos baby tonight I'll follow

Turn me inside out and upside down
And try to see things my way
Turn a new page, tear the old one out
And I'll try to see things your way

The way that we've been speaking now
I swear that we'd be friends, I swear
'Cos all these little deals go down with
Little consequences, we share, we share

Turn me inside out and upside down
And try to see things my way
Turn a new page, tear the old one out
And I'll try to see things your way

And I'm gonna love you anyway
Try to see things your way
Try to see things your way
Try to see things your way

Five Surprising Symptoms of Infidelity

An article for everyone, and anyone can write an article, no matter how unqulaified you may be. This author seems particularly clueless... about his own gender! Check this out:

Everybody thinks they can spot a cheater a mile away. Adulterers, after all, have the same characteristics, right? Wandering eyes, secret cell phones, last name Sheen. If only it were that easy.

Unfortunately, we live in a society where people fall out of their fidelity flight patterns and take off on their own different courses all the time, even though we desperately want to believe that our partners won't be unfaithful. That's why it's important to know some of the traits and sneaky signals that are common in people who tend to be unfaithful in the relationships.

OK, I disagree with this. Already! Of course this is a "trait", in fact, it is built into the human genome. Fidelity and marriage are manmade concepts... not sure how the church got involved with this one, really - limited people to marriage and only being with one person. How the church viewed this as being in their favour I do not know.

The simple fact is that genetically, humans are meant to sleep around and spread those genes far and wide. Survival of the fittest, you know - and the most active. While we may have formed family units as a way to secure a stronger sense of survival, it is still in us to spread the genes about to the non-husband or wife.

Now, I'm not suggesting you automatically end your relationship if your partner falls into one of these categories, but I do think that these are some signs you should be aware of - so you can be on the lookout for warnings of wandering.

Cheating Sign #1: He Doesn't Pay His Bills On Time
Some research shows that unreliability and carelessness is part of a personality trait called "low consciousness," which is a marker for infidelity. Makes sense. A guy who's careless about his own responsibilities is going to be just as careless about his relationships.

Wow. How completely irresponsible. That's it, you know, we are all cheaters. Most of us are terrible with our own mony or just sometimes let a bill slip here or there. Cause that never happens, right?

Cheating Sign #2: He's A Do-Gooder
What? Your guy contributes to the local orchestra fund, the church, and the alumni association, plus he volunteers to build houses for the homeless. How could a guy like that give into the temptation of midnight motel rooms?

A study just published in the November issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology found that when there's a blurry line between right and wrong (as there often is with matters of infidelity), the people who become the worst cheaters are actually the ones who think of themselves as having the highest moral standards.

Why? The speculation is that these people can justify their wrongdoings with explanations that they weren't doing anything wrong at all. Simply put, not following the Monogamy Rules (a faithfully popular Men's Health story) makes it hard for the Do-Gooder to live in his skin.

How does anyone draw these conclusions? People who do good things for others may still be self-destructive or not... one does not engender the other nor preclude it. This is strange thinking. Monogamy is still - ultimately - a manmade concept. The sooner we become more forgiving about this, the better things will be.

I consider myself to be a person of "flexible morality", as I call it. I understand people who "cheat", although I hate that term, and I don't hold a one-time thing against anyone. I do hold an ongoing relationship with someone when you have made a commitment to another is wrong. It is even more wrong if the person having the two relationships is stringing the second person along with promises of divorce from the first incumbent to marry the second when this is not in the plans at all.

Cheating Sign #3: He's Rolling In The Dough
A study in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy found that those people who earned more money were more likely to cheat than those who earned less. It's not because they have more income to open new credit cards, carry more cash, or spend more coin on mistress gifts. Some researchers theorize that those with lower salaries - and thus those who are more dependent on others in a relationship - are less likely to risk ruining the relationship.

Wow, interesting theory. My theory on wealthy men stepping out has nothing to do with safety - safety is only found is two married people having affairs with each other. As long they each understand the parameters of the relationship, this is okay. Marriage that need not be ruined over this keeps the two people in line. That, and an understand that this is not an emotional relationship. Should that happen, time to terminate the relationship and move on.

No, when it comes to wealthy men cheating, and I do agree that they are much more prone to it, it has to do with power and (secondary and not always the case) marrying too young and/or for the wrong reasons. People who do not wish to be married to each other are certainly more likely to engage in have outside relationships. And power - do I need to explain that?

Cheating Sign #4: He's A Yeller
While yelling and anger may not seem to be all that connected to cheating, a recent Australian study found that unfaithful partners show many of the same personality characteristics as abusive ones. Those who are more likely to be abusive (verbally or physically) are simply more likely to be unfaithful. What's already bad has the potential of getting even worse.

Who comes up with this?

Cheating Sign #5: He's A Mirror Hog
Some research has shown that the single biggest trait of cheaters is-surprise, surprise-narcissism. These self-loving folks are so wrapped up in their own self-importance that they don't even consider the effect that cheating has on the other person. So what if I stray and have the occasional one-nightstand? I deserve to be happy. Have you seen these guns, baby! And, yes, this works both ways, as Men's Health explained in "6 Signs She's Ready to Stray." Perhaps all of this might leave the guys wishing they had read "The 50 Things She Wishes You Knew About Her."

Yikes. I don't believe that for a moment. Some people are nicissists. These are people you shouldn't date anyway. Annoying!

Know other symptoms and signs of infidelity? Please add your thoughts to this important discussion.

My thoughts are pretty clear on this. It is part of the human genome. It is unrealistic and unfair to expect that all people can live by a man-made concept all of the time. Sometimes wandering has to do with boredom; sometimes filling a need that is meglected in the permanent relationship; sometimes meeting that irresistable person who is willing; sometimes an unhappy relationship that is ending anyway; and a multitude of other reasons that have nothing to do with one personality type more than another. Get a grip, whoever wrote this article. You think you get it, but you really are just guessing.

A.W.A.D. - Built-in Definite Articles

What does the 'lute' of a musician have in common with the Norwegian sea monster 'kraken' and 'lariat' of a cowboy? All three words come with a built-in definite article. The word lute is from Arabic al lud (the wood), kraken has the suffixed Norwegian definite article (-en), and lariat isfrom Spanish la reata (the rope).

Words are buried civilizations. Begin digging and you come across layers of history. Passage of time muddies the original form of words and when we borrow them from another language, we don't realize that they're already hitched to an article before we add a new one.

Well, you don't have to hop across languages or travel through time to see this kind of redundancy in action. We have the ATM machine and VAT tax and AC current in the English language.

This week we feature five more words that come with a packaged definite article.

(lan-YAP, LAN-yap) noun
An unexpected benefit, especially a small gift a customer receives with a purchase.

[From Louisiana French, from American Spanish la 単apa (the gift), from Quechua yapa (something added).]

(AL-kov) noun
1. A recess in a wall.
2. A small, secluded space connected to a room or in a garden.

[From French alcôve, from Spanish alcoba, from Arabic al-qubba (the vault).]

El Dorado
(el duh-RAH-doh) noun
A place offering fabulous wealth or opportunity.

[From Spanish, literally, the gilded one. After a legendary place in South America sought for its gold by 16th century explorers.]

(AZ-uh-muhth) noun
The horizontal angle to an object, measured clockwise from a fixed reference point, usually north or south.

[From French azimut, from Latin azimut, from Arabic al-sumut, from al (the) + samt (way).]

(AL-guh-rith-uhm) noun
A finite sequence of well-defined steps for solving a problem.

[After al Khwarizmi (the [man] of Khwarizm), a nickname of the 9th century Persian astronomer and mathematician Abu Jafar Muhammand ibn Musa, who authored many texts on arithmetic and algebra. He worked in Baghdad and his nickname alludes to his place of origin Khwarizm (Khiva), in present-day Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.]

