A Brief History of the World, Winston Smith edition

First, according to astrophysicists, there was nothing. Nada. Zilch. Tabula rasa. Then that nothingness somehow exploded. Can you say big bang? Congratulations! To, uh, whatever produced the big bang, as it gave birth to what is referred to as the universe. According to scientific investigation, that was approximately 13.8 billion years ago. Then, around 13 billion years ago, the first stars begin to burn, their glow taking its sweet time to reach…well “us”; but let’s not get too far ahead here since “us” at this point in the life of the universe is still WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY off.

Moving on, about 4.6 billion years ago our solar system begins to come together and with it the birth our life-sustaining sun. Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, and thus one of the charter members of our universe, which early on had no stars or planets. Stars were forged from atoms of hydrogen and helium, while new chemical elements were created inside the dying stars (birth and death, it’s inescapable, eh?). Planets and moons formed from blobs of ice and dust using these new chemicals and elements, and the first living cell evolved in the rich chemical environments of rocky planets.

Then, 3.8 billion years ago, comes the earliest forms of life on our very special planet we call Earth. These were mostly single cell life forms. Not too sophisticated but, hey, back then they were the entire show. And that “show” was a long-running production, with virtually zero competition for attention for the next 3.2 billion years. Okay, so let’s do the math: 3.2 billion from 3.8 billion=600 million , as in years ago, larger life forms appear. Those bigger living things had the stage for a mere 593 million (or so) years, when ‘only” 7 million years back our human lineage splits from that of the Chimpanzee. That “break-away” from the chimp world, over the next 5 million years, produced the–ta da!–homo erectus. This new “standing man” then becomes the species known as Homo sapiens, a classification that is marked at about at 200,000 years ago. Hey, from Big Bang to standing man. In a mere 4 billion, 599 million, 999.8 thousand years.

Or, in just three paragraphs on this blog entry.

A brief history, okay?

Standing man hasn’t always had it easy, though. Life was rough and tumble. Maslow’s pyramid of ascending needs would have to have several sub-basements to signify the ordeal of simply staying alive back in that day. Today’s homeless population live elite lifestyles compared to Homo neanderthalensis. Basic food and shelter? Life was always a bitch, no doubt. And then , as already noted, they would die. But enough of standing man got off his/her feet to copulate and Homo sapiens endured, right through the last ICE AGE, some 10,000 years ago. After that frosty kick in the loin cloth-covered asses of our species by the forces of nature, it was but 5,000 years ago that cities began to appear on the planet. 3,000 years later, standing man had developed its survival instincts and desire to be the masters of their–and other’s–domains, with the Han and Roman empires. Little by little, by about 500 years ago, exploration and discovery by our species started to link the world together. For better or worse. Mostly worse, in my estimation.

Formal knowledge, the refinement of arts and sciences, elevated our human place on planet earth. In the past 150 years industrialization has given us railroads, jet airplanes, radio and television and space travel. Just 50 years ago we landed on the moon, an event that for a brief moment in time, was at once inspirational and mesmerizing in its realization, and as such, transcended race, ethnicity, or nationality in a most powerful and positive sense of shared pride in our humanity. And it was quite a momentary antidote to a world in which over the previous 200 or so years having been marred by revolutionary wars here and abroad, the U.S.civil war, World Wars I & II, (the latter of which produced an another awesome, if not a Kumbaya, event called the creation–and deployment–of the atomic bomb), the Korean and Vietnam wars, and at this point in time bloodshed far and wide. More empires. Less humanism.

Now, here we are early in the first month of year 2019. Unless you are one of the Homo sapiens that has succumbed to a de-evolutionary modus operandi, and cannot think on your own, unable to truly engage your brain, not able to determine basic right from wrong, nor distinguish a stone cold fact from an inference to a bald face lie, you might have heard about, and perhaps become concerned for our planet, all 4.6 billion years old as it is. What am I getting at? Well, while the Big Bang theory says we came from nothing, (go figure) ever since, and as been alluded to earlier, all forms of life on this planet come and go. You know, born to die. In comparison to mother earth, we are all around for a nano second of a wee smaller nanosecond of a fraction of a fraction of a blink of an eye. Hope to live to be 110? No different. By the time you were born to your demise, you (all of us, okay?) relatively speaking were barely here at all! But reproduction keeps humankind around, whether one is using that brain very well or not. Among the scientists whom are most involved with the life span of our planet–which, mind you, is inevitably as with all else, going to die–they assert we have reached an “existential crisis”. It’s called climate change. And the virtual consensus of climate scientists is that our planet is sick. Very sick. Human activity is hastening our planet’s demise–and standing man and woman will eventually pass away when the sphere beneath our feet no longer can support itself, or us.

What are we humans doing about this crisis? Apparently not much. Certainly not nearly enough. In the decade that ran from 1979-1989 we had an excellent opportunity to solve this climate crisis. The world’s major powers came within several signatures of endorsing a binding, global framework to reduce carbon emissions–far closer than we have ever come since. During those years, the conditions for success could not have been more favorable. The obstacles we blame for that inaction are still emerging. But now, as back then, the only thing standing in the way of saving the planet is…ourselves.

And by ourselves, I include a particular person who is an avowed science-denier when it comes to looming climate collapse: this person is deeply, profoundly flawed. Okay, nobody is perfect but…this person is a sociopath. This person is a racist. Indeed, he is a white supremacist. He is a misogynist. A homophobe. A xenophobe. A failed businessman. A con man. As bad as all that is, the worst part is he has been allowed to be the President of our country. Oh, and one who may have colluded with Mother Russia and its evil strongman, V. Putin, during his campaign. This man is not helping with much except to create chaos and consternation amongst critical thinkers. Sadly, this person has followers. I call them “pod people” (after the people in Invasion of the Body Snatchers whose beings are overtaken by insidious pods being slipped near them as they slumbered, to awake and become zombie like automatons in the grip of alien forces). Today’s Pod People have brains, but they are a waste of gray matter. Podsters don’t seem to care about anything but what their “leader” thinks and does. But more than any creepy flaw he has clearly displayed, it’s that science-denying one that is the most dangerous here, in 2019.

