Friday, October 31, 2014

The Walking Dead Hallowe'en Special.

A certain je ne sais quoi resonance with the memes of Ragnarök.
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CANCELLED! Flood Bay Street, Toxic Zombies at Bay & King Streets, Toronto Noon on Friday October 31, Halloween. (Haunt Bay Street!) CANCELLED!
Flood Bay Street 
... CANCELLED!? (!!!??) 
Are You Fucking Kidding Me?!
"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?" says Matthew. In this case it is Rise Up I am thinking of so "if the yeast has lost its leaven" is more like it, more apt, 'apt-er'.

Apollo 8, Earthrise, 1968.

Let's back it up, step away, far away ... Arthur-Clarke-2001-Space-Oddysey far; looking at our planet from the distance of, say, the moon; like the famous photograph taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts.

And then, well, we've all seen those composite satellite photographs of night earth with cities glowing like cancerous flesh; and various overlays - the one of air traffic is good since that is one of the largest polluters.

Air traffic.

I have a vision of a similar image showing methane emissions - burning lakes in the Northwest Territories, bubbling oceans. There's ignis fatuus, Latin, 'fire of fools'; with OED citations going back to 15th century ... so, from at least the Medieval Warm Period then; but this is the version where Chicken Little gets the Nobel Prize.

Finally, with the idiot savant urban nitwit sensibility we can do an imaginary spiritual overlay to capture the flickering light from 20 million or so TV sets tuned to 'The Walking Dead'. This is probably more souls than are taking Christian communion at a given moment eh? It's not so far off a kind of 1% group (based on North American population of 400 million, 20 million viewers) less than one percent then but in that general range).

By the time you factor in 'Dexter' and 'Breaking Bad', all the vampire guff and the rest you've got yourself a regular spiritual 'movement' large enough to entirely eclipse any pretentious concern with some fictitious environmental Armageddon or spurious threat of human extinction - though it does occupy approximately the same niche (so to speak, as it were), fires up in the same cerebral zones of the ol' brain-pan you can see in cognitive research MRI images when someone says the word 'God'.

Ah but the script writing parties must be fun eh? Perhaps you don't even need drugs - things get aloft on free communing intelligence alone. At least at the beginning ... then it gets boring and has to be destroyed so the next incarnation can take over ... but who cares?

The Walking Dead.

Even if you read John Doyle's 'piece in the Globe' (reproduced just below) carefully enough to see the fallacies and exaggeration, hyperbole, you may still be struck by a certain symmetry in the theories he presents, a certain je ne sais quoi resonance with the memes of Ragnarök.

Globe: 10 reasons why The Walking Dead is a massive hit, John Doyle, Friday October 17.

The viewer numbers are staggeringly high. And they just keep going higher.

The raw ratings numbers for the Oct. 12 season premiere of The Walking Dead suggested a whopping 17.29 million viewers watched it on the cable channel AMC in the U.S. That was impressive. Then, late last week, the “live +3” ratings were revealed (that is, viewership by people who PVRed it to watch later, within three days of a telecast), and added five million to that number – 22.37 million total viewers.

That puts the series up there with The Big Bang Theory (22.82 million) and even NFL football on Sundays (22.77 million). More than ever, The Walking Dead is a phenomenon. A must-see, mass-audience event.

But why? Why is drama about a postapocalyptic zombie world so compelling? Herewith, 10 theories. You choose.

1) The overall theme – that humanity is doomed unless people learn to get along. And if we don’t get along, we’re just zombies feeding on each other.

2) It’s just cheesy fun – those ever-increasing armies of murderous zombies are the reason people watch.

3) Taciturn Georgia police deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and a ragtag group fighting for survival represent us, every family or group of friends, terrified that the rest of the world is out to get us.

4) The infectious zombie virus is a stand-in for our fear of disease, from AIDS to SARS to Ebola. We’re essentially terrified of what can happen to our bodies when nature goes crazy on us.

