Tuesday, December 30, 2008

old men dream dreams

Surviving the up and coming social/economic meltdown is just one aspect of the survival I'm speaking of as the Way of Survival is far more reaching in scope. This Way is not merely a quick dive into a foxhole, but a life style. So if I seem to be meandering around a bit, bear with me cause, although I paint with a broad stroke I am still on the same canvas.

Old Men Dream Dreams

It seems I do more of it in the winter, but regardless, as I get older I spend a lot of time day dreaming. I usually wake up about 5 am, make coffee and, being retired and having no place to go, sit in my chair in the dark drinking my coffee and dreaming about the past. A rather pleasant time, I might add.

Now I have been to a lot of places and done a lot of things, but the things and places have become mere backdrops, places to hold the faces and memories of the many people I have known and the friends I have made while I did things over the last 66 years that I have lived on this planet.

As I begin to think on a place and time the faces are soon to follow. These faces pop into my mind like a worn out jack-in-the-box. Crank the handle a bit and wallah up pops Joey Sirgo or Gunner Thompson, or Tommy One Nut, or Pissball Pete. . . . . or. (It's amazing how many of these guys have slang names and how often that's the only one I can remember.)

Then the fun begins as I sit and reminisce with these guys over all the exciting times we had together . . . and a few of the sad ones. Seems the good and the funny always float to the top first though. I have to dig a bit to get to the bad, so as I hate shoveling I mostly leave that part alone.

To all the girls I've loved before. I remember your eyes, the lift of your breasts and the swing of your hips, but little else cause my Band of Brothers meant far more to me than trying to figure you out ever did. You guys have a place in my heart, but the respectable amongst you live in a special 'other' room. This room is filled with bar girls, casual one night stands, and short time hookers.

The old boys club door is locked to the finer female. No equality here. You wouldn't like it anyways in there cause the room stinks with old cigar smoke, cordite and bull shit and the floor is littered with trampled peanut shells, dried blood and dog hair. A place only one of my old friends could love.

I always figured when I got old I would be sitting in the park with the rest of the old goats, like they did when I was a kid. Maybe the old project crowd still do that, I don't know because I lost contact with them at 15 when I had to move.

Today I live a life of seclusion. I spend my days reading, or goofing on my computer or driving my wife crazy, but rarely if ever do I spend time with friends, cause although spread out over half the world, they are not here.

Once I was in a Portland City jail cell with the walls covered in graffiti. I found an empty spot and wrote my own little tale of woe, “I've been alone since birth, I'll remain alone till death, then I'll have a friend”. Kind of a downer, but how else would you feel being stuck in a 6x6 cell with a guy coming down off heroin?

I do hope that quickly thought verse will prove itself to be true though cause I'm getting closer to D day each time I go to sleep at night and it would be really cool to wake up on the other side and see a large table of my friends gathered around it to greet me. (and my favorite dogs lying under it)

Jesus and God would have to wait for a while then cause first thing I want to do is drink some Maddog wine and hang out with the guys again for a season . . . or two.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Since time began God’s been around in one form or another. Depending on when, where, and what age you were born in, you would have received from your elders an entirely different picture of Him . . . Who is He anyway? This entity with the many names and personalities, this multi-faceted Father of the Universe, this Creator declaring His love, yet demanding our worship or else.

In our time, religious warfare has ravaged the planet. People of differing philosophies are killing one another to prove the point that they are the ‘chosen’ of the God of love and peace . . . What gives?

Say you were born in the US to Baptist Christian parents. Now, there were others in your town such as the Catholics, Protestants, Pentecostals, etc. etc. who were also Christians, but they only had part of the truth, your parents taught you that the Baptists had it all. They were the ‘chosen’, above the rest of the ‘chosen’, who were chosen above the others because they held at least one truth in common, Jesus the Christ. All the others who didn’t acknowledge Jesus as Lord, weren’t even in the running to be considered ‘chosen’.

Pretty confusing to a kid, but after a few years of brainwashing, you took your place in the church, accepted “it’s” version of the bible to be God’s holy word, learned your preachers denominational interpretation and thanked God for choosing you from amongst the billions of earthlings to reveal His truth to. . . . Is there something wrong here?

I grew up as a Protestant, but never thought much of it. My only remembrance of church was how I hated to get dressed up on Sunday and go. Jesus was just a sissy looking guy with long brown hair who got himself hung on a cross for some reason I couldn’t quite understand.

It was much later in life, after the army, after the free love ‘hippie’ days, that I began to give any serious thought to God. I had a bad experience on drugs one night with a Ouigi Board that scared me enough to seek some spiritual help. I asked an old guy in the neighborhood about God and he sent me down the street to the Pentecostal Church. This was where my religious adventure began. Born again, Spirit filled, tongue talking, Hell and damnation preaching, loud praising, song singing, Pentecostalism.

Years later, living a secluded life on a Christian communal farm, I began to wonder. I began to get an uneasy feeling about the whole thing and I left. I stopped listening to what people had to tell me about God and decided to risk Hellfire and Damnation and get to know Him on my own. No bible, no Jesus, no nothing.

It was time to lay aside fear of backsliding, fear of leaving the Church, and fear of everything else having to do with the Christian faith. I began to read other philosophies, especially Buddhism, Easter Indian, and American Indian thought.

At first I found it difficult to deliver myself from years of religious conditioning, but as time went by, it became easier. I began to peek into forbidden areas, and began to make choices. I thought about Jesus, about the necessity for salvation, and about sin, and Hell, and death . . . and I thought about God, the creator of it all.

Jesus was a difficult hurdle to jump. Today he still has a role to play in my life, but not as a savior. Although I no longer worship him, I honor him, and give him great respect. His recorded life is an example of what life expects of me, and his sacrifices are deeply appreciated. He was a teacher who revealed through his nature, what I could become if I chose to follow his lead. If he was the Savior of the world, just believing in him didn’t seem to make much sense.

I can believe my math teacher is the greatest teacher on earth, but if I fail to learn what he has to teach, what does that make me? . . . a worshiper. If I absorb all that he has, in essence absorb him, I take him with me as I go into the world to become a teacher in my own right. He will always be the Master and I his student, but as I build upon his foundation, it will no longer be necessary to sit at his feet. I will have taken on a mission of my own.

All religions seem to have a fuzzy image of God, He’s called a trinity in Christian philosophy. He’s the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Kind of confusing. Other sects and religions have other names for Him, but none really pins Him down. He is the great I AM . . . and He doesn’t fit well into anybody’s pre-conceived box.

I needed a deeper understanding of Him than what religious teaching had for me, so I took a walk in the woods. . . and there I met Him face to face.

Simply put, in my opinion everything that lives, either animal, vegetable, or mineral is a part of God. He’s you, He’s me, the dog, the fly, and the leaf in the tree. We are surrounded by, engulfed in, His omnipotence. We are Him, His breath is what keeps us upright, the flesh He created is but a vehicle to contain His presence.

We are drops of water originating from the same wave. We appear for but a moment, make a flash in the sun and re-enter. We are nothing . . . and yet we are everything.

We, as the highest evolution of His person, have the power to choose, thereby becoming creators in our own right. As far as I know, we are the only life form having the ability to choose and to create according to our whim. We create our tomorrows by the thoughts we think and the actions we take today, both individually and collectively.

God didn’t create this chaos we live in, we did. Instead of ignoring negativity, we have embraced it, and made a place for it. By doing so, we have created a world of dualism. Positivity/Negativity battling for dominion, and it seems the latter is in the lead. It will continue to grow, nothings going to stop it until, we as a whole, stop struggling to be amongst the ‘chosen’ and get down to the business of being our brothers keeper.

I’ve often wondered why we were given this ability and can only figure that God/Life is also evolving. That nothing is stagnate, but forever growing, even God. Where are we going? I don’t have a clue, but I’m convinced the teachings of Christ, as well as others, are paths leading us to the next step in our evolution.

Today I see God everywhere, but especially when I’m alone walking in the woods out of the earshot of men and their constant jabbering.

Walk softly upon the Earth and you will hear His still, small voice floating upon the breeze. Listen to what He has to say concerning the joy of simply being a part of it all as well as to the futility involved in claiming ownership to any of it.


Friday, December 19, 2008


I would say that the most favorite past time I have is reading. I love to read. I love to go to book stores and libraries to browse. And now with the advent of the internet, especially the blog craze and Google's open book project, I am in a proverbial reader's hog heaven.

My wife thinks I spend entirely too much time on the internet (and let's me know it in many, sometimes not so subtle, ways) but, man, I ain't hanging out in the porno rooms, I am reading. Everything under the sun, everything you can possibly imagine, you can find something about it on the web. This internet will be the one thing I will truly miss when/if the power goes out in this land.

I have just about ten books I am reading at any given time. How can I possibly be expected to have time for mowing the lawn . . . or going to Wallmart . . . or to take out the trash when I barely have time to cook up another pot of coffee?

I am too busy hanging with a guy who has just come back from Afghanistan after shedding blood for the first time.

