Monday, July 30, 2012

Shitheadus Maximus

"Leg irons, the whip, galleys that were floating concentration camps"

"My, my how I do love getting in a fresh batch of new meat! Virgin skin to wound and scar. Still signs of life in your beady little eyes. Hopes I can crush! Yes! Yes!"

"You know what I am, boys? I'm the biggest secret in the Roman Army. I'm sick, and pathetic. A loser. They even branded me with the name Shitheadus. But guess who it is I get to shit on?! You new men may think you know terror but I'm going to show you terror like you've never seen before, terror you've never even dare think!"

"No willing woman will have me and somebody's got to pay. And the times when my dick as is hard as that oar you grab will be the times I beat you most. Right or wrong I'll lash you into unbearable agony - as completely helpless as I am to escape it! You will moan, you will cry out, you will beg - but no relief ever! You shall share my pain in full!"

"Isn't the army wonderful to provide a place in this world for a man such as I? We shitheads are the newest bestest disease of the world. Roman merchants are forming what's called "corporations" where shitheads like I can organize you slaves as we see fit. It will be just like it is here: your reward for good work will only be more work the next day. The world will live my nightmare!"

Your parents expect you to work hard and not complain!

"Work is your god now. All hail mighty work! A man must be useful to serve our great Roman Republic. When I look out over your bent bare backs I see nothing but prostitutes for my penis. That is your work. HAHAHA! I love it. We have re-purposed your lives to suit our ends. When I sleep in my comfortable berth above you can't imagine the glorious rush of power I feel as the motion of the ship under me sways by your futile efforts. Quite vampyric!"

"Your life expectancy here is longer than that of a housefly - but not by much. Men need hope to live but you have none! You will live for my dick just like the women I can't have. I hear some of you speak of a god. No god will come from the sky to save you. If ever a god did love you that's over now. You belong to me and whatever wives or women, family or lives you had before the gods have taken away!"

"I see some of you are weeping already. My message is getting through! Your tears are my joy. Your woe is my glee. You are the living dead just as I am the walking dead. Have you heard of our newest prisons? They are underground. You are buried alive in total darkness! Truly now, you must admit it: it is we shitheads who rule the world."

OK, we know who really rules the world

"You there boy, all fresh and tender. Let me spread my seed on you! Look at him uselessly fight to get out of his chains. You're getting me hard, boy! What would your pretty girlfriend think now if she could see me exploding on your head? Yes, take it bitch. You'll never be the man again she thought you were. Oh, that's funny! I've haven't heard crying like that in ages. We must find a way to get this news to her! He thought himself exempt!"

"The future is looking bright for us shitheads! I saw a soothsayer the other day and she spoke of times when millions would be gathered for camps of death, countless waves of purges of men, women and children to serve the myths of men. The vampire shall rise and be hailed in both song and story. We will be harbored in darkness to do the bidding of the great masters. It is the shitheads who shall round you up in the middle of the night in unstoppable terror!"

"But her stories grew the wooden anguish down below I know so well. Cowering at her feet I begged the woman god for mercy. She said for 50 shekels I could buy her shoe to lick. Like a wild dog with its prey, I grabbed the shoe in my mouth and ran to hell's corner to devour it. Now it is my most prized possession. I ask you now my tortures tots: who among you also wishes to lick that shoe!"

Every man in the house shouted and clamored for the chance.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Putin Is Pussy Whipped!

Dangerous girrrrls!

Russian weak man "Pussy" Putin broke down wailing in tears when he found out not everyone loved him. "It's like I rigged the election for nothing!" he openly lamented. "I just pulled out my last hair!" Apparently, that's about all he's got to pull out.

Pussy Riot, a feminist all girl punk rock band performed their "punk prayer" song "Mother of God send Putin Away" in a Russian Orthodox church in Moscow. In the song they ask the Virgin Mary to "chase Putin out". Not only did this make Putin stomp his feet in frustration but a laughable church Patriarch said of the girls' act that the "Devil has laughed at all of us." At least the fucking devil has a sense of humor.

First they get mad when you don't pray then they get mad when you do. Goddam religion has a rule for everything!

A woman protests outside a St. Petersburg church

In a screaming fit, Putin ran down to the police station ordering the cops to arrest the girls before "my tears make my mascara run." Bored cops complained, "Dude, we need a charge." "Arrest them for not liking me!" demanded Putin. As it stands now, three members of the group sit in jail on charges of "hooliganism" punishable up to seven years in jail. Must be a universal disorder where cops never see what fools blind obedience makes of them.

Russian superheroes!!

Three other members of the group gave their first video interview to Western media.

The group members, who go by the nicknames Sparrow, Squirrel and Balaclava, the youngest of whom is 20, were filmed by the Observer dressed in the balaclavas and colourful dresses that have become a potent symbol of the mass anti-government protests that rocked Russia this spring.

Sparrow, 25, said that masking their faces and appearing anonymous meant that "everybody can be Pussy Riot". And even if three of them were imprisoned, more Pussy Rioters would rise in their place.

It was a moment in history, she added, when a "Russian superhero" was needed and wearing the balaclavas and outfits felt like "having a second life. It's like being Spider-Man or Catwoman… When I'm in a mask I feel a little bit like a superhero. I feel more power. I feel really brave. I believe that I can do everything and can change the situation."

I love these girls!!!

As for the Russian populace, many still cling to the long lost idea of state and church as savior. I guess they miss the good old days of mass purges and daily repression. 37% say that prison is too harsh a fate for the girls but 39% say several years in prison would be justice. Dear Russian Orthodox Church, when will you ever repent?

