Empires & Cogs

February 27th, 2008

~ Closing in on the ‘bastards’.

Willie Nelson is one of the better songsters about, he is of the spirit and generation of Buddy Holly; the difference is that he lived, it is “all the difference”.  His “voice” is one of sincerity, something often forgotten in the music world (meaning a ‘value’ lost).  He was on NPR the other evening, an interview; he raised his voice in the rising tide of voices that question the “2 planes and 3 towers” theory of 9-1-1 (the emergency “call” number) that is also a date on the calendar.

Willie’s voice is ageing now; his added voice (of alarm) may not topple the Empire, but his added voice will not hurt (the cause of the ‘cogs’).  “Cog to cog”, a metaphor for the “Empire”, each cog meshes and moves (on), messages shared and met and passed on to a new ‘messenger’ (a new cog); the wheels of “industry and empire” turn and with each turning wheel the wheel is slowly stopped; ground down by the “wearing” of the wheel, science against science, inhumanity against humanity, one “dying or failed” cog liberating fifty or a hundred unfailed cogs still bound to the wheel, but no longer “bound to work”.

Mr. Nelson was the real “father knows best”; Mr. Willie Nelson, never on TV really, he writes his own scripts, not a Hollywood “match”.  His music is good to write to (no fan club thing, I’m talking “background” music here).  Everything has two meanings; so I guess I might explain a bit about the above and earlier paragraph.  “My” car is in the shop; it “died”.  Cars are like cats, multiple lives until one fast move too many and “bing”, its the final death; it outlives the value of replacement parts or the computer track record of “Autowreck dot Com” rebuild it ploys.  Like with humans, one never “knows” when the end is near or over; looking back it’s often fairly obvious, forward “not so much”.

The car is 10 years old now, which is a lot like being ten years old in “horse years”, on the theory that cars are a lot like horses and have “horse power” if not “horse sense”.  A horse can get a driver (or rider) home safely after a night of drinking or a bad accident, a car can’t.  I guess this is why “industry and empire” prefer cars to horses when it comes to humans and the unraveling of ‘humanity’ as a value.  The “Four Horsemen” of the apocalypse is a myth, written by industrialists in an effort to besmirch horses and horsemanship.  The real “Four Horsemen” are automobiles (probably Hummers); red Hummer, pale Hummer; you get my point, war and death and disease and the ruin of a wasted life; not like Willie or Buddy, not like “Cogs that are Cognizant”.

My car is a modern car, no cogs per se, but wheels just the same.  There are four on the ground (touching, spinning, traction forward or tracting in reverse).  There are five more that I hadn’t noticed (it’s often the things that one doesn’t notice that break (first)).  They are called “pulleys”, located on the back of the motor (engine) under a dark black plastic cover.  Three of these wheels are plastic, two are metal; the two plastic ones “died”, “designed to wear” (by GM) according to the mechanic.  He didn’t bother to explain that “wear” to GM means “wear out” and not “wear on” like it used to mean at Levi Strauss and Company when they were still only a local San Francisco company dedicated to humanity and human needs and not to “Empire”.

“Cog” is a reality and a metaphor.  Originally it was the “tooth” of a wheel that with each other tooth combined to give a wheel traction when placed against another wheel; each cogged wheel could transfer “energy” from a point of production to a point of need; or from a point of need to a point of production (in the case of industry).  Each cog was necessary to keep each wheel turning.  A wooden shoe was a “spanner”, wedge a shoe into the cogs and the wheels stopped; revolution and revolutionary act, barefoot workers might be executed until soft shoes of plastic (or leather) could be made to keep the empire’s wheels turning.  Ballet is never revolutionary, toe shoes are too soft.

Each necessary part (of a machine) became to be known as a cog.  In my case, each pulley is a cog.  One broke, which created greater pressure on the next, which broke and then #3 broke and for the want of three plastic wheels (with a value of $30) the whole car was “broke”.  A $5,000 car (low mileage) was stopped “dead” by a $30 loss, rendered incapable of consuming $102 a barrel (oil) gasoline from gas stations.  Thank you GM.  But GM built this car to make GM money (it is an “Empire” approach to life).  GM wants $500 for the three plastic pulley part replacements (I kid you not).  Each part has a patent (of course) so one cannot be competitive in buying parts, replacing parts, finding new parts.

Of course the car will not be worth more (than it was before it “broke”) with this $500 of “value” added.  The “secret” (for GM) is science.  Things can be made to break (scientifically), use plastic not metal, thinner metal, make things susceptible to dust (like computers and cellphones), or heat, or cold.  Like a cog in a wheel; each part will ‘break’ some day, after it has lasted as long as it was designed (scientifically) to last; as long as it was “predicted” (statistically) to last.

Anyway, to fix the car will cost $1,000 and take a week due to GM not caring about carrying parts and wanting desperately for every smart person to buy only Toyota type cars in the future.  The cost includes a little labor, a little shipping, a little tax, and after awhile a little adds up to be a lot (and there is also a small oil leak to be “fixed”).  I would love a horse, no insurance, intelligent;  my City (like yours) makes them illegal as practical transportation in the city (horses are “too” green, no profit for GM and insurance companies, no dehumanizing force of Empire, no freedom).   Be warned world, the American Empire wants you, there is no real freedom in America, just narrow product “purchasing options”.

Now that the “base” has been established that is the basis of this post I can move on.  A lot of writers, a lot of people are on to the “Empire” (theme) now.  There is a realization that there is a “force of consciousness” that has tried to hijack human consciousness and the human reality into creating some type of “machine” or scientifically based “mechanism” out of the life experience that has little or nothing to do with “life”, at least “human” life.  It is axiomatic to say that there is no value to science, scientific discovery, scientific exploration, or scientific thought.  Any “prejudice” toward science is a “value judgement”, which is inherently contrary to “pure science” (in its modern conceptualization).

Lewis Mumford (The Pentagon of Power, Harcourt, Brace etc. circa 1970), as an older writer writing in the 1960’s envisions the Empire (of circa 2008) as a “megamachine” phenomena.  He postulates Empire as a machine (not as electronics, electronic symbolism being non-intuitive and largely not understood is hard to covert to metaphorical analogy).  He points out that machines are only useful when perceived as being “other than life”.  He proposes a world struggling between life and non-life, between man and his machines, frankenstein monsters without the appeal of Frankenstein, created by some “bad dream” of necessity or advantage that have come to be only too real in their daylight influence.  He expands the vision of Rod Serling (in regard to machines) into a societal (whole society) construct.

Mumford is not alone in correlating the relationships between changing “energy” sources (and quantity) with “machine growth” or the “growth of the machine”.  He is also not alone in pointing out that scientific “valueless-ness” is antithetical to the uniquely human quality of “evaluation”; making “value judgements” and “moral assessments” are inherently the weave and the warp of life; life is not so much just the “transformations of energy”.  It is the “quality” of energy that inherently trumps the quantity of energy.  This fact is intuitive to the organic person and counter-intuitive to those that build nuclear reactors and nuclear bombs.

Mumford makes the case that the Empire is a megamachine that relies heavily on inanimate (low quality) energy sources to create a multiplicity of dehumanizing machines that inherently dehumanizes the human experience.  Dehumanized humans in turn are incorporated by the megamachine as mechanical cogs to keep the Empire running and progressing to no end, other than to demonstrate the actualized potential of the ultimate ascendancy of the machine over the “human spirit”.

There are of course those that enjoy the experience of “machines running people”, rather than “people running machines”.  Television and advertising is an obvious example.  Automobile ownership is often another excellent example.  When a machine breaks it must be replaced.  Machines are used to eradicate people (war); seldom do people act to eradicate machines.  As a result the machines are winning, the planet is being “paved over” and “wired” to enable the “life of machines”, not the evaluation process of intelligent life.  Machines need (inanimate) energy sources.  Animal life needs organic energy.  It seems that Mumford’s point has a point.

To demonstrate this point more succinctly I borrow from “The Red Fort” (James Leasor, 1956, Reynal).  The book is about the “Sepoy Uprising” of 1857 envisioned to free India of the manifold abuses of the Brit Empire.  Among other demonstrations of Empire consciousness the Brits would line their dining rooms with statuesque Indian males in well-tailored colonial garb with the sole intent and function of being “room ornamentation”; a demonstration that human beings (of some types) were only valuable as “curiosities” or “possessions”.  How different is today’s Empire in its attitudes?

The megamachine (assuming that it exists) is dependant upon its human component acting at all times without any discernable or evident humanity.  Each “job” is a human cog element, a human being functioning largely as a machine part, ignoring the damage done by the “machine as a whole” and by so doing making the damaging effects possible.  I propose the emergence of “Cognitive Cogs”; people that function with ever greater frequency as “people”, as human beings, as moral arbitrators and evaluators, as individual humans capable of making “value judgements” early and often in the course of each days work.  When each “cog” sees oneself as an “employee” this is by definition impossible.  “Employee” means working in the role of a machine, a renouncing of the human option or mandate.

But we live in the world of “associates”, partners in the progress of each ‘business’ or ‘government’ activity.  An associate is more like an “entrepreneur”, an owner of a business or a government enterprise that “takes ownership” of full responsibility for the business and of the business and of all consequences pertinent to the existence of the business.  There is no need to “explain or train” others, employees are seldom well-trained and certainly have little relevant to their role truthfully explained.  The purpose of each cognitive cog is to learn and evaluate and act as a human actor in a moral manner in each instance that seems to demand a moral decision.   The evaluation is up to this “new entrepreneur” alone; as the (perhaps) only human component in an otherwise a-moral machine (or machine type environment).

