The Unwinding – Part 1

December 30th, 2008

~ Let’s start with war.

“In the beginning there was war.”  Or there were rumors of war, or there was a garden, and there was peace.  Or there was a big bang.  We believe what we want to believe and what we are taught to believe or what others expect us to believe.

I have been willing to write about ‘my beliefs’ on this blog.  With each advocacy of a position or thought there comes the potential for alienation or offence or concern by the reader, by my friends, by relatives, or worst of all by those that don’t know me and don’t read more than a line or two – a one sentence sound bite of the passing eye.  And yet, my intention has never been to offend anyone, nor to cause concern, nor to overthrow ones thoughts or beliefs or even fond memories.  I write to challenge ones assumptions, to challenge the right to assume in a time when assuming seems so dangerous and so destructive.

How much (really) do any of us really know?  Are there really experts that know any better or know any more (than we do)?  I believe the answer is very often ‘no’, but I really don’t know.  I only assume.  I plot my path with assumptions, assumptions often carried over from yesterday, from the past, from another’s point of view.  But perhaps this day is different.  Perhaps this day everything really changed and I alone, or I in concert with others refused to see the original newness of this day and just assumed that it was another day, a continuum of dates, on a continuum of calendars foreordained or not by scientists, or religionists, or cultists, or just the common crowd of the believers and non-believers that we pass along the way, or that we are.

But let’s begin with war.  There is a war on, in Gaza, in Israel, in Palestine, in Ishmael.  It is a grievous war, as all wars seem grievous to me in these modern times when so many seem to believe in peace, not chivalry, not good wars that have good endings accomplished by the worst or most questionable of means.  I might be wrong.  Who can say when is it best that someone dies?  Do you know?  Everyone dies at some point, moves on, passes away to dust or heaven or dancing girls or a better place or an opportunity for more wars, wars without end – some call it hell and some say hell is good, or necessary, or at least justified given the universe the way it is.  I have my opinions, my beliefs.  Why share them here?

I want to rail against this war, the killing, the unfairness of it all.  The Goliath’s name is David, all the power is on one side, all the killing too, and all the death seems on the other – 50 or 100 to one.  Does this seem right?  Or is right the reason?  There are so many reasons for war, for death, for killing in the name of peace, or for peace, or to teach a lesson.  Who is learning now?  When will they ever learn?

There are no Jews, no Arabs really.  But if you like to think of yourself as this or that or as a ‘whatzit’ or as a ‘whozit’ or just as a plain ‘zit’, that is fine with me.  I don’t know you (really).  You must have your reasons, your genetics, your bloodlines, or your race or your thoughts on race and races and the various victims and superiors of it all.  You decide, but leave me out of it.  I am you.  But I am also ‘them’.  So make up your mind before you decide to kill, to war, to make things ruined and new things be brought to learn.  We’ll leave religion for tomorrow, but my calendar might not look like yours and even then ‘tomorrow’ may never come.  This day may last forever, in my mind, for me, I don’t really know.

This is the season of vacation, of winter breaks and breaks from school and work and assignments and even a bit the break from news, from ‘breaking’ news at least.  Some of us will come back after the first, in January, on or after the New Year or after a week or two or a month at least, or after another business has failed or person has been laid off or another mortgage foreclosed.  Some will not come back.  The planet seems to be unwinding, a business term, not ecology or green at all, just blue.  I think the unwinding looks like blue, I could be wrong, it could turn out other ways.  I’m good with blue.

There is no hurry now.  No rush.  No need to worry, to stress, to carry on (or out) the past from where the past was buried, dead long ago, it just didn’t seem dead till now, irrelevant and mean and I’m so glad it got me here but do I hear my mother calling, or is that just the word ‘scaffolding’ I hear.  I love my mother, but now she’s gone.  I can live with that.  I have (too long) already.  Is this reality, or a metaphor, or a warning, or what?  You decide.  It’s all up to you, but by this there is no implicit obligation, no drive, no orders now or ever, just the peace of the world be upon you.  Wherever you go, go in peace.

I saw a movie recently, with my son, with my wife.  The movie was entitled “Doubt”, a Catholic theme but maybe more about what is universal in us all, doubt about so many things, even if there is no doubt about God at all (unlike in the movie).  My favorite scene is about the feathers, feathers falling every where and the good Irish leader says “pick them up”.  I would.  I would spend a lifetime sweeping, hand picking, pouring over each bush and bramble and looking under little stones and in frogs mouths and climbing up ladders and ledges to do it.  It would be a challenge.  It would seem a lot like life (to me).

The movie takes a different turn, a different twist of plot and fate and attitude.  Not mine.  But I don’t care.  I see each movie my way.  I carry home the message, the message as I see it or want to see it or would see it if I had written it, not others, just me.  It is about me, isn’t it?  Why else would I see a movie?

So I give to you your feather back.  Film in reverse.  The pillow will be made of feathers, feathers flying inward, toward the casing, random thoughts of peril all put back, encased, a good place for placing the head and sleeping, resting, waiting for a brand new day without enmity, or hate, or conspiracy, or bother.  No insult (or injury) meant (or taken).  It is just folks, people on the rise, patience against adversity.  I close my eyes.  And now I sleep.  And now I dream.

And all my dreams are good.

[2008.12.30 / Tuesday – The Unwinding – Part 1]

Christmas and Not

December 18th, 2008

~ I guess it’s not Kabul anymore.

I was eleven in my last year in Kabul, in Afghanistan, when Afghanistan was still unknown and innocent.
The world was a more innocent place then.  Or maybe I was just younger, eleven, not sixty something, a forty-nine year difference as if I would ever be a ’49er, marking my life in 49 years (or the year) of anything.  I don’t think I’ll ever make 101, as in 101 years old in the year 2049 if there will ever be a 2049 on this planet, with or without me on it.  Christmas is like that (this), it brings out the nostalgia and the melancholy and the reminiscences in us all.  It’s all about remembering and forgetting and carrying on as if we neither remember (anything) or forget (nothing).  So it goes (and ‘anyway’).

The good news is that it’s Christmas.  Hanukah really does nothing much for me, I’m not Jewish, never played with a dradel, never lived in Israel or even in Herat where so many Afghan Jews once lived when I was there (meaning in Afghanistan), before the Soviets and the Americans and the Zionists changed so much of everything.  The Afghan Jews were innocent, as I was, when I celebrated my only Christmas in
Afghanistan in 1959.  My brother (‘Fred Martin’) bought me a rifle, an Afghan rifle, older than the hills, probably used there too, fighting in the Khyber Pass or above the Kabul Gorge or on the highways linking Kabul and Herat, not highways really, more like camel trails, caravan routes older than the roads to Rome when Rome was old and Christ was new and Jesus was just a boy like me, a lad of eleven perhaps with a future ahead and hopes and dreams and images of camels in the snow.  It does snow in Bethlehem.

Jesus never lived to be sixty (something).  It’s a shame.  Some religionists say it had to be, a sacrifice to God, of God, from God.  It makes no sense to me.  It’s like wrapping a Christmas present for oneself, to oneself, from oneself and spinning a draddle with all the sides the same, no mystery in it, just a mystery of why there is a mystery when there really is no mystery in it at all.  Maybe Jesus didn’t have to die, maybe the Romans and Herod and the Jews with pointing fingers and jealous minds were really wrong and bad and knew what they were really doing, murdering an innocent man, a boy with dreams to last a lifetime and with dreams cut short by avarice and pride, not like things are supposed to be.  Not pre-ordained.  Not the Gospel Truth, not the truth at all.  But it was not the Jewish State that killed God, not Rome – just small minds and petty mis-steps and a conspiracy or two and people (individuals) that might have just said “no” and didn’t and so we have our Christmas day, a day of illusion and confusion and 2,000 years and more of continuing illusion and confusion and were there ever really, ‘Camels in the Snow’?

The past year has been good if shaking what one believes in is really good at heart, in reality, in the future state of things.  Most people are far too certain, they “know” everything that is true, their God and his origins, their flag, the color of their race.  Did I say they know what Blue Chip stocks are all about, the name of good credit cards and banks, what stores are really status, the labeled names of things to wear?  Most people even think they know the language, how to speak when spoken to, what words to blurt when blurting out is necessary or reasonable or just reasonable enough to do.  Not like my life in Kabul.  Everything was on the table.  I was a minority person, speaking a minority language (little known), at an age of minority, in a religious minority, from a young and inexperienced nation, struggling hard to just get by.  Me or my country?  Maybe both, but I will live longer.  It does appear that I will live longer (than my nation).  I lived longer than Afghanistan, the Afghanistan that I knew, no blown apart and crying and dying and waiting for yet another American invasion, 20,000 more troops to pacify the peace (another name for war).

