Here Thar Be Monsters!

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29.11.11

Meiosis Mulai

Let's see...what's a good metaphor for the global situation at present?  How about cell division?

What we are seeing now is the nucleus spitting itself in two, while the DNA is busy replicating itself to make two identical sets...evil empire East and evil empire West.

The mitochondria (militaries) are busily producing proteins and glucose to fuel the process.  The first hints of a new cell wall are appearing, being built block by block between the two halves.

It's all a matter of degrees.  A push here, a nudge there to move things along.  Then, suddenly it moves really fast and the dividing wall closes up and the two sides grab the last of whatever they can before it seals.  Finally, the one original cell is two identical cells competing for the same resources that only one cell used before.

The world famous Man O' Peace, the Nobel winner, the Great Hope and Sweeping Change has succeeded in throwing gas on the fire.  The process has sped up and the wall is quickly sealing itself.  He has brought death and destruction to great swaths of the Earth with his brand of peace and change.

The Russians are threatening to once again point missiles at the US.  The Chinese are building aircraft carriers and holding naval drills in the Pacific.  The Pakistanis are buring the Man O' Peace in effigy.  The Malaysians have convicted Tony Blair and G. W. Bush of war crimes, and GW cancelled a speaking engagement for a Jewish charity function in Switzerland because charges of crimes against humanity have been filed there also.  Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya are in ruins.  Syria and Iran are on the chopping block.  The US has put marines in norther Australia and fomented rebellion in Egypt.

There's only two ways for this to end...one, a world war the likes of which we have never witnessed in all of history, with millions and perhaps billions dying within a few short years; or two, we all simply refuse to fight.  This, as all wars, is a manufactured event put on by those who laugh at misery, thrive on death and drink the blood of the innocent for dessert.  It is NOT our war, and by our I mean most of humanity.  It's a sick entertainment for a few depraved individuals (I won't honor them with the title of Human).

The war only works if they have bodies to throw at each other.  If we, en masse and worldwide, refuse to participate, then the sickos must attack us directly and show their true colors, or cower from the roving bands of Humans looking to lynch anything with the self-adorned moniker of 'elite'.

Part of what's going on is a complete re-make of the fall of the Soviet Union.  You may recall that the Soviet army had been bogged down in Afghanistan for ten years and had gotten deep in debt because of it.  Reagan cranked up the Cold War and threw gas on the fire of the arms race, which caused the utter collapse of that country.

Now, the US is mired in Afghanistan, as it has been for ten years.  It is deep in debt and the Russians are talking of a new arms race, with China as a partner to make it doubly threatening.  Ultimately, the political minions will spend the country into the dirt to build up a military response, and will crash and burn because of it.

Because the play book is so freakin' similar, it's hard to call this anything like a coincidence.  Instead, this is a manufactured series of events designed to do precisely what is being done: a replay of the fall of empire, but with a different empire.

Out of the chaos and destruction, the 'elite' plan to do what they have always done, use these kinds of event sto consolidate power even more.  The last conflagration resulted in the EU and the US empire.  The next one will result in finally achieving global, centralized Empire of All Things.  This EXACT scenario has been played over and over, with the last two major clashes still in living memory, though fading fast.

There's only one sure way to stop it, and that is to realize it's happening.  Then it's just a matter of stopping your unwitting participation by not going along with the propaganda and the jingoism and the willing sacrifice of our children.  But how to do that?

The sure-fire answer is to refuse to pay taxes to any government anywhere, and then stop buying gee-gaws produced by or sold by a corporation.  Simple, isn't it.  Except for one problem.

Trying to get the majority of the world to stop paying taxes and chasing gee-gaws is virturally impossible.  Most people can't think beyond their nose and will pepper spray and maul their fellow human beings to get useless junk on sale before someone else does.  Scanning the Black Friday headlines was depressing.  For all our hubris and self-congratulations on being such advanced creatures, we are nothing of the sort.  Rather, we are greedy, grubbing animals with clothing.

Watching the spectacle of a so-called advanced nation tearing itself to pieces over waffle irons was almost enough to make one want to join the bad guys, because honestly, what's there to save?  Watching people trample a grandfather to death to get at the latest iPoop is simply unbelievable, if not sick-making.

The only thing that spurs one to continue the fight is the prospect of the slimy 'elite' actually succeeding, but it can be argued that they already have.  After all, we humanity jump on command, run blindly after trinkets dangled like carrots before our mule-headed souls, give virtually the same amount of care to our fellow planet dwellers  that they maggot-ridden 'elite' do.

We are divided/dividing because we allow it.  We allow those putrid excuses for lifeforms to push our emotional buttons and create strife and hatred where none existed before.  We allow ourselves to be tricked and fooled, like patrons at an illusionist's mercy.  We have willingly suspended our humanity in favor of turning off our reasoning and storing our self-will.

We are quickly descending the circles of Hell on an express train to the maw of the Great Beast.  The goal is to destroy thos of us who reason and have souls and refuse to be played like chattel animals.  The goal is to filter out those of us who see through the veil and have the will to fight.  The goal is to reduce the world to perverted, blood-line obsessed, megalomaciacal sociopaths, and the unthinking, uneducated, unwashed servant classes.  If they have their way, even those will be reduced to select breedstock and their fresh offspring, waiting to be sacrificed to their depravity.

The fuse is lit and the war will ignite soon.  Once the cell begins to divide, there is no stopping it, short of poisoning and killing it.

The problem, at it's root, is that people keep looking 'out there' for a savior, a deus ex macina, something or someone to come along and save the day.  They give little thought or credence to the fact that the savior is within each one of us.  In fact, the message of Jesus, of Buddha, of all the great religious leaders, is that we are the answer!  Of course, the message gets all garbled up with debt and self-loathing imposed by the 'elite'.  We haven't got much time to grow a little fortitude and take back control of our own destinies.

A cell divides because it is programmed that way.  It has no choice.  It can not select the time that it will divide.  It simply does so on command from some invisible chemical signals.  In the same way, humans are acting on mindless autopilot.  We are being programmed and controlled.

The difference is that we have a choice.  We have higher reasoning and are able to cogitate abstractly about things that are not directly seen or felt.  We can decide whether we want to divide or not by examining all the possible options and choosing the one most beneficial to the greatest number of people.

Look at English slang.  Terms like, "You got owned," and, "You're such a tool," show that, at some level we are aware of what is going on, even if we are not conscious of it.  We have the capability to stop this process and demand the arrest and trial of all those in the 'elite'.

Or we can simply fight over waffle irons and chase iPoops and maul each other for trinkets, and die soon in a blaze of anonymity.  We have that choice.  The right one will take a bit of effort, but it depends on how badly you want to blow up your own children and grandchildren.

The mitochondria have split, the nuclei or nearly formed, and the wall is building.  What's your choice?

28.11.11

Top 10 Wonkiest Films Of All Time

won·ky

  [wong-kee]  Show IPA
adjective, -ki·er, -ki·est.
1.
British Slang .
a.
shaky, groggy, or unsteady.
b.
unreliable; not trustworthy.

In keeping with the holiday spirit, we offer our list of wonkiest films of all time.  Since the readers of this blog are highly intelligent, they aren't out pepper spraying all of creation to get a $2 waffle iron, so they need something to entertain them in the meantime, while the madness dies down.

