Another cup of coffee

January 31st, 2013

Another cup of coffee

~ Wherever you go, whatever you do; there are these things.

I got up this morning and was confronted with the news about Hegal.  He wants (maybe) to do away with nukes, to have Global Zero.  I don’t like nukes.  I have posted many times about them and about my opposition to them, but my ideas about the opposition probably is fossilized in images of “ban the bomb” protests in England and letters by concerned scientists.

  Canon Lewis John Collins (centre) and Jacquetta Hawkes (checks), writer wife of novelist J B Priestley, heading a column of anti H-bomb demonstrators.  The “ban the bomb” sign later became the “peace” sign of course.

So, lately I’ve been a bit consumed by lists, by making lists.  It is an effort to quantify and categorize lives, ones life.  Hegal is on the list of “anti-bomb”, and so am I; New Mexico is concerned.

The “concerned scientists” here are those whose life work and careers are caught up in the bomb, making them, refurbishing them, planning “new” and “better” bombs, all nuclear.  Sandia Labs and Los Alamos Labs and the (old / new) Sandia Base at Kirtland and the base at Trinity Site and other bases scattered throughout New Mexico make for a lot of spending on the bomb, on nuclear, on nuclear weapons as an industry and a very large (U.S.) government expense.  The “concerned scientists” don’t want to see all this money go away.

So the New Mexico delegation to the Congress (that never was), that sits (and sits, and sits) in the U.S. Capitol is concerned.  They are questioning Hagel.  His “use them or lose them” argument might seem wrong; but, deterrence isn’t working if one sees deterrence as making other countries not want the bomb.  Think Iran, Israel and North Korea.  What other use is there for nuclear weapons besides “deterrence”?  Do we really want to make a hole in the world half the size of Africa over a country half the size of Cuba, and because of one which is half a world away?

Ah gee, New Mexico might suffer.  The economy here is based on the dole, meaning free federal money, big bucks, the endless largesse from Washington.  It’s welfare from the welfare state in Washington anyway you want to stack it.  It’s not pure, but IS simple.

Talking and worrying about and protesting nuclear weapons has contributed to the sale of a lot of cups of coffee.  It’s the Hooper Diner thing, just another cup of Joe.

Nighthawks by Edward Hooper

So, my list starts with “I like coffee”, it continues with “I don’t like war”.  “I like old hotels” from the turn of the century through the 1920’s; “I don’t like nukes” even if getting rid of them might blow New Mexico off the map economically.  “I like the past” because I have real questions about the future.  Let’s talk about it, over our good friend Joe.  It IS what coffee houses used to be all about, before Starbucks and $5 (not 5 cent) cups of latte.  Since the dawn of nuclear weapons things have (literally) gotten about 100 times worse.

We will see what all the social networking might mean when it is done mostly just on the web.  There’s not a lot of space (now); not like in the times of Hooper when people talked and communicated with not a telephone in sight and talked about things that mattered – “is street theatre really dead?

I don’t know which is harder; to try and recreate the way life was or to paint pictures of how life could be.  The argument could be made that nuclear weapons (virtually) destroyed all of us, without the dropping of a single bomb after the dropping of the first two of them (on populated centers).  All our lives would be so different, not living ever under the nuclear umbrella, just regular umbrellas. It’s like trying to imagine a French impressionist painting where everyone is packing guns.

Leadership is about being able to create new ways of thinking, not just romping through the ways of thinking of the past.  The point of history is to create a demarcation line between yesterday and the present so that we don’t all just live in the past.  Nuclear weapons (like cars) are so yesterday; it’s time that we “suck it up” and know.

“I don’t like cars”, I don’t see the point; why should owning one really matter?  Like owning cellphones, there is a new generation being born that won’t even want one.  There’s a “next-next gen” that will fight with their parents about how dated they are, how uncool, how retro, how like living in the past (cellphones really are).  Maybe “they” will be a generation that can relate to Hooper, to the Impressionists, to a world without the bomb.  Things really can go full circle and not just get stuck at 180 degrees.

2013.01.31 – 20:09.

Cold Antler Farm

January 30th, 2013

Cold Antler Farm

~ It’s time to support America, (maybe) February is “support a blog” month.

OK, it’s a long story.  It started a fairly long time ago; my wife started reading a post (posts) by “Jenna”, a young woman about my son’s age that lived on (started) a farm “out” in New York someplace.  New York is “out east” from Albuquerque and the west, in the western way of thinking.

Jenna is really quite spunky and gutsy and has a zeal for life (and her farm, and farm animals) that makes for a fairly regular morning supply of talking (about her, with my wife); hearing about Jenna is as predictable as my very predictable morning cup of coffee, it’s how I (often) start the day.

I’ve never really looked at Jenna’s website (blog-place), although I have looked at a picture or two of pastures, goats and chickens, animals I just don’t have.  But today was different (IS different).  My wife has reported that Jenna may be in trouble.  We’re all in trouble, so what is really new?  But Jenna’s troubles have an easier solution than those troubles that I most often post about.  Jenna’s lifestyle could be better with a bit more money.

