Mapping Lasita, Kansas

April 30th, 2011

Mapping Lasita, Kansas

~ Old maps are such a cool way to get oriented to the new reality.

Note:  There is another post that says more about Lasita, Kansas and starts from the beginning.

This “Lasita Project” has me going.  It has me going deeper and deeper into the past in order to find the present.  It’s good to look at a hundred or so years of history all at one time.  It can show you where the hopes and dreams of a different generation or two have led.  In my case the present search involves Lasita (Kansas), the “old” family home on my mother’s side, on her mother’s side.

For many, the American Dream meant to go to America and become a farmer.  In Europe the old family farms got smaller and smaller with each passing generation as families got larger and larger and the farms (and lands) were divided between the “each of them”.  It’s an old saw.  It has happened many times all over the world and is still happening still.

When the farms get so small that you (one) cannot even eat off them it’s maybe time to move (on).  That’s the story of Johan Backlund.  He left what was left of the ancient farm in Sweden and left his brothers and left the hunger on the farm and moved to the big city, meaning a big city in Sweden.  He built ships for awhile, got hurt, then got the urge to go on a bigger ship to “America”.  By “America” he was considering Canada too, it was a new continent he was after, not necessarily a new nation.

He rambled a bit after getting here.  He stayed north (near Canada) and tried things in Indiana and Illinois and then one day he heard of Kansas.  There was good land there it was said.  “Unto a good land” is another book about Kansas worth reading.

When he was younger the family changed the families names from the “son of son” Swedish system to a “family name”, choosing “Backlund”.  Lund meant “land”.  The “Back” land was the “Black” land of deep forest loam, sometimes often almost black in color.  With enough of this special fertile land one could probably almost live forever.

So, the new family name was a link to the Swedish past and a program for the future.  Johan probably had no choice about becoming a farmer.  It was his name.  When he came to Kansas he changed his Swedish name “Johan” to “John”.  He never did a legal filing, in those days names were more based on usage.  He used “John” when he filed for a homestead of 160 acres of the closest thing he could find in Kansas to the deep black forest loam.  Of course what he found was not forest loam, but Kansas sod; it was good land, but not farm land that would last forever. In time the fertility of the land would not even ‘feed’ a family (considering the price of clothes, electricity, transportation, feed, education, furniture and fuel).

In the end, as the frequent misspelling of his name shows, he was at heart a “Blackland farmer“.

So Kansas is now sometimes more about ‘collective farms’, called “corporate farms” that have vast acreages that are dependent upon federal subsidies paid to modern ‘farmers’ to grow things and not to grow things.   The names of these new farmers are not Backlund, not Lund; as the maps show, things have changed some around Lasita.


SOIL MAP – KANSAS – RILEY COUNTY SHEET – 1906 (Fancy Creek / Lasita – map portion)

U.S. Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Soils – Milton Whitney, Chief
Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station – J.T. Williard, Director.
Soils surveyed by William T. Carter Jr. and H.C. Smith – 1906
Field Operations, Bureau of Soils – 1906.    Published by Julius Bien & Co. Lithographers, New York

The Map shows the route of the narrow gauge Leavenworth, Kansas, and Western Railroad.   The NE Quarter of Section 26 (as indicated), immediately northwest of Lasita, is the Backlund Farm.  The soil on the farm and in most of the area around Lasita is “Os” – Oswego silt loam.


Eight square miles of the Lasita District – Atlas of 1910

In this 1910 Map of the Lasita, Kansas area the property owned by Johan “John” Backlund is clearly stated to be “John Blacklund”.   At least the acreage is right.  The 300 acres owned by Michael Senn is also shown, less the acreage of the town of Lasita.  The L,K & W Railroad runs through the Lasita townsite almost north to south, then up to the Chaffee’s land and cuts a diagonal across the Backlund Farm property on its way to Green (Kansas) and eventually Clay Center (Kansas) where the Chautauquas have been held.

The small square indicating the buildings of the Backlund Farm are not quite accurate.  What is accurate is the fact that the entrance to the farm was (and is, as can be seen on Google Maps) from the north.  All the roads surrounding the farm leading into Lasita were still dirt in 1953 (as I recall)

A sketch map of Lasita, Kansas (the town) by Hemme

May 11, 2011:
This is an update to the original post on “Mapping Lasita”.  The older maps, like the one above, mislead me.  It does not show the “Lasita” on the west side of Lasita Road.  Fortunately I have just found a sketch map done by Hemme Backlund Martin (my grandmother) that clarifies things.  It is here:

The Lasita Cemetery is at the Northwest Corner of the intersection of Senn Road (east-west) and Lasita Road (north-south).   The original Frank Lund House (on the east side of Lasita Road faced Lasita Road at the north end of the town.  The Senn Store (Frank Lund Store) was further south on the right side (east side) of Lasita Road; the door of the store faced south.  This places the Shell Mill across Senn Road to the north, on the southwest side of the tracks.  Finally, the Lasita School was on the SW corner of Lasita and Senn Roads, south of the cemetery.

I must say, a simple map, and everything now makes sense.  I’ll have to make appropriate notes under the building pictures.


Google Maps shows the original Backlund Farm

The Backlund Farm is here (on Google).  The original “road in” can be plainly seen.  It leads to the “old pond”, south and west of which was the original Victorian style farmhouse.  The original soddy from the 1870’s was near the pond and against the side of a small hill.  There was a barn, a windmill and an outbuilding or two, and an outhouse.  The pictures of the farm must wait for another day.


Hemme Backlund Map of Riley County in 1907 

This map of Riley County was drawn by Hemme Backlund in 1907, when she was either 19 or 20.  As she clearly states it was copied from an earlier map, dated 1898.  Think of this map as her I-Pad, or Google Map function; she could carry it wherever she might go.  The other maps of the time were mostly Atlases, bound (expensive) and too big to carry.  Emphasis is on the railroads, because that’s the way people traveled.


RILEY COUNTY – KANSAS – 1910

Click on these maps and other images to enlarge.  Sometimes another click will enlarge the maps or images further.  This map shows Riley County as it was symbolized by the “G.A. OGLE” Co. circa 1910.  The name (in the lower left corner of the map) is so similar to “GOOGLE” that maybe “GAOGLE” was where the name really came from.   If not, it is an amazing coincidence.

Anyway, Someone, probably Hemme has written many of the School District numbers (in pencil) near many of the schools.  The numbers are old, they were changed.  However, most all of the schools of the time in Riley County appear on this map.

Another interesting item of note is the General Ogden Monument shown on the Fort Riley (Diminished) Reservation (see the center of the screen).   It’s hard to find on the modern GOOGLE (not GAOGLE) Map, but it is here.  Further south, as the Maltese Cross symbol shows is the perceived Center of the United States.  The center of the United States is at the convergence of the Republican and Smokey Hill Rivers.   From this point, the river flows east under the name of Kaw, or Kansas River (the Kaw River).

Of course this “center” wasn’t including Alaska and Hawaii, which were not States in 1910.  I guess the military surveyors assumed (however) that Arizona and New Mexico would get in.

And one more point about the above map.  It seems that the BLUE VALLEY RAILROAD, that ran along the Big Blue River has disappeared and now is a part of the Union Pacific (Railroad).


