when one thinks too highly of his physical attributes . . . it is good to get a glimpse of reality once in a while. The candid camera kid strikes again!
Neoconservatism was born during the Cold War with an overt mission to roll back Russian/Soviet influence everywhere. That mission continues today. – 2017/04/27
by Mike Whitney, 7 April 2017, UNZ Review President Donald Trump’s missile attack on the Shayrat Airfield in Western Syria was a poorly planned display of imperial muscle-flexing that had the exact opposite effect of what was intended. While the attack undoubtedly lifted the morale of the jihadists who have been rampaging across the country […]
By Callum Henderson If you’re like me – a couch-potato with a serious TV addiction – then Netflix really is something of a God-send. There are more and more classic series and movies being added to the streaming site’s extensive library that it’s almost daunting. Then there’s the fact that lately Netflix has been making…
It is believed that the “Göbekli” people were organized groups of hundreds of hunters that guided whole herds of gazelles into traps. These people built a monument believed to be around 6,500 years older than Stonehenge and around 7,000 years older than the oldest of the Pyramids. Created some 12,000 years ago by unknown builders, Göbeklitepe…
Before we examine Mitchell’s claim lets first shine some light on why he may be someone we can trust, here is a little history: Edgar Mitchell graduated the Carnegie institute of technology in 1952 with a degree in industrial management, he continued his academic career within the US Navy combining his militaristic career with more…
I am a lover of animals in general and dogs in particular, so in this blog you will probably find many stories about animals.
Pictured is the latest addition to our dog family, there are three others, all strays save one. (as it seems illiterate assholes use my sparsely populated country road as a favorite place to toss unwanted dogs and cats). Raven is a pit bull that would have been killed for sure at the pond, and what a beautiful animal she has become! She is a superb watch dog as well as a great friend.
Following is a cute story I picked up on facebook written by Barb MIller.
A Dog’s Purpose?
(from a 6-year-old).
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa , and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.
He said,”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued,
”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Never pretend to be something you’re not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
In learning the art of story writing one of the fundamental truths we are taught is to “show not tell” our story. This applies to practically any genre that we choose to write about. Merely telling a story, even if it’s a good one, puts us in danger of losing our audience before the second chapter. It will become boring to them, and boredom is a sure killer to a writer’s work.
To SHOW the story as well as TELL it has the power to draw our audience in and get them involved with our characters and the outcome of whatever plot line we have designed for them. All the great writers from Hemingway to Mark Twain used this principle in their stories.
Using ‘show not tell’ as an example I have recently realized another truth that we all should be aware of as we attempt to change ourselves into a less aggressive and more caring person. In our conversations with one another we must learn to talk TO the party involved and not AT the party involved. There is a huge difference in attitude when we INCLUDE the other as opposed to merely TELLING him.
As an example we parents spend a lot of time telling our kids stuff, we talk at them. Talking at someone is an authoritative thing, it does not include listening or give and taking. It’s basically loving the sound of our own voice so much that we are using our children as a sounding board rather than seeing them as a viable thinking person, a person that very well could be just as smart and as interesting as we see ourselves to be.
If we find the goal of every conversation we enter is to come out on top, we may have found the reason why so many others seem to be evading our speeches. Interaction among family members have a tendency to follow this course, but the same principle applies when speaking to our friends and coworkers. Even on line if we’re not careful our conversations can become a military exercise.
How much better if we talk TO that son or daughter, or brother or sister than AT them. How much better if we include them in our story than just telling them?
Try it. Ask a question or two . . . be really interested in the reply. Think about what they said instead of thinking your own talking points while they are talking . . . listen to them.
That’s what I’m going to start doing and maybe they’ll quit calling me a know-it-all?
It is so obvious that the corporate media is dead set on scaring us that it is now getting funny. When I watch Fox or CNN I can’t help thinking of Paul Revere and his famous ride through the streets, “The British are coming! The British are coming!” . . . today it’s the terrorists are coming, but unlike the British are the terrorists actually here? If they are, are they here in numbers large enough to disrupt our way of life and keep us shaking in our boots like we are?
I don’t really know, but even if 911 WAS a righteous attack planned and put into operation by Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Even if our CIA spooks HAD no prior knowledge or complicity in 911 and all the stories about a Reichstag type conspiracy are not true. Even then, to anybody who actually studies that mess with an open mind can see a bucket so full of questionable holes that it is impossible to make sense of it. We were at the very least unbelievably asleep at the wheel. Regardless we got caught with our pants down and IMO all this terrorist fear is just not warranted.
So if the terrorists ARE coming why are we so afraid? Have we gone soft and forgotten how to defend ourselves? No. We are an armed citizenry with more than enough weapons and fire power to control the situation on our own, even without the police and the military, with them we are invincible . . . unless.
What I see coming is something far more sinister that a terrorist attack. I see our freedoms disappearing like a fart in the wind. I see a frightened people willing to give them all up in the name of security, and I see it all starting on the day the towers went down.
Problem is that Homeland Security is a FALSE security and soon the huddled masses will find out just how false these scare tactics are. ISIS is only a threat because, if we didn’t actually create it in the first place as many are saying, we certainly allowed it to sink its roots deeply into the ME.
So what is actually happening here? Why is the media spreading a blanket of fear instead of valuable information? . . . it’s simple. The globalists are fulfilling a plan of action that was implemented years ago and are now in the final stages of total domination over this country. The day the cocky Wall Streeters got their big bank bail out (because they were too big to fail) should have proven all this to everybody, but it hasn’t because it’s easier to buy the nationalistic patriotism we are being fed. It’s easier to welcome the noose in trust that our government is only watching out for our safety and well being . . . yeah right!
I believe 911 was a silent coup . . . I have studied the event religiously from all angles and viewpoints and that is the only viable answer I can come up with. Who was behind it? There are a few believable theories, but as yet I have not come to a definite conclusion. Were we complicent or did we just sit back and allow it to happen like our government did at Pearl Harbor?
It could go either way for now, but after studying the event, as well as what has taken place since, it’s easy to see that 911 was the catalyst that began choking our hard won freedoms out of us . . . and fear is driving us to lay them down peacefully. We are buying the story and laying down the glory of yesterday’s America as we do.
Have we entered another gilded age like the roaring twenties, when money and power belonged to the few, without even a whimper . . . why? Because we are afraid of the terrorists and need protection from the boogie men?
Shouldn’t we be fearing the globalist and his plot to lay a one world government on us instead? But then that would mean we would be forced to put down our happy meal and get serious about things, we won’t do that . . . and the beat goes on.
When it comes to gun control the same arguments have been going on for years. There are so many fingers pointing in so many directions that to a thinking man it soon becomes impossible to decipher the truth. Everybody is spinning to their own love or hate song with no room for compromise and we are left with a ‘pick and choose’ situation that many times relates more to our political affiliation than to what is best for US so . . . on a personal level, I must ask myself what IS best for ME?
Honestly I don’t see it as being so complicated an issue because all I did when considering my stand on the issue was to ask myself a few basic questions . . . something we should all do.
First question: Do I trust those in charge of my defence to appear on the scene and actually defend me when needed or would I rather have the option to defend myself?
I live in the country. Real world experience says that the police will take at least twenty minutes to get here and that’s on a good night. By that time my dogs have been shot, the thugs have beaten, robbed and left me in a bloodied heap on the floor and driven merrily off five minutes before the cops even showed up.
Answer: I do not trust Obama’s maneuvering and I need a realistic way to defend myself.
Things I know:
- This nation is no longer a democratic republic run by and for the people. We are now in a slow forming version of oligarchy (a form of government run by a small number of people or powerful military figures.) run by corporations, the MIC, and special interests.
- Every nation that has been completely overtaken by such an oligarchy has first needed to be disarmed. . . . So naturally I am a bit apprehensive when it comes to adding more control over our only realistic form of self defense.
- We are a gun toting nation and have been since our inception. There are millions of guns in this country as we speak, some in the hands of criminals. The only people gun control will work on is the honest people who have been duped into handing in their guns believing the government will meet their defensive needs. The criminals love gun control advocates as it gives them an open playing field.
- We have plenty of gun laws on the books right now. All these political tears should be shed for the reasons why our country is in such a shambles. Rather than making political points Obama should look deeply into his own turf (Chicago) and see that gun laws don’t work. There are strict laws there already and kids are dying daily in that city from gun wounds. Is gun violence a problem in this country? Yes, absolutely, but all this ‘more gun laws’ bullshit is just that.
When it comes to background checks. Since 911 the computers have been updated and they are pretty good right now. Check it out.
Bottom line: Research this stuff on your own. If you are comfortable trusting in this government . . . fine, but if you are not, you better think twice before falling to the tears and political bullshit coming out of the White House these days.
After careful consideration I believe every honest person should be armed until every thug, crook, and gangster is forced to give up their weapons also . . . and the government quits living on sound bites and emotional pleas, but gets down to business doing the things we chose them to do. As far as I can see that ain’t happening any time soon, and if this country is on the slide I believe it to be on I want the means available to defend myself.
