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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Bombs Away

This past week marked the 74th anniversary of the most dramatic uses of uranium and plutonium in world history. No, not used to power a nuclear submarine or nuclear power plants, among the most common uses for these two atomic elements. Wait, did I mention the word atomic? Yes, plutonium and uranium are atomic elements. So, what about this “most dramatic use…”? that leads this entry of my blog, heretofore to be known as Alas, In Dunderland.

August 6th and 9th of 1945. Holy U-235! Odds are you weren’t alive or very old back then, but thanks to the chronicling of history in print and film among other mediums, we can all immerse ourselves in history’s many episodes. In 1945, on the the 6th and 9th of August there were a couple hundred thousand humans of all ages who became history when the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which then dropped Imperial Japan to its knees in surrender and the end of World War Two. One was a uranium bomb, the other plutonium. Approximately 150,000 people died in short order and thousands more succumbed to radiation poisoning in the ensuing months or years. Keep in mind, virtually all of the dead from these atomic bombs were civilian, although it was the means to the end of a war that had already claimed about 70-85 million lives. Nuclear energy, unleashed by the terrors of science!

Today, nuclear energy–in warm and fuzzy contrast– may be keeping your electricity flowing and thus your 65″ Ultra High-Def, 3D flat screen alive. Nothing to fear but for a power line going down in a storm. It’ll all be better in a matter of a an hour or so. Relax. Smell that latte brewing. But atomic bombs? Who drops atomic bombs anymore? Just those two times, over 74 years ago. Now, there are so many countries with so many nukes that it would be crazy–as in mutual assured destruction–MAD crazy for any country to go nuclear.

Since WWII, wars are much more scaled down. Korea, Vietnam, Gulf I & II and Afghanistan equal around 100,000 military dead. Plus even more civilians. But when it comes to a history of war’s carnage, when you think about 70 million or more dead from 1939-1945, and what was at stake–that being fascism versus democracy, writ global, it would seem post WWII humankind has not had it so bad. Oh sure, there’s been genocide and ethnic cleansings around the globe, plus the above noted conflicts, but no global, literal fight to the death really, for the right to live as free as possible from dangers of foreign forces from evil empires like Germany and Japan back then.

Today, life is so quaint when compared to a literal world at war with itself. Of course, those genocides and cleansings and dictatorships here and there are no Disney dreamsickle, but it depends on where one is born, and what race one is born into. Today’s bombs are dropped on a daily basis, but they are metaphorical mostly. Political hot air suffocating you, tweet by tweet.The new abnormal.

Industrialized nations are, for the most part, decent places to live. Here in the U.S. a lot of citizens are very happy with the externals of life. The fragility of anyone’s life is a matter of happenstance in many cases. No atomic bomb threats to freak out about, just a worry or two maybe about being layed–off or being mugged in the subway, or having a work crew unwittingly bust a gas pipe and blow up one’s house. Or, if you are of a certain manner born, one may worry about getting whacked in a drive-by as you stand on the corner, waiting for the light to change. Or getting shot dead simply because of being pulled over by a cop because your brake light isn’t working. Or having your door kicked-in and parents and children are suddenly separated. Or you decided to go to the mall. Or a movie. Or simply to work. And here comes that active shooter. Ooops. Wrong time, wrong place. Otherwise life is a breeze compared to a world war.

Anyhow, Hiroshima and Nakasaki. What a one-two punch to end that match between good and evil. But that fight will never really be settled. If there’s a Vegas line on that match-up, I’d go all in on Evil winning. That’s not cynicism, folks, that’s playing with the facts of the matter. It’s bread and circuses for the free world. Crumbs and cudgels for the denizens of underdeveloped countries. Ozone depletion, oceans warming, icecaps melting, and in the meantime, we simply consume, and distract ourselves. You don’t think so?

There’s a bomb ticking away. Science wants to defuse it, but the resources and will to do so are virtually nowhere in sight. And those who have the ability to do something are preferably checking their stock portfolios or consulting with their money donors rather than the taking serious the ever-more alarming climate reports; and their children and grandchildren will pay the price. For certain. It’ll be a slow death. Not a blinding flash in the sky and instant incineration. Oh no. This planet-killing bomb is ticking away, and unlike in the James Bond mode, agent 007 isn’t going to hit the kill switch with less than 5 seconds to detonation. No long sigh of relief. Maybe a last gasp, though. Know this: there is no 007. There’s only the Bomb. It sits there, in plain sight, while all manner of nonsense passes for news and analysis, babble and blathering, with political farce passing for governance. We are very likely beyond the point of no return. Once those two 1945 bombs left the bombay doors, there was no calling them back. Same goes for our 21st century bomb that’ll take out, ultimately, oh say 7 billion people. Maybe the cockroaches will survive. They’ll have have lots of rot to feast on.

Tick, tick, tick.

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Fool Rule

If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to to live under the rule of fools.

Plato

The best argument against a democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.

