Monday, December 31, 2007

we are (by default and quite stupidly) ceding a strategic battle in the culture war to the crazies

I love Iorek Byrnison. He's the bear on this poster. In the story, he is the exiled sacred king of an arctic civilization. For his archetype's sake and the love of existence, please support the Golden Compass.

We Nowists won the Harry Potter round- the movies have all been succesful, and they have spread their good magic memes far and wide. However, we haven't stood by Phillip Pullman as he is attacked for killing a deified version of Authority, and now the movie has largely failed and there will be no sequels. People have trash-talked this film and we should stick up for it. I'm guilty for not hyping it or seeing it yet, I have read His Dark Materials though! The stories indicate the mind of a practicing, faithful person. Evidence?

Institutionalized religion is charicatured by accentuating its flaws but exhaulted for its possibilities. Catholics today admit, psycho powermongers have spattered the religion with blood of bygone innocents. Seeing this on a big screen with a big CGI budget and Hollywood stagecrafters really touches nerve in some people. Humiliating, embarassing, but since we can't actually change the past we certainly won't do better now by falsifying reality in our own minds to delude ourselves- the way forward would totally be blocked by willful inner darkness.

For those who haven't read or seen the material, it's a good versus evil trilogy in which the good guys dimension-hop, time travel and ride as fast as they can on all sourts of imaginatively portrayed mounts to form "The Republic of Heaven". Presumably if you're trying to build "Heaven on Earth", you're doing God's will, correct? I think so. There's one thing the Fundies can't seem to get over, though, so... SPOILER ALERT:

Near the climax of the story, our protagonists kill a decrepit old being who had usurped the multiniverse way back in the day; their parents kill the great tyrant's successor. This is not an attack of a Catholic creator god, or a pair of Gnostic creator gods; it's not promoting a rebellious Lucifer, either. The message is that our reality has been hijacked by fascists (origins unaddressed), and that our task is to figure this whole thing out, get free and all be in loving communion. To me, Christianity is all about figuring out the Mystery of righteous, wonderful living and transcending the illusions that a biological existence limits our perceptions to, so where's the argument? Through masterful story telling, Phillip Pullman is inviting a shakedown of Christian faith. America's human denizens act blindly as tools for whatever started this boycott, and many other, more nefarious projects. If we can use this flick to erode their blinders, the Noble Savages's social environment would be that much more free to enjoy. Go support the Golden Compass, y'all.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


The shackles lay at my feet, broken.

Krow came to visit in a dream. He smiled his crazy grin and outstretched his inky wings. “Climb aboard,” he said, “and I’ll take you to Paradise.” I doubted his destination but climbed aboard his wings made of garbage and human hope. We soared high above tall buildings, above miles of pavement. We flew higher until the sun became the moon. We dropped to the ground early or late in time, the special dreamtime where nothing exists and everything is to be realized.

I saw what Krow saw—Paradise. Food and shelter everywhere, human love spinning a web to catch me if I took the chance to jump.

“I don’t understand,” I told Krow. “Where is this magic place?”

Krow grinned, “It’s everywhere. Look through the night behind the devil’s horns. Paradise surrounds you. You’ve been looking at what’s not Paradise. Open your eyes wider and you will see Paradise everywhere.”

I awoke from my dream and walked outside. Krow’s reality became my own. I awoke to my golden city aflame. I joined every Adam and Eve. We ate the fruits of Paradise. We no longer toiled in the fields. And god—Krow—was with us til the end of our days.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

secession and independence

Some parts of some Lakota tribes have written a legal document withdrawing from its treaties with the United States, which it signed as a sovereign nation. They have declared their status as a sovereign nation, and are seeking legal recognition as such. If the U.S. does not enter into immediate negotiations, the Lakota have threatened to reclaim the territory illegally homesteaded by United States citizens, which spreads across five states.

Links to the whole story can be found at:,2933,317548,00.html (yes, even Fox news!) (love the dude cutting up his i.d. card!)

I'm thinking this is going to be interesting! Doing this via legal means may have a different outcome than past confrontations, especially if the Lakota can get the support of the international community especially in a court of law. Legal recognition isn't the end of it, of course. The whole notion of a legal country is an interesting one. When the U.S. declared its independence, Morocco was one of the first countries to recognize it. There are countries that we recognize the leadership even if they're not physically in the country, nor in control of it--Vichy France and the monarchy of Iran come to mind. Does the United States control Iraq, is Kurdistan as valid a nation as Israel, and since we used to recognize the Lakota as a sovereign country, do we still have to? These lines and legal definitions and regulations are totally imaginary, consensus reality.

