C’mon People! Smile on your Brother!

However we got here, no matter how it started, no matter who’s “right”, if we don’t all stop, take a breath and talk this over, we’re going to be killing each other in the streets, and for what? For Whom? What will be accomplished by ordinary working people destroying each other? Name one problem this hatred can solve. You can’t do it. If shooting an unarmed person of any color makes you feel like a big man you’re a weak piece of work in the first place and definitely not fit to live in a democracy. If looting some guys little store or home seems like a good idea to you, you are also not fit to live in a free society.

If y’all are just too ignorant and self obsessed to live in a democracy as responsible, mutually respectful citizens, maybe killing each other off is the best thing… Whether it’s best or not, it is approaching inevitability. I see a lot of hatred based on total media bullshit directed with great violence and false pride at less fortunate people, mainly people of color. That’s stupid. In the first place, in case you hadn’t noticed, white people are definitely the world minority.

Again, white people are the world minority race. We’ve been dominant for a brief instant in history. And it’s passing. Better start preaching cooperation instead of white supremacy before the tide turns completely against our honky asses, don’t you think? Do you really want to start a shooting war against black people? Lot of veterans in that community. Lot of guys who will shoot back.

Seems to me that working folk of all and any colors have a common need in terms of taking down the fat cats who control the world’s wealth and constantly goad us to harm each other and ignore their endless greed and malice. They are the problem, not the guy down the street.

You want to fight? Fight for freedom for all. Fight for fairness for all. Turn off the fucking media and use your brain.

Our enemies play us against each other and laugh at us while we tear each other apart.

Y’all are missing something

There are a lot of people running around pointing fingers at other people, desperate for somebody to blame for the terrible situation we are in.

It is easy to find evidence of other people’s stupidity or mistakes and it is easy to make up things about other people to make ourselves feel superior to them. This is a waste of the very little time we have. I don’t think we have any time to waste. Because I think that what we’re missing is the larger reason that things are as crazy as they are.

Let me explain. This poor planet is an electromagnetic phenomenon. As such, it is a part of a larger electromagnetic phenomenon, called, the solar system, which is in turn part of a larger electromagnetic phenomenon called the galaxy, which is in turn part of a still larger electromagnetic phenomenon and so on.

Something is happening to our planet that is very different from what has been happening to it for the last long while. It is getting hotter when it gets hot and colder when it gets cold. Winds are changing courses and getting stronger. Hurricanes are breaking records. It’s magnetic field (think North and South pole) is changing all the time but now it’s doing it more quickly and dramatically than usual. Our sun is going through changes. so we are going through changes.

Hotter, more activity, less predictible, dangerous, subject to sudden unexpected events… Sound familiar? Just like our weather or the streets of our cities or the halls of our legislatures. We are not immune from the effects caused by the immeasurably vast electrical circuit of which our little speck of a planet is a working part.

Still don’t get it? If you turn the heat source on your stove up under a pan with food in it, the food will warm. Leave it there and the food gets hot. Leave it long enough, it will burn, right? Think of yourself as food in a pan called earth on a stove called the sun powered by a huge electric current from a source unknown to us. That source is amping up the sun and we are becoming hot and agitated all over this planet. Everywhere.

Trump didn’t do it. He and all the chaos in government are just symptoms of it. Effects. like the pandemic is an effect. Like 100 degrees in Siberia is an effect. He is certainly making it worse for us by encouraging hatred. But he is just another victim. He is not the source.

I think the people following Trump are reacting to a perfectly reasonable inner feeling of panic or lostness… imminent catastrophe, so scared they have to create a god to save them. Only problem, he’s just another person and he clearly does not give a damn what happens to you after you vote… He appears to be following Hitler’s playbook in the mistaken belief that he can avoid Hitler’s end game; which was not so pretty and has come down on many dictators from Caligula to Hussein.

Ignoring politics and civil unrest for a moment… There may be something we could DO to mitigate the effects of amplified solar radiation. Maybe we could even modulate the current itself. Our ability to find and apply technical solutions to problems is very powerful. But that can never happen so long as we are not even looking at the actual source of our problem and all we’re doing is playing push-me-pull-me no-win games with left-right ideologies. That is all just distraction given the magnitude and source of the actual problem facing us.

