Ruminations on Terrorists and Invasion

In WWII, even in Korea, we had news photos of GI’s giving candy and food to local kids and adults. This practise disintegrated in Vietnam, where babes in arms could just as easily be rigged to explode. Partly this was the result of a global ideological conflict. Partly, though, perhaps the greater part, was that American soldiers were not helping the people of the nation they’d invaded. Whatever agenda they had – save Australia from Communism, establish a drug business, pump oil out of the China Sea, rip off the Defense budget or the PX – it had nothing to do with Freedom, Liberty, or the Vietnamese people.

Invading Iraq was an excuse for Halliburton to bill Congress; invading Afghanistan … well, frankly I don’t know. I think it may have had to do with oil. Hunting Isis, the Taliban, bin Laden, all noble pursuits. But the only success among them was the surgical erasure of bin Laden. In the current era of frontless war, invasion-sized offenses have generally failed.

Rest assured, I have no qualms about killing terrorists. I’m no Buddhist. Probably that’s linked with the ease with which I justify squishing mosquitoes and suffocating ticks. I figure, even if they are my ancestors, they’re pests now and squishing and drowning is part of a bug’s karma.

American military behavior, while never as valorous as we’d like to believe, still was admirable compared with The Other Guys. I’m not so sure any more. Sweeping troops through residential neighborhoods, through actual residences, will not make many friends among the residents. Drone attacks, unless regularly extremely accurate, would tend to scare the living shit out of the civilian population. While calling America “terrorist” is not correct, calling its motives corrupt and its overall approach murderous may be thoroughly accurate.

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Well, Hail To The Chief, There

_obamaobamaEveryone’s howling for Trump’s impeachment, and he won’t even be sworn in until tomorrow. Meanwhile, Trump’s howling about a conspiracy only he sees in which everyone else created votes for whats-her-name. This sort of thing invariably leads to a tea party featuring a dormouse and a disappearing cat.

I’m beginning to think, though, maybe this is a conspiracy Trump’s trumped up himself. He just doesn’t want to be President. He’s had all the fun, shaking babies, kissing hands, getting golden showers in Moscow. I think he wants to quit now, while he’s ahead.

That ain’t right, yo. We can’t let him get away with it. We gotta make him serve.

Ever since I learned to take the concept of Draft seriously – and I assure you I was caused to take it very seriously – I’ve favored drafting a businessman and hauling him, kicking and screaming if need be, into the West Wing, strapping ankle brscelets on him and forcing him to run the government. We could pay him from National Budget surplus. If there were surpluses three years running he’d be eligible for early release, but not guaranteed it, unless he could prove some benefit to the people – say, tasty school lunches nation-wide – resulted from his administation.

Being President is hard work. Look at the before&after pictures. You remember what young Barak looked like? And now? They go into office with colored hair. By the time they come out, it’s all white. Now, that’s one problem The Donald will not have to face. He’ll simply have to send out for a new wig.

The government is, theoretically, divided into three parts. Legislative, judicial, and administrative branches all serving as checks on each other. The President is the administrator, not of The People, but of the Government. In Trump’s case, that makes him the Top Landlord of all the Government office buildings.

He will be the one ultimately responsible for the proper functioning of the plumbing in all the lavatories in all the US Government-administered facilities in the world. First among these are in the Congressional cloakrooms. And as the landlord, he will be esponisble fo the janitorial services as well. These tiles are smeared not only with biological emissions but also psychic effluvia that cannot be erased with chemicals and scrubbing. The difference between Trump the Landlord and Trump the President comes here.

It is the President’s task first to grease the mechanisms of government with the alick primordial slime with spraygun and mink-fur brush, and then to recite the arcane spells and perform the profane rituals that cleanse these same political cogwheels so they can go home to their spouses and kiddies and not scar them when they embraced.

He wasn’t running to be elected Louis XIV, you know. It isn’t always good to be President. He’s got to deal with a lot of assholes. The Republican Party isn’t exactly a party.

You remember the last big party you went to? Where somebody rented a hall, booked a caterer and a band, had some mc yelling things through a PA system? And your Aunt Gussie made a spectacular fool out of you and, worse, your Dad? Well, the Republican Party is made up mostly of Aunt Gussies, and Uncle Melvins, too, the guy who enables her bad behavior with the catchphrase, “What’re you gonna do?”

Well, that’s a very interesting question. You know the saying, “Beauty s only skin deep, but ugly goes all the way to the bone?” My Aunt Maddie was the ugliest woman God ever made, if He made anyone. Her husband, Uncle Melvin, was alternately the sweetest guy you’d ever want to meet. You’d expect Uncle Melvin, living with this psychic vermin, would either die young or end up looking like Dorian Gray’s picture.

