Biography, Excerpts, Religion

September, 2010

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2010/09/30/september-2010/

Wednesday, September 1

This morning I skipped the bicycle ride to work, figuring that inhaling auto exhaust is less advisable on a “Spare the Air” day. Then I got double-whammied by the VTA at Evelyn station, where I arrived just-in-time to have caught a train on the platform, except I had to buy a ticket first. And of course, once the train was gone my $5 bill slid right in and required none of the usual massaging and unfolding-of-the-corners.

So, I caught another train one stop out to Mountain View: the end of the line. Since it is one track at Evelyn, any train waiting to start its run from Mountain View has to wait. And wait it did, until we pulled up to the platform. The train I wanted to be on slid back toward Evelyn before my train could even open its doors. So, I waited another several minutes to leave Mountain View, but I got to pass the time reading, which I can’t do on the bicycle, so I’m not going to complain much.

When I got back from lunch I learned that the market had rallied, and my limit order to sell TSLA at $20.45 had finally executed. It actually peaked ten cents higher and then closed at $20.45. This is the second time I had rode Tesla’s fluctuations successfully and now that I’m no longer on the East Coast and the market starts its day before I wake up, I figured I’d cash out of this fancy-pants chicanery and buy DIA. But I placed a limit buy at $100, which is where it has been lately. “Name your price!”

Thursday, September 2

“The simple view is that medicine exists to fight death and disease, and that is, of course, its most basic task. Death is the enemy. But the enemy has superior forces. Eventually, it wins. And, in a war that you cannot win, you don’t want a general who fights to the point of total annihilation. You don’t want Custer. You want Robert E. Lee, someone who knew how to fight for territory when he could and how to surrender when he couldn’t, someone who understood that the damage is greatest if all you do is fight to the bitter end.”

–Atul Gawande
“Letting Go”
The New Yorker
August 2, 2010

Friday, September 3

Biked to work today. Ordered a tape recorder for the99ers.net and pulled an old picture from the Tellme days for the theme’s header image. Dinner tomorrow with a friend who is moving back to Chicago. Sunday I’ll drop Mei off at the airport so she can fly to LA for the week for her boards review course.

Monday, September 6

Not much to say.

From the Catacombs, beneath Paris.

I don’t like Flickr’s new interface. It used to be that if you viewed “all sizes” you could get the HTML to link to a photo. Now you have to click on a FAQ, then navigate back to the photo, and go down a different route to grab the HTML. Would it be so wrong to support the navigation habits of users who have been using the site for over half a decade? All the buttons that used to be just a click away are buried under a menu, and I sometimes have to scroll down to beneath the photo to change the title. I also miss that tags used to each be on their own line. The new interface seems like its been labotomized so that we can be filled in with a bigger photo, and more white space.


Okay, just wanted to let that out.

The sweetheart is away. I am copying some episodes of The IT Crowd over to play.

Tuesday, September 7

I took a different route to work today, up Stevens Creek, over to Ellis and then tracing along 237 and 101, first on quiet frontage roads and ultimately on dedicated bike trail. It was nice and had very little traffic stress compared to my Evelyn-Wolfe-Arquez-San Thomas-Tasman route. On the other hand, I end up breathing in 8 lanes of highway exhaust much of the way. Do I prefer the quick death of a vehicle collision or the slow death of lung disease? Hopefully we can repair that stuff in a few decades.

It is not that children are just smaller adults, it is that adults are larger children.

Thursday, September 9

I have an orthodontic consult this afternoon. Consequently, I am working from home today. I took my hardware VPN back in since I don’t need it any more, and can free up some desk space and power drain. Alas, I had to jump through a few little hoops to get software VPN working this morning. I have been back at the office for just over a month now and my commutes to San Jose and San Bruno have all been via public transit or bicycle, with the occasional ride home from a co-worker. This little bit pleases me.

Sunday, September 12

“It occurred to him that life, which he’d treated as a pastime, and which he’d thought he could yet outdistance, had finally caught up with him. And he’d discovered, much as he’d suspected, that once life caught up with you, you could never quite shake it again. It endeavored to hobble you with greater and greater frequency. How you managed to remain upright became your style, who you were.”

