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Alex Baer

Fate Makes a Health & Welfare House Call

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Fate -- or The Universe, or The Hairy Thunderer, or Kosmic Muffin, or The Flying Spaghetti Monster, or The Formless Mystery, or Your-What-Have-You -- waited ten whole days before it dropped by to give me a little something extra to stew in my cracked, shoulder-high, neck-mounted crockpot with the rattling glass-top lid.

Frankly, I had come to lose track of Its notions of style, Its sensibilities on timing, Its fondness for the unexpected slip of a stiletto between the ribs, Its pleased sneer for the gleeful anticipation of the set-up, followed by the crack of the ambush, the deft yank on the rug, the flailing, slow-motion fall, the broken things scattering on the floor...

And the snickering, the idiotic sniggering of Its visits:  You can just hear the virtual chitterings of tittering, trickster demon vapor once safely idled off course somewhere harmless and stone-bound, and now allowed -- invited! -- to play Trick-And-Treat out in the small front yard, sparsely grassy and fresh-mowed, ringed by an ancient, ramshackle white picket fence more splinters and streaks than substance, and on the other side of this closed front door, where the buzzer just sounded, are snatches of voices on the dangle and swing.

Sometimes, the ability to simply keep up with the presentation, and take it up, real time, as you go, is the whole show -- the whole point, it seems, like a convoluted test, launched and sprung the exact moment your tester has prepped you to lean the other way, to commit your balance in the opposite direction, having aimed you not toward but away.

Which is where, of course, you either laugh until you cry, or else you cry until you can slowly manage to recover a dented chuckle here, from under the phone table, or else snag a fuzz-coated chortle that fell to the floor over there...

Not being able to penetrate all the potential patterns in this dimension of existence can be a royal pain in the ass.  Today pointed out that one again.  It's another looping, repeated lesson that's in very high rotation this week.

Personally, I'd prefer having the ability to slide along the secret slipknot rings of synchronicity -- content to just know the issues and events in play, the reasons for them, how they all connect up, whether they are fair or sensible, lame or sane...


Watch anything long enough and the patterns start to slip and squeak out.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 April 2015 11:35

Brainstorms, Lightning Rounds, Sparks, Shorts, and Mystery Melons

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It's been a week now, and I'm starting to experiment with concepts a bit longer than "Guhh," "Yow!" and "Uhh, I'm sorry -- were we talking just now?"

A while ago, my brain decided to take out a loan on my leftover lung cancer account, slowly piddling itself away in administrative account fees, apparently, as approved by some corporate raider gene I never knew I had lurking in my genetic banking system. Those break-out, cancerous seed cells were used to find, and dam up, a slower-moving chunk of the real estate river and eddies in my head.  Beaver-like, these cells were made into a cozy submarine-houseboat-lodge -- and jammed right against the part of my well-fatted head's control surfaces for my outer body's motor skills uses.

A week ago, this abrupt cancer-barricading in my mind meat caused a spectacular ground-out, a functional snafu and control loss sometimes called a hot brain mess in some circles, and a bounteous brown-out in others -- and just as accurately tagged as a brown-trouser day in still others.

In my case, some very nice, gentle medical people took me in, showed me around, and referred me to rafters of information regarding the far-gentler sounding circle of events:  Brain Seizures.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 April 2015 12:21

Too Many Fronts, Not Enough Back

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Military strategists will tell you almost anything in order to get a new war contract or get a green light to go stomp something.  But they'll also mix in some truth from time to time.  One of these truths is that nobody ever wins a war having too many fronts.

The concept has never been clearer to me.  I am surrounded, and they're closing in on all sides.  The war I'm waging, and very clearly losing, is one of basic interest.

No, not the sort of war involving compound interest, say, where one invades and takes over a country via financial manipulation, without a shot being fired, à la Greece.  I'm not even fighting the type of interest that involves economic assault -- thinly disguised, survival-of-the-smarmiest stuff -- where one entity attempts to eat another entity in the corporate jungle, then pass off the debt from that "meal" as a loss, note it as a reason to loot the workers' pension fund, file bankruptcy, then flee offshore with the all-but-stolen loot, à la vulture capitalists in general, and Hostess as only one instance in particular.

  • Although, I'd probably have to agree with you if you thought it possible that humanity's downfall began with calm acceptance of the idea -- put forth with the sort of straight face normally reserved for poker schools -- that one could auction off someone else's debt.  This unseemly notion of perverted math is the falling pebble that triggered the larger global avalanches of leveraged takeovers, junk bonds, and credit default swaps.
  • We all remember how well that show went, as many of us are still trying to get our family members, and our hopes and dreams, brought up into daylight again, rescued from the sub-basement rubble of collapsed buildings and caved-in plans.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 March 2015 18:13

Stealing: All Hail, the Self-Righteous Profit Center

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There are a lot of things one might say about the times in which we live.  Here are a few terms which come to mind right this second:  Creative.  Untraditional.  Pioneering. Voracious.  Larcenous.  Insatiable.  Limitless.

