Monday, October 16, 2017

Blade Runner -1982, 1989 and 2049

We live in a strange new world. Not so much a brave one. We have too many cowards in our world today. Those who view lies and fake realities over that of actual facts and reality, just because it suits someone, allows them to win, or to profit.


I went alone the other Monday to the Bremerton SEEFilm Theater to see Blade Runner 2049 in 3D. It was worth it. It looked and sounded great. I had planned to go on a work day so no one would be there but when I arrived they mentioned it was a holiday (Columbus Day). But still, only about seven people showed up for the 2PM showing I attended.

As I sat before the show began playing with my Kindle Fire and trying not to listen to banal adverts on the screen, I got an odd feeling. We have had so many mass shootings, I couldn't shake the feeling of impending doom.

I hadn't brought a firearm myself even though I legally could. I hadn't even thought about it, On concealed carry, I have a rule. If I think I should take one I do. If I can't make up my mind, I do. If I don't feel it necessary (which is usually), I don't. But sometimes you just don't think about it, until later. This was one of those days. Typically, not a big deal. Let's face it, there is a lot of to do about nothing most of the time. Most people don't ever need to carry a gun. But that's a topic for another time. I only mention it because it calls to my state of mind in the theater.

I was just focused that day on going to see the long awaited, and potentially never going to happen, Blade Runner sequel. So in sitting in the theater, I tried to shrug it off. But with things like the recent Las Vegas mass shooting, our biggest mass murder to date, it was kind of hard to shake. So many nuts around anymore. However, once the show started, thoughts of it evaporated.

I've had an interesting experience with the Blade Runner universe. Same as many, different than most.

It goes back to when Blade Runner came out. I saw it just like everyone else and fell in love with it, just like many other. I started to check out all of Ridley Scott's films. I liked his late brother's films too, like Top Gun when it came out and others. I worked at a few Tower stores in the 80s (Tower Posters, Records and Video stores, in two cities) and watched Ridley's other films on both VHS and Beta as I had both, and came to love especially his first film, The Duelists.

Anyway, the quality of the film in the theater was excellent. The film itself, I couldn't be happier with. At the end, I just sat there... stunned. I planned to watch the titles to the end as I frequently do, and just after the best of the initial title music, I realized we were all still there and I flashed again on the whole mass shooting issue. I had to wonder...what if?

What if someone hated the sequel we had just watched? What if they wanted to watch the film, then just kill us all and go out on a Blade Runner (a violent film) high note? It was then that I remembered the death threats I'd gotten back in the late 1980s when I had said online that I was considering writing a sequel to Blade Runner.

I put those thoughts behind me for the moment. I just wanted to enjoy the last vestiges of this new film, even if it was just the titles. Besides I like to try and see if I know any names I see scroll by. Not to mention, I've had to generate my own title sequences in films before and it's interesting to note how new films are put together.

Finally, I realized I was alone in the theater. Then a theater attendant showed up. We ignored one another for a moment as I contained to read and listen to the end title sequence. He said something to me from the end of my aisle. I couldn't make it out so I reluctantly got up and walked over to him, a little disappointed in my somewhat euphoric mood being broken.

When it first came out, BR was my favorite film for some time (along with Brainstorm which I based my first screenplay, Ahriman, on in various ways). Toward the end of the 1980s I had decided I wanted to write a sequel to Blade Runner. Back then I was on various newsgroups on the Internet, which at the time was all text based. The World Wide Web still had a few years to get started up. My web page back then, JournalED.com (Journal of ExtraOrdinary Diversions, based on a print magazine I never quite got off the ground in the 1980s), which eventually grew to a sizable web site, and is now just online for historical purposes (but still, it's been online since 1995).

One newsgroup in 1989 had been talking about BR and I felt emboldened to mention I was thinking of writing a screenplay sequel to it. Within hours I had two death threats for even considering writing one. I was happy to note however that within a day or so someone offered to help me if I liked, and we both disregarded the death threats. I had thanked him, but I didn't really feel I needed the help.

I was married at the time. We had a young one year old son. I told my wife about all this and she agreed one night to help me come up with the concept. So we sat down at our dining room table in our ratty little apartment above a wine store on 65th and Revenna in Seattle, got a bit drunk, had fun maybe got stoned on some pot, and recorded the session. I still have it. It wasn't great, but in the end there was a concept. In listening back on it I can hear that she really didn't offer much and I did most of the talking, but it was fun and it lent some emotional support in my creating the concept.

I found that cassette, after all those years of it having been lost in my papers. A tiny little cassette tape for a micro-cassette recorder that I'd inherited from my late grandfather. Through the first of the 1990s and after we divorced, I worked some more on from time to time. I have the paperwork from that period on those efforts. I plan now to get them together and write something from it. It just won't (obviously) be a Blade Runner story.

At the end of the show of the sequel it had left me in a kind of fugue state. As if in a trance, almost. All these years since first seeing the original. I'd once had the Criterion Laser Disc version of it. I had magazines on it. I watched documentaries on it. I saw the Director's Cut when it came out and premiered at Seattle's Egyptian Theatre. I read the sequel books (yes, there's sequels and I didn't much like them). And all the other things about it that had left me sitting there in the theater a bit stunned. So I thought I'd come home and write this up to share it.

And here we are.

I have to highly recommend the film as well as Ridley and his chosen director Denis Villeneuve and writers Hampton Fancher, Michael Green, with story by Hampton Fancher. Of course initial credits have to go to the great Philip K. Dick in being based on characters from his novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

As I've said, I have a long and personal history with BR as well as Ridley. Many do. There were two choices for me about a BR sequel, the original being somewhat of a near religious consideration for many. A sequel, most sequels really, are either worthy of being a sequel in the first place, or not. Anything over that is gravy. I saw it in 3D.

All I can say and the highest praise I can give it is... I accepted it. And I liked the gravy.

Monday, October 9, 2017

King Louis' 724 Art Studio in Port Orchard WA

"King Louis." That's J Louis King in Port Orchard, Washington.

Two amazing people: "King" Louis with Alison Arngrim, hamming it up at Sidney Museum in May 2017
I want to spend more time on art, fiction writing, filmmaking, rather than so much on non-fiction and politics. I'm working on that. But before I get to it about Louis and the gallery....

Louis (left) in Studio 724
I had retired last year from over twenty years in IT so that I could spend my time in the arts, in writing, in filmmaking (both in front of and behind the camera; though I do prefer behind, in front is a lot of fun), and whatever else strikes my fancy and whatever I seem to be good at.

I got into tech writing because I enjoyed IT work but also to become a tougher, better and faster writer. My interest in IT faded for me in recent years, in part because of the kinds of nonsense you get on the business side, in part because of a messed up situation in my career that I found myself in. Both of those had killed my interest.

All along I've tried to get my fiction works going but it's been like working two full time jobs. So many times I just missed the mark. Not so much in my writing as in the people I met, connection I'd made. Whenever you find that something is killing you (in my case, IT)... well it's time to do something different.

And now? Now I have all the time possible to dedicate to my art. however I wish to define that. I have to tell you, just as I'd thought it would be all these past decades...it feels great! And I've met some fascinating characters and artists.

Back to Louis and the Studio.

Louis is a diverse force of nature. He's had an interesting variety of jobs in his lifetime. He's been a seafood salesman in the Midwest, a chef, a celebrity TV chef, an Amtrak worker, traveling the countryside,  a photographer and a lot of other interesting things. It's been a pleasure getting to know him and his history at events, over beers and in general over time this year.

Louis King, an artist\photographer in his own right
Wherever Louis goes he seems to inspire people. He rails against obstructionism and banality and supports talent and art wherever he can. He's a great benefit to Port Orchard whose residents are lucky to have him. He wants to surround himself with creatives, talent, forward thinkers, movers and shakers and I'm pleased to know him. Even to have found him. As are we all who have met him and been brought under his circle of influence.