I am too busy following the gal in a burka as she fights for her freedom to learn how to write.

I am too busy following Robert Service from bar to bar as he writes his rhymes of wit during Alaska's gold rush heyday . . .

I am too busy empathizing with the old Indian as he relates his experience fighting the white horde as it moved, like a plague, across his land killing his people and stealing it from him.

This thing the ignorant amongst us has put out about a bookworm being a skinny wimp wearing huge glasses and hiding in a corner is all pure bullshit also. Mess with me when I'm reading a good book and I may (depending on what I'm reading, of course) just flat ass, knock you out . . . before I continue my adventure.

They, the ignorant, are the wimps. These knuckle dragger's of society who spend their boring days with Jerry Springer. Who sheepishly follow every so called leader as they prod their sex crazed asses over a cliff because they are too dumb and too lazy to think for themselves.

HEY! WAKE UP! . . . If you have a perfectly functioning brain you should be ashamed of yourselves!

That, our own laziness, is the core rot in this country and the main cause thats bringing us to our knees. There is no excuse for the massive amount of ignorance in this country given the vast store house of knowledge at our disposal.

I would advise anybody who is serious about not going nuts when the power goes off to bring into their hooch a boatload of books cause there will be a whole lot of free time to use up. And as we all know you can only do sex for so long . . . and it won't take much time at all to cook and eat our meager rations.

Books, more than guns and ammo will save the day for you. Now is the time to start hoarding. Go to the Goodwill, or the library book sale, or half.com, or Amazon etc. All these places you can buy very cheaply the books that perhaps will help you find your way out of this very expensive mess we find ourselves in.

Read . . . just do it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jumping Mouse by Hyemeyohsts Storm


The Story of Jumping Mouse is a traditional Native American legend.

As with many Native American stories, the story of Jumping Mouse is filled both with deep analogy and the belief that man and nature reflect each other.

A key to understanding the parable inherent in the story is a basic understanding of the Medicine Wheel.

As can be seen from a drawing of a Medicine Wheel, each pole of the circle has a distinctive color, animal, and trait. Thus the North is the place of wisdom whose medicine animal is the Buffalo and whose color is white etc.

The Native American belief is that each person is born into a particular beginning place on the wheel, which gives one the 'first way of seeing things', which will remain the easiest way throughout that person's life.

The belief exists, however, that any person who sees from only one of these directions will remain only a 'partial person'. Thus, a person who possesses the Gift of the North will be wise, but will also be cold and unfeeling.

The person who lives only in the East will have the clear, farsighted vision of the eagle, but will feel 'above life' and never believe that he can be touched by anything.

Someone who dwells only in the West (introspection) will go over the same thought again and again, but will lack the wisdom to make decisions.

A person with the gift of the south (Mouse) will be too near-sighted to see anything but what is right in front of them.

The essential belief is that people can learn how to see from 2 or 3 of these 4 great directions, but only by seeking understanding in all of them can a person become truly full and whole.

The Story of Jumping Mouse incorporates the lesson of the Medicine Wheel into a simple parable of one mouse's curiosity and journey to know more of the world.

Though the animal symbols are slightly different, Jumping Mouse's quest takes him through each pole of the medicine wheel through his encounters with Magic Frog (Innocence, South), Old Mouse (introspection, black), Buffalo (Wisdom, white), and Eagle (enlightenment, gold) (Raccoon and Wolf are also met during the tale).

Through each encounter, Jumping Mouse learns to 'give up' a way of seeing things and is rewarded by a greater and greater awareness of himself and the world.

The Story of Jumping Mouse by Hyemeyohsts Storm

Native American Lore

Once there was a Mouse.

He was a Busy Mouse, Searching Everywhere, Touching his Whiskers to the Grass, and Looking. He was Busy as all Mice are, Busy with Mice things. But Once in a while he would Hear an odd Sound. He would Lift his Head, Squinting hard to See, his Whiskers Wiggling in the Air, and he would Wonder. One Day he Scurried up to a fellow Mouse and asked him, "Do you Hear a Roaring in your Ears, my Brother?"

"No, no," answered the Other Mouse, not Lifting his Busy Nose from the Ground. "I Hear Nothing. I am Busy now. Talk to me Later."

He asked Another Mouse the same Question and the Mouse Looked at him Strangely. "Are you Foolish in your Head? What Sound?" he asked and Slipped into a Hole in a Fallen Cottonwood Tree.

The little Mouse shrugged his Whiskers and Busied himself again, Determined to Forget the Whole Matter. But there was that Roaring again. It was faint, very faint, but it was there! One Day, he Decided to investigate the Sound just a little. Leaving the Other Busy Mice, he Scurried a little Way away and Listened again. There It was! He was Listening hard when suddenly, Someone said Hello.

Hello little Brother," the Voice said, and Mouse almost Jumped right Out of his Skin. He Arched his Back and Tail and was about to Run.

"Hello," again said the Voice. "It is I, Brother Raccoon." And sure enough, It was! "What are you Doing Here all by yourself, little Brother?" asked the Raccoon. The Mouse blushed, and put his Nose almost to the Ground. "I Hear a Roaring in my Ears and I am Investigating it," he answered timidly.

"A Roaring in your Ears?" replied the Raccoon as he Sat Down with him. "What you Hear, little Brother , is the River."

"The River?" Mouse asked curiously. "What is a River?"

"Walk with me and I will Show you the River," Raccoon said.

Little Mouse was terribly Afraid, but he was Determined to Find Out Once and for All about the Roaring. "I can Return to my Work," he thought, "after this thing is Settled, and possibly this thing may Aid me in All my Busy Examining and Collecting. And my Brothers All said it was Nothing. I will Show them. I will Ask Raccoon to Return with me and I will have Proof."

"All right Raccoon, my Brother," said Mouse. "Lead on to the River. I will Walk with you."

Little Mouse Walked with Raccoon. His little Heart was Pounding in his Breast. The Raccoon was Taking him upon Strange Paths and little Mouse Smelled the Scent of many things that had Gone by his Way. Many times he became so Frightened he almost Turned Back. Finally, they Came to the River! It was Huge and Breathtaking, Deep and Clear in Places, and Murky in Others. Little Mouse was unable to See Across it because it was so Great. It Roared, Sang, Cried, and Thundered on its Course. Little Mouse Saw Great and Little Pieces of the World Carried Along on its Surface.

"It is Powerful!" little Mouse said, Fumbling for Words.

It is a Great thing," answered the Raccoon, "But here, let me Introduce you to a Friend."

In a Smoother, Shallower Place was a Lily Pad, Bright and Green. Sitting upon it was a Frog, almost as Green as the Pad it sat on. The Frog's White Belly stood out Clearly.

"Hello, little Brother," said the Frog.

"Welcome to the River."

"I must Leave you Now," cut in Raccoon, "but do not Fear, little Brother, for Frog will Care for you Now." And Raccoon Left, Looking along the River Bank for Food that he might Wash and Eat.

Little Mouse Approached the Water and Looked into it. He saw a Frightened Mouse Reflected there.

"Who are you?" little Mouse asked the Reflection. "Are you not Afraid of being that Far out into the Great River?"

"No, answered the Frog, "I am not Afraid. I have been Given the Gift from Birth to Live both Above and Within the River. When Winter Man Comes and Freezes this Medicine, I cannot be Seen. But all the while Thunderbird Flies, I am here. To Visit me, One must Come when the World is Green. I, my Brother, am the Keeper of the Water."

Amazing!" little Mouse said at last, again Fumbling for Words."

Would you like to have some Medicine Power?" Frog asked."

"Medicine Power? Me?" asked little Mouse. "Yes, yes! If it is Possible."

"Then Crouch as Low as you Can, and then Jump as High as you are Able! You will have your Medicine!" Frog said.

Little Mouse did as he was Instructed. He Crouched as Low as he Could and Jumped. And when he did, his Eyes Saw the Sacred Mountains.

Little Mouse could hardly Believe his Eyes. But there they were! But then he Fell back to Earth, and he Landed in the River!

Little Mouse became Frightened and Scrambled back to the Bank. He was Wet and Frightened nearly to Death.

"You have Tricked me," little Mouse Screamed at the Frog!"

"Wait," said the Frog. "You are not Harmed. Do not let your Fear and Anger Blind you. What did you See?"

"I," Mouse stammered, "I Saw the Sacred Mountains!"

"And you have a New Name!" Frog said. "It is Jumping Mouse."

"Thank you. Thank you," Jumping Mouse said, and Thanked him again. "I want to Return to my People and Tell them of this thing that has Happened to me."

"Go. Go then," Frog said. "Return to your People. It is Easy to Find them. Keep the Sound of the Medicine River to the back of your Head. Go Opposite to the Sound and you will Find your Brother Mice."

Jumping Mouse Returned to the World of the Mice. But he Found Disappointment. No One would Listen to him. And because he was Wet, and had no Way of explaining it because there had been no Rain, many of the other Mice were Afraid of him. They believed he had been Spat from the Mouth of Another Animal that had Tried to Eat him. And they all Knew that if he had not been Food for the One who Wanted him, then he must also be Poison for them.

