Category Archives: Humor

It’s About Time: Bud, Beon, and the Bots

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Sunday, July 2, 2017—This is a scene from my novel, a decades-old perpetual work in progress.  Superficially sci-fi, it is based on a philosophy that life is immortal, everything has consciousness, and everything runs its course then evolves into something else.  Time and space are illusions within a “spacious present.”  Death is like a phase change–like water converting to steam–while retaining the essential qualities of water.  From this perspective, there is no end point, and the process is the goal.

The purpose of the novel is to make you smile.  Let me know if you want more.

CHAPTER 4

CAUSE AND EFFECT

The sun, shining through dingy, crocheted curtains, cast a mosaic of light and shadow across the worn rug. By the angle of the light and content of the shadows, Joe knew it was at least 11 AM.

His head throbbed with an intensity of 200 on a one-to-ten scale.  The light hurt his eyes, but he didn’t have the courage to move.  He remained curled stiff, eyes clenched shut, until his bladder forced him to attempt the impossible and get out of bed.

He moaned, then winced.  He eased to a slouching position at the edge of the bed, resting his aching forehead between tender hands.  Slowly, ever so slowly, he stood and staggered to the bathroom, carefully shielding his eyes from the light.  He downed two aspirin and then a third, to abort the stroke he must be having.  It was at least a stroke. Maybe an aneurysm had burst.  He stared into the mirror.  Images of his certain, agonizing, and imminent death spread like acrid black goo across his quivering brain.

“I’m dying,” he told his haggard face. It stared back at him—coldly critical, his appearance substandard today, even for him.  He and his reflection eyed each other.  He noted the dark eye sockets, red eyes, fuzzy vision, chin stubble, wrinkles, and greasy hair.  He didn’t smell too good, either.  Let the embalmer handle it, he decided.  That’s what he’s paid for.

He trod a wobbly path through the living room to the kitchen, where the percolator was full of yesterday’s grounds.  His stomach wasn’t feeling much like coffee, but his head told him he was in caffeine withdrawal.  He cursed Marian for getting him so drunk that he forgot to prepare the coffee pot.  He imagined her boiling in a vat of coffee, begging for mercy.

Suddenly, Beon’s face loomed across Joe’s inner screens.  The balding, round visage grinned like the Buddha, his eyes innocuous, his portent ominous.  Joe’s head pounded harder, and his knees felt weak.  An image of lab rats, pinned to boards and randomly shocked, blotted out Beon’s face.  Then, the lab rats became little Joes, with Beon delivering the shocks.

Joe listed the objective, measurable reasons for his agony.  Unendurable pain. Undetectable caffeine levels. Betrayal by his only friend.  Violation of sacred coffee ritual, and death without absolution.  Beon.  He threw fresh coffee in the pot, spilling half the grounds on the counter, creating yet another reason to feel miserable.

Percolator finally started, Joe turned to face new trouble.  He opened the freezer and scowled at empty ice trays.  The little Joes in his head jumped and slumped.

He dragged his failing carcass to the couch. He imagined the pain in his head could power a small city, if he could figure out how to harness the energy.  Not today, though.  And tomorrow wasn’t looking too good, either.

Beon’s face returned, and with it, thoughts of the healing machine.  Joe wondered if it could cure his headache.  “Yes,” said Beon’s image.

“Who asked you?”  Joe demanded, not realizing he spoke out loud.

“You did.”  Joe decided he was going crazy, too.  “DALE,” said the face.  “Diet-Associated Life Enhancer.”

Joe covered his ears, but it did no good.  Beon’s image swelled in his head, and dream pictures bombarded his brain, rocking his scientific foundations.  The throbbing and pounding got louder, clanging against his skull.  Joe closed his eyes and waited to die.  Through it all, Beon’s face smirked, as if he enjoyed Joe’s suffering.

But death defied him, and Beon continued to grin.  Joe glanced around the room.  A single picture, hung askew, showed a listing clipper ship, an artifact left by the previous tenant.  George White left a few pieces of tired furniture, too, good enough for Joe.  His mailbox in the foyer downstairs still bore White’s name.  When neighbors called him “George,” Joe didn’t bother to correct them.  It was as good a name as “Joe.”

Now Joe wondered for the first time what happened to George White.  His couch may not look great, but it had personality.  It was warm, comfortable, inviting.  It was friendly.  It was taking care of him, helping him feel better, as a friend would do.

