Friday, January 14, 2011

Searching for Lindsey Baum: New Eyes

Again, there is no new hard news in the search to find missing Lindsey Baum, now 12, who disappeared from her hometown of McCleary, Washington, on June 26, 2009.

Efforts at searching the local area continue, however, and now that effort will be augmented by hunters and other "outdoors folk."

The Center for Missing Persons, a subset of Community United Effort (CUE), is an organization headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The non profit, all volunteer group is asking for area hunters to adopt a piece of land and or property that they are familiar with or hunt on regularly to search for missing Lindsey Baum; registration will begin on January 10, 2011 and run throughout the month. Hunters may call in directly to the center at (910) 232-1687 anytime or visit CUE on the web at and click on “The Hunt” where they can enter and submit information (registration form below); during the effort a map will go up coloring in areas that have been adopted. “We are also extending invitations to forestry,hunting clubs and park personnel as well as land owners in the concerned areas of focus”.

Areas this effort will concentrate on will be the McCleary town itself and 15 miles radius of each direction leaving the place Lindsey was last seen. These areas consist of the following:

McCleary Focus Area

• North – The National Olympic Forest

• South – Malone-Porter

• South East – The Capitol Forest

• East – Shelton

• West – Elma & Grays Harbor County

There is a $30,000.00 dollar reward for Lindsey safe return and further details can be located about the case and the reward at her official web sites created for her where tipsters can remain anonymous at or

If anyone has information on the direct location or concerning this missing child case please contact the Grays Harbor County Information Hot-line (Tip line) (866) 915-8299...

If you have any information regarding Lindsey Baum, please call the Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office at 866-915-8299 [Tip Hotline].

1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST)
McCleary Police Department (Washington) 1-360-533-8765
Family Website: Lindsey Baum

To print Lindsey Missing Poster, go HERE.
To print The Hunt For Lindsey Baum CUE Poster, go HERE.

George Packer's Interesting Times

Interesting Times:
Semi-regular thoughts on foreign affairs, politics, and books, from George Packer.

Photo from King of World,
Tucson Lightening Strike

Arguing Tucson

Over a hundred comments and counting! Many are well-argued, including a lot of the dissents, and make me want to argue back. Some are nasty enough to give my original post a sort of roundabout boost. But who knew that so many conservatives read The New Yorker? I hope they stay subscribers.

I’ll group my answers and after-thoughts under several topics that come up frequently in the thread.

Marx wasn’t Hitler! I paired them, in the shorthand of blogging, as influences on Loughner (he cited “The Communist Manifesto” and “Mein Kampf”) whose destructive legacies do not include the shootings in Tucson. Obviously, a philosopher of political economy and a genocidal totalitarian dictator are not remotely commensurate—I should have made that clear. But when tens of millions of people are killed under the banner of an ism that bears your name within a century of your life, you don’t get the philosopher’s free pass. Were those murders the result of a tragic distortion of Marx? Yes—and yet, at the same time, one can’t read Marx’s writings without being aware of his brutal inflexibility, his hatred of what he considered humanistic moral cant. Marx heralded the remorseless wheel of history, whatever victims it might claim.

You started it! It’s undeniable that some Americans on the left never accepted the Bush Presidency as legitimate after the Florida recount. It’s also undeniable that the left’s rhetoric over the Iraq War was often hostile, simplistic, and unfair. For commenters who don’t know my work and assume I’m a partisan hack, take a look at Chapter 11 of “The Assassins’ Gate,” my book about Iraq, for detailed criticism of just that tendency, which flourished on both sides of the war. I try to call them as I see them, and I get in trouble with both sides along the way.

But it won’t do to dig up stray comments by Obama, Allen Grayson, or any other Democrat who used metaphors of combat over the past few years, and then try to claim some balance of responsibility in the implied violence of current American politics. (Most of the Obama quotes that appear in the comments were lame attempts to reassure his base that he
can get mad and fight back, i.e., signs that he’s practically incapable of personal aggression in politics.) In fact, there is no balance—none whatsoever. Only one side has made the rhetoric of armed revolt against an oppressive tyranny the guiding spirit of its grassroots movement and its midterm campaign. Only one side routinely invokes the Second Amendment as a form of swagger and intimidation, not-so-coyly conflating rights with threats. Only one side’s activists bring guns to democratic political gatherings. Only one side has a popular national TV host who uses his platform to indoctrinate viewers in the conviction that the President is an alien, totalitarian menace to the country. Only one side fills the AM waves with rage and incendiary falsehoods. Only one side has an iconic leader, with a devoted grassroots following, who can’t stop using violent imagery and dividing her countrymen into us and them, real and fake. Any sentient American knows which side that is; to argue otherwise is disingenuous.

