Dear White Nationalists (2017Aug15)


Tuesday, August 15, 2017                                       10:06 PM

Dear White Nationalists: You are wrong. You are not another side of an issue—you are just wrong. You are not better than any other group—you are just less self-controlled, willing to kick at the pricks because it makes you feel important.

Your leaders have written whole libraries of books attempting to justify your ignorance. All those books are wrong. (O—and, not for nothing, the fucking Shoah happened—don’t be an asshole—and never forget.) Please free feel to return to the American side of this controversy—‘acceptance’ even includes ex-neo-nazis.

You are seeing change. You’re becoming a minority—and that frightens you. It shouldn’t—the rules of love work both ways, if only you would open up your eyes.

And, by the way, while you remain a white nationalist, I hope you are aware of being a disruptive tool of the money-grubbers and the power-hungry—that’s you. You are what stands between them and close scrutiny—something bad people rarely stand up to and will do anything to divert our attention from—including riling up a bunch of unhappy yahoos (no offense).

You don’t deserve special consideration. You can be stupid—I mean bigoted—in the privacy of your own property. You can even have meetings of like-minded stupid—sorry, bigoted—folks in your living room. But if you go out on a street corner and exercise your right to free speech, don’t be surprised if someone punches you in the face—it might even be me.

Understand, please—we are not violent people. But when you preach sin right on Main Street, in front of our families and children, we’re going to beat the crap out of you. That is not, as our bloated leader would have it, violence on both sides. This is a natural and instinctive reflex you will witness in every American—we have fought both civil and foreign wars against this shit. Freedom of speech aside, if you’re going to preach murder, gang-rape, or bigotry in public, Americans will just naturally beat the crap out of you. I’m surprised you don’t know that.

I guess it’s all the kids these days fixating on their cellphones, ignoring what’s going on around them—but, still, if I was you, I wouldn’t get’em pissed off enough to stop texting—you don’t want that. I don’t want that. Nobody wants that.

So—here’s what you do. If there’s a library in your town, why don’t you pop in there and read a book? Read two—what the hell. You may not find the book that explains how ignorant it is to be a white nationalist right away—but while you’re reading, you’re not out in public, making an ugly ass out of yourself. I’m surprised your parents didn’t bother to teach you better.

Crisis of Controversy (2017Aug07)


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Sunday, August 06, 2017                                         4:22 PM

Crisis of Controversy   (2017Aug07)

I just watched a report on the opioid crisis—our country is being decimated by it. In a way, the opioid crisis is the natural next step, after sixteen years of fear-mongering and internecine bickering in our politics. Politicians rang that “post-9/11 threat level” like a cowbell, keeping the entire country on tenterhooks for years, starting reflex-wars that still haven’t ended. People are fleeing the pain and negativity in many ways—opioids being just one, our present clown-presidency being another, desperate example of wishful thinking.

This country has finally run low on the only thing it always had too much of: Morale. Our chants of “USA! USA!” have a hollow ring to them, as if we were clapping for Tinkerbell’s life. We need another Franklin D., to re-teach us that we have nothing to fear except being afraid. And we certainly need some retro (i.e. fit for the office) president to come in and point this country towards the future again. These wealthy, corrupt elites are like fifth columnist agitators, who start a riot—just to provide cover for their looting and violence.

Our government is not some special reality show being broadcast on special channels—it is, at root, a fairly straightforward affair, that people of good will conducted poorly—but still, it was better than these soulless people now making a rat’s nest of neglect and privilege out of offices they’re not fit to fill. It is unfortunate that journalism has spawned two idiot half-brothers, Click-bait and the 24-hour News-cycle.

These new industries thrive on our disruption, confusing the needful work of a free press with entertaining gossip and hypotheticals—exacerbating problems under the guise of ‘providing information’, mixing the opinion-based editorializing and spin with the hard news. The ‘information’ thus provided uses the term so loosely that it impacts peoples’ faith in the real journalists—who are then vulnerable to accusations of ‘fake news’ from the dick-head-in-chief.

Someone like Trump finds a friend in these outlets—but they provide no assistance to any serious public servant who isn’t prepared to vamp for the ratings. The neo-realisti-cons have even carved out a demographic convinced that their propaganda is an alternative to the reporting in the NY Times or the Washington Post. And while journalists clearly are not famous for their precision, the journalism practiced at those papers is far more rigorous and objective than the Foxified alt-reality.

