Thursday, September 28, 2017

Narrative

Pretty much guarantee there'll be three sides to a story. Boiled down, one side blames the victim, another side blames the intolerance of others, the third side, or the hero, will seek to promote the anguish in the interest of political or financial gain.

It's the way of the world, it's God's plan, and not much is likely to change in a hurry. Depressed, well there's hope and change to be found in Mathieu Jean-Marc Joseph Rodrigue, who on his Facebook page uses The Periodic Tables and a US Dollar Bill to mathematically demonstrate that June 24th 2018 is definitely the End Times for all of us...

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Values, Morals and Hazards

I read the expression "Moral Hazard" and unless I have lost my ability to comprehend the written language, which could well be possible, it would seem that a vocal faction within the United States is inclined to assign "Moral Hazard" to the suggestion that Health Care in the United States should be considered an issue of Public Health rather than an endless and ever expanding income stream from the injured, the slightly sick, the very sick, and the dying. Nor is being buried without having to pay someone a small fortune allowed.

A "Moral Hazard" is sometimes described as a risk to an insurance company due to suspicions about the honesty of the insured. But a person could be excused from assuming that when "Moral Hazard" is applied to Health Care it refers to the idea that health care is a an earned benefit, and those who don't earn enough are undeserving. Then there's the business of keeping us safe from foreigners and their pesky ideas no matter the cost. Either way the Graham Cassidy debacle is yet another answer, and here where I live there'll be fresh muffins with a slither or two of ice cream tonight.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Cover Crops

End of last year into the early months of this year, Winter Oats grew green and pleasant, rich and full as a ground cover in several of the garden beds. Their happiness through the nightmare of Winter was a joy to behold, not even a sign amongst them of wintering pests, they shrugged off cruel frosts, they contained a quality of unblemished usually reserved for the more invasive species of plant. Then, when the weather turned, digging over the Winter Oats wasn't so damaging to a mind and body anxious for sustenance, purpose, and a little exercise, after months of sitting around, mumbling about this and that. And the thing is, through this year, Vegetables in those beds that had given a brief home to delightful flocks of Winter Oats and which had witnessed the barbarity of rendering a perfectly happy Oat into green manure before ever it reached maturity, did noticeably better.

Technically the Winter Oat has active, deep, fibrous roots, its leaf can maintain photosynthesis at low temperatures, it's a cold weather annual plant. Last fall was dry, last winter was no more bleak than usual, relatively stable in the mild range, moist with no extended extreme periods of something like minus 7 degrees Fahrenheit and if there was anything resembling one of those Polar Vortexes then I've completely blanked it out. As some may be aware September is almost gone, October is one of those funny months, kind of the opposite of March into April. In every respect October has a delinquent capacity that can never be trusted, it's an obnoxious rain gutter jammed month, and this means I basically have a couple of weeks to secure Winter Oat seeds, otherwise ground cover is down to Turnips, Mustard and those Korean Radishes, all of which can contribute to winter diet but which I strongly suspect are prized by end of season Stinkbugs, which as everyone knows are the sneakiest Stinkbugs of all.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sweet Potato

In the grand scheme it's of no importance but entirely possible I'm not a kitten person. She's vicious, demanding, manipulative, she could well be struggling with some sort of mental anomaly, she's clearly an insomniac, she has no sense of self preservation, and if it moves she has strong desire to leap upon it and torture it or tickle it to death. Sweet Potatoes have vines that travel and rustle when they're pulled up before the Potatoes are dug, so I guess Sweet Potato harvesting and the Sweet Potato Harvester become kind of like Valhalla for a kitten.

