Third Index Page

Faust in Googlespeak
If Johann Wolfgang von Goethe had translated Faust with Google

Joseph Warren, Editor

You two, you so often,
In distress and tribulation, assisted,
Say what you are in German lands
Hopes of our enterprise?
I very much wish the crowd,
Especially because she lives and lets live.
The posts are, the boards pitched,
And everyone is expecting a party.
They are already sitting with high eyebrows
Let there and would like to surprise.
I know how to reconcile the spirit of the people;
But I've never been so embarrassed:
Although they are not used to the best,
But they have read terribly much.
How do we do that everything is fresh and new
And with meaning also complacent?
Because of course I like to see the crowd
When the stream rushes to our shack,
And with a lot of repeated labor
Squeezing through the narrow portal of grace;
On a bright day, even before four,
With bumps to the cashier spruce
And, as in famine for bread at bakery doors,
A billet almost breaks your necks.
This miracle affects so many different people
The poet only; my friend, do it today!

Faust, from the German to Googlespeak

I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to saving money on translation services: it’s as though we want to make the effort to communicate with a larger, broader, more solvent and varied audience but we’re just not willing to fork over the dinero (that’s “money” in Googlespeak) to make certain we’re saying what we ought to say rather than something offensive or so out-of-whack that it brings a smile to the foreign language reader, much like for we English speakers when reading a User Manual obviously written by the Chinese company’s Marketing Representative: “Immersion for cleanliness hot with soaping…”

Google’s Translator is an ever-ready and entirely expense-free avenue available to the average
schmo like you and me, and, best of all, it’s free. But you get what you pay for.

It makes us feel good because we think we’re demonstrating how urbane and cultured we are communicating in various foreign languages, but in reality…well: We’re not.

Many of our candidates in the upcoming election (“upcoming” meaning two years into the future) have used Googlespeak to their own embarrassment, and there are numerous, hilarious examples everywhere on the web – just
Google it.

In Google ask, “Find Google translation errors” or as we say in Spanish, “
Encontrar errores de traducción de Google” which means in Googlespeak the same as in English (per Google) surprisingly enough.

Very few literary works have birthed as many like-themed progeny as Goethe’s
Faust. Most of my favorite writers of the past, including Freud, saw Goethe’s work as iconic of both the time and intellectual balance and enlightenment of that period in world history.

If you haven’t read it, may I suggest you do so in its correct translation, when “How do we do that everything is fresh and new/And with meaning also complacent?” correctly becomes, “How can we make it all seem fresh and new,/Weighty, but entertaining too?”

Well that makes a lot more sense.

As we say in Finnish,
Odotan innolla puhua teille uudelleen. (That’s right: I speak Finnish, too, although it’s with a Refinnish dialect.)

Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and as you do you will discover that many of our recent writers have borrowed heavily on Goethe without so much as a single-sentence acknowledgement. (That’s the world today.)
Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud, and gain much insight into why we are so disparate today as a society – writ large and small.

A Freudian Reality
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

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.

More than 40% of the USA is overweight, ranging from unfit to morbidly obese, which is as bad as the words taken together sound: “Morbid” and “Obese.” They are not words we use as an approbation to a friend, such as, “My, but you’re looking particularly morbid (or, obese) today; to what do you owe this recent change?” Rather, being
morbidly obese is someone likely to die from the layers of fat encompassing his or her corporeal being.

By 2050 the US is expected to displace about 30% of current employment owing to advancing automation, including as a result of the oft-cited and dreaded
Artificial Intelligence. Soon, the growing horde of those seeking to learn the secret cabalistic ways of Coding will too become obsolete as technology advances: Customer Service, Food Preparation, Transportation, Education, and certainly Manufacturing amongst all others, including Health Care are likely to find few Human employment opportunities available.

Today in the United States, about 38% of our Labor Force are deemed
Unemployable, or, not able to perform any function in our society worthy of remuneration. (We’ve written many times about this staggeringly upsetting and sad condition: use the Google search above and read more.)

To mitigate the effects of this devastating condition, we’ve opened up Social Security Disability to include many of those whose “Disability” is
not disabling, from a traditional perspective, allowing them to collect a guaranteed income and to work “on-the-side” sometimes at fairly physically demanding jobs earning above and beyond their disability payment, notwithstanding the nature of their disability. Some, mostly obese, are content to roll-over fellow shoppers at America’s discount stores with their electric shopping carts as their fat drapes over the sides of the seat, assuaged by the amount of their disability payment and other associated benefits.

At present, there are about
10.5 million Americans collecting regular monthly compensation under the Disability provision of the Social Security Administration. Just four years ago, when we last wrote on this subject, the number was about 8 million. That is a disturbing trend and one, I can only imagine, very difficult to sustain by, as several Democratic candidates have offered, Taxing the Rich.

Obesity has much to do with it. So does the consumption of Alcoholic beverages (and taking meals at any of the purveyors of garbage-food outlets that have saturated America), since they are to some likely extent linked, rarely seeing an avid, healthy-appearing thin consumer of beer or distilled spirits leaving either a boutique brew house or common saloon. Estimates are that Alcohol abuse in America results in GDP costs of
more than $2 trillion. Contrast this to the purported $98 billion owing to Smoking. We’ve written about this, as well. (The symptoms and disabling effects of a “Beer Gut” and related back ailment is the same whether from five-dollar-a-glass boutique beer or a-buck-a-can Pabst.)

Nearly uniformly we tend to celebrate the news of some new drug or procedure intended to eliminate disease or sustain the life of someone suffering from a life-threatening condition, such as AIDS, Cancer, or congenital (and otherwise) health issue, leading to greater cost in Health Care and a likely increase in the number of the Unemployable owing to convalescence and/or the loss of viable skills (or physical ability) following treatment.

We want to celebrate this type of achievement because, in our ignorance, we desperately want others to rejoice in our recovery, if the situation should arise. It’s a basic Human behavior characteristic, regardless of how self-defeating it may be for the survival of our species. Clearly, as Freud observed nearly 90 years ago, we’re
defeating the best efforts of Nature to our ultimate detriment.

We profess to value every life as though it is Sacred, when in truth, every life is not -
no life is sacred: and as a country, and as individuals, we have proven time-and-again that life means nothing, other than a solemn nod or muttered declamation, unless it shares a defined and certain common religious or political view. Even then, only momentary is our sadness.

Our true value in life is to sustain the machinery of those who provide health services (read Cold Storage herein), manufacture products, operate the Judicial and Penal systems, and a host of other make-work industries. A loss of life, is a loss of income to those who benefit: nothing more. And the loss of life of those who operate these industries means nothing to those who replace them, other than an opportunity to perpetuate wealth and, more importantly, to sustain the current apparatus.

I read
Civilization and its Discontents because it had been lauded by three of my favorite authors from the same era: I am very glad I did. Throughout the book, Freud’s insights and aphoristic declamations are worthy of re-reading. (I’m doing that now.) And, with each re-introduction to the book, more is to be gleaned. It’s an easy read, and one that ought to be required reading for all of our nearly 8 billion fellow astronauts.

“And, finally, what good to us is a long life if it is difficult and barren of joys and if it is so full of misery that we can only welcome death as a deliverer?”
Sigmund Freud,
Civilization and its Discontents

Now, how can anyone argue with an upbeat summation like that? -Ed.

Highland Park, California
Joseph Warren, Editor

"You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood ... back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame ... back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”

-Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again

Time and Memory: Inspired by both Thomas Wolfe’s lessons through the shunned and misanthropic George Webber, and stumbling, stimulated, and seemingly spanning the vastness of the last more than 60 years on this Thanksgiving Day, retailed by a photomontage of Highland Park from the 1920s onward, juxtaposed against the then-innocence cloaked by violence and hate much later in the century, I recalled moving to Highland Park in 1953.

In those halcyon days, I sold the
LA Times in front of Van de Kamp’s Bakery at York and Figueroa. After, I’d go to Farmer Dick’s Market across the street and buy milk or bread with my proceeds. With a small group of confreres, we’d steal deposit bottles of Coke (and others) from the back of Farmer Dick’s, and return them to the liquor store next to Bank of America to buy Abba Zaba bars and Bubble Up. Sitting on the curbside of York we’d take a bite of Abba Zaba and a sip of Bubble Up and try to contain the chemical explosion: Not as easy as it sounds.

One early evening after a long contest, as my sinuses irritated and swelled from challenge and triumph, and while walking back toward home, a double-breasted Copper stopped me and said, “Your ol’ man wants you to come!” That was how LAPD dealt with recalcitrant punks. In the basement of the Highland Park LAPD station I was sworn into the Boy Scouts, having left the vestiges of boyhood behind, following the Scout Jamboree on Catalina Island celebrating 50 years wherein hundreds - maybe thousands - of scouts all contracted dysentery from a large cauldron of stew served without remorse by Scout Masters from across the United States.

I pinched a quarter from my daily newspaper earnings to see, “The Blob” at the Highland and got popcorn too. I kissed Kathy Okubo on the playground at Yorkdale Elementary when “Playground” meant a geographic zone rather than an area of anatomy. Later, I felt up Rhonda, but gleaned nothing from the experience being too young to benefit from her altruism. As we were leaving Highland Park for the desolation of Mountain View, in the Bay Area, I scratched Kathy Jenkins’ initials into a tree at the park.

We flattened pennies on the railroad tracks. We scrounged tadpoles from the LA River retaining them in an empty can of Prince Albert, always at-hand as a result of my Father’s inhalations. We walked across the trestle spanning the filthy little river, unmindful of danger, and, presumably, uncaring owing to our impermeability.

We stayed out all night and sometimes threw ripe pomegranates at the freshly painted homes of those who treated us less-than-kindly. Walking home from school, a thousand mothers watched over us like a multitude of angels whose supervision, although we did not seek it, was welcomed.

I smoked my first cigarette from a pack of Camels we stole from the bumper of a plumber’s work truck in the alley down the hill: I swayed dizzy and euphoric. This would be the same hill later I would careen uncontrollably down after brake failure on my bike, stopping only as a result of my head abutting the concrete curb: Dr. Peyser, as he did always, made quick work of the repair, much like when I shot the splintered shaft of an arrow through my thumb.

My older brother, Larry, was graduated from Franklin High School to die but six years later, having lived his youth in unfettered joy, save for the occasional angst and torment of late
teenagehood. My Father was graduated from Franklin High in the same year through their Adult Education program. He was quite proud, as were we all.

See’s Candy gave away a few pieces of chocolates to mothers, for their accompanying children, when they were present during Holiday candy purchases. The ladies always wore clean white dresses, and I remember white caps too, as they worked behind tinted glass cases harboring everything that at that moment, I avariciously coveted. Down the street the local supermarket - it wasn’t Farmer Dick’s, but another major store - sold “Nigger Toes” for, as I recall, about twenty-cents a pound. Can you imagine that? Inked-in on a sign in the Produce section...

Farther down the block, Ben Alexander of the TV program,
Dragnet, owned a massively successful Ford dealership. One early evening my Father took me in to the showroom to ogle a 1958, white, retractable, Ford Fairlane. Sticker price, new, not a mile on it, was a bit more than $2,400. My Father was, as many unemployed in the Defense Industry, earning a few dollars each week laboring not at his trade. Some months later I watched as our old Plymouth was repossessed.

Christmases, Halloweens, Easters, and Thanksgivings all observed in a place in Time and Memory to which I may never return. So it goes, as Vonnegut would have said, but he is dead, too, just as those moments are for me in Space-Time, unless Kurt
Gödel was right.

Highland Park was a fantasyland back then, truly.

You have a Highland Park in your past, too. I know that. And, you can’t go back, either.
Sometimes, though, especially at this time of year, it’s worth the Time and Memory to return, briefly.

I hear it is Gentrifying, Highland Park, that is: Home prices skyrocketing. People being pushed out by escalating greed. White folks (and others of the Millennial persuasion steeped in some form of illusory afluence) attempting to reconstruct a life they did not have there, from what belonged to us, then. And you know what? It still does.

Read, Thomas Wolfe,
You Can’t Go Home Again.

Read, A World Without Time, by Palle Yourgrau who takes you through the Gödel-Einstein relationship at the Princeton Institute. (Palle Yourgrau explains Gödel’s then-revolutionary perspective on Multiverses (who along with Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and many others) captured both the mathematics and the necessity of a Multiverse Space-Time.)

Mid-Term: Mental Mid-Point
Evaluating President Trump and His Minions
Joseph Warren, Editor

“The Nazis no longer resorted to hypocritical pretexts about the urgency of opposing and eliminating Marxism. They did not just rob and steal, they gave free rein to every kind of private vengeful instinct. University professors were forced to scrub the streets with their bare hands; devout, white-bearded Jews were hauled into the synagogues by young men bawling with glee, and made to perform knee-bends while shouting “Heil Hitler!” in chorus. They rounded up innocent citizens in the streets like rabbits and dragged them away to sweep the steps of the barracks. All the sick, perverted fantasies they had thought up over many nights of sadistic imaginings were now put into practice in broad daylight...”

-Stefan Zweig, The World of Yesterday

Nearly all of Stefan Zweig’s writing has given me pleasure.
Volpone, Amok, the libretto of The Silent Woman, Letter from an Unknown Woman, and the list goes on, yet…few books in my 68 years of life are equal to his treatise on the state of the world then (and now), The World of Yesterday, his autobiographical look at Austria and Germany during their most critical times.

My copy is now heavily annotated with underscores and my “little colored flags” marking the more salient points leaving the book fluttering like a string of colorful plastic flags across a Texas used car lot, each one marking a bargain for the mind, rarely considered by a
little old lady from Brownsville who only thought that thought while going to church on Sundays or to the market during the week. Low-Mileage profundity.

In plain English, as we approach Mid-Term elections, and for what they’re worth, here are my thoughts regarding President Trump, and some of the issues at the forefront of the Mid-Term election dividing America today. Some you will find supportive of Mr. Trump; some highly critical: That’s the
problem with being an Independent.

“They broke into apartments and tore the jewels out of the ears of trembling women - it was the kind of thing that might have happened when cities were plundered hundreds of years ago in medieval wars, but the shameless pleasure they took in the public infliction of pain, psychological torture and all the refinements of humiliation was something new...”
The World of Yesterday

Imposing tariffs on China:

While seemingly an approach designed to boost US production of comparable goods by establishing a level playing field, countering the Communist practices in China of subvented industries, wages, monetary policies, and price controls, President Trump’s tariffs do what America’s consumers ought to have done all along: shop according to the greatest benefit to the country in which they (we) live.

About 88.8% of china’s exports (of about one-half trillion US dollars per year in total) to the USA are Consumer goods. Consumer spending (in all its myriad forms) accounts for about 60 to 70% of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

A majority of US Consumers do not buy USA made goods because, among other excuses, they are typically more expensive than Chinese products of similar purpose. And those that are USA made are more expensive because they support a higher wage, and an economy based on (relatively unmanipulated) Capitalist principles rather than market-based Communism.

Because you, the US Consumer, didn’t do what you should have done, President Trump has done it for you, and now with tariffs you will pay about the same amount for a product made in the USA of likely higher quality, as that made in China. That’s a good thing, although you may not agree because it will mean that you can no longer clutter your lives with useless junk, most of which are unnecessary to a fulfilling life.

Since the late 1990s China has amassed incredible wealth thanks largely to your practices, converted by the Chinese government to advancing weapons and influence in the very remotest and most unlikely parts of the world, usurping whatever influence we may have previously held.

China is now in a position to become the preeminent influence on the world stage, if they have not surpassed the USA already.

A quick review of world history tells us that China as a Communist country requires that each citizen hold foremost in their hearts and minds, the ideal of the government (the State), first, and that religion, when tolerated, must not denigrate or impinge on the commitment of each citizen to support above all else, the State. And yet,
many evangelicals in the USA frequently shop at those stores that peddle chiefly Chinese-made products, supporting both the atheistic precepts of Marxism and growing worldwide Chinese influence furthering their irreligious perspective.

In the last several decades, China, in opposition to the USA, has supported (both in Men and Materiel) the opposing forces in both Korea and Viet Nam.
Many US Veterans continue to support the opposing sides in these historical conflicts by buying products made in China. Many also display US flags made in China. They fail to see the apparent and sad irony in their actions.

Had Mrs. Clinton been elected in November 2016, the system of off-shored jobs and industries would have perpetuated, at the least, and likely grown. The US Consumer could have continued unfettered in their acquisition of poorly-made cheap products to achieve the level of immediate gratification for which they so desperately thirst, continuing to support China’s military development and imperialist influence in South America and Africa.

NAFTA reimagined:

Our “New and Improved” NAFTA with respect to Mexico is nothing but an ingenious ploy intended to demonstrate President Trump’s aggressive position regarding negotiations on Trade, primarily in the Automotive industry.

Under the revised agreement, (starting in 2020, to avoid the imposition of tariffs) cars and trucks should have at least 30 percent of the work on the vehicle performed by workers earning $16 an hour. (The 30% threshold increases over the course of ensuing years.) Contrary to what is being disseminated by some media, Mexican Auto workers presently make from $8 to $10 per hour at Ford, as an example.

A quick adjustment in personnel, by shifting payroll from the US to Mexico for a few highly paid US managers through the various payroll companies presently operating in Mexico who accommodate US-based manufacturers for the benefit of the Mexican government and US industry, will easily meet the required wage ceiling without any resultant negligible benefit to either US or Mexican Auto workers – themselves.
Sorry, UAW.


Like most Americans, save for those who were aboriginal to North America, I am an extension from a background of immigrants: some from England and others from Italy.

Those from England abruptly concluded their voyage by either crashing ashore or dropping anchor, long before the promulgation of laws intended to restrict the free influx of migrants, probably much to the chagrin of our American Indian population.

The Italians came through Ellis Island. In the first case though, the practiced entrance was long before Immigration laws were established for the country. Entry for my Italian forefathers was governed by laws loosely constructed and designed to ensure that those being granted entrance had skills or characteristics that were desirable to the advancement of the USA at a time of evolving industry: they were to become the necessary cogs in the developing machinery of Capitalism making
the few wealthier and providing a means of sustenance to the rest in a country of promise and opportunity, some of whom subsequently advantaged greatly.

Today, we are not the same country: sadly, opportunities are limited and social services are straining under the weight of so many under-employed, and the unemployable, comprised of immigrants and, most importantly, the growing legion of America’s (multi-generational) disabled and unskilled.

The “Free-For-All” immigration practices of the 1700s cannot be reintroduced without dire consequences.
I mourn that. If only we could support the world’s “…huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” this would be a far better planet for the practice.

Regrettably, we cannot.

Health Care:

In 1960 Health Care accounted for a little more than $27 billion USD of our GDP. In 2016 – the last year for which data has been compiled – our annual expenditure is more than $3.3 trillion.

1960’s expenditure should equate to about $234 billion today using the US government’s own CPI Inflation Calculator. So, why so much more?

I could list Advancing Technologies, Increased Pharmaceuticals Cost, Professional Salaries, Litigation Expenses, Unnecessary Procedures, and others as the culprit, but it really comes down to simply, Greed… everyone involved in dispensing Health Care today. We’ve written about the growing, dramatic and potentially catastrophic influences of MRI; about Medical Professionals’ pay; about the rampant and unchecked abuses of Big Pharma; and others, but overall they are far too influential to counter.

No President, no Congress, no Governor, no
One can change what has evolved in America today to be the soul of the Health Care industry. It is an apodictic windmill of such immense and influential global proportions, Quixote may only sigh in disgust and resignation.

As an example, no one can do anything about Stephen Hemsley of United Health Group and his $60 million a year salary, except its directorship. No one can do anything about average Physician pay in the USA exceeding three-times that of
any other developed country. No one can do anything about the cost of drugs far exceeding the cost of the same drugs in Mexico, Canada, Europe, or anywhere else in the world.

And, for all of this, we ought to be living longer, healthier lives, but we are not. We are, in fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, dying younger and younger every year.

We are a country of obese, stagnant people, generally, and President Trump, himself obese and stagnant, cannot do anything about Health Care costs and our growing mortality problem.

Russian Influence:

Listen to this: There is no unwinding the cryptic web of state-directed espionage. We’re all complicit in our actions and inactions. It is irrevocable. It is second nature. It’s the way the world of government interacts. Clandestine assassinations have always been commonplace. We (the US) have murdered and been murdered. Manufacturing governments sympathetic to our needs is our long-standing practical industry.

Every year more than one-hundred journalists are killed, spies are murdered, secrets are stolen, computers are hacked. It’s the way we do business, and always will. Russia’s influences are a red herring to those issues that ought to be at the forefront. Besides, I think I look better without a shirt on than Vladimir Putin, and I am three years his senior, so I don’t care.

