Governor Ducey, El Presidente Trump, and The Gaucho Martin Fierro
Joseph Warren, Editor

I knew the Judge had a down on me,
For I’m no politician;
On voting day I had stayed away,
And somebody since had heard him say
That those that didn’t vote for him
Were helping the opposition.

Jose Hernandez,
The Gaucho Martin Fierro

What an incredible epic poem,
El Gaucho. The meter, the variations, the context and content are all mesmerizing and reminiscent of Cervantes’ Quixote, in a sense, and in a sense not. I’d thank Christopher Isherwood for the recommendation, but that would be somewhat difficult: I came to this book through another of Isherwood’s literate travel diaries, The Condor and the Cows, a typically Isherwood-esque chronicle of his travels through South America in a manner and at nearly the same time as Ernesto Che Guevara, and, to a large extent taking in much the same geography. (Read also Isherwood’s, Journey to a War.)

Isherwood by this time had become well known and travelled within a fairly affluent budget, while Guevara, as is painfully obvious in his
Motorcycle Diaries, was destitute and struggling along with his compañero, Alberto Granado. Interestingly, both Isherwood and Guevara took away much the same in knowledge and understanding, probably owing to Isherwood’s similar Left-leaning political inclination.

El Gaucho goes where Quixote could not: where there was romance and the promise of bliss that drove Quixote to pursue his illusive conjured idyllic woman, the Gaucho describes lust, rape, and murder on the Argentine plains graphically and without apologies, including all of the necessary ingredients: (consensual and otherwise) Sex, Maté, Gin, the Pampas, Horses, Knives, Death, Destruction, Barbecued Meat, and Politics in an eloquently rendered translation in English by Walter Owen. (I’d very much like to read it in the original Spanish, but after struggling agonizingly twice through Marquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera and various Pablo Neruda poems, I’ve resigned myself to my apparent second-language deficiency.)

Martin Fierro, the eponymous Gaucho, is drafted into government service, as many were in that time in Argentina, to combat the indigenous population and pacify the countryside. (
Shanghaied would be more appropriate.) During his prolonged absence, he loses wife, children, livestock, home and hearth, and suffers much under the despotic control of his commander and underlings.

After three years, as I recall, he returns to find the ruins of his home and little else: he is impoverished in soul and material wealth. But, take heart: he is ultimately reunited with his sons and learns more clearly of his wife’s fate, and of course, a Gaucho may scrape from the land all that he needs to exist contentedly among the natural beauty and abundance of the Argentine Pampas.

Such is the hand dealt those who voluntarily serve under the aegis of a despot, but for those who refuse, the rewards are manifold. Today, our Arizona Governor Ducey was condemned by our President Trump for not manipulating our state’s election results in a manner favorable to Trump’s re-election, following our Supreme Court’s decision to pass on subverting our Constitution.

President Trump asks that we Arizonans remember this in the future and not re-elect Governor Ducey.

I want to promise President Trump that we Arizonans will not re-elect Governor Ducey on the expiration of his current term:
In fact, Mr. President, you have my word on that on behalf of all my fellow Arizonans.

(Editor’s note: Governor Ducey, a man of personal integrity and commitment to American ideals and to the will of my fellow Arizonans, is
in his second term and is precluded by our Constitution from serving an additional consecutive term. Mr. Trump: your admonishment is what comes from considering Twitter the well-spring for intellectual thought.)

Since those elections things got worse,
And more mixed up and shady;
A fankle of string without end or middle –
I’d like to have Justice solve this riddle:
How she rides on the pillion of every rogue,
And yet keeps her name as a lady?

- Ibid

I told you it was a nasty book...

This House was Built in 1911
Joseph Warren, Editor

To her, Goethe’s darling was still alive and still young, things that long since had become historic and legendary to us were still reality to her. I always felt a ghostlike atmosphere in her presence.

Stefan Zweig on Mrs. Demelius’ recollections of her childhood friend, Goethe’s granddaughter.
The World of Yesterday (Die Welt von Gestern)

“Don’t be put-off by the age…” was the beginning of a narrative of a home for sale on Zillow, not in Old Town Kingman, but some short distance away (less than a league off). That home was built in 1972, and as a semi-autodidact in Asian, American and European history, and one who lives in a reasonably new home built in 1911, I thought that was a bit strange to say.

Our home was built by Mary Eleanor Cohenour and is now known eponymously as the Cohenour House: it is constructed of Rusticated Concrete Block (RCB, which was cast on-site then to look like quarried stone blocks) on a perimeter and basement foundation. The windows are complex with multi-lite upper sashes, and to this day much of the original glass remains - seedy and wavy. The interior and exterior doors are very close grained Douglas fir and were “preserved” in many, many coats of early enamel then latex paint, containing enough lead to build a life-sized replica of the Brooklyn Bridge and still have enough left over to drop the average IQ at the Princeton Institute to 3.

Each door took three to five days to strip and finish. Each window, at least that amount of time to restore to pre-abandoned-maintenance condition. Each window is now covered with a storm window: frames for which we cut from cedar, beveled, glazed with double-strength panes, hung on period correct screen hangers, and painted a matching burgundy, of the three-color scheme we had landed on six years ago, not to protect against storm surge in Arizona, but to keep the wood from deteriorating and undoing what we had done.

Mary Eleanor Cohenour was a very successful businesswoman, and had this house built after her husband, Jacob Neff, left her for another “Mary” soon to be Cohenour, in 1906. Will wonders never cease?

“Our” Mary acquired, subdivided, and developed the many smaller streets that sit behind our house, and in earlier times were dubbed, the Cohenour Cottages: not a pejorative. She was very active in local theater often being cast as a matronly figure who held familial sway.

She held many events here: soirees and parties for friends, neighbors (few at that time), and officials. The house was frequently in the news, many times for her gardening prowess: corn, grapes, almonds.

When this home was built, China’s Qing dynasty had just fallen: the last of thousands of years of dynastic rule. Until 1911 China had resisted more than two hundred years of violent incursion by Portuguese, British, US, Russian, French, Japanese (and other) imperialist usurpation of resources; including, and most egregiously, serving as a dumping ground for US and British conveyed Opium intended to spread the disease of drug use, addiction, and pacification throughout China’s vast population to the ultimate benefit of Drug Lord families here, such as that from which our American hero, John Kerry came, and other American notables as well.

The Opium Wars continued off-and-on for decades from the early 1800s resulting in the loss of Chinese lives in the hundreds-of-thousands (perhaps millions, although no official “body counts” were made) at the swords and cannons of American and British forces.

The fan kuei (collectively, us) sold a great deal more than they bought (in tea and silk); every year more and more silver dollars…left the Gulf of Canton…Now the emperor faced a deepening money crisis as well. By the middle 1830s the relentless outflow of silver…had driven his principal civil servants to distraction, and to a man they blamed the crisis on opium…(and) for brigandage, for corrupting the army and civil service, for ruining increasing numbers of Chinese.

The Opium War
Peter Ward Fay

Homes and families, on a vast, nearly incomprehensible scale were viciously destroyed by us and our distribution of opium. Today, we believe that dumping Smartphones and other Chinese-made goods through Walmart and a host of other online and brick-and-mortar co-conspirator retailers serves to the detriment of the American worker, and worthy of sanctions, and the threat of international conflagration. Irony abounds in history.

And then there was the Boxer Rebellion in 1900…

Many Westerners recalled the direst of Chinese maledictions, “May you live in interesting times.”

The Spirit Soldiers (Boxer Rebellion)
Richard O’Connor

Stemming from our persistent need to take from others (non-Christians) believing them to be subhuman and unworthy of sovereignty or respect, our greed and wantonness had reached a climax in the minds and lives of many Chinese eclipsing their relative docility, the end result of which was a massive uprising against resident foreign powers. The “Boxers” were so-called because of their style of fighting, which from a Westerner perspective seemed pugilistic.

Fortunately, by murdering many tens-of-thousands of Chinese men, women and children, we eventually treated with them to a reconciliation that gave us territories and access, against which we were better able to launch further
future depredations.

After the many wars had ended and the last of the dynasties was about to topple…

…this house was built.

China then fell into the hands of warlords and tyrants, many of whom found strengthened regional authority, wielding corruption and death broadly and without mercy, virtually enslaving a region’s populace, much like every post-apocalyptic America movie we’ve ever seen, and just as violent. In fact, very much like Afghanistan and Iraq today: thanks to our efforts, as well.

At this writing, President Trump or President Elect Biden (President Brump? Triden?) proposes to remove all of our troops from these never-ending wars, much as the Soviet Union did in 1989.
History tells us that nothing happened after that, other than the collapse of the Soviet Union, widespread revolution, anarchy, death and financial ruin, so everything should be fine.

From 1911, China began a nearly forty year struggle to emerge in 1949 under Chairman Mao, while the exiled Chiang Kai-Shek moved off to “succeed” to Taiwan, but that was another story and much later: and we’re still at 1911 when this house was built. (Read,
Chiang Kai-Shek, Jonathon Fenby, for an illuminating history of this controversial and mercurial leader of China’s republic (for a relatively short time). It, too is a very informative look at an important international leader and strangely beguiling spouse, as well as an account of our intense US involvement once again working to manipulate China’s future.)

Elsewhere in the world, in 1915 the
Lusitania was sunk off the coast of Ireland by U20, a German submarine under the command of a strong-hearted patriot of the German navy. 105 years hence, and the cause of this tragedy is still pondered. Following my reading of Erik Larson’s Dead Wake, I am more than certain that Churchill, then First Lord of the Seas or some such really great job title, manipulated circumstances that placed the Lusitania in the gunsite of U20 to stimulate American intercession in the failing British effort to defend against the aggressing German (and other Central Powers) forces. “Rule Britannia” was, alas, no more, unless one counts the Falklands War, which to Argentines was just insulting.

It took far more than the
Lusitania disaster to shake Wilson out of his eros-induced torpor, while British, French, Russian (and numerous other Entente members) “lives lost” numbered into the millions - military and civilian. But eventually we joined in.

And probably from this house, and from the many houses across and up and down the then-gravel streets of what we now call Old Town, departed those who would wage war in a place so remotely different from Kingman Arizona. Some of them would come back when it was “over, over there.” Some wouldn’t, and like many towns in America we have a war memorial in Railroad Park, which used to be Kingman’s professional Baseball field. The Cubs, Pirates, and others used the field for off-season training and exhibition games…

…while this house looked on a few yards away.

Stefan Zweig (ibid) rightly discoursed furiously about the destruction of Beethoven’s House in 1903 on Schwarzspanierstraße, Vienna. Here in Kingman, while never the official home of any noted composer, our City’s leadership does not let history obstruct the advancement of new, cheap, architecturally depraved homes and other buildings, either. They are driven by pay-offs and other considerations that always put me in mind of Mel Brooks’ line in Blazing Saddles, I think, where as the small-town mayor he justifies his actions exclaiming,
We’ve got to save our chickenshit jobs!

And so they do at the cost of local history.

Between “Big” wars, this house changed hands twice and served, having reconfigured the old Carriage House on the opposite side of the block, as a commercial laundry facility for central Kingman. Streets were paved covering over the old dirt motorways and in the depth of our Great Depression, the WPA, our Works Progress Administration who “employed” millions of out-of-work, destitute Americans in Public Works projects, laid in sidewalks in the 1930s much of which remains today – intact, unbroken, level, and clearly stamped. They are as new – 90 years hence. Here, if you walk through Old Town you can walk on history, even as the City labors desperately to remove our past to make way for crappy chain restaurants and stores and car dealerships and monolithic government building atrocities.

So while the WPA was improving Kingman, Japan and China mixed it up in the vilest way possible, and in Germany there began the rise to prominence of an otherwise very unremarkable former German army corporal who really, really just wanted to paint for a living. In retrospect, any number of us would have supported his enrollment in the
French Academy. We didn’t, but he did manage to paint out the lives of more than 11 million people, many of whom were guilty of practicing a different form of prayer, much like our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, only the Jews didn’t control vast oil fields as the Iraqis did in Majnoon and West Qurna, raffled off to industry giants like Shell and Exxon-Mobil: Father Timothy announcing the winner of the church raffle, “Well, will wonders never cease? The new Cadillac has been won by our own Monsignor O’Reilly.”

Many more millions of dead later: this house still stood.

In 1946 this house was acquired by Mae McMullen, known by various surnames owing to changing life circumstances, marking the thread of ownership that lasted for nearly 60 years. By all accounts, she was a remarkable woman: Chief Surgical Nurse at Mohave County Hospital, which stood until a little more than a decade ago not more than one
Li away, she worked with the famous and infamous in Kingman medicine, including one of our most recognizable doctors who from the 1930s onward practiced his surgical craft while completely toasted on alcohol: still, his patients were loyal and believing. He was fairly short, kindly (probably owing to his condition), and while there were several other qualified physicians in Kingman, he is fondly recalled by some long-time residents.

Mae was tall, strong, intelligent and raised her children in this house, none of whom were infants here. Thus, Mae’s grandchildren occasionally find their way to us through email, phone or visit. We learn so much about the house that way.

In 1950, the year I came about, on the Korean peninsula the first of our Asian US proxy wars began, eventually drawing us into a civil war that was supported on the opposing side by China and the Soviet Union. Arguably, it remained a proxy war for them during the duration of the conflict. Our total war dead numbered about 36,000, with tens-of-thousands of walking dead bringing up the rearguard.

The US was booming, though, as only the US may from time-to-time, with only minor setbacks we called
recessions, mostly effecting smaller swaths of specialized industry, like in Defense, such as for my father. But we lived in Highland Park just on the outskirts of Los Angeles in a neighborhood not unlike where this house abides in Kingman.

During our second year of caretaking this house, I finally got around to looking more closely at the concrete basement wall on the East side. I had already ripped out four iterations of plumbing going back to the original well pipes that supplied the house from the still-working well, although we draw our house water from City supply for clarity sake. I replaced everything with Pex and SharkBite fittings: I will never sweat copper again!

In the wall I noticed several deep scars from which some of the concrete was sloughing off. Fearing the worst, I welded up a bracing for that span of flooring above, treated and patched the concrete.

“Dad (referring to Mae’s teenage son, the woman’s father with whom we were speaking) used to go into the basement with my uncle while grandma was at work and fire grandma’s .45 caliber into the concrete wall…”

The next day, “Ooooooh! I get it.” I stuck my finger in the hole, “This is a bullet hole! And so is this…and this…and this…”

During this chance to learn more about Mae, we were told that the “boys” often climbed into the attic and fired live rounds from the latticework hip roof opening on the front of the house covering the arched concrete porch. I suppose this was better.

Time in this house passed virtually undisturbed, and the “boys” have all gone to Glory after having lived an acceptable lifespan, just as we all must. And, as of this writing, not even Jeff Bezos can do anything about that.

What’s happened since the Korean War? Not much…

We’ve fought so many wars and killed so many people; famine and disease have taken millions; the ebb and flood of economic collapse and resurgence has left a lasting and often overlooked legacy of what to expect from life; people have come into the world, and people have left; the universe is getting smaller, and perhaps multiplied; we know that this world is not of continuous matter but insist on viewing it as such, because in our restricted consciousness, it’s the only game in town; we continue to view our fellow human beings as we did in the 1600s; and, most importantly, globally we’ve grown from about 2-1/2 to nearly 8 billion people during my lifespan, most of whom own Smartphones, and in an effort to further humanity, post images and videos of themselves having sex, alone or otherwise: we are not advancing as a society. In fact, we are on the retrograde.

So, let me ask you something
Realtor representing the 1972 home I first mentioned at the beginning of this piece: Why on earth would I be “put-off” by a home built so recently as 1972? So many homes in America pre-date our little home by a few centuries and chronicle events beginning with the Spanish invasion of North America. Like you, probably, I’ve slept in homes abroad built in the time of Shakespeare.

Old Homes have essence, spirit, and are quantum vessels that I believe still hold the remainders of those who came before. Old homes can evoke love, peace, or a sense of belonging that cannot be realized in a new home, no matter how the builder may sloganize variations on “Come home to Larchmont” or wherever. You will not be home there: you will just inhabit space. Perhaps, fifty years hence one who lives there will be “home” if, and this is very important given the quality of construction, it remains standing.

If you’re now thinking,
Jesus! I gotta buy an old house and get me some of that peace and tranquility shit! Recall that there will likely be some work to be done. But through that work the house becomes your home. Of course one can always search out something completely renovated, but that can be a very pricey proposition in today’s real estate market: maybe not next year. Who knows? We didn’t learn from the last “Great Recession” just a few years ago.

Here’s Rule One:
Don’t Home Depot an historic home. Doing so ought to be a Capital Offense. It’s the same with classic cars: If one puts a 350 Chevy in a 1939 Plymouth, it’s no longer a 1939 Plymouth. It’s something else, and it is not preservation.

Here’s Rule Two:
Go to Scott Sidler’s site, the Craftsman’s Blog: and learn about what it takes to do it right. In his profile image Scott is wearing a flannel plaid shirt. I too have an obligatory flannel plaid shirt because “…if you get an outfit, you can be a cowboy too.” (Smother’s Brothers, Streets of Laredo.) And if you’re a woman, wearing plaid flannel doesn’t ipso facto make you a lesbian, but I still discourage our publisher (and my wife), Greta, from wearing one.

What’s rewarding is to know that what we’ve done to this house will remain for decades, even centuries to come. Perhaps subsequent owners will become curious and research the subject; maybe they will come to know us, and through this effort,
carry us forward in time. Kurt Gödel would be proud.

Goethe said something like, if you really want to appreciate a work of art you should see it while it’s being made. Greta’s now working on a piece with a working title of,
Cubs in Kingman. In it, three boys are standing at the wooden fence at our old ballpark watching the Cubs in exhibition circa 1950-something.

Cubs Game - 1

Would Jesus Social Distance?
Joseph Warren, Editor

“Wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good.”

Love in the Time of Cholera

Last Supper 2 - 3_Fotor

Last Supper in the Time of Covid
Greta Warren-Hill

During Biblically chronicled plagues it's likely that no one considered the importance of maintaining Social Distancing: all too familiar to us today. But, what if they had? What if Jesus Christ had demanded that a social distance be kept between Himself and His apostles? How might that have looked?

The artist (and our co-publisher), Greta Warren-Hill, reimagines the “Last Supper” out of the far too many iterations of this historically-significant prandial event in her latest piece,
Last Supper in the Time of Covid where the last meal before crucifixion was shared between Jesus and His apostles, as Judas departs through a doorway in the upper right. The title is borrowed from one of our favorite writers: Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera.

Oil on aluminum panel. 12 X 16 inches (30.5 X 41cm approximate) unframed. Mounted in a hand-crafted 16 X 20 inch (41 X 51cm) frame. Learn more about the painting by visiting our sister site,

Joseph Warren, Editor

I hope I never again have to withstand seeing another case of sheer police brutality like that.

Malcolm X,
The Autobiography, as told to Alex Haley

Some days ago when I began this piece it was to center around the serendipitous discovery of the book I have for years intended to read:
the Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley, noted author of, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, a contentious American epic most noted for its vastly popular serialization on mainstream television. Everyone watched it; everyone talked about it. It lives on today.

The original article herein was entitled,
Do Black Lives Matter? It began with this statistic:

In 2018, 88.9% of Black Homicide Victims were killed by Blacks
FBI: Uniform Crime Report

And, it is a truism. But why?

Black people are no different from white: biologically, we’re all the same. It must come down to skin, and the way in which we are conditioned to see skin as a representation of the essence of a person, simplifying our assessment and positioning our behavior, in turn. This isn’t
a priori: it’s acquired subtly through our language – the way in which we express our thoughts. Language is everything to us – written or verbal. When we encounter an event in life, we draw on that accumulated knowledge and anecdotal information from our elders and others (all based on and conveyed by language), and to the best of our mental ability, decide on a course of action.

Language is History. It is Literature. It is Science. It is Humanity. It is cinema. It is drama. And throughout the centuries we have come to learn that Black is not a good thing (in a European sense). As a result, Black people are seen by some as the personification of the word’s negative connotations, however they may be re-sensitized as a result to act in response.

We are taught:

Black is the absence of light and color. It is absolute darkness. It is of what the Bible says we are deprived when taken from the Light of God owing to sinful acts. It is frightening. It is evil. It is criminal. It is treacherous. It is cold. It is a terrible occurrence in one’s life. It is a state of mind to be avoided. It is murderous. It is suicidal. It is financial ruin. It is a deadly plague. It is a mephitic aura.

And every day we are subjected to this litany of affirmations in our casual discussions, at work, in school, in church, in the supermarket, online, in cinema, in books, in financial reports, and in every form imaginable. Even when your screen goes
Black, its meaning is affirmed.

One may be Black and Blue, Black Listed, Blackmailed, Blacked Out, Black Jacked, and Black Marked. You may be the Black Sheep or Black Swan of your family. History tells us that vast numbers of us have been killed by the Black Plague or Black Death, and others through Black Magic. Black Humor is arguably not funny. Say the wrong thing and get a Black Eye. A Black Widow is a deadly spider. The Black Hand is the Hand of Death. Black Ice is dangerous and Black Mold is a slow killer.

There are a multitude of other deadly-negative connotations regarding
Black pervading our language and culture. Each one, I believe, shapes and conditions us to expect something ill to occur when the word Black is used conjunctively to describe an event or occurrence in our lives. Even Science uses it in Cosmology to describe one of many points in space-time that are truly inexplicable and unfathomably destructive: the remnants of a once-powerful light that has collapsed upon itself leaving a mysterious Black Hole in its stead capable of consuming everything in its orbit and relegating it to...

So why do Blacks kill Blacks, when it would seem that throughout American History we whites have killed off so many Blacks in the most abhorrent of ways that Blacks killing Blacks would seem to be counter-intuitive, if not completely absurd? Should not America’s Blacks understand that their lives have meaning and purpose beyond to serve as a target of violence and hatred, mired in a deadly tango with their Black counterparts?

That’s the essence of what Malcolm X conveyed in his autobiography: the purpose behind his later life until his untimely death. It was the message of belief: to hold fast to the understanding that every Black life mattered,
but in turn each Black person had a duty, an obligation to live life in a manner that is consistent with discipline, learning, achievement, worship, and the obligations inherent with being a Black man or woman in America then, and today, and to thus rise above those who would degrade them out of their own inferiority.

I knew of Malcolm X – one couldn’t have been sentient in the 1950s and 60s without knowing who he was: he was a change agent that manifested pride in a people who had yet to arise from the smoldering hate of Jim Crow America. He influenced a part of our country to stand up and make their presence known. He taught Black America to love and respect each other and to cast aside contrivances and act genuinely as a father, mother, son or daughter. At the time, he made a very large percentage of Black America see themselves differently. He uplifted them in a way no one, including Martin Luther King, has since, in my opinion.

So why do so many Blacks kill Blacks? I don’t have the answer, but I would suggest that the associative meaning of the word Black likely has the same meaning for all English-speaking humans. Perhaps it is the same manifestation as that found in the
self-loathing Jews described by Theodor Hertzl, or the self-loathing Italian, or self-loathing…

Language is everything to us. Without it, there is no humanity. And language goes to our very soul. It is who we are.

Before the arrival of Europeans, in Africa a Black man wasn’t a Black man: he was just a man. No tribal reporter walked up to a man on the street and asked,
As a Black man how do you feel about..?

Perhaps we need to move closer to that ideal today and embrace a society where a Black man is just a man deserving of the same respect as any man of any color, because skin doesn’t tell us anything about who he or she is. Maybe someday we shall, but not with our current leadership leading the way to greater division.

If you haven’t read
Malcolm X’s autobiography, you ought to.
Read, Ernst Pawel’s
A Labyrinth of Exile, A Life of Theodor Herzl. A man of profound influence at a time when Zionism was embryonic.

Los Trumpistas y Los Democráticos
Joseph Warren, Editor

“We’re opposed to Cartagena’s tyranny here too,” said Señor Molinares.
“I know,” (General Bolivar) said. “Every Columbian is an enemy country.”

The General in His Labyrinth

sui generis and Dionysian President Trump proposes to hinder vote-by-mail efforts in order to manipulate circumstances so that he may, through the machinations of obscure and vestigial Constitutional provisions and federal law, forestall the November election, at the least...

At the most, I can easily imagine him (attempting) to invoke martial law due to the state of chaos created by financial collapse – real or manipulated, a national health emergency stemming from a resurgence of Covid-19, and continued and evolving civil unrest from those issues presently plaguing our society. And I’m not the only one who thinks that.

Would this action constitute a
coup d'état, in the traditional South American sense? Or, might we consider it a temporary suspension of apodictic practice?

What a country, no?

Today we stand on opposite sides of an abyss: Trumpistas on one and Democratitos on the other, and Mephistopheles reigns over us all, observer or participant: there is no escape.

A sunny, pleasant day in Sunnyvale, California, October 1967. Ché had just been murdered by the CIA in Bolivia. I was outraged, in an adolescent way, while my Dad and Uncle Charlie were celebratory. I expressed my contrary opinion, to which my Uncle Charlie responded, “Why don’t you move to Cuba then!” My Dad thought that was humorous. I did not and in some juvenile way gave it some consideration, but elected to run off to the French Foreign Legion instead. (Later I dismissed both plans and focused on diddling Becky who attended Mother Butler High School a Catholic girls school.)

I would have been more successful with the French Foreign Legion. But, interestingly, as it has come to pass so many years later, I didn’t have to escape to Cuba because it has come to us: not the politics of it, but the Latin nature of a whimsical government teetering on the edge of oblivion while its leadership and pretenders to leadership hide out in bunkers and basements surrounded only by their most loyal loyalists forces, who themselves are subject to spontaneous purges at the whim of
El Maximo Jeffe. In a sense it is nearly the reincarnation of Pinochet versus our conception of Nicholas Maduro: Señor Biden.

¡Qué mundo!
(One ought to use South American expressions today in order to convey the full context of our present condition.)

I have been reading and re-reading omnivorously for months now (actually for years, but most recently immersively) and the day after I finished Marquez’s incredibly fascinating biographical-novel regarding South America’s Great Liberator, Simón Bolívar, who, with the help of countless compadres and societal elites, managed to give the boot to Spain and attempted to bring about a unified South America, only to find the whole of the
Sud America become its own worst enemy. Thus the exasperated, Every Columbian is an enemy country.

They became fearful of each other, fretful of imperialist countries, distrustful of each country’s leadership, and having experienced for millennia before, poverty and starvation, they grew intensely wary. Decadal periods of civil unrest and commensurate death and destruction ensued.

Optimistically, we are nearly in a parallel situation today: we are, in fact, on the precipice. Like the majority of Americans, I’d very much like to see this Grand Experiment go on into the future. I worry it will not owing to the actions of a minority, both Left and Right, whose self-loathing will likely lead to self-destruction.

I am not the
Prophet Joseph, by any means, but in 2006 we authored a 25,000 word article entitled, The Coming of Deseret. It is about the collapse of the United States. The story begins, ironically enough, in the city of Seattle, our presently designated Free Zone who, by some, is described as an Autonomous Zone resembling a Mad Max script.

So, for those interested, here’s the lead-in,
and at this link (scroll down to “Deseret”) is the full article.

From the Seattle Times, Jonas Lindquist reporting:

“Less than one year ago I sat at a table under an umbrella at an outdoor bistro with an associate of mine while we commiserated on the ill state of society.

“We talked about the economy and how, although it seemed lackluster and stagnant, was as regular as a clock in its recovery. We spoke about politics and how in many times past we opined on the logical successors to leadership of these United States. We talked about our families – our wives and our children. We spoke about what we would do after we retired.

“We planned our individual futures and prophesized that, although fraught with difficulties, the United States would continue, just as empires in the past had long succeeded in doing. We conjectured that eventually a future generation might bear witness to the collapse of the United States, and when that time came we speculated that it would be a period of immense upheaval.

“We mourned the loss of reason, but saw the world today as a place where the new logic that had settled in on the populace, although exceedingly different from what we perceived as the norm, was not deadly. Change has always been subtle. Change has always been slight. Who could have calculated, say, just five years ago in 2007 that the United States would end with such swiftness?

“In retrospect, I suppose anyone who has read history could have predicted it. It’s just that we were all so involved in our day-to-day lives: sitting at outdoor cafes, talking about politics, working, shopping, dining out, thinking about the future, while the ship sailed on with no one at the wheel.

“It’s ironic. It’s even thrilling in an eerie way to see something so wonderful caught in its last throes of life, like a great ancient beast finally caught by one too many spears from a horde of long-lost hunters. What will tomorrow bring, I wonder?” (Editor’s note: Jonas Lindquist was killed April 9th, 2012 while covering the Battle for Spokane. This was his last dispatch.)

Read, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s
The General in His Labyrinth
Read, Ché Guevara’s
The Complete Bolivian Diaries of...

A Place to Stop
Joseph Warren, Editor

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

The World Is Too Much With Us

And Du Bois is worthy of remembering today:

Herein lies the tragedy of the age: not that men are poor - all men know something of poverty; not that men are wicked - who is good? not that men are ignorant - what is Truth? Nay, but that men know so little of men.

W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk

Bildung, Nietzsche, Goethe, Mann, and Donald Trump
Joseph Warren, Editor

Nothing is more repulsive than the majority, for it consists of a few strong leaders, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak men who assimilate themselves, and of the mass that troops after them all, without knowing the least what it wants.

Wilhelm Meister’s Journeyman Years

I have been left wandering, sometimes soullessly, amid the electronic rolls of binary-yellow journalism the last few months (as have most of you) caught in the political muck raked and stirred by those who would benefit the most, both Right and Left. Like a mantra from which my very breath is gained I repeat, “in this best of all possible worlds” thinking of Voltaire, and as the storms brew and collapse and endlessly litter the beach with the detritus of a possibly failing society, I sometimes feel defeated, even in my role as only an observer.

If Nietzsche was right and we are bound to experience this existence eternally again and again, then we must embrace it for what it is worth, living a path of
Amor Fati, if for nothing more than as a means to preserve our sanity.

If Gödel’s promise of an infinite number of universes in which we are presently living moments of “Now” is correct, then those who live within the Ninth Circle will likely spend eternity in a Hell to which fate has relegated them, while the rest of us are mandated to watch, fixed in our gaze like witnesses to a train wreck: turning aside is not possible. We must observe and take note, and that is
our fate.

If Einstein’s conception of a multiverse reality is the manner of true universal existence, perhaps somewhere right now, we’re doing what we ought to do to bring our lives harmoniously back in line to live out Time Eternal in balance and peace.

In the last several months I’ve read and thought much on the concept of
Bildung, the single German word, which like so many other single German words, encapsulates a lifetime of study. Oddly enough in this case, it is roughly defined as a lifetime of study: acquiring knowledge to deepen one’s comprehension and experience of life, to, and this is very important, the best of one’s ability.

It is what Goethe wrote of in his many timeless
Bildungsroman – books concerning or evoking the concept of self-growth and heightened understanding of one’s self and of the world writ much larger. To find a lone pearl of enhanced understanding is not possible, because each evokes an introspection and an expansion of thought and perspective that signally can alter one’s path.

