wwsp albums on bandcamp!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Round and Round

Yeah, well "planned obsolescence" comes to us from industrial design, where a product is built to become obsolete or non-functional over time; a product with a limited useful life.

But of course, industry learned this concept from nature. We build a better mousetrap, nature builds a better mouse. Nature keeps generating forms and individuals within these forms and they live and crash and burn, and then more forms and more individuals, and it all just churns along.

You see carcasses along the road. A little starling kicked out of the nest too early, all mouth and long spindly legs, trying to brave the elements alone. A storm comes and well, he just isn't gonna make it.

He becomes mulch or fuel for another round of life. It's seems sort of cruel, but it's part of a larger, grander design. And of course, we're part of that design too.

No judgement. It's not really a failure, although it might look like it. Just life and death and death and life, round and round it goes.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mixing Session #7

This one was extra-ordinary. We're in the recording studio, talking about our track "Factory of Dreams." Not sure if it's good enough to actually make the disc. We recorded it twice, once with the full band, once with just vocals, bass and guitar.

It's kind of a hushed moody track. Anyway, we all thought it needed something extra to make it fly. So our recording engineer, who also happens to be an amazing guitar player (think the Edge, think Robert Fripp, think Frank Zappa) pulls out a Steinberger guitar (a very strange looking guitar, made from some "composite" material) which he just happened to have on loan, plugs it into his little pedal board and starts "painting" in sonic colors.

It was cool. It was breath-taking. Sort of sounded like a pedal steel guitar. A big sound. A sound of canyons and sunsets. Adding a completely new dimension to our little song. We mixed it down, and suddenly our little song found a place on the disc for sure.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Morning Fog

Early morning walk in the fog. The hood is so quiet. A few black silhouettes; ghostly, shadowy figures off in the distance reveal themselves to be human beings with actual human features as they get closer.

Little bunny rabbits, flee from our approach, white-tails bobbing along green lawns. Silly little squirrels rooting around in the dirt, looking busy, ignoring us.

A beautifully complex spider-web glistening with dew in the branches of a tree. It is empty, waiting...

The clouds at street level. Everything has a glow and a hushed quality of expectation.

Sunday morning coming down...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Decline of America in 3 Easy Steps!

This is a great example of the "decline of America" in three easy steps...

From Washington to Lincoln to Palin?!?

I mean, maybe this is just an elaborate joke (she isn't really running for President, is she?), and maybe Tina Fey is behind it all? That voice, you have heard it before: nails on a chalkboard!

Why post it? I am amused and flabbergasted in equal measure. Extra-ordinary!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Bubble in the Firmament

If I lived in a mansion, I'd rise early in the morning because the sun's golden rays would tap me on the shoulder as I slept on the big comfy couch. I'd brew up my coffee with the Flaming Lips (the CD with "She Don't Use Jelly") blasting out at maximum volume.

I'd page through the Wall Street Journal to see what the enemy was thinking and would marvel at the mendacious, calculated stupidity of their editorial page.

I'd make friends with two big gentle labrador retrievers and tell them that "this is what you do when you are a people." I'd feed them first. Before anything else. Just like John Wayne did in that movie, that I never actually saw, but that my father told me about sometimes, when we talked about movies and John Wayne.

I'd take a steam bath in their marble monstrosity of a bathroom. I'd turn the steam full on, and see how long I could stand it. I'd think that the steam was healing me; that the heat was making me sweat out the tiredness and pain and hell yeah, even leaching out the sins of my life. I'd actually think "sins," but it would bring a smile to my face and I'd tell myself I was just being "ironic."

I'd pretend the mansion was mine, and I'd invent reasons for why I'd own and be living in a mansion. They'd be silly and far-fetched reasons, still they'd be reasons that would make me forget the cold reality of my precarious existence floating like a little bubble in the firmament.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Iliad and Odyssey

The NBA playoffs. There are no Cinderella teams. The playoffs are a long, hard slog, three rounds of best of sevens to get to the finals. Best of seven means there are no surprises. Each team exposes their strengths and weaknesses.

Young inexperienced teams are brutally exposed. Aging stars not quite able to match their previous form are unmasked. There is no sentimentality in the NBA.

A team going through the playoffs is kind of like someone experiencing their very own Iliad and Odyssey.

