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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hollywood Activists

Cheech Marin in Athens assists Member of Parliament Liana Kanelli, who was hit by a package of yoghurt as she tried to enter the chamber to vote.

Israel and the Religious Right

 The Golden Calf

It is idolatry and blasphemy to believe that a Nation is the Messiah.
American Exceptionalism has believed just that, and has led us to Ahab's doom.

The belief of the Religious Right in the Restoration of Jerusalem and the Exceptionalism of Israel is yet another Golden Calf avidly worshipped by a generation that has lost its right to the Promised Land.

If we allow them to remain among us, we shall be forced to wander in the desert with them. I think it is time to ask them to leave.

Food for Thought

In the American Conservative, we see:

Instead of long-term conservative planners ruling the roost, it is the Age of the Hustlers.

An acquaintance of mine, a lawyer, with some friends, doctors and such, put together some money during the boom and bought huge vacation properties on the coastline of South Carolina. … After the real estate market crashed, this lawyer, though all the investors in his group had plenty of cash, decided it was time to spin the banksters for a major reduction in the mortgage payment. So he called a meeting of the partners and advised them that they should stop making the mortgage payments. Some raised concerns about damage to their credit ratings but the lawyer explained how he would handle the negotiations and why it wouldn’t damage their credit ratings and so the group stopped paying the mortgage. After some months of this, the bank finally agreed to a major reduction in the mortgage payment. The hustlers won. They pulled a mini-Goldman Sachs play, of a sort, and came out on top.

The world is becoming much more of this hustlers game...
 Then, The Cunning Realist adds:

The old and unworldly had the worst of it. Many were driven to begging, many to suicide. The young and quick-witted did well. Overnight they became free, rich, and independent. It was a situation in which mental inertia and reliance on past experience were punished by starvation and death, but rapid appraisal of new situations and speed of reaction were rewarded with sudden, vast riches.

-Sebastian Haffner on the early 20's Weimar economy in Defying Hitler



I really never expected to be learning so much in the later part of my life. I suppose most people feel that way: most of the stuff they know was accumulated early on, like money, and then they sit back and live off the interest.

Well, it's not working out that way for a lot of us: not with respect to learning and not with respect to the metaphor of money. It just isn't working out that way.

I think I have learned more in the past few years than I ever did before. I have learned important things about the human condition and religion and hope and despair.
I sometimes think it is as if I were a Camel and I approach the fountain of Wisdom: it is best to drink a good amount because I think I will be on a long desert journey soon.
I shall not be alone on that journey.
Drink up.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I caught a few of Andy Cohen's best last night on Real Housewives of New Jersey, and some very stocky guy is talking about Facebook, and he sez somethin' like "What do I know about Facebook? I got a Face! I read a book once! What else is dere?"

It was quick, down, and dirty, and I wuz outta there. (As I have said, love Andy Cohen, hate his shows.)

Facebook: the future is not an extensive network where we are pretty much faceless nodes; it is a small community which works to inspire its individual members each other to grow and flourish, then works to help other such communities grow and prosper, all around God's creation.

Referencing my post on Films earlier today, we are Film Makers: come up with the idea, communicate it, team up with others to create it, fund it, and if we have done our jobs well, we have a celluloid meditation.


Michelle Bachmann 1

I read that in 2009 Michelle Bachmann thought it an interesting coincidence that there was a Swine Flue outbreak under Democratic President Obama and a previous outbreak in the 1970's under Democratic President Carter...

Where does one begin? I mean, how does one interpret this?

I suppose I could just say that I was alive during both events. Furthermore, I was innoculated for Swine Flu during both outbreaks. I remember quite clearly that the decision for a national program of innoculation was made by my Michigan neighbor, President Gerald Ford (of whom we are very proud still).

So perhaps the decision to innoculate in 1976 preceeded the actual outbreak... a sort of time-travel, Sherman and Peabody thingie.



China's new Bullet Train:

My local Amtrak Station:


Film and Prayer

Film is not only an Art, but it is a paradigm of the Better Future we sometimes envisage for ourselves.

I watched the film Doubt again. She-who-must-be-obeyed was again awe struck by the wizardry of Meryl Streep's uncanny recreation of a Roman Catholic nun who was principal of an elementary school in the 1950's. Uncanny.
Upon reflection, perhaps the Director, John Patrick Shanley, who also wrote the original play and then wrote the screenplay, had exercised considerable influence in this matter. It was he, after all, who did create the original.
And perhaps there were numerous scenes which were not so good, scenes where the actors did not look their best and did something a bit out of character, or gave the wrong sort of look or movement which placed them into some other period of time: these were taken care of by the Film Editor, Dylan Tichenor.
Then the Cinematographer, Roger Deakins, the Set Design, the Production Design, Costume Design, and the Music. Then just consider how important the Make-up was in creating the sense of verisimilitude. And there are numerous other people and departments involved.

