Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Jeremiah

[Once upon a time there was a man who saw his culture going to hell in a hand basket. He wrote a long poem about it. His name was...Jeremiah]

I wrote a poem when I was sixteen years old, about The City, windows empty gazing over the destruction of the Bombs.

Twenty years later, while I was down with the flu, it came back
as this lament, which is the reason for the title.

The melody is reminiscent of Northfield. The next to the last verse is from
Birmingham Sunday, but that verse came from an even older
English song, the title of which I have forgotten.

Come, gather 'round friends and hear my lament!
That which I love is covered with cement!
I could use an image that was obscene
To describe that grey visage of monumental dreams!

But, why should I care to vent my mad spleen?
When I know someday there grass will grow green!
The towers of steel, glass and concrete,
Will be smashed until they are level with the street!

By the strong, slow rush of roots and green limbs,
Her bones will be crushed and cleansed of all sin!
Dear City I hate! Dear City I love!
I speak not of fate or of judgement above!

Give back the souls and give back the gold!
Give it all back! that which you stole!
Perhaps it shall be there'll be mercy and more,
When the Sword is sheathed after all of these wars!

But, keep up those spells and making those passes,
And your corpse wil be a hell of p o l l u t e d ashes!
Give back the souls and give back the gold!
Give it all back that which you stole!

The men in the forest once asked of me:
How many flowers grow in the salt sea?
I answered right back with a tear in my eye:
How many dark ships in the forest?

The men in the twililght they have asked me twice:
How many flowers grow in the pure light?
And I answer right back with a pain in my heart:
How big are the sharks that swim in the dark?
I thought I had posted this before, but I can't find it with the search function on blogger, sooo, I thought it would be appropiate after y'day's post "A Million Jeremiahs" to put this one up. It's a rather powerful song.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Million Jeremiahs...

Again, we return to the Third Galaxy.

Frankly, I think my unemployed angel is a bit off its stride today

However, this small screed penned by some unknown poet in the Third Galaxy is interesting. It seems to be from after the disaster of the invasion of Wutareck had become obvious to even the most oblivious Arrogant citizen and before Ronald Rexona clapped his hands and ordered the long planned attack on Yuran.

It is well known that this is the event which finally led to the ascendancy of the Supreme Hole -- and we should thank God nothing like this could ever happen in our world.

It is also well known the attack was actually the planning of Rexona's Evil Companion, "Big" Dick Snarly -- Rexona was always more a decider than a planner.

For months up to the day when Rexona ordered the bombers to take off on their black wings of death, the news was filled constantly with reports that it was the Yuranians who were responsible for the utter disaster the liberation of Wutareck had become.

An example, weapons were constantly being shown on television -- weapons which were being made in Yuran. The worst was the super-bomb. It was supposed to be high technology using specially prepared metal disks to allow the deadly penetrating explosion which had been responsible for the death and maiming of so many Arrogant soldiers.

It mattered little that these reports were constantly being shown to be lacking in veracity -- as soon as they were shown what they were, lies and propaganda, new reports appeared, serving up the same dish of disinformation in a different way.

In the case of the super-bomb, the deceit was in the question of the high tech involved in the disks used in the shaped charges -- however, the high tech was in developing the shape of the disks. Once that is known, it is no more high tech that what any well-equiped machine shop can make. The picture at the top is of a disk and you can see the sort that can be made in a machine shop. Just to make sure that you understand that this not some sort of satire, you can see where I got the links at Josh Marshall's place.

This is one of the big tricks of the Bankers of Illusion is to present a headline one day, after a few days there maybe a correction, but not as a headline.

It is the headlines that people remember, the banners streaming along the bottom and top of the glowing screens -- this is what remains injected into the public mind

My heart is heavy, is this how Jeremiah felt?

If so, then there are not one, but a million Jeremiahs...

We stand on the brink of a war which will open the gates of hell.

The things I see, I would not, but having seen them, I cannot say I have not.

There are many who not only see what I see, but see more deeply and completely what is coming down.

It was not some light in the sky or the Great Potato that taught me to see what I have seen -- it was other bloggers.

On the other hand, I would rather not speak of or even whisper these things into a well -- not unless there I can also find on my tongue words of hope, of the dawning of a better day.

The best I can come up with today is that our situation is rapidly extrapolating to a point where we be forced to face a critical Question:

Do we want to survive? Do we want to survive as human beings?

Monday, February 26, 2007

There are Seasons...

I suppose this little thing I found in my poetry bag is a rerun of "...there is a time and season for all things under heaven".

As I don't really recall writing it so, I can't tell you much about what I was thinking when I composed it -- or if I was even I was thinking. Whatever, this piece seems to run in a different direction than Eclesiastes.

There are:

Seasons for which we have no name;

Seasons which cannot be understood or explained;

Seasons which our ancestors knew;

which they, somehow, survived and struggled through...

There are:

Seasons of heat and seasons of cold;

Seasons of changes which have yet to be told.

Seasons of wet and seasons of drought;

Seasons when things happen which we never thought!

Seasons when the sky turns black;

Seasons when day is night and the night is cold and wracked

with howling winds and bitter death,

Seasons filled with the terror of the Fenris' breath...

Seasons of hope and seasons of love!

Seasons of longing for the Good Lord Above!

Seasons of hunger and seasons of feast...

Seasons of wonder and a season when, at last, the greatest are least.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Bubble Ships -- Banging Evolution

I'm doubting that I can tie this "Bubble Ship" series together like I thought.

What I have been writing about is the way that the manifest Universe apparently out-folded from what understand as the Big Bang to galaxies, stars and occasional rocky planets like our Mother Earth.

The point is, the inevitability of this out-folding. Inevitable in the sense of a seed corn putting down roots and first leaves up to the sun.

The next step is how life appeared on this planet. Was She impregnated by some sort of seed from interstellar space, or was it a sort of "parthogenisis", that is, a sort of "virgin birth"?

As they say in Danish, it "isn't good to know", which, in Danish, means you can't tell -- but the literal translation applies also. There are some things which aren't "good to know", in the sense they whack your understanding up side the head.

But, it really doesn't matter. The point is that the out-folding of the Universe brought forth a situation where there was a planet ready for life and whether it was chemical structures falling down from the skies, or an innate proclivity for the formation of complex hydrocarbon chemicals to form in the watery soup of the young planet, it doesn't make all that much difference. The fact is, that is the Way-Things-Are.

Again, the main thing is that once self-replicating chemicals have appeared, for whatever reason, the show is on the road and the force of evolution will, eventually, bring forth beings consciously aware -- it's just as sure as an apple tree making apples.

All this could be (mis)used to make a plea for Intelligent Design, that this "proves" a "designer" made it happen this way. But it would be over my objections.

My main objection is that it explains nothing to say this Universe was formed by an over-intelligent Being outside the Universe.

First of all, it explains nothing, nothing at all, nothing whatsoever.

Secondly, it is an idea put forth by people with a not so hidden agenda, that is (he he) the Intelligent Designer is, wow, surprise, surprise the God of Genesis in the Bible.

The reason is that the proposed Intelligent Designer is "outside" the Creation It Creates -- this is just a wheels-within-wheels sort of thing and explains nothing.

On the other hand, there is no reason that the Universe could not be a Thought (so heavy it fell into space) as I intuited many years ago.

There is no good reason to maintain that What Happened and what was followed by what we know as Big Bang must have been construed by a Someone.

The thought and fire of creation can be much more sensibly thought of as self-eflugent. It makes as much sense and is more simple.

You can make up ideas for how the Earth is the center of the universe, or even that the Earth is flat. The problem is that such theories are very complicated on the one hand and do not lend themselves to experimental verification. Similar are the so-called theories of Intelligent Design -- they explain nothing and, worse, they predict nothing which can be verified by either experiment or observation.

I have deliberately avoided talking about evolution until now for a number of reasons. First or all, because the popular concept of evolution is rather pale and two dimensional.

Perhaps I will write later about it, but let me say this: life is a force, once it appears, a force as real as the four forces of gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak interaction I mentioned earlier in this series about "Bubble Ships".

What I hope you may comprehend is that life is not simply determined by chance mutations -- life is like a player getting dealt cards.

The cards you get, genetically, as a living being are what you get dealt -- but, as a living being, you do the best you can with what you got.

That is the force of evolution -- life don't sit still, it tries and tries and tries.

Like Pete Seeger sang so many years ago Malvina Reynolds' words : "God bless the grass, they pour the concrete over it and it grows up through the cracks".

Friday, February 23, 2007

Bubble Ships -- Banging Water

When I was in high school in Poosah City many, many years ago, I tutored a fellow in chemistry one summer.