–David Bezmozgis
“The Train of Their Departure”
The New Yorker
August 9, 2010

Mei comes back tonight. I pick her up at the airport around midnight. After too long, I have gotten my hair cut, at a Chinese place where speaking English is sufficiently awkward that the lady skipped the usual foreplay of asking what I wanted and just got down to the business of cutting my hair. Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am!

Compared to Brooklyn, Mountain View is a sleepy, slow town, where people spend their time waiting for turn-arrows and a trip to the convenience store invariably requires one to stand patiently in line, as the lady carefully counts out exact change and labors over the implications of whether it is worthwhile to sign customers up for the club card, while I quietly wait in line, nostalgic over all the times in the past year when I had ducked in to a store, exchanged quick cash with the proprietor, and was back on my way. Club cards be damned. They have no place at a convenience store.

Hello, my name is sheep!

Monday, September 13

From the upcoming “Social Network” movie, via The New Yorker:

“Listen. You’re going to be successful and rich. But you’re going to go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because you’re a tech geek. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won’t be true. It’ll be because you’re an asshole.”

As someone surrounded by geeks, I’ve always known that if someone thinks I’m an asshole, it is because either I am an asshole, they are an asshole, or between us we’re just confused as to who the asshole is.

Tuesday, September 14

Advice sent to a loved one:

Aaaaanyway what I’d do, if anything, is thank the lady for her good intentions, and apologize that sorry, I can’t send her any money because of my discomfort over the quality of decision making made in the name of religion. It sounds like her mission is to overtly spread the idea that personal morality can not be guided by the innate human capacity to discern right from wrong, but by a confusing and contradictory corpus of Iron Age mythology mediated by a competing group of organizations which are at best patriarchal in nature and at worst openly practice terrorism and sexual violence. This approach to enriching humanity is a cause I could never support. I would explain that I would be strongly inclined to make contributions on the behalf of secular charities with morally clear missions like Habitat or MSF.

Its like, you can gently suggest that someone’s belief system is foolish and deadly without having to bring up the inquisition, the IRA, or 9/11. After all, she thinks you’re going to hell, so, whatever. If someone ever wants to throw down I’m sure you can get all Richard Dawkins on their ass.

Wednesday, September 15

San Bruno fire Captain Bill Forester’s Engine 51 was one of the first two teams on the scene; the other big truck got hot so quickly its windshield exploded. “This looks like Armageddon,” Forester recalled thinking Tuesday. “It was like they took a Saturn V rocket and tipped it upside down during blastoff.”

Terrified residents were fleeing down the hill with the fireball chasing them, firefighters recalled, many already badly burned and screaming for help. There were so few ambulance trying to keep up that paramedics began asking unhurt residents to drive people with smoldering burns to nearby hospitals. Police officers and firefighters kicked down doors to rescue anyone stranded in homes.

Even with the wail of sirens filling the background of one radio call asking dispatchers to issue a third alarm, it is the rising alarm in a firefighter’s voice that tells the truest story. “We’ve got multiple houses” on fire, he reports to the command center. “We’re trying to get close. We have extreme heat. We have possibly several blocks on fire at this time.”

There is silence on the radio for a moment. Grasping fully the nightmare that she can hear unfolding in an invisible chorus of voices, the dispatcher slowly replies, “Copy that.”

More than 15 minutes into the disaster, a dispatcher issues a fourth alarm, summoning fire companies from all across the Bay Area to respond to “a plane crash.” A firefighter asks whether it’s a “large aircraft or small aircraft,” but no one knows. This would affect the firefighters’ initial response to the blaze because the accepted method of dealing with a plane crash is to put it out at the source in order to save passengers’ lives.

Gas main fires are extinguished by shutting off a valve, and there have been reports that it took PG&E well over and hour to close this one.

“With a pipeline that big, even if you shut it off a mile away it could burn for another hour,” said Kevin Conant, a battalion chief with the San Jose Fire Department who was not involved in fighting the San Bruno blaze. “I think it was completely legitimate for them to consider that there was an airplane involved because of the amount of fire they had.”

