Monday, November 27, 2023

Fish Snakes

 


One day I was wandering the Seine when I saw a bunch of cormorants sitting in a tree on the bank opposite me (I was on the left bank).

I took some pictures, and I was able to crop this one out as pretty clear evidence that cormorants do sit in trees.

I didn't know that cormorants sat in trees.

In fact, until my life had begun to include lots of walks along the Seine, I didn't know that cormorants ever came inland to fresh water - certainly not as far upriver as Paris is from La Havre.

But there they were.

To be totally truthful, for a couple of years I had seen cormorants at "the cop dock" which is on the river side of Quais Bernard, and across the street level quais from Jardin des Plantes; it's where the water borne Paris Police moor their boats, so I knew cormorants came to fresh water.

But I didn't know that they sat in trees.

When I saw this one today, on my screen saver, on Lopez Island, too many miles, and too many lifetimes away from the cop dock, and from that bird, in that picture, in that tree, it reminded me of a passage from A Curious Confluence, my first novel.

Here is that snippet.

"Then he heard the sound – once heard, he recognized it – again.  It came from the sky and it seemed to be moving.  He rose up and looked up into the sky with its westering sun and heard the sound again.  He adjusted his gaze downward closer to the water and saw a flock of black long necked birds with orange cheeks and long pointed beaks.  As they flashed down the river, just beyond his reach and just above the water they shouted joyfully to the waves with high pitched croaking shrieks.  They seemed to have a kind of magic separation from the water, so close were they to it and so fast was their passage.

“Fish snakes” he thought to himself.  He had seen them all his life and knew how they swam like lightning under water with their long serpentine necks fully extended.  In this manner they captured their prey. Always after one of their sudden disappearances below the surface of the river they would soon be seen surfacing with some sort of fish in the beak of their snake-like forward quarter.  The river teemed with myriad varieties of fish and these fish snakes prospered with that bounty. The tribesman had always wondered if one of these could be captured and tamed and taught to catch fish and return to a human master.  He had never heard of such a thing, but he had often wondered, when he saw them in action if such a thing might be possible.

"As the ones that had just passed disappeared, he rose out of the boat and began to take stock of the nature of the place."

Sunday, November 26, 2023

What One Wouldn't Expect From Chevrolet


Or expect from GM at all.

But here it is.

A friend sent me a link to this ad and told me I would cry.

Here is the link: This could be the best ad of the season — or, maybe, the decade - Deacon Greg Kandra (thedeaconsbench.com)

I decided to take that as a challenge, and rather than deleting his email I clicked on the link.

Here is my subsequent email back to him.

"First, it's a great ad.

"Second, it's a spectacular - I think it can be called - tableau.

"Third, it got me even though I was prepared to resist.

"Fourth, I always loved John Denver's songs and voice; and one of my favorite movies - Oh God - made me even more of a Denver fan.

"But fifth, I would have gone completely overboard emotionally if they had not had John, but had had instead, Waylon Jennings and his wife, Jessie Colter singing Storms Never Last.

"I would have been in a puddle on the floor.

"And sixth, I had an ad for GM that I tried to contact them about as an idea. At that distant past time they were bringing retirees out of retirement to make ads telling Americans why they should buy Chevrolets. As luck would have it, by that time Chevrolet was building world class cars, like the four door Impala.  The problem was that almost two generations of Americans had been buying the vastly superior, less expensive Japanese sort of car, and, the rich ones, the vastly superior German sort of car - and American ears weren't deaf to GM's plea, they were non existent. I wanted to suggest that they do a looks, performance, reliability (to get at the Japanese)  and a price (to get at the Germans) ad whose tag line was "If We Had Made Cars Like This Twenty Years Ago, There Wouldn't Be A Foreign Auto Industry". It was not possible at that time to contact GM with ideas. Not too many years later GM went bankrupt and Barack fired their CEO.

"And, finally, here is a link to a short excerpt from my most recent novel; it has some relation to the ad and Jessie and Waylon: Noel McKeehan: Adventures and Opinions: From The Cream Soup Spoon: Peter, Jolene, Cinq, Alfie And Eternity (noellivefromparis.blogspot.com)"


Friday, November 24, 2023

From The Cream Soup Spoon: Peter, Jolene, Cinq, Alfie And Eternity


Peter turned to Jolene.

She was at the end of the service island that was the propane range and the four station breakfast bar; the stations were stainless steel stools made in France by some bistro specializing stool manufacturer.

Or maybe they were an assembler; it was hard to imagine anywhere in the non-Asian world that there might be an actual manufacturer; those French stools probably must have been assembled in France from parts made in China – or (horror of horrors) the previously French colony of Vietnam.

In any event the question had been asked and it was hanging in the air like a beautiful spider web in a glinting early morning sunrise; it was amber and steel and blue and silver; and there was a spider at its center; the spider would be the nub of the question, the poisonous and fatal fangs of the spidery dilemma of life itself: “what is your idea about god”?

Peter turned away from Jolene and looked out the glass side of the house on the channel side of the view.

“Whatever the cats think is what I think”.

“Dad, don’t play with me on this; I have some strong – simple but strong – feelings about the answer to this question; I want to know whatever it is you have come to, because I know you think about this stuff and you are not the most simple minded man that I know; so I really want to know what you think”.

“Whatever the cats think is what I think.