5) The show is emphatically bleak, and many viewers like that. The survivors on the series merely go from one temporary refuge to another. The faint hope that elements of the old civilization can be rescued from the postapocalypse always evaporates. And faint hope only leads to heartache. Remember that period when the group lived at Hershel’s farm – it turned out that Hershel secretly kept zombies in the barn, some of them friends and members of his family. He believed that some semblance of humanity remained in their horrific shells, and that one day there would be a cure. There is no cure, he learned. There is no hope.

6) The overriding political theme. Recall that two mini-societies existed for a long period on the series. First, the tiny, frail group led by Rick finding safety in a prison. And, in contrast, the bizarre, fake town of Woodbury, under the leadership of the crypto-fascist Governor (David Morrissey). The clash of the two communities raised a question: Is it better to live in a blissful, mundane – but artificial – world under a dictator or be nurtured by the communal strength formed by constant pressure and danger? Fascism or freewheeling democracy?

7) It’s a revenge fantasy that speaks to some need in the viewer. People like nothing better on a Sunday night than watching other people stick a sharp object in a zombie’s head. Exactly who they fantasize is getting a sharp object in the head is their own business, but that’s what they’re thinking about.

8) We are entranced by the dreadful possibility of a world without order, communication or modern technology. And we fantasize about the probability of helping recreate society and culture from the ruins of destruction.

9) The postapocalypse world is a stand-in for our fear of economic collapse. Many viewers have seen economic near-collapse in our lifetime and we all worry that everything that sustains our jobs and lifestyle can fail. Every time we read about the stock market wobbling, we see a cataclysm in front of us.

10) The Walking Dead has torn up the blueprint used for most TV storytelling. It has been relentless in killing off beloved characters. Its seasons end with a cliffhanger, but begin again with yet more mystery and the kind of action that usually concludes a season. There is no careful threading of themes at the start of a season, it just gets going, roaring on all cylinders. The show is huge hit because it doesn’t play by the rules.

There are 10 theories and the number could go higher, like the viewing numbers. You decide if it is one of the 10, or all of the above.

I didn't watch much of it, just a minute or so until I grabbed the image above right from the first episode. Long enough to see that this is where the concern for grandchildren is blowing itself off.

Dreck. On a par with reality TV I guess - can't say, never went that deep.

The article below by Gwynne Dyer popped up in the meantime (following on from the discussion of oil in the last post, and speaking of ignis fatuus). He knows better than many of the statements in it. There is no 25 years. There is no nuclear fusion reactor in time. Yadda, yadda. He knows he'll be gone before these kinds of gross overstatement/understatement are proven useless. I don't blame 'im though. Take the money and run. Spend as much time on the beach with your honeys as you can. I might've done the same, stuck with more limpet determination in the brothels of the Barons, if I'd known when I walked away that it was into this kind of solidão / alone-ness (but much better in Portuguese eh?).

How far will oil prices collapse—and for how long? Gwynne Dyer, October 20.

“The price of oil will hit its floor and it will rise again,” President Nicolas Maduro assured Venezuelans, whose shaky economy depends critically on a high oil price. “Venezuela will continue with its social plans. Venezuela will move forward.”

No it won’t, and neither will Russia, Iran, or Nigeria. The only major oil exporters that are not in deep trouble are the Arab countries, whose governments have some room for manoeuvre because of low production costs, relatively small populations, and big foreign currency reserves.

Since June, the cost of a barrel of Brent crude, the benchmark for world oil prices, has fallen by almost a quarter, from around $110 a barrel (where it was stuck for the past four years) to just above $80 a barrel. Last month, for the first time in decades, Nigeria exported no oil at all to the United States. Even at a big discount, Americans just don’t need it. And the main reason for all that is fracking.

American production has almost doubled in the past five years thanks to the new drilling technologies, and the United States overtook Russia last year to become the world’s largest producer of oil and gas combined. (Saudi Arabia comes a distant third.)