Jumping Mouse Lived again among his People, but he could not Forget his Vision of the Sacred Mountains.

The Memory Burned in the Mind and Heart of Jumping Mouse, and One Day he Went to the Edge of the Place of Mice and Looked out onto the Prairie. He looked up for Eagles. The Sky was Full of many Spots, each One an Eagle. But he was Determined to Go to the Sacred Mountains. He Gathered All of his Courage and Ran just as Fast as he Could onto the Prairie. His little Heart Pounded with Excitement and Fear.

He Ran until he Came to a stand of Sage. He was Resting and trying to Catch his Breath when he Saw an Old Mouse. The Patch of Sage Old Mouse Lived in was a Haven for Mice. Seeds and many things to be Busy with.

"Hello," said Old Mouse. "Welcome."

Jumping Mouse was Amazed. Such a Place and such a Mouse. "You are Truly a great Mouse." Jumping Mouse said with all the Respect that he could Find. "This is Truly a Wonderful Place. And the Eagles cannot See you here, either," Jumping Mouse said.

"Yes," said Old Mouse," and One can See All the Beings of the Prairie here: the Buffalo, Antelope, Rabbit, and Coyote. One can See them All from here and Know their Names."

"That is Marvelous," Jumping Mouse said. "Can you also See the River and the Great Mountains?"

"Yes and No," Old Mouse Said with Conviction. "I Know the Great River, But I am Afraid that the Great Mountains are only a Myth. Forget your Passion to See Them and Stay here with me. There is Everything you Want here, and it is a Good Place to Be."

"How can he Say such a thing?" Thought Jumping Mouse. "The Medicine of the Sacred Mountains is Nothing One can Forget."

"Thank you very much for the Meal you have Shared with me, Old Mouse, and also for sharing your Great Home," Jumping Mouse said. "But I must Seek the Mountains."

"You are a Foolish Mouse to Leave, there is Danger on the Prairie! Just Look up there!" Old Mouse said, with even more Conviction. "See all those Spots! They are Eagles, and they will Catch you!"

It was hard for Jumping Mouse to Leave, but he Gathered his Determination and Rand hard Again.

The Ground was Rough. But he Arched his Tail and Ran with All his Might. He could Feel the Shadows of the Spots upon his Back as he Ran. All those Spots! Finally he Ran into a Stand of Chokecherries. Jumping Mouse could hardly Believe his Eyes. It was Cool there and very Spacious. There was Water, Cherries, and Seeds to Eat, Grasses to Gather for Nests, Holes to be Explored and many, many Other Busy Things to do. And there were a great many things to Gather.

He was Investigating his New Domain when he Heard very Heavy Breathing. He Quickly Investigated the Sound and Discovered its Source. It was a Great Mound of Hair with Black Horns. It was a Great Buffalo. Jumping Mouse could hardly Believe the Greatness of the Being he Saw Lying there before him. He was so large that Jumping Mouse could have Crawled into One of his Great Horns. "Such a Magnificent Being," Thought Jumping Mouse, and he Crept Closer.

"Hello, my Brother," said the Buffalo. "Thank you for Visiting me."

"Hello Great Being," said Jumping Mouse. "Why are you Lying here?"

"I am Sick and I am Dying" the Buffalo said.

"And my Medicine has Told me that only the Eye of a Mouse can Heal me. But little Brother, there is no such Thing as a Mouse."

Jumping Mouse was Shocked. "One of my Eyes!" he Thought. "One of my Tiny Eyes." He Scurried back into the Stand of Chokecherries. But the breathing came Harder and Slower.

"He will Die." Thought Jumping Mouse. "If I do not Give him my Eye. He is too Great a Being to Let Die."

He Went Back to where the Buffalo Lay and Spoke. "I am a Mouse." he said with a Shaky Voice. "And you, my Brother, are a Great Being. I cannot Let you Die. I have Two Eyes, so you may have One of them."

The minute he Said it, Jumping Mouse's Eye Flew Out of his Head and the Buffalo was Made Whole. The Buffalo jumped to his Feet, Shaking Jumping Mouse's Whole World.

"Thank you, my little Brother," said the Buffalo. "I Know of your Quest for the Sacred Mountains and of your Visit tot he River. You have Given me Life so that I may Give-Away to the People. I will be your Brother Forever. Run under my Belly and I will Take you right to the Foot of the Sacred Mountains, and you need not Fear the Spots. The Eagles cannot See you while you Run under Me. All they will See will be the Back of a Buffalo. I am of the Prairie and I will Fall on you if I Try to Go up the Mountains."

Little Mouse Ran under the Buffalo, Secure and Hidden from the Spots, but with only One Eye it was Frightening. The Buffalo's Great Hooves Shook the Whole World each time he took a Step. finally the Came to a Place and Buffalo Stopped.

"This is Where I must Leave you, little Brother," said the Buffalo.

"Thank you very much," said Jumping Mouse. "But you Know, it was very Frightening Running under you with only One Eye. I was Constantly in Fear of your Great Earth-Shaking Hooves."

"Your Fear was for Nothing," said Buffalo, "For my Way of Walking is the Sun Dance Way, and I Always Know where my Hooves will Fall. I now must Return to the Prairie, my Brother, You can Always Find me there."

Jumping Mouse Immediately Began to Investigate his New Surroundings. There were even more things here than in the Other Places, Busier things, and Abundance of Seeds and Other things Mice Like. In his Investigation of these things, Suddenly he Ran upon a Gray Wolf who was Sitting there doing absolutely Nothing.

"Hello, Brother Wolf," Jumping Mouse said.

The Wolf's Ears Came Alert and his Eyes Shone. "Wolf! Wolf! Yes, that is what I am, I am a Wolf!" But then his mind Dimmed again and it was not long before he Sat Quietly again, completely without Memory as to who he was. Each time Jumping Mouse Reminded him who he was, he became Excited with the News, but soon would Forget again.

"Such a Great Being," thought Jumping Mouse, "but he has no Memory."

Jumping Mouse Went to the Center of his New Place and was Quiet. He Listened for a very long time to the Beating of his Heart. Then Suddenly he Made up his Mind. He Scurried back to where the Wolf Sat and he Spoke.

"Brother Wolf," Jumping Mouse said. ....

"Wolf! Wolf," said the Wolf ....

"Please Brother Wolf," said Jumping Mouse, "Please Listen to me. I Know what will Heal you. It is One of my Eyes. And I Want to Give it to you. You are a Greater Being than I. I am only a Mouse. Please Take it."

When Jumping Mouse Stopped Speaking his Eye Flew out of his Head and the Wolf was made Whole.

Tears Fell down the Cheeks of the Wolf, but his little Brother could not See them, for Now he was Blind.

"You are a Great Brother," said the Wolf, "for Now I have my Memory. But Now you are Blind. I am the Guide into the Sacred Mountains. I will Take you there. There is a Great Medicine Lake there. The most Beautiful Lake in the World. All the World is reflected there. The People, the Lodges of the People, and All the Beings of the Prairies and Skies."

"Please Take me there," Jumping Mouse said. The Wolf Guided him through the Pines to the Medicine Lake. Jumping Mouse Drank the Water from the Lake. The Wolf Described the Beauty to him.

I must Leave you here," said Wolf, "For I must Return so that I may Guide Others, but I will Remain with you as long as you Like."

Thank you, my Brother," said Jumping Mouse. "But although I am Frightened to be Alone, I Know you must Go so that you may Show Others the Way to this Place."

Jumping Mouse Sat there Trembling in Fear. It was no use Running, for he was Blind, but he Knew an Eagle would Find him Here. He Felt a Shadow on his Back and Heard the Sound that Eagles Make. He Braced himself for the Shock. And the Eagle Hit! Jumping Mouse went to Sleep.

Then he Woke Up. The surprise of being Alive was Great, but Now he could See!

Everything was Blurry, but the Colors were beautiful.

"I can See! I can See!" said Jumping Mouse over again and again.

A Blurry Shape Came toward Jumping Mouse. Jumping Mouse Squinted hard but the Shape Remained a Blur.

"Hello, Brother," a Voice said. "Do you Want some Medicine?"

"Some Medicine for me?" asked Jumping Mouse. "Yes! Yes!"

"Then Crouch down as Low as you Can," the Voice said, "and Jump as High as you Can."

Jumping Mouse did as he was Instructed. He Crouched as Low as he Could and Jumped! The Wind Caught him and Carried him Higher."

"Do not be Afraid," the Voice called to him. "Hang on to the Wind and Trust!"

Jumping Mouse did. He Closed his Eyes and Hung on to the Wind and it Carried Higher and Higher. Jumping Mouse Opened his Eyes and they were Clear, and the Higher he Went the Clearer they Became. Jumping Mouse Saw his Old Friend upon a Lily Pad on the Beautiful Medicine Lake. It was the Frog.

