Thursday, November 27, 2008

big sprouts in big pavement

Susan Freinkel's American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Treet is an easy primer on the situation. Castanea dentata was decimated by a fungus in our great-grandparents' time. Since then, humans who appreciate it's amazing fecundity and generosity have struggled, pulling it off death row and now back into the forest. One way they are doing this, now that the tree is close to having been selectively bred for sufficient blight resistance, is to reclaim abandoned mines by starting chestnut groves on top of the rubble. According to the author, these experimental plantings are growing with tantalizing success. However, she feels that working in tandem with "King Coal" is morally dubious.

Sometimes when idealists get passionate, our eyes lose focus and cause and effect run together. This is useful for seeing that humans have colonized every terrestrial ecosystem on the planet, and in too many cases degraded their productivity (a big idea). Retooling for an energy industry that isn't radically unbalancing, and instead is regenerative and extropian, requires planning for the processes that are certain to occur. This applies to small-scale biofuel like our woodburning stoves- timber stand management for the good of all in suburbs- as well as coast-hugging windfarms, and possibly to nuclear reactors whose waste gets pitched into the sun. People at my school are doing scientific legwork on chestnut mine reclamation, and since I want to play with the tree this is interesting work whenever ethical.

Environmentalist get very upset about MTR, and with reason. The local impacts of mountaintop removal are equivalent to carpet bombing. A mountain gets cut in half and out goes the deep seem of coal. Naturally, the absence of any kind of ecosystem will pull down biodiversity in the surrounding forest. The mountaintop gets dumped in streams that were formerly on the mountain's side, and when sulfites decoct out of the tailings, these streams undergo acidification to the point of undrinkability and sterilization. Sludge ponds from coal processing are left behind and pose long-term health hazard to local humans. Also, consider the coal's intended combustion releases serious atmospheric pollution. Katuah coal is high in sulfur, so burning it releases gaseous sulfur oxides resulting in acid rain, carbon dioxide and particulate matter that triggers asthma. A volcano may as well have erupted, except that the fire is in hydrocarbon-burning factories. There are many other effects to consider, but that's a start: a stretch Earth of gets totally wrecked by this resource extraction.

The mining industrialists would like to ignore these problems, in practice. They attempt to meet shallow government-mandated atonement standards, such as planting lawn grass over abandoned mines. In good conscience, we cannot condone MTR until it is has been ceased and made up for. We can't yet forgive them for the what they continue to do. King Coal defends its actions on the basis of its contributing role in domestic energy production, but that's not nearly good enough- didn't keep us out of Iraq! The type of restoration they must undertake is in kind: to truly make amends requires powering the switch to green energy. That's why chestnut restoration should be treated as an honestly separate process. There's a big forest opening in the wake of MTR's ruin, and Nature will take a long time to scab it over. We'll expedite that function, and benefit mutually from a new woody friend. The process is hopeful. After decades of thoughtful work going into this, culmination should be wholesale "green job" creation around chestnut's gifts of nuts and timber. That our Victory occurs on what was once an old killing field shouldn't disgust us- our own bodies are made of recycled material.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Iron John

Just finished reading Iron John, by Robert Bly. He starts off describing most guys today as not having a well-established sense of identity. To change that situation, he reads a Grimm's faerie-tale as an archetypal male initiation sequence which was in effect since the Neolithic, and then unpacks his understanding of it.

I suppose that contemplating these ideas and progressively applying their principles into life, is supposed to catalyze one's personal development comparably to Iron John's initiation. These days, when I feel the force of an impersonal force from without or within I pay attention to it and see what I can learn. That's why I appreciate personal truth in much of Robert Bly's thinking and really enjoyed this book. The names of the days of the week come from Norse and Roman deities, + the 7 ancient astrological planets. Bly's roundup of male archetypes (The Wild Man, the Magician, the Warrior, the Trickster, the King, the Lover, and the Grief Man) enriches that understanding for me. Every day, I am reminded by cosmology to stir up and sip on and embody these previously ignored, hidden or forgotten qualities in my self.

I am also thankful for the literary criticism provided by Paul Wolf-Light, and Charles Upton. Society has changed a lot since the Neolithic; that the Wild Man has been going MIA in white culture since the rise of asceticism several thousand years ago reflects it. If there were bad reasons for his disappearance, I assume there were also some good ones. Inequality between the sexes has been rejected, so sexed archetypes that apply to both sexes can seem ridiculous. Also, if you're like me you got sick and spit up lots of the initiation/indoctrination of our native society. With climate chaos, zombies and robots running towards us, we have our work cut out! We are reinventing culture, keeping our subjective reality based on truth, and in the end passing a beautiful, sufficient way of life to our kids. I know my friends in the Little House in the Ghetto are doing this, anyway- investment analysts could learn a lot from you guys! Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 03, 2008

brass jug wonder and a famous Christian reactionary

Talking about sacred use of metals, here's a cool anecdote empty vessels:

"Scientists from Britain and India recently investigated a long-held belief among people in India that storing water in brass pitchers can ward off illness. (Brass is an allow of copper and zinc.) They filled brass pitchers with sterile water inoculated with E. coli bacteria and filled other brass pitchers with contaminated river water from India. In both cases, they found that fecal bacteria counts dropped from as high as 1,000,000 bacteria per mililiter to zero in two days. In contrast, bacteria levels stayed high in plastic or earthenware pots. Apparently, just enough copper ions are released by the brass to kill the bacteria but not enough to affect humans." pg. 327 Chemistry and Chemical Reactivity, 7th edition

In other news, I speculate that Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis was a reactionary by the most basic definition of the word. Unless I miss my mark, Narnia books were created to counter Robert Graves' theories about pre-modern, matriarchal Middle Eastern and European societies which primarily honored female deity. Lewis' first Narnia book was published to years after Graves', in 1950 C.E. Here's my evidence, you be the judge.

"Graves' thesis was, among other things, that greatness was a pathology; “great men” were essentially destroyers and “great” poets not much better (his arch-enemies were Virgil, Milton and Pound), that all real poetry is and has always been a mythic celebration of an ancient Supreme Goddess, of whom Frazer had only confused glimmerings, and whose matriarchal followers were conquered and destroyed by Hitler's beloved Aryan hoards when they emerged from the Ukrainian Steppes in the early Bronze Age (though they survived a bit longer in Minoan Crete). In a book called The White Goddess: An Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth, he claimed to map out the rudiments of her calendar rites in different parts of Europe, focusing on the periodic ritual murder of the Goddess‟ royal consorts, among other things a surefire way of guaranteeing would-be great men do not get out of hand, and ending the book with a call for an eventual industrial collapse."
(pg 9-10, "Anarchist Anthropology" by David Graeber)

The first novel in C.S. Lewis' series of 7 is titled "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". In his story, 4 Earth children are transported to a fantasy land of Judeo-Christian humans, animals, satyrs, and centaurs. There, the creator God is a lion named Aslan who deems to leave Narnia to its own devices after he's finished making it. His exit is followed by the inauguration of dictatorship. A near-omnipotent being simply known as "the White Witch" has the place under martial law, and keeps Narnia's seasons from progressing past the heart of winter through her magic. (Later, we are to learn that she is an alien from yet another parallel world, who committed planetary genocide by uttering a forbidden magic word and escaped into Narnia at the beginning of history with Aslan's permission.) Aslan comes back and with the help of the Earth children, kills the White Witch and sets up the 4 children as rulers in her stead and leaves again.

I'm feeling very un-Christian today.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bone Singer Studio

Loving Susanne Iles' art and prose. For better/worse, "fine art" purchasing is not in this life's budget.

From Susanne's essay "The Dragon and Creation: Reclaiming the Sacred":

"When the work was finished the world was bountiful, but heavily laden with trees and large animals, mountains and villages. The Creator feared the Earth would collapse under its own weight. Aido Hwedo offered to support the world by coiling under it in a circular fashion, its tail in its great mouth. The Creator knew Aido Hwedo detested the heat and created a great cosmic ocean for it to sleep in. Red monkeys who lived in the sea were directed to attend to Aido Hwedo’s needs by feeding the dragon iron bars whenever hunger came. In this myth it was important for the monkeys to keep the dragon eternally fed, otherwise it would start to eat its own tail and the world would surely be destroyed."

I enjoyed the whole essay, and appreciated some dragons. Particularly for us, think about Aido Hwedo's diet.

Suppose we are subject to a growing surplus of iron/war/strength during this Kali Yuga. Doesn't feeding it to the foundation of the world, so we can support life and continue the unfolding of existence, sound like a good idea? Better than creating the Military-Prison-Industrial Complex, and more generally straight-jacketing our viewpoints and activities to that of zombies. The Fon people who generated this myth live on the old "slave coast" of Africa, which kind of distracts from the humorous subterranean monkey image.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hello -- Liberty Is a Pagan Goddess

Filed by: Patricia Nell Warren
October 5, 2008 6:00 PM

o the creators of that Republican campaign commercial that appropriates the Statue of Liberty -- I've got news for you. You're hawking the wrong symbol. In fact, you're stealing a symbol that actually shoots a big hole in all the fundamentalist churchy propaganda put out by your party during this election.

Liberty is a pagan goddess. Obviously you weren't paying attention in history class. It's spelled G-O-D-D-E-S-S. There's a test on this tomorrow.

The Goddess of Liberty isn't found in the Bible. (If you really studied the Bible, you'd know that.) She comes straight out of Greek and Roman pagan tradition, complete with that toga and sandals. Under the name Libertas, She appeared on Roman coins as an emblem of the emancipation of slaves. She often wore a liberty cap that the newly freed Roman was allowed to put on in a special ceremony at Her temple.

Devotion to Her was revived during the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment, when Europeans began to kick off the shackles of state Christianity. Finally Liberty made the leap to the Americas with colonists and founders who were educated in that classical tradition of government by republic. Her image was stamped on the very first coins minted by the new republic of the United States, along with the old liberty cap and our new national motto LIBERTY. And She was on our money for nearly two centuries. It took your Bible-believing friends nearly a century of lobbying to get the motto changed to "In God we Trust" (Act of Congress, 1865).

