Thief in the Night

November 23rd, 2008

~ Theft, larceny, robbery – its all the same, or is it?

I don’t really believe in blowers, in those little electric things that started as hair dryers and then grew up to be leaf movers or earth movers or more like machines to push ones yard around to make it all nice again.  Blow it up, blow it back, blow back – it’s the blower thing, like blowing in the wind or blowing bubbles or blowing up bubbles whatever that might mean.  Rakes are better.  Big ones for the yard, small ones for the hair, that’s what people did before the dawning of the day of electricity, of dams, of nuclear power plants and gas and coal all to push the leaves around or to save one from the all too dreaded, “Bad Hair Day.”

But, I have arthritis now.  It’s a bit inherited I suspect.  And caused by injury, the injury of life, too many little things built up too long until they become a bother, until they become noticed, making wrongs.  It’s wrong that I can’t still use a rake to rake my yard, to pull the leaves, to rake them into piles of raked leaves, leaves that are just not blown around, randomly, or into piles of intent.  The leaves when falling were so hopeful.  A final raking is like the natural order of things, a fitting finish to any yard, a piling up of what must in time come down.

Someone of course stole my blower.  From the porch.  From deep inside my yard.  Unplugged it, and the cord, what a pain, raking leaves with arthritis pain – how could they?  Why would they?  Was it really ‘one’ or ‘they’?

You probably know where this post may be going, into deeper things, more universal than just a raking of the leaves, a quiet loss, seeming lesser in the night.  Things that disappear in or into the darkness always seem the lesser crime, stealth and secrecy and hiding and the disappearance of things that perhaps should have been better hidden.  I know that.  In today’s America everything should be locked up, always, for ever and a day (and night).  Gone are the fifties, leave your door unlocked or even open, a key hidden beneath the mat, or on a nail above or behind the door, hidden in plain sight it seems.  It worked, it seems – back then.

There are three (perhaps) real good suspects.  This thing has not happened here before.  Theft is not a reoccurring theme, friends and neighbors always watching, being careful, each minute and each moment carefully tracked – accounted for.  It’s in an America worth watching, watchbirds and cameras, airports and homeland security, Kennedy and Nixon, Bush, Obama, I rest my case but not my constant surveillance, or is it vigilance that should be constant.  Is it government or just a blower, gone or going in the night?  Is it the crime or being caught that makes the difference?  What is the real purpose of each crime?

I watched a movie the night the blower blew away.  Not so much a movie as a ‘film’, an Italian flick, sub-titles or a soundtrack with the dubbing, an awkward moving of the lips.  It was made in 1970, might have been made yesterday or better yet, tomorrow.  The Conformist.  I doubt you’ve seen it, it’s far too good.  It’s not the censored Hollywood affair, scripts passed on down from on high containing suggestions for a plot, leaking names and motives, rewriting history all the time – you get my drift.

The plot is about the fascists, Italy and France, killing dancing and intrigue, like why one does it – is it the motive or the crime (that matters).  All this on Kennedy Day, November twenty-two, one-one, two-two.  12 – 7, 9 – 11; it’s so nice that history makes the numbers rhyme so well, random acts of violence, May Day too, the day of Gary Powers, how can history make you crazy when in time it all seems so simple, a simple plot, too simple for the reading.

Movies now have their extras, not the extra of the actors, or the actor extras, but those bits of film and footage not acted, the interviews of sorts, short sorts that sort it out behind the scenes, writers or directors or actors even going on and on like this sentence, eventually ending in a point.

Let me retrogress (or move forward).  There are two theories of the crime.  One is the random hit of history, bad people now and then, lone gunmen, people in a plane, a simple plan with a simple plot – they get caught.  Movies must be over in two hours, people watch and then move on, short lives for short attention spans, all good stories and good lies bear repeating, and repeating, and repeating – until one gets it, (right ?).

It seems that Shakespeare and the Italians knew history for what it was, a plot.  Julius Caesar was not killed by the random knife, disgruntled proletarian, a leader of the pack.  He was killed by the pact, by a conspiracy fully cast and provident, as in having many knives.  The black shirts copied the play of Caesar in their deaths, secret roads and ambush, silhouettes and stilettos moving in the night as each participant takes their stab, not a crime – rather a solution.  The method was effective because they were always caught, everyone always knew the black shirts did it, there was the same consistent method in their madness.  Stick by stick it brought Mussolini into power, can’t beat them, join them.

All things must come out in the end times.  Secrets hid must be revealed.  “Out, out damn spot.” another Shakespeare play, or is it just an instruction manual, a penny script for two-penny actors – isn’t all the world just a stage?  The black shirts get their kicks from you knowing, first deceived then left aghast.  It’s your faith they’re after, your faith in yourself, the robbery inherent in every crime.  Do you get it now?  Once betrayed one believes in betrayal, a conspiracy of others made possible by oneself – in co-conspiracy.  The conspiracy of silence, the conspiracy of believing, the conspiracy of the conformist or there could be no conspiracy at all.

There never was a NASA, just Gary Powers in a plane, no weather balloon, no weather plane.  Oswald let the Ruskies have the secret, his job was done, his life expendable.  Ike was not amused, he gave a speech upon retiring (from the stage).  Then Nixon, Kennedy, and finally Dallas – too many threads that must be followed, at the culmination of all time, 1964 – end times begun, the great unraveling, unwinding, just an anti-climax for us all.

Maybe on his last day a departing Bush will give a speech.  He will come from behind a curtain (as seen, while he’s really on his way to Paraguay).  “Live from the White House”, helicopter holograms up in the sky like some night-time raider, like just another thief.  He will sit down and say, “I did it.”  The towers, the war, women and the Constitution – I did it all, it was just me, can’t you see and “Let it Be” (or “Bleed”).  He’ll offer proof, once again, for all his lies – name names, show pictures, give a recital of all the dates.  And once again the whole world will watch him, and be mesmerized by all his lies.  Once again people will believe him, “Were you lying then or are you lying now?”, a classic lawyers question.

The bad thing about television and the movies is the unreality of it all.  One just looks and listens, enjoys the plot, and then asks but one simple question.  “What’s on next week?”  And the next week we’ll have Obama, series or mini-series, what difference does it make?  It’s all so carefully scripted, making movies of us all.  It’s just a movie.  It’s only just a movie.

I now have another blower, more the disappoint for the leaves.  But there will be less pain.  The new one is a little lighter, cheaper, in anticipation of its loss.  But I will be a bit more careful.  I perhaps will not leave things on the porch.  Perhaps I will get rid of the porch altogether.  That idea seems the better plan.
There is a line between dark and shadow, between black and white.  Tesla knew there was an inherent illumination in the darkness, an energy in the flow, at night there’s nothing hidden, no need for Fiat Lux (it’s always there for those that see).

About the thief?  He’s just borrowed another blower, and with it all the pain.  Stealing a rake would have been better.  In time he’ll figure that one out, it won’t take long.  It seldom does.

[2008.11.23 / Sunday – Thief in the Night]

In My Room

November 21st, 2008

~ 45 years ago Kennedy was still alive.

Boomers tend to fossilize upon the past.  They tend to reminisce about the fifties, about the sixties, about Cuba and Kennedy and Vietnam, or ‘Veet Nam’ as some might say.  And then life moved on, moved on without them, as in without the zeal and quest for the ideal and with just a subtle resignation to a pounding of the pavement and the getting of a job.

With jobs of course came money.  With money came husbands, wives, or in the case of others – significant others, partners even, even if it was technically a crime.  Boomers generally had their children late in life, though not always.  They were an entrepreneurial bunch, but a bunch more went to work in government, and in schools and universities which also is always the government.  The rest diversified, which means they did all the rest of (the) things that people do – prostitution, johns, science, driving buses, clerking in a store, cleaning houses or hotels, plumbing here or there, mowing lawns and fixing roofs – nothing particularly glamorous or sexy, just good basic work and tasks.  Occasionally they read a bit or wrote a bit.  I’m still writing.

