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Sunday, March 31, 2013

GERONIMO

     rain splash by tj worthington



Started reading GERONIMO: His Own Story. I like about it that it is in Geronimo's words, translated. The translation and the writing of it in English was originally published 1906. I'm so glad it was not written in 19th century American written language. I say this because I have seen a great difference between how somebody thinks who has Geronimo's experience and somebody whose experience is schooling and white people urban. Very different ways of thinking and seeing oneself. I like the straight-forward thinking of the American Indians. They lived by the wisdom of generations of first hand spiritual experience. They had shamans who knew the spirit world. They understood that this world runs in line with the spirit world. They understand there is more going on in this life than money. They understood flow. I skipped the lengthy introduction, because I'm not interested in a white man's analysis of someone no white man can understand. I want to go straight to Geronimo's own words, his own way of putting a story together. I like how he started with the Apache creation story. He was a shaman who kept it from white people. They didn't know what that meant anyway. Witch doctor, as they would call it in that time, is so far from what a shaman is, that it has no meaning at all. Like the white men did not understand the spiritual in the Indians, the Indians did not understand the absence of the spiritual in white men.


My admiration for Geronimo is along the lines of admiration for Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and Cochise. These are men who struggled for their people to the very last possible moment. None was afraid of dying. Every one a great warrior. Sitting Bull also a shaman. Crazy Horse was known to have a psychic sense. In childhood I identified with the Indians. I believe it is because of several lifetimes in the past among American Indian tribes. I've come to suspect that people who become "Civil War buffs" were in the Civil War a few lifetimes back. I've been an Indian Wars buff all my life from the Indian side. In the neighborhood as a child, the other boys wanted to play cowboys or cavalry. I was the Indian. All of them against me. When I'd get shot, I fell down and died, got up and was another Indian. I could never play white man; it would have been betrayal of my true people. White man was the enemy. I liked that arrows, spears and tomahawks are silent. I don't recall the age I was, and I don't remember where I first started hearing about Indians. Kids played cowboys and Indians. Possibly it's from automatically being drawn to the Indian side that I took an interest in Indians. Boy Scout interest in Indians I couldn't go with. It was seen from the side of the white man, from the cavalry. Some years ago I bought a book about the Indian Wars, started reading it and found its perspective was from the side of the US Army. Stopped reading. I didn't care about what was behind what they did.

Sherman was as ruthless in the Indian War as he was in the Civil War. My only feeling about Sherman is the shame for humanity that his mother did not have an abortion. He's one of the figures in history I truly revile with what seems to me good reason. Several years ago, in the Nineties, visiting Atlanta, a Vedanta monk from southern California was visiting a friend of mine there, another Vedanta monk. Over lunch we had a pleasant conversation. At one point he mentioned his great grandfather was General Sherman. I fell into shock and could only say, "Don't tell anybody else. This is Atlanta. I wish you hadn't told me." Despite knowing this guy had been in a monastery thirty to forty years and didn't get out much, that he had nothing whatsoever to do with the Indian War or the Civil War, something snapped inside and I couldn't hardly face him anymore. I wouldn't want to be held accountable for any of my great grandfathers' minds. I knew then what I know now, that what he said was no more than an aside. It had nothing to do with him having William Tecumseh's experience or even very much of his blood. But it still got to me and I couldn't stop it. Something flooded over me that was deeper than I was aware of. In Atlanta of all places.

I like about Geronimo's account of his story that he speaks of experience. He didn't get foggy in abstractions, generalizations, ideas, conclusions. He talks like the old mountain people who told their stories by experiences. He is not constrained by denial nor making a good impression. The man asked for his story, here it is. He opened his story with the tale of the beginning of Apache. It is quite a good story. It has an understanding from the spirit world perspective. I'm inclined to take the "myth" for literally how it happened, though from the perspective of spirit world. How it manifests on earth in people and culture is quite different, yet follows the same flow. Like where we are now in Western Civ is in the time of the Revelation near the end of the story. The story is full of devils, dragons, demons, angels and visions. It's the same with the Apache story. It's their story told in the spirit. The Indians were tapped into the spirit world that was shut out in early Old Testament times, all the way back then in the progression we call civilization. The only way I can let go of my regret to be a part of the people that committed genocide with intent is to see it as process in God's unknown ways of raising collective human consciousness. I don't know whose consciousness was raised. I've come to see that in God's view death is the blink of an eye. It's time for souls to change clothes, learn the scientific method, get on with discoveries on the earth, in space and within. Looking at it through God's eye makes even the slaughter of the buffalo something I can come to terms with.


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Saturday, March 30, 2013

NEW LAPTOP TOUCH SCREEN MEETS ATROPHIED LEFT BRAIN



       anonymous art of revolution


A new laptop has attached itself to my consciousness. It has an awful lot of aspects invisible to me that will always be invisible to me. Most of them. I'm looking at a diamond and seeing only maybe three facets. But they're the only ones I use, need, want. First time Tim the Techman worked on my computer, he asked what I used it for. I said, A glorified typewriter. And that's it. I like to look at utube and facebook, which has changed radically and continues to change to the same degree. I like the new facebook. In the earlier one, pre-twitter, people wrote chatty quips like on twitter now. It was different, but it had it's own chatty style. Now facebook is a half dozen "memes" (cartoons with photo for the picture) each day from every place I clicked like until I learned I could not unclick like once it was done and these things started taking over my facebook page. I actually prefer targeted ads and political content to be specific to me, as perceived by corporate statistical analyses. A cartoon that makes me laugh instead of snarl. I don't want fascist propaganda in my facebook page. I don't want crap about subscribing to Ann Coulter's blog. I prefer to see posts from a place called Americans against the republican party, Americans against the tea party, Everlasting GOP stoppers, Ayn Rand drew Social Security, ARM (anti republican movement), Occupy Wall St, Hillbilly hangout, Ralph Stanley museum. Plus all the sweet sentiments from people I know and like. I don't worry over the privacy issue. We have no privacy. It will not be coming back any time soon. Don't worry, be happy.


First experience with the new laptop about made me bananas. Touch screen. I'd never done anything like that before. Had seen it in commercials and on cell phones of friends. I can adjust the size of a picture or page by fingertips on the monitor. A monitor cleaner will be in order next. Or maybe all the touching will keep it clean. We'll see. The first thing that made me nuts was having to pick where I want to go from a screen that looks like a toy baby Vada plays with. Push a button, it plays Old MacDonald. Another button makes a duck quack. Another button makes a cow moo. Always having to go back to that page takes me back to Mario Brothers, Super Mario, dropping down a hole you didn't know was there. Places to jump up and boing a number you don't know is there. Never one for video games, I was somewhat repelled by having to learn a computer made easy for people who grew up playing video games. Facing a computer designed for children with touch-screen interaction was a little too much like inter-active tv, calling a 900 number to vote yes or no, emailing a tv show's website repeatedly. I went into it thinking all I want is a glorified typewriter I can look at utube with and do emails, store pictures in and write this.


Now I have something I can Skype with, which I don't want to do but probably will get into at some point. Most of the inter-active buttons to touch or click on are about buying something or other, a vacation to Paris or Barcelona, or some resort something or other in Tahiti or any other tourist spot on earth. Cruises. Lord NO! If I ever learn how to make those buttons go away that link me up to some site that wants my credit card number for no telling what, I'll vanish them and get them out of sight. I feel like I'm at a Walmart serve-yourself register when that page is up. Insert credit card. Over time I'd like to de-commercialize this thing I can only call a product. Filling out all the introductory information like thinking up passwords and so forth, I was asked to give the laptop a name. I'd never thought about naming one, but do have a sense that a computer is a consciousness of a sort I don't understand. I went within for a name the way I look for something. I shut my eyes, blanked my mind and waited for a name to rise. Jezebel came up clearly. I thought, no, then thought, yes. That's what came up. First thing to my mind by association is Sade's song Jezebel, remembering seeing her sing it in concert, one of my favorite of her songs. I'd named a black kitten Tar Baby from a Sade song. Laptop now is named after a Sade song like a cat I loved for fifteen years. It reminds me of how much I love her music.


