Tag Archives: neuroplasticity

Pull the Curtain Back and Take a Good Look

“Of course the irremediable bitterness in Picasso’s soul, the power of the inner sanction he felt later in life to wound and humiliate others, had to come in part out of the paradox that the paintings that brought him the greatest sums were precisely the works which had cost him the most miserable days of his life.”

Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man

Norman Mailer

road sunset

 

 

The Light of Day at End

Picasso painted realities. He made visible realms other painters had passed over and left for this artist to discover. The madness of our present moment is that a powerless majority is reduced to a kind of civic paralysis over the misdeeds and mayhem our modernity is plunging us into. We quarrel about silly things. We know if not by fact, then by intuition, that all this is a distraction. Capitalism’s cloak of deception is being peeled back and we see, we know that the system is rigged and it is enfeebling us. Our ordinary minds are so crafty, so deluded, so clever as to get us into a mess that our best minds are unable to rise up and save all of humanity from. On one edge of myself I cleave the penetrating truth and with the other edge I struggle to understand that there are no best minds or ordinary minds, there is only one mind, and it is that one collective consciousness that is at risk of harming us all. That’s got Doctor Strangelove written all over it….

 

 HOT SPRING HONEYMOON

Gretel walked across the roadhouse saloon to the bar. She had a good angle at a reflection in a window and could keep an eye on her driver.

Lark picked a song, punched the code in and out came, “If you got leaving on your mind…”

Gretel turned and went out of character, extra big, and called to Lark. “Honey, that boyfriend is done breaking your heart,”

Lark fed more quarters into the jukebox, picking more songs, swishing her hips side to side, bobbing the bait waiting for the men in the room to take a bite of the lure.

 

It’s Nothing But Chump Change

“Sergey Brin at Google who just had the thought of, well, if we give away all the information services, but we make money from advertising, we can make information free and still have capitalism. But the problem with that is it reneges on the social contract where people still participate in the formal economy ( people are no longer paid for the content they create in this model). And it’s a kind of capitalism that’s totally self-defeating because it’s so narrow. It’s a winner-take-all capitalism that’s not sustaining.”

 

  Jaron Lanier

 The internet destroyed the middle class, Salon Magazine

The way of the world

It’s Not Far, And it’s Time We Did it…

The digital revolution (and like you I do enjoy all the perks) has been disruptive to many industries. Kodak’s gone, the camera is part of a device we know as a smart phone. In today’s Financial Times the editorial suggests France’s internet transaction tax is a bad idea. The French have this notion of using a 4% tax to fund their arts programs. You know all those things that the digital revolution killed. But, this idea would be meddling, and at first glance if you are a patriotic open market, free trading, red blooded capitalist you ought not to be doing such a thing. Those French! Or should we? We need to update capitalism. It means altering the rules of the road. It means developing a set of policy’s worldwide. The financial sector is a mess. The atmosphere desperately needs our attention, and millions upon millions of people in Europe and the USA need to be put back to work. It doesn’t have to be this way. With our economic system in desperate need of an upgrade there couldn’t be a better moment than right now to bring to heel and rebalance this great global enterprise for the sake, not of the elites, but for the sake of the common good. Call me a dreamer, but that’s what novelists do. We show the world the way.

HOT SPRING HONEYMOON

Jolene spoke out for the award ribbon women, “One thing me and the girls have been good at is changing how a man sees things.”

“Teamwork that’s the whole idea,” Keefe said.

“Me and the girls ready to do whatever needs getting done.”

“Sal and I are ready too…” Mitzi said.

“We didn’t come here to just sleep with Fletcher McCrea,” Jolene was being as honest as she could. “We ended up here because we didn’t much care for how the world was changing out there.”

“This isn’t pie in the sky,” Keefe lifted his glass to toast, “To Meadowhawk and the people who love her, and heaven and to the good citizens doing the common good and end up there.”

The New Narrative is a Comedy

I set out to tell the truth. And sometimes the truth is shocking.

Tennessee Williams 1981

Writers desk

 

The Writers Desk

 

Time comes up again and again in conversation. We reserve in this go-go era a respect for original, finely crafted narrative. As it stands we are at a humanitarian crossroads. Ancient myths are vaporizing before our eyes. Science allows us to see out to the edge of the Universe or if we look the other way into the realm of subatomic particles. The ancient religious myth is crumbling and in its place a more durable story is being born before our eyes. In this era we see mankind’s dominion over nature crumbling. We are being forced to incorporate into our narrative answers to climate change, or the inability of political systems to serve humankinds needs. We see that the elites clinging to whatever gives them power. A compelling narrative gores the sacred. To survive so many misguided fallacies of the past we must soon replace these ancient beliefs with fact. This is the crossroads of a more informed narrative.