I do my writing in my room, secluded away like some Mogumbo Bunker, like the Mogumbo Guru writes about, he’s too a Boomer.  It (my room, my bunker) is underground, underneath the kitchen, in the cellar of the house where once coal was kept or firewood or the excess clothes of the last resident, temporary closets carelessly installed.  Wool is often good food for moths.

The house was built in 1938, that wonderful year between the Great Depression and the Second World War, the year my parents were married, though it’s not my parents house – they moved a lot.  I’ve moved a lot.  The house speaks to me, it tells me stories.  It reminds me of its life and times, hums soft tunes of times and songs long past – tells me what to buy (in records) at the library sale, just for old times sake.  Any house should have its memories.  The Culligan man came once (a month or so), left a calendar for each year back in the ’50’s, marked the passing weeks on his route.  There’s just water now, not so clean as then, but water just the same, same pipes, galvanized and old.  But not too old to fill the bath, to help brush the teeth, Boomers are not so different after all.

The pipes go through my basement hide-away.  They connect to the water heater (hot, perhaps) in the corner of the eight foot by ten room.  There is a heating duct (exposed) that courses overhead as it courses to the kitchen vent and a room beyond.  It’s wrapped in silver insulation “stuff” below the kitchen pipes painted blue for water (cold), red for hot, green for gas and the yellow pipes of course for electricity.  One cannot of course ‘pipe’ electricity but one can and did pipe the wires (overhead).  It’s a colorful arrangement.

The two outside walls are of course composed of cement, mixed with steel and sand, a bit of lime I suspect, and not a bad mix of gravel.  The concrete was cast in forms, one can still find the knots of wood that is now long past but has left a fossil print upon the almost ancient walls.  One wall is now painted.  It is the wall I face, a wall by “C.K. Mondavi”, not really, but rather by his brother Robert, a winery label recreated (Cabernet Sauvignon 2003) from California, Tuscan tower in the sky.  You may have seen it once – if you sip a little wine, and peruse the shops where such stuff is sold.  The label now has ‘good body’, large and bold, blown up in size and paint to eight feet by six or more, not unlike in the movie “Blow-up”, a movie of the sixties, I retrogress.  There are always memories.

The tile (linoleum) squares are on the diagonal, six or seven colors at a dollar each, plus paste.  A solid blue two foot border divides the room diagonally from left to right, sounds strange, but if you saw it you would see it works, and it keeps the dust down and masks the careless drops and other indiscretions of the seventy plus years.  All houses are built first up from the basement – dig a hole and go.

There is of course my map of Kabul.  It’s now framed and mounted on the wall.  And too an old map of Afghanistan, reminds me to add the ‘h’, too often and too easy one forgets.  The map says “Terrain & Transportation”, has roads and airports marked off and listed – lines from when everything was dust, runways dirt, all roads unpaved, but we’ve written about all that before – Buddy Holly and Bamian, I really should post about Bamian again, big Buddha in the sky, so peaceful then.  I again digress.

On the ceiling is another map.  Saves space.  Using the ceiling for something more than paint.  It is a blow-up map of the west, my west, like ‘my’ room.  The house feels good about this map, from the thirties too, like when it too was young and just coming into being.  Its NatGeo stuff mostly, a color copier to make things large, 16 cents a page (about) measured, enlarged, and pasted carefully.  They are mostly roads to nowhere now, the Interstates have taken over, no more route 66 or highway 97 or 99.  The remnants of the Lincoln Highway are just markers and memories, not even memories for most.  Time moves on, it flies.  There are airlines too upon the map.  Straight lines from and to the few places served, Ford Tri-Motors in the sky.  But the talk of Ford was yesterday.  I should not digress again.

Every room should have a clock, to tell the time, although I don’t think the time will listen.  It’s a clever play on words, probably not original but it might be new.  Time of course does not listen, it can be read but does not read, not my musings anyway.  Time takes time for granted.  It passes.  Kennedy was still alive today (45 years ago).  We were in another generation, of another generation.  And this is now.

“In My Room” was a song sung by the Beach Boys, if I remember right.  Not so much about surfing, not so much about the night.  My parents were married in Sacramento, it was where they met.  It was a depression thing, working for the government, nobody else had many jobs.  A job offered the only hope back then unless you lived upon a farm, not spending each day laying brick or framing frames or pouring the concrete for a basement, a bunker, the place where I am now, writing and remembering and bringing a little back from those otherwise really not remembered well.  Never forget.  Never say never.

Someday they will write the history.  They will remember this as a time of markets, market crashes and Kennedy and notes about the Triborough Bridge, perhaps.  Famous names always changing.  But these times are not about the market, not about any street.  It’s a time more about the basements, about bunkers, about deep holes and people digging in and feeling rather good about it even.  It’s a ‘time of the season’ thing, where only time will win, and that is really OK, just OK with me.  Oh, how this house loves it’s music, times past, or really just loves me.  Thank you house.  You’re so much more than an investment.  Let’s talk again sometime.

Note:  According to all evidence and old records, the old toilets and utility company thing, the house was first occupied just in time for Thanksgiving (Dinner and guests perhaps?) in the year 1938, seventy years ago this week.  Thought you might want to know.

[2008.11.21 / Friday – In My Room]

Retail Therapy

November 20th, 2008

~ The miracle of rubber.

I revisit the UK Telegraph (web) site from time to time, like every time I wonder how the Brits are doing with the market.  In England they have a somewhat different perception of the market, they see their whole country as a market, as holding and buying and selling.  The ’holding’ of course being holding on, not so much holding on to stocks when it’s clear that every one in their right mind never held stocks in the first place.

The Queen of course holds stocks, it has to do with the property she owns, like maybe 1/5 of all of London, 99 year leases mostly, coming up every year, the rotating basis thing.  The theory (her theory, perhaps) is that if rents are dependent upon jobs then there must be business; if business rents are dependent upon profitable businesses then there must be stocks, on the theory that profits come from stock sales and not retail or business sales.  It is the rubber ball theory of business, the miracle of rubber.

Anyway, more about the Queen.  I posted once about seeing her in D.C., riding in her Edsel (Ford Motor Company product), about my parents almost buying said Edsel, being true believers in Ford and Ford products and the power of advertising maybe, not so much believing in the Queen.  The Queen has been Queen for a very, very, very, very, very, very long time.  Not “Queen for a Day” at all, though she was Queen when that TV program was the bright spot of morning television, before Good Mourning America, before there was market news in the morning on TV in America, just crowns and capes and hard-luck stories from women who were poor or had little or had nothing, not like the real Queen who had so much because she owned it all, or almost owned it all.

The TV capes were not like the ermines and seal skins and spotted leopard coats that the Queen and all the royals wore back then, animals on parade, dead and skinned with their heads nicely mounted in the corridors leading to the pantries or bedrooms or ballrooms or other nice places to lift or hang your head, or heads.  The royals killed animals for a living, early and often, just for sport – because one doesn’t need a living when there’s sport.  Just throw away the carcass, or boil it down for tallow, such nice candles made from the tallow of such exotic beasts living somewhere near the Nile, in Kenya, maybe Ceylon it seems, such a soft golden flame, not common, not the light seen by the common folk – only by the Queen.

All real wealth came to bear in London, the coal mines had their bankers there, all the other factories kept busy by the forced markets made possible by owning half the world.  Red Coats, blue coats, gray coats too, but all were English coats and English guns moved by English ships, all made in England, and all making an ever bigger market for the ever growing Empire of pink across the seas.  No wonder ’Victoria’ secret chooses the name of pink, the underpinning of everything, of people getting screwed.  I forget myself, but it’s seems so literary and so true.

The Telegraph has an article or item (news, not clothing) that suggests that shopping is more like ‘therapy’, like the thing of shrinks perhaps, or the air a more of candles – aroma and amour.  It’s about loving being rich and the love of the rich, about being Queen, if just for one short half hour in a TV day – 1950‘s style, and who said there was style in the ‘50‘s?.  There were ashtrays, endless ashtrays every where, poodle dogs and poodle skirts, brylcream for the hair, cool Mohawks, pointy bras, high heels in the kitchen which is why real boys never learned to cook.  No wonder America needed therapy, shrinks that told one to feel good about the way they shopped.

