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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

April 15, 2005

welcoming the DC Nats

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:37 pm

Despite your Editor’s skepticism about giant urban revitalization projects,   at bat neg

such as major league sports stadiums (see local schmocal), I can’t help but

be excited that my former hometown, Washington, D.C., now has a new

baseball team — which won the franchise’s first home game last night (see

Nationals grab glory on DC debut,”; “Powerbrokers see more

than a game: opener mixes business, pleasure ,” WashPost, April 15, 2005).

I had just graduated from Georgetown U. when the last DC team fled for



I’ve enlisted two basebase-loving haijin, Ed Markowski

and Tom Painting to help celebrate the occasion:



distant thunder

the home run hitter

drops a bunt









i lose jeter’s pop-up

in a blaze of static







rainy night

a hole in the radio

where a ballgame should be





at bat flip neg  Ed Markwoski

distant thunder” & “lightning…” – from games (pawEprint 78, Nov. 2004)

“spring rain” –  Haiku Sun  (Issue X, Jan. 2004) 



moths circle

the stadium lights

seventh inning stretch





all day rain

on the playing field

a stray dog







the toddler

runs to third base




“moths circle” from A New Resonance 2: Emerging Voices

“the toddler” & “all day rain” – from the haiku chapbook piano practice      



baseballG   by dagosan 


squinting to see him —

another generation

sent to right field


                              [April 15, 2005]



p.s.  Thanks to Paul David Mena, who contributed the following

haiku to this baseball lineup, as a Comment:



April chill —

Wakefield’s knuckleball



bonus (April 17, 2005):


extra innings

a runner’s shadow

down the third base line


                               John Stevenson from Quiet Enough



taxes and sycophants in athens

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 12:45 am

Like last year, I hereby declare this website a tax-whiner-free zone today.  By coincidence, 

while reading last night, I came upon the following brief description of the way they

“paid for Democracy” in ancient Athens, in Paul Woodruff’s little gem, First Democracy:

The Challenge of an Ancient Idea (Oxford Press, 2005):




“The hard labor of slaves paid for just about everything in the ancient Mediterranean, 

including democracy.”

      “Throughout the period of democracy, wealthy residents of Athens

were subject to special levies, depending on their wealth and the needs

of the city.  The richest 2 or 3 percent were expected to pay for the

religious festivals that gave Athens both a civic life and a public education.

These included dramatic performances.  Citizens only, most often the super

rich, were expected to pay for the ships in the navy of Athens.  Both military

and religious financial duties were known as liturgies; they were a source of

pride and fame to the rich.  After performing a liturgy, you would be exempt

from further demands for a year, or, in the case of paying for ships, two years.

How were the donors selected?  It was an honor to be asked to perform a

liturgy, but if you thought someone else was richer, and that he therefore should

be ahead of you in line to pay for a ship or a festival, you could challenge him in

court, either to exchange his wealth for yours or to take on the liturgy.”

 FirstDemocracy   I wonder what Walter Olson and Evan Schaeffer (or even Judge

Preska) think of the Popular Court of Athens, as described  in First Democracy (at 50):

     “The right to bring charges now emerges [circa 462 B.C.] as an important

democratic principle.  Ordinary citizens could bring charges against leaders

of the government, and thereby make powerful people accountable to the

popular courts for their actions.  Penalties for frivolous lawsuits were heavy,

however.  If a prosecutor won less than one-fifth of the votes on his jury, he

would be punished by a heavy fine (1,000 drachmas).


       “The right to bring charges had an unwanted consequence– easy blackmail.

Sycophants made a living by theatening law suits against people who could afford

to pay them off.  Popular juries were unpredictable, and could be hostile to

aristocrats.  To many aristocrats, and evn to ordinary people, sycophants were the

worse consequence of democracy.”  

An interesting wrinkle that might please a lot of Americans: “There were no professionals

in the law.  Any citizen could prosecute, and anyone who was brought to trial had to

defend himself.”


p.s.  Woodruff’s call to get back to the original meaning of democracy — of the people and for

all the people (not just the majority) — is an important message.  Woodruff admires the democratic

ideal “because it takes human imperfections into account better than any other ideal of government.”

His suggestions for making America more democratic in spirit and reality are worthy of discussion

in another post.



where there’s people
there’s flies
and Buddhas



people of the capital
in parasol shade
drinking sake





pure mountain water–
people coming and going
muddy it

       –  from Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue




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