As always, there’s a dead giveaway, if you know where to look—I’ll give you a hint: it’s in the retractions. A paper like the Times will print a retraction at the drop of a hat—if an error of fact is pointed out to them, they will correct their error without a second thought.

A salient feature of the alt-right ranters, including Fox News, is their instinct to debate a refutation—they grasp their ‘facts’ to themselves much more tightly than an objective journalist. In their very rare instances of being forced into a retraction—it’s always partial, conditional, mealy-mouthed, unapologetic, and dismissive of the whole affair once it goes counter to their wishes. That’s a far cry from even an attempt at objectivity—and a sign of their ignorance, that they haven’t the good grace to be ashamed of such transparent mendacity.

It’s a tricky thing to call them out on—their bad impression of real journalists is an insult to ideal of journalism, and of being a journalist—but it passes muster for the distracted, upset viewers it’s targeted towards, so it works for them—when it really should have made them a disgraced laughingstock.

You know why Bernie is a Socialist? Do you know why we need socialism in America today? It’s because Capitalism has been gamed to such an extent that only some aggressive spread-the-wealth programs have any chance of stopping our slippery slide into a Cash Dictatorship. If we can’t find a way to deke all these lobbyists and campaign-contributors, we’ll never rescue our democracy from the banks and the fat-cats.

Wanted: Quiet Folk (2017Aug10)


Improv – Glamorous Air

Thursday, August 10, 2017                                               1:53 PM

Wanted: Quiet Folk   (2017Aug10)

Are we done having fun yet? It’s been wild, having a nutjob for president, but now that everyone is losing sleep over nuclear Armageddon, from an off-the-cuff remark he thoughtlessly made, isn’t it time we impeached this senile abortion and got a real president?

Democracy without compromise is simply the tyranny of the majority. We allow the majority to elect our officials, but those officials are meant to serve everyone, whether they voted for or against. That is a complex position to be put in—but don’t worry: corruption has dumbed the whole thing down to just ‘getting re-elected’.

Improv – Cuddle Closer

Americans should get back to doing big things for a reason other than profit. The Hoover Dam, the Highway System, the Railroads, the Space Station—Americans used to build great things for the sheer greatness of them. We don’t do that now—but only because we are too distracted to think of it. It makes us small, brings us all down in the mud of money, where the shills have all the power.

The fat gas-bag in the Oval—he infuriated me when he said, “Make America great again”, not simply because he dismissed our present greatness, but redefined our future greatness in terms of dollars and cents—the cad. He should never have been elected—and the fact that he was proves that this country’s greatness, as an ideal, has eluded not just Trump, but a good solid third of the electorate.

Improv – Blue Ballet

So the question arises—how do we convince Americans that they still live in a great country—for reasons that are staring them in the face—when they are so unhappy they can’t appreciate what we have here? One thing we could do is set all the television shows in foreign countries—remind Americans that, here, we are required by law to send our children to school—boys and girls. Remind them of the many ways America is a great place to live—that we don’t use our police as instruments of political oppression—that the vast majority of our cops are public servants, making their neighborhoods safe and just.

Our parochial experiences minimize the truth of this—there are countless protections and freedoms that are not givens, as they are here, in other parts of the world. Theoretically, we make our own laws and choose our own leaders—and it seems apparent that we have to face up to it: We have not been careful stewards of that hard-won privilege. We have become comfortable in the assumption that these freedoms can’t be taken away. We have to start running and voting—and in an informed way that moves us towards solutions to our problems.

The greatest Capitalist, Henry Ford, paid his factory workers high wages, so that they could buy one of the cars they were making. Ford was creating a product and a market at the same time. He wasn’t some present-day fool who saw no connection between business and people. The old saw, ‘You have to spend money to make money’ is most true of governments—this Republican push for ‘independence’ of the individual is just one-percenter propaganda—as if, in the age of global interconnectedness.

We have to grab our citizenship by the throat and wrestle that thing back to what it was intended to be—self-government by majority vote. In my mind, the issues that bedevil us are no longer the problem—at this point, the problem is the issues never get taken care of. We need to elect people who will shut the hell up and do something constructive. Godamit.

Pete n’ Me – Improv – Considering

 

No Time Off For Rachel (2017Aug02)


Monday, July 31, 2017                                             4:15 PM

In Post   (2017Jul31)

Post-project depression—it’s an old friend—the deeper I dive into making something, the more invested I get, the sharper the jolt of being dumped back on the sidewalk, project-less. Sure, I’m really just between the end of one endeavor and the beginning of the next. But at that moment of cathartic, exhaustive completion, the distance from where I am—to some future point where I will again have the mental effervescence and strength of will to start a new thing—seems like an impossible distance.

