First off, my boiled down version of the prayer: “I don’t have power to change most things, but there are some things that I have power to affect, and if I’m wise I can tell the difference.”
Inverting, to put politicians in their place:
“You only have a limited amount of power, anything beyond this is really only the conglomeration of the power of the masses that at times coalesces with your purposes; be wise enough to know that our power can turn on you and reveal your true limitedness.”
*Their actual power is as a physical presence in a human body, and at any given moment a politician has roughly the same amount of power as an average person, variations being due to body weight and bodily access to kinetic energy (a dying person wields less power than a 7 year old child, who has less than a person in their 20s, with variations between these due to complexity and depth of chemistry). Anyways, this ontological discussion of energy digresses from the intents of this post. The cartoon below serves as a nice correction:
There must be some “Irony Awards” out there that these guys are trying to win, but to me seeing the Tru Green pick-up truck driving by with a 150 gallons of pesticide sloshing around in some plastic tank, they win my nomination. Maybe leaving off the “e” in “true” serves some sort of penance in their over-pesticide-exposed brains that they aren’t actually being dishonest, or if only in the spelling. To me it seemed worth being a distracted driver and snapping the photo (below) while maneuvering my vehicle. I will certainly be a distracted dog walker again this season, needing to pull my dog off of every other lawn for fear that he will get nose and paw cancer down the road (pun intended?).
When one of these trucks with a registered pesticide # on the side gets into an accident, does it get reported as a serious spill? I suppose its okay if they do little spills all throughout the neighborhood, making a profit?
This company in particular has been coming out in force–early and often–with a door to door campaign that brought them to my doorstep, waking up my infant son due to my dogs loud barking as he sensed the evil. He wanted to beat back my dandelions and plantain no doubt, but upon seeing his “tru green” flair through the storm door (it was still late winter at this point-early March), I shoo’d him away without even being decent enough to open the door and let my loyal beast jump and lick him.
These pathetic extensions of the over-reaching fossil fuel industry have made spring a perilous thing. Whats more upsetting are the programmed zombies who pay monthly maintenance fees to have these trucks swing by and douse their lawn in seriously awful chemicals… chemicals so bad that legally a little sign needs to be put up to warn those in proximity.
This one I like much better, though I never see it (I think I will printout one for my lawn)
*I say unfocused as opposed to hidden because hidden would imply that they were intentionally and successfully kept from view. It’s rather that the average person with their lenses fogged over miss these absurd and disgusting costs. Not having the luxury of allowing things to just “be as they be”, I let my thoughts plague me and probably foolishly think writing about them here in this blog will somehow lead to a future without all the fucking bullshit that has come between us—cubiclizing us. No, I’m not above these things, I’m below them, because I let them aggravate me, but I hope I can convey some of the aggravation to you, and maybe a critical mass of us can turn the tide and reclaim our lives from these stupid fucking neo-traditions.
So, if you are like me, you are invited to a few ridiculous friend and family parties a year where they are hosted at a particular restaurant that is centrally located to most, but not necessarily convenient. The party purpose and the reason for the party might be as follows:
1) A 75th birthday party – because the children in their 40s and 50s would be plagued by guilt if they didn’t do something for their parent.
2) A christening – obviously not really for the 6 month old, but for…?
3) A high school graduation – big fucking deal, it’s more of an achievement not to graduate and have the balls to make that call (in my opinion and ill-advised decision unless you’ve got some obligations that are more important).
4) A 25 year wedding anniversary – every single person involved would rather have put their funding towards 2 plane tickets to send these people to Peru for a month, even possibly paying off their employers for “reverse-paid vacation-leave”, than everyone losing their Saturday night and not really paying homage to the couple, but rather just chasing after their own children, or awkwardly schmoozing with family acquaintances, and/or having a few drinks from the over-charging open bar (or worse, unopened bar) and imagining that you were in Peru, or back in college…
So, after reviewing these, and I think there is at least some degree of truth in all of these—sometimes more true for certain family/friend circles—I wanted to talk about who is REALLY benefiting from these. There are many beneficiaries:
FIRST, most directly: THE RESTAURANT AND CATERERS. After gratuity the restaurant charges $27 per plate (for the NJ area), even though there is a restricted menu or buffet, that probably in turn cost them $3-5 per plate, maximum. The large crowd means profitable scales of economy in the kitchen processing. If it’s Italian slop the per plate cost can be taken down even further to $1.50, diluted with unhealthy pasta and bread. Beyond food there is the cost of building lease and non-kitchen staff (I factored kitchen staff in to the per plate price), but this only adds in to make it $16 per plate, so all in all $11 per plate is the profit for the owners, which is an OKAY profit, but this is in the stressful restaurant business where restaurants go flop all the time and the real beneficiaries are the owners of the commercial property who rent it out to chronic losers. Just like their time is limited, so is yours—you are encouraged to be out before 4 hours. (After-party in the parking lot! What of the awkward young men pushing valet parking? A further intrusion of capitalism into every basic aspect of our lives.) However, you might like the excuse to end your time with the people you invited after a mere 4 hours, but then you have to ask, was it really worth spending the money to have this event, or was it just socially required that you do so? At least you don’t have to clean up after yourselves, though 12 committed dwarves show in the hobbit what a small task that really is if everyone pitches in and basically only cleans up after themselves, not a buzz kill but rather a community uniting effort!
