Tag Archives: Dana Smith

No, But We Are Working On Bringing This Book into the World

Flyer 2A

Editors are editing, the author is revising, but it is coming soon…

There is a very intricate process to preparing a manuscript on its journey into the world. In the beginning there is the outline. Next come’s the first swing at a chapter. I prefer to polish and revise and balance that process with the initial composing. The early manuscript is always raw and the sentences always ask to be smoothed, but in this initial outburst we are looking for life, for the blood and sweat and tears of the thing to be in the work. Finding the comedy in a scene is sheer time at the desk. You may or may not find it, but seldom does it leap out on first swing of the bat. It seems to come when the moment allows slipping out when least expecting it. Here is a glimpse at a mockup of a flyer style card I’ll hand out.

Her Name Was Lola…She was a Dancer

Alex and Dante

 

Alejandro and Dante Loading Up for Shows

Today in Playacar, Mexico was shopping day. Stand-up comic roommate Ted Holum and I walked across town into Playa Del Carmen and replenished the cupboards. Teddy’s a month younger than me, so he’s the kid in our odd coupled family. We share an apartment here. We share the same stages too.

He’s the old pro really. I am the green “gringo” from San Francisco taking a bite of show business by way of playing the stages and bars at the resorts along the Caribbean here in the Yucatan. They are all targeted to tourists. We do our show in our English. The language we speak translates well to people from the United States, Canada and England.

Ted’s strictly stand-up. I’m a juggling comedy act and so the English kind of have something to hang onto while trying to fathom the mystery of the American mind playing with comedy via the mother tongue that they know.

I’ve survived the first action packed week. Six different shows, six different nights, six different resort stages, six different supporting staffs, and as you might imagine six different results. First night was like learning to swim. You have to trust the water, learn to float, trust. Night two kind of other problems arise not anticipated after the first night. By the third night I’m realizing this isn’t going to be an easy gig. On the fourth night I finally hit the ball and almost knock it out of the park. Hey! I connected pretty good even if it was right over the middle of the plate.

I’ve got the shows running order figured out. I got the piece I improvise. I got the closer. I got pretty much the whole enchilada dialed in. And then there is the utter unpredictable nature of each room, each night and each resort.

Alex

 

You Got to Love this Guys Face…

I come from San Francisco. It is foggy, but its California, we don’t have this thing called humidity. Humidity is what other parts of the world have. I have not spent my career juggling in sticky, hot, wet, slick a sn_t weather. It makes juggling different. Let’s put it that way. Unpredictable perhaps another word that comes to mind.

Anyway, off for work around 6. Back from the show about 11. We get the show. We get one free meal. We get to talk the Alejandro. He is 29. He is a gem of a human. He’s got the eye for the ladies. He has girlfriends. He finds it impossible to believe I am married. He finds that possible I suppose, but finds the whole idea of being married impossible, and therefore I am performing the biggest most amazing trick and I haven’t even done a show.

One week down. I’ve got the night off and tomorrow I start a second six night run. You would be incorrect to make any assumptions about this gig. It takes a certain skill beyond anything you might present on stage. And then you know there is being suddenly thrust into a live version of the Odd Couple. One last clue…I’m the neat one.

Iguana

Iguana in the neighborhood

 

 

Tree Hugging Sailing Home of the Solar Electric Fuel Cell Powered Future

Unsurprisingly, they support the policies that allow them to do this: things like low taxes, risky speculation, sky-high executive pay, and pulling investment out of education and infrastructure. What happens to our economy in the long-term is not really their concern. There’s a motto on Wall Street: “I.B.G.-Y.B.G.” or “I’ll Be Gone, You’ll Be Gone.” As long as you’re making money right now, what happens tomorrow is not your problem.

Lynn Parramore   The Depressing Tale of How Greedy Financial Titans Crushed Innovation and Destroyed Our Economy

technology one

This is not what a modern grid is supposed to look like…

 

 

My wife and I installed 33 photovoltaic solar energy panels on the roof of our home. Our electric bill went to zero.

In 1993 I volunteered to help build a straw bale house in Rim Rock, Arizona. The properties water source was a well powered by a specially designed solar powered pump that lifted water to a holding tank where gravity then delivered the requisite 30 psi flow at the sinks nozzle. A warm shower was flash heated with a propane heater. While the straw bales performance during the winter was stellar summers were not as cool as had been hoped for.