Thursday, 29 November 2007

The Space

On top of the world like a flag on a mountain
Feeling so high you can feel so alone
Unable to breathe at the height that you flew
Staring on clouds with no view of below

On top of a girl like a dream in a hotel
Falling towards something out of control
Unable to miss like the man in the tram
Crashing your car in Amsterdam

He did it without knowing, didn't feel a thing
He just wrecked it and kept going
The space around the stars
Is something that you know

A billion miles of darkness
Left your feeling low
The space around the stars
Is something that you know

Everything about you
So perfectly restrained
But everything inside you
Bites you

Everybody in the whole of the world
Feels the same inside
Everybody in the whole of the world
Everyone is only everyone else
Everybody's got to know
Everybody lives and loves and laughs and cries
And eats and sleeps and grows and dies
Everybody in the whole of the world
Is the same this time
Is the same inside
In the whole of the world

Yoga Truly Unbound

Last night I went to yoga and it was...


It was not just a regular class, it was beautiful! I like the instructor, John, but up until now the classes have been good. Not that there was anything wrong with that! But something last night was different. I have no idea what. Although I'm usually stiff and sore the next day but today I felt great.

John teaches one type of yoga, but I must be confused with the names (not surprising, knowing me), but here are the different types:

Ananda Yoga: Ananda Yoga classes focus on gentle postures designed to move the energy up to the brain and prepare the body for meditation. Classes also focus on proper body alignment and controlled breathing.

Anusara Yoga is a relatively new form of yoga (1997), which pairs strict principles of alignment with a playful spirit. Postures can be challenging, but the real message of Anusara is to open your heart and strive to connect with the divine in yourself and others.

Ashtanga (or Astanga) Yoga is the name given to the system of yoga taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. This style of yoga is physically demanding as it involves synchronizing breathing with progressive and continuous series of postures-a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, flexibility, stamina, a light and strong body, and a calm mind. Ashtanga is an athletic yoga practice and is not for beginners.

Bikram Yoga is the method of yoga that is a comprehensive workout that includes all the components of fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular flexibility and weight loss. The founder, Bikram Choudhury, was a gold medal Olympic weight lifter in 1963 and is a disciple of Bishnu Ghosh, brother of Paramahansa Yogananda, (Autobiography of a Yogi). One of the unusual but most beneficial aspects of Bikram's yoga practice is the 95-105 degree temperature which promotes more flexibility, detoxification, and prevention of injuries. This is the only yoga style that specializes in using the heated environment.

Hatha is an easy-to-learn basic form of yoga that has become very popular in the United States. Hatha Yoga is the foundation of all Yoga styles. It incorporates Asanas (postures), Pranayama (regulated breathing), meditation (Dharana & Dhyana) and kundalini (Laya Yoga) into a complete system that can be used to achieve enlightenment or self-realization. It has become very popular in America as source of exercise and stress management. The ideal way to practice the Hatha Yoga poses (asanas) is to approach the practice session in a calm, meditative mood. Sit quietly for a few moments, then begin the series, slowly, with control and grace, being inwardly aware as the body performs the various poses selected for the practice session. Do not overdo the asanas or try to compete with others. Take it easy and enjoy.

Integral Yoga: This traditional type of yoga combines postures, breathing exercises, selfless service, meditation, chanting, prayer, and self-inquiry.

ISHTA: Developed by South African teacher Mani Finger and popularized in the States by his son Alan, ISHTA (Integral Science of Hatha and Tantric Arts) focuses on opening energy channels throughout the body with postures, visualizations, and meditation.

Iyengar Yoga, developed by yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar more than 60 years ago, promotes strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance through coordinated breathing and poses that require precise body alignment. The poses are generally held longer than in other styles of yoga. In Iyengar, you slowly move into a pose, hold it for a minute or so, and then rest for a few breaths before stretching into another. Equipment like cushions, blankets, straps, and blocks to help the less flexible also distinguishes Iyengar from other types of yoga. Although Iyengar incorporates the traditional postures, or asanas, that make up the broader category of hatha yoga, the cushions and other props revolutionized yoga by enabling everyone -- even the elderly, sick, and disabled -- to practice. Because of its slow pace, attention to detail, and use of props, Iyengar yoga can be especially good if you're recovering from an injury. Iyengar is still one of the most popular types of yoga taught today.

Jivamukti Yoga: Developed in 1986 by Sharon Gannon and David Life, the Jivamukti Yoga method expresses the spiritual and ethical aspects of the practice of yoga that have been disregarded or devalued in contemporary times. It is a vigorous and challenging asana form with an emphasis on scriptural study, Sanskrit chanting, vegetarianism, non-violence, meditation, devotion to God and the role that music and listening play in the practice of yoga. Life and Gannon currently operate a popular yoga studio in New York City.

Kali Ray TriYoga: A series of flowing, dancelike movements was developed by Kali Ray in 1980. The practice also incorporates pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation. Kali Ray runs the TriYoga Center in Santa Cruz, California. Kripalu is called the yoga of consciousness. This gentle, introspective practice urges practitioners to hold poses to explore and release emotional and spiritual blockages. Goal-oriented striving is discouraged and precise alignment is not as important as in some other traditions. There are three stages in Kripalu yoga. Stage One focuses on learning the postures and exploring your bodies abilities. Stage Two involves holding the postures for an extended time, developing concentration and inner awareness. Stage Three is like a meditation in motion in which the movement from one posture to another arises unconsciously and spontaneously.

Kundalini practice concentrates on awakening the energy at the base of the spine and drawing it upward. In addition to postures, a typical class will also include chanting, meditation, and breathing exercises.

Power Yoga is essentially yoga with brawn. It's the American interpretation of ashtanga yoga, a discipline that combines stretching, strength training, and meditative breathing. But power yoga takes ashtanga one step further. Many of the poses (also called postures or their Sanskrit name, asanas) resemble basic calisthenics -- push-ups and handstands, toe touches and side bends -- but the key to power yoga's sweat-producing, muscle-building power is the pace. Instead of pausing between poses as you would in traditional yoga, each move flows into the next, making it an intense aerobic workout.

Restorative Yoga: In a restorative yoga class you'll spend long periods of time lying on blocks, blankets and bolsters - passively allowing muscles to relax.

Sivananda Yoga: Like Integral Yoga, this traditional type of yoga combines postures, breathing, dietary restrictions, chanting, scriptural study, and meditation. The popular TV yoga teacher Lilias got her start practicing Sivananda Yoga.

Svaroopa Yoga: New students find this a very approachable style, often beginning in chair poses that are comfortable. Promotes healing and transformation.

Viniyoga: This is commonly used as a therapeutic practice for people who have suffered injuries or are recovering from surgery. It is a gentle, healing practice that is tailored to each person's body type and needs as they grow and change.

Vinyasa: Focuses on coordination of breath and movement and it is a very physically active form of yoga. It began with Krishnamacharya who later passed it on to Pattabhi Jois.

White Lotus Yoga: A modified Ashtanga practice developed by Ganga White which is combined with breathwork and meditation.

OK, John teaches Anusara - I was thinking it was Sara-something, but it is the former. The idea of Anusara is to align the body and that was amazing. He doesn't just teach it, he obviously loves it. And he is very, very good, and he is funny. He is always telling us to smile and laugh at ourselves. That is always great advice.

Last night after the workout part of the exercise, then we did the relaxation part. We all lay down and closed our eyes and did the whole relaxation thing. While we were doing that, John said he was going to touch each of us. He said we should tell him if we did not want to be touched and had warned us so that no one would hit the ceiling when he did so. He touched my feet, then pulled them both to get me in a more relaxed position; then he came around to my head, put his hands on my forehead for a few moments, then stroked gently from my nose up to my hairline.

Sounds weird and disquieting, right?

WRONG! It was very gently, very soothing, very relaxing. I'm a touchy-feely person, so I understand liking human contact. It was a truly amazing experience.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

An Amazing Thing

Sometimes life hands you packages wrapped in ridiculous packaging.

Yes, I say that a lot. But it is true. Kind of like the phrase I picked up from a BNL song: "It's not what you're sure of, it's what you don't know". A phrase with a wealth of meaning.