MAP OF Northeastern KANSAS – 1910

This Map shows the communities of Kansas and the railroads one took in 1910 to get to them.  Hemme Backlund visited Topeka, went to school in Emporia, went to Kansas City and back; she did all these trips entirely by train.  Go ahead, you figure out the different railroads and change of stations to get from Lasita, Kansas to Emporia, Kansas and back.  It was all great fun, except when the rivers flooded and the tracks that followed them were washed out.

[“Mapping Lasita, Kansas” Post written on April 30, 2011 @ 19:53  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

May Day

April 29th, 2011

May Day

~ Is it a sign of distress, or just a rite of spring; is it law day, or a day to remember the workers of the world?

Maybe May Day is just about Kansas.  In 1906 that is what Hemme (Backlund), my grandmother, would have said.  But then there was that earthquake in San Francisco during the cruelest month (April); and maybe that sent things back a bit, or sent them reeling forward.

While April may be cruel, there is a “right” to May.  It is a pun, this “Rite of Spring” thing.  Do months really have rights; are they entitled; do people have a right to feel safe in one month and harried and embattled by another?   When did a simple May Pole, dancing virgins, girls dressed up in nice white spring clothes and holding ribbons transition to DISTRESS, to a message about a plane or a nation going down?  Sure (you say), it was in 1923, it was about aircraft, it is French (as if ‘der’ were French for ‘dios’ or for ‘day’).  You’ve read the articles, you’ve Googled it before.

So it seems, cruelty spilled over.  It was a revolution within the months.  April was not satisfied to live within its borders; a beachhead was established as the “rite” of May 1st fell.  Then April moved on to Empire; it took over more days, then weeks and finally all of May fell, and it was all April for the full 61 days – all cruel – all unpredictable – truly an end to “Spring”.

Are all the leaves just painted?  Do the birds still really sound the same?  Do the tulips seem as real?  Is the air still as fresh and sweet and are there as many bees?  Do we notice when things change so slowly?  Do we “Hark”, or do we even Listen (much less stop and see)?  Would we feel an ill wind blowing even if we could see the wind?  Are they just dead leaves still blowing along the gutter or is it a warning; is it time to forget the summer, because there never was a spring?  When there is time for everything in its season, what happens when even the seasons fail us and revolution (tribulation) is in the very air?

I grew up near gambling – Carson City, Reno.  I ate in the clubs and casinos, ate awful-awfuls, watched the clever ways that the owners parted customers from their money.  The sashay was to convince them that they were “winners”, and then to entice them to “double down” when they were losing, to bet everything, to not let one dollar leave the place in a wallet or a purse.  I learned the drill at an early age, learned to avoid it; I learned that the most important thing to learn is to know when to just walk away.

So there is the “double down” of debt coming up in May.  May 16th is what they say.  The bank will be busted, but someone is looking for a Pay-day (or is it Mayday) loan.  The interest rates will kill you (if the loan is granted).  The debt will kill the nation, if it’s not.  Do YOU really want to die for your country, be a patriot, give up your life for easy money?  We’ll see what happens.  Either way your old future is fried.  You need to think about a new future now.

And then there is all this stuff about the New, New Madrid earthquake thing.  Maybe it’s real, or maybe it is just another FEMA drill.  You know the drill, the drills from FEMA that are so real that they get down to your teeth.  I’ve posted about Coalinga, (California) and the drill there that killed the old community and killed my aunt and uncle too.  This FEMA post hardly tells the story of how they isolated the entire area for almost two weeks, bulldozed all the buildings, kept the residents frightened and locked away, separated the people from their money.  I could go on.  And yes, I’m bitter.  But my bitterness is a warning; what you don’t know, can kill you.

Will Fukushima go ballistic?  Will the President get a life?  Will “the Donald” get hair?  Will Sarah Palin get a nose job and will the tea party learn to drink real American type coffee and get off ‘getting off’ on the British empire thing.  And yes, I do see a quick divorce – royal weddings are not what they once were; now they’re just more a royal pain.

You get my drift.  You get my anger.  You get the idea that Margaritaville is probably really dead, no certificate of death (of course), but the “Short Form” version is probably coming.  It WILL SAY who really is at fault, but they may have to exhume the body to make sure.  Bullet holes are hard to hide.  Need I say more?  I wish it were 1906, and soon there would be an old May, maybe in May Day, Kansas.  Maybe we could all go back again, and do everything over again, and not make the same mistakes.

There was REAL hope then.  From San Francisco to Arizona there was a real Phoenix (or two) rising.  It wasn’t metaphor.  It wasn’t the federal reserve and mindless propaganda.  It wasn’t about the money.  It was (and is) more about the mind.

We’re half way through.  Good luck with the second half of April – it starts Sunday.

[“May Day” Post written on April 29, 2011 @ 23:20  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

Lunatic Fringe

April 28th, 2011

Lunatic Fringe

~ Is it more about the Moon, or is it more about leadership?

I can’t say that I live in Spanish Harlem, but I do live in a mostly Spanish town.  South of the town of Albuquerque is a smaller town, Los Lunas.  It means the moon (in Spanish).  So “luna”tic is a foreign language version of what in English would be “Moontic” or maybe “Moonatic” to make it more poetic.

The moon, like the wind, is often much maligned.  Both are said to make one crazy.  With the wind (as in Maria) it is the ions, the “east wind” thing, the Mistral or the Santa Anna’s – take your pick.  With the moon things are more difficult.  In theory a planet (a satellite) does not carry a lot of weight.  In theory, the idea that the passage or alignment of a celestial orb influences anything is “Astrology”, not “Science“.   So it is primitive and superstitious to talk about a “lunatic fringe”, we are in reality friendly with the moon – isn’t that why we went there?

Let me begin by saying that I am NOT a “birther”.  Sure, I was born.  Sure, I have a Certificate of live birth, one form, I’ve never seen a “Short Form” version for my birth.  I don’t think anyone has one, or has ever made one.  Why would they?  The original notarized “long form” is all I need.  I’ve had it since I was 10 years old.  My parents ordered it so I could get a passport, and kept it safe in case I needed it again, and I kept it safe since after my parents died.  One birth certificate that has lasted 53 years.  Big deal.  It is easy to take care of things.  I try to.  In this case I did.

I am not a Republican Party member, I don’t “vote Republican”.  I don’t vote at all.  I don’t need republican leaders to tell me what to do, what to think.  I don’t need the tea party for the same.  I don’t need Barack Obama to tell me that it’s morning in America, or could be, or that the oil taxes need repealing – they don’t, it isn’t; I can clearly see the moon.  I don’t need an astrologer to tell me when the moon is shining.

And YES!, the “birther” issue is a distraction.  Having a birth certificate and being willing to show it, publish it, put it up in plain sight for all to see should be a given.  Especially so, if you want to be President, probably even if you want to be president of a company, a corporation, a club of Jimmy Buffett fans (even).

So we are all in Margaritaville now.   We make the drinks and the decisions at home.  We stay home because gas is too high and Congress and politicians are too clueless to get us out of war, deficits, a failed economy, and the financial mess they made.  Of course the Trump card won’t help.  Politics and politicians have failed us; it’s too late for shrink-wrap and transparency.  The only clear glass is through the blender, the mix-up, the grinding of the fruit and alcohol and mix and ice and you get my point – life as it was is over now, and like Jimmy Buffet said, “it’s nobody’s fault.”

