Sunday, August 31, 2014
TOO MUCH INFORMATION
Damn, everything is different. Plants and animals I am not familiar with. Slogging along cautiously. I hear drums in the distance, or is that thunder? Fearful that the local natives may be cannibals. Hopefully not many things will eat an Ol'Buzzard.
At the insistence of my wife, who must have been tired of hearing me moan and grown about the glitches and crashes occurring whenever I am on line, I have bought a new HP Pavilion desk top to replace my ten year old slide rule equivalent of a laptop computer (if you are old enough you will know what a slide rule is.)
Long story short: I will probably be off line while I wander helplessly through the jungle of Windows 8.1. I feel comfortable with manuals, but electronics no longer comes with manuals...
So I will be navigating off the southern cross while electronic piranhas wait for me to ford the streams I am sure I must cross.
If I am lost to wander forever in the morass of aps and windows, or fall victim to a techo-tiger - think of me fondly.
Friday, August 29, 2014
My post on Survivalist started me thinking about the real dangers this nation faces.
We have the mightiest military on earth (because our national budget allocates more money for military ‘defense’ then the next ten militarized nations combined.) No foreign country or no terrorist group is ever going to have boots on the ground in the
. United States
We are, however, vulnerable to limited target attacks by fanatical fundamentalist similar to what we experienced on 9-11. Populated areas in a major city, government buildings in D.C. and even sports venues similar to the Boston Marathon could be targeted and result in mass casualties; but this would not put the Nation at risk.
There are two scenarios that are real and dangerous, and these seem to be ignored by our government representatives and the press:
First is the possibility of one or more nuclear weapons exploding inside the continental
. United States
This would not be an attack from a foreign nation, but from mismanagement of our own nuclear weapons program.
The men who guard our intercontinental ballistic fleet have the most boring job in the world. It is like being dressed for a party but never invited. Every day they lock themselves in a bunker with antiquated electronic equipment and wait for the word to launch warheads sitting atop missiles, some of which are fifty years old.
Their computers are so old and outdated that launch commands and system checks are downloaded from floppy disk. What could possibly go wrong?
The second, but no less a threat, would be a terrorist attack on our aged and outdated electrical grid. This would bring our Nation to a halt. A nationwide blackout would be disastrous.
Think of life without electricity: no lights, no heat or air conditioning, food spoiling, stores closed, banks closed - no electronic financial activities, no air travel, no trains, no subways; no TV or radio and no cell phone communication – internet – facebook – twitter…(hell, everyone under thirty would probably commit suicide.)
All us old people – my generation – would probably get along just fine during this second scenario, but everyone else would be traumatized.
So, what can we do to prepare? My plan for survival is to take over and defend the local liquor store.
Red wine and whiskey are fine unrefrigerated and I could get use to warm beer.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
ZOMBIE ATTACK MAY BE IMMINENT!
Yesterday my wife and I drove to
renew my driver’s license; we ate lunch at the Great Wall Chinese Buffet and
afterward went to our favorite store - Barnes and Noble Booksellers. Augusta
After checking out all the books on sale I perused the magazine section. There was an obvious trend in both books and magazines for the sale, of ‘survivalist’ genera.
The survival mentality is nothing new; this following has been around since the fifties and sixties when movies about Martian attacks and nuclear attacks encouraged a fantasy of survival after the end of civilization.
Today, motivated by movies like The Walking Dead, there is a larger following then ever, and this is reflected at the book stores and magazine stands.
Survivalist groups seem to be a spin-off of the militia movement, or vice versa. The idea of putting on your cammies, grabbing your Bushmaster M-15 and heading for your ‘bug out shelter’ feeds the fantasies of Mad Max wanna-bees.
Survivalist picture themselves in military attire, fighting off the looters and saving the young beautiful women (sorry – never the older or fat women) who will be forever dependent on them and reward them with sex and respect.
There are corporations that feed this fantasy with books, magazines, equipment and internet sights. In survivalist internet stores and catalogues you can purchase everything from freeze dried food to water packets with a twenty year shelf life, to weapons, to techno-equipment and even buckets to defecate in.
