Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Poetry

From American Rhetoric

Washington's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, delivered 3 October 1789, New York:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their Joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th. day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the greatest degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executived and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

From Early
While there were Thanksgiving observances in America both before and after Washington's proclamation, this represents the first to be so designated by the new national government.

After their first harvest, the colonists of the Plymouth Plantation held a celebration of food and feasting in the fall of 1621. Indian chiefs Massassoit, Squanto and Samoset joined in the celebration with ninety of their men in the three-day event.

The first recorded Thanksgiving observance was held on June 29, 1671 at Charlestown, Massachusetts by proclamation of the town's governing council.

During the 1700s, it was common practice for individual colonies to observe days of thanksgiving throughout each year. A Thanksgiving Day two hundred years ago was a day set aside for prayer and fasting, not a day marked by plentiful food and drink as is today's custom. Later in the 18th century each of the states periodically would designate a day of thanksgiving in honor of a military victory, an adoption of a state constitution or an exceptionally bountiful crop.

Such a Thanksgiving Day celebration celebration was held in December of 1777 by the colonies nationwide, commemorating the surrender of British General Burgoyne at Saratoga.
And from The Papers of George Washington:
On 25 September 1789, Elias Boudinot of Burlington, New Jersey, introduced in the United States House of Representatives a resolution "That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a Constitution of government for their safety and happiness." The House was not unanimous in its determination to give thanks. Aedanus Burke of South Carolina objected that he "did not like this mimicking of European customs, where they made a mere mockery of thanksgivings." Thomas Tudor Tucker "thought the House had no business to interfere in a matter which did not concern them. Why should the President direct the people to do what, perhaps, they have no mind to do? They may not be inclined to return thanks for a Constitution until they have experienced that it promotes their safety and happiness. We do not yet know but they may have reason to be dissatisfied with the effects it has already produced; but whether this be so or not, it is a business with which Congress have nothing to do; it is a religious matter, and, as such, is proscribed to us. If a day of thanksgiving must take place, let it be done by the authority of the several States." [1]

Citing biblical precedents and resolutions of the Continental Congress, the proponents of a Thanksgiving celebration prevailed, and the House appointed a committee consisting of Elias Boudinot, Roger Sherman, and Peter Silvester to approach President Washington. The Senate agreed to the resolution on 26 September and appointed William Samuel Johnson and Ralph Izard to the joint committee. On 28 September the Senate committee reported that they had laid the resolution before the president. [2] Washington issued the proclamation on 3 October, designating a day of prayer and thanksgiving.

Whatever reservations may have been held by some public officials, the day was widely celebrated throughout the nation. The Virginia assembly, for example, resolved on 19 November that the chaplain "to this House, be accordingly requested to perform divine service, and to preach a sermon in the Capitol, before the General Assembly, suitable to the importance and solemnity of the occasion, on the said 26th day of November." [3] Most newspapers printed the proclamation and announced plans for public functions in honor of the day. Many churches celebrated the occasions by soliciting donations for the poor. Washington's secretary, Tobias Lear, wrote to John Rodgers, pastor of the two Presbyterian churches in New York City, on 28 November, that "by direction of the President of the United States I have the pleasure to send you twenty five dollars to be applied towards relieving the poor of the Presbyterian Churches. A paragraph in the papers mentioned that a contribution would be made for that purpose on Thanksgiving day; as no opportunity offered of doing it at that time, and not knowing into whose hands the money should be lodged which might be given afterwards--The President of the United States has directed me to send it to you, requesting that you will be so good as to put it into the way of answering the charitable purpose for which it is intended." [4]

Washington enclosed the Thanksgiving Proclamation in his Circular to the Governors of the States, written at New York on 3 October 1789: "I do myself the honor to enclose to your Excellency a Proclamation for a general Thanksgiving which I must request the favor of you to have published and made known in your State in the way and manner that shall be most agreeable to yourself." [5]
The bracketed numbers refer to footnotes at the above website.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Depression and Me

I'm not really depressed. My therapist told me, early on, that I was dysthymic, which meant instead of the ultra-highs with depression, I just get "exhilarated".


I'm on a mood leveler, Lexapro, 30mg/day (one 20mg tablet and a second tablet snapped in half). It's a daily practice, one I've tried to keep to with religious fervor, because if I wind up skipping a day...or more...when I run out...and don't or can't renew the prescription...dumbass...I get kinda emotionally unstable.

I feel less grounded, less centered, less in control of my emotions and reactions to them and to other people (hey sweetie!), more reactive (in a bad way), less thoughtful or mindful of what's happening to me as a result.

But I'm not under indictment for anything that I've done while off my meds. And that's a good thing!

From the Revolution Health Network,
Exercise isn't a cure for depression or anxiety. But its psychological and physical benefits can improve your symptoms.

"It's not a magic bullet, but increasing physical activity is a positive and active strategy to help manage depression and anxiety," says Kristin Vickers-Douglas, Ph.D., a psychologist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
So right now I'm aware that I need to exercise and that I'm not making the time to do that.

Dumbass? Yes...

So Obama won the election, strange people are coming for Thanksgiving next week, Christmas is coming and there are birthdays right behind Christmas.

I'm fat, I hate the way I look, I have no money of my own and I'm afraid to go back to work.


I suppose confession is good for the soul, but there's no guarantee that it'll be my soul that it's good for.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Armistice Day

November 11th is the most famous armistice of recent history (20th Century), but it is not the only one.

From Wikipedia:

An armistice is a situation where the warring parties agree to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, but can instead be just a cease fire. It is derived from the Latin arma, meaning weapons and statium, meaning a stopping.