So what will you be Mother Russia?? A nation forever doomed to be full of self-pity and Vodka? Something to be proud of, that! Time to run hooligans like Putin and his cabal back into the dark hole they came from. The trial starts on Monday and will be livestreamed on the internet. But make no mistake about it, this is not merely three women on trial but the concept of freedom of expression itself. Something to remember as we here in the West can't throw our rights away quick enough.

Artists from around the world from Sting to the Red Hot Chili Peppers are supporting them. You can too! Visit the Free Pussy Riot webpage to contribute. I know I did!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Your Life Depends On A Chinese Peasant!

"Popular capitalism is nothing less than a crusade"
antiChrist Margaret Thatcher

Capitalism is like any other religion: it's just a bunch of rules without innate value that mean only as much as we think they mean. America's post WWII forays into other countries are very much the same as the Crusades of the Middle Ages, of men hellbent on forcing their religion on others. It's delusional witch burning on a large scale but it's accepted because we still cling to the idea of witches. How else ya gonna justify putting a(n economic) bullet into somebody??

So I don't much bother myself with what I consider a passing fancy. But that is not conventional wisdom and all but the tiniest minority can move past That Which Is Deemed (TWID). TWID is what we use to tell right from wrong, good from bad. A man born in America is a capitalist while a man born in China is a communist. People generally go with the TWID - even if its death is only a matter of time.

But here I will break my usual pattern and speak wholly within the terms of TWID. After all, we are stubborn and stiff-necked enough to ruin millions of lives over it no matter how false it may be. So for argument purposes we'll pretend money is real and people are not, our lethal TWID that grows stronger every day. Something to be proud of! (OK, there may be some sarcasm in here)

Before we deconstruct our global TWID think of this one scenario first: You have a going enterprise but to keep it going you need a loan. Problem is, the banks are all out of money. What happens then? Do we just print up more and more? And if that's a solution, why not just print up enough to give everyone a million dollars? Sounds like a fricking economic stimulus to me! A Maserati in every garage!

Why not just make everyone rich??

They say in 2008 the global economy failed. That is a falsehood. What happened in 2008 was the economy was exposed as a failure. It failed when we decided to jump off a cliff years before. 2008 was just the body splattering on the ground. Many also like to claim the crisis has been averted and we've been saved. That sort of staggering denial is the equivalent of claiming you're debt free because the debt collector can't find you. But he will - and it will be all the worse the later he finds you.

Time is not our friend here. Some say we're already past the point of no return.

The first trick of the high priests is to enslave you with your own illusions. Like a crack dealer giving out free samples, easy credit was the 21st Century's answer to bringing back indentured servitude - a fancy term for slavery except you have to provide your own food, shelter and medical care. Believing we're free people we gladly took on the chains of big debt, lured in by the high of nice houses, nice cars and nice TVs. We were smiling and thanking the men who were sowing our demise!

Mortgage broker crack dealers and their ilk know at some point their victims will be bled dry, but who cares? By then you've got all their money, they gave it to you of their own free will and you get to walk around like a responsible citizen. That's just scary to think we're so far off the right path we think that's OK. The power of TWID! That's why honest folks will tell you our current predicament was preventable and predictable.

In the five years before the crash,
global lending exploded from $900 billion
to more than $6 trillion.

Jesus wants you to borrow money!

Yup, put a credit card in that five-year-old's hands and you own him for life. In the 80's "greed is good" was accepted into our TWID and we've never looked back. Savings are for losers and debt is for winners! Between 1980 and 2008, American consumer debt tripled to over $14 trillion. Everyone's living the good life! Why aren't you? It's a natural human tendency to want to live well. Nothing wrong with that. But far too many people's esteem is based on living better than their neighbor.

But the bank dealers have to get their crack from somewhere, they can't just make it up (yet). This is true because in our minds we must cling to the idea of money having meaning for our lives to have meaning. Yeah, I know that sounds stupid but such is the nature of religion. So where are the dealers getting their currency? From the few nations that keep cash on hand, i.e. save money: Japan, the oil countries of the Middle East, Germany and most of all, China!

On average, the Chinese save a whopping 50% of their earnings! Worldwide savings ballooned from $36 to $72 trillion in the first few years of this century. Combine this with the massive lowering of interests rates to historically low levels and the global banking system couldn't lend it out quick enough as they were basically playing with rent free money. Thus we have a recipe for by far the greatest economic bubble in history.

"To get rich is glorious"
Communist leader Deng Xiaoping as China
turned towards a market economy

If only we could be more like cats

Ah, but if only it stopped there! You may have spotted the (monumentally fatal) fly in the ointment at this point. In the orgy of lending even with free money, there's still the risk of never getting it back. But what if you could make that risk disappear? Well, you can't actually but who can resist the financial alchemy of turning lead into gold? Sure, we laugh at those "morons" back in the Middle Ages who self-deceived themselves to the point of believing in alchemy. But one day our descendents will be shaking their heads at us!

Investment bundles of debt derived from the massive lending - aka derivatives - were sold to outside investors by the banks. Now the banks' risk is offloaded onto suckers investors who hope to share in the perceived lending profits. And you thought evil geniuses only existed in Bond novels. Best part for the banks is that derivatives are black boxes which can be assigned any value they wished since no one knows the actual value of the risky loans. Think of them as gold plated time bombs in which the sucker sees only the gold.

"Let's hope we're all wealthy and retired
by the time this house of cards falters."
Internal email at ratings agency
Standard and Poors, 2006

But of course you've got to keep upping the dose to get the same high. Derivatives weren't just sold once, but became a market unto themselves, sold over and over, infesting the system to the point of $683 trillion by 2008, ten times the value of the entire global stock markets. As long as the bubble had not burst, this caused profits to explode making derivatives seem a mainstream investment even for pension funds and other institutions of fiduciary responsibility for large numbers of people. The appetite for destruction was insatiable.

