Second Index Page

Governor Ducey, El Presidente Trump, and The Gaucho Martin Fierro

Joseph Warren, Editor

I knew the Judge had a down on me,
For I’m no politician;
On voting day I had stayed away,
And somebody since had heard him say
That those that didn’t vote for him
Were helping the opposition.

Jose Hernandez,
The Gaucho Martin Fierro

What an incredible epic poem,
El Gaucho. The meter, the variations, the context and content are all mesmerizing and reminiscent of Cervantes’ Quixote, in a sense, and in a sense not. I’d thank Christopher Isherwood for the recommendation, but that would be somewhat difficult: I came to this book through another of Isherwood’s literate travel diaries, The Condor and the Cows, a typically Isherwood-esque chronicle of his travels through South America in a manner and at nearly the same time as Ernesto Che Guevara, and, to a large extent taking in much the same geography. (Read also Isherwood’s, Journey to a War.)

Isherwood by this time had become well known and travelled within a fairly affluent budget, while Guevara, as is painfully obvious in his
Motorcycle Diaries, was destitute and struggling along with his compañero, Alberto Granado. Interestingly, both Isherwood and Guevara took away much the same in knowledge and understanding, probably owing to Isherwood’s similar Left-leaning political inclination.

El Gaucho goes where Quixote could not: where there was romance and the promise of bliss that drove Quixote to pursue his illusive conjured idyllic woman, the Gaucho describes lust, rape, and murder on the Argentine plains graphically and without apologies, including all of the necessary ingredients: (consensual and otherwise) Sex, Maté, Gin, the Pampas, Horses, Knives, Death, Destruction, Barbecued Meat, and Politics in an eloquently rendered translation in English by Walter Owen. (I’d very much like to read it in the original Spanish, but after struggling agonizingly twice through Marquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera and various Pablo Neruda poems, I’ve resigned myself to my apparent second-language deficiency.)

Martin Fierro, the eponymous Gaucho, is drafted into government service, as many were in that time in Argentina, to combat the indigenous population and pacify the countryside. (
Shanghaied would be more appropriate.) During his prolonged absence, he loses wife, children, livestock, home and hearth, and suffers much under the despotic control of his commander and underlings.

After three years, as I recall, he returns to find the ruins of his home and little else: he is impoverished in soul and material wealth. But, take heart: he is ultimately reunited with his sons and learns more clearly of his wife’s fate, and of course, a Gaucho may scrape from the land all that he needs to exist contentedly among the natural beauty and abundance of the Argentine Pampas.

Such is the hand dealt those who voluntarily serve under the aegis of a despot, but for those who refuse, the rewards are manifold. Today, our Arizona Governor Ducey was condemned by our President Trump for not manipulating our state’s election results in a manner favorable to Trump’s re-election, following our Supreme Court’s decision to pass on subverting our Constitution.

President Trump asks that we Arizonans remember this in the future and not re-elect Governor Ducey.

I want to promise President Trump that we Arizonans will not re-elect Governor Ducey on the expiration of his current term:
In fact, Mr. President, you have my word on that on behalf of all my fellow Arizonans.

(Editor’s note: Governor Ducey, a man of personal integrity and commitment to American ideals and to the will of my fellow Arizonans, is
in his second term and is precluded by our Constitution from serving an additional consecutive term. Mr. Trump: your admonishment is what comes from considering Twitter the well-spring for intellectual thought.)

Since those elections things got worse,
And more mixed up and shady;
A fankle of string without end or middle –
I’d like to have Justice solve this riddle:
How she rides on the pillion of every rogue,
And yet keeps her name as a lady?

- Ibid

I told you it was a nasty book...

This House was Built in 1911
Joseph Warren, Editor

To her, Goethe’s darling was still alive and still young, things that long since had become historic and legendary to us were still reality to her. I always felt a ghostlike atmosphere in her presence.

Stefan Zweig on Mrs. Demelius’ recollections of her childhood friend, Goethe’s granddaughter.
The World of Yesterday (Die Welt von Gestern)

“Don’t be put-off by the age…” was the beginning of a narrative of a home for sale on Zillow, not in Old Town Kingman, but some short distance away (less than a league off). That home was built in 1972, and as a semi-autodidact in Asian, American and European history, and one who lives in a reasonably new home built in 1911, I thought that was a bit strange to say.

Our home was built by Mary Eleanor Cohenour and is now known eponymously as the Cohenour House: it is constructed of Rusticated Concrete Block (RCB, which was cast on-site then to look like quarried stone blocks) on a perimeter and basement foundation. The windows are complex with multi-lite upper sashes, and to this day much of the original glass remains - seedy and wavy. The interior and exterior doors are very close grained Douglas fir and were “preserved” in many, many coats of early enamel then latex paint, containing enough lead to build a life-sized replica of the Brooklyn Bridge and still have enough left over to drop the average IQ at the Princeton Institute to 3.

Each door took three to five days to strip and finish. Each window, at least that amount of time to restore to pre-abandoned-maintenance condition. Each window is now covered with a storm window: frames for which we cut from cedar, beveled, glazed with double-strength panes, hung on period correct screen hangers, and painted a matching burgundy, of the three-color scheme we had landed on six years ago, not to protect against storm surge in Arizona, but to keep the wood from deteriorating and undoing what we had done.

Mary Eleanor Cohenour was a very successful businesswoman, and had this house built after her husband, Jacob Neff, left her for another “Mary” soon to be Cohenour, in 1906. Will wonders never cease?

“Our” Mary acquired, subdivided, and developed the many smaller streets that sit behind our house, and in earlier times were dubbed, the Cohenour Cottages: not a pejorative. She was very active in local theater often being cast as a matronly figure who held familial sway.

She held many events here: soirees and parties for friends, neighbors (few at that time), and officials. The house was frequently in the news, many times for her gardening prowess: corn, grapes, almonds.

When this home was built, China’s Qing dynasty had just fallen: the last of thousands of years of dynastic rule. Until 1911 China had resisted more than two hundred years of violent incursion by Portuguese, British, US, Russian, French, Japanese (and other) imperialist usurpation of resources; including, and most egregiously, serving as a dumping ground for US and British conveyed Opium intended to spread the disease of drug use, addiction, and pacification throughout China’s vast population to the ultimate benefit of Drug Lord families here, such as that from which our American hero, John Kerry came, and other American notables as well.

The Opium Wars continued off-and-on for decades from the early 1800s resulting in the loss of Chinese lives in the hundreds-of-thousands (perhaps millions, although no official “body counts” were made) at the swords and cannons of American and British forces.

The fan kuei (collectively, us) sold a great deal more than they bought (in tea and silk); every year more and more silver dollars…left the Gulf of Canton…Now the emperor faced a deepening money crisis as well. By the middle 1830s the relentless outflow of silver…had driven his principal civil servants to distraction, and to a man they blamed the crisis on opium…(and) for brigandage, for corrupting the army and civil service, for ruining increasing numbers of Chinese.

The Opium War
Peter Ward Fay

Homes and families, on a vast, nearly incomprehensible scale were viciously destroyed by us and our distribution of opium. Today, we believe that dumping Smartphones and other Chinese-made goods through Walmart and a host of other online and brick-and-mortar co-conspirator retailers serves to the detriment of the American worker, and worthy of sanctions, and the threat of international conflagration. Irony abounds in history.

And then there was the Boxer Rebellion in 1900…

Many Westerners recalled the direst of Chinese maledictions, “May you live in interesting times.”

The Spirit Soldiers (Boxer Rebellion)
Richard O’Connor

Stemming from our persistent need to take from others (non-Christians) believing them to be subhuman and unworthy of sovereignty or respect, our greed and wantonness had reached a climax in the minds and lives of many Chinese eclipsing their relative docility, the end result of which was a massive uprising against resident foreign powers. The “Boxers” were so-called because of their style of fighting, which from a Westerner perspective seemed pugilistic.

Fortunately, by murdering many tens-of-thousands of Chinese men, women and children, we eventually treated with them to a reconciliation that gave us territories and access, against which we were better able to launch further
future depredations.

After the many wars had ended and the last of the dynasties was about to topple…

…this house was built.

China then fell into the hands of warlords and tyrants, many of whom found strengthened regional authority, wielding corruption and death broadly and without mercy, virtually enslaving a region’s populace, much like every post-apocalyptic America movie we’ve ever seen, and just as violent. In fact, very much like Afghanistan and Iraq today: thanks to our efforts, as well.

At this writing, President Trump or President Elect Biden (President Brump? Triden?) proposes to remove all of our troops from these never-ending wars, much as the Soviet Union did in 1989.
History tells us that nothing happened after that, other than the collapse of the Soviet Union, widespread revolution, anarchy, death and financial ruin, so everything should be fine.

From 1911, China began a nearly forty year struggle to emerge in 1949 under Chairman Mao, while the exiled Chiang Kai-Shek moved off to “succeed” to Taiwan, but that was another story and much later: and we’re still at 1911 when this house was built. (Read,
Chiang Kai-Shek, Jonathon Fenby, for an illuminating history of this controversial and mercurial leader of China’s republic (for a relatively short time). It, too is a very informative look at an important international leader and strangely beguiling spouse, as well as an account of our intense US involvement once again working to manipulate China’s future.)

Elsewhere in the world, in 1915 the
Lusitania was sunk off the coast of Ireland by U20, a German submarine under the command of a strong-hearted patriot of the German navy. 105 years hence, and the cause of this tragedy is still pondered. Following my reading of Erik Larson’s Dead Wake, I am more than certain that Churchill, then First Lord of the Seas or some such really great job title, manipulated circumstances that placed the Lusitania in the gunsite of U20 to stimulate American intercession in the failing British effort to defend against the aggressing German (and other Central Powers) forces. “Rule Britannia” was, alas, no more, unless one counts the Falklands War, which to Argentines was just insulting.

It took far more than the
Lusitania disaster to shake Wilson out of his eros-induced torpor, while British, French, Russian (and numerous other Entente members) “lives lost” numbered into the millions - military and civilian. But eventually we joined in.

And probably from this house, and from the many houses across and up and down the then-gravel streets of what we now call Old Town, departed those who would wage war in a place so remotely different from Kingman Arizona. Some of them would come back when it was “over, over there.” Some wouldn’t, and like many towns in America we have a war memorial in Railroad Park, which used to be Kingman’s professional Baseball field. The Cubs, Pirates, and others used the field for off-season training and exhibition games…

…while this house looked on a few yards away.

Stefan Zweig (ibid) rightly discoursed furiously about the destruction of Beethoven’s House in 1903 on Schwarzspanierstraße, Vienna. Here in Kingman, while never the official home of any noted composer, our City’s leadership does not let history obstruct the advancement of new, cheap, architecturally depraved homes and other buildings, either. They are driven by pay-offs and other considerations that always put me in mind of Mel Brooks’ line in Blazing Saddles, I think, where as the small-town mayor he justifies his actions exclaiming,
We’ve got to save our chickenshit jobs!

And so they do at the cost of local history.

Between “Big” wars, this house changed hands twice and served, having reconfigured the old Carriage House on the opposite side of the block, as a commercial laundry facility for central Kingman. Streets were paved covering over the old dirt motorways and in the depth of our Great Depression, the WPA, our Works Progress Administration who “employed” millions of out-of-work, destitute Americans in Public Works projects, laid in sidewalks in the 1930s much of which remains today – intact, unbroken, level, and clearly stamped. They are as new – 90 years hence. Here, if you walk through Old Town you can walk on history, even as the City labors desperately to remove our past to make way for crappy chain restaurants and stores and car dealerships and monolithic government building atrocities.

So while the WPA was improving Kingman, Japan and China mixed it up in the vilest way possible, and in Germany there began the rise to prominence of an otherwise very unremarkable former German army corporal who really, really just wanted to paint for a living. In retrospect, any number of us would have supported his enrollment in the
French Academy. We didn’t, but he did manage to paint out the lives of more than 11 million people, many of whom were guilty of practicing a different form of prayer, much like our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, only the Jews didn’t control vast oil fields as the Iraqis did in Majnoon and West Qurna, raffled off to industry giants like Shell and Exxon-Mobil: Father Timothy announcing the winner of the church raffle, “Well, will wonders never cease? The new Cadillac has been won by our own Monsignor O’Reilly.”

Many more millions of dead later: this house still stood.

In 1946 this house was acquired by Mae McMullen, known by various surnames owing to changing life circumstances, marking the thread of ownership that lasted for nearly 60 years. By all accounts, she was a remarkable woman: Chief Surgical Nurse at Mohave County Hospital, which stood until a little more than a decade ago not more than one
Li away, she worked with the famous and infamous in Kingman medicine, including one of our most recognizable doctors who from the 1930s onward practiced his surgical craft while completely toasted on alcohol: still, his patients were loyal and believing. He was fairly short, kindly (probably owing to his condition), and while there were several other qualified physicians in Kingman, he is fondly recalled by some long-time residents.

Mae was tall, strong, intelligent and raised her children in this house, none of whom were infants here. Thus, Mae’s grandchildren occasionally find their way to us through email, phone or visit. We learn so much about the house that way.

In 1950, the year I came about, on the Korean peninsula the first of our Asian US proxy wars began, eventually drawing us into a civil war that was supported on the opposing side by China and the Soviet Union. Arguably, it remained a proxy war for them during the duration of the conflict. Our total war dead numbered about 36,000, with tens-of-thousands of walking dead bringing up the rearguard.

The US was booming, though, as only the US may from time-to-time, with only minor setbacks we called
recessions, mostly effecting smaller swaths of specialized industry, like in Defense, such as for my father. But we lived in Highland Park just on the outskirts of Los Angeles in a neighborhood not unlike where this house abides in Kingman.

During our second year of caretaking this house, I finally got around to looking more closely at the concrete basement wall on the East side. I had already ripped out four iterations of plumbing going back to the original well pipes that supplied the house from the still-working well, although we draw our house water from City supply for clarity sake. I replaced everything with Pex and SharkBite fittings: I will never sweat copper again!

In the wall I noticed several deep scars from which some of the concrete was sloughing off. Fearing the worst, I welded up a bracing for that span of flooring above, treated and patched the concrete.

“Dad (referring to Mae’s teenage son, the woman’s father with whom we were speaking) used to go into the basement with my uncle while grandma was at work and fire grandma’s .45 caliber into the concrete wall…”

The next day, “Ooooooh! I get it.” I stuck my finger in the hole, “This is a bullet hole! And so is this…and this…and this…”

During this chance to learn more about Mae, we were told that the “boys” often climbed into the attic and fired live rounds from the latticework hip roof opening on the front of the house covering the arched concrete porch. I suppose this was better.

Time in this house passed virtually undisturbed, and the “boys” have all gone to Glory after having lived an acceptable lifespan, just as we all must. And, as of this writing, not even Jeff Bezos can do anything about that.