Bottom line: I believe that this Obama thing is just another way to crack the resolve of the people and force a wedge into the NRA (no, I am not a member). . . His intention as a dupe for the Oligarchs is complete gun confiscation. Shame and sorrow on us if we ever allow that to happen.
Now to end this with a bit of balance, a little common sense on the part of gun owners would help a whole lot . . . as well as this media depicting everybody who owns a gun as a baby killer. As is we are digging a hole that can only be filled by the very people we dislike the most . . . those bent on destroying this nation even more than they already have.
I am not convinced that guns are the only cause for the large volume of crazy killings that are happening in this country. I believe Obama has a hidden agenda concerning this phenomena, or he is just inept at doing his job. . . . as will be Hillary.
Gun laws are necessary, but there are plenty of those already on the books. With a bit of research, anybody can find that this is true. So what is it? Why the full frontal attack on guns in the first place?
Guns are by their very nature the ‘go to’ weapon of the masses namely because the gun is the ‘equalizer.’ There is usually no competitive risk and all it takes is pulling a trigger to kill or maim an enemy. A little fat guy guy pulls a gun and immediately he feels he has power and control over a situation. . . a fact that is not necessarily true, but if one watches the movies and the TV he/she get’s the idea that it is. It’s no wonder that guns are so popular.
In essence a gun is a dangerous weapon in the hands of a fool and must be controlled somehow, but nobody trusts the motives of government because they have already been proven to lie about just about everything else. How can we believe them and their short sighted approach to gun control?
What about our degrading society where gangs rule much of the turf in our cities? What about a total lack of common sense when it comes to many, many laws these days? What about the drugs? The mentally ill? Violence in games, TV, movies, music, art . . . EVERYWHERE? What about the psychic reasons for a guy to pull a gun in the first place?
Why do we place so much emphasis on one part of this equation while totally ignoring the remainder of these questions? Because guns are easy to demonize and their absence from our hands makes us easier to control. It’s that simple. The other stuff takes too much effort.
So what IS the reason that up until 1968 or so ALL guns were legal and there were no major incidents of school shootings and the only mass shooting I could find was Charles Whitman in 66? Were we a more peaceful society then? NO. We were smack dab in the middle of a cultural uprising. The blacks were burning cities, students were rioting against the Vietnam war and the establishment. There was chaos everywhere . . . BUT I lived in the streets of Portland Ore and yet I could walk through the park at 3AM with my girlfriend and have no fear. I never saw a gun drawn in anger. I never heard of a kid going bonkers and shooting up his school. How come?
DRUGS. . . . Not the weed and psychedelics we all took, but what about SSRI’s (Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor, etc.) They had not as yet been introduced into the pharmacopoeia. http://www.drugwatch.com/ssri/
It has been proven today that the vast majority of shooters in this country have been either on, or trying to get off, these SSRI drugs. Why then are these drugs and the prescribing of them to our youth not being questioned? Because of corporate greed and huge profits these drugs are untouchable. You want to know the truth or would you rather believe the political/corporate lie as many do?
Following is an excerpt from ‘Population Control’ by Jim Marrs:
British psychiatrist Dr. David Healy notes that “almost all the school shooters that we know of have either been on or using these drugs or in withdrawal from them,” a condition called SSRI discontinuation syndrome . . . Dr. Healy warned, “You can become emotionally numb when you go on these drugs. That means you can do things you wouldn’t normally contemplate doing.”
The website ’http://www.drugwatch.com/ssri/ has a zillion personal stories about this issue . . . so if you are going after guns perhaps a broader look will help you make a more intelligent decision.
http://ssristories.org/. . . SSRI Stories is a collection of over 6,000 stories that have appeared in the media (newspapers, TV, scientific journals) in which prescription drugs were mentioned and in which the drugs may be linked to a variety of adverse outcomes including violence.
In closing, it’s simple. As long as criminals have guns we must have a counter balance or become their prey even more than we already are. That is the only conclusion that makes good common sense. You want to believe Jesus or Obama will keep you safe? Fine. But personally I will put my faith in Smith and Wesson.
Before we start this series on personal survival I want you to know what we are up against. I want to reveal to you who we are up against because the first rule of engagement in any battle, as Lao Tzu taught us, is to know your enemy.
During the Vietnam war (62-75) I wonder if anyone in those days considered what Agent Orange would do to Vietnam . . . or how many millions upon millions of life forms our planes destroyed in the carpet bombings of Laos and the Plain of Jars.
Here’s an American pilot talking about the joys of napalm:
‘We sure are pleased with those backroom boys at Dow. The original product wasn’t so hot if the gooks were quick they could scrape it off. So the boys started adding polystyrene now it sticks like shit to a blanket. But then if the gooks jumped under water it stopped burning, so they started adding Willie Peter [white phosphorous] so’s to make it burn better. It’ll even burn under water now. And just one drop is enough, it’ll keep on burning right down to the bone so they die anyway from phosphorous poisoning.’
If you want to you can research all this at http://plainofjars.net/war.htm
Now to my point. These guys who did all that were the same kids who in earlier days were no different than any other kids. They had to be TRAINED to kill commies. They had to be TRAINED to enjoy the destruction and chaos they created, They had to be TRAINED, TRAINED, TRAINED because a normal person would not shirk his duty to humanity and do those things without being deemed insane.
So who, what, is our enemy? Is it the Republicans? The Democrats? The Russians? The Muslims? The Christians? . . . NO! IT’S THE TRAINING!
What the hell does that mean? It means we are wasting our time going after a group of individuals and corporations who have been trained that profit for the corporation is far more important than the humanity it was created to serve.
When the coal company blows the top off a mountain in W.VA all it sees is profit.
When Monsanto and their ilk stir up another toxic brew or create a new line of GMO’s, their bottom line is profit.
None of these corporations, although being made up of our friends and neighbors, has the ability to see how wrong they are when they decide to place their corporation over your children’s ability to breathe properly. They all have a contrived excuse that sounds pretty good until you take a closer look and ask yourself a few simple questions like; Who’s profiting from this? The planet? The people? The corporation?
These corporate people are just as TRAINED as the pilots who dropped millions of tons of bombs on the Plain of Jars in Loas, or Agent Oranged Vietnam. Check out that smirky brat poster boy of greed named Martin Shkreli. You’ll see what I mean.
There is no end to the lengths this kind of ignorant thought will lead us. Do we want our country to end up like the mess we created in SE Asia? (one of the most beautiful areas on this planet) Check a current aerial map of a W.VA mining area and you won’t see much difference.
It’s funny how destruction all looks the same after the fact . . . guess in the end it all proves that we ARE one world, one country, one people. We ALL live off the same energy. We ALL eat, and breathe, and laugh, and cry and DIE . . . together.
On this site we are not at war with the corporation, or the country, or the faith, or anyone called ‘them’. We are at war with their training. If we hope to permanently put a stop to all this destructive pollution, we must get to the root of the problem and change things there . . . and honestly I don’t have a clue as to how that will get done. So for now we must learn to survive on this poisoned planet amongst the polluters until someone comes along who does.
It took me many years of observation and serious thought to deliver myself from the training of those earlier years. I am so glad I lived long enough for that to happen . . . but today there is so much work to do that we don’t have thirty years to make the change.
Let the finger pointers and name callers go about their business, this is a personal matter. This is about surviving, not accusing. Nothing changes around you/us until something changes within. As long as there is darkness upon the land there will be war, but war fighting between ignorant peoples will only produce more ignorance. The world suffers enough from close minded intolerance. Open up to wisdom and become a person who can actually help in making a difference.
Chris Hedges says in his essay: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/flints_crisis_is_about_more_than_water_20160207
We do not possess the intellectual skills—and this is by design —that permit us to question power, to see ourselves as part of a long human continuum. We have forgotten, or never been taught, that each individual must be seen as an ultimate end if we are to retain any human decency and hope. Once we depersonalize others, once we forget who we are and where we came from, we make evil possible. “Act so that humanity, both in your own person and that of others, be used as an end in itself, and never as a mere means,” Immanuel Kant wrote. If we cannot think morally, if we live devoid of empathy, if our advancement comes at the expense of the other, if we lose touch with the wisdom of the past, we cannot rebel. And if we do not rebel we will sustain a system that will ultimately slay us. – end quote
Since this chapter is based upon our individual and corporate training, let’s discuss Chris’s thought “and this is by design” a bit . . . because my bet is that many today don’t know what the hell he is even talking about.
In the early 1900’s a group of major industrialists realized they were going to need a steady stream of thousands of workers to man the assembly lines of their growing industries. John D Rockefeller got together with his people and formed the groundwork to what essentially became the modern compulsory education system we live under today.
the Rockefeller education board:
“In our dream we have limitless resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand. The present educational conventions fade from our minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or of science. We are not to raise up among them authors, orators, poets, or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians. Nor will we cherish even the humbler ambition to raise up from among them lawyers, doctors, preachers, statesmen, of whom we now have ample supply.”
