The Brothers Karamazov

"Actually, people sometimes talk about man's 'bestial' cruelty, but that is being terribly unjust and offensive to the beasts..."
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Saturday, December 17, 2011

'Out of Africa' is Only Half the Equation/

Is 'Out of Sinai/Levant' the Other?

Recent reports by paleogeneticists, if the evidence proves out, could upset radically just about everything we hold dear regarding human Genesis .According to "Researchers led by Paabo, Richard E. Green of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and David Reich of Harvard Medical School compared the genetic material collected from the bones of three Neanderthals with that from five modern humans.Their findings, reported in Friday's edition of the journal Science, show a relationship between Neanderthals and modern people outside Africa, Paabo said."That suggests that interbreeding occurred in the Middle East, where both modern humans and Neanderthals lived thousands of years ago, he said." Associated Press

I've stressed the key words in the above; OUTSIDE AFRICA. This finding, aside from the mystification that interbreeding suggests, puts the origin of Neanderthal, somewhere, but not in Africa.

Since it is generally agreed by anthropologists that Neanderthals occupied an area from
the Levant to Britain for two hundred thousand years perhaps the search for Genesis should be focused on them rather than on 'Cro-Magnon' where science has been stuck for ages.

If Neanderthals are in our bloodline, and if their origin is not Africa, aren't we in effect back at Anthropology square one? Who were they and what did they evolve from and how have we missed all this?

The people now considered our direct ancestors reportedly left Africa about sixty thousand years ago. Contrast this with Neanderthal who, if he had ever lived in Africa, had lived elsewhere for two hundred thousand years. Hadn't we soon begin, rather than continue to dismiss Neanderthal as a heavy-brow, lumbering troglodyte, to study him instead, as gran-dad?

This flagrant oversimplification is aimed at stressing just one point: if Neanderthal was not 'Out of Africa', and his DNA is not found there; should we not look elsewhere for at least one half of our heritage? My guess would put origins in Sinai/Levant. The Ed. in Eden, maybe?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

End of Evolution: a Retrospective

November, 2099

The natural evolution of life on planet Earth began to come to an end on December 2, 1942 on a squash court in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The wizard who precipitated this event was the brilliant Italian physicist, Enrico Fermi.

One hundred years later the planet was de facto, bankrupt; thus no longer solvent. At that moment, the natural evolution of species was doomed to end and be replaced by worldwide genetic contamination as mankind could no longer afford to safely maintain or dispose of the countless machines and devices that had been produced since Professor Fermi released the genii by starting the first successful controlled nuclear chain reaction.

There had been opportunity for mankind to neuter the jinn from that day in 1942 until September 16, 1985, the day on which the USA went broke, ceased to be an Empire and could no longer afford to bear the costs and responsibility for the hideously dangerous forces it had released; assuming, which is exceedingly doubtful, it ever had intended to do so.

At the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century there were, according to Nuclear Power Today, updated in February, 2011:
"... now over 440 commercial nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries, 56 countries operate a total of about 250 research reactors and a further 180 nuclear reactors power some 140 ships and submarines. Over 60 further nuclear power reactors are under construction, while over 150 are firmly planned"

The magnitude of the radiation generated in a nuclear power plant is almost beyond belief ... The original uranium fuel that is subject to the fission process becomes 1 billion times more radioactive in the reactor core. A thousand-megawatt nuclear power plant contains as much long-lived radiation as that produced by the explosion of 1,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs." Dr. Helen Caldicott

That huge number of nuclear appliances was dwarfed by the tally, courtesy of ICAN, of 23,300 nuclear warheads around the globe. Add to this the immense volume of nuclear waste which had always defied safe long term storage. This was the situation worldwide a scant three decades before the end of nature's sovereignty. In the year 2011 it was theoretically possible, with a huge expenditure of resources and treasure worldwide, to prevent the catastrophe looming just ahead. The possibility of such action was not open to discussion, let alone implementation. Nothing at all was done.

An example of the mind-set of most humans at that time is the launching of a missile towards Mars in November of 2011 containing scores of ounces of Plutonium regarded as the most lethal substance known. In what must have been the most maniacal piece of uber-hubris in decades that mission, curiously enough called 'Curiosity', was purported to seek signs of Life on that sphere but by sending forth a parcel of Death.

Mankind had prior warning of the consequences of uncontrolled nuclear fission with the experiences of Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1986 and Fukushima, Japan in 2011. Nevertheless, In the inevitable course of events, the tens of thousand of devices resultant after the early Chicago experiments were left unattended. Without the absolutely precise knowledge for their maintenance, combined with the enormous cost of this critical attention, they were gradually abandoned.

"Ionizing radiation—the kind that minerals, atom bombs and nuclear reactors emit—does one main thing to the human body: it weakens and breaks up DNA, either damaging cells enough to kill them or causing them to mutate in ways that may eventually lead to cancer.
... This ionizing radiation can damage DNA molecules directly, by breaking the bonds between atoms, or it can ionize water molecules and form free radicals, which are highly reactive and also disrupt the bonds of surrounding molecules, including DNA."
POPSCI The Future Now


The action or process of mutating.
The changing of the structure of a gene, resulting in a variant form that may be transmitted to subsequent generations...

Peter Dedon, a member of the Radiation Protection Committee at MIT, explains: “What happens is that the nucleus of radioactive elements undergoes decay and emits high-energy particles. If you stand in the way of those particles, they are going to interact with the cells of your body. You literally get a particle, an energy packet, moving through your cells and tissues.”

"What long-term effects can radiation have?
The effect of the radiation may not be to kill the cell, but to alter its DNA code in a way that leaves the cell alive but with an error in the DNA blueprint. The effect of this mutation will depend on the nature of the error and when it is read. Since this is a random process, such effects are now called stochastic. Two important stochastic effects of radiation are cancer, which results from mutations in nongerm cells (termed somatic cells), and heritable changes, which result from mutations in germ cells (eggs and sperm)."
... ACHRE Report

With all of civilization on the edge of abyss in the middle of the twenty-first century and trying desperately to feed and/or quell the remaining billions of frantic citizens, little effort or funding was directed toward confronting the pending nuclear dilemma. This oversight was critical because without constant attention these neglected devices ultimately began to alter life on the planet. Nature had little ability to cope with the radiation emanating from those thousands of impaired devices and storage facilities and the genetics of living organisms was affected in myriads of ways by the onslaught.

Those lethal ions spewing forth unchecked can bring illlness, death or failing both, blast apart DNA and change forever nature's prior mandate. Species are affected to varying degrees and for all time. Were any Martian organisms doomed as well by man's folly?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Crow Jim" is Alive and Well/

and Busily Rewriting History

Among the sundry American 'expats' thronging to Paris after WWI were a great many artists and musicians. The doughboys had returned to the States full of praise and in awe of Europe and especially France. America was an unhappy place for blacks in the twenties with the rise of the KKK and the overall reaction to the returning black soldiers who represented a new kind of black man, who had seen the world and was demanding more equality at home. The draconian attempt to keep blacks under white domination was known as the 'Jim Crow Laws.'

In the twenties the French were mad for 'Le Jazz Hot!' as they called the new American music. The clubs in Paris booked all the jazz musicians they could find but were color conscious to a fault. The ones selected as authentic were invariably black. No whites need apply. It was, as white clarinetist Mezz Mezzrow complained in his novel, Really the Blues, a kind of reverse discrimination he called 'Crow Jim'. So while Buck Clayton, Peanuts Holland and Lionel Hampton found work and acclaim, talented white jazzmen often were met with rejection because of their race.

It's one thing to have had this kind of discrimination in 1920's France; quite another in twenty-first century America. But it's here and it is an affront to all the excellent white jazzmen who have contributed so much to the art form. I can recall as far back as the early 1950s among some intellectuals, jazz aficionados and hangers-on in the jazz scene, and, woefully, that included a few black musicians, the snide insinuation that white jazzmen were not as good; "they didn't have soul."

The most egregious example of 'Crow Jim' is found in what will likely become the archetypical standard reference of twentieth century jazz history; the documentary miniseries by Ken Burns, Jazz. The ten part series aired in 2000. Criticisms of this effort at documenting the history of jazz were legion and were most scathingly addressed by Jeffrey St Clair:
"The series is narrated by a troika of neo-cons: Wynton Marsalis, the favorite trumpeter of the Lincoln Center patrons; writer Albert Murray, who chastised the militant elements of the civil rights and anti-war movements with his pal Ralph Ellison; and Stanley Crouch, the Ward Connerly of music critics."

It is both correct and proper to credit black jazz musicians as sole custodians and creators of jazz at its earliest beginnings. However, from the nineteen twenties until the present, to ignore the strong contributions of countless white jazzmen, is reprehensible. I doubt that was Burns intention. I suspect he assigned Messrs Marsalis, Murray and Crouch the selection of the principals for the narrative thread and tragically, this 'Crow Jim' hagiography has, for the past decade, become the visual history of jazz. .

I would like to challenge Messrs M. M. and C. to listen again to J.J. Johnson (black), on trombone and Kai Winding (white) , trombone, on The Great Kai & J.J. (Impulse) album and tell the world which trombone playing is the more authentic and which lacks 'soul'. This is a good test for us all, to lay to rest a patronizing, discriminatory and racist appraisal of musicianship by color rather than merit.

