The Open Border Flu

April 30th, 2009

~ Posts otherwise unpublished.

I wrote a post on the 28th.  I did not post-it.  It was all about how the whole flu-thing was called off, a spurious idea gone wrong and failed; it posited the idea that sanity was uppermost in people’s minds.  Some times things look better in the morning.  Then comes the light of day, sun beats down, and soon it is noon with just the mad dogs and Englishmen left to rule the world.  So here we are on Thursday, six days gone and how the world has changed.

There are so many conflictions.  So many conflicting ideas and rumors and incompetent leaders providing no leadership.  This is the “my flu, my way” era of self-assertion.  Liberty is on every tongue.  Any one and every one can have their own flu experience; even call it by their own name.  It is American marketing at its best.  I called it right with “N1-H1” at the outset.  Then came the Spanish Flu, the Swine Flu, the Mexican Flu, the Kosher Flu, the Nafta Flu, the Novel Flu and a thousand other names for “My Flu” (dot com) and “Your Flu”  and the not in my backyard Flu and the Economic Doom Flu (for want of a better name).

I guess all dogs have the rabies.  Did you ever see a dog that did not drool?  Quarantine and confiscate and inoculate each dog; it’s high noon and the corrals OK and fear is on the street; a good-natured fear of course; a “what-ever” sort of fear and loathing, indifferent, insipid, random and without direction.  Israel raises 10 pounds of pork for each Israeli citizen.  I guess that is why the government finds the word “swine” so offensive; bad for business.  10,000 pigs a month for “scientific reasons”.  Evidently a big appetite for science, bio-war, polluted pigs with a disease that both pigs and humans can get.  That’s the whole point now isn’t it?  Why not stop the sale and wholesale of pork?

So even Kosher Egypt slaughtered all its hogs.  Moslem Pigs; sounds so much like the US Army propaganda, in training camps where even Marine are (is, is only one) dying (but has not died yet).  The guilty pigs at the Smithfield Ham site (Ham pork, not Ham radio) in Vera Cruz, in Mexico are of course safe (if not well).  The sick pigs there will be in due course butchered, sold, sold to fat cat Wall Street bankers for their summer sausage and their Sunday Buffets and have a little ham, a little deviled ham, a little ham and Spam, and maybe eat some nearly cooked bacon too.

Schools are now closed in Fort Worth; Dallas is so very close.  How soon before we find the swine in Crawford?  No schools there, just ignorance and arrogance and just the guy to line up and be the one first shot (with a needle to the arm), the leg, the buttocks.  Homeland Security will favor the buttocks shot, a flu shot that is most revealing like their strip search arrays at airports.  It’s just all so predictable at first.  “My flu, my way”.  Who are these nuts?

WHO says cough into the crock of your arm.  The army says use tissue.  Who is right; or WHO is not right?  The liberals and one-worlders will bend their arms; the military and flag-waving patriots will all buy Kleenex.  Just following instructions or orders I guess.  Some say the masks work; some say “no”.  The Mexican military passed out six million (like the Holocaust number).  Or maybe it was only four million, but denial is a crime.  The CDC says that you should stockpile masks; Fort Worth and New York City refuse to use them.  The Army (US and US Marines) will not issue them.  Tamiflu is not on the CDC list.  So who gets shot with what?  Stay tuned; it has got to get better as everything gets worse.

Flu masks work gets 765 Google hits; do not work gets only 88.  But there is that number again “88”, it keeps popping up everywhere in conjunction with the flu.  88 days is the orbit time in earth days of Mercury around the sun.  I sense a connection here.  The Mercury Flu, because it is so mercurial, so mysterious, so fast moving, so far away and yet so near.  What is it that I really need to buy?  A telescope?  When will the aliens arrive to save us?  Or are we just pork chops being prepared for dinner?  Filthy pigs living on slop and corn and the disease does not matter.  It’s just profit every one.  You eat, you die.

The corporate farm and pork belly consolidation.  The NAFTA thing.  Small pig farmers went belly up.  Agri-business went King (size or super-size or outsized and not nationalized and why not first close the border to US imports from US companies not in the USA?  Close the (Mexico) border gets 2,820 Google hits; an Open border only 220.  I think I know where this is going.  “Tear Down the Wall”; where is Reagan when we need him?  And don’t even get me started about Ford and 1976 and the Swine Flu then and even then the pig farmers bellyached about the name “Swine” flu.  They just don’t get it.  The pigs really are the problem.  Even Kosher Pork is bad, every Moslem should know better; even every US Marine.  Sinclair Lewis was wrong; Ham & Eggs on Tuesday is really not a safe bet.  His flu, his way.

I don’t have to wait till May the Fifth, Mexico in a war with France.  The writings on the wall.  It is like a rework of the old IBM axiom, “Pig in, pig out”.

There was a sink hole in my neighborhood last night.  It was at least 25 feet across when I first saw it in the middle of the road (the street, does it matter?).  It kept growing.  A torrent of sewage moving underground (under road, under the street), a whole river of foul smelling muck created each day by humans and human inhabitants and the human habitations.  Then the infrastructure went bad.  What was always there but hidden was opened up for all the world and neighborhood to see (and smell).  It really stank.  I resolved then and there to never live above an underground river; secret rivers swelling, churning, taking sewage to the sea, killing oceans, maybe the icebergs and ice are breaking because of the bacteria and the filth.  Bio-crud melts the polar ice; ask Al gore what’s really going on.

The road was built on sand, densely packed as deep as sewers.  Then a foot of aggregate.  Then eight or ten inches of asphalt stuff, oil and water do not mix; the water washed the sand away and the aggregate and the asphalt could not float in space alone.  The hole could have swallowed a Hummer, maybe two or three; a whole lot of Fiats; a fleet of Chevy trucks.  I guess it did.  My view, according to the news.  But the sewage kept on gushing, the whole and hole got bigger.  In time I could not bear to watch.  I could not bear to smell.  I had my swine flu mask at the ready.  Instead I walked away.

The city lights were flashing.  Liquid Waste, Police Cars, Barricades and Signs always ready, set up (and down) on the street on asphalt still not fallen, waiting for another day.  Time moves so quickly.  Perhaps the wait is not that long.  Sink hole, stink hole, so much garbage underneath.  So little time to fix it.   Can you hear me now?

[2009.04.30 / Thursday – The Open Border Flu]

Nut House

April 28th, 2009

~ Planning takes intelligence.

It seemed like such a good idea at the time.  Save the banksters and fraudsters and “I’m not a crook, crooks” at the top by creating a Pandemic Flu crisis.  Everybody would turn away from worrying about bailouts and banker robberies and economic catastrophe to worrying about dying in the Great Pandemic of 2009 (so the story-line went).  Key players were pulled aside; scripts written; news organizations alerted and mobilized.  Everything was “ready” and “prepared”.