First responders say the most frightening moment occurred when they tried to tap into the neighborhood fire hydrants and heard only a sucking sound . . .

Mike Rosenberg and Bruce Newman
“Tapes Reveal Frantic Scene”
San Jose Mercury News
September 15, 2010

Later, Bike Snob NYC made me laugh:

“Like coffee, religion props people up and gets them through their day, and in this sense I believe that religious institutions are like Starbucks in that there are way too many of them and they sell a lot of crap–the only difference is that at least Starbucks pays taxes and offers WiFi.”

Friday, September 17

I was a little surprised to see sfcitizen whining about the physical impossibility for driving 25 MPH, so I chimed in:

Once the speed limit hits 20MPH, then your chances of a fatal pedestrian accident become extremely unlikely. There is advocacy in Britain to expand 20 MPH zones:


If you keep light on the gas, it is entirely easy to drive slowly, and a pleasure to boot, because down in this speed range your mind can almost catch up with all that is going on around you: less stress! You just have to let go of the selfish idea that you have some God-given right to drive fast.

I just returned to the South bay from Brooklyn. I have to say, driving in Brooklyn at a constant 20-25 MPH, slaloming around double-parked cars, bicycles, and the rest, is a lot more relaxing than waiting two minutes at a left-turn light so you can tear down El Camino at 40 MPH.

Open your mind instead of the throttle. you might find you enjoy driving slow. Good luck!


Yeah, I know I’m a crackpot. And when I was younger I had a more leaden foot, but over the past decade or so my driving has mellowed a great deal, possibly because of the station wagon. When you’re driving a boat it is easy enough to relax and take it easy, and I maintain that style in smaller, more nimble cars.

Thursday, September 23

So, we decided to spend Thanksgiving with Mei’s folks in Hawaii and Christmas with my folks in Chicago, so I set up our Hawaii vacation for November. I have never been there myself but it should be easy to enjoy.

On Monday they opened up a long-closed bike trail up North of Moffett Field. This has been a long-awaited link in the Bay Trail project, and I am pleased because now instead of riding on streets and on a 237 frontage road I can ride up the Steven’s Creek trail, then around the North side of Moffett Field, then East along the Bay Trail and then along a canal to the office. That’s a bicycle commute that is over 90% off the street.

But . . . a lot of this new route is gravel. It takes more concentration to ride safely, and getting a flat on my road tires is more likely. The salt flats smell of salt, seaweed, and decay. But I’ll take the occasional flat tire and maybe a gravelly wipe-out or two over being killed by a distracted SUV driver, and the wetlands scenery is a greater pleasure for the eyes and the nose than riding through high-speed suburban street traffic and waiting for red turn signals. I feel lucky.

When I rode the trail home on Monday people would smile and greet each other as they passed, because hey, we had a new toy.

The other new toy I have this week is Civilization 5. I was able to play the first half of a game last night, and so far I really enjoy it. It is a pretty huge change in a lot of ways from Civ 4. Civ 4 is more of a simulation game with lots and lots of variables thrown in to keep a player challenged. I think the developers leaned back and said “Civ 4 is great, but it is pretty dang complicated. Let’s make it easier for new players.” So, Civ 5 has streamlined a lot of things. The graphics are really beautiful, and the tech trees and units are pared down. Diplomacy is re-worked and the whole religion-civics thing has been consolidated into a new set of “Social Policies” which you can enact as you amass more culture.

The interface has moved from the traditional sim-manager style to more of a “builder” paradigm. For example, happiness is now an aggregate for your entire Civ instead of something managed in each city.

Aaaaaaanyway . . . . . I want to understand the military and diplomatic interfaces better, and just get a few games done and out of my system.

Friday, September 24

“I think we are making a transition, the most important in the history of Homo sapiens — more important than our long walk out of Africa and across Europe and Asia. This is our moment. Anyone who died before 1930 never lived through a doubling of the human population. Anyone born after 2050 likely won’t either. We are in a 120-year transition that will require an emerging consciousness if we’re going to make it through.”

