25 December 2005


Our elderly cat, who died a couple of years ago, was very ill toward the end of her life and prone to seizures. A naturopathic vet gave us a flat magnet pad, which had a green side and a red side...I poo poo'd the idea, but when she'd seize, we'd place the appropriate color on her head and she would immediately end her seizure and be calm and relaxed. She was on the verge of death a couple of times...and the magnet restored her equilibrium. It is amazing, what we think we know...and what we don't really know at all. Crystal power, for example...true or false? Well, my photovoltaic panels are made from silicon crystals...and they power our home...so...what is real and what is imaginary? A lighter would have made you the most powerful person in a tribe...legends would be made of your fire making abilities...surely a person from the heavens.

29 November 2005

In Wonderland

So often when I'm with you, our home (stead) appears like this to me.

Seasons Change


Some Christians think that Jesus was born in a howling blizzard beneath a pine tree covered with lights. That the Easter bunny was with Jesus when he was resurrected on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox and brought everyone eggs...that Jesus dressed up in his shroud of Turin after the autumn's harvest and fed the masses with carved pumpkins and candy. That the North American Indians taught Jesus how to plant a fish with corn seeds, squash and beans to make the holy trinity grow for the turkeys to eat. (Not that these last two 'holidays' have anything to do with Christianity...just adding to the irony) *** "Spirit of Spirit, if it be your will, give me over to immortal birth so that I may be born again - and the sacred spirit may breathe in me." (A Prayer to Mithras) Mithraism and Judaism merged and became Christianity. Yeshua or "Jesus", son of the Hebrew sky God, and Mithras, son of Ormuzd are both the same myth. The rituals of Christianity coincide with the earlier rituals of Mithraism, including the Eucharist and the Communion in great detail. The language used by Mithraism was the language used by Christians. Paul as the first "Christian" bears much of the responsibility for merging the two in his preaching and teaching, and also comes from Tarsus, a major Mithraist center. The idea of a sacrificed saviour is Mithraist, so is the symbolism of bulls, rams, sheep, the blood of a transformed saviour washing away sins and granting eternal life, the 7 sacraments, the banishing of an evil host from heaven, apocalyptic end of time when God/Ormuzd sends the wicked to hell and establishes peace. Roman Emperors, Mithraist then Christian, mixed the rituals and laws of both religions into one. Emperor Constantine established 25th of Dec, the birthdate of Mithras, to be the birthdate of Jesus too. The principal day of worship of the Jews, The Sabbath, was replaced by the Mithraistic Sun Day as the Christian holy day. The Catholic Church, based in Rome and founded on top of the most venerated Mithraist temple, wiped out all competing son-of-god religions within the Roman Empire, giving us modern literalist Christianity, which is a Paulist doctrine. *** Look, no matter what is Truth (with a capital T)...it isn't for us to know until we complete our journey. For now, while we're all existing on this planet...at least for the time of the (dare I say it?) Holiday Season...let's just be nice, wish each other well, keep our end clean, and pick up after ourselves. It's darned easy to do...smile and love. That was Yeshua's message, wasn't it? Happy Holidays...Season's Greetings... That covers everyone...so get over yourself.

28 November 2005

We Share the Land

This past year, Shakespeare, my friend the barred owl, found a mate and fledged a 'parliament' of young. I was there when the young first took wing. This summer I was walking one of our forest trails and noticed I was following something. The wind was loud and strong, coming toward me from ahead. Long tail, black tip, tawny brown. Not a bobcat with that long tail, nor a lynx. Too small for a cougar....wait, that's it...it's an adolescent cougar kit. I paced it for 100 meters or so. I was twenty paces behind. As it turned past some brush, I slowed. I crept up and just as I came around the bend, there it was...looking up at me, perhaps 5 meters away. Full face to full face. Only for a moment, because it bolted away in a hurry. It was feasting on one of the beavers that had been damming our stream. Within a week I saw no sign of any beaver, nor have I since then.
I long to be on the sea...

The Bird Flu Pandemic and Now This

From: DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX SUN NOV 27 2005 17:05:23 ET NETWORKS PLAN 'END OF AMERICA' SHOWS The TV networks are getting edgier in their '06 pilot plans. The nets have filled their development slates with a bevy of brave ideas and bold format experiments, VARIETY reports on Monday, including shows about THE END OF AMERICA! ABC alone has at least two would-be shows set in post-apocalyptic America ("Resistance" and "Red & Blue") while Gavin Polone and Bruce Wagner are teaming for the comfy-sounding plague drama "Four Horsemen" at CBS (which also is developing "Jericho," about life in a small town after America is destroyed). Says Fox exec VP Craig Erwich: "The creative community appears to be really inspired this year," he says. "It was an exciting time to be buying. I came away pretty encouraged about network TV." ***** Do you think They are trying to get us prepared?