So (gutsy, lovely) Jenna has decided to run a “fund drive” [January 30, here], like an NPR drive, except only on the web; probably without all the banter.  So this brings up much about where the money goes (in America), meaning where is Warren Buffet and Bill & Melinda Gates (and “the” many others) when we really need them.  No, the 1% don’t do the real, necessary giving, supporting, donating that NEEDS to be done.  It’s really up to you, and me and those that America knows best (in life) and knows least (in history).

Actually the history of it is (as I just found out today), for me, quite interesting.  If you’ve been following me and all my links and discussions and talk about the Sons and Daughters of the American revolution you might have noticed that the pivotal family in many of my recent posts is this one (here), the Shearman + Gifford marriage that took place somewhere in Washington County, New York.  Wow!  What a connection.  Jenna is there, that’s where Jenna IS.

Well, things (evidently) didn’t work out so well for the family Gifford (or Shearman) circa 1810 or later, but here’s to hoping that things work out better for Jenna and the hope that SHE will stay (in Washington County, New York).  But, she NEEDS your HELP, a little giving, for history’s sake if nothing else.

Actually I looked up the truth behind the help for bloggers month.  Google says there’s nothing.  That’s not like it should be.  I’ve never asked for a dime (I don’t need to); send my dimes to Jenna; each according to their ability, she’s the one in need.

And Jenna, if you’re reading this “good luck”, good cheer, and God bless.

2013.01.30 – 17:20.

The Sherman despondency

January 28th, 2013

The Sherman despondency

~ Depression depends on which side you’re on, as does hope.

I was raised with stories about how the family (on my father’s side) was related to General Sherman, meaning William Tucumseh Sherman of the Civil War.  I had no reason to question my father; being from the west (or north) General Sherman was seen as “cool”.

Sure he caused much misery, much chaos and death and destruction in the south.  That is war, and “war is hell”, he said.  He knew it too, war depressed him greatly until he came around and came to Atlanta and set things all ablaze.  He could not have done such a good job (at destruction); Atlanta (Georgia) has come back.  When Genghis Khan destroyed a city he killed everyone and then covered it (the city) with salt.  In many cities that the Khan destroyed (like in Afghanistan) nothing grows there to this day; but I digress.

I don’t know from when or where my father came upon such ideas.  It may have well been from Charles Webber (Charles Harold Webber).  He was a very well educated and formal gentleman, he wrote in terms of “the 19th instant” (meaning 19, the date).  It was with such care and formality that he inquired about membership in the California Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.  He (quite rightly) thought he had a chance.  The letters (and inquiry) began in (apparently) 1928; the documents are from 1928 and 1929, of which I have copies.

My father (Fred Clayton) was born in 1913, so he was just 15 (years old) when all this started.  He was an Eagle Scout, the youngest ever (then) in or from California.  Discipline, patriotism, and the American Way were on his mind; it was only natural that Mr. Sherman might come to mind given his status as a “national” hero.

It wasn’t Sherman (the General) that Harold Webber was looking for, it was Humphrey, Humphrey Shearman, Captain in the Revolutionary War, a good Quaker from Massachusetts, serving the proposed country from Rhode Island.  Good Quakers don’t believe in war, so it is worthwhile to note that he probably saw his share of fighting.  He was a part-time patriot, serving randomly from May of 1778 to sometime in 1784, bearing arms in the militia of Rhode Island.

The Shearman (now Sherman) line, (my direct line) goes back to the (Honorable) Phillip Shearman, founder (purchaser) of Rhode Island and husband of the good women Sarah Odding.  Phillip did NOT come over on the Mayflower, but other relatives (or their ancestors) did.

But, we were on the track, looking for a connection to General Sherman.  One has to go back to England (in Essex County) to the year 1546, four hundred and sixty-six years ago (466 years) to find the marriage that resulted in the tales of two brothers.  Edmund Shearman gave birth to (the line of) W.T. Sherman; his elder brother Henry Shearman gave birth to the line that led to Rhode Island and eventually to me.  So yes, I am related to General Sherman, but just barely.

There would have to be eleven (11) “greats” before the name of my “grandfather” Henry Shearman or my “grandmother” Agnes.  I’ve prepared a chart to demonstrate the pedigree and the issues.  Going this far back I would have 8,192 ! direct line parents of parentage were all my ancestors known (for this one generation alone).  I share the “General Sherman connection” with at least (or almost) 150,000 people of this planet, at least 50,000 of which are probably alive today.  The army that marched into (or through, or around) Atlanta had 100,000 men, if the army were to march today, half of them could be direct relatives.

  Sherman stamp of 1895

I have no interest in compiling charts that list 36 or 37 thousand persons; and that is not including the names if I go further back.  It is estimated that “only” 110 billion people have ever lived, and 7 billion of them (or more) are alive today.  It would take quite a chart to fully chart the past, going back (perhaps) 2,600 generations, I have only gone back 13.

In 13 generations there has been (in my family, Sherman side) the passage of just over 300 years.  That is an average of 25.4 years per generation.  There have been only four generations since the Civil War (counting me, married in 1978).  The new reality is 32.7 years between generations, quite a change when it comes to population control, meaning getting married and having children when one is older.  I wonder if there has ever been a study to determine if “gun owners” are disproportionately “born young”.

So, is all this information hopeful, or depressing?  Inquiring minds do want to know.  The family search found both peace-makers and warriors, and religionists galore, 200 years of Quakers, the Society of Friends.  Are you a friend (or relative)?  The right answer may be “maybe”.  All this history does put things into perspective.

