Archive for the ‘dazed’ Category

Darkness and light pollution


Many people are afraid of the dark, and lots of light is considered a crime deterrent.  But lots of light also masks the night sky, taking away part of our heritage, the stars and planets making their way through our sky.  Light pollution is so severe in some places that the only objects visible at night are the moon and, occasionally, Venus, the brightest of the planets.

Some people don’t like to see the stars, because doing so makes them think about where they are, and infinity, and they freak out.  Of course, some people don’t even need the night sky to freak out; a friend told me one time that she didn’t like clear, or fair days, because she was afraid that she would float away.  She didn’t feel that way when it was cloudy, though.

Sometimes, I wish that there would be a massive power failure in my area, so that I, and everyone else in the area, could see what night was like without a lot of artificial light.  As it is, I am fortunate to live in a lightly populated area, with very low population density.  But it is still hard to see the Milky Way anymore, that river of stars stretching across the sky.


Greed Kills!


London experienced a horrible fire recently, when a 24 story apartment building caught fire and burned rapidly.  So far, 79 people are either confirmed dead or missing and confirmed dead, and the death doll may go higher.  I happened to be reading the New York Times at the time that the fire was reported, and the video that I saw was terrifying.

High rise buildings are designed to contain fires to their starting point, so that people have a chance to get out.  This building burned like it was soaked in gasoline.  Seeing a multi-story residential building burning from top to bottom is utterly wrong, never supposed to happen kind of stuff:

From the first, people who lived in the building were saying that the cladding,  which had been added during a 10 million pound renovation as insulation, had burned rapidly, spreading the fire from a lower floor to the top floor in minutes.  Additionally, the building only had one fire stairwell, and there was no central fire alarm system.  As the building had been built in 1974, it was not required to have sprinklers.  That anyone escaped at all is mostly due to the presence in the building of many Muslim people who were awake preparing their Ramadan meal and spread the alarm.

This horrible tragedy was completely preventable, and most certainly is the result of criminal negligence.  Terrorism is an act meant to force people to change.  Setting people up to die  by saving a few pennies is far worse.

When ‘I love you’ hurts


during a period of conflict with my roommate, I kept repeating “I love you”.  Somehow this avoided, so far, a very threatening harassment.   Explaining that I was aware of the person’s self-rejection, frustration, and anger brought even more anger.  Finally, I admitted that this person is important to me, on a personal basis, because I value them, and what they can and have done.  Any time we are confronted with hate or anger, saying “I love you,” is the only response which is not invading their space.

This may incite more hate, more anger, because people will fear the implications of being vulnerable with others.   If we truly care about our fellow passengers on this Earth, then we should express that to each other often.  “You are important to me, because you are a fellow living being.  Your existence makes mine easier.”    By being here, you are able to respond, to take action, in the struggle of the Life Force.  We are the highest expression of that Life Force we have encountered so far, the most complex concentration of Mind and Body, matter and energy.  We can love others,  which is essential to the tribe surviving.

Our ‘tribe’ is humanity, because we are all the same on the inside.  Working together, we can overcome the challenges facing all of us.  All of our resources will be needed to make sure that the tribe survives.  Everybody is important.  Everybody has something to offer, an ability, an insight, experience, knowledge, energy, awareness, the list goes on and on.  We are all important.  I love you.

Alone in a crowd


The other day, (no, not THAT day) I was sitting around with some friends of mine, talking and listening to music.  Okay, I know that makes me strange, but I am an old geezer.  Anyway, there were three people in the room with me, and all of them were looking at their phones.  And I think that two of them were texting each other.  I thought to myself, “What can I do, bring a TV in here?  No, they are immune to TV now, I am sure.  Maybe some pyrotechnics?  A few explosions and bright flashes might get their attention.”

I carry a cell phone, but that is about all that I use it for.  Some people text me, but the phone is really clumsy for texting, so I usually don’t respond.  Used to be, you could turn off the GPS tracking feature on phones, but I guess that you can’t anymore.  Just think of it, people are paying hundreds of dollars a month for smartphone bandwidth so that they can be stalked by companies handling advertising for big companies.  Every mouse click, or whatever constitutes a click with a phone, is being watched carefully, and data is being stored, so that your profile can be enhanced.

Soon, they will know what kind of car you  drive, what your favorite food is, and where you keep your dirty pictures.  (Isn’t the cloud wonderful?)  But don’t worry, they are respecting your privacy.  At least, as far as the agreement that you signed when you got the phone requires them to.  If you are a terrorist, they won’t tell the government on you, they will just try to sell you better weapons.  And you will only have to pay $XXX a month for the privilege of being stalked, I mean tracked.

What I don’t understand is paying so much money so that you can leave the house and still be bored, surfing the web, checking your email, and playing games.  Why not just stay home?  You are probably paying for internet service at home, too, right?  Got to be able to stream movies.  Oh, well, soon the phones will be implanted, so we won’t have to be rude to each other by staring at our phones.  We can just stare off into space.  I do that anyway.

Are we playing, or waging?