We have watched our young Chicago Bulls battle through Indiana, Atlanta, and now they are in a death struggle with Miami. The Bulls have had a remarkable season. Best record in the regular season, the coach of the year, the MVP, best defensive team in the league.

But it looks like they've topped out. For some reason they are not hitting the shots they hit during the regular season. They are a little less sure of themselves. Maybe a little intimidated by their opponent? They are young, maybe not enough "seasoning," haven't experienced enough pain, loss, and disappointment yet, haven't "paid their dues," and they are now matched against a formidable opponent who has finally found itself.

And this formidable opponent happens to be the dreaded Heat, led by the notorious 3 Amigos: Wade, Bosh and James. These three guys actually did a remarkable thing, they decided they wanted to play together, they wanted to join forces, and they all conspired to take less money for the greater cause of being on the same team.

LeBron James walked away from his hometown team, the team that gave him everything they could to keep him, for the chance to play with two of his best friends. And these three pissed off a lot of people by acting as if their friendship, their desire to play together, trumped all other concerns.

And it all looks like it's paying off. The Miami Heat totally dismantled the Boston Celtics in the second round, and they are dismantling our young, brave, Bulls now. It's real ugly, it's a brutal battle, and it's a great show, even though it hurts to watch our young stars get knocked around.

Bulls are down 3-1 and it's coming back to Chicago. It's not over yet, but it's getting pretty dark for our young, upstart heroes!

UPDATE: Well, our young Bulls went down in flames. All season they were able to put the hammer down, and "bulled" their way to the best record in the league. Well, Thursday night the hammer came down on them. LeBron James put the dagger in deep in crunch time. So a fine season ends. Is this just a first step to a new young championship-caliber Bulls team, or a blip on the horizon? I guess we shall see.

D-ROSE!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Doomsday Biz

I suppose you can understand why the Doomsday biz seems to be booming! Lots of people want the whole she-bang to just come to some flaming grand finale.

I think it's a desire for some kind of closure and a grand comeuppance. There is some hope-infested idea of justice: the evil will die, the good will live forever.

People actually throw money at these creepy prophets of doom. Thinking what? Doom insurance? Somehow they will get a good table up in Heaven?

Life kind of rolls out like a long, very confusing movie. Lots and lots of actors, lots and lots of plots, lots of conflicting stories - good people struggle, bad people thrive.

And we've joined the movie in the middle, lots of stuff has happened before we entered the theater, and lots of stuff will happen after we exit.

And we are at most bit-players. Of course we star in our own little dramas, but our dramas are barely a whisper of a drop in the big ocean of experience. It's sometimes all too humbling.

So we imagine grand conflagrations! We imagine a Big Daddy up in the sky who is gonna sort it all out for us. We imagine lots of silly things. And stake our lives on them.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mixing Sessions #4, #5 & #6

Yes, we keep mixing our new songs @ the recording studio. It is a slow, meticulous process. We have three sets of ears, all listening intently, deciding what sounds good and what doesn't.

We are all pretty much aligned. As our recording engineer put it, we are in a "creative collaboration," and even though it's work, and it costs money, it's been a very eye-opening and rewarding experience.

Sitting on a couch, listening to music - I realize I've been training for this type of work since about 3rd or 4th grade, since whenever I scored my first transistor radio. I remember lying in bed, in my pajamas, transistor radio to my ear, listening to Simon & Garfunkel's "Homeward Bound" on AM radio. That seems like another time and universe. And in a way it is/was.

We have 6 songs completed. Every time we finish one, we think, "that's my favorite song," which is a good sign. 5 or 6 songs to go. Not sure which ones will actually make the cut, but songs that I wasn't sure about when we recorded them, have emerged from the mixing sessions sparkling, beautiful and powerful, at least to this set of ears.

I'm pretty sure more surprises await us.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monumental & Mundane

Our lives are filled with the monumental and the mundane. Momentous events come careening past our heads, sending us spinning up or down depending on the flavor of the moment.

Then again, we are left to pick up the pieces, to clean up the messes left in the wake of all that monumental sound and fury.

We hitch up our pants, comb our hair, brush our teeth, tie our shoes. Put one foot in front of the other.