 The other thing about the Vegetable Garden is that despite diligence on my part patches of Cat-Nip persist. The Kitten has a nose for hunting down these patches of Cat-Nip and in a very sneaky way chewing on them when I'm not looking.  In short today's physical activity was something of a nightmare, and there's one more row of Sweet Potato to dig. I'm now locked in my room, and have no intention of responding to the pathetic mewing and scrabbling that's going on outside my door.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Cockle Burrs

 One of the consequences of surplus was the development of methods that rearranged our ability to define our world. They were posited as cures, but some might be inclined to think of them as languages, the language of Science, Math, Physics and so on. And here you'd have to think that the language of Art has a more distant place, more closely related to the flow and often random connections between words and sentences that make expressions of both hope and misery, as well as outreach toward wonder, purpose and other magical substances. Much of it spinning around varied attempts to identify the "thing that is me." The thing that exists in the experience of it and nowhere else. An answerless question, ripe for imagination, as well as containing an emptiness that some find difficult. Much easier to think you know than not to know, turn to loudness and bombast for solace when challenged rather than bursting into tears.

I can however, take it for granted that the twenty third Pope John who in his Journal of a Soul, sixty eight years of his diary, on many occasions and in many different ways claimed "I do not Belong to myself" had a better handle on "the thing that is me" by finding a solution to it. Wasn't easy for him as he climbed from priest, to papal legate and all the way up to the title of Pope. Sounds like a twelve step program, but through long years during which there was whole bunch of very unholy things going on it gave him serenity despite moments of temptation. And it's funny how an allegiance, whether you're religious, an atheist or a bit of both, whether you worship yourself in the language of math, or art or wealth or food or mass murder or whatever you can think of, will always demand this giving-ness that requires a person to think in terms of "I do not Belong to myself."  In this way our being is more like cockle burrs than we'd like to think. And here the idea that we are "sticky stuff" fills me with a certain confidence around the possibilities for the longevity of our species..

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Golden Calf

When Charlton Heston came down from his break on the mountain he had with him a few basic yet central notes on how his people might effectively organize themselves. Naturally, in a perfectly normal way the boys and girls were enjoying their freedom from servitude to the whips of Pharaoh, for whom they'd made vast quantities of bricks and were probably looking around for an easier and less arduous lifestyle. And some of them might even have been experimenting with new ways of doing things, might even have been thinking about the two day work week, instead of this 24/7 nonsense. Charlton Heston, for his part, had had a more interesting origin, by some extraordinary fluke he'd been raised in such a way that instead of learning how to make bricks he'd spent his young adulthood doing things like learning how to be a Prince and at the same time wondering about the extent to which he had a genetic claim to the title of Prince. Then when the waters parted and he found himself the leader of a rabble, it must have been stressful especially because he had no paramilitary police force. Fortunately the Sinai is a fairly barren and unpopulated part of the world and without some sort of cooperating set of principles even the most libertarian minded realize that survival is almost impossible, and this particularly so for a people who where accustomed to the conveniences and dubious benefits of regular work that required them to not think too hard, or concern themselves with whether the work they were doing made any sense.

One of the things on Charlton Heston's list was the idea that stability did depend upon not coveting your neighbors stuff, whether it be his Ox, his bank account, his manservant or his fashionable tennis shoes. And amongst the other probably less important Shalt Not's there was an injunction against stealing, manna was fair game I guess, killing each other was quite wrong and so on. The point about coveting was that it meant, according to Charlton Heston, the emotions of envy were an error, they had nothing to do with ensuring harmony, they were divisive and not conducive to progress in the search for a Promised Land. It was a transformational moment in social organization, a group was directed to set aside a passion innate in our species, the punishment for which was eternal damnation, much worse than Latin Detention, and they were directed to praise, even worship, rather than denigrate the successful hunter. Jealousy was not only self-destructive it was socially destructive, it was a waste of energy, it served no purpose, and the One God heartily disapproved of it, so none of this worshipping Golden Calves. By the time Thomas Aquinas put his mind to envy, he was thinking in terms of it as destructive to hierarchies, to the division of labor, to the order of things, and he went so far as to claim that even the Angels who had want of nothing took great delight in their own perfect and shinning hierarchies. In Dante's time the emotion of envy was defined as hoping something horrible would happen to anyone who owned a better tunic than his. These days we have the Billionaires of Silicon Valley and the avarice of Corporations plotting our future experiences of servitude. So if ever it comes time to again seek out The Promised Land, part the waters, it might make sense to have another look at the "sin" of envy. Treat it with a little more respect, give it a more useful definition within the tapestry of our emotions. Do to it, what we did to the "sin" of Greed.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Progress