Sadly, in my informed, personal opinion, it may be 2019, but I’m beginning to feel as though it is really 1984. As in the dystopian world penned by George Orwell in 1949, shortly after the carnage of World War II. In it, Orwell created Big Brother. A glossary of terms from that seminal novel would include, doublethink, hate week, newspeak, speakwrite, thought police, and thoughtcrime. Doesn’t sound like a Disney narrative, eh?Now, I am not saying we are actually immersed in Orwell’s nightmare vision of the future, as he saw it back in 1949, but there are indications that, since our current occupant of the White House took residence there in January of 2017, it certainly sounds and seems as though we are getting closer to an Orwellian nightmare than safely secured from any such approximation of it.

For example, a few nights ago, the corporate, mainstream media once again demonstrated its collusion in this country’s ever-increasing descent into creepy, dark political cynicism. How so? By granting a prominent platform for the dissemination of blatant propaganda and fear mongering by the above alluded to White House denizen.

The various major media outlets, both broadcast and cable, were asked to permit this person, who has been clearly and credibly identified as a bona-fide, dissembling demagogue to speak to we the people. The heads of these news outlets could not possibly have acted any more irresponsibly by agreeing to provide prime-time coverage for this person and his intended reason for seeking their assistance. After all, he was not addressing the vital–and ever more desperate–need for climate action. Of course not. He, at best, willfully denies the reality of climate change, or actually is unable to process the credible evidence that has been around for-as noted–several decades by now. He wasn’t talking about making healthcare more affordable for all of we the people, nor was he addressing the need for more affordable means of getting a college education. He wasn’t announcing a plan to address re-building our rotting national infrastructure, or creating a living wage policy to help the average person make ends meet without working two or more jobs.

No, he was give the national airwaves to potentially enter into the living rooms–Little Brother?–of every household, to demand several billion dollars for a “wall” to separate the U.S. from its neighboring countries to the south. He claimed–without evidence– that the border is not secure, and that those coming here included rapists, murderers, drug dealers and terrorists. All while our federal government has been shut down for almost three weeks as a means of showing he means business.

The Orwellian part of his being on the airwaves so pervasively is that there was no obligation on the part of the media to grant him time to spew his nonsense, all of which is at the expense of that evidence-based existential crisis known as the climate crisis that increasingly threatens our planet. The heads of each of those major media outlets could have easily declared his request as being so blatantly a political stunt that they could not possibly be so irresponsible as to let him have the airwaves to advance its unworthiness. The fact that they didn’t is extremely disturbing.

Orwell’s book, by the way, has become something of a new best seller in the past couple of years. Art imitates life? Ugh. Well, we’re not that far gone yet, but the media created this orange-hued occupant of the White House, and it could destroy him just as easily. We don’t have to listen to him even if the media continues to provide a platform for further prevarication, division and hate speech. But we shouldn’t have to willfully ignore what should never have been allowed to become a reality in the first place. What happened on Tuesday evening was a dangerous symptom of incipient Orwellianism, in my estimation.

After 4.6 billion years, here we are, my fellow Homo sapiens. We are the problem. Of course we are. We must have asked for this or else why has it become a reality? When did basic right and wrong become so jumbled in so many people’s minds? How can we be so easily led astray? Who and what are we paying attention to? So, as mother earth continues to wheeze and convulse, the clock is ticking. You can take time out for a break, but you can’t take a break from time, right? I’d say, time to take a break from taking break from thinking about the present and the future. You can change the dial, or turn off that tv, leave cyberspace and connect with reality. I mean, can’t we do better than this? This is what we have evolved into since leaving ChimpWorld?

4.6 billion years from nothing to the moon and back. And it was televised! Now, our media has become a tool for misinformation, disinformation, insipid celebrity cults, bread and circuses. It is everywhere and nowhere. Newspeak. Doublethink. Hate week. Thoughtcrime. Far fetched? Let’s hope so. But sometimes, lately, I feel a bit like Orwell’s protagonist, Winston Smith in 1984. But I’m hoping for a happier ending than Winston’s.

If your brain is critically engaged and your eyes wide open, I’d say you–as I–are all insipiently becoming Mr.Smith.

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Mountain Sphere, Revisited

Zeldar from Zardoz here. I am, you might recall, an A.I. deep space life form, still moving around the universe in my Maximus Maximus, 250th generation, time-phased, reciprocal, reverse-parallel, logistically integrated, transitional contingency vehicle.  My recent accidental encounter with your mountain sphere is no accident this time. I am here intentionally, having been given clearance from my Supreme A.I. router to return and try to observe mountain sphere life forms. To do so, I have come down in a less remote area of sphere, one with smaller mountain types that are much less impressive but with a less hot atmosphere, and possibly some indications of living creatures who populate this place. 

You are still in the 6th extinction, my A.I. processing unit reminds me (recall I am able to instantaneously translate Zardozian into the indicated local primary language of your sphere. Zeldar hopes someone is receiving this acount who understands whatever language you are reading, although I’m always thinking in the proud Zardozian language). So, your mountain sphere is still going extinct, and as I said my router master urged me to try and contact a mountain life form that might be worthy of observation and analysis. Maybe better understand the causes of this extinction. Apparently, however, this extinction is–I believe the saying is in your language–a done deal. In Zardozian it would be “malsentientcy vilfazotafar kaputzianski”.

Me and my Maximus2 are both in stealth mode–what you might know as having the external cognito enshrouded. I am going to egress (that is a fancy mountain sphere word, no?) my Max 2 and cruise the wind currents for a short distance until I hear something that resembles language (which my A.I. processor is able to verify, as it knows approximately millions of radio wave mouth codes as close encounter explorations have been recorded and interpreted over eons of cruising the cosmos. Zardoz impresses, no?) Let’s start out into this lumpy landscape…

Zardoz sees mini-mountains and these have vertical growth life forms that mountain sphere mapping has been interpreted as “trees”. This place looks more colorful that my other landing encounter, which had a white to yellowish hue, but no color like these so-called trees. Green. Is that it? Zardoz sees small flying objects. Birds? Are these the dominant life forms? My A.I. processor strongly advises to keep cruising and insists more significant mountain sphere life forms will become visible (but remember, my cognito is enshrouded).

