Thursday, December 28, 2006

Check out this guy

I passed 9,000 miles riding today on the bicycle. The car miles are at 6,582. That includes 3 trips to South Carolina. I'll probably have another 250 on the car before the year is up because I'm going to Nashville to pick up the Kid.

He's going with Big Brother (my big brother) to a Titan's game. Between the paintball gun he got from his uncle Mike, the rifle shooting session at his Uncle Mike's, and the football game, and copious amounts of heavily supervised time with his girlfriend, he's been busy in overly heterosexual type activities. All he really needs to complete the ensemble is a cigar, and hopefully condoms.

Which brings me to a delightful turn of events. After spending some time in the LBS looking at 'stuff' the kid comes over to where I was checking out rock climbing gear (though WHY I don't have a clue)... and says... 'check out this guy' and motions for me to follow him.

I expect to see some strange person from the way he said it, but he leads me outside to see a STUNNING sunset. There have been three sunsets to match this one in my life.

One was in October, 1973 when I was traveling to Columbia SC to see Virgil Fox play an organ concert. Another was in the summer of 1980 in the Austrian Alps. The third one was tonight.

He had said 'check out the sky'. Together we stayed outside and watched until the colors had faded away.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Me and the Kid


Ok, that bit about Queen Elizabeth's Christmas Message? Total tomfoolery on the part of Velorution.

I searched for the message yesterday, thankful to be able to send it to friends and family because it would prove that at least one other person agreed with me, and she was the freakin' Queen of England!

Alas, I found the real message here.

How silly of me to think a leader, even if only a figurehead, would say anything remotely approaching truth.

Oh well.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Nashbar has a friend!

Yesterday at church there was another bicycle there! Perhaps the lady that rode it in heard about the Queen of England's Christmas Message?

At any rate, my Nashbar has a new friend. Pretty soon we'll have little tricycles running around!

After copious amounts of bike love this past weekend, the Nashbar is running so smooth it's scary.

Merry Christmas!

The plan last night had been to crash a church choir somewhere and sing for the Christmas Eve services at either the Methodist, Episcopal, or Presbyterian churches, all just a few blocks (and walking distance) from my house. As the hour got closer, the plans changed. I didn't want to hang out in the fine wool/SUV set gathered to marvel at the story of their savior who arrived in abject poverty, no matter how fine the music might be. I know, I'm throwing a blanket judgement over those folks, but it's how I feel when I'm among them.

I figured the Xmas lights would be at their finest last night, the Kid was deep into a MySpace/Messaging party with his 'posse', so I suited up for a ride through the town with camera in hand.

I felt strange about the ride. It isn't the normal behavior to be riding your bike alone on a night where the emphasis is on being with friends, family, or church, and that was on my mind as I soft pedaled around. It's who I am though. Alone, but not necessarily lonely.

It was a nice 25 mile ride through neighborhoods that ranged from the very rich to the very poor, from magnificent displays to the very modest. I tend to enjoy the poorer areas best. Some of those houses are laughing out loud in the darkness.

Here are just a few of the ~100 pictures I took last night.

This next one is by far my favorite of all the houses in the town. It's just delightful. I wish I had the skills to convey in a picture what this is really like.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Garnet Lowe

I met Garnet Lowe today returning from a bike ride. Meredith J and I were getting back from a rather quick 48 mile ride into the beautiful Kentucky hillside, and soon after we turned on the road where he lived we saw a cyclist ahead of us without a helmet.

I used to get some internal grief about folks not wearing helmets, but not any more. They are out on their bicycles, and that’s a damn sight better than being behind the wheel of an SUV. I happen to put my chances in the camp that wears helmets, but if folks get out and ride without helmets, good for them!

Anyway, when Meredith and I passed this cyclist, he was an old guy on an old bike, and I made the assumption that he was a ‘have to’ cyclist as opposed to a ‘want to’ cyclist. I remembered thinking that he had an interesting face and Meredith remarked that he probably had some stories to tell.

After Meredith turned off at his house I continued on a bit longer route to get to my house, purely by chance, and at the end of a road that has been recently converted to a bike/pedestrian throughfare I ran into the fellow on the bicycle again. He was waiting for a break in the traffic to get across a major road bustling with Christmas shoppers 'in search of '.

Hello again! I said.

You’re one of the fellows that passed me a bit ago, aren’t you? He said.

Well, yes, but that don’t matter, you still beat me here. I said.

He chuckled. He was riding a very cool gray AMF bike that was quite old, a 3 speed with platform pedals. I noticed that it was well cared for, its brake levers shiny and the steel rims with just a hint of rust, just like the old school metal fenders. He was wearing a few layers of flannel, work pants, and thick leather shoes. His face was leathered and I could only discern one tooth in his head. His eyes reminded me of Master Po’s eyes from the old TV series Kung Fu. Ice gray.

Nice bike! I said.

I got it from Howards (a local bike shop). I think it was sometime in the 60’s. It was used, though. I don’t buy much new except food. He said.

I laughed and we introduced ourselves. I’m Garnet Lowe. He said.

Good day for a ride! I said.

I usually ride every day, sometimes 20 miles or so if I can. I guess I have a few miles on this bike over the years. He said.

Well, that bikes a beaut! (I was telling the truth… a really neat machine!) Are you from around here? I asked.

No, I grew up in a small town 25 miles away from here. My family had a tobacco farm there. I live in a retirement village here now. (that retirement village was 10 miles away).

I’ll bet you’ve seen a lot of changes here, I said.

Well, this cemetery (the military cemetery next to where we were stopped) didn’t exist when I moved here and all these houses were woods or farmland. I’ll be buried here someday. He said.

When did you serve? I asked.

World War II, he said. I’m 86, he said.

Wow. Do you still drive? I asked.

Well, I have a license to drive, and I have an old truck, but I’ve not had any reason to haul anything for a while. I don’t suppose I’ve driven in the past couple of years. No reason to, really.

We talked about stuff for the next little bit. His late wife, his family (lack of), the routes we take through the town, my kid. Stuff. There were several breaks in the traffic that would have allowed us to cross safely, but we were enjoying the connection.

That encounter would have never happened between car drivers. The cosmos gave me a gift.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

$2.74 - Da Bastids!

I got my latest Chase Visa statement, a really thick envelope, and opened it with a certain glee for the satisfaction of seeing a balance of $0.00. Alas, there was a final interest charge of $2.74.. something about the average daily balance computed over the last activity of x days devided by 25 times the weighted average of all past activity or activity of blah blah blah blah blah.

I promptly wrote a check for $2.74. While putting it back in the envelope, and after shredding the 'convience' checks (with a low low introductory APR - because I've EARNED it, you know)... I notice the letter from Chase.

