April 27, 2018
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Nuestra Estrellas, Nosotros Mismos
‘The spirit of sect and bigotry has planted its hoof amid the stars .
— H.D.Thoreau, Life Without Principle
‘The fault is not in our stars, Horatio, but in ourselves.
– Hamlet, Act I scene 1
In January this year I spent an afternoon walking in Quito, the capitol of Ecuador. Near the cathedrals and shops of the colonial city, I came across the Observatorio Astronómico ( Astronomical Observatory). Completed in 1878, it’s a museum now. The entrance fee was ~5.00 usd, so I went in.
Coincidentally, I recently read American Eclipse by David Baron. I wasn’t sure at first the subject was my thing, but his storytelling is superb. And of course I like most any history of technology. Barron’s book tells the story of the 1878 race to capture a total solar eclipse in the western U.S. The event took place at the start of the gilded age, when the country became obsessed by wealth and figures such as Pittsburgh’s Andrew Carnegie and J..C Frick made their fortunes. The book mentions Samuel Langley of the Allegheny observatory.
A few weeks ago mi novia texted me that drug dealers from Columbia murdered three journalists kidnapped in Esmeralda province in her home country of Ecuador. She and I traveled through Esmeralda on the way to La Costa. It’s a lush green landscape, but poor.
It’s hard for me to ascribe any cosmic meaning to the fates of three journalists unless we address the causes of their deaths on earth. A year ago I couldn’t tell you why events in Ecuador would amount to a hill of beans for me. But looking up at the stars today makes the world seem a very small place. — CDL
February 2, 2018
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Proto Surfer-Dude & Fellow Subversive
From 19th-Century American manly man and poet, Walt Whitman:
The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor its ambassadors or authors or colleges or churches or parlors; nor even in its newspapers or inventors … but always most in the common people … the air they have of persons who never knew how it felt to stand in the presence of their superiors… the terrible significance of their elections – the President’s taking off his hat to them them, not they to him…
February 9, 2017
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‘Next!’ (Cartoon by Udo J. Keppler, Puck Magazine)
Who is left to uphold [the law]? The lawyers? Some of the best lawyers in this country are hired, not to go to court to defend cases, but to advise corporations and business firms how they can get around the law without too great a risk of punishment. The judges? Too many of them so respect the laws that for some ‘error’ or quibble they restore to office and liberty men convicted on evidence overwhelmingly convincing to common sense. The churches? We know of one…which had to be compelled by… a health officer to put its tenements in sanitary condition. The colleges? They do not understand. There is no one left; none but all of us.
Editorial by Samuel McClure, McClure’s Magazine, January 1903 (the same issue that published Ida Tarbell’s article on Standard Oil and Ray Stannard Baker’s exposé of union practices) — DA
January 22, 2017
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Image courtesy Phil Stephensen-Payne, Galactic Central Publications
‘At first the ruling class — the bankers, the businessmen, and the lawyers – paid little attention to the members of the Farmers’ Alliance and the new Populist party.’
We prideful ones considered the Alliance candidates as the dregs of Butler County society; farmers who had lost their farms, Courthouse hangers-on… political scapegraces… demagogic rabble-rousing without any tie to reality… A child of the the governing classes, I was blinded by my birthright. ‘
Doris Kearns Goodwin quoting William Allen White, a child of privilege from Kansas who became a muckraking journalist at McClure’s Magazine during the Progressive era.
December 20, 2016
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Habits of Highly Successful Sociopaths
Charles Dickens, Thought Leader for Our Times
From Syria to to Russia to the U.K. and good ol’ U.S., it seems ’tis the season this year for giving free reign worldwide to human socio-pathology. Scrooge might feel right at home today in his unreformed state. Dickens himself had his shadow side, one that exists in all of us. Perhaps we should view A Christmas Carol less as propaganda illustrating a heartwarming epiphany and inviting smarmy, unrealistic expectations of human behavior, than perhaps a guide to contemporary life. We Americans love self-help books, DVDs and advice web sites. Herewith are suggested affirmations staying with the spirit of the times and finding your inner sociopath. Use them for making your own list and checking it twice, if you are so inclined. N.B.: This is a parody. If you don’t get the joke, ask for a sense of humor for Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or Saturnalia. If you celebrate Festivus, you presumably already have one. – DA
- Start the day with a plan
- Practice Vulcan mind control
- Make faces in a mirror like your favorite business executive or recently-elected political figure of your choice
- When tempted to give money or sympathize with the poor and homeless, hit your head with a hammer. Better yet, hit the poor and homeless with a hammer. It’s their fault for making you feel that way.
- If you must give, give worthless items to charity that can be written off for exorbitant amounts (e.g. – dysfunctional computer systems (e.g., ‘the cloud’), worthless real estate, obsolete airplanes, ). Do this in an ostentatious manner while humblebragging
- Update your Facebook page. Lie. Take every comment personally.
- Update your Ok (Stupid) Cupid profile. Lie.
- Stay up till four in the morning monitoring social media feeds and responding in an obsessively petty manner – despite the fact that you will soon be responsible for the safety of the free world and need your rest.
- Add or subtract four inches to or from a part of your anatomy of your choice. For women, this could be the bust size. For guys — you get the idea.
- Friendship is for losers, but it’s helpful to fake it. A few tips:
- People will put up with a lot to be able to say they have friends
- Everyone is lonely. It’s a fact of life
- Saying you have friends at work is pathetic and delusional or a lie
- Remember the sky’s the limit on what you can get away with.
- People’s capacity for wishful thinking and self-delusion is unlimited.
- Recent studies say there’s no free will. Everything we do is determined by genes and neurochemistry. Therefore —
- It only counts if you’re caught — and then you couldn’t help it
- If you insist on believing in God or some other Higher Power, you might check out predestination. Start with Martin Luther, world’s worst Catholic.