Wes Jackson
“Farmed Out”
The Sun, October, 2010

Monday, September 27

We purchased a humming bird feeder this weekend. Within about ten minutes of installation, the first little bird flitted over. They catch on quicker than the larger birds, who we can occasionally hear at the other feeder, spilling a steady trickle of seed on to the balcony.

Thursday, September 30

It is nearly noon and I am relaxing with the ever-studying Mei at my favorite coffee shop. My work hours today are going to be around 1pm-9pm, due to afternoon and evening deployment windows for software on our production networks. That’s my day job. Well, today my day job is slacker, and my evening job is deployment engineer.

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Book Burning is for Terrorists

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2010/09/07/immolate-yourselves-assholes/

The people who plan to burn Korans to commemorate 9/11 sicken me. I would burn a Bible to piss them off, except I don’t think it is ever right to burn books. Which got me looking up a quote, and reading some good stuff via Wikipedia. I like that Heinrich Heine, foretelling the mess that Germany would make a century later.

Korans have already been burned: by the 9/11 hijackers themselves, along with all the bodies they incinerated. Fundamentalist Muslims already do enough damage to their own people, their own faith, and their own holy text that posers from outside the faith really have nothing to add. The difference between these lazy, bigoted American fuckwits who want to burn holy books and your average terrorist is the latter is somewhat more industrious, and less inhibited, more concerned with their vision of faith than with worldly comforts. They are both points on the same axis: “where they burn books, they will ultimately also burn people.”


Excerpts, Featured, Good Reads, News and Reaction, Politics, Religion, Testimonials

Sister Helen Prejean Describes an Execution

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2010/08/19/sister-helen-prejean-describes-an-execution/

From the August, 2010 issue of The Sun Magazine:

Cook: You’ve said that if executions were made public, people would realize the brutality of this system and work to end it. Yet, in our past, crowds would show up for public executions, some with picnic lunches. In our age of violent media, what makes you so sure average citizens wouldn’t applaud the execution of a killer they were certain was guilty?

Prejean: There would be some, no doubt, who would pull out a beer and cheer that this terrible murderer had been killed. But for most people who see it up close, capital punishment is very unsettling. The head of the Department of Corrections in Louisiana has to arrange the protocol for executions, and part of that is gathering witnesses. At first he thought he’d have a line of people stretching across the Mississippi River waiting to get in, but soon he realized that no one who witnessed an execution asked to come back. When you’re in the death chamber, you see when they have to jab the needle eighteen times into the arm of the condemned. You hear the stumbling last words of those who are killed: “Mama, I love you,” or “I’m so sorry.” Imagine an ordinary American family having their evening meal, and the news comes on, and the kids ask their parents, “Isn’t that murder too?” and, “Why are they putting antiseptic on his arm if they’re going to kill him?” It would not take long for people to cry out against this, and that’s why it will never be public. You have to keep it from the eyes of the people.

Cook: You have served as spiritual advisor to six men who were executed. What were their last days, their last hours, like — for them and for you?

Prejean: Being with someone who is about to die is surreal. When you’re with someone in the hospital who is dying, it’s at least a natural process; you can see them leaving you. When someone is fully alive, and you’re talking to him in the way you and I are talking, you can not get your mind around the fact that in two hours, now one hour, now forty-five minutes, he’s going to be killed.

The death itself is almost scripted: Now they’re walking in. Now I’m telling him goodbye and kissing him on the back. I’m praying for him and asking him to remember me to God. Now the guards have me by my arms. They are sitting me down in a witness chair. There’s the big clock on the wall. There’s the exhaust fan, already turned on, that will suck from the room the stench of the human body burning. There’s the blank glass with the executioner on the other side. They’ve already tested the chair. It’s run on a seperate generator, so nobody can prevent the execution by throwing the main switch. The lights are bright floursecents. There are two red telephones on the wall: If one rings, it is the court issuing a stay of execution. If the other rings, it’s a pardon from the governor. Neither phone rings. The victim’s family is sitting in the front row to watch. The other witnesses and I are sitting behind them. There are two newspaper reporters writing vigorously on narrow spiral pads. And the condemned man is looking at me. And I put my hand out. And he can see my face. And they put the leather mask over his face, so tight I worry he can’t breathe. How quickly they strap him in the chair and step away. It’s an oak chair. They put a cloth soaked with saline solution on his shaved head and then the metal cap. A thick, curled wire runs from the cap to the generator. And then the strap goes across his chest.

