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2013 - The Predilection Issue

Welcome once again to our world-famous Predilection Issue.  Now, most folks around this time make predictions, but really what they are doing is forecasting trends, not predicting.  So we figure the better term is 'predilection'.

That said, we're pretty much always right since we correctly define the terms.  Clear and precise thinking leads to clear and precise predictions of future events.  Keep in mind that predilections are only good for a year or so into the future, after that, you're on your own.

So, we dim the lights, light up a good cohiba and stare into the crystal decanter, which happens to be loaded with top-notch single-malt scotch this year, thus we have high confidence in this year's report.  Last year, it was only rot-gut Manado vodka, yet we were still right, so it can only get better with the right jet fuel.

Our first prediction is that the word LIBOR will become a household word, but not in the sense of the British bankster class.  Rather, it will be in the sense of folks calling in sick worldwide to protest the fact that governments everywhere are sucking up as much as 90% of folks' incomes.  Libor, meaning 'free', will come to define the practice of folks just saying, "F^ck it," and refusing to work for Da Man ever again.  Black market economies will spring up like weeds in grandma's garden.  In the US, the gummint will fight the black market by saying it is a racial slur and prosecuting people under the hate crimes laws.

Three-D printers will become all the rage as folks find out they can print guns with them.  That will last for about six months till some genius realizes that printing a gun and printing ammo are two very different problems.  A lot of folks will end up with nifty wall displays, since the plastic guns aren't even heavy enough to use as clubs.  In China, they'll come up with the brilliant idea of printing knives, which are far more effective.  In the US, it will become fashionable to be seen with at least one name-brand sub-machine gun.  In Milan, gun holsters will become all the rage.

In Paris, it will be too dark at night to care what anyone else is wearing, as the lights go out for austerity.  Tours will promote "Paris - the City of Dark" and start talking about how romantic it is that way.  All the famous art museums will close at sunset, since you can't see a damn thing after that.  The Paris Opera will only have matinee performances...after they install the skylights.  The Eifel Tower will be destroyed by a jet on landing approach to Charles DeGalle, since the pilots couldn't see the damn thing in the dark.  Impressionism will see a resurgence because, hey, Monet was blind too!

Marijuana will become (once again) a global rage.  Laws will be cancelled, enforcement will die off, and folks will return to mental and physical health as usage of the plant becomes 'norml' again.  Until some nut job gummint employee in the US remembers that his best drug experiences were in Arab-speaking countries, where 'qif' and 'hashish' are commonplace.  Then the gummint will launch a major attack on pot-smokers because they support Islamic terrorists by enjoying a little Mother Nature.  Doesn't matter that it was grown in Joe Six-Spleefs backyard in Eagle Pass, Colorado.  Hollywood, lacking any other good ideas, will do a remake of "Reefer Madness" and scare the hell out of everyone once again, only this time, instead of being used by musicians and black people, it will be Muslims and anyone who hollers at the top of their lungs before dawn.

In space news, Congo will join the 100-mile high club by launching a refrigerator, which will be bigger (of course) than North Korea's washing machine.  In response, North Korea will launch six rockets to the Moon, which will land on each and ever Apollo landing site and erase Neil's footprint.  The US will have caniption fits, but the world will point to the fact that they are signatories to the UN Space Treaty which prevents gummints from claiming territory on heavenly bodies.  The feminists will latch on to that argument and claim that all marriages to good-looking women are thus null and void.  But really they're only angry that no one would marry them because they're too ugly and pushy.  Meanwhile, NASA will continue to release photos of ancient ruins on Mars from its Curiosity rover and talk about how cool light and shadow is while no one pays any attention at all...because only crazy people think about that stuff.

In environmental news, Fukushima will reach criticality and form a massive pool of molten lava in east Japan. This could be easily ignored by the world, except that the oil from the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico will have circled the globe and ultimately be sparked off by the lava, creating a massive global ocean fire with a huge fountain of flame spewing off the coast of Louisiana.  Instead of getting folks to clean up their mess, it will become a romantic dining spot and set off a whole new tourist trade in Louisiana, since no one wants to go to the New New Orleans Post-Katrina.

On the tech front, the first android child will be born in 2013, which sets of a frenzy among the British aristocracy, as they fight over who gets to bugger the thing first.  Meantime Microsoft, in an Orwellian Politically Correct move, will ban certain words from the lexicon.  Anyone using a Microsoft product will not be able to type the words, "bomb", "gun", "government sucks", or "women are inferior to men".  Anyone trying to do so will find their license cancelled and they'll have to buy a bootleg copy on the Black Market, which is also a banned term.  Notablly, Bill Gates will die this coming year from hemorrhagic fever that he catches while giving vaccines to poor African children.  His last words will be recorded as, "I paid my yacht note, right?  Don't want to be like Steve Jobs."  Amazingly, the infant mortality rate in Africa will improve dramatically immediately afterward.

Which naturally brings us to the Big Pharma news.  One of the Biggies will announce that they have discovered the perfect panacaea: one pill that cures everything from hangovers to pregnancy.  The only problem is that the pill is too big to swallow, so no one can test it.  The company's stock will shoot to the Moon and then crash and burn.  It will be called the "Facebook" of the medical world.  Interestingly, the drug will become a major hit since someone in Bogota,Columbia discovers that if you smoke, toot and use the rest as a suppository, you will enjoy five days of perfect mental and physical health before you die.  It will become known as "horse", since it makes you as strong as a horse.  It will become the drug of choice among the Baby Boomer set, as they look for a graceful way to exit.

On the religious front, the Jedi sect will become the fastest growing religion in all of history.  Jedi temples will spring up everywhere and demand equal status with all the regular cults.  This lasts for a time until some guy in Hoboken, New Jersey, named Michael Valentine Smith, starts a new religion based on orgies and ritual cannibalism.  It will grow at twice the pace of the Jedis until someone realizes that the ultimate 'grok' will be when the last newborn eats the last old guy and the world comes to a crashing end.  However, for a time, 'born again' will take on a whole new meaning as cult members scream that phrase aloud while on the toilet.  The problems really begin when there is a major schism, as the 'water sisters' demand equal treatment with the 'water brothers'.

In entertainment, Britain's longest running and most watched soap opera, "The Royals," will have a major event when two of the key characters, Willie and Kate, breed.  A major plot will involve the doctor who delivers the Royal Brood.  See, there's twins in this go-round, and the second one is breach.  The doctor in charge of the delivery will be 'suicided' shortly after the blessed event because he will be heard to say of the breachie, "Looks just like Liz!"  This one event will set up a major theme for the next 30 or 40 years, as the audience tries to guess which twin will be the one to assume the throne.  Don't bother watching.  It will just dissolve into a rehash of "The Man in the Iron Mask."

And so that brings us to the final predilection for 2013, which is...drum roll here...NO APOCALYPSE!  That's right, there will be natural disasters and various other causes of death, and millions will die, as they would statistically anyway.  Some will drown, some will get old, some will run into the sharp end of knives, while others will fall into pits caused by oil drilling, and still others because the cure they needed was illegal or hidden.  Still others will get hit by lightning or bitten by rabid rabbits.  By mostly they'll be killed by mechanized pilotless machines in the sky.  But the world will keep spinning and no one's prophet or god will come riding to Earth on a cloud to mete out justice.  In other words, it will be just another year with its share of disasters.  Nothing unusual, considering Mount Vesuius buried two major cities 2,000 years ago, kiilling millions, and the world didn't end.  In fact, those cities are now tourist attractions.  One hundred and fifty yeats ago, Kerakatau blew up in the Java Sea between Sumatera and Java and changed weather worldwide for two years after.  And we're still here and still killing, screwing, cheating, fenagling, lying, back-stabbing, under-handing, stealing, coveting, destroying, and bullshitting each other.

If the world as we know it is going to end, then it can only mean that humans will start treating each other with respect and stop ripping each other off.  Simple as that.

In fact, an end to the world as we know it might actually be a good thing.  It might promote love and peace and harmony amongst the survivors.  It might prevent a lot of harm and pain and injustice.

