Thursday, September 29, 2011

Occupy Wall Street with Michael Moore

Michael Moore had it right yesterday when he contrasted the absurdity, and I paraphrase here, "What kind of country are we when peaceful protesters are pepper-sprayed and arrested, and no one on Wall Street that's responsible for the crisis has been jailed?" This was also a point made by Charles Ferguson while accepting the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, 'Inside Job' in February 2011, that not one single person who had a hand in the heist of the century had been jailed.
The smart-phone video of four women, one of which was deaf, kneeling on the sidewalk and screaming after being pepper-sprayed, with a red gate being wrapped around them is chilling and repulsive. The jamming of the Twitter #occupywallstreet hashtag was an instant cause for suspicion, as well as Yahoo's blockage of all emails containing those words. It is no surprise that all corporate owned giant media monoliths such as Fox and CNN wouldn't cover the happenings, but Keith Olbermann who is flying under the flag of an independent network called Current has been covering the occupation of Wall Street for two weeks.
Here is Michael Moore firing up the crowd and articulating the message.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Full Circle Deja Vu

Mr. Derderian, my Sophomore high school history teacher used to scare the crap out of us with his stories about the Great Depression. He was an old guy then and I'd be surprised if he were still alive today. He liked to tell us about the causes of the depression and the desperation that people lived with. He would describe the condition of the unemployed with their inability to find work and the scarceness of food. Families had to group together for communal survival, creating a situation that instead of spawning creative competition, spurned fatalistic outlooks and defeated spirits. But I think more than anything, Mr. Derderian liked to illustrate to those of us listening, how history repeats its self and how society is too disjointed to adapt to crises it has already experienced in the past.
This was during the late nineteen-eighties, and though Reagan had eviscerated many social programs that we didn't miss at the time, I was well insulated from money shortages. I had a job at the Taco Bell and was also working summers with my uncle in the texture business. My parents had bought their first home which was a new tract house in Rosemont, California. Everything seemed to be on the up and up, and the idea of anyone going broke around us, much less an entire nation, was a far fetched idea. Mr Derderian's depressing scenario seemed like a far away, ambiguous nightmare. It touched some of us for sure; the idea that it would all collapse and people would literally starve and die on the street. I remember my friend Chris, a stoned rocker dude who I would give an occasional ride home to, expressed his uneasiness one day from the back seat of my Dart.
"Mr. Derderian's scaring us, telling us there's gonna be a depression and shit," he had said. He was right to be worried. Our history teacher was very clear and to the point. He always had this gleam in his smile, as if he knew it was going to happen and he was somehow age-exempt from having to experience it. He had this grin and look in his eye like, "I won't be there, but you all will be."
I don't know if Mr. Derderian is around today to see how close to right he was, but I hope he is. And though we haven't had an official depression, all the broken systems are still in place and we're just one whacked out Republican president away from total ruin. As a younger man I always would scoff at my old-man friends with their conspiracy theories, who always went on and on about how the world was fucked, and my generation was fucked, and how the end is extremely nigh. Now I'm that guy, with the graying hair and depressing stories for the kiddies. I spent years of my life ignoring and denying the elephants in the living room, but now I have learned to follow the proverb-- 'Be the change you want to see'. The only way to stop history from repeating its self is to call it out ahead of time when we see it  brewing. It is also imperative to know and understand the past, using primary sources.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

This Kid Rocks

I haven't mentioned in a while that my niece, Isabella rocks, and yes it was Erika and I who taught her how. Make no mistake. The devil horns? Us. The guitar bite head banging? Us. The Gene Simmons tongue action? Us! Somehow she survived the Hannah Montana phase and came full circle back to Rock 'n' Roll which is what she cut her teeth on. This clip is priceless; her at three singing KISS's Rock'n'Roll All Night.
And here she is just two weeks ago giving us some Queen. Born to rock she was.


Mariposa in September

We took to the road yesterday and drove for three hours to Trudy and Kevin Bowman's to deliver a tile that Kiny McCarrick had painted and given to Erika to pass on to her mother. It was a clear day, but the air was dry and hot. We were at last able to lounge in the living room extension that Kevin had built over the last two years. I admire his entire approach to building a home completely out of scraps and recycled materials. Most of the extensions walls are made from a composition called paper-crete. This is a mix of shredded paper and concrete powder which mixes into a wet, gooey blob that can then be poured into brick forms (scraps of course). This material is firm as concrete but sounds hollow and feels like cardboard. It self-insulates due to the presence of air pockets throughout the paper. The temperature inside of the extensions was easily 10 degrees cooler than the original main family room. Paper-crete is a green, and sustainable material that should be brought into the mainstream. Then again, we should have figured out by now that domes are less likely to blow away during hurricanes and tornadoes.