Perhaps at the heart of Goethe’s writing is Thomas Mann’s axiom that a
path always seems longer when we first walk it than when we come to know it. Although in the Magic Mountain his intent may have been a simple illustration regarding a physical reality, perhaps it was rather, a commentary on Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence and that through the practice of Bildung we are better able to navigate the succession of existence to which we are inextricably bound.

As an observer of existence I can say with all certainty that this arena in which this life exists has been as of late populated with people who practice thinking at a novitiate (or lesser) level. These people, both young and old, rely instead on the abundant opinions of others: The
Unread Masses. They haven’t attempted to fill their minds with History or Science or Math or Philosophy or any other subject of value: they predominantly only vomit what they’ve read on Social Media or have seen on television, YouTube, Twitter or the ruin of all rational thought, Facebook. They fill the rest of the vacant space with consumerism and avarice and prejudices and imagine themselves apart from the rest – superior in some strange, self-serving aspect, which others fail to see.

They are people like Donald Trump, as an example, whose immersion in Literature or Science or Philosophy or...any subject that does not involve losing or making money, is apparently very limited. His knowledge and understanding of people extends only to himself and to those he has created, and importantly, only those about whom he is proud to acknowledge. And,
they are people like Joe Biden whose arrogance appeals to a different political inclination. Both considered, they are a dismal pair. And this leaves us with what?

This leaves the rest of us to…observe, and to do as Nietzsche suggested and view our circumstances as necessary - to embrace them or to, at the least, acknowledge their impact on our lives. Through this we may avoid running into the streets naked and screaming.

Read, W. H. Bruford’s
The German Tradition of Self-Cultivation (Bildung) to both gain knowledge and as a means to a new perspective of self.

Read, Thomas Mann’s
The Magic Mountain to enhance your understanding of one of the world’s greatest writers.

Read, Goethe’s series on
Wilhelm Meister, because he had and has so much to say, all these years after.

The Up! Side of Coronavirus
Joseph Warren, Editor

What is the use of reducing infantile mortality when it is precisely that reduction which imposes the greatest restraint on us in the begetting of children, so that, taken all round, we nevertheless rear no more children than in the days before the reign of hygiene…and have probably worked against the beneficial effects of natural selection?

Sigmund Freud,
Civilization and its Discontents

A Freudian Reality, below: “The world today is now populated by nearly eight billion people. China hosts more than 1.4 billion, and India brings up a close second place at more than 1.36 billion. Here, in the United States, our population has grown from around 200 million in 1965 to its present (about) 330 million. When Freud wrote Civilization and its Discontents, the world population hovered at around 2 billion souls, in 1930: far too many then by some accounts.”


Early in 2019 we wrote about the present state of the world, population, and the defeat of natural population controls on our global growth. (See,
A Freudian Reality, below.) A year later, the situation has, perhaps, abruptly changed if in fact the Coronavirus is as deadly as some say. If the virus is fairly benign, as others contend, then we will remain mired in the conditions associated with a bloated population: hunger, poverty, climate change, deadly pollution…

In April or May after the hysteria has dissipated, some of you will wipe your brows and consider how fortunate you are to be alive: perhaps there’s a lesson to be gained. Others, the
Doubting Thomases, such as myself, will wonder how an allegedly civilized society could have permitted such an openly turgid display of emotions to overcome logic: According to the Centers for Disease Control, during the 2017 Flu Season, 61,000 people died in the United States as a result of contracting the Influenza virus. To date (March 19, 2020) the Coronavirus has allegedly claimed 150 lives.

And yet, we are gnashing our teeth and renting our garments in anguish. We are as 2000 years ago.

Erich Fromm asked, “Are we Sane?” The answer is, No. We are not. We only desperately want to think that we are enlightened, evolved, and stable.

From 1918 to 1920 the “Spanish Flu” accounted for a global population reduction of from 17.4 million to more than 100 million, depending on varying sources. Generally, about 20 million is the accepted death total attributable to that strain of virus.

At about that time, our world population hovered around 1.8 billion, an estimate based on the lack of global accounting in-place today. So, the Spanish Flu reduced global population by about one (1) percent. If the more extreme rate is applied (5 X 1%) then this pandemic of historical proportions reduced the population by a factor of 5%, or something like 100,000,000, the higher estimate.

US population is currently at about 331,000,000. A 1% reduction would result in a net population remaining of about 327,000,000. At 5%, 314,000,000, which would set our
economic clock back to less than a decade ago.

Which demographic is likely to contribute greatest to the reduction in population?
Older people, like Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, me, and others in that bracket. Of those not old, but infirm: perhaps the physically challenged, those with debilitating illnesses, obese, pre-existing conditions adversely effecting health, intellectually sub-average, and others.

In short those
who by characteristics are typically culled from the ranks of the animal population in the wild, will be to some extent eliminated, reversing the harm we’ve done by, as Freud put it, (working) against the beneficial effects of natural selection.

Everyone globally is working frantically to defeat Natural Selection, with regard to the Coronavirus:

The Politically Liberal is doing so because they fear the massive loss of loved-ones, and, primarily, of their own lives. Ironically, their numbers include those who weep for the environment failing to see that a 5% drop in population equates (roughly) to a 5% drop in pollution. As we’ve already seen in China the Coronavirus-induced production slow-down has directly resulted in an historic decrease in air pollutants – Industrial & Transportation – reducing greenhouse gas emissions, particulate matter, water contaminants, and the menu of crap daily flushed into the air and our water supply.

The Politically Conservative is aggressively pursuing a cure because a precipitous drop in population is not good for Consumer Spending, Housing, Travel, and an endless list of revenue-generating economic activities likely to be dramatically stagnated (or worse) by an immediate loss of 15 million US consumers. And, working to bring a cure to market is good for Pharmaceuticals (and the Health Care industry, which now accounts for about 18% of our nation’s GDP).

Do I hope that the Natural Processes of our world are successful in reducing the burden? Of course not. Perhaps: it’s difficult to say. Like many of you I sometimes think,
There are too many of us on this little dirtball: something’s got to give, and maybe…maybe it is. But probably not.

Old People in Charge
Joseph Warren, Editor

“Baby it’s up to you,” is what she’s actually saying, “about how many times you wanta see me and all that – but I want to be independent like I say.”
And I go home having lost her love.
And write this book.
Jack Kerouac, The Subterraneans

The Septuagenarians
Co-Authors Don, Joe, Elizabeth & Bernie

Don had just come back from Elizabeth’s place in the mountains up north where he and “Lezzy” (as he called her) had been shooting huge quantities of Ensure getting way higher than they might under just the holiness of the Dharma: the being of spirit that resided in their minds’ eyes blossoming above like a giant goddamned flower of light and cosmic consciousness waving wildly above like our country’s beautiful fucking flag violently churned by the air, pitched over a base in the farthest reaches of an Afghan outpost. Bernie sat alone atoning for the sins of his four known prior lives after a reefer of tea that left him looking unkempt, but not discernibly different.

“Whadja smoke, man?” Don had to know.

“Pot…laced with rocket fuel, I think.” Bernie stumbled out. A silence followed. “I’ll be cool: it was only a one-percent mix. I hate one-percent! You can’t get really wet on one-percent.” He faded away. A trail of spittle drained from his lower lip.

“Yeah…” Don let go for just a moment then clawed his way to the surface of consciousness again, briefly. “You roll a blunt with that shit and it better be bigly.”

Elizabeth, mad as a hatter: “WAIT! I have no idea where Joe went!” in response to a question no one had asked. “Maybe to the shop around the corner to find a bottle or two: he knows I like my morning beer and eggs. He’ll be back if he doesn’t lose his way again. (She grows more excited) Maybe he’s looking for Depends, it all depends.”

Joe moved around her and from behind put his caressing hands on her shoulders and began a slow undulating rub, moving his palms further down her back across her bra strap; he popped it loose with his fingers through the fabric, like Snap! Her tits dropped free, her nipples growing erect from the movement of the sheer fabric against them.

She was gonna do him there, in the kitchen, even though Duluoz was due for his once-a-week thrasher, goddamned Canuck. Then, she recalled last night, Joe was sitting cross-legged covered in ash from the giant blunt he had just bogarted, and muttered, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, All men and women are created, by the, you know, you know the thing…” Everybody turned to him and stared at him and asked, What? nearly simultaneously. Bernie, The Viagra Kid, was mumbling in the corner humming a protest song from the ‘60s when this happened, and his mind had collapsed under the weight of the thousands of hits of acid that had worked their way through him over the last nearly eight decades of life.

Don drooled and shit his pants…again: Elizabeth’s a motherearther, and made him clean in body and soul (remembering the Tennessee Williams story about the Negro Turkish bath attendant and the little white fag - who was conspicuously absent). No woman will rule the rooster, no matter how contrite and intemperate. So it went.


So let me ask you: speaking to my fellow Americans of less than 40 years of age,
Why do you tolerate old people in roles of government leadership? Are you so cowed by the memories of your youth that you feel repressed and constrained by the accumulation of expected acceptable behavior jangling around in your Superego that you fear some vague repercussion if you criticize the presumptive leadership by Old People (in this case both incumbent and (remaining) challenger)?

This country’s future does not belong to Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, or Donald Trump (or to me), all Septuagenarians: it belongs to you. The world is your responsibility, but there is not a shepherd among you (that I have seen) who is given an even break.

Yet, ironically, I have known many younger people who have the integrity and intelligence to lead.

Why did you allow Pete to drop out of the race? Why did you not encourage Andrew Yang? Why are there not others –
those who actually own the future of this country and the world – both Republican and Democrat - seeking to lead into what is your tomorrow?

Are you too transfixed in technology? Are you too stoned on legal weed? Have you been so narcotized by the accumulation of gadgets and things of only superficial value? Are you so goddamned lazy that the thought of picking yourself up from the couch exhausts you to such an extent that it’s far easier to abrogate responsibility for your future and, rather, entrust the feeble-minded, such as you are doing in this election? The world cannot wait for you to wake up.

Facebook: You won’t find enlightenment there, only drivel and mindless crap. Same as Twitter and every other professed Social Media bullshit forum. Shut them down, for good and, Read, books of all genres to better understand the nature of the past and how mankind’s failures have led us to where we are today.

All knowledge is analogous. All knowledge is important to making sound decisions and to addressing the issues that lie ahead of you. Absorb as much as possible.

As an example, anyone who reads History would know that involving ourselves in Afghanistan-Iraq-Syria-Egypt-Yemen-(and on and on) was a fool’s mission, and has been so for countless fools for nearly countless millennia. Read Ahmed Rashid’s
Taliban for insight into our strange and self-destructive practices in the Middle East.

Read Sinclair Lewis’
It Can’t Happen Here, and the thought of voting either Trump or Sanders or Warren ought to cause you to pause and consider how stupid you would be for doing so.

Read Thomas Malthus’
Essay on the Principle of Population, and as we rapidly approach Eight Billion people worldwide, come to understand that we have stressed the world beyond its capabilities insuring our inevitable global collapse.

Don’t bother reading Kerouac’s The Subterraneans. It’s nothing like his many other formidable and entertaining works, and has nothing to teach.

Look: in a handful or two of years from now you will be left to your own devices and the consequences of my generation’s self-serving policies, practices, and laws.

It’s time for you to act.

NextEV, Tesla, Faraday Future (and other companies that Miss the Mark)
and our 14 year-old Honda Insight
Greta Hill, Co-Publisher

A crisis in life had been forced upon him, for this Revelation Company was being absorbed by the Unit Automotive Company - the imperial UAC with its seven makes of motors, its body-building works, its billion dollars of capital... Sam had wanted to fight the UAC, to keep independent this creation to which he had devoted twenty-two years...
Sinclair Lewis, Dodsworth

Recently Elon Musk of Tesla announced that his various frontline cars are capable of reaching nearly 400 miles in range owing to energy conservation achieved through programming techniques and other minor changes: that’s Step One to saving the world. Step Two is to make a car that sells for about $15,000 rather than $100,000. $15,000 most of us can afford: $100,000 still buys a house in most of America, or at least makes a substantial down payment. The 1972 VW Bug - a wonderful car capable of doing everything a car needed to do - sold for something like $2,500 when new: that’s about $15,000 today.


Sinclair Lewis was a very great writer.
Main Street, Arrowsmith, Babbitt, and certainly Elmer Gantry are timeless examples of quintessential early 20th century American literature. I dislike Dodsworth immensely. The book struggles along and flows like diarrhea down hill. So why cite it? Because it lends itself to a very well written article by our Publisher, first published herein perhaps three years ago regarding the arrogance and incompetence of the EV industry. Dodsworth, initially anyway, captures the lives of Sam Dodsworth and his wife as they evolve following the sale of Revelation Motors (Sam’s company) to UAC, and the consequent disruption immediate and relatively vast wealth had upon them shortly thereafter. You see, it’s about automobiles, and it was the first book to come to mind when reading about Elon Musk still failing to get it. - JRW

For your consideration:

Funded to the tune of billions of dollars, NextEV and Faraday Future (and Rimac and Xiaomi and...) propose to build competitive cars to that of Elon Musk’s Tesla. Next year, NextEV will be launching a 1000+ horsepower supercar that proposes to “run circles” around Musk. Rimac’s doing the same. Everyone wants to build an electric Supercar...

The questions is, How many electric supercars can the world digest when the point of auto making is to make a car that has utility and affordability for the masses?

Our Honda Insight - a 2002 model with manual transmission - runs faultlessly at about 60 miles per gallon. They’re available everywhere, really, at from $3,000 to $6,000. The little car doesn’t pollute, is extremely comfortable, has air conditioning, and feels as though one is driving an automobile rather than a motorcycle (see Arcimoto below).

Let’s do the math: At an average of 15,000 miles per year at 60 miles per gallon, our annual fuel cost is $625. To reduce that annual fuel cost through the purchase of an electric vehicle - not eliminate it since there’s still an increase in electric consumption on-grid that has to be accounted for - means conservatively a $60,000 purchase of an all-electric car. Over a 48 month term, financing at 7% results in a monthly payment in excess of $1300 or more than $15,00 per year compared to $625 in gasoline today.

That’s a lot of gasoline. Comparatively at today’s at-pump prices, one might as well drive a 1964 Cadillac and do better financially.

While I am hesitant to invoke his name, you may recall that Adolf Hitler asked Dr. Porsche to build a car for the people: something affordable and reliable and efficient and, while they’ve lost that “inspiration” as of late, from this directive came the Volkswagen, or, roughly, “People’s Car.” Very affordable (after the War) and very practical and reliable, and Volkswagen thus sold over the Bug’s life, more than 20 million cars.

So far no one has come forward with an electrified version of the Volkswagen’s charming little Bug. Will they ever? It’s difficult to say, but the reality is that we will never move the average consumer of average means away from his or her gas-powered vehicle at $1,300 per month in car payment.

So, while all of these Venture-builders look to power, speed, and accessorize the poop out of their prototypical automobiles, the winner, ultimately, will be the company that designs, builds, and markets a car that we can drive for 400 miles without charging, has an expected reliability, and sells in the neighborhood of $12,000+ (today’s equivalent of $2,000 (sales price of a new Bug) in 1970 adjusted for inflation).

And while Arcimoto in Oregon is close to reaching this goal, there are a few design issues that just don’t measure up: Like our Honda Insight the car seats only two. But, and this is important if you happen to like the person with whom you are traveling, your co-traveler is required to sit behind you negating any chance of meaningful dialogue. (The design does work well for prisoner transport, though.) As well, it is a fairly open car - more of a motorcycle - tricycle design partly enclosed with a range of less than 100 miles. That doesn’t work, either. Air conditioning? Stick your head (either left or right) beyond the windscreen...

This is what happens when people in key positions with entrepreneurial spirit and financial backing either choose to forget History or were asleep in class.

A response from Mark Frohnmayer, the driving force (pun intended) of Arcimoto:

“...thank you for forwarding this along. A few corrections: we will offer full enclosure and air conditioning as options, though in sunny climates and on nice days you'll always want to ride it open. Furthermore, the windshield and dash are designed to reflect sound really well, so you can maintain a full conversation with your passenger no problem, even without the side panels on. Plus it parks in spaces your Insight will never fit into :-).”

Editor’s note: The little smiley face at the conclusion was added by Mr. Frohnmayer of Arcimoto.

“Weston Roseberry”
(A Name Scribbled in a Book)

Joseph Warren, Editor

The very things we don't know, we could use.
And what we do know we have no use for.
Goethe, Faust

It was a frigid January evening in Longmont Colorado, 2019, when Weston stepped from the bar where he had been drinking with friends and splitting a joint or two for good measure (as many people I know did 50 years back). The combined effects of intoxicants on his acuity of thought were severe. It’s always dangerous to alter your state of consciousness before operating machinery – from a blender to an automobile – but young men (and some young women) are fearless in the face of probabilities: it’s a tendency that sometimes diminishes over time, and sometimes does not. Weston had an earlier experience on which to base some other action other than what he was about to do. The little bell in his mind did not go off: perhaps he just chose to ignore it. “Ting-A-Ling!”: no answer.

Sometimes too, life is abruptly terminated – yielding a lesson too late. Moot.

Weston fired up the engine in his red Mustang convertible, building the revs to warm the fuel-fed beast and shed a little angst, then headed through the darkened streets of Longmont, sure to be difficult to maneuver under any circumstances. He drove erratically in the direction he had in mind, however much clarity there may have been to his mind, and at about that same moment in time some few miles away, so had a 69-year-old woman at the wheel of her black SUV. A few miles and minutes later, they would tragically meet. Weston would be dead after that meeting. Perhaps he felt some relief as the realization came to him that he would no longer exist in this Space-Time: in him Sartre’s
Nausea would have been deeply rooted having sprouted from a horrific tragedy of personal loss a few years earlier, felt as only the young may, and ejecting him into a state of flux, undefined.

Weston’s red Mustang convertible was left twisted and grossly misshapen by an impact measuring certainly near or above 100 G’s of force, per Isaac Newton: a tremendous opposing energy exploding against the eggshell like composition we mistakenly see otherwise as our robust human form. The Mustang no longer resembled what it was only a few minutes before, and tragically, neither did Weston. He – the thing that was Weston – had been released from the here and now.


I hadn’t read Goethe’s
Faust for something like 40 years, and felt like refreshing my memory on this most heavily-quoted and often-modernized epic work wherein the Devil runs his course doing what the Devil has always done, and as might be easily perceived as doing today in our world of hate and violence and unpredictable counterpoints, such as Weston’s, to our otherwise joyous lives, seemingly negotiating deal-after-deal as truly only the Master of the Art of the Deal may.

So I ordered a copy, and began re-reading what Goethe had to say about the foibles of mankind and the angst that plagues us from birth to death – from the
Alpha to the Omega. Written on the frontispiece was the casual scribble of a name, Weston Roseberry: the book came from one of my frequent sources for reader-quality books who specialize in buy-backs from colleges and universities. I let that notation go while I read ahead several pages through the night.

Most widely read, Part I of
Faust was the much earlier version and flowed with a rhythm, from my perspective, distinctly different from Part II. Taken as a whole, Faust shares the same demonstrated contradiction as Cervantes’ Quixote, where Part 1 or Book One, was written by a much younger, far more passionate and romantic writer whose perspective on life was captured in a rush of images; almost whimsical in its approach (or at least seemingly more spontaneous rather than “constructed”) in words set down to paper: Cervantes was moved by the inspiration of the vision blossoming and unfolding in his mind’s eye. He had to tell the tale as it came to him at that moment. Thus it is less precise and more immersive for the reader. The rush – the conflagration of words – enlivens the book and gives it a soul.

It’s called
inspiration. I can imagine Cervantes hunched over his desk surrounded by the gloom of his austere quarters surrounded by a radiant orb of candlelight, feverishly capturing an elusive diaphanous thought before the natural progression of entropy causes it to become indistinguishable from the darkness.

Goethe, like Cervantes, I think became more of a
tactician in Part II. He, like Cervantes (just not physically imprisoned in the interim), had mulled over what he had created and, like an architect who mourns the creation of half of a palace, strove to build a grander, larger, more complex addition to the mesmerizing façade that had previously invoked passionate accolades, failing to realize that the first seen edifice would have sufficed to grandly mark him for life in the world of Literature. Still, just as for Cervantes, for Goethe the story was not completely told. He had more to say, and he said it.


The prior owner of my reader copy of the book had annotated the pages with thoughts and underscores of the more salient passages, from his perspective. I do the same thing, as many of you do, too. Sometimes, to make something particularly prevalent I’ll place the letters “NB” next to the entry, meaning
Nota Bene, or Note Well. It stems from an ingrained practice in my life when I was forced by profession to read tedious, logically challenged legal texts manipulated by a minority to detrimentally effect the lives of the majority. Weston didn’t use NB, but he placed instead a hand-drawn star next to a particularly important phrase or sentence that had a Diogenesian quality in Weston’s mind. Makes sense.

Funny thing though: wherever there was a star, there was a passage I would have marked with an NB. Lesser passages were underlined, and with only rare exception, the prior book’s owner and I were in complete agreement.

It’s difficult for me to read the name of a book’s former owner without wanting to know more about him or her no matter how and to what effect he or she had annotated a book, if at all. Here, then, within this issue of
Faust, there was intellectual agreement – a connection. And, in this case and unbeknownst to me, the prior book’s owner was about to describe a life of loss and pity, remorse and confusion, far in excess of Goethe’s scribbling, because it was and is about life today, to me invoking emotions borne from those of a father of grown children, and from one who likewise understands the depth and travails of life’s loss.

Here’s what you need to know about Weston: he was born in 1994 to a successful family of loving parents (whose names I will omit for this article). Weston went to school in the San Francisco Bay Area attending, among others, Bellarmine (a Catholic school), which was a cross-town rival to my high school, Buchser (now long-closed). In the 1960s Bellarmine was a Catholic Boys Preparatory School. It was a place where Catholic boys felt a shared belonging and cause. The academic level was much different than the school I attended, and so were the expectations of those who filled the gristmill of Jesuit educational experience. I know this, not from Bellarmine, but from my own Jesuit experience as a graduate of the University of San Francisco. Weston did well and, by all accounts, enjoyed his time, although Bellarmine has never shaken off the mantle of gender exclusivity. At the time my school was cross-town rival to Bellarmine, Mother Butler High School (MBHS) existed to educate Catholic girls in about the same geography as Bellarmine did for the boys. Mother Butler closed some years ago, as did Buchser, and along with it went the memories of experiences with MBHS girls, who I may now confess, were relatively easy prey, with no pun intended. Of course, the bar to success was much lower then, and rather than a
touch down, a few yards gained came with bragging rights.

After high school Weston held the usual assortment of odd jobs, including a stint at
Orchard Supply Hardware in San Jose. He did the typical things a young man does in his teenage years, probably winning scorn from his parents, and feigned condemnation and yet reverence from his sister, who has seemingly through inexorable strength continued her journey through life successfully, notwithstanding events of the past five years.

Weston lost no time in following up on his education spending his first two years at California State University at Monterey Bay, formerly known as Fort Ord housing the Basic and Advanced US Army training facilities, a place I know well having spent a great deal of time there from 1969 onward at the behest of the US government. During my tenure, Ft. Ord was a staging point for overseas deployment to Viet Nam (then commonly written by the damned and the damnable as two words).

But then, to paraphrase Robert Burns, Weston’s best laid plans aft agley in the most tumultuous manner, cutting short his education after the devastating news of his father’s death, and nearly that of his mother, when the snowmobile his father was piloting went off course. This was in early 2014. From my perspective, he was still only a child, and he must have felt the loss on a scale only the young may.

I was 19 years of age in 1969 when my older brother, the young man I lived with for several months having taken me in after our father had decided it was time I fend on my own (just as he had my older brother several years before), was struck down in San Francisco during the course of a robbery. After lingering for about a week in a coma, he relented and died. Unfortunately, tragic “early” death touches far too many of us in this world. And so few fully appreciate the universe of consequences it may have on those who continue in their journeys.

Younger men and women – children too – tend to see their parents on a never-ending continuum, until such time as they, the children, have acquired an understanding of life and may more easily face the prospect of their parents’ death, just as they must face their own. It’s the
cycle of life thing, and when the cycle is truncated that which follows can be chaotic.

Fort Ord was closed many years ago as an Army installation after we began to beat
swords into ploughshares (according to Isaiah), or so we professed. In actuality, the reality of swords changed and multiple military bases, such as Ord and numerous others, were closed down during something stylized as BRAC, or the Base Realignment and Closure process headed by various panels and commissions, the end result of which was to more fully centralize our ability to inflict death on others of opposing views using very advanced weaponry. Fort Ord closed in 1991, but not until it had shipped hundreds of thousands of America’s youth to their deaths. There is no plaque attesting to this interesting fact: I know. I visited once long after Ord’s closure. The old billets remained, at that time in a state of decay, but nowhere was there a commemoration of the many young men – boys – and women too, sent to their doom from what should have been, and now is, a seaside community of peace and learning.

The idea behind BRAC, as espoused by various elected officials, was to collect on a
Peace Dividend, or a return on money that would have been otherwise spent on our war effort.

How well did this work?

Our Defense Budget – all in, meaning including real time expenses and interest to service debt that is specifically Defense related – went from about $600 Billion in 1980 to more than $1.3 Trillion in 2015, and today is far higher. It seems as though we need to beat a lot more swords into ploughshares. But this will not happen in this earth’s lifetime.

Emotions run to many fathoms in the hearts of young people, unjaded and unwearied by the periodic scalding life has to offer. For Weston, they were sure to run a profound course of doubt, tumult, and a challenge to one’s faith, as they always do when those immersed to some extent in a Religious Faith find themselves experiencing a sudden disembarkation from our shared existence of someone we love. Loss is the most powerful of experiences, from my point of view, and can shape whom we are for decades to come. Weston, being very intelligent, probably knew this. To what extent he internalized and contained the more undesirable characteristics of Loss, I do not know.

Weston left the UC campus in Monterey and resumed studies at Thomas Aquinas College in the southern part of California. The college might be generally classified as Dominican. I know I would file it under that heading, given its namesake. Among many treatises, Aquinas wrote
Summa Theoligica. I do not pretend to remember anything about this book, save at the time I read it, many decades past, I thought it very profound. In truth though, Aquinas to me was a mélange of Blaise Pascal, Jerry Garcia, Ken Kesey, Lee Michaels, Jack Kerouac, and Stevie “Guitar” Miller.

The San Francisco Bay Area was a little overpowering then, and was not the Capitalist Greed and Consumption enclave of today. I think Weston would have very much enjoyed living there at that time: it would have aptly suited his thinking, probably inspiring greater and greater insights into humanity. He was well on his way at the time of his death.

Was Weston’s life buoyed completely by Christ-like behavior? Did he emulate Jesus as Weston made his very short journey through life? He may have strayed from time-to-time, but as someone once said, about whom I’ve read much, “Let he who is without sin...”

Weston was graduated from Thomas Aquinas College in 2018. By January 2019 he existed only in the minds of those who loved him, and of those who knew him.
I now know him as a result of his taking ownership of a book by Goethe, and telling me, although he didn’t know I would be the reader, what he found most illuminating about Goethe’s most renowned work.

January 2020 marks the one-year anniversary of Weston’s death. It is certain to be a difficult time for both mother and sister, having lost both husband, son, father and brother. Religion may give them solace, through some intangible means. Kind words from loved-ones help momentarily to ease the anguish. For me Voltaire’s
Candide seems to help, “ this best of all possible worlds...” we dwell only momentarily. Enjoy those who remain around you.

Here is what
Kristina Luscher of Bellarmine Preparatory told me about Weston: Weston was a wonderful young man who brought so much energy and light to our campus. And, Anne Forsyth of Thomas Aquinas College: What a strange and marvelous thing that you purchased the copy of Faust that he had read and studied here at the College, and got to know him a little through his annotations in the text. He was indeed a very intelligent young man, and his death was a tragedy, especially for his sister and mother, as you say. We keep them all in our prayers!

Thank you, Weston, for writing your name in Faust. Live forever in peace.

Read, Goethe’s
Read, Sartre’s
Being and Nothingness, and Nausea
Read, Cervantes’
Don Quixote, the Edith Grossman translation – see below
Read, everything by Kerouac, and everything by Kesey
Then you may live knowing far more about life, while yet living.

Reading to the Dead

Joseph Warren, Editor

For me…when the time comes: Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.
Steinbeck, Cannery Row

There will come a time for us all when, notwithstanding the progress of technology, we must each face our death, and as we meander along that trail of certitude, we experience the deaths of both those we know intimately and those we do not.

So, does that instant at the event horizon of passing mark the end of existence? Or is it nothing but a transition, lasting some few minutes after which we are propelled into another reality, as real as this we now experience of non-continuous matter, beyond or between here and wherever we reside in the succeeding transaction comprising what ultimately, perhaps, constitutes our whole existence?

Plainly, if I may suggest, set aside Religion for a moment as you read through the balance of this article, because in your life there is
nothing more important than what follows, from my perspective. What Freud termed Mass Delusion does not figure into it: Folkloric tales and aphorisms from “Holy” books serve no purpose in this life other than to provide the mechanisms necessary to guide and control their readers to a more obedient path: to more fruitfully serve the needs of those who impose their strictures. They are arguably man-made fabrications that bring about some societal utilitarian end, or lead straight to the acquisition of fungibles and wealth for those who minister to their flocks.

Instead, consider Science: consider all that has been uncovered in the past century. Einstein and Gödel (and others) who saw (and see) the possibility of Multiverses (or other dimensions) in which we currently exist and to which we may progress, regress, or simply pass-to.

“And when the last fatal sickness assails the beloved whom you have worn out in the days of her youth, and she lies prostrate in pitiable exhaustion, her unseeing eyes fixed on Heaven, the cold sweat of death coming and going on her forehead, and you stand at the bedside like a condemned man with the desperate feeling that you can do nothing; and you feel agony cramp your heart so that you wish to sacrifice all in order to inspire the dying person with one invigorating drop, one spark of courage...”
The Sorrows of Young Werther

Your thoughts, memories, knowledge – everything you know – isn’t written on a clay tablet by the impressions of a stylus. Rather, through a mechanism we still do not completely understand, they are stored and arranged and when necessary, recalled and brought to the fore.

They are nebulous, ethereal, diaphanous “things” and, while seemingly appearing tactile owing to the vessel in which they are retained, they are not: they exist as impressions – a charge in some way affixed to a piece of tissue composed of chemicals that comprise the brain that constitutes the Mind which allows me, at this very moment, to draw upon knowledge and formulate relationships, or analogies, or critical thoughts predicated on the extent of the knowledge I choose to introduce to the process, in sum or in part, resulting in a syllogistic conclusion, however truncated it may be in any subjective sense. And, as an example, after a doctor pronounces me to be deceased, those thoughts will go on for some time: perhaps for only a few minutes; perhaps infinitely. Henri Bergson wrote extensively on this subject in,
Matter and Memory.

All those chemicals constituting who we are at any given moment are made up of protons, electrons and neutrons, which in turn are made up of “little tiny things” which thanks to Bohr and others, we know (so far) are made up of other things that are made up of other, even tinier things…

Which, I strongly suspect, are linked to the common material of this universe, and perhaps others.