He was a good old boy and a friend, but his mind could simply not wrap around the concept of valens, that is the number of electrons an atom needs to "borrow" or "loan" in order to have a complete "shell.

But then, I hit upon the idea of replacing the idea of valens with sexual organs. My friend easily comprehend that an atom could have one, two or more "dicks" or a number of "cunts". From there, he only had to memorise how many of what sort each element had.

The thing with Carbon, is that, to continue with the image, it is sort of a hermaphrodite -- it's AC/DC and can go both ways. That is why Carbon can form long chains, rings, even spheres with itself. If it didn't do that, there would be no proteins, no DNA and no life.

But it was water I had planned to entertain you with today with my surplus of semi-ignorance.

Water is a most unusual substance.

First of all, it's boiling point at what we know as atmospheric pressure is extremely high. Secondly, its normal solid form, ice, is lighter than the liquid. Third, it has an extremely high coefficient of heat -- that is, it takes a lot of energy to heat it up or cool it down. Forth, it can exist in three states, gas, liquid and solid at temperatures we consider to be normal. Fifth, water is pretty much a universal solvent -- one of the first things you want to know about a chemical compound is how soluble it is in water.

The point is, that all of these characteristics of water are crucial to life forms, at least as we know them. True, there are speculations that life could be based on silicon -- but, outside of science fiction scenarios and nightmares, that seem unlikely.

But why does water have such a unique chemistry? There are a number of factors, but the main one is what is known as "hydrogen bonding".

Oxygen, is rather greedy and. when it loans the electrons from two Hydrogen atoms, it keeps them pretty much to itself. The result is that a water molecule is "bipolar". That is to say, it has negative and positive ends. But unlike a magnet, where the north and south poles are on a straight line, with water there are two posive "poles" at an angle of approximately 105 degrees.

Two make a long and rather complicated story short, this in that main reason that water exhibits all the qualities mentioned above -- and many more.

The point of all this, at least why I mention them here, is to point out that a planet like our Mother Earth should form and orbit around a star like our sun in a galaxy like our Milky Way is implicit in the Singularity the immediate consequence of which was what we know as the Big Bang.

Furthermore, the particular chemistry of Carbon and Water along with the chemistry of all the other elements not only make it possible for life, but make it probable, likely, in fact nearly inevitable on, not only our dear Blue Mother, but many, many other planets in the manifest Universe.

Tomorrow, I hope to bring "Bubble Ships" full circle and fulminate about the anti-intellectual bullshit known as "Intelligent Design" and "Creationism".

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Everybody Knows...

Yeah, I know, I was supposed to continue with my drivel about "Bubble Ships" and my two cents towards the debate about evolution and stuff.

However, I got sidetracked because somebody told to sign up on "My Space", which I have done and you can here a recording of "Everybody Knows", a song I knitted approx. 1972. The text is below.

There is a brief story about this song. I was playing some place and this fellow came up and asked if I could write some socialistic songs. I was flabbergasted and flummoxed -- I had just played this song! O, well, at least that let me know something of hoe Guthrie felt when somebody asked him to make a song about the "Ladies' Auxiliary"...

Everybody knows: when the rain falls down,
it falls all over the ground...
And everybody knows: when you chop a tree down,
it falls and makes a great big sound..!

O,don't everybody we need that new society..?
The old one ain't just bugging me --
it's a-gettin'... it's a-gettin'... it's a-gettin'...

Everybody knows: when the shit hits the fan,
it blows all over every man...
And everybody knows: when you see a friend in need,
you lend him a helping hand...

Everybody knows: when the Sun shines bright,
it shines on every hand...
And everybody knows when your Sun goes down
darkness must cover the land...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Bubble Ships -- Banging Chemistry

[I said y'day I would talk about chemistry, but I can see I hadn't given enough atttention to the fourth force. Also, it is important to understand something of how atoms are built up in order, not only to understand their chemistry, but how their physics and chemistry are seemingly inevitable in the way the Universe unfolds from the singularity which became what we know as the Big Bang]

It takes an awful lot of energy to get atom kernels to meld, or fuse together. But, when they do fuse, they release a lot of energy (which can get other kernels to fuse.)

Those of you in the back row paying attention, may well ask, well why doesn't it all fuse together into a giant atom? Well, for one thing the larger, heavy nuclear cores are unstable and the weak interaction tends to "unglue" the bonds holding them together. Also, the amount of energy needed to get atoms to fuse in the first place, increases the larger they are.

The break-even point, happens to be with one of the isotopes of iron. It takes more energy to create elements heavier than iron than they release in their fusion*.

Thus, in a sense, iron is the most physical stuff we know of on earth.

(A coincidence, of course, is that iron is deadly to the fairy folk in most folk legend. Also, iron the symbol of worldly power in most traditions. Thor's Hammer was made of iron. Thor, by the way is the son of Jord -- that is, Earth. His father was Odin, All-Father of the nine worlds.)

It boggles the imagination to know, with certainty, that a sufficiently large amount of apparently chaotic energy MUST coalesce into plasma, then quarks, mesons, bosons and what-not. This inevitable fall-out of the plasma, MUST stick together to become atomic nuclei and these, in turn, MUST become the more complicated atomic kernels -- neutrons and protons held together and ruled by the forces of strong and weak interactions mentioned before.

Lithium, Barium Fluorine, Oxygen, Carbon -- all the elements and their isotopes -- they MUST be formed as a result of the Big Bang as surely as if a jillion angels had knitted them together in some sort of divine Chinese sweatshop,

However, this inevitability would not be obvious to a casual observer until some many billions of years later, when living, consciously aware beings appear in this Universe, beings which can look at the world around them and realise that the prerequisite for their being was the out-folding of the Universe after the "Big Bang".

Was the Big Bang, in fact a "big bang"? Whatever, the reason we call it a Big Bang because we have to call it something.
The point is that Something Happened and the result was what we call the Big Bang and the inevitable result of that was an out-folding of galaxies, stars, suns and planets, all the elements we know of and, finally, life and beings such as ourselves which are, occasionally consciously aware.

When the first stars took form, they were made up of almost nothing but hydrogen with a pinch of helium. After the minor and major cataclysms of novas and supernovas, hypernovas and quasars, some of the hydrogen was transmuted into heavier elements. Even so, the stuff of the Universe today is roughly estimated to be ninety percent hydrogen and seven percent helium.

But this three percent, this stardust, these ashes of eternity -- they are the lion's share of what makes our Earth and any planets like Her. They are the key to the fact that life could and did appear and evolve -- without them, the Earth could never have become our Blue Mother.

(By the way, if she did not frequently keep herself and her children chastely covered with the gentle shawl of her soft white clouds -- life would long ago have disappeared, frozen at night, scorched to death by day.)

When the elements cool down enough to what we, as living creatures think of as "good" temperatures, they begin to interact with one another in a number of very interesting ways -- ways which are obvious and inevitable once you know how and why they interact in these ways -- they form chemical bonds.

What are chemical "bonds"? Just to even begin to really answer that question would require book loads of footnotes!

First of all, though, we have to backtrack a bit and ask: what is an "atom"?

The first atomic theory was proposed by a Greek philosopher about two and half thousand years ago. He postulated that if you cut a piece of, say, iron in half -- both pieces have all the qualities and nature of iron. He intuited that at some point in dividing the iron into smaller and smaller pieces, you would have something that was iron that could not be further divided.

The truth of his intuition was that, from a certain view at least, the Universe is discrete. However, he was wrong on several counts, mostly because the Universe, seen from a different viewpoint is continuous.

This means that a single atom of the element "Fe" is not what we know as "iron". There has to be a quantity of these atoms before we can recognise the qualities of iron -- it's malleability, ability to be magnetised, melting point and so on.

The problem is: we can't quantify how many atoms make a bit of iron -- we can't say that twenty million Fe atoms is "iron" and twenty million minus one atom is "not iron".

The second point where the old Greek was off the mark was his assumption that an atom cannot be divided into something smaller. The fact is, that it can -- and these particles can also be broken into things even more exotic.

What Einstein noted in the intuition he concretised in mathematics (and which has since been verified in a number of practical ways) is that matter and energy are different states of the same thing -- analogous to the way ice, water and water vapour are different states of the same substance -- H2O.

Although I had intended to talk about chemistry, in particular that of Water and Carbon, I realise now that that to backtrack a bit. The way atoms bond and interact chemically has a lot to do with the core of the atom, its nucleus.

Earlier, I said that protons (the core of a Hydrogen atom) can, under sufficient encouragement "meld" and that what makes this possible is the fourth force, the strong interaction or nuclear glue. I didn't mention that there have to be neutrons for it to work. Neutrons are the same as protons, except that they have no electric charge, they are electrically neutral -- therefore the name.