26 November 2005

Household Energy Conservation

I lived in a volkswagen camper when I first bought the land that is now our homestead. I spent a couple of years in it, as a matter of fact. When I built my place I thought, what can I have now that will make life more convenient than my vw bus? A handpump and well, so I wouldn't have to fill my 5 gallon container from here and there anymore...yay! An outhouse, so I wouldn't have to dig a cathole everytime I took my "morning constitutional"...yay! A solar shower for summer and a sauna for winter...yay! I can bathe with ease. A woodstove that will heat the sauna and, by extension, the house. yay! Trying to stay warm with a sleeping bag, and waking to frozen water...a thing of the past.A garden, some stability. A forest to gather firewood of my own. A solar panel to create some electricity. A pantry/root cellar to store some food, more than the gallon of rolled oats, a gallon of rice, a gallon of dried beans, a gallon of lentils that I had room for in the bus...a battery that could keep a light going for me to read, a 12 volt music machine. If the light goes dim, or the music stops...I don't have to worry about the bus not starting...having to find someone to jumpstart me, or push it to start...nope, the panel will charge the battery in the house...and besides, I've got a home...I don't need to go anywhere.My point? I looked at what I could have that was more convenient than camping or being semi-homeless. As time went by (this story culminated in the building of our home 21 years ago) we added something we deemed a convenience...a propane refrigerator at first...which was replaced in 1999 with a SunFrost 12 volt refrigerator and a couple of more panels...but we've maintained the simple concepts of our place. We have more solar electric potential now, an inverter and some 120 volt things...but we view all of those as luxuries that we can do without...and feel grateful when we have ample sunlight to airpop our popcorn some evening and watch a dvd...or to make toast some mornings, knowing that it's going to be a sunny day.I reckon that's the way we'll just continue doing things in our life together.

17 November 2005

Appearances are deceiving, I suppose...

I have a fabulously frightening story about being pulled over in my VW camper. The year was 1985, it was April fools day...returning from a winter's sojourn in Mexico. Was cutting across the mountains of NewMexico and passed through the town of Quemado (which means burnt in Spanish...should have taken a hint)...A sheriff's deputy began tailing me. Fourteen miles later he pulled me over. My license tabs were March and it was April 1st. Took him that long to find something to get me for. I explained that I was returning to MN and that the state had a 10 day grace period for license tabs. He said, "This isn't MN, and we'll have to confiscate your VW". I said, "It's my house." We "discussed" it for awhile, he said that I could follow him back to Quemado and see the judge. I was traveling with a woman and her 9 year old son at the time. We were all 'hippied out'...guatemalan fabrics, long hair, incense...medicine pouches. Got to Quemado and they literally set up a court. Two sawhorses with a piece of plywood was the table. The "judge" was trying me, when the sheriff entered the room. He was a big dude with cowboy hat/boots and a slash scar across his face. I knew that I was going to be thrown in jail and found a few days later, a suicide victim...hung by my guatemalan pouch strap. The woman I was with was chanting. The boy was freaking out. It was like a bad novel. The judge fined me 120 bucks. I told him that I couldn't pay it, that I only had 50 bucks left and had to buy gas to return to MN. He said, "20 bucks now, and 100 when you return to MN...we have reciprocity with MN so if you don't pay we'll issue a warrant"...He tapped the gavel to signify the end of court. The sheriff then said, "We still have to confiscate the vw...it isn't legal to drive without tabs."...Then the sheriff asked his deputy if the bus had been thoroughly searched. The deputy said yes. We were on the wooden porch by now, standing by the vw. The sheriff said, "What about that pouch hanging from the rearview mirror?" The deputy said he missed that. Sheriff asked me what was in it. I said, "My medicine"...he said he'd like to see "my medicine"...so I opened the pouch and showed him the tooth of my faithful dog from years before, my daughter's umbilical cord, a lock of my mom's hair...like that. He said, "What? Are you into voodoo?" I put things back into the pouch and said, "no...these are just things that connect my life to my spirit"...He was shaking his head. He said, "Boy...how'd you ever get out of the draft...did you go to Canada?"...I said, "I was in the Army...as a matter of fact I spent 23 months in VietNam as an advisor/liaison to the VietNamese Army...which is partially why I live my life the way I do."..."Do you want to see some pictures of my house?" Then I showed him my photos. "This is my underground house...kind of a 'bunker'.." He looked into my eyes for the first time. Then he cast his eyes down toward the ground. He didn't look at me again but said, "You can go"...the deputy was listening as had the judge, who said..."Come here, I'll show you which roads to take...there's a roadblock in the next county and they'll pull you over and harrass you...so head north on this dirt road, go through the reservation and then east over here"...He pointed to a map on the wall inside the doorway. We left, and they all kind of waved.