Plato

Hey, this Plato guy should be around today, here in the USA especially, and have somethings more to say, no? I can only imagine him thinking to himself, what in the hell good has my pearls of wisdom had on these people? That would be in reference to that first quote up there. Then, he would remember the second of his quotes and conclude that the current state of affairs reflects perfectly on that “average voter”.

He would have to be tapped on the shoulder, however, and have someone–perhaps you or I–give him a 21st Century primer on voting in the USA and how it applies to taking an interest in their government. Specifically, that in this country as many people who do bother to vote, many don’t bother to vote at all. He’d likely say that in that case, people are both taking an interest in the affairs of their government, and making some very bad choices when they do, and that those who take no interest at all are making an even worst choice. He’d have to conclude that his quoted pronouncements are still alive and well in their sagacity and insight. He’d assess the exact state of government affairs right here in this exact moment of time and react with a long and very audible sigh.

Well, Plato isn’t around right now other than through his writings. But I’m working with those two quotes and assert exactly how they apply to how we got to where we are. Indeed, let’s look around and assess who are the people responsible for the gun-crazy, racist, hate-mongering ethos that encapsulates life in the USA, 2019. Those people, some who did vote, some who did not, are the ultimate perpetrators of a current government that is indeed ruled by fools. Yeah, even those who do vote, or certainly a lot of them, seem not to know basic good from bad, or in the case of a certain national political party, somehow vote for what can only be deemed as evil. My recurring refrain in responding to our now virtual rogue government and their worship of the amassing of wealth and power, and using that wealth and power to create a country of, by, and for the very fewest, is we voted for this.

Of course we did. And to not vote is a vote. Isn’t there a quote that goes something like, evil prevails when good people do nothing? So, not voting or voting for those whom have no interest in your vote other than to maintain their corrupted control and blatant lawlessness, goes to heart of Plato’s apparent contempt for that “average voter”. Certainly, many (but not enough) people do vote for the common good, but that national political party I alluded to up there has so long ago proven it has no interest in the common good. My moniker for this political organization is Murder, Inc. There’s a progressive radio talk show host who has offered a certain prize (not sure what) that if anyone, as in ANYONE, who can document a single piece of legislation sponsored by this party (hint: it now controls the White House, Senate and even the Supreme Court) in which it actually was of any benefit to the working class of America gets the reward. This has been a standing offer for many years. No one has been able to prove such legislation ever occurred. Yet many among that average voter endorses this party, in spite of it not having any benefit coming to them as their reward. Ruled by fools, in a country with many a fool somehow not seeing basic right from wrong.

However, our current government does benefit many of those who voted for it. Those would be the like-minded racists, hate-mongering, scapegoating citizens that are so easily manipulated or who are, seemingly, intrinsically, hot-wired for hate and violence, and have been waiting for some informal signal of approval to spew hateful rhetoric and, in an astounding number of cases, spew their hate from the business end of an assault weapon, weapons fully endorsed and protected legislatively by Murder, Inc’s amoral modus operandi of money, power, control and a 2019 brand of open lawlessness. But we voted for this, make no mistake about that.

Sadly, and ever-more frustratingly, the other national political party, which does have some power to govern of its own, is doing next to nothing to confront the ugly atmosphere that pervades our politics. People voted for them, too, recently giving them that power. So far, more rhetoric than action, although their rhetoric sounds defiant and indignant and well reasoned. Unless I missed something, however, I’m still certain that action speaks louder than words.

So, thanks for the wisdom, Plato. Too bad it does not seem to have been proven no longer heedful. You spoke those words a couple thousand years ago. Obviously, the more things change, the more they stay the same, no?

Well, enough of this. I’m exhausted with our politics, now worse than ever in my lifetime that started with the Truman administration. I honestly hesitate to talk politics with most anyone. Enough talk. Time for action.

After all, as another quote goes: never argue with a fool. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

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And Justice for All, Waiting for Godot edition

What a long, strange trip it’s been. That’s a line made famous in one of the Grateful Dead’s songs. The “trip” has been longer and now stranger than ever.

Methinks.

As an aging, born in the USA Boomer who has been around for long enough to consider the passage of time from earliest memories to the present moment, I’m ready to consider the strangeness of my personal journey through space and time, part of humanity, for better or worse. Peaks and valleys. Good times, bad times. And blah blah blah.

Let’s see. I remember snippets of the late 50s. President Ike. He was a Republican? Hard to believe, as he was the one who famously warned we the people of the “military-industrial complex”. We all fail to heed a thoughtful warning now and then, and I believe we can conclude that caveat fell on deaf ears then, and all these decades later, our official set of budgetary, policy-making ears has not had any improvement in effective listening skills. The military gets over half of our federal budget pie. War is good business, invest your son, as the hippies mocked in the midst of the Vietnam slaughterhouse.