The neutron has a half-life of about 10 minutes, give or take, after no longer being bound in an atomic nucleus, leaving it to decay. When is it no longer bound? The process begins after it is no longer part of a viable whole.

Not so coincidentally I believe, in 2017 scientists came to understand that there remains high-level brain activity for up to 10 minutes or so following the absence of “vital signs” in the supposed deceased, who is, in this interim period, probably still inputting and processing signals from aural, visual, and likely a host of other sources (or passageways) as one lies between the gates of here and the hereafter; in other words, for quite some time after being pronounced “Dead” we’re likely still…here, even as the sheet is reverently dragged over our face.

Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flop houses. – Ibid.

How frightening! Or not (depending, I would imagine, on the state of the physical being following a traumatic event) to be caught experiencing the
comprehension of one’s own death, after the fact: understanding at that moment that one is dead, insofar as an observer may discern, and on hearing the official pronouncement.

Numbing silence. Sounds of crying, of grief, of loss. Mourners raging at their powerlessness to halt the invincibility of time. Culminating prayers and the ripping of a garment. The cry of deepening anguish. Gentle sobbing and the sense of a hand embracing the face or a head resting on the chest, convulsed by sobs.

To the dead, is all this horrifying? Is it incomprehensible owing to still being locked into the mental cycle of the living? Does it manifest peace? Or panic, fear, doubt, loathing, uncertainty, regret, or love?

Only those who have taken this step in the journey know for certain.

Its inhabitants are, as the man once said, “whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches” by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, “Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men” and he would have meant the same thing. – Ibid.


So here is my modest proposal: If it is physically possible to do so, and as near as possible following the pronouncement of death, read to them. Read what they have identified in advance as moving, significant, compelling, quieting, stirring, compassionate, or whatever the words may convey, rather than the alternative identified above.

In the morning when the sardine fleet has made a catch, the purse-seiners waddle heavily into the bay blowing their whistles. The deep laden boats pull in against the coast where the canneries dip their tails into the bay… Then cannery whistles scream and all over the town men and women scramble into their clothes and come running down to the Row… – Ibid.

I’ve given this much thought in the past several years since first considering the concept of Reading to the Dead. I asked of myself,
What would I want read to me following that moment?

Over many decades of life, immersed in literature of varying genres and to varying levels of sophistication, I began stumbling through poets, dramatists, hacks and scoundrels, visionaries and luminaries, down-and-outs, drunks, junkies and whores, popes and saints too, and, of course, the Bible, Torah, Quran, and all the other prescriptive texts that were handed down, interpreted, spoken, found in a buried book of solid gold pages, revealed to a prophet, foreseen by shamans, gifted by deities, written in stone, and even left by aliens.

In my imagination, I died and was taken on the arm of Beatrice and led to Paradise, as Dante had before me. I walked with Edgar Cayce into the lightness of what follows. I visited Harrow in the company of Byron. I imagined the Bard, himself, escorting me to the portal. I had a few drinks with Hemingway, and a nightcap with London. I was felled on a battlefield and tended to by Dostoyevsky. I contemplated by still waters with Thoreau at my side. I played a game of chess with Zweig while awaiting disembarkation. I had a cigar with Studs Turkel and measured the meaning of death. I met Bertrand Russell and asked him,
What is this all about? He smiled, lit his pipe and said, Let’s find out together, shall we?

Kerouac told me,
Hold up and smoke this. Kesey took the joint from me, bogarted it, and ate the roach. We were all sitting in a bus terminal waiting to go to Lowell because Dulouz’s mother was expecting us for Christmas dinner: Joyeux Noël! Burroughs even gave me a tour of his shitty hovel in Texas: he told me the train came by that would take me to the next stop, but he’s so full of shit and heroin it’s hard to know what to believe.

I even battled whales with Melville and explored an island while in the company of professed cannibals, escaping clandestinely one day on-board a whaleboat pulled by Maori. I railed against a tempest with Conrad, my arms outstretched on the foredeck hurling invectives and epithets, then went below and had yet another drink shipboard the
Ghost with London: he drinks a lot.

The list goes on and on and on…

So why out of the thousands of companions in my mind did I settle on just Steinbeck’s foreword to
Cannery Row? Because above all, beyond everything, it holds a place in my heart from childhood that is evocative of innocence, a time of thirst for knowing about life, a time when my malleable little brain took in and churned every word into gospel. And over the years, each time read, it does the same: it manifests a stillness in me, a quiet, a comfort. It was a time when my mother and my father and all those who have predeceased me were in my life and tangible. So to me, it is the culmination of a lifetime of reading. Thank you, John Steinbeck. (Maybe he’ll meet me at the end of the passage and bring me to the next station: we can share a cigarette together.)

You’re asking, How do you know that during this interim period the dead are susceptible to aural stimulation? I don’t. But tell me…

What’s the harm? What possible damage can be done to someone now dead, but a moment before fully alive, when someone – a stranger, a spouse, his or her child, are seated next to them and reading something so important to the recently dead, that it was marked to be read to them after death? There is a probability that the words will be heard. There is far less probability that the same words will be equally as resounding several days hence at a memorial after all bodily functions have been negated by the horrific processing typically following, and certainly by cremation.

A funeral is for the living, only, and matters not in the least to the processed shell. What matters most, I firmly believe, are the moments just after. I think science will prove this correct.

Now you can return to religion. The
Bible – Old and New – offers many passages fitting to the task. So does the Quran and the Bhagavad Gita. The Fitzgerald translation of the Rubaiyat, the Divine Comedy, Keats, Percy Shelley, Joyce, Marquez, and thousands of other examples of the written word evoke the same sense in others as Steinbeck does in me. (Bill Saroyan, too.) For you, it could be a song, a poem, or maybe just a voice calmly walking you through the last few minutes of consciousness on this plane.

You only have one chance to do this right. I know that talking about death is uncomfortable, but it’s a discussion you must have with yourself and with the person likely to be with you at that time: at that unknown time. At that instant. At that moment. And perhaps, you may succeed where Goethe could not.

Read, Steinbeck’s
Cannery Row and, perhaps, for a moment regress to a time when life was far, far less complex and your role was far, far more simply defined.
Read, Goethe’s
Werther: A tale of loss, sacrifice, and obsession written with the fluidity of genius.

Encounter in Caputh
(Begegnung in Caputh)

Joseph Warren, Editor

The most terrible period of human history is at an end, the twelve year reign of bestiality, ignorance and anti-culture under the greatest criminals, during which Germany's 2000 years of cultural evolution met its doom.
Richard Strauss

(Herr Maestro Richard Strauss conducts Herr Doktor Albert Einstein on the Violin:
Salon Gathering in Caputh, Brandenburg, Germany, 1930s.)

Greta Warren-Hill: Latest original oil. Strauss and Einstein were never to be found in Caputh (or elsewhere) together at a Salon gathering of writers and musicians, to our knowledge, yet arguably they represented the two most influential architects of Science and Music at that time in Europe.

Prolific and gifted to the level of genius, both men achieved an enduring recognition for their specific disciplines internationally and among peers, so it is only fitting that they should have the opportunity, so many years postmortem, to join in an intimate performance of Strauss’
Die schweigsame Frau (Silent Woman), libretto by Stefan Zweig, although it is unclear whether Strauss and Einstein were vocally accompanied: perhaps somewhere next to you, the viewer…someone sang.

Just think! It's evening and the fire is cold.
You'll feel lonely, you'll feel old.
It's sad, it's awful, it's frighteningly still.
As if death were on the window sill.

The Silent Woman. Richard Strauss & Stefan Zweig

Einstein, whether in Berlin, Prague, Vienna, or Princeton, lived for the opportunity to express the complexity of his thoughts – to free his soul - most memorably through Mozart’s many compositions for strings. As the reader knows, Einstein loved the mathematical complexity and the passion and imagery of Mozart’s creations and could barely contain himself when learning of an opportunity to join an informal gathering of musicians and aficionados.

Strauss, a composer of operas and sometimes complex arrangements favored by an international audience at that time, leaned heavily on the composition of associated libretti based on various poets and writers, like Zweig and Goethe and Nietzsche. Strauss’ Tone Poems and Lieder were acclaimed for their virtuosity and unique expressions, as in his depiction of Cervantes’

In that most troubling of times in Europe,
music brought peace and understanding to an otherwise increasingly angst-ridden society. Both men, in their respective ways, strove to unite, rather than to divide, risking their freedom and, probably, their lives.

There are two bookcases: Strauss’ bears the names of many of his works, while that behind Einstein carries a selection of references and notebooks. The blackboard is marked by the faint chalk remnant of the Einstein tensor and related calculations, concluded by the scribbled word,
Stimmt, German for “Agree” or that is absolutely right – there is balance. (Perhaps it is a chalkboard illustration for Strauss and others in the room where minutes earlier Einstein had conducted an impromptu lecture on the subject of General Relativity, as he was always willing to do, for the benefit of those whose understanding of this truly, what was then a revolutionary theory, was lacking, ironically much as it is today.)

Yes, Einstein contended that Strauss lacked passion. But we think that was a remark on Strauss’ physical display of involvement. Strauss believed that the audience’s attention ought to be on the musicians rather than the conductor; compare that philosophy to today’s fervent, animated orchestral frontmen whose megalothymia-induced paroxysms are themselves intended to be the experience, rather than allowing the music to enshroud the listener and occasion the mind to open to images and thoughts greater than any singular man or woman. Strauss was right; he was
stimmt in his conservative lack of emotional display while conducting. And in his public life otherwise, he was equally reserved yet passionately committed to his ideals, and did not hesitate to place reputation or professional and corporeal existence on the table as confirmation.

Yet, it’s hard to fault Einstein: passion was his life’s work, in all aspects. He was a passionate peacemaker when young, and a devout humanist as he aged. His passion brought us revolutionary theories and clarity to an otherwise convoluted and frequently misunderstood universe.

“Never look at the Trombones: it only encourages them…” –Strauss (Allegedly a misquote, but worth perpetuating.)

On these two canvases the artist, Greta Warren-Hill instills the second and third installments in her series,
BuchKunst (or אמנות הספר) or the amalgam of Book and Art created by the artist to meld both a passion for books and art into one coherent statement.

This piece was several months in completion: of work, of research, of reading, of immersing herself in creating the perfect image. It is a highly detailed, exacting, mesmerizing portrait of two of Europe’s greatest minds.

Diptych Description
The canvases are framed in an artistically created “Book” – an “open book” creating a diptych of the two images, pages 78 and 79, (from our frame shop) bearing the title of the work. Greta’s work is the book – the illustrated edition of a moment in time that never occurred.

The frame simulates a hardbound book from the early 1900s with faux leather spine. The images are recessed and held firmly by the framing process (attached through the board backing, but removable if needed. Outside the paintings the artist has crafted simulated page edges. The back of the book is covered in cloth on the edges and has a hanging device affixed that will balance the piece easily.) Down the page you’ll find her most unusual and stirring portrait of Stefan and Lotte Zweig in the moment after their death in Petropolis, Brazil, also for sale and recently reduced.

Dimensions are 48 inches X 29 inches with a projection from the wall of 1.5 inches; or, 122cm X 74cm with a projection from the wall of 3.8cm. Included under each canvas in an interior pocket of the frame, is a COA for this original work.

Strauss and Einstein, as pictured are offered at $12,018 (USD) and offers are entertained. (Soon to be posted with many images at her site, In the interim, if you’d like to communicate with the artist, contact her at

George Bush Paints
Joseph Warren, Editor

Scarcely two months after the 9/11 attacks, even though bin Laden was still at large in Afghanistan, the president and his most influential advisers regarded the Afghan campaign as a mere sideshow, almost a diversion.

Jon Krakauer, Where Men Win Glory

Some few years ago Arizona and Nevada celebrated the completion of the construction of the Hoover Dam bypass. By this means, we – that is, anyone hoping to go from some place west of the dam to a point east of the dam, or vice-versa – would enjoy reduced travel time by not having to go through the tedious process of clearing the police checkpoints leading to and over Hoover Dam, and the commensurate traffic backlog predictably swelling immediately after the 9/11 attacks as
everyone became a suspected terrorist under George W. Bush’s aegis.

The bypass both from an engineering and architectural perspective is quite formidable. It adds a dimension of geometry and defined space to an otherwise chaotic topography of jagged, rich brown mud-colored rocks sometimes bearing a blue or deep scarlet hue from the sky above and the Colorado River meandering to Mexico, below.

The bypass is called the
Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. O’Callaghan was governor of Nevada many years ago, and Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan by his own men. You may or may not recall either or both of the names. Tillman’s I knew. That’s why I bought and read and re-read Krakauer’s Where Men Win Glory: because it was about Tillman. And, like everything Krakauer writes, it was bound to be steadily-paced, well-researched, intense, and very enjoyable. It was and still is.

Through the book you’ll learn everything you need to about Pat Tillman: his childhood, his parental influences, his commitment to friends and family and, eventually, wife, and, most importantly to his country, having set aside his career with the NFL – sacrificing millions of dollars in earnings – to ultimately make the “supreme sacrifice” at the rifle barrel of, ironically, one of his own. Read the book: even Tillman saw through the fog of the Iraq War rhetoric much sooner than most, but was drawn into the vengeance that was Afghanistan. That’s why he served and died there.

George W. Bush said that Afghanistan was nothing more than a seething cesspool of
Terrorists, as on 9/11, committed to destroying America. No matter that 15 of the 19 hijackers (and bin Laden) were Saudis (friends to both the American Oil industry, which included GHW Bush, our then vice president Dick Cheney, and a long list of similarly-placed co-conspirators). Not one of the 9/11 attackers were Afghani or Iraqi.

Disregard the many millions in Saudi dollars dedicated to the commission of the 9/11 attacks. Forget about the hundreds of millions of dollars paid to Pakistan’s leadership – the country in which the
Madrasas (training camps posing as schools of theology) operate, and within Afghanistan and clandestinely around the world, that schooled and trained the 9/11 hijackers, and nearly all those that preceded and followed 9/11.

Afghanistan, a country of warlords and tribal chiefs that can never be stabilized in the Western sense of the word because it remains a primitive, Neolithic people infused with unchecked enthusiasm – zealotry – for an archaic mass delusion founded, as are they all, in a belief system devoid of rationality. They are cavemen with Smartphones. The same cavemen who ground the Soviet Union into bankruptcy and collapse.

If the American population had the slightest idea what was being done in their name, they would be utterly appalled.
A radio interview utterance by Noam Chomsky, embraced by Pat Tillman

About the time Tillman enlisted I was 53 years of age and sitting in my office in Seal Beach California watching the television in the bar next door through the double door that joined both spaces – that’s a long story unto itself – and found myself drawn to the television’s parabellic rhetoric and images as we prepared to converge on Iraq. Over the ensuing days I kept thinking,
Someone will stop this, I’m sure: there is no logic to invading Iraq; it’s all lies and deceit, and surely the American public will intervene.

Having contributed to various California newspapers over many years, I scribbled out an article entitled,
The Exploding Brain that summarized the inanity of our impending action. No editor wanted to get near it: It was un-American. Today, I count that article and my efforts to play it out before the public as one of the most American and patriotic things I’ve ever done until several years ago when we produced The Abduction and Trial of George Bush: a modest attempt on our part to bring a War Criminal to justice, albeit only in theater. (Find it at IMDb and various other internet portals.)

Tillman resented our imminent involvement in Iraq. Many others did, as well. Just not enough to overcome the Bush propaganda machine’s constant churning of anti-Iraq lies.

Naturally, the common people don’t want war… But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along…
Hermann Göring, Nuremberg 1946

Interestingly, Adolf Hitler was a very accomplished (albeit amateur) artist as a young man. His aspiration was to one day become an acclaimed, recognized painter of renown. To that end, he applied to, and was rejected from, the
Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. Of course, he went on to destroy the world as any artist does when faced with rejection, just as our co-publisher, Greta Warren-Hill had planned to do until being recognized for her artistic genius, and thus we avoided apocalypse once again...

Then there’s George W. Bush, now an artist in his retiring years, and one who many, both alive and dead, wish had struck out on a path of artistic endeavor years ago rather than ascending to the presidency of the United States. Had he of chosen this far more illuminating calling, many thousands of American men and women would not be dead and already faded into the oblivion of lost souls whose names, all but an intimate few, can recall. More than 7,000 US dead, to be sure: Young men and women – our country’s children – who placed their faith in a pathological liar and his cadre of like-thinking maniacs.

Seven Thousand American Casualties. Fifty to Sixty Thousand American Wounded. More than Four Trillion Dollars.

And, too, perhaps more than one million (or more) innocent Iraqi women, children, non-combatant men, and,
yes, also those who took up arms in response to our invasion, as you or I would do in defense of the United States, might still be walking this earth had maestro Bush taken the singular path of artful creation rather than stumbling through his adult life failing miserably in business after business, supported by his father, until finally settling into the dynastic paradigm.

I don’t care how good his paintings are, he still belongs in prison.
Nathan J. Robinson,
Current Affairs Magazine, April 19, 2017

Personally, I have a utilitarian’s view of Saddam Hussein, caring not at all for his loss of life, but for the void left in his death which was immediately filled by the seething and malignant hatred kept in check theretofore by Hussein’s abhorrent practices. This was the same hatred we were battling then and now in Afghanistan, supported as it is today by Pakistan.

President Trump proposes to reach a peace accord with the Taliban to remove our troops completely from Afghanistan. This is analogous to negotiating a peaceful resolution to Gang Warfare in Los Angeles by conferring with only one corner heroin drug thug who is also a documented child rapist and a delusional psychotic, since that is essentially – on all counts – the characteristics of Taliban (and al Qaeda) membership: the Taliban sells heroin to global consumers, and they acquire and rape stables of children – boys and girls – for their personal sexual edification, notwithstanding the teachings of Mohammed. They subscribe to the tenets of a Quran wherein none of these various demented practices are condoned, and are viewed in fact as sinful. They are at the proverbial bottom of the barrel of humanity and certainly of the Muslim world at large.

More than anything, with respect to our President’s latest efforts at negotiating a far-too-late, but perhaps better-than-never exit, the Taliban are free to say, promise, pledge, and swear to abide by any conditions or requirements that would result in the withdrawal of US forces without ever intending to actually live-to their word under the practice of Taqiyya – the Muslim license to lie. As a result, they are likely to be very obliging. Why not? Shia Islam fully supports the practice of lying, just as George Bush did.

No matter: President Trump just wants us out of Afghanistan. It’s a checkmark for him on his “To Do” list and it’s one many Americans are not likely to criticize, including me.

War, contrary to the notions of some doddering old fools, was not a normal pursuit of man. It was the most degrading, unnatural, and abnormal pursuit ever foisted on man.
Louis Falstein,
Face of a Hero

As to George W. Bush: while many debate his artistic merit (I’ll admit I’ve looked at a few of his paintings and couldn’t see the numbers beneath the paint, and he stayed within the lines very well!), his legacy of death, hatred, defilement, and genocide in the Middle East lives on, as it will, regrettably unprosecuted, for decades to come.

Read Jon Krakauer’s
Where Men Win Glory
Read, as below, Louis Falstein’s Face of a Hero

Why Are White Men Killing Themselves Like Never Before?

Joseph Warren, Editor

It was deeply a part of Lee's kindness and understanding that man's right to kill himself is inviolable, but sometimes a friend can make it unnecessary.

John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

There are three books I remember from what was termed “Junior High” in 1963: two by Steinbeck -
Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat, and one by Henry Miller - Tropic Of Cancer. I read all three in a different frame of mind, as one can easily imagine if one has read this triptych of dichotomous literature. Having been to Monterey and Cannery Row with my father on various fishing excursions when I was malleable, it was very easy to read myself into the time and place of both of these Steinbeck classics: I walked along with Doc as he made his way to Western Biological, and stumbled behind, trailing Mac and his cadre of ne’er-do-wells as they made their way to the Palace Flophouse. And, I may have sat and had a drink at Dora’s, although at that age I could only imagine for what purpose and to what end.

I don’t really recall when
Tropic of Cancer was permitted to be sold in the United States back then, but I know that with a small group of friends we shared the book between us, handing it out from one to the next as though we were secreting a spy dossier of increasing importance stained by 13-year-old-boy fluids. After I finished reading, sort of, Tropic of Cancer, I understood why I was having a drink at Dora’s. I wanted to do some of those things Henry Miller wrote about. Many of them sounded physically challenging and rewarding.

I have a First of Cannery Row preserved in a protected dust jacket. I bought it for about five bucks if I recall correctly, many years ago. Same old song as with any book-freak: I knew what I was getting; he didn’t know what he was selling. Small triumphs in a world where few exist today.

Several years back we ran an article entitled,
Merry Christmas and Pass the Ammo: Guns in Arizona. You can click on the link and read the original article: guns are, as they have been for thirty years or more, a very vexing problem and one we cannot seem to solve. The article begins with the words, “ America, the person most likely to kill you.” Towards the conclusion the article informs the reader that in 2012 - a short seven years ago - the suicide rate in our country was a little more than 40,000.

Listen to this, and listen well: In 2017 that number increased to far more than 47,000.

Disproportionately, white men are killing themselves - half by guns and the rest through other means - as they never have before, accounting for 69.67% of suicides, per the
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) from Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. Of course, everybody’s getting in on the act: Suicide’s are up across-the-board, although no one group leads white men.

attempts are up as well - one follows the other, I presume - and during 2017 there were about one and one-half million attempted self-murders, to varying levels of commitment.

There are other suicides too in America not aggregated in the numbers, and those deaths are written-off to other causes of an accidental nature to mitigate harm to the bereaved family. That’s understandable given how the taint of suicide effects not only the woman who has withdrawn herself from this world, but can severely impact those who have yet to begin their lives: those who are waiting in the wings to play whatever designed or accidental part they may in the continuation of our species. I don’t think those who commit suicide understand the far reaching impact their actions have on the well-being of these yet-to-be, sometimes post-mortem acquaintances and family members.

Equally confounding to police departments everywhere are those people who sincerely wish to commit suicide but lack the dark fortitude to move ahead on their own and, rather, enlist the help of the local police, cauterized by the pervasive reporting by the (sometimes sensationalist) media into believing that police officers everywhere are exempt from the trauma associated with taking a life. So, as the LA Times and other newspapers reported recently, small police departments, especially, are reluctant to respond to calls deemed, from their experience and set protocols, likely to lead to that conclusion. I’ve known many cops over the years, and of those who shot someone on the job, none were pleased by the experience, and some were outright irrevocably traumatized.

If you are one of the people who cannot find happiness from this life, in this world today; one of those who feels inextricably mired in the seemingly-overwhelming pervasive muck ever-present on the News and Social Media; one who believes she is a failure in this life and can find no illumination to guide her through the darkness of the years to come; one who sees himself as forlornly dragging his legs behind him across the aridness of life, seeking only a cool drink to absolve your thirst, but finding only a mirage, then you need to give yourself one more chance, one more opportunity.

At it’s worst, life is better than death. Call your local suicide prevention immediately, or call 1-800-273-8255. Or, you can even chat 24/7 with a counselor at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at

As Steinbeck noted about Lee Chong, ...
sometimes a friend can make it unnecessary. Many times that friend can be a book.

3/5th Vote for Seniors:
Now go away Joe, Bernie, Elizabeth, Donald...
it’s time to write your memoirs.

Joseph Warren, Editor

Tell me what you feel in your solitary room when the full moon is shining in upon you, and I will tell you how old you are.

Henri-Frederic Amiel, from his journal

This is not my world anymore to any great extent: in fact, quite the opposite. I have only an actuarially-based minuscule vested interest in what occurs from this day forth, because I have many fewer days now at 70 years of age remaining in my life, than those of 30, 40, and even 50 years. Whatever I do or don’t do will read for others like a 400 page book missing the first 350 pages, torn from between the covers and burnt to cinders like in Bradbury’s
Fahrenheit 451 (coincidentally the forecasted high for Chicago on Tuesday).

I’ve done predominantly what I had hoped to do. I am content in my Golden Years, as David Bowie reminded me over the past several decades, to now enjoy life and consign that which remains of this planet’s timeline to those who
own much more of the future than I do, or Joe Biden, or Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren, or Donald Trump, or anyone else whose self-aggrandized opinion runs to the pinnacle of egomania and sociopathy to presume that they are suited to direct the actions of a government freighted – overburdened, in fact – with a cargo of inaction, apathy, greed, climate failure, hate, war, and the rest of our generation’s legacy – all clearly self-evident by our many, many failures to follow the mandates of logic: shutoff completely by Greed.

My father’s generation was the “Greatest Generation” while mine, I believe, will bear the moniker of the
Least Generation: least in all aspects, yet greatest in defiling the world’s climate, its civilizations, its children.

Simply, as Einstein admonished against, we keep doing the same stupid things while expecting different outcomes.

And in the wisdom of the Democratic Party, as they did with Hillary Clinton, they are offering up their most
senior members as the beacons of enlightenment, most of whom have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. They are addled, like Joe Biden; Archaic, like Bernie Sanders; Strangely-coming-forth-from-my-childhood, confused and misdirected, and admonishing me that “There’s nothing funny about this, mister” Elizabeth Warren, whom I thought retired probably in 1972 and was burning in the Ninth Circle from her characteristic abuse of Fifth Graders. Then, of course, there’s our current president, Trump, who I’m certain is teetering on the precipice of crazy.

To “solve” the issue of how to count slaves, for proportionment of districts back in what Trump and many of his followers might call, the
Good Ol’ Days, each slave was allotted a 3/5ths value, inasmuch as population count: Therefore, count up five of your slaves and you have three actual (human beings) for purpose of census, if you will (but as we know, they were only a commodity. Only so many sticks of meat).

It is a strange sensation, that of laying oneself down to rest with the thought that perhaps one will never see the morrow. Yesterday I felt it strongly, yet here I am.

While I don’t condone the killing and consumption of children as Swift did, I do have my own modest proposal that changes the value of one’s vote to reflect diminishing involvement with the future, given the inevitability of things, such as death, and so on and so forth. (Actually just Death.)

In my proposal, one’s vote value would be reduced by one-fifth at age 55, and by one-fifth more at age 65. So, at that age of conventional retirement - 65 - one’s vote would weigh in at 3/5th of a vote. Unless, and this is important, Google’s or Amazon’s algorithms determine that the individual is regularly buying adult diapers, in which case, his or her vote is reduced to zero, which will likely further entrap others, including many of the Democratic candidates, and, I would suggest, Trump.

Christopher Isherwood’s collection of stories under the cover of
the Berlin Stories was made into a brilliant film that went by the name, Cabaret. In it, a young Nazi sings with incredible verve and commitment, “Tomorrow belongs to me…” You see? Even those cretins understood. So what’s our problem?

Give youth and intelligence a chance, Democratic Party. Quit dealing out the same old models with new false teeth, and hair plugs or dye.

Read Henri-Frederic Amiel’s
Read Isherwood’s Berlin Stories and Down There on a Visit
Read Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal

Thinking About Getting an MRI?
Maybe think again...

Joseph Warren, Editor

Saroyan on a cormorant’s decision to seek out an isolated cliff face and die:

The dogs would have worried the bird to death, and the people might have tried to restore it, killing it with hideous help, which the American medical profession feels obliged to impose upon human beings.

Wm. Saroyan, Days of Life and Death and Escape to the Moon

(Editor’s Note: This is a reprint of an article appearing in this journal some five years ago. It has been read many thousands of times. We thought, as a service, we’d head the latest issue with this reminder.)

Since its inception some thirty years ago, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, has become so commonplace a diagnostic tool that we have collectively tended to assume that it must be a safe, harmless, non-invasive way of looking into our bodies to prevent the development of a health issue that may, after all, threaten our lives. But how non-invasive is MRI, and what health risks may lurk unaggregated and, therefore unreported owing to the lack of long-term follow-up and analysis of data for those who have experienced the MRI procedure?

Today, MRI is practiced as a logical first-step in diagnosing potentially life- threatening illnesses and disease mostly as a result of its convenience (to the benefit of our physicians) and, at least of tantamount importance, as a result of its highly profitable operation on the part of America’s Healthcare providers – hospitals, clinics, and for-profit diagnostic and imaging centers. MRI is so commonplace even chiropractors refer potential patients.

As a result, today in the United States, more than 40,000 MRI procedures are conducted annually at an aggregate cost, given machine use, physician, technician and related hospital charges of perhaps more than $100 billion. And, the procedure is growing rapidly in popularity resulting in the opening of Strip Mall MRI centers where discounted “readings” may be made. In short, MRIs make a lot of money for a lot of Healthcare professionals, non- medical business investors, and Healthcare administrators. Yet, how non-invasive is MRI and how safe is it in reality? Interestingly, most people who subject themselves to the process know nothing of how it operates. If they did, they might give it more than a second thought before acquiescing.

My interest in MRI stems from an expansive pursuit of Quantum Physics beginning some years ago, and driven by the vagueness and mystery of the subject overall. As I explored the rudimentary function of MRI I was struck by the fundamental way MRI interacted with the body on a quantum (or very, very small, sub-atomic) level, altering (albeit allegedly) temporarily the basic characteristics of the protons comprising the hydrogen atoms of the human body: Basically what we are, organically.

To fully appreciate this statement, consider how, from a base perspective, MRI works:
The person to be scanned is placed in a “bore” or the tunnel of the MRI machine around which are very powerful magnets. So powerful in fact, that even at their lowest level of operation (1.5 Tesla or 15,000 Gauss) they are equivalent to 21,000 times the magnetic field of the earth. From there, depending on the segment of body being read, and the density (obesity and section) of the person, the field is increased to as much as about 8 Tesla, or more than 100,000 times the earth’s magnetic field strength.

The second feature of the MRI is a Radio Frequency (RF) transmitter rated at 25,000 Watts of power, with induced RF ranging from a fraction of one watt to many watts per kilogram (“Kg” about 2.2 US pounds) of weight, once again depending on MRI computed variable needs.

Let’s consider first the Magnetic issue: concentrations of electromagnetic force. Our own Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has deemed exposure to strong electromagnetic force as having a positive corollary to the incidence of cancer for those so exposed. And, while at a different frequency that is why living next to (or beneath) high power transmission lines is not a good idea: because of the intense electromagnetic exposure to the field inherent in the passage of high voltage through the wire medium. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has the same sort of stated safety policies and laws in effect for workers in the European Union. (As an aside, guidelines for habitable space adjacent to power lines suggest a limit of .1 microTesla – considerably less than MRI exposure.)

According to RF Safety Solutions, a company well respected for their reputation in shielding workers from dangerous levels of RF, “There are two undisputed health effects that can occur with exposure to high levels of RF energy: Heating of the human body, (and) Electrostimulation (RF shocks and burns).”

Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) is the standardized measurement for how much heat the average human being can absorb and dissipate. SAR levels are: 4.0 watts per Kg per 15 minutes of whole body exposure; 3.0 watts per 10 minutes for exposure to the head or 8.0 watts per five minutes per gram of tissue in head or torso; and 12.0 watts for five minutes per gram of tissue in extremities. That’s the maximum believed to be the greatest heating exposure the body may absorb, and then safely dissipate.

