September, 2017

Sep 17



A story about Scott Pruitt’s destiny. Follow link, scroll down a half screen to this relatively-short short story. 



Sep 17

There Are No Liberals, and There Are No Conservatives

There are no liberals and there are no conservatives, really. There are only people who believe in a fair degree of sharing and mutual help, and people who don’t.

There are only people who agree that there are innate human rights, and people who don’t.

There are only people who believe that foreign persons are as human as we are, and people who don’t.

There are only people who believe in the value of science, and people who don’t.

There are only people who believe that empathy is  vital, and people who don’t.

There are only people who treasure the natural world, and people who don’t.

There are only people who believe that women are equal to men, and people who don’t.

There are only people who believe that institutions can be an expression of decency and kindness, and people who don’t.

There are no liberals, or conservatives. Political categorization leads to knee-jerk, mindless judgments, and obscures commonality.

Sep 17

Encountering the Psychotic Lady in the Dream and Washington DC

Last weekend I went to Alexandria, VA, to speak at the Magfest convention, and I met a psychotic elderly lady I’d seen somewhere else, I think in a precognitive dream, who told me that…

Ah but before I tell you about her, I want to tell you that I took half a day after the convention to have a quick look at Washington DC, at least to get an impression of the place. I went to the National Air and Space Museum, saw the Wright Bros 1905 aircraft, saw it ramify into space craft in other parts of the museum, went to the National Archives and saw the Declaration of Independence, badly faded but clearly the real deal, saw one of four copies of the Magna Carta, saw the Bill of Rights…with scribbled annotations on it. Saw the Capitol bldg, saw limos…had lunch with a friend…noticed that everywhere, everywhere, everydamnwhere I went, I was waited on, guided by, watched over, sold tickets by, black folks. And a few Hispanics. Obama has been President, there are black people in Congress, and I’m sure black owners of big businesses in that town. But it was almost entirely black people serving white people wherever I went in Washington DC. I was startled by how thoroughly this was the case, wherever I looked. The class roles seemed starkly differentiated…

Finally I took a metro train to the airport. On the way a woman–she might have been 70?–who was neatly dressed, her dyed-red hair neatly combed, wandered up and down the Metro subway platform, talking to everyone she saw. Ranting, it must be said. To a young lone black man she intoned, “You have a demon. I see that. It is surely grown strong in you. But don’t take it so personally–consider that demons have a place in creation too. They have a role to play. You’re its nursemaid, almost. It’s not so bad.” He told her to “Go on about your business somewhere else and do it quick.” She broke into a Latin song, perhaps Cuban. I could see she’d been pretty once. She made me think of some aging Warhol superstar gone mad, for some reason. She pushed a little cart, with odds and ends in it, limping along behind it.

She got onto the same train I was on and she stopped and stared at me. I was wearing a t-shirt that had a sort of warped image of a planet with a leering face in it. She looked into my own face, said, “Oh, a man with an intelligent face, aware, I don’t see that much…on your chest, that picture, it could be a planet that’s also a god, talking to us from another world far away in the stars…I’m sorry. But you know, there will be computers they’re going to put in our brains, and the computers will control what we say, they’ll keep us from speaking the wrong things, and I’m not complaining, that’s a good thing, I want that because, you see, I cannot control what I say. I can’t stop what I say. I’m sorry.” I felt I should speak to her but was nervous about making my flight, and only smiled at her…and she hobbled away. All the time she spoke to me, I thought, “I’ve heard that before.” I remembered the dream, a long time ago. Of that platform and that woman…saying just that to me. Take it or leave it, that’s how it was.

Sep 17

Everything is so yellow.

The sky is yellow, like you’re wearing lightly yellow-tinted sunglasses, here, the sun is a red disk, and the air is hot, in the upper nineties, unusual temperature for September in this area. There is yet another enormous wildfire here in the pacific NW, this one about 40 miles from me on the Columbia Gorge, and it’s snowing ashes here. They’re much the texture and size of cigarette ashes tapped into the wind. You can feel them in your lungs and must clean them from the windshield before driving. About every fifth person on the street is wearing one of those white ten-a-penny face masks. I see them schooling their children on wearing them, keeping them on, during this. One wildfire is tamped down, another flares up, and they’re all big, thanks to the ubiquity of dryness in the countryside. I wonder if the local libertarians understand that only government infrastructure, subsidies, emergency funding, stands between us and our houses burning up? Is this what it’s like? Climate change accelerating? We were warned that big, out of control fires would be more frequent. Our glib dystopian writing seems quaint now, blandly real. The future has caught up with us, in our old age, as time seems to go faster, and it’s laughing, mockingly–the future is always young.

Looking out my office window, right now, everything is so disturbingly…yellow.