Jack-Shit

“…From 1891 to 2007, real economic output per person grew at an average rate of 2 percent per year — enough to double every 35 years. The average American was twice as well off in 2007 as in 1972, four times as well off as in 1937, and eight times as well off as in 1902. It’s no coincidence that for eight decades, from 1890 to 1970, educational attainment grew swiftly. But since 1990, that improvement has slowed to a crawl…”

“…Poor academic achievement has long been a problem for African-Americans and Hispanics, but now the achievement divide has extended further.  “family breakdown is now biracial” Among lower-income whites, the proportion of children living with both parents has plummeted over the past half century…”

“…Many children are culturally disadvantaged, even if one or both parents have jobs, have no books at home, do not read to them, and park them in front of a TV set or a video game in lieu of active in-home learning. Compared with other nations where students learn several languages and have math homework in elementary school, the American system expects too little. Parental expectations also matter: homework should be emphasized more, and sports less…”

The title of this little slice of the absurdity that is my existence is “Jack-Shit”.  If I were asked to use the title in a sentence it would go something like…  “It’s rather obvious to me, after speaking with you, that you don’t know Jack Shit about anything.”

More and more each day I find myself thinking ..”This person doesn’t know Jack-Shit about what we are discussing.”  Because of this unfortunate reality I find myself engaging people in conversation less and less.  I avoid people I don’t know well.  In point of fact I have come to realize and accept the fact that the only thing holding America together is our collective disease.

[…”Positivity-peddlers are working overtime, but the big picture is sobering. Consumerism and predatory capitalism are not viable long-term organizing principles for a society. Our myths about progress, superfluous wealth, limitless expansion and endless resources are formulas for global ruin. Hyper-competitive individualism is a lonely straitjacket that fuels frustration, alienation and rage. Freedom has cheapened into a demeaning free-for-all in a prison of petty wants. As a springboard to happiness, emotional health and social wellbeing, ‘the good life’ is an exhausting flop…”  (John F. Schumaker)

 

Now, I wouldn’t blame any of my gentle readers if they asked themselves… “What the hell got up Mrs. N’s dress today to cause all this fuss?”

It wasn’t much really.  A new business opened up in my little town last week.  It’s a Tanning Salon.  You give the owner money and watch a video.  Then you go into a little room, take off your clothes and get sprayed with a chemical that makes you look  orange/brown.  The woman who runs the joint is orange.  This is not her, but, she is this color.

When I was a teenager and crashing a car at about the rate of one a year there used to be this guy named Earl Scheib.  His commercials were on the radio all the time.  …“I’m Earl Scheib, and I’ll paint any car, any color for $29.95.”..  My first car was a 1964 and a half Mustang.  Earl’s gang did the body work and painted that car 5 times in the years I owned it.  Earl had quite the business back in the day.  You might want to read about it  …http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Scheib

Anyway, my point is this.  In the fucked up place we call America it now costs 5 cents more to get your body spray painted a sickly orange than it did to get your car spray painted when America was the undisputed champion of the world and Americans were walking around on the moon.  Back then, if you told someone you were opening up a business to spray paint people so they looked tan… people would laugh at your stupidity.

Not any more.

Not any more.

 

Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.

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Liberty Counsel

The right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel has filed a lawsuit challenging New Jersey’s ban on “ex-gay” therapy, signed into law this week by Gov. Chris Christie.   So, how do we look at this?

I don’t know about the rest of you, but, it’s just another day at the garage for Mrs. N.   The crazy-assed nut jobs who make their living running the big churches here in Central Virginia are out doing Jesus’ work, as usual.  Liberty Counsel, the proud public service arm of the world famous “Liberty Law School”, hot off a spectacular loss in their patriotic attempt to have the Affordable Care Act declared unconstitutional because, after all, the president is a nigger, have set their sights on Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey.