Read the rest of this blog entry HERE.

George Packer is a staff writer for The New Yorker, and the author of three nonfiction books, two novels, and a play.

More from George Packer.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A simple tune // A tune to which I will arise

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008)
Uploaded to YouTube by user mattharding2718 on June 20, 2008.

"14 months in the making, 42 countries, and a cast of thousands. Thanks to everyone who danced with me."

What are the lyrics to the song, "Praan," in your 2008 video?

That's a difficult question to answer. The lyrics to "Praan" were taken from a poem by a Nobel Prize winning Indian author named Rabindranath Tagore. While the poem was written in Bengali (or Bangla), I chose it based on its English translation, which I later learned to be more of an interpretation that captures the spirit of the original without matching it word-for-word.

The English version of the poem is called "Stream of Life." Here it is:

The same stream of life
that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world
and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life
that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth
in numberless blades of grass
and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life
that is rocked in the ocean-cradle
of birth and of death,
in ebb and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious
by the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb of ages
dancing in my blood this moment.

To fit the song, we had to chop things up a bit; turning one verse into a repeating chorus and omitting other sections. Here are the lyrics as they ended up in the song, translated in a more direct way from the original Bengali:

What's the message of your videos?

Up to you. I'm just dancing.

I will not easily forget
The life that stirs in my soul
Hidden amidst Death
That infinite Life

I hear you in the thunder
A simple tune
A tune to which I will arise

And in that storm of happiness
As your music plays in your mind
The whole wide world
Dances to your rhythm

I hear you in the thunder
A simple tune
A tune to which I will arise

Posted to YouTube by mattharding2718 on March 12, 2007: "Here's some stuff that didn't make it into the last video."

Brought to you in the everlovin' tradition of "Why not?"
and the sneak of a suspicion that Matt may save the world.

But only if we dance along!

Monday, January 10, 2011

"A Scottish lament written by a Jewish guy from the Bronx."

This is a video of Doc and The Lady (Mark and Kelly) performing
Jay Ungar's Ashokan Farewell, uploaded to YouTube December 10, 2009.

FAQ about Ashokan Farewell from Jay Ungar and Molly Mason's website:

What is the story of Ashokan Farewell?

Ashokan Farewell was named for Ashokan, a camp in the Catskill Mountains not far from Woodstock, New York. It's the place where Molly Mason and I have run the Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camps for adults and families since 1980.

Ashokan is the name of a town, most of which is now under a very beautiful and magical body of water called the Ashokan Reservoir. I've heard it pronounced a-shó-kun, a-shó-kan, or sometimes ásh-o-kán. The reservoir provides drinking water for New York City one hundred miles to the south.

The late Alf Evers, our local historian, once told me that the name Ashokan first appeared as a place name in 17th century Dutch records. He thought it was probably a corruption of a local Lenape Indian word meaning, "a good place to fish." That it is!

I composed Ashokan Farewell in 1982 shortly after our Fiddle & Dance Camps had come to an end for the season. I was feeling a great sense of loss and longing for the music, the dancing and the community of people that had developed at Ashokan that summer. The transition from living at a secluded woodland camp with a small group of people who needed little excuse to celebrate the joy of living, back to life as usual, with traffic, newscasts, telephones and impersonal relationships, had been difficult. By the time the tune took form, I was in tears. I kept it to myself for months, unable to fully understand the emotions that welled up whenever I played it. I had no idea that this simple tune could effect others in the same way.

Ashokan Farewell was written in the style of a Scottish lament. I sometimes introduce it as, "a Scottish lament written by a Jewish guy from the Bronx." I lived in the Bronx until the age of sixteen.