Just something to think about.

And the Number 1 predilection for 2013?  Michael Jackson will still be dead, but unlike Elvis, Buddy Holly and Bob Marley, no one will imitate him.

Oh yeah, Big Bush will die in January and the world will be a better place.  'Shrub' ain't far behind him.  Babs will continue on for another couple of years, thankful that she can finally have a little peace and solitude.

In the immortal words of Linda Ellerby, "And so it goes..."


Fortress Of Solitude

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

The Tempest Act 4, scene 1, 148–158

I love solitude.

I'm a bit of a recluse and perhaps a little misanthropic, at that.  Had I stayed in the monastery all those years ago, I would most likely be a hermit by now.  I went into the entertainment industry because I loved movies and plays, but I hated being in the audience.  I really don't like crowds, though one-on-one, I can tolerate people.

That sounds worse than it is.  I have good social skills and can work a room with the best of them.  All my years of stage training gave me the ability to develop personae to deal with situations I don't like.  But if I had my druthers, I'd rather be here at the mountain house alone.

I think people have lost the art of solitude.  They don't know how to be alone, sans media.  They've lost the desire for solitude as a means of re-creation and re-habilitation.  Have you ever noticed that superheroes, writers and artists all seek solitude?  They always have a place to be alone - to think, to pray, to just blank out.

I have my mountain house.  I come here to be alone whenever I can, to drink single-malt scotch, smoke Cuban cigars and write.

One of the ways I write/think was taught to me by my high school English teacher.  It's called free writing.  I just sit in front of the computer and start typing.  Doesn't matter about grammar and punctuation.  Just write everything that passes through my brain on its way to Universe.  It's amazing the ideas and thoughts that come when you do it, but it requires solitude.

I practice a form of meditation that Lao Tzu called, "quieting the tree of chattering monkeys" in my mind.

I light a cigarette and stare at the smoke.  It rises completely uniform for two or three inches, then erupts into chaos.  It's as if it was very quiet, then it had a thought, and that led to a thousand other thoughts.  And that reminds me of my own mind.

I like to watch a column of miniscule red ants emerge from a tiny hole in the cement on the porch rail.  As they do, a hornet the size of a hummingbird swoops down and grabs them one at a time and eats them.  I think of a line of cars on a highway with a 747 swooping down and eating them one by one.

I watch the butterflies, of which there are millions here - from lacewings the size of my thumbnail to giant black ones the size of a saucer.  They always seem to go in a single direction, though they loop and swirl around in a fanciful dance on the breeze.

I have a plant in the garden that grows so fast that I can watch a leaf unfurl, if I sit still for two hours or so.  I also line up the Moon at night with some fixed point and watch it move across the sky.  When you consider how big the Moon is, and how far away, you realize that you are hauling ass around this planet without feeling it...unless you are alone and quiet.

Then I think about the fact that I live on the equator, which means that I am hauling ass around the planet standing perpendicular to the orbital axis.  That's a weird feeling.

We humans don't get enough solitude.  We are so inundated and mesmerized by our society that we forget to just stop, turn it all off and watch.  It's like shooting some class IV rapids.  When you're in them, your mind is extremely focused on the next rock or wave, pausing just barely enough to look slightly beyond.  At the same time, sitting on the bank watching someone go through the rapids is a completely different experience.  Most of us choose to shoot the rapids without ever sitting on the bank to watch.  It is two perspectives of the same event, but one lets you appreciate the Big Picture, while the other gives you hardly enough time to look beyond your nose.

I really hate large groups of people.  More than 10 means that if one panics, you're likely to be killed in the stampede.  I don't like that feeling.  I don't like that large groups of people act irrationally.

Put another way, imagine that you are in a large swimming pool with a few dozen people all jumping and swimming and splashing.  Try to stand perfectly still.  You can't.  All those people are creating turbulence that buffets you and moves you around, even though you are making an effort to be still.  Then they all get out.  After a time, the water calms and eventually you can stand perfectly still and make hardly a ripple in the water.  Now stretch out your arms to the side and bring your hand together as fast as you can.  Look at the eddies and waves you make with one single movement.  Now imagine what you and all those around you are doing to the Universe around you.

I've been in solitude for 24 hours now.  I haven't spoken a single word in that time and have made as few movements as I can.  I laid out in the grass and watched the sky.  I went out in the rain and felt it hit me like icy needles.  I sat on the porch for hours and watched and listened.  I made a loud noise and listened to the guitar across the room resonate in harmony without touching it.  I isolated some vibrations that I really like and grokked them as fully as I could.

And I sought out the vibrations of people I love and harmonized with them.

I love solitude.

There's a reason that aesthetics have sought the most barren and isolated places on Earth for millennia.  They are trying to limit the number of vibrations around them so that they can first understand them fully, and then learn to control them.

There's a reason why thinkers and artists seek solitude.  They need to limit the amount of information coming at them as much as possible in order to focus on particular ones.  superman had the fortress of solitude.  Batman had the Batcave.  Every real writer has a writing shack.  Every inventor has a lab or workshop.  Every person who actively participates in the creative process needs solitude.

Some people are terrified of it.  I don't know why, but they are afraid to be alone.  The idea of doing nothing scares the hell out of them.  I've seen people go nuts with it.  I've witnessed them lose their identify because no one was there to witness it.  I know people for whom a day without speaking is a nightmare.  I don't understand it.

I love solitude.

The monastery where I lived is located in the Chama river canyon in northwest New Mexico.  Just south of the monastery, the Paloma river canyon forms a nearly 90-degree angle from the west.  At the confluence of the rivers, there is an island covered in aspen trees and wild asparagus.  On one precise September evening, the Chama canyon is already dark by 5pm.  By 6pm, the Sun sets precisely down the Paloma canyon, causing an amazing shaft of light to beam out of the canyon and light up a the aspens with their gold leaves and silver bark.  There, in the middle of the inky darkness, is a fire that does not consume its host.  And on the opposite wall of the canyon were the shadows of trees a thousand feet tall.  It is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever witnessed, and it lasts precisely 10 minutes...and then it's gone until next year.  And I have only seen it once over 30 years ago.

If I had not been in solitude, sitting and waiting for nothing, facing just the right direction, I would not have seen this amazing thing.  And being in solitude, and in the right frame of mind, I was able to burn that scene into my mind so that even now, in the quiet of the mountains, I can close my eyes and see it perfectly, reliving every single sencond of it as if I were sitting in that canyon so long ago and far away.

    Solitude is a gift and it should never be wasted or reviled.  It is a time when the most beautiful things happen and we have the time to sit and absorb them.  It is the time when the mud settles and the water becomes perfectly clear for a moment.  It is a time when you can actually feel other life.

And that reminds me of one other story.  While I was at the monastery, I made a retreat to do a 'spirit circle'.  A spirit circle was practiced by certain native American people.  It involves going out into the wilderness and clearing a circle about 10 feet across.  You strip naked and enter the circle with clothes, no food, no water.  You sit in the center as still as you can.  When you have to move around, you can not step outside the circle.

The amazing thing?  After about half a day, you can feel things enter your circle.  I could feel insects moving around me.  The second night, I was nearly asleep when a bob cat entered.  I felt it like a slap on my right shoulder, and when I turned, we were eye to eye, not moving.  He eventurally walked away.  Deer came up and rubbed their heads on me without fear.  I could sense the dew and turned my head up to drink it.  It was the most amazing sense of oneness I have ever had, and one I have longed for ever since.

Every human being should practice solitude.  In fact, I'm convinced that most of what's wrong with society is the lack of solitude, or even desire for it.  One is never so connected to humanity than when one is truly alone.  The creative force explodes with energy when we limit the outside influences and dive into solitude like a vast pool of clear, still water.

I love solitude.

Just now, I took a break to go out in the back garden and play with the plants.  By chance, I rubbed the tomato and rosemary bushes with the same hand, then paused to smell my hand.  It's intoxicating.

I love solitude...until the neighbor shows up with off-key karaoke at the crack of dawn.