With production soaring and world demand for oil stalling due to slow economic growth, a collapse in prices was inevitable. The question is how far they will collapse, and for how long.

The answer is probably not much further, for the moment—but they could easily stay down in the $75 to $85 range for a couple of years. The reason for that is that the “swing” producers (mostly Arab), who could theoretically push prices back up by cutting their own production, have clearly decided not to do so.

Their concern is for the long-term power of the OPEC cartel, which used to be strong enough to set the price of oil. That never will be true again unless they can drive the (mainly American) frackers who are causing the over-supply of oil out of business.

Saudi Arabia and its allies are hoping that a prolonged period when the price of a barrel of oil is lower than the cost of getting that barrel out of the ground by fracking will ruin this new industry and bring back the Good Old Days. Dream on.

The Saudi strategy won’t work because some 98 percent of U.S. crude oil and condensates has a break-even price of below $80 per barrel. Indeed, 82 percent of American production would still be turning a profit at $60 per barrel.

Even with its massive foreign currency reserves, Saudi Arabia probably cannot afford to keep the oil price low enough for long enough to break the American frackers. (Its own break-even price for conventional oil is $93 per barrel.)

And the Iranians, Nigerians, Venezuelans, and Russians, who depend on oil revenues for at least half of their national budgets, will be screaming for higher prices before they face riots in the streets.

So this is not a transient event; it’s a revolution. The Organisation of Petroleum-Exporting Countries (OPEC) came into its own when the United States ceased to be the dominant global producer in the early 1970s. With the re-emergence of the United States as the biggest producer, OPEC’s clout is bound to shrink—so oil prices will probably stay well below $100 a barrel for the foreseeable future.

This will be a great boon for countries that depend heavily on imported oil, like India and China. It may eventually liberate the United States from its compulsion to intervene repeatedly in Middle Eastern disputes that are really none of its business. And it may be a disaster for repressive and/or corrupt regimes in countries like Russia (break-even price $105 per barrel), Nigeria ($119), Venezuela ($121), and Iran ($140).

It also means that worries about “peak oil”, and the underlying calculation that the world had only about 40 years’ worth of proven oil reserves left, can be set aside for a while. We are already up to 53 years of reserves, and we are finding new oil faster than we are using existing reserves.

Of course, a broader view of our situation would find little reason for rejoicing in all this. Our global civilization depends on fossil fuels for 85 percent of its energy, and our annual emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are still rising.

Just another 25 years of that will deliver us to the “point of no return”: 450 parts per million of CO2 equivalent in the atmosphere. That would raise the average global temperature by 2 degrees C, and trigger natural sources of warming that it will be impossible for us to turn off again.

Runaway warming is not a happy prospect, so it is unseemly to celebrate the news that we have even more oil to burn—and cheaper oil, at that.

On the other hand, it would be entirely appropriate to celebrate the news that other new technologies may open up a better escape route from fossil fuels.

Solar power, wind power, nuclear fission, and hydro power all have a role to play in that task, but the Holy Grail for half a century has been fusion power. It may be much closer than we thought.

Bottom Line:   What to say? The environmental movement in Toronto consists of a hundred or so individuals with no cohesion, not much common purpose, and a variety of pathological impediments to communication. This is about the same as saying there is no environmental movement in Toronto.

A handful, maybe a dozen, are shining lights, well-informed, competent, compassionate, experienced, open. I wish them well.

That's an exit line y'unnerstan'. I spent five years, almost six, and all the money I had and I'm done.

Occupy Toronto.Occupy Toronto.

"At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is 'not done' to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was 'not done' to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals."

(The Freedom of the Press,      
George Orwell/Eric Blair, 1945.)
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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hope ...

... springs eternal (though one may come to hate it).
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Flood Bay Street!
Toxic Zombies at Bay & King Streets, Toronto Noon on Friday October 31, Halloween.

