Sunday, November 6, 2016

As usual, random wild and crazy thoughts. Join me for some thinking, rumination.

Illegal immigration, especially from Mexico to the US seems to find it's way into the news on a daily basis.

'Mother deported, her kids remain in US' Here's how this family works:

I have very mixed feelings on this one, supposed illegals in the US.
Mexico has experienced many changes in territorial organization during its history as an independent state. Scroll to the 'Territorial evolution of Mexico' section:

How times have changed - alot of what used to be Mexico is now the US. 
Mexicans? Get used to it. I get used to alotta things i don't particularly like, but that's the way the world works.

If families get separated by the border? that's the way the world works.
You know the rules, yet you want exemption from them?

I think the demands that the US puts on legal immigration are just fine - you have to demonstrate some knowledge of the US, and some reasonable command of the english language - it's as much a public safety issue as anything else - if someone bangs on your apt. door at 3 am yelling 'get out! the building is on fire!" ... it would be a good idea to understand some english.

9/10 PM
I went to my Yahoo mail this evening, and when i was done, i was greeted w/ a page of Verizon advertising ... in spanish! WTF?! Yahoo must know ( thanks to their probing algorithyms) by now that i speak english.
I am in America, goddamit! We speak english here. That's one of things that binds us, as Americans. We may speak it in various accents ( from Maine to the south east, and out west), but it's still english! I am tired to have to press a button on my phone to specify english. I see this pandering to other languages in many places/ways. Enough already!

I know it is possible to assimilate and succeed.
When i was sent home 11 years ago to recover from a burst appendix/peritonitis, with two weeping holes in my gut, i was visited every day by a Kaiser employed nurse, born and raised in Cambodia. She was infinitely kind and gentle. All of the 5 ft tall 110 lbs that she was. She had been thru more hell and high water than anyone from Mexico (or anywhere south of there) has ever experienced. EVER! The Khmer Rouge, the killing fields, then finding her way to the US. Her english was accented, but perfectly understandable.
If she could do it? so could anyone else.  No fucking excuses. Learn english or go home!

When i end up in a supermarket express line, and some latina is contesting her bottom line, & can't speak english... and paying w/ food vouchers (US taxpayer paid) I get real grouchy, REAL fast. 
She's not legal - hellooo ICE! Where the fuck are you???

No, I am not voting for Donald Trump. No wall will ever work.

The Walls in Our Heads


Islamic culture continues to shock the world:

A woman’s gruesome hanging shocked Tibet — but police have silenced all questions.

"She was 27, a kind, hard-working woman who supported her family by herding yaks and harvesting caterpillar fungus, a prized health cure, on the high grasslands of Tibet. Last October, Tsering Tso was found hanged from a bridge in a small town near her home".

Simon Denyer  8/26/16
Saudis and Extremism: ‘Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters’

Critics see Saudi Arabia’s export of a rigid strain of Islam as contributing to terrorism, but the kingdom’s influence depends greatly on local conditions.

The Islamic Republic’s War on Women

Foreign Policy Magazine • August 29, 2016

Talk about a 'war on women'? How about this:
Samia Shahid 'honour killing': Raped before death

A British woman who died in Pakistan in a so-called honour killing was raped before her death, the officer in charge of the investigation has said. Samia Shahid, 28, from Bradford, died in July in northern Punjab. The Pakistani chief investigator also told the BBC Ms Shahid's father and former husband carried out her murder. He added he was seeking to have her mother and sister returned to Pakistan to be questioned about their role in the murder. Two men have already appeared in court in Pakistan in connection with Ms Shahid's death. Her former husband, Chaudhry Muhammad Shakeel, is accused of murder and is reported to have confessed to strangling her with her scarf, according to local police."

And where is the 'honor' in rape??

The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed Contributor
Strangled for Being Too Sexy

By MIRA SETHI    JULY 19, 2016 

sooooo... what do you think - is Islam a religion of peace and love??

This is an entire NYT sunday magazine devoted to this topic:


RE: race in America

I won't comment on this one - just read it, it's the NY Times, best NP in the world:

This is sad to have to read:

There Are No Successful Black Nations

“Thus, no one will talk about the painful fact that most African and Caribbean nations have either failed or are about to collapse. Be assured, the indignity will continue. Black elites and activists across the world have adopted a culture of verbal tyranny in which they shut down any effort to reason or criticize us or black-majority nations by labeling such attempts as “racism” or “hate speech.” Thus, one can be certain that any suggestions that our race may indeed need to do something to remedy our situation will not be aired — not by the terrified people of other races. And anyone within our race who makes such a suggestion will be deemed weak and pandering or a sellout, as U.S. President Barack Obama has been repeatedly called."