A Far Side Christmas 2012

Well, here we are once again at that joyous time of year when the churches and the mosques compete to out-noise each other.  So far, the jury is still out.  We'll update you later in the week as to who won.

Meantime, here on the Far Side, it's time to look back at the Year That Wasn't Supposed To Be (YTWSB).  And we're happy to report that every single prediction we made back in January came usual.  We, of course, are not surprised, but some of the newer readers here might be.  They haven't yet realized that what happens on the Far Side happens to the Universe.

Some of the things we pause to remember:

Movies have replaced Catcher in the Rye as the new trigger for Manchurian Candidates.  We saw The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit become famous not for the great art and story-telling, but for the murder and mayhem they spawned.  Marshall McLuhan was right...the medium IS the message.  Naturally, here on the Far Side, we were way ahead of the curve and have been telling folks to turn it off for a long time now.

Related to that was the Great LIBOR Scam.  Apparently, some folks still believe that the markets and banking system are free and not manipulated.  Dream on, baby!  Just to put a fine point on the whole mess, supposedly both the Batman and Sandy Hook shooters had fathers who are/were scheduled to testify in the LIBOR hearings.  At this point, anyone holding their breath for any real fix in the system should be near the point of asphyxia.  Give it up, dude.

The world didn't end, naturally, and we knew that because Willy and Kate are due to breed.  We can't have the world ending when there's fresh royalty prospects out there.  In a bizarre turn of events, though, a couple of Ozzie DJs spoofed a nurse into giving up the details of the severe case of Royal Morning Sickness.  The nurse was suicided for not knowing the real Liz and Phil voices from a couple of Ozzie criminal classers.  Botany Bay, thou livest on!

And about that 'severe case of morning sickness' could imply that carrying the royal seed is so toxic as to put one in hospital.  Our heart goes out to Kate for drawing the short straw on that one.

The Perpetual War continues apace.  We can only stand agape at those who continue to spout the 'support the troops' line, while at the same time vociferously demanding an end to the wars.  Guess what, geniuses...quit supporting the troops and sending your brood to die and the wars will end right quick.  If this isn't Orwellian DoubleThink, nothing is.  It is truly amazing how people can wholeheartedly believe two opposing ideas at the same time and not explode.

Once again this past year we hoped for a change and got the same old sh*t.  We could limit that just to the elections in the US, but it seems apropos to the EU, the Bailouts, and all the other crap that's been shoveled out for the past decade or so.  The only real change is that we no longer have the Mayan Apocalypse to look forward to.

On the science front, NASA achieved a pretty good thing by littering a couple of square miles of another planet to once again land no humans on another world.  What has been notable about this particular event, besides the fact that they labeled one of their big deals the "seven minutes of terror", was that they finally got their cameras white balanced so we can look at some decent pictures for a change.  At the same time, they're actually posting some really interesting photos, though the whole 'earthshaking' announcement thing kinda fizzled and died.  For a minute, we Far Siders almost got our hopes up, for a change.

In a hat's off moment, we salute the Tesla Motors company for releasing an electric car that combines comfort, speed and endurance in a way that Detroit never could.  We suppose that's why Detroit is closing its doors and discorporating.  We look forward to the day when Redmont, WA goes through the same convulsions and dies.  After what Detroit did to Tucker, they deserve it.

Here on the Far Side, we understand gardening and seasons.  We know that things grow and die, and when they die, we don't throw good money after bad.  We mourn, but the corpse in the ground, and move on.

Other tech notes for 2012...China joined the space station club, India joined the asteroid fly-by club, North Korea joined the satellite club, Steve Jobs went to iHeaven and left his yacht bill unpaid, Windows Umpteenth debuted, and somewhere in Bhaktapur, Nepal, Ashis Ansu invented a zero-point energy machine that will never see the light of day since the Men in Black are on the way as we speak.

All in all, it's been a truly Far Side kind of year.  We didn't start this blog for nothing.  We knew it was going to get really weird from here on out, and we wanted to be on the forefront of the action.  Regular readers know they haven't been cheated.  They've gotten their money's worth from the nearly 500 articles and interviews posted here.

And that's where we want to wrap this up (how's that for alliteration).  For the past three years now, we've been hacking away trying to bring readers and listeners the latest and most intriguing ideas and research.  What's more, we've done it all completely ad-free and without charge.

But, we've had help.  We want to thank,,,,,,,,, those who have cross-linked to Facebook or Twitter, and thousands of readers and listeners who have made the Far Side a regular part of their lives.

We especially want to thank those good folks who not only read, but write to us, especially Harry, Linda, Peter, Bill, Bob, Ben, Guy, Teka, and Jessica, and all the others who have picked up a pen or keyboard to let us know what they think about things.

Our House to Yours
And our deepest gratitude to Bob, Jessica, Sam, Lily, and Everett who have donated money to the effort.  Your faith and support will not go unrewarded.  In 2013, we will continue to expand and grow with your gracious support.

Finally, to our loving and supportive wife, who puts up with our hobbies and obsessions.  And to our loving and brilliant children: Kat, Jacob, Vanny, Aldo, and Alfred.  We can think of no finer gift than the love of a family.

And with that, we wish all of you and yours a very Merry Christmas.  We wish the best of all things to all of you.  We thank you for your support and readership, and hope that our efforts will continue to enlighten and entertain.  It is our gift to you that we make these efforts.

May all your apocalypses be duds.


A Superhero Without Really Trying

"I'm beginning to think I'm invincible," came the first message as I got off the plane.  It was quickly followed by, "I survived Y2K, bird flu, 9/11, rapture 1 & 2, and now the Mayan Apocalypse!"

It was my Canadian bud feeling cocky with a new lease on life.

"Don't forget the planetary alignment of 1982, the swine flu and the Asian Contagion," I shot back.

Indeed, those of us of a certain age can boast that we have survived the End of the World as We Know It so many times now, it's getting rather passe.  I may even stop prepping, since if the end comes in the first half of next year, I won't care because I've dodged the bullet so many times I'm ready to surrender to the next shot fired.

I became a 'prepper' at an early age.  I was still in swaddling clothes when Hurricane Carla tore up Houston in 1961.  Then there were the double hurricanes in the early 70s.  Then Alicia, Rita, Katrina, and a half dozen other big storms.

I've side-stepped tornadoes and water spouts, earthquakes, wild-ass lightning storms, floods, and landslides.  And let's not forget the Munich bombing in 1980, or being shot at on the Afghan/Iran border the day the American hostages were taken when the Shah fell.

I've been in knife fights (I brought a gun...duh), nearly fallen 800 feet off a cliff and almost died from dysentery in Paris.  A little thing like the Mayan calendar ending ain't gonna stop me.

My bud was right...with all the apocalypses we've all survived, I think it's about time to admit we're all either dead and this is what hell looks like, or we're really immortals living out a Highlander existence.  Not sure about the latter.  I need to behead someone first to test the theory.

Here in Jakarta, it kind of seemed like the end of the world.  Beginning Friday evening, there was an epic rain for three days with severe flooding all over the city, leaving everything in gridlock.  As usual, I dodged that one by being 500 km away enjoying a lovely time eating Javanese food and hanging out in the mountains.  I did see Jesus there, but he was already dead, so nothing to fear on that account.  As for Muhammad, Buddha and Shiva, they were all missing in action.

No clouds parting, no stars falling, no whores of Babylon being eaten by dragons while drinking the blood of martyrs.  No seals were broken, no galaxies aligned.  No global coastal events.  And as far as I know, the sea is still blue-green, or at least the part that I flew over today.

The way I figure it, the Earth has been spinning around the Sun, according to best guestimates, for 4.5 BILLION years.  Odds are pretty good that it will go on spinning for another 5 billion or so.  About the worst thing we puny little humans can do is wipe ourselves out, but it won't be the end of the world.  We'll just be some cool bones buried deep in the bowels of the Earth for whatever creatures come after to dig up.