What’s happened since the Korean War? Not much…

We’ve fought so many wars and killed so many people; famine and disease have taken millions; the ebb and flood of economic collapse and resurgence has left a lasting and often overlooked legacy of what to expect from life; people have come into the world, and people have left; the universe is getting smaller, and perhaps multiplied; we know that this world is not of continuous matter but insist on viewing it as such, because in our restricted consciousness, it’s the only game in town; we continue to view our fellow human beings as we did in the 1600s; and, most importantly, globally we’ve grown from about 2-1/2 to nearly 8 billion people during my lifespan, most of whom own Smartphones, and in an effort to further humanity, post images and videos of themselves having sex, alone or otherwise: we are not advancing as a society. In fact, we are on the retrograde.

So, let me ask you something
Realtor representing the 1972 home I first mentioned at the beginning of this piece: Why on earth would I be “put-off” by a home built so recently as 1972? So many homes in America pre-date our little home by a few centuries and chronicle events beginning with the Spanish invasion of North America. Like you, probably, I’ve slept in homes abroad built in the time of Shakespeare.

Old Homes have essence, spirit, and are quantum vessels that I believe still hold the remainders of those who came before. Old homes can evoke love, peace, or a sense of belonging that cannot be realized in a new home, no matter how the builder may sloganize variations on “Come home to Larchmont” or wherever. You will not be home there: you will just inhabit space. Perhaps, fifty years hence one who lives there will be “home” if, and this is very important given the quality of construction, it remains standing.

If you’re now thinking,
Jesus! I gotta buy an old house and get me some of that peace and tranquility shit! Recall that there will likely be some work to be done. But through that work the house becomes your home. Of course one can always search out something completely renovated, but that can be a very pricey proposition in today’s real estate market: maybe not next year. Who knows? We didn’t learn from the last “Great Recession” just a few years ago.

Here’s Rule One:
Don’t Home Depot an historic home. Doing so ought to be a Capital Offense. It’s the same with classic cars: If one puts a 350 Chevy in a 1939 Plymouth, it’s no longer a 1939 Plymouth. It’s something else, and it is not preservation.

Here’s Rule Two:
Go to Scott Sidler’s site, the Craftsman’s Blog: and learn about what it takes to do it right. In his profile image Scott is wearing a flannel plaid shirt. I too have an obligatory flannel plaid shirt because “…if you get an outfit, you can be a cowboy too.” (Smother’s Brothers, Streets of Laredo.) And if you’re a woman, wearing plaid flannel doesn’t ipso facto make you a lesbian, but I still discourage our publisher (and my wife), Greta, from wearing one.

What’s rewarding is to know that what we’ve done to this house will remain for decades, even centuries to come. Perhaps subsequent owners will become curious and research the subject; maybe they will come to know us, and through this effort,
carry us forward in time. Kurt Gödel would be proud.

Goethe said something like, if you really want to appreciate a work of art you should see it while it’s being made. Greta’s now working on a piece with a working title of,
Cubs in Kingman. In it, three boys are standing at the wooden fence at our old ballpark watching the Cubs in exhibition circa 1950-something.

Cubs Game - 1

Would Jesus Social Distance?
Joseph Warren, Editor

“Wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good.”

Love in the Time of Cholera

Last Supper 2 - 3_Fotor

Last Supper in the Time of Covid
Greta Warren-Hill

During Biblically chronicled plagues it's likely that no one considered the importance of maintaining Social Distancing: all too familiar to us today. But, what if they had? What if Jesus Christ had demanded that a social distance be kept between Himself and His apostles? How might that have looked?

The artist (and our co-publisher), Greta Warren-Hill, reimagines the “Last Supper” out of the far too many iterations of this historically-significant prandial event in her latest piece,
Last Supper in the Time of Covid where the last meal before crucifixion was shared between Jesus and His apostles, as Judas departs through a doorway in the upper right. The title is borrowed from one of our favorite writers: Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera.

Oil on aluminum panel. 12 X 16 inches (30.5 X 41cm approximate) unframed. Mounted in a hand-crafted 16 X 20 inch (41 X 51cm) frame. Learn more about the painting by visiting our sister site,

Joseph Warren, Editor

I hope I never again have to withstand seeing another case of sheer police brutality like that.

Malcolm X,
The Autobiography, as told to Alex Haley

Some days ago when I began this piece it was to center around the serendipitous discovery of the book I have for years intended to read:
the Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, noted author of, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, a contentious American epic most noted for its vastly popular serialization on mainstream television. Everyone watched it; everyone talked about it. It lives on today.

The original article herein was entitled,
Do Black Lives Matter? It began with this statistic:

In 2018, 88.9% of Black Homicide Victims were killed by Blacks
FBI: Uniform Crime Report

And, it is a truism. But why?

Black people are no different from white: biologically, we’re all the same. It must come down to skin, and the way in which we are conditioned to see skin as a representation of the essence of a person, simplifying our assessment and positioning our behavior, in turn. This isn’t
a priori: it’s acquired subtly through our language – the way in which we express our thoughts. Language is everything to us – written or verbal. When we encounter an event in life, we draw on that accumulated knowledge and anecdotal information from our elders and others (all based on and conveyed by language), and to the best of our mental ability, decide on a course of action.

Language is History. It is Literature. It is Science. It is Humanity. It is cinema. It is drama. And throughout the centuries we have come to learn that Black is not a good thing (in a European sense). As a result, Black people are seen by some as the personification of the word’s negative connotations, however they may be re-sensitized as a result to act in response.

We are taught:

Black is the absence of light and color. It is absolute darkness. It is of what the Bible says we are deprived when taken from the Light of God owing to sinful acts. It is frightening. It is evil. It is criminal. It is treacherous. It is cold. It is a terrible occurrence in one’s life. It is a state of mind to be avoided. It is murderous. It is suicidal. It is financial ruin. It is a deadly plague. It is a mephitic aura.

And every day we are subjected to this litany of affirmations in our casual discussions, at work, in school, in church, in the supermarket, online, in cinema, in books, in financial reports, and in every form imaginable. Even when your screen goes
Black, its meaning is affirmed.

One may be Black and Blue, Black Listed, Blackmailed, Blacked Out, Black Jacked, and Black Marked. You may be the Black Sheep or Black Swan of your family. History tells us that vast numbers of us have been killed by the Black Plague or Black Death, and others through Black Magic. Black Humor is arguably not funny. Say the wrong thing and get a Black Eye. A Black Widow is a deadly spider. The Black Hand is the Hand of Death. Black Ice is dangerous and Black Mold is a slow killer.

There are a multitude of other deadly-negative connotations regarding
Black pervading our language and culture. Each one, I believe, shapes and conditions us to expect something ill to occur when the word Black is used conjunctively to describe an event or occurrence in our lives. Even Science uses it in Cosmology to describe one of many points in space-time that are truly inexplicable and unfathomably destructive: the remnants of a once-powerful light that has collapsed upon itself leaving a mysterious Black Hole in its stead capable of consuming everything in its orbit and relegating it to...

So why do Blacks kill Blacks, when it would seem that throughout American History we whites have killed off so many Blacks in the most abhorrent of ways that Blacks killing Blacks would seem to be counter-intuitive, if not completely absurd? Should not America’s Blacks understand that their lives have meaning and purpose beyond to serve as a target of violence and hatred, mired in a deadly tango with their Black counterparts?

That’s the essence of what Malcolm X conveyed in his autobiography: the purpose behind his later life until his untimely death. It was the message of belief: to hold fast to the understanding that every Black life mattered,
but in turn each Black person had a duty, an obligation to live life in a manner that is consistent with discipline, learning, achievement, worship, and the obligations inherent with being a Black man or woman in America then, and today, and to thus rise above those who would degrade them out of their own inferiority.

I knew of Malcolm X – one couldn’t have been sentient in the 1950s and 60s without knowing who he was: he was a change agent that manifested pride in a people who had yet to arise from the smoldering hate of Jim Crow America. He influenced a part of our country to stand up and make their presence known. He taught Black America to love and respect each other and to cast aside contrivances and act genuinely as a father, mother, son or daughter. At the time, he made a very large percentage of Black America see themselves differently. He uplifted them in a way no one, including Martin Luther King, has since, in my opinion.

So why do so many Blacks kill Blacks? I don’t have the answer, but I would suggest that the associative meaning of the word Black likely has the same meaning for all English-speaking humans. Perhaps it is the same manifestation as that found in the
self-loathing Jews described by Theodor Hertzl, or the self-loathing Italian, or self-loathing…

Language is everything to us. Without it, there is no humanity. And language goes to our very soul. It is who we are.

Before the arrival of Europeans, in Africa a Black man wasn’t a Black man: he was just a man. No tribal reporter walked up to a man on the street and asked,
As a Black man how do you feel about..?

Perhaps we need to move closer to that ideal today and embrace a society where a Black man is just a man deserving of the same respect as any man of any color, because skin doesn’t tell us anything about who he or she is. Maybe someday we shall, but not with our current leadership leading the way to greater division.

If you haven’t read
Malcolm X’s autobiography, you ought to.
Read, Ernst Pawel’s
A Labyrinth of Exile, A Life of Theodor Herzl. A man of profound influence at a time when Zionism was embryonic.

Los Trumpistas y Los Democráticos
Joseph Warren, Editor

“We’re opposed to Cartagena’s tyranny here too,” said Señor Molinares.
“I know,” (General Bolivar) said. “Every Columbian is an enemy country.”

The General in His Labyrinth

sui generis and Dionysian President Trump proposes to hinder vote-by-mail efforts in order to manipulate circumstances so that he may, through the machinations of obscure and vestigial Constitutional provisions and federal law, forestall the November election, at the least...

At the most, I can easily imagine him (attempting) to invoke martial law due to the state of chaos created by financial collapse – real or manipulated, a national health emergency stemming from a resurgence of Covid-19, and continued and evolving civil unrest from those issues presently plaguing our society. And I’m not the only one who thinks that.

Would this action constitute a
coup d'état, in the traditional South American sense? Or, might we consider it a temporary suspension of apodictic practice?

What a country, no?

Today we stand on opposite sides of an abyss: Trumpistas on one and Democratitos on the other, and Mephistopheles reigns over us all, observer or participant: there is no escape.

A sunny, pleasant day in Sunnyvale, California, October 1967. Ché had just been murdered by the CIA in Bolivia. I was outraged, in an adolescent way, while my Dad and Uncle Charlie were celebratory. I expressed my contrary opinion, to which my Uncle Charlie responded, “Why don’t you move to Cuba then!” My Dad thought that was humorous. I did not and in some juvenile way gave it some consideration, but elected to run off to the French Foreign Legion instead. (Later I dismissed both plans and focused on diddling Becky who attended Mother Butler High School a Catholic girls school.)

I would have been more successful with the French Foreign Legion. But, interestingly, as it has come to pass so many years later, I didn’t have to escape to Cuba because it has come to us: not the politics of it, but the Latin nature of a whimsical government teetering on the edge of oblivion while its leadership and pretenders to leadership hide out in bunkers and basements surrounded only by their most loyal loyalists forces, who themselves are subject to spontaneous purges at the whim of
El Maximo Jeffe. In a sense it is nearly the reincarnation of Pinochet versus our conception of Nicholas Maduro: Señor Biden.

¡Qué mundo!
(One ought to use South American expressions today in order to convey the full context of our present condition.)

I have been reading and re-reading omnivorously for months now (actually for years, but most recently immersively) and the day after I finished Marquez’s incredibly fascinating biographical-novel regarding South America’s Great Liberator, Simón Bolívar, who, with the help of countless compadres and societal elites, managed to give the boot to Spain and attempted to bring about a unified South America, only to find the whole of the
Sud America become its own worst enemy. Thus the exasperated, Every Columbian is an enemy country.

They became fearful of each other, fretful of imperialist countries, distrustful of each country’s leadership, and having experienced for millennia before, poverty and starvation, they grew intensely wary. Decadal periods of civil unrest and commensurate death and destruction ensued.

Optimistically, we are nearly in a parallel situation today: we are, in fact, on the precipice. Like the majority of Americans, I’d very much like to see this Grand Experiment go on into the future. I worry it will not owing to the actions of a minority, both Left and Right, whose self-loathing will likely lead to self-destruction.

I am not the
Prophet Joseph, by any means, but in 2006 we authored a 25,000 word article entitled, The Coming of Deseret. It is about the collapse of the United States. The story begins, ironically enough, in the city of Seattle, our presently designated Free Zone who, by some, is described as an Autonomous Zone resembling a Mad Max script.

So, for those interested, here’s the lead-in,
and at this link (scroll down to “Deseret”) is the full article.

From the Seattle Times, Jonas Lindquist reporting:

“Less than one year ago I sat at a table under an umbrella at an outdoor bistro with an associate of mine while we commiserated on the ill state of society.

“We talked about the economy and how, although it seemed lackluster and stagnant, was as regular as a clock in its recovery. We spoke about politics and how in many times past we opined on the logical successors to leadership of these United States. We talked about our families – our wives and our children. We spoke about what we would do after we retired.

“We planned our individual futures and prophesized that, although fraught with difficulties, the United States would continue, just as empires in the past had long succeeded in doing. We conjectured that eventually a future generation might bear witness to the collapse of the United States, and when that time came we speculated that it would be a period of immense upheaval.

“We mourned the loss of reason, but saw the world today as a place where the new logic that had settled in on the populace, although exceedingly different from what we perceived as the norm, was not deadly. Change has always been subtle. Change has always been slight. Who could have calculated, say, just five years ago in 2007 that the United States would end with such swiftness?

“In retrospect, I suppose anyone who has read history could have predicted it. It’s just that we were all so involved in our day-to-day lives: sitting at outdoor cafes, talking about politics, working, shopping, dining out, thinking about the future, while the ship sailed on with no one at the wheel.

“It’s ironic. It’s even thrilling in an eerie way to see something so wonderful caught in its last throes of life, like a great ancient beast finally caught by one too many spears from a horde of long-lost hunters. What will tomorrow bring, I wonder?” (Editor’s note: Jonas Lindquist was killed April 9th, 2012 while covering the Battle for Spokane. This was his last dispatch.)

Read, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s
The General in His Labyrinth
Read, Ché Guevara’s
The Complete Bolivian Diaries of...

A Place to Stop
Joseph Warren, Editor

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

The World Is Too Much With Us

And Du Bois is worthy of remembering today:

Herein lies the tragedy of the age: not that men are poor - all men know something of poverty; not that men are wicked - who is good? not that men are ignorant - what is Truth? Nay, but that men know so little of men.

W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk

Bildung, Nietzsche, Goethe, Mann, and Donald Trump
Joseph Warren, Editor

Nothing is more repulsive than the majority, for it consists of a few strong leaders, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak men who assimilate themselves, and of the mass that troops after them all, without knowing the least what it wants.