'Obama has failed victims of racism and police brutality' 

'The president and his cheerleaders refused to engage deeply with systemic problems facing our country. That came back to haunt America last week......'

IMHO, Many of the problems with black america today come from within.
I grew up lily-white in NH and Maine in the 50's, the son of church-going god-fearing protestants. Their values became mine, except for a few (I am glad in retrospect that this happened). i don't believe in god, or go to church. No one takes their hat off for women anymore, or pull their chair out at the dinner table. But being polite and respectful of one and all in public, 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you', getting an education, a job, becoming a decent member of society - all these were expected  - 'that's the way the world works, kid - get used to it'.
You know what? They were right. I liked having a job, doing decent work, having a decent apt., being able to leave a grocery store without shoplifting.

Black america? the same principle applies -  parents values are passed on down to their children. i think there is a different culture here, and they impart rather different values to their children, depending on the household.

I would put it this way:
There are 'black people' - who don't wear backwards baseball caps, or saggy pants - they speak relatively proper english, are polite and respectful in public, get an education, a job, and keep it. The men don't get anyone pregnant they don't want to be responsible for. They 'tow the line' - just like white people do! 
They express their 'heritage' (black-ness) in many ways, as i express my white-ness, too, but they don't beat anyone over the head with it. And i don't either.

...And then??? there are niggers.
If Richard Pryor could say it?, i can too.
They wear backwards baseball caps, saggy pants ( like 'i want to get fucked in the ass' - oh, do you, ...really??) to no job, no education, no nothing 'cept trash talk/ebonics. They are loud, rude in public. A total embarassment to their race. Or any other race for that matter.
Get your head out of the gutter, & out of your ass!
You wanna get ahead in this world?... get w/ the program... like i wrote before - 'tow the line' - just like white people do! Do you get it?? 
We don't like it anymore than you do, but that's the way the world works. Drop the 'whitey done me wrong' crapola. That's just an excuse, a bunch of BS. Get over it already. You haven't picked cotton, i haven't owned slaves. End of discussion.

And if the cops call you to account? STF up, do what the man asks, no BS.

Too many of the recent killings of blacks by police are the result of stupid behavior by the victim.
Do what the man says, and live to sue him later.
I've been pulled over by cops a number of times, and always let go. I just 'comply' - it's that simple.
Once i was pulled over in Virginia, i was smokin' some bad leafy/'shake' weed, clearly evident(fragrent!), but not visible, I told the cop the smell was just something burning in my car ashtray. All he could do was look inside, he couldn't search without reasonable cause, which there was none of, nothing visible. He smiled at me like he knew what was going on, but he couldn't do shit. I smiled back, and was on my way.

Another not 'cop', but racial/black incident:
In November1976. i moved to Baltimore, took an apt. on St Paul St, east of Hopkins hospital. A BAD neighborhood.
One snow-stormy morning my girlfriend left early, her car was snowed in.  As she was trying to get it out, a bunch of black guys came of of the corner bar (there's a bar on every corner, that's the way the town is!)
She told me later, she thought she was a goner, they were gonna rape and kill her.
DIDN'T happen. They asked if she was with the white guy who lived across the street, & pointed to my building. In neighborhoods like these, no one goes unnoticed. She said 'yeah'. 
They rocked her car back and forth, got her out of the snow, and that was it. She went on to work, they went back to the bar, for another drink... at 6:15 AM

"do unto others.... ( and you know the rest)"
No wonder it is so hard for us to understand each other.

How the Internet Is Loosening Our Grip on the Truth

Whether navigating Facebook, Google or The New York Times’s smartphone app, you are given ultimate control — if you see something you don’t like, you can easily tap away to something more pleasing.

I went to a most prestigious northeast prep school, studied Latin, French & Ancient Greek. The Latin and a choice of french, spanish or german was required. I took the ancient greek as an alternate to 'scared studies' (the bible, etc) which i really did not want to study. I found studying languages to be quite interesting - many of the languages based on latin have similar words, but they don't translate directly. The french phrase 'joie de vivre' for instance literally means 'joy of life' - is there any english equivalent? Not that i am aware of. The passage of time changes languages too. Read some Shakespeare - it's in english, but a long way from what the British or Americans speak now.

I recently read some media articles about something called 'the Voynich manuscipt' - 500 year old book with very unique qualities, it seems to be untranslatable, in an unknown language with incomprehensible illustrations. But whoever made it was quite serious, this is a monstrous amount of work - intended for who?