This year Christmas shopping seems more like ads, ads for Christmas and for Christmas shopping based on the notion that ads can make anything happen, can pull money from thin air.  If you want it, that’s all you need and ads will make you want if they are ‘done rite’.  Therapy suggests that shopping is not a right, but a rite, a necessity for sanity, a way to exorcise one’s demons, get rid (perhaps) of the politics of hell.
“I am, therefore I shop.”  It is a missive for the Queen, keeps her coffers full, keeps the rents a’comin’.  Keeps her in the pink (of things).

It’s all really very silly, this notion of life not as a trip, but as a shopping trip.  Shop till you drop.  It’s not a rubber ball, no bounce this time.  Just drop.  I saw the ads and I believe them.  The shopping’s done, now it’s time for dropping – lead weights don’t go ’bouncy, bouncy’ like Ford Edsel’s on rubber wheels, stupid cars for stupid people just looking mindlessly for something, anything, to buy.

That was the secret of the fifties, the savings of the forties.  There was nothing to buy during the war.  Everything made was ammunition, weapons for killing the enemy and all the enemy nations.  Europe was mostly bombed off the map, and China, and Japan, the Philippines and Singapore and Korea too.  The war was an investment in America, turning the competition into rubble – all the factories, mills, and mines.  Of course America sold everything to the world, American manufacturing was the world, the only world left.  GM and IBM and Boeing should have done much better with no real competition.  Deadbeat companies even then, I wonder why.  Was it just a lack of money?  Or therapy?  65% of the world’s production died in the war, but less than 3% of the world population.  It was a US economic world coupe.

Wall Street and its makers want Ford and GM to make a bounce.  Maybe do it again like last time, convert the factories to making weapons, bombers and tanks and even Jeeps.  Then bomb and blow apart the enemy competition, level Toyota, Nissan, and Fiat and BMW once again, to create a level playing field.  So they can be the automaker for the world (once again).

Some people have never learned the lessons of history.  Some think about nothing about why things are as they are, or have been as they were.  The pundits are so pathetic, they speak only of the box, from the box TV, now flattened.  The consumers all but miss the point.

On NPR the other day there was an announcer laughing.  Something about the New York Times and Edison, the Times suggesting (in an article of the day) that Edison’s new light bulb held little future promise.  The NPR man kept laughing, poor education that he has, reflecting the bias that he has.  The Times of course was right, Edison’s DC bulb was pathetic, not worth an oil lamp or a tinker’s dam.  It took Tesla to make it work, to create AC, not a DC current, to suggest another thousand innovations before Edison stole them all.  Edison was just a common thief not a real wizard, sleight of hand not so much light of brain.  Edison was a scoundrel, he cheated and he lied and he created a big lie – about how great he was.  Like Ford, not alone at all.  Names best left in Reagan’s dustbin of history.  More therapy anyone?  You decide.

[2008.11.20 / Thursday – Retail Therapy]

The Phoney War

November 18th, 2008

~ Oh, if life were only so simple.

I love books (or chapters in text books) that have titles such as, “The History of the Second World War”.  They are great books for the greatest generation, those who are left, and those who are left believing in their war and their exploits and the notion of how ‘great’ their everything was.  There was nothing great about the whole morbid and sordid ordeal and its aftermath, of course.  But what is war except for its aftermath, what it leaves behind, as in the notion that war is but a planting field with the bitterest harvest being what is yet to come (after the war is ‘over’).

But the books don’t look at these things that way.  They are revisionist history.  They assume at the outset what no one else really knew until the end, big things and lesser things, but in this case the fact that there would ever be “a second world war”.  In 1938 or 1939 there was no second world war.  In 1940 there was no war.  Even when France was about to fall the USA said no to war, no to a world war, no to even ‘war in Europe’.  We could have joined France, given Hitler an ultimatum, sent our carriers to attack Japan, bombed Tokyo and Templehof, stopped the whole thing in its half-tracks and saved (or prevented) a world of misery – or so the story goes.

In 1939 there was no remembrance on remembrance day in London.  There was no war to end all wars, the historians were wrong, the politicians had been proven wrong, the academics and experts all were wrong, those that died to make the world safe for democracy were wrong, it was all for twenty years of nothing with twenty more to go.

But there would be no academics and experts, new politicians, new historians with a new history version that could tell us all what ‘really’ happened, how it happened, why it happened.  Could make sense of it all, and simplify – and simplify until the nation might knaw on it awhile and chew and chew until all the rough corners were gone and the war became as palatable as pabulum, a baby food, good for the baby boomers that might buy it, or others even younger who might buy it.  For they were too young to know, never lived it, have nothing to remember and nothing to forget (of their own).

The GI Generation learned the history of their war, by rote, that’s how they usually did things – learned by rote, recitation, repeat after me.  The drill is gone.  Things are different now, no uniforms and lockstep and hand salutes and arm salutes and “yes, sir” when you’re told to die.  But now they’re gone, old, or dying – and with it is their memory of the war, a lifetime of the war, few memories other than the depression and the war – nothing else much to talk about, then or even now.

They generally only talked to each other (about the war), met in groups at clubs and service clubs and reminisced and remembered and recounted the glory of it all, the ‘official history version’, not the bad stuff, the dirty stuff, the horrendous acts of war that they witnessed, that they did, that they all knew about but kept secret from their lovers wives and children and from even the History Channel.  It was all “Victory at Sea”, John Wayne movies for the kiddies, American Legion and VFW Halls and all, and remembrance day was taken over, a day not to remember but to forget (all but the Veterans) – not the peace, not the war to end all wars, not the day the earth stood still and the bombing stopped and the rifles went silent as they were buried in the trenches, with no more bodies in the trenches.

The greatest generation gave up on peace too early in their lives.  They gave up too early and too often.  They never really believed in the stuff (of peace, not war).  And they have left that legacy behind, burned it into another generation and another generation still.  The mantra, “I believe in war.”

There was once a “Phoney War”, it was a war in Europe.  The war ran between the time that the people in London believed that London would be bombed and the time that London was really bombed.  Let me simplify the explanation.  War was declared (by the Brits) about September 3rd.  Everybody expected London to be blitzed immediately, even though there had never been a blitz.  They thought that maybe 50,000 would die in the first 24 hours, another 100,000 in the following six days.  The city was not the least bit ready to do much of anything but die, the plan was for people to hide & die in muddy trenches while the tubes (subway system) was kept off limits so it could be used to whisk away the dead (and dying) and to transport troops in to defend the city, sniper fire into the air…. or something equally heroic.  It was a mess.

But the week went by and London was never bombed.  It was like Jubilation City, every one forgot the war (scare) and dismissed the war soon raging in much of Europe.  After all, it was “all about London”, not the Europe thing, as long as one lived in the Emerald Isles, at peace mostly and not really impacted by the war.  Happy England.  Even the children began to return.

They, meaning the historians as yet unborn, will remember this here and now as, “The Phoney Fall”, it will be a pun of sorts, but mostly a reflection on the perception that there was not a fall (economic catastrophe) either now, nor (would be) ever.  Reference will be made to “the Londoners among us” (meaning in the USa) that like the Londoners of the last war cared nothing of anything except London, and knew that London wasn’t hit, wasn’t bombed, would never be bombed because it couldn’t happen here, to us, not to us.

The book (or chapter in the text book) will have the title, “The End of History”.  It will not be about the end of history that had been taught a few years ago, nothing new, economic stabilization forever, an old or ode to an old remembrance day, a false promise now completely broken, a new name with new meaning for a date still all the same.  The book will explain that The End of History began in October of the year 2007 (as years were recorded then), 5 BCE (meaning five years Before the Current Emergency), being in a time when years are no longer counted, at history’s end, when everything occurs with such a rush or so slowly that even time no longer matters, there is nothing in time to mark, each day the world and everything in it begins (or ends) anew.