Next it took your Bible lobby nearly another century to to get that "heathen" (as the lobby called Her) removed from our coins entirely. It was done so stealthily that -- even as She became our national icon, with the Statue of Liberty going up in New York Harbor in 1886 -- the public didn't notice. She was off the cent by 1857, off the nickel by 1912, off the quarter by 1930. The last Liberty dollars to be minted for circulation came in 1935. Wearing Her liberty cap, She was still on the dime till 1945. As the Walking Liberty, She was on the half dollar till 1947. How appropriate that She saw us through World War II and the victory over fascism. But our government was evidently not grateful to Her for the victory. After 1947 -- poof! She was gone.

Nations always put their most important symbols on their money. Nearly two centuries of a pagan goddess on our money is proof that the United States of America was not "founded under God." If it was -- if your Bible buddies had that kind of clout in 1776 -- our coins would have showcased Jesus from the start.

Yes, Liberty is a pagan. She keeps company with Isis, and Juno, and Tara, and White Buffalo Woman. She wasn't recommended in any Catholic encyclicals. She wasn't touted by Martin Luther, or Cotton Mather, or R. J. Rushdoony. Anywhere that the love of liberty finally awoke in the hearts of thinking Christians in Europe and the U.S., it was because they borrowed the idea of Her from the pagan ancients -- and they knew it was an idea whose time had come because they'd seen the abuses of non-thinking religion up close. Yet some fundamentalists today are even talking against Her statue in New York Harbor, calling it the "Whore of Babylon." One day, that magnificent monument to the most human side of our history -- immigrants who came here to find liberty -- may also be demolished.

In your ad, the book that the Statue carries in one arm is not the Bible. It's the pagan Book of Knowledge -- the schoolbook of thinking statespeople who were freeing themselves from coercive belief and enslaving government. The Latin word for book is liber. That's because the great minds of Greece and Rome had figured out that there is no emancipation without education. The torch She carries is another symbol of education. It takes data, not dogma, to shine into the darkness and make things clear for us.

Maybe that's why your party has let American education go to the dogs -- graduating more and more Americans who are ignorant enough to believe all the religious lies and propaganda that they're fed -- including the myth that "America was founded under God."

For us in the LGBT world, the Goddess of Liberty is a life-saving, sanity-saving symbol -- the ultimate icon. To come out, to be honest with ourselves about who we really are, we've had to educate ourselves, little by little. We've had to crack that Book of self-knowledge. We've had to shine that torch into the terrifying, fearful darkness of the closet where we spent so many years.

During LGBT History Month, we deal formally with the tons of old religious dreck that the conservative religion-mongers like you are still try to pile on us -- all the old corrosive, coercive, dark beliefs and misinformation about sexual orientation and gender identity that made each of us live in waking nightmares during childhood and youth in different religions -- that each of us had to leave behind and burst out into our own personal daylight..

It's too bad about you folks who created that campaign ad. You say you want to lead us, but you aren't even free yet.

reprinted from the Bilerico Project: daily experiments in LGBTQ

Monday, October 13, 2008

if your only tool is poetry, all your problems look like

And the sublime comes down
To the spirit itself,
The spirit and space,
The empty spirit
In vacant space.
What wine does one drink?
What bread does one eat?

Wallace Stevens
The American Sublime

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


It's driving me MAD, this cartoonish empire.

There's this martial law stuff;

The prisoner in his own free country being intentionally driven insane by policies being carried out by people who are alarmed at what they're carrying out;

More prisoners, Muslims of Chinese origin, whom a judge orders MUST be released LIKE, RIGHT NOW! They were cleared for release in 2004, but the institutions headed by our elected representatives won't release them to their home country cause, you know, they might be persecuted over there. The judge ordered they be released into good ol' America, and also ordered that on release, they MUST NOT then be detained by immigration officials.

It's such a cartoon of itself, it's too much like Radio Free Albemuth, it's like RoboKeystoneCops. Kafka wrote about stuff like this generations ago. And so did Orwell. Terry Gilliam made a movie of it in the 1980s. And so on and so forth ...

I'm sure if I started voting again, essential change and the triumph of justice would occur before it's too late. But seriously, I'm confident that the Democrats would not hesitate to use that martial law stuff against whomever they deem deserving. I remember learning about the Stanford Prison Experiment and other experiments where ordinary people abuse authority because they're given tacit permission. That seems to be a major part of this whole authoritarian-culture-destroying-the-world-for-10,000-years problem.

So, about 45 minutes ago, I was about to start blogging angrily, but it was time to put dear daughter to bed. I return to the computer and see the weather prediction: highs in the 70s (F), partly cloudy, lows in the 50s, all week. Focus on the positive! Appreciate the abundant blessings of the unnameable divine source!

"Continue planting things that you can eat" still seems to be the most sensible thing to do, no matter what happens in the disconnected consensus realities of finance and government. Trillions of dollars--gone!!

And maybe go get another glass of homebrew.

"Jesus said, lock up all the Muslims!" --Appendix to the Bible, by Brother Mark

Friday, September 19, 2008

physiological importance of the pinneal gland

The Principia Discordia tells us that the pinneal gland is very important. Cool but I didn't really understand the reference. Why people would place this supposed third eye in a gland? Wikipedia said that the cells you'd find in a dissected pinneal gland seem to be closely related to eye cells. I let it go.

Two days ago while taking a nap, I had a vivid dream. The viewpoint appeared in a sunny graveyard, next to an empty hole in the ground that occupied the space directly in front of an old, granite headstone. I found myself there, besides a stooped, hooded figure w/ wide-brimmed hat. He gestured with his left hand to a space in front of us, where a small ball of living, pink flesh appeared. It hung steady 6(ish) feet off the ground. As my mysterious companion wiggled his fingers, it unfolded like a flower. This unfolding revealed that the ball had a cavity inside, a cavity which was filled with black, aetheric vapor.

Recently, my hermit time has brought on deep, midbrow sensations that I had never felt before. More lately, these uncanny vibes have occurred while I sit typing, or contort my body into yoga poses. I decided that perhaps, this third eye activity had a known physiological manifestation. Pinneal gland? I trust the Taoist hsien's wisdom, and they do indeed have much to tell us on the subject.

From what I've read so far, they call the pinneal gland one of "9 gems that distill essence". The melatonin it synthesizes, late at night and early in the morning, is one of the self-begotten longevity medicines that Taoist sages cultivate. Hmm. Melatonin is a powerful anti-oxidant, which means it dismantles "free radicals" and prevents them from destroying one's DNA. What an evil thing to call those troublesome oxygen molecules. Melatonin is also a hormone that keeps you happy.

I have been skipping sleep, lately. This first chapter of Ohio University has important distractions- homework, fun, etc.- and it felt like I had to just keep going. Now I am re-prioritizing. For purposes of life improvement/extension, I have to maintain a core period of darkness and relaxation so my third eye can distill more essence.

Monday, September 15, 2008

They Live (the movie)

Greetings, Noble Savages.

The other day someone linked to this article on the Monkeysphere, which is funny and cute and still explains a lot about homo sapiens sapiens sapiens. The Monkeysphere happened to mention They Live, a film about learning to see the "real" reality and the subtle forces of control controlling us ignoramuses. (Ignorami?)

I had had a hectic day bucketing tropical depression water out of the sump and pouring it down the sewer drain in the basement, and then installing the new sump pump Sharqi got at the hardware store (taking a taxi there, as the buses don't run on Sundays). Then, I helped spread gravel that a friend brought over into the puddles out by the street--to make a less muddy parking/walking surface, and give our friend something to do with the gravel they didn't want. (Even better than freecycle, it's friendcycle!)

Late that afternoon, I had a couple hours to recharge, with the house to myself even! As I've been craving movies lately (I think my brain is tired), I took the opportunity to watch They Live. It was OK. Not a must-see, but still entertaining. It's too simple to be very intellectually engaging, but an interesting and fun portrayal of a Philip-K.-Dick style "learning to see the Matrix" kind of story. It owes a lot to PKD! A lot of the acting is that kind of pseudo-acting sometimes put on by soap opera actors & professional wrestlers. There was an absurdly long drawn out brutal fistfight between two of the main characters. I get the feeling the director meant it to be absurd, but a lot of troglodyte ignorami would just cheer and/or groan in sympathy as they beat the crap out of each other. All to get him to try on those sunglasses.

Wouldn't it be nice if it were so easy to "wake up" that we could just put on special sunglasses, and see that all the signs and ads everywhere really say things like "OBEY" or "NO INDEPENDENT THOUGHT" or "CONSUME", or one of my favorites, "MARRY AND REPRODUCE"?

The movie does have some subversive content; pirate broadcasters who've learned to "see" hack the TV signals and try to spread the word about how there's no middle class any more, and we're all under the control of the secret power elites. In the 20 years since They Live came out, though, I see that not much has really changed in society. Except, the 80s are back in fashion.

The most fun stuff was seeing the difference between "normal" reality and the real reality, where the ads and products are all full of mind control messages, and the uptight rich people turn out to be ugly aliens. The second most fun stuff was the glorious, totally naive/not ironic, 80s-ness of all the fashion. Whew! Those were the days.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

od arises

Randoming through the internet, I see a post by some delusion person:

As leader of the Zombanian delegation to your planet, I am hereby announcing my people's endorsement of Barack Obama as the nominee for the Democratic party.

When he makes his first state visit to Zomba, I will be proud to crown (then) President Obama with the Golden Colander as well as the equally coveted platinum egg-whisk.

"Zombans unite! You have nothing to lose but your marbles..."