“I have tangible evidence that you existed,” he told the former tenant, “even if we’ve never met.  I still get your mail.  Beon is only imaginary, but he’s torturing me, and I can’t get away from him.”

Joe’s eyes began to blur.  His stomach felt queasy.  Vague terrors swept over him, and sweat poured from his upper body.  He wiped his face with a dirty napkin and dropped it on the floor.  “This is only a hangover.  It clouds my perspective, makes me think crazy thoughts.  It was only a dream.  A machine like that is impossible, and Beon doesn’t exist.”

The CIG Hosts Body Parts

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The Cosmic Improv(e) Group
hosts BODY PARTS
of katharineotto.planetearth,
independent country of one

 by Katharine C. Otto
October, 2005
(Updated February, 2017)

Seth* validates my deepest beliefs.

The only reason for suffering is to learn how not to suffer, says he.  So, I flop on the couch and send healing energy to my painful, throbbing left foot, but I haven’t learned how not to suffer yet.

My foot and gut are having an argument, because the couch flop followed a gustatory fest that made my stomach hurt, too.

“I wouldn’t hurt so much if you didn’t weigh me down,” says Left Foot.

“I would eat less if we could walk,” Gut replies.

“Hey, guys,” says my Total Self, “We all have to live in this body, so can we find a way to get along?”

Then I fall asleep.

Then I wake up, limp to the kitchen, and eat some more.

The Cosmic Improv Group–that gaggle of nags inside my imagination and unheard by others–steps up to the plate.

They remind me I’ve had a busy, active week, have spread understanding far and wide, and have penetrated the local Shape Shifting Alien Reptiles’** lair at their eminent domain meeting.  Yes, I lanced that abscess, burst that bubble, and shriveled those egos.  My foot begins to hurt immediately after that.  My heel, actually.

Heels that they are.  Heal myself.  I decide the SSARs in local politics sent a thought bomb to cripple me, aiming for my Achilles heel.

“Sure, Kath,” says the CIG.  “As if they care enough to hurt you.”

“I didn’t think so, because I was okay with it.  Yes, I unsettled them, but they are used to boring each other to death.  My departure should have let them return to status quo.”

“You know it didn’t.”

“I didn’t know they could get to me this way.  Seth says trust your impulses.  I say fine with me, but not if my impulses cause me pain.”

“You underestimate your power,” they say.  “This is why you must up-level it.  Your pain shows you are not ready to release your passionate appeal.  It will assume a painful timbre, and this is not your intent.”

“You’re right.  I want to uplift and inspire.  My foot pain is associated with many (possibly imagined) lives, in which it manifested in different contexts—shackles, mine fields, frostbite, gangrene.  Bound feet as an Oriental woman.  It is symbolic of my fear of entrapment, limitation, and imprisonment.  Burned as a witch, too, feet first.  Burned again as a monk heretic in the Spanish Inquisition.”

I talk to my left foot and discover it feels “left” out, ignored, and unappreciated.  It reminds me I have lived many lifetimes (possibly) with dysfunctional or missing left feet, and lifetimes with “two left feet.”  I’ve been “left to heal or die.” An image of a wounded foot soldier in Stalin’s army during a cold Russian winter comes to mind.

“You are crazy,” says the CIG.  “Don’t tell anyone but us this, because they will lock you up.”

“Not for long, because the jails are too crowded.  They won’t put me in a psych hospital, either, because I refuse to have health care insurance. Ain’t that swell?”

“Crazy like a fox.”

“Lack of insurance keeps me safe from hospitalization.”

So I decide to make a concerted effort to bring the foot back into the fold, to appreciate that it is a perfectly good foot this lifetime, and its pain is karmic memory.  Up-level the memories, release the grudges and resentments, and the foot will heal.

Same with sacrum, which I believe is associated with my lower body stiffness and pain.  Here, the root chakra blocks qi in a defensive strike position.

The female body is a symbol for humanity’s greatest creativity, passion, and fear.  I hated that my body was female, because I believed it disappointed my parents.  Both parents misunderstood and were unreasonably afraid of feminine power, but so is the world.  We have few role models for fully creative feminine expression.

My physical body is my greatest asset, on this material plane.  It is my science lab, an instrument of pleasure and pain.

If, as Seth says, groups of people reincarnate together, everyone on the planet shares past and future memories. Puritan Salem comes to mind, and Cotton Mather, when I think about the eminent domain meeting.  I was a witch or prostitute, or perceived that way.  Perhaps I was just too independent to be tolerable.  Either way, my contempt for them made a victim of me.

