August, 2015

Aug 15

Star Wars Villains Are Trying to Blast Baseball Players

Yesterday I went to see the Oakland A’s play at the stadium on Star Wars night and–what? You can’t believe I went to a baseball game? A friend of mine had an extra ticket and besides I’m plenty sports oriented. Why, in high school I played in girl’s softball–for a couple minutes until they noticed me and kicked me off the field. It’s true this was my first baseball game in twenty years, and I don’t know know much about sports–except that I’ve absorbed information over the years, on football and baseball, because it’s so much a part of our culture, so I was able to follow this A’s game. But how does anyone pay attention at a ballgame anymore? Giant HD jumbotron, showing Star Wars imagery and all kinds of other stuff, another screen showing the baseball action unfolding before you….but every time I looked away from the game itself down in the field, THAT is when someone would hit a home run. I tended to watch the audience folk, all kinds but a good many drunk husky people looking in their cell phones, waving small children to try to get them picked up on the jumbotron; also I watched the dudes who walked around selling things, each guy with his technique for grabbing your attention; flipping signs in patterns; one guy with cotton candy waved and shouted, “Who wants big bags of sugar?” People actually liked it and ordered…laughing as they did…

There was almost no security at this thing, and when security guards at the airport-screener type doors stopped people to look in backpacks, they barely glanced in them–which was a bit alarming actually.

THere was a video on the jumbotron of the Oakland A’s intercut with Star Wars storm troopers etc, the A’s as the good rebels, and the A’s would jump in the air to avoid a blast from a ray gun, would run ahead of Star Wars type ray blast strafing along the bases…The new Star Wars preview showed on the jumbotron too…people in the audience were dressed as wookies and other Star Wars characters…

There were fireworks afterwards, largely sponsored by CHEVRON…a wall below the audience lit up writing the letters C H E V R O N out one by one in sparkly fireworks…and then the audience was allowed to wait in a line and eventually stream onto the baseball field, to watch the main fireworks… actual BIG fireworks show started, to Star Wars music, and my friend and I sat on the field, watching it with countless other people, families mostly…getting a sense, too, of what it’s like down there on the field…So here was this thing run by Big Baseball and Big Oil, and Big Media, and you felt, yes, caught in a corporate web to an extent, but everyone was enjoying themselves–I really liked the fireworks–and somehow it seemed a kind of balance between corporate power and society, a little oasis in the corporate desert…

Aug 15

” Haze from wildfires seen over Bay Area”: the Scent of the Dystopic Future

Yes we’re smelling it, tasting it–seeing the haze. The smoke is making my eyes itch, and the back of my throat. The wild fire is many miles from here; though nearing containment, it has burned a huge area, and one can smell the sap of trees, the scent of a burning field, wood and grass together in it. It’s a hot day and the heat together with the smell is oppressive, ominous. It smells like the reek of the climate-crashed future is gusting to us, here, in its past.

Aug 15

Want a Real Change? Would You Like to See Sanders Elected? Then…

Want a real change, and see Sanders as that chance? Good. But talk is cheap; besides supporting him with (even small) donations, show up to VOTE. Amazing the numbers of people who talk politics who later don’t vote. They claim there’s no meaning in it voting. They’re wrong.

If enough people had shown up for Gore at the voting booths in 2000, we would’ve had enough votes to overcome the voter suppression happening in Florida, the vote wouldn’t have gone to the Supreme Court, Gore would have been elected handily, and we wouldn’t have had an Iraq war–Gore absolutely would not have got us into Iraq. Indeed, we might well not have had the 9/11 attack which, I believe, could have been stopped except for the incompetence of Condie Rice and the Bush administration in general. They weren’t paying attention to the signs. A Gore administration would have been more pro active, would have stopped it–the indicators were there.

And Gore was very much concerned about global warming/climate change long before 2000. Remember “An Inconvenient Truth”? He would have done something about it back when it would have been a great help.

Make sure you’re registered to vote; ask your friends to register to vote. That’s what Sanders supporters need to do: get the vote out.

Then you’ll see change.

Aug 15

The Pleasure of Strange Stridulations

When I consider the nature of cricket chirping, or stridulation, it’s strange that I find it so reassuring–this redundant high pitched sound made by an insect; usually countless insects chorusing together, rasping a comb-like structure on their wings. “Ah–that’s soothing” says my nervous system. But then again it’s not so strange.

When I grew up, summer evenings were a delight, in a very Ray Bradbury sort of way; we ran gleefully wild, always accompanied by the backdrop of crickets. Eventually we were sent to bed, where agreeably exhausted we fell asleep listening to the insectile stridulations. So my brain was imprinted with a pleasurable association, activated when I hear the sound again.

Crickets are often cartoonishly depicted as playing violins, and it’s not so different, it’s the same principle: evoking a high pitched sound through scraping on an instrument. Only the males stridulate, calling to females and warning off other males, and somehow chorusing more or less together–apparently, too, the group chirping changes frequency as temperature changes.

Wikipedia tells us, “In the central part of the tegmen is the “harp”. This is an area of thick, sclerotinized membrane which resonates and amplifies the volume of sound”. So they also come with amplifiers…

Aug 15


Here’s what I think will happen. Trump will not get the Republican nomination–but despite threats neither will he run as an Independent, because that would be throwing good money after bad and throwing away a bargaining chip worth billions. I think he’ll make noise as if he’s going to run as an Independent. High Republican operatives will approach him, behind the scenes, to ask that he *not* run, “for the sake of the party and the country” because if he runs he’ll split up the vote and give the election to the Democrats, and Trump will say, screw you, what’s in it for me.

He’ll say if you don’t want me to run, you owe me. Here’s what I want: If a Republican is elected President, he owes me favors. And whether he is elected or not, top Republican congress persons owe me favors. And the Koch brothers owe me favors. I want primo business deals from those guys, and they have to be huge, HUGE… And if you welsh I’ll tell ‘em where the bodies are buried.

This arrangement will happen behind closed doors, but watch for Trump to get breaks from congress and other right-wing financiers after the election and you’ll know…

Aug 15

MOUNTAIN OF SKULLS EP from John Shirley, Black October Records