Thursday, December 22, 2011

"They" get "us" with their words

"Spill" is tangled with intent. And the way intent is used — particularly in the tales of war-death-destruction-despair — is often misleading (see, right there, the way I used misleading... is very misleading).

Easy example: when I make cocktails, I'm very often shaking for four. Squeezing four drinks into one batch brings the spirits near the stainless steel brim — the danger zone. When straining the sweet relief into glasses, some initial spillage can be expected — you know how this works... the shaker is just a little too full, the liquids surge to the edge, and if I don't pour fast enough, some of that icy tequila is going to run down the side of the shaker, de-stressing the tabletop. So... did I spill? Of course not. I had too much booze in the shaker to avoid the small spill, I knew this, and poured it anyway.

If the result of an action is known, speaking of intent is nonsense.

So when Royal Dutch Shell spills dumps oil onto West African land and water... every. single. day... it is not doing so by accident — therefore spill confuses what actually happened (which, of course, is in the interests of Royal Dutch Shell and the Culture of Destruction). As always, the ethical standards of having a Blogger account are high, so I'll be fair with Shell:
Apparently predicting interest in the spill would grow, Shell already had taken out Internet advertising Thursday on search engines, directing those searching for the spill to their website. Jonathan French, a Shell spokesman in London, said the advertising came in the "interests of full transparency" so people can read the company's updates on the spill.
Which brings me to Santa's big gift (assuming, like me, your portfolio is heavy on uranium futures), the new Westinghouse AP1000 is approved and ready to boil! I love the blue, but why did they do the outside in brown? Hopefully they'll have more colors for next year's model. At least it's safe:

But the chairman of the commission, Gregory B. Jaczko, said that all of the panel’s safety concerns had been fully addressed.
“The design provides enhanced safety margins through use of simplified, inherent, passive, or other innovative safety and security functions, and also has been assessed to ensure it could withstand damage from an aircraft impact without significant release of radioactive materials,-” he said in a statement.

Warning: Pass this point, and your face will look like mine
Well, if Dr. Jaczko (he is a doctor, I hope) thinks the safety margins are enhanced... and it's airplane-proof... we can get back to designing the signs that will remain coherent for... for... forever. It really sums it all up, does it not? A culture that can create death on a chronological scale so hilariously vast that it feels compelled (it's the right thing to do) to pass along warnings to our — it'll take you about 45 minutes, but please say "great" about 3,000 times — grandchildren. They are the future.

Nuclear Power is almost all-the-way-back. O-Bah-Ma, O-Bah-Ma, O-Bah-Ma

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Birth of a Ham Monster: Seeking, Eradicating, Balancing Desire

The black cat — prodigious leaper, lover and fighter, combatant in games of "chicken" played against actual chickens — has been consumed by a new desire. Ham. He tasted ham, chewed ham, swallowed ham... and then something happened. The experience required repeating. It wouldn't be "nice" to have a little more ham some time, the strong-legged cat doesn't simply respond positively to the offer of ham, he pursues it. He requires it. Without it, he cannot be content. So what does he do? He sits at the refrigerator. And he demands to have his desire satisfied. For five years, this cat has known where his food is kept, yet, he never showed any desire for it. He ate it. Sure. But he didn't desire it... why not?  Desire? What could I mean...

I like desire as: an expression of a need to pursue that which is required. In other words, something you need (not want) but don't always or easily obtain.

The black cat always had his regular, everyday food. It sits in two places: wet food in the kitchen, dry food on the shelves outside the bathroom door. Ham doesn't follow this pattern. Ham is kept away, in a massive, mysterious, humming tank. So, I ask: is the black cat in a "good" situation. Should I, as keeper-of-the-ham, nurture this, or find a way to end it?

Recently, quite recently, I was informed — by a very confident person — that "people" should eliminate desire. I didn't know what the fuck they were talking about, so I asked: huh? To which I received a reply along the lines of: be content with what you have, satisfy your basic needs, and wish for no more.

Now, I know (I think I know) what they were selling: a fairly standard anti-consumerism idea. These are common messages, no? "If you think that the new car or new gadget will make you happy, you're mistaken!" And, of course, relationships with other subjectivities certainly offers a more varied experience than relationships with objects, like cars or telephones. But what about desire? I think the complexities that desire induces can be quite delightful. An example:

I desire — require but can not always have — at least an hour of alone time everyday. Some days (such as today) this is very easy to come by, and others (like tomorrow) it simply is not going to happen. But wait a second! Surely, if I require some alone time, I'll get it, right? Easy enough. All of tomorrow's car-travel, chit-chat, family time... just skip out on some of it. And I could do that — what is stopping me? Desire! A competing desire. A desire to have the family not think I'm a disagreeable asshole, incapable of going-along with the structure of family days. This is something I require (truly, despite all evidence to the contrary, if I couldn't at least obtain the status of: not a completely disagree asshole... this would be an unsettling situation).

Leaving me with this: Desire is delightful, it requires we pay attention to our own needs, and make compromises and adjustments when desires come into conflict. This is a life, conflicting desires. As for the cat, well, I require a sense that I'm feeding the cat food that won't result in bad health (salted cured meats probably fit the bill) but I also require that he shut the fuck up, so here comes some ham, Ham Monster.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ripley's: In some parts of the world, the rulers make the peons do shit they don't want to do?

North Korean honcho dead, what have we learned? New Yorker knows (fun and easy game: change the proper nouns to make these nonsense sentiments sum-up Modern Death Captialism and the waking reality of the American Non-Dream):
Mandatory public crying. Those three words sum up about as tidily as possible the ghastly bondage—the incessant psychic and physical torture—that the Kim dynasty has made the North Korean way of life for more than half a century. No sooner did the state news agency release the news of Kim Jong-il’s death than the public plazas of Pyongyang began to fill with neatly assembled ranks of citizens, weeping and wailing on command, while state television recorded the spectacle, which was promptly uploaded to YouTube. Early in the most heavily circulated clip, the fakeness of the grieving is obvious: you can see the captive mourners forcing the sobs, moaning unconvincingly, and squeezing their eyes to produce tears. But by about half way through the clip, the atmosphere of absolute bereavement looks real: men and women prostrate themselves, writhing and howling in what appears to be acute and authentic agony. Here in the space of just a few minutes of videotape we see the method and the madness of the Kims’ grim dominion over North Korea enacted in miniature—we watch a lie become reality.
Apparently, in North Korea, there is an expectation  (I'm gonna try explaining this to you, but you'll be as baffled as a 83 year old New Guinean woman trying to learn the ins-n'-outs of being a sales associate at Baby Gap... you ain't gonna get it on the first try, so read slowly) there is an expectation that you have to offer fake sentiment in order to flatter your superiors ego! You can't just do your own thing, oh no: there is a code of conduct which demands a very limited range of acceptable social behavior. I know I know I know... fucking unbelievable, right? Like, you gots to fabricate yo' personality and shit, it's like all the peoples are a fiction, an invention — IL-LEGIT!
You know how in America, when the boss is trying to pawn off some bullshit, some new protocols that guarantee everyone in the cubicle of cubicles has to press a bunch more buttons that don't need to be pressed, we all tell the boss to get fucked! We ain't doing it! And yo' breath be stinkin' too! That's how America works, all genuine all-the-time.

Here's my favorite line in the article:
But what has always made North Korea really frightening is that, from within its own twisted worldview, Pyongyang behaves rationally. Never has such a small, economically weak state succeeded in making such a big deal of itself for so long. One of the main reasons for North Korea’s endurance is that South Korea is terrified of its collapse. Although the Korean War has never officially ended—and more than eleven million Korean families remain divided by the partition of the Korean peninsula—it has been Seoul’s policy for several decades now to try to prevent a North Korean implosion rather than to promote one. Why? Because South Korea, having watched West Germany pay for the integration of the former-Communist East Germany, is terrified of the cost that integrating the blighted North would entail. So our great ally in East Asia is complicit in propping up our great enemy there.

