Friday, May 19, 2006

Paying the Piper in Millibars

For most of this week, we've been enjoying unseasonably warm weather here in Oregon. On Monday, it was 96 in Roseburg, where I was born, a 10 degrees hotter than the previous record for that date. The reason was that we've had two low pressure systems, one stuck to the west of us over the Pacific, and one stuck over the mountains, and they've been funneling warm air up from the south. Well, it was due to happen eventually -- they unstuck, and I awoke this morning to raindrops on our living room skylight. Oh, goody, just in time for the weekend.

Your Weekly Dose of Steve Taylor Lyrics: Installment #6

Considering my post earlier today, this seems like an appropriate choice of songs. Steve wrote it in memory of a young Polish man who was killed by Soviet troops during the Solidarity protests of the 80s:

Over My Dead Body

From the album "Meltdown"

After the Nazis we were baited by the Russian bear
our "liberators" wanted Poland for a thoroughfare
I was a victim of December 1981
I took a final beating from the blunt end of a Russian gun

You plant your missiles while our people wait in line for bread
you hang an army tank above us by a bloody thread
you bought our government they crawl like bleating sheep to you
we know from history that human life is cheap to you

Over my dead body redemption draweth nigh
over my dead body I hear a battle cry
try and blow out the fire--you're fanning the flames
we're gonna rise up from the ashes 'til we're ashes again

You make a mockery of all that we hold sacred here
you drive us underground in hopes that we will disappear
we seek our sanctuary where the altar candle burns
our dignity's a legacy the cross of Jesus reaffirms


After the Nazis we were baited by the Russian bear
our "liberators" wanted Poland for a thoroughfare
rise up my brothers don't despair the Iron Curtain's rod
someday we'll draw the string assisted by the hand of God

I was a victim of December 1981
I took a final beating from the blunt end of a Russian gun
you made a memory--the memory will multiply
you may kill the body but the spirit--it will never die


Thanks for the Memory to Vulture Six.

This is just damned scary.

Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.

"This is reminiscent of the Holocaust," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. "Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis."

Iranian expatriates living in Canada yesterday confirmed reports that the Iranian parliament, called the Islamic Majlis, passed a law this week setting a dress code for all Iranians, requiring them to wear almost identical "standard Islamic garments."

The law, which must still be approved by Iran's "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenehi before being put into effect, also establishes special insignia to be worn by non-Muslims.

Iran's roughly 25,000 Jews would have to sew a yellow strip of cloth on the front of their clothes, while Christians would wear red badges and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear blue cloth.
This isn't that suprising a move, considering the popularity of Hitler in the Middle East (outside Israel, that is).

What is remarkable is the utter brazenness of it. It's one thing to see the individual and mob-driven expressions of antisemitism in the Middle East, and even hear the nutjobs who pass for political leaders spouting such rhetoric. But to revive such historically loaded policies like this really does give one a start.

We made ourselves a promise some 60 years ago -- Never Again. Iran, it would seem, is hell bent on making us own those words. What we do with them will determine whether they are a mark of honor or a badge of shame.

Vocabulary Test

Thanks for the Memory to LMC of The LlamaButchers.

These results don't surprise me:

Your Linguistic Profile::
75% General American English
5% Dixie
5% Midwestern
5% Upper Midwestern
5% Yankee

For starters, I was born and live in Oregon, a state that was populated by immigrants from other states. In addition, I spent a good portion of my life moving, living in Oregon, SoCal, NorCal, and Idaho by the time I was in 4th grade, and went to college in Indiana, surrounded by students from all over the country and even the globe. All of those regional influences make me linguistically what my ancestry makes me ethnically: a mutt.