I like the part about how the Lakota say that anyone who is currently living in their nation is welcome to stay, so long as they give up their U.S. citizenship. They state that anyone is welcome to live there, tax free, and enjoy freedom and a community-based structure of decision-making. Ah, sounds good to me! I am up for some homesteading. It would be an honor and a privilege to help heal land and people (self included).

Thoughts from y'all?


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

does Christmas piss off god?

The Christian god, commonly known as Jehovah, doesn't say a whole lot about Christmas. But he does say this through his prophet Jeremiah (chapter 10):

1. Hear what the LORD says to you, O house of Israel.
2. This is what the LORD says: "Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them.
3. For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
4. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter.
5. Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good."

I wonder what crazy religion that was, that cut down trees in the forests, fixed them so they won't totter, and decorated them. Sure did piss off God, although He was pretty damn mad through most of that book, according to Jeremiah. Made W sound like a pussy cat comparatively. I think they should edit all that R-rated stuff out of the Bible. Like Lot's daughters getting him drunk so they could sleep with him. Ewww.

Christianity is a weeeeiiiird religion.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

VFD livin' la vida vino veritas

It the holiday season, when people take time to reconnect with old friends. At parties and wherenot, people have been asking me what my plan is doing. I usually mumble something about Corsica and Santa Claus being a mushroom shaman. If people inquire further, I explain that I want to plant native fruit and nut trees on Cincinnati's overgrown hillsides, so that when the economy tanks, we'll have persimmon-fattened deer to eat. That's not really what I want to say, though. I would like to respond: "La vida vino veritas- et in Arcadia ego". That's a working version of my personal motto. Translates as "The life of wine truth- I am also in Arcadia."

"In vino veritas" usually refers to things you said while you were drunk that otherwise wouldn't have gotten said, cuz of social niceties. To get drunk and say what needs to be said is a good thing! Whether drinking our homebrewed hooch and doing an expose on the sillier habbits of our pets, or getting drunk on God like Rumi and speaking Truth to Power, like MLK jr. "La vida vino veritas" is also my shorthand for the Tao of fermented foods alchemy.

When you say that you're somewhere else also, it's code for your constant awareness of physcial mortality. Saying that the other place you're at is Arcadia, the mountainous Greek home of legendarily happy earth-conscious nomads, means you think that's the best place in a civilized imagination to be. I thinks so- they made bread with acorns instead of wheat (maybe because their land was inclined against sensible grain production?), and it's that steep topography that successfully hosted the Greek Revolution in which the Ottoman Empire got handed its ass. Also, in American pop culture, the Arcadians appeared in the movie "300", and they were good people who gave their lives for freedom without being obsessed with war like the Spartans were. Cincinnati, having more square acres of greenspace than any other major US city, could host a lot of trees that would make the ecosystems suitable for an Arcadian revival movement.

Part of what's bringing this batch of thoughts together is Robert Hart's Forest Garden (of Peace). It has been extremely amusing- inspiring, enlightening, makes my thoughts race and my head spin, my heart glow and my belly jiggle with giggles as I spin around in circles at Noon under the Solstice sun. The UK Plants For A Future crew reported their experience there in the Garden 10 years ago, and their story is SO COOL as to make me act the fool x9. So I quote:

"The summer had been a difficult one, it had been rather dry, and there had been a lot of damaging winds recently. However, the garden looked in excellent condition. Whilst the surrounding fields looked dry and barren, the garden was green and lush and, as we soon found out, it was literally dripping with fruit."

With spreading desserts, famine and growing amounts of governmental terrorism at our doorsteps, I find comfort in this image of abundant fertility.

"Narrow pathways lead you amongst fruit and nut trees, growing into them you will find climbing plants such as grapes and kiwi fruits. Growing under them are various fruiting shrubs such as blackcurrants and
gooseberries and also many herbs and salad plants that will succeed in the woodland shade. On the sunnier edges of the garden a number of more conventional vegetables are grown."