Since we have retreated to our World Headquarters in central Borneo, and all four wives are fighting with each other over who gets to give us the massage tonight, it's a good time to whip out the credit card, steer the dish, and tune in Netflix for a decafest of film madness.  So while the trained orangutan is out collecting fresh fruit at our bidding, and the wives are pulling each other's hair out, we plunk down in front of the pedal-powered plasma home theater and dial in some fun...
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10) It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) - There is no way to describe this film other than to say Stanley Kramer takes over the God Chair and orchestrates a Who's Who of comedy from the 30s through the 60s.  It stars Spencer Tracey, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman, Jonathan Winters, Mickey Rooney...and on and on and on.  There's cameos from the Three Stooges, William Demarest, Andy Devine, Peter Falk...it's literally a cast of thousands, and all are genuine stars.  Makes us dizzy trying to spot them all.  Anyway, a random group of comedians witness Jimmy Durante fly off a cliff in his jalopy.  His dying words about a buried fortune sends them all on a wild chase across southern California, with Spencer Tracey as a cop on the verge of retirement who wants to jail all of them and take the loot for himself.  Endless fun (about 3 hours of it).

9) Rat Race (2001) - This is IAMMMMW updated for the attention-deficit crowd, with Jerry Zucker manning the God Chair.  This is one of those flicks we've watched numerous times, and still get side cramps laughing.  The winch up the RADAR tower, the cow-balloon, the Hitler museum.  John Cleese is the quintessential smarmy TeeVee host and Cuba Gooding turns in a very nice straight-man role.  Basically, a bored multi-millionaire sets up a mad dash for cash across the southwest US by randomly selecting gamblers at a Vegas casino.  The results are truly hilarious.  Seth Green leaves me breathless on the floor with his tongue piercing alone.  Lots of cameos and whacked out scenarios.  You might even watch it twice in a row, if you can breathe...

8) Phantom of the Paradise (1974) - Take Phantom of the Opera, shake well with Dorian Grey and mix in some Spinal Tap, and you are almost ready for this wonky gem.  Paul Williams (remember him?) sells his soul for fame and fortune, and the whole thing is caught on tape.  William Finley discovers the secret and wants to expose Williams to the world, but Swan (Paul) tries to off him by squeezing his head in a record press.  Now with a hit song permanently etched on his face, Finley sets about to destroy Williams and win the heart of the girl he loves by haunting the rafters of a major disco where all the top acts (also sold to the devil) perform and rise to mega-stardom.  Brian de Palma mounts the God Chair, so you know its got style, even if it's way out in Wonky Land.  Cross and double cross as Faust meets glam in a weird and wonky piece of celluloid that will entertain while it mystifies...so how DID de Palma become so famous?  Our favorite scene is when Beef gets electrified, but the costume of the Phantom is very cool, and Frank Lloyd Webber only wishes he were this creative.

7) Myra Breckenridge (1970) - This is one of those great films that no one every watches because it scares most people.  It's so cerebral and strange and...well, wonky, that few folks make it past the mid-point, but stick with it!  It's God Chaired by Michael Sarne and stars Rex Reed, John Huston, Rachel Welch, Mae West, and dozens of other top talent.  This movie launched the careers of Tom Sellek and Farah Fawcett.  The scene with Tom and Mae West supposedly recreates the way she discovered Cary Grant...classic Mae.  Rex gets a sex change from a druggie doc and becomes Rachel with an audience watching.  John Huston runs an acting academy where Rex/Rachel show up to claim its inheritance.  Mae runs a talent agency that only handles leading men.  It's all really wonky and you have to watch it to believe it.  Absolutely bizzare flick.  This is Fame on acid!

6) Kelly's Heroes (1970) - The 70s turned out a lot of wonky film, and this is no exception.  Clint Eastwood leads a stellar cast of misfits in WWII.  Let's see, this is Dirty Dozen meets Catch-22 with a healthy dose of MASH (see below) and Ocean's Eleven (original).  Eastwood is a disgraced officer who gets an earful from a dying Nazi about a shipment of gold bullion.    He gathers up a few cronies and goes rogue to find the gold and disappear into mists of time.  This is the movie Three Kings wishes it were, if Clooney weren't such a propaganda tool.  Brilliant story and irreverent comedy with war satire squeezed in edge-wise.  Makes a great double feature with MASH or Catch-22, and kills an anti-shopping afternoon with style and grace.

5) M*A*S*H (1970) - No, this ain't the TeeVee show.  Yes, it's brilliant.  And yes, Robert Altman in the God Chair is a cinematic deity!  Hawkeye (Sutherland) and Trapper John (Gould) do everything they can to undermine the Korean War effort, one patient at a time.  This movie is jaw-droppingly wonky, from the last supper for the dentist with the huge manhood (origin of the famous theme song), to Hot Lips and Frank lighting up the screen with screwball passion, this is one weird flick.  If you're a fan of the TeeVee show, but have never seen the movie, then don't look for Klinger.  Just enjoy the complete mayhem caused by two doctors with consciences who refuse to get with the program.  Rober Duvall (good Texas boy) is brilliant as Frank Burns, and Roger Bowen brings a whole new level of clueless to Henry Blake, especially with his shadow Radar O'Reilly, who's the only cross-over actor to the TeeVee series.  Most folks sit gap-mouthed through the credits trying to figure out what they've just watched.

4) The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) - We've always suspected David Bowie is an alien, and this movie proves it.  Nicholas Roeg fills the God Chair and guides an all-star cast through a very strange and ephemeral story of an alien come to Earth to get water for his planet, but crashes and must raise money to build a craft to get home.  He does it by 'inventing' all sorts of cool gee-gaws and patenting them to create an Apple-like empire.  Maybe this is the true story of Steve Jobs?  Rip Torn, Buck Henry and Candy Clark round out a wonky cast for a wonky story about wonky stuff.

3) PI (1998) - Darren Aronofsky does everything behind the camera, and Sean Gullette does everything on.  This is just a plain wonky flick.  A math major type discovers a pattern in the value of PI that appears to be the key to Life, The Universe and Everything.  He turns his New York dive into a supercomputer from spare parts, which does something weird with ants, and makes the 'hero' mega-paranoid as he digs deeper into the mystery he's found.  It's got everything that Mel Gibson's 'Conspiracy Theory' wishes it had: street bums playing mendelsohn, fawning girlfriends bringing pizza, ultra-wise math professors, kabalist Jews at the Gates of Hell.  The scene were he drills his brains out is great!  Oh, and some really cool camera work where it's strapped to the actor's body and locked on his face, so that the world around him swirls out of control.  Very cool!  We want to use that for something one day!  In the end, you learn the Name of God.  it's in the Bible if you know where to look...

2) The Illusionist (2006) - This little gem stars Ed Norton (one of our favorites) is a classy rendition of the old Bill Bixby TeeVee show, The Magician.  Ed is a master illusionist in turn-of-the-century Vienna.  He gets smitten with a hoity-toity woman of the uber-klassen, who then gets engaged to the Crown Prince of Austia-Hungary.  Ed proceeds to use all the magic at his disposal to confound the marriage and destroy the whole royal family.  Now that's LOVE, baby!  It's got an excellent score by Philip Glass and some of the scenes are shot in Cesky Krumlov, which is an incredible place in Czech Republic that has it's own magic.  Lots of twists and turns, and a great way to burn an afternoon non-shopping.

1) The Rocly Horror Picture Show (1975) - This is the King of Wonk!  We don't know about you, but we sat through hundreds of midnight showings all through high school, with our box of props and our script of 'proper responses' to the film's lines (What's for dinner, Mommy?  Meatloaf!)  There's nothing quite as wonky as this flick.  There is the barest of plots, some mediocre music, some really strained acting, but for some reason, it's really entertaining.  Barry Bostwick can almost sing, and Susan Sarandon spends most of the flick in bra and slip.  Time Curry was born to play Frankenfurter, Charles Grey IS the Criminologist, and we had teenaged fantasies about Lil Nell, especially in the swimming pool scene.  Richard O'Brien wrote the original stage play and stars as Riff Raff.  Hint: if you want the perfect part, write it for yourself.  Watching this flick again will make you feel as if you've fallen into a Time Warp, but it will Make You A Man as you wonder Whatever Happened to Saturday Night.  Listen for Nixon's resignation speech when Brad and Janet get a flat tire, and see if you aren't tapping your toes by the closing credits.  Makes a great double feature with The Man Who Fell to Earth.  And just whose lips ARE those in the opening credits?
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Honourable Mention: Goes to Ken Russell, the recently-deceased Wonkmeister himself.  His stuff was SO wonky that he deserves a list all his own.  He gave us such memorable wonkiness as Altered States and Lair of the White Worm.  But he is perhaps best remembered for Tommy, the film based on The Who's rock opera.  Ann Margaret swimming in baked beans is forever etched in my mind, as is Elton John in massive boots.  He only comes out when I drink my gin...  Hat's off, oh mighty Wonk-a-nator!

