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Lion and sparrow

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Ceylieb People




Tom Rondeau sent this over. Early psychedelic Ry Cooder, from 1968. Initial artwork and lettering looks suspiciously like Rick Griffin.

Timewave Zero


It has been an interesting few weeks from a mental health standpoint. Some great clients brought me back from the abyss - business has been near brisk. Found out that I have been suffering from a bout of adult asthma, tested most of the day yesterday at Scripps La Jolla.  No wonder I have no energy. Felt like I was on the edge of a great depression this morning but pulled back from the brink.

If all goes well and I have a minimal tour of jury duty Monday, I am planning to travel to Death Valley to take pictures of Zabriskie Point next week. Haven't had a photo trip in a long time and will meet Kerry out there. Having an opening for the photo show at Brandon Gallery this Friday at 4:00.

Had an interesting conversation with my friend Sheebz last week during our afternoon at the beach. We were talking about Terence McKenna and the whole timewave zero discussion. You know, the Mayan Long Count Calendar ends on September 21, 2012 and it spells either doom or deliverance, depending on whom you believe, for the sorry people of earth. Some people I actually respect have bought into the notion that by some confluence of predestined forces, our final ticket on home planet earth is about to be punched.

Now we won't know until September 22, 2012 will we?  I will reserve judgement but tend to disbelieve anything where the science is so shoddy. But with all the spare nuclear material floating around out there and a lot of bad blood between all dee people's - well maybe getting to September will be a stretch? No, that's fatalistic.

I hear there is a great book out now about the people who believe in doomsday scenarios and what happens to them the day after their world is supposed to end.  I would think that they would sheepishly slink off the mountain top but understand that their faith is usually deepened by the experience. Go figure.

Anyhow, I am coming into my 52nd year and I have previously mentioned my trepidation with the occurrence. Sheila and I talked about self fulfilling prophecies and I casually turned to her (we were walking south on the sand) and said "When I go, a plane is going to drop right out of the sky and land on me." No sooner had the words left my mouth than a biplane silently popped out of a cloud, 30 feet above the water and came aiming straight towards us.  Neither of us have ever seen a plane fly so low on top of the ocean.  We looked at each other in wonder and started laughing. Tragedy narrowly averted.

Iggy and the Stooges

Outright Sedition


I read an amazing opinion yesterday by John L. Perry on the Newsmax.com website. Newsmax is a site that is sometimes sponsored by the Republican National Committee. Mr. Perry seems to advocate for a military coup in this country while keeping Barack Obama as a sort of ceremonial head of state.  I went back to the site this morning and they have pulled the editorial. I managed to find it again.

It is reprehensible and truly frightening. If the left ever had the audacity and temerity to suggest this, they would be standing in shackles. But conservatives can opine for an overthrow of the president and stick a poll on Facebook asking how many people want to kill the president and people seem to take it in stride.

Mr. Perry gives his handy laundry list for a palace coup.  He engages in the most bizarre polemic.  Conservatives can't seem to get it into their heads that a plurality of people in this country voted on a new direction. Now they advocate a violent course of action that would lead to civil war.  Many of the people who seemed to be most anti-Obama, a president who I support on most issues, seem to be older people, possibly freaked out by the health scare fear mongers. Perry's editorial isn't fit to line a bird cage.

Here's the article from Mr. Perry, a man worked up into a tizzy who has served in two Democratic president's administrations:


Obama Risks a Domestic Military Intervention
By: John L. Perry


There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America's military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the "Obama problem." Don't dismiss it as unrealistic.
America isn't the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn't mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it. So, view the following through military eyes:


# Officers swear to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." Unlike enlisted personnel, they do not swear to "obey the orders of the president of the United States."
# Top military officers can see the Constitution they are sworn to defend being trampled as American institutions and enterprises are nationalized.
# They can see that Americans are increasingly alarmed that this nation, under President Barack Obama, may not even be recognizable as America by the 2012 election, in which he will surely seek continuation in office.
# They can see that the economy -- ravaged by deficits, taxes, unemployment, and impending inflation -- is financially reliant on foreign lender governments.
# They can see this president waging undeclared war on the intelligence community, without whose rigorous and independent functions the armed services are rendered blind in an ever-more hostile world overseas and at home.
# They can see the dismantling of defenses against missiles targeted at this nation by avowed enemies, even as America's troop strength is allowed to sag.
# They can see the horror of major warfare erupting simultaneously in two, and possibly three, far-flung theaters before America can react in time.
# They can see the nation's safety and their own military establishments and honor placed in jeopardy as never before.
So, if you are one of those observant military professionals, what do you do?
Wait until this president bungles into losing the war in Afghanistan, and Pakistan's arsenal of nuclear bombs falls into the hands of militant Islam?
Wait until Israel is forced to launch air strikes on Iran's nuclear-bomb plants, and the Middle East explodes, destabilizing or subjugating the Free World?
What happens if the generals Obama sent to win the Afghan war are told by this president (who now says, "I'm not interested in victory") that they will be denied troops they must have to win? Do they follow orders they cannot carry out, consistent with their oath of duty? Do they resign en masse?
Or do they soldier on, hoping the 2010 congressional elections will reverse the situation? Do they dare gamble the national survival on such political whims?
Anyone who imagines that those thoughts are not weighing heavily on the intellect and conscience of America's military leadership is lost in a fool's fog.
Will the day come when patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a "family intervention," with some form of limited, shared responsibility?
Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars. Having bonded with his twin teleprompters, the president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making.
Military intervention is what Obama's exponentially accelerating agenda for "fundamental change" toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama's radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.
Unthinkable? Then think up an alternative, non-violent solution to the Obama problem. Just don't shrug and say, "We can always worry about that later."
In the 2008 election, that was the wistful, self-indulgent, indifferent reliance on abnegation of personal responsibility that has sunk the nation into this morass. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tombstone Blues



I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.
Hunter S. Thompson

Just read on the wire that our neighbors to the east, Arizona, have a new law that commences tomorrow that allows the carrying of firearms into drinking establishments. The law also applies for concealed weapons if you have a permit. You can easily obtain one for $30.00 and the completion of a basic firearms course. Bars and restaurants have the option of regulating guns in their establishments but must post the signage prominently.

Alcohol and bullets seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. A perfect marriage. This should be a great alembic test for the rest of the country. All it will take is one too many cowboys crying listening to Patsy Cline to start the desert equivalent of World War III. Or get liquored up and hunt down a few of those godless liberals.

I own guns, I shoot guns, but I have never felt the necessity to bring one into a tavern. Because people are known to do stupid shit when they are drunk. The NRA, which helped sponsor this legislation, wants to tell you that criminals are responsible for firearm violence. We all know that all kinds of people are capable of a lot of dumb behavior when they become inebriated, behavior that may turn criminal real quick.  But the writers of this bill are the ones that are criminally stupid. They are asking for trouble and it will certainly come and the victims will be friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, children and innocent bystanders. Little insults will suddenly be backed up by serious firepower.