2012.01.29 – 02:27.

Oh Susanna!

January 27th, 2013

Oh Susanna!

~ The state of the nation, meaning mostly the “infrastructure”.

“It rained all night the day I left, the weather it was dry; the sun so hot I froze to death, Oh Susanna don’t you cry.”  It sounds like the weather in Albuquerque, or in Nevada when I was growing up.  There’s no irony here, it’s just commentary about “Greenhouse warming”, extreme weather, discovering for the first time that there IS weather.

It did rain last night and yesterday in Albuquerque.  But, the weather still is “dry”.  The hottest summer ever (almost) was last summer, and the last two weeks (before this one) we all just about froze to death (though the only real deaths were by guns, referring to the killings).

The Washington Post (newspaper) wrote a post about America’s failing infrastructure.  As the son of an accomplished Civil Engineer (referring to my father, Fred W. Clayton) I know a thing about railroads, roads and highways, sewer systems, wells and dams.  I know (too) a bit about the grid (and grids, meaning mapping) and ports and ships.  I also know that I am not an “expert”, though I may be a fairly expert witness.

It is hard to say whether the population (the 300 million plus population of the United States) is more “resources” or “infrastructure”.  The strength of the people is (traditionally) a national resource; like the natural resources of coal and trees, gold, silver and oil.  One might add copper to the list, the short list.

A depleted resource occurs when the most profitable part has been expended, used up, mined out, cut down, removed from the ground (or the sea, lakes, or oceans).  That’s when the “clean up” comes (in), like Uranium mining, it’s profitable but dirty.  The real price is paid after the profits disappear.  The same may be said for all the clear-cut forests.

The great strength of America was always the people coming together, being all on the same page, having a cultural literacy, or at least a basic literacy; add to that a sense of decency, hard work, fair play.  It was only fair that the rich paid 90% of their income in taxes, because it was the nation as a whole that made them what they were in their day.

Now resources are more like infrastructure, like fracking, like fishing; the oil and corexit enter the fish even if you can’t really see it; what is done below is imitated above.  The whole nation is being blown apart as if by hydraulic mining, meaning fracturing this time, meaning just “blown away”.  All that is left is little pieces.  The resource is gone; it is infrastructure in disarray.

It is not just collapsed bridges, or the need to rebuild them (the bridges, before they totally collapse) that needs our attention.  It is the collapsed people, the fractured people, the population thrown into disarray that needs attention.  It’s been said before.  This is no longer “one country”, not even “50 states” – we are just 300 (plus) million people, each with our own ideas and opinions, each a (self-seen) sovereign power of one’s own that answers almost to no one, yet that expects everyone else to come to “their” side, or at least to their way of thinking.  “Don’t cry for me.”

So, America has the 18th best railroad system in the world; it probably ranks 29th in passenger trainsAll the fast and modern ones are “there”, not “here”.  The skyscrapers and world’s tallest buildings are (now) overseas.  The inspired engineers and architects are overseas.  The best road builders, computer programmers, craftsmen and craftswomen live and work in other countries.  “We” are not even second best at anything except when it comes to making nukes; America is really good at nukes.  We are also #1 in spending money, other people’s money, or money that we just don’t have.

“Don’t worry, be happy”; it’s Alfred E. Neuman (fracking) all over again, or at least all over.   The idiots have won.  There is no need for more debate or discussion; get with it, or get out; it’s really that simple, even if the feeling is not sincere (or sincerely felt).

I grew up when America was a better world, at peace (comparatively) with a world that was “different”, diverse; that had cultures and cultural identity and all the good things (and people) that made for a better life.  It was not all just McDonald’s, Walmarts and freeways (then).  There were not 500 Hilton Hotels (not including Hilton Inns), there were once just three (3) and Albuquerque was one; there was no Paris, Hilton (then).

Life is good, even though it probably isn’t better.  I don’t mind being an independent state (if only in my mind), surrounded (if not protected) by a hundred guns.  I mostly like my neighbors, it is like a society of friends.  But please don’t ask me to rebuild the roads (I don’t drive like I used to), the railroads (priced beyond my ability to pay), the streets of Boston (who really needs Massachusetts); like Nevada or New Mexico it might be better as a testing spot for nukes (or flying saucers).  Like “they” say, things change.

Don’t ask me to buy anything at Walmart (my buying days are done, I’m not “buying” anything, meaning mostly other peoples ideas).  I don’t see a future at Costco.  I don’t find Friendlies, friendly; it’s not my society of friends.

So, I’m out to make treaties, or to entreat, with other “nations”.  We might have a thing in common, you and me.  We might agree about the population, or over-population.  We might agree about the way to spend the taxes or how to put an end to ALL taxes, or how to best defend ourselves against enemies that we know will never come (or come to Albuquerque, because it is so poor).   Why worry about the rich when we have so few (rich) and so many poor?  “Don’t cry for me.”

I’m NOT from Alabama, it is other points further east.  That’s where the family history takes me.  I’m probably glad “they” left (not meaning “died”, of course).   It has been a long life (lots of lives) in the making; it is one way I spend my time.  These are (a few) of the people that helped make America, I think today they would be quite disappointed; their dreams have been betrayed.