If every American just gave 30 cents (or so) it would make a hundred million dollars, three dollars would be a billion, $3,000 a trillion.  Why every American would want to give up $3,000 to destroy Afghanistan is a real question to me, in my mind, this Christmas, if this is what Christmas is all about.  A family of five (Americans) spending $15,000 to destroy Afghanistan and the camels and the people and the villages and the roads and the schools and wedding days and food bazaars and things it took a thousand years or two to create, gone with bombs and smart weapons and soldiers in Kevlar vests and composite helmets and lazar guided bullets to kill the sheep and donkeys and children that are not already dead.  At least 97% of every one and everything I saw or knew in Kabul when I was eleven is now dead.  I’m too old for this.  And too young.  Christmas should be about remembering things, not just forgetting (or trying to forget).

If you’re alive and living in America, count the bodies around you (and the heads), multiply by the 3,000 spent since 2001, just seven years and counting, and count on Obama to finish the score, to bring it to one trillion on YOUR watch, while you are watching, paying for more killing of a nation and a people for a Christmas rush.  Do you still believe?  Do you question yet?  Do you really just want to die?  Nor do the Afghans.  Nor does the Afghanistan of old.  Nor do the camels in the snow, nor I.

Some say my posts are “edgy”, at times a bit edgy I must admit.  Thoughts just flow, like emotion, like the emotions of the minute, not just all planned and thought out and thoughtful about the humanity of it all, consideration for the feelings of other sensibilities and of things that don’t make sense, but oh God I wish they did, I wish people had to write the checks and sign their names and put their names on vouchers before they could kill, not just salute a flag and pay their taxes and approve a ten trillion dollar debt (and ever rising).  Who will make ‘these’ people stop?  Will you stop?  Can you afford this war, when it all comes home, when America is Afghanistan, two worlds that I knew, both at peace, when I was eleven and it was Christmas time and I was younger and a bit more innocent, as I said, as it seemed.  Was I really all that wrong?

I guess Obama will not blow up Kenya, nor Hawaii, nor Indonesia.  I think Chicago, the city is fairly safe.  I don’t think the Zionists will blow up Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, no Hantavirus, no Ebola or Mad Cow maiming children, not a chance.  People love that with which they are familiar, or that which they think they know and nothing more, too often nothing more.  If Obama’s Mom had only gone to Kabul about 1963 then Afghanistan would be safer, terrorists might be coming from Kenya, the bombs and Kevlar would be going there (to Kenya, to Hawaii, to Indonesia perhaps).  Every American (family) would take its 15 thousand and spend it on killing Al Quida wherever it is found, but not killing in Afghanistan, not killing Afghans, not killing Afghanistan (or what might be left to die).

All America loves Herod, guilty, but it “had” to be, a sacrifice because there is no earthly justice, no winning right when wrong, no morality – just ‘ethics’.  And Herod was ever so ethical, he did what any Roman judge might do, a man of seasons and his reasons.  God is manifest by the transformations that he makes in each mind and heart.  God is never ‘ethical’.  God does not hate Afghanistan, it’s Herod, and America, and the Obama born in Kenya (think Hawaii) that hates Afghanistan and pays it’s pound of silver, $15,000 at a pop.  Never say you’re short of money, you have the blood of Afghanistan upon your door.  Oh please STOP THIS WAR!

Post Script:  I have never been back to Afghanistan since the day I left in July of 1960.  I have always wanted to return to this land of so many childhood memories and formative experiences.  All humans desire to ‘return’.  2009 will mark 50 years since I left Carson City, Nevada for Afghanistan.  I had hoped to return in 2009 to mark the anniversary.  The current chaos caused by the ineffective American intervention makes such a return almost impossible, areas always safe in 1959 are no longer even slightly safe.  The pending Obama escalation will certainly make things worse.  HOPE means PEACE NOW in Afghanistan, stop the spending, stop the escalation.  The US must withdraw if peace is to return, Peace On Earth, the Christmas thing (or not).

Involvement in Afghanistan did ‘bring down’ the Soviet Empire, I guess Obama is determined to have history repeat itself as the continued Afghanistan involvement bankrupts and destroys the American Empire.  But we’ve probably been here before.

[2008.12.18 / Thursday – Christmas and Not]

Ponzi

December 16th, 2008

~ As a family name, I guess it’s as big as Kennedy.

I guess there are a lot of people with the last name of Ponzi, in America, in the world maybe.  It just took one person, like in the case of Capone (Al), and all the rest of the Ponzi’s go down the tubes, suffer from a bad rap, are maligned even – by association (is named a duck, must be a duck).  But this post is not about the perils of names and naming and the generalizations inherent (often wrong) because people often wrongly associate certain attributes with certain names.  But so it goes.

Most Ponzi Schemes are small potatoes, little gambling rackets cleverly disguised as games of 21, or craps, or black jack as in the flying bones of pirates off the Somalia coast that even the US can do nothing good about because pirates are so cool, ask Disney, ask the Bush family with all their ‘Skulls & Bones’.  It’s all a Ponzi Scheme, borrowing from the wealth of the poor to make the poor rich ever richer.  Madoff has taught us an important lesson, the rich are not so different, they are just as poor in judgment as everybody else, no wiser, no less gullible, no less racist as they contrive to think that the Jewish names are smarter, more honest, better in the ways of money and understanding how money works.  But in due credit lets give credit where credit is due – Madoff did things better, bigger, on a grander scale.  He’s the best, the world’s greatest as of today.

The world will call a really, really big Ponzi Scheme a “Madoff Scheme” – let the Ponzi family off the hook, forgive the innocents, let one bad apple be put to rest.  Let’s here it for the Ponzi people, it’s the Madoff thing that ought to make you mad.  Two days ago Google had like ‘0’ hits for “50 billion ponzi scheme”, today it’s an even 1,320 (about).  And now there are 132 hits for “trillion dollar ponzi scheme”, most are new in anticipation of Madoff, the ever growing size of the Madoff Scheme at scales as yet undiscovered.

The real Ponzi (Ponzi the first to give the family name a butt), was just a small time operator, got little or nothing for his efforts in the end.  He just made a name for himself, and a name for others to emulate.  But Madoff, he’s a different guy, 50 billion is more than pocket change, brass balls and brass knuckles as he knocks out the petty rich – those with less than a billion with his 50 billion dollar scheme.  If you’re worth a measly billion you’re no longer rich at all, just stupid, just a measly mark for those really in the know that know that all wealth and money is just based on faith and trust and as the bills all remind us “only in God can we trust” (I paraphrase).  The warning is on all the bills and currency and coins even, like the cigarette packs, the money product can kill you (like cigarettes) as others make a killing.

I’m glad my name’s not ‘Madoff’, will not be forever associated with a scheme, 50 billion today a trillion tomorrow ten trillion yet to come, really big numbers like in Zimbabwe.  Are they dollars in Zimbabwe, or are they pounds (sterling, without the silver lining), or are the new Zimbabwe Euros that cost 50 Yen for a thousand pounds (400 kilos, about) of money.  I love this Madoff guy, where did he hide the bills, what depository of wealth did he find to preserve the value of all that money?  Every perpetrator becomes the victim – Madoff is the real victim of the Madoff Scheme, all his borrowings are worthless, only money only wealth, only the riches of this world for which he sold his soul (and family name).  A million people all hating all the Madoff’s, a name written in infamy, ‘we will never forget’, Madoff the Swine, there is no Kosher pork even from the belly of the beast.

I guess they’ll make the movie.  It’s a natural.  Madoff (himself, the first, the original) can even have a cameo role, walk on or off in cuffs – though he’ll probably never spend more than 10 days in prison.  It’s a ‘vision’ thing, not like a hold-up at 7/11 to buy a family food, Madoff stole real money big-time (it’s not like cops wear suits), at least not real suits, $10,000 each from European tailors running sweatshops in the rear (another Ponzi scheme, small time, but it hurts).