We notice that you recently made a large payment and do not with to lose your business, so please note that your new credit limit is $35,000, available to you for a new car, a vacation, home repairs.... blah blah blah blah.

I am so gonna love the certified letter requesting them to close my account.

Interesting Read - Long but worth it

This arrived in my inbox the other day from a Social Justice activist in my church. I almost deleted it because of the length and the time it would take to digest it, but didn't. I read it today and even got some good belly laughs out of it. I encourage any who might stumble on this space to do the same.

This is not my writing. It's good.


The Age of Mammals Looking Back on the First Quarter of the Twenty-First Century

By Rebecca Solnit

[For Solomon Solnit (b. Oct. 18, 2006)]

The View from the Grass

I've been writing the year-end other-news summary for Tomdispatch since 2004; somewhere around 2017, however, the formula of digging up overlooked stories and grounds for hope grew weary. So for this year, we've decided instead to look back on the last 25 years of the twenty-first century -- but it was creatures from sixty million years ago who reminded me how to do it.

The other day, I borrowed some kids to go gawk with me at the one thing that we can always count on in an ever-more unstable world: age-of-dinosaur dioramas in science museums. This one had the usual dramatic clash between a tyrannosaurus and a triceratops; pterodactyls soaring through the air, one with a small reptile in its toothy maw; and some oblivious grazing by what, when I was young in another millennium, we would have called a brontosaurus. Easy to overlook in all that drama was the shrew-like mammal perched on a reed or thick blade of grass, too small to serve even as an enticing pterodactyl snack. The next thing coming down the line always looks like that mammal at the beginning -- that's what I told the kids -- inconsequential, beside the point; the official point usually being the clash of the titans.

That's exactly why mainstream journalists spent the first decade
of this century debating the meaning of the obvious binaries --
the Democrats versus the Republicans, McWorld versus Global Jihad
-- much as political debate of the early 1770s might have focused
on whether the French or English monarch would have supremacy in
North America, not long before the former was be beheaded and the
latter evicted. The monarchs in all their splashy scale were the
dinosaurs of their day, and the eighteenth-century mammal no one
noticed at first was named "revolution"; the early twenty-first
century version might have been called "localism" or maybe
"anarchism," or even "civil society regnant." In some strange
way, it turned out that windmill-builders were more important
than the U.S. Senate. They were certainly better at preparing for
the future anyway.

That mammal clinging to the stalk had crawled up from the
grassroots where the choices were so much more basic and
significant than, for instance, the one between fundamentalism
and consumerism that was on everyone's lips in the years of the
Younger George Bush. If the twentieth century was the age of
dinosaurs -- of General Motors and the Soviet Union, of
McDonald's, globalized entertainment networks, and information
superhighways -- the twenty-first has increasingly turned out to
be the age of the small.

You can see it in the countless local-economy projects --
wind-power stations, farmer's markets, local enviro
organizations, food coops -- that were already proliferating,
hardly noticed, by the time the Saudi Oil Wars swept the whole
Middle East, damaging major oil fields, and bringing on the Great
Gasoline Crisis of 2009. That was the one that didn't just send
prices skyrocketing, but actually becalmed the globe-roaming
container ships with their great steel-box-loads of bottled
water, sweatshop garments, and other gratuitous commodities.

The resulting food crisis of the early years of the second decade
of the century, which laid big-petroleum-style farming low,
suddenly elevated the status of peasant immigrants from what was
then called "the undeveloped world," particularly Mexico and
Southeast Asia. They taught the less agriculturally skilled, in
suddenly greening North American cities, to cultivate the victory
gardens that mitigated the widespread famines then beginning to
sweep the planet. (It also turned out that the unwieldy and
decadent SUVs of the millennium made great ecological sense, but
only if you parked them facing south, put in sunroofs and used
the high-windowed structures as seed-starter greenhouses.) The
crisis spelled an end to the epidemic of American obesity, both
by cutting calories and obliging so many Americans to actually
move around on foot and bike and work with their hands.

Bush, the Accidental Empire Slayer

For a brief period, in the early years of that second decade of
this chaotic century, a whole school of conspiracy theorists
gained popularity by suggesting that Bush the Younger was
actually the puppet of a left-wing plot to dismantle the global
"hyperpower" of that moment. They pointed to the Trotskyite
origins of the "neoconservatives," whose mad dreams had so
clearly sunk the American empire in Iraq and Afghanistan, as part
of their proof. They claimed that Bush's advisors consciously
plotted to devastate the most powerful military on the planet,
near collapse even before it was torn apart by the unexpected
Officer Defection Movement, which burst into existence in 2009,
followed by the next year's anti-draft riots in New York and

The Bush administration's mismanagement of the U.S. economy,
while debt piled up, so obviously spelled the end of the era of
American prosperity and power that some explanation, no matter
how absurd, was called for -- and for a while embraced. The long
view from our own moment makes it clearer that Bush was simply
one of the last dinosaurs of that imperial era, doing a
remarkably efficient job of dragging down what was already
doomed. If you're like most historians of our quarter-century
moment, then you're less interested in the obvious -- why it all
fell -- than in discovering the earliest hints of the mammalian
alternatives springing up so vigorously with so little attention
in those years.

Without benefit of conspiracy, what Bush the Younger really
prompted (however blindly) was the beginning of a
decentralization policy in the North American states. During the
eight years of his tenure, dissident locales started to develop
what later would become full-fledged independent policies on
everything from queer rights and the environment to foreign
relations and the notorious USA-Patriot Act. For example, as
early as 2004-2007, several states, led by California, began
setting their own automobile emissions standards in an attempt to
address the already evident effects of climate change so
studiously ignored in Washington.

In June of 2005, mayors from cities across the nation unanimously
agreed to join the Kyoto Protocol limiting climate-changing
emissions -- a direct rejection of national policy -- at a
national meeting in Seattle. Librarians across the country
publicly refused to comply with the USA-Patriot Act, and small
towns nationwide condemned the measure in the years before many
of those towns also condemned what historians now call the
U.S.-Iraq Quagmire.

It was the bullying of the Bush administration that pushed these
small entities to fight back, to form local administrations and
set local regulations -- to leave the Republic behind as they
joined the journey to a viable future. And when their withdrawal
was finished, so was the Republic.

Now, the thousands of tons of high-level radioactive waste that
pro-nuclear-reactor Washington policies had brought into being
are buried in the granitic bedrock underlying the former capital
-- known as the Nuclear Arlington in contrast with the Human
Arlington to the south, which will receive the remains of a few
more nostalgic officers from the Gulf Wars, then close for good.
The whole history of armament, radioactive contamination,
disarmament, and alternative energy research is on display in the
museum housed in the former Supreme Court Building, though many
avoid the area for fear of radiation contamination.