If President Obama ever makes it to central zomba proper, he'll be more likely welcomed with rotting tomatoes. Unless he makes the ice caps stop melting. Then I'll part with my golden colander. I refuse to give up the platinum egg-whisk, however.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

rah rah blah

Today a rich guy with a lot of secret service personnel is visiting our town, to have lots of pictures taken with some other rich guy. There's expected to be a crowd--possibly more than the daily number of commuters on a weekday. I'm not going anywhere near all that. Don & Kaleigh braved the circus and are now downtown at the bus transfer station, heading to the farmers market, because we need eggs. Don is wearing is homemade BLAH BLAH BLAH t-shirt. It's protest, art, humor, and fashion, all tied up into one. And he's taking some food not lawns propaganda to a vendor who makes great soap. That's it for protest from us. Maybe it's that we're old and boring. I don't know as that I have that much to say about it, especially to tv cameras and enthusiastic people who like to yell and who forget every four years that politicians are not to be trusted. But I think getting some chores done around the homestead and playing with my kid will accomplish a lot more than voting, or not, or whatever. I'm very very glad the deciding spectacle will be ending in a few months, and then we can commence on the doing spectacle. Woo.

I read the local paper online today, and it had a story in it about how the only low-cost dental provider is unable to provide dental services to anyone over the age of 20 anymore due to lack of dentists. And you have to go there and stand in line at 6 in the morning on Fridays only if you want to get an appointment for your kid. If this isn't ridiculous enough, Springfieldians are lining up at the reader forums to bash poor people who need dental health care, and making fun that they have insurance and poor people do not (and do not deserve it). We do have insurance, a medical card, guaranteed by our state, but it's basically not worth the paper it's printed on. No one takes it.

Back to self-health care, and thankfully we have good friends (like yarbwoman Abby) who are learning them up many non-college degrees in areas that actually matter.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

raw flax seed dehydrator crackers

are amazingly delicious and healthy. Do some research, make some and see how you feel :)

Flax seeds seem to go for about $4.50-$5/lb. This is kinda pricey, putting them raw at about the price of gourmet chocolate bars or peanut butter. However, to make the crackers one adds a lot other less expensive ingredients- whatever culinary herbs you're growing, and in season vegetables. They are a wonderful way to utilize bumper crops of tomatoes, for instance.

This is how we made the crackers.

First, Mr. Mark Seimer and I ground some flax (and sesame and chia) seeds in the coffee grinder. Then added an equivalent volume of water, and stirred the bowlfull up with a spoon. The seeds soak up a lot of water, and become mucilagenous. It's this quality, among others, that make them so desirable for cracker making- it holds all the ingredients together. I swear, you bite into one of these crackers and it doesn't break except where your teeth pleasingly crunch. There were a lot of times this afternoon when I'd bite down and be left with a crescent moon of cracker! They're also high in fiber, which might have something to do with the flax's binding ability.

Leave the ground flax to soak awhile, and make your veggie smoothie. One can add nuts, oils, and spices. We added curry powder, cayanne, three roma tomatoes, a bit of greens (kale/lettuce/chard), purple cabbage, half a small onion and 4 cloves of garlic. Garlic seemed to be important for flavoring, as was the sea salt.

Now once you've got your smoothie, mix it into the soaked flax. This you spread onto your dehydrator's pan, or if you live somewhere dry and sunny, perhaps you'll rig up a way to do it outdoors. The cracker will be in the box for 10-12 hours, then Mark will flip it over and do it again on the other side. For moister, breadier crackers you can shorten this time. However, Mark is experimenting with shelf life for these fabulous raw food staple. Hit up google and see how other people are doing it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fluid Universe

While digging through and organizing some old personal papers, I ran across this poem. It's scribbled down from a siting at the American Visionary Art Museum. Enjoyed the feeling of connection with the Chesapeake Bay, which one could see out the window opposite the original inscription.

"Oceana (a poem from the Ocean to Humanity)"

One breath away from mother Oceana
Your nimble feet make prints in my sands
You have done good for yourselves
Since you left my wet embrace
And crawled ashore.
You dance by my side
Children sublime
You show me continents
I see islands
You count the centuries I blink my eyes
Hawks and sparrows race in my waters
Stingrays are floating*Across the sky
Little ones, my sons and daughters
Your sweat is salty
I am why
I am why
I am why
Your sweat is salty
I am why
I am why
I am why

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Plant Up Babylon

Chant down Babylon, plant up Babylon, the vining gardens of Stanistan: Food Not Lawns. Terraform the Earth!

"That was what they were saying, really, when they talked about the impact on humans: they would lose the support of the domesticated part of nature. Everything would become an exotic, everything would have to go feral." --Kim Stanley Robinson, 50 Degrees Below, p. 55
The big question seems to be, how do we make life livable (humane, sustainable) in this "matrix" (system conditions) of industrial-scale devastation that the majority are still participating in on an ordinary everyday basis?!

If you are not designing for sustainability, then you are designing for catastrophe (disaster, chaos, crash, woops, etc.). As long as what is is unsustainable, that means, sooner or later, all of us will be vagabonds, as system failures (the missing information) set in. We'll be forced to "leave," probably not under the best of circumstances. So, hopefully, we'll find that many have left already and figured out ways to survive and thrive--humane, sustainable ways of life. Positive feedback the empirical goods--our rhizomes will crowd out Leviathan's!
"Perhaps all that is left of the world is a wasteland covered with rubbish heaps, and the hanging gardens of the great Khan's palace. It is our eyelids that separate them, but we cannot know which is inside and which outside." --CrimethInc., Expect Resistance, p. 263
Anywhere rain falls or dew collects, plants can grow, there is hope.

Topsoil tops oil. A weedlot is doing more to save the earth than a voter.

Sorry for the disjointedness here ... this is more like random notes from the notebook than a coherent blog entry. Powered by strawberries + cane sugar + yeast.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


I can't seem to stop spewing forth over at the Little House. If anyone wants to come for a visit and engage in some dialogue with me, come on over.



VFD also has several specimen of this little known Heimia salicifolia. Seems like a more benigh drug. Going again to Ratsch,

"Preparation and Dosage

Sinicuiche, the Mexican "magical drink causing oblivioun," is made from the leaves:

'The preparation of the drink involves laying the slightly wilted leaves in water for a day and then pressing these thorougly the floolowing day. The juice obtained is allowed to ferment. In this way, one obtains a peculiar, not unpleasant-tasting drink whose effects, however, are certainly not due to the only low quantities of alcohol that are present but are derived from other substances that are produced during fermentation. (Reko 1938, 1428)

A more modern recipe calls for adding one handfull of freshly crushed wilted leaves per person to water and allowing this to sit in the sun for a couple of days, whereupon the liquid will begin to ferment slightly. One cup of this is said to induce yellowish vision and mild euphoria (D. McKenna 1995, 102*). The cold-water extract of the leaves is sticky. Even with dosages as high as 15 g of dried leaves, no psychoactive effects could be observed (Martinez 1994, 295*).

The fresh or dried leaves can be brewed into a tea, both alone and in a combination with other herbs.

The fresh herbage can be added to 60 to 80% ethanol to produce an alcoholic extract (tincture). Twenty to 25 g of this tincture is said to be an effective psychoactive dosage."
(next page, 268)


The drink brewed from Heimia salicfolia produces only mild psychoactive effects:

'Sinicuiche has a weak intoxicating effect. It induces a pleasant, slightly euphoric dissiness and numbness, and the surroundings are percieved as being darker. Auditory hallucinations occur as the inebriated person hears indistinct sounds from a great distance. The world around one shrinks. No unpleasant aftereffects are known. (Scholz and Eigner 1983, 75*)'

There have been repeated reports of yellowish vision and mild auditory hallucinations, tunnel effectts, and tunnel vision (D. McKenna 1995, 102*; Rob Montgomery, pers. comm.). Chills and shivering have also been reported (Bob Wallace, pers. comm.).

Animal experiments have demonstrated that the alkaloids have anticholineregic and anti-spasmodic effects (D. McKenna 1995, 102*). The pramacology of vertine (=cryogenine) is said to be identical to that of the whole extract (Kaplan and Malone 1966). Self-experiments with the alkaloids vertine, lythrine (310 mg, corresponding to 36 to 156 g of the dried branch tips), and acetylsalicylic acid did not result in any detectable psychoactivity (Malone and Rother 1994, 142)."


my VFD affinity group has a big, happy, healthy, flowering, black henbane plant. what are we gonna do with this herb? i went to a trusted expert (how many of those do we noble savages have?) and here's a little of what's been said for us

from page 275 (around Hyoscyamus muticus, black henbane) of The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and It's Applications by Christian Ratsch

"Preparation and Dosage

Either the fresh leaves are used as a poultice or the dried herbage and seeds are used internally. When taken internally, a single dosage should not exceed 0.25 g; the totla daily dosage should not exceed 1.5 g. Because reactions to tropane alkaloids can vary significantly from one individual to another, it is difficult to provide dosage guidelines that apply to everyone. Anyone who wishes to experiment with Egyptian henbane for therapeutic or psychoactive purposes should exercise great care and begin with a very small dosage, whcih then can be slowly increased.

The dried leaves and seeds are suitable for use as ingredients in incense and smoking blends. The herbage also can be used to brew beer (see recipe under Hyoscyamus niger).

In Morocco, twenty seeds from the subspecies falezles are taken orally in a date (cf. palm wine), chewed thoroughly, and swallowed to induce hallucinations. They are also used as an ingredient in majun (see Oriental joy pills) (Vries 1984*; 1989, 39*)."

later, in the Ritual Use section

"The Arabs like to spice their coffee (see Coffea arabica) with crushed henbane seeds. It is possible that the plant also played a role in the secret rites of the dervishes or Sufies. In the twentieth century, the Towara Bedouins of the Sinai Peninsula were still smoking the leaves to produce "an inebritation with delierium" (Lewin 1981, 177*).

from page 279, on Hyoscyamus niger, black henbane,

"Preparation and Dosage
The chopped, dried herbage can be used as an ingredient in incense and smoking blends, for brewing beer, to spice wine, and as a tea (infusion, decoction). The seeds are most appropriate for use in incense recipes.