I guess Madoff was always surrounded by nothing but crooks and thieves and swindlers and things that went bump-bump all through the night (prostitutes and whores and Johns and all the other pirates just trying to make a living).  He was head of the NASDAQ Exchange, the Madoff Exchange I guess, a great big Madoff Scheme I guess – invest for the ‘long term’ I guess, wealth made for the early comers from the backs and banks of the gullible who come late.  You get my drift.  It’s not a drift – just fact.  It’s why the real wealth is always “old” money, first in, first out when times go bad.  But the script too is getting ‘old’, like Madoff, no place to put his wealth when the whole world is burning (money) just to make the flames burn higher.  And now you really get my drift.

Joe Kennedy was hated by the Londoners, pro-Hitler like he was, money made by running rum or was it Irish whiskey?  He was driven out of London when the bombs began to fall, but he did all right I guess, made his son a President, his grand-daughter a Senator (taking Hillary’s seat in New York, the fix is in, the fix is always in).  Maybe Madoff has a son or daughter, wants to be President based on a famous name, based on money from corruption and the basest morals below indiscretion.  How is it that money is inherited, but not morality, or do I get it wrong?  How can one receive the hand-out without the hand?

There is a force of angels, moving through the woods and works, scouring under bushes and peering through every tree.  They are out to get you (if you’re bad), I’ve seen them, I know that this is true.  There is no place of hiding, skulls and bones will not set you free, they will find you and all your money.  And only the truth will make you free.  You’ve prayed for God in all his (and her) glory, for end-times drawing near.  You’ve got it.  Just a few more years, days, and hours – you’ll get yours, just like you always wanted, like you always hoped, like you always knew would happen.  Aren’t you glad?  I wouldn’t trade my soul for all the money of Madoff.  Would you?  Do you?  Repent.  Amen.

The snow is softly falling.  It really is morning in America, and for all the world, too, see?

[2008.12.16 / Wednesday – Ponzi]

The Last Saturday

December 13th, 2008

~ Salvation is just a motion away.

Thirteen stars, thirteen stripes, thirteen original colonies, thirteen original states.  It’s back to basics and 13 is basic to America, basic to the economy, and basic to all bail-outs which come or should come or will come in nice ‘baker’s dozen’ quantities, like Krispy Cremes or Spudnuts (in the old days) – sweet and soft and light and like a breezy morning in the tropics.  There’s no need to worry.  America, or the Congress, or the President will make everything all right.  Like Mom and Apple Pie, America will always nurture, will save (even without savings), will provide.  It’s just such a great country, money for everything, everyone, one step at a time and she will get to you.

The scary part, and unless you’re first a bit scared you can’t appreciate salvation, is that people just aren’t buying Christmas, this Christmas.  Christmas long ago stopped being about saints, or prophets, or saviors, or even the Gods of Baalbek or of ancient Rome perhaps.  The new God (really not so new) of America is consumerism, materialism, the cult of things.  The biggest annual orgy is the winter solstice one, everything in excess, price seldom matters, just buy and buy and buy.  It really is your patriotic duty, stars and stripes forever, bags with flags, “I am a shopper” pins and ribbons and yellow “Remember to shop” ribbons made of magnetic material fastened or festooned to every car.

Forget the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, true patriots have come home to shop this year.  They are issuing medals in the malls, purple hearts for uninjured shoppers, not afraid to face the pain as they give it all its got and are willing to sacrifice everything, all credit, all humility, all the children’s futures for just one last plunge into the breach, one patriotic lunge for one last bigger better gift (and then another) just one more, one more day to shop and buy and lose ones life to save America the country from going bust and forever changing.

Saturday is still the best day (to shop, to buy).  It’s festive.  It’s fun (to shop), to join the crowds and count the bags and compete with other shoppers, bigger bags and better and the names (on the bags) says it all and the more the merrier as in a merrier Christmas – what else could merriment mean than the ‘Will to Shop’, like a modern ‘Will to Power’, it just feels good down to the bone, exhausting, but ‘it hurts so good’ and is so important for the country, for Bush and for Obama, I like Ike and I like to shop.  What’s good for America is good for AIG and GM and California too.

It’s only 40% to 50% off this weekend, today, Saturday.  I hope the crowds are ready, that’s what ‘hope’ is for, believing the unbelievable, the not true, the impossible dream as if it were not a dream.  It’s so patriotic to shop, to buy, if each flag waving car of 911 would only shop today, spend a hundred or a thousand, this economy would turn around and America would be great again, like on September 12th (2001), the day after at ground zero when America had all the money anybody would ever need to fight all the wars and have all the guns and butter too.  After all, in America money has no meaning, it’s just always there, comes in checks and plastic and from friends and total strangers.  The whole world will always invest in America, just watch, more money always coming.  Be happy.

If the crowds don’t buy this Saturday (today), their will be sheer panic by next Saturday, the last Saturday of the Christmas rush, the Christmas season, Happy Hanukkah (is important too(and Kwanzaa).  All patriotic in the giving, code word for buying, code word for shopping at the malls and shops and maybe a little more spent on-line.  Patriots must shop on-line and off-line too (of course).  The last Saturday there will be stuff for 80% off (EVERYTHING in the store), it’s not about the money, the price – it’s about the practice, the habit, the head-count even – the real numbers of Happy Shoppers, not any real bottom line.

Our great Dear Leader (Bush ‘W’) saved the day (on Friday) by circumventing Congress, there are no laws, and bailing out the auto-makers with banking money, which is like no real money after all.  It’s just a few more billion (that’s billion with a ‘t’), the numbers have no reason, no rhyme, no meaning – it’s like ‘all the tea in China’, an unfathomable amount, just give em’ everything you’ve got.  Everything.  The kitchen sink, the widows, the orphans, throw in everything into the breach.  This is total war.  Stop at nothing.  Sacrifice and buy, buy until you bleed and then buy some more.  And relax, more money is really coming, ask GM and the auto workers on parade, no bad or lesser Christmas, it’s better with ‘W’s’ money, not your own, not like hard work ever mattered, it’s just the dole that counts (but don’t ever call it that), it’s really just a loan, a credit, until better times come again.  Let’s (then) fund another war, more cars with flags, or how else can you drive in to the mall.  We need the cars to shop.

To all those in California crying:  “Don’t worry, there’s no end in sight, no Armageddon, no need to worry.”
Swartzenegger just got the signals wrong, he miscued, he misspoke himself.  There is no “deficit”, no broken budget, no danger of default.  He meant to say, “It’s about the JOBS.”, “California needs the jobs.”, it’s a big business we’re really running, not unlike a bank, an investment house, you get the drift, send money.  He’s not a smart fellow really, but he’ll get it right in time, say the right words and Bush (can’t wait for Obama) will come through with a good 50 billion, maybe with a ‘t’, as in all the ‘t’ in China (a trillion cups here or there).  China will keep the money coming, and Japan, and Russia our friend will send some too.  So be happy, go shop.  Don’t worry.  Put on a Happy Face.

Free wars.  Free money.  Free stuff (at 80% off it’s almost free).  America is the land of the free and don’t you ever forget it.  What a great, great country.  One nation, indivisible, with all the debt invisible (and shopping for all).  Every mall really does have its own campaign ribbon, right?  I see them stuck on the Gucci shoes and Abercrombie sweatshirts at $100 a pop – the ribbons though are free.

I am losing my vision of reality, America now seems strange.  Money has no sense, no reason, no reality.  One person begs for $10 just for food (no home), someone else gets $50 billion from his friends.  One day things are a disaster, the next the Dow is up 800 points and things are fine.  Good news is bad and bad is always better (for the market) for stocks and bonds, who needs a paycheck now, isn’t a stimulus check enough?  Americans really do complain just a bit too much.  No pain, no gain.  A little pain and everyone’s ENTITLED to GAIN, aGAIN and again and again.  So help me God, in America it is a sacred oath.

With analog television if the image blurred you would just smack the set, jostle the insides, shake a vacuum tube or two.  The set would shapen up (or really break), either way there was always resolution, two swacks and even dead sets might come alive, electronics were a mystery – a good hard hand was not.  No TV set ever really wanted to die, or be repaired, a signal wasn’t really that hard to get.  With digital it’s different, an unkind word can kill the set, touch it and it will cry or stop or void its warranty like voiding on the grass if ones a puppy lost and scared.  Anything can set a new set off, which is why we buy another one, just in case, in case the first one fails and we might otherwise miss the show.

