Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Vital Essence Of Masturbananda


We turn to a subject of great interest to gurus and swamis everywhere, the significance of the vital essence, whether it's better to carefully preserve and transmute it as an inner energy for directing the consciousness into the divine realms eventually, or whether it's just as well to expel it, thereby experiencing precious glimpses of divine consciousness now.

We've all read the various masters on this subject, and for the most part there's not a libertine in the bunch. As far as we know, it would seem, their cajones must have shriveled down to raisins, no longer having any real reason to exist. Or they were severed in a wayward fit of holiness, leaving them eunuchs eager to justify their ignorance. We hate to ascribe impure motives to their teachings, which may have been well-meaning and sincere.

Some indeed can be convincing, giving the rationale summarized above, that some inner transmutation does occur by means of mental/spiritual channeling of the energy of the vital essence. But experience has taught many of us who've taken their teachings seriously (for a while) that some energy is not meant to be simply contained. It's like herding wild horses; nature meant them to run free. And face it, they'll kick the fence down in the middle of the night and run free anyway!

Fortunately, we have a champion in Swami Sri Masturbananda, whose overall doctrine of glimpsing the divine consciousness now would very likely suggest a different philosophy on the so-called vital essence. The master wonderfully says, "Use it or lose it." Sri Masturbananda gave a wry grin, then explained that it's just like the nuts on trees. The meat of the goodie in the nut has the purpose of creating and nurturing new trees or plants (reproduction). That is its vital essence. But it also good right now for food and the pleasure of the moment.

In short, the teachings on the vital essence of all the other masters is nothing but a crock. Our own guru's teachings lead the way to the wonderful experiences of this moment. He is very realistic, knowing that most of us will not otherwise glimpse divinity in this incarnation or the next 1,000. But the source of our lives has granted us a means of ecstasy now, for each one. (For women, of course, there is a corollary experience, but what it is precisely is a mystery to men.)


One of the stories of Swami Sri Masturbananda goes like this:

As we recall, he says, "No man may look upon me in my heat and live." But one wag wanted to put that warning to the test. And guess what, he died!

Sri Masturbananda had retired to his bathroom for a session of meditation. But the wag was hiding behind the shower curtain, thinking his presence was unknown to the master. But the master's eyes and ears of omniscience know all! He knew the guy was back there ... and very soon would be a goner.

Right in the heat of the moment, the wag peeked around the edge of the shower curtain. Just then, it was the crowning moment of the master's experience. To punish the interloper, he directed all the energy of his svadhisthana chakra (crotch) to his forehead. Eyes suddenly ablaze, this is the only recorded case of a master channeling his vital essence -- lock, stock, and barrel -- to the forehead and out the ears, registering an unheard-of bifurcated horizontal climax. It was obviously a perfect 10!

Whatever it was, it was way too much for the wag, whose skin instantly began to sag. His skin then fell away and his sinews next dried up within seconds. When the smoke finally cleared, aides stepped in to carry him out, now a freshly stripped skeleton. He was literally left with nothing but bones, and I'd say he was lucky to keep those!

Sri Masturbananda taught an important lesson that day, for that guy not ever to do that again, and, according to witnesses on the scene, he never did.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Swami Sri Masturbananda -- The Smiling Saint


The word "Sri" is a title, kind of like "Rev." or "Your Holiness." It is usually attributed to Indian swamis as a sign of respect and recognition of their spiritual attainments. It is not -- we repeat, it is not -- a misspelling of "Sir." "Ananda" as part of a saint's name means the bliss of.

Different masters and different schools of thought teach different things, of course. Many practice a strict asceticism, in matters of diet, being married, etc. Others are more lenient. Plus, each of the masters seems to have things to say about sex, and in this area they nearly all have very strict opinions. For some, quite naturally, what they preach isn't what they always practice, although there are those who are sincere, strict, chaste, or what have you. At least they haven't been caught yet.

But it seems that strictness isn't the way for everyone, as one notable master believes, His Holiness Swami Sri Masturbananda, known by other appellations, such as "The Smiling Saint," "The Secluded Saint," "The Saintly Stallion," and, a playful title, "Old Shoot The Moon." When I first met him, he addressed me with such kindness and contentment, and I'll never forget the first beautiful words I heard him utter, "Please let me wash up before I shake your hand." When visiting his ashram, I was pleased that each of the chelas (students), like the master himself, had their own private bathrooms.

Sri Masturbananda offers his chelas glimpses of enlightenment. He teaches that there is a full and direct experience of divine consciousness without ending, true enough, but he is very realistic in this sense: You're not likely to get there anytime soon. In general, the best you're going to do is to experience quick glimpses of divine awareness and ecstasy. What he teaches is that the approach toward those glimpses is half the fun, then the glimpses themselves are the other half, and cleaning up is the rest.

I've only seen The Smiling Saint frown one time, and that's when I asked to be able to behold him in his full glory. This he said is strictly forbidden, as "No man may look upon me in my heat and live." But he relented to this extent, allowing me to sit just outside the door as he practiced his meditations. I was left to my imagination, but I wasn't disappointed...

The whole thing sounded very typical at one level, yet everything was accentuated to a much greater degree. For one, it sounded like the pages of a magazine were caught in an industrial-strength fan, fluttering with speed and violence. Second, the swami's breathing was extremely intense, like the sound of a blast furnace door being opened and closed very rapidly. And finally, at the point of greatest consciousness, when he was most directly in touch with the divine, I heard such a fierce heaving of breath, then a moment of absolute silence. It was like time itself had stopped, then there was an ascending whoosh of excited breath, and, lastly, a splat that sounded like a giant paintball hitting a brick wall.

I sat there, myself breathless, stunned, and after a very intense quarter of an hour, I heard a calm running of tap water from his room, and the saint stepped out to greet me, appearing very drowsy but with his trademark smile quite intact.

I didn't know what to say, since it was clear that I was in the presence of greatness. He extended his right hand, still very hot, and gave me a welcome blessing. I managed a stuttered prayer: "P-please ac-accept me as yo-your student, Master." And so it was.

This was all a number of years ago, but to this day I hear things about him at his home in Mother India. I hear that the years have slowed him down to a great extent. Now he walks more with a shuffle and apparent pain, but there's one thing that the years have not dimmed, hallelujah! He's still a stallion where it counts!

The essence of Sri Masturbananda's teaching remains so true: If you recognize this is the best you're likely to do, the closest you're likely to come to divine consciousness in this incarnation, then go for it. Don't be like the frowners, the naysayers, the ascetics, always beating the flesh but never in the right place. Find the sweet spot, zero in on the equipment God gave you, and you shall glimpse the divine!

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Costume Idea -- A Rectal Thermometer

Guess what, I didn't see one at the Halloween store, a rectal thermometer costume.

Were I to have one, of course I'd have to make it. My thought is that it'd be very minimal, like a round board, a dowel?, painted to look like a thermometer, with a nubby on it. Then it'd be down my back, with the numbers and the red line and nubby facing out, over my head about 2 feet. Then for the giveaway coloring, melt a big Hershey's chocolate bar and smear it on my face and forehead and some on the thermometer itself.

What else there is to say about it, I can't think of much. There might be an easier way, a better way, and a funnier way. But that's my idea.

I ran the idea by someone I was talking to, and she didn't like the idea one single bit. But she was also a little ticked off about something, so that might've skewed her opinion. Her idea was that the rest of the thermometer would be painted on a white shirt, then the part going up my neck would suggest continuity. That's true enough. But even with that good suggestion, she couldn't get over her opinion that it was disgusting.

But it's really all theoretical anyway, because I don't have anywhere really to go on Halloween. Just stay home and give the kids who come by their little treats.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Maxfield Parrish World

Now those were pictures, back then, Maxfield Parrish. Pictures worth cutting off the calendar and framing and keeping around. I might have to go out to a poster store and see if they have any of these. But whether it'd make me feel better or worse is an open question. Because you're soon to run into the frame, then the frame into the real world, and suddenly you're right back here.

Whatever world these ladies and guys lived in is the one I want to find. Up with the peaceful mountain crags, daydreaming among the solid pillars, and learning lute chords with dear friends. Somewhere out there there's a place where it isn't all just interstate traffic, cell phone calls, clogged up toilets, fleas, and Republicans. Although of course I'd rather live in a land of clogged up toilets than Republicans. At least when they're full of $#*+ it's a temporary situation. Plus, it's jobs they can't outsource. By the time the Chinese got here to fix it, we'd have our own American Roto Rooter guy on the scene, running his snake down the hole.