Dosages must be assessed carefully no matter what type of preparation is being considered. According to Hagers Handbuch der pharmazeutischen Praxis, the therapeutic individual dosage of prepared Hyoscyamus (with a standarized alkaloid content of 0.05%) is 0.5 g, and the daily dosage 1.5 g (maximum 3 g) (Lindequist 1993, 469). Apart from this, see the guidelines given for Hyoscyamus muticus."
below the following recipe

Oleum hyoscyamin infusum (henbane oil) is obtained by boiling the leaves in oil. It can be used externally for therapeutic or erotic massage."
"Recipe for Henbane Beer

40 g dried, chopped henbane herbage
5 g bayberry or another Myrica species (this aromatic ingredient is optional)
approx. 23 liters of water
1 liter (approx. 1.2 kg) brewing malt (barley malt)
900 g honey (e.g., spruce or pine honey)
approx. 5 g dried top-fermenting yeast
brown sugar

Boil the henbane and bayberry (if desired) in 1 liter of water ( to ensure the necessary sterility). Leave the henbane in the water until it has cooled.

Sterilize the brewing vessel (plastic bucket) with boiling water. Then add the liquid malt to the bucket along with 2 liters of hot water and the honey. Stir until the ingredients are thoroughly dissolved. Add the henbane water together with the herbage and the bayberry. Stir thoroughly. Add cold water to make a total of approx. 25 liters of liquid. Pitch the yeast into the mixture and cover.

In order for the top-fermenting yeast to be effective, the wort should be allowed to stand in a warm location (20 degrees to 25 degrees C.) Fermentation will begin slowly because the tropane alkaloids will initially inhibit the yeast. The main fermentation will be over in four to five days, and the after-fermentation will then begin. The yeast will slowly settle and form a layer at the bottom of the bucket.

The beer can now be poured into bottles. A heaping teaspoon of brown sugar can be added to each (0.7 liter) bottle to promote an additional after-fermentation. Henbane beer tastes best when stored before use in a cool place for two to three months."

Effects, pages 281 and 282

"The parasympathicolytic effects of the drugs and of preparations of black henbane are due to the principal alkaloids hyoscyamine (or atropine) and scopolamine. Peripheral inhibition with simultaneous central stimulation is characteristic. The primary effects last for three to four hours. Hallucinogenic aftereffects may persist for as long as three days. The alkaloids can cross via the blodd into the placenta and have also been detected in breast milk (Lindequest 1993, 469).

Among the unpleasant side effects are severe dryness of the mouth, locomotor disturbances, and farsightedness. Overdoses can lead to delirium, coma, respiratory paralysis, and death. However, only a very few instances of lethality are reported in the toxicological literature (Lindequist 1993, 470). For this reason, the actual lethal dosage is not known precisely. The plant is also toxic to graxing cattle, deer, fish, and many species of birds. Pigs appear to be immune to the effects of the toxins (Morton 1977, 305*) and actually appear to enjoy the inebriating effects. This may be the source of the ancient name hog's bean.

Low dosages (0.5 to 1 liter) of beer brewed with henbane have inebriating effects, while higher dosages (1 to 1.5 liters) are aphrodisiac (henbane beer is the only beverage that makes one thirstier the more one drinks!). Very high dosages (more than 2 to 3 liters) can induce delirious and "inane" states, confusion, memory disturbances, and "crazy" behaviors."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

letter to M.M. "Activists Save Water from Corporate Control"

Dear M.,

When this headline came onscreen, the memory of your activist legacy sprang to mind. You old stalwart! Nestle has successfully been banished from Wells, Maine, and now it's moving on to other communities, peddling Lies and vampirism. Doubtless they are pouting from the stinging bitch slap of forcible ejection.

It's been in the news lately, some humans out West are prohibited from catching the rain that falls on their roofs! The Evil Machine of the State has declared that rain belongs under its dominion. After the rain percolates underground and into rivers, pipes suck it up and divvy it out to food factories.

Earlier today, I imagined a conversation going on between two undines, elemental beings of water. They were talking about humanity's and hanging out in the clouds above Denver. "People are getting so dense during this part of the cycle," one complains to the other. "What a crappy way to go! Their agricultural paradigm reflects backwardness and greed. It's gotten so bad, they might desertify the whole planet." The second is inclined to agree. "Some of them say claim that they are inventing their way out of their ignorant practices, while at the same time continuing on the same self-destructive course. It's a Hell of a big lie to let yourself believe in." It's voice is choked up and water begins to precipitate as tears, falling to Earth. "Ah, cheer up, this part is always enjoyable!" says the first undine. "Sure, many of them are living like fucktards, and that's part of growing up. They are falling on their face, so they can learn the invaluable lesson of picking themselves back up again. Soon, many of them may learn wise stewardship of the World." They splash together on a homesteaders' roof, and are funneled into an underground cistern. Later, as their liquid is sprayed out of a watering can onto the homesteader's indoor marijuana patch, they shout together, "See, it's happening already!"

Your root balls have been delivered to R. Robust and vital rosemary, sage, oregano and lavendar are coming your way! I mixed additional compost and sand into holes where your plants were dug out. Your soil was not so desirable, typical stuff of Cincinnati, a hard pan of acidic clay. Those herbs seem to thrive on adversity, though, and your more Northernly Garden is about to be enriched.

Over the last few days I've done some good reading into the Western Esoteric Tradition, and I wanted to share my take on the Rosicrucians with you. I think you'll appreciate their story and find them to be kindred spirits.

Rosicrucian translates as "of the Rosey Cross". Conjure up a picture of a flower, sitting on an elemental cross of the 4 directions. It immediately sheds light both on their unusual monotheism, and their work of healing the perceived rift between humans and Nature. Jesus being equivalent to a rose bush without thorns, I suppose

Times were dark when the Rosicrucians got their start. The Church was actively hunting down and murdering rural wise women, and declaring all free thinking (to say nothing of smoking pot and running around in the woods naked) to be thought crime, punishable by indentured servitude or publicly burning to death at the stake. In their times, the first corporations were going on State-sponsored expeditions to America; America, where people's civilizations were quite sophisticated in sustainable cooperation with whatever bioregion they occured in. For this, the indigenous humans were uncomprehendingly laughed at and slaughtered!

Rosicrucians were Christian, European men who answered the call to shamanism starting 500 years ago. Through meditation, studying alchemy with Muslims in North Africa and the Middle East, and learning about the Tree of Life from Jews in Spain, they realized that they as humans were part of Nature. They realized that the alientation we suffer from Nature stems from a primal disconnection from our higher selves, from "God". So they sought and achieved conversation with the Divine, which is an understanding of the animating spirit of Nature, of all the beings: our fellow humans, animals, plants, fungi, bacteria and elementals like the undines. Also, seeing the Divine in the interconnecting relationships between everything, which makes existence more than the sum of its parts.

Their wisdom, their Gnosis, and the exercises they developed for its attainment, has living, contemorary versions in many other cultures- Taoist sages in China, Lakota medicine men- but that kind of knowledge has died in the minds of European intelligentsia. The mythical founders of the "Fraternity of the most Laudable Order of the Rosy Cross" stole around Europe, secretly relating their revelation to every dissenter they could find. Their goal was to ferment a great reform, to bring us out of the madness which is still embodied by the international elite and the spectacle-bound masses. Those crafty prophets of love, the Rosicrucians, sought to resurrect a WORKING, practical understanding of the unity of all things. The unity Nature and God, of humans and Heaven and Earth- they rekindled this in the hearts of many of their countrymen. Their heirs are still failing, and still succeeding. I see their ethos gettin' replayed out by "CrimethInc." and it's anarchist culture jammers, for instance.

I love writing letters. They afford a rare, social opportunity for taking time, getting one's thoughts together, and sharing them with a friend in developed form. Getting one's creative juices flowing, laying down the ambrosia on paper or pixel.

Traditionally, I have experienced debilitating difficulty with inspiring myself to write. This may stem from the fact that my favorite writing is usually done in letters, and I lose them when I send them. A.A. mentioned that you are reading the Artist's Way together and cheering each other on. I'm feeling the urge too, and I am embarrassed to say that my blog lies mostly empty. Writing letters this week has been as Cerridwen's cauldron of inspiration, a self-renewing source of fermenting fuel, with which Brigit is sparking a creative fire in my head. I had this idea, and I want you to give it thought and tell me what you come up with.

Instead of trying to pull teeth by writing random shite on, (for instance the latest post about getting randy after eating too many plums), I could duplicate my best letters and anonymize people by using peoples's initials. That way people who know of the events from direct experience could know exactly what and I'm talking about, but noone else would. Of course, discretion would be necessary for any private matters. Discussing peoples' comfort and gaining consent before publishing is necessary. This would become second nature.

Do I have permission to republish this letter on Noble Savagery? Your name would be M., or M. M. Please let me know.

Be well M.! I hope you enjoy your herbs, and please struggle to maintain a positive attitude about your situation.

Yours in Love for the Earth,


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I love writing letters. They afford a rare, social opportunity for taking time, getting one's thoughts together, and sharing them with a friend in developed form. Getting one's creative juices flowing, laying down the ambrosia on paper or pixel.

Traditionally, I experience debilitating difficulty with inspiring myself to write. This may stem from the fact that my favorite writing is usually done in letters, and I lose it as they're sent out. So here's an idea to reap the richness.

Instead of pulling teeth by writing randomness, I would duplicate my best letters and anonymize people by using initials. That way, people who know of any events discussed from direct experience could appreciate my view, but for most people it would just be news and views.

Discretion would be necessary. I would come up with a list of rules to keep me from falling into grey areas of discussing confidential matters. Discussing peoples' comfort and gaining consent before publishing is necessary. This would become second nature. Kinks would work themselves out, and I'd be careful.

What say yee, co-bloggers? Please consider and share your thoughts. You too, anyone else who is watching.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

going native

The settlers have been caught as unaware as the natives were. Sure enough, family by family, the modern descendants of settlers have been lured by wads of wampum and shiny store goods to sign their names on the dotted line, to give away their traditional lands and the familiar lively rural culture that goes with it.