“Sideshows?”  “Carnival Barkers?”  I don’t think so.  I turned off television a long time ago.  And I did cancel my newspaper subscription today.  No more Mr. Jonathan Capehart and his commentaries to ruin my day.  He lives in the Beltway, I don’t.

Would it be better to move away from Margaritaville and Spanish Harlem?  Oh sure.  Would it be better to fly off to the moon?  With NASA, “no”, a waste of resources and money.  But the bottom line is that moving on from this world is not such a bad idea.  The “system” has failed us, and like Humpty Dumpty, it will never be put back together again.  And Jonathan, I’ll drink to THAT!

[“Lunatic Fringe” Post written on April 28, 2011 @ 18:00  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

Rain on the parade

April 27th, 2011

Rain on the parade

~ Is Barack Hussein Obama II an idiot, or just another documented time-warp alien?

Or is there, yet again, another “answer”?

I guess everyone in America has seen the new Barack Hussein Obama II Certificate of Live Birth , as certified by the Hawaii State Department of Health.  It was posted on the web by the White House (the Obama White House), and in case you missed it, it is re-posted here.

The new Obama birth certificate looks a lot like the “Short Form” that was issued on June 6, 2007, and posted by Fact Check here.   Of course it took Fact Check 14.5 months to get the certificate posted (on August 21, 2008), but, “why worry.”

The biggest question is why did it take candidate Obama and President Obama nearly four (4) years to produce this simple “Long Form” birth certificate, a Certificate of Live Birth?  It seems that it would have been so simple to obtain it and to release it so long ago, say February 10, 2007, when be spoke about “citizenship” in his announcement of his candidacy

Of course when Fact Check released the Short Form birth certificate with the “live birth” number of 61 10641 (on August 21, 2008) the organization didn’t know, nor did the “fact checkers” know, that someone else would issue their own copies of “live births” numbered 61 10637 and 61 10638.  But, it seems they did (on July 28, 2009).

The theory of numbers and numbering is that the number 1 comes before 2, and that one would count from 37, to 38, to 39, to 40, before coming to 41.   People do this, even if they love Barack Obama, and even if they live in, and work in, Hawaii.

Now it could be that Eleanor Nordyke is lying.  But based on this, I don’t think so.  Although she seems to have the “graphics” background to forge a simple birth certificate and to forge the two numbers.  But, Eleanor Nordyke appears to be an Obama supporter.  She said this to WND on July 28, 2009, when asked about the reason that each of her twins got a lower Newborn Medical Records Number than Barack Obama, even though they were born after Barack Obama.

Eleanor Nordyke told WND she thinks her twins got lower numbers because she went into the hospital August 4, 1961, and was in labor for 20 hours before she delivered. She speculates that (Stanley) Ann Dunham Obama came in after her and was given a later number, even though Mrs. Obama’s baby was born earlier.

OK, we’re all intelligent people here.  Let’s think about this.  Assuming that Eleanor Nordyke entered the hospital just after she started labor, she entered the Kapiolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital at about 6:00 P.M. on August 4, 1961 (20 hours before giving birth to her first daughter).   Stanley Obama gives birth at 7:24 P.M. on August 4, 1961 (1.5 hours after Eleanor Nordyke checked in).  This would have been a very short labor for Mrs. Obama.  Probably too short, if you believe half of what is written here about typical “first birth” pregnancies.  That’s right, it says Active Labor usually takes 4 to 8 hours, not just 1.5 hours.

But the biggest problem with Eleanor Nordyke’s speculations is that it doesn’t comport with either procedure or the facts.  The certificates in question are for LIVE births.  When someone checks into a hospital one does not KNOW that they will be in a “live birth” situation.  The fact is that both fetuses and infants can die before birth or during birth.  Look at these regulations (below) from Hawaii.

The rules make clear that any “birth” that is not a “live born infant” is a fetus.   A fetus does not get a “live birth” birth certificate.  There must be a live birth before a number is issued.  That’s the reason why the number on the form is a STAMP.  The Newborn Medical Records Number is not stamped on the birth certificate until there is a “Newborn“.   A newly born child does not get the medical records number of the mother when she checks in to the hospital.  It is obvious that SHE, not the BABY, is the PATIENT, until a live birth baby is born.

What if Eleanor Nordyke had triplets, instead of twins.  Does she think that the third child would have had a birth certificate number of say 61 10647 because 9 more expectant moms came in after she did, but before anyone actually gave birth to a live infant?  And if so, then maybe “births” 61 10639 and 61 10640 were not births at all, but dead babies (or dead fetuses, as they legally would have been in Hawaii).

So no.  The evidence is that the Barack Hussein Obama long form is a forgery.  The “dumb crooks” who forged the document did a good job of guessing, but did not guess well enough about the birth number.  It’s time to do real digging.  Someone should look in those birth announcements and find all those others born in early August of 1961 and find out THEIR birth numbers.  The numbers and names should be published.  Then everyone can find out about real births and real gaps (if there really are any).  I suspect that if there is a different 61 10641 person out there that they are already dead.

So Donald Trump, start your engines, spend some money.  Pay people to come forward if you have to.  America (and its resources) can get to the bottom of this.  “It’s not over, until it’s over!”  And yes, if Eleanor Nordyke really lied – sue her.  Sue her for every thing she has and make the whole world know what her daughters real numbers are; make her pay for her forgeries and lying; like the President must do, if he lied, or lied too.

And while we are at it, I would like to know more about David A. Smilar, MD.  Or is it David A. Smilan, MD?  Or is the “MD” part crossed out, and it was only “ET” that was there; “time-warping”?

[“Rain on the parade” Post written on April 27, 2011 @ 23:35  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

Lasita, Kansas

April 26th, 2011

Lasita, Kansas

~ It’s been a long time since I’ve heard from Manhattan (meaning Kansas), but – Oh Well!

Note:  There is another post that says more about Lasita, Kansas and has pictures of the buildings.

I don’t get a lot of E-Mails.  Keeping the “Comments forum” closed seems to send a message.  When I do get messages they are usually from old friends or distant relatives, often both distant in time and space (though otherwise close).

At other times someone, or some group, imaginary or otherwise, gets through the vetting process – I respond, they end up never writing back.  It’s a waste of time, but “Oh, well.”  So in a new E-Mail I get a message from a “JT Van Gilder”, on his father’s side he is obviously Dutch, not “German ‘Dutch'”, about which I have posted.   Looking at the web there seems to be some history there.  Looking more closely there seemed to be “too much history”.  But this nice Facebook page saved the day, or at least the credibility of the E-Mail that I received.

History is like that.  Everyone goes through life.  Mistakes are made.  Records come and go.  Some things are remembered while others are forgotten, everyone moves on.  And that is the point of Mr. JT Van Gilder’s email.  It is about Lasita (a city in Kansas once); OK maybe “city” is saying too much, maybe “community” says more, and says it better.

There isn’t much of Lasita (Kansas) left now.   Corporate America agriculture has taken Lasita away and apparently all the buildings with it, and most memories of the peoples lives.   My grandmother, Hemme Backlund, grew up in and near Lasita.  It was her families home.  Her father homesteaded a farm of 160 acres.  Around them were their neighbors and their friends.  I suspect that somewhere, someplace there is a Van Gilder connection.  History is like that.  Generation after generation it keeps coming back.