As you can see, it would not take much of a movement in a market of that size to wipe out vast amounts of money. And boy did we see a movement when the bad debts could no longer be hidden! And with leveraging of the debts upwards of 30 to 1, we didn't just lose dollar for dollar, but 30 dollars for every dollar. There's no getting out of this, folks, not in a million years. We're only getting in deeper by the day to put off the day of reckoning, the derivatives market now reaching $1.4 quadrillion, jumping off the cliff all over again.

Financially speaking, we're a dead body. But to keep that news under wraps we're transfusing blood from the living into the dead body to make it appear alive. This keeps politicians getting re-elected, bankers from feeling the true wrath and the populace docile because we don't really want to know the truth anyway. How many have to suffer and die before we admit our TWID a failure? The price of that willful ignorance is global catastrophe.

At some point, there will be no more live bodies to drain. Here in America 50% of the population owns 1% of the wealth. To keep the dead heart of the Frankenbanks beating we are being bled dry. Soon, no more Chinese money will rescue us to fund our national debt and our government will default on its loans too. The interest alone is hundreds of billions of dollars per annum. We are not a solvent country, without the continual infusion of Chinese cash we'll grind to a halt which will make our current predicament look like the good old days!

Of course, we could grow up and face the fact all these numbers are just numbers with no reason to control our lives. I don't expect anyone to do that at this point, to put their faith in Nature and trust to mutual cooperation with no strings attached. I'm just covering my ass for historical purposes so I won't get lumped in with the vast majority of morons. Go ahead and vote yourself a savior you can point a finger towards when things go wrong but really the finger should always point towards the mirror.

Information from this post mainly came from the Australian TV series Addicted To Money. I highly recommend watching all episodes to gain a fuller understanding of the architecture of our current economic structure.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Two Men Meet In The Road After Twenty Years

There's no going back and surviving a second time

Out of the shelter and into the frying pan. You see, the delusion is shattered and with it any hope. There really is no place for me to go. As long as I was homeless I could always pretend of "the life" beyond and make it whatever I pleased. Oh, I know a lot people did the same thing but never to my degree - not by a long shot. Doing crap jobs - and all jobs are crap - put me out of my mind, destroying my soul. It wasn't until today I realized I was keeping my soul alive by staying in the shelter.

I understand now my secret lingering fear pestering me. The one that told me no life awaited me beyond the shelter. All anyone wants to do is socialize you and get you off the books. Since I didn't have any alternative answer to give I went with theirs - story of my life. Get a job, get a place, live crappily ever after. End of story. What? What was that? You gonna say something? I thought not. Now run along and be a good boy.

Fuck, I was right. More right than I ever thought. Its obvious I've made the wrong choice because the darkness is closer now, surrounding me like Napoleon at Waterloo, a battle lost before it was ever fought. Why am I even fighting? The world's not going to change. Regardless of anything I do it will keep marching on its merry way to death. So where is home? Nowhere, somewhere out in the vast universe where the dust of dreams is reborn.

Before, I was half character, half me. I'm no longer me. It's amazing what the weight of expectations does to you, where you end up doing things in which you have no belief whatsoever. Still, I find myself playing the part of a "normal" person even as I feel my fingers being unpried from the grip of my useless soul. I figure I best be acting my part so "they" won't be disappointed and I can prove the system works for me even though it cannot.

Pete Zotos went to the same church camp as I, by Amarillo. Don't fret, this was Episcopalian, not some god awful Baptist boot camp. What it turned out to be was a place of bonding and everyone crying on the last day as we returned to our hell-homes. I remember personalities and feelings more than names and faces. In some ways, it was magical and surreal, like the time I was walking on the outskirts of Amarillo looking back at a dark and moody sky feeling as if I was stepping back in time. You remember moments like that.

But Pete I remembered as sort of a poor man's John Belushi. He was good with people, voted President and even though I've come to realize it's myself I'm always seeing, he seemed to walk in another world. I took note when he said his dream was to open a restaurant and I viewed it as a place that would be an extension of that mythical teenage time when anything seems possible. He did open that restaurant, right by downtown Dallas in Deep Ellum.

I did go there once for lunch but Pete was not there. That was several years ago when I was working my temp jobs. I never returned. Perhaps I had some mental block but it seemed like such a chore. But as my new improved character, time seemed ripe for a visit as a mark of my new social standing! Everyone wants a fucking lie? Fine, I'll serve it out in spades. Always good when you go in with that sort of attitude!

It's always awkward eating by yourself and in most eating establishments I refuse to do it. I was trusting Pete to give me a place I could feel at home. His advertising is whimsical and anyone who doesn't take themselves too seriously gets a good mark in my book. I eased in and was welcomed right away after sitting. I started to relax and absorb the atmosphere, thinking, "Yeah, I could come here." Well, maybe if I weren't living a lie.

I was stuffing down a mighty tasty tuna steak (never had one before) when I asked the waitress if Pete was around. "That's him, sitting at the bar." He was busy talking with an obvious friend so I decided to finish my meal before trying to interrupt. You never know what part of your childhood was real and part of me wondered if the legends would hold true while another part of me had complete faith. Self-conscious as hell, I strolled over when Pete's friend stepped away.