Kim's Adult Coloring Book release event
I spent part of the day on September 16th, an enjoyable Saturday at 724 Art Studio in Port Orchard, Washington. There was an artist's book release event, for Kimberly Von Rossum, for her adult coloring book that was a hit. It was put on of course by Louis who is also a volunteer leader working to keep a couple of the local museums going. Including the Sidney Museum a couple of blocks up the hill from 724 which itself is located along the main drag downtown Port Orchard and near to the waterfront.
Studio 724 is next to the Brick House Bar, a historical location it would seem
Louis has been acquiring for the studio a growing variety of artists from the as-yet-unknown (as in very soon both my daughter and her boyfriend who will have works in there and I love their artworks), to the works of the rather famous hanging in his gallery. Louis is also starting up a gallery walk soon, too.
Live music next door at the Brick House. Great burgers there! Love their Jalapeno burger!
Internationally known local artist Max Hayslette is one of the artists in the gallery and probably the best known of the artists currently on display for sale.

Max Hayslette art for sale
Interesting side note, it seems Max used to babysit my daughter when she was younger, in his being friends with her mother and then new step-father (now ex-stepfather). So, thanks Max. Strange how we find these degrees of separation in life, right?

Max Hayslette, seems like a nice guy!
This last Friday night (10/6/17) was Port Orchard's biannual Ladies' Night Out and we had an event at the gallery. Next one I think is in May.

Out front during Ladies' Night Out
I have to say, I had a massively good time.

Artists Aura Stiers (left) and Shelly Wilkerson and, my friend and director Kelly Hughes
I got to meet new people, some locals who wandered in, some who were just curious, some doing some art shopping, as well as some local artists and writers. Myself included. They will be doing more art events and some writer events.They also had a display of costumes for sale which seemed pretty popular. And they have local artist's art on greeting cards for sale.

I got to talk extensively with two of the artists there, both of whom have their art on display. From one of them I had to buy a couple of her greeting cards. Herself a gallery owner, Shelly Wilkerson owns Crazy Lady on Bay Street, also in Port Orchard down the street a pace, along with her photographer husband, Glen (nice guy too!).

Some of artist Aura Stiers unique and stylized art pieces utilized wood, not covering it up as too many do, rather utilizing the wood's natural grains and growth rings, allowing them to subtly show through enhancing the pieces. She was also wearing some of her art in an amazing looking ensemble that drew praise and remarks from customers and artists throughout the evening.

When does one EVER get to have a greeting card signed by the actual artist whose work is depicted on them? I have a collection of post cards I started when my older sister became a Flight Attendant ("Stewardess" back then) for Northwest Orient (now Delta). She'd send me postcards from around the world, however my most prized possession is one from a friend during my university years from McMurdo Station in Antarctica (got one of THOSE?).

So I simply had to take the opportunity to get a couple of cards signed by the artist! No. Not starting a greeting card collection, though I do have one from those given to me over my life time. "Historians" have trouble throwing historical kinds of things away you see and no, I'm not a hoarder by any definition.
Louis on left, customer with Kelly Hughes and event greeter (seated).
I now have one of my own books at Studio 724 on display (see photo below and Thanks, Louis!). I am happy to say I made some new friends. I'm not an extrovert by any sense of the term, but they did talk to about having my own author event soon. I've never actually had one as I guess I've just been avoiding it.

Some of the costumes for sale on the right
Studio 724 as well as Louis himself, are both in my estimation valuable additions to the local Port Orchard community and businesses.

During a lull in the evening. You can just see my books on the back wall just over the seated gentleman's head
I was there before the Studio started up, back when Kelly Hughes was running another kind of a studio for filmmakers and I hope to be there... not long after it's gone, but rather as long as it exists.

Which I hope for my sake and the community's will be a very long time.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Attraction and Eroticism

Which, is the more pleasurable? Attraction? Or Love?

Attraction is definitely the stronger of the two in my mind. After all can one not love another yet have a love affair with still another they are attracted to, against all vows and promises?

Has this not been shown over and over throughout the ages, in song, literature, movies and plays?

Is therefore Attractiveness the all important piece of the relationship puzzle? Does a relationship begin to dissolve once Attraction disappears? When there is no Attraction, is there not soon in its place, repulsion.

In much the same sense that physicists speak of the magnetic or the electrical, do people not use terms like magnetic or electric for someone they feel Attracted to?

Not Beauty... but Attractiveness.

The American Heritage Dictionary, 2nd College Edition says of Attraction:

1. The act or capability of attracting [this tells us nothing]. 2. The quality of attracting, charm [Charm], 3. A feature or characteristic that attracts."

And of Attractive: 111. Having the power to attract [again, this tells us nothing].
2. Pleasing to the eye or mind [Mind]; charming." [Brackets added by the Author]

Pleasing to the eye decries surely, that aesthetic appeal which so many disparage mentioning. What is that but: Beauty?

Surely however the "pleasing to the mind," description does not explain it. Something that pleases my mind? All of it? Or most of it that can be acquired, accessed by another. What is the negative appeal in this?

An Attractive person is one that attracts your attention by way of stimulating (or "titillating," perhaps too sumptuous a word?) many separate areas of a person's mind. Obviously, the most powerful ones would be affected first: those of Beauty (sight?), Sexuality (movement? smell?), Aesthetic Demeanor (attitude?), as well as Productive Characteristics.

But is that misleading? "Productive Characteristics"? What does that mean?

A mundane example....

Porno movies are Productive.

In a sense they are or else they wouldn't exist, would they? They show us sex, raw and forced visually and audibly into our consciousness. The really good ones would also gain access to our other states of consciousness, as true art penetrates to and through many layers of consciousness and intellect. But not for the immature, the unsophisticated.

Are they productive in a way to truly "turn one on?" I think most would agree not, actually. Though many people do get a kick out of them, just how productive are they, considering their original purpose? That of stimulating one sexually. Surely they only achieve whatever they do by way of being so single mindedly obtuse. Brutal, in a sense. Overkill.

Why is Eroticism generally considered productive according to its purpose? Unless of course, it overpowers and preoccupies one. But this usually only happens to those with truly addictive/ compulsive personalities to begin with. People who needed help from the start. Is this so different from and far between the more raw, projected sexuality of most kinds of pornos? Is it because it is so very hard to achieve?

After all, it does require a certain kind of. . .Class. Of Charm (in other words, I would say, a "need" to be Attractive) in order to be truly sexually stimulating. To any satiating or at least a satisfying degree. This is something that requires a lot of complementarity. To give that to a diverse group of consumers, it "appears" to require debasing it to the point of utter ludicrousness. Thus your run-of-the-mill porno movie. Cheap. Raw. Typically unrehearsed. Poorly thought out.

This happens to us upon a paraphrase of a theorem of the late Media Prophet Marshall McLuhan (see his cameo so aptly put in the "standing in line at the cinema" scene in Woody Allen's, ANNIE HALL).

It proffers the degree of the intellectual level of a medium for any given audience, decreases in proportion to the number of individuals contained in that audience. Thus, so the theory goes, Public Broadcasting produced/sponsored shows, should have a higher quality content than that of the mass media offerings of prime time TV sitcoms.

A porno movie may indeed raise a penis to its full extension, a clitoris to its full engorgement. But is it the raw-nerved throbbing, full bodied mindfulness, experienced in near-orgasm? And no, I do not mean climax. A climax is merely a pleasant spasming of muscles. An orgasm is a much fuller experience and brings in much more of the body/mind experience.

A mere climax can leave the pelvic area congested, which is the way the body sets up sexual arousal: engorgement of the pelvic veins and nerves, irritating the organism's metabolic system to seek decongestion.

Typically, orgasm does not leave the body in this congested state, which is the more healthy (and more popularly desired) form of relief. Repeated congestion of the pelvic region without resolution, especially in women, can be medically unfavorable and lead to complications. And not just emotional ones.