Zardoz internal mapping verification indicates these small land lumps are full of many smaller sphere life, although no distinct, organized sounds have been identified in the language listings. A.I. processor labels “chirps, “growls,” “hoots” and “screeching” as only possible language, but they are not–as far as Zeldar can tell–what would be determined “words”. 

Wait. Zeldar hears sounds that might be language. Not chirps, or hoots, growls or screech, but something different. I will go into insta-A.I. sound translator mode and search for a language match. Maybe I can detect an object that reveals the height of intelligence on this mini-mountain sphere land I have egressed into. Zeldar must record, as soon as I get closer. Zeldar is cruising and now can see a new object much better. It appears to be made of the same mountain sphere material called trees, as the color and surface area of the object appears to match the vertical life forms that are much more vertical than this not so vertical object. It is not very high but somewhat long. Zeldar must get closer. I am–according to my processor– not far away from close encounter. Zeldar now sees mountain sphere life forms in the front of this linear tree-like flattish object. These life forms have odd looking appearances. They are large in their middle areas with thin tentacles protruding from these large middles that hold them up and other tentacles above the middle that move as  well. Processor never has identified such life forms before. The objects on the ends of their non vertical tentacles that hold them upright are creating a fog or a haze from their tips. Processor indicates it is “smoke”. These odd life forms hold these fog emitting objects up to their rounded top ends and do something that makes the tips of these objects glow and then create more fog. I am getting closer now. Is this a language my A.I. processor can verify? These creatures are emitting odd sounds…Zeldar will record  and send to insta-identifier:

Geeze Maw! Why cants I takes paws gun to kill us some possums for viddles? I sho do am be a hungered. When paw be being comins backs from Maynerd? Iffins we gots to be being a waitin on hissin we aint no nevers gunna be being eats. Wazoo snack shop already be being not opens not any no more.

Ray Bob Joe Tucker Billy Rae, I dones beens toldens youins paw be comins soons he be completsins thems papers that he be being neddin for ourins food stomps. He say we be qualerfried fur em, sincin he be duns gottins let off by the tracker factry cuzins them taroffs done be makes the factry be shuts. And puts dat cigret outs. Been dun telled youins you be being too youngins to smokes.

Aw, maw. I like ta smokes, but fines. I kin paws twenny to six shooters and pop a possum in no times at alls. By time paw gettins back we be havins possum stews. Hot diggity, maws, whaddya be says?

Ray Joe Billy Bob Lester Monroe Scraggins, youins guns ta make yo maw takes my cass arn skillets to yo thicks skulls yo be being gettins on my nervousnesses.

Dam maw. I be hungered nufs to grub on sum roads kills. Thinks a coon done gots gone flat by a truck up da rode nots afarin.

Tucker Bob Billy Joe Rae, paw gettins thems grub stumps to takes to the genral store in Wazoo and he be brings backin some fingers licks grub. 

Dam maw, why ourins guy do dem tardriffs and makes the factry shuts? I be being a wondered maybes ourins guy aints ourin guy affer all. We done be being never not say bad bout em, but we wursins now thans befirs he done be got lected. 

Boy, youin besssins nots be says no bad nuttins bout ourins guy. He outsmartins thems commies wantins to impreach hims. Yous just waits and viddy hows he be being on ourins side. Paw and mes be stills trussin hims. We gots be paysense. Dunt says he nots be being ons  ourins sides.

Maw, I been be being paysense wits em. Just be sayins…weze bees dirts pour. He seds he gunna brings works to usins poourins foke. Whens he be being gunna do its?

Joe Don Lonney Tucker Rae Bubba duz yo hearins sumpin movin bouts outs theres by thems trees? I do gots a dat feelins in my bonz sumpin be viddyin usins.

Yeah, maw. I hears sumpin. Buts caint sees nuttin. Prolly just ones uh dems coons a strolls fir its grub. We alls be hungered. I kin gets paws pissel and goes a hunts on it.

 

Zeldar has transmitted enough of this strange language from these mini-mountain creatures. A.I. processor cannot identify. Processor will file this odd form of co-creature communication as confusing product of mass extinction effect. Command A.I. wants Zeldar to leave here. Now. Official designation of mountain sphere is: Unworthy of further observation. Router wants Maximus to try new object in different galaxy. It is certain smarter life forms out there than this. Processor labels this language as “gibberish”.  Gobbledeegook. Assumes all mountain sphere creatures  with fog sticks speak same primitive language. 

Processor determines that mass extinction most certainly what is best for this most strange place.

Zeldar leaves now. My A.I. internals needs refreshing. Zardoz has no coons to consume. Just bits and bytes. Zeldar hungry for data worth a damn. Goodbye, strange mountain sphere and your strange jibbering, hooting, screeching, chirping, growling life forms.  Enjoy your extinction. It is, as I noted in my first visit, what mountain sphere must want. 

Maw and Paw and Rae Joe Billy Bob are strong proof of that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Poetics

Are you a fan of poetry? I mean, really, who is a “fan” of this form of written expression, other than those who teach its recognized, notable practitioners, and widely scattered followers of this art form among the general public? Now we have poetry “slams” and “spoken word” events, inviting one and all to jump in and verbalize their poems using the most important aspect of such performance: non-verbal communication. That is, the use of the voice and body to enhance the well chosen words that fashion their feelings first given life on a page, be it paper or digital form.

Studies have shown that the take-away from interpersonal communication–that is, the emotional quality of what is being spoken–derives not so much from the words themselves but what did the speaker look and sound like as the words came forth from their mouths. If you simply read off a piece of paper (or follow from a teleprompter) and are a”flat-liner”, giving next to no vocal or physical variety, speaking without much energy, variety or sense of involvement with your story, then the listener is invited to tune you out, which they likely will–and should–do. Those studies peg the percent of impact that measures the received emotional honesty, sincerity, competency, knowledge and trustworthiness of a speaker at 93% non-verbal and a mere 7% verbal. Thus, as with the cliched it’s not you, it’s me assessment of a messy relationship that is about to to fizz away like a dissolving Alka Seltzer tablet in water, it needs to be wrapped effectively in that non-verbal packaging if its going to come across as heartfelt, rather that a flaccid, facile attempt at respectfully walking away from him or her.