An earthship (rammed earth construction) up in Durango, Colorado was an all-around better performer than a straw bale, but the labor involved in building one compared to the other was significant.

A new race to Hawaii in sailboats of 21 feet in length has just completed their inaugural race. Most of these mini 6.50 sailboats use fuel cell technology to power their electronics while sailing offshore. Think suitcase sized device that is nearly silent in operation creating all the electricity you will need for this voyage. Better still you will still have enough fuel to make three more trips on just this one canister of liquid propane gas.

Smart grids, electric vehicles, wind turbines, increased energy efficiency of homes, the build out of additional mass transit systems in our worlds cities and we’re well on our way to right action.

Fukushima is an unmanageable disaster and we are far from out of the woods. Radiation levels spiked in the last few weeks and if things really went nuts most of the Northern hemisphere could be threatened by the uncontrolled release of radioactive materials.

Legacy technologies continue to block the development of new technologies. Big oil and lobbyists stifle innovation. Fortunately the cost of solar panels continues to plummet and by the end of next year will be the cheapest method of making electricity in the world. We figure a means of storing the suns energy for nighttime use, think massive lithium batteries the size of railroad box cars strategically distributed on our power grid and you can soon see what our future is going to look like.

We’ve got millions of people looking for work. A robust ramping up and deployment of alternative energy technologies across the country ought to be right at the top of our list of things we should be doing.

Are you a climate denying capitalist or a tree hugging environmentalist? Profits now at the expense of our future, or are you for finding the means forward that leaves those who will follow us a chance to enjoy their journey into this place called earth.

 

turtle

 

Snapping Turtle After a Little Egg Laying in Philadelphia…

Hot Spring Honeymoon

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” Gretel said, “A man is many things, but one sure thing a man can be is driven clear out of their mind over the thought of losing the one true thing that they care about most.”

“But, what we did won’t last forever,”

“Of course not, you know that, I know that, but a man doesn’t know that,”

“Look at me, I’m a mess, I think I’m so clever, put the ultimatum to Fletcher McCrea, end up in bed with the town’s most evil outsider ever to come to this place, and instead of getting a bunch of pictures we could use to save our little town, I end up falling for a man whose about to do something I could never ever forgive him for.”

 

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-test-are-you-a-capitolist-climate-denier-2013-07-24?link=home_carousel

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/07/lynn-parramore-the-depressing-tale-of-how-greedy-financial-titans-crushed-innovation-and-destroyed-our-economy.html

http://www.mini650pacificchallenge.com/

http://www.balewatch.com/

http://www.earthships.com/

The Utter Uselessness of Failure Now Four Decades in the Making

 

bulls

A World That Stepped In It…

The fiction writer forms an economic point of view and then sets his characters into action within the world he has created. I found the link about Thatcher’s utter focus on moving as much from the public sector to the private sector of interest.

Then, I read this, about the commons. I am trying to do my research, think deeply about matters of consequence to community, and then write from an informed point of view about the fictional community I am creating.

Coming up with a humanitarian reason for divesting of parks, libraries, highways, water systems and placing these into the enterprise of the public holdings of corporations has reached a point where it is clear to me that we have gone too far.

The whole idea of shrinking the government by having hired private sector corporations take over what was essentially a nation states task is becoming quite clearly more often than not, and more often than not by a lot a failure of what is awkwardly described as the neoliberal economic  theory. More or less it means making an enterprise of everything, absolutely trusting bankers to always do the right thing (how’s that working out?) and other ever more risky private sector bets with our public treasure.

So, first principles of a fiction writer? Don’t step in the stupid sh…. (this is a family friendly operation here mates)

http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2013/07/maggies-ghost-what-is-haunting-europe.html

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/july_august_2013/on_political_books/the_glory_of_the_commons045642.php

Playing Free and Lose with Fact and Opinion….Wee…………..

Transnational capital has been able to break free of nation-state constraints to accumulation beyond the previous epoch, and with it, to shift the correlation of class and social forces worldwide sharply in its favour – and to undercut the strength of popular and working class movements around the world, in the wake of the global rebellions of the 1960s and the 1970s.