In 1983, our band, Fiddle Fever, was recording it's second album, Waltz of the Wind, and we needed another slow tune. We tried my yet unnamed lament. The arrangement came together in the studio very quickly with a beautiful guitar solo by Russ Barenberg, string parts by Evan Stover and upright bass by Molly Mason. Now it needed a name. Molly suggested the title, Ashokan Farewell. It seemed right to me.

Filmmaker Ken Burns heard the album in 1984 and was immediately taken by Ashokan Farewell. He soon asked to use it in his upcoming PBS series The Civil War. The original Fiddle Fever recording is heard at the opening of the film, and this and other versions are heard twenty five times for a surprising total of 59 minutes and 33 seconds of the eleven hour series. Molly and I, along with members of Fiddle Fever and pianist Jacqueline Schwab played much of the 19th century music heard throughout the soundtrack. Ashokan Farewell is the only contemporary tune that was used.

– Jay Ungar

Image from FrontierFiddlers

Are there recordings and sheet music?
A piano arrangement, a lead sheet (basic tune with chord symbols ) and an arrangement for piano and violin are all available for Ashokan Farewell. Waltz of the Wind, the original album by Fiddle Fever containing Ashokan Farewell, has been reissued by Flying Fish Records (Chicago) on cassette and LP. A special CD called, The Best of Fiddle Fever, has also been manufactured. The CD contains all of Waltz of the Wind and most of our previous album. Nonesuch Records (a Warner-Electra company) has released a soundtrack album from The Civil War containing Ashokan Farewell and other selections. Ashokan Farewell is also on our concert album, Civil War Classics and The Catskill Collection a compilation of music of the Catskill Mountains.

You can order the recordings from: the Public Radio Music Source. The sheet music can be obtained through Swinging Door Music.

Storytelling: Who cares?!

The assumptions people make, the games we play.  I'm mightily sick of them.  I'm tired of people who say and do duplicitous, hurtful things but in whose minds exchange their own agency and ownership for passive constructions, in which they are just poor, put-upon peons, subject to anyone's will but their own.  Life is something that happens to them.

"We were getting along fine until x happened..." Beware the passive construction! 

"We were getting along fine until I stalked you on the internet by pretending to be someone else, attempting to befriend your sister, etcetera..." Actually, beware my "etceteras," as well, for they contain a multitude of unexpressed sin.

You know the type of person;  You've had these conversations.

"I was getting by until I was out of work."  =  It sucks that I have no money since I quit my job.

"Christmas won't happen this year because I am so broke.  Excuse me while I use my cell phone, logon to my internet service, smoke a couple of cigarettes, and change the channel on my cable television..."

"I think A but some people say B so I could be wrong, except I don't think so.  Unless ImportantPerson C comes out with B, in which case I will weigh in after everyone else is done."

Stan Fields: What is the one most important thing our society needs?
Gracie Hart: That would be... harsher punishment for parole violators, Stan.
[crowd is silent]
Gracie Hart: And world peace!
[crowd cheers ecstatically]
Stan Fields: Isn't she lovely? Thank you, Gracie Lou.
Gracie Hart: And thank *you*, Stan.
--from Miss Congeniality

I tire, especially, of being informed every few months that my former internet stalker still tells the lie that we were best buds, that ours was a friendship of sunshine and flowers, plus various other untruths, including how she still cares {palm facing outward, attached to forehead, martyr style}.  You know, before I got all upset over a bunch of nothing much!   She also keeps coming up with annoyingly effective, manipulative formulas. Beating her frail chest with trembling hand, she'll say, "I don't hold grudges, I forgive everyone for everything!"  Well, first off, it just isn't true, and secondly, so what?

Her timely desire to claim Retrofitted Sainted Virgin Status does not translate to anything meaningful in my world.  I get that she aches for me and others to feel shame and regret for having treated her so badly (after things just happened, remember!) but, well, so what?

Remember, she suffers from two personality disorders, the most evident one being Borderline Personality Disorder, and the other explaining a good many of the persistent characteristics of her sad life -- Dependent Personality Disorder. I still have the email where she tells me her diagnoses but never pursued treatment for either... now she consistently denigrates anything that might relate to psychiatric treatment.  However, since her most difficult daughter was diagnosed as being bipolar, she will give psychiatry an approbative nod when it fits her emotional need for blame.

Yadda yadda.  So what!?