This ideal indeed comes only with true eroticism. And that only comes through ... Attractiveness. See? One has to be attracted to (say...), the people on the screen in a porno, in order to experience this. Or the scene they are playing their charade out in. The projected circumstance. One could be attracted to oneself, or a preconceived idea, which then uses a porno only for confirmation and orientation in order to more fully solidify what was already in one's mind.

But true eroticism is no easy thing to achieve. In part because as has been pointed out by others long ago, it is in the nature of the human experience that one can even erotisize, raise to the level of a fetish, even that of a rock.

It is in essence, the Charm, the Quality, the Classiness (even anti classy, as in eroticizing a sense of the aesthetic of the ugly and finding sexual attraction in it, that is to say in being turned on by the gross and disgusting) of the viewing and not the view itself that does the real work.

This is one reason why pornos do indeed work for many people. For do they not primarily focus on the quality of the viewing and not the actual view being watched? Which brings up the potential for the individual to be pre-experientially inclined for an intense release, in which case one could watch a wall and find the same intensity.

It is the bare fact that the person the viewer is with (even if that be themselves), in the circumstance they are in, is the stimulating factor. It is the Attractiveness, the Charm, and the Class, as well as the Company they are keeping.

It is not as many do claim, that everyone is simply different in their tastes and therefore it is much too hard and expensive for a scene to be made which will please most anyone. Although it is indeed NOT easy to do this, I believe it is for another reason. Rather I believe it is a difficult thing to produce because of the innate need for Attractiveness. Something that requires a kind of Class, of Charm, to be truly sexually stimulating. And not necessarily in the classic sense of the words.

This is why viewing naked is sexually inspiring, but less-than-naked is Erotic. Thus, the high sales of special undergarments with orientations toward sexuality. This is also why hardcore porno is merely stimulating, while softcore tends more easily to be erotic, more fully... engaging. However, many will note that since softcore does not show it all, many viewers (mostly male) feel cheated and so do not find it in the end erotic. Once again, this reflects back onto the appetites of the individual viewer.

This is a mere misconception on the individual viewer's part. Often they find after seeing it all, that this does not satisfy after all. Nor does it satiate. Is it such a fine line for most people between the sexual excitement achieved through hardcore porno and the more fully erotic elements exercised by the way of Love, Aesthetic Appeal, or Attractiveness?

It has been said that true sexual fulfillment only comes from one being in a deep relationship. However, cannot the opposite be said in that a stranger that arouses, can also lead to an intense and deep satiation? Or does one actually satiate and the other simply inspire more desire? Which, is the most desired in that case?

Does this distinction so easily become blurred? Isn't it more like the case of a glass of fine wine is lost on a wino because he is looking for the strongest "kick." A motivation so unlike the Attraction a wine connoisseur finds for that same glass, prior to the wino having drunk from it.

The True Seeker finds instead of the wino's "kick," the connoisseur's aesthetic explosion of appreciation. One that comes up from deep within, through many levels. What is actually a cascading of mental appreciation through various regions of the brain and various levels of one's mind.

An explosion that warms, that comforts, that nurtures and lingers, sometimes for days afterward. For drinking a very fine wine can produce in a Connoisseur, an orgasm-like (though perhaps, very temporal) response. This is far indeed from what a wino experiences in his drugged, "climatic" deliriums.

So one has to ask: What is meant by having Productive Characteristics? Is it "climax?" Or, is it "orgasm?" Aesthetic Appeal (the single glass of a very fine wine), or total inebriation (a five liter box of cheap fortified Thunderbird wine in the hands of a wino)?

Is Attractiveness simply physical Beauty, or something else, something...more?

I will leave it up to you. The next time you see someone who draws your Attention to them without their even trying, from across the room, attracting you from across a bar, or through the curious air at some party, consider just what it is that is drawing you.

Consider just what it means to you. To the both of you.

I think you will find that the pleasures in Life will be better for you if you do consider it. Just like the fine wine in the hands of a Connoisseur.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Heroin, GOP, Big Pharma and Money vs America

Before I get started....

Dave Matthews whose band was formed in Charlottesville (Dave's from South Africa), on Charlie Rose Friday night with Pharrell about their recent Sunday, September 24, 2017 Concert for Charlottesville with Ariana Grande, Justin Timberlake and others:

"People in Nairobi know, people in Cape Town know where Charlottesville is. And they know, it's where Nazis are."

Good job, America.

How can we want to be known in that way? That, is not the America I want to be known for. Though, apparently it is, in part. But it's not, it's just not and it shouldn't be, who we are known to be. We cannot allow it to be, We have to shove this mindset of these people back down their ignorant, arrogant throats until they vomit through their beliefs and religion, out all of their orifices both in their body, mind, soul and... their miserable little defective social structures. They, are not America. Their beliefs cannot be allowed even to be seen as being even in part, America.

Nor is this, getting back to the topic at hand. Let's face it, cannabis is not a gateway drug. That is ignorant old fashioned, even racist thinking.

That's like saying a Volkswagen bug is a gateway vehicle to street racing. Well, yeah, it's a car, but...come on. By that thinking one could say tobacco is, or alcohol is a gateway drug (which by it's effects it can be as it numbs you like cocaine and can be addictive). Cannabis is simply not in that category (though newer cannabis can be quite strong). Now a days it can be ridiculously strong, still it is not a schedule 1 drug by definition, like heroin is, and as our government is too cowardly to fix that travesty.

One could also can claim that caffeine, sugar, even milk, anything that elevates you to a new more pleasant way of feeling, are all also gateway drugs by the current unspoken definition used for Cannabis.

We can blame our government, police and judicial practices for this misunderstood way of thinking. If only they could be adjudicated for this nearly century long abuse originally direct against blacks and which seeped because of money, into our entire population.

Years ago in Seattle there was a cannabis shortage and I found I could get heroin far easier, with the snap of my fingers. Ridiculous. Why in that case are they even wasting a dime on cannabis?

We need to stop, adjust and attack the real criminals. Big pharma and our Congress.

But the big pharma lobby is too strong, too entrenched in Congress. Much like that of banks, our out of control war machine and our out of control conservative Republicans who are the party of big money, big business, big abuse. Will they ever act for us, or do we need to objectively destroy them?

Remember, focus on our real enemies. Big money. Big pharma. Lobbyists out of control as well as those in our government who are out of control. Including the Republican party who are as culpable as any, more so even.

They were recently being called the hollow Republican party on Sunday morning political talk shows. I've called them the zombie Republican party for some years now, as have others. They are on their way out. Not that they will ever die. They are after all, a zombie party.

I had thought their demise might be a good thing. Except....

It now looks like they might give birth to an undead baby in that of a Donald Trump splinter party.

His supporters are also a novel travesty. One we need to deal with, to educate, to bring into the folds of intelligent, informed, intellectually and ethically mature citizens. Much like what happened with the Catholic Church in their splinter groups, well we one day find we have not a better party, but simply yet another ignorant party? One rebuilt in the original image, to withstand reality, being slightly more functional, but also to continue to the damage their original parent entity no longer could do? To go on and continue to damage innocent people.

We need to regain control. We had the right idea in that, but the wrong people gained control.

We need to stop avoiding reality. We need to gain ground on defining words as what they actually mean and not what conservatives wish them to mean. We are living in a surreal world now.

I love Alice in Wonderland. I just don't want our government living it for real. Or us.

#GOP #Republican #Cannabis

Monday, September 18, 2017

Epiphany - Note to self: September 2, 1994

I have been consolidating my old files lately. I have bins and bins of papers from my own writings and notes and just historical archives of stuff. In looking through this, I've found some very interesting things from previous decades.

