Friday, May 08, 2009

Slef

Slef



Stripped of self
The connection to others
Is the touch of god.

David eats old hamburgers the day after,
Still drunk and happy,
He looks to me and says,
“All I can taste is cold with pickles.”

Tommy lives to skate and fight
And live he does,
In a bruised and battered
Blur of every night.

Kirk barbecues at 4 a.m. in dark.
He eats nothing but chicken.
He cranks the sound and self to twelve
And dances alone with his cats.

Michael works the nights at a hospital,
Both nurse and addict
He tells the ill the pain will stop,
But it won’t.

And stripped of self
The connection to others
Is the touch of god.

Mike Brady 2010/17

Road trip FAQs for the uninterested


1. The cop that stopped me in Barstow needs more color. He was big in a fat kind of way, ugly with a steroidal acne blush, and scary on a Steven King travels through Nevada while dreaming of lepers tripfest. I kept thinking he wanted to pull me out of the car window in pieces, if needed. If I were a woman, I would have dialed 911 before rolling the window down.

2. Route 66 from the Bagdad Café to Golf across the desert is unrideable – the max speed is 40mph, and it’s a rough ride at that. It has obviously not had maintenance in the last 30 years. On the other hand, and meth lab, barring transportation problems, might find a nice home in the Mohave – and maybe you should think about that late at night while driving alone (see #1.)

3. As a child, I had three-year relationships with people (Army brat.) I’ve learned to keep the magic going as a n adult, with difficulty, but am learning that it’s sometimes more about my fear of being found out than it is timing and readjustment. I don’t fear rejection – I don’t care enough – I fear rejection after someone gets to know me and enough of the real stuff has leaked out to give an informed opinion. Not sure if it’s self-fulfilling prophecy, on my part, or just good common sense on the part of others – but some real patterns have developed in both work and play. I almost cringe when people like me at first meet – the same people reject me once they find out I’m not there projection of what they thought. The funny thing is – people who don’t like me on first blush, at time, end up big supporters. I’ve learned that other people can’t see me any better than I can – very scary, and I wonder how this has affected behavior – and more important, what, if anything, to do about it.

4. Different on this trip – small things, baby steps. I sent post cards to 3 people. I talked to people when I stopped. I stopped at places, and for reasons, unclear to me.

5. There are a lot of fucking people in California – only Las Vegas was anywhere close – but urban suburbia is non-stop in the Golden State, except for a small area around Stockton.

6. Beginning and end, and now for some plans – cut my hair, clean up my resume and look hard for a job. I have realized that I may not get a job quickly, and than I can continue to enjoy this time off without guilt – but I do need to do the footwork and keep the looking on the clean side of the street.

7. I may live in a world I create most of the time, but I’m going to start issuing more passports and travel Visas. I’m not North Korea, other than in my hair style and self sufficiency (juche.)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Road Home



After wandering the desert for a few days, I’ve made it back in one piece, tired but unchanged in spirit. Wherever I go, I find myself alone in a place, and when I return to where I started, I find I’m back to the same place, with me. No gestalt, or awareness – and a change that will only be seen in time – or not.
Left Tonopah early and had a nice, non-stop drive up and around highway 95 (Nevada just has two roads going different directions with the name of 95 – it calls the one I’m on ‘Alt 95’.) I has been wonder getting off the freeway and taking 2 lane roads on this trip – most of my time is spent alone – if I get too near another car, I just pass them or slow down – usually I pass them. I don't like people in front of me when I'm driving -- it takes too much attention. People are unlike the road -- they can act stupid and surprising, even to themselves. The road gives notice that doesn't take a psychologist to figure out, and it can be guarded against surprise with only half an eye and a solid feel.
After 4 hours, I hit Carson City and switched to Highway 50. I went up and over the mountain and had a nice drive through an uncrowded Lake Tahoe. I had forgotten how big and pretty the lake is and how much fun highway 50 is to drive on a day with no traffic – just zooms and sweeps on a well maintained two lane – at least to Placerville.
Placerville to home – I could do it in my sleep.
No pictures, no highlights. Good to be back.
(I added a picture of the famous 'Sno-cap' drive-in -- Seligman and the view from my Hotel in Tonopah)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Seligman to Tonopah, the hard way


At the crack of 5, I chose to sleep until 7.
Kingman to Seligman, with a stop at the Grand Canyon Caverns, was a smooth, magic glide of a trip. Even Hackberry’ ruins looked clean in the bleach of the morning sun.

I was the only one at the Caverns, usually a meeting ground for elderly Germans, and just sat in the sun for a bit – then headed to Seligman.
I’ve never seen it look better – painted, prosperous and unchanged. At the hotel right outside of downtown – where I spent a week as a child waiting for my mom to get the station wagon fixed – a new manager had redone the place. He said that, ‘the old ladies son had ran it into the ground’ until he took over. I estimated the room number when he asked me (memory only remembers magical thoughts,) and he opened it up for me – looked plain, but sort of like I thought it should. A nice guy with a clean motel – sans pool – which queers it a bit. I took pictures and told him I’d pass on the place to others.