Wilhelm Meister’s Journeyman Years

I have been left wandering, sometimes soullessly, amid the electronic rolls of binary-yellow journalism the last few months (as have most of you) caught in the political muck raked and stirred by those who would benefit the most, both Right and Left. Like a mantra from which my very breath is gained I repeat, “in this best of all possible worlds” thinking of Voltaire, and as the storms brew and collapse and endlessly litter the beach with the detritus of a possibly failing society, I sometimes feel defeated, even in my role as only an observer.

If Nietzsche was right and we are bound to experience this existence eternally again and again, then we must embrace it for what it is worth, living a path of
Amor Fati, if for nothing more than as a means to preserve our sanity.

If Gödel’s promise of an infinite number of universes in which we are presently living moments of “Now” is correct, then those who live within the Ninth Circle will likely spend eternity in a Hell to which fate has relegated them, while the rest of us are mandated to watch, fixed in our gaze like witnesses to a train wreck: turning aside is not possible. We must observe and take note, and that is
our fate.

If Einstein’s conception of a multiverse reality is the manner of true universal existence, perhaps somewhere right now, we’re doing what we ought to do to bring our lives harmoniously back in line to live out Time Eternal in balance and peace.

In the last several months I’ve read and thought much on the concept of
Bildung, the single German word, which like so many other single German words, encapsulates a lifetime of study. Oddly enough in this case, it is roughly defined as a lifetime of study: acquiring knowledge to deepen one’s comprehension and experience of life, to, and this is very important, the best of one’s ability.

It is what Goethe wrote of in his many timeless
Bildungsroman – books concerning or evoking the concept of self-growth and heightened understanding of one’s self and of the world writ much larger. To find a lone pearl of enhanced understanding is not possible, because each evokes an introspection and an expansion of thought and perspective that signally can alter one’s path.

Perhaps at the heart of Goethe’s writing is Thomas Mann’s axiom that a
path always seems longer when we first walk it than when we come to know it. Although in the Magic Mountain his intent may have been a simple illustration regarding a physical reality, perhaps it was rather, a commentary on Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence and that through the practice of Bildung we are better able to navigate the succession of existence to which we are inextricably bound.

As an observer of existence I can say with all certainty that this arena in which this life exists has been as of late populated with people who practice thinking at a novitiate (or lesser) level. These people, both young and old, rely instead on the abundant opinions of others: The
Unread Masses. They haven’t attempted to fill their minds with History or Science or Math or Philosophy or any other subject of value: they predominantly only vomit what they’ve read on Social Media or have seen on television, YouTube, Twitter or the ruin of all rational thought, Facebook. They fill the rest of the vacant space with consumerism and avarice and prejudices and imagine themselves apart from the rest – superior in some strange, self-serving aspect, which others fail to see.

They are people like Donald Trump, as an example, whose immersion in Literature or Science or Philosophy or...any subject that does not involve losing or making money, is apparently very limited. His knowledge and understanding of people extends only to himself and to those he has created, and importantly, only those about whom he is proud to acknowledge. And,
they are people like Joe Biden whose arrogance appeals to a different political inclination. Both considered, they are a dismal pair. And this leaves us with what?

This leaves the rest of us to…observe, and to do as Nietzsche suggested and view our circumstances as necessary - to embrace them or to, at the least, acknowledge their impact on our lives. Through this we may avoid running into the streets naked and screaming.

Read, W. H. Bruford’s
The German Tradition of Self-Cultivation (Bildung) to both gain knowledge and as a means to a new perspective of self.

Read, Thomas Mann’s
The Magic Mountain to enhance your understanding of one of the world’s greatest writers.

Read, Goethe’s series on
Wilhelm Meister, because he had and has so much to say, all these years after.

The Up! Side of Coronavirus
Joseph Warren, Editor

What is the use of reducing infantile mortality when it is precisely that reduction which imposes the greatest restraint on us in the begetting of children, so that, taken all round, we nevertheless rear no more children than in the days before the reign of hygiene…and have probably worked against the beneficial effects of natural selection?

Sigmund Freud,
Civilization and its Discontents

A Freudian Reality, below: “The world today is now populated by nearly eight billion people. China hosts more than 1.4 billion, and India brings up a close second place at more than 1.36 billion. Here, in the United States, our population has grown from around 200 million in 1965 to its present (about) 330 million. When Freud wrote Civilization and its Discontents, the world population hovered at around 2 billion souls, in 1930: far too many then by some accounts.”


Early in 2019 we wrote about the present state of the world, population, and the defeat of natural population controls on our global growth. (See,
A Freudian Reality, below.) A year later, the situation has, perhaps, abruptly changed if in fact the Coronavirus is as deadly as some say. If the virus is fairly benign, as others contend, then we will remain mired in the conditions associated with a bloated population: hunger, poverty, climate change, deadly pollution…

In April or May after the hysteria has dissipated, some of you will wipe your brows and consider how fortunate you are to be alive: perhaps there’s a lesson to be gained. Others, the
Doubting Thomases, such as myself, will wonder how an allegedly civilized society could have permitted such an openly turgid display of emotions to overcome logic: According to the Centers for Disease Control, during the 2017 Flu Season, 61,000 people died in the United States as a result of contracting the Influenza virus. To date (March 19, 2020) the Coronavirus has allegedly claimed 150 lives.

And yet, we are gnashing our teeth and renting our garments in anguish. We are as 2000 years ago.

Erich Fromm asked, “Are we Sane?” The answer is, No. We are not. We only desperately want to think that we are enlightened, evolved, and stable.

From 1918 to 1920 the “Spanish Flu” accounted for a global population reduction of from 17.4 million to more than 100 million, depending on varying sources. Generally, about 20 million is the accepted death total attributable to that strain of virus.

At about that time, our world population hovered around 1.8 billion, an estimate based on the lack of global accounting in-place today. So, the Spanish Flu reduced global population by about one (1) percent. If the more extreme rate is applied (5 X 1%) then this pandemic of historical proportions reduced the population by a factor of 5%, or something like 100,000,000, the higher estimate.

US population is currently at about 331,000,000. A 1% reduction would result in a net population remaining of about 327,000,000. At 5%, 314,000,000, which would set our
economic clock back to less than a decade ago.

Which demographic is likely to contribute greatest to the reduction in population?
Older people, like Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, me, and others in that bracket. Of those not old, but infirm: perhaps the physically challenged, those with debilitating illnesses, obese, pre-existing conditions adversely effecting health, intellectually sub-average, and others.

In short those
who by characteristics are typically culled from the ranks of the animal population in the wild, will be to some extent eliminated, reversing the harm we’ve done by, as Freud put it, (working) against the beneficial effects of natural selection.

Everyone globally is working frantically to defeat Natural Selection, with regard to the Coronavirus:

The Politically Liberal is doing so because they fear the massive loss of loved-ones, and, primarily, of their own lives. Ironically, their numbers include those who weep for the environment failing to see that a 5% drop in population equates (roughly) to a 5% drop in pollution. As we’ve already seen in China the Coronavirus-induced production slow-down has directly resulted in an historic decrease in air pollutants – Industrial & Transportation – reducing greenhouse gas emissions, particulate matter, water contaminants, and the menu of crap daily flushed into the air and our water supply.

The Politically Conservative is aggressively pursuing a cure because a precipitous drop in population is not good for Consumer Spending, Housing, Travel, and an endless list of revenue-generating economic activities likely to be dramatically stagnated (or worse) by an immediate loss of 15 million US consumers. And, working to bring a cure to market is good for Pharmaceuticals (and the Health Care industry, which now accounts for about 18% of our nation’s GDP).

Do I hope that the Natural Processes of our world are successful in reducing the burden? Of course not. Perhaps: it’s difficult to say. Like many of you I sometimes think,
There are too many of us on this little dirtball: something’s got to give, and maybe…maybe it is. But probably not.

Old People in Charge
Joseph Warren, Editor

“Baby it’s up to you,” is what she’s actually saying, “about how many times you wanta see me and all that – but I want to be independent like I say.”
And I go home having lost her love.
And write this book.
Jack Kerouac, The Subterraneans

The Septuagenarians
Co-Authors Don, Joe, Elizabeth & Bernie

Don had just come back from Elizabeth’s place in the mountains up north where he and “Lezzy” (as he called her) had been shooting huge quantities of Ensure getting way higher than they might under just the holiness of the Dharma: the being of spirit that resided in their minds’ eyes blossoming above like a giant goddamned flower of light and cosmic consciousness waving wildly above like our country’s beautiful fucking flag violently churned by the air, pitched over a base in the farthest reaches of an Afghan outpost. Bernie sat alone atoning for the sins of his four known prior lives after a reefer of tea that left him looking unkempt, but not discernibly different.

“Whadja smoke, man?” Don had to know.

“Pot…laced with rocket fuel, I think.” Bernie stumbled out. A silence followed. “I’ll be cool: it was only a one-percent mix. I hate one-percent! You can’t get really wet on one-percent.” He faded away. A trail of spittle drained from his lower lip.

“Yeah…” Don let go for just a moment then clawed his way to the surface of consciousness again, briefly. “You roll a blunt with that shit and it better be bigly.”

Elizabeth, mad as a hatter: “WAIT! I have no idea where Joe went!” in response to a question no one had asked. “Maybe to the shop around the corner to find a bottle or two: he knows I like my morning beer and eggs. He’ll be back if he doesn’t lose his way again. (She grows more excited) Maybe he’s looking for Depends, it all depends.”

Joe moved around her and from behind put his caressing hands on her shoulders and began a slow undulating rub, moving his palms further down her back across her bra strap; he popped it loose with his fingers through the fabric, like Snap! Her tits dropped free, her nipples growing erect from the movement of the sheer fabric against them.

She was gonna do him there, in the kitchen, even though Duluoz was due for his once-a-week thrasher, goddamned Canuck. Then, she recalled last night, Joe was sitting cross-legged covered in ash from the giant blunt he had just bogarted, and muttered, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, All men and women are created, by the, you know, you know the thing…” Everybody turned to him and stared at him and asked, What? nearly simultaneously. Bernie, The Viagra Kid, was mumbling in the corner humming a protest song from the ‘60s when this happened, and his mind had collapsed under the weight of the thousands of hits of acid that had worked their way through him over the last nearly eight decades of life.

Don drooled and shit his pants…again: Elizabeth’s a motherearther, and made him clean in body and soul (remembering the Tennessee Williams story about the Negro Turkish bath attendant and the little white fag - who was conspicuously absent). No woman will rule the rooster, no matter how contrite and intemperate. So it went.


So let me ask you: speaking to my fellow Americans of less than 40 years of age,
Why do you tolerate old people in roles of government leadership? Are you so cowed by the memories of your youth that you feel repressed and constrained by the accumulation of expected acceptable behavior jangling around in your Superego that you fear some vague repercussion if you criticize the presumptive leadership by Old People (in this case both incumbent and (remaining) challenger)?

This country’s future does not belong to Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, or Donald Trump (or to me), all Septuagenarians: it belongs to you. The world is your responsibility, but there is not a shepherd among you (that I have seen) who is given an even break.

Yet, ironically, I have known many younger people who have the integrity and intelligence to lead.

Why did you allow Pete to drop out of the race? Why did you not encourage Andrew Yang? Why are there not others –
those who actually own the future of this country and the world – both Republican and Democrat - seeking to lead into what is your tomorrow?

Are you too transfixed in technology? Are you too stoned on legal weed? Have you been so narcotized by the accumulation of gadgets and things of only superficial value? Are you so goddamned lazy that the thought of picking yourself up from the couch exhausts you to such an extent that it’s far easier to abrogate responsibility for your future and, rather, entrust the feeble-minded, such as you are doing in this election? The world cannot wait for you to wake up.

Facebook: You won’t find enlightenment there, only drivel and mindless crap. Same as Twitter and every other professed Social Media bullshit forum. Shut them down, for good and, Read, books of all genres to better understand the nature of the past and how mankind’s failures have led us to where we are today.

All knowledge is analogous. All knowledge is important to making sound decisions and to addressing the issues that lie ahead of you. Absorb as much as possible.

As an example, anyone who reads History would know that involving ourselves in Afghanistan-Iraq-Syria-Egypt-Yemen-(and on and on) was a fool’s mission, and has been so for countless fools for nearly countless millennia. Read Ahmed Rashid’s
Taliban for insight into our strange and self-destructive practices in the Middle East.

Read Sinclair Lewis’
It Can’t Happen Here, and the thought of voting either Trump or Sanders or Warren ought to cause you to pause and consider how stupid you would be for doing so.

Read Thomas Malthus’
Essay on the Principle of Population, and as we rapidly approach Eight Billion people worldwide, come to understand that we have stressed the world beyond its capabilities insuring our inevitable global collapse.

Don’t bother reading Kerouac’s The Subterraneans. It’s nothing like his many other formidable and entertaining works, and has nothing to teach.

Look: in a handful or two of years from now you will be left to your own devices and the consequences of my generation’s self-serving policies, practices, and laws.

It’s time for you to act.

NextEV, Tesla, Faraday Future (and other companies that Miss the Mark)
and our 14 year-old Honda Insight
Greta Hill, Co-Publisher

A crisis in life had been forced upon him, for this Revelation Company was being absorbed by the Unit Automotive Company - the imperial UAC with its seven makes of motors, its body-building works, its billion dollars of capital... Sam had wanted to fight the UAC, to keep independent this creation to which he had devoted twenty-two years...
Sinclair Lewis, Dodsworth

Recently Elon Musk of Tesla announced that his various frontline cars are capable of reaching nearly 400 miles in range owing to energy conservation achieved through programming techniques and other minor changes: that’s Step One to saving the world. Step Two is to make a car that sells for about $15,000 rather than $100,000. $15,000 most of us can afford: $100,000 still buys a house in most of America, or at least makes a substantial down payment. The 1972 VW Bug - a wonderful car capable of doing everything a car needed to do - sold for something like $2,500 when new: that’s about $15,000 today.


Sinclair Lewis was a very great writer.
Main Street, Arrowsmith, Babbitt, and certainly Elmer Gantry are timeless examples of quintessential early 20th century American literature. I dislike Dodsworth immensely. The book struggles along and flows like diarrhea down hill. So why cite it? Because it lends itself to a very well written article by our Publisher, first published herein perhaps three years ago regarding the arrogance and incompetence of the EV industry. Dodsworth, initially anyway, captures the lives of Sam Dodsworth and his wife as they evolve following the sale of Revelation Motors (Sam’s company) to UAC, and the consequent disruption immediate and relatively vast wealth had upon them shortly thereafter. You see, it’s about automobiles, and it was the first book to come to mind when reading about Elon Musk still failing to get it. - JRW

For your consideration:

Funded to the tune of billions of dollars, NextEV and Faraday Future (and Rimac and Xiaomi and...) propose to build competitive cars to that of Elon Musk’s Tesla. Next year, NextEV will be launching a 1000+ horsepower supercar that proposes to “run circles” around Musk. Rimac’s doing the same. Everyone wants to build an electric Supercar...

