Friday, September 19, 2008


One of the pieces I fired recently was a birdhouse shaped like a smurf house. The roof was sculpted like a thatched cottage and the door was very organic and had a little lip of a thing above the opening. I guesstimated the size of the door with my thumb and then built a base designed to fit over most pointy posts. Finally I put a hole in the base so you could secure it.

I've had it stuck on a post out in the back garden on the path to the studio. I was seeing how the mounting worked and getting an idea of how it would be to have that house there. This afternoon I noticed that as I passed the birdhouse on my way back to my kitchen a chickadee flew to the birdhouse door. It landed on the sill, looked around and inside and then popped in. It turned around and popped its head out. Seemed to be pretty satisfied with the place. So, I'm feeling positive about that particular design and that particular house. I think I have to get beefier on the stake holding it up. If we got a wet winter it might drop the house. I also have to waterproof it with beeswax.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A quote from Dick Cheney

I got this from a site just now. It's a quote from our VP about the powers of the President that needs to get tossed around the internet. It's from the Iran-Contra hearings, so younger voters may not recall the name Oliver North but the SOB is still working in the White House. This quote explains why the assholes in the White House keep telling us that the President is above the law and he can pass on that "get out of jail free" card to anybody he so chooses. Here's the quote:
"To the extent that the Constitution and laws are read narrowly, as Jefferson wished, the Chief Executive will on occasion feel duty bound to assert monarchical notions of prerogative that will permit him to exceed the law."

Now tell me again how this country is a democracy when the President, the chief representative of the Constitutional authority granted by the People, can freely break every law on the books, international treaties, state's laws and Federal?? Who the hell told Cheney that our country is a free for all? Somebody who has a faster trigger finger needs to go hunting with that man. Because he ain't letting go of unlimited power without a fight, you know that!

"Duty bound to exceed the law..." Then why do we bother with laws and the Constitution if one man can overthrow all restraints and restrictions and kill, rape, torture, whatever he feels covers the situation? Hell if the Pres can do all that why was getting a blow job worthy of impeachment? Even if we pretend they tried to impeach Clinton for lying about the blow job under oath, the Vice President himself says that every now and then the President is duty bound to exceed the law. Which effectively says that there is NO LAW IN AMERICA save the whims of the President.

I say fuck them all, fuck them all to Hell! 100,000+ dead innocent people, tens of thousands injured, maimed, raped, and driven from their homes because President Bush and his other head are duty bound to exceed the law. I always was taught they were duty bound to obey and protect the law. Stupid me.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ah Well

As we approach the equinox, the time when Persephone or Her Great Grandmother, Inanna, descends to the Underworld, we take time to look around and smell the air. Those leaves dropping onto dry grasses and melting into soil are gasping out their last breath of fresh air, scented with their wetness and decay. That sweet invigorating feel as you limp up to the hen houses is a way of wrapping you up in the Great Circle. It reminds you like a slap in the face that things are moving along, with you and regardless of your intent. My foot slips on a brown bit of an apple and my hip reminds me I forgot my cane. The birds are getting the message, their fights are brief and closer to the seed. Before, in mid summer, they would chase each other up and down the slope, into and out of the chestnut and the big apple. Now they fight while trying to hang on to the feeder and stuffing their beaks between squawks like Harpo at a high society bash.

Most feeders emulate Nature or natural settings. Piles of seeds from grass heads landing in a hollow make sense, as does a stash of seed in a hole in a tree, like the vertical tube-type ones hanging from a shepherd's crook. But the new suet feeder is different. It is a little roof with a wire screen across the underside and suet inside the little attic. Birds clutch the screen upside down and eat the suet from underneath. But under what circumstances would a little bird be hanging upside down eating a pile of fat? Maybe in the distant past when they were velociraptors they would attach to the bellies of huge saurapods, eating the hanging fat. That's a disturbing thought when you look at big flocks of little bird fighting over seeds and suet. Good thing they developed those beaks instead of those big mouths full of serrated blades. Woof, can you imagine looking up an old elm and seeing about 75 of these guys with mouths agape like a tiny white shark? Then, with a whoosh they mistake you for a steak and you run like hell for the potting shed, but your hip feels on fire and you can't fight them off because you forgot to bring your cane. You die there under the young maple, your blood staining the hostas and English ivy.

