Monday, October 31, 2011

... more later

The world here is still beginning its change.  Almost every plant is turning yellow or red.  Stray leaves are beginning to pepper the ground.  The trees are becoming more sparse, there is a crisp chill in the air, but ever so slightly.

I've tried to sit down and write 3 times this morning and 3 times I've been distracted by something and pulled away from my desk.  I'm beginning to get a glimpse into what my life will be like soon.  Everybody laughs and tells me to enjoy sleeping now because I won't get any once the baby is born.  That is a disturbing thought. I already don't sleep very well, my wife sleeps like a breathing statue.  

I get a little glimpse into what life will be like soon.

I give up, perhaps I will come back and try to write more later.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

a ghost about ghosts

Nightmares. They are easy to forget when you have not had them for a while.  I have not had any since arriving in California. None that I can remember anyway.  Then there was last night, there were many.  A series of misadventures.  I was like a sleeping Amy Winehouse, just pulled back from the non-event horizon.  All manner of evils parading through my slumber, mocking me with their dark laughter.

It was a bad night, chasing obsessions, ending in paranoias.  Each person I assume must have a vortex that they are best to not wander near, that once they enter it, by will or by accident, then they are lost to all other impulses.  Without explanation they emerge on the other side grasping for meaning, knowing what happened, but unable to explain.... like trying to explain a dream.  You might be able to announce the nouns, it becomes increasingly difficult to express the verbs, impossible to paint the amorphous setting exactly as it was, the liquid inner transitional scenes lost to language.  It is the mind's mercury: fascinating to watch, poisonous to ingest.  Moving through sleep like many metallic snakes.

I am often puzzled by people who enjoy horror films. There are those who are genuinely frightened by them, yet they return to them time after time, for that pleasure.  Even the ones they have seen many times before, they return as if hypnotized.  It is difficult to understand what it is they see in them, what experience they could possibly be gaining.  

Can there be such a thing as artificial surprise.
Do we all return only to return, to re-experience the returning.

Or, is life only a ghost about ghosts.


Friday, October 28, 2011

... an expression of unity

No time to write today. I must rush out the door, then to work, then into SF for the night, then back to work tomorrow.  A friend is in town and I will be part of a rock star's entourage tonight.  I will be back tomorrow with brave tales, or perhaps the next day.

This has nothing at all to do with what I'll be doing tonight. But the mention of Rock and Roll made me think of it:

Robert Hunter, the lyricist for the Grateful Dead, wrote The Ten Commandments of Rock and Roll... Here they are... 

I had meant to only post the last one, as it was the only one that I ever really knew or had heard before, but I did a search and found the rest.  

Isn't the internet simply grand....

1. Suck up to the Top Cats.
2. Do not work to express independent opinions.
3. Do not work for the common interest - only factional interest.
4. If there's nothing to complain about dig up some old gripe.
5. Do not respect property and persons other than your own.
6. Make devastating judgements on persons and situations without adequate information.
7. Discourage and confound personal, technical or creative projects.
8. Single out absent persons for intense criticism.
9. Believe that anything or anyone you don't understand is trying to fuck with you.
10. Destroy yourself physically and morally and insist that all true brothers and sisters do likewise as an expression of unity.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hood Mountain

Inspired by a birthday gift from a friend, a local hiking guide... Rachel, Barkley and myself took a light uphill march yesterday, a military frolic.  It was mandated, by corporal me, that dogs must be allowed on the trail.  No easy task, but we finally settled on a light trail about 30 minutes from home, Hood Mountain.  We never made the summit as we decided too late in the day to begin the hike, and perhaps bringing a small puppy on a 3 hour hike, without water, is irresponsible.  To mention nothing of the pregnant hiker in tow.

We discovered some beautiful vistas though, even without conquering the peak.  Perhaps that battle will be for another day.  

Within a few months I will be a naturalist, damning the many cities of my past, cursing their poisonous affect on nature, ambling freely naked among the many firs and pines, having sex with animals other than humans, making homes out of bark.  Who knows, maybe the ghost of Daryl Hannah's nymph spirit will fall in love with me.

Ok, enough.  I have to return to work today, where my dreams of nature will be squelched by the 35 minute drive inwards on Hwy 101, across the Petaluma river, down south choked along the urban funnel, where all inclinations towards nature have a slightly more esoteric than practical intent. It is a magical place in which all religious impulses are encapsulated in the simple concept of universal oneness, starting with Me... the early everlasting capital i of all, the center of i, Me, mine, NOW.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Yesterday, a friend (Lisa) gave me two books on hiking in the region.  They are both filled with useful information about the dangers, the history, the climate, the hikes.  I am eager to get started with them. One is exclusively for Sonoma County and the other is for the entire San Francisco area.  It seems unlikely that I will exhaust either of them quickly.  Flipping through them, there are many hikes in the area worth taking.  

The second book covers Napa and Sonoma, Marin, The East Bay, The Peninsula and The Southern Bay all the way down to Santa Cruz.  A very exciting region, one that I have often romanticized. I once drove down the coast southwards through Big Sur, camping along the way, continuing on to Hearst Castle for a day trip there to enjoy its confused collections.  Xanadu, according to Orson Welles' version of the story.

I am eager to get in the car and drive, perhaps later today, with camera, some water and a hiking book.  Yesterday I did only a small handful of the things that I had hoped to do. None after I started drinking wine, which was also on my list.  Today perhaps I will go to Sugarloaf and walk a bit.  Today is a "new moon," a day in the lunar cycle that often has significance for myself and Rachel.  We will see what secrets the day reveals.