– Rev. Frederick T. Gates, Business Advisor to John D. Rockefeller Sr., 1913 
The General Education Board was not interested in encouraging critical thinking. Rather, its focus was on organizing children and creating reliable, predictable, obedient citizens. As award-winning former teacher John Gatto puts it, “school was looked upon from the first part of the 20th Century as a branch of industry and a tool of governance.” The Rockefellers, along with other financial elite and their philanthropic organizations (such as the Gates, Carnegies, and Vanderbilts) have been able to mold society by funding and pushing compulsory state schooling for the masses.
Our education system was never intended to further the broad and complete education of individual children, it was instead created to supply able workers who would be smart enough to do the job but not wise enough to think for themselves and cause problems.
The goal of old John D. was to enable a smooth transition of the American populace from a rugged individual lifestyle to one of docile order taking . . . a perfect worker and money spender who would buy their bullshit as well as their product with added interest. As we can see the ploy succeeded above all expectations.
Today, as america wanders aimlessly down the isle of consumerism we are the perfect zombyized drone the elite owners always wanted us to be. We buy their junk for more money than it’s worth. We buy their medicine and health care for far more than it’s worth. We purchase their insurance, listen to their bullshit and elect the best liar to lead us off to yet another war that gets our kids killed in the name of patriotism and heroism. (and profit!)
Today there is little left of that rugged individualism that we once had. Today a person like that is considered quaint, or eccentric or just plain nuts. We idolize the people who own us and revile those who want to change their system. We are in such a sad condition that we better hope Big Brother, for whatever reason, no longer needs us . . . OOOPS! Guess What? . . . . HE DOESN’T!!
Now do we hate the Rockefellers for training us to be their good workers? No, of course not. It was at the beginning perhaps, a win, win, situation. It was the formation of a strong middle class that kept us at the top of the economic heap all these many years, and I’m sure it would have gone on indefinitely if technology had not come along and advanced to the point where the elite no longer needed us. As a matter of fact, according some of the sources I read, they are in a huddle right now trying to figure out what to do with all of us.
Now, as a bonafide conspiracy theorist (at least part of the time) I have my ideas on what they have planned, but to point fingers here is not my goal, my goal is to reveal the training I was talking about in the first post because a lot of what I feel we need to do in order to survive our immediate future reverts us back to our past when we were rugged individualists.
Those who remain rutted in their teaching, I’m afraid, are being aced out by a robot or a weapon and in a world of hurts when the curtain closes completely on the industrial age. Time to get back to the future. Evolution demands we must move forward or perish.
In learning the art of story writing one of the first fundamental truths you are taught is to “show not tell” your story. This applies to practically any genre that you choose to write about. Merely telling a story, even if it’s a good one, puts you in danger of losing your audience before the second chapter because it will become boring to them, and boredom is a sure killer to a writer’s work.
To show the story as well as tell it has the power to draw your audience in and get them involved with your characters and the outcome of whatever plot line you have designed for them. All the great writers from Hemingway to Mark Twain used this principle in their stories.
Using ‘show not tell’ as an example I have recently realized another truth that we all should be aware of as we enter this holiday period and spend more time than usual with our family and friends. In our conversations with one another we must learn to talk TO the party involved and not AT the party involved.
There is a difference in including the other opposed to telling him. As an example we parents spend a lot of time telling our kids stuff, we talk at them. Talking at someone is an authoritative thing, it does not include listening or give and take. It’s basically loving the sound of your own voice and the truth of your own opinions so much that you are using your opponent as a sounding board rather than seeing them as a viable thinking person, perhaps just as smart and just as interesting as you see yourself to be.
If you find the goal of every conversation you enter is to come out on top you may have found the reason why so many others seem to be evading you. Family members have a tendency to go this way, but the same principle applies with friends, coworkers, even on line if your not careful your conversation becomes a military exercise.
How much better to talk TO that son or daughter, or brother or sister than AT them. How much better to include them in your story than just telling them?
Try it once. Ask a question or two . . . be really interested in what their reply is. Think about what they have to say instead of thinking your own talking points while they are talking . . . listen to them.
That’s what I’m going to start doing and maybe they’ll quit calling me a know-it-all?
Although we can be related by blood or formed into various groups, each one of us lives in our own reality and perceives this existence we all share a wee bit differently. Expecting others to share OUR reality has always been the major cause of conflict in this world . . . yet we continue walking this same beaten and worn out path throughout time . . . and the beat goes on.
If we want to learn something worth while perhaps we should drop the “leader” fetish and search within ourselves for the answers that are already there . . . and be KIND!
We will all gain far more from being kind than always being right.
The man walked into his office and greeted his secretary, “Good morning Sally,”
“Good morning sir. Coffee?”
“Yes, thank you very much.”
She went out and returned with a cup of coffee and his daily schedule. She also handed him a rare memo from the boss which the man opened immediately. It contained an invitation to meet in the local eatery at noon for lunch.
WOW, he thought. I’m finally getting the promotion!
The man glided through his morning’s work until 11:45. He then left the building and walked the few blocks down 5th avenue until he reached the restaurant. He entered the posh atmosphere and allowed his eyes to adjust in the dimly lit room. His boss, already seated, raised his hand from the corner table and motioned him over.
During the long, amiable lunch, the man’s mind raced in anticipation. After cocktails the boss finally got down to it and said to the man in a very direct manner, ”I have some business I’d like to discuss with you”. The man waited patiently for the boss to speak.
“I hate to be the bearer of such news, but we have decided to move the entire company to Mexico where the business environment is more conducive to our profit margin. We are going to close down your department and . . . I’m saddened to say, you are being let go. There will be a handsome severance check waiting for you at the office in the morning, along with your last pay.”
The man, diving into an instant state of shock, sat there wearing a blank stare. He was speechless.
The boss quieted himself for a moment, then said, “Why don’t you just take the rest of the day off to digest all this? I’m truly sorry, but because of the political circumstances in this country, it was the only thing we could do. Your job will be filled by our Mexican counterpart and there is no place left for you in the company. I want to thank you for your twenty three years of good service and I want to assure you, we will do all we can to get you lined up with a new company if you should choose. Just call me if you need my help.”
The boss rose, shook the man’s hand, gave his condolences one more time, and disappeared out the door leaving the man sitting there staring out the window.
A year and a half later, the man had used up all his options. He’d finally, after much effort to do so, decided there was no job for a guy his age to be had. He’d spent most of his savings. He’d lost his home to foreclosure. His BMW was repossessed . . . and his wife had dumped him for a college professor.
With his life now in shambles, the man left his small apartment, packed up his old pickup with a sleeping bag and some books and drove into the city to join Occupy Wall Street.
Once there, he began to mingle amongst the thousands crying for change in a system that had gone mad with greed, and, for the first time in a long time, felt a spark of hope as he stood on the sidewalk in Times Square carrying a sign that read: . . . WE ARE THE ONES WHO ARE TOO LARGE TO FAIL!
At that moment, a well dressed, middle aged woman walked up to him, looked straight into his eyes and shouted, “You PEOPLE are disGUSTing! We flew all the way from Birmingham just to see this show and you PEOPLE are blocking the sidewalk.” She stopped, took a deep breath, and continued, “We’re going to be LATE for the openING! Why don’t you just quit all this nonsense and GET A JOB?!” A cop standing near by cleared a path for the lady and her friend. She gave the man one long, last, dirty look before scooting off to her show.
The man never replied to the lady. What could he say? He hung around for a while, but soon quietly walked back to the park and spent the remainder of the night on the ground in his sleeping bag.
At first light he packed his stuff, left the park, and made his way back to his vehicle. He drove out of town. When his gas gauge closed in on empty, he pulled off the free way, reached into the glove box, grabbed his pistol and without another thought, quickly blew his problems out the back of his head.
The lady who had berated him to get a job, of course knew none of this. Actually, after the incident she felt pretty damn proud of herself. “I sure gave that lazy asshole a piece of my mind.” she said to her lady friend.
“You sure did honey. He won’t forget that any time soon!” She chuckled.
The lady and her friend made it to the theater on time for opening curtain, watched the show, had cocktails after, and spent the night in an expensive hotel room. The following morning they jetted back to Birmingham and took a cab to their large homes in a gated community outside of town.
The lady’s husband was in the kitchen when she walked in the door. “ Hi honey”, she said. “What are you doing home? Why aren’t you at the office? You sick? You sure look it.”
“I’m so glad you’re finally home,” he said as he walked over to her. “I’ve got some bad news . . . I had lunch with the boss yesterday and . . . .
In the beginning there was Intelligence and there was Energy….that’s all there was.
One day while traveling the Great Void Intelligence happened upon Energy.
Being enamored with Her shimmering beauty He knew He must have Her . . .
Instantly the great marriage experience (later to be called the Big Bang) ensued.
When Intelligence and Energy became one their orgasm flung the seeds of Creativity throughout the Great Void.
The physical universe was formed, Stars, Solar systems, and the smaller planets appeared.