The same attitude that prompted the French, and more recently, these chromatographers when rewriting,the history of jazz, is specious. The 'Crow Jim' syndrome can also be found at times attacking both race...and gender. A case in point is the high-handed treatment offered one of the early black writers who in addition to being deemed politically incorrect for the times, was female. Our old avian trickster friend 'Jim' stooped down on Zora Neale Hurston like a bird of prey.

Hurston, a member in good? standing in the Harlem Renaissance in the 1930s, a graduate of Barnard, an anthropologist of some renown, and a published author, was a Republican. She was an opponent of the New Deal which was supported by the majority of her colleagues including Langston Hughes. Additionally she was skeptical of organized religion and had a penchant for feminine individualism.

”She was scathing about those who sought "freedoms" for those abroad, but denied it to people in their home countries: Roosevelt "can call names across an ocean" for his Four Freedoms, but he did not have “the courage to speak even softly at home.” Wikipedia

None of this went over well with the idealogues of the Harlem Renaissance although her gifts and renown equalled or surpassed most of the others. Her first novel, Jonah's Gourd Vine published in 1934, was cited by Carl Sandburg as, "A bold and beautiful book, many a page priceless and unforgettable." "Though attacked by (Richard) Wright and virtually ignored by his literary heirs, Hurstons's ideas about language and craft undergird many of the most successful contributions to Afro-American literature that followed." Henry Lewis Gates, Jr

Lacking any support from her mostly male peers, Hurston, despite having published seven books, an autobiography and fifty shorter works, drifted into obscurity. But she continued to write and at one point worked as a maid to gather authentic material, anticipating by decades the novel, 'Help', by Kathryn Stockett, currently enjoying so much popular success.

Always outspoken she, years later when Truman dropped the A-bombs on Japan, Hurston called him "the Butcher of Asia." In 1960, Zora Neale Hurston died penniless in Florida and was buried in an unmarked grave perhaps with the local buzzards and crows for company.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Maui Cargo Cult

Stories About The Future - A submission for ADR

The Maui Cargo Cult
by Robert Magill

They gather at dawn on Koki Beach for the sunrise. As it peeks above the horizon solemn chanting begins. "Maserati, Donzi, Rolex, the Dakota...Maserati, Donzi, Rolex, the Dakota...Maserati...", is repeatedly intoned until the orb is fully risen.

The ritual, begun as a lark at parties in the Hamptons, has now become a credo since the Big X, as the exodus to the island is called. It has been over ten years that these fortunate unfortunates have been in residence. Leaving the mainland on whatever vessels could be commandeered, they at least had survived. Many others would have given all they had to trade places. Still, safety in itself cannot guarantee satisfaction or thankfulness as this wretched longing for the old ways demonstrates.

The phenomenon being experienced here is closest to the delusions of remote Islanders in another time who were convinced that the Americans who had provided them with so much in the past would return to re-provision them again. Any time now. Maybe today. Tomorrow, certainly. They waited anxiously at the water's edge and were known as a Cargo Cult. So now these once Masters of the Universe are slightly unhinged and are waiting for it all to return to them. They are the Maui Cargo Cult.

Among their number T.R. Straub is a standout character. Not content with a seven figure Wall Street largesse he had conspired to establish dodgy accounts in the Caymans and Canada until it all went down. The loss had more seriously affected him than the others.

If we listen to their mutterings and snatches of conversation a large dollop of self pity and more than a little delusion is evident. Ralph T., former hedge fund magnate, "The next time will be different."
His nearest companion who may or may not have been privy to his assurance, mutters, "This time it won't be lost."

T.R.'s voice rose to full volume to begin another chanting. This one, regarded by the others as a lapse into tongues, "CD' CMO'HBO'IBO'CDO'...' LBO' HMO," he repeated endlessly, chanting until near foaming. It was sad to behold; he was not joined by anyone. On the beaches and at the spas along the coast, from Kapalua to Kipahula, these Maui tribes gather each dawn. It is much the same on the other islands except for Molokai where an entirely different class of survivors is ensconced.

On the West coast of Maui, near Kapalua, another bunch is repeating the performance but instead of awaiting succor from the East and North America they cast their hopes Westward to China. The litany is near to being identical. Brokers and bankers, big men in their time imploring the fates, thusly," We were sold out. That's it. Those tribes on the other coast knew it was happening and never warned us. Unfair! Sold us out."

A well regarded financier from Boston, "It's true there was excess. Excess caused by everything happening too fast and by bad information and bad timing. Yes, the timing. When to plunge ahead and when to hold back. How much to bet but...nothing was said about risk!"

"Who knew? We were innocents. School was no help; not there to learn anyway. The MBA was for the networking, always the networking. Wonderful bunch there at school, we thought alike!", bleated a former Detroit captain of industry who guided the destiny and fortunes of many and now is wallowing in self-pity.

Still another, "Yes, mistakes were made. But by others. Our people were innocent... mostly. That other bunch, they were so clever. Made billions didn't they, with all their high tech gadgets and puffed up real estate. They knew it was coming. The the smart ones pulled out years ago. Took the money and split, didn't they?"

One voice, more senior than the others, was filled with disdain, "Of course, we all thought that the old familiar devices we had in place would see us through; last a lot longer at the very least. Really seemed promising; two or three wars going...not biggies, but profitable. Always worked before. But the boys, and they were boys you know, bunch of jackass MBA's got playing around with serious money. Those kids, a lot of them from good families, old families too, turned out to be a frat-rats and nerdy jocks, and yet we let them handle the big dough. Jesus, they screwed it up, royally. Couldn't be fixed. So we had to shut it down. Whole damn country. Pity, way of life gone for good. Ah, me."

The Bostonian," If only we had been as successful as the Russians were when the USSR went belly up. Maybe know it's difficult to determine if naivete or hubris had contributed most in rendering us nearly uneducable in a contemporary sense. Maybe it was bizarre form of social deprivation as the result of living in a...a Golden Ghetto, with a miniscule gene-pool, in a informational cull-de-sac, lost among our peers. Maybe..."

They pace for hours searching the horizon, as if waiting... hoping. It's their common lore, their very DNA calls out to them that the phantom ships will come back, laden, oh so heavily, and it all will be as it had once been. A time of plenty. Masters once more of the Universe. Wealth and power such as these scions once knew was their due. But time weighs heavily each day as they roam the shores, searching, dreaming.

At times the loss seems overwhelming but each lives with beautiful memories...of plenty. And the dreams, oh the dreams--
Back in the Market, again. Another chance. One more big killing, just one. Sure to be different. Way different. Any way to game it? Hope so. Can't lose hope. Can't. Someday...'Maserati, Donzi, Rolex, the Dakota...Maserati, Donzi, Rolex, the Dakota...Maserati...--

On Molokai, once the site of a despised Leper Colony, and ignored by the Cargo Cultists as a warren of hippies and new-agers, life is radically different. Loss of the old way of life, while mourned, is not paramount with them. Time is regularly set aside to contemplate the loss and to examine what it means to each individual. The core of their collective lives is in the music and art they create.

The clan too, had a ritual but of a different order than the Maui Cult. At gatherings, sometimes at dawn, they would intone this Mantra: Being not Becoming, Being not Becoming, Being not Becoming...Om! ...and Again.
This was their way of focusing on moment-place-being and rejecting dreaming of future in lieu of the present. A rejection of the modern shibboleth that proscribes the reality of here and now as never sufficient unto itself. Always the future; seldom the present, never ever,right now.

Most of the clan formerly lived in the Pacific Northwest and had long lived without the need of every modern convenience. Happy in rough cabin or yurt, they had neither the means nor the inclination to transport tons of food stored in cans and pails, and charged with nitrogen for long life, as did the Cultists. Nor did they bring kilos of precious metals, gemstones and numerous weapons, as those Maui people had done. What they did bring, however, were survival skills and a sense of purpose and direction to their lives.

They did manage to bring copious amounts of paints and brushes and were adequately supplied with yards and yards of canvas in excellent condition from the classic sailing vessel that carried them to Molokai. Stretching and framing this bounty gave ample surfaces on which to create Visionary Art, the foundation of their spiritual lives and ethos.

Summer Dawn, a favorite among the artists, formerly lived at the Northern terminus of the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia. Living in close proximity to the Sliammon Band of First Nation peoples, she knew much of their ways. So it was this dynamic individual who, more often than not, was consulted for directions and guidance on a range of subjects.

"Summer," cried Zen Wren, " This fish is still raw!"
Summer cleaned her brush and left her canvas. "Sweet heart. You have the circle just right but the smoke is all over the place. Put up another screen to the windward. Remember? Wind is no friend to the smoke."
"I forgot. Sorry I interrupted you." she apologized.

An important staple was fish smoked the ancient way by racking each split carcass flesh side to the smoke source. Each was supported on a wooden rack spaced in a circle around a fire pit. In this fashion the surplus catch was preserved. They learned to do the same when a feral pig or Axis deer had provided them with a surplus of meat in need of preservation. Diet was balanced with macadamia, coconuts and for a treat, coffee and sugar.