Liberty Counsel filed the complaint Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey on behalf of two counselors who practice such therapy and two organizations that support the widely discredited practice — the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality and the American Association of Christian Counselors, the Washington Blade reports.

Another proud moment for America.  The Holy Ghost of Jerry Falwell continues to walk the earth in the form of Liberty University, where, not content with the hatred and misinformation he spewed in life his legacy of nonsense and religious huxterism lives on and continues to embarrass all but the severely religiously dissociated.  At Liberty, you will remember, the Earth is but a few thousands of years old and “Creation Science” is the only REAL science.  At Liberty humans once played and frolicked with dinosaurs, before Noah’s Flood that is, and 9/11 was the result of God’s great displeasure with America for “tolerating” gays and “uppity women” in our midst.

Now, in case any of you my gentle readers think this is crazy I must remind you of the reality of the country we are talking about.  This is America and this bullshit is FUCKING REAL!  This is happening in Virginia, the home of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and many truly fine universities, the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech to name but a few.  Oh, but no “university” in Virginia receives as much government backed federal student aid and loan money as Liberty does and none is growing anywhere near as fast as Liberty is.  No university in Virginia has their success and I have no choice but to conclude that, unlike “other” universities who actually permit gay students to attend classes, Liberty’s success must have something to do with the fact that they don’t.  Possibly, it may have something to do with the fact that they permit Republican Student organizations on campus, but, not Democratic ones…. But, I can’t be sure.  Then again, it may have something to do with the fact that it is permissible to carry loaded firearms to classes at Liberty, but, should a male and female unmarried student be caught alone.. They will of course be expelled.

Now they have set their sights and mustered their religious wrath in the direction of the Great Garden State of New Jersey and its popular republican governor, Chris Christie.  Governor Christie it seems has had the unmitigated gall to institute a law that bans “ex-gay” therapy.  It is Liberty Counsel’s contention that…  “Chris Christie has essentially declared war” on the “message of the Gospel.” The legislation, Mihet added, is a sign of “the power of the darkness in our time.”

The Darkness of our time.

Imagine that.

I don’t know, you can call Old Mrs. N. crazy if you like, but, it seems to me that “The Darkness of our time” is the Darkness of ignorance spread for profit in the form of religious hate, anti-intellectualism and the growing influence of corporate plutocracy over every facet of government and public life in America.  Personally, I don’t think it has anything to do with putting a stop to adults, who fancy themselves as “professionals”, tormenting, humiliating and threatening children into claiming that… they aren’t gay anymore.  

Jerry Falwell “claimed” that he was friends with and spoke with God.  Governor Chris Christie, in fact, is friends with and talks to Bruce Springsteen.

Mrs. N. is confident that, at least in this battle, the forces are grossly mismatched.

KIss, kiss

Mrs. N.

 

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Bad Moon Rising

On the night of August 19–20, 1969, Nelson County Virginia was struck by disastrous flooding caused by Hurricane Camille. The hurricane hit the Gulf Coast two days earlier, weakened over land, and stalled on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, dumping a world record quantity of 27 inches (690 mm) of rain, mainly in a three-hour period. Over five hours, it yielded more than 37 inches (940 mm), while the previous day had seen a deluge of 5 inches in half an hour, with the ground already saturated. There were reports of animals drowning in trees and people who had had to cup their hands around their mouth and nose to breathe.  Flash floods and mudslides killed 153 people, 31 from RoselandTyro, and Massies Mill alone.  Over 133 public bridges were washed out in Nelson County, while some communities were under water.   In the tiny Davis Creek community, 52 people were killed or could not be found; only 3 of 35 homes were left standing after the floodwaters receded.   The bodies of some people have never been found; others washed as much as 25 miles (40 km) downstream along the creeks and rivers. The entire county was virtually cut off, with many roads and virtually all bridges gone.

Meanwhile, about 400 miles or so north, as the dove of peace flies, the highways of lower New York State were jamed with carloads of hippies headed home.

