Saturday, November 30, 2019

"There Are Times..."

"Pursuing happiness, and I did, and I still do, is not at all the same as being happy - which I think is fleeting, dependent on circumstances. If the sun is shining, stand in it - yes, yes, yes. Happy times are great, but happy times pass - they have to because time passes. The pursuit of happiness is more elusive; it is life-long, and it is not goal-centered. What you are pursuing is meaning - a meaningful life. There's the hap - the fate, the draw that is yours, and it isn't fixed, but changing the course of the stream, or dealing new cards, whatever metaphor you want to use - that's going to take a lot of energy. There are times when it will go so wrong that you will barely be alive, and times when you realize that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a bloated half-life on someone else's terms. The pursuit isn't all or nothing - it's all AND nothing."
- Jeanette Winterson

"No Amount Of Glue..."

"Ten minutes ago, Frank though he was going to prison. Now he knows he's not, and part of him thinks he should just be glad he's getting out of this at all, but he's not. He's not glad. He's furious. He's known the world is broken for a long time, he's known that, but sometimes he's amazed at how broken; even now, at this point in his life, nearing fifty years old, he can stumble across something that makes him realize all over again that the world is not only broken, but beyond fixing. No amount of glue can ever make it right. And yet, you have to focus on your little part of it, don't you? You have to focus on your little corner of the world and glue what cracks you can. Otherwise there's no hope at all."
- Ryan David Jahn

"A Few Questions to Ask"

"A Few Questions to Ask"
By Eric Peters

"Why does truth carry such a dreadful face? Why does subjugation carry
such a happy mask? It becomes sad when people understand that they
 can lead a better life as long as they bow their heads, ignoring the truth."
- Lionel Suggs

"Debating the merits of a particular government policy or proposal with authoritarian-minded political opponents is pointless – if you’re hoping to persuade, at any rate. Far better to ask them a few apparently simple questions – and force them to confront the disquieting answers about the authoritarian nature of the political and social system they support.

For instance, you might ask what their view of slavery is. Is it morally wrong to own another human being? Probably, they will say it is wrong. Now ask: What does it mean to be a slave? Usually, they will tell you it means being the property of another. Now ask the killer follow-up: What does it mean to be the property of another? Point out that it means having control over another person’s life – control of his actual person, his body. His mind, even. To be in a position – to be entitled – to use violence to enforce compliance.

A slave is not at liberty to act as he wishes to act. He must do as he is told – and if he does not, he can expect physical punishment and that punishment will not be considered assault. The slave must accept his punishment. There is no appeal, no recourse. He must bow low and submit – or risk the repercussions, which ultimately include death. His only hope is escape.

The slave, most obviously, owns nothing – because he controls nothing. He may be allowed to use things. But the owner of these things – himself included – is someone else. Someone else gets to say yes – or no. When – and where. How – and how much. The slave has no real say – in that he is never in a position to say no. Not without consequences raining down upon him. He merely obeys. Because he must obey.

The fact that his hands may hold the scythe does not mean the scythe is his. The fact that the effort of his body cuts the wheat does not mean the wheat is his. He is permitted to keep a portion. In principle, because in fact, the slave owns nothing that may not be taken away from him. At any time, for any reason. And he is powerless to do anything about it. The slave’s dwelling, the clothes he wears – even his very body – are subject to arbitrary control against his will by another person or persons. This is the essence of what it means to be a slave.

Be sure your opponent accepts these points – which he must accept, because to not accept them is not unlike refusing to accept that 2 + 2= four. Now ask him whether he (or anyone else he knows) is free to determine the course of his own life. Or do others set down terms and conditions which he must obey? Is he free to do business with whomever he chooses to do business? Or is he told exactly with whom he must do business – and under what conditions?

May he travel freely? Or is he required to travel with permission – and only under certain conditions? Must he carry ownership papers with him wherever he goes? And is it not true that if he is caught without these papers, he is subject to arrest and imprisonment for that reason alone? Is he free to raise his children as he considers best? To teach them as he sees fit? Or must he teach them things others decree he must teach them?

Is he even free to choose whom to marry? Or must he submit to the authority of others in even this most personal of life’s choices? Is he free to defend himself when accosted by strangers? Or must he submit to these strangers, if they wear a certain type of outfit? (Did not the overseer also wear a certain type of outfit?)

May he own things? More precisely, is he permitted other than conditional use of things? For instance, that which he may think of as “his” home. If it is in fact “his,” then surely that means no one else has legal claim to it and cannot take it away from him once he has paid the original seller in full. Ask him about the large payments he must make to others every year, forever, in order to be allowed to remain on “his” property. Remind him that plantation slaves also had homes – in the sense that they were allowed conditional use of dwellings. Dwellings ultimately owned by someone else. The slaves were permitted to use these dwellings so long as their labor provided enough return to the true owners of the dwelling. A slave who refused to work – who declined to make payments in the form of his labor then (and tax payments now) would soon discover who the true owner of “his” dwelling really was.

Just as today.

Ask whether he is compelled to give up whatever portion of the fruits of his labors others decide they are entitled to – and how this differs from the slave in the field being forced to pick cotton for the benefit of others. Ask him what he thinks will happen if he declines to hand over the fruits of his labor. Ask whether he is at liberty to do as he wills even with his own poor body. May he freely choose to treat his body’s ailments as he sees fit? Or will he be chained and jailed if he treats himself in other than the “lawful” manner? Ask whether he knows that he may be forcibly taken from his home if he declines to be “treated” in the manner prescribed by others.