Just looking at the pictures, it'd be great to have that kind of friendship and acquaintances. A lot of pleasant relaxing. Hanging out by the reflecting pool in a land of innocence and beauty. I need more garden scenes, more drinking tea scenes, maybe a life of very casual symposiums, flowers, and Calgon baths. Where we're living and learning, hanging out in diaphanous robes, swinging amidst the fragrance of flowers, and taking a snooze in the bower or gazebo.

As for learning, that'd be a great way to do it, the learning of friends. You could introduce a few pleasant, respectful children to the mix. Like we were when we were kids, studious, quiet little devils. Bringing a big plate of apples to our teacher everyday. No screaming, kicking, no tantrums, no having to listen to their little fights or referee their petty jealousy fits.

So let's say we had a bunch of projects. Lute playing, swinging in the trees, looking out over the mountains, etc. It'd be friends with friends, not rushed, learning little things from each other, and being happy forever!

Now it's time to get back to real life. Maxfield Parrish had to quit painting when he got to the edge of the canvas. So that's what it amounts to, a picture on the wall.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Adventures In Real Life -- Hairdressing

I share one big thing in common with former Beatle Ringo Starr, our mutual desire to be a ladies hairdresser. But, alas, I guess it isn't going to happen. For him, he had the curse of great fame and riches that lured him from his true destiny. For me, I had the curse of a lack of ambition, or if not that, then follow-through.

Why exactly Ringo wanted to be a ladies hairdresser, I can't remember. I just remember hearing about it in the '60s and thinking of all we had in common. I mostly wanted to be one for the flair of it, and the notoriety. Notoriety, because in my town at that time there was a semi-notorious ladies hairdresser called Mr. Felix, who everyone talked about. The ladies, because he was this flagrant character with some unusual flair. The men, probably because they thanked God they weren't him.

But I thought, that's cool ... Mr. Felix. What ever happened to him, I don't know. He probably got a big contract out of town doing hair for ladies who could afford to tip him generously. To keep him in purple shirts and boutonnieres. And doing things extravagantly. OK, I could've been Mr. Felix, Jr.! And perhaps the shame of my family, although who knows, I might've been in a different town and dropped the Jr. from my name.

This all came back to me today when I was at a local hair cutting and styling shop. But watching the ladies (and one man) cut and style hair, it looked pretty hard. And maybe there isn't that much glamor in it, except what a character like Mr. Felix might bring to it. The staff was treating it like any job, which would be to be expected.

Another thing I noticed was how much they have to talk to the customers. And how much hair they have to touch.

A few of the customers were old guys older than me. I figured they'd be at a legitimate barber shop, but something's happened with the barber shop demographic we had when I was a kid. Here they had young ladies and old men.

One of the hairdressers, a young lady, was stunningly beautiful. I was thinking, too bad I'm not an old rich guy like Tony Curtis (was), maybe she'd like to marry me. Then we could come back to the half acre and I'd get free haircuts for life. And she'd have my electric company for the next 10 years, which will be about the extent of my likely potency level before serious old age strikes.

I had a sudden ethical challenge. An old guy who got his hair cut had a bunch of hair on his back. I thought about calling his attention to it, which might make the hair cutter look bad. I thought about getting the hair cutter's attention, which might also have ramifications. My third option was to do nothing, which was what I chose. My rationale: The chances of me being here and seeing that weren't good. It would've happened whether I was here or not. It has negligible significance. It's not like it's a tarantula. So I didn't say anything. And guess what, it worked out, because when the guy turned to get his coat, the hair cutter noticed it and brushed it off for him.

My big dream of being the next Mr. Felix is one of those dreams that will die someday. Already I know it's not going to happen. Just to go to school -- and to be the only old man in the class -- would be too much of a burden at this stage.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

There's Anger Over Having To Offer Discounts

There's a subject that's always near and dear to my heart, the secret enmity businessmen hold against their customers due to the demands their business makes on them.

It'd be one thing if you were the only so-and-so merchant in town, like the only gas station or the only craft shop or the only pizza place. But because you have to compete against a bunch of other cutthroats, that means you have to offer discounts, and really bend over backwards to get customers. It can be tough on quotas and profit margins. But because a guy needs a job, he has to do it.

I'm real reluctant to buy anything, because I don't want to make these guys feel worse having a sale than they would not having it. Because I've talked to enough of them, I know what they're feeling. One thing I can say, these guys hate debit cards, true. One, they have to pay a little fee every time you use one. That's a very practical reason not to like them. But the second big reason is a psychological reason, because the customer's almost dismissive of the importance of the sale when he's just flashing plastic. Back in the old days, the businessman was more in charge, psychologically, in the transaction, because the customer had to carefully count out a number of bills and pieces of change. The businessman could see the approach of buyer's remorse on the guy's face, knowing that the farther they went in the transaction, the more he had the guy over the barrel. There was something of a victorious feeling in making a sale when the customer was putting some real thought and even sweat into the transaction. But now, they flash the plastic, and it barely registers on their blank visage; what they show, in fact, is a look of entitlement. It puts the businessman in the back seat, or in the inferior position.

I've sold things at craft sales. See one of my posts on selling Easter bunnies at Easter. So I know how livid the businessman is right below the surface. I felt that too. The customer has that sense of entitlement that's disgusting. I saw it clearly when I had to put a discount on my bunnies just to move a few of them. It makes you bitter. And bitterness gnaws on you till it bursts into full rage unless you get a grip on yourself. I think it's good to have a few cardboard boxes and a club right outside the back door of your business, so you can go out and beat and kick them, anything to bring down the rage at having to offer discounts.

Just the other night, I had a guy at a pizza place telling me some of his troubles. He's a guy I've known for some time, so it didn't take long to loosen his tongue. He's the perfect illustration of this business principle in action.

The orders came down from headquarters, sell a large 3-topper pizza for $10. OK, since they're normally between $14-16 -- supposed to be -- that means knocking $4-6 off each one, a killer. So the customer naturally has the audacity to order a 3-topper for $10, then the guy has to say to them, "You saved $5 on your order," or whatever it was. Gritting his teeth the whole time.

I was commiserating, "That's terrible ... you could probably use that $5!" He readily agreed. But he said it apparently didn't matter, because the customers are all going crazy for the discount. Meaning the rest of the menu, the specialty pizzas, and most importantly the profit margin, are suffering. He said, "Everyone goes for the discount. They won't order a pizza at full price anymore. Oh no!" He wiped his hands on a towel, getting off some pepperoni grease. "They're looking for good values. They don't realize it costs us money, which we're losing hand over fist!"

He seemed embarrassed to be unloading on me, maybe since I hadn't ordered yet, and of course I would've been ordering one of the discount pizzas. But since he'd gone that far, he continued, pointing at the drink machine. "And the same thing goes for the free refills -- it's killing us! The worst thing they ever did was give the customer free access to the drink machine!" I saw he had a couple of handmade signs on the drink machine: "Refills for guests dining in only," "No outside cups," and "Even ice costs us something -- please hold down your portions." This I hadn't imagined, and obviously I would've been drinking my fill as well, but of course I didn't dare to now.

He asked what I wanted, but I was a little afraid to order anything, so I made up a story about having just eaten at the big $5 All-You-Can-Eat buffet down the street, and said I was just dropping in to say hello. That seemed to soothe his frayed nerves, because he didn't have to get his hands greasy again making me a discount pizza.

Business is tough. And we can all help out by paying full price. Please think about those discounts you see. They're killing the little guy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Daily Thinking About Sewage Workers

I think about sewage workers first thing every morning.

I've driven by sewage plants all my life, seeing them off the road with an assortment of facilities. They used to be completely exposed, and some still are, but now many of the ones I see have metallic domes over them. It seems like the way it used to be was they had a pipe sticking up in the middle with a horizontal spray pipe going toward the edge, rotating. Then in other towns I've been through, it's just a big exposed lake posted so you won't accidentally go swimming or fishing there.

Inside the sewage facilities, I don't know what it looks like, but this is where it gets good. Because I have various thoughts about it. My practical side, of course, says it must be very spartan, with workers in white, wearing hard hats and carrying clipboards, charting out the facts and figures, daily input and output. A guy sits in a control tower and by remote control lifts a muck screen at 10, 2, and 4 to be spray cleaned by a robotic hose. That's the practical side.

My more romantic side sees it like this, thin men in black and white gondola driver outfits, wide brimmed flat hats, with big wooden muck sticks, sort of like what the boatmen of Venice carry but tailor made for a different line of work. I see them watching a certain amount of input coming through a brick archway, then a gate falls into place so they can smooth out what they have. They go about their work very silently, only tipping their hats to the control man when it's time to pass it through to the next station. If there's an emergency, an overflow, they pull up a black neck kerchief so they can filter their breathing.