Trapped in traffic, out of rolling papers and headed home with stories they would tell for the rest of their lives the unwashed multitudes listened to their car radios and heard the call for help from Nelson County Virginia.   Hippies, having nothing better to do anyway and looking for an adventure, headed south to lend a hand.  Many found friendship enough to stay, and some found wives and husbands.  They camped in open fields and bathed in the receding rivers and streams and in the fullness of time the dope smoking hippies began to find an easy camaraderie with the sons and daughters of the proud and fiercely independent moonshiners who were desperately trying to put their lives back together.  Unusual bonds were formed.  Hippies and rednecks interbred.  The rest is history.

As of this writing Nelson County Virginia enjoys an excellent public education system, a thriving art community, magnificent unspoiled countryside and consistently remains the only county in Central Virginia to vote Democrat.  A blue dot in a sea of red.  Vineyards and artisan breweries have exploded like mushrooms and, I have it on excellent authority,  the moonshine and local weed are second to none.

Bad Moon Rising” is a song written by John Fogerty and performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival. It was the lead single from their album Green River and was released in April 1969, four months before the album and exactly four months before the Great Nelson County Flood.  The lyrics fit the reality all too well…

I see the bad moon arising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin’.
I see bad times today.

Don’t go around tonight,
Well, it’s bound to take your life,
There’s a bad moon on the rise.

I hear hurricanes ablowing.
I know the end is coming soon.
I fear rivers over flowing.
I hear the voice of rage and ruin.

In a few weeks there is going to be a concert in Nelson County.  You can read all about it here.  Interlocken Music Festival | Sept 5 – 8, 2013 | Oak Ridge …

It is being put together by some outside money folks who are billing it as another Woodstock.  It ain’t.  Many of the locals are not amused and a tad pissed off at the disturbance of our bucolic existence.  With tickets running from $300 to $1100 and tents, rented by those running the show, going for $500, it seems almost sacrilegious to mention in it the same breath as Woodstock.  Tickets to Woodstock cost $18.

Many members of the local community can’t even come close to affording a ticket to this fiasco.  Some of them that pray are praying for rain.

On the 44th anniversary of the Nelson County Flood AND Woodstock a full moon is flying high over my house and I think back to Woodstock where the acid and the weed and the love was free… for just a little while, in the rain.

Times have changed.  We have grandkids now.  The world is a colder place, it seems to me, and the information provided below regarding the upcoming concert… well, it soils what’s left of my memories of times when music wasn’t all about money.   When everything wasn’t all about money.  When it wasn’t so fucking obvious that plutocrats have their grubby little hands in everything.

Sorry, no kisses tonight

Mrs. N.

_____________________

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VIP Experience

  • Festival Admission
  • Dedicated Festival Check-In with Private VIP Entrance
  • Exclusive VIP Viewing Area
  • Secure & Private Camping Adjacent to the Concert Field
  • Exclusive Access to Air-Conditioned Bathrooms with Flushable Toilets and Showers
  • Invitation to the Welcome BBQ Party
  • Private VIP Cash Bar
  • Complimentary Late Night Munchies
  • VIP Parking Pass (One Per Order)
  • Limited Edition Screen Printed Festival Poster
  • Festival Welcome Gift Bag with Festival Survival Kit, Tote Bag, Water Bottle and T-shirt
  • VIP Laminate
  • Please Note: If you are driving in an RV, you will also need to purchase a VIP RV parking pass.

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Nobody minds being dead you know?

Does this look like octopus to you?  I was pretty sure the chef was full of shit when he told me it was.  I have always had a kind of sixth sense when it comes to detecting when someone is full of shit.   Sea-Food Deluxe Platter my ass.

"MA!  the dog threw up again.