Who, then, owns his body? His very person? If I have the power to compel you to do – or not do – then is it not a fact that to some degree at least, I am your owner?And in that case, are you not a slave? The control need not be vicious or even mean. The owner of a beloved dog is no less the owner of the animal by dint of the fact that he treats it kindly and tends to its needs. The dog is not at liberty to come and go as it pleases. It is allowed to use certain items – an old sofa, for example – and not other things. It does not own anything. It is owned. Neither did the plantation slave own anything. And many had benevolent masters– for example, Thomas Jefferson – who tried to treat them with kindness, as they saw it. Who saw themselves as  parents of subnormal adult children in need of guidance – and restraint. This benevolent treatment, however, in no way made the slaves other than slaves.

Behind the gentle guiding hand, always the whip. As it is today – with the exception that today’s slaves are unaware of their condition and imagine themselves to be free. Its subtlety is its genius. Instead of individual plantations, there is one consolidated plantation called “our country.” But we are owned nonetheless.

It is immaterial that we are not normally chained… if the chains may be put on at the first hint of disobedience. That we are allowed use of more (and nicer) things than the slaves of the past does not in any way change the fact that they are just as owned (because just as controlled) by someone else – and may be taken away at any moment, if the true owners so choose. Our cotton fields are the cubicles of the modern office; our overseers called by different names. But their job is what it has always been: to make sure we toil, submit and obey. And if we do not… Well, we all know the answer to that one."

Musical Interlude: Leonard Bernstein, “West Side Story - America”

Leonard Bernstein, “West Side Story - America”

Ludovico Einaudi, “Passagio”, Playlist (432Hz)

Ludovico Einaudi, “Passagio”, Playlist (432Hz)
Related to A432 tuned music. Decide for yourself...

"A Look to the Heavens"

“This telescopic close-up shows off the otherwise faint emission nebula IC 410. It also features two remarkable inhabitants of the cosmic pond of gas and dust below and right of center, the tadpoles of IC 410. Partly obscured by foreground dust, the nebula itself surrounds NGC 1893, a young galactic cluster of stars. Formed in the interstellar cloud a mere 4 million years ago, the intensely hot, bright cluster stars energize the glowing gas. 
Click image for larger size.
Composed of denser cooler gas and dust, the tadpoles are around 10 light-years long and are likely sites of ongoing star formation. Sculpted by winds and radiation from the cluster stars, their heads are outlined by bright ridges of ionized gas while their tails trail away from the cluster's central region. IC 410 lies some 10,000 light-years away, toward the nebula-rich constellation Auriga.”

Chet Raymo, “Sanctus”

“Sanctus”
by Chet Raymo

“Early in Claire Messud's novel, “The Woman Upstairs”, the narrator asks herself and others whether they would rather be able to fly or be invisible. I suspect most who visit this blog would prefer to fly. Me too. Until lately. More on that later. For now I want to ask a less frivolous question, one more likely to split down the middle: Do you prefer, as a matter of personal taste, Romanesque or Gothic?

Gothic aspires, Romanesque inspires. Gothic soars. Romanesque hunkers. Gothic seeks to let go of the earth. Romanesque grips like a barnacle. Gothic favors light over matter. Romanesque uses matter to contain light. Gothic flys, heavenward in spires and ribs and buttresses. Romanesque makes the world beyond the walls invisible.

I have visited the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe, admired their beauty, and stood astonished at their engineering. But it is the Romanesque abbeys and monastic houses, such as the Cistercian Abbey of Le Thoronnet in Provence, that most deeply stir my soul. It is an architecture of inward turning, of silence, of rest. Of the subtle play of light on stone. Of firmness. Rootedness. An architecture of the circle, diurnal and annual, where every prayer is a whisper, and every whisper echoes infinitely along a corridor or vault.

There, I've had my say. Let the Gothicists among you have yours.

To fly or be invisible? My days of flying, or wanting to fly, are over. Now, at age 84, I would choose to be invisible. To watch unseen. To walk like a specter in a Romanesque cloister, listening to the wind and the voices of the monks leaking from the abbey choir. To feel the coolness of rough-hewn stone against my invisible palm, to trace shadows that I do not cast myself. To discard the cloak of my skin, to dissolve my bones in the moted air, to become as insubstantial and surrendering as a Te Deum chanted at Matins end.”

“Optical Illusions Show How We See”

 “Optical Illusions Show How We See”
by Beau Lotto

"Editors note: R. Beau Lotto is founder of Lottolab, a hybrid art studio and science lab based in London, England. Lotto gave a popular talk at the TED Global conference in Oxford, England, in July 2009. In the video, Lotto shares some surprising optical illusions - and explains the deep brain science behind them. Here, Lotto explains why our eyes try to fool our brains."

"Seeing lightness and color are the simplest sensations the brain has. And yet even at this most basic level we never see the light that falls onto our eyes (called the retinal image) or even the real-world source of that image. Rather, neuroscience research tells us that we only ever see what proved useful to see in the past. Illusions are a simple but powerful example of this point. Like all our perceptions, we see illusions because the brain evolved not to see the retinal image, but to resolve the inherent "meaninglessness" of that image by continually redefining normality, a normality that is necessarily grounded in relationships, history and ecology.

Which is why we innately find regularities in information and reflexively imbue those regularities with value. But it is the value, not the information itself we see. So, tomorrow morning when you open your eyes and look "out into" the world, don't be fooled. You're in fact looking in. You're not seeing the world; you're seeing a world... an internal map of value-relations derived from interactions within a particular, narrow context.

Another essential point about illusions implied in my TED talk is that they reveal our amazing capacity to entertain mutually exclusive internal realities simultaneously. For instance, while looking at one of my color illusions (say the multicolored cube) you're aware of one reality: that two tiles look very different, while simultaneously being aware of an opposite reality: that the two tiles are in fact physically the same. This capacity to be an observer of yourself is phenomenal and possibly unique to humans. Indeed, to literally "see yourself see" is in my view the principal act of consciousness, which has the power to transform one's view of the world and of oneself.