In hindsight, we all see that the left-right divide so harped
upon in that era was but another dinosaur binary. After all,
small government had long been (at least theoretically) a
conservative mantra as was (at least theoretically) left-wing
support for the most localized forms of "people power" -- and yet
neither group ever pictured government or people power truly
getting small enough to exist as it does today, at its most
gigantic in bioregional groups about the size of the former
states of Oregon or Georgia -- but, of course, deeply enmeshed in
complex global webs of alliances. All this was unimagined in, for
instance, the dismal year of 2006.

By the time the Republican Party itself split in 2012 into two
adversarial wings dubbed the Fundament party and the
Conservatives, the American Empire was dismantling itself. Of
course, the United States still nominally exists -- we'll pay a
bow to it this year at the Decolonization Day fireworks on July 4
-- but it is a largely symbolic entity, like the British Royal
Family was for a century before its dissolution in 2020.

A similar death-of-the-dinosaurs moment was at work in the
mainstream media -- the big newspapers and television networks of
that era. During the early years of the century, as Bush the
Younger dragged the country deeper into the mire of unwinnable
wars and countless lies, most of the big newspapers and
television news programs lost their nerve, their edge, or even
their eyesight, and failed dismally to report the stories that
mattered. Some fell to scandal -- the New York Times was never
the same after the Judith Miller crisis of 2005. Some were
sabotaged from without, like the Los Angeles Times, undercut by
its parent corporation's "cost-cutting" programs. Some withered
away as younger readers fled paper pages for the Internet. But
behind them, below them, in their shadow, regarded as puny and
insignificant back then -- even though their scoops kept
upstaging and prodding the print media -- were bloggers,
alternative media such as small magazines and websites! , the
glorious Indymedia movement, progressive radio, even the
text-messaging that had helped organize the first great Latino
march of the immigrant rights movement at its beginnings in April

The Latin American Renaissance

The Latino-ization of the United States had brought some long
missing civic engagement and pleasure back into public life and
tied the country (and Canada) to the splendid insurgencies of the
southern hemisphere. The era of post-communist revolution that
would explode from Tierra del Fuego to Tijuana in the second
decade of the century is usually traced back to the entrance of
Mexico's indigenous Zapatistas onto the world stage on January 1,

One bold reflection of a changing continent in those years was
the election of progressive leaders -- including leftist Rafael
Correa in Ecuador, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Michele Bachelet in
Chile, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva in Brazil, and Evo Morales of
Bolivia, all by 2006 -- even eventually Alicia Ponce de Leon in
Columbia in 2014, three years after U.S. war funding dried up
(along with the America that paid for it). Chavez (president
1998-2013) termed this the Bolivarian Revolution.

As a group, they were not bad as national leaders then went, but
one great blow against nationalism proved to be the British
seizure of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998
for crimes against humanity and his in-absentia trial in Spain, a
saga that dragged on until the blood-drenched dictator's heart
failed at the end of 2006. The new world is both more
transnational and more local than the one it eclipsed, and nobody
will ever be so beyond the reach of justice again. (Africans,
for example, recovered from Swiss and offshore bank accounts the
hundreds of billions of dollars stolen by their former dictators,
which gave a huge boost to the fight against AIDS and

Whatever the names of their leaders, the real force in Latin
America -- and increasingly elsewhere -- would be in the
grassroots activism that the Zapatistas heralded, which, in the
view from 2026, clearly signaled the fading relevancy of
nation-states. Latin indigenous movements, labor movements,
neighborhood groups, worker-takeovers in Argentina's factories
from 2001 onward, and the Argentinean ideology of horizontalidad
(or horizontalism) that went with it, were just early signs of
this development.

Like the regionalist policymaking entities of the United States,
these movements undermined even progressive presidents to set
more radical policies and grew to include many indigenous
autonomous zones across the hemisphere. For example, in late
2006, the 8,000-member Achuar tribe (whose region spans what was
once the Peru-Ecuador border) took hostage and defeated Peru's
main oil and gas-extraction corporation in a mode of victorious
resistance that would become increasingly common. In Mexico, the
stolen presidential election of 2006 that resulted in the
inauguration of PAN Party candidate Felix Calderon was the straw
that broke the camel's back, so to speak. In the years to follow,
the Second Mexican Revolution spread from Chiapas, Oaxaca, and
Mexico City, slowly dissolving that nation into a network of
populist regional strongholds. Seventeen of them reinstated a
local indigenous language as their official tongue.

Global Justice and the Drowned Lands

The Latin American Renaissance also created a network of
communities strong enough to take in some of the climate-change
refugees from Central America and Southern Mexico, who fled both
north and south, along with Sunbelt -- and what came to be called
Swampbelt -- �migr�s from the southern United States. The
great population transitions thus went more smoothly in the
western hemisphere than across the Atlantic, where Europeans
engaged in escalating anti-Muslim confrontations before realizing
that only immigration could prop up the economies of nations
whose native-born, white-Christian populations were rapidly aging
and, thanks to ultra-low birthrates, declining.

The end of those bloody squabbles is generally considered to have
been marked by the election in 2020 of Chancellor Amira Goldblatt
Al-Hamid by what was then only a loosely federated association of
German-speaking bioregional principalities. Similar crises --
and, in some cases, bloody cross-community, cross-religion
bloodlettings --took place elsewhere, especially as populations
moved away from increasingly desertifying, ever hotter hot zones
in Africa and Southern Asia. Some historians have regarded the
devastating global bird-flu pandemic of 2013 as fortunate in
relieving climate-change population-shift pressures; others --
including the noted historian Martha Moctezuma from the
University of San Diego-Tijuana's Davis Center on Public Luxury
-- discard that perspective as callous.

Every schoolchild now knows the Old Map/New Map system and can
recite the lands that vanished: half the Netherlands, much of
Bangladesh, the Amazon Delta, the New Orleans and Shanghai
lowlands. And who today can't still sing the popular ditties
about those famed "fundamentalists without their fundamentals" --
the senators who lost the state of Florida as it rapidly became a
swampy archipelago. Most schoolchildren can also cite the World
Court decision of 2016 that gave all shares in the major oil
companies to Pacific Islanders, mainly resettled in New Zealand
and Australia, whose homes had been lost to rising oceans (a
short-lived triumph as the fossil-fuel economy ebbed away).