Not so. I don’t know what he said or did to her in private, but Aunt Maddie’s face while she was alive continued to corrupt, what with warts and convulsions, until she looked like the business end of a ’56 Buick. Uncle Melvin’s oountenance, unblemished, shone on all with the smile of the benificient.

She died ten years before he did. He then moved to Orlando. Whenever I ran into him there, he smiled on me and strolled on, accompanied by two women at least forty years his junior.

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Destiny: the Cubs and the Series

The 1908 Cubs

The 1908 Cubs

108 years later, and the Cubs won the World Series again. Just as they’d been destined to. It got me thinking about Destiny …

These are my preliminary results regarding a general theory of predestination, including information gathered from the World Series over the previous week.

Destiny is far different from magic. It’s part of the normal world, where everything involves cause and effect. Often, though, success depends on intent and leverage. If all sides in any conflict are fully prepared, all such preparation can cancel out.

99% of everything is purely cause and effect. Of the remaining 1%, 99% is where the intent and leverage comes in. Purity of intent and proper leverage often makes all the difference, but there is more. That leaves 1% of that 1%, 99% of which is luck, whimsy, the vagaries of quantum physics.

The remaining 1% of the 1% of 1% is wholly Destiny.

Destiny often looks like “the right man at the right time”; or, a succession of nested decisions or guesses; or, involuntary muscle spams; or, the weather; or, just luck. The difference is in the preordained quality of Destiny. Luck is always a surprise. Destiny is somehow expected.

Destiny reveals an underlying pattern to events. One usually can’t tell if the pattern came before the events or the events actually formed the pattern, but it doesn’t matter to me. Probably, different processes apply at different times.

Stupid decisions do not derail Destiny. Feats of great strength or profound cunning – that is, heroism – do not deflect it. Errors of omission or commission, errors in judgement or perception cannot alter its outcome though they may mess with its path. Profound dedication to its defeat will occasionally delay Destiny, but will never thwart its success.

The only place Destiny could be vulnerable is in the face of panic. The uncertainty and baseless fear induced by that condition invalidates faith and messes with the rhythms of life, pulse rate and breathing and such.

When Ross’ throw bounced off Russell’s foot, and Russell’s throw clanked off Baez’s palm, and it didn’t freak out John Madden or any of the Cubs, Destiny could be said to have proceeded right along.

Being absolute, Destiny has no place in quantum physics, but the probability of a destined outcome can theoretically be calculated.

I hope to shortly define methods whereby the patterns of Destiny can be identified. Frankly, with that publication I hope to put this subject to rest permanently.

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Dallas mon amour

kilroy“And Friday morning, Gilstrap, who is black, woke up to news of the horror that had visited his hometown: at a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest Thursday night over the killing of Castile and Sterling, a lone gunman opened fire, killing five Dallas police officers and wounding nine other people.” – Christopher Matthias, The Huntington Post, 7/10/16

Thursday? All this started three nights ago?

I’ve been trying to find out what happened in Dallas, I guess, since Friday morning. Feels more like a month. I couldn’t find a straight account of it until I saw the above online Sunday. Included in this article is a jpg of the front page of Friday’s New York Post, headlined in 72 point caps, “Civil War: Four cops killed in anti-police protest”. On line, the phrae after the coon is underlined. It links to a pop-up page headlined similarly. There, though, the phrase “anti-police protest” is replaced with “Dallas tragedy”.

Could you follow all that? Best as I can sort it out, these parties in this order grasped at headlines: the organizers of a “Black Lives Matter” rally; a psychopathic attendee of that rally; the New York Post, conveyor of whatever headline, grasping for more dollars in print and more confusion on screens.

Black lives matter? All lives matter.

The psychopath in question, the 25-year-old black Army veteran named Micah Xavier, is reported to have said he ‘wanted to kill white people’, particularly white policemen. The article said he was ‘upset about the recent deaths of two black men at the hands of law enforcement’. A neighbor said Xavier was preparing his assault before the deaths of Castile and Sterling, the events that reportedly triggered the rally.

As Charled Barklay has observed under different circumstances, every issue in America is a racial issue. Many issues – bridge tournaments and other sporting events, for example – have other aspects as well, but all have some racial component. This insistence that all humanity is to be treated equally under law is older than the nation, and was stated as a fundamental premise, part of the bedrock on which the nation was founded. Faith in God is not so stated. Get it? God has nothing to to with the fundaments of the USA. Equal justice under law does.

As I’m writing this, the movie “Splendor in the Grass” is playing. In 1961, it was considered too “raunchy” for teenagers, at least by my mother. Since then it’s been too prudish to bother with. So I never saw it. It deals with class discord in the 20’s. I mention it here because there’s no reference to racism in it at all. Probably, that owes to the de facto apartheid of the age. I mean, America, 1901 – 1965.

