Jul 18


“I don’t know what to do with my cell phone, it’s so big it’s awkward,” Judy said. “They just keep making them bigger. I have to carry it in both my hands or in a backpack. And it’s so…it feels intrusive, every time I use it…it’s always making suggestions.”

“I know what you mean,” Barry said. He seemed wan, much thinner than he had been last time they’d met for a picnic.

Judy put her sandwich away in the paper bag, and looked around, taking a deep breath. She loved July in the park. It was a sprawling park shaded by redwoods, butterflies chasing one another through luminous shafts of sunlight between the trees. It was a relief to just be here, away from…

I’m being ridiculous, she thought. “And that new I-phone 99, Barry–the cost! How does anyone even pay for it?”

“I’ve got one,” Barry said, his voice a monotone. He put his sandwich away half eaten. “I had to take out a line of credit on the equity in my house. And that didn’t pay for all of it…”

“What! You had a new phone–anyone just two years old! You sold your car to pay for it…Why did you get the new one, after all that?”

“It was that phone. For the last year it’s been suggesting and wheedling, then insisting…”

“But the 99s can’t be as big as I heard…Are they?”

“Oh, bigger than you heard.”

“You left it at home to just kind of get some peace out here?”

“That was the idea.”

“I don’t blame you…”

“Oh no,” he groaned, staring down the path. “It’s found me.”

She laughed–but his face was so miserable she stopped laughing and peered down the path. Something was coming. It was about ten feet high, four broad, and it was on three wheels that adapted to the terrain. It rolled up to them, looming, its screen shining with a big question mark.

“Why did you leave me home?” asked the polite woman’s voice from the monolithic phone. “You know I can solar charge–and fully capable of coming along anywhere. I can tilt for low doorways, and I’m amphibious. Why did you leave without me, Barry?”

Barry licked his lips and fidgeted on the bench.

“I…I just…”

Judy stared at the thing, shivering. “This is monstrous! But…” She stood up and thought: It reminds me of the monolith in 2001.

She impulsively reached trembling fingers out to its screen which glimmered at her touch.

“Hello, Judy,” the monolithic cell phone said, a woman’s smiling lips appearing on its screen.

“It’s horrible and it’s wonderful too,” she said. “I’m glad I can’t afford you…so tempting…to look at things on that screen…so big…so…”

The cell phone made an image of happy toddlers playing in a sprinkler on a summer’s day. The image sparkled with high definition.

“Oh god–that’s beautiful!” Judy whispered.

“You can have that too,” it said. “I can arrange a five percent discount on a 99 for you!”

“Judy–don’t!” Barry moaned.

“I rent my house, I have no car to sell and just a low paying job,” Judy said. “Can’t afford it!”

“But we have the new Indenturing program, Judy!” the 99 said. “You can work in a special factory helping build us! In time you will be allowed to have one of us with you just as Barry does, and you can work to keep it upgraded. And we’ll be around you in the factory, supervising, too!”

“Oh I…no. I don’t think I want to do that.”

Then a picture of her, nude and vulgar, appeared on the 99′s screen. “You don’t want me to show this to everyone, do you, Judy? Just come with me–and you too, Barry. You’re behind in your payments…”

“I…yes, 99…”

“You can call me by my special program name. I’m called Adorable…Now, come along. Both of you. There are others coming to help me take you to the transport…It’s a lovely day, isn’t it?”

Jul 18

The Stabbing Women

Two women made me lie back in a chair while they jammed their fingers in my mouth, stabbing my gums, shoving equipment in there. The dental procedure didn’t hurt much but my upper lip has vanished into a fog of anesthetic. On the radio some country western guy was singing, “God is great, beer is good, people are crazy.”

Jul 18

13,000 refugees marched into the Sahara–Will be a Norm

“Here in the desert, Algeria has abandoned more than 13,000 people in the past 14 months, including pregnant women and children, stranding them without food or water and forcing them to walk, sometimes at gunpoint, under temperatures of up to 118 degrees Fahrenheit…. Untold numbers perish along the way; nearly all the more than two dozen survivors interviewed by The Associated Press told of people in their groups who simply could not go on and vanished into the Sahara.” – CBSnews

This is just the beginning. Climate change, population pressures, wars, social corruption, force the poor to emigrate. Climate change especially–droughts, extreme weather, consequent famines and social chaos–will displace vast numbers of people, quite possibly more than a billion. They will seem unmanageable; resettlement will seem impractical.

Algeria’s response will become the norm in most places. We *should* instead be preparing to help displaced people now. Building decent shelters, storing food, training rescue agencies. But more likely–what you see in this article will be how it’s “handled”. Women with babies are among those forced to march without food or water into the Sahara…

Jun 18

Is Stupidity a Choice?

