Sep 15

Facebook and the Mentally Ill

Every so often, one of my facebook friends will reveal themselves to be mentally ill–I don’t unfriend them unless they’re revealing it inadvertently, and they’re severely paranoiac. (If they cop to it, then I’m fine with it). And as you see by the linked article I wrote I regard psychological problems as, essentially, part of life for pretty much everyone, to greater and lesser degrees. And yes, Lincoln and other respected people may have been to some extent manic/depressive…

Here’s a bit from the latest delusional fb friend: “Hi John… As you can see on my timeline I’ve been gamed by a woman who was given private information about since 2006 and was told “protect and enhance life” and “fight for love”. I have already died nearly 5 times as a result of these nazi mind control experiments I have been subjected to for 10 years. They just had to try and entrap me one more time to bury the evidence. I’m losing it. I’ve been struggling just to survive for years and I do not understand the constant attempts to set me up and control my thoughts… At least bear witness to the already atrocious behavior I’ve been subjected to for YEARS with plenty of proof and evidence.”

And so on. That was a message. I had to unfriend that guy but I don’t want to block him because, at least for now, I’m talking to him via fb message to see if I can get him to be a little more objective, maybe see a doctor. I suspect he has been on meds, and went off them. Well, most psyche meds are pretty *bad*…it’s just that, for some people, it’s *even worse* to go without them. They tend to act out in malls etc, frightening people and thus being arrested–and then getting arrested leads them to say, “See! They WERE out to get me!”

There are new scientific leads on schizophrenia and related paranoiac conditions…so the problematic meds might soon become outdated. I hope so. They have lots of side effects and can be over used in institutions. A close relative of mine working as an aid in a mental hospital has seen them used in a really oppressive way in hospitals–people dosed into mental oblivion. Antipsychotic drugs, too, are sometimes prescribed to some people needlessly. “That child is misbehaving and wild…he must be psychotic!” Whereas he’s just a kid going through a phase… so it’s a complex problem.


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



Jul 15

“Atomic origami turns graphene sheets into nano machines” (is poetry to me)


turns graphene
its folds are
what it does
what it it means;
is a lattice
of carbon atoms
that’s as thin
(just as thin)
as anything
can be (as anything can be!)
yet also strong,
flexible and
very, very…
…how very, very
It is to me.


Jul 15

A Story with a Happy Ending

Once upon a time there was a storyteller who made his living telling stories as he traveled about the land, starting each one with “once upon a time”. He grew tired of his own stories–even the new ones, since they were always to the formula preferred by the crowds, and never quite new, and one day decided to invent one that seemed more classically tragic and highflown. He told his usual story up to a point: of a young, very good prince, hiding from usurpers, in this case traveling with a kindly mountebank who sold snake oil and the like; as usual villains in the crowd recognized the young prince, and besought their master, King Climp, the Prince’s uncle, who bade them waylay the prince and quietly kill him.

The storyteller’s listeners grew round eyed and rapt, as he went on. The villains captured the young prince, and took him to the river to drown him; here, in the story, is normally where the prince tricked the villainous henchmen with a tale of a secret potion that could turn stone into gold. He told the story, they agreed to release him if he showed them the trick, and he used a sleight of hand that substituted a painted gold rock for a river rock. Thinking they no longer needed the evil King, they rode off–and the young prince encountered a girl, and it was love at first sight. Whereupon the evil King rode up, to check on his feckless henchmen. At this point the girl usually tricked the king–so that the Prince captured the false sovereign and was able to take his place. However, this time, in the new version, King Climp turned to the girl and said, “You have done well, Ariadne. You have delayed him. I knew those bumpkins would fail me.” The girl threw him a kiss–and laughed at the prince. The prince in a fury stabbed her…but as she died she revealed that she had been about to kill the King so she and the prince could be together. Weeping, the Prince bent over her–and was stabbed in the back by the wicked false King. The End.