This economic show is not worth watching.  Same day, same plot.  The characters are all the same, just an ever widening circle, be patient they’ll get to you, maybe even me someday.  I could move to California, work for GM, moonlight for a bank.  Would I not then be really set?  How happy I would be.  But for now I’ll be content just waiting one more week, free stuff at every store,  pennies on the dollar, friendly signs, no lines.  No lines?  So many shops and so few customers, just sunshine patriots waiting in the wings.  I want free auto registration.  I am a Veteran of the Christmas of ’08, I served my time in hell.

[2008.12.13 / Saturday – The Last Saturday]

Calendar Girl

December 11th, 2008

~ Each and every day of the year.

Neil Sedaka had a way with words, and a way with dates.  He knew a calendar when he saw one and evidently the ones he saw had girls on all the pages, one for each month, like the ones in the Playboy calendar or maybe the one on the calendar given away by brewers or auto parts companies or maybe motorcycle companies like Harley, not Allstate, although Sears did make motorcycles back in the 1950’s before even Honda put the pedal to the metal of consumer toys, for boys.

Calendars have been with us a long long time, promoting the New Year and someone’s business and the girl next door the way most guys were supposed to wish the girl next door was supposed to look, and act, and feel about – well you know what she was supposed to feel about feeling about in the feeling good fifties, forties, thirties, twenties.  Counting backward is so much fun.  Let old acquaintances not be forgotten.

I received a calendar today, in the mail, courtesy of a friend or someone who would like to make a friend of my money, goods and services looking for a lark, want a ride big boy, fast girls and cars will separate me from my money very fast.  That’s the purpose of the message is it not.  It’s the idea that sells.  Fast women, fast cars (it was once fast horses) and fast money quickly flowing from ‘you to me’, post that poster with all the dates and see that it is money, not time, that flies.  But calendars are tamer now, nature pictures not pictures au natural.  There are scenic landscapes, high definition mountains, shots that only a helicopter could ever get, helicopters are the next gen glass of wine, relax, soon you will be flying or floating in or above the clouds.

January, we will start the year off fine.  Well, maybe not so much this January.  Not so many folks doing ‘so fine’, smashed drunk maybe, DWI jail bait, high on drugs that support twenty murders a day on the border, a drug war supported by the American consumer, who says shopping is dead and who says that it isn’t?  Party Lights, but that’s a different song, same stuff, just different lyrics for a different drug – each and every day of the year.  I don’t do drugs, not even chocolate except on rare occasion (meaning the chocolate).  I like aspirin, coffee, a little wine occasionally, occasionally a very little wine; no snort or blow or wafting weed or needles or things sold in grams or pinches or dropped in pills or capsules or whatever else you’ve got (that I haven’t got) but that’s America and what makes this country tick and how did we get to talking drugs anyway, or talk about taking them for that matter either?

Oh, yes.  I was on the border (mentally), taking in the New Year, reading about all the murders and thinking of all the celebrating and wondering how I would know if it were New Years without a calendar in hand to mark the date as if I could not hear the noise, sirens or horns, it doesn’t really matter, all calendar girls are sirens, thanks Neil.  I’m still drifting here.  Back to topic.  Neighbor, mail.  Oh, yes.

Anyway, today’s calendars (mine at least) come with captions, not just pictures.  This one is a “Motivational Calendar” (as if the calendar girl calendars were not just as motivational too).  I guess the old ones didn’t motivate the girls, no firemen with beef or abs or black bowties with spandex collars then, not like now with everything fair and equal except there is no Neil Sedaka song to conjure up the memories of the simple days when just a simple calendar (girl or boy) might be a hit, sell a million records, with little or no motivation at all, just the wish to sing (and a contract, damn, did I forget the contract?).

I’m getting there.  Be patient.  January’s picture is of a big red volcano, erupting of course, hot lava pouring down the side, clearly an inhospitable place (to be), not on the ground, a date to hot to handle, or is it the whole month, lava up, lava down – molten metal and rock and stone all on the move, flying around like helicopters or the girl next door in your dreams or the drugs or wine or something.  Why can’t America just behave itself?  Or was Ron Hubbard right, a volcano is the only real motivator, drop them in or off, put them on page one of a calendar and all one will see is fear, which like sex is how America still sells most of everything.  Light or heavy, color code it, either way it’ll get you down which may be bad or good but either way they’ll get your money.

Did I forget the “L”?  I guess I did.  Anyway, the caption made some insipid point about not just looking for new surrounding, but considering a new perspective too, a different point of view, to see things where you are in a new light, from a new angle, new possibilities from the same old place – let old acquaintances be forgotten, find new friends, find new money.  Remember, it really is just “all about ‘you’, which means the ‘me’, in ‘I'”.  Of course I jest, but sadly the calendar does not.  Roll your eyes, this is what the recycling of paper movement was made for, bad calendars thrown away before they make the New Year any worse.

So you find yourself in one of L. Ron’s volcanic stews, a metaphor perhaps or maybe real.  A new perspective isn’t going to make it, new friends should have been made long ago.  Bad books, bad money, bad time, bad timing, bad prophets of some bad new religion – just let it go.  Nobody really ever saw value in a lava lamp, cute colors locked in glass, an amorphous blob always changing but never really changing quite enough.  So is the calendar right about the January blight?  Is it turmoil worth visiting, or revisiting?  Or is it just another lock on fear, another rumor of war or death or corruption or assassination or even more falling of the markets?  Get off the mountain maybe?  There’s no lava down below, move ten miles, let others be decimated if they must or want, you’ve talked about it and warned them, how much they love Pompeii.  Some just don’t care so much about ‘living’ history, might rather fossilize in ash or stone.

So they’ve closed the southern border.  They built a wall of fear, not wire.  Nobody is getting out by going over – and you thought the ICE people were heavily armed and dangerous – the drug lord armies are twice as bad and all Americans must wait or pay their dues, or maybe ‘and’ pay their dues.  So it’s up and over to Canada, or over an ocean, or over Mexico perhaps if you think that the volcano may really blow, like the calendar told me so.  Like everyone else I think a lot about leaving.  I ponder the imponderable.  How bad can things really get, ‘back here’?  And if so, when will they get that bad?  I wish I had a calendar, days marked, or months – pictures perhaps with messages or warnings, or happy thoughts, not just messages of “happy Germany”.  Maybe I’ll get one in the mail, a calendar or a message or one in both or both in one.

Or maybe I did.  And all I did was throw it away, just threw it all away.

[2008.12.11 / Thursday – Calendar Girl]

Corruption

December 9th, 2008

~ The problem with science is that it cannot lie.

Scientists of course can lie.  Scientists can be corrupt.  Scientists can say they are creating a new medicine to save people when it will really kill people, or are creating ‘nuclear plowshares’, when all they’re really doing is creating new nuclear weapons.  But science itself doesn’t lie, it’s not corrupt, it’s just people that corrupt science; and politics; and businesses; and finance; and government; and education; and religion; and of course even charities.

I have a neighbor friend who was molested by a Catholic priest, in frocks trying to defrock young girls, protected by appearances (the priest) and by friends and neighbors of the church (parishioners, tithers, bible salesmen, stained-glass window fabricators, etc.).  The girl (then) of course had no protection, no one to tell who would believe her, no big manly body with which to fight the big brute back, no words to make him stop, to send him to the gallows or some certain earthly hell, cells like in Guantanamo for those that really really do deserve it (Guantanamo and it’s cells).  She’s not a girl now, she’s an older woman, she will never be too old to forget, she carries on quite admirably (considering), considering the breach of faith, the breach of trust, the betrayal, the corruption (of that man) the priest, pretending to be a paragon of virtue, an honest person, a person to be trusted.

There are thousands of these souls, lost to themselves, if not to God, and maybe lost to God – how many times does God have to listen to the lies before he (or she) just gives up, says enough is enough, decides a person has no weight in gold, not a single billionth of a gram, absolutely nothing left that can be aroused to tell, to compel, the truth – to even admit the truth to oneself in the privacy of ones own inner self?

Lawyers of course must lie to make a living, with sufficient practice and reputation they become judges, how can anyone expect justice under such conditions.  It’s just a farce.  There are no civil or criminal courts – just political courts with an economic bent.  If you want truth find out who in any court is not paid to be there.  Then look at those (people) in the eye.  You’ll see the truth if there’s any there.  If ones paid to be in court there’s no need for seeing eye to eye, it’s just about the money.  I rest my case.  Move on.