Hell, they'll probably tell themselves that oil comes from our rotting carcasses.  They might even theorize that we were wiped out by a giant meteor with a weird name.  Hopefully, though, they won't have a Mayan calendar to spook themselves with.

Those of us in the 50+ category have now survived at least a half-dozen apocalypses.  It's our job now to teach the younger generation to stop all the BS and start thinking about the in making it better and not always wishing for some deus ex machina to come along and clean up our mess.  It's too easy to give up and hope for a supernatural 'do over'.  The real task is to realize we're on our own and our future is ours to make.  There won't be gods riding in on clouds, or ETs with miracle technology, or whatever dream team you believe in.

As a species, we are rounding adolescence and heading straight for adulthood.  Our parents, whatever we think they are, aren't there to clean up our rooms for us anymore.  It's time we grow up and take responsibility for our own actions.  We can't hide behind mama's skirt forever.  We now know our place in the Universe and it's time we get out there and start making something of ourselves.

Yup, we're all superheroes now.  We've dodged bullets, leaped tall buildings and outrun locomotives.  So, time to download or get off the pot.  We're still here, for better or worse.  Let's, gor God's sake, start focusing on the 'better' part of things.


Lead Poisoning

It's times like these when you wish they still taught civics in high school.  Apparently, no one knows the laws in the US, nor are they able to look them up.

As the debate about gun control rages across the US, and even across the world (China for instance), it behooves us to go back and take a look at the laws that allow US citizens to own guns, and why.  First, a look at the Second Amendment in the US Bill of Rights:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
So far, so good.  Now we ask ourselves, how is the militia defined in law?  For that, we turn to 10 USC Sub. A, Part I, Chap. 13, Sec. 311 - Militia: Composition and Classes:
(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are—
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

(Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 14; Pub. L. 85–861, § 1(7),Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1439; Pub. L. 103–160, div. A, title V, § 524(a),Nov. 30, 1993, 107 Stat. 1656.)
While you're checking my facts, keep in mind that the US Constitution and Bil of Rights was written on hemp paper, just in case you think hemp should be illegal and that the Constitution allows government to do that.

Now, a quick history lesson.  During the American Revolution (Part I), the regular army was hopelessly outmatched in every way by the British army.  Oh sure, they had some good strategists, but they were broke and ill-equipped, so when they marched onto the field of battle, they were mostly mowed down like a hay harvest.

What made the difference?  A bunch of farmers with hunting rifles ambushing the British and wearing them down bit by bit.  It was guerrilla warfare, much like what is kicking the US army's butts in Afghanistan and other places.  Instead of everyone wearing pretty uniforms and lining up in a field and blowing each other to bits until the last man standing, the militia looked like farmers and non-combatants.  They could blend into the population, be anywhere in a town or on a country road, and they knew the land in a way that a general with a map could never know it.

The writers of the Bill of Rights knew this and knew that governments that had a monopoly on power (like the one they had just defeated) inevitably become totalitarian police states.  One only need to scan a history book to discover that fact.

So they made it a codified right that every member of the unorganized militia should be armed and have some basic training and practice in order to protect the nation from invasion...and from out-of-control governments.

Now, some people read the "well-regulated" part and think in terms of rules and regulations, but that is not the meaning intended here.  In military terms, well-regulated means trained and equipped.

Back in the old days, when I was a kid, we were trained as militia.  I received my first gun for Christmas at 8 years old.  It was a Browning .22 rifle, and boy was I excited!  However, in order to quality for that gun, I was trained to shoot from the age when I could hold a gun.  From my earliest memories, I was going out to the farm with Dad and other friends and relatives to plink can and bottles down at the creek.  I distinctly remember my first real lesson.  I was handed a .12 gauge shotgun and told to shoot a coffee can thrown in the air.  I had a bruise the size of Rhode Island on my shoulder for a week.  I learned really fast to respect guns.

Then there were the NRA camps.  We would spend a summer learning to carry, clean and shoot all sorts of guns.  We went to competitions to earn patches and pins for 50-yard, 100-yard and 150-yard targets.  I earned my Marksman patch at 12.  For a time, I could put a bullet through the hole made by the previous bullet at 50 yards.  If it weren't for the spotters, you might have thought I missed the target.

My first year in high school was in a small town called Shiner.  We all drove to school, though us freshmen and sophmores didn't have licenses.  They sheriff didn't bother us unless we were being crazy.  Pretty much every car and pickup in the parking lot had at least two guns and plenty of ammo.  It was a way of life.

The next year, I transferred to a school in downtown Houston.  Every Thurday, the skeet club met after school.  Those days, there were probably 30 or 40 shotguns with ammo at school.

Never once was there a problem.  No one every pulled a gun in anger or made threats.  No one ever went on sprees down the hall killing and maiming.  Maybe some folks thought about it, but given the fact there were dozens of other guns in the school, they would have been a damn fool.  If someone ever tried it, they wouldn't have made it ten steps down the hall without having their brains decorating the wall.

Then there's folks like my idiot liberal sister.  She's one of those bleeding-everything pacifists that would gladly hang a sign in her yard saying, "This is a gun-free home."  Even mentioning the word 'gun' gets her all hypoplectic.  Yet, when push comes to shove, she's more than happy to throw a cop at it, which is nothing more than gun violence by proxy.

Whether I point a gun at you, or I have someone else do it for me, the result is the same.

Now comes the question of things like body armor.  Well, as I read the Second Amendment, it says, "well-regulated," meaning equipped.  Therefore, any member of the militia should be able to own guns, body armor, silencers, etc.  If the army can have it, then the militia can have law.

So what's the solution to so-called 'gun violence' that doesn't cross the boundary of law?  Easy!

All males 17 to 45, and females in the National Guard, should be required to attend training for some amount of time and be certified as militia members.  Then, they should have to attend annual refresher courses.  Finally, they should all be required to keep and bear arms at all times, just like the Swiss.  If the simple requirements of the law were followed, no one would ever think of going on a shooting spree.  They wouldn't make it ten feet without a couple of dozen militia members putting a quick stop to it.

Imagine if the law was actually followed.  There'd be millions of trained and armed citizens everywhere.  Anyone who thought of robbing a store or shooting up a mall would have to remember that they'd likely be mowed down before they could take two shots.  The theater shooters would face down 20 armed militia members.  A mall shooter would have dozens of well-regulated individuals ready to stop them.

The problem here is not the need for more laws, but proper enforcement of existing laws.  The only reason why the current laws would not be enforced is because there is an agenda to rid the common man of his means of defense.  And the only reason to do that is to allow government free reign in the public sphere without fear of reprisal.

At the moment, there are millions of law-abiding gun owners in the US.  This fact alone has forced the government to attack rights by stealth and by propaganda.  Without all those gun owners out there, the bastards who like treating people like slaves would have free reign.  They wouldn't have to nibble at the people's rights, they could gulp until satiated and no one could stop them.

Like the old saying goes, "If you criminalize guns, then only criminals would have them."  We can safely assume that government wants to ban guns in the hands of everyone except government agents.  So what does that make the agents?  Why, criminals of course.

One last note...there is no such thing as an 'assault rifle'.  Any weapon used to assault someone is an assault weapon, whether it's piano wire, water boards, electricity to the gonads, or a gun.  In the hands of a law-abiding citizen, all rifles are defensive, just like a shield.  Stop using 'their' terms and think for yourself.  That's the first step in becoming a free individual.

By the same token, any government that bans guns is protecting itself, not the people.

A free man defends himself.  A slave is defended by his owner.  We are either property, or we are free individuals.  Take your choice.  The battleground is the right to be armed and defend yourself and your family.

And if you are worried about school shootings, then home school your children.  You will all be better off.  After all, the first school shooting in the US was Kent State, and the 'authorities' were the bad guys.


Mental Elephants And Other Rituals

My mother is a big fan of murder mysteries.   Because of that, I've read nearly everything ever published by Agatha Christie, P. D. James and, of course, Arthur Conan Doyle, not to mention a dozen other writers.