A truly human “cog” (cognitive cog) will always “stop to question”, will always seek to direct the ‘machine’ to a new and often unknown higher purpose, will seek out other humans behaving in a human manner and will quietly ignore humans behaving like machines (or room ornaments).  A machine cannot be self-conscious.  A human being must be actively self-aware to remain human and sane.  Moral cohesion is necessary for the existence of personal sanity; some “jobs” really are literally “crazy”.  Often it is literally true that “a person would have to be ‘crazy’ to work here”.  Think about it, maybe leave.  You decide.

There are many models for approaching life on this planet.  Empire is the worst one as it is alone totally intolerant of any competing or alternative model.  Empire, by its nature, “outlaws” alternative approaches and systems, it claims all the land and claims to be the only “law” (which means nothing more than police, prisons, and the military).  One can not be “at war” with Empire without becoming like empire; one must be always “in opposition” however, always moving, always anticipating and creating and creating alternatives or one will die (away from being human).

It is “the waste” that is the hallmark of Empire.  Empire wastes time, wastes energy, wastes creativity by consolidating it in the “hands” of a usually undeserving elite.  Empire stifles good ideas by promoting and marketing bad ideas.  Empire promotes attitudes of exclusion by fighting doctrines of inclusion.  Empire teaches false doctrines designed to divide, not unify; to exalt mediocrity and not the subtlety of simple elegance, the beauty of a rain drop, the sanctity of wind.

Have you counted your machines today?  Counted how many are “plug-ins”?  How many light bulbs do you have plugged in or wired in your dwelling?  How many at your place of work?  How much energy do you use each year?  Do you pay more for inorganic or organic energy; food and wood as opposed to oil and electricity?  Of course you do not know the answer; you live in the Empire!

Be aware.  Question.  Act cognitively.  (Stay happy).

[2008.02.27 / Wednesday – Empires & Cogs]

Drink Corn, Plant Coke

February 25th, 2008

~ The most premonitored surprise attack in history.

If one were 20 (years old) in 1945 they would be 83 years old this year (in 2008).  Anyway, that’s the theory; or more accurately, the ‘contention’ of this post.  ‘Statistically’ (if one were male) ‘one’ would be dead; those born (those males) in 1925 were not slated (statistically) to live to be eighty-three years old.  But many of them do live, live on, continue on and continue to remember “the war”, which in this case means “World War II”.  Today’s entree (entry) to WW II is through the “Stillwell Book”, “Stillwell and the American Experience in China” (Barbara W. Tuchman, Macmillan Company , 1970).

The copy of this book that I am currently reading is from the library sale ($1, hardback, almost new).  It has been read though, I can tell, reeks of smoke even after 38 years (about).  Books like this were read by “those that lived the tale”, were actually there, fought in Burma, flew the “hump”, flew in planes out of “South China” during the war.  They gave these guys free cigarettes, by the carton and by the pack, nobody writes about it in these books, took it for granted, one has to see pictures to “get it”, GI’s with “butts” hanging out of their mouths, “cancer sticks” to kill you (in case the enemy bullets didn’t); ‘insurance’ to make sure that you didn’t live to be 83 (or to see the year 2008).

Stillwell (“Vinegar Joe”) smoked (of course); like FDR did, long cigarette holder, plastic or ivory or whale bone (it doesn’t matter now, any which way one puffed, one’s now dead).  Life is (often) longer than most suppose, killing “Japs in the Jungle”, waiting to die, don’t think about dying of cancer at 78 in Des Moines, Iowa (or some other “Jungle”) in 1998 before one has finished reading (or re-reading) “Stillwell” (the book).  Reliving life in the Jungle, reliving the war, reliving having death around every corner; “you or them” keeping the guns blazing, the bombs falling, the armies on the march, and the cigarette butts burning long into the night (hidden of course, snipers everywhere, and officers).

I don’t smoke (of course).  I have no “war memories”, no memories of the “great” battlefields of World War Two when they were “blazing” (with glory) or fire, or ‘enemy fire’.  I’m not a “war nut”, don’t relish the war (like Tom Brokaw seems to do), don’t “study” it, make it my mantra, follow each battle and invasion, sit ready with casualty figures like some “damn” insurance underwriter waiting for a “policy” (to be written, or to ‘expire’).  Some “boomers” are though, probably had “dads” or “uncles” who fought in the war, injured maybe, died possibly, smoked of course.

I didn’t.  My “dad” ‘fought’ on the homefront, every civilian a “fighter”, total war, “AMERICA is at war” (thing).  No one else in my family “fought” either; not in “the big picture”, the lines of battle from the Balkans to Batavia, from the Artic to the Aussies, from Dachau to Darien.  My aunts cooked beets and rhubarb pie for the war effort, fed their men, kept them working inspecting California produce and California oil, for “the war effort”.  Every person plays their part; some kill, some die, some just go on living; it’s the nature of war.

There is of course a lot of money to be made out of war; war profits, selling armaments and tobacco products, and fresh produce to the government and the military; cotton khakis, wool underwear, silk scarves for aviators and silk parachutes too, of course China was important for the war (effort), no silkworms in America (to speak of).  Traditionally the “spoils” of war went to the armies (and the soldiers); ‘looting and free love’, good reason to join (the military).  “Come up in the world”.  But then the merchants (of death) got involved, “war industries”, making weapons, growing ethanol (from corn) for use in “Green” army tanks (Army and environmental ‘green’), fluorescent bulbs to light the “first strike” launch room, saving energy, don’t you feel better that Russia used “green” fuel to fuel their incoming nuclear warheads?  Were they made from 70% “recycled content”?  Los Alamos (labs) really do recycle uranium triggers; even Bush is so “very green”.

I digress.  But war is such an ugly thing.  There is nothing simple about war (when the facts are known).  That is what is so simple (and compelling) about the Stillwell book.  It is not about “war in Europe”, not about Hitler and the Huns, not about the Italian Mafia and D-Day and the drive of Patton across the “face” of Europe (or of GI’s in Europe).  The book explains that “the rape of Nanking” was a deliberate “object lesson” to achieve a goal, (just like Hiroshima was; 42,000 dead in Nanking, 82,000 in Hiroshima – which one made the point in a better, faster manner)?  The larger point is the corruption (of war).  Chiang Kai- shek as a “fascist dictator” which we coddled and supported while fighting perhaps lesser evils over in Europe.  But Hitler and Mussolini killed “Europeans” while Kai-shek killed ‘only’ “Asians” (although in greater numbers).   It seems the racism lingers, if for no other reason than to “justify” the obvious and overtly racist policies (of the US) in the conducting of the war.

Henry Cabot Lodge (once a famous name in the United States) put his name upon some books about 1906; a “history of the world”, Brit style, wars and ‘heroes’, politics and Kings and Queens.  No “Nanking’s” with any graphic detail; just great detail about the wardrobes of the royalty, family lineage type stuff, numbers of servants in the ‘greathouses’ (important history according to Lodge).  In the “Germany” book ‘he’ writes a bit about the “30 Years War” (Thirty Years War).  It was the holocaust.  Cities, castles, and villages burned to nothingness.  60% of everybody dead.  Many cities suffered an 80% loss.  Berlin had only 325 people left (no, no missing zeros).  In Germany alone at least 25 million died (troops and civilians).  The war “forever” changed the character of the (surviving) people.  They moved to “discipline” and “military solutions” and a well-taught fear of “outsiders”.  It was the early 17th century (1618 – 1648 about).

I really know nothing about this war.  There were no veterans (in my town).  They taught us nothing about this war in the schools, there were no newsreels to watch, no “old magazines” to read.  Wars are like that.  They are soon forgotten.  People forget.  It is too painful to remember.  Smoke another cigarette, read another page, drop the ashes on the floor, “it will be ‘over’ when I die”.  Send my books to the library (sale), someone else might remember before they’re burned (again, in another ‘air raid’).  Who was the “Britney Spears” of 1636?  Who did the “royals” (in France and Britain, and Spain, and Sweden) faun over while Germany was burning, starving, dying in the ashes?

Since I had no relatives to learn from (about the war, “first-hand”) I was left to learn from the Museum (the Nevada State Museum in Carson City, Nevada).  I’ve mentioned this place before.  The gun collection was a big part of the museum, “old west” stuff mostly, but a few “modern” weapons for the sake of the soldiers (still living) were on display.  They had machine guns, a bazooka or two, at least one M-1 rifle, maybe a “Jap gun” captured from “some dead Jap” and donated by “some GI” (before the customs guys could get him, looting the enemy without paying the import taxes).

The guns were on display in big glass cases, some were labeled, with names not relevance.  No “D-Day guns”, no “Pearl Harbor shells” (meaning artillery shells, not “puka” shells).  I’ve mentioned the Nevada Silver (from the battleship USS Nevada), kept in the mint room, away from the guns, not like at Pearl Harbor, or maybe like at Pearl Harbor, kept safe from looting, or melting (down) in the fires below decks.

I thought that they would show newsreels about WW II in movie theaters forever.  The war had been “long over” by 1955, but still they showed them; again and again, each new movie, more old footage.  A movie was “newsreels”, and a cartoon or two.  Not just “ads” and “previews” (called ‘trailers’ now for some strange reason, maybe because a trailer is always in front of a ‘truck’).   I don’t think that anyone younger than the “war baby” generation has ever seen a newsreel in a movie theater.  Probably never seen a cartoon before a feature length cartoon (like Donald Duck before, ‘like’ Bambi).

The point of all this is that World War II is dying; it is disappearing before our eyes, and from our consciousness.  Those that knew and talked to “real veterans” of the fighting war are now getting old (too).  Few real veterans remain, few have much to offer, too many books, too many years of color footage shown on the History Channel, too many secrets spilled and stories told.  The “boomers” smile benignly at the ‘propaganda lies’ of the forties, they know too much and fought too little; the war was never ‘personal’ enough to cause hate against the Japanese or Germans or Italians even.  Too much Gidget, too many paper cranes.