“They live lives, follow rules, adjust to new circumstances – these three, but for an accident would be all out hidden in the undergrowth out that window, looking for small birds and voles for dinner; instead they are in here, and one of them is sitting on one of the stools at the bar with his elbows on the bar like Norm in Cheers and being a fifth member of our convivial little gathering; if I say ‘treats’ – I guess I just did, he’s getting down to help me get them, he will get down and help me get them; and for that reason – the fact that Cinq just got down to help me get his treats – I can’t shake the feeling that they are just like me, only different; they learn as much English as they need to know; they really don’t care about politics, except that which is native to their species, so they don’t know a lot of political words; but they know a lot of fun words: ‘walk’, ‘treat’, ‘cheese’, ‘cream’, to mention just a few of the words that they know.

“Why are they different from me at the cosmic end of the sort of all that soup that we now call DNA?

“Why aren’t they subject to the same end game rules that we humans have always assigned to our species?

“I think they are.

“Subject to the same rules.

“And I think that that fact gives clarity to what the rules really are.

“We have always had ourselves – humans – in some form or other going to some ‘place’ ruled or administered by some overlord – Europeans have always called that overlord ‘god’.

“But the animals, like these well-vocabularied cats, have always been assigned to some post life non-existence state; that makes sense to me; but it makes sense to me as the rule for all of us; I can’t shake the feeling that has grown on me as I have become older that we are all in this together and we all can to a fairly great extent look to the same ultimate destiny: we die and cease to exist.”

Jolene winced.

Peter looked into his wine glass as if to avoid seeing the wince or as if to find the meaning of the cosmos; whatever – either would suffice at a time such as had just passed.

Alfie, though, if one had been paying attention, would have been seen to have watched Peter intently as he had been speaking.

Alfie, though, could have been seen, if one had been paying attention to have picked up his left paw and stared at it as Peter spoke and as he finished to have made a spitting action into that paw.

And if one had known what the sounds meant, as Alfie began to chirp and whine one would have heard him say “except for the turtles, the matrix and the mirrors you have it exactly right; the problem is that with the turtles, the mirrors and the matrix – including all those big bangs – you have it grotesquely wrong.

“Death is only the portal.

“The turtles, mirrors and the matrix are the destination.

“The trick is to change a random event into a controlled event.

“That is what we are about here.

“That is what we are about here”.


Parrots In Winter

 


I always think of parrots as tropical birds.

This is a picture I took in Paris in the middle of winter.

They are sitting at the top of a horse chestnut tree on a cold sunny day in December.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Thanksgiving 2023

I just read the leader in the Economist 18 November edition.

Pretty bleak for us; pretty bleak for the world: because we have the electoral college system, less than 100,000 "Americans" can bring down 250 years of freedom and 78 years of relative Atlantic/Pacific stability.

Pretty sad. 

Especially since the whole winning team is populated with idiots and imbeciles.

Morons have all moved over and become Independents.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Flat Universe


I asked Bing if the idea that the universe is flat had the heft of being a theory.

Bing replied.

******************************************************

A flat universe is not a theory, but a possible geometry of the universe. 

It means that the universe has zero curvature and is infinite in extent. 

The curvature of the universe depends on the density of matter and energy in it. 

If the density is equal to a certain value called the critical density, then the universe is flat. 

If the density is higher or lower than the critical density, then the universe is curved.

Many cosmologists think that our universe is flat, based on observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation and other sources. 

However, this is not certain and there are still some uncertainties and challenges to this idea.

*********************************************************

I asked that question because I saw a presentation on the concept recently and it spawned a couple follow on ideas.

If the universe is flat that seems to imply that its depth is trivial compared to its length and width - or radii if the thing is circular (those being infinite).

With that relative thinness isn't it possible that there could be another universe stacked on top and one on the bottom?

And if that is possible, could there not be more in the stack?

Could that phenomenon not be as infinite as length and width, or radii, with universes stacked like servers in their rack, or vinyl LPs stacked in a pile?

Could not that "stackdimension" be infinite?

And if the universes (singular needs to be dropped if this is true) are so constructed, could that explain dark matter?

Dark Matter apparently exists; but what is it?

Nobody knows.

Or so it seems to all those physicists who pretty much take it as a dark and unexplainable fact of physics.

Lots of mass though.

Lots of gravity though.

So something is "there", wherever "there" is.

Could it be that there are a whole lot more of us than those of us "here" know about?

Could not all of us - "our universe" and all the others be in a stack in an infinite rack like some cosmic server farm; and could not dark matter and its gravity, and its mass, be really, not dark at all, but merely the indication of that infinite stack?

The effects indicate the cause often times, and the cause of dark matter might just be normal physics stacked to infinity: all that "stuff", stacked up and down, and all that "stuff " doing what "stuff" always does: have mass, speed, and gravity.

In that case, that stack would be the darkness.

That we know is there but can't see.

And migration across it is a currently random, but critically-necessary-to-be-understood phenomenon that will make - if understood - or break - if ignored, abandoned, forgotten or not understood - the human race's place in the order of things.

Or are all the servers in the stack human?

So, does it really matter? 

In any event, the geometry of that idea is significant.




Tuesday, November 21, 2023

22 November 1963


 I was in my History of American Thought and Culture class.  Someone had pulled the pull-down screen down far enough to allow a man’s hat to be tied to the pull.  The class was allowing itself to be amused by that fact as we waited for Mr. Frazier our instructor to arrive.  Time ticked by.  Mr. Frazier was late.  That was unlike him.  Finally, just before the fifteen-minute limit that protocol reserved for late instructors he appeared.  He came in, took one look at the hat and took a swing at it as if in anger.  That was really unlike him.  He was a laid back calm sort – a graduate of Reed College - who just didn’t let anything bother him.  He had our attention.  He turned around facing the class and said, almost accusingly, “well, I suppose you have heard that they shot Jack Kennedy.”  As a matter of fact we hadn’t.  We had been sitting there looking at the hat and waiting for him to show up.  All I could ever remember about that moment, other than what exactly Mr. Frazier had said was wondering who “they” were.  It turned out that we were never to find out who “they” were.