Such was my initial response to something that looked like the laptop it is replacing, but worked very differently. This is Windows 8 (I think) and the other was Windows 2000 (I think). Big difference initially. By today, four days later, I'm close to as familiar with it as the previous computer. It is flowing smoothly by now. When I say "it" I mean me. I'm the one flowing smoothly. Before I began to flow smoothly, I had to go over and around a run of rocks everywhere. After first couple hours with it, I had found the limits of what I was able to do, had gone to as far as I could go in each possible direction until I came to stasis. I couldn't get past several different points, so I shut it down and went to bed frustrated. I took it as something on the order of learning to throw darts at a dartboard. First several throws, the wall gets hit as much as the target. When it does hit the target, it's nowhere near the number throwing for.  As time goes by, the darts land in the same quadrant as the number aimed for, and then hit the number one out of three throws, then two out of three throws. Skill at throwing darts comes slowly. I decided to calm down and learn the computer like learning to throw darts. Develop a new skill.


In my years of creeping dementia, it is good to have a mental problem to fuss over. I welcome it as a mental exercise, a new skill. Seeing how fast I'm tuning into Belle's consciousness, it won't be long until I understand at least the basic workings of my new friend. Looks like a princess in her new dress. Where did you get that? Do you really want to knowshe says. It came as evidence of the truth in old hillbilly wisdom, "Be good to a kid and you'll have a friend for life." I have two "kids" I prayed up. They were the children of some of my friends. I guess I did what a "God parent" does, prayed them up, the prayers in their cases for their survival. They made it. Now that they're grown up, we're still friends like we were when they were little. I watched them grow up. One lives in the East and one in the West. The Western one was visiting from Portlandia. Our bond of friendship is better than kin. Parent-child tension is absent, never was a consideration. Betrayal of even the least trust impossible. It gives me a feeling that tells me I've lived a good life. In some cases I've done the right thing. I see it something like the ground I cared for grew a fulfilling garden. Helped two children who had enough going against them to call it everything. Gave them an adult friend who understood what they were going through and affirmed for them that it was not their fault, and a lot of times it's nobody's fault. They've come to characterize karma for me in everyday life and remind me of gratitude that my parachute put my feet down in the mountains. I never once thought about a karmic return. If I had, I could not have guessed it as it worked out. I had not imagined I'd ever see either of them again after they finished high school. The gift of the dinosaur replacement was intended toward my happiness, and it worked. I'm like Vada playing with toys on the floor.


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Thursday, March 28, 2013

A POEM BY LUCAS CARPENTER


           Ellsworth Kelly


   AT THE MOON-LIT DRIVE IN
                           for TJ Worthington


   Dead for years,

   the last show forgotten,

   the Moon-Lit Drive In

   is three-feet deep in grass and broomstraw,

   speakers gone from their askew posts,

   refreshment stand with plywood projection

              booth on top,

   caved in, burnt out,

   floor covered with broken glass and grainy

             asphalt shingles.

   But the four-story screen

   this bright night

   has not a black gap on it,

   moon-covered it glows blank,

   stands impassive, strong:

   Ahab's white, Bartleby's wall,

   leaning on the warm hood of your pickup,

   me finishing the last of the wine,

   you weaving up at the titanic square of  

              moon.


                         ----Lucas Carpenter



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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A POEM BY CHINESE POET TU FU



     romaire bearden




                Friendship


            A flick of the hand
            and it's rain or storm

            wherever I look
            change and fickleness

            the old ideal of friendship
            as loyalty and permanence

            has turned into dirt
            under our feet.



                                     ----Tu Fu  (712-770)
                          tr by David Young


                           *

Monday, March 25, 2013

HAVE A LITTLE DRINK ON ME




The Sunday afternoon race happened in California, a two mile track. 200mph was their speed all the way around the track. They'd go into a curve at 200+ and come out of it at 175 thereabouts. They were aggressive today from the green flag all the way through to the checkered flag. It was a good run. No bad wrecks. One driver lost traction and his car careened with locked brakes directly into a wall at probably 100mph, straight on. It lifted the car up in the air. The driver was put on a stretcher and taken away in an ambulance. I'd say it jarred him pretty good. A flat tire from time to time brought out the yellow flag and pitstops. The end fell right into Kyle Busch's lap. He was running third behind two whose names I forget battling it out in a neck and neck run for the finish line. One bumped the other and they both lost traction. Kyle Busch zipped past them and Jr Earnhardt right behind him making it a surprise win for Busch. He is the driver who catches my attention most. I've seen him lose traction several times and he kept it in the road. He has a special skill for getting his traction back. He's like somebody good at sand trap shots in golf. I was glad to see him get the win.

I was glad to see Jr Earnhardt get a good second. He is evidently top dog in points now. He's good at keeping his points up and not winning. Since Senior's death, Jr hasn't been an especially aggressive driver. He places well every time, but doesn't appear to be lusting for first so much he'll drive crazy to get it. I can't pretend to be anything but interested in passing, but I think I've seen a difference in Jr Earnhardt's driving since Senior's fatal wreck. He seems to have caution running side by side with his winning spirit. He's the driver I catch myself pulling for in every race. I pull for Kyle Busch too. And Tony Stewart. At the end of the race Stewart tore into somebody whose name I don't remember, hit him a couple times it looked like, and was hauled away by his teammates, one on each arm. He was boiling. This guy on the track had blocked Stewart from getting by him and the move screwed Stewart up. He certainly believed he had cause kick some ass, even if it is on tv. I like Stewart's spirit. I was glad to see no big wrecks occurred. A few spinouts. I hated it for Clint Bowyer when his engine blew. The cockpit filled with smoke and him doing 180 coming out of a curve. I don't know how he breathed. The car took its time coming to a halt, smoking tires and tearing up turf, smoke billowing out the side windows, the cockpit a dense cloud of exploded engine smoke. It took him awhile to get outside the car when it came to rest. I began to wonder if he might be dead from the smoke. He crawled out and stood upright.

The Bud beer commercial of the Clydesdale horse and the guy that raised him from birth, Stevie Nicks' singing. It's like a whole story in half a minute. I don't get tired of seeing it. It was one of the SuperBowl new commercials, the one most talked about. For my way of seeing, it's the best commercial I think I've seen. It makes me wet-eyed every time I see it, once a week. Three years later the horse spots him in the crowd. I like the brevity of how the whole story is told in just a few moving images like snapshots. It's moving in the heart. The fun part is that I have to think about it to remember what beer it advertises. Bud is not a beer of my choice. I've had plenty, drinking with other people and that's what they had. I don't mean to say I'm above it. Yellow bubbly water doesn't satisfy my palate when I want beer. I don't require bigdog beer either. I like the middle range in beer, same as in wine. I tend to like a German beer about the best. Not big frothy Beer Haus mug beer, but bottled beer from the grocery store in Sparta. They have a good enough selection for me. I so seldom buy a sixpack that I don't remember last time. The girls at the register in the grocery store must think I'm religious because I don't buy beer. Only beer I've had in several years has been Red Oak brewed in or near Burlington. It satisfies how I like beer to taste. Can't get it at the grocery store. Soon I'll be driving by Burlington, will stop and maybe pick up a box of bottles to use my Red Oak bottle opener on that I use for keychain. Have a Red Oak party of one. Drink away my frontal lobe, get down on the floor with Caterpillar and have a talk.

My thinking is, why pee all night to get to a certain place in the head when I can get there in a hurry with some good 100+ proof liquor and not pee so much. Wine is fine, but liquor's quicker. I don't see any point in wasting time getting there. Go straight there and keep it there in moderation right on through. I like to put up my sail, catch the wind and go. Then ride with the wind, not a race, just a nice gentle flow. I don't like hangovers and puking. I've learned where the lines are for both. By this time in the life I never drink enough to have a headache of any sort in the morning. Two drinks of good liquor and I have no hangover. Three and I do. Three makes me a little wobbly too. Four makes me not want to get up out of my chair for a long time, sit back and let other people do the talking; that is, if I don't get on a talking jag. I only did that once that I recall. And Oh Lordie how I embarrassed myself, not so much what I said, but the nonstop jabber that never ended. I couldn't stop it. I talked like a spoiled child. Bad headache in the morning. That behavior happened in the younger years of finding the boundaries. I was a bit of a slow learner in the boundary department. Early on, getting shit-faced was worth the hangover. Later, it's not. That still leaves me plenty of room to enjoy good liquor. A couple drinks of some super fine hard liquor is what I call candy. I like it straight. I like the bite. Of store-bought liquor, Haitian rum satisfies me about the best, and Wild Turkey Rye.