For $500 I could have a bigger library collection on World War II than most real libraries.  Original maps, official military histories, Time-Life editions, scholarly authors by the dozens.  I could own my own copies of all the Victory at Sea series, all the “great war photographs”, books about Rosy and Henry Ford and Lindbergh.  Books on military aircraft that doesn’t fly (anymore) and pictures of V-2 rockets that still do, but don’t because they’re not in any museums.   Has anyone done a diorama of the London Blitz or the Warsaw uprising?  Probably yes, and probably buried in dust and rot by now, stored in crates in attics above refurbished lecture halls in Cambridge or Oxford or Yale maybe, not academic enough, too graphic.

It’s all about the Gulf War now, no newsreels though.  There is a little about Vietnam maybe, for the “older” vets, books to make them remember, or to never let them forget.  Everyone else has forgotten.  $100 a night to sleep where John McCain slept (while a Prisoner of War), same complex, different “cell”, cell phone included this time, it’s not the same, or maybe it is.  Nostalgia sells, dial “2” for the past.  Instant connections, operators standing ‘buy’.  Buy the “Green Zone” now, it’s worth a billion bucks as a tourist destination for the grandchildren of Gulf War Vets, maybe a better bet (yet) would be Fullajah, more blood, more money, higher rates for rooms, rides in a “Humvee” only $500 for 5 minutes (like a B-17 ride now, at $1,000 per hour).

By the year 2068 (or so) it will be over.  World War II will be as relevant as the 30 Years War (seems now); the Gulf War as forgotten as General Stillwell and “the Burma campaign” (is now).  Library sales will offer books about Bush for the price of the value of the recyclable fiber content (about like now).  The only “trick” of course is for this “hard fought” planet and its people to make it to that date, 2068.  It took Germany the better part of 200 years to “come back” from the 30 years war.  The US hasn’t even “come back” from the Civil War yet, much less from World War II.

There are two things that are unquestionably “American”; corn and Coke.  Corn was unique to America, a native plant grown and eaten by native peoples.  One did not “drink” corn; now because of “corn syrup” (in everything) almost everybody “drinks corn”.  Now ‘they’ want automobiles to “drink corn”.  Say “NO”!, just say “no”.  Coke is the “definitively American” drink, the oldest ‘known’ brand name.  “Coke” says “America” louder and more pervasively than any other word; all four letters.  The advertising insists “Drink Coke”.  That’s the past; most people “bury it”, (plant) it under mounds of landfill, unrecycled, trash in a world consumed and buried by “trash”.  The water (content) of Coke is recycled and flows to the sea (in most cases).  The bottles are buried; planted in dirt, where there will be no beneficial harvest.  Few corporations are as disrespectful of peoples and nations in their business practices as is Coca-Cola.  It is an unimaginably  wasteful and totally unnecessary product.

This is about the time (and the point) when I make a very clever ‘loop’ back to tie war and Stillwell together with Carson and Coke and corn and Kansas or at least ethanol and nuclear rockets (meaning nuclear bombs on rockets; powered by ethanol).  The “synopsis”; “Plant Corn, Eat Corn (and other good foods)”; the rest is rubbish (meaning war, weapons, advertising, and “you decide”).

[2008.02.25 / Monday – Drink Corn, Plant Coke]

December Song

February 16th, 2008

~ The world was born on December 31, 1969.

Every day I write, every day I read (except for ‘fallow’ periods).  I do this in search of something; a new idea, a new notion, a thought that might inspire or focalize or transform thought, might change the course of history or of the past or of the present even.  It’s a familiar theme (Word Press is the theme provider for this blog), you’ve read it here before, and elsewhere, it’s what writers do to reach out for readers.

Worlds In Collision, a movie once, a book before it.  The idea is that some smaller piece of “what’s out there” comes arching in at this, the larger piece “of what’s out there” and “BOOM”, “When World’s Collide”.  The “theme” is always, “I should’ve seen it coming”.  More “eyes to the skies”; bigger telescopes, better radar, thicker lenses on glasses, bionic eyes or better bionic eyes.  “BOOM” can’t be good.  But “boom” and I found what I had only guessed at, the date that everything began, no Bible necessary, ‘Big Bang’ (theory, it really is THEORY) is wrong, no light years, no millenniums away.  I’ve got the date.  It was just 38 years ago (and 47 days).  What a relief, things are much simpler now (having found the “truth”).

The good news is that, among other things, I’ve lost a few years.  The pounds certainly will follow.  Let me explain.  “Eat less and the fat melts away”; strike that, I meant to explain about “the years” not the lbs..  The point is that if my “memory” started at about age six or seven (when I learned to read and write), I could not be more than 45 (years of age) if the “world started” on December 31, 1969.  “Started” is always relatively relative, like in the big bang (theory), how long did the matter sit around before it ‘exploded’?  Probably sat in “anti-time”, “off the clock” stuff, doesn’t count, no referee.  Wait for the buzzer and then “BANG” everything starts fair and square, except without the “square” and wit no “moral judgement”, nothing “fair” about the ‘big bang’, just happened one day when there wasn’t a “day”.

I was going to explain things, not confuse ‘you’ (meaning ‘me’).  It all started back in 1818, early “Backlund Roots”, guy changed his name, wanted to be “modern”, have a “last” name and all, so the family name might ‘last’; chose “Wallstrom”, some spelled it with one ‘l’ (Walstrom), which seems pretty silly since people would not worry too much about spelling (correctly) 190 years later.  (Spellchek:  Do you mean “Hailstorm, maelstrom, or Walton?”)  I’ll go with ‘hailstorm’, less damage (perhaps).  Any way, A good way to pick up readers is always to get into genealogy for awhile; people love looking up names, especially of dead (meaning “now they’re safe”) relatives.  They’re “less trouble” (I’m quoting from an LDS certified researcher here).  If you’re LDS these ‘dead’ people come back and talk to you (yes, I am serious, ‘they’ say this).  Cell phones are not necessary.  No “anytime minutes” need be used.  And to think you could have voted for Mitt Romney (once).

I guess that it’s the “no bill” angel that makes talking to dead people “less trouble”.  I’m not LDS, talking to ‘dead’ people would be ‘big trouble’ for me.  Stalin must be really, really mad about Gorby; needs to talk to Putin, ‘right-a-way’.  But I waver.  I’m talking (I’m not dead “yet”) and the topic is “my relatives”; living and ‘passed on’.  The “LDS Way” is to write all this stuff up as a “family” story.  The “Papa” is always the center and then the wife joins in and the children (usually many children), then the children go on ‘missions’ (no ‘girls’ allowed) and then the boys reunite with the girls and start a new “Papa Family”.  Did I say that only males can “lead” or “head” the Church?

I have LDS relatives.  Most people do.  I love them, kind people (often, not always).  Thrifty, hard-working, need work on bathrooms in Utah though; rent Porta-potties at the state line if you’re driving through Utah, you’ll be glad you did.  Some things never change.  Anyway, a lot of people do NOT like genealogy because the Mormons (LDS folks really) dominate so much of genealogy.  The LDS Church library could have proved that Hitler was really Jewish, probably had the records for the whole “high command”; anyone has always been allowed into the LDS library (even in 1933).  Charts and graphs of names, family stories, names of “Papa” and the many mothers, the longest lists in the world possibly; except for the Arabic records (perhaps).  Ask Mitt (phone now) or later (no phone necessary, maybe).

I don’t do genealogy the Mormon way.  I have my own forms, never abbreviate (we really don’t use typewriters anymore, cut & paste is SO EASY and SO FAST).  I try to see each PERSON as a story, as each person goes through their many husbands (sometimes) with no children (sometimes).  These are important people too; have a place in heaven (Not just “big bang, you’re dead”).  To create each “story” I reconstruct their life, working with known dates and known places and known history about those places (at the appropriate time they lived there).  I take rambling stories (sometimes of other relatives) and break these stories down, arrange the parts by date (or probable date) and line them up (by date) in my computer.  Add a little real history from a little reading and “Bing”, a “whole life” begins to unfold, the ‘dead’ really can speak, but not so much in a ‘Mormon’ manner.

I decided to “share” some of these lives with “you”.  By ‘you’ I mean those who might be interested in their family past, in a real history of real people before the politicians and Yankees rewrote it all, changed the “facts”, distorted the preferences and priorities, rewrote ‘history’ to suit their goals and ways.  It’s interesting stuff (some of it).  The names are links to other sources, letters lost (sometimes), photographs found, I’ve seen it happen (by letter and by the web), and by phone too (but not the ‘dead calling the dead’, there there is “no answer”.)  You decide.

Everything (almost) is written in the present tense, like a post, like posts from the past sometimes, real though, factual.  Documents and sources are important, can be provided, no “Aunt Millie said” unless one knows her whole and real name, and knows she’s real credible.  My grandmother was quite the genealogist; Hemme Naratte Backlund was her name, many different spellings for her middle name, parents too far from Sweden, English school marms far too ENGLISH (and American) to tolerate “foreign” kids in their class, wanted to change everything (which means “everything about ‘Hemmie’ ”), today her name would be made to be “Hemi” as in “Dodge” and not as in Swedish for “Home”.

She went back to Sweden, learned Swedish to do it; wanted to research the old records in the Churches, read the gravestones, search for family (that she had never met), write the names, search for stories.  Some projects take many generations working together, learning passed on, memory kept alive, the lesson of life as a struggle, for a reason, not just about money (money seldom answers the phone).  I tried a simple sample entry; the war of 1812 (people) converging on 2008 (people).  I opened Word Press, set the date, January 00, 1818, copied in the ‘Entry’.  Closed the “Write a post”.  Opened “Qala Bist”.  To the left of other words there was an ‘arch’ (Archives: “1818”).  I clicked….   Ruins., just ruins.

The ‘Entry Date’ was December 31, 1969.  Word Press can’t “imagine” a world any older.  X’ers are everywhere it seems, fighting back at “Woodstock Nation”, eliminating it from the Blogsphere, no diary entries from 1969 need appear; history starts at New Year’s (eve), when you’re six or seven, or two or three, write something worth remembering….  “This is my ‘first’ New Year, I am six now”.