Yesterday, there was an emergency at work. Nothing terrible, but still an emergency, and I had the fortune to run into Rich who pressed me into service without another thought. I had another fleeting thought - lunch - but clearly yet another roadblock existed between myself and the not far-off kitchen. Lunch would wait.

Outside I became EMT [wench] and once I assessed the situation, took over and got positioned to do head/neck stabilization. The position was exceedingly awkward, but almost every car accident is awkward and demands finding new and creative ways to access the patient. It wasn't long but it seemed to be forever, holding the patient's head and asking questions and being reassuring and getting what history I could. The police officer was keeping people away, which was good. I was, as usual, hyperfocussed on the patient.

At some moment when the EMTs and firemen had arrived, I was more aware of my surroundings and looked up to see that aside from a staggering number of emergency personnel (slow day in Springfield?), my manager was out there. Uhhhh... how'd I miss that? One voice not to be missed (and certainly a presence stronger than most), how had I missed that he'd joined the scene? It's me... my weaker area of EMS is getting too focussed on the patient and missing things happening outside of the little circle of concentration.

I need to work on that. An EMT needs to be more aware of a broader circle of environment and when I am working directly with the patient, I lose that. On the other hand, my biggest strength in EMS is not what I can and cannot physically do, but more my ability to interact with patients and make them feel more relaxed and reassured; not reassured that they will be alright (we are trained never to make promises - sometimes people die) but more to imbue a sense of comfort that we will take good care of the patient and to make them as comfortable as possible.

None-the-less, it was still an amazing day!


Sprawling on the fringes of the city
In geometric order
An insulated border
In between the bright lights

And the far unlit unknown
Growing up it all seems so one-sided
Opinions all provided
The future pre-decided

Detached and subdivided
In the mass production zone
Nowhere is the dreamer
or the misfit so alone

In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out

In the basement bars
In the backs of cars
Be cool or be cast out

Any escape might help to smooth
the unattractive truth
But the suburbs have no charms to soothe
the restless dreams of youth

Drawn like moths we drift into the city
The timeless old attraction
Cruising for the action
Lit up like a firefly

Just to feel the living night
Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps

And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of
lighted streets on quiet nights...

In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out

In the basement bars
In the backs of cars
Be cool or be cast out

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Mercy Street

looking down on empty streets,
all she can see
are the dreams all made solid
are the dreams all made real

all of the buildings,
all of those cars
were once just a dream
in somebody's head

she pictures the broken glass,
she pictures the steam
she pictures a soul
with no leak at the seam

lets take the boat out
wait until darkness
let's take the boat out
wait until darkness... comes

nowhere in the corridors
of pale green and grey
nowhere in the suburbs
in the cold light of day

there in the midst of it
so alive and alone
words support like bone

dreaming of mercy st.
wear your inside out
dreaming of mercy
in your daddy's arms again

dreaming of mercy st.
swear they moved that sign
dreaming of mercy
in your daddy's arms

pulling out the papers
from the drawers that slide smooth
tugging at the darkness,
word upon word

confessing all the secret things
in the warm velvet box
to the priest-he's the doctor
he can handle the shocks

dreaming of the tenderness
the tremble in the hips
of kissing Mary's lips

dreaming of mercy st.
wear your insides out
dreaming of mercy
in your daddy's arms again

dreaming of mercy st.
swear they moved that sign
looking for mercy
in your daddy's arms

mercy, mercy,
looking for mercy
mercy, mercy,
looking for mercy

with her father
is out in the boat
riding the water
riding the waves
on the sea

Monday, 26 November 2007

Only The Good Die Young

Come out Virginia, don't let me me wait
You Catholic girls start much too late
But sooner or later it comes down to fate
I might as well be the one

They showed you a statue and told you to pray
They built you a temple and locked you away
But they never told you the price that you pay
For things that you might have done
Only the good die young

You might have heard I run with a dangerous crowd
We ain't too pretty we ain't too proud
We might be laughing a bit too loud
But that never hurt no one

Come on Virginia show me a sign
Send up a signal I'll throw you the line
The stained-glass curtain you're hiding behind
Never lets in the sun
And only the good die young

You got a nice white dress and a party on your confirmation
You got a brand new soul
And a cross of gold

But Virginia they didn't give you quite enough information
You didn't count on me
When you were counting on your rosary

They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
Sinners are much more fun...
And only the good die young

You say your mother told you all that I could give you was a reputation
She never cared for me
But did she ever say a prayer for me?

Sunday, 25 November 2007


A ghost of a mist was on the field
The grey and the green together
The noise of a distant farm machine
Out of the first light came

A tattered necklace of hedge end trees
On the southern side of the hill
Betrays where the border runs between
Where Mary Dunoon's boy fell

Easter here again, a time for the blind to see
Easter, surely now can all of your hearts be free

Out of the port of Liverpool
Bound for the North of Ireland
The wash of the spray and horsetail waves
The roll of the sea below

And Easter here again, a time for the blind to see
Easter, surely now can all of your hearts be free

What will you do?
Make a stone of your heart?
Will you set things right?
When you tear them apart?

Will you sleep at night?
With the plough and the stars alight?
What will you do?
With the wire and the gun?

That'll set things right
When it's said and done?
Will you sleep at night?
Is there so much love to hide?

Forgive, Forget Sing "Never again."

A Post A Day?

I'm suddenly thinking that I can make 365 posts for this year.

I don't always have something to say and there are plenty of posts that are articles or song lyrics or pictorials. But they are still posts and qualify as me saying something - it just may not be in my words. At the outset of the year I was not posting much at all and had thought that I was way beyond the point of managing to make this worthwhile. But in September, October and this month, I have averaged a much higher amount of posts. I had 57 for September, 44 for October and currently 43 for November, not including this one and the one entitled "Thanksgiving Weekend", which should be complete tonight.

Not bad.

November has more to go because there should be one song's lyrics every day. There are no shortages of material there, just the time to do it. And there are a multitude of subjects to be commented upon, but it is staggering how little time there is in the day to do it. Not to mention that some of my thinking gets done in the shower or on the road. Especially on the road with the endless hordes of bad drivers and other nightmarish things that go on. Some times there is actually something good to report but this is a rare occurrence.

I don't say much about work, although I could. I've been asked to "sanitize" the blog and I don't disagree with that. (I still have to weed through April this year to current to be sure that I have done that... I should put that on my To Do list. I keep forgetting...) I don't love it but I don't have an issue with it. My coworkers hate it but I think they have reached the conclusion that if I put up something that is truly objectionable and they ask me to take it down providing an explanation of why I should do so, I will acquies to their request. So they keep an eye on it and I take their advice when given. It works well.

I suspect that I can write a lot more about things there than I do, but it is okay. However, former companies that no longer exist get no such conditional guarantees. USI-bashing is acceptable. I don't say anything that is not true or that is personal and confidential to anyone I still know from that company. But I can point out the collassal mistakes they've made and hopefully just one employer somewhere will learn something from that.

Well. I need to get ready.

More blogging ahead!

Saturday, 24 November 2007

(Don't Fear) the Reaper

All our times have come
Here but now they're gone

Seasons don't fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain..
we can be like they are

Come on baby...don't fear the reaper
Baby take my hand...don't fear the reaper
We'll be able to fly...don't fear the reaper
Baby I'm your man...

Valentine is done
Here but now they're gone

Romeo and Juliet
Are together in eternity...
Romeo and Juliet
40,000 men and women everyday...

Like Romeo and Juliet
40,000 men and women everyday...
Redefine happiness
Another 40,000 coming everyday...

We can be like they are
Come on baby...don't fear the reaper
Baby take my hand...don't fear the reaper
We'll be able to fly...don't fear the reaper
Baby I'm your man...