Ate at place, ‘Westside Lilo’s Café.’ Great food – highly recommended for breakfast. If you meet the waitress Pam, tell her I prayed for her 30 year old son who has a seizure disorder, but is ashamed of it and broke his collar bone when he ‘felt one coming on’ and tried to run upstairs before it happened in front of his friends.
Next stop – Oatman.
The road from Kingman is awesome!! Back in the day, Route 66 was this road, a winding road up to, and down from, Sitgraves Pass – this must have been a scary highlight for Okies’s on their last rubber.

Oatman is an old mining town/tourist trap – it’s almost a carbon copy of Nevada City. The big draw is the donkeys – millions of them, all wild, free and existing like the cows in India. One of them bit my daughter (Allison) when she tried to pet him without a carrot in her hand – filthy cloven-hoofed devils.
From there – non-stop to Tonopah.
Tonopah is a mark on the weather channel that, I think, everyone in the bay area has seen over and over. It’s also a pretty cool mining town at 6,000 feet. This is a pretty place to stop for the night – and my hotel advertizes that it’s, ‘perfect for Grandma.’


I am tired – will get this blog out, and proof tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Same thing, Except different


I am not that good at letting people know what’s going on with me – never have been; doubt I’ll change.
So – this is an update to all who read this, maybe not the stuff in my head that makes it smoke on cold days, but the where, and a few facts – hopefully illustrated with marginal pictures.
Fired on Friday last – for being me – the best me possible under extended exposure and grinding. Signed up for the State tit on Saturday, and on the road today.

Left early and zipped through San Jose. Stopped at Harris Ranch, off Highway Five, a couple of hours later – just in and out with Tri-tip. Noticed the Hollister cut-off on 152 had been finished – good work state.
Thought for the morning – “They torture wine to make it better – why not people”
(Well... because they are people.)
Cut over to 99 at the Lost Hills exit and managed to drive straight through to Boron.

Boron is a place that I’ve passed over the years on the Freeway—it always looked like a residential, planned community of flat topped houses from the Fifties – a West Coast version of Levittown.
I took the business exit through town and stopped at the Boron Museum – cool complete with blue haired ladies that liked to talk – I sort of listened, and then left.
I got off the main road to go slower and check out some old spots I half remember from earlier trips through Barstow. That’s what the cop picture is for -- 1st ticket in 15 years – time to pay for all my sins uncounted – though I was going slower than my dad at the time this happened. Bad work state.

I fumed to Needles – got some sugar and a coke – then off to Arizona.
I’m here (Kingman) and going to get my dinner – then TV, unless the fates arrange some other entertainment.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Only Until This Cigarette Is Ended



Only Until This Cigarette Is Ended 
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Only until this cigarette is ended,
A little moment at the end of all,
While on the floor the quiet ashes fall,
And in the firelight to a lance extended,
Bizarrely with the jazzing music blended,
The broken shadow dances on the wall,
I will permit my memory to recall
The vision of you, by all my dreams attended.
And then adieu,—farewell!—the dream is done.
Yours is a face of which I can forget
The color and the features, every one,
The words not ever, and the smiles not yet;
But in your day this moment is the sun
Upon a hill, after the sun has set.


9 Quotes for a Friday

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
— Groucho Marx

"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."
— Anaïs Nin

"I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."
— Marilyn Monroe

"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me."
— Ayn Rand

"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."
— Sylvia Plath

"We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."
— C.S. Lewis

"Kiss me and you'll know how important I am."
— Sylvia Plath

The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours"
— Alan Bennett

"Poetry is what gets lost in translation."
— Robert Frost

Tiny lamp spans quantum and classical physics



"Physicists in California have made the smallest ever incandescent lamp using a carbon nanotube as the filament. The nanotube is so small it behaves as a quantum mechanical system but it's just large enough that the classical physics rules of thermodynamics should apply. Analyzing the light emitted from the tiny light will give the team a better picture of what happens in the twilight zone between the quantum and classical worlds."


And the best three response to this article are as follows:


1. How many quantum physicists does it take to change a light bulb?
Three. Two to do it, and one to renormalise the wave function.

2. You Fool! You altered the outcome by observing it!

3. I just replaced all the lamps in my house with these, but they just don't seem to brighten up the room like the old ones, and now my cat is missing.


I love physics humor -- tight but bouncy.












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Thursday, April 30, 2009

It's in the Translation

The Lords Prayer translated from Aramaic into English, rather than from Aramaic to Greek to Latin to English

O cosmic Birther of all radiance and vibration!
Soften the ground of our being and
carve out a space within us where
Your Presence can abide.
Fill us with your creativity so that we
may be empowered to bear the fruit
of your mission.
Let each of our actions bear fruit in
accordance with our desire.
Endow us with the wisdom to produce
and share what each being needs to grow and flourish.
Untie the tangled threads of destiny that
bind us, as we release others from the
entanglement of past mistakes.
Do not let us be seduced by that which would
divert us from our true purpose, but illuminate
the opportunities of the present moment.
For you are the round and the fruitful vision,
the birth-power and fulfillment,
as all is gathered and made whole once again.


