Test Time

Now that Pandemic World has encased all of us in its groundhog day repetition of starting each day as if the preceding one never ended and tomorrow is already today, I’m certain that all my memories are now subject to review as to their veracity. Maybe you were already stuck in a unconscious time loop before the one you are consciously in now. Was your life progressing? Or did you simply delude yourself into thinking it was all working out just as you planned? Surely, no one plans to be unhappy, eh? If you felt less than satisfied, you assumed you could change that negativity into an ascending trajectory. But even if you now recall the imperfection of life before “life” essentially had to be officially shut-down, you’d welcome all that was then back right now, exactly as it was, right? Why not? You had to be happier then than now? Now, now is always stuck as now with virtually no then to distinguish advancement. Sick of it too! There’s no forward momentum in a covid vacuum. It just circles back on itself. ****************************************** Yeah, think back! It all made sense. You know that feeling? That restaurant over there. That movie theater. The myriad storefront shops. The salon. The fitness center. The museum. The music venues. The scared gin mill. So many options. Those and other easily accessed places filled in a lot of space in our lives once upon a time. Now it’s as if thinking about them is an act of self-flagellation. Or maybe not. For some, life has always been flush with lemons but very little lemonade. Now, Pandemic World is just another lemon. Rather, the only lemon. In that case, covid has consolidated your woes into one big psychic compartment. If anything, you can take satisfaction in knowing you have waaaay more company who now knows how you’ve felt long before 2020 erupted like Vesuvius on Pompeii. **************************************** Or, perhaps you were genuinely fulfilled and right on course as planned. Whatever that must feel like. Except, you’re in the same Groundhog Day loop now. Maybe the pandemic has drawn the curtain back on just how much of that self-satisfied world view was based on bullshit. Not that you admitted to it. Hell no. Well, bullshit that affected other people while allowing you to live comfy and cozy and self satisfied.. Now, you are literally out of business. Opps. Didn’t see this coming, huh? Covid19 is the great equalizer at its non-discriminatory essence. ************************************* I figure, most of us are in the middle ground here. You were okay enough then and had a realistic self-concept. You lived within your means. Had respect for your fellow human, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or gender, and always kind to the elderly, little children and puppies and kitties, blah blah. Always seeing the glass as more than half-full, even when a personal drought came along. ************************************** 2021 is upon us. And a covid vaccine has been created. That’s a reason to feel this same day we have been living for at least nine solid months will finally flip into a tomorrow that allow us to go back to whatever we once had. But wait. That makes no sense. Go back? I doubt that. There’s still months and months left of Groundhog Day, and our memory lane stuff comes with an unavoidable critical analysis. We will not ever be the same after this passes. How could this isolation of the mind and body not render both altered to one degree or another? Self-reflection and self assessment of our individual occupation in this now strange and enervating world would seem to be as involuntary a function as is breathing. Maybe for the very, very old or very very young, this endless day will not have been imprinted upon them with any lucidity. For those of us who will never forget this current endless day, maybe that sounds pretty good, especially on the very very young side of the temporal extremes. My feeling is, this is the ultimate learning experience as far as who we really, truly are. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime lesson in how to see ourselves, and others, like never before. ************************************* Learn your lesson well. Most likely, it will not be offered again in anyone’s lifetime.
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You Might Find this Interesting

Where were you fifty-seven years ago today? Perhaps, as the saying goes, you were but a gleam in your parent’s eyes. Haha, right? You might have to count backwards to find what year was 5.7 decades ago, then stick today’s date of November 22nd onto it. Then you may readily recall exactly where you were and precisely what you were doing around 12:30pm central standard time. That’s when news bulletins flashed reports of president John Kennedy being shot in Dallas.

In the ensuing half-hour after the initial discombobulating thought of Kennedy being shot, then rushed to Parkland Hospital, and by 1pm being pronounced dead, people young and old entered into a terrible twilight zone-ish mental state. Can this be real? What happened? How? Who? Why? It was a Friday, and like today Thanksgiving and all its wholesome traditions awaited families across the country. Except, Thanksgiving was now an abstraction as time seemed to stand still after it was confirmed that JFK was dead. That entire weekend became a profound funeral dirge, as shock and disbelief lingered, mingling with a deeply felt grief. To add to the stunning and surreal process of scrambling to swear into the presidency Lyndon Johnson, while the who, what, where and why questions were being sorted out, the prime suspect, Lee Oswald, was shot dead on live television on Sunday, the 24th, in the basement of the Dallas city jail moments after he and his police escorts exited an elevator.

On LIVE television! Interesting, right? The wrong kind of precursor to reality TV.

Looking back, the decade of the 1960s was seemingly rife with turbulence. Before JFK was killed, he went eyeball to eyeball with Nikita Khrushchev and the Soviet Union during the Cuban missile crisis. Historians now feel that nuclear war was a distinct possibility. Fortunately, the planet wasn’t decimated by atomic missiles flying east and west, This was 1962. Nuclear annihilation remains–and always will remain–a threat to life on Earth.

In 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated. In 1968, both Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. Swirling around these cataclysmic events was the Vietnam War, the women’s movement and the ever present racial unrest that included ML King’s non-violent resistance, along with the more militant Malcom X, and the fledgling Black Panther Party.

The decade did include something monumentally admirable too: the 1969 moon landing. That was a globally celebrated event. Not too often we humans cheer one another along.

There’s a saying, May you live in interesting times. It is arguably either an old English expression or it originated as an traditional Chinese curse. Either way, those of us who were around for the 1960s have a lot of memories linked to all the calamity and chaos that defined that decade.

Now we have not a decade, but a single year that, while not infested with assassinations or a massively unpopular war, still has the threat of nuclear devastation–as in the “nuclear clock” is set at 40 seconds until midnight (doomsday, central, pacific, mountain or whatever time zone). We have a recently defeated massively divisive president who specialized in sowing chaos and consternation who has refused to accept his defeat. Oh. and and he has the nuclear launch codes. There still is significant racial tension. We have an irrefutable climate crisis on our hands (festering for decades and decades and now possibly too unstable to ever again stabilize). Oh, and there’s the pandemic. All three of the above noted “we have..” components are capable of decimating human and other life forms.