Our enemy?! Holy shit, it's almost like the lie has become the reality. Know this, dear reader, North Korea is a sham bogeyman, and the sham bogeyman is the absolute greatest ally of the American ruling class, FOR-EV-ER.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

To the embassy!

Got it from Getty Images
Ugh, I am sooo jealous. Guy in the back left doing the grunt face (and the police guy in the riot helmet is helping, no?), next to him, shoulders dropped, torso angled — clearly steering this Royal Coat of Arms, and the front left (handsome and laughing?) is clearly too excited to be anything other than the leader of the team. I hope these guys live to tell the grandbabies about this one... over, and over again.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Science, you are the worst, please go away

Here's a definition that, with a reading or two, reveals the pathology of SCIENCE!! Ready to define? (a very scientific activity, no?)

The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

Like a sadistic stalker, who can find no pleasure unless it "knows" its subject... SCIENCE!! I'm more than a little pissed that it's so hard to de-bug my system, for you — SCIENCE!! — have fucked me up good.

This is, as I recall, what happened to me:

4 days ago, I lamented that a green mug — nice for tea drinkin' — had gone missing. The powerful one and I looked around for it... didn't find it. That was that... who gives a shit? Just a mug. I think nothing of it.

I shower Thursday morning. When I'm dried and ready for clothes, I make my way to the pants drawer. In this drawer, I have maybe 8 pairs of folded pants. But this time, I have maybe 8 pairs of pants and... and And AND... the green mug — sitting, as if nothing were a bother, upon my pants pile.

This freaks me out a bit. I wake up the powerful one — not very subtly, I'll add — demanding to know: Did you find the green mug? Did you find the green mug? Groggy, the powerful one tells me she did not.

It's in my pants drawer! How did it get here? And it's not just in there... it's sitting on top!

I'll throw out a few possibilities:

1) I found the mug (which I don't remember doing) and I decided to place it in the pants drawer (don't remember doing) and then I went ahead and put it there (obviously).

This is surely not impossible, but I don't have a history (how would I know?) of doing things I don't remember doing (I know, I know)

2) The powerful one, or the roommate found it, put it in the drawer, and lied to me about it — as they're both humans, they're certainly liars... but they're terrible liars, and I can't put any faith in this possibility.

3) A human or animal put it there, without being noticed, or informing anyone that they're "into" sneaking into rooms, and putting mugs in drawers.

4) Magic? Spirits? Whatever, you want to call it. Note: I am not saying that the green mug mystery is inexplicable. Absolutely not. What I am saying: I lack the knowledge or wisdom to explain it.

Literally, I am incapable of understanding what happened. That's the explanation I prefer, and believe to be "correct". Something happened beyond my ability to know or comprehend.

Also, that this the conspicuous movement of the mug is a message, from someone or something that wanted to send me a message, saying, roughly:

Attention Jerkoff Cyborg: You know nothing. You don't know how to listen. If you learn to listen, you might be able to learn a thing or two, perhaps even develop a relationship with other things in this world... but as of right now, you're a fucking idiot. Enjoy, Mover-of-the-mug.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Game Over (or not). Is this a good game?

Sooo... it's Barry O's turn to roll the dice and move his pieces: shake shake shake click dick rest... a six! What will he do? Troops to Australia? Uh... okay... okay... let me think for a minute. Eureka!!

Nice move Barry O, nice move indeed, get the good boys a little closer to our precious Uranium — well done! Everybody who loves lots of energy cheer for Barry! (deafening fucking roar)

India gets their peaceful uranium, we sure as shit already have ours locked up, but now we can sleep a little easier knowing our precious uranium is safe... so safe. And since nobody gives a shit about Fuku... Fuku... ah, I can't remember, uranium prices have been spiking lately... and that's all well and good — probably a money-making-opportunity!

Afterward, I got a chance to chat with the good President Obama about his lucky six:

So tell me President/Viceroy, why Australia?

President Obama: Well, the Ruskies have fucked us pretty good on the natural gas ball field. Their God-less Team Gazprom are exceptionally well-coached, very disciplined, and hey... what can I say, they've got an ass ton of natural gas talent — between the Ruskies, the lil' Ruskies, and those evil Iranians, they've really got us over a pipeline, you know? (gets a little squirmy) The Nabucco pipeline was a Hail-Mary (crosses himself, awkwardly) and we fucked it up good... what good is a big ass pipeline if we don't have any gas to put in it? We're a little embarrassed to have overlooked that detail.

Anyway, so yeah... how bout that six I rolled? Australia! We're all really excited.

Mr. Viceroy, can you stay for one more question?

Viceroy Obama: As long as you don't ask me about the shit normal people whine and complain about... I have to talk about that bullshit all afternoon (rolls his eyes)

No, no, no... of course not. Our viewers aren't interested in any of that, rather, we want to know, what's the latest on Pipeline XL?

President Obama (fighting a big shit-eating grin): Oh, come on now (gives me a light punch on the shoulder) you know we're "reviewing" (actually makes air quotes) all those tough issues, I'm sure a well-intentioned meeting of the minds, get everyone around the same table, and we'll put any concerns about XL (makes a "raise the roof" gesture... dating himself) to rest. XL! EX L!

A comment on the above silliness:

The energy and resource game will continue. The wealthy ventriloquists will get their dummies to say exactly what they'd like, and another beer will be removed from the fridge.

A lack of imagination and motivation means — for now — everyone keeps going to work. The machine continues.

Will I let my job-self cannibalize my "real"-self (quotes note the absurdity of the dissonance) in exchange for a psychically numbed existence and life-sustaining-"resources"? My answer is: hopefully not for much longer... but YES. And I'm supposed to be a radical, or something? Bullshit.

Other than under it's own weight: clean water dirty or gone, healthy soil a memory no one has, and energy sources burned up (which is coming soon enough, and all the pain that comes with):

These systems will only collapse — ONLY (that's right, making a big claim) — when hundreds of millions (yep) people decide they no longer want to play. They no longer want to sell their time. They no longer want an utterly destructive job (teaching school, for example) to cannibalize their very existence in exchange for access to the resources which facilitate a refrigerated existence. Obviously, that breaking point could come quickly... but as of now... NOT EVEN FUCKING CLOSE! Am I wrong?

And with good reason: the system cares for us. It gives us our food, our water, our stuff, our identity (who is to say it's bad?). And it — very conveniently — makes it almost impossible (or at least foolish for a homo economicus) to go another route — the road less traveled is closed. The social hurdle is fucking enormous. The logistical-avoid-being-arrested-for-not-following-the-rules hurdle is nearly as high.

So shut the fuck up about all this bullshit, and expose yourself (that's right) and others to the fucking nightmare that is modern life. Smash a strangers phone and tell them, you're welcome. Stomp on Richard Dawkins toes. Do not vote for someone who is designed to represent you and millions of other people that will never come into contact with each other. The next time you hear someone ask a child, "what do you want to be when you grow up" (and the answer is obviously supposed to be a job... what job do you want TO BE), scream in that person's face: YOU. ARE. A. FUCKING. ZOMBIE. Leave that little human alone.

At the very least, it'll break the monotony.

The moldy torn rag is very valuable

I'm on a small field — modern lawn maintenance machines have been here before — three friends are along as well. The field is a fenced circle, two soccer goals face each other. The rules of our game: each pair is trying to score a goal... hands and feet are both allowed... and we're playing with one pleasingly new top-o-da-line ball. We play.

Before long two more balls — unfathomably fancy, they are, even better than our original ball — appear on the field. The 2 vs. 2 structure of the game unwinds... for now, 3 of the 4 players can blast shots into undefended goals. This goes on for some time. As the fourth ball-less player struggles to get hold of one, and mimic the others ferocity for "goals".