12 November 2005

I wrote this on...

Veterans' Day, 2004 ...As the assault on Fallujah goes 'full-scale'...18 American troops killed, over a hundred wounded and sent to Germany...the official estimates are 600 insurgents killed...no civilian casualties estimated. It's like squeezing jello. For every one 'insurgent' killed 25 first and second cousins become angered, and willing to defend their homeland...the clans rise up. Symbolically...Arafat died, and was refused burial at his desired resting spot...John Ashcroft resigns, and Gonzales, who called the Geneva Convention, 'quaint' is nominated by Bush to take his place...add to that the old man in a wheel chair, the former head of Hamas, rocketed. You've made a feud with the families...you have to pay the blood money. The new commander of the troops at Fallujah has no understanding of the Arab world. Civilians protest the garrisoning of American troops in their city...so the Americans open fire and kill the protesters. Is this the way to celebrate Veterans' Day? Is this the way to quell resistance? My brother-in-law, a man of good intentions, called and thanked me for my 'veteran-ness'...I protest the day's woes...why are we creating more? He said, 'right or wrong, we thank you for being a veteran'...well, sorry...thanks anyway, and I understand you mean it in all honesty...but 'right or wrong?' I don't think that way. If a person feels the war is 'moral', then they probably don't lose much sleep over death and mayhem....but if the war is immoral (as I found VietNam), then sleep is lost, tears are shed, screams are wailed. I speak out...I cry...I try and try to teach other people what I've learned...but they don't wish to see. It's like an earthquake. If you are to have your beliefs challenged, the earth moves beneath your feet, the chandelier sways, the good china falls off the top shelf...the world falls apart. Comfort is nowhere to be found. Everything needs to be safe and tucked away....

11 November 2005

The absurdity of war...the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month

The River upstream from white sand beaches are hamlets, paddies and canyons bombshells unexploded cratered land cratered faces mangled extremities defective births... the villages have memories nightmares and visions the countryside still echoes we returned to the comfort of our politics and rhetoric leaving a legacy of disfigurement... scarring persons and landscape poisoned food chain poisoned minds blackened hearts... a righteous nation hands over hearts reciting the pledge still preaching to the world hands over ears and eyes still speaking the lies making the guilt safe and tucked away in hospitals and dead-end jobs in parades and sunday services in vfw and legion halls in broken homes in shattered illusions in battered women's shelters in cemeteries rather than learning from our mistakes we adopt a new battle cry... "next time we'll only fight if they'll let us win"... as if that excuses our interventions ***** I wrote this while in Nicaragua in 1988...remembrances from two decades before that... Amen

23 October 2005

Spring will return after a long winter's nap

A Hint of Winter

Swans trumpet their final song. Geese prepare to take wing with the coming northwesterlies...wood is in the sheds, canned goods fill the pantry. Supplies are stocked and we are prepared for the blanket of snow that is soon to be here. We are thankful for what we have, for what we've helped to create from these logs and stones and soil that the earth has provided. For the love of friends and family, and the eternally hoped for promise of peace.