The Earth, being a favored child of the Two, was scattered with the seeds of a million creations, each one having the ability to reproduce and change evolutionary direction as seemed fitting to insure its survivability in the highly competitive environment.
You see…………..forget the religious/science debate……it’s all about SEX!
Now if you think bullshitting is not an art form just take a look at the past presidential race and you can see openly just how important this art form is to the politician who must, through long hours of intense study, become a master of his trade. The canvas of promises he paints and displays openly before his admiring throng in all it’s beauty is truly amazing. His glib tongue deftly laying stroke upon stroke across a broad canvas, he forms the contrast and conflict of his opponents deep shadow juxtaposed his very own brightest of light . . . while the layman postulates himself before the Master and stares upon his canvas of dreams.
It seems the only time you get the truth, or even an honest opinion from this breed is to listen to these people AFTER they leave office. Generals, Senators, all the way down to the local yocal member of the school board are so steeped in spinning bullshit during their career you just can’t trust a word they say.
Obama knows the art form and used it well. He is a Master at his trade. McCain, although I’m sure he’s also a Master in his own right, chose another emotional theme for his canvas. Obama’s work centered on hope. McCain’s centered on fear.
More people responded to hope than fear so Obama won the bullshit (tell them what they want to hear) election in spite of the fact most people who voted for Obama probably instinctively knew he couldn’t keep most of the promises he had painted for them. They were, in the light of current events, wishful thinking at the most.
I personally believe he will be far to busy just keeping the ship of state afloat after the disastrous last eight years of George Bush to do much else. Hell, man we will be lucky to have a monetary system at all by the end of next summer, let alone enough cash to do anything much to help the poor and needy middle class in this country.
So how does this all pertain to our personal survival?
A man who understands the nuances of bullshitting can and will survive longest among his fellows. He knows it is far easier many times to convince an enemy than to kill him, especially if he is out gunned and outnumbered.
He knows instinctively if he practices faithfully and becomes an adept, the sky is the limit.
He knows a good line of bullshit and a glib tongue can get him shelter, water and food even when outnumbered and living amongst his enemies. Even when facing certain death the true and fearless artist can sway his captors into his camp by merely corralling them with his tongue.
A great bullshitter has to be in charge of his own mind. He must be intelligent and wise to the ways of man and of the world. He must not just control the room, he must own it. People must love him. They must look up to him. Want him to lead them. He must be a chameleon shape shifter able to capture the essence of a rainbow for them. He must like the apostle Paul “be all things to all men.”
The greatest, the most satisfying, the loveliest words that the truly masterful bullshitter can hear is for his following to say with heart felt conviction.
“Our leader speaks the truth.” . . . . . . . . . .
An American Hero
Todd Beamer was a young, strong, American man when he entered the plane that sunny morning. He had no idea that fate was about to deal him a very hard hand.
He probably stuck his luggage in the rack, sat in his seat, said some nicety to the guy beside him and settled in thinking of the reunion he would soon be having with his wife and newborn daughter. A short time later he was introduced to unimaginable hell.
He called his wife to let her know his plane had been hijacked and they talked for about twenty minutes on the cell phone. She informed him about the Twin Towers and at that time Todd realized his fate had been sealed.
Todd’s life had suddenly been limited to only two choices…fight or flight. He could have chosen to cower in the rear of the plane, but instead he chose to fight. He may have prayed…but he also decided to fight.
He joked to his wife that he still had his plastic breakfast knife and he was going to go for it. She agreed, and he, along with two other passengers attacked. There were screams as the plane went down . . . then silence.
Todd and his two stranger/friends sacrificed themselves because they knew where the plane was heading. Were they scared? I’m sure they were, but when the time came they stood in the breach and went down fighting. They were not dying for a glorious cause, they weren’t martyrs, just three guys who decided if they had to die anyway they might as well fight back and try to save those waiting somewhere to be engulfed in a fiery inferno. This is a patriot, and this is what makes America great.
I pray that if any of my five sons or my grandson is unlucky enough to fall into a situation such as this, that they do the same. I pray that any of you young guys out there who find yourselves in harms way, do the same. Bar room rhetoric is one thing, but when the tunnel narrows, and it may, stand and be accounted for.
Todd and his friends have been nominated for the presidential freedom medal, they deserve it. Their families deserve it. There are many today that may have had their lives saved because of their action that fateful day when they were limited to two choices . . . fight or flight.
Writers draw from the same pool of thought. They re-arrange a given number of words to express themselves on subjects that have been touched upon thousands of times before . . . and yet each thought is unique, each original writing a little different from all others. Such is the way in a creation where the whole is truly greater than the sum of all its parts.
Perhaps by reading my philosophical meanderings you will generate a deeper thought of your own, or get a good laugh, regardless . . . the writings follow.
The massive blizzard appeared from out of nowhere to engulf the open tundra with a vengeance. I was walking my trap line when the pelting snow hit me dead in the face and I realized my only hope for survival was to find shelter within the pine thicket that lay about two miles from where I was standing. I dropped what gear I could, attached my snow shoes, took a compass bearing, and made a dash for the shelter of the trees that were already disappearing from view in the blowing snow.
The wide gait required by snowshoes wore me quickly down. My body screamed for the break it couldn’t have. I plowed on relentlessly, knowing to stop meant to die. Finally, after an exhausting struggle, I made the tree line and entered the dark interior of the forest.
The wind beating angrily against its tightly packed foliage slowed to a whisper as I slipped between the pines and crawled beneath a snow covered bough and slumped down, exhausted, against the tree’s trunk.
All I needed was a moment of rest to catch my breath, and then I would start a fire. I needed to thaw my freezing body . . . to regain my bearings . . . only a moment . . . then I would start the fire.
I was flying. Exhilarated, I soared like an eagle across my dream scape until I found myself being drawn quickly beyond the earth’s atmosphere. I looked behind me and noticed that a silver chord had me anchored to the bright blue ball of Earth. As the chord grew taut it broke and I felt a strange tingling throughout my body followed by a rush of unspeakable joy. I was free! Shooting through a myriad of luminous colors surrounding the brightness of the sun, nearing the end of my destination . . . I awoke.
I crawled out from under the protective boughs of the tree and noticed my feet were no longer frozen. I also realized I’d been delivered from the pain that had racked my body. What a pleasant surprise it was. I wasn’t even cold anymore. Amazed by what a little rest would do, I took stock of my situation.
A few yards before me lay a trail of hard-packed snow I hadn’t noticed upon entering the forest. I knew if I followed it, sooner or later, I’d find refuge and food. No longer needing the snow shoes, I packed them up and prepared to move on.
I hit the trail and suddenly found myself staring into the yellow eyes of the largest wolf I’d ever seen. He was the color of the snow that surrounded him and almost invisible as he stood behind the trunk of a tree observing me. No movement, nothing. Seconds passed before he raised his massive head, turned, and bound effortlessly down the trail. He stopped after going about thirty yards and looked back.
I felt he was leading me somewhere so I followed after him. I must have gone a mile or more before the trail emerged from the trees. The wolves foot prints led to a one room cabin sitting in the center of the small clearing. A small column of smoke rose from the chimney, straight up into the still air as if the wind had forgotten the clearing all together as it passed over on its mad dash to the sea.
On the front porch lay the white wolf, his head resting on his forepaws as he watched me approach the cabin. Feeling no sense of danger I stepped onto the porch and knocked on the cabin door. “Hello!” I yelled into its quiet interior.
A chair slid and I heard footsteps as someone rose and walked towards the door. It slowly opened and I found myself staring into the riveting, steel-blue eyes of a very old man with a bushy white beard. Long silver hair fell to his shoulders from beneath a woolen cap, the kind sailors wore when on watch in cold climates.
“Hello Jim, I’ve been expecting you,” the old man said in a soothing voice that resonated throughout the interior of the small cabin.
“Expecting me?” I asked feeling a bit apprehensive.
“Yes my friend, my name is Jacob. I am your spirit guide, and a very old friend.” He smiled warmly. “I’m here to help you during your transition.”
“Transition? What transition?” I asked, suddenly beginning to realize why the pain had ceased and everything felt so strange. “Am I dead?”
“No, nothing dies in the Creators entire universe , Jim,” Jacob said. “It’s just recycled. Death only exists in the minds of those living the earth dream. Here, we refer to your so called death as an awakening. You have awakened and now it is time to analyze the life you’ve just lived. I am here to help you sort things out.”
I stared hard into the old man’s eyes trying to figure out which one of us was crazy, while at the same time knowing what he said was true. I’m dead? This was just so different than I had been led to believe. Where was the bright light? Or the dark tunnel? Was I in Heaven? Hell? Could it possibly be this simple? Is this what I’ve feared all my adult life? To fall asleep and awake in a land not much different than the one I’d left behind?
Things did seem a little different here. The serenity of this place was beyond description, but I was still me. I talked and felt and breathed. The greatest difference I noticed was that the pain in my body had been replaced by a strange euphoria. There was lightness about this place, the difference between a hot, humid jungle and a cool mountain meadow. I felt invigorated.