Climate Change:

We are doomed, as a planet. It is irrevocable at this point and our only hope is that Science may help us to find a way out. Read,
Real Estate: That Sinking (Coastal California) Feeling, just below, and don’t waste a lot of your money on sweaters and jackets in the years to come.

Hate in America:

In the run-up to the November 2016 election, Donald Trump said things that were intended to foment Hate and Fear and Anxiety and Division in America. In short, he did what nearly every Democrat and Republican vying for office this November is doing: vilifying anyone on whom they may gain traction.

Inspiring division and thereby easing the effort associated with conquest is a tried and true extension of the aphoristic,
Divide and Conquer. But who is trying to conquer us?

Very often, our worst enemy is the one who lurks within. I’ve known people who, consciously or otherwise, are their own nemesis: the one most likely to cause the most distress in one’s life, although we may try to negate our delusion by assigning blame to someone else; Black, Jew, Mexican, Muslim are all the usual suspects; sometimes more closely to home we impugn husband, wife, parent. They’re all easy targets for our less stellar behaviors.

“Donald Trump is like Hitler!”
No, he’s not. Nobody was or is like Hitler, except Hitler. Nobody was more demonic, more forceful in his hate, more apoplectic than Adolf Hitler. He was absolutely the personification of the Devil.

“All this has been described not by one victim but by thousands, and a more peaceful age, not morally exhausted like our own, will shudder some day to read what horrors were inflicted on that cultured city in the twentieth century by a single half-deranged man. For in the midst of his military and political victories, that was Hitler’s most diabolical triumph - one man succeeded in deadening every idea of what is just and right by the constant attrition of excess…”
The World of Yesterday

What we have done, though, is elect a man as our President who is not very articulate or statesman-like, not completely considered in his thought, not possessing the ability to invoke confidence by the majority of Americans, is not principled in his personal life to any degree, and our bantering and bickering and fighting is likely to turn him into a blithering imbecile before his first term is over.

When I was a boy I understood that any
man could grow up to be President of our country. Donald Trump, like Barrack Obama, like George W. Bush, and like Bill Clinton, all before, are proof of that axiom. Anybody can…really.

So, as in every election I think I’ll vote for the individual who best matches my perspective as to
What’s good for the country, and not who is most like or unlike President Trump. After all: Nobody’s like President Trump, and the harder his minions work to portray themselves Trumpesque, the more frightening they become.

The artist, and our publisher,
Greta Hill-Warren is about three months away from completing her re-creation of an amalgam of the various deathbed photographs of Stefan and Lotte Zweig who con-completed suicide in February 1942 in Petropolis, Brazil. The working title, Der Tod von Herrn und Frau Stefan Zweig translates roughly to the Death of Mr. and Mrs, Stefan Zweig.

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 photographers. 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.

This masterful depiction is oil on stretched canvas: 20 inches by 24 inches. The original will be offered somewhere in the range of from $14,000 to $22,000 USD early next year. Smaller, limited edition Giclée prints will be offered following the introduction of the original.

Read Zweig’s
The World of Yesterday, and you will come away nearly breathless from the intensity of his descriptions of 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 Letter From an Unknown Woman can get a bit ponderous.

Zweig Nearing Completion - 1_Fotor
Image of Warren-Hill’s Der Tod von Herrn und Frau Stefan Zweig taken clandestinely in her studio.


In October 19 news, Facebook is being sued for fraudulent advertising practices, increasing viewership of online ads when, in some likelihood, the viewer had not promoted or had stopped the video. We wrote about this and other practices in May of this year. Here’s the article again so that you may fully appreciate (as a possible advertiser) how ethereal and surreal advertising has become:

The Batrachomyomachia that is Online Advertising Today
Joseph Warren, Editor

…in this best of all possible worlds…


We tried opening our publication to advertising a couple of years ago by placing codes within that prompted Google to insert ads and, based on the hit rate – the number of times someone clicked on an ad, pay to us some amount of money as a percentage of revenue they, in turn, received from their many, and presumably flush, advertisers.

The problem is that Google, probably like Facebook (although we’ve never had an interest in that medium), and all the others primarily in charge of placing advertising, make no effort to ensure that the ads fit the “publication.” So, for us, next to an article regarding an ever-increasing imbalance in
International Trade would be an ad hawking a cure for Herpes; Slithering after an in-depth look at the potential dangers of MRI exposure would be a touted cure for Baldness: There was no logical relationship between the advertised product or service to that of So we ended it very shortly after it began.

Every month nowadays we entertain from 70,000 to 90,000 readers. That’s probably a lot of lost opportunity from
your perspective, but it just wasn’t worth the defilement. Imagine an advert for a Feminine Hygiene product (with all related graphic mages) suddenly appearing as you turn the page of Voltaire’s epic treatise on Optimism, Candide; A questionable homeopathic treatment involving sliced kiwi fruit for Macular Degeneration in the midst of Thoreau’s Walden; How about a Hemorrhoid cure somewhere in Genesis? It doesn’t work, nor should it. (Please note, we are not comparing our modest publication to any of the aforementioned; it’s just an illustration of how seriously we consider what we do juxtaposed to the advertising offered by Google.)

Last year Google took in more than $4 Billion in advertising – more than twice that of Facebook’s meager $1.9 Billion.

To boost advertising revenue all sorts of gimmicks are employed to give those companies shoveling over vast amounts of money the sense that they are actually benefitting from their actions.

My favorite is the
latent image: Open a webpage, read a sentence or two, place your finger on the section of screen that is “blank” to scroll further downward and you have clicked on an ad that wasn’t yet visible, but was nonetheless coded into the webpage. You’ve clicked; They pay; Everyone’s happy in this “best of all possible worlds.”

It’s a virtual impossibility to draw a convincing nexus between advertising dollar spent and product sales. It’s “Smoke and Mirrors” yet everyone seems content to believe that online advertising generates a return because they (those spending billions of dollars on advertising) have been overwhelmed with graphs and charts and vast data-dumps with compelling visual treatments attesting to their success.

And…somewhere in a secret room in a city in India or a high-rise in New York or a hiply-reconstructed warehouse in Silicon Valley a group of mindless Millennials considers the next great algorithm and related coding gimmick to entice the unsuspecting into errantly placing a finger on the
Great Cash Register in the Cloud.

Look: It’s true that there has never been a 100% connection between
Advertising and Sales, yet never before has it been so nebulous. With the defeat of Print and Television media it’s left those who want to sell us things and services floundering, and looking for any opportunity to throw money at the vexing problem of how to sustain or increase sales and perpetuate whatever it is that they do, and thus the 60% to 70% of our economy traceable to Consumer Spending.

The Frogs and Mice are doing battle and you and I are caught in the crossfire. So, in this best of all possible worlds,
Candide would like to offer a few words about our new product…

Read, Voltaire’s
Candide (or Optimism) and learn how truly wonderful life can be while being so truly horrible.

Real Estate: That Sinking (Coastal California) Feeling
Joseph Warren, Editor

“Willis Moore (US Weather Bureau) believed the Galveston hurricane (September 1900) to be a freak of nature. ‘Galveston should take heart, as the chances are that not once in a thousand years would she be so terribly stricken.’ But another intense hurricane struck in 1915...1919…1932…1941…1943…1949…1957…1961…and 1983.”

Erik Larsen,
Isaac’s Storm


The 2017 hurricane, Harvey, was well after Larsen’s epic analysis of the 1900 disaster that claimed thousands of lives and destroyed the burgeoning community of Galveston.

So, what do Newport Beach (and many other enclaves along the California coast) today, and Galveston, Texas then have in common? Inundation:
Probably before you can make a dent in a 30-year mortgage.

Already property values in many areas of Florida on up the East Coast to New York and beyond are beginning to feel the pinch of Sea Level Rise (SLR) and the consequent loss of value in coastal Real Estate, according to an analysis in a
recent Axios article and elsewhere. Californians, though, seem intellectually immune to the reality, as they are to so many of their actions and those of others.

And, really, the same holds true for San Diego through to Oregon and Washington, as well: Turning a blind eye and hoping that something miraculous will happen…soon, yet toddling along and being told time-and-again, The plate is hot: be careful.

I found myself this summer re-reading a host of literature of the Sea. It’s something I do from time-to-time when the heat in Northwest Arizona, albeit lower than much of California, embarks on its July and August course of tedium and sweaty repetition. But for us, it wasn’t always so.

For many years we lived either at the water or aboard one of a few commercial vessels we owned, each in turn, in the lovely harbor in and among Newport Beach, California: A scenic community; a retreat for the overheated of Orange and Los Angeles counties; a safe harbor from the ambiguities and malcontents populating the geography outside a radius of a mile or so to the foothills of San Bernardino and beyond. It was a wonderful place to live every day of every year, then.

No wonder property values escalated far beyond reason. Ironically, now, given the likelihood of at least partial and perhaps complete submersion owing to Sea Level Rise (SLR), purportedly brought about by Human Caused Global Warming (although it could be otherwise manifested by repetitive natural cycles (written for the benefit of naysayers)), one has to ask, How long can prices sustain themselves in the face of the obvious?

Just as in Larsen’s stirring prose in his book,
Isaac’s Storm, there was plenty of warning; it just went unheeded, much like for Houston last year when Hurricane Harvey washed ashore submerging much of the city through a combination of Storm Surge, Deluge, and SLR.

Isaac, in the book, is Isaac Cline, a meteorologist with the (then) adolescent Weather Bureau pre-dating all forms of technology except Telegraph: No satellites, no Smartphones, no nothing. Twitter was the spoken word passed mouth-to-ear between individuals or in groups. Isaac Cline believed that Galveston was a safe place to be, given its geographic orientation and Back Bay leading to Houston. He saw no cause for worry, and made his thoughts known to those who suspected otherwise but were cowed by his impressive education and position.

The devastation that struck Galveston didn’t mark a time in America of arrogance; it marked the beginning of a trend that continues through to today, only more so.

Today, the “Weather Bureau” – the predecessor to our National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – is formed from a vast network of Technology focused on saving both lives and property, and at the hint of a calamity in the making, anyone likely to be affected is forewarned. Sometimes we listen, sometimes we don’t.

When we don’t, it’s hard to blame anything or anyone for our arrogance, yet we do, and in the end, we all pay through higher taxes, insurance premiums, and shared grief at the loss of life.

So, who’s going to bailout “Muffy and Skip” when their recently built, water-side McMansion is awash in a (very) few years on a regularly occurring basis? You are.

Why are people continuing to buy homes on a 30 to 50 year mortgage in an area likely to be devastated by flooding? For the same reason Isaac thought Galveston was a safe place. His wife, the mother of his three children, was ultimately lost, as he feared the children were as well, had it not been for providence and the quick actions of his brother, Joseph.

“California has over 800 miles of coastline and coastal environments, infrastructure, and real estate is vulnerable to sea level rise (SLR).”

2018 Report, Scripps Institute

California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment. Prepared By: David W. Pierce, Julie F. Kalansky, Daniel R. Cayan. Division of Climate, Atmospheric Sciences, and Physical Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California

If the scientific detail bores you, just look at the many graphics and charts intended to illustrate their findings. Then, read
Isaac’s Storm and the gripping depiction of the deluge of Galveston: the death, the destruction, and the immense power of Nature. Written by Erik Larsen, 1999, Crown publishers.

A Great American, A Great Singer, A Great Poet: McCain, Franklin and Rathbun
Joseph Warren, Editor

Jump and move your hips with a feeling from side to side
Sit yourself down in your car and take a ride
While you're moving, rock steady
Rock steady

Aretha Franklin,
Rock Steady

Anywhere between Las Vegas and Reno there is nothing but gas stations, whorehouses, small out-of-the-way casinos, Piute Indian cops running speed traps through broken-down towns set in the desolate Nevada desert, fading Right Wing campaign posters, rusted hulks covered in a patina of dust praying for adoption offered at Millionaire Prices for no reason other than “…I hear’d it’s worth that much”, carcasses of coyotes tracing their final resting places with the umber of aged exsanguination marking the paths of their demise to roadside extemporaneous deaths, bare wood houses decayed and unmarked by paint for decades hermetically containing the remnants of America’s lost souls seeking refuge in isolation living on a few dollars a month, broken potsherds of today’s beer-bottle civilization awaiting discovery and academic conclusions a millennium from now along every foot of roadway, a wasteland of Country-Western AM radio driveling on about jobs and women and nobody-could-possibly-give-a-shit what, stark horizons of rolling nothingness that for two times each day for ten minutes each time takes on a mystical brilliance that is devastatingly beautiful, and finally Reno and the beginning of the magnificence of the Sierras the road winding its way through sometimes ancient forests and mountain passes where the roadway and the soul merge as the speedometer plunges: Embrace the juxtaposition.

Aretha Franklin was our preferred listening pastime from the northern outskirts of Las Vegas, as NPR was dumped unceremoniously by line-of-sight airwaves, to the wooded glens and forests of northern California, on those drives that were more than 1,200 miles without a stop except for those necessary. At a time when my father-in-law was facing the immediacy of his mortality, we made the trip more than I’d like to remember.

Thank God for Aretha Franklin. At 68 years of age, I, like a lot of us, grew up, aged, matured and became enfeebled never missing an opportunity to turn up the volume of any of her songs.
Everything else about her you know. May she rest in peace.

On one of those many road trips, our John McCain (recalling we are Arizonans) was vehemently railing against the Iranian government for capturing an American patrol boat off the coast that had “strayed” into Iranian waters. (We wrote about this in

Subsequent reports, prior to the release of the US sailors, described the “great trauma” experienced by this small group of water-logged patriots as
psychologically devastating, resulting in many of the sailors “crying” as they were being escorted off their wayward patrol boat by armed Iranian personnel. McCain orchestrated this event and he, too, was devastated when Iran nearly immediately released our sailors back to our custody.

It was a ploy, a scam: designed to trigger the ire of America: you know, like 9/11. It didn’t work. It made me smile: The old Warrior was alive and well and thought the Iran deal negotiated by Obama, stunk. I agreed with him, but his plan was far too transparent. I was a Merchant Captain for 15 years with many years before that at-sea: US sailors don’t cry when captured. US warships don’t “lose their way” on the open seas or when near-coastal.
They can’t. And if they did, our Defense budget is way out of line…

I’ll miss McCain: he was a very good American.
Everything else about him you know. May he rest in peace.

It was about the last trip that I became aware of David Rathbun, the poet, and friend to a friend, Bruce Janigian, the writer. We’ve published much of David’s poetry. You may find it handily in this publication. David died too: just a short while ago, from my reference frame, simultaneously with McCain and Franklin.
Everything else about him you may not know. Here’s a brief biography of this very talented man, and, may he rest in peace.

So while everybody’s dying, I read and re-read. Like Nero, fiddling away with books, though, while the world crumbles about me, and reading mostly dead authors, with the exception of Annie Proulx:
Shipping News. At this writing, she’s still kicking.

From the gestalt, the world is not as nice a place without these people in it.

Kingman, Arizona
Joseph Warren, Editor

You get to heaven on the arms of people you have helped.
Jack Kerouac,
Desolation Angels, (quoting Edgar Cayce)

In our masthead we cite “Arizona” as our point of publication. More specifically, our office is located in Kingman in the Historic Cohenour House: you can find it online. After all these years, we’ve decided to add the city for clarification.

Recently, apparently, although we are blissfully ignorant of the event owing to our being “without television” for about 14 years, some poorly read and undereducated comedian who panders to the simple-minded had parodied our hometown and held us up as ignorant and racist. Evidently.

I haven’t Googled it, but I gleaned this information from a cutline on a BBC image carrying a brief mention of the piece. Subsequently, our City’s leadership see it as their responsibility to correct the record, and forge some sort of “reply” directed at someone who certainly doesn’t care, because the simple truth is, people who prey on the ignorance or naiveté of the masses wallow in the added attention, notwithstanding its “Thumbs Up” or down nature. (Perhaps we all know someone whose Twitter ramblings we could happily live without, as an example. I know I do.)

Interestingly, at the same time I was carrying on an email correspondence with a friend and sometimes contributor, Jack Shepherd, a few blocks over in Old Town regarding Ouspensky and Gustave Le Bon on the subject of
Crowd Mentality. (We’ve written about both authors before in this journal, and if you don’t know who these very great thinkers were you may wish to become familiar with their writings).

The effect both writers described, although they could have never foretold the wildly exacerbating conditions prevalent in what we call
Social Media, are spot on today but amplified many times over. Typically, this fevered condition runs its course and evaporates soon enough today as it did one-hundred years past; sometimes though, far more serious conditions erupt ensnaring us in, at worst, death and destruction owing to conflicts between nations stemming from, say, a simple misunderstanding, through to rhetoric intended to foment a reaction for any number of reasons, not the least of which, Economics (see Eisenhower’s warning regarding those who in reality control the machinery of America’s economy).

A very little bit about Kingman (although you can find much more by using our search feature above for this publication): Inasmuch as the Southwest is concerned, we’ve been around for quite awhile. In the 1800s we were a homogenous mix of every walk of life and every ethnicity all working to the same end. Some were better off financially, and some weren’t. (Told you it would be a “little bit.”)

Today, as it is everywhere in the world, it’s the same thing.

Those of us who
Hate with enthusiasm, do so for the very basic reason Sartre outlined in Anti-Semite and Jew, way back when…

They need to
Hate. In doing so, they believe that they are, therefore, above those they hate; when in reality…we are all the same.

By the way, FBI statistics show that Arizona’s
Hate Crime offenses during 2016 (the last year for which data has been published) numbered 291. In California, the mecca of tolerance, the number was 1,142; New York, 598; Michigan, 459, and so on. On a per-capita basis, we’re all about the same. (i.e. The same number of nutjobs distributed throughout the sum of society.)

Most of us in America, I believe, think that “One” event is intolerable. But, given the degree of animosity today, and the anonymous expression guaranteed by Social Media and the unfettered motivation of any cretin to post his or her thoughts, I’m really quite surprised the number in the whole of the United States isn’t far, far greater.

When in Kingman, visit the Kingman Center for the Arts, 208 Beale St. where our co-publisher sometimes exhibits a selection of her original oils. Visit the Power House Visitor’s Center and enjoy the museum and offerings our small town has to offer. Kingman’s a nice place:
You will not encounter any racists.

Read, Sartre’s
Anti-Semite and Jew.
Read, Gustave Le Bon’s,
The Crowd.
Read, PD Ouspensky’s
A New Model of the Universe.
Read Jack Kerouac’s,
Desolation Angels.

Grossman’s Don Quixote: Reading Cervantes as Though it Were the Bible
Joseph Warren, Editor

We’ve gone on about Edith Grossman before regarding her many and beautiful translations of Marquez’s volumes of magnificent prose; so it’s nothing new for us to say that, from our perceptive, there are few writers (or translators) comparable to Grossman. She is, without doubt, the superlative in taking the previously sometimes vaguely-translated word and shaping it into a meaningful script of life experiences and worlds we, perhaps, would never have known.

Through her translation one feels part of the natural immensity and beauty of the story – the life - rather than a nascent traveller stumbling through the landscape of a confused, struggling rendition of boulders, stumps and mud puddles, such as with many of those who interpret the written word from its original language to English. Although long before
Google Translator, it’s as though the original work was machine-translated reading like something akin to the English version of an owner’s manual of just about anything made in China.

Like many, I’ve always been a committed follower of Quixote’s many adventures as
Knight Errant among the landscape that was Spain, and an adoring fan of Grossman’s translations. As ridiculous as it is, though, I didn’t know she had translated Quixote until only a few months ago. Thank God for the Internet and Google, I guess.

The book shows a copyright of 2003: Where the hell have I been?

So after 15 years of delayed gratification, I ordered and read, with immense enjoyment comparable to very few other pleasures in life, the simply titled,
Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes, all 940 pages of this epic. I have flagged it with my little red sticky pointers like a Baptist minister with his New Testament preparing for a Come-to-Jesus free-for-all on a Saturday night Preach-a-Thon. Jesus, I love this book!

Here’s the short version of this superbly translated work: In others the fluidity of Cervantes – the flow, the clarity, the imagery, and the meter of his prose – was lost in awkward, confused, mechanical, academic structure. In Grossman’s version, it moves like a well-choreographed ballet, gracefully and eagerly, leading the reader to surrender to the beauty of the story. From my perspective, this translation must be the culmination of her life’s work: it had to of been. It’s epic.