Summer had no sooner picked up a brush than Thanta Rose, dusted over with flour, shoved a pot towards her. "I can't get this bloody mess to stick. Look at it," she cried. Summer peered at the contents. "How many eggs did you use?" "Oh God!", Thanta Rose was mortified.
"Bannock won't stick without," weighing the contents, "for this lot, at least three." Summer decided.They were using macadamia nuts as the flour, shredded coconut for substance, eggs of course, and bacon grease with what ever berries they could find, in the bush bread.
"Wait 'til the fish smoking is finished then heat up the fire for the bread," she said. "Back in the day the tribes just wrapped the dough around a stick and put it near the fire to bake."

"No way," said Thanta. "Way," said Summer.

The bread dough was pressed flat inside fry pans and the pans tilted against the hot coals. With enough sugar and salt in the mix it was quite tasty. Summer winced when she thought of what her teachers on the reservation would have made of this concoction. But bread was bread for all of that.

The clan had chosen to settle on the North Shore at Kalaupapa the site of the former leper Colony. They called the settlement Damien Village honoring the Belgian priest who had long tended the sick in the past. The clan had been well aware of the possibility of needing to leave North America before it all went critical. They, as had countless others, watched sadly as the disasters began piling one upon another.

The Gulf fishery loss from the oil gusher; the precipitous dropping of the Ogallala Aquifer level supporting dry land grain harvest in the American West were duly noticed but the failure of Salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest in particular, struck home for the locals. Chesapeake Bay and North Atlantic dwindling seafood harvest added to this but what proved to be the real crisis maker was the complete failure of the food delivery system. Unfortunately, Piggly Wiggly, Safeway or Gristides' fully stocked grocery shelves were treated as a given and the collapse was hidden from the public until it was too late. Local suppliers, long neglected, could not begin to fill the need. There was hunger.

Molokai was a logical choice as many of their number had past association with all of the islands in the chain. Summer Dawn had done live performance painting at Alchemeyez on the Big Island many times as had several of the other artists. Thus when it came to a final decision the Hawaiian Islands was the chosen destination and Molokai the chosen home site.

We have two disparate groups from a culture that had contained elements of its own destruction, striving to survive. Despite similar origins, at least in potentiality and proximity, the totality of their lives could not have been more different. Their fates? Unknown to us as to themselves. Clan or Cult... your choice?

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Opus Collocus
by Robert Magill

Look at yourself if you dare.
What strange combination of wild genes
Caused you to end up this way?
How in the world did an otherwise garden variety ape
Make fire, lose sexual restraint
And end up like you?
Naked, with anytime sex and pretty much
Unable to cope.

Now fire's a bit dicey to handle in a great furry overcoat
So not much happened with it
At first.
But one day some bundles of joy came along
Sans furry coats, they were starkers you see.
The game was on with the fire by then, but
All that bare skin!
My, my, what's to be?

If it had been only one or two that were weird
The hyenas would have gotten them sure.
Hairless most of the new bunch.
But babies are hard to come by, even strange ones
Really strange as ever could be. .
They were turned inside out more like rabbits or rats
No fur at all we could see.
What on Earth!

What to do? Can't feed the crop to the beasts.
Besides the mothers were frantic.
"It's so cute, in it's way! Don't harm it!" they say.
So the naked little babes grew into big
Naked adults.
We learned to handle fire by using an old gnu hide.
If you bought into the clothes for modesty fibs,
Nope: barbeque bibs.

And the hairless kids! They all became fire bugs.
You know how dangerous that stuff is!
Well, these devilish kids treat bonfire as a new game
Of child's play.
But then they need not worry of bursting into flame
Those fur-less little showoffs!
They don't go up in smoke if they get to close and roast
Like we do.

Those kids started eating all kinds of things that
They'd half burn up on sticks.
The very idea!
I will say many things are quite tasty done that way
But who knows where all this fire business
Will lead.
I for one like my food less done but that said, it's not really
That bad!

Those new kids gave us fits.
They had acres of lush, soft, silky epidermis and
Full time steamy amor.
No bothersome overcoats. Well just a token patch...
For auld lang syne.
Full time naked sex and the secret of fire would
Give any self respecting parent a
World of grief!

Both things together is a big, big pain.
And it doesn't get any easier. Slowly, very reluctantly
Began that
Which we long beards knew early on.
It's time to put on some cover-up to keep order
And peace in the cave.
One word of late does resonate, more often than not it is

So it began.
The business of the putting-on and the taking-off
Of surrogate overcoats.
Clothes, that is.
Big waste of time and energy
Weaving and skinning and sewing. The rules!
Oy vey. How much, how little, when, where
Ad nauseam.

My part in the story ends about now.
Only a few oldsters remain of the old kind and
That is the way it should be.
Our kid's, kid's, kids will follow the thread of time
'Til they too leave the stage.
But that's for them to tell of a proud history
If it is now in the main

Hello. I know something of my people to tell you.
We were great travelers and tellers' of stories
Of oceans and seas in our path and
Mountains at our back.
Rivers of sand lay below one path and terrible cold
At the other. I sewed. My hair was the color of rust and
My face of yak milk. I had three babes
Two lived.

Stories of a better place had us follow down the great river.
I grew old on the journey but my babes
Grew strong and long forgot
The old ways.
Others will tell the story of the people who lived long;
Long enough to see the time of the ice and
The good time and then the ice again
And still we lived.

Until. It happened first in the land near the sand.
A few at first. Then more. Still more all the time.
We were bewildered.
The new ones were like us but not of us.
We were fair, they were dark. We liked them.
They liked us.
The babes came in time and they were different.
We liked them.

When there were more of the new babes than us
Some grown ones moved away toward
The rising light.
At least so the ancient ones tell us.
Stories retold when important gatherings happen.
Not sad tales but still...we wonder
How they fare and should we go to the new light
As well.

After the last big ice went away a tale is told of
Another leaving of our people.
But now the path is toward the pale sun
That stays so long.
Fewer and fewer are the old type people seen now.
Higher we travel toward the lands
Where the ice once had been covering over
The grass.

We are mostly all the new people now.
Small bands remain of the old.
The large water is near and many leave
To live nearby.
Brave ones go out on the big water to follow the sun.
We see not one of the old type people
Just their empty caves. Alas. They lived here for
Most all of time.

What came next started after the last big ice time.
The hunters hunted and the gatherers
Gathered as always.
Then the gatherers became diggers and, eureka!
Agriculture. This was the real thing the future...
Full bellies and some leisure time courtesy
Of the women.

The women let their power slip away to those
Under-employed former hunters now goat
And camel wranglers.
Prophets and martyrs at every oasis hectoring
The unwary by day. Their hapless flocks by night.
Damning the unreachable. Stoning the backslider.
No longer under-employed now pious
Stewards of eternity.

Cobblers of many small truths
Into large lies.
Dazzlers of the easily moved, the
Desperate, the forsaken who yearn for larger truths
And only wee small lies.
Several of the biggest liars have recruited global hordes.
Meanwhile the Greeks learned
How to think.

Alas! They taught the Romans. Trust us said they and thence
A millenium of gore was born. Exit Samnites
Luisitani, too and Albans and Sabines
Can't forget the Argosians O no. Rue.
The Latins gone. Forgotten? Maybe, and the dear
Old Spartans brave but dead.
Still at end the Empire into history slid with
Scarcely a whimper.

Quiet now. That fitful scratching noise? Monks
On dry skins salvaging thought and deed. Blessed be those scribes
But rescuing those ancient desert ravings and small truths may
Not have been so wise.
Armed now with the Word they set abroad to
Recruit anew the holy army.
The desert message writ in gore and peace was never
Known again.

With the reign triumphant chattel was amassed unparalled. Firstly
All females, the sex into bondage. Infidels dutfully done in.
All treasure for taking.
All beasts into proclaimed stewardship cast
And for battle caught foe, alas
The chains.
Mere arrow, axe and mace blazon desert minions' zeal
For now.

Monastaries for the parochial few led in time
To University leaving the many to life's instruction
Also known as being
The franchise expanded reluctantly to include "useful idiots".
Scholars and Gentlemen.
Now the desert minions would have champions
By legion.

In the Middle Kingdom dragons grew fearful for
Such awful noise had come.
Fire in tubes that drove them away
Never to be seen again.
Salute! Salute! Begone demons.
Strangers came to the Kingdom welcomed
But warned against knowing the recipe for
The Dragon weapon.

Theft. Deception. On camel's back the secret left
The trusting Kingdom.
Plodding toward the sand people early
In it's journey. Later to lodge with the baptised where
Piety seethed and enemies grew like
Mushrooms after horses.
Cannonading madly those angelical stewards
Of eternity.

The takings began.
Rare a yard of the globe unnoticed by the pious
As conquest or conversion fodder.
Each pagan household upended despite worth
Exceeding the usurper's own.
No matter that.
Monkish scratching etched the Word for all time.
All persons. Amen.

Pray tell how a humble ministry
To village and desert wanderer led to
And Crystal Worship Palace? The least
Materialist soul of record
Spawned generations of rapacious zealots
Ransacking a planet for piety
And for gain.

Our progress, if such, is in the way of the inchworm
Which must need grasp with his front
Whilst dragging onward his
Rear parts. And again.
His vanguard end needs hind parts holding
For purchase only
Not to anchor the forward movement with
Sternest tradition.

Poor creature. Desert minions to the rear lag back

And myopia joins narrow wisdom
Going forward.
Perilous journey with parts joined nicely in tandem
But solo effort
Brings chaos and struggle. While destiny
Is revealed only by
The inch.