Regardless what you think about this blog today, let me take a brief aside and offer support to a great project I am involved with from the British based Dark Chapter Press. The A-Z Horror Anthology. Stories are being regularly released on Amazon where different authors are assigned individual letters. This month (9/17) has seen two letters released for I (Imprisoned) and J (Judicator). The entire anthology will later be released as a book once they have all been individually published. Here is my blog article about this project. I'm updating it as each story is released. I have been assigned letter X with a story I titled, X-The Unknown about a Seattle FBI agent who stumbles across a serial killer. As you can see, it will be a while before my story hits the shelves. As I explain in the blog, I had originally written a great story titled Xibalba Unleashed, but I went over the word limit and had to write another. Thanks for excusing this interruption. 

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Here is one I had sent to myself to my home email address, which at that time I was accessing at home from my first purchased home in Covington, WA, right after having gotten married, from my work email address at US West Technologies in Bellevue, WA.

Just to show how far we have come email address wise since then, I think, my work email base was:

@luna.ecte.uswc.uswest.com

I am transcribing this as I found it in the print out and without any editing. Even though hopefully, I have since become a better writer. To understand some of what I wrote, some time after I graduated Western Washington University with a degree in psychology (minor in writing) I found I had a new skill. One that I verified whenever I could as it was, fun, to be simplistic about it.

I found I could ask someone to tell me about their life and I could then tell them in general, quite accurately about their childhood experiences. I could alternatively ask them to tell me about their childhood and I could then tell them quite accurately in general about their life experiences. Yes, it may be nothing more than what a con artist or fortune teller does. But then I didn't used to be able to do that, certainly not so accurately. I remember leaving quite a few people speechless in doing this.

Before I go on just let me say what I was doing was harmless. It was for my amusement. I wasn't offensive to anyone, I didn't abuse it, I didn't use it to scam girls for sex, I just thought it was harmless fun.

But there is one especially humorous situation I remember at a party I attended. It was a party at my friend Liz's apartment. There was a woman I immediately became interested in and Liz knew that. She told me to go talk to the woman and I did. It was myself, some guy and the woman talking together amidst a crowd of people, having drinks, in the living room. Of course I then proceeded to delve into having some fun.

But things didn't go the direction I had expected and was used to. She listened to me for a few minutes, and then she verbally ripped me to shreds. She did it with a sense of humor., a sly grin on her face, and if I hadn't been so stunned, I might have found it funny myself. No one else really got what was going on, not even the other guy in our little threesome. He just stood there stunned himself. I didn't quite know what to do. I'd never had the tables turned on my like that before, because she proceed to tell me who I was and what it was I so enjoyed doing.

I couldn't understand how she could be so full of knowing exactly who I was as a person. She was even better than I was. It was as if... looking for help I turned around looking back down the hallway to the bathroom, hoping to catch sight of Liz and that she might come and swoop in and save me.

However instead I saw my dear friend Liz, hurrying to finish fixing her hair or something, leaning out into the hallway, obviously to see what was happening between myself and this woman. Sigh... Liz. I suddenly realized, I had been set up.

After extracting myself from the woman, I sought out my friend who herself had a razor sharp tongue and a very impressive wit. I loved her for it. In sharing my obvious and cultured confusion, List dropped some obvious hints to me as she tried not to laugh, until I finally came to realize she had fully informed the woman (who by now I was now completely enamored with) about me; about who I was, my history and so on. Needless perhaps to say, this, which was Liz's intention, stopped me from doing this ever again. I realized that even though to me it seemed completely "harmless", it was perhaps in some ways, not.

I remember one other woman who breezed by me. Quite attractive, not exactly beautiful but the kind of person who has much more attraction coming from her sapiosexuality (sexual attraction to one's intelligence). Her apparent intelligence and knowledge fully researched before she needed it, gave her an edge up.

This woman was obviously pushing my buttons, buttons she somehow knew instinctively, stunning me. She had her say, then simply disappeared into the crowd. I didn't quite know what to think. Until my friend who had invited her to the party, pointed out she was a "professional" woman. Not a professional who was a woman but a woman who was a professional at being a woman (i.e., a call girl). I have to say, it wasn't an unpleasant experience in those few moments.

When I asked how she had known things about me, Liz just said it was her job to know things about me, about men. I didn't at first understand until she explained the professional part, and I never saw that woman again. Liz said, probably because at that time in my life I was broke, having just graduated recently. college. As for the other (first) woman, I did see her again, several times, and though we openly discussed what had happened, I never could get a date out of her. Sigh....

Liz died some years ago. Obviously I will miss her always. Her and another special friend of both of ours, Rose. I also just found a 1991 birthday card from Rose while looking through all my old papers. Bittersweet memories, I must say.

Regarding the martial arts reference below, a true martial artist needs nearly to be a mind reader. To be able to walk into a room (or a battlefield) and surmise the situation instantly. Not far removed from using psychology (or the skills of a con artist) in order to read a situation, or a person, and act appropriately to either save oneself or defeat the other. I could walk into a room or down a street and quickly assess the dangers, the people to be wary of and how to skirt problematic situations. Whether I should attack things head on, or simply avoid something or someone. And so I assume my skills learned through my studies in psychology worked hand in hand with my already pre existing skills from years of martial arts going back to a very young age. And so that explains my reference to it below.

I suppose I'd also have to add into that mix my childhood. As I understand it children raised in an environment such as I was and my siblings, but especially myself (see, my step father really didn't like me) requires one to constantly be hyperaware of things. That and other things create in the child an ability to be quick and smart (even though I was seemingly quite stupid about some things). It's also why we see street urchins who make great con artists or criminals.

All that being said, this writing I had found isn't too bad as it is. Here is how it goes:


You know,
I was just thinking:

I get these little spurts of feeling, or imagery at times.
Similar in nature to a "Deja Vu" experience.

No.
I'm not nuts. My degree in psychology was in
Awareness and Reasoning Division,
Phenomenology, Alternate States of Consciousness.

Between that and martial arts training from childhood, it may be easier
for me, than for many, to "see," into their thoughts.
To "feel" things in their mental and emotional processes.

Things that many people don't realize are there, but things that
ARE there. In everyone.
Really, it just takes looking "inward."

I know there are people I've talked to in the past,
that think they were talking to a real screwball (me);
especially, some of the more banal types that I've spoken with.

And it occurred to me, that the only times I'm really happy,
are when I am writing away at a project, when I am deeply involved in
a novel I've developed. Or a project that I have fully conceived;
or, a project I've developed along with a significant person in my life.
As opposed to a project at work, or one given by an instructor.

I get these little flashes of really... good... feelings, that I can only
attribute to being "feelings-of-well-being."
Or euphoria.

Feelings that I can link pretty much, only to heightened emotional
experiences; events from my temporal past.

A moment's "Deja Vu" from being in the mountains; or,
looking out over a spectacular sunset on the ocean,
as viewed from a scenic beach; or,
watching a waterfall unraveling in the middle of nowhere,
while I sit, all alone, with no one around for miles, with
the sun glistening off the cascading flow of water; or,
droplets on the moss in the mountains in the early morning, with
the crisp moist air hugging you, and the fresh smell of life,
biting, deliciously, into your lungs.

These Little Flashes of Moments,
Moments that give me this feeling,
feelings that I can conjure up while writing,
while creating, making a universe
that I've created,
while watching something come to Life.

You know, it just occurred to me,
there must be a reason I like to write,
one, other than the pedantic reason of
simply being able to do it well.

Perhaps, it was taking those little sojourns,
brief intense stays of exotic journeys,
gleamed from books read at a tender young age,

Maybe that has something to do with it.

No matter how I look at it, though,
I will never be happy until I am making a living writing,
and writing whatever I want. What feels like it is being
born from my chest, separating from my heart, springing from
my mind, leaping from my soul.

It's just a thought.
Just a moment.
Just a comment.

An Epiphany upon the Downs.
Thoughts upon the Velt,
in Revelation.
A Splendor in the Grass.
A Triumph at Dawn.

For that is all it is.

Me


This ends that print out that I so recently found. The footer in that email indicated me as a "Contractor/Systems Consultant-Technical Writer" [this was before I was given Senior Technical Writer status]. The last line in the email footer was this:
"The preceding has been a personal comment only, which does not reflect the affectations nor the policy of the US West Technologies organization."