"Hi. You Pete Zotos?" "Yes." "You Episcopalian?" "Yes" "You ever go to church camp by Amarillo?" "Yes!" He was starting to smile wondering who the hell I was. I told him my name but I knew he wouldn't remember me as there were dozens of attendees each year. We safely reminisced about various people and aspects of church camp but I had a hard time recalling exact people. Isolated moments do stand out for me. One late night in the dorm we saw a couple of counselors outside shining a flashlight along the ground. I let out a sarcastic, "Must be looking for footprints" and I was a rare hero for the moment. Stuff like that is clear as a bell.

After that, I was left hanging. How do I explain my life as a deliberate nobody when I can't even explain it to myself? I've toyed with the idea of saying I spent eight years in Chino doing hard time as part of a drug deal gone bad (Someone got killed but I didn't pull the trigger. Same as Dog the Bounty Hunter's crime in my home town.) So heck no, I haven't been living la vida loca and vacationing in Maui. A glamorous felony seems a better explanation than just scraping by living hand to mouth. At least that way I could claim I tried to do something.

Sure enough, things fell apart pretty quickly. Do I have kids, am I married, anything at all going on? "I used to be funny in the shelter but now even that's gone," the only answer that came to mind. I decided to keep mum on that. Pete then explains he's heading out for a night with his family of three kids. My, what divergent paths we've followed. It's not that this was unexpected but in the moment you fully feel your footsteps of emptiness. I felt like the disfigured Peachy returning at the end of "The Man Who Would Be King".

But now for the mind fuck part, where parallel universes overlap. I'd decided beforehand on a WTF approach and ditch the "responsible" character on meeting Pete. Let the chips fall where they may and I'll be exposed for better or worse. I was telling of my plans to attend the closing night of the Asian Film Festival later on when Pete's friend returned, overhearing me. Then it was like everyone was talking at once as I got peppered with questions.

"You're attending a film?" "This your own film? "You're a director!"

I was so fucking disoriented I almost let out an honest answer. And that answer was "Yes". I had to fight myself hard to blurt out "no" but in his natural assumptions of me my natural thoughts started flowing out too. Jesus! Why did I feel like I was lying saying I wasn't a filmmaker? I did not come to lie, even if that was my pretense. I felt like a fighter who gets his bell rung early on and never recovers. By the end I was stumbling and fled.

It was good to meet Pete and see my childhood assessments vindicated. So many high school heroes end up drunk, dying or trapped in miserable marriages. Several people stopped to shake Pete's hand on their way out the door. I'm glad he was able to hold on to his charisma and fulfill his dreams. Me? I'm just looking to exit stage left while yearning for the spotlight.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Living Crappily Ever After

In the Land Of Sir Real, the Sky is a living thing, a swirling dancing dream of colors of Life's promise. Children play at the Rainbow's end, mirror butterflies dazzle in fluttering reflections. Neon waters beckon to be walked upon under the all seeing, all knowing Sky. But treasures are not always accepted beneath the psychedelic Son.

Blessed be the Factory, for from within it flows the lifestyle of the Dead Head. Hallowed be its name. The size of the Factory Grind is immeasurable, no one there gets out alive. Each day it covers more Land with Industrial Haste, it turns Water into Whine, and drains colors from the Sky leaving Frack Holes. Resistance is fruitful yet no Word is heard. From the rafters, to the floor, on the ceiling and bathroom door, the sign remains the same: "There is no other Way!" Praise be to Fraud.

With the loss of Land, the route to the Factory Grind narrowed in Doom's delight, many grinders slipping off the cliff on the way in to dying. Rats in the factory saw this and laughed, renaming the path "Stairway To Leaven". But the Resident in the Blight House ate his honey upon plates of popularity and he feared for his coming Erection. "No one will love me! Who can I screw?" Last time a Resident had no one to screw he started a war in wooden desire. Wooden soldiers followed in suits of Amour with flowery courting.

His conviction to have no convictions made the Resident defender of the Sign of the Times: "There Is No Other Way". This left the Resident between a cock and hard place. "No one will love me if they are dying but There Is No Other Way! Someone please save my Erection!" This called for a Clever Endeavor by all the Resident's sin. For those fated to life in the Factory Grind, the law of Gravity was revoked by unanimous Sinataurs. "Today, you are free as a Terd!" they crowed.

Now Grinders who fell were baptized when despised. "They had no faith in the Rule Of Maul!" The Science of Civilization deemed survival a revival. "Losers are winners! The Resident's Erection gives us Direction! Life is looking up!" With eyes kept to the Sky, unseen now were the falling dead, a Politickle unreality for the Stars. The land was saved yet again, Strife goes on. Dirty Deeds come cheap, Living Dead get high when living bodies die.

In the daily Chain Pain, arrested screams jailed arrested dreams. Cuffs of the realm gave proof to the rocket's Red Scare. Dogs of Bore feasted on Drudgery's diuretic diet. Iron wills gave birth to iron clamps from leg to leg and arm to arm, stretching beyond the horizon and the horizon after that as if a continuous circle spanning the Land. Factory Shirkers wailed to the speechless Sky for Freedom and Redemption as the deaf clamps pierced sinew and skin. Ever pulled in the direction of the Factory, feeding the body by starving the soul.

But a Man in Glowing White, leaving green pastures, fought his way through the Industrial Haste, ignoring the Signs of the Times, and spoke to his chained brethren. "I bring you Good News! Life without chains is before you. No Man need be made to do right. The Truth is within and without you! Leave your miseries in the Haste!"

Speaking words of wisdom: "Could it be?" The rattling of chains ceased for the first time in Generations - maybe ever. Soothing hearts and searing wounds the song of the Glowing Man did do. Bent backs straightened, tired eyes livened, furrowed brows relaxed. The dream is not over - it has Begun. But from branded birth screeched the Cruel Rule:

One Rule to cruel them
One Rule to shine them
One Rule to sing them
And in the darkness fine them!

