Wednesday, May 14, 2008


The Wednesday Schlep

I was right: even though I've refrained from commenting on the social and political lunacies of our time—at least for the last couple of months I've held off—they continue at about their usual pace.

I have been, on the other hand, exercising four days a week at our local pool-fitness center and working on our camper van. I haven't played handy-person in...well, years. It's taken me a while to get used to it. I'm still not too good, but at least I know when to get help.

We bought the van last fall; an '83 Chevy half-ton van. A conversion van, which in those days meant hokey wood-paneling, lots of shag carpet, a couch across the back that let down into a bed big enough for comfortable screwing—all it needed was one of those multi-mirrored disco lights mounted in the ceiling. Thank god it didn't have one of those. We built a four-foot wide bed over the couch. I want to remove the couch completely and free up a bunch of storage space. Beth doesn't want me to. We bought the van from her Aunt Lydia and Lydia doesn't want me to, either. Women often have their ways with me.

I've been replacing the bayonet-based interior lights with super-duper l.e.d.s from China. This has required me re-learning how to do 12-volt wiring. And soldering. And improvising—I didn't have to re-learn how to improvise, to be honest. It's something I have a black belt in. The wiring is slow, but it works. Each lamp is done a little faster, a little more slicker. The bayonet-bulbs, which are like the ones in an automobile's back-up lights, are bright, but they draw quite a bit of electricity off the "house battery" I installed. The l.e.d.s require maybe one-fourth as much electricity. This means we can have lights for several days. The only other use for the electrical system is to power a laptop so I can write and, if the mood strikes us, we can watch DVDs. However...

...Why do we go camping? Well, one reason is to get out in nature. That's like psychotherapy. A campfire, woodsmoke, simple food, evening silences, calm slow mornings...That's healthy. Life gets reduced to the essentials: food, fire, water. This is wonderfully calming to my mind. Maybe a little reading, but lots of staring off, studying the rocks, the creeks, all that stuff. It's great.

So that's been one of my preoccupations. I can think over each little project for hours and hours. I can research information on the Web. And, finally, I can actually go do it.What a nice feeling.

Sidebar. At the pool today, several of us were relaxing in the hot tub. We agreed on how nice it would be to see Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld on trial in The Hague, for war crimes. I don't think it'll happen, because ultimately politicians protect each other. They're sort of like Marines. They might duke it out among themselves, but when the shit hits the fan, they band together. Like Watergate. It was a matter of tidying up a mess rather than actually making anybody pay for the crimes committed. That's probably all we can hope for this time around.

Later, 'gator.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


"If you don't like it here..."

So there's a comment on yesterday's entry from someone who's named "Anonymous," that maybe I'd be happier up in Canada. Years ago I remember John Birch/redneck/KKK types telling me I should move to Russia because it would be more to my liking. No more USSR, so now the evil place is Canada. Canada? Give me a break!

The right-wingnuts aren't too hip about politics, nope. Maybe about brands of beer or bible verses or what Rush said last night, but they don't know shit about political systems. If someone criticizes the US then that person is disloyal—subversive, say, in the good ol' Tailgunner Joe McCarthy sense of the word. These days, according to some wingnut spokespeople, that means "lynchable." Because they know that anyone who says anything other than what Bill-O or Rush or Ann says, "a commie." My grandfather used to curse out "Dirty atheistic red commie bastards both black and white and the white are worse than the black because they choose to be with the blacks." Honest, that's how he put it. That really isn't too different, though, than the language we can hear on talk radio or Fox News. "Secularists" has replace "atheists," and "red commies" has been replaced by "socialists," but it's the same ol' same ol'.

The sociologists say the neander-mentalists crop up when society is in change, and modernity is powerful. That's like the "debate" over evolution, or the fear of sexuality in teenagers, or Support Our Troops (let them be in hopeless war scenes, but support them by keeping them under fire).

Forty or fifty years ago, there were plenty of places where we could suggest the wingnuts go hang out: Paraguay, Argentina, South Africa, Rhodesia, Nicaragua, the P.I., Spain, Portugal—you know, our allies. They were dictatorships, sure, but they were on our side. Birds of a feather, maybe? I don't know what countries to suggest to the neo-paranoid-conservatives anymore. Israel, I guess, but even though it supports ethnic cleansing and a permanent state of siege, it has some domestic policies more liberal than here. Hmm. I guess for starters they could pull their own heads out of their asses, and then check out a good world almanac...

Saturday, May 03, 2008


What just happened here?

I'll tell you: I can't do the political side of blogging the way I did. It was making me absolutely crazy. Depressed, paranoid, awful. I'll say that again: AWFUL.

The world is all messed up. So is our country. We're in a war we can't...we're in a war that shouldn't have happened. We invaded Iraq on false pretenses, simply. It was as fraudulent as Germany's attack on Poland, as the Spanish-American War, as the invasion(s) of Mexico. Invading Iraq was not the first time the United States moved in on a sovereign country—Jesus, just look at the "Indian Wars." We've done it many times. Most big nations have, but that doesn't make it OK. Nor does the halo America tries to wear around the world. Anyhow—

—it's all whacked. The problem is maintaining enough sanity to help change things. I'm not really certain things can be changed, but we have to try. People are hungry, sick, wounded, freaked-out. Not just in war zones: right here in what Bill Clinton once asked "Is this a great nation or what?" It's an "or what," Bill.

I'm not sure where the moral superiority went, assuming we actually had any. The Jews fleeing the Nazis didn't find very large welcome mats at American docks. We held Africans in slavery for generations, claiming they were sub-human, or at least retarded. We committed what was, effectively, genocide against American Indians. How many civilians died in Viet Nam? We don't even have solid data—at least for domestic consumption—on the number of Iraqi civilians who have died since the invasion and occupation.

What I do worry about is karma. I believe there's a national karma, retribution. The problem with karma on a national level is that it's an equal opportunity shit-storm. There were good-intentioned people in Nazi Germany. They were steam-rollered by the closing weeks of World War II. There were good white people in South Africa, back in the bad old days. Their fates are still uncertain. England is getting a major pay-back from it's colonial policies. Americans are simply out-numbered in the world. These days the country isn't looked upon favorably by millions in Africa, Asia, Latin America. We've taken and taken everything we could grab. America is going to have to pay for that behavior. All of us, I'm afraid.


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