More creative responses to climate change included the
tree-traveler and polar-bear collectives. These eco-anarchist
clans -- now popular contemporary heroes -- first nursed plant
populations on their unnatural journeys north by means of
extensive rainy-season nursery cultivation and summer planting
programs that have since become huge outdoor festivals. Today,
many city parks and town squares have statues of Cleo Dorothy
Chan, who organized the first small tree-traveler collective in
southern Oregon and is now hailed globally as the twenty-first
century's Johnny Appleseed. ("You can't choose between grief and
exhilaration; they are the left and right foot on which we hike
onward," said the t-shirts of the tree-travelers.) As for the
polar-bear folks, they were initially a group of zoologists and
circus trainers who, inspired by the tree-travelers, mobilized
themselves to teach young polar bears to adapt to changed
habitat. They are often credited with saving that one ch!
arismatic species in the wild, even as thousands of less
emblematic ones vanished.

The Principles of Change

A mature oak tree always looks significant; and, when we look at
it, we're willing to respect acorns -- but the rest of the time
the seeds of the next big thing are just trodden upon and
overlooked. The ideas that made our era and pulled us back from
the brink, the stakes that went through the hearts of the
dinosaurs and the more incremental forces that rendered them
extinct were all at work in the 1990s. They just didn't look very
impressive yet, and people were intimidated by the heft of those
dinosaurs and swayed by their arguments.

The World Court and related human rights, environmental rights,
and criminal courts became more powerful presences as the sun set
on the era of nation-state. Multiple changes often combined into
scenarios impossible to foresee: for example, the belated U.S.
recognition in 2011 that the International Criminal Court did
indeed have war-crimes jurisdiction over Americans coincided with
the worldwide anti-incarceration movement. This explains why,
for example, former President Bush the Younger, extradited from
Paraguay and found guilty in 2013, was never imprisoned, but
sentenced to spend the rest of his life working in a Fallujah
diaper laundry. (People who are still bitter about his reign are
bitter too that the webcam there suggests, even at his advanced
age, he still enjoys this work that accords so well with his
skill-set.) His assets -- along with those of his Vice
President, and of Halliburton, Bechtel, Exxon, and other war
profiteers -- were famously awarded to the Vie! tnamese Buddhist
Commission for the Iraqi Transition. After almost a decade of the
bitterest bloodshed, Iraq, too, had broken into five nations, but
by this time so many nation-states were being reorganized into
more coherent units that the Iraqi transition, led by the Women's
Alliance of Islamic Feminists (nicknamed the Islamofeminists),
was surprisingly peaceful when it finally came.

"As I've said many times, the future is already here. It's just
not very evenly distributed," said the sci-fi novelist William
Gibson in 1999. In retrospect, the arrival of the Age of Mammals
should have been easy to foresee. On every front -- family
structure and marriage, transportation, energy and food
economies, localized power structures -- everyday life was being
reinvented in the late twentieth and early twenty-first
centuries. From India to Indiana an interlocking set of new ideas
began to emerge and coalesce, becoming in the end the new common
sense that new generations of thinkers and activists were guided
by. Who now thinks it's radical to advocate that decentralization
is better than consolidated power, that capitalism's worldview is
vicious and dishonest, that the public matters as much or more
than the private, that enforced homogeneity is not a virtue
either on a farm or in a society?

The basic tools were already in place long before our era; here
and there, a few at a time, people picked them up and started
building a better future. Some new inventions mattered, such as
the super-efficient German and Japanese solar collectors and
methane generators that revolutionized energy production, but
much of the march toward a more environmentally sane future
didn't require fancy scientific breakthroughs and technologies,
just modesty. We scaled back on consumption and production. For
example, the collapse of the U.S. military put an end to the
world's single most polluting entity, while the near-end of
recreational air travel also made a significant contribution to
rolling back greenhouse-gas production.

The law of unintended consequences continued to prevail: When
touristic air travel withered, so did Hawaii's tourist economy --
making the retaking of the islands by indigenous Hawaiians via
the King Kamehameha Council a piece of cake. Of course sailing
ships still travel the triangular trade-winds route between Latin
America, Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest.

Everything was changing then, is changing now, and some years
back the Principles of Change were codified. These simply recited
the history of popular and nonviolent resistance from slave
uprisings (Hochschild

'05) and Gandhian tactics (Schell

'03) to the principles of direct action (D. Solnit '09) and
social change (see Marina Sitrin
horizontalism, '06) and drew the obvious conclusions about how
change works, what powers civil society has, how war can be
sabotaged from below, and why violence ultimately fails.

Believers in authoritarian power had prophesied a globalized
world of corporate nation-states (and indeed the 2012 Olympics
featured teams identified by branding rather than nation, such as
the Dasani and Nokia track teams and the Ikea Decathaletes); but
even as the polar bears survived, a different kind of change in
the global climate doomed most of the large corporations. The
outlawing of corporate personhood was launched in Porter
Township, Pennsylvania, in December of 2002 and gradually became
the law of the land.

By 2015, the "human rights" U.S. courts had given to corporations
in the 1880s had been globally stripped away from them again. Of
course, there were revolts against the new world -- just as the
Republican dinosaurs led a long rearguard movement against
women's rights, queer rights, the rights of the environment, and
science education, so there were corporations that resisted the
new order, most spectacularly when Arkansas was taken over
wholesale by Wal-Mart for seventeen months in the early teens.

The heavily armed Arkansans rose up, Wal-Mart's private army
changed sides, and what was once the world's biggest corporation
joined the dung-heap of history along -- most famously -- with
Monsanto, derailed by the Schmeiser verdict, the
precedent-setting World Court decision to award all assets in the
genetic-engineering corporation to small farmers previously
terrorized for not paying royalties on crops contaminated by
Monsanto's genetically altered strains. Failed presidential
candidate Hillary Clinton, who had been appointed ambassador to
the United States from the Republic of Wal-Mart, was sentenced to
three years as a sweeper at an Arkansas farmer's market and
became locally beloved in the role.

In the American Middle East (known as the Midwest until modern
geographers pointed out that the west starts at the Continental
Divide), sectarian feuding, which kept the region in a state of
subdued civil war for almost a decade, still flares up
occasionally. Periodic sorties by the Fundaments against new
programs and lifestyles are considered part of normal life,
though Kansas's John Brown Society provides a degree of
protection against them.