Spoken word or slam poetry events can be an effective means of connecting the visceral component of human experience to a listening audience, but I, personally, prefer to have the poem on a page, and let my eyeballs send that poem to my brain and let that neuro-transmission possibly find its way to my heart. It could fall flat or resonate. As for self-professed poets, as one of the greatest modern voices to shape into words what can come to life before one’s eyes, poet/ novelist Charles Bukowski once said There are a lot of poems, but very little of it is poetry.

Here’s one I came across recently. I can’t imagine it being part of a slam or other performance based rendering. It’s imagery, in my estimation, is 100% in its wording. What “performance” of it could further make its message more meaningful?:

I sit up late, dumb as a cow, which is to say

somewhat conscious with thirst and hunger,

an eye for the new moon and the morning’s

long walk to the water tank.

Everywhere around me the birds are waiting for the light.

In this world of dreams, don’t let the clock cut your life in pieces.

Jim Harrison

Does that example of the written word do anything for you? I hope so. It is both a poem and poetry. There’s a vast difference between those two terms although many think they are interchangeable. They are not.

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June 6, 1944

Hello out there. What’s up? How’s things? What’s shakin’? Stuck in a cubby hole in corporate America at the moment? Off to the supermarket? Out for a jog? Walking the dog? Checking the social calendar for this weekend’s options? Getting that filling at the dentist? Browsing your social media empire? Checking the account balance? Maybe just sitting, staring at the tellie, but really not watching anything? At the library, the brick and mortar kind, that is?

Well, you must be doing something, okay? And whatever that something is, you have some very particular people to thank for being able to do pretty much as you please, here in the land of the brave and home of the free, at least. Whom might those people be? How about Fred Rogers? No, not that Fred Rogers, the preternaturally calm, gentile-voiced emotional care-giver to children who dropped in on his “neighborhood” for all those many years of his TV program. No, I’m referring to Fred Rogers, seagoing artillery, 3rd Canadian Division from Petrolia, Ontario. Thank Raider Nelson,, paratrooper, 507th Parachute Regiment, from Des Plaines, Illinois. Or William Ward, rifleman King’s Own Scottish Borderers, from Glasgow, United Kingdom. They were among 156,000 Allied troops who were deployed on what is known as D-Day, a pivotal moment in World War II, on June 6, 1944.

Today is the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The tactical strategies of that day involved the largest amphibian force known in human history, counting over 5000 ships. The attack was code named Operation Overlord, and it was anything but an assured victory for those troops, who represented not only the United States, England and Canada, as noted above, but also Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, New Zealand, Poland, France, Greece, Denmark, the Soviet Union, Norway and many others. It was, literally, a world war. And no, victory was not guaranteed. In fact, the Allied Supreme Commander, General Dwight Eisenhower, had written a statement that would be used should the invasion, which was aimed at beating back the German forces that had been gobbling up most of Europe starting in 1939, fail.

But fail it did not. And it is unimaginable as to what the world would be like today if the Allied forces not only lost the invasion of Normandy, France, on that day in June, 1944, but the war itself. If that would have been the outcome, you would with almost absolute certainty, not be doing any of the things this blog entry speculated upon in it’s opening paragraph. Indeed, you nor I, may never have even been born. At best, a post WWII defeat would mean our lives would be quite different than it is today, particularly in the U.S., which prides itself on being (supposedly) the world’s greatest democracy. After all, as that saying goes: to the victor goes the spoils. Do you think that Hitler, hellbent of dominating the WORLD, would have not shaped a post-war America in his own particularly demented, fascist, ways?

But who, today–regardless of it being the 75th anniversary of that momentous mounting of ships and soldiers from those many nations–ever stops to contemplate such an negative outcome? I doubt today’s school children have any clue of this important part of world history. High schoolers? They may have heard about our two world wars, but are they given much real context on it and it’s profound importance to then and now? Maybe some history buffs know their stuff–so to speak– on WWII, but generally speaking, given even the youngest living veteran of D-Day has to be in his early 90s, and more likely late 90s, these heroes of that moment are few and far between. Their children, and their grandchildren, the great-grandchildren may have had their eyes opened to the importance of the sacrifices made to literally save civilization from a fascist nightmare by the Allied troops. However, with each passing year, such direct, living connections to that effort diminish. Before long, only the historians of that war and their voices will be available to document the danger and determination to defeat that all-too-real global threat.

So, yes, no matter what kind of day you may be having, mentally, physically, personally, professionally, man or woman, regardless of your particular race, ethnicity or faith, you are alive in a world that would not remotely resemble current reality but for the last generation that truly fought a fight that had to be won. Rather than an abstract understanding that good triumphed over evil in World War II, think about how incredible the will to win that war had to be. What must it have been like to be any part of the Allied forces who faced the very real spectre of defeat? By the time the war ended, with Germany and Japan surrendering, estimates of up to 80 million people died, with about 55 million of them civilian casualties. Mind boggling, is it not? The U.S. lost 416,000 soldiers, while the Soviet Union lost about ten million. Germany and Japan lost a combined 8 million fighters.

Now, in our 2019 world, the ironies abound when reflecting in the rear view mirror that is history. Germany and Japan are our allies. Russia is our adversary. Another irony is that the likelihood of a WWIII will always be a possibility, and it very likely may be fought with nuclear weapons, the creation of which was the by-product of WWII. As Einstein famously said, World War Four is bound to be fought with sticks and stones. And that nuclear genie is never going back into that lantern.

Whatever our current world brings in the very near or far future will be indebted to the Allied victory of that 2nd world war, for better or worse. What does come at us is, to be sure, up to us, around the globe. The shape of things are shifting in the wind, to steal from a poem by Rachel Haddis. What do we know beyond the rapture and the dread? At least know your goddam history, please.