I don't mean to suggest I drink regularly, because I can't afford to. Though I like having something for a sip now and again mainly for the flavor, for the candy of it. Like I have some within reach I've not touched in probably two weeks. Had a sip then. It was a few weeks or more before that I tasted it. You don't have to worry about me pulling an Edgar Allen Poe dead drunk on the side of the street. To get that helpless out in the open in public with no backup is something I can't allow myself. Nor can I go to a blackjack dealer and throw away thousands of dollars, even hundreds, even any. I'm not interested in money enough to gamble. I like the George Thoroughgood song, I Drink Alone. Can't drink anyplace but at home anymore. That's ok by me. I prefer to drink at home anyway. I think it's somewhere in my horoscope that I don't like being out in the world in a totally vulnerable mode. Like in Murphy's Law, if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. I like to have some conscious control when things start drifting in that direction. I don't want to be like a college student guy I saw some years ago walking across a suburban street plastered drunk. His foot hit the curb, he flopped face down on the sidewalk, plop, right in front of me. There was nothing to do but leave him alone. At the suggestion of help he became belligerent. I figured he was where he wanted to be, successfully shit-faced, face down in his nose's blood on the pavement. Patience for stupid white men is not one of my virtues, and I walked around him.


*

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A POEM BY TJ WORTHINGTON




          DRINKING IN THE MOUNTAINS


          I am caught in the hold of this hammock,

          drunk on a bottle and a half of wine,

          stretched between two pines

          high in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

          The sky is blurred in the pool

          by hundreds of water-spider wakes,

          the trees' reflections cut the mirror in two.

          There, in the shade, the goldfish

          wave their tails and disappear into light

          like the face in dreams

          I forget the instant I see it.

          The clouds unravel on one side,
 
          the fish swim through trees on the other.

          I hoist my bottle to full sail;

          the glass mouth is warm on my lips,
            
          our tongues play,

          bubbles rise from my head,

          in them I see myself and the world vanish.



                                 ----TJ Worthington



 
 
 
*

Saturday, March 23, 2013

SC BROADCASTERS WOW THE FIDDLE AND PLOW

     picture borrowed from sc broadcasters website


Friday night in Woodlawn, Virginia, the South Carolina Broadcasters played at the Fiddle and Plow Show in Willard Gayheart's Front Porch Gallery. They lit the place up good. An audience of about 30 was very well pleased with the music we heard. They're a high energy 3-piece old-time band out of MtAiry. They went to MtAiry from Charleston, South Carolina, where they'd been for ten years. David told me at intermission that in Charleston nobody knew about old-time music. They were out of place. They played so much in the mountains and liked Galax an awful lot, so they moved to the mountains and have been glad of it ever since. I told him the mountains are glad to have them. David plays guitar and sings. The two women, Ivy, David's wife, plays fiddle beautifully, guitar beautifully, banjo beautifully and sings the same. Sarah, the banjo picker sings beautifully too. The two women sing together as one. They are primarily a singing band. They sing solo, duo, trio, and do instrumentals. By intermission I knew I wanted one of their cds to hear at home. At the beginning, they asked Scott Freeman to remove the mics; they wanted to play straight to the audience. Amplification would have been overkill. They sing out and play so they don't need amplification. David said when the situation required amplification they used only one mic.

I'd heard Scott mention the name of the band a few times in the recent past, was somewhat curious about them, especially after they were paid such close attention to by Scott. He has a good ear for mountain music. A really good ear. The ear of somebody who has played the music and listened to it all his life. It would be like Lucinda Williams talking about a particular song writer; I'd be curious to hear something. Scott put a notice in facebook today that the SC Broadcasters would be playing. I thought: Oh, good. I looked them up on utube and picked a fiddle tune. I heard Ivy's fiddle and was ready for the concert. Before it started, I spoke with Ivy telling her I'd looked them up on utube and was taken by her fiddle. Looking forward to the concert. I was expecting a lot and got my expectation satisfied in abundance. I'm hesitant with expectation, because it so often turns into disappointment to where it's predictable. These people can make some music. They work together smoothly, flow with each other. Every one is an excellent musician and the equal vocally. Every one of them sings like they know how to sing. They have the mountain sound, the drive. They sing Carter Family songs so very well, they make them their own. Their style of singing is raw old-time country like their fiddle, banjo and guitar. They are right to sing out like they do. I sat in the back and heard them clearly and articulately. Their notes are clear vocally as well as instrumentally. The fiddle has a tone that plays well with their singing voices. Their vocals are their own. It's a workout for them. Keeps their hearts pumping.

I've been playing the new cd since walking in the door, heard it while putting down some fresh food for Caterpillar and fixing a cup of Kenyan coffee. I especially like the first song, When I'm Gone, such a beautiful song. The two women singing it, Sarah singing lead. She's quite a singer. Ivy is the equal as a singer. It's amazing to hear them sing. It really is. Like the Carter Family, they sing a song in a way that feels like true singing seemingly without a style, just raw singing. But they have a style that is their own. Sometimes they sound almost like the Andrews Sisters. The music is in their singing voices as well as in their instruments. Both women can play a banjo and sing at the same time without looking at the strings. I'm told by banjo pickers that picking a banjo and singing at the same time is a very difficult activity. I watched these women make it look like no more effort than tapping your foot. By that time I was already so impressed it just seemed like the right next thing. All three showed me some musicianship that quite simply blew my mind. Every song. I'd have to turn the volume up really loud to get the feel of how they sound without electronics involved. No kidding, their singing is as satisfying as the Carter Family, though in their own way, not attempting to sound like Sara, Maybelle and AP, but having no problem honoring them.

I've run the volume up and sure enough, it delivers the feel of them singing and playing. Sarah singing Fifty Miles of Elbow Room and picking the banjo without looking. What she is doing musically puts me in mind of seeing a woman on a horse's back in a circus ring, the horse running around the ring---she's standing on its back, her arms out like wings. That kind of skill and grace. The three of them singing East Virginia Blues gives that beautiful song their voices, the three together. It's all I can do not to wax effusive and use words like amazing, awesome, incredible. The two women's voices singing harmony to David's lead, it's amazing. I've gone past being articulate. They blew my circuits. Ivy's fiddle is tearing up I'll Have a New Life. It's old-time mountain singing of that old gospel song. These people are something to behold. In the morning (Saturday) they'll be on WPAQ-AM, the Merry Go Round show at noon. My radio at the house won't get WPAQ. But---I can get it online. Yes. Google will find it for me. When you go to a music show of a band you've heard OF, but never heard but for a utube video, expecting it to be good, then these three people cut loose making music and it's like, Oh, I didn't foresee this. Ivy is laying it to the fiddle strings on Brown's Dream with Sarah's banjo clucking the rhythm and David's guitar making the rhythm roll. They play music. This is why they stand out. They play music. Thank you to Scott Freeman for getting them to play for us.

They have a website www.scbroadcaster.com. I saw they'll be playing in Durham Saturday evening at 7 after playing in MtAiry 12-1. They have a busy schedule. You can check them out on utube too. They'll be at Merlefest this year. From the looks of their schedule, they spend a lot of hours on the road. And it looks like they have a fairly broad fan base that grew by a roomful of people Friday night in Woodlawn. Their music is art every bit as much as a painting on the wall of a Thomas Hart Benton square dance, a poem by Carl Sandburg, Jascha Heifitz playing Scottish Fantasy on a fiddle that could jerk tears out of a statue. I felt in the presence of artists while they were making music, advanced artists unhesitant to make music. I think it was on the Diane Rehm show I heard somebody talking about stage fright. She said that the problem we have is seeing all those people and thinking they're all judging me. The fact is, they are. What you do is step forward and show them what you can do. That's what the South Carolina Broadcasters did tonight at Willard's Front Porch Gallery. They showed us what they can do. And it was good like a cup of your favorite coffee.