My neighbors tell me that this is delicious.  They call it “Biscuits & Gravy” here in Dixie.  Anyone can see that it is dog puke.  The dog has gotten into something he shouldn’t have again and it has made him sick.  In the geographical areas of The Plutocratic States of America where people spend the least money on education and the most time in church they are convinced that viewing dog puke like this is a mouth watering experience.  Tip of the iceberg…  Tip of the iceberg…

Everybody has a different opinion concerning “What’s going on”.  When you get right down to the finer details of being human you find that it is impossible for any two people to agree on anything at all… one hundred percent.   This makes it exceedingly difficult to put together a civilization, form long standing relationships with other members of our species and  refrain from destructive and vindictive quarreling.   It all works for a while.  People need each other for specific periods of time, for differing reasons.  Then, the moment circumstances permit, they are at each others throats over something they see differently.   To one degree or another there is always disagreement.  It seems to be inherent in a biology that relies upon different eyes, ears, tastes and neurological wiring … that grows itself from different DNA.   Why would we expect anything less than Bedlam from such a fiasco?  It’s a fucking miracle that anything works at all.  Social insects like ants and termites put on a good show with regard to working together, selflessly, toward a common goal, but, they share the same DNA, so, it doesn’t count.

In the end it seems that a universe that extends to, and makes use of the term “infinity”, must, by definition, contain absolutely everything including this… and us… just like this.

They say that you can find all kinds of possibilities in books.   It’s true.  I have found truckloads of possibilities in books.  I know lots of other people who have too.   If something exists in a book, or, just in someone’s imagination, does that mean an infinite universe need do no more to be truly infinite?  Is that kind of a half-assed manifestation enough to count?   Is that real enough?  Next Question please…

Where can a person with a degree in Ancient Egyptian literature get a job?  If you hear of anything, would you let me know?

It’s a rainy morning here in Dixie and I have finished my Sunday morning watering of the orchids.  I find that, at this time of year, when everything seems to be going to seed, life in matter “feels” a lot more absurd than usual.  I don’t know why that is and if the truth be known… I don’t care.  August has always been like that for me.  I think there is less gravity in August.

Respectfully, or, disrespectfully… take your pick

Mrs. N.

 

 

 

 

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What to tell kids.

Do you ever think about this?  Do you ever wonder what kids have a right to know and if anyone is at all interested in seeing to it that they are properly informed?

I find myself thinking about this a lot lately.  I’m troubled by my inability to come up with anything helpful in the way of advice for those just beginning their journey on life’s path.  The wisdom that is supposed to come with age and experience, when I look for it, isn’t there.   It’s no wonder really.  Never having quite figured out what people are for, myself, puts me in no position to offer advice on anything but short term projects.  How to tie a proper Windsor knot, treat a bag-bug infestation on an ornamental maple… things like that I can do.  That is all that was given me in my time, really.  Simple formulas for doing right like… Love my country and hate communists… follow orders, fear god and don’t get in trouble with the law.  Simple stuff to understand if you didn’t think about it too deeply and, if I did those things, and worked hard at something, everything would work out for the best and things would just keep getting better and better for everybody.

What a crock of shit that turned out to be.

“Better dead than Red” is what they taught us.  They wanted us to know that the communists were evil because they didn’t believe in god.  The communists wanted to take over America so that they could force everybody in America not to believe in god  too is what they told us.  When we were children those in authority encouraged us to think that we would be better off dead than alive, if being alive meant not believing in god any more.  To prove that point of view, and that they meant business, our government constructed thousands of atomic bombs capable of utterly destroying the only planet we have to live on rather than run the risk of letting communists take over America.  We Americans first tested two of those atomic bombs, before I was even born, on people called “Japs” 68 years ago this past week.  They worked swell.

It was all something they called M. A. D.   [M]utually [A]ssured [D]estruction.  It was really just another way of saying… Better dead than Red.