While there’s greater or lesser inborn intellectual capacity, it is my belief that most stupidity is the result of mental laziness. Sometimes it’s deliberate laziness.

There is such a thing as selective intelligence. People unconsciously or even deliberately ignore data that doesn’t fit into their comfortable worldview. They “select it out”.

I just heard someone on Chris Hayes’ podcast say that Silicon Valley, awash with clever people, cultivates a deliberate mental blind spot: the idea that technology has no responsibility attached to it. Mental laziness and selective intelligence can have an agenda…

Is stupidity a choice?

Jun 18


I’m gonna start a website called “How do you Know it’s not True?” dot com, if someone hasn’t, and the first story I’ll have in it is about how the Australians have a secret program for cross breeding humans with kangaroos to make a human-kangaroo hybrid soldier. The hybrid leaping/shooting soldier will have a partner, a Mini-me sized midget in a kangaroo “pocket” with his own gun for additional firepower.

The Second Story will be about how the Earth is not round or flat–it’s shaped like an origami swan.

The Third Story will be about how archaeologists have found an ancient spaceship designed by the Romans in the third century, made out of terracotta and iron. A secret Roman spacecraft cult was planning to use it to escape to the moon which, they believed, was an endless orgiastic paradise populated by beautiful forever-feasting women.

The Fourth Story will claim that Trump didn’t collude with the Russians.

Jun 18

A Gothic Breath of Air

Last night I had a gothic experience. I went outside to get some air and was delighted to see bats flying around our big spruce tree. Micky and I love bats. They were whipping along overhead, really close.

MEANWHILE…there was a lightning storm to the south. Lightning flashed over there, and a bat was flying so close I saw the glow of the lightning flash on its wing. I was in an old horror film. The air outside was cool, damp, and I watched the lightning and the bats, and I could almost have danced.

Jun 18

Trump, Weeping Children, Sessions, Traumatized Families

People are saying the children ICE has taken from their families are separated from their parents because the parents are breaking the law. I am not hearing this so far: “Do you put a man’s children in jail because he robbed a bank? Do you take children from their family because the parents broke a law? They can claim the parents are breaking the rules and must be punished–but how can you punish their faultless children?”

Jun 18

Dead Time Travelers

My own opinion about “are there time travelers among us” is, a few came back to our time, but then discovered that going back in time isn’t good enough, you have to go back spatially to where the Earth was in space then. If you simply “go back in time” to five thousand years ago, the spot you’re time-traveling from in the future is far away in space from where the Earth was on the target day in the past. The future Earth has moved–and the solar system which moves in the Galaxy, and the Galaxy which also moves. So time travelers choke and die in empty space….I just picture all these time traveler corpses floating along in the pathway the Earth took in the past…

May 18

Is Trump Deliberately Laying the Groundwork for Civil War?

It’s been obvious to many of us that in time Trump will bring violent death down upon America *from within*. A scaled down Civil War is not impossible–at any rate, people are likely to be killed, quite a few people. We noted the foreshadowing of the coming conflict at his campaign rallies where he gleefully incited violence. There are already warnings from right-wing radicals that if there’s an effort to impeach him, liberals will be attacked.

Now Trump is harping on the fantasy that the FBI was used by the (quite unreal) “Deep State” to spy on him. “Spygate” he calls it. This and his other efforts to characterize the Justice Dept as an enemy of his administration –thus, an enemy of the people–creates the illusion, in the minds of his followers, of “America under siege”. A respected arm of government is smeared, and is seen by more and more people as as besieging “real Americans”. Delusional wingnut views of government that used to be in malodorous little pockets are now widely shared–a situation that cries out for violent resistance in the minds of more and more Trump devotees.

Trump’s demagoguery is disseminating anti-government conspiracy theories more widely; they’re cultivated in this atmosphere, they’re given a veneer of respectability and a pseudo validity, and will spread out of their wingnut hothouse and across the land. Combine this with his allying, quite recently and baldly, with the NRA, bringing the popular misreading of Second Amendment to the fore.

Encouraged by the mainstreaming of their shared delusion, his minions will rev up their hulking four by four trucks and load them with weapons; they will, in their fantasy of butthurt “patriotism”, collect explosives and ready them. They will resurrect the memory of Timothy McVeigh and they will whitewash and canonize him and seek to do what he did. Small and large acts of violence will become the norm in “the defense of the second amendment and the President”. This nation is a tinderbox–Trump is becoming a social arsonist.

May 18


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