For Pamela

on All Hallow's Eve for Pamela Jane Truzinski 7/10/1954 to 8/15/2001 ...midwife to the stars Listening... She doesn't want to hear people talking anymore always babbling on about themselves...She just wants to stop...listen I know you won't believe any of this... There's a stream called Fishhawk that runs by her cottage in the woods near a town christened Jewell near another named Mist And each day the log trucks go speeding by on the road no wider than her dog's tail curled in the roadside...weeds a victim of good forest management Some of the logs so big the trucks can only carry one dead dog at a time speeding around the bends faster than you or I would ever dare The deforestation drivers are paid by the load so they can't be bothered with anyone's pet crossing their road And I wonder if she's ever been herself since they turned the lot next door into a gravel pit and then her cat Odie who was older than anyone can remember any cat had a right to be died and something started to grow inside her not at all like her many gardens have names and personalities bolder than anything I could write Black seeds planted one by one some of us so sensitive we can't let go especially when the murder by numbers game is rumbling by her riverside cottage Each day she goes out into the world and helps new mothers give birth at home the only place where a child should ever be brought into this world she declared and I listened and came to believe her story says taking birth and death out of the home and placing these portals where we must enter and leave inside the corporate death machine fathered the scourge upon the land devouring every tree dog cat midwife river poem and turning all to profit or dust beneath its grinding wheels "Got to get another load to the mill before sunset 13 days in a row" So he can make payment on the F-350 tank he needs to feel in control of life and she has lived outside that noise for so long that if you asked the river it could speak her syllables three for the first and last on a sultry day in July when she was born I knew her when she was sapling as I was too and her curves were softer more fragrant than overripe raspberries sitting in the sun all day brushing against your idiot's cheek We played crayola with paper dragonfly wings sketching future dreams all night long that were robbed and sold to Japan for a hundred dollars a board foot And people say fucking on film is obscene compared to a freighter steaming across the Pacific with her backyard forest that defended Deer Coyote Elk Owl wander out in the road after midnight staring into an empty future is where I see myself when I think of her house sitting hollow and who will tend the gardens birth the children teach us how to use the herbs to fight the rage she must feel turned inward festering with grief too much for someone softer inside than a newborn's eyelid opening on this vista the first time and not forced to receive hospital-mandated chemical eyedrops This tumorous shadow lives inside her belly while she has carried off so many disappointments like the river that washes through her and cleanses us so we can go on down that road to Japan There's nothing fair in her guarding the last bastion between Jewell and profits piling up in all the hospital...C-sections never performed because she patiently waited till the woman could give birth to a new way to express this lifeforce unrelenting I swell up with words and watch my belly grow in sympathy for her affliction is more than we forgot it's we don't listen chattering away about ourselves She just wants everyone to stop and consider The rights of the accused are limited and yet when anyone points a finger they are labeled instantly as the enemy spoiling the party like a manic depressive mother who shows up off her meds "Lock her up" I want her to come all the way back Protect me comfort me encourage me but I didn't listen either and my rights are limited to this anger outrage fear longing for her truth could fit on a toothpick and taste like a million ampules of royal jelly I pour into her belly by the river in her gardens' barefoot burst of summer when life is everywhere brighter later than we ever guessed it would be a crime for one more log truck to ever pass by her house should she slip away down the river forking into the Nehalem winds down to the sea spilling out there by a little town called Wheeler where we once stayed still growing green dumb invincible towards a careless sky Would you believe I wouldn't be here writing this had she not stopped to listen... Thanks to poet34 ***** Sitting in the forest of a winter's night 10.Dec.2003 22:20 Bruce in Northern Minnesota I lived and traveled with Pamela many moons ago. Leaving Minnesota in a '67 deluxe VW bus (y'know the one with the little windows and a huge sunroof) we traveled across the northern tier of the states...this was 1975. We were full of wonderment and life. The woods welcomed us wherever we stopped and camped. People couldn't help but be drawn to Pamela. We lived in Grants Pass for a year while I went to school and she continued in wonderment...no matter what it was she did. She taught me much about life. I'd be a much sadder, lesser person without what I learned from her. She gave, she shared. She loved. She laughed...most of all she laughed. (though she could cry, and sing, and work, and dance, and garden...). We traveled more. We learned more. We went back to MN and shared a farm with a group of other wonderful folks...firing pottery in a wood-burning kiln, learning about each other and ourselves. She is here...she is there...I saw her in the aurora the other night. She dances in my campfires. She sings with the voices of the barred owls. I see her in the eyes of the deer. I miss her sense of wonderment. I spoke with her the night before she passed. She said that she always knew that death would come someday...just not so soon. Another lesson for all of us. Live to the fullest and speak out against the madness. And don't let those bastards get you down, cuz they're all full of beans anyway. May you all experience the beauty of a love like Pamela in your lives. It's out there...it's in there.

12 October 2005

Carla Emery has died of a heart attack

http://www.carlaemery.com/ She came to our area and spoke with a bunch of us just before Y2k...she had a lot of interesting things to say about preparation, but was paranoid that the end was coming down, the earth was going to shift on it's axis and split the country in two...and California would fall into the ocean. None of that happened, but the end came for her anyway. I guess the lesson learned is paranoia about coming events aside, someday "the big one" is going to get each and every one of us, in our own time. May she rest in peace, now. And may all of us enjoy the peace of our homesteads...in the "here and now"...

07 October 2005


There are lots of questions to be asked about postmodernism, and one of the most important is about the politics involved--or, more simply, is this movement toward fragmentation, provisionality, performance, and instability something good or something bad? There are various answers to that; in our contemporary society, however, the desire to return to the pre-postmodern era (modern/humanist/Enlightenment thinking) tends to get associated with conservative political, religious, and philosophical groups. In fact, one of the consequences of postmodernism seems to be the rise of religious fundamentalism, as a form of resistance to the questioning of the "grand narratives" of religious truth. This was perhaps most obvious in muslim fundamentalism in the Middle East, which banned postmodern books--like Salman Rushdie's, "The Satanic Verses"...because they deconstruct such grand narratives. (Although it is increasingly becoming obvious in the rise of fundamentalist Christianity connected with the political right in the USA, and the return to teaching "creationism" or, more subtly..."Intelligent Design".) This association between the rejection of postmodernism and conservatism or fundamentalism may explain in part why the postmodern avowal of fragmentation and multiplicity tends to attract liberals and radicals. This is why, in part, feminist theorists have found postmodernism so attractive. On another level, however, postmodernism seems to offer some alternatives to joining the global culture of consumption, where commodities and forms of knowledge are offered by forces far beyond any individual's control. These alternatives focus on thinking of any and all action (or social struggle) as necessarily local, limited, and partial--but nonetheless effective. By discarding "grand narratives" (like the liberation of the entire working class) and focusing on specific local goals (such as improved day care centers for working mothers in your own community), postmodernist politics offers a way to theorize local situations as fluid and unpredictable, though influenced by global trends. Hence the motto for postmodern politics might well be "think globally, act locally"--and don't worry about any grand scheme or master plan.