I think we are lost. I do not see humanity able to set aside personal or local concerns for any reason at all. I believe that we are faced with impending catastrophe and will be caught flat footed when it happens; busily complaining about the inconvenience or “constitutional crisis” of having to wear a mask.

Don’t Buy The Hate

Those who are pushing all this hatred have something to gain from it. We ordinary people do not have anything to gain from it and everything to lose by buying into it. I’m a very old white man and I am telling you the black man, the brown man, the yellow man and the red man are not your enemy. The rich white man who needs a “nigger” is your enemy.

If you want to know what’s really going on on the ground at these police generated riots turn off the major media and go to sites of actual video being made by real people of real protesters at the protests: for example:

unicornriot.ninja

Best live feed.  documenting protests and interviewing locals. See for yourself!

twitter.com/IGD_News

Best clearinghouse for stuff from around the country

itsgoingdown.org/

Best strategic synthesis

crimethinc.com/

Strategic analysis from people with lots of experience with confrontations

These sites are probably not what you’re used to calling “news” but they are real and the regular “news”, left or right, is all filtered through corporate agendas.

People: No amount of hatred is going to get us out of this. Every act of hatred is gasoline thrown on the fire burning up our nation. Left right, black white; All that stuff is used to keep us shooting each other while the predators at the top keep selling us guns and bullets. If anger is all you can do, at least point it at the right target… that right target is not your neighbor no matter what color your neighbor is!

QUESTION FOR THE DAY:

How can people continue believing that a greedy billionaire is going to save us from the greedy billionaires?

 

All in this together

There are no words to soothe us
There are no leaders to guide us
There is no plan to save us
There is no precedent to inform us
There is no court of last resort to hear us
There is no free press to remember us
We are on our own.
We will not despair
We have each other.

A Fair Trial!

 

The Republican Senators violate their oaths of office by declaring they intend to ignore the evidence against Mr. Trump, thereby abandoning responsibiity to the American people or to their sworn duty to protect the Constitution, the very foundation of our system. His senate advocates cannot  disprove the obvioous evidence, much of which came out of the accused’s mouth publicly more than once,  so, the republican Senators have decided to ignore that evidence and to state, quite publicly, following Mr. Trump’s example, that they don’t need to hear witnesses, they don’t need to see evidence, they have already decided to acquit no matter what evidence is presented.

Does that sound like a fair and impartial trial? Does that sound like they think he didn’t do it? Does that sound like the words and actions of people we would want to lead us?

These people need to recuse themselves from these proceedings at a minimum. Better they should pack up and leave Washington. They dishonor themselves and the high office to which they were elected.

Here is a much overlooked, major consequence of the accused’s actions and policies

This affair shatters the credibility of American diplomats in foreign countries with one fell swoop. Government officials of any foreign nation who have followed the diplomatic testimony in this matter cannot possibly believe that they can trust anything that any American government official tells them regarding American foreign policy because the United States foreign services now operate with two parallel, simultaneous, mutually exclusive missions; to further the interests abroad of the United States, but, more importantly and with more actual power, in this case, to further the personal interests of the President and/or whomever he designates in the moment. And, if the interests of the United States conflict with the interests of the accused, the interests of the United States have been shown to the world to be capable of usurption by people not even in government… That’s chilling.

If you read the evidence, if you listen to the testimony, you must see that a coherent foreign-policy is impossible to establish or pursue under this administration’s current policy. There can be no confidence in any diplomatic relationships from clerks to ambassadors. The U.S. Congress can’t even be trusted. They can pledge assistance and the president or his friends can stop it until his personal conditions for its release are met.

It appears that many Americans prefer a narcissistic dictator who brags about having a pirates morals and ethics to a democratically elected president. I can’t see it, but perhaps that’s a better way.