I don't get the sudden fascination with open carry. In the north county of San Diego where I live, a group of deranged seniors have been practicing open carry prominently around town lately with unloaded weapons. Now that will do a lot of good. Arizona has always been strange.  I remember driving to the Colorado River as a young adult and seeing lots of toothless biker mamas packing heat and more recently saw some crewcutted youths playing Johnny Ringo while filling up their cars with gasoline.  It was a little creepy, if you ask me. And I will never forget Kerry's story about being at the Arizona bar where a cowboy wanted to fight him for his wife. Honestly. If I beat you up, can I have her? How does the old joke go? What separates California from the lunatics? The Colorado River.

What is everyone so afraid of? Is this serious penile compensation?  I predict a lot of unnecessary killin'. Hope I'm wrong.

Billie Holiday

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Beats the hell out of Shatner.

Strange Fruit


When I first heard the news about Bill Sparkman, the census worker in Kentucky that was found hanging, I must admit I thought he had done himself in.  The information that was initially released gave me the suspicion that the poor guy was feeling victimized and persecuted and had killed himself for sympathy and maybe a release from his role as a single parent.  He was apparently touching the ground as well.

Occasionally you hear stories about people who do take their own lives or otherwise victimize themselves and try to pin blame on somebody else to elicit sympathy. It seemed a classic textbook case.

Apparently that is not so. News out today that the body was completely bound and gagged in a way that an individual would not be able to bind his or her self.  Jerry Weaver, the man who found the body, came out today and said that it was definitely murder.  The body was apparently naked except for his socks and his hands and feet were completely wrapped with duct tape. His census badge was taped to his head and shoulder area. His clothes were located in a near bye abandoned pickup truck. Fed was written on his chest with a felt pen. The FBI has asked that Census work in the rural Kentucky county be temporarily halted.

No one knows at this point if the perpetrators were moonshiners, meth heads, or radical conservatives.  And if law enforcement does know, they aren't talking. But the reality is that Michele Bachmann, the nutcase congresswoman from Minnesota, has been railing against the innocuous Census Bureau for months. I am sure that law enforcement has not ruled out that the death might be a result of her twisted hate speech.  She refused to answer questions today about her complicity in inciting violence against government workers.

I don't know who is responsible for this poor guy's death.  I hope that the authorities can track the bastards down. But it once again reinforces the notion that words have power and consequences.  That unbalanced and paranoid people can be sent into a deadly and murderous rage when provoked and manipulated, even  by the foolish babble of idiot politicians and congresswomen.

Billy Swan - I Can Help



I dig this band.  If your child needs a daddy...This clip doesn't seem all that old so this band might be some musician's union guys from the hall.  Lots of Holiday Inns, I imagine. A bar mitzvah or two. But pros who have paid their dues.  Actually lay back. Nice cheesy light show. Great voice, Billy Swan, one hit wonder?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Yom Kippor

Best of Times...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Addison



Open Tuesday through Saturday, dinner only.
Bar: 5:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Dinner: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm

858.314.1900



"I've had it with pretentious food!" Our host, a lovely and urbane woman, measured and sophisticated, shocked us with her blunt candor.

Last night, Leslie and I attended a birthday dinner at Addison Restaurant, located at the Grand Del Mar Resort.  Our hosts and guests were all very wonderful and intelligent people and we all had looked forward to the night with anticipation.  A limo stocked with some very nice champagne took us on the hour long trip down the coastline. When we got to the restaurant, we were whisked to a fantastic round table in the center of the dining area.

The room itself did it's best to be clubby, but lacked much real warmth or intimate touches.  The ceiling is characterized by beautiful beams and the dining area looks out on a lovely garden. We got our menus and were given an option of either ordering a la carte, a four course prix fixe or a seven course tasting menu.  I wanted to go the four course route but all for one and one for all,  we decided to all go for the seven.

There was a lot of staff at this place.  The table was almost overstaffed. Very expert as well.  The sommelier Jesse Rodriguez, a French Laundry alum, who admitted that he is soon to be taking his master sommelier test, clearly knew his business. We started off with a choice of three champagnes, one which was personally mixed by the sommelier in France. The first was forward, focused, delicious. The second offering was rounder, flatter and settled at the back of the palette.

The meal started with an amuse bouche of a single raspberry with a dollop of creme fraiche sitting in a pool  of a tangy chilled clear melon broth. A veloute with basil creme. Throughout the night, we were treated to the extravaganza of little covers being simultaneously pulled off dishes with much pomp and circumstance. Actually got a little bit tired. I looked at the lone berry and had the scary premonition that I was in for a long night.

We had chosen the wine pairing option and I can't go over each specific wine, but while they were esoteric and quite distinctive, it was heavily weighted to whites, and I am a red guy. Suffice it to say, there wasn't a single wine that I would ever order again. Two port like reds, a pruny, almost dirt flavored barbaresca, a reisling, a burgundy, some fortified wine. The grenache "port" type wine was served very early in the meal and over sweet for its position on the roster. We ended the night, a bit tipsy, bordering on a diabetic shock from all the alcohol and sugar.

The food was challenging and  difficult for me. Food is selected by its seasonal availability but there was no salad course or leafy vegetables with the exception of one small lone leaf o' arugula on a piece of salmon along with an onion chip. It was not a great dish.

We had a very rare fois gras in a corn puree with chanterelles which was okay but lacked toast points.  The puree and chanterelles were heavenly. The bread all night was very ordinary spongy round rolls and not what I would expect from a fine restaurant.

We were then served a double sea scallop dish with foam and a dollop of golden caviar that suspiciously looked like black caviar. Delicious, perfectly cooked, the best dish of the night, by far.

Our next course was a mystery meat. I guess I wasn't listening.  I thought maybe I could tell. I finally asked if it was chicken? Turned out to be a flash cooked "veal something" that was so underdone it scared the hell out of me and a few of my fellow diners. Like biting into a live, wet muscle. Didn't know you could screw up veal but I learn every day. A couple of my compatriots had short ribs which they raved about.

Had a nice cheese course with an extremely tasty pink blue cheese along with a sheep's milk cheese.

I was starting to get punchy round about this time. I had alienated our sommelier earlier by suggesting that he refrain from clinically characterizing a wine as having a "saline smell" and instead say something more poetic like "it shines with the scent of the fresh ocean air". He informed me that he was bobbing and weaving and was plenty poetic. Fine. The other thing that was weird was the flatware. They kept turning the forks upside down, changing all the flatware out for each of the seven or eight courses. Our server said it was termed an aristocratic service or something like that but it was a little odd in my opinion. And I don't think all of that flatware was so necessary.  It wasn't like somebody else was putting my fork in their mouth.