"You have a New Name," Called the Frog. "You are Eagle!"

(The END, or Perhaps a new Beginning)

Friday, December 5, 2008

What Is the Future of Suburbia?

“The suburbs have three destinies, none of them exclusive: as materials salvage, as slums, and as ruins.”

There are many ways of describing the fiasco of suburbia, but these days I refer to it as the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world.

I say this because American suburbia requires an infinite supply of cheap energy in order to function and we have now entered a permanent global energy crisis that will change the whole equation of daily life. Having poured a half-century of our national wealth into a living arrangement with no future — and linked our very identity with it — we have provoked a powerful psychology of previous investment that will make it difficult for us to let go, change our behavior, and make other arrangements.

Compounding the problem is the fact that we ditched our manufacturing economy for a suburban sprawl building economy (a.k.a. “the housing bubble”), meaning we came to base our economy on building even more stuff with no future.

This is a hell of a problem, since it is at once economic, socio-political, and circumstantial.
Here’s what I think will happen: First, we are in great danger of mounting a futile campaign to sustain the unsustainable, that is, of defending suburbia at all costs.

In fact, it is already underway. One symptom of this is that the only subject under discussion about our energy predicament is how can we keep running all our cars by other means. Even the leading environmentalists talk of little else. We don’t get it. The Happy Motoring era is over. No combination of “alt” fuels — solar, wind, nuclear, tar sands, oil-shale, offshore drilling, used French-fry oil — will allow us to keep running the interstate highway system, Wal-Marts, and Walt Disney World.

The automobile will be a diminishing presence in our lives, whether we like it or not. Further proof of our obdurate cluelessness in these matters is the absence of any public discussion about restoring the passenger railroad system — even as the airline industry is also visibly dying. The campaign to sustain suburbia and all its entitlements will result in a tragic squandering of our dwindling resources and capital.

The suburbs have three destinies, none of them exclusive: as materials salvage, as slums, and as ruins. In any case, the suburbs will lose value dramatically, both in terms of usefulness and financial investment. Most of the fabric of suburbia will not be “fixed” or retrofitted, in particular the residential subdivisions. They were built badly in the wrong places. We will have to return to traditional modes of inhabiting the landscape — villages, towns, and cities, composed of walkable neighborhoods and business districts — and the successful ones will have to exist in relation to a productive agricultural hinterland, because petro-agriculture (as represented by the infamous 3000-mile Caesar salad) is also now coming to an end. Fortunately, we have many under-activated small towns and small cities in favorable locations near waterways.

This will be increasingly important as transport of goods by water regains importance.
We face an epochal demographic shift, but not the one that is commonly expected: from suburbs to big cities. Rather, we are in for a reversal of the 200-year-long trend of people moving from the farms and small towns to the big cities. People will be moving to the smaller towns and smaller cities because they are more appropriately scaled to the limited energy diet of the future. I believe our big cities will contract substantially — even if they densify back around their old cores and waterfronts. They are products, largely, of the 20th-century cheap energy fiesta and they will be starved in the decades ahead.

One popular current fantasy I hear often is that apartment towers are the “greenest” mode of human habitation. On the contrary, we will discover that the skyscraper is an obsolete building type, and that cities overburdened with them will suffer a huge liability — Manhattan and Chicago being the primary examples. Cities composed mostly of suburban-type fabric — Houston, Atlanta, Orlando, et al — will also depreciate sharply. The process of urban contraction is likely to be complicated by ethnic tensions and social disorder.

As petro-agriculture implodes, we’ll have to raise our food differently, closer to home, and at a finer and smaller scale. This new agricultural landscape will be inhabited differently, since farming will require more human attention. The places that are not able to grow enough food locally are not likely to make it. Phoenix and Las Vegas will be shadows of what they are now, if they exist at all.

These days, an awful lot of people — the production builders, the realtors — are waiting for the “bottom” in the real-estate industry with hopes that the suburban house-building orgy will resume. They are waiting in vain. The project of suburbia is over. We will build no more of it. Now we’re stuck with what’s there. Sometimes whole societies make unfortunate decisions or go down tragic pathways. Suburbia was ours.

James Kunstler, the author of The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the 21st Century,

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Beers and Deers

They're Back! My wife saw a bunch of them in the store today buying up their beer, getting ready for tomorrows opening day deer hunt.

Joy! Nothing like living in a very narrow valley surrounded by high hills in the center of a couple thousand acres of Ohio forest during hunting season. I won't use the the same old worn out cliche, “It was like a war zone” . . . but it will be.

Already my wife says she heard a round cutting the air as it zipped over her head the other day during the kiddy hunt. This is the pre-season hunt reserved for Bubba's kids. They get the woods for themselves for a couple days. You know in order to have a little quality time with pa killing and gutting deer.

Now before I take to my bunker and before you begin to think I'm a tree hugger pacifist (well, maybe I am) let me explain my position a bit.

I'm not really against hunting, per say. The county I live in is rather poor and we get hundreds of guys spending thousands of dollars every season for the pleasure of hunting in these hallowed hills. These guys are hunters. They do their thing, pack up their deer kill and go back home to the suburbs to eat and brag on it. These guys get a pass.

Nor am I against owning guns. I have a couple of them myself.

Here's what really pisses me off about the whole thing. Down at the end of the valley where the corn fields start the local yahoos like to sit in their trucks and scan the opposite hillside for deer. Once they see one they get out and try to shoot it. Usually just getting their fat asses out of the truck creates enough racket when the empty beer cans hit the hard pan, that the deer run over the ridge and disappear down the other side, but once in a while Bubba Beer Belly gets lucky.

Don't know how he gets up to the deer, but the carcass usually ends up not far from where he parked his truck. Last year there were three baby deer carcases in the two foot wide creek that follows the road. Christ, my German Shepard is bigger than those deer were.

They drive up the country road sitting in the back of pickups holding their weapons between their legs looking like they were in Beirut. They scan the hillside behind my cabin looking for a way to get up there. They see me, stop and ask.

Get back asshole! This is my turf!! . . . I think as I saunter down to the road, smile and answer politely that, “No, there is no hunting allowed clean up to the top of the hill.” (Can't you read the signs you illiterate son-of-a-bitch!) “Yes, I know, but I am sorry. Absolutely no hunting . . . See you guys. Be careful.” (Hope you shoot your fucking toes off!)

Now in case you think I am a nut case, off season I usually offer these same guys a beer if they happen to come around. They are just regular Joe's like I'm used to. Same as the guys I grew up with. But during deer season all bets are off, it's killing time and the more gunshots I hear the more protectionist and paranoid I become. I don't hunt four leggeds though, I love the beauty of the deer too much to slaughter him. Now those fat, beer basted, two leggeds? I'm keeping them in my sites for later when times get really tough.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Struggle of Life

There's an old favorite Calvin and Hobbes cartoon hanging in my office. It starts with the two of them walking through the woods on a bright, sunny winter day. Calvin, being mesmerized by the beauty of it all, stops and gives a long dissertation questioning why mankind had chosen in the first place to sequester himself in houses and cars while living in such overpowering beauty.

Turning to Hobbes he asks. “ That's why I want to ask you, as a tiger, a wild animal close to nature, what you think we're put on earth to do . . . What's our purpose in life? Why are we here?”

Hobbes thinks for a moment, smiles, raises his arms in the old Italian gesture and replies, “We're here to devour each other alive.” then he walks away.

Calvin watches Hobbes leave, looks straight ahead at the viewer, looks up at the sky. Then he makes a beeline for his house where he fearfully turns up all his lights and raises the heat in hopes of alleviating the fear instilled by Hobbes choice wording.

I have always loved that cartoon cause it shows so well and so simply the struggle each of us every day must make to stay alive in this very chaotic and cruel environment we find ourselves in.

Regardless of our status, be it wealthy, poor, high brow, low brow, African aborigine or American blue blood, this basic survival instinct is prevalent in all of us. It's the lub in our very first heart beat, leading us down the pathway of our years until it's final dub.

The way of survival is not merely what one needs to do in order to make it through a social/economic pinch. It's also on a far deeper level the evolutionary trail a life form has taken through the ages in order to remain viable.

In our breed it manifests a zillion different ways on a zillion avenues, but the struggle is there in all our lives pushing and prodding us into our various chosen paths.

Some, like the guys who have chosen the power/position/possession path, struggle through hard work and dedication to become our leaders and our heroes.

Some, like the criminal, having also chosen the power, position, possession path seek to circumvent the learning curve of hard work and get right to the wealthy part. These become the worst among us and often find themselves wallowing in a cage somewhere feeling sorry for themselves.

Some, like most of us, muddle along content just to have enough to feed ourselves and our family. These people, whether they live in a small house in a suburb or a thatched hut in a jungle clearing are basically all of the same mind set. They struggle to live within their inherited environment in much the same way.

And yet, the question that lies forever strongly in my mind, is why we, the core foundation of this life form called humanity, allow the wealthy and neer-do-wells of this planet to manipulate us, through religious and political means, into taking up arms against one another when we, if anything, ought to be confronting them. This thought alone literally blows my mind . . . and makes me fear for the continuity of this race.