So, that's it for this round.  We think you'll be sufficiently wonked out by the time you choke down this list.  You'll notice that the 70s figure heavily into this list.  There was an explosion of wonk at that time, as the stress of moon landings and Viet Nam wars and race riots was causing everyone to get a little wonky, not unlike the current era.  Wish it was producing the same kind of strangeness, though.

Hope you enjoy the selections and don't blame us it your brain oozes out of your ears by #3 or so.  At least we didn't devolve into Boob Toob and Kentucky Fried Movie.  We kept it somewhat high-brow...ish.

At any rate, it will definitely keep you from getting mauled in the mall.  Happy viewing and write when you recover!
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UPDATE: One of our faithful and highly intelligent readers has submitted a wonky nominee, which we actually have NOT seen yet!  We know that sounds highly improbable, but it does rarely occur.  He offers "Idiocracy" (2006) a creation of the wonk master Mike Judge, who many will recall is the creator of such wonky material as "Beavis and Butthead," "Office Space," and the animated wonkiness of "King of the Hill."  On top of that, Judge is a good Texas boy, so we are compelled to mention him.  At any rate, Idiocracy has Luke Owens being hibernated in a military experiment, whick gets cancelled and he is forgotten for 500 years.  Now Luke's character ain't the brightest bulb in the festive holiday display, but the world he awakes in makes him look like Einstein on steroids.  One can well imagine this scenario coming true, when one surveys the current mental landscape.  Thanks to our great readers!

26.11.11

Gold In Tham Thar Hills! - Part 1

We exited the airport at the first light of dawn.  A 1987 Toyota Land Cruiser, which had seen much better days, was waiting to pick us up.  In the back was a massive engine, and in the front was a miniature man with dark skin and a cloud of clove smoke obscuring his head.

We piled in, throwing our packs on top of the engine.  I arranged my water bottle and snacks and settled in for a long, bone crushing journey.  The old Land Cruiser shuttered to life and we were off.

Within fifteen minutes, the city had disappeared.  The four-lane blacktop has dwindled to a two-lane tarmac riddled with potholes.  In the potholes were either a pile of branches or a stick with a rag tied to the top, to notify motorists of the hazards.

We paralleled the coast for three hours, sometimes closer, sometimes farther away.  As the sun rose, we could make out the deep blue waters and volcanoes thrusting up though the ocean to become jungle-covered tropical paradises.  On the left side was dense jungle, black and inscrutable, hiding untold wonders and danger.

At some point, there were no signs or markings of any kind, the driver slowed and hooked a hard left, then accelerated hard into the jungle.  Now the road was becoming barely distinguishable from the jungle, save for the fact there were no trees on the narrow strip that cut into tropical vegetation.

For a while, we went uphill, then downhill, as we crossed the center of the long, narrow neck of the island.  Being completely covered by trees gave no break from the heat as the sun labored towards mid-day.  Occasionally, a gap in the canopy would allow a shaft of blazing light down to the ground, but otherwise it was a strange sort of green gloom, kind of like the color of the sky before a tornado.  We hadn't passed another car for some time, though I couldn't say how much, since time seemed to mean nothing here.

Finally, after an eternity of jungle, the trees broke open and there before us was the ocean, again.  In the distance was a small fishing village, maybe 20 or 30 houses and as many boats on the beach.  Most of the people were laying or sitting in the shade as we glided into the center and parked near the water well, were a few women were filling various containers.  Off to one side of the square was a milk circle.  I had seen this before: a group of wet nurses sit in a circle, in this case working on scaling fish, while children run around taking milk from the bared breasts.  The men had finished their work of fishing for the day and were gathered in knots around the area.

As the Land Cruiser sputtered to a stop, we flung open the doors and thankfully unfolded ourselves from the cramped space that had been our home for six unending hours of kidney bruising.  A small group of men approached with a contraption made out of large bamboo poles.  It was two larger lengths joined by two smaller cross pieces, all tied together with coconut husk rope to form a rectangle.

As I watched, they hefted the engine out of the back of the Land Cruiser.  The thing must have weighed easily 300 pounds, and none of the five men were much over five feet tall, but they seemed well practiced at this sort of thing.  By now, small audience had formed.  It wasn't often a tall, white, red-haired stranger rolled into town, if it had ever happened at all.

The men started talking rapidly, making a plan of action.  One ran off and returned with several lengths of sisal rope.  Four men held the bamboo rectangle, while two proceeded to lash the engine to it.  When they were done, our guide looked at us and gave the nod, meaning we were off...to where, I had no idea, but it was on foot from here on out.

I laced up my hiking boots (the men were either barefoot or using sandals) and slung my pack.  Four men hefted the engine onto their shoulders, called mikul.  There were no roads where we were going, and I was completely unprepared for what lay ahead.  Seeing these men mikul this heavy engine, I assumed it would be nearby.  I was in for a shock.

Within five minutes, we were on a well-worn path heading straight up the mountain that formed the backdrop of the village.  The first few hundred meters were relatively unchallenging.  The men carrying the engine were up ahead, while I was with a group of five bringing up the rear.  We marched bravely into the dense forest, and at one point, there was a group of gray monkeys sitting in a line on the ground, watching us pass with bemused looks on their faces as they gnawed on whatever it was that monkeys gnawed in these parts.

It wasn't long before the path started rising sharply and becoming much narrower.  In a couple of places, it got so narrow that two men couldn't walk abreast without going off a cliff.  It was at this point that I discovered the genius of the bamboo contraption.  At the narrow spots, the rack would scissor together, one long pole shifting rearward, to allow the men to continue carrying the whole rig.

By now, my chest was heaving and my shins were burning from the climb.  I hadn't mentally prepared for this kind of exertion.  To my amazement, the men carrying the engine weren't even breathing hard.  They didn't stop to rest.  They never stumbled or missed their footing.  They marched like machines up the mountain side. After two hours, I was near death.

As if taking pity on me, the mountain turned down into a narrow valley.  The path widened out and leveled off.  We marched on until reaching the far side of the valley.  Here we all stopped next to a small waterfall of icy water that felt like a gift directly from the mountain gods, as I stuck my head into the stream.  Everyone drank a bit, except for one man whose age was unknowable.  He could have been 40 or 90.  There were good arguments either way.  He just sat and smoked his clove cigarette and regarded me with deep black eyes.

I asked, regrettably, one of the crew how much further.  He pointed up the mountain to a group of shacks that were just barely visible near the crest.  My heart stopped and my arches fell.  When we saddled up for the next push, I felt deflated, having seen what was in store.  My eyes followed the line of the path up the mountain, and it appeared from here as if it went straight up relentlessly.

Soon we were off again.  The break had actually been a bad thing.  For one, I was now mentally defeated by having seen what I was up against, and the other was that I had time to think about my feet.  I could feel the sting on my heels that told me I had some major blisters forming.  I knew if I took off my boots, I wouldn't get them on again for another week.

We soldiered up the mountain.  The sun was already sliding towards dusk and every time I looked, the camp seemed just as far away, as if we were making no progress.  My legs were shaking from the strain, though the four men carrying the engine seemed as if they had just stepped out of the shower that morning.  I cursed them and the mountain and my throbbing feet, but I wouldn't allow myself to show any of it.  Being the only white man to come this way in more than a hundred years, I was determined to show that I was as tough as anyone, though inside I was seeing a bright light beckoning me from Heaven.