The questions is, How many electric supercars can the world digest when the point of auto making is to make a car that has utility and affordability for the masses?

Our Honda Insight - a 2002 model with manual transmission - runs faultlessly at about 60 miles per gallon. They’re available everywhere, really, at from $3,000 to $6,000. The little car doesn’t pollute, is extremely comfortable, has air conditioning, and feels as though one is driving an automobile rather than a motorcycle (see Arcimoto below).

Let’s do the math: At an average of 15,000 miles per year at 60 miles per gallon, our annual fuel cost is $625. To reduce that annual fuel cost through the purchase of an electric vehicle - not eliminate it since there’s still an increase in electric consumption on-grid that has to be accounted for - means conservatively a $60,000 purchase of an all-electric car. Over a 48 month term, financing at 7% results in a monthly payment in excess of $1300 or more than $15,00 per year compared to $625 in gasoline today.

That’s a lot of gasoline. Comparatively at today’s at-pump prices, one might as well drive a 1964 Cadillac and do better financially.

While I am hesitant to invoke his name, you may recall that Adolf Hitler asked Dr. Porsche to build a car for the people: something affordable and reliable and efficient and, while they’ve lost that “inspiration” as of late, from this directive came the Volkswagen, or, roughly, “People’s Car.” Very affordable (after the War) and very practical and reliable, and Volkswagen thus sold over the Bug’s life, more than 20 million cars.

So far no one has come forward with an electrified version of the Volkswagen’s charming little Bug. Will they ever? It’s difficult to say, but the reality is that we will never move the average consumer of average means away from his or her gas-powered vehicle at $1,300 per month in car payment.

So, while all of these Venture-builders look to power, speed, and accessorize the poop out of their prototypical automobiles, the winner, ultimately, will be the company that designs, builds, and markets a car that we can drive for 400 miles without charging, has an expected reliability, and sells in the neighborhood of $12,000+ (today’s equivalent of $2,000 (sales price of a new Bug) in 1970 adjusted for inflation).

And while Arcimoto in Oregon is close to reaching this goal, there are a few design issues that just don’t measure up: Like our Honda Insight the car seats only two. But, and this is important if you happen to like the person with whom you are traveling, your co-traveler is required to sit behind you negating any chance of meaningful dialogue. (The design does work well for prisoner transport, though.) As well, it is a fairly open car - more of a motorcycle - tricycle design partly enclosed with a range of less than 100 miles. That doesn’t work, either. Air conditioning? Stick your head (either left or right) beyond the windscreen...

This is what happens when people in key positions with entrepreneurial spirit and financial backing either choose to forget History or were asleep in class.

A response from Mark Frohnmayer, the driving force (pun intended) of Arcimoto:

“...thank you for forwarding this along. A few corrections: we will offer full enclosure and air conditioning as options, though in sunny climates and on nice days you'll always want to ride it open. Furthermore, the windshield and dash are designed to reflect sound really well, so you can maintain a full conversation with your passenger no problem, even without the side panels on. Plus it parks in spaces your Insight will never fit into :-).”

Editor’s note: The little smiley face at the conclusion was added by Mr. Frohnmayer of Arcimoto.

“Weston Roseberry”
(A Name Scribbled in a Book)

Joseph Warren, Editor

The very things we don't know, we could use.
And what we do know we have no use for.
Goethe, Faust

It was a frigid January evening in Longmont Colorado, 2019, when Weston stepped from the bar where he had been drinking with friends and splitting a joint or two for good measure (as many people I know did 50 years back). The combined effects of intoxicants on his acuity of thought were severe. It’s always dangerous to alter your state of consciousness before operating machinery – from a blender to an automobile – but young men (and some young women) are fearless in the face of probabilities: it’s a tendency that sometimes diminishes over time, and sometimes does not. Weston had an earlier experience on which to base some other action other than what he was about to do. The little bell in his mind did not go off: perhaps he just chose to ignore it. “Ting-A-Ling!”: no answer.

Sometimes too, life is abruptly terminated – yielding a lesson too late. Moot.

Weston fired up the engine in his red Mustang convertible, building the revs to warm the fuel-fed beast and shed a little angst, then headed through the darkened streets of Longmont, sure to be difficult to maneuver under any circumstances. He drove erratically in the direction he had in mind, however much clarity there may have been to his mind, and at about that same moment in time some few miles away, so had a 69-year-old woman at the wheel of her black SUV. A few miles and minutes later, they would tragically meet. Weston would be dead after that meeting. Perhaps he felt some relief as the realization came to him that he would no longer exist in this Space-Time: in him Sartre’s
Nausea would have been deeply rooted having sprouted from a horrific tragedy of personal loss a few years earlier, felt as only the young may, and ejecting him into a state of flux, undefined.

Weston’s red Mustang convertible was left twisted and grossly misshapen by an impact measuring certainly near or above 100 G’s of force, per Isaac Newton: a tremendous opposing energy exploding against the eggshell like composition we mistakenly see otherwise as our robust human form. The Mustang no longer resembled what it was only a few minutes before, and tragically, neither did Weston. He – the thing that was Weston – had been released from the here and now.


I hadn’t read Goethe’s
Faust for something like 40 years, and felt like refreshing my memory on this most heavily-quoted and often-modernized epic work wherein the Devil runs his course doing what the Devil has always done, and as might be easily perceived as doing today in our world of hate and violence and unpredictable counterpoints, such as Weston’s, to our otherwise joyous lives, seemingly negotiating deal-after-deal as truly only the Master of the Art of the Deal may.

So I ordered a copy, and began re-reading what Goethe had to say about the foibles of mankind and the angst that plagues us from birth to death – from the
Alpha to the Omega. Written on the frontispiece was the casual scribble of a name, Weston Roseberry: the book came from one of my frequent sources for reader-quality books who specialize in buy-backs from colleges and universities. I let that notation go while I read ahead several pages through the night.

Most widely read, Part I of
Faust was the much earlier version and flowed with a rhythm, from my perspective, distinctly different from Part II. Taken as a whole, Faust shares the same demonstrated contradiction as Cervantes’ Quixote, where Part 1 or Book One, was written by a much younger, far more passionate and romantic writer whose perspective on life was captured in a rush of images; almost whimsical in its approach (or at least seemingly more spontaneous rather than “constructed”) in words set down to paper: Cervantes was moved by the inspiration of the vision blossoming and unfolding in his mind’s eye. He had to tell the tale as it came to him at that moment. Thus it is less precise and more immersive for the reader. The rush – the conflagration of words – enlivens the book and gives it a soul.

It’s called
inspiration. I can imagine Cervantes hunched over his desk surrounded by the gloom of his austere quarters surrounded by a radiant orb of candlelight, feverishly capturing an elusive diaphanous thought before the natural progression of entropy causes it to become indistinguishable from the darkness.

Goethe, like Cervantes, I think became more of a
tactician in Part II. He, like Cervantes (just not physically imprisoned in the interim), had mulled over what he had created and, like an architect who mourns the creation of half of a palace, strove to build a grander, larger, more complex addition to the mesmerizing façade that had previously invoked passionate accolades, failing to realize that the first seen edifice would have sufficed to grandly mark him for life in the world of Literature. Still, just as for Cervantes, for Goethe the story was not completely told. He had more to say, and he said it.


The prior owner of my reader copy of the book had annotated the pages with thoughts and underscores of the more salient passages, from his perspective. I do the same thing, as many of you do, too. Sometimes, to make something particularly prevalent I’ll place the letters “NB” next to the entry, meaning
Nota Bene, or Note Well. It stems from an ingrained practice in my life when I was forced by profession to read tedious, logically challenged legal texts manipulated by a minority to detrimentally effect the lives of the majority. Weston didn’t use NB, but he placed instead a hand-drawn star next to a particularly important phrase or sentence that had a Diogenesian quality in Weston’s mind. Makes sense.

Funny thing though: wherever there was a star, there was a passage I would have marked with an NB. Lesser passages were underlined, and with only rare exception, the prior book’s owner and I were in complete agreement.

It’s difficult for me to read the name of a book’s former owner without wanting to know more about him or her no matter how and to what effect he or she had annotated a book, if at all. Here, then, within this issue of
Faust, there was intellectual agreement – a connection. And, in this case and unbeknownst to me, the prior book’s owner was about to describe a life of loss and pity, remorse and confusion, far in excess of Goethe’s scribbling, because it was and is about life today, to me invoking emotions borne from those of a father of grown children, and from one who likewise understands the depth and travails of life’s loss.

Here’s what you need to know about Weston: he was born in 1994 to a successful family of loving parents (whose names I will omit for this article). Weston went to school in the San Francisco Bay Area attending, among others, Bellarmine (a Catholic school), which was a cross-town rival to my high school, Buchser (now long-closed). In the 1960s Bellarmine was a Catholic Boys Preparatory School. It was a place where Catholic boys felt a shared belonging and cause. The academic level was much different than the school I attended, and so were the expectations of those who filled the gristmill of Jesuit educational experience. I know this, not from Bellarmine, but from my own Jesuit experience as a graduate of the University of San Francisco. Weston did well and, by all accounts, enjoyed his time, although Bellarmine has never shaken off the mantle of gender exclusivity. At the time my school was cross-town rival to Bellarmine, Mother Butler High School (MBHS) existed to educate Catholic girls in about the same geography as Bellarmine did for the boys. Mother Butler closed some years ago, as did Buchser, and along with it went the memories of experiences with MBHS girls, who I may now confess, were relatively easy prey, with no pun intended. Of course, the bar to success was much lower then, and rather than a
touch down, a few yards gained came with bragging rights.

After high school Weston held the usual assortment of odd jobs, including a stint at
Orchard Supply Hardware in San Jose. He did the typical things a young man does in his teenage years, probably winning scorn from his parents, and feigned condemnation and yet reverence from his sister, who has seemingly through inexorable strength continued her journey through life successfully, notwithstanding events of the past five years.

Weston lost no time in following up on his education spending his first two years at California State University at Monterey Bay, formerly known as Fort Ord housing the Basic and Advanced US Army training facilities, a place I know well having spent a great deal of time there from 1969 onward at the behest of the US government. During my tenure, Ft. Ord was a staging point for overseas deployment to Viet Nam (then commonly written by the damned and the damnable as two words).

But then, to paraphrase Robert Burns, Weston’s best laid plans aft agley in the most tumultuous manner, cutting short his education after the devastating news of his father’s death, and nearly that of his mother, when the snowmobile his father was piloting went off course. This was in early 2014. From my perspective, he was still only a child, and he must have felt the loss on a scale only the young may.

I was 19 years of age in 1969 when my older brother, the young man I lived with for several months having taken me in after our father had decided it was time I fend on my own (just as he had my older brother several years before), was struck down in San Francisco during the course of a robbery. After lingering for about a week in a coma, he relented and died. Unfortunately, tragic “early” death touches far too many of us in this world. And so few fully appreciate the universe of consequences it may have on those who continue in their journeys.

Younger men and women – children too – tend to see their parents on a never-ending continuum, until such time as they, the children, have acquired an understanding of life and may more easily face the prospect of their parents’ death, just as they must face their own. It’s the
cycle of life thing, and when the cycle is truncated that which follows can be chaotic.

Fort Ord was closed many years ago as an Army installation after we began to beat
swords into ploughshares (according to Isaiah), or so we professed. In actuality, the reality of swords changed and multiple military bases, such as Ord and numerous others, were closed down during something stylized as BRAC, or the Base Realignment and Closure process headed by various panels and commissions, the end result of which was to more fully centralize our ability to inflict death on others of opposing views using very advanced weaponry. Fort Ord closed in 1991, but not until it had shipped hundreds of thousands of America’s youth to their deaths. There is no plaque attesting to this interesting fact: I know. I visited once long after Ord’s closure. The old billets remained, at that time in a state of decay, but nowhere was there a commemoration of the many young men – boys – and women too, sent to their doom from what should have been, and now is, a seaside community of peace and learning.

The idea behind BRAC, as espoused by various elected officials, was to collect on a
Peace Dividend, or a return on money that would have been otherwise spent on our war effort.

How well did this work?

Our Defense Budget – all in, meaning including real time expenses and interest to service debt that is specifically Defense related – went from about $600 Billion in 1980 to more than $1.3 Trillion in 2015, and today is far higher. It seems as though we need to beat a lot more swords into ploughshares. But this will not happen in this earth’s lifetime.

Emotions run to many fathoms in the hearts of young people, unjaded and unwearied by the periodic scalding life has to offer. For Weston, they were sure to run a profound course of doubt, tumult, and a challenge to one’s faith, as they always do when those immersed to some extent in a Religious Faith find themselves experiencing a sudden disembarkation from our shared existence of someone we love. Loss is the most powerful of experiences, from my point of view, and can shape whom we are for decades to come. Weston, being very intelligent, probably knew this. To what extent he internalized and contained the more undesirable characteristics of Loss, I do not know.

Weston left the UC campus in Monterey and resumed studies at Thomas Aquinas College in the southern part of California. The college might be generally classified as Dominican. I know I would file it under that heading, given its namesake. Among many treatises, Aquinas wrote
Summa Theoligica. I do not pretend to remember anything about this book, save at the time I read it, many decades past, I thought it very profound. In truth though, Aquinas to me was a mélange of Blaise Pascal, Jerry Garcia, Ken Kesey, Lee Michaels, Jack Kerouac, and Stevie “Guitar” Miller.

The San Francisco Bay Area was a little overpowering then, and was not the Capitalist Greed and Consumption enclave of today. I think Weston would have very much enjoyed living there at that time: it would have aptly suited his thinking, probably inspiring greater and greater insights into humanity. He was well on his way at the time of his death.

Was Weston’s life buoyed completely by Christ-like behavior? Did he emulate Jesus as Weston made his very short journey through life? He may have strayed from time-to-time, but as someone once said, about whom I’ve read much, “Let he who is without sin...”

Weston was graduated from Thomas Aquinas College in 2018. By January 2019 he existed only in the minds of those who loved him, and of those who knew him.
I now know him as a result of his taking ownership of a book by Goethe, and telling me, although he didn’t know I would be the reader, what he found most illuminating about Goethe’s most renowned work.

January 2020 marks the one-year anniversary of Weston’s death. It is certain to be a difficult time for both mother and sister, having lost both husband, son, father and brother. Religion may give them solace, through some intangible means. Kind words from loved-ones help momentarily to ease the anguish. For me Voltaire’s
Candide seems to help, “ this best of all possible worlds...” we dwell only momentarily. Enjoy those who remain around you.