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Thursday, March 21, 2013

GOD BLESS AMERICA THE MOVIE



Today's movie was a little bit alarming because it was on the borderline of TOO bizarre, though this is America Now and there is no TOO anything. It's like we Americans have become a culture of people doing Xtreme things. It started with skateboards and snowboards, little bicycles, bungee jumping. By now I see it in Bobcat Goldthwaite's GOD BLESS AMERICA. The irony in the title is Goldthwaite raw. He cracks me up the way Larry the Cable Guy cracks me up. Goldthwaite has a disturbing edge, like David Lynch has a disturbing edge, and like Roman Polanski, each in his own way. This crazy film starts with a guy not terrifically unlike me, growing weary of pop culture and what it does to the people around him. He sees himself in a world of people distracted by cell phones, television, every kind of mayhem flashed across the tv screen in the course of a day, hate radio in its ongoing froth, seeing people around him have lost their humanity, have lost the ability to know one another any way but superficially. He's having a hard time dealing with it. He never reached the point of turning off the tv and the radio. He kept them both on the most repellent stations. It was getting to him. Then he lost his job for being friendly to another employee. Very Kafka. Like America Now.

He watched television and became disgusted that so much attention was given to people of no moral integrity. He especially despised a reality tv show about the most popular girl at some high school. He saw her throwing fits because the car dad gave her for her birthday wasn't what she wanted. Our man goes to the school and parks in the woods after stealing a neighbor's new Camaro, a guy who annoyed him. He set out to get rid of the people that don't deserve to live. He started with the girl at the high school. He sat in the woods watching through binoculars. When she came into view, he went out with his gun and shot her. As it happens a girl who saw it went into raptures that some cool guy killed that bitch. She wanted to travel with him, go on a killing spree. It got awfully NATURAL BORN KILLERS about then. They made fun of themselves as Bonnie and Clyde. They went around the country, even went through North Carolina on the way from what I took for LA to New York, killing a few along the way and moving on. It was a bit edgy for me, because it is too much an image of our time that tells it without whipped cream topping. I kind of saw it a a film version of Picasso's GUERNICA. That's how I saw the spirit of the man who is mad at the world and doing his part to rid it of the people he assesses part of the problem.

His doctor told him he had a brain tumor, so he felt like he had license to take out several of these people who deserved to die because he has to die. Something like that. When I say the film is Xtreme it's because it feels that way. Strong feeling in this film. And strong mental works too. It is a very serious statement, holding a mirror up to American society, saying, Take a look. Early in the film I was thinking of justifications for censorship. I felt like it was trivializing this way of seeing the world enough to make it popular, without consequences like on tv. I was thinking, Haven't we had enough about hate and killing? And my answer to myself was, Evidently not. I watched these two lost American souls drifting about killing anybody that pist them off. Then he gets news from his doctor over cell phone that the tumor was a mistake. It was actually somebody else with a name similar to his that got mixed up. He had already invested himself in a very short lifespan, which was in motion. Time to go all the way. He and girl take over a tv studio with a goofy version of American Idol and shot up the cast and audience, all this on national tv, and police mow the two of them down on the stage. The end. The second half of it was acting out the commitment made in the first half. It's not something I'd like to see again, but I also have a feeling I'd like to see it again, because it had so much to say.

First viewing I was subject to the shock of seeing something made for entertainment of what is happening all over USA in this time. I was thinking, Why encourage it by making it pop? But I see, too, that it is already pop. It was pop back when Stone made his film in the late 80s. Serial killers are pop. On Yahoo news today I saw a short video of a guy who killed some people in court for his sentencing. He had written on his white tshirt KILLER with a black marker. In the courtroom he said to the families of the people he had killed, Fuck you, and shot them the bird. The judge laid it to him. He did all this to provoke, knowing he was going to get the max anyway. He just gave himself something to laugh about for the rest of his life in prison. We have films galore and television galore about killing that get more horrifying every year, keeping abreast of the market the films create the same way potato chips create a longing for more. Junk food for the mind. After half a century of murder and mayhem not only taken lightly, but spotlighted, made much of over the media, every problem solved with guns and killing, something is bound to come of it. This kind of behavior happens every day. Every day. Suicides happen every day in big numbers. Put it all together and we have an awful lot of people taking the suicide exit like in the Iraq Army and Marines, more suicides than killed in battle. An awful lot of people want out of their their own minds, want to shut them down permanently; though the turning off is mortal, so be it.

Since the corporate coup that took over our government that started with the assassination of Kennedy, the people who believe television are swept along with its belief system, which primarily amounts to, If it can't be seen by a camera, it doesn't exist. Add to that the political manipulation, the financial manipulation, preying on our weaknesses continually without letup, harping about this, that, and everything, anything to keep the enemy Silence from peeping through. Religionists support the most obvious frauds since the beginning of time in toupees and wigs, festooned in gold and glitter, Jesus wants your money for his ministry. People who have little to nothing to live on send money they could be using for enough coffee to make it through the month. Religious frauds are everywhere on earth. They go with humanity. The other most religious country in the world, India, has its world of religious frauds too. What a temptation; free money tax free for nothing. Send your money to Jesus at my post office box. It is difficult enough for me keeping up with the news by NPR and BBC American, not forgetting Yahoo news where I learned about the guy swallowed by a sink hole like Oedipus at the end of Oedipus at Colonus. The earth opened and he was gone.

If I watched tv my head would be filled with so many images I'd feel like a lake behind a dam, all the molecules in the water memories of tv shows, sitcoms from all my life, new, everything from Ed Sullivan to American Idol. In the first months of not watching television, this would have been 1961, I remember wondering what I was missing. Tv gave me a sense that when I wasn't watching, I was missing something. At first, it felt like cold turkey. Different shows I watched in the course of a week were not there anymore. News from five minute spots on the radio with commercial at beginning, in the middle and in the end. Pop media is so full of commercials we have become commercials. "Hi, how are you? Glad to see you? Haven't seen you in awhile. You been all right? Have you seen the new Christian school in Glade Valley? No? You MUST see it. It's a lovely addition to the county." The difference between how I see it and how the guy in Goldthwaite's movie sees it are close to similar, only difference is he sees it without compassion, and I feel compassion. I can't help but think, Forgive them for they know not what they do. Or: There but for the grace of God go I. It's a great big ghost dance of blind people. I don't want to kill anybody. I don't want to interrupt anybody's karma. I don't want to hurt anybody. I believe everyone has the same right to live that I have. And I believe most to nearly all the people around me feel the same way. There really is something to be said for a love relationship with God. It would be difficult for me living in this time without compassion.


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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

HEY JOE

     that's joe on the left


Went by the coffee shop today at lunch time for some Ethiopian coffee and a homemade scone, made by Selma. Joe was in there talking with somebody I'd never seen before. The other guy left and Joe came over and we started talking. I like to visit with Joe. He has a refreshing mind. He doesn't gripe all the time, and when he does gripe, it's in uncertainty. He's not somebody to tell you it is this way or that, no three ways about it, and isn't concerned that you necessarily agree with him. He's a mature individual who realizes we all have different experiences. He even understands that he and I, facing each other talking, we are each having a different experience. Even though we talked together, what he remembers from our conversation I'm sure is very different from what I remember. For one thing, I remember seeing Joe, and he remembers seeing me. That's a radical difference right there. I don't mean that we're radically different in matters of race, nationality, language and gender. We have similar education level, we both read books, and we both think our own thoughts. I say radical, because I see radical differences between any two individuals. This has to do with why we have such a hard time getting along with other people. By hard time, I mean really not understanding each other. In my generation a lot of young girls, 18-21, would feel suicidal because nobody understood them. I had a couple of friends who talked like that, and one made half-hearted attempts. I'd think, but not say, Get used to it; nobody is ever going to understand you.

I'm attempting to give you something of Joe's character that I could describe, but it's all so freely flowing like spirit, one aspect of him blending into another aspect, shifting in and out of memory, a full human being, which I cannot begin to comprehend. This has been my problem all my life, feeling awed by the fullness of anyone I'm around at the moment, the fullness of spirit in them, a mind that works very differently from mine, like as if from another country, another culture, another language. Always uncertainty in attempting to guess someone's thinking, attitude, beliefs. Earlier in my life I thought I understood other people, knew some people. Later, that fell away when I realized I don't know anybody, not even myself. I don't even know Caterpillar, the cat I've lived with 15 years. I know her habits, her characteristics, but I don't know her as another cat knows her and I don't know her as she knows herself. She's a gray long-haired cat very easy to get along with and a loving friend. By now, I don't try to know anybody. I let the spirit flow and see how we interact. I like my interactions with others best when I don't concern myself with preconceptions. I like receiving people I'm around as they want to be received, simply by paying attention when they talk. That's how I think I know people around me best is by allowing them who they are. How else can I get to know them? I can't get to know somebody by thinking, What tacky taste!