Put it this way:  If our times were a go-kart, we'd slap 40 kinds of governors on the thing,  pull off the wheels,  drain off all its life-giving fluids, wrap it in bales of jet-fuel-soaked hay, and bring in the healing fire of flame-throwers.  We'd even lob in a few Molotov-cocktail-cases of thermite-and-white-phosphorous grenades for good measure.

Then, when the molten slag cooled, and the worst of our glare-burns had been treated, we'd hack apart the pieces with cutting torches, and ship the chunks to distant galaxies, on a hundred different spacecraft, in the hopes of forestalling reunion of the pieces for as long as humanly possible.

(An added plus would be the shot in the arm of this country's space program.  Based on the renewed, full-speed-ahead activity to save our species, we'd rediscover the benefits and boons of a fully-functional space program and thriving industry, while marvelling at the numbers of product and services -- and jobs -- created, allowing us to get to work fixing the nation's aging, 1940s infrastructure with the booming, coast-to-coast kick-start in the tax base.)

Of course, this will never happen, even though sci-fi plotlines since the 1920s have told us the only way the species will band together and defeat a common enemy is from an outside, repulsive, alien threat.

And, of course, we know that sort of plotline no longer applies, because the right-wing is still with us, in a spectacular array of diverse psychoses and stunning, baffling ailments.  This banding-together thing, to defeat a common world or national threat, became a blindingly apparent failure of the species with the continuation of Ronald Reagan as president.

By 1984, the Full Boat Crazy was on the poker table as the hand to beat, and all the chips were down, and out, and drowned out back, where no-one could hear their whimpers, moans, and death rattles.  Who says History has no sense of humor, irony, or appreciation of the works of George Orwell?

It was a swell year, 1984.  Then as now:  War is peace.  Freedom is slavery.  Ignorance is strength.

Well, no matter.  In the wink -- or nervous twitch -- of an eye, at least in geologic terms, all that feverish espousal of trickle-down economics would soon be recanted by the high financial priests of the land, but only when they got up to stretch out their muscles, gone lame from having lounged on all those hard sacks of gold bars sacked in raids on S&Ls, burgled from shakedowns by the financial industry, and raided from the vast lakes of 401(k) retirement funds created solely for Wall Street and crony pilfering in The Big Con of the American public.

Yes, it was probably a misquote from the original, that old adage:  The right wing psychotics will always be with you. It's an easy mistake to make.  Completely understandable, what with the endless chains of translations involving Greek, Latin, Aramaic, Babylonian, and who knows what all in the mumbo-jumbo and limbo of the jingoistic lingo stew of the times.

(You know the old demonstration of starting a rumor on one side of the room, and having a number of people repeat it -- then checking to see what the ending rumor was like, and comparing it with the original, to see how much it had morphed?  Yes, well -- try the same experiment, but with each person speaking different pairs of languages, hearing one but relaying the heard rumor with another, and see what you get at the end.  Besides a migraine, I mean.)

But, no matter.  The bankruptcy laws sorted out the collapse of the S&Ls.  The financial industry was fined a nickel for every billion dollars stolen.  All was forgiven, Again.  And a new trend was begun, in which yet another new industry sprouted roots, wings, and tentacles:  How to Steal the American Public's Retirement and Pension Funds, with No Repercussions from The Law, and No Awareness by (or Objections from) the Masses.

Best of all, nobody went to jail, not bankers, and not even the hundreds of thousands of families who were soaked with sudden, very bad financial news and who were sucked either partially or wholly down the impersonal drainage pipe of Best o' Luck (TM) and Hold on Tight! (TM) brand Capitalism.

Of course, had any of that foul trickery and theft happened today, events would have had a completely different outcome:  Yes, whole families would instead be packed off to debtors prisons in wholesale lots, and be stripped of any financial holdings or possessions via lawful forfeiture, and all goods sold off (or kept) by the very same bankers who bankrupted them, and had been left free and untouched.**

Carting families off to jail for daring to owe money during a time when every penny needed to be accounted for, in order to be stolen, is one of the bullet points in the Family Values Charter.  It appears to be, ironically enough, a hollow-point bullet point.

Yes, this global financial crisis helped solidify one of the implacable codes of Hammurabi, handed down to us through the eons by generations, via laws and lore, and still commands us all to this very day:  Bankers always eat.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 February 2015 00:00

The Humble Spud, Global Lifesaver

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Any loose familiarity with current events, whether from last week or on back to 1492, and it's difficult to remain feeling upbeat and not beat up.

There is always terrible news.  Things can always get worse of course, but they can't always,  automatically, get better -- not using the same downhill-gliding autopilot that Reality tends to use.  Rarely is there both good and amazing news.  Today, there is some of both -- news that may even turn the world upside down.

Before we reach that particular cool, oasis spring of thirst-quenching information, we have a hot trek through desert sands ahead of us.  The subject of travel is food.  And, when it comes to food, it's a desert without end for many Americans:

  • One in six Americans struggles to get enough to eat.
  • One in seven Americans relies on food banks for their food.
  • One in five children in America is at risk of hunger.
  • Fifty million people in America struggle to put food on the table.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 January 2015 10:32

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