06 October 2005

Forty Two

I believe that this here country...these United States of America can be the best possible country it can be without exploitation or off shoring...or cronyism...or imperialistic adventurism under the guise of fearmongering. The current administration is the worst this country has ever seen...and it's funny, it isn't just the "left" that notices that...true conservatives know that this administration is eroding civil liberties and running the country's economics into the ground. I have little tolerance for people who espouse ideals that are against my belief in "everyman". I have no room for racism, being less than fully white myself...and having grandchildren of mixed race and a black son-in-law who has been through so much and come out the other side a better man than most. I am an honest man...of that you can be certain. You will get nothing from me except my honest opinion smithed from the embers of war, with a rifle and radio in one, and with medicines to treat the poor and wounded in another...spew away...I can turn the radio dial to a myriad of chicken hawk, war mongering, racist radio commentators any day of the week and hear the same diatribe. The internet is filled with negativity and bs...I can read that anytime, and I have...

Government Whore...a song

Spent two years on a foreign shore Nothin' but a government whore I sold my body, they stole my mind Told me, "Boy, now you're mine." Those two years 'neath the southern cross Turned out to be my country's loss Kill commies for Christ, the Chaplain told me As I prayed on a wounded knee. Cuz, "Might makes right, can't you see boy?" It's "Our country tis of thee, boy" But killin' people to set 'em free...boy, seemed like fuckin' for virginity. What do you know when you're only 18 Twelve years of school's the only life you've ever seen Always taught from government books Always caught in propaganda's hooks So I moved to the woods, where I tried to forget I had to admit I just didn't fit Now I fight the war most nights in my dreams I wake myself to the sound of my own screams But the country didn't learn from our mistake They still fight war for big money's sake Now yellow ribbons decorate your stores And you all have become the government's whores What do you learn when you watch your televisions? You're lettin' other people make all your decisions Your name's on the government's books And you're all caught in propaganda's hooks... (Ends with taps) I wrote that at the beginning of Gulf War I...Bush the elder's... Sad but true still today.

A Letter to the Governor of Minnesota

I live in Northern Minnesota in a small home which I built over two decades ago. It has been a fabulous place to live. There are trumpeter swans that herald the morning sun in spring, letting me know that winter has passed. Deer, grouse, fishers, mink, beaver, fox, an occasional deep howl of a wolf in the distance...waterfowl of every imaginable color. Birds in abundance. These are the visions/smells/sounds I wish other Minnesotans would or could take the time to enjoy. However, everyone seems to be in such a hurry these days...careless, no sense of community or self. Abuse of the ATV trail system is rampant, the muddier and the wetter the lands the more enjoyable the ride to many of the owners of these "vehicles". President Bush has recently called for conservation of our resources. Drive only when necessary. Change incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescents. Strategically it is important to not support the terrorists through foreign oil expenditures, and it is just out and out insane to go to war over our shortsightedness. It continues to cost lives and has brought the US budget into a state of calamity. Driving unnecessarily is tantamount to support of Al Qaeda...and attacking the roots of our strength. We should be striving for answers in these troubled times, before the US falls down like a house of cards. I am a VietNam combat veteran. I keep to myself for the most part. I enjoy the woods. There are groups of people who bring their horses up here in the State Forest to ride and enjoy each other's company. There are bicyclists and walkers that like to enjoy the woods, as well. With the ATVs being so dominant these days...and many of the riders having a total disregard for the rules of use, consideration to other people and to the environment...the quality of life is going down. Noise abatement is a real issue. Some of these folks modify their muffler systems and pipes to make them sound 'badder'...It is dangerous and uncomfortable for anyone else using the resources in a quiet, considerate manner. In the interest of all Minnesotans, not just a vocal special interest, I ask that you revisit the rules and regulations concerning ATV use on public lands. This is all of our land, and you are the governor to all the people. Small problem for you. The cities have more clout and a stronger voice in your ears...but it is important that this issue be addressed. And addressed now. ATVs are a tool, not a toy. I have no objection to their correct use...but the abuse is rampant. These are special times that call for courage from our elected officials. Conservation of fossil fuels, conservation of resources, conservation of the quiet way of life in the northwoods...those are all your responsibility. Please take the time to read this, give it some thought...and speak to the issue. If you are in the area, I'd be glad to show you areas of abuse.