I become tired. I leave the field. I find a bathroom. While peeing, I notice a picture hanging on the adjacent bathroom mirror (it is hilariously fitting, that of all the images within this dream, who or what this picture captured escapes me, I have no memory at all, but I do know, whatever it was, the response was melting nostalgia. Knees buckled. I sit down).

Time passes. I sit.

I return to the field. Things have changed. Our small field is now full of players, perhaps a few hundred people, barely enough space to freely extend one's arms, and the delightful ostentatious soccer balls are gone. In their place: a small, wet, moldy rag. Reluctantly, I re-enter the field, the lone gate behind me vanishes... we are here to stay, and I want that rag.

Monday, October 31, 2011

IOZ will always be my favorite b/c he so damn funny... but

Like ya'll-most everything: "you gotta hear man... you had to hear their early stuff":

From ye-bout four years ego:

The Eleventh Commandment

Why do people obey? Out of habit, and out of fear. But since habit is often just a symptom of fear, it's really fear alone. Fear of opprobium; fear of ostracization; fear of economic hardship; fear of giving offense; fear of arrest; fear of reprimand; fear of imprisonment; fear of death; fear of loss; fear of appearing foolish; fear of being ignored; fear of drawing too much attention; fear of seeming abnormal; fear of turing out to have been wrong all along. Ad inf.

Obedience is the first learned behavior. No is the first learned language. Socialization and education don't only impart a body of discrete knowledge, but teach children who in their infancy deferred only to their most immediate caregivers to operate in a complex network of subordinations, deferences, and accessions. In school, we learn to navigate these networks of demand. We learn when a parent outranks a teacher and vice versa. We learn to answer to our peers, to our teachers, to the principal above that, to security guards, to police, to familiar adults and unfamiliar adults, to coaches, to other public officials, then to bosses, to coworkers of greater rank, to experts, to the opinions of public figures, to government at all its levels, to the decisions of economic institutions, to creditors, to critics. The list goes on. This education is subtler, more pervasive, and far, far more effective than the other education. It's as thoroughly learned as a first language. Because it's so internalized, we rarely consider how ubiquitous are its uses. At nearly every moment of our waking lives, our minds are involved in determining what is appropriate and what is allowable.

Obedience comes naturally between caregivers and children because of the motivating prospect of withdrawn care. This is a rarely acknowledged fact, for we're relentlessly romantic about childhood. As we age, though, we learn to think of obedience as an altruistic act: a sort of perversion of the principle of non-intervention in the lives of others. "Do unto others as you'd have done unto you." To fail to obey convention; to break the law; to break the rules; to speak out of turn; to commit any number of minor infractions of etiquette or accepted decency; is to act against others. So we're told. It will make them uncomfortable. It will make them late for work. It will make their lives less pleasant. It will cause their days pass less smoothly. It will deny them the pleasures of public accommodation. It's just a mean thing to do.

Thou shalt not slow traffic on the autobahn.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mixing and matching to loosen the strangehold

If, as David Graeber has said, we already — and always — are communists (assuming people operate, quite often, on the idea: "each according to their ability, each according to their need)... and the gift based economy — as outlined by Mauss in The Gift (PDF), and explained in slides here by Dmitry Orlov — is also, to some degree, always present...

Then, how do we accentuate, what do we encourage? How do we bolster one piece of the ever-present whole, while minimizing the less desirable parts of the whole (for instance: the current dominant model of getting stuff you want and need: impersonal consumer capitalism).

Don't be afraid to mix n' match, right? If you can get a good deal from the impersonal capitalist system, take it, and spin it into supporting more exchanges based on reciprocal gifts. An example: I stroll into a bakery, and find a big pile of "day old" breads and muffins or whatever at 1/2 price. Maybe I just baked some bread, and don't feel like I really need it, but perhaps I consider a neighbor or friend who does (and it just so happens, I'll be walking past their place later). So I buy the loaf, I give the loaf away (obviously asking for no payment, and refusing an offer... I don't want this to be a complete transaction, right? It's better that other people owe you favors, just as you want to owe them favors).

Now, this is, quite obviously, not a "fix", or a way to eliminate impersonal consumer capitalism — because that will (probably) never completely go away. But it's a move. And a move I'd bet most of us already make... maybe we try to make it a little more often? Until reciprocal giving inches towards a more common practice. 

So yes: if all these systems of exchange are out there, feel no fear in mixing them together.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The beautiful knowing of dusty under-the-bed socks

After devouring Derrick Jensen's A Language Older than Words I picked a few titles from his bibliography. Findings: Neil Evernden is stunningly smart (this is, of course, based on what knocks my socks off and into a dusty corner under the bed... where those socks discover all kinds of cool ideas (as I type this, I can hear the chickens pecking away, scratching their claws into the grass, doing their thing... soothing sounds).

Anyway, I'm copying some thoughts from Evernden's The Social Creation of Nature. To simplify, the book asks: if we're tasked we "saving the planet", how come nothing seems to stick, and the same ole' shit keeps getting peddled under different names (Conservation, Sustainable Development, blah blah)? And his answer, simplified: when we the people of this culture talk about nature, well... we ain't speakin' the same language. We mean very very different things. And Evernden traces around for about 500 years of socially constructing the idea of what nature is (and, how humans are both involved in and distinctly different from what-we-call nature). I've found it to be a lovely read, and whenever I find myself discussing environmental issues, it's always so obvious that (with almost everything else) extremely diverse presuppositions about exactly what the fuck we're talking about makes discourse difficult. So this book will, I think, help people figure out how to talk about our unexamined assumptions. So here he is discussing nature, symbols and mythology, Roland Barthes:

But we also "speak" of nature through images. It is no accident that nature features prominently in the modern world of advertising, for that industry is largely concerned with effective communication, which inevitably means the effective use of signs. Since advertising requires a powerful means of conveying favorable impressions of the product in question, the possibility of juxtaposing emotionally positive images with those of the product is irresistible. It is not surprising then that nature is used in advertising much as it is in the promotion of a new morality or world-view: as a visible manifestation of normalcy and health.

Nature has become a powerful part of our vocabulary of persuasion. But even that puts it too mildly, for it is often treated as tehe very realm of the absolute. To be associated with nature is to be placed beyond human caprice or preference, beyond choice or debate. When something is "natural" it is "the norm," "the way," "the given." This use of "nature" affords us a means of inferring how people ought to behave—including what objects they ought to associate with, that is, buy. Yet the authority of that usage stems in part from its confusion with the other major use, nature the material given, nature as everything-but-us. In other words, the understanding of nature as the realm of external stuff, which is studied by science, lends an aura of objectivity and permanence to the understanding of nature as norm. The two mingle and interact so that we frequently lose sight of the distinction.

Indeed, one writer in the "communications" field, who has figured prominently in the emergence of the study now called semiotics, essentially equated nature with myth—not myth in the colloquial sense as superstitious or erroneous belief, or as primitive cosmology, but myth as an accepted story of the way the world is. Roland Barthes treats myth as something of a second-order sign, and a sign, in turn, as the useful outcome of the juxtaposition of a "signifier" and a "signified." If we combine a signifier, a rose, for example, with a signified, such as passion, we have the rose as a meaningful sign, as a "passionified rose." Once established, that sign has, as it were, a life of its own: it "means." Similarly,, on a second level we might take that sign as a new signifier which, in montage with a signified, creates a higher-order sign-system or "myth". And the danger of myth is that it will be taken not as a human creation but as an independent entity existing outside the realm of culture. It will be perceived, in other words, as nature, as a "factual system" when it is actually a "semiological system." And when we are able to remove the impression of human agency from our description of the world and insinuate a natural reality, we will appear to be dealing with indisputable facts.