Usually, there are at least as many neutrons as protons. The only atom which does not "need" a neutron is the single proton -- Hydrogen. However, it can be glued to one or even two neutrons. Such are called isotopes. All elements have isotopes and their chemistry is the same -- almost, but not quite!

The dominant isotope of Helium consists of two protons and two neutrons. There is a naturally occurring, but rare isotope with only one neutron -- all other isotopes are exotic, extremely unstable and, in our world, artificially made.

An atom, as you surely know consists of more than a nucleus of protons and neutrons -- there are also electrons. The electron is a rather odd critter, little more than a negative charge with (almost) no mass. The picture Bohr gave of electrons which rotate around the nucleus like planets around a sun is a rather poor analogy -- which he well knew. Actually, the electron is more like a cloud of probability. Furthermore, the electrons must be at certain, discrete distances from the nucleus. Since the position of an electron is a probability cloud, the place where an electron can be is called a "shell".

Each "shell" can only have a certain number of electrons in it. The first shell can only have two, the second eight. It quite quickly gets very complicated. For example, only these first shells can be thought of as spherical. The point to understand here is that there is atoms "want" to have a complete shell. This is accomplished by either "borrowing" or "lending" electron(s) to an atom of a different element.

Generally speaking, elements which have only one electron in the outermost shell or lack but one for completion are the most chemically active. The most common example we see in daily life is Sodium and Chlorine -- which, as soon as they are together as elements form common table salt, NaCl.

Elements where the outer shell is complete have no "need" and therefore are almost completely chemically inert -- Helium is the first of this sort.

This far from explains chemistry, but I hope it makes clear not only why the chemistry of the elements changes as the size of the atomic nucleus gets larger, but also why their chemistry is cyclical, i.e., Helium, Neon, Argon Krypton and Radon all resemble one another in that they are chemically inert.

In regards to life, the most important are, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Carbon.

Hydrogen and Oxygen are important because they form water.

Carbon is important because, as the sixth element, it has an outer shell which is either half full or half empty, depending on how you look at it. What this means is that Carbon can bond chemically in all kinds of ways with any number of other elements, in particular, with Hydrogen and Oxygen, but also Nitrogen, Sulphur and Potassium, just to name a few of the most important.

In fact, chemistry is divided into to categories, inorganic and organic. Roughly speaking, organic chemistry is any compound containing Carbon. Inorganic is all the rest.

Inorganic chemistry deals with less than two hundred thousand compounds.

Organic chemistry deals with several millions -- and the reason is that outer shell which is neither/or -- I said Carbon can combine with a lot of elements, but, most important of all, it can combine with itself!
And that is the secret of life -- in Carbon chemistry we hit the jackpot.

If the chemistry of Carbon was not like it is there could be no life, period. But the chemistry of Carbon is like it is and the reason for that is that the elements form in the out-folding of the manifest Universe with all the certain inevitability that an avalanche falls down a mountainside and not up, that a seed sends its roots down into the soil and its first leaves up towards the light.
Carbon can be Carbon, but without water, H2O, it would matter little. There is something very strange and wonderful about the chemistry of water.

I hope to write a bit about Water tomorrow.
* I'm not completely sure about this with Iron, but I'm pretty sure it is correct

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bubble Ships -- Banging Galaxies

An impression I received one afternoon when I was about fourteen years old while watching bubbles rain drops made on water has followed me all my life:

Simmer rain on streets black asphalt, bubble ships on sheets of water

I described this impression in the first of this series, "Bubble Ships". In the second, "Bubble Ships -- Conscious Awareness", I tried to combine that with another impression I received when, at the same age, I often looked up and saw the Milky Way on a clear night stretched across a black velvet sky in Poosah City.

That I could acquire such impressions is because I live on a world where life appeared some four billion years ago, life which has evolved and which, in the form of the human being, occasionally manifests conscious awareness.

There are a lot of questions which can be asked regarding how it all came about, but, first, let us take a look at this planet at the very beginning, when our Earth was quite new, some four and half billion years ago.

Usually, people say that the Earth was then barren. But, this is misleading for, as we know, She has proven herself time and again to be quite fertile.

The Moon is barren, but not our Earth.

It is not for nothing that many, myself certainly included, call the Earth our Mother.

But, how did it happen to happen that the Earth got there in the first place? The answer is that Something Happened a long, long time ago -- at least twice as long as the age of the Earth today.

What Happened? We can't really say, but we can say things about it, for example:

A thought so heavy that it fell into space...

We can also say that, almost instantaneously after What Happened, there was a point of intense energy and potentiality which defined the entire manifest Universe we know today. This point, or singularity, is what we call the Big Bang.

Immediately, that point blossomed and, with a strange blend of chance and inevitability, out-folded into what we today know as the manifest Universe. That is to say, according to its nature, it expanded and cooled.

As it cooled, the energy became plasma, then curdled and curled up into tiny bits of particles with strange names and, eventually, into hydrogen ions, atoms and molecules mixed up with a pinch of helium.

"O well, that was a nice show!" remarked some of the younger angels, who figured it was time to pack up and go home (where ever that was!) before it got dark...

However, whatever Happened did so with a bit of a twist with the result that the hydrogen dust sort of swirled and clumped together.

(More than one of our creation legends refer to a curdling of primal "milk" or "blood" and that intuition is not a bad, albeit non-mathematical, description of what happened.)

The reason for the "curdling" is that there were at least four forces at work, forming the stuff of this universe in ways we barely comprehend so that it eventually out-folded into the manifest Universe in which we find ourselves.

A fifth force is suspected by some of those who study these things -- this may be another wild-goose chase of science -- or there may a number of other forces we haven't even inkled yet.

Whatever, we know now there are at least four and what they can accomplish in concert is pretty amazing.

The bigger clumps tend to bend space a bit so that smaller clumps and dust from the clouds "fall" into bigger clumps which get, well, bigger.

Kind of interesting at first, but after a billion years or so, it does get boring -- time to go home (again) -- but then, who would have thought that, as those clumps get bigger and bigger, they scrump into themselves they get warm and start to glow, albeit very dully.

It all just doesn't get just colder and further apart. Some of it gets closer and hotter. The younger angels are amazed and they settle down with another bag of pop corn.

The clumping together happens because of one of the four forces -- gravity. A second force, electromagnetism is responsible for the dull radiation.

Eventually though, it looks like this too will peter out, but then, something else happens that you never would have thought -- until you see it happen, then you know it was inevitable.

Gravity is a very weak force compared to electromagnetic force, but its reach is unlimited. Apparently it is a quality of matter -- the more matter and the closer together matter is, the more gravitation.

Although weak, gravity is the like money accruing interest in the bank. If you accumulate enough, it becomes irresistible.

Deep, deep, deep inside the biggest clumps, gravity gets so strong and everything gets so squished, that some of the hydrogen atoms meld together.

This melding is called "fusion" and it gives a bit of a bang, releasing a lot of energy. We (mis)use this little trick to make the terror weapons we call "hydrogen" bombs.

Some one in the back row just asked ask why these hydrogen atoms don't meld on their own when they get close.

The "reason" is that hydrogen ions -- protons -- repel each other. They all have a positive electric charge and, since the electromagnetic force is much stronger than gravity, it keeps them apart.

It's like trying to put the north poles of two magnets together -- they just don't "want" to do it. You can press them together as long as you want, but as soon as you let go, they spring apart.

However with hydrogen cores it's a different story, if you press them real close and it's really, really hot -- something strange happens you would never have suspected if you hadn't seen it happen: a third force comes into play. This force is immensely stronger than gravity or even electromagnetism. Therefore, we call it the "strong interaction". That name, although descriptive, is a bit clumsy. I would prefer it was called "nuclear glue".

Nuclear glue, or "nuglue", although very strong, does not have a very long range. As a matter of fact, it can barely reach further than the distance of an atomic nucleus before its effect fades. A lot of energy is needed to get the protons and neutrons close enough together so that the nuclear glue can grab ahold and overcome the repelling effect of electric-magnetic force.

However, if you smack them together hard enough -- they sort of "snap" together with a "click", that is, a release of energy. In this case, a lot of energy -- in fact, much more energy than needed to bring them together in the first place. The extra energy is more than enough to get more hydrogen to "burn" in this fashion.

The "ashes" of thermonuclear fire in a star are helium and a few of the heavier elements.

Very interesting, our angels say -- it gives us Helium, which is nice if you want to sell balloons at a county fair or talk like Donald Duck, except that aren't any balloons or country fairs, not for a looong time anyways...

"That will all come in due time", reply the older angels.