                                                                             William I. Robinson, University of California, Santa Barbara

rigging

                                                 The Jig is up and the Rigging is In

We all have our own personal narrative. It is our story. It is the one we steer right through the center of what we trust and know and doubt and fear. All of us are folded into a variety of other dimensions. You may pick your dimensions and I’ll pick mine.

I keep running into the old trusty canard, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not his own facts.” (Daniel Patrick Moynihan). While we fool around trying to determine the difference between a fact and an opinion manipulation of the impossible to understand Libor Rate takes place right in front of our eyes. Is that my fact or my opinion? Does that matter?

Why doesn’t anything happen? It is only the most abusive banking crime in the history of humanity committed right in front of our eyes.

It is like having some drunk bastard ruining your night at a bar, leaning up against you, stinking of booze and tobacco, treating you to one whopper after another as if you are supposed to listen to his exaggerated list of quasi truths so blown up and distorted they resemble nothing like the actual fact of what actually happened. I take my drunks as character studies. They play it too loose when it comes to the facts. And facts I can use in fiction where sadly a drunks fiction is for their book not mine.

And so where are we with the Libor Rate Crime Against All of Humanity? I want doors broken down, men dragged away in handcuffs, shots fired, tear gas used, get the guys who did this out of those buildings and put them into custom made outsourced buildings of our own choosing. Nice buildings with bars, cute men in uniforms, little TV dinner trays for food, and give them calendars to meditate upon for a decade or two or even three!

I’m not a death penalty type, but I’m certainly alright with putting bankers who have eaten from humanities monetary trough and are remorseless about the misery and pain they have been the cause of. We’ve got tens of millions of workers out of jobs across the globe, I’ve seen estimates (facts not opinion) that go close to 100 million, and the bankers looting the system that crashed because of their misconduct remain untouched and unbowed smoking cigars and drinking fine wine in the Hamptons out of reach from the non-banking collectively screwed over majority of us as if we don’t know where they are and don’t know what to do.

One of these days the posse is going to saddle up and come for these amoral folk… or, perhaps that is just my opinion and as everybody knows putting the bankers away is a fact humanity seems not to be entitled to.

HOT SPRING HONEYMOON

“I can see how a good photograph could be a breath of fresh air in a stale mind.”

Keefe smiled and had a faraway look in his eye,

Gretel got a stoic expression on her face, “He’s a nice enough looking man and, when the time comes and if he picks me, I’m aim to play the sweetest peach he’s ever picked even if it turns out I’m the most rotten woman he ever shared a bed with.”

“Can’t be evil if you end up saving our little town,”

“Might just do the trick,” Gretel said, “every time I’ve climbed into bed with a man it’s been for either love or fun, haven’t tried doing it for my civic duty, it could put a whole new wrinkle on the thing.”

A View from the Nations Capital

watergate

Watergate 

 

If I told you who I had dinner with last night I would have to kill you.

 

Evidently the individual was privy to top secret information. He continuously looked around to see if anyone was overhearing the conversation. He was sure the gentleman seated at the next table was trying to glean nuggets of information that evidently could be used against him.

 

So, I thought perhaps rather than bogging down in the details why not go big, really big, global, and find out what he thinks is going on exactly here on planet earth as seen through the eyes of a beltway insider.

 

First, everybody and everything is bought. Okay, Is it the D’s or R’s? It’s everybody. Who’s doing the buying the banks? Nope… they are silly little intermediaries. Who is it then? It isn’t even the multinationals, they are too small and too weak. It is something more vaguely powerful than all of that.

 

Here was his answer. There are a group of organized syndicates that have enormous capital reserves invested around the globe, they are quasi criminal, decidedly uncoupled to any nation state, and singularly interested in what they are interested in and haven’t the least bit of time for the silly notion of running or managing a country. Got that? Voting rights, abortion, stand your ground, gay marriage… all of that is silliness…. These people are interested in commodities, in offshore tax havens, central bankers doing what they are told, and small countries with no economies having nice little revolutions that might clutter the front pages of newspapers to provide cover and distraction while they go about their merry business of global domination busily vacuuming up all that wealth, all those riches, all that fabulous loot. Evidently this group isn’t into the spiritual thing….

 

Washington DC is out of control because they want it that way. Capitalism, democracy, the Bill of Rights, constitutional form of government, corporations, free trade, the dollar… all that big stuff? These guys (girls too) transcend all that junk. It isn’t even anything to do with any of that. It does seem to beg the question if this is farce why the NSA? What are we trying to protect ourselves from?