Dance to the Beat of a Simple Drum

Y'know...money is an odd thing, and people are odder yet. The year that I met my wife (which was 1988) I made 1900 dollars working odd jobs, etc. I lived alone and spent 700 dollars total for the year. That included my property taxes. I had no phone and no bills. No internet back then, no tv...gardens for food and dry beans and rice. I was quite content...saved 1200 bucks for the year. Most people would scoff at that being a possibility, much less a reality. 3500 dollars for my house (my land cost another 2500 dollars) back in 1984...that included putting in a road, clearing land that I'd logged, having manure and topsoil hauled in, digging 3 foot deep garden beds 4 ft wide by 25 ft long...backfilling my building after it was built...another 400 dollars built my small garage. The 3500 dollars included two small solar panels, a battery and some lights...it included my wood stove. It included some lumber from the local mill for flooring, joists and sheathing..Most all of the materials in my house were gleaned locally...logs peeled, stones rolled... Labor is the expense, and it was done out of my love, not money... It was kinda like building a fort, or doing an art project...or both. The labor of those days returns to me each sunrise...it shelters me, it nurtures me, it gives me sustenance. I love, it loves back...very easy, very sane. The details are less important than the mantra...keep it simple. As Charles Mingus said: Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity. Or E. F. Schumacker: Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction. Hans Hofmann: The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.

25 September 2005

Back to the land

A few decades ago, I looked for the cheapest place I could afford that would give me shelter and provide a place to grow some food...in an area where I could support myself with odd jobs. Nowadays I wouldn't know where to go, but back then it brought me to Northern Minnesota via a Strout Realty Catalog advertising a one room school house on 5 acres with a stream acting as the western boundary. With a well, septic system and two bathrooms (boys and girls).. I bought it for 3000 dollars cash. Built a little barn (really little) out of milled slab wood, was given two milk goats, a dozen chickens, a pig, two geese and then began creating my garden by cleaning out the barn of a family dairy about a mile away. Used their tractor and manure spreader and pitchfork, and my back, arms and legs to create a fertile 1/6th acre garden. The pig had a moveable pen 8 X 8, and he helped to create more garden space. Voila...homesteading on a shoestring. I sold the schoolhouse 3 years later after finding and buying 10 acres of forested land within a state forest (which has since grown to 50)...the money I got from the sale allowed me to get a good jump start on my current homestead, underground house (that school house was out and out drafty)...solar electricity (rudimentary, at first)...more gardens and more solitude. Fruit trees, etc. It's an evolving process. I was not "going back" to some idealised past where people grubbed for food with primitive implements and burned each other for practicing witchcraft. I was going forward to a new and better sort of life...a life that is more fun than the over-specialised office or factory job...a life that brings challenge and daily initiative back to work...and variety...and occasional great success and occasional abysmal failure. It means the complete acceptance of what you do or don't do...and a true joy comes from the creation of your homestead...it is striving for a higher quality of life...food which is fresh and organically grown...for the health of body, mind and spirit. Humans should not exploit, but rather 'husband' the land around them...This planet is not exclusively for our own use...there are many life forms with whom we should co exist in celebration. Simple elegance. Living simply and sanely.

12 January 2005

Where do you get your information?

Americans are inundated with information moment to moment...finely crafted, and spoon fed. It's not only that the corporately owned media slants newsworthy events...but pharmaceutical companies are given free space for the latest 'discovery'...politicians have photo opportunities on the nightly news. It's all so...well...sick. When I was a young boy my father gave me a wonderful gift...and it wasn't for my birthday, or as a present for some special holiday. He just gave it to me out of...well, y'know...love. It was a transistor shortwave radio. One of the best at the time. I scanned the airwaves nightly...listening to information from Radio Havana and Radio Moscow...Radio Deutschewelle, the BBC, Radio Netherlands...over the years there were many stations, too many to mention...covering every conspiracy theory, every real live event...slanting this way, spinning that way. I knew that within the context of these distant radio waves was the 'truth'. No one broadcaster gave it to me. It was only through the filter of my own discerning views...my education...that I could find what the 'truth' was. It is that way today. There are more places to receive information...and more to glean...but it is within our abilities to find some semblance of 'truth' in all the mish-mash. It is our responsibility. We travel to Mexico almost yearly for extended periods of time. Mexico city has about a dozen daily newspapers, all with different headlines, and all with a different idea of what is newsworthy. Sometimes the same event will make the front pages of a couple of papers with completely different "spins" on the event. The media is not corporately owned in the same manner as it is in the US... and the ownership groups have wildly different biases and structures... from the anarcho-syndicalist Excelsior to the intellectual Marxist Jornada to the business-oriented Reforma. There is room for all of us to grow...to learn...to listen, read and find the truth. Don't be buffaloed by sound-bytes.