“The Strange Part” is that “archives” accepted the ‘1818’, when the ‘dateline’ would not.  Of course America can’t be “working”, even a simple date can’t be “set”, everything has become “political”.  Did I say I never went to Woodstock?  I am not the enemy.  Wallstrom is not the enemy.  Sweden is ‘neutral’ now.  GMC will sell Saab (maybe).  But this is a “chicken little liver” way to “kill the past” (or try to); no dignity, no value, no honor.  It is just skulking around in “denial” thinking you’ll never end up floating through Cairo on your way to Alexandria and the big broad-band break in the sea.

Envision if you will “armies of the dead” rising, marching, taking arms (two usually), to take arms (or armfuls) of words and hopes and dreams and memories to the doors (or portals) of  WordPress saying in one mighty voice, “Give Us Voice”, we lived, we live, we shall not die (from memory).  “Erase the Line” (of 1969), we will be heard, and “heard in our own time” (meaning with correct dates, of course).  “Blogging is for Everybody!”  “You would have to be dead to deny that obvious fact.”  (Bringing up once again the question of who’s really alive and who is really ‘dead’).

I have a choice (obviously).  I can enter all the info under the 12 / 31 / 1969 default date, archived by (correct) year, linked a hundred times to this post, highlited by a paragraph of how “Zombie” WordPress really is; OR I can let the ‘dead’ speak for themselves, the LDS ones won’t use cell phones (I hear), the others might be just “wisps of white”, doors creaking, shutters banging in the wind, a poor excuse for words of wisdom posted on the web, but perhaps convincing none the less.  You (at wordpress) may decide.  But I must go now; I hear a clatter (or a ‘chatter’) on my hard-drive, it’s late, I need my sleep.  A “December Song”, or a lullaby?  I’m shutting down now.  Are you listening?

Good night.

[2008.02.16 / Saturday – December Song]


February 15th, 2008

~ Fallow ground, fallow words, fallow spaces.

Sunday (or Saturday, or Friday in Afghanistan) is “the day of rest”.  ‘Blue laws’ are predicated on the concept that somehow government should be involved in the religious wisdom inherent in the concept of “rest”.  Generally ‘government’ doesn’t care about “rest”.  There are no laws about how many hours or days or weeks one can work, or must work to support a life or a family.  Sometimes there are “laws” about ‘overtime’ pay; but no laws restricting time one actually must work.  Government seems to assume that “there is no rest for the wicked” and that its citizens must be “wicked” as they are not entitled (by law) to rest.

The move west was generally a search for a better climate and a better “soil”.  Often the two were found together, as in California where vast fertile valleys were “blessed” with an exceptional and salubrious climate.  The climate benefited both the health of the crops and the crop growers.  In other areas of the west “where the skies are not cloudy all day” there were often seasons, ‘mother natures’ way of forcing the ground to be “fallow” for a season (or two) each year, to take three to six months “off”, to “rest”.

It might be argued that the ‘great minds’ that founded this ‘great country’ were mindful of God and mother nature and the seasonality of the rural agriculture of the surrounding “rural east” and so did not think that “a time of rest” was a right that was necessary to elucidate or illuminate in “The Bill of Rights”.  They were wrong; that is if they were even “mindful”, if they even gave thought to “rest” in the scheme of things, if they ever even heard of “fallow ground”.  If they read their Bible they would have known that even “rest” needs “rest”; not a ‘rest’ from ‘rest’, but a rest on top of rest, a seventh year of rest during which even the work season of the soil is put to rest, not unlike the concept of “a month of Sundays”.

When I was young most of California’s valleys were still more field than suburb.  The rich soil and rich climate were used for the good of the earth, or at least for the people of the earth, the sun and the soil grew food for people to eat, not just to “grow” more people that could eat, ‘what?’.   Things of course had already begun to change (in the 1950’s); valleys were being increasingly filled in by dams that filled them with water.  Valleys were being filled in by houses (tracts of sameness) that took advantage of the cheap level dirt of the orchards and fields and farms and pastures.  It was called the “highest and best use” of land to grow people on it instead of food; food land would need to be fallow (for a season) ‘people land’ would never need rest, “Jack” could be made to be a very ‘dull’ boy, work and work and endless work; why not?

I grew up learning to look at “the spaces”.  Maybe it was a ‘Nevada thing”.  People from the east and from California would often look at Nevada at say, “look at all that big empty space”.  I saw sagebrush.  I saw pinion pine (trees) and manzanita and long eared jack rabbits and quail families.  I saw foot tall red ant piles of small granite gravel and twenty foot tall piles of granite boulders; ponderosa pine, valley cottonwoods.  I could not make out the “empty spaces”; kept my mouth shut mostly.

There are two kinds of people it seems (sometimes).  The one kind counts things by what has been built, what has been changed, by houses and factories on the one hand and by fields of food and orchards of nuts and citrus on the other.  The ‘other kind’ sees things as they are and asks if what is created by “change” will be better.  I never saw the “forests primeval” that covered the eastern states, Ohio, the areas that they now often call “the mid west” (really the East).  Maybe the current suburban blight, the malls, the factory towns dieing, the parking lots are all so much better.  Maybe it is better to have a million people who know (or don’t even know) what they have lost (as a people) than to have 100,000 still alive and still enjoying an earlier and better life.

I grew up with images of the “Cities of the Future”.  Some came from science, some from Science Fiction.  They are now, in both cases, FICTION.  No great architect is dreaming of designing great cities of the future that gobble vast resources to “just build” the dream.  It always was a dream, sleep time fantasy, like ‘peaceful uses of nuclear energy’ that can power aircraft through the skies and provide emergency power for hospitals in disaster areas like New Orleans.  Lets borrow $100 trillion dollars to put a glass dome over Manhattan so it can be “acclimatized” to be like Palo Alto (California).  Let’s get Lucas Films on the project, Disney maybe, reopen Epcot as an adjunct to Tomorrow land.

The only thing about “tomorrow” that Disney was right about was the size and configuration of the parking lot (at Disneyland).  It was huge; it didn’t work; it made one want to go back into “the park” where a “just pretend” tomorrow, and adventure, and frontier, and fantasy would “land” like some UFO in Roswell (New Mexico).   The problem with Disneyland was always that it had no ‘permanent’ residents.  Any kid of five could figure that one out; “you” can’t live in Disneyland, it’s just a dream, no science or real “imagineering” to make it happen.  Nobody ever really ‘voted’ for Mickey (Mouse); the Lincoln that one can watch and see will never be shot, never die, never lived.

You probably have figured out where this whole post is going.  You’re right!  They really need to close Disneyland (in Anaheim) for a full year, lock the locks, chain off the parking lots, let the whole thing “fallow”.  The stock market might be (should be) next.  It’s had a ‘good’ run for 77 years or so; it owes us an even 11 (years) “off”, sleep time, rest, reinvigorate the land, replenish the soil.  Give “us” a break.  The list goes on (perhaps).  Tuesdays could be the “no fly day”; airports close, remember 9/11 or remember what the earth was like when only birds flew and man (woman) was not so vain; not so hurried.  It would save some oil (use it for aspirin when the planes start “gassing up” again).

I grew up in a 24/7/365 society; ’a go go; everything always go, go, go.  No rest, no stop, no off switch on the light (switch).  This is the only future that was ever “planned” by politicians, bankers, and other planners; this is “Tomorrow land”.  Use it up, throw it away, nothing ever left to “fallow” (or left fallow).

If I were political I would start by bringing the Blue Laws back.  This time it would be on Friday (the day of no “business”, only rest).  Make life easier for the Afghans (among us); a ‘reaching out’ to other cultures by sharing ‘our’ culture (cultural past).  No wall market open, no wal mart, no gas stations, no hardware stores or home depot.  Life like it was in the 1950’s, like the GI Generation lived it, like during the “post-war prosperity” like it was when America had a moral spine and Walt Disney went to church.

American society loves to define people by “what they do”.  Of equal importance is “what they do not do”.   It is like “seeing the spaces”, “watching for the holes”, “seeing what is not there” (and what really IS there).  A person is not “what they do”; it is “who they are”.  The world is not in a crisis because of “not doing”; the crisis is caused by too many people doing too much, especially doing things that “cost too much (to do, or in the doing)”.

[2008.02.15 / Friday – Fallow]


February 7th, 2008

~ Hoarding history, and remembering that God is NOT an Englishman.

Litchfield, Connecticut is up in that part of northwestern Connecticut where every little town is about ten or fifteen miles (or less) from the next little town.  It’s where Kevin Phillips lives or used to live or more probably has always lived.  They don’t like “new comers” in that part of “New” England; it’s for the “old bloods” that think they are “blue” bloods; but not the “blue” colored people that are always being depicted in ancient paintings and prints from ancient (and modern) India.  The “blues” represent the best of India (in tradition), the original Aryans from a time when Aryan meant civilization and wisdom and fairness and compassion and everything that it didn’t represent when Adolph Hitler and his gang decided to hijack the entire nation of Germany.

Kevin Phillips is a republican, worked for Nixon, is a neighbor of William Buckley; at least from a western perspective where in a lot of cases ones nearest neighbor is ten or more miles away; enough distance where one doesn’t need “good fences” to get along, or old crumbling stone walls like they build in Connecticut, or preserve for the sake of history and tradition.  They don’t build the walls there anymore; no need I suppose, they don’t farm there anymore.  The soil is “dirt poor”, mostly rocks and rock and, well, rock.  The early ‘farmers’ would try and remove all the rock from a field so that they might get a crop in or a crop out eventually.  The rocks went to the side (of the field), like a small “plot” by western standards.  The walls got higher and wider and wider and higher; growing over each hungry year, a vain search for soil, maybe enough dirt to dig for potatoes (like the Irish ate).  Finally all the smart ones (meaning residents) left and found better diggings elsewhere, better soil, better farms, a better climate.  The “farms” (pathetic small plots of poverty) were abandoned; Connecticut turned to “industry” and “factories” and “factory labor” where men, women, and children could all suffer together in the daily grind of industry driven by the grinding wheels of water wheels churning out desperate and broken corpses of humanity.