In this edition you will see things you did not know existed; you will hear things you hadn’t heard before; you will gain insight into both Cervantes and Grossman, such as the passage on Page 873 where Quixote and a “translator” discuss the interpretation of a book,
Le Bagatele, which, tracing the annotation we learn is probably an anagram for the book, Le Galatee by a fellow prisoner of Cervantes, written in 1585.

I know: That sounds like a real
Yawner, but it’s not, because the passage actually details some of the difficulties in achieving translation and the agony and the ecstasy of deriving accuracy, which just about covers what has happened to Quixote for many hundreds of years until Grossman’s book.

Other than this, and other “thrilling” revelations, to those of us who aspire to be thrilled by annotations, the story itself is glorious: far more so than any English translation before.

I was a waning Quixotephile and today, again, I am whole.

By some standards our house may be over-representative of Quixote, ranging from the large 2003 portrait of Quixote taken from Book I, by David Silvah, which hangs over the fireplace, to the various rustic carvings and Lladro figurines of the Knight Errant at various points in his adventures, all too, from Book I.

(Book I is the part of the entire body of Cervantes’ work of
Don Quixote that is most well known, easily recognized, and oft-quoted by the expression, Tilting at Windmills. And, in truth, although Book II was cited as the more magnificent of the books, I did not get it until I read Grossman’s translation.)

If you haven’t read it, you should: you need to. This book ought to be on everyone’s list of
Critical Things to Do Before I Die.

We’ve corralled two of the more unique pieces of art regarding the passion at the center of Quixote’s life,
Dulcinea del Toboso, and are offering these unique originals for sale. (Offers are always welcome by contacting

The first is:
Dulcinea del Toboso at 78 years old
by GL Hill-Warren

Companion cc#1
Companion # - 8


Few loves have matched that which encompassed Don Quixote de la Mancha, knight errant, for his beloved Dulcinea del Toboso, an (idealized) woman of incomparable grace, youthful exuberance, and a distinct beauty deserving of Don Quixote’s undiminishing adoration and commitment. It was a love that he carried throughout his many and various campaigns against evil, misdeeds and during his never-ending promise – his Knight’s Pledge - to bring justice to those who most deserved his attentions.

But, youth, like each ripple of water over stones in a brook, alas, fades, and his incomparable Dulcinea was not to remain the vigorous woman whose soulful love fulminated within Quixote. Many years after Quixote’s sad, reconciled demise, Dulcinea lived on in her last years remaining in El Toboso, Spain, forever recalling that which might have been.

In this wonderful original oil of Dulcinea del Toboso at 78 years old she carries the anthropomorphic Quixote (her “Companion”) in her arms, and always near her heart warming her being and reassuring her soul with the soft pulse of Quixote’s breathing, reminding her that she lived on. The cat, too, existed within the soul of the old woman and took no leave of her - ever: her constant companion in the small kitchen, in the bedroom, and sharing the outhouse whenever it became necessary. They were never apart. People asked, “What will happen to her cat when she passes on?” Those who understood the bond between the two said, “Plainly, The cat will pass unto God with her: it is only right, no?” (Claramente, el gato pasará a Dios con ella: es justo, ¿no?)

And, so it came to pass.

Image: 14 X 18 inches
Overall with faux granite finished frame: 18-1/2 X 22-1/2

(Also available on this site: Sally Logan's watercolor, Dulcinea Post Mortem No. 1)

GL Hill-Warren is the Publisher of and a frequent Editorial contributor to same. She is also the Producer of various shorts and one feature length film referenced on IMDb. An accomplished artist she focuses primarily on the faces of women in the world, lending her interpretation to their sometimes-dire predicament at the hands of Man-made aggression. Her studio is in Arizona. Editorial offices are also in Arizona.

Any similarity of the subject to anyone you may know is only a coincidence: she is a product of GL Hill’s creative mind.

Warren-Hill Productions: a collective of artists and writers based in Kingman Arizona at the Historic Cohenour House.

The second is:
Dulcinea del Toboso Post Mortem No. 1
by Sally Logan
Dulcinea Post Mortem - 9

Dulcinea Post Mortem - 2

Reduced from $3,348 to just $669 (US)

In this painting, imagine the Man of La Mancha converging with the celebrated Dia de los Muertos resulting in the image of Dulcinea pictured, many years following her death, yet still possessing the charm, the elegance, and the passion that remained alight in Quixote’s heart, while he remained Quixote.

From our listing for the original oil, Dulcinea del Toboso at 78 years of old, by Greta Hill-Warren, also available at this site:

Few loves have matched that which encompassed Don Quixote de la Mancha, knight errant, for his beloved Dulcinea del Toboso, an (idealized) woman of incomparable grace, youthful exuberance, and a distinct beauty deserving of Don Quixote’s undiminishing adoration and commitment. It was a love that he carried throughout his many and various campaigns against evil, misdeeds and during his never-ending promise – his Knight’s Pledge - to bring justice to those who most deserved his attentions.

But, youth, like each ripple of water over stones in a brook, alas, fades, and his incomparable Dulcinea was not to remain the vigorous woman whose soulful love fulminated within Quixote. Many years after Quixote’s sad, reconciled demise, Dulcinea lived on in her last years remaining in El Toboso, Spain, forever recalling that which might have been.

Sally Logan carries the image of Dulcinea to its ultimate, undeniable, conclusion.

The first image is of this piece unframed. The rest are of the piece in a Floating frame included with this sale, and in this way the full extent of the image is visible and, of course, lends a matted surface to the picture exactly that of the surface on which it is hung.

Sally Logan is a renowned watercolorist having worked and sold from the Seattle area for many years. During her earlier career Sally was a well-known presence on the stage across the country and in Europe, in both Theatre and Dance from which the manner and expressions of many of her characters are based.

The Batrachomyomachia that is Online Advertising Today
Joseph Warren, Editor

…in this best of all possible worlds…


We tried opening our publication to advertising a couple of years ago by placing codes within that prompted Google to insert ads and, based on the hit rate – the number of times someone clicked on an ad, pay to us some amount of money as a percentage of revenue they, in turn, received from their many, and presumably flush, advertisers.

The problem is that Google, probably like Facebook (although we’ve never had an interest in that medium), and all the others primarily in charge of placing advertising, make no effort to ensure that the ads fit the “publication.” So, for us, next to an article regarding an ever-increasing imbalance in
International Trade would be an ad hawking a cure for Herpes; Slithering after an in-depth look at the potential dangers of MRI exposure would be a touted cure for Baldness: There was no logical relationship between the advertised product or service to that of So we ended it very shortly after it began.

Every month nowadays we entertain from 70,000 to 90,000 readers. That’s probably a lot of lost opportunity from
your perspective, but it just wasn’t worth the defilement. Imagine an advert for a Feminine Hygiene product (with all related graphic mages) suddenly appearing as you turn the page of Voltaire’s epic treatise on Optimism, Candide; A questionable homeopathic treatment involving sliced kiwi fruit for Macular Degeneration in the midst of Thoreau’s Walden; How about a Hemorrhoid cure somewhere in Genesis? It doesn’t work, nor should it. (Please note, we are not comparing our modest publication to any of the aforementioned; it’s just an illustration of how seriously we consider what we do juxtaposed to the advertising offered by Google.)

Last year Google took in more than $4 Billion in advertising – more than twice that of Facebook’s meager $1.9 Billion.

To boost advertising revenue all sorts of gimmicks are employed to give those companies shoveling over vast amounts of money the sense that they are actually benefitting from their actions.

My favorite is the
latent image: Open a webpage, read a sentence or two, place your finger on the section of screen that is “blank” to scroll further downward and you have clicked on an ad that wasn’t yet visible, but was nonetheless coded into the webpage. You’ve clicked; They pay; Everyone’s happy in this “best of all possible worlds.”

It’s a virtual impossibility to draw a convincing nexus between advertising dollar spent and product sales. It’s “Smoke and Mirrors” yet everyone seems content to believe that online advertising generates a return because they (those spending billions of dollars on advertising) have been overwhelmed with graphs and charts and vast data-dumps with compelling visual treatments attesting to their success.

And…somewhere in a secret room in a city in India or a high-rise in New York or a hiply-reconstructed warehouse in Silicon Valley a group of mindless Millennials considers the next great algorithm and related coding gimmick to entice the unsuspecting into errantly placing a finger on the
Great Cash Register in the Cloud.

Look: It’s true that there has never been a 100% connection between
Advertising and Sales, yet never before has it been so nebulous. With the defeat of Print and Television media it’s left those who want to sell us things and services floundering, and looking for any opportunity to throw money at the vexing problem of how to sustain or increase sales and perpetuate whatever it is that they do, and thus the 60% to 70% of our economy traceable to Consumer Spending.

The Frogs and Mice are doing battle and you and I are caught in the crossfire. So, in this best of all possible worlds,
Candide would like to offer a few words about our new product…

Read, Voltaire’s
Candide (or Optimism) and learn how truly wonderful life can be while being so truly horrible.

If you’re going to be a flag waver, oughtn’t you make certain your flag was made in America?
Joseph Warren, Editor

Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last (resort) pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.

– Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms

How about if I sleep a little bit longer and forget all this nonsense

Franz Kafka,

Solar Panels and Washing Machines are subject to a new tariff designed to increase their cost to the consumer and give American manufacturers a more competitive position in the market: I don’t buy that many Solar Panels and Washing Machines during the course of the year. Do you?

Some of my favorite dark reading fiction came from the mind of Kafka:
Metamorphosis, Penal Colony, Castle, Trial, Judgment, Hunger Artist…O yes, and Amerika, one of my very favorites; so many darkly strange and existentially important books that figured absolutely minimally in my perspective of practical life 40 years past save for the occasional bureaucratic encounter. Strange how Kafka’s works have become so fitting and poignant today.

Forget Orwell…we’re way beyond
Brave and New.

Oft-quoted, Kafka remains a figure central to unearthing the irony and hypocrisy in life, and, if known for no other reason, he is at least nearly universally remembered for coining the phrase, “That’s me-esque.”

Little known fact: The Spirit of Kafka is alive, well, and at work in Washington DC as Secretary of Foreign Trade. His job was and remains to implement the policies of our President with respect to trade guidelines with China, primarily, being our largest single trading partner.

During his campaign, you may recall, our President stated unequivocally that the practices in place that had resulted in a constantly-increasing Trade Deficit with China and ensuing shift of wealth from America to China’s government primarily (recalling that China remains a Communist country), had to immediately change to a greater benefit to America.

Here’s what the
New York Times had to say about his position prior to our President’s meeting with President Xi:

Even days before he was scheduled to meet with President Xi Jinping of China, President Trump had yet to abandon his exaggerated election rhetoric on China and trade.

Mr. Trump “is still in the raucous campaign mode,” said James Zimmerman, former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China. “Raising issues such as currency manipulation and the size of the trade deficit may play well to the underinformed base, but not to those that understand the issues.”

So, basically, to be considered part of the New York Times informed intelligentsia, it’s imperative that Americans set aside
Data in favor of the belief that there are no Trade Deficit issues, and thus transfer more wealth to China, an action favored by the American Chamber of Commerce, incidentally, and meeting the NYT definition of a balanced Trade relationship.

At this point it’s important to understand that our goal at is not to persuade our readers to one side of an issue or person, but to give you data when appropriate, and a reference in Literature to help you reach your own conclusions. In print, we neither support nor condemn officials, publications, or practices (with the possible exception of the New York Times, which lacks imagination, intelligence and intellectual flexibility).

Having said that, you may draw from the below whatever you wish: Here are the China Trade Deficit summaries for 2016 and 2017 (through November 2017, since December has yet to be released):

Trade Deficit

From this report, we learn that during 2017 our Trade Deficit with China is likely to far exceed calendar year 2016 by about 10% or $34 Billion.

At whose feet does this vexing problem lay? Who is responsible? Is it our President? Perhaps responsibility rests with Warren Buffet, a self-confessed strong supporter of China Trade, given that the lion’s share of his Berkshire-Hathaway revenue is derived from his holdings in BNSF, the railroad responsible for distributing Chinese-made crap throughout America? Maybe too it’s the fault of all those filthy
Capitalists who have taken advantage of tax and labor ambiguities and allowances, and have relocated their former US facilities to China. How about Trump? Obama? Nixon?

Ironically, no. It’s you.

You (the majority of Americans) insist on buying those things that are made overseas to your advantage, and to assuage your need for immediate gratification and mitigate the despair you feel as your existence seems to become more diluted, and your place in life is liquidated by the growing legion of pretenders in Social Media.

You have no place; you lack spirituality; the angst you feel every day has driven you to the edge.

In a letter to Oskar Pollak, Kafka said,
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. We live in a sea seeming to irrevocably freeze many of us out of life. Alternatively, we become more mired in the vestments or constructs of reality hoping to eek out a single shred of feigned fulfillment.

Some turn to mass violence. Others to mass Consumerism. Some become aberrant in other ways. Some yield to consuming too much food as evidenced by our national obesity rate of at least 40%. Legalizing Pot will do much, of course, to mitigate any sense of responsibility in life, just as alcohol works for others.

In the end, you are always responsible.
There are no victims; there are only the unread and unthinking.

Read Kafka’s
Amerika for a view on our society by someone who had not set foot on our soil. Read Metamorphosis and identify how Kafka’s theme had become the basis of so many subsequent works in an array of genres.
Read Schopenhauer’s
Essays and Aphorisms, a Penguin Classic, if you hadn’t been exposed earlier to Schopenhauer’s insights and logic.

How involved was I when a young man with Kafka’s literature? With a friend, Kurt Hanselmann, we orchestrated a well-attended centennial observation of his birth in 1983 in the Bear Flag Inn in Sacramento. It was, to say the least, Kafkaesque. Only recently have I learned that my dear friend
of the time had passed away in September 2015.

Kurt Eric Hanselmann
Sic Transit Gloria

Unsatisfied America
Joseph Warren, Editor

“Apple,” the grocer said, “orange, candy, banana – no cookies. He’s my boy. Three years old. Not sick. He want may things. I don’t know what he want. Nobody know what he want. He just want. He look at God. He say, Give me dis, give me dat – but he never satisfied. Always he want. Always he feel bad. Poor God has nothing for such sadness. He give everything – world – sunshine – moder – fader – broder – sister – onkle – cousin – house, farm, stove, table, bed – poor God give everything but nobody happy…”

The Human Comedy, from the chapter about Mr. Ara, the grocer

Happy New Year. I thought that the above passage from The Human Comedy might set a more enlightened tone for the coming year by reminding us of the many gifts God makes available to us all every day, yet consistently fail to meet the needs of the growing number of us who seek pleasure and gratification in the acquisition of useless crap that does little more than confound and confuse when raised to the pinnacle place of importance in our lives, while leading to the further denigration of the rest of society and the delicate balance of our world’s environment.

We have largely as a society lost sight of what ought to matter most: humanity – our fellow astronauts on this little spaceship revolving about on our axis at 800 to 900 miles per hour in what we call an
eastward direction, while spiriting at more than 67,000 miles an hour around the sun, and at the same time our galaxy moves away from some others in the universe at more than the speed of light (c) in the vastness of this universe’s expanse encased in the great “Bulk” of nothingness inside...What? The mind of God?

And I can think of few writers who were more immersed in the smelter of America than Saroyan, who through his fictional narratives tried tirelessly to give us something more to think about, to act upon, to share with our fellow man.

Vonnegut said (in his address to the P.E.N. Conference in 1973), “While it is true that we American fiction writers failed to modify the course of (the Vietnam) war, we have reason to suspect that we have poisoned the minds of thousands or perhaps millions of American young people. Our hope is that the poison will make them worse than useless in unjust wars. We shall see. Unfortunately, that still leaves plenty of Americans who don’t read or think much…”

Vonnegut was
wrong about wars: Unjust wars against our fellow man continue and there are plenty of willing participants – both to wage war abroad and at home. It’s sad enough to find ourselves embroiled, or initiating conflict, in other distant parts of our world; it’s sadder still to witness the extent of war being waged at home against those who cannot defend themselves by those who are not satisfied with God’s abundance but seek to garner more and more of the wealth of our country. Like Mr. Ara’s little boy, they don’t know what they want, they only know they want…

We are no longer a smelter: we are an abattoir where the blood and entrails of the weak freely flow to feed the desires of the few – the
One Percenters whose number now includes those who aspire to be among the legion of the thoughtless and inhumane.

Vonnegut was
right about the “plenty of Americans who don’t read or think” but he failed to predict the escalation of ignorance in our country as a result of the Internet and consequent Social Media, bolstered by our increasing reliance on television, YouTube, and the like as a source of “learning.” All we’ve done through the advancement of technology is to breed further stupidity and thoughtlessness.

Generally, Americans don’t read. They don’t write either other than mostly illiterate drivel intended to mislead or confuse or persuade others to support an idea intended to give them more of what they want. These people, very often those who have been elected and are in charge of this once-wonderful country, offer a version of a truth that is nothing more than a lie, but it is a lie believed because as a society we have learned over many decades, that a lie repeated becomes the truth in the minds of the hearers.

Vonnegut also wrote that a visiting extraterrestrial alien after observing us in our native condition might conclude, “Earthlings put such emphasis on truthfulness in order to be believed when they lie.”

So much to consider as we begin 2018: Will we? Or will we do as we have always done? My money’s on the latter.

The Human Comedy. (In titling his epic, Saroyan used the word, “Comedy” as it was used by Dante and others as meaning, “Dramatic.” There is proverbially, much to laugh about, yet much to ponder on a very deep human level.)

Read Vonnegut’s
Wampeters, Foma & Granfallons, a collection of essays and speeches by and about one of America’s foremost fiction writers, short of Saroyan, in my opinion.

Read Dante Aligieri’s
Divine Comedy.

Sweet Potato Pie and Unsolved Black Murders in America
Joseph Warren, Editor

Los Angeles, 1940. Mr. Montgomery, the owner of Florian’s, a black nightclub in the city has been murdered; LAPD lacks enthusiasm in resolving the murder because, according to Detective Nulty, “It’s still a shine killing...” and seemingly just not worth the effort it would take to bring the killer to justice.
Ray Chandler,
Farewell My Lovely

It is Christmas morning, 2017, and I am about to make two Sweet Potato Pies for friends (one for each couple – one Black family and one White) as after-Christmas gifts because we have all agreed not to
begift one another for Christmas, contrary to the elongated tide of the Christmas shopping season foisted on the majority of Americans in an effort to bolster sales of junk made in a Communist country where personal liberties are non-existent, and the attempted exercise thereof is punishable by, at the least, imprisonment.

Take the recent case of French artist, Hu Jiamin and his wife, Marine Brossard who upon completion of a fairly benign mural honoring the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Liu Xiaobo, were taken into custody by Chinese authorities and have yet to reappear. One of many…God save them.

I use a one-pound Sweet Potato for each pie. (Our local grocer stocks, coincidentally I’m sure, yams that weigh a little more than 1 pound each. How fortuitous.) Some recipes will tell you to peel them in advance of boiling, but I don’t. I am inherently a lazy cook. Just cut them into large chunks and toss them into a pot. (My recipe comes basically from a woman who goes by the moniker of
SoulfulT on YouTube: She’s a wonderful woman of incredible magnitude, and you’ll want to have dinner at her house. It’s sort of her recipe, but I’ve made the ingredients more consistent with our tastes.) After boiling the Sweet Potatoes for perhaps an hour (depending on how ferocious the boil), the peel easily sloughs off once cooled with water.

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for 2015 homogenizes much in the way of interesting statistics regarding our aberrant behaviors toward our fellow men, women, and children in America. There are graphs and numbers summarizing just about every heinous act you can think of. As an example, and the subject of this article, is the murder rate for Black Americans, by either Black or White assailants (when known), and the related “Solve” rate.

In 2015 there were more than 15,000 homicides in America. If you are a Black American, you are more likely to be killed by someone wielding a gun. If you are White, your odds are about even – gun or “other.”

Check to see that the Sweet Potatoes are cooked enough by putting a fork into them: check all of the potato chunks. The fork should pass easily into the potato and withdraw without resistance, but don’t over cook them. When done, rinse in cold water and set them aside until cooled.

Black Americans represent a little more than 13% of our population. In 2015 there were more than 7,000 Black Americans killed in our country, of those where race of victim was noted.
That’s just a little less than 50% of all homicides for a little more than 13% of our population. Most, as I’ve mentioned above, were killed by a firearm. About 8.6% of these Black victims were killed by White people, which in itself is both a consoling yet sad statistic evoking mixed feelings, from my perspective, as a White American. In other words, on this Christmas morning I am saddened by the number of deaths, but take some solace in knowing that White people, generally, haven’t waged a major war on Blacks. Besides, ignorant White folks have so many enemies they’re not sure who to kill first – Blacks, Mexicans, Muslims…Alas! So many to hate; so little time.