It was Shock Doctrine 101.  The second largest city on the planet is in shut-down catastrophe.  The flu is spreading everywhere, people dying.  It is too late to stop it at the borders.  Key places like two cases in Kansas near Fort Riley would raise the spectral horror.  And even in Manhattan; school kids coughing (dying); Texas City (or something like it near) had dying too.  People trapped in planes with influenza safe on board; 300 passengers sneezing (coughing) a fate worse than being sky-jacked.  Imprisoned on a plane (with the 1918 thing).

It seems the problem was they were not ready.  Of course the puppet government (US client state) of Mexico rolled over; did their part; caused panic by closing the whole capital down; face masks for 4 million; Hollywood props that came from where?  Face masks do no good.  Real flu is a virus not a bacteria; WHO knew.  I suspect that the drug lords finked out on the deal.  They were supposed to provide the body count; kill people and infect them, stage the “death at every door”.  Hollywood is still alive and well; what a script?

36,000 people in the USA die in a normal year of influenza.  Half a million die each year world-wide.  Double that and it’s not a crisis 1 in 14,000 of the planet when maybe 7 million die each year from lack of basic food.  By Sunday they were not sure what hit them (hit the planners).  The mass-media fell in line, but there was no line.  Sixty dead is less than daily stabbings.  Take pictures (of masks) ignore the facts.  This is USA journalism today and add the BBC (Big Bumbling Crud).  But most Americans knew that something was up; stayed informed; fought back with rumor falsehood and truth.  This really is a war and the resistance is really winning.  The cabal won’t get its way.

The coup d’tah was the to be the 747 flight above Manhattan; a sneak attack to cause great panic; seal the image of planes and president and 9/11 all at once.  It would be the defining Meme of the crisis.  It would sub-consciously suggest a link between catastrophe and aerial contagion.  Fear on fear; not just a joke.  The whole flight was planned before the scare last Friday.  It was the pinnacle of the plot.  But now the world moves at Twitter Speed, planes are so much slower.  Nobody trusts any earthly government any more.  Everybody always questions.

So now the spin is “nut”; the operative word is “furious”.  Furious of course that the whole flu charade was so badly bungled.  WHO and everybody else looks so inadequate and dumb.  Obama continues to loose his footing; can never decide which way to go on anything; no leadership at all.  The Mexican government (prediction) soon will fall.  Too much loss and hurt and pain; few deaths, too much orchestrated panic.

The “News” organizations are in a panic; find other news to fill the void.  No breaking news of pandemic.  Mayhem to keep the advertisers happy.  What a sick society this really is.  Drug stocks will crash in value.  The aftermath is caution.  People will still avoid the crowds, stay home, spend even less.  Save your time and spend Caesar’s money.  It is his, not yours at all.  There is plenty of wealth to go around and health to go around; only money will really make you sick.  Or is it, “make you really sick”?  Sick like in a nut case.

How many exercises will it take before you will be free?  Before you will rely on yourself and not on others?  Before you will not see solutions in politics or “laws”?  I think this thing is over.  The bad guys blinked.  Probably over but not off.  The thing will probably fester, open wound, spittle and a cough; like just any other disease manmade and not so real; half here, half not.

[2009.04.28 / Tuesday – Nut House]

Oh, Tuesday

April 27th, 2009

~ The week that GM died.

Forest fires, floods, pandemics, bank failures and the Chevy is at the levy and the Chevy is about to die.  It is the old adage that time is the artificial invention that keeps everything from happening all at once.  Old inventions are failing us now.  Time is seemingly at an end.  The “end times” of the fundamentalists are upon us and the world (as we knew it) is crashing down and (Yes) everything is all happening at once.  Count your money or count your blessings.  You have a choice.

Since this blog is about Afghanistan and since Pontiac has now died it seems the perfect time for a story that links the two.  Pontiac of course was an Indian, a native person; maybe it was his descendants that were killed by US Army blankets filled up with bubonic plague (smallpox really).  Anyway he died and they died and he lived through his image on a GM car with head-dress flowing out in Plexiglas finery as the great “Pontiac” roadsters road down the road.  Indian Head cars to match the Indian Head pennies so popular at the time.  They still had a life-size wooden cigar store Indian on display in Carson City in 1959.

The movie theater ran slides of local businesses before each show that year.  It started in 1958 as I recall.  Revenue was down I guess or greed was up and so commercials were intruding into theaters; no better than the TV fare.  Like the TV fare.  Content and distractions, so modern, so much like what everybody wanted (so the theory goes).  Advertising was all-American.  It made the country hum.  More products sold meant cheaper products (mass production, mass consumption) and the medium was the media.  Action, traction, satisfaction.  Wide-track Pontiacs will wet your whistle.  The film-clip told me so.

I was in Carson City.  My theater passes for my service to Homeland Security at each crossing walk for children crossing filled the bill.  The terrorists were those with wheels, cars or wide-track cars whistling through the wind up city streets by schools streaking down against the children just trying to eat lunch or going home.  My sign said “Stop”.  Their palpitating six or great V-8 said “Go”.  It was the children versus industry; young lives against the machine; Boomers versus GM I suppose, but Ford was there too and not so blameless.  Ford’s can mow you down and kill you in the crosswalks just as fast as GM’s can.

My father was in Afghanistan.  His job was building roads.  Afghanistan (said America) needed highways that could be shovel ready for the wide-track GM cars.  Pontiacs were wide-track.  The film-clips told us so in inches.  Compare Pontiac to any other car; it’s wider, for a better ride.  In Afghanistan the bridges were narrow.  My father wrote us so.  Even Ford’s and Mercury’s were dangerous; too wide for Afghan roads.  One wheel on the bridge (too wide) and the other might fall off.  German Volkswagens worked well in Afghanistan; Mercedes Benz worked too.  American cars were a little different, too wide, unsafe at any speed.  It was the bridges that always mattered.

There were no bridges in the Pontiac commercials.  Just wide lanes of blacktop asphalt.  Pontiacs could hug the road.  In the convertible images the people smiled, cute girls, cute guys, no swine flu to mark their days.  I’ve written about a plague of locusts on an Afghan road.  Like the four horsemen, like the end of the world think.  I was in a Dodge (Power wagon, but only better, Navy thing; could float)  There were no plague of crickets in the Pontiac commercial.  The locusts did not fowl the hair; not fill the convertible with dying wings and hungry grasshopper mouths trying to eat each shred of upholstery in this GM car.

Twitter is without context.  It is a bit like GM, General Motors, Chrysler or even Ford.  There are two worlds in reality.  One is the “commercial” world.  One is the world of school crossing walks and Afghan bridges and country lanes where shovel ready projects are just a dream or memory.  One world is pure fantasy, Fantasyland like Disney; wooden heads and wooden puppets and strings and magic wands and little fawns that grow up to be something more than cannon fodder for the wars.  The other world is more real; 20 million people dying from an economic plague; children smashed under wide-track tires cruising too fast through signs that just said “STOP”.

I had a friend in High School (Reno High).  His father was a doctor.  He had a GTO.  It was a muscle car, 329 or 426 or some important number that I wasted my life learning then.  GTO was Pontiac, the Indian Head was gone; this was 1966.  The car had a reverb radio to die for; echo music on the run.  We cruised the main street, drug main, dragged main.  GTO, wide and mean and low.  All the girls would pause with envy.  They wanted my place in the car.  A doctor’s son, a GTO, America at its best.