The importance of the above observations stemming from my own work and that of others transcend neuroscience. They show us in an explicit (and I hope engaging) way that our senses are not "fragile," as many would have you believe. They show us instead that we are not outside observers of nature defined in isolation. We are instead indivisible from nature, defined by the trial and error process of interaction, a process in which we can choose to become active agents (but too often choose not to).

Understanding this point is I believe critical to personal and social well-being, since the typical barrier to a deeper insight into oneself and others is the overriding, but necessarily false impression that what "I" see, what "I" hear and what "I" know is the world as it really is. But, by "seeing yourself see," in other words by actively exploring how your thoughts, feelings, beliefs and even the colors you see reflect your physical, social and cultural ecology, only then is it possible to understand the source of coherence and conflict within and between individuals. Put another way, only by accepting my own humanity can I accept the humanity of others. "Seeing myself see" creates the opportunity for this acceptance. Illusions, then, were not the point of my talk, but simply a tool for encouraging this process.

Resolving uncertainty is essential to our survival. Hence our fear of ambiguous situations is palpable- e.g., the inability to resolve sensory conflict between the eyes and ears can result in nausea (like seasickness). And yet it is only by embracing the unknown within education, science, art and most importantly within our own private lives that we will find new routes to more enlightened ways of seeing and being.

Thus, courage not confidence is at the heart of this process of actively redefining normality, which is the route to compassion and creativity. Encouraging this process by celebrating uncertainty is the raison d'etre of my work, from the science of human and bee perception, to the art of translating images into music, to the design of a glass windmill for primary schools, to the creation of the "My School" educational program (a framework for teaching and architecture that directly supports creativity, community choice and compassion), even to giving a talk at TED. By providing relevant, tangible and accessible frameworks for others to take part in the process of discovery, I hope - in a very modest way - that my work will help foster a more empathetic view of nature and human nature."

Edward Abbey, "Benedicto"

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets' towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you - beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.”
- Edward Abbey, "Benedicto"

"A Person Needs A Little Madness..."

 "A person needs a little madness, 
or else they never dare cut the rope and be free."
- Nikos Kazantzakis

"The Mysterious Megaliths of New England"

"The Mysterious Megaliths of New England"
   by Paul Tudor Angel   
                                      
"Located in the heart of modern-day New England stand sites of such great antiquity; sites so enigmatic, so sophisticated and seemingly inexplicable, serious scientists and archaeologists have denied their study because of their monumental implications: it would force them to throw away their preconceived notions about the achievements of ancient man into the historical garbage can. Mystery Hill, the Upton Cave, Calendar I and Calendar II, Gungywamp and Druid’s Hill are just several of the names given some incredibly important historical sites of which many have never heard a whisper. But their existence - and their importance - is becoming harder and harder to hide as more are discovered and interested folk become exposed to their grandeur.

Sometime in the late 1600s or early 1700s, early American colonists began discovering and utilizing underground “root cellars” made of large but manageable pieces of dressed stone as storage houses for food stuffs. Colonists were also finding numerous stone buildings, usually of “one story, circular or rectangular in form, and up to 30 feet in length and up to 10 feet wide and eight feet high or more.” Many included roof slabs or lintels of several tons. Many also had carefully crafted openings in their roofs which allowed a small amount of light to pass through to the interiors. The colonial newcomers were convinced that these so-called root cellars had been constructed by the former Amerind inhabitants of the area - irrespective of the fact that their Indian neighbors showed little hint of an ability to work in large stone or the desire to do so. Before long, the inheritors of these properties thought their own American ancestors had built these cellars -some which were eighty feet deep and lined the entire way with roughly hewn stone.

Simultaneously, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of oddly-inscribed flagstones were being found in the surrounding New England woods, carted off by farmers for use in stone walls or in larger stone structures in the settlements of the growing northeast. The angular cuts on these stones looked much like the marks a plow makes when it strikes a submerged piece of stone—at least they looked that way to most of the simple country farmers of the day. Others believed the markings appearing in rocks all across New England were “the action of the roots of trees.” For decades nothing at all was thought of them. As any New Englander can tell you, the entire northeast is strewn with large chunks of striated stone material left from the last era of glacial recession.
But a local Puritan clergyman, Cotton Mather, was not convinced. In 1712 he discovered some strange incisions on an exposed seaside rockface in Dighton, Massachusetts - far from where any plow could have marked it. He immediately wrote to the Royal Society in London, England, to inform them of his find and to convey his belief that the rock carvings were in fact an ancient scriptural alphabet - perhaps several differing ancient alphabets. Unexpectedly, his letter generated little interest. The scientists of the Royal Society were already busy exploring newly discovered rock inscriptions in neighboring Ireland. These European inscriptions were later identified as Irish Hinge Ogam, a form of Gaelic Keltic writing unknown for centuries and stubbornly undecipherable. It is referred to as “hinge” Ogam because a central dividing line or a facet edge was used to separate the subtly different individual characters. Little did anyone know at the time, the inscriptions found on both sides of the Atlantic were firmly connected.

Yet how could Celtic writing, a style reminiscent of that from the first millennium B.C., be in America? Who were the authors of the many rock engravings? How could the carvers possibly have gotten to America a thousand years before the birth of Christ? Why had they come and what evidence is there to support such a far-fetched notion? And what of the large stone structures found across the American northeast, eerily similar to types found in Europe? The answers were being spoken loudly and clearly if someone could only listen to what the rocks and buildings themselves had to say. But time seemed to be running out. Thousands of the inscribed rocks were being broken up for building material and the larger stone structures were being dismantled or vandalized, destroying the monumental works of these mysterious builders.   