Once cooled and peeled, break up the Sweet Potatoes and place them in a mixing bowl and use your power mixer to begin blending them. Tanya Waller (aka SoulfulT) shuns mixers for hands believing that Soul Food is best prepared in that manner. (I use a mixer because the action of mixing by hand would likely cause the ash to fall off of my cigarette into the mixing bowl.) After they’re worked down, add – for each one-pound of potato – 1 cup of Brown or White sugar, depending on your preference (I use White sugar and it has nothing to do with this article), 1 stick of butter,
some vanilla extract, 2 eggs (just break them into the bowl), some cinnamon, a little nutmeg, and about ½ cup of evaporated milk. It’s a very forgiving pie to make in that there is much flexibility in how it is compounded.

Roughly 20% of White homicides go unresolved.
It’s about double that for Blacks. Some of this disparity may be accounted for by the fact that Gun homicides are harder to clear – at-a-distance crimes – while more personal types of homicides, such as knives and throttling, are more easily resolved. That’s one way of looking at it, I suppose.

Work the mixture out of the bowl into a piecrust you bought ready-made but formed to look as though it was not from a store. Do this by working the crust edge with your fingers giving it a “Mom made this” look, rather than some sterile, sanitized machine. Place the pie in an oven and bake for about 45 minutes to one hour at 350 (preheated). When the pie rises up and looks like Steve Bannon it’s done (if you can stick a toothpick in it and it withdraws cleanly). The pie will fall to the crust level as it cools and look normal with a nice “Done” color.

Or, maybe it has nothing to do with guns. Maybe it’s more like Chandler opined in
Farewell My Lovely:

“After a while I went down to the lobby of the building to buy an evening paper. Nulty was right in one thing at least. The Montgomery killing hadn’t even made the want-ad section…”

After all,
he was just a shine…I refrigerate the pie before eating, although some folks like it shortly after baking. Maybe we all need to work at respecting life more, Black and White. The world today is no place for division if we are to survive, and you cannot make a Sweet Potato Pie with hate in your heart.

Conjugate, To Grope
Joseph Warren, Editor

If the real truth were ever written about most men in public life, there wouldn’t be enough jails to house them. Lying has become one of the biggest industries in America.
Groucho Marx,
Groucho and Me

Groping and lying about groping. Sexual assault and denying it, then lying to cover up the denial. Men using their positions of office – government, corporate management, or as gatekeeper to fame – to elicit sexual gratification. Men, who in most cases I’ve seen, probably couldn’t get laid on a Saturday night with a hundred dollar bill and a gram of cocaine in a North Beach strip club in the ‘70s. So, now they generate the equivalent for the accused: 15 minutes of fame to an otherwise (perhaps) no-talent or hitherto unsuccessful woman (or man) lost in the existential despair of their life.

To even begin to enumerate all of the men who as of late have been accused of fondling, attacking, or raping disclosed in the last several months would take far too many binary bits. Are these revelations a transient event in our society today, and in the future will we revert to groping allegedly against the will of the
gropees once the dust has settled? Or will the new norm be a standard of behavior that is more consistent with a respectful view of all people?

It’s tough to say. It’s tough to understand, although I am not a Groper.

I occasionally research the accuser when a story comes to light to better understand the background and nature of the person throwing stones to gauge their motivation, since I have to believe that for some (many, most, few?) their intent more than likely is to further their careers through publicity or to seek compensation far and above what they may otherwise have earned doing whatever it was they did prior to divulging their revelation. They all seem
so distraught and tearful as though physical contact (wanted or otherwise) was just something they’ve never experienced before.

In the
2000 Year Old Man, Mel Brooks described why the human skull was so important. If I remember correctly he said something like, “Look: what do you care if somebody comes up and strokes your gentles (genitals): But you don’t want them stroking your brain! You’ll get confused and write a wrong check.”

In some cases, as in one of Senator Franken’s accusers,
Leeann Tweeden, a Google of her with the addition of the word, Nude, will yield an onslaught of images suitable only for anyone who is a licensed gynecologist, exposing everything without restraint, including what Kurt Vonnegut called, “Wide open beaver…”

If you look at the images, you, like me, will think,
What a delicate, little, innocent flower; I can understand why she would be so offended garnering the attention of a male of the species.

Many more fall into the
Leeann Tweeden category. Some do not. I suppose, that because a woman chooses to degrade herself through pornographic images in order to advance her career, that doesn’t give every man a license to attempt to offer her an unwanted kiss. But today we deal out only blanket prosecution without even trying to separate the wheat from the chaff: The bullshit accusations from genuine, predatory acts. So it goes.

Take the case of Heather Endresen, an executive with the now beleaguered
Banc of California in Irvine. From the account provided by the LA Times, Ms. Endresen’s accusations carry both weight and a measure of just how little we seriously value Work in America today. Per her, the management staff at the bank used company funds for off-site strippers, and failed to come down hard (there’s no way around the pun) on those who engaged in in-office sexual trysts. (She makes other accusations, as well.) Ironically, she was featured in a column entitled, Women Worth Watching, which in retrospect given the strip club reference, might have better been titled something else.

Of course, the difficulty we face is that from our
highest elected official and throughout our society we have virtually no actual regard for women, across the board: we only feign belief consistent with an emerging, albeit perhaps temporary, ideal. That leaves us hanging, in a manner of speaking, in a nebulous condition.

My guess: we’ll be back to it again in a couple of years. After all, we didn’t learn from FDR, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton…

So why should 2017 be any different? Goethe said that
we learn by seeking and blundering. Maybe as a society we do; maybe we don’t. Time will tell.

National Institute for Civil Discourse: Changing the World One Pejorative at a Time
Joseph Warren, Editor

But what I’m getting at is this. When a person knows and can't make the others understand, what does he do?
(Spoken by Jake Blount) Carson McCullers,
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Voluble, to say the least, the character Jake Blount is a prominent antagonist in McCullers’ most referenced work. She wrote the book when she was really just a kid, from my perspective, and by some it was heavily panned, while still others heaped approbation on the book. Flannery O’Connor didn’t like it, but she was more than likely a victim of
Literary envy, being another of the South’s great Southern Gothic writers of the era. Kind of a league of powerful women writers passing on long before they ought to have.

The character, Jake Blount was a Communist during an era when Communism, before being so heartily embraced by Americans today through their Consumerism, was held in low regard by those steering America’s industries, seeing it as a threat to their continued survival. Obviously this was decades before today, now that most of our industrialists have learned to
Capitalize on Communism.

Blount is hard-spoken, frustrated, and tends to say exactly what is on his mind. He finds his audience in Singer, a deaf mute. Or thinks he does. In reality Singer confides to his long-time and equally deaf institutionalized friend, Antonopoulos, that he is confused and troubled by Blount’s meaningless and angry ejaculations, to which he patiently listens, lending the appearance of understanding.

Just imagine what this epic work would look like today had
Twitter and other (un)Social Media been available. The pejoratives and profanity would have overshadowed the essence of the message of the book, however simple it may be.

Well we are a country of Jake Blounts. We have lost all civility in the delirium of Politics. Conversation has been lost in the abyss of anger and frustration and hate. We shout to make our point – electronically and otherwise – and we are caught in a downward spiral of civil ruination. There are no longer any checks – no balance to the system.

One organization, the
National Institute for Civil Discourse, proposes to change the maniacal tide of America (and the world – a lofty goal) to bring about a more sustained and even-handed approach to our world, and I, like many of you, applaud that goal.

From their website:

The pervasive decline of civility in our society can be seen in the media, our government and our everyday lives. In Weber Shandwick's Civility in America survey, 75% of Americans report that incivility has risen to crisis levels. When we stop talking with each other, listening to each other and working together to find solutions to our society’s problems, our democracy cannot survive. The open exchange of ideas between people of different views is one of the essential elements of a healthy, functioning democracy.

Ergo, they believe, and I agree, that we are not a
healthy, functioning democracy. Who can argue this?

Visit their site and join their efforts. I will.

Why don’t you write books that people can read?
Nora Joyce (Mrs. James Joyce) to her husband

Husbands and wives can levy harsh criticism: Others ought to find a more constructive approach, although I do agree with Nora…

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. It is a coming-of-age, racially poignant, trashy-white book of the South containing lessons still valuable in today’s world.

Bienvenue en Enfer
(Welcome to Hell)
Joseph Warren, Editor

Hell is empty and all the devils are here
Willm Shakspere (Shakespeare)
The Tempest

November 14 note: Add a little community in Tehama, California...

If it felt that way to Shakespeare more than 400 years ago, one can only imagine how he might describe today’s world: Another mass killing in Texas on the heels of Las Vegas, following closely behind New York, London, Paris…

Of course, these major homicidal events are only in addition to those singular events occurring every day in every part of America and the world. More than 50,000 a year in Brazil; 10,000 in China; 15,000 here; 40,000 in India; 20,000, Mexico; and 16,000 in Russia; along with countless other countries wherein the Devil runs unfettered.

No matter: He’s having a hot time in the United States of America, stimulating enough interest to keep the line forming at the Gates of Hell. Hopefully there is no TSA equivalent.

In America we’re shedding civilized behavior like old skin sloughed from a snake. In fact, it feels much of the time as though we no longer have any respect for decorum, patience, society, manners, or life, itself. We are an American Tragedy far, far greater than Theodore Dreiser could have ever imagined. And we are doomed to this path until something terminal occurs. Seemingly, it feels as though our time is close at hand.

Elon Musk opined the other day that his company,
Tesla, is mired in the 8th Circle of Hell. Dante, in the Divine Comedy, called that circle Malebolge. There is one more level lower and that is the least favored position in the Devil’s Domain: The 9th Circle, as I recall might best be described, in my words, as the Eternal Fires of Hell: something akin to what we’ve all heard described by TV and Movie preachers as Hell Fire and Damnation, which until I realized how sophisticated the Devil is, I pooh-poohed as so much hooey. Allegorically, it isn’t hooey at all.

Tesla sink further into the Fires of Hell finding itself inextricably bound for all eternity to the torments suffered by its fellow residents? Will Musk be consigned to the pit as well? If so, what will happen to the substantial deposits placed by more than 40,000 people who purchased the right to buy a Model X, notwithstanding how stupid an idea it may have been to do so? Did only seemingly stupid people place a deposit toward the purchase of a car that had yet to be made? I don’t know all of them, but, just as others have done with other car manufacturers who had proposed to pioneer in a new or slightly different technology, perhaps.

Elio Motors, as an example: More than 65,000 people have offered up about $28 million in reservations as working capitol to help launch the three-wheeled, gas-burning car, in an era, ironically, of Electric and Self-Driving car innovations. Even my state, Arizona, made substantial legislative changes and agreed to tax concessions to help the start-up move beyond “dumb idea” to reality. Which, as I think of it, is the job of government: To promulgate laws from mostly dumb ideas.

So, people of questionable intelligence in all walks of life have fallen into
Malebolge: Elon has plenty of company.

Elio’s investors interprets to 65,000 additional potential homicidal maniacs frustrated by their possible monetary loss, many of which live in states such as mine, which cherishes the Second Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms Nobody Imaged Possible 250 Years Ago to be Used Against Unarmed Men, Women, and Even Children. Those words are right there in our Constitution. Google it if you don’t believe me. You’ll see the words in white font.

Add the 40,000 additional
customers who made a deposit to Tesla, many of whom are nervously offering up their reservations on Craigslist and elsewhere for as much as they can recover of a potential loss, and we now have more than 100,000 additional likely very upset humans, who, as we know, don’t handle consumer disappointment very well, whether it’s a sauce giveaway at McDonald’s or a lost opportunity at a Black Friday sale at Wal-Mart, erupting into gunplay in the parking lot (or at the cashier’s station).

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Those words sealing the significance of the Statue of Liberty are long forgotten, anyway, cast aside for
Alt-This and Alt-That ideologies that we have collectively permitted, through our own ignorance, to usurp who we were. In their stead, let’s borrow from Dante and affix a new plaque with Hell’s Greeting below Lady Liberty:

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

Yessir! It seems like End Times. All the time now, Ol’ Satan’s a lookin’ down and a-smilin’ his big-ass grin an-a sayin’, I gots me anudder of dem stupid humans. Lordy! Ain’t that the truth!

Read Dante Aligieri’s
Divine Comedy. After being abandoned by Virgil owing to Virgil’s earthly lack of saintly character, Dante is taken to Heaven by the hand of Beatrice. It’s lovely imagery and verse, and until this year, I considered it only a remarkably creative work by a wonderful poet. Who’d of guessed?

Read Theodore Dreiser’s
American Tragedy for a look at a time in America when the Dimensionality of Tragedy was far different from today.

And, of course, re-read anything by Shakespeare.
Henry Five, as I liked to call it was always my favorite. (No one read it better than a friend of mine many years ago, a lawyer named, Lance Rideout: Two or three drinks and he could not be compelled to not give his very wonderful recitation.)

The Good Ol’ Days…Before Hate and the availability of high-capacity, semi-automatic (and fully-automatic) firearms, when you were probably shot by a .32 or stuck with a knife; or if you were Black, night-sticked by a cop, then strung up by the Klan. Ah! How sweet the memory!

Flake Flakes
Joseph Warren, Editor

Today's public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can't read them either.
Gore Vidal

I am frequently amazed at how underwhelming, uninspiring, unimpassioned, and essentially droll many of our career politicians can be when addressing their colleagues, constituencies, and interested others. Take our State’s Jeff Flake, as an example.

Driven for whatever reasons he (sort of) articulated in his address to the Senate, Senator Flake missed the
chance-of-a-lifetime to deliver a speech-in-a-lifetime that might have resounded for both content and passionate condemnation yielding a far greater effect on the American populace than what was in actuality equivalent to a note left on the refrigerator, signaling his resignation. I was not impressed: not owing to substance, because I agree, but the manner in which his very important message was drizzled out like the last of the oil from a cold crankcase streaming slowly into a catch pan under the darkened recesses of my car.

When I think of the many speeches I’ve heard over the many years of my life several standout not so much for their words or subject matter, and not even for their consequences, but for the passion they evoked within me, bringing me closer to the speaker’s mindset and making me a part of his or her idea.

George H. W. Bush –
the real George Bush – was such a speechmaker. From his earliest days in the Senate he never missed an opportunity to give his values and ideals and philosophy of world politics and what was good for the USA a passionate voice; one that made me believe that I was integral to its success.

Sometimes Ronald Reagan had this affect. It’s what made him who he was. His voice, his character, his gestures, his posture, his eyes all lent believability to whatever the topic.

I wasn’t too young to not be affected likewise by Jack Kennedy, as well evidently, because at age 11 or so I joined the 50-mile hike from San Jose to San Francisco because Kennedy said it was what we ought to do. (I made it to Burlingame before being “rescued” by firemen with strawberry ice cream and a phone call to my Dad for help.)

So, is it the words, or the way in which the words are delivered?

In today’s world where Tweeted content abounds and Facebook runs unfettered delivering one opprobrium after another
ad nauseam, any chance to enhance one’s message ought not be missed, particularly when it is a Farewell. Last words ought to be something other than, See yah…

So it’s both, with I believe, manner of delivery having the lion’s share of influence. History apparently agrees with me or those who delivered messages of Hate would not have risen to international prominence presenting us with problems of immense import.

Few writers have even come close to Gore Vidal’s vitality in examining and chronicling and sometimes fictionalizing American politics with wit, insight, and intuitiveness. His writing is far too vast to list here, but suffice to say, Begin with
The Golden Age.

Here’s a video of Jeff Flake underwhelming we Arizonans.

Some Readings of the Sea
Joseph Warren, Editor

O God, Thy sea is so great and my boat is so small
Old Fisherman’s Prayer

Jesus Christ! What the hell am I doing out here!
Editor (at sea): uttered many times over many years

Some great books about the sea…

I fell in love with the sea when I was a boy reading Melville’s
Moby Dick and an assortment of other novels all focusing on the whimsy and wrath of that which encompasses 75% of our earth. It wasn’t until many years later after more than two decades shipboard that I began to fully appreciate the nuances of these, by default, picaresque writings, since it is only by one’s wits that one survives sometimes brutal encounters with the most unforgiving sea.

The latest, and the most interesting read I’ve had in quite some time comes from 1860: Lord Thomas Cochrane’s
Autobiography of a Seaman. Napoleon called him, Le Loup de Mers, or the Wolf of the Sea and it was a sobriquet well-earned by Cochrane whose exploits and tactics set a very high bar at a time when conflict was to be resolved by gentlemanly conduct without deceit. Cochrane, on the other hand, was all about deceit when it came to plying his trade as a privateer in service to the Crown.

And Cochrane, while at sea, was no gentleman, and he employed every rouse imaginable to stuff his coffers full, sharing the bounty of his privateering efforts with crew, Admiralty, and Crown. He made a fortune’s fortune back then, but not without incurring the bureaucratic spite of those who administered Admiralty at the time, and thus Admiralty found new and inventive ways to befoul the efforts of one of Britain’s most successful and inventive sea hunters.

It’s a thrilling read, especially today, and you’ll come away asking yourself,
How is it possible, in light of the many incidences reported in the last few months, that our US Navy is so inept compared to the time of wood and iron and compass? Has technology replaced commonsense and ingenuity?

Yes. To be fair, though, it’s true in all facets of our lives. Self Reliance has been replaced by Selfie.

Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunk Christian
Herman Melville,
Moby Dick

Reading Cochrane’s life story reminded me of one of my favorite Melville books,
White Jacket. (In truth, all of Meville’s writings are my favorites, but as a compliment to Cochrane, White Jacket fits perfectly providing perspective of both both Master and Crew.)

White Jacket is a tale of Melville’s persona aboard a Man-of-War, and touches on all aspects of deck life at the time, including crime and punishment, life-threatening hazards (especially in tempestuous weather), and shares an absorbing view of the daily grind of an ordinary seaman aboard a ship of men from every walk of life and culture and race, ironically assembled for the common service of a single government.

You will generally observe that, of all Americans, your foreign-born citizens are the most patriotic, especially toward the Fourth of July.
White Jacket

Of his other works,
Omoo and Typee as companion books are excellent reads and far superior to his Billy Budd. And for a touch of the strange, Benito Cereno is worth the short while it takes to read through the slim book and gain a little insight into the very creative and macabre mind of Melville when applied to Slavers running the oceans at the time.

Yet, in this world of How-To epistles intended to instruct the unthinking, there is Bloom’s,
How to Write About Melville, in case critical thinking is not your forte. It’s a book about how to think about Melville… (I wonder what Melville would have to say about it? I imagine it would have been something like, Just read and enjoy: they’re tales of the sea, not ontological manifestos.)

Or you could just read Cochrane’s
Autobiography of a Seaman and come away understanding that those who run our government – all facets – are very much the same as they were 200 years past.

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation

Read, Melville’s
Moby Dick, Omoo, Typee, White Jacket; and read, Cochrane’s Autobiography. They’re all essential to comprehending life on the sea.

Also, read, (retired Captain) Joseph Warren’s
The Pirates of Newport, available on Amazon in ebook. If I dare say so myself, it is a fun and fascinating read about a merchant captain (the Editor) having quit the seas for a more stirring and tried profession – Pirating. (Maybe I did…maybe I didn’t.)

Dear Senator McCain...
Joseph Warren, Editor

At me too someone is looking, of me too someone is saying, He is sleeping, he knows nothing, let him sleep on.
Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

John McCain has confessed that the prognosis for his recovery is not good.

I was sad to hear this. I sat looking out the office window this morning here in Old Town Kingman Arizona after reading the news report and thought about him facing death. I face the conscious immediacy of death too, just like so many of my generation today. It’s a sad thought, and after a time today it occurred to me that at this stage life becomes more like treading water than an expansive swim across a very wide river. Many of us want to keep swimming and are not content to merely remain half immersed watching the same trees on the same riverbank. Senator McCain feels that way. I feel that way. So do many of you.

But, for all of us, eventually, death takes us forever under what was the sometimes calm, sometimes rushing water of life.

Senator McCain is no stranger to facing death: so what’s the rub? Simple, really: the years since have softened his heart and put a finer finish to his existence, swirling it in a larger and larger vessel filled with the many more who have come to know him or know of him.

Pull the silvery chain on the stopper of a filled sink basin and the void quickly fills with air as the water drains. Bore a sinkhole in a lake and the commotion, the chaos, the apparent and evident visual loss, the devastation done to the living things that surround it can be catastrophic and take years, if ever, to find stasis.