<<< more words




The Lord's Prayer in Late Modern English,
Book of Common Prayer, 1928

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done,
on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

They Hate You

"One rule to follow when evaluating the news stories being pushed onto us by the media: If it's spectacular, world-shaking, and has the capacity to significantly alter the course of your life even though you live thousands of miles away from where it happened, then it's probably bullshit. Whenever you hear about some really big, truly world-changing phenomenon, then it is usually speculation, bullshit speculation meant to get you to stick around through the commercial break.
(…)
The media has calculated that people are dumb and easily tricked. Push the right buttons and you have yourself a loyal audience. Missing little kid, serial killer, robbery on video, live police chase, natural disaster, cute animal story, big panic story. Over and over again. People never get tired of it. Sell them something big to panic about and you will insert urgency in their lives, something to do, something to buy, some excuse to call or email their kids. None of it has to make sense providing it summons up the right emotions."


I think about fear a lot – that maybe it’s the only real emotion and that every other emotion is an offshoot of it or the just pleasure of its absence.

I’ve grown to understand that the fear of losing what you have or the fear of not getting what you what motivates most people. It’s the juice that fuels the reactions not found in reason – it’s the primal ooze of what makes us human.

The press runs on fear. The FAA did not want to release the numbers on how many birds stuck how many planes because they knew the press would only address the fearful part of it. And – look at the papers – they did.

The media did not point out that the numbers were voluntary and haphazard – they penalized the airports that did a good job reporting and rewarded the slothful, less diligent ones. They did it to sell papers; they did it for the money.

The government runs on fear – they cut the libraries and day care to scare working parents – they make everything a level orange to get more money. They tighten control and freeze dissent by appealing to patriotism through fear. They want you scared to death so they can control you – strong, true words that each of you reading this know in the core of you are.

The government is the people and the press exists to keep it in line and accountable and the people informed, so that if the government of the people strays from what the actual people see as a civilized covenant they want to be a part of –they can act to change it.

Both of them – the press and the government – have gone off the reservation on us. They have become business cancers that exist to feed and grow – and both only want to live no matter what and no matter who they have to run over.

So it goes....it's just I'm really missing the ice-nine scare, and simpler times.




Monday, April 27, 2009

9 quotes for a Monday


The young don't feel any great need to wait for the Walk sign before they cross the street. They feel invulnerable. Over time, you better appreciate the consequences of each action. You see people get burned, you see friends fall apart, you go to a few heartbreaking funerals. You begin to realize that survival requires cunning, and as a hedge, as part of a long-term strategy for improving your odds, you wait on the corner until you get the signal to walk.

-Joel Achenbach
He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.
-Douglas Adams

Ignorance of your profession is best concealed by solemnity and silence, which pass for profound knowledge upon the generality of mankind.
-"Advice to Officers of the British Army", 1783

Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.
-Howard Aiken

Well, he's not psycho or addicted to anything, he's got a job, and he's doing the school thing; this is a step up for me.
-Bekka Altes

Man is never honestly the fatalist, nor even the stoic. He fights his fate,
often desperately. He is forever entering bold exceptions to the rulings of the
bench of gods. This fighting, no doubt, makes for human progress, for it favors
the strong and the brave. It also makes for beauty, for lesser men try to
escape from a hopeless and intolerable world by creating a more lovely one of
their own.
-- H.L. Mencken

The Law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich, as well as the poor, to
sleep under the bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.
-- Anatole France

We tend to idealize tolerance, then wonder why we find ourselves infested with
losers and nut cases.
-- Patrick Hayden

I was always brought up to believe that language is the master, you are the
servant. I was taught to believe that language is almost out of control and you
can barely hold on to it.
-- Eric McCormack

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Aurora for help


One year after Hurricane Katrina I stopped in Slidell La. to eat a tasty meal with a refreshing beverage on a killer hot day. Since my sister had lived there in the nineties for a few years, I’d got a couple of names from her in advance – a menu of possibilities, mostly fishy, jambalaya kind of food.
Not only were the restaurants she had recommended no longer there – some of the roads mentioned as landmarks for me were gone as well. I ended up at a crowded Carl’s Jr. drive thru right off the freeway.
That was some fucking storm.

While staying in an upscale hotel near the new Denver airport last week We decided to put the feedbag on and checked with the concierge (desk clerk) for a few good local ideas. With the supplied handy, preprinted map and a rental car, we picked a few choices and headed out to eat.
The map was not to scale, but otherwise clear and labeled with individual eating places. All of the big names in off freeway dining – Applebee’s’, Ruby Tuesday’s, etc. were on the list, as well as a few personal favorites, one of which we headed to first.