For answers, we first turn to an odd stone arrangement found in the hills of New England. The Mystery Hill complex, the largest and most sophisticated of its kind in North America, covers over 30 acres and is composed of monolithic standing stones, stone walls and underground chambers, most of which are aligned to obvious astronomical points. Even now the site can be used as an accurate yearly calendar utilizing the stones set up over two thousand (perhaps as long as 5,000) years ago. The lack of household artifacts and grave goods leads us to believe that the site was a ceremonial center and neither living quarters nor a “city.”
Over the years the more interesting features and structures on-site have been given un-scientific names that insinuate inferred function. The “Watch House” is the name given to a chamber structure located outside the main complex at Mystery Hill. The roof is a massive, quarried slab of granite of several tons. On the back wall of the chamber the stones contain a high percentage of white quartz, a stone found in its pure form in many of the neolithic structures over the world and treasured by ancient peoples for its reflective qualities. This particular chamber is aligned to the February first sunrise and lunar minor south. At sunrise on this date the sunlight enters the entrance of the chamber and slowly moves along one wall until it illuminates the quartz crystals at the back wall, making the semi-precious gems sparkle noticeably. February first was one of the eight most important divisions of the Keltic year as we shall discuss in more detail later.

The “Oracle Chamber” is one of the most interesting and important structures located at Mystery Hill - or anywhere for that matter. It is significantly larger than any other chamber found at the site and contains unique characteristics found nowhere else in any of the other megalithic sites in New England. A 4 inch by 6 inch shaft, lined with thin facing stones, runs from the exterior and enters through the interior wall at about chin level. The “Speaking Tube,” as it is called, emerges above ground, yet concealed underneath a sacrificial altar with runnels. It would seem that the speakers within the Oracle Chamber could talk into the tube, their voices warped and amplified, carrying up to the altar above and creating quite an impressive sound to a group of worshippers who might be gathered around the altar - in effect making the altar talk.

Also found across the Mystery Hill site are huge monolithic standing stones (some now fallen) all of which line up to sun, moon or star alignments as seen from a central viewing slab located by one of the earlier researchers at the site. From this slab, monoliths align to the Midwinter solstice sunrise and sunset, the November one sunrise and sunset, the Spring and Fall Equinox sunrises and sunsets, the May one sunrise and sunset, the Midsummer solstice sunrise and sunset, the August one sunrise and sunset and true north (this stone is aligned to the star Thuban, the pole star of 2,000 B.C.). On these days the sun will either rise or set above worked monolith stones. Exact alignments coincide, according to scholars and astronomers, with a date of 2499 B.C. to 1900 B.C.

Other impressive constructions on the site include a number of underground chambers with clear astronomical alignments. The calendrical orientations of these slab-roofed chambers, it would seem, would rule out these structures being constructed as root cellars by early American colonists or the woodlands Indians of the northeast as neither were concerned with alignments that coincide with the most important of yearly Keltic celebrations. Further, noted archaeo-astronomer Byron Dix has determined that New England is replete with underground chambers. He says, “there are some 105 astronomically aligned chambers in Massachusetts, 51 in New Hampshire, 41 in Vermont, 62 in Connecticut, 12 in Rhode Island, and 4 in Maine.” Suffice it to say, it is obvious that the alignments found at Mystery Hill and other sites are not random.
One of the central features of the Mystery Hill site is the sacrificial table/altar, above. It is a 4.5 ton grooved slab whose purpose is still under debate by scholars. In the words of archeologist and Mystery Hill curator Robert Stone: “Others believe it was used for sacrifices, not only because of its central location, its size, but also because the Oracle speaking tube was beneath it, as well as the carved channel [for the draining of blood] on the top surface. It is positioned on four worked stone legs and is located at the center of the site in a large courtyard.”

It too bears a striking resemblance to altar stones found at megalithic sites in Europe. And we do know that blood sacrifice and altars such as these were connected firmly to Neolithic religions. But even more than mere physical resemblance to European sites, it was carbon dating, carried out under the supervision of respected scientists from Geochron Laboratories in 1971 that supported the disputed claims of researchers who were being ridiculed for insisting that Mystery Hill was a site of extreme antiquity. Carbon tests conducted on charcoal found alongside a stone pick and a hammer stone unearthed at an excavation near one of the underground chambers reveal a date of 2,000 B.C. The artifacts were clearly related to Neolithic pieces of the same era in the British Isles and Iberia. The excavation pit carbon tested had been undisturbed before digging and layers of strata above were perfectly intact.

Unfortunately, many of the other structures at the site were carted away, vandalized or destroyed - yet what remains should be viewed as one of the most important historical sites in the Western Hemisphere. And Mystery Hill is not - by far - the only megalithic site in New England whose origins are somewhat clouded. Megalithic constructions known as dolmens can be found all across new England, the western part of Europe and even into Syria and South Africa. Dolmen comes from the Breton word for stone table as the dolmens in many instances are three, four or five smaller boulders topped by an immense, flat-topped boulder than can weigh any where from several tons to 90 tons. Many of these capstones are however roundish, dressed stones, and not flat topped.

The dolmen usually was erected to commemorate the death of a chieftain or an historical event of great importance and scriptural incisions usually accompany the dolmen on stone markers. Some experts believe that the dolmen was actually a tomb that was then covered in huge amounts of earth - in effect a tumulous tomb in which the earth has been eroded away. Dolmens are frequently occurring structures in the American northeast. There are in fact over 200 examples of dolmens in New England alone and some very impressive examples can be found in our country as far away as California. Another frequently occurring megalithic structure familiar to all readers is the stone circle. We know of the great Stonehenge complex in England with its huge stones found there and the many calendrical alignments they delineate. But there are ancient stone circles in New England as well.

