Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Happy Bloomsday Open Thread!!!

At dawn on June 16th, 1904, atop the Martello Tower in Sandymount, Dublin, two men engage in an argument about Irish culture and history:

STATELY, PLUMP BUCK MULLIGAN CAME FROM THE STAIRHEAD, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressing gown, ungirdled, was sustained gently-behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned:

— Introibo ad altare Dei.

Halted, he peered down the dark winding stairs and called up coarsely:

— Come up, Kinch. Come up, you fearful jesuit.

Solemnly he came forward and mounted the round gunrest. He faced about and blessed gravely thrice the tower, the surrounding country and the awaking mountains. Then, catching sight of Stephen Dedalus, he bent towards him and made rapid crosses in the air, gurgling in his throat and shaking his head. Stephen Dedalus, displeased and sleepy, leaned his arms on the top of the staircase and looked coldly at the shaking gurgling face that blessed him, equine in its length, and at the light untonsured hair, grained and hued like pale oak.

Buck Mulligan peeped an instant under the mirror and then covered the bowl smartly.

— Back to barracks, he said sternly.

He added in a preacher’s tone:

— For this, O dearly beloved, is the genuine Christine: body and soul and blood and ouns. Slow music, please. Shut your eyes, gents. One moment. A little trouble about those white corpuscles. Silence, all.

He peered sideways up and gave a long low whistle of call, then paused awhile in rapt attention, his even white teeth glistening here and there with gold points. Chrysostomos. Two strong shrill whistles answered through the calm.

— Thanks, old chap, he cried briskly. That will do nicely. Switch off the current, will you?

He skipped off the gunrest and looked gravely at his watcher, gathering about his legs the loose folds of his gown. The plump shadowed face and sullen oval jowl recalled a prelate, patron of arts in the middle ages. A pleasant smile broke quietly over his lips.

— The mockery of it, he said gaily. Your absurd name, an ancient Greek.

He pointed his finger in friendly jest and went over to the parapet, laughing to himself. Stephen Dedalus stepped up, followed him wearily half way and sat down on the edge of the gunrest, watching him still as he propped his mirror on the parapet, dipped the brush in the bowl and lathered cheeks and neck.

Buck Mulligan’s gay voice went on.

— My name is absurd too: Malachi Mulligan, two dactyls. But it has a Hellenic ring, hasn’t it? Tripping and sunny like the buck himself. We must go to Athens. Will you come if I can get the aunt to fork out twenty quid?

James Joyce’s Ulysses follows Dedalus and his would-be mentor, Leopold Bloom, through a day in Dublin.  The novel is enacted with perambulatory festive readings in Dublin annually, and in other cities the world over.  A literary holiday for the landmark work’s devotees.

Oh, it’s also our 9th wedding anniversary.  Great day.  We married on New York’s Lower East Side.  The food was kosher and the whiskey was Irish.  Three children and nearly a decade later, she still puts up with me, even in my most obnoxious Mulliganesque moments…  

Are there books you return to annually or at any regular intervals?  What texts participate in organizing the rhythms of your lives?


  1. Shaun Appleby

    It’s turned out we are testing the worst case assessments:

    Japan’s Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters finally admitted earlier this month that reactors 1, 2, and 3 at the Fukushima plant experienced full meltdowns.

    TEPCO announced that the accident probably released more radioactive material into the environment than Chernobyl, making it the worst nuclear accident on record.

    Meanwhile, a nuclear waste advisor to the Japanese government reported that about 966 square kilometres near the power station – an area roughly 17 times the size of Manhattan – is now likely uninhabitable.

    Dahr Jamail – Fukushima: It’s much worse than you think Al Jazeera 16 Jun 11

    Yeah.  But it gets worse.  There is no foreseeable way out of this mess, from an engineering perspective:

    “Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind,” Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, told Al Jazeera.

    Japan’s 9.0 earthquake on March 11 caused a massive tsunami that crippled the cooling systems at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. It also led to hydrogen explosions and reactor meltdowns that forced evacuations of those living within a 20km radius of the plant.

    Gundersen, a licensed reactor operator with 39 years of nuclear power engineering experience, managing and coordinating projects at 70 nuclear power plants around the US, says the Fukushima nuclear plant likely has more exposed reactor cores than commonly believed.

    “Fukushima has three nuclear reactors exposed and four fuel cores exposed,” he said, “You probably have the equivalent of 20 nuclear reactor cores because of the fuel cores, and they are all in desperate need of being cooled, and there is no means to cool them effectively.”

    TEPCO has been spraying water on several of the reactors and fuel cores, but this has led to even greater problems, such as radiation being emitted into the air in steam and evaporated sea water – as well as generating hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive sea water that has to be disposed of.

    Dahr Jamail – Fukushima: It’s much worse than you think Al Jazeera 16 Jun 11

    Nothing to do with us?  Maybe not:

    Gundersen points out that far more radiation has been released than has been reported.

    “They recalculated the amount of radiation released, but the news is really not talking about this,” he said. “The new calculations show that within the first week of the accident, they released 2.3 times as much radiation as they thought they released in the first 80 days.”

    According to Gundersen, the exposed reactors and fuel cores are continuing to release microns of caesium, strontium, and plutonium isotopes. These are referred to as “hot particles”.