'The Voynich manuscript is an illustrated codex hand-written in an unknown writing system. The vellum on which it is written has been carbon-dated to the early 15th century (1404–1438), and it may have been composed in Northern Italy during the Italian Renaissance. The manuscript is named after Wilfrid Voynich, a Polish book dealer who purchased it in 1912. Some of the pages are missing, with around 240 still remaining. The text is written from left to right, and most of the pages have illustrations or diagrams'.


Then I remembered a montage image i had made:

'Stories to be Told' is it's title. This weathered book is probably unreadable ...but at some point there may have been stories ....about the surreal desert distance above and beyond it. I did it long before i read about the voynich manuscript or any of the following.

I remembered something my stepmother sent me after my dad died, he'd saved many old photos/memorabilia, including this old notebook/diary. 

The house I grew up in, in Maine, was built quite some time ago, originally a square box, added to several times. I assume this was found in the house somewhere when my dad bought it, i'll bet the diary was written by a former owner/resident, it is dated 1857. Some pages are daily recounts of work done: 
"cut trees for firewood" 
"chopped wood all day" 
"carried wood to house". 

Other pages are unfathomable numbers, calculations, lists.

This is less than 200 years old, but it is incomprehensible.
And the english language we speak now?
It is evolving on a daily basis, thanks to digital and the internet. Words exist that didn't just a few years ago.
For example 'google' - as a verb, 'blog' as a noun. 
And acronyms - "a word formed from the initials of other words"? All over the media! - SCOTUS, POTUS, DWTS.
So if understanding each other on this planet ain't easy, what about anyone else in the cosmos??

Here's something quite interesting: NASA (there's another acronym for ya) has sent a satellite with a time capsule into deep space, perhaps to found by who knows who, and who knows when.

"The contents of the record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan of Cornell University, et. al. Dr. Sagan and his associates assembled 115 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind and thunder, birds, whales, and other animals. To this they added musical selections from different cultures and eras, and spoken greetings from Earth-people in fifty-five languages, and printed messages from President Carter and U.N. Secretary General Waldheim. Each record is encased in a protective aluminum jacket, together with a cartridge and a needle. Instructions, in symbolic language, explain the origin of the spacecraft and indicate how the record is to be played. The 115 images are encoded in analog form. The remainder of the record is in audio, designed to be played at 16-2/3 revolutions per minute. It contains the spoken greetings, beginning with Akkadian, which was spoken in Sumer about six thousand years ago, and ending with Wu, a modern Chinese dialect. Following the section on the sounds of Earth, there is an eclectic 90-minute selection of music, including both Eastern and Western classics and a variety of ethnic music. Once the Voyager spacecraft leaves the solar system (by 1990, both will be beyond the orbit of Pluto), they will find themselves in empty space. It will be forty thousand years before they make a close approach to any other planetary system. As Carl Sagan has noted, "The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced spacefaring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this bottle into the cosmic ocean says something very hopeful about life on this planet"

Amongst the online comments on this one: "This is like the Constitution of the United States, The Magna Carta, The Mona LIsa, The finest Rembrandt. This is History, and will forever be, It is in outer space. The song Johnny B Good is inscribed in a solid gold disc on the Voyager spacecraft, in order for other life to experience our music. This is a fact and is now way past our solar system into stellar space."

Definitely included - Music!

Amongst the music, is this track:
"Johnny B. Goode," written and performed by Chuck Berry. 2:38

At some point in time, a response might be received from somewhere in interstellar space:
It might simply be:  "Please send more Chuck Berry"

Or would it start w/ 5 notes, as in the movie 'close encounters of the third kind'?

It ain't Chuck Berry, but it is musical.
Maybe we should play them the Rolling Stones 'start me up'...?
Another language entirely? Computers.
Charles Babbage is credited with inventing the first rudimentary computer:

Alan Turing took it the next step during WWII to crack nazi codes.

Before the computer there was something almost as complex - the chinese typewriter

So what language are we talking in now? English? Or computer? Both, i suspect.
But if you want to talk 'Chuck Berry'? I am all ears!
His greatest hits:

I think rock n' roll is pretty much a worldwide language. I have read of trekkers going into the nepalese mountains to monasteries and in the distance they hear Bob Marley music wafting down from the monastery.
Probably this one:

'get up stand up, stand up for your rights!!'

A live version:

How 'bout one last exquisitive track?

Redemption song:

Recorded shortly before he died.

"Get up, stand up!....."
"Please send more Chuck Berry"

Fini - for now.......

Friday, August 19, 2016


Once again, wandering, thinking - join me for some rumination.

The day after i published my last post (July 3 2016), this appeared in the media:

"The Deputy Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Hossein Salami, said on Friday (al-Quds Day), during Iran's commemoration of the country's solidarity with the Palestinian people, that Lebanon has 100,000 missiles ready to strike Israel. "The opportunity to destroy Israel is now better than ever, because tens of thousands of long-range missiles all over the Islamic world are ready to hit Israel immediately upon receiving the order," Salami reportedly said."