So, if November 22nd 1963 is but a history lesson for many not yet on the scene, those more recent arrivals plus those of us from the JFK era and onward have 2020. We all are living in “interesting” times. How about the 70s and disco? The 80s had hair bands, shoulder pads and Reagan. The 90s had grunge rock and the Clintons. The 2000s had an illegitimate president who started an illegitimate war, followed by an African American president and a global economic meltdown. Then came the 2010s and especially November of 2016. That’s when two unbelievable events occurred. First, on November 2nd of that year the Chicago Cubs won a World Series after 108 years of failure. Then came November 8th and a shocker of an election, and until November 3rd of THIS wretched year of 2020, a most awful, terrible, no good, lousy, rotten four years now haven been given an official expiration date of January 20, 2021.

Well, as James Joyce said, History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake. One might find that quote hyperbola. Given the quote comes from Joyce’s Ulysses, published in 1922, just after WWI, and now having WWII and the 1960s, plus what has transpired since the early 2000s and up to the moment, I’d say Joyce is not guilty of hyperbole. He simply looked around back then and well, had to say what he said.

Maybe 2021 will usher in a more positive zeitgeist. It certainly has to be better than 2020. I started this blog invoking the unthinkable assassination of a young and popular president fifty-seven years in the rearview mirror. I was old enough then to still recall how life can be harsh even in a vicarious way. My eyes have been wide open for all these decades hence. Adapt or perish, right? We are all slogging through 2020. Masked and distanced and packing disinfectant. At least most people are doing that. By this time next year, we’ll see what the shake-out of the pandemic, political calamity and climate change will have produced. I do hope we can take a long, long break from this reality, and that the future will be so very. very, not interesting.

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The Other Guy

Greetings, earthlings. I come in peace and wish you no harm… ************************************* No, it’s not Zeldar from Zardoz. It’s just Joey Baggadonutholes. However, if I were a life form from another planet, and was able to furtively assimilate myself amongst the locals, I’d be at a loss for words based on empirical methodology as to assess what my alien eyeballs perceive. How can this world find its way out of the darkness that besets it? You know, those “existential threats” known as climate chaos plus a lethal global pandemic. Oh, and in the US of A, there’s racial tensions escalating and election chaos. Well, now it’s post-election denial of reality with sulking and sinister motives lurking on the part of the losing side. ********************************** The pandemic is more pervasive than ever, with infections spiking far and wide. Some global outposts are reaping the benefit of getting tough with the virus, requiring its citizens to follow the science and get ahead of the spread. Well done. But those are the exceptions not the rule. In the U.S. we have not exactly taken care of pandemic business. Why? Well, that has to do with our lack of national leadership. Non-existent leadership actually, which now has officially been taken to task by the November 3rd election. It took five days but the candidate who campaigned on not being the other guy has been declared the winner. The “other guy” still hasn’t conceded. And he gets to keep those nuclear launch codes until January 20, 2021. It may as well be eternity, given how much more damage he clearly intends to inflict to offer a reply to a bruised and swollen ego. Nuke Iran? Invade Canada? Invoke martial law? ************************************* …oh whatEVER. Aren’t we all exhausted with this bullshit by now? Okay the guy who isn’t that other guy won. But he comes off as a stiff. He looks like a stiff. As in a corpse. He’s the Mothball-in-Chief elect. Mothballs. As in protective storage. He’s the Dead Horse I alluded to a few blogs ago. Now the dead horse is going to take over and lead us out of all that darkness. Sure he will. He’s going to eradicate the pandemic. He’s going to reverse climate chaos. He’s going to get single payer health care passed. Free education guaranteed. Student debt forgiven. Raise taxes on the uber rich. Crack down on cronyism and pay to play. He’ll get campaign finance reform in motion. He’ll do it because polls show that’s what the people want and because he’s not that other guy. Of course. That’s what got him elected, right? Close to 80 million people voted for not the other guy. It was an enthusiastic outpouring of the electorate saying to the guy who hoped to get a second term that they would vote against him. And so, the other, other guy wins. Why? Because he isn’t that guy. And so, as asserted above the new, not the other guy, guy must realize what this country wants and needs. Sure. He’s going to be be a real reformer. *********************************** And I really am Zeldar. Sure. *********************************** And we who didn’t vote for that toxic other guy can live happily ever after. Every day will be a Norman Rockwell painting come to life. Why? Because compared to that other guy the new guy will always not be that other guy. *********************************** And I know where Jimmy Hoffa’s body is. *********************************** What? Climate collapse? Coronavirus? Mothballs has us covered. He was hand-picked to be an alternative to that other guy. That’s all that matters. You want more than that? Ha. You’re in the wrong country if that’s what you expect. Why so cynical, Mr.not Zeldar guy? Joey Baggabulljive guy. Okay, here’s why: while the other guy who beat the other guy may have won, his party lost more than it won in the bigger picture. And of course the Mothball Party failed miserably to win important House and Senate seats, or flip any statehouses their way, because the Mothball Party–otherwise known in this corner of the blogosphereas the Dead Horse Party simply lived down to its well established expectations. Only the repulsiveness of that other guy paved the pathway to a top-of-the ticket victory. C’mon. Who in the hell was excited about the other guy who wasn’t that other guy? *********************************** Keep in mind, 2022 campaigning has already started. Now that a corpse is the leader of the Dead Horse Party, I have a feeling that...thatwell to hell with it for now. ************************************ We can still feel better knowing that, for the time being, that other guy is the loser and he can suck on that. The Corpse and the Cop are coming, because someone HAD to win, right? Maybe they won inspite of their status quo platform, but regardless the people have spoken and they had a clear message–not for the winning couple but for all the Maga mopes and dopes, dupes and dimwits who support him: fuck off! ************************************ That’s the best result of the election no matter what else ensues. After all, the future isn’t January 20th. It is, as always, now. Kick back and enjoy watching the suppurating sore loser and his brain deads deal with a nightmare of their own now. ************************************ In the immortal words of Jackie Gleason, How sweet it is!
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⁸The Unnatural, Natural World, part 2

