Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Neocon Zeppelin Crashes & Burns

The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America has sent shock waves through America’s political elites and Establishment. They were all so sure they had it in the bag- Indeed- this election was always Hillary Clinton’s to lose, and so, she has.

There are a good many reasons I’m not completely displeased by these results, personally. I found Ms. Clinton’s delusional ranting about “the Russians” to be hyper-bloviating nonsense, and I’m certainly breathing easier knowing that finally we will have a president that’s deciding that the US and Russia ought to get along. The idea of my friends in Siberia vanishing in a cloud of plutonium-impacted fallout will be just that- an idea, something from a bad dream.

Of course, that’s not to say Hillary and her crowd of now discredited warhawk “experts” won’t keep rattling their wheelbarrows about the asylum screaming yet, “The Russians did it! The Russians rigged Our Election!” and waving their limp dicks at Julian Assange and Wikileaks for their uncovering the vast and dirty secrets that lie beneath the mud in the Democratic Party, the nerve of them, informing the American People as to how politics is actually conducted in the USA.

And the Republican Establishment is no doubt sucking their thumbs in wonder as well, most of them having defected to Hillary’s camp, most notably, both Bush presidents, Henry Kissinger, and the Wolfowitz-inspired war criminals at the New American Century. Weren’t they all hoping for more of the same “humanitarian” interventions and regime change, more international entanglements, and wars where they could get ‘em. No, the election of a populist Trump has set them in a tizzy, and expect them to be out and about raising as much dust as they might continue to, in the hopes that Trump will be every inch as interventionist as Ms. Clinton. Except that, he won’t.

Trump stated in the second debate he would NOT resort to first use of nuclear weapons, but most of that seemed to have gone right over the Democrats' heads as they continued their rants about how Trump “can’t be trusted” with The Button. If anyone could not be trusted with The Button it was Hillary Clinton, who has shown the American public, and the world, what her type of diplomacy actually means- drones, falling bombs, endless wars, and millions more refuges on the unarmed roads of flight across the Middle East. There won’t be any more speculation as to “Russian aggression” since what amounts to :Russian aggression” was is and will always be the Russians taking care of their own sphere of influence as it is, reacting to US and NATO pressures on their borders.

Hillary’s fanatical hatred of Putin won’t get any play, either. Wouldn't sensible people rather get along with a large country like Russia, especially since they’ve also got The Bomb, and they’re actually doing more at the moment to contain and defeat ISIS? Haven’t the US done enough by arms sales to Israel and Saudi Arabia to inflame the conflicts of the ME into further unsolvable conundrums than they already were?

All these worries will vanish like a bad headache now. Ms. Clinton can go back to New York, or Arkansas, or Illinois, or wherever it is she is actually from, shake her doddering head, and remove herself from the political arena like a good Grandma. For after all, Americans apparently still prefer assholes to bitches when it comes to Presidents.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