Film is the first Art that cannot be contained within the individual genius of the Artist, and needs a team of artists and technicians to create its artistic statements. Film also requires a good chunk of cash: it's hard to imagine a film being shot for less than $100,000.

Film is the Community as Spiritual Shaman and Bard: it is the work of many minds and hands, organized and working towards a representation which, in its most perfect form, is tantamount to Truth. The film which gave rise to this meditation was To Kill A Mockingbird. Upon reflection, you will see what a profound symbolic statement that film was. In the 20th Century, we reached for the stars, we contemplated the beginning of the Universe, and we collaborated for good and for ill; in our best moments, we were a band of brothers and sisters moving beyond ourselves to something like Mockingbird, a work of Art and Healing.

Film is in its very essence more like Prayer than our old-fashioned ideas about Art.

source of inspiration.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Naiades and Limnades: Global Water Dance in Detroit

 Kids' Fountain at Detroit's River Walk Park

Yesterday was Global Water Day, so I went to see the Global Water Dance at the Detroit River Walk. I may assure you this was not my idea. When a friend called up and mentioned it, I had immediate visions of Esther Williams and synchronized swimmers and jetting fountains, not to mention Art Deco 1920-1930's architecture and Robert Moses park at Jones Beach. I even saw Sonny Corleone driving up to that toll booth on the Wantagh State Parkway, but then I realized I was far away and best come back to the phone call.
So the husband of the caller gets on now, and I whisper "What are you doing to me?! Global Water Dance?! Are you nuts?"
He had to go. They were friends with the eminence grise behind it all, a fine lady of considerably advanced years, who was part of the dance troupes putting on the humid affair.

Apparently, this was a world wide event designed to create awareness of the fragile state of water resources. It started somewhere on the Pacific Rim that morning and was pas-de-deux-ing its way after the sun. Personally, I thought it would be more effective to let people thirst for three or four days, then rough them up, saying that they had better take care of the future water for the planet... or else! But this Dance-a-thon wheeze might work.

She-who-must-be-obeyed came into the room and announced that "we" would like to view the pageant, so that was that.

In a word, I enjoyed it: the young dancers were enjoyable, the middle-aged were foxy, and the senior ladies were a most impressive sight, who literally moved with grace and ease and shed the years from their august frames. I imagined that this must have been what the Roman Vestal Virgins were like: not only sacrosanct and taboo, but alluring and mesmerizing.
And the stretch of imagination that these specimens were Naiads (fresh water nymphs) and Limnades (lake nymphs) and Potameides (river nymphs) was not as great a reach as I had anticipated.
I think it is wonderful that people can have some ardent love of Art and Mankind and the World in the present day and age, when so many of their fellows are stark, raving mad.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


By the year 2016, most of us will finally realize that we shot ourselves in the foot seriously, and we are well into our "lost decade" or "lost generation", such as that Japan experienced, and still experiences, actually stretching it out now to more than a decade.

We shall realize that all we can do is a good combination of stimulus and debt reduction and wait it out. Ideologies are no answer to our problems, much less the fear we are demonstrating in our politics. It's over: we almost killed the economy, and there's going to be a 20 year hold on life while we die off. That's what happened in the past: the people in the midst of the South Sea Bubble and the Depression of the 19th century just died off and the history books pick up about five or ten years later - not missing a beat - and leaving us with the impression that when the going got tough, the tough got going.
Well, actually, a lot of us folks died off and were killed. History books usually do not go into detail about that. They just say "Whoops! All of a sudden, there were bread lines!" andf "Suddenly, happy days were here again!"

We are going to have to live through it.
Every time a new natural disaster happens, we shall have to look at our diminished purse and see if we can help. Sometimes we won't be able to.

The debt ceiling matters for technical effects on markets. As far as a better quality of life, nothing is going to help except a little stimulus and a little time to get the deficit under control. And there is no reason for requiring a balanced budget all the time. Everybody uses Debt to grow. It's use has to be judicious and reasonable. Our drunken sailor spree is what did us in. We were all aware of it. We mostly bought into it. We believed ourselves to be beyond the science of economics and the revenge of markets.

Obama can't do anything, Bachmann can't do anything, Gingrich can't do anything except to face the bitter reality that all of us are doomed to live in the world of reduced expectations for a generation. We are going to fight back and forth and waste time until we realize just how stupid we are.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Hunger

The basic Hunger is the same everywhere: it wears different clothes depending on the time and place, the myths and legends, the rituals and beliefs that cover its body, but it is the same.

Mankind is telic: goal directed to a telos, or a goal. The goal exerts causality, making us hunger for it as it drives us on.