And now America needs all it’s doctors.  The plague is here and Pontiac is gone.  And the many bridges are still narrow.  And the road is straight and narrow too.  The sign still says STOP for speeders.  Do you really get my drift?  I see a train wreck up ahead.  I see the cities burning.  I see wide-track killers on the road.  How can you live in Mexico City without money?  Without an income or a job?  Without markets, transportation or a movie?  It’s not a place to live, but die.  20 million people leaving.  Humanity on the march.  Or is it only in my mind?

My father said that Pontiacs would never work in Asia.  And now I know he’s right.  Afghanistan and places like that have killed them.  We’re all in Afghanistan now; or Mexico; or some third-world nation-state with just a weak but arrogant government and no clue as to how to get along.  Just talk; but can’t walk the walk.  It is every man and woman for themselves.  Grab a deck chair.  The ship is going down.  But don’t believe me, don’t trust just my words.  Read the news yourself.  The ship is going down.

It’s a long cold swim to Newfoundland.  Even Google had the “SOS” dots and dashes.  Morse Code will not make you free.  So I bought my surgical masks today.  Maybe I should have bought wider tires.  It depends I guess on which track you’re on; which road to freedom; which way to the future state and how best to get there.  Buckle Up, sure; but a GTO never had an airbag.

And tomorrow is just Tuesday.

[2009.04.27 / Monday – Oh, Tuesday]

Head Down, Breathe Out

April 26th, 2009

~ Thirty-six hours to the point of no return.

The escalation occurred today.  The federal government (USA) announced a national health emergency.  Gone are the old laws, in are the new laws.  America is on its way to doom.  But it’s not too late for sanity, for someone thinking; not just an “expert” thinking.  Experts don’t think at all.  Now you know the difference.

The good news is that much of  America doesn’t know what’s happening; never heard of swine or bird or Spanish flu; could care less.  It’s off to the job, to polo matches, baseball games, public concerts in the park and Wal-Mart.  Americans are still seeking to gather together where the crowds are, the biggest numbers, the most people that one can get together with to trade coughs and sneezes and pathogens and germs and the Germanic plague called Spanish flu but really just made in the good ole USA (most probably, perhaps).  We are such an inventive society.  Patents and copyrights on everything.  Search the files and I’m sure that N1 H1 is on file somewhere, FBI Warning – do not duplicate without permission.

Let’s not think of it as a flu, not as a contagion, not as science or medicine at all.  Let’s just call it “file sharing”, you cough, I get it; just another download.  Unlike Twitter this thing requires face time.  Not much facetime; just a breath or two exchanged among friends or unfriendlies or total strangers in a crowd – like the crowd at work, on the bus, at Wal-Mart or best yet at the Mall.  A restaurant might do the trick. Eat, pay and sneeze.  Now you’re gone; it’s N1 H1 or nothing.  Like a crap shoot, snake eyes or sixes.  Either way you loose.

Ignorance is bliss.  The guys that plan these things, the experts, don’t always think these things through.  It seemed like such a good idea; stop the plague; scare people into staying home so they won’t die.  Close the schools.  No graduations.  Why not, there are no jobs?  No shopping at the mall, why not there is no money?  No more eating out.  Why not?  Restaurant food is so ungreen, so wasteful, so excessive really. One day ones in blissful oblivion; the next day they’re not.  They “get” the scare, the flu might kill us, be prepared and prepare to just stay home, close and lock each door, open the door to no one.  Even the police or Homeland Security itself might be infected.  Hold your breath.  Breathe out, not in.

Just one pathogenic word (in person) might kill you.  Wear a mask.  Garbled speech.  Learn to text and not to talk.  Plastic wrap and duct tape for the windows.  Clean air is life.  Buy a Hepa filter and ionizer and leave it always on.  Be prepared.  Be prepared.  It just may be a terrorist attack.  This is not a drill.  The suicide bomber just has to breathe in public, on you, and then you’re gone.  And then they breathe on others.  They’re gone.  No breathing in public; not in public places.  Arrest and detain.  Patriots know not to breathe in public.  Just stay home.

And first they closed the schools.  Then they closed the malls and markets.  Then the transportation grid went down; the stadiums, the sports fields where we used to play.  Restaurants closed.  Paychecks died.  People stayed at home.  Not from fear, but to do their best to save America from the plaque, the disease, the flu.  America died from the fear of dying.  Why did not the experts think of this?  They could have called the whole thing off.  On Sunday they had thirty-six hours; no Obama on the airwaves; no panic at that time yet.

An economy needs what little income that the little person gets.  Think waitresses and waiters, managers of small stores, vendors at the ballgames.  Taxi cabs to concerts.  Do we pay the idle teachers?  Do we refund tuition for credits never earned?  Does a degree without the test or papers really count?  Is a call center full of steamy air making for a safe place to work?  Should it be legal to “cry flu” in a crowded theater?  Every one will leave.  The theater will die.  And so it goes and goes and goes.

We are not there yet.  This whole thing can still blow over.  Announce that everything is fine, wash your hands (and face); blow your nose the other way.  No public proclamations, no panic.  It’s a rather better trade.  No need to crash the economy when there’s so little left.  Stay at home; but not to die.  Learn and rebuild.  Learn a better way.  Hold your breath, or don’t.

It doesn’t matter much what is really real.  Not about the flu.  The cure will kill the patient sure as shootin’.  Maybe the patient is not dying after all.  Nothing depends on you.  It all depends on others.  It is the decisions that others make that will decide who lives and dies, or what lives and what dies.  America is now a crowd, a mob perhaps, or a clamoring of citizens; I do not know.  In post 9-1-1 America responded badly; got violent and ugly; saw demons on many a face.  Few saw clearly the real demon.

This time could be better or be far worse.  There does not even have to be a “this time”.  Thirty-six hours for an answer.  Set your clocks.  There will be a point of no return.  Like a DC-6 above the water, flying to Omaha or to Japan, there’s always enough fuel to get back if you’re less than half-way there.  Turn back, fix the engines or the leak, get a new pilot not half crazy.  But once you’re half way there and even a minute more your destination is set.  You make it or you die.  Plane, crew, pilot, passengers; it’s all at stake.  Better be absolutely sure you’re right.  There is no second chance.

I take my cues from the media.  Buy a surgical mask and wear it.  Spare the face, spare the words, a picture is worth a thousand words.  Buy water.  Buy water until you’re broke; maybe not much water, but then with good clean ready water you will not die.  Stay home.  Stay away from Wal-Mart and the crowds.  Put up plastic wrap, the government told you that you would need it.  Now is the time.  Write “no flu” on each plastic window.  Be a leader.  Set an example.  Buy aspirin for the fever.  Wash the sheets and blankets on each bed.  Close the curtains, make the sick room peaceful; very clean and peaceful.