(Haunt Bay Street!)
What goes around comes around. That's what they say. As if we really live in the 'moral universe' Christians (wishfully) imagine; but it's just not so gentle reader. Good as it is, the Golden Rule is neither a lever nor a fulcrum. It's a hope. Somewhere I picked up that the Chinese ideogram for love-making is 'wind and cloud' - true or not it expresses this perfectly.

You can get half-way there if you turn it upside down: "What all schoolchildren learn, those to whom evil is done do evil in return."

[Whenever I remember and come there, Auden's poem moves me deeply. He says, "We must love one another or die." Got that right. For some reason it always comes back to me first as "What every schoolboy knows," and I (always) wonder if there's been a cleansing by correctitude somewhere along the line. But the rhyme goes with 'learn' so I am simply wrong, again, as usual.]

Christing Lagarde, IMF managing director.Martin Rowson: Garbage picker.Ralph Steadman: Di Dodo, Extinct Boids, 2011.

Three bits of text around 'The Great Economic Faltering':

1. NYT: A Global Economic Malaise, Editorial, October 9;
2. NYT: Sluggish Global Outlook Ripples in Markets, Nathaniel Popper, October 9; and,
3. Globe: At the open: TSX slides on persistent growth worries, Malcolm Morrison, October 10.

[In the event that they are no longer on-line at sources, the text has been archived here.]
The last good news from the Keeling Curve came after the 2008-2009 financial crisis when there was a brief downturn (or if not a downturn then a slackening in the slope) - the result (we imagine) of 'The Great Recession'. The best part of this news is how quickly it happened - an almost immediate respite.

Humanity's best hope now is total economic collapse. Sure, 'tough love' and all, but the alternative is extinction so, tough but not terminal ...

... and better be quick about it or even this extreme chemo-therapy will be too late and it will be time to bring on Armageddon, the Four Horsemen, Ragnarök, and the proverbial Fat Lady (finally) singing loud and clear.

Ben Sargent: Oh, Pshaw. When we hit bottom, we'll just adapt.
Tom Toles: Ebola vs. ISIS.
Signe Wilkinson: Terrifying Disease Ward.Brian Gable: Ebola vs. Isis.
Joep Bertrams: Bezorgd / Worried.
Bezorgd / Worried:   The good burgher's wife sees the image of an IS/ISIS mouse on her iPad and screams, leaping up onto a chair, high heels and all. She is properly horrified at public beheadings (as are we all).

[If Vince were still here we would say 'bezorgd' out loud a few times and chuckle over the superiority of the Dutch.]
Joep Bertrams: Geloofsbelijdenis / Creed.Joep Bertrams also gives us a near-perfect Isis daemonology - so well presented, this vision, that it is hard to look at without revulsion. The reality may be somewhere in between ... or somewhere else altogether.

Michael de Adder."If you go down in the woods today you're sure of a big surprise. If you go down in the woods today you'd better go in disguise. For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain because today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic."

Is anyone really surprised that after all of the bloody hell ... after 'we' have again and again bombed Gaza, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan ... back to the stone age that the reaction is ... stone age? What goes around comes around, not as a magical rule of cause-&-effect, but through a fundamental application of human nature, twisted, crooked, and shitty as it is.

Two bits of text around our reactions to Isis:

1. The Guardian: How to talk to terrorists, Jonathan Powell, October 7; and,
2. Georgia Straight: Terrorism 101 - lessons in how to respond to ISIS, Gwynne Dyer, October 5.

[In the event that they are no longer on-line at sources, the text has been archived here.]
And I recommend a look at Robin Soans' 'Talking To Terrorists'.

[Either of the two texts using the phrase might have been better as 'Talking With Terrorists'. Thanks to Dave Stevenson, now gone, who many years ago taught me to distinguish 'to' and 'at' from 'with' (in a variety of contexts :-)   ]

Luo Jie: Ebola.
Brian Gable: Jetsetters, Ebola.Meme Generator: Sarah Palin - My heart goes out to the people of Ebola.