The Hunger is the thirst for divine knowledge.
In our day, we have stripped the vestments of divinity from it and clothed it with the Love of Power, the Love of Money, and the Love of Sex.

All of those things, power, money, and sex, are fine in their own place.
But to allow ourselves to be driven by them is to put on a heavy and burdensome yoke ourselves, and hand the drayman's whip to a brutish trio of oxen. We have entrusted our lives and well-being to mute and dead fictions.


The Strength of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights

My freedoms are founded upon the bedrock of the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights therein, established  by our Founding Fathers more than 200 years ago. The tradition of our individual rights goes back to the Magna Carta and beyond. Men and women have fought and died to preserve these rights.

If another airplane flies into a building, or if it explodes in the sky, most of these rights of mine will be swept aside like so much rubbish.

(So much for Justice Scalia's Originalist philosophy, or Strict Constructionalism, for that matter.)


Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I was kidding about animals, especially the part of them being "familiars".
Animals are cool. Those that aren't cool are sweet. I enjoy their antics and their Machiavellian politics.

Urban pigeons have the ability to learn the difference between people who will feed them and those who will chase them away, a French study has indicated.
Researchers suggested that this allowed birds to limit the time spent searching for food, and maximise the time eating...
 "Considered as a plague in many cities, pigeons in urban areas live close to human activities and exploit this proximity to find food - which is often delivered by people," the team of French scientists wrote...
The researchers decided to conduct a series of experiments to explore the pigeons' ability to exploit the "human-based food resource", while avoiding people who were hostile...
 Reminds me of the Outer Limits episode "How To Serve Man".

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has apologized to Indonesia for beheading an Indonesian domestic maid.

Let that sink in.


Animal Familiars

Baysage has said that I am not an "animal person".

Based on my extensive study of crap TV shows, in particular "Hoarders: Buried Alive!", I have come to the conclusion that animal pets are nothing more than a modern day update of the old mediaeval "familiar" of witches and sorcerers: back then, the black cat that accompanied the witch was her demonic "familiar".

Each and every show about the abject race of hoarders shows them clearly and undeniably surrounded  by animal familiars, stalking, hovering, sleeping, growling. There is no mistaking that fact that the poor schlubs that are hoarders are - in a sense - the "property" of these animals, and the animals resent every attempt to de-pack-rat the poor suffering soul.

In fact, I think the Hoarding Syndrome is a direct result of animals, probably caused by parasites carried by the various fauna infesting the place. Toxoplasma Packratitis no doubt.

I'm not sure whether "Ghost Hunters" has a lot of ghostly and spectral animals, but ditto if they do.


Dirty Water Act

A bill allowing pesticide manufacturers and users to avoid the Clean Water Act permitting process passed in the Senate Agriculture Committee today.

If passed in the Senate, bill H.R. 872 lets farmers spray pesticides near public waters without having to meet Clean Water Act permitting requirements..
LA Times June 22 2011

The supporters of the bill said that it eliminates another "regulatory hoop" that businesses had to jump through. Anyone talking about nonce notions like "regulatory hoops" is a scoundrel and a liar.

The Ironic Emotions

Stories and Myths as Wind-Dancers

The Pride felt at something one had done and has done well is very different from the Pride one feels going forward: the first is a feeling of excitement and joy at a job well done; the latter is a long-term mythification of one's superior abilities.
This is why Pride goes before the Fall: an ongoing mythification of an emotion based in the past, a deceptive emotion. For example, the Pride felt by the USA after the end of World War II was an immediate and excited outburst of emotion that stemmed from the years of effort and a job well done. Part of the end of that job was the foremost stature of the USA in the world, along with the USSR.
However, the ongoing sense of superiority based on this exceptional victory was a mythification, a spinning of a story built upon Pride that was a thing of the past. It led the USSR to its dissolution and the USA to its American Empire, during which time I watched amazed as we marched off to Iraq, thinking it would be a "cake-walk" and that somehow, magically or supernaturally, everything we believed to be the case would be true.

It was very different.
And in 2008, the American Empire realized that it had shot itself in the foot severely, and we are still waiting to see whether it will recover fully, and how long recovery to any state of health will be.

To be Humble is not to never feel Pride; Humility is to not create a culture of Pride, a complex of proud myths, which transforms itself to Arrogance.
The Evil in Pride is not the quick and immediate outburst: it is the "lamprey" of emotion based on something past... as if History itself marks us as being worthy forever. Such long-term Pride is like that lamprey that attaches itself to our flank, bores into our interior, and parasitically lives on until its host dies.