Love of two is one
Here but now they're gone
Came the last night of sadness
And it was clear she couldn't go on

Then the door was open and the wind appeared
The candles blew then disappeared
The curtains flew then he appeared...
saying don't be afraid

Come on baby...and she had no fear
And she ran to him...then they started to fly
They looked backward and said goodbye...
she had become like they are

She had taken his hand...she had become like they are
Come on baby...don't fear the reaper

Friday, 23 November 2007

I Have the Touch

The time I like is the rush hour, cos I like the rush
The pushing of the people - I like it all so much
Such a mass of motion - do not know where it goes
I move with the movement and ... I have the touch

I'm waiting for ignition, I'm looking for a spark
Any chance collision and I light up in the dark
There you stand before me, all that fur and all that hair
Oh, do I dare ... I have the touch

Wanting contact
I'm wanting contact
I'm wanting contact with you

Shake those hands, shake those hands
Give me the thing I understand
Shake those hands, shake those hands
Shake those hands, shake those hands

Any social occasion, it's hello, how do you do
All those introductions, I never miss my cue
So before a question, so before a doubt
My hand moves out and ... I have the touch

Wanting contact
I'm wanting contact
I'm wanting contact with you

Shake those hands, shake those hands
Give me the thing I understand
Shake those hands, shake those hands

Pull my chin,
stroke my hair,
scratch my nose,
hug my knees
Try drink, food, cigarette,
tension will not ease

I tap my fingers,
fold my arms,
breathe in deep,
cross my legs
Shrug my shoulders,
stretch my back - but nothing seems to please

I need contact
I need contact
Nothing seems to please
I need contact

A.W.A.D. - Eponyms - Words Coined After Someone

Eponyms -- AWAD's perennial favorites -- make their appearance once again.

If we featured nothing but eponyms every day it would be several years before we'd run out. There's a reason for their popularity: where else can you a find a whole story in just one word? And there's a reason for their abundance: it's often easiest to name something after its inventor.

This week's selection features words named after people -- famous and infamous, real and fictional, well-known and obscure.

(PINCH-bek) noun
An alloy of zinc and copper, used as imitation gold in jewelry.
Counterfeit or spurious.

[After watchmaker Christopher Pinchbeck (1670-1732), who invented it. It's ironic that today his name is a synonym for something counterfeit but in his time his fame was worldwide, not only as the inventor of this curious alloy but also as a maker of musical clocks and orreries*. The composition of this gold-like alloy was a closely-guarded secret but it didn't prevent others from passing off articles as if made from this alloy... faking fake gold!]

(BUN-buh-ree) noun
An imaginary person whose name is used as an excuse to some purpose, especially to visit a place
verb intr.
To use the name of a fictitious person as an excuse

[From Oscar Wilde's play The Importance of being Earnest where the character Algernon invents an imaginary person named Bunbury as an alibi to escape from relatives. He explains to his friend, "I have invented an invaluable permanent invalid called Bunbury, in order that I may be able to go down into the country whenever I choose. Bunbury is perfectly invaluable. If it wasn't for Bunbury's extraordinary bad health, for instance, I wouldn't be able to dine with you at Willis's to-night."]

(RAG-uh-muf-in) noun
Someone, especially a child, in ragged, dirty clothes.

[After Ragamoffyn, a demon in William Langland's 14th century poem Piers Plowman.]

(TISH-uhn) noun
A bright reddish or golden auburn color.

[After 16th century Italian painter Titian, from the frequent use of the color (especially for the hair) in his paintings.]

Darby and Joan
(DAHR-bee and joan) noun
A devoted old couple leading a quiet, uneventful life.

[After a couple named in a 18th century poem in The Gentleman's Magazine (London).]

An Interesting Survey

1. What time is it?

2. What are your full names?
Aislinge Kellogg

3. What are you most afraid of :

4. Place of birth?
Manhattan, New York

5. Favourite food?
Hawai'ian pizza

6. Your hair colour now?
Reddish brown

7. Have you travelled?

8. Do you scrunch or fold (toilet paper)?

9. Love someone so much it made you cry?

10. Been in a car accident?
Yes. 1 September 2001

11. BMW or Mercedes Benz
Neither. Acura

12. Favourite day of the week?

13. Favourite Restaurant?
The Garlic Rose

14. Favourite Flower?

15. Favourite sport to watch?
Olympics, the ONLY sport I will watch

16. Favourite Drink?
Hot tea

17. Favourite ice cream?
Red Bean

18. Disney or Warner Brothers?
Warner Brothers!

19. Favourite fast food restaurant?

20. What colour is your bedroom carpet?
Faded burgundy

21. How many times you failed your driver's test?

22. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail?
Harry Trebilcox, my father

23. What do you do most often when you are bored?
Watch telly/blog

24. Bedtime?

25. Who will respond to this e-m ail the quickest?
I don't know, honestly

26. Who is the person least likely to respond?
Almost all of them!

27. Who is the person you are most curious to see their answers?
All of them. They are my friends!

28. What means the most to you?
My life

29. Favourite TV shows?
Reaper, Boston Legal, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

30. Dating MALES or FEMALES
Not dating, but if I were, males

31. Tall or short
The low end of medium

32. What is your favourite colour?

33. How many pets do you have?
Two 16-year-old cats

34. Age: Above or below 29
I'll be 40 at the end of January

35. What would you like to accomplish/do before you die?
Be happier

36. How Many people are you sending this e-mail to?
I don't know yet

37. What is your star Sign:
Aquarius, air sign

Thursday, 22 November 2007


And I'd give up forever to touch you
'Cause I know that you feel me somehow
You're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be
And I don't want to go home right now

And all I can taste is this moment
And all I can breathe is your life
'Cause sooner or later it's over
I just don't want to miss you tonight

And I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

And you can't fight the tears that ain't coming
Or the moment of truth in your lies
When everything feels like the movies
And you bleed just to know you're alive

And I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

And I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

And I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

I just want you to know who I am
I just want you to know who I am
I just want you to know who I am

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

The King of Sunset Town

A ragged man came shuffling through
A puppet king on the 4th of June
And butterflies from all around
Settled on his paper crown

A pretty sight it seemed to be
An avenue of eternal peace
But he said, "What is here can soon burn down..."
"I'm the king of sunset town"

Watch a big wheel turning round
Some go up and some go down
Some go thirsty some just drown
"That's the law round here"
Said the king of sunset town

And in the night he comes to me
And the square becomes a battlefield
Of staring eyes that can't explain
The insanity and the greater game

Watch a big wheel turning round
Some go up and some go down
Some go thirsty some just drown
"That's the law round here"
Said the king of sunset town

A ragged man came shuffling through
The corridors of this white place
And as he lay his body down
I saw the scars that lined his face

And injured souls came to his bed
To hear the stories he would tell
Of butterflies and summertimes
And everyone assembled here

Remembers how it used to be
Before the 27th came
This place will never be the same
He said "I'm the king of sunset town"

Watch a big wheel turning round
Some go up and some go down
Some go thirsty some just drown
"That's the law round here"
Said the king of sunset town

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Way To Go, David & Dorita!

Quality goods a magnet for museum's bazaar

Ernst Lamothe Jr. Staff writer

(November 19, 2007) — Several times Sunday, David Reyen turned his booth into a mobile dressing room. As he held out a large mirror at every angle, women modeled pieces of his hand-dyed silk and wool clothing that they had just purchased.

David Reyen of Baldwinsville holds the mirror for Carol Graziano of Irondequoit as she tries on a capelet at the Rochester science museum's Holiday Bazaar. Reyen runs Reyen Design Studios with his wife, Dorita.

"Clothing is just another word for costume. So we're here to help people pick what kind of costume they want to wear for any particular day," said Reyen of Baldwinsville, Onondaga County, who runs Reyen Design Studios with his wife, Dorita.

With Christmas music softly playing the background, hundreds of people sifted through crafts, bought jewelry and tried on garments at the 37th annual Holiday Bazaar.

Hosted by the Rochester Museum & Science Center, the annual event continues to expand. This year, more than 170 vendors from five states, including Massachusetts, New Jersey and Ohio, participated.

Reyen's booth was an illustration of a long-running event finding ways not to stagnant. "We keep trying to get more nationwide and state vendors because the more success we have with that, the more wide-ranging quality items we can offer the community," said Christine DeTurck, assistant chairwoman for the event. "And we have some one-of-a-kind treasures, with everything here being handmade."