Manifest Destiny once again appears with a smile on its face, good news of a glorious new future spouting from its lips, and a reassuring pat on the back. Goodbye vibrant rural culture; hello industrial mega-ag! And if your rural town is especially worthy, a company store in a strip mall. Granted, modern Manifest Destiny cannot always lure a farmer to abandon his family's future with wealth. Sometimes Manifest Destiny has to use banks (debt) and justice (the law) to enforce their legal right to rural lands. Why fight it? It's Manifest Destiny! It's progress! It's meant to be! It's going to happen anyway, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Rural Americans are shuffled off their ancestral homes and forced onto reservations, usually bombed out small towns with a trading post (Wal-Mart) on the edge of town. They rely on government handouts to survive, or if they can, they hire themselves out, often for low pay and travel far away. Many cannot cope with the loss of their livelihood and their familiar culture, and turn to tv (or video games) and liquor (or crack or meth) to alleviate the suffering.

Many emigrate to big cities, assimilating into the quick pace of urban american culture and its relentless demands of the total work and consumption lifestyles. A few ex-pats "pass" and survive. Many alleviate their sufferings as do their compatriots back home--drug and screen addictions.

And so here we are, corporations of America holding the deed to the land, the heart and soul of the american way of life. Sure we don't have to choose to participate, as long as we don't mind homelessness and starvation. It is strange that we have been forced into economic slavery by corporations backed by linear feet of legal code and our own government that is supposedly by, for, and of, us. In fact our governments and corporations exist only because we believe they do, because our consensus reality rituals reinforce the ever-increasing literal concrete-ness of their presence on a daily basis. We drive the wheels of Manifest Destiny.

Well, bullony.

The call is out for a 10,000 Year Jubilee, one to match, undo, and heal the toil of civilization. Let us cast off the expectations of slavery and consumption, and replace these cultural memes with ones that make some sense. Let us rediscover our human roots and scout the trail back to the gardens. Let us replace corporate government bullony with community and the gift economy. Let us replace education with curiosity and learning, health care with good health, punishment-style tax-dollar justice with community care and forgiveness, fossil fuels and energy slaves with the sweat of our own brows, prozac with a life filled with love and purpose, moral obedience to authority with loyalty to self and tribe, reason with intuition, wealth and success with contentment, rational science with alchemy, toxic industrial food with blessings from the garden and the entire community of life. May we have the blessing of feeling filled with just enough.

Let us replace Manifest Destiny with usufruct. The land belongs to itself, and all that is on it belongs to itself (including humanity). We take for our needs, and provide a continuing future for our children, for humanity, as well as the rest of the community of life. We may well have plastic for the rest of human existence on this planet. Let it serve as a sign of (rich white) man's hubris, of a time when we thought we were gods, and we thought we had acquired the knowledge of good and evil. Let us search out the tree of life in the gardens, and remember.

Reservations for none, paradise for all. Emigrate to a culture of life.

"There is no wealth but life." --John Ruskin
"Justice... is the strength of love in making a world that is deserving of human beings." --Curtis White

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Japanese plums are ripe. A couple of buddies and I gorged ourselves on the sweet, juicy fruit last night. We had been looking for Cornelian cherries, fabled as a Persian male aphrodisiac, but then we just ran into this loaded tree on the median strip. Now Werebrock has a new favorite fruit. If you know of any midsize all purple-leafed trees in peoples' front yards and it's not a maple, look closer. It may be a Japanese plum and if so, it's probably frickin' loaded.

The reason we're looking for Cornelian cherries, is that my body is telling me it's time to mate. I suppose it's so I would have babies in the spring? So I'm just like "Pff, whatever body. No babies this decade." But if you follow your Nature-given seasonal inclinations instead of insullating yourself from everything in your HVACed office, car and condo, life's always more fun. I've been sleeping 6 hours a night, lately, instead of 8 or 10. Maybe that's cuz the moon is gettin' fuller.

So the story, right. Last night after gettin' all pumped up on plum juice and making my guys friends at frisbee perhaps slightly uneasy with my unusually brightly twinkling eyes, I was out huntin' the woods for elderberries. After finding way more than I could have hoped for, I'm just lyin' down to meditate when these two giggly hippy chicks stroll up and start complimenting my aura. I was thrilled. There have not yet been any scintillating details to relate and I'll keep 'em to myself when there are, but I just want to make a plug for making it a habit to follow up on as many of the the spontaneous, wonderful gut intuitions that one gets as ya have time for. The normal, waking consciousness ego can use all the help it can get.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


is the plant of the week. Achillea millefolium in the Latin.

qualities and uses:

It's a good bitter. According to Joe Hollis, the Chinese always eat a little bit of some wild, bitter herb (like yarrow, or wormwood) before starting on dinner. The bitterness you taste are tannins and saponins, which augment the bile and prime it's release in the stomach, making digestion of heavy peasant food a breeze.

Also should be used as a poultice for battlefield wounds. The scientific name comes from the Illiad, where monster-hero Achilles heals some of his downed comrades at Troy with the miraculous herb. And while the path of the forest gardener is somewhat less dangerous that that of other eco-anarchists, this time of year we all have to deal with small nicks and cuts on our legs and arms as we wade through wild blackberry patches. To self-heal with a yarrow poultice, just chew up a leaf, and spitooey a fairly dry loogy of the herbed spittle onto your fingertip for application to superficial knicks.

Now is the time to harvest yarrow for drying, you can tell because it is flowering and that's the sign. I'm going to be harvesting a bunch today in Melbourne, in the vacant field abbutting my Kentucky Kibbutz. Linnaeus reported that it makes a decent and highly innebriating bittering agent in beer, when substituted for the more standard hops.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Permaculture and Explosives

from Permaculture: A Designers' Manual, Bill Mollison, 1988, Ch. 9: Earthworking and Earth Resources, sec. 9.8: Moving of the Earth, p. 247:


Explosives are of most use to assist auger holes in hard ground, to make holes in otherwise unstable ground such as marshes, or to loosen rock in quarries. With the advent of the swamp tractor, marsh blasting is less common, but the basic ease and effectiveness of explosives should not be overlooked where they can solve some otherwise intractable problems.

Nitroglycerine (cellulose treated with acid, in glycerine, absorbed into wood dust or clay earths) as gelignite, dynamite, or plastique is an inexpensive way to solve some earth-moving problems. Even cheaper is the mix of ammonium nitrate fertiliser and dieseline known in the trade as "chickenshit" (nitrates have from ancient times been gathered from manures, around the soil of toilet pits, or extracted by washing and evaporation from guano).

Old "recipe" books give dozens of reliable recipes for cheap explosives, and even custard powder, flour, or face-powder will blow a room apart, as will the fumes from ether or domestic gases. I once worked as a scientific glassblower, and managed to remove all doors and windows from my room by allowing ether to evaporate from a bottle. Earlier, as a baker in my father's business, I created some spectacular flashes using plain flour near open flames.

Today, we must take a course to obtain a "powder monkey" certificate in order to set our own explosives, or we should hire skilled people. Yesterday (pre-terrorist), we simply made the stuff up and let it go, with unpredictable results and often too much effect.

(end quote) Yeah that's right, ol' Bill Mollisons likes to BLOW STUFF UP!! "The basic ease and effectiveness of explosives should not be overlooked where they can solve some otherwise intractable problems." LOL!!

Friday, July 04, 2008

I Pledge Allegiance

I pledge allegiance
to liberty and justice for all

The Dreaded East Side of Springfield is ablaze with highly illegal fireworks, probably from Missouri and Indiana. Autonomous fireworks shows in all directions rival the centralized government-sponsored spectacle. We love it when people celebrate their freedom with illegal fireworks.

I rode my bike to SIX places today looking for sparklers for Kid Khalila. How can we have an Independence Day without sparklers?!!?!! How can stores be open for business on this holiday, yet not sell us the traditional tools for celebration? Just how lame can Springfield be? Nevertheless, neighborhood displays have evoked loud primate woooping from us on the front porch of the chaos house.

If we are truly a free country, could we drop The United States and just be America? With every neighborhood, every household, different yet included in the endless open play that is post-civilliesed pioneering?

And the irony continues--how much of these fireworks were made in China?!

In other news, we're enjoying Badger's kim chee. It has Badger chi in it, I think.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Getting off the plastic bags would put us ahead of the game. It's true that they're very handy, but come on. Canvas tote bags, or woven reed baskets, aren't that hard to come by and make a lot more sense. Plastic bags do not recycle well and usually degrade into toxic clutter. Whenever I find one, I like to fold it into a paper football shape and drop it in the nearest kitchen drawer.

I love Jujubes. Forever. If you know where I can get dried out, decent bulk jubjubes I will love you forever, too.

In other news, if you were thinking about wandering around the globe to get your hands and feet dirty, now is a really good time. Americans have this freedom of mobility that we should appreciate, because it ain't necessarily gonna be like that forever. Check out this place in Tennessee. If I had a partner and we were madly in love, we would run away to this place.