Personally I have never feared much about a wild animal devouring me like perhaps my predecessors have. I have lived in very close proximity to Krait snakes as well as Grizzly bears and have never lost much sleep over the fact.

What I fear above all else is us being manipulated by a man, or a group of men, into believing our survival is contingent upon the killing of THEIR enemy. And I believe . . . until there is a fundamental change in the evolution of our thought, we will all be forever looking over our shoulders for a way to survive the devourer behind us . . . following.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Land of the Impotent

Does anybody remember Woody Guthrie? Or Pete Seeger? Does anybody remember the time in this country during the great union movement of the thirties when these guys organized the disenfranchised worker all across this country? Does anybody remember when men actually shoved their heels into their turf and told the massa, “Enough of the shit, we ain't gonna take it anymore!”

They sang their protest songs, they took their beatings, they stood together with nothing but ball bats as hired company thugs attacked and beat them mercilessly. These men, mostly uneducated, mostly dirt poor, mostly afraid, had within themselves the gumption to stand tall against the established rule and ultimately they kicked his ass. They chose to fight back rather than sit and watch as the ribs appeared in the sides of their children.

Thus began the rise of the worker unions all across this country. And as they grew they became more powerful till at the height of their rein in America they had Boss Hog shivering in his boots at the first sign of a walkout and strike.

Of course history played the game out and the union, once the hero of the working class, has by now become an impotent side show because of their own version of back room dealings and capitulation. The generation of strong men who fought for justice retired on their hard won pensions while the spawn who followed grew lazy and complacent. They began to use the union as their own department of “Get all you can while giving as less as you can” and ultimately destroyed it.

It seems in todays world we are back to square one again, except this time it's actually worse. This time Boss Hog has merely shoved his middle finger up our noses and with the help of his friends in Washington moved to Mexico. He bought labor from China, India, and had a zillion other ways of getting us back to walking on our knees. He even has us thanking him for his benevolence.

We have in essence become a very large and expanding bunch of winers that no one seems to have much respect for. We don't even respect ourselves. We complain about the bullshit happening all around us, but are afraid to stir the waters too much cause well, you know, we don't want to make the man angry with us. We put up with being robbed, suckered, punched in the face and kicked in our ass until we find a soft spot on the hard porch and just sit there complaining into our wine bottle. (why do you think they call it wine?)

Why do our women disrespect us? We don't deserve any. Why do we send our kids off to fight George Bushes war in some patriotic rush when it was obvious from the very beginning the dope didn't know his ass from a hole in the ground and the whole world warned us of the fact?

Why did we listen to the bullshit and downright lies that ultimately got them blown to bits in some desert swamp amongst a people totally foreign and uncaring to our way of life or what we were supposedly doing for them? Maybe they just understood all along why we were there in the first place. Something a lot of people in this country still seem to have problems with understanding. Why did we allow all this to happen?

We were willing to fight for Boss Hog, willing to look the other way when he robbed us, even willing to bail him out. When he got caught going to far in his greed we said, “Oh we need Boss, we must bail him out.”

For this we get a peck on the cheek and the privilege of watching another mom and pop store bite the dust as a Chinese Walmart grows in our neighborhood. The impotence and ignorance of the men in this country today is astoundingly pathetic.

Where are the Woody Guthrie's of this generation? Where are the people willing to take a stand against the robber baron, to take a ball bat to his face and tell him to fuck off, he don't get no bailout.

Man, I am getting old. . . and discouraged. What will this country look like for my grandchildren after this generation of knee knockers gets done with it is anybodies guess, but I'm betting it won't be pretty.

As to your personal survival in all this. The very first thing you must do if you plan to survive any of the stuff thats coming down the pike is to search within yourselves for the manhood that your forefathers bequeathed to you . . . and use it.

Quit with the whining and get on with the New Revolution. The pendulum needs a swing to the left again because in all life there is a waning and a waxing, nothing is stagnant ...nor should be we. Life is breathing through the chaos. Don't be afraid, you can too.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fix It!

The one thing a lot of guys have forgotten in this post WW2 throw away world is how to fix stuff like grandpa did. We just give a sigh, heave it and buy another widget when the first one breaks. The new one almost certain to have been made of cheaper quality in China. The fine art of fixing things is going to soon reappear on our horizon cause when we run out of cash and have to decide on buying food or a new toaster what are we going to do?

In a past post I used the old cliche 'you can't make a silk purse out of a pigs ear.' Well I should have said “most of the time.” . . . cause let me tell you what I just did.

The other day one of my kids shows up with a broken mandolin. The back had split and broken off the front. The front had large nasty cracks in it. The whole thing was water swollen and covered in musty filth and bird shit. He had found it in pieces in a cardboard box in the back of a garage.

“Can you fix this?” He asked me.

I saw that it was very old and handmade. Since I love very old and handmade musical instruments I said ”sure” and took it home where it ended up in my loft behind all the other junk I have saved for a “one of these days I'm gonna fix it” experience.

Anyway I got it out the other day and decided to repair it. After very close scrutiny (and cleaning) I noticed that the fretboard was ebony (that's a good thing) and the top, bottom and sides all had been tooled using gouges/chisel/ scrapers. I also noticed the tuner mortises had not been done with a router, but rather had been gouged out very carefully with chisels and a lot of patience. I was impressed by the quality of craftsmanship.

I was determined to rebuild this thing and get it playing once again. My main goal being to do as little damage to the patina of the wood as possible as it was a beautiful deep coco brown, almost black with age. To sand the thing up and destroy such beauty would in itself be a travesty.

I gave it a dry bath. I re glued the back, the large splits and carefully filled the others. I lowered the action a bit. I worked on the tuners. I waxed the hell out it with a very expensive paste wax, put on a new set of strings and WOW! I have me one fine looking antique mandolin that plays and holds tune quite well.

This little story is just an example to show you yourself what can be accomplished if you put your mind to it. All it takes is a little knowledge and practice. It can even be fun. You can also help pay down your credit cards with the money you've saved. Plus it just plain feels good to know you have the ability to fix stuff.

The days of running to Walmart for a new toaster may soon be over for a lot of you common folks. So before you head to the car take the old one apart and try to figure out what's wrong with it. Usually it's no more than a broken electric connection. You will save yourself a whopping amount of cash per year if you just teach yourself to fix up the stuff you already have.

Some things have been created to last just for so long on purpose, plastic parts are made knowingly to break in a year or so. This is all a part of the throw away society we have been sucked into, BUT before you throw anything away see if you can fix it. If nothing else it's good practice.

Computers to toasters I can usually fix, but sometimes you have to face the fact that your 'thing' is dead. Save your money for these times.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

the fine art of bullshitting

Now if you think bullshitting is not an art form just take a look at the past presidential race and you can see openly just how important this art form is to the politician who must, through long hours of intense study, become a master of his trade. The canvas of promises he paints and displays openly before his admiring throng in all it's beauty is truly amazing. His glib tongue deftly laying stroke upon stroke across a broad canvas, he forms the contrast and conflict of his opponents deep shadow juxtaposed his very own brightest of light . . . while the layman postulates himself before the Master and stares upon his canvas of dreams.

It seems the only time you get the truth, or even an honest opinion from this breed is to listen to these people AFTER they leave office. Generals, Senators, all the way down to the local yocal member of the school board are so steeped in spinning bullshit during their career you just can't trust a word they say.

Obama knows the art form and used it well. He is a Master at his trade. Obama's emotional work centered on hope.

McCain, a Master in his own right, chose a different emotional theme for his canvas. McCain's centered on fear.

More people responded to hope than fear so Obama won the bullshit (tell them what they want to hear) session in spite of the fact most people who voted for Obama probably instinctively knew he couldn't keep most of the promises he had painted for them. They were, in the light of current events, wishful thinking at the most.

I personally believe he will be far to busy just keeping the ship of state afloat after the disastrous last eight years of George Bush to do much else. Hell, man we will be lucky to have a monetary system at all by the end of next summer, let alone enough cash to do anything much to help the poor and needy middle class in this country.

So how does this all pertain to our personal survival?

A man who understands the nuances of bullshitting can and will survive longest among his fellows. He knows it is far easier many times to convince an enemy than to kill him, especially if he is out gunned and outnumbered.

He knows instinctively if he practices faithfully and becomes an adept, the sky is the limit.

He knows a good line of bullshit and a glib tongue can get him shelter, water and food even when outnumbered and living amongst his enemies. Even when facing certain death the true and fearless artist can sway his captors into his camp by merely corralling them with his tongue.

A great bullshitter has to be in charge of his own mind. He must be intelligent and wise to the ways of man and of the world. He must not just control the room, he must own it. People must love him. They must look up to him. Want him to lead them. He must be a chameleon shape shifter able to capture the essence of a rainbow for them. He must like the apostle Paul “be all things to all men.”