But Barthes makes a surprising assertion in is discussion of mythology: he speaks of the need to "establish Nature is as historical." This seems contradictory, since we normally contrast the two as distinct and opposing realms. But he is speaking of the social use to which the concept nature is put, and the mixing of the two realms is a phenomenon of considerable importance. Barthes is especially sensitive to the creation of a "nature" myth, since mythmaking seems to him to be the way in which social ideals—and social injustices—become entrenched. They are immune from analysis or criticism once tehy cease to appear as human concepts and instead become perceived as eternal givens. In other words, once something is perceived as lying in the realm of nature rather than in the realm of society or history, it seems beyond criticism. By definition, it has nothing to do with us: we are not its architects. Why criticize a sunrise or a frog? That's just the way a frog or sunrise is, through nobodies fault. In fact, that is the way they were meant to be—an odd intuition, given that nature is no longer thought to have purposes or intentions. But this is the paradox: we resist the possibility of there being anything "human" in nature, including purpose and meaning, but then we proceed to use nature as a refugium for social ideals.

Back to me: useful, no? As it not unusual for me to stumble into a conversation in which  "that's just human nature..." kind of thinking and claims are bandied about, it's nice to have Evernden come through and clean up some of the rough edges... or, more exactly... he roughs up the smooth edges.

No smooth edges! That's where the bullshit is kept.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Incapable of Honesty: Everything needs to grow

Quite important, I'd say, to offer ourselves this occasional reminder:

An entity that is controlled by their stock price OR any entity that is driven by debt and interest — 1) stock price: any corporation 2) Debt: individuals, families, smaller businesses, governments — MUST GROW in order to survive financially. Industrial growth requires the destruction of the natural world on a large scale.

Is the path beaten? We're clear on this?

This is very bad, because growth isn't possible without intense destruction (and there is less left to destroy everyday), and the money we're using isn't real (by which I mean, it isn't directly connected to a debt, and there is no intention of ever repaying it) Side note: I recently saw a link to this: an asshole you might have heard of, Peter Schiff, laughing about how the American Debt can and will never be repaid. That is obviously true, but that idea is quite useful in getting your head wrapped around the idea that money isn't real.

Financial collapse has already taken place. It's just that the very powerful have a vested interest in pretending it didn't (creating more fake money, "qualitative easing" etc.), and they're going to consolidate their power, while using a bunch of misdirection and over-the-average-Joe's head nonsense about the nature of things.

Back to the point I'm attempting to hit: further growth (on a global scale) is impossible. Can't be done. Thanks. So when these assholes, like Barack Obama, talk about a Jobs Bill, let me translate:

Obama: We're going to take fake financial wealth (maybe... and just a little bit) from the rich, and then pay for the rest by creating fake money (the so-called American military and banks enforces the need for other countries to accept this money: see Hussein, Qaddafi) in order to get more people to work — often doing not at all useful things — so that they can have some of that fake money. And, so long as the fake money training keeps chugging, it can be used to get you a roof, food, a car, and whatever bullshit you deem "needed".

That is the plan. It is, needless to say, a very very very very very bad plan for the overall well-being of the planet.

Here's a plan worth working towards:

1) Dump property rights in the fucking trashcan. Over a million homes sit empty in this country. Most of these homes are shitty (not because they aren't "nice" but because they are designed with the accoutrements of industrial society) but they're better than camping outside in the winter. Idea: try to start sharing land in your neighborhood, if this is possible, for projects. Also, just start using city land as if it were everyone's to use. Do this with all unoccupied land, if you can think of something to do with it. In a minute, I'm going to pick-axe the grass in the unused parking strip across the way from the place I live, throw some cardboard over it, and add a few inches of compost (sheet-mulching) — in the spring it will be ready for seeds. A little less food that has to be trucked = preparing for the world we'll be living in.

If you're going to participate politically, focus your attention on property rights (I know, not easy)... because any talk about MORE JOBS and SHARING THE (financial) WEALTH is fucking insane. Work for money (jobs) is a shitty paradigm.

People are sick and dying because of stress and disgusting polluted food. Give everyone a home, and we'll take a little nick out of the stress factor... health just went up.

2) Stop thinking selling your time for money is a "good" thing (even if you like your job, in which case, that's great). I know it is currently necessary... I know I know I know. Unless you're willing to nomad (essentially illegal in itself in this place) you need to make money somehow — but stop thinking it is a good thing. It isn't. It is later than you think, you'll die soon, exchanging your time for money is a bad idea. What would you exchange your time for? Nothing! Which is not to say you don't do things... goodness no! Plenty of work to do. Obviously. But your life is not a fucking quid pro quo, damn it — especially one where the shitty end of the stick is exclusively yours to carry.

3) Turn off the fucking television. It is showing you the creatures of the corporations (media and the corporations who advertise there) who absolutely rely on their stock price. As we've already covered, they are inherently insane, and you'd be wise to get away from their message.

4) Use the computer to help you not need the computer. Habits are hard to break. Good luck. Use the machine to get yourself interested in growing food, building/modifying/repairing shelters, and then go do it. Oh, wait... plenty of other cool little hobbies can be picked up online, as you ween yourself away from the 'puter. I've recently taken to watching online drawing tutorials and practicing — fun!

Alright, I was going to ramble more, but the rain has stopped gushing, I'm getting out there.


(you are already prepared for) The Meaning of Life

Many have tried to reduce The Meaning of Life to a quotable (and ideally patentable) phrase or two, and in trying they did... they did... you know, something.

I — in just a moment — will render all past attempts meaningless, phony, incomplete.

You are ready? Yes. I am ready? Yes. Here we go:

The Meaning of Life, stated simply, is to: Prove Your Worth to All Those BETTER Than You!

Already Done, just follow the plan
Thankfully, our betters have already put the test in place. You and I, She and He, we're all taking the Meaning of Life test... today, yesterday, and tomorrow. Let's check the scorecard.

Will I prove to my betters that I know how to be a "team-player"? You're god damn right I will! I've played for TEAM "US against THEM" since high school, where I learned to mercilessly crush my opponent on the ball field!

Will I prove that I ignore my body, and that external measures like clocks and feed-times are how I prefer to sleep and eat? Just look at me, do I look like someone who listens to their body (farts, from years of blindly eating that which disagrees with them)? Look at these bags under my eyes! Do I look 50? God damn right I do... you'll be pleased to know, I'm barely 34 years old. I'm going to milk this body for every penny it can squeeze!

Will I prove to them that I know how to "carry myself"... just as everybody else? Here are my receipts from clothing stores found in every city in the land — and look, I used a major bank card. I walked past a homeless person this morning and didn't even — not for a moment — stop thinking about my career goals. And... I'm fucking green baby, as we speak, I'm climbing the waiting list for a Nissan Leaf... my Prius is going in the fucking trash can!

Will I prove that the I don't enjoy the drugs that my betters find un-fit for the masses? Here's my piss, my hair, and you can even take a lap around my asshole if you like... whatever you need! I'm drug-free! Now pass the slave-made sugar and coffee, I have some papers (with abstract figures representing the lives of plants and animlas) to push around.

Will I prove that I have no spine whatsoever, and no matter what piece of shit new deal comes my way, I'll accept it? A certain nothing is always better than an uncertain something... that's my mantra! Let's keep going, for King and Country!

And ladies, don't forget to smile, makes the boys feel better.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

My day at Occupy Seattle

When the sun shines, and air and sun team up to create warmth — in October, mind you, with the cool daily drizzle ready to dominant the coming months — Seattle people would be wise to make-a-day-of-it. I went-a-protestin'.

Now, I've been to a few protests, and in those experiences, I've found it quite difficult to maintain interest and energy (chanting the same shit over and over, listening to rally speakers... I end up tip-toeing away within an hour... and on a sunny day? Fuck! I knew I wouldn't last long). Therefore, I went a slightly different route: character performance.

