Winter Solstice 2009

Posted December 21, 2009 by bluebanshee
Categories: Winter Solstice poem

Tags: , ,

The Winter Solstice takes place today at 9:47 am PST. In honor of that moment and I would like to share a poem for the New Year by Irish poet and spiritual teacher John O’Donohue.

A Blessing for the New Year
BEANNACHT

On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble
May the clay dance
To balance you

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The gray window
And the ghost of loss
Gets into you,
May a flock of colors,
Indigo, red, green
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
In the curragh of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.

…from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, Doubleday, 2008 by John O’Donohue
If you would like to hear the words of this blessing spoken with a lovely Irish accent by the poet himself, here is a link to a youtube recording:

Ed. Note:  Curragh is a small Irish sailing ship

Comparative sales: Susan vs. Sarah

Posted December 4, 2009 by bluebanshee
Categories: Sarah Palin, Susan Boyle

Tags: ,

I just noticed that Susan Boyle’s debut CD has hit number one on the Amazon sales charts — and has sold 701,000 in the first week.  The singing sensation from Scotland won the hearts of worldwide audiences when she sang the title song  I Dreamed a Dream on UK’s version of American Idol,  “Britain’s Got Talent.”   The album is expected to be a popular stocking stuffer this holiday season without the aid of discounting or bulk promotional sales.      http://www.examiner.com/x-25310-Little-Rock-Pop-Culture-Examiner~y2009m12d3-Susan-Boyles-album-smashes-US-sales-records

Boyle’s CD sales were the largest number sold in 2009, beating out the record-holder Eminem and other artists such as U2. She also has the largest ever sales debut for a female artist, a feat which is remarkable considering where Boyle came from and the fact that almost all of her sales were actual CDs. Only 40,000 digital downloads of her album were purchased on iTunes last week, in contrast to the previous week’s number one, John Mayer’s Battle Studies, in which almost half of his sales were digital.

In contrast Sarah Palin’s  Going Rogue sold 469,000 books right out of the gate, aided by massive bulk purchases by the NewsMax website, where it is offered for just $4.97 as a premium with a 3-month subscription.  This is despite all the advance promotion by Harper Collins and the glitzy “bus” tour featuring the former Alaskan Governor and her entourage.      http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20091125/FREE/911259991

Going Rogue, the memoir by the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, topped the list of Nielsen BookScan’s best selling books for the week of Nov. 16. But while its first-week sales figure of 469,000 copies beat out the sales numbers for James Patterson and Stephen King, it couldn’t topple the top dog.

Former President Clinton’s 2004 memoir My Life sold 606,000 copies its first week on sale.

So it appears that Susan comes out the winner here.  And I predict that Susan’s CD will have more “shelf life” than Sarah’s book — bringing aural delight to fans around the world long after Going Rogue is a dusty curiosity in the bargain bin.

Exploding Meteor Over South Africa

Posted November 29, 2009 by bluebanshee
Categories: exploding meteor, nature

Tags: ,

A little reminder that the universe sometimes offers the unexpected  — a meteor lights up the night sky and explodes over South Africa.

Pie in the Sky Chart

Posted November 29, 2009 by bluebanshee
Categories: 2012 election, Fox News, politics

Tags: , ,

We all know that Fox “News” exists in a fact-free universe.  Now we know that they’re math-challenged, too.  The failed Venn diagram pictured below purports to show the results of a recent poll where GOP voters were asked who they would support for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

What’s wrong with this picture?  Well, for one thing the total of the  “pie” should be no more than 100 per cent — 193 per cent is just plain wrong for this kind of chart — no double helpings of “pie” allowed by the rules of math!  The more proper kind of chart to illustrate this kind of poll result would  be a bar chart, which would demonstrate that there is almost a dead heat for the 2012 GOP nomination, with an overlapping group of voters supporting the three candidates with nearly equal amounts of enthusiasm.

From another perspective, this poll by Opinion Dynamics can be seen as relatively  meaningless:  at this point  before the 2008 election, Rudy Giuliani was seen as the GOP frontrunner and an obscure first-term Senator from Illinois had not yet announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination.

Wonderment takes flight

Posted November 17, 2009 by bluebanshee
Categories: nature, Uncategorized

I’ve always been fascinated by the sight of birds moving in a flock as if they were one organic being. Recently a feathery cloud of 300,000 starlings were spotted in Denmark — a truly amazing. The commentary is in Danish but words are not needed to appreciate this awesome natural phenomenon.

Cashing In: The Sarah Palin Story

Posted October 27, 2009 by bluebanshee
Categories: politics, Sarah Palin

Tags: , ,

She said she was quitting her job as Alaska governor to pursue some unspecified “higher calling.” Then after her resignation took effect on July 26 Sarah Palin disappeared from public view. Twitter bursts to her followers were the only evidence that she was still around …hunkered down at an undisclosed location (rumor has it it that she was in San Diego with her new book’s co-author).

Beginning in August 2008 with her selection as John McCain’s running mate Palin soared – she went from being an obscure self-described “hockey mom” governor of a remote state to a charismatic national political figure. Less than a year later, Sarah Palin was gone as Alaska governor. And making new plans for her future … BIG plans, it seems. Read the rest of this post »

Going Rouge vs. Going Rogue

Posted October 24, 2009 by bluebanshee
Categories: politics, Sarah Palin

Tags: , , ,

Top Ten Reasons to Buy “Going Rouge”, instead of “Going Rogue”

By now every sentient being who is even minimally interested in U.S. politics has probably heard about Sarah Palin’s first venture into literature. Her new book “Going Rogue” is scheduled for release on November 17. Palin’s book is already at the top of the pre-order charts at Amazon and the New York Times. Far fewer are aware of a competing tome that is scheduled for release on the same day. From the publisher’s website here’s the scoop: http://orbooks.com/

Going Rouge An American Nightmare is compiled by Richard Kim and Betsy Reed, two top editors of the left-leaning weekly The Nation, and includes essays by Nation regulars like Katrina vanden Heuvel, Naomi Klein, and Katha Pollitt. It’s the first release from OR Books, a fledgling outfit founded earlier this year by publishing veterans John Oakes and Colin Robinson that “embraces progressive change in politics, culture and the way we do business,” according to its website.

They promise to deliver “the most honest, revealing account of the Palin story to appear this fall? You betcha!Read the rest of this post »