In the 24 hours since posting the story of Magawa, the mine-sweeping, medal of bravery recipient rat, let’s assume that he has again sniffed out a number of active landmines to be rendered into harmless srcaps of metal along Cambodian landscapes. Perhaps some readers wondered if this was fictional. It’s factual. Hey, it was meant to be a feel good slice of life, both human and rodent species-wise. Do we not need feel good distractions in our time of greatest need for such? Feel good as in let’s not politicize this, okay? Just because it’s about a rat doesn’t mean you have to re-direct your mindset to a figurately speaking “rat” that infests a certain domicile along Pennsylvania Avenue in our nation’s capital. Can we just not go there, please? I’m trying to work my way through you-know-what, dig? But then see, it’s next to impossible to not… ******************************************* Oh, well….I suppose there is a sliver of politics inherent in the story, since landmines are a form of official policy instituted in the cause of one governing entity seeking to achieve final victory over another governing body. Politics is friction. Power politics is frictional and fractional. It’s a nasty numbers game. During the reign of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge soldiers in the late 70s, 2 million Cambodians died. That regime was overthrown. Left behind, however are estimates as high as 10 million landmines. Thus, Magawa is certainly worthy of praise. Rat or no rat. Better Magawa was raised and prepped for his humanitarian mine-detecting prowess than having wound up in some research lab, awaiting being sacrificed on the alter of cold-blooded evisceration so that we humans might eventually be prescribed yet another pill for what ails us, and the attendant, related deluge of drug ads that infest certain broadcast television programs. So there’s that. ********************************************************************************** Speaking of medical science research, the world awaits a vaccine to protect humanity from the current pandemic. Goodness knows what a relief it would be to get past Covid World. So, if a certain number of rodents are going to be snuffed out to get that job done, then fine, right? What does a mine-detecting rat matter if all of humanity is doomed to perish because of…a…BAT! Yes, the prevailing scientific theory on how Covid-19 formed and spread globally has to do with cross-species transmission. That non-human species is most likely that winged mammal, largely connotating darkness and and icky dreadfulness. There’s even a “vampire bat” species. Talk about a negative image. However, one might step back from the popular culture’s demonization of bats and consider this: bats play a vital role in the ecosystems they inhabit. They spread seeds, and in so doing even help in regenerating rain forests. Rain forests, also referred to as “the lungs of Earth”. Bats eat insects that otherwise would damage crops. “Bats are ecologically just really important,”, says one behavioral ecologist. “They provide billions of dollars worth of ecosystems services to people.” Pro bono service. ***************************************** There you have it, lords and ladies. Rats. Bats. Cut ’em some slack, Jack. They have gotten a bad rap, and that’s a fact. Well, sure rats and bats carry diseases, but each also–as I have noted–have some redeeming qualities. Maybe looking at a rat or bat induces negative reactions, but the point is not to judge so quickly. Don’t be superficial. *************************************** Then again, in some cases, it might be hard to figure what the benefit of some other creatures may be. Take the fly. Hmmm. What, exactly, is ennobling about this object the size of snot, that feasts on feces? Including covid-carrying bat feces that likely landed on some off-the-culinary grid eatable critter, served up in some backwoods culture zone. Or maybe on some cow or pig or lamb and though given a Michelin-starred chef’s haute cuisine approach to presentation of the rendered animal, perhaps a morsel of which has been placed ever so delicately amid an array of this or that from the garden, is consumed by an upper crust type, who after settling up a bill of $750 goes back to a lavish high-rise overlooking a shoreline or keeping company with other glittering towers that attest to the finer things in life, starts a pandemic that takes out the rest of humanity. *************************************** In such a case, Magawa could retire and do what comes natural to its rodent instincts. Bats could hang out without vilification. And flies would have abundant deliquescing delights with which to sustain them. ************************************* See, it’s a an attempt at providing a feel good story, folks. ************************************** You’re welcome.
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IIntrepid Youth!

He was born in Tanzania in 2014, socialized and moved to Siem Reap, Cambodia in 2016. This September 25th, this young male named Magawa, was awarded a gold medal for bravery for “acts of the greatest heroism or for most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger”. ***********************************

*Magawa, however, is a civilian, not a soldier. What he did to earn his medal (and continues to do) in his short span of life thus far was help clear 141,000 square meters of land from still active landmines. In so doing Magawa has made life safer for countless Cambodians. He wears the gold medal around his neck, a symbol of humanitarian selflessness. Magawa is an inspiration to all who have been a part of his life. Magawa is proof that there may be hope for ridding the world of landmines left behind during one conflict or another, sometimes exploding and killing those that unwittingly step on one, killing some children even younger than Magawa. *************************************

One may have seen Magawa’s likeness more than a few times. Such encounters may likely not elicit a sense of admiration or inspiration. If fact, coming across a Magawa-like figure usually elicits negative reactions. Revulsion. Disgust. Fear. Why? Why the rush to judgement? ************************************

Because our gold medal winning young male is a rat. Yeah. A rat. Now you know they may not be all bad. *************************************

Magawa can now keep company with other PDSA medal winners. That would include horses, dogs and pigeons. *************************

So, next time you see a rat scurrying about here or there (just looking for food and shelter, no doubt, and–ironically–trying to avoid those deadly traps aimed at killing them for their effort) before you think of the Black Plague or the face devouring rodents invoked as a torture technique in Orwell’s 1984, think of Magawa. I mean, come on, it’s not as though our human species is always trying to better other’s lives. After all, who do you think made those deadly landmines in the first place? And then left them behind after one of its armies killed more than their adversaries killed them? *******************************

Long live Magawa!