Taking what might have been an action of some significance, but as things were to turn out, apparently wasn’t, the first person I sought out was Barbara.  We went into the Park Blocks, out of the buildings, into the open air and walked, hand in hand.  Everybody was out there.  There was some kind of device or there were multiple devices that were filling the air with updates on the president’s condition.  We had stopped where a group had gathered, among them my fraternity brother Tom.  The words “John F. Kennedy is dead” insinuated themselves into the air like a malevolent spirit.  Barb dropped to her knees on the grass.  We all stood, or knelt – there were others on their knees – frozen and looking like the statues of the victims of the Irish potato famine that I would see many years later in Christchurch.  It seemed as if the world was in the process of fading to black.  I had looked at Tom and said, “thank God Lyndon Johnson is Vice President”.  Tom nodded his agreement.

Many years later another event occurred that had somehow seemed to be inextricably intertwined with John Kennedy.  Mysti and I had gone around the corner to the Olympia Pizza Restaurant early so we could get back by seven and watch the election returns as the polls began to close from the middle of the country westward.  We knew that the east would be closed by then and we knew that any bad news would begin to show itself - if there were going to be any - among those eastern results; but we had felt that there was still going be a story unfolding from St Louis west.  

After returning from Pizza it looked as if no bad news had cropped up yet, but it was still anyone’s election.  But good things kept happening and more states were turning blue than were turning red.  There came a point where the electoral count was not 270 blue but it was close.  I had looked at the map to try to get some kind of idea what might be going to happen.  The entire pacific coast had no color yet.  The obvious suddenly flooded upon me in a form that can only be described as joy.  “He’s got it,” I said to Mysti.

A few minutes later the West Coast turned blue and the City of Seattle erupted.  Everywhere people poured into the streets.  We were on Capitol Hill.  As we entered the courtyard we encountered people we barely knew or didn’t know at all. We all hugged one another and made loud joyful sounds.  People were streaming into the streets and up to Fifteenth.  The rest of the night was a massive party of people in and out of the bars and coffee shops to the street and back again.  Cars full of joyfully shouting people with the windows down paraded up and down.  I had never thought that the magic of having a leader that stirred a feeling of pride and joy at being an American would ever be given back to us; but it appeared on that night as if it had happened.



Monday, November 20, 2023

Said The Spider To The Fly

 Sam Altman got fired.

Microsoft hired him immediately.

Soon afterward they hired his lieutenant.

700 Open AI employees are saying they will follow them.

Isn't that the least expensive takeover in history?

But what about all those NCAs?

Isn't that going to be the most expensive lawsuit in history?

Saturday, November 18, 2023

"I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President".


 In November 1964 Lyndon Johnson won the presidency in a landslide.

During his presidency some of the most significant legislation in American history was passed.

He was a very popular president.

But he couldn't get a grip on the cancer on our national mind and body known as the Vietnam War.

He kept sending more troops to slog around aimlessly in the jungle to maim and kill, and be maimed and killed.

50,000 or more young Americans were killed.

There is a wall in Washington DC giving the names and the exact number.

There isn't a wall documenting how many more were maimed.

But we see them to this day at freeway egress points asking for money.

On March 31, 1968, Johnson addressed the American People about the Vietnam War.

At its conclusion he said he would not run for re-election.

Thus ended one of the most successful presidencies in American history.

I think Joe Biden's unconditional commitment to Israel has already made such a speech necessary to the point of inevitability.


Thursday, November 16, 2023

Musings And Related Trivia

There are so many tails to tell. 

But I seem to be unable to find, or take, the time to tell them. 

Some are real, some are imagined, some are both at the same time. 

They all should be told, I hear a voice telling me, but just the energy to let the Ouija talk, just the energy to stare at that blank page, just the energy to burst the bounds of past, present, future, and always, and forever, and never, is a burst of energy that I lack.

 I came close in The Cream Soup Spoon

So, I guess, I will put the first few words of Soup Spoon here.

Maybe more kindred words later. 

Maybe. 

But those will be from some other Ouija creation, if, when, and then, the Ouija, and my energy, allow it.

*********************************************************************

Here are those words from The Cream Soup Spoon.

Einstein said that E = mc2.

There are a bunch of things this equation says and a lot more that it implies.

Mainly, though, it says that there is a huge amount of energy trapped in mass and light.

There was an instance, we are told, when there was nothing, and nothing was everything, all trapped in another nothing called a singularity.

In due course the singularity achieved its destiny: it became everything.

An uncontrolled variable generated by this occurrence was where everything was.

At the point of nothing becoming everything, everything was very close to where it had just previously been nothing.

Not exactly, but close.

But that was a fleeting condition.

The energy released by nothing becoming everything brought a new condition into being: speed.

Speed drove newly minted everything from wherever it had just not been to where it was about to be, and would continue to about to be for …

For what?

We call it time.

Time came into being as a byproduct of nothing becoming everything.

It was the measure of – something, nobody knew what - but it could be described by knowing where everything was then and where everything was now.

Then and now were words not known before the singularity had become everything.

Then and now are words that let humans sense the thing they call time.

Since then, time, once sensed, time has been represented with a thing humans call a clock.