(This is just one article, i am sure there were many more, with greater depth than i can quote.)

Sooo... is this just saber rattling?

Israel has it's 'iron dome' as protection:

So what happens if the unthinkable takes place?
(Ever seen the movie 'Dr Strangelove/?

Wars never go the way those who start them think they will. I recall a quote from some general that ends with the question: "... soooo.. tell me how it ends."
Just look at what shit the US has stepped into since 9/11, nothing went as planned, there were no Iraqi WMD, too many middle eastern countries are in shambles, their societies don't have a clue how to be democratic, they have been ruled by religion or dictators for decades if not centuries.

"History never flows in a predictable way. It is always a result of seemingly random currents and incidents, the significance of which can be determined — or, more often, disputed — only in hindsight."


'We are a world awash in weapons and grievances.'

And Islam is a rather schizophrenic religion - is it really a religion of peace?.... 
or do they condone and encourage the killing of all infidels? It depends on who you listen to.

"Honor killings"??? This is totally barbaric to western standards, but these people believe in it, & do it.

"The killing has put the spotlight back on so-called honor killings in Pakistan. Each year, hundreds of Pakistani women are killed by relatives angered by behavior they believe has tarnished the family’s reputation, human-rights activists say."

“The accused and the complainant are from the same family and they forgive each other,” ...... 
“No one is ever prosecuted.”

**Sick, sick, sick**!!! to our western sensibilities.

Her Father Shot Her in the Head, as an ‘Honor Killing’
Nicholas Kristof JAN. 30, 2016

Once again, wandering, thinking

As always, i look to photography, montage making, to be some sort of positive effort to make sense of things.

At the top, some kind of cosmic powers... channeled into very simple tools. Are we the simple tools who are probably squandering these powers?

I wrote an artist's statement many, many years ago, it stands the test of time:

"I'm obviously interested in things metaphysical - beyond that, it's up to the viewer to decide what's going on. (If I haven't figured them out yet, (and I haven't, not really), why should I presume to explain them to anyone else?) 
Many of the pictures just seem to 'happen', because the individual negatives are 'looking' for each other. I'm just a chaperone, and a really loose one at that.
(...But those were always the best kind of parties, right?)

Once again, wandering, thinking - 'incantables' - the rhyme or reason hard to decipher.

I have come across some online discussions that are equally pondering:

Jethro Tulll -  Benefit
'.....weaving thru london town, to cry you a song'

RE one of the comments on this track:

Mariaeugenia Mayer wrote:

"incantables" (unsingables) - 'canciĆ³n' = chanson, song; Some musical pieces, like FM's Oh Well, and Jimi's 3rd Stone from the Sun, are unsingables, meaning they are the very opposite of a sing-along song; they have no melody, apparently, and when you finally detect some "melody" it is bizarrely stretched out, scattered in pieces, hidden within another tune or beat or "bars" etc. I lack the musical education to be able to express myself here. In both songs, however, the lead guitar carries the stretched-out tune, and weaves it in and out of the instrumental tapestry.
Hope I did not bore you Laurel with my attempt....

(Laurel gets it. At least someone in this thread gets it. I am still a bit lost. I DO know that Mitch Mitchell's drumming carries the day on 3rd stone from the sun, as it does on sooo many Hendrix tracks. Hendrix once introduced him as  'my Elvin Jones' - do a youtube search on that, you'll be glad you did :-) )

Laurel Marshall:

Mariaeugenia Mayer, Not at all, Mariaeugenia Mayer! You said what you were describing very well; I will just have to go back & listen to those songs to see what you mean specifically, so that I can understand better & we can pull it apart & 'look at it'. (That could be very interesting.) Sometimes the rhythm with the drums & bass provide the 'hidden' & 'not so hidden' main structure of the song, which the other instruments (like lead & rhythm guitar & singer's voices) can weave & wrap themselves around, or blend with. Often too, one hears the 'counterpoint' to the song too mixed in with the melody & harmonies so that it can get confusing about 'what is what' in a song; structure-wise...........

Actually IMHO the beginning and end of '3rd stone from the sun' is singable - Jimi is borrowing very nicely from Wes Montgomery.
It is the middle section that is beautifully 'incantable'.
3rd stone from the sun:

(( Eric Johnson does a nice cover of this:

But then again, Eric johnson is always nothing short of brilliant!
Manhattan (sic?):


'Stand up' - remastered 2001

'it was a new day yesterday, but it's an old day now.'