Here is what
Kristina Luscher of Bellarmine Preparatory told me about Weston: Weston was a wonderful young man who brought so much energy and light to our campus. And, Anne Forsyth of Thomas Aquinas College: What a strange and marvelous thing that you purchased the copy of Faust that he had read and studied here at the College, and got to know him a little through his annotations in the text. He was indeed a very intelligent young man, and his death was a tragedy, especially for his sister and mother, as you say. We keep them all in our prayers!

Thank you, Weston, for writing your name in Faust. Live forever in peace.

Read, Goethe’s
Read, Sartre’s
Being and Nothingness, and Nausea
Read, Cervantes’
Don Quixote, the Edith Grossman translation – see below
Read, everything by Kerouac, and everything by Kesey
Then you may live knowing far more about life, while yet living.

Reading to the Dead

Joseph Warren, Editor

For me…when the time comes: Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.
Steinbeck, Cannery Row

There will come a time for us all when, notwithstanding the progress of technology, we must each face our death, and as we meander along that trail of certitude, we experience the deaths of both those we know intimately and those we do not.

So, does that instant at the event horizon of passing mark the end of existence? Or is it nothing but a transition, lasting some few minutes after which we are propelled into another reality, as real as this we now experience of non-continuous matter, beyond or between here and wherever we reside in the succeeding transaction comprising what ultimately, perhaps, constitutes our whole existence?

Plainly, if I may suggest, set aside Religion for a moment as you read through the balance of this article, because in your life there is
nothing more important than what follows, from my perspective. What Freud termed Mass Delusion does not figure into it: Folkloric tales and aphorisms from “Holy” books serve no purpose in this life other than to provide the mechanisms necessary to guide and control their readers to a more obedient path: to more fruitfully serve the needs of those who impose their strictures. They are arguably man-made fabrications that bring about some societal utilitarian end, or lead straight to the acquisition of fungibles and wealth for those who minister to their flocks.

Instead, consider Science: consider all that has been uncovered in the past century. Einstein and Gödel (and others) who saw (and see) the possibility of Multiverses (or other dimensions) in which we currently exist and to which we may progress, regress, or simply pass-to.

“And when the last fatal sickness assails the beloved whom you have worn out in the days of her youth, and she lies prostrate in pitiable exhaustion, her unseeing eyes fixed on Heaven, the cold sweat of death coming and going on her forehead, and you stand at the bedside like a condemned man with the desperate feeling that you can do nothing; and you feel agony cramp your heart so that you wish to sacrifice all in order to inspire the dying person with one invigorating drop, one spark of courage...”
The Sorrows of Young Werther

Your thoughts, memories, knowledge – everything you know – isn’t written on a clay tablet by the impressions of a stylus. Rather, through a mechanism we still do not completely understand, they are stored and arranged and when necessary, recalled and brought to the fore.

They are nebulous, ethereal, diaphanous “things” and, while seemingly appearing tactile owing to the vessel in which they are retained, they are not: they exist as impressions – a charge in some way affixed to a piece of tissue composed of chemicals that comprise the brain that constitutes the Mind which allows me, at this very moment, to draw upon knowledge and formulate relationships, or analogies, or critical thoughts predicated on the extent of the knowledge I choose to introduce to the process, in sum or in part, resulting in a syllogistic conclusion, however truncated it may be in any subjective sense. And, as an example, after a doctor pronounces me to be deceased, those thoughts will go on for some time: perhaps for only a few minutes; perhaps infinitely. Henri Bergson wrote extensively on this subject in,
Matter and Memory.

All those chemicals constituting who we are at any given moment are made up of protons, electrons and neutrons, which in turn are made up of “little tiny things” which thanks to Bohr and others, we know (so far) are made up of other things that are made up of other, even tinier things…

Which, I strongly suspect, are linked to the common material of this universe, and perhaps others.

The neutron has a half-life of about 10 minutes, give or take, after no longer being bound in an atomic nucleus, leaving it to decay. When is it no longer bound? The process begins after it is no longer part of a viable whole.

Not so coincidentally I believe, in 2017 scientists came to understand that there remains high-level brain activity for up to 10 minutes or so following the absence of “vital signs” in the supposed deceased, who is, in this interim period, probably still inputting and processing signals from aural, visual, and likely a host of other sources (or passageways) as one lies between the gates of here and the hereafter; in other words, for quite some time after being pronounced “Dead” we’re likely still…here, even as the sheet is reverently dragged over our face.

Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flop houses. – Ibid.

How frightening! Or not (depending, I would imagine, on the state of the physical being following a traumatic event) to be caught experiencing the
comprehension of one’s own death, after the fact: understanding at that moment that one is dead, insofar as an observer may discern, and on hearing the official pronouncement.

Numbing silence. Sounds of crying, of grief, of loss. Mourners raging at their powerlessness to halt the invincibility of time. Culminating prayers and the ripping of a garment. The cry of deepening anguish. Gentle sobbing and the sense of a hand embracing the face or a head resting on the chest, convulsed by sobs.

To the dead, is all this horrifying? Is it incomprehensible owing to still being locked into the mental cycle of the living? Does it manifest peace? Or panic, fear, doubt, loathing, uncertainty, regret, or love?

Only those who have taken this step in the journey know for certain.

Its inhabitants are, as the man once said, “whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches” by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, “Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men” and he would have meant the same thing. – Ibid.


So here is my modest proposal: If it is physically possible to do so, and as near as possible following the pronouncement of death, read to them. Read what they have identified in advance as moving, significant, compelling, quieting, stirring, compassionate, or whatever the words may convey, rather than the alternative identified above.

In the morning when the sardine fleet has made a catch, the purse-seiners waddle heavily into the bay blowing their whistles. The deep laden boats pull in against the coast where the canneries dip their tails into the bay… Then cannery whistles scream and all over the town men and women scramble into their clothes and come running down to the Row… – Ibid.

I’ve given this much thought in the past several years since first considering the concept of Reading to the Dead. I asked of myself,
What would I want read to me following that moment?

Over many decades of life, immersed in literature of varying genres and to varying levels of sophistication, I began stumbling through poets, dramatists, hacks and scoundrels, visionaries and luminaries, down-and-outs, drunks, junkies and whores, popes and saints too, and, of course, the Bible, Torah, Quran, and all the other prescriptive texts that were handed down, interpreted, spoken, found in a buried book of solid gold pages, revealed to a prophet, foreseen by shamans, gifted by deities, written in stone, and even left by aliens.

In my imagination, I died and was taken on the arm of Beatrice and led to Paradise, as Dante had before me. I walked with Edgar Cayce into the lightness of what follows. I visited Harrow in the company of Byron. I imagined the Bard, himself, escorting me to the portal. I had a few drinks with Hemingway, and a nightcap with London. I was felled on a battlefield and tended to by Dostoyevsky. I contemplated by still waters with Thoreau at my side. I played a game of chess with Zweig while awaiting disembarkation. I had a cigar with Studs Turkel and measured the meaning of death. I met Bertrand Russell and asked him,
What is this all about? He smiled, lit his pipe and said, Let’s find out together, shall we?

Kerouac told me,
Hold up and smoke this. Kesey took the joint from me, bogarted it, and ate the roach. We were all sitting in a bus terminal waiting to go to Lowell because Dulouz’s mother was expecting us for Christmas dinner: Joyeux Noël! Burroughs even gave me a tour of his shitty hovel in Texas: he told me the train came by that would take me to the next stop, but he’s so full of shit and heroin it’s hard to know what to believe.

I even battled whales with Melville and explored an island while in the company of professed cannibals, escaping clandestinely one day on-board a whaleboat pulled by Maori. I railed against a tempest with Conrad, my arms outstretched on the foredeck hurling invectives and epithets, then went below and had yet another drink shipboard the
Ghost with London: he drinks a lot.

The list goes on and on and on…

So why out of the thousands of companions in my mind did I settle on just Steinbeck’s foreword to
Cannery Row? Because above all, beyond everything, it holds a place in my heart from childhood that is evocative of innocence, a time of thirst for knowing about life, a time when my malleable little brain took in and churned every word into gospel. And over the years, each time read, it does the same: it manifests a stillness in me, a quiet, a comfort. It was a time when my mother and my father and all those who have predeceased me were in my life and tangible. So to me, it is the culmination of a lifetime of reading. Thank you, John Steinbeck. (Maybe he’ll meet me at the end of the passage and bring me to the next station: we can share a cigarette together.)

You’re asking, How do you know that during this interim period the dead are susceptible to aural stimulation? I don’t. But tell me…

What’s the harm? What possible damage can be done to someone now dead, but a moment before fully alive, when someone – a stranger, a spouse, his or her child, are seated next to them and reading something so important to the recently dead, that it was marked to be read to them after death? There is a probability that the words will be heard. There is far less probability that the same words will be equally as resounding several days hence at a memorial after all bodily functions have been negated by the horrific processing typically following, and certainly by cremation.

A funeral is for the living, only, and matters not in the least to the processed shell. What matters most, I firmly believe, are the moments just after. I think science will prove this correct.

Now you can return to religion. The
Bible – Old and New – offers many passages fitting to the task. So does the Quran and the Bhagavad Gita. The Fitzgerald translation of the Rubaiyat, the Divine Comedy, Keats, Percy Shelley, Joyce, Marquez, and thousands of other examples of the written word evoke the same sense in others as Steinbeck does in me. (Bill Saroyan, too.) For you, it could be a song, a poem, or maybe just a voice calmly walking you through the last few minutes of consciousness on this plane.

You only have one chance to do this right. I know that talking about death is uncomfortable, but it’s a discussion you must have with yourself and with the person likely to be with you at that time: at that unknown time. At that instant. At that moment. And perhaps, you may succeed where Goethe could not.

Read, Steinbeck’s
Cannery Row and, perhaps, for a moment regress to a time when life was far, far less complex and your role was far, far more simply defined.
Read, Goethe’s
Werther: A tale of loss, sacrifice, and obsession written with the fluidity of genius.

Encounter in Caputh
(Begegnung in Caputh)

Joseph Warren, Editor

The most terrible period of human history is at an end, the twelve year reign of bestiality, ignorance and anti-culture under the greatest criminals, during which Germany's 2000 years of cultural evolution met its doom.
Richard Strauss

(Herr Maestro Richard Strauss conducts Herr Doktor Albert Einstein on the Violin:
Salon Gathering in Caputh, Brandenburg, Germany, 1930s.)

Greta Warren-Hill: Latest original oil. Strauss and Einstein were never to be found in Caputh (or elsewhere) together at a Salon gathering of writers and musicians, to our knowledge, yet arguably they represented the two most influential architects of Science and Music at that time in Europe.

Prolific and gifted to the level of genius, both men achieved an enduring recognition for their specific disciplines internationally and among peers, so it is only fitting that they should have the opportunity, so many years postmortem, to join in an intimate performance of Strauss’
Die schweigsame Frau (Silent Woman), libretto by Stefan Zweig, although it is unclear whether Strauss and Einstein were vocally accompanied: perhaps somewhere next to you, the viewer…someone sang.

Just think! It's evening and the fire is cold.
You'll feel lonely, you'll feel old.
It's sad, it's awful, it's frighteningly still.
As if death were on the window sill.

The Silent Woman. Richard Strauss & Stefan Zweig

Einstein, whether in Berlin, Prague, Vienna, or Princeton, lived for the opportunity to express the complexity of his thoughts – to free his soul - most memorably through Mozart’s many compositions for strings. As the reader knows, Einstein loved the mathematical complexity and the passion and imagery of Mozart’s creations and could barely contain himself when learning of an opportunity to join an informal gathering of musicians and aficionados.

Strauss, a composer of operas and sometimes complex arrangements favored by an international audience at that time, leaned heavily on the composition of associated libretti based on various poets and writers, like Zweig and Goethe and Nietzsche. Strauss’ Tone Poems and Lieder were acclaimed for their virtuosity and unique expressions, as in his depiction of Cervantes’

In that most troubling of times in Europe,
music brought peace and understanding to an otherwise increasingly angst-ridden society. Both men, in their respective ways, strove to unite, rather than to divide, risking their freedom and, probably, their lives.

There are two bookcases: Strauss’ bears the names of many of his works, while that behind Einstein carries a selection of references and notebooks. The blackboard is marked by the faint chalk remnant of the Einstein tensor and related calculations, concluded by the scribbled word,
Stimmt, German for “Agree” or that is absolutely right – there is balance. (Perhaps it is a chalkboard illustration for Strauss and others in the room where minutes earlier Einstein had conducted an impromptu lecture on the subject of General Relativity, as he was always willing to do, for the benefit of those whose understanding of this truly, what was then a revolutionary theory, was lacking, ironically much as it is today.)

Yes, Einstein contended that Strauss lacked passion. But we think that was a remark on Strauss’ physical display of involvement. Strauss believed that the audience’s attention ought to be on the musicians rather than the conductor; compare that philosophy to today’s fervent, animated orchestral frontmen whose megalothymia-induced paroxysms are themselves intended to be the experience, rather than allowing the music to enshroud the listener and occasion the mind to open to images and thoughts greater than any singular man or woman. Strauss was right; he was
stimmt in his conservative lack of emotional display while conducting. And in his public life otherwise, he was equally reserved yet passionately committed to his ideals, and did not hesitate to place reputation or professional and corporeal existence on the table as confirmation.

Yet, it’s hard to fault Einstein: passion was his life’s work, in all aspects. He was a passionate peacemaker when young, and a devout humanist as he aged. His passion brought us revolutionary theories and clarity to an otherwise convoluted and frequently misunderstood universe.

“Never look at the Trombones: it only encourages them…” –Strauss (Allegedly a misquote, but worth perpetuating.)

On these two canvases the artist, Greta Warren-Hill instills the second and third installments in her series,
BuchKunst (or אמנות הספר) or the amalgam of Book and Art created by the artist to meld both a passion for books and art into one coherent statement.

This piece was several months in completion: of work, of research, of reading, of immersing herself in creating the perfect image. It is a highly detailed, exacting, mesmerizing portrait of two of Europe’s greatest minds.

Diptych Description
The canvases are framed in an artistically created “Book” – an “open book” creating a diptych of the two images, pages 78 and 79, (from our frame shop) bearing the title of the work. Greta’s work is the book – the illustrated edition of a moment in time that never occurred.

The frame simulates a hardbound book from the early 1900s with faux leather spine. The images are recessed and held firmly by the framing process (attached through the board backing, but removable if needed. Outside the paintings the artist has crafted simulated page edges. The back of the book is covered in cloth on the edges and has a hanging device affixed that will balance the piece easily.) Down the page you’ll find her most unusual and stirring portrait of Stefan and Lotte Zweig in the moment after their death in Petropolis, Brazil, also for sale and recently reduced.