Probably the most intriguing archaeological site in Connecticut is located in Groton and is called “Gungywamp,” thought to be an ancient Indian name, but actually ancient Gaelic meaning, “Church of the People.” Besides containing beehive chambers and petroglyphs, the Gungywamp site has a double circle of stones near its center, just north of two stone chambers. Two concentric circles of large quarried stones large slabs laid end to end - are at the center of the site. Extensive fire burning on some of the slabs is apparent which leads many to believe it was an ancient altar. Nearby there are several large pillar stones and one boulder slab that have been carefully positioned along astronomical site lines.

Visiting the Gungywamp site on the afternoon of September 21st, Dave Barron, the head of the Gungywamp Society, saw a sight that he would never forget. He said, “The setting sun had cast a beam of light through the vent shaft at the back of the chamber. This beam of light slowly moved down the east wall and spotlighted into the small beehive crypt near the entrance. This stone-lined tube was designed precisely to permit the Equinoctical sunset to fully penetrate the chamber’s dark interior on only two days during the year - March 22nd and September 21. The high density of garnet in the stones magnified the intensity of the sunlight entering the chamber. It certainly acts as a predictable calendar. The Gungywamp site has been carbon dated to 600 A.D.”

James Whittall had this to say about an astonishing megalithic site he viewed at LeBlanc Park in Lowell, Massachusetts: “There I saw a sight I had not seen since my travels in the British Isles. Situated on a mound were weathered megalithic stones. I was filled with disbelief - it just couldn’t be - western Europe, yes, but here in Massachusetts - no. The reality of the scene was astonishing.” This oval mound was measured at 112 feet long by 56 feet wide. And the stones, as Whittall predicted, provided astronomical alignments. The monoliths were oriented east to west, and bearings of the sight indicated that it had been used to observe solar events. The first observation was made on September 22nd, the fall equinox, from the highest stone on the western side from the peak of the eastern most stone. The sun set behind stone number four just as Whittall had surmised."
• • •
 Related:

The Poet: Mary Oliver, "The Poet Dreams of the Mountain"

"The Poet Dreams of the Mountain"

"Sometimes I grow weary of the days with all their fits and starts.
I want to climb some old grey mountain, slowly, taking
the rest of my life to do it, resting often, sleeping
under the pines or, above them, on the unclothed rocks.
I want to see how many stars are still in the sky
that we have smothered for years now, forgiving it all,
and peaceful, knowing the last thing there is to know.
All that urgency!  Not what the earth is about!
How silent the trees, their poetry being of themselves only.
I want to take slow steps, and think appropriate thoughts.
In ten thousand years, maybe, a piece of the mountain will fall."

- Mary Oliver

The Daily "Near You?"

Frisco, Texas, USA. Thanks for stopping by!
Above, Dallas Cowboys world headquarters.

"The Fed's Answer To The Ghastly Monster Of Its Own Creation"

"The Fed's Answer To The Ghastly Monster Of Its Own Creation"
by MN Gordon 

"Make no mistake about it, just as Lehman Brothers was set up to take the fall for triggering the 2008 collapse, China is being groomed as the new scapegoat for the coming crisis. But China's economic slump is only a symptom, not the disease. The reality is that the repeal of Glass-Steagall ushered in the greatest wealth transfer scheme in the history of America, allowing six mega-banks in America to control the vast majority of insured deposits, use those taxpayer-backed deposits to gamble for the house, loot the bank from the inside by paying billions of dollars to select employees and customers and then hand the gambling tab to the taxpayer when the casino burns down. This model is a staggering headwind on both U.S. and global growth because it has created the greatest wealth and income inequality since the Great Depression. "

"The launch angle of the U.S. stock market over the past decade has been steep and relentless. The S&P 500, after bottoming out at 666 on March 6, 2009, has rocketed up over 370 percent. New highs continue to be reached practically every day. Over this stretch, many investors have been conditioned to believe the stock market only goes up. That blindly pumping money into an S&P 500 ETF is the key to investment riches. In good time, this conditioning will be recalibrated with a rude awakening.  You can count on it.

In the interim, the bull market may continue a bit longer…or it may not.  But, to be clear, after a 370 percent run-up, buying the S&P 500 represents a speculation on price. A gamble that the launch angle furthers its steep trajectory.  Here’s why…

Over the past decade, the U.S. economy, as measured by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), has increased about 50 percent. This plots a GDP launch angle that is underwhelming when compared to the S&P 500.  Corporate earnings have fallen far short of share prices. Hence, the bull market in stocks is not a function of a booming economy. Rather, it’s a function of Fed madness. And its existence becomes ever more perilous with each passing day.

Central planners at the Fed – like other major central banks – have taken monetary policy to a state of madness. Zero interest rate policy, negative interest rate policy, quantitative easing, operation twist, quantitative tightening, reserve management, repo market intervention, not-QE, mass-asset purchases, and more. These schemes have fostered massive growth in public and private debt with nothing but lackluster economic growth to show.  What’s more, these schemes have produced massive asset bubbles that have skyrocketed wealth inequality and inflamed countless variants of new populism.

Yet the clever fellows at the Fed are blind to the fact that they’re most responsible for fabricating this monster. And now they want to rectify the ghastly deformities of their creation…

Higher Calling: Earlier this week, for example, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari remarked that: “Monetary policy can play the kind of redistributing role once thought to be the preserve of elected officials.” How exactly Mickey Mousing with credit markets could attain this objective is unclear. But, like yield curve control (YCC), Kashkari wants to give it a go. These sorts of amorphous meddling operations is how he answers his higher calling.

You see, Kashkari’s a man with crazy eyes. But he’s also a man with even crazier ideas. He’s an extreme economic interventionist – and a crackpot. Though he wears his burdens on his sleeve. If you recall, as federal bailout chief, Kashkari functioned as the highly visible hand of the market. When the sky was falling in early-2009, he awoke each morning, put on his pants one leg at a time, drank his coffee, and rapidly funneled Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s $700 billion of TARP funds to the government’s preferred financial institutions.