Black Eyed Peas was boarded up; Bennigan’s changed to a strangeness unrecognizable; Ruby’s was open, but hurting too much to make us happy. One by one, we crossed names off the list. The roads were there, but the places along the way were not. We ended up at a ‘Texas Roadhouse,.’ where the food was cheap, some of the patrons had flipper arms, and children used chalk to mark up a peanut covered floor with satanic symbols or their equivalent.
Bright red cherry limeade is the new Kool-Aid for this generation. Who knew?


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Fucking Earth Day


People celebrating earth day is like a cancerous tumor giving thanks for the physics of blood transport.
As we speed though our lives, and all living things around us, in a semi-uncontrolled frenzy of rape and pillage, at times, apologists among us make the small gestures that placate individuals in small intimate ways.– this is Earth Day -- let's do the sympanthy dance on it.
I have a hard time seeing us as anything thing less than a conscious blight on the earth, with only the curse of our best of intentions towards it as long as the lights don’t get too dim and it doesn’t cost more than talk.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Socialists in the House

"It is always pitiful when any human being falls into a condition hardly more respectable than that of an animal. How much more pitiful it is when the person who falls has had all the advantages!" Kilgore Trout
An Alabama congressman told local officials this week that he's worried about the number of socialists in Congress, and he put the number already there at 17.

"Some of the men and women I work with in Congress are socialists," Rep. Spencer Bachus, the top Republican on the Financial Services Committee, said at a breakfast with city and county officials.

The congressman made his comment on the heels of a Rasmussen poll that found 53 percent of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism, 20 percent favor socialism and 27 percent were not sure which is better.

You can tell by the way Bachus says it that he feels he's pointing out a bad thing to sic the dogs on -- you, the public, being the dogs. I picture him beaming and proud, pancakes untouched, as he throws caution to the wind and lets out his scandalous secret that is sure to change this nation around and around and around.

I see it as a sign of hope, though am skeptical of his number 17 -- I think he just picked the obvious ones to get the ball rolling.

Here is an explanation of the poll numbers:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/10/weekend-opinionator-a-different-sort-of-red-america/?em



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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Love, a poem by lola Haskins


Love

She tries it on, like a dress.
She decides it doesn’t fit
and starts to take it off.
Her skin comes, too.

El Amor y La Mujer

Se lo prueba, como si fuera un vestido.
Decide que no le queda,
Y empieza a quitarselo.
Su piel se desprende, tambien.

Lola Haskins

(2017 ed. -- I like this very much)

Drug companies to cripple more sick people for the money



http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090408-715806.html
A Food and Drug Administration panel said Wednesday that AstraZeneca PLC's (AZN) Seroquel could be used as add-on therapy for patients with depression but said the drug shouldn't be used alone because of concerns about side effects.
The FDA called a meeting of its psychopharmacologic advisory panel to discuss "concerns regarding exposing a greatly expanded population to a drug with known metabolic side effects and a possible risk of tardive dyskinesia," a neurologic disorder that can be caused by drug exposure. The company is facing more than 9,000 lawsuits in the U.S. from people who allege the drug caused various health problems such as diabetes.


This is another schizophrenic drug now approved for severe depression. The public needs to know that these drugs do not have the 'normal' side effects of anti-depressants -- prolonged ejaculation, dry mouth etc.

When you see a crazy man walking down the street weighing a very fat 400 pounds and herking and jerking with semi-uncontrolled limbs and facial drooling with tics -- it's not the crazy that makes him look that way -- it's the drugs. Google 'tartive dyskenesis' for a horror disease that can't be fixed once you get it -- and it's a side effect of Seroquel.

Drug companies cannot make money off of the limited number of truely crazy schizophrenics out there so they are trying to expand the eligible population for this drug. This is the start of a crime against damaged people by a pharmacetuical industry that is out of contol, and the 2nd drug of this class to be approved by what has to be considered a criminal FDA.





A Pirate's Code of Conduct for BitTorrent

"One of the biggest wake-up calls of my career was when I saw a record contract. I said, 'Wait - you sell it for $18.98 and I make 80 cents? And I have to pay you back the money you lent me to make it and then you own it? Who the f**k made that rule? Trent Reznor NIN
"In the 17th century, when groups of men plundered the seas in ships filled with rats and scurvy, they agreed on a code to keep themselves civilly uncivil. I propose the same for BitTorrent.

My code isn't necessarily the code for everyone. But it is the code for my ship, my computer, my slow-ass DSL connection that can't steal anything worth a damn anyway. Here is the code that I live by.


Article One
Every man shall upload half of what he downloads, with the saints filling in the rest. It's like tossing back a tiny fish so that it may grow into a great whale...only so we can hunt said whale and feast on its blubber during a later voyage.

Article Two
TV is to be downloaded, movies are to be attended when a man returns to shore. If ye aren't a Neilsen family, what you watch doesn't matter for ratings anyway. Since advertisers pay by rating, it's a theft-less crime. Movies, on the other hand, do see profits of gold and jewels. So support independent/foreign film in the theaters, and save the action flicks with high production values and many beautiful explosions for the big screen, too. Hollywood romantic comedies? They are for plundering (in secret).