Well, we just celebrated the 4th of July. Hooray for our side! Wave that flag. Watch those fireworks. The parents, grandparents, the kiddies, the teenie-boppers, the slackers, the vamps and vapers, the bambinos pooping their panties, the dogs running for cover, wondering, well, wondering however dogs wonder anything. Arf, arf! at full force and feets a flyin away from the sound assault. Not very patriotic, eh? Siberian Huskies. German Shepards. Mixed breeds. Whaddaya expect? Then there are the independents, the in the hood type impromptu shows, M-80s, cherry bombs, Roman candles, leaving fingers missing, or maybe a hand or an eye gone for good. Whatever. That’s what the 4th is about, no? Independence! Freedom! From rational thought and action included.

Oh, and this time on the 4th in D.C., a military parade, Soviet style, with tanks ICBMs, and ranks of storm troopers signalling their sieg heil salutes to their fearless leader… No wait, maybe it didn’t go that far. However, the “long, strange trip” up there, remember? It’s is getting longer and stranger. Than ever.

Methinks.

We recently commemorated the 75th anniversary of D-Day. That was a different military matter, indeed, far more a reflection of do-or-die determination of all the Allied forces. Good triumphed over evil. And it was absolutely hooray for our side. Now, “our side” is whatever side of many issues, global or domestic. What’s your skin color? That counts. A lot. Get my drift? Give a rat’s ass about something that appears to be unfair? To you or your loved ones? And getting unfairer every day in some cases? Like what? You figure that out. Are you concerned about your future, and the future of coming generations? Well, sure you are, but then again, what your concern is may or may not be much in vogue these daze. Are you on the right side of history? Been protesting lately? Posting your disapproving voice on social media? Or maybe you’re sitting back and thinking, hell I like where this is heading. Onward ho! Fine, I believe it’s still a free country, depending on what you define as a justifiable freedom of speech or action. We are a land of law and order. In theory. Depends on who is on what side of what law, or even, if one is seemingly on the right side of the law, is that law actually enforced anymore? Selective umbrage.

As far as the U.S. being guided by the so-called “rule of law” I most definitely am thinking that’s a dubious matter anymore. Back to that militarized 4th of July observation, as it was the idea of our Commander-in-Chief. This person, now in his 31st month of occupying the White House, seems not to think “rule of law” has any set standards or guidelines, either by the literal letter of lawful legislative statutes, or constitutionally embedded ones. He openly defies the concept of checks and balances, protocol or what used to pass for proper comportment reflective of the office he holds. But that’s just fine for many of his fans. If you are not a fan of he and his, then I guess you have a “side” that you have taken. Are you demanding perceived wrongs be righted? Are you in the mix, fists clenched? Pissed and primed for the fight?  

Last November, the political party that is supposedly in opposition” of the above noted Oval Office inhabitant and his fellow party members gained significant power by winning a majority of seats in the House of Representatives. If you thought, here comes the calvary to the rescue!, have you finally realized that there will be no rescue? That new power, given to that opposition party by we the people is doing nothing to right your perceived wrongs at the hands of that other “side”. And I mean, nada. Nix. Nil. They are not holding anyone accountable. There isn’t even a pretense of trying to do so. Quick, name one person who has faced a committee, under oath, demanding answers for blatant actions that clearly cross a legal line. Just one?

It’s over, folks. That calvary has no horses. It has no real leader of any substance or sense of urgency. It is a toothless, aged, decrepit pussycat that is fearful of fighting back, terrified of seeming “unreasonable”. The only “opposition  with the power–to do nothing–has in its line of fire are members of their own party.

How much clearer can it be, if you feel this country is going in the wrong direction, in matters of heart and soul, of morality, of justice and equal protections in such matters invoked in one amendment or another of the U.S. Constitution, that your side is not just losing, methinks it has LOST. Game over.

We have been lied to our entire lives about so many things. All men are created equal and so forth. What irony! I have lived to see lies become “truth” and up becoming down, wrong becoming right, bad becoming good, and we are exactly where we deserve to be in this regard. It has been a long, strange trip, and where we are now has been coming at us for decades, actually a couple of centuries, the populace ever and ever more lacking the ability to accept that “created equal” mantra, which is now mendacity writ large.

History, the nightmare from which James Joyce said he must awake, stares back at us, but not enough people see it clearly or even faintly, if at all to make a difference. To learn from.it.

Hooray for our side! Well, at least some people, seemingly on board with the current trip’s 2019 brand of strangeness, callousness, amoral greed and plain old hatefulness can feel good about current events. Morality, good and bad and all that is up for interpretation, no?

Our nada who art in nada…

one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The Banana Republic of Central North American is in control. If you don’t like it, do something about it. Just kidding. You thought you did do something last November. I hope you learned that history lesson. Caveat emptor…

But have a nice day. And remember, this too shall pass. Eventually. But not any time soon, evidently. And since there is still not an true opposing political police force willing to put a halt to this “above the law” administration, there is no end in sight.

And a strong possibility that includes November 3, 2020.

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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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