And as they say, that's all she wrote. Well, all he wrote.
Peace. Be well.

Or as I always used to tell my children in parting from me...

"Go out now and be brilliant."

Sláinte!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Breathing - The Passing of an Old Friend

Okay, so this happened the other night.

As I was getting into bed and was about to turn the bedside light off, I heard breathing. Understand, recently my 80 pound German Shepherd of 15 years died, in my bedroom. A few weeks ago. And I live alone. Now.

July 17, 2017
His mother was a medium sized white German Shepherd. His after was a massive 120 pound German Shepherd. Everyone complimented him on his looks and his confirmation. He didn't have issues with his hindquarters until this past year when it was hard for him even to walk, to go outside. He was always good natured. A good protector. Smart and so funny at times.

He'd been having a hard day and night and over time had been getting worse. That night I let him know as usual when it was time to get up and head to the bedroom. He tried but just couldn't do it. He'd been getting worse over the year since we moved in here last year so it wasn't surprising, but it was.

So I laid down next to him, petted him and talked to him. My daughter and her boyfriend were staying here at the time and they gave him some love and attention before they went to bed too.

We knew he was near the end, but it could have gone on for weeks, too. Finally, as I was very tired myself that day, I dragged him on his living room pillow bed down the hallway into my bedroom and put his bedroom bed in the living room.

He seemed relieved to be where he knew he should be. Lately a few times he had just slept in the living room and the next day seemed fine.

He woke me a couple of times through the night pawing at the wood floor until finally I moved him over to where his nails would touch the throw rug which seemed to calm him. I was sleepy and didn't realize he was trying to get up.

Finally I woke at 4:30AM, his breathing was labored and he seemed a little panicky. I finally realized why. He had relieved himself on his bed. Normally he would tell me, wake me, leave the bedroom anyway but he couldn't. It was then I realized he was in trouble.

Yes he was always clowning around
Again I laid down and petted him and talked to him for an hour. Tried to talk to him, it was hard to talk. Finally at 5:30AM, he passed on. I was pretty emotional and had been for that night and for that final last hour. It had tasked me pretty thoroughly. I had to leave the bedroom. I got up and wrote a friend an email about it, while sipping on a double Taliskers whiskey. That behavior continued throughout the rest day.

That next week my mother died. It's been a long summer all things told, those two things just being a part of what was going on all summer.

Then last night. The breathing.

As a pup
I had checked the clock radio, actually thinking it was on and I was hearing rhythmic white noise that sounded like breathing. It wasn't on. The breathing was as loud as it was the night he died in my bedroom. I'd considered an animal breathing at the window situated next to and behind my bed. But the window being so high off the ground outside, that would have had to have been a very large animal and the breathing would have been louder and I would have had other issues to worry about.

Then just as I was starting to be unable not to get emotional and anxious over it, the breathing stopped. Silence took over. I was finally, hesitantly, able to lay my head down and eventually I fell asleep.

Some might say it was my dog, communicating. But what the hell would that be communicating? I'm sure he'd have communicated something different, happier. Not that I buy into that sort of thing. So no, I don't buy it. Others might say it's an echo from my memories out of my own mind, but then, I've never been that type. Some might even say it's an echo of something that had happened in that room and... I could almost buy into that.

But in reality I think it was just my mind playing back a tape in my head, telling me how much he meant to me. As if I didn't already know that.

Whatever it was, I could use having it never happen again. Regardless, I'll miss him.

I acquired him as a puppy to help my kids with the divorce I (we) were going through. And it worked so well for us all. It was easy to love him, such a little bundle of energy and humor at first.

He was the pet I had the longest. The pet who was our family member and who held such a high place in my kid's lives. He was my home security system. My alert system while I slept. We lived on some acreage in the woods and for some years after my kids moved out, I lived there alone with him.

If there was a noise in the middle of the night, he got up to ferret it out in case someone or some thing was at the far end of the house. And he was the first (and will be the last) pet I had for his entire life, save those first eight weeks before I acquired him as a puppy.

Thanks my old friend. For being there every day, always, for always being there.

Sláinte!

The late Great Buddha Thai in his prime

Monday, September 11, 2017

Issues with Authority and Producing Smart Answers

I admit it, I have a problem with authority.

Look, I'm happy as hell to follow when things are working. To offer my best efforts and considerations for bettering what is already a good situation. But when you start to realize you're smarter than your leaders (talking jobs, not government, which can be worse and has so much to do with knowing how to play a dysfunctional game, making others smarter than politicians look dumber), it quickly gets hard to keep things under control. Not speaking out, not losing faith can become impossible.

You should and I do speak when I can. But so often you get cut off at the knees, because of the "bigger picture", or money, or just, "reasons". Typically valid much of the time, it is also typically not valid much of the time. Mostly just excuses for not bucking the system by the higher ups.

It's just how it is much of the time.

I learned two things early on in a sizable corporation. Don't talk to much in meetings. You open yourself up to look stupid. A prime motivator for Republicans in Congress. Except they can't take that advice. They speak up anyway and come up with the dumbest crap believable far too often. Well, not so believable actually.

Whenever asked a question, especially in a meeting in front of others, when you do not have the answer to respond with, just say, "I can't speak to that just now but I'll get back to you after the meeting." Then do that. Never let what you promise to not happen. And always come back with a well researched and viable answer. It will give you a reputation and one you definitely want.

I learned right off, in the beginning to just say yes. no matter what, whenever someone tries to give you work. Take on all you can... produce. Then turn it in before expected and do a job better than anyone else.

I took that to another level as a technical writer. I would turn in before the deadline, do an excellent job on the documentation I wrote and frequently would turn in three versions, giving them a choice. The first version was the one they asked for. Then another I thought they really wanted, and finally one that pushed the boundaries and perhaps was the one I thought they most needed (and frequently they never wanted, until they read it).

Frequently, they did not choose the one they asked for and on occasion, would even choose the one that would have been considered too far "out there" when I was initially given the assignment. Things change and you have to be ready for that, prepared ahead of time.

That led to my acquiring a reputation. And a good one. The other thing I did and this was not intentional, but just how I worked. I would turn in typically three drafts but write more. They never saw the first one. As a professor at my university told me...

"We do not show anyone a first draft. That is like showing someone your shit. We just do not do that!"

My first draft then was not my first I would show them, but was meant to be sure that I was in the ballpark for what they wanted. Because managers were not always clear and did not always know what they really wanted. Even when they thought they did. They would typically be concerned in reading that "first" draft that I didn't know what they wanted. Again, typically they thought they were being clear, when they clearly (to me) weren't.

I would then turn in the second draft, usually days later depending on the schedule. I remember one manager who read it, looked at me and said he was very worried I wasn't getting it at all. I told him not to worry, it's just my process.

When I then later turned in my third and final draft, I got an amazed look nearly every time.

They would be stunned I had nailed it so spot on, especially in considering the previous two drafts. Then I would hand them the other two (third) drafts, usually quite a bit different from the initial one I had just handed over. Frequently they would choose the first, sometimes the second but not all that often the third.

This all led to my gaining an interesting reputation for doing way more work than needed, in far less time than they had expected, for merely a single finished product. And this was in keeping up with any and all of my other work.

First and foremost you have to produce and you have to produce quality. But if you can produce quality and volume, if you can also keep quiet enough to at least appear smarter than you are, never letting them gauge just exactly how "brilliant" you may (or may not) be, you will be far ahead of the game. A game that is generally stacked well against us all.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Did "The Pusher" song by Hoyt Axton save lives?

It saved mine. I have lived through some interesting times having grown up around the 1960s and even 70s drug culture. I've often ascribed my survival to the Steppenwolf song "The Pusher", since it came out. Since I first heard it. Though obviously it also had to be considered with a certain level of intelligence, my own DNA and simply how I was raised.