In those books, the antagonists used poisons, piano wires, candle sticks, water, animals, pieces of cloth, electricity, cars, paint fumes, bare hands, and even sheer terror itself to kill people.  The murders employed too much of one thing or not enough of another.  They used ice knives so that the weapon itself would simply vanish in a few minutes.

In real life, murders happen at a steady pace worldwide, with people being pushed off cliffs and bombed by robot aircraft, overdosed on drugs and irradiated with DU ammunition.  They are poisoned by their environments and tortured to death.

In fact, when someone sets out to murder, there is no end to the things that can be employed for the task.  The oldest weapon in the world is one's own hands.  In the Bible, those characters used rocks, jaw bones of asses and even nailing people to planks of wood.

So why is it that when a 'lone nut job' goes berzerk with a gun, the whole world (according to the media) stops to debate whether us little people should be trusted with guns?  Why is it that the first thing out of the mouths of 'authorities' is banning guns?  What is it about guns that just terrifies those 'authorities'?

Here in Indonesia, people are banned from owning guns.  They can have knives, bows and arrows, rocks, sticks, and any of several dozen other common weapons, but no guns.  Of course, just because guns are banned means nothing.  It just makes it a little more difficult to get them, but certainly a great number of people do.  It's the same in all the other countries where guns are banned.  The net effect is that the really mean, nasty perps have guns, while the regular upstanding folks don't.

Obviously, the 'authorities' are deathly afraid of regular people owning guns.  In the US, the 'authorities' go out of their way to use any tragedy as a political prop to get rid of guns.  It seems that guns are like crucifixes and garlic to vampires: brandish a gun in front of 'authority' and it hisses and shrivels into the blackness.

Two recent incidents highlight this strange phenomenon.  One is the so-called 'lone nut' in Newtown, CT, USA, who allegedly walked into an elementary school and opened fire on kids and adults alike.  The same day, a 'lone nut' in Henan, Chenpeng, China slashed up one adult and 22 kids at a village elementary school using a regular kitchen knife.

I don't know about you, but I place no faith whatsoever in coincidence.

The first thing to notice is that one 'lone nut' used a gun, and the other used a knife.  The US 'lone nut' and the Chinese 'lone nut' are both described as having mental problems.  This would imply that they have been under the care of some kind of medical practitioner and that drugs were likely involved.  It doesn't matter the specifics, we need only look at the patterns.

The 'lone nut' explanation came into vogue with the JFK assassination.  It extended into the UT tower shooter, the RFK assassination, the MLK assassination, and later, mass killings like the ones that took place last week.  They occur all over the planet, from the US to Scotland to Norway to Germany to China to Japan.

These 'lone nuts' all share certain characteristics.  They only occur in countries where psychology and Big Pharma have a stranglehold.  They always involve social loners who are in some way connected to psychological care.  And they always have that 'deer in the headlights' look on their faces, like the lobotomy got botched.

What they don't have in common are the weapons.  They use guns, poison gas, bombs, knives, and any number of other weapons.  Even so, there is always a call to control guns in the aftermath.  And it would be easy to stop here and say that these events are nothing more than mind-controlled idiots being used for political purposes, but this is Life on the Far Side...we have a slightly different take on things.

We know that there is a deep level of elites - I use the word 'deep' instead of 'high' to emphasize the hidden/occult nature - that pull strings at a very substantial level of society.  We know this because, with a little study, we can see them communicating with each other on a symbolic level in every sphere of public life.  There are the Saturnists who use ring symbols and black robes.  There are the Roosters who use sunrise and dawn symbols.  There are the Illuminists who use phoenix and eagle symbols.  When you look for them, you will find them everywhere.

Next, we know from reading ancient texts, not only Western, but from many cultures, that the elite use human sacrifice as a means of control.  The shock to the public mind of wholesale slaughter causes a momentary paralysis in the local medium of the Universe.  In that moment, those who are prepared for it can use that paralysis to redirect and 'tune' the human collective psyche.  All of the Yahweh-based religions, the Maya and Aztec, the pre-Buddhist Hindus...the list goes on of elites who have used the shock of human ritual death to control the mass mind.

In ancient times, the elite used temples and the people were compelled to attend the ritual slaughter.  Today, the temples are digitized and inserted into every home on the planet.  We call it TeeVee, but it serves the same purpose as the temples, to publicly display the horror of the sacrifice and shock the mass mind.  It was used on key dates like 911, 77, 311, and so forth.  It is being used even now with the US and the Chinese school massacres.  It has been used several times this year in Norway, the Batman shootings and other lesser publicized events.  The usual calls for gun control are nothing more than distractions to keep us from looking at the deeper purpose being pulled over our eyes.

A key date is coming up - 12.21.12.  Twelve is a deeply significant number.  The Bible is rife with it.  There are 12 zodiacal signs.  There are seven fixed objects in the sky, and five 'visitors'.  There are 12 months.  Twelve is everywhere and is deeply magical.

For one thing, 1 plus 2 equals 3, which is a highly magical number.  12.21.12 and 12.12.12 are significant because they add up to be three 3s.  What makes 12.21.12 even more significant is the reversal in the middle, like a looking glass, as if the magic of 12 is reversed and thus hidden or occult.

For this reason, the elite have fostered a cultural phenomenon known widely as the Mayan calendar end date.  The elite don't have to actively promote this meme, they only have to green-light certain books and fund certain documentaries that plant to meme in the public mind.  The purpose is simple: create fear around a significant cange point to 'steer' the mass mind.

Human sacrifice obviously creates fear.  Fear is a very useful emotion to those who control it.  Humans, being creatures at some level, react instinctively when afraid.  We circle the wagons, band together and protect our leaders when we experience fear.  It's as if they have smoked the bee hive in order to steal the honey, and for the most part, we have responded appropriately.

On a deeper level, the wholesale slaughter of children is even more powerful than 'just' human sacrifice.  The taking of young innocents is so offensive to the mass mind that the magic is far more powerful than the offering of adults.  Witness the sacrifice of Isaac/Ishmael, throwing virgins in the volcano, and on and on.  The killing of innocents is powerful juju and the self-appointed bastards bathe in the fear and power it releases.

At this point, the aware reader should be asking, "OK, I'm not afraid.  What is the appropriate response?"  Glad you asked.

The appropriate response is anger directed in a focused way towards those who are slaughtering us for their occult purposes.  It doesn't matter that we can't see their faces, only that we direct the anger at the IDEA.  By feeling revulsion at their actions and focusing our disgust on their symbols, we take away their power and, in fact, throw the magic back in their face.

Granted, you think this is a hookum.  You think I'm a bit loony and this whole magic thing is crap.  I don't blame you.  I felt the same way for many years.  But I know through a long series of personal experiences that feeling fear is the first and most effective weapon they have.  Think about when the cops pull you over or when you go to court.  What do you feel?  FEAR.  That is their weapon.  They have instilled this emotion and its triggers in your psyche, generally through the TeeVee (our modern temples).  They use it to make us cower before their symbols.

Take that power back and away from THEM.  Don't be manipulated.  We are eternal beings with finite lives, but they try to make us believe this life is IT.  That way they can make us fear death and so force us to grovel at their power to cause death.  I know it sounds silly, but think of the battle between Darth Vader and Obi Wan in the very first Star Wars.  Death only empowers the aware mind, not ends it.  It doesn't matter how short or long our lives are, only the quality with which we live them.

In Thailand, elephants are trained from birth by tying a rope around one leg and staking it to the ground.  By the time the elephant is an adult, they associate the rope around their leg with the lack of power to escape, and so a massive powerful animal can be controlled with nothing more than a small piece of rope around their feet.

In the same way, we Westerners train horses from a young age that they cannot escape when they wear a rope around their heads and it is tied to a rail.  It doesn't matter that the animal is far too powerful to be trapped in this way.  It is burned into their minds that they are trapped and so offer no resistance.

You are that elephant and that horse.  You have had a rope tied around your mind since birth.  You are a vastly powerful being, yet simple things can paralyze you and make you compliant to your master.  It is high time to uninstall those limitations and become the truly powerful beings we really are.