It’s a low point in my process—hence the depression, I suppose. But in general I really appreciate that cyclical aspect of things. I love the way it seems as if I can hardly move, hardly open my eyes—almost dying—every night—and then wake up every morning just full of energy. It’s so cool—it’s like magic. I mean—I get the eating food for fuel and getting energy from that. But to be recharged overnight by Sleeping—that’s just very cool and mysterious.

The track coach used to chide me about stopping once I reached the anaerobic burn phase—they call it a ‘second wind’. (It’s a great sensation—all of a sudden, the muscles stop the burning ache and you feel turbocharged—but it really means that your muscles have stopped burning oxygen normally—they’ve switched to a faster, but more toxic, anaerobic process. This floods the muscles with poisons, so, if you keep running on a ‘second wind’, you can seriously hurt, or even kill, yourself.)

But it was hard to give it up—once I was in that moment, after many hard laps, suddenly granted a ‘power-up’ that made me feel superhuman—I always struggled with myself to let it go. I even enjoyed waking up all stiff the next day and having to move around for a while before I could loosen up. I’m not sure I remember it properly, but I think we spent most of our childhood with aching muscles from the non-stop moving and doing.

rachel-maddow

Wednesday, August 02, 2017                                           1:27 AM

No Time Off For Rachel   (2017Aug02)

One good thing about post-project depression—it passes quickly. I feel normal today, no great high or low, just steady. I was saved, in a way, from starting something right away (it’s always best to take a metaphorical breath before you start something completely new) by my camera dying. It’s recharged now—but the world will never know how I played this morning—it sounded okay, some of it—but I always think that, so I’ll never know without a recording.

But I’m not the only one with problems. A few Republicans are starting to say things that oddly resemble things I wrote in my blog-posts, last summer—about how Trump makes a terrible president, so bad a president that we’d be safer if he spent four years without leaving the golf course. I felt bad when he won the Electoral College—so they can suck it up and feel even worse, knowing that they’re on his team and they’re just now realizing what a mistake that was.

For educated people, there are values to America that have nothing to do with business or profit. Even if they spend all day in finance or commerce, they realize that all this free enterprise depends on a respect for the whole system—if civility collapses, the value of money is the first casualty. But Trump is an ignorant bully who believes that all of that is hogwash. Trump admires Putin for being ‘strong’ enough to have his political opponents murdered. That’s the kind of stupid we’re stuck with.

So, I’d say we all have some worries. My granddaughter has a slight fever—she’s been given a little grape-flavored Tylenol or something, and she’s being a very brave baby. Jessy says she has the same cold—poor Seneca has two sick girls on his hands. I hope his health holds out.

There were three obit-notices on Facebook today—it is simply not a good day. And I understand that this clown-car administration has journalists running themselves ragged—but why would they call it the Rachel Maddow Show and then let her take a vacation—and in the middle of summer—it’s just crazy, right?

(Joy-Ann Reid–I love you too–I’m just joking.)

Birthday Video   (2017July30)


Sunday, July 30, 2017                                              3:17 PM

Birthday Video   (2017July30)

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The summer rushes on—July reaches an end and the lonely, hot month of August is all that stands between us and the coming of another tilt of the global axis, anti-sunward. My daughter’s daughter, my granddaughter Seneca, had her first birthday—and, of course, her first birthday party (with balloons and cake and presents). Ah, youth—just to look at her makes me feel younger. I, for one, can’t wait for this August to end—because the three of them will be visiting afterwards—and that’s worth another winter.

Claire is painting and printing and charcoaling and pen-and-inking and oil pastel monoprinting and doing pencil portraiture and life studies and plein-air landscapes—it’s been summer art camp for the Bear this year. She’s fantastic and I’m hoping she’ll let me make a video out of a retrospective of her sketches sometime—but not everyone is comfortable splashing themselves all over the internet like I do, so we’ll have to see about that plan….

Spencer has been doing yardwork and home repair—on the one hand, I’m jealous because that used to be my favorite part of being a homeowner—but on the other hand, it’s great to have a real strong man around to do the stuff that needs to get done. I don’t know what the problem is with ‘failure to launch’—we couldn’t get along without Spencer’s help—I’m grateful that he hasn’t felt the need to move far away.