SECOND, less directly but more sinisterly: THE HALLMARK INDUSTRY, i.e. gift bags, cards, and thank you cards. Unless there is a “no gift policy” at your event, chances are that time come people will be walking in, giving you the kiss on the cheek, and next thing they ask is “where would you like this?” You take the gift bag off their hands and put it in some corner, where some underpaid busboy briefly daydreams about stealing the contents, until he realizes it’s probably baby under garments. The gift bags are unnecessarily embroidered with plastic flash, fetching $1 to $2, not replacing wrapping paper because sometimes inside is a wrapped gift, what the fuck? Anyways, being that this giftbag industry is present at all these Saturday or Sunday events, all across this over-consuming country, who knows how much they make in a weekend? At your party there will be a couple of hold outs who wrap the gift in newspaper, or reuse a giftbag that they previously stowed away, but these exceptions are still spending money on some gift, so they are not as true to their ideals, some of them painfully conscious of this (myself included).
Now, a formal thanks is in order for these gifts and “the present of your presence”, so once the stressful party is done, there is the stressful job of tallying the gifts and money to see if you came close to breaking even after the restaurant costs, and all the while keeping tabs of who gave you what so you can indicate that in the thank you cards you send back to them. Knowing what they gave you is especially important to note, because it’s going to be the main piece of unique information that goes into your thank you card, which will be half-lies such as “it was good to see you”. Not a lie in that you don’t enjoy seeing them, but a lie because you were spread so thin that you didn’t really see them. I think it would be more appropriate to write “it was good to glance at you”. Don’t forget the stamp on that envelope!
THIRD, most dominantly: THE PETROLEUM AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRIES. The cost of driving a sedan is 58 cents per mile. Why so high? This includes purchase of car, maintenance, repairs, and fuel. I skew the average driving distance upwards a bit because there will be a few out-of-staters, and it comes to roughly 21 miles. Thats $12 per group of 2 and a half persons, plus many arrive in gas guzzling machines and had to take toll roads/bridges to get to the restaurant, so their price will be several dollars higher.
I’ve grown weary of writing about this, there’s only one of me and as I have said previously capitalism systemically (though not systematically?) wears us down as it intrudes further into our intimate spaces… I must go pay bills, and fulfill other bureaucratic rituals.
Like a craftsmen without a hand…
Though the title may be taken as a metaphor, I am thinking about it quite literally. I think there are very many among us who do wish to get this nation to the place that Thomas Jefferson believed it should be: an agricultural heavy weight… not over weight and full of poor agricultural products. There is land, and with techniques that permaculture teaches us there are many uses better fit than the non-sense that predominates these days. There is a place for us gentle souls, or the gentler part in all of us, to let flourish without having to step on one another to “advance”.
As of now,
1) the most fortunate land lies empty (of humans), forgotten (by humans)
2) the unfortunate land is misused for misguided industrial and urban/suburban endeavors, dumped on (by humans)
3) the very unfortunate land due to so called agricultural practices goes the way of a brain infected by creutzfeldt-jakob disease (see picture below, comparing healthy-ish brain tissue at left, and cjd tissue at right), losing the ability to support life without extreme injections and “life support”
Anyways, I would be so bold as to say “throw me into the wilderness, whbere I will be happy and learn how to farm.” However, I am able to say something like this because I am tied to a family that I know will moderate my extremism, and did I not feel this sense of bond to them, I venture to say I would not be so adventurous. So I do not fault those of you who are less tied to a family and do not throw in your wager into an unknown future with the land. I just make a plea that there be more pioneers, and more visible pioneering, towards what is a healthy re-do of the land that is the occupied territory of the USA.