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Unshrouded in the Big Apple

Damn! Seven months uh this shit be nuff for resta my live. This strip ussa be bustlin and easy to makes a buck or few. But nows jus looks at it, Time square be missens bouts a millins folks. Where’s dey be?I knowin theres be dat panderamic, but it be time squares. Wheres dem suits? And dem fancy skirts?Cants hustle a buck from folks be lookins like me, but way mo us types than dem good lookin easy marks. But I gots mes a mask. I at least tryin. Sorts uh. Finds em blowin down 42nd or broadsway ever days. Betters den nuttins… Waits. Heres come a slickster. Looks mosely okay. Dress kinda sharps. Okee dokes. Mus haves some scratches to spares a po vicum of this coker ninesteens bug, me who cant afode a cups of joe or a samich. Hmm. Dude looky kinda of spacey facey. Wheres he get dem treads? Kinds of fittin big and baggsy. Tall mofo. But dude gots to have sum exter coin for a handpandler likens me…


Remote transponder relay portal engaged as my first transcendent facsimile capture of Moutain Sphere being advances in what Zardoz Control has ordered me again to observe and analyze per reconsidered assessment of Moutain Sphere life forms. Zeldar A.I. capture/copy indicates my visible form is of a possibly advanced form of being in what imagining refraction resolution outcome labels successful facsimile of local inhabitant. Zardoz Control certain Moutain Sphere this time will be productive integration of higher cultured sector, far from previous remote encounters containing what resulted in low grade data from what has been identified as an area inhabitants speak of as Wazoo. A.I. unable to assign any value to Wazoo or animated lifeforms within it. A.I. Command guided my Maximus Maximus 250th generation, time phased, synchronized, incremental, systematized, parallel functioning deep space mobility enabler to what it has identified as parcel called Manhattan. Zeldar assigned to unshroud my cognito and while A.I digital, balanced, integrated, logistical power cells remain sufficient permit local inhabitants to observe Zeldar as Zeldar observes them. A.I command has linked to my circuitry to observe optics as I advance among many significant objects, covered with bright lightings and motions moving about on structures that ascend high into Manhattan sky. Manhattan mountains, clearly. Zeldar adjusting to the many directional aspects of these moving light forms. Zeldar processing signage as unshrouded facsimile form advances into a central area of concentrated electronic motion. Zeldar vision circuitry cannot process data, as an overload sensor is now beeping. Zeldar must vision capture what forms are on base level, where lights are less impacting and seek non-electronic life forms.

******* **************************************

Say, bro. Gots a buck for a homeless vet to gets some grub? Cup a joe and a samich maybes? You one tall mofo.Whats ya bes? Shaq O’Neill size, but not as wides. Not to be mentions yo skins be pasty white likes ize not been sees ever. Yo lookin freaky but sheeeeit, you muss haves a few buckoos for spares, eh? Aints been seein yo types evers, dude, likes evens befo the panderamic came alongs and leff this place damn nears free of any type folks. But yous? Never saw no bodies looks like yous does befo and I seen all kinds a types. But fuck dat. Can ya spare some scratch, jack?


Zeldar awaiting A.I command to assess meaning to this local Manhatten life form. It is much smaller than Zeldar. Possible my data input encryption for unshrounding and copy/capture/facsimile was inadvertently excessive in the vertical aspect ratio. Wazoo inhabitants suggested mountain sphere animated life forms to be more vertically prominent than the random figures near me beneath the enhanced verticality of the bright and urgently animated light sequences confronting my internal capacitors. This being speaks a dialect similar to those in Wazoo, in conflict with A.I. command anticipating better aural soundscapes in the so-called English word forms than what Wazoo utilized, a form that our analytics of the language determined to fall under a category called gibberish.


Hey, man. Word up, you long drink uh water. You one for the books aint choo? You need a tailor, Jackson. Those threads hangin all about yo boney ass. You and Times square be made fo one anudder. Don’t mind that panhandlin low life you just blew off. He ain’t in the game. Course with a pandem chasin most of the Square’s primo catch away–ya know the loopy out a towners that be gawkin at the bright lights and street performers. You fits right in, bro. But hey, I aints askin fo no handout. I thinks you may be lookin for somethin. What say, treetop? Just get in from upstate? You sure dont be lookin like ya from anywheres near here. If you zombie walking in the Square you must be lookin to score. Whatcha need? Goddam, man you be glassy eyed lookin down at me but you look like you wants somethin and I bet I gots what you need. How bout some smoke? Columbian red. Acapulco gold? Windowpanes? Sheeit. You rail thin. Must be lookin for some speed. Dat it? Help me here, bro. Blink when I hits on somethin ya dig, dig? Vanilla sky? Drex? Dancin’ shoes? Oyx? Poppers? Thai sticks? Kibbles and bits. Mollies? Fuck this, you undercover? Goofy lookin mofo like you. I best be movin along. Then again, you aint doin nothin but standin there. You fit right in this hood, my man. Befo the pandem someone like you could get lost in the crowds. I guess you just a pandem zombie. Hey, and get yo mofo ass a mask. Maybe you hard uh hearin me cuzza my mask. I got this one legit. See, it has the names of science fiction books on it. I never read any of em, but I dig the title one of em, Martian Chronicles. You may as well be a Martian. Manhattanites? Most New Yorkers are from another planet, if you dig my drift, okay? Got my cool mask from some dude sellin em by the library. Well. I paid em in Cloud Nine, and a popper to seal the deal for two dozen of em. I sell you one. You gunna need one bro. You tryin to get sick? Say some goddam thing eh? No way you a cop. But cops see you–and they cant miss you–they gonna wanna have a chat. You violatin the guidlines, you mute freak. Damn. You even know where you goin? Or where you been? Or why you even here? Yo, Earth to oddball. You in there somwheres?