On the topic of sustainability, Kevin began, as he normally will, to tell me about the world situation as he sees it. I always find his insights fascinating, especially when he gets to talking about peak oil, resource depletion, overt expansionism, and forbidden archaeology. Every time I talk with him I end up wishing I had caught the conversation on tape. He was the first to tell me about the Annunaki, Nibiru, and the Sumerian Tablets which I found so far out at the time that I couldn't grasp it. Now my mind is much more open to what is possible, and his perfect account of the story according to the tablets is amazing. So my next meeting with Kevin is going to involve a real, sit down style interview in the interest of getting him on the record.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Talented Derelict

I took the usual 12:40 train to the Sac City College today. I sometimes like to stand in the elbow of the car instead of taking a seat, which is where I was today. The ride started off fairly light with passengers, but as usual it became very full. After a short ways past the Downtown Plaza the car was tightly packed with standing and sitting passengers. The 'Elevator Effect' was in full array; the social trait of strangers staring away from each other or to the floors and windows while confined to tiny spaces.
A senior black man in a shabby suit had gotten on the train earlier and was sitting quietly in a seat near me. He stood out as an oddball because he had a stethoscope draped over his shoulder. He had stated out loud to someone who did not ask, that he was a doctor. Everyone knew this was not true. He wasn't even a quack. We rolled along uneventfully when he began to sing openly to three young girls sitting across the aisle from him. He was making up the words as he went. He was attempting to flatter them with words like-- She has real hair; real hair on her head. She has a real face; she don't need no foundation; leave your makeup at home...
This should have been a very creepy experience, but what made it worth noting was that his voice was smooth and musical. This guy should have been on a singing competition. Everyone on the train was laughing because he was so good and his words were hilarious. He had the attention of everyone on the train. Some were taking video clips with their phones, hands stretched out over shoulders. I've seen people sing on a train and it is usually obnoxious. This time it was amusing. We all were just a little uncomfortable too, but not as much as the girls he was singing to. They were fortunate enough to come to their stop and they exited the train. From there on he was silent but the rest of us were still chuckling from his performance. This guy had missed his calling, but perhaps he really is a doctor. Who am I to say?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Acoustic Removal at Marchane's House

Today was the day to shave the acoustic ceiling in Marchane's family room. He lives in Woodland, off of I-5, and the drive over the causeway is a sea of green fields this time of year. I met his family and they all are very friendly and kind. His kids were all excited to meet me and I could hear them outside the front door asking eagerly, "Where is Clay?" It was as if I were a make-believe character in the home that would finally become real. I was flattered by all of the hooplah so I introduced myself, and they asked me some questions. Then they moved on to the neighbor kid's birthday party across the street, complete with a bouncy jump house.
Marchane helped me to wrap the room which was vacant, making the whole task much easier. The whole project moved much faster with help. Before long Marchane suggested we hit up a local burger shop called Judy's, which was akin to a Food Channel mom and pop joint with giant burgers and thick shakes. We both had Double Texas burgers with fries, zucchinis, and peanut butter cup shakes. This racked up a good thirty-five dollar lunch bill. I was impressed and stuffed.
We returned and removed the ceiling which was like butter. There was not much to repair and after the job we had plenty of left over materials, as well as a fine texture job in the main family room. When all was done and said, Marchane hooked me up with a couple of Benny's and we were all happy with it. He couldn't wait to paint it, and I suspect he has already begun.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Getting Ready for Fall

I woke up freezing this morning. The window was open as usual, but a powerful draft was flapping the curtains, and the first chill of autumn presented it's self. Even this evening the winds are kicking up and it is noticeably cooler than yesterday. This reminds me that I am without a coat and will be needing one soon. I went last winter without a coat, relying solely on my Sherwin-Williams sweatshirt. I recall myself wanting something heavier and vowing to take care of it during the warm season. I guess it is technically still the warm season, because I wore shorts today. I also turned a blind eye to the neglected front lawn, pushing off the mow to a cooler day. Harvest time is coming soon, with good food, good beer, good buds, and good buddies.