The rest of us have more of a choice than lawyers, not that lawyers don’t have a choice, they could be poor and honest, but that’s usually not their style, they would rather destroy people than save them, unless they save the guilty for another day of crime, but now you’re talking politics again.  If a police chief found a perfect community without any crime he would have to invent crime to feed his force, now you get my drift.  It’s often the fireman or (statistically) his son that sets the fires, job security, the hero thing, women in such positions do it too.  With each new case we lose our faith in firemen, as heroes.  Corruption causes all the loss unless one lies about it, then the loss gets bigger when everyone gets caught.

There’s always great safety in great numbers.  If everyone is in on the lie then everyone is guilty, but too, then everyone is free, is free to lie and cheat and steal and say why look at me, “just look at you.”  There’s really no choice when it comes to lying, to deceit, to the treachery of numbers when numbers are ignored.
It’s hard to live with the truth of lying, unless you lie yourself.  Unless you decide that lying does not really matter, it’s just for me so I can make my way, I have a right, a need, I need to lie, I need to lie to make a living, a decent living anyway like everyone expects, my relatives and my friends, my neighbors, my Catholic priest.

Do I forget my quotes, not me I say.  On the bigger, broader, grander scale of all things there are black lies, gray lies, and white lies.  Lies too come not just in colors, but in sizes – small, medium, large, and extra small, and little ones, and little-little ones, and those that weigh but just a billionth of a gram – to offset the quest for nothingness, as in nothing to lie about, no lies at all, not even about the taxes or the tolls, or about the Mission Statement that says it’s bad to lie.  Or is that too, a lie?

America has become one great nation of liars, or can a nation lie?  Is a nation a person, is there a national will, is a state sentient?  It’s all a lie.  It’s just a way to delude ourselves, to deny responsibility, to say ’we’, not ’me’; as in ’we did it your honor’, and it’s not you but the Great State of (whatever) that is sentencing me (or we) today.  Nobody in this court but us chickens, as in yellow and afraid.  I’m not guilty because we are all guilty, one bullet, six guns, even the firing squad is a lie, who can deny?

The problem with being a liar is that it makes one so gullible when it comes to lies, other lies, not just ones own.  There is a disconnect from truth, an uncoupling from reality, a passage into pits, a belief that life is just the pits because no one can be trusted, because one didn’t see the lies first coming, could not tell the forest from the trees, the rhetoric from the pearls, the water from the whine.

I’ve had my time with lies, I do regret.  There have been too many.  In time I have or will remember them all, each one that counts (down to a billionth of a gram), it’s science not the scientist after all, and lies are real, one of the few real things that count (against an otherwise perfect soul).  As is always true with others, I regret the other lies more than mine, mine were always at least a little bit justified, I saw them coming, I had a choice perhaps in each little matter, telling each little lie until I learned to reach for the bigger ones.  Was I taught to lie?  I cannot say.  By who?  By the government of course, by church and state, my parents were mostly innocent, at first at least.  It’s a bit hard to tell the truth (perhaps).

Lies need no apologies, they were once spoken (or lived) and now they’re gone.  They die as fast as the truth is spoken, as fast as new leaves turn over, as fast as the darkness in the morning sun.  It’s the undead lies that linger, that hurt, that hang around to harm, to kill.  It’s the lingering lies that haunt us, the ones still hidden beneath the rug, in secret places, unhealed by the morning light, by better resolutions, by the kindness and truthfulness of the heart.  I make my case.  You decide.  Court dismissed.

Free advice, pro bono work this day and every day, but I’m not a lawyer really.  But to clarify, I regret each lie I ever told, I resent each lie I was ever told.  A lie is different than confusion, it is known, and the teller knows it to be corrupt, to be a stumbling block on the road of others, an unfairness to create an unfair advantage for oneself, not mere selfishness, but a wanton disregard for the lives of others.  A lie presumes what is never true, that the consequences and limits of the lie are known.  The devastation caused by a lie can never be known, except in time, and it almost always exceeds all imaginings which is what makes each lie, each small lie (and each large one too) so unimaginably destructive.  Worst of all, lies destroy the natural order of things, they elevate the unworthy, they reduce the able, they rob from the poor to fuel the undeservedly rich and famous and powerful.  Or to put it another way….

Ah shucks, lies suck.

[2008.12.09 / Tuesday – Corruption]

Sort Criteria

December 8th, 2008

~ Anticipating the future (state).

I invented the internet.  Not really, but like Al Gore I was a part of the thought process, the original planning, the underlying reality of the conditions that would (or might) lead to the ‘invention’ of the internet – or something.

Actually there were about a thousand or a million minds working on the thing, all at once, randomly in unison, thoughts based on thinking based on a dissatisfaction about what was ‘now’ and what should be – the future state (of things).  But first a bit about my part.  My older brother Ken (another word for seeing) got a job with IBM programming mainframes mostly.  It was in the early days of computers, though nobody thought of those days as the early days as Univac and other machines had been around a long long time (it seemed).  This was in Reno; about 1965 or so, IBM had an office in Reno even before my brother died.

That’s how thought works, it’s random when left alone, not channeled like a river by the contrivances of education, thought police, creating concrete walls of ‘subject’, subjecting them to adjectives and verbs and always keeping track to keep thought on track in a straight line lineal projection.  Life is not like that.  Each event (or meeting) may have an agenda, but then there’s donuts (doughnuts), spudnuts even – in no time the Krispy Cremes lead to tangents about losing weight or the sugar crisis of ’74 or of donuts made with potatoes (Spudnuts) and the Spudnut Shop on 4th Street and we’re back in Reno again as the meeting begins with every mind on Reno, gambling maybe or Conforte (Joe) and girls in prostitution, Moonlight Ranch, and the agenda says, “let’s talk about the Internet plan today”.

“I see it as a gamble.”, someone says.  Where did that come from, but yes you’re right, it’s just the Krispy Cremes talking – and the human mind.  I guess Dan Quayle should have answered “S,P,U,D”, he’d have gotten a laugh, not revealed his ignorance, the nation and education might have moved on.  To every question there are two answers, one is right, the other is seldom wrong.  The future will decide.  All thought is just planning for the future, even the rest or revelations of reminiscences, they’re for a future peace, a mental rejuvenation for what comes next.  Bigger, bolder, stronger (mentally) – did I say clarity, clarity is good.

America was at its best before the age of experts, before the age of specialists by training and not by fact or intuition.  You can’t train for intelligence, but it can be learned, the experts are really and fundamentally wrong.  You can channel it, beat it out of someone, make them wish that they really were not so smart, hide the burning candle underneath a bushel until they both begin to die.  Education (as a process) exalts the mediocre, dumbs everything down in its quest for uniformity and agreement and sentences in agreement each with its parts of speech, pronounce each word properly or you have nothing to say at all, or don’t say the word, just spell it, but it must be spelled so properly, it’s so hard to pun on paper.

Real education comes from doing, being there and watching, observations of what is real, like listening in a meeting and realizing its all about the Krispy Cremes and not the Internet at all.  Who holds the box or bag, it’s the only thing that matters.  My kingdom for a donut, sugar always wins, or rots your teeth, or does it?  I came up with the idea of an Information System, pretty novel in 1968, not just a computer but a computer sorting thought, everyone makes a contribution, single topic stuff to keep the sugar stuff at bay.

Cars were the topic.  I liked cars way back then, had a 442 (Oldsmobile, when I was young), red in color, collected tickets, parking tickets mostly but then there was the one that put me away in prison (jail really) because I could not afford the fine – $26 or something, fill the jail cells of America over $26 fines I say, it makes work and jobs building cells and prisons and the prisoners can’t be unemployed, I digress.  I was wrong about the Internet.  It’s the ads that make it work, not clear topics one-on-one, straight information (and discussion) without the sugar (or is it really static).  Do you buy it after all?

It was forty years ago and everyone knew that everyone hated buying cars the good old American way, dealers and dealerships, sleazy banks and banking, car salesmen ready with a lemon when every car ever sold was a lemon, too expensive to get you there, each job in America was working for GM (or Ford, or Plymouth maybe), making money to make car payments to keep your wheels spinning to your job so you can make your car payments and keep your wheels spinning – car insurance too, money for the registration, interesting interest for the banks, all too good for good old GM and the unions by which they’re paid.  I sold my car that summer (of ’69), ran out of money, stopped working for the banks and GM, never was paid the union wages, the corporate wages, the transportation wages for the government
workers at the top (who kept the whole pyramid scheme a runnin’).