I worry about hiking in this area though...

There are rattlesnakes in this region.  We were at Buena Vista winery about two months ago and two had recently come up from the river area, they were frightened away by one of the groundskeepers.  We were at the Kunde winery a few weeks ago and Rachel was walking a few steps ahead of me when she suddenly stepped aside with the dog, Barkley.  She drew my attention to the ground where there was a baby rattlesnake, the most dangerous kind. They have no control over how much poison they release so they are very dangerous, a bite from a baby rattlesnake is often fatal, most certainly so to a small dog.  The prospect of one biting a pregnant woman is too horrific to consider.  It's a good thing that he was on a leash. He has an insatiable puppy curiosity towards all things.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Indium Tin Oxide and the city across the bay

I spent a night in the city.  It was exhausting.  I drank too much, of course, then had to work the next day.  Perhaps all that I've said is true, that I am getting old.  I used to have boundless energy with which I could destroy my body and spirit. The spirit almost always bounced back, sometimes even with renewed vigor and enthusiasm for damage. Now I miss not being at home, sleeping in my own bed, awaking there in the morning.  My gypsy days are winding up;  would that be winding down?

I sat at my lunch yesterday and watched The World Series and drank two beers, wishing myself far away, at home, in bed, knowing that it would be hours before I would be there.  I don't normally drink beer on my lunch hour.  It never works out as well for me as I might hope.  But I needed something to give me the strength to go on, to carry myself forward.  My wife thinks that Albert Pujols has a funny name, especially when pronounced with the excited energy she possesses when doing so.  She says that it is not a real name, that it could not be, that it is from Saturday Night Live, like Turd Ferguson.  I assure her that it is not a comedy name, but a real one, that he is from the Dominican Republic, a great ball player.

She remains suspicious about it, and giggly.

Ever since I went to that bluegrass festival I've had some dust on the image sensor of my camera.  It can be easily seen in the picture above, as can the evil city across the bay, the one with the many problems.   I searched the internet for image sensor cleaning suggestions and options, all sensibilities pointed towards this rather expensive system, or so I thought. The system could be ordered from Calumet photography with a credit card.  So that's what I did.  When it all arrived I sat down with an instruction manual for my camera and read through the section on how to go about raising the mirror so that I could have access to the sensor, how and why to be very careful, etc., etc.  

I read through the directions twice, wanting to be sure of the procedure.  Then I committed to the act and cleaned the dust off.  All was perfect.  I reclined on the victory couch and continued to read on from what I had thought was the end of the cleaning section.  On the very last page of the section there was a warning box, advising no one to use methanol in their cleaning solutions as the image sensor is of the indium tin oxide outer-coating variety and apparently will be damaged by methanol.  I'm sure you've guessed by now.... I was fucked.  I hadn't done enough research, or bought the right products,  or read the instructions all the way till the very end.  All was lost, $1200 for the body alone.  

I jumped up and ran to the computer, to see if anything could be done.  I found nothing except warnings about doing such a thing, and why not to.  I was terrified.  After a few minutes of that I went to the Calumet website, where they sell the stuff, and there was a statement there saying that the solution was safe for tin-oxide type sensors. No further explanation, just a claim that it is safe.  I started thinking about quantities of liquid, ratios, flammables... trying to remember anything at all from science class, how to pronounce "aluminum" and that Brits claim they isolated it so they decide on its pronunciation, neither of which are true... they perhaps are confused over what an element is and what an alloy is, a mixture containing two or more elements, by definition, etc.  

I was miffed. Indium Tin Oxide.....

Oh, indium tin oxide, where did we go wrong....?

I know nothing, and what I thought I knew was only a danger to my camera. 

Damn it all to hell, Pujols....



Friday, October 21, 2011

Pics from a speeding car....

The valley has begun to change.  Within just a few days the golden-brown floors of the many fields found here have turned a new crisp green, in a strange late spring.  The beginning of fall can only be caught in the occasional yellowing grape leaf, peppered among the awaiting rows of viridescence.  

In hardly a handful of weeks each leaf will become its own flower in the explosion of autumn.  The reds and yellows sending their sudden colors into the heavens, into the earth.  Leaving the gnarled, waved vines to the winter; fading pages covering the ground, in unbound and undone folios.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Two aging idealists....

Here is my friend's response.  The numbers after each paragraph are mine so that I can make individual responses to some of his statements, the rest is his.

Just as Sean is challenged by my logic, I too am challenged by his. Substitute a right leaning view everywhere he writes left and in many ways I feel as he does. Yet I know this man’s heart and I know he has always been contrary. He dared to go where I would not and I played it safe in many ways.  Yet I consider him one of my best friends. He has influenced my taste in music, my outlook on life and in many ways I wish we could go back and spend more time in our 30s together. His friendship has always meant something to me. How many can really say they have friends since 2nd grade? I don’t let my own philosophy detract from wanting to build bridges with my lifelong friends. It is just not worth the price. With that said here is my response to Sean’s (1)

I am that friend Sean writes of and I hope some of my thoughts hone Sean like diamonds hone steel. (lol).  I read through the comments about me here and I first must put a resume of sorts out there. I hold a degree in biology and masters degree in environmental planning. I spent 13 years as environmental planner both in the public and private sector  in Florida and policy analysis was part of my job. Unlike perhaps a few here while I am not attorney, I was required to take Constitution and Land Use Law in FSU’s College of Law to earn my degree. I also took environmental law as well. So when it comes to policy analysis I tend to think I am qualified to give an opinion or two.  When it comes to the Constitution I have read it and I understand it. I know, I know it is like something a 10 year old would say. (2)