Yesterday, a good portion of the Western world watched two American teams wage football.  I mean, it sure didn’t look like they were playing.  To me, ‘playing’ means having fun, like on the swings, or tossing a Frisbee back and forth; not keeping score, just having fun.  I like to throw darts, and I will do so for a long time, just practicing, passing the time, and not competing with anyone.  I also like to play on the swings.  To use the word ‘play’ for the wildly different activities of swinging and tackling someone is just difficult.  I know that I am ‘playing’ when I am swinging back and forth, so how can I relate to lineman blocking as ‘playing’ a ‘game’.  Especially when the language gets unprintable and threatening gestures are being made.  That looks likes lots of fun!  So, do you wage tennis?  I used to wage hockey, but not very well.  Strangely enough, you don’t ‘play’ wrestling, you wrestle.  I never did figure out what was fun about wrestling.  But I loved to swim, playing ‘Marco Polo’ by the hour.

Market madness


The Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, the top level of the power structure in China, has called for greater transparency in the the Chinese stock market. The Chinese stock market is worrying the leaders of the Chinese Communist party!?!!  For some reason, that sounds impossible.  Capitalism IS taking over the world, in the rather clumsy guise of the United States.  We have exported our pollution, our consumerism, and our jobs to third world countries, and turned them into capitalistic regimes.  China is now the largest market for automobiles, not the U. S.

But the Chinese cannot seem to convert to consumerism fast enough, because their economy is slowing down rapidly.  Much of the development that is needed to sustain a consumerist society is missing in China, though, as Chinese people are still wary of spending all of their money.  I would have thought that the wisdom of centuries of existence would have guided the Chinese around the consumerism trap, where the economy begins to stagnate because nobody is making anything anymore, they are just buying it.  Japan has fallen into this trap, after developing the most powerful economy in the world.  Japan sent most of its jobs overseas, to Thailand, Korea, and even China, and now the people are afraid to spend.

Capitalism is a self-destructive process of continued concentration of money in the hands of a few.  The more money you have, the easier it is to make money.  Eventually, the economy comes to a shuddering halt, because the majority of the people have no money to spend.  Firing everyone and moving production overseas means that the people who used to be able to buy the product you make can now no longer afford it.  One function of government is to re-distribute some of the wealth, so that the economy keeps moving.  This is a form of socialism, but it is necessary if the greed cultivated by materialism and consumerism are to be kept in check.  An example of those forces was the failure to lower prices when production costs were slashed.  Building things in China from parts made in China from materials manufactured in China means that the end product costs much less than it did when it was made in the U.S.A.  But prices never came down, just the quality.

Communism is supposed to avoid this mess by putting the tools of production in the hands of everybody, so that, theoretically, at least, every one makes new wealth together, and everyone gains in wealth, because the wealth belongs to everyone.  Stock markets are totally anti-communist, pure capitalism at work, greed in flashing, speeding numbers.  Catering to the American way has brought China to its knees, so wrapped up in the capitalist struggle that the very leaders of the communist party are advocating for greater transparency and better protection of investors.  Graft, corruption, and insider trading have been rampant in China, symptoms of the same greed that is destroying America.  America is a world leader, but a leader into inequality, squalor, and repression.  I am proud to be an American, most of the time.

We want to inquire about your greed.


Congress can never be said to avoid taking action, because every crisis and major decision sees some form of commission, committee, or dog and pony show created do provide guidance.  The congress itself is too busy running for re-election to actually study the issues, so they delegate someone else to do it.  This tactic is especially popular when unpopular decisions are needed, because the legislator can always say that they just followed the recommendations of the body which was responsible for that action.  This is, of course, out and out denial of the congress members duty to take responsibility for their actions.

Responsibility is what the commission that sparked this diatribe is investigating;  who can get the credit for the American economy collapsing around the remainder of Wall Street.  Somewhere, there has got to be a person or persons whose decisions were instrumental in causing tho worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, or so the thinking goes, apparently.  The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission is charged with establishing just what caused the best party the rich had enjoyed in centuries to come so suddenly to an end.

But, over and over again, executives state they were following sound business practices, and that it was unstoppable market forces which overwhelmed them.  They had no responsibility for all the bad things that happened.  We should not be surprised, because it would take some too dim of wit to survive on Wall Street to stand before a commission and say, “We were greedy, and got in over our heads.”  Which is what the whole crisis amounted to; greed distorting the judgment of everyone from home owners to heads of multinational banks.

How ‘sound’ is a business practice which is based on the market continuing an unprecedented surge, or the willingness of others to loan money?  It sounded great when the money was rolling, but people were so busy putting it in their pockets that they didn’t set any aside for an overcast day.  The smallest disturbance could threaten multi-billion dollar companies with extinction, it worked out, as dominoes fell one right after another, until the whole thing went right off a cliff.  How can you expect to see a cliff when you are driving 100 miles per hour?  The profit taking was so supercharged that no one even considered easing up on the gas a little.

Well, it was nice while it lasted, and some people made a lot of money, but most of us ended up with less.  Is it our money that those people got?