Maybe we can buy some land, this time NOT just take it.  We can treat it (this time) gently, not blow it apart to smithereens.  We can make covenants and keep them, with both our friends and with the “Lord” (the real landlord of all creation).  We can live so very simply, it seems so simple.  We can put all the bar codes far behind us, all the chips and RFID’s, all the destructive data-bases; keep just the society of friends and a few more animals in our lives if you please, horses and donkeys at work, not just pickups.  I don’t think anybody who worked with animals (and doesn’t shoot them) would shoot anybody else in this better life.

Anyway, these are my thoughts today.  Just keeping posted.

2013.01.27 -18:57.

A parity of information

January 25th, 2013

A parity of information

~ Looking into the cauldron of everything, meaning everything that one could know.

I’ve been working a lot lately on my genealogical endeavors, meaning posting a bit about members of my family, my extended family, relations and relationships that go “way back“.   I’ve done a bit of this before.

There’s a lot of information.  My approach to genealogy is not just endless charts with names and birth, marriage, death date information.  I like to take things a bit further (or farther).  The geography is important; not just the city and the county and the state, but the real place of birth or death or marriage, meaning the actual building or the room.  This is the point where I and my relations and friends in the LDS church or community differ, or disagree.  They seek “pedigree“; I seek greater facts.

As Sherlock Holmes once said to Watson, “just the facts”.  He was operating on the theory that the simple facts, carefully observed, lead to a host of other (greater) information; information (perhaps) more useful to life and the living than just a simple list of the dead.

This leads me to the topic of my long endeavors regarding the presentation of what I call a “Personal Profile” about a person’s life.  I began work on such things long before the web, or certainly before what the web of today is what it is today.  But the link (just posted) provides a certain insight into the issues that are at hand.

A personal profile should probably not contain information that might be used against the person.  This basic fact favors profiles only about those that are dead.  Middle initials (or names), mother’s maiden names, actual dates of birth, Social Security numbers even and addresses are the fodder for much mischief in the world, this world. Fingerprints and bio-metric data only serve to make things worse.  In this day even a simple photograph (showing the eyes) can be taboo.

The problem is that this fact leaves little factual information, not based on a “need to know”, regarding living people in the public domain.  For the seven (7) billion of us that are alive it can be said that more vital information is available (and known) about the dead.  And even most of the valid information about those that have died is secreted away in the great private archives of the DAR, the Sons of the American Revolution, the LDS data storages, the FBI, the CIA, the DIA and a host of other associations and agencies, not to mention the KGB and the Mossad.

What little is left is often not free, but is sold, or is offered for sale by the blind leading the blinder.   There simply are often very few good facts, just hearsay and “he said, she said” accounts about just about everything.

In the “old days” much information came from old family Bibles hand-copied by the old, often with failing eyesight, an unsteady hand, an an eye and hand always ready and willing to conceal (or massage) unpleasant facts and information.  The Bibles themselves were filled with the simplest of entries, just simple names and dates, entered by those that sincerely believed that their “small town” would stay that way forever and that “everyone” knew what they knew about the church, the cemetery, the house or the hospital involved behind the basic facts.  The fact is that most others really didn’t and to this very day, don’t (know).

So, on these wintry days (so cold) I ferret and sleuth around (in my archives and on the web) trying to solve a mystery or two; what was the church, is it still standing; or, where were they really buried after all?

In deference to sensitivities about privacy I (generally) record about the dead and not the living.  It is sad.  So much is lost when not shared and talked about in life, when one meets death.  A detailed written record provides some answers to questions in life that often most people were afraid (or too timid) in life to ask.

There is no lesson in life, no gain or loss, no happiness or tragedy that a study of the past, past lives, cannot intelligently illuminate or reveal if the facts and history are revealed.  The lives and struggles of the living are easily concealed, with death there can (often) be found a truthful revelation in those lives lived truthfully.

The famous, the potentates, Kings and Queens and most major businessmen (add politicians) leave behind a false legacy of their lives.  They rewrite history, distort the facts, reveal and conceal in an effort to make their mark.  This is what separates them from the most of the rest of us.  We can rest, they often can’t.  This is why I would rather have (generally) a few lines of real history (at my disposal) than all the sordid and distorted tales about the goodness of women and men that where really not so good, not so successful at life or living and laid waste to the simple and real values.  It is so sad that we are so surrounded by the distorted tales that we (collectively, often seem to) find lives lived with greater simplicity to be boring, possessed of a lack of color, wanting in the material aspects of a so-called greater life.

So, for at least awhile I shall continue (in my endeavors).  I might call on others to open their archives, to publish their pictures, to copy the birth certificates and death certificates and written records of marriage up on the web (and more).  The government has access to these things; a free people should have parity.  Keep visiting all those graves.  Photograph the headstones and brazen plaques.  Get a web name and website.  The real revolution can start now.

2013.01.25 – 20:34.

The perfect plan

January 23rd, 2013

The perfect plan

~ Say what you may, the Griego family murder in Albuquerque does raise so many questions.