I figured I'd flip the argument — knowing that "bankers are bad", and "we're getting screwed by the rich and powerful" would be a dominant theme of the day — I designed to become the rich and powerful, and offer the good people of Seattle thanks for all they do for me... I became The Happy Banker.

The costume was simple: a dark suit was out of the question, so I went with the bounciest business attire I had on hand (pink and blue tie). I made a little paper-sun cutout, wrote "It's Always Sunny in Banker-ville" on one side, drew a sunglassed smily face on the other, and used a coat hanger to attach it to my shirt. I was reluctant to make a sign, but ultimately did, both sides were notes of thanks:

A) Dear American Mythos, Your Worship of the Rich and Hatred for the Poor makes me a Happy Banker!
B) Dear Police and Politicians, You Protect My Right to Pillage and Privatize the Planet. You're the best, all my love, Happy Banker.

The plan was to stroll around Seattle's shopping district (the Occupy Seattle protest/rally was in the same space) and thank people for all the banker-loving behavior they engage in. The protest itself, as expected, was concentrated in one area, with very little protestor to non-protestor interaction... there were a few circles where people seemed to be entrenched in discussion... but the majority of people were quietly standing around awaiting instructions (as you do). So, I jumped into character and went at it... here are a few of my go-to moves:

1) Chanting: "Spend! Spend! Spend! Spend! (as I danced down the street)
2) Encouraging people, "remember to keep voting for whichever party you vote for... a vote for them is a vote for me!"
3) Telling drivers (lots of rolled-down windows yesterday) that is was time for a new car (I only yelled this to people driving new cars)
4) Chanting: "Impulse Buy! Impulse Buy! Just put it on the credit card! Impulse Buy!"
5) Simply asking people if they used a bank card today, when they said yes (as the almost always did), I thanked them.
6) People that were either sitting or standing still would get a "why aren't you spending money?" or "Go shopping! Right now!"
7) Standing in front of the houses of JP Morgan and Bank of America, I demanded passers-by "give thanks and praise to your betters"

And a lot more of that kind of stuff. The pace proved exhausting. Most of my exchanges took place in the 4 to 5 seconds in which you can speak to someone as you walk past each other, and in such quick succession that I only had time to gasp a breath and readjust my smile before finding my next good consumer to praise — all told, I had hundreds of these exchanges. I took a harder line a few times. Standing in front of The GAP, I celebrated the mostly young-ish who entered and exited regarding how GREAT! it is to be an impulsive clothes-shopper... as opposed to the "unfortunate indignity" that Vietnamese seamstresses experience for 64 cents an hour. Needless to say, those exchanges contained some less-than-playful venom, combined with the "Huh?" quizzical glances from the kids who shop at GAP... and I returned to my safer style within a few minutes.

Stressing how idiotic consumerism is, rather than its effects on the distance people and places who are disproportionately crapped on, felt like a weak move on my part... but, I supposed most people would be more affected by the insinuation that they are foolish and wasting their own life rather than criticizing a slightly indirect series of actions that steps on a foreign stranger and the land base (because, ya know, nobody really gives a shit about any of that?).

The overall reception ranged from indifference to smiles and laughs (only a few "get a life" style retorts). Ostensibly, the pedestrians in Seattle's shopping district understood what I was up to... they knew I was mocking our often mindless consumerism and the disgusting nature of global capitalism, but since I wasn't threatening,   perhaps my message might have had a little more room to sneak in? I dunno. The 5 o'clock March went one way and I was going the other, I headed home, pleased with my performance, happy to have been able to enjoy the day.

Despite all my fun, the reality of this fucked up culture was most apparent as I traveled to and from the protest... daily evidence of the destruction, for those willing to look. I took the bus. From my house, there are two bus lines that'll get me downtown in about 10 minutes. One line is black and latino, poor and depressed — it runs early and often. The other takes a path along the water, catering to the well-to-do beneficiaries of the dominator culture — it runs only once an hour only on weekend afternoons (for obvious reasons). I took the fancy bus on the way up. The Happy Banker received full smiles and waves hello, people chatted me up and "admired" my action. This was predictable, good progressive behavior. On the way back, I took the depressed and oppressed route. Nobody speaking (certainly not to me). Heads down. Eyes averted. Everybody looked tired. I didn't see one person who looked to be enjoying their day.

That's what we should all be making a stink about. The permanent under-class that fuels a economic system designed to destroy everything and one it touches.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Life Alert!

On the couch with my sweet love, eating sunflower seeds, enjoying music, watching the baseball performance. Commercial comes on, I've seen this product before. The volume is off, so it's just the images.

Worried old lady looks spooked, old person writhing on the ground (image gets fuzzy and stained an odd color, to let us know the old person is damaged), next we see "good news, relief" face, fire fighter and paramedics, happily ever after... you know this ad?

I've probably seen an ad for Life Alert! a few hundred times (I watched the Price is Right with my grandparents for years), and never before has this it induced the recognition of what the advertisement is so clearly announcing:

Elderly American humans live alone, and in a space that they believe is just waiting to claim their life — their own home. Scared and destroyed... press a button and someone will come save you — this is a thrashing condemnation of the health of this culture.

What the fuck? Life ALERT! Their website claims that they, quote: save a life from catastrophe every 11 minutes!

Horrifying. Frail old people living alone, living alone, living alone? Old people live alone... bizarre.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Warden at Kid Prison Calls for a Walk-Out

School is the death machine — totally fucked. I know we all "know" this, but please, I ask you, spend a moment with that nugget of truth. Dream on it if you will. Don't allow your self to idealize what school "could be". It isn't that. It is the systematic normalization of coercion, or, more directly: the way kids learn to sell their time to something they don't want to do... the beginning of their end.

Get a move on: save the little ones from that which poisons them. Say something to someone, especially if that someone has kids.

Where does the critical mass kick in? Just pull your kid out, quit your job or whatever if you must and get a parent/child business of sorts (what?)... inaction is our great weakness — the reasonableness that instructs sending your kids to school is insanity.

They are your children! And that school is a house of the dominant culture. Don't let them go to that house. Come up with something less awful. You can do it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Boom... For Real?

Pardon me? They didn't kill the black guy? Oh, I see... yet... they didn't kill him yet (Hours later, Troy Davis, murdered by the state, with help from...)

If this is a "wait for the angries to go home" ploy (like the smell coming from the not-at-all-the-same-thing delay in Tim DeChristopher's sentencing), I'd expect a little blow-back.

Any doubt that this delay is a Justice-say-what? cost/benefit move? We sure would love to do the right thing here — poison this nigger black african american (colorblind era) guy's body — a body that had the chutzpah to send violence up the ladder of authority — until all life ceases... but is it worth it to follow our hardened principle of destroying human beings with black skin? It sure seems like a lot of people are acting like "doing-what-we-do" is a problem... Let us pray.

If they didn't already have a riot on their hands, they will now — assuming they ultimately go along with the death ritual (which is not to say I'm getting all ginned up with riot punch, but check it: since killing the colored folks is this culture's most sacred rite, it's only fitting that this would be the catalyst for a BOOM FOR REAL.

I'll go back outside now.


As a below bonus, I was generous enough to transcribe the Important President Teaching Announcement from this morning, or whenever:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

searching for a speeding ticket in the Mega-Macro-Cosmos

In what I'd call misfortune, I recently recalibrated my taste buds to the moribund flavors of mass reality — see previous post as a guide to the things I was dipping my head into.

Energies now revamped, possible sights of gettin' weird anchor the moment. The alien has revisited me, ready to be further metabolized.