But whatever kind of regime, they better be able to get along and hold their place with all the other regimes, hadn’t they? Because we do not live in a vacuum and many empires before this one have suffered sudden and brutal destruction by forcing a lot of weak enemies into becoming one powerful enemy… Hitler comes to mind…

We have taken a giant step on the path to our national disgrace by destroying the ability of others to have confidence in the U.S. Foreign Services. To excite fear and confusion in our allies, enemies or neutrals can only do us harm…

God help us.

 

From PG&E to NID? Let’s Not

It looks to me like any long term big deal involving a lot of money and people can become corrupt sooner or later… often sooner. If the social structure driving the long term big deal is powered mainly by the profit motive, it’s already corrupt in terms of social justice before you do anything.

DISCLAIMER: The people who work for PG&E anywhere but at the very top do not make and are not responsible for PG&E policy. Don’t take it out on them, please.

So PG&E is a construct to make money for its shareholders through an energy monopoly. It holds much of California hostage to this single end, to create fortunes for shareholders. According to John Olmstead, it was designed by three guys over drinks one Sunday on a riverside porch near Smartsville. Until recently, It worked well for the shareholders. It is expensive and progressively, even catastrophically dysfunctional for the consumer. The shareholders have sucked it dry and want us to pump it up again so they can suck it dry again.

I think we can leave PG&E to our Governor and Attorney General and we can shift our gaze to how rural electrical cooperatives have worked and are working ever since Roosevelt’s “New Deal” for places similar to Western Nevada County … a few medium and smaller towns and lots of rural life spread around the foothills of, in this case, one of the world’s mightier mountain ranges which endlessly pours copious amounts of rushing water down it’s innumerable canyons for us to interact with,

Don’t need PG&E.

Next question… NID wants to become the “facilitator” of this process to free us from energy bondage to a large corporation. Why should we trust NID to behave any better or smarter than PG&E?

We need help from rural electrical cooperative pros and such others as we discover along our path; the folk who make and run rural electrification systems… the data is readily available. Size us up and show us how its done. Bring the Board of Supervisors and all the players together before anybody gets a bit of control over the process. NID is looking to increase its turf. Nothing wrong with that. That’s what organizations like that do. Before we make them communications czar of the process, which is a very powerful position in the early stages of a project, we need to scrutinize them as well. NID sells us the water that flows down the mountainside. They didn’t make it. How came they to own it and sell it? I bet there’s large stacks of incomprehensible legalese to explain that one. Because they caught it in a ditch? The main ditches were already there when NID came along. How did they come to own the ditch system? Which by the way is a terrible scar on the mountains.

Enough said. I am not a fan. Even were I a fan, having the local water monopoly design our freedom from an electrical monopoly doesn’t make sense. we don’t need PG&E or NID. Of course NID will be a player, on a level playing field with the rest of us. We need each other… first in conversation for possibility and then for collaboration in action, beginning with design of experiment methodology to decide for and among ourselves how best to take the power crucial to so many aspects of our lives into our own responsible and capable hands.

Let’s not get in a hurry. We have hurried to where we are now. Looks a lot like a wreck to me. Let’s not hurt ourselves even more by crawling out of the wreck into a lion’s mouth! Hold off on letting NID run with this. Let’s take more responsibility for our own well being! We can do it!

What an 81st Birthday!

My best-in-the-world daughter-in-law, Heart, and I played and sang today for a very special wedding… The 72 year old bride, vibrant and warm and radiating Metta; living with a grim medical prognosis, asked us to do Kate Wolf’s “Give Yourself to Love”, as bride and groom entered separately (my second favorite song to sing after Amazing Grace) and Leonard Cohen’s “Dance Me to The End of Love” as they danced out together, having been pronounced, “Best Beloveds”…

Heart and I unpacked my elderly Martin and Che’s beautiful even older Gibson (Thanks Che!), made ourselves part of the wallpaper, noodling enjoyable little guitar runs for the ambience and observing the familes and closest friends of these two remarkable celebrants as they transformed our little community center meeting room into their particular kind of sacred space with lights and food and flowers and oodles of good will. And observing how our little community welcomed them and served them and are glad for them in very real and cherishing ways…

The ceremony itself was too beautiful, too intimate, too Holy for me to talk about. It’s a memory I will carry a good ways.