Being at a round table in the middle of the establishment, a loud boisterous table with you know who maybe leading the charge, I am sure that we alienated several of our fellow diners. Speaking entirely of myself, maybe borderline rude and obnoxious. We also openly discussed and graded our food experience in what might be called somewhat wincing terms.  I gave it a 6, a couple of our party were in the 8 range.

The dinner ended with a slightly rancid mint ice cream with bitter chocolate shavings that I personally found inedible. Followed up by an equally inedible "macaroon" with no hint of coconut.  Should be some relevant truth in advertising statute. Or gentiles should be not allowed to have anything to do with making macaroons. Frankly the only adjective it shared with an actual macaroon was round.  Then we were served a peanut butter and chocolate terrine that was very good but we just weren't hurting for sugar at that point.



The chef came out at the end and we talked frankly about the meal, the positives and the negatives.  He said that the delicious short ribs took two days to make.  He promised to make me a salad next time. He was a very cool guy and a bit tired.

Our hosts, who are just the finest people, spent a fortune on this meal.  A couple of the people at the table really loved the food.  I think if I had ordered the tenderloin off the regular menu I would have been happier. Two or three of our party, I must sadly confess, got physically sick after the meal.  I think it was too many disparate flavors and food types, along with the high powered sweet wine.  The most common characterization of the dishes was interesting. That is not a good sign.  I confess to never really enjoying this type of dining, reminded me of the late Cindy Black or Gustav Anders.  Miniscule dishes, beautifully presented, but geared to a much more sophisticated palette than I evidently possess.

I want food to make me happy, not to be an endurance event, not to present me with flavor combinations designed to take a person to the edge of palatability. So once again, I get to play the nasty critic.  Our birthday boy was talking about grabbing a McDonalds burger or a vg's doughnut on the way home, half serious, also not a good sign.

I guess this just shows that I am a food fraud.  Expose me as a member of the proletariat. Throw me a medium rare veal chop and a nice bottle of something red and I am content. Simple. Give me delicious and I am a happy guy. Just shows my lack of breeding.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ye olde art critic



I got started buying and selling art in the mid seventies. My first company was called El Flechador Del Sol and sold primarily late 60's psychedelic and underground artwork.

I was an art architecture major in college and have drawn and painted for most of my life.  When my wife and I first started out in the business, we sold my paintings. Then the supply ran out.

I got sick with bladder cancer, the bane of many artists, in the mid 80's and had to give up the pigments. In the early 90's I started selling antiques and fine art full time.  I have been very blessed to have sold some very serious paintings including a John Singer Sargent that had been missing since 1913, a Joshua Reynolds, an important Maynard Dixon and a very good Charles Russell.  Along with thousands of other canvasses of varying quality along the way.

I don't handle living artists.  Wouldn't want the tsoris, responsibility or guilt if things don't sell.  When they come in to the gallery, I ask them for a note from their doctor to prove that they are really, really sick.  I sold an Ed Mell that was great a few years ago, a Matt Smith, a Bill Schenk, but it is a rare occasion when I get a live one.

I caught a little flack the other day privately for deriding the work of some contemporary titan.  Who the hell am I to challenge their lifetime body of work? Well that is what an art dealer does.  We make very subjective choices about what is good and bad. Art dealers without clear ideas about the difference do not last very long.  Now there is an ass for every saddle. You may hanker for big eyed kids weeping or dogs playing poker and who can challenge your taste? Fine. This is what I think.


 John Wayne - Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol was a very sly guy who could adroitly pull very cold artifacts from the image bank. Cold people with cold cash could put said imagery in their cold houses. But after reamless riffs on the theme it got awfully stale. Sorry.

Very early on I realized that the paintings getting foisted on America by the art world were a crock of shit. There are and always have been tremendous painters in this country that could paint circles around Warhol and Haring and their cursed ilk. Most illustrators have more juju in their brush than Basquiat or Hockney or the media darlings could ever puke up on their best day. People like Brad Holland or Marshall Arisman. Or further back to Pyle, Leyendecker, Parrish and Wyeth.  Of course in art school you are told that if art is used to sell a product, it lacks the verite and cachet of "fine art." So we are left with some very sad work. And tired repeated cliches. And an inability to draw or handle a brush.


  David Hockney. The swimmer here is a case in point. Flat surfaces with juvenile rendering. Decidedly male interest thrust in your face. I was at a birthday party for an extremely wealthy woman in Tiburon once upon a time and sat with a couple who wanted to buy a Hockney. I actually knew where one was but made the mistake of trying to give them a good deal on the work.  They were seriously affronted.  They wanted to spend big money on a painting. Having a Hockney was like having a house in Aspen for them.  How dare I? Don't get the fascination.



Roy Lichtenstein had a cool idea once of blowing up comic strips and managed to make a career out of it. Now in the sixties there were lots of guys doing similar riffs, guys like Wes Wilson, Satty and Singer and Stanley Mouse, etc - of course they weren't connected to the New York art machine. Very tired.


 I have a friend that thought he had an early Claes Oldenburg maquette and I poured over about 650 images on askart of his work looking for a comp.  I was surprised.  The guy really could not draw very well. Dead on representationalism masquerading as art. But he was facile at blowing up objects out of scale.  I think some guys did the same thing up at universal studios with giant plastic rocks.  But is the ability to supersize something enough reason to give someone acclaim in our culture? Or covering everything in fabric? Apparently so. Another reason to hate humanity.


 Jeff Koons. Factory painter like Peter Max. Probably never touches the work.


Damien Hirst. If you're not the lead pig, the scenery never changes. Nuff said.

When I gloss through the modern art magazines or the contemporary museums, I often leave shaking my head. When I see great Thomas Hart Benton's buying in, and a joke of a Hirst bringing in millions of dollars of coin.  The glee when an Eli Broad is giddy over some new aquisition that is bathed in some delicious irony that we normal joes couldn't hope to understand. God must be working undercover to separate stupid rich people from their lucre.

I sell mostly impressionists from 1890 to 1940 but the later decades are starting to creep in. Not a lot of affordable great work from the 50's or 60's. For a couple of years now the bay area figurative movement has been coming up. Diebenkorn, Thiebaud, Elmer Bischoff, Still - great painters. But now the second tier is starting to bring real money, David Park, Roland Peterson, Wonner, Frame, McGaw. And except on rare occasions, the work is uniformly terrible. Or I don't get it. If they can handle a brush, they do their best to disguise it. I do like Roger Kuntz. Joan Brown. Frankenthaler. A few out there.