At last, just as the sun began to melt into the horizon, we passed an ancient shack, abandoned and haunted.  Then another and another.  We crosses a small stream.  The men hefting the engine nearly danced from stone to stone across the two meters of burbling ice water.  I was too tired to even try, and so plunged ankle deep and sloshed across.  The cold water seeping into my boots was a welcome relief, if only for a moment.

A year later, or was it only five minutes, we came to the heart of the camp.  By now, work had stopped the the smell of roasting goat and steaming rice filled the hollow in the peaks around us.  I waved off several offers of food.  Not that I wasn't hungry, but I was too tied to chew.  I asked where my bunk was and a young girl popped out of the mess hall to show me to the cabin.

The wood was so old, it had petrified in place and turned steel grey.  Inside, the dirt floor had been trodden to the point of becoming stone, as well.  In one corner was a bamboo cot with a thin cotton blanket, and in the other was a wash basin and a plastic barrel of water.  I thanked my escort and made as if to freshen up before dinner.  Within seconds, I was dead asleep, fully clothed with my boots still on.

At dawn, I awoke to the sounds of monkey fights and the smell of bubbling goat soup, the remains of last night's dinner.  I felt somewhat refreshed until I placed my booted foot and the floor.  Lightning bolts of pains shot up my legs, scorched across my spine and set fire to my brain.  I reached down and dug in my pack to find the supply of ibuprofen I had fortuitously remembered to pack along.  I downed two of them and waiting another fifteen minutes before attempting to stand again.  When I did, it was somewhat more tolerable, as a matter of degree.

I stumbled out the door and blinked in the bright morning sun.  Directly behind my shack was a mountain peak.  Following the contour down with my eyes, they alighted on a dark opening, barely discernible in the twilight and amongst the overhanging vegetation.

The Mine.

In camp, the men were just finishing up breakfast and greeted me with sly grins, knowing that I had nearly been beat by the mountain before I even started.  The four who had hefted the engine to the top seemed even more spry and energetic than the rest.  I cursed them again.

As I gobbled down the steaming bowl of goat stew, the men started drifting off to work.  They gathered near several piles of greenish white rocks near one end of the camp.  Each man took to a pile, apparently having some system as to who's rocks belonged to whom.

They squatted down on their haunches and took up a length of old inner tube.  They placed several rocks inside the rubber and folded it over on itself.  Then they took a hammer and began to pound the rocks into dust.  As they worked, the women brought over pans to collect the dust.  This went on for hours, until each had a fairly large quantity of dust.

One by one, they took the dust over to a shed with ten rusted 55-gallon drums arranged in a row.  Each had a trap door on one side and a wheel at one end with a long rubber strap that linked all of them to the newly installed engine.  They dumped the dust into the barrels and then one man came along with some kind of powder.  Whatever it was, he was wearing gloves and a mask and a long leather apron.

I asked what he was doing, and was told that he was putting cyanide in the drums.  He ladled out measured amounts into each barrel, then another man came along and added water with a hose from a spring-fed tank up the hill.  When this was done, the trap doors were closed and sealed and the engine was fired up.  Once it was idling right, the operator pulled a lever and the rubber strap tightened and the barrels began to roll with a loud sloshing, crashing noise.

By this time, dinner was served.  Teenaged girls called kijang, or 'deer', had run (almost literally) up the mountain, as they did once a week, to sell coffee, cigarettes, instant noodles, and assorted sundries and luxuries.  They carried it all in baskets on their backs held in place by a cloth sling that put the weight on their poreheads.

That night, we sat around the tables in the mess hall and talked shop, smoking and picking our teeth from a hearty and spicy meal or unknown origin...maybe dog or monkey, for all I knew.  At any rate, the mine was opened by Dutch colonists 150 years before, but abandoned within a few years when the easy seams had played out.

After the fall of Soeharto, among the many reforms was the transfer of mineral rights to local and regional governments.  At that point, a group of people had bought several concessions and donated them to the village church.  The church received a percentage of any gold that was taken out of the mine and any of the villagers could climb up the hill and whittle out as much as they cared to, though the process was rather laborious.  Each man could generally produce about half an ounce per week of 18 karat gold.  The balls they produced were still mixed with silver and copper (thus the green color of the rocks), but they fetched a pretty penny from buyers who would roll through the area once in a while to buy up the production.

In a couple of days, I would see the whole process, after the tumblers had done their magic.  In the meantime, I was going to get a first-hand taste of borrowing from Mother Nature's wealth.

to be continued...

24.11.11

A Sign Of The Times

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear...

Remember when Bammy was elected?  There was a religious fever surrounding the man.  People were harassed, called racist and even charged with crimes for daring to speak against the Bammy-nator.

He was the Man Of Peace.  He was given the Nobel Peace Prize before he had even sloughed off dead skin cells to that effect.  He could do no wrong, and the PC police across the entire globe fanned out to protect Bammy, as if he were some savior sent to show us The Way.

My, how times have changed.

It's hard to even find someone who admits to voting for the guy.  The Man O'Peace has killed more people in a day than all the famous mass murders in America in the past half century combined.  John Wayne Gacey and Ted Bundy would be so proud, if not a bit jealous because Bammy can do it with impunity, and even get prizes for it.

In just one short decade, the US has gone from a position of moral superiority to being the target of just about everyone on Earth.  People have gotten fed up with the militaristic nightmare, the financial destruction and the social decay of the once-great power.

Russia was our buddy for a while, as they threw off the Communist labels and opened the doors to rampant capitalism.  Now they are threatening to point missiles at US targets again.  Newsanchors are flipping off Bammy.  It has taken a polar opposite position on the UN Security Council, voting almost 100% against the US.

At one time, the US was the shining hope of the Middle East.  It was the broker of last resort for peace deals at one point could almost argue it wasn't the fully reliant puppet of Israel.  Now the US has made itself (key concept there) the target of hate, ridicule and scorn.  It no longer has any moral high ground from which to cajole the warring parties to the table, much less broker a truce.  Counties the US supposedly liberated now despise it.  In fact, when was the last time you saw a 'purple finger' story?

Asia, formerly chock full of US friends, is circling the wagons as the US ups it military presence and shows it cards with regard to its China policies.  Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, and Japan are all slowly stepping away from the US as they choose up sides for dodge-ball.  China, the US' big ally and trading partner, is slowly backing away and looking for the exit.

What's happening is that the US' goodwill and moral superiority have all been cashed out.  At one time everyone wanted McDonalds and Levis jeans and couldn't wait to have an excuse to 'go to America.'  One doesn't hear that much anymore.  Folks don't really want to go there and be mauled and accosted by TSA.  The nutrition information on the McDonalds burgers are turning stomochs.  The Levis just aren't cool, especially since most of them are made elsewhere now.

America sold its soul for greed and avarice.  It went all in on global domination.  It wasn't happy being the older brother, it wanted Big Brother.  You can't point the finger at someone else when you have the largest prison population of any country on Earth, by any measure.  You can't scorn the Banana Republics when you are torturing and murdering innocents for the sheer fun of it, and even posting the pix on the internet.  What's more, instead of apologizing and mending your ways, you line up legal jack-jaws to justify it by torturing the English language.

All the years of being the warm, open, giving people that Americans used to be, has been traded in for cynicism, war and hate.  Completely unprovoked, the US has invaded countries, carried on covert wars, bullied entire regions into accepting horrid terms in exchange for mental, economic and political rape.

What is really telling is the fact that, even though Bammy isn't shiny any more, his possible replacement is Newt Gingrich.  Like Nixon, this slime ball has risen from the political dead to haunt us once again with nightmares of his hand signing orders, bits of rotted, diseased flesh falling off his arm in the process.  It's a sign of the times that most of the cast of characters looking to replace Bammy are even worse, by orders of magnitude.