Contact: Hector Black
Location: 170 Hidden Springs Ln
Map of area available
Phone: 931-268-9889
Activities: composting toilet, peace activist, farming, gardening, activism, permaculture, cottage industry, community, orchards, forestry, education, energy, retail, marketing, research
Description: Fruit/nut orchard, 12A, very scenic location.
Hidden Springs is located in a narrow valley cut 300 ft. into the Cumberland Plateau by a state scenic wild
river. The orchard covers about 12 acres of food producing perennials - trees, vines, shrubs. We have collected plants from many parts of the world. The main income crops are blueberries, black and red raspberries, blackberries, hardy kiwi and chestnuts, but the field also contains Cornelian cherry (an edible dogwood), Cudrenia, Mayhaw, Azarole, honey locust, pecan, black walnut, aronia , pawpaw, persimmon,mini-kiwi and many more unusual fruits. The area is quite beautiful with 5 waterfalls within easy walk of the house.
We are looking for a single person or couple to take over the orchard
Program: We provide room and board in return for about 35-40 hours of work per week. Most helpers eat with us and take part in food preparation or cleanup. There is a possibility of earning money picking fruit in season. A $50 per month stipend is possible for longer term volunteers. We can accommodate most diets. A small permaculture garden helps with fresh vegetables. Accommodation is in our house for the most part, although camping and trailers are a possibility. The work varies greatly depending upon season. We mulch, fertilize, harvest, weed, mow, prune, plant, propagate by cuttings and grafting, depending upon season. Every Saturday morning is spent at the local farmer’s market during the harvest season. (May-October) There is a Land Trust operating on what was once part of our farm, and an organic nursery next door where extensive grafting a propagation takes place with edible landscape plants. We need help at any time during the year and can meet busses in Cookeville, TN.

Area: 380 acres
Space: Can accommodate 4 people.
Organic Status: 29 years without chemical fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides. None nearby
Active: Year-round

Friday, June 27, 2008

when all hail breaks loose

For a moment, the story flashed on yahoo's news page--the arctic could be ice-free this summer. When I went back to read it, this story had been replaced by one in which an American baseball pitcher was placed on the disabled list in a freak pillow accident. I didn't read that story. In trying to find the arctic ice story online to follow up on it, I ran across the following:
from 23 August 2005
prediction: the arctic will be ice-free by 2105
from 12 December 2007
prediction: the arctic will be ice-free by 2013

And the story that caught my attention today:
prediction: the arctic will be ice-free this summer (that would be now, right?)

I get the feeling we can't really rely on science to give us accurate predictions of how we will be affected by global warming, and when. I read a story a couple of weeks ago about flooding in Iowa, where the crest of a river was a foot (!) higher than predicted. The weather forecasters lamented that the rain that had fallen had overwhelmed their models, and so they could not accurately predict the river crest. It was unprecedented. As was the dry lightning storm in California that was responsible for starting over 800 forest fires. Rare. So far. But not really.

So anyway, what can we do except deal with it? Floods, droughts, severe weather--this is common now, right? My daughter has personally seen a flood, suffered through droughts, ice storms, tornadoes, and even felt an earthquake, and she's just a kid. She's never seen hail, though. That should be a treat for her. We are fortunate right now to live on the higher flat land, away from abundantly overflowing rivers (smartly designed by the Army Corps of Engineers). We are having a good time gardening, watching the raspberries ripen over the course of a morning, and seeing the tomatoes grow a foot in a day. So far, so good.

Tomorrow, we spend time with our farmers at the market, and tomorrow afternoon, we commune in potluck with our food not lawns friends. A toast, to mother nature, wherever and whenever her furies fling us, we still take shelter within her restful arms. We drink of the bounty, and live out our lives in beauty. Adaptation is our hallmark.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

coming home from the Zomba Zone

Hakim and Sharqi, my friends here in Illinois, thou have been most wondeful hosts. Little House in the Ghetto, like a Sufi garden of enlightenment and ease. It's a sacramental reality, here. Doing whatever we can to facilitate that most convivial of communal points of view- hanging out. We cooked together, gardened together, shared qafue and sat with our backs to the Tree of Life.

I am enjoying a certain article in the Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult. It's called "Are You Illuminated?", and discusses the path of reoccurring initiations that happen with all those who tread on the path of spiritual Adepthood.

After reading the article, I think of tree out in the front yard. Humongous Ulmus americana, American elm, shades the whole yard sometimes and contributes much to the Arcadian mystique this place now holds for me. It looks like Yggdrasill, the crux tree in Norse mythology. Odin has to hang from the trees branches and die before going on to knowledge.

Kind of feels like going back to college?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

the poppies have arrived.

Today is the eldest Bears' daughter's high school graduation party, and it is really very nice. It hasn't rained in many days, but today there was a heady storm (which we drove through), and mist rose from all the ridges. At some point the magic light arrived, which is a sort of joke on Joe. One day he was smoking too much or something, and an intern from George's place wanted some trilliums. Joe started to walk over and suddenly whistled loudly and rushed everyone into the garden to look at something he described as much varied and lasting no longer than 5 minutes. So we always go out to look at the magic light when the sun makes evening clouds pink and separates all the green into different shades of blue and yellow.

Anyway. We walked down the road to the low-water bridge and the foot bridge above it. The sky behind us was filled with a 3-day old moon set all in pink and mist settling into all the purple valleys along the ridges. The trees looked moist and happy and dark along the walk back, and the sound of the creek threatened to put me into a state of bliss.

So. Here we go to Illinois tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

mudslinging, and curious groundhogs

The straw bale hut seems to be approaching completion. We've Christened it "Chapel Perilous".

With such organic structures, dead lines are pretty much irrelevant. After all, the structure's life cycle could extend beyond any of our rational speculations. We are wise enough on our foolishness to allow for factor x.

Building Chapel Perilous has been totally worthwhile. Uncertainty in method and indefiniteness in timeframe are the Chaos that we bring our Work out of. WHAT AN ADVENTURE. I've been having an identity crisis which extended into this work season, a crisis which has been stomped into the mud along with the signature blood, sweat and tears. It's been hard to talk about- the connection between identity and voice is very strong. My relationships with myself and family and friends have been under pressure from the uncertainty, but I can talk again now. This, because I have the authority of knowledge that my journey is this 10x12 hermitage, and beyond. By the season that some lucky forest gardener WWOLFers find a way to crash here, I will be gone, like the offed gas of our bodilly fluids from the mud.

We wait, the cob is drying on its own. I am so glad, because it's been a long work spell and my Sabbath is right now. See, this weekend past, Griffin, Kat and I led workshop on the whole holy process of making and applying earth plaster. First, we made a watery clay mud mixture and pressed it into naked bales. These dry, and act as a sort of glue for holding on the next layer of mud. After lunch, we mixed up cob and applied it as a second coat. It held on there nicely, and is functioning much as your hide does, keeping vermin from the bales and breathing out moist air.

The last stage is applying da finish coat. It's gonna be really sandy, with special colored clays and some borax to keep the critter populations down.

I don't begrudge the critters, I just want to be the Acidopholus in this yogurt. They are keeping court there, now, in a mellow and balanced way. I saw a cricket and some ants, which attract big wolf spiders just like in Fukuoka's primordial rice paddy. Another critter was the mold. The cob layer coughed up a bit of that white, furry stuff. I would have known that the gliding undines were scheduled to muck around with the aesthetics if I had checked a weather report. However, I don't bother to get on the T.V. or computer these days, not even for facebook. Some things just don't matter. You could also say they don't soul much, or spirit either. We got the air moving through with a window fan, and the final coat will go on in a few days.

O yeah, about the groundhogs. We've known there's a big one living in the Sweet Annie patch. Yesterday, for the first time, it showed its four babies to us. They were so cute. Totally "Indigo", the kits crept up the hill, very curious, and stared into our eyes from five yards away, at most. Wild animals coming near you is an interesting indication of some peaceful piece of mind- like finding the meaning in a dream, such occasions can be good times for personal reflection. The kits eventually left us, and played in my tobacco patch.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

food not lawns

Today we held a plant and seed swap, attended by scores. An abundance was given, an abundance was taken, and an abundance was left over. Offers of donations were refused, on account it cost no money to put on the event. Flats of tomatoes, many heirloom varieties, were enjoyed by many, especially the people who were having a cookout after our event; they left with the last flat, with glees of joy. I brought home three black raspberries, many black eyed susans and coneflowers, mint, garlic chives, and miscellaneous others. We also have a box of large canisters of 2006 seed, donated by a local greenhouse--one that sells their heirloom tomato plants three for a dollar, affordable for we masses. The flats of tomatoes were purchased by a member of the group who offered them to everyone with encouragement to save their seeds. I talked to a reporter who is really interested in environmental issues, and gardening.

There were so many people, of different races and castes and experience, that attended. It was amazing to see. What a beautiful sense of sharing and community, people bringing their abundance, and taking home treasure, all blessings. We as a city will be that much richer as the growing season progresses, an abundance of fruits, herbs, vegetables, flowers--enriching the bodies and souls of Springfield's citizens, all sharing it with their neighbors, with promises of starts next spring.

Ah, it is so beautiful being part of this paradigm shift, this new way of looking of things that doesn't shortchange our grandchildren's grandchildren. What a legacy to leave behind, an inheritance beyond money, a thriving relatively self-sufficient community in a larger community filled with biodiversity. It can be realized. It can be the birthright of the future, instead of a giant mess swept under the bulging carpet.

And tomorrow, we dig. We think about making seedballs out of these giant canisters of seeds. Hakim is thinking of vines, and next year we will have grapevines (and seeds) to share. The pushing up feeling of the verdant present has pushed up my soul, cracked the mortar forever holding up this cracked civilized worldview. This feeling is the opposite of the ineffable mystical experience; it's one I can't shut up about.

So yeah, incredible plant and seed swap. Next up, farm/garden tours and vermiculture with free worms, courtesy of the abundance. If you're interested in learning more, we have a blahoo group you can join if you're so inclined.

Love to gardeners everywhere,

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Jason wants me off the computer for UTube

The wild irises are losing their blooms while the rhododendron blossoms get a little larger. It is ten times greener after every rain. The creek beds are thick with moss and waterbugs, and I have discovered that my piscean senses require me to put my feet in that cold ass creek as often as possible. The weather makes me tingle. :D

Mike is helping Jason build a pentangle structure for his oldest daughter. Jason is also employing the daughters' AWOL marine boyfriends, exchanging labor for their right to hang out with the daughters. It's called permaculture. The problem is the solution, folks. Also, we maybe might live in North Carolina a while. You know, whatever.