I (basically) never owned another car for the next ten years, never made a payment (monthly), no insurance, no registration.  Life was good.  My plan worked after all (for the Internet).  You see it’s really very easy.  If the idea does not fit into the future, you don’t need that idea at all.  It’s like buying (and owning) cars, fix it or forget it.  I forgot it, but I lost you.

You see the idea was very simple, an information base on a computer, everyone who has a car for sale has it inspected and the information is entered in the data base, nationwide.  The cost of shipping (the car) is calculated in.  New cars too perhaps.  The price (the only price) is presented.  You decide exactly what you want like ordinary retail, no haggling, no false starts, no deceptive ads – you get the point.  Each city would have a simple office where a representative might call to the central computer to buy or sell; the home computer makes it so much more simple, but there were not home computers then, a telex terminal at best, too complicated, I guess Al Gore was right, he did it, invented all the warm of Greenhouse warming as one fires up each computer of the internet, a billion kilowatts (per day) of fossil fuels burning.  It’s still the Krispy Cremes, sugar in the coffee, “what is the agenda anyway?”

Each new post is a task in multi-tasking.  Many ideas at one time, converging, correlations looking for a sort, a sort criteria for ideas and images in juxtaposition.  It’s called life.  It’s called thought.  It’s how you get all your thoughts and images, big pieces, little pieces fast and hard, not dumbed down like in a classroom, spoon fed anecdotes fossilized in time.  Such ideas can never create tomorrow, only a tomorrow that never comes.  Life is freer than all that, more open, expand your mind and write a post and say goodnight.  Tomorrows another day.  A day during which almost anything can happen.  Be happy, be warned, be ready.

Post Script:  In about the year 2003 I was reading through some old book or magazine or newspaper maybe and I ran into an article about how someone (about the year 1936) had come up with almost the identical idea, using index cards and telephones instead of a computer.  Even then the problems with the ‘Car Dealerships’ system of selling cars was fully appreciated.  For eighty years GM and all the others have profited from a broken system, Google to find a car and the dealership postings will frustrate your every search.  Maybe the terms for a bailout is that GM and Ford can make the cars and the US Government can sell them, like stamps, purchased at your local Post Office and delivered there too, a real postal service.  I think I may be serious, good government jobs, like with FDR, good for the economy and no investment needed.  Or did I forget that it’s really about the banks, GMAC and Ford Credit, not so much cars at all, and NOW you get my point.

[2008.12.08 / Monday – Sort Criteria]

Childhood’s End

December 7th, 2008

~ You would never know it was December 7th.

Was it ‘the’ or ‘a’ day of infamy?  As most people, I generally do not look up words in the dictionary unless I am about to use them in writing.  Then I look them up occasionally, not to check spelling, but to check on meanings.  “Shamefully bad” is as close as the dictionary comes to matching Pearl Harbor with the word infamy or its root ‘infamous’.  It’s revealing, it was a very bad day in history – certainly shameful, but the question is why was the day so shameful.

I’ve written before on my feelings about Pearl Harbor.  Each passing year offers some new tidbit that suggests that there was no surprise to the attack as far as Washington was concerned, or at least at the highest levels of Washington.  And with each passing year those that were really surprised by the attack, the servicemen on the ships or shore of harbor are of ever fewer number.  If one were eighteen that day, that same ‘one’ is 85 years old now – if one is still alive.  That each and every one survivor never planned at 18 to live an endless life always as a ‘Vet’, a veteran, a veteran of some foreign war with special license plates to look at each day (in many states) to remind one that they are different, special, preserved to pay fewer taxes than the rest because they suited up, joined the Navy, went to Hawaii to soak up the sun and surf and hula skirts abounding in bars where alcohol and other higher spirits were daily sold.

Those servicemen of ’41 were different than today’s Navy of One, Army of One recruits.  Today’s military personnel enlisted to fight and kill, rejoice in the danger, don’t mind so much (perhaps) if they die – though often would probably prefer not to.  I get my inspiration from Country Music radio, songs about Ruby and the last Asian War, not the hear and now of Iraq, and Gulf, and maybe the Indus thing – shoot out in Peshawar, drop em’ dead in Delhi, oh the titles that still remain, public domain, before the big bucks of really bad music reduces a young person’s life to mediocre lyrics and an album worth a million bucks for someone like Buck Owens, or some other twice as bad.

In ’41 the ‘boys’ were generally a peaceful lot, good food in the Navy, not like in a food line; soup kitchen; shanty town near fields too overpopulated to pick, or to need more pickers when you were not picked for even one days work.  Clean clothes too, pressed and snappy, fit even and they fit – pea coats for the winter’s cold.  Shoes with real leather soles.  No the Navy and Pearl and Navy life were not all that bad, not compared to what was there before; and there was no war, no US battleships ever sunk in even the Great War, too big to sink, hulls too thick, guns too fast, skills too high in all the training to let the thought of an enemy at war disturb the peace of a soft and fatal Sunday in the Isles of Delight.

Everything soon was censored after the seventh.  War makes men (and women, and children too) grow up real fast, if growing up means collecting scars and wounds and hurts that will never go away, no ‘band-aid’ ever big enough, no mother’s kiss upon a knee, no kind Gramp’s to say, “Scabs heal, the pain will go away.”  The pain of war will never go away.  Soft Sundays will never be the same.  Two thousand men locked in the thick steel hulls that were meant to protect, not to entomb – meant to keep the water out, not in.  Who designed these ships?  Who designed this port?  Who designed this war that came as such surprise?

Over the years I’ve read so much about all the spies Japan had in America, how loyal these people were to Japan, how cleaver in watching harbors, plying sailors with alcohol and sex for secrets, breaking codes and opening mail and reading signal flags upon the sea, or spotting, or working radios for electronic intercepts.  Where were the US spies?  Why could America not compete against Japan, buy off some foreign journalists, plant citizens in strategic places, watch the coasts, have fishing boats or freighters on the seas with ‘their’ radios at the ready?  Why did the US not open a language school or two before we cut off all the oil and scrap steel and face to the enemy we were fighting in all of China, funding the Flying Tigers to fight and kill before a declaration of any war?  There’s so much more I still do not know.  More too, for you to know, than you will ever know.  War is such a secret thing.

Most everything still is censored.  It’s the censored, made up version, that is still in peoples minds, put forward by the Park Service, taught in public schools, repeated by those that were never there, were never 18 on a sunny Sunday in Hawaii when it was still just a possession, not really America after all, a colony like British Singapore, like Hong Kong, like the Bund in Shanghai perhaps – banks and weapons and business houses and business tycoons and corporations that can’t compete unless they stack the deck, and fix things big with politicians and other friends.  No wonder Disney chose Sunday for his forays into fantasy in the television of the fifties.  It was so natural, say Sunday and everyone will bite, since ’41 and the Greatest Show on Earth, the Greatest War on Earth, are you impressed?

They’ve filled the Punch Bowl with the dead, military cemetery in the hollow of a volcano – that’s where America drops its dead on the islands of Hawaii.  I’ve been there.  Neat crosses row on row like Flanders Field and a thousand other military cemeteries across the world, each war has its favorite burying spots – hillsides or valleys or ocean deeps – sacred soil for the Gods of War, a good place to see the victims as they come and see the sacrifice to Mars as if Mars was still a God and not a planet after all.  What does it take to put an end to war?

The most important, and clearest, instructions to the base and port at Pearl on the night of December 6th was, ‘avoid hostiles until attacked, make sure you let them start it.’  It’s true, check your cable histories.  Well, the commanders did – and 2,400 of lesser rank soon died, and Churchill got his war, and Franklin made a friend, the friend was Stalin (the greatest murderer of them all, worse than Hitler, Tojo, or Mussolini by far).  But maybe you’ve heard all this before.

This year the Park Service in Pearl is focusing on the ‘aftermath of war’, what happened after Pearl Harbor, not just each ship or plane attacked or sunk or blown apart that day, servicemen inside, surgeons at the ready – a special Sunday seminar starting just an hour before the attack, hundreds of stateside doctors in Hawaii for the day, training for treating battle casualties, just an hour away from Pearl by taxi; and there were a hundred taxis on the ready.  I kid you not.  It’s a ‘too incredible for words’ coincidence worth remembering.