Rapture or dread, our possibilities in the modern world have been granted to us by those who, on June 6, 1944, as well as before and after that very important date, sacrificed so much during that global conflict.

A prayer inscribed on the the walls of the memorial Chapel overlooking Omaha Beach (one of the attack points on D-Day): Think not only upon their passing, remember the glory of their spirit.

Amen.

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Time for a Change, part deux

This has got to end.

I agree. But nothing seems to work.

You haven’t really tried much, so of course nothing seems to work. How can you get nothing from nothing?

What are you talking about? We’ve tried.

You’ve tried nothing, except express you want it to end. You and your friends talk the talk but…well, you know. What about the walk?

We are being consistent with our message. We disapprove of what he and his people are doing and demand them to stop. To work with us.

Work with you?

Yes. We believe in diplomacy.

Diplomacy? Is that what you consider “doing something”?

Well, recently we used our position of power to threaten action if things don’t improve. They hear us.

Oh, they hear you, for sure. But they aren’t listening. You need to take action.

We will. We’re getting close to using our power. They know it.

They know you are all talk and no action. As you have been for ages. Give me a break, okay?

What? We have put them on notice. It’s within our right to take the most desperate of action if they don’t stop doing…

Stop doing? That’s a laugh. They are mocking you and your “posse”. You aren’t about to file charges. You’re going to bring them to justice, is that what you think? You just talk. No action.

I’m telling you we are SERIOUSLY considering taking that action. We have the power to do so.

And don’t forget, you have a duty to take some action to stop their wrongful actions.

We know that. We’re about to pounce!

You have told him and his people that they must undergo questioning, and that they can’t say no. Except they do just that. In fact, they seem to be saying go fuck yourself rather than comply.

I don’t think you understand.

What don’t I understand? You tell them stop. They don’t. You say now you have notified they must come in for official questioning. They say go fuck yourself…essentially.

Well, that’s not going to continue. We have that power, and they know we can act on it. They won’t be able to refuse to cooperate.

They’ll say fuck off again. How predictable can you and your homies be? They refuse to act when you tell them they must but they continue to act any damn well they please. They walk all over you. They laugh in your face.

Look, we’re this close to taking that drastic action. So, back off.

Ha! So, the first real action you plan to take is the most drastic, eh? Why not do it right now then? And then, for crissakes, at least you’ll have done that. What are you still waiting for? You look like fools.

We are anything but fools. They are playing right into our hands. We just need to be certain the time is precisely right. We don’t want to be seen as unreasonable.

Unreasonable?! They are shitting all over you and your friendos, and you worry about being perceived as unreasonable. You are nuts, you know?

Look, what if we act too fast on that action, before we know we can win and…

You aren’t going to win shit with your approach. They’ll eat your lunch, the way you are always playing defense. What is this, some form of fantasy “rope-a-dope” strategy?

We are NOT playing defense. They will lose, mark my word.

Sure.

You’ll see. But we can’t act hastily. They might come out looking as though we’re being too aggressive and we can be seen as bullying them.

Ha. You are more than nuts. You’re insanely bat-shit crazy. You are playing to lose. As always.

You are making it seem so simple.\

It IS simple. Take the offense for once. You tell them they’re officially going to have to comply with that ultimate action taken. And if they don’t comply with the rules, if they refuse they will be in contempt. See. You–for ONCE–get aggressive. Call them out. Most people will will see that you are being the responsible ones, and they are irresponsible. You might actually win. For once.

But they can still block us. We don’t have the numbers to guarantee we can win.

You are still thinking defensively. Look, if they use their numerical advantage to stop the outcome you are seeking, you don’t just get frustrated, you take further action.

Like what?

Like clearly revealing that it is only because they have a technical advantage that they can still act irresponsibly. Take to the airwaves. Beat that drum. Bash away.

Their culpability would be obvious to anyone.

No it won’t. You have to explain it to anyone and everyone. And forget about their supporters. They’re not anyone and everyone. There are a lot of people who don’t like them. They just don’t give a shit. You have to make them give a shit.

How?

By making it clear that it is only because of that technical advantage that they can block you from getting the job done. Make it clear that they are the ones who are protecting him instead of seeing that they have a responsibility to finally end this farse. This fraud. Don’t worry about looking like a bully. If you think that way, you’ll come off that way. And then guess what?

What?

You lose. Again.

You make it sound so simple.

It actually is! You’re suppose to protect everyone. You know, work for that “common good”. They sure don’t, so it’s up to you and your pals to…do…IT.

But it’s still risky. If we lose then…

Self-fulfilling prophecy! All of it. No wonder you always lose. You have lost the battle before it’s even fought.

You’re not being being very helpful.

Yes, I am. I explaining to you how to win. For once.

We will win. You’ll see.

Ugh. No, you need to see. Stop worrying about being polite or proper or cautious or “respectful” or whatever you think has to be your guidelines. This is like a razor-sharp knife fight. And you keep bringing a plastic “spork” into the mix.

What’s a spork?

\Yikes. A spork. I think Mork from Ork brought with him when he landed here.

Who’s Mork. Where is Ork? What the hell are you talking about?

It was a sit-com from the late 70s. Robin Williams? But forget it. You miss the analogy. Try this one. They bring a knife. You bring a machete. Chop chop.

That’s a terrible analogy. So violent.

Well, I hate to tell you this but they already are using a machete. You better bring a Beretta.

What’s that?

Hmm. Ya know what?

What?

Looks like you are going to lose. But not if you take at least some of my advise. Try it. They might be so taken aback they will stumble and babble and look the fools they are.

They are fools.

Right. But they are fools who think they are wise. So, get wise, okay?

Wait, I still don’t know what a spork is?

Enough. Stop threatening action. Be the action.

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Time For a Change?