Don't let fear control you.  Don't believe anything you see on the 'temple'.  Don't worship false power and submit to reins around your mind.  These mass killings are tugs on your chains.  They are designed to keep you in line and make you feel powerless, so that the elite can direct us and keep us in line.  Take away their power.  Realize the mechanisms of control (money, religion, law, etc.) and uninstall them.  You have the power, you've just been trained not to see it.

Turn off the TeeVee.  Stop using Big Pharma products.  Eat healthy living foods.  These are all control mechanisms.  Look up the meaning of pharmakon.  This is what is being done to you and your family.  It means sorcerer, and we victims are called pharmkoi.  Don't believe me?  You need some 'authority' to make your think?  How about Wikipedia?
"A Pharmakós (Greek: φαρμακός) in Ancient Greek religion was the ritualistic sacrifice or exile by the sorcerers of a human scapegoat or victim. The victims themselves were referred to as pharmakoi and the sorcerer was referred to as a pharmakon.[1] A slave, a cripple or a criminal was chosen by the pharmakon or sorcerer and expelled from the community at times of disaster (famine, invasion or plague) or at times of calendrical crisis, after being given pharmakeus or drugs by the pharmakon or sorcerer who was a practitioner of pharmakeia or pharmaceutics. It was believed that this would bring about purification. On the first day of the Thargelia, a festival of Apollo at Athens, two men, the Pharmakoi, were led out as if to be sacrificed as an expiation. Some scholia state that pharmakoi were actually sacrificed (thrown from a cliff or burned), but many modern scholars reject this, arguing that the earliest source for the pharmakos (the iambic satirist Hipponax) shows the pharmakos being beaten and stoned, but not executed. A more plausible explanation would be that sometimes they were executed and sometimes they weren't depending on the attitude of the victim. For instance a deliberate unrepentant murderer would most likely be put to death."

After reading that, how do you feel now about human sacrifice, mass murders and magic?

You are a victim, but don't be victimized.  Take back your power.  The time is nigh that we will need to choose sides.  Are you a slave/cripple/criminal?  Or are you a divine and powerful being without end?

Seeing is believing.


The (Very) Old World Order

Bonifacius VIII
An interesting little article popped up on the net recently, stating that Pope Benedict XVI has called for the formation of a global currency, global government and a New World Order.  I found this to be rather laughable, since the truth is that the New World Order is very, very old, and that the Vatican already holds title to the world and everything in it in trust for Jesus' return.

This may sound like an astounding claim for those who have not studied the matter, but it is true that the Catholic Church considers itself the owner of the Earth as the vicar (representative) of Christ in this existence.  There is substantial proof for this claim, as well, that is apparent throughout history, if you read it in the proper light.

Boniface VIII issued a papal bull in 1302, entitled Unam Sanctam, meaning "one holy" and taken from the first two words on the letter promoting the "one holy catholic (universal) church" as the ruler of both the spiritual and temporal worlds.  A papal bull is so-called because it is sealed (bulla) with a lead stamp with the images of Peter and Paul and the pope's insignia.  The bulls are considered the most formal and powerful communications from the papal office.

Some researchers have stated that the actual original bulls are written in blood-based ink on vellum made from the skin of human infants.  It is said that this weird ritual is a form of magic that gives the words 'life' and makes them binding on our reality.  Certainly, this process is true of certain spells and charms in various black magic rituals, and given what we know about the Vatican's proclivity for young children, it would not be surprising, though shocking, at this point to find it to be true.

A papal bull
At any rate, the Unam Sanctam declares, in so many words, that the Catholic Church was granted sole receivership of the Earth by Jesus Christ, to be held in trust until the return of the Christ.  This includes all property, creatures, wealth, and souls.  All of these things are declared subject to the Roman See and all humans are declared under the care and guidance of the pope.

If at this point you are beginning to perceive a 'global government' and a 'new world order', then you are following along with the story.  But, what proof do we have of this?  Glad you asked...

Have you ever noticed that one of the first state visits of any Western leader is to the Vatican?  They can't get there fast enough after their coronation/inauguration.  Eastern leaders go to the Patriarchs, but the reason is the same: to be officially recognized by the owner of the Earth as governors of their regional governments.  In past times, it was the kings who gained their legitimacy by being crowned by the cardinals and swearing obedience to the Roman See.  Basically, all temporal leaders must be confirmed by the Roman See or they are not legitimate.  If they are not legitimate, they will be invaded/insurrected/revolutioned and replaced by more compliant sorts.

We see the results of the Unam Sanctam in the conquests of European colonialism.  The explorers of yore, such as Magellan and Columbus, were under the flag and patronage of the kings of Europe, who in turn owed obeisance to the Roman See.  All the conquests were done in the name of the kings and the Church, claiming the lands and peoples as property of Rome under the Unam Sanctam.  The natives who would not convert were considered heathens and slaughtered wholesale, since they could not be saved and thus, did not have rights of inhabitants on the Church's lands.

It is no mistake that a Roman Catholic cathedral stands in nearly every center of secular power on Earth, within eyeshot of government buildings.  If you don't believe that, take a walk to the center of your city or state or national capitols and see if you can't find a Catholic cathedral nearby.

Around the 1400s, there was a breakup in the church leadership based on both a very old rivalry between the Western and Eastern caesars, and a fundamental disagreement over the concept of Original Sin.  This ultimately led to the schism of the Eastern Orthodox Church.  Later, Henry the VIII, fine fellow that he was, broke with Rome and formed the Anglican Church.  Why are these events important?

The simonists in Dante's Inferno
When Benedict XVI called for global governance, he wasn't talking about something new.  He was speaking in code to those in the know and telling them the time has come to reunited the three major churches to rule the world once again from the Papal See in Rome.  The 'single currency' is that of souls.  The single government is that of Rome.  And the New World Order is the very old theocracy that dates back centuries.  The only thing new would be the effort to reconsolidate the power in a single global capital in Rome.

Boniface was such a lovely fellow that Dante placed him in the Eight Circle of Hell for the crime of "simony", or trafficking in holy things for money.  Despite Boniface being generally reviled in his day, the Unam Sanctam has never been rescinded.  In it has been enhanced and expanded through subsequent documents called the Sequagint KV Trusts, which establish the supremacy of Roman Ecclesiastical Law above all others.  There is a reason that Western law is shot through with Latin.

If you find yourself wanting to fight the New World Order, you need to start a long time ago in a land called Rome.  After all, "All roads lead to Rome," don't they?


Apocalypse Theater

And so it begins...

Today, being 12.12.12, is helping to fan the flames of apocalyptic panic here in Asia.  The Chinese are big on numerical symbolism.  One example is the number 4.  The Mandarin words for 4 and 'death' are very similar.  Therefore, they are very superstitious of the number 4.  They won't have floor numbers or room numbers or house numbers with 4 in them.  There's a whole industry selling phone numbers without the number 4.  License tags on the car can not contain the number 4.  I guess it never occurred to them to change one or the other word, or use a euphamism or something to avoid using the word for 'death'.

At any rate, since today is 12.12.12, Asians are attaching all this significance to the date.  Combined with the Mayan calendar thing, the Twits and BBMs and text messages are flying hither and yon predicting all sorts of nastiness. 

One of the most popular dire scenarios is that today marks the ten-day countdown to 12.21.12, with 10 somehow being significant.  Then, on 12.21, there will be three days of darkness followed by all sorts of horrible mean nasties.  Then 2013 will be the Apocalypse.

Give me a break...

The first big worldwide scare I can remember, other than hiding under my desk from nuclear bombs every Friday at noon, was 1982, or thereabouts.  Back then, it was all the planets lining up in the same quadrant of the Sun.  That signaled the end of the world as we know it.  All hell was going to break loose.  The Sun would spit fire, the Earth would crack in two, and the Universe would be sucked into a giant black hole.  That was 30 years ago and things are still spinning along quite nicely, Universe-wise.