The Chapter (or the book, there will only be one book) will explain about The Phoney Fall, the time when so much might have been done, but wasn’t.  Things that were not done by people and by great institutions because every one knew they would always have time, so much time to save the world, the future and the past, to save history from itself.  The book will speak of those in denial, a nicer word will be used, that went along like things had not changed, that nothing was really changed, nothing different.  Not now, not ever – no bombs (ever), the worst of it was the scare, and now the scare is over.  Go out and shop, till the next Remembrance Day, the world is at peace except in Poland, another Polish War – Poland IV (perhaps), something for the history books, perhaps – remembered a bit in 1959, all forgotten by 2009.

America and the world was raised on stories about, “Be careful of what you wish for”.  An end of history – you’ve got it.  But it might look a little different than you had imagined, but that’s history for you.  History always looks a little different in time, changes with each passing hour, changes as you (and each other person) changes their mind, makes their own changes, changes what they buy believe and think (and do).

There are 43 more days until the New Year, until 2009, until 4 BCE.  But some recon time from the election, some by the end of Bush, others by the New Obama.  And then there’s Christmas, a calendar for every other new religion, another for each one old.  No wonder we can’t keep the days straight, which markets up, which one down, which one where at each what time of day, 24/7 the time does fly, but you may have noticed that it always ends in ‘4’.

I do love books, and happy children, the cliffs of Dover, and Polish fields in the Spring.  I love hot cross buns, sweeping sidewalks, tunnels to the tube.  It’s all a question of when, and how it happens; as much as what and where.  We still have time today, I think it best that we use it wisely.

Note:  In case you might be wondering, the word with an ‘e’ is the correct British spelling, not the phony US spelling.

[2008.11.18 / Tuesday – The Phoney Fall]

Arts & Letters

November 16th, 2008

~ Symbolization and focalization, only our images can guide us.

When I first began reading my Grandmother’s letters, in the year before her death I immediately became aware of their power to both complete and to compete.  Let me explain.  She of course knew that she was dieing, or was going to die, or needed to die as things (and people) pass on.  This was despite her protestations that she intended to live to be a hundred, an all too frequent announcement among those often soon to die, though there are those that live to be a hundred (or more) or live beyond their years or beyond what people fathom.

She had a few possessions, things as well as letters, accumulations from the past as all things are eventually just accumulations, the rhyme and reason passed away, just the collections and the dross of ones lifetime, each one a memory of a day, a person, a time that now is gone, but the memories are so pleasant – or if not pleasant, needful.  Letters can never be possessions, they are things saved – letters are either thrown away or saved, it’s very simple really.  She offered me some letters, “Written by the family, family letters.”, as if that meant that they might have a bit of value, a few insights, be a record of some sort of something.  She knew that information was the greatest gift of all, far more important than just things, things being utilitarian at best, another persons passage by nostalgia when at its worst.

To be ‘in formed’, to form within is the heart of information.  The cabalistic tradition says, “as above, so below”, a top down thing, utilitarian and all, perhaps.  But the real world is different, it’s more: “as in is out, out is in” – it is like the first becoming last, as it was in the beginning, from ashes to ashes with a bit of an ascendant twist.  Not every personage of science really wants just to return to the big bang, there’s more in life to the roots and to beginnings, to investigating or to the reinvestigation of the past.  If past is prologue, than we darn well better be sure the past is right, meaning what we see as the past, our image and our images.  For those whose past is an illusion, no future can be seen.

A short time later she moved on, which this time meant a rest home, after the usual fall.  It’s good to contemplate the end of things while still in just the middle, when there can still be a change of gait, a change of path, different possibilities – or outcomes.  By her wish I received the letters, torrents of answers to endless countless questions gone unasked.  Perhaps, Because there was no one left to ask.  Because I was always so full of answers, knew it all, as in, “had an education”, been around a block or two, watched too much TV.  Yes, I have a thing about TV, it is killing or has killed America, sucked the life out of her past and her reality, proffered false stories and false images and exalted times and events that never were.  Amen.

So life is about the Svens and Swensens, the Lunds and Londgrens, a Rendquist or two.  Life is about beets, about potatoes, about rice and mites and cooking, gathering in the fields, building homes upon the hilltops, letting them out or maybe just letting them, or him, or her, or letting her ‘go’ at whatever age – nineteen or ninety, it’s not the time, but the act that matters, each decision, each choice one ever makes or made based on the images of the mind at hand.

The media mind of America has been a failure to us all.  It does not work well, does not think well, conjures up mostly boring and violent perceptions of the past.  Like the old Brit histories, like Hoover (the Institution) – War and Revolution and a little about the peace caught in-between, as if “peace” is just being against the endless war, or is just a pause between each war.

Peace is more.  Peace is the Svens and Swensons, the Daughertys, the Jones, the Lees and Wongs and Rodriquezs, the Coralones and Metatuccis and the work they did, the plows they pushed, the trains and buses that they ride and rode and will ride tomorrow if they ride at all.  Peace is about patience, not so much about the politics of protest, power, Stop the War (Now).  Man (each person) was not meant to live in large factories, in office cubicles, in cells like worker bees, always moving, always moving in armies for the army of the night, or railing against the Empire, there should be no Empire, no need to nuke us all or anyone, that’s all.  That is peace.

There is a legend about Moses on the mountain, tablets engraved by God, a wicked people too undeserving, too unknowing, too undisciplined to live with God.  Not until the passage into another generation, one dedicated to forget, to forget each and every lie of their mothers and their fathers. Dedicated to forget their sins, their excesses, their exuberances, their debts, even their memories of all the things done wrong and left undone that were right, or might have made a difference.

Only changed people can make any change.  The message doesn’t come down from any mountain, there are no stone or golden tablets, no fiery oracles of God.  Hemme learned and listened to the gospel of many religions, turned her back to them in life.  But it’s not that she was not religious, did not know the grace of God, did not listen to the birds sing or the mice go or watch the flowers grow and help them, as need be, on their way.  Who has killed America?  Who has killed the lives of leisure, domestic wonder on every field, every farm, every backyard in the city and not just in parks and reservations and in foreign lands for foreign vacations where the real world still exists?  Where is the art and beauty of this land once found on every corner before every corner was made the same by chains and by big boxes and the mauling of the ‘Mauls’?

Every family does have its letters.  Every family in America has the links to the history that it has lost.  Find them, read them, borrow them and copy them and post them if you can, if you will, if no one else will write the real story of this land, of its people, of the things that have been lost and the changes that must be made.

The tablets wait upon the mountain.  Spears of lightning are at the ready.  There are forces and powers to take this country down.  There are no enemies in the Arabs, never were with the Irish or the Swedes.  The Italians are and were just people, Mexico is still a land of beauty, it’s America that buys the drugs – we don’t need the drugs, leave Mexico alone.  160 foreign bases around the world are ready for the fighting, for the coming war, for the killing and the dieing if you don’t change, don’t move away, don’t stand back by standing up for something that is real, something peaceful, something different than what this generation has allowed in coming, in being, has supported even by each dollar for the deficit and each dollar for just war.  There is no ‘just’ war.  It is just a lie.

Don’t wait for Obama.  You don’t need leadership from the hill.  America is still her people, not politicians, not activists, not polls, not the consensus of democracy, nor ‘rights’ in what is wrong.  The future is in your hands, the pen is mightier than the sword, a mighty chain is composed of a thousand links, each new page united by a thousand links, a thousand postal points of light – going postal, but in a good way.  The swords don’t have to win.  They make better plowshares turning up and over each new piece of peaceful ground.

America was once loved for its Arts & Letters, for crafts and craftsmanship in an era that has now passed us by.  Too many are content to be just texting, plunking keys, not turning them to turn a word or phrase for a return to the best of times, to the creation of better days.  We don’t need better homes, we need better days and far more gardens.  Terrace every rooftop, so the corporations don’t control all the food, or you will starve, I promise you – you will starve.  No one wants to starve, food should never be a weapon.
It’s not about Obama, he can’t plant your garden for you, good change doesn’t come only from the top, grow up, grow out, throw out.  America has many roots in history, not just those on the History Channel, or CNN.  Make the best use of all your time.