Article Three
A man shall steal as much music as he needs to quench his thirst, assuming that he supports the band by attending concerts and buying t-shirts. One should always buy the work of an indie label, however, if the music is deemed pleasant after the new moon, it's time for purchasing.

Article Four
Ye wouldn't be a pirate if ye didn't download Photoshop. But for the office, such manners are frowned upon. Make your employer pay so that others may play. And if a man spends his life building a $10 app, that man has earned his $10. Toss him a coin should you requisition his services.

Article Five
Pornography can keep a man company at sea, but always avoid that dealing with husbandry. Girlfriend sharing is OK, assuming the missus knows she's on the Bay. (We're pirates, not douchebags.)

Article Six
JK Rowling's booty is apt for plundering, but her's is a rare case indeed. If a book be in the library and tis in stock, one could make an argument to download for free. But our conscience dictates that we buy some books to keep good writers in print.

Article Seven
If at any time a man should download a virus, that man must notify the message board immediately. If at any time a man should actively upload a virus, no retributive measure shall be deemed too brutal. An arse becomes fair game for a hook.

Article Eight
After you try it, if you really like it and can afford to do so, buy it."


A friend recently suggested that people only read blogs to see naked women and get information. I am uncomfortable with the naked women thing -- although I have added many unnecessary breast shots as my feeble, half hearted attempt to lure the lurable -- a sort of get them in the door with tricks and then teach them math approach. But informational 'how-to' seems very doable -- so I though I'd start with a public service announcement about the proper way to steal and plunder intellectual property from the internet -- something I am very much in support of.


The Story of Suzanne



"It's not just the copulation. It is the whole understanding that we are irresistibly attracted to one another, and we have to deal with this. We are irresistibly lonely for each other, and we have to deal with this, and we have to deal with our bodies and with our hearts and souls and minds, and it's an urgent appetite." L. Cohen

...And jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said all men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone... L. Cohen

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

St. Paul, the Used Car Guy


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"Il y a un peu de testicule au fond de nos sentiments les plus sublimes et de notre tendresse la plus épurée" Denis Diderot



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I have mentioned to people over the years that St. Paul – the one buried under the big house in Rome – was, basically, a used donkey salesman who successfully packaged and sold Christianity to the masses. This article expands on that image – making it pretty and businesslike, but still at heart, the story of a driven sales guy who could have sold hearing aides to the blind, but decided to go non-profit.

And, this is a real eye opener, Jesus was not really all that nice – it was just revisionist religion and good lighting for the advertisements that allowed him to become less ethnic and more airbrushed and savior like -- much like Leaf Garrett.



Thursday, April 02, 2009

Walkabout


Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.

Albert Camus
“The term Walkabout comes from the Australian Aboriginal. The idea is that a person can get so caught up in one’s work, obligations and duties that the truly important parts of one’s self become lost. From there it is a downward spiral as one gets farther and farther from the true self. A crisis situation usually develops that awakens the wayward to the absent true self.

It is at this time that one must go on walkabout. All possessions are left behind (except for essential items) and one starts walking.

Metaphorically speaking, the journey goes on until you meet yourself. Once you find yourself, you sit down and have a long talk about what one has learned, felt and done in each other’s absence. One talks until there is nothing left to say — the truly important things cannot be said.

If one is lucky, after everything has been said and unsaid, one looks up and sees only one person instead of the previous two.” walkabout.com



I’ve been feeling about an inch away from a walkabout the last few months. Like a parallel plastic membrane that catches in the wind just outside of my vision, I see its coming with all my fibrous and rooted antennas of sense.

I don’t think I’m alone – I see the signs and portents everywhere I look. We live in a nation that is long overdue both a great public fire and an individual need to find in movement a place we can give up our stand. It’s time to let go by going.

Even an inch.



Mark to Market Rule Change


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"After intense pressure from lawmakers and some factions of the financial industry, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) voted on Apr. 2 to make it easier for corporate management to value assets on their balance sheets with less regard for market prices.
(...)
The upshot, critics argue: Investors will lose even more confidence in banks' financials, exacerbating the very doubt that has helped drive the financial sector's rout in recent months. "It's downright Orwellian to protect the public. This 'oversight body' would blind them from the mistakes made by financial institutions by making accounting less transparent," Jack Ciesielski, editor of the Analyst's Accounting Observer, fumed on his blog."
Mark to Market is simple. All property and money is in the now. Promise and guessing – even past hopes and dreams, all count for nothing – it’s the bird you have, not the Turkey you bought or the eagle you think will show up later for Mai tai's at the bar.

A bag of nickels is worth a bag of nickels -- simple. A mortgage on a house is worth what you could sell it for, in cash, right this minute – also simple.

The Mark to Market rule. It was changed today to something different.

Things you have are called assets. They are your net worth, and for the big boys, the pile of stuff you use to lend and borrow with.