09 January 2005

In the Midst of the all the World's Problems

The devastation of the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean...GW's 100 million dollar advertising blitzkrieg against Social Security...a mounting deathtoll in the quagmire that is known as "Iraq"... I turn today to the American's National Football Conference playoff game at Lambeau field with temperatures in the 20s...and snow flurries. This is the third time this season that the Norris League's bitter rivals, the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, have met. The first two games had identical scores of 34 to 31, were decided in the waning seconds of the game, Green Bay the victor. This is the first time the Vikes and Pack have met in a post-season playoff game. My prediction? The Vikings will spend much time in preparation...ultimately deciding they should wear the Versace uniforms with Gucci gloves, and the fur collars rather than the stoles. Randy Moss will opt for 6 inch spike high heels, giving up his speed advantage for some extra height. Meanwhile, the Packers will hide behind referees and cheerleaders, wearing their street fightin' clothes and packin' brass knuckles and chains. The Viking's wide receiver's strategy is to distract the Packer's defensive backs (the ones who have gotten in touch with their feminine side...and some others who are having sexual identity crises). Shaking their collective booties may just give the Vikings the edge...unless Moss decides to go to the locker room early in the first quarter...his well known cooperative team spirit crushed. I have been surprised before.

08 January 2005

I disagree with assertions that dropping two atomic bombs on civilian populations was necessary to end WWII...the war was over, for all practical purposes...regardless of what you have learned. I believe it was meant to send a message to The Soviet Union, and was incomprehensibly fiendish. I also believe the war in Iraq is wrong. Men, women and children who had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein have died excruciatingly painful deaths...thousands upon thousands more have been maimed. The sanctions also killed thousands upon thousands of innocents, and achieved little to nothing else. Clinton was as much a bastard as the Bushes. The same with the unconscienable bombings in Kosovo. The history of the US involvement in VietNam is creepy, to say the least. Stanley Karnow wrote a great book on the history of that conflict...and PBS later did a series of episodes based on the book...with actual footage from the war. Another vulgar, anti-civilian adventure...that has yet to be explained in terms that anyone could comprehensibly understand and believe. (this is a very personal observation, having spent nearly two years in a combat role there). The reason that November 11th is set aside now as Veterans' Day (formerly Armistice Day) is that there was an agreement between all parties fighting in WWI that there would be an armistice signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918...whilst waiting for this 'significant' moment to come, many people died in sensless combat: "November 11, 1918. The final hours pulsate with tension as every man in the trenches hopes to escape the melancholy distinction of being the last to die in World War I. The Allied generals knew the fighting would end precisely at 11:00 A.M, yet in the final hours they flung men against an already beaten Germany. The result? Eleven thousand casualties suffered–more than during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Why? Allied commanders wanted to punish the enemy to the very last moment and career officers saw a fast-fading chance for glory and promotion. Joseph E. Persico puts the reader in the trenches with the forgotten and the famous–among the latter, Corporal Adolf Hitler, Captain Harry Truman, and Colonels Douglas MacArthur and George Patton. Mainly, he follows ordinary soldiers’ lives, illuminating their fate as the end approaches. Persico sets the last day of the war in historic context with a gripping reprise of all that led up to it, from the 1914 assassination of the Austrian archduke, Franz Ferdinand, which ignited the war, to the raw racism black doughboys endured except when ordered to advance and die in the war’s last hour. Persico recounts the war’s bloody climax in a cinematic style that evokes All Quiet on the Western Front, Grand Illusion, and Paths of Glory.The pointless fighting on the last day of the war is the perfect metaphor for the four years that preceded it, years of senseless slaughter for hollow purposes. This book is sure to become the definitive history of the end of a conflict Winston Churchill called “the hardest, cruelest, and least-rewarded of all the wars that have been fought.” This is a quote from the Publisher's release for Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: The War to End All Wars and Its Violent End by Joseph E. Persico. Immoral...or even amoral...each and every one of these dastardly events. What would Jesus, or your favorite demigod, say?


Such a strange concept...and yet it seems so real.