A truce or ceasefire usually refers to a temporary cessation of hostilities for an agreed limited time or within a limited area. A truce may be needed in order to negotiate an armistice. An armistice is a modus vivendi and is not the same as a peace treaty, which may take months or even years to agree on. The 1953 Korean War armistice [1] is a major example of an armistice which has not yet been followed by a peace treaty.


The key aspect in an armistice is the fact that "all fighting ends with no one surrendering". This is in contrast to an unconditional surrender, which is a surrender without conditions, except for those provided by international law.
Other armistices in history:

--Armistice of Copenhagen of 1537 ended the Danish war known as the Count's Feud.

--Armistice of Stuhmsdorf of 1635 between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Sweden.

--Peace of Westphalia of 1648 that ended the Thirty Years' War.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekly Silver Melt Price Report

$10.19 / troy ounce. Hmmph. Well, better than $20/oz.

And gold is under $750! ($744.36). Hmm.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday Poetry

The Mayflower Compact 1620

The artist, Jean Leon Gerome Ferris depicts how he thinks passengers of the Mayflower looked signing the "Mayflower Compact." Included are Carver, Winston, Alden, Myles Standish, Howland, Bradford, Allerton, and Fuller. Starting in the early 20th century, Ferris created a series of commemorative interpretations of early American development called "The Pageant of a Nation."

Created/Published : July 28, 1932

Creator : Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1863-1930, artist.

Notes : Reproduction of an oil painting from the series: The Pageant of a Nation

From The Avalon Project at Yale Law School (documents in law, history and diplomacy)

Agreement Between the Settlers at New Plymouth : 1620

IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience. IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620.

From The U.S. Constitution Online: The Mayflower Compact

The Pilgrims are a revered and honored group in American history. The stories of survival, of relations with American Indians, of the first Thanksgiving, and of religious freedom found, are the stuff of American legend. One of the cornerstones of the Pilgrim ethos is the Mayflower Compact.

The Pilgrims were a small group of people bound by common religious beliefs. They did not believe in the influence over the church that the English king held, and preached separatism. This position did not sit well with the King, and by 1608, many of them left England for Holland, which was more tolerant of religious diversity. Though some of the group prospered, the time in Holland was hard. In particular, the group saw the children assimilating into Dutch culture, and they lamented the lack of opportunity to spread their interpretation of the Gospel to the far corners of the world.

The leaders began to think about moving. The two main proposed destinations were Guiana and Virginia; there was also some thought of going to Dutch America, specifically to settle near the Hudson River. Eventually, though, financing was secured to pay for settlement in New England, an area north of the Virginia settlements. Two ships were hired for the voyage - the Speedwell, to transport the passengers, and the larger Mayflower, to transport cargo and to do exploration. The Speedwell turned out to be unseaworthy (reports arose that its crew sabotaged the ship to get out of their contracts), so the Pilgrims and other colonists brought in by the investors crowded into the Mayflower; about twenty passengers had to be left behind. The ship finally sailed for America in September of 1620.

In November, the Mayflower spotted Cape Cod. They tried to sail south to the Hudson River, but turned back north when they encountered shoals. They anchored at Provincetown Harbor, at the northern tip of Cape Cod. While anchored and awaiting exploration to find a suitable place for colonization, the colonists decided that their contracts with their investors were not valid, not the least reason being that the promised land grants for New England were incomplete (the grants were finalized while the Mayflower was in transit). The colonists decided to enact a contract among themselves. This contract, later known at the Mayflower Compact, is now seen as one of the first forays into democracy on the North American continent.

In the Compact, the signers agree to bind themselves into a society to preserve order and to help further their aims. They agree to create offices, laws, and constitutions that will aid the common good. Finally, they agreed that such laws would be supreme and agreed to abide by them. In a nutshell, this is a classic embodiment of the Lockean idea of government (though it predates Locke), an idea carried on to what some consider its ultimate embodiment, the U.S. Constitution.

The original Compact is lost to history, but its text was recorded in 1622 in a book about the Pilgrims and the founding of the colony at Plimouth (now Plymouth), Massachusetts. The book, entitled Mourt's Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims in Plymouth, was published in London.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Saturday Poetry

Matt Mason
Matt Mason

In Support Of A Ballot Measure Permitting Major
Political Candidates To Eat Their Young (1992)

I will do whatever it takes to be re-elected.
--George Bush

Wee Willy Clinton refueled his bus at the Casey's
down the road last week, every wave and word
creating unnatural frenzy. And Georgie-Porgie-
President-Pie kissed my ass
and made me cry, but when the boys
came out to play, it was Ross who ran away.
(AP Washington When rearranged, the letters in "George Herbert
Walker Bush" can spell "Huge, berserk, Rebel
Warthog." So far, the president has refused to
comment except to blame his opponents for
"negative campaigning.")

Larry Agran calmly waters his lawn,
speaks without a teleprompter, doesn't seek motes
in the political pasts of anyone.
He dressed for the party
but went to the wrong address (they
assure him).
Lenora and Andre show far less tolerance,
throwing popcorn at Larry King
as the leading three candidates pose like bachelors
on The Dating Game and promise
two thirty second spots in every hour
and a value on every family.
Their writers and coaches are state of the art,
veterans of Cold Wars and Cola Wars;
every inflection is artfully crafted for
we hold these truths to be self-evident
that all polls
are created equal.

And it is our duty,
one nation under
goddammit, Madonna wants me to vote,
Jesus hasn't endorsed anyone
(despite what the press releases claim) and no one
bothered to channel Elvis or take
an informal survey among the voting-age
members of New Kids On The Block