There is an aftermath to war.  It is peace.  The guns stop (firing), the bombs stop (falling), the rockets stop (being launched), the dead stop (being buried).  Flowers bloom, and swords are turned into plowshares and nuclear triggers are buried so deep in deep lead that the world will never have to worry about even the theory of lead paint ever again.  It could happen.  Make IT HAPPEN.  If the memory of December 7th can’t put an end to war then all those entombed in the slowly leaking oil beneath the once placid and azure waters will have certainly died in vain.  Who will ordain such sacrifice to enable the cause of war?  And why?  Just tell me, and 500 million mothers, brothers, sisters – WHY?

Post Script:  At least 50 million died as a result of the second world war after 1941.  97% of those who were killed for being Jewish died after the US declared war on Italy and Germany, most only after the US began fire bombing German civilians in hundreds of German cities.  The 500 million figure is derived from the two generations of mothers, brothers, sisters that every war generates as victims in addition to those who are actually killed in war, by war.  Tyranny is always terrible, but it never seems to last that long unless it is perpetually resurrected by another act of war.  War creates tyranny, war does not end it.  The only possible end to tyranny is the existence of people willing to die for peace, not the existence of people willing to kill for war.

[2008.12.07 / Sunday – Childhood’s End]

The Saxbe Fix

December 5th, 2008

~ How much for that ‘watchie’ in the window?

What do the New Yorker (magazine), Hillary Clinton, Nixon, watches, and dogs have in common?  The answer is simple: the New Yorker Magazine, Hillary Clinton, Nixon, watches, and dogs.

What is missing is the US Constitution, Obama, compassion and all sense of reality.  Let me explain.  The last watch I got for Christmas was in 1962, it was a Seiko – before Seiko watches were even sold in the US.  Again I refer to the Seoul Army Base Post Exchange located on North Post in (occupied) South Korea.  The missiles of October incident (Cuba/US Nuclear War Crisis) was less than two months gone by, I would soon be leaving for the Mideast (Cairo, Bahrain, Kuwait, the West Bank of Jordan) and Khartoum, Sudan.  I guess I needed a watch.  Or I guess my parents thought I needed a watch so I could get to classes in time at the San Rafael Military Academy which is where I would end up in January something.  The watch told me not only the time, but also the date, which is something – although it still needed winding as I recall, which is not so modern for a watch.

I had lost my last watch, originally purchased in Hong Kong for 10 dollars, which were ten US dollars which was a lot of money then in Hong Kong.  I was saying.  My last watch, purchased in HK, was lost (really stolen) on the hill overlooking Kabul – stolen somewhere between the ‘Gun Platform’ and the Bala Hissar Fort.  It was stolen by an Afghan confidence man that liked to hang out in the USIA (United States Information Agency) Reading Room located in the US Embassy in Kabul.  That is, until he stole my watch and the Marines were put to looking for the guy and his days of reading American periodicals were over for awhile, at least until he joined Al-Queada where he donated my watch to the cause of bringing down the Trade Towers.  I exaggerate a bit, but then again maybe stranger things have happened.  A good watch can last a lifetime and blowing up trade towers is a once in a lifetime thing that takes timing.

Before my Hong Kong watch I owned a Roy Rogers watch in Carson City.  It had Roy and Trigger on the face.  The watch was not so good (at keeping time), but it was fun to look at and all the girls seemed to notice the leather band and say, “Gee, is that a leather band.”  What more could one ask for?

In reality the Roy Rogers watch kind of put me off time, or at least time pieces, and the leather band burned my wrist and grew too small with the passing of years (on the theory that leather shrinks with the additive of moisture and the passage of time).  So I gave up watches for a few years until the Hong Kong watch which I gave up on the hill in Kabul and the Seiko was stolen in a train in Mexico, the Sureste going through the jungle on the way to Merida, but that’s a different story.  The point of all this is that I do not have a great affinity for watches and don’t really see their value much less their utility.

Did I say that I usually know within about 2 minutes what the time is anyway, so I just use clocks to amuse myself about being ‘right all the time’ – ha, ha – but true.

My wife loves the New Yorker, cleaver little articles that go on and on using the same articles that everyone else learned in school, but strung along in longer sentences and longer paragraphs and longer pages of written stuff than most magazine (articles) are all about.  I get bored reading the New Yorker, so I read the comics and then got even more bored and so I read the ads as a last resort in my quest for something redeeming about the 93 cents per issue that this printed particle board (bored) pulp fiction costs these days when one subscribes.  Otherwise it is $4.50 a pop which is not cool in anybody’s life, but I guess in New York or other very rich quarters people pay the 18 quarters to see Obama feeding dogs paper on the cover.

Actually the dogs may be waiting for the paper to go on the carpet so they don’t have to make a mess and create a stain, but Obama (in the cartoon type cover) does not seem to want to let the pooches go, so they just look wistful and constipated and almost political I guess.  Maybe you seen the cover differently.  But apparently one of the dogs is (implicitly) a bitch, which brings up Hillary and brings up the idea that the whole government is going to the dogs, the top dog being Hillary and the doggy position being Secretary of State which means more than signing passports to visit Cairo or Jerusalem or Kuwait maybe.

New Yorker ads are useful for revealing how the top 1% in the USA live and see things.  Citi (Bank) just got 300 billion from the feds so they are running a lot of ads this week – Citi never sleeps, evidently the key for billions from the Fed.  Oh well, the money is trickling down already to the nice people at the New Yorker.  Ford has a big ad pushing their cars with refrigerators on board and five windows to the stars.  Maybe the glass comes out so Ford passengers can bailout after the Ford bailout for two smoothies on the go on every trip, better than Starbucks which only serves hot drinks in this coming ‘too cool’ world.

But the big attention grabber are the 14 pages of watch ads.  Everybody must be getting a new watch for Christmas in New Yorks Ville.  Last years watch or the new watch from 2006 when the economy was really heating up are just not good for now (evidently).  The Wall Street boys and girls never wear the same watch two days in a row, seven watches, seven years, seven days a week a different watch.  On the eighth year the cheapest one goes to goodwill or goodwill hunting or to the bottom of the trash so that nobody will know about your conspicuous consumption at an awkward moment, like when applying for a billion dollar bailout.

I have never owned a $44,600 watch.  On page 25 of the New Yorker there is one pictured, cute thing from Vacheron Constantin.  It even has a sweep second hand and numbers in numbers and not in Roman Numerals or Arabic numbers or those pesky little lines that some watches have, assuming you know how to tell time without the numbers really being numbered.  I guess a lot of bailout money will be going to Switzerland this year, for watches, to help the economy and to help executives get to the Federal reserve on time.  A good watch makes a point – nice little leather band.  Is that really Trigger on the dial?

The Saxbe Fix is not about fixing broken watches, which obviously is not done anymore.  It is about fixing politics which means destroying the Constitution so that politics does not need to be fixed – so that all the same old rulers can keep being the same old rulers like time and European royal families always intended government to be.  It’s the ‘shake and bake’ theory of government.  Put in all the old players (mutts and dogs and other bitches) in a bag and shake the bag and you get old dogs with new tricks, which means new titles in new positions for new salaries higher than before.  Woof, woof – feed the dog a bone.

Here’s how it works.  Be in Congress.  Vote for a new high salary for Secretary of State.  Wait awhile for an election, make friends, cut a deal.  Accept the new salary that you helped to create.  I know, if you can afford an $84,200 watch why worry about someone stealing a $44,600 watch.  It’s not the principal of the thing, it’s about liking the watch, or watches, or just letting sleeping bitch dogs lie.  I’ve lost you, except you know I really don’t like Hillary – really, really, really!

Anyway, the United States Constitution says that the above salary deal is not legal and is not to be tolerated, period.  Not ever.  Not since 1776 or 1789 or whenever the bloody old Constitution thing was set in stone or written on parchment or offered up for John Hancock himself (and others) to sign, assuming anyone really signed on to the thing at all which I am beginning to very seriously doubt.  America is (or should be) a government of men (and women), NOT laws.  Do away with Congress, we do not need laws, we need popular leaders who can do what they want when they want without this little knit-picking Constitution thing-a-ma-jig.  Vote and be done with it.  Here, here.

And WE DO NOT need any friggin Constitution to tell us we need a President, or how to vote, or who can vote.  Just do it, I say.  No Article 1, Section 6 bullshit.  Nixon was right when he appointed an illegal candidate for a position, and why should Obama not support Nixonian theories of government?  Obama IS THE ONE, just as Nixon was the one.  Take a deep breath, I’m taking a deep breath, oh give me a day without Nixon again – please dear god, no more Nixon.