My world view of the recent events have been shaped by a education, lifetime of events and experiences least of which are two things. A few years back I left my profession and bought a business. I now make chocolate and women’s dreams come true. I also have invested in a few vacation rental cabins in the Smoky Mountains. I once worked for the man and now I am the man. I employ people and I own a sub-s corporation. I understand now more than ever the costs of government as I pay those costs out of my bank account monthly and quarterly. I see the negative impact of fiscal decisions of  the government directly in my life and I now appreciate more than ever the Bill of Rights and the rights of the individual to own property. I understand how my time and labor are traded for dollars. I use my body and mind to generate wealth and that wealth is my property.  The Constitution protects my right to property from unlawful seizure from the Government and the founders new liberty is manifested through private property rights of all forms.  It is why we have private property mentioned specifically in the Preamble.  I am not entitled to anybody’s else’s property from Bill Gates to Sean’s. I do not demonize millionaires if they have  lawfully obtained their wealth. It is the fruit of their labor.  It is their personal property. (3)

I actually agree with Sean the collusion of government and business has led the way here in terms of the economic situation and I was a practicing professional city planner when Congress (Republican) and Democratic President pushed the Community Reinvestment Act of 1996. This ACT led the way for the housing bubble and financial collapse in 2007. It directed banks to lend money to those they would otherwise not normally lend money too.  Our government forced banks to open their wallets and removed all risks from banks in otherwise high risk loans. It was a boon to affordable housing planners, but it put banks on the track to do bad loans. As a biologist I see how the government violated the natural laws inherit in greed and the desire to obtain wealth in removing risk from a private capital source. They did what any living creature would do and that is to maximize their rewards in such an environment. Risks are like predators in the wild, like when a gazelle goes to the water hole but there are no lions around anywhere.  The gazelle will gorge itself, I know I would. Most folks reading this would too. Think about…get rid of speeding tickets on the interstate highway, how many would travel the posted speed limit?  Remember there is greed for money and greed for power. Government is not immune to either here. The government is THE CATALYST here for the economic and housing meltdown. (4)

Our Constitution clearly lays out the design of the Republic, yes we are a republic and not a true Democracy, that the Federal Government is limited in power. It is designed to be limited in power and it clearly states that the Feds have 18 enumerated powers with the rest of the unspoken, unwritten powers given to the states via the 10th Amendment.  So if the states want universal health care they can. If the states want to enact land use laws, they can.  If the state wants to regulate marriage gay straight what ever they can. None of these are the roles of the Federal Government. When the Federal Government engages in roles it is clearly not designed to,  we then get what we have today like crony capitalism.  The tax code is designed to invite corporate lobbyist to protect their interests from the tyranny of the tax code.  Meanwhile the citizens get left holding the bill to the tune of $16 trillion dollars national debt. We have a citizenry where 47% demand services from the government at the expense  to the 53% footing the bill. We are heading fast toward bankruptcy. (5)

I am not a tea party member and I clearly blame our problems today on the national Republican party. It is the Republican party who lost their way. We are a little r republic and they over time bought into the false hopes of the Progressive Movement from the early 20th Century. They overtime bought into the idea of making us more like Europe which is facing financial collapse today. They sold the Constitution out to build their power base and they did not stand and fight or even articulate what our Federal Government is supposed to be or do as outlined in the Constitution. They offered no real alternative in palpable way. So by default and over time the Progressive socialist agenda crept in.  I am now at a point and see the problem and the problem is we strayed from original vision for the limited Federal Government. (6)

Perhaps one of the biggest influences on my life are the days I became a father. My second child, Kyle, contracted group b strep during labor and 18 days later he had group b strep meningitis. It destroyed Kyle’s occipital lobe. He is cortically blind, has epilepsy, cerebral palsy and is mentally retarded.  Kyle is an awesome 13 year old boy. I gave up my career for him. I took a risk by taking a second mortgage out on a cabin and bought my business. I took these risks so I could call the shots and be there for my kids.  Kyle has taught me what life is really about and that is relationships. It is about a connection of the heart and soul in this world. (7)

Kyle has perhaps sharpened for right or wrong my view of folks who complain. A great many of the Occupy crowd while practicing civil disobedience all have potential.  Many if not all can walk, talk, go to school, have a dream, get married, streak down the road, do stupid things and so forth. They have the POTENTIAL to do anything in this world especially because they live in United States.   They have it all and they don’t see it. Some of me feels sorry for them and some of me has a real disdain too as they are wasting moments in life. Sure they are acting to change the world, but the world many  seem to want to change to is one of socialism or even Marxism.  Many were never alive during the cold war or see the real down side of a communist based economy.  America is awesome and it is still the land of opportunity because we are free and we have the liberty to succeed and the liberty to fail.  They have a sense of entitlement.  Many say they went to college and there are no jobs and they were guaranteed a job. Really?   I spent 2 years working a night job as a janitor. I had a master’s degree and worked 2 jobs. I did what had to be done. (8)

Folks need to understand life is not fair. It is not guaranteed and nothing is given to us. There are prices to be paid for behaviors of all kinds and there are rewards for behaviors and actions of all kinds and it is not the government’s role to make it fair. The role of the government is to ensure liberty to either succeed or fail and nothing more.  It is there to make sure the football field of basic rights are level but its purpose is not to guarantee a win for any given team on the field.  Nobody needs to tell me how bad things happen to good people. Can anyone here tell me what my son did wrong to deserve his lot in life?    He will never be able to protest anything anywhere. He will never drive a car or ride a bike. He will never marry. He will never do the things like write a blog or debate the validity of the Constitution.  If not but for the Grace of God go I. It is my responsibility to care for him now and insure he has what he needs as an adult and not anybody else’s. (9)