I got to see a solo John Kay of Steppenwolf on stage in Seattle in the early 80s, which was pretty awesome.

I always avoided anything I thought I wouldn't be able to kick. So I've never done heroin. Opium in the late 70s and I really liked it. A lot. But it was only more the proof to the belief. The 80s were potential for a mistake in the flood of cocaine back then. But somehow I got through it all with my life, my dignity and my friends.

Yet that single line, "...I never touched nothin' that my spirit could kill", resonated in my mind all through the 1970s and 80s. After that things toned down a lot for me.

The Pusher (Steppenwolf, 1968) first stanza:

"You know I've smoked a lot of grass
O' Lord, I've popped a lot of pills
But I never touched nothin'
That my spirit could kill"

"He’s smoked his fair share of weed and messed around with some uppers/downers, which was extremely commonplace at the time. However, he made sure not to cross the line into hard drug territory with spirit killing drugs like heroin."

"The Pusher" is a rock song written by Hoyt Axton, made popular by the 1969 movie Easy Rider which used Steppenwolf's version to accompany the opening scenes showing drug trafficking.

Songwriter Hoyt Axton did not record "The Pusher" himself until he included it on his 1971 album, Joy to the World.[citation needed]

The lyrics of the song distinguish between a dealer in drugs such as marijuana—who "will sell you lots of sweet dreams"—and a pusher of hard drugs such as heroin—a "monster" who doesn't care "if you live or if you die".

Whatever it is that we latch onto that keeps us alive through our formative and into our adult years in helping us to be smarter than stupid, is certainly worth finding and having. What's yours?

August My Birthday Month 2017

It's weird. I started watching Season 5 of Ray Donovan a few weeks ago. This season seems to be all about death. So I watched episode one, I was confused but figured out what was going on. Then I watched episode two, sadder, weirder.

That was Monday. Tuesday morning at 4:30AM, August 15, 2017, I woke to my nearly fifteen year old German Shepherd, Buddha Thai, having breathing issues. He'd been having them. In fact the past couple of weeks or so it seemed he was on his last legs.

I got up and spent the next hour with him, until he stopped breathing at 5:30AM. I had a double whiskey at 5:45AM. It was a rough week after that.

Then today, the day of the solar eclipse, I woke at 4:30AM. My head was throbbing with a sinus headache. I went back to bed.

I had a rough morning overall. In and out. The sun was up so I got up. I noticed a text on my phone from my older brother. I figured it was about our mom. Maybe my sister bugging him to bug me to go see her because she was old and having difficulty. I felt horrible, so I thought to put it off until I felt better. Honestly, maybe tomorrow.

I had a cup of coffee, I never finished, watched last night's episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. It was on nuclear waste. Just as unsettling as last week's show about White Supremacists and our president. But after it was over I started to feel worse, so I went back to bed.

After a while I woke up and it got dimmer than before, with odd colors to the lighting through my blinds in my bedroom. I fell asleep, woke, same colors, maybe dimmer. I feel asleep and seemingly suddenly the light from outside was very bright.

So I got up. I felt horrible. I watched some of the last episode of the Netflix show, The Defenders. Pretty good. It kept my attention until my phone rang. I answered it, though I had to fight the urge to just let it go to voice mail.

My brother told me our mother died last night, our sister was there now, after the helper had found the body and called her, she was waiting for them to come pick up the body.

That all sounds pertty rough. In a week, I lost my country to Nazis, I lost my dog of 15 years to old age and I lost my mother for a second time, also to old age.




Monday, August 28, 2017

RT - (formerly Russia Today) News Network...in America?

I'm having mixed feelings about RT, the Russian State news network formerly and more accurately know as Russia Today. Another concern is the Russian Sputnik News Service,.An article from Politico explains what it is like dealing with a state sponsored agency like this:

From my first day at Sputnik, I truly believed that even at a Russian state-owned news service, I could do good work so long as I maintained my own ethical standards. I even believed that Sputnik’s stated mission—to “tell the untold”—is one worth undertaking. Other state-owned news services aim to report stories ignored by other outlets, and to provide a different perspective on the news. Many of them do an excellent job.

But when the “untold” is untold because it’s not true, and the “alternative perspective” is a way to push a hostile government’s agenda by tearing down the reputation of other nations, all the ethics in the world can’t help you. I thought Sputnik wanted me for my skills as a journalist, but what they wanted was to use the veneer of journalism to push their own agenda. I won’t make the mistake of taking someone like Martinichev at his word again.

That is where the problem and concern with agencies like Sputnik as well as RT, lay.

Seemingly too many American journalists and show hosts are jumping on the RT bandwagon. I'm very wary of RT for various reasons in having a very clear and historical understanding of Russian and before them, Soviet disinformation tactics. I don't doubt they may inject specific and targeted tactical information.

For reference, here's a Columbia Journal Review article and one from The Guardian about RT bank account closures in Britain, both from January 2017. Here's another from the New York Times ("Russia's RT Network: Is It More BBC or K.G.B.?):

The agencies issued a report saying the attack was carried out through the targeted use of real information, some open and some hacked, and the creation of false reports, or “fake news,” broadcast on state-funded news media like RT and its sibling, the internet news agency Sputnik. These reports were then amplified on social media, sometimes by computer “bots” that send out thousands of Facebook and Twitter messages.

Another is from Bloomberg , both from May 2017.

From Bloomberg article above, "At RT, News Breaks You"... Did you know? About 17 million U.S. households subscribe to Spectrum, the television provider formerly known as Time Warner Cable. Those in New York City, whether they know it or not, also subscribe to the Russian-funded news outlet RT. Customers can locate it by scrolling past the Chinese Channel and the Africa Channel and into the triple digits, until RT’s radioactive-green logo appears on screen.

From The Economist, June 2017, "America's Answer to Russian Propaganda TV (Current Time Broadcasts in Russian from Capital Hill) [and I don't think they only mean in the Russian language which it is, but the Russian way of thinking]":
Russia’s slickly produced English-language version of RT, featuring American and west European presenters and guests, could pass at times for a non-Russian channel, save for the messages the channel delivers (many of them, in 2016, attacking Hillary Clinton and supporting Mr Trump). The network is just one stream of what RAND Corporation, a think-tank, calls Russia’s "firehose of falsehood”. People do not even have to trust Russia’s propaganda outlets for this saturation strategy to work. Detektor Media, a Ukrainian NGO, found in a survey that only 1.3% of Ukrainians trusted Russian TV channels for news about the conflict in the country’s Donbas region. Yet in the same poll, more than a third of respondents believed the official Russian line on it.

On the other hand it occurs to me that America of late is really quite dysfunctional. Russia does not really benefit from our dysfunction and it leaves us especially, with our whack job of a president in Donald J Trump.

IF RT were to do what they claim, to give us (mostly) free and honest information without corporate and capitalistic maneuverings as our own media does, it could actually be a benefit to all involved. As in an environment where there is no monopoly, it could affect our own media and news in a positive way. One can only hope, anyway.

Let's face it, our media sucks too much of the time. Not all of it, there are some very good reporters and journalists out there. But the nature of our media is such that it requires some degree of pandering to the audience. Give them what they want, less than give them what they need.

I watch about an equal amount of non American news just to balance reality. Watching your enemies is a very good way to get a balanced view of things, even if they are lying.

It's not that our media is state news, or bad news, or corporate news, it's just that if nothing else, in a capitalistic society, news takes a certain slant regardless. In no longer being a loss leader for a network, it has become complicit in catering to news we simply do not need and should not have.

I remember decades ago people crying out for some lighter news in the news. How about a nice short story about a fuzzy doggy? Well, they heard them and we now have that. Much to our detriment. It probably has something to do with our educational system crashing and burning because we won't fully fund schools, we've abused and ignored them, and we've treated our teachers like garbage.