This is of course not the “local history” (version); not the “tradition” of New England that is fondly remembered, written about, extolled.  This is however the best of “Yankee” ingenuity.  Born of a part of the world where it is hard to get more “Yankee”.  They should take the whole surrounding area and make one “Nevada” sized state (the size of state that states ought to be) and call it “Yankee”, so someone could say, “I am from Yankee” (and not ‘New England’) and one would know what one was really talking about.

‘Yankee’ is really English as in England.  Yankee is not India; not like living in India, not like being Indian, not like being close to the roots of civilization, or God, or “the Gods”, or even the Ganges (which is one incredible miracle of a river, scientific fact).  The English (Brits I call them, sometimes) always felt superior, felt like they were, “God’s gift to the World”, they even seemed to really believe that, “God is an Englishman.”  No wonder so many across the globe have lost their faith in “God”.  Based on the British there is not much justice or mercy or compassion or wisdom or even intelligence in heaven.  There certainly is no heart there (per ‘example’).  And I guess the soil is pretty poor too; to say nothing of the cooking and cuisine; which is why the English seem pretty anxious to describe heaven as just a “spirit” place, nothing physical, no rocks to roll, no greasy spoon type meals of breaded bullock, lambs head stew, or twice dead dumplings.

I guess Kevin Phillips has written a lot of books, I haven’t run across them, no need.  I did “run across” a copy of American Theocracy though (copyright 2006).  I have a neighbor who used to ‘build bombs’ (Nukes) for the government (no not the Iranian government, the USA government).  He is a “true believer”, he believes in “history”, old style, like Washington (“for God & Country”) and cherry trees and little boys with axes when “Country” was ENGLAND, making him a real patriot or a real traitor; at least he betrayed his childhood (loyalties).  Most of (US old style) history is written by New England “intellectuals” and book publishers; they live in New England, went to school in New England, teach in New England, or send their books to “Oxford” or “Yale” or “Harvard” or “Boston” or “New York” to be published; boring.

These people know nothing (next to nothing) about India, except the British Colonial part.  They know nothing about the American Indians either (except that there are no longer any Indians in Connecticut, at least not “to speak of” as in to speak of what ‘we’ did to them).  They see the west (the Great American West) as a great “pleasuring ground”, a national park and recreation area for summer visits and “college outings” where one might “visit”, but certainly would not “spend a lifetime”.  The Yankees pretty much “hate” the Germans, the Japanese, the Poles, the fact that there are poles, the Russians, the Africans, the Indians of all “stripes”, the Burmese (if they knew who they were), the Congolese (because they still think the Belgium Congo exists)….  The list goes on.  Hawaii and Alaska are too far away (from “Yankee”) to even care about (much); except for the polar bears maybe.

The point is that they see everything as if England and then New England is and always was (or should have been) at the center of the universe.  They write that way; extending their narrow little “local history” perspective out into the world as if it were “history”, the only history, the real history; recite it like “the apostles creed” of the Anglican Church (or the Episcopal Church), the one true and only “Church”, Lutherans and Baptists beware, Mormons (LDS) be damned, Amen (they seem to say).  Not that they (the New Englanders) are particularly religious in a religion sort of way.  Generally they are not.  It is more like the perspective of, “if there were to be a valid religion I know what it would look like, my ancestors tried it, it didn’t work, but I still “take ownership” of it.”  (meaning often and literally still “owning” often unused pews in the local steeple houses.)

When the Japanese occupied Korea about 1916 (until 1946) (30 years, about), they stripped the nation of its culture and its history.  The occupation was brutal beyond belief.  New Japanese names for every city, every street, almost every person.  Japanese history was taught, people were taught to “be” and to “become” Japanese, but at the same time being told that they were not, never could be (“good enough”).   After “liberation” (accomplished by killing 20,000 Koreans with a US nuclear A-Bomb; the Koreans were ‘held captive’ in Hiroshima as slave laborers) the Koreans rediscovered their own history; family and national.
They embraced it; they glorified in each and every moment of it, all 5,000 years of it.

Most Americans should be so lucky.  For most Americans the “English and New England” text is still the rote; too often memorized, internalized, believed, swallowed without critique or criticism or questioning or questions.  One of these guys wrote today, Jonah Goldberg, says he’s a “Syndicated Columnist”; I have no reason to doubt that he is; I read him in the “west” and he reads no one in the “east” that is from the “west”, no “CBS Evening News from DENVER”, no “Montgomery Street News (for Wall Street) published in San Francisco”.  No “World Trade Supertowers” of Seattle.  The occupation continues.  Money flows east, not west.  A thousand “investment vehicles” collect the local dollars, wealth, and history and send it east for packaging and repackaging; like Korean fish being resold in Korea with Japanese labels on board.   Some call it “Empire”; others call it simply “Greed”.

The name “Clayton” is an English name; came down on my father’s side.  My grandfather married a Boomhower (Boomhaver), good German family, my mother was a quarter (maybe) Irish.  Mr. German (Boomhower) married an English girl (Sherman), family from Connecticut, relative signed the Declaration of Independence, statute in Statutory Hall (in the US Capitol), branches to the ‘Mayflower’ (all properly recorded), same Sherman (family) that burned Atlanta (I apologize, but I didn’t do it).  The “Claytons” gave up on England and New England a long, long time ago.  Everybody moved west and then went west.  Glad to do it; no family trees with roots growing in the “old country” (of New England), no soil good enough, shallow roots trying to suck sustenance from rock (Plymouth and others in barren plots), it doesn’t work, move on, move west.

My son considers himself “European Mutt”; not “Blue blood” but “mixed blood”; as we all are really.  America is not just ‘European’, we’re from Africa and Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East, even from North America 10,000 years ago.  If we aren’t we should wish we really were; there’s a bigger history out there (than New England or England alone can ever know).  Kevin and Jonah and my nuclear neighbor can have “their” history, can compare notes, can read each other and each others works; that’s fine.  I’m happy for them, not so happy about where it might lead them.  I care, even if they don’t.  But I have “my” history too, my local localities, my world that reaches from Carson to Kabul; Singapore to Seoul; Salisbury (Connecticut) to San Francisco (with a few stops in-between, as Rodman Serling might say).  On the historic road some portions meld, others branch, other roads lead to what are simply different, but equal “other roads”.   There is no monopoly on “civilized” or “civilization”, one persons “tradition” may be another’s “enslavement”; “yankee ingenuity” isn’t looking quite so ingenious anymore, a lot of it was just plain “dumb”.  Thought you should know.

The world is on a headlong rush to “local realities”, “local communities” of people; doing things, building, making decisions “locally” with a touch of regionalism, regional autonomy tossed in.  Empire is the past; it’s so “old style”, doesn’t ‘make it’ anymore.  There will be a thousand, thousand stories (or more) of the “unraveling”, the transition from “central think” to a world community of communities; equal communities each with an equal say over their own lives; cooperating not competing, no “hate” involved, no need to conquer and destroy, no arms or armies, no need for war.  Utopian dreams suitable for an emerging Utopia (perhaps); I would just call it “Planet Earth”, people on board.  New Style.

We may not make it (there) though.  You decide.  It really is up to ‘you’; and to all the other “you” out there.  But it does not matter what all the others do; their lives and their decisions are not really in your hands.  Your life and your decisions are in your hands.  That’s all you need to know; big responsibility.  Like I do, you might care about what happens to “all the others”, to the planet, to the earth tomorrow.  What I believe is that the best road there (to a good tomorrow) is if each person plans and prepares their own road the best they can, honestly, with effort, and without greed.

[2008.02.07 / Thursday – Greed]

The Twilight Zone

February 4th, 2008

~ The check’s in the mail, “In the Twilight Zone”.

I used to watch the Twilight Zone on television in the spring of 1958 when I was living in Washington DC.  My parents had decided to move the television set to the basement.  There had been an incident over the holidays or just before the holidays or some time soon after.  There are some things that one just doesn’t want to remember, one tries to forget, but the incident is just “there”, defies time, just sits there somewhere in the Twilight Zone ‘waiting for you’ and an introduction by Rod Serling.

Where to begin?  I might begin by saying that my parents were married in 1938; in Sacramento, California; during the depression, in the month of March.  They both worked for the government, for the State of California, grateful to have jobs, grateful to be working.  There were not too many “extras” in their life; no money for “extras”, hoped for a radio for a wedding present, neither one owned one.  It was the depression.  It was depressing (how little many people had).  My parents (though I wasn’t born yet, not even conceived) weren’t depressed though; could live a whole lifetime if need be without owning a radio.  More important things seemed more important.

There wasn’t ‘color’ television yet (in 1958) in Washington.  Actually there probably was, but I didn’t know about it, and my friends didn’t know about it.  Somebody off in New York City probably had it, experimental broadcasts to experimental sets that cost $700 (US) and weren’t worth much more than the status of owning such sets; which means they were worth about $3,000 (such a deal).  Our set (B&W) was worth about $32 which was still a lot of money then.  It was used, we bought it used, came with a bunch of furniture that my parents bought at a house sale of someone going overseas to work, to live, to live in a foreign country where there was no TV so one might as well sell all the furniture, life might not be worth living.