I was in my 20s when I first read Beckett’s
Waiting for Godot. Life then was a long, long stretch of highway that vanished in the distance behind a blue-gray haze of sky and land: indiscernible, oblique, yet curiously apparent; enough so to bring me to Beckett and Sartre and Ionesco and seek answers so that I might be prepared for whatever lies at the end of the highway. I found none there concerning the end; only how to swim during the duration.

I envy those marinated in Christian dogma. I was, but the years have made me less accepting.
Jaded, we say. It wasn’t until spending several years reading and furiously working to comprehend the world of quantum physics that my life and my death began to make sense: and the smoke and haze on the much nearer horizon cleared.

Each one of us comes to death in our own way. Each one of us must die alone, yet we do not: We are merely returned.

Do I look forward with gleeful anticipation to
returning? I do not. And although he has faced death so many times so many years ago now, neither does John McCain. I share his sadness. I know many of you do too.

I said to myself, 'I want to die decently'.
Jean-Paul Sartre, The Wall

Here is a poem by David Rathbun who has an intimate understanding of the subject

Passed No Passed
Take time. Moment. Desire./Trees us with swells. Branches,/turns across turned shapes./Closings clothed across/cost turns, trust aligned,/called signs yes, made.
Here quiet lived. Cast./All remembered, all alive./Voiced in place and turned in ask,/in question live. Here now. Yes./Yours in gift, mine learned in drift./Open, dwelled, said turns awake.
No. Passed no. Sign filled./Eyes arms, turned last armed/hands, long legs, hard fines./Answers longed in lined days/near. Hear, brushed kindred cast,/born I all us, all I, kinship kind.
Test. Timed. Taken./Memories made main. Shaped./Firm filled each tendered take,/firmed placed cost trust time.Hold, hand, placed last descent./Task trust? Trust time? Held here.
Now take me. Made moments
lost and found. Taken long last
moments fined, alive last lost.
All last you all hilled hand had now.
Dearest, descent delivers last.

List, moment massed, last, passed.

-David Rathbun, New York

Tweets, Posts, North Korea, and Failed Attention Span
Joseph Warren, Editor

I remember the first time I had sex. I kept the receipt.
Groucho Marx

Book readership has fallen off, to no surprise, precipitously over the last year alone. According to the Pew Research Center, last year 72% of America’s adults said that in the last 12 months they had read, on average (read this carefully) at least one book in whole or in part. (Book jacket? First paragraph of Chapter 1?) I would add, speaking to many of my fellow Americans, that 72% of the 72% are patently fibbing, lying, bullshitting the researcher so that they appear at least somewhat engaged intellectually, although sadly they are not.

Anything is better than lies and deceit!
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Here’s the way I see it: As an example, anyone who says they read Tolstoy’s epic
Anna Karenina without taking an intellectual breather of from one to six years somewhere half-way through, is either lying or heavily medicated and managed to mindlessly turn pages while staring briefly at the Rorschach blobs on each page. Same thing for Proust and Things I would rather not remember about things past. They are interesting books from a romantic-historical perspective, but you’d be hard-pressed to draw any useful analogies to the world in which we live today.

On the other end of the spectrum are today’s Twits - those who Tweet and Post: Millennials and others of subsequent generations who in 30 words or less strive to crush our language into an indecipherable abbreviated melange of Twit-Speak that renders them incapable of any other form of written communication. Read any advert on and you will learn that 99% of those placing ads do not know how to spell “Ad” and it doesn’t get any simpler than that.

Why did I lead with Groucho? Because he, like some of you (and us), was an avid reader. He thought that Television was very good for stimulating reading because every time someone in the house turned on the TV he went into the other room to read. We don’t have television and haven’t for more than a dozen years which does much to further our consumption of literature (and even today’s modern writers, to some limited extent).

So what? You ask. Well I’ll tell you: The average attention span has fallen to the point where Americans cannot recall something - an event, a statement, a murder, an act - of extreme importance after more than 24 hours: notwithstanding how personally significant the event, statement, murder or other act might be to that person. “In one ear and out the other” which is fine if you’re not part of the voting public: you know, if you’re a three year old.

Here is an in-depth and excellent analysis of today’s situation with North Korea: an issue which should be at the forefront of our collective consciousness, appearing in the September 25 issue of the LA Times. Through this excellent and quick analysis, if you haven’t figured it out for yourself by now, you’ll come to understand that we are very near an irrevocable situation of life-changing consequences.

You might utter, The potential conflict in North Korea doesn’t affect me! That’s not true, especially if you are in the US Military or
live somewhere near the coast of California, like, say, Los Angeles...

“What’s Trending” on Twitter is an up-to-the-minute assemblage of current inane issues of striking importance as seen by Twitter users and is an excellent gauge of how far up our asses our heads are intractably placed. I will confess that today is my first view of this Twitter page: I had seen multiple references to it and always chose to ignore the link.

So, while the Gates of Hell await, what draws our attention the most? Per What’s Trending:
MacKenzie Sol on Music Monday; Would you want to have a raging boner 24/7?; (Women) We always get attached; Did you guys know sand was a liquid?; Sex robots are out to get us: and the list goes on...

Turn off your TV before North Korea does it for you. Shutdown Twitter and Facebook. Read legitimate news. Read informative books, particularly those regarding the Korean War because, like all wars, we’ve been through this before and the consequences have always been devastating for the whole of humanity.

George Santayana said,
Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. (Sadly, this quote does not show up on What’s Trending.) Mr. Santayana wrote things called, Books: You can Google the word here.

Hate? In a Universe this Beautiful?
GL Hill, Publisher

Man is the matter of the cosmos, contemplating itself.
Carl Sagan, Intelligent Life in the Universe


Cassini took and transmitted this image back to us of Saturn some few years prior to ending its existence just this past weekend. (Cassini, not Saturn.) We are the little dot to the right, just a little more than half-way down the image. That’s us. That’s earth. Wave Hello.

It’s you and me and everyone in Europe and Asia and South America and Africa and…all sitting on this little glob of dirt.

An atheist has to know a lot more than I know. An atheist is someone who knows there is no God.
Carl Sagan, Washington Post interview

I tend to agree more with Einstein who described God as an infinite and pervasive intelligence in the universe, although I am paraphrasing somewhat. And, when I look at the image of Saturn, courtesy of NASA, I am humbled. I am also disappointed in us for so many reasons, and to a nearly incalculable extent.

Look at the image:

Why do you envy that which others, through their own insipid behavior, covet? How can we hate people of a different skin color and, why do they hate us? Why do you reminisce of those negative events that happened in your past when there is an infinite level of tomorrows?

Why do any of us subscribe to a religion that would teach us to hate when this is an image of a very very small part of God’s universe?

Do we need to kill others? Sometimes, unfortunately, when others first believe they must kill us.

Cassini is dead: let’s hope we are not close behind.

Still Motion
David Rathbun

Flowers place stilled earth./ Swells of morning moments time./ Light filling open rise./ Take, above, stirred mine.

All us in broken moved replies./ Roses placed in every sky we make./ Sound we speak, attend, arrived./ Gifted, ours, all in sight.

Ah, a last, waiting sun and touch/ taken as blooms left hands./ We are here, as spread in eyes/ and sound. Ours to pass take.

Leave me and take your lived in yes./ Past we say, luminesce our opened lifts/ in gathered grace. Mouths healing/ all beloved in gently risen tests.

Voice left, stilled motion turned in spill./ Time touched in mornings dreamed/ in dreams in taken openings. Spilled/ blooms, learned of moments timed.

Wake, sun broken lived, past in/ given holds. Color, sounds/ belief we take in mind our faith./ Hands held, hold close, leaned will.

All we hold, lived loved in life of time./ All passed, all homed in arms belief./ Open then, held hearts, timed fined./ Given then our eyes, all stilled, willed.

The Model T, VW Bug, Tesla, and The Wall
Joseph Warren, Editor

The one-eyed man said softly, “Think – somebody’d like – me?”
“Why, sure,” said Tom. “Tell ‘em ya dong’s growed sence you los’ your eye.”
(Tom Joad finds a replacement connecting rod and piston for the disabled Dodge truck at a junkyard. -editor)
Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath

Here on Route 66 we’re very big on Steinbeck’s wonderful tale of destitution, commitment, resolve, defeat, familial bonds, prejudice, fear, xenophobia, adversity, and, from my perspective, practical mechanics. I re-read the book maybe once every-other-year to center my perspective and to better appreciate what modest financial stability I have compared to many of our brothers and sisters (who even today are in need), to that when I was young, during the darker periods of our family’s history, thanking my “lucky stars” as it were (and God) for the relative bounty I now enjoy.

Our little Model T sits out in front of the Historic Cohenour House in which our offices are located. Tourists frequently stop and take selfies in front of the car with house in the background. From inside, we take pictures of people taking pictures.

In 1926 you could buy a Model T in any color you wanted, as long as it was black, for a little less than four hundred dollars.

Four cylinders. Throttle and spark advance on the column. Go forward in first with a foot pedal to the left. Stop with the foot pedal to the right that constricts a band around one of the drums in the transmission. To go backwards, press the center pedal. And to make things more interesting, to go to the highest gear (second gear), push the emergency brake/neutral lever all the way forward. Easy, yes? Henry Ford sold more than 15,000,000 of these things and they remain abundant in America today in varying states of decay. Many, like ours, are nearly
as new as new.

fifteen million record stood unchallenged for decades until Volkswagen, fronted initially by Adolf Hitler with the assistance of Ferdinand Porsche, outsold the Model T with the little Bug’s number exceeding fifteen million in 1972.

Our Model T wasn’t in very good shape when we bought it: it was a derelict vehicle. But after a few weeks and a few dollars and a few busted knuckles, she had returned to a state of grace…until one of the connecting rods started knocking.

The preacher knelt beside the wheels. “What can I do?”
“Nothin’, not right now. Soon’s the oil’s out an’ I get these here bolts loose, you can he’p me drop the pan off.” (Tom) squirmed away under the car…
Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath

Nearly everyone to the West of Oklahoma feared the “Okies”. They threatened the economic and social stasis of America’s growing Western ideologies. They were visually different and spoke with a strange accent. They would work for a lower wage. Their young were “criminals and rapists”. They increased the burden on local and state government by sending their children to school and seeking medical help for which they frequently could not pay.

As I shimmied under the Model T I thought of the Joad family and their long trek West through all forms of hardship, including sickness, death, childbirth, starvation, and yet with a determination few if any of us possess today. So many passed through Kingman on their way west to their inexorable destiny. I dropped the access panel and examined the connecting rods: Number One was loose as a goose and had been replaced somewhere along the line with the wrong rod: babbitted for a standard crankshaft rather than one that had been taken down. I removed the con-rod cap and filed it to fit: it took a few different fittings but it snugged up nicely.

To try to stop this burdensome and threatening influx, California built a veritable
Wall from their State Police reinforced by local authorities. There was only one problem: California Agri-Business needed cheap labor – the cheaper, the better, to keep vegetables and fresh fruits supplied to California’s canneries, housewives, and restaurants. Sound familiar?

I had an email conversation with the CEO of Arcimoto last year. His company has been working for quite some time to develop an electric vehicle of small dimensions at a cheap price that meets the needs of a Seattle-type consumer. In other words, like no one else in America. I had, in my own subtle way, suggested that he change the approach to that of a more conventional car with a reasonable range in which people could put things they bought, and sell it at a cost that nearly everyone could afford: Kind of a Ford-Hitler approach.

Still struggling, Arcimoto will probably remain in Prototype mode until they deplete the kindness of the many strangers who have contributed to this mis-guided startup.

I didn’t have a suitable pan gasket for the access panel so I made one out of cork and Permatex. It took a little while but it sealed up nicely. After it setup I poured the oil I had collected in a bucket back into the engine. I thought of Tom Joad.

Tesla’s blinded by the
kitsch of today just as is Faraday Future, the EV division of Chevrolet, Nissan, and the many others who seek dominance in the struggling Electric Vehicle industry. Everybody wants to build a car that every middle- to high-end consumer will eagerly consume. Apparently, nobody in that industry has the slightest understanding of history.

They crawled out and poured the bucket of oil back in the crank case. Tom inspected the gasket for leaks. “O.K., Al. Turn her over,” (Tom) said. Al got into the car and stepped on the starter. The motor caught with a roar.
Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath

So did my Model T. The rod knock was gone.

We’re not moving (back) to California. For us it’s a “God Forbid” scenario. Nor are we planning on selling our Honda Insight that achieves about 55 miles to a gallon to buy an over-priced, short-range Electric Vehicle that does not do what it must do to achieve market dominance, for the sake of buying something with an ostentatious marque. I’ll wait until someone gets it right.

Read John Steinbeck
’s Grapes of Wrath. And when passing through Kingman Arizona, stop at the Powerhouse and Route 66 Museum: The Steinbeck exhibit is essential to understanding an important time in our country’s life. And for God’s sake, learn a little History so you’ll stop doing the same wrong things over and over.

I remember when we were a country of Dreamers...

¡Let the Revolution Begin!
Ché Warren, Editor

Where a government has come into power through some form of popular vote, fraudulent or not, and maintains at least an appearance of constitutional legality, the guerrilla outbreak cannot be promoted, since the possibilities of peaceful struggle have not yet been exhausted.
Ernesto Ché Guevara, Guerilla Warfare (1960 edition)

In a recent LA Times article the reporter Jesse Walker posed the question, “Are we headed for a second civil war?”

In an earlier article, below, I had reviewed Daniel James’ biography of Cuba’s infamous revolutionary, otherwise ne’er-do-well commander to Fidel Castro, ex-Argentine, and voted by history as
Most Likely to Not Take His Own Advice, Ernesto Ché Guevara. At the conclusion of our article I mentioned that I had finally decided to order and read Ché’s not-so-epic work on Guerrilla Warfare entitled, simply, Guerrilla Warfare.

But first: The
Motorcycle Diaries by Ché was exceedingly entertaining and I’ve probably read the slim account of his journey through (mostly) South America with his long-time acquaintance, Alberto Granado, many times over for the whimsical insight and innocent observations of the very young Guevara.

In the
…Diaries, laden with testosterone Ché and Granado set out to explore South America and learn first hand about the people and places comprising their America, not unlike many of us did (and do today) to sate our intellectual thirst and better comprehend the depth and splendor of our America’s diversity, foundation, and hopefully get drunk and laid in the process. It’s somewhat satisfying to know that Capitalism’s archenemy for many decades now, long post-mortem, was primarily driven by the same fundamental Maslowian impetus. It’s a sometimes funny and always entertaining book. Read it for the adolescent debauchery and troubled-tour on Granado’s 1939 Norton motorcycle ironically bearing the moniker, El Poderoso (essentially, the Powerful One). But, on to the more serious issue of our coming Revolution…

Guerilla Warfare is basically a very uninteresting look at Guevara’s collected thoughts and strategies, not unique or novel in their approach to what one might conjure as important in field warfare if one had never lifted anything more than a rubber band gun as a kid playing Cowboys and Indians in the backyard.

There are two illustrations of interest: The first identifies a method of firing a
Molotov Cocktail by use of a rifle and looks especially suicidal, and the second, my favorite, illustrates Target Practice whereby a compañero holds a target to his side while his fellow revolutionary takes aim…

Che - 1

The manual contains what Guevara saw as significant strategies and logistical requirements in order to wage a successful insurgency, which he failed at many times over following the Cuban revolution, a revolution that in all fairness wasn’t much of a war given that (the very despicable) Batista bailed on his country, having (further) raided the treasury and removed himself from danger and reprisal.

The book isn’t worth reading. I’m not the first to say that and apparently, like Ché, I paid no attention to what others had said and what I probably already had guessed.

So, is America on her way to a second civil war?
Of course not: The one truism of Guevara’s concise manual that leads this article sums it up well: Where a government has come into power through some form of popular vote, fraudulent or not, and maintains at least an appearance of constitutional legality, the guerrilla outbreak cannot be promoted…

And, while there may be many of us who object to our current situation, the reality is that a semblance of Democracy remains. As well, we’re all too invested in government for too much of our support for the majority of us – America’s corporations especially - to risk such a fundamental change in how we live. But, if things go south, I’m ready to lead the way (if you don’t mind being the one to hold the target).

Read, The Motorcycle Diaries. It’s entertaining and will give you much insight into the real Ché: the Ché who preceded Ché, El Segundo a Fidel: colorful, well-humored, normal...

Sometimes (it seems like) a Great Notion
Joseph Warren, Editor

I’m just as concerned as the next guy, just as loyal. If we was to get into it with Russia I’d fight for us right down to the wire. And if Oregon was to get into it with California I’d fight for Oregon. But if somebody—Biggy Newton or the Woodworkers Union or anybody—gets into it with me, then I’m for me! When the chips are down, I’m my own patriot.

Ken Kesey,
Sometimes a Great Notion

One of my favorites from a time in America when many of our writers had embarked on a trek of creation that followed no preconceived literary laws and, like Ireland’s Joyce before them, struck out to cut trails to destinations wholly their own: a literary nirvana, a place in history of the written word distinctly their own with a style and allusions that convey a great story and yet move serendipitously or intentionally to a much deeper level.

Kesey’s epic has been termed difficult to read by some who may be prone to stagger through complex references and split-time sequences. I understand. It’s not the most difficult book to read, but it is complex and yet at the same time, remarkably simple. That’s the beauty of
Sometimes a Great Notion.

Like many of you, too, I tend to see the analogies in everything I read (or perhaps they are constructs that help me to better appreciate the story) reading more into it than the author had intended, and
Sometimes… is no exception.

It’s a story describing in
sometimes painful detail the evolvement of the Stamper family to its (then) present-day keystone position in the Oregon Lumber industry, and through their actions at a critical time owing to a union dispute and under-handed negotiations have quite literally brought the balance of the county, the majority of whom depend on the same industry to feed and clothe their families, to their economic knees.

‘Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls,’ he tolled sonorously through his dirty handkerchief; ‘it tolls for thee

It tolls for horseshit, contradicted a thinner voice from a grey beard at the back of the bar…

Sometimes a Great Notion

They are all rough and tumble Lumber people imbued with characteristic behaviors not unlike Americans today. And then there is Leland, a psychotic, deluded, revenge driven, “repatriated” sibling torn early from the Stamper family by his very problematic mother and lifted to the East Coast to be immersed in a life of privilege and academia.

Who’d of thought that Kesey would have written such a poignant book about the United States today?

If you’ve read the book, then it isn’t difficult to adopt the allusion that the Stamper family is strongly analogous to the economically privileged of our society today, especially so if we allow our minds to draw an analogy to the story’s patriarch, Henry Stamper – a grumbling, bull-headed, ignorant, backward, deluded man of advancing years, to someone in a position of supreme power and influence right now.

Through Henry’s actions, the balance of Wakonda, the fictitious community in which the story is set, suffer hardships and deprivations owing to the abysmal imbalance of Stamper interests. Notwithstanding heartfelt pleas of reason, the community’s basic needs are set aside again and again to the financial benefit of the few. And of course, the rain continues to fall: it
is Oregon, after all.

Henry’s chief desire, really, is to
Make Wakonda Great Again, at any expense, and by uplifting his family’s fortunes. All the while, though the Wakonda river continues to erode the foundations of the long-standing Stamper home, perched precariously on the edge. (Get it? Of course you do...)

Who is the psychotic Leland in today’s America driven by the lust of revenge? Well there are so many from which to choose…take your pick.

Sometimes a Great Notion, and here’s a tip: it’s several books in one. If you need to, read the primary narrative without parenthetical storyline; read the parenthetical all the way through; then read the whole damned thing again. It’s worth it. Kesey didn’t write it without re-reading it himself several times over. Why expect to walk away ingesting the full beauty of the novel with one sitting?

Oregon and her ubiquitous rain reminds me of
William Machaelian, Salem’s resident poet:

The day they find

And then the day they find
letters on bone,

and wonder
at this race now gone,

whose very ink
was blood.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em
Joseph Warren, Editor

Just what do you mean by a dope doctor, Mr. Grayson?

I mean a doctor whose practice is largely with people who are living on the raw edge of nervous collapse, from drink and dissipation. People who have to be given sedatives and narcotics all the time. The stage comes when an ethical physician refuses to treat them any more, outside a sanatorium. But not the Dr. Almores. They will keep on as long as the money comes in, as long as the patient remains alive and reasonably sane, even if he or she becomes a hopeless addict in the process. A lucrative practice…

Raymond Chandler,
The Lady in the Lake

Chandler wrote this epic Phillip Marlowe novel in the mid 1940s. As in all his writing, it was clear, distinct, riveting and as poignant today as it was then about 70 years ago: we’re still killing one another through conventional means like guns and knives and hatchets and pipes and all of the other little weapons in my Clue set when I was a kid, and today we’ve added new and interesting variations like brutally attacking the weak of spirit and mind on Social Media to willfully drag these fellow humans below the surface of despair to trigger a suicidal reaction. Compassion today has clearly been shackled by links of chain and thrown into the dark sea ten miles off shore.