So I guess I am the oldest living keeper of the history of Lasita (Kansas).  It’s hard to believe right now.  When I was young “Lasita” was a legend, somewhere where my mother and my grandmother talked about in hushed tones.  It was an ancient sacred place.  It was where of all places available in all of America my great-grandfather had chosen to live, and his wife did not object.  She never ran away.  She is buried in Lasita.  Or maybe now the word is “was”.  Is the cemetery still there?  The Lasita Cemetery has not been relocated to Leonardville, Kansas as the linked site suggests.  It is still at the NW corner of Senn Road and Lasita Road – Riley County, Kansas.

Until I looked on the Google map today, Lasita for me was still a living place.  I could see the Senn Store, picture Mr. Senn still there.  I have the picture somewhere.  My favorite picture in the whole world is the picture of the Lasita School.  Hemme and her brothers and sisters went there.  Hemme’s father built it.  I think that I have posted about how someone died, an accident; construction sites can be dangerous.  Now everything is gone, except I was in Lasita once, when it was still a town, or almost a town, and not just two roads in the middle of nowhere.   Yes, Mr. JT Van Gilder, I do have the records, as far as I know that the records still exist.

I too, will share them with you, and with the world to the degree that the world still cares about a bit of history, a place, a sense of place that in the world today is hard to find.  Thank you for reminding me about Lasita.  Thank you for the history paper that you seem intent to write.  Lasita perhaps will live for one more day, someone else will remember, the ghosts will walk again.  Maybe one last time the train whistle will blow over the farms of Lasita.  That is the way it was in Lasita, and in America – back then.

Pictures, photographs, information and documents regarding Lasita, Kansas will follow:

The Photographs in this post are designated to fall into the Qala Bist Blue collection.   Factual information from other publications is presented pursuant to “educational purposes and fair use”.  The narratives that I write regarding Lasita and its history are Copyrighted as a part of Qala Bist (.com), however permission is granted to use the enclosed information regarding Lasita, Kansas provided that the following credit line is included and contained in the paper or electronic based reproduction (of materials):  “Material courtesy of Donald Clayton, the Hemme Martin collection, and Qala Bist.com.

This of course brings up the issue of “the material”.  Some things are in books, some on shelves, some packed away.  Other things, like maps and diagrams and photographs and letters, are packed away in tubs (dust proof, water proof, mice proof, plastic tubs).  Sometimes the information is organized and filed (in folders).  Despite my best intentions, this is not always the case.  It takes a lot of work to separate “Afghanistan from Korea”, “Lasita from San Diego”, and still have the Yellowstone stuff, or Trinity stuff fairly close at hand.  It is the problem of the historian – organization, correlations, what to keep and what to file and when and what to let go of.

That is why the web is wonderful.  On the web (basically – for now), everything is safe.  The challenge is to get as much up on the web as is possible.  I’ll keep trying, one photograph, one Qala Bist post at a time.  “JT”, I hope I finish before the deadline for your paper.  Sincerely yours.  Email (and updates) to follow.

Michael Senn founded Lasita, Kansas.  His life story is here.

The “community” of Lasita, Kansas was as much about life in the Bluestem Prairie as it was located in any of the buildings of the “town” of Lasita itself.  In no real sense was Lasita ever really a town, it was the center of the surrounding community, composed of farms.  The community provided for a focus, but even that focus was distributed and disparate.

Depending where one lived Green, Kansas might have had a greater appeal.  Not everyone near Lasita even took the local railroad.  The mainline to the west was often easier.  The general store was important, but people also bought things in Green, Randolph, even Manhattan.  On the farms most “settlers” had their own wide selection of food.  There was never even a restaurant or hotel in Lasita.  People had get-togethers and picnics.  People stayed in peoples houses, as guests; schoolteachers were put up to board if they lived more than walking distance away from their school.   Actually “Lasita” was well-named, it was THE site.  It was more of a landmark, an idea.

Johan “John” Backlund, Hemme’s father moved to the high ground just above Lasita in 1870, 10 years before Mr. Senn arrived.   He could have claimed the land of Lasita, he didn’t.  Lasita itself was too low and too flat.  The early days on the Kansas prairie were probably best captured in the book Sod and Stubble by John Ise (published in 1936).  To understand Kansas and the settlers the book is a “must read”.

Hemme knew Alma Ise from when they both attended Kansas State Normal School in Emporia.  Alma Ise is an older sister of John Ise (the author) she is “Laura” in the book.  She married Mr. Lindley in 1909.  It was the Kansas connection thing I wrote about, about Forrest Warren in San Diego (San Diego Union) here.  Anyway, the signature and the page appear below.

I have been trying for awhile to find the list of the Ise children to confirm this page my father, Fred W. Clayton, wrote about the Felix X. Gygax connection.  Here is the list.  And below is the page from the same 1936 copy of Sod and Stubble.  Fred and the web say “Estelle”, the book says “Stella”.  Anyway, she was born on August 22, 1887 – the same month and year that Hemme Martin (my grandmother) was born.

Senn Store – Lasita, Kansas – Interior showing merchandise and Frank Lund – Circa 1906.

Photographer – Alfin Backlund.  From the Hemme Backlund Martin Collection.  Copyright waived by Donald Clayton (photograph owner) pursuant to Qala Bist Blue.   Frank Lund took over day-to-day store operations at the Senn Store after the owner of the store, Michael Senn retired in 1905.

Senn Store – Lasita, Kansas – Interior showing merchandise and Frank Lund – Circa 1906.

Photographer – Alfin Backlund.  From the Hemme Backlund Martin Collection.  Copyright waived by Donald Clayton (photograph owner) pursuant to Qala Bist Blue.   Frank Lund took over day-to-day store operations at the Senn Store after the owner of the store, Michael Senn retired in 1905.  This view is looking toward the back of the store from very near the front door of the store.  Additional inventory appears to have been added since the first photograph was taken.

Michael Senn journalism article – Lasita, Kansas – by Hemme Backlund – Correspondence Institute of America (CIA) – Circa 1907.

Hemme Backlund (Martin), age 19, interviewed Michael Senn and wrote the following for Lesson J 9003 for the Correspondence Institute of America course on journalism.

Michael Senn was born in Switzerland about sixty years ago.  Because of the wonderful opportunities rumored from the New World many emigrated thither.  It was said that in America one could succeed if he knew a trade.  So Michael’s father had him taught basketry before he allowed him to venture to this new country.  At the age of thirteen with his two younger brothers he reached America.  The brothers were sent to school and Michael studied in the evenings.  When the Civil War began Mr. Senn, then a young man, joined a Kansas regiment.  He carried a gun through the entire war.  Later he settled with his wife in the booming town of Enterprise, Kansas where he invested in real estate and started a general merchandise store in partnership with his brother-in-law.  He also for awhile had interests in a Furniture factory.  He was nominated as Representative to the State Legislature and then elected Senator from his district.  He fought earnestly and successfully for the Oleomargarine law.  Moving to Lasita, Kansas he bought a store there and acted as Postmaster for many years.  In 1905 he retired from active business and now lives in Lasita and takes pleasure in his books and his farm which adjoins the town.  He is socialistic but believes in gradual reform brought about by a change in public opinion and not by law.  He has written many articles and before his speech at the Clay Center Chautauqua last year was introduced as the “Tolstoy of our Community”.  His neighbors elected him Justice of the Peace of this township in 1904 and he still holds this office.