The Banks of the Kenmore River

Nopales and Agave greet me when I rise Mesquite and Bamboo Shelter my cries Carmen, oh Carmen Why have you left me? You cast a long shadow From Tubac to Tumacacori Santa Cruz is heading north Santa Rita watches over me White caps on the Rio Kenmore There's a friend I wait to see Carmen oh Carmen Why have you left me? You cast a long shadow From Tubac to Tumacacori The Sonoran sun shines brightly Along the shores of the Kenmore Warm these bones, take my sorrow Say you'll stay forever more Carmen oh Carmen You cast a long shadow (we are camped near the Santa Cruz river, in the town of Carmen...and the Kenmore river is the grey water draining from our friend's washing machine)

07 January 2005

We regurgitate what we are told....and call it History

This is how history becomes so distorted, and this happened in our recent history...not 20 years ago...not 50 years ago...not 100 years ago. 19 guys with boxcutters and small knives hijacked some planes and crashed them into several buildings, killing people and creating general mayhem. We saw the images on our television screens. Our intelligence agencies apparently had no inkling that this was imminent. Our air defense agencies scrambled no jets to protect our soil. We were told what happened and how it happened. We were told what to believe. We only have a perception from someone else's perspective. A perception twice removed. Not an experience...but voices from a box...words on paper. And now we drop cluster bombs and napalm in Iraq. Now we ask, "shouldn't we develop even stronger, more powerful and more efficient weaponry?" "When we have a 'next time' do we lie down and roll over?" There's a major disconnect here. I often think we are dupes...dupes of the strongest military establishment ever to be assembled on this earth. And we tremble.

Who Was That Masked Man?

All of our ancestors stood around the same primal fire, and they were all in awe (and afraid) of the wonders around them. One night a dragon came to eat the moon...and they all fell on their knees, shaken. When the moon was released from the dragon's mouth they all shouted! "Arghh", said one..."Orgggggg", cried another..."yeeeeeeeek", yelled out another. That began the big argument that lasts until this day....Who was the great being that frightened away the beast? What is his name? And how do we achieve his favor? It's like listening to the rantings of the inmates of an asylum.

06 January 2005

Boxer Rebellion?

The only Senator with the balls to stand up and be counted was Barbara Boxer. Take a bow...and thanks. But no debate ensued...the disenfranchised were still standin' out in the rain. Discussions with 'Pro-Life' people today..."every life is sacred...blah blah blah"...Well then, why is it alright for the US military to use cluster bombs and napalm? Why was it alright to drop two...not one, but two...atomic weapons on the Japanese? Capital punishment...the state killing in cold blood. No one is "pro-abortion"...abortion is a tragedy...every child should be educated as to the results of a moment of pleasure. Abortion should never be used as a method of birth control...but when a woman's health is at risk and she and her doctor make a learned decision...that decision is theirs to choose...not mine to dictate. People speak of history as if they were personally there. History is something you read about, or were told about...and is framed by the speaker or the writer. History of wars, history of exploits...conquests...Any conversation about history is merely regurgitation. What should we do now? Justice, peace and egalitarianism. Education and universal suffrage. Drop your guns, we've got you covered!

05 January 2005

Was it all just a Skull and Bones scam, after all?

So much hope...and so much money raised at the grassroots level to try and oust the current administration. Will anyone challenge the election results? Will one Senator have the courage to stand up and question the status quo? John Kerry won't. John Edwards won't. There were serious 'irregularities' in Ohio...in New Mexico...in Florida (again)...and yet very little has been said about any of it, aside from a few progressive publications, blogs and radio. GW swears he's going to 'spend his political capital'. He has a 'mandate' to reward the insurance companies (tort reform), Wall Street (social security reform) and the evangelical right wingnuts (judicial reform). Joe and Jane American are too busy shuffling their credit cards and shopping at WalMart, The Home Depot and other conduits through which China is sucking the lifeblood of the US...too busy to pay attention to what is going on around them, through them and in their names. Frogs in the water...they don't notice the temperature is rising day by day. Before they can wake up to reality and hop out, the water will have boiled them alive. What can we do? We can create change in our daily lives by being aware that our actions cause ripples. Support local businesses. Be kind to each other. Simple solutions to a very complex situation. Educate yourself and speak out against the madness. Information is available...but avoid the mass media that is corporate owned and operated. For now...I wish us all peace and justice.

Rain in the Desert...flood amidst a drought

As I write this, snow is piling up at elevations above 4000 feet. Tornado warnings were posted amidst a hailstorm in the Phoenix area. The celebrations of the NewYear and the devastation of the recent tsunami are hangovers. More of the same bs in Iraq, bombings and killings. The election of GW is about to be made a matter of record by the electoral college...the dollar is dropping like the mercury on the thermometer, but while I'm certain that there will be warmer days ahead...the dollar's future is uncertain. Meanwhile, sports and entertainment rule the day.

Myers-Briggs Personality Type

Based on my Myers-Briggs personality type I am an owl, not surprising: INTPs are analytical and thoughtful individuals who prefer to wor...