 Recently I ran across a book titled “Cycling” (subtitle:  “Philosophy for Everyone.”)  And it’s full of a good number of essays, memoirs, and such, expounding on the various authors’ views about bicycling, what turns them on about it. Halfway through the book though I was a little bit more than turned off by the tone taken by a good many of the writers, who seem to be into bicycling as “racers.”  I think you know the sorts of bicyclist I mean. you often see them every morning on their daily commutes, dressed in their flash Spandex with the various company-whore logos splashed across the ass and the chest, their heads down as they force themselves forward as though the ride to work were another Tour de France, or something.
Nearly all of those people also drive cars, which is something they’re not ashamed of, but somehow cycling to work looking “like a pro bicyclist” helps them assuage the guilt that might come from their not using a bike to get around, everywhere, which , thankfully, there are a few essayists in the book who take the time to defend. I mean you could say that about most bicyclists on America’s roads- that they also own a car, and they will use it “when necessary.”
Unlike those types, though, I am not that sort of bicyclist. I do not rely on the proposition that “new endeavors need new clothes” and I am not into the idea of making a commute to my job (as a school crossing guard, defending the children of ultra-rich Los Altos, California, from the even more maniacal and demonic drivers who take up the other two lanes of traffic on the Foothill Expressway) another race for the finish. I wear what it is, whatever, I choose for my daily wear, since there’s no need to shower and change into “real world clothes” when I am in the “real world” enough as it is already.
I am also not so infected with the need for “speed” as are three fifths of other Americans, which also includes a high percentage of the drivers, almost uniformly. When I go someplace n a bike, I take the time to take my time. If I need to be somewhere on time, I take the time to be sure I’ll get there on schedule, but being on my bike, I really don’t care to ever be in a rush about things.
There are qualities of bicycling that are transformational, and one of these is the ability to look at the world going past your wheels, being in the world as you travel in it, un-insulated from it by tons of steel and glass. As a person on a bike, I like  the fact I am going slower than all the cars. I like the human pace of being on a bike, of not being part of the rat race, of being closer and more in tune with my surroundings, less caught up in the bullshit of the “human game.” I will get there when I get there, and not before. So why not smell the roses? Why not take the time to look at the houses, the gardens, the trees, the various things which are nature  despite man’s desperate rush to reinvent his environment in his own image?
In the old days, Indians would travel the length and breadth of their lands seeing, noticing, taking into account all the various differences in their trails. By the time they had walked ten miles, they knew every rock and tree on their way. This is one of the things bicyclists have over cars. When we are up and riding we are much more influenced by the different textures of the roadway, to a degree travelers in autos are not. A three inch rock or a  seven inch broken tree branch in our path  may present no problem to a car, but for us could mean a spinout or even a flip. So we have to notice these things. We notice the dead squirrels, the skunks, the possums, raccoons, birds, and pets and other fellow Earthlings the cars left as road kill in their wake. Maybe we reflect on them, maybe we don’t. But we are much more aware of them than were the drivers who sent them to eternity.
Riding a bicycle is one way to help defeat the awful guilt of having a “carbon footprint” which is in any case inevitable for any people who live in our society. Yet a bicyclist’s is just that much less. Regardless, like I say, two thirds of the other “bikers” on the road have their own automobiles, which they will revert to in times of inclement weather. Unfortunately I have no such luxury. The job I hold as a crossing guard demands me to be there, rain or shine, and this of necessity demands I ride in whatever weather is out there. I have rain gear, which has vastly improved my morale over the years I rode without so much (rain pants having been the best and biggest agent of change.)  And yet there are times when riding in the rain, itself, can be a “pleasant experience”. After all, one can only get “so” wet. At such times the best thing to do is surrender to the idea of being wet, and act accordingly. Splash that puddle! Excelsior! But it’s also few people who would face the weather in such fashion. Even the kids going to school who on sunny days ride their bikes are riding past me in their parents’ cars when it rains. There are a hardcore few who continue on whether it’s rain or not, but for the most part, the number of kids I need to cross diminishes by a factor of five on a rainy day.