My father wasn’t (much) ‘into’ television; not as something one owned or watched.  He was on the ‘regulatory’ end, worked for the FCC (Federal Communications Commissions).  Third or fifth or something high up like that in the organization.  Appointed because of experience; designed TV towers and such in Reno (the first one for KOLO) and on Mount Rose / Slide Mountain (so that TV could come to Lake Tahoe and Carson City and maybe Minden even on a clear day with a good ‘bounce’.  We never had a TV in Carson though, no cathode ray-tube for us, ‘the boys’ could just fly kites, ride horses, feed the chickens (my job, my chickens); not watch the $64,000 question or that great classic television show called “Sky King”.  On Sunday’s (Sunday nights, evenings really) I would go across the street and watch Walt Disney on his “Presents” program.  One hour a week, enough TV for any nine year old (my parents thought, they may have been right).

My mother got an angel for a wedding present.  It was white, pure white porcelain, from Bavaria; a small statute made from a small mold intricately crafted with fine detail for the very fine clay that might someday be poured into this mold.  Twenty years later the company (Bavarian) was still in business, still making angels, still selling them in a few special stores, but white was out and the mold had become worn over the years; worn down perhaps, too much clay, too many times, too old to do anything but cast and recast (a new mold from the an old statute).  In either case not the “fine” work of the past, during the depression when people were grateful to have jobs (in Germany).

This one thing was probably my mother’s most valued possession.  Valued as only something can be by one that did not grow up rich, or grow up with lots of possessions.  She did neither.  It may be argued that one should not be “sentimental” about things; should see ‘things’ for what they are, fleeting or utilitarian, but not things to “have and to hold”.  Noble words, noble values, not always easily embraced.  Good advice sometimes hard to follow (in ones personal life, perhaps).  It’s hard to imagine the depth of my mother’s attachment to this ‘angel’; my older brother’s knew more than I, may have known about it being a wedding gift, from whom, and how.  I didn’t.  I thought of it more like Tinker Belle (perhaps, maybe not just that), or “The Littlest Angel” like in the fairy tale; images get confused; sentiment, symbol, and history all wrapped together, molded together even, in a mold.

Before the basement, the television set was placed in the living room, on a small table, not really big enough for the “contraption” that served as an aerial or ‘antenna’ as they now call it.  TV reception was a fairly dicey thing in the 1950’s; static frequently punctuated just about every program, an electronic haze of electrons from sunspots, electrical discharges, power surges, ham operators, a thousand things not fully understood except by the FCC that was investigating all these things, ready to make recommendations, trying to sort out the signals so that “crystal clear reception” could be the American mantra.  (I guess it happened finally, you decide.)

The winter was always the worst (time) for reception.  Signals going in and out, bad static taking out both the picture and the sound sometimes, like clouds of radio-active fallout from Nevada tests blowing over the nations airwaves; unseen energy from unseen sources making it difficult to see (the TV image).  It was a bad evening all around I guess; too much in the lima beans for dinner department, maybe a bad day at school from my teacher that thought “boys from the west” were too ignorant to learn anything; the schools were too second rate (this really was her opinion, told my parents even).  Anyway, I flung my hand against the contraption; tried to twirl the revolving aerial around, so that it might catch a better picture (in its flight).

A few things that perhaps you should know.  First the aerial contraption had a roundish base made out of bakelite (an early type of plastic).  Out of this base extended an aluminum pole that served more or less like a wave-guide; at the top of this pole (at right angles) was mounted a spring-coil type aluminum tube, like a long bedspring mounted on top of two metal straws stacked end to end on top of each other.  You’re probably not seeing this thing yet; it doesn’t matter; they don’t make these things anymore, never should of ever.  Anyway, they were a very unbalanced idea; looked great “on paper” in some science lab, good shape according to the marketing department (“space-age” look even), nobody ever thought about real life, kids watching television, bad “hair days” type nights, static electricity coursing through the carpet (and the hands).  An adult (viewer) would have patience with the wazzou picture, wait for a commercial, wait five years for a ‘network rerun’, be content with the ‘miracle of television’ and not expect a picture, or even sound, knowing it is ‘the set’ that really matters (as in the status of just owning ‘a set’).

I protest too much. It’s still a bit painful (almost 50 years after the fact; 50 years later).  The circular spring-type tube swung round, the picture got better for a moment (for one brief moment of hope), then the whole thing fell over, bakelite base upended, rolled across the top of the TV set; searching for the table where it might have been, but where it didn’t work (at all).  Oh, I forgot one thing; the angel was kept on top of the TV too, the ceramic angel, the 1938 porcelain angel that was a wedding gift more than 20 years before, irreplaceable now, delicate as it delicately crashed to the hard and uncarpeted floor below (with a soft crash even).

My mother found the missing wing after ten minutes of searching after she got home later that night.  Glue could reattach the severed head; a finger or a hand would never be the same, but all the pieces were somehow found.  It took patient work with special glue and a straight pin as an applicator one tiny drop after tiny drop at a time; seems like it took hours.  The repair really took days.  I was grounded of course; no television forever; which turned out to be about a full month (only).  But the offer was the basement or nothing.  I accepted; braved the spiders and unknown lurking creatures, bundled against the chill, made friends with the cinder block and the concrete floor, made myself comfortable on the old springs of an old bedspring cot made ready for the occasion.  A basement can be a friendly place, OK for television (watching), better than nothing, learned a lesson.

In the afternoon after school there were Popeye cartoons, a little Felix, some Betty Boop.  The Mousketeers were on, Annette and the gang, mouse ear caps, you know the drill, I guess the stuff is still on (copyright 2005), Disney.  It’s all about “Roy” now; “Walt” is dead.  In the evening, once a week, I watched the Twilight Zone; stumbled on it one ‘day’, turned the set on mid program, watched a little, liked it, like kids do with TV shows, don’t own a watch, upstairs kitchen and clock and all.  Watched the program until I moved away that summer (summer of 1958), back to Carson City, back to where there was no television in ‘my’ house; sold the set in Washington, more stations, better reception (that was the claim).

As you may remember from various earlier posts I moved from Carson City to Kabul in April of 1959.  There was of course no television at all in Afghanistan then.  In the summer of 1960 I moved to Korea, on a military base, watched AFKN TV (one channel, signed off at 11:00 each night, played the Stars Spangled Banner first).  I talked to friends about the old and early Twilight Zone episodes that I had watched in DC; talked like kids talk, when they talk about things they know, memories, days past; like “going back”, Episode #5 “Walking Distance”, on the Twilight Zone.

In case you’re not an expert, not a Twilight Zone buff and haven’t figured this all out by now: Episode #5 first ‘aired’ on October 30, 1959.  Evidently there was no Twilight Zone (on the air) in 1958.  Rod serling would talk about, “a kid, liked television, only the imagination can offer what might be worth watching; ‘in the Twilight Zone’”.  I find none of this particularly amusing though; will search the web for hints of “pilot tests” shown in the Washington DC market; may write the archives, look up copies of the Washington Star (newspaper), television listings; may “waste” a lot of time, seeking a “way back” (as in Episode #54 “The Odyssey of Flight 33” (February 24, 1961).  Any other TV “program” and it wouldn’t matter, I would walk away, not post about it probably, not care.

It may have been “just” Rod Serling, Playhouse 90 program, same face, same mystery format.  But I remember the cave (like the basement), the stars with funny legs (like the TV aerial a bit), the cigarette always there (my parents did not smoke, it bothered me being in a program that I liked so much).  But I have another theory (for now).  This all came up you see because of the “tax rebate”, the promise that “the check is in the mail” or will be soon.  The president says “buy things” or the whole nation will go down the ‘tubes’; so I bought a box set (40% off) off the ‘best’ of the tube – the Twilight Zone, old episodes from ‘my’ youth.  Borders had the coupon (for the 40%).  My wife said “go”; (she smiled).

I’m not sure now that the check will ever be in the mail.  Life imitates art.  When a nation lives its life watching television, it is only reasonable that life will become like television, like the Twilight Zone.  Welcome aboard.  It’s going to be a very interesting season.  I know; I lived it just 50 years ago; Episode #1 just ahead….  “In the Twilight Zone.”

[2008.02.05 / Tuesday – The Twilight Zone]

February 4th, 2008

~ National Headquarters, Shy Anna.

In yesterday’s post I misspelled Hannah Montana; I left out the second “H”.  I don’t think it matters.  It’s probably up there with putting an extra space in “Shyanna”; maybe there should have been an “H” at the end; “Shyannah”.  Probably a girls name too (Shyanna); probably the “leader” of the Paul Anka Fan Club; probably just all “made up”, no real girl, no real “teen idol”, no real “star”, just “Puppy Love”.

Most Boomers have ‘ventured’ back to the sounds of the Big Bands, the sounds of their parents (or grandparents), the music that made their life and colored their days with lyrics and laughter; harmony and melody, before there was “Apple” and “I-Pods”.  I think most Boomers have an appreciation and a certain respect for the Big Band sounds, no generational war now, just music.  Play it again (Sam).  On the other hand I just don’t see too many X’ers or “Why” Generation folks listening to Paul Anka music, Paul Anka “hits”.  X’ers (especially) love their dogs, love to buy puppies, probably just don’t ever buy “Puppy Love”.  It isn’t their thing, won’t ever be “their” thing.

At the library sale last month I was standing in line, in the cold, waiting to buy my ticket in ($1 admission to ‘watch books’).  People talk to keep warm, talk to each other, talk is warming in a cold world; which may explain the “cell phone” phenomena; ‘green-house’ warming falling a little short on keeping people warm as half the population of China knows so well this week.  When the electrical grid fails, heaters won’t work, coal supplies dwindle, I guess everyone in China reaches for their cell phones to keep them warm.  It was “love” to keep one warm for the GI Generation; time moves on.  Is “talk” cheap anymore?