Motionless men in Cheer Fear knew both Rule and Song. Choose they must and not be Wrong! The story of the Wrong Song haunted every house and heart in the Land. It haunted every smile and every child. It haunted the Wind and all things Unseen. It was the Thought never to be thought, of permanent life in the Wastelands, nursing Mothers running dry, the Dope of hope gone awry - and Creeping man knowing why - forever and ever, and ever again.

Few but loud were the clangs of Chains dropping to the ground, breaking the Cruel Rule that misguided them. But too many of the Many - even the complainers and whiners, the drying and deteriorating - stood fast in burning pride, scorching steam boiling out their ears, making their stance unbearable. Like rejected lovers they called back the Unchained, hating them as starlets of the Son shining white. When finding they held the Key to their own chains, to whom could the Unmen blame their woes and wives?

Emboldened by the Shirker's Hesitation Reservation, a shot rang out across the limpless sky into the Man of Glowing White. His followers too spilled Dead Red on broken concrete decay. The Rats in the Factory made that sound only Rats can make, White E blaring on his bullhorn: "See! There is no other way!" Marching through poisoned ponds of time, the Accepted Belief rebore the Man of Glowing White a Troublemaker and Destroyer and the Rats had saved the land from the doom of Truth.

A Boy Who Did Not Know asked his Father Bother why. "We had to kill him. He was subverting our Lies."

"But what if He was right and we can live without the chain?"

"The Tyrant of Trust does not allow that! You saw how all who left the Chain died. As long as we kill those Freedom Freaks we'll always be right!"

"I'd rather Live than be right."

"You're still Young Dung and Stupid. You haven't passed your Contamination Examination."

Crushed, the boy ran out of the house, far far away into the Bungle Jungle where he found a path with a sign: "Footsteps of Hell In Heaven's Place". It was hand written, not Factory made. The Path was easy and clear which made the Boy wonder why no one else was on it. A Grey Batter brain was the jungle, impenetrable to the outside, where no law existed, not even the Cruel Rule. Every tree, every leaf, every running stream - all grey. Only the Boy's true sight gave it any color.

In the Grey Batter, right could be wrong and wrong could be right. No one wanted to learn who was holding Black Death and who White Life so in this false forest evil found praise and good derision unchallenged. The boy knew without knowing what a Scary Place this be with no absolutes. Then he heard sounds of men in white hats charging a man in a black hat.

"You there, stop! We arrest you in the name of In No Sense!"

"An arrest of no sense? What have you bad boys been up to now?"

"We're burning the crops while the Unpleasants starve. HAHAHAHA! They'll come crawling to us, increasing our Creasing - and demanding your death for it!"

"Sooner or later they will catch on to you!"

"Only if they catch on to themselves! We're wearing their White Hats! HAHAHA! No trust like Misplaced Trust!"

Since the Unpleasants wore white hats they would not deny the Word of another white hat. In the Religion of the hats there is only one rule: Always trust the color of the hat. "Why make life hard when you can be simple?" their Grotto Motto.

Dare the Boy walk further in the Footsteps of Hell? Was he not safe in Heaven's Place? He had to know.

In the distance, deep in the heart of the Bungle Jungle, voices and parties and lights. But why hide here in this Secret Secret? A sign told him he had come to the Heart Brake. The loudest noise came from the Cannibal Cabal's Casino, Worshipped Bull its calling canard. The Boy wandered inside unnoticed, insignificant to their lost eyes. One thing the Boy could not help noticing: Everyone was naked.

With Ice Dice made of human teeth, orgasmic gambling rigged on a tilted table where the die always rolled Crapped. "I'll bet you ten thousand workers!" "I'll bet a million homes!" "I'll bet all the Land!" Against a wall were ten chained Shirkers. "Everyone, tell me how great my dick is! Whoever does the worst gets thrown into the Alley to Cry Die!" With the screaming terror of the loss of Eternal Hope, one Shirker was unchained and tossed down a Brain Drain. Then the process of elimination of hope started all over again.

"See how we live! See what we give! We are the Sinner Winners holding the shiv!"

Looking for life in all the wrong places, the Boy ran back home and asked his Father Bother how their Family Misfortunes could so easily be gambled away by men they did not know. "There is no other way but to unknow what we know." His father comforted him, telling the Boy in time he too would Misunderstand and all would be well.

That night, shivering in his Rue Room, the Boy feared aloud: "How can I survive in a world like this?"

Sunday, July 15, 2012

You Can Take The Boy Out Of The Shelter...

Living the American Dream

When you're in the homeless shelter, the Holy Grail is getting out. As I've said before, homelessness is just another form of prison. And just like in a formal prison, they blame you for being there. It's not like we're a society of integrity, you know. But life is more complex than simple solutions whether we like it - or admit it - or not.

For some that Holy Grail is real. Just being out is all they need. For others it's a mixed bag: yes, you're out now but thrown into the tangled web that is the world. The freedom you imagined in the shelter is not the freedom you live. That's still locked away behind doors of which you may never find the key, the long fuse to hell lit anew.

Believe it or not, for me, there is a sense of loss leaving the shelter. In the shelter people know I'm hurting, that I have no home, that I'm on the outside, no explanation needed. It's good to be understood, it gives one more of a sense of, well, home. Ironic, huh? I know all the phonies and cheap shot artists will be licking their lips at their own demise by my next statement but life is never so dark for me as when being a "responsible citizen" the unmasked monsters running around prize so highly.