Here in the OT-USA, land in large tracts IS as affordable as it will ever be, that is if you want large tracts of land out in the country that have not been screwed up by rabid industrialization. A 100 acres in a non-North East state or 1/100th of an acre in square footage in a NYC apartment could be yours for the same purchasing price. Which jungle would you rather fight to survive in and pay back your debts from, the concrete or the actual?
From an investment and holding perspective, I think its easy to see that NYC property values are close to an all time high, and thus relatively speaking other land is at an all time low, so you might want to grab onto land before it becomes a hot feudal commodity.
Who is the only person smiling in the picture? Why is he smiling?
Did this man choose this career to be a population protector or a population controller? What’s the difference?
If he wasn’t there, would any harm be done?
Why are these people forming a line? Is it against their will?
Was their end goal up to this point to ultimately make it onto this line and be photographed? What have they done to deserve/earn this moment?
Why are they unhappy? Who has the right, if anybody, to make them unhappy?
Is anybody in the picture acting in a free way, or are they all just “following orders”?
Are there cold and foreign laws at work here? Unseen but not unfelt past creations dictating current living?
Who would spend the time/funding to get all the adequate education to effectively regulate a certain branch of human activity, to only be an reactionary police man in that field? This is essentially the ideal that one could ask for in a government regulator, but something that has a very narrow chance of ever really happening in our modern capitalist state.
In my view, journalists are the only potentially trustworthy ones who can also get a well rounded education and can specialize/dabble in the area they wish to draw attention to for the wider public. Would journalists ever be given governmental power to regulate an industry, though? Or do they need to market their ideas and criticisms to the population that will then lobby the government to stop or start doing something to some industry that is doing something harmful. This sounds very gloomy, in a heavily distracted public such as ours.
Journalists power to understand and articulate to the populace has surely brought some good (or stopped some bad), but it can only go so far… In the more advanced fields of industry (rife with “lab coat donning disciplinary idiots”) the journalists will still be several steps behind despite their intellect and best efforts. The truly gifted among them, in both virtue and education abilities, can only shout so loud, and cry foul only AFTER crimes have been committed… and if their cries resonate, the result will be… a new government branch of regulation, which adds just another loop in the knot. Its always post-facto, and unfortunately there are always new things for profit-seeking industries to savagely fuck-up.
When there is an official government bureau to regulate something, who are the experts that they bring in? The obvious answer is former players in the industry, and its really the only answer. Whether the revolving door came first, or the necessity for “qualified” regulators, the end result is the same: the facade of regulation allows an industry to do whatever it wants with much of the public comfortably feeling protected, although oftentimes angry that they have to pay for the protection. The more angry they might be if they realized there was no protection at all, and the chemicals, pollutants, and malfeasance was slowly eating away at their flesh, their families, their livelihoods, and the community at large. Regulators perhaps just moderate the flow of shit that comes down the stream, easing the public into it like the “boiling frog” that it has become.
Just a few weeks ago, before the protester murders in Ukraine, I remember upon seeing a picture of Yanukovych thinking he was some unhealthy thug looking man—most unworthy of holding leadership power—that could easily be swapped out for any politician/mafia guy in the New York metro area (perhaps Essex County “executive” Joey DiVencenzo) and it would make no difference in either location, because these people act exactly the same and are political moralists/opportunists. If a game theorist set up a chart with all the decision points plotted and their paths to later decision points that would face these “leaders”, they would all play the game exactly the same, and it would always be in the interest of the people they are serving—themselves, not the masses.
Anyways, now that Yanukovych has left, the government people who have stepped up have been quick to deflect the people’s anger and turn it completely on Yanukovict?m, a single person surely not completely to blame for the murder of all those protesters, and themselves are hoping to smoothly gain the reigns of power. Who knows, maybe they actually issued the orders in order to spark outrage to be able to oust Yanukovych. These dirty political games are allowed to be played out by these political figurines because of the very structures of our weak western and eastern representative governmental forms. Finger pointing, deflection, usurpation, wasting away of resources… some stupid mind-numbing play on the small stage that entrances the stadium’s audience from looking at one another and realizing how much more interesting and important the person right next to you is.
The good to come out of this world event? Every leader presiding over a country at the time of mass protests will be very careful in dealing with protesters for fear of becoming another Yanukovich that the very government will go after, in a scapegoat fashion or not. It’s still enough to make some world leaders pee themselves on stage and cowardly step back, which is almost always a good thing for the people of that country.