I think that for the most part, modern art is an incredible fraud foisted on a few dumb people that probably deserve it. There are phenomenal artists on the sideline waiting to be discovered by future generations. Robert's law says that it takes thirty years for art to be safe and palatable enough to hang over the average american couch. If you are thinking Warhol, let me offer my condolences.



Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pushing the Boundaries


I am exhibiting some of my photography at the Brandon Gallery next month with 5 or 6 other photographers. The show is called Pushing the Boundaries. Don't know if there will be an opening or not.  All of the photographers are encouraged to really let it go.

 I am going to be displaying some of the work I have been experimenting with lately, some photos that I have been painting on top of, sort of non objective work, along with a few photos that I have created and posted for this blog. The kind of photos that leave real serious photographers spitting and pulling out their hair. They're just pixels, baby.

If you worship at the alter of Stieglitz and Weston, the idea of photoshop manipulation is profane and untoward.  So I submit my work with a touch of shame and unease to the guys who have played it straight. I want to see how fuzzy the line can be blurred between painting and photography.

This thing has been thrown together fast. Haven't had the paints out in years. Should be an interesting show.

Here's my mission statement for the show:


Photographers tend to be a fairly doctrinaire group. I like to use the camera as another tool in creating art, but not necessarily worship at the shrine of the masters.



For me it is interesting to blur the line between painting and photography.   I am trying to use the photographic pixels in a nonromantic way, and to manipulate the image like one might sling paint. 


These images have been sliced, diced, wrung out, stretched, folded, pressed, painted and degraded. Approach them with caution.

4-15-23-24-35-42

Carl Bialik wrote a fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday on lotteries and probability.  The numbers  shown above won the Bulgarian lottery. Twice. Consecutively. In the same week. Statisticians place the probability of this occurence at somewhere between 1 in 5.2 million and 1 in 14 million.

Experts note that with the sheer numbers of lotteries being played, such coincidences are bound to occur.  What would be improbable is if they did not. Still as a fan of Jung, synchronicity and all sorts of hocus pocus, I wonder if there are any other plausible explanations?

NPR had a great article a few years ago about Pakistani cabdriver Ihsan Khan, who dreamt the numbers 2-4-6-1-7-2-5 - Powerball 31 that went on to win the 55 million dollar Maryland Powerball prize. He went back to Battagram, Pakistan and was elected mayor.  Days later an earthquake hit and he doled out hundreds of thousands of dollars from his personal fortune to save his village. As was foretold in his dream. Curious.

There is a fascinating story in the article  about an incident with the Oregon lottery in the year 2000.  Detectives visited a Washington newspaper after they published the next day's winning numbers. The paper had mistakenly downloaded results from Virginia. Which happened to win the next day. Go figure.




The graph shows that low numbers tend to be picked much more often so that one might have a better chance against the competition by picking between 31 and 45. Don't fall on people's birthdays. And why is lucky 7 so popular? And don't the even numbers take a bit of a pounding?

Found the interesting REvolution Computing blog while checking into this - check it out - all kinds of pointy headed probability work.  They are the creators of an open source language for statistics called R - I quote:
REvolution R is based on R, a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. The R Project for Statistical Computing is an ongoing initiative by the open source community, involving an international ecosystem of academics, statisticians, data miners and others committed to the advancement of statistical computing. Through the contributions of this community, innovations in methodology can be rapidly incorporated and disseminated.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Crystalline moment

House minority whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) was a party to an audience question the other day that perfectly illustrated the Republican party's position on health care.

Cantor was confronted at the Richmond Times-Dispatch Public Forum, a sort of Town Hall meeting. A woman named Patricia Churchill mentioned that she had a close relative in her early forties who had lost her high paying job and found out she had stomach cancer. She is uninsured. She asked Cantor what she should do?

CANTOR: First of all, I guess I would ask what the situation is in terms of income eligibility and the existing programs that are out there. Because if we look at the uninsured that are out there right now, there is probably 23, 24% of the uninsured that is already eligible for an existing government program. Beyond that, I know that there are programs, there are charitable organizations, there are hospitals here who do provide charity care that if there’s an instance of indigency and the individual is not eligible for existing programs that there can be some cooperative effort. No one in this country, given who we are, should be sitting without an option to go be addressed.

So lets get this straight, no one should be sitting without an option? What kind of option? A public option? This from the party that has been fighting to scrub medicare for the last 20 years? And charity? Is this a Bush administration flashback? Charity can't cover 45 million uninsured americans. Great way to pump money into religious organizations but doesn't quite make a safety net.

Why not just be honest, Eric. Try something like this: The capitalist system is built on the notion of winners and losers. We all can't win, can we? So if you do fall through the cracks, you should take pleasure in the fact that you are keeping the greatest darn economy in the world scooting along by your ineptitude. Kind of sucks for you but that's how the game works. You lose. My health package is fantastic. Frankly your problem is not my problem. Capiche? Feel better?


Now never mind that even to qualify for Medicaid or Medicare, you pretty much have to be at the poverty level making no income. So shuffling these poor uninsured folks over to an unnamed government program might not be in the real best interests of the republic.

Cantor appeared ready to cry uncle today when asked about healthcare and the invisible Republican Health Care Reform package:

Cantor said, "Health care in this building has made it so that it seems we can't get anything else done. We have burning issues out there in this country. First and foremost, Americans want to see job security return; they want to see economic security return. Somehow, they are unable to deliver on that because of the intransigence on the majority's part on even discussing on ways for us to agree on health care.

He continued, "We have serious challenges as far as Afghanistan is concerned, that's being clouded by the rigidity by which this majority hangs on to H.R. 3200 [the House health-care legislation] and the imposition of a public option."

As in, if you people would get off unimportant and personally embarrassing topics like healthcare, we could get to the really important stuff that matters in this country.

And just so I can say I told you so, check out the response to Max Baucus' courageous outreach on healthcare. Not a single Republican Senator would come across the aisle with support, no matter how watered down he eventually made his creation. Just as I predicted. He had as much chance at getting a vote out of that bunch as a tbone steak has walking by a doberman pinscher.* Why bother?




*last week I used a similar metaphor, a porterhouse and a rottweiler. I discussed this over reliance on canines and beef with my wife but we failed miserably at finding a reasonable sustitute. Negro at a klan meeting? Please send your suggestions to blheron@pacbell.net.

Los Cuatros Fabuloso!


subtitulado para mi amigos de la sur. Viva la huelga. Viva la raza unida. Viva Charo and Ricardo Montalban tambien. Donde esta la bibliotecha? Oye!

The company you keep.








The situation in Honduras is a study in White House ineptitude. The deposed President, Zelaya, is holed up in the  Brazilian Embassy awaiting his populist flock to restore his empire. What the White House could not achieve with the help and mediation of Coast Rican President Arias, they now try to effect through this clumsy and staged manipulation.  Unfortunately Hillary and White House Counsel Craig's hands are all over this one. Maybe we will get lucky and there will be a long and protracted civil war.