I watch my son struggle to walk. I see folks complaining that they have no job yet have 2 good feet. I watch my son struggle to say words. I see others use their words to spread hate and anger. I watch my son trust everyone and I see a country where politics creates distrust on all sides. I am raising a human being who truly can’t while I see people on the left in particular who are complaining because they won’t.   I have a child who blames nobody for his circumstance and I see others blaming everyone else for theirs.   In the end I see liberty as the answer and others see the solution is more government.  I see compassion coming from one’s heart and through charity.  Other’s see compassion as taking the property of some by the threat of jail and giving it to others who did nothing to earn it or perhaps even deserve it. (10)

In the end this idealist throws his hat in the ring on the side of limited government and liberty.  I see my friend who will soon be a dad perhaps change some of his views the moment he holds his child for the first time. I see hope being born soon in his family and if it is a girl, I see perhaps a weird form of karma coming back to him  so he better watch out (lol)….. (11)


Bob Williams
Welcome to Smoky Mountain Time!
Mountain Bear Cabins

Sean's responses:

(1) - Boring

(2) - Boring

(3) - Boring, though Bobby did catch his mistake before we went to press. The Preamble does not mention property.  I assume that he was confusing the Preamble with the Declaration of Independence, though I'm not sure. Property and health were among Locke's original assertions, Jefferson added "the pursuit of Happiness" to his famous list of unalienable rights.

(4) - Boring again, though with one rebuttal:  Bobby sees the CRI as the catalyst to all that is evil in the financial world. I see it much more as being the 1999 Graham-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, the last and most finally damaging repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act.  Bobby seems to pursue his vision of a perfect nation in a hands-off approach to federal government.  I see the results of deregulation and unrestrained speculative investing as being the core of the problem and the CRI as being merely tangential. 

(5) - We are not truly in a republic, the words republic and republican are not synonymous. Our government is not controlled by the people but rather the opposite is true.   We are in a representational democracy, based largely on the liberal ideas of John Locke.  Do not let the word liberal mislead you here either.  John Locke would hardly recognize the use of the word liberal as it is applied to today's standards of the concept. We agree on the iniquity of the tax code, but we perhaps disagree on what should be done about it.  The wealth has already been shoveled away disproportionately and the government was an accomplice in the act.  This was not just good old-fashioned industrialists making an honest living for their families, this was collusion in defrauding a nation and enslaving its citizens in tax indebtedness to the crime, dear comrades.....

(6) - The "Progressive socialist agenda" "crept in" through democracy. People voted representatives into office that would advance the ideas that they embrace. If states were able to govern themselves then we might still have slavery. The thing that makes The Constitution so powerful is its adaptability.  I'm not entirely sure that the nation would be better off with such a limited role of the federal government.  So much of what makes us what we are in the world today came about by the development of that strong federal government guiding a nation through a civil war and then two world wars. We emerged out of the 20th century as a world leader because of our federal government, not in spite of it.   

(7-10) - Kyle's position is unfortunate, to be certain, but the circumstances of his birth should affect our thoughts on society in perhaps the opposite way than how Bobby has asserted. This example reveals a disingenuous position on Bob's part and if we are to follow his reasoning through to its logical conclusion then its weakness is revealed.  "It's not the government's role to make it fair."  Were he truly to believe that each person is responsible only for themselves then he would argue for the removal of any and all societal modifications for the disabled.  I find it difficult to believe that he would argue for such a thing. Of what use is the government's forcing an establishment to build a ramp so that all can enter a state building in his brave new republic?

It is here where the lie of the right often reveals itself most fully.  They wish to be the sole arbiters of where the line will be drawn between civility and welfare. There are those on the left who would argue for the flattening of all benefits and enjoyments in life, taxing the rich out of existence and distributing their wealth evenly.  There are others, even among us, who have long argued for the opposite form of society, in which all government aid to assist the disabled, or anybody else, is entirely removed.  Most of us would not wish to live in either of those two states.  It is easy to see why the first is preferable to some, much more difficult to understand the second. Though I suppose that is what makes me a liberal, the leaning towards a more evenly distributed pattern of wealth, a society based upon both civility and the welfare of its citizens through education and well-maintianed assistance programs.

It is the cost of unnecessary war that I mostly object to.  If one looks carefully at the reality of those costs then it is difficult to understand why so many of the right are not more "up in arms" about it.

I only use his example because he offered it.  I have nothing but empathy for the very difficult position that he and his family are in with his son, Kyle.  I trust that Bobby knows this.  He named his son Kyle because of a song by Bruce Springsteen that we both loved, "Reason to Believe."  It is perhaps through Kyle's struggle that I hope one day Bobby will in fact shift his views a little bit back towards the left.  Should not a society offer some meager assistance, through education and perhaps aid in the raising of children, when they are born disadvantaged?  Bobby seems to see all people as being born equal, and being given the same chances, though his own example reveals that such a thing is simply not true.  Not all are born equal and we are often blind to the struggles of others, though rarely do we concede blindness in our judgement of those same struggles.  It seems to me that most people want their societies to be a better place to live, they disagree greatly at how to accomplish such a thing.  I simply can not believe that what is truly destroying our society is the attempt to help and educate those who need it most.   