Looking at Joe in my mind and looking for a way to describe him accurately that he and ones who knew him well would find acceptable characterization of who he is, I draw a blank. All I see is spirit. I see spirit in my memory before I see his face. I talk with the spirit of the other, not the face or name. I see Joe someone who knows the tree by its fruits instead of judging when it comes to knowing others. He has enough understanding to know judging doesn't get it, but we also have our life in this world that really has a hard time giving up judging. Let's just say he's not judgmental. When I'm talking with Joe I don't feel like he's sizing me up, assessing me in relation to himself and finding me not looking too good by comparison. I don't feel like judging is going on with Joe. I don't dare say he doesn't judge, because we all do, but it is weak in him, not strong. Weak because he understands. Joe came up West Virginia fundamentalist like I came up Kansas fundamentalist; we have that bridge of understanding between us that is automatic like birds of a feather. When I first met Joe I thought of the state of Mississippi. When I lived in South Carolina, people said of SC where poverty was concerned, "Thank God for Mississippi." Now in North Carolina, people say of NC where poverty is concerned, "Thank God for West Virginia." I couldn't introduce myself saying, "You remind me of a joke." Joe is not a West Virginia cliche. I doubt he even watches Moonshiners on the History channel. I can just about say I'm certain he does not. But I don't know for sure. He might be a hillbilly wannabe and never quite had what it took. I doubt it.

When Joe's spirit and my spirit are interacting vocally I feel a real exchange of thoughts or ideas, what have you, passing between us like two colors of water blending together when they meet. It's not many people I feel so free with conversationally. Free in that it doesn't matter if we disagree. It matters not to me, matters not to Joe. We explore the differences in how we see things. We both understand no two people think alike or see from the same perspective. Therefore, we can laugh at our different ways of seeing whatever the theme. Joe's spirit is not confrontational. That's what I think I like best about Joe conversationally. Not confrontational. I've never been comfortable with people who are always wanting to stir something with some kind of in-yer-face confrontational remarks. When that starts, I'm gone. I've never found confrontational talk entertaining, certainly never interesting, and all I see is ego spouting like a lawn sprinkler in all directions. Not so with Joe. The line of thinking his childhood religious experience led him into was an interest in theological writings, looking to get a better understanding of scripture than what you can get from a harping preacher. What it did to me was spit me out, made me abandon Christendom, in other words, religion. Both Joe and I understand religion is another matter of the few controlling the many, a control device, free money.

I think maybe Joe would define himself a skeptic who allows. He may be skeptical of something somebody believes, but doesn't concern himself with converting the other to his way of seeing. He allows the other their own point of view. He'll freely allow himself to ask you what you mean when you're not being clear. That's a good thing. I like that we can talk about anything too. No restrictions due to belief systems either way. I've an idea if each one of us laid out what we believe about God, the Christ, salvation, they would be very different. Joe might look at it and say we are very far apart. I'd look at it and see we're the same. I'm not sure if he's seen beyond Christendom enough yet to see that all the religions are based in the same core. I short-change Joe to assume he might not see that. I don't mean to do that. What I'm getting at is his spiritual education by reading and experience has been largely in Christendom. I've found all the religions so much the same, I could flow from one to the other; all I'd have to learn would be the culture around each one. I could become a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist easily. They're the same to me. The very same. They just grew up in different cultures. Like people growing up in different cultures, the religions would be that kind of different. I'm not sure if Joe sees Christendom as a pearl on a string of pearls. Joe doesn't seem to be as alarmed as I am at how dreadfully far Christians have twisted the words of Jesus from their obvious meanings. Again, I short-change him assuming that. Like I say, I really don't know him well enough to answer any questions for him. But I do enjoy throwing thoughts around in the air like boomerangs with Joe.


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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

NEWS JUNKIE BY CHOICE

     robert motherwell
 


Keeping abreast of current events I'm finding leans me toward a rotten mood. An attitude develops that is in line with learning everything is wrong, nothing aint right. I see that when a slightly left leaning (leaning toward moderation) group of young people put on a demonstration, they get battered by cop "batons" that are very hard sticks for cracking skulls, and arrested, even when they're sitting down. It's irritating that right wing demonstrations where white men carry guns and make an uproar about taking out the government, the police look on in satisfaction that these guys are doing the right thing. Of course. Police like people who want police state. If you're opposed to police state, police hit you in the head with a very hard stick or beat the shit out of you with it. It's like "football hooligans" in the UK cut loose with bronze badges and black sticks. I'm just pointing out one source of irritation for me. The attitude that characterizes the state of mind brought on by listening to news regularly: "You know what burns my ass!" The teabaggers are people who listen to fiction on the Faux channel presented like drama and get themselves all worked up so when they speak, no matter what they say, it comes out with the same attitude of saying, You know what burns my ass! Constantly on a mission to vent about them no-good liberals (others) who like the Bill of Rights and have concerns beyond worrying about guns (penis size).

A few times at the coffee shop when the guys in a small group I'm engaged in conversation with start getting wound up and using this tone of voice that is way too involved in something with too little information, to break the spell I'll say, "You know what burns my ass?" They look at me with suspicion. I hold my hand about waist-high above the floor and say, "A flame about this high." It's light-hearted and makes the point---y'all are getting a little too involved over too little. It breaks the spell. The main reason I like to stop that too-much-engaged talk is it starts sounding like blustery genital insecurity. We all learn how to sound like we know what we're talking about when we're growing up. Everybody has their own style of sounding authentic. I don't like to get going with the attitude that I've got the last word on whatever it is, the hands-on-hips attitude. That comes when I reach the point where I won't be pushed any further. In the first year of the coffee shop an occasional teabagger would get going on a rant. Rant doesn't work in there. The ones partial to rant stop going in after they find nobody else wants to rant and nobody cares to listen to rant. This is one of the aspects of the coffee shop regulars I like. Nobody rants. And it's not all liberals. Rant is a cover up for not knowing what you're talking about.

The odd part is that so many of us are so close to the verge of rant --- the ones of us who pay attention to current events, a better word than news. News we associate with misrepresentation. Current events has as sense of photographable event in time and space. Like somebody drove their car off a pier by mistake and barely made it out alive. Or a certain number of people were killed by a drone strike. They don't tell on the news anymore about drone strikes. Early in the use of drones they told the body counts with pride. Killed so-and-so Taliban top dog sunbathing on the roof with his family. Took out the whole family. Shouldn't have been sunbathing with a known terrorist. The frequency of it started looking bad, the collateral damage (body count) added up to figures that became embarrassing. Now we hear nothing about drone hits, though we know they're going on every day. Paying attention to current events / the news puts this kind of crap in my head. There is so much of it that the interior of my head is an infinite collage of information from the dark side of humanity. We call it what's going on in the world. What's really going on in the world is people working every day at whatever they do, people doing the best they can to get by, people treating each other with decency and respect, people getting along with each other.

A lot of music is going on; radio is full of music. Everybody has their own personal music collection. I'm talking to myself about paying more attention to music than the news. Instead of turning on the news, put on a good cd by Mazzy Star and hear Faith Sandoval sing Fade Into You. It is so much better than the republican assault on democracy to fill my head with. Five Finger Death Punch would be better to listen to than any politician, including POTUS. When I think about it, I regard politicians the lowest form of humanity, yet I focus attention on them every day paying attention to current events. I'd be better off hearing what Carlos Santana had to say with his guitar than the young teabagger, Rand Paul, has to say with his lying tongue. But who do I spend my time hearing? Not Santana. I have several Santana cds. Why am I not putting them in the player? I hear them talk about rape and abortion and vaginas and viagra and every kind of thing between the legs, but never anything from an intelligent mind. So why don't I leave it off and read a biography of Federico Fellini or some Harold Rosenberg essays on abstract expressionism or some Louise Gluck poems? Instead of listening to how a fire killed several people and destroyed property, why don't I put on an album by Patti Smith or Burning Spear or Taj Mahal or Ole Belle Reed? I can pick up a book of poems by Constantin Cavafy that is within reach, or a book of poems by Nelly Sachs, also within reach.