PKD and Terence, I offer a nod for the connections they've bridged:

I actually had to develop a love of the disordered & puzzling, viewing reality as a vast riddle to be joyfully tackled, not in fear but with tireless fascination. What has been most needed is reality testing, & a willingness to face the possibility of self-negating experiences: i.e., real contradictions, with something being both true & not true.The enigma is alive, aware of us, & changing. It is partly created by our own minds: we alter it by perceiving it, since we are not outside it. As our views shift, it shifts. In a sense it is not there at all (acosmism). In another sense it is a vast intelligence: in another sense it is total harmonia and structure (how logically can. it be all three? Well, it is).
That's PKD via a McKenna essay

And here's a nearby mushroom I've had my eye on on:

It's called Coprinus comatus (sleepy astronomer?): common and I suppose mild (relative to the more astonishing fungi)... however, it exhibits a stunning, and speedy, physical cycle. You can see how the gills are deteriorating into a black drop with mucous-like texture. It has released its spores, and will be disintegrating further quite rapidly, perhaps I'll update.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I sho' wish weez had the Al-Juzeruh channel

The A-Rab tee vee show got a website too! Kind of boring though... they showing da same stuff weez getting on our shows...
World powers rush in to rebuild Libya
By unfreezing assets and offering loans, governments from London to Beijing are extending help to the 'new' Libya.
As the endgame of the Muammar Gaddafi regime plays out in Libya, members of the international community - from world powers to oil companies - are gathering to discuss their respective roles in the country's future. Decades of partial isolation imposed by Gaddafi have left the oil-rich country's economy reeling from a raft of sanctions and its government in a diplomatic no man's land.

The rebel government, or National Transitional Council (NTC), has said it intends to change all that. In comments published on Wednesday in an Italian newspaper, NTC chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil said the "new" Libya would build "strong relations with other countries, based on mutual respect and co-operation". Going by Wednesday's flurry of diplomatic action, foreign countries appeared eager to reciprocate.

The enjoyability of listening to assholes talk-up Al-Jazeera as some form of "real" or perhaps even "honest" news source (that's right... NEWS!) has risen exponentially in the last 6 months or so, you surely agree? 

So do call Comcast, or whoever, and demand — hell, write your Congressperson — that we have Al-Jazeera too (we earned it!)... without it we won't know what's going on! And that would be terrible... because other people's business is the only thing worth knowing.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Stop Making Money!

Go get some paint (don't fucking buy it, scrounge it up) — some white spray paint being your easiest move... it's around. Find one of these signs, and tag it.

STOP is already there. Just add "making money"... and walk away. Fuck, skip away... cuz you just had some fun.



Monday, August 15, 2011

Worth Repeating... and repeat

Take both arms, bend them into an air hug, stick this place in the middle, and squeeze it good. The same ole' question: "what can I — lonely ole' me — do about all deez big prahlumbs?" Amateur Seer Justin comes up with the goods (especially for those of you, like me, who are members of the "not terribly opposed to a few more decades of enjoyable life" sector of the population): find your fucking imagination (this will not be easy) and re-skill yo'self... cuz our old skills are, if I had to bet my sturdiest shovel on it, fucking bullshit.

I hush, show you a chicken butt, and point you at the Domestic Injustice chapter of Big Dada:

As if to say...

Quinoa on its way
The ugly truth about things like the war on drugs is that the problem is not the war on drugs, the problem is that our system needs a permanent underclass of easily exploitable labor to function. As things get tighter, the size of this underclass has to expand, which is why unemployment has doubled, and why elites are attacking our social safety so unmercifully. The conditions of uncertainty, despair, insecurity, hunger and powerlessness are not new, they are just being applied at a broader scale and people who did not think those conditions should apply to them by virtue of their education, intelligence, heritage, or whatever else are finding out that this is not true.

Something will have to give, and that something will have to be everyday people finding ways to engage this system not just destructively, as hacker groups like Anonymous or as acts of civil disobedience, but also by finding constructive alternatives. Most people want to live fulfilling lives, most people have deeply held grievances with the status quo, but the question that plagues them, that they find unanswerable, is what they can do about it, or whether anything can even be done. This is a lack of imagination, and an internalization of a dangerous meme about civilization and industrialism; as Margaret Thatcher once said, there is no alternative. There are obviously alternatives, but they are not going to come wrapped in plastic, or in a hand book. They are not going to be handed down from on high like the Ten Commandments. Its going to be the tiny revolution of every mind, and the follow through of every body, to the best of whatever circumstances they are in. Our system has very deliberately deskilled the laboring American work force, and made the good jobs completely technically specified. It is easy to see why people cannot imagine existing outside of this context, there experience and existence is completely embedded within its premises. To begin extracting ourselves from this mess, we have to begin reskilling ourselves. There is no time to lose, every ecosystem on this planet is in terminal decline, scientists are warning that the ocean is already into an extinction phase owing to our industrial growth paradigm. Weather systems are changing dramatically, and as expected, food shortages have already begun appearing where drought and floods are destroying crops all over the world. The only alternatives offered by our system is more of the same, we have to start finding our own.

I hit those cucumbers with something hard and then add gin!
These characters are friendly with lentils

 Since this picture was taken, I ate these. And then pooped them back into the garden (serious?)

Almost as delicious as money!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wanting for Something To Do

I'm a bit lazy. Inertia. Can't help it. So I need to present myself with useful things to do (oh, and I don't sleep a lot... long days). While I do enjoy the hours of my life immensely, I often just wander around, or whatever, when I don't have work to do. Finding useful things to do gets tricky, because almost everything that the culture encourages me to do is counterproductive to the way I'd like-to-go through this world.

A few months ago, the school that employs me had a "service learning" event. All bullshit, obviously. They talk about ending the "walk for water" that many humans — especially women, the video tells us — have to suffer through. Predictably, the neo-libs who design these programs are desperate to get these women in jobs and schools. That's right. Rather than walking for water, the Water People who are trying to get us "involved" are all-about girls and women going to school and working jobs. (They also talk a lot about building roads, as if roads aren't responsible for death and destruction on an enormous scale — moving people and things is a bad idea... we clearly can't handle it).

Anyway, I tell my students that walking for water is an excellent way to spend one's time. It would be nice to shut down the factories and punch the assholes responsible for polluting the world's water supply — another useful thing to do. Scorecard:

Good: walking for water, punching industrial polluters (literally and symbolically, I suppose)

Bad: Going to school, having a job, building a road.

I'm very popular with the school's administration.

I'm not sure why I'm telling you that anecdote, I'm writing to present one of my new "things to do":

1) When I shower, I use this soap that my mythically beautiful wife-like creature makes. It's nice. And it's not toxic or anything like that (you have, perhaps, seen these commercial soaps that have little polymer "scrubbers" in them... fucking insanity).

2) Rather than letting that water wash away into the industrial water processing system, I plug the drain. Scoop it out with buckets, and go dump it in my rain barrels (this time of year, we use a lot more water than the barrels collect... so this is a very useful thing to do).

That's all: natural soaps, plug the drain, haul the water to the rain barrels. Use it to water the garden = something to do.


Monday, July 25, 2011

I have an idea for a "fad"

When meeting someone, what one does physically is inherently impacting. It matters to you and to me. This stuff gets noticed and processed... at least somehow, some of the time.

I suggest to you: the next time you "meet" a new human, stretch your body. Yes-yes... stretch while speaking. What type of stretches? You may wonder.

Something with a little umph (perhaps something common, like a calf or hammy), like you really want it, feel your physical self, extend it. This would be good on several levels:

1) Obviously, people who stretch are healthy. Those who don't, are not. Those last two sentences are infallible, cosmic truths.

2) Exposing your grace and health may set your fellow human beast at ease. Wounded animals are more terribly frightening than healthy ones. Without anxiety, you'll be free to skip the bullshit posturing.