The Republic of Northern Idaho was another outpost of
different-sex-only marriage laws and creationism, but the need to
work with downriver communities on salmon restoration and dam
removal eventually dissolved the breakaway half-state into the
Columbia River Drainage federation. Other historians claim that
the tattooed love freaks of the Seattle region, who found common
ground with the ex-truckers and elk-hunters of Idaho, dissolved
the Idahoan Republic via bicycle races and beer fests. Some also
say the same-sex desires of elk hunters were legendary and led to
negotiations for a direct rail link to San Francisco and Los

In 1996, the Pentagon prepared imaginary scenarios describing
five potential futures by 2025. Most of them were based on the
belief that a better world was one dominated by American military
power -- which is to say, by the threat of state violence. That
they came up with five possible futures demonstrated, at least,
how wide-open the next two decades seemed, even to a
Tyrannosaurus-Rex bureaucracy that thought it was soon to own the

Some of their technological, corporate, and militaristic futures
could have come to pass. Had people not come to believe strongly
enough in their own power, in a horizontalist society, and in a
planet-wide ability to work with the environmental changes the
Industrial Age had loosed on us, we might be living in a very
different, unimaginably catastrophic world -- one in which the
mammals would never have proliferated. They might even have
breathed their last without ever emerging from under the fern
fronds and out of the grasses.

The future, of course, is not something you predict and wait for.
It is something you invent daily through your actions. As Mas
Kodani, a Buddhist in Los Angeles, said in the early twenty-first
century: "One does not stand still looking for a path. One walks;
and as one walks, a path comes into being." We make it up as we
go, and we make it up by going, or as the Zapatistas more
elegantly put it, "Walking we ask questions." What else can you

Perhaps respect the power of the small and the mystery of the
future to which we all belong.

Rebecca Solnit lives in and loves the peninsular republic of San
Francisco, where she is working on a new book. Her most recent
books are still Hope in the Dark

and A Field Guide to Getting Lost


Copyright 2006 Rebecca Solnit


Over at SueJ's and Howard's blog they both mention being a MBTI (Meyers/Briggs Type Indicator) INTP.

Interesting. I also am an INTP. I scored an obscene 95% on the Introvert side of the scale. All that means is that I derive strength and rest from solitude rather than in social situations. In fact, I believe that's one of the reasons that cycling with a group is an ideal 'social' activity for me. It allows me to be 'with' people (I've been told it's healthy to associate with people on occasion) while at the same time allowing me to be completely alone with my thoughts if I so choose, and I often do.

Because I'm a strong rider, if anyone decides to get chatty and I don't like it, like the fellow who joined me for a hill ride a few days ago who WOULD NOT SHUT UP, despite his lack of things to say, I just increase the pace until they shut up.

Monday, December 18, 2006


After nearly being flattened by a huge truck with a 'support our troops' and 'god bless america' bumper sticker while en route to the grocery store late last night, I wonder if my bike could use a sign that says

"Not Driving Until our Troops are Home"

This driver knew what he did. He was going to the same store, and even though I arrived a full 30 seconds after him, I parked my bicycle at the front of the store as I always do, taking my SWEET time to lock it up. He waited in his truck, and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited some more until I entered the store. Then I saw him get out and make his way to the door.

Kings are rarely brave outside the fortress.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Our business had it's 'Dirty Santa' party last Wednesday at a local restaurant. The student workers as well as the old timers were there.

If you've never been to a Dirty Santa party, here's how it works. Everyone is to bring a gift if you want to 'get' a gift, and in our case the value wasn't to exceed $20. It didn't have to be new, either.

Each person draws a number, the higher the number the better. The lowest number starts and picks a gift from the pile, and shows it off to the crowd. After that, each person selecting a gift has the option to take another's gift away or choose an unwrapped gift. I was last this time, which means I got to choose from the entire lot of gifts. I got a $20 gift card from BestBuy which I gave to one of my student workers.

I'm in the process of de-stuffing my life (unstuffing?) The trinkets, the plastic doodads, the copies of stuff, the 'gifts', the DVD's, old computers, coffee mugs, candle holders, lamps, old shoes.... stuff EVERYWHERE. I'm trying to limit my spending to just those things that sustain me, and trying to dispose of those things I do have that I don't need without actually throwing them away. (

With my kid came an epoch of plastic things. Now I'm asking him to consider longevity in everything he desires.

Still, everytime i attempt to move something out of the house i haven't used or even *thought* about using for months, years... there's this limiting idea that it could be worth something or I might need it *someday*.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Eco-Community: Changing the paradigm of Environmentalism

I gave this talk speaking from an outline, not reading from this document, so I went back to try and create the talk as i gave it, as close as possible. I figure that typing straight out with minimal editing might give the same result. Sorry for the typos y'all.


Back in August when I agreed to give this talk it was going to be during the first week of October, but because of scheduling conflicts it got pushed back until now. Back then it was a completely different talk that was rattling around in my brain. I had been riding my bicycle in the countryside and I would see neighborhoods where it seemed that everyone was out cutting their yards on their riding lawn mowers. The thought entered my head that it wasn’t necessary for *everyone* to have a riding lawnmowers. What if communities pooled resources? What if, instead of every household having a drill and a circular saw and so forth, what if we as a church community pooled our resources and cut down on the amount of stuff. What if shopping trips were consolidated? What if cars that weren’t being used by one member were available to other members that needed them? The idea was to have a ‘stuff’ bank, to cut down on the amount of stuff by acting as a community. The American ideal of rugged individualism, and the resulting marketing that makes everybody think they need a complete set of powertools, or dryers, or deep freezers, or (fill in the blank) and the consumption that goes with it, is poisonous. I still think it’s an idea worth exploring, but to be honest the more I wrestled with my talk, this topic, this environmentalism thing, the bigger it became. I’ve ridden my bicycle more than 2,000 miles since I first agreed to present the topic, and there hasn’t been a single mile that this hasn’t been stretching me into uncomfortable places, marinating, growing, gelling. It is a work in process, far from complete, but this is the day, and this is what I’ve got so far.

Btw, when I’m on my bike, during the day, at night, in the city, in the countryside, I’m alone with my thoughts. I’m free from the radio and TV filling me with their nonsense. All the nonsense is purely my own. I’ve also noticed that no matter where I am, there’s an odor of some chemical in the air – car exhaust, oil based pesticides, fertilizers – sometimes it is a faint thing, but it is nearly always there.

I have come to believe that our relationship with energy, specifically carbon based energy (i.e. oil – the energy of ancient sunlight) cuts to the very heart of several of our principles as Unitarian Universalists. If we are serious about the promoting justice, equity and compassion in human relations we need to come to grips with our addiction to oil. If we are serious about affirming and promoting the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all, we need to come to grips with our addiction to oil If …. IF it’s true that as Unitarian Universalists we affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part, then we need to come to grips with our addiction to oil.

The way I figure it, we have two ways we can end up, a vague/foggy utopian society or a society that is seriously screwed up.