And what do I do? I listen to mostly BBC radio news, American edition, and NPR, hearing about politicians, economy, teabaggers, Sarah Palin, Kansas preachers, Syrian army killing children, Israelis v Palestinians. The Israel lobby shut down journalist Helen Thomas over saying publicly that Israel is occupying Palestine. She was out and gone. I listen to the stories of screwed up white guys killing children. News of the random shootings by white guys in crowds of white people has superseded black gangstas killing black gangstas. Rape is the big news again this week. In place of a tv show called COPS about black guys getting arrested for anything, how about a show of white guys getting arrested for rape and call it KULE DOODZ, soundtrack by the Beastie Boys. Two CNN women reporters waxed all gooey about the two poor teenage boys who had so much promise until convicted of rape. Isn't it a shame those nice boys got such a bum deal. That is the laugh of the week. No mention of the girl. It's a good thing. They'd have probably called her out on being a slut. Admit it, byatch, you liked it. Both women acted like they couldn't imagine a girl not wanting to get poked by every guy at three frat parties. This is the stuff I allow into my head on a daily basis when I have a choice. I could have Murray Perahia playing Goldberg Variations in my own home in a minute, or Steve Reich's Music For Eighteen Musicians. I could be looking at a book of paintings by Robert Motherwell or Kurt Schwitters. What do I do? I listen to the news to hear what's the latest, what's happening, a cold blast of unreality inserted into my own personal reality telling me my world is not real; only the world of deception and money is real.


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Monday, March 18, 2013

KEEPING IT IN THE ROAD /-\ BRISTOL

bristol 17march2012
picture thanks to nascar website
 
I drove to Glade Creek today to see the Bristol race at Justin and Crystal's. I stopped at the grocery store and bought three pizzas and some potato chips. Vada and Melvin would be there too. Just before I arrived, maybe three miles before I reached the house, fog had set in. It wasn't bad. I thought nothing of it. Later, however, driving home at 9:30 in the dark, the fog was still around. I decided to take Hwy 18 because it has yellow reflectors in the centerline that help on a foggy night. And I didn't know if the fog might be localized or general over the whole county. It was everywhere. A year or so ago I was given a GPS device for the dashboard of the car, which I took for a novelty at the time, given that I seldom go anywhere that I don't know where it is. I found on the drive home tonight the GPS helped tremendously in fog so thick I could only see two car-lengths ahead. I drove between 25 and 35, only a few other cars on the road, none behind me. I could see on the GPS the curves ahead. This is the greatest advantage I've found for it. Sometimes I just use it for the fun of it. Times like tonight I rely on it like it is a device that really does make driving better. I can tell when the road will go straight for awhile and it will tell me where to turn when I can't see the stop sign or the intersection.
 
All the way home, 19 miles, I was a little disconcerted, driving quite a lot slower than usual, so distances between points I recognized seemed quite a lot farther than usual. That was the most disconcerting aspect of the drive. Anticipating the next curve to the right or left, it taking longer than usual, made me sometimes wonder if this was the right road. In the fog, only the curves are recognizable, because there is no landmark to go by. Driving up the mountain, the last 3 miles of the trip, the fog thickened, and keeping all four tires in the road became the primary concern. At one point after driving upward the road leveled out just before an upward curve to the right. The headlights could not see the level part until the car leveled. I had to stop, because the road vanished. Even though I knew exactly where I was in my mind, I couldn't see anything but white. I found the edge of the road and set in motion again, staying between the two ditches, thinking if somebody were riding with me they'd be shitting pellets. It was another test of what I've learned after living half my life, most of my driving life, in the mountains. I'm checked out on driving on ice and in fog. I've passed the mud test many times. The mud test is when driving up the mountain is a mudsling on the road that is gravel in the summer and mud in winter.
 
I take driving on ice, snow and mud in fog and rain a challenge, a tournament of one scored by you make it or you don't. I think of it as a Zen archery experience where you have one arrow, one chance to hit the flying bird. I do not want to walk home in drizzling mist and fog in 40 degree night because the car left the road and I can't get it back on the road, like a wheel in a culvert or just leave the road. Sometimes I'll keep a chant going, keep it in the road, keep it in the road. There are times that I don't want to let my attention waver for half a second, so I remind myself over and over in my mind to keep my mind on what I'm doing. All the way home, I was praising the GPS on the dashboard for being my seeing-eye. I thanked my friends Lucas and Judy Carpenter several times in spirit for the gift of this incomprehensible gadget that really does make a difference. And it comes from a satellite, even through the clouds and fog. A GPS is the deal for driving in fog. I've driven the Parkway in peasoup fog with and without the GPS. It makes a great difference in that I can see when the road will be straight for awhile and the curves as I'm approaching them. It relieves the stress of staying in the road when I can barely see the road. Tonight in Whitehead I was driving along around 20mph and saw a deer standing in the road looking at me. I was easily able to stop. She looked at me awhile. The young one was standing beside the road this side of the fence. It looked at me like a deer in the headlights and followed mama to the other side of the road, nothing urgent.
 
It was a good race at Bristol. Kasey Kahne won. Something has changed this year. The cars ran the track at over 100 mph through the curves. Bristol being a short, half-mile, track, they don't get going at 200 like at Talladega or Daytona. Bristol used to be fender banging, bumping side to side and front to back, but this year they were going faster than usual and it seemed more like at least a mile track. The bumping and banging at Bristol did not used to cause the cars to lose traction and spin out, but this year it seemed like a lot of times when cars touched, somebody would lose traction. Right away Tony Stewart blew his right rear tire that slammed him into the wall. It happened to a few others. They'd be driving through a curve, then pop, into the wall they'd go, outta control. All the driver can do is hit the brakes and hope he doesn't get hit but a few times. At Bristol I feel like I can see the cars outrunning one another. On the long tracks they get going at top end and often get in a long line where nobody can pass anybody because they're all going as fast as they can go. At Bristol there is room for maneuvering that I don't see so much at the longer tracks. Bristol feels more like a race where I can see strategies better, and it generally feels more like a race, a real run to be the first to the finish line when all the cars are equals and the drivers are equals too. Winning is a matter of strategies and entire team efforts. The driver is just one aspect of it. Every part is equally important; the driver, the car, the mechanics individually, the pit crew individually, the spotters individually, the strategists individually, too. Every individual involved, including several I wouldn't know about operating the communication technology between driver and staff.
 
At the end, Kahne drifted his car in circles sending up a cloud of white smoke that is moving on wind currents over the state of Virginia about now on its way to the sea. He made it to the "winner's circle" where the first thing he did was go around to everyone on the team and shake their hands in appreciation. He knew that he would not be the star of the day without every single one of them. I was glad to see there were no big wrecks. Several small fender benders occurred, mostly due to blown tires sending the car into the wall. I like to see the winner win and everybody else have their places on account of a race well run instead of several eliminated by chance pile-ups that end the race for the ones caught up in it. Somebody goes sideways in front of you at 150 mph, tires smoking, there you are. Shit happens. Fortunately, the cars now amount to a cage of bars around the driver, so no matter what happens the driver comes out of it all right. Sometimes one gets hurt. Nobody is happy when it happens. That's part of it, too; the dangerous edge makes it exciting for all concerned. Racing motor vehicles is the only sport I know of where occasionally somebody is killed. Once or twice a year a basketball player will die of a heart attack. A football player sometimes gets shot. In nascar races and in all other car races, death is a possible outcome. All the participants came to terms with it when they started racing. I saw Jeff Gordon have an experience last year that I project made him question getting in a car again. If his knees were not wobbling after that crash, he would have had to have been in a coma. He walked away from the wreckage. All that was left of the car was the cage he was strapped into. It will be a good one for him to write about in his memoir.  
 
 
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

SATURDAY AFTERNOON RAMBLE



I've been complaining about the weather over the last weeks. Today I must exclaim delight. The temp is up to 65, gentle breeze, enough to keep wind chimes swinging outside the open door picking light tunes, bringing to mind Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu. Wind chimes have an Asian sound to my music ear. Anyway, old world Asian. The new Asia is about like the new West characterized by noise and pollution. I saw a photo a few days ago of pollution in Beijing, at least as bad as Los Angeles  It looked something like the pollution inside a nascar stadium during a race, an upside down bowl of pollution over the bowl of the seats and the track. At a race, it is exhilarating to smell the pollution of fuel, burnt rubber and the roar of forty-some cars louder than an auditorium concert by The Cars. In an urban situation, the same smell and noise is irritating. There again, context. Interpretation according to context. At a race, the noise and the pollution that burns the eyes is thrilling. Standing on a street corner waiting for the light in a fog of exhaust fumes and rubber molecules, eyes burning, it doesn't feel right to live in such conditions.

