Thursday, October 31, 2013

scarey day blues

It's Halloween again, and also the beginning of the closely related El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

The Wikipedia article on the subject tells us both celebrations grew out of the triduum (three day observance) of Hallowmas, the time designated in the liturgical calendar when the faithful who have passed on before us are honored along with all saints and martyrs.

Whether the holiday descends from earlier, pagan celebrations  is of little matter, for halloween in the USA has evolved into a children's holiday. In Mexico and other parts of Latin America, where tradition looms much larger than it does here, El Dia de los Muertos remains closer to the intentions of medieval clerics.

As for me this October 31st, I'll paraphrase the words of the late, great Blind Willie McTell:

I done got reckless and broke my baby's rules;
You know I done got reckless and I broke my mama's rules;
Now I'm here wanderin round Utah with these doggone scarey day blues.

beehiving in utah

I'm in St George, Utah, affectionately known to residents as "The Beehive State."

They call it that because a large majority here beehives all the time, i.e., they do eggzackly what the ecclesiastical authorities tell them to do, and think what they're told to think.

I've long been fascinated by the Mormons, because they're the first very large group of humans I ever encountered who strongly believe things that are obviously not true.

But now the disease has spread to the entire Republican Party, with an especially virulent strain infecting the subset of Republicans identified as Tea Party.

Now, what do I mean by "obviously not true." I'm talking about statements which are unsupported by any factual evidence. Examples are: the president was born in Kenya, not Hawaii (all the evidence supports the contention he was born in Hawaii), or that the Affordable Care Act includes provisions for "death panels," a belief for which the only relevant evidence is the wording of the act itself, which, in fact 
includes no such provision, even under the most twisted interpretation.

Early on in my long (11 years) BNet career, I encountered people saying "I've got a right to my own opinion," which is true. However, nobody on God's green earth has a "right" to his or her own facts.

And the facts are these: Obama was born in Hawaii, and is an American citizen. There are no death panels. A fetus may or may not be a human being (because that's a matter of opinion), but an embryo is not. Human beings and the great apes, which is to say gorillas, orangutans, gibbons, and chimpanzees all have a common ancestor.

Besides their own politics and science, those afflicted with this  disease also have their own history, based on desire. Do you wish something that happened had gone down differently. All you have to do is believe, and that makes it true. So if you want to believe, as I've often heard said, that "the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery," the desire to believe trumps the evidence, which in this case consists of volumes of transcribed debates and speeches in the Congressional Record, the subject of 90 percent of which was slavery, in the years leading up to the war.

This is not about intelligence, but honesty, for if we disagree about what these facts mean, that's one thing, but if we disagree about what the facts are, somebody is being weak minded and extremely dishonest.

Get it? Got it? Good! Now go read this.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

six days on the road & i'm gonna see my baby 2 nite

Actually, we were seven days, a solid week, traveling from Port Ludlow, Washington to St. George, Utah. And now we're here, and are planning to rest our weary bones tomorrow and get ready for a new direction.

It was what you'd call a slow, meandering trip. The most incredible sight of the entire journey was this piano, sitting on a ridge overlooking the ocean just south of Half Moon Bay, CA. We had parked so Kit could snap a photo of the surf, and climbing a small rise to get her picture, she stumbled on it, and got this singular photo of a badly out of tune upright, with a few keys missing, but still quite playable.

Our six stops along the way:

Portland, OR

Newport, OR

Crescent City, CA

Santa Rosa, CA

Paso Robles, CA

Barstow, CA

So here we are back in the desert, where I more or less started from five years ago. The first thing I noticed being back here: it's much easier to breathe in a dry climate.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

oh, nuts

This trip has been an education. The hours in the car are hard sometimes, in my condition, but the wonders we've seen along the Oregon coast and today, meandering through the Redwood forest, have made it worth the effort.

The drive thru redwood tree was the highlight of the day of course. Kit is one of the world's better drivers, but wasn't too sure about this. However, I guided  her through, and it was a very tight fit indeed for her small Jeep SUV. No damage, but the passenger side rear view mirror was brushed back. Slightly.

Earlier in the day we stopped at the famous tourist destination Trees of Mystery. It was too chilly to stay outside, but we did stop long enough to take pictures with the famous giant woodsman Paul B. Unyan and his blue ox, Babe. Here I am with the latter, listening for noisettes.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

here we b in portland

Vacated the premises today & traveled to Portland a short, overnite visit with the joven muchacha, who isn't actually all that young any more, except compared 2 us.

We're currently hunkered down with a cat in a motel where animals are prohibited. However, we expect no trouble.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

conservative catboxer

I'm the real conservative here!

That's what Mittens used to say in the Republican debates (or so I heard), along with Guvna Perry, Herman Caine, and the rest of the mental midgets contending for the nomination that year. 

Except it's true of me. I really AM the real conservative here. 

How many people do you know who would like to repeal the entire 20th century, and quite a bit of the one preceding? You know me, so you know at least one.

I despise liberal technocracy, and the bland academics and bureaucrats who claim to have things under control. Remember "shock therapy" and lobotomy? 

Industrial production, at the start, was guaranteed to bring great wealth to everyone, but crushing poverty is more widespread in the industrialized world than it ever has been before. Industrialism has indeed produced enormous wealth, but it seems to have all become concentrated in the hands of the producers,

About 100 years after the advent of industrial production, World War I came on, and modern modes of production were immediately recognized to be the source of unprecedented and unbelievable destructiveness, just as they gave rise to incredible creativity. The millions of WWI dead were the harvest of industrial methods applied to warfare.Both World Wars were spasms of industrial grade carnage, and Hitler even applied railroads, state of the art incinerators, and Zyklon B crystals to the science of murder.