What happens if the heat is not dissipated successfully and quickly? Well, what happens when you put a hot dog in the microwave?

Microwave ovens cook from the inside out...The human body has the ability to dissipate much of the heat that it incurs from natural sources. However, release of the heat in deep tissue which occurs during an MRI is not a natural function of our bodies. Is the above why I find MRI an objectionable procedure? Not completely...

On a quantum level we know just enough in physics to make some things work as they are postulated to do. We may even know, to some extent, why they operate as they do, but beyond that we have no real idea why many things happen as they do, because much of what happens on a quantum level is based on the characteristics of particles even smaller than those we have successfully resolved through mathematics and/or observation. That’s part of what makes the field so interesting.

As an example, in an MRI procedure protons comprising the vast amount of hydrogen in your body are manipulated. Each proton inside you has a specific “Spin” or polarity. It’s like a child’s top, but they don’t actually spin: it’s a term applied to the issue of polarity only, so don’t imagine that there are billions of spinning tops inside of you on which their continued spinning your life depends.

In MRI the polarity of these billions of protons are aligned through the use of the very large magnetic force described above. Then, a fairly powerful RF is introduced and subsequently, each proton as it resumes its prior Spin or polarity within your body gives off a photon – a unit of light, energy, like the photons from the sun. These are in turn captured and an image is generated. This is one of the several issues I find troublesome. It is the equivalent of the process of forced Decay on an atomic level, dissipating whatever the inherent capability of energy may be within that specific hydrogen atom. And, while it’s true that by hydration we exchange some or most of the body’s hydrogen with “new” not all hydrogen is cycled out of the body and replaced. Some are molecularly bonded to other components.

What ought to be of highest concern, though, to most people who are about to experience MRI is something called Looped Conductors. This is an anomaly brought about by the physical arrangement of conductive “material” within the MRI. The University of California San Francisco (UCSF), renowned for its Medical programs, has published MRI Safety Guidelines. Consequently, UCSF has this to say in their MRI guidelines regarding Looped Conductors:

“ should be taken to ensure that the patient's arms and legs not be positioned in such a way as to form a large caliber loop within the bore. For this reason it is preferable to instruct patients not to cross their arms or legs in the MR scanner.”

The danger? Looped Conductors may intensify both the RF and Magnetic effects beyond the controlled level introduced. In other words, the MRI machine introduces both RF and Magnetic properties in a small region of the body that, as a result of Looped Conductance, produce greater effects than intended. Easy enough in the MRI process to insure that arms and legs are not crossed. What’s not so easy is what’s inside the body that cannot be subject to manipulation.

Here’s a simple diagram of a Looped Conductor to illustrate the point:

Without much in the way of an anatomy background, can you image a configuration or two (or many) that might mimic that of the above? Arteries, veins, intestines, and the arrangement of our organs’ tissues coincide to the arrangement of a Looped Conductor.

In America today, according to, “From 2000-2009, incidence rates decreased for five of the 17 most common cancers among men...(but) rates increased among men for six cancers (kidney, pancreas, liver...) during the same time period.” Virtually the same holds true for women, as well.
Kidney, Pancreas, Liver...all organs which internally represent naturally configured Looped Conductors, intensifying the effects of the RF (and Magnetic forces) beyond an acceptable level SAR. Potentially, this is the problem.

Too little is known about MRI’s actual effects on the human body with respect to the individual organs and their configurations: More ought to have been done in advance of introducing what is now a runaway technology.

Given the trend toward MRI, are upticks in the occurrence of cancer in these specific organs indications of problems inherent within the MRI procedure? Beyond that, are other data amassed by the Healthcare industry not being completely interpreted to trace the true causes of health issues resulting from MRI seeking to not jeopardize this valuable and profitable diagnostic tool?

Too much money is at stake to allow its continued use and growth to be jeopardized without absolutely irrefutable proof: Medical Device manufacturers, Healthcare providers, physicians and clinicians, entrepreneurs in the popularized use of MRI. In short, too many people stand to gain too much...potentially at the risk of your life.

When one considers the capabilities of MRI it seems too good to be true. Let’s hope it’s not. Make an informed decision before jumping into the bore of a large caliber MRI and ask yourself this question, Is this procedure really necessary?

Read Wm. Saroyan’s
Days of Life and Death and Escape to the Moon
Read Wm. Saroyan’s
Sons Come and Go, Mothers Hang in Forever

July Democratic 2020 Presidential (Hopefuls) Debate

Including the Newly-White Kamala Harris

Joseph Warren, Editor

Everywhere is freaks and hairies
Dykes and fairies, tell me where is sanity(?)

- Alvin Lee, Ten Years After,
I’d Love to Change the World

I apologize: Typically we use only literary references to illustrate a point or to promote critical thinking: not lyrics from songs. Yet, in a very poetic way (Id est, Bob Dylan, Nobel Laureate), poignant song lyrics can be as profoundly illustrative as, say, H. G. Wells’
Tono-Bungay, and certainly far more concise, just not as entertaining over several hours.

Currently you have a field of 21 candidates vying for pole position in the 2020 election. They are far too numerous (and diverse) to mention save for a quick comment or two below, and most of the (probable) electorate has some understanding of each candidate’s position on this election’s more or less salient issues.

Most of the popular news journals carry a daily report concerning new developments for one or many candidates juxtaposed next to screen grabs of President Trump’s latest Tweet(s), to present, perhaps, an opposing view. Online there is no absence of updates available to the inquisitive, (which does not include either me or anyone else affiliated with this journal: We are comfortably ignorant of the latest up-to-the-minute poll results for either the incumbent or (any) of the pretenders. Not having television, as we haven’t for more than 15 years now, come the debates, we’ll sit at a desk and stream the event, being the sum of our commercial television viewing for this year.)

Most candidates, with the exception of a very few, may be summed up by the third and fourth lines in Alvin Lee’s
I’d Love to Change the World:

Tax the rich, feed the poor
'Til there are no rich no more?


The first line could be Bernie Sanders’ mantra; Elizabeth Warren’s too, while the second clearly belongs to the current president. In all fairness, I recall when George W. Bush, was speaking post-9/11 and stumbled over the “Fool me once…” axiom, instead quoting from the Who’s
Won’t Get Fooled Again. (Maybe Sanders and Warren could do a cover of Alvin Lee’s song for the September debates?)

So, as you see, one may construe that even a
Stoner from my generation understood that the approach of taxing the wealthy, to a greater and greater extent cannot perpetuate viably as an economic solution to the complex issues we face in the areas of Education, Health Care, and the myriad other malaise facing us in the U.S. and globally. (We here at are not members of this wealth-riddled and emotionally diseased economic class.)

And we are far too close to doomsday to continue “fooling around” (we’re on the very precipice) and elect people, as we have for several decades, who are not well-schooled, intelligent, and capable of leading us and the participating balance of the world into a future that looks anything other than dolorous.

The miasma engulfing us cannot continue into tomorrow. Nor can we permit facile solutions to complex problems to be proffered and expect serious change.

On a lighter note, The LA Times has offered a different perspective on Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, making them both white people, for some reason. I don’t understand: from a superficial perspective, Kamala Harris would be an attractive woman even if she were purple, but who knows what misdirection lurks in the hearts of the LA Times’ editorial staff? To their credit, they did not make Pete Buti...(whatever) look butch. And Warren does not look anything like Pocahontas. While the intellectual Nerf ball, Williamson, still looks like someone who would very much like to kill you with love, or by dropping Oprah on you whilst you slumber.

White Kamala

(Above: Kamala Harris as a very white woman, striving to confuse the closet bigot.)

In short: it’s dismal. We are doomed climatologically; we are on the cusp of conflagration; Hate permeates our society; we are disparate souls without the sense of commonality we (mostly) shared just a few decades ago; morality is a quaint, antiquated ideal; ethical interactions are mostly absent; children are freely killing children: Out of a potential field of 330 million people, this is the best the current administration’s opposition can muster.

Life is funny, skies are sunny
Bees make honey, who needs money…


I have never been so happy to be so old.

The Truth Hurts
Why some marginally talented writers like Joseph Heller succeeded and others did (and do) not

Joseph Warren, Editor

We must tear that word passive out of our vocabulary…

The meek shall not inherit the earth! Often our people were massacred while they were in their temples praying. Slaughtered like sheep. Our wise men taught us to respect the Word. But while we sat in our Yeshivas and learned the Word, the enemies were building cannon.

- Mr. Weiss, manager of the Displaced Persons (DP) camp for Jews, Italy;
Face of a Hero, Louis Falstein

Yossarian said, (something mildly humorous and lacking any basis in reality).

- Joseph Heller,
Catch 22

I’ve re-read
Catch 22 too many times in the last five decades. Heller’s long-time-in-coming sequel, Closing Time, too. Joseph Heller did well financially as a fairly mediocre writer – a panderer to the public’s appetite for pablum and posies – tales without much telling and no finish. I read Catch 22 because it was the camp thing to do when I was young – a long time ago. When his swan song, Closing Time was released I read it with vigor thinking that it would be rife with hidden meanings regarding the substance of life. It was not. It was just the words of an old Jew self-absorbedly kvetching about his time drawing nigh.

I suppose I started reading Heller about the same time as I did Vonnegut, whose writing was far more powerful and absorbing, yet both abstract and obvious.

Then recently, hitherto obscured by the passage of time and relegation to the Out-of-Print bin, I ran across Louis Falstein’s masterpiece,
Face of a Hero.

Some fairly short time ago someone discovered that much prior to Heller’s commercial success with
Catch 22, another war veteran had written a far more powerful story, and it was suggested that Heller may have procured, based, borrowed, stolen many of the experiences within Catch 22 from this other work that (instead of the whimsy with which Heller approached the war), expertly, passionately, and nakedly spun a reasonably true story about the men and machines that persecuted the US efforts against Hitler; about the death, the misery, the ache, the hunger, the debauchery, the anger and hate, the seething drive for revenge, the abandonment of morals, the resignation to death, the raw humor of those comprising our “Greatest Generation” as they struggled to defeat the most vile of tyrants.

Falstein, like Heller, but in a far more intelligent approach, paints a brutal portrait of the underbelly of the US War Machine: the incompetence, the stupidity, the devastation of War, the deaths of children and women and men who carried neither arms nor grudges, as
Chance, and the abstract acts of a few, had placed them in the crosshairs of US bombardiers and rifles, forever removing them from this world, just as Hitler had taken the lives of millions of Jews and millions more of those who did not fit the defined Aryan profile.

So why was Heller’s depiction of Yossarian’s war so highly revered compared to that of Falstein’s?

We were sick of bombing non-German cities, constantly saturating them with bombs, killing civilians week after week, month after month… (Falstein)

Slapstick: It makes war bearable. Catch 22 was far removed from reality, only grudgingly providing the reader with a gram of truth fortified by incredibly abstract fabrications of people and events that could freight no verisimilitude and, therefore, became far less disturbing to read for the then average American consumer of books (numbering many more than today), and today’s reader of mostly mindless pulp. In a basic sense, Heller pandered while Falstein expertly told a compelling and disturbing story.

Then too, we had just emerged from the war. To relive what we had experienced first-hand or through the words of those we knew, or through the absence of those we lost, for many was far too painful an experience: everyone had been touched by the war, here in the United States, in Europe, in the USSR…everywhere.

Today, though,
Face of a Hero is a far grander book examining behaviors and conditions that help us to better understand what our fathers and grandfathers and mothers and grandmothers endured in their selfless contributions to combat a perverse ideal, which today is sadly enjoying a bit of resurgence.

Perhaps it’s because for many,
Catch 22 forms the foundation of their knowledge about this incredibly bleak period in our world’s history, touching on war, death and the incurably stupid nature of martial conflict without excavating deeper into events: not from a history textbook style, but from a book such as Falstein’s that tells the tale of war and its consequences to everyone, without respite.

It ought to be required reading for anyone who longs to lead us into the future. So ought Dalton Trumbo’s
Johnny Got His Gun, but that is another story for another time…

If you are a Jew,
Face of a Hero will take on an added dimension – a depth sure to manifest heightened understanding of the conflicted actions of the world’s Jewry under disparate circumstances, and why some pursued an active course, and some did not.

Well, so do I think that Heller plagiarized Falstein’s book? Yes, I do. Ultimately, from my perspective it did him no good: while he managed to advantage financially, Falstein’s work extends far beyond the superficiality of Catch 22, and Face of a Hero will live far longer in the annals of Literary accomplishment, notwithstanding George Clooney’s actions.

Read Louis Falstein’s
Face of a Hero, then read Catch 22, and compare both the subtle and obvious relationship of characters, events and storylines between the two.

(Don’t bother reading Heller’s
Closing Time: it’s not worth the fifty-cent asking price.)

Der Letzte Akt von Herr und Frau Stefan Zweig
Joseph Warren, Editor

On that evening I was God. I had created the word, and lo! It was full of goodness and justice…
On that evening I was God. But I did not look down coldly from an exalted throne upon my works and deeds…
On that evening I was God. I had calmed the waters of unrest and driven the darkness from their hearts.

(Lieutenant Hofmiller’s rather exultant self-assessment.)
Stefan Zweig,
Beware of Pity


At the conclusion of Beware of Pity, Edith, the young woman on whom Lieutenant Hofmiller’s pity fell in scattered and intense showers, in a moment of darkness had thrown herself from the tower roof of her father’s estate after her ovation of love was not reciprocated. She had mistaken his pity of her paralyzed condition, for an avowal of amour.

Later, back from war, his uniform laden with medals testifying to his bravery (undeserved from his perspective), he is quietly alone in the aftermath wrapped in the remnants of his life, yet still a young man.

I myself forgot my guilt. For the heart is able to bury deep and well what it urgently desires to forget. – ibid

Hofmiller attends a performance of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s
Orphée et Eurydice. As he lingered before the beginning of the performance, having adjusted himself in his seat expecting to remain without movement for the duration of the first act, he was awakened from his thoughts by the presence of Dr. Condor, who had unsuccessfully treated Edith for her paralysis. For the moment, Hofmiller remained unnoticed; soon he surreptitiously spirited himself out of the theater to avoid…

…likely a stifling and crippling reminder of his guilt; the shame for his forsaking Edith’s exclaimed love; unreciprocated, painfully so, by the Lieutenant.

Now, if you like,
click here or paste this link into another window ( and listen to Nelson Freire playing Death of Orpheus in the background while you read on.

Herr Zweig’s
Beware of Pity was published in 1939. The book immediately made it to the short list of Hitler’s banned books, some of which (constituting his earlier writings) found their way to the literary pyres of May 10, 1933 throughout Germany, as a brilliant, thoughtful, artistic people bowed to the whip of ignorance and deceit retailed by Hitler and his minion of cretins comprising his inner circle and highest echelon.

In total there may have been as many as 25,000 books burned on that one day throughout Germany. (A very good resource for the event and other related data can be found at the
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum online.)

The list of internationally recognized authors banned is formidable and includes some very surprising writers of early 20th Century America, including Jack London, Hemingway, et cetera. Europeans include Proust, Einstein, Wells, Thomas Mann and his brother Heinrich, Kafka, Freud, and many others whose thinking could have conceivably, inasmuch as Hitler was concerned, impaired the Reich’s good people from embracing Aryan supremacy and its necessary and associated hatred by the corruption of Internationalism, Individuality, so called
Jewish Science, and other assorted philosophical approaches to existence that did not fit the formulated catena that was to be ultimately known as Nazism.

The list,
Liste des schädlichen und unerwünschten Schrifttums, (roughly, List of Harmful and Unwanted Literature) was issued December 31, 1938. Ergo, anyone whose scribbling appeared on the list was likewise, Harmful and Unwanted, but the Nazis were too late for Zweig. He, like others before and shortly after him sought refuge in another world, leaving behind his very beloved Austria, the place of his birth and understanding of all that comprised a literate, enlightened, fully-awakened human, in the Gurdjieff sense.

Many - most- of those who did not leave the sprawling dread and vile corruption of Nazism, particularly Jews, were never heard from again.

The reason I quoted
Beware of Pity (Ungeduld des Herzens) rather than any of the other volumes on hand is owing to Zweig’s lamentations at the loss of his Vienna: the Vienna of his youth, of his earliest poetry, his essays, his fiction, his drama, his libretto for his dear friend and guardian Strauss’s Die schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman), his abundant and often superlative other works, his loves gained and lost, as a young man and moving into his middle years.

In his screenplay
The Third Man, Graham Greene opens with the words, “I never knew the old Vienna before the war with its Strauss music, its glamor and easy charm…” Zweig did, and the loss of that Vienna haunted him to his end in Petropolis in February 1942.

But it was more than only Vienna: it was Europe, as well. It was the loss of a culture, an ideal, an expression, an awakening, an avenue to the growing approaches to life and art and science. It was the closing of a grand portal through which her citizens were encouraged to walk and open their minds to anything that could be. Then, suddenly for most, Light became Darkness.

In his
Drei Leben (Third Life) as he called it, his travels and wanderings took him ultimately to Brazil where his notoriety leant him, whenever he chose, the peace he needed to contemplate his biographical masterpiece, The World of Yesterday, summarily reviewed earlier in this publication (see below). Yet his contemplations led him ultimately to take his own life, while nearly simultaneously leading to the suicide of his second wife, Charlotte (or Lotte, as she was commonly called).

The World of Yesterday (Die Welt von Gestern), Zweig mourns what he sees as the impending loss of Europe: He was tormented, disillusioned, and lost in a world he could not comprehend, cast into an abyss of depression - wrecked spiritually by the loss of his country. Yet, in 1942, at the time of his suicide the tide of war was reversing, and not too much later a clear signal could be heard: one of coming peace and a chance at resurrection.

But to start everything anew after a man’s 60th year requires special powers, and my own power has been expended after years of wandering homeless. I thus prefer to end my life at the right time, upright, as a man for whom cultural work has always been his purest happiness and personal freedom — the most precious of possessions on this earth.

Stefan Zweig, Excerpt from Suicide Letter

It is a loss to Austria, to Europe, to the world that Zweig did not refuse to yield to his darkest passion. He could have done much to bring Europe out of the ashes of conflict.

Ironically, Herr Zweig’s nomadic existence, which served only to unsettle him deeper later in life, was of his own doing: He travelled much seeking out opportunities in which he could present himself and speak to those things he held most dearly: the larger the crowd the better, as in his many audiences in the United States where one-thousand, two-thousand or more would attend. He reveled in the attention, and swam seemingly nearly breathlessly in approbation. Perhaps during his confidential sessions with his friend, Freud, this “malady” was addressed, but we will never know.


The artist, also our co-publisher, Greta Hill-Warren has recently completed her creation in Oil on linen from an amalgam of the various deathbed photographs of Stefan and Lotte Zweig who con-completed suicide in February 1942 in Petropolis, Brazil.

It was several months in completion: of work, of research, of reading, of immersing herself in creating the perfect image. It is a highly detailed, exacting, mesmerizing portrait of the
Moment After.

There is much to say about Greta’s interpretation of the historic yet nebulous and confusing series of images in Black and White wherein the subjects are posed and re-posed to the taste of, one presumes, various deathbed photographers, but, from extensive research she has “filled in the blanks” lending color to clothes, texture of skin, expression in death, peacefulness of mind and soul, and a far more-than-photographic detail based on hundreds of color images of them in life, mostly before their exodus to South America, yet to a lesser extent of their time in Brazil, as well.

This masterful depiction is Oil on stretched linen: The book’s dimensions are 25 inches by 28 inches by 2-1/4 inches. The inset canvas measures 20 inches by 24 inches; signed and dated by the artist. It is entitled,
Der Letzte Akt von Herr und Frau Stefan Zweig (The Final Act of Mr. and Mrs. Stefan Zweig).

The canvas is framed in an artistically created “Book” (from our frame shop) bearing the title of the work, date of “publication” and artist’s name shown as
Illustriert von (or Illustrated by) since her focus of thought was to bring a true and passionate illustration of the first moment following after many years of only faint, blurry images of one of the greatest authors of the 20th Century. Her work is the book – the illustrated edition of a very brief moment in time.

The frame simulates a hardbound book from the early 1900s with faux leather spine. The image is recessed and held firmly by the framing process, but removable if needed. Between the boards the artist has crafted simulated page edges. The back of the book is covered in cloth, as well. It does not have a hanging device affixed, although you may apply one if you wish, but is designed to be displayed on an easel or suitable shelf.

Then, included under the canvas in an interior pocket of the frame, printed on canvas in purple ink (Zweig’s preferred ink color – nearly fanatically so) is the reproduction of the original suicide note (entitled,
Declaração in Portuguese to insure its recognizability by local officials). What follows the title is in German. It is a painstakingly reproduced duplicate of the note, itself consuming hours of computer manipulation working from a master image of the original. An additional canvas copy, exactly as that held within the frame, is included in a protective sleeve separate from the art work.

Read Zweig’s
The World of Yesterday, and you will come away nearly breathless from the intensity of his descriptions on the rise of National Socialism in Germany, and in his homeland, Austria. For more than just entertainment, read, Amok, Jeremiah, Volpone, and, for that matter, nearly everything else he wrote (although he did tend to overwrite occasionally).

Of the artist, her favorite stories by Zweig are,
The Invisible Collection and The Miracles of Life.

Read Zweig’s
Beware of Pity and come to understand the parallels of emotions in the human heart.

Read Zweig’s
Messages from a Lost World, and pursue the author’s soul as he mourns the beginning of the end, through a collection of shorter writings encompassing the years leading to his death.

Read Oliver Matushek’s very in-depth biographical look at Zweig along the complete spectrum of his life in his book,
Drei Leben, or Three Lives: a reference to Zweig’s appellation for the distinct segments of his life, from youth to exile. From it you will uncover the bases of the characters of those within his work as well as the places and events that influenced his writings.

Visit the
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and learn about Hitler’s attempt to eradicate wisdom, knowledge, compassion from the souls of Europeans, and eventually the world, and consider how his dark legacy lives on today.

And in this way, let us work to keep Hate from entering our lives.

This work is one in the world. It is priced earnestly given the hundreds - thousands - of hours the artist has committed to its completion out of a passion for both the image and for its history. It is the beginning of a homogeneity of art termed,
BuchKunst (or אמנות הספר) or the amalgam of Book and Art created by the artist to meld both her passion for books and art into one coherent statement. The title, Der Letzte Akt von Herr und Frau Stefan Zweig captures the final act a moment after the closing curtain of Zweig's Drei Leben. It is currently listed here, and with many images on eBay at her site here at $8,418, with offers being entertained.

History…is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
James Joyce,

Joseph Warren, Editor

I received the following contribution this morning from a William Barr, Attorney General, and thought it best to publish it verbatim to insure that the flow and beauty of the prose remained. The careful reader will notice the allusion to Tolstoy in the third paragraph, an apparently favored Russian writer of Mr. Barr.



Thank you, Mr. Barr for your insightful essay. I agree completely with your pithy comments regarding Joyce’s approach to narrative. Strictly for the record, though, I side with Nora, his wife, who famously advised her husband, Why don’t you write something people can read. (Or, words to that effect.) Having read Ulysses twice in the last 50 years I remain uncertain why the book was seen as such a “great and revolutionary” work, stream of consciousness aside. From my perspective, Kerouac’s scroll of On the Road always remains a far more absorbing read of like genre.

Read James Joyce,
Ulysses, if you can tolerate it. If successful, you’ll likely enjoy Marcel Proust’s Remembrances of Things Past.
Read Jack Kerouac’s
On the Road, The Sea is My Brother, And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks (with Wm. Burroughs), and, of course, Desolation Angels.

Faust in Googlespeak
If Johann Wolfgang von Goethe had translated Faust with Google

Joseph Warren, Editor

You two, you so often,
In distress and tribulation, assisted,
Say what you are in German lands
Hopes of our enterprise?
I very much wish the crowd,
Especially because she lives and lets live.
The posts are, the boards pitched,
And everyone is expecting a party.
They are already sitting with high eyebrows
Let there and would like to surprise.
I know how to reconcile the spirit of the people;
But I've never been so embarrassed:
Although they are not used to the best,
But they have read terribly much.
How do we do that everything is fresh and new
And with meaning also complacent?
Because of course I like to see the crowd
When the stream rushes to our shack,
And with a lot of repeated labor
Squeezing through the narrow portal of grace;
On a bright day, even before four,
With bumps to the cashier spruce
And, as in famine for bread at bakery doors,
A billet almost breaks your necks.
This miracle affects so many different people
The poet only; my friend, do it today!

Faust, from the German to Googlespeak

I am as guilty as the next person when it comes to saving money on translation services: it’s as though we want to make the effort to communicate with a larger, broader, more solvent and varied audience but we’re just not willing to fork over the dinero (that’s “money” in Googlespeak) to make certain we’re saying what we ought to say rather than something offensive or so out-of-whack that it brings a smile to the foreign language reader, much like for we English speakers when reading a User Manual obviously written by the Chinese company’s Marketing Representative: “Immersion for cleanliness hot with soaping…”

Google’s Translator is an ever-ready and entirely expense-free avenue available to the average
schmo like you and me, and, best of all, it’s free. But you get what you pay for.

It makes us feel good because we think we’re demonstrating how urbane and cultured we are communicating in various foreign languages, but in reality…well: We’re not.

Many of our candidates in the upcoming election (“upcoming” meaning two years into the future) have used Googlespeak to their own embarrassment, and there are numerous, hilarious examples everywhere on the web – just
Google it.

In Google ask, “Find Google translation errors” or as we say in Spanish, “
Encontrar errores de traducción de Google” which means in Googlespeak the same as in English (per Google) surprisingly enough.

Very few literary works have birthed as many like-themed progeny as Goethe’s
Faust. Most of my favorite writers of the past, including Freud, saw Goethe’s work as iconic of both the time and intellectual balance and enlightenment of that period in world history.

If you haven’t read it, may I suggest you do so in its correct translation, when “How do we do that everything is fresh and new/And with meaning also complacent?” correctly becomes, “How can we make it all seem fresh and new,/Weighty, but entertaining too?”

Well that makes a lot more sense.

As we say in Finnish,
Odotan innolla puhua teille uudelleen. (That’s right: I speak Finnish, too, although it’s with a Refinnish dialect.)

Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and as you do you will discover that many of our recent writers have borrowed heavily on Goethe without so much as a single-sentence acknowledgement. (That’s the world today.)
Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud, and gain much insight into why we are so disparate today as a society – writ large and small.

A Freudian Reality
Joseph Warren, Editor

What is the use of reducing infantile mortality when it is precisely that reduction which imposes the greatest restraint on us in the begetting of children, so that, taken all round, we nevertheless rear no more children than in the days before the reign of hygiene…and have probably worked against the beneficial effects of natural selection?

Sigmund Freud,
Civilization and its Discontents

The world today is now populated by nearly eight billion people. China hosts more than 1.4 billion, and India brings up a close second place at more than 1.36 billion. Here, in the United States, our population has grown from around 200 million in 1965 to its present (about) 330 million. When Freud wrote
Civilization and its Discontents, the world population hovered at around 2 billion souls, in 1930: far too many then by some accounts.

More than 40% of the USA is overweight, ranging from unfit to morbidly obese, which is as bad as the words taken together sound: “Morbid” and “Obese.” They are not words we use as an approbation to a friend, such as, “My, but you’re looking particularly morbid (or, obese) today; to what do you owe this recent change?” Rather, being
morbidly obese is someone likely to die from the layers of fat encompassing his or her corporeal being.

By 2050 the US is expected to displace about 30% of current employment owing to advancing automation, including as a result of the oft-cited and dreaded
Artificial Intelligence. Soon, the growing horde of those seeking to learn the secret cabalistic ways of Coding will too become obsolete as technology advances: Customer Service, Food Preparation, Transportation, Education, and certainly Manufacturing amongst all others, including Health Care are likely to find few Human employment opportunities available.

Today in the United States, about 38% of our Labor Force are deemed
Unemployable, or, not able to perform any function in our society worthy of remuneration. (We’ve written many times about this staggeringly upsetting and sad condition: use the Google search above and read more.)

To mitigate the effects of this devastating condition, we’ve opened up Social Security Disability to include many of those whose “Disability” is
not disabling, from a traditional perspective, allowing them to collect a guaranteed income and to work “on-the-side” sometimes at fairly physically demanding jobs earning above and beyond their disability payment, notwithstanding the nature of their disability. Some, mostly obese, are content to roll-over fellow shoppers at America’s discount stores with their electric shopping carts as their fat drapes over the sides of the seat, assuaged by the amount of their disability payment and other associated benefits.

At present, there are about
10.5 million Americans collecting regular monthly compensation under the Disability provision of the Social Security Administration. Just four years ago, when we last wrote on this subject, the number was about 8 million. That is a disturbing trend and one, I can only imagine, very difficult to sustain by, as several Democratic candidates have offered, Taxing the Rich.

Obesity has much to do with it. So does the consumption of Alcoholic beverages (and taking meals at any of the purveyors of garbage-food outlets that have saturated America), since they are to some likely extent linked, rarely seeing an avid, healthy-appearing thin consumer of beer or distilled spirits leaving either a boutique brew house or common saloon. Estimates are that Alcohol abuse in America results in GDP costs of
more than $2 trillion. Contrast this to the purported $98 billion owing to Smoking. We’ve written about this, as well. (The symptoms and disabling effects of a “Beer Gut” and related back ailment is the same whether from five-dollar-a-glass boutique beer or a-buck-a-can Pabst.)

Nearly uniformly we tend to celebrate the news of some new drug or procedure intended to eliminate disease or sustain the life of someone suffering from a life-threatening condition, such as AIDS, Cancer, or congenital (and otherwise) health issue, leading to greater cost in Health Care and a likely increase in the number of the Unemployable owing to convalescence and/or the loss of viable skills (or physical ability) following treatment.

We want to celebrate this type of achievement because, in our ignorance, we desperately want others to rejoice in our recovery, if the situation should arise. It’s a basic Human behavior characteristic, regardless of how self-defeating it may be for the survival of our species. Clearly, as Freud observed nearly 90 years ago, we’re
defeating the best efforts of Nature to our ultimate detriment.

We profess to value every life as though it is Sacred, when in truth, every life is not -
no life is sacred: and as a country, and as individuals, we have proven time-and-again that life means nothing, other than a solemn nod or muttered declamation, unless it shares a defined and certain common religious or political view. Even then, only momentary is our sadness.

Our true value in life is to sustain the machinery of those who provide health services (read Cold Storage herein), manufacture products, operate the Judicial and Penal systems, and a host of other make-work industries. A loss of life, is a loss of income to those who benefit: nothing more. And the loss of life of those who operate these industries means nothing to those who replace them, other than an opportunity to perpetuate wealth and, more importantly, to sustain the current apparatus.

I read
Civilization and its Discontents because it had been lauded by three of my favorite authors from the same era: I am very glad I did. Throughout the book, Freud’s insights and aphoristic declamations are worthy of re-reading. (I’m doing that now.) And, with each re-introduction to the book, more is to be gleaned. It’s an easy read, and one that ought to be required reading for all of our nearly 8 billion fellow astronauts.