Zeldar awaiting lingual analysis and directive for re-shrounding. A.I. sending initial response: I am to follow the Martian man. Zardoz Central focused on use of that planetary designation, projecting possible link to mountain sphere’s odd indigenous creatures and the planet Mars, known to have been barren of significant life forms for over several eons. A.I. suspects this mountain sphere is a eons removed descendent habitat for Martians from a genetically distant past. Zeldar recalls encountering Martians when first observing it long before mountain sphere developed. A.I. concludes mountain sphere a clone of Mars, which endured its final extinction eons before. Now, mountain sphere is identified as repeating that outcome, as it was noted in previous Zeldar drop-ins as being in its sixth mass extinction. Analytics states there will not be a seventh. The reference to a “demic” has been interpreted as pandemic. A.I. expected Manhattan parcel to be much larger populous. Towering structures observed with dancing electric displays–primitive by Zardozian standards–once created by and contained many Sphere life form of semi-advanced intellect. Previous encounters with Wazoo life forms indicated negative intellect measures. Manhattan encounters registered a micro-measure above Wazoo-ians. The extinction must be near. Also, A.I. command has processed the life forms as being fearful, anxious, confused, angry and possibly about to turn savage. Just as happened with Mars. Zeldar directed to Maximus Maximus vessel. Zeldar wishes to take the Martian mask with him. Cannot proceed, as Zardoz command cannot allow possible spread of low life form molecules upon return to command base. A.I. very sterile environment. Mountain sphere clearly a very contaminated environment. Gibberish as communication tool. A.I. command certain mountain sphere life forms won’t be missed.

Just as with Mars.


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The Wrecking Ball Cometh

Ever come across this quote?: To imagine is everything, to know is nothing at all. It was penned by Anatole France, a French writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1921. Whether or not you know of his work (and I know very little) the above quote, a quizzical bit of conjecture, struck me as perfectly in tune with our current national zeitgeist. We’re barely two weeks away from what is unarguably the most profoundly important election in any living person’s lifetime. Some may assume this 2020 election will determine no less than the survival of our democratic republic form of governance. I personally have concluded that we haven’t had a national government that has come anywhere near adhering to our Constitution’s preamble that states its purpose of serving we the people for several decades. That preamble invokes the Constitution’s purpose, very clearly so:

…in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the commom defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution…

Okay, then. That document goes back to September 17, 1787. Those are some grandiose–bordering on highfalutin–ideals. A more “perfect” union? Isn’t perfection an abstraction? How about striving for continual improvement?, as reality is an ever shifting matter. In the ensuing 233 years, the U.S. has certainly held itself together, nowhere ever coming close to perfection, but methinks we have reached a nadir in terms of the distance from the preamble’s nobel ideals and what passes for a government supposedly bound to those ideals.

Ya think?

There’s another quote by W.B. Yeats that starts with the line Things fall apart, the center cannot hold. Between Anatole France’s quote and Yeats I sense some bizarre symbiosis. The upcoming election? Quite a divisive, chaotic, uncivil matter, without a doubt. Possibly the epitome of things falling apart. The question is will that center hold? We can only imagine what will happen. Some imagine one outcome, others quite another. And what we know really is nothing at this point. There are those convinced of one outcome or another but one thing is certain: it will not reveal its ultimate impact on we, the peoples, for a long, long time after November 3, 2020. I personally think the center won’t hold as far as business-as-usual no matter what the shake-out produces. One should not need to imagine as much as absolutely KNOW that the U.S. is seriously damaged right now, and this election–at the very best–slows down further damage, but cannot fix what is busted. And what is busted is the foundation upon which this country was built. Does anyone need to be drawn a picture at this point? Those grandiose words that purport to protect one and all by a righteous government were penned by men who wanted to be free from the shackles of England’s rule, but who (mostly) at the same time owned black slaves. The unintended irony, eh?

Here we are, in 2020, year of the pandemic, of blatant racist policies clearly exposed, rule of, by and for the richest of the rich, of convulsing social unrest unseen since the 1960s, and no one, no one at all, should be puzzled by how things have come to this. It has come to this because our form of democratic republic governance likely never really was practiced objectively or beholden to that piece of parchment penned over two centuries ago. We have had times of peace and prosperity, but likely those periods were a transient illusion. Reality shifts, and political reality is always in flux. If what we now have to struggle with seems beyond belief, then history has failed us in its capacity to show cause and effect. This should not be the most important election–possibly ever–confronting the country, or so some think. After all, that Constitution. Our representative form of government. Blah blah. Forget it. This election that may or may not mean the survival of our country. It has come about as an inevitable matter owing to that seminal document being written by a species that has never been inclined to work for any “general welfare” or strive for domestic tranquility. Or global tranquility, for that matter. The best of times are when those who have officially sanctioned power are content and not inclined to increase that power at any other’s expense. Hmm. When was that last an objective, political reality? Politics is friction, writ large or small. When are we free of friction, I ask? Maybe on a hyper local level, huh? Your book club? Your foodie club? You and your pet? Hell is other people, right? C’mon. You feel that quickly in life, admit it. And when those “other people” have official power, a lot of other people are left to deal with their hellish official devices.

Just. Look. Around.

Your book club or foodie group or tennis doubles clique likely has to put politics off limits as part of any repartee. Families are ripped apart by official decree or by red or blue ideologies butting heads. What a mess of a time! But it was meant to happen, folks. Of course it was. Otherwise, explain how it has happened. Corruption. Sure. By just one component of our government, whose office holders are sworn to uphold that Constitution? Was there a coup-de’etat? Hell no. It wasn’t by force that we are faced with this farce of an election. It was allowed to happen. Our human-operated democratic republic evolved into a two-party system in which where once there was a functioning “opposition party” (or the pretense of such) there is now no such national political force. Money rules. No matter who “wins” the election, money and power still will rule. That has been guaranteed by what is suppose to be that opposition party. And for tens of millions of we them peoples there is no alternative but to choose the candidate who may be about power and money, but at least isn’t the other guy. That’s what I call being in the Catbird Seat, since the polls clearly indicate far more people see the other guy as just too hellish not to vote against him, rather than for the other, other guy.