There is only one hope.  The American people must figure out a way to put this genie back in the bottle, to reverse the nose dive, to rebuild the City on the Hill.  If this were a Dickens novel, it would be five minutes to midnight and the ghost of Christmas Future has yet to show.  In a minute, the US is going to be taken into the future to see its own demise, and to hear the curses of future people, when the bother to remember that America once fouled the face of the Earth.

Will it take that kind of dramatic wake-up call for folks to realize they are complicit in the Melodrama of the Macabre?   Or will the world actually witness the horror of Hillary vs. Newt, as they drop to their knees and pray that America snaps out of it fast.  From where the world sits, this slasher flick is taking a serious turn for the worse, and unless the cavalry shows up soon, there's gonna be a massacree.  Unfortunately, the cavalry is too busy watching TeeVee and playing with BlackBerries to be of much help.  This opens up the possiblity that the world may take matters into its own hands and stop the onslaught before it does more damage.

Wouldn't that be a hell of a note?  A global Coalition of the Willing launching Shock and Awe on Peoria in order to restore world peace!  Now THAT would be a ghost of Christmas Future worthy of Dickens.  Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Wakie wakie!  The time is getting short...

23.11.11

A Far Side Turkey

Ah, the familiar wail of the Ghost of Thanksgiving Past.  If Dickens were alive today, he would still completely ignore this holiday.  It is uniquely American in every way, from the ancillary parades of gross consumption, to the absurd game of football, in which steroid abusers put on pads and pretend to get tough (rugby is a man's game, thank you), to the celebration with obscene amounts of food and beverage...emphasis on the beverage.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  There's something about the ritual of preparing the exact same meal the exact same way year after year.  It really has nothing to do with the Macy's parade.  I've probably watched all of two of them in my lifetime.  It certainly has nothing to do with football, since I've watched even less of it.  It's definitely the ritual part and the fact that I never really eat turkey any other time of the year.

My first experience with a Far Side Thanksgiving was in Dublin, Ireland.  My father, in his strange, internally consistent but otherwise unfathomable reasoning, had moved my whole family to Dublin for a year to find our roots.

Mom had hunted down a turkey, not very large by our standards, what with six kids and assorted Catholic clergy hanging around.  It was obviously not the plump Butterball that was the ritual beast, either.  It was a scrawny thing, pale and lifeless, and sans giblets.  I don't know about you, but Thanksgiving is the only time of my life that I purposely eat internal organs.  I'm a flesh kind of guy, and I don't much like livers and hearts and other guts.  But, it's part of the stuffing ritual, so I do it and I like it.

At any rate, that Irish turkey came out dry, almost like eating a picture of a turkey, rather than the bird.  Mom cursed the Irish electric oven and the shipping for what is still one of the family legends: Mom is not an infallible cook despite all indications to the contrary.

My sister and I are the only ones who know the recipe and secret to the famous Mom Turkey.  For several years, she and I would meet at Mom's house on Wednesday evening for 'chopping night.'  Mom, in semi-retirement, had passed on all the prep to my sister and I, while she still performed the necessary magic on Thursday morning.

Sis and I would pop a bottle of wine and proceed to shuck and jive, building the stuffing, washing the bird and prepping the bird, paring the Brussels sprouts, on so on.  I was the knife man, Sis did all the stir-fry and mix-mastering.  Then I would take the results and shove them in a carefully predetermined pattern into the bird and place it in the pan for the mystical treatment the next day.

Later, when I had my own kids and family, we carried on the ritual, with Dad doing all the magic while each kid had their assigned task.  The hardest part of Thursday was waking up at the crack of dawn to start the magic show at 7am sharp.  The rest was simply overseeing the magic chemistry of heat + time = dinner.  If done right, it all comes out at the same time so that it's still hot and juicy when the serving line begins.

Now, one of the major controversies regarding Thanksgiving is sage or cornbread.  Some folks swear by, and the family Bible requires under pain of death, cornbread stuffing, and even (gasp) not stuffing the bird but cooking it separately!  My family is in the sage camp, and the stuffing must absolutely be done inside the carcass, or it ain't right.  Besides, that's an integral part of the gravy seasoning, not to mention the table-side battles for the burn end of the stuffing.  And frankly, it's just not stuffing if it ain't stuffed.

Now, I've had dozens of requests for the stuffing recipe.  Frankly, I don't have one.  I learned from Mom, who didn't have one.  It's a matter of knowing what to put in it, and the rest is smell and texture.  That's it.  The only way you can learn it is by doing it under close supervision of a Craft Master.  The other part of that is the careful placement of stuffing inside the bird.  It's a learn-by-doing operation.  No amount of recipe can teach you the Secret.

As for cooking time, my grandfather did several experiments and came up with the perfect formula, which I can't divilge, since it's a family secret and the patent doesn't run out for another 10 years.  But it produces a flawless bird, and it gets surrounded with boiled Brussels sprounts in butter with lots of pepper, cauliflower with Welsh cheese sauce, broccoli with butter, sour cream and cheese carefully arranged in medley, dinner rolls, pies (pecan, of course...weeze Texians), and the always untouched cranberry sauce that everyone hates.  But it's there, just in case.

So, flash forward to Indonesia.  I can count the number of Indonesians who have eaten turkey on one hand with four fingers tied behind my back.  Being a North American bird, there's no reason why Indonesians should have any knowledge of it.  Last year, my search turned up a lone bird, deep frozen, for $100.  This year, I turned up three of them, and the one I brought home was $40.  An improvement.  Last year, I gave up and cooked four chickens in the same style, which was pretty good, really.  This year, I'm going whole hog, except I can't find cauliflower anywhere, for love nor money.

If you read Thanksgiving on the Far Side last year, then you know that I bought an oven for the occasion.  Now understand that ovens just aren't a standard part of an Indonesian kitchen.  Here, everything is done on the grill or stove top.  So to say I have an oven is to say I have a breadbox with a heating element that will cook single slices of bread in 21.3 minutes flat.  Being a closet masochist, I'm going to attempt to cook a turkey in it this year.

This will be the first experience my Indonesian family has ever had with turkey.  They aren't prepared properly for the triptophan crash afterwards, because I don't know how to explain triptophan in Indonesian.  Oh well, they'll just have to discover it themselves.  At any rate, the blossoming guest list is up to about 30, and in the Indonesian style, free food usually draws a 100% inflation rate, so I'm figuring on 60 people raping a 12-pound bird.

The problem is, the bird will not fit in the oven.  Unless I can figure out a way to turn the oven into a TARDIS, the normal Laws of Physics won't allow it.  So, this week, my big ponder has been how to cook a 12-pound turkey in an oven that will only hold a 1-pound chicken.  What I've decided is that I will butcher the bird and cook the breast in the oven with the stuffing, which I won't be able to stuff.  The legs and wings and assorted other bits I'll throw on the barbie and grill with coconut shell fuel.  The remaining carcass will get boiled down into soup stock, which is usually reserved for the week after Thanksgiving, when the sandwich gods have had their way with the left-overs.

It remains to be seen how all this will work out.  I'd hate to introduce an entire country to a traditional meal that is boned beyond all recognition.  Also, I'm determined to add a new ingredient to the stuffing...green apple.  My apple tree is just finishing up its season, and I have about 20 apples the size of large plums that are a nice combination of sweet and sour, so what the heck.  Toss 'em in!

I may end up causing an international incident here if it ain't just right.  Also, I made such a big deal out of finding a turkey, with two-week hunt across Jakarta to boot, that it had better be worth it, or my wife will ban me from the kitchen forever.