My feelings about Honduras have been previously posted. It was clearly unconstitutional for Zelaya to try to lengthen his term in office and the Supreme Court and military were obligated by law to proceed as they did.  Hillary Clinton wants him to serve out the rest of his term. I think that it is none of our business. The Brazilian Lulu and Hugo Chavez have spoken out for the restoration of his rule. Another el presidente por vivir.

Do we really want to help shift more power in Latin America to the Chavez block? I have been accused lately of being a liberal unless Israel is involved. H-m-m-m. I must say that I feel threatened by the relationship between Venezuela and Iran, along with Hezbollah.

Last June, the United States Treasury freezed the assets of two Venezuelans, Ghazi Nasr al Din and Fawzi Kanan, for raising money for Hezbollah in Venezuela. They allegedly used their posts at the Venezuelan Embassy to facillitate terrorist attacks and kidnappings with senior Hezbollah officers. According to recent intelligence Iran's Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah have allegedly set up a special force to attempt to kidnap Jewish businesspeople in Latin America and take them to Lebanon.

Iranian and Hezbollah operatives traveling in and out of Venezuela have purportedly recruited Venezuelan informants working at the Caracas airport to gather intelligence on Jewish travelers as potential targets for abduction.

If our country is on the same side of any argument as Hugo Chavez, I say we better watch out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Give the man a hot shower!


New York Stan, not the first guy I think of when considering the United States military, has sent along a neat donation link to help our servicemen abroad, a free solar shower.  You know along with the flush toilet, the hot shower is one of the real joys of modern civilization.  We may have taken a few de-evolutionary steps towards barbarism and total breakdown, but by god,we can shower. Be happy in the little things.

Only $10.00, make some poor guy's day.

Lone Wolves get spanked - The Prisoner

Grace Jones

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rubber hits the road

I had a great conversation with my buddy Bigdave today about Eric Holder's August 24 decision to investigate the CIA for criminal conduct. As you are no doubt aware, seven former CIA Directors, including James Woolsey and others that worked for Democratic and Republican administrations, and the current Director, Leon Panetta, are against the inquest.

I have always thought that Panetta was a pretty square guy. I don't think Senator Feinstein wants to see it happen. I have always respected her as solid, fair and temperate.

Be that as it may, I have mixed emotions about the investigations. One of the primary objections put forth is that international intelligence sources could be exposed if this investigation goes forward.

Now I think Gen. Michael Hayden is probably in it up to his ass and I have no doubt that the previous administration engaged in all sorts of illegal activity. But do the underlings at the CIA have to take the fall for orders that certainly germinated at Dick Cheney's desk?  Guys that pretty much have to do their job or resign?

Behavior has to be modified and a little in house spanking would not be sufficient.  We are after all talking about torture here, a behavior that once actually cut across the american grain. But do you really think the agents were operating in a rogue and unilateral manner? Are we going to find a few sacrificial lambs to burn? And like it or not, it's still a big bad world with some nasty chaps that want to do us in.  We do need an intelligence service. A non neutered one.

Dave said that I was sounding like a reactionary republican or something equally dreadful. He said that the evidence in the new Colorado Pakistani Bomber affair seems to keep shifting. My question is, do we have the luxury to let these imans and co. hire an F. Lee Bailey so that the evidence of wanting to bomb Grand Central Station is thrown out on some mere technicality? (They had maps.) Do they get the full weight of constitutional protection? The defender is always at a tactical disadvantage against the aggressor or initiator in this type of game situation.  Do we have the luxury of being the Marquis of Queensbury?

Are we glossing over the fact that some very angry, theologically driven people would like nothing better than to vaporize us? I think it will take more than a gestalt session at Esalen to modify their kind of behavior. Need several Grateful Dead tours with some major dosage to reform these kids.  And Jerry ain't around no more.

Dave asked me if I could take the opposite viewpoint. Of course I can, I rattled off , "The constitution was built for tough times, when we selectively apply it, we are diminished, blah, blah, blah. The strength of our system is its fairness in just these situations. And people need to be punished for inappropriate behavior so it doesn't happen again."  He felt that Holder was making this call - I think the President's hands are all over it.

It's an interesting question. I don't have the answer.  But maybe, just maybe, could these former CIA Directors actually know what they are talking about? Maybe in the dark crevices of their infernal spooky souls there lurks a lone shred of decency that we should listen to, just this once? Could there be grave consequences to national security if the wrong operation gets disclosed or the wrong people get compromised? I think we better be sure.

Those loathsome jews...

Being jewish is not very popular these days. When Robbie Robertson wanted to reinvigorate his fading career, he adopted the "sexy" native american identity of his mother instead of his jewish bookkeeper father, whom you never seem to hear much about. Jewish men used to get all the plum roles in pornography but even that seems to have petered out. Israeli tourists are reckoned as the worst in the world, even supplanting the french. Not too many leading roles in television either, although occasionally we can still find a bit part as a comical, balding, gay, best friend. Cocky, superior, arrogant, deceitful, well - you know the drill.

Popular culture is replete with the stereotypes of the stingy, hook nosed shylock, a hallowed tradition in Britain that reaches from Shakespeare to Dickens to Eliot and forward. When Lawrence decided to roll around naked on the desert floor with the natives, he picked for his pashas our semitic cousins, leaving us lying around like so much chopped liver.

I have just been likened to a "sniveling weasel" for my words on the Israel/Palestinian situation by a reader from across the pond. The British have a proud history of anti semitism that has been getting uglier and uglier of late. Jews were banned from Britain in 1290 by Edward I and not allowed back until Cromwell in 1656. There were 609 anti semitic incidents in britain in the first six months of this year, over double the previous year. This includes 88 violent assaults. Of course, the jewish community in England is very small, around 350,000, a number that is dwarfed by the approximately 1.6 million muslims, many who have become radicalized by the slanted reporting of the BBC.

The Baroness Jennie Tonge, a member of British Parliament, who says that she stands with the suicide bombers, recently asked "How can we stop antisemitism if they keep treating the palestinians like this?" Sounds like a clear invitation for a pogrom to me.

We are not quite seventy years removed from World War II and the Holocaust. My tribe was hunted down for extinction and extermination throughout europe. Very successfully I might add. Countries vied with each other for carrying the crown of most despicable behavior. The austrians and germans are easy targets, but the venality of the Croation Ustasha and the Hungarian regime are legendary. The Hungarians, enraged by the past words of Bishop Prohaska, deported half a million jews in six weeks of spring in 1944. The French were no slouches, sending over 70,000 jews to the camps without even being asked to and rounding up 4000 jewish children in the spring of 1942. They kept them in the Veledrome d'hiver until the nazis could take them away. The Poles had pogroms after the war. The Baltic states were epicenter of some of the worst behavior as well, with over 40 pogroms extant in Lithuania  before the nazis even arrived. They were egged on by the catholic "thundercross" movement. Ditto Latvia and Estonia.