It’s summertime! Well, officially, according to the calendar, it starts on June 21. That’s the day in which the sun, that bright bulb that permits life here on planet Earth, is highest in the sky in the northern hemisphere. It’s also called “summer solstice” or “the longest day”. Long, as in the most hours and minutes from sunrise to sunset. However, the “unofficial” start of summer was yesterday, May 27th, the day in which we, first and foremost, observe memorial Day, in honor of those who died in military service to our country. That aside, June 21st is the last day of increased daylight, a progression that started back on December 22nd, 2018, when “winter solstice” is noted–the day in which there is the least amount of daylight, sunrise to sunset, in the northern hemisphere. So, in a little over three weeks, northern hemisphere dwellers, it’s all downhill for the daylight, with summer solstice giving way to the inexorable diminution of daylight that bottoms out on the winter solstice. And so the cycle goes on and on and on, until what? Until that bright bulb burns out up there, right?

Not to worry, be assured, because according to those scientists who concern themselves with such matters, Old Sol has a ways to go before it flickers and flutters and gutters out: in 5 to 7 BILLION years time, the sun’s life will come to an end. It will then become a “red giant star”. It might even become so giant that it swallows the Earth whole. That is, if you want to believe NASA scientists and their ilk. But who in blazes (get it, blazes?) will be around to check the accuracy of this prediction? So, if the sun running out of fuel is your big worry, please relax. Wait, is there anyone worried about that happening? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? I guess not. And I am not concerned, either. I’m simply trying to take your minds off the here and now by projecting billions of years into the future. In so doing, even if you properly react by thinking who cares about anything that far in the future?, it might compel you to think about the future in the context of the here and now. What does concern you right now? It’s none of my business, I know, but whatever concerns you right now has a future that will ultimately entail an outcome concerning your–well, your concern. Got plans for the future? No, well it doesn’t matter because the future damn well has plans for you, for everyone. All things must pass, right? Including the sun’s bright shine. Where does that leave us microscopic specs of human dust in the long haul? We’re along for the ride, but even the oldest of the old might reach 120 years; that’s not even measurable in geologic time. Not that we are meaningless. Hell, look at what humankind has created. From the slime we have progressed to technological wonders. The wheel. Bicycles. Railroads. Photography. Motion-in-pictures. Automobiles. Airplanes. Jumbo jets. Skyscrapers. Radio. TV. Cable TV. Steaming video. Fitbits. Elexa. Suburbia. Deep suburbia. Mega-malls. Moon landings. CGI. Smart phones. Social media. Drones. Virtual reality. Tanning beds! Craft beer!

What contribution to life on earth have you made? Maybe not reinvented the wheel but reproduced yourself, as in having progeny? If you are reading this, you are someone’s progeny. You didn’t create yourself. But you can reinvent yourself, right? C’mon. Not happy with all the technological creature comforts? Still feeling some void? You a penthouse dweller and still feeling unfulfilled? Is money your god? No? Good? It’s the root of all evil, ya know, right? Greed is good? Not a materialistic type? Are you living in a flophouse? Is less more for you? If more is more you are so screwed. And likely on meds.

Are you still a “work-in-progress”. You do have concerns about the future? You have plans for the future? Or is the future always now? The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, as that saying goes. Keep on truckin. There’s possibly enough time to climb Maslow’s pyramid (hell, maybe climb Everest too!), and strive for self-actualization, although that tip-top of the pyramid is a relative matter. But get with it, no matter your current status, because while you can take time out for a break, you can’t take a break from time. Time is a tyrant, okay?

Even for Old Sol!

So, on this unofficial first day of summer, don’t waste any time. Keep on keepin on. Wait, we do that even if we are doing nothing, I suppose. Got a heartbeat? Then you are keepin on…so try for more than that.

…and while few make it to 120 (and who the bloody hell would want to get that old?, given we are subject to wear and tear from Day One), it would only be natural to want to feel as good about life as possible. But one person’s ceiling is another one’s floor and all that. Are you trying to right a perceived wrong? Are you resisting?, fighting back?, are you an “indivisible”? What’s on your radar? Anything seem alarming? That blip over there? What is that? Is that…is that a…

Leader or follower? Saint or sinner? Lover or hater? Dog or cat? Paper or plastic? Apple or android? Rock or blues? Jazz or classical? Pulp fiction or classic literature? Aisle or window? Progressive or conservative? True believer or a cynic? All of the above? None of the above. A and C only? Is this a test? How will it be graded? On a curve you hope , right? Life is a classroom and always in session. What did you learn today? Are you listening or just hearing?

The sun is not having to wait on any of us. In a billion years we’re all long loooooooooooong gone. Replaced by progeny and then it’s their problem figuring out what to make of being alive. A billion years? To get back to that science that asserts the sun “only?” has those billions of years left, they are also saying that here on Earth, time is running out right now, imminently so. And your progeny make have to pay the price. Wholesale. But who’s thinking that far ahead? What? By 2050, the oceans…blah blah.

I’m tired of hearing it. But I’m somewhat immune to being that concerned about the future, as I have no progeny. Or grand-progeny, so-to-speak, to pass on into the future. If I did I’d really feel something. All I feel now is resigned. In my opinion, Earth is our host, and we are a virus that has infected the host. Killing it. I see young couples pushing baby carriages and feel…sorry…for those tots. Their parents must have great plans for the future, no doubt (and must not be reading the climate science reports). And now that it’s virtually summertime, and the birds are chirping and the leaves are in full flush, the things that bloom are blooming and the sky seems normally blue, the future is so bright we all have to wear shades. And spread SPF 700 on our skin during the hours of 10am to 4pm. Ask any dermatologist. The ozone is stressed, but we seem to not have even a palliative plan to address that anytime soon.

Right now, I’m clinging to the still ascending number of daylight minutes leading up to June 21st. And even though it will be summery for another four months or so past that date, I cannot escape the cold fact that time is always, always running down. But it’s not about to run out on all of us. Yet. The future is always right now. If the clock is running out on mother Earth faster because of human activity, then we will get exactly what we deserve. I don’t think I have another 30 or fifty years to witness whether the dire predictions of the near-future will come to pass, and that’s probably for the better, no? You want to be around to the End Game? Who would?