I want to play it smarter, this go-round, and the foot pain reminds me not to move too quickly.  I am more out of phase with the environment than I know, and it hurts me first if I try to try to force it.  I want to be a catalyst for change, a destroyer of limiting beliefs and outdated systems.  At the same time, people have to be ready to change, or you set them up to fail, and they become more afraid than before.

On October 4, weight is up to 143.5 pounds.  Ibuprofen, 200 mg came to my foot’s rescue sometime between five and seven a.m.  I’d taken it at 3 a.m., too, in obeisance to Western medicine, which does some things right.  Just took another one.

I just poured my third cup of coffee, complete this time with real half-and-half and brown sugar.   “No, no,” shouts the CIG’s Should/Shouldn’t Chorus.

“You should only have two cups of coffee in the mornings.  You shouldn’t put sugar or real half-and-half in them.  You weigh 143.5 pounds, remember, when you used to weigh 123.  Disgusting.

“And you know coffee raises your blood pressure, which is borderline high, already.  Remember your bleeding disorder?  You are setting yourself up for a stroke or a heart attack, like the one that killed your father, or pulmonary embolisms, like the ones that killed Rhea, your mother.  Dump a third cup of coffee in that mix, and we can’t be responsible for what happens to you.”

I take a sip of coffee and contemplate their suffering.  I have heard this song before and have learned my stomach will tell me when to stop.

“143.5 #,” say the devils.

“That’s only 65 kilos, another excellent reason to convert to the metric system,” I reply.

“Your stomach has its own agenda.  It wants to hoard fat fuel in the Greater Omentum.”

“Are you saying my stomach is an energy hog?”

“Just look in the mirror at the facts.”

“The coffee doesn’t taste that great, anyway, but it gives me an excuse to sit.”

“So do I,” says Left Foot.

“Indeed you do,” I reply.  “and I’m practicing taking better care of you.  I took 400 mg of ibuprofen this morning, because the pain was so bad last night that I thought something was broken.

“Drink less coffee,” it says.  “The caffeine causes vasoconstriction in your extremities and starves me of oxygen.”

“Thanks.  I suppose you’re going to tell me to lose weight, too.”

“It would sure take a load off me.”

“Fat cells have rights, too,” my Greater Omentum chimes in.  “We’re just doing our job.”

“How’s about shipping some fat to the bottom of my feet,” I say, “to add some padding on my heel and some lubrication in my leg joints?”

“We’ll vote for that,” say the feet.

“Us, too,” say all the lower joints.

“How much will you pay for my largesse?” asks the GO.

My other body parts and I consult with each other.  We don’t have a ready answer.

I speak first.  “I’m about ready to invite a stroke, heart attack, or pulmonary embolism, preferably three all together, so they take me out completely.  That would cure the foot pain.  But please, please, please don’t cast me on the health care system,” I beg.  I take a sip of coffee.

“Remember how hospital coffee tastes?” Fukyoo asks.  “It’s gotten worse.”  Everyone except me laughs.

I dump the last little bit of coffee that was doctored the way my taste buds like it.

“Thank you,” says Left Foot.

“At least you fed me some peanut butter and wheat wafers,” says the Greater Omentum.

“I want you to share that,” I tell the GO.  “And not with the Lesser Omentum, either.  Send that fat downstream to my legs and feet, where it can do some good.

“Oh, all right,” moans the GO.

“Make him dance, too, lying on the floor, so we don’t have to carry him,” say my lower body parts.

“That’s called sex,” I reply.

“Whatever,” say the feet.  “Make him have sex, then.”

“Other body parts may have something to say about that.  Vagina?”

“No way, Jose.  Don’t inflict any barbarians on me.”

“Well, I haven’t found anything else.  I respect your right to opt out, since you’re not overweight.  You don’t need to dance.”

The Should/Shouldn’t Chorus is grudgingly relieved I sacrificed the last of my coffee.  One looks at a watch.

“Well, she hasn’t gone overboard in her caffeine addiction yet, but it’s just a matter of time.”

“Sad, isn’t it?” says another.  “Tomorrow it’ll probably be five cups, then six, and the next thing you know, she’ll be in ICU with a Broca’s area stroke, unable to speak or communicate in any way, but understanding everything around her.”