The magazine I looked at was full of high tech survival equipment: watches, cell phones, GPS, flashlights - most of it requiring batteries (manufacturers obviously aren’t planning on a long term survival situation.)
People who live these fantasies find solace and acceptance in the company of other like-minded role players. They are not alone, for they fall into the same category as UFO probees, big foot hunters, militiamen and ghost busters…
It must be like living in the brain of Michele Bachmann: a Neverland of conspiracies and paranoia where Captain Hook rules the oceans, crocodiles tick like alarm clocks and civilization is defended by the few, the brave, the prepared – in their bug out bunkers.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
I recently saw a commercial where a mother hands her cell phone to her young child to keep him occupied while traveling in her car. The young generation is being indoctrinated to cell phone use at prekindergarten age.
Without cell phones our society would be crippled and young people would be traumatize.
The cell phone is no longer a convenience; but has become a necessary connection to the human body. I wonder how many people would opt for a cell phone implant?
When my wife and I were burning up the bed sheets we use to reach for a cigarette after sex. I wonder if now the first thought of young couples in the after glow of sex is to reach for their cell phones and check their text messages?
(now after burning up the bed sheets we now take a nap.)
Went back and tried to leave a comment on 'the brain police' and found this above the verification line:
We are sorry, but your computer or network may be sending automatic queries. To protect our users we can't process your request right now. For more details visit www.google.com/recaptcha/security help.
We are sorry, but your computer or network may be sending automatic queries. To protect our users we can't process your request right now. For more details visit www.google.com/recaptcha/security help.
My computer is old - running FX - and undoubtedly needs replacing so this may just be a new quirk I need to deal with: But this morning every time I try to leave a comment on a blog (the brain police etc.) that requires typing in a comment verification series of letters the letters I type in are rejected.
Is this the small computer demon in my computer fucking with me or are others having the same problem?
Saturday, August 23, 2014
NOTHING BUT BAD NEWS ON THE NEWS
HOW ABOUT A LITTLE ROCK AND ROLL TO LIGHTEN THE DAY
“One and the same human being is, at various ages, under various circumstances, a totally different human being.”
Solzhenitsyn: The Gulag Archipelago
I am not a vain person. I rarely study myself in a mirror. My hair is curly so I never comb it – I just wet my hands and run them through my hair when I splash water in my face each morning after I wake up. I never trim my beard or get a haircut until my wife complains that I am starting to look shaggy. The few times I do look in a mirror I see a stranger looking back.
It has occurred to me that I am a totally different person – an incarnation of who I once was. I have the same DNA of that earlier person, but there the likeness ends. I do not look the same: my hair is silver, my ears are larger, my facial features are different, I am less physically fit. The difference doesn’t end there: I have totally different values, different goals, different priorities, different likes and dislikes, and I am smarter than that younger person.
I am in no way like my younger incarnation.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
CAT PEOPLE always get a bad rap. When you think of ‘cat people’ there is a connotation of an obsessive person with furniture shredded by claws, the house smelling of urine; carrying on a reclusive, unnatural relationship with a house full of felines.
Dog people, on the other hand, always get a pass.
Don’t read me wrong, I don’t dislike dogs. I feel about dogs the same way I feel about kids: You like them – You chose to have them – You put up with them – Don’t inflict them on me.
Aah, there is the rub and there is my complaint.
I live in a secluded, wooded area, but yesterday while mowing the lawn I stepped in dog shit. I don’t own a dog, so why do I have to clean dog shit off my shoe?
There is an ordinance in town that dog owners must remove dog droppings, but you still find occasional crap piles on the sidewalks - and even when dog owners pick up their dog poop the animals are still pissing in public places.
There is a small park in town where weekly music events take place during the summer, but you have to be careful where you sit because some dog owners will have left their pooch’s crap on the lawn. There will always be two or three people who show up for the concerts with dog (s.) that will bark and try to cold nose everyone that walks near.
The complaints continue:
My wife an I were sitting by the front window in a local coffee house when a woman with her dog on a leash stopped to chat with her friend on the sidewalk. Totally oblivious to the surrounding she chatted while her pooch pissed on the sign advertising the sandwich and soup of the day.