 

HOT SPRING HONEYMOON

“Look at Mr. Keefe Kenny,” Dotty said greeting the men.

Keefe hopped down off the running board, shoved the door closed. “Thought it was time I stop wasting all of my hard earned money at the clinic, come on down and surrender the rest of it to you and Gage.”

Dotty smiled big. “Oh, come on Keefe, we’re town’s best bargain,”

Most of what the town of Meadowhawk was; most of how the thing got held together; was something about how folk in town found everything they might need or not need here under the roof of this one place.

“Like going on a carnival ride” Keefe teased. “Turn you upside down and shake all that change right out of your pockets.”

Children at the Brink

I was running with the wind again. Headed north with Lacey riding shotgun. We had dinner in Ashland Saturday night. Sunday stopped in Eugene for breakfast. I’d been the producer of the street performing program at the Eugene Celebration for a bunch of years. Downtown Eugene has gone from bad to worse in the last few years.

After breakfast north to Portland and stopped to have a visit with one of my oldest friends. He’s holed up on the Northeast side just off Sandy. My friend likes to think outside the box, he prefers to live outside the box, and working from this scaffolding makes a curiosity, a kind of unbridled romp far from the familiar fields.

Evening shared more time with a husband, wife and their two teen daughters. On my way to see our youngest now at Seattle University it was like a taste of warm ups for what was about to come.

The progressive teen of the Pacific Northwest is a roving Burning Man Festival. They are playful souls. They bet with imagination. They read books, good reads.

They recycle. They eat good food. They like to juggle. They draw. They hook up and get tight with their sweethearts. They know that authenticity is the coin of the realm.

These are the souls we are handing our world off to. They are good loving people. They love the world they’ve been born into. The same as you and the same as me, and they want to do, to do whatever it takes, to turn the world around.

The obstructive class of status quo types that have the world by the throat… they will always want just one more bite of the apple, make one more close, one more deal, one more day before they let go.

My bet is with these feisty types up in this corner of the country. Come high tide, black ice, or snow storm they’re going to try to steer away from the catastrophe.

If you hadn’t noticed, Scientific America published a story this week. The article was unequivocal. Climate change is irreversible. The world is going to get much hotter. An extinction event could be baked into the cake.

We apparently can’t help ourselves. We can’t fix every problem. We can’t win every war. There are things beyond our reach. So, when was it we gave up and became fashionable not to try?

 

Click on the pic and go to Amazon to get the ebook for $1.00

Connect with me and I’ll sell you a print version for $15.

 

Yes, I’m the Great Pretender

Who are you kidding?

Delusion abounds in this the age of information. We are deluded and misdirected in this ever increasingly complex civilization we have been born into.

I try to understand economics. I read about the nuclear disaster at Fukushima. I listen to commentary on the radio. One friend is angry at labor unions. Another friend blames bankers for his problems, another affirmative action, women’s liberation and Greenpeace.

Changing the subject is a popular devise to bury a subject you’d rather not discuss. I thought we were in the midst of a Great Recession, that there were millions upon millions of people without work and needed a job?

A group of men advertising themselves as celibate go get their nickers in a knot over a topic most of us thought settled five decades ago! Not only does birth control as a burden fall disproportionally upon women, it turns out the attack on this burden is executed disproportionally by a group of men vowing to have nothing to do with the very thing women alone are burdened with.

In the age of delusion we don’t fix problems. We have problems and when we begin to feel as if one problem is beginning to be fixed we raise new problems. Don’t let the (expletive deleted) get you down.

 

There is this profound sense that we can’t change. There is this slow motion train wreck quality to our times. More delusion probably, all too many people think that everything is just great.

It is literally a miracle to me that somehow we have managed to make jetliners as safe as we have given our propensity to delude ourselves. Maybe we’re kidding ourselves. Maybe it is far more dangerous than we know?

Facts- they say are stubborn things, but it is looking like delusion is too. I don’t think we get up in the morning go into the bathroom and wash our face and look into the mirror and say, “who are you kidding?”

Even if we did start the day off with the admonition to play it straight with ourselves it seems we are all in our own separate realities. Life is not a series of distinct, autonomous events. Life is more a flow, one event pushing the previous event out of our mind only to find that event being pushed by the next and the next.

Of course living in a ‘fact free of consequences world’ allows us to simply all go our own deluded way. Since nothing bad has happened nothing bad will happen. That’s delusions greatest threat; what might be bad for you might well be good for me!

Delusion doesn’t require a mental deficiency of any kind. Perfectly healthy well educated people can be utterly and completely deluded. We don’t need any help.