Pride as a Myth is Arrogance, and it will be Humbled by its very existence, for there is nothing in the universe to maintain the life of such a fiction. Pride undergoes an ironic change as it slips on a banana peel of asset bubbles, for one example. Even the Hate of the families of Verona could not resist being switched to Love by the star-crossed lovers that were their children. And in this story we see the difference in the nature of the emotions when they are quick and immediate versus the long and drawn out myths of emotion: the love of Romeo and Juliet was so intense - like the fire being brought to the gunpowder and by touching, consumes itself violently! - that Friar Lawrence thought it best to marry them hastily.
The Love which follows on after the years is a different love, as we know. And furthermore, this later type of Love does not so easily reverse itself into Hate. Intensely emotional Love may pass into Hate, but the long-term Love - such as that of a Mother for a Child - does not easily undergo an ironic transform.

To be plain and simple, humble and meek, is to be as complex and convoluted, as full of pride and the boastful joy of accomplishment in the immediate presence of one's accomplishments, but it is to decline to extend these emotions to the future where the accomplishments themselves are memory and no longer substance. 
(Some religious groups emphasize the avoidance of the original emotion itself in order to avoid the long-term problem of emotional attachment to great feelings and myths based on them.)

Emotion based on memory changes with the memory... that is why Orwell had his Ministry of Truth in 1984: to show us that History is a story that may be changed, and we allow it to rule our emotional lives at our own peril of enslavement.

The soul needs to embrace the immediacy of life, and to shun myths and accounts of the past. We are not talking about past events per se; we are talking about "past events" that are recounted as a drama to slake our emotional thirst, and which are little more than juvenile day dreams. If we wish an account of War, read Tolstoy, read Hemingway, but enjoy them as Momentary Catharsis, for such works of art are individual and they are well-defined and limited; if, for example, War and Peace could as if by magic continue to spin out its story after hundreds of years, it would no longer be a work of art; it would have become a sorcerer's artifice and a baneful will-o-the-wisp that would enchant us and deprive us of our independent thought, and lead us to our ironic doom.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Dog

Dogs Likely Born with 'Canine Telepathy'

Dogs are so in tune with us that they can read our minds, according to a new Learning & Behavior study that also determined canines are probably born with the ability.
Practice makes perfect, however, so the more a dog hangs around humans, the better he or she becomes at "canine telepathy," which actually relies upon hyperawareness of the senses...
Interesting science here. Very interesting.
Why is it that many dogs do not seem to "get it" that certain people find them a bit dirty and annoying? Why do they not seem to apprehend that we do not care for a randomized pattern of droppings in the yard, when an orderly sequestration into one area would be preferable? If they are reading our minds, why do they not buzz off when we wish them away from the dinner table and into the cornfield?
It strikes me this is science that presupposes the reader is an "animal" person.
note: my point of view is warped by certain people who do not exert any sort of control over their pets.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Chernobyl? Fukushima? Kola!?
An experiment raising the output at Kola Nuclear Plant near Murmansk.


Tax cuts and profits do not create jobs;
Increasing demand creates jobs.
Demand and confidence are being shattered.


June 20 2011

We finally have my father back at his summer house, a home away from home established by his parents in 1915. It is where his heart is. It has been touch and go with pneumonia compounded by his low blood count (which was at a level the hospital people said was "not seen before!").
So he's back to the place he loves. He's already mumbling about motorcycle noise and ugly neighbors: in short, everything is back the way is was. When his blood count finally gets to normal levels and stabilizes, there will be hell to pay.

I am even going to go fishing with him. I have bowed out of his guided fishing expeditions for some years, because I thought the cost was outrageous: a guide and boat for a couple of hours until one catches one's limit, and hand over $600. He had already cancelled all his bookings this year, realizing getting his sea legs back was going to take a long time: walking on land is one thing, on a boat it is quite another.
He had ordered plant material for spring plantings during his long winter, and spring is officially over sometime within a 24 hour period of right now. I managed to get a lot into the ground, only to have the deer herds and rabbits and other cute forest creatures come in during the night and gorge themselves, biting the fairest blooms off every flower...

My older brother and his family came up to the summer place, too.
My family is not dysfunctional: it is insane.
It is rather like a summer's carnival of neurotics come to a small town in August... and there is sort of a constant soundtrack of inappropriate remarks, frightening laughter, and music played out of key. All the rides break down and the cotton candy melts into solid masses.

My grand-nephew asked me to take him canoeing yesterday. Of course, I did agree to do so. I had spent, once again, most of my time gardening. It is a pastime I thought was truly "past". I am not thrilled with the stooping and kneeling aspects of the horticultural arts.

I discovered that a canoe light in the bow, where sat my grand-nephew, was almost impossible to bring about in a stiff breeze; impossible at least by forward motion. I had to back paddle to turn. It is very good to know things like this: more weight in the bow! Of course, Sunday afternoon is a iffy time to canoe at that spot, since there are so many pleasure boats zipping by and throwing waves; it is much better early on a quiet weekday morning.