Give it a try.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Tee Vee's Pride and Joy (boast post)

One cat watching, one walking away... clever beasts

Plump months ago, I asked myself a question: "Would every single pre-20th century living-being size-you-up to be a completely worthless piece of shit?" My answer was yes. I wanted a new answer... achieving "probably" was my first target. Here we go:

chicken manor

1) Chickens. Four bawk-bawks prancing about... de-he-he-lightful. My not biological brother, wife-like partner (pictured above), and I built their shelter and run, allowing those silly birds a comfy place to put themselves to bed every night. The mysterious production of eggs does whatever it is it does. Goats are next.

2) Growing Food. For years, I lived in a place where everything that wasn't the house was ignored. It was space to pass through... rarely was it considered or enjoyed. Always background. I didn't know it.

Potatoes live in that box
That has changed. Digging the rapacious Japanese knotweed for a few months was delightful (I can see the hunter-gather amused by my absurd toil). My brother built stunning retaining walls (I was labour only on that project, this brother of mine can build a wall like a schizophrenic (I'm under the impression they're often phenomenally adept at this)). This is the first year that we've grown everything from seed. And with the broad expansion of our gardens (nearly 10x more square footage than before) we're thriving. Big ole' potato bin. Quinoa. Beans. Salad greens and veggies galore. Galore!

3) Canning. The local Goodwill stocked us well here, we have quite a nice jarring and pickling operation ready to go.

4) Tools. You need to borrow a tool? Seattle, via Craigslist, has us well-stocked. Thanks Seattle, for having way too much shit.

5) Boozin'. Dmitry Orlov, an eminently generous man who is largely responsible for getting me all ginned-up for these projects, emailed me a link to his family's vodka recipe. That's a' happenin'. And we're going to make a run at blackberry wine (something of an aperitif, good for cocktail mixin' too, I suspect)

6) I got my little bit of money out of the big banks and into a credit union.

7) All-bike-all-the-time. My body is as strong as it's ever been.

That's a lettuce bed, some strawberries in the rear
Since I am boasting, I needn't point out that I'm rather proud of what we've done. I am becoming progressively less useless.

I feel like I did some good at school too. Another list:

1) Got a lot of kids away from the awful x terrible mindless mantra that pervades public schools: You MUST Go to College! All you need (other than pointing to the obvious decay in the world of fucking jobs and an economy that is — thankfully — collapsing), is to use this one from McLuhan, it does the trick:
The past went that-a-way. When faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavor of the most recent past. We look at the present through a rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future.
I'm going to college!
Luminous, isn't it? And then we can move beyond all of that college-prep nonsense. 

2) We created Poetical Dictionaries, attempting to mimic the unyielding, thorough brilliance of Lohren Green.

3) We also mimicked Raymond Queneau's Exercises in Style — the kids loved them some Doc Queneua — and their ability to find delight in the ways-of-words properly exploded (thanks to a sage, Daniel Coffeen, who did the same for me).

3-4 feet to dig out knotweed

4) Singing. Lots of singing.

5) Select passages from Derrick Jensen's The Culture of Make Believe went a long way towards enabling my students to think about racism and exploitation — certainly the single greatest sense of accomplishment I've experienced in a classroom. Listening to oft-angry black teenagers lace together coherent and complex ideas on the nature of human destructiveness brought me some serious fucking joy.

Obviously, none of this stuff is approved curriculum (I barely even know what kind of bullshit I'm supposed to be teaching them, but I'm pretty sure the end product is multiple choice tests where I attempt to discern whether they know the difference between the "a" and the "o" in the names of Iranian clerics... or some such rote, power-strucutre-privilegin' bullshit (in haiku form).

I think I'm doing alright. Combating the dynamic R.D. Laing put a finger on:
Long before a thermonuclear war can come about, we have had to lay waste our own sanity. We begin with the children. It is imperative to catch them in time. Without the most thorough and rapid brainwashing their dirty minds would see through our dirty tricks. Children are not yet fools, but we shall turn them into imbeciles like ourselves, with high I.Q.s if possible.
thankfully, my dumb phone can't capture the quality of these walls. Gotta sit on em' to know

Monday, February 14, 2011

Slowin' Down

I'm down-shifting. The internet has gots to go... Begone, I say! Hellllooooo immediate, tactile space.

Thank you for readin' and chattin'. I liked this experience very much. Now, I'm going to enjoy other things. Slower things.

Ethan, JRB, Charles, Jack, BDR and everyone else who spent some time with my thoughts... you've been lovely... your involvement (because I think you're quite wise: fawning alert!) has lent me poise and confidence.

My final blog thought is a command: Enjoy! (it must be done)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Old Man Avoids Shame

I like this. Teems clarity. I bumped into it in McLuhan's The Extensions of Man (this isn't McLuhan's pen; he suggests he found it in Werner Heisenberg's The Physicist 's Conception of Nature, which McLuhan describes as an example of the new quantum physicist whose over-all awareness of forms suggests to thim that we would do well to stand aside from most of them. He points out that technical change alters not only habits of life, but patterns of thought and valuation. Page sixty-nine of an old paperback:

As Tzu-Gung was traveling through the regions north of the river Han, he saw an old man working in his vegetable garden. He had dug an irrigation ditch. The man would descend into a well, fetch up a vessel of water in his arms and pour it out into the ditch. While his efforts were tremendous the results appeared to be very meager.

Tzu-Gung said, "there is a way whereby  you can irrigate a hundred ditches in one day, and whereby you can irrigate a hundred ditches in one day, and whereby you can do much with little effort. Would you not like to hear of it?"

Then the gardener stood up, looked at him and said, "And what would that be?" Tzu-Gung replied, "You take a wooden lever, weighted at the back and light in the front. In this way you can bring up water so quickly that it just gushes out. This is called a draw-well."

Then anger rose up in the old man's face, and he said, "I have heard my teacher say that whoever uses machines does all his work like a machine. He who does his work like a machine grows a heart of a machine, and he who carries the heart of a machine in his breast loses his simplicity. He who has lost his simplicity becomes unsure in the strivings of his soul. Uncertainty in the strivings of the soul is something which does not agree with honest sense. It is not that I do not know of such things; I am ashamed to use them."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Funny thing I've been doing: Lying

Lying could — if one were so inclined — be used to cheat. But, is every lie dishonest? Of course not. Being Ahem-ployed by the gubmint forces me to lie all. of. the time (hell, you simply can't voice "radical" political and social thoughts and not get crushed, I opt to conceal, misdirect, and lie). This proclivity towards the lie is unfortunate — or, not to my liking — but the results of said lying are not exclusively misleading. In fact, my lying illuminates a spit-shined truth: I am a coward.

Damn straight. A coward. I would prefer to lie than risk potential material harm. How is that for some weak-sauce? Next, I'm going to (just for fun) argue the other side.

Not a coward: I simply don't have any real convictions. I don't believe in me, so why portray myself "honestly". So, if my honesty doesn't mean a thing, I prefer to protect something that does mean something, my money (and all the delicious food that comes with it).

In both scenarios, my lying is not misleading. Rather, it is an essential part of understanding me. Hooray.

Side Story:

Like you, when talking with new people (I possess an agreeable and altogether inviting mien, so it happens constantly... a wink for you), I get asked, "what do you do?" After I say teacher, they say (every god damned time) what subject? The "truth" is stupid and misleading (maybe not misleading, but it certainly doesn't capture what I do in the classroom), so I tell another version of the truth when I answer: aesthetics. Yep, I'm an Aesthetics teacher. The responses, as you might imagine, are wildly varied, but always better than if I had told the truth.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

If only we had a good reason to stop trying to destory each other...

This made me giddy. Oh, it was good... so good.

When, in the last ten seconds,  he laments that we can't wait (just thinking about it makes it hard to type, I'm crying right now) for the alien attack to unite us.... ahahaaaahahah... oh, it's just so fucking funny... ahahahahaha. When he points up (what the fuck is he pointing to???)... oh god... here it comes agai — ahahahahahahahaahaaaahh — he's fighting a smile, the whole time, his smile is soooo big, he can barely talk... oh, shit... I can't stop.