Were I a Hunter-Gatherer who slept for 100,000 years and woke up to discover himself in the year 2017, I'd find it very hard to observe the traditions of my ancient heritage, one of which was denigrating the successful hunter, which in today's world would be anyone rich or powerful or famous. If anyone bothered to ask me why, I'd probably do my best to explain that the successful hunter begins to think they are better than everyone else and no good comes from it. 100,000 years ago we lived very much day to day, kind of like Kittens, but we tolerated each other because to get by, raise a child we had to live in a small close knit, sometimes claustrophobic, cooperative group, and it was difficult for anyone to labor under the illusion they were in anyway special or different. "Claude occasionally might put very poor quality meat on the table, but what do you expect he picks his nose and when he was little he was afraid of spiders." That sort of no nonsense tearing down of anything that remotely resembled hubris, the hallmark of cohesion in the more competent units, and always worth remembering the Duke of Wellington was terrified of his own soldiers. In those Hunter-Gatherer days, we were far too sensible to indulge an anthropomorphic understanding of stars that result in things like Dukedoms, and we certainly wouldn't have wasted resources on things like fireworks, flu shots and saviors.

One of the great pleasures of getting old is the inclination to look upon new fangled contraptions and ideas as the products of a degenerating imagination that lashes around, pointlessly seeking self aggrandizement rather than doing something useful, completely understand why Rock and Roll was the devil's invention.. And there's a reason why saying something like "Window's Ten sucks" or "what happened to real bread" tickles the pleasure gland in the older mind. The reality is we can't help it, because as we get old we revert to more ancient understandings of being us, and it becomes a responsibility entrusted by our aging genetic codes to preserve the idea that individual success, power, wealth are little more than passing, unimportant and youthful fantasies. Have no doubt that this responsibility in us old people is vitally important to the long term wellbeing of the whole. Nor does it really help the future of our species when old people make these ridiculous attempts to appear younger. In my view it's a total sell out and for the more Sunday observant, I have it on excellent authority that a forgiving, or nut-eating God rather frowns on it. And Mother Nature, who's been around considerably longer and who has a Kim Jong-un attitude toward visiting the iniquities of the father upon offspring, considers it a High Treason the punishment for which is extinction. So be warned, we're talking the real world, not some fancy-dandy hula hoop and tiki torch party on a hurricane prone desert island.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Agriculture

Sometimes a person has to wonder whether agriculture was a good thing for us people. Oh sure, it meant surplus, stuff like pyramid building, condominiums, but the question you've got to ask yourself is the extent to which we are actually capable of using surplus in a remotely sensible way.

And while I do accept that my own view of all living things, life itself, as fundamentally without anything like reason falls far short of a majority opinion, I can almost guarantee you the suggestion that agriculture was a critical error in our progress will be dismissed out of hand. So I guess the question is will an artificial intelligence know outrage and restlessness?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Peak Kitten

Peak Kitten, is when Kittens are just beyond the clumsy stage and are preparing for their world by endlessly practicing their long distance pounce. The more domesticated and indoor leaning Kitten will substitute things like furniture, tables and lampshades for shrubs, long grasses and trees. And instead of something like a Mouse or a Grasshopper to pounce on, the more indoor leaning Kitten will substitute the pet owner. This makes for tricky navigation through the domicile, almost impossible to move around the house or even sit quietly without being savagely attacked.

It's possible of course that this particular Kitten is an anomaly which is the polite way of saying completely out of control, probably insane and potentially dangerous. Then the pet owner decides he just can't take it any more, he pops the Kitten outside, closes all doors, curtains and cat flaps, takes a deep soothing breath and endeavors to go about his important business. This lasts about two minutes. Soon enough imagination produces images of clawed Raptors, angry Turkeys, Coyote and Barred Owls, and he's back outside scrabbling around with his pathetic "kitty-kitty-kitty."