The greatest, the most satisfying, the loveliest words that the truly masterful bullshitter can hear is for his following to say with heart felt conviction.

“Our leader speaks the truth.” . . . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The number one requirement for any kind of survival is to have control of your mind. Without that you might as well just go out and jump off a cliff and save yourself a whole lot of hard work cause your not going to be successful anyhow.

So let's discuss 'mind' a bit. I have an idea concerning 'mind' that works quite well for me so I'll share it with you knowing full well that ultimately you must use your own facilities of reason and creativity if you have any hope of understanding 'mind' and consequently surviving anything at all. You can listen to others, you can be of 'one mind' with others, but the final decision before you act must always be your own.

Some people argue that the brain created the mind. Some people argue that the mind created the brain. It all depends on how you look at it and how you were taught, but I go decidedly with the latter. Before the brain there existed the mind.

The American Indian called this 'mind' the Great Mystery. The various religions of today call it God. Though I take the American Indians explanation, it's all the same thing, and after about forty years of reading and studying the works of others concerning it, I am of the persuasion that few really know what the hell they are talking about anyways.

The one thing I know as absolute fact is that everybody from the car salesman to the prophet of God is in the act of attempting to steal yours. What's the purpose of any slanted advertisement? To steal your mind. What's the purpose of government spin? To steal your mind. What's the purpose of religious doctrine? To steal your mind. What's the purpose of anyone who tries to convince you of practically anything? To steal your mind. What is seemingly the greatest joy of most people on this planet? To give it up to them.

Because it is a troublesome and huge pain in the ass to have to reason within yourself and to make your own decisions. It's also quite frightening to realize you and you alone will be held responsible for any decisions you do make. And to make it all the worse, most people in the real world believe themselves inadequate to do the job of policing their own mind. Fearing their own creative capability they most humbly take the advice of others and many times find themselves on a path to nowhere, pissing and moaning all the way over the edge of a cliff.

It doesn't have to be this way. You are a powerful spiritual being in possession of the greatest tool the Mystery/God has for you . . . Your own mind. Don't be afraid of it. Learn to use it. Don't give it up. It's your greatest weapon.

But like all powerful weapons you must be careful how you use it. There are rules. Break them and the price you must pay is very heavy. Follow them and the joy they bring you is beyond measure, in this world and beyond.

A simple explanation for all this would be: The first time you do something evil your conscience throws up a red flag, STOP! You do it anyways. The next time you do the same thing your conscience throws up a red flag, “stop!” . . . the next time, “stop.” . . . the next time “nothing”. Your conscience now compromised, has finally stopped bothering you. It doesn't give up though, it just merely takes another route. The route called, “as you sow so shall you reap” . . . or Karma (same thing) and you have in essence just created a whole lot of hurt for yourself by breaking the rules.

The good news is that the effects of Karma go both ways. And the GREAT news is that once you decide to use your own mind you will soon realize this. By realizing that, you will also realize just how powerful YOU actually are. You will see YOU are a creator in your own right. You have the power to create your future by the thoughts and actions you take today. Misery or joy? You're choice.

It's not just a nice thing to feed the hungry, or help out the old lady down the street, or have compassion on those without by sharing what you have with them. It's not about just getting a bunch of bullshit accolades from the church you attend or your name on some pew.

It's about EVERYTHING you are and EVERYTHING you will ever become. It's all about YOU and how you use your own mind to create either harmony or discord in the world around you.

So as you read the signs of the times and begin to fear the results of losing your “stuff” . . . also begin to realize that this may just be the first time in your life you will be fully alive.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Well that's about as far as we can go in the natural world with this survival stuff. It may just be all we really need to do. Prepare for the day that will never come. If you've gone this far and you have thought out a plan of action so you don't get caught with your pants down then you can merely keep yourself informed and relax a bit.

One more thing though. If the worse happens and you really do have to go into survival mode how are you going to cope? We talked about living in closer proximity to one another. We have given up our life style that begins behind a huge door called privacy. OK now what?

What are you going to do when/if the electric goes down? Just think about it. Everything we do is tied into the power grid. Entertainment, utilities, appliances, phones, practically everything. Shut it down and we are instantly thrown back at least to the rural thirties. Generators are good for a short time, (maybe a couple hours a day) but they waste precious fuel and are often a noisy pain in the ass.

Oh darn! Looks like we ain't done after all. Man, it looks like we are just getting started. The scenario of sitting in a darkened, cold room with ten other people bother you? It is conceivably quite a real one. It could happen in real time to you.

Are you spiritually prepared for such a thing? How are you going to contain your impulse to choke old uncle Fred if he coughs just one more time? Now that you are able to survive, do you really want to? HA! Sure you do, you just need an attitude adjustment, that's all.

Many family members these days never really talk to each other. They watch TV together. They sometimes eat together. They play computer games or listen to music or a zillion other things to entertain themselves, but they seldom sit down at the table and have a good conversation.

All that TV, computer game, mp3 player (yeah you gotta charge the batteries right?) stuff goes when the power goes. You can read. You can play music on your own instrument. You can write using a pencil and paper. But to really entertain yourself you will have to do it together by playing cards, board games, and stuff like that. Learn to tell stories (kids especially love to have someone tell them a story) and have open dialog with each other. Learn the art of bullshitting . . . yes it is an art form in it's own right, just ask any black dude or observe a group of blacks having a great time doing it.

You will have a lot of free time cause food preparation will be simple. Cutting firewood and stuff only takes up so much of your time. There will be long hours to either sit and stare at each other or get really creative and have some fun. Fun is important. If you can laugh at yourself and your circumstances you have the battle half licked at least.

And you must have faith. The real kind, not that phony stuff you practice in church every weekend. Your particular faith is IMO not nearly as important as having it. If you believe Christianity is the only game in town, that's cool, but please dear God don't be proselytizing it to me when you have me cornered in our ten person room. I'll be stressed out enough. That goes for Judaism, Buddhism, Moslemism, Jingoism and every other ism know to man on this planet.

I follow the Zen Taoist philosophy of life . . . My Way may not be your Way, but it works for me. I would rather sit at the table and study an acorn than to listen to you quote from a book of rules. . . Whoops see how easy it will be to get into an argument? Gotta be careful to always be on your toes in the brave new world.

I believe that this social/economic crisis can be great fun if we merely begin to realize the only goal to life is experiencing the path we are currently on.(and we don't spend all our time crying and bitching about our lost "stuff")

The past, it lies behind us.
The future lies ahead.
Live life in the moment.
Or live amongst the dead.

Believe that and this whole thing can become one great adventure.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Family: Your Secret Weapon

The greatest asset anybody will have in the coming social/economic tumble will be his immediate family. So if one chooses to do nothing else than just wait to see what happens he should rekindle the family fire by getting in touch with as many people on the tree as he knows. Now is the time to kiss and make up while there is still a semblance of law and order. You are going to need each other soon.

Because I grew up in a violent, totally dysfunctional family I personally never felt I had one. As soon as I could reach the doorknob I was gone. Oh, I came around for food and a bed, but somewhere along the way I had totally disassociated myself from the rest of them. I stood in one room staring at three strangers who happened to be my father, my mother, and my sister, while they stood in another. That's all I can remember.

Therefore once I got married I didn't do so very well with my own. I tried, but man, I screwed up big time. It was like I was a ten year old who just stole a car and decided to go for a joy ride. Along the way I picked up a pretty girl hitch hiking and in the excitement of the moment decided to marry her. Of course it all ended in a divorce cause my wife was just as bad and as young and as dumb as I was.

It took my daughter to teach me about family, and only then after she married into a large Italian one and I got to observe it first hand to see how it's supposed to work. I used to sit and watch the in-laws during a family gathering and think, “wow man, so this is how it's supposed to be. I could really go for having a family like this.” Well now I do.

Those guys taught me far more through observation, and far better, than Dr. Phil with all his degrees ever could. Besides ain't that how puppy mutts learn? By watching the old hound dogs and mimicking their ways? Well this old mutt done learned a huge lesson in reverse. (by watching the kids)

When I was in the army in Asia I used to go into a village and wonder how all those people could live so close without killing each other. A little hut spilling over with family members would be my greatest nightmare, thought I'd rather live amongst, and be safer with, the pigs under the hut.

Of course I lived practically on top of a whole platoon of soldiers, but we weren't natural family. The guys in my platoon were my brothers. Those people back home were not even close to that.

In the US I have built huge houses for two people. Most homes I've built had private bed rooms, private baths and rooms for people to hang out alone in private. Private is a huge word in this country, but guess what? If it gets even close to what I believe is coming down the pike this privacy nonsense is all about to disappear. I envision us all living pretty much like the illegals down town. Ten to a room. Won't that be fun?

The hardest part of this whole thing will be getting along with each other. This is gonna take a whole lot of hard work and dedication. There is going to be a lot of stuff going on outside the family perimeter. People fighting for food, people fighting for shelter, people fighting out of fear and anger, people fighting and robbing and killing just because they found out they could get away with it, all kinds of good stuff. The one place you don't want to be fighting is in your compound. One that will probably be filled with family members.