When Chandler wrote this book there was addiction in America: we were addicted to the same drugs derived from the same root chemicals we are today and for the same reasons. We seek escape from our lives and look to the easiest conveyances to lift us out of the gritty angst many of us feel day-to-day as we become mired in the tediousness of life waiting for the final exit call, disillusioned by the presumption of failure in one form or another.

Today, just as then and
before then, we consume alcohol, opioids, marijuana, and other drugs procured through those who advantage from our addictions: the Pushers who wear suits and run the world’s Pharmaceutical companies, the physicians and other professionals who feed America’s Health Care industry, the people who oversee the Health Care Insurance companies like Stephen Hemsley of United Health Group whose personal income ranges upward from $60 million per year (a figure many Cartel Jeffes would envy), the “illegal drug” Cartels themselves, the street pusher, the saloon owner, and others.

And, just as in Chandler’s
The Lady in the Lake, murder and mayhem truly does follow. More than 90 Americans die everyday from opioid overdose, prescription and heroin, according to the CDC.

We’ve written extensively on the subject of addiction before. Read,
Selling Addiction, below. As our Hebrew brothers might say, En kol chadásh táchat hashámesh: There is nothing new under the sun.

Read, Chandler’s
Lady in the Lake for the intrigue, and its hard-punching and pistol whipping narrative. And while you’re reading it, if you’re not a smoker, you likely will be by the book’s conclusion. And we’re not talking a pack-a-day habit here…I’m surprised Marlowe could stand upright.

Here’s another piece from one of my favorite poets, David Rathbun, New York, to remind you that life is not something to be avoided by salving the mind with chemicals, but embraced for the beauty and wonder it holds.


Tenderness, time we hold.
Touching, time tenderness.
Spread in all we take,
still open, found in touch.

Bound as given gift.
Kindness taking found.
Opened eyes in broken kind,
all taken timed, alive.

Lined known, we know,
those filled lined last
in days awake we make.
Spilled touch in telling wake.

Loved, aligned we told,
caressed, signed loved.
Those closed our touched
in all touch, time, life lived.

Lived in stand we still,
our kind in living lined.
In children, touching trust,
days granted open yesterdays.

Our broken rests in touch
ask of our touching stands.
Asked, our human sensed,
in all our final opened finds.

Kind, a child’s yes last live,
loved kindness time aligned.
Frail all in people’s open find.
Ours all, timed mine, touch last.

The United States of Alzheimer’s
Joseph Warren, Editor

“We are living in the United States of Alzheimer’s. A whole country has lost its memory. When it can’t remember yesterday, a country forgets what it once wanted to be.”
Studs Turkel

A number of years ago I began reading Turkel as a component of my undergraduate education in a subfield of Sociology. Over the years I’ve amassed an extensive collection of (I think) everything he wrote, or better, encapsulated into coherent beginnings and endings of stories told to him about everything from the Great Depression to Death to Working to...all voices of Americans the way we were.

Through his conversational chronicles he brought to me an America I understood, since although my Father was of generations of Americans past, my Mother was only once removed from Italy. She was just like many Americans today.
Her Mother and Father were just like many Americans today. They spoke little English to the very end. She grew up bilingual - Italian and English.

They came here to have a better life, and they had thus given me
and my siblings better childhoods. (I’ll confess to being not so convinced as of late that a better life doesn’t exist somewhere far removed from the USA today.)

Today under our current leadership my mother would not have been allowed to stay in this country unless she possessed some skills critical to American Industry and spoke English.
Your parents or grand-parents or great... would have been turned away too. In fact, had the American Indian imposed similar requirements on the pasty white people landing at Plymouth Rock, and enforced the law as savagely as we do today, it would still be a country of aboriginal peoples.

Be that as it may, this is more a story about two Salvadoran boys who have been deported for following the law after reporting to their local ICE office to inform them of an impending change of address owing to a scholarship one brother had received for his talent in the field of soccer and for his to-date academic achievement.

The two young men, Lizandro and Diego Saravia were ripped away from their mother and siblings and sent to El Salvador having lived here fearlessly, hopefully for many years.

Although the story is quite popular as of this writing, here’s a link to the BBC video so that you may have a keener insight into the harmful nature of the ignorance too pervasive in our country today.

Me personally? I’ve just about had it with stupid white people,
and I’m white. I can only imagine what some of our brothers and sisters of color are thinking about us today. I can only imagine what Studs would have said. In fact, I think I know what Studs would have said to your president: read the quote from Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, below

My! How things have changed
Joseph Warren, Editor

“Go ____ yourself!”
Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

It’s amazing how things have changed in the last several years from 1939 to today where the verb missing from the quote above has become so commonplace that even our president and his spokespeople feel free to use it in a myriad of its conjugations, without hesitation or retraint.

It’s not that I don’t use/think the word myself having spent a good number of years at sea where it is interjected into
any polysyllabic to add two very useful additional syllables to a word for emphasis, it’s just that I expect something more or different from our leadership. (I don’t know why the ___ I should, though.)

Perhaps that is why this summer I have fallen off my developmental reading and resumed re-reading American classics. Earlier this summer I set aside Bruno’s
The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast after having “enough already” from his De Umbis Idearum (Shadow of Ideas), and re-read Daniel James’ biography of Ché Guevara, as a reminder of how mankind can uplift an otherwise dismal failure to the status of hero, thinking of Thomas Carlyle’s epic writing (and how it reminds me of someone in a position of power today whose name I do not utter):

The Poet who could merely sit on a chair, and compose stanzas, would never make a stanza worth much. He could not sing the Heroic warrior, unless he himself were at least a Heroic warrior too.
On Heros, Hero Worship…

In Guevara’s case, he was to many a hero who had lived a hero’s life, although his successes were few and his failures too numerous to recount. (In reality, Cuba marked the zenith of his accomplishments while all after fell into the category of disastrous, as did much of what came before.) But, like everything else I’ve read on the man, it is entertaining and instructing. So much so, in fact, that I am awaiting a copy of his book, Guerrilla Warfare, which has nothing to do with primates flinging poop at one another.

And no, there is nothing instructional about Chandler, but like Dashiell Hammett it does give us a glimpse into a simpler time in America when everyone was pretty sure the world was going to hell…too, about 100 years ago. So I went after a few of Chandler’s more well known works having in the past only read,
The Big Sleep. They are very high on entertainment value still and written far beyond today’s (for the most part) miserable mass-market fiction of poor literary quality.

Come to think of it, the Chandler quote above reminds me of Henry Miller’s comment on Dick Cavett, I think it was, many years ago, when he commented on our increasing sexual promiscuity during the 1960s when he said, “We did just as much ___ing back then, don’t you know; we just didn’t talk about it as much.” Perhaps that’s why I have always enjoyed his writing. What could be more refreshing than
Tropic of Cancer, other than Black Spring or Tropic of Capricorn? Or as I might have said years ago, “...more re___ing-freshing?”

Read Chandler’s,
Big Sleep for a break in politics.
Read James’ great and intensely detailed biography on
Ché Guevara.
Read Thomas Carlyle,
On Heroes, Hero Worship and the Heroic in History.
And if you think you’re not being challenged enough on the subject of Heresy, read Giordano Bruno’s The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast.

Better yet, read this wonderful poetic contribution from David Rathbun, New York (and see
Ash Homes, following):

Touch Blessed

Definitions come alive. Lived
we all have lost, aligned left,
those long last. Hands we hold,
here, as gived, last loved alive.

Touch me, dear, our time, our still left held. Here, the memories of sense,
eyes alive, arms touched high held here.
Stained last of head, born us, turned.

What would we give in voice and time?
Touch blessed, pieced part asked, known?
Stained stringed, strained as cost. Lost, time.

Ah this gift of timed in tests, guest lived
in loved alive. All emptiness revealed
stills far, endures held all. Home staid.

Lost shared our hands, our lives endured, held purpose lived. You, all, begun in cast.
Time we need, timed out assigned to last lived.
Cost we know, just gived where all lives rest.

Dark take me, yes broken darkened real.
Stand here, and all where given gives its all,
all here, in all received in now and ends.
Wear moments sing, left love, dense cast.

Ash Homes

Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.

I began the day thinking about these words from Hemingway when I was reminded of a poem I had received from someone else. I thought the poem was worthy of this journal, as it now has become having loosed ourselves from the burdens of Politics, focusing more on the realities of life. It is a recent poem by David Rathbun.

Ash Homes

Ash homes deeply filled in skill.
Light, yes sun, moved gently aired
spilled new. Timed gifts, time.
Here, windows live, tilled all.

Loved, yessed always, past gifted here in shed to all. All lived in days held still, and long, and here loss known.
Time gained, spilled learned, long loved.

Dears, divines, all test, blessed, giving
moments gifts. Doors opened real, all movement ours, sons lived, mind, family, all born, mine yours.

Life willows here touch last lawns,
streams open laugh and trust.
Trees filled draws of lawn touched
memories filled streams and swells.

Skies we share, grass learned all years
passed always, here now lived our last.
Tendered breadth perhaps, each open
eyes and thoughts blessed law aware.

How much gift we take each morning
branched in granted time. Brush dreams,
here held our home, touched promises of last. Call us, our small shared days.

Tilled mornings touch all memories.
Timed lived alive now loved. Signed slips
we know, stand taken, full filled. Picked
then, we say, paled, prayed, past taken.

The Souls of White Folk
Joseph Warren, Editor

The papers were very bad reading. Everything was going very badly everywhere. I sat back in the corner with a heavy mug of dark beer and an opened glazed-paper package of pretzels and ate the pretzels for the salty flavor and the good way they made the beer taste and read about disaster.
Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

A friend of mine, and occasional contributor to this journal, Jack Shepherd, recently wrote to tell me that he has stopped watching the
News on television. I had told him years ago to shut off the television for good – to violently jerk the cable from the wall and save the expense and exposure to the profluvium of madness carted over the airways into his household. (We stopped 14 years ago. It was as though we had unplugged from the Matrix, to liken it to something more contemporary than Hemingway.)

Today I get my
News from the Internet picking and choosing which to read based on my preferences, less of which each day is concerning Politics. My Ad Blocker takes care of most of the silliness programmed into sites and I tend to stay with the BBC, NPR, and the Arizona Republic anyway, all of which tend not to be too insulting.

I also try to focus my time on reading referrals from others, and am especially enthusiastic about lesser known poets and writers who by virtue of style or the very genre in which they write, are excluded from popular publications: not fitting a marketable mold, you see. It’s the primary force of Capitalism on writing, and some part of me finds it understandable. Some part of me loathes this influence.

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

My slim little volume of Du Bois’ Souls… is short on pages and very long on commentary, particularly so when looking at America today. Consider Du Bois’ comment:

Either America will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States.

A pithy summary reflective of the way many of us feel today. We feel and we think that we may be on the edge. Perhaps we are.

I began with Hemingway because this summer just seemed like a good time to revisit my youth: sometimes I can remember precisely where I was when I read
that chapter and what my Mother and Father – long dead – were doing while I took a voyage in time to another place and learned what adults did in their spare time. (If this was a text or an email (and I was an idiot) I’d put a little smiley face back there at the end of the sentence.)

Sometimes too when revisiting literature of the past one gleans more from the content: as an example, being inherently lazy back then I didn’t really care who the characters Bill Gorton and Robert Cohn in Hemingway’s
The Sun Also Rises were. Turns out, both were very interesting people – associates of Hemingway and well known to the world of literature then, although perhaps a bit déclassé today: David Ogden Stewart served as his model for Gorton (he was involved, or chiefly wrote the screenplays for Prisoner of Zenda, Philadelphia Story (not that one), and many, many more).

Cohn was in reality based on
Harold Loeb whose real life role was much like Sylvia Beach’s at Shakespeare and Company – the original Paris bookstore by that name: a hangout for Stein, Hemingway, Fitzgerald and everybody else you’d like to have dinner with today. (Someday I’ll have to review Alice Toklas’ wonderful autobiography…)

The reason I raised Du Bois to a topic of discussion is because of events in Minnesota the other day when a young woman – Justine Damond – was shot and killed by a local cop, Mohamed Noor, a fairly recent immigrant from Somalia, if I recall correctly.

I have read every account since learning of this tragedy, from every side possible, and have yet to make any sense out of it. I’m sure you have wrestled with the unreality of it all, too.

Ms. Damond was strongly reminiscent of my wife (our publisher, GL Hill), and I was drawn to try to understand how a pretty, blonde woman can report a probable incident near her home to the police, then meet the officer to assist in identifying the potential criminal, while wearing her pajamas, and then be shot dead by a second officer in the same car in the passenger seat. Reality has left me disconnected.

Last night it occurred to me that I cannot dismiss the event as lightly as others, I am ashamed to admit, because she was a pretty, blonde woman whose soul was apparently devoid of evil, just as many of the souls of Black men, women, and children have been who have been shot and killed by our police this year and last, in a never-ending escalation of fear-violence.

The many, many Black Americans who have been killed did not remind me of GL Hill to the strength and depth Ms. Damond does. I didn’t say, “That could have been Greta…” because I could not make the connection in my mind, notwithstanding how enlightened I may perceive myself to be. I have promised myself to never intellectually dismiss the death of an innocent, regardless of the presence of pigment and the coarseness of hair. I know better, but I did not
know better.

Dream at the Asylum

Have you ever wondered how, no matter where you are, your dreams are able to find you? They’re not always in your head. Dreams can enter through bolted doors. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve heard them roaming the corridor. They cling to a person’s clothes, like dust, or fingerprints, or mold. Many are shared, like germs passed from host to host — even this one, which finds me holding up my poor dead father, who has returned, and is too weak to stand. Sit down, my friend. Sit down. Tell me, why have you come back again?
William Michaelian, The Asylum Poems

Thank God I found a respite from my contemplative angst owing to the writer, Bruce Janigian whose recent mail pointed to a lesser-known and very talented poet, William Michaelian, who resides in Salem, Oregon, a town I like very much for its coffee shops and the Book Bin – a vast repository of esoterica, antiquarian, hard-to-find, and modern literature.

Mr. Michaelian has several published works, but I spent a few hours
reading through his site here at Recently Banned Literature. It has been drizzling on and off all day, finally giving us in the north of Arizona a reprieve from the never-before-seen sweltering temperatures of the last three weeks or so. The sky and the view is reminiscent today of Salem to me. It was a perfect day to read Mr. Michaelian’s poetry and to put the insanity of the world into another room and lock the door tightly.

Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.

Foolish as it seems, our loved ones
will pretend to understand —
and for that, we will always pity them.

If you haven’t lately, revisit Hemingway, Du Bois, and avail yourself of Mr. Michaelian’s very accessible poetry.

There is no Global Warming: It’s just hotter than Hell
Joseph Warren, Editor

Who shot him? I asked. The grey man scratched the back of his neck and said: Somebody with a gun.
Dashiell Hammett, Red Harvest

It’s hot everywhere in the Southwest. It’s hot here in our hometown. We’ve set days of record temperatures along with parts of California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Texas and elsewhere, while we languidly await the coming monsoon season in Arizona that typically brings anywhere from
Some to a Great Deal of relief depending on the nature of the meteorology for that year.

Every morning I half expect Virgil to guide me through the circles of Hell eventually leading me to the core of the abyss – beyond Malebolge – while I tread delicately around the rim of the final inferno casting my gaze across the sea of humanity lost in flames of eternal damnation, or are those just my neighbors waiting for a bus?

Staying cool and hydrated is the trick, and a difficult trick for me as I enjoy working out-of-doors, than in. GL Hill’s studio is inside. Mine is a space consisting of indoor and an outdoor area where I weld metal sculpture. I welded a bit yesterday when the mercury hit 104. That was an experience.

So to stay cool and confined I’ve taken to reading a collection of Dashiell Hammett’s classic mysteries:
Red Harvest, The Dain Curse, The Maltese Falcon, The Glass Key, and The Thin Man. That’s five of the most entertaining books, requiring no intellectual effort, yet packed with great writing, wonderful plots, and an assortment of characters the likes of which have not been seen publicly for decades, in a fashion. In reality, The Glass Key is a very entertaining look at Politics then - circa 1920s - and easily analogized to today. Some things never change, including those who rise to power in Government, whether they may or may not be “Whack Jobs” per John Podesta.

I haven't laughed so much over anything since the hogs ate my kid brother.
Red Harvest

Like many of you, when I was a kid I was completely taken with Bogart’s rendition of Sam Spade: hardboiled, arrogant, tough, dismissive of adversity, incorruptible, independent, unobliging, unassuming…

Hammett wrote him well, and the movie,
Maltese Falcon, follows the book to the letter. That’s why it’s so much fun to re-read (or read) and makes it possible to hear Bogart’s voice in every line Spade delivers, along with Cairo (Peter Lorre), Gutman (Greenstreet), Brigid (Mary Astor) – what a dish – and the rest of the extraordinary cast.

Some years ago I latched onto Hammett’s “You’re a good man, sister,” a line Spade delivers to his never-tiring secretary, Effie, of the same caliber of old school consort as Della Street. I used the line when I remark about something GL Hill has said or done that I thought was remarkable. From any other woman I get a strange look, so I reserve that highest of accolades only for GL.

Where have all the Sam Spades gone? I don’t know. I think society has caused most of those who might have been inclined to that personality to adopt a different persona, believing that Spade-esque behaviors are inappropriate in our changing world of neutered males, and women, the beneficiaries of said previously removed testicles.

While we no longer talk politics in this journal, I will mention that John Boehner, our former Speaker of the House, seemed to me to be a remnant of the same era and influences as I. No great mystery since he’s the same age, yet his attitude and perceptions are remarkably kindred. As an example, on being asked if he had an interest in returning to politics some few weeks ago, he remarked that he was too happy with his current life of mowing the lawn, smoking cigarettes, and playing golf. (For me
Golf is a daily visit to the gym and the aforementioned working outdoors. I still love tobacco.)

Boehner even looks like what I would conjure as Sam Spade had Bogart not played the role so well.

I haven't lived a good life. I've been bad, worse than you could know.
(Brigid O’Shaghnessy) Maltese Falcon

Now, what man wouldn’t like a good-looking dame like Mary Astor to utter those words as an entry soliciting your help?

Look: It’s hot. Read something light and refreshing. Read all five of Hammett’s wonderful books written long before the minimum a publisher required was a crap-load of filler. (All five won’t take more than a few days.)

The heat can’t last forever.

She stared at him dully and said: “I don’t like crooks, and even if I did, I wouldn’t like crooks that are stool-pigeons, and if I liked crooks that are stool-pigeons, I still wouldn’t like you.” She turned to the outer door.
The Thin Man

On Oppression and Chavez Ravine:
Learning from Quixote
Joseph Warren, Editor

“The truth may be stretched thin, but it never breaks, and it always surfaces above lies, as oil floats on water.”

La verdad puede ser estirado al máximo, pero nunca se rompe, y siempre por encima de las superficies de la mentira, como el aceite flota en el agua.
Cervantes, …Quijote (…Quixote)

During 1959 when I was nine years of age,
un niño muy joven, we lived at the corner of Outlook and Garrison Drives in the little part of Los Angeles called Highland Park. Highland Park was then a working class enclave of inexpensive homes and predominantly white people who tended to keep a peaceful neighborhood, as most Americans of any race did back then. Fue un barrio de fontaneros, maquinistas (como mi padre), panaderos, y trabajos similares. It was a neighborhood of Tradesmen, mostly.

Every mother watched every other mother’s child. It was a wonderful place to live and to spend one’s early childhood. And although there was a sense of cross-town competitive relationship, there remained a
one-in-the-sameness with the communities of Eagle Rock, Echo Park, and all points in between. (Glendale was far too uppity for our socioeconomic position.) And, although culturally miles away but only six miles down the road (or a good bicycle ride) was Chavez Ravine, un barrio de Mexicano-Americanos, and people with whom we would talk, socialize, and share laughs while making our routine visit to Olvera Street for food, stuff-I-could-not-do-without, and fun: a cheap Saturday on the town. ¡Qué maravilloso lugar que era! Los colores, los sonidos, los olores…so much to see and do: an endless stream of music, talk and sensations: all authentic. The only talk of Walls were those to be built around vegetable gardens.