Two bits of text around Ebola:

1. The Guardian: 'In 1976 I discovered Ebola ...', Peter Piot interviewed, October 4; and,
2. Georgia Strait: Ebola's exponential growth, Gwynne Dyer, October 8.

[In the event that they are no longer on-line at sources, the text has been archived here.]
On the 'up' side - some of the complicit multitudes may begin to think twice before flying hither and thither; maybe some airlines will go bust and thus contribute more-or-less painlessly to The Great Economic Faltering we so badly need.

Marcelo Giugale, a World Bank director: “What makes all this very interesting is that the final economic toll of Ebola will not be driven by the direct costs of the disease itself — expensive drugs, sick employees and busy caregivers. It will be driven by how much those who are not infected trust their governments.”

Is There Anyone Anywhere Out There Who Trusts Their Government?!

Not me, that's for sure.

Giugale's use of 'very interesting' may remind us of Rowan & Martin's Laugh In. It is also redolent of the soi distant nitwit know-nothing urban muggles mentioned a few posts ago. But even a stopped clock is right once or twice a day eh?

Tom Toles: Homeland Drought.
FAO Food Price Index to end of September.
Imagine! Needing a 'miscellaneous' category for current a-p-p-pocalyptic events!

Drought, Lyme Disease, Great Barrier Reef, coral reefs in general ... the list goes on and on and on.

Larer (?): Canadian Oil.The FAO bean counters MUST be dissembling as the Food Price Index continues to slide - going down for six straight months now. (?) Doesn't make sense to me.

The price of oil slides - mostly (at least partly) in relation to demand. This is understandable, comprehensible; but the Food Price Index?!

$85 oil will stop the pipelines and tar sands development faster than the 'movement' (even if the movement were movin').

Three bits of text (three days in a row) around oil prices:

1. Globe: In Alberta, anxiety grows over declining oil prices, October 15;
2. Globe: Jim Prentice says oil industry needs to ‘remain competitive’, October 16; and,
3. Globe: In the oil sands, this is not the time to panic, Andrew Leach, October 17.

[In the event that they are no longer on-line at sources, the text has been archived here.]
Keep in mind (in the foreground if you will) that The Globe and Mail is Stephen Harper's official Rah-Rah engine, AND, that Jim Prentice went to Copenhagen in 2009 as Canada's Minister of the Environment, AND, that Andrew Leach is a savvy self-serving little toad and baffle-gab expert known as the Enbridge Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Alberta.

I'll leave you to sift out the sub-text for yourselves - not rocket science.

Brian Gable: Weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Stephen Harper and his brown nose 1% sleveens know that we share their pain. The up-side is that more investment money will flow towards renewables. Divestment motivation you could call it.

A few late-comers:
Brian Gable: I'm from the Government and I'm here to help you.Brian Gable: Stephen Harper facces his doom.

I seem to have pissed these people off so successfully that they will not speak to me ... Faaaakkk!

Ballard Street: Fly in the ointment.The notion of dumping sticky black paint (washable of course) throughout the intersection for the Barons and their minions to track into their lobbies and up their escalators and elevators onto the rugs in their plush offices & cubicles is met with complete silence! Not a single word, neither Yea nor Nay. When I try to tell them about the Berlin experience (pictured below) they turn their backs on me.

How have I pissed 'em off so bad? Why not tell me? Why not say something? In the end I'm wondering if my presence at their meetings may deter others from attending. So. ... What can I do? OK. I leave the room and limp away; limping for gout not shame, but feeling low and mean all the same. Anyway, maybe I didn't piss 'em off, maybe they just didn't notice. Maybe I talk too fast. Who knows? Who cares?