The important thing is that the ignition of thermonuclear fires in the bigger clumps of hydrogen dust is that it is inevitable, given the way that the energy of the Big Bang sort of curdles and curls into the first particles and clouds of gas..

These particles must clump together, because of the effect of the first two forces, gravity and electromagnetic force.

Fusion of the first nuclei must occur, because of the third force -- that of strong interaction -- "nuglue".

It is also inevitable that some of these thermonuclear fires will burn completely out of control and explode in one of several different ways.

We don't know all that much about these explosions, except that their magnitude ranges from the incredibly enormous to completely off the scale, dwarfed only by the Big Bang itself. These explosions are inevitable, simply because it is a quality of the nature of matter and energy.

Besides the fireworks, these explosions are important to us because they generate all the heavier elements! The forces generated in these cataclysms are so great that nuclei are slung together, and all the other elements are fused in these events. Some of the elements, in particular the heaviest, are unstable and tend to fall apart in a decay we know as radioactivity. This is the work of the fourth force -- the weak interaction or "nuclear glue disolver".

[If I can work faster than I did in preparing this post, I will try to communicate some of the things that have always amazed me about chemistry -- especially that of water and cabon]

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bubble Ships -- Conscious Awareness

In y'day's post, bubbles appearing during
"Simmer rain on streets black asphalt,bubble ships on sheets of water..."
will today be compared both to our lives and the stars in the galaxy

and the thought, such as it is, will be even further developed:

Is conscious awareness a product of chemistry, a consensus of synapses connecting the dendrons and axons of the hundred billions of nerve cells we keep inside our skulls?

Or: is the body-brain a sort of organic lens which concentrates (as the organic eye does the physical light) that-which-is-in-all-things until fire catches -- and the light of awareness is lit?

Actually, both views can be "correct".

At times, our conscious awareness is most properly thought of as simply a consequence of physical phenomena. At other times, it is better to consider consciousness to be a consequence of concentrating the quality or nature of what-is.

In the trees of the forests and the rocks of the mountains; in the sun and moon and the stars; in the very fabric of the manifest universe: there is imbued a tendency or potential to evolve in a fumbling, random, yet seemingly goal-oriented* way towards ever increasing complexity of form and organisation -- towards life, sentience, self awareness, conscious awareness and then what?

That is the question.

Can the awareness life enables always evolve towards yet more complexity?

Although it would seem, as Teilhard maintained, that evolution strives towards a "Point Omega, it ain't necessarily so. If you look at the periodic chart of elements, you will see that, at a certain point of complexity, elements not only become unstable, they become increasingly so...

Similarly, the level of complexity we, as humans, have evolved to may be unstable and we may, inevitably self-destruct.

However, just as some physicists suspect that there may an island of stability among yet heavier trans-uranium elements, perhaps there is an possibility for us to evolve to where an awareness of our common humanity is awakened.

On the one hand, that would seem to imply greater stability. On the other, it could also be an interpretation of the dreams of mankind -- i.e., religion.

Whether the human body, its brain and other stuff produce the conscious awareness we occasionally experience, or whether it concentrates and contains a consciousness present-everywhere, the fact remains that a body is necessary in order for conscious awareness to manifest here and now.

Whatever we may experience when we shuffle off our mortal coils, it won't be here or what we experience now. Therefore, questions like "what happens when we die" are futile. The "answers" charlatans might give you are, when you look at them closely, meaningless.

On the other hand, it is quite pertinent to understand something of what, apparently, had to "happen to happen" in order to draw forth these bodies and their associated awareness, from primal slime and into existence upon this planet of ours -- our Mother Earth.

If one understands something of the little we now know of how this Universe developed, seemingly with all the inevitability of a tiny, burning seed, into a great Tree; from a pin prick of utterly intense energy and potentiality into the manifest universe -- a vision, of itself, unfolds, a vision so magnificent that to call it a "Creation" is hardly sufficient.

Before I ramble any further, there is something I wish you could do.

I wish you could go out and look at the night time sky in the Fall -- a clear night, a night without clouds, a moonless night, far away from city lights, a night like those I saw as a child more than half a century ago while growing up in Poosah City.

You would see stars not quite, but much like the stars those shepherds, tending their flocks in the Xmas legend, would have seen two thousand years ago, myriad points of light, glinting diamond sharp against a canvas midnight black.

You would see the Milky Way.

Unfortunately, because of the way we have dirtied our nest, the air is not clear and the diffused luminance of thousands upon thousands of city lights make it rare, if not impossible, to see and appreciate the magnificence of the Milky Way near even small cities.

When I was a child, the Milky Way was indeed a milky Way in the sky -- a band of light, from horizon to horizon. If you looked at it with a small pair of binoculars, the whiteness became thousands upon thousands of pin pricks of light -- stars like grains of sand...the diamond dust of Heaven's Road...

It is a wondrous and humbling experience to see this, especially from the viewpoint of a bright-eyed, fourteen year old with a burning interest in astronomy.

Truthfully, it is more than a humbling experience, it is revelation; a revelation as valid as that any prophet has ever known, or pretended to have.

Seen from a much more distant viewpoint, with more knowledge than that with which we now grasp (or perhaps can grasp) of the Way-Things-Are; could the Milky Way be a "street black asphalt" and the stars "bubble ships"?

Did you know that it is little more than a hundred years since we understood that the Milky Way is in fact a galaxy -- "our" galaxy?

You know, of course, that our "Sun" is just one speck of star, shining among billions of others -- but, did you know that there are at least as many stars in our galaxy that there are cells in your human brain?

For sure you know that the Sun is quite average in size and brightness -- but did you know that the Milky Way is also quite normal in size and shape and that there are at least as many galaxies in the known Universe as there are stars in the Milky Way?

Perhaps galaxies are also "bubble ships"?

In fact, our Universe, in turn, could be but one of many such, bubbles floating upon a River of Time beyond all concept of Eternity?

Enough of star gazing.

The evolution of life on this planet cannot be rightly understood if we do not ask, what is our understanding of how did this planet, this sun, this galaxy got to be where it is now, how it out-folded from a speck of incredible intensity and potential.

[I hope to continue tomorrow on these themes, but I can't garantee it as I am getting a bit over my head with these ramblings and find it difficult to express my thought as clearly as I would like]
* by "seemingly goal-oriented" I mean in the sense like that of a time exposure of a sweet pea as it grows, seemingly reaching up for some to grasp with its tendrils and climbs towards the light.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Bubble Ships

The famous astronomer, Edwin Hubble, after a lecture on astronomy particular, was approached by an elderly lady who, somewhat worried, came up to the professor and asked him how long it was he had said before the Sun would die, (either in a ball of fire or as a dark dwarf)?

"O, about ten billion years or so."

"Ten billion? O, I'm so relieved -- I thought you said ten million!"

On the face of it, it seems rather ridiculous -- a million or a billion! What difference does make to someone who won't be alive even a hundred years after asking her question? And yet, that is the way we think. We all know that we will die. But that everything around us must also go into the long night -- that scares us!

Whatever we may say that we believe, we don't really know that the ashes of eternity retain any memories...

(Hubble, by the way, onece said, "The Universe is not only stranger than we think -- it is probably stranger than we can think!")

I grew up and came of age in Poosah City, which the local residents will tell you enjoys a subtropical climate. "Sunshine State" sounds great in tourist brochures. However, besides 'roaches and 'skeeters, it also means the weather can change from sunshine to rain rather quickly.

To call it "rain" doesn't quite give the picture. At times, and rather suddenly, with little wind, it can start raining pitchforks, buckets, barrels and even wooden shoes...

When it rains like that, the water cannot run off the asphalt pavement fast enough and the road is covered with thin sheets of moving water as raindrops, the size of small berries, pop up small bubbles on the surface of the water.

These bubbles sail merrily along upon the streaming water until they, all of a sudden -- pop! -- and they disappear...

I was watching the phenomenon one afternoon when I was about fifteen years old when it struck me that the water on the street was like a river of time and the bubbles like our lives and consciousness...

Many years later, this experience returned to me, congealed into a snatch of words:
"Simmer rain on streets black asphalt,bubble ships on sheets of water..."
Does not our consciousness appear like that?

All of a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, a thin bubble skin of water surface tension appears, containing, for a brief moment a small breath of wind -- the very same eternal wind that otherwise blows where it will...

Then: "Pop!" ...the bubble is gone...where did it go?

Any answer is pregnant with a following question: the essence of the bubble, is it in the water or in the air which the membrane (briefly) encloses? Or both? Or neither?

Similarly with our conscious awareness, what is it that contains it? Or, can we say that consciousness is "contained" in any "thing"?

[I hope to continue on this theme tomorrow]

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Darkening, Blackening Skies...