At the track it's not even noticed, except as one more aspect of the race to be thrilled about. Adults rant at kids about rock music is going to make them deaf, and kids don't care. When I'm at a rock concert, I don't care if it makes me deaf. Remember when parents told kids that watching the tv up close would make you go blind? Now everybody looks at a computer monitor closer than any kid watched tv, and nobody went blind. If I were to go to Beijing I'd complain about the pollution and want to be heard where it matters. At a race track, I say, Git-er-done! What a strange mix the modern world has made of us. I believe there is common agreement that the modern world is getting worse instead of better. Even pre-Reagan when Progress was the guiding beacon, it seemed like worse was the direction of the progress, not better. Turns out, it was better because it was dealing with a quickly increasing international population. Like Garrison Keiler says, Doing what needs to be done. We needed more cars, more highways, more houses, more food, more entertainment, more of everything. We're in an economy that the need for More has created, and now the republicans are shutting down the economy for the working people, punishment for electing to presidential office, twice, somebody who does not figure on the social ladder at all, and a democrat at that. The 1% doesn't care. The more We The People are at odds with each other, the smoke screen obscuring the funnelling of our money we work for into corporate Cayman Island, Bermuda and Swiss tax-free accounts, we keep ourselves busy being mad at each other. They laugh, we lose.

In the future it will be questioned why We The People allowed the 1% to take all our money, keep us in perpetual war with poor, defenseless countries, driving them deeper into poverty, taking their money and leaving the American people in advancing poverty. Corporate television is the greatest propaganda device ever on the face of the earth that keeps us believing the false is true and the true is false. It can be used to make us believe anything, even Ann Coulter and the other Faux news deceivers. What kind of society is it that permits a tv station to give out false information as news every day and thrive from it? The most pathetic part is that Faux news is a republican station spewing the republican party line. It's out in the open. Deception is the nature of the republican party. In the last election, it turned out they deceived themselves and less that 51% of everybody else. I have to say it is doing me good to watch the republican party implode like the twin towers. The republican party has done so much damage to the American people in my lifetime that cannot be undone, I want to see them implode fast and get out of the way. Then the democrats would split and the Joe Lieberman half would become the new republican party. There is no point wishing it away. All I can figure to do is deal with it. William Buckley was perhaps the only intellectual I've seen in my lifetime from the republicans, and he wasn't much. He was irrelevant as he spoke, or wrote. But how could an up-front anti-intelligence party with Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter its philosophes have an intellectual?

The falseness we see boiling to the surface like grease has always been with us. It's coming out into the open now to be released in this cleansing time of life on earth. A couple hundred years into the future, historians will look at this time and think we must have been living in misery all the time. And they'd be right. They'll say we're living in enlightenment too, and they'd be right. We'd be even nuttier than we are without Zoloft, Prozac and the long list of mood-enhancing delights we need now. I take it by living rurally surrounded by Christmas tree fields. This time of year they're mulching culls, the trees they can't sell, getting them out of the way and planting all new seedlings. Last time I saw the owner of the land I was told all bright-eyed that they're taking out all the trees this year, like they're doing it just for me. I know better than to believe anything I'm told by certain people and said, "What's next?" No answer. Distracted suddenly. Later for that. Wait and see. All new seedlings is the answer. One thing about the Christmas tree fields, the maze gives the rabbits a chance escaping coyote pursuers. Living rurally is how I handle it. In 1968 I learned not to get involved in anything political. I can't help paying attention to the foolishness of American government, because I'm seeing the process of the undoing of American Democracy from the inside by corporate rule and racism. I prefer to see the process from outside the whirlwind than from in it. Cities have become places I cannot live. The stress of urban living is something I will not allow myself to live with.


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Friday, March 15, 2013

RACIAL PROFILING WHITE MEN



A question that is lurking in the minds of about everybody I know, a varied pie slice of the social spectrum, is basically, why are we humans so mean to one another? That question is universal and goes all the way back. The question now has more to do with why do so many people dislike other people in America the land of the free. Random shootings that happen somewhere in the US every day are rather poignant expressions of contempt for others. That the shooter is satisfied with random kills, nobody in particular in mind, says the shooter is killing "people." He hates people. There is a lot of that going around, and it looks like the problem is a very real one with white men. White men are freaking out. The rush on AKs by white men all over the country after a school shooting is so alarming that it ought to be setting off alarms. If this is a picture of contemporary white man thinking, I repeat, white men are freaking out. None of our corporate news sources, including NPR, have noticed anything to do with racial profiling these surprise random slayings in public. In a time when war is characterized by terrorism, random slayings of women, children, old people, anybody, dogs, camels, collateral damage, it's looking like white men are mad at the world and everybody in it. If you're in the wrong place at the wrong time then it's your time to go or get a leg or arm blown off, blinded or deaf for life.

American borders are tightly monitored keeping terrorists out. It's looking like we have homeland terrorists. In law enforcement they say they don't know where it will happen next, but they know it will happen. Little towns, big cities. I have friends with children who are anxious for their kids in case a random school killing happens in the classroom with their kids. All the kids are somebody's kids. White men are now a racial profile for terrorism. This will require bringing home all the troops from around the world to shut down armed white men, and they're already traditionally set against the black men and the Latin men. Police state will create more crime and that will lead to something like they do in Africa, armed rebels vs the police and army. I hesitate to go to that extreme in visioning, but it looks more and more inevitable every day. It's got to where seeing it any other way amounts to denial. But that's just looking at it from how it appears now. Everything changes. It may change for the worse or the better. The momentum at present looks like it's toward the worse. My question is what has happened to make white men freak out so incredibly. It doesn't help to say that these are men with mental issues and they snapped. In the whole collective of white men, it would be the mentally weak ones to snap first. That's where the chain breaks, the weakest link.

How long have we had hate radio? Thirty years or almost? It started as a kind of trend that sold ads, sometimes they went too far, and when they did step way over the line of decency, they sold more ads, got call-ins for ads. Reagan kicked off the right wing contempt for liberals, which Limbaugh and the whole Faux News team ran with and got working class white men frothing at the mouth with drama of hate for whatever sensible person it might be at the moment, the "black" president and the educated woman, Hilary. Elizabeth Warren is setting herself up to be the next intelligent woman target from the white male hate machine. It's looking like she has what it takes. These two women are like WW2 bombers flying into enemy territory; they need a lot of fighter escorts, bodyguards, a staff of strategists, ball-turret gunners, fund-raisers and what have you. I believe the Dalai Lama was onto something when he said Western women will be the ones to save us from ourselves. Who knows Western men better than Western women? Western men got us onto this race course to our collective undoing. I suppose what the Dalai Lama said means the women have what we need now. Good. Hilary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren look like a pretty strong front line. The first influential women have to be able to stand up to the men with power, like Warren has exhibited what she can do and does very well, and Hilary has shown her feet on the ground too. And the women don't have so much hate in them. That's a refreshing aspect of women. Women don't carry so much hate, unless for particular reasons that can't be forgiven.

Considering that everybody watches tv daily, uses it for source of information like what flu medicine is the BEST and which car is the BEST and which tire is the BEST and what detergent, what burger, what false eyelashes, an endless list. The news we hear every day is the worst things happening in the world that day. Sometimes on NPR you'll get a day-in-the-life 5 minutes of somebody's real life that isn't anything like on tv, an uplifting moment of people as we are, not as we're falsely represented by MAD Ave. If it bleeds, it leads, the journalist's pocket fortune cookie that works a hundred percent. Syrian army is destroying entire neighborhoods, targeting children, has gone to war on its own people. In Egypt Spring they're finding Mubarak wasn't all that bad. Every day we get our heads filled with these images and sounds of killing from everywhere in the world. That's the "news." If it doesn't bleed, it doesn't lead. Back pages or no room for it. Random assassinations going on all over the country. Hollywood movies are about shutting down the mind. They're lullabies with explosions and guns going off and gun threats, killing like it's the latest hot thing to do. They're hypnotic in the way they put the viewer to sleep and show the story like a dream by hypnotic suggestion. That's the nature of our pop culture in everyone's homes, some more than others.