Vague as our fate remains, the desert minions
Doubt not the day of our birth.
Scouring monkish scribblings brings
The aha! moment.
With that instant writ firm, all later discovery brings scorn and threat.
Time, a bother and impediment, is throttled back
To fit the desert calendar exact, lest
Doubt emerge.

Machines employed and vile draughts brewed to
Stay new thought from ever tainting
The faithful.
Show the rack. Behold the fire and irons.
Enough? Why will they not convert nor
See our truth revealed and what glories await?
Imps and demons poison all
Who doubt!

Lure the peasant from his fold to kneel and
Labor all his days at parchment and wine press
And the bell ropes.
Equip with a tongue so old and forgotten that its drone
Would cower all rogue dissent.
Tell of lesser breeds who need succor
Or bondage and how the parchments
Command it.

The freed serf and vassal and bondsmen too
Gladly aped hard Roman and thinking Greek as well
In yolking others to their will.
Centuries of men in chains leave evidence of
Grand spectacle for their driven effort.
No onset of humane regret manumit those held so
Long 'til better power than human muscle made
Them free.

Oil of whale and then of ancient ferns and such
Flowing from deep pit caused water to
Boil and spit.
Drove the engines of the newly freed serfs and made
Leisure to devise torments fresh
For sundry foes.
Onward the Juggernaut of devout
Desert minions.

Conquest and mayhem and decades of war
And more again as quick as the
Stink clears.
On and dreadful on 'til this very day and again surely
Religion the beastly side our nature. Need to pray and
Urge to slay
Dwell together.

Whilst Barons feudal did John the King coerce to
Magna Carta sire a lusty bairn was
When gray of beard that babe had met
Another ancient one.
Whose da was born the very year
English pluck routed brave Frenchmen at

Now that wee babe with long lived luck
In dotage knew another such who's own dear mother
Came alive the very day
Great Lear appeared upon the stage.
For just three mortal spans of years made
Creaking steps of times past appear
Less daunting. Six stout hearts carried us to
Elizabethan sphere.

Nearing now our present era aided by
These leaps in time to learn of a Bard's namesake
Babe who too grew eld.
And chanced to meet another crone of
Countless years who told
The singular precedent of one
Whose papa timely arrived when
Adams, John was President.

To be or not to be a King our
Republic's Princeling heir pondered, then agreed
To forsake the crown.
Majestically he searched in vain to find an American heart
Not depraved or corrupted. More darkness than light
Filled their souls and thus were unfit
For a Republic. Low born. Base.

It was a Nation, that much is true and
A new Republic, too. Though some saw murder, theft
And jingo seeping through.
But winners write the tale that longest lasts.
There was a wilderness to tame
And treasures greater than ever known before
Lay at every patriot's door.
For the taking.

Tom J. came along when we needed a friend.
Eight years had he but old Adams, J. scarce half that
To rule. Good friend Tom fiddled and took all
The House commanded and kept all his bought help
In field, kitchen and manse.
Tom was no friend to woman or hired man who
Dared wish a ballot to cast, if you please. Was Tom J. truly
A friend... indeed?

Polish an oaf and he cleans up so nicely.
Put his hands on a throttle with caboose
Far behind.
Varlet now literate reading solemn at law while
Steamboat Willie flickers about on
A wall.
Brave and new the world is our oyster

Republic gone. Lasted but scarce a half century! Egad.
Then on that slippery slope. Big chunk of neighbor Mexico.
Some idyllic pineapple isles
And next whatever Spain had worth the taking.
Hush! Be loath to utter aloud or even think
If loyal patriotic and discrete
That foulest of foul word that stink...

Our RNA, our very genes demand we must always grow.
Go West Young Man and Eminent Domain and Westward Ho!
But no Nation unless some hidden fugue propels will endlessly
Grow the whole world over.
No wisdom voice to mock us as we willfully grow, but never do
Grow up.
Unlimited growth is a perfect tell but only by a metastasizing
Cancer cell.

The game is up. Every day, in every way it slides away and
We have no clue as to how it ever got that way.
We are not unique, never were. We are not all good
And wise and noble.
Only motion and noise and none to say Stop! Pause!
Between the human and the truly humane we are but a link
And a messy bit of unfinished celestial business

I think.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Farewell Noble Spirit of the Enlightenment

Approaching the End of Patriarchy?

Have we, in the final analysis, simply cloaked prior eons of chaos, darkness and base instinct with a veneer of sophistication? Have a few bold, courageous new ideas about reality a few centuries back, augmented with enormous natural resource and energy sources, blinded us to those lurking reactive forces?

If again back in thrall to those lesser impulses, are we, at best then, a clumsy work in progress? A dubious link between the human and the truly humane and a messy bit of unfinished celestial business pretending all is well with us.

Dorinda Outram:

"Enlightenment was a desire for human affairs to be guided by rationality rather than by faith, superstition, or revelation; a belief in the power of human reason to change society and liberate the individual from the restraints of custom or arbitrary authority; all backed up by a world view increasingly validated by science rather than by religion or tradition."

In ever increasing areas of the world are not critical signs pointing to a rapid reversion to a earlier mode of existence? For a few centuries now, easing of daily existence, along with greater material resources, has been followed by vastly greater fecundity that permeates even remote areas. But lately the very planet seems to be complaining that for centuries we, it's self-proclaimed stewards, have not acted wisely. As the privileged species, it seems to say, our housekeeping is atrocious; the place is a mess. Clean it up!

We have degraded, polluted, over-populated and taken up vastly more than our share of all that exists here. It has never been worse and that is because never before have we been able to take so much, so quickly, for use in the present; denying it to the future. Our legacy to the heirs, writ clearly and proudly, is, "You shall have nothing if we can help it. We are spending your Planet; go somewhere else. Maybe we'll overlook and leave behind something useful, something that doesn't take powerful machines to bring forth; that's doubtful. You will, future persons, if you are lucky, become scavengers, salvagers and junkmen, because we will leave plenty of that."

Apparently it will not be outer space to which we will then go, as many have dreamed. Like moths to a bulb we have risen grandly to the heights but also like the moth we grow exhausted (and broke) and succumb to gravity. ( America has difficulty even delivering the daily mail lately.)

On some level, mostly subconscious at this point in time, Westerners know the game is up. That the powers that be are not leveling with us. The information sneaks in stealthily that everything is different from what we are told. That things will not be returning to what we've known in the past... ever.

All sorts are wild and bizarre statements and actions will be the new norm for the nonce. Without information free from spin and slant people will thrash around for guidance and direction. A lot of this will be frightening for many, certainly unpleasant, but not unexpected after several generations of disinformation serving as truth. Anything we are told these days, particularly on the very best authority, best forget it and keep digging around. Somewhere beyond the noise is the truth.

Carl Jung cautioned that if we did not soon find a universal understanding of what makes us human the future looked dim. That perhaps we will see a gradual collapse of our material way of life and enter into a time comparable to the Dark Ages. The failure to examine in depth the actual nature of reality as opposed to the arbitrary hunches and dogmas currently in vogue fail to ground mankind within nature and the scheme of things. In no regard are we meeting the future united, prepared and in agreement on what we really are and what we really need. If we couldn't fix things during good times, how on Earth will we do it now?

Part of our own dilemma stems from devotion to a aggressive, militant fundamentalism. For decades our principal activity has been the outfitting of legions of missionaries (armed to the teeth of course) setting out bravely to convert the unwashed, the unbelieving and the disrespectful, hopefully at a profit. With missions in hundreds of bases everywhere our brand of Americanism and Christian fundamentalism has alarmed the world. But as Professor Chomsky reminds us, it did all begin here. We do own it.

Noam Chomsky:" We must bear in mind that the US is a very fundamentalist society, perhaps more than any other society in the world - even more fundamentalist than Saudi Arabia or the Taliban. That's very surprising."

"Until 1950, there was no entry for fundamentalism in the Oxford English Dictionary; the derivative fundamentalist was added only in its second 1989 edition." Wikipedia

We also learn these inventions, spawned early in the Twentieth Century by fledgling Divines and Dons, at Princeton Theological Seminary, were social skirmishes whose time had come. The creators were ambitious and zealous: to defend orthodox Protestant Christianity against the perceived threat of Darwinism and liberal theology. Sound familiar?

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
John F. Kennedy

Naturally our militaristic minions around the world have not gone unnoticed by the locals. Religious zealotry begets more of the same and lately half the globe is seething with it. Thus far, the second - stringers, the so-called BRICs, have not caught the plague. Not yet. But then it's the fifties in China and we all know where that era led elsewhere. The Middle Kingdom version is sort of the equivalent of hundreds of Levittowns being thrown up against a background of Berlin in the nineties replete with construction cranes to the horizon. And, oh yes, a political regime resembling the hairy hand of McCarthyism we all enjoyed so much.

A Beijing Scenario:

It's the fifties in the Middle Kingdom and the cruisin' has begun. Picture this scene out of "Chinese Graffiti" where forty million single dudes in spanking new SUVs cruise endlessly trying to pick-up, get this, NO chicks! Now that they produce more cars than the US the bumper stickers could shout, "What's Good for Great Wall Motors is Good for China!" Fifty years of 'one childness' has produced a bumper crop of ...testosterone.

Good luck with that!