“Not so different from the way things are now, if you ask me, only my living room isn’t as noisy or expensive as the hospital.”  I say.

“We didn’t ask you.”

“Nope.  Proves my point.  You just tell me, don’t you, then prophesy dire consequences if I put sugar in my coffee.”

“Want to step on the scales and say that again?”

“Nope.”

“At least you didn’t stuff yourself with peanut butter on salty wheat wafers, this time.”

“Right,” says Right Foot, which has been doing double duty since the left went out on disability.  Both benefit from the rest, I figure.

“I like walking,” says Right Foot.

“Well, you two need to get together and discuss your relationship,” I tell them.  I put my soles together so left and right feet can bond.  Toes of right touching heel of left, cold toes to hot heel.  “We can start by evening out the temperature gradient.”

Yes, my feet are connecting on a sole level.  They both feel good about it.
*Seth is the channeled entity of the Jane Roberts’ Seth series.
**The concept of Shape Shifting Alien Reptiles (SSARs) comes from David Icke’s Tales from the Time Loop, 2003.

KACKLES TACKLES at&t WITH A VENGEANCE

attfront1115A Year ago this month:

KACKLES TACKLES  at&t WITH A VENGEANCE
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

KACKLES THE WITCH is an alter ego of katharineotto.wordpress.com.

 

 

at&t’s bick and mortar store on Mall Blvd. in Savannah, where employees spend all their time on wireless phones to Corporate.  Do they even have a land line?  Yes, two of them, but it’s a big secret.  at&t’s website doesn’t even list land lines.

 

In this installment, Kackles the Witch tackles the artificially human TechnoMonsters of at&t, the FCC, Concast, and Wall Street, challenging their collective monopoly on telephone land lines.

Kackles is a New Age Witch, because she was born yesterday, when the telephone bill came, two months into a new contract.  At least corporate sent the bill to the right address, this time, and at least it came before the due date.

Kackles opened the bill and gasped.  Her blood started boiling.  Lightning bolts flashed from her eyes, almost setting fire to the bill.  The radioactive, penetrating power o her vision saw the obvious in a flash of blinding patented wireless technology.  The bill was almost twice the price of the official quote.

“How did this happen,” bemoaned the nascent witch.  “I did everything according to the rules, and they did everything wrong, but I’m the one paying for it.

“Gotcha again!” screech the at&t TechnoMonsters, backed by Wall Street, the Federal Government, Southern Company, and the Fed.

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New at&t telephone, with design so stupid it has to be patented.  Alternatively, a second-hand Uniden phone cost $2.50 at Goodwill.

 

“There, there,” whispers Dr. Kathorkian, another katharineotto.wordpress.com alter ego.  Dr. Kathorkian is Chief Medical Executioner under Obamacare.  “They call it ‘global warming,’” says Dr. K.  “That means we’re all headed straight to hell if we don’t shape up.”

Dr. K is a woman, of course, with the sixth sense, common sense, encoded on the half of X men didn’t get.  That makes men “Y”’s, thus lacking in the genetically endowed department.  Dr. Kathorkian reminds us that no matter how many ways they splice genes, women will always have more of them than men, but less than some fungi.

“That quarter-chromosome worth of extra gene power exists in every cell, so that’s a popper scoop of extra genes in them jeans, if you know what I mean,” quoth Dr. K, when she’s feeling lyrical.

Kackles was less interested in Dr. K’s scientific research.  She wanted collective vengeance on the creators of this excessive overhead, to wit, at&t’s copyrighted and patented services that she pays for without benefiting from.  She studied the bill and noted excise taxes, paid to the federal government monthly for access to air rights.  These are taxes on domestic goods and services.  Tariffs are taxes on imported goods.  All raise the price for purchasers, re-spun as “consumers” in 21st century PolCor speech.

“Huh?” anyone with common sense (usually women) might ask.  “How does that work for me, the taxpayer, if I’m paying both sides to protect me from people offering better deals?  Let Pfizer protect its own market share.”

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Another katharineotto.wordpress.com alterego cheers.  KO! Economic Hit Woman whistles, calls “Attagirl!” and throws up a High Five and Victory (Peace) salute.

“Bye, bye, Pfizer, and good riddance,” she gloats.  “Let Ireland protect your patents, if it can.  Let Ireland protect your stocks, too, and your VA contracts.  Oh, and while we’re at it, I recommend that US taxpayers confiscate your $270 million global research facility in New London, Connecticut, and donate it to Susette Kelo and her former neighbors.