People love to opine, laying the index broadly aside the nose, that things happens for a reason.  Puh-leeze!  Need I lay out the many situations in which that can only confirm how totally fucked is the cosmos?
[I didn't think so.  Good, my Reader, good!]  Now, that is not to say that I don't believe there are things of benefit to be learned from most situations -- I simply won't allow the tragically nonsensical to be elevated.

Except, of course, when I do.

From the global false-friend turned annoying-stalker scenario above, I learned that there is a lot of validity to the notion that we create our own realities, that our situations are the direct result of our history of choices.

The good news, for me as for her, is that it is wonderfully easy to change that history, to bisect that line.  You change that history by your steady commitment to change.  The hope is that I can string a few days together, love that look, admire that record, and then make it one whole month.  It's like the AA version of self-improvement.  I just got my blue 24-hours chip

I haven't gotten there yet, because in my head right now I can hear a whining, wheedling voice saying another one of my least favorite expressions:  That's easy to say, hard to do.  If I could magically transform one mental habit for her as a "go-away" gift, it would be her understanding of change as some mysterious thing that is fundamentally retroactive.  If anyone were to suggest counseling or psychotherapy, the response includes "Why? I can't change the past and the past is what makes me who I am.  I can't change anything..."

It makes me want to pull my hair out.  And scream.
And, of course, it dovetails well with the understanding that she holds personal responsibilty in low esteem.

All together, now!  So what?

Huh?  What?  You think that I don't warm to my uncaring quite as much as I did at the top of the page?  Harrumph!  You think I weep for the children who [passively] inherent her most active teaching -- you might as well not try, you're doomed, and if you doubt it, just look where you came from, for that is forever where you will be [to keep me company...]?

Here is an offhand, almost final, observation -- I study stylistics as representing the basic character of a person.  Especially when that is all I know of someone, as is the case on the internet.  We all do it but I make a conscious choice to do it.  You should have seen my eyes light up the first time a teacher revealed how to parse a sentence.  Oy, the joy!

(On my honor, I will be receptive and not at all surprised should someone approach me to research why I consistently split infinitives, comma splice, misuse effect and affect, and litter my texts with hyphens.  Why, these things are the verbal topography of my emotional life!)

Hey!  You!  I know you are mouthing "So what?" -- knock it off and wait for your cue.  The point is to affect... er... effect nonchalance about her, not me!


So, anyway... I have learned that this woman telegraphs either a lie or a state of extreme fear/anxiety whenever she plops down four exclamation or interrogation marks at sentence end.  I've tested my hypothesis over the course of two years.  I even think that should the number rise or fall, be 3 or 5 marks in lieu of 4, then their semantic function no longer has to do with anxious fear.  How can this be explained?  It's an attention getter, I'd argue, a literal one, right on the page or computer screen, and the need for [caretaking] attention is a big part of who she is. 

Remember the finer points, though.  I don't wanna be in charge of translation should some bizarre heptad of punctuation marks pop up! 

She has another tell that comes into play with the phrase:  "I, for one, blahblahblah..." That's for those wind-in-the-hair moments of adolescent revolt -- perfectly normal, and assertive, even!  Until, that is, the sentence becomes interminable with the hangdog addition of "but I could be wrong... I usually am.  It's the story of my life."

I dunno.
I dunno.
I dunno.

So what?

NYT: An Annotated Guide to the U. S. Constitution

Reading between the battle lines of the Constitution:  An annotated guide published by the New York Times.

By order of the new Republican majority, members of Congress read the United States Constitution aloud on the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday, the day after new lawmakers were sworn in. It was an apparent first, and a reflected the influence of the Tea Party movement, which has celebrated the founding document and argues that Congress has blown the lid on federal spending by vastly exceeding the powers granted to it in the Constitution. Tea Party supporters say Congress could reduce taxes and spending if it would only stick to a strict interpretation of the document.
But if the Tea Party hears one thing in a reading of the Constitution, many Democrats and liberals hear another. They welcome the emphasis on the Constitution, they say, but they also believe that the framers left the language deliberately vague so that We the People of successive generations would be able to interpret it as the United States evolved. (Before the reading could even begin, Democrats raised questions about which version of the Constitution Republicans wanted read -- would they include the part, since amended, about slaves counting as only three-fifths of a person? Republicans said they would not.)