In place of cauliflower, I am making my now-world famous spaghetti bolognaise (from scratch...no cans of anything).  And to make sure the Indonesians have something to eat, if they find the turkey unpalatable, there'll be black pepper beef, meatball soup and spicy chicken in sauce.  I've invited about 10 bule, only one of whom is American, in the sense that he is Hawaiian, but I think it's safe to say few if any have ever experienced Thanksgiving, much less on the Far Side.  If all else fails, at least there's a case of Carlsberg beer, or at least what will be left of it after chopping night on Friday.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that.  Needless to say, there's no holiday here for Thanksgiving, so I'll do the feed on Saturday, which ties in nicely with the Muslim New Year on Sunday...the year 1433, if memory serves me right.

All of this brings up one great mystery.  Since turkey is a North American bird, and it's more rare than argon around here, why is there a word for it in Indonesian?  I mean, if you don't have something locally, and the import of it is incredibly rare, why would a language bother to name it?  It's called ayam kalkun, which only translates as turkey, no two ways about it.  An alternative, but rare name is ayam belanda, or Dutch chicken, which makes even less sense.

Hi Ho!...in the immortal words of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Enjoy your holiday, and blessings for all of us.  Let's hope for the best as we prepare for the worst, and be thankful that we slid though another year relatively intact.

From the Far Side to you, Happy Thanksgiving!

22.11.11

We Control The Horizontal

Rick Santorum, intellectual midget that he is, has called for treating Iranian nuke scientists like al-Qaeda.  Brilliant, Mr. Rick!  But which al-Qaeda?  The one in Iraq that is the sworn enemy of truth, justice and the American Way?  Or the one in Libya, where the western powers massed their technological might and bombed the country into dust so that al-Qaeda could raise their flag over the government complex?

For decades now, we've been inundated with the message that Global Warming is the downfall of Mankind.  Sea levels will rise due to melting polar caps and the only way out is to trade carbon credits in yet another rigged and BS market that literally puts a price tag on the air we breathe.  Yes, sea levels are falling and no one...except yours truly...has bothered to point out that Venus and Mars have atmospheres that are over 95% CO2, while Earth's is only 0.035%, and that seems to have no bearing whatsoever on the mean ground temperatures on any of the three planets.

Think about that for a minute.  Two planets with +95% CO2, one hellishly hot that other frigidly cold.  In the middle is a planet with 0.035% CO2, and it's just right.  I don't see a connection, though temperatures do seem to be related to mean distance from the Sun.  Hmmm...could it be the Sun has something to do with it?

It does seem like extreme weather is ramping up around the world.  The question I have is, what part of the impression is due to increased reporting and sensationalism, and what part to actual statistical increase.  It's hard to find unbiased reports on the incidence of extreme weather, versus the hype.  No one can deny that amazing floods in Pakistan (last year) and Thailand (this year) have occurred.  There doesn't seem to be anything amiss with tropical weather.  The number of storms and the number of major hurricanes hasn't changed much in over a century.

Of course, if you live in an area that has been devastated by a hurricane or typhoon, you'd tend to think the world was coming to an end.  Certainly, having personally witnessed the destruction after Katrina/Rita, I have a healthy respect for Ma Nature, but the storms caused more hysteria than relative damage.

There does seem to be a dramatic increase in the number of tornadoes in the US since the 1950s.  However, this is not statistically significant, since the data is limited to one geographical area, has a very short period of coverage, and does not account for the introduction of things like Dopler RADAR and other nifty tools.

How about crime in an around the OWS protests?  If you take the headlines as a measure, then the groups are riddled with rape and murder, and drugs and theft.  The media would have us believe by implication that the OWS groups are moral degenerates.  Yet, if we were to subject any similar urban area at random to the same scrutiny, would it reveal a greater or lesser amount of the same crimes.  Also, how must of that crime is due to agents provocateur shipping in problems to generate this kind of image, and how much is due to the media focus attracting all sorts of characters to these events?

I looked and couldn't find any statistics that compared the geographical incidence of crime in any US urban area to that of the OWS protests, but I imagine that there's very little difference, other than the proximity to any given group of people with intense media focus on them.  In my experience, if you set up a TeeVee camera anywhere, especially with a network news logo on it, you will attract weirdos like moths to light.  In the Age of Ego, the medium is the message, as McLuhan so famously said.

All of the information inundating us is neither knowledge nor does it involve facts.  It is completely subjective clap-trap that is being used to control and motivate us in whatever direction the Purveyors of such rubbish care to point us.

There problem is, there is so much of it and so little time to absorb and digest it, that we often must act (or not) based on little or no truth.  In general, people can no longer distinguish between knowledge, facts and truth.  They are trained by TeeVee to passively soak in 'information,' but they are not taught how to process it and critically evaluate it.

Rick Santorum pushed an emotional hot button that has been installed in the average person over the past 20 years (look up news coverage of al-Qaeda-goes back to Iran-Iraq war).  Twenty years ago, al-Qaeda was the US' best buddy, as they fought on the front lines against the mean and nasty Iran, which was defending itself from an aggressive invasion by Iraq, which in turn as using chemical weapons supplied by the Bush crime family (that's why they were so sure Saddam had them).

Then al-Qaeda became the US' mortal enemy in the Iraq war, incapable of moralistic action and deed.  The US' propaganda would have us believe that this group sprang up whole cloth to destroy the American Way, though they are hardly capable of scheduling their own laundry pick-up without CIA assistance.  Then, they were our friends in Libya, best buddies in fact.  They had morphed into great and shining future of a country that was already quite great and shiny, as far as the residents were concerned.  The US and EU marshalled the cobined might of NATO and spent eight months and billions of dollars to destroy Libya and make it safe for al-Qaeda.

Now they're the enemy again, and what's worse, Iran's nuke scientists (what's left of the after all the plane crashes) are just as bad as al-Qaeda.  It makes my head quite literally hurt to ponder the two sides of that equasion.

Carbon dioxide has become our mortal enemy, even though there is absolutely no proof that is caused a greenhouse effect, at least on the scale we are told.  Two other planets have nearly 100% more CO2 than Earth, yet their ground temps are at polar opposites, so there must be some other cause or explanation.  Furthermore, a look at the real numbers leaves us with inconclusive data regarding increases in extreme weather and other ancillary effects of 'climate change.'

The whole thing is nothing more than a scam to create yet another gambling table in the market casino, as well as find a way to literally charge us to breathing.  BREATHING, for God's Sake!  Who in the hell has the right to charge us for breathing?  But, since we allow THEM to charge us for water on a water planet, and we allow THEM to patent DNA, which is the foundation of all life as we know it, why not pay-per-breath?

Also, since all life on Earth, so far, is carbon-based.  Without it, we don't exist.  So, trading in carbon credits allows THEM to literally own the very atom that is the foundation of all life on Earth.  It is the only logical conclusion that a thinking person can draw from the endless hype and pant-wetting surrounding CO2 and carbon trading.  No single life form on Earth can reduce its 'carbon footprint' to zero.  It's freaking impossible if you respire, eat and otherwise go about the activities that define Life Itself!

What it comes down to is the absolute need for critical thinking.  The first major step in that direction is to turn OFF the TeeVee.  You can not think when you are literally drowning in information.  We must also remember that information is NOT knowledge, nor is it facts.  Information is mutable and can be morphed into anything one desires.

In fact, recently the good folks at CERN, who are obviously unconCERNed about the future of all life on this planet, or even in local space, have yet again broken the light speed record.  They shot some nutrinos into the Earth at a target 400-some miles away and the the nutrinos arrived at the target before they were shot out of the cannon.

The basic implication is that information can be sent backwards in time.  Therefore, all information that we have today can be polluted by the future.  It literally implies that someone in the future can propagandize someone in the past to manipulate future outcomes.  Wrap your head around THAT one!

