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Showing posts from October, 2008

Ikea v. Socialism

Ikea v. Socialism

As a young man just starting out, I bought cheap furniture that had to be put together. Nothing ever really fit and usually some skill was necessary on my part to fit the crap together in a reasonable way. In a small way, I had to think and build.
A few weeks ago, I bought a bookshelf at IKEA and found that everything fit exactly – all the loose pieces were in a separate bag, labeled with an 800 number for help. All I had to do was follow directions. The thing was pre-built; all I added was the cheap and local labor.

And I do believe the cheap and distant labor didn’t put much skill into the making as well. For most people today, nothing is built that requires skill – buildings are poured concrete that folds up to make a box, cars are made with boxes in boxes that fit without the banging and making do – the art of building has been removed the things of life. Very few people work as machinist honing parts to make them fit anymore.

If a monkey can do the box placement, …

Compromise

I look forward to the day when a liberal and a Conservative can get together and compromise again. It's been too long, and the resentments have built up on both sides.

In my personal life I have strong beliefs that are hard earned and appropriate. I also understand that I live with other people who may have very different views of how we should shape our society. I am willing to give a little to get a little, but after 8 years of Bush, I will no longer stay quiet and hope for the best.

Rightly or wrongly, I feel the Bushie's have not met in the middle on anything, in fact they have gone out of their way to dismiss all the beliefs I hold strongly, and, even more impotently -- fucked them up big time I have a real anger at being treated this way, and I feel that perhaps I'm not alone.

It will be interesting to see how Obama does as President, whether he will be allowed to compromise with the Right, (my concern is with both sides) or will he just come up with a New Deal f…

10 questions for today

10 Questions to ask yourself today

1. Why do you think poor people don’t have money?
2. What would Jesus really do?
3. Is health care a right or a responsibility?
4. If health care is a responsibility and you are not very responsible, should you die?
5. If we hit someone because we think they are a threat – do they have the right to hit us back, and if so, how hard and with what?
6. If every month we spend more than we make, what are our expectations?
7. If we warehouse people in jails for crimes and treat them like dogs, what do we think will happen when we let them out?
8. Did you actually learn anything in high school other than social norms?
9. Do you really think that most people in Cuba would have been better off if Batista had stayed in power?
10. Do you really think that the children of the Boomers are going to let them keep the money?
Really, who didn’t what to blow up stuff in the 60’s?

There were a lot of us, and we were young. The government was obviously corrupt, we were in a war which saw thousands of people our age being killed weekly that no revisionist history was ever going to make right. They had the guns, but we had the numbers. We still do.

Really, who didn’t want to be Bernadette Dorns bitch?

I still remember when I realized that I was no longer collecting baseball cards to store in the attic for my old age but was, rather, using them to separate the stems and seeds from my pot to keep my joints from exploding.

And now these things of our youth, like tuna, clean air and Taiwan, are coming back to haunt us. All the high school squares and chuckles are in charge, and they are grinding out their frustration and resentment on our elderly best and brightest.

In the 20’s, all except the lost, were communists – it was fashionable and sensible – like good shoes. The fact that people tend to work for their ow…

After McCain Wins

After The McCain Victory


Some will riot in the streets and take advantage of things and opportunities best left undescribed. Others will sit in comfortable chairs in the quiet of their own homes and say, why? over and over to well licked cats and unwashed girlfriends. Many will rage, rage against the machine and the irony of the people getting fucked in public places by anti-abortionists who don't really like sex much. The congress will agree to sigh three times in unison to indicate condemnation; the vote will split on straight party lines, which will make the democrats wring their hands as well in additional, silent protest. Robert Mugabe will cackle. Putin will attack a country whose name we can't pronounce. Buddhists will set fire to themselves in the streets; they will be helped by the oil lobby and Chevron. Obama will ask the Supreme Court to review the election and they will say, “you betcha.” The Hampton’s will declare martial law, and then indenture their Mexicans for…

Shadow Love

Shadow Love


"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."
--From Hamlet (III, ii, 239)

The shadow is the part of you you hate – it’s the part of you that you say could never be a part of you. It’s what you fear the most, the living demon, the driver of the tank that your thoughts and actions are always trying to stomp on from the turret.

It’s the piece of you that got split off early in childhood – cleaved off without words by senses that either misunderstood, or pretzel logic consequences from behavior and then fit it together with malformed images sensed not thought.

A smell that came before the burning, a loud shout that preceded the fall – irritable parents neglect and strange faces that scared you in childhood’s circus mirrors.

Things that happen before words can only be understood without words. A mother’s slap for bad that leads to banishment, or the hiding of a behavior. A father’s neglect following a childish mistake that embarrasses him in front of his boss, which leads t…

Prop 8

Prop 8
I am not really sure why it’s not a hate crime to even talk about being in favor of Prop 8. Most people who think realize that being gay is not a choice; it’s just the way the genetics diced out the baby. To deny them the legal protections of marriage seems like a willful prejudice that ought to be 
condemned. Fag should become the new nigger – a curse that decent people don’t allow out of their lips; a word that gets little kids slapped by their momma when they say it. Making fun of people for what they can’t change is just mean and anti social.

The religious part of marriage is not going to be touched – Catholic priests pick and choose who they marry, and that’s not going to change. What we are talking about is a group of people not afforded the protections granted to others solely based on what they are doing just because they were born a certain way.

To religiously persecute and attack a group based on characteristic they were born with is one thing – We have apparently grand…

The Shadow of Jung

Image by Nellie Vin via Flickr



Shadow

"The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge." 

C. Jung


“The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves.”