The truth is probably somewhere closer to the middle, between the workers in white with clipboards and these more romantic thin characters with their tight black pants. Be that as it may, we know they're out there doing their thing, since the work of sewage processing is a work you never hear bad things about. It runs smoothly, perhaps the most efficient and reliable thing government does.

But here's what I think every morning about sewage workers, that they're looking at the input, carefully monitoring it, and drawing one big conclusion: As the input increases, someone always says, "It looks like everyone's getting up!"

There's four big output pipes. We've got the south side of town checking in, a thinner gruel like substance, since they're so poor. The east side, robust yet modest. The north side, very stout, a workingman production. Then the west side, substantial and it doesn't stink.

6:00 is less, 6:30 more, 7:00 more yet, 7:30 the high point of the morning, 8:00 trickling off, 9:00 the schools are checking in, and so forth.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It Was Possibly Her First Time

It was possibly her first time, her first time at Dairy Queen, that is.

I'm occasionally reminded that we don't all do the same things. My little world of bed, bathroom, kitchen, couch, and DQ isn't the same world of everyone. But I expect that once you've gotten to a certain age, 25-30 at least, that you've done some of the same things as everyone else.

I was at DQ the other day and overheard part of an exchange between a customer and the serving guy. The customer had a kind of Betty Boop voice, and she wasn't familiar with the menu. The serving guy was very helpful, explaining some of her options.

She wondered about the Blizzard, what that was. He said, and this is an exact quote, "The Blizzard is ice cream with candy mixed in, or toppings." Next, he continued to read off the list of flavors to her. Finally, he listed the kinds of ice cream cones she could get, chocolate, vanilla, and swirl.

I was looking for some sign that she was putting him on, but there wasn't any. This wasn't just the first day of the rest of her life, it was the first day period!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

If This Couch Could Talk

If this old couch could talk, I wonder what all it'd say. I'm sure there'd be lots on its mind, if somehow we could evince its presently mute testimony.

It's been setting there for quite a while, decades. That much we know for sure. The various parts that make it up, the legs, the arm rests, the cushions, the back, haven't forgotten what they're for. They're still in place, cohering together despite the passing of so much time.

That old couch has had a lot of people sitting on, a lot of people ... The years have been kind to it, as one after the other has plopped down on it and taken a load off. Of course I've sat there many times, maybe more time than anyone! I pretty much take it for granted, except on a day like this when I'm feeling overly sentimental.

How often do we go by a chair, a bed, or a couch without giving thought to its burdens? I know I'm not one all that faithful to express my thanks for a job well done, at least to inanimate objects. But then, you know, the years do pass by, and you look down and see it still setting there, and you suddenly realize, Good God, haven't we been through a lot together?

Perhaps I'll never know what the couch actually would say if it could talk. But I can give voice, at least in my own mind, to the speechless. I truly believe that's a worthwhile exercise.

If the couch could talk, I'm sure it'd remember well the day Grandma and Grandpa brought it home from the couch store. I wasn't there, but I'm sure Grandpa probably sat on several difference couches before he settled on this one. And maybe Grandma razzed him a bit for being indecisive, but, hey, if you're going to be sitting on a couch for years at a time, it pays to scrutinize your options. As it turned out, the couch outlived Grandpa, even though it's not technically alive and he was.

I know for a fact, if the couch could talk, it'd say something about us kids. We'd be up on it tussling, smacking each other. Or we'd be in the other room tussling and smacking each other, and they'd put us on the couch for punishment. And they'd have us lined up on it for pictures. I was looking through the family albums and that's what I found. Never a picture of just the couch by itself, but always with someone sitting on it.

A big moment for the couch, and a good memory if it could talk, was always Christmas. We were lined up on it again, but this time with all the joy of anticipation, practically peeing our pants with joy that Santa brought us a little sack of candy. I remember getting my candy cane and that was a big deal. I could take five or six licks a day and make it last till May.

And I know the couch would have a few memories of sick kids, home from school, sleeping on it, or tossing and turning on it, or just laying there watching TV from it. Somebody would get sick all over it once in a while, and Grandma would have to come and lovingly wash it clean again. There's been a lot of spots on the couch over the years. And maybe, just say you could slice it in pieces, you might still find evidence subcutaneously of those spots. But from the surface, with so much cleaning and so many other activities taking place on it, you don't see anything. It's self-cleaning.

I know something the couch would probably say, Hey, give me back that quarter, from all the times I've reached my hand down it looking for change. I've also found pens, dirty pills, receipts, little toys, and all manner of whatnot in its cushions. You never know what it's going to yield next.

Then there have been all those times of passing. And we've had loved ones over, sitting on the couch, sad as they could be that someone beloved in the family had died. That's the way it was for Grandpa. His place on the couch was suddenly empty, and the cushion in that section got quite a break, until someone else finally decided it was OK to sit there.

There's a lot of memories in that old couch. And somehow, if it were possible, I'd love to talk over old times with it. Maybe it heard some gossip I missed out on, including, who knows, something about me.

EVOCATIVE UPDATE -- The more I think of it, the more there is to say. What of the babies being changed? Or the toddlers who sat here when bad, the bigger kids rasslin' around, a few who lay there and kicked the arms (attached well enough to endure it.) Then there was Grandpa rocking back and forth when laughing. And all those times he'd dose off for a catnap. Or Grandma sewing a doily ... sitting right there. And all the boys and the girls they brought home. And the girls and the boys they brought home. Surely someone did some hanky panky on this old couch, and if the couch could talk, we'd find out about it!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Christine O'Donnell Reveals Mice With Human Brains

I have to admit this is the first time I've heard of this. But according to this video, it's Christine O'Donnell's claim that she saw mice with fully functioning human brains, and presents the photograph above as evidence.

So what do you think? Is she on to something or is she simply on something?

She says the science is actually there, that scientists have come up with these creatures, regular mice in no way distinguishable from other mice except for an exposed human brain protruding out of the top of their heads! Which, I guess when you think of it, is a pretty big distinction.

The one she got the photo of, if you look closer, is holding a book. Whether he's reading it or not, we can't say, but that's the clear implication.

I don't know what to make of this. There needs to be some limits. Can we afford to allow her a position of power, knowing she's set to unleash these little creatures on our country? In my opinion, that would simply be irresponsible.

Exploding Pumpkins And An Armored Car Heist

Something about seeing an armored car gets me humming the "Mission Impossible" theme song.

Plus, I saw a show on the Science Channel about how they're made. And they're made not to be vulnerable to heists. But still, we've seen enough shows where the impossible is possible.

Way back when, they didn't have any security at all, except what the driver and attendant could provide. I have a Superman DVD, one of the older serials, where there's troubles with armored car heists around Metropolis. And it's quite a puzzler. But it turns out it's an inside job, and the cars are being driven into the back of a truck.

It doesn't seem like that could happen today. Because of satellite technology, computer tracking, automated locks, doors that can only be opened by remote control, and, of course, police now know about the old back of the truck trick. The two bit thugs in Metropolis had to go back to other crime. It looks like there's no safer job now than armored car driver.

I still can't help but think the driver and attendants are on the lookout for suspicious activity. I was at the grocery store yesterday, sitting in the parking lot, when an armored car pulled up next to the building. There were all these people walking right next to it, and on all the sides of it on their way back to their cars, or going into the store. A nursing home bus pulled up and pulled in front of the armored car. I thought for sure any one of these folks might be killed.

After a while, with the attendant inside the store, the driver, maybe as some kind of security protocol, drove the truck around the parking lot, then returned to the same place to park. Naturally, I pulled the newspaper up in front of my face, then ripped a hole to look through till he was past. I saw a guy hobble in front of the armored car and pictured him being immediately machine-gunned down, because it very easily could've been a ruse.

I kept wondering what was taking the attendant so long inside the store. Maybe even now he was being tied up in the backroom and a lookalike was putting on his clothes. Or, and this really could happen, maybe he was a thief, went into the store, got the money from the bank, and disappeared out the back door.

I started wondering, how would a SWAT team take this vehicle? Like if they really planned it out. They could be on top of the store, then immediately descend on the the car when the attendant opened the door. There was a whole display of pumpkins next to the truck, maybe 200. They could have them rigged to blow up right when the guy opened the door and rush the car in the ensuing mayhem.

There was enough possibilities not all that far-fetched that could've happened that I decided I'd better get out of there. So I left, interestingly enough without seeing the attendant leave the store. He was in there forever. It seems like they'd want a quicker exchange. Especially with so many pumpkins.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Scientific American

I understand there's a new magazine, founded in 1845, called Scientific American. I like that. Science, finally, has something to be patriotic about. It's much nicer to keep it parochial than to universalize it, like Scientific Earthling. Plus, if we called it that, who are we actually talking to?