'When the wheels come down':
'When the wheels come down' - yes, another of the "incantables". 
You can interpret this phrase in whatever way you want. 
Thank you, Dave Grohl.


You've heard about stuxnet? - an old headline, but a very current and important topic - cyber security, malware, hacking. I think all this digital stuff, this 'interconnectedness'? a Pandora's box, we've opended it, and will never be able to close it, ever. Stuxnet was a computer malware thing, designed to wreak havoc on Iran's nuclear facilities. It had to have been planted by someone on the inside, a mole who plugged in a thumb drive, none of Iran's nuclear stuff is hooked up to the internet. Somewhere in Iran, someone is very, very scared - if they have not already been caught and executed.

Director Alex Gibney’s “Zero Days,” out July 8, attempts to fills in gaps in the story of what happened with the malware program.
In Gibney’s version of events, the U.S. entered a partnership with Israel to use cyber weaponry largely to keep Israel from starting a war the United States would be called on to finish.
The fallout of Stuxnet was more than a U.S. and Israeli black eye. The blown cover likely released the techniques used to create the worm to the public. And, soon after the attack, Iran is believed to have hacked a number of US properties, including the stock market and major banks.

This story is not over by any means, in fact it is just beginning.
Malware/Hacking into major computer systems?
Can you imagine what would happen if the electrical grid in the US was hacked, brought down?
Think 'apocalypse now' cause that's what it would be. No electricity, no internet, no ATM's.
Grocery stores? closed, no way to do business, all frozen & refrigerated food spoiling.
If you thought the SNL skit from decades ago was funny?
"show me your guns" won't be funny any more, it'll be deadly serious. We'll be in the stone age, every man woman and child for themselves.
But of course we will also be in 'mad' territory = 'Mutually Assured Destruction'. Who knows how many countries have a flotilla of 'technicians' at the ready, to retaliate, to send a signal to unknown submarines and missile silos, to bring out the big guns. I mean the really, REALLY big guns.

Ours? Not below the Pentagon, or at Langley/CIA.
Or in Nevada. 
Somewhere deeper and darker than that. 
This is what the internet was originally created for - communicating when all else stopped working.
When the big red button got pushed.

"The origins of the Internet date back to research commissioned by the United States federal government in the 1960s to build robust, fault-tolerant communication via computer networks.[1] The primary precursor network, the ARPANET, initially served as a backbone for interconnection of regional academic and military networks in the 1980s."
And when the shit hits the fan, the wheels come down?
This is how we'll feel:
And this is where we may have to relearn everything, once again.
How complicated has our world become?
By ANNALYN KURTZAUG. 8, 2016 - NY Times 
When a Malfunction on Land Keeps a Fleet of Planes From the Sky
Airlines, of course, are only one of many industries with complex systems whose failure can be catastrophic. Many companies, like banks and large financial traders, manage the risk by copying data to service areas powered by different data centers, so they can continue working in the event of an outage.
Delta said the problem was touched off by a power failure about 2:30 a.m. Eastern, shutting down computers and grounding flights for about six hours before Delta began to incrementally bring its systems back online.
Any idea how many lines of code are in the backbone of Delta's computer heart?
I don't even want to think about it, the answer is .... 'incantable'...?
Meanwhile we have a presidential election coming our way, and one candidate is doing nothing but fanning flames of hatred, stupidity, ignorance ... like we need anymore of that.
'We are a world awash in weapons and grievances.'
Make America Hate Again
The Opinion Pages | Contributing Op-Ed Writer 
Timothy Egan JULY 22, 2016

For a campaign now devoted to “law and order,” the launch was mob rule: in spirit, in tone, in words. Long after we’ve forgotten Trump’s closing speech — that paean to self, that nightmare portrait of an America where the lights have gone out — we will remember the savagery just below the surface.

"When the convention closed, fear had won the hall. And we should fear — for the republic, for a democracy facing its gravest peril since the Civil War."

I live in California, something of a crossroads, people come here from around the world seeking something called 'higher ground'?
I know that the battle over immigration, be it legal or illegal, won't end by governmental fiat.
These lands have been fought over, boundaries claimed and lost, for centuries. There is in fact no real border, it's all a construct, constructed by those who know little about the real history of peoples here. No border fence will keep them out.
It's like the lyric in a Warren Zevon song:
'They say love conquers all, you can't start it like a car, you can't stop it with a gun'.
'Searchin for a heart'
'Back in the high life'

In the comments for 'Back in the high life' this post

"I courted death my entire existence on that beautiful blue ball called earth; just look at many of my lyrics. I'm not sure I fully appreciated wearing that human costume, but now I see that I wrote some fine songs and made some nice friends. I knew "death" was always hot breathe on my neck and I referenced it many times. But now, in this expanded version of myself, of course I know there is no death. The lesson: do what you want. It all leads to a fine place."    Love,   Warren
All along the watch tower - Jimi Hendrix - audio
Really sweet - women of Ireland - Lizzie Ball (violin), Tal Wilkenfeld (bass) & Jonathan Joseph (drums) - live at Madison Square Garden 2013.