I could go on and on, but will spare you. Suffice it to say that Herzl and the late 19th century drive back to Israel did not exist in a vacuum. Violence and persecution were a daily fare for jews, egged on by virulent christians who accused them of killing christ and blood libel. My grandfather Israel Kaitz came from the town of Sierpc in Poland. He was conscripted into the Russian Army in the very early part of the century. That was a twenty year death sentence for a jew at the time. He could not take a brutal whipping from a cossack officer and ended up killing him with his bayonet, escaping to Antwerp and then Palestine in 1920. He didn't steal land, he bought land, and worked as a founder of the Histadrut and an electrical engineer. Much of the land was sold to jews by the Ottomans.

My mother's family, the Weinrobers, came from Yednitz, near Kishinev in Moldavia. My grandfather was constantly harrassed by the authorities and emigrated just before one of the most brutal massacres of jews in the century. If there was not a homeland for jews, I would not be alive today. Very few people survived the trip to Auschwitz from my grandmother's shtetl Wyzkow in Poland.

Yes, the jews had a diaspora, vanquished from the holy land by the crusaders. But their link to Israel is written on vellum and in blood. With the world against them, where were these people supposed to settle after World War II? Or those poor souls suffering more recent persecution and attacks in Russia?

The idea of Israeli brutality is so overplayed by a media that is so lazy and confused. Syria killed a reported 35,000 of its own people in one day on February 2, 1982 in Hama. Jordan killed a reported 10,000 Palestinians during the 10 days of Black September. Israel has never engaged in genocide. They have regrettably had to strike hard at a liberation force that shields itself amongst civilians. A people that have repeatedly rejected deals that would give them 95% of what they have ever asked for. But lazy intellectuals get almost giddy when they can liken Israelis to Nazis and attack zionism as a cover for their real intentions, going after, well, those people...

The fact is that the people of Gaza will never be satisfied until all the jews are gone from Israel. The anti zionist Israel haters, the David Byrne's of the world, casually neglect their history lessons. Jews are convenient when they are victims, and at no other time.  The rest of the world can feel a little better about themselves for the many times they stood by and did nothing.  They can embrace the message of Achmedinijad and his convenient target.

I have worked in Israel, I have lived in Israel, I had many Palestinian friends in Israel. I wonder how many signees of the Toronto Declaration can say the same? Palestinians belong to the Knesset. They have the highest education rates in the Arab world. Until the Islamic fundamentalists put down their swords and their dreams for a global caliphate, the idea of parleying with them is ridiculous. Their apologists have been completely co-opted. Blame the jews, by all means. We are going to do what we have to do to survive.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Invisible Man


I have apparently been expunged from Facebook. I failed in all of my log in attempts today, getting some very strange site messages. I managed to find a back door in through someone else's connection and found that all of my links had vaporized. All my "friends" seemed to be doing quite well.

Now just because I am paranoid doesn't mean they are not out to get me. I have pushed the envelope past the normal, twenty word revelation to the world that I just passed gas or picked my teeth. I have thrown my voice in with some people who have taken a pretty public stand on marijuana. Horrors. I have admitted associating with known members of the communist party. Just kidding about that last one. I have unabashedly recited bad beatnik poetry. I have defamed god and country. I have written in complete sentences. I have refrained from using lol and other infernal contrivances.

I don't know that I will attempt to get back on the site. Some of my "friends" are frankly, well, dweebs. There is a definite reason we don't hang out in real life. As a hardcore blogger, the vapidity and superficiality of the medium is a bit embarrassing. I don't like the tests or quizzes and am proud to say that I never gave the Facebook team an opportunity to riffle through my address book.


So hasta la vista Facebook - don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. If I have run afoul of the blue meanies, I will wear it like a badge of honor. I will miss a couple folks who don't read the blog but will get over it with time and therapy.  So bring on the bamboo shoots and the waterboards you bastards. I don't like your face anyway.





rene magritte

Jackie Shane



One of the first transvestite soul performers. Ably backed by Frank Motley and the Hitchhikers. Believed murdered in Toronto.

Sunday Ramble



It was an interesting conversation. A friend came by, his name is not important, about my age, and we talked for several hours. We haven't known each other really for very long, but when we do talk, the minutes seem to peel off the clock. Our world views are largely dissimilar, but once the outer shell is pierced, we find that we share more in common than we first imagine.

My friend is going through the dreaded male menopause. Being on the far side of fifty, I am starting to see more of it creep up among my circle.  Very successful in his chosen field, he is contemplating getting off a winning horse and retiring at a relatively young age. He perceives a certain emptiness in his life, a gnawing sense of something missing in life's script. His singular pursuit has delivered rich rewards but left him at the finish line staring uneasily into the void.

I often see this existential longing with my doctor friends. The kind that work constantly, never marry, never develop a social aspect to their lives. Quick to get back to the E.R. on the weekends, if necessary, their life on temporary hold outside of the medical setting. It's easy to understand with the medical profession - have to ace math and chemistry in high school, get a normal degree, med school, residency, suddenly you are 8 years down the road and you have never learned to play in a social setting or have much time to make friends. And the hierarchal nature of the doctor/patient, doctor/nurse relationship adds an element of savior, god complex, autocrat to the mix.

My life has been a study in the reverse - lots of friends, but largely undisciplined and a poor money manager who tended to give it all away when he had it. But I don't see myself looking back with a lot of regrets. I have done things, albeit sometimes very foolishly, my way.

I was doing my inner pontification thing when my friend left the other day and thought about the danger of living a seamless life. We really let so little in, our armor is so very tight. Not so much left to chance. We were at a party at a doctor friend's last weekend and I told a story of an experience that happened a long time and marriage ago.

My ex wife Diann and I were in the south of Oaxaca at Puerto Escondido and decided to explore some of the deserted area and jungle north of the quiet (at the time) coastal town.  We went to Puerto Angelito, a small beach several miles away.  An old man lived on the promontory with some cows but he was not to be seen.  There was a lonely palapa where a young man sold bottles of squirt but we were the only humans beside him for miles around.


I walked up to an apple tree near the beach and picked a small green apple. I took a bite and immediately felt an intense burning sensation in my chest. I had to sit down on the sand. Diann found the boy, who summoned an old man from somewhere.  She pointed at the tree and than at me and the man said, in a breathy, hushed voice, "La Manzana del Diablo!"  Because of the language problem and my writhing pain, we could get no more information from the old man. He looked quite worried. I sat on the beach, not knowing if I would be dead in a minute, an hour, or whenever.  Probably a feeling somewhat akin to what those who feast on curious and unknown wild mushrooms from the forest floor might have. Hey, it was near a beach, who would allow the devil's apple to grow near the beach, even a beach perched on the edge of the Oaxacan jungle?