    “We are discovering hot particles everywhere in Japan, even in Tokyo,” he said. “Scientists are finding these everywhere. Over the last 90 days these hot particles have continued to fall and are being deposited in high concentrations. A lot of people are picking these up in car engine air filters.”

    Radioactive air filters from cars in Fukushima prefecture and Tokyo are now common, and Gundersen says his sources are finding radioactive air filters in the greater Seattle area of the US as well.

    Dahr Jamail – Fukushima: It’s much worse than you think Al Jazeera 16 Jun 11

    I realise I have been an alarmist correspondent on this topic for some time and don’t want to pour fuel on the fire, so to speak, but still:

    In the US, physician Janette Sherman MD and epidemiologist Joseph Mangano published an essay shedding light on a 35 per cent spike in infant mortality in northwest cities that occurred after the Fukushima meltdown, and may well be the result of fallout from the stricken nuclear plant.

    The eight cities included in the report are San Jose, Berkeley, San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Portland, Seattle, and Boise, and the time frame of the report included the ten weeks immediately following the disaster.

    Dahr Jamail – Fukushima: It’s much worse than you think Al Jazeera 16 Jun 11

    Ya think?  I don’t know but by all the angels of modern connectivity I fail to understand why we are not at least aware of what is actually going on.  The Al Jazeera piece, bless ’em, is well worth a good read.  Not saying all the assertions therein are fact but they deserve a good airing.  I have a funny feeling we are just ignoring bad news as a matter of public policy.

  2. fogiv

    Are there books you return to annually or at any regular intervals?

    A few. The obvious standounts being Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, Nicholson Baker’s The Fermata, and John Gardner’s Grendel. I’d probably need to see a therapist for a few years to find out why. Nabokov’s Lolita is another that I re-read semi-regularly, but that’s not so much to do with the subject matter — I just think his prose is as close to flawless as I’ve ever seen, and Lolita absolutely overflows with his brilliance as a master craftsman.

  3. spacemanspiff

    Bin Laden is dead and we found a treasure trove of info.

    Obama might announce something in a few weeks.

    blah bla blah

    But this was very interesting.

    The officials interviewed Friday made no attempt to disguise their belief that the counterterrorism campaign, which was favored by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in 2009, has outperformed the more troop-intensive counterinsurgency campaign pushed by Mr. Gates, Gen. David H. Petraeus and other top military planners.

    Besides going after Qaeda and Taliban operatives, the counterinsurgency campaign includes a broad plan to try to improve governance in Afghanistan, fight corruption, train the Afghan Army, wean farmers off the cultivation of poppies, promote women’s rights and protect local population centers.

    I take back whatever I said about Joe. 4 more years! 4 more years!

  4. spacemanspiff

    I had stopped watching his show long before he got fired so it’s not like I missed him, but….

    The left needs its egomaniacal and loud voice too. Even though I didn’t watch his show I still felt his impact on the media. John Stewart and Colbert are great but they are not over the top (I know, they aren’t?) and don’t force the issue like a blowhard like Olby does. You can call it moving the Overton Window or you can call them purist talking points. Either way his confrontational style when taking on extreme right is something that has been missing. Especially the way he gets under the skin of Fox.

    So without further backhanded compliments…

    Welcome back K.O.!  

  5. DTOzone


    The Republican stuff aside, this is quite interesting.

    CommonSense Media Ad Network has done work for Democrats in the past, and they may still be doing work for Democrats. They have done work for Harry Reid. In 2011 Hamsher may be telling prospective Obama voters “don’t give yourself away cheaply,” but in 2010 they thought the president was still in to them, because the Democratic National Committee paid for $10,000 worth of advertising through CommonSense Media.

    I misread her, she is a shrewd businesswoman. Trying to stoke the fires of disappointment so her clients will have to spend more to get those voters back to the polls. Ingenious.  

  6. fogiv

    just hit my inbox:

    Dear UPAC (Utah Professional Archaeological Council) Members, Friends and Colleagues,

    Some of you may have heard rumors about layoffs in the Antiquities Sections and today those rumors have come to fruition.  This morning at 8:00 am the Department of Community and Culture eliminated State Archaeologist Kevin Jones, Assistant State Archaeologist Ron Rood, and Physical Anthropologist Derinna Kopp effective immediately. Their positions have been permanently eliminated.


    A vestige of the civil-rights movement enshrined in state government for decades was nearly eliminated in the 2011 Legislative session. Despite lobbying from multiple mayors and Salt Lake County Council, the state Office of Ethnic Affairs received a 66 percent budget reduction, a cut so drastic some say the new “office” won’t be more than an employee or two.

    State officials say the future of the office is uncertain. No planning was done in advance of the session to prepare for a scaled-back operation because no one was warned the office’s funding of $750,000 would drop to $250,000. “It would have been nice to preplan and have something laid out prior to [the budget cut], but that didn’t occur,” says Department of Community & Culture spokeswoman Claudia Nakano. The Office of Ethnic Affairs is a subset of the Department of Community & Culture.

    The Legislature has slated for interim study the possible elimination of the Department of Community & Culture itself and reassignment of responsibilities to other departments. Community & Culture is also home to the Office of Housing & Community Development, the State Library and Arts & Museums.

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