That being said, public education needs to either be improved or abandoned.  

(11) - The concept of karma as you've used it here seems somewhat inconsistent with your determined views of cosmic constitutional connections.  Karma is universally misunderstood and misrepresented, there is no support for it in the sciences.  You should be ashamed....  If not now, then perhaps you will be in a future life...

I have enjoyed arguing with Bobby for 35 years, off and on.  I have watched his shuffle to the right from an early age.  I don't pretend to understand it but I concede that he makes some good points, though often as mired in constitutional idealism in the same way that I am plagued by societal idealism, sometimes even socialist idealism.  Most of all I am disappointed that he believes that his government does not have a greater role and responsibility in protecting its citizens more fully, that the natural laws of commerce are all that are needed to return his republic to grandeur, and that genuine equality has already been achieved, and there is nothing more to struggle for in that regard.  

I agree with him that it is the government's responsibility to protect the property of its citizens, but what is to be done when they are the ones involved in the systematic misappropriation of it? There is simply far too much evidence to support that many of America's citizens are regularly cheated out of their property by government and big-buisness alike through taxes and anti-consumer legislation.  The laws have been skewed in favor of the few for far too long, a flattening of the playing field is precisely what is needed, in his view of the republic he would have you believe that we are already there.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Two young idealists

It is no secret that I lean to the left, and that I prefer my propaganda coming from the left, and that many of my friends are also left-leaning.  I try to keep my wits about it all, and a humored awareness.  I try not to demonize the right and I attempt to acknowledge the failures of the left, which are many.  I also acknowledge the many failures of the right. I perhaps idealistically pretend to have created an inner-balance in which I acknowledge the various stances from both sides with which I am in agreement.

But I have never really had any type of inner-balance at all.  It is all something I tell myself because it makes me happy to do so.

But every now and then I find myself in conversation with somebody whose affiliations are towards the right, and getting righter by the second, someone who has no real liberal inclinations at all, and then I am stuck.  I find that I am overwhelmed with shock and disbelief at their beliefs.  I find a self-serving distortion of the facts that, much like paranoia's perpetual inwardness of suspicion, somehow always seems to serve their political agenda and historical perspective, no matter how unlikely or absurd.

Recently I got engaged in an argument on Facebook with a childhood friend.  Well, it hardly qualified as an argument: I wrote a poem which evoked the sentiment, "viva le' revolucion" and he responded with a few questions, I responded in semi-essay form here, he responded on Facebook, I replied several times and it appears to be over.  Though this was not our first open "discussion" there.  For whatever reason he does not seem interested in engaging me publicly.  I can't blame him, really.  Facebook is all too public and mainly leans to the left along with me.  Not exactly the best place to trot out right-winged dogma, even if it does include a skewed knowledge of history that trumps 95% of the participants found there.  

He relays that he is tired of the government's failed attempts at "social engineering"... seemingly unaware that The Constitution is the most famous, and some would argue effective, doctrine of social engineering ever committed to paper.  Likewise all taxation is a form of social engineering and is a perfect example of wealth re-distribution. That is, in fact, its main socialist objective, to take money from all and produce benefits for all, without their consent.  Also, the post office is socialist in structure, as is the public library system, the public school system, social security, and all fire, police and rescue departments.  

The assertion of his that drove me the craziest was his blaming of the nation's problems on the poor, and likewise blaming the problems of joblessness and the failed financial systems on the "Occupy" protesters and liberals in general.  It is precisely these kind of assertions that I have heard from the right, often vaguely imbued with an undercurrent of racism, that really drives me mad.  

I mean angry, not "mad," but really angry.

I won't pretend to have it all figured out but I think I've just heard one too many contentions that fall along these lines: "What do I still owe the blacks? They have equality now. They have only themselves to blame for their problems.", "Democrats are indoctrinating people the same way that the Nazi's did." , "Liberals want to give everything away." , "If poor people don't want to be poor then they should work." , etc., etc., and on and on...

These are not direct quotes from my friend, but they are not far off at all.  I have a litany of emails between us from a previous discussion that echo all of these sentiments.  It is a difficult position to be in, trying to align a lifetime of friendship with attitudes that you stand in opposition to.  Even attempting to point out that the Nazi's were not like the democratic part at all becomes a struggled conversation. 


I don't want to live in a welfare state, but I also don't trust government and the corporate world to act with the public's best interests in mind.  The government is there presumably to protect its citizens and all too often the biggest threat comes from within.  I am enraged at the wastefulness of the government but I choose two decade-long-wars to be a much bigger problem than some of the social initiatives that are being fought for.  My friend seems to believe that if everybody were just left alone to find their natural place in life then all would work out according to nature's plan, as it has in the past....  That any intrusion by government into the lives and decisions of hard-working frontiersmen, operating their land and harvesting their crops the way that they see fit, is an abomination, and that any and all laws allowing for it should be abolished and those lawmakers shackled, then drawn-and-quartered.

Well, I disagree....  I know it's not fair to speak for him, to put words into his mouth, so I rescind the last two sentences from the paragraph above. But I stand behind the general sentiment of the statements further above, the ones in quotations.  They do accurately reflect sentences of his that I have from previous emails.  I would let him speak for himself and publish actual quotations of his here but I haven't asked his permission yet.  We'll see if he still wants to talk to me after this....

I have heard my friend laugh several times and remind me that I used to lean to the right when I was younger.  It is true, though that truth has its precedents.  I was perhaps too young to have figured out how I actually felt about things and was merely echoing my parents politics. Or, I was only being contrary, a way that I have always been.  Being surrounded by young people, who almost universally lean to the left during youth, I simply took opposition to that.  Even yet, I was probably just joking along, riling people up, testing the limits of people's patience, a lifelong pastime, seemingly.