I thought about two things during the weekend:
(1) water as a metaphor for formation of consciousness, and
(2) whether our imagery used in the 19th century during the Slavery debate reflects the imagery we use in our Afghanistan debates.

(1) Light reflects off the many faces of waves; waves are turbulent and ever-changing; in a good sized body of water, there are millions of reflections impinging on the eye.
I thought of Cellular Automata.
I saw myriads of information, encoded by photons at the retina, but there was no further "coding" into consciousness: the reflections remained chaotic and undulating ceaselessly on the waves. If I had had a coding mechanism already, like a "story" or and "ideology" about the water reflections, I could have created an immense artifact of consciousness:

The many faces of the River turn at me;
the necklaces and diamond pendants that she wears!
all prismatic, all reflecting silver mirrors!
She turns to look at me!

Our consciousness is like a humble scientist at the Nobel awards: they see further because they stand upon the shoulders of past giants.
So does our consciousness ceaselessly build its ideologies upon the shoulders of past beliefs, and its Reality is like modern Rome built upon layers and layers of the past.

(2) I have been reading books from fire-eaters (pro-Southern, pro-slavery, and pro-Confederacy) and abolitionists (anti-slavery).
The imagery and logic seems to be pretty much the same as we use in different fields to argue the goodness or badness of what is being done, such as in Afghanistan: the Taliban is anti-woman, the Taliban is anti-education, the Taliban this and that, all put together in a mish-mosh justification of all of our deeds and mis-deeds. Same thing holds the other way.
Kametz Katuph! (as I have gotten into the habit of saying... striking my forehead and uttering grammatical epithets.)

... the prisoner of ideological reality wears the same chains all through history. Be good! Forget the questions about what is real or not-real! The only Reality is Virtue. (Reflection and meditation upon what is Virtue is not virtuous!)

(thanks to Arsen about virtues.)


Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Billy Elliot Stomp

I have decided I like the notion of a Billy Elliot stomp as a way to express my fresh, crude, unrefined first impressions to new things. Some people yell, some cry; artists have to use their own matrix of consciousness to interpret: first draft, second draft,... re-do and refine, cut, edit, and paste.

The first stomp is my Billy Elliot.
Eventually it reaches William-hood.


Republican Debate

I have made inquiries about the Republican Politicians debate. I, of course, refuse to waste my time watching the "Real Housewives and Househusbands of Never-never-Land" myself.
As expected, there is no truthifying there.

What is the truth?
The truth is twenty years of reducing qualities of life and expectations, all done gradually ( we hope! ) in order to avoid revolutionary discontents. We have made mighty effort to maintain prices and values of certain assets, but they will go down. That's what all the budget debate is: what will go down and how much and in what time period? As spending goes down, prices of assets involved in the process will go down. Some people are trying to control the decline, others seem to want to tinker with the idea of "free fall".

When values are at 10 in an economy of 100, and 1/3 is removed from the economy, there is only 66.7 remaining to support values at 10.
If 66.7 is sufficient to support values at 10, why could the economy not have done so some time in the past 25 years, when the economy had grown from some lower figure, say 50, and increased to the 66.7 mark for the first time?
The answer is that the lower figure of 66.7 cannot generate demand to maintain values or prices at 10 back in the past, nor can they in the present. Prices will drop.

If they drop rapidly, there is No Exit.



It occurred to me that it is a good thing that China is ruled by the Communist Party. Being Communist, they are officially atheistic. This saves us from the irony we fell into by enriching Saudi Arabia by our oil purchases, and then being the target of the hatred of the Salafi form of fundamentalist Islam which Saudi Arabia promotes in the world.

In fact, the irony of that particular bit of energy greediness is on the scale of the Tower of Babel thing, where there was a tremendous reversal of man's fortunes.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Billy Elliot of Poems

Ruth has a poem at:

There is a picture of a barn

The poem starts:

My flesh and blood argue
with my breath...

and continues on to a note of hers on Susan Sontag, who in On Photography writes about Walt Whitman.

Then I wrote as a comment:

Rural barns reminisce about the Civil War,
havens in the storm where Whitman nursed the wounded-
to heal secession between the mind and body:
Souls flying on the light. 

It was very Billy Elliot for me. When I say Billy Elliot, I am referring to the naive and native dancing of Billy before his admission to the School for the Royal Ballet: a mixture of styles emphatic in their desperate desire to break out into consciousness and into the world.

In other words, flesh and blood arguing with breath. And the event is a thrown collage where Sontag and Whitman find a place, and everything begins to meld in my understanding.

My comment is not particularly good, but it definitely is a Billy Elliot stomp. My words often shuffle around like untutored clogs, but sometimes not.