I didn’t look the first time, because with the mask I knew he couldn’t see me anymore. With lethal injection he can see me, but not with the electric chair. I closed my eyes and heard the sound of it. The huge, rushing, powerful sound of the fire being shot through his body. Three times. They run 1,900 volts, then let the body cool, and then 500 volts, and then 1,900 volts again. What’s terrifying is that they’ve done autopsies of people who have been electrocuted, and the brain is mainly intact. We don’t know what they feel. We really don’t know, when we kill a human being, what’s going on inside, the pain of it.

Cook: You believe that the days leading up to an execution amount to torture.

Prejean: I don’t say this lightly. According to Amnesty International, torture is “an extreme mental or physical assault on someone who’s been rendered defenseless.” Just imagine if somebody took you hostage in a room and said that in twenty-four hours they were coming to kill you. And, when the time comes, they put the gun to your head and pull the trigger. It clicks. It is an empty chamber. They laugh and walk out and say, Not today. Maybe tomorrow. That’s torture.

Everybody I’ve known on death row has had the same nightmare: they dream it is their time, and the guards come and drag them out, and they are screaming and sweating, and then they wake up and realize they are still in their cell. Just think about when you have to go to the dentist for a root canal. If the appointment is for Friday, all week you are living in dread. That’s just for a root canal.

You can read a longer excerpt at the Sun’s web site.

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doodles, Religion

May 20: “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2010/05/20/everybody-draw-mohammed-day/


Salaam Alaykum

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About Me, Featured, Religion

Atheist Position on God

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2010/01/08/oh-god-whatever/

Hemant Mehta asks:

Which statement should atheists be using?

1. There is probably no god.

2. There is no god.

In my book, Atheism is reverence toward God.

If God is almighty and all powerful, and leads an existence in the Universe beyond my ability to perceive it, then the most responsible approach I can take towards this thing beyond my perception is to shut the heck up about it, and focus on our collective worldly life.

So, maybe “God does not exist within my perception of reality.”

Or perhaps, “The question of God’s existence is irrelevant, but if for some reason it needs to reveal itself unto me, I bet it could hook that up.”

Or more modesty? “I have been unable to perceive the existence or intentions of God. I do think that Faith is important, and I put my faith in humanity, which tests my faith as surely as God tests the faith of its believers.”

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Quotes, Religion

Quotes: Sabbath

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2008/11/25/quotes-sabbath/

These are probably from a recent issue of The Sun.

“A human being who has not a single hour for his own every day is no human being.”

–Rabbi Moshe Leib

My party had been pushing ahead at a fast pace for a number of days, and one morning when we were ready to set out, our native bearers, who carried the food and equipment, were found sitting about without any preparations made for starting the day.

Upon being questioned, they said, quite simply, that they had been traveling so fast in these last days that they had gotten ahead of their souls and were going to stay quietly in camp for the day in order for their souls to catch up with them.

–Andre Gide

Winter makes me sluggish.

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Proposition 8

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2008/11/11/gay-marriage-pro-love/

One week ago the people of this country began to party in the streets. I was actually driving down 16th St when I had to stop because the street had been spontaneously closed by joyful San Franciscans. Once I got on my way home I passed Market and Castro. Castro was blocked off for a formal street party, but the crowds seemed subdued. Upon arriving home I saw that Prop 8, repealing the right of people to marry a person of their own sex, was ahead.

Joy at electing a remarkable man to the White House. But a gut-punch to those of us who feel deeply about equal rights.