Document from the Hemme Backlund Martin Collection.  Copyright waived by Donald Clayton (document owner) pursuant to Qala Bist Blue.   Copy of original Michael Senn article in HNB’s own handwriting.  The reference to the Clay Center Chautauqua (July 27, 1906 through August 5, 1906).  Hemme attended the Chautauqua with her (older) sister Hattie Backlund.  Hemme’s birthday is August 5th, she turned 19 on that date in 1906.

Photograph of the 1906 Clay Center Chautauqua – Clay Center, Kansas – by Alfin Backlund

Photographer – Alfin Backlund.  From the Hemme Backlund Martin Collection.  Copyright waived by Donald Clayton (photograph owner) pursuant to Qala Bist Blue

Photograph of Frank Lund – (near) Lasita, Kansas – probably by Alfin Backlund 

Photographer – (probably) Alfin Backlund.  From the Hemme Backlund Martin Collection.  Copyright waived by Donald Clayton (photograph owner) pursuant to Qala Bist Blue  In this picture of Frank J. Lund he is younger than he is in the above Senn Store photographs.  On the back is written “Mary Lee Caley”.  Since Mary Caley was born June 27, 1899, this photograph was probably taken about that time and was given to “Baby Mary” as a gift by Frank Lund.  (Caley, Mary Lee).

[“Lasita, Kansas” Post written on April 26, 2011 @ 21:58  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

[“Lasita, Kansas” Post updated with Senn Store information on April 28, 2011 @ 04:56  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

Lasita, Kansas – Buildings

April 26th, 2011

Lasita, Kansas – Photographs of Buildings

~ A few postcards from Lasita, Kansas, because I thought you should know.

The date of this postcard is August 10, 1908.  The photographer is Alfin Backlund.  The card was actually mailed in Bala, Kansas and sent to Green, Kansas.  Text is by “H”, which means by Hemme Backlund who had just turned 21 when this postal was sent.

Looking at the view of Lasita one can see the Lasita School (built by Hemme’s father – Johan “John” Backlund) on the left.  The home of John J. Lund is a house of two stories.  The grain elevator is slightly hidden behind John J. Lund’s General Merchandise store.  He purchased the store from Michael Senn after he retired.  Hemme still calls it “Senn’s Store” despite the clearly lettered new name on the front.  Ed Johnson’s house is to the right of the “Senn’s Store”.

The telephone poles for the Farmer’s Cooperative Telephone Exchange can be seen in the distance.  The roads are dirt, which is better than asphalt for the horses and buggies that most everyone used.

Photographer – Alfin Backlund.  From the Hemme Backlund Martin Collection.  Copyright waived by Donald Clayton (photograph owner) pursuant to Qala Bist Blue.   Note:  Alfin Backlund had a large box camera that he used for his photography.  He carried it on the train between Kansas City, Kansas (where he lived and worked) and Lasita when he visited the Backlund Farm.

Yes, it is August; so it must be time for the annual Chautauqua (in Clay Center).  In the “early” days of photography people developed their own photographs at home.  A popular product was the “penny postcard” photographic paper that you see here.  One side (the front) was the photograph one took, on the back side was the required writing expected by the Postal Service.

On August 19, 1908 Hemme sent a poorer copy of Alfin’s Postcard of Lasita to her older brother John Backlund.  She identifies the fact that Ed Johnson is the “village mechanic”.  She will be going (with her sister Hattie) to Kansas City, Kansas to visit her brother Alfin and his wife Maude on August 24th, returning August 27th.  This trip will be the first time in her life that Hemme has been out of the State of Kansas (even though it is only to the Missouri side of Kansas City).

Lasita, Kansas – Lasita School, Lund House, Shell Elevator and Frank J. Lund Store

In this photograph of Lasita, Kansas, probably taken in August of 1908, by Alfin Backlund, the clouds are overhead and the foreground mud suggests that it has been raining.  There is a piece of two-wheeled horse-drawn farm equipment between the photographer and the grain elevator in the background.  The horse is stationary, but hitched and ready to go.

This photograph is special in that the writing on the two sides of the grain elevator can be seen.  I did a blow-up with a resolution too high to be uploaded to the web by the pathetic Quest Communications “High-Speed” service available (but I guess 5.4 million pixels really is a lot).

Anyway, On the “side” of the building that you can see, it says, “Shell Mill & Grain Co.“.  To the left below that it says, “Cash for Grain.”  To the right it says, “Coal for Sale.”  Just below the lower roof are the words, “Use Shells Hi Patent Flour.”  To the left of those words, on the “back” of the building (meaning on the side away from the railroad tracks) the words are, “Flour  Feed  Coal“.  There is no mention of corn, but I believe that the “feed” mentioned was a silage based on corn and not just the smaller sacks of cracked corn chicken feed that of course almost every granary would sell.

Another remarkable feature of this photograph is how clearly one can see the very tall lightning rod on the top of the Lasita School.  It’s cloudy and it’s rainy, so that fact only makes sense.  Since Lasita really didn’t have a fire department, fire prevention was a priority.  It should be noted that the Shell Mill has not engaged in this important precaution.

Shell Mill & Grain Co. – Lasita, Kansas – showing the location of the railroad “through town”.

Another fine photograph by Alfin Backlund.  It seems to have been snowing.  It is probably December of 1908.  Alfin could have been staying warm by a fire, but he was out with his “big box camera” capturing this view of Lasita, Kansas just for you.

This picture shows “the other side of things” in Lasita.  Everything is reversed.  You can see the narrow gauge tracks through town and the Shell Mill & Grain Company siding.   Also there is a windmill near the tracks that we have not seen before, it is probably the source for the community water, no electric pumps back then.   At “the mill” you can see the distinctive metal stack reflective of coal heaters.  The brick chimneys at the Lund house suggests that they were more fond of wood.  At the school house you can see nothing, and the reason for that is that it was always cold.  The windows were good for light, but the insulation was very thin.  You needed a coat inside (in winter).  In another picture a little later I will show you.

Lasita School and Community Center Building – Lasita, Kansas

This photograph by Alfin was probably taken near the end of his life and in the declining years of the community and school.  Since Alfin died at Christmas in the influenza of 1918, this photograph was probably taken in 1914, perhaps a few years later.  Things obviously are reaching a state of disrepair.  The “old” photograph is faded, as the school too is fading.

Only the bottom floor was ever the “school”.  The top floor was built for use by the community, a “community center” as one might say today.  It was the “Lasita Meeting Hall”, a place for meetings, to hold elections, to have debates about all the areas needs, or wants, or grievances or desires.  Up high one could get a perspective on things, see the town, see across the typically Kansas world.  It helped in making the decisions.

The structure out front was for more basic needs.  It was used during recesses a lot.  It was useful in the evenings if meetings went on too long.  “Pashaw” on plumbing.  It’s like cars, and the telephone and electricity – “who needs them”.  The building is evidence that you can have both education and community without the modern frills.  But by 1914 the world was changing.   There was a war.  Men were enlisting.  Life in Lasita, Kansas would never be the same; and then came the influenza.