“No offense, Jacob, but you certainly don’t look like an angel to me.”
“I’m not an angel, I’m your guide. I’ve been with you since the very beginning of your life on the Earth. I chose to appear in this form to ease your transition, but I could have chosen another. As your memory awakens, you will remember. Come in,” Jacob invited.
I walked into the interior of the dimly lit cabin as Jacob closed the door. The large room was hidden in shadow except for a small wooden table and two chairs sitting near the only window. These were bathed in opaque streaks of bright sunlight. Jacob led me to the table and slid a chair out from under it. “Have a seat,” he said, while he took the one across from me.
“In the beginning, before you were born into the Earth, we discussed the goals and desires you wished to accomplish while on your journey. You had created for yourself a pathway of many obstacles, in hopes of obtaining a deeper understanding of the three principles taught upon the Earth . . . Love, Mercy, and Grace. Our job today, is to review your life and see how well you’ve learned your lessons. You and you alone are the judge. Our Creator has made it so, we judge ourselves and have no one to blame when we’ve taken the lower way, except ourselves. Do you remember any of this yet?”
I tried to understand what he was talking about, I thought of laughing at the silliness of it all, but I could not. “No.”
“Don’t worry, memory will soon restore itself and you will see, once again, the many lives you have lived and the many paths you have taken to bring you to this point. Think back to the beginning. What was your first emotion as you entered the body growing within your mother’s womb?”
I closed my eyes and concentrated. I began to remember. “I’m sad, I don’t want to leave and I may change my mind.”
“What do you feel as you exit the womb of your mother?”
“I am alone, cold, and angry, this is not what I wanted. I have been born into a family consumed in bitterness. I regret taking the negative path. I want to abort and come home. There is no love here.”
“Exactly what you planned for,” he said. “Your first lesson was to learn the necessity of love. You chose within the earth dream to experience a life without love. Do you remember yet?”
Strangely, the life I had left behind began unfolding as a vision within my mind and I began to understand how miserably I had failed the test. “Yes, I’m beginning to see my life, it’s open before me.”
“Good. I’ll return when you’ve finished.” Jacob arose, donned his parka, and left the cabin. I watched him through the window facing the table as he walked down the path. The white wolf pranced by his side.
Moments later, I returned to the mental image. As I observed scene after scene of failure and missed opportunities, I became depressed. During the first two years of life, I had absorbed the negative energy that surrounded me and lost my way. Instead of using the darkness as intended, to strengthen my spirit and brighten the way for others, I had succumbed to its influence and added yet another layer to its depths.
It was a strange experience as I sat at the small table viewing scenes that had taken place in my childhood. Little things, that at the time meant nothing at all, suddenly magnified before my mind’s eye and I saw how such a small seed, once planted, opened a pathway in opposition to my life’s goals.
One such scene showed me about six years into my childhood. I had crafted a slingshot out of the crotch of a tree limb and an old inner tube. I practiced hitting tin cans until I became very good at knocking them over. When I became bored with the cans, I began shooting at live targets. Now I visualized the day I hid in the weeds behind my house and stalked a bird. As I neared, I raised myself slowly from the earth, pulled back the heavy rubber band and let the stone fly. I hit the robin square in its red breast and killed it. I was elated as I stood over my prey.
As I now relived the scene, I felt deep anguish rise from within me. The robin was only the first, the slingshot, one day became a gun, and the joy of killing ran unabated throughout my life cycle. It was justified as war, or sport, or necessity, but always, regardless of the wording, a living creature died as the result of my pulling a trigger.
Now I heard the voice speak to me from the depths of my conscience asking why. I remembered how easy it became once I had learned to silence the constant nagging. Now I felt deeply ashamed for all the creatures I had killed, but most of all for the robin, because that was where it started, where the seed had been planted.
I remembered how, before entering the earth, I desired to be a caretaker and friend of the lower life forms, to communicate and learn from them, to heal and feed them. And yet, my last day found me trapping and ripping the hides off these very animals I had sworn to befriend and protect.
The lofty goals of love had been perverted by self-serving lust as I quickly became the center of my private universe. Mercy and grace were signs of weakness. I lived by the law in which I had been raised and hid my fears behind a wall of callousness. Throughout my life cycle, I had justified my own actions while condemning others. I had no trouble striking out, but to ask forgiveness was a strange language, one that seldom found its way to my tongue.
As I finished, and sat quietly contemplating the deeds of my life, Jacob returned. He hung his parka on the hook beside the door, walked to the table and sat down. “Well, how did it go?” he asked.
“I think you know the answer to that,” I said, feeling miserable.
“What do you plan on doing?”
“I must return and make amends.”
“Perhaps, you should remain and rest for awhile.”
“I will Jacob; I need to rest before going back.”
Exert from the memoirs of Sean Cahalane
Foundation for Peaceful Co-existence
In Northern Ireland
The war had ended, Ireland was busy rebuilding her economy after Hitler’s chaotic rumble through Europe when my father, John Cahalane, met and wed the former Mary O’Reilly in Belfast. Not wanting to raise children amongst the violence and religious intolerance that engulfed the city, he bought a secluded farm that sat above the misty, wind-swept cliffs along the northern coast of Colarine. I was born in a stone cottage that overlooked the sea in 1946.
Although my father possessed a temperament within his short, powerfully-built body, that matched the ruggedness of the rocky soil he sought to subdue, his presence perpetuated a relaxed peace within our house. Neighbors would often visit, to sit by the fire and listen as he shared wisdom that no book could teach. He spoke of deep things, making them simple to understand. He believed all men had access to the face of God and all those proclaiming to be His spokesmen were merely obstacles clouding the vision. To him it was simply a matter of listening and observing the natural world around him.
The earliest memory I have of him, was of awaking early one morning and watching as he sat atop the cliff staring out to sea. If I woke early enough, he’d always be there. I remember once asking when he came in for breakfast what he was looking at while he sat there. He said, “Everything, Sean my lad, everything.” He then smiled, and said I would someday understand.
My mother later told me this was how he talked to God. His church had no doors or windows or priests, he just talked to the wind as it blew in from the ocean and took the sacraments upon the cliffs of Colarine. Sometimes when playing along the cliffs, I’d stop and try to talk to God like my father did, but He never answered. I figured He didn’t much care to talk to children.
My mother was a poet and a singer of songs. I still hear her sweet voice when she sat before my bed when I was ill and played the guitar while singing to me in her soft, lilting, brogue. Ours was a loving, peaceful home, and much of what I’ve taught through the years, I learned by observing my parents.
I lived a sheltered life during those early years. It wasn’t until public schooling that I began to hear stories and realize the extent of the hatred and violence encompassing our homeland. I remember one evening asking my father if we were Catholic or Protestant. I had hoped we were Catholic, as most of my school friends were. He said, “We are on Gods side Sean, and He has nothing to do with either of these.”
Had it not been for his watchful eye and the nurturing of my mother, I would not be writing my memoirs this day. I would have succumbed to the pressure of my peers and, by now, my body would have been placed alongside the many of my classmates who joined the IRA and were buried long before their time.
The discipline of those early years strengthened me, enabled me to help form the small movement that grew swiftly until its membership numbered in the thousands and spread throughout our homeland. That message of oneness overcame the ancient hatreds and formed the union of peace and mutual respect in which we now live.
The one great lesson my father taught me when I was a child, which is today the corner stone of the Foundation for Peaceful Coexistence, is this: The river of Life is available to all men, and all men have the power to choose, but only those willing to shed the garments of religious dogma and immerse themselves within her sweet waters will ever truly experience her fullness. Today, I can declare that Northern Ireland has done just that, and the river of Life flows strongly across our landscape. For this I am deeply grateful to our Creator, and to those who have chosen to stand and make the difference.
Although I am a father seven times over, and the husband of a beautiful and gifted poet in her own right, my crowning achievement in this world, that which gave my life purpose, was the signing of the Declaration of Unity between the religious factions that were destroying our country.
I’ve lived a long, fulfilling life, and have but a short time remaining until I must depart. My only prayer is, as this old man goes to the grave, others will step in and fill the gap, that you will not forget.
By my hand,
Sean Cahalane — July 2023
Jacob knew the time for Sean was close at hand, and waited patiently for the day when the friend he’d guided these many years, these many lives, would be amongst the family once more. He had finally grown beyond the necessity for, and would soon be freed from, the karmic law of cycles and return home for good.
Assassin knew the risks involved in this mission were great, perhaps even suicidal, but he didn’t care. With quiet trepidation he took one last mental check, stepped from his hiding place and disappeared into the dark of the moonless night.
A strong sense of danger overpowered his resolve as he crept around the side of the house. Mental conditioning alone kept him moving forward. Upon reaching the predesignated kill zone he stopped, listened for a movement and took a quick look around before disappearing between a large tangle of bushes growing beneath the kitchen window.