I now responsibly have 525 square feet of a one bedroom palace (no door to the bedroom, though). Actually, I only have it as long as I can make rent on it. So few really "have" anything of permanence. But the important thing is I am a "good" statistic of a person out of the shelter and back on his feet! Gather 'round those reporters to spread the news how the system works and it's really OK if we're all a bunch of greedy cocksuckers after all. That always sells.

Who am I to tell you you sell yourself short?

Because it's expected and honesty is never vogue, I refer to this place as my "home". Actually, I mostly use the more impersonal term "house" but even that implies a home site setting. I too want to fool myself into believing I have a home, a place to rest without fear. But it would be a lie for me to profess such a canard. I sleep on a bed of leased needles. Turn over too quickly in the night and you're pierced awake. I've learned to lie still as a board and hope I find rest that never comes.

Eight bucks an hour and mopping floors. Heck, I got eight and a quarter fifteen years ago as a computer tape librarian. But if you're working and living indoors you're living the "American Dream". When time comes - when death becomes you and your children too - I can have no sympathy for you. Our fate is determined by how we treat the most vulnerable members of a society. There's a story about that in the Bible - repeated about five hundred times. I used to wonder about all that repetition but now I see people have a serious hearing problem.

Not even a new Maserati can help with self-image problems

It never surprises me about people who "have it all" then suddenly go berserk. Their beds of needles stuck them one too many times in the middle of the night. When one person sins it's shared by all. We are their accomplices. We don't have to believe we're all in this together but that's sort of like holding your breath underwater. Time comes when the truth will out. Or you can die in your pride. Either way is fine by me. But this whole Nazi thing of "Work sets you free" business has got to go.

I've read about the homeless camps that are self-organized and who recognize the mental and spiritual freedom required for true survival. I truly respect those people who stand up to a world that makes a religion of giving a free ride to the rich. We who toe the line are the only glue that's left. But I cannot join these self-governed homeless camps either. I'm not wired that way. I need to shit indoors and I need my privacy regardless of anyone's failure to understand that.

I sell my labor for things: privacy and indoor plumbing. But not for a true "home". An abandoned building all to myself is more of a home. I don't have to explain to anyone that it is mere shelter and that's all it can ever be. Here in this shelter I’m expected to put down roots and buy potted plants. What the fuck for? I can't imagine the day I'd ever put down roots. Except maybe in a movie theater.

OK, maybe I was a bit hasty about the Maserati

In the shelter I hated not being able to be alone when I wanted to be. Most of us felt a sense of togetherness and there was bonding and warmth in the face of Man's cold hearted orb. I think about those times at night here on my pointed needle bed. I had more respect there - more self respect too. Rent is a "responsibility" we've made up, a fantasy of the mind. Being true to one's self is the stone the builders' reject. But that is gonna change!

Giving unto Caesar is no way home. I wish it could be. People get red-faced angry finding out it is not. You'd be surprised who flashes murder in their eyes at even the mere mention of that truth, people who lead false lives. Yes, I too want to be able to monetize my way home. But I know that unless I can express myself honestly I'll always be sleeping on a bed of nails. Honesty is everyone's job if we are to survive but not every job is honest.

Seems I'll always be in a shelter...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Went To "Ground Zero" For DFW Gas Drilling

"When man stops raping his soul
he'll stop raping the land
- and not before."
- American Indian proverb

Rig Highway

See that rig on the left? That's right by the highway I drive down all the time. Gas drilling like this is going on all across Dallas/Fort Worth deeply embedded into cities right next to houses, apartments, schools - you name it. Once the drilling is done the tower rig goes down and it's capped or pumped depending on demand. But all I can think when I see one of those suckers is "God help us if one of those blows."

After finding this in my own backyard I decided it was time I did some more investigating. Just how suicidal are we? This kind of drilling has been going on for years. Poorly regulated pump stations are putting God knows what poison into the environment. Forewarned is forearmed, I say.

Rig Cows That well blows we're going to have some instant BBQ!

There are certain stories where I have to skip over the gory details. I know the human heart already. I know the implications. I don't need to know the exact details. It's just too insufferable. So I only vaguely know of the horrors of the side effects of gas drilling, of putting poison into people and animals - and perhaps even threatening our entire water supply if it seeps into the underground aquifers. Who are we to act like this??

DISH, Texas is Ground Zero for Barnett Shale activists who take offense at being poisoned by natural gas drilling.

I'd heard of Dish, Texas but didn't know where it was until I looked it up and it's right here on our doorstep in DFW, just down the road from a famous Bonnie and Clyde bank robbery in Ponder. Local paper FW Weekly and NPR have done numerous articles on them. So I gathered up my trusty camera and decided to see what I could see. The NPR story sounded ominous:

Quite a few of the 225 people who live in Dish, Texas, think the nation's natural gas boom is making them sick. They blame the chemicals used in gas production for health problems ranging from nosebleeds to cancer. And the mayor of Dish, Bill Sciscoe, has a message for people who live in places where gas drilling is about to start: "Run. Run as fast as you can. Grab up your family and your belongings, and get out."

Facility From what I understand this processing facility is the worst offender

But of course you just can't be sick, you have to prove you're sick.

But scientists say it's just not clear whether pollutants from gas wells are hurting people in Dish or anywhere else. What is clear, they say, is that the evidence the town has presented so far doesn't have much scientific heft.

The mere presence of a chemical isn't enough to show it caused a symptom, scientists say. You have to show that a person was exposed to a high enough concentration for a long enough period to cause itchy eyes or a scratchy throat.

And the Dish survey didn't do that, says Tom La Point, a toxicologist at the University of North Texas in Denton, about 15 miles east of Dish, and a member of a task force looking at the impact of gas drilling.