That's just such a morbid, yet natural thought stream. Animals do eat other animals through some process or another, especially big omnivores. If cows were the size of houses I bet somebody would be running around underneath one, sampling the flank steaks. But the last gasp of a giant cow, the brief yet sturdy fart that covers the earth in silent but deadly fog, drifts away and disperses, leaving behind dinner for eighty. Aas the earth heats up, the plants get bigger and last longer into the winter season. The big plants invite big plant eaters which invite big omnis and carnies. Last time it was elephants and giraffes, this time, with us meddling around with the DNA, maybe chickens with big breasts. Our grandchildren may go out hunting in teams to bring down the Great Rhode Island Red. Some may not come home, some may come home wounded. But the ones who finally bring her down and get to fry up the gizzards themselves, they are the proud ones, new adults in a primitive time where those without cable no nothing of the outside world. Those with cable know what is considered appropriate by the people who own the cable, and the people.

One time, a long time ago, I was in the Phoenix zoo, walking around to the pens and looking at the various exotic critters. Dad had been one of the surveyors who laid the zoo out, so I felt some emotion of ownership looking around. I stopped at a big corral with emus and ostriches, turkeys and peacocks. Dad had owned some peacocks before, they shrieked at the rising sun. Really aggressive and mean birds, actually. About this time an emu came up, looking at me intently. I looked back. It seemed to annoy him. Or her. Then, abruptly, it pecked at my right eye and nailed my glasses. I jumped back but it leaned into the next one, aimed at my left eye. Bang! On the glasses. I backed away and walked down where the peacocks were hanging around under a sage bush. They shrieked at me.

Eventually I was thrown out for trying to fish coins out of a wishing well with a stick and some gum. I was mostly trying to see if you could do such a thing. There were many movies and cartoons where somebody did it. I couldn't make the coins stick to the wet gum, and it tried to drop off several times. See, I had been snotted at by an anteater, had my lunch stolen by a baby elephant and a giraffe and I figured the place owed me something. I was cast out of the garden and a gaggle of angry grey geese were posted at the gate to keep me out. The last time I was there the geese were gone.

My garden has an open door policy, except for woodchucks. And maybe foxes. Foxes and raccoons and possums and white tail deer. All the birds are welcome, and snakes. Actually geese are not so welcome. In the fruit trees, under the apples, yeah sure, but not in the garden. they eat all the beans in no time and probably talk all the time they did it. I can imagine one of them suddenly gasping and clutching at her throat, a string bean caught in sideways. She's flapping her wings and making snorking sounds but none of the other geese notice, they're too busy honking and eating. I have to do a Heimlich maneuver on the poor critter. The bean has to be gently turned by massaging her neck and then suddenly you catch her under the wishbone and give a quick squeeze in. She honks loudly and the bean pops out. The goose stands on shaky feet, breathing in long ragged breaths. Then she turns her long grey neck, gazes at me with those black beady eyes and tries to peck out my right eye. I slap her silly, which is easy with a goose, and she joins her flock, eating and gaggling. Then I'm back here, now, and there are no geese in my garden. I breathe a sigh of relief. No geese, only chickens and they are easy to distract. If you catch one staring at your eye, just look suddenly to one side. Works every time.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

New daze a-coming

Do we blog to give news to those we never write? If so, Mom better learn to get online, because I always call her and I never write.