Adrenaline pumped wildly through Assassin’s veins as he spotted the shirtless target standing before the sink washing dishes. A radio blared from the living room. With music playing and the man’s back to the screenless window, Assassin, knowing this was going to be an easy hit, prepared for immediate action.
Silently he laid his rifle across the sill and took aim. One shot, center mass between the shoulder blades. One kill. Breath in . . . slowly . . . hold . . . relax . . . squeeze the trigger . . . BANG! . . .
A frightened, animal like yelp ripped through the quiet evening . . . followed by a crescendo of violent cursing as the target dropped the dish he was drying and tried to reach the pain emanating from the center of his back.
Assassin prepared to escape and evade, but now he realized he had fallen into the trap every rookie fears and many live to regret . . . not giving enough thought to the small detail of getting away. He had gone even one step further by neglecting to consider his escape at all. The opportunity to kill had overpowered his reasoning so completely he had thrown all caution to the wind and was about to pay a high price for his foolishness.
The stricken enemy, now recovered, spun around and faced his startled son staring back from the other side of the window, “JIMMY!” he shouted. “WHAT THE HELL DO YOU . . . . !“
Although Assassin had seen his enemy angry many times before, he had never seen him like this. Filled with the dread of impending doom he dropped his rifle in the bushes and ran head on into the night. After rounding the corner of the house and diving into his previous hideout he sat quietly with his back to the wall and hoped the enemy would think he had continued running.
No one chased him so Assassin quietly peered back around the corner, just in time to watch his father burst through the screen door, dash across the stoop and drop to the yard where he found the BB gun lying beneath the bush. The BB gun that he, himself, had just days before purchased as a gift for his son.
Assassin watched in horror as the target swiftly picked up his new rifle and swung it against a tree hard enough to bend it in half and ruin any hopes he would ever have of using it again. He was stunned. Tears streamed down his cheeks. A sob broke free from his heaving chest as he watched the beloved rifle break into two pieces and be thrown to the ground by the enraged enemy.
A moment of silence ensued. . . then the dreadful roar of the enemy’s voice bellowed full throttle into the night, “JIMMY! YOU GET YOUR ASS BACK HERE! . . . NOW!!”
Knowing full well his hope of escape was nil, Assassin gave himself up to fate and meekly surrendered. Though certain he would be given over to the torturer and his water board, he realized all was not lost. Head down in faked shame, he shuffled slowly back to the scene of his crime. A small smile went unnoticed as it broke the thin line of his lips.
Alaskan legend has it that once the Snowbird heads South the Ice Worm rouses from his summer sleep deep within the permafrost to begin his relentless attack upon the mortals left behind.
Jimmy the Indian liked to keep the Ice Worm legend alive, especially for us guys who’d just wandered into the North Country and hadn’t met up with him yet. Jimmy would explain how the worm crawled around till finding an open spot on a man’s flesh. Then he’d attach himself like a leech and suck the heat from it, leaving in his wake a trail of gray dead skin. To Jimmy the Ice Worm was an enemy demanding much respect.
But for the moment I wasn’t concerned with respecting legends. I just knew my feet were numb and my double gloved hands burned with pain after spending too many hours wrapped around the frozen, steel casing of a nail gun. I was damn cold as I waited impatiently for the foreman to give up trying to thaw the compressor and let us go home.
When he finally gave the word I quickly packed my tools and left the construction site. It was three o’clock in the afternoon and already I needed the trucks headlights to guide me as I pulled onto the snow covered, gravel road and headed south.
A couple miles away amidst scrubby pines and frozen tundra sat the log lodge I’d passed that morning on my way up from Anchorage. The long drive being too much for the old pickup I planned on rooming there for the couple of weeks it would take to frame the house we’d just started.
I approached the lodge and pulled into a small parking area. Light emanating from her windows cast a golden hue across the purple-blue snow, a welcome far more enticing than the half lit neon sign hanging by the road.
I parked beside a couple of pickups and plugged the trucks radiator heater into an electric outlet attached to a modern day hitching post lining the front of the wrap around porch. The thermometer hanging beside the steps read -8°.
Grabbing my duffel bag, I locked the trucks door, crunched up the frozen steps and pulled open the heavy log door. As I entered the cozy foyer a young girl behind the desk lifted her eyes from the book she was reading and gave me a large smile. “Hi.” She said. “Can I help you?”
“Hi, yeah, I’d like to rent a room for a couple of weeks, please.”
“Ok, got a real nice one just down the hall, first door to your left. 350.00 a week. Want it?”
I nodded my head and signed on the dotted line. She handed me the key, I bid her a good evening and walked the short distance to my room.
After checking it out I stashed my gear and found my way back through the foyer and entered the large, rustic lounge in hopes of getting something to eat. There was an old pool table in the center, a bunch of tables spread about and a long bar following the right wall constructed of log slabs. Except for the three guys sitting at the bar drinking beer the place was empty. I chose a small table close to the large, crackling fireplace, sat down facing the door and began to unwind.
Soon, a scruffy old man with a long white beard and a balding head shuffled over with a glass of water. His cheekbones bore a grayish-white cast to them, but it was the large, watery, dead spot covering his nose that attracted the most attention.
“What’ll you have, sonny?” the rugged-looking old timer asked.
“Give me a hamburger, French fries, and a cup of coffee, please. And put a double shot of Jack Daniels in the coffee if you would.”
“Sure nuff,” the old timer said and ambled off. He returned minutes later with the spiked coffee.
It was very good and it was hot. The alcohol spread through my belly immediately and by the time the food came I had taken on a lovely mellow feeling.
“Here you go sonny.” The old guy sat the large plate before me. “Anything else?”
The burger looked good. The French fries were the largest I’d ever seen. Some of those babies were at least 8 inches long. I picked one up to study it.
“Grow em in the Matanuska Valley,” he said, “Biggest potatoes in the world, or so they say. Some of em get big as a football, and I ain’t bullshittin either.”
“That’s what I heard,” I said. “But, I’ve never seen one before.” I took a big bite out of the fry I was holding. “Mmmm, tasty.”
“Where you headed?” he asked.
“I’ll be staying right here for a while. Maybe a couple weeks or so.”
The old timer pulled up a chair and sat down across the table from me. “Where you from?” he asked.
“Anchorage . . . Ohio originally.”
“Ohio? Ain’t that where they grow all the corn?”
“We grow corn, but you’re probably thinking of Iowa.”
“Iowa? Yep, suppose so. Been a long time since I’ve seen the lower forty-eight, and then only as far as Dakota . . . born there you know. Ran away from home as soon as I could reach the doorknob.” The old guy laughed. “Hitched a ride up here and ain’t been back since.”
“You own this place?”
“No . . . just helping out my buddy Tom. I live down the road apiece and help out once in a while when things get busy, or Tom wants to fly off to Anchorage for supplies.” He held out his hand, “names Gus.”
I took the gnarled hand and was a bit surprised by its strength. “Mike.”
“So Mike, What brings you to Alaska?”
“Oh, I don’t know, just needed to get away for awhile and thought this would be as good a place as any. I drove up the highway in August.”
“Been a resident for over fifty years now,” Gus said with pride in his voice. “Came up in thirty-four when Alaska was still a territory. You think that Al-Can’s a mess now, you should’ a seen it then, took me three weeks just to get through the Yukon.”
Gus took on a contemplative mood. “Statehood screwed everything up though in my way of thinking. And them damn . . . You got a trade? Not much work around here if you ain’t got a trade.”
“I’m a carpenter. We’re building a house down the road a couple of miles.”
“Oh . . . well hell, boy, you can get a job anywhere. They’re building houses all over the place for them damn Texans. Since they started the pipeline, them damn Texans are everywhere.”
I soon realized that to Gus a “damn Texan” was anybody associated with the pipeline being built to transfer oil from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. And Gus made no bones about hating the pipeline.
I finished my meal and drank a few beers with him while he rambled on about the good old days. His open friendliness, a welcome contrast to conservative Ohio, pleased me. Gus was a real pleasure to be around. I listened to him well into the night, until my eyes would no longer stay open. The alcohol-heat mixture had really gotten to me. “I have to go to bed Gus, I’m beat,” I finally said.
“You go right along sonny, I’ll have a hearty breakfast waiting for you in the morning”.
“Sounds good,” I said standing up. “Nite Gus. ”
I returned to my room, unpacked my duffel bag and took a short, hot, shower. After drying I crawled naked between the clean smelling sheets of the double bed and pulled up the thick down comforter that lay neatly folded at its foot. As I settled in and waited for sleep I thought about old Gus and the story he’d shared earlier.
“What happened to your nose?” I blurted out when Gus alluded to the frozen spot while in the midst of the evening’s conversation.
“Well, sonny, it was like this . . . you want the whole story?” I nodded. “Wait till I get us another beer, cause this’ll take some tellin.”
Gus went behind the bar of the empty lounge and returned with two Mooseheads, sitting one in front of me. After sitting down across the table and taking a pull from his bottle, he twirled the end of his bushy mustache while collecting his thoughts, and began.