We have planted broccoli, onions, garlic, cabbage, chinese cabbage, greens of all sort, sugar snap peas, scarlet runner beans, poppies!, calendula, bee balm, lettuces, chard, beets, carrots, parsley, cilantro, savory, salad burnet, dill, etc etc. I stopped because it gets boring to read. and there are about a million other plants! I wish all could live amongst the world's oldest mountains in this crazy rain forest. The smell of sassafras and birch should convince anyone.

Time to go eat real food at the crib. Also, this is the last night for the kung fu/t'ai chi teacher and his wife. They're pretty rockin'. Trading labor for produce at Firefly farm, too, so the foods are quite tempting at the moment.

love, too much and all

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

so much beauty it can make you cry

I was voraciously reading food not lawns the book by Heather Flores on the bus when the driver said, "Oh, I'm so sick of rain." This was surprising, because it hasn't been all that rainy here lately. The other guy on the bus agreed. I guess I had some kind of telling look on my face because he swung his mirror around to where he could see me and said, "You look pretty happy about it." I said I was, because I had a garden, and it could surely use the rain. "A flower garden, or a real big garden?" asked the driver. I answered that it was indeed a real big garden, and that I had flowers growing also. The driver told me how I was saving money by doing that. "Yeah," I said, "saving money, and eating food that actually has nutrition, and that tastes good." The other bus passenger chimed in and said, "Nothing tastes better than a real garden tomato. Can't buy that taste in a store, anywhere." Well, it might as well have been a revival meeting at that point, with the amens and uh-Huhs, even though it was just us three.

The driver said he was thinking about planting a food garden, because it was less to mow, and with gas getting more expensive all the time...well, he thought he might have to get one of those old-time push mowers. I mentioned that I have one of those, that it isn't that much harder to push than our old mower. Our old one was stolen, and what was the point of getting another one? He asked me, "Are you going green or something?" I wasn't sure exactly what he was talking about, and he said, "You know, riding the bus, growing your own food, using a push mower..." I wasn't sure about that, but told him it might be more of a consequence of being poor. But it does take less natural resources, uh-Huh.

Walking home in the gentle rain, I think about these conversations, connections with human beings that aren't on a screen. It's all good, as Dorothy says, Dorothy being the almost-elderly woman who rides my bus all the time on her way to work at McD's. It's all good. It is. It's so beautiful, connections with FEELING with human beings and plants and everything in between and outside of and inside of all of it. It's indescribable, undeniable. I think the dirt has given my soul a new religion, one without words or feelings of right and wrong, just pure joy, pure appreciation of this world given to us without blemish, in perfect order (being chaos).

Exquisite poverty doesn't exactly describe it, as it focuses on the lack of money in the old perception of life. More an exquisite abundance, of community and life and joy. I'm so blessed. There is so much beauty it does indeed make me cry.

I am so blessed.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

i've got a job that's so so, as far as jobs go. there are no police. there is sunshine and forest scents when i walk between buildings. there is the figuring out how to really efficiently manage short bursts of time then do slow times- night between work days- kind of like high-stakes agriculture. washing glassware can get pretty crappy, though.

sometimes, when nobody's in the lab, i cry. just a little bit. the tightness of my goggles hurts my head while the constant machine noises affront my vibrational senses.


sometimes, when nobody's in the lab, i dance. and whoop. there is no stopping me, and the destiny unfolds with great beauty.

this site inspired me today: commercially produced, in-bottle, wild ferment fruit wine

and Lee was inspired by

Monday, April 14, 2008

This Machine Kills Fascists

I walked in and the computer was playing a funny song that went,

Now as through this world I ramble, I’ve seen lots of funny men,
Some will rob you with a six gun, some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life you travel, wherever you may roam,

You’ll never see an outlaw drive a family from their home.

I thought it was probably The Woodbox Gang, given to us by Abby when she was here, but no it was Woody Guthrie. (Also an investigation due to Abby!) So I had to look up the lyrics (found here), and it was pretty cool.

"Pretty Boy Floyd" by Woody Guthrie

If you’ll gather round me children, a story I will tell,
About Pretty Boy Floyd , an outlaw, Oklahoma knew him well.

It was in the town of Shawnee, it was Saturday afternoon,
His wife beside him in his wagon, as into town they rode.

There a deputy sheriff approached him, in a manner rather rude,
Using vulgar words of language, and his wife she overheard.

Pretty Boy grabbed a log chain, and the deputy grabbed for his gun,
And in the fight that followed, he laid that deputy down.

Then he took to the trees and rivers, to live a life of shame,
Every crime in Oklahoma was added to his name.

Yes, he took to the trees and rivers, on the Canadian River shore,
And Pretty Boy found a welcome at many a farmer’s door.

There’s many a starvin’ farmer’s the same old story told,
How this outlaw paid their mortgage, and saved their little home .

Others tell you of a stranger , come to beg a meal,
And underneath his napkin left a thousand dollar bill.

It was in Oklahoma City, it was on a Christmas day,
There come a whole carload of groceries, with a note that did say:

“Well, you say that I’m an outlaw, you say that I’m a thief,
Here’s a Christmas dinner, for the families on relief.”

Now as through this world I ramble, I’ve seen lots of funny men,
Some will rob you with a six gun, some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life you travel, wherever you may roam,
You’ll never see an outlaw drive a family from their home.


I'll also mention the new Little House in the Ghetto blog for goings-on in our little corner of the wide wide world. And we're excited about starting a Food Not Lawns Springfield.

Monday, April 07, 2008

I write to you, as always, from the kitchen table. This physical kitchen table that my laptop (and elbows) rest upon is in the Warehouse. The Warehouse is in the Ghetto. The Ghetto is at the foot of a steep hill, and on that hill is a soon-to-be garden. There's also a garden right next to the Warehouse that VFD is about to go clear of fallen limbs, which will be chainsawed, brought to the pub and burned behind in a community firecircle.

My elbows are connected, by way of shoulders, back to my center. The physical center of all human beings is the root of their Chi, (sometimes spelled Qi). I was reminded of this experienced fact by the interesting book "ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running", by Danny Dreyer. I am not suggesting that the base of consciousness is above the pubic bone and below the navel- I tend towards the Celtic view that it's behind the face on your head- but it's certainly true that, with your physical body, acting from the center Dan Tien makes a lot of sense. There will be less hurtful stress, more grace, and easy laughter if you pay attention to your center line, between the top ur head and the bone we monkies used to hang a tail on. Orient your extremities around your core- imagine if the Moon decided to move in disregard to the position of Earth, who she naturally spins around!

I am growing in awareness not only of this whole outside world, but also my inner worlds. I've been thinking about the "Tree of Life" a lot lately, and doing a fair amount of climbing. It's interesting to see that there's actually a Tree of Life at the Center of Judeo-Christian mysticism. This past autumn I thought that maybe, initiating into the HOGD would be useful for the Valiant Foresters' Debauchery effort. It's been a few months, and I can say that yes, studying and practicing magick is useful for permaculture. I'm starting to appreciate unseen entities more, and also opening to the experience of direct communication and therefore, cooperation, with wild plants. Trees in particular- my hunch was right, and the fringe benefits have been more than I hoped for. Like, the onwards and upwards, disciplined magickal practice has been immensely useful in steering my course way outside the dominant, "swimmingly fetching cultural milleua", towards the heart of Noble Savagery. To be more specific, with my attention on the ultimate source, the all-encompassing unmanifested potentiality that we can tap into consciously for greater effect in this realm, I get my bearings on aspects of myself and may focus on correcting glaring imperfections in the process.

Okay, VFD's gotta go chop that wood. Love and light always.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

websites for you and for me

Well, I met this nice guy who knows a shitload, and his websites (some of them), are as follows:

and the others are linked up from there. They are good. They are scientific and hilarious at times. and some are awfully sexy. :D

Saturday, March 22, 2008

the long war of no reason

I read recently of the five-year anniversary of the war in Iraq. That surprised me, because I remember being in Wal-Mart when I worked there, and watching the invasion on the teevee. Within a couple of days, we had Desert Storm T-shirts, and sold out immediately. Gas mileage entered my worldview, as gas climbed to $1.50 per gallon for the full-service (rural county) fill-up, and my very old and big car got 7 miles to the gallon. That was 17 years ago, half my life exactly, our government's robot soldiers (funded by all our good middle-class tax dollars) killing citizens of this little desert nation, formerly the Fertile Crescent, possible home of the Garden of Eden, as ordered by the original King George, the slightly smarter elder one.

Bill Clinton doesn't get let off the hook either. The sanctions imposed and held in place during his ridiculous reign killed about a million Iraqi citizens, disproportionately children. Horrible.

People who have come back from serving in Iraq over the last 17 years are scarred, much like the veterans of the last dumb war of no reason in Viet Nam. Tim McVeigh could tell you all about it, if he were still alive. So could all the other people who have lived with mental illness, homelessness, and diminished physical and mental abilities. One in every four homeless people in my town is a veteran. I forget the stats for what percentage of veterans become homeless, but it is quite a lot.

W can be held responsible for his actions, fabricating a war for no reason, except to create democracy for our oil that is currently under Iraq soil. Not for long. But giving money to Halliburton to run a war for us hasn't worked out all too well. More graft than ever, more bribes, more scandals, more ridiculous behavior and lost tax money. I saw an estimate of $2 trillion spent for the Iraq war, for the current mess of affairs. More than our mis-spent taxes, there's more torture and death for Iraqis, more disease, scars, orphans (35% of Iraqi children are orphans). It goes on, and what next president is going to order any order and get our interests elsewhere? None.

When will enough be enough? What brought on the end of the Viet Nam war? Nixon? Wow, we can't even find someone as nasty as Nixon to elect to end this useless war? I don't know what to do, other than talking to people about it. Of course, that is mostly places like here, where there is a willing ear. Also, on the bus, and poor people of this town get it. They know there is nothing to gain, except the loss of a family member who needed a job, and found one in the service.

Sad, and nothing to do but grieve and sympathize.