C. Jung




Cultural Strip Mining

Capitalism

Until we figure out a way to leave the planet and find new worlds to take dominion over, we live in a closed system and are playing in a zero-sum game. The problem with Capitalism is not one of regulation or individual self interest, enlightened or not. Capitalism requires growth -- it can not exist as we know it without growth. You can't grow forever in a closed system -- it's a physical law.

In a zero-sum game, there is a finite amount of resources to work with. To make something you have to take something from somewhere else. New things are just rearrangements of old things at best (recycle) -- and when the old stuff can no longer be used, it gets dumped in the same house we live in forever.

If you look at our history, you will see that our initial growth came from the exploitation of both natural and human resources. That's actually what capital is -- stuff. Stuff tends to get used up after a few centuries, so we mostly just concentrate on exploiting people …

The Last Debate

The Last Debate
I was watching the debate last night, and after it was all said and done, except for the vapor toads of the ether who continued droning on and on about this and that -- mostly to take up space and occupy weight and, maybe, master time, I eventually noticed an ‘instant’ poll at the bottom of my TV for each network. It was visually scrolling underneath the blather as I randomly shifted channels looking for a House episode I hadn’t seen yet.
MSNBC, snarky and biased, noted a 59-30 split between Obama and McCain; CNN displayed a more balanced 53-33. Fox, fair and balanced popped off a 93-7 split for McCain. During the debate I remember, I twanged at something, something that was not remarked upon by the floating face bones of goo in all their blathering. It was when McCain categorically denied that he would use any litmus test (abortion,) in nominating Supreme Court Justices. He said he only would nominate men who followed the constitution, and not their whims. He slipped in…

Florida Insurance

This is an unpublished report about Florida Catastrophe insurance -- I think it will stand up well the next year three hurricanes hit the Grapefruit state.

Insurers plan to stay in the shallow end of the risk pool

By Michael Brady 8/26/06

After hurricanes have dealt heavy losses to national insurance companies, many are raising rates and whining about leaving Florida. But in fact, some, like State Farm, are utilizing their subsidiaries and the reinsurance market to build a safety net designed to minimize any losses in Florida regardless of the weather, and keep it a lucrative source of profits.
Florida only insurance companies are finally learning to function as the limited liability subsidiaries they were created to be – suitable fictions that accept blame without responsibility. Historically unable to adequately price risk in Florida due to an unfavorable insurance regulatory environment, companies are using the current climate of fear to put in place practices that guarantee Florida…

Reptile Brains

The Brain: Evolution? or just a freaky thing that happened eons ago to confuse us?

I am taking my Obama bumper sticker off my car this morning. The election is over, and the honeymoon has begun. It won’t last long – but after 8 years of Bush, he will get the benefit of the doubt until at least march of 09.
If I wake up on November 5th and find out he has lost, I will conclude that the election was stolen, or look for the hand of god in all the oblivious places.
If McCain steals the election I am prepared – orange flap hats to family and friends, re-entrenchment in all things social, and preparations for a wartime economy. The end will be nigh and all things will come to pass quickly in a furious anger; justice and decisiveness will rule the day, and all will rue the night.
At time like this I start think the big part of the brain that sits on the reptilian part is just a steroided genetic mal-selection gone wild. That the stress of thousands of years of conflict between hormonal emotion …

Joe v. the Volcano

Joe v. the Volcano


In 2004, the day after the national elections, my brother Joe drove to the Kinko’s in Denver and had ‘Obama 08’ bumper stickers made up. At our family Thanksgiving dinner, he gave me one. I kept that on my beat up old truck until the engine blew and I left it stranded on the side of a highway as a beacon for others. Joe was living the dream.

In 2007, my father gave me a store bought ‘Obama 08’ sticker for my new car – he was part of the California campaign for Obama – something he had never done before for any candidate. I now drive with a sticker on the back of my brand new car, maybe more with worry about my paint job than proud for my politics. Joe was working for the party in Colorado.

I tend to be to the left of Trotsky, at least politically– socially, he really was an evil little reject of a toad. I also think the French don’t go far enough. It has never been easy for me to exist in a fixed system of two parties that don’t seem much different once they get in o…

Mom and the Depression

My Mother and the Stock Market
The bull market on Wall Street began in 1923 . On September 3 the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its peak, closing at 381.7

On October 24 1929. 13 billion shares were traded and losses were estimated to be over five billion. President Herbert Hoover reassured Americans that business was sound.


On Monday,October 28, brokers believed the worst was over. But when the markets opened, they went straight down.


By Tuesday, the losses continued as investors tried to sell all their stocks at once. The market recorded $14 billion of invisible money lost. The selling was so vast that tickers could not keep up. By the end of the day the market was down more than 12%.

On Thursday, my mother was born.


The market hit new lows in November, but it was not until July 1932 that it reached the lowest point of the Great Depression, down 89% from its peak.


In a couple of weeks, my Mom will have another birthday; she's a Scorpio.

Eat the Rich!

Eat the Rich

The famous Deadboys of New York had one great album. It ended with them chanting, "eat the rich.' (It also had a song about love with the chorus of, 'I don't need your love babe; I need lunch," but that's a different blog.)

The well off generationally (or, gene -- rationally) forget that their way of life depends on the forbearance of the poor. When the huddled masses get pissed, they join Lord of the Fly book clubs and lift cars off of accident victims -- they go bat shit crazy, in a superhuman way. The weight of them can make grease spots our of those that have too much.

The rich have always known this -- as they age, they remember in their bones that flashing wealth and forgetting to throw bread to the rabble will get them rubbed out. But they are human, and with time, greed gets them and they suck the milk from the cow of humanity too hard and the nipples pop.

Gates, Pinkerton's, mace, legislation and the customs of religion only tame the …