As you probably know -- I've written about it a few times -- I've been watching the Science Channel on TV a lot. It's given me some new insights into the nature of things, as far as the microscope and telescope can take us. I've been interested to learn about all the moons the planets in the Solar System have. Did you know if you were on Jupiter, and someone said, "Let's go walking in the moonlight," they'd say, "Can it be done any other way?"

But watching the Science Channel helps me also with lots of other things closer to home. It'd be hard to catch me these days without my white coat and carrying a clipboard. Everything's an experiment. Like, when I cook, I hold lab rats over the various pots and skillets, to note the effect of the food on them. If they die, I don't eat it. Or I put it in the deep freeze till I can discern what makes it toxic and fix it. It's one reason I like cured ham, because I believe in second chances. If science was this much fun in school, I might've been a great scientist, and I might've had Ted Williams resurrected by now.

I was always a bright kid but I figured there were clear limitations. I figured the human mind, just as an example, couldn't hold 10 concepts in mind simultaneously. This has been shown to be not necessarily so, except for Republicans. For the rest of us, there's great potential. They say we each have the equivalent of 10 terabytes of data stored between our ears. Some have less.

I'd love to keep more things in mind, but with the vagaries of how memory works, sometimes it's tough. I'm getting older, and I feel like there are things I used to know that I can't remember now. What they are escapes me at the moment. Then if I do remember them, I've forgotten what I needed them for. So that's what they mean by the similarities between very old people -- which I'm getting to be -- and infants. It pays to exercise your mind, like by filling out Sudoku puzzles and IRS forms.

One thing I definitely don't know about is mathematics. Beyond the basics of arithmetic, percentages, etc. I am able to work with fractions. I know how to balance a checking account. And other than math, since I was talking about memory, I used to know the state capitals. On science, I guess I'm still pretty dumb. But I think I'd be a lot smarter if the Science Channel were commercial-free. I see a Progressive commercial -- which I hate -- and I forget everything I know.

It'd be great to know all about angles, the rates of deterioration, half lives, the science of obsolescence, the rigors of testing, stress points in samples, factors, arrays of data points, etc., but for me, if they don't have a 'For Dummies' book, I'm never going to know it. And I don't read those.

As to the Scientific American magazine, it's great, like I said, that there's a magazine that's patriotic enough to narrow it down ... to America. Because it's obvious there should be an American exceptionalism doctrine at play when it comes to science. We can lead the way on devising more complicated equations and theories, with enough red, white, and blue variables to put other earthly scientists to shame. The whole thing, then, would generate ever deepening behaviors of pondering, with all of us studying it and writing abstracts over our morning coffee.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pigs In Blankets

We had pigs in blankets again today for lunch. The pigs come out for warmth every couple weeks. It's a bargain basement meal, a pack of hot dogs and a roll of biscuits.

The term "pigs in blankets" is one I heard in school, since it was often on the menu board they kept in the hall. So to this day when we have it, I feel like I'm back in school.

I'm not a huge fan of it as a meal, but it's economical. There's something about it I don't like. And maybe it is the school aspect of it, like maybe I associate it with having to go to P.E. afterward.

The name alone -- pigs in blankets -- is enough to make you choke.

What if you're out camping? Then you could have pigs in sleeping bags. Or pigs in pup tents. Or it's a very cold winter day? Pigs in comforters. Or you're doing spy work in the former Soviet Union? Pigs undercover. Or Afghanistan? Pigs in burkas.

I ate my two pigs in blankets today. Usually one's enough for me, but somehow I went for two. It's a very nasty meal.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pier One

This is on the different way people pronounce words, because of dialect, ignorance, or just a mouth that works that way. If a guy chews a lot of tobacco, he has to talk around it, so to the rest of us it sounds like he's lazy.

I'm not sure why some of this works, like if a big preacher with jowls and lots of self-importance says things like "The Lord gives us sussanance," the key word "sustenance" being slurred out lazily with a lot of familiarity. 

Usually it's some backwoods guy, like a guy I met in Arkansas, who said he had "bear" in his trailer. I said, "You've got a bear in your trailer?" "Yup, a whole case!"

Or how about this one, "I've been workin', I'm gonna take a shar."

Here's mine for the day, and this is the fictional guy who isn't afraid to get down and dirty: "Did your wife have a boyfriend before you met her?" "Nope, I was pier one."

Plus, he won't wear tight pants because of pier pressure.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I've Joined The Great Authors At The Library

Can it really be that I have brought culture to the library?

The library is where you expect to find the great authors. That's where I see them. I went there and checked the shelves, and all I saw were great ones. So ... that's something!

Then I went to check out the public access computer. This is a lot harder than looking at the books. They really guard that thing. A kid a few years ago reportedly saw a picture of a breast on it and that's all she wrote.

It's harder to get to because, first, there's other people waiting for it. Then, because you have to have a picture ID, your library card, a recent utility bill, and your birth certificate. They run all this stuff through the Department of Homeland Security, and you're sitting there sweating it.

The computer itself looks like any other computer, but you have to wait for your secret code, then scan your library card, then another password. But before that there's the agreement you need to sign, that you understand you're in a public place, and that this child all those years ago is still sitting at home, refusing to eat his spinach because of what he saw.

Finally, if everyone has been cleared away out of the line (and they give you a strict 20 minutes on the computer), an electric fence descends from the ceiling and is there while the final librarian checks your paperwork one more time -- and gets the call from the federal government about your fitness to use it. If everything's good, she puts on a thick glove and disengages the fence.

OK, friends, I think we've made it. At long last, it's my turn. I'm up to the computer. I need to work quickly. I type in all my access codes and, after a quick five minutes, the browser window opens. Then, so as not to waste any more time, I slowly and carefully type in the URL to my blog. And guess what! My writings at long last are on display at the library! I saw my post on "The End of the Residential Industrial Movement." That's really all I wanted to see, but since I notice there's another guy in line, waiting for the machine, I stayed for the full 20 minutes, reading some of my other industrial posts.

But isn't that awesome to realize? That I'm in the library with all the other great authors! No one can deny it! I'm right there, with Shakespeare, Joyce, Prokofiev, R.L. Stine, and the encyclopedia! People need to be very quiet when they're around me now because I might be writing something especially great.

Now, if I could only have an actual book in the library written by me. That'd be great. Because then I'd get a cut every time someone had to pay a fine on it. Think of what I could make if, say, I had 10 books published, and each one was in a thousand libraries, and at any given moment five of them were overdue. If the library split it with me 50-50, both of us would do very well.

One last request: If you happen to be reading me in a library somewhere, first, congratulations on having reached the machine. You likely would've been a survivor in World War II in one of those scenarios involving cutting through wire and running across No Man's Land. But let's say you made it, and you're reading me on the computer, remember, It's a library! It's supposed to be very quiet. So, please, no cheering or shouting "He's the Man!"

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The End Of The Residential Industrial Movement

And so that's the end of the Residential Industrial Movement (RIM).

It's all gone, after having been attacked by the Major Industrial Powers (MIP) on all fronts. We suffered the military, the voluntary militias, the feds, the state, the county, the city, the lawyers, process servers, and sheriffs on one side, and, of course, our own fellow RIM industrialists and neighbors running for the hills when the trouble came.

That's probably the worst thing. I actually could stand the attacks from our enemies. The MIP were out to get us from the get go. I was enduring their attacks before there even was a RIM! They were shooting fireballs over my roof. I'm very thankful it wasn't thatch, or I wouldn't be here today. But one thing I didn't do was run for the hills. So, to all turncoats and cowards out there ... thank you very much for all your help. ~~Sarcasm alert~~

Anyway, it's all water under the bridge now. They stabbed us in the back and that's all there is to it. Now we have to go on, or we would if anyone could get along. It's not the shuttering of the factories and all the surface things that truly killed the RIM or the spirit of the thing. It's the terrible display of constant anger and backbiting. I mean, we did some great things, things that no one really thought could be done. We came up with a thought: If some men can have their own industries, why can't all of us? So we built factories right where we live! And started to make consumer goods that were competitive in the market place, thanks to very high production way beyond demand. But now it's all gone.