The three-day bazaar, which ended Sunday, is one of the more lucrative fundraisers for the museum, netting $52,000 last year. "We usually only attend shows that have been running for many years because everything is always organized," said Reyen. "This is just another example of a well-run show. Thirty-seven years of doing an event usually means you know how to do it right."

Nancy Gillette had never gone to the Holiday Bazaar until last year when her mother dragged her. On Sunday, Gillette passed down the motherly nudging and took her daughter, Colleen, for some early Christmas shopping. Both left pleased.
"They have such high-quality things here. I love the jewelry," said Nancy Gillette, a Webster resident. Mary Jo Terrell of Spencerport, who had just purchased a small, green pocket photo album, is a bazaar regular.

"The great things they have here keep me coming back every year," she said.

A Change

Ten years living in a paperbag
Feedback baby, he's a flipped out cat
He's a platinum canary, drinkin' falstaff beer
Mercedes rule, and a rented lear

Botton feeder insincere
Prophet lo-fi pioneer
Sell the house and go to school
Get a young girlfriend, daddy's jewel

A change would do you good
A change would do you good
God's little gift is on the rag
Poster girl posing in a fashion mag

Canine, feline, Jekyll and Hyde
Wear your fake fur on the inside
Queen of south beach, aging blues
Dinner's at six, wear your cement shoes

I thought you were singing your heart out to me
Your lips were syncing and now I see
A change would do you good
A change would do you good

Chasing dragons with plastic swords
Jack off Jimmy, everybody wants more
Scully and angel on the kitchen floor
And I'm calling Buddy on the ouija board

I've been thinking 'bout catching a train
Leave my phone machine by the radar range
Hello it's me, I'm not at home
If you'd like to reach me, leave me alone

A change would do you good
A change would do you good
Hello, it's me, I'm not at home
If you'd like to reach me, leave me alone

A change would do you good
A change would do you good

Monday, 19 November 2007

Every Day is a Winding Road

I hitched a ride with a vending machine repair man
He says he's been down this road more than twice
He was high on intellectualism
I've never been there but the brochure looks nice

Jump in, let's go
Lay back, enjoy the show
Everybody gets high, everybody gets low,
These are the days when anything goes

Everyday is a winding road
I get a little bit closer
Everyday is a faded sign
I get a little bit closer to feeling fine

He's got a daughter he calls Easter
She was born on a Tuesday night
I'm just wondering why I feel so all alone
Why I'm a stranger in my own life

Jump in, let's go
Lay back, enjoy the show
Everybody gets high, everybody gets low
These are the days when anything goes

Everyday is a winding road
I get a little bit closer
Everyday is a faded sign
I get a little bit closer to feeling fine

I've been living in a sea of anarchy
I've been living on coffee and nicotine
I've been wondering if all the things I've seen
Were ever real, were ever really happening

Everyday is a winding road
I get a little bit closer
Everyday is a faded sign
I get a little bit closer to feeling fine

Sunday, 18 November 2007


Distant flickering, greener scenery.
This weather's bringing it all back again.
Great adventures, faces and condensation.
I'm going outside to take it all in.

You say too late to start, got your heart in a headlock,
I don't believe any of it.
You say too late to start, with your heart in a headlock,
You know you're better than this.

We're a different pair, do something out of step.
Throw a stranger an unexpected smile...with big intention.
Still posted at your station.
Always on about the day it should have flied.

You say too late to start, got your heart in a headlock,
I don't believe any of it.
You say too late to start, with your heart in a headlock,
You know you're better than this.

Afraid to start, got your heart in a headlock,
I don't believe any of it.
You say too late to start, with your heart in a headlock,
You know you're better than this.

Been walking, you've been hiding,
And you look half dead half the time.
Monitoring you, like machines do,
You've still got it, I'm just keeping an eye

I've been walking, you've been hiding,
And you look half dead half the time.
Monitoring you, like machines do,
You've still got it, I'm just keeping an eye

So what, don't care, will not, the end
You know you're better than this
I'll make you start, got your heart in a headlock,
I don't believe any of it.

You say too late to start, with your heart in a headlock,
You know you're better than this.
Afraid to start, got your heart in a headlock,
I don't believe any of it.

You say too late to start, with your heart in a headlock,
You know you're better than this.

Pon De Replay

come mr. dj, song pon de replay
come mr. dj, won't you turn the music up
all the gyal pon the dance floor
wantin some more what

come mr. dj won't you turn the music up

It goes one by one, even two by two
everybody on the floor let me show you how we do
lets go dip it low then you bring it up slow
wind it up one time wind it back once more

run, run, run, run

everybody move

runlemme see you move and

rock it til the grooves

doneshake it til the moon becomes the sun (sun)

everybody in the club give me a run (run)

if you ready to move say it (yeah yeah)
one time for your mind say it (yeah yeah)
well i'm ready for ya come let me show ya
you want to groove im'a show you how to move

come come[hook x2:]come mr. dj song pon de replay
come rr. dj won't you turn the music up
all the gyal pon the dancefloor wantin some more what
come mr. dj won't you turn the music up[b-sec x2:]

hey mr.please mr. dj
tell me if you hear me
turn the music up

[verse 2:]

it goes 1 by 1 even 2 by 2
everybody in the club gon be rockin when i'm through
let the bass from the speakers run through ya sneakers
move both ya feet and run to the beat

[pre-hook:]run, run, run, runeverybody move run
lemme see you move and
rock it til the grooves done
shake it til the moon becomes the sun (sun)
everybody in the club give me a run (run)
if you ready to move say it (yeah yeah)
one time for your mind say it (yeah yeah)
well i'm ready for ya
come let me show ya
you want to groove I'm gonna show you how to move

come come[hook x2:]
come mr. dj song pon de replay
come rr. dj won't you turn the music up
all the gyal pon the dancefloor wantin some more what
come mr. dj won't you turn the music up
[b-sec x2:]
hey mr. please mr. dj tell me if you hear me turn the music up


November 12, 2007

Absinthe Returns in a Glass Half Full of Mystique and Misery

Dear reader!

Should this column impress you as being more than usually lyrical, recalling perhaps the imagery and elegance of poetry by Baudelaire or Verlaine; should it seem a bit decadent, redolent of Oscar Wilde’s withering hauteur; should it have a touch of madness or perversity, combining, say, the tastes of Toulouse-Lautrec with the passions of van Gogh; should it simply sound direct and forceful and knowing like one of Ernest Hemingway’s characters; should it do any or all of that, let me credit something that each of these figures fervently paid tribute to: the green fairy, the green goddess, the green muse, the glaucous witch, the queen of poisons.


For this column was conceived under the influence of a green-colored, high-proof herbal liquor that was illegal in the United States for more than 95 years. And not just here, for when that mini-Prohibition began in 1912, alarm bells were ringing all over Europe. In 1905 a Swiss man murdered his family after drinking absinthe, leading to the liquor’s banishment from that country, where it originated. The French thought they risked losing World War I to robust beer-drinking Germans because of the dissolute influence of absinthe, so it was banned in that nation as well.

The medical evidence was also damning. As early as 1879 The New York Times warned that absinthe “is much more perilous, as well as more deleterious, than any ordinary kind of liquor.” A 19th-century French doctor, who made a lifetime study of absinthism, chronicled its symptoms: “sudden delirium, epileptic attacks, vertigo, hallucinatory delirium.”

But recently this anise-flavored spirit has been seeping back into the mainstream. In 1994 a museum devoted to absinthe opened in Auvers-sur-Oise, outside Paris. With its limited availability and exotic reputation, the drink inspired cultish devotion. It tantalized with its promises of visionary consciousness, so elaborately celebrated by a century of artists and writers. Now absinthe has been widely restored. The European Union gradually jettisoned a hodgepodge of bans and widened absinthe’s availability. And this year two brands of absinthe made according to traditional recipes have been legally imported to the United States.

Last spring a French brand, Lucid, made its debut here, using 19th-century distilling methods and replicating chemical analyses of pre-ban absinthe. A Swiss absinthe, Kübler. appeared on the American market a few weeks ago, using a 1863 family formula.