For once, katharineotto.wordpress.com’s alter agos begin to agree with each other.  Even Kaka Big Chicken is helping to plot strategy.  She offers to walk into the brick-and-mortar store with chicken poop on her shoes and flies buzzing around her head.

Libby Belle is only thinking about how much her feet hurt, standing on that pedestal, holding that torch all day and night in New Yuck harbor.  She wants to escape new Yuck and wiggle her toes in the sand at Tybee.

Finally, nagged into compliance by her amalgamated alters, katharineotto.wordpress.com marches bravely into at&t’s lair with bill and agenda in hand, carrying notebook, sketchpad, camera, and a secret weapon known as primal screaming, a Kaka Big Chicken specialty.

katharineotto.wordpress.com takes a number and sits in front of the Direct TV, which at&t has just acquired, and watches Donald Trump perform.  Kackles casually doodles caricatures of all the employees holding cell phones to their ears, because they don’t deal with land line services or that class of customers.  The Real Yellow Pages has been contracted out.

But Kackles doesn’t sweat the small stuff.  Born out of ashes, to ashes she will return, when she’s good and ready, but not yet.  She still has spells to cast on TechnoBabble Nation’s networks and stranglehold by patented, unreliable technology.

Meanwhile, she sweeps up the ashes of frizzle-frazzle with the New Age broom.  The broom, Hilda, sweeps as god as she flies, so Kackles is a satisfied tourist from the Cosmic Commune, where everything is free and money doesn’t exist.

“Cackle, cackle,” cackles Kackles.  “I have nothing better to do.”

attpolwsj111716At Left:  The Wall Street Journal, Thursday, November 17, 2016

Twelve years ago:

November 29, 2004

David Dorman
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
AT&T Corporation
One AT&T Way
Bedminster, NJ  07921

Duane Ackerman
Chairman, President and
Chief Executive Officer
Bell South
1155 Peachtree Street, NE
Room 15G03
Atlanta, GA  30309

Michael K. Powell
Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC  20554

Boys:

I am writing this letter to all three of you because each of your organizations is blaming the others for the problems I am having with basic telephone and internet services.

It really doesn’t have to be this hard.  As a “consumer” small business owner (read “customer-voter-taxpayer”) I decided at the end of August to look into internet services by Bell South and AT&T, with the intent of signing up for one or the other.  After going through telephone menu maze after telephone menu maze, and listening to raucous music while on hold, I finally got a human being at AT&T who gave me bad information, convincing me to change all telephone service to AT&T and sign up for their internet services, too.  But oops, my telephone number has been hijacked by a DSL company, Georgia Business Net, which service I’d ordered and cancelled a month prior, without ever having had the service installed.  It took several hours over several days to straighten that one out, with everyone blaming everyone else and no one able to unlock the hold on my telephone number until I made a big stink with Georgia Business Net’s local representative, Brewton Computer Services, who wanted to play games, but who finally pulled some backroom maneuver to release me from their greedy jaws.

Then I call Bell South to find I can’t change telephone services without paying a huge penalty, because I had forgotten I signed a three-year contract for lower rates two years ago.  I didn’t know the rates were so low, since AT&T’s cost was supposedly about half what Bell South was charging.  So I changed back to Bell South, to avoid paying that penalty, and have July, 2005 on my calendar as the date when I am free of that contract and can reconsider my phone service options.

Meanwhile, I sign up for internet services with Bell South, or so I think, but the software for the service never arrives.  I continue to use the local library to get on the net, and I begin to wonder if I need home internet services at all, since the library is so convenient and I don’t use the internet that much (less and less).

Next thing I know, I get a bill from AT&T for forty-seven cents, which I dutifully pay on October 16, 2004 with my Sun Trust check #576.  This week, I get a bill from a collection service, GC Services Unlimited Partnership, claiming I owe AT&T $26.68 for long distance services.  Excuse me, but I thought I’d changed my long distance service back to Bell South, in accordance with my contract, and I never got a bill for any long distance service from AT&T.  Now it’s in collection?  How did this happen?  At this point I am so confused about who is supplying what to whom that I don’t know whom I owe, how much I owe or why I owe it.  Maybe you can figure it out, because frankly, I can’t abide your telephone menus, underinformed and misleading “customer service representatives,” and the maze of regulations, special deals, packages, contracts and other garbage you confuse people with under the guise of progress.  I’m including this GC Services Limited Partnership bill with my letter to Mr. Dorman of AT&T, and sending this letter to GC Services Limited Partnership, to let everyone know that I am happy to pay any money I really owe, and I’ll pay it directly to the CEO of AT&T if he can prove I owe it.