There’s your choice, and it was meant to happen this way. Otherwise explain how it has happened? Who would have asked for this? It’s a demented matter of fact, not imagination, that in the final analysis, if that Constitution was written to assure its peoples of their rights, we them peoples sure haven’t exercised our rights very well. Now, the foundation is awaiting a wrecking ball that needs be swung hard. Perhaps, though unwittingly, that is exactly what will begin on November 3rd, no matter the outcome. Then whatever replaces it in the short or long term will need a new constitutional foundation.

Imagine such an eventual outcome. Right now, imagination is everything, while what we know is nothing. Except that nothing would be better than what we have right now.

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A Horse Named Ghost

Allow me to once again beat the crap out of a long dead horse. This particular dead horse passed on 40 years ago or so, and so one might think me a bit unable to leave the creature dead and buried, once and for all. However, it’s just too important to not again put the carcass of the deceased on display at this specific point in time, because while the horse may be passed on, it hovers about, haunting millions of people, many of whom bet on it over and over only to keep watching it lose race after crucial race, losing by not knowing how to win, and at times behaving in so docile a manner that the notion of winning when it counted most was seemingly not a matter of urgency or importance. It once did know how to win. But again, that was over forty years ago, at a minimum, possibly 50 or more years ago. And right now, the spectre of this creature is so intensely insinuating itself into our daily lives that–whether one knows it or not–it would appear to be intent on reminding us of what a tragedy it’s demise represented, and how its absence constantly keeps nagging (pun intended) away at we the people regarding what it has cost our country.

Okay, enough with a metaphorical dead horse. But I think it’s quite an apt metaphor for——the Democratic Party. I guess I should use a donkey as the four-legged metaphor, since that is the Dems’ mascot. but “beating a dead horse” is an established descriptor of my mojo here. The literal meaning of the horse beating is that it is a waste of time to do so, as the dead horse will not work just because you beat it. The Democratic Party is not going to work any better if I or millions of others keep beating it. It is a DEAD HORSE. How-ever. Until the goddam corpse is not worth beating anymore, as in it has been replaced by a functioning, capable, savvy horse, willing to try its best to win winnable races, to fight and forge evermore ahead in the race, then let the desecration continue.

Right now, in late September of 2020, this is what the failed Democratic Party has managed to usher into our lives through its contemporary mojo of incompetency, corrupted ideology, and a collusive and capitulatory modus operandi: It stupefyingly lost the 2016 election to a now irrefutably intellectually bankrupt, self-styled autocratic flim-flam man, a mysogynistic cretin who overtly sexualizes his own daughter, who by edict separates–likely forever–immigrant children from their parents, who wantonly ignores science–immunological and climate related– and who has all but guaranteed he will refuse to leave office should he lose the election. Not to mention his bombastic bullshit during this week’s first “debate”. Many people saw his garish character flaws years ago, and certainly so did the DNC in 2016 when it absurdly took it for granted that Hillary Clinton simply could not lose to a shallow reality TV show host.

To go back to the dead horse theme, the 2016 election was as though the DNC’s pony in this race started out of the gate with a 20 length lead, and then the horse became bored, its sense of purpose supplanted by self-delusional invincibility. But then again, if the DNC was her handler, it was inevitable that it would lose, since that is what the DNC gives us: losers. Clinton and Obama? Towering statesmen compared to the serial ignoramus in the oval office, but both capitulated, compromised and ultimately accommodated a GOP agenda that has forever catered to a tiny fraction of the public at the expense of the greater good. Clinton and Obama both placed corporate interests over all else. Clinton signed off on gutting much of the social welfare programs that were vital to those already victimized by social and financial inequality. Obama refused to hold to account the Wall Street hucksters that cost so many their jobs, pensions and homes related to the 2008 market meltdown. FDR still spins in his grave. Oh, the corporate dems are guilty of much more than those two examples but if you doubt my umbrage is warranted, get away from the corporate media mavens and check out the journalism practiced by the independent outlets. Do it. Forget about the networks. They help spreading the lies and propaganda. Along with indoctrinating us to shop and be happy no matter what.

Now, after almost four years of the dangerous disgrace that is our current national ruling party, it boggles the mind that the Democrats, rather than being able to project a superiority to the freak show that basically wipes its ass with the Constitution, that constantly crosses legal lines with impunity, that unabashedly rigs local, statewide and national vote counts, finds itself again playing defense or worse, being unable to prevent yet another gross abuse of power by the GOP. The failed DNC apparently has no ability to block the egregious power grabs of what soon will be a second, radical-right wing SCOTUS nominee from being confirmed. 

They have no power to stop this power grab because they can’t manage to win enough senate seats to have a majority. Never mind having a majority. The Democrats, back in 1991, with a 57-43 senate advantage, approved putting a right-wing nominee named Clarence Thomas on the Court, in spite of Thomas having a lackluster legal portfolio and who was accused by many women–during his hearings–of having sexually harassed them under his authority as head of the EEOC. All Thomas had to do to get the Democrats to cower and capitulate was cynically play the race card. “This is an electronic lynching” he indignantly declared, and 9 Democratic senators immediately folded and voted to confirm him. That’s our so-called opposition party for you. Even when they have numbers, they squander their power. Keep in mind Thomas has been the 5th and deciding vote on anti-democratic Court rulings such as Citizens United (corporations are “people”) and the gutting.of the Voting Rights Act. Now they can only sit back as irrelevant bystanders as another right-wing extremist is going to be confirmed –as they did with the Brett Cavanaugh nomination (indignant, at times over-the top defiant Brett was also accused of sexual misconduct, but hey, it was a matter of–like Thomas– he said vs all of them said).

This is why I again beat a dead horse. Opposition party my ass! It is apparent that winning isn’t something the Democrats care about. Seriously, they do not care enough to find strong candidates. Otherwise explain how it loses to a Richard Nixon. Or a Ronald Reagan (whose Reaganomics continue to haunt the working class). Or Bush I or Bush II (the latter the author of the propaganda fueled invasion of Iraq and its massive cost of lives while private interests reaped massive profits). But worse than those loses was that 2016 race. That loss may well spell the end of what is already a tarnished and tattered democracy, with a fledgling fascist regime hiding in plain sight right now.