Just plain old carry on until the next harrowing and awesome moment waiting round the corner just itching to pummel us.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saturday Night Calculus: 2 Busts and 1 Rousing Success

Yeah, well, the Rapture was a bust. Maybe God got bored, or he's dead like Nietzsche said, or he just didn't think any of us qualified to be raptured up!

I guess we're just stuck here with each other for the duration. Let's make the best of it!

Animal Kingdom was a bust too. No Triple Crown horse this year. I've watched from the sidelines this year. Didn't get a Racing Form, didn't do any analyzing, didn't make any wagers. The simplicity of Bartelby's "I prefer not to."

But our Bob Dylan Birthday Bash was a smashing success. 14 acts, 30 Dylan songs, a packed coffee house, lots of rousing, beautiful and heartfelt performances.

We have actually created a little roving community of artists/musicians who all support and inspire each other. And we've been lucky to draw a large enthusiastic audience for our events.

What nice vision, a little utopia of like-minded people here on this little spinning planet. Sort of like a little piece of heaven - but oh so human.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Jesus Was a Long-Haired, Socialist, Jew

So much for the Rapture. Too much ink and energy devoted to a bunch of freaking bible-thumping idiots. I did my share of bible studying during my enforced Catholic up-bringing and the guy I read about was not a Conservative, Republican, Tea-Partying, Asshole.

I came across this Left Behind Dude in the Daily Beast and he really pissed me off. He throws around the word "socialist" like it's a dirty word. It's not. He accuses Obama of being a "socialist," he clearly is not. The Dude that he professes to believe in was more of a socialist than our current President!

To state the obvious, that Jesus guy in the New Testament was a long-haired rebel. He had a soft spot in his heart for hookers and wine. He seemed to like dead people too. He lived in a commune with a group of shaggy-headed men, they shared bread and wine, they liked to party, they liked to stir up shit. They challenged the status quo. And they hated rich people!

He was a goddamned, dirty, hippie preaching love and forgiveness!

Jesus and his Disciples were Jewish. They did not know anything about "Christianity;" that was a later invention that pretty much corrupted and subverted whatever that Crazy-Ass Dude was preaching. He was a strange and interesting character who got nailed to a tree for his beliefs.

Jesus was a long-haired, Socialist, Jew! Deal with that Born-Againers!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Counter-Factual History!

Expanding on yesterday's post...

So yes, our hope resides in human beings. They are always the source of the trouble, and they are also the source of remedies to our troubles.

So we look to each other. Who will stand up, who will emerge? Usually it's someone from outside an established system, think - Mandela, MLK, Gandhi, or that street vendor (Mohamed Bouazizi) who torched himself in Tunisia.

One man (or woman) can be the spark for massive movements and change. Usually they have their eyes on a higher vision that lots of other folks can buy into. Usually these "leaders" are self-less, willing to risk everything for a grander vision of society.

And it's happening every day, all around us, although sometimes it's hard to see. It's always much easier to see things clearly later, sometimes decades later.

Now here in the States, it's all a little dicey. Change is supposedly built into the system but much of the establishment is so entrenched that even when we change the people in the suits, the actual on the street change seems minimal.

Our political system provides us with choices. We vote and take our chances. Still sometimes the choices have been stark, and you wonder how things would be different if certain contests had been decided differently (counter-factual history!).

What kind of country would we be if these contests had turned out counter-factually?

Humphrey vs. Nixon
McGovern vs. Nixon
Carter vs. Reagan
Mondale vs. Reagan
Gore vs. Bush
Kerry vs. Bush

And oh god no: McCain vs. Obama?!?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rotten to the Core

Yes, "the system" is corrupt. Rotten to the core. The rich and privileged get more rich and privileged. The rest of us get pummeled from every corner. That is not a society that can thrive.

Whatever "hope" we have resides in individuals, not systems. Recent and not so recent events remind us that one man, or small groups of like-minded people can bust the status quo.

So yes, it's easy to be cynical, but cynicism is not really our friend. We can see that things are untenable.

We must do our best to see clearly. Some folks are well-intentioned, some folks want positive change, some folks are trying... the system is swimming in dirty money and bad intentions, but some folks stand against it.

Their stand is our fleeting hope.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Good and The Bad

I suppose there are no "good" or "bad" people. There are only people who commit "good" and "bad" acts. It's the actions of people that we judge.