All in all, the old guys who run things in Beijing should look around the world, especially in the West, to see where all this 'progress' might lead. Instead of benefiting from seeing where we stumbled they seem determined to end up the same way, broke, confused and angry. Nobody ever learns, it's our charm as a species and may bury us yet.

Now males, and especially older males, have much to offer but they really should be regarded as useful idiots. Aside from certain mental qualities that enable them to stand slightly aside from life's realities and do interesting things abstractedly, like build stuff and blow up stuff, they should never, ever, be allowed near the sources of power.

Two things, and only two, are commanded by nature: reproduction of species and death. All else is option. Males are largely indifferent to the former but appear much devoted to the latter.Too often the violent demise of some other male is a consuming focus of male effort. Now males are all right as far as we go but we have gone way too far for way too long. A thousand generations is quite enough as we, all of us, are now quite noticeably...stuck. We are stuck in the here and now; stuck in today.

The Earth has endured a thousand generations of male domination. Human life may one day soon be forfeit as a result. An innate lack of future orientation sufficient to overcome exploitation of the planet for temporal gain suggests males are unfit for continued leadership. Recorded history and mythology are testimony to the propensity of the gender to build, destroy, and kill with blatant disregard for future aspect. The male mindset that has been governing the globe lacks a clear future inclination and could lead the species to extinction if allowed to continue unabated

What to do? Well, the distaff, on the other hand, at least live from month to future month much of their lives; a big improvement over the male day- to- day plodding vision. And on occasion the femmes live several months out ahead; nine months out to be exact. In this way the future can be somewhat sensed as existing beyond now and beyond a single generation.

Is this then, a different way of viewing existence, of living along a different time line, what the human race sorely lacks as a lodestar? Orientation and planning with emphasis on the future rather than the temporal. Something that many females possess but which has been trivialized and disregarded in favor of what could be interpreted as male theft of the future for a specious patriarchy today.

There is likely no community on the planet where reversal or even lessening of current gender domination could take place in any meaningful way. In fact billions of people are expressly forbidden by theology to even contemplate such a transition. An advocacy of this notion might lead to excommunication, stoning, beheading or at least a banishment to the nearest desert for the audacity. Most theologies consist of many small truths cobbled together as one big lie; male supremacy.

So an arrangement that could possibly save the species from itself will have to await a post apocalyptic time. Not an ounce of power will be willingly ceded until civilization crashes around us. Why then is the example of a society which managed to exist far longer than any other known, and with near equal female participation; the three thousand year track record of Ancient and Pharaonic Egypt ignored as pagan and effeminate? Because it's better to risk total cataclysm and perish than to have them running the show!

Perhaps It all started after the last ice age. The hunters hunted and the gatherers gathered. Then the gatherers became diggers and, eureka!, agriculture. Thank's ladies! This was the real deal: civilization. Not the hobby-shop, toy and gadget world the now underemployed hunter bunch dreamed up. No this was what made it all happen. Full bellies and some leisure time courtesy of the femmes. But the gals let their lead slip away and the hobby-shop became the world.

What kind of a future will they make for us if women regain the leadership? What it won't be is the hobby-shop, gadget and garage-band world;that city center/phallic oases guy's world, repete with extraordinary violence, it has been for generations. It will, early on, necessarily revert to the most basic of basics, growing stuff to eat, full tilt.

Restaurateur and Chef Jose Andreas of 'Julio' in Bethesda, Maryland was interviewed recently on NPR radio and made the most profound energy statement I have heard in years.

"But I think the most important is to remind everyone that the most important source of energy is not gas. The most important source of energy is food, because food is what keeps us - the humans - with energy. So we need to start thinking about food as the most important source of energy, because it's the energy that keeps moving us, the people - the people of America, the people of world.

... I hope that we're going to start taking seriously where our food comes from. Because right now I don't think we do. And we need to start making sure that our politicians understand that the most important thing is our food, period. And food should be un-negotiable..."

We may become a tribe of earnest junkmen recycling gadgets and gee-gaws; eternally recycling for employment. The ladies just trying their best to keep the babies warm and healthy. All the while finding and setting priorities, including the amatory arrangements. If it doesn't appear to make sense unto the seventh generation it don't git done! And that's not negotiable, pal

The Roman Empire slid into the backwater of history without a whimper. Will we, the 'can do' people, the inventors of damn near everything, the flyers to the moon; will we do the same thing? Very likely. Unless things change in a big hurry, an historical backwater is our likely destination,too.

With even a tiny clear glimpse of our future prospects America could wake out of it's trance and begin to prepare. Slowly, very slowly, in all probability. Committees, of course, endless committees, but that's okay. As long as they are realistic and not simply bent on returning to what cannot be sustained any longer. Hopefully the message that emerges from all this collective wisdom will be...

Stop! Stop everything!

We're broke. We're losing irreplaceable energy supplies rapidly. We're despised globally for bringing it all down on everybody's head by sheer hubris, endless war, and willful interference on a massive, Crusader like, scale for a century or so. It's up to us, alone, if we intend to survive as a viable entity.

Where to start? Sensible priorities might help. The time has come for National Triage. It can't all be saved. So what's important? Food, clothing, shelter, fuel and transportation. What? That old stuff? Yep, exactly. That's were it's at.

Well, we can handle all that, we already do. Sure, but on credit, yours, mine and the government's; at the sufferance of others. Those days are ending rapidly. As a debtor nation and debtor society the barbarians can arrive at the gates any day in the form of creditors demanding payback. On that day it's all over. Backwater time for sure.

How do we keep the wolf at bay? Maybe by living for the future for a change. The future to a farmer means planting now for harvest later. It doesn't mean waiting by the dock for dinner to arrive from farmers thousands of miles away. It also means less crop planting dedicated to cow and hog (and automobile) gullets and more stuff that goes straight to human nourishment.

The future also would appreciate us saving a little something prior to its arrival. Like fossil fuel? If we made our own jeans, bath towels, footwear, etc.etc. ourselves (we did once, remember?) we could save a little petrol for the future. Might come in handy, who knows? We could use what we manage to save now to keep the lights on, the food cold and the house warm, down the road. And put a little aside to carry us comfortably around instead of needing to walk everywhere.

As we rapidly edge toward the end of a surfeit of cheap and plentiful energy based on the consumption of irreplaceable fossil fuel, a bitter ' historical' reality begins to present itself for our consideration.

For three centuries we have developed a growing dependence on highly concentrated forms of what is basically solar energy, sunlight, to ease our burdens and grow our societies. Before the general use of coal and later, petroleum, we were limited to hydro, wind, firewood and, if the hunting was good, whale oil, to help us. But what formed the basis of our walking around energy usage was horse,and human, muscle power.

Human power, beyond the personal and familial, was augmented by hired help and/or owned help. History is rife with doleful accounts of the later. In fact it was only in the 20th century that chattel slavery was finally abolished worldwide. Legal human slavery existed in the lifetime of a few elderly people still alive today.

How fantastic is a scenario predicated on the gradual lead-up to a condition of want and coercion that would lead one or more societies to consider reverting to that 'peculiar institution'? And if conditions had so deteriorated as to make the unthinkable attractive who would take the first step?

David Suzuki said "We must reinvent a future free of blinders so that we can choose from real options."

A resilient globe, Earth, having managed to absorb constant assaults on its integrity for eons is now beginning to show vulnerability. Human populations were not sufficiently numerous nor technologically advanced enough in the past to cause grievous planetary harm. This is no longer true. Every day we come closer to the point of no return and nowhere is seen the remedy for reversing possible terminal decline.

We are not unique, never were. We are not all good and wise and noble. Too many pictures, too many reports have surfaced of too many nasty deeds done in our name all over the place for too, damn long. Too much money sticking to the hands of too few of us and too many lies about why that is. Folks are not as ready as they once were to drink the cool-aid or believe the half-truths and absolute fictions ever so slyly promulgated; about why things need to be this way.

"Nothing will see us through the age we're entering but high consciousness, and that comes hard. We don't have a good, modern myth yet, and we need one."

Robert Johnson

None among us living or dead is really fit to be called humane. The best and noblest among us is but a passive enabler of a species given to denial of future entitlement in favor of present utility. Notice the ones in those pictures with swollen bellies and flies on their eyes are never the mothers. We husband the breeders; forfeit the young...the future.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Proclamation: Ex Cathedra

Stories About The Future - A submission for ADR

A Proclamation: Ex Cathedra
by Robert Magill

"It's better than just sitting here in the dark freezing", he grumped.
"We're not freezing. Don't be such a...", Margot sounded.
"Wuss", another.
"You're not gonna fall for that stupid billboard, are you?", Jeffery was incredulous.
"Or those crappy fliers?", she said.
Blake looked anew at the yellowish document he was holding. It was on low quality newsprint; all that was available recently. Still he was taken by the simplicity of the message and the threat of change in his life it proffered.

Your Planet Needs You to Volunteer
A Call For Volunteers

It went on to say more detailed information was forthcoming soon and that it would be an opportunity of a lifetime. Blake had spent his few short years avoiding volunteering for much of anything but the alleged source of the call both intrigued and annoyed him.

"Your Planet! Who would have the gall to even dream up such a scam...the chutzpah", he said to no one and everyone, " that gets me." Margo pulled her blanket layers more tightly around her. "Blake, you've got to be kidding. Anybody can see it's a come-on. Somebody want's something from us."