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Two points

Always reckoned that a Sweet Potato, baked or boiled, was a "Complete Food." Nor do I really care whether this is a crackpot myth derived from some nut eating theory that revolves around Resistant Carbohydrates, Vitamin A precursors, Lycopenes, Selenium, and you might as well be speaking Latin around the health food shelves at the Grocery Store while waiting for your prescription to be filled. The point is a Sweet Potato grows well around here, it keeps for months and it fills the belly for a good long time.

The other point I'd like to make about Sweet Potato is that a person takes the first steps towards the End Times when they talk about "Harvesting the fruits of your labor." In terms of labor, Sweet Potato have nothing to do with the "fruits of your labor." Aside from a little digging, even a person who feels as though he's ninety six has hardly done anything at all, and there they all are, from pods of Wales to little wandering Piglets. It's a beautiful sight, it has nothing to do with you or I. What's the matter with everyone? I blame this totally out of control Rampant Me on Interior Decorators, Fashion Houses, Online Therapists, Facebook, Focus Groups and Selfies. There's got to be something seriously wrong with anyone who takes their own picture....

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Romans

Iberia is a Roman name for lands in the Caucasus that lie between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Don't get me wrong, the people who lived in Iberia, didn't call themselves Iberians and probably didn't even know where Iberia was. The name Iberia was given to the area by Ancient Greeks and Romans. The other Iberia is named after a River which cuts across the north of Spain and is now called the Ebro River, and was the Roman name for all of Spain and Portugal. The two Iberia's are sometimes distinguished by calling one Caucasian Iberia and the other The Iberian Peninsular. These days it's the more pompous who go on about Iberia this and Iberia that, and can in moments of high confusion get all muddled up between Iberia, Anatolia which is the Roman name for Turkey, and Al-Andalusia which is the Arab name for Spain. So best to be wary and just call it Spain and Portugal, or the Armenia that constantly upset the latter stages of the Ottoman Empire and the Georgia the Russians are so regularly aggravated by and which doesn't have the Brown Thrasher as its State Bird.

"Hiber" is the Latin word for "Wintering." So for the more fortunate in our number you have words like Hibernating to wrap the mind around. The Romans, or one of them, chose to give Ireland the name Hibernia, or the Land of Wintering. But don't get me wrong, Hibernia didn't last long as a totally inappropriate name for Ireland. Following the fall of Rome, contact between Ireland and Europe all but disappeared for centuries, and this gave the Irish a chance to rid themselves of Hibernia and allowed them to go back to thinking of themselves as belonging to a land named after a wondrous Gaelic Goddess called Eriu, or Erin who might not have been a very Christian person. Eire is the Irish for Ireland. Erin is the Welsh name for Ireland. These days Hibernians are mostly either Bankers, Rugby Players, Soccer Players and there's an airline. Either way a slightly unbalanced person who might have spent far too many hours in Latin Detention can take some joy from the painfully slow withering of the Roman written language, watch it flop about like a drowning fish, and occasionally yell "I told you it was ridiculous" at no one in particular.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Local Gossip

False teeth wise, my own are improving. My S's will reach "suffering succotash" and "shall we shan't we insist on soots" without causing mirth. Which is good and important news for the totally self absorbed. Weather today is bright, breezy and there's a suggestion of river bloom, which for those who might not know is a cross between the smell of Romney Marsh sheep, Seaweed and fresh water Snail that reminds some of the sort of soup a person is obliged to praise because it cost so much money at a ludicrously expensive candle light driven restaurant that specializes in the nuances within the flavor "umami" or "tope," I forget which.

Gums, I am told, will take around two months to recover from the indignity of having all their teeth removed. Fortunately I've been keeping track, and while it does feel like around two years of being without upper teeth of my own, it's actually been less than three weeks. This morning I had what the dental professionals call an "adjustment." Basically, while the patient is being engaged by chit-chat around recent events in the Swamps of Florida, the false teeth are subjected to a grinding tool that sounds like a dentist's drill. And it would seem I must have developed a more personal relationship with my new teeth. Listening to what was happening to them, I felt rather sorry for them.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Eleven

Always had the vague understanding that in a definition of Empire would be found an idea like "Relieves internal tensions by invading other countries."