No Smoking How would you like this sign in your neighborhood?

The question of whether poisoning our environment or not is a good idea would seem to be a simple one. That's because it is! Who the fuck voluntarily puts poison in their land, water and air? Fucking brainwashed maniacs, that's who! We have convinced ourselves we have to poison ourselves in order to live. Well, aren't we special??

The town's previous mayor, Calvin Tillman, became alarmed when his two boys started getting nosebleeds. They seemed to occur when the odors of gas were strongest and air quality monitoring showed higher levels of chemicals, Tillman says.

Then one night his younger son had a really bad nosebleed.

"Our house literally looked like a murder scene," Tillman says. "There was blood down the wall and in the hallway. And I got up the next morning to go to work, and my wife said, 'That is it.' And at that moment we decided we've got to move out of here."


Despite that story and similar accounts to that I did see new construction in Dish along side existing subdivisions. What gives? Is the power of denial that strong when a comfy house can be had? Children were playing around the new construction. Who would risk their kid on even the chance of getting sick? What sort of city is it where even the mayor hates the town he lives in?

I drove around Dish and the surrounding area. I found a hodgepodge of housing from trailers to wonderful ranch houses. Oil and gas companies have domain rights even over private property in Texas and what regulatory staffs there are are filled by industry insiders. Thank you, Governor Perry! The landowners look to have capitulated and learned to live side by side with the wells.

Horse gate

Trailer park Trailer park is spaced out under the Texas sky

No Traffic

Plane Yup, that's a plane up there. What can I say? It's Texas!

One thing not lacking in the area was storage tanks. They dotted the land worse than teenage acne before a prom. Here's just a few:

Tanks Pump



Big Tanks These are so massive as to be walled in

I was nearing the end of my picture taking on this hot summer day when I noticed an older car following me. Finally I stopped to see if my suspicions were true and he pulled up beside me.

"Hey, why you taking pictures of my house?"

"I didn't take pictures of your house. I don't know which one that is. I'm just taking pictures at random. I read about Dish and wanted to see what's going on."

Once he found out I was not the "enemy" he opened up about his complaints. He said the processing facility where five different energy companies combined their efforts was his greatest irritant. At one point the noise was so loud two people standing ten feet apart could not hear each other. I asked if the water had been fouled but he said no as they test religiously - while acknowledging that's no guarantee of safety.

The air pollution is what's killing Dish according to my informant. You can call in a complaint about the foul air but if it clears before inspectors arrive then it's like it never happened. Even the gas industry doesn't dispute emission are occurring. What isn't known is just how much and exactly what is being emitted. With all its urban drilling the city of Fort Worth is grappling mightily with this issue also. The long term effects of emissions in a compressed area may not be known until it's too late.

Road Wear

Road Gravel

Rig Truck

What's not in doubt is the road damage - about two billion dollars. Eighteen wheelers like the tanker above pound roads to pieces that were never designed for such heavy traffic. My informant told me the graveled curve above was smooth pavement before the trucks arrived. Who's going to pay to fix them?

But when there's money to be made it's drill first and ask questions later. Man has mandated money to keep us alive. Nature mandates the environment to keep us alive. Gee, wonder who's going to win that fight?? Naturally, those who destroy the environment claim innocence. But that is Nature's judgement to make, and all the court rulings, slick arguments and spin jobs in the world won't make a damn bit of difference.

We're just pretending we have to poison our souls to live.

Scientists are quick to caution that the problems with evidence from Dish do not show that gas drilling is safe for people who live near it. What the caveats show is that there is a pressing need for rigorous scientific studies, Schwartz says.

"When these areas are developed, thousands to tens of thousands of wells are drilled and fracked. So the magnitude is huge," he says. "And frankly, the development is way out ahead of public health evaluations of any kind to date."

That's not fair to the people in Dish or any other place in the country where drilling and fracking have got people worried, he says.

Click here to see the entire set

Here's me sneaking up on a rig last year:

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Knife Fights With God

Ernesto Estamos, worldwide famous Mexican sculptor, has not made a sculpture in twenty years. Yet, sales are brisk due to the efforts of Rico and Paco who have been making art in Ernesto's name for those same twenty years. They have been handsomely rewarded for their services but having signed an agreement of non-disclosure, were they ever to admit the truth they would be liable for more damages than they could earn in twenty lifetimes. Even so, the clock had run out on their bargain with the devil.

"I can't take this no more," pouted a pissed off Paco. "They come, they interview him like he's this 'great man' an' shit, and we get treated like gardeners.

"It's what we signed up for, man. No way out," reasoned Rico.

"We can quit. Sell our shit under our own name."

"You know what that means: leaving Mexico where Ernesto can't find us, starting all over, having no money. We've talked about this before."

"Fuck that old man. We got the truth on our side. What can beat that?"

"Don't mess with the truth, man. That's like getting in a knife fight with God. You get sliced up good."

"Fuck God and fuck this. All I know is I'm dying. My hair's falling out from the stress. I can't sleep with this worm inside eating me alive. People gotta know, Rico."

"If they do, we're dead." A long pause passed before Rico continued. "I don't get it, man. You got this whole planet of people wantin' to live more than anything but nobody is. Why is that?

Leaving Mexico for the wasteland of Arlington, Texas (between Dallas & Fort Worth), Paco and Rico found cheap accommodations. But in their mid forties with no skills to claim they found themselves with the jobs of unproven artists: dish washers. The kitchen was steamy, cramped and smelly with the greasy plates pouring in nonstop. Breaks were cut short but not keeping up was not an option. The pair quickly found the disdain of hard work by societies across the globe to be a universal one. Survival is never assured.