Jeffery, who was finishing up the last of his ration roared out with a mouthful. "Let's get off it, Ok. Enough!"

The four who were sharing the flat had little in common except the day-to- day idleness that was endemic all around. All their individual and collective energies were devoted to bare existence. The malaise these twenty-somethings were experiencing was nothing unusual in the latter part of the twenty-first century.

They had grown up constantly reminded to be thankful they lived in a part of the world where people could still have hope for better times and not the really wretched areas elsewhere. It was difficult to feel fortunate with winter setting in and knowing it was going to be another long grind until spring.

Since power had been off most of the day and never was on after nine PM they soon drifted off into fitful dozing.

Clark was slightly older than the others and woke with the pale October dawn. With effort he arose clutching his blankets about his tall, somewhat gangly, frame. They were all slightly gaunt now as rations were minimal. He made an effort to not even think about eating this early. When he had shaken off sleep remnants and wandered closer to the front of the flat, which may have been a squat (the guy who collected the modest rent seemed dicey, maybe not even entitled to it) but he kept a little heat on and they had to be content.

"Oh my lord, another one!" In the door jamb was another of the bills Blake had exclaimed over.

Your Planet Needs You to Volunteer
A Call For Volunteers
Your Planet
is annoyed that a great many of you have for several centuries demonstrated a lack of the wise stewardship demanded of a privileged species. Your housekeeping is atrocious, the place is a mess.

Your Planet is concerned you have degraded, polluted, over-populated and used-up more than your share of all that exists here.

Your Planet is greatly annoyed your actions have heated up the place to such a degree the New Ice Age planned to cool things off and rearrange the landscape may have been delayed.

"What crapola!, he shouted, having read this much. This was loud enough to awaken Margot and a sullen Jeffery. "What are you raving about. God it's cold", she complained.
"Here, dig this", handing over the form. They read on.

In order to expedite the ensuing decline of modern civilization and prevent an unseemly last minute rush to annihilation: an appeal is hereby issued as follows;

_ Volunteer now because an orderly "Planetary Die-off" to sustainable numbers is
desirable to avoid overtaxing existing funerary facilities: therefore;

*All First World inhabitants are requested to volunteer early as your impact on
Planet Earth is the most dire and your passing will no doubt be histrionic and
trying for the rest of mankind. Your Planet knows who you are.

They cried in unison at this point. "First World! What is this shit? We live in a slum and eat MRE's and K-rations when we can get them." First World, ha!"

The rancor woke up Blake who grabbed the notice and devoured it greedily. He was much taken by this indictment of the only world he had ever known and reacted accordingly. "This is meant for all of us. It's not a joke. This is real."

"Real your ass", hissed Jeffery, taking the missile and shredding it."Get ready guys, forget this nonsense. We have to get down early to the dispensary if we want to eat tonight. They run out early this time of year."

The four bundled up against the late fall chill and left the flat. On the boulevard opposite the food dispensary a tattered old billboard featured a huge new poster that had appeared during the night. It was a repeat of the headlines contained in the two fliers but added much more. A small crowd had gathered around and they were stunned as they read the additional dictat.

In order to expedite the ensuing decline of modern civilization and prevent an unseemly last minute rush to annihilation: an appeal is hereby issued as follows;

_ Volunteer now because an orderly "Planetary Die-off" to sustainable numbers is
desirable to avoid overtaxing existing funerary facilities: therefore;

*All First World inhabitants are requested to volunteer early as your impact on
Planet Earth is the most dire and your passing will no doubt be histrionic and
trying for the rest of mankind. Your Planet knows who you are.

1. Old Order (Horse & Buggy) Amish. Not part of modern life, therefore
2. Vegans (closeted, or mum about it) who live above anticipated
flood zones worldwide and have demonstrable funerary skills.
3. Organic farmers who live in yurts, make their own clothing and use
plow horses. (No cattle, hogs or other slaughter animals permitted).

"Jesus, it's like the draft used to be in the war days. They have exemptions and we're not included", protested Blake,"That's not fair."

"Blake, you are a flake, it's a hoax. Don't you get it? It's not Big Brother, it's Big Scammer!", Jeffery pronounced with some heat but, nevertheless, some anxiety.

The crowd moved into the food line with muttering and resignation. "What does it mean", from someone. "Can't you read. It's God's will.", we're all goners, now." "Bull! Bull! Bull!", from a doubter.

The friends talked among themselves as they withstood the long wait for their food dole. Their normally dour mood was much augmented by the pronouncements on the poster. With the rations in hand they wandered about the area aimlessly until fatigue and ennui reluctantly propelled them homeward.

Arriving at the flat they were astounded to see another of the odious papers affixed to the front door. The four stared without touching the notice.

Final Notice: PROCLAMATION: Ex Cathedra

Your Planet Will Consider Additional Exemptions for Early Volunteers if They Meet These Requirements:

_Volunteer cowboys and hog wranglers needed in great numbers to supervise the
decline of those populations to practically nil, as quickly and humanely as possible.
Your Planet is choking on their effluence

_Volunteer Urban Futurists to supervise and expedite gradual evacuation of urban centers (first priority to those in flood plains) to densities not to exceed that of, example only, Peoria, Illinois.

_ Volunteer Flotillas to sail the globe rescuing military personnel abandoned at 750 bases when the government defaults and flees. (Contribution of personal
watercraft appreciated.)

_ Volunteer engineers and technicians: mechanical, electrical and especially nuclear to disable, dismantle and permanently mothball all nuclear devices and machines.
Without the resources needed to keep these applications adequately serviced and
maintained they are too dangerous to allow to exist.
Your Planet is made extremely nervous by these devices.

_Volunteer Secular (requirement, there will be a test) Missionaries to Third World (and possibly Second World) societies to prepare them for the shock of the demise of the First World and its bounty.
( For example: See Cargo Cult mentality.)
Additional Exemption:
1. Temporary delay of "Die-off"in under-developed world;
pending satisfactory results from First World "transitions".
Automatic revocation for Planetary Insult ( i.e. behaving like First World). Your Planet will be watching closely.

They tore off the paper, carried it inside and began to inventory their collective and solitary skills in light of the exemption possibilities. Hope flickered.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

In the Shadow of Mount Trashmore


In the Shadow of Mount Trashmore
by Robert Magill

"Way too many. Way, way too many", from an angry voice.
"That's nonsense. Make it twenty", another.
"You're bitter!', someone cried.
The meeting, one of several held to determine the final ratio, had been proceeding well enough until the call for floor suggestions. Now the rancor and dispute threatened to overshadow whatever progress had been enjoyed thus far.

"We need a break. This subject is draining us all.", Myra suggested in an effort to diffuse the rising heat this topic had engendered. She was senior enough to convince the women to pause and a dash from the circle to the toilets resulted.

No one was thrilled at the meeting theme and it had been put off numerous times. Circumstances had made it no longer possible to delay further. What was finally decided now would have lasting repercussions for generations. It could not be taken lightly.
After a short interval they began to gather again and hands were raised for attention. No leader was designated so by default certain speakers had arisen from the ranks. Among these was a slender, rather intense youngster who had impressed the gathering earlier. She was singled out from the throng of hands waving wildly.

"Miriam, go ahead please." Myra said at last.
"I'm younger than most of you so I feel what is decided here could affect me longer and I frankly am scared and nervous at this point. I haven't tried to have children yet and the prospect of what I fear may be a disgusting situation terrifies me,", she confessed.
"You'll love it, honey!, someone opined.
"Can it, we have to make a decision", rang out.
"They won't call you a slut or a whore like they did in my grandmother's day, kiddo", said an older woman.
"You're not the only one affected, missy", another hissed, before Myra could regain some order.

Myra turned to Miriam and smiled slightly to show her sympathy for what was not just the fears of the younger members but had affected them all.
"Agreement was unanimous at all earlier points as you know. I don't have to tell you I know this is one of the most difficult parts of the entire project. But it's crucial. So let's get it done", she said. "We're down to a choice between five or seven. How about a show of hands? Seven"
A great many hands went up but it was obvious it would not carry. "Five." It carried and except for a few disgruntled looks those gathered seemed relieved a decision had been made at long last.
"That'll show them we mean it. Smug bastards needed this to happen", was voiced.

Rising with notes in hand from her place on Myra's left Catherine waited while the murmurring subsided before commencing. In her precise shy tone she began. "A Manifesto. The Hopeful Remnants hereby agree", at this point several women yelled out at once,
"Not yet decided"
"I hate that name!"
"It's stupid. Change it!"
Myra interrupted the hubbub and pleaded,"If we can't continue, all our efforts will have been for nothing. Let Catherine go on...please."
Catherine began again. "The Hopeful Remnants hereby agree we will seek to limit the number of male citizens to one for each five females effective at once."
"Hear, hear"
"At last an end to it all"
"Sic semper tyrannosaurus!", blurted a wag which prompted a few snickers and much relief.

She went on. "Because we, The Hopeful Remnants, having concluded that past male leadership failed to perceive the objective environment was deteriorating beyond all hope of recovery and having persisted in causing ever more chaos and violence globally, we hereby unanimously agree that sort of coercive leadership shall never be permitted again. The state we have found ourselves in, though desperate is not hopeless ...unless we allow that gender to rule the world as it once did."
"No chance in hell!"
"Over my dead tush they will!"
"Men are swine!", was shouted.
"We rule now. Woop. Woop!"