Alas, Poor Donald

I guess Mr. Trump is not going to run for President of the US of A. I am just a little disappointed. I did want to cast a vote for someone who builds places called something like "Palazzo de la Ritz", and then buses old ladies in from miles around to sit all day in front of slot machines.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Status Quo Nunc

What is the status quo now?
What do you see and what the news from here and o'er the sea?
What is said in Paris, what said in Brussels, and done in Benghazi?
as the poet said, me blowing my own horn (it is from my poem "Beau Ahmad" over in the other blog).

My father grows stronger. His iron levels are increasing, which makes him feel stronger, which makes him feel like it is all worth while, which makes him able to exercise and go walk about and firm up the muscles. The problem seems to have been that the blood count was dropping, then he got pneumonia and that made things difficult. My parents had somewhat earlier decided to stop taking iron pills due to side effects of a delicate (!?) nature, without substituting any source of iron in their place. Now they have blackstrap molasses, a brand whose tablespoon has 70% of the iron for the minimum daily requirement, etc. and a supply of liver sausage and sesame seed crackers for snacks. (All molasses are different in their chemical and mineral contents!)
The vision problem is iffy, but we have found a "Beaumont Doctor" (Wm. Beaumont Hospital in Troy), and she is "bright coin and Quito gold" and there is a feeling that all is in good hands. (The problem is wet macular degeneration... this is one of those little area of investment I thought would be better served when the rest of the nation was so gung ho on throwing money into the Iraq war in order to find those pesky - and invisible, so it turned out - weapons of mass destruction.)

He should be back gardening soon. Meanwhile, I have indentured myself as the main field hand at the summer place, and my wife is the housekeeper. In just 9 days, we arrived, got the space heaters cleaned and running because it was too cold, within 2 days ran into a 90 degree day, moderated, had two 90+ days, then froze again... the heating is not central and the a/c n'existe pas!
So we worked and sweated, changed clothes at least twice a day, showered, and worked from sun up to sun set... and, by the way, damn Daylight Savings to perdition! As if people who labor need another hour of sunshine!
Then trips to doctors' offices (my parents trust themselves usually, since the fact that they are stone deaf is not critical for most purposes, and a few doctors orders here or there can be let slip between the cracks... but not now.) and back and forth. We mark the years by our memories. The first year of pneumonia was 2005, which was the year of Katrina; we watched its approach in his isolation ward at the local hotel Dieu. Then there was the year of the Iliac aneurysm... and another "Beaumont doctor" miracle. (The local quacks essentially had given my father the diagnosis of iliac aneurysm and handed him a business card of their cousin's, who sold cemetery plots and garnishments... such as tombstones!)

I get to go up to Port Desespoir (as I call it) and take in the atmosphere. The newspaper is now about 6 pages large. There was a letter to the editor recently from an upright local yokel who was complaining about the desecration of tombs and disrespect generally: they said that some disrespectful lout had stolen the purple pants that they had dutifully laid upon their grandmother's tombstone! (I really am not sufficiently crazed to be able to make this stuff up.)
We can only assume that the purple pantaloons were her favorites, and that they had not been blown away in the wind. How does one anchor pants to a tombstone? I remember going to the cemetery in Forest, Michigan... which is on a cliff over Lake Huron and is very lovely... and looking at Minnie Quay's tomb. There were coins and toys and shells and jewelry and numerous other bric-a-brac that the peeps had left, and no one had taken any precautions against the elements removing them. (Minnie Quay is considered an real local haunt! She was Native American and had a tragic end which seems to escape me.)

My only other problem is the state of my Proclamation of Secession from the rest of the country. I figure that if I make enough clamor, someone will give me a homeland of my own somewhere...
I would not have to displace too many people to create an Intifada going forward for the next century, so it is possible.
"Sesesh fer ever!" My flag. Simple enough. Anyone understands. No pictures of snakes with logos "don't tread on me!" You won't tread on me 'cuz I be long gone! My political party ain't the Tea Party: it is the "Don't-Bother-To-RSVP-Because-I-Ain't-Going-Anyhow-No-Way!" Party... If Ron Paul were a real Libertarian, he would not try to force his neolithicisms on the rest of us!


Welcome Yoli


There. I yelled it loudly enough. Eckles!
I used to be a University with a girl by the name of Yuli, at least, that is the way it sounded phonetically. It could have been Yoli. If it is the same person, "Eckles!" will be the shibboleth which finds out.
It was a name in a short story. Only she would remember. Well, she and I. I tried to recall it this A.M. and the entire panorama unrolled itself within the circus tent of my mind.

I looked at some of her other blogs of interest and found I was in a school of rather brainy blogs. I suppose I must apply myself. Of course, I always say the same thing when a new friend happens along: I must apply myself! Can't keep cranking out tripe!