Home from school at Yorkdale Elementary one afternoon, and before starting my nocturnal job, I sat down to watch television –
because it was there. (Sometimes kids from my socioeconomic group had to work to help out the family: The 1950s were not light years away from the 1930s.)

The television was tuned to KTLA because that was one of the handful of stations available, and they aired my favorite program,
Skipper Frank. (I watched the show and did the Squiggles along with him, as I was supposed to do.) To Millennials, having less than an infinite number of TV channels probably sounds demonstrably like child abuse, but it was the norm.

That day KTLA carried a continuation of the special news item it had been following over a few days by then on the evacuation, and the
confiscation and destruction of homes and families, of those living in Chavez Ravine, clearing the land to make way for Dodger Stadium.

(In many cases Chavez Ravine’s inhabitants had occupied and owned the land beneath their small homes for decades, back to the 1800s, while some could trace the path of the land back to the time of the original Spanish occupation and founding of what would become Los Angeles in 1781,
pero fue nombrado, El pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Los Ángeles de Porciuncula, en ese tiempo. “Los Angeles” is much easier.)

As I was tuned fiercely into the newscast my father came home from looking for work: at the moment in his industry southern California was mired in an Aerospace recession that would last through 1961 and leave him desperate for income. With years of his Machinist trade bolstering him and an
I.A. of M. Journeyman’s card, he eventually took a job as a helper in a local donut shop on York to supplement his scant earnings as a photographer, until the union called him elsewhere (which it eventually did to the San Francisco area - Lockheed).

Years later I would learn to honor him for that extraordinary gulp of pride, but
not so much as that afternoon as we all watched, transfixed, the blurry screen of gray images showing Manuel Arechiga standing alone on his porch in the lulling solitude of Chavez Ravine before a backdrop of the destruction and mayhem wrought by a mechanized army of the City of Los Angeles in the days prior. El señor Arechiga protegió su casa con escopeta en mano. Solo. Valientemente. Resuelto. The image is burned forever in my mind: shotgun across his arms standing on the porch; guarding his family and the sum of his life. A valiant man.

“Look at him. Look at that man!” my father ordered. I was. I had been. I was mesmerized. “They have no goddamn right to throw that man and his family out! For what? So they can build a ballpark?” He was intoxicated with anger. Ergo, so would I become. I was proud of his outrage. I was proud of Mr. Arechiga.

Like nearly every child by the age of nine or 10 I had read some version (interpretation) of
El ingenioso hidalgo don Quixote de la Mancha, por Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. And while I don’t recall the exact title of the version I was first exposed to, I faintly remember it as simply, The Story of Don Quixote: a simplified and condensed version of Cervantes’ first book of the tale (the one to this day I much prefer to the second installment, notwithstanding what various scholars may say).

From my reading
back then I learned that Don Quixote fought against those people who were evil, and sometimes against great odds and at personal peril. Pretty simple, yes? ¿Quién podría pedir más en una historia? Who could ask for more in a story? Bueno contra Malo. Good against Evil. Justicia superando la adversidad. Righteousness overcoming Adversity.

The other aspects – the more ethereal and suggestive of the true extent of the great novel came to me later in life as I’ve read and re-read countless times the tale of the knight errant’s adventures by various translators, along with the whimsical Sancho Panzo, who of course proved ultimately to be the more stable of the two.

Later that night while selling the
LA Times (10 cents a copy) from my makeshift newsstand at York and Figueroa in front of Van de Kamp’s Bakery (now a burger joint), across the street from Farmer Dick’s Market (now a bank), struggling to bring together a buck so I could buy milk and bread for the family (my job), I mulled over what I had seen on the small black-and-white television we ceremoniously sat about earlier that day.

I considered the image of Manuel Arechiga, a man maybe about my father’s age, poised with shotgun in hand at his doorstep fending off a bulldozer the maw of which was poised to take down the family home – the last of the small houses that remained, as I remember – some few feet away. I thought about the implications of this vile act toward his family: What it would do to them personally; how they would feel being cast out into the darkness.

Did I have to go far into my imagination? Unfortunately not. Out of nine years in Highland Park we lived in at least four rental homes during the height of the recession, being asked to leave from each for non-payment of rent, sometimes under the purview of the local law enforcement. My father more-than-tried, but he could not. (Life would stabilize later in the Bay Area, but at the moment our family’s travails seemed open-ended.)

So, being in several ways heavily vested in the tale of Chavez Ravine, I was enthralled, and it filled my nights with anxious thoughts and adolescent contemplations:
Fear amongst them. I was not alone, though, because many Angelinos found themselves on the same side as we: On the side of anger. Por el lado de la ira, el odio, el sentimiento de pérdida.

I imagined that Mr. Arechiga needed his own Don Quixote at that moment as I watched the cars pass by and the night grew dim outside of Van de Kamp’s and the air acquired a slight chill. For a while, so lost in thought, I forgot to shout out the headlines to those streaking by in their brand new $2,200 Fords and Chevrolets: Gleaming, fast, probably immensely more comfortable than my own bed. (Our Plymouth had been repossessed a few days earlier and Dad was now hobbling about in a very old Ford. I became more mired in thought and self-pity.)

Then I realized something: it occurred to me that Mr. Arechiga did not
need a Don Quixote, because he was Don Quixote, more authentic than any personified Quixote before. The little man with a shotgun – his lance made from a tree branch – against the might of bulldozers, high-powered rifles, and the inescapable multitude of those who were there to impress the Word of Law on him without or with his cooperation.

It was at that moment that I saw the true meaning of Cervantes’ brilliance.

I saw it too in my Dad who always strived to overcome the adversities placed before him that to him must have looked like Giants flailing the air with waiting swords. Mr. Arechiga was a brave man back then. So was Mr. Warren.

Today our house abounds in memorabilia and ephemera on the subject of Quixote, Quijote, or Quichotte, depending on just a few of the languages of publication. My favorite artwork happily is the original portrait of the clearly deranged Quixote by the Mexican artist out of Rosarito, David Silvah, which hangs next to my wife’s magnificent interpretation of Dulcinea.

Along the various shelves in our old home are Lladro pieces and woodcarvings of Quixote in various poses, distributed among a few different translations of the epic work. He is ubiquitous in my life and always has been, and it wasn’t until I began to recount the story of Manuel Arechiga to an actor friend just one week ago – mark that as 58 years after – that I realized why, dredging the memory from my youth, bringing it forward three score years to better savor and more fully understand, today.

There is no single Don Quixote who astride Rocinante sallies forth to close in on your beam and guard you through the treacherous enemy who awaits just beyond the turn in the road. There is only you. ¡Eres Don Quijote! You are the Knight-errant.

That’s the way it has always been for the meager of wallet. It was that way a millennium ago; it will be that way one thousand years from now.

El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha, by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Watch the PBS documentary on Chavez Ravine for the full experience.

Joseph Warren attended both Garvanza and Yorkdale elementary schools. He was graduated from Yorkdale but won recognition in 1960 (in the form of a certificate which he still possesses) from Garvanza for his skills in Carroms. (He is also a graduate of the University of San Francisco.)

One-Half of America, by Mathematical Necessity, is Below Average
(And it shows. I just didn’t think they’d ever be running the country)
Joseph Warren, Editor

“The nicest veterans...the ones who hated war the most, were the ones who'd really fought.” 
–Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

As reported by NPR News:

"We are not winning in Afghanistan right now," 
Mattis told Congress on Tuesday, "and we will correct this as soon as possible."

Mattis (James Mattis, our new Secretary of Defense and Chief of the Department of
Head Up Arse) made this comment after responding to a question regarding increased US troop deployment to Afghanistan, as approved by our President. More people who do not read or think: History, Literature, and a lack of rational thought - vapid.

According to his biographical information, he was considered an intellectual during his early years in the Marine Corps Reserves owing to his shlepping about a copy of Aurelius’

I too have read Aurelius, and when I think of his contemplative works I recall that he was far more cynical regarding governments, overall,
id est, “Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too.” Evocative and prophetic words Mattis has chosen to ignore.

Mattis ought to call Putin, “Say Vladimir? How did that Afghanistan thingy work out for you, anyway?” I’m sure that President Putin recalls the grisly daily details of his – he was very much around then – failure in Afghanistan and shortly thereafter the demise of the Soviet Union. Look: Various clans, people, nations, and
social clubs, even, have tried to take control of Afghanistan and/or Iraq for Millenia without success. We don’t even live in the neighborhood...

And yet, many of you believe that winning a war in Afghanistan is possible, notwithstanding that we have supposedly repeatedly
won the war in Afghanistan and Iraq many, many times already beginning with the simple words of the very simple GW Bush, “Mission Accomplished.”

“Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue.”

For fourteen years, in various articles and publications, including this organ, and in our film,
The Abduction and Trial of George Bush, we have argued that this was an insipid, stupid, destabilizing, mindless act by those best relegated to their chthonic roots, including the idiot now in charge.

Yes, I had vowed to abandon politics herein…

C’mon: just one for the road.

Read, Kurt Vonnegut,
Slaughterhouse-Five. Short of Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun – by far the most engrossing of books examining the reality of war – an epic, in fact, Vonnegut’s insight as a Dresden survivor is enthralling.

Another Father’s Day
Joseph Warren, Editor

“Children are basically a pain in the ass.”
- Warren, Herein

“They are not sorrows, so much as terrible things.”
– Ernest Hemingway, Islands in the Stream

It’s Father’s Day again
which gives us an opportunity to feign caring one way or another that our progeny exist, unlike the many who may have, could have, and perhaps do dwell unrecognized on this planet with my (or your) DNA streaming through their cellular material and driving the continued concatenation of who I am (or you are), thanks to many previous iterations, farther into the future for as long as we continue as a species to exist.

To be clear, I was not a good father by the formula prescribed by society from the 1970s onward in which it was manifest that fathers are to be involved in the child’s day-to-day life: experiences, learning, maintenance, emotional maturation, achievements, recognition. My view of fatherhood was more parallel to that of an ibex.

To be sure, I always maintained my financial support, albeit begrudgingly so periodically, long after the legal duty to do so ceased, extending to this day as they approach retirement themselves, or perhaps it just seems as though they ought to be…

My view of fatherhood was, as I learned from experience as one being fathered, one of remoteness and periodic chumminess interspersed with severe reprimands for behavior that was found by the
supreme council to be less-than-desired (mother). As it was on television back then in the 1950s, so it was in my house, Wait ‘til your father gets home.

Prophetic words, given that he was periodically absent for one or two weeks at a time drinking and whoring:
OK, I can wait…

One of the few
Fiction-Lite writers I’ve always enjoyed reading is Nelson DeMille. From, The General’s Daughter came the line, “My father was a drunk, a gambler and a womanizer. I worshipped him.” He was, and I did, for the better part of my younger life.

Is it any wonder that as an adult my goal was to do what I needed to do to make this very short linear experience fulfilling, notwithstanding what Kurt Gödel had conjectured in his various calculations, best described in the wonderful book by Palle Yourgrau,
A World Without Time?

It’s probably helpful to understand that throughout my life I have done many things, as many of you have too. One of the most rewarding (and yet unsettling aspects to my life for those around me) was several years at sea, moving to the level of Merchant Captain – US Merchant Marine Ship’s Master. It took me away for prolonged periods of time, and it changed my personality from someone who had
some potential for being a relatively acceptable father to one whose expectations could not be met by anyone. So it goes.

I lived sometimes remotely shipboard. Sometimes with companionship. Never with children in mind, unless that included 18 year-old women.

Before and after, my life was filled, as it was for my father, with a variety of experiences and education, added to my academic achievement that left little room for much else, including (and most especially) trying to adapt to being the evolving model of what
fatherhood has, for the most part, become today: androgynous.

Nowhere else in the Animal Kingdom is there a comparable example to that of the human experience today in the United States. Society’s expectations of those who father children have become counterintuitive and violate basic premises of evolution. Yet, it’s the supposition: silly and unrealistic and it violates the very path of time
and evolution.

No one to my mind personified fatherhood better than Hemingway in his ultimately posthumous,
Islands in the Stream. Here was an example of a man, Thomas Hudson, who could not seem to achieve reconciliation with his children…either. Hudson was busy with life. I understand that. He was not enamored with what his children were on the road to becoming…either. Disappointment seemingly abounds on both sides of the fence of fatherhood. I’m sure it was what my father must have felt from time-to-time, just as it was for every father who ever fathered.

If you are or were a father like me, recall the axiom: One can’t choose to whom one is related. But one can choose with whom one associates.

there are terrible things that sometimes happen in life: but they are not sorrows, as Hemingway said. To better understand the ultimate meaning of life, from my perspective, I would add a quote from Shakespeare, To thine own self be true. Besides, if Gödel and Einstein were right, we are, each of us, doing all this again, many times over, at this moment (now) in possibly an infinite numbers of universes. Well that’s depressing...or, maybe not.

Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway. It is an epic and a legacy lending insight into his life and his relationships to friends and family. Much in the way of drinking and womanizing: a cornucopia of fatherhood role modeling.

The General’s Daughter by Nelson Demille. It’s just good trashy fiction, witty and involving for an escape after you read:

A World Without Time, by Palle Yourgrau who takes you through the Gödel-Einstein long-time relationship at the Princeton Institute exploring Gödel’s mathematical models of Multiple Universes (infinite episodes of “Now”) and his growing (and ultimately destructive) psychosis. You do not have to be a physicist or logician to enjoy this well-written biography; you only need be inquisitive.

One more thing:
Happy Father’s Day fellow normative failures (unless you’re one of the new indeterminate types).

Aberrance, Social Media, and Gustave Le Bon
Joseph Warren, Editor

Crowds are influenced mainly by images produced by the judicious employment of words and formulas.
- Le Bon

Nothing is more dysfunctional than the will of the group when bent against acceptable normative standards suggestive of an evolving species, and no one did more to help us understand the direction, impetus, motion and force of the group – for better or for worse – than Gustave Le Bon. I’d like to say that I’ve read everything he wrote, but I haven’t, settling for his most engrossing work, Psychologie des Foules, more popularly known in English as, The Crowd, Study of the Popular Mind, published in 1895 and now under various public domain publishing houses such as my copy from Aristeus Books: a clean, easy to read font on good stock.

The Crowd, Le Bon lays bare the group-think mentality that pervades America today, and America in 2003 as we set about to invade Iraq; America in 1941 after Pearl Harbor; Germany in the 1930s following the appointment of Hitler as Chancellor; Russia in 1917 as the revolution sparked executions and a complete palingenesis; and an array of other events throughout history where, always in hindsight, we (or they) ask, What were we thinking?

Simply put, we weren’t, and neither were those immersed in the events of the time that drove sanity from their midst and allowed people to do the wrong things: sometimes evil things at the behest of a master, a cause, a dictator, a deluded leader, a tyrant, a chimerical ideal founded on a truncation of logic, false belief, or harbored hate.

Le Bon’s epic work is (and was)
an inspiration to those who through Le Bon’s words become skilled in the manipulation of crowds and crowd mentality. People like Hitler and Mussolini lingered on his treatise measuring its proven effectiveness by the varied and many examples history has to offer, incorporating into their diatribes (Mein Kampf, as an example) the smoldering fire of irrationality that secretly simmers within each individual of us, waiting only for the gathering of a crowd, around us in reality or virtually. (Although he garnered the momentum for the Iraq invasion masterfully, I doubt that GW Bush ever read Le Bon, but I feel certain that Mr. Cheney or Mr. Wolfowitz has.)

Why am I writing about Le Bon? I’ll get to that in a minute, but for now, let me assure you that few books have helped me to understand why we do what we do more than
The Crowd.

My habit when reading is to use the “little colored sticky arrows” that escrow companies use (“sign here”), to make a brief note and stick it to the page on the paragraph worthy of note. Kind of an “NB” margin note on a document (Latin,
Nota Bene for “note well” a habit I developed when working in legislative analysis far more than 30 years ago).

After reading an LA Times article today the connection between Le Bon and today’s Social Media manifested itself: one of those moments of clarity when a nexus seems so apparent that I’m disappointed that I hadn’t thought of it earlier. The article concerns a neo-Nazi Crowd Funding website that raises money for Hate. You can grab the details of it at the link. It’s a well-written article looking at the events surrounding this particular hatemonger’s rise to prominence through…Crowds. I think that’s what finally triggered the avalanche in my mind – the literal connection between Social Media crowd behavior and Le Bon’s epic work.

It’s obvious, I know, and we talk around it a great deal in the media remarking on how Twitter, Facebook, and the rest all have the very important mechanism that allows people of shared interests – from pedophiles to coulrophobics to “the lonely” to the
networker to those staying in touch with family to the criminal to the businesswoman – to “Link Up” with others. Some of those on Social Media sites expand their networks to include those who share the same vile, racist, ignorant interests further gathering rationale and fomenting greater and deeper hate, just as those who use Social Media to advocate on behalf of radical Islamic thought – Daesh (ISIS) – as an example, inculcating the simple minded, lonely, intellectually frustrated with their now shared belief.

It lends “synergy” to the otherwise
obstructed of thought, a word co-opted by Management Consultants and others to explain the alleged benefits of team-based problem solving, as an example. (I have never seen an advantage to team or group derived problem solving either in private sector, and certainly not in government. It is however an effective means of sharing blame when the unavoidable likely happens.) The word is used in both the real and social sciences regularly. From a Crowd perspective, it explains a lot.

Le Bon’s
The Crowd (and the word “synergy”) explains why in a movie a group of cowboys drinking in a bar can suddenly decide to lynch the ne’er-do-well cattle thief; it explains why a gathering of white men in the south in our not-too-distant-past, all of whom are wearing sheets, can surmise that hanging a black man is a righteous act completely consistent with the doctrine of Jesus Christ; it is a testament to the power of Adolf Hitler who could arouse anti-Jewish sentiment to such a degree that millions of people were executed in full-view of a country’s population without substantial revolt; it belies our professed sense of humanity by allowing the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman failing and impotent empire, the Turks today; it is the fundamental impetus to our continued and substantial involvement in two wars in the Middle East, and our emerging immersion in many more.

The Crowd describes why, today, Hate in America is on the rise as the crowd of like-minded intellectual neophytes gather around their computer monitors in the evening on Facebook and share their stories of, Why we must hate the blacks, the Jews, the Muslims… and from this the synergy builds to what Le Bon termed a Group Mind prepared to take whatever action, no matter how depraved and counterintuitive, at the suggestion of the Crowd’s leadership. And in America today the Crowd’s leader is a very emotionally precarious and not very bright individual.

When I pulled my copy of Le Bon’s work off the shelf I was amazed at the number of “Sign Here” arrows I had used when reading it. Each has a single word written on it as a mnemonic cue to direct me to a point I thought was very salient a few years ago. I was looking for the perfect quote – something I had read that was very memorable and fed into my syllogistic string of thoughts. Here is what I think sums it up quite well:

A crowd is not merely impulsive and mobile. Like a savage, it is not prepared to admit that anything can come between its desire and the realization of its desire. -Gustave Le Bon

That crowd today is
virtually everywhere. Read, The Crowd: Study of the Popular Mind by Gustave Le Bon.

The Theory of Everything
Joseph Warren, Editor

He who desires to philosophize must first of all doubt all things… he must proceed according to the persuasion of an organic doctrine which adheres to real things, and to a truth that can be understood by the light of reason.
- Giordano Bruno

Theory of Everything? I don’t have one. But I have given it much thought in a protoscientific sort of way. Protoscience? Yes. That’s the word that defines what people like you and I do (if you too are a non-Scientist) when we think about some aspect of Science – allow our minds to wander about, visualizing the possibilities – but largely ignorant of the mechanics: the Math, the Quantum or Cosmological Physics associated with the area about which we are thinking.

It would seem, then, easy to dismiss any conclusions associated with protoscientific speculations; but that would be wrong.

Let’s take Albert Einstein, as an example: a protoscientist of the highest renown, remembering that he labored very long and hard, facing failure after failure, shunning after rejection after sometimes ignoble response, to A) eventually gain his Doctorate, and B) get a job, being relegated to tutoring and other menial positions, relative to his eventual status. He also had a very difficult time with Mathematics – Algebra and beyond was virtually foreign to him. That’s why he recruited Marcel Grossmann as his tutor and Math Wizard.

All the way through his development of
Special then General Relativity Einstein struggled desperately with the calculations. Marcel Grossmann was not deficient in this area, and through him Einstein achieved his revelationary visions.

Einstein: His Life and Universe, by Walter Isaacson. You will absolutely love it.