Back in the apartment, simmering silence lingering from the old country encased the room like iron bars. Truly, they had stepped out of the frying pan and into the fire. Paco was the first to rattle the cage.

"I told you, it's like a knife fight with God. They see us how they want to see us. No one's going to hire us to sculpt nothin' here."

"But we have the skills! Doesn't that count for anything?! Goddam God if it doesn't!"

"Ernesto was an artist, man. He could see what we could do - even if he did steal all our fuckin' work. This America, I don't know. Everyone just a number here, like a cult of science. All they understand is el dinero."

"We have no money to understand!"

"We got to sell shit again. Let's make something and sell it. People will see!"

"And spend our car money? We have to get around. How is it we end up in biggest city in Texas without a damn bus?"

"We gotta take the chance, man. No other way."

"That's what you said when we left Mexico..."

Trader's Village on Mayfield road has a weekend extravaganza of booths and makeshift shops that draws in visitors by the thousands. Stretching their resources, Rico and Paco gambled their fortunes once again. It has been said, "The truth will out" - but as each day passed the truth slipped away like a melting glacier. Still, the pair had a good feeling about their sculpted glass, knowing in their hearts its actual value. Having poured all their anxieties into the piece, it was one of the best they'd done in years. They asked only a fraction of previous pieces since it did not have Ernesto's name and because they just wanted to get the selling started.

A few admirers came by, smiling with compliments, but even at the reduced price it was too rich for this crowd. One woman, however, was a collector and duly impressed.

"Can't be! Is this an Ernesto Estamos original?"

Paco and Rico looked at each other in pain. In their souls they wished to come clean. That damned paper, signing away their souls, reached out and strangled their throats. The truth was: they had to lie - yet what bothered them most in their captivity was the cold comfort of not facing freedom's responsibility.

"This is our own, ma'am. Made it ourselves. You like it?"

A crisp coolness descended. "Well, to be honest with you guys, you need to get your own style. You can't imitate others and expect to get any sort of recognition."

She must have been sent by the devil! Paco's eyes flamed murder; Rico asked for a price. She offered what basically amounted to the cost of manufacturing and the pair were forced to accept. For three more years they came back with sculpture after sculpture, failing to make a name for themselves in the flea market, drowning in despair and dirty dish water.

"Look at my worn hands. Look at my oily face. No woman could want me! All the jobs are shit. People are shit. Our art is shit - "

"Our art is not shit!"

"Oh, yeah! So how is it we're so screwed? I can't go on like this! It's like a fucking nightmare I can't fight, I can't grab hold to nothin'. How do we win?"

"You don't win knife fights with God. You just get stuck. Ain't no truth out there to save us."

"Then what's the point of anything! I can't take this no more. I can't go back to that stinking kitchen staring at food rich people throw away. I don't want to keep living when I'm dead. No one believes you're hurtin' unless you die."

$7,000 a piece

Unbeknownst to Rico and Paco, the "collector lady" was selling their sculptures in a gallery in downtown Dallas, attributing them to a mysterious "Carlos", about whom she would (quite naturally) divulge nothing. With each succeeding "failure" the boys tried harder and harder, not realizing they were growing the cult of Carlos to prices that would easily buy them a car and a princely name. But left in the dark, all choices seemed moot.

"I don't want to make anything anymore. It's useless. We need to get practical and buy a fucking car so we can get jobs we don't have to walk to. Three fucking years, man! I've had enough. Basta! Our art is nothin'."

"Our art is NOT nothing! You know that!"

"Do I? Maybe all that time we was just fooling ourselves and the only reason we sold shit was 'cause people thought it was Ernesto's. Ever think of that, Paco?"

Paco had not, not for one moment, not until this very second. He'd held it as an unquestionable Truth they made valuable art. How could anyone not see? How could anyone think differently and still expect to survive? Had his whole life been an illusion? Was life itself an illusion?

"Can't be! Can't be..."

"I told you man, you try an' escape and God just stick that knife in ya! You get stuck good, gutted like a pig. Can't be wantin' to live. You gotta do like the world says. Ain't no dreams no more. Hell rules this planet."

Like soldiers who'd fought too long in a war, Paco and Rico's sanity slowly disintegrated in helpless despair. They could find reason in neither life nor death, their minds fading to black, stripped of meaning. Finally, they separated onto divergent paths, each seeking salvation. Paco ate a bullet, succumbing to illusion at last. Rico saved up to buy a car until he killed himself drunk driving, living his life in a bottle. In downtown Dallas a woman panicked as her source of fine sculpture suddenly dried up. Had she told them the truth, they could have shared a fortune.

Darkness, lies, illusion rule the world like a blinding fog. Is this to test us, to purify us? Why not make the truth obvious and plain as the sun? Some say it is. I guess all we can know - since we must know - is when we lie. After his death, Paco stood before his Maker and asked "Why?" How was it failure dogged their every step, no matter which way they turned. He did not like the answer.

"Because you lied."

"Lied! When did we lie? Oh, I mean except about Ernesto. But we HAD to there."

"Yes, because you lied about your work you could never claim it."

"That's not fair! We had to! If we didn't we'd lose everything!"

"As opposed to where your lying got you? I wish you'd had more faith, like the faith you had in your art. Your art pleased Me very much, now we are both the loser."

Rico, fresh from his car crash, had heard everything. "Well, if you wanted us to win, why couldn't you have given us the lottery so we could keep making our art!"

"I did. I gave you your art. It carried much earthly wealth."

"But it's so hard to tell the truth! It's so damn just feels like...death."