I'm reading "The Brain that Changes Itself", a very interesting idea which is being confirmed regularly by researchers. Seems our environment, including our thoughts, can modify the structure of our brains. It should have been obvious, they've been writing about this since the 1700's but it's been set aside primarily because the arrogance of the medical profession knows no bounds. They decided that the brain is a machine, later a computer, and we all know that machines don't change themselves. (But then neither do babies, although they do change). Trouble is the brain is a fluid, a thick fluid in motion and that implies change, even serious change. So if they remove part of your brain due to injury you will retrain parts of the brain to do what used to be done in the missing part. In theory you can learn to see with your skin and there are experiments proving this idea. Yup, blind people getting around with missing or damaged eyes by seeing with their skin.

Now, if the sense and brain function are mutable and can be changed by thoughts over time, then it should be obvious where I'm going with this. My son has been sitting in his chair or sleeping in his bed, with no training, no help and surrounded by doctors who have given up. He's a vegetable to them and they say so out loud. He hears and reacts internally by no healing. Way to go, docs, talk about self-fulfilling prophecy. Now, I have heard about a system called patterning wherein brain damaged people are held up in an all-fours stance and people move their arms and legs to emulate a baby crawling. Seems this deep memory is first in, last out. So the brain then builds on this (again) and begins to reprogram neurons, build new ones and eventually the body knows how to crawl on it's own. Like the first time we crawled they build on this skill set to learn other things lost by the injury. It works and is controversial because most doctors work within their own skill set and dislike acquiring new ones. The brain is a machine, they say and cannnot be rebuilt. Lucky for them they are wrong.

To do this therapy you need several strong workers and Jon's doctors have few. You need a doctor who understands and cares about the situation and Jon has none. You need time and space. Jon has those but it's not enough. With minimal help and no therapies Jon's destination is early death, most likely from pneumonia. They predict it and they cause it, very convenient.

Why would you place a brain injury facility in a factory town hours away from a medical research facility? Because the building was cheap. Why would you fund it so low they could not hire trained help? Because you are a politician running on a small government platform. Why would a family place their son there? Because it was the only place in the United States willing to take him. Why would you not show up every day to do the work yourself? Because your back is broken in several places and the pain is too much to bear. Your self confidence is slipping away as you see your son decline. What can save your sanity? Faith.

I have seen quiet miracles and they all involved energies traditionally associated with the feminine divinity. It fits my paradigm. What is it about this faith that keeps you sane? Well, for one thing there is the Great Circle which affirms that all life is part of Life and although it can be changed into a new form it can never be destroyed. So Jon is immortal, even though he might cease to be my son. In fact, over time he could become my father or mother! So we cannot change some things by force of desire, we need certain physical things to be in place, and in Jon's case they are not now, nor will they be in place before his death. It would require people to care
about others and looking around I don't see that happening soon. America cares about moving lots of wealth into the hands of a few wealthy people. We identify with these "figures of earth" and believe in them the same way the Romans believed in the divinity of their emperors. We think of them as the localized manifestations of our nation. If they are rich, America is rich. If they are strong, then we are strong. It's a pathetic way to look at life, not an evil one. It's a way born from ignorance and it leads to a funny, awkward arrogance.

How can we be so confused and arrogant? We are trained to be submissive, arrogant and ignorant, like an illiterate butler or scullery maid. We know what we know and we know what we are told. It's enough for most of us to browse at the malls and be milked at the polls. It might be kinder to leave the masses in the meadow and look to our own lives. We need electricity to run the computers so we can shop, listen to music, learn international news and write our blogs. We need email to understand that we are not alone in our thoughts and we have friends we never knew. But we also learn that we are stranded on an island of reason in an ocean of ignorance. We learn that millions think that welfare recipients are lazy and devious. We learn that millions are homeless because our noble aristocracy have sucked up so much money there's none left for the poor. We learn that our born-again administration has murdered hundreds of thousands of women and children to get access to foreign oil. We learn that the effort was not only a fraud, but it failed, so gas prices will remain high, but the people who caused this price hike are the people who started the wars and the people who have oil tankers named after them. We learn that like a dog with ticks it takes outside help for us to rid ourselves of these greedy, evil people. We also learn that our masters have told the world that we have done this to ourselves, we elected these leaders and told them to do what they do best, cheat and steal and murder. If we live in a democracy then we are co-defendants. But of course we live in an autocracy, not a democracy and that is where the system breaks down.