Anyway (again), Nixon fixed the ‘his guy’ problem by lowering the salary for his appointee so the Constitution would hold up (apparently).  The device was termed “The Saxbe Fix” (2,300 Google hits as of now, watch this grow if you have a watch).  Nobody was ever really happy about the Saxbe thing, Nixon got his, the Republic was no longer in danger, the Constitution remained intact (maybe).

So Obama is not really a natural born US citizen.  Hillary is not a legal Secretary of State.  Congress swears to uphold the Constitution but does not care.  What does an oath matter, even in the military, generals should fight it out on the way to Rome and being Caesar like in the old days, but this time troops plotting in Washington, no Constitution necessary, wing it as you go along.  There really is no law against overthrowing an illegal President who has conspired against the Constitution (but what does law have to do with anything anymore?).

To become a citizen you must study hard and take a test.  The questions are about the Constitution mostly, how things are supposed to work.  New citizens are expected to know, and to believe in all these things.  Why bother, the President doesn’t care, nor Congress.  Just shake the bag, buy a watch, and just say ‘woof’.

[2008.12.05 / Friday – The Saxbe Fix]

The Safe Life

December 4th, 2008

~ A thousand Volkswagens revisited.

I like Logitech as a company, to the degree that I believe in companies (and products) at all.  As I made it clear yesterday, I prefer chickens, toads, donkeys carrying mud bricks, horses reaching for a handful of oats – the barnyard thing when the whole community is the barnyard, without the barn.  I have a logitech keyboard, it was ever so cheap and ever so better than the Sony keyboard that came with my Sony computer that I bought because Sony made pretty good transistor radios in 1961, not as good as the Panasonic 16 transistor (radio) that I owned at the time, having parted with a whopping eight dollars and twenty-six cents or something like that to buy it.

It came with a nice thick leather case (black) with Panasonic stamped in discreet gold (or maybe silver) lettering and an earphone that I never used that was carried in a small black leather case that snapped onto the leather shoulder strap.  There were special jacks for external speakers, but the built-in one was just fine.  It received AM radio (which was about all there was in most places) and two bands of Medium Wave radio which might bring in any number of foreign capitals on a ‘good bounce’ night.  Mostly I listened to AFKN (the Armed Forces Korea Network) when I was in Seoul and KYA when I was in California.  I digress.

Panasonic didn’t make a tape recorder then, at least not a good quality reel-to-reel model as available in the PX (Post Exchange).  In Korea one was pretty much limited to what was available in the PX, the PX was cheap, no sales tax, no excise tax, no import duties, not much of anything to drive the wholesale price of things up, US servicemen should not have to pay retail for anything it was thought, not on a servicemen’s salary or an officer’s salary.  Probably more officers bought stuff in the PX, carried Christmas, carried the Black Friday thing for the PX that didn’t need black Friday to make a profit because the PX was a socialist endeavor owned by the government with government employees doing all the buying and government employees (or their dependents) doing all the buying and Korean ‘help people’ and cashiers doing all the selling which was just stuffing the right MPC (Military Payment Certificates) certificates into the cash registers.  Koreans (generally) were not allowed to sell rationed items, like alcohol and cigarettes and diamond watches so an occasional American civilian might be rounded up to sell those things in the PX (which meant match the ration coupons to the MPC and stuff it all in a drawer).

Tape recorders were rationed, one could only buy like two huge reel-to-reel units per month, or one might be suspected of black-marketing the things.  The Sony units usually lasted more than two weeks, so I don’t know what the fuss was about.  Maybe the military buyers liked Sony and wanted lots of Sony machines sold, one a month for the average GI, not bad considering they cost a months salary then.  One could ship them to the states for next to nothing and Aunt Mabel or Sweet Tuesday could have a real Sony reel-to-reel for half what ‘competitive’ stores in the USA sold them for.  It isn’t wise to compete with Uncle Sam.  I digress.

My parents bought a Sony tape recorder one day, a lot of Sing along with Mitch Tapes, a few Broadway scores, the music that the PX had and that they might enjoy commercial free, but AFKN was commercial free too, so I never saw the point.  Even AFKN knew that Mitch Miller was not worth his weight in bouncing bubbles.  But they loved their Sony and swore by its quality and in time I saw their point and bought a Sony this or that or two along the years.

My computer is fairly old now, hanging on in good old Sony fashion, which brings me back to the keyboard by Logitech, and its sticker, warning sticker to make my world safe.  Something about keyboards being damaging to ones health, as if with my arthritis the keyboard could somehow get to me.  I guess I miss the point, maybe it has (gotten me), or maybe it was the Olympic typewriter keyboard I used for school papers in Korea, or the Olivetti keyboard when I was six that did me in – no warning labels then.

The world is so much safer now (you think?).  Warnings about everything.  Everything in California is known to cause cancer, the labels tell us so.  Gas fumes can ignite you, be warned when you filler up.  The Grand Canyon has safety rails at every overlook (now).  Every fumarole in Yellowstone has barriers and warning signs as if the steam and boiling water are not enough warning in and of themselves.  The government thinks the people are idiots, backed up by the lawsuits of lawyers who say it must be true.  So America is now a nation of idiots, shops or does not shop depending upon the warnings, media messages broadcast into our lives.  Shop, shop not, shop, shop, don’t shop – it’s like Morse code in the urgency of stops and dots and dashes (to the stores).

My fingers and wrists are doomed.  I tore off the Logitech label today, ugly thing, too late.  The (used) keyboard has but little value or none at all to others, there’s always something new or a new one.  I’ve heard music comes on MP-3 or CD’s now, not just radio and tape recorders older than the hills.  There should have been a warning label, “This product will soon be obsolete, you will lose money if you buy it.”

The new federal mortgages will have warning labels, “Loans can destroy your credit and your financial health”.  Credit cards will have the warning, “Most users will default, you will never have good credit again according to government statistics”.  Cars will have the warning, “Fuel costs may exceed vehicle value, parts may not exist to repair anything that fails”.  The messages of course will be cagey, clear but not too clear, suggestive, evocative, seasoned and adult.  I remember the lines, but not the product, a failed message indeed.  Do I digress?

Anyway, the economy is screeching to a halt, everyone is too afraid to buy even if they have the money and most probably don’t really have the money.  Will the warning labels save us?  Will they save us next time?  Today everything seems ‘toxic’, too dangerous for words, not too wise to touch – too many hot deals and hot sales and one gets burned – no warning needed – you saw the sign, “hot”, you were warned.  The safest thing of all may be just to walk away, progress will kill you, there’s a label on every bottle, can, cap, door.  Join the Army – “You may die.”, but in today’s world every civilian too is an enemy of the State,  “You too, may die.”, it’s not safe to live.

Which brings up the point that if you are reading this on a cathode ray tube, as opposed to an LED monitor (or LCD) you need to stop reading and move away, your eyesight and your brain are being imperiled (I kid you not).  The electricity you use to power (and I mean serious power) your computer is also quite expensive and its creation degrades either rivers or the air or (if natural gas) inflates the price of fuel.  If you are reading this you are way to dependent upon electricity, and the future of electricity isn’t free.  I’m way to dependent upon electricity (so we’re even).

GM defined itself by coming up with the Corvair, a pathetic imitation of the Volkswagen (beetle, their was never a Corvair van, or was there?)  Ralph Nadar insisted they were ‘unsafe at any speed’.  They were.  People died, cars (mostly American made) were killing almost 60,000 people per year in the sixties, a Vietnam War every 365 days, and then there were only 180 or so million Americans, not the 300 million or so like now.  American made cars were “fast, cheap, and dirty” (and deadly).  Should we save the companies that have killed 3 million Americans and maimed at least another 6 million?  They are war criminals at best, mass murderers at worst.  GM actually conspired to destroy the public rail network (trains and streetcars) so that they could invoke their transportation slaughter.  I do not digress.

Life is worth living.  Change must come.  Obama, nor any other politician, is not the answer.  Life can be safe, just simplify.  Every day make something in your life a bit simpler, own tomorrow less than you do today, reduce your use.  Save, protect, repair, discard.

And be creative, no rules when it’s right.  No warning labels needed.

[2008.12.04 / Thursday – The Safe Life]

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