You might need plastic bags for virtual flushing if they turn the water off.  Wet towels can sooth the fever.  In time you will be OK.  Life, not money, is what matters.  Hospitals and medicines may kill you.  The crowds there will kill you sure.  Stay away.  Be serene at home, be calm, be quiet.  No one needs know you’re there.  When death knocks (if it knocks) let it pass you by; no one home, next house, next neighborhood, next country maybe.

I hope you laugh at me by Wednesday.  New topic, new words to get us by.  But be safe, not sorry.  There are nut cases on the road, in government and medicine and politics.  I’m not one.  It’s that simple.  I’m not one and I’m not buying it and I think maybe no one is buying it and I really hope I’m right.

But meanwhile; don’t breathe a word.  Head down for awhile, don’t get up; breathe out not in.

[2009.04.26 / Sunday – Head Down, Breathe Out]

Troop Train

April 25th, 2009

~ H one, N one and the politics of power.

I did not grow up with stories of the great influenza, the so-called Spanish Flu.  People did not talk of dangerous flus or biological weapons or blankets scourged with smallpox that the US Army distributed to the Indians to wipe them (the Indians) out.  One comic in the comic section told stories about nerve gas and what it might do.  The story line was that the Russians did it, would take over Indo-China with nerve gas and that Americans should know.  I forget the comic’s name; I remember the drawings of the steel canisters filled with gas; offering a torturous death worse than death itself.

The GI Generation was too young to remember the great influenza.  It came in 1918, not like the Depression that was born in 1929 and continued on and on and on.  The influenza came and hit and hit hard and those between the ages of 20 and 40 something (fighting age folks) died by the millions, almost all at once as might be reckoned in the measurement of time.  There was the August outbreak; it came back again for Christmas.  Then January was number three.  The flu ended the war in Europe, the Great War, the war of mustard gas and chemical weapons and then the greatest weapon of them all the influenza.  It killed maybe 40% of Europe, maybe just 25%.  Too many died too fast for counting.  No one was well enough to bury the dead.  Bodies were piled up in hotels and school gymnasiums and left to rot in piles on dimly lit street corners.  In the USA things were often little better.

The influenza spread like wildfire through the US training camps.  A million young US soldiers were training for Europe and the war.  They became infected and then were sent to the European trenches where they would die; first infecting others.  The Brits caught it from the Americans; the captured Brits spread it to the Germans.  From Germany it went to Austria.  From Austria to Turkey and then to Russia and soon like a chain letter it was spreading around and around the world; longshoremen to stevedores; ships help to ship captains; banana boats to coffee plantations.  Where people met and talked and communicated people coughed and sneezed and became infected and too often died.  The dying infected the nurses and the undertakers and soon there were too few to even bury the dead.  Let the dead bury the dead.

Those that lived never wanted to talk about it.  The grand-parents of Boomers mostly.  Life was not supposed to be about bodies in the streets, martial law, the death of uncle Ned or Ted or Alfin in my case. He was struck down at 40, on Christmas day he died, not too far from his home in Kansas, at home in Kansas, died in Kansas City.  Born in Lasita.

Lasita is not too far from Fort Riley.  Army Fort to fight the Indians.  No smallpox blankets this time, just training; weapons for war.  Who really knows now after all the death is over?  I have a letter from Mr. Green (real name).  He was at Fort Riley when the flu first broke out.  He writes about the camp closed down, leave cancelled, troops confined to barracks (so many died in barracks).  The ones that lived were sent to Belo Woods and Flanders Fields and other places more fit to spread disease and die.  The nearest town to Fort Riley of course is Manhattan (Kansas).  Maybe it gives new meaning to the real reason for the name “Manhattan Project”, the first fountain for the ultimate military weapon of death – disease.

My grandfather was sick and almost dying at camp in Washington or Delaware; Camp Meade or somewhere further north.  The letters stopped when he got sick.  But there was no one home (in Phoenix) left to read them.  My grandmother was very sick and her daughter (my mother) even sicker.  The whole city was in quarantine.  Bodies laid about unburied.  The Red Cross came and took her and her daughter away from home, impounded in a hospital where they were brought to die.  A telegram was sent to Guy, come and see your wife and child before they die.  Stop.

He boarded a train in some east coast USA kind of city.  A troop train of sorts; a thousand soldiers on the move to see their loved ones dying, before they died or after if the train arrived too late.  The troop trains snaked across the country, some north, some south, some west or just Midwest.  Of course the influenza spread at each station stop, with each new civilian passenger, each departing GI sent from camp and forts to home.  What an efficient killing machine.  In America, in England, in Italy and Germany and Austria and Russia too.  All nations responded just the same.  Death moving across the world on rails; but now it would by car, in cars, from cars to shopping centers to restaurants to offices and work places you get my drift.

On the 24th the word came out of Manhattan, Mexico.  Or was it Mexico City, sounded too much like the name Manhattan to me so I can’t remember.  America can’t remember either.  August of 1918, or August of 1945; what does it matter?  It is all just an act of nature isn’t it.  Science and randomness.  The military will provide the transportation; railcars or cars.  Some say the flu is back.  The ultimate doomsday weapon.  Get inoculated or die or “and die”.  The land of the free when the military controls the rails.  But maybe not.  It could get really bad by Monday or just blow over and be over for awhile.  Do you buy water now?  Do you buy a mask?  Do you leave town with lots of money?  Are the borders and the airports still really open?  Do you have a fever yet?

Freedom is a life where one does not ever have to worry about these things.  It will not be Al Queada with the needles.  It will not be Al Queda relocation camps.  It will not be Al Queda trains with names on engines marked off in Arabic.  If the Army Trucks come they will come in the form of City buses; to take you away, for your own safety from your home.  At least in 1918 people could die at home.  No freedom this time; no dignity left.  Are there really FEMA camps or like in Coalinga (California) (1980’s) just FEMA trailers and FEMA guards and FEMA lockdown zones.  You have been prepared.  Now you’re warned.

Nothing (bad) has to happen.  Nobody needs to die.  Even this “exercise” can be cancelled.  Lift your heart to faith, but buy a little water, water can never hurt (unless you’re in the military, then it really hurts). Pandemics don’t have to happen.  Bullets can’t stop pathogens.  Guns will not make you free.  All real health is in ones mind.  Be kind, stay happy.  By Cinco de Mayo it’ll all be over.  Your choice which way.

[2009.04.25 / Saturday – Troop Train]

General Growth

April 17th, 2009

~ Pollens are a sign of growth.

Do you miss me when I’m gone?  It’s the time of year for pollens.  Each pollen is different.  Some people are not allergic.  I was one such person once.  Now the pollens get me every year, no mercy.  They place me under and make me like I’m out.  I stop writing.  Heck, I stop thinking even.  Or correction; I stop thinking about anything except the pollens and the day they will subside or go away.  Life then will be normal again.  Then, I can write again and think again and comment upon the world or the ways thereof.  I will be free again to have my own views, undistorted by the views of pollens.