“And, finally, what good to us is a long life if it is difficult and barren of joys and if it is so full of misery that we can only welcome death as a deliverer?”
Sigmund Freud,
Civilization and its Discontents

Now, how can anyone argue with an upbeat summation like that? -Ed.

Highland Park, California
Joseph Warren, Editor

"You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood ... back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame ... back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”

-Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again

Time and Memory: Inspired by both Thomas Wolfe’s lessons through the shunned and misanthropic George Webber, and stumbling, stimulated, and seemingly spanning the vastness of the last more than 60 years on this Thanksgiving Day, retailed by a photomontage of Highland Park from the 1920s onward, juxtaposed against the then-innocence cloaked by violence and hate much later in the century, I recalled moving to Highland Park in 1953.

In those halcyon days, I sold the
LA Times in front of Van de Kamp’s Bakery at York and Figueroa. After, I’d go to Farmer Dick’s Market across the street and buy milk or bread with my proceeds. With a small group of confreres, we’d steal deposit bottles of Coke (and others) from the back of Farmer Dick’s, and return them to the liquor store next to Bank of America to buy Abba Zaba bars and Bubble Up. Sitting on the curbside of York we’d take a bite of Abba Zaba and a sip of Bubble Up and try to contain the chemical explosion: Not as easy as it sounds.

One early evening after a long contest, as my sinuses irritated and swelled from challenge and triumph, and while walking back toward home, a double-breasted Copper stopped me and said, “Your ol’ man wants you to come!” That was how LAPD dealt with recalcitrant punks. In the basement of the Highland Park LAPD station I was sworn into the Boy Scouts, having left the vestiges of boyhood behind, following the Scout Jamboree on Catalina Island celebrating 50 years wherein hundreds - maybe thousands - of scouts all contracted dysentery from a large cauldron of stew served without remorse by Scout Masters from across the United States.

I pinched a quarter from my daily newspaper earnings to see, “The Blob” at the Highland and got popcorn too. I kissed Kathy Okubo on the playground at Yorkdale Elementary when “Playground” meant a geographic zone rather than an area of anatomy. Later, I felt up Rhonda, but gleaned nothing from the experience being too young to benefit from her altruism. As we were leaving Highland Park for the desolation of Mountain View, in the Bay Area, I scratched Kathy Jenkins’ initials into a tree at the park.

We flattened pennies on the railroad tracks. We scrounged tadpoles from the LA River retaining them in an empty can of Prince Albert, always at-hand as a result of my Father’s inhalations. We walked across the trestle spanning the filthy little river, unmindful of danger, and, presumably, uncaring owing to our impermeability.

We stayed out all night and sometimes threw ripe pomegranates at the freshly painted homes of those who treated us less-than-kindly. Walking home from school, a thousand mothers watched over us like a multitude of angels whose supervision, although we did not seek it, was welcomed.

I smoked my first cigarette from a pack of Camels we stole from the bumper of a plumber’s work truck in the alley down the hill: I swayed dizzy and euphoric. This would be the same hill later I would careen uncontrollably down after brake failure on my bike, stopping only as a result of my head abutting the concrete curb: Dr. Peyser, as he did always, made quick work of the repair, much like when I shot the splintered shaft of an arrow through my thumb.

My older brother, Larry, was graduated from Franklin High School to die but six years later, having lived his youth in unfettered joy, save for the occasional angst and torment of late
teenagehood. My Father was graduated from Franklin High in the same year through their Adult Education program. He was quite proud, as were we all.

See’s Candy gave away a few pieces of chocolates to mothers, for their accompanying children, when they were present during Holiday candy purchases. The ladies always wore clean white dresses, and I remember white caps too, as they worked behind tinted glass cases harboring everything that at that moment, I avariciously coveted. Down the street the local supermarket - it wasn’t Farmer Dick’s, but another major store - sold “Nigger Toes” for, as I recall, about twenty-cents a pound. Can you imagine that? Inked-in on a sign in the Produce section...

Farther down the block, Ben Alexander of the TV program,
Dragnet, owned a massively successful Ford dealership. One early evening my Father took me in to the showroom to ogle a 1958, white, retractable, Ford Fairlane. Sticker price, new, not a mile on it, was a bit more than $2,400. My Father was, as many unemployed in the Defense Industry, earning a few dollars each week laboring not at his trade. Some months later I watched as our old Plymouth was repossessed.

Christmases, Halloweens, Easters, and Thanksgivings all observed in a place in Time and Memory to which I may never return. So it goes, as Vonnegut would have said, but he is dead, too, just as those moments are for me in Space-Time, unless Kurt
Gödel was right.

Highland Park was a fantasyland back then, truly.

You have a Highland Park in your past, too. I know that. And, you can’t go back, either.
Sometimes, though, especially at this time of year, it’s worth the Time and Memory to return, briefly.

I hear it is Gentrifying, Highland Park, that is: Home prices skyrocketing. People being pushed out by escalating greed. White folks (and others of the Millennial persuasion steeped in some form of illusory afluence) attempting to reconstruct a life they did not have there, from what belonged to us, then. And you know what? It still does.

Read, Thomas Wolfe,
You Can’t Go Home Again.

Read, A World Without Time, by Palle Yourgrau who takes you through the Gödel-Einstein relationship at the Princeton Institute. (Palle Yourgrau explains Gödel’s then-revolutionary perspective on Multiverses (who along with Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and many others) captured both the mathematics and the necessity of a Multiverse Space-Time.)

Mid-Term: Mental Mid-Point
Evaluating President Trump and His Minions
Joseph Warren, Editor

“The Nazis no longer resorted to hypocritical pretexts about the urgency of opposing and eliminating Marxism. They did not just rob and steal, they gave free rein to every kind of private vengeful instinct. University professors were forced to scrub the streets with their bare hands; devout, white-bearded Jews were hauled into the synagogues by young men bawling with glee, and made to perform knee-bends while shouting “Heil Hitler!” in chorus. They rounded up innocent citizens in the streets like rabbits and dragged them away to sweep the steps of the barracks. All the sick, perverted fantasies they had thought up over many nights of sadistic imaginings were now put into practice in broad daylight...”

-Stefan Zweig, The World of Yesterday

Nearly all of Stefan Zweig’s writing has given me pleasure.
Volpone, Amok, the libretto of The Silent Woman, Letter from an Unknown Woman, and the list goes on, yet…few books in my 68 years of life are equal to his treatise on the state of the world then (and now), The World of Yesterday, his autobiographical look at Austria and Germany during their most critical times.

My copy is now heavily annotated with underscores and my “little colored flags” marking the more salient points leaving the book fluttering like a string of colorful plastic flags across a Texas used car lot, each one marking a bargain for the mind, rarely considered by a
little old lady from Brownsville who only thought that thought while going to church on Sundays or to the market during the week. Low-Mileage profundity.

In plain English, as we approach Mid-Term elections, and for what they’re worth, here are my thoughts regarding President Trump, and some of the issues at the forefront of the Mid-Term election dividing America today. Some you will find supportive of Mr. Trump; some highly critical: That’s the
problem with being an Independent.

“They broke into apartments and tore the jewels out of the ears of trembling women - it was the kind of thing that might have happened when cities were plundered hundreds of years ago in medieval wars, but the shameless pleasure they took in the public infliction of pain, psychological torture and all the refinements of humiliation was something new...”
The World of Yesterday

Imposing tariffs on China:

While seemingly an approach designed to boost US production of comparable goods by establishing a level playing field, countering the Communist practices in China of subvented industries, wages, monetary policies, and price controls, President Trump’s tariffs do what America’s consumers ought to have done all along: shop according to the greatest benefit to the country in which they (we) live.

About 88.8% of china’s exports (of about one-half trillion US dollars per year in total) to the USA are Consumer goods. Consumer spending (in all its myriad forms) accounts for about 60 to 70% of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

A majority of US Consumers do not buy USA made goods because, among other excuses, they are typically more expensive than Chinese products of similar purpose. And those that are USA made are more expensive because they support a higher wage, and an economy based on (relatively unmanipulated) Capitalist principles rather than market-based Communism.

Because you, the US Consumer, didn’t do what you should have done, President Trump has done it for you, and now with tariffs you will pay about the same amount for a product made in the USA of likely higher quality, as that made in China. That’s a good thing, although you may not agree because it will mean that you can no longer clutter your lives with useless junk, most of which are unnecessary to a fulfilling life.

Since the late 1990s China has amassed incredible wealth thanks largely to your practices, converted by the Chinese government to advancing weapons and influence in the very remotest and most unlikely parts of the world, usurping whatever influence we may have previously held.

China is now in a position to become the preeminent influence on the world stage, if they have not surpassed the USA already.

A quick review of world history tells us that China as a Communist country requires that each citizen hold foremost in their hearts and minds, the ideal of the government (the State), first, and that religion, when tolerated, must not denigrate or impinge on the commitment of each citizen to support above all else, the State. And yet,
many evangelicals in the USA frequently shop at those stores that peddle chiefly Chinese-made products, supporting both the atheistic precepts of Marxism and growing worldwide Chinese influence furthering their irreligious perspective.

In the last several decades, China, in opposition to the USA, has supported (both in Men and Materiel) the opposing forces in both Korea and Viet Nam.
Many US Veterans continue to support the opposing sides in these historical conflicts by buying products made in China. Many also display US flags made in China. They fail to see the apparent and sad irony in their actions.

Had Mrs. Clinton been elected in November 2016, the system of off-shored jobs and industries would have perpetuated, at the least, and likely grown. The US Consumer could have continued unfettered in their acquisition of poorly-made cheap products to achieve the level of immediate gratification for which they so desperately thirst, continuing to support China’s military development and imperialist influence in South America and Africa.

NAFTA reimagined:

Our “New and Improved” NAFTA with respect to Mexico is nothing but an ingenious ploy intended to demonstrate President Trump’s aggressive position regarding negotiations on Trade, primarily in the Automotive industry.

Under the revised agreement, (starting in 2020, to avoid the imposition of tariffs) cars and trucks should have at least 30 percent of the work on the vehicle performed by workers earning $16 an hour. (The 30% threshold increases over the course of ensuing years.) Contrary to what is being disseminated by some media, Mexican Auto workers presently make from $8 to $10 per hour at Ford, as an example.

A quick adjustment in personnel, by shifting payroll from the US to Mexico for a few highly paid US managers through the various payroll companies presently operating in Mexico who accommodate US-based manufacturers for the benefit of the Mexican government and US industry, will easily meet the required wage ceiling without any resultant negligible benefit to either US or Mexican Auto workers – themselves.
Sorry, UAW.


Like most Americans, save for those who were aboriginal to North America, I am an extension from a background of immigrants: some from England and others from Italy.

Those from England abruptly concluded their voyage by either crashing ashore or dropping anchor, long before the promulgation of laws intended to restrict the free influx of migrants, probably much to the chagrin of our American Indian population.

The Italians came through Ellis Island. In the first case though, the practiced entrance was long before Immigration laws were established for the country. Entry for my Italian forefathers was governed by laws loosely constructed and designed to ensure that those being granted entrance had skills or characteristics that were desirable to the advancement of the USA at a time of evolving industry: they were to become the necessary cogs in the developing machinery of Capitalism making
the few wealthier and providing a means of sustenance to the rest in a country of promise and opportunity, some of whom subsequently advantaged greatly.

Today, we are not the same country: sadly, opportunities are limited and social services are straining under the weight of so many under-employed, and the unemployable, comprised of immigrants and, most importantly, the growing legion of America’s (multi-generational) disabled and unskilled.

The “Free-For-All” immigration practices of the 1700s cannot be reintroduced without dire consequences.
I mourn that. If only we could support the world’s “…huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” this would be a far better planet for the practice.

Regrettably, we cannot.

Health Care:

In 1960 Health Care accounted for a little more than $27 billion USD of our GDP. In 2016 – the last year for which data has been compiled – our annual expenditure is more than $3.3 trillion.

1960’s expenditure should equate to about $234 billion today using the US government’s own CPI Inflation Calculator. So, why so much more?

I could list Advancing Technologies, Increased Pharmaceuticals Cost, Professional Salaries, Litigation Expenses, Unnecessary Procedures, and others as the culprit, but it really comes down to simply, Greed… everyone involved in dispensing Health Care today. We’ve written about the growing, dramatic and potentially catastrophic influences of MRI; about Medical Professionals’ pay; about the rampant and unchecked abuses of Big Pharma; and others, but overall they are far too influential to counter.

No President, no Congress, no Governor, no
One can change what has evolved in America today to be the soul of the Health Care industry. It is an apodictic windmill of such immense and influential global proportions, Quixote may only sigh in disgust and resignation.

As an example, no one can do anything about Stephen Hemsley of United Health Group and his $60 million a year salary, except its directorship. No one can do anything about average Physician pay in the USA exceeding three-times that of
any other developed country. No one can do anything about the cost of drugs far exceeding the cost of the same drugs in Mexico, Canada, Europe, or anywhere else in the world.

And, for all of this, we ought to be living longer, healthier lives, but we are not. We are, in fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, dying younger and younger every year.

We are a country of obese, stagnant people, generally, and President Trump, himself obese and stagnant, cannot do anything about Health Care costs and our growing mortality problem.

Russian Influence:

Listen to this: There is no unwinding the cryptic web of state-directed espionage. We’re all complicit in our actions and inactions. It is irrevocable. It is second nature. It’s the way the world of government interacts. Clandestine assassinations have always been commonplace. We (the US) have murdered and been murdered. Manufacturing governments sympathetic to our needs is our long-standing practical industry.

Every year more than one-hundred journalists are killed, spies are murdered, secrets are stolen, computers are hacked. It’s the way we do business, and always will. Russia’s influences are a red herring to those issues that ought to be at the forefront. Besides, I think I look better without a shirt on than Vladimir Putin, and I am three years his senior, so I don’t care.

Climate Change:

We are doomed, as a planet. It is irrevocable at this point and our only hope is that Science may help us to find a way out. Read,
Real Estate: That Sinking (Coastal California) Feeling, just below, and don’t waste a lot of your money on sweaters and jackets in the years to come.

Hate in America:

In the run-up to the November 2016 election, Donald Trump said things that were intended to foment Hate and Fear and Anxiety and Division in America. In short, he did what nearly every Democrat and Republican vying for office this November is doing: vilifying anyone on whom they may gain traction.

Inspiring division and thereby easing the effort associated with conquest is a tried and true extension of the aphoristic,
Divide and Conquer. But who is trying to conquer us?

Very often, our worst enemy is the one who lurks within. I’ve known people who, consciously or otherwise, are their own nemesis: the one most likely to cause the most distress in one’s life, although we may try to negate our delusion by assigning blame to someone else; Black, Jew, Mexican, Muslim are all the usual suspects; sometimes more closely to home we impugn husband, wife, parent. They’re all easy targets for our less stellar behaviors.

“Donald Trump is like Hitler!”
No, he’s not. Nobody was or is like Hitler, except Hitler. Nobody was more demonic, more forceful in his hate, more apoplectic than Adolf Hitler. He was absolutely the personification of the Devil.

“All this has been described not by one victim but by thousands, and a more peaceful age, not morally exhausted like our own, will shudder some day to read what horrors were inflicted on that cultured city in the twentieth century by a single half-deranged man. For in the midst of his military and political victories, that was Hitler’s most diabolical triumph - one man succeeded in deadening every idea of what is just and right by the constant attrition of excess…”
The World of Yesterday

What we have done, though, is elect a man as our President who is not very articulate or statesman-like, not completely considered in his thought, not possessing the ability to invoke confidence by the majority of Americans, is not principled in his personal life to any degree, and our bantering and bickering and fighting is likely to turn him into a blithering imbecile before his first term is over.

When I was a boy I understood that any
man could grow up to be President of our country. Donald Trump, like Barrack Obama, like George W. Bush, and like Bill Clinton, all before, are proof of that axiom. Anybody can…really.

So, as in every election I think I’ll vote for the individual who best matches my perspective as to
What’s good for the country, and not who is most like or unlike President Trump. After all: Nobody’s like President Trump, and the harder his minions work to portray themselves Trumpesque, the more frightening they become.

The artist, and our publisher,
Greta Hill-Warren is about three months away from completing her re-creation of an amalgam of the various deathbed photographs of Stefan and Lotte Zweig who con-completed suicide in February 1942 in Petropolis, Brazil. The working title, Der Tod von Herrn und Frau Stefan Zweig translates roughly to the Death of Mr. and Mrs, Stefan Zweig.

There is much to say about Greta’s interpretation of the historic yet nebulous and confusing series of images in Black and White wherein the subjects are posed and re-posed to the taste of, one presumes, various photographers. From extensive research she has “filled in the blanks” lending color to clothes, texture of skin, expression in death, peacefulness of mind and soul, and a far more-than-photographic detail based on hundreds of color images of them in life, mostly before their exodus to South America.

This masterful depiction is oil on stretched canvas: 20 inches by 24 inches. The original will be offered somewhere in the range of from $14,000 to $22,000 USD early next year. Smaller, limited edition Giclée prints will be offered following the introduction of the original.

Read Zweig’s
The World of Yesterday, and you will come away nearly breathless from the intensity of his descriptions of the rise of National Socialism in Germany, and in his homeland, Austria. For more than just entertainment, read, Amok, Jeremiah, Volpone, and, for that matter, nearly everything else he wrote, although Letter From an Unknown Woman can get a bit ponderous.

Zweig Nearing Completion - 1_Fotor
Image of Warren-Hill’s Der Tod von Herrn und Frau Stefan Zweig taken clandestinely in her studio.


In October 19 news, Facebook is being sued for fraudulent advertising practices, increasing viewership of online ads when, in some likelihood, the viewer had not promoted or had stopped the video. We wrote about this and other practices in May of this year. Here’s the article again so that you may fully appreciate (as a possible advertiser) how ethereal and surreal advertising has become:

The Batrachomyomachia that is Online Advertising Today
Joseph Warren, Editor

…in this best of all possible worlds…


We tried opening our publication to advertising a couple of years ago by placing codes within that prompted Google to insert ads and, based on the hit rate – the number of times someone clicked on an ad, pay to us some amount of money as a percentage of revenue they, in turn, received from their many, and presumably flush, advertisers.

The problem is that Google, probably like Facebook (although we’ve never had an interest in that medium), and all the others primarily in charge of placing advertising, make no effort to ensure that the ads fit the “publication.” So, for us, next to an article regarding an ever-increasing imbalance in
International Trade would be an ad hawking a cure for Herpes; Slithering after an in-depth look at the potential dangers of MRI exposure would be a touted cure for Baldness: There was no logical relationship between the advertised product or service to that of So we ended it very shortly after it began.

Every month nowadays we entertain from 70,000 to 90,000 readers. That’s probably a lot of lost opportunity from
your perspective, but it just wasn’t worth the defilement. Imagine an advert for a Feminine Hygiene product (with all related graphic mages) suddenly appearing as you turn the page of Voltaire’s epic treatise on Optimism, Candide; A questionable homeopathic treatment involving sliced kiwi fruit for Macular Degeneration in the midst of Thoreau’s Walden; How about a Hemorrhoid cure somewhere in Genesis? It doesn’t work, nor should it. (Please note, we are not comparing our modest publication to any of the aforementioned; it’s just an illustration of how seriously we consider what we do juxtaposed to the advertising offered by Google.)

Last year Google took in more than $4 Billion in advertising – more than twice that of Facebook’s meager $1.9 Billion.

To boost advertising revenue all sorts of gimmicks are employed to give those companies shoveling over vast amounts of money the sense that they are actually benefitting from their actions.

My favorite is the
latent image: Open a webpage, read a sentence or two, place your finger on the section of screen that is “blank” to scroll further downward and you have clicked on an ad that wasn’t yet visible, but was nonetheless coded into the webpage. You’ve clicked; They pay; Everyone’s happy in this “best of all possible worlds.”

It’s a virtual impossibility to draw a convincing nexus between advertising dollar spent and product sales. It’s “Smoke and Mirrors” yet everyone seems content to believe that online advertising generates a return because they (those spending billions of dollars on advertising) have been overwhelmed with graphs and charts and vast data-dumps with compelling visual treatments attesting to their success.

And…somewhere in a secret room in a city in India or a high-rise in New York or a hiply-reconstructed warehouse in Silicon Valley a group of mindless Millennials considers the next great algorithm and related coding gimmick to entice the unsuspecting into errantly placing a finger on the
Great Cash Register in the Cloud.

Look: It’s true that there has never been a 100% connection between
Advertising and Sales, yet never before has it been so nebulous. With the defeat of Print and Television media it’s left those who want to sell us things and services floundering, and looking for any opportunity to throw money at the vexing problem of how to sustain or increase sales and perpetuate whatever it is that they do, and thus the 60% to 70% of our economy traceable to Consumer Spending.

The Frogs and Mice are doing battle and you and I are caught in the crossfire. So, in this best of all possible worlds,
Candide would like to offer a few words about our new product…

Read, Voltaire’s
Candide (or Optimism) and learn how truly wonderful life can be while being so truly horrible.

Real Estate: That Sinking (Coastal California) Feeling
Joseph Warren, Editor

“Willis Moore (US Weather Bureau) believed the Galveston hurricane (September 1900) to be a freak of nature. ‘Galveston should take heart, as the chances are that not once in a thousand years would she be so terribly stricken.’ But another intense hurricane struck in 1915...1919…1932…1941…1943…1949…1957…1961…and 1983.”

Erik Larsen,
Isaac’s Storm


The 2017 hurricane, Harvey, was well after Larsen’s epic analysis of the 1900 disaster that claimed thousands of lives and destroyed the burgeoning community of Galveston.

So, what do Newport Beach (and many other enclaves along the California coast) today, and Galveston, Texas then have in common? Inundation:
Probably before you can make a dent in a 30-year mortgage.

Already property values in many areas of Florida on up the East Coast to New York and beyond are beginning to feel the pinch of Sea Level Rise (SLR) and the consequent loss of value in coastal Real Estate, according to an analysis in a
recent Axios article and elsewhere. Californians, though, seem intellectually immune to the reality, as they are to so many of their actions and those of others.

And, really, the same holds true for San Diego through to Oregon and Washington, as well: Turning a blind eye and hoping that something miraculous will happen…soon, yet toddling along and being told time-and-again, The plate is hot: be careful.

I found myself this summer re-reading a host of literature of the Sea. It’s something I do from time-to-time when the heat in Northwest Arizona, albeit lower than much of California, embarks on its July and August course of tedium and sweaty repetition. But for us, it wasn’t always so.

For many years we lived either at the water or aboard one of a few commercial vessels we owned, each in turn, in the lovely harbor in and among Newport Beach, California: A scenic community; a retreat for the overheated of Orange and Los Angeles counties; a safe harbor from the ambiguities and malcontents populating the geography outside a radius of a mile or so to the foothills of San Bernardino and beyond. It was a wonderful place to live every day of every year, then.

No wonder property values escalated far beyond reason. Ironically, now, given the likelihood of at least partial and perhaps complete submersion owing to Sea Level Rise (SLR), purportedly brought about by Human Caused Global Warming (although it could be otherwise manifested by repetitive natural cycles (written for the benefit of naysayers)), one has to ask, How long can prices sustain themselves in the face of the obvious?

Just as in Larsen’s stirring prose in his book,
Isaac’s Storm, there was plenty of warning; it just went unheeded, much like for Houston last year when Hurricane Harvey washed ashore submerging much of the city through a combination of Storm Surge, Deluge, and SLR.

Isaac, in the book, is Isaac Cline, a meteorologist with the (then) adolescent Weather Bureau pre-dating all forms of technology except Telegraph: No satellites, no Smartphones, no nothing. Twitter was the spoken word passed mouth-to-ear between individuals or in groups. Isaac Cline believed that Galveston was a safe place to be, given its geographic orientation and Back Bay leading to Houston. He saw no cause for worry, and made his thoughts known to those who suspected otherwise but were cowed by his impressive education and position.

The devastation that struck Galveston didn’t mark a time in America of arrogance; it marked the beginning of a trend that continues through to today, only more so.

Today, the “Weather Bureau” – the predecessor to our National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – is formed from a vast network of Technology focused on saving both lives and property, and at the hint of a calamity in the making, anyone likely to be affected is forewarned. Sometimes we listen, sometimes we don’t.

When we don’t, it’s hard to blame anything or anyone for our arrogance, yet we do, and in the end, we all pay through higher taxes, insurance premiums, and shared grief at the loss of life.

So, who’s going to bailout “Muffy and Skip” when their recently built, water-side McMansion is awash in a (very) few years on a regularly occurring basis? You are.

Why are people continuing to buy homes on a 30 to 50 year mortgage in an area likely to be devastated by flooding? For the same reason Isaac thought Galveston was a safe place. His wife, the mother of his three children, was ultimately lost, as he feared the children were as well, had it not been for providence and the quick actions of his brother, Joseph.

“California has over 800 miles of coastline and coastal environments, infrastructure, and real estate is vulnerable to sea level rise (SLR).”

2018 Report, Scripps Institute

California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment. Prepared By: David W. Pierce, Julie F. Kalansky, Daniel R. Cayan. Division of Climate, Atmospheric Sciences, and Physical Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California

If the scientific detail bores you, just look at the many graphics and charts intended to illustrate their findings. Then, read
Isaac’s Storm and the gripping depiction of the deluge of Galveston: the death, the destruction, and the immense power of Nature. Written by Erik Larsen, 1999, Crown publishers.

A Great American, A Great Singer, A Great Poet: McCain, Franklin and Rathbun
Joseph Warren, Editor

Jump and move your hips with a feeling from side to side
Sit yourself down in your car and take a ride
While you're moving, rock steady
Rock steady

Aretha Franklin,
Rock Steady

Anywhere between Las Vegas and Reno there is nothing but gas stations, whorehouses, small out-of-the-way casinos, Piute Indian cops running speed traps through broken-down towns set in the desolate Nevada desert, fading Right Wing campaign posters, rusted hulks covered in a patina of dust praying for adoption offered at Millionaire Prices for no reason other than “…I hear’d it’s worth that much”, carcasses of coyotes tracing their final resting places with the umber of aged exsanguination marking the paths of their demise to roadside extemporaneous deaths, bare wood houses decayed and unmarked by paint for decades hermetically containing the remnants of America’s lost souls seeking refuge in isolation living on a few dollars a month, broken potsherds of today’s beer-bottle civilization awaiting discovery and academic conclusions a millennium from now along every foot of roadway, a wasteland of Country-Western AM radio driveling on about jobs and women and nobody-could-possibly-give-a-shit what, stark horizons of rolling nothingness that for two times each day for ten minutes each time takes on a mystical brilliance that is devastatingly beautiful, and finally Reno and the beginning of the magnificence of the Sierras the road winding its way through sometimes ancient forests and mountain passes where the roadway and the soul merge as the speedometer plunges: Embrace the juxtaposition.

Aretha Franklin was our preferred listening pastime from the northern outskirts of Las Vegas, as NPR was dumped unceremoniously by line-of-sight airwaves, to the wooded glens and forests of northern California, on those drives that were more than 1,200 miles without a stop except for those necessary. At a time when my father-in-law was facing the immediacy of his mortality, we made the trip more than I’d like to remember.

Thank God for Aretha Franklin. At 68 years of age, I, like a lot of us, grew up, aged, matured and became enfeebled never missing an opportunity to turn up the volume of any of her songs.
Everything else about her you know. May she rest in peace.

On one of those many road trips, our John McCain (recalling we are Arizonans) was vehemently railing against the Iranian government for capturing an American patrol boat off the coast that had “strayed” into Iranian waters. (We wrote about this in

Subsequent reports, prior to the release of the US sailors, described the “great trauma” experienced by this small group of water-logged patriots as
psychologically devastating, resulting in many of the sailors “crying” as they were being escorted off their wayward patrol boat by armed Iranian personnel. McCain orchestrated this event and he, too, was devastated when Iran nearly immediately released our sailors back to our custody.

It was a ploy, a scam: designed to trigger the ire of America: you know, like 9/11. It didn’t work. It made me smile: The old Warrior was alive and well and thought the Iran deal negotiated by Obama, stunk. I agreed with him, but his plan was far too transparent. I was a Merchant Captain for 15 years with many years before that at-sea: US sailors don’t cry when captured. US warships don’t “lose their way” on the open seas or when near-coastal.
They can’t. And if they did, our Defense budget is way out of line…

I’ll miss McCain: he was a very good American.
Everything else about him you know. May he rest in peace.

It was about the last trip that I became aware of David Rathbun, the poet, and friend to a friend, Bruce Janigian, the writer. We’ve published much of David’s poetry. You may find it handily in this publication. David died too: just a short while ago, from my reference frame, simultaneously with McCain and Franklin.
Everything else about him you may not know. Here’s a brief biography of this very talented man, and, may he rest in peace.

So while everybody’s dying, I read and re-read. Like Nero, fiddling away with books, though, while the world crumbles about me, and reading mostly dead authors, with the exception of Annie Proulx:
Shipping News. At this writing, she’s still kicking.

From the gestalt, the world is not as nice a place without these people in it.

Kingman, Arizona
Joseph Warren, Editor

You get to heaven on the arms of people you have helped.
Jack Kerouac,
Desolation Angels, (quoting Edgar Cayce)

In our masthead we cite “Arizona” as our point of publication. More specifically, our office is located in Kingman in the Historic Cohenour House: you can find it online. After all these years, we’ve decided to add the city for clarification.

Recently, apparently, although we are blissfully ignorant of the event owing to our being “without television” for about 14 years, some poorly read and undereducated comedian who panders to the simple-minded had parodied our hometown and held us up as ignorant and racist. Evidently.

I haven’t Googled it, but I gleaned this information from a cutline on a BBC image carrying a brief mention of the piece. Subsequently, our City’s leadership see it as their responsibility to correct the record, and forge some sort of “reply” directed at someone who certainly doesn’t care, because the simple truth is, people who prey on the ignorance or naiveté of the masses wallow in the added attention, notwithstanding its “Thumbs Up” or down nature. (Perhaps we all know someone whose Twitter ramblings we could happily live without, as an example. I know I do.)

Interestingly, at the same time I was carrying on an email correspondence with a friend and sometimes contributor, Jack Shepherd, a few blocks over in Old Town regarding Ouspensky and Gustave Le Bon on the subject of
Crowd Mentality. (We’ve written about both authors before in this journal, and if you don’t know who these very great thinkers were you may wish to become familiar with their writings).

The effect both writers described, although they could have never foretold the wildly exacerbating conditions prevalent in what we call
Social Media, are spot on today but amplified many times over. Typically, this fevered condition runs its course and evaporates soon enough today as it did one-hundred years past; sometimes though, far more serious conditions erupt ensnaring us in, at worst, death and destruction owing to conflicts between nations stemming from, say, a simple misunderstanding, through to rhetoric intended to foment a reaction for any number of reasons, not the least of which, Economics (see Eisenhower’s warning regarding those who in reality control the machinery of America’s economy).

A very little bit about Kingman (although you can find much more by using our search feature above for this publication): Inasmuch as the Southwest is concerned, we’ve been around for quite awhile. In the 1800s we were a homogenous mix of every walk of life and every ethnicity all working to the same end. Some were better off financially, and some weren’t. (Told you it would be a “little bit.”)