I fully believe we need to better understand Russia and they us. We need more dialog not less. Same goes for Iran, and North Korea. But I find it hard to believe we will see much progress on this plane until Putin is gone. He has been in control for far too long and has to go. He is corrupt. He is a murderer, in at very least ordering executions and assassinations. The FSB, once the KGB, which Putin "grew up" in, has as an arm of it's reach, the Russian Mafia, as it has always been. Crime and State tied closely together. Putin is doing nothing to correct that. In deed, he relies on it.

We have a similar situation in America with Donald J Trump who also needs to go even in being in control for only the short amount of time he has been, as well as the mindset that follows him around like a terminally bad case of genital herpes.

As we have seen with our less informed and more poorly news vetting fellow Americans who only watch news sources such as Fox News, or Breitbert, you cannot only watch news from a single source. You need at least three as in the old journalism methodology of vetting any news from at least three triangulated news sources that are not similar nor connected in anyway. In that way you can trust news you discover and only then, after reflection and analysis, submit it to others.

What we see in too many people is they trust not only questionable news sources, but memes that anyone can and do make up. We have seen this far too much in conservatives, Republicans and Trump supporters where they do not research even a single level into the news. Especially if they agree with it.

They do not research down into several layers, much of which immediately can show some news to be utterly false and may even explain why it exists, which may give one an entirely new side of things. But we are too untrained in this, we are too busy, or simply too lazy. I blame our schools system over past decades for making this even worse, and which has been targeted by the Republican party and American's ignorance in general about our educational system and exactly all it affects in how we have been treating it and our teachers.

What worries me about entities like RT is that even if they show what we should and need to see, they may show it in a way we don't even notice is making us uncomfortable so we discount what we need to count, and count what we need to discount.

So maybe an RT network could work to our benefit, and Russia's as well. However, we have GOT to always be 100% aware they are, first and foremost, a Russian State news agency.

#RT #RussiaToday #RussianStateTV #Putin #POTUS

Monday, August 21, 2017

Shouldn't We Be Appalled?

Shouldn't we? Well, um, yes, I do think we should. Just look around us lately. Watch the news. Look at just about any social media. I know I'm appalled, and in no particular order by:
  • Support for authoritarianism. Especially stupid authoritarians.
  • Greed in general and especially in politics.
  • Big money. 
  • Conservatism, especially extremists forms.
  • Did I say, Extremism?
  • Religion, especially dumb ones, especially in politics. 
  • News as entertainment with little concern about the consequences. 
  • Racism and harm as some kind of populist activity.
  • Did I say, sexism? Racism? And classism, that is abuse by the rich of the poor.
  • Over concern about one's sexuality. TMI already.
  • A lack of more than superficial understanding of reality by far too many if not most.
  • A need to feel important by randomly killing people who have nothing to do with you or your especially ridiculous faux ridiculous issues.
  • Mistakenly believing some issues are more important than actual imminent issues and ideals over real human beings.
  • Presidential support for white supremacists where even speaking out against it falls hollow.
  • Entertainment as news replacing news as a necessity.
  • "Privileged" believing they are being persecuted.
  • "Privileged" believing they are being persecuted while persecuting others.
  • Drone strikes where and when innocents are harmed or killed with rationalizations for their allowance as collateral damage.
  • Ridiculous support for ridiculous issues such as racism, religion and conservatism or authoritarianism. I would rather be an extreme progressive than an extreme conservative because one leads to progress and one leads to stagnation.
  • Lies becoming truths when spoken loudly enough or from a great enough position of power so that they are believed.
  • Such a disregard for the truth that it becomes not only utterly inconsequential but an irritant.
  • Constant wars.
  • War too closely associated with monetary issues and mere imperialism. 
  • Corporations and money controlling so much of our reality, our government, and religions.
  • Religions controlling so much of our governments and our money.
  • Art and the Humanities in education so frequently being considered unnecessary when they are extremely necessary to our remaining human and humane.
  • Not understanding there are and should be limits to wealth.
  • Thinking that freedom of speech means freedom to speak anything, no matter how destructive or meanly intended.
  • Seeing the poor, the uneducated and the homeless (for whatever reasons) as a burden and an irritant.
  • Seeing immigrants especially refugees as an irritant and as criminals merely for existing.
  • Finally a president who is crude, ignorant, arrogant, an utter bore and just pretty much pathetic as presidential offerings do tend to be from the Republican party. 
And of late simply too many other things....

I'm feeling like it's utterly useless. There's just too many ignorant people about, too many twisting reality and knowing it merely to serve their own superficial and selfish purposes. There's too many lies and liars, too many bullies, and far too much abuse.

Here's what I think is happening.

We (Americans) set up a country with good intent. But once we really started to think about it, things went immediately awry, plummeting downhill. It brought on the Civil War for one.

A rational description of what's going on from Christy Coleman, the black CEO of The American Civil War Museum in Richmond, VA went like this:

"I realized that an important flashpoint had been reached. We go through these cycles whenever there's forward progression on social movement and social expansion of civil rights. There's always a very violent, quick and very hot pushback. This, is how the cycle works. This is what happens when we turn history into nostalgia."

That's refreshing to hear. Rather than feeling as we have that we've suddenly gone two steps back in our social progress, it's just a temporary pause for those backward types to catch up and just let us know, it hurts them to become more mature more than it hurts most of us. Still, they do have to catch up.

Whenever we try to implement a functional version of our American ideal we get push back, we get anger, hatred and at the bottom of it all, fear, if not outright terror from those whose lives would change, who might have to give up some of their privilege which they should never have had, or shouldn't have gained on the blood and backs of others they had control over.

This seems to come from the right, from conservatives, from extremists in religion, in Christianity mostly. Odd that. Not all, just for the most part the easily frightened, greedy or ultimately ignorant ones.

In modern times here, this nearly always seems to come from Republicans.

All we have to do to stop this is to stop trying to implement America as a real and living concept and go back to simply giving lip service to what we have professed is our ideals, what has drawn so many millions to our shores. Back when we wanted them. If ever we did. Kind of like how we treat religion. And yes, even the religious.

Sometimes, I wonder though.

I guess what we have to ask ourselves is, who do we want to be and do we want to do what it takes to implement it? Because if we do, well, it's gonna hurt. It's hurting already. Just in the right claiming we're hurting them and that being so very abusive and selfish, it hurts.

In the end we could have what we have always been labeled as being:

The greatest country in the history of the world.

The question is...is that really who we want to be?

Because according to Donald J Trump and supporters, they simply don't. But then, simple minds and all....

Monday, August 14, 2017

Crippled America, Trump Presidency

Never forget who voted for Trump as president. Those who elected him. They are dangerous.

We should never give the ignorant, the greedy or the immature the vote. No matter their age. Yes, we do that. We did that in giving everyone the vote. But that's not even the problem. And not everyone has the vote.

Regarding the travesty in Charlottesville. No Mr. "President", you have NOT calmed our fears. But, nothing new there. Not when your calming message to us also is calming to those we all see as, or we should all see as, the enemy. As in this:

David Duke (American white nationalist, politician, antisemitic conspiracy theorist, Holocaust denier, convicted felon, and former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.):
"We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That's what we believed in, that's what we voted for in Donald Trump. Yes he said we're going to take our country back. And that's what we're going to do."

Uh, no, dumbass. It's like John Oliver said on his show Last Week Tonight (you can watch it yourself here) recently about Neo Nazis and Trump and how Nazi types are like cats, "If cat's like you, it's probably because you're feeding them."

In deciding to be a Nazi type, a white supremacist, your rights end in your beliefs being contrary to America. We are a melting pot, not a separatist society. The rich and powerful have indeed divided us. We're working, fighting back, against all that. We don't need you making it even more confused and difficult to do what is right.

Germany, their hero's fatherland (in Hitler, and Germany...Germany who despise Nazism of any time), doesn't want you either. They at least matured into humanity. Try Iran, some country run by religion. You (and they) won't like it either though. Just consider yourselves outcasts find an island where you can vote yourselves off. Tear yourselves apart. Because we, don't want you. And it would seem in your ignorance, neither do you.