Incidentally, the experience had an ill effect on Kaskkari’s mental health. Soon after, he became a hermit, took to a cabin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains – near Donner Pass – and pursued his other life’s purpose of chopping wood. We thought we’d seen the last of him. But sadly, it’s impossible for true believers to amiably exit the trappings of public life for good. After a failed California gubernatorial campaign in 2014, losing to retread Governor Jerry Moonbeam Brown, Kashkari resurfaced as Minneapolis Fed President in 2016.

We suppose this appointed position was his reward for the abuse heaped upon him from grandstanding Representatives – absolute losers like Barney Frank and Maxine Waters – while handing out vast quantities of taxpayer dollars to Wall Street banks. Of course, for real public servants like Kashkari, appointed positions are the crème de la crème.

Strangely, lightning strikes twice for this guy. Next year, roughly a month from today, Kashkari will be a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee. For the second time in 11 years, destiny will place him at the precise location where he can exact maximum destruction upon financial markets during a colossal crisis.

The Fed’s Answer to the Ghastly Monster of its Creation: As the economy stalls out in 2020, U.S. deficits are going to jump to over $2 trillion a year – and will stay there. So, too, the national debt will run up towards $40 trillion over the next decade. The Fed, through YCC or some other wild scheme, will take on the dirty deed of monetizing this debt. They’ll create money from nothing and loan it to the Treasury.

Then, if Kashkari has his way, the Treasury will send out checks backed by the Fed’s funny money to William Jennings Bryan’s “struggling masses.” All the while, the Fed will be oblivious to the fact that these are the same people who’ve been hollowed out by the Fed’s own policies of wealth inequality. This is their solution to the ghastly monster of their making.

Still, the Fed and Kashkari are only the source of but some of the crazy ideas being burped about. Moreover, an election year always provides a startling preview of the madness coming to Washington – regardless of who wins. The styling may be different. But the results are the same: bigger government, bigger deficits, and greater government control and encroachments upon individual freedom and liberty.

Right now, Presidential candidates are tripping over themselves to see who can make greater and crazier promises to coat the landscape in gravy for voters to sup off of. You know what we’re talking about… Economic patriotism. Universal basic income. Modern monetary theory. Trade wars. Green new deal. Quantitative easing for the people. Generous spending packages. Free school. Free drugs. Canceling debt. Wealth taxes. Taxes on unrealized capital gains. Outright currency destruction. And much, much more.

The planners and schemers are queuing up these ridiculous plans for just the right moment. That is, when the economy slows, credit market’s freeze, the stock market crashes, the sky falls, and all hell breaks loose. Like TARP, or the Patriot Act, they’ll roll them out at the precise moment of maximum panic. Alas, the monster will rampage in wild and unexpected ways."

"Most Of Us..."

"Not everything that is faced can be changed. 
But nothing can be changed until it is faced. 
Most of us are about as eager to change as we were to be born, 
and go through our changes in a similar state of shock."
– James Baldwin

"The 2019 Black Friday Video Hall of Shame"

"The 2019 Black Friday Video Hall of Shame"
by Daisy and Dagny

"American shoppers continued to embarrass themselves in the eyes of the world during this year’s brawlshopping extravaganza. While smart shoppers stayed home and avoided the insanity by ordering gifts online, the melees were alive and well in malls and big-box stores across the country. As people battled it out for the best-priced bath towels, preppers should take a quick moment to ponder how these same folks would behave if they were hungry. (You might want to review this article, "Why Prepper’s Need Guns.")

Black Friday violence is so common that there is at least one website dedicated to tracking deaths and injuries associated with shopping on that day. Take a look here: Black Friday Death Count.

WARNING: In the videos below, there is violence, harsh language, and all-around bad behavior. Don’t click on the videos then blow up our email complaining that someone was cussing on the website. Let the games begin!

My (Daisy’s) daughter worked at Target at opening time and I said, “For the love of cats, please stay away from the door!” She said that at her particular store in Virginia it was chaotic but not violent. This cannot be said for some of the shoppers in our first clip. We’ll start off with a motivational speech to Target employees and watch the situation devolve from there."
Full article, with more videos and pictures, if you can stomach it :
Scorn, contempt, ridicule, disgrace... yeah.
Willful ignorance and stupidity beyond comprehension, and all of the above...
'Murica!

"How It Really Is"

"Life Would Be Infinitely Happier..."

Success Secrets TV, "5 Important Lessons People Learn Too Late In Life"


Supertramp, "Take The Long Way Home"

"Fate..."

“Luck of the draw, or meant to be? Our lives are impacted by forces we cannot explain, often changed for reasons we will never totally understand. However, when people are touched by the hand of fate, they know it. Whether fate brings them their heart's desire, or forever closes the door to their dreams, the path that has brought them to that point is clear, and fate's irony is unmistakable.”
- Thomas Wilson

“To simplify things down to their real essence, whenever things go wrong in our lives, whenever our plans go awry and the things we took for granted suddenly disappear, we have a very simple choice. We can either succumb to despair and assume the attitude of the put upon victim, powerless to change our fate, or we can decide to turn the tragedy into an opportunity.”
 - Tony Clark

"Fukushima Update 11/30/19: 20,588.4 Hiroshima Bombs Today, More Tomorrow"

"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
- Shiva
Updated Nov. 30, 2019: Fukushima Equals 20,588.4 Hiroshima Bombs Today, More Tomorrow; There is No Place On Earth to Escape the Rad: The 3 melted-through cores of the destroyed reactors, now melted together into a single "corium" totaling over 600 tons, at Fukushima daily release the radioactive equivalent of 6.45 Hiroshima bombs directly into the atmosphere and the Pacific Ocean. As of Nov. 30, 2019 - 3,192 days since the disaster began - this equals the detonation of 20,588.4 Hiroshima atomic bombs and it is still going strong, with no end in sight, considering that the half-life of uranium-238 is about 4.47 billion years and that of uranium-235 is 704 million years. There is no technology on this planet to deal with this situation. Any "news" they allow you to see about "repairing" the damage are public relations LIES, and they know it. Now you do, too. 