And good and bad are relative terms, they are not "absolute" except maybe in some far off land of abstractions. Everything in our realm seems malleable or situational.

Lying, cheating, stealing, murder are all "bad" acts, but then you could think up scenarios where lying, cheating, stealing and even murder might be "justified" or at least "understandable."

Still, I do think we know what's "good," it might actually be built into us, and most of us do have some concept of conscience. But then again our powers of self-justification and self-delusion are remarkable.

Sometimes it's easy to see when someone else goes off the ranch. Then again, as they say, "don't throw stones if you get stoned," or something to that effect. We are all both judge and jury of our own realms. It seems some of us are hanging judges when it comes to others, and supremely understanding and compassionate judges when it comes to ourselves.

Double standard to the max.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Precognition

Precognition. I think it happens often. In fact, I think it happens all the time. And that can be clarifying or mystifying.

I think a lot of our confusion, frustration and befuddlement comes from the clash of what we consciously know and what we "unconsciously" perceive.

Our rational and irrational signals are in a constant flux. I'm pretty sure our brains are like radio stations, (or two-way radios) we are constantly broadcasting and receiving signals. And other brains absorb these signals at an under the radar level.

It's like a back-channel communication. But it's one that we hardly acknowledge. And some of us have been taught to deny it's existence.

But then there is a "bleed" of knowledge that kind of seeps into us. That's what we think of as intuition. You can learn to cultivate it and to trust it.

And as it gets stronger, this intuition clarifies, it sheds light on everything. Sometimes then you can see things so clearly. Things that are "invisible." Things below the surface, things that have not happened yet...

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Dream World

Big or little dreams. Doesn't matter. Takes energy. There are those who "dream up" stuff all the time. They can't imagine or dream of an existence without the constant stream of dreams running through their heads.

New dreams, old dreams, borrowed dreams, wacky dreams, pedestrian dreams... worthy and unworthy dreams.

Then there are those who ride with the dreamer and the dream. They sign on, just to see if the dream goes anywhere interesting. Sometimes you find that these "hitchers" stay for the duration, but they can easily bail when things get weird or heavy or the dream takes a detour.

And then there are those who can't wait to shoot holes in the dream. That is their one and only purpose it seems. Maybe because they have problems with their own dream factory. So they shoot and sabotage and nit-pick, and basically harass the dreamer with the intention of squashing the dream like a little bug.

And it's easy to kill off a dream. So dreams are basically crashing and burning all the time. But a good dreamer just keeps on plugging. Kind of like nature itself, always making new copies to see if anything will stick.

And the dreamer learns, and refines and if he's a good dreamer he sees the playing field and relishes the opportunity to foil the anti-dreamers!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Eye of Newt

Ah the "Eye of Newt" is a-gleam with the image of a Big White House shimmering in the distance. You just know that he refers to that shimmering whiteness as his "precious."

Yes, end times must be near, when a man this overtly loathsome can be taken seriously by anyone.

Then again, is anyone taking this cretin serious? Who knows?! Kevin Drum recalls some Newt History. Not a pretty picture. And what does he stand for, except his own blabbering mouth and balloon-like ego?

I'm sure there's something about how we need to be nicer to big business and less nice to poor people.

And I hate to say it, but really, you mean to tell me that this guy has had multiple wives?! Yikes, I mean, what self-respecting woman would actually submit to the guy? Just asking!

Do we really have to pay attention to Newt? I think not. Hope dies hard, hope dies last!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

From Monkey to Mogul!?!

It has been pointed out to me that I have been thrust (or thrust myself) into the role of "Mogul." Which I Googled to get clearer definition. Now it's possible that I'm really just a bump on a ski slope, or maybe, possibly, but probably not, an important or powerful person, (I mean I have some meager powers and importance is kind of a relative concept), but certainly not a steam locomotive.

Now if only I could put in for a Mogul's salary!

Definition of mogul:

1. A bump on a ski slope formed by the repeated turns of skiers over the same path
2. An important or powerful person, esp. in the motion picture or media industry
3. A steam locomotive with three pairs of driving wheels and one pair of smaller wheels in the front

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Day Blogger Died

Wow. Blogger died, and my post from yesterday was scratched from the universe. I don't have the heart to re-create it. Just be assured that it was funny and brilliant.