On the other side of the definition, so as to give it balance, make it feel better, would be a more evangelistic idea of justification. Some thing like "Spreading democracy."

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Therapy

History can be thought of as a series of possible explanations arranged around a list of dates. Generally speaking you and I cleave to the explanation we find most therapeutic and happy making. And it's the same with something like the science of climate change or whether Moles can be trapped or whether the current president of the United States has all his marbles.  Naturally, History as a therapeutic device, has Grocery Store type feel good flexibilities that depend upon the vagaries of mood and daytime temperatures. Yes indeed, it's a long way from something like electric shock therapy, or having your arm chopped off if you don't buy a loaf of bread. Both of which are therapies much better designed to boot a person into a more grounded sense of immediacy.

Recently I have found it therapeutic to ponder the origins of the names given to countries. Canada, for example, has several possible origins for its name found in rough and ready translations of the aboriginal languages by French, English, Venetian, Spanish and Portuguese explorers and fishermen. "The Land of Villages" is one possible misunderstanding of something that sounded like Canada. "I don't know" or "without a plan" is yet another possible misunderstanding.  Kenya, is named after a mountain, which once had snow caps and eleven glaciers, and which in most regional languages has a name that sounds kind of like Keen-ya, or kin-ya but variously translates to the English  as "The Mountain of Whiteness" or "God's Resting Place" and there are probably many others.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Preparation

Given the world as it currently appears it does seem a little self centered to be wholly engrossed in personal matters, but that's just the way things are for those who find themselves reduced to a liquid diet while engaged in the early phases of the battle with dentures. Simple questions arise, like what supplies would I need were I to find myself seeking refuge from a storm that's unfortunate enough to have been given a name. A mortar and pestle would be high on my dull list, or were I something like 20 and less inclined to follow the herds clamoring for gasoline, I might chose a surf board with a sail attached to it.

It all just goes to show, we people were never designed to live beyond about forty years which shines a whole new cone of uncertainty on the idea of being venerable. Exactly how old is Wolf Blitzer, for goodness sake? Only 69! Al Roker is 63. Andrea Mitchell is 70. Me, I'm one of this same particular generation, and I look and feel about 450. What happened? Well I'll tell you. The internet here is working again, from what I hear there's yet another worst natural disaster ever in the history of the world, for some ghastly reason the starry eyed Governor of Florida (64) doesn't believe the climate is changing, selfies were invented and You Tube happened.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Dog or a Hyena

So what is a Running Hyena. It's kind of like a Running Dog, the difference is that Dogs have a reputation for diligently chasing down their prey while working as a team. Hyenas, on the other hand, hang around yawning, like four legged Vultures, waiting to feed on corpses. A Hyena is ill designed to run down their victims, they have short back legs. And the other thing about Hyenas is they have a poor reputation that includes skulking in most unnerving and silent manner, making terrifying noises at night and they are guilty of craven cowardice. The point being that when addressing the character of rabble rousers, or polemicists, there's a difference between a Running Hyena and a Running Dog.

The whole Running Dog or Running Hyena thing goes back to the Maoist propaganda machine as a way to denigrate the sort of petting fogging, nibbling objections and obvious questions that always raise an ugly head when mere mortals suddenly conclude they've not only the answer but the power to alter the destiny of nations and people. From this it's safe to assume that both Running Dogs and Running Hyena are deemed to be on the wrong side of history, and no right thinking person should take any notice of them, the Running Hyena or Dog doesn't understand and should just basically shut up and sit down, or be sent to a labor camp, or night classes for reeducation. The question is, what kind of a Running rabble rouser or polemicist am I? Not that fond of Dogs, but Hyenas do purr...

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Strategy, Conspiracy, Libtards and Running Hyenas

This side of a legal system the difference between a strategy and a conspiracy is in the degree of transparency, or if you prefer, honesty. Here, there's an argument that suggests the impasse which has characterized Congress for the past couple of decades is the result of a movement in idea that has a genesis in a resurgence of the more tribal less considered understandings that run contrary to the kinds of thinking that will hold fast to for example the ideal that we people, no matter our color, our language or our origin are a magnificent rainbow and are all equally deserving. This means that in some circles politically correctness requires the ability to say something along the lines of white people are better than black people, or black people are better than white people, rich people better than poor people, Protestants better than Catholics and so on. In other, perhaps more civilized circles, the idea of one person being in anyway superior to another person remains a fundamentally incorrect opinion, an anathema, the very idea of it should be strangled at birth.

