It was a bright sunny morning, and when looking out the car window it was hard for Charley to recall what the reports confirmed earlier: that it had reached the lowest temperature in more than a decade.
“I wonder if the sun bouncing off the snow combined with the light hitting me already is equal to what we are daily missing out on if we were down in Costa Rica,” he had said this to his wife a few miles back. The county road had turned to let the south-eastering sun shine blindingly in through the driver’s side window, and the silent farmland coated with snow, couldn’t give back the sunlight quick enough.
“Yeah” she’d sighed, coming out of a thought, “you and your vitamin d obsession.” He had smiled. He knew she tolerated a great deal more of his oddities than any other partner might. “I wonder who else will be there, like besides your sibs and cousins.”
“Yeah, I don’t know,” he had said, “I guess that’s one of the problems with living so long: that you outlive all of your friends, or at the very least they are too old to be able to make the trip to the middle of nowhere.”
“A good middle of no where” he now added, recalling what he had said, and how counter it was to his positive valuations of untainted or mildly tainted rural land. “That reminds me of the joke my dad would say: ‘I’ll go to your funeral only if you come to mine’.”
After about ten more minutes of silence, and a few more forgetful left and right turns, they arrived to the funeral home, with only a touch of help from the GPS. “It isn’t in my blood to let machines dictate where I go; they are my tool, I will not be theirs” was one of Charley’s many mantras.
Charley opened the door and the wind immediately proceeded to close it. A second, more spirited attempt secured the door into an open position.
“Brrr” his wife said, “I’m glad you created a parking spot for us right next to the door.”
They were greeted at the door by an elderly man distributing little cards with a biblical picture on one side, and his grandmother’s full name with life and death dates on the back side. Charley asked for a few of these seeing how large the man’s stash was, and knowing the event would be relatively small.
After a few more familial hellos and a trip to the bathroom, Charley decided to ask his dad where his grandmother’s casket being hidden or when it would arrive.
“Well Charles,” responded his father, “it being president’s day weekend and since she’s being cremated tomorrow anyways, we decided not to have her body here.”
“I think not embalming her and putting all that death fake-up stuff is more our style anyways,” Charley said, though he couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed that she wasn’t there, so he could look on her or be next to her and say and think some things.
His wife laughed, “what is your style then?”
“I dunno.. natural casket, maybe next of kin eating their deceased elder’s flesh. Those options always interested me,” he said with a wry smile.
After some more standing around and chasing his nieces and nephews through the old Victorian house a couple of times, the priest arrived and went into a side room to put on his special garbs for the memorial ceremony. The family members proceeded to the designated room where two dozen chairs in segmented rows of three and four awaited them.
His wife wanted a seat next to the edge in case she needed to escape to the bathroom, but Charley insisted they sit towards the middle next to the central aisle. He didn’t tell her, but he was planning to get up and say a few words about his grandmother when the opportunity presented itself. It never did.
The priest came in and started with some doctrine and air-signing a cross “In the name of the son, the fa… you may be seated.” The ceremony was a blur, an abridged version of a typical Sunday morning at any given church, with just occasional mentions of the name “Ruth”. Interspersed in the 35 minute session there were two hymnals with a collective off-key affect, the melody being executed quite differently than the composer had surely intended. And despite the religiosity of the hymns and his own lack of harmonic vocal abilities, Charley wholeheartedly joined the chorus, for collective singing was one of his ideals for humanity and something he felt there needed to be a great deal more of.
The ceremony waned as the back page of the program pamphlet was reached, and there were two final prayers before the end was reached. There was a growing feeling in Charley, a sense to it all, that this was an ode to god, rather than a memorial of his grandmother; they were pleading to god to take in Baba Ruth, reminding the omniscient One his promises and methods to take in good souls that have had faith in the biblical stories and the trinity, and in return to be granted life everlasting. He felt nauseous.
The ceremony ended with everyone immediately standing up, no anecdotal words being offered nor there being any chance to offer them. This was the priest’s show, and he was not having any special guests on today.
The rest of the day was a blur, as Charley uneasily thought of the lameness and unjustice done to his silent grandmother.
Later that night, he imagined himself rising from his chair and asserting a proper closure to the memorial service:
He nervously got up to speak, using not the strength of his own courage but the spirit of his grandmother within him, to speak out. Charley stood in front of the priest, who awkwardly looked on for he was unsure if this was following proper protocol, but this didn’t dissuade Charley from the tone of his words.