For the most part, we put up a good fight against the MIP with what we had. Of course we didn't want to multiply casualties unnecessarily, because, remember, they had overwhelming military superiority. They also had semi truckloads of paperwork against us, the patent violations, and all the rest, which we'd never escape. It turns out you can't actually make a bobby pin without the bobby pin companies' patent attorneys all over it. Personally, I thought at least the circle was a shape that would be in the public domain by now, but, no, the big tire producers own it! For tires, that is. Kids are still able to draw circles in school with compasses, but they have to be careful to shred their homework because of someone's intellectual property rights.

We had some real assistance in the fight. I want to express a big thank you to Gentaro, Goro, and Iron King. But even saying that, I'm going out on a limb. Because there's been a lot of anger and complaints about them. One, they say Iron King isn't really much of a superhero, because of his sudden loss of power when he's dehydrated, which happens about a minute into any fight. True, that is an odd shortcoming, something he should look into. Like maybe carry water with him, or do more fighting next to sources of water, or an IV drip. But he did his best, so we ought to be thankful for that.

Then, one of the worst things I've heard angry complaints about has to be the Hedgerows of Warring Angels! Remember the murmuring against God in the old stories! The complaints go several directions. 1) Why didn't they just take out the MIP? Since apparently an unlimited number of them can appear, it stands to reason they could've decimated MIP factories, personnel, attorneys, etc. I agree, but they didn't. 2) There's anger against them for killing soldiers, those in the tanks they cast into hell. We like to think these guys are heroes, and they usually are. But there's something unsavory, and, I think unconstitutional, about training their fire on their fellow citizens. To me it's a war crime, so they got what they deserved. (I know I'm going to get letters on that one!) Look at it this way: It was literally an act of God! So maybe they'll each get 50 virgins in Heaven as a consolation prize. Then when their wives get there they can die all over again. My opinion on the Hedgerows: Don't complain about them or they'll get you ... and you'll deserve it!

And there's anger, widely spread, that we weren't better prepared for adversity, like we would've been had we made weapons, tanks, and missiles of our own. I can see this. How hard would it have been? We were able to make disposable diapers, wheels for hospital beds, vats, tires, and everything else you can imagine. We could've done the same thing for these other things. If you want to make a tank, heck, I've been in towns where they have tanks and jets right in the city park! All you have to do is go get one at night, take it back to the factory, dissect it, copy the parts, and you can make all you want. But we didn't think of it. My thought on this was that we'd have power in numbers. It didn't occur to me the length they would go to crush us.

Finally, there's anger against the philosophical father of Residential Industrialism. The basic gripe is that he led everyone down the primrose path, with lots of promises of prosperity and well being. I met someone who knew the guy, and I can attest, he meant well. He shouldn't be censured for simply having an idea.

As to what I'm going to do with my tire factory, warehouse, and electrical generating plant, now that they're defunct: I'm going to get some guys to pull it all down, and I hope I can sell the bricks and equipment and maybe break even. One, I can't afford to heat it. Two, I have no real need for these buildings now. And three, with the city cracking down on code violations, etc., the taxes would eat me alive.

All in all, it was an interesting experience. But, really, it will be nice to have the buildings out of the way, so I can get back the view of our half acre that I grew up seeing. I'm only glad that I built around the pussy willow trees, the big maple, and the pump, because it'll seem like home again when everything gets back to normal. And if the neighbors ever shut up.

Friday, October 15, 2010

After The Industrial Apocalypse, Welcome Home

Welcome home to all the former residential industrialists who ran for the hills! We're happy to report that most of your homes are left standing, thanks to those who were brave enough to stay behind and defend them.

It's been a tough few days, days of very bad news, with a lot of fear. Many of our number -- it's sad to say -- decided to save their own precious skin, with no regard for anyone else, such as the community they left behind. A few of us, the strong and the brave, the loyal and true, were right here at home, pitching in any way we could to defend our property, our families, and our way of life ... and theirs.

Could we have used everyone else's help? Yes, it would've come in very handy! But, you know, different people have different priorities. Different ones face adversity in different ways. Many folks, unfortunately, are nothing but cowards. I'm just thankful that a few of us were brave enough to make up for them. And, really, who knows? With that kind of wilting character, it may have been true they would've only gotten in the way anyway. They'd always need someone to hold their trembling little hands, lest they got the vapors and wilted away to nothing.

But ... let's let bygones be bygones ... they're on their way home now, now that the danger has passed, so let's open our arms and say, "Welcome home!" If we can physically say the words. We can only hope there's no crisis on the road back, because we know how averse they are to every minor difficulty. It might be too much for them if there's not a helicopter tossing out bottles of water. Or air conditioned tents for their little tent cities up in the hills.

In a terrible crisis, of course what you want to have is All hands on deck! Everyone up and at 'em! Everyone alert to the needs of the moment! No one shirking, no one shrinking away, no one turning tail to run. It's shameful, really, what happened. The Major Industrial Powers -- they had some bravery. They came in with their forces, the military, the militias, the process servers, and all the rest. They weren't shirking. If you would've told me that would've happened, I wouldn't've believed you. I would've thought the Residential Industrialists, if anyone, would've rallied to the cause -- and a few did, but the overwhelming majority simply threw up their hands and ran.

We see it all the time when there's trouble. People are afraid of the big bad hurricane. So they get in their cars and clog up the highway, running for high ground. Or they're afraid of a tornado, hiding out in the basement. Or tsunamis, wearing a raincoat. The list is endless. We teach fear. That's the problem. In school, they teach fear. We all remember the fire drills we had. There's a fire, the first thing you do is abandon the building. Instead of everyone grabbing a glass of water and putting it out! God forbid we save the school! Then people carry over those lessons of running to the point that nothing's worth defending. No matter what it is, Get out of my way! I'm running!

But then, like clockwork, now that the trouble's in the past, the shrinking violets are coming home. So, let me be the first to welcome you back. We hope that somehow, someway, some day, you'll be able to live with yourself, knowing what the rest of us are thinking, that you're nothing but a bunch of slackers. Fair weather friends. In so many ways, a waste of space.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Last Industrial Battle

The bad news is this: The Major Industrial Powers (MIP) have prevailed over the Residential Industrial Movement (RIM). But damage and civilian casualties have been greatly limited, thanks to the frantic evacuations of RIM families, our benevolent willingness to compromise, and to the intervention of both a super hero and forces out of Heaven.

The MIP was brazen enough to call in thousands of militia in addition to the official military. They bought off tens of thousands of federal, state, county, and local officials. That shows what they're made of, pure scum. The deck was stacked in their favor. In addition to the physical threat, they had tons of official paperwork in place, being delivered to thousands of RIM facilities across the country by census workers, otherwise out of work but pressed into last minute duty on this matter.

Factories have been shuttered, chained, and in some cases destroyed. RIM officials, those who hadn't fled for the hills, including myself, were presented with the alternatives, mostly involving continued legal scrutiny vs. the possibility of immunity if we were to give up industrialism. Looking at the mounds of paperwork, much of it literally over my head, we decided it was hopeless. On patent violations alone, there was over a million lawsuits threatened. I myself, as a tire manufacturer, was served with hundreds of patent summonses, everything from copyrighted tread patterns to the shape of the wheel itself. It turns out that one big company has a patent on the wheel's circular shape and licenses it out to other manufacturers.

But like I said, we had some great assistance in a battle that, alas, was never really allowed to rage.

The forces were assembled in the field north of my property, with thousands of tanks, infantry, missile launchers, and so forth. Those were the MIP forces standing against us. The RIM contingent stood at the east fence, with sticks, homemade knives, and a few muskets some of the older guys kept above their fireplace. (We were really down in numbers because of all who fled.)

At this point, the MIP was looking to make an example of someone. Of course, the militias with the official military were itching for a fight. Even they had their own tanks. I wasn't really looking to die. So I had an idea. As you know from yesterday, I was spiritually ready, plus I have a couple friends in Japan who know something about fighting. Of course I'm talking about Gentaro and Goro, the stars of "Iron King."

I contacted Gentaro yesterday and told him of the situation. He knows I'm a big fan of their '70s Japanese sci fi action series, having the entire thing on DVD. So together with Goro, who transforms himself into the giant cyborg action fighter, Iron King, they made their way to my home as fast as possible.

So there we were, the RIM, with our sticks and homemade knives. The militias came running toward the middle of the field. Goro ran behind a big bale of hay, crossed himself and shouted "Iron Shock!" That's what he does. Instantly, he was transformed into a cyborg about 100 feet tall. He went out to the middle of the field. One of the militia men, in charge of their own giant, seeing Iron King, radioed to the hills, and out came Tank Head.

They fought and struggled there in the middle of the field. First Iron King seemed to prevail, then Tank Head came back. It went back and forth like that for a while, until I saw Iron King's water meter start to blink, meaning he was dangerously low on H2O, which he needs for his strength. It's a very annoying problem. But it gives Gentaro a chance to fight.