 

And it is the perfect set up. Anyone starts trying to explain this and they are instantly placed into the loony bin of conspiracy theorists, inflammatory the sky is falling types. Nope, keep your head down and keep playing along, any conversation about the puppeteers of the Davos set is sheer folly, you will need to see the head doctor and start taking your med’s regularly. So sanity is a negotiable… sincerity a quaint and quite charming but exploitable character trait. If you raise your voice as our dear friend Edward Snowden has done you are in deep dew-dew… First rule of rules? Don’t speak about the unspeakable.

Anyway, there you go mates, a cheerful little view from a DC insider….

 

Kennedy

HOT SPRING HONEYMOON

 

 

Bambalina was worried near to death. He wasn’t even kind of the same man. If he’d kept working, even at this pace, unfortunate as it may have seemed Fletcher McCrea was going to be stupid rich and rock bottom miserable all at the same time. That kind of paradox could shatter the soul of even the world’s most shallow womanizer’s. The saddest part was the burro could see that Fletcher didn’t much care for his life any longer. Worse yet Bambalina could smell that he wasn’t even bothering to shower. There was no need, he wasn’t going into town and none of his women were driving up to spend the night. He wasn’t even getting drunk. He didn’t even have enough sadness for that.

Day after day he’d worked the tragic end of his sex life, over and over again in his head. The same answer spit out every time. Fletcher McCrea could not conceive of there being any method or means to his being faithful to one woman. It was neither natural to his inclinations nor a kind of way of being he agreed with. For Fletcher’s sex life to work right he needed to be all tangled up with one woman, but just for the night, and then best thing was if he was with a woman, he’d see another he’d have to have, and then he’d start dwelling on the other while he was having intimate relations with the one. His women all knew that. His way of turning his sex life into some kind of relay race was an adaptation, a coping mechanism. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t kind. It was simply the best he could do. It was incomprehensible that when Fletcher McCrea looked out from Pipe Dream Mountain across the open wild Great Basin bottom lands, he was looking as far as any man’s eye could see, and there wasn’t in eyesight another bunch of women ready to take over where all his former girlfriends had left him off.

Card Carrying Union Member…

So, that’s my sloppy theory about why labor’s share of national income has been declining worldwide. I have no idea what would turn it around, other than an ever-deepening economic crisis that leads to organizing of that sort that greatly empowers labor, seriously threatens economic elites, and restores labor’s bargaining power. Until then, I’m afraid, things are likely to get worse before they get better.

Kathleen Geier Washington Monthly Political Animal

 

Bishop Pine

 

Labor’s Fair Share

I keep casting about for a capitalism that offers a deal that is fair and square. We know that free trade agreements have allowed for arbitrage. That pollution, wages and regulation have been part of the negotiations, but that the negotiators have been between nation-state agencies and corporate interest groups who are much less concerned with these issues. Now we come to this super cycle, this relentless decade after decade decline in labor being cut out of the deal rather than kept in as part of a healthy whole. And so here we are! Without a robust effort to maintain policy that strengthens labors role, without a robust mission to strengthen the social welfare mechanisms that buffer the harshness of the business cycle, democracies are made more fragile when tough times arrive. And so they have. A countries stability is vital to all of its citizens welfare. The more powerful must restrain their impulses to not share the profits with the less powerful. There is simply too much at risk, too much to lose, too much harm to be unleashed.  From John Maynard Keynes: “Nothing corrupts society more than to disconnect effort and reward.”

 

HOT SPRING HONEYMOON

“You started picking yet?” Gretel asked pulling Keefe up to his feet.

“Yes I have, was up the mountain with Bero, he organized a crew,”

“How’d it go?”

“Did real good, hauled two truckloads off that mountain.”

“So, what’s that mean?”

“Means folk here are going to have the means to make a good life right here. Going to change their lives for the better instead of having worked all day and not have a thing to show for it.”

The Unintended Mood Altering Political Disaster

S. Philip Morgan and his colleagues have identified an interestingly complex effect, after Obama’s election in 2008, Republicans became more pessimistic about the economic future while Democrats remained more optimistic; that optimism or pessimism influenced decisions to have children – to the advantage of blue states.

