Saturday, June 23, 2012

News as Entertainment and Irritation

Former Governer of The State of Minnesota, former professional wrestler, and of course, ever the tempest in the teapot former Navy Seal Jesse Ventura was on a surprisingly worthwhile, beyond all expectations resusitated show from the insipid doldrums of what became the shaddow of once fruitful Larry King Live, on CNN Piers Morgan the other night...

... and Ventura, besides lots of apt criticism of the Democrats and Republicans alike, made the observation as to how pathetic it is that now what used to be called the news has become entertainment, at times opinion, but indeed, hardly news.  I cannot agree more.

Then when I was living back in New Jersey for a spate the last year or two, surviving and taking care of my very old mother, ultimately in a very painfull hospice situation (daily tending her decline was not the hardest part, but all the social stratas with my siblings who I solemnly vow never, ever to see again while I am on planet earth), when my sister noted how obnoxious she thought Governer Chris Cristie was, to which I said:

"Thats exactly WHAT I like about him.  How irritating he is.  Thats exactly what they [all] need--a good kick in the ass!"

The same could be said of Donald Trump, Ted Turner, all unpopular if not egotistically maladroit as they are, each one of them, those few among the wealthy and powerful who will say how utterly messed up things are, refusing to quite saying pretty much that the only thing that MIGHT fix it, is swift, decisive action, if not alone then in making the truly painful decisions have to be made then of course, the real rub of it, 'EXECUTING on them'  Execution sounds so bloody,but we cannot have it all.  Its Hobson's Choice.  We are just not serious.

That is what I like about each of these persons, who in their own way say how much in jeapordy everything is.  And as such, the need for strength.  Why is stength so de rigueur, so utterly verboten?

There is a great fear of power in so called Democratic society, with the duly set fear of fascism, totalitarianism, authoritarianism.  'So called' because of the pretense of equality so omnipresent in our utopian flatland really mades reasonable rights that much worse.  We are not all the same.  Right or wrong, this idea that human resources will protect your dignity, or govenment create decency, that rule of law will make commerce fair and right many a wrong is just not reality.  'No one' really cares.  What is caring?  Doing something.  And what is doing something?  Doing something 'for real'.  What is doing something for real, 'meaning real business'.  Not fooling around, not screwing around.

The rivers are poluted, children not being raised properly, elderly and poor in great difficulities, but what do we have, some big grand jurry to to find out if former basedball star Roger Clemmons used steroid?  Or front page news for two weeks is whether Michael Jackson, who asked to be put to sleep each night on Propofol, whether his Doctor murdered him? No need to punish? No. The most important matters in society? No.  Or how many Doctors and Lawyers Anna Nichol Smith slept with, as executor of estate?  The dear woman had emotional pain.  Well, I do too.  We all do.  But I am not paraded around CNN, I don't get $14M like Prince William on my 30th birthday, where my big problem is whether to go 30% in bonds and 10% in commodities, or to sequester a multicurency money market in G7 countries or emerging market debentures.  No.

And yet in a way, about the only thing which can save us, if that were not a real fantasy at this point, is clear policy, policy driven by leadership, leadership by vision, and vision by understanding.  Understanding by great experience, experience driven by the discontent with living with the habitual way of being of most if not all humans of ignorance, arrogance, and stupidity.

What did the Buddha say?  "The way beyond suffering is the acknowledgement of suffering"  Suffering is real. And this idea that we sincerely want to be fixed is fantasy [1].  Despite statements to the contracty, we all want everything the same, that is the way humans are hard wired from prehistoric times.  Give me enough water, food, warmth, shelter, and sex and I will follow you anywhere.  Once we get that far, I want money, a phone, a car, a internet connection, and a Gmail account.  After that, I want a microwave with a refrigerator, then if I have all that, the ultimate, a place to live without heavy road noise PLUS a washer dryer that is not coin operated.  That is heaven.

Comfort in discomfort.

[1] Read:  Pay the price

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lets Make a Deal

Well, OK.  Finally, it is DONE.  I am so glad this Sandusky trial is over with.  Lets be clear:  not just being on, but what is the phrase, serving on a jury in a case such as this is a thankless task.  The depth of his evil needs not comment, nor compassion for the many victims.  But what story is to be told, which has not been told?  Read on:

But lets also get ready for a spectacle, not unlike Michael Jackson, OJ, Anna Nicole Smith, Bernard Madoff, what a size this will be.  It has to be on CNN all night, for three nights, FOX, MSN, The New York Times, then it really is just getting started--one by one, the jurors with microphones thrust into their faces, the interviews on Good Morning America, all the talk shows late and early, then the biggest one of them all:

All the money advances for rights to tell THEIR version of the trial, what they felt, saw, observed, and experienced.  Yes, being on a jury is not an easy job.