The fools who ruled the Third Galaxy, in particular Ronald Rexona, the Supreme Hole of Arrogance and his Evil Companion, "Big" Dick Snarly, instead of seeking answers as to how they could survive the oncoming catastrophes engendered by global change and dwindling resources -- they sought and fought to control access to those resources for the benefit of the rich and the few.

In brief, they fought over a hill of beans and, in the end, they unleashed the very weapons of mass destruction which everyone feared one day the "terraists" might use against a major city.

But, instead of a single city, which would have been terrible enough, the fools engaged in what they considered to be a "minor exchange" of a mere 50 or 60 nuclear devices. The result was a pall, a dark shroud of blackening sky which enveloped that poor world.

One of the unknown poets of the Third Galaxy, probably the same as coined the phrase, "All the bombs are in the hands of terrorists", wrote the following poem about what was obviously going to happen:

Approximately four years from today,
The skies above will no longer be blue.

There will be a darkening, blackening gray
Which will hide the sun and his rainbow hues.
It's then we will ask, "What was the cause?"

"Why did we fight over a hill of beans,
Violate our own and Nature's laws,
Committing such acts insane and obscene?"

"Cain killed Abel, but we did much worse,
For we have destroyed our Mother, the Earth!"

There was a wise man, who long ago said,
That the living would envy the dead
And now we must learn exactly what he meant.

When the Alien Veggies appeared in the blackened skies of the Third Galaxy in their strange ships of Cucumber, Pineapple, Eggplant and Hokkaido and all the rest, they cleansed the blackened skies of the Third Galaxy and saved them from the suffocating death of nuclear winter.

(You can see an animation of what it would look like from space as the Veggies would see it.)

However, we should not expect or even dream of such a reprise from our well-earned demise. The chances are less than zero for those who live in this, the real world.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Party of Mr G -- Conclusion

We concluded the first part posted y'day of the terrible parable from the Third Galaxy telling about the ever stranger behavior of the guests of Mr G who were waiting for his party to begin.

Many of the guests had begun to doubt that there was a Mr G or whether ther was ever going to be a Party. Others began to concoct strange ideas about what Mr G required of them before the party could begin and formed a number of cults around these ideas.

The installment ended with the perhaps somewhat amusing mantra of the Gazers:


Some of the Gazers felt that the mantra was not really of any use in itself, except to keep the gazer awake. But, this in itself was of great importance. For, if they dozed off, their heads would nod and, since they were sitting so close to the Doors, they would likely touch the wood with nose or forehead. To actually touch the doors was a great sacrilege and any Gazer who did so was beaten soundly on the arms and shoulders with stout, wooden staffs.

It was sacrilege to touch the Doors because it was tantamount to saying to the Big G himself that they thought they could actually enter the Doors in a physical sense, which was a negation of their entire belief system.

The purpose of "gazing" was to stare at the figures until they began to move of themselves and then to follow the movements until they were completely absorbed in the movements and forgot everything about the Great Hall.

Their goal was to "become one with the Door" and thus pass through in a spiritual way, and thus enter the Glories and Blessings of The Great Party.

It was noticed that those who practiced "gazing" diligently and with great concentration became thinner and thinner -- some might say: emaciated. According to Gazer theology, this was because their "essence" was being transmitted "in the spirit" into the Party. Outside observers, that is to say, skeptics, said it was because they got little exercise and less food...

The antics of this particular cult had little influence on the general population of people waiting for the Party-to-Begin.

More serious were the activities of clever fellows who neither believed nor did not believe in the "Party".

Thinking themselves to be wise to the ways of the world, they began to play the all-too-human games of intrigue and power. They staked out claims on parts of the great hall as their "property" and found many ways to enslave the other guests making them work as chattels, performing strange, useless, sometimes even despicable things for the "kings" (as they liked to call themselves). For their service they received a few morsels of food, or half decayed scraps from their burgeoning tables...

Some of those who believed in the Party railed against the "kings" and "queens", saying that what they did was wrong and an anathema to Big G! But they were usually "silenced" in one way or other.

The more clever and "realistic" of the "believers" found it to their advantage to ally themselves with those who had one way or other acquired power.

It was always a difficult task for "believers" to convince other guests the truth of their doctrines for which, on the basis of the used bus tickets and crumpled paper napkins, they claimed the authority of the Big G. In fact, many guests simply laughed at them...

However, when backed by the power and physical authority of a "king", their spiritual authority took on a certain, more immediate reality...

The snotty little "kings" had their benefit from this arrangement. The preachers said that it was obviously "right and just" and in fact the "Will of G" that the power and ownership of so much of the great hall was in the hands of so few. The fact that they "owned" these things in the first place was "proof!" -- else, the Big G would not allow it to be that way!

Events in the Great Hall continued to evolve in this manner for a long time and the situation got more and more complicated. The "kings" and "queens" fought among themselves for more power and "ownership" of more resources of the great hall. There were great battles and many people were killed.

Much of the great hall was destroyed, either in these fights or polluted and stripped of value in order to satisfy the strange needs and desires of those in power.

Although there was still much food, there was hunger and many guests suffered famine and even died of starvation or succumbed to infectious diseases, because of their weakened condition.

I could go on and on -- the story gets longer and longer -- but there seems little point in continuing with details which only get more disgusting and depressing.
Why, the story would probably begin to resemble the story of our own world!

For some reason, Lewis Carrol's "The Walrus and the Carpenter" comes to mind:

"But answer came there none—
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one..."
* * * * * * * * * *

Is there a Mr. G? Is there a Party?

Is the Third Galaxy nothing but a great hall, a vestibule, a prelude to another plane of existence?

I do not know -- in truth, I know of no honest person who would even pretend to answer.

Instead: consider the famous "pot of gold" at the end of the rainbow: Is there a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

Perhaps, but if you run towards the end of the rainbow you can see, it will only recede further with each step you take.

If there is a pot of gold, it is at the other end of the rainbow and the other end of the rainbow is right where you are.

And so it is with the door, if there is a door, it is a narrow door, no wider than a heart beat and no higher than the length of a breath.

If there is a Party, here is where you must enter, and if there is a "Mr. G.", that is where you will find what you seek.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Party of Mr G

My unemployed angel from the Third Galaxy claims that this a parable told by Elmer Eggplant.

It seems to be about the religious hypocrisy and cynical abuse of the godbiz that was so common on that poor world.

Myself, I'd call it a Terrible Parable and don't see use in it for we who are futunate to live on this fair planet where hypocrisy and the cynical abuse of power is so seldom seen.

Whatever you might call it, it is a bit long, so I'll post it over two days.

His name was George -- George Guy, to be exact and he was rather well-off, stinking rich, actually.

George was the kind of guy who could make the likes of Donald Trump and Richard Murdoch look like street-corner beggars with two used pencils in a battered tin cup.

Generally, he wasn't known as George, or Mr. Guy -- rather, they called him "G", or, preferably, "Big G".

Whatever: his name and wealth aren't very important except to give you an idea of what was coming down when he decided to throw The Party to end all parties...
It's a bit misleading to call the event Big G planned, a "party". It wasn't a "party", but a super, out-of-sight, godzilla, in-your-face, completely extravagant never aint been nothing even near it in this or any neighborhood BASH!

When the invitations were sent, everybody who was invited replied of course they would come!

What else could they do?

Each and every one of the invitations was an individual work of art worth (in itself!) a year's wages of your average Joe Blow -- and I don't mean some fellah from a rinky-dink third world country, but a citizen from a place where people live who can drink water right our of the water faucet without risking a three-day bout of the turkey-trots...

If you haven't already guessed, the guests did not come to the Party by bus, taxi, bicycle, trolley-car or Segway.

Each and every guest was brought to the Party in an individually decorated and lavishly accessoried limousine. The vehicles were of a color hard to describe -- a sort of metallic mother-of-pearl, scintillating rainbow colors.

To be transported in them was to ride on a cloud surrounded by angels. I suppose the effect was created by the ambiance of the luxurious interior and not least by the state-of-the-art quadraphonic digital sound system...

When the guests entered at the domicile of their host they were greatly amazed!
It was as if the building was a collection of many castles and mansions rising higher and higher, reaching up to the heavens themselves. It was much like the effect of clouds in the evening sky, seemingly rising in endless tiers to eternity and beyond...

When they entered the gates, the guests found themselves, not in the place of the Party, but in an absolutely immense anteroom.

At the far end of the anteroom were large doors. The doors were so far away it was as if they were veiled by shifting mists. These doors were paneled with what seemed to be the rarest and finest exotic woods, into which were carved, with exquisite detail and consummate skill, figures and panoramas. If you gazed at them long enough, it was as if they seemed to almost come alive...