One (on) last word.  America loves its competition, but its not just football and business anymore.  There’s a battle for the hearts and minds, a war of images, a war about what image makes up this land, what makes America, what image will make the future based on the image that came before.  America doesn’t need more movies, doesn’t need more television or video or cable channels to tell us what is happening or needs to happen.  Unplug, you are the future of America.  Unplug, you are the only generation that can move on, forget if not forgive the past, the past that has no point in ever existing and has no point in being remembered, there are so many other pasts worth remembering, simple pasts not so famous, simple lives without the violence, a competing history more complete.

Amen, I say Amen (and hallelujah) – Praise the lord, and smell the flowers.  It IS Sunday after all, a day for writing after all.  See the sidebar (1931), read forward or read back, it’s up to you (or down, perhaps).
It’s all rooted in the earth.

[2008.11.16 / Sunday – Arts & Letters]

Cooking carrots and beets

November 15th, 2008

~ The 39 steps put you on the third floor.

There is always a relationship among things.  Between carrots and beets, both being vegetables.  Between steps and floors, discounting the existence of elevators or their importance or their utility perhaps.  My wife was a bit the claustrophobic, small spaces caused concern, tunnels and elevators were perhaps the worst, not counting being locked in closets – every child has been locked in a closet once or twice, key turned, distant cousin walks away.

Today’s closets are not the same.  They have safety latches, knobs and things, can’t be locked from the outside to keep the various inside things locked in.  Things were different ‘then’.  The then is a mysterious and remote period of the past, locked away when things could be locked away, knowable or unknowable to but the few, the few that knew and remembered and could talk about such things, about the past and what was and things that were and the secrets of the hours, now numbered, now forever gone.

Each new home was built to be a house of many keys.  There were front door keys, back door keys, rear door or side door keys.  There were keys to utility rooms and cabinets, built in – a key to the cellar.  Every passage and passageway certainly had a key, even in the kitchens, kitchen keys.  The lesser spaces were more universal, the term might have been a cosmic ‘universal keys’, but it was not.  The term that was used was ‘skeleton’ as in skeleton key, as the key that stood alone in unlocking all the doors that would otherwise remain unlocked.

I guess there is a simple utility in locking everything up, being able to control the flow of things, even the ebb.  Locked doors of course favored windows, a matter of ingress and degress I suppose.  Ladders or long locks, it doesn’t matter, every window is a second door.  Just one giant step, or less, to the floor below, or an even outstep to the ground below, the evenness of the ground.  Things are always tempered in their relation.

Elevators are a bit the abomination, one counts floors instead of steps – lifts the hand instead of feet – punches buttons instead of pushlocks as one may go up or down.  Carrots grow up and down, beets just grow, grow over, top up, roots down.

Like slices of purple beets upon a salad the use of stairways has all but disappeared.  Elevators are now all the rage, or escalators even, moving staircases mechanical and all, where’s the digital lift, electronics to the moon, no moving parts, just widgets with a mouse stroke up or down, changing floors virtually with each virtual move?  Like a cherry tomato on a salad, looks red, but lets not eat it, might be poison, tomatoes are always poison.

There were traditionally 13 steps between each floor in buildings and in houses.  A national mnemonic with which to dwell upon the founding of the nation, 13 colonies, 13 states, 13 ways to leave your lover.  Three stories were 39 steps, four were 52.  It’s all about relation, and remembrance, and remembering the things that matter, or were thought to matter before the age of elevators and indifference, push a button for a fast flight to the second floor.  Who walks to a second floor?  Who counts the steps, who knows that each step holds an answer?

Find a pot, with a lid, of boiling water.  Put in the carrots or the beets, not together, or.  They should come fresh from your handgrown garden, your garden, not the store.  Peel them if you like, slice them first or last, boil them to a soggy pulp like in the fifties or let them steam a little and let them dry – it’s up to you.  Maybe a little salt, add a little butter, pepper might be nice.  It’s the simple things that count.  It’s pickled beets for salad, but that’s no longer, no one eats beets anymore.  I like my carrots raw, sliced long if sliced at all.

There are no standards for steps for counting, not anymore.  It’s just a staircase of random number to the upper or lower floor.  Does your house have an upper or lower floor?

We are caught between the future and the past, between 2008 and 1931 right now, things moving like a depression, or just like times, or a bit like hard times.  PhotoPut.com / viewer has an answer, a file (.php?file=92k4w3djulwdqjrre.jpg).  The file is a graph that suggests that history does repeat itself (to a point) and that there is a relationship between then and now, the twenties leading ever upward to the thirties and the Great Depression.  Check it out, you decide.  But meanwhile my posts move onward, Hemme in the summer of ‘31, she’s at the farm now, beets and hogs I guess, two floors but who’s really counting?

I know where her world goes and when and where it ends.  Mine today is a little different.  Which one would I choose?  Carrots or beets?  Quite honestly I just can’t say.

Note:  On the sidebar.  1931 July is how far we’ve come, but as always, you might start more near the beginning – 1929 in January, but it’s later than you think.

[2008.11.15 / Saturday – Cooking carrots and beets]

Play It Again Sam

November 14th, 2008

~ It’s about the weather, stupid.

The whole world seems a bit preoccupied with the economy lately, numerous posts talking about the posting, the up and down ride of Wall Street, Job Street, and Market Street.  It doesn’t matter in what city or nation you might be, it’s probably about the same, and that’s a shame.

Things were different in Casablanca once.  I remember Casablanca, it was more about the music, the weather, the drinks that were served and when they were served and louvered doors.  Watching the market is like watching any good movie, even if it is just film.  You walk in (to theaters in the old days), sit down, let the flickers of light overwhelm you until you’re caught up, swept in, mesmerized by the plot and the action and the ‘what ifs’ between the bad guys and the good guys and all the bit players, bit plots, and sub-plots in-between.

In no time it’s a ‘who kissed who’, who’s chasing who, and who is screwing whom, financially.  In all Hollywood movies there’s an underlying financial message, usually extolling the virtues of money, or at least the power of money, in a cinematic world of make-believe where power and money is the only real currency, perhaps save love, but even then love always seems to be saved by money or lost because of the loss of money.  It’s always been this way.  All movies are always the same.  There is never a new twist on an old plot.  Once one has seen enough of the new movies they are just always the same old movie and the ‘same old’ old plot, just bigger bedrooms and smaller drapery.

When I was young it was not uncommon for the sound to die during a movie.  Chalk it up to old equipment, poor wiring, or some poor dufus tripping over some mismatched RCA plug not glued to the floor with duct tape because there wasn’t any duck tape yet.  Anyway, it happened.  Like voting, early and often, or often enough that (like voting) one got sick of the whole thing and considered swearing off movies because the experience was so lame.

Everyone always booed when the talkie went silent.  The big screen images were suddenly not so big anymore, the compelling camera angle just dissolved into some bad camera angle, the scintillating kiss scene just dissolved into a series of awkward twitches of the face and hands grappling like an eleven year old boy with a fourteen year old girl with the proverbial box of just found new skates, not ice but roller.
It’s still true, turn off the sound track, now called volume, and all the art and craft of almost any movie goes instantly away, the fleeting talent becomes commonplace, the need for high salaries and big type with big hype seems so unnecessary – anyone can make a movie, given about a million dollars a minute with which to spend.  And that my friend, is about how much an average movie costs (these days).

A DC-3 is always a good prop in a movie, prop aircraft as they are, two props – two big wheels on the ground, and the tail.  There’s no drama with a jet, the turbine fans all hidden, no smoke, no propeller glint against the sun or lights of the night, night shots are best for the drama, assuming one wants drama when one flies, or is about to fly, Ebony Eyes, a last slow dance to eternity or in the case of Casablanca some other sort of end.