A Canadian friend and writer this weekend said America is misguided in thinking that hate speech is free speech. And she may have a point. We have gotten carried away with exactly what free speech is or should be. But we have to be very careful. Still, our extremism on freedom and free speech has indeed led us to allowing things that should be disallowed and has led to a segment of America who voted for someone like Donald J. Trump. And the Republican party, who have deluded themselves into their current dysfunctional and dissociative form.

Giving everyone the vote wasn't the Founding Fathers original intention. They gauged their intentions upon industry and land ownership, indications of an investment in America. That was the climate of their times leading into the industrial age. They also had an entirely different consideration of corporations. They had built in checks and balances for our government but did they fall down on protecting us from the future weight of modern economics? Or did we simply cripple their original intentions?

They understood the need for education and intelligence. When capitalism, greed, when big money of the size it is now, a size which they could have never imagined, supplants intellect and morality; when something they could imagine in religion subverting our morals and ethics, then you are in serious trouble.

We, are in serious trouble.

From:
Elements of Economic Theory in the Founding

For the Founders, government has an extensive set of responsibilities that it must fulfill in order to enable people to exercise their right to acquire and possess property. There are three main Founding-era economic policy principles that make possible sufficient production, for rich and poor alike, of the goods that are needed for life and the pursuit of happiness.
  • The first principle is private ownership. Government must define who owns what, allow property to be used as each owner deems best, encourage widespread ownership among citizens, and protect property against infringements by others, including unjust infringement by government itself.
  • The second principle of sound policy is market freedom. With some exceptions, everyone must be free to sell anything to anyone at any time or place at any mutually agreeable price. Government must define and enforce contracts. Means of transportation must be available to all on the same terms.
  • The third principle is reliable money. To facilitate market transactions, there must be a medium of exchange whose value is reasonably constant and certain.
The Founding Fathers never wanted much of what we now have now to happen. According to Brian Murphy, a history professor at Baruch College in New York:

Early Americans had a far more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of corporations than the Court gives them credit for. They were much more comfortable with retaining pre-Revolutionary city or school charters than with creating new corporations that would concentrate economic and political power in potentially unaccountable institutions. When you read Madison in particular, you see that he wasn’t blindly hostile to banks during his fight with Alexander Hamilton over the Bank of the United States. Instead, he’s worried about the unchecked power of accumulations of capital that come with creating a class of bankers.

We got ourselves here and we continually shoot ourselves in the feet, making it hard to walk far enough to correct the disabling actions by those who benefit from them and do not want corrected. It is like we handed prisoners the keys to the prison and then allow them to lock us up, expecting them to do good by us. Many of which, do not have the right to vote, by the way.

It ain't gonna happen, it never does. Just like free markets without regulation do not function well and are harmful to far too many people. If we don't fix these things ourselves, if we don't take corrective actions, we will continue to see America heading as it is into a world built only for the wealthy and oligarchs.

That was not why America was founded, nor was it how it was set up to run. We can make it work. If we can just wrest it away from those who control our money, who hoard it from us, and who manage our government to run for them and not those who it was originally set up to support.

This isn't the end. Unless we want it to be.

A brief word on a very current topic. I know this is offensive to some but...

We should teach evolution in schools. If you want the disingenuous belief so inappropriately balled "intelligent design" taught then it should be in an appropriate class, which would have a social or eschatological and not a scientific orientation and has nothing to do with science, other than as a counter to scientific thinking. We should teach science as the best form of thinking that we have because we should teach the best forms of human thought, not the worst and not just second rate forms as primary.

We should not remove memorials showing who we were and who we have been, we should simply place additions to them to explain and place them in context. If it is humiliating to some, reality should always trump ignorance, stupidity and mere belief whenever and wherever they go against it.

We are a heterogeneous country, not a homogeneous one.

It is sad and ironic that white supremest types love homogeneity in only some areas but celebrate heterogeneity in others. Especially since it seems quite obvious where the homogeneous ones are for them even in their being hidden and yet so reviled by them.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Is Our Human Condition Simply Out of Control?

I was watching Incendies (2010) the other day. I had really liked Sicario, both by director, Denis Villeneuve so I thought I'd check out his previous award winning Canadian film.

If ever you want example of the intellectual disease religion can bring to people, there's a good example of that in the film's initial murder which resulted from religious separatism. A separatism which includes the mores and tribalism that comes along with and from it.

Whether religion spawned tribalism, or the other way around matters little at this point, because it also now perpetuates it. Blended with the economics of reality for some, it is simply another cog in the wheel of humanity regressing.

Religion can be all fine and good, but it needs moderation... that is intellectual and informed practical application. That is to say, applying religion's teachings requires outright ignoring some of the more brutal and stupid tenets and statements involved within their convention (a custom or a way of acting or doing things that is widely accepted and followed) that its religious tomes supply, and demand.

If religion does not modify itself with humanity, it is a defective religion and therefore false in the face of Humanity. And reality.

The practical application of religion has gotten out of control many times, in many places, as it has now in the Middle East in obvious examples. As well as here at home in more minor cases. One has to understand that you are not so much then dealing with an enemy, but a people who are experiencing a kind of mental illness through a socially accepted system and a series of defective concepts and ideals.

They need saving from themselves.

It's not unlike a computer virus that begins to eat itself and brings its own system down. It needs to be cleaned up. It's not the enemy but a defective system that has become corrupted and needs its code and inherent governors brought back up to correct speed and action.

Yes, sometimes you have to kill people like this. As you would a rabid dog you stumble across in the wilderness. It's also just good to recognize that they have a problem, one that needs to be corrected and that they are not just inherently evil but misinformed, following their own best understanding of life through defective filters.

Normally I believe, humans want to be good. Want to be seen as good. Want to believe themselves to be doing good, to believe they are good and therefore what they do is doing good.

A little perceived good is good, but more seems better. Even more yet can be therefore be seen as even better, when typically it is simply outright destructive. And when it is destructive to others, it's easy to not see the damage, to rationalize it as "good". More therefore can be less. Just as a nightmare applied in typically human OCD fashion leads to a bipolar and excessive application.

Sadly the nightmare that this causes for some, can be felt as satiation and catharsis for its perpetrators.

And so it is left up to the rest of us to clean up this filthy disgusting belief system against non believers, or those who see reality over magical thinking. Magical thinking that has gone, as it is wont to do, horrendously awry.

The way out of this happening again and again throughout history is simply to lead ourselves into reality and proven belief systems and not simply belief systems conjured up by those in the far past, only to be interpreted by those in the present as the ridiculous and the murderous.

Still, we have new religious beliefs cropping up because we support these old beliefs and so new "prophets" believe they have an open door to come up with whatever crap they can imagine. As in Mormonism. As in Scientology. As is Conservative Republicans on the Christian right. As it stupidity.

We are not a stupid race. So why do we keep supporting belief systems that counter that? We need to get ourselves under control. And as things are going...we need to do it fast. Very fast. Before it's too late.

For far too many on a daily basis, it is already far too late.

Has this untethering of American from reality been brought to us courtesy of religions and the fantastical thinking required to believe them, for one to have faith?

We have seen this belief for many years in making excuses for people's religion and in America for having a diversity of religions and belief systems, that we should allow people their own delusions (if they be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon or Scientologists, Jehovah's Witnesses or Seventh Day Adventist, etc.) because this is America and America means freedom. That's all great and good. However....

American politician and sociologist Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said:

"You're entitled to your own opinions, you're not entitled to your own facts."

And that, outweighs either our freedom, or our religions.

It is time we pulled back, that religions went back to their proper and private places, out of our schools, out of our government in order to allow true freedom in America once again and stop infecting both ourselves and the world in such a negative way in our delusionally believing we are doing good when we most assuredly are not.

IF we do not, the corrective action that is inevitably coming, will be far more severe than anything we can now imagine.