I mention it to point out that America can focus on issues other than race. Also, that class depends more on education, and education depends a lot on wealth, that is, inherited cash value. Class might also depend on literacy at an early age, and on some ability to learn in maturity.

The only prediction I have ever held with is, “The Future lies ahead.” If I ever see an exception to it, I will note such here.

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Memes and The Mummy

 

mummyIt’s the third of July. I’m watching “Law&Order” reruns and checking my email when suddenly I am aware of a deep longing for a hot dog, with brown mustard and relish. Fine. It is after all the third of July. I immediately resolve to gorge myself on tube steaks the next day. But before resuming my mail duty, I look up at the screen.

There is an idiotic image of plenty of dachshunds wearing bun costumes and galloping across a pasture, ears aflop. My eyes glaze and I turn back to the computer screen on my lap, mildly dismayed by how easily the hot-dog-centered mass medium had manipulated my subconscious.

In the background, the hot dogs are replaced. I glance up. The screen now bears a commercial for the newest anti-depressant.  I am right where they want me. The next commercial, for Slomin Burglar Alarms, plays to my back. I must present a moving target from this point on for my own safety.

The reruns give way to “The Mummy Part IV”. The normal randomness of this programming restored my calm acceptance of our modern society’s discontinuous and congested environment, cluttered and filled with collisions of things and ideals stripped of their contexts as if they’d been strewn on the Moon.

This “Mummy” deals with the First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, a thrilling saga of immortality and pseudo mysticism. Around 260 BCE, Qin Shi Huang, perhaps under a different name, was king of one of the six realms that comprised China. It seems to have occurred to all six kings that the kingdoms were all roughly the same size and in roughly the same shape, and he who was the king of one could just as easily be the emperor of all six if he picked his opponents carefully in the proper order.

Qin Shi Huang was a very careful man. Moreover, he was a very dedicated man, committed to being the Emperor of China. Also, he was obsessed with becoming immortal. To that end, he set his court physician to find the formula for the elixir of immortality as prescribed in the ancient texts. The court physician did exactly that. Ultimately, he created a potion that conformed in all respects to the ancient specifications, and he administered it to the Emperor as directed. The potion alas was mostly mercury and was of course fatally toxic, and the Emperor died in 210BC.

He was mummified and buried in a huge mausoleum complex in central China along with eight thousand terra-cotta warriors (no two alike) and numerous other artifacts and mummies, and forgotten and remembered for two thousand years.

The last three paragraphs previous are not only the movie plot, they are also a swift summary of history. Swear to god.

For dramatic reasons, and to fill in an otherwise vacant love-interest, the film’s writers made the “court physician” into the most knowledgeable babe-witch in the world, already immortal.

At this point, though, we abandon history and latch on to the movie plot exclusively. Imagery re-ascends its archaic pedestal, and we sway off down paths lighted only by flickering torches and the spill light from bonfires.

O, the iron horses that come to life in this post-Harryausen world. The Emperor’s mummy bursts his bonds and breathes fire, and drives his demummified four-horse chariot out, through the gates and into the streets, magically careening through 20th Century Beijing traffic. Amazingly, the Emperor, who’s been asleep precisely 2162 years and never encountered an autonomously mobile vehicle, nor ever had anywhere near this many people in his entire realm, is celebrating paved roads, benignly unfazed. I know exactly how he feels.

We are all mummified in inorganic substances overlaid unconsciously either by ourselves or others at our insistence. They are more or less precise images of ourselves. They allow our selves to lie in repose in soothing darkness within them. Most of us reanimate, sooner or later, but many of us remain, asleep or sleepless, in isolation forever.

Meanwhile, your mummycase establishes your status as something or another. By the time it’s finished you’ll be somewhere. You might wonder, what have you qualified for already?

Ah. Lotsa firewerks now. Lots and lots and lots of fireworks, ignited by the laser guns during The Chariot Chase. More fireworks than movie memes quoted in the scene.

Via the glory of CGI, anybody can be Yakima Canutt. Brendan Frasier and even some other guy do death-defying stunts on the chariot’s harness (Mesalla’s chariot, by the way) as the fireworks glare off noir-wet streets…

There are no seatbelts on the DC3 that crash-lands at the gates of Shangri-La.

At long last, I may have found that for which I’ve searched an entire eternity: the value of time. If all there is is Now, that value is, What can I do Now?

I shake off my idea of Self, the sheath I made with my portable forge in my precise form as verified by acclaim in the congress within me. I locate the minority in that chamber that expects me to be what I want and go with it. Knowing that I’m gonna face a shitfight, I plunge ahead into the already sworling gusts.

mummy

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