One reason legal barriers have fallen is that, as The New Yorker reported in 2006, the regulated chemical thujone, found in wormwood and once thought to have been the cause of absinthe’s lure and its dangers, did not show up in any significant quantities in analyses of historical absinthe. So these authentic replicas, despite containing wormwood, do not pose a legal challenge. And the alarmed pronouncements about absinthe made from the beginning of the Belle Époque have been proved groundless, which was decisive, a Kübler spokesman said, in swaying United States government regulators.

This still leaves open the reasons behind absinthe’s reputation as an intoxicating source of creativity and invention, a power that led Hemingway’s character Robert Jordan, in “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” to carry around a flask of this “opaque, bitter, tongue-numbing, brain-warming, stomach-warming, idea-changing liquid alchemy.” It also leaves unsettled the cause of what led absinthe to be attacked, as one 19th-century poet put it, “the Devil, made liquid.”

Wormwood might still account for some of absinthe’s effects. Pythagoras prescribed wormwood steeped in wine for labor pains. In the 17th century it was used to treat venereal disease, intestinal worms and, yes, drunkenness. By the 19th century absinthe was used by French soldiers fighting in Africa as an antiseptic, to ward off insects and to treat dysentery. But once I sat down with bottles of Kübler, Lucid and some friends, the cause of absinthe’s reputation didn’t matter, nor did the absence, in these brands, of the pearly green color of legend. What I did find, along with flavors of anise, fennel, coriander, mint and other herbs, was something different in the liquid’s effect, a kind of relaxed alertness accompanying the lulling impact of alcohol.

But I may have also been intoxicated by the drink’s cultural heritage, some of which is surveyed in recent books like Jad Adams’s detailed study “Hideous Absinthe: A History of the Devil in a Bottle,” as well as Barnaby Conrad III’s “Absinthe: History in a Bottle” and Phil Baker’s “Book of Absinthe: A Cultural History.” (More information is available at Web sites like and oxygeneecom.)

Whatever the effects of heavy absinthe use, this was, almost from the start, never just another drink. It has a special place in the history of modern culture. Poems were written hailing the “green muse,” yet 19th-century writers like Alfred de Musset also fell prey to intoxication. At the Académie Française, where he was working on a dictionary, it was said that he “absinthes himself too often.”

Toulouse-Lautrec was so wedded to absinthe that he had a special cane made that hid a glass. He may have also introduced the drink to van Gogh, who threw himself into it with abandon. Aside from drinking the liquor, van Gogh painted it, and once threw a glass of it at Gauguin. Manet and Degas painted absinthe drinkers. So did Picasso. Munch drank it heavily and Strindberg fed his insanity with it. Verlaine felt enslaved to what he called “the green and terrible drink.”

But any dissolution that pockmarks this history is more attributable to alcoholism or madness than absinthe’s effects. It also seems that absinthe had a peculiar relationship to the birth of modernism, as if it distilled some aspect of the cultural revolution that began in the mid-19th century and came into its prime just as the drink was banned. Absinthe was the premier bohemian drink, as inseparable from the avant-garde of mid-19th-century Paris as was scorn the bourgeoisie. It played the role well; absinthe helped overturn that bourgeois world with seductive visions of another.

But even those who hailed absinthe saw unsettling shadows. Wilde explained: “After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see them as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.”

Absinthe’s effects suggested, it seems, an inherent instability to perception, as if mixing and distilling the shimmer of Impressionism, the nightmares of Expressionism and the skewed images of Surrealism. Van Gogh made a glass of absinthe vibrate with energy. And when Manet, Degas or Picasso painted absinthe drinkers, they appeared introspective, alienated, not because they have been drugged into oblivion, but because they have seen too much.

At least in imagery, then, absinthe reflected a certain view of modernity: A firm, reliable order weakens, giving way to bleak uncertainties. For some this was a danger. A children’s anti-absinthe poem taught that the drink undermined “love of country, courage and honor.” During the Dreyfus Affair in France in the 1890s, when the French right considered Jews a threat to the old order, absinthe was denounced as a “tool of the Jews.”

In tasting absinthe now, older associations with bohemian modernism still resonate. But the lucidity absinthe supposedly creates may not, history tells us, always be reassuring. Who can’t help but feel a bit of unsettling vertigo when sipping this drink that once filled Parisian cafes, even if that vertigo, which once produced allusive French poetry, now just inspires newspaper columns.

Connections is a critic’s perspective on arts and ideas.

A History of Postal Codes!

I was reading my 1958 Old Farmers Amanac by Robert B. Thomas (who is, of course, long dead, but still has his name on the front cover of every single one of these, all 215. Well, maybe it is 216, now. The 2008 Almanac came out in September. They have for a long time, too. That is not a recent change to the Almanac.

What struck me was the adverts in it. Inside where all these cheesy adverts with weird drawings that are so hallmark of the 50s and the addresses were there. They all looked like this:

Joseph Harris Co.
295 Moreston Farm
Rochester 11, N.Y.

Anything look strange about that address? Like the postal code is part of the town name, and not five to nine digits. I knew that the postal code system was not always in place, but I did not realise that as late as 1958 it wasn't in place! 1963, same thing - Chicago 10, Ill. 1964, 1966, ah-ha! 1967 - the addresses look like this:

Alonzo O. Bliss Medical Co.
Washington, D.C. 20013

Most states seemed to have adopted this system, but there is a California address in there that still goes by the older system: Oakland 4, CA. So some time in mid- to late 1966 this system was officially put into effect. Let's see how close I am:

From Wikipedia:
A postal code (known in various countries as a post code, postcode, or ZIP code) is a series of letters and/or digits appended to a postal address for the purpose of sorting mail.

Germany was the first country to introduce a postal code system, in 1941. The United Kingdom followed in 1959 and the United States in 1963.

In February 2005, 117 of the 190 member countries of the Universal Postal Union had postal code systems. Examples of countries that do not have national systems include Ireland, Hong Kong, Panama and Vietnam.

Although postal codes are usually assigned to geographical areas, special codes are sometimes assigned to individual addresses or to institutions that receive large volumes of mail, such as government agencies and large commercial companies. One example is the French Cedex system.

Postal zone numbers
Before postal codes as described here were used, large cities were often divided into postal zones or postal districts, usually numbered from 1 upwards within each city. The newer postal code systems often incorporate the old zone numbers, as with London postal district numbers, for example. Ireland, still uses postal district numbers in Dublin. In New Zealand, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch were divided into postal zones, but these fell into disuse, and have now become redundant as a result of a new postcode system being introduced.

Note: In Wikipedia, "postal codes" gives information about all countries. If you look up "zip codes", you get the United States postal code information only because no other country had a system called ZIP. (See below...)

The ZIP code is the system of postal codes used by the United States Postal Service (USPS). The letters ZIP, an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan, are written properly in capital letters and were chosen to suggest that the mail travels more efficiently, and therefore more quickly, when senders use it. The basic format consists of five numerical digits. An extended ZIP + 4 code includes the five digits of the ZIP code, a hyphen and then four more digits, which allow a piece of mail to be directed to a more precise location than by the ZIP code alone. ZIP Code was originally registered as a trademark by the U.S. Postal Service but its registration has since expired.

The postal service implemented postal zones for large cities in 1943. For example:

Mr. John Smith
3256 Epiphenomenal Avenue
Minneapolis 16, Minnesota
Wikimedia Foundation Inc.
200 2nd Ave. South #358
St. Petersburg 1, Florida

The "16" in the first example and "1" in the second is the number of the postal zone within the city.

By the early 1960s a more general system was needed, and on July 1, 1963, non-mandatory ZIP codes were announced for the whole country. Robert Moon, an employee of the post office, is considered the father of the ZIP code. He submitted his proposal in 1944 while working as a postal inspector.