Today's post isn't all that great, just catching up, was unable to blog this morning with my trusty pot of coffee at my elbow. Whatever happened to Blogger seems now to be fixed.

It's weird, blogging has become as essential as brushing my teeth. Although, hopefully more interesting, for both me and you. Let's pray no more hiccups. Although, now that I think of it, this may be just another "Sign of the Rapture?!"

UPDATE: OK, that's weird. Now yesterday's post is back with the living. So you can see for yourself if it's funny and brilliant. I just re-read it myself. I'm not so sure.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Unknown Sender

I don't know, maybe it's the end of days/rapture shit that's been swirling around in my head, but I've been in a really weird "metaphorical" frame of mind. Nothing is what it is, or nothing is only what it is, everything is itself, and points to something else too.

For instance...

Last night, near midnight, (sleeping soundly!) I received a text message from an "unknown sender." And even "unknown sender" sort of reverberates inside my being. The text message read...

R U CLOSE IS GAME OVER

Now I suppose there is an innocuous reading of this text. Mistaken identity. Right message to wrong person, whatever. But alternatively, this seems portentous, ominous, and possibly a query of existential proportions...

And leads to a number of soul-searching questions...

Close to what? Exactly what game are we talking about? Over? Like end of the world over? Is this a personal question? Is it a question at all? And who or what sent this little missive?

I didn't answer. I read it, re-read it and saved it. Still, I realize I do not want to know what I don't know. And I can't put my finger on what exactly it is I don't know.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bob Dylan is a Hard Case

dylan email

Bob Dylan is a hard case. We've decided to host a Bob Dylan tribute night and in the process we found out that the guy is still quite the divisive figure. Some folks love him, some folks hate him. There isn't much middle ground.

This is in contrast to the response to our Lennon (gunned down - universally loved!) night tribute. Seems death, tends to "beatify" our pop culture icons (see Elvis and Michael Jackson). A dead icon is not a threat. Suddenly the quirks, the disappointments, the very human flaws of a live human are forgotten upon their demise.

And if it's "death by misadventure" so much the better.

Anyway, I'm one of the "love Dylan" crowd. I can't imagine my life without his voice and songs in my life. Of course, when you say you are a Dylan fan it helps if you tell us which Dylan; the young, edgy folk-singer, the rock & roll poet and boundary breaker, the Basement Tape Old Testatment Prophet, the Born Again Christian, the Rolling Thunder Gypsy, the dark and moody old timer, or lately the indifferent, erratic-performing, shredded-voiced Krusty the Clown version.

It's not surprising that Dylan was played by multiple actors in Todd Haynes film!

Yes, Dylan can be disappointing and maddening. But he's also so inspiring. His catalog of songs, which is as thick as a telephone book, is filled with humor, wisdom and dark prophecies. Poetry of the highest order.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

God Can't Be French

Can I really squeeze out two posts about Rapture Day and the End of the World? Yes, indeed, I can!

So those in the know have crunched the numbers, and it's clear that, just as the Bible predicted, Judgement Day (May 21) and the End of the World (Oct 21) are coming to us this year.

It seems since 1988 we've been living in the age of the "great tribulation:" worldwide hardships, disasters, famine, war, pain and suffering. Check, check, check, check, check and check!

Supposedly about 2 million of us are going to be Raptured Up on May 21 and the rest of us are basically fucked! But I'm wondering if maybe that's based on God grading us on a curve? That number sounds a little high to me.

I mean really, from my experience, I'd say maybe one or two people I know might qualify for ascension. And since some of them are of the wrong faith (Dali Lama anyone?!) they aren't actually gonna make the cut!

So who knows. Maybe God ditched the curve. Maybe no one gets Raptured, and the joke's on us?!

Anyway, ever since I stumbled upon this story I have been exceedingly happy, no, not because I am to be one of the soon to be Raptured, I think that's highly unlikely, but that there is going to be a definitive ending to our story.

I was beginning to worry that life was gonna be like one of those baffling avant garde French films where there's no real resolution, and at the end of the film you are left with a bunch of questions, including "What did it all mean?"

You come to the word FINI and you are scratching your head thinking, "This freaking French Auteur is pulling my leg!" God can't be French, can he?

Monday, May 09, 2011

Significant Conflict!