“Are we remembering Baba Ruth, or are we remembering how to recite arcane prayers? Well, I have a prayer, and maybe its not so much a prayer to god but a prayer for him. God, if thou art in heaven, fortunate are you if you are blessed with my grandmother’s presence. And if I am fortunate enough to go the same place as she, once my body has no more use of me, then lucky am I too. You are not the one I look forward to meeting upon my death. No, you have not earned my love as of yet. It is my grandmother who I am thoughtful of, and I didn’t think that we really needed to include you in our thoughts today. Somehow, perhaps by some trick of your omnipotency, you have displaced my grandmother as the focus of today. But this is true in words only. I am not focused on you, nor do I fear you enough to say these incantations. I do not fear the unknown, for I don’t know you. I only fear that my grandmother is gone… but then I remind myself that she lives on in all of us here, not because superstitious words are spoken or not spoken, but because of her actions while she was still alive. This has been the word of the lore, thanks be to Baba Ruth.”
Then everyone, including the priest, together said “A-women.”
In loving memory of Baba Ruth
- The 7 day week – Beholden to some arcane way of tabulating time, our society is at face-value all about efficiency, yet is a 7 day week at all efficient? Has this arbitrarity ever been evaluated in our supposed scientific society? Kudos to Robespierre for his attempt to get rid of it.
- “Time Parasites”, a large category in itself, including the following: telemarketers; ripping/shredding credit card offers; insurance companies refusal of payment–subsequent necessary automated phone call; there must be many more that need to be added…
- Salt Refinement: Normalizing us to refined white salt which has been unnecessarily/expensively processed and neglecting to provide us with naturally colored unrefined salt that has everything we need. And then adding iodine in an improper and mal-absorbable fashion.
- Rubrics, and other over-wordy pieces of paper plaguing education.
- Starting school for children too early in the day for their developmental needs.
- Academic school being compulsory for the first 16 years of life, an investment sure to bear less and less fruit as time continues.
Additions to be aggregated from the top…
I felt the need to rescue this from the dust bin after hearing of the ridiculous efforts of the Bostonian population who can’t just accept winter for what it is.
Originally posted on Subverses Journal:
Every other large mammal in a seasonal climate has made the adaption for the months adjacent to their winter solstice—so why don’t we? Living deciduously and sleeping can solve so many of our personal and civilization problems.
Seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression, makes people feel depressed and less alive; and ultimately, we are less alive. The cure is in the symptom—feeling tired. Maybe instead of thinking that sleep feeds in to the depression and that we need to fight it off, tiredness should be thought of as a natural annual response. Maybe our dreams are where we find the warm sunlight, I know mine are.
Instead of daylight’s saving—a lame commentary on the inability for people to structure their local lives in even the most basic sense—so that we can be pointlessly toiling inside while its sunny and healthy outside, we should have our schedules revolve around getting…
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We have plenty of historical documentation of conspiracies, but we don’t have any historical documentation of a pact or an oath of people to not be a part in them.* Why wouldn’t conspiracies be happening now?
We can all readily agree that societal power—concentrated in the hands of militaries, industrialists, financiers, lawmakers, indoctrinators (including spiritual institutions), and others—is mostly organized by hierarchical means. And at the top of these hierarchies sit anywhere from a few to a singular individual(s). One of the easiest ways to define these powerful, second-to-none individuals is by their wealth.
Now, who do you imagine extremely wealthy people hanging out with? …Other extremely wealthy individuals who have a similar view from the commanding heights, of course! When “hanging out” together, are they not allowed to collude for mutual benefit? If they do collude, at what point is their colluding turning into conspiring? Do they somehow have the unnatural skill to control themselves to identify and not go beyond a certain point? Probably not, but they do have the skill to find loop holes in order to avoid fines, or the mathematical skill to realize that some fines are worth paying for the far greater profits from some law-breaking activity. Factoring into all of this is the always lagging—whether intentionally so, or due to the regulation paradox mentioned in an earlier writing—inspectors and regulators who probably aren’t even going to catch-on to the questionable activities.
So the “conspiracy police” might have been brought into the fold, but some of the conspiracies are surely hiding in plain sight for all of us to see, it’s just that there are so many more conspiracy theories to hide Waldo. Our own imaginations have created this largest of muddying factors, and explains why extra-large conspiracies can still go unnoticed. However, to bury the truth deeper the conspirators might attempt to sow doubt in us, but by that point most of us have already sown doubt in ourselves (as proper Foucauldian beings).
*Had there been such an agreement, how could its continuance be ensured by future generations not feeling bound?
China, first in line to inherit the globalized world markets, wants to protect its kingdom for a smooth transition, and allowing the United States to completely fall apart and destroy the structure is not a viable option. The Chinese have been too clever and patient to allow a full meltdown of the United States to fall too deep and put out a gravity wave that whirlpools down other strategic partners. That’s not to say the United States won’t be allowed to fall down, but it will be in a controlled, systematic way that doesn’t threaten Chinese interests. Now that the strategy has been laid out, the question now focuses in on tactics. The Chinese asked themselves: what do you do with a rabid animal that is too dangerous to shoot?