Meantime, don't listen to anything your hear.  It's all BS designed to confuse us and make us act on emotional triggers rather than critical deduction.  If everyone can be manipulated into emotional tizzies with never a break to actually think about what is going on, then two things can be achieved.  One, no one will ever have the time to realize that they are being manipulated, and two, everyone will eventually burn-out and suffer emotional collapse, since that state of being can not be sustained over lifetimes.  Takes entirely too much energy and causes people to react before they completely ingest the information and convert it to knowledge and facts.

Especially important is to realize when someone is making an emotional appeal, and to tune them out immediately.  They are trying to manipulate you and a very low level of consciousness, and therefore should be considered evil and unworthy of our attention.  The one distinguishing feature of human beings is our capacity to reason, though many of us ever use it.

And remember, EurAsia is our friend.  It has always been our friend.  There was never a time when EurAsia was our enemy...

18.11.11

Oh Joy.

Update:

fas·cism

 [fash-iz-uhm]  Show IPA
noun
1.
(sometimes initial capital lettera governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce,etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism (unless the leader is any color than white).

Hillary goes to Myanmar to brow-beat them into submission, I mean open trade talks and get warm and fuzzy.

It wasn't Drudge's snappy headline, "Empire Strikes Back!"  It wasn't the news that a quarter of all US women (admit) are on psycho-tropic drugs.  It wasn't all the fun concerning Penn State and the rest of the university sex trade called 'athletics'.  It wasn't all the frolicking on Wall Street with NYPD wearing Halloween costumes to look like Nazi storm-troopers.

Nope, it was Bammy's whirlwind tour of the Asia-Pacific territories, and his stationing of a couple of thousand marines in Australia that got my attention.  Apparently, it got the attention of China and Indonesia, as well.

Yes, now that the Anglo-American Empire has conquered north Africa and the Middle East (except Iran, of course, but that's next).  Now that regional governors are being set up in Greece and Italy (bankster overseers of receivership).  Now that China's western and eastern sides are hemmed in (Fukishima keeps them away from Japan).  Now that all that is done, there's only the Asian-Pacific rim to sew up.

Right on cue, Bammy sticks his big cod-piece in the Northern Territories, placing Indonesia in the middle of the US pissing match with China.  This is an overt militaristic move on the US's part with long-range implications for Indonesia.

You see, Indonesia is a prime supplier of coal to China, which powers hundreds of generators around the country.  Indonesia has also been reticent to allow US military bases in the country, and rightly so.  The US response was to support Timor L'este's independence, in order to gain a foothold in the archipelago.  It's quite possible that the US is covertly supporting Papuan uprisings for the same reason.

Perhaps Bammy's little spin through Bali recently was to take in Kuta beach and see the sights one last time before he levels them in the quest for empire.

You see, the real news is this high-stakes poker game going on at the summit of Olympus.  There is a major push on the part of the Anglo-American empire to shut down its only viable rival, China, as fast as possible.  They are trying to put the genie back in the bottle, that Nixon let out back in the 70s.  Powerful entities don't like challenges to their hegimony, because it shows up their weaknesses.  If your whole PR game is to play like everyone loves you, then you can't allow anyone to NOT love you.  Just won't do.

If we project this game out a little bit...just play 'what if' for a minute.  What would China's natural reaction be, other than, "Oh no you don't!"

Well, first off, China owns America, which is the US's major Achilles' Heel.  Wally-Mart, the largest retailer in the world, is China Inc.  China has also been snuggling up to Central and South America, Africa, India, and Russia for a long time, embedding itself in the blindspots of US policy.

China bought the Panama Canal after Carter let it go.  It has been on Goodwill missions in South America and Africa, making friends with public works projects and economic exchange.

The US's policy has been one of militaristic bombast.  It has demanded and traded weaponry, and its sole economic offering has been to set up military bases and offer its sailors and soldiers a place to rape and pillage, and drop a couple of bux on shore leave.

Naturally, the world is looking at the two options and figuring China makes the better bargain.  At least they can keep their souls after the papers are signed.

What does this all mean?  Well, Africa and South America are major suppliers of US oil imports.  China is offering more lucrative deals to the locals, that include infrastructure and trade, while the US offers, "Take our dollars or else."  Natually, folks are liking the Chinese plan.

South America has lots of psychological victories in waiting.  It is historically the US's backyard, and any dog that gets in to piss on the fence posts stirs up a problem or two.

After Carter gave away the Panama Canal, the Chinese bought the company that operates it.  A ship doesn't pass through the canal without approval, and if it doesn't play by the rules, your ship can get stuck up in the mountains of Panama...literally.  If you think I'm kidding, look up how the canal works.  Most people don't have a clue, really.  Needless to say, one flip of the switch and all trade between the east and west coasts of the US is toast, since truck and train just don't have the capacity that ships do.  The only options are the Northwest Passage and Tierra del Fuego.

Next in line?  China is in every home and office in the US.  All those gee-gaws and trinkets that folks can't get enough of all come from China, or at least through China.  A little rise in prices or slow-down in production and  POOF!  No more gee-gaws, like iPads and plasma TeeVees, and all that crap folks need so bad.

China has invested a lot of time and effort in its PR game.  It has possitioned itself as the good guys, coming with money to spend and hand-shake deals and consumer products to sell cheap.  The US, on the other hand, has chosen the route of bully.  If a country doesn't take the lousy rip-off deal offered, then the back-up is endless sorties of bomber wings until you like the deal.  If you were Generic Country A, which offer would you find more appealing?  China, which offers goods and services flowing INTO your country, or the US, who takes everything OUT of your country and gives you debt paper in exchange?  I know, tough choice.

The US has enjoyed a fairly good reputation in Indonesia for a long time.  After WWII, the US made it part of the Marshall Plan to tell all European empires to pull out of Indonesia and let the country grow on its own.  After a 40-year struggle for independence, that would tend to make you look good in the local's eyes.

Also, because Indonesia is so far away, not many American tourists get here, so Americans still have a fairly good reputation, unlike other places where the ugly underbelly of American culture has trashed the local neighborhoods.

Furthermore, Indonesia has centuries of history with China shoplifting around the archipelago, and there's little or no love lost between the two.  So when both China and Indonesia turn together to face the US in common cause, you know the 'war for hearts and minds' is being lost on the spot.

It's quite obvious that the US intention in Australia is to place a boot in the region, and most especially within striking distance of China's major power supply (not to mention cheap labor outsourcing supply).  The US move is a loud diplimatic knock on the door, and China will no doubt answer.  It must, if it wants to maintain its relative distance from the A-A empire.  Such a menacing move can not be ignored, from a geo-political standpoint.  The question is how China will respond.

With the installation of banksters at the tops of Greek and Italian governments, the whole Euro crisis is showing its true colors.  The plan is obviously to crash the continent and take over the pieces with the iron fist that couldn't be achieved any other way.  The whole purpose of the euro was to undermine the national sovereignty of the European nations, and once their economies were toast, the banksters could quietly move in and do what centuries of war and bickering could not, at least not since the fall of the Holy Roman Empire.

In fact, if you squint just right, you can see the rise of the Holy Roman Empire, with its subsidiary, the Anglo-American Empire rising across the pond.  Once the two are firmed and running nicely, it's a simple matter to merge them.  With that done, it leaves only Asia to conquer, and to that end, US marines are being placed in Australia, which is Holy Roman Empire-Eastern Division.

The two big wild cards in this game are Africa and South America.  Where those two cards land will tell the tale.  Either they land in China's hand, and the global empire is put off for a while, or they land in the A-A hand, and the global empire is at hand.  It seems that in the absence of will and fore-thought on the part of people of the world, that one of these two conclusions is inevitable, unless the deus ex machina shows up in short order.

It's a tough call which is the likely outcome.  If I were a gambling man, I'd have to lay odds at 50-50 about now.  Both sides have cards to play.  Both sides have allies, political will and economic where-with-all.  Since the audience (us) doesn't seem too keen on upsetting the table, then all that remains is to watch the action.