I thought my piece on Captain Ahab was pretty good. I used Melville Metaphor, because I did not want to come right out and say what particular institution and train of present events was scaring the bejabbers out of me.
Even this morning I woke up staring from the for'ard top gallant...

Welcome, friend.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Panetta's Speech

Ruth mentioned Panetta's words in a comment on Start-of-Times Day, so I looked up his testimony:

...several Democrats and Republicans indicated that their patience was wearing thin. Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, called the Afghan war “a never-ending mission.’’“I don’t see how we get to a stable state in Afghanistan,’’ she said. “So tell me how this ends.’’
Panetta paused and then responded that he was once very pessimistic about the war in Iraq but that things had turned around there. “If we stick with it,’’ he said, “there is going to be a point where Afghanistan can control its own future. I think we have to operate on that hope.’’
Fair enough.

It certainly seems as if the arrogance and violence of Al Qaida in Iraq was critical in creating the reaction of the Sunni Awakening Councils against Al Qaida, which saved our bacon in 2006 in no small way.


Leon Panetta's idea is to wait and keep it up long enough that the stupidity and brutality of the enemy will give us an advantage, thereby negating our own stupidity. Great. Our whole strategy is predicated on having an ignorant and vile enemy hated by their fellow countrymen. Brilliant. In our own imaginations the Taliban is such. What are they in the minds of their fellow Afghanis?

Brilliant! Vote to confirm!


I am familiar with Ahab, too familiar. I stride back and forth of nights upon the deck and meditate upon that Great Leviathan that tasks me, that tasks us all; a dynamo of nature, so vast and so powerful that it seems a universe unto itself within the small encompass of its brain.
I look upon it as John Brown gazed upon that fearful savage sun of Slavery, which drove him dessicate upon the moral deserts of his times and dried his emotions to a tough and stringy pemmican too leathery for any but supernatural nurture.
The harpoons stand from its enormous back like a forest of cometary iron, forged first by cave dwellers and beat continuously by modern ferriers, blackened firs burned by tears and rage upon that cetacean back.
When the Great White breaches, all the birds upon the sea scatter, and we smell the odor of far away lands, foreign seas and exotic shores where the beast has laid its oceanic claims of Empire!

O, Lord! Canst Thou fill his skin with barbed irons? Or his head with fish spears? Teach my hands wise in the ways of harpoon'ry, make my mates courageous, and let our loggerheads leap fire and our drougues be heavy. Let us measure that whale, enough its head, enough its tail; how many spans its longitude, how many spans lateral! Let it be distributed! Let us live to see our loved ones again!


I see a vibrant connexion between Captain Ahab and John Brown. The monster faced by Brown was Slavery, and Ahab faced a ferocious metaphor.


Today: June 10 Start-of-Times Day

I proclaim June 10 to be Start-of-Time Day.

Instead of the periodicity of gaping foolishly at our End-of-Time obsession, I want to celebrate one of the greatest Moral Victories of Virtue ever achieved by humankind: the joint efforts of American and Russian peoples - and all the other peoples of the world - to resist the urge to destroy themselves and the Earth through nuclear war, to have come to agreement on reducing and eliminating nuclear weapons, to have let us live into another century.

Through science we achieved the potential to destroy everything upon the Earth... and we did not do it.

Now we must go further.
Through politics and ideology we have now also achieved the "globalized" potential to destroy the economic lives of every person upon the Earth... and we are meditating whether to push the "red button" of economic destruction.
The seasons change with regularity. Economies have cycles. The changes of season are like irony: a reversal; truly the change from the growth of summer to the cold death of winter is a reversal; it would be an irony were it not so perfectly regular and predictable.

We pretend our Economy is chaotic and random, that the periodic destruction is not predictable, that the loss of lives along the roadside cannot be stopped as we move onward and upward to whatever goal we imagine ourselves to have.
Pride going before a fall is a reversal that is perfectly predictable. Pride contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction. Avoid pride and avoid the fall; avoid the injurious and diminish the suffering. Notice how we had fallen in love with the notion that almost within our grasp was the ability to abolish the suffering of many, whether by science, by medicine, or by our economic dynamo? Notice how we have managed now to increase that suffering?
Our pretense that progress may come and be built on the foundations of great distress and profound economic destructions in perfect yet unpredictable cycles is just that: a pretense; the perfect cyclical harmony of boom and bust is predictable and it is ingrained within the present system. Our first step is to admit that it is, then we decide whether to aceept it as is, or to modify it.

The predictability of periodic destruction and impoverishment and suffering renders such a system... morally flawed.

Step down from our pedestal of hubris... before we are rudely pushed off.
The greatest and best men and women of the Cold War should be remembered today for denying their suspicions and the scripts of war they had learned and achieving a Moral Victory attained by few in history.
As we celebrate, remember that it is now our turn to Start the New Times.


