Thursday, August 16, 2018

Ball Joints and Spindle Bearings

The trouble with being born a pompous-ass I could go on hour after boring hour on the topic of sycophant motivations and tyranny, and how to attempt an understanding of them without resorting to vulgarities and rude gestures, but that doesn't get me a ball joint for the steering of a venerable riding mower that's been sitting in the maybe pile for a good couple of years. The personality flaw of course is saying something like "It'll be good for parts." The thing is parts fail and usually it's the same parts that fail, so sooner or later a machine runs out of good looking and donatable parts, and the whole thing looks very sad and tragic, kind of like a polio victim. 

The other thing about this mower is the deep affection we share, we've been through hell together and it's my fault the steering failed. Which is yet another personality flaw that's sure to cost more than a couple of cartons of cigarettes and dozens of cans of sweetened condensed milk. All of which means I am doomed to reenter the dark and incredibly frustrating world of Spindle Bearing Repair. The spindles are the bits that allow the deck blades to spin, and I've kind of used a couple of bearings from this mower deck's spindles. It wasn't an easy thing to steal, I felt terrible doing it and even if price-wise new spindle bearings are up there with a well pump, it was kind of a betrayal on my part, one of those shameful feelings that haunt.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Being wishy-washy I've always been keen on phenomenological approaches. It's a long word and impossible to spell and it essentially means the stuff that's experienced by the mind. Sounds easy but none of us are able to actually get into someone else's mind, feel what they feel, think in the way they think. Transactional Analysis was a move toward getting a better grasp of the stuff that's experienced by the mind through looking at the more personal social interactions and categorizing them into parent, adult and child ego-states. The reason for choosing these three states is because they're either conflicting or complementary, and can be thought of as transactions between people and within groups of people. A small step in the problem of exploring the experience of others but a big one I think. "Are you treating me like a child?" "Only because I love you." A truly charged verbal interaction that can be explored in terms of both sides wanting something from the other, and it would seem neither one making much progress in the difficult business of getting the other to behave, oblige, go away or whatever. One of the troubles for the practitioners of phenomenological approaches to analysis is they are time consuming, require great patience, they're not usually successful in achieving results like world peace and in the end much cheaper just to medicate the lot of them.

 Either way, transaction, transactional and so on, figure pretty large in the current nightmare. "Oh he's just a day trader!" is thrown around like confetti. There's a whole thing around strategic thinking and how incredibly important it is for long term wellbeing. "When I grow up I want to be an astronaut." "Well you need to be good at math." I agree, it's a very depressing answer enough to put anyone off and so much easier just to have someone take a photograph of me in spaceman outfit so that I can look as though I might be an astronaut, or perhaps I'll just get a tattoo. In the three ego-states the adult is the one who can sort of see both sides, thinks more strategically, and has a basic understanding that hoping for miracles is no substitute for an informed opinion based on a wide, wide range of possibilities, followed by disciplined attempt at objectivity. Something like "you'll end up digging trenches for a living," is a long way from adult behavior, that would be a more parental reaction. But, "I wish you the very best of luck becoming an astronaut," followed by a shrug would be grown up. One thing's for certain anyone who tries to secretly sneak a sun tanning bed into their domicile falls into the category of child. An ego-state that is vulnerable and a real pain in the neck unless in the interpersonal transaction your own ego state is that of parent.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Origins of Q

I'd argue the early iterations of Q where in the ideas of Sorel, his myth of the general strike and the role a potential for violence played in sobering up ruling elites to prevent them from becoming totally obnoxious of attitude and appalling in their behaviors toward the common man. No accident that Q emerged sometime in the last half of the last century in Italy, an often divided land where Sorel's book hit a chord amongst the Italian Fascists. This Italian Q, (60's, 70's something like that) was one of those handbooks for politically left leaning activists who when considering the problem of Capital concluded that a myth of some sort would succor the flagging spirits of and reawaken an interest in radical change from the working class by offering a sense that despite all appearances to the contrary, "Things were actually happening." Not just little things, but really big and important things which when the time was deemed right would suddenly come together, all would be revealed, a paradise on earth, or at least affordable health insurance.