Perhaps enough people who alarmingly see what is right in front of their eyes will show up on November 3rd (with likely days and days to follow to sort out the mailed-in ballots). I mean enough votes to overcome the blatant voter suppression or scrubbing of strategically identified ethnic and likely Afro-American surnames from voting rolls that is standard procedure by the GOP at this point (Keep in mind these voting count counter-measures weren’t installed in a political vacuum. Where the hell was that opposition party as it became more an in-your-face vote stealing gambit?).

Right now it looks bad for saving this country from more dysfunction, lawlessness and divisiveness. Should the dangerous, amoral denizens of high and low office be shown the door, it will be in spite of the inept and disgustingly complicit Democratic Party. Their candidate for the White House projects exhaustion while trying to enunciate a rote political rhetoric. Not too inspiring. If he wins, that dead horse won’t be resurrected. If anything, it’ll be another Trojan Horse with no teeth and no game to serve the many instead of the few. Medicare for all? Not in the DNC platform. Green New Deal? Ditto. But if victorious because legions of people take it upon themselves to fight back against what is now a GOP death cult, the DNC and its stable of gimpy nags will need be replaced as soon as possible with a fresh steeds who the vast majority of people can actually get excited about. If that can happen, the DNC and it’s play not to lose but also not to win strategy can be, finally, and once for all, pronounced dead. And permanently buried.

At long last.

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The Big Picture

Mr.T is running for re-election. Let’s take at look at the latest developments that a voter might chew on before making a decision on his worthiness. Just the recent headlines from some news organizations: “T” ‘wanted to play down Covid despite knowing deadliness’. “T” asserts Kamala Harris would be a disaster for the country. Mr.T considers those in the military who died during their service “losers and suckers”. “T” approves of opening Alaska’s Coastal Plain up to oil and gas leasing. Mr.T is attempting to dismantle the Postal Service. Mr.T claims massive mail-voting fraud without evidence of such. Okay, enough of those recent aspects of Mr.T and his beliefs, attitudes and opinions. Let’s quickly review pre-pandemic Mr.T’s use of his office: families ripped apart at the Mexican border. Worker’s struggle economically while their bosses get a huge tax cut. He has referred to white supremacists as “fine people”. Mr.T curries favor from “strongmen” such as V. Putin. According to Mr.T the city of Baltimore is ” a rat and rodent infested town” targeting the late House Representative Elijah Cummings (an Afro-American). He suggested the late Rep.John Dingle may be in hell. When Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow newly elected House females of color members–labeled “The Squad”– criticized him , he told them to “go back to where you came from” although all but one was born in the U,S. Mr.T pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord. Mr.T has proposed weakening regulations on climate-changing methane emissions; he has repealed the Obama-era clean water rule.””T” has weakened the Endangered Species Act. He has boosted coal-powered plants that release carbon dioxide pollution into the environment. Mr.T is planning to loosen Obama-era rules restricting auto pollution. All of the above can be easily researched for their veracity. Oh, and one more thing: during Mr.T’s tenure at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (or is it 1600 Mar-a-Lago?) the “nuclear clock” has moved 30 seconds closer to midnight, making the minute hand sit–for the moment at least–at 100 seconds to nuclear annihilation. So that’s some of the verifiable record of the man running for re-election. Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, such a resume would be too toxic to take seriously as a motivation for such a record warranting garnering even a single vote. However, we are not in that far away galaxy. We’re stuck in this one. And the entire planet now has two very real existential threats facing it before the November 3rd, 2020 election: the pandemic and climate change. Both of these scientifically verifiable matters will be around far after November 3rd. Can the environment be saved? How many more millions will die from the virus that has no cure in sight after several months of its spread? Those are matters for all the world to worry over. Here, in the U.S., we have those two issues to either take seriously or not, plus a rather important election to either take seriously or not. Three “crisis” it is for us here, since depending on our election’s outcome, those two other issues will be profoundly affected–for better or worse. Maybe something in-tween those two extremes, given the choice available at the top of our two-party system’s ticket. There’s plenty of cynicism mingling in the breeze, possibly keeping company with Covid-19. Talk about toxic air! Humankind has some heavy lifting to do if it’s going to save itself (the Earth will be here regardless of any outcome on any of the three looming confrontations). According to the polls, Mr.T still could prevail, by hook or crook. Humans are flawed creatures. We specialize in chaos, conflict, corruption, greed, avarice, exploitation and worse and keep doubling down on the consequences of our bad choices. If I seem to be engaging in hyperbole, take some history courses and get back to me. I recently went to a planetarium and saw a great program about astronomy and its means of answering some of the inevitable questions about our place in the Big Picture fascination triggered by looking at the riot of celestial objects to be seen in the night sky. I sat there, tilted back on the seat’s headrest, once again lost in the vastness of seemingly endless outer space. Maybe it was a projected light show, but I believe it represents a reality that should remind all of us how insignificant we all are in that Big Picture. The fact that it was the human species that used its brain to explore and discover truths about time and space–and the real possibly of other life forms gave me a sense of hope. We humans are capable of such incredibly noble uses of our brains, I thought. Then the light show ended and I walked out into the pandemic reality of the day. A very hot, unseasonably hot day it was. Indeed, I had come back down to Earth with its human-made mess of a year 2020. Either we use our brains a lot better, or this particular orbiting rock has a not too bright future as just another object from some other possible view in some other possible world where other possible beings much smarter than us have yet and may never even notice we exist or existed.. That, in a.way, is the ultimate irony.
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Caviat Emptor, election 2020 edition