Meanwhile, Bell South is no better.  My latest bill from Bell South shows I’m being charged $8.44 plus $14.90 per month for internet service, when I was told the service was $10.95.  This is for a service I never received software for, have never used, and now no longer want, because it is much more expensive than I bargained for.  So, I will pay my Bell South bill, minus the bogus internet service, and will send a copy of this letter with my payment for the telephone service I actually have received.  This way, the folks in Bell South’s accounts receivable department will know to contact their CEO if they have a problem with it.  The Bell South telephone menu maze includes raucous advertising while its victims are on hold, and I can’t count on getting good information or services if I do get in touch with a so-called human being at the “Reach Out and Touch Someone” hall of fame.

As for Mr. Powell of the Federal Confusion Commission, I contend that governmental policies obstruct rather than assist communication, and communications would be much more efficient if government would get out of the way. The people who suffer most are the small fry customer-voter-taxpayers like me who get caught in these hopeless mires of entangled over-regulation, while the corporate giants slip through the control measures with hefty campaign contributions and a few token fines. All I need is a clean and simple list of services and prices, a la carte, from all the communications players, so I can make wise business decisions based on what I need. Spare me the one-size-fits-nobody packages and the long-term contracts. I am a loyal customer if I get good value for my time and dollar.  So, Mr. Powell, if you could get these corporations to simplify their price structures, and publicize them, I can make my decisions accordingly.  Then I can get back to doing my job to earn the income to pay the taxes that pay your salary.

By this letter I want everyone to know I will honor my contract with Bell South until it expires.  I believe this includes long distance service, as it was before the fated month of August, 2004.  Cancel the so-called internet service, which only exists on Bell South’s bill.

I believe I want AT&T for the internet, but let’s see the price in writing first, and I want AT&T to send its bills directly to me instead of to a collection agency. If you don’t want me as a customer, I will understand and will look somewhere else or do without.

Finally, I’d like to remind all of you that the telephone and internet will never surpass the old fashioned letter for clear communication.

Sincerely,

Katharine C. Otto

cc:        Nick Gillespie, Editor-in Chief, reason magazine;  Paul Gigot, Editor of the Editorial Page, The Wall Street Journal;  Donald E. Graham, Chairman, The Washington Post;  Cynthia Tucker, Editorial Page Editor, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

 

 

 

 

 

GOD HELPS EVE BAKE APPLE PIE

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My back yard, Chatham County, Georgia.  Fig tree in winter.  Foggy day.  Live oak background.  Sago palm lower left.  Windmill palms lower center and right. Spanish moss on live oak, Georgia’s state tree. kco122716

From my journal, ten years ago today,Wednesday, December 27, 2006
(Why every would-be communicator should vent on paper)

            God:  I sure would love a piece of apple pie along about now.

            Eve:  What’s apple pie?

God:  Boy, are you dumb.  Apple pie is what you do if you want to earn your keep in the Garden of Eden.  This place requires upkeep, or haven’t you noticed?

Eve:  Okay.  I’m game.  Tell me what to do, and I’ll try to do it.

God:  Attagirl.  Now, go pick a bunch of apples.

Eve:  Oh, no you don’t.  I’m not falling for that trick again.  Picking those apples got Adam and me in a heap of trouble, remember?

God:  That was because I told you not to pick the apples.  Now, I’m telling you to pick some apples.  Times have changed.  Trust me.  I know what I’m doing.

Eve:  Well, OK, if you say so.

Eve picks some apples and follows directions for making apple pie.  First, she has to invent knives, baking pans, flour, sugar, an oven, and the other tools of apple pie construction. God looks on, giving helpful advice.  Adam has invented television and is busy watching sports.

Eve:  What spices should I use?

God cogitates.   God:  I like sage.

Eve:  OK.  Which one of these plants is sage?

sage122716

*

God:  It’s over there.  No, not there.  Over there.  Another step.  OK. Now lean over. Now touch it.  No! Not that one.  That’s the poison ivy.

Eve:  What’s poison ivy?

God:  You’ll see.  Just don’t scratch your hand.