There are only 336 cities on Earth with more than one million people. That is the equivalent of 61.27 
Hiroshima atomic bombs apiece. Now add a minimum of 600 tons per day of highly radioactive ground and "coolant" water flowing directly into the Pacific Ocean, as it has for the last 3,192 days. This coolant water is not cooling down the reactor cores, since they melted through on the first day. What they are cooling is the many thousands of fuel rods stored in the ruined cooling pools directly above the now-empty reactor core chambers. If those rods are not cooled they will ignite and burn - a total catastrophe in itself.

You have an absolute right to be fully aware of this reality, which is intended to inform, not frighten, you, though a full understanding of this situation is terrifying. Do your own research, consider and see with your own eyes the many mass Pacific die-off videos on YouTube. Verify all the information you can, and, as always, draw your own informed conclusions as to the consequences. 

Watch this absolutely terrifying video:

Not that these numbers really matter at this point; the damage is done, and increases daily. It's bio-accumulative, there are no cures, and the lethal consequences for us all will only accelerate more rapidly and visibly from here on. Yes, that means YOU, too, and all of us. There's no other truth I can offer you, folks, these are the laws of physics, not idle conjecture. Please do your own research from the huge number of active links in the over 500 articles posted here, verify or disprove claims and assertions, and draw your own informed conclusions as to the ultimate consequences we're all facing. Ultimately we did this to ourselves, out of greed. This is truth; believe whatever you want and need to, it doesn't matter anyway, and God help us all...
- CP
The latest update will appear below as available:
Urgency is not a consideration at this point...

MILLION A WEEK CLUB – YRTW 2019.42 – 
TABLE OF POISONED AMERICAN CITIES
"Your Radiation This Week, November  30, 2019"
by Bob Nichols

The Radiation Numbers: Table of Irradiated American Cities Million Counts a Week January 1, 2018 to October 26, 2019. Published November 30, 2019. Gamma and Beta CPM by City and State Plus Cities Above the Max-Normal Safe Level, view at this link:

"First thing, grasp the difficult concept that this is an ELE or Extinction Level Event. The deadly meltdown and dispersion of radioactive fuel throughout the world is on-going to this day. There is no escaping our fate, there are no solutions. No one is exempt. The radioactive particles are all over the world now. The Rad lethality will continue to increase because that is what Rad lethality does. The simple reason is some of the uranium decays to plutonium. When that happens the Rad count increases. Once set free, the change cannot be altered or stopped by anyone or anything. The Rad is the ultimate power and its mission is to kill You.

Lethality: There are 1,946 radioactive isotopes according to the Oak Ridge Nuclear Weapons Lab. In the Earth’s atmosphere all are produced by nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants. There are no other sources. Lethality is the power to kill and injure. It exists and is measured by humans in deaths and in calculations. The perfectly odd thing about radiation is the Lethality goes up while the radioactivity goes down. That has killed many a person who only counted the radioactivity. This is perfectly logical when you recognize radioactive Isotopes change from one Isotope to another for billions of years. The Isotope Uranium changes to Plutonium and many others. Plutonium is the ultimate killing machine, so bad that the Medical Director of the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab, Dr. John Gofman, said “Plutonium 239 is the most dangerous substance in the universe.”

The Individuals in the Targeted Area are exposed to measured Gamma Rad this year so far of: four billion, one hundred forty-seven million, six hundred fifty-four thousand, seven hundred sixty-one CPM, or, 4,147,654,761 CPM [Counts Per Minute in 2018. YTD is short for Year to Date. It means January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018. CPM is short for Counts Per Minute; also written here as cpm.

Source RadNet Gamma radiation readings are reported by the Hour throughout the year. Radiation covers the US like a deadly blanket. That’s 8,760 cpm hourly reports on each city listed in a year. That’s 8,784 cpm count hourly reports in a Leap Year.

The Rad is cumulative so the Total Radiation continues to increase as long as humans continue to produce the Rads. One way to measure the Rad became widespread in the States. That is by measuring, recording and publishing the Total Gamma Radiation at ground level at many locations in the US. 

All of life on Earth is radioactive by now and it only took about 70 years. This is a planetary Death Sentence for all. Everyone is included. There is no way out. There is nothing we can do to stop it. The Rad will take us all out. Yeah, that includes all of us; plus the life driving around in our air, lakes, rivers and oceans. The Rad also nails the long lived remnants of the dinosaurs; y’know, the birds. They don’t have a prayer. All of us are included; none are left out. That is reality, anything else is just wishful thinking or a purposeful lie. The amount of Rad in the air now dooms Humanity to a relatively quick extinction. Done in by our own war toys, how moronic is that?! I can’t say it any plainer than that." 

"I added a new measurement that will help residents understand the Rad. The Rad is with us all 24/7 constantly. It never goes away. It is better to know what the Rad level is than to not know. Be prepared for a shock, these Year to Date totals are really big radiation numbers. Colorado Springs, Colorado is number one in the US right now having endured Total Gamma Radiation, 2006 thru 2019, of 84,459,094 CPM." This is a Bad situation for all exposed to the Rad. Now included all cities above 12,000,000 CPM Year to Date [YTD] of deadly Gamma Radiation and its unpublished radioactive kin. A Count is One Radioactive Decay.

The United States is a very radioactive country. Records of Total Gamma Radiation are easily accessible with a computer at RadNet, a directorate of the EPA. RadNet simply presents the data. It is up to you to decide how much radiation is too much and what to do about it. Good luck on your efforts. As they say, “It’s complicated.”