Anyway, the guy next to me (a little older “than me”) was very interested in the Hannah Montana thing; knew nothing about who she (or it) was, not a clue about what “it” was all about.  He probably knew all about Paul Anka; we didn’t talk about Paul Anka though, no point, cold topic, getting warmer was the point (of our talking).  I shared everything I knew (about Hanna); took about 12 seconds, big pause, I said “big thing” (meaning Ms. Montana), moved on (into the library, and the “sale”).  Inside is where I found the Paul Anka album, for two bits, what the heck, there’s never too much 50’s stuff there, albums from the 40’s Big Band era and the 60’s rock and revolution era music, people cling to their 50’s stuff like fresh plastic Saran wrap fresh off a roll.

I think only girls bought Elvis albums, Bobby Darin albums, and Paul Anka albums in the 50’s.  Boys bought Buddy Holly and a few bought Tex Ritter for some reason.  Boys favored girls who were fairly tangible.  Girls (most it seemed) favored boys that were intangible, remote, an impossible “dream” (‘boat’, a term used then as in, “he’s such a “dream boat”).  Girls would “go to bed” hugging album covers, music inside.  Each album had the address for the “Fan Club” address.  No web then to find out where Hannah Montana was hanging out, no E-Mail “I luv U’s”.  Just real letters, long, tear-filled pouring out aching thoughts from an aching heart, aching to hear another song, “written just for me”.

Boys in the fifties were just as imaginative in coming up with equally perfect ways of wasting time as the girls; just as “liberated”, capable of being just as “silly”.  I’m sure that some great music mogul at Sony or at Time-Warner could dig into the warehouses and come up with a hundred thousand or seventeen million love-letters to teen-age recording stars, sort out a few hundred, publish them as a book, and make a small bundle.  “This is the way we were”; “love letters from the 50’s”, “loving you”, Paul Anka (and others).  Then everyone would know why it is absurd to even think of voting for Hillary Clinton.

What is great about all the blogging (of the younger generation that does 95% of all the blogs) is that they are recording an individual history, a history of themselves and their generation that is not just captured by one photograph, one recorded event created by the media, one day assigned to be forever memorable as in “Kennedy Dead in Dallas” or “Mickey Mouse turns Fifty”.  The Boomers were not just Boomers; they were (and are) people too, individuals; not just “a generation”, a sameness, a same point of view or a “same problem”.  There are a lot of differences between “us” and among “us”.  We were treated as a ‘single generation’ by those hucksters with something to ‘sell’ (to us); our responses were often individual though, different, separate and unique or separate and the ‘same’ which was also often unique.

Hillary may have never ever even heard of Paul Anka; she may not have listened to Tex Ritter; she may not have ever joined the Elvis Presley Fan Club.  I don’t know; and I KNOW that you don’t know either; and that’s the problem (with Hillary).  The future is about a greater openness, a greater trust, fewer secrets, less secrecy.  Boomers were schooled in the art of keeping secrets and in the cult of secrecy; it comes naturally; it is hard (very hard) to be open, to ‘let go’, to ‘move on’ to the possibility of a new and better (more open) world.  As a generation Boomers are too versed in “image” and “imagery”; in being ‘cool’, in drawing lines between the “in crowd” and the “out crowd”; in boys are boys and girls are girls and she did that and he did thus and the whole idea that there is a difference between Republicans and Democrats (blame “Boomer Think”, there is no real difference, it’s just generational based rhetoric).  “We” learned it, “we” passed it on.  Not the real thing, just “Puppy Love”.

Anyway, it seems that just about all the Boomer childhood memories (the teen years stuff) had a Mafia connection, all the “idols” were plants, talent was based on ‘connections’ not something better, or more honest, it’s all over the web now, the owners of the clubs, the ‘music box’ industry, those that got the contracts (we’ll never hear from those that didn’t; that weren’t connected, the better talent with better songs and better lyrics; why did Buddy Holly die anniversary).

The “world” seems at sea today (a bit); discordant energy seeking equilibrium, time for thoughts not full paragraphs, for sentences not themes.  Vote for Obama tomorrow if you vote and for McCain if you are ‘old’.  A real old versus “young” election might be nice, better than Republicans and Democrats, black or white, girl or boy; just “the old fart” versus “the young hope”, an easy choice (war versus peace) “insider” versus “fresh air”.  I don’t trust politics or politicians of any stripe; don’t see a future in it, will not vote (when there’s no real choice).  But I like the symbol of Obama, what he is and what he isn’t.  I know he never slow-danced to Paul Anka (songs) and that is probably just enough for me.

[2008.02.04 / Monday – Puppy Love]

Just like yesterday

February 3rd, 2008

~ Yesterday was, “Just like yesterday.”

Last night was Saturday night; yesterday “just another Saturday night”.  The lights were on (across the city), bright and excessive as night lights almost always are, beacons to the sky and to those parking (with their dates) up on the hillsides overlooking the town (city maybe) and valley below.  The streets (freeways now) were busy, headlights and taillights shining white and red rows of DC illumination in an ever increasingly AC world.  The movies may have been busy; maybe the movie theaters not so busy, except that Hanna Montana is in town (in theaters) so every ten year old is happy that she’s a girl or that he’s not a girl.  She’s just Shirley Temple repackaged, nothing changes.

Saturday nights were always about new possibilities and the possibility if not reality of the good life in America.  It was about “getting laid” or (much more often) about hoping to “get laid” or maybe just “get lucky” which might mean as little as getting kissed or getting a telephone number from someone who might someday “just kiss you”.  ‘Everybody’ bought a copy of Playboy (Magazine) now and then; especially the ‘femininist’ oriented type girls, college girls being ‘cool’, high school boys getting cool while getting ‘hot’ (or not).  The essence of “playboy” was cruising, ‘cruising main’, looking for girls if you were a guy and guys if you were a girl.

Everyone found a car somehow; their car, their parents car, a borrowed car; often four or even “six up”, meaning six young people in the car, not ‘cool’ but “dragging main” was cool, just to be there, just to be out on a Saturday night under the stars and a car roof and thinking about sex or not thinking about sex but pretending that one was thinking about sex and not Hanna Montana movies or even Mondo Carne movies or any movies at all unless they were drive-in movies where happy couples coupling could find their way from the ticket booth to the parking space to the back seat and to home base all in about 23 minutes of time (if they were “lucky”) and if the stories one heard were really true.

Sex sold a lot of cars in the sixties.  Sex sold a lot of gas.  It was expensive to ‘drag main’ every Saturday night looking for “girls”, girls to say “hi” to, that would “smile back”, that would ask you “do you wanna ball?”  Reality had no connection (in most cases) with perception, with expectations, with ‘hopes and dreams’ of playboy perfect girls age fifteen or sixteen with fresh cherries waiting to be popped in the backseat of Dad’s pickup truck (which yes, didn’t even have a back seat).  We were all “scripted”.  Each line was memorized, each scene rehearsed a hundred times in our heads, how Rock Hudson or Elvis did it, said it, followed through.  We were pretty naive about how Rock Hudson really did it.  We were (generally) pretty naive about just about everything.

But we knew how to buy gas; by the gallons, moving at a very inefficient five miles an hour, stop and go, endless circling of the blocks for the special pass at passes in front of Harold’s Club, or Harrah’s, or the Nevada Club, or the Ground Cow (hamburger palace), or the Palace Club.  ‘Glitter Gulch’ was in Vegas, Nuevo city in the gambling world (like the Nuevo rich); inexperienced and second class in a first class world.  This was Reno; Reno, Nevada USA; ‘old’ gambling, legal with history and charm and status and thrills (at the craps tables); not with just the cocktail waitresses.  It was a 24/7 town (in 1964 – 1965).  It had more neon lights than Broadway at night, ‘air doors’ operating in the dead of winter and heat of summer, searchlights searching the heavens for more ‘comers’ not the enemy aircraft that they had been designed (to search) for.

When we got hungry we would drive west on Fourth Street or (later) down South Virginia to the Frosttop Drive-in; not a Mel’s (like in California), but probably better than Mel’s.  There were no roller skates anymore (left back in the forties or fifties; dated, dangerous, sexist excess).  But service was still “swift”; the carhops always smiled, girls out of cars already, not still safely in them.  Cheeseburgers and french fries and big thick milkshakes like no national chain ‘restaurant’ could ever make or serve.  Local milk, local ice-cream, local cows, local beef, local girls the best in the world; better than “California Girls” even.  Nobody was ever over twenty, most about eighteen, inside at “take out” they were often sixteen, hoping to be carhops some day, better tips than working under a sign saying, “It’s good to eat out”.  Sex everywhere, always being pushed, in an age of innocence, to an innocent generation.

After “eating out” (we could always dream) we drove back to the best point on the whole planet for “dragging main”; two blocks of solid neon three or more stories high on each side, the Saturday night air of a clean desert sky circulating freely through our nostrils, hormones coursing through our libidos, advertising images coursing through our brains, pictures of the ‘perfect life’ as seen through an open car window rolled down to let happy words, fresh words, and the fresh air in.  One didn’t need a house or an apartment to be happy, just ‘wheels’, just a car and enough money for gas.  The busiest days were of course during the summer, but the lights were on and the cars moved 365 days a year; the 52 Saturdays were best (except during the occasional blizzard, of snow).  Fridays were almost as good.  But a Monday or a Wednesday wasn’t necessarily bad.  Each night out could be (should be) a “night on main”.

Epper and Bulley liked Saturday nights especially well; they were cops, motorcycle cops.  They were employed by the RPD (Reno Police Department).  They were a legend in their own time.  They hated kids (my opinion, the opinion of about a thousand or two other ‘kids’).  They loved giving ‘the kids’ tickets, driving citations, moving violations, for moving through downtown and for moving America to destruction for consuming so much gasoline so stupidly.  Actually, they didn’t give squat about the gas guzzling or about the bigger economic and environmental issues; they just cared about busting the bank of the spoiled kids that could be out having fun instead of staying home playing Chinese Checkers or Parcheesi like they did when they were ‘kids’.