Today, as it is everywhere in the world, it’s the same thing.

Those of us who
Hate with enthusiasm, do so for the very basic reason Sartre outlined in Anti-Semite and Jew, way back when…

They need to
Hate. In doing so, they believe that they are, therefore, above those they hate; when in reality…we are all the same.

By the way, FBI statistics show that Arizona’s
Hate Crime offenses during 2016 (the last year for which data has been published) numbered 291. In California, the mecca of tolerance, the number was 1,142; New York, 598; Michigan, 459, and so on. On a per-capita basis, we’re all about the same. (i.e. The same number of nutjobs distributed throughout the sum of society.)

Most of us in America, I believe, think that “One” event is intolerable. But, given the degree of animosity today, and the anonymous expression guaranteed by Social Media and the unfettered motivation of any cretin to post his or her thoughts, I’m really quite surprised the number in the whole of the United States isn’t far, far greater.

When in Kingman, visit the Kingman Center for the Arts, 208 Beale St. where our co-publisher sometimes exhibits a selection of her original oils. Visit the Power House Visitor’s Center and enjoy the museum and offerings our small town has to offer. Kingman’s a nice place:
You will not encounter any racists.

Read, Sartre’s
Anti-Semite and Jew.
Read, Gustave Le Bon’s,
The Crowd.
Read, PD Ouspensky’s
A New Model of the Universe.
Read Jack Kerouac’s,
Desolation Angels.

Grossman’s Don Quixote: Reading Cervantes as Though it Were the Bible
Joseph Warren, Editor

We’ve gone on about Edith Grossman before regarding her many and beautiful translations of Marquez’s volumes of magnificent prose; so it’s nothing new for us to say that, from our perceptive, there are few writers (or translators) comparable to Grossman. She is, without doubt, the superlative in taking the previously sometimes vaguely-translated word and shaping it into a meaningful script of life experiences and worlds we, perhaps, would never have known.

Through her translation one feels part of the natural immensity and beauty of the story – the life - rather than a nascent traveller stumbling through the landscape of a confused, struggling rendition of boulders, stumps and mud puddles, such as with many of those who interpret the written word from its original language to English. Although long before
Google Translator, it’s as though the original work was machine-translated reading like something akin to the English version of an owner’s manual of just about anything made in China.

Like many, I’ve always been a committed follower of Quixote’s many adventures as
Knight Errant among the landscape that was Spain, and an adoring fan of Grossman’s translations. As ridiculous as it is, though, I didn’t know she had translated Quixote until only a few months ago. Thank God for the Internet and Google, I guess.

The book shows a copyright of 2003: Where the hell have I been?

So after 15 years of delayed gratification, I ordered and read, with immense enjoyment comparable to very few other pleasures in life, the simply titled,
Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes, all 940 pages of this epic. I have flagged it with my little red sticky pointers like a Baptist minister with his New Testament preparing for a Come-to-Jesus free-for-all on a Saturday night Preach-a-Thon. Jesus, I love this book!

Here’s the short version of this superbly translated work: In others the fluidity of Cervantes – the flow, the clarity, the imagery, and the meter of his prose – was lost in awkward, confused, mechanical, academic structure. In Grossman’s version, it moves like a well-choreographed ballet, gracefully and eagerly, leading the reader to surrender to the beauty of the story. From my perspective, this translation must be the culmination of her life’s work: it had to of been. It’s epic.

In this edition you will see things you did not know existed; you will hear things you hadn’t heard before; you will gain insight into both Cervantes and Grossman, such as the passage on Page 873 where Quixote and a “translator” discuss the interpretation of a book,
Le Bagatele, which, tracing the annotation we learn is probably an anagram for the book, Le Galatee by a fellow prisoner of Cervantes, written in 1585.

I know: That sounds like a real
Yawner, but it’s not, because the passage actually details some of the difficulties in achieving translation and the agony and the ecstasy of deriving accuracy, which just about covers what has happened to Quixote for many hundreds of years until Grossman’s book.

Other than this, and other “thrilling” revelations, to those of us who aspire to be thrilled by annotations, the story itself is glorious: far more so than any English translation before.

I was a waning Quixotephile and today, again, I am whole.

By some standards our house may be over-representative of Quixote, ranging from the large 2003 portrait of Quixote taken from Book I, by David Silvah, which hangs over the fireplace, to the various rustic carvings and Lladro figurines of the Knight Errant at various points in his adventures, all too, from Book I.

(Book I is the part of the entire body of Cervantes’ work of
Don Quixote that is most well known, easily recognized, and oft-quoted by the expression, Tilting at Windmills. And, in truth, although Book II was cited as the more magnificent of the books, I did not get it until I read Grossman’s translation.)

If you haven’t read it, you should: you need to. This book ought to be on everyone’s list of
Critical Things to Do Before I Die.

We’ve corralled two of the more unique pieces of art regarding the passion at the center of Quixote’s life,
Dulcinea del Toboso, and are offering these unique originals for sale. (Offers are always welcome by contacting

The first is:
Dulcinea del Toboso at 78 years old
by GL Hill-Warren

Companion cc#1
Companion # - 8


Few loves have matched that which encompassed Don Quixote de la Mancha, knight errant, for his beloved Dulcinea del Toboso, an (idealized) woman of incomparable grace, youthful exuberance, and a distinct beauty deserving of Don Quixote’s undiminishing adoration and commitment. It was a love that he carried throughout his many and various campaigns against evil, misdeeds and during his never-ending promise – his Knight’s Pledge - to bring justice to those who most deserved his attentions.

But, youth, like each ripple of water over stones in a brook, alas, fades, and his incomparable Dulcinea was not to remain the vigorous woman whose soulful love fulminated within Quixote. Many years after Quixote’s sad, reconciled demise, Dulcinea lived on in her last years remaining in El Toboso, Spain, forever recalling that which might have been.

In this wonderful original oil of Dulcinea del Toboso at 78 years old she carries the anthropomorphic Quixote (her “Companion”) in her arms, and always near her heart warming her being and reassuring her soul with the soft pulse of Quixote’s breathing, reminding her that she lived on. The cat, too, existed within the soul of the old woman and took no leave of her - ever: her constant companion in the small kitchen, in the bedroom, and sharing the outhouse whenever it became necessary. They were never apart. People asked, “What will happen to her cat when she passes on?” Those who understood the bond between the two said, “Plainly, The cat will pass unto God with her: it is only right, no?” (Claramente, el gato pasará a Dios con ella: es justo, ¿no?)

And, so it came to pass.

Image: 14 X 18 inches
Overall with faux granite finished frame: 18-1/2 X 22-1/2

(Also available on this site: Sally Logan's watercolor, Dulcinea Post Mortem No. 1)

GL Hill-Warren is the Publisher of and a frequent Editorial contributor to same. She is also the Producer of various shorts and one feature length film referenced on IMDb. An accomplished artist she focuses primarily on the faces of women in the world, lending her interpretation to their sometimes-dire predicament at the hands of Man-made aggression. Her studio is in Arizona. Editorial offices are also in Arizona.

Any similarity of the subject to anyone you may know is only a coincidence: she is a product of GL Hill’s creative mind.

Warren-Hill Productions: a collective of artists and writers based in Kingman Arizona at the Historic Cohenour House.

The second is:
Dulcinea del Toboso Post Mortem No. 1
by Sally Logan
Dulcinea Post Mortem - 9

Dulcinea Post Mortem - 2

Reduced from $3,348 to just $669 (US)

In this painting, imagine the Man of La Mancha converging with the celebrated Dia de los Muertos resulting in the image of Dulcinea pictured, many years following her death, yet still possessing the charm, the elegance, and the passion that remained alight in Quixote’s heart, while he remained Quixote.

From our listing for the original oil, Dulcinea del Toboso at 78 years of old, by Greta Hill-Warren, also available at this site:

Few loves have matched that which encompassed Don Quixote de la Mancha, knight errant, for his beloved Dulcinea del Toboso, an (idealized) woman of incomparable grace, youthful exuberance, and a distinct beauty deserving of Don Quixote’s undiminishing adoration and commitment. It was a love that he carried throughout his many and various campaigns against evil, misdeeds and during his never-ending promise – his Knight’s Pledge - to bring justice to those who most deserved his attentions.

But, youth, like each ripple of water over stones in a brook, alas, fades, and his incomparable Dulcinea was not to remain the vigorous woman whose soulful love fulminated within Quixote. Many years after Quixote’s sad, reconciled demise, Dulcinea lived on in her last years remaining in El Toboso, Spain, forever recalling that which might have been.

Sally Logan carries the image of Dulcinea to its ultimate, undeniable, conclusion.

The first image is of this piece unframed. The rest are of the piece in a Floating frame included with this sale, and in this way the full extent of the image is visible and, of course, lends a matted surface to the picture exactly that of the surface on which it is hung.

Sally Logan is a renowned watercolorist having worked and sold from the Seattle area for many years. During her earlier career Sally was a well-known presence on the stage across the country and in Europe, in both Theatre and Dance from which the manner and expressions of many of her characters are based.

The Batrachomyomachia that is Online Advertising Today
Joseph Warren, Editor

…in this best of all possible worlds…


We tried opening our publication to advertising a couple of years ago by placing codes within that prompted Google to insert ads and, based on the hit rate – the number of times someone clicked on an ad, pay to us some amount of money as a percentage of revenue they, in turn, received from their many, and presumably flush, advertisers.

The problem is that Google, probably like Facebook (although we’ve never had an interest in that medium), and all the others primarily in charge of placing advertising, make no effort to ensure that the ads fit the “publication.” So, for us, next to an article regarding an ever-increasing imbalance in
International Trade would be an ad hawking a cure for Herpes; Slithering after an in-depth look at the potential dangers of MRI exposure would be a touted cure for Baldness: There was no logical relationship between the advertised product or service to that of So we ended it very shortly after it began.

Every month nowadays we entertain from 70,000 to 90,000 readers. That’s probably a lot of lost opportunity from
your perspective, but it just wasn’t worth the defilement. Imagine an advert for a Feminine Hygiene product (with all related graphic mages) suddenly appearing as you turn the page of Voltaire’s epic treatise on Optimism, Candide; A questionable homeopathic treatment involving sliced kiwi fruit for Macular Degeneration in the midst of Thoreau’s Walden; How about a Hemorrhoid cure somewhere in Genesis? It doesn’t work, nor should it. (Please note, we are not comparing our modest publication to any of the aforementioned; it’s just an illustration of how seriously we consider what we do juxtaposed to the advertising offered by Google.)

Last year Google took in more than $4 Billion in advertising – more than twice that of Facebook’s meager $1.9 Billion.

To boost advertising revenue all sorts of gimmicks are employed to give those companies shoveling over vast amounts of money the sense that they are actually benefitting from their actions.

My favorite is the
latent image: Open a webpage, read a sentence or two, place your finger on the section of screen that is “blank” to scroll further downward and you have clicked on an ad that wasn’t yet visible, but was nonetheless coded into the webpage. You’ve clicked; They pay; Everyone’s happy in this “best of all possible worlds.”

It’s a virtual impossibility to draw a convincing nexus between advertising dollar spent and product sales. It’s “Smoke and Mirrors” yet everyone seems content to believe that online advertising generates a return because they (those spending billions of dollars on advertising) have been overwhelmed with graphs and charts and vast data-dumps with compelling visual treatments attesting to their success.

And…somewhere in a secret room in a city in India or a high-rise in New York or a hiply-reconstructed warehouse in Silicon Valley a group of mindless Millennials considers the next great algorithm and related coding gimmick to entice the unsuspecting into errantly placing a finger on the
Great Cash Register in the Cloud.

Look: It’s true that there has never been a 100% connection between
Advertising and Sales, yet never before has it been so nebulous. With the defeat of Print and Television media it’s left those who want to sell us things and services floundering, and looking for any opportunity to throw money at the vexing problem of how to sustain or increase sales and perpetuate whatever it is that they do, and thus the 60% to 70% of our economy traceable to Consumer Spending.

The Frogs and Mice are doing battle and you and I are caught in the crossfire. So, in this best of all possible worlds,
Candide would like to offer a few words about our new product…

Read, Voltaire’s
Candide (or Optimism) and learn how truly wonderful life can be while being so truly horrible.

If you’re going to be a flag waver, oughtn’t you make certain your flag was made in America?
Joseph Warren, Editor

Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last (resort) pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.

– Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms

How about if I sleep a little bit longer and forget all this nonsense

Franz Kafka,

Solar Panels and Washing Machines are subject to a new tariff designed to increase their cost to the consumer and give American manufacturers a more competitive position in the market: I don’t buy that many Solar Panels and Washing Machines during the course of the year. Do you?

Some of my favorite dark reading fiction came from the mind of Kafka:
Metamorphosis, Penal Colony, Castle, Trial, Judgment, Hunger Artist…O yes, and Amerika, one of my very favorites; so many darkly strange and existentially important books that figured absolutely minimally in my perspective of practical life 40 years past save for the occasional bureaucratic encounter. Strange how Kafka’s works have become so fitting and poignant today.

Forget Orwell…we’re way beyond
Brave and New.

Oft-quoted, Kafka remains a figure central to unearthing the irony and hypocrisy in life, and, if known for no other reason, he is at least nearly universally remembered for coining the phrase, “That’s me-esque.”

Little known fact: The Spirit of Kafka is alive, well, and at work in Washington DC as Secretary of Foreign Trade. His job was and remains to implement the policies of our President with respect to trade guidelines with China, primarily, being our largest single trading partner.

During his campaign, you may recall, our President stated unequivocally that the practices in place that had resulted in a constantly-increasing Trade Deficit with China and ensuing shift of wealth from America to China’s government primarily (recalling that China remains a Communist country), had to immediately change to a greater benefit to America.

Here’s what the
New York Times had to say about his position prior to our President’s meeting with President Xi:

Even days before he was scheduled to meet with President Xi Jinping of China, President Trump had yet to abandon his exaggerated election rhetoric on China and trade.

Mr. Trump “is still in the raucous campaign mode,” said James Zimmerman, former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China. “Raising issues such as currency manipulation and the size of the trade deficit may play well to the underinformed base, but not to those that understand the issues.”

So, basically, to be considered part of the New York Times informed intelligentsia, it’s imperative that Americans set aside
Data in favor of the belief that there are no Trade Deficit issues, and thus transfer more wealth to China, an action favored by the American Chamber of Commerce, incidentally, and meeting the NYT definition of a balanced Trade relationship.

At this point it’s important to understand that our goal at is not to persuade our readers to one side of an issue or person, but to give you data when appropriate, and a reference in Literature to help you reach your own conclusions. In print, we neither support nor condemn officials, publications, or practices (with the possible exception of the New York Times, which lacks imagination, intelligence and intellectual flexibility).

Having said that, you may draw from the below whatever you wish: Here are the China Trade Deficit summaries for 2016 and 2017 (through November 2017, since December has yet to be released):

Trade Deficit

From this report, we learn that during 2017 our Trade Deficit with China is likely to far exceed calendar year 2016 by about 10% or $34 Billion.

At whose feet does this vexing problem lay? Who is responsible? Is it our President? Perhaps responsibility rests with Warren Buffet, a self-confessed strong supporter of China Trade, given that the lion’s share of his Berkshire-Hathaway revenue is derived from his holdings in BNSF, the railroad responsible for distributing Chinese-made crap throughout America? Maybe too it’s the fault of all those filthy
Capitalists who have taken advantage of tax and labor ambiguities and allowances, and have relocated their former US facilities to China. How about Trump? Obama? Nixon?

Ironically, no. It’s you.

You (the majority of Americans) insist on buying those things that are made overseas to your advantage, and to assuage your need for immediate gratification and mitigate the despair you feel as your existence seems to become more diluted, and your place in life is liquidated by the growing legion of pretenders in Social Media.

You have no place; you lack spirituality; the angst you feel every day has driven you to the edge.

In a letter to Oskar Pollak, Kafka said,
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. We live in a sea seeming to irrevocably freeze many of us out of life. Alternatively, we become more mired in the vestments or constructs of reality hoping to eek out a single shred of feigned fulfillment.

Some turn to mass violence. Others to mass Consumerism. Some become aberrant in other ways. Some yield to consuming too much food as evidenced by our national obesity rate of at least 40%. Legalizing Pot will do much, of course, to mitigate any sense of responsibility in life, just as alcohol works for others.

In the end, you are always responsible.
There are no victims; there are only the unread and unthinking.

Read Kafka’s
Amerika for a view on our society by someone who had not set foot on our soil. Read Metamorphosis and identify how Kafka’s theme had become the basis of so many subsequent works in an array of genres.
Read Schopenhauer’s
Essays and Aphorisms, a Penguin Classic, if you hadn’t been exposed earlier to Schopenhauer’s insights and logic.

How involved was I when a young man with Kafka’s literature? With a friend, Kurt Hanselmann, we orchestrated a well-attended centennial observation of his birth in 1983 in the Bear Flag Inn in Sacramento. It was, to say the least, Kafkaesque. Only recently have I learned that my dear friend
of the time had passed away in September 2015.

Kurt Eric Hanselmann
Sic Transit Gloria

Unsatisfied America
Joseph Warren, Editor

“Apple,” the grocer said, “orange, candy, banana – no cookies. He’s my boy. Three years old. Not sick. He want may things. I don’t know what he want. Nobody know what he want. He just want. He look at God. He say, Give me dis, give me dat – but he never satisfied. Always he want. Always he feel bad. Poor God has nothing for such sadness. He give everything – world – sunshine – moder – fader – broder – sister – onkle – cousin – house, farm, stove, table, bed – poor God give everything but nobody happy…”

The Human Comedy, from the chapter about Mr. Ara, the grocer

Happy New Year. I thought that the above passage from The Human Comedy might set a more enlightened tone for the coming year by reminding us of the many gifts God makes available to us all every day, yet consistently fail to meet the needs of the growing number of us who seek pleasure and gratification in the acquisition of useless crap that does little more than confound and confuse when raised to the pinnacle place of importance in our lives, while leading to the further denigration of the rest of society and the delicate balance of our world’s environment.

We have largely as a society lost sight of what ought to matter most: humanity – our fellow astronauts on this little spaceship revolving about on our axis at 800 to 900 miles per hour in what we call an
eastward direction, while spiriting at more than 67,000 miles an hour around the sun, and at the same time our galaxy moves away from some others in the universe at more than the speed of light (c) in the vastness of this universe’s expanse encased in the great “Bulk” of nothingness inside...What? The mind of God?

And I can think of few writers who were more immersed in the smelter of America than Saroyan, who through his fictional narratives tried tirelessly to give us something more to think about, to act upon, to share with our fellow man.

Vonnegut said (in his address to the P.E.N. Conference in 1973), “While it is true that we American fiction writers failed to modify the course of (the Vietnam) war, we have reason to suspect that we have poisoned the minds of thousands or perhaps millions of American young people. Our hope is that the poison will make them worse than useless in unjust wars. We shall see. Unfortunately, that still leaves plenty of Americans who don’t read or think much…”

Vonnegut was
wrong about wars: Unjust wars against our fellow man continue and there are plenty of willing participants – both to wage war abroad and at home. It’s sad enough to find ourselves embroiled, or initiating conflict, in other distant parts of our world; it’s sadder still to witness the extent of war being waged at home against those who cannot defend themselves by those who are not satisfied with God’s abundance but seek to garner more and more of the wealth of our country. Like Mr. Ara’s little boy, they don’t know what they want, they only know they want…

We are no longer a smelter: we are an abattoir where the blood and entrails of the weak freely flow to feed the desires of the few – the
One Percenters whose number now includes those who aspire to be among the legion of the thoughtless and inhumane.

Vonnegut was
right about the “plenty of Americans who don’t read or think” but he failed to predict the escalation of ignorance in our country as a result of the Internet and consequent Social Media, bolstered by our increasing reliance on television, YouTube, and the like as a source of “learning.” All we’ve done through the advancement of technology is to breed further stupidity and thoughtlessness.

Generally, Americans don’t read. They don’t write either other than mostly illiterate drivel intended to mislead or confuse or persuade others to support an idea intended to give them more of what they want. These people, very often those who have been elected and are in charge of this once-wonderful country, offer a version of a truth that is nothing more than a lie, but it is a lie believed because as a society we have learned over many decades, that a lie repeated becomes the truth in the minds of the hearers.

Vonnegut also wrote that a visiting extraterrestrial alien after observing us in our native condition might conclude, “Earthlings put such emphasis on truthfulness in order to be believed when they lie.”

So much to consider as we begin 2018: Will we? Or will we do as we have always done? My money’s on the latter.

The Human Comedy. (In titling his epic, Saroyan used the word, “Comedy” as it was used by Dante and others as meaning, “Dramatic.” There is proverbially, much to laugh about, yet much to ponder on a very deep human level.)

Read Vonnegut’s
Wampeters, Foma & Granfallons, a collection of essays and speeches by and about one of America’s foremost fiction writers, short of Saroyan, in my opinion.

Read Dante Aligieri’s
Divine Comedy.

Sweet Potato Pie and Unsolved Black Murders in America
Joseph Warren, Editor

Los Angeles, 1940. Mr. Montgomery, the owner of Florian’s, a black nightclub in the city has been murdered; LAPD lacks enthusiasm in resolving the murder because, according to Detective Nulty, “It’s still a shine killing...” and seemingly just not worth the effort it would take to bring the killer to justice.
Ray Chandler,
Farewell My Lovely

It is Christmas morning, 2017, and I am about to make two Sweet Potato Pies for friends (one for each couple – one Black family and one White) as after-Christmas gifts because we have all agreed not to
begift one another for Christmas, contrary to the elongated tide of the Christmas shopping season foisted on the majority of Americans in an effort to bolster sales of junk made in a Communist country where personal liberties are non-existent, and the attempted exercise thereof is punishable by, at the least, imprisonment.

Take the recent case of French artist, Hu Jiamin and his wife, Marine Brossard who upon completion of a fairly benign mural honoring the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Liu Xiaobo, were taken into custody by Chinese authorities and have yet to reappear. One of many…God save them.

I use a one-pound Sweet Potato for each pie. (Our local grocer stocks, coincidentally I’m sure, yams that weigh a little more than 1 pound each. How fortuitous.) Some recipes will tell you to peel them in advance of boiling, but I don’t. I am inherently a lazy cook. Just cut them into large chunks and toss them into a pot. (My recipe comes basically from a woman who goes by the moniker of
SoulfulT on YouTube: She’s a wonderful woman of incredible magnitude, and you’ll want to have dinner at her house. It’s sort of her recipe, but I’ve made the ingredients more consistent with our tastes.) After boiling the Sweet Potatoes for perhaps an hour (depending on how ferocious the boil), the peel easily sloughs off once cooled with water.

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for 2015 homogenizes much in the way of interesting statistics regarding our aberrant behaviors toward our fellow men, women, and children in America. There are graphs and numbers summarizing just about every heinous act you can think of. As an example, and the subject of this article, is the murder rate for Black Americans, by either Black or White assailants (when known), and the related “Solve” rate.

In 2015 there were more than 15,000 homicides in America. If you are a Black American, you are more likely to be killed by someone wielding a gun. If you are White, your odds are about even – gun or “other.”

Check to see that the Sweet Potatoes are cooked enough by putting a fork into them: check all of the potato chunks. The fork should pass easily into the potato and withdraw without resistance, but don’t over cook them. When done, rinse in cold water and set them aside until cooled.

Black Americans represent a little more than 13% of our population. In 2015 there were more than 7,000 Black Americans killed in our country, of those where race of victim was noted.
That’s just a little less than 50% of all homicides for a little more than 13% of our population. Most, as I’ve mentioned above, were killed by a firearm. About 8.6% of these Black victims were killed by White people, which in itself is both a consoling yet sad statistic evoking mixed feelings, from my perspective, as a White American. In other words, on this Christmas morning I am saddened by the number of deaths, but take some solace in knowing that White people, generally, haven’t waged a major war on Blacks. Besides, ignorant White folks have so many enemies they’re not sure who to kill first – Blacks, Mexicans, Muslims…Alas! So many to hate; so little time.

Once cooled and peeled, break up the Sweet Potatoes and place them in a mixing bowl and use your power mixer to begin blending them. Tanya Waller (aka SoulfulT) shuns mixers for hands believing that Soul Food is best prepared in that manner. (I use a mixer because the action of mixing by hand would likely cause the ash to fall off of my cigarette into the mixing bowl.) After they’re worked down, add – for each one-pound of potato – 1 cup of Brown or White sugar, depending on your preference (I use White sugar and it has nothing to do with this article), 1 stick of butter,
some vanilla extract, 2 eggs (just break them into the bowl), some cinnamon, a little nutmeg, and about ½ cup of evaporated milk. It’s a very forgiving pie to make in that there is much flexibility in how it is compounded.

Roughly 20% of White homicides go unresolved.
It’s about double that for Blacks. Some of this disparity may be accounted for by the fact that Gun homicides are harder to clear – at-a-distance crimes – while more personal types of homicides, such as knives and throttling, are more easily resolved. That’s one way of looking at it, I suppose.

Work the mixture out of the bowl into a piecrust you bought ready-made but formed to look as though it was not from a store. Do this by working the crust edge with your fingers giving it a “Mom made this” look, rather than some sterile, sanitized machine. Place the pie in an oven and bake for about 45 minutes to one hour at 350 (preheated). When the pie rises up and looks like Steve Bannon it’s done (if you can stick a toothpick in it and it withdraws cleanly). The pie will fall to the crust level as it cools and look normal with a nice “Done” color.

Or, maybe it has nothing to do with guns. Maybe it’s more like Chandler opined in
Farewell My Lovely:

“After a while I went down to the lobby of the building to buy an evening paper. Nulty was right in one thing at least. The Montgomery killing hadn’t even made the want-ad section…”

After all,
he was just a shine…I refrigerate the pie before eating, although some folks like it shortly after baking. Maybe we all need to work at respecting life more, Black and White. The world today is no place for division if we are to survive, and you cannot make a Sweet Potato Pie with hate in your heart.

Conjugate, To Grope
Joseph Warren, Editor

If the real truth were ever written about most men in public life, there wouldn’t be enough jails to house them. Lying has become one of the biggest industries in America.
Groucho Marx,
Groucho and Me

Groping and lying about groping. Sexual assault and denying it, then lying to cover up the denial. Men using their positions of office – government, corporate management, or as gatekeeper to fame – to elicit sexual gratification. Men, who in most cases I’ve seen, probably couldn’t get laid on a Saturday night with a hundred dollar bill and a gram of cocaine in a North Beach strip club in the ‘70s. So, now they generate the equivalent for the accused: 15 minutes of fame to an otherwise (perhaps) no-talent or hitherto unsuccessful woman (or man) lost in the existential despair of their life.

To even begin to enumerate all of the men who as of late have been accused of fondling, attacking, or raping disclosed in the last several months would take far too many binary bits. Are these revelations a transient event in our society today, and in the future will we revert to groping allegedly against the will of the
gropees once the dust has settled? Or will the new norm be a standard of behavior that is more consistent with a respectful view of all people?

It’s tough to say. It’s tough to understand, although I am not a Groper.

I occasionally research the accuser when a story comes to light to better understand the background and nature of the person throwing stones to gauge their motivation, since I have to believe that for some (many, most, few?) their intent more than likely is to further their careers through publicity or to seek compensation far and above what they may otherwise have earned doing whatever it was they did prior to divulging their revelation. They all seem
so distraught and tearful as though physical contact (wanted or otherwise) was just something they’ve never experienced before.

In the
2000 Year Old Man, Mel Brooks described why the human skull was so important. If I remember correctly he said something like, “Look: what do you care if somebody comes up and strokes your gentles (genitals): But you don’t want them stroking your brain! You’ll get confused and write a wrong check.”

In some cases, as in one of Senator Franken’s accusers,
Leeann Tweeden, a Google of her with the addition of the word, Nude, will yield an onslaught of images suitable only for anyone who is a licensed gynecologist, exposing everything without restraint, including what Kurt Vonnegut called, “Wide open beaver…”

If you look at the images, you, like me, will think,
What a delicate, little, innocent flower; I can understand why she would be so offended garnering the attention of a male of the species.

Many more fall into the
Leeann Tweeden category. Some do not. I suppose, that because a woman chooses to degrade herself through pornographic images in order to advance her career, that doesn’t give every man a license to attempt to offer her an unwanted kiss. But today we deal out only blanket prosecution without even trying to separate the wheat from the chaff: The bullshit accusations from genuine, predatory acts. So it goes.

Take the case of Heather Endresen, an executive with the now beleaguered
Banc of California in Irvine. From the account provided by the LA Times, Ms. Endresen’s accusations carry both weight and a measure of just how little we seriously value Work in America today. Per her, the management staff at the bank used company funds for off-site strippers, and failed to come down hard (there’s no way around the pun) on those who engaged in in-office sexual trysts. (She makes other accusations, as well.) Ironically, she was featured in a column entitled, Women Worth Watching, which in retrospect given the strip club reference, might have better been titled something else.

Of course, the difficulty we face is that from our
highest elected official and throughout our society we have virtually no actual regard for women, across the board: we only feign belief consistent with an emerging, albeit perhaps temporary, ideal. That leaves us hanging, in a manner of speaking, in a nebulous condition.

My guess: we’ll be back to it again in a couple of years. After all, we didn’t learn from FDR, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton…

So why should 2017 be any different? Goethe said that
we learn by seeking and blundering. Maybe as a society we do; maybe we don’t. Time will tell.

National Institute for Civil Discourse: Changing the World One Pejorative at a Time
Joseph Warren, Editor

But what I’m getting at is this. When a person knows and can't make the others understand, what does he do?
(Spoken by Jake Blount) Carson McCullers,
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Voluble, to say the least, the character Jake Blount is a prominent antagonist in McCullers’ most referenced work. She wrote the book when she was really just a kid, from my perspective, and by some it was heavily panned, while still others heaped approbation on the book. Flannery O’Connor didn’t like it, but she was more than likely a victim of
Literary envy, being another of the South’s great Southern Gothic writers of the era. Kind of a league of powerful women writers passing on long before they ought to have.

The character, Jake Blount was a Communist during an era when Communism, before being so heartily embraced by Americans today through their Consumerism, was held in low regard by those steering America’s industries, seeing it as a threat to their continued survival. Obviously this was decades before today, now that most of our industrialists have learned to
Capitalize on Communism.

Blount is hard-spoken, frustrated, and tends to say exactly what is on his mind. He finds his audience in Singer, a deaf mute. Or thinks he does. In reality Singer confides to his long-time and equally deaf institutionalized friend, Antonopoulos, that he is confused and troubled by Blount’s meaningless and angry ejaculations, to which he patiently listens, lending the appearance of understanding.

Just imagine what this epic work would look like today had
Twitter and other (un)Social Media been available. The pejoratives and profanity would have overshadowed the essence of the message of the book, however simple it may be.

Well we are a country of Jake Blounts. We have lost all civility in the delirium of Politics. Conversation has been lost in the abyss of anger and frustration and hate. We shout to make our point – electronically and otherwise – and we are caught in a downward spiral of civil ruination. There are no longer any checks – no balance to the system.