The post office only gives credit to Moon for the first three digits of the ZIP code, which describe the region of the country. In most cases, the last two digits coincide with the older postal zone number, thus:

Mr. John Smith
3256 Epiphenomenal Avenue
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55416

Wikimedia Foundation Inc.
200 2nd Ave. South #358
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

In 1967, these were made mandatory for second- and third-class bulk mailers, and the system was soon adopted generally. The United States Post Office used a cartoon character, Mr. ZIP, to promote use of the ZIP code. He was often depicted with a legend such as "USE ZIP CODES" in the selvage of panes of stamps or on labels contained in, or the covers of, booklet panes of stamps. Curiously enough, the only time the Postal Service issued a stamp promoting the ZIP code, in 1974, Mr. ZIP was not depicted.

ZIP + 4
In 1983, the U.S. Postal Service began using an expanded ZIP code system called "ZIP + 4", often called "plus-four codes" or "add-on codes."
Wikimedia Foundation Inc.
200 2nd Ave. South #358
St. Petersburg, FL 33701-4313

Furthermore, recently the Postal Service started a "Find a ZIP Code" feature on its website, which provides an address format that is most compatible with its optical character recognition, or OCR, scanners:

Structure and allocation
By geography
ZIP codes are numbered with the first digit representing a certain group of U.S. states, the second and third digits together representing a region in that group (or perhaps a large city) and the fourth and fifth digits representing a group of delivery addresses within that region. The main town in a region (if applicable) often gets the first ZIP codes for that region; afterward, the numerical order often follows the alphabetical order.

Generally, the first three digits designate a sectional center facility, the mail-sorting and -distribution center for an area. A sectional center facility may have more than one three-digit code assigned to it. For example, the Northern Virginia sectional center facility in Merrifield is assigned codes 220, 221, 222 and 223. In some cases, a sectional center facility may serve an area in an adjacent state, usually due to the lack of an appropriate location for a center in that region. For example, 739 in Oklahoma is assigned to Liberal, Kansas; 865 in Arizona is assigned to Gallup, New Mexico; and 961 in California to Reno, Nevada.

Geographically, many of the lowest ZIP codes are in the New England region, since these begin with '0'. Also in the '0' region are Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and APO/FPO military addresses for personnel stationed in Europe. The lowest ZIP code is in Holtsville, New York (00501, a ZIP Code exclusively for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service center there). Other low ZIP codes are 00601 for Adjuntas, Puerto Rico; 01001 for Agawam, Massachusetts, and 01002 for Amherst, Massachusetts. Up until 2001 there were also six zip codes even lower than 00501 that were numbered from 00210 to 00215 (located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire) and were used by the Diversity Immigrant Visa program to receive applications from non-US citizens.

The numbers increase southward along the East Coast, such as 02115 (Boston), 10001 (New York City), 19103 (Philadelphia), 20008 (Washington, D.C.), 30303 (Atlanta) and 33130 (Miami) (these are only examples as each of these cities contain several zip codes in the same range). From there, the numbers increase heading westward and northward. For example, 40202 is in Louisville, 50309 in Des Moines, Iowa, 60601 in Chicago, 77063 in Houston, 80202 in Denver, 94111 in San Francisco, 98101 in Seattle, and 99950 in Ketchikan, Alaska.

The first digit of the ZIP code is allocated as follows:

0 = Connecticut (CT), Massachusetts (MA), Maine (ME), New Hampshire (NH), New Jersey (NJ), Puerto Rico (PR), Rhode Island (RI), Vermont (VT), Virgin Islands (VI), APO Europe (AE), FPO Europe (AE)

1 = Delaware (DE), New York (NY), Pennsylvania (PA)

2 = District of Columbia (DC), Maryland (MD), North Carolina (NC), South Carolina (SC), Virginia (VA), West Virginia (WV)

3 = Alabama (AL), Florida (FL), Georgia (GA), Mississippi (MS), Tennessee (TN), APO Americas (AA), FPO Americas (AA)

4 = Indiana (IN), Kentucky (KY), Michigan (MI), Ohio (OH)

5 = Iowa (IA), Minnesota (MN), Montana (MT), North Dakota (ND), South Dakota (SD), Wisconsin (WI)

6 = Illinois (IL), Kansas (KS), Missouri (MO), Nebraska (NE)

7 = Arkansas (AR), Louisiana (LA), Oklahoma (OK), Texas (TX)

8 = Arizona (AZ), Colorado (CO), Idaho (ID), New Mexico (NM), Nevada (NV), Utah (UT), Wyoming (WY)

9 = Alaska (AK), American Samoa (AS), California (CA), Guam (GU), Hawaii (HI), Marshall Islands (MH), Federated States of Micronesia (FM), Northern Mariana Islands (MP), Oregon (OR), Palau (PW), Washington (WA), APO Pacific (AP), FPO Pacific (AP)

The next two digits represent the sectional center facility (e.g. 432xx = Columbus OH), and the fourth and fifth digits represents the area of the city (if in a metropolitan area), or a village/town (outside metro areas): 43209 (4=Ohio, 32=Columbus, 09=Bexley). When a sectional center facility's area crosses state lines, that facility is assigned separate three-digit prefixes for the states that it serves; thus, it is possible to identify the state associated with any ZIP Code just by looking at the first three digits.

Despite the geographic derivation of most ZIP codes, the codes themselves do not represent geographic regions; they generally correspond to address groups or delivery routes. Consequently, ZIP Code "areas" can overlap, be subsets of each other, or be artificial constructs with no geographic area. Similarly, in areas without regular postal routes (rural route areas) or no mail delivery (undeveloped areas), ZIP Codes are not assigned or are based on sparse delivery routes, and hence the boundary between ZIP code areas is undefined.

For example, U.S. government agencies in and around the nation's capital are assigned ZIP codes starting with 20200 to 20599, which are Washington, D.C., ZIP codes, even if they are not located in Washington itself. While the White House itself is located in ZIP code 20006, it has the ZIP code 20500. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is located in Rockville, Maryland, at ZIP code 20852, but has been assigned by the Postal Service the address "Washington, DC 20555". The United States Patent and Trademark Office used to be located in Crystal City, Virginia at ZIP Code 22202 but was assigned by the Postal Service the address "Washington, DC 20231"; however, since its move to Alexandria, Virginia, it uses the ZIP + 4 code 22313-1450.

Rarely, a locality is assigned a ZIP code that does not match the rest of the state. This is when the locality is so isolated that it is served from a sectional center in another state. For example, Fishers Island, New York, bears the ZIP code 06390 and is served from Connecticut — all other New York ZIP codes (excepting those at Holtsville for the IRS) begin with "1". Similarly, some Texas ZIP codes are served from New Mexico and thus bear codes beginning with "8" rather than "7". Returned government parcels from the District of Columbia are sent to ZIP codes beginning with "569", so that returned parcels are security checked at a remote facility (this was put into place after the anthrax scare).

ZIP codes only loosely tied to cities
An address's ZIP code and the "city" name written on the same line do not necessarily mean that that address is within that city. The Postal Service designates a single "default" place name for each ZIP code. This may be an actual incorporated town or city, a subentity of a town or city or an unincorporated census-designated place. Additional place names, also of any of these types, may be recognized as "acceptable" for a certain ZIP code. Still others are deemed "not acceptable", and if used may result in a delay in mail delivery.

Default place names are typically the actual city or town that the address is located in. However, for many cities that have incorporated since ZIP codes were introduced the actual city name is only "acceptable" and not the "default" place name. Many databases automatically assign the "default" place name for a ZIP code, without regard to any "acceptable" place names. For example, Centennial, Colorado is divided among seven ZIP codes assigned to "Aurora", "Englewood" or "Littleton" as its "default" place names. Thus, from the perspective of the U.S. Postal Service, the city of Centennial and its 100,000 residents do not exist - they are part of Aurora, Englewood or Littleton. In the ZIP-code directory, Centennial addresses are listed under those three cities. And since it is "acceptable" to write "Centennial" in conjunction with any of the seven ZIP codes, one can write "Centennial" in an address that is actually in Aurora, Englewood, or Littleton, as long as it is in one of the shared ZIP Codes.