My trip up to the job involves four miles of steady, uphill grind climbing. Twice a day. Of course, that eight miles up means a fast cool eight miles back down. But my aging knees have begun to protest. The current bike I‘ve ridden for the past seven years hereabouts is a rather heavy British-made Raleigh mountain bike- the Mojave 2.0. It qualifies as both mountain and road bike, but I have adapted it or commuter use, since mountain biking, like racing, is a bit too outrĂ© for my personal tastes or style in riding. I am going to be retiring good old “Pony Boy” real soon, however, in favor of an electric bike. Which will make a difference, one would hope, in the manner in which I am able to endure those eight miles up everyday, and hang onto this crossing guard job, which despite its close proximity to the “cars vs. peds” and “cars vs. bikes” wars, is nonetheless a stable income, even if it isn’t quite the hours I’d prefer (I have a night job, so all the bases do get covered.)
As for the cars vs. bikes wars- I have found that, despite the advice from many bike authors, it’s best not to maintain much eye contact with the “road cagers” and “oil serfs” except when absolutely necessary. When they  are pulling out, of course, I want them to see me, so I always ding my little bell just so I know that they saw me. And at times when making headway against left turners. But for the most part, eye contact seems only to increase the road rage on both sides of the game. They probably don’t even think people on bikes are “real people”- at least, that is a sentiment I have seen expressed in more than one anti-bike newspaper opinion letter- but for the most art, it’s been working out OK. The only accidents I have been involved in were both the fault of the driver- one ran a red light, the other "didn't see me” as I started to cross a junction near some train tracks- but for the most part, it's true, nobody wants to collide with anyone else on purpose, and I am always super-cautious as can be in so far as :riding defensively: is concerned. I never make aggressive moves, nor do I tend to test yellow lights or roll on stop signs. After all, I need to be consistent, don’t I? I couldn’t work in traffic safety and fail to attempt to set a good example for others.
There are a few pet peeves I have with both drivers and other bikers. One of them is the "hot dog” syndrome. This usually involves a “racer consciousness” bike coming up on my left to pass me, but making no noise about it. Whoom, they are just there, and they gave no warning! And they just have to get somewhere faster, no doubt. Although these types are just as hung up with speed as the drivers are. There’s assholes in cars and as many on bikes, apparently the spread is even throughout the road populations. And just like the status players with fast foreign sport cars, there’s the status players on bicycles. You can spot them a mile away because they are the ones who needed new clothes before they got on their bikes. But their bikes are always racer drop-bars, titanium wheels, ultra-lite carbon fiber frames, and usually cost them somewhere in the neighborhood of five grand. Back when Facebook went public and gave their employees giganto dividend bonuses you saw a lot of brand new bikes showing up on the street. Around here, workers in the high tech industry have their own interior office cults devoted to road racing, and form little cliques and clubs to indulge it (we call this type “Google ponies,” around here.)  And usually they all also own cars. SO they can’t be accused of pro-bicycle lifestyle activism with any degree of sincerity, for the most part. Nope, it’s all on a par with “keeping ahead of the Joneses” so to speak.
And we have the “new clothes” issue. God help me if I eve get into a suit of spandex with a heap of bike shop logos plastered all over it! Nothing in the world looks worse than an over fifty, overweight  male with a muffin top crammed into a pair of lycra bike shorts. These were obviously contrived for bicyclists in their twenties and thirties, and even then thirty or forty is usually pushing it. There’s no way to hide the flab the wrinkles or the obvious fact you were out of shape when you started and you’re going to still be pushed out of shape once you squeeze into those ridiculous things. I could never take that route. I wear what I am wearing and the hell with it! No pretending to be Lance Armstrong, or part of the weekend warrior club. The bike is my everyday transportation, no more or less, and I am going to keep it that way.
All things considered I am glad to ride my bike and not spend a penny on auto maintenance or insurance. my failure to do so, of course, sets me apart from the “real” people, but, that’s a distinction I don’t mind so much as yet. Yes, being a performing musician has suffered since I left the city for the country-suburbs, without a car, there’s not the same ease of toting an amp to gigs as there was when I had a cab or a bus to hail and that was that. But my conscience is still clean and that means a lot. I won’t be the one you can pin the ass-tail on for being hypocritical about my carbon footprint, not  just yet, anyway. Even if I were to one day surrender to the oil-serf lifestyle, even then I would only use a car to get to a gig, or to visit friends a long way off (and so doing, save myself a plane ride.) Bikes are great. You are closer to the real world you live in, you are in some ways, closer to danger, you are doing something about, rather than acceding to, those problems human society digs itself into. And for the time being, that’s the gist of my thoughts on Biking.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Parable