Despite the framers’ stated intentions in the preamble to the Constitution, there is little “domestic tranquility” when it comes to interpreting what the document means. The following is a guide to some of the clauses most revered, and disputed, by advocates on either side of the political spectrum.  -- KATE ZERNIKE

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik -- A Voice of Reason -- But The Dolphins Of Taiji Still Drive This Blog's Traffic

After Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head and number of others were wounded or killed in a shooting in Tucson, Ariz. on Saturday, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said that the state has "become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

Addressing the tragedy at a news conference, the sheriff said that law enforcement had reason to believe that Giffords was specifically targeted in the attack. He added that evidence suggests one suspect -- 22-year-old Jared Loughner, who is already in custody -- likely did not act alone.

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous," said the sheriff. "And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

When asked by a reporter if Giffords being shot could have been motivated by "prejudice and bigotry," Dupnik responded, "All I can tell you is that there's reason to believe is that this individual may have a mental issue. And I think that people who are unbalanced are especially susceptible to vitriol."

While speaking, the sheriff said that himself it included, "it's not unusual for all public officials to get threats." However, he said the sentiment doesn't come without consequences.

"And that's the sad thing of what's going on in America," he explained. "Pretty soon, we're not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people who are willing to subject themselves to serve in public office."

(Click HERE for the latest developments unfolding following the incident.)

The dead and wounded from yesterday's shooting in Tucson have all been identified, as well as the gunman, Jared Loughner, who according to reports, is not cooperating with police and has invoked his constitutional right to silence.

Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head and is in critical condition at Tucson's University Medical Center after undergoing surgery, after which it was reported that she was successfully following commands, leaving doctors to be "cautiously optimistic."

The following people lost their lives:

- U.S. District Judge John Roll, 63.

- Gabe Zimmerman, 30, Giffords' director of community outreach.

- Dorwin Stoddard, 76, a pastor at Mountain Ave. Church of Christ.

- Christina Greene, 9, a student at Mesa Verde Elementary.

- Dorthy Murray, 76.

- Phyllis Scheck, 79.

At least 18 people were shot, but I cannot find everyone's names, which I imagine is something they may appreciate.

I know you don't visit elle est belle la seine la seine elle est belle to bring yourself up-to-date on breaking news stories and it's probable that you don't share many of my opinions.  Right now, the number one search term bringing new readers to this site remains "Taiji," and that is often the result of an image search, not text. 

The waters roiling with the blood of massacred dolphins were captured in a powerful photo that I used to illustrate a post on that annual brutality.  I am glad that some of these searchers choose to remain dedicated readers -- I feel very humble and honored by such occurrences. 

If you are interested in a terrific presentation on the dolphin slaughter, consider renting The Cove, a superb documentary.

But in terms of the last 24 hours, there have been a good number of folks hanging out here in order to view the video of Congresswoman Giffords reading the First Amendment on the floor of the House last week.  I've no clue why anyone comes here to watch it, but who am I to decipher the intricacies of search? Anyway, we are thinking of trying to get people outside The Manor proper by showing the video on a continual loop out in the roomy boathouse, the only new facility we have as an outbuilding.  It is cold enough that most viewers will feel encouraged to head on home.  Abbot Truffatore has lent us a host of Cistercian monks from The-Monastery-Down-the-Road, these good brothers having been diverted from the protection detail over there that guards The Holy Foreskin, their best Holy Relic, and they are doing a masterful job of directing all the blog traffic.

So, while the Denizens of The Manor are bleary-eyed this morning from our night spent over at my brother TW's place -- sleeping in our magic tent -- or *not* sleeping, as is more likely -- ensconced in deep snow, overlooking the land around one of his beloved buttes -- we are gearing up to host visitors as proscribed by Haddock tradition.

Luckily, the flight from The Grand Canyon made excellent time getting us back to The Lone Alp Regional Airport, and our pilot even made the normally nauseating sudden-drop landing seem easy.

N.B.  Clearly, I am not a regular watcher of CNN or any predominantly news station, the constant iteration of the same information, and sometimes, like yesterday, the wrong information, causes my eyes to glaze over.  So can someone explain to me how (and when) Eliot Spitzer got his smarmy self rehabilitated?