 Can't find the handbook, of course, probably have to go to a vault in Moscow, but it was basically a collection of intertwined rumors that these days most would put in the category of a well considered conspiracy theory. The work of the activist was to spread one rumor from the handbook, which as it found its way into a community would meet other rumors from the handbook and it was a like a Bingo moment for the innocent, who in their turn would become believers in the idea that "things were actually happening" and best not to be left out. Not sure the Italian Q had any great success, Italy back then had recently struggled through fascism, it's citizens were still pretty wise around crackpot ideas that contained a ludicrous promise. In the USA there's some debate about Q's reemergence, but I'd guess it was either some venal male of our species from the Alt Right looking to experiment with mayhem in pursuit of his ultimate purity, or a Leftist practical joke designed around the idea of making Trump supporters look idiotic and at the same time make a few more dollars on accessories and t-shirts to sell at Nuremberg style rallies. If you've not been to one, out in the free parking there's a smorgasbord of stalls selling hats and collectables, and naturally for Q memorabilia there's E-trade. 

Monday, August 13, 2018


Less than a hundred years ago there was an advert for a brand of lighter which included the expression "a flick and it's lit." A catchy phrase designed by bright young minds to entice an innocent customer into choosing a brand of lighter which I think was called Ronson. "What's this got to do with Q-Anon?" I hear the call. The answer can be found in a word that emerged in the 1960's which took it's cue from a 1930's movie called Gaslight. The movie was about a devious husband who in the course of being up to no good had decided the drive his wife insane by persuading her that she'd lost touch with the real and had become delusional. The word Gaslighting is hard to avoid, you can't really get up in the morning without experiencing an attempt designed to manipulate the way you think, but in the long list of civic horrors Q-Anon stands alone because in a sense we are all adherents to one version or other of it. We all believe something and when our beliefs are challenged we can quickly be persuaded to believe things that cannot be true.  What's the matter with you - just look at symbol for the United Nations, the earth is very obviously flat and if the earth wasn't flat and saucer shaped, you'd fall off it.

All very well getting worked up and over excited around ideas that suggest reality is virtual, that nothing is real outside of quotation marks, it's a mental stage upon which we prance, and yet thinking that way is a luxury best left to the common rooms that serve latte. One view is this. Generations ago we lived in tropical trees, we built well appointed and comfortable nests and we were blissfully happy unless one of our number chose to look beyond our horizon in the search for something else. Usually we'd do the right thing and toss such a character out of the nest, let him or her fall to a horrible death as a warning to others. Then our trees began to die and reality suggested that if our being was to survive we'd have to find new ways of being. It was the horizon that beckoned, an impossible place, flat treeless and without hope. It wasn't a genetic change that permitted us to adapt, it was the confluence of our being confronted by reality, a moment of truth rather than anything that made any sense. Boldly, with just the occasional gnashing of teeth and some grumpiness, we ventured forth into an unknown future. Q-Anon, if you ask them, will tell you everything's under control and going exactly according to the plan that's far too complicated for simple voters to fully comprehend. Me, I'm not convince. Incidentally, the Ronson lighter from a secondhand stall cost six pence, it needed unavailable parts and it never lit, it's a purchase that will live in infamy. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Bull of Heaven