Joan said that I’m passionate about this, and I am. I’ll admit it. I’m a fanatic. But I’m plagued with doubts and second guessing. I suppose that doubt is a common feature inherent in fanaticism.. I mean, NOBODY’S fanatical about whether the sun will come up tomorrow. There are a lot of religious fanatics, however. What if I got this whole Christianity thing wrong? What if global warming is really a cyclical phenomenon like James Inhofe says? What if technology and the markets will come to our aid just in time? I personally don’t believe it, choosing to place my trust in the hordes of scientists that say yes, we are running out of oil, that there is no easy fix.

Incidentally, the folks who say there’s nothing to worry about and are counting on science to provide the easy fix when the oil runs out are also insisting that science is wrong when it points to global warming. You can’t have it both ways.

And, another thing to consider is the very sticky catch 22, that the worst thing that could befall us would be the discovery of vast new oil fields or the burning up of what we already know about.

Cheery, eh?

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was talking with some friends during lunch after church, and the subject had segued to the topic of energy (ok… I’ll admit it, I did it, I usually do… like I said I’m a fanatic and you should expect this from me) and one fellow pointed out to me that not everybody wants to live in a little house and ride a bicycle everywhere like I do. He said this in a way that suggested it wasn’t already glaringly apparent to me. For the record, I know this.

Here’s the thing, if everybody lived like I do, in a 580 square foot house, waking up to an indoor temperature of 65 degrees and having a hot shower from indoor plumbing, riding my bicycle to the supermarket to get bananas from Honduras, oranges from California, wearing a coat made in Bangladesh, a t-shirt made in Haiti, shoes made in China, jeans from Sri Lanka, and socks from Pakistan, on the way to a centrally heated church, and afterwards planning to have a meal at Jumbo China Buffet… it wouldn't be sustainable. It would slow the inevitable, but we would still be headed to the 'we're screwed' place.

By the way, there’s a story behind the t-shirt, more on that later. But… If everyone on the face of the earth lived like me, the earth is screwed. Seriously. Our relationship with energy is so insidious that we don’t even think about it. We think cars, and they are certainly a big part, but it's also shoes, dentures, fingernail polish, computers, plastic spoons, food supply, out of season fruit, clock radios, fiber optics, tires on a bike, insulation, ... almost everything that touches our lives has a carbon component linked to manufacture and supply routes... it's NUTS. Hence the notion of our paradigm with energy and why we need to address it. If we were to totally overthrow the systems that are keeping us in our unhealthy energy relationships, but continue to think the same way, we’ll just rebuild the same old crap.

I wish I had a cookbook, like the joy of cooking is to food. I really do. That vague/foggy uptopian society I mentioned earlier? That’s because I have no idea what that society will be like, what it’s structures will be. It won’t happen in my lifetime, but we as people of faith must begin to work for it NOW. It must begin with US. We cannot wait for the politicians and the corporations and the ‘other’ people out there before we act. If we care about equity, justice, the interconnected web, future generations, this house we call the earth, we have to begin the process NOW.

I’m working from an outline here, so if I ramble I’m sorry, but the outline has three parts and the first part is ‘just the facts jack’. So I suppose you could call this part ‘Just Say Know’… that’s ‘Know’ with a ‘K’.

Over 3 years ago, on the eve of our invasion of Iraq, Al Dodson gave a service where he shared a poem by Helen Weaver Horn, a quaker. It stuck with me, and I want to read it for you again.


My Grandma Knew What She Was Doing
By Helen Weaver Horn

Your war is packaged neatly
as a precut chicken-select
facts stacked under headlines,
pale as breasts in plastic wrap-
but Grandma set me straight.

When I was ten she yanked
the biggest Leghorn from the coop.
she made me hold her squawking
on the maple stumps
and chopped her head off.
blood gushed hotly on my hand,
her feet clawed air, her limpness
quivered. I felt sick to death.

But Grandma made me hold her
upside down and dip her
in the boiling pot, pluck out
her feathers, split her open.
There inside, her eggs lay
forming. There her heart
was knotted down. I had to
tear them out, her lungs,
intestines-save the liver-
rinse and cut her up, prying
my knife between her joints
so like my own two knees.

I had to dry and salt and flour
each piece and fry them
in the spitting iron skillet
pile them on the heated platter.
Bring them in to Grandpa
at the dinner table. Eat.

My grandma knew what she was doing.
Never, never will I see
a packaged chicken blind again.

Or buy your Grade A federally-
inspected bloodless war.

I recently viewed a video by Robert Newman, the History of Oil. Have any of you seen it. No? Good. I mean, I think you *should* see it, but it’s good for me that you haven’t, since none of you will realize how poorly I present the following by way of comparison.

(if you're reading this, check out the video here.
You'll need a fast internet connetion... be warned!)

Among other things, he lays out a convincing argument that the first world war was triggered by an invasion of Iraq. Seriously… but I’m not going to talk about that, I’m going to head straight to 1951, when the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mosedek, set out to nationalize the British Petroleum oil company. The US and Britain would have none of that, so they overthrew the government and installed the shah that was such a nasty fellow for such a long time. But something really really important happened in 1971. At that time OPEC decided that all oil transactions would be conducted in US dollars. No matter where in the world you were, if you needed to buy oil from any country that produced oil, you had to spend US dollars to do it.

From that point on, we had a magic checkbook. I didn’t understand what that meant until I saw the analogy that Robert Newman had. Salvadore Dali, at the high point of fame, would buy the finest clothes, eat at the finest restaurants, travel, live a high style with lots of friends and continually pick up the tab. But when it came time to pay his bills, he would write out a check, turn it over, and make a drawing… a *signed* drawing. Needless to say, the checks never made it to his bank.

But what would have happened if high level art critics had suddenly declared that Dali wasn’t such a good painter after all, and he fell from favor, and all those businesses suddenly weren’t so enamored of having signed Dali checks on their walls? And the checks made their way back to his bank? Dali would be in deep doo doo, that’s what.

I promise, I’m going somewhere with this. …..

That almost happened to the US dollar. Right now we are overdrawn in the world banks and have been for a while, but the world needs dollars to pay for it’s oil.

In November of 2000, Saddam Hussein made a request of the French bank BNP to switch from US dollars to Euros. This was the account that was handling Iraq’s 2.3 million barrels/day of oil through the UN oil for food program. The officials told him he was crazy since the Euro was $0.80 to the dollar, but he said he didn’t care. At the end of 2000 the switch was made.

In 2001, the Euro had gained significantly on the dollar, and Iran (axis of evil member #2) began selling its oil in Euros.