“It was back in the old days, somewhere around 1940. I was a young buck about twenty-years old sitting in a Fairbanks bar one day when this old timer starts telling me about a claim he owned at the headwaters of a creek called the Wolverine, down towards Palmer.
He said he couldn’t make the trek anymore because of his age and he wanted to sell out. After assuring me there was still plenty of color left in her, because he was a lazy sort and only panned the creek, he asked if I was interested in buying him out. I said that I’d buy the claim from him and put his mind at ease, if he let me make payments on it. So, we finagled around a bit, and by the time we had two more beers, we’d struck an agreement.
I walked out of that bar with my head held a little higher that day, as I was now a man of substance, owning a gold claim and all. I had visions of grandeur in my brain as I went about thinking how I was going to spend the fortune waiting for me on the Wolverine.
After I scraped up a down payment, and everything became good and legal, I bought some gear and hitched a ride up the Lazy Mountain in my buddies old Model T Ford. I got out at the small bridge that crossed over the creek, packed up all the supplies I could carry, hid the rest, and started walking.
Following the Wolverine very far proved impossible because of the thick bush and narrow bottleneck formed by the two mountains as they bottomed out. So, instead of fighting it, I followed an old moose trail half-ways up the Red before it veered off and hugged the ridgeline.
After going around the bottleneck, the trail dropped onto the floor of the lushest valley I ever saw. The Valley of the Pine Trees, as I later called it. Blueberry bushes were everywhere, and the meadow flowers were blooming. Game trails were deeply carved into the soft muskeg and the large old pines were giving off a fragrance them Seattle ladies would love to own.
That valley was one lovely site, but it had its danger. As I hustled through the dark forest I could hear a bear lumbering ahead of me, grunting as he moved away from this stinky, two-legged. Later, I stumbled onto a large pile of crap still steaming in the coolness. I whistled and made plenty of noise after that, because I didn’t want a surprise meeting with the owner of that whopping big pile of shit anytime soon.
The claim sat at the far end of the valley, at the fork in the river, just like the old-timer had said. The creek itself was running off the glacier that covered the upper parts of the range. It was cold, and so full of silt you could hardly see the bottom in just a foot of water. That’s the way it is with glacier water, looks like watered down milk.
It took me a few days to fix up the old shack for living. It seemed a million shrews had turned her into their own private hotel and weren’t about to give it up without a fight. The little varmints would come out at night and run all over me while I was trying to sleep. Many times I’d open my eyes in the dim light to see a pair of beady little eyeballs staring back at me. Once I got the stove cleaned out and unplugged the flue so I could get a fire going, they must of figured they’d have to share their hotel with me because they started leaving me alone, sorta.
Then that old bear started hanging around the shack looking to steal my grub, so I had to hang it high in a tree before I got a proper cache built. One morning I woke and opened the door to go out, and there he sat. A grizzly as big as I’d ever seen, sitting on the ground under my stash trying to figure out how he could get to it.
It was a good thing I’d hung it high cause that old boy must have cleared thirteen feet when he stood on his hind legs. I quietly closed the door and waited till he left. He was too pretty to shoot, and I was too young to die.
I found a bag of rusty nails and a few tools in the cupboard and decided to fix up the broken down sluice-box behind the cabin. After I re-nailed her as best as I could, I set her up by the creek and the Wolverine Mining Company was officially in business.
I didn’t have any callers coming by to welcome me and lay their blessing on my new endeavor though, seeing as I was the only human in the whole valley. I was all alone, just me and the moose and the bears.
There was a small lake close by loaded with trout, and plenty of ptarmigan for food, even a fresh water spring. Everything a man needed to survive lay within reach. A pretty woman to keep me company and I’d of thought I’d died and gone to heaven.
That old miner, I soon found out, had stretched the truth a bit concerning the abundance of gold I’d find on his claim. It’d been worked over real good by the time I got to it and the nuggets were long gone. But if a guy was determined, he could still get himself enough dust to make the hard work worthwhile. There was gold in the Wolverine; it just took a lot of digging to get to it.
I worked that old sluice box all summer, turning up just enough color to keep me interested. I figured that when I had enough dust to get me through the winter, I’d pack it up and hike out till the next spring.
It was around about mid-October when I started hitting pay dirt and I didn’t want to leave until I cleaned out the gravel bank I was working on. Sixteen hours a day I shoveled into that contraption of a box, but I found a lot of dust, even some good sized nuggets were beginning to show up.
I had the fever. It just sneaked up on me one night and the next day I didn’t want to take the time to eat, sleep, or do anything else. The hell with the coming winter, I was driven to work that box, purely driven.
One night ice began forming over the lake, and a week later, I watched the snow as it dropped on the summit and slowly work its way into the valley. With one eye on the coming freeze, and the other on the gravel pile, I worked even harder, until the creek itself froze over and the snow got so deep I couldn’t work the box anymore.
One morning, I finally just gave in and decided to hightail it out of there. I cached everything I couldn’t carry, loaded my pack with the gold and enough grub to keep me till I got back to the road, and headed down the frozen creek.
I could tell by how fast my beard froze around my mouth and how loud the snow crunched as I walked that the temperature hung well below zero that morning. The snow was knee-deep in some areas, but if I didn’t break through the crust, I knew I could make fairly good time cause the going was level. The sun appeared for a while and there was no wind to speak of, but it weren’t much help against the bitter cold.
I snaked my way along that creek for the better part of two miles. Then, from under the snow, I heard a funny pinging sound. Before I could move another step, there was a loud crack and the ice gave way under me. I went through, up to my hips in the freezing water. I tried to jump out, but slipped on the rocks and fell back into the creek, this time over my head. The water was flowing real fast and I almost got drawn under the ice before I got back to my feet and made my way to shore. As it was, I lost my pack and everything in it, including the dust.
I was in dire straits. My dungarees were frozen and my feet were already losing contact with my brain. I figured I was going to freeze for sure, and for a moment decided to just give up and forget about living. Then I remembered the flint fire starter kit I kept sewn in my coat lining for emergencies, and this was surely one of those. I was moving pretty slow by then, but I tore the lining loose and found it. As the freezing was sneaking up on me, I managed to find a dead pine tree close by that was still standing, and got enough dry tinder to start a fire.
I packed the snow down as best I could with my frozen feet, and put all my energy and skills at fire making to good use. It took a while, but I got one started, or else I wouldn’t be telling the tale today. I just kept loading on the dead wood until I had a roaring bon-fire going. I got naked and completely dried my clothes before moving on.
I hustled myself out of there OK after that, but I knew I’d had a close call, as close as I was ever going to get. I was frozen some, and I’d lost my poke, but I lived to tell the tale.
After that experience, I put the claim up for sale and never went back cause my feet wouldn’t let me. I got around in town alright, but the bush was too much for the feet. I lost two toes on one, and one on the other. My nose and cheeks got froze, and my fingers still pain me in the slightest cold, but other than that I’m just fine.”
Gus stopped talking for a minute, smiled at me and said, “Well, that’s the story of my frozen nose, sonny. If I hadn’t sewn some emergency stuff in my jacket I’d have gone stiff sitting alongside the Wolverine and been a good meal for the wolves.”
As I neared the point of sliding away into dreamland, I remembered Jimmy the Indian from Anchorage and his story about the Ice Worm. I thought of old Gus who had the strength and smarts to beat the worm at his game and felt a rush of deep respect for the tough old guy. I also decided to buy a fire starter kit and sew it inside the lining of my parka. A guy couldn’t be too cautious in Ice Worm country.
There’s an old favorite Calvin and Hobbes cartoon hanging in my office. It starts with the two of them walking through the woods on a bright, sunny winter day. Calvin, being mesmerized by the beauty of it all, stops and gives a long dissertation questioning why mankind had chosen in the first place to sequester himself in houses and cars while living in such overpowering beauty.
Turning to Hobbes he asks. “ That’s why I want to ask you, as a tiger, a wild animal close to nature, what you think we’re put on earth to do . . . What’s our purpose in life? Why are we here?”
Hobbes thinks for a moment, smiles, raises his arms in the old Italian gesture and replies, “We’re here to devour each other alive.” then he walks away.
Calvin watches Hobbes leave, looks straight ahead at the viewer, looks up at the sky. Then he makes a beeline for his house where he fearfully turns up all his lights and raises the heat in hopes of alleviating the fear instilled by Hobbes choice wording.
I have always loved that cartoon cause it shows so well and so simply the struggle each of us every day must make to stay alive in this very chaotic and cruel environment we find ourselves in.
Regardless of our status, be it wealthy, poor, high brow, low brow, African aborigine or American blue blood, this basic survival instinct is prevalent in all of us. It’s the lub in our very first heart beat, leading us down the pathway of our years until it’s final dub.
The way of survival is not merely what one needs to do in order to make it through a social/economic pinch. It’s also on a far deeper level the evolutionary trail a life form has taken through the ages in order to remain viable.
In our breed it manifests a zillion different ways on a zillion avenues, but the struggle is there in all our lives pushing and prodding us into our various chosen paths.