Difficult to avoid contemplating the more dire of future possibilities, ogres abound, the ghost of Governor George Wallace is eagerly knocking on doors and MAGA has become an aesthetic for the truly brick wall puerile. Not a big believer in the 16th century quatrains of Nostradamus, yet interpreting the mystery of the future remains one of those perennials of consciousness, a bugaboo of awareness, which today is as awesome in its majesty as it was back in the day when Gilgamesh having killed the Bull of Heaven had his vision of his dead friend during which his friend went on a bit about what a terrible, terrible place Hell was. Nor did our hero find much solace in the vision, in fact it depressed him mightily. And if you're eyebrows are raised it's Sunday, dress up for church day, think about self in relation to other, and here we're not talking in relation to mechanical devices or Compost Piles. The point being "a shining city on the hill" is so badly tarnished by the machinations of earthly passions the future this side of some kind of painless death looks increasingly grim. And at the same time some of us might still cling to the idea that all things are relative, the Dark Ages weren't totally devoid of happiness, men and women laughed, children played with sticks in the puddles, contentment was defined by a satisfied stomach and Saints did stuff like turn lice into crocodiles so that none of us had to ask science or education to answer the question why? Yes indeed, the Dark Ages were a much simpler time, ignorance the most blissful of opiates, a heavy drinking for any mind searching for an oblivion in the slurry of alternatives states. By George! it used to be fun, rum punch, gin, washed down with Budweiser, a good substitute for Brains Ale still alive and warm from the barrel.

Never been certain why or whether Enkidu, Gilgamesh's friend, was in Hell, but Enkidu was kind of like Esau who biblical scholars will tell you was "an hairy man." A wild outdoor kind of person who hunted and gathered for a living, retained an ill-disciplined purity of understanding which slicky-boys from the more city-like habitats consider very un-cool unless it involved shopping, impressing girls or country music. And if there is one, these genuine wild outdoor type characters do kind of miss the point about civilization, the responsibilities of leadership, regular bathing, stuff like comprehending complex ideas in conjunction with good fashion sense. In short, a successful and good king has to be prepared to embrace the quill and parchment, pour out his heart into something like the Psalms of David as a penance for the sins of high ambition and lust for power, a sadness in his soul. If he's incapable of doing so, insists he's perfect, he's basically the servant of the Devil and should be burnt at the stake or hung from a balcony in an Italian City, and if he dies in his bed history already has the Mark of Cain on his forehead, no shortage of typewriters to remind the world of a reprobates abominable passage through it. When Gilgamesh first came to power he was a veritable scoundrel, cruel, self serving and just very nasty. He died a much wiser man, but his sins could never be forgiven, he'd killed the Bull of Heaven for goodness sake, which is why the account of his life is described by the university types and hangers on as a tragedy. Meanwhile, four and a half thousand years later, it does seem there's a kind of fratricide that's put a Mark of Cain on the Party of Lincoln. Fair warning, tomorrow I'll compare and contrast the Luddite reaction to automated textile equipment toward the end of the Napoleonic Wars with the DNC from 1992 to the present. To quote the well medicated Elvis, "It will fascinate you."

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Engine Trouble

I think the First World War started in August, so best not to pretend that everyone heads for the book shops or swimming pools, deck chairs, beach outfitters and summer holidays, and that nothing happens in August. Here where I live there's immense tension around a bad tempered and cantankerous small engine that cannot be removed from its mowing blade. The machine has been sitting around for far too long and the cause of tension revolves around the extent to which the engine is worth repairing or whether it joins that thunder cloud of contraptions in the barn that comprise the 99% chance of being dragged off to the twice annual county's amnesty for old bits of metal, appliances, everything else except rusted out fence wire. In the good old days of course citizens would just throw stuff off the cliff, watch it splash into the Green River, and then with a job well done wander on home to bathe in the suavity of their well appointed and entirely functional barn, with plenty of room to maybe play ping-pong, or tenniquoites, or possibly beach bowling or corn-hole without risking tetanus shots or a trip to the emergency room.

 The engine is a 6hp Briggs and Stratton which soon after emerging from its cardboard box somehow in the summer of 1997 or 1998 became permanently bonded to a mowing blade. The machine itself has since been modified so as to enhance its capacity to serve and basically it needs a new pretty much everything. The question is the cost of new parts for an engine, never easy or peaceful staring at the price list, and more often than not following those sort of major tickling experiences an engine is still in a deep sulk and has no intention of doing anything useful, like at least pretending to start. So after long discussion my side of the engine/gardener relationship has offered a new genuine head gasket from the mail order, about $5, none of this stuff that comes in a tube from Big Lots and is impossible to get off but which only cost about a $1.50. As well as all those none metal bits that make up a carburetor will be new from mail order, they all cost about $4.00. And I'm going to go nuts by spending $9.00 on a brand new breather with gasket so the plug doesn't keep fouling and the exhaust doesn't blow black smoke. With slow magazine rate shipping we're talking something like $28.00, which I reminded the engine is dozens and dozens of those Raspberry filled doughnuts!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Current Events