The market is like any other sort of movie, mostly bad players, bit players growing bigger in their fame if not their talent.  Each day a bigger budget, more make-up, better lights saves the old career – catapults one on to new fame, new success, ever bigger roles built on the backs of ever newer, bigger, better illusions.  And the movies and the markets are illusion, just illusion.  They are both composed of real people with real things that they could do to earn a living, contribute, do more than make other people laugh or cry.

When I was born gambling was seen as a road to riches, a free and easy way to make a buck, betting on the fact that ’you’ were better than everybody else, or better at least than most people, better at what you did, which was knowing how to gamble.  It didn’t take Hollywood to teach the old gamblers axiom, “Never give a sucker an even break.”  Gamblers did it all the time, gave ’never’, they would never give.

When I was older all the best gamblers had opened their own casinos, they knew the odds and knew that the odds always favored the house, and they knew all the tricks, and the house used all the tricks to win.  Everyone, meaning all the suckers as they lost, soon learned there was no such thing as an even bet, everything was rigged, there was really no point to play unless you were the fool, hell bent to lose all their money.  So things changed.  Gambling began to be seen as ‘Entertainment’, capital ‘E’, the original
E-Commerce.  Win or lose, it didn’t matter – what everyone really did was buy by the hour, a set amount, for the hourly entertainment, for each hour spent in Reno, Tahoe, or Las Vegas; Tonopah too.

Film, music, movies, the entertainers and the market – it’s all the same big business.  It’s just illusion, Entertainment, a fleeting flicker of light and shadow, with more than a glint of smoke and mirrors – propellers in the night, on board and now we’re leaving.  One pays for each hour one is in the market.  It’s just entertainment after all.  You get to think that you’re a winner, that you are smarter than all the rest.  You know that you cannot gain in gambling without another’s loss; so when you lose you are not a victim, you’re just a loser.  Just like the movies, only the house makes any money, and the bit players who have taken you for a ride.  But some people like the ride, “life’s so boring.”  Everyday life, “Just makes you want to cry.”, like everyone playing it like in a movie, living life like it were a movie, playing each part like in a movie.  Little or no real life at all.

And, sad movies make me cry.  Let’s not play it again Sam.  The sound of silents?  Yes, that might make it so much better.

[2008.11.14 / Friday – Play It Again Sam]

Market May Ham

November 12th, 2008

~ The Lake Tahoe Limbo Rock.

How low can you go?  Do the limbo rock.

The limbo is really a rather easy two step.  It’s not really so much a dance, as well, a dance, as well in a dance about leaning over backward until you drop, until you flop, until you are flat out on the ground with your back to the ground, “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” type thing.  I mix my metaphors like a bartender might mix her whiskey and rye.

The limbo is easy to try.  One needs no experience, no training, just a butt to fall on and a back to lie on once you know that ones butt is not the bottom in the limbo rock.  I can see that you can see where this post is going.  It’s about the market and your money and the simple fact that in a market everyone else is after your money.  They want it.  They want to take it away from you.  They don’t ever want you to end up with your money, you are not a victim, you brought the money to the market.  Geesh, you do know something about what ‘market’ means don’t you?

I learned to bargain, to barter in the bazaars of Afghanistan, in Kabul mostly.  Bartering for goods was mostly new to me.  I had grown up in a world where most things were ‘price fixed’, had a fixed price, a market price marked on the item with an actual price tag, not just a bar code.  This was in the days before prices were posted on the edges of shelves to catch your eye or maybe to mislead you.  Shopping was easy, buying things that is.  Just find something that one might want, lift it up, feel the weight, inspect the quality and look for the price tag.  Too much and you put it back.  Just right and you took it to the cashier at the cash register and bought it, with cash.  That’s why the machine was actually called a cash register, it had drawers for coins and cash and even a place for checks if a merchant was willing to honor such things – if they really knew the maker and knew the funds were good, no questions asked, no ID.

That was the way of stores.  Some stores called themselves markets, some were shops, others (and most) were just stores, referring to the stores of merchandize that they had on hand, stored until a buyer might come along, often stored for a long time before a buyer came along.  Everything else was more like horse trading.  If someone owned something and was not a store the price was negotiable if it were for sale.  The assumption was never that a persons possessions were for sale, asking to buy things that did not clearly display a for sale sign or a price tag was considered rude, pushy, something that one heard of in the east, or about the east – meaning the east coast of the USA, not Asia.

Horse trading was a bit different.  It usually involved an exchange of things, maybe including a bit of money, but more like a dowry type bargain based on taking things one had and offering them for things that one might want.  Two horses, one a little lame, for a good deer rifle – you get the drift.  A box of cartridges and you’ve got yourself a deal, “but just how bad is this horse?”

Horse trading was like a potlatch ritual, it kept things moving, kept things old or unused from gathering too much dust, from taking up too much space, from taking too much time to repair when one wasn’t really too good at repairing things, but knew that others were.  Things were still mended then; but that’s a different story.

The limbo involves a stick, two men (or now two women) hold the stick, hold it even and parallel to the ground, they’re fair about it, hold it steady and exact as in holding an exact distance as one can see eye to eye.  The dancer goes under, leans back not ever forward, the eye must always see the stick or it’s not the limbo rock.  The stick starts high and then moves ever lower with each passing person, each person testing the ever lower stick to see how low they can go, without dropping on their butt or to the ground, flat on their back perhaps, totally down, defeated.

Like most affairs of the heart the limbo was originally a market game.  Performed for money in the market, make a wager, watch the stick get lower, wait for the drop, how long before it’s over.  The market of course made the money, each gambler always lost, such is the manner of the markets, these are the manners of the market.

High above Reno and Carson City is a lake, Lake Tahoe.  It is or was one of the most beautiful lakes in all the world, originally named Bigler, Mark Twain probably described it best, if not first in the English tongue.  His description is still worth reading, but that’s for a different day.

Lake Tahoe was long thought not to have a bottom.  Some thought that at the bottom there were rivers and that the rivers outlet was the sea.  There were tales of men drowning in the lake, falling off of boats or piers, off of log rafts floating southward whose bodies would go down and down to seek the bottom and they would never be found except at the sea.  Which in this case were along the beaches of northern California, Ukiah maybe, or somewhere where the Redwoods grew along the ocean.

Six thousand some odd feet is a bit of a drop in a pool without a bottom, too far down to think about, too cold, a body would certainly freeze at such icy depths, certainly too cold for comfort.  What does this have to do with the market?  A body so big and deep and ‘all wet’ that it has no bottom, or at least no bottom that many can ever find, lower than limbo, lower than just ending, “flat upon your back”.

I have friends who still are in the market.  In Wall Street, as measured by NASDAQ or the DOW.  They wince at their recent losses, look for bottoms, refuse to sell.  Maybe they still see the peaks of Tahoe, look up and never down, though at best they’re floating, and though they know that they are down.  The market is like a story, it starts one place and makes a point.  Most likely there is no finish to the story, no happy ending, no long lines, no tied up ends.  Just images of highs and lows and something for awhile in-between.  And then too suddenly there’s just a sinking feeling….

That’s the point.

[2008.11.12 / Wednesday – Market May Ham]

Take Me Back

November 11th, 2008

~ How advertising helps me, or not so much.

Not to far back I began to post my Grandmother’s letters.  I had not read through them for a long long time and I suspected that they might have a new urgency or a new relevance now that they may not have necessarily been seen so long ago.  In the spirit of openness I decided to post them, allowing others to read or reread them as I do now, so others too may get their meaning if they might be interested in meanings or in other things discussed.

Hemme (HNB) was among many other things a journalist, last week (if you’ve been reading her posts) she was a housepainter, a teacher, and a part-time nurse or something more through reading, experience, and correspondence.  Her writing and her wisdom come by way of her experience, and her reading, although her reading was mostly in books born of experience, science, history, and how-to manuals mostly, not the literary flights of fancy designed to entertain rather than to sharpen the human mind.