The storyteller halted his tale. The listeners were silent, gape mouthed. Then they howled and mobbed him, tying him up and carrying him off to a hilltop. There they put a rope, dangling from a tree, tightly round his neck, and set him on a horse, crying out, “How dare you harm the good prince! How dare you break our hearts with this black tale!”

“But wait!” the storyteller cried out desperately. “That wasn’t the end! For the Prince was not dead…nor was the girl! The Prince…ah…let me see…he, ah, crawled away, and just as the King was to finish him off, the girl, who was wounded but also not dead, tripped the evil one…so that he fell…upon the Prince’s knife! They both survived and reigned as the kindest king and queen in all the land!”

The storyteller’s listeners clapped enthusiastically, startling the horse, so that it ran away. The crowd watched in astonishment as the now-dangling storyteller choked in the noose. Two of them tried to climb up and cut him loose but it was too late.

“Well,” said the town’s mayor, as they all turned away, “at least the story had a happy ending.”

Jul 15

Why Does Time Seem to Go Faster as We Age?

Why does time seem to pass more rapidly as we age? Seem is the operative word, and the passage of “time” is indeed subjective up to a point. The phenomena of events unfolding, and folding; the “arrow” of time–the movement toward relative order and entropy, complexity and disorder–essentially the observable rate of changes, adds up to the appearance of the flow of so-called time. The apparent flow of time (as such) is a summary, a kind of consensus of perception we share with others who have similar cerebral and perceptual activity.

The young perceive with more attention, without trying, if they’re doing something they enjoy. As we age our capacity for that kind of open attention erodes unless we work to restore it…Perception–most obviously eyesight–actually takes place at a rate–this rate, that rate, another rate. But always at some rate. It’s just that we don’t notice our perceptual rate, for the same reason we don’t see our own eyes (without a mirror). Our usual rate of perception is simply innate to us…however there is a spectrum, a margin, of possible modification.

I can *see faster* if I exert my attention. I find that if I locate my attention itself, then I root my attention in the present moment, and quiet my associations as best I can, then simply perceive, time slows down while I maintain this state. This slowing is a subjective perception in one respect, since objectively events are unfolding at the whatever speed is natural to them–but in another way, time *has* slowed for me since I’m aware of more of it. The brain is taking pictures and stringing them together, more rapidly than we’re aware of. Normally we’re getting fewer “frames per second”, so it all seems to go by faster, like the major events of a day whipped by on flash cards. For neurological reasons, reasons of entrenched habit, and the psychology of aging, time seems faster as there’s less information processed. Adding more “frames”, more beats of perception, means more information to process which takes “more time”, so to speak. Events move more slowly–though not tediously. (People sometime note the same effect with some mind altering drugs though in my opinion it’s not as beneficial a means for slowing time, over all, since it doesn’t enhance our control of attention).

When we get older, we work more and more on autopilot; our cognition gets weathered, and we generally tend to take less in. So since we’re skipping intervals, time seems to “speed up”. If we move against this process by activating attention, time seems to slow down. It becomes, at least, richer and fuller–more the way it effortlessly was…when we were young.

People have been talking about the apparent speeding of time for the elderly so glib people, and perhaps some neurological theorists, have tried to come up with an explanation, and they’ve given us the tortured one about relativity based on time used and remaining, but it doesn’t explain the alteration of the passage of time with the enhancement of attention…And they’re just wrong, those people. Suppose your car starts spinning out of control on a freeway–this happened to me, and luckily cars flashed by me and I wasn’t hit and I ended harmlessly in the margin…and time slowed down for me. Everyone has had this experience. So how does the graph and the relativity and time-remaining thing explain that? How does it apply? It doesn’t. The one thing that explains it is that perception of events increases, temporarily, in such a case, which apparently slows time …only, time is an illusion of existential, environmental, and internal activity. An objective view of this activity working out is the fourth dimension. We incorporate bits of the fourth dimension, I suspect, when we stretch our attention to take in more “frames per second”.