Seeing what television is doing to the American people makes me really glad, I mean really glad that I do not watch one. I like to see one every once in awhile to see what the people I live among are believing at the moment. I learned long ago that when "everybody" is doing something, like dressing alike, using the same slang terms, like when there is a copy-cat trend to get featured on the evening news killing several people then oneself, the one thing "everybody" is doing is watching television. It's the mind that is coming through the television. It is breaking down all the beliefs in our belief systems. It evidently has enraged white men, the racists among white men. Just because we have laws about equal this and that, and black people are everywhere on tv and acceptable, and gay people are all over the tv and the latest new thing this year, it doesn't mean the racists among the white people have changed. They just don't watch those tv shows and they grimace during the commercials. Something to gripe about. Like Michael Moore said, "If guns keep us safe, America would be the safest country on earth." And Frank Zappa has said, "If pop music influenced people's behavior, we would all love one another."

We're in a time where we like such generalizations about "people," because people are stupid, people are idiots. We're quick to call somebody stupid or an idiot or an asshole in this time. A little too quick for my comfort. We're not allowed to say any of those working class slang terms that are politically incorrect. It's all right, however, to say, He's an idiot, or He's an asshole or He's stupid. It's in the middle class I hear these assessments according to intelligence levels. Working class is more interested in the physical than the mind. The working class talk in anti-political correctness language all the more because the middle class has made a taboo of the long list of forbidden PC words. It's funny for me that one set of people I spend time with get all prune-faced over certain words and another set of people I spend time with use those words to where they make chances to say them. They're hilarious. They're comedy. When I'm with the people that get old-baptist-pious-disapproval over certain key words, I have to laugh inside, because when I'm with my other friends we use all those words as much as we can, laughing like crazy, watching the race on the Faux channel. When it comes to gettin-er-done, them boys know how to do it. My thinking about those cars went way high up when I heard that a racing motorbike doesn't have a chance against one of the nascar racers. I can see it now, but never thought of it before.


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Thursday, March 14, 2013

WHITE SMOKE OVER THE VATICAN

 
 
 
 
I don't know what it is about the papacy that holds my interest, albeit a disinterested interest. I have dim affection for the Roman Catholic religion as far as I know. The Church appears to me to do the reverse of the spiritual intent behind the symbolism. Gold representing whatever, white representing whatever, red representing whatever, lace representing whatever. Outfits from Roman times that are made of incredibly expensive cloth with personal tailors. Recalling a Lou Reed song that had the line, Pontif, pretty Pontif, spoken in Reed's sassy suburban teenage sneer tone of voice. I think it was somewhere on his New York album. When I hear it, I feel a twinge of empathy for il papa without knowing why. I tend to see the Roman Catholic Church the original bureaucracy, the original hierarchy, the original monopoly, the original dictatorship, the original international corporation, straight-jacket bound in a couple thousand years of tradition plus all the way back to goddess, tax-free wealth beyond the Cayman Islands, outrageously expensive (sacred) objects of gold. I left out the original conqueror of the New World sponsoring the slaughter of New World residents as too heathen to exist. For the gold. For the gold only. The Inca and Aztec civilizations were plundered to extinction for their gold taken back to the Crown and the Church. The North American people were slaughtered by Protestants to get them out of the way. Then it might be said, the Catholic approach was to kill them and take their gold, while the Protestant approach was to kill them for the thrill in the killing.  
 
In a paragraph, that's a summary of how I see organized religion. The more organized, the worse. The most organized, the worst. I have the Protestant perspective from the start of seeing the pope as just a man. As just a man, I can appreciate il papa. That's it. That's where I appreciate the pontif. When I saw pictures of old Pope John bent over, unable to hold his head up, looking like a case of dementia, I felt empathy for him. He's just a man, but he's pope for life. If it takes all he can do to raise his hand and give the papal wave, he's pope for life. As long as he's living, he's pope. When old Benedict went in, looking way too much like the actor who played the Emperor in the Star Wars series, I felt sorry for him right off. He looked small and frail. Saying so soon he was unable to keep up with the papacy's regimen, the doctor having told him not to travel anymore, I could see he was in the early phases of frailty. He recognized it and saw that the Church needed a fresh mind to walk it through this next span of papal time, not somebody fading into frailty and dementia. It looks like the Church is going to be walking on hot coals for some time to come.
 
 Lawsuits over child abuse from everywhere in the world have the potential to put the Church's outlandish wealth in jeopardy, perhaps into sales at international auction houses of wardrobes of popes past and infinite amounts of gold. When Wall Street starts sniffing at the leavings, look out. This period of time could put the Holy Roman Church out of existence, turn the Vatican into a museum of itself maintained by Friends of the Vatican. It could take a long time to liquidate the assets. I want to see the Vatican art collection I've heard is kept away from public view for various reasons for multiple centuries. It's said to have dollar value through the roof. When the buzzards are picking at the carcass, the dollar values told on evening news, in news magazines, money magazines, tv talk shows, will shock the world, make the Church look as materialist as the Americans. And this is where I have the problem with the Church. All their symbolism is about a Romanesque display of wealth and an Egyptian belief in the physical body. Big gold rings for the faithful to kiss on the bishop's hand. Phew. Give me a break. This is the few controlling the many.
 
 
 
 
I see the display of wealth and imagine a million times beyond what I can imagine, and there we have more symbolism. Wealth as infinite as the universe, therefore sacred. Give it unto Jesus. Jesus doesn't want that detritus. That's the stuff of the human mind, the stuff he took a human shape to help us get control of in ourselves, individually, to see that aint it. Then I see swarms of cardinals dressed in red billowing gowns like from Gone With The Wind, buzzing around il papa in multiple thousands of dollars worth of outfits apiece. And this is about Jesus? Jesus attired himself in his culture's equivalent of bluejeans and a tshirt. He didn't need scepters nor necklaces nor silk underwear nor million dollar mafia rings nor thousand dollar shoes. I can't help but doubt a "faith" that believes a man who gets up like Elizabeth Taylor in all her jewelry out of all her safe-deposit boxes represents the Jesus I read about in the Gospels, the Jesus the Holy Roman Church stands for. I don't get it, never got it, and probably never will get it. I don't see anything to get except the Church as another institution of the few controlling the many. It was a smooth transition from the Caesar to the Pope. In the name of Jesus, send us your money. Jesus said render unto Caesar in reference to taxes. Now he would say render unto the Pope. I'd venture that if Jesus were on foot somewhere on earth now, he would not be interested in seeing the Pope and the Pope would not be interested in seeing him unless he had a substantial amount of money to be giving over.
 
The pictures I've seen of the new Pope Francis tell me Woody Allen could play him in a movie. Wouldn't that be a riot, Woody Allen playing Pope. Being a director and experienced at New York dinner parties, Allen has the experience necessary to assume a papal role. I've heard a brief BBC radio profile of the new Pope and he seems like an interesting man. Again, I see him as a man who drew the losing straw and became Pope. He is evidently known for living with a monk's simplicity, called austerity by reporters, and won't be needing thousand dollar shoes. He is known for taking public transportation when bishops are privileged with big car and driver. He evidently was not one to take advantage of privilege, rather has no need for it. That's his style. Pope Benedict's style was scholar monk. Pope Francis looks like a social monk who gets out among the people as one of them. The reporters speak in awe of how he walks anywhere in the city, Buenos Aires, alone, without body guards. He didn't just walk around and people look at him with suspicion and say, What you doin in this neighborhood? Everybody he saw knew him. They talked with him. They respected him. And he respected them. They knew him as the one who was not afraid of them. They're not going to hurt him. He knows it and they know it, but seen from the outside it's like he's taking his life in his hands. Considering that from my point of view he's just a man, I see him needing waders, big yellow New England waders, maybe the whole outfit. He will be a good example to the world of a man who really means it when it gets reported how simply he lives in his papal privilege. One thing I believe I can say without fear of contradiction is the only thing this pope needs is prayed for. He's going to need the prayers of the world to hold him up through what looks to be a rocky road ahead like something you'd see in a disaster movie.
 



 
 
 
 
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