If you bought or sold a house two years ago, you’ve lost at least a third of your assets, maybe more. For a bank, that means they have a third less pile of money to play around with.
But really, that doesn’t seem too bad until you realize the bank used their pile to borrow 10X as much as they had. Do the math

1p/1/3p=2/3 v. (1pX10p)=10p/1/3=3.3p

SO – the bank had 1 pile (p) and now owes 3.3 piles (p) to pay back what they borrowed.
The change in the Mark to Market rule allows for banks to say the house they bought has only lost money if it had to be sold today in these panicked, distressed times. They are now allowed to make ‘reasonable estimates’ as to future worth of assets, based on historical models and wishes and dreams.

So – two things to remember.

  1. The math – our problem is not that we lost all the money we had, but that we lost all the money we could borrow as well.
  2. The analysts that evaluated worth and got us to where we are today are still employed by the companies that will evaluate us now.
But this time is different. But now we have learned from our mistakes. Our technology will allow use to see the problems before they grow. We can grow our way out of this by unleashing the forces of General Chiang Kai-shek onto the mainland of China.
Remember the time you first found out an adult was wrong about something?




Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Religious Morality




"Among the many annoying consequences of religion, the misunderstandings concerning morality that it fosters are among the most displeasing.

This means that a great many religious people naively assert that morality absolutely requires God’s existence. Some will even claim that if God did not exist, nothing would stop them from going about committing all sorts of crimes. Whenever someone makes such a claim, simply ask him, “So you’d fuck your dog in the ass while ripping out and eating your wife’s eyeballs if God did not exist?”"


I was reading this very informative, straight forward and seemingly scientific article and came to the highlighted section above. My eyes opened wide; I giggled and snorted; I became a fan.

A good example carries a lot of weight -- but a bat shit crazy, over the top explosion of a example stomps the weight down -- sometimes obliterating the thought, but always making the spash colorful.

Kudos.


10%




-->
"Smokers are gasping at higher cigarette and cigar prices as the largest federal tobacco tax increase in history takes effect.
"Oh my gosh," Bernardo Torres said Tuesday when a clerk at a CVS Pharmacy in Falls Church, Va., told him the new price, which went up in anticipation of the tax increase. Torres wanted to buy his aunt two cartons of cigarette-size cigars, but he walked away empty-handed after hearing the new price: $134. The tax on little cigars went from 4 cents to $1.01 a pack"


-->
I think that only an evolutionary psychologist could really explain it – but it seems that no matter what the cost or what the price, 10% of people will take 20 years off their lives to smoke cigarettes.
That’s also the percentage of service people who came back from Vietnam addicted to heroin that stayed addicted after getting treatment.
The bottom of the barrel or the evolutionary cream at the top?
I think that maybe smokers are nature’s way of keeping in reserve a percentage of the population aside just in case a bug or disease kills everyone without enough nicotine in their system.
Like some malignant irritable bowel syndrome brought on by mutated bacteria -- that results in all non-smokers dying by the internal sloughing of their innards, as the agonies of their projectile diarrhea scare away their families as they loosen, then lose, of all their bodily fluids on empty playgrounds outside of hospitals too full to let them in.
Ironically, right next to huddled, frozen smokers no longer welcomed inside either.
I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the Sun now stands, I will smoke no more forever.. Though my war is over, my compassion for the lonely 10% remains unchanged. As long as they don’t smoke too close to me.


La Mucca

"They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn't. I never painted dreams. I painted my reality." ~ Frida Kahlo

This just sounds so much better in Italian -- I take back all the bad things I've said about translators over the years...

La mucca

da Mike Brady


Il mio ampio piegate indietro

da anni di portare

il tipo di peso

grasso persone per scontato.



Forte come un bue

Ossa compressa

Denti terra a matrici

Acres prima di andare a dormire.



Affidabile, stabile

rocciosa costante.

Io vivo senza capire

Sono come sostanziale.



Mi sento con un lento legname,

spostare con attenzione i passaggi,

e mettere in pausa la metodica della mia vita

a ruminare.



Le cose cambiano

e il sole sorge.

Fare ciò che è davanti a me a fare

fino a che non mi mangi.

(or, in English)

The Cow
by Mike Brady

My broad back bent
from years of carry
the type of weight
fat people take for granted.

Strong as an ox
Bones compressed
Teeth ground to stubs
Acres to go before I sleep.

Dependable, steady
rocky constant.
I live without understanding
how substantial I am.

I feel with a slow lumber,
move with careful steps,
and pause the methodical of my life
to ruminate.

Things change
and the sun rises.
I do what’s in front of me to do
until they eat me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jessica Lange


I think that once you have seen, 'The Postman Always Rings Twice," you can never imagine Jessica Lange as undesirable. I've heard, and seen, reports on her aging but something deep inside of me wants her to be the counter help at that small roadside bakery I plan to retire at.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Zyprexa and Prozac, or, tethered to a fat ball of happy


Zyprexa is a nifty drug that the drug company Lilly put out a few years ago that was, up to now, used primarily for Schizophrenics. Better than most drugs for this condition, it had the one big drawback that Lilly refused to admit – it made skinny people fat and fat people obese.