If you lived in the Garden, you could be molecularly one with your surrounding environment, on a very sensual level, by eating the fruits of the plants and ammending the soil around their roots with your composted humanure. You are experiencing a physical body that FEELS that it's part of everything else, you can see your feeling be played out in the ecology of the garden. It's so beautiful it speaks to your soul, and suddenly your whole perception is one of soma, being one with it all like you're on mushrooms and talking to the Green Man. Of course a Buddha or Anthropop might kindly point out that you don't need anything outside of yourself (tobacco, umeboshi plums or chocolate) to connect with Godhead. You can do it yourself, with or without help. I'm not deaf enough to argue against that, for to do so is self-defeating. However, since we CAN create an earthy, earthl paradise, (and that's not an issue of contention is it, for Robert Hart has already done it) we can outmode suffering. Noble Savagery is upon us, and it looks like deluxe raw, vegan food and humans being flabbergasted with delight. It also looks like people getting crunked on fermented drink, back to that in a minute. If we follow Mr. Hart's model, we in the Eastern Forest Biome can grow all the food and drugs we could possibly want. Valiant people, as gardening Foresters we could live the ultimate Debauchery! Hakim Bey as entheogen propagandist recounted an ancient Celtic story, one which illustrates our ancestors getting drunk from the fruits of a forest garden. In his enthusiasm for Aminita muscaria, the storyteller has overlooked an exciting possibility for today. Take a few deep breaths as you read this next quote here, it took my breath away.

"They were now a long time tossed about on the great billows, when at length they came in view of an island with many trees on it. These trees were somewhat like hazels, and they were laden with a kind of fruit which the voyagers had not seen before, extremely large, and not very different in appearance from apples, except that they had a rough, berry-like rind. After the crew had plucked all the fruit off one small tree, they cast lots who should try them, and the lot fell on Maildun. So he took some of them, and, squeezing the juice into a vessel, drank it. It threw him into a sleep of intoxication so deep that he seemed to be in a trance rather than in a natural slumber, without breath or motion, and with the red foam on his lips. And from that hour till the same hour next day, no one could tell whether he was living or dead. When he awoke next day, he bade his people to gather as much of the fruit as they could bring away with them; for the world, as he told them, never produced anything of such surpassing goodness. They pressed out the juice of the fruit till they had filled all their vessels; and so powerful was it to produce intoxication and sleep, that, before drinking it, they had to mix a large quantity of water with it to moderate its strength."

Could there actually be a plant like this, that's gets us easily drunk with its low-hanging fruit? Of course there *could* be, but do we have any candidtates? I've found one, w/o falling back on Cannabis (the Tree of Life Everlasting), or Psylocibin (the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil). It's on the mountainous isle of Corsica, which already has some prestige as a former permaculture paradise*.

Meet the the "Strawberry Tree" (Arbutos unido). Its fruit ferments on the ground into tastey alcoholic globules; birds around one specimen that my teacher Simurgh grew up with would get intoxicated, and you could watch them flying around lazily in no particular direction. The PFAF crew lists it at #5 on their list of 20 top (most favorite) plants. Why? Read their article for more general information, but these particular details jumped out into this. Júlio Reis tells us that "In Portugal, they make an alcoholic beverage called "medronheira" from the fruit of this tree, which would translate as "strawberry tree firewater". It's very alcoholic but very aromatic, can be used in cakes, or it can be sipped in (preferably) small quantities, like port. The fruit itself is delicious, at least to my palate." Hallelujah that sounds good. Sean said "I've just returned from Corsica where I have eaten some extremely nice Arbous jam made from this plant and also bought a bottle of Arbous liqueur which was one of the nicest I have ever tasted."

Finally, Ana Margarida Martins said "Hello!!! About the toxicity of this fruit: in Portugal we do make jam and liqueur (aguardente de Medronho) with it. I have personally eaten many of these fruits and I can tell you they're very sweet and tasty. But in Portugal the cultural say about Arbous is that you shouldn't eat too many, or you risk beeing drunk. That's probably because the fruit ripens very quickly and ferments. That's why you feel sick and dizzy... because you're slightly drunk... But nothing serious... Enjoy the fruits everybody!!!"

Food for more than body or thought, tree crops as soma even w/o the transcendental abundance of their ecology. I want to give this kind of soma to Cincinnati, a paradise now that's so good people give up on Millenialsim to start enjoying where they're at.