Just now I received a link to Keith Olbermann, and NBC commentator, who does an excellent job of expressing my dismay over Proposition 8:

The gist: marriage is about Love. At the time Barack Obama was born his parents’ marriage was illegal in 1/3 of the United States, and in the days of slavery, marriage between black people was illegal. There is no advantage to be had in opposing gay marriage, and in this culture where we feel uncomfortable about the impermanence of relationships, and the high rate of divorce, if two people can find love, we ought to allow them to enjoy it the same as anyone else.

While there are lawsuits out to restore same-sex marriage through the courts, my personal hope is that we can put it on the ballot again, and that next time it comes before the people of California, the people will have grown in their own hearts to accept that allowing lovers to marry is what we ought to do. We gained ten points since the last ballot proposition, and Prop 8 would likely have failed were it not for balls-out misinformation fear campaign by the Mormon Church and other cultural conservatives, who viewed popular support for same-sex marriage in California as the first step in a trend that would ultimately lead to acceptance of same-sex marriage throughout the United States.

We have work ahead to ensure the rights of a minority that has been tormented for too long.

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Tech Employers and Prop 8

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2008/10/27/marriage-yes-prop8-no/

I was just mulling over proposition 8 and how happy I am to see that Google and Apple have each taken a public stand against it. So, I figured I’d shoot a brief message off to upper management suggesting how proud I would be if my employer were also to take a stand in defense of civil rights.

Then I wondered that other people may have similar sentiments and similar inclinations to share their feelings with their management. I’m not holding my breath that my company will take a stand, but it doesn’t hurt to share the idea.

I consider it a hard-won blessing that I work in an industry where I can feel comfortable openly expressing my support for the rights of homosexual people.

UPDATE: Due to multiple requests, a “sample text” that folks should feel free to steal / adapt for their own purposes:


I think it has been great that both Google and Apple Computer have both publicly stood in defense of the diversity of their employees and their community and made a public stand against Proposition 8.



For what it is worth, I would be very proud if my organization were to also take a public stand on this issue.


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One Nation, Indivisible

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2008/07/04/one-nation-indivisible/

“I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America. And to the Republic, for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.”


Notice anything missing?

Some time in grammar school I figured there was something wrong with an Atheist pledging allegiance “under God” and after some time I came to pause when we would recite those two words. “one nation . . . indivisible.”

Paul Burd asks “do you remember the words to the Pledge of Allegiance?”

I am overly aware of the words. I responded:

I can recite the Pledge of Allegiance no problem. But as a devout Atheist and an honest patriot I skip the Joseph McCarthy “under God” feature because it is sacrilegious to make false professions, and dangerously reckless to claim holy sanction for the State.

So, here’s to Independence from Tyranny and state-sanctioned religion!!

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California: Gay Marriage is ON!!

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2008/05/15/gay-marriage-legal/

From the L.A. Times:

SAN FRANCISCO — — The California Supreme Court ruled today that same-sex couples should be permitted to marry, rejecting state marriage laws as discriminatory.


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Tibet’s Torch

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2008/04/07/tibets-torch/

I think this Olympic year is a great occasion both to celebrate China as a great nation and also to protest the Chinese government for any number of serious grievances. But . . . I am hearing that pro-Tibet protesters are trying to extinguish the torch in London and Paris.

That is not cool. To me, it makes the protesters sound like a radical fringe group who would rather spoil the party for the entire world, and it makes the implausible anti-Tibetan propaganda from China’s government sound . . . less implausible.

The Dalai Llama’s non-violent approach toward the struggle gains the Tibetans a lot of international credibility. It must be impossibly frustrating for the Tibetan people to struggle against the Chinese occupation. The passions that are driving these folks are understandably extremely powerful, and I’m not surprised at the reaction. But I am disappointed, and I hope they can coordinate to protest the Chinese in a more compelling manner that kindles rather than douses the sympathies of the world’s people.