Dimensions are 48 inches X 29 inches with a projection from the wall of 1.5 inches; or, 122cm X 74cm with a projection from the wall of 3.8cm. Included under each canvas in an interior pocket of the frame, is a COA for this original work.

Strauss and Einstein, as pictured are offered at $12,018 (USD) and offers are entertained. (Soon to be posted with many images at her site, In the interim, if you’d like to communicate with the artist, contact her at

George Bush Paints
Joseph Warren, Editor

Scarcely two months after the 9/11 attacks, even though bin Laden was still at large in Afghanistan, the president and his most influential advisers regarded the Afghan campaign as a mere sideshow, almost a diversion.

Jon Krakauer, Where Men Win Glory

Some few years ago Arizona and Nevada celebrated the completion of the construction of the Hoover Dam bypass. By this means, we – that is, anyone hoping to go from some place west of the dam to a point east of the dam, or vice-versa – would enjoy reduced travel time by not having to go through the tedious process of clearing the police checkpoints leading to and over Hoover Dam, and the commensurate traffic backlog predictably swelling immediately after the 9/11 attacks as
everyone became a suspected terrorist under George W. Bush’s aegis.

The bypass both from an engineering and architectural perspective is quite formidable. It adds a dimension of geometry and defined space to an otherwise chaotic topography of jagged, rich brown mud-colored rocks sometimes bearing a blue or deep scarlet hue from the sky above and the Colorado River meandering to Mexico, below.

The bypass is called the
Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. O’Callaghan was governor of Nevada many years ago, and Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan by his own men. You may or may not recall either or both of the names. Tillman’s I knew. That’s why I bought and read and re-read Krakauer’s Where Men Win Glory: because it was about Tillman. And, like everything Krakauer writes, it was bound to be steadily-paced, well-researched, intense, and very enjoyable. It was and still is.

Through the book you’ll learn everything you need to about Pat Tillman: his childhood, his parental influences, his commitment to friends and family and, eventually, wife, and, most importantly to his country, having set aside his career with the NFL – sacrificing millions of dollars in earnings – to ultimately make the “supreme sacrifice” at the rifle barrel of, ironically, one of his own. Read the book: even Tillman saw through the fog of the Iraq War rhetoric much sooner than most, but was drawn into the vengeance that was Afghanistan. That’s why he served and died there.

George W. Bush said that Afghanistan was nothing more than a seething cesspool of
Terrorists, as on 9/11, committed to destroying America. No matter that 15 of the 19 hijackers (and bin Laden) were Saudis (friends to both the American Oil industry, which included GHW Bush, our then vice president Dick Cheney, and a long list of similarly-placed co-conspirators). Not one of the 9/11 attackers were Afghani or Iraqi.

Disregard the many millions in Saudi dollars dedicated to the commission of the 9/11 attacks. Forget about the hundreds of millions of dollars paid to Pakistan’s leadership – the country in which the
Madrasas (training camps posing as schools of theology) operate, and within Afghanistan and clandestinely around the world, that schooled and trained the 9/11 hijackers, and nearly all those that preceded and followed 9/11.

Afghanistan, a country of warlords and tribal chiefs that can never be stabilized in the Western sense of the word because it remains a primitive, Neolithic people infused with unchecked enthusiasm – zealotry – for an archaic mass delusion founded, as are they all, in a belief system devoid of rationality. They are cavemen with Smartphones. The same cavemen who ground the Soviet Union into bankruptcy and collapse.

If the American population had the slightest idea what was being done in their name, they would be utterly appalled.
A radio interview utterance by Noam Chomsky, embraced by Pat Tillman

About the time Tillman enlisted I was 53 years of age and sitting in my office in Seal Beach California watching the television in the bar next door through the double door that joined both spaces – that’s a long story unto itself – and found myself drawn to the television’s parabellic rhetoric and images as we prepared to converge on Iraq. Over the ensuing days I kept thinking,
Someone will stop this, I’m sure: there is no logic to invading Iraq; it’s all lies and deceit, and surely the American public will intervene.

Having contributed to various California newspapers over many years, I scribbled out an article entitled,
The Exploding Brain that summarized the inanity of our impending action. No editor wanted to get near it: It was un-American. Today, I count that article and my efforts to play it out before the public as one of the most American and patriotic things I’ve ever done until several years ago when we produced The Abduction and Trial of George Bush: a modest attempt on our part to bring a War Criminal to justice, albeit only in theater. (Find it at IMDb and various other internet portals.)

Tillman resented our imminent involvement in Iraq. Many others did, as well. Just not enough to overcome the Bush propaganda machine’s constant churning of anti-Iraq lies.

Naturally, the common people don’t want war… But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along…
Hermann Göring, Nuremberg 1946

Interestingly, Adolf Hitler was a very accomplished (albeit amateur) artist as a young man. His aspiration was to one day become an acclaimed, recognized painter of renown. To that end, he applied to, and was rejected from, the
Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. Of course, he went on to destroy the world as any artist does when faced with rejection, just as our co-publisher, Greta Warren-Hill had planned to do until being recognized for her artistic genius, and thus we avoided apocalypse once again...

Then there’s George W. Bush, now an artist in his retiring years, and one who many, both alive and dead, wish had struck out on a path of artistic endeavor years ago rather than ascending to the presidency of the United States. Had he of chosen this far more illuminating calling, many thousands of American men and women would not be dead and already faded into the oblivion of lost souls whose names, all but an intimate few, can recall. More than 7,000 US dead, to be sure: Young men and women – our country’s children – who placed their faith in a pathological liar and his cadre of like-thinking maniacs.

Seven Thousand American Casualties. Fifty to Sixty Thousand American Wounded. More than Four Trillion Dollars.

And, too, perhaps more than one million (or more) innocent Iraqi women, children, non-combatant men, and,
yes, also those who took up arms in response to our invasion, as you or I would do in defense of the United States, might still be walking this earth had maestro Bush taken the singular path of artful creation rather than stumbling through his adult life failing miserably in business after business, supported by his father, until finally settling into the dynastic paradigm.

I don’t care how good his paintings are, he still belongs in prison.
Nathan J. Robinson,
Current Affairs Magazine, April 19, 2017

Personally, I have a utilitarian’s view of Saddam Hussein, caring not at all for his loss of life, but for the void left in his death which was immediately filled by the seething and malignant hatred kept in check theretofore by Hussein’s abhorrent practices. This was the same hatred we were battling then and now in Afghanistan, supported as it is today by Pakistan.

President Trump proposes to reach a peace accord with the Taliban to remove our troops completely from Afghanistan. This is analogous to negotiating a peaceful resolution to Gang Warfare in Los Angeles by conferring with only one corner heroin drug thug who is also a documented child rapist and a delusional psychotic, since that is essentially – on all counts – the characteristics of Taliban (and al Qaeda) membership: the Taliban sells heroin to global consumers, and they acquire and rape stables of children – boys and girls – for their personal sexual edification, notwithstanding the teachings of Mohammed. They subscribe to the tenets of a Quran wherein none of these various demented practices are condoned, and are viewed in fact as sinful. They are at the proverbial bottom of the barrel of humanity and certainly of the Muslim world at large.

More than anything, with respect to our President’s latest efforts at negotiating a far-too-late, but perhaps better-than-never exit, the Taliban are free to say, promise, pledge, and swear to abide by any conditions or requirements that would result in the withdrawal of US forces without ever intending to actually live-to their word under the practice of Taqiyya – the Muslim license to lie. As a result, they are likely to be very obliging. Why not? Shia Islam fully supports the practice of lying, just as George Bush did.

No matter: President Trump just wants us out of Afghanistan. It’s a checkmark for him on his “To Do” list and it’s one many Americans are not likely to criticize, including me.

War, contrary to the notions of some doddering old fools, was not a normal pursuit of man. It was the most degrading, unnatural, and abnormal pursuit ever foisted on man.
Louis Falstein,
Face of a Hero

As to George W. Bush: while many debate his artistic merit (I’ll admit I’ve looked at a few of his paintings and couldn’t see the numbers beneath the paint, and he stayed within the lines very well!), his legacy of death, hatred, defilement, and genocide in the Middle East lives on, as it will, regrettably unprosecuted, for decades to come.

Read Jon Krakauer’s
Where Men Win Glory
Read, as below, Louis Falstein’s Face of a Hero

Why Are White Men Killing Themselves Like Never Before?

Joseph Warren, Editor

It was deeply a part of Lee's kindness and understanding that man's right to kill himself is inviolable, but sometimes a friend can make it unnecessary.

John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

There are three books I remember from what was termed “Junior High” in 1963: two by Steinbeck -
Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat, and one by Henry Miller - Tropic Of Cancer. I read all three in a different frame of mind, as one can easily imagine if one has read this triptych of dichotomous literature. Having been to Monterey and Cannery Row with my father on various fishing excursions when I was malleable, it was very easy to read myself into the time and place of both of these Steinbeck classics: I walked along with Doc as he made his way to Western Biological, and stumbled behind, trailing Mac and his cadre of ne’er-do-wells as they made their way to the Palace Flophouse. And, I may have sat and had a drink at Dora’s, although at that age I could only imagine for what purpose and to what end.

I don’t really recall when
Tropic of Cancer was permitted to be sold in the United States back then, but I know that with a small group of friends we shared the book between us, handing it out from one to the next as though we were secreting a spy dossier of increasing importance stained by 13-year-old-boy fluids. After I finished reading, sort of, Tropic of Cancer, I understood why I was having a drink at Dora’s. I wanted to do some of those things Henry Miller wrote about. Many of them sounded physically challenging and rewarding.

I have a First of Cannery Row preserved in a protected dust jacket. I bought it for about five bucks if I recall correctly, many years ago. Same old song as with any book-freak: I knew what I was getting; he didn’t know what he was selling. Small triumphs in a world where few exist today.

Several years back we ran an article entitled,
Merry Christmas and Pass the Ammo: Guns in Arizona. You can click on the link and read the original article: guns are, as they have been for thirty years or more, a very vexing problem and one we cannot seem to solve. The article begins with the words, “ America, the person most likely to kill you.” Towards the conclusion the article informs the reader that in 2012 - a short seven years ago - the suicide rate in our country was a little more than 40,000.

Listen to this, and listen well: In 2017 that number increased to far more than 47,000.

Disproportionately, white men are killing themselves - half by guns and the rest through other means - as they never have before, accounting for 69.67% of suicides, per the
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) from Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. Of course, everybody’s getting in on the act: Suicide’s are up across-the-board, although no one group leads white men.

attempts are up as well - one follows the other, I presume - and during 2017 there were about one and one-half million attempted self-murders, to varying levels of commitment.

There are other suicides too in America not aggregated in the numbers, and those deaths are written-off to other causes of an accidental nature to mitigate harm to the bereaved family. That’s understandable given how the taint of suicide effects not only the woman who has withdrawn herself from this world, but can severely impact those who have yet to begin their lives: those who are waiting in the wings to play whatever designed or accidental part they may in the continuation of our species. I don’t think those who commit suicide understand the far reaching impact their actions have on the well-being of these yet-to-be, sometimes post-mortem acquaintances and family members.

Equally confounding to police departments everywhere are those people who sincerely wish to commit suicide but lack the dark fortitude to move ahead on their own and, rather, enlist the help of the local police, cauterized by the pervasive reporting by the (sometimes sensationalist) media into believing that police officers everywhere are exempt from the trauma associated with taking a life. So, as the LA Times and other newspapers reported recently, small police departments, especially, are reluctant to respond to calls deemed, from their experience and set protocols, likely to lead to that conclusion. I’ve known many cops over the years, and of those who shot someone on the job, none were pleased by the experience, and some were outright irrevocably traumatized.

If you are one of the people who cannot find happiness from this life, in this world today; one of those who feels inextricably mired in the seemingly-overwhelming pervasive muck ever-present on the News and Social Media; one who believes she is a failure in this life and can find no illumination to guide her through the darkness of the years to come; one who sees himself as forlornly dragging his legs behind him across the aridness of life, seeking only a cool drink to absolve your thirst, but finding only a mirage, then you need to give yourself one more chance, one more opportunity.

At it’s worst, life is better than death. Call your local suicide prevention immediately, or call 1-800-273-8255. Or, you can even chat 24/7 with a counselor at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at

As Steinbeck noted about Lee Chong, ...
sometimes a friend can make it unnecessary. Many times that friend can be a book.

3/5th Vote for Seniors:
Now go away Joe, Bernie, Elizabeth, Donald...
it’s time to write your memoirs.

Joseph Warren, Editor

Tell me what you feel in your solitary room when the full moon is shining in upon you, and I will tell you how old you are.

Henri-Frederic Amiel, from his journal

This is not my world anymore to any great extent: in fact, quite the opposite. I have only an actuarially-based minuscule vested interest in what occurs from this day forth, because I have many fewer days now at 70 years of age remaining in my life, than those of 30, 40, and even 50 years. Whatever I do or don’t do will read for others like a 400 page book missing the first 350 pages, torn from between the covers and burnt to cinders like in Bradbury’s
Fahrenheit 451 (coincidentally the forecasted high for Chicago on Tuesday).

I’ve done predominantly what I had hoped to do. I am content in my Golden Years, as David Bowie reminded me over the past several decades, to now enjoy life and consign that which remains of this planet’s timeline to those who
own much more of the future than I do, or Joe Biden, or Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren, or Donald Trump, or anyone else whose self-aggrandized opinion runs to the pinnacle of egomania and sociopathy to presume that they are suited to direct the actions of a government freighted – overburdened, in fact – with a cargo of inaction, apathy, greed, climate failure, hate, war, and the rest of our generation’s legacy – all clearly self-evident by our many, many failures to follow the mandates of logic: shutoff completely by Greed.

My father’s generation was the “Greatest Generation” while mine, I believe, will bear the moniker of the
Least Generation: least in all aspects, yet greatest in defiling the world’s climate, its civilizations, its children.

Simply, as Einstein admonished against, we keep doing the same stupid things while expecting different outcomes.

And in the wisdom of the Democratic Party, as they did with Hillary Clinton, they are offering up their most
senior members as the beacons of enlightenment, most of whom have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. They are addled, like Joe Biden; Archaic, like Bernie Sanders; Strangely-coming-forth-from-my-childhood, confused and misdirected, and admonishing me that “There’s nothing funny about this, mister” Elizabeth Warren, whom I thought retired probably in 1972 and was burning in the Ninth Circle from her characteristic abuse of Fifth Graders. Then, of course, there’s our current president, Trump, who I’m certain is teetering on the precipice of crazy.