So, Gentaro, looking every bit a normal human being, and he is, ran into the fray. He has a whip that extends itself in a gigantic way. So he was out there whipping Tank Head. And he was about to bring him down. But it wasn't enough. I was thinking, "So much for the expensive long distance charges to Japan!" But I had another option up my sleeve.

Remember my great spirituality? I'm the one man in town, and possibly the world, who can move Heaven with the snap of a finger. It comes from years of sacred sword play, manipulating Chinese gong balls, and having a smokin' hot interpretation of scripture. I have a very special pull over ... angels. Not the kind of prissy angels you hang on your Christmas tree or hand out at nursing homes as party favors. But big, burly, sacred sword-wielding, angry-looking, bad ass buggers, hedgerows of warring angels, who'd just soon annihilate you as look at you. But they like me!

I gave one of my very special prayers. The prayers I utter are not the kind that pussyfoot around, nor do I have to wait five years for an answer. I can just grunt in a holy way -- I could -- and the heavens open and the angels are there. And so it was! I was about to say, "Deus ex machina, I call for a hedgerow of warring angels." But before I could open my mouth, while the words were simply in my mind, there they were...

LOL. I had a very strange thought when I saw them. A funny thought. I was thinking about the Tony Orlando song, "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Old Oak Tree." Remember the part where the guy wants one yellow ribbon around the tree or he'll stay on the bus? It makes me cry to hear the part where he sees a hundred yellow ribbons! But that's what he got. Do you see where this is going?

I was only asking for one hedgerow of warring angels, and, guess what: The sky was filled from the east to the west with so many hedgerows of warring angels it darkened the sky! It was an awesome sight. I haven't seen so many of one thing since the time I went to the basement of a guy I once knew and saw he had literally collected over 100,000 pennies. It was crazy! Bottles, bags, boxes ... pennies everywhere!

The tanks were midfield, heading for the RIM forces. Tank Head was leading the way. Gentaro had assisted Goro off the field and, like a dog, he was getting a lavish drink from a drainage ditch. Next thing anyone knew, the hedgerows of warring angels were electrically levitating tanks and missile launchers between them, and casting them into hell, by the hundred! It was a beautiful sight! And as far as Tank Head, they zapped him and I saw him shrink. So if anyone out there sees a mouse with two heads shaped like little toy tanks, maybe put out a trap tonight. He could bite.

With all this death and destruction, into the middle of the field came running the governor of our state along with one of the officials of the MIP. I prayed and the hedgerows went and sat on the horizon. The officials recognized certain things were true, one, that the RIM had greater help in the realm of super heroes and heavenly visitors. But they also insisted that we were violating many laws, patents, and all that. So it all came down to money!

That's when we worked out the details about immunity and all the rest. And we agreed that the RIM would be disbanded as an industrial movement in exchange for legal concessions. And so that was the end of the struggle.

The hedgerows went back to Heaven, awaiting my slightest whisper. Gentaro and Goro came over and toured my former tire factory. I gave Goro a bucket of water from Grandpa's well, which he averred would keep him well hydrated for years to come! Before they left, Gentaro played his guitar and sang a folk song, some of the lyrics being translated:

I have loved the fields of lilies, the beauty of our homeland.
And I have loved your fair eyes, my darling.
You have dressed yourself in white, like the clouds passing by.
May you keep your charm and youth always, growing old with me.

(For those who know the Iron King show, Gentaro's songs have nothing to do with the show or its theme, but, to save production money, are merely public domain folk songs, mostly with love and nature themes.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Major Industrialists Flood The Zone

Yesterday, I described the coming of the military into the area, along with thousands of backyard militias, setting up to do the bidding of the Major Industrial Powers (MIP) against the Residential Industrial Movement (RIM). It's probably needless to say, but the vast array of firepower and soldiers standing against us has put a damper on production. Most of our employees, of course, have been scared feceless and have headed for the hills, along with quite a number of residential industrialists.

But I'm still here. A good night's sleep and I'm up, feeling a lot more confident than I was yesterday. I can't say I'm exactly thankful for what's going on; that'd be too strong a word. But it is in those times when push comes to shove that you find out what you're really made of. At first, I thought I was made of mush. But now I'm getting some of my confidence and resolve back. I've been working with some of my sacred swords, my Chinese metal balls, my own smokin' hot interpretations of scripture, and some of Pastor Wadd's sermon notes, and things are much better. Spiritual stuff.

Sacred sword play is a very intense discipline. It's like Tai Chi with props. I've gone into many an other-worldly trance bringing my consciousness to the point in those slow-moving sessions. In case you don't know much about this, there's some joining in consciousness that the sword wielder sees between the sword and his body. The point corresponding to the head and beyond, with the pinpoint accuracy and vanishing point, to say the least is a great confidence builder. I wouldn't trade my swords for all the nuclear bombs in Iran!

The Chinese metal balls have curative powers. One time I got rid of arthritis in my toes simply by sleeping with them in my socks. After a few days, the pain was gone. The worst part, of course, is having to get up in the middle of the night and tripping all the way to the bathroom. Then there's the scriptures, the condensed wisdom of the residential industrialists of the past (Israel) facing the major industrial powers (the Babylonians, Romans, etc.) And finally, there's Pastor Wadd's notes. He's a local guy who specializes in combating sexual addictions. I get quite a bit of good out of reading his wise comments, especially in that afterglow phase when the danger's well past.

You can tell I'm very mellowed out -- much more so than you'd think for someone facing industrial extinction either later today or tomorrow. When they shut down my factory, it'll just give me more time for other things ... and eventually I'll overpower them in some other way...

But I imagine there's going to be something more to it, with the military and militias. Can I just live happily ever after? Yesterday the MIP flooded the zone -- that's my word for it -- by fanning out across the country with thousands of sheriffs issuing zoning violation tickets and process servers bringing notices of legal actions for patent violations, etc. They've no doubt put a lot of work into this, buying off the feds, the state governments, the counties, and right down to the local city councils.

So they're looking to minimize death and damage, probably, but with all these militias -- most of whom are crazy, supporters of Republicans so you know they're dingy -- there's sure to be some violence. One, they want to make a good example of someone, a sufficient number, so we won't ever do this again. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the fighting took place right here locally, since this is where residential industrialism got its start. A local guy, they say, was the philosophical father of the whole movement.

Along with the paperwork being passed out, summonses to appear in court and all the rest, they were already acting against some of the backyard factories, those that were abandoned in the last few days. I went out for a drive last night and saw quite a few shuttered plants. I took a picture of the Spooner vat factory, since it's right up the street. It looks very sad. It was just in July that we helped with Ted's first vat. Those were the good times, in approximately the Silver Age of Residential Industrialism.

I'll see what today brings. At this point, something's definitely got to give. But I'm going to try to keep the faith, keep my single pointedness going, and the other great benefits. I might see the help of a higher power yet! Other than that, I could watch a little TV -- I might get out my Iron King DVDs, since he also faced a lot of crazy stuff in his life and everything always seemed to work out OK for him. Then, who knows? Maybe I'll put on Grandma's old silk kimono and lounge around the house. Have a drink and check out a few magazines or videos. And then read through Pastor Wadd's notes again.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Major Industrialists' Forces Moving In

There's no more room for optimism in the Residential Industrial Movement (RIM). This is the new reality. A lot of us were hoping that Garrett Al (aka Geritol and the prophet Jor-el) didn't know what he was talking about when he foretold our doom. But now it's become exceedingly clear that, as he so prophetically declared on Sunday, we are toast, there is trouble afoot, and we're screwed.

I don't know what to make of it. Of course I'm sorry that everything we worked for is going down the tubes. But maybe we were just ahead of our time. I'll bury a copy of this blog's archives somewhere where the Huns won't be able to find it, and someday, who knows? Maybe the RIM will crawl forth from the ashes, and, just like that great mythological bird, ascend to the skies once again! If we do, may I suggest the first order of manufacturing business, that we make plenty of weaponry, including ships, planes, tanks, catapults, grenades, and napalm? The way it is, friends, we can't fight them with disposable diapers, vats, and wheels for hospital beds.

Yesterday, I was out doing reconnaissance in the area. Communications have been cut off for most of us. Of course the Huns have our phone numbers and accounts, so those have all been shut off. There's no electricity for our factories. Everything's at a standstill. Pigeons are afraid to fly. It's a complete blackout, except ... I saw a couple neighborhood kids still communicating with their walkie talkies, from whom I was able to learn that they've already canceled school tomorrow. So they were happy.