Rather than a powerful civil disobedience at King & Bay they opt for speakers in the safety and invisibility of the City Hall front yard followed by an orderly, well mannered & polite march/demonstration ending up at King & Bay ... eventually.

Ah! I get one more email - to let me know that they have cancelled. Here it is, read it and weep, from Dave Vasey to the Rise Up list (which list I am not on, I got a copy from one of the three or four people who still sometimes answer my emails):
WTF does 'relieving' mean in this context?
[hey all,   At the meeting last night, the smaller group of us who were there felt it would be best to post-pone the action for another time. There were several reasons:

1. The initial action was planned as a response to the line coming online - with the delay, there is not as much urgency (the 31st was selected because we thought it was coming online Nov. 1st).

2. Capacity low - many expressed that they were very busy (for many reasons) and that it would be possible, but difficult to pull something off in a short timeframe.

3. Some expressed it might make sense to focus on different priorities for now - ie. Forest Ethics lawsuit coming up, Chippewa of the Thames lawsuit, and several community organizations who have expressed that more educational and door-to-door work benefit communities.

It felt relieving and disappointing to walk away from the action on the 31st, but for those of us at the meeting, it felt like the right decision at this time. However, we did talk about being prepared for when the line does come online, and that we should be actively working towards building capacity for that moment, as we can do the work now, so that we don't get in a rush later.

Hope you have a good Friday.
  Balderdash!    Poppycock!  

Nevermind kids. We got all the time in the world.

Berlin, April 25, 2010.
Gary Larson, Far Side: Dance of the cockroaches.I have to admit, I don't get it, and I don't know where to go from here either.

I think it was during preparations for the Dow's Lake Renaissance Faire in Ottawa that Paul Kuitenbrouwer told me about the greenhouse effect and global warming. That was 1978. It didn't register. I said, "What's a degree or two?" He said, "Average man! Average! Don't you get it?"

I didn't.

Now it may very well be too late.

I often give that lame & ubiquitous refrain: "I did the best I could." It's true, I did, but it doesn't amount to very much.

I'm sorry.
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Climbing down Pisgah.

(Following on from 'Lively Up Yourself' a while ago - believe it or not.)
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Flood Bay Street!
Toxic Zombies at Bay & King Streets, Toronto Noon on Friday October 31, Halloween.
Phoenix.Northrop Frye's overarching vision is way over my head and thus easily eclipsed by a certain more immediate quality, a kind of optimism I find in his writing which simply gets me through some dark nights.

Bill Beetsra said to me one time, "Some books are best read in private." He was referring to 'Fanny' which I was trying to take in, sitting & squirming on a couch in the old McGill Student Union (before it became the McCord Museum). Replacing 'Fanny' with 'Lady Chatterly's Lover' changes nothing much.

I go back and re-read Dostoyevsky, 'The Idiot', once or twice a decade. And some others. This month it's 'The Rainbow', D.H. Lawrence, and I've stumbled over Pisgah and I'm remembering some ... past episodes. It's an old man's game perhaps; putting on literary airs. Still ...
Moses on Pisgah.
Here's a kind of personalized progression of Pisgah visions: from Moses, to Lawrence, through Keith, to me:

Moses you can understand. They're up on Pisgah and God says to 'im, "There's the promised land of milk and honey over there but you ain't goin'." Moses dies eventually but not just then so obviously he climbs down Pisgah at some point after this revelation and ... What's he feeling I wonder?

D.H. Lawrence, 1925, by Dorothy Brett.Lawrence - not so evidently in 'The Rainbow' where Pisgah is a kind of foil to the central image, but in the essay - makes it all about something else (mostly Lawrence himself). Any mountain might do if all you want is to make bitter comparisons between ... sheep herders and coal miners. Don't need all the baggage that comes with 'Pisgah' for that. (The essay can be found here.)

Keith read parts of 'The Rainbow' aloud to us. A delicious memory even if what sticks most firmly are moonlight Harpy's kisses.