Long used for other conditions, like depression, in what is called an ‘off-label’ use, it has now been authorized for treatment of severe depression.

As a user of effexor, a depression med also know for weight gain (though no where near as severe as Zyprexa,) I can only ask if the cure is the disease in this case. Schizophrenia might be worth giving up almost anything to improve – depression might not.

Weighing 300 pounds and not being depressed seems very depressing to me. At some point being fat kills ambition, limits freedom and shuts down the willingness to move.

Read the link below about Zyprexa – and pharmacy companies in general – and let me know what you think.










Monday, March 16, 2009

On Writing, Probabilities


Much like the electrons of an atom, thoughts spin around my head wildly, randomly and without a place to call their own.

Words are shit, because they put you somewhere else.
I’m trying to catch the things that are in between.’
– Steve McQueen

Or, much like electrons, I write down what I’m thinking, collapse a wave function, to create a point of view from the bubble of nothing.

But the thought is not the fullness of what I’m thinking or the thought itself in full. What is on paper is a slice of time – a spot on place and location that reflects, maybe, the direction things in my head were taking.

Or maybe, the point of view comes from a twitch -- just a powerful oomph of dog eat dog movement in my head that claws its way out when the pen hit the paper.

When I write a simple declarative statement, it becomes a condensation of a cloud. Probabilities and understandings getting squeezed like toothpaste to form, essentially, a thick point in time. The time gives the point a view, a place to exist, and a wall to crash the waves of other possibilities against.

My indecision, the whirling in my head and the all things of potential becomes a slash – a line in the sand, a sign post of the pale.

But most of the time I don't know either position or whirring buzz, only that a hot plate moves within me, pushing up little dots of stability from something unseen that’s the most of me.

Top ten 'bang for the buck' writing emplements

1. #1 Pencil
2. Shit on a cell wall, although this is normally for painting.
3. A razor blade on warm flesh.
4. Urine on snow.
5. Laser beam on thin skinned metal.
6. Ice cube in mouth on bone.
7. Sand on tile.
8. Blue bird with pouch attached.
9. Finger paints and linen.
10. Biscuits.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Ode to Charles Bukowski's Women


"Of course it's possible to love a woman, if you don't know her too well." C. Bukowski
Well Done
by Mike Brady 3/2009

I enjoy a woman who has been with many men.
The stink of lost youth as they put their clothes away at night
And the eyes that follow your hands and not your heart
Searching for the keys to locks you've hidden away.

Though often rubbed to a crispy dry
By the wear of innocence as worn from the flesh by time
Still the excitable child within,
The one that wanted Christmas and couldn’t wait,
Still waits, making irritated pearls alone,
Ever lost for still believing anymore.



Now, the Italian Translation

Well Done
da Mike Brady

Mi piace che le donne sono state con molti uomini
La puzza di perdita di giovani sui loro vestiti di notte
E gli occhi che seguono le vostre mani e non il tuo cuore
Per le chiavi per serrature voi nascondere.

Anche se spesso strofinato a un croccante secco
Con l'usura di innocenza indossati da carne da tempo
Il bambino eccitabili
Natale che voleva e non poteva aspettare,
Ancora in attesa, facendo solo irritato perle --
Mai perso di più ancora credere.

Paying for Healthcare

A shopkeeper cancels the coupons in a British ...Image via Wikipedia
Just some simple thoughts:
1. One out of every five dollars goes to healthcare in the United States.
2. There is no way to lower the cost without lowering the coverage unless you eliminate the middle man – and there will always be a middle man.
3. You already pay for it even if you think you don’t.
4. The only argument is about who is going to pay, and that’s a selfish, circular argument – you already are paying. What you are really asking for is someone to hide the costs better.
5. If you think you are not paying – you aren’t looking.
6. Healthcare is not insurance – if it were, hippies would pay little and republicans the most. (old v. young)
7. If healthcare is not a right, then rationing is the way it’s going to go.
http://www.salon.com/opinion/conason/2009/03/09/healthcare/




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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Making shit angels as therapy




Studies into clinical depression have yielded similar findings, leading to the development of an intriguing, but still controversial, concept known as depressive realism. This theory puts forward the notion that depressed individuals actually have more realistic perceptions of their own image, importance, and abilities than the average person. While it’s still generally accepted that depressed people can be negatively biased in their interpretation of events and information, depressive realism suggests that they are often merely responding rationally to realities that the average person cheerfully denies.”

I think that seeing things too clearly is making me a bit blind to the beauty that’s all around me -- a beauty that needs a healthy dose of that good old gooey bullshit to really shine in the abstract of distraction that makes the lubricant of hopeful wishing attractive -- allowing for a different, and more cuddly, reality a become a possibility -- much like the other classics of spiritual death, morphine, and religion.

I need to throw some muslin over my eyes before making observations, like a faded old starlet, or a puppy in a mill. Life is nasty brutish and short, with death to all that is built and worthy -- but never mind, to be happy is to leave your glasses in the car and your mind buttered, pickled and unused in a random trunk parked, forlornly, at a major, unnamed airport..