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Myanmar Turns Grisly

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2007/10/02/myanmar-turns-grisly/

From Ko Htike:

A troop of lone-tein (riot police comprised of paid thugs) protected by the military trucks, raided the monastery with 200 studying monks. They systematically ordered all the monks to line up and banged and crushed each one’s head against the brick wall of the monastery. One by one, the peaceful, non resisting monks, fell to the ground, screaming in pain. Then, they tore off the red robes and threw them all in the military trucks (like rice bags) and took the bodies away.

The head monk of the monastery, was tied up in the middle of the monastery, tortured , bludgeoned, and later died the same day, today. Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the monastery, warded off by troops with bayoneted rifles, unable to help their helpless monks being slaughtered inside the monastery. Their every try to forge ahead was met with the bayonets.

When all is done, only 10 out of 200 remained alive, hiding in the monastery. Blood stained everywhere on the walls and floors of the monastery.

There are some pretty nasty photographs on that page, and video of civilians falling to gunfire.

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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2007/08/06/sunday-august-5-2007/

Sunday I slept in a bit because this is my last chance to do so for a bit . . . when I arose I bathed, then . . . I ended up writing about Tunji. I had learned of his death the night before. After my little impromptu memorial, I noted that I happened to be wearing black this day. I was dressed for mourning.

I headed out to the Tennessee Grill for brunch, it getting on towards 11:30. The Catholic church a few blocks downhill was ringing their bells: the call to mass. I detoured towards the Church . . . followed a lady in. Mass had just begun, and I followed other late arrivals into an adjoining little altar area.

They had votive candles burning, which had been what I had in mind. I lit one in Tunji’s memory and sat through mass. I enjoyed the community spirit, some of the songs. The liturgy was pretty light–the priest explained that temperance was avoiding excess. During one song I was overtaken by the beauty and the spirit and I cried quietly for my friend: the lives he had touched, the lives he would have touched had not fate taken him young. I lit a second candle for the lives Tunji touched: his family, us, his friends, and the people he would have served had he become a doctor.

A lady sat in front of me with two young sons. One she held in her arms and the older son, maybe four years old, played with her hair, casually trying to braid one side. I like the harmony: she was there for her purposes and he managed to entertain himself in a manner that hopefully felt pleasant to her.

The priest explained that Jesus had passed the bread around, take it. This is my body. By taking the bread you will spread the word. I figured out that people were getting up for Eucharist, and followed. I savored a Jesus Wafer to take communion for Tunji.

I walked down to the Grill, and had some French Toast and coffee. I had really wanted sausage. Yum!

Back home, read about bonobos in the New Yorker. Then scrubbed the shower out and bathed again after the dirty work, to head out to a date in the East Bay. I met the lady I have been dating the past three months, and she dumped me. I could see it coming and we settled things amicably. She paid for dinner. Classy lady, and too bad . . . I walked away feeling alright for having made a good effort and for having participated in some good times these past three months, and thought about how to work my next approach to dating.

Back home, I’m listening to the Avett Brothers. Surprisingly good bluegrass. They are singing now:

And I love you but I can’t remember why
And I’d love to find a reason to deny
I was a one hit wonder in my own home town

And I guess I might have made a few mistakes
But maybe that’s exactly what it takes
To get a little happy in this big sad world

How many have you made?
And which of those have you laid on down to die?

Well didn’t I say I need you?
I try to move on but I can’t
I try to think of bad times
Good memories are all I have

Not the most apropos excerpt for the moment, but a good tune anyway.

And so it goes. To bed soon, and up around 7am tomorrow to head off to the new job. The new company is about the last place I would ever have thought to look for work, but with an open mind and no agenda I went to interview, and I got on well with the team, and they got on well with me. I have good feelings, and I must make a sincere effort. :)


Biography, Featured, News and Reaction, Religion

RIP: Oyetunji Toogun

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2007/08/05/rip-tunji-toogun/

A photo of Tunji around 2004, that I stole from Tim.

Tunji was a friend of mine back at Allen Hall. He came to school from Nigeria when he was sixteen, so he was always younger than everyone else. He never lost his deep accent or dark sense of humor. A one-of-a-kind kid who liked to play chess online and was studying to become a Doctor. I don’t know if he made his MD or not . . .