And me, an old hippie who wakes up in the morning humming a tune (today it's Manu Chao 'La Chinita' with grace notes on 'la negrita' :-), sets out to overcome despair, fails utterly, gives up, begins again ... whatever.

Myth, & biblical scripture in particular, & the KJV especially ... Is it important simply because of convenience? As a kind of stenography? Shorthand? Is this self-conscious I wonder? Did our good Launcelot Andrewes have it in mind?

It even strikes (occasionally) at complacency, at smugness. On the part of Moses (who might have expected more, all things considered); and more generally sometimes, as in John: "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth."

View from Pisgah.View from Pisgah.
Mount Pisgah is a real place, or at least the aka Mount Nebo is - east of the northern end of the Dead Sea. So is Toslow. I won't likely ever see Pisgah but Toslow, yeah. I was there once with Harold Ryan.

Toslow.One house was left standing though the pole foundation had fallen down underneath and most of the flooring had rotted away. A red fox leapt out a hole in the far side with a cub in her mouth as we poked our heads in through the doorway.

"Until we see bottom inside the two sunkers, then straight through the channel to Toslow we'll go." Not many True Newfoundlanders left; a vanishing breed. Harold's one of 'em ... and three generations of Pius Power.

Placentia Bay.
As Lawrence says parenthetically in his essay, "(I don't expect anyone to agree with me.)"

Nonetheless I've taken several weeks trying to get this out somehow. There may be something in it, something useful even.

Refudiation: Can you see gentle reader? Any crumb of doubt whatsoever and the daemon skepticism is knockin' at the door like he owns the place! I'm prone cuz I'm alone. That's all it is. Oh sure, a week or so and the pieces re-sort themselves into a whole picture again, back to the 350 nexus and work it through, again, again, again ... but ...

[Space left intentionally blank.]        

... it's not so much fun alone all'a time.
There it is. All the old friends wash their hands of me and turn their backs; and every relative, sister, uncle, cousin, neice, nephew; even my kids. You'll think I'm exaggerating but it's true. I can almost not bear it. I never imagined such a situation could ... occur, come to pass; and more - I do not understand why, cannot comprehend it, can not make sense of it no matter how I try.

Resplendent Quetzal.Laerte: Fat old guy among the moon & stars.
The Resplendent Quetzal (national bird of Guatemala) is known for quickly perishing in cages; apparently intentionally killing itself when deprived of freedom. For this reason it's a symbol of liberty. (Thanks to the Daily Maverick.)
Uhuru!     Ελευθερία!
Deuteronomy: And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. And the Lord said unto him, this is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.

("Nor his natural force abated," which is indeed the very thread, gentle reader, that leads from 'Lively Up Yourself' to away over here. Unlike Moses in all ways: these eyes really are dim; and any natural force there ever was is abated, exhausted, gone to embers decades ago. It's OK and all. No worries.

The Current State of Play: (as it appears to me)
1) The Last Gasp of Climate Change Liberals, Chris Hedges;
2) The Coming Climate Revolt, Chris Hedges, aka Radicals Revolt!;
                and a video of the entire panel discussion;
3) Video with Abby Martin on RT; and,
4) Damned Radicals!, a critique concluding that yeah, it's time for revolt.

Thanks again to Gordy for #1, and Gerry for #4.
A-and there's a book: 'Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt' by Chris Hedges & Joe Sacco from 2012. Not sure where it fits yet; possibly useful as background, dunno.

[The library comes through with a copy for me to read in just two days!]

Ah, but the big takeaway is "Joe Sacco is one of the world's greatest cartoonists." I am gobsmacked and humbled. It all has that well-recycled feeling with grime ground into the brightly coloured plastic. Oh well. Gerry says Chris Hedges is an idiot, fit only to inspire the likes of mindless Rising Tide mouth-breathers. We could all be idiots from what I've seen. I think I'll go watch 'Pierrot le Fou again before I ditch this computer.

