Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Our Imagined Economy
We say, "There’s something wrong with the economy," rather than, "I’m getting screwed by the oil companies, the banks, and my employer." Things get mystified and depersonalized. We say there’s a "recession," as if were some sort of bad weather, rather than pointing our fingers at the people who brought it down on us and who are, for the most part, profiting still. Maybe, instead of talking about "the economy" and "the recession" we should be talking about the ongoing looting and concerted attack on our standard of living --which will likely end only when there’s nothing left to squeeze out of us.
This isn’t just semantics. If there’s something wrong with "the economy," we call in the economists, we think about intervention by the Fed, and things on that level. But if someone is actually attacking us, we’re more likely to focus on how we can start working for change right now, with whatever tools are at hand.

Barbara Ehrenreich, at TMP cafe.

I've liked her writing for a long time, and she nails something vital with this post.
I enjoyed reading Nickel and Dimed, even though her writing about being a house cleaner and broke was very different than my experience of being one in Seattle at the same time, and a little melodramatic by comparison.
We're being steadily screwed by big media and big lobbies and big scumbags in congress.
But since it's going to rain for the next three days, I think I'll drink a beer and eat some eggrolls and not think about how frelled up things are.

How It Feels To Be Broken and In Shock

The first thing that you realize is that the world is spinning, and everything seems drained of color and looks like you're seeing it through a freaky wide angle lens. You don't know what the hell happened, but you remember racing your horse down the trail with your pal.
Then you start to notice things. You hear somebody screaming, and start to feel your body coming back on line, like a computer rebooting.
Then you realize that you're the one screaming, and the animal part of your body is really freaking.
You slowly start to feel the dull throb of broken bones, and you realize your back feels like it's got the worst kink in it, ever.
But when you try to get up, you realize that your right wrist is throbbing something terrible, pulsing like a fire hose being stomped on by godzilla at the same rate your heart is pumping.
Then you find yourself being lifted up by people you didn't realize were there, and you start to reel your brain back into your head from the place where it was floating three feet or so above.
And then you start realizing how much pain you're in.
You look over at your left arm, and think, whoa, that looks wrong, and say
"I think I broke both of my arms".
Right about that time the people helping you realize that there's no way to get a vehicle back to where you fell of that damn horse, and that you'll have to be taken across the lake in the boat.
As you are helped into the boat, you see that the bone in your left arm is snapped clean across, and that it's pushing the skin out to the side.
It's a clean break, not poking through the skin or splintered, and the shock you are in helps keep the reality notched down as you sit there in the boat supported by two people you know but can't remember being there afterwards.
As the boat pounds across the lake, you start to realize that your knee is throbbing like hell, and starting to swell up to about twice it's normal size.
Every whack of the boat on the waves sends a jolt up your spine, and as your arms move up and down, you start to feel an amazing amount of pain.
So much it seems surreal, like a new kind of sensation.
Once you're across the lake and down by the dock, somebody pulls up with the big Oldsmobile your dad loved to drive, and they help you into the back seat.
It's not as rough a ride as the boat, but that doesn't matter, because every mile up to the hospital makes you more aware of just how messed up you are.
At the first hospital, a tiny little place in the deep northwoods, they look at you and figure out that you need a real orhtopedic surgeon right way.
So they stick a big needle in your ass filled with demerol, and suddenly you're in half as much pain, but still hurting like you didn't think you could
Then they load you into the back of a station wagon, and all the way down the road for another 36 miles of rough backroads you cry and wimper and moan with each bump.
By the time you get to the second hospital, the surgeon's already there waiting, and he takes one look at you and orders up another shot of painkillers.
That second shot is pure, undiluted bliss. All the pain goes away, but unlike recreational opiate use, you don't feel stoned out, just an absence of pain and a surreal detatchment.
The doctor takes your left hand in his hands and pulls. The bone pops back into place, and your hands look almost right again to you. Not that it matters at that point. With that much dope in your system they could cut your head off and you would just smile as they did it.
You wake up the next day with an incrdibly sore ass from the needles full of painkiller, two broken wrists, a compressed pair of back fractures and a well bashed knee.
While you were out they drilled two holes all the way through your thumbs and stuck surgical steel pins through them, then anchored them into big plaster casts. For the next eight weeks, you try to figure out how to wipe your ass, drive your stick shift volkswagon bus and live without bending or twisting anything below your elbows but your fingers.
That's what it feels like to be in deep shock after falling off your damn horse.
And I'd still be riding them if I lived somewhere I could both keep and afford them.