But you can’t see time with a clock.

You can only show a representation of its assumed existence: clicks and clangs.

Those are not time; they are just a way of indicating that something we really don’t understand and really can’t describe does in fact exist.

And that it is advancing.

To some end point.

That’s strange.

But not as strange as light.

Light is a wave.

But it is made up of particles.

And it’s really, really fast.

And that speed is the upper limit of possible speed, we are told.

So why is energy equal to a given mass times the speed of light squared?

Speed of light, times speed of light is exponentially faster than the speed of light, isn’t it?

So how does that work?

It works kinda like the horror that most of humankind have for the concept of a godless universe.

When one admits that the mayhem meted out by humankind over our tenure on earth has been meted out under the banner “Deus Vult”, or “Gott Mit Uns”, and others in spirit similar to those two, it becomes difficult to say that we need a supreme being to bring out our kinder, gentler selves.

Someone needs to test the hypothesis that we might not kill each other if we left the Supreme Being out of our frame of reference and substituted instead the idea that all we need is the will to treat others as we ourselves would choose to be treated.

I think someone did suggest that once.

It didn’t go well for him.

So I guess that’s a moot hypothesis.

And then there is that quantum thing.

Einstein said something like "at the outer edges of my equations things get squirrely” - or something to that effect.

He was talking about the fact that things can be, simultaneously, in more than one place at the same time.

Remember, however, that time is pretty slippery, so that observation, if true, may not mean a whole lot.

These shards of brightly colored glass from the great question jar of the cosmos that has fallen – shattered – to the floor, are the pieces from which I have created the mosaic of the story about to be told.


Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Coming Home To Roost


 A long, long time ago I saw an Israeli woman interviewed by some significant American Media Source.

She was in her home.

That home, before 1948 had been the home of a Palestinian family.

There came a point where the interviewer asked the woman if she ever thought about something that would appear, on its face, to be a gross and unacceptable inequity: she was living in a beautiful Mediterranean home and the Palestinians to whom it had belonged pre-1948, were most likely in some refugee camp somewhere.

I have never forgotten her reply.

"Macht nichts; I've got mine".

A curtain to a slightly different view of the aftermath of the holocaust flashed open for me in that moment: the fact that much of the world, after Hitler shot himself in his bunker, had coalesced behind the Jewish people, enthusiastically and unconditionally, had, perhaps, unleashed a newer, softer, form of genocide.

Leverage is everything, that new form believed.

And use it while you've got it.

Smart move.

Six million innocent human beings industrially exterminated is a horror that even today looms as number one in horror, human race to date.

There's a lot of leverage pent up in that horror.

But to see the survivors of that horror leveraging it into a shoulder-shrugged right to exterminate the Palestinians is a new form of that same old horror.

And I can't understand how the Jews can tolerate it.

Moving beyond all of the rhetoric about how bad Hamas is - and I argue that not - one issue remains.

Starting in 1948 the Israelis have been pursuing a policy of the gradual elimination of the Palestinians.

And the policy is succeeding.

In the years since 1948, Israeli policy has inexorably reduced Palestinian living space.

The Israelis finally have most of the Palestinians crammed into a chunk of land bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt and Israel; the land measures twenty-five miles long by five miles wide; there are two million Palestinians in there; recently Israel ordered the half of that two million who live in the north to move to the south; then Israel started bombing the south.

The lady of the interview got her house because the Jews told the Palestinians who owned it to get out.

One wonders where those Palestinians went.

"Macht nichts". 

Since 1948 the Israelis have had another policy, parallel to the policy of Palestinian removal and relocation: allow a terrorist group (Hamas) to be an offset to the PLA.

Why would they do that?

Of course, I don't know, but I could argue that that policy is to permanently stymie a two-state solution, which, being the only solution, is a policy that totally precludes any solution; so removal and relocation, and now, elimination reign supreme in the chambers of Israeli policy.

Having a weak de jura government and a strong de facto alternate government - in opposition - makes serious discussion about creating a viable Palestine a nonstarter.

And not starting is and has seemed to have been a primary objective of Israeli policy.

For 75 years.

But allowing Hamas to exist has finally yielded catastrophic results for the Israeli government.

So, in reaction to the catastrophe, that government is reducing the Gaza Strip to rubble in pursuit of the goal of eliminating the terrorists.

But to do that they need to kill huge swathes of Palestinians.

"Macht nichts" says BiBi.

And if the world objects, the world is antisemitic (theme from Shindler's List commences).

Leverage is everything.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

A Gaza Opinion Primer

I think my initial reaction in my first post on the subject of the Israeli siege of Gaza has held up fairly well.

As the situation has advanced, I have tried to fine tune what I think.

Here are links to that metamorphic fine tuning.

I guess it is for me rather than for anyone else.

8 October 2023

13 October 2023

25 October 2023

30 October 2023

6 November 2023

9 November 2023

Trucks Too Few

 I saw John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications for the NSA, interviewed on PBS last night.

He pointed out with great excitement that the Israelis have allowed a total, siege to date, 625 trucks to take supplies into Gaza since the beginning of the siege.

To keep Gaza supplied took 500 or more trucks daily before the siege.

***********************************************

Hello, this is Bing. According to some sources, **sieges are not prohibited** as such under international humanitarian law (IHL), but they must comply with **relevant rules** of IHL, such as the **prohibition against starvation of civilians** as a method of warfare and the **obligation to allow humanitarian relief** operations²³. However, there is also some debate about how to apply the **principle of proportionality** to sieges, which requires that the expected civilian harm does not outweigh the military advantage of the siege¹⁴. Do you want to know more about this topic?