You cage the beast…
… and confuse its muscles’ abilities to function in unified coordination through methods of tranquilization and hitting it from all different angles at unexpected intervals. The cage, however, is the capstone of the Chinese efforts and is being built in plain sight for all of us to see or not see, we just need an appropriately contextualized lens in front of our eyes. The Chinese are buying up controlling interests of major cities like New York in the form of property assets. The purchasing frenzy is not due to private Chinese individuals trying to escape China and invest in the United States; nay, it is part of the Chinese global economic policy to control and divest the remaining wealth from the United States. New York will be one of several major bases of operation for the Chinese to sift out important resources for its mega-population such as food, one of the most obvious. For energy purposes, I wouldn’t be surprised if they buy up a few bankrupted fracking operations (there are sure to be plenty to choose from soon) and start testing out experimental (and controversial) fracking methods, too destructive and environmentally unfriendly even for the thick-lunged inhabitants of the coal smog Shanghai sphere; remember, these are the people who blow up mountains to get at their coal. If there is to be an accurate global history text written in a few hundred years, it will not speak of North America as having a colonial period followed by a time of flourishing sovereign nation states; it will speak of the continent as an ongoing carving ground for power thirsty empires to keep fueled, much the same way as Africa has been treated since at least as far back as the Berlin conference of 1884. What is going from 13 states in 1776 to 50 states by the mid 1959 if not colonization?
The degree to which the USA didn’t effectively isolate itself is the degree to which China (along with some oligarchic Wall Street allies) will further isolate us. Control of the seas and the ports allows them the ability to truly block or deter residents to enter or leave the country, an option they may use in the future if they sense some threat to their overarching continental dominance. The colonists of the 18th century used to sneak in and out of the country to evade British patrols and blockades, but I think it would be an insult to them to assume we have afforded to us the same skills and grit to get more than a mile from the coast without being disoriented about where we were actually trying to escape to. Further, Chinese technology is sure to catch us if it needs to, and our primitive use of consumer technology is sure to be ineffective in the face of this—I hate to be hopeless but we don’t stand a chance if this scenario develops, at least as Chinese power is waxing. If they truly want us trapped, we will truly be trapped. Who knows how bad it could get? We might have to start producing papers when an armed guard requests them of us whilst entering New York through the Holland Tunnel. We do have our own arms, but they are sure to be factored in to a containment policy where we are “free to shoot” each other on purpose or by accident allowing our munitions to wane.
The role of imports/exports, and control over the internal political and economic life by a Wall Street oligarchic group that I sometimes mention, I will leave to an adjacent, upcoming post.
The American Empire’s ship might be sinking, but fortunately-or-unfortunately there is only enough sea to fill up the lower cabins; a demobilizing anchor is increasing in weight—a permanent drag that will keep the empire stuck close to home. In certain regions it used to serve as a stabalizing agent, but now the “sea tide” turning against its foreign legitimacy can be painted in three broad strokes: 1) the coming into question of its multi-decade trend to abuse the privilege of being a global “umpire” in matters of responsibly issuing the global reserve currency, the misuse of which is currently undergoing exponentiation (and diffusion to Japan and the Eurozone) 2) a lack of restraint and caution when using military force, that would be tolerable, if disagreeable, to the other powerful nations, but for the fact that the war policy decisions are actually not rational or predictable, bringing the potential for danger to new levels; 3) oil is running in quantities lower than the full American juggernaut was upgraded and designed to run smoothly on, so a series of downgrading obstacles that the wasteful empire has an inability to jump over are leaving it stuck behind in the race. The ship is going to putter out right as it hits shoal bottom. I intentionally don’t say shale because before the literal bottom of shale deposits could be reached, the operations will be foregone as too costly for the coming meager times.
Why else has the United States lost its global hegemon stature? It has become camera shy before the very global media apparatuses it paved the road for. It probably fears the dreaded global public opinion and so time and again it has been indecisive and reluctant. In particular is the indecisiveness in war decisions that if gone astray might put a blotch on its image (don’t worry USA, there are already huge blotches); it bullies everybody 3/4’s of the way, but hasn’t gone past that point, and all those different 3/4’s add up to a lot of common resentment, but unfortunately for the USA not a lot of fear. It is an antibiotic in many senses of the word, that stops itself short so that resistant bacteria can evolve and develop their own antibodies to help with future deterrence.
In this post, the United States has been regarded as a whole entity acting in unison, but of course this is never the case, and should be elaborated on… more later, but a bit now. Fractures are and will continue everywhere, but one fracture in particular may appear visible in the elite/oligarchic class that is so much to blame for the empire lost. Some of its members will flee the ship and test out their cosmopolitanism in other parts of the world they became familiar with during their profiteering and plundering. I fear the majority, however, will choose to stay local and make the best of the new game of recolonizing America and try to be kings of the smaller ponds available to them.