It's China's move now.  We should keep our eyes peeled for some kind of action in Africa or South America, and most probably the latter, since it is in the US's backyard, much like Indonesia is in China's.  And Venezuela supplies 20% of US oil with Chavez dying rather dramatically from cancer.  That will leave a power vacuum that leans in China's favor at the moment.  The only thing more ferocious than a cornered beast is a man with nothing to lose and history to write.

Anyone for a trifecta wheel?

16.11.11

A Siimple Solution To Complex Problems

Ah, I love the sound of gauntlets being thrown.  The Icke-Ventura article seemed to strike a chord with several readers, most of whom responded positively, wishing that we could all focus on getting things done, and leave the ego stroking for later on.

A couple of email, though, challenged me.
"OK man, if your [sic] so smart why don't you come up with a solution that everyone can do that avoids all the bitching?"
Sure, no problem.  First of all, 'you are' is contracted as 'you're'.  Communicating clearly is a major hurdle in all this.

Now, how do we fix this thing?

Well, there's a group called UNPO.  Yes, I know it's a junior UN, and the primary goal is to get members into the UN, and the UN is part of the problem.  But hear me out.

First of all, everyone and his brother has a pet theory about how we got into this mess.  I'm one of them, certainly.  A lot of these folks make a pretty penny hawking books and DVDs expounding at great length, with footnotes and references, just exactly which path we turned on that got us bass-ackwards.  A major key to any solution must avoid the whole pile of arguments about reptilians and Vaticans and 16th Amendments.  How we got here is a hobby to pursue after we get back on the right path.

Second, we do NOT want to instigate or advocate violence of any kind.  In fact, that kind of thing just feeds the enemy.  That's what they want, and they want it in spades, because they have the market cornered on violence and toys to create it.  That kind of action is very bad PR and provides grist for the mill, when it comes to needing an excuse to mow us down in our tracks.  Make them take the first move, so our hands are clean.  Self-defense is morally justifiable.

Third, protests are completely ineffectual and also provide ample grist for the mill.  The lapdog media take giddy delight in showing defecating in the streets and muddy, grisly people disobeying park rules, and curfews, and all the other crap (like hahahahaha~ permits).  On top of that, the objects of the protests lose absolutely nothing: it doesn't force them to the negotiating table, it doesn't stop them from their evil deeds, and they make money ridiculing the protesters on TeeVee.

Fourth, it must provide the most bang for the buck, since most of us trying to set things right don't have any of those.  Ideally, it should cost about $100, and a few hours of work, with minimal raw materials to achieve the desired effect.

Fifth, it should use official channels and turn their system against them, the way they do to us.  It should force them to show their cards, or at least a good number of them, so that the fence-sitters are forced to make a choice.  It's too easy for them to position themselves as heroes, when they are wearing masks.

Sixth, it should completely avoid anything with the titles 'lawyer,' 'court,' 'judge,' and 'constitution.'  All of those words denote things that have been tried ad nauseum, and have failed because they are contained and controlled.  In other words, they are part of the problem, not the solution.

By this point, you're thinking, "Alright big boy, that's a mighty tall drink of water you've put on the table.  So, what's the plan?"

Glad you asked, or someone who looked a lot like you, at any rate.

The answer is called UNPO, the Unrecognized Nations and Peoples Organization.  It's a little known UN project to control dissent and get an idea of who's serious about controlling their own lives.

In general, UNPO is a baby UN.  The members meet in session, provide support, offer diplomatic training, show the worthy ones where the teat is, so they can latch on the World Bank milk (by worthy, I mean the ones who look like they have a chance to actually succeed).  It's basically designed to get these budding nations into the debt game, kind of like offering college kids credit cards.  Gets them hooked before they know what they're doing.

But we know, don't we?  So, we're one step ahead of that game.

Now, if all the Occupy groups and secessionist groups and libertarian groups (put the ego away boys), and heck, throw in any significant ethnic sub-types, like Texians, Cajuns, Okies, you name it...if all these groups organize and complete an application for UNPO and file it, it might cause a little fun.

Complete rules, forms and whatnot are available on their website.

The trick is, file the applications, and then don't let up.  Dig in like a wood tick and press the issue until they get absolutely sick and tired of you.  Then push some more.

Oh sure, it will mean doing a little homework.  It will mean research at the law library and in history books, typing up a bunch of stuff and scratching together the filing fee and FedEx fare, but can you imagine?

UNPO Members
Suppose motivated groups in all 50 states and assorted territories filed applications, and then put out press releases to that effect, and banded together in solidarity to support each other's applications.  Suppose these groups hammered Timor L'este and Taiwan and Latvia and Estonia (all current or former members) with coordinated requests for support.  Suppose these groups joined forces with all the American indian applicants (I'm a native American, so that title don't wash in my book), and made it a moral and ethical and (gasp) politically correct issue!  This could be, if done right and with feeling, one of the most effective and amazing attacks on PTB to ever occur!  Worst case scenario (from their perspective) is that the applications are accepted!

And it's cheap, bloodless, doesn't involve protests, allows for controlled media access, doesn't use a court, judge or lawyer, and would cause the biggest round of underwear changing in modern history.

And it has the advantiage of never having been tried, at least on the scale I'm talking about.  I did file an application on the part of the Republic of Texas years ago, and was viciously attacked by the Bush crime family.

There are two key points to remember.  Your group will need at least one person who is media savvy to handle all communications with the 'press'.  That includes releases, interviews, etc.  A spokes(person) is not a leader, so it works for anarchists, as well.  But, you do need a smooth, camera-friendly face for your group so that everyone speaks with one voice and comes across as civilized and erudite.

Yes, I know.  We are pushing individualism.  But, when you enter their arena, you have to play by their rules, and be better prepared than they are to make them look like the babbling fools that they are.  This is a mighty task, but absolutely necessary.  It's a tried and true technique, just like everyone thinks Betty Crocker, Sarah Lee and Mrs. Smith are real people.

You must be absolutely dogged in pursuing this.  No letting up.  Demand a hearing of your case.  Have people send one email a day to support your application (goal being several hunder per group per day).  Get the fax numbers for all your local radio and TeeVee news outlets in the area and send out releases once a week (Monday morning) detailing your latest efforts.  Be sure to include your media person's contact info at the bottom.

Cool, but unnecessary, is to come up with a snappy name, like the Waxahachie Native Defense League. Design a logo or flag.  You'll need it when your delegation receives diplomatic envoys.  Come up with a one-page tear sheet about how your people have been put down for so long and suffered the abuses of the occupying forces in your homeland.  Maybe a theme song?  That kind of thing.  And make sure you stress that your group is committed to non-violence.  Very important.

Take a minute to read UNPO's website  Ponder all the really interesting options available in this kind of approach.  Best of all, savor the idea of using their own system to drive them crazy.  And they can't throw you in jail for contempt.  They can't fine you.  There's no curfews or permits.  Don't need a meeting hall (though it wouldn't hurt).  There's no outrageous lawyer fees and you don't have to beg and pray to a court, or some pompous, lard-ass judge who was bought and paid before he graduated law school.

I think once you ponder this option, you'll see the beauty of its simplicity.  The best part is everyone stays home, gets three hots and a cot, can watch TeeVee to see their press guy interviewed, and out of a group of a hundred people, might cost everyone a buck or two each.  Not that you could buy more fun with that little bit of money.

If you really want to push things along, be sure to send offical diplomatic communiques to all of the other UNPO members, asking them to support your application, and in exchange, your group will support and promote their causes, as well.  Can't hurt, right?

After your ponder, you will have to agree that I, and no one else, am absolutely right, and I won't broke any argument.  There's only room for one ego here, and I was first.

Aren't I brilliant?