My friend has perhaps set aside the more complete memory of me in favor of one where I argued for what would be considered right-wing positions now.  Again, I have not always embraced the left as being sent from the heavens.  I think most of them, just like those on the right, are cowards and hypocrites, intellectually feeble, and driven by greed for power and lust for money.  Only a handful among them seem worthy of public office and most of those are disqualified by that very characteristic alone, worthiness.

I have tried throughout my life to see the truth, or usefulness, of any number of policies, whether from the left or the right.  

It is called idealism and it is something that I hope I still possess in meager quantities. 

Last night I was reading about the "Occupy" movement and I found a link to the Tea Party's website in which they denounce the Occupiers and make clear that they do not share their ambitions, however ill-defined those ambitions might be.  Their statement can be read here.  I encourage everyone to read it in full, especially when they invoke the preamble to The Constitution in a threatening and exclusionary way at the very end, reminding the nation how truly dangerous they are, or can be.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Muir Woods, 10-17-11

I believe that if one always looked at the skies, one would end up with wings. - Gustave Flaubert

I knew, of course, that trees and plants had roots, stems, bark, branches and foliage that reached up towards the light. But I was coming to realize that the real magician was light itself. - Edward Steichen

A woodland in full color is awesome as a forest fire, in magnitude at least, but a single tree is like a dancing tongue of flame to warm the heart. - Hal Borland

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirit of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. - e.e. cummings

Except during the nine months before he draws his first breath, no man manages his affairs as well as a tree does. - George Bernard Shaw

I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant breath of pine and fir and cedar and poplar trees. The trail has strung upon it, as upon a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets. - Hamlin Garland


Monday, October 17, 2011


I have not had the time to follow the Occupy Wall Street movement as closely as I would like to, and have not been able to participate in it at all.  I did call 311 to file a complaint when they announced that they were going to kick the protesters out of the park for "cleaning" reasons.  I still have an NYC phone number, so I made use of it.  Hardly the makings of a revolutionary, I know.  But a full-time job and a pregnant wife can be prohibitive when it comes to participating fully in such a thing.

I don't have an all encompassing opinion of what is happening in NYC, or across the rest of America, and the globe. My main reaction is that many of the videos that I've seen have been quite disturbing.  I've seen unprovoked violence by the police - arrests that defy easy explanation, or evidence of crime - blatant misuse of power, and the broad attempts to destroy people's right to peaceably assemble, to redress grievances.

I was having a glass of wine last night and I posted a little miniature poem to Facebook.  It was part tongue-in-cheek, part expression of excitement to see people resisting abuses of power, but mostly an expression in praise of life. Though it did not mention the Occupy situation directly, it was intended to to evoke that, in part.  It was a simple verse in praise of life, or "viva," more than anything else. The timing was intended to be suggestive.

A friend responded, "What is it that we are revolving towards?  What is it that is clearly better than what we have? viva...."

Ignore the subtle confusion between the words revolving and revolution.  Revolution is a revolting against something.  It is an attempt to have power shift hands, often at the charge of misuse.  It is not a revolving towards but a resistance against.  The perhaps naive idea is that to stop something that is wrong will hopefully produce anything that is better.  The first question of his can mainly be read as a setup for the next question, which it both sets up and echoes.  It seems to be the question everybody has for the Occupy movement. What do they want? What are their demands.

I love that they have refused to state demands.

I am with those who wish to stop greedy wrongdoing, and with Wall Street there is much.  But the system is designed to defy easily articulated resistance; so instead they are just assembling and enacting out a sort of theater of discontent.  I love it.

I would never pretend to speak for the Occupy movement, or to even clearly understand their message, though their sense of irony is fantastic, and even at times vaguely reminiscent of the dada movement of the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich.  

A few things, however, seem clear enough...  They are sick of corruption. The failures of the financial world in the past several years are well documented. They are sick of the government aiding the corruption by lack of oversight, or by rolling back restrictions and regulations, or attempting to.  They are sick of paying taxes to bail out the criminal misdeeds of the very financial organizations that have created a structure that cheats them at every possible turn and then acts as if it is the failure of the economy that has caused the problem.  That it is in fact a fault of the people and the environment that they have created that is the actual issue, rather than the criminal act of betting against a system's success, the very system that you are selling to your investors.   

They seem to be sick of being fucked over and then being told that it is somehow their fault for having been fucked over.  They seem to be sick of Congress and the Supreme Court protecting corporations over citizens. They seem to be sick of the result of decades of criminality and collusion between the lawmakers and the multi-national corporations that have drained America of its resources and then blamed America for the resulting emptiness. 

So, perhaps revolving towards a better situation is all that is needed.  It is not difficult at all to imagine what might be "better than what we have."

Viva, indeed.  The word means life.

The last line of the miniature poem posted on Facebook, found below, emphasizes needs, playing on how a revolution might come: by needs, via needs.  That was the emphasis I had hoped to convey over actual revolution. That for corporations to rape the economy they should be providing jobs for the people they are raping, at the very least.  Though I have not found much happiness in having a job I prefer it to the life that I might live otherwise, for now.  

Having the government protect us from voracious corporations intent on "expanding their markets" is not a "hand-out." 