Source: Conversation with Bing, 11/9/2023

***********************************************

I wouldn't call 20 a day compared to a required 500 to be proportional.

One has to question what the Israelis are really up to.

Monday, November 6, 2023

The Real Horror In Israel: They Don't Count Palestinians


A couple of days after the 7 October Hamas attacks on the kibbutzim an artful concatenation of historic events began to circulate on social media.

And soon afterwards the concatenation was fleshed out with some math.

Here it is in all its Israeli glory as best remembered and paraphrased by me.

"The horrendous crime against humanity perpetrated by the Palestinian group Hamas against the peaceful people of Israel on 7 October 2023 is totally kindred in horror and depravity to the 11 September 2001 attack on the United States of America. Not only that, but, considering the difference in the population of the two countries - nine million Israelis to three hundred thirty million Americans - we, the survivors of the holocaust, here returned to our rightful and god given homeland, actually have suffered the equivalent of 51,333 dead from this monstrous act of antisemitism."

That's damn fine marketing.

As a tactic in a propaganda campaign, though, it has a soft underbelly.

That soft underbelly is this: numbers and formulae are like the wil-o'-the-wisp; they float ephemerally and they are seldom staunchly loyal to their purveyors.

Such is the case here.

While the number of really dead Israelis remains, as it was on 7 October, 1400, the death count of Palestinian men, women and children ticks ever upward: 10,000 earlier today, 4500 of them children.

Using the Israeli proportional ratio equation an interesting addendum to the Israeli Concatenation Marketing Campaign emerges.

As of this morning, Seattle time, the Israelis have killed a proportion of the Palestinian population, in synch with 9/11, equaling 1,650,000 civilians.

So when are the Israelis going to start counting Palestinians?

I pointed out this lack of counting previously.


  



Thursday, November 2, 2023

Finally, An Artichoke Answer

 I asked Bing if we could expect to ever get real artichokes back; I said:

In the last 20 years or so artichokes have become inedible. The classic Castro Valley artichoke has disappeared from the market.  Is there any indication of bringing classic Castro Valley artichokes back?

Hi, this is Bing. I’m glad you like artichokes.­čî▒

According to my search, artichokes were brought to California by Italian immigrants in the late 19th century, and to Castroville in the 1920s. The original variety was the green globe artichoke, which is still grown by some local farms in Castroville. However, over the last two decades, an ambitious program to produce high-yielding, year-round artichokes has altered the flavor, color, texture and shape of them. Some of these new varieties are Desert Globe, Big Heart and Frost Kissed.

I could not find any indication of bringing classic Castro Valley artichokes back, but you may be able to buy them from some local farms or online. You can also visit the Castroville Artichoke Food & Wine Festival to celebrate this tasty vegetable.

************************************************

Several years ago, I think it was in March, my local Safeway had some real artichokes for a couple of weeks. 

I bought a dozen or so over that couple of weeks.

I was so excited that I saved the PLU stickers.

I was hoping that I might have discovered the magic code to artichoke happiness.

But I think that code covers all artichokes, not just the real artichokes that I bought in that brief interlude, the vast majority of rest of which are bogus.

Bing goes too easy on them ("high-yielding, year-round artichokes has altered the flavor, color, texture and shape of them").

Here's the real deal: that vast majority of bogus pretenders are really big, frequently are really round, but they have no flesh on their leaf bases (so what is their point?) and their hearts go from fibrous uncooked lumps to nasty tasteless mush in some mysterious window of uncontrollable time. 

As such they are inedible pointless wastes of time and money; but they are pretty.  

Somehow that seems to me to be a banner that could be hung above all of our current civilization. 



Monday, October 30, 2023

When Do They Start Counting?

 A couple of hours ago I heard a retired Israeli colonel interviewed by the BBC.

She obfuscated on all subjects extremely effectively.

But paramount among her obfuscations was her multi-repeated strident assertion "the Israeli Army does not target civilians".

To date, 8000 Palestinian civilians - 2400 of them children - (have you noticed that the "horrific" Jew body count remains 1400, as the Palestinians deaths rise by the hour?) have been killed.

I guess that that 8000 weren't targeted, assuming truth in the strident protestations, noted above.

I guess not having been targeted is the same as not being dead.

In Israeli-Speak.

Nonetheless, since we, the rest of the world, do have a body count - 8000, and rising by the minute - we have a pretty good idea of how many Palestinians have not been targeted by the Israeli Army, and therefore, in Israeli-speak, are not dead.

So, when do they - the Jews - start counting?


Thursday, October 26, 2023

The Difference



"Too few people with too much money,

 "And too many with too little,

"And then there's me,

"Apparently free,

"Of problems,

"Of money 

"One medical bill or one 'we have totaled your car' away from the abyss,

"'Apparently, apparently, therefore, a word remiss,

"But, remiss or other,
 
"Remiss or not,

"When I looked for its brother.

"'Careless' I got,

And so,

"I've got what I've got,

"And I guess that's good, so good, so good,

"I'm sure that's the feeling I should,

"Have

 "In the best of all countries,

"In the best of all times,

"City on the hill,

"How it all shines,

"But, still, too many with much, much too little",

I thought to myself,

As I scrumbled my dollar bills,

In my wallet,

So I could pay for

A copy of Real Change.

The paper costs two dollars.

I gave the guy three.

The guy thanked me.

Twice.

I felt like a shit.

"What's the difference" I said to no one in particular,

"Between him and me?"