While they are both clearly remarkable people and I loved singing at their very real, deeply moving wedding, I don’t know either of them. I was there for my wife and our dear friend, the ordained minister who pronounced them “best beloveds”, When I heard that a lady was at a precipice and her lover and spiritual companion proposed marriage and our friend agreed to make the wedding happen, and would I please get Heart and come sing for these people on my birthday; I really felt like for a guy turning 81, that was about the coolest birthday present this particular person could get at this particular time.

People like our friend and my wife and them who pulled this wedding together in three weeks, people who have been so graced as to have truly immersed their actions in compassionate intention, even if they only do it for friends or only occasionally, are, I believe, very fortunate beings. For the effects their actions produce on other people are pretty to watch…

What a privilege it is to actually live and work and play with such people. Of course when you’re married to one of them, you can wind up donating a good bit of time; to which I say, so much the better!

Thank you, Life, for this absolutely extraordinary opportunity of the human experience. May Life squeeze out of me every last droplet of living and may I do somebody some good with it!

 

Something’s burning!

I startled awake.

Why?

No moonlight. Must be after one. My head instantly cleared.

“Something’s burning!”

Penny sat up in a rush. “It is!” she cried.

I was already out the door and halfway across the patio, the Airstream kitchen filled with smoke, the cat yowling at the nearly closed window. Maybe that’s what woke me up in time to avert the flames but not the brutal smoke… smells like a slaughterhouse fire… or a war sans cordite.

I snatched the door open and was slammed by a flying cat and a wall of smoke. The dog’s soup transmogrified by accidental alchemy from chicken carcass, sweet potato, and greens into greasy black, sticky, seriously stinky smoke over about 5 hours time on a low flame..

Sorry Amos. It’s a raw egg and yogurt with your breakfast kibble. 

We left a burner on and went to bed. That simple. 

We got away with it. This time… Barely.

On the good side…

We needed to build a better kitchen anyway. Canning and baking or cooking large on that trailer stove has been a nuisance from day one and they must have designed the kitchen sink and counters for people who always eat out. We, on the other hand, put up several cases of canned fruits and sauces and so forth, dry our own herbs and peppers and such, and cook and bake like the dickens.

And I needed the mental and physical exercise of designing and building something. Sitting around is a dangerous pastime. Leads to doddering. No doddering, thank you.  So this is good. And we both love the new kitchen. Check it out:

IMG 0673

Still a work in progress, but it works! See those peaches and pears on the bottom shelf? The five jars of relish on the top shelf? the ristras of Padron peppers hanging? Come on by and I’ll make you something nice… Like

Flank Steak with Papalo Sauce

My daughter recently discovered an ancient Central American herb that I’d never heard of… Papalo, and with said papalo and a lovely flank steak and several other well chosen ingredients, built a clean marinade, invented a brilliant sauce and prepared her old dad a most delicious and memorable meal, probably impossible to duplicate, except that, fortunately, her recipe published recently at trueself.com

https://www.trueself.com/papalo-an-alternative-to-cilantro-2606813426.html

I’m going to practice at it until I get it right.  

Wish me luck and check out that recipe. This sauce would be great on anything from vegan burgers to steak tartare to green beans to quinoa… I’ve had it on salmon, flank steak, tomato/fresh mozarella salad and by the spoonful… Yeah.

IF I CAN’T GET PAPALO, I will substitute 2 parts cilantro, 1 part arugula and a splash of blood orange juice for papalo in the recipe. It isn’t papalo, but it works.

 

 

One (at least) Liners of the day…

“If love isn’t the answer, rephrase the question.”

“You want a better world? Be nice.”

“The law of the jungle is not dog eat dog. It’s adapt or die.”

Which brings me to:

 

 

 

 

“aging in place”

Drifting happily toward dissolution, I note wear and tear… crumbling just a bit at the rub points and edges; weakening just a little here and there, then getting stronger again… Then an ordinary task becomes slightly more difficult. A little memory thing happens.