That the protesters have assembled at the capital of the financial world, rather than the center of government is both telling and appropriate, and should be protected under the 1st amendment.  That much seems clear to me, though I know many that would refute their assembling as a protected act.  It draws attention to how deeply ingrained the financial world and government are in the collusion of corruption.  Each one supports the other, one with the creation of laws to protect what should be illegal, the other financing the legislation that permits it.  

The government has ceased performing its role to protect its citizens, though they have not ceased their endless jingoist military mentioning of it.  All it takes to witness this is to do a Google search for "Occupy Wall Street" and watch some of the YouTube videos coming out of the movement, some of the unexplained and unapologetic brutality towards peaceful citizens of this nation.  

I'm not sure if it is an apocryphal story or not but there is a rumor circulating that Citibank donated an enormous sum of money to the NYC police.  There are many documented (by amateur video) incidents of police brutality in (or near) Citibank branches, even to those "customers" who have accounts there and were there to close those accounts.  There were reports that a similar thing is happening at Chase banks as well.

So, to respond to my friend... One thing that would be "clearly better than what we have" would be a government that protects the rights of its citizens to voice their disapproval at a system that works against them at every step, and then actually charges them to create and maintain that very system, then uses their tax dollars to finance the failures of criminals, and criminal wars.

Again, I don't speak for anybody but myself here, but my friend's question seemed broad enough to be both vaguely accusatory and rhetorical.  It requires practically no imagination at all to envision how the current situation might be better, and rolling back Wall Street regulations is not the answer.  The current Republican debate that is going on is very telling about how frighteningly out of touch those candidates are, but the other side has produced nothing substantial to counter them.  So....

We are left with a complete fucking shit show.

I receive my news almost exclusively through the written word rather than through visual media.  I have watched television news agencies conduct a charade of journalism, and by doing so have skewed the political conversation of this country to being little more than winners and losers, blue and red, democrat and republican, north and south, etc. and etc.....

I am profoundly uncertain about the future of America's economy.  Witnessing the parade of lunacy that pretends to be political discourse and debate brings me no assurance about the future.   

I have watched my country be deeply involved in two wars for the last 10 years, and always on the verge of one or three more (Libya, Pakistan, Iran).  I have watched our economy be destroyed, oftentimes from within, sometimes exclusively so.  I have watched it all from a somewhat detached distance, because I strongly felt that my voice was not ever going to be heard.  The Occupy movement seems to be giving voice to many and it brings me great pleasure that much of what is being voiced is the sound of the absurd.  

If nothing else it's fun to watch people be confused, angry, and vaguely scared.

That the Occupy movement has been reluctant to voice their demands shows a deep loss of faith in discourse.  I find that as appealing to their cause as any other single thing about them.  

So, instead of asking, "What is it that is clearly better" the real question seems to be, "What has worked? What has failed?"

It seems that they are sick of the string of "answers" they've been given thus far.  

So am I.

Viva! Even without the revolution...
Viva, by the only meanness necessary....

If a revolution comes, then Viva by that, yes viva by that.
Viva by resistance.
Viva by choice,

Via need, via needs.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

516 months, and counting

(Youth, toppling an aging giant..)

I turn 43 this month.  

I used to be a performing artist and I traveled quite extensively for many years doing that.  Don't let my aggrandizement fool you, I was just a dj.  I eventually got out of it because it was getting too difficult to sustain myself financially and I realized that the woman I wanted to marry was not going to marry me. The lifestyle of a working dj can be somewhat prohibitive in that regard.  Also, as I was heading towards being 40 I started to realize that being a dj after 40 might not be as cool as I thought it was in my 20's and 30's.  So I got a job at a computer company, where I've been ever since, coming up on 5 years there, something nobody thought possible at the time that I took the job.

But as the dj'ing thing was winding down for me I still spent much of my time going from city to city, meeting people, and doing their drugs for them.  The best times a dj has are often at after-parties, events that will linger on for days sometimes.  I was almost universally surrounded by people that were younger than me, another warning sign that it became impossible not to notice or respond to.  But whenever anybody would ask my age I would always respond with "43."  I was only in my mid 30's at the time but for some reason nobody would challenge me on my claim. There was something about the number 43 that seemed to prevent any need for proof.  It is an odd, unlikely number.

People would almost always respond in the same way... They would say that I looked great for 43 and they would have guessed that I was 35, at the most.  I thought my little game was funny, sometimes I would tell them that I was lying, sometimes not.  Drugs do a funny thing to your mood and sense of self, and being a dj does not exactly produce sentiments of truthfulness and honesty at all times, in all places.  Nor does it always elicit similar responses in kind. 

But now I am turning 43 and those days are very far off from me.  Well, perhaps that's an exaggeration.  I just got kicked out of an after-party in NYC about a year ago for being obnoxious.  They were quite right to have kicked me out, of course.  I let a combination of various drugs gets the best of me and I became rude and even a touch dangerous. The thing that finally pushed them over the top was that I rode a bike through their apartment, ostensibly making an escape.  They demanded that I leave shortly thereafter.  I understood, I was somewhat surprised I had to go to those lengths before they asked me to leave. I had given them ample opportunity prior to that.  But some people are hesitant to act rashly and drugs compromise a person's sense of judgement, they say.

But as for turning 43.... I'm precisely where I thought that I would be in life at 33.  I am married, my wife is pregnant, we've moved from the city, and I haven't been kicked out of any bars or parties in months, knock on wood....  

I worry that I am too old to be a father, that by the time my child (or children) are in their teen years that I will be completely out of touch with the world they live in.  I try to stay young in my heart and mind but it is a challenge.  I want the world to be more like it was in my teen years, much less like it is now.    