But who had time for Doors!

The entrance hall was decked out most sumptuously with all kinds of delicacies, treats and favors -- a joy to see and an utter flooding of the senses to behold, taste, touch, see or use.

There were amazing works of art, and devices for entertainment which reduced the most extravagant blockbuster film ever made to the level of a cheap, late-night flick where interruptions for "words from the sponsor" are a relief...

In short, there was no reason, no reason whatsoever that guests should or could bore themselves in any way or fashion while they waited for the Doors to open and the Party itself to begin.

And the guests would have to wait! They were told this even as they were ushered into the great entrance hall. The Party could not start before all guests had arrived and there were many guests. Their number was perhaps beyond numbering...

Sooo, the guests amused themselves and passed the time as well as they could -- and it was very well they could amuse themselves, for, if anything was lacking in their desire, it was as if they soon found it somewhere else in the great hall...

Time passed and, strangely, it seemed to pass rather quickly. Soon, the great hall seemed to become all the world to the guests and some of the guests began to act in strange ways...

It's not that they were directly impatient for the Party to begin. Rather, they began to entertain ideas as to why the Party had not started yet , or what conditions which had to be met or prophecies fulfilled before the Doors would open with a thunderclap and the Party would begin...

After a while, some guests began to say that there was no Party and that the Party was but a myth. Some said that the Great Hall was all the world and that the doors were an illusion -- they even said that "Big G" was a figment, a fantasy, a bit of folklore garbled by time...

On the other hand there were those who maintained that the Party was going to start when certain conditions were met and prophecies fulfilled. They were extremely, even excessively vocal and adamant in their claims...

They based their ideas on the authority of words scribbled on old bus tickets and crumpled paper napkins discovered in trash cans here and there.

Just what the exact conditions were, which the Big G required before the Party could begin, in this they were far from agreement. Actually, their arguments were more than vehement -- they were sometimes both violent and bloody. There was general concessus though, that that it was necessary for everyone to both renounce and avoid certain joys and pleasures to be found in the great hall.
"Only when we stop playing with these 'toys' will we have proved to Big G that we are 'ready-to-Party' and Big G will 'open the Doors'!"

There were many groups, sects, cults and splinter groups, each with an ever stranger doctrine. There were Mazers, Blazers, Waders, Wasters, Fasters, Casters, Blasters and Gazers. Such groups arose and, often as not, quickly disappeared. It would be tedious to mention the stories and practices peculiar to each group -- but I will say something of the "Gazers" as a typical example:

The Gazers taught that it was an error to believe the Doors would actually open in a real, physical sense!

Their practice was to sit so close in front of the Doors, that their noses almost touched the wood. They would just sit there and gaze at the figures (hence the name by which they were known).

They kept their gaze fastened upon the wooden carvings until they went cross-eyed and tears started to run down their cheeks. All the while, they chanted their holy mantra:
[To be continued tomorrow...]

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Mad Pounder

They called him the "Mad Pounder".

He was a sergeant in the United States Army, stationed at the same godforsaken post at Sinop, Turkey as I. Myself, I was a Russian linguist and spec five.

Linguists were called "Monterey Maries" by the other enlisted men -- the reference being to what was then called the United States Army Language School located at the Presdio of Monterey.

The reason we were called "Maries", besides the alliteration, was, I suppose, a combination of anti-intellectualism and plain jealousy. Because of the way the Army works, people who went to the school generally had a higher rank than other enlisted. I got my spec five patch on November 22, the day JFK got whacked by whoever.

Another piece of trivia I can't confirm is that Harvey Lee Oswald also attended the language school, where he learned Russian prior to his stint as a double agent. Frankly, I don't quite believe this story -- but then, I don't believe the story that Mr. Oswald is the guy who put JFK's light out.

Yeah, I was a "Monterey Mary" -- in fact, they called me the "Queen of the Maries", an insult I never understood. My job was to transcribe the recordings of Russian military voice traffic we picked up from the rocket testing grounds on the other side of the Black Sea.

What the "Mad Pounder's" job was I have no idea -- but I know why they called him that. He was a little, kind of scrunchy fellow and was, uh, excessive in his masturbation in the toilet stalls.

It was unbelievable, he'd be in there, behind the door to the stall, "Whop! Whop! Whop!", the tops of his spit-shined combat boots going up and down...

Anyway, to make this story, which I admit has no bearing whatsoever on human history in particular and the fate of the planet in general, to make this story short, the base commander somehow heard that this sergeant was referred to as "the Mad Pounder" .

"What! Is he beating the men?"

"Er, no sir, he's beating his meat"

I made that verbal exchange up, of course -- I have no idea or way to know what was said.

However, I do know that the upshot was that the base commander ordered that the doors be taken off the toilet stalls.

That, such as it is, is the story of the "Mad Pounder".

Monday, February 12, 2007

Beans in a Jar

This is weird, I mean, how dare they?

(I'm not ranting, I am foaming at the mouth because of the blatant, bold, ugly, pernicious manipulation of information about Iran and its supposed supply of weaponry to insurgents in Iraq -- these lies can only be part of the coming war against Iran)

We don't live in the Third Galazy, do we?

Do they really think they can trot out the same order of tripe they fed us four years ago before their illegal, unprovoked, unnecessary, useless, not to mention disastrous, corrupt and criminal war against Iraq?

Well, I don't know what they think, or if they even have the prerequisite brain matter needed to think.

How dare they parse such garbage and call it "news"? Of what value is the print on newspaper when "the paper of record", the New York Times, repeats obvious falsity as fact -- stories which could make even Judith Miller blush?

Weapons in Iraq were made in Iran and are killing American boys and girls? (true, many are middle aged, because of the way they wiggle the use of reservists, but hey, warping the truth is the hallmark of this regime) Well, we have to believe it, even though the numbers on the weapons are in the wrong language -- I mean, the gov't has never lied to us before, so why should they start now?

I have doubted good sense up to now, but, yes, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus and the war on Iran is coming.

I predict April 1 -- a foolish date I know, but suitable for such a foolish, foul and criminal act

I dare you to take a good look at the beans I have in this jar.
I got them last night from a madman I met in a stinky old bar.
He swore they were sure good for something, but I didn't quite catch what it was
he screamed like a dying folk singer carried away in a flood
of crazy young college drinkers who broke down the barroom door,
dragged him by his feet out in the street and left his jar on the floor

I want you to come a bit closer and examine what's here in the jar,
I'm pretty sure you will see just what these beans really are!
There were three billion beans when I got them and now there are three billion more.
Soon, the jar will break and spill all the beans on the floor.

What will happen then to the beans? Will they just lie there until they rot up?
Or will Somebody suddenly come and suddenly gather them up,
sort them and put them in a new jar far better than the one before?

I want you to come yet closer and press your ear to the jar,
I want you to hear the sounds of a fear which is near and not far,
a fear which mutates to hate -- a hate which is felt more than seen...

Did you know that the things that you do can often come back and haunt you

Sunday, February 11, 2007

We are the White Hats

This poem has been keeping me awake at night, bugging me, begging to be written, -- so, okay, are you happy now, you mess of word spaghetti, you poop of alphabet soup?

The way the world is going, I look out the window only to see the little birdies chowing down on the feed I have given them. Afraid to turn on the radio and hear the morning news, I then make coffee. Jeeze, and humans are supposed to be the "crown of creation"? Yeech!

We come from the City that shines upon on the hill.
We are the good guys who wear the white hats!

We propagate freedom and more than that,
a thousand years from now, Our City will
be a shining beacon of liberty,
our legacy to posterity!

A charnel house or two along the way,
maybe more, may be necessary
to help Secure the Peace, perhaps a war
now and then, who's to say?

But, like the Snarly often says,
"It's better we fight them over there than risk
our chance for global hegemony"

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Lorax -- an Inconvenient Truth...

"At the far end of town where the Grickle-grass grows and the wind smells slow-and-sour..."

Thus opens Dr. Seuss' story, "The Lorax" -- of which I first learned just a couple of days ago, because of a chance remark in a blog, sorry, I can't locate where I saw it...

Like so many others, I have always loved Seuss' stories. In my case, the whimsy, the crafted verse, the drawings which matched, but most of all, I loved when the adult mind gave a glimpse of its presence. That is what impressed me with Horton the Elephant:
"I meant what I said and I said what I meant; an elephant's faithful, 100 percent"
-- is that, how the story concludes with, "...if things were only like that that, if they were only like that" -- but of course, life is seldom like that.

Anyway, the reason I'm going on about Seuss is that "The Lorax" was banned when it was published in 1971.

That blew my mind -- true, such as my mind is, it doesn't take much to blow it, but still -- Dr. Suess banned?