I guess it might be said that I see everything as metaphor.  It is a lot like Plato living in the forms.  Every seemingly simple event is like a lesson; an opportunity to correlate, compare, juxtapose ideas and relationships and processes and essences and discern in each act of life new meaning.  My local mall is dead.  And yours probably is too.  200 malls in America have gone to seed, fruiting bodies, pollens pollinating; secret almost sexual rituals of mating that occur within inanimate objects left to die but for one last season of life or at least corporate life “on the books” as corporate life is still defined.

I am not a horticulturist.  I know precious little about the subtleties of plants.  But somehow I know that there is a connection when one invokes the word “growth” to describe something wholly divorced from nature.  Things grow only in nature and in natural environments and where life is real.  There can be no growth in shopping malls.  They are just consumption centers and everyone knows that consumption is just a disease, just another older name for cancer.  When cancer is not growing it is benign.  A growing cancer is malignant; as in “mal” meaning “bad” and malignant cancer is a bad thing.

Which brings us back to malls.  200 of the best malls in America were all owned by General Growth Properties, the idea is to have a place where products bloom, profits are harvested, nature has been replaced by the vacuous ness of man.  As if mal or mall or maul was not warning enough to the simple man.  Such a place just sounds bad.  How alienated from nature does one have to be to go to malls, embrace the maul, hang out in a mal imitation of a natural world apparently not good enough?  GGP is the second largest chain of malls in America.  They are home to perhaps 20,000 stores and shops and restaurants.  Many have long ago stopped paying rent.  Every GGP mall is 95% occupied however.  It’s always those somewhere else that are in trouble, aren’t making it, don’t have the customers with the cash or credit.  Credit is always better than cash they say.

Cash is real hard-earned money.  Credit is just funny money that slips through fingers and is spent like with a swipe of a pen.  Easy come, easy go.  Credit, not cash, makes the mall.  Of course no malls are working.  General Growth is bankrupt.  You heard it on the news, read it in the few newspapers that are left, saw a blip on flicker.  But slow down a little.  The headline is “General Growth is Bankrupt”; there is no general growth anymore, it’s dead, the cancer is no longer malignant.  It’s back to nature time; natural growth or nothing.

I waited a long time to see Nixon gone.  Made the first Impeach Nixon bumper stickers that ever were.  Spent months selling them and making more and watching others copy the idea and soon there was dancing in the streets; say goodnight Ron (a press secretary from the past).  I printed flyers for the party.  People came of course; danced in the streets; shouted out with joy.  The White House was a bit safer then (for awhile).  I’ve been after the Consumption Centers almost as long.  Made speeches, ranted.  Talked to those who might listen.  Warned those who wouldn’t.  It’s dancing time again I suppose.  But it’s more like Agnew resigning (the #2) than seeing number one go down.  Number one will, you know.  Get a job outside the malls; no need to be a victim.  Tell a friend.

It was the summer as I recall when Nixon bit the dust; waved high; flew up and off from the White House lawn forever.  No coming back this time.  He was down and out forever.  Like a dead mall; there’s no new life, no resurrection, no ever coming back – no one really embraces malignancy anymore.  There are reasons we have bulldozers and dump trucks and skip loaders.  They take away bad places from the people.  Rest in peace.  Dust to dust.  Pollen to pollens.  Life is back in vogue.

I guess there is not a Nixon Boulevard in your town.  I guess not a Spiro T. Agnew Interchange either.  Some things are best just forgotten.  Julie and David must be happy somewhere, you wouldn’t know it by the news.  The malls won’t be missed.  Not a place for weddings or a funeral.  Almost no one was ever born inside a mall.  Thousands of course have died there.  Who would want to be buried in a mall?  The idea is not to be buried in debt, but to be free like in the land of the free, blowing free like ashes; starting over with something or some place new.

Do I hammer my point too hard?  How much of your life have you wasted in a mall?  How many dollars back for things better never bought?  How much was cash and how much credit?  Didn’t you notice the change when the receipt began being called a “slip”?  You were warned.  You just were not paying attention.  First the slip; then the fall.

Bankruptcy won’t change a thing.  Yeah – right!  Like nobody gets paid unless the court approves.  Wait till the real books come out.  You don’t want to know.  Agnew really was a crook.  Nixon wasn’t?  I mix my metaphors.  It’s the pollens thinking.  My mind is just a blur.  The malls were just a fever passing, a nightmare.  It’s just spring and soon the pollens will be over; summer is coming.  And Agnew is not the President.

Aren’t you glad?

[2009.04.17 / Friday – General Growth]

Medisnare

April 11th, 2009

~ Medicare is not what you think.

The Boomers are ageing.  Things will be changing.  There is a temperamental difference between those born in 1942 or after and those born before.  The Boomer Generation ended with those born in 1960, not 1961.  Eisenhower was still president in 1960.  Kennedy took office in 1961.  This makes Obama an X’er, which he most obviously is.  Case settled.

The point of all this is that Boomers are now applying for Medicare; the you have to be sixty-five kind.  There is another kind; it cost about $443 per month.  What most people don’t know about Medicare could fill books.  But since the web is faster and better than a book lets visit and revisit some basic facts and myths.  Anyway, the GI Generation was getting restless about 1964.  They did not want to pay for their parents health care costs and they didn’t want to pay for their own at some point in the future when they too were “old”.  And besides, Europe and the UK were offering “Socialized Medicine” and the USA could not even help their elderly citizens stay well.  What to do?

The “to do” became Medicare.  It was a hospital plan for the aged, defined as those 65 and older who had worked the requisite number of years as measured off in quarters.  The idea was simple.  Pay in and when you are old the system will pay out.  Medicare would protect people from the costs of medical confinement, contamination, accidents, and infirmity.  It was a Hospital plan, paying for things done in and by hospitals.  It did not include things done outside hospitals like eye exams, teeth care, hearing aids.  Medicare had nothing to do with “health care”; it was hospital care and hospital care only.

But in 1964 or even in 1980 hospitals did a lot more than they do now.  Birthing used to be a hospital stay of three days to a week.  Now a birth is almost an outpatient procedure.  You get my point.  Cataract surgery was hospital, now it’s outpatient.  Very much has changed; the ER (Emergency Room) was a hospital expense, now it is not.  The new definition of hospital by Medicare is “inpatient”.  All the other hospital services are not hospital anymore.

The result is that Medicare has pretty much slipped away.  Boomers paid into the plan; the money was spent on other generations and now the money is mostly gone; nothing much is covered; there is even a $6,400 per year potential deductible on all the overnight or more hospital type stuff – to say nothing of the 20% copay on everything ever done there.  And even to get this coverage one must find a Medicare Compliant hospital (one that will do things for what Medicare is willing to pay).  The bandaid that you buy for ten cents from Walgreen’s Medicare might be willing to pay $1 for; but the hospital may want $2.  This means that you pay $1.20 per bandaid assuming that you’ve satisfied the deductible.  If not, you pay $2 per pop for the little Johnson & Johnson strip and having it put on costs you more and extra.