It’s more than 2,000 miles from Albuquerque to Newtown, Connecticut; Aurora (Colorado) is closer at 500 miles away.  New Mexico may be closer to the border (with Mexico), but it has some of the clearest provisions in any State constitution protecting the ownership of guns.  In fact, the state is so “wacko” (not Waco), that a member of the House wants to ban any federal legislation (or executive order) that would ban, or even control, the use of guns.

In the wisdom (or greed) of modern media the real story is kept undercover.  You can read the whole thing if you cough-up the information demanded by the Albuquerque Journal under the guise of “free speech”, or “freedom of the press”, or the freedom that the press has to keep the public record hidden.  Who really is the owner of the copyright on the “Griego family statement“?  The family requested that, “We ask those in the media and those who would use the media to make their political case, to not use Nehemiah as a pawn for ratings or to score political points.”  But, then there is this, from the media outreach center of the Calvary Church.  Things get quickly complicated.

When (fundamentalist) churches enter into politics and want to politicize their members it is obvious that the actions and activities of their members is political to the core.  When a (presumed) mass-murderer hangs out in a church, perhaps seeking sanctuary, the question naturally arises about what values the church actually holds.  Does “thou shalt not kill”, and “honor thy father and thy mother” fall second fiddle to the idea of “forgiveness” and “thou shalt not judge”?  Are there any “deadly sins” in the fundamentalist community that might make for ex-communication?  If not, what is all the hoopla about abortion and talk about abortion being wrong?

The “line in the sand” that Pastor Skip Heitzig seems to be drawing is that (perhaps) the fundamentalist community is above the law, is a law unto themselves (even above federal law), just as they are a community unto themselves.  Some might call this treason, or a “call to arms” as in an end to all gun control even if it means state secession.

If you read the article you would know that Greg Griego claimed to be an ex-con (gang-banger) which may mean a “person convicted of a felony”.  The people (members of the church) that may have given Greg the guns that did the mass-killings didn’t care about the details of his past, “he was forgiven” (in their eyes), even if he wasn’t “forgiven” under the law.  OK, maybe 10 years had passed, but “once a gang member you are a gang member for life” [Given the facts of this case, including testimony that gang membership is for life,”], check out the code, the record, look for the tattoos (or removal); I wonder if the “church members” did?

Then there is the fact that Nehemiah Griego had a 12 year old girlfriend and she had a cellphone that was used for the “call”.  The call in question was the photograph of Nehemiah’s dead mother that was sent by Nehemiah before the murder of Nehemiah’s father.  What “family values” did this member of the church have when she made the decision to NOT tell her parents or anyone about the “midnight” murder.  She could have saved the life of Greg Griego (shot hours later by Nehemiah) had she made the call, or made the call differently.  It looks like Skip Heitzig’s teachings are just not sinking in, or “what is it that Heitzig is really teaching”?

But really, what if she had spoken up?  What court in America would issue a search warrant in the middle of the night based on the statement of a 12 year old girl?  Maybe the photograph was deleted.  What about the sanctity of the home and the rights (4th Amendment) regarding searches and seizures.  Can a 12 year old make a valid “Oath or Affirmation”, otherwise it is just hearsay (evidence).

And then (again) some nutcase in the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department allowed 15 year old Nehemiah Griego to be interviewed (interrogated) without aid of counsel or any adult being present at all.  He might be an adult regarding the (alleged) crime, but he is NOT an adult as just a suspect, not even yet accused of any crime.  It looks like this suspect may very well walk (away from the murders, with good representation).

But no, there’s more.  The good Griego (extended) family and church family seems content with Nehemiah’s defense being handled at public expense, by a PUBLIC paid defender.  Why do our taxpayer dollars pay for such things, inquiring minds want to know?  Is there no separation of church and state?  If the churched member is above the law why should the state taxpayers spend money to legally defend him?

The perfect crime can be best protected in the privacy of one’s own home or church.  The perfect plans can be conjured up, suicide is not necessary with the aid and protection of relatives and friends.  Laws mean nothing when not enforced, when “political considerations – i.e. Eric Griego” are involved.  Laws mean nothing when there are so many and are so complicated that nobody (nobody!) knows what is going on.  Maybe we should forget ALL the past, start over, and just move on – open all the prisons, stop all prosecutions and persecutions, forgive everything and just start over.

Maybe this is the perfect plan, a free people, free of laws, free of organized religion, organizing (when they will) to form a new new perfect union, this time really under God.

2013.01.23 – 19:29.


January 21st, 2013


~ When the news strikes get close to home.

Yesterday I was posting a bit about death and dieing.  A part of my post was about the guns; the connection between shooting, the military, the cemeteries of course.  I said, “in the end, opinions don’t matter.”

Greg Griego may have been an NRA rifle club member, he may have just been a “supporter” (think fellow traveler) of the Second Amendment and of guns.  It doesn’t matter.  He voted with his dollars, his checkbook – he bought and kept the “best” of guns.  He lived in Albuquerque with his wife, with two young daughters (maybe more) and a son (and more).  He lived in his house with family and with guns.

Today the “Griego House” is famous.  The name Nehemiah Griego is famous too, no one can say there is “no relation”, Nehemiah and Greg and ALL the victims are related.  The problem was “the enemy within”, within the house, already IN the house and with full access to all the guns.  Nehemiah was willing and ready to honor his country with his service, but had different plans regarding his father and mother (Exodus 20:12); he planned to “dis” them, blow them away, to execute them military style with a military weapon (found at home), an AR-15.