The reconnaissance I was able to do was strictly on foot, the roads being clogged with residential industrialists carrying their things, trying to find someplace to hide. Of course when people pull out, the looters move in. The disposable diaper factory up the street's already been cleaned out, they say by a well-organized gang of babies from out of town. I kept moving ...

The interstate is just south of our place, so I took the back way through the weeds, and was hiding out among the spruce trees in the ditch. I got there and made myself comfortable.

Then I watched in horror and with some fascination how all four lanes were jam-packed with all manner of military equipment on the move. Tanks, missiles, radar trucks, and supply vehicles were packed together tighter than a C ration. The biggest firepower I saw had to be several truckloads of nuclear and hydrogen bombs headed for the airport. Everything but the kitchen sink. Of course I came to the only conclusion I could, that someone in the Major Industrial Powers (MIP) was really calling in some favors, because I know the deadlier bombs are used only on special occasions.

I wasn't expecting this much scrutiny. I don't mind being the center of attention once in a while. But mostly I just want to do my own thing, have it be ultimately life-affirming, keep my reputation unsoiled, and try to live my life in a quiet and unassuming way. For a minute, I was able to put out of my mind the massive forces arrayed before me. I thought as I looked up at the clouds, They can't stop the clouds. Then with my imagination feeling a little freer, I looked for soothing images in the sky, but only saw big hammers, fists, mushrooms, and a pitchfork. I shuddered and looked down.

Across the way from my vantage point, the fields were full of weapons, tanks, trucks, etc., and soldiers. If you know the area, you know this is where the sewage plant is. Validating my overall contention that the whole operation stinks. Then there's another spot off to the east, a slope in some guy's field that I've always called Sugar Mountain, after Neil Young's song. It was packed with soldiers and their tents, laughing it up. As the day wore on, the laughter increased, making me think they were probably getting well lubed. I might rename the place Skidrow East! That would certainly be apropos, because no doubt the ladies from the town's Skidrow district would be out there when evening fell. Meaning, after all, Sugar Mountain will still be a fitting name.

I watched as long as I could stand it. The preparations are in place for what the MIP have in store for us, a real downer, of course. I went back to the house and gave it some thought: Those SOBs have so much firepower, such an advantage over us, if there's anything left standing tomorrow -- a beam, an unbroken window, anywhere in town -- we could claim a moral victory. But who am I kidding? There's going to be collateral damage, that's for sure. The surviving townspeople are going to hate our guts. The only thing that can make it worse is if FEMA shows up.

But, really, what did we do? We dared to encroach on the MIP's precious industrial turf. It seemed to me at the time that we had a right to do so, and that's still my contention. But by tomorrow at this time, that'll be heresy, a very unpopular stance to take...

I need to wrap this up. I hope my friends will be able to read this before they take it down. Or, possibly, I'll take it down, since it might endanger my life. Yes, at some level I'm proud of my blog. For a while there I really motivated a lot of people to live up to their industrial potential. But the fact that they might be dead tomorrow because of it puts something of a negative spin on my efforts. I want to get the blog printed off so I can bury it -- then I might delete the whole thing from the internet later today. But who knows what might be left in the Google cache? I hadn't thought of that.

Let me go on record this morning, never once did I call myself the philosophical father of the Residential Industrial Movement! I disavow all knowledge of it whatsoever. I don't read the papers! The factory in my backyard? I don't know where it came from. I just woke up one day and there it was. Where can I hide? Oh no, I'm so screwed...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rumblings Of Troubles For Industrialists

I really don't know what else to do. I've got a bunker mentality right now. We're in a holding pattern, waiting to see how bad it's going to be.

The prophecies of Jor-el (also known as Garrett Al and Geritol) induced fear in me and in every member of the Residential Industrial Movement (RIM) still in his right mind. Surely no incidence of gargling has struck terror in so many breasts at any other time in recorded history. So why'd it have to happen this time?

Everything was going so great for the RIM. We never thought it'd come to this, with prophecies of armies and various privations unfortunately in the offing. I always thought the Four Horsemen were meant as a more generalized horror of judgment; I didn't know it'd manifest itself with pinpoint accuracy against one little substratum of industry. But then the Major Industrial Powers (MIP) probably have a legitimate beef, at least from their point of view, since they've had the industrial field since the Industrial Revolution. We should've guessed they wouldn't take kindly to competition.

My biggest regret is not that we gave it a try with the RIM, but that we didn't manufacture tanks, guns, and napalm, instead of tires, vats, and wheels for hospital beds. At least we could've made a few catapults! But now it's come to this. The rumblings of troubles are so dire that there's no mistaking our fate. Geritol wasn't gargling a half hour for his health!

And speaking of Garrett Al, he came by my place yesterday after church. For a while, it was just him and me. So I figured he might drop the prophetic mien, but I guess it wasn't mien't to be. He stayed completely in character, leading me to conclude that Pastor Wadd's sermon must have really done damage to the normal male libido. (Pastor Wadd's specialty is fighting sexual addiction, and Geritol figures prominently in my personal biography as a man arrested for trying to sexually assault me. Even yesterday, Jor-el was soon to boil over, which I'll get to...)

Anyway, we were out in the plant, and I asked Garrett Al if he was sure -- 100% positive, beyond any shadow of a doubt, rock solid, no hold's barred -- that our troubles were real. He looked at me, an all-seeing man in a fading orange robe and hood, and the serious look on his face left little room for optimism. I asked him one question: "How bad is it?" He spoke not a word, just like on "The Red Skelton Show," but led me to my little office, the room with the small window.

There he patiently removed four slices of bread from a bag. He set them on a plate. He took two of the pieces and put them in a toaster. He dialed the toaster as high as it'd go, then depressed the lever. We waited an agonizingly long time while they "cooked." Normal toast is done in a fourth the time, making me wonder why the toaster dial even goes that high. He took the two blackened slices out. Then he put the two uncooked pieces back in the bag and closed it. The charred toast represented the RIM, and the remaining bread, of course, the MIP.

I shrugged my shoulders and said, "So that's it? We're toast?" He held up a finger, as if to say, "Not so fast."

Next, we walked out of the plant and into the house. He led me into my bedroom, then to the closet. He opened the closet and took out my good pair of shoes. We went into the kitchen, where we keep the meat grinder. He proceeded to grind one of the shoes until it was a large pile of coarse leather. The other shoe, Jor-el calmly carried back to my room, and I witnessed him putting it back in the closet. The ground up shoe represented the RIM, and the other one, naturally, the MIP.

I shook my head and said, "So that's it? There's trouble afoot?" Again, Garrett Al held up a finger, as if to say, "Patience, my dear friend, and you shall see."

Finally, and this is where his wild libido made its reappearance, we went back to the plant. I shuddered a little as I saw him reach his hands inside the robe and heard the sound of unzipping. For one terrifying moment, I was right back at that night in 2009. But he gave me a signal that I had nothing to fear, thrusting his hips away from me and in the direction of the factory. Now, this is where the robe comes in very handy, because it keeps me from having to describe what happened next in blue language, which would violate one of my strictest rules.

Let me just say, there's some exposed gears on my tire retreader. And Geritol ascended until he was on top of that section. He was straddling it. Then, with his robe draped discreetly, covering everything, I saw what appeared to be his covered right arm smacking against the inside of his robe. It was so rough it looked like a bear trying to get out of a tent. His head was arched back, the look on his face the look of pure ecstasy. Finally, I heard an otherworldly growl rumbling from his throat, and a climactic moment of release appeared to have been reached, with several cosmic aftershocks. He said not a word, but climbed off the equipment, leaving behind such a mess that I'll have to file insurance. Thanks to his religion, the guy had been stoved up like a bull. He enjoyed that a little too much.

With Jor-el's dismount, I said, "So that's it? We're screwed?" This time he pointed at me, as if to say, "Bingo."

With that I had little else I could do. I bade Garrett Al a good night, and did what anyone in my position would do ... I called Pastor Wadd and reported him.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Industrial Prophet Gargles Message Of Doom

I was on the phone and in meetings with Residential Industrial Movement (RIM) entrepreneurs throughout the day yesterday. The disruption of the meeting and the supposed revelations of the prophet Jor-el concerning the future of the RIM were the talk of the town. We're desperate for clarification. Some who have unlimited minutes on their phones are even calling other counties and states for their take on the situation. Reportedly, local prophets in other places are also agitated.

As for me, I wanted to go right to the source, Garrett Al (Geritol, Jor-el) himself. That was also a priority for some of the RIM members closest to me. We wanted to give the man a chance to retract his statements if he was just pulling our leg, or if after further reflection, he had changed his mind.