For now I’m having a great old time using baby videos to add a spoonful of sugar to my piano-playing videos. I figure it doesn’t really matter about the playing—how many people can ‘go to the videotape’ to review the first year of their lives? It’s not like it isn’t a happy story. And I’m not quite done yet. I’m listening to Borodin’s 2nd Symphony—it’s nice and long, and good music, which makes it perfect for working at the keyboard.

I’m working on the new batch of videos—this time ‘round, I’ve recorded a bunch of songs from my Dover Music Publications’ “The Ancient Music of Ireland – Arranged for Piano by Edward Bunting”. I include “Molly My Treasure”, “Plangsty Hugh O’Donnell”, “The Jolly Ploughman”, “Slieve Gallen”, and “Give Me Your Hand” (also known as “Tabhair Dom Do Lámh”, the track title used on the Chieftains’ “Chieftains 5” album). I can’t tell you how delighted I was to realize I was playing one of their favorite songs of mine. I practiced and practiced, but I could never approach the speed and vivacity of their recording.

The improvs—well, what can I say. They’re there—that I have the strength to sit on the bench at all is a minor victory, so there you go. It seems that the more tired my playing gets, the more adorable the baby becomes—so, she’s pulling most of the weight on these videos—thank you, Seneca!

Well—back to work—I can’t post this thing without the videos.

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In Response   (2017Jul29)


Friday, July 28, 2017                                                8:06 PM

In Response   (2017Jul29)

A friend told me I play piano better now than I did eight years ago—which is gratifying (even if talking ‘two levels of bad’, it’s good to be on the right side of it). It’s funny—I’m in worse shape, but I’ve become better adapted to it.

I lost some core muscles in the ’04 transplant op. Even five years later, in 2009, I was still struggling to do a single sit-up—and failing. Now, I’m better adjusted—I can do sit-ups now—but it’s dangerous to ask so much work from so few muscles, so if I overdo, I get spasms. I remember an early gym class, sixth grade, or junior high, maybe—where I did more sit-ups than anyone else. Time sure flies.

What is a laser, you ask? The term “laser” originated as an acronym for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”. Invented in 1960, a laser sends a beam of light in a straight line (this is called coherent light)—unlike, say, lightbulbs, which send out light in all directions. This creates a very precise and powerful cutting tool, often replacing the scalpel in modern surgery. But lasers can be used for many other things besides burning—laser-calibrated ‘tape-measures’ allow contractors to measure a space’s dimensions without walking the length of the space—the list of uses is endless.

So—bacteria—lousy segue, I know—but today I’m thinking about bacteria—so, I did a quick Google-image search:

how_humans_use_bacteria_oversize20161121-1545-cvfkgm

As you can see from the chart, bacteria are useful because they operate on a molecular level—they can be tricked into modifying gene-sequences or fermenting India Pale Ale (IPA). Here are just three of the other fascinating things I found that deal with modern advances in bacteria-based technology:

 

Researchers generate clean energy using bacteria-powered solar panel

(Photosynthetic extracellular electron transfer processes using cyanobacteria—miniscule output compared to traditional solar panels, but still a step towards bio-solar energy cells.)

https://phys.org/news/2016-04-energy-bacteria-powered-solar-panel.html

 

Liquid-crystal and bacterial living materials self-organize and move in their own way

(Clothes that will breathe—for both of you.)

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170511165351.htm

 

From Antarctica: It’s Alive!

(Planet as Petri Dish.)

https://ultraphyte.com/2015/02/07/from-antarctica-its-alive/

 

So, my friend (and anyone else interested)–there’s a brief reply to your kind email. I hope I’ve answered your questions. Write again soon.

 

 

Presidency, Bought & Paid For (2017Jul25)


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Tuesday, July 25, 2017                                             8:26 PM

Presidency, Bought & Paid For   (2017Jul25)

I don’t follow the Trump story anymore—what it boils down to is this: the man is unfit for office, and it’s a matter of whether, and when, the Republicans will finally reach their collective limit, in supporting this destructive and dangerous clown. Meanwhile, the Democrats should be focused on what they’re going to do—their hands are tied for the next several years, no matter what happens with Trump—and they have to reach the people with some hard truth. Otherwise, they’ll just stay ‘Republican-lite’.

Perhaps we’ll learn from a bull-in-a-china-shop like Trump that our government is very fragile, in some basic ways—informed engagement being foremost among its needs, in a democracy—and that government and business are two separate things for an excellent reason—government is supposed to be For the People. Business is just about the money.