So, let’s profile (further) the killer and the family of the killer and the killed.  Greg Griego was a pastor, a religious man, a fundamentalist of (and in) the church.  His son (Nehemiah) was “churched”, was “born again” was (generally) a devout and obedient son in this family of 12 (now just seven), and of the seven one is (evidently) a killer.

There are many on the web that will make the case that this attack was just a “false flag” murder, that there were “other” shooters, that the names will change to suit the circumstances, that nothing reported is as it seems.  Bull hooey!  This is Albuquerque, not Ruby Ridge, not Waco, not Newtown.  This is near Old Town, in the valley, not too many miles from here.  Here the Walmarts are lined up on Coors like dominoes (pizza), just ready to fall.   They are spaced apart every four miles, and now they are looking for two (miles of separation).

The “shooter” was planning to go south (from his home) to shoot up the local Walmart and the customers (and maybe employees) within.  Instead he went north to Calvary, probably driving by the Walmart that I use (or used to use) to buy toilet paper and prune juice and orange juice and things that the aging might need, at a price they can afford.

My New Year resolution was to eschew the Walmart thing, to NOT go there, to not support the uber rich and the great consolidation of money. I haven’t entered a Walmart store in the past five or seven weeks.  Now I know why.  I don’t have a death wish, I don’t want to witness another shooting.

In America (it is true) ADVERTISING DOES PAY.  The gun of choice (because of publicity) is the AR-15 as every shooter, or potential shooter, knows.  There are at least 12 AR-15’s advertised in today’s Albuquerque paper, the one with news of the shooting.  I don’t think people want to unload these gun weapons as much as they want to load them.  Every 15 year old kid can have parity with the best of concealed carry NRA supporters.  I’m wrong.  You can’t easily conceal an AR-15 rifle, even if you are just 15, or from a 15 year old that lives with guns in his house (even if he has no money to buy them).

So, mi casa es su casa, my town is your town.  My Walmart is your Walmart; in America everything is about the same.  The difference is that I DON’T have guns in MY house, although many of my neighbors do.  Who lives under the greater threat?  I know.  Guns in the home are responsible for far more shootings and killings of family members than all the gun cases about gun owners “defending” their homes and children and wives therein.  Just ask Greg Griego.  Oh, you can’t ask Greg Griego, his opinion no longer matters.

So, Walmart has a lot of karma (bad karma).  “Guns don’t kill people, it’s bad corporations that really kill.”  It’s advertising that kills, it’s the search for that “AR 15” minutes of fame.  But hey, it IS the inauguration (of Obama), so what the “h”, maybe only the President really matters, or is it the precedent?

2013.01.21 – 18:00.

Honor thy father and thy mother

January 20th, 2013

Honor thy father and thy mother

~ The only question is how to do it after they are dead.

The words are from Exodus, the 10 Commandments, Exodus 20-12, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

Of course if you have lived as many places as I have (and others) you might reasonably wonder, “what is the land that the Lord has given you”?  Is it Afghanistan, Reno, New Mexico or the new New York or new Nevada?  The web seems to have me linked with Houston (somehow), so maybe it IS Houston that is the land of “my” land, but I don’t think so.

I read the local obituaries in the local paper (sometimes).  A lot of “(Baby) Boomers” are dieing, dieing young, whatever that may mean.  It seems that the longest lived people ever born were born (like) in 1910, or circa 1910, or something.  They die at 100, 102, or maybe 104 years of age.  They were born before the time of poisons, before GMO’s and pesticides and a world of canned foods and refrigerator food and frozen.  When they grew up the automobile was still a novelty, gasoline fumes were more novel still.  Get off to a good start and it will carry you through for a whole lifetime (maybe).  Maybe it is just POLITICS that will kill you, carry you off to an early grave.

I digress.  What caught my attention, if not my eye, today was the claim by the Catholic Cemeteries Association that, “In providing a consecrated place for burial, we treat the human body with dignity and respect after death, and offer an environment which encourages frequent visitation with attendant prayer for the deceased, an environment in which love is remembered and faith is awakened and strengthened”.

I guess that a burial upon (in) the land sure beats a “burial at sea”, or is the sea (also) consecrated?  But what about cremation?  Is the “fires of faith” only a metaphor, is cremation (certainly sutee) an abomination or just reflective of a better way to use the land?  I am not (just being) glib in my assessment.

My uncle (Charles Amos Dean) was cremated.  He had grown up near a cemetery in San Francisco, an old one, perhaps broke or abandoned.  Kids in the neighborhood (his neighborhood) would use thigh bones (human) instead of sticks to “roll the hoops“.  His worst fear (in death) was that his legs (or leg bones) might be used in that same way.

Of course San Francisco outlawed all cemeteries, had them moved, moved to Daly City and San Bruno and places outside the county.  So, “Golden Gate” is not located in the city by the bay.  I know, I’ve been there.

A huge amount of earthly land is taken up and given over to the graves and grave sites of veterans and their wives.  With each new war and cause for war (military enlistments) the list and land lost to veterans grows with each passing day.  Hemme (in her wisdom) was cremated, her husband was buried whole.