But, when you wake up, when you make an observation, and it is apparently confirmed and verified to be true and then you don’t react, don’t do what you can to right the situation and you pretend that you can’t do anything about it, that’s the bait to the trap.

The modern world we live in might simply be too complicated for us. That’s the biggest delusion, or perhaps it is a stubborn fact yet to be reckoned with.

Yes, at Amazon and Barnes and Noble for the handsome price of $1.00.......Come on what are you waiting for?

The Nevada Single-Leaf Pinion Pine Nut as Plot

They are right there... those are those dark spots on the hills

The Nevada single-leaf pinion pine (pinus monophylla) produces a nut. If you’ve ever made pesto you will recall that most recipes call for the use of pine nuts. If you’ve ever gone to a grocery store to buy pine nuts you soon discover that they are expensive. Retail they sell for near thirty dollars a pound.

Pinion and juniper grow together. The trees back in the ‘50’s were considered a nuisance. They removed them by hooking a stout anchor chain between two dozers and then our barbaric forefathers cleared the land. The land was now more suited to grazing cattle. Ranchers somehow overlooked the fact that beef earned them peanuts compared to what a crop of pinion nuts could bring.

Now the Nevada single-leaf pinion nut is not just some run of the mill pine nut. It is in the opinion of those who are supposed to know regarded to be one of nature’s most delicious prizes. Nevada pinion nuts are nature’s highest achievement.

If those old cowboys are anything like me they probably sat on their saddles looking out over their herd watching the sunset and the whole time they didn’t realize that they were looking right at the biggest cash crop growing in the Great Basin of the American west.

Biologists put pencil to paper and the value of the pine nuts in Nevada are an estimated 100 million dollars per year. That’s not a gold mine that’s a renewable resource. The eye popping economic value of this crop is a revelation. Add the ecological, spiritual and cultural significance of this prized nut and the wealth of this harvest boggles the human mind.

Before we knew what the heck we had we’d already removed as much as 90% of the original old growth pinion forests. Some folk are thinking might be another kind of nut if we don’t get our heads on straight and put new trees back in where the old ones once grew.

What’s this have to do with the price of tea in China? Exactly what I thought you’d be thinking too. What it means is that there exists a spectacular means to help the people right in Nevada to become self sufficient, care for the land, provide a valuable product to the world, and earn a wage that can help support a worker, a family, a community, a state and ultimately the whole nation.

We built the Bonneville Dam and it is as if nobody gave it a second thought as to what might happen to the salmon. Until taxol was discovered to be of use fighting cancer the Pacific Yew tree was a garbage tree of minimal value and of limited practical uses.

My next novel is set in Nevada. It is a comedy. I’m learning about pine nuts. I’m finding out about geothermal water heated greenhouses, Basque sheepherding, turquoise mining and land speed world records. I’m busy trying to make things up (plotting the novel) and it turns out truth as always is stranger than fiction.

Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble for the handsome price of $1.00 What are you waiting for

Slow Down You Move to Fast, You’ve Got to Make the Morning Last

1939 Chevy......almost exactly same engine as 1955...Oh yeah that's me

Running the mile in less than four minutes, we knew it could be done we just didn’t know what it might mean.

Now the rate of change seems to sweep whatever it is we are doing now into the dust bins of our present. So we sit with one foot in the present while we mock the latest release as almost but not quite right.

We are so drowning in fact that fiction is deemed quaint and irrelevant. Where and to what do we point? The modern man is an immigrant? Is he a banker? Is he toiling at a job that no longer exists or is soon to be outsourced?

To offer a perspective on what it is that is happening our audience needs to hold some collective grip; a shared experience. Since we have shattered, blue and red, Wall Street and Main Street, D’s and R’s, independents and libertarians, and these only describe a fraction of what has been shattered, the whole of what is being broken into pieces is even more sacred, more ancestral, more human and more at risk than any of that.

Here each individual offering, each solution is slapped down and stomped out. Some writers offer chaos theory, others comedy, still others give it a shot, but before the shot is given a chance to hit its mark the mark has moved; the rate of change is like that.

There is so much disappointment. I can barely find a movie I want to see. There is hardly a politician I want to vote for. There is not a tax I like, and not a birth control device I can put the whole of my faith in.

How do we explain this? I’m not a skeptic. I am not fatalistic. I’m not even pessimistic. But, if in foreground is my perky self and in the background is a world that is unable to manage itself, a world that is unable to control itself, its industries, its politics, its aim and future?

If you were going to write about the world you see and try to speak to all of us, not just some, but the whole of humanity, to help shape us, warn us, change us, evolve us, inform us, what and how in the world might you do that, now that you know that what you have to say falls upon a world imprisoned by the sheer rate of change.

At Amazon and Barnes and Noble for the handsome price of $1.00