Rajani, Future Supermodel

Babies and toddlers are fine to look upon, but a future supermodel like
Rajani makes me happy for the future of humanity.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Young and Stupid Thugs In My Hood

So, it's one thirty AM and I'm deep into one of those sleep cycles where you're about as far from awake as you can get, and I hear a thumping and a ringing doorbell.
I claw my way up to being nearly upright and realize that it's not a dream, and somebody's banging on the front door.
Not having a lot of faith in human kind, I got Kori to get up and follow me down to the front door, if just to have my back if it's somebody with bad intent. It was the cops!
There were two squads outside my front door and a yellow cab. And at the door was a cop with a big ass flashlight. His first question was "are there any kids in the house", then he told us that four kids had called a cab using our address, then waited in the dark beside the house for the cab driver.
When that cabbie pulled up, they jumped him, took his money and knocked him around some.
I saw little of it in the paper or on the news, besides a brief one paragraph story saying they caught the kids who did it.
It's fuckin' creepy to think there are little thugs lurking in my side yard at one Am waiting to rob people.
And to add to the creepifying factor making me wonder about my neighborhood, I found a crack pipe buried in my compost pile last weekend.
It had been there a while, but I suspect my neighbors in the house behind my shop have some rough folks visiting on a regular basis.
Add in last week's murder downtown and it seems Madison is becoming a little more scary than I thought it was.
I hate to do it, but I'm going to put in motion sensor lights on the side of the house and add a gate up by the front porch. And I'm going to keep a baseball bat next to the bed in case the mayhem starts walking into our house.
I think it's all part of the BushCo economy, where it's easier to rob a cab driver or rip shit off from your neighbors than to find a job. After all, respectable people have enough money to live in gated communities.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Peter and Kate

My former drummer Peter and my lovely roomate Kate.
I enjoy these handsome young folks. Peter's eyes are quite fetchingly large, and Kate's angular features are quite the joy to look upon.
It is indeed a wonderful thing to look upon.
I shoveled stinking compost all afternoon.
I like dirt.
That is all.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Where "the centre cannot hold" Came From

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

-William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming

I've loved that poem for years. I've read or heard people say "Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold" fairly often, and wonder how many people realize it's from an old classic poem.
Time for a bike ride, to watch spring blossom out and see the last of the snowbanks melt away into salty, gritty, sand covered piles left to remind us of how many teeth winter still has in this age of climate wierdness.
And here's a photo of red clover in bloom that my pal Clint sent me from his shack outside Nashville to cheer me up in the slush of my discontent, and a second photo from my brother of two albino deer shot near my mother's house in Northern Wisconsin.
Nice to know as fucked up as things seem right now, some parts of nature just keep rolling along.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Nancy Spanks the Military for Tammy


Pelosi intervenes to get Rep. Baldwin’s domestic partner on military flight.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was recently “forced to intervene with Defense Secretary Robert Gates” in order to get Rep. Tammy Baldwin’s (D-WI) “domestic partner on a military flight for a congressional fact-finding trip to Europe.” While House rules allow spouses to travel with members of Congress on such missions, “military officials were apparently unwilling to consider” Baldwin’s partner “a ’spouse’ within the meaning of the House guidelines.” Pelosi’s effort was successful, but the Politico reports that “[t]he Pentagon appears to be self-conscious about transporting gay domestic partners at a time when it continues to enforce a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy in its own ranks.” Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), another openly gay lawmaker, suggested the military is perhaps “following orders” because “the [Bush] administration disapproves of same-sex marriage.”

"Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis." Ralph Waldo Emerson