I honor not just my parents, but the parents of my parents and the parents of those parents too.  If I were to visit all the graves (and the grave sites of others) I would have to travel far and wide and greatly.  I would (perhaps) fly off to Sweden, revisit Oregon, go to Reno and stop by Lasita for awhile.  I might go to San Diego, or Elko.

I guess the good Catholics are right.  The whole economy might turn around with all the travel, land values would soar, all the priests could keep busy ministering to the living as they pay homage to the dead.

No disrespect is meant to the good members of the Cemetery Association or to those that write their posts.  But, I too will write mine.  I have just been adding a note or two about members of my family (the living and the dead). Some might call it genealogy; I call it history, remembrance, an honoring of sorts (without the grave site service).

When all is said and done my opinions probably do not matter.  It will be “just the facts”, a birth date, a date of death, the names of wives (a wife) and children (or a child).  The details will escape one, it will be “Boca”, with nothing about the river, the search, the hope and the misery, the lonely lifeless days yet to come.  But I dwell; too long in melancholy, too much emphasis on the past.

It is by writing that we put the past behind us.  We record the days and hours so that we CAN move on.  All history is a record of patterns, of behaviors, of a job well (or not well) done.  Once the old ways are (well) understood then new ways become possible, obligatory, necessary and such.  Do I preach, or is it that I pray – at the graves of my mothers, my fathers and those that might just understand.

Do you understand?

2013.01.21 – 01.40.

Crime, punishment & sacrifice

January 13th, 2013

Crime, punishment & sacrifice

~ Is it tales of the gun, or tales of what’s fun?

When I was young, in Carson City, in first and second grade I went to Fremont School.  There is a new Fremont School there now, a new location, probably new students too, probably different than in the days of my distant past.

Anyway, the school was brand new then (in 1954) and it was located almost at the very edge of town – the NW corner of Roop and 5th Street.  Almost exactly one mile away (down the Carson River Road, which was what 5th Street was called then beyond the city limits) was the Nevada State Prison.  There was only one.  It was built by the prisoners themselves, drafted into being hard-rock miners, meaning that the prisoners spent their time chiseling and sculpting and finishing the very stones and stone walls that would become their cells.

By the time that I was young the old prisoners that had made the prison had mostly died, or had totally died long before, perhaps both.  We had two kinds of alerts at the school other than the basic fire drills mandated by state law.  The first was “duck & cover”, the second was for prisoners that had escaped.  The second event was not a drill, it was a lockdown or like a lock down every time.  Some times recess would be cancelled, even the school grounds might not be safe.  At other times we would just be told to “be careful” as we went home after school, every escaped prisoner was assumed to have a gun.

  Duck and Cover drill.

So it is probably natural that to this day I associate nuclear weapons (weapons of mass destruction) with prisoners and guns (weapons of mass destruction).  So maybe that is why I spent so much time on this post, though it happened more than 55 years ago, at the end of my 3rd grade at Fremont School.

It is probably a crime to have guns in schools, gun play, armed guards that are trained to shoot and kill.  Even in Nevada, even at Fremont School there were no guards with guns; if the guards at the prison (literally armed with machine guns) could not keep the prisoners in or out or under control what could a part-time sheriff do if a lifer was determined, or determined to cause bodily harm?

The theory (then) was behavior was not about killers or killing, it was about decency and the belief that everyone (probably) had it, or had a certain amount of it, or would rise to the occasion if it came to that.  An escapee could be “hunted down”, talked down, could be reasoned with if he behaved within reason (meaning left the kids alone).  People (it was thought) were not fundamentally suicidal, the very act of escape meant hope.  If one was captured, one could try to escape again; why kill or be killed in such a situation?

It is a new world now.  The universal belief in human decency is all but gone.  The “better dead than red” mantra was used to sell the cold war, to make a million bombs, to spend money on the military and not on health care or schools.  Doctors stopped making house calls and exchanging their services for eggs or butter.  Schools stopped teaching values and became armed camps instead.  The Kindergarten Cop became a younger version of “officer friendly”.

The backdrop for all this was of course the growing notion that it was worth sacrificing (like) 100 million people to “win” the cold war if it became hot.  The planet became overrun with hotheads, obsessed with criminals and criminality.  The first 12 minutes of nuclear war would kill more people and cause more human misery than all six years of the second World War and there would (promise me) be no Nuremberg type trials at the end for the war criminals that made the (substantial) destruction of the earth possible.

There are many types of crimes, punishments and sacrifices.  There are many ways for the world to end.  A wise leader might speak of the “aftermath” of a world given in to guns, of the “grateful dead” that did not have to endure the ravages of guns and gunplay at every school, as the best of intentions go really (really) bad, like a nuclear war starting just because you spent the money on all those weapons.

But, it does not take a nuclear war to make life in this society not worth living.  It doesn’t take the repeal of the 2nd amendment to put an end to freedom.  What of the rights and freedoms of second graders, of children, of the next generation that will grow up never knowing the real meaning of “free” as they are locked down daily, surrounded by armed guards, living like in a prison that was once called “school”?

American patriots were once called upon to sacrifice their “lives, and fortunes and sacred honor” to make this nation great.  The question now is whether they will sacrifice their guns, or whether they will only sacrifice the lives of their children and of other peoples children too.  There is no longer dignity in dieing in a total war, each death is just plain stupid, brought about by the stupidity of others.