On the other hand, happy easter! We are celebrating the holiday named for the Teutonic goddess Eostre, woo hoo, and no plastic grass in sight. We made a happy easter banner, and filled it with budding trees, robins, bunnies, spring flowers, sunshine, rain, and kids flying kites--what spring means to us. I asked my daughter what she knew of, of Easter, and she replied that she knew it had something to do with Jesus. But since we just celebrate the spring worshiping context, why does Jesus need to be a part of it? We saw the first robin today.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Support Marie Mason!

Marie is my friend and comrade. Solidarity if you can please. -Werebrock

First we want to thank you for expressing interest in supporting recently
arrested Eco defense organizer Marie Mason. Below you will find the an overview
of what we know as well as the latest updates about Marie's case and current
situation and ways you can help support Marie. If you wish to be removed from
this list drop us a line.

Send Marie your letters of support!
Butler County Sheriff's Office & Correctional Complex
705 Hanover Street
Hamilton, Ohio 45011

If you send Marie a letter and it gets returned to you, please let us know
about it so we can add any other restrictions to the guideline list. When
writing please use your common sense; don't write about anything that is
likely to get a prisoner in trouble in any way. Avoid discussing any
details of her case and/or any potential charges against her.

Please do NOT send in any books/zines to Marie yet. We are in the process
of getting a system going for her to receive books. If you would like her
to receive books we would prefer you donate money. We will be releasing a
list of books Marie would like in the very near future.

When writing Marie, Do NOT ever write "legal mail" or anything implying
that you are an attorney unless you are.
Complete jail mail rules can be found

We were able to briefly speak with Marie Monday night (3/10/08) and that is
when we found out she was in the Butler County Jail and was promptly placed on
suicide watch on arrival. We were able to assure her that her daughter was safe
(her 16 year daughter was at Marie's home when the FBI, Homeland Security, and
local Police served a search warrant and detained her for over an hour), that
her pets were being looked after and several other personal affairs would be
attended to.

Several of us drove to the Butler County jail the next day (3/10/08) with the
intention of putting money in Marie's commissary account. Apparently prisoners
with the first letter of their last name k-z can only get visitors Thursdays
and Sundays. To make things more difficult the prisoner must add visitors names
to a pre-approval list prior to the visit and prisoners are only able to update
their visitors list once every 30 days. We quickly wrote Marie a letter
detailing all this and that we had deposited funds into her commissary account
as well as a list of friends #s she can call collect at any time and dropped it
off at the post office a few blocks from the jail in hopes she would get the
letter before visiting day.

We got a call from Marie's Mother (3/12/08) today who had received a collect
call from Marie. Marie told her that she needed funds to obtain vegan food as
well socks and basic toiletries in prison. She asked her mother to contact us
to and request we put money in her jail commissary account. This news was
frustrating to us as we had already driven up to the Butler County Jail and
deposited ample money in her account and was told she would be given a receipt
of its deposit detailing her current balance and she would have access to it by
3pm of the day of deposit. Since we have not heard from her since Monday we
assume she has not gotten our letter with all the contacts yet and that as of
2pm today had not been given access to the funds we placed in her commissary
account. The last thing we want is Marie to feel alone during all this. We will
be driving up to the Butler County jail tomorrow in hopes of seeing her and at
the least depositing more money into her commissary account. We will keep
everyone posted.

How you can help

1. We are currently collecting funds for Marie's legal defense. One lawyer told
us it will likely cost between $20,000 - $60,000 to represent a case like
this. Its important we begin our fund raising immediately. We are in the
process of setting up a website ( coming soon) where folks will be
able to use PayPal to donate direct but until then ask folks to send funds in
the form of a check or money order made out to “Books for Prisoners”.
Please put in the notes section Marie and/or include a letter detailing that
the enclosed funds are for Marie Masons defense.

We are grateful to have been contacted by an anonymous donor who will match
dollar for dollar up to $1000 for Marie's legal defense fund. This offer is
good up until April 15.

2.We are looking for artists who are willing to donate their talent and time to
the cause.

3. If you know of any activist attorneys in the Grand Rapids, MI area please
pass along their contact info ASAP.

4.Write Marie! Mail will be a life line for her during these troubling times.

Its all about the Struggle,

Got Your Back
Friends of Marie Mason
P.O. Box 19065
Cincinnati, OH 45219

Thursday, March 13, 2008

can't see the forest for the pavement

At my daughter's gym class today, a woman said (with disgust), "Those environmentalists! We can't even use our natural resources thanks to them." I didn't have anything to say to that, but we needed to leave anyway to catch our bus. I assume she was referring to gas prices, which are about $3.45 a gallon here in the flat land of corn to be.

And to switch gears, I should warn you: spoilers ahead! I am still reading books by Kim Stanley Robinson, specifically the D.C. series. In the first book called Forty Signs of Rain, you meet the cast of characters, people in offices, in labs, in government, doing what they can to change laws to avert drastic climate change. This book was written in 2004, and I think it is supposed to take place in the near future. We get in touch with how frustrating it must be to be a scientist or a bureaucrat, and knowing what the future may bring, and unable to change it. I know how frustrating it is to be an average citizen, blissfully unaware of what I do not know. At the end of the book, Washington, D.C. is inundated with something like Hurricane Katrina--massive rain, high tides, hurricane moving up the coast. This book was written before Katrina happened, but he has a good synopsis of what could happen.

The second book of his trilogy is called Fifty Degrees Below. Oops, the gulf stream has stalled, and the president and his cronies are still denying global warming exists. People are still in committees, still trying to pass laws, and whaddyaknow, the winter turns out to be about 30 degrees below "normal" winter temps. Weather disasters abound. I'm still in the middle of this book, but I have been so pleased reading it. I feel like I'm in this weird time warp, because some of the ecological nightmares he imagines have happened since he wrote the book a few years ago. Some are yet to come. But, yeah, I can see, if the gulf stream ever stopped, the president would still be denying it, and life would go on as normal as it could, until...

There were a few parts in the book I specifically had to share, and the first is about economics: "The economists should be trying to invent an honest accounting system that doesn't keep exteriorizing costs. When you exteriorize costs onto future generations you can make any damn thing profitable, but it isn't really true. I warn you, this will be one of the hardest things we might try. Economics is incorrigible. They call it the dismal science but actually it's the happy religion." And if you've ever debated an economist, you have heard the objection of Externalities!!! But, really.

I'm a big fan of permaculture. I think permaculture just makes common sense. In the book, there's a Democrat running for president, and he's at the (ice free) north pole, and announces his candidacy, and says: "So we have to grow up. If we were to turn into just another imperial bully and idiot, the story of history would be ruined, its best hope dashed. We have to give up the bad, give back the good. FDR described what was needed from American very aptly, in a time just as dangerous as ours: he called for a course of 'bold and persistent experimentation.' That's what I plan to do also. No more empire, no more head in the sand pretending things are okay while a few rich guys wreck everything. It's time to join the effort to invent a global civilization that we can hand off to all the children and say, 'This will work, keep it going, make it better.' That's permaculture, as some people call it, and really now we have no choice; it's either permaculture or catastrophe. Let's choose the good fight, and work so that each generation can hand to the next one the livelihood we are given by this beautiful world." Yeah, well, if I ever heard a real candidate for president say something like this, I'd probably pass out! I see no major presidential candidate has said anything substantial about climate change, and no one has even promised to end the war in Iraq that has been waged for half my life (I watched the invasion 17 years ago on tv in the electronics department when I worked at Wal-Mart). Not that electing anyone will make a dent in solving any climate problems, but it was fun to read and imagine!

I'm not a fan of bureaucracy, so it was fun to read of a scientist collecting the names and ideas of any group working to mitigate climate change: "Anna had waved a whole sheaf of lists in her hand, not appalled or angry like Frank had been, more astonished than anything. 'There's so much information out there. And so many organizations!'
'What does it all mean?' Frank had said. 'Is it a form of paralysis, a way of pretending?'
Anna nodded. 'We know, but we can't act.'"

And lastly, I liked that one of the characters (a middle-aged man) had read the Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and declared it the best book ever. Of course, living through a winter of temperatures thirty degrees below normal might make you appreciate something like that.
An aside to explain climate change, and sorry if this is old news to some of you. I had the fortune of attending a talk by a climate expert for our local museum, who explained it very clearly. There is a river in the ocean that circulates cool and warm water mostly in the Atlantic and Indian oceans called the gulf stream. It brings warm water up from the Caribbean, and goes up to northern Europe, where it sinks to the bottom of the ocean and becomes cold, and then circulates around Africa, almost to the Pacific, where it warms, and then rises and then comes back to the Caribbean. This gulf stream keeps northern Europe warmer than it should be, given its latitude.

So, now we're in the age of global warming, and what does that have to do with anything? The ice caps at the poles reflects light and heat, but as the world is warming, the ice is melting and calving, and more heat is absorbed, and more ice melts. This cold fresh water is pouring down into the north Atlantic ocean, where it is presumed that one day there will be enough cold unsalty water to shut down the gulf stream. This has happened many times before, resulting in an ice age. If the gulf stream gets shut down, northern Europe and north America will be colder, allowing the water that now makes up the great lakes to freeze, allowing our general climate to be cold, allowing glaciers to grow, and voila, ice age! As you can imagine, it might cause quite a consternation if suddenly rich white people were flocking to poor warm countries in an effort to stay alive. You might also imagine how hard it will be to feed 6.something billion people when we don't have nearly the land mass to grow food. Add to that a population that is still growing, and a grain production that has plateaued.

And this is all terribly depressing, right? Depressing for us if it happens in our lifetimes, awful to think of our children and grandchildren living through it. But really, the future depends on us, which makes it not depressing at all. If we want to mitigate climate change, we need to examine our own choices, be responsible for our own waste and consumption. It is relevant. We can also chuck those anti-depressants that don't do anything anyway except enrich pharmaceutical companies, and go on our own vision quests, have fellowship with our communities. It's up to each of us, and I don't think of that as depressing at all, but terribly, awfully exciting!!! Way more exciting and relevant than voting.

love to all my friends far away,