One organization, the
National Institute for Civil Discourse, proposes to change the maniacal tide of America (and the world – a lofty goal) to bring about a more sustained and even-handed approach to our world, and I, like many of you, applaud that goal.

From their website:

The pervasive decline of civility in our society can be seen in the media, our government and our everyday lives. In Weber Shandwick's Civility in America survey, 75% of Americans report that incivility has risen to crisis levels. When we stop talking with each other, listening to each other and working together to find solutions to our society’s problems, our democracy cannot survive. The open exchange of ideas between people of different views is one of the essential elements of a healthy, functioning democracy.

Ergo, they believe, and I agree, that we are not a
healthy, functioning democracy. Who can argue this?

Visit their site and join their efforts. I will.

Why don’t you write books that people can read?
Nora Joyce (Mrs. James Joyce) to her husband

Husbands and wives can levy harsh criticism: Others ought to find a more constructive approach, although I do agree with Nora…

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. It is a coming-of-age, racially poignant, trashy-white book of the South containing lessons still valuable in today’s world.

Bienvenue en Enfer
(Welcome to Hell)
Joseph Warren, Editor

Hell is empty and all the devils are here
Willm Shakspere (Shakespeare)
The Tempest

November 14 note: Add a little community in Tehama, California...

If it felt that way to Shakespeare more than 400 years ago, one can only imagine how he might describe today’s world: Another mass killing in Texas on the heels of Las Vegas, following closely behind New York, London, Paris…

Of course, these major homicidal events are only in addition to those singular events occurring every day in every part of America and the world. More than 50,000 a year in Brazil; 10,000 in China; 15,000 here; 40,000 in India; 20,000, Mexico; and 16,000 in Russia; along with countless other countries wherein the Devil runs unfettered.

No matter: He’s having a hot time in the United States of America, stimulating enough interest to keep the line forming at the Gates of Hell. Hopefully there is no TSA equivalent.

In America we’re shedding civilized behavior like old skin sloughed from a snake. In fact, it feels much of the time as though we no longer have any respect for decorum, patience, society, manners, or life, itself. We are an American Tragedy far, far greater than Theodore Dreiser could have ever imagined. And we are doomed to this path until something terminal occurs. Seemingly, it feels as though our time is close at hand.

Elon Musk opined the other day that his company,
Tesla, is mired in the 8th Circle of Hell. Dante, in the Divine Comedy, called that circle Malebolge. There is one more level lower and that is the least favored position in the Devil’s Domain: The 9th Circle, as I recall might best be described, in my words, as the Eternal Fires of Hell: something akin to what we’ve all heard described by TV and Movie preachers as Hell Fire and Damnation, which until I realized how sophisticated the Devil is, I pooh-poohed as so much hooey. Allegorically, it isn’t hooey at all.

Tesla sink further into the Fires of Hell finding itself inextricably bound for all eternity to the torments suffered by its fellow residents? Will Musk be consigned to the pit as well? If so, what will happen to the substantial deposits placed by more than 40,000 people who purchased the right to buy a Model X, notwithstanding how stupid an idea it may have been to do so? Did only seemingly stupid people place a deposit toward the purchase of a car that had yet to be made? I don’t know all of them, but, just as others have done with other car manufacturers who had proposed to pioneer in a new or slightly different technology, perhaps.

Elio Motors, as an example: More than 65,000 people have offered up about $28 million in reservations as working capitol to help launch the three-wheeled, gas-burning car, in an era, ironically, of Electric and Self-Driving car innovations. Even my state, Arizona, made substantial legislative changes and agreed to tax concessions to help the start-up move beyond “dumb idea” to reality. Which, as I think of it, is the job of government: To promulgate laws from mostly dumb ideas.

So, people of questionable intelligence in all walks of life have fallen into
Malebolge: Elon has plenty of company.

Elio’s investors interprets to 65,000 additional potential homicidal maniacs frustrated by their possible monetary loss, many of which live in states such as mine, which cherishes the Second Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms Nobody Imaged Possible 250 Years Ago to be Used Against Unarmed Men, Women, and Even Children. Those words are right there in our Constitution. Google it if you don’t believe me. You’ll see the words in white font.

Add the 40,000 additional
customers who made a deposit to Tesla, many of whom are nervously offering up their reservations on Craigslist and elsewhere for as much as they can recover of a potential loss, and we now have more than 100,000 additional likely very upset humans, who, as we know, don’t handle consumer disappointment very well, whether it’s a sauce giveaway at McDonald’s or a lost opportunity at a Black Friday sale at Wal-Mart, erupting into gunplay in the parking lot (or at the cashier’s station).

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Those words sealing the significance of the Statue of Liberty are long forgotten, anyway, cast aside for
Alt-This and Alt-That ideologies that we have collectively permitted, through our own ignorance, to usurp who we were. In their stead, let’s borrow from Dante and affix a new plaque with Hell’s Greeting below Lady Liberty:

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

Yessir! It seems like End Times. All the time now, Ol’ Satan’s a lookin’ down and a-smilin’ his big-ass grin an-a sayin’, I gots me anudder of dem stupid humans. Lordy! Ain’t that the truth!

Read Dante Aligieri’s
Divine Comedy. After being abandoned by Virgil owing to Virgil’s earthly lack of saintly character, Dante is taken to Heaven by the hand of Beatrice. It’s lovely imagery and verse, and until this year, I considered it only a remarkably creative work by a wonderful poet. Who’d of guessed?

Read Theodore Dreiser’s
American Tragedy for a look at a time in America when the Dimensionality of Tragedy was far different from today.

And, of course, re-read anything by Shakespeare.
Henry Five, as I liked to call it was always my favorite. (No one read it better than a friend of mine many years ago, a lawyer named, Lance Rideout: Two or three drinks and he could not be compelled to not give his very wonderful recitation.)

The Good Ol’ Days…Before Hate and the availability of high-capacity, semi-automatic (and fully-automatic) firearms, when you were probably shot by a .32 or stuck with a knife; or if you were Black, night-sticked by a cop, then strung up by the Klan. Ah! How sweet the memory!

Flake Flakes
Joseph Warren, Editor

Today's public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can't read them either.
Gore Vidal

I am frequently amazed at how underwhelming, uninspiring, unimpassioned, and essentially droll many of our career politicians can be when addressing their colleagues, constituencies, and interested others. Take our State’s Jeff Flake, as an example.

Driven for whatever reasons he (sort of) articulated in his address to the Senate, Senator Flake missed the
chance-of-a-lifetime to deliver a speech-in-a-lifetime that might have resounded for both content and passionate condemnation yielding a far greater effect on the American populace than what was in actuality equivalent to a note left on the refrigerator, signaling his resignation. I was not impressed: not owing to substance, because I agree, but the manner in which his very important message was drizzled out like the last of the oil from a cold crankcase streaming slowly into a catch pan under the darkened recesses of my car.

When I think of the many speeches I’ve heard over the many years of my life several standout not so much for their words or subject matter, and not even for their consequences, but for the passion they evoked within me, bringing me closer to the speaker’s mindset and making me a part of his or her idea.

George H. W. Bush –
the real George Bush – was such a speechmaker. From his earliest days in the Senate he never missed an opportunity to give his values and ideals and philosophy of world politics and what was good for the USA a passionate voice; one that made me believe that I was integral to its success.

Sometimes Ronald Reagan had this affect. It’s what made him who he was. His voice, his character, his gestures, his posture, his eyes all lent believability to whatever the topic.

I wasn’t too young to not be affected likewise by Jack Kennedy, as well evidently, because at age 11 or so I joined the 50-mile hike from San Jose to San Francisco because Kennedy said it was what we ought to do. (I made it to Burlingame before being “rescued” by firemen with strawberry ice cream and a phone call to my Dad for help.)

So, is it the words, or the way in which the words are delivered?

In today’s world where Tweeted content abounds and Facebook runs unfettered delivering one opprobrium after another
ad nauseam, any chance to enhance one’s message ought not be missed, particularly when it is a Farewell. Last words ought to be something other than, See yah…

So it’s both, with I believe, manner of delivery having the lion’s share of influence. History apparently agrees with me or those who delivered messages of Hate would not have risen to international prominence presenting us with problems of immense import.

Few writers have even come close to Gore Vidal’s vitality in examining and chronicling and sometimes fictionalizing American politics with wit, insight, and intuitiveness. His writing is far too vast to list here, but suffice to say, Begin with
The Golden Age.

Here’s a video of Jeff Flake underwhelming we Arizonans.

Some Readings of the Sea
Joseph Warren, Editor

O God, Thy sea is so great and my boat is so small
Old Fisherman’s Prayer

Jesus Christ! What the hell am I doing out here!
Editor (at sea): uttered many times over many years

Some great books about the sea…

I fell in love with the sea when I was a boy reading Melville’s
Moby Dick and an assortment of other novels all focusing on the whimsy and wrath of that which encompasses 75% of our earth. It wasn’t until many years later after more than two decades shipboard that I began to fully appreciate the nuances of these, by default, picaresque writings, since it is only by one’s wits that one survives sometimes brutal encounters with the most unforgiving sea.

The latest, and the most interesting read I’ve had in quite some time comes from 1860: Lord Thomas Cochrane’s
Autobiography of a Seaman. Napoleon called him, Le Loup de Mers, or the Wolf of the Sea and it was a sobriquet well-earned by Cochrane whose exploits and tactics set a very high bar at a time when conflict was to be resolved by gentlemanly conduct without deceit. Cochrane, on the other hand, was all about deceit when it came to plying his trade as a privateer in service to the Crown.

And Cochrane, while at sea, was no gentleman, and he employed every rouse imaginable to stuff his coffers full, sharing the bounty of his privateering efforts with crew, Admiralty, and Crown. He made a fortune’s fortune back then, but not without incurring the bureaucratic spite of those who administered Admiralty at the time, and thus Admiralty found new and inventive ways to befoul the efforts of one of Britain’s most successful and inventive sea hunters.

It’s a thrilling read, especially today, and you’ll come away asking yourself,
How is it possible, in light of the many incidences reported in the last few months, that our US Navy is so inept compared to the time of wood and iron and compass? Has technology replaced commonsense and ingenuity?

Yes. To be fair, though, it’s true in all facets of our lives. Self Reliance has been replaced by Selfie.

Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunk Christian
Herman Melville,
Moby Dick

Reading Cochrane’s life story reminded me of one of my favorite Melville books,
White Jacket. (In truth, all of Meville’s writings are my favorites, but as a compliment to Cochrane, White Jacket fits perfectly providing perspective of both both Master and Crew.)

White Jacket is a tale of Melville’s persona aboard a Man-of-War, and touches on all aspects of deck life at the time, including crime and punishment, life-threatening hazards (especially in tempestuous weather), and shares an absorbing view of the daily grind of an ordinary seaman aboard a ship of men from every walk of life and culture and race, ironically assembled for the common service of a single government.

You will generally observe that, of all Americans, your foreign-born citizens are the most patriotic, especially toward the Fourth of July.
White Jacket

Of his other works,
Omoo and Typee as companion books are excellent reads and far superior to his Billy Budd. And for a touch of the strange, Benito Cereno is worth the short while it takes to read through the slim book and gain a little insight into the very creative and macabre mind of Melville when applied to Slavers running the oceans at the time.

Yet, in this world of How-To epistles intended to instruct the unthinking, there is Bloom’s,
How to Write About Melville, in case critical thinking is not your forte. It’s a book about how to think about Melville… (I wonder what Melville would have to say about it? I imagine it would have been something like, Just read and enjoy: they’re tales of the sea, not ontological manifestos.)

Or you could just read Cochrane’s
Autobiography of a Seaman and come away understanding that those who run our government – all facets – are very much the same as they were 200 years past.

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation

Read, Melville’s
Moby Dick, Omoo, Typee, White Jacket; and read, Cochrane’s Autobiography. They’re all essential to comprehending life on the sea.

Also, read, (retired Captain) Joseph Warren’s
The Pirates of Newport, available on Amazon in ebook. If I dare say so myself, it is a fun and fascinating read about a merchant captain (the Editor) having quit the seas for a more stirring and tried profession – Pirating. (Maybe I did…maybe I didn’t.)

Dear Senator McCain...
Joseph Warren, Editor

At me too someone is looking, of me too someone is saying, He is sleeping, he knows nothing, let him sleep on.
Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

John McCain has confessed that the prognosis for his recovery is not good.

I was sad to hear this. I sat looking out the office window this morning here in Old Town Kingman Arizona after reading the news report and thought about him facing death. I face the conscious immediacy of death too, just like so many of my generation today. It’s a sad thought, and after a time today it occurred to me that at this stage life becomes more like treading water than an expansive swim across a very wide river. Many of us want to keep swimming and are not content to merely remain half immersed watching the same trees on the same riverbank. Senator McCain feels that way. I feel that way. So do many of you.

But, for all of us, eventually, death takes us forever under what was the sometimes calm, sometimes rushing water of life.

Senator McCain is no stranger to facing death: so what’s the rub? Simple, really: the years since have softened his heart and put a finer finish to his existence, swirling it in a larger and larger vessel filled with the many more who have come to know him or know of him.

Pull the silvery chain on the stopper of a filled sink basin and the void quickly fills with air as the water drains. Bore a sinkhole in a lake and the commotion, the chaos, the apparent and evident visual loss, the devastation done to the living things that surround it can be catastrophic and take years, if ever, to find stasis.

I was in my 20s when I first read Beckett’s
Waiting for Godot. Life then was a long, long stretch of highway that vanished in the distance behind a blue-gray haze of sky and land: indiscernible, oblique, yet curiously apparent; enough so to bring me to Beckett and Sartre and Ionesco and seek answers so that I might be prepared for whatever lies at the end of the highway. I found none there concerning the end; only how to swim during the duration.

I envy those marinated in Christian dogma. I was, but the years have made me less accepting.
Jaded, we say. It wasn’t until spending several years reading and furiously working to comprehend the world of quantum physics that my life and my death began to make sense: and the smoke and haze on the much nearer horizon cleared.

Each one of us comes to death in our own way. Each one of us must die alone, yet we do not: We are merely returned.

Do I look forward with gleeful anticipation to
returning? I do not. And although he has faced death so many times so many years ago now, neither does John McCain. I share his sadness. I know many of you do too.

I said to myself, 'I want to die decently'.
Jean-Paul Sartre, The Wall

Here is a poem by David Rathbun who has an intimate understanding of the subject

Passed No Passed
Take time. Moment. Desire./Trees us with swells. Branches,/turns across turned shapes./Closings clothed across/cost turns, trust aligned,/called signs yes, made.
Here quiet lived. Cast./All remembered, all alive./Voiced in place and turned in ask,/in question live. Here now. Yes./Yours in gift, mine learned in drift./Open, dwelled, said turns awake.
No. Passed no. Sign filled./Eyes arms, turned last armed/hands, long legs, hard fines./Answers longed in lined days/near. Hear, brushed kindred cast,/born I all us, all I, kinship kind.
Test. Timed. Taken./Memories made main. Shaped./Firm filled each tendered take,/firmed placed cost trust time.Hold, hand, placed last descent./Task trust? Trust time? Held here.
Now take me. Made moments
lost and found. Taken long last
moments fined, alive last lost.
All last you all hilled hand had now.
Dearest, descent delivers last.

List, moment massed, last, passed.

-David Rathbun, New York

Tweets, Posts, North Korea, and Failed Attention Span
Joseph Warren, Editor

I remember the first time I had sex. I kept the receipt.
Groucho Marx

Book readership has fallen off, to no surprise, precipitously over the last year alone. According to the Pew Research Center, last year 72% of America’s adults said that in the last 12 months they had read, on average (read this carefully) at least one book in whole or in part. (Book jacket? First paragraph of Chapter 1?) I would add, speaking to many of my fellow Americans, that 72% of the 72% are patently fibbing, lying, bullshitting the researcher so that they appear at least somewhat engaged intellectually, although sadly they are not.

Anything is better than lies and deceit!
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Here’s the way I see it: As an example, anyone who says they read Tolstoy’s epic
Anna Karenina without taking an intellectual breather of from one to six years somewhere half-way through, is either lying or heavily medicated and managed to mindlessly turn pages while staring briefly at the Rorschach blobs on each page. Same thing for Proust and Things I would rather not remember about things past. They are interesting books from a romantic-historical perspective, but you’d be hard-pressed to draw any useful analogies to the world in which we live today.

On the other end of the spectrum are today’s Twits - those who Tweet and Post: Millennials and others of subsequent generations who in 30 words or less strive to crush our language into an indecipherable abbreviated melange of Twit-Speak that renders them incapable of any other form of written communication. Read any advert on and you will learn that 99% of those placing ads do not know how to spell “Ad” and it doesn’t get any simpler than that.

Why did I lead with Groucho? Because he, like some of you (and us), was an avid reader. He thought that Television was very good for stimulating reading because every time someone in the house turned on the TV he went into the other room to read. We don’t have television and haven’t for more than a dozen years which does much to further our consumption of literature (and even today’s modern writers, to some limited extent).

So what? You ask. Well I’ll tell you: The average attention span has fallen to the point where Americans cannot recall something - an event, a statement, a murder, an act - of extreme importance after more than 24 hours: notwithstanding how personally significant the event, statement, murder or other act might be to that person. “In one ear and out the other” which is fine if you’re not part of the voting public: you know, if you’re a three year old.

Here is an in-depth and excellent analysis of today’s situation with North Korea: an issue which should be at the forefront of our collective consciousness, appearing in the September 25 issue of the LA Times. Through this excellent and quick analysis, if you haven’t figured it out for yourself by now, you’ll come to understand that we are very near an irrevocable situation of life-changing consequences.

You might utter, The potential conflict in North Korea doesn’t affect me! That’s not true, especially if you are in the US Military or
live somewhere near the coast of California, like, say, Los Angeles...

“What’s Trending” on Twitter is an up-to-the-minute assemblage of current inane issues of striking importance as seen by Twitter users and is an excellent gauge of how far up our asses our heads are intractably placed. I will confess that today is my first view of this Twitter page: I had seen multiple references to it and always chose to ignore the link.

So, while the Gates of Hell await, what draws our attention the most? Per What’s Trending:
MacKenzie Sol on Music Monday; Would you want to have a raging boner 24/7?; (Women) We always get attached; Did you guys know sand was a liquid?; Sex robots are out to get us: and the list goes on...

Turn off your TV before North Korea does it for you. Shutdown Twitter and Facebook. Read legitimate news. Read informative books, particularly those regarding the Korean War because, like all wars, we’ve been through this before and the consequences have always been devastating for the whole of humanity.

George Santayana said,
Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. (Sadly, this quote does not show up on What’s Trending.) Mr. Santayana wrote things called, Books: You can Google the word here.

Hate? In a Universe this Beautiful?
GL Hill, Publisher

Man is the matter of the cosmos, contemplating itself.
Carl Sagan, Intelligent Life in the Universe


Cassini took and transmitted this image back to us of Saturn some few years prior to ending its existence just this past weekend. (Cassini, not Saturn.) We are the little dot to the right, just a little more than half-way down the image. That’s us. That’s earth. Wave Hello.

It’s you and me and everyone in Europe and Asia and South America and Africa and…all sitting on this little glob of dirt.

An atheist has to know a lot more than I know. An atheist is someone who knows there is no God.
Carl Sagan, Washington Post interview

I tend to agree more with Einstein who described God as an infinite and pervasive intelligence in the universe, although I am paraphrasing somewhat. And, when I look at the image of Saturn, courtesy of NASA, I am humbled. I am also disappointed in us for so many reasons, and to a nearly incalculable extent.

Look at the image:

Why do you envy that which others, through their own insipid behavior, covet? How can we hate people of a different skin color and, why do they hate us? Why do you reminisce of those negative events that happened in your past when there is an infinite level of tomorrows?

Why do any of us subscribe to a religion that would teach us to hate when this is an image of a very very small part of God’s universe?

Do we need to kill others? Sometimes, unfortunately, when others first believe they must kill us.

Cassini is dead: let’s hope we are not close behind.

Still Motion
David Rathbun

Flowers place stilled earth./ Swells of morning moments time./ Light filling open rise./ Take, above, stirred mine.

All us in broken moved replies./ Roses placed in every sky we make./ Sound we speak, attend, arrived./ Gifted, ours, all in sight.

Ah, a last, waiting sun and touch/ taken as blooms left hands./ We are here, as spread in eyes/ and sound. Ours to pass take.

Leave me and take your lived in yes./ Past we say, luminesce our opened lifts/ in gathered grace. Mouths healing/ all beloved in gently risen tests.

Voice left, stilled motion turned in spill./ Time touched in mornings dreamed/ in dreams in taken openings. Spilled/ blooms, learned of moments timed.

Wake, sun broken lived, past in/ given holds. Color, sounds/ belief we take in mind our faith./ Hands held, hold close, leaned will.

All we hold, lived loved in life of time./ All passed, all homed in arms belief./ Open then, held hearts, timed fined./ Given then our eyes, all stilled, willed.

The Model T, VW Bug, Tesla, and The Wall
Joseph Warren, Editor

The one-eyed man said softly, “Think – somebody’d like – me?”
“Why, sure,” said Tom. “Tell ‘em ya dong’s growed sence you los’ your eye.”
(Tom Joad finds a replacement connecting rod and piston for the disabled Dodge truck at a junkyard. -editor)
Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath

Here on Route 66 we’re very big on Steinbeck’s wonderful tale of destitution, commitment, resolve, defeat, familial bonds, prejudice, fear, xenophobia, adversity, and, from my perspective, practical mechanics. I re-read the book maybe once every-other-year to center my perspective and to better appreciate what modest financial stability I have compared to many of our brothers and sisters (who even today are in need), to that when I was young, during the darker periods of our family’s history, thanking my “lucky stars” as it were (and God) for the relative bounty I now enjoy.

Our little Model T sits out in front of the Historic Cohenour House in which our offices are located. Tourists frequently stop and take selfies in front of the car with house in the background. From inside, we take pictures of people taking pictures.

In 1926 you could buy a Model T in any color you wanted, as long as it was black, for a little less than four hundred dollars.

Four cylinders. Throttle and spark advance on the column. Go forward in first with a foot pedal to the left. Stop with the foot pedal to the right that constricts a band around one of the drums in the transmission. To go backwards, press the center pedal. And to make things more interesting, to go to the highest gear (second gear), push the emergency brake/neutral lever all the way forward. Easy, yes? Henry Ford sold more than 15,000,000 of these things and they remain abundant in America today in varying states of decay. Many, like ours, are nearly
as new as new.

fifteen million record stood unchallenged for decades until Volkswagen, fronted initially by Adolf Hitler with the assistance of Ferdinand Porsche, outsold the Model T with the little Bug’s number exceeding fifteen million in 1972.

Our Model T wasn’t in very good shape when we bought it: it was a derelict vehicle. But after a few weeks and a few dollars and a few busted knuckles, she had returned to a state of grace…until one of the connecting rods started knocking.

The preacher knelt beside the wheels. “What can I do?”
“Nothin’, not right now. Soon’s the oil’s out an’ I get these here bolts loose, you can he’p me drop the pan off.” (Tom) squirmed away under the car…
Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath

Nearly everyone to the West of Oklahoma feared the “Okies”. They threatened the economic and social stasis of America’s growing Western ideologies. They were visually different and spoke with a strange accent. They would work for a lower wage. Their young were “criminals and rapists”. They increased the burden on local and state government by sending their children to school and seeking medical help for which they frequently could not pay.

As I shimmied under the Model T I thought of the Joad family and their long trek West through all forms of hardship, including sickness, death, childbirth, starvation, and yet with a determination few if any of us possess today. So many passed through Kingman on their way west to their inexorable destiny. I dropped the access panel and examined the connecting rods: Number One was loose as a goose and had been replaced somewhere along the line with the wrong rod: babbitted for a standard crankshaft rather than one that had been taken down. I removed the con-rod cap and filed it to fit: it took a few different fittings but it snugged up nicely.

To try to stop this burdensome and threatening influx, California built a veritable
Wall from their State Police reinforced by local authorities. There was only one problem: California Agri-Business needed cheap labor – the cheaper, the better, to keep vegetables and fresh fruits supplied to California’s canneries, housewives, and restaurants. Sound familiar?

I had an email conversation with the CEO of Arcimoto last year. His company has been working for quite some time to develop an electric vehicle of small dimensions at a cheap price that meets the needs of a Seattle-type consumer. In other words, like no one else in America. I had, in my own subtle way, suggested that he change the approach to that of a more conventional car with a reasonable range in which people could put things they bought, and sell it at a cost that nearly everyone could afford: Kind of a Ford-Hitler approach.

Still struggling, Arcimoto will probably remain in Prototype mode until they deplete the kindness of the many strangers who have contributed to this mis-guided startup.

I didn’t have a suitable pan gasket for the access panel so I made one out of cork and Permatex. It took a little while but it sealed up nicely. After it setup I poured the oil I had collected in a bucket back into the engine. I thought of Tom Joad.

Tesla’s blinded by the
kitsch of today just as is Faraday Future, the EV division of Chevrolet, Nissan, and the many others who seek dominance in the struggling Electric Vehicle industry. Everybody wants to build a car that every middle- to high-end consumer will eagerly consume. Apparently, nobody in that industry has the slightest understanding of history.

They crawled out and poured the bucket of oil back in the crank case. Tom inspected the gasket for leaks. “O.K., Al. Turn her over,” (Tom) said. Al got into the car and stepped on the starter. The motor caught with a roar.
Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath

So did my Model T. The rod knock was gone.

We’re not moving (back) to California. For us it’s a “God Forbid” scenario. Nor are we planning on selling our Honda Insight that achieves about 55 miles to a gallon to buy an over-priced, short-range Electric Vehicle that does not do what it must do to achieve market dominance, for the sake of buying something with an ostentatious marque. I’ll wait until someone gets it right.

Read John Steinbeck
’s Grapes of Wrath. And when passing through Kingman Arizona, stop at the Powerhouse and Route 66 Museum: The Steinbeck exhibit is essential to understanding an important time in our country’s life. And for God’s sake, learn a little History so you’ll stop doing the same wrong things over and over.

I remember when we were a country of Dreamers...

¡Let the Revolution Begin!
Ché Warren, Editor

Where a government has come into power through some form of popular vote, fraudulent or not, and maintains at least an appearance of constitutional legality, the guerrilla outbreak cannot be promoted, since the possibilities of peaceful struggle have not yet been exhausted.
Ernesto Ché Guevara, Guerilla Warfare (1960 edition)

In a recent LA Times article the reporter Jesse Walker posed the question, “Are we headed for a second civil war?”

In an earlier article, below, I had reviewed Daniel James’ biography of Cuba’s infamous revolutionary, otherwise ne’er-do-well commander to Fidel Castro, ex-Argentine, and voted by history as
Most Likely to Not Take His Own Advice, Ernesto Ché Guevara. At the conclusion of our article I mentioned that I had finally decided to order and read Ché’s not-so-epic work on Guerrilla Warfare entitled, simply, Guerrilla Warfare.

But first: The
Motorcycle Diaries by Ché was exceedingly entertaining and I’ve probably read the slim account of his journey through (mostly) South America with his long-time acquaintance, Alberto Granado, many times over for the whimsical insight and innocent observations of the very young Guevara.

In the
…Diaries, laden with testosterone Ché and Granado set out to explore South America and learn first hand about the people and places comprising their America, not unlike many of us did (and do today) to sate our intellectual thirst and better comprehend the depth and splendor of our America’s diversity, foundation, and hopefully get drunk and laid in the process. It’s somewhat satisfying to know that Capitalism’s archenemy for many decades now, long post-mortem, was primarily driven by the same fundamental Maslowian impetus. It’s a sometimes funny and always entertaining book. Read it for the adolescent debauchery and troubled-tour on Granado’s 1939 Norton motorcycle ironically bearing the moniker, El Poderoso (essentially, the Powerful One). But, on to the more serious issue of our coming Revolution…

Guerilla Warfare is basically a very uninteresting look at Guevara’s collected thoughts and strategies, not unique or novel in their approach to what one might conjure as important in field warfare if one had never lifted anything more than a rubber band gun as a kid playing Cowboys and Indians in the backyard.

There are two illustrations of interest: The first identifies a method of firing a
Molotov Cocktail by use of a rifle and looks especially suicidal, and the second, my favorite, illustrates Target Practice whereby a compañero holds a target to his side while his fellow revolutionary takes aim…

Che - 1

The manual contains what Guevara saw as significant strategies and logistical requirements in order to wage a successful insurgency, which he failed at many times over following the Cuban revolution, a revolution that in all fairness wasn’t much of a war given that (the very despicable) Batista bailed on his country, having (further) raided the treasury and removed himself from danger and reprisal.

The book isn’t worth reading. I’m not the first to say that and apparently, like Ché, I paid no attention to what others had said and what I probably already had guessed.

So, is America on her way to a second civil war?
Of course not: The one truism of Guevara’s concise manual that leads this article sums it up well: Where a government has come into power through some form of popular vote, fraudulent or not, and maintains at least an appearance of constitutional legality, the guerrilla outbreak cannot be promoted…

And, while there may be many of us who object to our current situation, the reality is that a semblance of Democracy remains. As well, we’re all too invested in government for too much of our support for the majority of us – America’s corporations especially - to risk such a fundamental change in how we live. But, if things go south, I’m ready to lead the way (if you don’t mind being the one to hold the target).

Read, The Motorcycle Diaries. It’s entertaining and will give you much insight into the real Ché: the Ché who preceded Ché, El Segundo a Fidel: colorful, well-humored, normal...

Sometimes (it seems like) a Great Notion
Joseph Warren, Editor

I’m just as concerned as the next guy, just as loyal. If we was to get into it with Russia I’d fight for us right down to the wire. And if Oregon was to get into it with California I’d fight for Oregon. But if somebody—Biggy Newton or the Woodworkers Union or anybody—gets into it with me, then I’m for me! When the chips are down, I’m my own patriot.

Ken Kesey,
Sometimes a Great Notion

One of my favorites from a time in America when many of our writers had embarked on a trek of creation that followed no preconceived literary laws and, like Ireland’s Joyce before them, struck out to cut trails to destinations wholly their own: a literary nirvana, a place in history of the written word distinctly their own with a style and allusions that convey a great story and yet move serendipitously or intentionally to a much deeper level.

Kesey’s epic has been termed difficult to read by some who may be prone to stagger through complex references and split-time sequences. I understand. It’s not the most difficult book to read, but it is complex and yet at the same time, remarkably simple. That’s the beauty of
Sometimes a Great Notion.

Like many of you, too, I tend to see the analogies in everything I read (or perhaps they are constructs that help me to better appreciate the story) reading more into it than the author had intended, and
Sometimes… is no exception.

It’s a story describing in
sometimes painful detail the evolvement of the Stamper family to its (then) present-day keystone position in the Oregon Lumber industry, and through their actions at a critical time owing to a union dispute and under-handed negotiations have quite literally brought the balance of the county, the majority of whom depend on the same industry to feed and clothe their families, to their economic knees.