    
Be bold, get over yourselves, call it a cultural war, and in war, step one is to begin the process of dehumanizing the other, turning him or her into a creature of lesser and lesser worth, a pox on the order of things that must be destroyed, or at least removed from sight. And this, in my view, is why I was again called a Dumb-Ass Libtard, all in capital letters, for asking the innocent question "why are you so frightened of people who don't look like you?" And the thing about it was, instead of my usual reaction to being called a Dumb-Ass Libtard which as a rule is a perfectly reasonable reference to the Running Hyenas of reactionary forces, I became the epitome of the East Coast Liberal Intellectual, a bow-tie wearing product of the fever swamps of academia, and I was doing rather well in the role, waxing on in a shameful manner around the categories of the unwashed, the ignorant and stupid, knuckle dragging, inbred imbeciles.... Then the internet, for no good reason, suddenly stopped working. Coincidence? More likely a result of conspiracy by do-gooders.....

Monday, September 4, 2017

Trail of Tears

The Romans were supposed to have assigned to a servant the job of whispering "Thou Art Mortal" into the ear of conquering heroes. I think it was Churchill's Clementine whose job it was to remind the war-time prime minister that he wasn't necessarily a god, he didn't have to be, wasn't expected to be. And it's true the powerful, whether through conquest of wealth or territory do tend to a higher opinion of their own worth, and most kiss-up a little before giving any consideration to their own dignity. And it's also true that some will glare at the servant and produce one or other iteration of "Stop being so negative, you sack of bones!"

I raise this issue because of the following. DACA was a Presidential Executive Order that followed the abject failure of Congress to compromise on an immigration bill.  Also worth remembering, that President Jackson whose face can be found on a twenty dollar note was chief executive when a bill from Congress basically kicked the Indian Tribes out of land east of the Mississippi. For the Cherokee families it was ten years of unmitigated misery, hardship and death they call the "Trail of Tears."

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Sunday

Don't recall where I was or what I was doing when President Kennedy was killed. I mention this because most people of my age with whom I'm acquainted around the world, do remember, in great and often rather boring detail. Exactly what they were doing, why they were doing it, and so on. Their recall almost reverential. Same with September 11th 2001, no idea what I was doing or why I was doing it.

Maybe if I could remember where I was or what I was doing at these most dramatic points in the tapestry, my world would be fuller. I'd have recognizable and shared heroes, I'd know what my favorite color was and who my favorite Poet was, I'd get worked up about the difference between the two kinds of Marmite, and there's a whole list of important things that I apparently should do better than pretend to care about. Most likely a character flaw on my part?

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Action and Dreaming

If Pessoa at his most unbridled and free was still alive he'd not be tossing un-collated notes into a trunk, he'd be tossing them into the ether. Why? I hear the call. His unbridled answer to the question would I'd argue go something like this. Between action and dreaming, neither of which he was born to, he'd rather mix the two together, and he'd go on to say camaraderie has it's subtleties by reminding us we weep for saints but never weep for God.

The great man died in the 1930's, so fortunately he'll not be able to tell me whether I'm right or wrong, but his work is in my view an anthem to those who doubt the veracity of any and all efforts to describe the world around us. Others will reach for comfort in the many and varied attempts to describe then promote patterns of motivation within our species. And always such attempts start out slowly, become a chain linked dogma, which is why we weep for the saints who served God.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Weather

Remnants of the hurricane that vented outrage upon more southern parts has been politer to us. Over five inches of rain in the past eighteen hours and more to come. The occasional gusty wind.

To each his own, I guess, but complaining about a spike in gasoline prices makes about as much sense as pulling a gun on a fellow shopper in an argument over the last school notebook in a Wal-Mart.