All people must feel that way, I guess.

It is not sagacity that one gains with age,  but rather inertia and perseverance, disguised as wisdom, I hope.

(A senescent giant)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Inguinal Orchiectomies for everybody...!!!!

(Guatama Buddha awaiting his grilled veggies)

A working bbq grille is a wonderful thing.  Getting it to that working state is an obligatory journey through the pit of damned souls.  

I don't understand how anybody that works at a bbq grille company even has a job.  I think it should be illegal for any company to release a grille that doesn't also produce a publicly available video, posted on youtube, of the CEO putting the hideously unplanned thing together.  

If this were put into law then the world would be a different place, a much better place.

I'll keep this short and only give one example of the utter incompetence that keeps America from rebounding in the industrial world.... I will never look at the bumper sticker "Buy American" again and feel the same way.  If this is good-old-fashioned American ingenuity then I'm glad we don't have a manned space program any more.  

The sticker should read, "Bye, American!"

I don't even think we should be able to play with firecrackers on The 4th... We are just far too dangerous a people to be handling explosives.

So, my example:

There are instructions that come along with the grille, sensibly.  The instructions reveal the need for 28 flanged nuts. The screw pack states there there are 24 of these nuts included. When I counted them there were only 22 provided in the pack.  This is not a lie.  I am currently a computer technician and reasonably proficient at assembly and disassembly of various types of hardware.  I am adept at following printed instructions, etc.    

When I become dictator of the world I am going to have every employee of this grille company undergo voluntary inguinal orchiectomy, starting first with the engineers, of course. That is if they actually bothered to have any engineers actually work on this product, a hopeful but unlikely thought. Company records should reveal the names of the soon-to-be-ball-less guilty.

We'll roll out this new program in the Spring, just in time for the new line of grilles....


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Another day in merchandise....

(Sandow Birk, Battle of California, Di Rosa gallery)

Can I tell all of you something? A little secret...?  I am beginning to recoil from the people of Marin County, in earnest.  Not all of them, but at least 10%, possibly 20, some days 30+%.... or more.

I interact with them on a regular basis and they are predictably detestable people.  They are what many must consider "middle-America"as they seemingly embody those ideals, though they hardly know it, ignorance being their one main shared attribute, the banner and flag they wave from each and every brand, and possibly the only thing these people actually do share.

They think themselves spiritual and advanced and enlightened... it shows.... Ugh, it makes me ill.  The 10-30% that I'm referencing have openly repugnant spiritual qualities.  They are empty vessels.  Or, if not then they are filled with inherited poisons, passed down from the ages, yet they were born sadly fangless, so that the vinegar venom has crept into their blood streams, infused their organs, brought bladdered their nervous systems... with no way out except through their hateful eyes and dull words of monotonous misshapen condescensions and insouciant casual abuse.  

They are the religiously unkind of this world.

Even the foreigners that have migrated to Marin County seem dull, pedestrian, quotidian, or worse.  It is the sadness of the global economy. The "Ugly American" of the post-war era has become the Ugly-Anybody-From-Anywhere whose currency is beating the dollar like a gong on a game show.

I don't wish any harm on any of these people.  I merely wish that I had cared more about my life so that I would not have to interact with them now, that I had created a more meaningful means of subsistence, instead of this endlessly foul deception and deadfall snare of daily needs.

The apple might not have been from the tree of knowledge at all.  Perhaps it was from the last hanging vines of grasp, and poor barefoot Eve picked and bit from among the lower branches to perform her seductive satanic bidding.  

Adam must have seemed a reasonably easy target.... who among us might not have been...? 

Imbecile trust, in sensual surrender.

Who now, cast-out from the light, might have commanded an audience with the celestial courts, 
to redress one certain carnal sin...?  

Surely not you or I, but apparently almost anyone from modern day Marin.  

ya' know.... Original's in.



I was wrong about the weather here.  It feels like it has rained for a month straight.  It hasn't, but it feels as if it has.  Being deprived of the normally blue beauty here stretches time out in unexpected ways. I would have confessed this fact sooner but I have been trying to gain my readers' trust.  It is a tactic that many bloggers employ.

The valley is still very beautiful, but it is also very different when it rains.  It is not so much that there is rain on everything, but that the rain is everything.  It is usually very dry here, but when it rains the entire valley becomes unreasonably wet.  The ground turns to a very rich and dark mud, a moistness that can not be negotiated with.  It is impossibly fertile, this ground.  The roads become just slightly slick from the oils that have accumulated on them.  When this happens everybody collectively decides to drive at exactly half the posted speed limits, effectively doubling my commute times to work.

It is not just that they drive slowly, they drive with a level of caution that would inspire Tom Ridge.  Light rain in Sonoma County goes immediately to threat level RED, a severe risk of actual motion.  The only patriotic solution is to die from old age while still in your car.  If you see something then prepare for a stroke...

Wait, I had hoped to write about other things. 

The rain.... I know that I'm probably driving old Selavy additionally crazy with my hackneyed descriptions of natural beauty out here, but even the rain is lovely.  Instead of the seemingly endless blue sky from mountain-line to mountain-line there is a soft gauze-type effect over everything, softening all of the light in the valley, as if Cybill Shepherd's guardian angel was drifting through the dale.

Ok, I must send one camera off to get repaired and then order image-chip cleaning solution for the other.  After attending that hippie festival in the park my camera is plagued with dust particles and patchouli oils. 

Will I ever learn?  

"Never follow a hippie to a second location." - Jack Donaghy