By the end of 2002, North Korea (axis of evil member #3) announced that ALL of it’s commodity trading, not just oil, would be in Euros, not Dollars.

In 2002, democratically elected Hugo Chavez, another darling loved by the US, had the chairmanship of OPEC fall to him, and on the table for the April, 2003 meeting was the proposal that all OPEC transactions would be in Euros, not dollars.

That, my friends, would be the Federal Reserve’s WORST nightmare. All of our checks would come back in a great flood and our economy would suffer greatly.

It’s not hard at this point to imagine the invasion of Iraq as a very public beating to make an example of what happened if you mess with our economy. It’s what addicts do to keep the juice flowing. And let’s face it. We are addicts.

We're not any better than anybody else, we just had the military ability. There are a lot of addicts out there who would loved to have had access to that crack pile.

Just as a crack addict will rob, lie, steal, even sometimes kill to get what he needs for that next rock, governments will do the same on a much larger scale. We call it 'Bringing Democracy to the Middle East'. Just say Know. ….

It was at this point in the talk that I was worried that some of you might begin to consider me mad, but two weeks ago I was talking with a health worker on campus, a professional, an educated person with a Masters degree, and again the conversation had segued into energy talk (again, my fault). She said that we needed to find a way to fold time, and then we could farm other planets. We needed another one, possibly two. I thought she was kidding and played along, wondering where we could find such planets and if they would welcome us, etc…. but she was dead serious.

I wasn’t the mad one in that conversation.

Folks, there is no folding time, no extra planets out there to be ‘mined’. This is it… we’re not getting off this planet so we had better come to grips with the way we behave.

I mean, if we were given one body for our entire lives wouldn’t we take care of it?

Okay… bad analogy. How about if you were given only one car for your entire lives? Wouldn't you take care of it?

If you gave more thought to the car scenario rather than the body scenario … well, think about it.

So, the second part of the outline was the paradigm thing. How did we get here?

Jan Garrett sent me a sermon by Rev. Dr. Lucy Hitchcock Seck, Unitarian Universalist. I’m gonna read something right off the page. It was an eye opener for me.


“… It is important to understand the history of how we got to where we are now so that we will not stay trapped by that history and mindset. But, I believe it is also absolutely simple and dare I say common sense….. Thomas Berry, a catholic well into his nineties, writes … Within the biblical context, the continuity of divine presence with the natural world was altered by establishing the divine as a transcendent personality creating a world entirely distinct from itself. The continuity between the human community and the natural world was altered by identifying the human as a spiritual being in contrast to all other beings. Only the human belonged to the sacred community of the redeemed. The previous sense of a multi-species community was diminished. …. This is the most devasting critique of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition I have heard and the most telling. The earth’s troubles began with a concerted attempt by religion and the governments who came to expression out of that religion to separate what is religious, what is spiritual, what is good, from what is earthly. …. The wilderness became demonic. The human began to use the earth for agriculture, for fuel, for “development” The earth was deforested, polwed, built upon, paved over, polluted, abused. This process of abuse and neglect of the earth which should have been a relationship of a basic spiritual interconnection and care was defended because of religion - a religion that held the human in higher regard than all else. This same humanism that inspired great books and art, music, cathedrals and museums, and locally sustainable agriculture for a growing population, has also led to the devastation of the planet on which we must surely depend for our future…. “

Heady stuff, that. … you could spend a lot of hours in discussion groups pontificating on this point or that, and it would be OH so very interesting… As Unitarians we like to parse words, analyze, disect arguments, we are point and click activists a lot of the time, thinking that the online petition we just signed really makes a difference.

Myself, I like Robert Fulghum’s take on it. This is from his book ‘It was on Fire when I lay down on It”

“I do not want your sympathy for the needs of humanity. I want your muscle. I do not want to talk about what you understand about this world. I want to know what you will do about it. I do not want to know what you hope. I want to know what you will work for. “

And that, friends, brings me to the III part of my outline.

Getting Off our Collective Asses.

A publisher rep who calls on me at work is a Unitarian, and when I told him of my nervousness in talking to you about this he told me ‘relax… you’re preaching to the choir’.

Well, he’s right in a sense, but the message I have for the choir is that half the time you don’t show up, you refuse to learn to read music, you’re content to sing the same songs over and over, your sense of rhythm is shot, your intonation is way off, you breathing and phrasing is bad, and you continually think that if we could just hire a paid quartet then everything would be okay. Oh… and every single one of you is ready to learn new music, as long as your neighbor starts first. So yeah, I’m preaching to the choir….

He also said I could tell you about some of the things I do and here’s the story of the t-shirt. I won this T-shirt because I wrote an essay that was published on the blog minuscar. I want to read it for you.

------------------------------------- (if you're reading this here... there's more than just the original essay)-------------------

It began as a desire to lose some weight and just stop being tired all of the time. I was nearly 300 pounds in the fall of 2003 and had a cholesterol level of nearly 400 points. I was as good a candidate for stroke as there ever was. So I set out on a quest to use more energy than I took in on a daily basis, and I was determined to avoid big pharma for cholesterol control if at all possible. The age old story of diet and exercise, often told but rarely lived, became my mantra.

During my lunch hour I lifted weights at the gym, and during my early evening hours I rode a stationary bike for an hour while watching the banks of televisions. By August of 2004 I had lost nearly 100 pounds, and my cholesterol was finally under control without having to ‘talk to my doctor’ about Lipitor or Plavix or any of that. I felt good! A woman at my church invited me to join the local bike club and I found out that seeing the world go by while pedaling was so much better than Fox News or Elimidate or Room Raiders or ESPN or any of the other trash that the boob tube offered. I was (and still am) hooked on cycling!

I began to frequent bicycling specific websites and following the links I found within. One day I stumbled across a powerful, simple statement.

Here it is folks, this is the meat… right here… this is the important part of this entire talk today, I found this on MinusCar... it's why I wear this shirt and hope that people will ask me about it...

‘I believe people that think that the globe is warming because of human activity, specifically carbon emitting human activity, might be right. Because I think they might be right, I think humans need to change. And because I think humans need to change, I think I need to change.’

Let me repeat that in case you didn’t get it the first time…

‘I believe people that think that the globe is warming because of human activity, specifically carbon emitting human activity, might be right. Because I think they might be right, I think humans need to change. And because I think humans need to change, I think I need to change.’

If you ever think about China and the fact that the HUGE population of china wants the lifestyle that we enjoy- maybe I should say the lifestyle that is akin to crapping in our own bedrooms - the cars, the houses, the supermarkets, the long commutes, and you find yourself thinking that if China lives that way, the earth can’t support it… if you find yourself thinking that we need to somehow limit China or India, or your neighbor whose Hummer just bugs the crap out of you... If you find that they need to change, then instead try thinking that *YOU* need to change.