Then it was Y2K.  That was fun, wasn't it?  What was it?  Five years of terror, horror and IT guys swimming in money?  Camping gear sold like pancakes at a church picnic.  People horded anything that wasn't nailed down, and built safe-houses over the things that were nailed down.  Bunkers...military rations...butane gas...  And what happened?  New Year's day dawned.  It was a beautiful day.  Mild weather, internet still humming along, unexploded computers.  In other words, not a damn thing.

Then, it was 9/11.  The world was under attack.  The US created gestapo organizations and started groping people's most private body parts for fear of terrorists.  Wars began.  Kids were back to diving under desks.  The world could stop spinning at any moment.  What happened?  The 'good guys' became the terrorists, and the terrorists were shown to never have existed.

So now it's 12.21.12.  Guess what?  We'll all be going about our business on 12.22, with the possible exception of regret that we spent all that time and money buying up books about the end of the world as we know it.  Won't we feel silly?

Apparently not.  Seems that no matter how stupid all this end of the world as we know it BS turns out to be, we can't get enough of it.  Next year, there'll be some new catastrophe waiting just around the corner to gobble us all up and spit out the bones.  I won't buy that one either.

The only thing the end of the Mayan calendar symbolizes is the half-way point in the 26,000-year precessional cycle.  It is remarkable that a 'primitive' culture had enough information to create a calendar capable of measuring a cycle that most brain-dead humans today don't even know exists, but it's certainly not the end of the world as we know it.

In fact, EVERY SINGLE DAY is the end of the world as we know it.  The only immutable constant in the Universe is change, which means that tomorrow will not be the same as today, no matter how much it may appear that way.  Thus, when you go to bed, that is the end of the world as you knew it up to that point.  Tomorrow, it will all change.  Somewhere in the Universe, a star will blow up or swallow one of its planets.  The wind will move leaves and paper around.  People will have changed position from when they went to sleep and when they woke up.  The Earth will be several thousand miles away from the point it was when you woke up yesterday.  The Moon and planets will have shifted several degrees against the background stars.  The puddle of water you stepped in last night will have dried up.

That world you knew yesterday is gone...ended...never to return.  Last night was the end of the world as you knew it.  So?

You wake up and start over.  The things that didn't change go unnoticed, and the things that did force you to relearn your environment, but the fact is you are still alive and the world is still spinning.

You want real end-of-the-world stuff?  How about the Black Plague?  The African famine?  The Asian Contagion?  The Banda Aceh earthquake/tsunami?  Hurricane Katrina?  If you didn't have to go through them, then your world seemed pretty cozy and secure.  If you did go through them, I'll bet it was the end of the world as you knew it.

The fact of the matter is, if we lived every day knowing it was the end of the world as we know it, this might be a much nicer world.  We might be a little kinder, a little more generous, a little more forgiving.  We might find time to smell the roses or bake a homemade strawberry-rhubarb pie.  We might take the time to tell our loved ones how much they mean to us.  We might step out of the rat race a little more often and watch the river flow.  If that's the case, then guess what?

It's the end of the world as we know it...right now, all day, just like yesterday and same as tomorrow.

Quick!  Hug your kids, kiss your wife and feed the dog!  Hurry!  Go watch the sun set, count the stars and pick a daisy or two!  Rush!  Call a friend you haven't talked to in a while, bake a double chocolate cake and turn off the damn TeeVee!

It's the end of the world as we know it!

Does that mean the Sun will wink out, the stars will fall and the Moon will fly off its course?  No.  But the world in five minutes will not be the one you woke up to this morning.  That world ended and we've just started anew.

Why is it that no one ever stops to remember that 'apocalypse' means 'to reveal' or 'revelation'?  It means that the old world has died and that the new one is revealing itself to us...all day, every day, 365 days a year, millennium after millennium.  It means that the world we knew is gone and we now have the chance to make the new one after day, month on month, eon beyond eon.

Why is everyone is such a hellfire rush to destroy things when what we have is 86,000 chances to recreate the world every single day of our lives.  The world ends 86,000 times a day and a new one is born 86,000 times before tomorrow comes.  We're looking at this whole end-of-the-world stuff all wrong!

There will always be earthquakes and comets and omens in the numbers.  None of them mean a good God damn.  The world will continue to spin and orbit, the Sun will rise and set, and the breeze will still be as sweet.  The difference is whether we humans will be here to enjoy it, and at the rate we're going, that may not last much longer.

But it won't be the end of the world.  Just us.  And we ain't the world, just part of it.

Hey you!  Yeah, you...sitting there reading this.  The world just ended!  What are you going to do about it?  Look!  It just ended again...and again...and again.  You're still sitting there!  Don't you have a new world to build?


Boomers Fall Down Go Boom

The 60s...all we needed was love.  Everything that had come before was wrong and we were going to set it right.  We revolted against the old order: the manners, the consumerism, the individualism.  Our parents had soiled the Earth with their greed, and it was up to us to set things right.

Our music was subversive.  We met in dark underground caverns to listen to the poet/warriors.  We found power in our numbers and fought against war.  We used drugs to expand our minds and explore new frontiers of Self.  We tried to tear down the System from the outside in.

We had a better way.  We would share the Earth and live in peace, and everyone would be happy because there would be no want.  We knew better than all of human history how to set things right, so we needed no rules.  We couldn't trust anyone over 30 because they WERE the problem.  We had our Weathermen to tell us which way the wind was blowing.

The 70s...we became mainstream and thought it was pretty cool.  Our music became money factories.  Our caverns became discos.  Our mod style became leisure suits and free love became free sex.

We tarted up a bit with our cultural leaders wearing make-up and costumes.  Glam and glitz replaced poor and grit, and we got lost in the power of our collective consumption.  Drugs were no longer mind-expanding but recreational.  We had stopped a war and to congratulate ourselves, we became intensely self-centered, admiring ourselves with a narcissistic orgy.

The 80s...we were passing 30 and starting families of our own, but we were still enamored of our selves.  We didn't want the responsibilities of adulthood, but we couldn't figure out a way around them.

Instead, we decided that we could fight the System better from inside.  We threw ourselves into corporate take-overs and high finance.  We used our numbers to lobby for deregulation so that we could amass the wealth we thought we needed to change the world.  We became the captains of industry we despised just years before, but it was OK because we had our ideals and goals.

But we got lost in the hype.  We liked the wealth and the power, and instead of stopping wars, we started them.  Small at first: Haiti, Panama.  We were drunk on the power we had taken control of and used it for our own advantages.

We realized that the drugs we once used to expand our minds, then used to enhance our pleasure, were now a commodity.  And if they were illegal, they brought in a lot more money.  So we created a war on drugs, and while we were at it, a war on poverty and a war on anything else we could find.  The anti-war generation had become the biggest war-mongers in history.

But it was OK, because we were who we were and we were special.  If we acted the same or worse than our parents, then it was all for a good cause.  We needed to do these things in order to fix the System we had once reviled.  And if we made a little money long the way, all the better.

Of course, while we were in , rather than this convulsion of greed and avarice, we forgot that we had spawned another generation.

By the 90s...our kids were coming into their own, and they weren't so optimistic.  They gave up.  They looked at what we had done and concluded that there was no hope to change anything.  Instead, they withdrew into a virtual world, one far more consuming and addictive than any of the drugs we played with.  They didn't care what the future held because we had already consumed it, and the futures of their children, while we were at it.

In our orgy of self-regard and congratulations, we had done far worse damage to the world than any of the generations before us.  We had become a plague of locusts on the face of the planet that we had once proclaimed so important.  Oh sure, we cleaned up the rivers, but we fouled the DNA.  We stopped littering, but started pumping noxious chemicals into ourselves.

We spawned an industry of youth in which we competed directly with our children for the same attention, rather than maturing gracefully and leaving our childhood behind.  We were the most spoiled generation in history and the world has suffered from it.  Dr. Spock had raised us and an army of psychologists and social workers had cajoled us, and we thought the sun shone out our tail ends.

Our ecology movements became big business.  Greenpeace, WWF and global warming were now sticks with which to beat money out of people, not to achieve anything, but to assuage our consciences that we were still living up to our ideals.  And anyone who disagreed became a target of war by the anti-war generation.