It never occurred to us how belief in a wonderful afterlife was somewhat inconsistent with the highest degree of desire for physical survival in this life.  How lucky we were to have Marxists for enemies.  Not believing in wonderful afterlives Marxists were never really likely to see any advantages at all in pressing the BIG BUTTON to start a nuclear war.  Marxists were not particularly keen on the prospects of becoming dead.  Looking back at those days… we were the ones to worry about.

Looking back a little closer at those days, and the days after, and, right up to this minute, it was never about anything but selfishness and animal-like pack rat greed here in America.  Those with power hated communists because communists would take away their stuff.  Communists would, at least in theory, eliminate both poverty and wealth.  What could possibly be worse for a wealthy person than that?

None of that has changed.  The primary concern of people with wealth and power is getting more and never losing what they have to people who have less.  “Damn the depression, starvation, misery and mayhem… full speed ahead!”  

So, what do we tell the kids?

When a young person asks you for advice what can you tell them that doesn’t make you feel kind of dirty inside?

I guess you could tell them about how much God loves them… but, you would have to hold your nose.

Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.

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That’ll teach um

[from the New York TIMES]
The Cleveland man accused of holding three women captive in his home for a decade entered a guilty plea on Friday in order to avoid the death penalty. 
The man, Ariel Castro, 53, pleaded guilty to 937 counts, including rape and kidnapping, in a plea agreement with prosecutors. Under the deal, he would spend life in prison without parole and receive 1,000 additional years.
All right… now Mrs. N. is no longer at all interested in the crime or the person who committed it.  I admit my interest was initially drawn to the question of what kind of a maniac would WANT to spend ten years with THREE women locked in their house when every man on the planet knows that one woman locked in your house is more than enough to make you want to kill yourself.  The guy, Ariel Castro, 53, obviously had an oversized helping of mental difficulties.  But who can think about that now?
All I can think about is what must have gone on in the conference room down at Prosecutorial Headquarters.  Who was it that came up with the idea that LIFE in prison without the possibility of parole wasn’t enough to teach this poor crazy bastard “enough” of a lesson?  I mean…. How did this go down?
Who was the first one to say that being locked in a cage until you die of old age isn’t enough punishment?  AND, what the hell does 1000 additional years even mean?  Did one of the prosecutors suggest an extra 500 years, and another yell out “That’s too fucking good for the bastard!”…?  Did they finally settle on 1000 years extra because they got word from Mr. Castro’s defense team that if the offer was LIFE plus 1250 years they were prepared to fight for their client until hell freezes over?  Or… perhaps the only question really worth trying to get an answer for…  When they presented this ridiculous idea to the Judge, why the hell didn’t he say…. “OK, get the fuck out of my court and don’t come back until you’re not high any more.”
LOS ANGELES — Besieged by accusations of sexual harassment, Mayor Bob Filner of San Diego announced Friday that he would enter two weeks of what he described as intensive behavior therapy, but he refused to bow to a flood of demands that he step aside.  Mr. Filner, 70, in a hastily called news conference, apologized to his staff, his city, his supporters and “most of all, to the women I have offended.”
I watched his live news conference on television as I ate my lunch.  Standing at his side, just to his left, as he confessed to being a shameless serial groper of female flesh was one of his female assistance holding a notebook and papers.  All I could think of was how glad I was that it wasn’t me standing there confessing.  If it were me, of course, the news conference would have gone quite differently.
As my readers are aware I am the carrier of a double compliment of [CL426], or, as it is referred to by geneticists… The cheap laugh gene.  Were it me I would have had no choice but to sneak my left hand around behind my young assistant and pinch her sharply on the behind, causing her to jump and cry out, right in the middle of my elaborate confession and heart felt promises never again to engage in such unseemly and un-gentleman like behavior.  I would deny doing it of course… suggest it was perhaps a flea.
The irony of this whole mess is that on that very day another famous person, and notorious groper of female flesh, was turning 70, the same age as our poor Mayor of San Diego.  He never had to apologize for his antics.  There were never any threats of him losing his job, or, requests that he step down.  The women he groped, rather than initiating legal suits and claims of serious psychological damage more often than not bragged to their friends, and treated their experience more like an honor than a crime.
The absurdity of it ALL is almost too beautiful.
Happy Birthday Mick
Kiss, kiss
Mrs. N.