And if you want to clear your head out,  listen to some drumming that can't be done by computers, drum machines, auto tune? - Gene Krupa!:
You could also dial up some Keith Moon, John Bonham, Elvin Jones.
A few things i discovered many years ago about how the world works:
1 - no one is special, not really. we all put our pants on the same way (yes, you ladies do too) We all have to wipe our own butts, ain't no one gonna help w/ that one. I spent 6 years at a most prestigious NE prep school, w/ guys last names like 'Hunt',  'Scribner' ( yes that Scribner = publishing) 'Reedy' ( as in LBJ's press secretary) ... and so on and so on and so on. We all have our foibles. And let it not be forgotten, our good points too.
2 - Treat everyone you meet w/ respect, kindness, be well spoken & polite, and also ready to listen to someone, anyone, else. Treat them as you would like to be treated. You will get back what you dish out, it's called karma. What goes around comes around. I have rubbed elbows w/ the 'high and mighty',  and also shown up at a BBQ take-out shack in Old Town Alexandria VA at 2 AM in the mid '70's, being the only white guy there ... and never had any problems. Drop any pretensions you might have about your own importance, no one is really that important. Humanity will have a short span on this planet.. we are already burning thru what we have.
As for "Treat everyone you meet w/ respect, kindness, be well spoken & polite.... "
Sometimes you gotta put that rule aside, take (the late great inimitable) John Belushi's advice, but w/ a a grain of salt: 
"Don't take shit from anyone".
Strike a balance between the two above advices, don't play this card unless you really have to.
Choose, think, decide - wisely, carefully.
SundayReview | Opinion 

"For a long time, biologists thought evolution was a very, very slow process, too tardy to be observed in a human lifetime. But recently, we have come to understand that evolution can happen very quickly, as long as natural selection — the relative benefit that a particular characteristic bestows on its bearer — is strong."


Well, after 45+ years, i am still a-smokin' as i write this. Perhaps when the wheels come down, it'll be me, Keith Richards, and cockroaches.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Inside my head...

The format, if you could call it that, is rambling. Thoughts assembled, recorded in no particular order. 

'Inside my head'
If your mind was a soup, simmering... i will be the guy w/ a spoon, stirring it around.
The headlines mentioned here? ... they may be stale. As events, they are now history.
That doesn't mean what's noted/going on is any less important.
Have you heard of, or read, anything by Bruce Chatwin? His book 'The Songlines' is one of my favorites. The middle section is a long series of quotes from many sources, all about travel. I have borrowed his format, sort of. I re-read his book, often.
it has something to do with these next few links. I think.
The End of Reflection - NY Times

Future Tense


“Finding moments to engage in contemplative thinking has always been a challenge, since we’re distractible,” said Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows.” “But now that we’re carrying these powerful media devices around with us all day long, those opportunities become even less frequent, for the simple reason that we have this ability to distract ourselves constantly.”

Why I Quit Twitter — and Left Behind 35,000 Followers


But the fact is, giving up one social media space wasn’t exactly martyrdom. It wasn’t much of a loss at all. I have found myself reading whole articles through The New York Times and Washington Post apps on my phone — imagine that.


Some thoughtful ideas coming from what you might think to be an unlikely source:

(she's talking about her husband's recent untimely death)

"I have a huge reservoir of sadness that is with me always — right here where I can touch it," she said. "I never knew I could cry so often — or so much. But I am also aware that I am walking without pain. For the first time, I am grateful for each breath in and out — grateful for the gift of life itself. I used to celebrate my birthday every five years and friends’ birthdays sometimes. Now I celebrate always. I used to go to sleep worrying about all the things I messed up that day — and trust me, that list was often quite long. Now I try really hard to focus on each day’s moments of joy."

Finally, she told the audience, appreciate your own capacity for resilience when you're sad or disappointed. Expand that resilience beyond yourself to the companies and communities you create.

"When the challenges come, I hope you remember that anchored deep within you is the ability to learn and grow. You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are — and you just might become the very best version of yourself."


What was it Donald Rumsfeld said about known unknowns?
Or was it unknown unknowns?
What gooble-de-gook/crapola. At least DR has dropped off the stage, let's hope he stays there.

But that thought is interesting....