Claude Fisher, Professor of Sociology U.C. Berkeley

Dana and doug

 

The Red State Blow Back Rag

Well, put that in your pipe and smoke it! I hadn’t considered the effect pessimism would have on red state sex lives. I believe it was the loony Patrick Buchanan that pointed toward this impending disaster. But, if I recall it was his certitude regarding the migratory wave from our southern borders that was going to dilute the conservatives influence over government. After all it was this migratory influx with all that Latin sizzle on the dance floors and between the sheets that would lead to spectacular outcomes regarding birthrates. Conservatives just didn’t move as seductively either on the dance floor or in the bedroom. And with regard to the increase in economic inequality there is now a demographic effect being foisted upon the ever decreasing right winged part of our country! And so perhaps best to consider where our patriotic duty ought to be placed. I am an advocate for win-win outcomes. How about this? Blue state progressives think there are just too dang many people on the planet to begin with, while red state conservatives just can’t get motivated in the sack. So! Let’s just agree that for the moment these mutually opposite forces hold each side in balance. If this doesn’t work we’ll send waves of bad news to the blue states to dispirit the left while sending waves of good news to the red states to lift their spirits and just like that we’ll be right back to what American’s have turned out to be spectacularly good at… stalemate! The best we can do is nothing, and nothing is the nightmare known as an infinite regression. If there is even a kernel of truth to any of this it is time for us to go to the mirror look into your soul and laugh and cry.

HOT SPRING HONEYMOON

The saddest part was he didn’t much care about the size of his bank account. It turned out not to be the reason for his happiness. Worse yet Bambalina noticed he wasn’t even bothering to shower. There was no need, he wasn’t going into town and none of his women were driving up to spend the night. He wasn’t even getting drunk. He didn’t even have enough sadness to do that.

 

Send in the Clowns, Where are the Clowns, They’re Already Here

The sense of common decency is a rare commodity these days, a very rare commodity indeed, something that has all but disappeared in this day and age. Brazen means someone without shame. The parties that have taken an entire nation hostage just so that they don’t have to reveal certain unspeakable facts certainly have no concept of what shame is.

Beppo Grilla, Stand-Up Comic, Italian Parliament Member

home away from home

 

There’s a crazy little shack beyond the tracks
And ev’rybody calls it the sugar shack

(This particular shack is on the banks of the Carquinez Strait…)

Why of why can’t we punish, strip of privilege, stop listening to, or force them to admit they were wrong? Alan Greenspan should be stripped of his pension for not doing anything about the housing bubble. Jean-Claude Trichet Europe’s Central Banker now retired for blowing bubbles in Greece, Portugal and Ireland; utterly preventable and of course another doer of nothing at the least should be told to shut up and go home. Beppo Grillo the Italian stand-up comic turned politician suggests Berlusconi’s money and access to media has earned him a free get out of jail card and why?  Spain’s government and silly royal family both have squandered a great deal of good will as they’ve allowed all manner of cronyism to infiltrate policy. That one will break my heart as Spain is a great country and their young democracy is as delicate and new since the end of Franco’s rule. But, let’s get back to these peaceful and enlightened shores for a moment. Timmy Geitner for doing nothing about Libor, only the single largest looting in the world’s financial system and the best Tim could do is send a memo to England’s regulator? Really? Phil Gramm for his wreckage called  credit default swaps. Add Bill Clinton and Robert Rubin to that train wreck. Anybody see a pattern here? Major policy mayhem, tens of millions of workers have lost their jobs or are working for less or part time. I don’t understand why we must suffer buffoon’s that upon failing in the arena of public policy. And then the mentally deranged society known as all of the Republican House of Representatives, and sad to say too many House Democrat’s that should know better have just voted to undo the as yet implemented new law that was going to try in the least most weak way to regulate credit default swaps… This is our world. This is not a pretty picture. This is not going to end well. And you wonder why so many of us are feeling kind of neurotically pre-apocalyptic about the world that we live in? It is the stuff of human folly.

 

HOT SPRING HONEYMOON

“And everybody knows that,” Keefe explained, “and it’s why everyone trusts you. We all know you wouldn’t steal a thing from nobody, but you’d probably have to fight off the temptation twice as hard as average person.”

“You think that’s what qualifies me for the job?”

“Sure it does, you got as much passion as you got regrets, and that’s just exactly the kind of shaman this cave consecration is going to need.”