Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mirrors, Reflections and Introspections

( through the looking glass, darkly )

I have an old friend, who has often given me a different perspectives on life, my life, and me. Jiban was raised in India, and moved to the U.S. as a young man. He spent several years in our Air Force, and has become quite American ( except for his accent, he'll never shake that ). He also drinks a lot.

His mannerisms, and the way he phrases his thoughts have always intrigued me and serve to illustrate my perceptions and how we all construct a 'reality' that is quite unique. A few of his common phrases that I noticed;

  • "Wally, I'm standing beside myself with puzzlement..."
  • "The words...they fuck in my mouth..."

Though we had vastly different backgrounds, we had much in common. We both drove taxi, and spent the majority of our after-shift hours drinking, and rapping ( mostly about our job, the purpose of the universe, and the differing merits of king-crab and dungeness crab ), and we agreed that the world is not as it seems. An illusion, yes, but not one perpetrated by global conspiritors, evil spirits or the illuminati. The illusion is a necessary function of our individual minds.

There are of course masters of illusion, that dominate the world we experience. The Main-stream News Media comes to mind easily. And then there's Hollywood, and the star making machinery. Politics? Do you actually believe what our leaders say/promise? Religion? Education/indoctrination? I can go on for hours about the illusions that we accept in the external world, but are you ready to accept the internal illusions that you hold so dear?

We have blind spots, and the mind is the machine that fills those voids in our perception. I'm speaking of a very real function of our minds, but it is explained better in L-6 THE EYE, 'Fig. 3. Test for the blind spot'. It's an easy, painless test that can be done in a few seconds, but be warned, you might not want to learn how to doubt your eyes. If you've made life changing decisions on the axiom, 'seeing is believing' you probably should not read the article...I digress...

How does one 'stand beside' oneself? And can you do it with someone, or thing called 'puzzlement'? I suspect the poetry of language polishes the mirror of reality in our minds, and the words we use to describe our perceptions can trip all over themselves ( they fuck in my mouth ) trying to make sense of the natural fiction we describe as reality, self, history, politics and religion.

Look into a glass mirror. Is that you? I don't believe so. You are witnessing an animation, a creation that put's Disney Studios to shame. Jiban and I saw that distortion of truth, and decided it would be easier to get drunk than to share our thoughts on the matter with the world. Some cats are like Jiban and I because we are intrigued by the image we see in mirrors, some cats are like you and most of the world and see the image as 'reality'. Some cats go ape-shit over cat-nip...

me, under a tree, painting me under a tree

Years ago, someone hid a mirror in plain sight by removing the frame and any other clue that it was in the room. As I idled in the area, I politely ignored the only other person in the room ( my reflection ), and for several minutes casually observed, and innocently judged the other by his appearance. I was 'standing beside myself' at an epic moment in my personal history. My idyllic world was soon to beshattered, as I fell from the grace of a lesser god.

I noticed that his socks were miss-matched, as mine usually were, and as my eyes raised to meet his I saw in my dopple-ganger's face a reflection of my own puzzled thoughts...and then my mental animation programming kicked in to gear and I watched that face, that man, that 'other' transform before my eyes! It was a fully automatic transformation, and totally out of my conscious control. The transformation seemed to be an animation process at that moment, but now i recognize that process as the 'reality', and the end result as the illusion.

Had I not noticed the mis-matched socks, my unconscious mind would have accepted him at 'face value'. I would have remained like you, and most of the world ( including the cat that ignores mirrors ) confident in my share of the collective hunch. You are the fortunate ones, Jiban, myself, and a few cats share the dubious honor of enlightenment.

If you share any of these sentiments, I suggest art as a therapy ( or better yet, art as a religion ). Art and artists are accepted in most western societies, and introspection is expected. If you don't have time to sit in front of a mirror, or get tired of self-portraits then I suggest poetry. Better that the words fuck in your mouth, than in your mind...

Friday, June 20, 2008

U.S. May Free Up More Land for Corn Crops

New York Times
By David Streitfeld
Published: June 21, 2008

CHICAGO — Signs are growing that the government may allow farmers to plant crops on millions of acres of conservation land, while a chorus of voices is also pleading with Washington to cut requirements for ethanol production.

Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and one of Capitol Hill’s main voices on farm policy, on Friday urged the Agriculture Department to release tens of thousands of farmers from contracts under which they had promised to set aside huge tracts as natural habitat...more

Wallace's opinion;

This is extraordinary news, but I'm not really surprised. I've been following the crisis in the global food supply since I read Peter Casier's article 'The Global Food Crisis: A Perfect Storm'. Peter works for the UN, out of Rome and was one of the first bloggers to bring the issue to the world, preceding the World Food Summit recently convened in Rome. I made a list of related articles from around the blogo-sphere as they were published, and as the story developed I began to notice an obvious politicalization of the issue. I refer to that development as Political Hay ( As in; make hay, while the sun shines. By the way, these links are informative but I put them here primarily for corroboration ).

I knew hysteria had reached it's peak, when I read 'Obese blamed for the worlds ills' on the BBC Health page. Everybody and there brother was capitalizing on the tragic situation. From Africa to Iran, from Brazil to Burma, everybody except President Bush that is.

But now I see what a Lame Duck can do with a little patience. He can hand every corporate farm in the nation a fat bonus at the expense of land management, wet-land habitats, game reserves and the governments largest conservation program. These corporations have already been paid to leave the land fallow, and now those contracts may be waved. Do people understand that much of the corporate land that's been flooded is insured? That's two payoffs.

Now these corporations have a chance to plant a crop for a third payout from a highly ( and artificially ) inflated market.

Does anyone remember James Watt? He was Reagan's Secretary of the Interior that was forced to resign, after he did so much for so few. He made hay for Reagan's cronies, and it looks like Senator Charles E. Grassley, is trying to do the same for our current Republican President.

As for removing the requirement to plant a percentage dedicated to ethanol, what a crock. Do we really think that these corporate farms are going to pass up fourth payout at today's fuel prices?

p.s. I focused on corporate farms, because family farms receive only a fraction of the benefits, and have the least political clout. But just watch the news in the next few weeks, it will be mom and pop interviews that give a friendly face to the political hay making. What a crock

Sunday, June 15, 2008

French Police Arrest Serial Garden Gnome Thief

Few people are aware of the GGLF ( Garden Gnome Liberation Front ), and most of them speak French so fewer yet pay attention. But mark my words, justice will catch up to this shadowy threat to civilization! When I first read these headlines, I was sure the authorities were about to close in on these lawn terrorists. However, as I read on, I found that these heineous acts were most likely committed by one person ( no doubt a copy-cat ).

Not to fear, I'll keep the world posted on any progress in the battle against the GGLF.

Spiegel - Online - International

Police in Bretagne have arrested a 53-year-old man suspected of the thefts of 170 garden gnomes. However, it is proving difficult to return the gnomes to their real owners -- the thief painted them different colors, making identification tricky.

When garden gnomes go missing in France, most are tempted to blame the shadowy Garden Gnome Liberation Front. The group has been linked to the disappearance of dozens of miniature garden residents over the years.

Not this time, however. Some 170 gnomes and other ornaments have been stolen in the north-western region of Bretagne recently. And it appears to be the work of a serial garden gnome thief acting on his own...more