"He has guts" came floating to my brain.

"You would be dead, and down the drain,

"If you had to show up every day in front of QFC,

"That's the difference between him and me".



Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Je R├ętracte

Today I said "I stand with Secretary Guterres.  I am unable to differentiate what Israel is doing to the Palestinians in Gaza and what Putin is doing to Ukrainians in Ukraine.  I have even heard Israelis say that there is no historic basis for Palestine and Palestinians.  That sounds an awful lot like Putin's hallucinations". 

I may be, probably am, totally misinformed about history, and about what the Jews are doing to the Palestinians; if that is true, it is explainable how I can be so out of step with every Israeli I have heard speak in the last 22 days, including the one who went after the Secretary General of the United Nations for suggesting that there was a nation known as Palestine, and that it consists of human beings, millions of them, and that they ought not be exterminated. 

So, I apologize for and retract all that I have said about what the Jews are doing. 

To be as misinformed as I am on all counts, I decry my "education" and excoriate NPR, BBC and PBS for their balanced and rational coverage of the post 7 October Middle East.

It's Really Hard To Believe


 That it took so long for the republicans to pick a slithering idiot for their leader.

Or so I thought when they announced it.

Then I remembered: there are 221 of them; they all are slitherers, and most are idiots; a few are morons.

Since I'm throwing terms around, and since I am deeply committed to my 2017 mission statement: "to deliver fake news in an entertaining basket" I decided to clash the two - throwing terms around and an entertaining basket - and ask Bing which is smarter, a moron or an idiot.

Bing says:

"It’s difficult to compare the intelligence of a moron and an idiot because they were classified based on different levels of cognitive impairment. 

"According to the same classification system, an idiot is someone whose mental development never exceeds that of a normal child of about two years, while a moron’s mental development is above that of an imbecile but does not exceed that of a normal child of about twelve years. 

"Therefore, it’s not accurate to say that one is smarter than the other".

Jeese; I forgot all about imbeciles.

That category has Georgia and Colorado written all over it.


Friday, October 20, 2023

Coda To Yesterday's Post


 Yesterday I put up a post titled: 

What JFK Said One Afternoon Three Days Less Than 61 Years Ago


I wasn't paying attention at the time, because if I had been I would have remembered that the date I was referencing, 22 November 1962, was exactly one year before JFK was assassinated in Dallas.

I would have pointed that out in the post.

But I wasn't paying attention.

That date is coming up again soon, nine days after my 81st birthday.

I will post a link to an appropriate song.

On that day.

22 November.

2023.

The day everything changed for all of us.

Sixty-One Years Ago.

And has never come back.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

What JFK Said One Afternoon Three Days Less Than 61 Years Ago


If you watched Joe's speech this afternoon you might want to hear what another President said once.

I listened to this lying on the floor with fellow students in the Students' Affairs Office of Portland State College; I especially liked the any nuclear missile from anywhere, hitting anywhere in our hemisphere will be treated as coming from the Soviet Union; we will take appropriate action in that case.

Things were simpler then.

Address During the Cuban Missile Crisis | JFK Library



Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Pop Tarts And Grotesque Ignorance

 I heard an interview of Alexandra Pelosi today.

It was a discussion of her just released documentary of the January 6 coup attempt.

It was an interesting interview.

Most interesting from my point of view is something she said that I am making an attempt to re-create here; this is only a clumsy approximation; but it gets the idea on the table.

She had been asked about the appearance in the documentary that all the people interviewed (minor offenders, all of whom admitted their offenses, and all of whom were convicted of misdemeanors and served short sentences) were startlingly alike.

She concurred.

"A life from weaning made up of pop tarts, little or failed education, and lives that went off the rails early and permanently; pretty much losers all; and they all love trump".

That description describes so accurately the outcome of the last forty years I described in my recent post 

Not Far From Midnight


I am putting a link to it here.

Noel McKeehan: Adventures and Opinions: Not Far From Midnight (noellivefromparis.blogspot.com)


Monday, October 16, 2023

What If ...

Have you ever pondered the permutational possibilities that would accompany a willful and intentional attack on some United States Outpost, not continental United States, with a nuclear weapon?

I am so strange that I have so pondered.

And I come up blank.

I have no idea what an appropriate response should be.

I wonder if anyone does.

In the last couple years Puty has been rattling his nuclear arsenal at a level of noise not seen since the Canterville Ghost was rattling his chains.

 On the 7th of October HAMAS (it's an acronym - Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyyah) attacked Israel.

That, of course, is bringing down the fury of the not trivial Israeli military upon Gaza from whence the attack commenced.

Why would Hamas do that utterly stupid thing?

One answer to that question may be as follows.

Of course, the United States has risen up with a fiery sword in defense of the Israeli's.

Given the asymmetric influence of the evangelical christian cult in America, no politician, and Joe Biden is a politician, can withstand the need to be irrationally pro-Israel.

Always remember, and never forget, that when the Jews raise the temple again all evangelicals will be rapturously assumed into heaven and the into arms of Jesus. 

The rest of us will be left to burn in hell, as is only fair.

Liberals, socialists and such being all that will be left.

Burning seems almost too good for that ilk.

So say the christians.

So Jew stuff in Israel is real serious American Politics.

Therefore, it's not surprising that we have sent two aircraft carriers to the - I guess - Mediterranean to show how committed we Americans all are to the Jews erecting that new temple.

What if Kim Jong Un, Puty, and the Old Islamic Nuts in Tehran came up with a plan:

"Hamas, do your thing some Saturday; make it bloody; the Americans will do something disproportionate and, hopefully stupid, like sending aircraft carriers close enough for us to get them".