O yes, it was because it "controversial". The Lorax "speaks for the trees" and the story ends with this horrible bit of propaganda...

Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back.
O well, I suppose that puts Al Gore and his "An Inconvenient Truth" in good company...

Friday, February 09, 2007

The False of War, and the Face...

The False of War is easy.

All you need is time and a long piece of paper.

You need the time because not all the false comes out at once.

It is first afterwards that the rumors, the suspicions, what you knew must have been the case turn out to be true.

The reasons you went to war were false.

Your honor had not been sullied, your country had not been attacked, the threat was but a belch of propaganda, there were no weapons of mass destruction.

But the war came anyway, and like General Smedly Butler witnessed, if nothing else, war is a racket -- that is, for the benefit of the few and the detriment of the many.

War means profits, obscene profits, crony contracts given without bidding or oversight.

Imagine, 4 billion dollars, American dollars, in cash, what do you think? In compressed bales -- what is it like?

It amounts to over 300 tons!

That is what was delivered in Iraq, by air cargo in the days "democracy returned to Iraq".

The money belonged to the Iraqi's -- it was assets which had belonged to the former regime which had been frozen. When "democracy returned", the money was given, in cash, without receipt, sometimes in black disposal bags -- to whom?

Nobody knows, that is nobody who is talking...

That is the false of war, now, before Codpiece and Snarly start their next war, I will show the face of war -- it has no name, no eyes, no ears, no tongue, no mouth, and yet, it screams.

Actually, I don't want you to see it, which is why the graphic is at the bottom of this post.

I want, I wish, I would if I could sear it on to the retinas of those who make these wars happen, so they would see the face even while they slept -- these are people who never went to war, who avoided it when there was a war and protected their soft, white bodies from harm.

"They" had "other priorities", needed to kill cockroaches, had to safeguard Texas (in between cocktail parties), had (literally) a hair up one's ass -- yes, the list is long, inventive, at times obscene, even ridiculous.

But, these are the people who sent us to war and thousands of young, even middle aged American boys and girls, men and women, plus hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi's to a needlessly early death or a life to live out maimed in body and soul.

And the bastards want to do it again!!!

Don't look further, because, below, you will see the Face of War!!!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Eros Agape...!(?)

Here in Denmark the latest scandal is the new building for Danish Radio. Once again, construction has gone over budget -- grossly so.

Danish radio is a public service channel for both radio and television and is financed by a so-called "media license" which virtually all must pay.

It's a small thing, I suppose, compared to all the stoopid, silly, outrageous and even obscene things going on in the world today. The reason I mention it is because I happened to think, "Why?"

Why this need for constant entertainment, for this anxiety that perhaps we might 'miss' this or that, this need for constant stimulation -- are our lives that empty?

Are we so numb that we have to bang our thumb with a hammer in order to feel anything?

Some of my happiest moments come all on a sudden when something, the play of light in the winter sky, a leaf falling on a summer forest floor, when something happens to wake me up and I see life smiling back at me.

I found this little tidbit in my poetry bag this morning:

The entire human being is erotic.

If sex is the totality of your love,
you're as a person immersing a finger in
a cup of warm, soapy water, who cries,

"Whee! I'm taking a bath!"

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Remembering Charley & the Great Blue

One of the final, in fact necessary corruptions of power and suppression is the need to see the exploited as being happy with its lot -- that it is the "natural" order of things.

When I was a kid, I was often subjected a commercial for tuna fish in cans. These tins were called "Chicken-of-the-SEA" because only the lightest flesh of the dead fish were packaged there.

Anyway, for the advertising hype, the figure of "Charley" was created.

Charley is a tuna who wants to get into a can of tuna. He tries all kind of cute tricks. But he always gets caught. You might say, he gets "canned" before he can get canned.

The commercial always ended with an admonition to poor "Charley" intoned by a well modulated, slightly bemused, off camera voice:

"It's no use, Charley, you're not good enough for Chicken-of-the-SEA!"

The idea, that the fish of the sea should be begging to get into our cans -- the obscenity of it!

Speaking of obscenity, how about the Great Blue?

Soon, children may not remember, but there used to be an animal that weighed as much as fifty elephants. Tyrannosaurus and other denizens of Jurassic Park would look like mice beside the Great Blue, which was hunted to near extinction in the middle of the 20th. Century. They are so few now that, when the effects of global climate change really kick in, they have even less chance of survival than we, ourselves.

As I understand it -- most of the meat went to make canned pet-food...
As I read the story of what we've done, and do,
my heart breaks in sorrow,
my head bows for shame!
We have killed all our yesterdays and tomorrows
and today, and today,
is bustin' into flame!

Some times I get the notion to try and make my stand
with one foot on the ocean
and the other on dry land.
I'd raise my hands and cry by that-which-never-dies:
that the time, that the time
has come to love and fear the name.

But, I don't have no rainbow to crown my ugly head,
or know just what the angel
in seven-thunders said!
I am just a cowboy from a far and distant land,
won't you please, won't you please
lend me a helping hand?

Way across the river, wide and deep,
you can lay down anywhere
and you can go to sleep.
without the violent coincidence of thieves!
for there is nothing
there which is not clean.

Between the dawn and day there is a place where I would stay,
where rosy-granite rocks are slowly washed
away by salty-spray
But you won't find it on a map or in these words I say,
"Doodly-dum, doodly-dum, doodly-dum-dum

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Legless in Gaza

Well, this should have been "Headless in Bagdad", but then, there are just as many kids in Gaza, percentage wise as anywhere else. Anyway, this post is in response to a link Juan Cole had at his place.

Headline: In Iraq, Children living without limbs left without support

Sounds like a lead in to a sick one liner, "They haven't got a leg to stand on..."

Fact is, there are more fat heads with asses to match than you would care to know who would think that was a funny thing to say.

In fact, there are a lot of those who would and do say such things who are high paid pundits and so-called best-selling authors. Rush would say it for sure and Coulter and Savage probably also.

Just the other day, while talking about nuclear war and that life would survive somehow, Rush quipped, "We may not, cockroaches will. That means some liberals will." Of course there are a slew of wannabe hate-mongers would say it for sure if they thought it would get them on television just like their hero.

Malkin would probably not say it. On the other hand, she would have a link on her web site to those who did.

The fact is, collateral damage has become an endemic disease. War has never been pretty, but now it has become utterly obscene.

During the Second World War there was a hand grenade called a "pineapple" because of its serrated casing -- the idea was that the casing would become, I think it was, sixteen pieces of shrapnel when the grenade exploded.

When I was in basic training in '62, I remember being told that the modern grenade had a coiled wire wound inside the casing. There were little nicks on the wire to ensure that it would break into thousands of tiny bits of shrapnel, which would be almost impossible to remove from a victim.

But hell, it's nothing new -- I read once about an anthropologist who was interviewing an old native Australian. The subject was the different kinds of flint arrowheads he had. Each one had a different purpose for hunting this or that kind of game. One arrowhead in particular interested the anthropologist. Because it was so thin, it was hard for him to understand how it could be used without breaking inside the target.

The old fellow smiled wryly and told the anthropologist that it was a war arrow, that is, for human game.

I realized right then that there was no hope for the human race -- well, not much hope, anyway.

Cluster bomblets, napalm by another name, thermobaric bombs, white phosphorus -- aw, is just too depressing to even think of listing all the devilishly clever ways we find to kill maim and crucify our fellow beings.

Meanwhile, ten year old Fatah humps around inside the house on his one leg. His mother won't let him go out and play -- she's afraid he might get hurt. Anyway, if he did go out, the other kids would tease him because he can't play soccer.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Upon a Biblical Fate

The idea that certain ancient texts contain messages from the Great Potato Himself regarding the ultimate fate of mankind as described in some sort of divine screenplay where mankind will, so to speak, hoist itself by its own petard into the abyss of a restless night -- such ideas are obscene nonsense which only benefit the egos (and pocketbooks) of religious charlatans and rumor mongers.

The Great Potato has authored no books.

Neither has The Starchy One dictated any to certain "chosen spuds" or "messengers" . True, there have been, are and will be prophets. In a sense, we are all potential prophets -- for prophecy is little more than speaking the reality of truth to power.

Prophetic speech will occasionally, after the fact, appear to have contained prescient information about what then were future events. This is but a side effect, more a bother than useful as our common desire to "know the future" only gives a foothold for those who would control our minds.

If you are the only sober, or nearly sober person in a car full of drunks and the car is speeding towards a brick wall or the drop-off of a five hundred foot cliff, you will try to wake the others from their stupor by shouting, "Stop the car, or we'll all be killed!" That is a kind of prophetic speech.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, several times before his murder was arranged, something similarly prophetic, but far less trivial, "The choice is not between violence and nonviolence, the choice is between nonviolence and nonexistence!"