Tim notified us that Tunji’s body was found in Lake Shelbyville Friday. It sounds like he fell off a boat and wasn’t recovered for fifteen minutes, by which time the CPR could do nothing for him.

Last time I saw Tunji he just happened to be passing by when he saw me getting arrested by the University Police.

Tunji was truly a one-of-a-kind man, whose uniqueness was only magnified by his distinctive accent. I never met his family, but I can only imagine how hard it is for your intelligent son and future doctor to die suddenly, and far from home. . . I have great sorrow for his kin.

I will update with additional information or reaction as I learn more . . .


Tim Skirvin: His parents live in Chicago, not Nigeria

Darren Hron: Really in shock . . .

The News-Gazette.com: Autopsy: Tunji Drowned also narrates more about the fatal accident:

“They had been out there all afternoon and were there into the evening. Apparently (Mr. Toogun) had been in the water in the afternoon with a life belt on. At this time, he was on the boat with friends and lost his balance and fell into the water,” Green said.

Contrary to earlier reported information, friends noticed immediately that he fell in.

“We noticed after a few seconds that Tunji did not surface and immediately six or seven of us dived in to attempt to find him. It was not until 15 to 20 minutes later that we did,” said fellow student and friend Lauren Jakubowski in an e-mail to The News-Gazette.

Tim Skirvin: Tunji Toogun Album, Tim is compiling of photographs of Tunji.

Tim Skirvin: Tunji is now Dr. Tunji Toogun. His degree has been awarded posthumously.


About Me, Religion

Theophoric Daniel

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2007/05/16/theophoric-daniel/

I ended up wandering around Wikipedia, and discovered:

  1. My given name, Daniel, literally means “judge-is-god” in Hebrew
  2. Though, Hebrew goes right-to-left, so דָּנִיֵּאל literally reads (to me) as “el is judge”
  3. Daniel is thus theophoric, which means it “embeds the name of a god, both invoking and displaying the protection of that deity.”
  4. El was the supreme god, the father of mankind and all creatures and the husband of the Goddess Asherah.”
  5. In Judaism, God has many names: “the various names of God in Judaism represent God as he is known, as well as the divine aspects which are attributed to him.”
  6. The historic figure of Daniel was a pious Jew who spent most of his life away from his kinfolk, working for King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon.
  7. Daniel interpreted the handwriting on the wall that had been left by Angels, which foretold the imminent assassination of King Belshazzar and the subsequent fall of Babylon to Persia.
  8. Under Persian rule, Daniel was given great administrative authority, and likely played a significant role in freeing the Jews from the “Babylonian Captivity”, though he himself did not return to Jerusalem with them.
  9. Later in his life, Daniel ministered as a prophet. In Christianity he is one of the “four great prophets” but in Judaism, he is not regarded as a prophet, because he did not speak directly with God.

And I can’t boil this paragraph down to a bullet point:

Daniel’s fidelity to God exposed him to persecution by jealous rivals within the king’s administration. The fact that he had just interpreted the emperors’ dream had resulted in his promotion and that of his companions. Being favored by the Emperor, he was untouchable. His companions were vulnerable to the accusation that had them thrown into the furnace for refusing to worship the Babylonian king as a god; but they were miraculously saved, and Daniel would years later be cast into a den of lions (for continuing to practice his faith in YHWH), but was miraculously delivered; after which Darius issued a decree enjoining reverence for “the God of Daniel” (6:26). He “prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian,” whom he probably greatly influenced in the matter of the decree which put an end to the Jewish Captivity (B.C. 536).

Anyway, if I wanted to draw anything from this namesake, it would be that spending most of your adult life far from home serving a doomed empire is perfectly reasonable, but keep pious in order that one may interpret the “writing on the wall” which can lead one to develop the power to free people. Piety will further bring the benevolence of God, which will come in damned handy on those occasions when one is tossed into the lion’s den.

And here I am sitting around in California with the moniker “dannyman” which could be read “judge is man” . . . which strikes me as awfully impious.

I guess I’ll have to try harder. And I’ll have to rely on my own good judgment. Dang.

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