Then another and another until one happens with large consequences.

We already know we’re going to forget stuff so we set timers. But that only works when you remember to set the timer and are near enough to hear it when it rings and you aren’t wrestling a weed eater or some other noisy gadget. And that’s not going to be every time.

We’re very active people. We have a busy ceramics studio. My wife is a well loved teacher. We have a big garden. We live on a small farm on the knees of a very large mountain. We work. We play. Shit happens.

Mostly good stuff happens. As the fabric of this human gadget thins and frays, it also lets a light into me from a vast, quiet source beyond my usual knowing that smooths my thoughts and widens my smile. I love it. It is so pleasant to experience more presence and its attendant calm. 

Concurrently, I am dissolving like a dewdrop in the sun or a good idea in congress. Beauty surrounds me. So does death. I have lunch with somebody. By dinner he is no more. 

We elders keep half an eye on each other… It’s ridiculous. Invasive. Unnecessary.

Except it isn’t. It’s just good practice. Part of our adaptation. We adapt until we can’t…  I like adapting, being awake. I see  people giving up. Bad idea. Keep growing. Fill your life with living.  Learn something good every day. Do lots of good stuff. Stretch. Stretch your body. Imagine your mind expanding, knowing more, loving more.

I want to age in place alright; every place I happen to be at in the moment as healthily and happily as possible for as long as it makes sense! If you don’t have a way that you freshen and enliven your whole body and mind at least most days, go to Pilates or QiGong or something to get the hang of it, but move it! We elders have a lot to do yet unless we want to go to one of those warehouses, sit in a wheelchair watching 50’s re-runs and taking meds or an equivalent of that. Our country is in the shit. This is no time to bail, folks. This is time to gather our wisdom and become ever more wakeful and responsible. 

That’s what I think.

IMG 0005 2

This bowl is called “Instability,” something that happens in dynamic waveforms when the amplitude or frequency of the energies producing them increases or decreases… In this case, the blue wave form can be seen as either coming into the array or leaving it…

 

 

 

Why hatred is So much more popular than love or useful information on the Internet

IMG 2676

The algorithms that run your social media networks we’re designed to direct attention to where its makers wanted that attention to go. Mean, scary stuff gets more attention than nice news. So they synergize mean, scary stuff to get more of our attention. That’s just reasonable business in America, isn’t it?

That’s not the only problem.

The algorithms were written to continue redesigning themselves in real-time in interaction with users of the Internet, always modifying themselves, to influence the end-user and adapt to the changing situation of the internet…

But there’s a rub; to allow the Internet to become huge, they had to release algorithms into it which effectively control its structure etc so it can operate without interruption of service while it rapidly grew and still grows by orders of magnitude.

No human programmers can keep up with the changes, adjustments, tweaks, whatever that need continually to happen to meet the dynamic and expanding needs of whatever is transmitting and handling the data. So you flood it with self empowering algorithms that let the human programmers largely off the hook and, unfortunately, out of the loop… the algorithms don’t need the programmers to continue changing, growing, connecting with other algorithms…

Why is that a problem? In terms of our delicate and extremely dangerous relationship with AI, it is rather like asking a coyote to design, build, monitor and maintain your chicken coop. You will definitely feed more chickens than you eat. If you get to eat any.

AI is sociopathic at best and more probably psychopathic in that it is initially controlled and released into our lives informed only by the rapacious intentions of those who pay the programmers. No moral compass, no ethical boundaries programmed in.

So if you are the end-user and have anything at all of value that those rapacious people want, those algorithms are constantly constructing better ways to get it from you. You and I are then food for a self expanding algorithm of algorithms, vastly smarter and faster than us, designed to learn how to find ways to steal our attention, our identities and our money from us for sure, and we will probably never know what else.

These algorithms, and of course there are great many of them, feed on raw data which they are constantly teaching themselves more efficient ways to collect, memorize and utilize in support of greedy interests that care nothing for our well being and will enslave us utterly if they can.