Last year we went to a Chinese buffet and they seated us in a booth next to a woman that had two small dogs wearing orange jackets perched on the chair beside her. The owner came and asked the woman to remove the dogs but she refused saying the dogs were handicap animals and are allowed, by law, in the restaurants. Later she explained to a server that she takes the dogs around to nursing homes to cheer up the old people.
And there is more:
People push their little rat dogs around Wal-Mart in shopping carts – they leave them in cars in parking lots with their windows open – they tie a red bandanna around their necks and let them run free on beaches and in parks – they show up for a visit and bring their dogs.
DOG PEOPLE are inconsiderate. Dogs are naturally invasive and thoughtless dog owners readily inflict them on the public. Why do dog owners feel they need to bring their pets down town with them? Why do they think it is all right to take their dog into fairs and concerts and onto beaches; and even into restaurants and other stores? It is bad enough that parents bring unruly kids with them into public places, but what is the need to drag along the dog?
You love your dog and that is great. You have chosen the companionship of a dog. All I would ask is that you keep it home – and don’t inflict it on the public.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
I tend to get my haircut when I get so shaggy that my wife insists. We are going to a playhouse this afternoon to see a production of Figaro. Being wild and wooly, and wishing not to be too embarrassing to be out with, I got up this morning and went to the barbershop.
Our barbershop is pretty generic – like the waiting room in a dentist office. There is a coat rack on the wall when you enter, a half a dozen chairs along the wall, a table with magazines, the local rock station playing on the radio, three barbers chairs with three women barbers displaying pictures of their families on the counter in front of mirrors.
I can’t help thinking of the barbershop in Rolling Fork,
where I grew up during the 1950’s. Mississippi
The barbershop in Rolling Fork was the original man cave. There was no café in town so the barbershop was a place where older men came to hang out and young men came to get their hair cuts. There were deer heads and mounted bass on the wall, along with one calendar with pictures of tractors and one with pictures of scantly clad young women. There were two spittoons on floor for tobacco chewers and the atmosphere was always full of smoke. There was one older, skinny, shriveled up barber with orange nicotine fingers that cut your hair with a cigarette hanging from his lips. The counter where he kept his clippers was full of bottles of colorful hair products with exotic names like Lucky Tiger, Jerris, and Wild Root Cream Oil… The talk in the barbershop was always man’s talk: stories from deer camp, hunting, fishing, farming or veiled comments about women.
My grandmother would give me seventy-five cents at the beginning of school to go and get a haircut. As a young boy with no father the barbershop was my contact with the society of men. I always got a friendly ribbing when it would be my time in the chair, but it was part of the initiation to manhood.
I know that era wasn’t good for everybody; but back then men had an identity; today the rolls between men and women are blurred and we live in a homogenized gender society. That special camaraderie and primal identity that men had then doesn’t exist today…
Today the barbershop is a place to get your hair cuts.
I just saying
Sunday, August 17, 2014
I am six feet tall and weigh ‘around’ two hundred pounds. I feel best when I can maintain my weight at one-eighty-five. Regardless what you weigh your weigh is the product of your food intake and your energy output. Exercise works great to tone the body, but exercise is not the answer to weight loss.
There are numerous diets; and diets do work but they require you to maintain the diet plan in order to maintain the weight loss. My wife and I attended Weight Watchers (she was only one-thirty-five but wanted to come down five or so pounds) I dropped fifteen pounds in six weeks and felt great, but did not see the need to continue to pay once I knew the process – then back to old habits.
I am convinced that weight loss and maintenance requires a life style change – and that is hard to do. It requires conscious eating.
If you read this blog regularly you will know that I am an on-again off-again Buddhist. Like weight maintenance, I always feel better when I am actively, consciously practicing the concepts of ZEN. Therefore I have looked for guidance on weight maintenance in the community of Buddhist writings.
The book Mindful Eating, published by Shambhala publications and written by Jan Chozen Bays (MD) is worth a read.
I am absolutely positive that following the concepts of this book can result in weight loss and maintenance – If you live in a monastery. However, in every day life it requires the same dedication that is involved in Zen mindful living.
The book is a good read, and if you are weight conscious it presents ‘a healthy and joyful relationship with food’ that meshes well with Zen practice.