Jean Luc Godard: Pierrot le Fou, 1965.
Laerte: O cavalo se sobe.
Power raised up my head.     Glory raised up my head.     Something raised up my head.   But what?

Tentative conclusions around intelligence & rational possibility:
"What's in a name?" asks Juliet.

H. sapiens ... Not!

Examining such springs and levers as some of the cognitive psychologists have uncovered (Antonio Damasio, George Lakoff, Daniel Kahneman) show up rational thought as a (mere) bagatelle. If there is any wisdom at all it's in first, original languages, requiring (as they do) at least two for the tango.

Just to be explicit (and to stress the point): Any intelligence, wisdom, spirit, any moving towards effective possibility, call it what you will, necessarily begins one-on-one with true speech.
Tentative program: (a virtuous loop)
a) "Severing ourselves from the dominant culture,"
b) "Build[ing] small, self-sustaining communities," and,
c) "Physically disrupting the corporate machinery."
Caveat:   (2nd refudiation)
Do not believe such foolishness. Don't even permit it to stand on the doorstep and knock. Nonsense from within terminal addiction to cigarettes & videos? From inside the inability to make any plan even for merely personal survival?

I'm sorry. (Of course I would say that.)
et cætera   et cætera   et cætera ... (as Yul Brynner says in 'The King and I')

Laerte: Ao nosso alcance / Within our grasp.
I don't know if anyone noticed                 Yeah, it really is.
but the moon is beautiful today.                                             Beauty is always there, within our grasp.

Maybe this short clip will help make sense of it: Jean Luc Godard, Pierrot le fou (conclusion): L'art et la mort. [YouTube has kiboshed this clip. Silly buggers. If you want to see it you'll have to get the movie somewhere. Sorry. They have it at the TPL if you happen to be in Toronto. The clip is the last two minutes of the film.] What she whispers is part of Arthur Rimbaud's 'L'éternité (the preceeding explosion being terminal dérèglement de tous les sens):

            Elle est retrouvée.
Quoi? — l'Éternité.
C'est la mer allée
Avec le soleil
 It has been found again.
What? — Eternity.
It's the sea run away
With the sun
A few words of exegesis (guidance), parameters if you will:

   • translation: There is no very good translation of the poem (that I can find). 'Nul orietur' f'rinstance. 'Orietur' might be somthing out of Isaiah (in Latin) maybe - orietur in tenebris lux / light will rise in the darkness - but all the translations carry it straight across. What's that about? Don't know? Don't care?


   • susurration: She is whispering. This is true to Rimbaud's 'murmurons l'aveu' (let us whisper the vow) in stanza two.


   • aphorism: These few lines - one stanza out of six - is often taken separately, alone; but there is no period at the end of it. Not the end of the sentence then.


   • provenance: Godard and Rimbaud may be genius but they are also both entirely nuts, cracked, insane. A-and purveyors of explicit self-indulgence - squared!


   • content: It could be a nursery rhyme. "The cow jumped over the moon." It may simply endure through bourgeois sentimentality, or ... Who knows? But yes, it has endured this far and probably for a while yet.


So ...

Mario & Betty.Ajak Deng.Shhhh.Shhhh.Oroma Elewa.Ajak Deng.Shhhh.

I'm still laffin'. I still
think it's funny as fuck
most of the time I can
see the humour in it.

Be well. :-)

Postscript (Sunday October 26 2014):   Naturally enough in the circumstances I eventually got around to reading Lawrence's 'The Plumed Serpent / Quetzalcoatl'. I don't know what he was up to unless he badly needed money, desperately. I'm just glad I used the library's copy. Poppycock! Poopy poppycock proving him a pretentious (and condescending) pillicock. A rule of thumb when one needs to prove a poetaster - provide an entrée and if their early remarks do not include a "well, yeah ..." then you've got a live one. 'Nuf said.
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