Eve starts to itch.  She tries not to scratch.  The itch gets worse.

Eve:  Why not?

God:  Just don’t.

Eve:  I thought I was supposed to have free will.

God:  Fine.  Disobey me and see what happens.

Eve:  Got a better idea?

God:  Wash it off.

Eve:  With what?

God:  Soap.  Calamine lotion.

Eve:  What are they?

God:  You have to invent them.

Eve:  But my hand is itching now.
herbssquire122716

*Sage, a perennial, by itself and with other herbs, here  monitored by the Squire-wire, aka S. Squire Rooster, Attorney for the Law of the Land .  Herbs pictured here, clockwise from lower left:  chives (perennial), sage, parsley (biennial), basil and purple basil (annual). Stevia, a perennial, is on edge of deck, flanked by milo plants (look like corn), grown wild from spilled chicken food.  Chickens love the green milo seeds.  Stevia, the natural sweetener now approved by the FDA for inclusion in soft drinks like Coca-cola and Pepsi, is easy easy easy to grow.  I combine stevia with chocolate mint and dry them together for great winter tea.  In the summer they make delicious iced tea, with no calories or caffeine.  kco122716

 

Daybreak

squirecrowinghouse0815

S. Squire Rooster, Attorney, for the Law of the Land

No matter what happens on Election Day, the US has the opportunity to curb presidential power and to force Congress to become more accountable to the voter-citizen-taxpayers who have been increasingly disenfranchised.

There are a number of issues I would like to see on the 2017 Congressional plate.  At the top of my list is to abolish Daylight Savings Time.  This semi-annual Congressional jerk-around forces me to reset no less than eight clocks every six months.  The time change has caused me to be late for Easter brunch (for which I was never forgiven), to be late for my first day of work at a new job, and for a number of other social and professional blunders that I’ve repressed.

The guy pictured above could care less about Congressional mandates.  He starts his insistent crow the moment the sun peeks over the horizon.  Nor is the sun influenced by US law, so why is everyone who goes by clock time so easily manipulated by a bunch of lobbyists in Washington DC?

Wikipedia gives an exhaustive account of the history around the world  of Daylight Savings Time.  For our purposes, Congress made created a national standard in 1986-7 (PL 99-369) at the behest of Clorox and 7-Eleven lobbyists.  Both Idaho senators voted for it under the pretext that fast-food outlets would sell more french fries (made from Idaho potatoes).  Arizona is the only continental state that does not observe it.

Today, November 6, 2016, on this first day of freedom from the abhorrent DST, I make my semi-annual bid for doing something practical and achievable without causing anyone undue stress.

Where does your Congressperson stand on Time?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go re-set some clocks.

dsc01591

The Police State Board Game

bumpcountry2016I wrote the following political satire piece for my “Adventures in Living in the World as It Is” series in December, 2009.

THE POLICE STATE BOARD GAME
GoverCorp vs. You

In this game, players vie with THE POLICE STATE to get around the board with a minimum of hassle.  They win by overcoming barricades, set-backs, barbed wire, traps, concrete mazes, and other obstacles, to arrive at the point where they began.  Each player meets different challenges.

Tourists, travelers—and anyone who visits an airportmust negotiate airport security.  Cop an attitude and miss your plane. (Go back five spaces.)

Travelers, you can win this round.  If security drones mess with you, demand their names and write them down. (Skip three spaces.)  Do this loudly.  (Skip ten spaces.)  If you can get them to write their own names, skip ten spaces and win an extra turn.  If you miss your plane, call the media and yell into the phone at the airport until they find you another flight.  (Take an extra turn.)

Federal security personnel only have jobs because they failed reading, writing, and arithmetic in elementary school.  They’d probably be in jail if they weren’t paid by the police state  to fleece you.

The doctor and all health care providers with licensed signatures must file Medicare, Medicaid, and third-party payer claims; document everything done and not done; be there for everyone’s crises; listen to everyone’s complaints; manage their illnesses; and, when time allows, save their lives.

Doctors win by avoiding insurance hassles. “Oh, you’re having a heart attack?  Call Dr. Obama.  He’ll call me if your policy covers heart attacks. Oh, he doesn’t answer the phone at night?  You should have bought a better government.”  Then hang up and go back to sleep.

If you really have killed a patient, lose five turns and reapply for your license, if you decide it’s worth it.  If you decide to retire, get five extra turns.  If it’s a nuisance malpractice suit, go back five spaces.  You can go to jail instead of settling and skip ten spaces in THE POLICE STATE.