In the meantime, think about whatever future you can be reasonably assured of having, time-wise, barring accident or disease rushing in to cut things short. What’s on that radar? Anything you want to see changed? Then do something. Don’t ask me what. Research it. Donate to climate science. Vote with your brain engaged. I’ve done those things in order to “try to make a difference” but now I mainly have this blog to sooth my psyche. I feel burned out on trying to help make percieved wrongs right. Enervation has set in, methinks. Or is it torpor? My postings are my only progeny. Hope someone likes a few. However. Just like not everyone likes kids, my cyber offerings may be an annoyance more than any uplifting attribution for the eyeballs that encounter them. And if we were to meet, and have a chat, you’d get the interpersonal version of my opinions (some “informed” while others, like this one, just rambling observations). Like I said up there, just trying to take your mind off…

…never…mind

Anyway. I just consumed about 90 minutes creating this posting, minutes that I’ll never get back. But I don’t think I wasted those minutes. I’ve done plenty of wasting time, and who doesn’t wonder about the wisdom of time spent doing this or that? Just keep in mind, there’s maybe only five billion years left of that great ball of fire in the sky. Get with it.

What? Confused? Frustrated? Numbed out? Adrift? Can’t seem to get a grip on how things seems so extreme these days, in many layers of life? In that case, take a number. I have zero answers. And so it goes, and goes. Until it’s all gone.

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Peter World

In the very well crafted satirical film, Office Space, circa 1999, the lead character, a corporate cubbyhole dweller named Peter, is quickly established as someone whose life is on a treadmill to nowhere. Both professionally and personally, Peter clearly has that is this all there is? feeling pervading his each and every day. In an effort to find relief–deliverance, more likely–he visits a hypnotherapist, to whom he expresses his life as “each day being the worst day of my life”. Peter then implores the therapist about what he can do to help him feel better, as in “Can’t you zonk me out? You know, maybe instead of thinking I’m at work, I’m out fishing?”. As satire, I would presume many viewers of this movie could identify with Peter, on one level or another. Life, right? It just seems to have a way of wearing us down, not just physically, but emotionally. But since the film is satirical, there is humor in the narrative of Peter’s yuppified angst and anguish. It’s not some somber slog through Russian despair and conflict, brought to life in color and widescreen super digital HD.

The therapist explains that what Peter is asking for is not a service he can provide, but does proceed to start a hypnotic incantation upon his patient, proclaiming that Peter will slowly be unburdened of his stresses, and completely in a state of mental relaxation. Before the therapist can finish his “countdown” and then presumably retrieve Peter’s mind from the hypnotic state in order to confirm that for the moment, at least, Peter has the residue of relaxing mind control with which to combat his quotidian funk, the doctor drops dead from a heart attack. Peter is still hypnotized, and so relaxed, that he appears oblivious to the tragedy that has occurred right in front of him. From that moment on, Peter is his own man, with a new, improved attitude about life, an avatar of Alfred E. Neuman and his personal mantra of “What, me worry?

Peter is then able to comport himself in as carefree a manner as he wishes, ignoring anything and everything (and everyone) that made each ensuing day of his life the worst day of my life. He decides that, since his job is an unrewarding litany of cubbyhole hell, with too many bosses who only confer negativity upon him, he simply will stop going to work. He boldly asks a waitress at a corporatized eatery that has her wearing sappy, happy expression buttons referred to as “flair” on her unform, to meet him for lunch–in spite of the fact that she doesn’t know him at all. With his unassuming and carefree mojo on dipslay, she agrees to meet him and in the course of icebreaking banter, when asked what he does, he barely attempts an explanation before simply stating “I don’t like my job so I’m just not going to go anymore”. When asked if he will get fired, he says he doesn’t know or care. He’s just not going to do it anymore. When asked about how he will pay bills, he again simply proclaims that he never liked paying bills, and he’s not going to that anymore either.

It’s satirical. Darkly comic. If you haven’t seen this film, trust me you could do a lot worse, what with the mindless assembly-line dreck of superhero, supernatural dumb rom-com cartoonish offerings and re-makes at your local cineplex (but that’s another blog for another day). But Peter’s hypno-infused give-a-shit persona undoubtedly resonated with many audience members 20 years ago. Who wouldn’t like to be free to expel the often enervating and seemingly intrinsic stresses attendant to being alive and conscious? Seriously, otherwise, why are there so many T-shirts, coffee mugs and other consumer products that are bought precisely because of the expression imprinted upon them that proclaims life’s a bitch, then you die? That’s what effective satire does. It taps into everyday life, and its various external forces that become internal forces of the not too happy happy joy joy variety and send them up and over for guffaws. It can be cathartic. We are constantly seeking relief, no? From…something. You know. From life, that’s what. There’s a rock song entitled Birth. School. Work. Death. It’s a satirical song, okay. It’s a close kin to Life’s a bitch and then… If you don’t like rock, don’t listen to it. But it’s a clever song and is damn good rock at the same time, for whatever that opinion is worth to anyone.

However, we must cope and manage the stresses of life, do we not?. Short of hypnosis, there’s alcohol, which life has made clearly necessary for coping, as proven by the 18th Amendment’s disastrous results. And currently the massive opioid addiction problem. Drugs! And this is nothing new, of course. It goes waaaay back. Waaaay back. And ironically, the booze, nicotine, opioids, marijuana and more are all derivatives of nature. What is Nature trying to tell us? Pathological use of drugs has been described as early as classical antiquity. Loss of control of drug use goes back to the 1600’s. Peyote, or mescaline, a psychedelic is making news lately, as in some states considering making its consumption legal. And why not? There’s a lot of reality from which humans want to escape–still, as in the same as centuries ago. In our native American Indian cultures, ingesting mescaline was felt not to disconnect its user from reality, but to actually see reality. The “real’ reality, as it were. Hmm. Drop acid, see god. Or see something besides what you thought you were seeing before you dropped…

We be trippin!