Alone I know I could weather the storm easily. I would merely go back to Alaska and get lost in the bush close to Prince William Sound and if the bears left me alone I could live quite well. I would become a bonified wood rat. (I almost was one once) After the first year I wouldn't even want to come out.

But I have family. I have grandchildren. And I am dedicated, especially if the shit hits the fan big time, to the safety of them and everyone else in my immediate family to the loss of my own life if need be. Cause as an old man I have learned that I would rather dive head first into the hut amongst my family than to be safe underneath in my spot amongst the pigs.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Last Stand

When things get really rough this is where I'll make my last stand. 200sq ft.+- cabin. A small wood burning stove. An outhouse behind the shed. A couple oil lamps and I've just projected myself back to the future.


This property I own is all hillsides and trees, therefore not much good for farming. The only flat, treeless spot is where I have my buildings. To make it even worse, because of the tightness of this narrow valley there is not even enough sunlight to grow much of a garden. Six hours a day is all I can muster in the sunniest spot, and that just happens to be over a small wetland. So I'm kinda screwed when it comes to growing my own food.

In order to survive a potential food crisis I have only two options.
1.To eat the naturally growing stuff (animal/vegetable) like the Delaware Indians did before me who used it to supplement their basic fare of corn/beans/and squash. . . or
2.Barter something I created for food and other essential stuff.

I will do both of course, but for now I am working towards getting myself in the position to barter.
I have chosen to build an old time clay oven in which I will bake bread, pizza's and other stuff for barter. The one I use now is too small, but if the future demands it I will build an oven capable of baking twelve loves of bread at a time. This is completely doable and would cost nothing as all the clay, stone, sand, etc. are here already.

I may also look into building a still like the old hillbillies used to do. White Lightening, bread, pizza will make me the most popular, unexpendable dude in the valley (and you don't want to be deemed expendable in the brave new world.)

Before the social/economic upheaval begins I will know every plant, animal and insect in this area that can be used for food. I will eat food that the locals would never think of eating, thus assuring a continues supply. I will bake bread using ground cattail root powder and insects if necessary, whatever it takes. If you die on my turf I will eat you . . . but I won't kill you just for the privilege :-)

So the plan is complete and already set in motion. Now hopefully we will never have to use it. Hopefully the world can wake up and overcome the future depletion of our oil supply. Hopefully the trickle down affect (the only time this theory works by the way) we are already experiencing won't get any worse. Hopefully the world can read the tea leaves and back up before it's too late. But without first having to experience the pain I doubt it. . .next . . . Family the Secret Weapon.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Last night I watched a documentary about Katrina. WOW! If the way the government handled that situation doesn't wake you up to it's ineptitude nothing does, nor will it ever.

The Feds totally blew it. The State totally blew it. The City totally blew it. And the people who are waiting around for these guys to come to the rescue . . . still? You are totally blowing it.

Lookit, you gotta get off your collective asses, ban together and help yourselves cause that empty road in front of your house ain't filling up soon with repair trucks and barrels of money. The money's on it's way to Wall Street and the repair trucks ran out gas in the white mans neighborhood.

You people know what triage means? That means that in combat if you make it back to the field hospital after being wounded the doctor does a quick check to see how bad the wound is and if you are about to die. If in his opinion you are, they wheel you behind the tent to make room for the guys who have a better chance of pulling through. Guess where you guys in the lower ninth ward are?

And that extremely large Charity Hospital thats just sitting there empty after all these years? Wasn't that the hospital where most of you poor went for health care? Well, bad news, the government is still arguing about whether rebuilding it would be worth while cause it would cost so much money, in fact millions of dollars.

You people gotta understand that when your sending 12BILLION dollars a month to shore up a government in Iraq (who doesn't even give a shit about you in the first place) you're gonna be a bit strapped right now. You are expendable. Iraq got a nice cot and a hot cup of coffee inside the triage tent . . . sorry.

The fact is that in a situation as large and as bad and as catastrophic as Katrina was, in spite of the advertisement, government is too large, too cumbersome, too disorganized to really do much to alleviate your situation. Unless you are a person of means you are written off till, like the old black man said, “ I never seen that woman (local councilwomen for his district) till election day. Then she's down here knocking on my door looking for votes.” That about says it all.

Now you take Katrina and you ask yourself what would have happened in this country had we been attacked with a nuke . . . or take the closer fact that when this social/economic situation spreads and things really get rough for you, who you gonna call? The Feds? The State? The County? Ghost busters? How about your neighbor?

You better get your collective minds straight BEFORE the deed and get this stuff figured out. Have a plan of action. Don't sit around relying on Uncle Sam and his REMFS. It's your ass on the firing line. Preserve it. Find your Way to survive without them.

Pssst...I gotta go away for a couple days.....see you about Thursday.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A map, A compass and a K-bar

OK....Lets say you've made it this far. You've opened your eyes and become aware of the dire situation that trust in big government and complacency has gotten you into and you've decided to take control of your life again. (or for the first time)

You have gotten yourself out of debt. You have gotten yourself into good shape in every aspect of your life to the best of your ability. You are alert to your immediate surroundings and you have acquired a certain skill level when it comes to reading the terrain you happen to find yourself in. Good job. You and I are now in the same boat.

I used to brag when I was younger that you could parachute me anywhere into the jungle or mountains with an area map, a compass, a K bar fighting knife and I would do just fine. I had been meticulously trained to do so and was confident in my training.

That made survival perhaps not a walk in the park, but doable. Even if caught in thick forest when the lights went out and black was the only color in town you just hunkered down till daylight arrived. Then you quite easily took stock of your situation, reoriented your compass to the map, reoriented your map to the terrain, picked a destination and off you went. The K bar at your side would help you dig up or stab enough food source to keep you alive, (usually grubs, an occasional snake and stuff like that) plus enable you to build a shelter if necessary.

Today there is no preparatory training, it's what's called “on the job” training. The rules and the terrain vary greatly, the tools are different, many times it's a seat-of-your-pants operation being run in a fog. It's more like trying to navigate through three tier jungle in the middle of the night. Yeah, you can do it, but it is dangerous as all hell. Let me tell you, that bright sun alleviates a whole lot of fear and anxiety.

In this environment your map is just the game board you happen to find yourself playing on and it varies with each player. The rivers may all run the same direction, but your mountains and your valleys vary greatly from your fellow gamers.

Personally I wouldn't follow anyone's advice too far unless I was absolutely positive he knew his ass from a hole in the ground and we were both oriented towards going in the same direction anyways. Lots of advice coming down the pike these days. Be careful who you listen too.

Now the compass is a bit fuzzy in this equation because, well, there really isn't one. There is no arrow to point the way save your own intuition broadcasting from the center of your own mind. This can be scary cause it doesn't take long to realize your the captain of this boat and if it ends up on the rocks guess who gets the blame? (remember the fiasco in Valdez) Watch and be careful when you feel like taking a nap! You might just screw up my fishing grounds.

Think, study, read the tea leaves, pray, but learn to trust your mind and your gut above all else. . . and if neither work too good? You're dead meat. (remember the wolves?) They're licking their lips waiting for you.

The K Bar is a marine fighting knife. It's made of the best steel and follows an old tried and true design. It's deadly as all hell and a good tool for cutting, carving, pounding, etc. I would not get rid of mine for anything. Break in my house in the middle of the night and you won't have to worry about a loud muzzle blast or a whole lot of yelling and carrying on, just watch out for that long shadowy figure hurtling himself at you holding something in his hand. You have approximately two seconds to think, focus, raise your weapon and fire . . . or face the inevitable heart burn. :-)

Weapons are only for the extreme situation where you must preserve the lives of you and your children. Other wise they are just eye candy for Ramboized scairdy cats. I get a kick out of these guys who somehow think that having ten various weapons and a thousand rounds of ammo are gonna help them defend themselves. Real world says they will die after shooting quite quickly perhaps three wild rounds into the ceiling.

So let's not waste a lot of time on that stuff and get real about surviving the storm.

Your greatest weapons will be your neighbors and your ability in forming alliances with as many of them as possible. Even the ones you don't particularly like, even the ones you absolutely hate. It's in these people you will find your strength. Together all of you can pull through this thing and come out better than when you started. But you will all need each other. Just think of the time immediately after 911, and the time during Katrina when people helped each so much, even to the tune of risking their own lives. Good people always rise to the occasion, but to make a real difference they need purpose,focus and leadership. Make sure you pick a leader for your group who knows that sacrifice doesn't just mean getting to be the boss.

As the guys on the fringe see what you are doing they will come and ask to join instead of spending their time figuring out how to rob you. That leaves the really bad true blue criminal who may just, once he sees what you are about, decide to find greener pastures to wreak his havoc in. We hope this will be the case, but there are times when, even though you have the best intentions, once the normal order of law enforcement has broken down you will have to defend yourselves and your children from the truly evil crowd.