Intergalactic war will save us... from ourselves. What a relief. I had almost lost hope.

Up — ahahha — date! He...ahahah, was talking to high schools kids!! Ahahahahah

I'm still on coffee, haven't even switched to cocktails yet — it's gonna be a good one.

Today's cocktail:
A glass
Squeeze a blood orange... not too much
DryFly Gin until you're excited
bubbly water
blood orange twist

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fighting fire with anything other than fire

I encounter shitbirds (actual birds, I apologize for the term). Empathize with me. These people, poor things, just can't wait to splash their shit all over the unwitting.

In the library, with the kids... she (the shitbird) lumbers in my direction, sporting the mindless confidence that defines the species, her face reads: "I'm about to drop a little ethical righteousness on you". She leans in and announces, in a tone that begged my wrath AND loud enough that a few of my students could hear, "you know... you really shouldn't let them use Wikipedia." I resist. My students exchange knowing looks.

"Why do you say that?" I'm thrilled to have nailed the tone I was hoping for — genuine surprise, as if I have no. fucking. idea. what she's about to say. This royally fucks up her game. Poor shitbird thought she was going to have an easy landing... not today.

"Well, it's not reliable..."
"Oh?" my fake genuine surprise has moved to fake genuine concern.
"Anybody can edit those pages." looking vindicated, like she just scored two for a take-down.
"Yeah. I was wondering about that. What is their editing policy?" Again, I'm on a roll. Genuine question? hardly... but my ability to fake-it is ruling the day. The nonsensical blubbering that came next does not lend itself to summation. I don't know what the hell she said, but it was 15 seconds of I-don't-know-what-I'm-talking-about backpedaling.

Not usually this cute
She departs, quietly... as if she didn't just try to tell me about my business — nothing happened, she'll tell herself. But, I assure you, this shitbird will steer clear of my masterful defense in the future.

Be gone, Shitbird!

My teaching time isn't wasted if the kids master the concept I stealthily stress: the burden of proof falls on the shitbird who seeks to control your actions... and "proof" isn't easy to come by. Make em' earn it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's the story here?

It is necessary for a violent culture to adopt the precept: it is impolite to talk of politics. 
Some of the Mubarak supporters were working class men who arrived in buses. Some headed to the battle with their sticks or their knives stuffed in their pants. One was a doctor who wore spectacles and held a club wrapped in electrical tape and armored with tacks.

Some were men like Mohamed Hassan, an accountant, who had actually attended Tuesday’s antigovernment demonstration. “Of course we needed a change,” said Mr. Hassan, standing on the Corniche not from the Egyptian Museum. Mr. Mubarak’s speech to the nation had changed his mine. “I think all of our demands were filled. We need change, but step by step.” (italics mine, typos theirs)

This is going to be my "warm-up" question in class tomorrow: What the fuck is this supposed to be?

Say it with me now: Rev-OOOOO-loo-shun. In America, you won't receive the label "revolution" until you've already won.

Read or re-read the whole thing, if you like.

Power pair of puppy pounders

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jocular — or — life well-lived

Dazzling. Momentary. Wonderful.

34 forty-some year-old seconds.

the difference of endurance.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Against being your best/being a vampire

More often than not, I refrain from encouraging people, the kids, to try to change thangs for the better. "Be the best you can be" is — once the supportive exterior is scratched away — an unpleasant sentiment.

Embrace this life, your life, and those imperfections that — rather than detract from you — are you. So, just get on with your thin wallet, weak dick, or fat ass... I've already seen that commercial. Yet,  I am not suggesting people "be happy" or "look on the bright side"... fuck that too, that's terrible. Just stop trying to improve yourself, that's insane... enjoy yourself without improving yourself. I like that. Don't assume things should be better, because... uh... you know... that's a hard mindset to break free from.

But. But, I don't like thirsty mouths and empty bellies. This could be better. I understand that some would have it this way:
Nature is a state of suffering. Put more food on the table, and we'll put more babies in the seats until we're starving again. (I'm not quoting anything here)
And maybe that is correct. Maybe that is the default path — should there be such a strange thing. But, if that is our way, then it's too terrible to not try to improve. So, I think the virus, the vampire, is worth trying to understand. I got to thinking about a conversation looking at what Marxism does — an understanding v. action kind of thing. Now, I try tinkering with my means of communication, try to figure out how and why my body and words fail and succeed. Nothing much to report, obviously. But I did like what's below. I like how it moves. The pace is fast, but not hurried. Harvey's tone isn't grave, but he's not fucking around either. And, my lovely reader, it's not terribly reductive — considering all that happens in a mere eleven minutes. Embracing a wider discourse. Maybe.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rosa Luxemburg Day!

Unofficially. Normal Sunday decorum still applies.

My memory is too shoddy to maintain anything resembling an ideology. Too bad. For now, I'll enjoy Luxemburg's response to Eduard Bernstein. Over 100 years of things I know little about later... yet, this question still has a little left in the legs, at least for funsies. Below, a little taste and a link to Reform or Revolution.

Sweep the leg! Use your tail!
Revisionist theory thus places itself in a dilemma. Either the socialist transformation is, as was admitted up to now, the consequence of the internal contradictions of capitalism, and with the growth of capitalism will develop its inner contradictions, resulting inevitably, at some point, in its collapse, (in that case the “means of adaptation” are ineffective and the theory of collapse is correct); or the “means of adaptation” will really stop the collapse of the capitalist system and thereby enable capitalism to maintain itself by suppressing its own contradictions. In that case socialism ceases to be an historic necessity. It then becomes anything you want to call it, but it is no longer the result of the material development of society. The dilemma leads to another. Either revisionism is correct in its position on the course of capitalist development, and therefore the socialist transformation of society is only a utopia, or socialism is not a utopia, and the theory of “means of adaptation” is false. There is the question in a nutshell.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Time for a Hero

Al Jazeera:
Obama doesn't seem to understand that the US doesn't need to "take the fight" to al-Qaeda, or even fire a single shot, to score its greatest victory in the "war on terror". Supporting real democratisation will do more to downgrade al-Qaeda's capabilities than any number of military attacks. He had better gain this understanding quickly because in the next hours or days the Egypt's revolution will likely face its moment of truth. And right behind Egypt are Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, and who knows what other countries, all looking to free themselves of governments that the US and its European allies have uncritically supported for decades.
If president Obama has the courage to support genuine democracy, even at the expense of immediate American policy interests, he could well go down in history as one of the heroes of the Middle East's Jasmine winter. If he chooses platitudes and the status quo, the harm to America's standing in the region will likely take decades to repair.
Obama as a hero? Hmmm... has anyone else showed up for the casting call? No? They're all here for the role of "Stooge", are they?

Quite. Obviously... Obama doesn't have the courage to go against American policy interests. That's what Obama does — his job description, or whatever — he protects the exact same American interests that drove the Cold War, Vietnam War, 1st Gulf War, and the dozens of other "little" interjections of American might O-round the world.

Yesterday, Andrew Bacevich printed a piece that made the usual rounds. In it, he attempted (quite succinctly, I thought) to explain why the mega-defense mega-budget is mega-protected and never gets cut:
In a 1948 State Department document, diplomat George F. Kennan offered this observation: "We have about 50 percent of the world's wealth, but only 6.3 percent of its population." The challenge facing American policymakers, he continued, was "to devise a pattern of relationships that will permit us to maintain this disparity." Here we have a description of American purposes that is far more candid than all of the rhetoric about promoting freedom and democracy, seeking world peace, or exercising global leadership.
That pattern of relationships includes nuzzling up to autocrats. Not exactly a stretch, is it? Not exactly breaking any ground here today, am I? 

Oh, and if one of these asshole American officials begs for restraint... one. more. time. I'm gonna... I'm gonna...