The upshot was that I survived and walked away after a few hours, with a newfound healthy caution for sampling unknown produce. Decidedly dumb, I agree.  I guess my point is, how seldom we as humans ever put ourselves in situations where the outcome is so undecided.  We used to have organs like appendixes and spleens that filtered poisons and the unknown but they have largely become vestigial.  Our hermetically sealed lives are carefully programmed to keep the slightest danger and unknown factors at a safe distance. Maybe we suffer for it?

I was 13 or 14 and living at a boarding school in Idyllwild.  A group of 8 or 9 kids along with two teachers from Desert Sun, Norwood Hazard and Joe Beauchamp, took a day hike out to the very hot dolomite mine in Pinyon Flats to look for bighorn sheep. Unbeknownst to us, our maps were from 1966 and the trails had been washed out in 1969 in a flood. We ran out of food and water in the hundred degree heat around midday.  We were hopelessly lost and ended up sliding down near vertical mountains, catching our falls by grabbing thorny cactus to break our momentum. Night came and Mr. Beauchamp and I and a girl named Ann left the main group, who were now suffering from hypothermia.  We had to find help. A 12 mile hike had turned into a thirty mile hike. All of us were thirsty, hungry and beyond exhaustion. It was a case of walk or die. We walked through treacherous rock filled canyons, with no help from a new moon, often dropping several feet in an instant.  We walked for wordless hours that filled an eternity.


I remember hallucinating that I was in the biblical valley of the shadow of death, my recent foray into religion not helping my internal dialogue any. At 4 in the morning, we wandered into a farmer's orange grove in Indio and I pulled two oranges off a tree, eating one in the pitch darkness, the first moisture in my cracked and parched mouth in 16 hours. The farmer's dogs discovered us and a helicopter and a search team were quickly summoned to retrieve the rest of our party. The next day, I reached into my pocket and pulled out the other orange.  It was bright green, a confusing thing because I could have sworn that piece of fruit in the middle of the night was the sweetest thing I have ever tasted.

I remember seeing people soon afterwards, who nodded their heads after they heard our tale as if they understood our predicament, but had no real clue as to the slender thread our lives had precariously hung to, since it is impossible to translate. I think back to that experience a lot. It helped define me and the limits of my strength, will and endurance. As difficult as it was, it was a peak episode in my life.

I didn't have all that much useful to say to my friend. He's probably smarter that I am and he has made his choices. Smart choices. But I also feel pretty good about my own because I have had the courage to occasionally fail. So here's to taking an occasional bite out of the devil's apple. Cheers.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Liberal Blacklist


















Harry Belafonte
Noam Chomski
Howard Zinn
Jane Fonda
Viggo Mortenson
Wallace Shawn
David Byrne
Julie Christie
John Greyson
Ken Loach
Danny Glover
Joselyn Barnes
Cornelius Moore
Jeremy Pikser
Mark Achbar
Naomi Klein
Alice Walker

The Israel haters amongst the leftist elite have signed an absurd screed called the Toronto Declaration.  The declaration protests the Toronto Film Festival's including Tel Aviv as a sister city. Calling it the "smiling face of Israeli Apartheid", the signees allege that Toronto is the agent of the "Israeli Propaganda Machine." They complain that the festival makes no mention that Tel Aviv was built on the remnants of destroyed Palestinian villages.  Canadian filmmaker John Gregson says that to celebrate Israeli cinema is a tacit endorsement of Israeli occupation. He withdrew his film "Covered" to protest the focus on the festival's showcase of Israeli filmmakers.

There are many familiar names among the signatories, joining such astute political scientists as Annie Lennox, Ken Livingstone and Bianca Jagger in their own recent pillory of Israel.  There are the obligatory jewish signees, fashionably self hating. And the message perfectly timed to coincide with the Jewish High Holy Days.

My father was born in pre independence Palestine.  I have heard the firsthand stories of the massacres of jews in Hebron in 1929. I know how the Jordanians and Egyptians treated their jewish inhabitants and let the donkeys defecate next to the Wailing Wall.  It is hard for me to understand why these brave signees have not lent their names in the condemnation of Hamas rocket or suicide attacks against Israel. Or for the release of Gilad Shalit.

Why is Israel subject to this double standard from the "liberal elite"?  Where were their voices during the Syrian extermination of the town of Hama or during Black September? Why have they not taken up for the oppression of the kurds? Or honor killings throughout the arab world? Or the genocide in Sudan? Or that the Q'uran and Sunna expressively espouse a theology that calls for warring with the jewish people.

Not as sexy as bashing jews, I'd say... The arab and persian world are not content to belittle and deny the holocaust, an action that the Mufti of Jerusalem had his hand in. They want to deny the jewish footprint in Israel, they forbid mention of the jewish temple, which the Moslems built the Mosque of Omar on top of thousands of years after its construction.  They neglect to mention a continuous jewish presence in Jericho for over 5000 years.  For a people with such ties to the land, it is a wonder that the palestinians can not understand that jews feel an equally compelling connection.

I have lived in Israel for two protracted periods. There are things to like and not like about the country and the government. But be objective. The Palestinians have never honored their ceasefires, the islamists will not accept Israel's right to exist.  It appears that neither will the liberals...

(p.s. Viggo Mortenson, you sucked in Lord of the Rings)


You declare that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely anti-Zionist. And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountaintops, let it echo through the valleys of God s green earth: when people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews.
Martin Luther King, Harvard University, 1968

William Burroughs

Fallbrook Film Festival 2010



I am pleased to be working with the Fallbrook Film Festival for the third consecutive year of it's existence. I am the chief judge this year. We have just announced our first call for submissions for next year. I encourage independent filmmakers to submit your films to the festival. We view films made by filmmakers from the United States and around the world with a wide range of topics and all levels of skill and experience.

The categories this year are animation, documentary shorts and features and narrative shorts and features.  We have had incredible reviews from attendees and filmmakers during our first two years. We hope to surpass the high bar we have set during our upcoming festival in 2010.

Films can be submitted through the Withoutabox.com website. You can learn more about our festival at fallbrookfilmfestival.com


The Fallbrook Film Festival is always looking for quality sponsors and volunteers in the community to help pull off such a busy and involved event.  Please consider helping in any way you can.  And if you just want to see first rate independent films in a local setting, please mark your calendars now to attend the festival next April.

This year the films will be shown at the Ultra Star Cinemas at the River Village Shopping Center.  Scheduled dates for the Fallbrook Film Festival are April 9th through 11th. We give out special lifetime achievement awards to worthy members of the film community and have forums where the professionals discuss their craft with the public.