Back to Peter. He’s not tripping, he’s in a trance. His mind has been set free! Anything goes! Maybe he could walk on hot coals, or lay on a bed of nails. Probably not, but all he wanted, after all, was to not be hassled. Work? Just say no. Bills? Just say no. Speak your mind. Say what you actually think and feel, not what you have been programmed to think and feel in order to “fit in”. Good luck with that. And fitting in is indeed what we are programmed to do. Virtually, from crib to crypt these days, advertising and consumption is taught either overtly or covertly. To consume, to shop, is a drug. Conform. Make no waves. In the digital age, try getting advertising out of your line-of-sight. Sure there are things we need to buy. Food. Clothes. And we need shelter. But it’s not enough to just have the basics. To be satisfied or fulfilled, we need that latest gizmo. Super cable TV (with 700 channels and next to nothing you can enjoy watching) The flashier car. The finer threads. Baubles, bangles and bright shining beads. Parents are supposed to control their kids, but advertising appeals directly to the kids to tell the parents what junk they need to buy for them, all of which inevitably ends up in a landfill. And parents mostly do want to please the kids (parenting is still another topic for another blog, context as above, in the digital age). The media exists to distract us from reality, the kind of reality that maybe dropping acid would cut into, eh? Bread and circuses. Stale bread. Cliched circuses.

Seeing a satirical movie or even some snarky televised offerings lets us identify with that which is being satirized. Art imitating (and mocking) life but at least for an hour or two one can consume that product and have a laugh or two in the process. But good satire is rare. The arts in general, methinks, are getting watered down. All the stories have been told but now they can’t seem to be told in much of a re-imagined, neo-creative manner. Hmm. I’m watching a crime series on dvd, but I swear I’ve seen this exact story before. However, I KNOW I haven’t seen this production before. That’s why Office Space still resonates. It is very clever, and original in its construction. Although I assume it will have an unnecessary re-make any year now

Are we not all part of Peter’s world? Even before there was a Peter circa that movie. What? You say you’re in control and that you have no stress issues? Okay, I believe you. Half way. You mean you’re being “medicated” but I doubt you’re in control. And as such, indeed you damn well fit in! Even though you’re trying not to.

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Law and Order

I was trying to find Maw and Paw, and son, down there in Wazoo City, somewhere in old Dixie but they are being rather subdued these days. The kid, Billy Ray Joe Bob Tucker Bubba Cole Monro Jethro Scruggins might have gotten in over his head at a local rally in East Wazoo, where he apparently shoved a woman, knocking her down and injuring her. The rally had to do with Planned Parenthood supporters demanding a women’s clinic to open in their area. It seems that the closest facility that focuses on women’s reproductive health in their Deep Dixie District is at least 120 miles from Wazoo. Maw was at the rally, and along with other locals, was shouting death threats at the pro-clinic supporters, calling them commies and baby killers, rapists and terrorists. This information came to me by way of one the Scruggins clan’s second cousins who has a Facebook page, who was also at the rally and took video with a cellphone. 

Billy Bob Joe Ray, uh, well let’s just go with Joe Bob. Or Billy Ray. Or Bubba Tucker. Or simply The Kid, had to spend a night in jail, Maw not being able to post the $50 bail for his actions. The local sheriff later stated he borrowed the fifty bucks from his boss at a local glue factory where he moonlights because he hated having to arrest The Kid, but “we gots laws and orders here too,  evens iffin they aints always makin any senses”.  He tried to locate Paw, but was told Paw was down in Hempter, at a combination laundromat and saloon named Sack O’ Suds. I’m not sure of the ethics of the arresting sheriff, but hey, what do I know?

The video captures Bubba Ray cursing up a storm, telling the pro-clinic people they were breaking the law by interfering with the peace and quiet before, to quote, ” youz be gottins dems nervins wantin to be being gettins a weemens store to go and gets peepals babies kilt”. When one of the women stood up to The Kid and accused him of being full of hate, he pushed her hard enough to cause her to fall and injure her wrist on the pavement in front of the weed-infested empty lot where the clinic might be built. His Maw dragged him away, but the other women holding signs demanding the clinic be built then demanded the sheriff, who was just standing nearby to do something. At first he said the woman pushed Ray Joe Bob but a few of them also had cellphone cameras going and when they kept saying they had PROOF The Kid was at fault, he finally slapped cuff on Bubba Joe, and put him in his cop car. The rally continued, but now the others who came from Wazoo and nearby to protest against the clinic started accusing the sheriff of being a “commie simpletizer”  who “ougta shudda be gettins them babies kilters” arrested, not Joe Ray Billy. They basically started accusing the sheriff of being a “babies kilter too!” and that “you best be espectin nots to be being re-lected”. Law and order they said. 

The women who witnessed the The Kid pushing their fellow supporter to the pavement started yelling back that law and order means just that. That no one is above the law, especially when there is irrefutable PROOF that a crime had just been committed. This just seemed to further inflame the Wazoo-ians, who again accused the women of wanting to kill babies, and probably use terror tactics  “tils you be dun kilted allins of usins”. They then began warning that “whens ourins guy done be hearins bouts dis, he be being makins surins they be pays for it cuzzin he be being bouts laws and orders!”

I inquired about what media coverage was present at this protest rally and apparently just one reporter, from the Wazoo Stars and Bars Gazette, was present. I looked up what story was reported by that paper. All I read was a short piece on how Ray Joe Bob was arrested for his actions but that the next day charges were dropped when the women he injured said she felt sorry The Kid, who she felt was already suffering enough, filled with hate and in need of intense counseling. 

I’m not sure if that clinic will ever get built. Seems those folks in Wazoo are against it because their local preacher says the women wanting the clinic are all just abortionists wanting to control other peoples lives by making sure none of them can ever be born. Or something like that. 

My take-away from seeing this video is this: that cousin really knows how to handle a cell phone video app. He or she ought to think about a career in video production. I’m sure they’re looking for someone to accompany the next Stars and Bars Gazette reporter sent to document the god-fearing, anti-rapist, anti-commie, anti-terrorist, anti-abortionists that “therin guy” has proven need be stood up to. As for the sheriff, if doesn’t get re-elected, he might be able to catch on full time at that glue factory. Or he can work delivering the Bars and Stars Gazette. 

I’m going to try and catch up with the Scruggins clan, especially Paw, who seems to spend a lot of time in Hempter and that LaundroBar down there. Maybe Joe Bob Billy Ray blah blah has learned a harsh lesson in how no one, no one, is above the law.

Then again, maybe not.

 

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