It is also true of modern guns and the gun culture that has been wrought.  The guns that once might have protected us have become our oppressors.  Fidel Castro wanted nukes so he could have parity with the Yankees.  Guns create parity between the lowest and most vicious savage and the best of us, and the rest of us.  Is this what our civilization has come to?

2013.01.13 – 20:59.

Qala Bist blog post

January 11th, 2013

Qala Bist blog post

~Getting things in order for the new year.

There are a lot of things contained in the content of this website.  A lot of information is NOT just about my opinions, my life, my blog. Well, in a way it is mostly about my life, hence every post should be (perhaps) categorized under “Donald Clayton”.  But, reasonable organization parameters suggest that letters written by my parents (Fred & Lloydine) should not be claimed by me.  History (too) should not be claimed by me (either) unless I was there for the history or unless it is about my opinion on historical events, meaning “a blog” (by me).  So, I’ve added the category “blog post” to make the difference clear.

This (web) site is a diary, a record of my life, a collection of historic dates of personal interest to me and perhaps to you and others.  The web may be public, but with a level of content that easily may exceed “information overload” the site may do more to confuse the average viewer than to enlighten or inform him or her.  Hence, websites imitate life and life imitates websites (as clearly demonstrated by the typical buyer and consumer that consumes stuff and not ideas).

So yes, I am trying to undertake a major unloading, an unloading of stuff and papers and memorabilia that is no longer memorable in a good way and is getting in the way of a new and better tomorrow.

Every thing that is bought and kept and saved is saved for a reason.  It is either a projection of ones self (image) or it is a tangible memory (memento) of something now past.  Things inherently are against change.  Things lock in past images of oneself; things preserve memories whose useful shelf-life has often expired.

Sure, some people acquire things because they see things as an investment.  They buy furniture, stocks, bonds, cars and maybe even an acre or two in Rainbow City.  Some people buy jewelry, some buy expensive watches, some buy suits and ties that tie one to the past under the illusion that the value of a wardrobe might last forever.

In 1978, just before I got married at the age 30, I only had the contents of a small footlocker to my name.  My footlocker was not pink, had a “handle”, but no wheels.  It cost about $19 new.   My “wardrobe” consisted of a pair of boots and one pair of black shoes that I wore to work and a pair of thongs, (not zories) because I’ve always liked them.  They sold both thongs and zories at the post PX in Seoul, Korea in 1960 when I was there.  Now zorie means thong and thong means sexy underwear (not sexless footwear) and the memory of my footlocker has been all but ruined.

But I will continue anyway.  I had a shirt or two, a pair of pants, a toothbrush and a pair of (almost) designer jeans.  I had an oriental type jacket that was warm and stylish and super-cool that my (future) wife hated and so in time I gave it away, which left me with just my leather jacket (a little bit like this, I should have saved a picture).  It (the oriental one) was made of a plain off-white material that was quilted, darker material at the cuffs of the sleeves and one wore it unbuttoned and open, like a jacket, and not stuff-shirted like this picture of an oriental type tuxedo.

I had a few drawing tools (for graphics and maps) and a small pile of USGS maps carefully cut up into “DU’s” (Degree Units) as the use of “DU” meaning depleted uranium had not yet become really known (then).  It doesn’t matter now, because everyone uses Google Maps and not the geographical reference system that I had created, had bought (into), but had not yet sold (nor would I ever succeed in selling it).  Of everything I owned then I still have the maps, but I can’t help but wonder why.

So now it is “good riddance to bad rubbish”; not rubbish in the usual meaning, meaning useless, but rubbish in what it now means to me as life moves a lot further along.

I do yearn for those days when what I had was so little and at the same time so great.  I had my whole life in front of me (as they say), blank pages, each day full of new possibilities in a life (much of which) was yet to be written.  I now keep endless pages (literally), documenting and recounting the life since lived and through (inherited) archives of the life I lived before.  I have letters, old photographs, photographs of others as they got old, aged, joined the world of the aging as we all must do (until we die).

We can’t take it with us, but we are called to preserve what we might need during the duration, to endure, to carry on.  It’s a fine line between insurance and inventory, between utter abandon and copying the lifestyle of the pharaohs.  Would Ramses have done it differently if he could have shared his whole life with “posts” and pictures on the web in real time while he was alive, not waiting until centuries of being dead.

The good news is that there is a reward to sorting, throwing.  Old ideas can be posted up as “history” (which often is the only thing they are).  New ideas can emerge from the ruins, from the edifice that opens once all the scaffolding is gone.  It’s like letting go of the wires in an age of wireless (communication, puppets, whatever).  Here’s to recycling all that aluminum and copper and (maybe) letting all those microwaves flow in.  Oh gee.

So, letting go isn’t always easy.  It takes a lot of time to sort, to evaluate, to let go of who you are, or were, and to let in a little room for change, for tomorrow, for a future that is still unwritten but that might be better than what was written before today.

Free maps in exchange for a little postage, seems fair.  But I offer you a word of warning – you can’t get there from there.  The place names may be the same, but every road and city is now different and it is different people that now occupy all the ancient haunts.  One can’t go back, which means we are only left with forward.

2013.01.11 – 23:25.

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