Now, before you get started—yes, money is everywhere—in everything from how well we can raise our children to whether we can afford life-saving medicine. But businesses are not required to concern themselves with that—they are concerned solely with how much money comes in and goes out.

Factory_02

Government regulations, government inspections, government testing—we hear a lot of bad-mouthing of these activities, as a rule. But we only hear from the business interests that find government quality-control too great an expense. If anyone wants to bad-mouth the EPA, or the FDA (or whatever few government regulatory agencies have survived the business-friendly Republicans) it should be about how their function isn’t being fulfilled properly.

Arguing against government regulation is stupid. Arguing to make regulations ‘more better’—now, that’s a good idea. If you take home packages of food and bottles of drinks, don’t you want to know that the people that sell it are legally liable if they get careless with your family’s food? Of course business will always criticize government—they don’t want any rules. But they need them—or rather, we need them—to protect us from rampant business without a conscience.

Croswell_MI_Canning_Factory-690x300

Remember when Volkswagen had half-a-million ‘volks’ driving around what they thought were fuel-efficient, eco-friendly cars—and they were simply cars with ‘lying’ emissions readouts. That’s what you get when you have rules in place. Imagine a reason to “let up” on business watchdogs—I dare you. We need consumer protection, eco-protection, and employee protection. The lack of sufficient government oversight is the reason we have so few, but very rich, people now—and most workers haven’t seen an increase in thirty years.

That’s hundreds of millions of Americans being taken advantage of by what Senator Sanders calls ‘da Big Banks’. That’s the trouble with technology—if this were pre-industrial times, no way such a small group of people could sit on mountains of money while everyone else struggles.

If the American Revolution hadn’t happened when it did, it couldn’t have worked—if we’d waited until the British had Gatling Guns, we’d have lost. Of course, you correctly point out that the Gatling Gun was a product of our Civil War, and so wouldn’t have existed—but someone would have come up with something like it, so I maintain my point holds. Automatic gunfire is the ultimate crowd control—so, nowadays, anyone who can hire a gang of mercenaries with automatic weapons becomes a small nation unto themselves.

The mindless power of wealth is armed with all the latest weapons—if we are not already adopting paranoia towards its potential to enslave us all, we are not being careful enough. While we, as individuals, meander through our destinies, trying to get by and minding our own business, the wealthy are plotting to become more wealthy. Why?—because that’s how they got wealthy. And with all that money, they can lobby legislation, they can ‘buy’ influence for ‘their’ candidates, they can tell a whole town full of employees ‘how it’s gonna be’.

Wealth is powerful—but it doesn’t think—or feel. It is a danger when uncontrolled and we knew it, long ago. But ever since the last World War, propaganda for a stronger military—and against socialism—has turned Republicans against their better interests. We already have some Socialism in our government—and it does a lot of good. Taxes are a form of socialism, too—in their own way—they are a collective asset, spent for the good of all.

Humane, safe, fair conditions for employees—that was a struggle fought over decades. And the owners that opposed the workers cited Socialism as the problem. Socialism is used as an insulting label by Conservatives—any group activity they disapprove of is Socialism—if they approve of it, it’s the Right to Assemble being exercised. These people have always been villains—the fact that one of them is probably your employer doesn’t make them the one good guy out of the rest—he or she is the most dangerous—because they hold your life in their hand.

Conservatives have to stop chowing down on the s**t-sandwich that is ‘a business-friendly’ government. Any time the government takes the side of business over the people, they are disgracing themselves—all these congressional bills pampering the big industries (and their profits) are a betrayal—and people don’t see that. It’s very frustrating. You don’t see the media taking this perspective—maybe it’s because they are owned by a bunch of fat-cat oligarch-types.

deltacan_Factory

Sunday, July 23, 2017                                              1:11 PM

Butterfly   (2017Jul23)

The butterfly was very curious about me (‘though I don’t know why—I’m wearing black pants and a grey shirt—and I’m pretty sure I don’t smell like perfume). It flew around and around me, up and down—it especially liked my ears, which freaked me out a little. I noticed then that the butterfly was just one of hundreds of butterflies, bugs, bees, and bits of tree falling in the light breeze.

The fact that the air was full of anomalies reminded me about outer space—about how space isn’t a pure vacuum, that there’s plenty of dust and particles. If a starship went through space fast enough, it would have its nose-cone eroded by the friction of passing through that dust and whatnot—just as when a car on the highway will see its windshield accumulate a layer of squished bugs.