If you need any more information about the event please email info@fallbrookfilmfestival.com or contact the Festival Director Linda Mandrayar at Linda@fallbrookfilmfestival.com.


"The Fallbrook Film Festival is an "A" list film festival in the truest sense of the word. The Festival is a true gem.  In a charming location, the passion of the filmmakers' art meets the purity of the movie goers love for a good story."
Stephen Auerbach - Producer

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Media is the Massage

I was ruminating on the breakdown in civility and the polarization in today's society this evening and started thinking about the great Canadian author Marshall McLuhan. (1911-1980)

He wrote the seminal book, The Medium is the Message in 1967, on man's relation with technology, language and communication, which an errant typesetter mistakenly morphed into The Medium is the Massage.


I was thinking that McLuhan would find our current bitter vitriol quite normal and even predictable.

He would say, look at all the new delivery vehicles for information, tweats, twitters, blogs, blackberrys, print media, social networking sites, commercial radio, satellite radio, an abundance of news channels, it is a race to both understand and commandeer the new technology.

That technology is having a profound effect upon our discourse. Our communications have been irrevocably changed by the new technology. Instant institutional computer trading on stocks and options  have created havoc and instability in the markets.

We now live in a world of instant analysis, where the most ridiculous rumor can become viral in a matter of seconds, and whether true or not, impact the world in a powerful way. The medium has overthrown the message. Perception once again drives "reality".  I wonder if he would view the breakdown in manners as an outdated cultural artifact?
...[I]f a new technology extends one or more of our senses outside us into the social world, then new ratios among all of our senses will occur in that particular culture. It is comparable to what happens when a new note is added to a melody. And when the sense ratios alter in any culture then what had appeared lucid before may suddenly become opaque, and what had been vague or opaque will become translucent.
"The railway did not introduce movement or transportation or wheel or road into human society, but it accelerated and enlarged the scale of previous human functions, creating totally new kinds of cities and new kinds of work and leisure. This happened whether the railway functioned in a tropical or northern environment, and is quite independent of the freight or content of the railway medium.


 ...since the inception of the telegraph and radio, the globe has contracted, spatially, into a single large village. Tribalism is our only resource since the electro-magnetic discovery. Moving from print to electronic media we have given up an eye for an ear."  Understanding Media - 1964


At the speed of light, policies and political parties yield place to charismatic images. 


Only puny secrets need protection. Big discoveries are protected by public
incredulity.



Spaceship earth is still operated by railway conductors, just as NASA is
managed by men with Newtonian goals.


With telephone and TV it is not so much the message as the sender that is
“sent."



McLuhan


I am going to have to dig up my old college McLuhan textbooks and see if I can come up with a stray epiphany or two. He would be having a field day today.  All of his postulations are being verified at warp speed.

"The more precisely
the
POSITION is determined,
the
less precisely the MOMENTUM is known"
Werner Heisenberg.

Feeler Chapter II



"What do you mean, he wanted to know how the vice president was feeling, what f*cking business does he have with how the vice president is feeling," the superior bellowed.

It was Agent Pennington's turn to be cowed. "I don't know sir, he's a goddamn, lowly E-5 empath.  Maybe he saw him on the television."

The tall agent fished a non filter out of the Camel soft  pack and nursed it out of the box with his lips. He offered one to Pennington, who wordlessly declined with a shake of his tightly cropped head. Lighting the cigarette with his old fashioned zippo lighter with the eagle emblazoned on the side, he took a huge drag and stared out the picture window.

"The tech guys said that no one would be able to tell. They said that the sims were perfect. Absolute organically grown skin, real toenails and fingernails. Offsite real time reboots. Cognitive functioning of Albert Einstein. But no one thought about the fucking empaths." He slammed his hand down on the top of the credenza, sending a pile of papers hurtling off the flat surface. The 6G version of simulacrum were perfect copies, down to the pimples and the foul breath. They had been assured that every conceivable test had been run on the sims, and that they even registered the same electromorphogenetic field as humans. Lysine racemization, retinal scanning, dendritic topography, genomic cryptotect®, logic riddling, heat signature, every conceivable test for humanity passing with flying colors.

There had been one serious glitch. The sim machines couldn't handle humor and irony real well, which occasionally sent them into a visible loop flutter. The engineers had managed to get around the hiccup by ramping up the facial recog circuitry.  People tended to laugh at their own jokes, and the small muscular twitches gave the sims all the advance warning necessary to join in the revelry.

But the designers hadn't reckoned with a junior grade telepath. Whatever footprint the techies had engineered for the simulacrum, it's boundaries obviously did not extend to the etheric plane or wherever these freaks were picking up their information.

When the Vice President took ill, the head of the Federal Reserve and the Comptroller of the Currency voiced their concerns about what his passing would mean to a jittery market.  A crash now would make 2008 look like a picnic.  In a modern day equivalent of the Manhattan Project,   the consortium of the M.I.T. Advanced Robotics Division parlayed their expertise with the government's own new and very secret BIO-ZOA division located underneath a mountain rumored to be located somewhere in Colorado.

This Department had been formed as a small and invisible underground colony whose stated purpose was to repopulate the United States in the event of a nuclear strike or major pandemic.  Its proud subjects were the best physical, cerebral and morally upright citizens that could be found in the nation, with the principal breeding stock conveniently plucked from the Air Force Base in nearby Colorado Springs.

Unfortunately, the offspring, which had been genomically selected and matched with the most advanced algorithmic formulas, was popping up with some very curious mutations. Although the babies grew up to be tall, slender, frankly beautiful men and women, the line breeding encouraged an odd psychological trait of hyperactivity and autism, much like an overbred spaniel. The necessary scrapping of the "inferior work product" led to curious emotional outbursts and even hunger strikes by the breeders and the program had to be temporarily shut down. Rumors that the progeny had been utilized in the simulacrum program had never been officially corroborated.

No one outside of the highest echelons of government knew exactly how many of these sims were out there functioning somewhere. When the Vice President was taken off life support, the administration was reasonably assured that his doppelganger would seamlessly step into his shoes, literally.

"Do you think this Sloane will play ball with us?" the dour man asked Pennington.

"Hard to tell - unfortunately I don't think we can take the risk."

"Get me a readout on this guy.  I want 24/7 surveillance.  If he farts in the shower I want to know what key. What did he eat for breakfast last tuesday morning? Evaluate his work product for us from day one. I know he's single but is he dating, is he gay?, we have to find a way to crucify him if it becomes necessary. For the good of the republic. Freaking telepath."

Pennington said, "I am going to call Denver. Those mad scientists got us into this mess and they better have some brilliant idea to get us out. Before America figures out that we got a bunch of cyborgs running the show. You know what something like that would do to the markets? The guys at Goldman will be simply furious."
(to be continued)