I personally would not go half way in any endeavor of this sort. I would simply kill the guy. There is absolutely no room to work around these guys. He'll just keep coming back for more. Survival demands you be the first to attack and the last to give in. Hopefully the situation will never arise for you and yours. Now how are we gonna deal with the neighbors?............coming up.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Years ago we were all suckered into this game called “buy now, pay later.” We were so happy to sign on the bottom line and grab the “sorta” free item that our parents had to sweat and save up their money to buy. “Whoowee far out! I can get me a new car today!” . . . and away we went, diving head first into the slave masters back pocket. Never even realized it cause we were so pumped about the “stuff” he allowed us to buy on his credit.

Last time I looked at a credit card the interest rate was 29.99% if you defaulted and missed a payment. Now this sorta thing would have made Tony Soprano blush, but not the bankers. Hell no, it was all good business cause you were forewarned. Remember to read that itsy bitsy print on the brochure? Or were you just too excited to get your paws on the new TV to bother? Old grandpa would be rolling over in his grave.

Well nows the time to get smart and get out of debt anyway you can. I did by selling and downscaling. It was easy for me to do cause I didn't use credit cards except to buy building material from time to time. I paid them off before the month was out. That is smart, puts you ahead of the game . . .

I saw on TV the other night that the average household credit card debt in the U.S. Is $8,500.00. That's average. That means a hell of a lot of people are way over that. In the coming economy that pretty much on its own makes everybody dead meat when it comes to the highly touted credit rating system.

Warning!.......”We're gonna ruin your credit rating!”

“Go ahead, who gives a shit. That may be just what it takes for me to wizen up and jump off your rat wheel.”

But if you do that they can also lean your house and attach your wages and a bunch of other stuff I don't even know about.

Answer. Research it, talk to them, kiss their ass, do the best you can do to get the things paid off. Then BURN the suckers and start saving like Grandma did. You might just save your house and your sanity even if you do have to wait on purchasing the newest computer.

PsssT.........don't bother waiting on the feds to bail YOU out as they are to busy shoveling money to their friends on Wall Street. You know the guys who like to throw $400,000.00 parties? You? You're on your own brother. Get smart.


In any survival situation the basics are overall pretty much the same. You find yourself in a predicament. You have for some reason had your normal lifestyle pulled out from under you and are in a state of flux as to what to do about it.

Now what? What am I gonna do? Why me? On and on the questioning comes, like twenty foot waves while you're rowing in a ten foot boat, till you can't stand it anymore. Now is the time to quit with the bitching, sit down somewhere and begin with the thinking.

Basic survival 101 says you need shelter, water, and food to survive. You need the first two ASAP while the food can wait a few days or so, but if you don't replenish your energy soon, you're gonna be dead, it's that simple. Life itself becomes very simple because all the peripherals melt away as the big three take over your entire focus. Again your particular situation dictates your action when it comes to the three necessities.

Living in the country I first would research the edible food sources that grown in the area, both plant and animal. I would find, if any, where the springs were and where and what kind of medicinal herbs grew in the area. It makes no sense to rely on survival formula's that you learned in a long ago jungle or desert. All that counts is what exists in your immediate vicinity. If you find it an impossible situation, pack up and move when the time is right to a place where you CAN survive.

Living in the city would be an entire different set of circumstances. What will you do when the grocery shelves are empty? When the bottled water is gone? When the utility has cut your power and heat? You gotta do something. Personally I don't have a clue as to what I'd do except flee the city.

I can visualize serious difficulties above and beyond anyones comprehension in the major cities of this country if it gets bad enough. I'm not sure there is an answer to the question except get out of the city.

More immediate than even shelter,food,water may be your financial situation. There are millions of people in this country living on credit. They can still easily obtain the three essentials, but, especially in the mortgage arena, they may be in a world of hurt right now today.

Jobs are drying up. The banks are moving in. Soon you could find yourself watching from the lawn as your home and entire load of “stuff” goes on the auction block. You may then find yourself homeless in a sea of uncaring.

Right now while you have the swimming room get out of debt!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Way

In Western thought “The Way” is the path towards obtaining a future goal.

In Eastern thought “The Way” IS the goal.

The Way of Survival is a bit of a mixture, but the emphasis is on Eastern thought. To merely survive the coming crisis, but to survive and be left standing in dead corpses we could have kept alive is unacceptable.

We must do this thing together. We must adapt to and enjoy the ride together. That way when it's all over we will be standing, perhaps in a different environment, but, it will have been one hell of a merry ride that produced lots of stories to tell the grandkids.

So how we gonna do it? As a start the most important thing to do when on a survival path is to first get your mind fine tuned and under control. Because every thought you act upon from now on will be creating either a stepping stone or a stumbling block for you. Every step you take down this path will have far reaching consequences.

The weak and sick will be eaten by the wolves. Only the strong in mind and body will survive once the safety net has been shot full of holes.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Your Way

Do you have one? What are you doing to secure yourselves and your families for the coming social/economic crisis? Anything? Do you even believe there is a problem? If so are you just sitting around praying it will all be over soon and you can go back to life the way it was just a few short months ago? Praying for work to pick up? Praying the slump will be over? Praying Jesus will come soon to whisk you away in the rapture? Praying McCain(or Obama) will get elected and straighten up the whole mess?

Whatever you believe and however you pray is your own business. You have that right. But if you take the time to study some of these social/economic trends (and there is a plethora of information out there) it's not difficult to see the net is quickly closing around us as we swim like a school of salmon in a smaller, smaller circle.

The guys in the middle of the net don't feel a lot of pressure yet. But the guys against the ropes are totally freaked out and in virtual panic cause they sense they are about to be trapped, hauled in, dropped in a hold to suffocate and eventually be eaten.

Are you having a hard time breathing yet? Right now it depends on where you live I suppose, (in Ohio the guessing is over) but I predict that soon the whole country will be kicking and splashing around gasping for air except for the guys who have prepared. Wasn't that the boy scout motto? Be Prepared.

Anyways it's smart to do something to get your lives under control regardless of whether we continue our tip toe through the tulips or not.

So why don't you just sit down with your family and figure out what you can do just in case this old nut knows what he's talking about?

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Way

Once upon a time I had a lovely cottage sitting on a pristine lake in the midst of one of the only old growth forest regions left in the state of Ohio. I loved the place, but as lake front became more popular and my land more valuable I decided to sell and move further South where the cost of living would be a whole lot less.

It seemed the right thing to do as I was near retiring, the EPA was about to force us to rebuild our ancient dam and I was a little apprehensious as to what was taking place in the homebuilding business (to many things to go through) I was a part of.

I put the lake front place up for sale and sold it a week later for three and a half times what I paid for it. The couple who bought it immediately tore the old cottage down (that fit perfectly into the woods) and replaced it with a McMansionesque nightmare (that didn't). That's what they were doing during the boom time. The money spigot was wide open and the banks were, what can I say? Drunk?

My wife and I bought the acreage we live on now. Shown is the 1200 square foot (plus576 sq.foot loft) cabin I built mostly by myself. I also built a smaller 200 +- square foot cabin, two outbuildings and a storage shed from the lake front profits. We also paid off two vehicles, credit cards and every other bill we had. My goal was to, after everything was finished, break even. And that we did.

We now live on Social Security exclusively. My wife gets Medicare and I am a life time member of the VA hospital care program so we don't have to buy expensive health insurance. Life is good.

It took plenty of thought to get here, but as I look back, I was also very, very lucky because it was no more than six months later that property values plummeted. Had I waited just a bit longer I would have been stuck holding the bag.

Down here I have two deep springs so I'm fairly secure when it comes to water supply. This I will be able to share with my few neighbors if/when the power goes out. The small cabin is decked out for burning wood and I have oil lamps for light. I am going to dig an outhouse as well just in case. I have built a clay oven that sits outside along the tree line for baking bread and pizza's, anything that will bake actually.

All that I've done so far is just common sense stuff that would be smart to do if you live in the country like we do regardless of the situation. I have not gone overboard, nor do I brag about anything (well at least not till now:-)) This is as far as I will go until the situation warrants a change. But I am ready for anything.

What I've done to this point has little to do with your own lives because, as I've stated earlier, everybody's circumstances are so different. The one thing we share in common though, are the principles involved. The principles of survival are pretty much the same regardless of where, when, why you find yourself needing to. And the first most important principle is your mindset. Where's yours?

What To Do?

It is impossible to give a pat answer for such a question because every one of us has a different situation to address. I will share with you what I did, am in the process of doing and what I expect to do, in the following essays, but it will ultimately be up to you to choose the Way to your particular survival.

The survival I'll be talking about in this blog is not the same as the “jungle training” I once took, nor does it have anything to do with the “survivalist” movement going on in a lot of the Western States.

We are not going to be talking about stocking guns and ammo. Nor is this going to be an "ultimate guide to killing your neighbor". This blog is all about getting re-acquainted with him and the two of you learning to survive together.

So I'll just get started telling my story and by doing so perhaps I'll be able to help you begin to write your own.