Catherine continued hesitantly. "The great loss we suffered by this flagrant denial of looming fossil fuel shortages and the impossiblity of their replacement with anything that could provide for the sustainability of such a bloated life style led to the massive failure of all systems. The mostly male leadership knew this would occur to a certainty but chose to ignore for political or monetary gain doomsday looming on the horizon. The result of this tragic waste of basic energy resources is that no important manufactory has been possible for us since early in the twenty-second century. We have been fortunate to live near what used to be known by early residents as Mount Trashmore,"
"No big male bobble heads on our mountain!", was quipped.
... she smiles, then continues," and that huge old landfill keeps us reasonably well provisioned. It is a treasure trove for us as is quarrying in abandoned cities and towns for others who...

"It helps that our soil is tilth and easily worked", rang out.
"Keep the guys digging out old Trashmore..."
"...and out of our fields, our crops and our hair!"
"Unless it's comb-out time, kids. Ha."

"...are not fortunate enough to live in such a bucolic setting and have sustainable agriculture. In addition, it has long been our overriding effort to encourage a practice which, so far, seems to regularly produce more female than male babies and, is done without causing harm, and which, furthermore, serves to replace the mate exclusivity and more sinister practices that had favored male offspring. History is rife with female infanticide, one-child only rules and oppressive dowry requirements. Multiple partnering of several males with one female, as a prevailing social norm, was extremely rare historically. It is a tenet of our clan lore that the dominance of males throughout history was partially the result of insistence on singularity in couplings thus shunning competition.This bias may have gone far in accomplishing male dominion, both numerical and social, where it might not otherwise have flourished. Plus, grouped lovemaking is our way of avoiding favoritism, which although it still exists with us, usually does not lead to extreme possessiveness. By removing stigma and coercion from human sexual behavior. a more harmonious libido has fore-sworn most sexual compulsion while adding untrammeled eroticism to our daily fare."
"Untrammeled, that's us!"
"You go ladies!"
"Hush!", Myra felt compelled to caution again.

"Our burgeoning bisexuality coexisting with a benign matriarchy has had an added benefit, the numbers of offspring always being a concern with us; a form of birth control. As we've discovered studying Bonobo ape populations, a surplus of sex can result in fewer offspring. This has the desired effects of strengthening bonds, providing pleasure and discouraging rivalries.
Most importantly, it reflects the latent sensual nature of contemporary females who have grown to maturity with an instinctive knowledge of self-worth and desire without the need for male approbation."
Catherine lowered her notes and summed up with,"That's what we have so far, people. I'll be happy to add whatever additions or amendments we come up with."

Myra announced the end of the formal session and small groups gathered to compare the findings.
She was immediately approached by several of the younger members who excitedly peppered her with questions.

"I just don't get it."
"Neither do I", echoed Miriam rushing up. "What about us. Don't we count as individuals...or anything?"

"Believe me I know what you're going through ladies. I was your age once, you know. We've all been through it", explained Myra. " Something in our makeup cries out for it at a certain time in our lives. So the urge for exclusivity...they called it romance back in the day, is compelling."

"But I feel so complete, so special with him", it was Miriam on the verge of tears.

"I know my dear. It hurts so. But it will pass, and soon. That was one of the most insidious weapons...your vulnerability at this time of life, they used against us to keep the power", Myra said with compassion. "Films and books, Romance Novels, they were called, reeked of this.
An onslaught of sentimentality which kept young women forever longing for the one and only who would fill their hearts...and minds. It bred chronic discontent and impatience with anything less than what some writer's sentimental dreaming's had provoked within them."

Angie, who had hitherto remained silent tossed her hair back and issued a challenge."Do what you want. Listen to her if you haven't the guts to question. I want to know what the hell the shape of my Carlos' thingee got to do with all of this?"

That outburst caused a lot of giggles but got everyone's rapt attention.

"It's not just your guy's thingee, sweetie, it's all the guys...all males. Remember your anatomy lessions?"
"Well some of it may have been. I can't quote it exactly touched on how natural selection equipped men to handle other men impregnating their sexual partners and"

"Organ shape!"
" do remember that. Unforgettable, eh? I think it said 'the coronal ridge offers a special removal service to expunge foreign sperm'. Scientific American, that's what was quoted, I'm positive. In an old, old archive. To our bright gal researchers that was the clue. What was intended by nature but suborned for eons in favor of exclusivity in mating and control of women as chattel."
"We'd still be if they had their way", Miriam interjected.
"True! True! True", came back
"Are they even educable? I don't think so."

Myra continued, "Years ago, the clan's senior women were stunned by the idea of this organ being something so unique; and by the singular investment nature had made in sculpting it. And how, mankind so, how can I put it, so beneficently gifted by nature, had ignored until now the obviously intended usage. Awed by such prescience in nature, this information then gradually morphed into our clan lore and practice and remains so today .Not solely to prevent rivals from copulatory success but to alter the male to female ratio radically, maybe permanently."

"But Carlos and I just want to be in love", Angie pleaded.

"Of course you do. Be in love, make love, with Carlos or Miriam or anyone you choose. You miss the point, dear. Look, it's taken almost two centuries to get the ratio of women to men to where it is now. Between one and a half and two, to one, our favor. That's good but not nearly good enough. Still it's a lot better than about 50-50 as it was in the bad old days. And the paternity decision doesn't affect you or any of us unless..."

"We want to have a baby.", muttered Angie.
"...exactly. Then you must have multiple partners. Carlos will understand. Guys do...usually. Once in a while there's a cropper but's rough on some people. Especially if they have a tendency to be possessive."

"So how do we know this actually works? That it's not just a statistical thing...a freak of nature. We've only been doing it this way for a really short time", said another.
Myra, wearily,"We don't. But so far it seems solid. And so far we are able to keep them from getting the upper hand over us, though they try hard enough!"
"Do they ever! It's like a disease they all have", was advanced by another.
"The guys seem stuck, stuck in the here and now. Women have a more developed sense of time or something" offered Corrine, one of the new comers to the little group.
"Yeah, our future is always a month away, and another month, on and on", Angie griped.
"Well, if you're pregnant the future is many months down the road, nine, to be exact", put in Miriam.

"Myra, I know a lot of it has to do wih the way it's shaped, the head and all. But what really happens, you know, when you do it with a bunch of guys?", Angie was still puzzled.
"Well, when the male thrusts forcefully the other men's semen is sort of pulled up by the glans and away from your cervix so his seed has a better change", she replied.
"So how does that make girl babies?"
"Good question, kiddo. What seems to happen is this technique somehow favors girl seed and not the sperm for making boys. How? Who knows. But history was written by men and directed by men, so maybe sex selection was a part of the plan from way back. There has to have been a darn good reason for nature to take the trouble to perfect a device like the human male organ if it was not expected to be used as a scoop and without multiple partners expected to be regularly involved, what's there to scoop. What other use could have been intended? You tell me.", Myra sighed, beginning to wilt from the effort.

"All this makes me feel like part of an experiment and not very important part either", Angie complained bitterly. " A cross between a brood mare and a test tube. Is there any purpose to it life?"

"Just two things, my sweet. Just two. and we've touched on one. Granted our task is difficult. The planet is not the oasis it once was. We know our hold is tenuous but we carry on. As for the reasons to exist, reproducing yourself is one; dying, the other. Everything else is an option. No, I'm wrong. There's a third. To keep the men from running amok and screwing up the planet again.
Let's break it off now, girls. Holding love and light to you all."

Myra left them and took a position in the center and to remind the gathering of the next stage.

"People. Keep in mind the next Plenary theme is a doozy. Got to face it though. If we intend, as we certainly do, to take charge of our lives and the destiny of the clan...and all the members. Female and male. We have to reach down and summon the courage to begin the discussion. So, as hard as it will be, ladies, next time we meet the agenda will be Death and Dying. How our clan is handling things, what improvements are needed and what is lacking. Big, big issues. That's about it for this afternoon, folks. Thanks for all your help. Blessed be. Oh, I don't have to tell you...keep it to yourselves. We don't need any company!"

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Better dead than fem?

A resilient globe, Earth, having managed to absorb constant assaults on its integrity for eons is now beginning to show vulnerability. Human populations were not sufficiently numerous nor technologically advanced enough in the past to cause grievous planetary harm. This is no longer true. Every day we come closer to the point of no return and nowhere is seen the remedy for reversing possible terminal decline.

Two things, and only two, are commanded by nature: reproduction of species and death. All else is option. Males are largely indifferent to the former but appear much devoted to the latter.Too often the violent demise of some other male is a consuming focus of male effort. Now males are all right as far as we go but we have gone way too far for way too long. A thousand generations is quite enough as we, all of us, are now quite noticeably...stuck. We are stuck in the here and now; stuck in today.

The Earth has endured a thousand generations of male domination. Human life may one day soon be forfeit as a result. An innate lack of future orientation sufficient to overcome exploitation of the planet for temporal gain suggests males are unfit for continued leadership. Recorded history and mythology are testimony to the propensity of the gender to build, destroy, and kill with blatant disregard for future aspect. The male mindset that has been governing the globe lacks a clear future inclination and could lead the species to extinction if allowed to continue unabated

What to do? Well, the distaff, on the other hand, at least live from month to future month much of their lives; a big improvement over the male day- to- day plodding vision. And on occasion the femmes live several months out ahead; nine months out to be exact. In this way the future can be somewhat sensed as existing beyond now and beyond a single generation.