So that brings up Part B, alternative plan B when plan A is broke and Plan A is both broke and broken.
Medicare used to be Medicare (Plan A) and that was all one needed.  Now Medicare revolves around the ‘B’ part.  Plan B is like a whole new plan; unfunded by Medicare and all those millions of billions you’ve been paying (in cooperation with others).  Plan B is a medical insurance plan that cost everyone about $100 per month.  It is medical only; not hospital.  It pays for prescription drugs.  It pays for you to see a doctor.  It pays for you to take classes to keep you well.  It does not pay to keep you seeing or hearing or help you if your teeth fall out

Eyes, ears, and teeth are not medical issues.  They are not health care issues.  They are School Issues.  If you remember it was the schools that told you to brush your teeth and comb your hair and turn down the volume on your radio or record player.  They should have told you to buy and wear sunglasses.  They did tell you to “avoid eyestrain” so you won’t ever need glasses.  Contact lenses and lasic surgery are just different forms of glasses for those of you who were stupid and disobedient and strained your eyes.

So Medicare was semi-privatized to create Part B that does not see that seeing and hearing and chewing have anything to do with health or medicine so aren’t really “medical” (think and sing, “be true to your school” and brush often, wear earplugs, wear sunglasses and be cool).  You do not need teeth to pop pills.  If you pop a lot of pills you will like Part B; it pays for pills like they were going out of style which they would do if Medicare Part B were not there to subsidize them on behalf of the pill pandering pharmaceutical industry.  Now you know why I use the word “privatize”.  The $96.40 per month from every elderly citizen is automatically deducted from everyone’s Social Security check and sent directly to the Pharm farmers or really it comes to really be about that way.

If one wants full or better “medicare” coverage then one should “opt out” and sign up for a wholly privatized medicare plan Part C; it is not really Medicare at all.  The same people who wanted to privatize Social Security by forcing your money into the market or derivatives or some Madoff investment scheme have already plundered Medicare Part C.  Part C drains the Medicare treasury (what’s left of it) and
pumps the money into the private health care plans.  Then you might get a bit of vision, a few teeth, health care that you can chew on; or actually see.  Of course the ‘C’ Part will cost you.  But staying alive has always had it’s price.  Now aren’t you glad you know?

So keep working.  Stay on your job.  Don’t ever quit.  There is no Medicare light at the end of the tunnel unless you want a life of popping pills and then you’re set; you’re really set.  The uppers and downers will keep you just where the government has always wanted you – subservient, complacent, drugged and happy.  Aldous Huxley and his Brave New World is here at last, here at last.

One pill makes you larger.  One pill makes you small.  One pill doesn’t do anything at all.  Gracie Slick sang that, for money; just helping to do her bit to sell the drug culture of the Medicare money future.  History makes so much sense when looking back.  The “mother pill” was of course the placebo.  Medicare itself is the placebo in lieu of a real national health care scheme.  Are we ready for socialized medicine yet after these 45 years of waiting?  I think so.  I really think so!

Maybe a really really big pill won’t be so hard to swallow.  The idea of Socialized Medicine?  America needs it – get used to it.

[2009.04.11 / Saturday – Medisnare]

Collateral Damage

April 8th, 2009

~ Yellowing pages from the past.

I have been going through old files lately.  I have a penchant for saving paper.  Yellowing in the archives was a copy of the front page of the New York Times dated October 20, 1987.  It was Tuesday’s edition.  The market had crashed on Monday.  Old newspapers don’t really yellow.  They just turn a dryer shade of brown, cheap paper, wood pulp never meant to survive the ravages of time and the changing times of truth.  The old pages aren’t really yellow journalism; yellow is more like the color of today.

The paper pretty well defines the crash, any crash probably, but the Times argued too that each crash is different.  Volume was 604 million shares; but more important it was double any previous record.  The market dropped 508 points; but more important it was 22.6% of total market value in just one day.  The market was below the new years opening; but more important the market had dropped 36% in less than 60 days.  IBM had been $176 in August, on Tuesday it was just $104.  GM was still $52 a share on that Tuesday; no wonder President Reagan did not intervene and close the crashing market.

There are the usual questions on page one.  Does 1987 compare to 1929?  Is the crash devastating since the US has FDIC, Social Security, and unemployment insurance now; a social safety net?  There are the usual expected moves; the US attacked Iran that day; the day of the market crash.  You need minds occupied and diversified and thinking of bigger things than the loss of a little money.  Gosh; wasn’t Ronald Reagan great?  Even the Times said the White House didn’t have a clue on how to solve the problem of an economic crash (inside sources I suppose).  The market was left at 1,738.4 points.  It’s the “point four” that matters; anything more might be a crash; the headlines just used the word “drop”.

The Dow in the 1700’s seemed suitably patriotic.  It was 1987 by gosh, not the new millennium or the year 2000 or maybe the year 8,000 something if time is really counted in terms of money.  We’ll get there, back to a Dow 1,987 some thought on that dark day.  There was some hope still in the air, some thought that once again the years and Dow would be one; not too far ahead or too far behind the beaten and proven path of progress.

But it was the damage to collateral that concerned the Times the most.  It was not the collateral damage in the Gulf where US warships pounded the coast of Persia (now called Iran) that worried the editors of the Times.  It was the “money in the bank”, the stocks used as collateral for the loans.  The collateral was going (had gone) bad and was just going.  Banks would need to call their loans or demand more and better collateral to support the loans outstanding.  The article references the collateral needed to buy a home or car.  Life was so quaint when Ronald Reagan was alive.  He lived in a world where collateral was only cash and stocks and only those were stable.  And on Tuesday neither the stocks nor the dollar were very stable.

Commercial real estate has fallen 50% or so.  The market is down almost 50 (percent).  But the banks evidently are free to make loans now without collateral.  The concept of collateral is badly damaged.  Banks will turn the economy around by making “wink and nod” loans.  All a borrower will need is a wink and a nod and the promise of returning the money in a sometime that we might call tomorrow.  As if tomorrow might ever come.

What makes these loans so reasonable is that no real contact ever needs to occur between the borrower and the lender.  No face time.  These are virtual loans made with virtual money in a virtual agreement between virtual realities or virtual entities.  The party of the first part may or may not exist; they or “it” or “one” just seems to exist on paper or on a data screen or in a file of files somewhere.  If the numbers check the person said to be must be.  Loan made.  If the loan goes south then real people or real businesses are invoked to pay; are asked to pay back the virtual loan from real resources or money.

In America it is almost impossible to prove that you did not make a loan; apply for or receive a credit card; receive merchandize or services on some open account.  It goes way beyond identity theft.  It is just the cut and paste of files; copying information from here and pasting it in there.  Signatures and histories and applications and all the numbers can be sifted and sorted and spread around.  There are no “original documents” anymore; just facsimiles and data files that may or may not be reasonable or true.  There is no yellowing New York Times that browns with age in the virtual world.  All you get is data and print-outs and explanations of how things work or maybe how they don’t work at all.