The following is dedicated to any who believe that the previous blogpost is somehow evidence of "inaction", "copping out" or somehow "not meaning to live responsibly in the face of evidence. (What evidence? Show me.)

Lemming Leap
You are at the edge of a serious pair of precipices.
Whichever lemming leader amasses the tallest pile of dead lemmings at the bottom of the cliff will be judged “the winner.” It has also been said among lemmings that to take part in this “great sacrifice” is one’s “highest civic duty.” “If you don’t jump, don’t complain about who wins!”
It’s not your fault - all the other lemmings have driven you there,  but,  now  they have split in two directions. One set of lemmings is headed one way- toward a 100 foot cliff. The other is headed to a 200 foot drop.
At the bottom of each is a massive pile of the skeletons of other lemmings, from previous jumps. 
No matter how many lemmings die, the ritual is to be re-enacted, every four years.

The thought occurs: “Either way I go if I fall (or I am pushed) I’m gonna die!”

“Choose the lesser of two evils! Minimize the damage!” yells a voice behind you.

You take the 100 foot fall.
At the bottom, you are still dead, just as dead as the lemmings on the 200 foot fall (only that they had twice as long to think about where they were headed, while falling, theoretically.)
You’re dead! So then you see the ghost (or the actual body of) your leader! 

“Congratulations. You jumped with us, but thank god, you are so lucky, you will sit tonight with God and the angels because you chose the lesser of the two evils, you didn’t let THEM win!”

My my, you think, My jump meant as much -or more!-  as that of all the others!

Your other choice would have been- step back from the precipices, let all your fellow lemmings choose whichever hell-death- they chose for themselves, turn to the leaders and say “Aw,fuck you, I’ll be just as dead as the rest of you, I want none of this!”

Looking down at the two piles of your dead lemming brothers and sisters, all you can say is
“What a bunch of dumbshits!”

Value added question:
Which lemming exercised critical thinking best?

The Most Insulting Election In History

The Most Insulting Election in History
It’s that season again, folks. Everywhere across the land, neighbors are oiling their automatics and sharpening their pitchforks. Yes, it’s another Presidential Election, and it looks as though this one is bound to be a doozy. In fact, it could be said, we have never had an election like this in our lifetimes. Just look- One candidate has been under scrutiny by the FBI for improper use of governmental communications (and just happened to squeak past judgment, on the recommendation of a coy FBI Director, who did all but say, the lady is just stupid, folks) and a real estate con artist up for a civil lawsuit regarding some shady practices enticing his “students” into tutelage at his “university”- on charges of fraud. Well. since when have politicians ever been innocent of stupidity and fraud?
Let us look at the two candidates which the major political parties have chosen to foist upon us, as this year’s “choice.” Let’s go with the one who looks like she leads the pack, because her polls show 75% likelihood of winning this highly corrupted and incurably evil office, the Democrat, Mrs. Clinton. You know, I don’t call her the “Teflon Goddess” for nothing. Mrs. Clinton has been the source of a good number of scandals and political imbroglios over the years, and yet, somehow, has managed to eke her way past each and every rapid without nary a scratch. Some would lay claim that this is somehow “proof” of her incipient innocence of all allegations. Others, like myself, just call it “1%er privilege”.
It is no secret she has taken great sums of money from the same big Wall Street donors that gave huge sums to the election of the current president, who also contributed to the meltdown of 2008, and like the Teflon Goddess, suffered no recriminations from the justice system for their machinations. Mrs. Clinton’s refusal to release transcription of the speeches she gave for six figure pocketbook change equals the refusal of her adversary to release  his recent tax returns. But we’re not at him just yet. She managed, during her term as secretary of state, to destroy the regimes in at least two nations, engineer chaos in a third, and create for the US two new bellicosities (Libya and Syria)  and is now setting us up for a shooting match with another nation with whom we have no actual beef- Russia.
Killgrrl’s recent embrace of a draft for women assures us that yes, not only will our sons continue to be brutalized into PTSD situations, but, our daughters too. And what better reason to start up the roll for the slaughterhouse than another unpopular, undeclared, presidential fiat war? Of course, operatives of the Democratic National Committee are already ginning it up, with their so far unproven allegations that “the Russians” leaked the Committee’s emails to that treasonous Julian Assange’s Wikileaks. No matter that the emails themselves reveal even more of the sort of Dirty Tricks Killgirrls’ first Washington job (on the Watergate Committee) was graciously uncovering on behalf of the American public during the Nixon years. Oh and did  mention she was actually fired by the head of the committee, Samuel Dash, for being (in his words) “a liar?” But again, we don’t call her the Teflon Goddess for nothing.
Killgrrl makes a big to do about how her use of a private email server to conduct official US Government business as head of the State Department exposes her inherent stupidity as well. What would get her fired from her local construction company gets her walking papers from the FBI, and from her erstwhile, belittled, and cheated Democratic  opponent. Is it any wonder folks feel they can’t trust her? Apparently, the scepter of a “two-family presidency” just hasn’t struck a shadow of fear enough into a vast majority of Democrats, as if, the Bush family wasn’t enough in the first place.