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Meditation

Every year, and always in the high heat of the summer I get a project going that involves heavy physical labor, bucket loads of sweat and a flirtatious dance with heat stroke.   This year is no exception.  Last week I had 15 cubic yards of stone delivered and dumped in an out of the way place.  It’s only been a few days (in the 90’s) and I have already taken a decent bite out of the pile.  I’m moving the stone to various locations on driveways, parking areas and other sites where it will do some good.  I shovel early in the morning and observe the sun as it rises spreading that early summer light that is almost horizontal, and so beloved by those with a bent toward the “artistic”.

I called this latest paper thin slice of the absurd “Meditation” because that is what hard physical labor provides me with in a way that no other method, school or technique ever has.   It’s my favorite kind of work.  It’s the kind of work that lets you see all along that you are accomplishing something.  Every shovel full the pile gets smaller, and with every wheelbarrow load the area being covered with new stone gets larger and neater looking.  I get a good feeling out of that.  Some of it is the hard physical exercise, I know, but I never get that kind of a feeling from hard exercise unless it is accomplishing something.  I have long been of the opinion that “working out“… as so many of my fellow humans do, in a gym, spa, or, establishment loaded with mechanical equipment meant to “isolate” various muscle groups for attention is incredibly stupid.  When I look around I see that there is SO MUCH work that needs to be done!  SO MANY things and places that could, with work, be made to shine and into something we can be proud of.

It makes you wonder about a country with SO MUCH work that needs doing and… (wait for it)… NO jobs.

But work… hard physical labor anyway is a funny thing in American culture.  Just saying that I enjoy it opens up a whole can of worms.  Am I just being elitist?  Isn’t it elitist to say you love physical labor when you have more degrees than a thermometer and never HAVE to do any, other than for “recreation”.  It certainly could be.  It’s not in my case.

I’m one of the lucky bastards that has a choice.  I don’t have to pick up a shovel every morning and do hard manual labor to put food on the table.  But, I’m lucky enough to have experienced times when I did.  It taught me more about life than any professor, book, or, class I ever took.  It’s almost funny when I look back on it now.  How much I learned about being human without knowing I was learning at all.

As a culture we reserve the dirtiest, hardest and most lowly work for those on the short end of the stick.  The backbreaking, rip your body up, work is done by those we see on the lowest place on the cultural totem pole.   The “Dirty Jobs” we call them, and you are supposed to get a good education so that you don’t have to do them.   The Dirty Jobs are the jobs you DON’T want your children to grow up to do.  You want them to be better than that.

You want them to be “Better than That”.

I have news….  Being an investment banker who fucks people out of their life savings, or, a salesman who convinces people they need something they really don’t, or, an office worker who pushes paper around, or, a government employee who spends his/her day hiding from responsibility or anything that even comes close to honest work, or, a teacher who died of boredom years ago, but, still shows up every day, or anybody who does ANYTHING for “The Money” and for the money alone IS ANYTHING BUT ….. Better than that.

Those are life’s losers.

Those are the depressed.

Those are the fools who sell their lives for money to buy things they don’t need, and then wonder how it all went wrong.

Those are the people who never had the luxury of looking down at something they did with their hands and thinking to themselves….. God Damn…. That’s something I can be proud of.

People who understand that feeling built the world and everything good in it.  All the others can offer is ten thousand ways to fuck it up.

(If you don’t understand any of this, perhaps, it was just the heat.  Perhaps Mrs. N. just stayed out in the sun too long today.  I don’t rightly know.  But, I know this.  If you tell a person to dig a hole, put a shovel in his/her hand and come back half an hour later….  That hole will tell you EVERYTHING you need to know about them.)

Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.

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