But more and more, we increasingly see that whether it be the guilty, or those sitting in on those guilty, many get to make money or get fame or notoriety by virtue of having been somewhere.  Get the printing presses rolling.  Pay day is coming, and soon, and it is here.  And if money is not to be quickly produced, then a quick all paid trip to NY, making the rounds on all the shows, the interviews, the discussions.

And let us not just forget jurors, but the expert lawyers or prosecuting attorneys with expert knowledge as to how things go, all THEIR opinions have be given AGAIN.  Do they all do this for free?  On cable television?  Patched in via satelite, Marsha Clark, Mark Geragos? Then the big, expensive Harvard guns, like the smarter than smart Alan Dershowitz?  Then prosecuters get to become rocks stars.  On the podium, the cameras, the flashing lights.  Click, click!  Lets rock.

What is new is the size and pervasiveness of media today, the insatiable speed and immensity of Twitter, hashtags.  As Andy Warhol more or less once said, we all get our fifteen minutes of fame.  First The Super Bowl, then the big trials.  Next up?  We want to be feed.  And regularly.  We want to be stimulated.

I could be wrong here, but if I am a betting man, bet that I am not.  The gravy train is coming, and for all the jurors.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

China Puts First Woman in Space and, it Just So Happens That She is Attractive, What a Shocker

China just put the first woman into space, and wouldn't you know, she is not only attractive, but looks like she is could be out of what would be, if it were, the Chinese equivalent of Vogue.  Use all your assets.  Its good PR, as if to say 'we in China have it all.'  What a shocker.

How could it possibly be any other way, in a place, so concerned with image, that in the city of Wouhan, officials said that the heavy haze engulfing the city was from burning straw, and not a result of deadly serious and overwhelmng polution. No, not that:

The official news agency 'Xinhua said straw burning was the cause and denied there had been any industrial accidents in or near Wuhan, after Internet rumours suggested there had been an explosion at a chemical complex northeast of the city.'

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Kind People

Kind people exist.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Way Life is

Life is shocking.

I moved in to the apartment at 7:20 pm Saturday night, could not get to sleep at 2:00 am, slept for an hour, maybe two, not sure, kept trying to fall asleep with One Hundred Years of Solitude, a book which, what, I had only been able NOT to start for 34 years, but somehow seemed to be the right book now, among the twenty or so books I carefully selected and put in a box when readying to leave Seattle...

Terrible highway noise, from Interstate I-84.  How is this at four am or two am?  During rush hour, the noise is less, but late at night, the whirl of Celinesque infinite void flies across the sky across the quarter mile to where I lived, amplified...

I woke at 4:15 am, had to take a sleeping pill.  Woke at 6:20 or 6:30 to an incredible noise.  It was not a mechanical malfunction, but the regular noise of a gas furnice solenoid.

My god.

I did not want to knock on the landloads door at 8:15 am, but, what the heck, then again, I had just given her a $1,277 check, hardly a laughing matter, too mindful of deliberate courtesy ($725 rent at 28/30ths pro-rata plus six-hundred dollar deposit).

'We have to talk'.

She comes over.  Stern look.

'I cannot live this way'. 

'I will give you back your check, then go'.

So thats pack at eleven am, unpack at 8 pm to nine or so, repack at 11 am.

Shit, I need a drink.

Life is shocking.

I am now situated back in the Homestay Hotel, the stuff of Genentech, Microsoft, Intel, Nike kind, but I like it.  What little comfort I can get, I take.  I don't have the money, but I have a Visa Card with sufficient overage, sure beats the end of a gun in my mouth.  Not my imagined method anyway, too much mess.  Too sudden.

I cried today.  I cried yesterday.  My hands shake.

Its like a Kafka novel, you need a drivers license issued by the state, NOT where you carry from the issuer of your previous state, you need that to get a Post Office Box.  But this is not allowed, well, at least not on paper.  My mail from NJ could not be held any longer, so I had to get one in Bellevue WA, and of course it was too late to get THAT mail, and now I need another mail box to get that forwarded mail, and close the old one...

Needless to say, offically and rightfully so, I am officially a Oregon State Resident, declaired it by choice, the minute I was issued a vehicle registration.  But in conventional terms, I am still not fully valid.  Imagine.  I cried today.