BTW, who is going to feed China? Who is going to feed the estimated 7.5 BILLION people projected to inhabit the planet by the middle of this century?

I have it memorized. Anytime anyone asks me how I can ride on a day like today (98 degrees out, 95% humidity – well, it WAS august) I repeat that statement to them. Once their eyeballs glaze over and the lights go out, that usually gets a response of ‘I bet you save some money’ or ‘it’s good exercise’. Yes, it’s that too, but it’s so much more.

I now ride to work, to church, to the grocery store. I laugh at the idea of parking permits. I’m convinced that my current car will be my last car. Cold days, warm days, frigid days, hot days, dry days, rainy days – you name it, if I have to go somewhere I take the bike. I’ve learned how rich I am and how my 580 square foot home, formerly thought of as a stepping stone to something much nicer, is a luxury rather than a liability. I used to consider it a mark of poverty but now I plan to live in it forever. I’ve learned about the freedom of being debt free because I've learned to live on less than I earn. I've learned that the bicycle is the natural enemy of impulse buying. My previous dreams of new cars, large houses, and secluded lots far out in suburbia have morphed into dreams of simple, chemical free living with plenty of time to enjoy life. I've learned that I can live without a dryer, that it's okay to sweat in summer. I've learned to appreciate the chill of winter. I’ve discovered my neighbors and we know each other by name. I’ve learned that I’m not meant to go fast, that going slow gets me there just as quickly.

I’ve learned to live more deliberately with less.

I’ve driven a total of 3560.2 miles this year in my car, all of them under 55 mph. I think next years mileage should be half that.… and then half of that… and then half of that.

And I’ve learned that I’m not the only one.


Now you’ll notice that I’ve not ‘pushed’ bicycles or bashed cars that much today. I really think that if you care, that if you are truly intent on action, then you’ll get there on your own or suffer extreme cognitive dissonance in the process. The idea that we are running out of cheap energy isn’t some abstract idea. I’m not talking about something that might happen one day. It’s on it’s way. You can go to the bank with that news. Euros or dollars, it won’t matter that much.

There are ideas bubbling up all over the place, and voices coming together across the world, a rag tag chorus singing of sustainability. Robert Newman calls this thing radical direct action non-heirarchical eco autonomous grassroots organization. In other words… it starts with us. Not the politicians, not the other countries, not our neighbors, US. Me… you. Sitting down, figuring it out. The food thing, the transportation thing, the clothing thing, the money thing.

Now for a shameless plug for just such a grassroots organization and an invitation to whomever will show up this afternoon. (BgGreen)

What can you expect there? I’m not sure, but I’ll be there. I guarantee that this meeting will be the beginning voices of those who care and are searching. And they, we, you, if you show, are bound to screw it up and come back to it, and screw it up again, and come back to it… and slowly, surely, these young voices and ideas, some from the elderly among us, will start to get it right… the important thing is to START and not wait on anyone or anything else… If I think that you should be involved, I should be involved. See how that works?

I want to leave you with a poem from the Life and Times of Archy and Mehitabel. Archy is a cockroach who leaves messages for Don Marquis by diving onto the typewriter keys headfirst. Early on in the book he is upbeat and full of suggestions to help humans be, well, less human... a good thing according to him, but by the end we're left with this final entry. Maybe we'll listen to the cockroaches, the ants, the scorpions and centipedes...


what the ants are saying

By Don Marquis, in "archy does his part," 1935

dear boss i was talking with an ant
the other day
and he handed me a lot of
gossip which ants the world around
are chewing over among themselves

i pass it on to you
in the hope that you may relay it to other
human beings and hurt their feelings with it
no insect likes human beings
and if you think you can see why
the only reason i tolerate you is because
you seem less human to me than most of them
here is what the ants are saying

it wont be long now it wont be long
man is making deserts of the earth
it wont be long now
before man will have used it up
so that nothing but ants
and centipedes and scorpions
can find a living on it
man has oppressed us for a million years
but he goes on steadily
cutting the ground from under
his own feet making deserts deserts deserts

we ants remember
and have it all recorded
in our tribal lore
when gobi was a paradise
swarming with men and rich
in human prosperity
it is a desert now and the home
of scorpions ants and centipedes

what man calls civilization
always results in deserts
man is never on the square
he uses up the fat and greenery of the earth
each generation wastes a little more
of the future with greed and lust for riches

north africa was once a garden spot
and then came carthage and rome
and despoiled the storehouse
and now you have sahara
sahara ants and centipedes

toltecs and aztecs had a mighty
civilization on this continent
but they robbed the soil and wasted nature
and now you have deserts scorpions ants and centipedes
and the deserts of the near east
followed egypt and babylon and assyria
and persia and rome and the turk
the ant is the inheritor of tamerlane
and the scorpion succeeds the caesars

america was once a paradise
of timberland and stream
but it is dying because of the greed
and money lust of a thousand little kings
who slashed the timber all to hell
and would not be controlled
and changed the climate
and stole the rainfall from posterity
and it wont be long now
it wont be long
till everything is desert
from the alleghenies to the rockies
the deserts are coming
the deserts are spreading
the springs and streams are drying up
one day the mississippi itself
will be a bed of sand
ants and scorpions and centipedes
shall inherit the earth

men talk of money and industry
of hard times and recoveries
of finance and economics
but the ants wait and the scorpions wait
for while men talk they are making deserts all the time
getting the world ready for the conquering ant
drought and erosion and desert
because men cannot learn

rainfall passing off in flood and freshet
and carrying good soil with it
because there are no longer forests
to withhold the water in the
billion meticulations of the roots

it wont be long now It won't be long
till earth is barren as the moon
and sapless as a mumbled bone

dear boss i relay this information
without any fear that humanity
will take warning and reform

Thanks for listening. Now, get off your asses and do something. If nothing else, then KNOW.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Church Talk

Today I gave the talk at church. The title was 'Eco Community: changing the paradigm of Environmentalism'. It was well received. I wore my MinusCar T-shirt while giving it. I'm still the only one who commutes to church by bicycle.

After church and a nap (yes!) I went to our newly formed group exploring a sustainable community (BGgreen) afterwards, and Nathaniel was there. Whew... being close to him makes me weak. Ah well...

These days I've been riding around town at night looking at Christmas light displays. The cold nights and pretty lights draw me like a moth to a flame. Each night there are more displays. Each of them are wastes of electricity in a sense, but since they are there, it's my duty to enjoy them - by bicycle.