We are planning a Bob Dylan tribute night on May 21. More on that in a future post.

But I found out that we have a major conflict on that date. It seems that it's "Rapture Day." That's the big judgement day thingy, where Jesus comes back and the righteous are raptured up to heaven and the rest of us get left behind to wallow and burn in our own iniquity.

Sounds like a busy day...

Oh boy. I hope we are able to at least finish our set that night. Is it a coincidence that we are planning on ending our set with "Knocking on Heavens' Door?" I think not.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure I'm not one of the lucky raptured ones. Ever since 3rd grade, I've kind of lived with the assumption that heaven is not for me. Sister Mary Aquanata made that very, very clear!

And what is in store for us "unraptured ones?" I guess it's not such a pretty picture...

Job 20:7-8: "Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung..."

OH Shit!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Blowing Smoke Up his Own Ass

A couple years on, it's clear that the George W. Bush era was all about blowing smoke. It was all about a reformed alcoholic, a bible-thumper, a mentally-challenged underachiever blowing smoke up his own ass. And the guy was so clueless, he really couldn't tell his ass from a hole in the ground.

America elected the guy, (twice!) which says something profound about all of us too.

And as Krugman points out, in his post Shadow of the Torturers, the Bush, pro-torture crowd was a bunch of little creeps puffing themselves up and pretending to be big tough guys willing to do the dirty work. So laughable and sad. They demeaned themselves, the people they tortured, and all of us too.

So glad that era is over. Hopefully...

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Mixing Session #3

I'm probably keeping track more for myself, than for you...

So, yes, another mixing session at the recording studio. You realize that mixing could theoretically go on forever. There is no definitive mix. All mixes are choices, approximations. The more instruments and voices you have on a track, simply means the more choices, more approximations you have to work through.

Mixing is an art not a science, just like much of the stuff of our "human world." We approach this task as if it's the most important thing in the world. Even if it isn't. The more you listen, the more you hear, and then the more you listen, the less you hear.

I do think your ears, your brain can get so acclimated to a track that you no longer actually hear it, and you fill in and fix things. Kind of a weird phenomenon.

So we mixed and mixed and mixed again. Very little tweaks can have big effects. Another lesson.

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Dumbing Down of Conservatives

So my post yesterday had me ruminating and googling. Which is a dangerous combination. I was concerned that my conservatism = stupid formulation was a little too broad brush. I mean, there has to be some "smart" principled American conservatives out there, right?!

I must admit that for me conservatism suggests: pig-headed, backward, small-minded, fundamentalist, nostalgic, jingoistic, insensitive, pro-big business, dogmatic, greedy, selfish, nationalistic, militarist, anti-scientific, irrational, racist, anti-immigrant, anti-minority, anti-diversity, rigid, inflexible.

My personal experience has been that arguing with a doctrinaire conservative is very similar to arguing with a profoundly ignorant and/or religious person. Facts don't matter. Evidence doesn't matter. They cling to core beliefs that have nothing to do with the real world. There is a willful and intentional "dumbness."

They are the kind of people who cling to "core principles" even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Which in a debate sometimes seems like a certain bold clarity, or a simple certainty, but also comes across as an ignorant arrogance which some (Palin, Cheney, Bush, etc.) wear as a badge of honor. I googled "famous conservative thinkers" and came up with this list. I mean, wow, it is sort of a rogues gallery of rogues, except for maybe Eisenhower, Jimmy Stewart, Frederick Douglas, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln (OK, Lincoln is more my kind of conservative!).

But when it comes to the famous contemporary conservatives, sorry, case closed! What a Clown Factory of over-bearing, willful idiots!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Secular, Humanist, Liberal, Scientific Vision is the Winner!

So we have all these freaky talking heads and pundits blathering on about everything under the sun all the time. Most of them seem to just add to the constant white noise of pop culture.

Do any of them have a clue what they are talking about? Well, it seems that if they are conservative and have a law degree too, no, they really don't have a clue. And maybe that makes sense. Someone with a very rigid, fixed, conservatively ideological view of the world (think George W. Bush - the man, who when he touched it, turned it to shit) really is clueless when it comes to our complex, every-changing reality.

So anyway, a college class analyzed political and economic pundits and their predictions. Turns out most of them did really poorly. If you wanted to predict the outcome of a particular event, you might as well as have flipped a coin.