"Puty, you take out the aircraft carriers, if they show up, with those hotshot hypersonic missiles and deadly new nuclear war tips (the tactical ones, so nobody can accuse you of flirting with WWIII) you have been bragging about; you can launch from Crimea; easy peasy."

"Un, you send one of your new hotshot rockets with one of your new hotshot nuclear war tips to hit Bremerton; nobody cares if you start WWIII".

"Grand Wizard of Allah, you keep sending rockets, mortars and artillery shells to the tunnels in Gaza, AND start hitting northern Israel round the clock with the stuff you already have in Lebanon.

So do we, the United States, in that scenario take out Moscow, Tehran and Pyongyang?

Or what?

And to what end?

And then?

And then?!





Friday, October 13, 2023

Analogies Usually Limp

 According to Bing, "Fish traps are a type of fishing gear that catch fish by guiding them into a net or enclosure. They can be used to catch salmon in rivers or coastal waters."

A day or two ago the Israeli government demanded that a million Palestinians need to move, post haste, in 24 hours, from the north to the south.

That is so that the Israeli's can exterminate whatever is left behind with impunity.

Whatever is left behind is assumed to be going to be Hamas, so everything is good.

If you ever watched Independence Day, you might have a different opinion: moving a million people in 24 hours on some roads and highways can't happen; instead, chaos.

And gridlock and death.

So that order must be either stupid or designed for an objective.

I assume the latter.

Jews are not stupid.

But let's forget all of that.

Let's pretend that the Jews really believe that a people from whom they have taken their land and their homes, that they have run, over the years, into a corral, bordered by fences and the sea, and who, in that condition of extended confinement have lost everything, can somehow get south in 24 hours.

To what end? might be a logical question.

So, let's get back to the fish trap.

By concentrating the Palestinians (the fish) in a trap, they can be harvested (mass killed).

The use of pamphlets dropped from the air telling the million to move has an ominous similarity to some days long ago over Hiroshima.

The Palestinians have been a thorn in the paw of the Jews ever since 1948.

It is difficult not to surmise that high level Israeli planners, in quiet back rooms, have not always had Operation Eliminate as a desirable solution to that thorn in the paw.

Rahm Emanuel once said “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

I have read, and cried, while reading, Exodus, Winds of War and War and Remembrance.

And I doubt not and do not deny that four million Jews were gassed and incinerated by Hitler.

And accepting that as fact, I can't reconcile what the descendants of the Jews that didn't burn in Hitler's incinerators have been doing to a sovereign people since 1948.


 


Wednesday, October 11, 2023

An Assumption Too Far?

 On the assumption that the House of Representatives plays anything resembling a significant part in the business of the Government of the United States of America - and therefore, the business of the World - one might make an observation.

In January the nominee for speaker of that House was someone known to be fairly generally hated by many of his kindred lawmakers: they didn't trust him; they didn't agree with his "policies"; he lacked "policies", his only policy being a ravenous need to be speaker.

It took days and days and 15 ballots to get him into his ravenously desired post.

It took an irrational number of concessions for him to finally, 15 ballots in, achieve that post.

One of those concessions bit him fatally a few months later, and he became the first Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America to be removed from office.

In the void immediately commencing on the heels of that removal a lot of people, some of those who removed him among them, suddenly became aware of what it means to not have the lower House of our bi-cameral Legislature as a functioning entity.

Ukraine needs more money.

The Jews have paid a pretty price for following an incompetent dictator and a thousand of them died dismal deaths last weekend and the United States is irrationally and fatally required to rush to their aid with blood and treasure; the House needs to be functioning.

"What else? What else?" rattled the empty halls of the Empty House.

"We better get us a new leader real fast", some of the deposers shrieked.

I can understand, if I adopt a completely irrational point of view, all of that.

But I would have thought that a key design point of whomever gets put forward as the new Speaker would have had a patina of durability about him.

I would not have even wished for competence; that no longer exists in republican land.

But durability?

Of course.

Steve has blood cancer.

How does that square with durability?

I guess the circus will continue.


Not Far From Midnight

 Why Trump and the GOP are burning the entire system down

Opinion by Thom Hartmann


Rep. Jim Jordan
Rep. Jim Jordan© provided by RawStory

Today’s Republican Party is dedicated to destroying what they call the “deep state” and the rest of us call the American government. From Trump followers in MAGA hats at rallies to Republican US Senators, they’ll all tell you this without a moment’s hesitation.

Steve Bannon even proclaimed it as the main goal of the Trump presidency in their first months in the White House, saying Trump’s goal was the “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

*******************************************************

In a book published in 2020, Kurt Andersen fills more than 300 pages with clear, concise and frightening documentation of how, starting in the 1970s, a small group of mostly old, old money set out to dismantle the New Deal and return America to its founding roots: a few obscenely wealthy and a vast mudsill of compliant, fear ridden and manor house dependent workers.

We used to call that feudalism.

The primary means to achieving that goal as the Second Founders saw it, was to dismantle as much as possible the Government.

Where but from the government came the largess, equity and tendency toward equality that had grown into American Society since 1932?

The means of dismantling that New Deal Nightmare was to dismantle the Government.

So they formed Heritage Foundations and Federalist Societies and took over or infiltrated major colleges and universities and on and on.

They assembled lists of malleable candidates for the judiciary at all levels.

They lobbied existing, not yet part of the CABAL members of the legislatures, federal and state, and got a gradual commencement of disintegration of all the laws and regulations underpinning the New Deal.