Her humor is often subtle, it was the depression of course and each new writing contest offered the hope of money, which of course was useful (as she points out) in buying.  The advertising contest could (and did) help her in buying, by it’s $15 prize, the equivalent now of perhaps $500, in the scale of wages paid.  Not bad for a local rag, a local newspaper or combination of papers colluding to invigorate the economy, make things work, involve the local grey cells in re-evolving the local stores.

There is something quite compelling in her advocacy or defense of the virtues of local print advertising this day.  I refer to this day in my life, not just in hers.  This past week a major store has closed, it advertised in the local paper quite a bit, maybe helped it in keeping going, the store, another big box or two, and the great American car industry through its dealers and dealerships.  But now of course the car ads are gone, the store is going (the ads are gone), and there’s just a big box or two (two stores, one ad each day) – not too much to keep a paper going, sports and news and the inevitable obituaries of people and still other stores that never advertised or did and now they too are gone.

But these days are not the thirties.  My paper never offered a $500 local prize for writing, for ideas, for the infusion of new ideas to keep things going, to inspire others, to make one think as with a sharpened mind.   I’ve threatened before to drop the rag, to leave behind its decreasing coverage and quality, to stop supporting its insipid politics and focus on an irrelevant political advocacy.  But now it appears that the paper will drop me first, it will die, will pass away, the presses stopped forever.  It will die by advertising, the lack thereof, the fact that there is really nothing new, not a thing compelling, not anything new worth knowing in the local paper – just old ideas imported, imported from afar, no local hearts or minds.

There are a succinct 200 something words in Hemme’s first prize letter.  It covers more than papers, more than advertising, or advertising dailies.  It summarizes the idea of money and what money might be worth.  Again our days are not the thirties, our ideas are not the same, we have new ideas not old, not like the ideas found in the daily paper, the journal, a gazette or two, the chronicle, or maybe in the times.

I quote:  “Advertising keeps me abreast of a changing production.  Something better replaces the old; quality is progressive, and prices constantly alter.  My money’s value becomes expansive or the reverse, with what I have to select from; it is variable.  And I am as rich, only, as my buying power, or as my money is worth in goods.”

I would suggest that she, in 18 simple words has revealed what the maestros of Harvard Business School and all of Wall Street and at all the banks never have realized in all their theories of money and wealth.
The lesson: money wealth that exceeds what one aspires to in goods has no value, goods that exceed in plentitude the money wealth of potential buyers have no value.  Simply put: there is no “locked up (money) value” in anything, the accumulation of wealth beyond a reasonable and sustainable ‘want’ is an exercise in absurdity.

The ultra-rich have far more money than they could ever spend on any wants.  Their wealth therefore is wasted, it does not follow the rules of money, and therefore does not functionally exist, it must be ‘lost’ as is now quite obviously happening.  Things (goods, houses, and other investments) have no real value.  They value of things is only supported by a distribution of both money and things that is in balance and is in balance with ‘selection’.  Selection is very personal, and is determined not by just ‘wants’, but also by the ability of individuals to select between what are wants and what are really ‘needs’.  Actual needs in terms of money (cost) in any persons life are extremely few.

Advertising has greatly changed in America since the 1930’s.  It became a medium for the defining of wants and the exaggeration of needs.  As advertising increasingly dominated the social culture the media itself became the vehicle for the promotion of the money culture, the notion that money had value in an of itself because there would always be something (in the future) that money could buy that one might want to buy.  Too soon society lost sight of the simple functional purpose of money and embraced the concept of hoarding and collecting money for the sake of money and for nothing more.  This has led to an extreme distortion in the distribution of money wealth on one hand and to a meaningless monetization of everything on the other.  Simply put, most people have become satiated.  Most people are stuffed with stuff and are mostly uninterested in stuffing in any more.  The rallying cry of the rebel, of the anti-capitalist and of the anti-communist is, “Who needs it?, I am full.”

Economics is predicated on the idea of shortage.  When there is an end to shortage, there is an end to economics.  The system is a victim of its own success.  Almost everyone has too much of almost everything, and nothing (no ‘thing’) makes them any happier or makes them feel any better about their lives.  Money has replaced meaning, and left nothing in its place – in the place of money.  Increasingly every endeavor that was defined (advertised) as a way to make money has lost its meaning.  It is not just stocks and bonds and the rainbow city of housing prices, but cars and jobs, jewelry and even gold, that have lost their luster.  All these things were monetized, they stopped being goods, but were just depositories of wealth, assets, the hallmarks of a conspicuous consumption that was seen always as an investment, not a simple purchase – money put to rest.

In Forest Gump there is a very stupid line, “Stupid is as stupid does.”  It, as a line, is an insult to intelligence, it denigrates what smartness is and what it’s for.  But the line might apply well to the late economy, where the perception was that wealth spent is wealth that is, that ‘rich’ is acting rich, and that somehow acting rich is being rich as if the money was never spent, never wasted, never flushed down some drain like dirty water or some sort of sewage, if you catch the smell.

Hemme made well the point about the difference between buying and spending.  All spending is bad, it’s the expenditures that will kill you or your business and your government, the expenses for unneeded things, expensive things that might entertain and dazzle, but not by what one may learn.

This new post may be found upon the ‘Sidebar’, 1931 in May.  You can begin at the beginning, in 1929, if you haven’t done so already, the posts are not for everyone – but maybe they are for you.  It’s Tuesday, take me back.

[2008.11.11 / Tuesday – Take Me Back]

November Winds

November 10th, 2008

~ Shake, rattle, and roll – I’m all shook up.

The trifecta is sometimes referred to as the war, the economy, and the environment.  On this basis Bush (Doobya) infamously cited the (NY) City trade tower fiasco as a part of the trifecta, as a part of war.  This was probably because, as we know now, he was planning one or two, or at least propagating the planning of others.  Doesn’t every little darling aspire to a Bush Puppet for Christmas, or for Hanukah, or for Eid even.  Why isn’t ‘Eid’ in my spellcheck?  Oh, I almost forgot that I live in an ongoingly very racist society.

Actually George got it wrong, in his little post 9-1-1 joke.  He was actually misquoting FEMA, skewing his facts, getting confused, doing what Bush (as we know now) is always so good at – getting us confused and skewed.  The real FEMA report, which came out in the early months of 2001 predicted (actually, more like discussed, as in focused on) the possibility of three great FEMA type disasters, which meant things that FEMA might (or might not so much) respond to.  Don’t you love your government?

It goes without saying that an economic emergency certainly would not be a FEMA type emergency.  No, a financial meltdown would not be seen as a real emergency, no need for planning for anything like that, no need to intervene, send in or out trailers for the homeless, setup foodlines for the hungry, provision emergency supplies of money for a financial rescue or to do whatever standby supplies of money are supposed to do.  Looking back I cannot help but wonder why it wasn’t the FEMA team that was on the tube handling all the bailouts, bungling all the money like in New Orleans, letting Wall Street go down the tubes like those poor and black and underwater, excuse the pun (like a bad Bush joke, in New Orleans).

But I get ahead, ahead of myself.  It was the real Bush Trifecta of which I write, the one that came in with Bush and win or lose will go out with Bush, the FEMA prognostication, or perhaps just the FEMA plan.  Why do I keep wanting to talk about New Orleans when someone says, “the FEMA plan”.  FEMA of course never had a plan, doesn’t have a plan, just plans on being there on the day plans go astray (or “go”) like on 9-1-1 when FEMA was already there, just waiting, but you knew that already didn’t you?

Anyway, the FEMA report had a plan or something like not a plan for three cities – New York, New Orleans, and San Francisco USA.  The first would be hit by terrorists, the second by a hurricane, the third by a horrendous earthquake.  End of report, think ahead, do something, do a lot, or do little.  Hey.

In the beginning of the Bush regime the first event happened of course, FEMA was there on the day, stationed just a few blocks away, ready with their monitors for the heart-stopping event.  They never asked who the real terrorists might really be – terrorists just are.  A false flag operation?  An exercise gone live?  How crazy does it get with buildings going down, not over, boom, boom.  Building 7, no plane, no flying debris, just another boom, boom, boom and straight down, just like the Hotel King David, some groups just like to bomb, like the thrill of dynamite, like the blow of plastic and its disastrous effects.