Actually nobody knew anything about Epper & Bulley; except that they were cops, and to be feared, and to be dreaded, and to be avoided at all costs; no eye contact, best not be seen by them, take a different street when looping back to Virginia Street (which was ‘main’).  They both wore matching sunglasses (like motorcycle cops always wear); they liked the “twin” thing, everything bilaterally symmetrical, always (almost) two cars at a time, each officer writing, each finishing each ticket at exactly the same moment, they put a real flourish in their work.  They held all the records for most tickets written; each day, each Saturday, the records probably still stand; probably “Epper 60 tickets; Bulley 59”, Saturday night, 1965, four hours between 9:00 PM and 1:00 AM USA time in the USA.

They believed in “precision riding”, which means driving public police motorcycles across peoples private lawns.  Bulley would start a circle, Epper on his right would follow, always parallel, never “fall back”.  If Bulley rode up onto a sidewalk (a nice show of general contempt) Epper would “follow” by driving across the lawn, tire tracks left in the turf, a warning sign to “be afraid”.  They behaved as if everyone should “be afraid” of cops, of police in blue, of people driving Harley’s, of people wearing badges and helmets (or helmets).  I watched this thing, these two, their driving, their racing around streets at 65 (MPH) in 25 (MPH) zones, always above the law as they “enforced the law” or practiced breaking the law so that they could enforce the law on “another Saturday night”.

There were no motorcycle cops in Kabul, none in Afghanistan when I was there.  Thought you should know.  Now back to Reno and the “happy days” of youth.  I never got laid dragging main; not even close.  Some say I never “got lucky” (a New York term I think); applies to New York girls maybe, different kind, not like the Nevada species.  But I was “lucky”; lucky to have lived then, driven down main when the lights were on, gas was cheap and flowing easy, there wasn’t a care in the world; just cars and car payments and the need to find some money for gas.  It was a lot like last night.  A girl in a car gave me a smile; she’s my wife.  We drove to the mall and back (bought a book).  Lights were shining, stars out, air was fresh.  Tank full of gas.  Not a care in the world (but I miss the neon sometimes).

[2008.02.03 / Sunday – Just like yesterday]

India Internet Independence

February 2nd, 2008

~ When down is down it’s really ‘up’.

You may have noticed.  There was a “black-out” yesterday.  There was no post on this site.  Nobody told you (on the internet) probably because the MSM (Main Stream Media) didn’t ‘carry’ the story.  Too busy telling you to “buy” stocks given all the bad economic news that has somehow become always “good” news for Wall Street.  What’s down is up and what’s up (doc) is down.  It’s a topsy-turvy world these days (it seems).  Anyway, there was a MSM “black-out” on the news that 50% of the broadband connection “to India” was (and still is) out; gone, not there, broken, lost, down, not-connected, no ‘connectivity’.

In plain English the word is that “global isn’t so global anymore”.  My son is in India (and Nepal) which is not really an oxymoron considering the time and communication differences.  The day before the “net” went down he got a message out, “India (and Nepal) is just so ‘tunneled’ (connected) to the Western World” (he was talking the everybody has it communications technology thing).  The next day this ‘connectivity’ had lost 70% of its ‘umph’, its band-width, its pizzazz, its credibility.  First time ever, huge loss, big secret in America (except at IBM and a thousand other “out-sourced” companies with operations in India that were churning busy signals all day (“expected ‘wait time’ for your call is five days, please hold”).   Shhh:  This is NOT a news story; buy IBM, buy Dow stocks, buy technology like Yahoo and Microsoft.

I think India is the better (off) for it.  It’s an “independence rush”, an energy savings thing, let’s people have a day off in Bangalore or Bengali, to enjoy the weather, go for walks, keep off the USA chat rooms for an afternoon.  My readers in India (assuming I have some) will not notice my yesterday; they had their own.  Which brings me to the point of my post.  One isn’t effected (or affected) by the communications they never receive.  People are (usually) not raised or trained to seek the ‘missing information’.  Like a radar screen, they ponder the blips that are there; not the blips that aren’t there.  This was the lesson never learned at Pearl Harbor (new radar, not operating) and the reason that “stealth” aircraft are so effectively “stealthy”.  It’s “radar” that makes them invisible, not the plane itself.  Do I really have to explain this one to you; think about it and you will “get it”.

The whole world has gone “stealth” these days.  That’s what technology is all about; make a working prototype, sell the concept, go into ‘mass production’ and “presto” the product is everywhere (the ‘stealth’ thing product).  I don’t know if was a ‘net’ that took out (70, then 50%) of the net to India (and to Egypt and the Middle East).  The cable was “damaged?” somewhere in the Mediterranean off Egypt.  How far “off” Egypt is not clear.  Might have been a ‘trawler’ (fishing boat thing that in the old days was a thinly disguised spy vessel with communications things on board).  Are there still fish in the Mediterranean or do all fish come from ‘fish farms’ in the Andes (or Norway) now?  We know so little about reality in these days of “information explosion” and “communications technologies”.

Al Gore claims that he invented the internet.  I think I invented the term “Information Overload”.  It was back in 1968; I was doing ‘deep thinking’ about computers and news and newspapers and college text books and reading assignments that were way too many pages (to ‘read for meaning’ and for retention).  The term was not in use then, it may not of existed, I may have “made it up”.  I started telling friends about my concept (of “IO” Information Overload, interferes with “IQ”).  The basics were simple; “Theory; the more you’re ‘told’, the less you ‘know’ unless one learns new and better ‘storage, index, and organization’ strategies.  The last part was borrowed from computer theory; computers work because of better indexing (systems; aka “sort criteria’).  Organization is “file management” (systems).  Storage is the issue of whether information is unused “overload” or “a useful matrix”.

Even before computers people were drowning in files; often stuffed everything in “circular files” (wastebaskets and waste buckets) and started over.  A lot like the “delete” (a field) key today.  Everybody was always seeking a better ‘filing system’, less paper (meaning faster access to the important papers).  All paper was important once, somehow, seemed so at the time.  Computers (mostly IBM then, and SCM) did away with “paper” (inside); they never really figured out the “important” part.  They still haven’t.  In government the really “important” stuff is “above Top Secret”; the less important stuff is “Top Secret”; the almost important stuff is “Secret”; the everybody knows it stuff is “Confidential” and the “You are stupider than shit (STS)” stuff is “Unclassified; public record” (stuff).

There is one step below the STS category.  That is the drivel that the MSM deals in.  The idea is that if one can so totally overload the ‘information capacity’ of an individual with a coagulation of worthless words (and concepts and content) the result will be that they can NEVER sort out any reasonable level of reality.  So I guess I didn’t invent “IO”; I guess I just “discovered” it (operating in my life, operating against me).  So from about 1968 on I’ve been focused (with a lot of energy) on developing “sort criteria” to field the “garbage” and “recycle” (or create, recreate) what might be worth saving.  What is the word for “Green Inside” when it doesn’t mean ‘jealous’ and it doesn’t refer to any ‘thing’?  Anyway, the “product out” is termed “WISDOM”.  Thought you should know.

The last I read they don’t really know what (did) the cable to cause the (loss) or damage.  Earthquake, cracking, sea monster, Gaza escapees, Russian subs, Iranian terrorists, Forest Guardians, Pakistan military, Chinese industrialists, Mike Huckabee; the mind boggles, they all have a reason and a motive.  They said it would take seven days to fix (longer than it took to make the whole world in the first place).  It usually takes less (time) than they predict; someone finds an “off” switch and turns it back “on”; not the sea cable at all, just video porn or games on the internet, someone not paying attention (to their job).  Mark the event “Top Secret”, not too many will ever know, write and sell a book about “fixing the cable”, fiction about a scuba diver, make lots of money, push the interviews on TV (talking heads), overload the overload.

Most people in India are free.  They are free of owning air conditioners, free of owning automobiles, free of excessive consumption, free of the media and “information overload”.  Cars, air conditioners, and consuming was recently cited by an otherwise well educated columnist as “what makes life worth living”.  I kid you not.  The message was being bantered about everywhere (in the MSM) on Friday (yesterday).  Had something to do with the “rally committee” pep rally to rally the market and to rally support for the “Bush Bailout” (cash giveaway of $150 or $200 billion) of debt.  Tell people to “spend” their refund and not to “save” or “pay down debt”.  You decide.  But this is not the way that I was raised (not raised to “buy”, “buy”, “buy”; I don’t ‘buy’ it).

“Bailout” is a water term, mostly used in regard to boats; when they’re sinking.  If one bails fast enough with big enough buckets one might save the boat, but it doesn’t fix the leak, it just means more bailing and buying a little time.  I’m still not clear about who is going to give Bush (and Congress) the $200 billion so that it (the $200 billion) can be given to all those needy and desperate Americans.  Maybe it’s coming by wire transfer from India; a goodwill gesture for destroying Pakistan as a viable nation (no power, brink of food collapse, succession in the north; or is that Afghanistan that is reported to be being on the “brink of collapse”, a “Collapsed State”?).  So many buckets of garbage to sort through (or bail out).  Exhausting work.  No wonder India decided to “take a week off”.  I think India “did it” (‘bunted’ the cable that is).

There are two ways to learn how to ride an elephant.  (My son said he was going to ride an elephant on the day before the broadband went ‘out’, somewhere ‘under’).  The first way is to get on the internet and Google, “How to ride an elephant”.  You will see sex ads on the sidebar.  Thank capitalism, thank laissez faire, thank George (Bush and the King).  The other way is to go to India (or Nepal; I learned to ride in Burma, April of 1959) and have a mahout teach you what you need to know.  There are no elephants in Afghanistan; thought I would save you the trip.  But Google “Afghanistan” and “elephants” and see how long it takes you to figure out that there are no elephants in Afghanistan.

I hope my son and his wife had a good time, on the elephants.  They learned it the right way.

[2008.02.02 / Saturday – India Internet Independence]