Who scored best as a prognosticator? Paul Krugman! The liberal! And this too makes sense. A liberal thinker would be more flexible, change-able, maybe wishy-washy, someone who will change their mind based on the evidence! If you ever read Krugman, you realize he is always looking at the underlying evidence. Sifting the facts, trying to understand the nuance. He is flexible and quick-thinking, which is a much better frame of mind in which to see the world clearly.

He is clear-headed, and has a heart.

Sometimes it is frustrating read Krugman, because he often seems so right, and yet, no one seems to be listening. I guess it's easy to tune the liberal out. That would be just what the conservative mind-set would tend to do.

I can't help thinking today conservative really does equal stupid!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Incentives and Disincentives

I suppose if you were a nation state that sends big bucks to another nation state to find a particular individual, that beneficiary of the big bucks might be motivated to find that individual, or alternatively that beneficiary of the big bucks might actually be motivated to not find that individual, assuring that the big bucks keep flowing.

So then you might find that that individual is living in the relative lap of luxury in a nice part of town near a military academy or some such place. And then when you do track the dude down, and engage in a bold operation to smoke him out and waste him, that beneficiary nation state may look complicit in actually hiding him all these long years.

And then said beneficiary kind of ends up with egg on their complicit faces. Or something like that. And well if that nation state is a teeming nation bulging with people and nuclear arms, well, a little humiliation goes a long way, with who knows what kind of consequences.

Still, in retrospect, that little SEAL operation looks pretty slick and successful. And it was a really risky, gutsy move that could have easily gone seriously wrong with all kinds of unforeseen consequences. And the guy who made the call now looks like a smart, cool operator who rolled the dice and came up smelling like roses.

Sometimes one man's fall can be another man's rise.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Skeptics and Cynics

Skeptics and cynics.

I can go there too. But I was surprised to be out and about yesterday, and to hear people who are relatively intelligent and politically aware, expressing skepticism about the major event that went down in a compound in Pakistan.

I do think an empire crumbles when the citizens no longer believe or trust their government, their press, their media machine, and the motives of their fellow citizens. Of course, much of this skepticism is well-earned. We have often been lied to and misled by those in authority, and we've been lied to and misled by each other too. We almost expect to be lied to and misled. Any action is suspect. We wonder, did this really happen? What is the real motive? Why now? Who got paid off? Who benefits?

And we live in a world of information over-load, ideological spinning, covert operations, black budgets and double-dealing. Often we can't even agree on the basic facts. All information is subject to spin and warp.

And then there is that great conspiratorial frame of mind that ties everything up into some kind of grand narrative. Almost like there is an invisible hand guiding events. Not a god-like entity but some all powerful CABAL that manipulates and orchestrates events in some secret room somewhere.

We've all seen lots of movies. And in a way, we want to believe that there's some coherence to the way events unfold. Maybe it's biological. It's built into us that we want to discern some kind of coherent pattern. Even if that means we can't take events at face value.

And sometimes an all powerful CABAL does sit in a room manipulating and orchestrating events. That's how they got the Bad Guy after all.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Big Time Bad Man Sleeps with the Fishes

You turn on the radio, you hear the news that a Big-Time Bad Man has been gunned down by Special Forces. You think Justice has probably been done; that it was a very neat, in the moment, execution.

You can't really celebrate another person's demise, but it does sound somehow like good news. But then, surprisingly, (even to you), you wonder if it's all really true. That's the kind of freaky world we live in, where everything is suspect, even when the word comes from people you think you trust.

Then you hear that the Big Time Bad Man's DNA (maybe now they can recreate him in a CIA lab and re-engineer him to be a Hip Hop artist or something?) has been taken and preserved, but his remains have been buried at sea. And this information is so weird, so unexpected. Really? Buried at sea? He now sleeps with the fishes? Really? Strange...

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Beat Up Old Coat

Belief was a kind of shabby and beat up old coat that he would occasionally wear. He would spruce it up, put a flower in the lapel, attach shiny new buttons; anything to give it a little class and gravitas.

And just what was this shabby coat, this heartfelt "belief?" It was all about transformation, and energy, and change. And how most of the things of the world were shrouded in a shiny, glowing and colorful mystery. And this was a good thing, a hopeful thing.

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