Is this then, a different way of viewing existence, of living along a different time line, what the human race sorely lacks? Orientation and planning with emphasis on the future rather than the temporal. Something that most females possess but which has been trivialized and disregarded in favor of what could be interpreted as male theft of the future for a specious patriarchy today.

There is likely no community on the planet where reversal or even lessening of current gender domination could take place in any meaningful way. In fact billions of people are expressly forbidden by theology to even contemplate such a transition. An advocacy of this notion might lead to excommunication, stoning, beheading or at least a banishment to the nearest desert for the audacity.

So an arrangement that could possibly save the species from itself will have to await a post apocalyptic time. Not an ounce of power will be willingly ceded until civilization crashes around us. The example of a society which thrived far longer than any other known, with near equal female participation, the three thousand year track record of Ancient and Pharaonic Egypt is ignored as pagan and effeminate. Better to risk total cataclysm than to have them running the show.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our American Taliban

or/ There's Bed-Buggery Aboard

Our holier-than-holy folk had been lagging behind in the race for big-time global religious zealotry; i.e. the 'Piety Derby', but no more. Our neo-Taliban will equal or surpass theirs any day now. Maybe the others are way out in front in discipline, doctrine and enforcement but we are catching up rapidly due to our superior technology and True Grit.
Taliban Flag


As the Taliban's Attorney General Maulvi Jalil-ullah Maulvizada put it:

" The Holy Koran cannot adjust itself to other people's requirements, people should adjust themselves to the requirements of the Holy Koran."

Well, OK. That's not bad, not bad at all. But how about this?

Proposed "citizen's flag"

..."The Bible contains everything that they need to know in order to obtain salvation and to live a Christian life, and there are no deficiencies in Scripture that need to be filled with by tradition, pronouncements of the Pope, new revelations, or present-day development of doctrine." Wikipedia

The march to piety begins and ends in the bedrooms of the believers. But it's not always easy doing it for the home team. Check this out:

"Islam has forbidden celibacy, monasticism and castration for such purpose. The Prophet made this clear when he told those companions who were considering acetic forms of life: "I pray and I sleep; I fast and I break my fast; and I marry women. Whoever turns away from my way of life is not from me. " The Prophet not only encouraged marriage but he encouraged those women who are child-bearing. He stated: "Marry the loving child-bearing women, for I shall have the largest numbers among the Prophets on the day of Resurrection." by Ahmed and Ibn Hibban

Is this direct challenge to go unanswered. Will our holy-folk fail to take up the cudgel and let the big numbers go to the other side? Not a chance of that happening! Let the breeding game begin. The Prophet may be in the lead but look who's got Eros bow in hand now: Go neo-Taliban!

Quiverfull ~ is the idea that truly godly families will “trust the Lord” with their family planning. Children are viewed as unmitigated blessings (“As arrows in the hand of the mighty man, so are the children of ones youth, happy is the man who hath his quiver full of them”) and as such, the couple is willing to have as many children as the Lord chooses to bless them with. Artificial or chemical birth control such as the Pill or IUDs are equated with abortion ~ the sin of murdering your own offspring. “Natural” birth control such as Natural Family Planning is not actually “natural” because a couple must abstain at the very time of the month when the woman is naturally more desirous of physical intimacy. All methods of “conception control” is considered a lack of trust in God to provide for the “children of the righteous.” NLQ Stories

What of the children in this contest? Are they to be just useful idiots? Aha, here's a clue:

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: 'Children are tools to achieve God's will,' the Taliban commander told me.

"In a country where the average family size is seven people and the daily wage is as low as £1 a day, many families choose to send their children to Islamic religious schools, where they are given free food and shelter. Now increasingly, the Taliban are recruiting from these schools and paying the families a monthly stipend in return."

"They first call us to the mosques, and preach to us. Then they take us to a madrassa and they teach us things from the Koran," said Hazrat Ali.

" ...Qari Abdullah, a Taliban commander in charge of child recruitment, told me children are an essential element of Jihad. "If you're fighting, then God provides you with the means [to win]. Kids themselves are tools to achieve God's will. And whatever comes your way, you sacrifice it." Children as young as five and six years old are being recruited from poor families, he said....There are 80 million children in Pakistan. More than a quarter of them live below the poverty line. "THE INDEPENDENT

That's a lot of future zealots for the opposition. What can be done to even the playing field? How about this?

Initiative 957 was filed by the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance.

..."Under the initiative, marriage would be limited to men and women who are able to have children. Couples would be required to prove they can have children in order to get a marriage license, and if they did not have children within three years, their marriage would be subject to annulment.

All other marriages would be defined as “unrecognized” and people in those marriages would be ineligible to receive any marriage benefits." ...

...Deep Something

So how do the two camps come down on the distaff gender, you may wonder. Few surprises here. Consider:

As the Taliban's Attorney General Maulvi Jalil-ullah Maulvizada put it:

"Let us state what sort of education the UN wants. This is a big infidel policy which gives such obscene freedom to women which would lead to adultery and herald the destruction of Islam. In any Islamic country where adultery becomes common, that country is destroyed and enters the domination of the infidels because their men become like women and women cannot defend themselves. Anyone who talks to us should do so within Islam's framework."

So how are the ladies seen here at home? Is the model superior to that of the foe? Yes, way to go! Hats off to our womanly-women.

Conservapedia defines femininity as:

"Femininity is the set of principles which form a womanly personality, many of which can be traced to the female reproductive role. While men often master their masculine traits well into adulthood and continually test the masculinity of their associates, femininity is something many women feel is rooted in their early development and is adjusted by picking up societal cues. Feminine characteristics are expressed through female gender roles.

Femininity builds a woman's esteem by enhancing her own interpersonal relationships rather than building confidence through the task-orientation of masculinity. Traditionally feminine traits include being emotional, demure, affectionate, sympathetic, sensitive, soft-spoken, warm, tender, childlike, gentle, pretty, willowy, submissive, understanding and compassionate."

Yeah, yeah, all of that is important but what about the mores? How is bad behavior controlled and evil brought to task?

"Under the Taliban regime, Sharia law was interpreted to forbid a wide variety of previously lawful activities in Afghanistan. One Taliban list of prohibitions included: pork, pig, pig oil, anything made from human hair, satellite dishes, cinematography, and equipment that produces the joy of music, pool tables, chess, masks, alcohol, tapes, computers, VCRs, television, anything that propagates sex and is full of music, wine, lobster, nail polish, firecrackers, statues, sewing catalogs, pictures, Christmas cards. They also got rid of employment, education, and sports for all women, dancing, clapping during sports events, kite flying, and characterizations of living things, no matter if they were drawings, paintings, photographs, stuffed animals, or dolls. Men had to have a fist size beard at the bottom of their chin. Conversely, they had to wear their head hair short. Men had to wear a head covering. " Wikipedia

Awesome! Oh my, tough act to follow. Well, give it your best shot. It's daunting, pilgrims.

However, you must always be careful to pose in a dignified manner – sitting at your desk, for example, or standing on the Capitol steps. Your facial expression should be one of pensive sobriety, as if you’re contemplating how to repeal Obamacare and save this great nation from ruin.

For female members, a conservative dress or suit is fine for photographs; taupe is always safe. For men, the preferred attire is a navy blue coat jacket, a club necktie, and of course your American flag lapel pin (with the stripes positioned horizontally, Rep. Quayle!).

Obviously, all body piercings and tattoos should remain out of sight.

One final point, and I can’t stress this strongly enough: Republican House members should never, ever use their cell phones to photograph themselves shirtless, no matter how “hot” they think they look.

In the event that such a revealing picture does exist, you are absolutely forbidden from emailing it to somebody you just met online. No exceptions
! ...McClatchy Truth to Power

Sorry, folks, you're not even in the ball game. That's limp. Not one word about pool tables, chess, masks, lobster, or nail polish. What about firecrackers? Jeez. oops. Jeepers. Unless the pace picks up in a hurry, there's no contest. What a shame to lose the race by default. Come on now. Ban something!

Quoth the Raving



Julius Caesar

Veni,Vedi,Vici...Sidi ( I stuck around )

Uncle Sam


....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving

All I know, all any of us know, is what we're told.

...Zero Gravitas


Quoth the Raving

If it walks like a depression, talks like a depression, and looks like a depression; it's a recovery.

...Zero Gravitas

Nice paint job

Nice paint job
Watch your step!

Quoth the Raving

Full scale War in Korea; we called it a Police Action
Police Action in Iraq; we call it a War.

...Zero Gravitas


Gene Pool?

Gene Pool?

Quoth the Raving

Ecology is an impending Black Swan quagmire therefore incorporation is anathema to Economists.

...Zero Gravitas


Quoth the Raving

An incoming US President who does not immediately resign his office after having received eyes-only briefings of what's really going on is hopelessly co-opted or delusional.
....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving

We are now a nation of middlemen. What becomes of us if the center cannot hold?

....Zero Gravitas

Quoth the Raving


Why not use some of the red ink to make things Green?

....Zero Gravitas

"Ashes to Ashes"

"Ashes to Ashes"