To “solve” the issue of how to count slaves, for proportionment of districts back in what Trump and many of his followers might call, the
Good Ol’ Days, each slave was allotted a 3/5ths value, inasmuch as population count: Therefore, count up five of your slaves and you have three actual (human beings) for purpose of census, if you will (but as we know, they were only a commodity. Only so many sticks of meat).

It is a strange sensation, that of laying oneself down to rest with the thought that perhaps one will never see the morrow. Yesterday I felt it strongly, yet here I am.

While I don’t condone the killing and consumption of children as Swift did, I do have my own modest proposal that changes the value of one’s vote to reflect diminishing involvement with the future, given the inevitability of things, such as death, and so on and so forth. (Actually just Death.)

In my proposal, one’s vote value would be reduced by one-fifth at age 55, and by one-fifth more at age 65. So, at that age of conventional retirement - 65 - one’s vote would weigh in at 3/5th of a vote. Unless, and this is important, Google’s or Amazon’s algorithms determine that the individual is regularly buying adult diapers, in which case, his or her vote is reduced to zero, which will likely further entrap others, including many of the Democratic candidates, and, I would suggest, Trump.

Christopher Isherwood’s collection of stories under the cover of
the Berlin Stories was made into a brilliant film that went by the name, Cabaret. In it, a young Nazi sings with incredible verve and commitment, “Tomorrow belongs to me…” You see? Even those cretins understood. So what’s our problem?

Give youth and intelligence a chance, Democratic Party. Quit dealing out the same old models with new false teeth, and hair plugs or dye.

Read Henri-Frederic Amiel’s
Read Isherwood’s Berlin Stories and Down There on a Visit
Read Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal

Thinking About Getting an MRI?
Maybe think again...

Joseph Warren, Editor

Saroyan on a cormorant’s decision to seek out an isolated cliff face and die:

The dogs would have worried the bird to death, and the people might have tried to restore it, killing it with hideous help, which the American medical profession feels obliged to impose upon human beings.

Wm. Saroyan, Days of Life and Death and Escape to the Moon

(Editor’s Note: This is a reprint of an article appearing in this journal some five years ago. It has been read many thousands of times. We thought, as a service, we’d head the latest issue with this reminder.)

Since its inception some thirty years ago, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, has become so commonplace a diagnostic tool that we have collectively tended to assume that it must be a safe, harmless, non-invasive way of looking into our bodies to prevent the development of a health issue that may, after all, threaten our lives. But how non-invasive is MRI, and what health risks may lurk unaggregated and, therefore unreported owing to the lack of long-term follow-up and analysis of data for those who have experienced the MRI procedure?

Today, MRI is practiced as a logical first-step in diagnosing potentially life- threatening illnesses and disease mostly as a result of its convenience (to the benefit of our physicians) and, at least of tantamount importance, as a result of its highly profitable operation on the part of America’s Healthcare providers – hospitals, clinics, and for-profit diagnostic and imaging centers. MRI is so commonplace even chiropractors refer potential patients.

As a result, today in the United States, more than 40,000 MRI procedures are conducted annually at an aggregate cost, given machine use, physician, technician and related hospital charges of perhaps more than $100 billion. And, the procedure is growing rapidly in popularity resulting in the opening of Strip Mall MRI centers where discounted “readings” may be made. In short, MRIs make a lot of money for a lot of Healthcare professionals, non- medical business investors, and Healthcare administrators. Yet, how non-invasive is MRI and how safe is it in reality? Interestingly, most people who subject themselves to the process know nothing of how it operates. If they did, they might give it more than a second thought before acquiescing.

My interest in MRI stems from an expansive pursuit of Quantum Physics beginning some years ago, and driven by the vagueness and mystery of the subject overall. As I explored the rudimentary function of MRI I was struck by the fundamental way MRI interacted with the body on a quantum (or very, very small, sub-atomic) level, altering (albeit allegedly) temporarily the basic characteristics of the protons comprising the hydrogen atoms of the human body: Basically what we are, organically.

To fully appreciate this statement, consider how, from a base perspective, MRI works:
The person to be scanned is placed in a “bore” or the tunnel of the MRI machine around which are very powerful magnets. So powerful in fact, that even at their lowest level of operation (1.5 Tesla or 15,000 Gauss) they are equivalent to 21,000 times the magnetic field of the earth. From there, depending on the segment of body being read, and the density (obesity and section) of the person, the field is increased to as much as about 8 Tesla, or more than 100,000 times the earth’s magnetic field strength.

The second feature of the MRI is a Radio Frequency (RF) transmitter rated at 25,000 Watts of power, with induced RF ranging from a fraction of one watt to many watts per kilogram (“Kg” about 2.2 US pounds) of weight, once again depending on MRI computed variable needs.

Let’s consider first the Magnetic issue: concentrations of electromagnetic force. Our own Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has deemed exposure to strong electromagnetic force as having a positive corollary to the incidence of cancer for those so exposed. And, while at a different frequency that is why living next to (or beneath) high power transmission lines is not a good idea: because of the intense electromagnetic exposure to the field inherent in the passage of high voltage through the wire medium. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has the same sort of stated safety policies and laws in effect for workers in the European Union. (As an aside, guidelines for habitable space adjacent to power lines suggest a limit of .1 microTesla – considerably less than MRI exposure.)

According to RF Safety Solutions, a company well respected for their reputation in shielding workers from dangerous levels of RF, “There are two undisputed health effects that can occur with exposure to high levels of RF energy: Heating of the human body, (and) Electrostimulation (RF shocks and burns).”

Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) is the standardized measurement for how much heat the average human being can absorb and dissipate. SAR levels are: 4.0 watts per Kg per 15 minutes of whole body exposure; 3.0 watts per 10 minutes for exposure to the head or 8.0 watts per five minutes per gram of tissue in head or torso; and 12.0 watts for five minutes per gram of tissue in extremities. That’s the maximum believed to be the greatest heating exposure the body may absorb, and then safely dissipate.

What happens if the heat is not dissipated successfully and quickly? Well, what happens when you put a hot dog in the microwave?

Microwave ovens cook from the inside out...The human body has the ability to dissipate much of the heat that it incurs from natural sources. However, release of the heat in deep tissue which occurs during an MRI is not a natural function of our bodies. Is the above why I find MRI an objectionable procedure? Not completely...

On a quantum level we know just enough in physics to make some things work as they are postulated to do. We may even know, to some extent, why they operate as they do, but beyond that we have no real idea why many things happen as they do, because much of what happens on a quantum level is based on the characteristics of particles even smaller than those we have successfully resolved through mathematics and/or observation. That’s part of what makes the field so interesting.

As an example, in an MRI procedure protons comprising the vast amount of hydrogen in your body are manipulated. Each proton inside you has a specific “Spin” or polarity. It’s like a child’s top, but they don’t actually spin: it’s a term applied to the issue of polarity only, so don’t imagine that there are billions of spinning tops inside of you on which their continued spinning your life depends.

In MRI the polarity of these billions of protons are aligned through the use of the very large magnetic force described above. Then, a fairly powerful RF is introduced and subsequently, each proton as it resumes its prior Spin or polarity within your body gives off a photon – a unit of light, energy, like the photons from the sun. These are in turn captured and an image is generated. This is one of the several issues I find troublesome. It is the equivalent of the process of forced Decay on an atomic level, dissipating whatever the inherent capability of energy may be within that specific hydrogen atom. And, while it’s true that by hydration we exchange some or most of the body’s hydrogen with “new” not all hydrogen is cycled out of the body and replaced. Some are molecularly bonded to other components.

What ought to be of highest concern, though, to most people who are about to experience MRI is something called Looped Conductors. This is an anomaly brought about by the physical arrangement of conductive “material” within the MRI. The University of California San Francisco (UCSF), renowned for its Medical programs, has published MRI Safety Guidelines. Consequently, UCSF has this to say in their MRI guidelines regarding Looped Conductors:

“ should be taken to ensure that the patient's arms and legs not be positioned in such a way as to form a large caliber loop within the bore. For this reason it is preferable to instruct patients not to cross their arms or legs in the MR scanner.”

The danger? Looped Conductors may intensify both the RF and Magnetic effects beyond the controlled level introduced. In other words, the MRI machine introduces both RF and Magnetic properties in a small region of the body that, as a result of Looped Conductance, produce greater effects than intended. Easy enough in the MRI process to insure that arms and legs are not crossed. What’s not so easy is what’s inside the body that cannot be subject to manipulation.

Here’s a simple diagram of a Looped Conductor to illustrate the point:

Without much in the way of an anatomy background, can you image a configuration or two (or many) that might mimic that of the above? Arteries, veins, intestines, and the arrangement of our organs’ tissues coincide to the arrangement of a Looped Conductor.

In America today, according to, “From 2000-2009, incidence rates decreased for five of the 17 most common cancers among men...(but) rates increased among men for six cancers (kidney, pancreas, liver...) during the same time period.” Virtually the same holds true for women, as well.
Kidney, Pancreas, Liver...all organs which internally represent naturally configured Looped Conductors, intensifying the effects of the RF (and Magnetic forces) beyond an acceptable level SAR. Potentially, this is the problem.

Too little is known about MRI’s actual effects on the human body with respect to the individual organs and their configurations: More ought to have been done in advance of introducing what is now a runaway technology.

Given the trend toward MRI, are upticks in the occurrence of cancer in these specific organs indications of problems inherent within the MRI procedure? Beyond that, are other data amassed by the Healthcare industry not being completely interpreted to trace the true causes of health issues resulting from MRI seeking to not jeopardize this valuable and profitable diagnostic tool?

Too much money is at stake to allow its continued use and growth to be jeopardized without absolutely irrefutable proof: Medical Device manufacturers, Healthcare providers, physicians and clinicians, entrepreneurs in the popularized use of MRI. In short, too many people stand to gain too much...potentially at the risk of your life.

When one considers the capabilities of MRI it seems too good to be true. Let’s hope it’s not. Make an informed decision before jumping into the bore of a large caliber MRI and ask yourself this question, Is this procedure really necessary?

Read Wm. Saroyan’s
Days of Life and Death and Escape to the Moon
Read Wm. Saroyan’s
Sons Come and Go, Mothers Hang in Forever

July Democratic 2020 Presidential (Hopefuls) Debate

Including the Newly-White Kamala Harris

Joseph Warren, Editor

Everywhere is freaks and hairies
Dykes and fairies, tell me where is sanity(?)

- Alvin Lee, Ten Years After,
I’d Love to Change the World

I apologize: Typically we use only literary references to illustrate a point or to promote critical thinking: not lyrics from songs. Yet, in a very poetic way (Id est, Bob Dylan, Nobel Laureate), poignant song lyrics can be as profoundly illustrative as, say, H. G. Wells’
Tono-Bungay, and certainly far more concise, just not as entertaining over several hours.

Currently you have a field of 21 candidates vying for pole position in the 2020 election. They are far too numerous (and diverse) to mention save for a quick comment or two below, and most of the (probable) electorate has some understanding of each candidate’s position on this election’s more or less salient issues.

Most of the popular news journals carry a daily report concerning new developments for one or many candidates juxtaposed next to screen grabs of President Trump’s latest Tweet(s), to present, perhaps, an opposing view. Online there is no absence of updates available to the inquisitive, (which does not include either me or anyone else affiliated with this journal: We are comfortably ignorant of the latest up-to-the-minute poll results for either the incumbent or (any) of the pretenders. Not having television, as we haven’t for more than 15 years now, come the debates, we’ll sit at a desk and stream the event, being the sum of our commercial television viewing for this year.)

Most candidates, with the exception of a very few, may be summed up by the third and fourth lines in Alvin Lee’s
I’d Love to Change the World:

Tax the rich, feed the poor
'Til there are no rich no more?


The first line could be Bernie Sanders’ mantra; Elizabeth Warren’s too, while the second clearly belongs to the current president. In all fairness, I recall when George W. Bush, was speaking post-9/11 and stumbled over the “Fool me once…” axiom, instead quoting from the Who’s
Won’t Get Fooled Again. (Maybe Sanders and Warren could do a cover of Alvin Lee’s song for the September debates?)

So, as you see, one may construe that even a
Stoner from my generation understood that the approach of taxing the wealthy, to a greater and greater extent cannot perpetuate viably as an economic solution to the complex issues we face in the areas of Education, Health Care, and the myriad other malaise facing us in the U.S. and globally. (We here at are not members of this wealth-riddled and emotionally diseased economic class.)

And we are far too close to doomsday to continue “fooling around” (we’re on the very precipice) and elect people, as we have for several decades, who are not well-schooled, intelligent, and capable of leading us and the participating balance of the world into a future that looks anything other than dolorous.

The miasma engulfing us cannot continue into tomorrow. Nor can we permit facile solutions to complex problems to be proffered and expect serious change.

On a lighter note, The LA Times has offered a different perspective on Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, making them both white people, for some reason. I don’t understand: from a superficial perspective, Kamala Harris would be an attractive woman even if she were purple, but who knows what misdirection lurks in the hearts of the LA Times’ editorial staff? To their credit, they did not make Pete Buti...(whatever) look butch. And Warren does not look anything like Pocahontas. While the intellectual Nerf ball, Williamson, still looks like someone who would very much like to kill you with love, or by dropping Oprah on you whilst you slumber.

White Kamala

(Above: Kamala Harris as a very white woman, striving to confuse the closet bigot.)

In short: it’s dismal. We are doomed climatologically; we are on the cusp of conflagration; Hate permeates our society; we are disparate souls without the sense of commonality we (mostly) shared just a few decades ago; morality is a quaint, antiquated ideal; ethical interactions are mostly absent; children are freely killing children: Out of a potential field of 330 million people, this is the best the current administration’s opposition can muster.

Life is funny, skies are sunny
Bees make honey, who needs money…


I have never been so happy to be so old.

The Truth Hurts
Why some marginally talented writers like Joseph Heller succeeded and others did (and do) not

Joseph Warren, Editor

We must tear that word passive out of our vocabulary…

The meek shall not inherit the earth! Often our people were massacred while they were in their temples praying. Slaughtered like sheep. Our wise men taught us to respect the Word. But while we sat in our Yeshivas and learned the Word, the enemies were building cannon.

- Mr. Weiss, manager of the Displaced Persons (DP) camp for Jews, Italy;
Face of a Hero, Louis Falstein

Yossarian said, (something mildly humorous and lacking any basis in reality).

- Joseph Heller,
Catch 22

I’ve re-read
Catch 22 too many times in the last five decades. Heller’s long-time-in-coming sequel, Closing Time, too. Joseph Heller did well financially as a fairly mediocre writer – a panderer to the public’s appetite for pablum and posies – tales without much telling and no finish. I read Catch 22 because it was the camp thing to do when I was young – a long time ago. When his swan song, Closing Time was released I read it with vigor thinking that it would be rife with hidden meanings regarding the substance of life. It was not. It was just the words of an old Jew self-absorbedly kvetching about his time drawing nigh.