After reading Isaacson’s biography four times over a couple of years, sometime after the second reading I mentioned to GL Hill, our Publisher, that, like many of you, when I was a child I had some of the same thoughts as Einstein regarding the quirky, seemingly inconsistent nature of the Cosmos, and really, had I of known “a” Marcel Grossmann instead of “a” Stuart DeShera,
with whom I grew marijuana, I might have taken a much different path in my youth. (Although I haven’t spoken with Stuart for decades, I’m pretty sure he feels the same way.) As Vonnegut said, So it goes.

Protoscience has shaken the world many times imprinting itself on the Sciences, and bringing about a shift in thought that has led to new and astounding applications, (sometimes very profoundly, thinking of Giordano Bruno, for which he forfeited his life in the most miserable way possible after years of torture in the Inquisitor’s prison in Rome, following what must have seemed like a vacation in retrospect in Venice’s Inquisitorial detention center).

Bruno’s writing was vast at a time when it was not appropriate for an ordained Dominican to ponder and then articulate thoughts that extended far beyond the apotheosis of heresy, notwithstanding his earlier separation from the Church.

Bruno seized on Copernicus’ ideas (himself a Heretic-in-waiting) at a time when Aristotle’s various treatises, badly flawed, and Ptolemy’s (absurd) model of the Universe were the norm. Bruno visualized a different universe: one filled with other inhabited planets - an infinity of possibilities each perhaps worshipping their own gods by whatever means - a polytheistic melange completely contradictory to the canon of Catholicism painfully and carefully accumulated since the Church’s legitimate inception in 325 AD. Who was Bruno to meddle with this machinery and the manufactured magnificence of the Church?

Read, Michael White’s,
The Pope and the Heretic. Few books capture the essence of Bruno as well as Mr. White’s thoroughly immersing look at Bruno’s life throughout the most important, last, documented ten years of his existence prior to being Burned at the behest of the Pope, Clement VIII.

So what is my Theory of Everything? Well I don’t really have one, exactly, but I have some thoughts that I believe will come to pass. Paramount among them is that there aren’t separate laws governing movement and behavior on a quantum level from those on a cosmological level. There can’t be: God would not do that. It is, after all, only a scale difference of very small to very big.
In an earlier article in this journal, we had opined:

In retrospect, it seems to me that Einstein was caught in the elevator of a 60-story building, somewhere between the 26th and 34th stories presuming that the 26th was the lobby and the 34th, the Penthouse. It’s the same analogy Abbott had (unintentionally and) successfully made in describing the two-dimensional nature of life for the Flatlanders in his epic work, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. And I think that Einstein, too, failed to look beyond the immediacy of his 26-to-34 floor existence and apply his very considerable intellect to the possibilities that may exist beyond the immediate.

Reluctant to embrace the seemingly erratic nature of the Quantum world whose workings didn’t follow the simplistic nature of the cosmos at the 26th floor as they did on the 34th, he chose to not hypothesize further into the depths of matter - into its “lower” levels – into the very fabric of Quantum composition. And why would he? Beyond and below what could be understood at that point would be nothing more than philosophy, or today what we call, Science Fiction. (Most of what we see around us today would have been science fiction 50 or 100 years ago. Today, reality.)

Likewise, his mathematical conjectures were confined to this Universe as being, in sum, the extent of our celestial reality, with only the passing nod to existences beyond and even within that level, dimensionally and otherwise. He was a victim of his early Positivist “upbringing” and was, therefore, trapped in the realm of what could be touched or observed in the world of Physics – too Machian for his own good and to his detriment.

Had he of looked below and above, he would have seen what physicists are seeing today – arguably philosophically, but also mathematically and experientially: dimensions and universes within and without all perhaps linked by a unified system of motion and behavior of such awe and magnitude and mystery, it leaves some/most/all traditional religions in its wake. 

How big
is big, and how small is small? Will we ever devise a Theory of Everything? To do so may require thinking on a scale that is inherently beyond the capability of the finite human mind. Perhaps when we become one again with the universe, following what we call death, we’ll know: I believe we do.

Je peux compter jusqu'à 10!
(I can count to 10!)
Joseph Warren, Editor

“The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues…”
Erich Fromm, The Sane Society

Actually, in French I can count until I don’t want to count anymore. Many of you can too, I’m certain. In French. In Spanish. In German. In any language other than your primary.

Surprisingly, I can still sing the chorus of
Sur le Pont d’Avignon. At 67 years of age, given that it was a song I learned more than 55 years ago, that’s impressive…but not really. It’s the way the young mind works. It’s a vault, a trove, an inescapable confine in which what we learn is locked up (I believe) forever. It’s a wonderful thing.

No, it’s not: it’s now a horrible thing. Today what many of our children pack away into their fortress of knowing is much different than that which we – the older among us – did.

Seemingly, every day there is a news report regarding some horrific video, online game, posting on the Internet that is so crude, base, obscene, violent, it is the very opposite of what our normative standards dictate (and common sense mandates) for advancing a healthy, nurturing, evolving species into a more developed human state capable of meeting the challenges we face environmentally, societally, spiritually. That is the problem.

We are not going forward. We are devolving. Our laws and expectations are changing asking us to be more progressive, less vile, kinder, more tolerant, holistically advanced in our perspectives, as though we have been around for a few thousand years and have learned from our mistakes. Mistakes like Hate, War, Theft, Greed, Avarice, Sloth, but we have not.

The word,
Atavistic came to prominence a few hundred years ago to describe what our perspective ought to be regarding primitive behaviors, but how can that be when acts characterized as Atavistic are merely the common descriptor for what we do on a day-to-day basis?

On television or in the movies during the 1950s and 1960s when someone was shot they fell down. There was no brain matter blasted against the wall; no graphic portrayal of intestines draping across the floor; no palpitating heart in the hand of the murderer; no shower of blood splashed against the body of the assailant; no disemboweled corpse suspended from shackles. It was understood that the person shot was dead: we figured that out by ourselves without the graphic visual aids. Movies and television then were more akin to Doré’s illustrations of Dante’s vision of Purgatory and Hell, being led arm-in-arm by Virgil to witness the tortured souls adrift in the Styx.

The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri with illustrations by Gustav Doré. Many reprints are available at a reasonable price. A First Edition, aside from being published in archaic Italian, is a bit pricey.

In today’s visual media, our children rarely get a glimpse of Heaven, either as a reality, or as a concept, or as an ideal, or as a state of living in significant harmony buttressed by love. Rather, our children are taken on a peripatetic jaunt through a chamber of horrors that is held forth as what life is.

Is it any wonder that aberrance is on the rise?

Violence against women. On the screen – Big and Little, including YouTube and other purveyors of unregulated content – Violence is not a component of entertainment; it very often is the primary element of the plot introduced to meet today’s approach to screenwriting. Rape is commonplace. Beating is typical. Murder is assured. Animated shorts and features abound on YouTube rolling along under the guise of Children’s tales espousing these acts, and not subject to parental restrictions (as if that were an effective tool for controlling a child’s sensory and memory input) are routine.

In our colleges, the CDC reports that 19% of our female children – young women – experience attempted or completed sexual assault:

Videos of these assaults sometimes find their way onto the Internet. For our children to see. Facebook. Other “Social” Media, defying the definition of the word. Prurient material is everywhere and trafficked to your child’s
e-door without restriction.

In a published report last year by, on average children are 12.2 years of age when they receive their first mobile device – smart phone, including any of those available – capable of accessing the Internet anytime, anywhere.

91% of teenagers (13 – 17 years of age) access the Internet on their cellphones, tablets (iPad) and other mobile devices. Something very near to 100% have access at home, mostly unfettered by parental influences since it’s apparently so bothersome to regulate what our young people are watching.

YouTube says:

YouTube has over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.

YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.

More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices.

Of course, they also say, “As of July 2016, YouTube has paid out $2 billion to rightsholders who have chosen to monetize claims since Content ID first launched in 2007.”

In other words, content publishers on YouTube make a great deal of money by driving traffic through to their “channel”. It behooves them to push as much traffic through as possible without regard to restrictions on age and content.

YouTube is only one site. Many others exist. Some are not as regulated as YouTube and provide no parental controls. Time-after-time YouTube’s controls, though, have failed when content is manipulated to circumvent the parameters safeguarding our children.

Beyond all of this, of course, is Facebook, a haven for murderers, thieves, spies, counterfeiters, pedophiles, rapists, perverts,
and grandma and grandpa.

I used to think that I was a terrible father so many years ago now. Perhaps I was: sitting them down in front of Sesame Street to occupy their time to some extent so that I might think about other things or do other things in close proximity to them while they vegged out on Ernie and Bert. How many times may a daughter be required to watch a beta-format tape of
Pippi Longstocking before it becomes tantamount to waterboarding? To this day I don’t know: but I do know that if the world were such as it is today, there would be no unguarded technology in my house and online activities would be restricted to academic searches and no social media.

Why? Isn’t it obvious?

Many years ago as a matter of academic requirements I read much in the way of Sociology and Behavior. One of the most enlightening, right along with Sartre’s
Anti-Semite and Jew, was Fromm’s The Sane Society exploring the normative relativism of behaviors. I still have a paperback copy on my shelf: it is ever-awakening. I led with part of a quote worthy of repeating in full:

“The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane.” – Erich Fromm

The Sane Society and make certain your child remembers traditional songs in other languages when he or she is older, rather than eviscerated and mutilated corpses, and forced sex acts. Maybe we can find a way out of this labyrinth of ignorance.

Selling Addiction
Joseph Warren, Editor

It’s what we do, and because of it, we don’t have a chance for survival. We sell addiction to those who feel pain, prescribing marijuana and opioids. We sell addiction to the weak of spirit, to the tired, the lame, the forgotten, the oblivious, the unclean, the unsaved, the obese, the neurotic, the destitute, the black man, the white woman, the young child, the spiritually void, the man who cannot walk upright, to the woman with cramps, to the old woman who is nearing death as we all are, and someone is making a lot of God damn money from it.

And so are those who have assigned themselves to mitigate addiction through medical intervention. Those who “rehabilitate” the addict. Those who arrest, prosecute, judge, defend, sentence, incarcerate, evaluate, counsel, formally discharge and likely accept back some short time later given the better than 80% recidivism. Statistically, 95% go back to drugs after release. Many go back to crime.

Heroin, pot, crack, speed, cocaine, Prozac, Zoloft, Lamictal, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Symbyax, Celexa, Lexapro, bourbon, vodka, (just two little glasses of) wine, codeine, ketamine, methadone, you name it.

We sell addiction both in the most forthright way
and under-the-table, depending on the drug and how clever the user and pusher may be, or if he wears a suit or a Doctor’s Smock. Wrack and ruin is always the end for the user, the father, the mother, the child: all of us.

100 years ago addicts died. End of story. Period. Gone from our lives one way or another and just a sad bitter memory and a lesson to those who remained, “Your Great Uncle Ed – we don’t like to talk about it, you know, because it was just so unlike our family – died from a heroin overdose.”

Not any more. Today we
hard sell you on the idea of addiction, mostly for the sake of our GDP, and leave you to wander through America’s Magical Mystery Tour of hospital intake, rehabilitation centers, courthouses, jails, alleyways, whorehouses or street corners, psychologists’ offices, court-mandated counseling rooms, back-alley pushers and, maybe eventually, for the good of the rest of us, morgues.

Anything prescribed by either a physician or a bartender is acceptable. Now, today, the process of instilling addiction has become even easier as companies bring alcohol to the workplace, when the place of work has nothing to do with alcohol. Here’s an excerpt from a
BBC article exploring this fairly recent phenomenon:

A growing number of companies are offering happy hour in the office. Twitter, for example, stocks complimentary beer and wine in fridges at its San Francisco inner city office. Yelp has craft beer on tap from kegs for staff and guests, while DropBox offers its workers free spirits on its “Whiskey Fridays”.

PR firm Hill and Knowlton has 
a bar and terrace at its new London officesSaatchi and Saatchi boasts an in-office pub for its staff, while advertising agency J. Walter Thompson’s office in New York has a 50-foot-long bar. Other workplaces like London-based marketing firm BSC Agency and Yahoo’s Chicago office have drinks trolleys and beer carts that trundle around the office at the end of the week. The demand has also given rise to companies like DeskBeers, which delivers beer to offices.

(Note that if you light a cigarette while consuming alcohol on the job you’ll probably face termination. Drugs that distort reality are acceptable: those that do not, are prohibited.
How long will it be before a civil action is filed against one of these employers for conspiring to promote a life-threatening addiction?)

Every year in America more than 42,000 people kill themselves directly getting it over with as quickly as possible, while thousands-upon-thousands choose a slow and costly death through some form of addiction that was
sold to them by someone at sometime, somewhere for some reason.

And you know why: Money, profit, “bottom line” and to thus perpetuate the machinery that keeps many hundreds of thousands (millions, in fact) employed in industries and professions fabricated to give career addiction people a reason for waking up in the morning and a sense of fulfillment by relegating others to a lesser position, compared to them. Sartre made this pretty clear decades ago.

Being and Nothingness.

I am responsible for everything…except for my very responsibility. - Sartre

We are not born thinking “I need to get high.” We decide it after talking to someone who says what we need to hear, what we decide thereafter is right, by television shows, by films, by family, by friends, by medical doctors and psychologists, by pushers, by Big Pharma. We come to addiction by a thousand different roads – some masked and subtle, some overt and beguiling - and someone is making a lot of God damn money from it.

Who are they? You know.

Who ultimately carries the financial burden? You know.

Here’s a billboard that appeared on our main thoroughfare some short time ago. It says everything there is to say about our affinity for drugs.

Ketamine resize

Ketamine came to my attention years ago as a horse tranquilizer: It’ll knock a thousand-pound pissed-off stallion off his hooves for whatever reason the injecter may deem appropriate. Subsequently I understood that it had become a recreational drug for some at raves and events. Subsequently, again, I’ve learned that it is being used to treat Depression…given the faces of the smiling family embracing whomever the Ketamine drug user is in this image, it must be effective.

It isn’t. Ketamine, like any other drugs designed to address the nausea of life, the existential despair of being, is a useless attempt to bring the façade of meaningfulness to a life otherwise devoid of significance.

A caution from a Ketamine abuse source:
The biggest concern (are the) so-called psychotic effects of ketamine, which include lethargy, euphoria, illusions, hallucinations, delirium, a sense of separation from the body, and bright dreams intimidating or sexual in nature.

As painful to those who remain it may be, let them
go if suicide is their desire: We are at more than seven billion in this world of (to some extent, the) crippled, lame, fat, lazy, retarded, and stupid who are being spoon-fed life to sustain the machinery of commerce. If they want out – and many of us can understand that from time-to-time - let them go.

But, if the urge to embrace life remains, teach them to think, to act, to exercise, to read books, to become involved, to turn off the television, to dump Facebook, to become something more than a marker in this vastness of humanity and to do – something, anything, anywhere, anytime, now, today, next week, but, ultimately, live by learning and doing, whatever it may be. In some way, by some accounting, they will make the world a better place, at the very least by not being who they are right now.

One of my favorite writers of the Beat period was Jack Kerouac. His writing style, although it is not widely known I think, blossomed to a large extent on the inventiveness of William Saroyan whom he admired greatly for poetic technique and flow – the flow of his words and thoughts and sense of reality and the way he embraced America unlike no other writer when we were sunk in the depths of financial ruin in the 1930s and faced insurrection and complete collapse. Really, Saroyan’s poetry in the guise of prose.

A close friend to Kerouac was William S. Burroughs who occasionally dug Kerouac out of one of his many difficult moments, while Burroughs slithered simmering and spitting in his own pit of blackness.

Burroughs wrote much that, like many others, I’ve read.
Naked Lunch, Junkie and a host of other “depraved” Beat what-passes-for Literature, today. But Kerouac was a true writer. A master of the genre. Read, Desolation Angels.

Still, nobody summed up the subject of this brief article better than Burroughs:

“Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your ass the result is the same: addiction.” 
– William S. Burroughs

Erdogan Directs Attack on US Citizens
Joseph Warren, Editor

In a first the President of Turkey, Recep Tyyip Erdogan, from the comfort of his limousine, save for a few moments exposed while surrounded by bodyguards, directed an attack by Turkish Security Forces along with counter-demonstrators on the streets of Washington DC against US citizens. Certainly an interesting historic development at a time when Erdogan is under fire in his own country by those seeking to overthrow his authoritarian regime.

An attempt to oust Erdogan late last year resulted in the arrest and conviction, and probably summary execution, of several of those involved. At present, other trials are ongoing and are being met with demonstrated approval by Erdogan supporters. For an in-depth look at the events that day in Washington, read the
Daily Caller’s report here.

Yet, when I think of Turkey I don’t think of Erdogan (or try not to, anyway). Rather, I think of Orhan Pamuk’s very memorable and enlightening,
Istanbul; Memories and the City. Pamuk’s prose reveals an epic history of an empire fallen and society resurrected through a tumult of political upheaval and cultural Westernization.

Walking with Pamuk through the book he leads you to the past and present of Istanbul, the remnant Ottoman, along the Bosphorus, through the lascivious and sacred quarters of the city, and makes you a guest in his house when he was a child and through his formidable years. You will come away feeling as though you understand Istanbul at its most interesting times. It’s a delight to read. It’s an immersion, and at times such as these, it helps...

“The first thing I learned at school was that some people are idiots; the second thing I learned was that some are even worse. ” -Orhan Pamuk

The Future of Europe Project
Bruce Janigian

I participated recently in a “Future of Europe” project for the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and thought some reflection might be suitable for readers of this journal, especially because their focus extends globally.
An appropriate starting point is where humankind appears to be heading at a furious pace through the interventions of science and technologies which are about to overwhelm traditional human identities, including cultures and religions, with all the turmoil this entails. The starting point is much broader than Europe, and we must grasp it before we can address the particularities we seek to address. Ultimately, the question becomes one of how Europe might adapt to retain some key qualities through the coming upheavals.
Humans will be changing into life forms closer to what might be viewed today as science fiction characters. Bioengineering is starting with treating major diseases, but will soon be adapting all the major benefits other species enjoy ahead of humans, before advancing further. This will include increased sensory perception, brain function, and physical strength and agility, and longevity to include relative immortality. Who will gain these characteristics and benefits and who will be left behind? These are questions that transcend regional or national interests.
I used to opine to graduate students and business executives that Islam has replaced Communism as the faith of the downtrodden and excluded. Just as Communism sought to share wealth and end exclusion, the tenets of Islam are similar. When I was counsel for the US Agency for International Development in the 1980s, we anticipated the coming North-South wars and the invasion of Europe from North Africa. We sought to delay it as long as possible. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the catastrophic decision made in the West was failing to seize the historic opportunity to shift Cold War military spending in favor of massive assistance to the developing world to create jobs through inward investment. I recommended assistance to Russia to make it a partner with the West in this historic endeavor. Instead, the West reduced foreign assistance budgets and actually increased intelligence and military spending. In my opinion, it also reverted to the old Great Game of shunning accommodation with Russia in favor of resource exploitation in the newly independent states. I have written a factually based novel on the subject:
Persona Non Grata: End of the Great Game by Avery Mann, my pen name.
So the immediate questions that face the planet deal with inclusion and exclusion. If we seek maximum inclusion, it comes at the price of job creation and education and providing incentives that can only come at a considerable cost to the West. Is there any option? In my opinion, failure to increase foreign assistance has resulted in the neglected recipients arriving in the center of Europe. The excluded will seek to destroy or make excessively costly technological or medical progress that bypasses them. Thus, exclusion comes at the price now felt in Germany, Sweden and elsewhere, and leads to a rethinking of the social welfare net and cultural liberality that has sustained the modern European ethic following the Second World War.
Does Europe feel a greater cultural threat from Islamic migrants or from a closer relationship with Christian Russia, which shares many of the same concerns? Does focusing spending on military resistance to a non-threatening Russia make more sense than stabilizing North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia? This is another aspect of my book. Looking to the larger historical context, does the division of the Church and the traditional East-West division make sense in a world challenged by a North-South dynamic and Western moral relativism squared off against a violently rigorous interpretation of Islamic fundamentalism?
The world is changing quickly and Europe must adapt. The recent election of Emmanuel Macron may have saved Europe’s ability to deal intelligently with its future. I would like to see it anticipate what is coming and choose suitable partners to help it face what lies ahead. Blindly reacting to instability it has itself engendered by intelligence and military adventurism in the developing world would be continuing to react with a flimsy bandage instead of facing up to a costly, but perhaps culturally life-saving, prescription.
Mr. Janigian is a
Writer, Lawyer, Professor, Reader, and International Business Leader. You may learn more about him by visiting