"Framed" issues were promulgated: "keep 'em barefoot and pregnant" became "Pro Life"; Jim Crow became "War On Drugs"; immigration became "Rapists and Drug Addicts"; there were many, many more.

Armed with all the newly "framed" issues they wove a cloth of prejudice, half-truths and lies, and with that cloth thrown over them, state capitol after state capitol became majority red.

They unleashed an abnormally vicious and toxic form of christianity upon the land.

They engulfed and co-opted the NRA and turned it into a heavily, militarily armed leader in resistance to the Government.

 They monied up the NRA so that it might create the judicial and legislative infrastructure to arm all of America, at least all Americans who had been told that they were victims.

They began to dismantle the Public Education System of the United States.

To name a few of their activities.

They were a clandestine group for the most part.

And they really didn't expect to get very far with their agenda.

But any retrogression is better than none, they all agreed.

In 1980 the American people picked the perfect useful idiot for the agenda of the few, the rich and the powerful.

Ronald Reagan had eight years in office, and starting with busting the Air Traffic Controllers Union he handed the keys to feudal resurgence to those few, rich and powerful.

As life happens, the 80s became the 90s and then the 00s and so on; and now we are here: 2023.

Some time back in that continuum the few, rich and powerful became increasingly amazed at their continuing success and at the magnitude of their achievement; then they became pensive, and then somewhere in the teens, they became outright alarmed.

Much though they fantasize that vast, docile, fearful, serf-like mudsill they knew there is a soft underbelly of fatal flaw in really achieving that goal: serfs have no buying power.

There is only one way to keep corporations getting bigger, fewer and more powerful, enhancing and advancing the quarterly growth of profit, enhancing shareholder value ("shareholders" being another term for the few, rich and powerful) using most of that quarterly profit, however, not for distribution to the shareholders, or research and development, or employee income and benefits, but for stock buybacks - fewer shares are more valuable shares and what more enhances shareholder value than more valuable shares; and given the universally assigned corporate CEO mission - stock price enhancement, not silly things like product development or employee well-being, the CEOs prospered; and having your value held in an unsold asset is the finest form of tax avoidance - and increasing size and corporate heft vertically and horizontally gives corporations a choke hold on the existence of unions (oblivion, they said) and cost of labor (wages shall serve shareholder value they said) and keep the whole cycle virtuously careening toward Valhalla. 

That way is to keep the mudsill buying and buying and buying causing the economy to grow and to grow and grow, and causing the few, rich and powerful to be richer and richer and richer.

On its face it's a Ponzi.

At its core it's a chimera.

You can't get blood out of a stone, is an old saw that comes to mind.

No value but shareholders' and no wages but permanently low wages are to factors on a collision course the few, the rich and the powerful could see.

But what results from the collision?

Just as the few, rich and powerful were getting nervous about all of that they got taken over by some of the mudsill that they have been prodding back to feudalism: they found out what the results of that collision were.

The inmates took over the asylum.

For all their innate viciousness, meanness and, at times, outright criminality those dismantlers of American Equity and Progress, the few, the rich and the powerful, were and are still men and women of substance: they all went to the right schools, and they all know the difference between a Martini and a Gibson.

So they have some idea of how things work and why they are the way they are.

They just didn't like the way things had been, and they are beginning to worry about how things are, and they are terrified of what might be to the shape of things yet to be.

Jim Jordan wouldn't know a Gibson if one crept up behind him and bit him on the ass.

And that pretty well describes the republican party of today.

They want to dismantle the deep state - we call it the Government - not because that is a means to the end envisioned by the few, rich and powerful, but because Q said to do it.

And because it gets clicks and makes them social media influencers.

And what could be better than that?

When they are standing on the rubble they are creating, I wonder what further directions Q will have for them?




Sunday, October 8, 2023

The Final Solution: Fish In A Barrel

 Listening to the BBC this afternoon I have heard a lot of Israelis invoking a "final solution" as their answer to the recent Hamas incursion.

I guess they must be being consciously ironic.

They must know that much history.

One would hope.

Maybe not.

Anyway, the Israelis now are going to solve their Palestinian Problem Finally.

After they have gathered all the Palestinians in Gaza, the Israelis are going to incinerate the place.

Nothing like a good holocaust (The word “holocaust” has two meanings. One is a sacrifice by fire. Apparently that is the one today's Jews are invoking in their final solution.  The name of that solution and its method drip with irony).

It's hard for me to imagine how Hamas could have been so stupid as to have made Palestinian genocide an openly stated Israeli policy - and, now, legitimated (in Israeli minds) an imminent goal.

And remember, Israel has a large nuclear arsenal.

I would expect, pragmatics being mandatory, that the impending holocaust will be a one weapon affair.

That's just so efficient.

If you want to incinerate a people, why pull your punches?

This is what happens when the US supports a country, run by a guy who hasn't got time to pay attention to threats inbound from a terrorist rump pseudo government, but has all his time available to jigger his county's judicial system so he won't go to jail, and you have that country as the keystone in your domestic religious-political milieu (when the Jews finally put that temple up again, all American evangelicals will be assumed into heaven - and the rest of us remain behind for eternal fire, so goes the party line; and that wins elections in Iowa; understandable politics, terrible foreign policy).

It does worry me, though, that the world will go down neither in a bang, nor a whimper, but, instead in a giant shitstorm.

I would like to add that sentence to the bible. 


Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Some Roses

 Most of these were taken at my favorite haunts in Paris.

A few were on Lopez Island.