I suppose I started reading Heller about the same time as I did Vonnegut, whose writing was far more powerful and absorbing, yet both abstract and obvious.

Then recently, hitherto obscured by the passage of time and relegation to the Out-of-Print bin, I ran across Louis Falstein’s masterpiece,
Face of a Hero.

Some fairly short time ago someone discovered that much prior to Heller’s commercial success with
Catch 22, another war veteran had written a far more powerful story, and it was suggested that Heller may have procured, based, borrowed, stolen many of the experiences within Catch 22 from this other work that (instead of the whimsy with which Heller approached the war), expertly, passionately, and nakedly spun a reasonably true story about the men and machines that persecuted the US efforts against Hitler; about the death, the misery, the ache, the hunger, the debauchery, the anger and hate, the seething drive for revenge, the abandonment of morals, the resignation to death, the raw humor of those comprising our “Greatest Generation” as they struggled to defeat the most vile of tyrants.

Falstein, like Heller, but in a far more intelligent approach, paints a brutal portrait of the underbelly of the US War Machine: the incompetence, the stupidity, the devastation of War, the deaths of children and women and men who carried neither arms nor grudges, as
Chance, and the abstract acts of a few, had placed them in the crosshairs of US bombardiers and rifles, forever removing them from this world, just as Hitler had taken the lives of millions of Jews and millions more of those who did not fit the defined Aryan profile.

So why was Heller’s depiction of Yossarian’s war so highly revered compared to that of Falstein’s?

We were sick of bombing non-German cities, constantly saturating them with bombs, killing civilians week after week, month after month… (Falstein)

Slapstick: It makes war bearable. Catch 22 was far removed from reality, only grudgingly providing the reader with a gram of truth fortified by incredibly abstract fabrications of people and events that could freight no verisimilitude and, therefore, became far less disturbing to read for the then average American consumer of books (numbering many more than today), and today’s reader of mostly mindless pulp. In a basic sense, Heller pandered while Falstein expertly told a compelling and disturbing story.

Then too, we had just emerged from the war. To relive what we had experienced first-hand or through the words of those we knew, or through the absence of those we lost, for many was far too painful an experience: everyone had been touched by the war, here in the United States, in Europe, in the USSR…everywhere.

Today, though,
Face of a Hero is a far grander book examining behaviors and conditions that help us to better understand what our fathers and grandfathers and mothers and grandmothers endured in their selfless contributions to combat a perverse ideal, which today is sadly enjoying a bit of resurgence.

Perhaps it’s because for many,
Catch 22 forms the foundation of their knowledge about this incredibly bleak period in our world’s history, touching on war, death and the incurably stupid nature of martial conflict without excavating deeper into events: not from a history textbook style, but from a book such as Falstein’s that tells the tale of war and its consequences to everyone, without respite.

It ought to be required reading for anyone who longs to lead us into the future. So ought Dalton Trumbo’s
Johnny Got His Gun, but that is another story for another time…

If you are a Jew,
Face of a Hero will take on an added dimension – a depth sure to manifest heightened understanding of the conflicted actions of the world’s Jewry under disparate circumstances, and why some pursued an active course, and some did not.

Well, so do I think that Heller plagiarized Falstein’s book? Yes, I do. Ultimately, from my perspective it did him no good: while he managed to advantage financially, Falstein’s work extends far beyond the superficiality of Catch 22, and Face of a Hero will live far longer in the annals of Literary accomplishment, notwithstanding George Clooney’s actions.

Read Louis Falstein’s
Face of a Hero, then read Catch 22, and compare both the subtle and obvious relationship of characters, events and storylines between the two.

(Don’t bother reading Heller’s
Closing Time: it’s not worth the fifty-cent asking price.)

Der Letzte Akt von Herr und Frau Stefan Zweig
Joseph Warren, Editor

On that evening I was God. I had created the word, and lo! It was full of goodness and justice…
On that evening I was God. But I did not look down coldly from an exalted throne upon my works and deeds…
On that evening I was God. I had calmed the waters of unrest and driven the darkness from their hearts.

(Lieutenant Hofmiller’s rather exultant self-assessment.)
Stefan Zweig,
Beware of Pity


At the conclusion of Beware of Pity, Edith, the young woman on whom Lieutenant Hofmiller’s pity fell in scattered and intense showers, in a moment of darkness had thrown herself from the tower roof of her father’s estate after her ovation of love was not reciprocated. She had mistaken his pity of her paralyzed condition, for an avowal of amour.

Later, back from war, his uniform laden with medals testifying to his bravery (undeserved from his perspective), he is quietly alone in the aftermath wrapped in the remnants of his life, yet still a young man.

I myself forgot my guilt. For the heart is able to bury deep and well what it urgently desires to forget. – ibid

Hofmiller attends a performance of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s
Orphée et Eurydice. As he lingered before the beginning of the performance, having adjusted himself in his seat expecting to remain without movement for the duration of the first act, he was awakened from his thoughts by the presence of Dr. Condor, who had unsuccessfully treated Edith for her paralysis. For the moment, Hofmiller remained unnoticed; soon he surreptitiously spirited himself out of the theater to avoid…

…likely a stifling and crippling reminder of his guilt; the shame for his forsaking Edith’s exclaimed love; unreciprocated, painfully so, by the Lieutenant.

Now, if you like,
click here or paste this link into another window ( and listen to Nelson Freire playing Death of Orpheus in the background while you read on.

Herr Zweig’s
Beware of Pity was published in 1939. The book immediately made it to the short list of Hitler’s banned books, some of which (constituting his earlier writings) found their way to the literary pyres of May 10, 1933 throughout Germany, as a brilliant, thoughtful, artistic people bowed to the whip of ignorance and deceit retailed by Hitler and his minion of cretins comprising his inner circle and highest echelon.

In total there may have been as many as 25,000 books burned on that one day throughout Germany. (A very good resource for the event and other related data can be found at the
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum online.)

The list of internationally recognized authors banned is formidable and includes some very surprising writers of early 20th Century America, including Jack London, Hemingway, et cetera. Europeans include Proust, Einstein, Wells, Thomas Mann and his brother Heinrich, Kafka, Freud, and many others whose thinking could have conceivably, inasmuch as Hitler was concerned, impaired the Reich’s good people from embracing Aryan supremacy and its necessary and associated hatred by the corruption of Internationalism, Individuality, so called
Jewish Science, and other assorted philosophical approaches to existence that did not fit the formulated catena that was to be ultimately known as Nazism.

The list,
Liste des schädlichen und unerwünschten Schrifttums, (roughly, List of Harmful and Unwanted Literature) was issued December 31, 1938. Ergo, anyone whose scribbling appeared on the list was likewise, Harmful and Unwanted, but the Nazis were too late for Zweig. He, like others before and shortly after him sought refuge in another world, leaving behind his very beloved Austria, the place of his birth and understanding of all that comprised a literate, enlightened, fully-awakened human, in the Gurdjieff sense.

Many - most- of those who did not leave the sprawling dread and vile corruption of Nazism, particularly Jews, were never heard from again.

The reason I quoted
Beware of Pity (Ungeduld des Herzens) rather than any of the other volumes on hand is owing to Zweig’s lamentations at the loss of his Vienna: the Vienna of his youth, of his earliest poetry, his essays, his fiction, his drama, his libretto for his dear friend and guardian Strauss’s Die schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman), his abundant and often superlative other works, his loves gained and lost, as a young man and moving into his middle years.

In his screenplay
The Third Man, Graham Greene opens with the words, “I never knew the old Vienna before the war with its Strauss music, its glamor and easy charm…” Zweig did, and the loss of that Vienna haunted him to his end in Petropolis in February 1942.

But it was more than only Vienna: it was Europe, as well. It was the loss of a culture, an ideal, an expression, an awakening, an avenue to the growing approaches to life and art and science. It was the closing of a grand portal through which her citizens were encouraged to walk and open their minds to anything that could be. Then, suddenly for most, Light became Darkness.

In his
Drei Leben (Third Life) as he called it, his travels and wanderings took him ultimately to Brazil where his notoriety leant him, whenever he chose, the peace he needed to contemplate his biographical masterpiece, The World of Yesterday, summarily reviewed earlier in this publication (see below). Yet his contemplations led him ultimately to take his own life, while nearly simultaneously leading to the suicide of his second wife, Charlotte (or Lotte, as she was commonly called).

The World of Yesterday (Die Welt von Gestern), Zweig mourns what he sees as the impending loss of Europe: He was tormented, disillusioned, and lost in a world he could not comprehend, cast into an abyss of depression - wrecked spiritually by the loss of his country. Yet, in 1942, at the time of his suicide the tide of war was reversing, and not too much later a clear signal could be heard: one of coming peace and a chance at resurrection.

But to start everything anew after a man’s 60th year requires special powers, and my own power has been expended after years of wandering homeless. I thus prefer to end my life at the right time, upright, as a man for whom cultural work has always been his purest happiness and personal freedom — the most precious of possessions on this earth.

Stefan Zweig, Excerpt from Suicide Letter

It is a loss to Austria, to Europe, to the world that Zweig did not refuse to yield to his darkest passion. He could have done much to bring Europe out of the ashes of conflict.

Ironically, Herr Zweig’s nomadic existence, which served only to unsettle him deeper later in life, was of his own doing: He travelled much seeking out opportunities in which he could present himself and speak to those things he held most dearly: the larger the crowd the better, as in his many audiences in the United States where one-thousand, two-thousand or more would attend. He reveled in the attention, and swam seemingly nearly breathlessly in approbation. Perhaps during his confidential sessions with his friend, Freud, this “malady” was addressed, but we will never know.


The artist, also our co-publisher, Greta Hill-Warren has recently completed her creation in Oil on linen from an amalgam of the various deathbed photographs of Stefan and Lotte Zweig who con-completed suicide in February 1942 in Petropolis, Brazil.

It was several months in completion: of work, of research, of reading, of immersing herself in creating the perfect image. It is a highly detailed, exacting, mesmerizing portrait of the
Moment After.

There is much to say about Greta’s interpretation of the historic yet nebulous and confusing series of images in Black and White wherein the subjects are posed and re-posed to the taste of, one presumes, various deathbed photographers, but, from extensive research she has “filled in the blanks” lending color to clothes, texture of skin, expression in death, peacefulness of mind and soul, and a far more-than-photographic detail based on hundreds of color images of them in life, mostly before their exodus to South America, yet to a lesser extent of their time in Brazil, as well.

This masterful depiction is Oil on stretched linen: The book’s dimensions are 25 inches by 28 inches by 2-1/4 inches. The inset canvas measures 20 inches by 24 inches; signed and dated by the artist. It is entitled,
Der Letzte Akt von Herr und Frau Stefan Zweig (The Final Act of Mr. and Mrs. Stefan Zweig).

The canvas is framed in an artistically created “Book” (from our frame shop) bearing the title of the work, date of “publication” and artist’s name shown as
Illustriert von (or Illustrated by) since her focus of thought was to bring a true and passionate illustration of the first moment following after many years of only faint, blurry images of one of the greatest authors of the 20th Century. Her work is the book – the illustrated edition of a very brief moment in time.

The frame simulates a hardbound book from the early 1900s with faux leather spine. The image is recessed and held firmly by the framing process, but removable if needed. Between the boards the artist has crafted simulated page edges. The back of the book is covered in cloth, as well. It does not have a hanging device affixed, although you may apply one if you wish, but is designed to be displayed on an easel or suitable shelf.

Then, included under the canvas in an interior pocket of the frame, printed on canvas in purple ink (Zweig’s preferred ink color – nearly fanatically so) is the reproduction of the original suicide note (entitled,
Declaração in Portuguese to insure its recognizability by local officials). What follows the title is in German. It is a painstakingly reproduced duplicate of the note, itself consuming hours of computer manipulation working from a master image of the original. An additional canvas copy, exactly as that held within the frame, is included in a protective sleeve separate from the art work.

Read Zweig’s
The World of Yesterday, and you will come away nearly breathless from the intensity of his descriptions on the rise of National Socialism in Germany, and in his homeland, Austria. For more than just entertainment, read, Amok, Jeremiah, Volpone, and, for that matter, nearly everything else he wrote (although he did tend to overwrite occasionally).

Of the artist, her favorite stories by Zweig are,
The Invisible Collection and The Miracles of Life.

Read Zweig’s
Beware of Pity and come to understand the parallels of emotions in the human heart.

Read Zweig’s
Messages from a Lost World, and pursue the author’s soul as he mourns the beginning of the end, through a collection of shorter writings encompassing the years leading to his death.

Read Oliver Matushek’s very in-depth biographical look at Zweig along the complete spectrum of his life in his book,
Drei Leben, or Three Lives: a reference to Zweig’s appellation for the distinct segments of his life, from youth to exile. From it you will uncover the bases of the characters of those within his work as well as the places and events that influenced his writings.

Visit the
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and learn about Hitler’s attempt to eradicate wisdom, knowledge, compassion from the souls of Europeans, and eventually the world, and consider how his dark legacy lives on today.

And in this way, let us work to keep Hate from entering our lives.

This work is one in the world. It is priced earnestly given the hundreds - thousands - of hours the artist has committed to its completion out of a passion for both the image and for its history. It is the beginning of a homogeneity of art termed,
BuchKunst (or אמנות הספר) or the amalgam of Book and Art created by the artist to meld both her passion for books and art into one coherent statement. The title, Der Letzte Akt von Herr und Frau Stefan Zweig captures the final act a moment after the closing curtain of Zweig's Drei Leben. It is currently listed here, and with many images on eBay at her site here at $8,418, with offers being entertained.

History…is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
James Joyce,

Joseph Warren, Editor

I received the following contribution this morning from a William Barr, Attorney General, and thought it best to publish it verbatim to insure that the flow and beauty of the prose remained. The careful reader will notice the allusion to Tolstoy in the third paragraph, an apparently favored Russian writer of Mr. Barr.



Thank you, Mr. Barr for your insightful essay. I agree completely with your pithy comments regarding Joyce’s approach to narrative. Strictly for the record, though, I side with Nora, his wife, who famously advised her husband, Why don’t you write something people can read. (Or, words to that effect.) Having read Ulysses twice in the last 50 years I remain uncertain why the book was seen as such a “great and revolutionary” work, stream of consciousness aside. From my perspective, Kerouac’s scroll of On the Road always remains a far more absorbing read of like genre.

Read James Joyce,
Ulysses, if you can tolerate it. If successful, you’ll likely enjoy Marcel Proust’s Remembrances of Things Past.
Read Jack Kerouac’s
On the Road, The Sea is My Brother, And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks (with Wm. Burroughs), and, of course, Desolation Angels.

Read Third Index Page