Teachers have to maintain control in the classroom without using discipline.  Even a yell is emotional abuse in THE POLICE STATE.

Teachers win by doing what they must.  Do not attract attention from THE POLICE STATE. Ignore it as much as possible, unless it is in your face making unreasonable demands, or if you’ve hit a child.  (Go back ten spaces.)  How hard? (If s/he is bruised, go back five more spaces.)  If there are major injuries, go back to the beginning and choose a different profession.

If you can teach the school board something about education, skip five spaces and get three extra turns. If kids enjoy school, the probability of your wanting to hit them, principals, school board members, parents, congressmen, or presidents plummets.

Developers, contractors, and builders must negotiate forests of permits, licenses, fees, city and county parents, planning boards, and the bureaucratic jungle before you can build.  Bribes and favors are the easiest way to do business in THE POLICE STATE.

Builders win by doing the job right.  (Lose five turns for each collapsed building.  If anyone was hurt or killed, start over and apply for a government job.)  Go back five spaces for every problem from shoddy construction.  Win by remembering pipes break on holidays.  You’ll sleep easier and won’t have to schmooze as many politicians in THE POLICE STATE.

Joe Blow, angry women, hot chicks, impotent men, red-necks, teenagers, bruthas—and everyone with with an attitude and a steering wheel—must negotiate traffic, congestion, stop lights, road safety hazards, other bad drivers, suicidal pedestrians, errant pets, parking problems, car trouble, passenger distractions, and other demands that have nothing to do with driving. Impatience attracts everything from fender-benders to fatal accidents, and of course, traffic tickets. Go back five spaces for slugging a policeman, even if he deserved it.

Tips for success: About that traffic violation:  Did anybody die?  Better show up in court. (Lose five turns.)  Anybody hurt?  Be there. (Go back ten spaces.) Anybody’s car damaged? Ditto. (Go back five spaces.) No damage to anyone or anything?  OK.  Just pay the fine, but you have a record now.  Watch your step, because every forward move counts against you in:

THE POLICE STATE

A Quark’s Life

Seven years ago this month, I wrote the following in my journal.  Journalling is my therapy, and I advise everyone to try it.  A blank page doesn’t argue, criticize, judge, talk back, interrupt, gossip, or try to control.  Also, it’s virtually free.  I prefer writing by hand, partly because I sometimes draw or scribble in the margins, but also because it frees me to pause and stare into space, without the constant whiny noise of studiously patient electronics.

My only rule is to be as honest as possible with myself.

Octtober 30, 2009–If even every quark* has consciousness and is immortal, as my disincarnate friend Seth (of the Jane Roberts’ “Seth Series” fame) says, each carries memories of having  been part of Queen Elizabeth I’s body, or of the beggar on the street or of  the tuna in the great blue sea.  These were re-incarnational lives, so to speak.  Each individual quark has joined others in multiple arrangements to form matter of different substances.  The quark is so versatile that it is welcome in any neighborhood, presumably, unlike something like the silver atom, which has fewer opportunities for exploration.  A quark can be part of a silver atom, but a silver atom cannot be part of a quark.

And so it goes.  A quark sees the silver atom from a higher perspective, in a way, because it also knows what it’s like to be part of a gold atom.  Carrying that memory into the silver atom also enhances that atom’s understanding of worlds outside itself.  Each of the silver atom’s quarks, while joining with its fellow quarks in the grand structure of the atom, joins the consciousness of the group to a higher purpose.  Individual quarks are free to come and go from the atom, because they are replaced effortlessly by other quarks looking for silver atom experience.

It may go to a quark bar and tell stories of its lives as part of larger gestalts.

“Did you like being part of a toad?”

“Not as much as being part of a neutron star.  Being part of a magnolia blossom was nice, too, if you like that sort of thing.

“Don’t go near human beings, though, if you can help it.  They are atomic bombs in the cosmic symphony.”

“So why are so many quarks making humans?”

“I figure it’s because there are so many quarks making television sets and computers.”

“I did that.  When I was part of a silver atom, I was part of a computer circuit.  It was hot.  I got out of there real quick-like.  Now I just want to float in space and be part of the great cosmic cell.

“Can’t blame you a bit, bud.  If you’re only a quark, you don’t have to work very hard, because you are so replaceable.”

 

*Quarks are sub-atomic particles.