And now Dweezle and Moonbeam have kids and that generation has not only given up, they are rightfully pissed off.  They will pay dearly for our narcissism and insincerity.  They will bear the burden of our complete lack of integrity and intense self-admiration.

They are rightfully pissed because we spent their inheritance, corrupted their society, and trashed their Earth.  There are no frontiers for them that we haven't already trampled and befouled.  We had the party and they have to clean up for the rest of their lives.

Even now, as we stand in the ruins of our greed, losing our McMansions and sucking up medical resources to fight our sagging faces, we still have the gall to demand that the world owes us something more.  We want more taxes, more resources, more of everyone else's productivity to protect us from ourselves.  We are the privileged and the pampered.  We are the best and brightest.  Our self-esteem has become a ravenous beast devouring the world to feed it.

Is it any wonder our children are expanding euthanasia.  They want us gone before we pull down the last vestiges of civilization with our idealism.

They Rage Against the Machine, and we are the Machine.


Trips And Journeys

A Texian's Prayer

O Lawd!

So far, today's been pretty good.
I ain't sworn nor said a cross word,
I ain't hit no one nor even loaded my gun,
I ain't coveted my neighbor's ass nor his wife,
even when they're one and the same.

I ain't lied, cheated nor stolen,
I've honored my folks, too.
I ain't taken your name in vain,
and since it ain't the Sabbath,
don't need to keep it holy yet.

But in a minute here Lord
I'm gonna have to git out of bed,
and then I'll really need your help!

This over-50 stuff is for the birds. 

Oh sure, all the old men warned me.  "Never pass a bathroom, never waste a hard-on, and never ever trust a fart," they all told me.  Now you may think that's a line from "The Bucket List", but no, old men have been telling young men that for ages.  Now come to find out it's true.  I hate that.

When you start off in this world, you're pretty much immortal.  You can do anything, go anywhere and eat anything, and you are the Man of Steel.  It just bounces off of you.  But somewhere around 30, you start to realize that you've gathered up enough stuff that even a little problem here or there can wipe out all your hard work overnight.  By 40, all you can think about is insurance.  You're willing to pay other people to cover your stuff because you've gotten pretty comfortable in your middle age.

It's at that point that you realize that you are middle aged.  If you get your statistical due, you've got about as much left and you've already squandered, and at least part of the second half will be just like the first half...diapers and soft foods with no spices.  You'll have roughly the same number of teeth, too.

It's about this point that most men twist off.  Women, of course, realize they are losing their ability to have babies, and for that they are happy.  But men, well, we want to take the same liberties we did when we were younger, but we still have the same consequences, and at this point, those consequences won't even graduate from high school before you're being turned into fertilizer.

Back in our 20s, we had nothing but options.  The world was ours and nothing could take away our deep view of the future.  By 50, that view of the future is getting cloudy, and it's not just detached retinas that's causing it.

You look around at all the crap that's attached itself to you as you went along and you start wondering, "What the hell did I waste all that time collecting stuff I can't take with me?"  Of course, you justify it by telling yourself that you'll leave it to your kids, but you look at your friends as they lose their parents and all they do is unload the stuff at an estate sale and take the cash.

Mostly to pay the freaking death taxes.

In your 20s, you didn't much care about your job.  Heck, there were 4 more where this one came from.  Besides, all the job did was give you enough cash to buy dinner and a movie with that hot new chick in accounting, and to buy the latest vinyl from your favorite band.  If you're in your 20s reading this...don't worry, you're kids will think of your CDs the way you think about my vinyl.  And that's only the beginning...

In your 50s, that hot new chick in accounting is showing a little wear and tear, and if you're honest, so is that image in the mirror.  Your 6-pack is now a donut basket, your cheeks are somewhere south of your former pecs, and that firm butt you used to have now pads the heels of your shoes.  Gravity sucks.

There is a bright side to getting old, though.  With each passing year, you give less and less a shit about what anyone else thinks.  The number of times you feel embarrassed slowly declines until you just don't give a rat's patoot about anything but your retirement.  And speaking of retirement...

Your whole life starts centering around that first cup of java and the stock ticker.  You realize one day that you care more about the movements in your portfolio than the movements in your bowels.  At this point, you've got some illusory line in the sand, and when you cross it, there are visions of gleaming bass boats and lake houses, and hour after endless hour of napping in the rocker on the porch, golden retriever at your feet (whose too damn old to fetch any more).

At some point, around your late 40s I think it was, internet porn becomes spam.  Chasing tail is not nearly as much fun as fish in a barrel, and a lot less work.  You start taking up hobbies - gardening, fishing, reading...anything that requires little physical exertion.

The part I really hate is that you start sleeping in 3-hour bursts, with one of the bursts coming right after lunch time while your trying to finish up that monthly management report.  You get to a point where you can't even remember what it was like to sleep a full 8 hours and run-and-gun for the next 16.  All-nighters change from wild parties to insomnia.  And at some point, you've seen more sun rises than sun sets.

Another bothersome part of getting old is that just about the time people start taking you seriously, you stop taking anything seriously.  All your life, you worked for that moment when folks would listen to you and hang on your wisdom, but the problem with wisdom is you see the futility of telling anyone what you've learned.  It's a vicious Catch-22, and there's nothing in the Owner's Manual about that, unless it's buried in the really tiny print that you can't read any more.

One sure sign you've reached old age is when you stop caring how much something is and start demanding quality over quantity.  The massive jug of rot-gut vodka for $5 is not nearly as appealing as that $40 fifth of Grey Goose.  The cheap box of chocolate Ex-Lax just doesn't have the appeal of the new designer pharma that gives you a thorough cleansing.  Ask your doctor.  Some patients experience dizziness, palpatations, kidney failure, and death.

Around the Far Side Headquarters, though, we don't complain too much.  We've always been about the Journey rather than the Destination.

It's liberating when the hormones relax their stranglehold on your psyche.  It's more enjoyable to listen to a cool breeze than Led Zepplin cranked to 11 on a scale of 10.  You appreciate that bird that goes nuts every morning in front of the house as you watch the sun come up...once again.  You appreciate the subtle flavors of a single shot of McAllen's 25 more than slamming a gallon of Jack Crack to impress that hot new chick in accounting.

Seems our culture doesn't appreciate getting old very much.  Us guys spend hours worrying about fading hair lines and spreading belt lines, not thinking about the savings on shampoo and hair cuts or the high-quality food and hooch that built that fine belly of yours.

Back in the States, many of my old running buds are getting mid-life divorces, buying toupes, and having plastic surgery to recapture that glow of youth.  Frankly, I'm happy.  I know how much work it was to get to this point and I show my war wounds with pride.  By golly, I earned these wrinkles and sags, though I'm still waiting for the fading hair line.  I seem to be one of those guys who go the opposite way, with hair growing out of places it has no right to be.

I've always been a Journeyer.  I prefer to enjoy the trip rather than waste my time worrying about getting to the goal.  I have better stories to tell because of it.  And really, that's the point...having stories to tell.

When we finally lay the meat down to rest, the only thing we can carry at that point are the stories.  I envision heaven as being a bunch of folks sitting around the camp fire swapping tales, and the ones that get command performances are the Journeyers who experienced the whole trip.  Hell, all the other guys have to talk about are mortgages, car notes and insurance bills.  In the end, who wants to hear about all that mundane stuff?  What about that cool cave you and your roommate explored where you found that human skeleton and the underground river?  Or the ruins of an indian kiva at the top of a cliff, and all the pottery shards and arrowheads at the bottom of the cliff?

All those stories come from stopping along the way to explore something that wasn't on the itinerary.  And if, because of the injuries you got exploring, you feel like the Tin Man needing a shot of lube every morning, weill you earned it.  And all the little changes at 40, 50 and 60, that's just part of the adventure.

And occasionally, you run into one of those 20-something whippersnappers that will take a little advice because they know you've racked up some experience in your Journey.  With any luck, that whippersnapper is your kid, too.

Won't you feel proud?