*In "Tree Crops: A Permenant Agriculture" there's a great description of Corsican agriculture. There was a series of villages, spaced along a hillside band of forest gardened European Chestnut (Castanea sativa). These sloped communities based their whole economy on the nutmeat of C. sativa- they ate it with gusto directly, reared livestock on 'em, and exported some of the surplus. The ancestors of those farmers who appeared in the book 56 years ago had been living symbiotically with their chestnut groves for literally centuries, with some of the oldest trees being more than 300 years of age. All of these had been carefully propagated, superior cultivars grafted onto rootstock, the humans planting them out to fill gaps in the canopy as they naturally occurred. The chestnut blight destroyed this. Conspiracy buffs who say the UN seeded HIV in Africa under the cover of vaccination programs to check human population growth by killing off the poorest of the poor might begin to suspect that the chestnut was deliberately destroyed by the bad guys; I prefer to ignore that possibility, as it would negatively impact my quality of life and discourage me from the work that needs to get done so that these Arcadian landscapes may inherit our Wastelands.

Friday, December 14, 2007

community, pool hall style

Working at the pool hall rocked. I really enjoyed this waitressing gig. In the five months I worked there, I never once encountered an angry, rude, or impatient customer, even if waiting time was involved. I was the only waitress for the nine-table diner, and if we were full, there was waiting. But everyone understood, and it was never a problem.

But this story isn't about me, it's about the customers, the great people who inhabit this wee rural stick-a-fork-in-it town of 800, who don't even know how special they are. Specifically, I want to tell you about Mike. His kids are grown, and he often comes to the pool hall to hang out with the other folks who have nothing better to do than to drink cheap cheap coffee. Mike has sparkling dark blue eyes, and a deep baritone voice that sounds like Johnny Cash singing straight into your heart. Mike is in a wheelchair. He was once an able-bodied man, but one day when he was out cutting wood, he felled a tree on the spot where his dog was standing. He tried to save his dog, and now he has no use of his legs. He has a fine spirit, though, and his useless legs never stopped him from doing anything, including getting into the pool hall.

The pool hall is on the main street in town, maintaining its vigor among falling down buildings and empty shells of what used to be the life of this town. The railroad stopped going through town decades ago, and the highway went around it about the same time, and it has taken a long time for this town's pulse to become strong again.

The pool hall has only one step up from the sidewalk, but for anyone in a wheelchair, that might as well be a ladder. Mike was not deterred. The call came in from Tiny, who despite his name, is actually a tiny little guy. Mike needs some assistance (not help). Eyes glanced from coffee cups to others crowded around the table: two other guys in motorized wheelchairs who used the back door (with no step), an emphysemic elderly woman, and Wayne, who was tethered to an oxygen tank. I realized I was probably the best option for getting Mike through the door, but I wasn't sure I could, as Mike is a big guy. He's not obese by any means, but dude was a tall big man back in the day, and he is still big. I hesitated too long, though, and Wayne rose from the table.

"Help me, Tiny," Wayne said. They went out the door. A minute later, Mike popped through the door (I held it, the least I could do), lifted through by Wayne, followed shortly by Tiny, who carried Wayne's large oxygen tank for him. Indeed, there's nothing that can't be done if you set your mind to it. Nothing that can't be done with help--assistance if you will. To these good old boys, it was nothing, but to me who had spent some time in the Big City, it was nothing short of a miracle. This is what community looked like at some point in the past, and I was more determined than ever to discover it again.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

invitation to that MI event

come share a free meal and scheme with good dreams

WHAT: merry making time for scheming our revolution. Deliciously prepared local
conversation and food to be served.

HOW: format is "by mutual information" to keep babbling extroverts like maself from
dominating the conversation. "In Mutual Invitation, the facilitator speaks first. Upon
finishing, the facilitator invites the next person to speak. That person has the opportunity
to speak or to pass or to pass for the moment. Whatever the person chooses, she has the
opportunity to invite the next person to speak. The process continues until everyone has
had a chance to speak." Particularly useful in dealing with folks of other social priviledge
levels; patterns of inheritted, alienation-isms deserve conscious attention to phase out.

WHO: people who RSVP, aka you and the person or 2 you might bring along and as-yet-
unidentified co-conspirators. Hosted by Nancy Sullivan and Badger Johnson.

WHEN: this Saturday, food serving, mumbling and mingling starting at 11am (a bit before
the sun reaches its zenith), with the structured conversation beginning @ 11:30ish.