History teaches me that every republic breaks down into a fascist state, followed by dictatorship, followed by collapse and regrouping. In a fascist state the elections are rigged to support the ruling party, thus we never see a viable "3rd party candidate". That's about where we are now. But with rigged elections it's just about who is in power within the party. Eventually one is "elected" who doesn't want just 8 years and decides to rule on. Instead of a rotating dictatorship we get the old fashioned dictatorship. We are very close to this stage now. But as we are bankrupted we can find backers. China can buy large parts of the United States with the blessings of those in charge of the country. They get the interest or a commission and China gets Freddie Mac. Saves China a heck of a lot of money in the long run and China is famous for thinking about the long run. So now China owns most of America. Thousands of mortgages, homes, businesses are about to be owned by China, India and Britain. Maybe Japan. America is broken up in de-facto regions controlled by who owns the money. Corporate rule becomes the norm. Where will the poor go? To work camps and factories, working for the middle class Chinese. "Made in America" will at first be like the old "made in Japan" label: crude, cheap and easy. We make great Adirondack chairs but the Thai people can do anything with wood. We make gadgets and widgets and beef steaks and the Japanese like the beef, so we are partly there.

If you talk about the collapse of the American empire you get many reactions from the Americans. They claim we can't collapse because the world "needs us". How exactly are we needed by the world? We consume vast amounts of goods. Suppose consumerism is shown to be a major cause of global climate change? Then our "attribute" because a severe deficit! What else can we do? We innovate and the Japanese fine tune, is one claim. Well, that's absurd in the face of it, but even if we did it is a skill set easily transported and taught. Witness that a French designer has developed cars and machines which run on compressed air and can run for 150 miles between charges. We can get our cars to develop less than 30 MPG and still pollute and run on gas. We can't seem to think beyond what we know already. It might just be that our culture is anti-intellect. Could that be? Well, fascists don't like innovation. They like Norse legends, big spectacles, parades of tanks and a single party system. So America no longer is set up for innovation. We're set up for economic and cultural collapse. But that's a good thing. The closer we get to total collapse the closer we get to removing the shackles which connect us to a failed political system. If we were a country of communes, co-ops, credit unions and small schools we could be a country of organic farmers, wind power farms, bicycles and trolleys. We would have no huge army to support, no Federal government, just regional supervisors and coordinators. If we saw the advantage in small homes and lawn-less communities we would not try to export our way of life. We could not select a "world leader" to lead us to a great destiny. We'd be able to put food on the tables and insure that sick people got well. We would have enough people to work with the tens of thousands of brain injured combat vets and get them walking and working again. We could save people like my son. But all of this will happen after Jon dies.

Politics as usual means the death of a nation so deep in debt it cannot feed its hungry, house its homeless and heal its sick. But nothing dies, it merely is reborn as something else says the Great Mother. So we can expect great things from what is left of this nation, and our grandchildren will find work somewhere in the world and have children of their own. They may not call themselves "Americans" but what's in a name? My son is called "vegetative" but his mind works like a mans and his thoughts are not of photosynthesis but of bathing in warm springs, kissing soft lips and driving to Alaska in his old VW Van. Hopefully in his dreams he installs seat belts and wears them, but maybe in his dreams there is no black ice, no out of control trucks.

I've seen Jon smile, so I now know he can think of happiness. I've seen him cry, so I know he misses me when I am not there. It's not a lot to hang your hat on, but it allows me my faith in the way things are, the Great Circle which carries us all around again and again, in one form and out of another. Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth and see the life all around you.

Every father says goodbye to his child in time. Goodbye does not mean forever, it's a form of "Good Night".