The concepts are:
· Be mindful when you eat. Turn off the TV and put down the book; look at your food, smell the food; taste the food.
· Slow down. Chew your food well; the book suggests you put down your fork after each bite.
· Quit eating when you are sated – go back for second portions if necessary rather than over load your plate.
· Balance food intake with physical activity.
· How to deal with cravings
It is important to remember that Buddhism is about peace of mind – living productively in the now; not about self doubt and recrimination.
If weight loss and weight maintenance can improve your health and make you feel better about yourself than it is a worthy cause and should be approached with mindfulness. (Weight loss should be determined by how you feel about yourself – not about the opinion of others that you allow to negatively affect you self-image.)
You should remember that it is all-right to be a FAT HAPPY BUDDHA.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Did you ever wonder about the term ‘The American Military Industrial Complex?’ It is said that one third of our national budget is spent on National Security; but, once we include the military, Homeland Security, NSA, CIA (and all the other A’s we don’t know about) along with foreign aide and nation building we are probably closer to fifty-percent.
We can’t afford health care for US citizens but we can spend a projected one trillion, five hundred billion ($1,500,000,000) for a new F-35 fighter aircraft that so far has been a production disaster.
(Just to get an idea how ridiculous this sum is: If you banged a hammer on top of your desk once every second for twenty four hours a day – it would take you 48,000 YEARS to bang out 1.5 trillion)
I have often written in this blog that war is the natural state with intervals of peace between conflicts in order to regroup. But the real fact is that war and the military are a financial necessity for this country.
The base of the
no longer farming, but a military industrial complex. US
We buy oil from
Saudi Arabia and in turn buys military
weaponry from us. We give foreign aide
to Saudi Arabia Israel and returns
the money in the form of weapons purchases.
We don’t just police the world, we arm the world. We are supplying American weapons to Iraqi
Kurdistan to fight ISIL that is armed with American weapons that we originally
supplied to the Iraqi military. This is
not new. The sick joke in Israel was: You can tell the North Vietnamese Army from
the South Vietnamese Army – because the North Vietnamese have only
fifty-percent American weapons. Many of the M-16s in Vietnam were
made by the Mattel Toy Company (Made by Mattel – It’s Swell) and I was once issued
a military 45 pistol made by Singer – a weapons spin off of the Singer Sewing
Machine Company. Vietnam
Our economy depends on the military industrial complex. The military is constantly purchasing tanks, cars, trucks, aircraft, ships, fuel, uniforms, electronic equipment, ordinance, small arms, medical supplies, food and toilet paper… Much of the
economy is directly or indirectly supported by
military expenditures and by the sales of weapons and supplies sold, or
furnished to foreign nations in the form or foreign aide. U.S.
WAR, GOOD GOD YOU ALL – WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR – THE ECONOMY”
Monday, August 11, 2014
The following is a broadcast aired on The Real News. This is not a favorite news source for me, but the interview with Glenn Greenwald is interesting - if you can stay awake through it to the end. Greenwald is Jewish in case you are wondering.
We are off and running again.
We have a crazy genocidal group marching through northern
killing thousands of the civilian population at random and at will. Shootings, crucifixions, beheadings, and
hangings: it seems absolutely appalling what cruelties one group of humans is
capable of inflicting on another - this time in the name of religion. Iraq
Nationalistic, religious and ethnic genocides have existed since the earliest recorded time. People drunk on religion, patriotism or racial hatred are capable of atrocities without regret. I remember my own attitude in
‘Kill’em all and let God sort it our.’ Vietnam
We never get to see the true depth of our own involvement, because we are a super power and winners of conflict get to record the history and whitewash their own actions.
This of all weeks, the anniversary of our own genocidal carnage in
in 1945, we are brought again to witness the baser nature of mankind. Japan
The President says we must act and I suppose we must. No one in this country (with the possible exception of John McCain) wants to put boots on the ground.
This is a no win situation – there is no military solution. Humanitarian aide and targeted airstrikes can help; but we are taking a risk, for a downed American aircraft and the execution of the pilot will set up a Nationalistic cry and attitude for revenge and reengagement in this waste land of death.