WHERE: 534 Enright Ave., Cincy OH 45205. Specifically on Price Hill, situated Occidentally
above the mouth of the Mackateewa River.

WHY: We are scheming with headlines of agroforestry, networks of mutual aid, edible
landscaping, progressive/radical/libertarian/egalitarian/green/anarchist affinity, forest
gardening,mycology, get the drift? Let's break bread and gobble manna together.



mutual invitation

We're about to use the Mutual Invitation model for a scheming session with local, self-selected people of green and black affinity. A strength of this model is that it protects the unpressured freedom of everyone, and so they may speak or keep silent as they fully choose. When you're a facilitator/host with a lot they want to say but want to hear even more, it seems like a good fit.

People say things to me like "Don't talk about religion or politics with strangers, eventaully you'll inevitably end up snarling to defend the convictions that supposed to make you smile." And then I say

THANK you.

Snarling and smiling are both fun when viewed from a position of equipoise. When I agree to be generous with my attention, the stories that people give mostly just make my eyes get big.

A commitment to generosity might appear wearisome to folks who are used to a greed-based societal praxis. If feels like it sort of fits with your outlook than I have this to say: feeling nobly savage, I know an idealic gift economy that's nourishing and life giving and I want to thank you for participating. So,

Thank you!

Wanderers of the wilds know that on the other side of civilization's boundary walls, you don't need to enshrine generosity because it's already in the air. Inside its bounds, many of us participants in generous cultures feel miraculously given what we need by an almost unimaginably huge network of friends. It appears that chain of "mutual aid" extends unbroken through the wall, though this may be an illusion.

Thank YOU!

A description of the mutual invitation process.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

sufis aren't afraid of anything, even bicycle riding werecatfish

The sky is wet as a sloppy-kiss, and breeze plays down the hillside. Red's gift of a bicycle gets me around. Farther South, this long, warm rain would empower Clarias batrachus to leave trench-bound pals and head for higher puddles. No Rube Goldberg, this bike, it's a spiritual machine, righteous as to make Aladin's carpet tip the hat, blinking LED's warding off gas-guzzlers and the taught bow of the body commanding respect by the saltiness of its runoff. To live up to the golden rule, he gives an obligatory bird to a road rager and for future reference, that's invitation to call me on my shit.

After the Sun sets on the hut construction site, Shadowcrrew opens up and drinks in the people-jammed city, acting as any sensible walking catfish would, hitting the town like waves on a beach and surfing the Tao like a surfboard. Tonight, the search was for poetry and a secretive enclave of Sufis. Got a lead on the Murshid, and a group of sensually provacative showed up in the viewfinder. Werebrock rattled off this ditty:

"We Are!
Gods if we choose to be
Regardless what you call us
Just to be, we are already free

Weeds growin' from cracks in da walk
They know. They Are!
Dey already Gods. Just go

All juh gotta do is ask. That's no
tiny task, but bare with. Be
widdem where dey at. Layin' on the
rock sidewalk

Breath in their out
yours they incorporate
however you like
you are theirs & so they give

Last night, a 23 frame view through some Ghetto trees (Lonicera maackii) illustrates the giant, glowing obelisk of the Queen City building. It's high rise apartments with a garlicky white table cloth restaurant at the bottom, and glowing blue neon emitting jubilant electrons around the crown. It guides Werebrock up the hill. So mote it be, and everything glistens with moisture, everything glows with beauty beyond the sheen of refelected street lights. Life is ≥ double entendre.. Werebrock's mind is swept away by legs pumping him up Warsaw Avenue, which currently acts as a straight and narrow path to realizing our delightful position between Heaven and Earth.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

to you, Hugo Chavez. Bush hasn't even bothered with exploding cigars, you're so lame. Please stop selling to the oil junkies, lay off the ego and leave the jungle-covered petroleum where it belongs.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I'm living in the house and working on the hut..

It was cold today, so we started a fire in an iron wheel barrel. That was a neat trick.

George Hardebeck may be posting on this site soon. Yesterday we walked around in the woods and he introduced me to a bunch of different tree species. Before, I had been blind to them. Let's see if I remember something from what he said.

Okay, so he cajoled me into seeing some of the reasons behind tree placement. Red oaks, for instance, don't need much water, and we saw old (read: successful at stayin' alive) individuals on the edges of steep slopes, where the water table leaves a high and dry spot that few other tree species effectively colonized.

boo yah. see George, i was listening.