And then there is her opponent on the Elephant party side, in the corner, Mr. Orange Julius himself, Donald Drumpf (as John Oliver would have us remember, is his natural original pre-immigration family name). There aren’t enough words, perhaps to describe him, he must be seen to be believed, but believe me, he is now giving the Teflon Goddess a run for her money. A conniver, a reality TV star, a Real Estate mogul (perhaps the second most odious occupation in America today besides that of politician) whose business practices are under scrutiny in a court of civil law. Dare we trust another used car salesman at the head of our nation? At least Mr. Drumpf is making sense on the issue of a “WWIII” with Russia. he would rather have us gain the support of Russia’ president in fighting the international threat of ISIS than pick a fight with him. This may be the only part of his platform that makes sense to me, but indeed it does. The rest of his program seems to be an inflation of Barry Spybot’s mass surveillance cyberstate, directed against those of Mexican or Muslim persuasion, and promising a new Great Wall. Like most operations of Drumpf, it will have to have his name spelled out in big lights, it will offer 24/7 casinos, and “Princess Towers” every ten miles so you  can drive your family there for a great vacation overlooking the wild and wooly Rio Grande. Of course, he promises that Mexico is going to pay for it, and not only that, more than likely the labor involved will be those poor deportees awaiting the next lane back across the border.
It’s pretty obvious to me that nobody ever seeks the office of President of the United States without a long consideration beforehand of the powers attendant to it. Thanks to Barry Spybot, these powers now include the ability to assassinate anybody anywhere on the planet, with drones, if necessary, to hold in detention for indefinite periods anyone consider suspect of “terrorism” (however some future president chooses to define it) and the ability for the US Army to act in civilian operations, as they did in Boston, committing house to house searches while residents “sheltered in place.” These powers ought to be particularly attractive to a narcissistic egoist like Drumpf, but, having tasted her share already of some of the benefits of the office (being First Lady just wasn’t good enough) they are damned attractive to the Teflon Goddess, herself.
Let us look though a little closer. Nobody honest, and certainly that goes for Mr. Sanders, who ran an admirable campaign against the Goddess only to sell out when the chips were down, will ever hold the office of Killer-In-Chief. The office itself is incurably corrupted and corruptible. Whoever wins it must sell their soul to the devil- figuratively, or perhaps, even literally- to hold the title of “most powerful person in the world.” Wasn’t that the very same temptation offered to Jesus in the desert by Beelzebub? “Dominion over all the nations and peoples of the earth?” How could you refuse!!! Because the office now wields these (“awesome”-G. W. Bush- powers) and therefore is no longer a presidency, but a kingship- I feel as though I cannot “consent to be governed” any longer by any man, or woman, who is elected to it.
Nay, I do not feel, as a well informed, educated American voter, that I can offer any consent at all to any future holder of the office, nor even grant the consent implied by vote, for the foreseeable future of my lifetime, unless, and until, these powers are repealed. And who gave Barry these “awesome” powers? Why, a shitting-their-pants Congress, of both Republicans AND Democrats, afraid of the terrorist under the bed, drunk on the possibilities that somewhere, somehow, the US will have to come to grips with some of those very forces they themselves unleashed on the world- like the Afghan Mujahedin that became Al Qaeda, the “Syrian Rebels” who became ISIS, or any number of homegrown whackjobs intoxicated with maladjusted interpretations of the Koran.  I cannot, by casting my vote in any direction, give my consent for these ideas, that the President is a King and not subordinate to the Congress any longer, nor to accountability under national and international law. People say it is our civic “duty” to vote. No, it is not a “duty.”

     Voting is a right and a privilege, and it is our right to exercise it where, and when we choose, in secret, and nobody has the right to tell us how or even when we must, if we choose to use it, or not. “Duty “ is something that matters only when you are helping the neighbors take out the invading North Korean Army barricaded down at the end of the block, or getting a jury summons, or filling out an IRS 1040 return. Don’t give me that bullshit about voting being a “duty.” I will vote as, if, and when I choose. And that’s why I come to, in conclusion, saying that, this is the most insulting election in US history. Two very questionable and obnoxious characters are competing for the role of “King and Queen” of the world. And I just don’t buy it. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016


San Francisco has long been considered a haven for Utopian idealism and free-thinking individualism. Muggles Amphora, street busker and coffeehouse poet, returns to his native city to find more challenges living ‘the high life” than he may have bargained for. The Haight has changed, thanks to an influx of ‘Goddesses in jackboots’ and ‘gay clones’, and the City itself is changing.  From  promiscuity within a communal household to a stable one-woman relationship, he goes from one extreme to another, meanwhile, commiserating with his friends in the differences between the City as considered by “the media” and the gritty realities of its urbane existence.