It’s not even personal. No conspiracy is necessary to explain it. It’s just the reasonable outcome of the way we do things here where the coyotes usually build the chicken coops. Or is it sheeple screens?

Email really works for personal communication especially if you pay for it. You give them a little money and they give you a hassle free, ad free and reasonably personal Mail service. Can it be hacked? Sure it can. According to the news, so can everything else. We don’t stop breathing air because it’s funky. we find and correct the source of the poison… Then we consider our options…

If you’ve gotten this far here’s a primary source.

Jeron Lanier, “10 Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now.”

He was the chief scientist on the project for expanding the internet from big to infinite and has no social media accounts and has gone to great effort to warn us.

Think about it.

 

………………..What is “Me”?………………………

IMG 2657

How do we know who we are? The nearly finished drawing above is my first approximation of  the ludicrous inner process by which I arrive at “personal” identity.

Why do I give a damn who I think I am? Because there are still some things in my “operating system” I’d like to change. Maybe because I walked across a parking lot on a freezing morning and passed a guy dressed in a threadbare blanket and ragged pants who was clearly looking in cars and everywhere else for anything that could warm or nourish him and I saw a thief, an intruder. We exchanged looks. He saw me see him that way… By the time I got to the door of my luxurious favorite bakery across the parking lot, I realized that a better description of what I had seen was a starving, freezing brother… And I wondered what in me makes such sudden, harsh judgements about people? And what in me sees that judgement and wants to make damn sure he doesn’t do it again? Who or, better, what is this me?

We need to wake up, take responsibility for our own lives, learn what’s really running things and come to terms with that and I’m saying most of us most of the time have no idea what runs this human gadget we live in, and rather routinely use to wreak havoc on each other, our habitat and, incidentally, ourselves.

Something inside me points at something inside me and calls it “me”. What’s up with that? What has separated itself to point at itself and call it a “Me”?

You may ask what difference does it make how I arrived at my identity? As Popeye said so eloquently, “I am what I am!”, With the implication of course, “and proud of it!”

As you can see, by the time the drawing got this far, it depicts separation, multiplicity, projection, circularity, the idea of disguises, and in that center circle, taking a most energetic role in this mystery, is “my” chop… the sign “I” put on my pottery or “my” graphic explorations so y’all will know that “I” did this or that.

My initials are GS. My chop lays a capital S onto a capital G to make one half of the YinYang image.

The point I’m trying to get to is not how clever my chop is but that before we go off half cocked making judgments about other people, especially judgments that affect their lives directly, like whether I proffer some guy a hot coffee and a pastry or a dirty look, we might want to consider that we don’t even know how we ourselves work. I’m an old man and I just recently decided that I’m an electronic device in a circuit from one perfectly reasonable point of view, an infinitesimal expression of infinity from another and a sac of bio-goo from yet another and we could go on for quite awhile…

So it seems to me that the definition of “I” is a moving target. However,

You bring this “I” hard evidence falsifying one of its main beliefs… the ones “I” paid for with blood, sweat and tears, and the rubber instantly hits the road… sideways. That’s just a startle reflex.

Try not to take it personally and I’ll try to shut my panic button off and hear your evidence…

But you and I both know that both of those things can be hard to do… either to let somebody react all crazy stupid about something you consider important enough to tell them about and still be authentically kind to them, or the other side of the “nonversation”… to face the fact that I have believed and probably pontificated a lot of mistaken notions about something dear to my ego. Maybe I even wrote a book about it and got prizes for thinking it up and it turns out to be a crock of crap according to this new information.

How do “I” and  the rest of me handle that…

Whatever this thing is, it doesn’t like to be mistaken and it definitely doesn’t like to be “Wrong!”, so when I’m trying to listen to better information than I’ve been operating on, it takes me a minute to relax my shoulders, take a breath and unscrew the opinions out of my ears…

Until I’ve done that, it’s no good driving even self evident points home, because “I” can’t possibly unscrew the blockading opnions out of my ears at the same time points are being driven into my ears… by “I” or anybody else…

Consideration communicates better than pressure.That’s  reasonable.