In just one day half the wealth of the world can be made or be made to disappear.  All it takes is telephone calls and computer blips and people who think these blips are real.  The Drill Sergeant yells “right face” and what happens next is only dependent upon what you believe and want to believe and what you want to do.  It is about yells and yellowing.  It’s about a destructive game of chicken.  Every real home invasion comes to you through the mail; stop the thieves and refuse to answer any knock that you do not know.  The banksters are always knocking but they can’t come in.  They are not real.  They are just virtual beings with a virtual claim to money and a virtual voice in a call center lost in space somewhere.

Experience is made up of what you know and what you learn and what you’re willing to believe.  There’s nothing more.  Ideas are the composite correlations that can make what never was come to be; that can thrust the otherwise doomed person forward to follow or to lead in the quest for what experience can only ever imagine.  Experience has no imagination.  It is the ideas that will make you free.

“Foreign investors dumped shares in their financial markets in a world-wide wave of distress selling.  Share prices around the world were in a free fall… Some experts maintain that New York city’s economy has grown too reliant on Wall Street.”  But Bridge is on page C22, and the Op-Ed is on page A35.  Have a good day.  Have a real good day.

Maybe it is time to throw.

[2009.04.08 / Wednesday – Collateral Damage]

Atomic Scatter

April 6th, 2009

~ The Fourth World Order is a spectator sport.

Mr. Brown of Britland joins Mr. Kissinger (as a name) and the name of George Bush (the first) and George Bush the ‘W’ and maybe Mr. Barry (or is it Barak) to bring association to the associates of “The New World Order” for whatever that name is supposed to mean.  I guess it is death by association, or guilt by association or an association of just plain bland stupidity.  There is nothing new about the new world order.  It’s a lot like last years Edsel.  Ford kept coming out with it, and everyone kept not buying it.  The Queen of England (quite naturally) rode around in one; gave the car the “rah, rah” of publicity and association, but the car was dead.  The new world order too, is dead, as are the “grateful dead” which was the term that Kennedy used to describe those that might be the victims of an atomic world war.

Kennedy’s point was that what might be left of the good green planet earth would be so black as to make the daily life of the atomic survivors so bleak that they would probably wish that they were dead.  There is a lot of debatable or questionable or maybe interesting points of cosmological theosophy in Kennedy’s grateful dead speech.  He preferred the word “nuclear”, because it was the recent generation past (that had “passed the torch”) that had liked and used the word “atomic” to describe the forces of the sun that had been harnessed by the scientists and other men to kill the one-third of Hiroshima’s population that on that day were Korean slave-laborers held by the Japanese and deployed in factories and other service and remember that Korea was one of the “occupied countries” depicted on US stamps as being the good guys and on our side and “friends”.

History is complicated and often messy.  Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead may or may not have known of the JFK speech that was on the radio three or four years before.  How political can a starving wanna-be rock star be who is willing to steal illustrations from a book of prose from a Persian poet escaped from Afghanistan?  I reference the Rubaiyat and Omar and guess you thought that the skulls and bones were because Garcia was from Mexico and it was the Day of the Dead thing.  If the CIA financed and was behind Timothy Leary and his LSD is it too far fetched to believe that the alleged divining of a name in the community of La Honda as described by Ken Kesey was just a ruse and that both Ken and the Dead were both financed and backed by the CIA which was the NWO both then and now?  So keep truckin’ now that you know who you’ve been truckin’ with.

So we don’t always treat our friends well, as in the case of Korea (or is it just Koreans).  We don’t want Korea to have atomic bombs, but nuclear reactors in Japan are fine.  An atomic Israel is good because they deny it.  A nuclear Persia is bad because they deny it.  It seems to say that the right name makes all the difference; it’s not the thought that counts.  If the signs say “Ban the Atomics”; not “Ban the Nukes” then we really might get somewhere.  Maybe Kennedy was not right; Atomic in, Atomic out, but Obama does not really get it – he used the term nuclear and didn’t use the words bones and dead.  Or did he?  He did say “maybe not in my lifetime”, which sounds a lot like dead and bones to me.  But that’s just me.

The First World Order (a new order for the ages) was a Masonic conspiracy (anti-Catholic at the time) aimed at destroying the power of the Pope and Church which the capital letters mean that they or this was pretty powerful at the time.  One could claim that the Church was really the first First World Order and that may be true given the sell-outs of the Popes and the endless carnage of warrior monks and various inquisitions and other modern rot.  Makes one want to be a Moslem maybe.  But it was really Rome that was first, a world order, lions and early Christians, the sacking of the Jews; not being nice to the Egyptians, Persians, Gauls, and others.  Is there a pattern here?  But first is always new and new may not be new except the name is new and those not informed are often willing to buy it.

The Second World Order was of course the Brits.  The empire really began quite after the American revolt.  India, China, Africa.  These were not men wearing the usual powdered wigs and the almost well-dressed Puritan attire.  They were modern men like Stanley and Rhodes; Darwin might be added to the lot.  Empire and science don’t you say?  See the world in the service of a questionably organized religion at service to the state or in the military; a New World Army of one, every one.  There really should be a word (not “service”) that refers to killing and conquering for the King and Crown and for the Order.

So that brings us to the Reich.  The “New Order”.  The third reich, the third world order, just another combination of new and old and the same clueless basic thoughts.  It was the Roman legions that first launched pogroms against the Jews.  The Catholics just continued the whole thing.  Garcia and his Persian poet was just a bit more of the same; Omar was not a real Moslem, he was a heretic of sorts, made a pact with the devil or something like that it seems.  Good stuff for album covers; that and Goat’s Head Soup.  No wonder the Queen likes these guys and knight’s them and gives them names like “Sir”.  They are the modern knight’s in black doing all the black arts things that the royalty always favored.  Like the Black Knights of Germany, the Gestapo, a death’s head skull and bones on every uniform of the special of the Reich.  “Jerry” should be proud.

It was Hitler that said the leaders should always be fighting; like wolves, always at each others throats.  He relished the art of treachery, of lies, of deceit.  He liked the smiling faces; the stylish smirks, the hypocrisy of it all, in every speech a threat and taunt and carrot.  The Order is always about false Hope, false promises, threats and empty threats and keeping everyone off balance and wondering and without any real security.  There is no security in money.  “Securities” are a false meme word like the word “service” in regards to the Order.  The only real security lies in ones belief in and relationship with God.  A real nation would have a Statue of Security, not “Liberty”.  But it has not been done; not in Rome, in England, in America or Germany.  I rest my case and yours.

Sometimes life seems like just swimming in the cauldron of the Orders black arts soup.  It is like the metaphor of being a puppet on a string; toyed with, played with, no Pinocchio or is it Gepeto that got it wrong?  But it’s the order that offers better metaphors; bread and circuses, spectator sports, the telecreen for the masses.  It is the Order that entertains us, that elevates its servants to high places, offers a thousand dollars for ones soul with seemingly so many eager takers.  Just walk away.  Shut your ears.  Close your eyes.  Open not your mouth.  The three monkeys of Nikko said these things.  The monkey is not always bad.