This blog may not be healthy for those with political blinders on. I cannot resist throwing more dirt on the DNC. But first, let me contrast the DNC to the GOP. Any sensible person, given even a modestly functioning moral compass, should be able to see the modern-day GOP for what it is: a venal, vile, villainous, vicious pack of plutocratic, callous, cold-blooded anti-democratic criminals. If the GOP could get their way, we’d have oil wells scattered throughout our national parks, women would not have access to reproductive healthcare, public schools would no longer exist, immigrants would be walled-off from entry, the Postal Service would be gone, Social Security would be given to Wall Street to gamble with its funds, Medicare would be abolished with no replacement considered, the Evangelicals would be a branch of government, while there would be no branch of government whatsoever designed to help anyone, anywhere, anytime, for whatever reason, should they not be wealthy enough to never, ever have need for any such “safety net” protections in the first place. There certainly would be no unions. Corporations would be given blanket immunity for any damages to the environment, worker safety and “whistle blowers” would be akin to Winston Smith, the doomed protagonist in Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. Hell, since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the GOP has already ushered in a Big Brother agenda of bullshit disguised under the name of The Homeland Security Act. Of course, the GOP has many mouth-breathing, knuckle dragging, brain-dead supporters who likely need all of the things that their preferred party clearly is against. But that’s a mental health issue that can never be resolved, since there will never be a vaccine for terminal stupidity. Elsewise, how does one account for people as soulless as Trump, Pence, McConnell, David Nunes, Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and so many more who support the above noted extreme agendas from getting elected?! Ah, but I am not saying that the GOP staged a sneaky, cynical, diabolical coup d’etat. The Elephant party is as stealthy as the Mastodon ancestors of their mascot. Here we are! Like it or not. Clearly, they use fear mongering to throw red meat at their dopey devotees and get them to the polls, but historically more registered voters–nationally– identify as Democrat, not Republican. Thus, to gain power in our entrenched two-party system, the GOP needs more of their supporters to show up at the polls than that of Democratic supporters. Sure, Hillary got 3 million more votes than Trump, but there’s that electoral college factor, a relic as rusted out and irrelevant in 21st century politics as the 2nd Amendment is, with its “well regulated militia” language clearly referring to arms and and the man circa 18th century America. Nonetheless, the electoral college decides the final tally. Since it is a well established fact that elections–especially those at the highest levels of governance–are won by appealing not to the extremes on the margins of the electorate, but to that middle ground of slightly for/against or the unmolded political Clay People who have virtually no preference (either because they don’t know what’s at stake, or they do, but feel it doesn’t matter to them). Clearly then, the Donkey Party, for the better part of forty years now, doesn’t appear to appeal to that coveted “target audience” ready to be sculpted into supporters. Which brings me back to the DNC. Yes, the DNC, who managed to let the electoral college make a sociopathic candidate the President in 2016 by propping up a massively unpopular candidate of their own. She may have gotten more votes, but again, that electoral map is not some obscure mechanism in how presidential elections are won or lost. The DNC was smug. Oh, so smug! Their candidate was such a terrible campaigner she lost the three most crucial states on that electoral map, and thus the election. There was a more passionate and progressive candidate with very popular proposals, who was threatening to take the lead in the 2016 primaries, but the DNC subverted his chances (If you don’t know how, research that political horserace and make sure you google Deborah Wasserman Schultz). Now, in 2020, we have the same sociopath running for re-election. And the same passionate progressive candidate from 2016 has again been shoved aside by the DNC (see previous blog per the Cretin and the Corpse, Jim Clyborn, South Carolina, etc)) when he looked like he could break the chokehold of entrenched Democratic, middle-of-the-road, play it safe, rock no boats, take small steps, play not to win but play not to lose, losers game of those aforementioned forty years. Ipso facto, the USA would not be headed by a sociopath now, aided by foreign interference in the 2016 election, without the incompetency of the DNC. The Democratic candidate in 2000 couldn’t manage to win his own home state of Tennessee (which would have given the electoral college to him, not the dingy, dopey Geo. W. Bush). And your typical corporate DNC critter has no guts, as Al Gore didn’t even bother to bitch about the phony Florida vote count in that notorious outcome. By ironic contrast, Mr.Psycho is already bitching about being the victim of a rigged outcome. Can you make this stuff up? The Demoratic Party is so good at losing, it brought us a purely puppet-mastered Ronald Reagan in 1980, who won by attracting millions of so-called Reagan Democrats! And all Reagan did was usher in Reaganomics and its let-them -eat-cake, deregulation, disastrous free market monetary outcomes that haunt us to this day. And even when the Democrat wins, we the people still lose. Bill Clinton? GATT-NAFTA? Gutting the social safety net programs? Barack Obama? Mr. Hope and Change, who for a short while had both the the House and the Senate with Democrat majorities, but unlike the GOP always does when it has the numbers, didn’t ram down their throats any progressive agenda, especially single-payer healthcare, which the public wanted then, and still wants now, but Candidate Corpse does not. Neither is he/DNC interested in the popular Green New Deal. The pandemic that is not about to ease up here in the US has clearly shown how rotten our political system has been for so very long. Aided by DNC’s incompetence, capitulation, accommodation and collusion in much of the nefarious legislation that fucks over the working class while transferring wealth from below to above, the rigged, exclusively corporate two-party system must be dismantled. The entire structure of this system that no longer represents we the people has to be replaced. It would be a much, much more promising future if a passionate progressive, be it a he or a she, white, black, brown or rainbow would be a choice at the top of the ticket. Not the Democratic ticket, though. How about a Progressive Party? Given the recent ascension of Progressives in local and national elections, there arr obviously a lot of people looking for real, substantive change. Not a DNC lapdog. Again. But again, the DNC quiets the voices of those fighting for real change, and AGAIN relies on a cynical and sour mantra of “you know you have to vote for our candidate. However, now that dare you to not vote for our candidate crap is a literal double-dare by the DNC. It seems to think that the Cretin’s sheer psycho-sociopathic reality show makes the Corpse a sure thing. Like Hillary was. We shall soon see. But even if the DNC wins, don’t anyone hold your breath waiting for anything to change when it comes to doing what has been needed to be done for decades. Otherwise, why does it not allow its primaries to be run without rigging the outcome? Post script! The Corpse just announced Kamala Harris as his VP choice. Does she excite you? No doubt she has the stamp of approval from the DNC. She was a candidate in the Donkey primaries. She dropped out in December owing to not gaining any traction with the voters.
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