"Acceptable" place names are often added to a ZIP code in cases where the ZIP-code boundaries divide them between two or more cities, as in the case of Centennial. However, in many cases only the "default" name can be used, even when many addresses in the ZIP code are in another city. For example, approximately 85% of the area served by the ZIP code 85254, to which the place name "Scottsdale, Arizona," is assigned, is actually inside the city limits of neighboring Phoenix. This is because the post office that serves this area is in Scottsdale. This has led some residents of the ZIP code to believe that they live in Scottsdale when they actually live in Phoenix. A Scottsdale website listing the positive and negative aspects of the city mentioned the 85254 ZIP code as a positive aspect because "Scottsdale" is being used for businesses located outside the Scottsdale city limits.

This phenomenon is repeated across the country. The previously mentioned Englewood is a land-locked, inner-ring suburb that was built out by the 1960s. Its post office served the area that is now the high-growth southern tier of the Denver metropolitan area, and ZIP codes in this area were assigned "Englewood" as their "default" place name. An employment center as large as downtown Denver has grown in this area, and its office parks are the headquarters for many internationally recognized corporations. Even though they are actually located in other cities, they indicate "Englewood" as their location, as this is the "default" postal place name. As a result, there are really two "Englewoods" — the actual city, small and with a largely working-class residential population, and, a number of miles away, the postal "Englewood," a vast suburban area of upscale subdivisions and office parks that have nothing to do with the City of Englewood yet share a split identity with it solely because of ZIP codes. People who say that they live or work in "Englewood" and identify closely with it may rarely enter the actual city of that name. In Indiana the zip code for a town usually indicates the zip code for its corresponding township as nearly all of Indiana's small town post offices have rural routes.

"Acceptable place names" also come into play in areas of the country where many citizens identify more strongly with a particular urban center than the municipality they actually live in. For example, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania has 130 distinct municipalities, but many of the county's residents, and even some residents of adjacent counties, commonly use "Pittsburgh, PA" as their postal address. The same thing applies in many cities that have more than one zip code, like Evansville, Indiana or Jacksonville, Florida.

Finally, many ZIP codes are for villages, census-designated places, portions of cities, or other entities that are not municipalities. For example, ZIP code 03750 is for Etna, New Hampshire, but Etna is not a city or town; it is actually a village district in the town of Hanover, which itself is assigned the ZIP code 03755. Another example is ZIP code 08043, which corresponds to the census-designated place of Kirkwood, NJ but actually serves the entirety of Voorhees Township, NJ. This is also the case in LaGrange, New York, a portion of which is served by the 12603 ZIP code based in the neighboring Town of Poughkeepsie. The rest of LaGrange is served by the LaGrangeville Post Office. LaGrangeville is itself, not a town at all, but a section of LaGrange. Another example is Armstrong Township of Vanderburgh County, Indiana. While the rest of the county uses the 477 prefix, Armstrong Township, despite having no incorporated town, uses the zip code 47617 and addresses itself "Armstrong, Indiana".

The postal designations for place names become de facto locations for their addresses, and as a result it is difficult to convince residents and businesses that they actually are located in another city or town different from the "default" place name associated with their ZIP codes. Because of the confusion and lack of identity generated by this situation, some cities, such as Signal Hill, California, have successfully petitioned the Postal Service to change ZIP-code boundaries or create new ZIP codes so that their cities can be the "default" place name for addresses within the ZIP code.

This confusion also can have financial implications for local governments, because mail volume is among the factors used by the U.S. Census Bureau to estimate population changes between decennial census enumerations. Sometimes local officials in a community that is not the "default" place name for a zip code but is an "acceptable" place name will advise residents to always use the name of the community, because if the census estimate of that town's population is low they will get fewer State and Federal funds that are computed based on population.

Don't Miss This Amazing Sight!

The e-mail came from Bill Watson, a retired Buffalo science teacher who divides his time today between bird watching and astronomy. In astronomical circles, Watson is best known as a world class recorder of meteor showers, but his message this time called my attention to a remarkable comet whose sudden outburst has made it visible to the naked eye.

This extraordinary solar phenomenon is called Comet Holmes or officially Comet 17P/1892 V1. Alan MacRobert of Sky and Telescope astronomy magazine called its appearance “an extraordinary event not to miss.”

Despite our recent series of clear skies, I couldn’t follow up Watson’s suggestion until a few days ago. But then when I searched the sky, there was the comet, a kind of blurry smudge, quite distinct in appearance from the nearby twinkling stars. My eyes are not good and there is a great deal of light pollution in my neighborhood; even so, I could see it with naked eyes. With binoculars, I could then make out much greater detail.

You too can see Comet Holmes and it does not take previous knowledge of astronomy to find it. I hope that many families will venture out on a clear night to observe it because this comet should not be missed. One California observer said of the comet: “I think this is about the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in the sky.” I hope it will serve as a stimulator of astronomical interest among school-age kids.

Here’s how to find Comet Holmes in the evening sky. Start by facing northeast and locating one of the most recognizable constellations, Cassiopeia. This five-star constellation will be almost overhead.

The stars of Cassiopeia form a pattern that looks like a “W” turned on end. (Star maps connect the stars to make the pattern more apparent. Remember that the real stars are not so joined.) You should have no trouble finding this constellation as those five stars are much brighter than other nearby stars. I learned this constellation as Cassiopeia’s chair and, when it is seen sideways, it does have the appearance of a kind of folding deck chair.

Now look down and to the right of Cassiopeia to find the brightest star in that part of the sky, the star Capella.

Half way between the constellation Cassiopeia and the star Capricorn is another constellation, this one called Perseus. Find Mirfak, the brightest star in this constellation. Close to that star you’ll see Comet Holmes.

It is easy to distinguish the comet from the stars. The comet is blurry, whereas the stars twinkle. If you can do so, look at the comet through binoculars or a telescope. That way you may even see the beginnings of a tail, which a few astronomers have already noticed.

Comet Holmes was discovered on Nov. 6, 1892 by London astronomer Edwin Holmes. Looking for a distant galaxy with which he was familiar, he was heard by his wife to exclaim, “There is something strange here.” And indeed there was an undescribed comet. Because Holmes first identified it, the comet was named for him. (Note that the comet was not named for Sherlock Holmes, the man you might have expected since a Watson called my attention to it.)

The elliptical path of the comet was worked out based on careful observations. Astronomers showed that it would approach no nearer than 190 million miles from the sun. Since the Earth is 93 million miles from the sun, we are not threatened by any possible impact. Their calculations also showed that the comet would reappear approximately (but not necessarily be seen) every seven years.

On this approach, it was first located in July when it was visible only with powerful telescopes. But suddenly in mid-October, it became much brighter. It is now visible without a telescope. Although blurry, it is about half as bright as the nearest star. It will probably dim over the weeks ahead.

One thing that is impressing astronomers is the fact that, as one observer described it, “Comet Holmes’ luminous area is now greater than the huge area encompassed within the moon’s orbit around the Earth.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Goodnight and Go

Say goodnight and go.

Skipping beats,
blushing cheeks
I am struggling
bed scenes
in the corner café
And then I'm left in bits
recovering tectonic tremblings
You get me every time

Why d'ya have to be so cute?
It's impossible to ignore you
Must you make me laugh so much
It's bad enough we get along so well

Say goodnight and go

Follow you home,
you've got your headphones on
and you're dancing
Got lucky, beautiful shot
you taking everything off
watch the curtains wide open
Then you fall in the same routine
flicking through the TV relaxed and reclining
And you think you're alone...

Why d'ya have to be so cute?
It's impossible to ignore you
Must you make me laugh so much
It's bad enough we get along so well

Say goodnight and go

One of these days,
you'll miss your train
and come stay with me
We'll have drinks
and talk about things,
any excuse to stay awake with you
You'll sleep here,
I'll sleep there,
but then the heating may be down again
at my convenience;
we'd be good,
we'd be great together.

Say goodnight and go,

why's it always always
goodnight and go

Darling not again
Goodnight and go