Why did I get a freaking Bellevue PO Box, when I clearly was on my way to Oregon?  Well, the small matter of the soveign leader of a nation, who I interviewed with for two weeks, armed guards, mirrored rooms with cameras, the small matter of H_mel and S_cur ity having been all over me for weeks, and was directly under consideration to be HER personal assistant, at times, having access to classified materials from the Wh_te H_use, they had given me a letter of intent, saying they intended to bring me on, but unfortunately not till late summer, as 'The Director' was to be out of the country.

The small matter of twenty major projects, I was to coordinate, one major bread winner, but the second one, on behalf of a woman who, ahem, goes by the name Mich ele Ohh.  Do you copy?

What is going to happen now, ruin my profile, my reputation?  Boo whoo, I am so terrified, I have so much to loose!

So shit, my mail had to land.

Then the last minute phone call:  'David, H_ mel and S_cur ity could not clear you.  You will not do business with B_B_ now, or ever in the future' [1].  It hurt so bad.  The apoge of 53.5 years on earth, the maturation of five decades of growth, to come to a shoot growing into a brick wall.

I cried today.  Then played a few hours of bullet (two minute, one second increment) chess.

Then I drank.  And now here I am, writing about it, too lucid, at least relative to what I have drunk.

This is all a true story.

Love dk

[1] What a shocker, they finally cought on.  'David is a loose cannon', I surmise.  But so are the ancient shamons of old, the odd witchmen in reed huts who by listening to the ground, know the course of events?  These are strange fellows.  But not without accuracy.  This is disturbing to the power structure.  And that is me.  Go figure. 

What else do you expect of me.  God strike me dead if I lie. The Director, the soveriegn leader of a nation, asked me in when I was in Maine:  'Do you have psychic experiences?'  'Yes.  Many."  "Do you still have them?'  "Yes, not as often, but defintely, and when I do, still major'.

So now you turn from me?  Fear of what?  The dark night of the soul.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Official Resident of the State of Oregon: Glass is Now Half Full

After a lot of reflection, preparation, weighing the advantages and disadvantages (they all have them!), then departure, 5,200 miles of driving the last eight weeks--first to New England then cross country and then get around, I am now a resident of The State of Oregon.

Seattle on paper always had a lot going for it, and I could really fan the fire, but maybe while not being overly polite to say it like it is as I will in short order, it is also time to move on.

I never really found the Seattle that is thought to exist.  If you asked anyone back east what it is, and believe me, I just came back from there, the image is of an organic coop, yoga mats, men with baby carriers, electric cars, gentle soft tranquility lapped by pine trees and firs.

Seattle never worked out for me. I really cannot forgive myself, and blame me.  I failed to make the best of it.  Believe me, I really tried, but I was never happy there, my struggle was endless.  I am responsible.  This is my deficiency and lack of realization.  Sincerely.

But that does not mean that it was also ever really a kind place, or kind to me.  I found it harsh, grinding, deflected, dissociated.  How many thousands of times have I walked by someone, with the normal hello anyone where I come from would give, and someone looks RIGHT THROUGH YOU?  This is the tip of the iceberg, but is my abidding memory. 

Then aggressive driving, the boundless hubris of enormous wealth flowing through all of society from first Microsoft then assuredly Amazon and Starbux, entitlelment with a capital E.  Talented folks?  Yes.  But you could never catch up with any of them, and the good seat was always already taken.  They got there first, bigger, more private, and whatever it was, they sure did not need you in the picture.

Weather?  Gosh, that is the one thing I always loved.  I love the rain, and still do.  I did get to know Tom and Evan, then Robert and DJ, my guru Joy, a wild stint at Wall Street with Morgan Stanley, a eye opening jaw dropping six years at Lowes, and lots and lots of incredible alpine climbing.  Thank you in all these ways.  I did learn to eat healthy, and managed to keep a running practice there, now 42 years in September.  Harsh years?  Yes.  Very.  But good did come, and hopefully appropriately acknowledged here.

Now, fast forward.  I am at great pains not to idealize Portland Oregon, but the simplest version is that whatever Seattle once was, tried to be, or thought it was, there is a lot more of it here.  Some will even say that people here can be rude also, but from where I have been, I will take it.  It is noticably different.  People do say hello, are helpful, and in the public domain, so far I find everyone to be civil to pleasant.

Now I need to find a job. 

Today I sign my lease, move in, and pack up after staying with a client in a trade, 35 hours of consulting work for a nice downstairs apartment in a beautiful home, in a great location, situated in the greenbelt, making new friends.  Thank you Kris and Connie.  You are the best.  Love dk