Your correspondent has caught up with several interpretations of current events, a truly painful experience. On the one hand a Russian Mole was recently fraudulently elected to the Office of President of these here Unite States and is successfully plotting the overthrow of Liberal Democracy. On the other hand an anonymous force for good is well entrenched in the state apparatus, their secret plan to turn the United States into a Valhalla on earth for white males is well underway and any minute now all evil people and their children will be taken away in pickup trucks and disposed of quietly. And if you don't believe me this anonymous force is apparently leaving bread crumbs for us all to follow and their crack pot leader may or may not be be making an appearance at a Nuremberg style rally at a sports stadium near you sometime in the next couple of months so that you let off a bit of steam by yelling blasphemies at the Free Press.

A third interpretation includes the even stranger idea that any minute now the earth will open up, horsemen carry phishing rods will emerge from the lower rungs of Silicon Valley and finally put an end to the nightmare of individual consciousness upon earth. Apparently they all have Facebook Pages and factories full of Trolls, and each one of them knows where each one of us lives, so probably best to tread warily around the internet for the foreseeable future incase you get led astray and next Saturday suddenly and through no fault of your own find yourself on the DC metro dressed up as a medieval knight in riot gear preparing to do battle with the forces of chaos. So it's all very exciting out there. Meanwhile there's no way I'll be going to another vigil for the victims where I can pretend to pray and look holy unless the God Thor or perhaps Saint Winifred promises to make an appearance. Each to his own, I guess.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

De Sales

I'd argue that a more recent version of the Cult of Diana or as the Greeks referred to her, Artemis, would be something like a Florida Nuremberg Rally.  In the imagination Diana began her existence as a simple Goddess of Nature, which back then was as much about hunting the woodlands for protein as it was about organic gardening. Soon enough the clouds lifted and in some parts Diana or Artemis became more to do with harnessing the unknown powers of nature by doing things like boiling up Eye of Newt and Toad Tongues. It was and still is a sorcery that relies for its effectiveness upon returning to instinctual fears, lusts and passions as opposed to the logic of someone like Euclid, and I would add Pythagoras to the list of the reasonable, but Pythagoras' own Cult tended to believe that there wasn't much difference between witchcraft and mathematics they were fairly convinced their master could be in two different places at the same time, nor does anyone really believe their conception had anything to do with quantum states rather it was just something they wanted to believe their master capable of. It's quite understandable of them, my own understanding of blockchains is they are mystical and will forever be beyond my understanding and yet apparently they're all over the place.

It's kind of like falling off the wagon of sensibleness, I suppose. You know it's nuts and yet what with one thing and another you're suddenly allowed to think and say and do exactly what you want to because it just feels right, natural and perfectly good. The hard won years of civil discourse and the good diet of politeness are tossed aside, out comes the demon and you suddenly find yourself chasing down and beating to death an eighty year old Bishop of Ephesus, a good and rather bossy man called Saint Timothy, who just happened to think that Diana or Artemis was on the wrong tack and that those who had made a cult out of her were being led badly astray and would probably all end up in a purgatory of their own making where the best they could all do would be to gnash their teeth at each other. Nor can I find any evidence that might suggest that the good Bishop of Ephesus had reached a ripe old age had gone a little barmy from a sense of depression about his world and was ready to hasten his own end time by confronting a procession through the streets of his city in honor of the Goddess of the Hunt. Not sure what sense the Church makes these days, but high five and many cheers to Saint Francis de Sales, a humble man, a great orator and writer who died in the December of 1622 while sleeping in a gardener's hut, worth noting he's the patron Saint of Journalists, not of Pundits.