'There are many answers to all questions'

( a detail image, just to the right of center)

You couldn't possibly have missed this one in the headlines:
Militiamen occupy U.S. national parks building in Oregon

"A group of militiamen on Saturday occupied the headquarters of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon in support of two brothers who are slated to report to prison on Monday on arson charges, the Oregonian newspaper reported.
"We're planning on staying here for years, absolutely," Ammon Bundy, one of the occupiers, told the newspaper via telephone."
Sometimes i think too many people fight over next to nothing. Their self perceived 'rights'? WTF are those? One of those 'you make it up as you go along' kinda things?
Eventually, yes, these people gave up. About fucking time.
Land west of the Mississippi has been argued over for as long as Europeans have been there to argue about it. The Native Americans probably had their squabbles too, though they didn't leave written record of it, they came and went, conquered, were conquered, moved many times.
Almost half the land in the west is owned by the US Gov't. Not just as military sites, but as BLM land. I have driven through a good bit of it, and lemme tell ya, much is so inhospitable, it's not worth arguing over, it will never be settled except by the most hardy of souls. Let 'em have it.
At least this whole Oregon mess has lit a fire under discussion about land out here - who owns what, who has rights.
The same way the western drought has inspired a lot more discussion about how water gets saved and used.
One news organization is worth tuning into often: 
High Country News - - lots of excellent journalism here.
On a really good note:
'Volcanic spires, dunes, Joshua trees: California's desert gets new federal protection'
President Obama designated three new national monuments in the California desert Thursday, expanding federal protection to 1.8 million acres of landscapes that have retained their natural beauty despite decades of heavy mining, cattle ranching and off-roading.
New desert/JT protection:
"Kerry says implementation of Iran nuclear deal 'days away' "
( i didn't record the date of this headline, but it's not important.)
Yeah, right. Anyone who thinks Iran isn't talking out of both sides of it's mouth really needs 'a check up, from the neck up'. They are totally bullshit artists of the first degree. There seems to be much disagreement over what the Koran really says - one thing i have read is that it says it is OK to lie to your enemies to achieve your goal.
One day President Rouhani makes agreeable sense to western ears... and a few days Later the 'supreme leader' Khatami calls for destruction of Israel.

Meanwhile, Iranian protesters storm the Saudi embassy in Tehran to denounce a much more serious event - the execution of 47 people in Saudi Arabia.
One result?
In Dramatic Move, Iran Bans Citizens From Making Pilgrimage to Mecca for First Time in More Than 25 Years

It seems like Muslims have no problem w/ killing each other or Westerners. And Islam is a religion of peace?  Oh please, get real. An Iranian soccer player gets banned because he wears 'sponge bob' pants. Tolerance? Ain't none here.

Shall we talk about about image quality in the photo world?
(Now there's a topic that definitely warrants the 'finding sanity in a nutty world.' title of the blog.)
Wow, it has really gone to hell in a hand basket. 
A photog. friend of mine says that Steve Jobs killed photography in making a phone that doubles as a camera. Can't say that i disagree with that.
I work at a photo studio/digital printing place in Marin county CA, and i routinely see people who want huge prints of of miserably low quality image files.
Sigh..... Does anyone look at Ansel Adams prints anymore?
Yes, i have to admit, i shot architecture on a 4x5 view camera for 10 years. I am biased. Biased for quality.

RE: copyright in this digital world.
Another concept seriously eroded. If your images are at Getty or some name brand place, you'll get compensated. As for all the rest? Don't hold your breath. I also see people come in to our place with images they swiped off tumblr or some other website, and they want to print them.
Excuse me, this is a copyright violation.
I am reminded of Rodney Dangerfield - "i don't get no respect".
Creators work long and hard to create - they deserve compensation, or at least the right to negotiate for compensation.
About 20+ years ago, i did an illustration for 'Guitar Player' magazine, the article titled "Thumb free", I think i got all of $500 for it's one time use. 

After that, all rights remained mine. It was a verbal agreement but binding nonetheless.

A few months later, i heard from 'Guitar Player' - the Brazilian edition - wanting to reuse this image with the article in Portugeuse (sic?). They could have just gotten whatever they needed to print this from Guitar Player/US, run it, and i would have been none the wiser, seeing as i don't buy any magazines in Brazil.
But no, they had the decency to contact me, and offer $200 for re-use. This is how it should be done = 'some respect'.
Somewhere, Rodney Dangerfield is smiling' :-)


What does 'share' mean these days??
Where does 'sharing' end ...and being annoying & intrusive begin?

Some sanity?
Look to music, songs!

Warren Zevon: 'For my next trick, I'll need a volunteer, step right up...'