It would be kind of foolish to continue to use violence in general and military violence in particular as the prime means of resolving intra national disputes, just to see if King's "prophecy was true" and we actually found ourselves nonexistent because of it.

Similarly with the car full of drunks we find ourselves in, enough of us drunks have to sober up so that we can get the drivers to turn the wheel or some of us can stomp on the brakes.

That said, it can be useful to know and understand something of these lurid descriptions of the Closing Times. The Holy Idaho, the Only Begotten Spud of the Great Potato, will supposedly return to the Third Galaxy. Upon his Return, he will take all the "scrubbed" spuds to live with him forever in the Holy Colander in the Sky.

Up there, we will be able to peek over the edge of the Colander and enjoy the pleasing smells and agonies of all the dirty, unwashed spuds french frying down below in the Great Vat of Cooking Oil.

The value in knowing these things is that there are a lot of people in the world who believe such crapola. Not only do they believe in them, some, including powerful leaders act in accordance with their beliefs in the hopes of bringing these "foretold events" to pass!

Although one can bring a "prophecy" to fruition, one of the quirks of fate is that the role one plays in its fulfillment will probably not be the glorious one had thought to play. We saw this with the infamous Leader of Bottomslops and how his Thousand Year Rule ended in utter devastation!

In all likelihood, the fate of Ronald Rexona and his evil companion, "Big" Dick Snarly will not be any better...
Upon a Biblical Fate

My considered guess is that he thinks that God
has handed him (upon a silver plate)
his role to "save the world" and a rocket rod
that he alone, like Zeus, has the might to hurl,
And that he, somehow, supposedly fulfills
prophecies of the Apocalypse!

For that he needs, most of all, a will
as hard as steel, sharp ...and merciless!

He's not afraid to break the egg or three
he needs to make an omelet, the taste
of which is fired with the desire to be
ruler of a Universal State!

The role which, in the end, he meets,
may not exactly be the one he seeks!

In the final analysis, my dear friends,
It is the means which justify the ends!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

From Frogs to a Catepillar

Something that snarky libruls like to remind us is that Bush, when he was a boy liked to blow up frogs with firecrackers -- what they forget to tell you is that he doesn't do that any more!

True, the young Ronald Rexona, long before he grew up to become the Supreme Hole of Arrogance in the Third Galaxy -- he also blew up frogs with fire crackers.

But this is the sort of thing that little boys often do with spiders and flies -- why I know a little boy who once electrified a little lizard with 20000 volts and watched it wiggle and sizzle helplessly. But that little boy, in a sudden flash of recognition, saw what it was that he was doing to a living being, buried the lizard and never did such a thing again.

Not so with Ronald Rexona. True, he gave up the thing with frogs -- but that was because it got to where it bored him and went in for bigger things.

Later, using the greatest military machine his poor world had ever seen, Rexona embarked upon a reckless campaign of military adventure to gain control over his world's resources . This adventure not only nearly ruined the State of Arrogance, but nearly destroyed the Third Galaxy -- and would have, had it not been for the appearance of the strange ships of the Alien Veggies in the darkened skies of smoke and blood.

I'm sure Mr. Bush is in no way like the execrable Rexona! I'm sure that he gave up wasting frogs like that because of some moral insight into the sadism of it!

If that wasn't so why you'd see it revealed in little things like sneering and mocking a person on death row in Texas, whose death warrant he had signed, along with 151 others.

You'd see him playing rugby and punching another player in the face with his fist as he held his head in an arm lock -- and laughing as he did it.

You'd see him bang his fist into his palm and chortle enthusiastically, "Boy, this feels good!" just before he announced on national television that he was sending the might of the greatest military machine our poor world has ever seen to invade, occupy and leave in ruins a militarlily third division country for no good reason except that he wanted to do it.

Why you might even see him, wearing fancy safety goggles climb up into the cabin of a monster, 190,000 lb., D10 Caterpillar tractor saying, "You'd better get out of the way, I'm going to crank this sucker up!", start the engine and, as it roars into life drive directly towards the gaggle of journalists who had been following him in his photo op.

You might see him do things like that -- but you would never see him, after a failed war and occupation in Iraq, leaving it in a state "worse that civil war", preparing to attack Iran with all the might of the American military machine -- and that with the use of nuclear weapons definitely on the table.

Nope, you'd never see that -- and that is why I always say that the Codpiece in no way resembles Ronald Rexona.

Why that would be just too horrible to consider!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Parade of "We the People"

We didn't hear much about the demonstrations all over the USA on Saturday. January 27, which I refereed to in y'day's post about Molly Ivins who, in the last column she wrote before she died, made a call, a plead for Americans to take up the challenge and take their country back and make their representatives represent us instead of ruling us.

In this context, the demonstration, the free meeting, the assembly of the people is not only crucial -- it is, along with free speech, prime rights which the Founding Fathers put there for a damn good reason. In an essay the title of which is the title of this post,Thom Hartmann calls it the "Parade of We, the People"'s all about the Parade - "We The People." The ultimate question for Americans - one we've been debating since 1787, is: "Do we run our country, or do our politicians?"
It was "We, the People" who brought an end to Vietnam adventure -- and it struck fear into the hearts of those who would consider themselves to be our rulers. Since then, we have seen increasing efforts and moves, especially during this present (mis)Administration, to control, regulate, denigrate, trivialize and outright prevent demonstrations. This is done with permits, "free-speech zones", provocation and intimidation.
Since the birth of the bureaucratic monster known as "Homeland Security", increasingly, police departments are in possession of material nearly military in its capability, purpose and use.

One thing is certain, with any demonstration there will be great variation in how many supposedly participate. There is nothing odd in this -- a demonstration is a battle of political wills. An excerpt from Karen Houppert's impressions:

Estimates of the crowd size vary--CNN put it at "tens of thousands" and event organizers insist nearly half a million showed, DC police declined to speculate--one thing is certain: Today's marchers were as satisfied as cats who stole the cream, cats who were almost...celebrating.

John Nicols was more enthusiastic and "on message":

Saturday's antiwar demonstrations, which filled the streets of cities from San Francisco to Washington, marked a return to form for an antiwar movement that had trouble building momentum during the three years that followed Bush's decision to launch a preemptive war against a country that posed no serious threat to the United States or its allies.

Bob Herbert was more sanguine:

By 11:15 I thought there was a chance that the march against the war would be a bust. There just weren't that many people moving toward the stage to join the rally that preceded the march. But the crowd kept building, slowly, steadily. It was a good-natured crowd. Everyone was badmouthing the Bush administration and the war, but everybody seemed to be smiling

Herbert's observations were more in line with my cousin, Nuke Watcher's observation who sent me the following impressions along a few pix he took, which are the pictures shown here:
On Saturday 27JAN07, my youngest daughter (22) my youngest son (9) and I went with best intentions to see the masses at Saturday's War Protest in D.C. This was a much publicized event and the media managed to pass it off as an event with low turn out… Please, allow me to elaborate our findings.

The former Administrations have learned from the events of the 1960's to do the following. Make it an event that requires permits to be in place to make this "Legal" . In the 60's and part of the 70's people showed up 2 days before and simply camped on the "Malls'" lawn.

People then would meet, mingle and start the demonstrations a few days later, numbering in the hundred's of thousands, ending in front of the Whitehouse / Bunker. Saturdays' event was a culmination of the system working with the National Park Service and manipulation of the Fox News / other media sources. The events' permits were from 11AM until 4PM. Starting at the Capitol Building and going North, returning to the Capitol Building.

When we arrived at the Greenbelt Metro Station at noon, which is located off I-495, it was immediately seen, what the Park Service has done to have control. There were 40-50 busloads of protesters / thousands of people jammed and stopped at the Metro Station with no way of getting to the event. You cannot park at the Mall during these events and the other Metro Stations had exactly the same backup of people. When the Media downplayed the event as a small turn out, they did not look at the thousands that could not make it in time for the support that was sorely needed. The anger that people who came as far away as California, Washington State, Maine and Texas was evident.

These dedicated groups of people, finally made the Metro ride down to the Mall, late in the afternoon. Instead of people making a difference in the overall support, they were now just so many tourists from all over.

That according to the local news, reporting on the lack of marchers that organizers had predicted. So, to those who would plan another trip to the Nations Capitol for a supporting event, be warned. The days of the protesters in large numbers, are no more. Maybe, when the Tale of Two Cities has its final scene, we can all join in the crowd who has come to see and hear that sound of the final drum roll and the thud of the guillotines ......Just a thought..

Nuke Watcher