So there are maybe one million failing souls that are rich and famous.  There are six billion that are left to decide.  A camel might be able to fit through the eye of a needle, or a politician, or a rich man or lady or elder dame.  But it’s not likely.  I don’t think Hitler is in Heaven; I could be wrong.

It’s not a bad earth.  It’s not such a bad world after all.  It’s just some people that make it bad; bad goals, bad values, not caring about the truth.  Avoid them.  They are not your life.  They are the wolves in costume and these wolves are not your friends.  It’s not God but the Order that makes the messes that you see.  Don’t blame God.  Blame those that don’t like God.  “Ban the Bomb”; Yes.  But I wish I had heard it from a better source.

[2009.04.06 / Monday – Atomic Scatter]

China Hole

April 4th, 2009

~ Discovering Chinatown in Carson City – Reminiscences of the I Ching from 1955.

When I was young and first began attending school the route to the very new schoolhouse took me by a very old vacant lot.  Most anyone could feel the antiquity of the spot, but if not, or if a visual confirmation were necessary one could see between the grasses and weeds the crumbling remains of the foundation rocks of the few small structures that once graced this small and now empty field.  And then one might try to imagine the buildings that once were there and the lives of those that once would come and go from those modest structures of ancient abode.

For the resident old timers that lived in the neighborhood who were versed in the history of the block it took little imagination to conjure up images of the Chinamen that once lived on this poorer east side of Carson City, the then and now capitol of Nevada.  The small now vacant field was Carson’s own “Chinatown” they said.  You can still find old oyster shells and maybe a few of the old Chinese coins lost and scattered around, they claimed.  That is, they said, if you care about oyster shells and old Chinese coins.

For a seven year old that as a six year old had spent much of his Kindergarten year picking up and saving the old square nails, discarded bottle caps from the thirties, and the occasional empty twenty-two caliber rifle shell that had collected along the sidewalk fences of the houses leading to the World War II vintage Quonset Hut that housed the capitals Kindergarten oyster shells and coins, especially old Chinese coins, were definitely something to care about.  But there was a reasonable skepticism too, for the old always had such fantastic stories about the past and things that people used to do.  Often the safest thing to do was not to really believe too much of what they said and claimed, and to figure that even if such things were once true, they were not true now, and to remember that little evidence of these histories of the past was ever to be produced or shared by them with gullible seven year old boys.

But, with or without a share of skepticism, the vacant lot did not vanish or go away.  It was still there each day, on the way to and from school, pushing its weeds and grasses toward the sidewalk as one passed by.  The plants seemed sometimes to beckon, to almost call out, to say just look at what might be under me, along my roots, the simple evidence of times past and past lives now gone but still remembered by a few.

In time, the new stories of old were shared among all the interested and gullible boys of the near neighborhood and there were three of us that decided that an expedition to the site should be made to once and for all resolve the truth or falsity of the old stories and tales and to discover and find the abalone shells if they were there, the oyster shells, and certainly the coins; although the existence of the coins was most in doubt.   A date was agreed upon and a time of day almost exact and reasonable.  And as always seemed to happen, several days before the scheduled expedition one of our number reported back to the group that he had ventured to the lot already and alone and indeed there were oyster shells and pulled an overly white sun bleached  shell from his pocket to prove it.

This breach of trust quickly scuttled the proposed expedition amid catcalls accusing  or claiming that the shell was planted by an old timer or that the kid, our once trusted friend, was in cahoots with the old man and that even the production of coins would prove nothing.   Days passed, interest ebbed and the two surviving friends debated the merits of the evidence regarding disturbed and undisturbed grasses and broken and unbroken weeds upon the lot, a sure and necessary sign of excavations for abalone and oyster shells.  Consensus could not be reached and in time intermittent winter snows and later the muds of spring made the work of serious inquiry unappealing to those accountable for the care of their school clothes.

It was probably in late April when the March winds no longer kept the kites aloft and no longer commanded the attention of a new generation of aeronautical pioneers eager to explore the frontiers of near space with kites, kites as old as China the old timers would say.  And so with the passage of kites and the re-invocation of that ancient name, thoughts again drifted to thoughts of the Celestials and their homeland.

One could dig, it was said, straight down through the middle of the earth and find themselves at the other end of the hole actually in China.  There was no argument that there really would be Chinese coins in China and a hole seems as natural to a seven year old boy to dig as it is natural to find a kite to fly.

A  shovel was located and digging commenced only to be stopped in short order by the order of “Mom”.  The site for this early Mohole experiment was redirected to the yard behind the chicken coup, “but away from the hay bales”.  The China Hole stopped at about two and one-half feet of depth carefully measured by an official school ruler.  The hole became successively a World War II fox-hole, a World War I battle trench, a secret refuge from invading Martians, and an underground bunker on Guadalcanal; all in short order and with little modification, driven by the suggested subjects imported to the weekly children’s matinee at the Carson City Theater on Carson Street.

April yielded to May and May to June and the summer.  There was an old newsreel short at the theater about the rape of Nanking, China.  Once again the visages and memories of oyster shells and coins reemerged.  It was an opportune time, one was older and braver and school clothes had been replaced with the more forgiving clothes of summer.  The weeds at the lot were larger and taller than ever, making it hard to find even the river washed and rounded stones with their small chucks of ancient mortar still clinging to the irregular roughened and broken surfaces.

A few weeds were pulled and the underlying ground and shallow holes examined.  In time a few more followed and then a few nearer the old stone foundation were uprooted.  The white of the first few broken shells glimmered in the late afternoon sun, broken shells, but shells that looked remarkably like the oyster shell from the pocket of that old and one time friend turned scoundrel in the long lost fall of last school year.  With the aid of the shell bits applied as digging (or more like scratching) devices, a few more shells were found, a few iridescent bits of abalone shell, and then as the time for dinner and curfew came, a rusted piece of metal with an almost square hole was lifted from the dirt clod of a recently pulled and upended milk weed.  The Chinese characters were badly worn and faded and the glint of new metal had long since passed, but the coin was real and the old timers vindicated and the rumors and stories were laid to rest; they were all true.

Thus ended the saga of the old Chinese lot and thus began my discovery of divining coins and fortune telling and  an awareness of the book of sages on which it was all based, the I Ching.  It may be a backward way to discover philosophy, and expand ones spiritual awareness but it was not a dishonest way.  The old-timers might have edited the word “heathen” from the vocabulary of their lips when they spoke of the Chinese, but they did because they still rode the rails that these men had laid over the grueling Sierras to the west and across the black rock desert to the east.  If they were “heathen”, it was the patient acceptance of a carefully divined, read, and practiced fate if not faith that helped them endure the hardships of Nevada’s heat cold and isolation in a solitary world almost devoid of the companionship of the Chinese female whose exodus from China at the time the men left for America was forbidden by Chinese law.

Oyster shells and old rusty coins might not seem like a heritage worthy of claiming or borrowing, but it too is real and for these simple workmen without wives it was the only tangible heritage that they left.

Note:  This was originally written on April 14th / 2005.  It is being double-posted under 1955 – June.

[2009.04.04 / Saturday – China Hole]

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