Here in our own country we have parents screaming hatred and threats at bus loads of children on our southern borders; people willing to kill abortion doctors or gay men; we have state sanctioned executions of prisoners; random gun violence across the nation, and it is not too many years removed since we had public hangings spectacles in courthouse squares in the south.
This is who we are. It’s not the new world, but the old world recycled with new players and modern technology.
I am some disgusted with the human race.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
A WEEK OF INFAMY
This is a week of American shame. An atrocity committed so heinous it is beyond comprehension. It falls in the same category as the Jewish Holocaust:
On August 6, 1945 a United States B-29 bomber (the Enola Gay) released an atomic weapon that detonated 1900 feet above
, killing 140,000 of the
350,000 inhabitants and leveling two-thirds of the city. Less than a week later a second bomb was
dropped on the city of Hiroshima, Japan
killing 70,000 of the 270,000 inhabitants: women, children, old men and women –
non combatants. Nagasaki
This genocidal attack by the
killed almost a quarter of a million civilian, and the radiation from this
attack caused sickness, casualties and deformities of the population for
decades after. United States
9-11 will be covered in high school history books; but you will find no mention of this crime against humanity.
Teach this to your children and grandchildren - otherwise they will never know.
A BUZZARD BOOK REVIEW
SO MANY BOOKS - SO LITTLE TIME
J.K. Rowling has a begun a mystery series by the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith. It features a hard boiled detective in the manner of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe.
In the first of the series The Cuckoo’s Calling we are introduced to Comoran Strike, a thirty-five year old Afghan war veteran that lost his leg in combat, and his newly acquired secretary Robin Ellacott.
Anyone that is a fan of classic Dashell Hammett, Micky Spillane and Chandler will fall right in to this updated version of Rowling’s new British Private Eye.
This in not your Harry Potter; but a hard drinking, hard smoking, hard fighting one legged private eye and his sidekick secretary.
If you like mysteries you might give this a try.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
A DELAYED POST
When I was young my cousin and I always laughed at what the aunts and uncles talked about when they got together. The women always talked about their ailments or people they new that were dead and the men always talked about the weather.
Even today when I write my cousin (the only kin that I keep in touch with) I always begin the letter with the weather. Perhaps it is something in my DNA.
Well, the temperature here in the western
mountains was sixty-six yesterday and it is fifty-two and foggy this
It seems a little early but there are already red leaves starting to appear on the maple tree in front of the house and on the sumac along the road. This could be the sign of an early fall and long winter. Perhaps I should consult the wooly-bully caterpillar.
I still have one more cord of firewood to have delivered. So far I have about two and a half cord in my woodshed and that is what I expect to burn in a normal winter; but better too much than run short.
Some folks might think that the beginning of August is a little too early to begin thinking about winter – but they don’t live in rural
. In Maine you are either in
winter; relived to see winter go; or thinking about the next winter. Maine
Don’t get me wrong: I love winter – especially that first crisp white snowfall of the year. Winter is why we choose to live in
Our lives consist of returning serves and mindless self gratification, sometimes spliced with simple blatant mindlessness: sitting in front of a TV or computer. We spend very little time in reflection; perhaps we unconsciously avoid it.
With me, introspection – reflection - (Is the hokey pokey really what it’s all about?) automatically occurs at the beginning of the third drink – when I am by myself.
For someone prone to depression introspection probably isn't a healthy pursuit, in that depression in itself is an unhealthy state…the sound of one hand clapping.
However, for me it brings on the realization that I am a self proclaimed intelligent creature accidentally inhabiting a meaningless world. It is not a bad thing to realize that you – yourself – are not the center of the universe. That actually you are little more than brief electric pulse existing in a momentary flash in one of a million bubble parallel universes… or simply an evolutionary accident.
I must say that occasionally I enjoy sinking into this alcohol induced funk. The only down side is I always have the urge to break out my old pipe and tobacco – I gave up smoking years ago. How nice it would be to sit in the dark on my front porch, surrounded by the
and drink whiskey and smoke my pipe. Maine
But you see, even though there is no meaning to this world (wars, genocides, governments…a struggle to get by) there are personal pleasures (as brief and passing as they may be) that make me want to stay around as long as possible; so therefore I avoid the pipe and usually content myself with the third drink.