Some, like the guys who have chosen the power/position/possession path, struggle through hard work and dedication to become our leaders and our heroes.
Some, like the criminal, having also chosen the power, position, possession path seek to circumvent the learning curve of hard work and get right to the wealthy part. These become the worst among us and often find themselves wallowing in a cage somewhere feeling sorry for themselves.
Some, like most of us, muddle along content just to have enough to feed ourselves and our family. These people, whether they live in a small house in a suburb or a thatched hut in a jungle clearing are basically all of the same mind set. They struggle to live within their inherited environment in much the same way.
And yet, the question that lies forever strongly in my mind, is why we, the core foundation of this life form called humanity, allow the wealthy and neer-do-wells of this planet to manipulate us, through religious and political means, into taking up arms against one another when we, if anything, ought to be confronting them. This thought alone literally blows my mind . . . and makes me fear for the continuity of this race.
Personally I have never feared much about a wild animal devouring me like perhaps my predecessors have. I have lived in very close proximity to Krait snakes as well as Grizzly bears and have never lost much sleep over the fact.
What I fear above all else is us being manipulated by a man, or a group of men, into believing our survival is contingent upon the killing of THEIR enemy. And I believe . . . until there is a fundamental change in the evolution of our thought, we will all be forever looking over our shoulders for a way to survive the devourer behind us . . . following.
“Bang, bang, you’re dead!” Tommy yells from the thick woods bordering our back yard. “Ha! I got you right between the eyes! You’re dead!”
Tommy’s laughter recedes.
“Bravo One, Bravo One, this is Delta, Over . . . Bravo One, this is Delta, over.” Again and again the same agitated voice. “Bravo one. Can you read me? Over.”
My pounding heartbeat all but silences the incessant static of the radio lying somewhere to my side. I’m trying to find the handset, trying to answer. My ears are ringing. My eyes struggle to focus . . .
‘Blood! Oh shit! What happened? Roll over. Crawl away. Move!’
Blurred, ghost-like images move swiftly towards me. I hear excited, sing song voices and struggle against the panic seeking to engulf me. I close my eyes and attempt to merge with the mud I am lying in.
“Help me,” a voice moans to my left. I hear cursing to my front. The low cough of an AK47 shatters the stillness. Pleading screams followed by more shots, curses . . . more shots.
The shooting ends as quickly as it had started. The enemy melt into thick underbrush and vanish into the early morning haze.
I try to roll over . . . to escape into the jungle before they return, but my legs have detached themselves from my brain and are doing a strange mud dance of their own.
I think of my dad, years ago, laughing as Buster the old coon hound runs in his sleep by the fireplace, “He’s chasing rabbits,” dad says to me.
Tommy laughs at me lying beneath the old oak tree playing dead and pokes me with the butt of his BB gun. “Gotcha, Jimmy. Ha! You’re dead.”
To be at one with our Earth in my opinion is merely to understand her and give her the love and respect she deserves.
I saw a bumper sticker in a store once that had a colored picture of our Earth on it. Following the planet’s contour were the words “Love Your Mother”. I thought the play on words was pretty cool so I bought the thing and glued it onto the back window of my old work truck.
LOVE YOUR MOTHER . . . I wonder how many people would treat their birth mother the way they treat their Earth mother. If they did I wonder how long it would take before birth mother tossed the brat out the upstairs window and smashed his ignorant head on the sidewalk.
Not many I suppose, for as a rule birth mothers are quite long suffering when it comes to their children. She is willing to take a huge load of shit from little Johnnie before she reacts and even then it’s usually a few pats on the behind and a time out in the kitchen corner.
Well, when it comes to our Earth mother, at least since the Industrial revolution when little Johnnie really began giving her a hard time, she has been quiet and long suffering when it comes to disciplining him.
How long she is willing to hold back the paddle is anybodies guess, but today I find myself looking around for a place to hide because once Earth mom gets riled she can really raise holy hell, and not just on the deserving brat either. Everybody in the house gets a piece of the action once she goes over the edge and starts swinging.
Like a lot of kids I grew up knowing mom was always going to be there for me. She would feed me, clothe me and protect me without question, even give me some cash some time when I asked, that’s just the way it was. She was my mom, that’s what moms do.
One day, long after I moved out on my own, I came back to visit mom and saw that she was not getting around so good. Her hair had grayed and she was beginning to forget stuff. I was kinda shocked cause my mom was invincible in her youth. Nothing I did bothered her much and she always had a way of making things better and easier for me. Now, for the first time I realized that the times had changed and I would need to start taking care of her as she was running low on energy.
Our Earth mom has the same problem today as my birth mom had then. She has not said a whole lot about the callous treatment, but the last hundred years or so have been very hard on her and it’s beginning to show.
If you understand this “oneness” you can actually feel her pain. As you watch the oil spill into the gulf you can visualize the internal bleeding as it floods her womb and slowly destroys the birthing place of her entire creation.
As you watch the coal companies in Appalachia scalp her mountains you see the ugly scars left behind and you feel her pain.
All over her Earth rampant destruction is taking place as one country after another rapes and pillages our mother in search of the minerals she has hidden within her soil.
It’s sickening to sit and watch. I sat and watched my birth mother die a horrible death. Stroke had left her unable to speak, or eat, or even drink. She lay that way for ages it seemed before she gave a huge final sigh . . . and died. I don’t want to see my Earth mother go the same way, but unless there is a huge shift in our thinking it’s inevitable that some day, perhaps after we deplete her ozone, she also will shudder and burn up in the heat of the sun. Of course this time she takes her children with her.
The housing project where I was born and raised sat on the tough side of town. If my dog died, if the big kid next door punched me in the nose, if practically anything happened to me I never cried and if I did I made damn sure I was alone because cry babies in the projects were guaranteed to be at the bottom of the pecking order.
I don’t know how it worked for others who have had theirs, but my ‘awareness’ breakthrough came during the winter of 67 after a couple of us guys decided while sitting in the local bar to drive down to the country and hunt up some rabbits the same as we’d done every year since high school.
Early that following morning it was cold as all hell and there was snow on the ground, but we packed up Tom’s old Ford with guns and a couple six packs and went off hunting anyway. I was wearing boots, a warm jacket, and some sort of ball cap, but none of that orange shit and hunting licenses for us by damn. We were outlaws.
Once there Tom parked off the road, I grabbed my four ten shotgun out of the trunk, showed the guys where I was heading so they didn’t shoot me and wandered off.
I worked my way down one small hill, walked the ravine for a while and started up a larger hill on the other side. At the top I entered a cluster of naked trees and stopped. There were a few tracks in the snow, but everything was holed up and not moving much in the cold. I spotted a large brush pile, the kind bunnies like to hang out in, snuck up and kicked at it. There was a faint rustle and out popped a rabbit running like a bat out of hell across the small clearing.
Aim . . . squeeze . . . BLAM! . . . got him! YES!
I ran up to the wounded rabbit who was lying on his side in a patch of reddening snow. Watched him kicking in circles. Watched him slow down. Watched him give a few short shudders and stop. Watched as the brightness faded from his eyes.
What the shit?! Huge crocodile tears streamed down my face. Sniff, Sniff . . . . I’m crying!
What are the guys going to say if they find me standing here crying like a baby over a dumb ass rabbit!
I’m a veteran for Christs sake. A year or so ago I had been stomping through Asia in the Airborne Infantry. I am a lean, mean, crazy ass killing machine! What’s up with these fucking tears?
I worked hard at it and finally quenched the sobbing and regained my composure. I cleaned the rabbit before returning to the car. The other guys were already there pissing and moaning about how it was too cold to hunt.
“You guys are a bunch of pussies,” I chided in my best macho. “Look at this!” I pulled the rabbit out of my pouch. I may have bragged on the way home, but in these forty some years later I never went hunting again. The thrill of killing died alongside the rabbit that day. Good riddance.
Although it took many years to fully blossom, that cold winter day had been the beginning, the day when my heart thawed and I realized a connection to the Earth far greater than I imagined there was or ever could be. Since then I have changed my viewpoint about many things and completely about the animals. In the school of life, I had graduated from conquerer to caretaker.
Today I live in the middle of a couple thousand acres of Eastern forest and spend a lot of time in the woods observing and trying to communicate with the many animals on my property. We feed the birds, leave brush piles for the small critters and don’t mess with the deer and turkeys. If you saw me talking to a squirrel you might believe I am just a crazy old man with a white beard who’s gone off the edge, but in my world I am having a great time walking the path I’ve created for myself. When I am angry or stressed out or even sick I go to the woods and I talk to my friends. Many times I come home healed.
I understand reality though, the day I stumbled onto a baby rattle snake I didn’t try to pet it, but neither did I hack it to pieces. I merely left it alone. The snake is as important to the ecosystem as I am, probably more so. Why kill it?
Being at one with the animals is quite easy for me, but that is only one step in this ‘awareness’ evolution. I admit to having a much harder time connecting with my own species . . . people aren’t so easy to understand.