The building itself was built in 1892, by Johan “John” Backlund with a hired hand or two and help from several others.  One man was killed during the construction of the school, Mr. Flack.  He was blown off a scaffold during a brisk March wind.

John Backlund had progressive ideas about education.  They were quite advanced for his time, and the times, hence the size and stature of this otherwise “rural” school.  The heating was not so good.  In this picture you can see the single (small) chimney.  Maybe it is a reflection of the fact that people either had coats or didn’t need them.  He was born and young in northern Sweden, Kansas (it could be said) was always warm.

The school got old, languished, in 1937 the school board voted to not continue the school, it was boarded up and closed, but for a long time it survived.  I went inside the structure in June of 1953; I even went upstairs.  I touched this part of Hemme’s history.  In 1954 the building was torn down.

The Lasita School in 1897, when it was new

This photograph was probably one of the first taken by Alfin Backlund, who courtesy of a timer is seen in his own photograph (tallest person in the back row).  The year is probably 1897, in December obviously, you can see the snow.   The teacher for everyone pictured here is Cora Stump, seen on the far left, back row.  Hemme Backlund is the young girl on the far right.  No coat, but bravely not looking cold.  In the row behind her, to the left is her sister Hattie Backlund.  Emily Erickson is between her and Alfin.

We’ll have more names of the students pictured tomorrow.

[“Lasita, Kansas – Buildings” Post written on April 29, 2011 @ 04:27  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

Water

April 25th, 2011

Water

~It’s like the 800 pound elephant in the room, I missed it.

I was writing about “Preparing” the other day. I started writing about things that are necessary, like food, like water.  But I didn’t mention water, or water bills, or the fact that one needs water and that in most places now there is a price on water for everything you use.

It wasn’t always this way.  Once water, like air, was free.  Fire too was free once.  Any educated person knew how to rub two sticks together and make a flame, or use flint to make a flame, or how to borrow a flame from a neighbor (meaning from their fire).  Then government and business had an idea – matches.  It was good for government because you could tax them, actually put a tax on fire, which by most was seen as a necessity back then; warmth, heating, lighting – you know the drill.

Matches were good for business because you could sell them.  The reasoning was that with matches nobody had to be smart, or clever, or patient or resourceful.  Nobody would ever have to depend on a neighbor again.  And everyone would depend on business and businesses and the local sellers of “the flame”.  Originally (in France) just about 50% of the price of matches was tax.  It was a major source of revenue when it came to taxing the poor.  The poor had to have their fire.  And with the advent of “match fire” the rich would soon get richer since they understood chemistry and could set up factories and the poor didn’t and couldn’t and soon forgot how to control a simple spark.

Like people, elephants are 60% to 75% water.  That’s not the obvious point of the Sufi tale, or Indian tale; or is really from Buddha first?  The tale talks about the tail (like a snake), the leg (like a tree trunk), the ears (like a large leaf or fan).  Nobody says an elephant is like water.  And that’s the point.  It doesn’t matter how long the elephant stays in the room, or how many candles are fired up, matches are lit, or how bright the light of day; people who are blind (and think in the box) will not ever see the big leather box of water.  It doesn’t matter, so the elephant in the room just stays there.

I love to mix my metaphors.  If you’ve read me a lot, you know that.  It’s “supposed to be” an 800# gorilla, not elephant.  The “elephant in the room” metaphor comes from elsewhere.   The theory of it being an “English idiom” is maybe dubious as most elephants weigh between 4 and 7 tons and the typical “English” floor (or American floor) of an average room would not support such weight.  Most rooms are (however) designed to support the weight of an 800 lb. gorilla.  Do I digress?

The point of this post is supposed to be about water.  Traditionally, people got their water from wells, from rivers, from the nearest stream or spring, as in “spring water”, as in NOT just a product name.  It is only recently that water comes from a pipe in the ground (that is to say, “in most areas”).  Well water was always free.  Using the river banks was free.  Even the water from the ditches (ditch water) was free.  Rainwater was free if you bothered to collect it.  Add pond water, lake water, falling water, rising water – all free.

Now there are those that want to monetize water, make it a commodity to buy and sell.  Imagine.  Since a nation owns the water within a 12 mile limit, the nation could charge a ship just to use it.  An oil company could be charged a fee just to be allowed to drill through the water owned by say, “the State of Texas”.  In Louisiana and Maryland they could charge a charge for the water it takes to raise a crab.  In Maine, it would be for the water for a Lobster.

Tour boats off Tijuana would have to pay to float the tourists.  In Manhattan, or on Staten Island there would be a charge for using the water at the beach.  Coastal communities know that it is not “mother nature” that keeps the local water clean.  It takes chemicals, beach cleanups, and like they say in Japan, “registering isotopes.”

So why not commodify water?  Why not put a price on every drop, and not just the drops that are put through a pipe, or sold in plastic bottles?  It is the commercial applications that can afford to really pay.  No free lunch for the rich and corporations.  How much water to float a yacht?  Charge the person for it!  No water should be free when we have a budget out of balance.  OK.  I think you get it now.

Cleaner water should of course cost more.  Salt water (perhaps) should cost the most.  Coastal beaches with water not fit to bathe in (much less swim in) might be cheaper (but certainly shouldn’t be allowed to be used for free).  Water is a RESOURCE!  Every water user should have to pay equally, based on use, based on how many gallons used to drink, or float a ship – what really is the difference?  It’s not a “tariff” on imports from overseas; it’s just a fee for water, that those on this side of the pond would not have to pay.   It takes money to build roads, it takes money to maintain the water; or am I wrong to think I can legally own an iceberg and take it (tug it) to the desert and charge people living there to drink?

We need a U.N. resolution on the price of water.  We must know who owns all the water, and where.  If water evaporates and rains down someplace else does one lose the title to their water?  Is the water underground just one big pool (or aquifer) of common ownership, or does it depend on “use”.  How much is a government entitled to for “storage rights” for water?  Does it make a difference if it’s stored in a tank, a reservoir, a river, or a bay?  What is the fair use charge for the water for water skiing, for snow sports, for scuba diving?  Inquiring minds do want to know.

But meanwhile, I DON’T THINK MY WATER BILL IS FAIR!   I think I am paying too much (for water) when all the others are paying too little.  I pay for every drop going in; I pay again (“sewage” fees), for every drop going out even if I drink the water, let it evaporate, let the birds drink it, or use it to water my very modest lawn.  If water ends up in my apples, I pay twice for that water too.  Add maybe $100 a month to my “necessity” of water; water only enough for two people.  Everyone, especially the corporations, should pay the same amount per gallon for the water too, because it is not THEIR water, because in reality it belongs to me and you.

Can the budget be balanced just off water fees alone?  Maybe.  Crunch the figures.  Drilling in water should not be free.  Let’s move on from there.  Do I eat oysters?  No, not the ‘raised in water’ kind.  Make the people who eat oysters and “harvest” oysters pay for the “land” just as if they were on land.  Is nothing free?  It wasn’t me that started charging for water. But, hey!  Maybe it is a GREAT idea.

[“Water” Post written on April 25, 2011 @ 23:58  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

Preparing

April 23rd, 2011

Preparing

~ It is like “pre” paring, like a paring knife; first you begin to whittle (down).

A list of steps in transitioning away from a failed system:

Ascending list – from the most basic, to the better:

Today I ate a bowl of brown rice and a carrot, what could be better?