He came to my tire plant. Now, my dealings with Garrett Al are such, after the sexual assault he tried on me in 2009, that a couple days ago if you'd've told me he was a prophet, I would've said that guy wouldn't know prophecy if he ate a crystal ball and crapped out fortune cookies! But that would've been before I saw him myself, his remarkable transformation into Jor-el. He was really into the character, or his new self. What caused the big difference, I was given a hint of in that he was accompanied by his pastor, a Rev. Wadd, who explained that he'd been counseling him for sexual addiction.

It took time we didn't really have to waste, sidelining us for about a half hour, but Pastor Wadd shared with us that most people are suffering from sexual addictions, as evidenced in everything from the terrible stories of sexual crimes that are in the daily news right down to ordinary married folks who choose to have children. In my opinion, the pastor seemed to have a slightly skewed sense of things -- maybe overly censorious -- looking everyone in his path up and down for what might be their hidden fetishes, hangups, and latent proclivities. But I could see how he might've easily been able to influence Garrett Al and make a productive citizen out of him once again, who before was consumed with the drives given him by nature.

Anyway, they came to my plant. Jor-el himself wasn't saying much. He was still into the theatrical atmospherics of being a prophet, the robe and everything. The whole assembly came together around some tables, with Pastor and Geritol at the head table. I said we were ready to begin. I sipped a glass of water, which appeared to prompt Garrett Al to pour his own glass of water and drink. Well, not exactly drink.

Every eye was on him, with the possible exception of Pastor Wadd, who obviously likes to scan a crowd for problems. Then Jor-el took the glass and began gargling at the table. Some of the entrepreneurs began laughing and so did I. We thought, So it was all a joke! But he continued to gargle, and after a while the laughter subsided. Then he'd swallow, pour some more water, and gargle some more. Gargling, just incessant gargling. He kept gargling, loudly too. 15, 20, 25, 30 minutes...

Without him saying it, it started to become obvious to me that his gargling was his message to us, meaning that he foresaw the rumblings of troubles coming for the residential industrialists, and that it would be non-stop and terrible to behold, without mercy. I explained this to the assembly. Pastor Wadd nodded at me, then lowered his eyes a bit. I noticed I had my hands resting on my legs and felt I should move them up on the table.

Geritol then spoke. He addressed me as Super Brain. In light of the events of the last couple days, this abashed me greatly. He said, "Super Brain probably already knows this," and then proceeded to sketch out a vision of the Four Ages of Residential Industrialism that I hadn't imagined. According to Jor-el, the phenomenon of the Four Ages for everything is real, but unfortunately for Residential Industrialism, it's very compressed. We've only been going at this since around May of this year. But he had it down, that the Golden Age was roughly that first month, then we quickly went into the Silver Age, then the Bronze Age, and since mid-September we've been in the Paper Age.

It didn't make a lot of sense to any of us, but Pastor Wadd had a theory about the same thing happening to the antediluvians, because of their leaders' lust for the better-endowed angels. I was shifting uneasily in my chair. You know how you occasionally have an itch in a very private place? And if you're in private you can scratch it? Or even if you're with folks, if they're involved in some other activity, you can quickly and with some discretion reach down and take care of it in about five seconds? This was impossible under the eagle eye of Pastor Wadd, who was looking for every sign of perversion or a double mind. Honestly, I wasn't lusting for angels! So I kept shifting uneasily, almost to the point where it looked like I was trying to communicate my own prophetic sign.

Nothing about Garrett Al's presentation gave us any confidence. He was still right on track with the message that we could expect nothing but troubles, and that the RIM's best days were behind us. The mood was hushed as the entrepreneurs filed out, leaving me and the prophet and pastor behind.

Then at the end, Pastor, Geritol, and I went outside. The day was still very sunny. There was no sign of gargling on the horizon. It seemed a perfect day to go to the bathroom and scratch, then get back to work and maybe even step up production. We stood there, though, and after a while it became uncomfortable. Pastor seemed to sense that I needed to go to the bathroom. Finally, the tension was broken when we saw a young woman walking up the road, obviously pregnant. Pastor Wadd made a little joke, "Anyone you know?" I disavowed any knowledge of the situation, which is true. But he handed me his card anyway.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Jor-el -- Residential Industrialism's Unwelcome Prophet

This, I can't believe. It's too far out there. Not with how good things have been going. It doesn't gibe. Common sense says no. This takes the wind out of me.

Can't anything go right? Where's this guy get off? Did he have to show up? Of all people, now supposedly with a prophetic perspective on things? All doom and gloom, like anyone wants to hear that. I don't want to hear that. All these things, I was thinking.

We were at the school. Some of the neighbor companies rented the gym for a nice ceremony, so they could present me my "Super Brain" plaque and bouquet of roses. What's his face -- Ted Spooner -- was giving a talk and I was looking at my watch, thinking of lost production time. When this guy shows up -- Garrett Al -- and the conclave parts like the Red Sea to let him through.

He was accompanied by some neighbor kids who set off a half dozen firecrackers, and that got our attention; the acoustics in the gym are brutal. I looked down from the stage and saw what looked like a prophetic figure in a robe, like a Halloween costume but way too real. He had the robe (check), the beard (check), right down to the bony pointing finger, meaning there was something unworldly about him. The others didn't know him, but even in the mysterious garb, I still recognized my old nemesis, Garrett Al (also known as Geritol.) (Most of you will remember him as the guy who showed up and allegedly tried to force himself on me for sexual favors during my long hiatus. When we were friends, I gave him the nickname Geritol as a play on his actual name.)

"I am Jor-el," he announced loudly, his bony, quivering finger still pointing at me. I immediately thought of the name, Superman's dad on Krypton, and not a half bad progression from Garrett Al to Geritol to Jor-el!

"Speak your piece, Garrett!" I commanded, "Then get out!" At that point, I still had three tires back home I wanted to finish before watching "Baggage" and going to bed.

Garrett, or Jor-el, to be respectful, told the assembled group, local representatives of the Residential Industrial Movement (RIM), of fearful things, including the massing of armies and authorities against us, and the coming swift and final victory of the Major Industrial Powers (MIP). As he spoke, somehow there was a sign obvious to everyone -- possibly left over from the firecrackers -- the smell of sulfur, that gave Jor-el's words credence.

His words -- delivered with a lot of tremelo in his voice and a stare, almost like you'd see in a blind guy -- cut us to the quick. He claimed to foresee foundations falling, death and despair, children orphaned, fires raging, and a modest increase in prices for consumer goods. It was strictly "Four Horsemen" stuff, presented with a lot of gusto. Garrett's a natural orator, speaking without notes the entire time.

Maybe you can tell, I was wavering between belief and disbelief. His whole style was one that demanded belief, yet, remember, I'm Super Brain -- if any of this was true, wouldn't I know it? Who, after all, is Garrett Al? He lives out near the scrap metal mountains on the north side of town. Where he would spend his day ... seeing the sun constantly reflected ... off pieces of metal haphazardly arranged ... hmm, possibly an actual way to stimulate a mystical experience ... and tap into omniscience ...

I wanted to disbelieve, and still I'm not sure. I remember Garrett Al as that pervert in my yard, and the police hauling his sorry butt away. I wanted to ridicule him so badly. I wanted to tear him down, then bring the ceremony back to its senses. What about his name? The syllables are nuts. Gar-ret-Al, like Uni, Roy, and Al. You've got AL, OL, and EL, almost like AL-CO-HOL -- is he drunk? But, d--- it to h---! There is indeed a strange, cryptic progression from Garrett Al to Geritol to Jor-el, the very guy who prophetically warned Krypton of impending doom. And haven't I always reviled the elders of Krypton for failing to see the mountains erupting right through the very windows of their council room?!

But what about the others of our RIM assembly? They were trying to shout him down, just like the elders of Krypton, "He's mad! A madman!" Something about it pierced me through. I started to shiver as I saw the others guffawing and backslapping, their big gaping maws replacing normal human mouths, their bad teeth looking like big horse teeth, and the terrible bad breath you could taste from here. They were waving their arms and making threatening gestures toward him. Someone might've pulled a folding chair at any minute! Garrett was in danger of his life! But he was standing there like the suffering servant, or a dumbwaiter.

I called out to the crowd, holding up my Super Brain plaque, now worthless in my eyes, and finally got them quieted down. Among my consoling remarks, I said, "Gentlemen, gentlemen! In view of Jor-el's words, I suggest that we all retreat to our several hearths and family altars, holding close our children and womenfolk and comforting them, and crying out for mercy to whatever god it is you worship, hopefully including widely among our number the one true and living God."