Warren Zevon: 'My shit's fucked up'

"We contemplate eternity,under the vast indifference of heaven" - Warren Zevon


A brilliant song - 'Thru your hands' by John Hiatt

"you were dreaming on a park bench bout some broad hiway somewhere
when the music from the carillon seemed to hurl your heart out there,
past the scientific darkness, past the fireflies that float, 
to angel bending down to wrap you in her warmest coat, 
and you ask what am i not doing, 
she's says your voice cannot command,
she's says in time it will move mountains, it will come thru your hands.

still your argue for an option, still you angle for your case, like you wouldn't know a burning bush if it blew up in your face, 
while we scheme about the future, as we dream about the past, when just a simple reaching out might build a bridge that lasts....
and you ask 'what am i not doing?'
she says 'your voice cannot command
In time you will move mountains, it will come thru your hands'

So whatever your hands find to do you must do it with all your heart,
There are thoughts and love to blow men's minds and tear great worlds apart
There's a healing touch to find you
on that broad hiway somewhere
to lift you high as music flying thru the angels hair

Don't ask what you are doing because your voice cannot command
you see in time we will move mountains. it will come thru your hands."

Rolling Stones - 
Let it bleed - opening track to 'Let it Bleed' album - 'Gimme shelter'

This track chilled me to the bone when i first heard it, and it still does. 
One of Keith Richards best works, best licks. It has a certain staggering wavering uncertain quality to it that is a perfect reflection of the times back then.
Merry Clayton's vocal? downright gorgeous. and MJ's best lyrics - if the definition of 'art' is that it stands the test of time? this one surely does, it's even more true today than when it was recorded/released.
A 'storm is threatenin' our lives today', for sure.


All Along the Watchtower

"All Along the Watchtower" is a song written and recorded by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.
It initially appeared on his album John Wesley Harding.
It has been covered by other artists in different genres, most notably by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
There exists much speculation as to what the song is actually about.

"There must be some way out of here,"
said the joker to the thief
"There's too much confusion,
I can't get no relief
Businessmen, they drink my wine,
plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth"

"No reason to get excited," the thief,
he kindly spoke
"There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I,
we've been through that, and this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late"

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl"

You won't find this on youtube, it has been blocked, copyright violation. Buy the full album, 'Electric Ladyland'
It also has 'house burning down' and 'vodoo chile' (several versions) just these are worth the price of admission, i assure you.


The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again

Comments on this one?

"My neighbors liked this song so much, they invited the police to come check it out"

"you weren't the first neighbors dailed 911, too.....!!!"

(Listen to what Keith Moon is doing on this track! Absolutely marvelous!
And he does it again and again - listen to 'Bargain". He always manages to rip the world a new asshole!)

Another comment on this one:

"This song is timeless. You know why? Generations and generations and generations of young people will have been manipulated by someone or something, by morally corrupt authority figures. And eventually, they'll figure out some day or another what's really going on. And the message of this song will speak to them, just as it did when it was first released and as it does today."

Soo... SF is the 'sanctuary' city......?
That protects illegal immigrants from ICE? Hellooo??? Excuse me???
SF also offers many benefits to homeless people, like 'tent city'.

OK, i get it that there are many people who have honestly fallen on hard times, thru no fault of their own, and could use a helping hand, and deserve one. I almost ended up there myself, 20+ years ago. I managed to get some really miserable jobs, then i found a good one that really uses my many art/photo skils, and recovered.

But others, as described in a SF Chronicle article, 1/28/16, don't deserve nothin'. I am referring to a certain 21 YO who moved here from Michigan 'cause he heard SF is easy on homeless.
So he's a homeless heroin addict, who is happy to have a tent, and just get high all day. And night.

Why should anyone or any city put up with this??
He is willfully addicted, useless, and unapologetic about it??? WTF??? What happened to personal integrity, values?

Back to the Middle East again:
2/28/16 - "Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and reformist partners won a big vote of confidence in elections that could speed up Iran's emergence from isolation, and a key ally told long dominant hardliners to accept that voters wanted them to step aside."

Some small dose of sanity here - most Iranians are young, they don't remember Khomeini or the revolution, they want to get on the internet, buy western stuff, listen to many kinds of music, take in all the world offers them. And kiss the 80 YO mullahs goodbye. It's about time.

As for american politics, and would-be republican presidential hopefuls? What a cesspool of shit and mudslinging! We need to kiss all these people 'goodbye'.

One last word for you:

Think Less, Think Better

Gray Matter

By MOSHE BAR JUNE 17, 2016 NYTimes

Photography also helps me stay sane, explains the world to me in ways nothing else can.

(It arises from the flames, the ashes, to be reborn.
I have been there, done that, and will do it again when necessary!)
 I hope you can, too.

'Seeking the Vibe'

The Terminator famously said:
"Ah'll be back"

So will I.