Descending list – from the insanely complex, to living simply:

Whatever your situation, simplify.

Start by refusing to increase debt for ANY reason.  Housing, Education, the Wardrobe you think you need for a new job – you don’t need it, if it means borrowing money.  Borrow the ‘thing’ instead.  Stop using credit cards.

Pay down debt.  Cut-up all your credit cards (except maybe one).  Eliminate credit card debt one card at a time by paying it off and then closing the account.

Pay off your car.  Sell it if you have to.  There are worse things than walking and mass transit.  Avoid the temptation to ever buy a new car.  Trade your car if you must, but always pay cash if there is a difference.

Eliminate all long term debt.  Anything that you can’t pay off in full in 30 days is “long term”.  This means pay off your mortgage, your student loans, second mortgages, appliances, cabins, boats – everything.

Walk away.  If you can’t pay something off, walk away from the debt.  Return the item to the owner.  You never really “owned” the mortgaged item anyhow.  Everything returned is worth no more than what the real owner can get for it.  If they claim a difference, that’s the amount of how much they tried to swindle you.  Just say “no”, and mean it.

Budget.  Make sure the amount you spend each month is covered by current earnings.  An “earning” is what you are owed.  Make a list of essentials first:  home food, rent, electricity, natural gas, property taxes.   If you can afford a car and absolutely need a car, add automobile insurance, gasoline, and an amount for reasonable automotive care and expenses.  Cable, subscriptions, eating out, life insurance, clothing, medical care are all ‘extras’.  The basics of life come first.

Make a hit list.  Write down all your monthly ‘extras’.  Write down first what you want the most.  Maybe Cable TV is more important than bottled water.  Maybe savings is more important than everything else.  Eliminate at least one thing on your hit list every month.  In the end you will be left with only savings.

Buy everything you buy with cash.  Use credit cards and debit cards only if you dislike the vendor or merchant.  Using Your card, costs them, money.  The price they get is discounted, with no benefit to you, just the banks.

Electronic transactions, the “bitstream currency” isn’t real, it probably isn’t even legal.  If you buy something with a ‘legal tender’ composed of just bouncing atoms then bouncing atoms is all you ever owe.  There’s no conversion factor.  The dollar signs, the yen signs mean nothing.  Bouncing atoms mean nothing, accept them at your own risk or peril, use them as you will, but because they are a fraud, try not to use them.

A phone and the internet are the hard ones.  Maybe you can get along with just a “lifeline phone” and an Internet Cafe.  If not, reduce your use.  Make “time on the line” special.  Walk away from the constant searching and constant chatter.  If it’s ‘out there’, it’s not on broadband or streaming – the real world is face-to-face.

Declare bankruptcy if you have to and if you have the money to file.  There is no “stigma”, just as there is no stigma to a bailout, inherited wealth, unfair advantage, social inequality, good luck, or a mortgage that goes bad.  From Disney to Trump, all the rich have written off losses.  It’s as American as Apple Pie.

Carry cash, use cash, keep cash.  Cash is not a debit card.  Cash is paper currency.  Avoid coins, they are heavy metal slugs.  Give all coins to the homeless the minute you can, it will lighten your load.

If you like a business use big bills (meaning 20’s).  If things cost too much use small bills.  Use $1 bills to pay for gas to make your point.  Go to the bank and get $2 bills if you really want to get people going.

50’s and $100 bills will get you noticed.  It’s up to you if you want the notoriety.  In a lot of places you could be arrested for having more than $10,000 on your person.   They will confiscate the money too.  31 U.S. Code § 5316(a) requires persons carrying more than $10,000 at one time across the border (going into the U.S. as well as out of the U.S.), or receiving more than $5,000 at one time that has been transported across the border, to file a written report. When money has been transported across the border in violation of § 5316(a), or when a material omission or misstatement is contained in the report, is subject to forfeiture under 31 U.S.C. § 5317(b).  In New Mexico and other border areas having even $5,000 with you on a train or on a highway suggests that the money may have crossed the border.  Be aware and be warned.  If you want to buy a house, or a car, or nice furniture with cash, make payments.

To remove $10,000 from a bank must be reported.  Take a little less out each time.  If banks fail they will have currency controls, meaning limits on withdrawals.  Any emergency could make ATM machines go “dead”.  There is only $630 Billionmost of the currency is off-shore.  If the dollar collapses, actual currency holdings may not.  There is only $1 in bills for every $23 in federal debt. dollars of currency in circulation.  That’s $2,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S.  $2,000 per person is always a good number of dollars to have on hand.  The problem is that much of the currency is in circulation around the world and overseas.  It is possible that

Total credit card debt in America is $3,000 for every man, woman and child.  The minimum revolving payment is $62 per month.   If you owe more than this amount you are in trouble.  If you don’t have enough in cash to pay 100% of your credit card debt at any given moment in time you are in trouble.  If you have your money to pay your debts in banks, you (not just the banks) are in trouble.

It could take the FDIC years to pay up; there is no law that they ever have to pay the money.  The FDIC can go bankrupt too.  The FDIC has only 1.5% of the money it needs to “insure”potential losses.  That means that if 2% of the banks, or even one big bank, were to fail FDIC is toast.  Sure the Congress would bail out the FDIC (again), but that is what is killing the U.S. dollar.

In the past year the U.S. dollar has lost 10% of its value versus the Euro, 15% of its value versus the Yen.  The dollar has lost 30% of its value to buy gasoline, 30% to buy food, 30% to buy an ounce of gold.  Houses are much cheaper in America than a year ago, but unless you have 100% cash there is no money to buy one.  And with housing prices continuing to fall, it would be a very poor “investment”, unless you just need a home of your own in which to live.  Meanwhile, most property taxes are going up.

Coffee prices, if you drink coffee, have doubled in the past one year.   The price of “Colombian Milds” has gone up another 13% in just the past three weeks.  This is not an investment opportunity, it is a warning.  Your dollar is dieing.  And with the dying dollar is a dying lifestyle.  Prepare.

[“Preparing” Post written on April 23, 2011 @ 21:10  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

The End Times

April 22nd, 2011

The end times

~ I could point out the paradox by asking, “The End, times What?”

The End of Days begs the question of, “The Nights.”  It all seems circular.  Six thousand years, six pointed stars, a bit of peace; then there were eight, and eight pointed stars and then there was nine.  Number nine, number nine; twice around is thirteen.  Double back.  We’re back at one, or back at six, or seven.  It is the Alpha and the Omega, and they are one.  We are all as one.

So we have two images of the world.  The beginning and the end.  Take a look.  See what you see.

A boy, a girl?  Do you see transportation?  Do you see a difference in the uses of wealth and money?  Which image represents license as opposed to freedom?  Which image reflects self respect or respect for others and their right to live?

If war and violence and revolutions are so sexy, the toppling of tyrants so sexy, the collecting of arms and ammunition and shells and firepower so sexy; why does it always end just looking like this?

 

Do you see stars and stripes forever in these images?  Do you see freedom and the hopes and dreams of humanity on the move?  The deaths, the explosions are not like in the movies; there is no director saying “cut”, no happy ending, no ending at all to make a point or not to make a point.