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sweden's Pirates




I have a goal of someday writing a novel, selling it to a publisher, then making a living writing.

Pirate Bay is a file sharing aggregate who takes copyrighted material and allows anyone to download it for free.

I support them with all my heart and wish them the best.

Talk about in congruent behavior -- this is something like cutting off my nose to spite my face.

But there is more to the story.

Copy write protection was seen in the past as a protection for the individual in his lifetime. Information was thought to be a good thing for society, but it was also felt that the person who provided new information should be allowed to live off it as a sort of reward for his hard work. After asutable amount of time it was expected to become free to all. It was felt very strongly that information should be both free and in the public domain as quick as possible.

Copy write law is no longer protection for an individual -- it's a machine to stomp out innovation.

I am still pissed that I can't make doodles out of Micky Mouse because Sonny Bono ran into a tree and died skiing. What purpose or protection is given to Walt Disney for his creation of 80 years ago, and his death one score and ten or so.

A lot of this Pirate Bay crap is being done by dead companies that don't know how to die. When you no longer need to promote, produce or distribute music -- no factories producing Cd's, no trucks deliveringCD's to stores -- no stores, no need for promotion -- what the hell are music companies doing for their money these days? -- Putting lawsuits into dikes and complaining?

And movie companies are just as afraid -- no more expensive film that has to be delivered to thousands of theaters every week.

The model, whether or not you like it, is free. If the Wall Street Journal asks for payment for their intellectual property, people will go somewhere else and, if it's something proprietary to theWST, will find it, in full, with a couple of extra clicks.

The model is free -- the trick is to figure out how to make a living. Hint -- google Craigslist to see how they do it.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Formal announcement of the opening of my campaign for the MacArthur Fellowship

“If not me, who? If not now when?”
Mike Brady 2009


Q. What is the MacArthur Fellowship?
A. The MacArthur Fellowship is a five-year grant to individuals who show exceptional creativity in their work and the prospect for still more in the future. The fellowship is designed to provide recipients with the flexibility to pursue their creative activities in the absence of specific obligations or reporting requirements. There are no limits on age or area of activity. Individuals cannot apply for this award; they must be nominated.

Q. What are the selection criteria?
A. The selection decisions focus primarily on exceptional creativity, as demonstrated through a track record of significant achievement, and manifest promise for important future advances. Emphasis is placed on nominees for whom our support would relieve limitations that inhibit them from pursuing their most innovative ideas.
Recipients must also be citizens or residents of the United States and must not hold elective office or advanced positions in government as defined by statute.

Q. What do the recipients receive?
A. The stipend for the MacArthur Fellowship is currently set at $500,000, paid in quarterly installments over five years.

Q. Why are no strings attached?
A. The MacArthur Fellowship is designed to provide seed money for intellectual, social, and artistic endeavors. We believe that highly motivated, self-directed, and talented people are in the best position to decide how to allocate their time and resources. By adopting a "no strings attached" policy, we provide the maximum freedom for the recipients to follow their creative vision, whether it is moving forward with their current activities, expanding the scope of their work, or embarking in entirely new directions. There are no restrictions on how the money can be spent, and we impose no reporting obligations.

I am starting a letter campaign soon.




Friday, February 13, 2009

Science Crap on a Stick



Science Crap on a Stick

"Phantom OS doesn't have files. Well, there are no files in the sense that a developer opens a file handle, writes to it, and closes the file handle. From the user's perspective, things still look familiar — a desktop, directories, and file icons. But a file in Phantom is simply an object whose state is persisted. You don't have to explicitly open it. As long as your program has some kind of reference to that object, all you need to do is call methods on it, and the data is there as you would expect."

I have read the long version of the above explanation of the future of operating systems. It was inspiring in a crazy person detailing the laws of Deuteronomy sort of way – both fluid, yet organized as if some reality was being described from a megaphone aimed at you carefully from the moon. Not our moon – another, different, moon in a far off bizzaro universe of candy colored logic pretzels where you could chew things without teeth and dance without toes.

‘Whose state is persisted’ – what the fuck does that mean? It’s always there, just waiting for the observer to notice it? It doesn’t exist until you collapse the probability of it like a balloon – and then it swims up to consciousness and you realize it had been there from the start, waiting for you like a lost Christmas present?
‘You don’t have to explicitly open it,” –you implicitly open it? Science and technology should not be allowed to make words into math problems – to explain something is to use agreed upon words that match the reader’s perceptions in at least a ball park kind of way.

‘All you need is to call methods on it, and the data is there as you would expect it,” So it’s analogous? It’s a relational data base reference of one thing to another? One known thing that you bounce off an unknown via a call method (cattle? Phone? Thought burst?) that illuminates the unknown object by the shear force of its brilliance?

All a kind of crap thrown sticking, then sliding down walls of reason spackled and painted by too smart people left alone in a small room with a Bulgarian dictionary.