I won’t try to kid you with good news lies and made up “facts.” Bottom-line, this is way too much radiation for humans to take. I despise the people-like animals responsible for this world wide calamity. I will continue the report as long as I am able. Continue to read and share as long as you are able. I will measure and characterize our shared demise to the best of my ability."

Click image for larger size.
Click image for larger size.
"Aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, 100 miles offshore of Fukushima: "During that March 13, 2011 phone call, Cleveland wrote, Troy Mueller - the deputy administrator for naval reactors at the US Department of Energy - said the radiation was the equivalent of “about 30 times what you would detect just on a normal air sample out at sea.” “So it's much greater than what we had thought,” Mueller reportedly warned other American officials after taking samples on the Reagan. “We didn't think we would detect anything at 100 miles.” After Mueller made that remark, according to Cleveland’s transcript, Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman asked him if those levels were “significantly higher than anything you would have expected.” He responded yes. When Poneman later asked Mueller, “How do the levels detected compare with what is permissible?” Mueller said those on the scene could suffer irreversible harm from the radiation within hours. “If it were a member of the general public, it would take- well, it would take about 10 hours to reach a limit,” he said. At that point, Mueller added, “It’s a thyroid dose issue.” If people are exposed to levels beyond the Protective Action Guideline threshold released by the Energy Department, Cleveland acknowledged in his report, radiation could have ravaged their thyroid glands."
"German Analysis of Certain Isotopes after Meltdown: Hold on to your hat. In 1992 Germany calculated that in reactor meltdowns like Fukushima Daiichi the radioactive isotope Strontium 90 would aggressively poison the environment for 109.2 years and then decline slowly over the next 273 years. Of course, we will ALL be long dead by then. Other deadly Rad isotopes put Strontium 90’s generous life span to shame. The German study is here for those brave enough to tackle it. Source: The IAEA: Dispersion of radionuclides and radiation exposure after leaching by groundwater of a solidified core-concrete melt by Bayer, A.; Tromm, W.; Al-Omari, I. (Kernforschungszentrum Karlsruhe (Germany)) from 8. International congress of the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA8)"
"What We Know Now about Fukushima" 
by Bob Nichols

"Here is what was known 75 days after reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Reactor Plant started a disastrous and lethal nuclear meltdown on March 11, 2011:

• March 11, 14:46, a One Million Kiloton Earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter Scale hammered Japan off-shore near the six Japanese reactors. The reactors attempted to shut down automatically when electronic sensors detected the earthquake. The huge earthquake dropped the reactors three feet, moved Japan 8 inches to the West and altered the tilt of the Axis of planet Earth.

• March 11, about 15:30, the giant Earthquake caused a tsunami up to 30 meters (98.4 Ft) high washed away all the fuel tanks for the reactors Emergency Generators and all the reactors’ outside electrical feeds. This was the Death Blow to the reactors. The Fukushima Daiichi reactors were dead in the water and their fate sealed. Without an external source of electricity for the water pumps and hot reactors, they are just so much radioactive scrap iron – good for nothing. The internal temperature of the reactors started climbing immediately.

• March 11, about 18:00, only two and a half hours later, multiple reactor cores started melting down as the reactors internal temperatures skyrocketed to the melting point of uranium and beyond – a measured 1,718 Deg C (3,124.4 Deg F) past the melting point. Uranium melts at 1,132.2 Deg C (2,069.9 Deg F.) The internal reactor temperatures reached at least 2,850 Deg C, (5,162 Deg F.) The millions of 1 mm Uranium fuel pellets in the reactors and in the core pools had no defense at all without the powerful water pumps and millions of gallons of cooling water against those temperatures.

The Uranium pellets simply melted forming a white hot lava-like radioactive uranium isotope blob that then burned through the high temperature steel around the graphite seals of the General Electric Mark 1 Reactor Control Rods at the bottom of the American submarine-based reactor design of US Navy Admiral Hyman Rickover, now deceased. (General Electric copied the US Government financed Navy nuclear reactor design for many commercial nuclear reactors.) The radioactive blobs trickled together to form a huge, highly radioactive, burning lava blob like that of Chernobyl, called a "corium".

• The corium is releasing as much as a TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) measured 10 Quadrillion (10,000 Trillion Bq) radioactive counts per second of deadly radioactive smoke particles into the Earth’s atmosphere. As of May, 2011, the invisible, killing radioactive smoke is already all over the Northern Hemisphere and everyone in it – each and every one – is radiologically contaminated. Note that the lethality of radioactive reactor cores goes up the first 250,000 years they are out of the reactor – not down.

• This much is known. All radioactive exposures are cumulative for each human, animal and plant. What’s more, mutated genetic codes are passed on to offspring forever. This means all Japanese and all Northern Hemisphere inhabitants are suffering internal radioactive contamination from Fukushima Daiichi reactors already."

Fukushima Equals 3,000 Billion Lethal Doses: Dr Paolo Scampa, a widely know EU Physicist, single handedly popularized the easily understood Lethal Doses concept. “Lethal Doses” is a world wide, well understood idea that strips Physics bare and offers a brilliant, understandable explanation for all the physics gobbledygook Intelligence agencies and their respective governments use to disguise the brutal truths of the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster. Three thousand billion (3,000,000,000,000) (3 Trillion) Lethal Doses of Radiation means there are 429 Lethal Doses chasing each and every one of us on the planet, to put it in a nutshell."
A Search of this blog will reveal over 500 posts about Fukushima, covered since day one. I sincerely regret having to bring this to you, but this is to inform you, not frighten you, since there's nothing whatsoever we can do about it anyway, and you'll never in your life hear anything about it in the lying MSM. Believe what you will, and need to, but always be informed and aware. 
- CP