Thursday, June 09, 2011

The Globalization of Everything

An instance being the Globalization of Mutiny and Insurrection.

These forms of discontent, previously restricted to barracks and towns, then erupting at times into larger areas of a given country or nation - sometimes reaching all the way to the national borders - are now international in scope.
Al Qaida may be seen as the first exemplar of this new "App" of human industry: the global mutiny, an insurrection carried on throughout the world; it is as if Fidel Castro waged revolution not just from the Sierra Maestra mountains, but from Miami, too.

I sit and muse on Al Qaida, but more on Afghanistan: my wife said she has no idea why we are there. We do not have any idea what our so-called national government is doing anymore. We only know part of them want to disinherit us, and another part is posting nude pix on the Internet, and some others are reasonable voices that cry in the wilderness.
First, the Taliban provided a base for Al Qaida, payment being Al Qaida's assassination of the leader of the Northern Alliance less than a week before 9/11.
Second, the Taliban offered to extradite bin Laden after 9/11 if the USA could produce evidence that he was responsible for 9/11. Of course, there was no forthcoming evidence that could directly tie bin Laden's group to the event at the time, only his claim to be responsible.
Third, once we pushed the Taliban out, we dithered for half a decade while pursuing an illegal war in Iraq, allowing the Taliban to come back in and re-establish themselves.

So, now we are making good on... what? The Globalization of American... what? What shall we call it? The Globalization of maddened lemmings fortuitously dropped within a landscape of cliffs and unable to clearly choose which one to jump off... so we are trying them all.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Welcome Maria Vodyanova

Things are at sixes and nines right now... or is it fours and sixes? Or sevens and fives? I cannot remember. But welcome. My email has been hacked, and I am ceaselessly making pilgrimage back and forth to my ancestral lands to help my parents. (I know I am shamelessly making myself out to be some sort of saint here. Even in my works of mercy, I am so smug and self-centered that sugar could not melt in my mouth... or whatever.)
Добро пожаловать в наш дом!


Gil Scott-Heron

He was a benevolent Jinn.

When I read "Whitey's On The Moon", suddenly I understood a good deal more than I had 2 minutes before I had started reading. The horizon moved back a few thousand miles and hundreds of years. I saw things.

If I could put a universe in some such nutshell as could Mr. Scott-Heron...



My Yahoo email has been hacked. Apologies to all, and another round of apologies at our table.

One particularly gruesome neighbor of mine asked that he not be included on future emails, being under the impression that I had stumbled across some great stuff and could not control my urge to share.

I do not know what hurt more: my sense of being violated by some unknown idiot hacker, or my shame at having some other idiot think that I was - in some ghastly sense - his buddy!... and wished to share some tidbit of e-formation with him!

To my true friends, many apologies. Hope to be up and about soon. As mentioned, spending time with aged parents - some of them sick - and they are "mountain folk" and do not "cotton to that there Internet"!


Monday, June 06, 2011

Celebrity-Conservatives: Sound-Biting the Hand that Feeds Them

Another of the present day idiocies that parade as economic science is the assertion that tax cuts create Jobs.

I was a small business owner. Tax cuts usually are
(1) not all that large,
(2) not guaranteed to last for long term.

They are marginal increases in profits. Absolutely no jobs are created nor is the physical plant increased based on such things, nor can they be planned on this money. The extra money is banked or becomes a Bahama vacation.

Of course, it is different for large companies. But we always hear the other economic truth that small business is the area primarily efficient in job creation. There is no rhyme nor reason to anything Celebrity-Conservatives say anymore: they sound-bite the hand which feeds them.


Groucho or Sarah?

Whose account of Paul Revere's ride is the most historically accurate?

1) Sarah Palin

"He who warned, uh, the … the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringin’ those bells and, um, ridin’ his horse through town to send those warnin’ shots," she said, seeming to mix up who was warning whom about what. But on Fox News today, Palin said the lamestream media was quick to mock her, of course, without even realizing she had made no mistake at all:

“Part of his ride was to warn the British that we’re already there - that, ‘Hey, you’re not goin' to succeed. You’re not goin' to take American arms. You are not goin' to beat our own well-armed persons, individual, private militia that we have,’" Palin said. “He did warn the British.”

2) Groucho Marx in Duck Soup

Ride through every Village and Town!
Wake every Citizen uphill and down!
Tell them the Enemy comes from afar!
With a Hey-Na-Nonny and a Hot-Cha-Cha!

It is obvious whom I prefer. I still do not get that "bells" thing in La Palin's exercise in speaking.


Hacking For Truth!

The 2 Minute Truth when the FOX gets hacked.