But today's scientists and researchers are still assuring us that a better world is coming, with genetic engineering, with new breakthroughs in medicine, with computer technology which delivers 100 lbs of information per second. 

We're drowning in information, and starving for knowledge.

We're promised food enough to feed the whole world, but will it be edible? If it's not fit for human consumption, it's not food. However, in this century, household food and crop production will return with intensity and surprising results.

And while it's not earth shattering, music has been amplified and technified and tweaked to the point where it sounds dreadful (Do Justin Bieber and Richard Marx have backup bands, or backup machines?) Like home grown tomatoes, the wonderful subtleties and warm tones of acoustic guitar and piano, real instruments, have made a comeback lately, and appreciation of acoustic music generally, often used to  revist great music of the past, is growing.

I should mention the advent of television also, although the less said about the uses that platform for advertising and political propaganda has been put to, the better.

What is conservatism, if not the desire to return to older ways? Industrial capitalism swept over first European societies, then was disseminated to the rest of the world, badly compromising the old authorities of church and family, demolishing older and in many cases finer, more detailed, and much more costly  methods of production, ending the old, slow pace of banking and exchange. Many of these prostrate technologies, methods and attitudes now deserve another look. What good does it do to produce tons of stuff cheaply if none of it is worth having?

Worst of all are the scientific technocrats, so sure of their own superiority and flawless characters that they don't hesitate to play God, tampering with genetic structure, cloning animals, monocropping unto dustbowls, and telling of the wonders they can do. Mary W. Shelley wrote a wonderful examination of the danger of playing God, which always turns out badly.

I look for things to start shaking hard next year, as the excesses, cronyism, and blatant criminality of the latter stages of industrial capitalism come to a head. Think of it this way: 1814, 1914, 2014.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

whatcha listenin to?

For me, it's the same stuff I been listenin to for 30 years. I graze around on different kinds of music, but never found anything I like as well.

At the moment, I've got Casey Bill knockin the eyes out of an old tune of his called "You just as well Let Her Go"

"You'll start talkin,
She'll start walkin,
She won't pay you no mind;
She'll start to leavin,
You'll start grievin,
No use to follow behind.

" you gonna keep her if she don't wanna stay?
You can't keep her 'cause she's goin away,
She done said she's gonna stay no mo',
You just as well let her go, I mean,
You just as well let her go."


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Last man standing

The history of politics, being a process and not a thing, has arrived at a junction where universal consensus is the rule, and since we're all comin from the same place, it looks to me and a lot of others that Charlie Pierce is the blog champ. Read him at

Blogging is still a lot of fun, and I'll keep it up as kind of a personal and localized thing. The locale will be changing soon, and as fall gives way to winter we"ll be migrating south. We shall bid "adieu" to ye olde convenience store gnomes standing sentry at the entry, Port Gamble  & beyond.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

unkown woman appears out of nowhere, then vanishes

Last week the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department got a call telling them than an unknown woman, obviously distraught and possibly disoriented, had appeared out of nowhere and was walking along Irondale Road near the Jesus is Lord gas station.

The Sherrifs dispatched a cruiser, but by the time they reached the scene the unknown woman had vanished.

Source: Port Townsend Leader.

Friday, October 04, 2013

still there

Spite of ye gummint shut down and all, we're still fighting "the good war" over there.

Helmand Province, in far away Afghani Stan, 9/22/2013

We will free the shit out of them.

Photo from "Still at War" at Mother Jones.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

a crazy making world

True insanity has no redeeming qualities. There are several distinct kinds of madness, all of them ugly and heartbreaking.

The worst thing about it is the lunatic more often than not regards the lunacy as virtue.

The late Allen Ginsberg began his celebrated poem "Howl" with the words, "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness." So have I, Allen, and so have all of us survivors.

The best minds, along with the worst, have broken under the pressure and despair of modern life. A very bright guy I've known forever has become gradually over the years so obsessed with shining and polishing already immaculate porcelains and stainless steel fixtures that thieves can rummage around in his house taking whatever they want, and a couple have already done so.

I haven't known the brilliant and exceptionally articulate Jewish  man from Philadelphia as long as I have the sink polisher, but we go back 30 years, so I've witnessed the entire Odyssey of his descent  into belief in bizarre forms of fascist fanatacism and fundamentalist Christianity, the diseased twins of contemporary American culture. In his case, I think it was mostly the heartbreak of divorce and family dissolution that drove him around the bend.

I also have a long time friend and associate who has made himself  a prisoner of Beckistan, and subscribes to all the craziness and paranoia the prophet Beck barfs out in daily radio spasms. There's a real potential for violence among them, and I don't get too close.

When I was very young, I had egotistical ambition, and hoped to do great things. Events of the past few days ought to have convinced even the most skeptical among us that the world has become unpredictably dangerous, in ways that can drive people nuts. I've reached the point where I believe that maintaining one's sanity in this environment is a great accomplishment. But who am I to claim to be sane?

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

killing people si, feeding people no!

Despite the government shutdown and default, there's always money enough to keep the war going.

After all, we have our priorities. 

We can live without the Women's, Infants', and Children's program  (WIC) for a while. Food for 9 million moms and their kids necessarily takes  a back seat to whacking the scary brown people.

Of course, we're talking mostly single mothers here, so that makes it their fault.

This will be a short post today. I really need to go vomit.

Photo: Mother Jones, part of their daily series "Still at War."

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

...and now, the olds...


The great Way is easy,
yet people prefer the side paths.
Be aware when things are out of balance.
Stay centered within the Tao.

When rich speculators prosper
While farmers lose their land;
when government officials spend money
on weapons instead of cures;
when the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible
while the poor have nowhere to turn-
all this is robbery and chaos.
It is not in keeping with the Tao.

Lao Tzu
Tao Te Ching
Translated by Stephen Mitchell