We are one.  Put the first two pictures together and we have ONE (picture).  Is it so fun, or funny now?  All the second girl has to do is open fire.  She has the truck, the helper, the ammunition made in Spain (cluster bombs) or the USA! (all the rounds of ammunition that you see).

These are the pictures of Armageddon.  These are the pictures of the end times, the end of days, the end of the world (not as YOU know it, but as I know it).  Before it is over, you will NOT feel fine.

Awhile back I posted a song (a video), “The Revolution will not be televised.”  What I see as being promoted as “revolution” on Al Jazeera IS BEING TELEVISED.  That’s because it is not revolution, it is the END TIMES; the End Times is being televised.  Don’t you get it?  That’s why they invented TV and brought TV to you.  That’s why there are all those ‘commercial sponsors’.  You get to know who brought about the end times and who brought it to YOU.

Who needs a Sunday preacher or a televangelist to tell you how it will be, what to look for, or to paint pictures in your mind of the end times?  No one.  You can see it live, as it happens.  You can watch every fateful minute unfold.  Forget the middle man.  Send your money to whichever side you’re on.  Turn plowshares into swords.  Support your troops, your trucks with rockets and machine guns on top, your rebels and your patriots – the red, the blue, the greens.  Armageddon is exciting.  Most wouldn’t miss it, even if it meant a peaceful world.

Don’t look now, but they ARE closing in on the Mid East.  It is the Last Crusade.  It is the war between east and west and the eastern world IS exploding!

The secret is to step aside.  There is another world by your side.  If you live in America, there is another America right there, just an arm length away, at hand even.  When it is time, you must be prepared to jump.  Yes, even white folks (a few) can jump.  The end of the world is where I get off, not what I “get off on”.  STOP THE WORLD?  You think that the expression is just a metaphor?  You haven’t read Carlos Castaneda, have you?  The point is that there are many ways to jump, the Maya crowd is not the only North American vision.

So, it is clear.  Some ways of seeing things just end in death.  Other viewpoints are more life giving, sustaining, real.  Moving beyond materialism (for most) is hard.  In Libya, in Afghanistan, in Syria all the war-mongers are destined to find each other, probably kill each other – it’s only fair.  It’s not my worry.  I don’t share their values, I don’t believe in their outcome.  Maybe they can just go live in a world of their own, and leave mine alone.  I see it coming.  I see it coming soon.

If you ride bicycles, don’t look back.  Disconnect.  What’s following you is good for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

[“The End Times” Post written on April 23, 2011 @ 03:45  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

Bicycling to Corn Syrup

April 21st, 2011

Bicycling to corn syrup

~ I could say “bicycling to buy corn syrup,” but I didn’t.

As you may have guessed from yesterday’s post, it was a rough day, a rough week maybe.  It is hard to be stretched between a world of uber-laws and laws and rules about absolutely everything and a world of free choice, meaning a connected self-responsibility.  If everyone with needs or wants could be prevented from voting, then democracy might work.  The problem with democracy is it is seen as an agent of selfishness, not service, by most of the advocates therein.

I don’t buy anything with corn syrup on the label (of ingredients).  Corn syrup is bad.  It causes obesity and biological harm from the genetically modified corn that is used.  The GMO corn from Monsanto (patented food) causes pre-mature maturing, meaning girls entering puberty at age seven or something.  The maturity is in the body, not the mind.  Neither the parents nor the children can grasp the concept, “you are what you eat.”

I was on a quest for ice cream.  I didn’t have any.  You see not too long ago a neighbor died.  She was living with Bob (age 94).  Bob and his father used to own Creamland Dairy in Albuquerque.  From Creamland he got the opportunity to push ice cream for Baskin Robbins.  He set up all the early stores in about seven western states.  Baskin Robbins sold Creamland made ice cream, and Bob sold the franchises that made him rich, or richer, or something.  Bob was a nice guy in his eighties and nineties (probably still is).  I didn’t know him when he was a lot younger.  He was still buying and eating ice cream the last time I saw him, just after his girlfriend died, and they moved him out of his girlfriends house.  It’s sad, but oh well.  Some people don’t understand that sometimes love never dies.

I usually eschew buying name brands, which means more than a name you recognize.  There used to be “National brand-names month”.  Nabisco, General Foods, Kraft would all get together and claim that their quality was higher, their products better.   Everybody thought of Wonder Bread, that big white loaf of double-bleached flour and lots of air.  No nutrition of course, but it was sold coast-to-coast.  Wow!

Actually, the value was always poorer, the quality more plastic; the chemicals used were more dangerous.  Brand name products would kill you, and kill your budget.  It was a life-saver to learn to trust generics.  I digress.

I peddled to the nearest market.  I road my bike.  I was going to take a picture (of the bike), but I found this one, HERE:

This bike was new in 1982.  Mine was new about then too, same make, same model – a Panasonic Tourist 5 speed, men’s.

The nearest market is Country Club Market, at 1002 Coal Avenue, Albuquerque.  You see I live in a food desert of sorts.   Yes, Albuquerque itself is in the desert,  Most food must be imported from more than 500 miles away.  Except for a few pecans and less chili (Hatch green chili), little food is grown in New Mexico; and what is grown here brings little benefit or profit.  It’s a waste of water mostly, the growing system.  Has to do with the MRGCD and traditional field practices based on flooding.  Oh well.

A food desert is where there is no real market nearby, within walking distance, in case the car thing dies and the price of fuel puts you on a diet.  7/11’s are not real markets.  The prices are high, the selection is bad, mostly brand names, lots of corn syrup and worse.  The chain sells junk food, at “convenience store” prices, meaning you pay more for the fact that you don’t have to drive a lot further just to buy food.  Buying something actually nutritious is almost always out of reach in a food desert.  Oh well.

The food store is not far from the zoo.  I guess people could eat all the animals if they really got hungry.  It’s happened before.   A food desert is where you find it, not always expected.  Plant potatoes and carrots, string beans and (good) corn, before it’s too late.  Hello!  Oh well.

I’m still peddling.  It’s like eight blocks or sixteen there, and back.  I walk my bicycle in (through the door).  It’s not a safe neighborhood to leave a bike out.  There is no bike rack, either.  I wheel my bike through the aisles, I ask where is the ice cream.  I maybe think about Bob.

They have Dreyer’s.  They have strawberry.  It’s like Oakland and fields and forever.   It’s a brand-name sure, but the images fit and there is no corn syrup inside.  What more could life offer?  Is Paris in the springtime any better?  Would I rather be in China, or Japan?  Did I mention that the New Mexico Sympathy Orchestra (NMSO) went bankrupt yesterday; all the money went to Afghanistan to support “our” troops.  Oh well.

I probably violated a whole lot of laws riding my bicycle to buy ice cream.  Nothing is simple anymore.  I probably failed to make a hand-turn signal when I turned left (or right) and I didn’t have the required rubber tip on my kickstand.  Homeland security might try to get me.  Next time there might be roadblocks, I.D. checks, travel restrictions.   You see the river on the map (west of the zoo)?  That means the market is on the “Texas side” of the Rio Grande.  I don’t think Texas ever gave up their claims to New Mexico, we have a Texas governor now, Martinez.  The food desert could easily get much worse.  I’m always thinking.  Oh well.

I could write more.  But I won’t.  Oh well.

[“Bicycling to Corn Syrup” Post written on April 21, 2011 @ 20:07  ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]

« Previous Entries