In the middle of the Bush regime there were winds that blew and blew and blew across the blue Atlantic.  You know the rest, there was no rest in New Orleans, 13 cars and 13 restless riders, all disappearing – that was the news.  FEMA was not there that day, nor the next, nor much the next.  Not much interest, not much planning, unless the plan was to do not much, round up some formaldehyde type gas, put people in gaskammers, hope for the best when they come out, if they come out.  Gas and changing rooms after the showers, you get my drift, the gas comes after, after – but you can read about it on the web, curious story, like it might have come from Teheran and not from Tel Aviv – so much for conventional wisdom, not original, just so convenient, so according to conventions.

“Titan Rain”, “Terminal Fury”, the planners are such a dramatic lot, they should write for Hollywood, come up with the titles and the themes, come up with the scripts for the best sellers, best movies, best big box office smash, make it look and feel real, like maybe because it is – or maybe because it might be.

It’s November again.  It’s time for tests.  For the annual tests of November (so they say).  Where to begin?  How about Global Lightning, the ConPlan 8022 (the 22 is code for Endgame) thing, the nuclear first strike plan, not a game – a real plan for preemptive war, preemptive nuclear war (call it on for 12-18, call it a test no matter what may happen).  Or we have the good old Bulwark Defender, but stick my caps, it should be all in caps, a high tech touch for cyberspace defense in a cyber war, this country is at war you might remember, real war, the President told us so, Congress agreed, last time I looked at Wall Street it looks like we are losing, just a thought.  Why have defense exercises during a real war when we need real defense?  Oh well, just a test (12-18 of November).

But this thing gets so much better.  Remember Vigilant Shield, the exercises held on 09, 09?  Well now we have Vigilant Shield 09, which makes it almost Google proof, especially when it is set for 08 (like this week), but VS 08 was held in 07, you get my drift, and we are clearly drifting, or closing in on something, or maybe even bearing down, and that does not seem like any bull, or very likely to bring a bull market, come to think about it.  You really might think about it.

The Salton Sea is almost as low as Death Valley, or the Dead Sea in Zion land, now even more dead without its pre-war water, the shores have been removed, not like the Salton Sea, waters rising with the building of a dam, for so much irrigation, it’s always about irrigation don’t you know, the purpose of this blog, front and center, first page, you did read it didn’t you, once upon a time?

There are many golds in California, in hills, on hills – nuggets, veins, and flowers.  The California poppy was what gave the golden state its name.  I’m not so sure that Golden Guardian is too much about poppies though, not about the green defense (line), not about protecting the environment (I suspect), not about native plants and uprooting all the non-native species, sending them home or back or back to sea or to New York or to fromever else where from they might have come – maybe a good idea.  Maybe green is good, to support the natives, all natives, only the real first and original natives – not the neo-Californians, late-comers, modern peoples who have no ancient rights to any land, like in Palestine, like in Zion, like it was in the beginning.

I digress (or do I)?  The Golden Guardian exercise is set to be coordinated with all of the above, starting one day later, ending perhaps one day later.  Each exercise, actually at least all eight, are to be a week in length, it should be all over by Thanksgiving, or before, or at least that is the plan.  Much if not most of everything seems to be centered on California, Salton Sea, Palmdale, Orange County, good Republican country, a thanks for voting effort, or made possible at least because these people voted.

This Thursday, the military becomes involved this Wednesday, is “The Great Southern California Shakeout”, events will center on the local FEMA camp (trailers in the desert is what it sounds like).  Since huge numbers of hospitals and schools and governments throughout all of California seem to be involved in this test it is only fair and maybe important to point out that it will be the largest earthquake readiness drill in the history of the United States.  Did I fail to mention that Bush has only 70 more days (in office), that the Trifecta has only 70 more days to become real, that maybe two out of three ain’t bad, or that for FEMA it is really only a tale of two cities?

Anyway, I guess FEMA will not be on the streets of San Francisco this time.  They’ll be out in the Salton Sea, landlocked, trying out their trailers, or trying to airout the formaldehyde before pushing people back in, or maybe it’s just a cyberwar, or just a nuke or two, or just nothing.

The plan is to review it all in early December.  To look at what went right and what went wrong.  Like the plans before the 9-1-1 exercises – what went right, and what went wrong.  When the review is finished there will be Terminal Fury, sounds really good, saw the previews, big WOW.

Modern America will make you crazy.  It will drive you mad.  It will try to consume you with just worry, like it’s a worry if all the Circuit Cities shut down or close or collapse or whatever else circuits do in cities.  Each store is a metaphor, American this or that is closing, Fannie is shutting down.  Is it General Motors or General Quarters that is in trouble, I forget, I don’t care, it’s all too much, like Israel, let’s do away with all the non-natives, everything non-native, all the non-native things and people.  Ask Rahm Emanuel, he knows and he will go, be driven back to his native land, Shalom.

I thought, was taught, that WWII was about that Germany for just the Germans was not such a good idea.  That the idea of a chosen people was not such a good idea.  That Palestine was a diverse place, a holy land, not just a Jewish State, for just Jews, except those kept in barbed wire encampments and villagements, like the American Japanese ‘towns’ for Japanese Americans, Californians in WWII, somewhere in the desert, not trailers, lets call them towns with a Mainstreet USA, don‘t mind the machine guns and the guards – work will make you free.

Germany looked really good in 1939 if you were German, liked the Germans there, thought well of Germany.  I’m sure Israel looks very good today if you are Jewish, not in Gaza, not an Iranian, a Syrian, an Egyptian trying to live and make a living, waiting for the war, waiting for the next solution.  What is it that one “never forgets”, the lesson or the people, the wrong or the people wronged?  Zion has forgotten.  It has forgotten all the wrong, it has forgotten what went wrong and why it was wrong.  It’s a lie.  “Never forget”, the Zionist state was founded on forgetting, forgetting everything that was worth remembrance on this (legal) remembrance day.

What can I say?  The government has been taken over, taken over by the Mossad, it is owned by Israel, Tel Aviv the new capital, America will be punished for its acquiescence, it’s failure to fight the Germans, it’s making war against the Japanese (instead), it’s failure to stop the Germans, to start at Crystalnight (the night of glass), to start the war to attack with force and with pre-meditation, to kill Germans and all of happy Germany.

When is it no longer just about the Germans, but about peace?  When is it no longer about the Jews, but about peace?  When is it no longer about the racial divides, the religious divides, the divisions of labor and of wealth?  America was not brought down by the loss of two towers, it was toppled by the greed of an enemy within, domestic bankers, workers of the world (but not really workers), backed by Bush, a puppet on a string.  And now we have Obama, as black as Sammy Davis Jr., I wish it were not so.  I might have liked the man in a different time, with different friends, with a very different agenda, a different handler, a different puppeteer.

Cold are the winds of November.  They break the air.  They kill the leaves.  They are the harbinger of snow, and cold and of the ice to come.  There is nothing peaceful about November, remember Kennedy, the war, the war, the war.  America is at war, and why.  She has lost this war, and why?  Who is the real threat, and why?  Nothing is ever as it seems.  I stay in, inside, in November – where it’s safer, by the fireside of home.   But what force takes the home, the homes of America, and leaves them all but burning, empty and unused in an economic great despair?  Cold November winds.  It is not the time for shopping.

Will the world or California end by shaking, by a rattle and a roll?  Was Elvis right, does he live, can he bring the fifties back again?  Is FEMA wrong or right?  Homeland Security has failed, the wolf controls the henhouse door, it was never about Mexico you idiot (if you are an idiot), not about Iran, watch the Magician and not the ball, it’s not about the bunny.  Tell someone.  Tell someone you know.

I feel like Bob Dylan, hunkered down against the wind.  He has seen a wave large enough to drown the whole world, driven by a November wind.  Take me back.  Take me forward.  Give me a sail and I might fly.

[2008.11.10 / Monday – November Winds]

« Previous Entries