‘Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls,’ he tolled sonorously through his dirty handkerchief; ‘it tolls for thee

It tolls for horseshit, contradicted a thinner voice from a grey beard at the back of the bar…

Sometimes a Great Notion

They are all rough and tumble Lumber people imbued with characteristic behaviors not unlike Americans today. And then there is Leland, a psychotic, deluded, revenge driven, “repatriated” sibling torn early from the Stamper family by his very problematic mother and lifted to the East Coast to be immersed in a life of privilege and academia.

Who’d of thought that Kesey would have written such a poignant book about the United States today?

If you’ve read the book, then it isn’t difficult to adopt the allusion that the Stamper family is strongly analogous to the economically privileged of our society today, especially so if we allow our minds to draw an analogy to the story’s patriarch, Henry Stamper – a grumbling, bull-headed, ignorant, backward, deluded man of advancing years, to someone in a position of supreme power and influence right now.

Through Henry’s actions, the balance of Wakonda, the fictitious community in which the story is set, suffer hardships and deprivations owing to the abysmal imbalance of Stamper interests. Notwithstanding heartfelt pleas of reason, the community’s basic needs are set aside again and again to the financial benefit of the few. And of course, the rain continues to fall: it
is Oregon, after all.

Henry’s chief desire, really, is to
Make Wakonda Great Again, at any expense, and by uplifting his family’s fortunes. All the while, though the Wakonda river continues to erode the foundations of the long-standing Stamper home, perched precariously on the edge. (Get it? Of course you do...)

Who is the psychotic Leland in today’s America driven by the lust of revenge? Well there are so many from which to choose…take your pick.

Sometimes a Great Notion, and here’s a tip: it’s several books in one. If you need to, read the primary narrative without parenthetical storyline; read the parenthetical all the way through; then read the whole damned thing again. It’s worth it. Kesey didn’t write it without re-reading it himself several times over. Why expect to walk away ingesting the full beauty of the novel with one sitting?

Oregon and her ubiquitous rain reminds me of
William Machaelian, Salem’s resident poet:

The day they find

And then the day they find
letters on bone,

and wonder
at this race now gone,

whose very ink
was blood.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em
Joseph Warren, Editor

Just what do you mean by a dope doctor, Mr. Grayson?

I mean a doctor whose practice is largely with people who are living on the raw edge of nervous collapse, from drink and dissipation. People who have to be given sedatives and narcotics all the time. The stage comes when an ethical physician refuses to treat them any more, outside a sanatorium. But not the Dr. Almores. They will keep on as long as the money comes in, as long as the patient remains alive and reasonably sane, even if he or she becomes a hopeless addict in the process. A lucrative practice…

Raymond Chandler,
The Lady in the Lake

Chandler wrote this epic Phillip Marlowe novel in the mid 1940s. As in all his writing, it was clear, distinct, riveting and as poignant today as it was then about 70 years ago: we’re still killing one another through conventional means like guns and knives and hatchets and pipes and all of the other little weapons in my Clue set when I was a kid, and today we’ve added new and interesting variations like brutally attacking the weak of spirit and mind on Social Media to willfully drag these fellow humans below the surface of despair to trigger a suicidal reaction. Compassion today has clearly been shackled by links of chain and thrown into the dark sea ten miles off shore.

When Chandler wrote this book there was addiction in America: we were addicted to the same drugs derived from the same root chemicals we are today and for the same reasons. We seek escape from our lives and look to the easiest conveyances to lift us out of the gritty angst many of us feel day-to-day as we become mired in the tediousness of life waiting for the final exit call, disillusioned by the presumption of failure in one form or another.

Today, just as then and
before then, we consume alcohol, opioids, marijuana, and other drugs procured through those who advantage from our addictions: the Pushers who wear suits and run the world’s Pharmaceutical companies, the physicians and other professionals who feed America’s Health Care industry, the people who oversee the Health Care Insurance companies like Stephen Hemsley of United Health Group whose personal income ranges upward from $60 million per year (a figure many Cartel Jeffes would envy), the “illegal drug” Cartels themselves, the street pusher, the saloon owner, and others.

And, just as in Chandler’s
The Lady in the Lake, murder and mayhem truly does follow. More than 90 Americans die everyday from opioid overdose, prescription and heroin, according to the CDC.

We’ve written extensively on the subject of addiction before. Read,
Selling Addiction, below. As our Hebrew brothers might say, En kol chadásh táchat hashámesh: There is nothing new under the sun.

Read, Chandler’s
Lady in the Lake for the intrigue, and its hard-punching and pistol whipping narrative. And while you’re reading it, if you’re not a smoker, you likely will be by the book’s conclusion. And we’re not talking a pack-a-day habit here…I’m surprised Marlowe could stand upright.

Here’s another piece from one of my favorite poets, David Rathbun, New York, to remind you that life is not something to be avoided by salving the mind with chemicals, but embraced for the beauty and wonder it holds.


Tenderness, time we hold.
Touching, time tenderness.
Spread in all we take,
still open, found in touch.

Bound as given gift.
Kindness taking found.
Opened eyes in broken kind,
all taken timed, alive.

Lined known, we know,
those filled lined last
in days awake we make.
Spilled touch in telling wake.

Loved, aligned we told,
caressed, signed loved.
Those closed our touched
in all touch, time, life lived.

Lived in stand we still,
our kind in living lined.
In children, touching trust,
days granted open yesterdays.

Our broken rests in touch
ask of our touching stands.
Asked, our human sensed,
in all our final opened finds.

Kind, a child’s yes last live,
loved kindness time aligned.
Frail all in people’s open find.
Ours all, timed mine, touch last.

The United States of Alzheimer’s
Joseph Warren, Editor

“We are living in the United States of Alzheimer’s. A whole country has lost its memory. When it can’t remember yesterday, a country forgets what it once wanted to be.”
Studs Turkel

A number of years ago I began reading Turkel as a component of my undergraduate education in a subfield of Sociology. Over the years I’ve amassed an extensive collection of (I think) everything he wrote, or better, encapsulated into coherent beginnings and endings of stories told to him about everything from the Great Depression to Death to Working to...all voices of Americans the way we were.

Through his conversational chronicles he brought to me an America I understood, since although my Father was of generations of Americans past, my Mother was only once removed from Italy. She was just like many Americans today.
Her Mother and Father were just like many Americans today. They spoke little English to the very end. She grew up bilingual - Italian and English.

They came here to have a better life, and they had thus given me
and my siblings better childhoods. (I’ll confess to being not so convinced as of late that a better life doesn’t exist somewhere far removed from the USA today.)

Today under our current leadership my mother would not have been allowed to stay in this country unless she possessed some skills critical to American Industry and spoke English.
Your parents or grand-parents or great... would have been turned away too. In fact, had the American Indian imposed similar requirements on the pasty white people landing at Plymouth Rock, and enforced the law as savagely as we do today, it would still be a country of aboriginal peoples.

Be that as it may, this is more a story about two Salvadoran boys who have been deported for following the law after reporting to their local ICE office to inform them of an impending change of address owing to a scholarship one brother had received for his talent in the field of soccer and for his to-date academic achievement.

The two young men, Lizandro and Diego Saravia were ripped away from their mother and siblings and sent to El Salvador having lived here fearlessly, hopefully for many years.

Although the story is quite popular as of this writing, here’s a link to the BBC video so that you may have a keener insight into the harmful nature of the ignorance too pervasive in our country today.

Me personally? I’ve just about had it with stupid white people,
and I’m white. I can only imagine what some of our brothers and sisters of color are thinking about us today. I can only imagine what Studs would have said. In fact, I think I know what Studs would have said to your president: read the quote from Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, below

My! How things have changed
Joseph Warren, Editor

“Go ____ yourself!”
Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

It’s amazing how things have changed in the last several years from 1939 to today where the verb missing from the quote above has become so commonplace that even our president and his spokespeople feel free to use it in a myriad of its conjugations, without hesitation or retraint.

It’s not that I don’t use/think the word myself having spent a good number of years at sea where it is interjected into
any polysyllabic to add two very useful additional syllables to a word for emphasis, it’s just that I expect something more or different from our leadership. (I don’t know why the ___ I should, though.)

Perhaps that is why this summer I have fallen off my developmental reading and resumed re-reading American classics. Earlier this summer I set aside Bruno’s
The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast after having “enough already” from his De Umbis Idearum (Shadow of Ideas), and re-read Daniel James’ biography of Ché Guevara, as a reminder of how mankind can uplift an otherwise dismal failure to the status of hero, thinking of Thomas Carlyle’s epic writing (and how it reminds me of someone in a position of power today whose name I do not utter):

The Poet who could merely sit on a chair, and compose stanzas, would never make a stanza worth much. He could not sing the Heroic warrior, unless he himself were at least a Heroic warrior too.
On Heros, Hero Worship…

In Guevara’s case, he was to many a hero who had lived a hero’s life, although his successes were few and his failures too numerous to recount. (In reality, Cuba marked the zenith of his accomplishments while all after fell into the category of disastrous, as did much of what came before.) But, like everything else I’ve read on the man, it is entertaining and instructing. So much so, in fact, that I am awaiting a copy of his book, Guerrilla Warfare, which has nothing to do with primates flinging poop at one another.

And no, there is nothing instructional about Chandler, but like Dashiell Hammett it does give us a glimpse into a simpler time in America when everyone was pretty sure the world was going to hell…too, about 100 years ago. So I went after a few of Chandler’s more well known works having in the past only read,
The Big Sleep. They are very high on entertainment value still and written far beyond today’s (for the most part) miserable mass-market fiction of poor literary quality.

Come to think of it, the Chandler quote above reminds me of Henry Miller’s comment on Dick Cavett, I think it was, many years ago, when he commented on our increasing sexual promiscuity during the 1960s when he said, “We did just as much ___ing back then, don’t you know; we just didn’t talk about it as much.” Perhaps that’s why I have always enjoyed his writing. What could be more refreshing than
Tropic of Cancer, other than Black Spring or Tropic of Capricorn? Or as I might have said years ago, “...more re___ing-freshing?”

Read Chandler’s,
Big Sleep for a break in politics.
Read James’ great and intensely detailed biography on
Ché Guevara.
Read Thomas Carlyle,
On Heroes, Hero Worship and the Heroic in History.
And if you think you’re not being challenged enough on the subject of Heresy, read Giordano Bruno’s The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast.

Better yet, read this wonderful poetic contribution from David Rathbun, New York (and see
Ash Homes, following):

Touch Blessed

Definitions come alive. Lived
we all have lost, aligned left,
those long last. Hands we hold,
here, as gived, last loved alive.

Touch me, dear, our time, our still left held. Here, the memories of sense,
eyes alive, arms touched high held here.
Stained last of head, born us, turned.

What would we give in voice and time?
Touch blessed, pieced part asked, known?
Stained stringed, strained as cost. Lost, time.

Ah this gift of timed in tests, guest lived
in loved alive. All emptiness revealed
stills far, endures held all. Home staid.

Lost shared our hands, our lives endured, held purpose lived. You, all, begun in cast.
Time we need, timed out assigned to last lived.
Cost we know, just gived where all lives rest.

Dark take me, yes broken darkened real.
Stand here, and all where given gives its all,
all here, in all received in now and ends.
Wear moments sing, left love, dense cast.

Ash Homes

Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.

I began the day thinking about these words from Hemingway when I was reminded of a poem I had received from someone else. I thought the poem was worthy of this journal, as it now has become having loosed ourselves from the burdens of Politics, focusing more on the realities of life. It is a recent poem by David Rathbun.

Ash Homes

Ash homes deeply filled in skill.
Light, yes sun, moved gently aired
spilled new. Timed gifts, time.
Here, windows live, tilled all.

Loved, yessed always, past gifted here in shed to all. All lived in days held still, and long, and here loss known.
Time gained, spilled learned, long loved.

Dears, divines, all test, blessed, giving
moments gifts. Doors opened real, all movement ours, sons lived, mind, family, all born, mine yours.

Life willows here touch last lawns,
streams open laugh and trust.
Trees filled draws of lawn touched
memories filled streams and swells.

Skies we share, grass learned all years
passed always, here now lived our last.
Tendered breadth perhaps, each open
eyes and thoughts blessed law aware.

How much gift we take each morning
branched in granted time. Brush dreams,
here held our home, touched promises of last. Call us, our small shared days.

Tilled mornings touch all memories.
Timed lived alive now loved. Signed slips
we know, stand taken, full filled. Picked
then, we say, paled, prayed, past taken.

The Souls of White Folk
Joseph Warren, Editor

The papers were very bad reading. Everything was going very badly everywhere. I sat back in the corner with a heavy mug of dark beer and an opened glazed-paper package of pretzels and ate the pretzels for the salty flavor and the good way they made the beer taste and read about disaster.
Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

A friend of mine, and occasional contributor to this journal, Jack Shepherd, recently wrote to tell me that he has stopped watching the
News on television. I had told him years ago to shut off the television for good – to violently jerk the cable from the wall and save the expense and exposure to the profluvium of madness carted over the airways into his household. (We stopped 14 years ago. It was as though we had unplugged from the Matrix, to liken it to something more contemporary than Hemingway.)

Today I get my
News from the Internet picking and choosing which to read based on my preferences, less of which each day is concerning Politics. My Ad Blocker takes care of most of the silliness programmed into sites and I tend to stay with the BBC, NPR, and the Arizona Republic anyway, all of which tend not to be too insulting.

I also try to focus my time on reading referrals from others, and am especially enthusiastic about lesser known poets and writers who by virtue of style or the very genre in which they write, are excluded from popular publications: not fitting a marketable mold, you see. It’s the primary force of Capitalism on writing, and some part of me finds it understandable. Some part of me loathes this influence.

Herein lies the tragedy of the age: not that men are poor - all men know something of poverty; not that men are wicked - who is good? not that men are ignorant - what is Truth? Nay, but that men know so little of men.
W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk

My slim little volume of Du Bois’ Souls… is short on pages and very long on commentary, particularly so when looking at America today. Consider Du Bois’ comment:

Either America will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States.

A pithy summary reflective of the way many of us feel today. We feel and we think that we may be on the edge. Perhaps we are.

I began with Hemingway because this summer just seemed like a good time to revisit my youth: sometimes I can remember precisely where I was when I read
that chapter and what my Mother and Father – long dead – were doing while I took a voyage in time to another place and learned what adults did in their spare time. (If this was a text or an email (and I was an idiot) I’d put a little smiley face back there at the end of the sentence.)

Sometimes too when revisiting literature of the past one gleans more from the content: as an example, being inherently lazy back then I didn’t really care who the characters Bill Gorton and Robert Cohn in Hemingway’s
The Sun Also Rises were. Turns out, both were very interesting people – associates of Hemingway and well known to the world of literature then, although perhaps a bit déclassé today: David Ogden Stewart served as his model for Gorton (he was involved, or chiefly wrote the screenplays for Prisoner of Zenda, Philadelphia Story (not that one), and many, many more).

Cohn was in reality based on
Harold Loeb whose real life role was much like Sylvia Beach’s at Shakespeare and Company – the original Paris bookstore by that name: a hangout for Stein, Hemingway, Fitzgerald and everybody else you’d like to have dinner with today. (Someday I’ll have to review Alice Toklas’ wonderful autobiography…)

The reason I raised Du Bois to a topic of discussion is because of events in Minnesota the other day when a young woman – Justine Damond – was shot and killed by a local cop, Mohamed Noor, a fairly recent immigrant from Somalia, if I recall correctly.

I have read every account since learning of this tragedy, from every side possible, and have yet to make any sense out of it. I’m sure you have wrestled with the unreality of it all, too.

Ms. Damond was strongly reminiscent of my wife (our publisher, GL Hill), and I was drawn to try to understand how a pretty, blonde woman can report a probable incident near her home to the police, then meet the officer to assist in identifying the potential criminal, while wearing her pajamas, and then be shot dead by a second officer in the same car in the passenger seat. Reality has left me disconnected.

Last night it occurred to me that I cannot dismiss the event as lightly as others, I am ashamed to admit, because she was a pretty, blonde woman whose soul was apparently devoid of evil, just as many of the souls of Black men, women, and children have been who have been shot and killed by our police this year and last, in a never-ending escalation of fear-violence.

The many, many Black Americans who have been killed did not remind me of GL Hill to the strength and depth Ms. Damond does. I didn’t say, “That could have been Greta…” because I could not make the connection in my mind, notwithstanding how enlightened I may perceive myself to be. I have promised myself to never intellectually dismiss the death of an innocent, regardless of the presence of pigment and the coarseness of hair. I know better, but I did not
know better.

Dream at the Asylum

Have you ever wondered how, no matter where you are, your dreams are able to find you? They’re not always in your head. Dreams can enter through bolted doors. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve heard them roaming the corridor. They cling to a person’s clothes, like dust, or fingerprints, or mold. Many are shared, like germs passed from host to host — even this one, which finds me holding up my poor dead father, who has returned, and is too weak to stand. Sit down, my friend. Sit down. Tell me, why have you come back again?
William Michaelian, The Asylum Poems

Thank God I found a respite from my contemplative angst owing to the writer, Bruce Janigian whose recent mail pointed to a lesser-known and very talented poet, William Michaelian, who resides in Salem, Oregon, a town I like very much for its coffee shops and the Book Bin – a vast repository of esoterica, antiquarian, hard-to-find, and modern literature.

Mr. Michaelian has several published works, but I spent a few hours
reading through his site here at Recently Banned Literature. It has been drizzling on and off all day, finally giving us in the north of Arizona a reprieve from the never-before-seen sweltering temperatures of the last three weeks or so. The sky and the view is reminiscent today of Salem to me. It was a perfect day to read Mr. Michaelian’s poetry and to put the insanity of the world into another room and lock the door tightly.

Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.

Foolish as it seems, our loved ones
will pretend to understand —
and for that, we will always pity them.

If you haven’t lately, revisit Hemingway, Du Bois, and avail yourself of Mr. Michaelian’s very accessible poetry.

There is no Global Warming: It’s just hotter than Hell
Joseph Warren, Editor

Who shot him? I asked. The grey man scratched the back of his neck and said: Somebody with a gun.
Dashiell Hammett, Red Harvest

It’s hot everywhere in the Southwest. It’s hot here in our hometown. We’ve set days of record temperatures along with parts of California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Texas and elsewhere, while we languidly await the coming monsoon season in Arizona that typically brings anywhere from
Some to a Great Deal of relief depending on the nature of the meteorology for that year.

Every morning I half expect Virgil to guide me through the circles of Hell eventually leading me to the core of the abyss – beyond Malebolge – while I tread delicately around the rim of the final inferno casting my gaze across the sea of humanity lost in flames of eternal damnation, or are those just my neighbors waiting for a bus?

Staying cool and hydrated is the trick, and a difficult trick for me as I enjoy working out-of-doors, than in. GL Hill’s studio is inside. Mine is a space consisting of indoor and an outdoor area where I weld metal sculpture. I welded a bit yesterday when the mercury hit 104. That was an experience.

So to stay cool and confined I’ve taken to reading a collection of Dashiell Hammett’s classic mysteries:
Red Harvest, The Dain Curse, The Maltese Falcon, The Glass Key, and The Thin Man. That’s five of the most entertaining books, requiring no intellectual effort, yet packed with great writing, wonderful plots, and an assortment of characters the likes of which have not been seen publicly for decades, in a fashion. In reality, The Glass Key is a very entertaining look at Politics then - circa 1920s - and easily analogized to today. Some things never change, including those who rise to power in Government, whether they may or may not be “Whack Jobs” per John Podesta.

I haven't laughed so much over anything since the hogs ate my kid brother.
Red Harvest

Like many of you, when I was a kid I was completely taken with Bogart’s rendition of Sam Spade: hardboiled, arrogant, tough, dismissive of adversity, incorruptible, independent, unobliging, unassuming…

Hammett wrote him well, and the movie,
Maltese Falcon, follows the book to the letter. That’s why it’s so much fun to re-read (or read) and makes it possible to hear Bogart’s voice in every line Spade delivers, along with Cairo (Peter Lorre), Gutman (Greenstreet), Brigid (Mary Astor) – what a dish – and the rest of the extraordinary cast.

Some years ago I latched onto Hammett’s “You’re a good man, sister,” a line Spade delivers to his never-tiring secretary, Effie, of the same caliber of old school consort as Della Street. I used the line when I remark about something GL Hill has said or done that I thought was remarkable. From any other woman I get a strange look, so I reserve that highest of accolades only for GL.

Where have all the Sam Spades gone? I don’t know. I think society has caused most of those who might have been inclined to that personality to adopt a different persona, believing that Spade-esque behaviors are inappropriate in our changing world of neutered males, and women, the beneficiaries of said previously removed testicles.

While we no longer talk politics in this journal, I will mention that John Boehner, our former Speaker of the House, seemed to me to be a remnant of the same era and influences as I. No great mystery since he’s the same age, yet his attitude and perceptions are remarkably kindred. As an example, on being asked if he had an interest in returning to politics some few weeks ago, he remarked that he was too happy with his current life of mowing the lawn, smoking cigarettes, and playing golf. (For me
Golf is a daily visit to the gym and the aforementioned working outdoors. I still love tobacco.)

Boehner even looks like what I would conjure as Sam Spade had Bogart not played the role so well.

I haven't lived a good life. I've been bad, worse than you could know.
(Brigid O’Shaghnessy) Maltese Falcon

Now, what man wouldn’t like a good-looking dame like Mary Astor to utter those words as an entry soliciting your help?

Look: It’s hot. Read something light and refreshing. Read all five of Hammett’s wonderful books written long before the minimum a publisher required was a crap-load of filler. (All five won’t take more than a few days.)

The heat can’t last forever.

She stared at him dully and said: “I don’t like crooks, and even if I did, I wouldn’t like crooks that are stool-pigeons, and if I liked crooks that are stool-pigeons, I still wouldn’t like you.” She turned to the outer door.
The Thin Man

On Oppression and Chavez Ravine:
Learning from Quixote
Joseph Warren, Editor

“The truth may be stretched thin, but it never breaks, and it always surfaces above lies, as oil floats on water.”

La verdad puede ser estirado al máximo, pero nunca se rompe, y siempre por encima de las superficies de la mentira, como el aceite flota en el agua.
Cervantes, …Quijote (…Quixote)

During 1959 when I was nine years of age,
un niño muy joven, we lived at the corner of Outlook and Garrison Drives in the little part of Los Angeles called Highland Park. Highland Park was then a working class enclave of inexpensive homes and predominantly white people who tended to keep a peaceful neighborhood, as most Americans of any race did back then. Fue un barrio de fontaneros, maquinistas (como mi padre), panaderos, y trabajos similares. It was a neighborhood of Tradesmen, mostly.

Every mother watched every other mother’s child. It was a wonderful place to live and to spend one’s early childhood. And although there was a sense of cross-town competitive relationship, there remained a
one-in-the-sameness with the communities of Eagle Rock, Echo Park, and all points in between. (Glendale was far too uppity for our socioeconomic position.) And, although culturally miles away but only six miles down the road (or a good bicycle ride) was Chavez Ravine, un barrio de Mexicano-Americanos, and people with whom we would talk, socialize, and share laughs while making our routine visit to Olvera Street for food, stuff-I-could-not-do-without, and fun: a cheap Saturday on the town. ¡Qué maravilloso lugar que era! Los colores, los sonidos, los olores…so much to see and do: an endless stream of music, talk and sensations: all authentic. The only talk of Walls were those to be built around vegetable gardens.

Home from school at Yorkdale Elementary one afternoon, and before starting my nocturnal job, I sat down to watch television –
because it was there. (Sometimes kids from my socioeconomic group had to work to help out the family: The 1950s were not light years away from the 1930s.)

The television was tuned to KTLA because that was one of the handful of stations available, and they aired my favorite program,
Skipper Frank. (I watched the show and did the Squiggles along with him, as I was supposed to do.) To Millennials, having less than an infinite number of TV channels probably sounds demonstrably like child abuse, but it was the norm.

That day KTLA carried a continuation of the special news item it had been following over a few days by then on the evacuation, and the
confiscation and destruction of homes and families, of those living in Chavez Ravine, clearing the land to make way for Dodger Stadium.

(In many cases Chavez Ravine’s inhabitants had occupied and owned the land beneath their small homes for decades, back to the 1800s, while some could trace the path of the land back to the time of the original Spanish occupation and founding of what would become Los Angeles in 1781,
pero fue nombrado, El pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Los Ángeles de Porciuncula, en ese tiempo. “Los Angeles” is much easier.)

As I was tuned fiercely into the newscast my father came home from looking for work: at the moment in his industry southern California was mired in an Aerospace recession that would last through 1961 and leave him desperate for income. With years of his Machinist trade bolstering him and an
I.A. of M. Journeyman’s card, he eventually took a job as a helper in a local donut shop on York to supplement his scant earnings as a photographer, until the union called him elsewhere (which it eventually did to the San Francisco area - Lockheed).

Years later I would learn to honor him for that extraordinary gulp of pride, but
not so much as that afternoon as we all watched, transfixed, the blurry screen of gray images showing Manuel Arechiga standing alone on his porch in the lulling solitude of Chavez Ravine before a backdrop of the destruction and mayhem wrought by a mechanized army of the City of Los Angeles in the days prior. El señor Arechiga protegió su casa con escopeta en mano. Solo. Valientemente. Resuelto. The image is burned forever in my mind: shotgun across his arms standing on the porch; guarding his family and the sum of his life. A valiant man.

“Look at him. Look at that man!” my father ordered. I was. I had been. I was mesmerized. “They have no goddamn right to throw that man and his family out! For what? So they can build a ballpark?” He was intoxicated with anger. Ergo, so would I become. I was proud of his outrage. I was proud of Mr. Arechiga.

Like nearly every child by the age of nine or 10 I had read some version (interpretation) of
El ingenioso hidalgo don Quixote de la Mancha, por Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. And while I don’t recall the exact title of the version I was first exposed to, I faintly remember it as simply, The Story of Don Quixote: a simplified and condensed version of Cervantes’ first book of the tale (the one to this day I much prefer to the second installment, notwithstanding what various scholars may say).

From my reading
back then I learned that Don Quixote fought against those people who were evil, and sometimes against great odds and at personal peril. Pretty simple, yes? ¿Quién podría pedir más en una historia? Who could ask for more in a story? Bueno contra Malo. Good against Evil. Justicia superando la adversidad. Righteousness overcoming Adversity.

The other aspects – the more ethereal and suggestive of the true extent of the great novel came to me later in life as I’ve read and re-read countless times the tale of the knight errant’s adventures by various translators, along with the whimsical Sancho Panzo, who of course proved ultimately to be the more stable of the two.

Later that night while selling the
LA Times (10 cents a copy) from my makeshift newsstand at York and Figueroa in front of Van de Kamp’s Bakery (now a burger joint), across the street from Farmer Dick’s Market (now a bank), struggling to bring together a buck so I could buy milk and bread for the family (my job), I mulled over what I had seen on the small black-and-white television we ceremoniously sat about earlier that day.

I considered the image of Manuel Arechiga, a man maybe about my father’s age, poised with shotgun in hand at his doorstep fending off a bulldozer the maw of which was poised to take down the family home – the last of the small houses that remained, as I remember – some few feet away. I thought about the implications of this vile act toward his family: What it would do to them personally; how they would feel being cast out into the darkness.

Did I have to go far into my imagination? Unfortunately not. Out of nine years in Highland Park we lived in at least four rental homes during the height of the recession, being asked to leave from each for non-payment of rent, sometimes under the purview of the local law enforcement. My father more-than-tried, but he could not. (Life would stabilize later in the Bay Area, but at the moment our family’s travails seemed open-ended.)

So, being in several ways heavily vested in the tale of Chavez Ravine, I was enthralled, and it filled my nights with anxious thoughts and adolescent contemplations:
Fear amongst them. I was not alone, though, because many Angelinos found themselves on the same side as we: On the side of anger. Por el lado de la ira, el odio, el sentimiento de pérdida.

I imagined that Mr. Arechiga needed his own Don Quixote at that moment as I watched the cars pass by and the night grew dim outside of Van de Kamp’s and the air acquired a slight chill. For a while, so lost in thought, I forgot to shout out the headlines to those streaking by in their brand new $2,200 Fords and Chevrolets: Gleaming, fast, probably immensely more comfortable than my own bed. (Our Plymouth had been repossessed a few days earlier and Dad was now hobbling about in a very old Ford. I became more mired in thought and self-pity.)

Then I realized something: it occurred to me that Mr. Arechiga did not
need a Don Quixote, because he was Don Quixote, more authentic than any personified Quixote before. The little man with a shotgun – his lance made from a tree branch – against the might of bulldozers, high-powered rifles, and the inescapable multitude of those who were there to impress the Word of Law on him without or with his cooperation.

It was at that moment that I saw the true meaning of Cervantes’ brilliance.

I saw it too in my Dad who always strived to overcome the adversities placed before him that to him must have looked like Giants flailing the air with waiting swords. Mr. Arechiga was a brave man back then. So was Mr. Warren.

Today our house abounds in memorabilia and ephemera on the subject of Quixote, Quijote, or Quichotte, depending on just a few of the languages of publication. My favorite artwork happily is the original portrait of the clearly deranged Quixote by the Mexican artist out of Rosarito, David Silvah, which hangs next to my wife’s magnificent interpretation of Dulcinea.

Along the various shelves in our old home are Lladro pieces and woodcarvings of Quixote in various poses, distributed among a few different translations of the epic work. He is ubiquitous in my life and always has been, and it wasn’t until I began to recount the story of Manuel Arechiga to an actor friend just one week ago – mark that as 58 years after – that I realized why, dredging the memory from my youth, bringing it forward three score years to better savor and more fully understand, today.

There is no single Don Quixote who astride Rocinante sallies forth to close in on your beam and guard you through the treacherous enemy who awaits just beyond the turn in the road. There is only you. ¡Eres Don Quijote! You are the Knight-errant.

That’s the way it has always been for the meager of wallet. It was that way a millennium ago; it will be that way one thousand years from now.

El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha, by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Watch the PBS documentary on Chavez Ravine for the full experience.

Joseph Warren attended both Garvanza and Yorkdale elementary schools. He was graduated from Yorkdale but won recognition in 1960 (in the form of a certificate which he still possesses) from Garvanza for his skills in Carroms. (He is also a graduate of the University of San Francisco.)

One-Half of America, by Mathematical Necessity, is Below Average
(And it shows. I just didn’t think they’d ever be running the country)
Joseph Warren, Editor

“The nicest veterans...the ones who hated war the most, were the ones who'd really fought.” 
–Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

As reported by NPR News:

"We are not winning in Afghanistan right now," 
Mattis told Congress on Tuesday, "and we will correct this as soon as possible."

Mattis (James Mattis, our new Secretary of Defense and Chief of the Department of
Head Up Arse) made this comment after responding to a question regarding increased US troop deployment to Afghanistan, as approved by our President. More people who do not read or think: History, Literature, and a lack of rational thought - vapid.

According to his biographical information, he was considered an intellectual during his early years in the Marine Corps Reserves owing to his shlepping about a copy of Aurelius’

I too have read Aurelius, and when I think of his contemplative works I recall that he was far more cynical regarding governments, overall,
id est, “Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too.” Evocative and prophetic words Mattis has chosen to ignore.

Mattis ought to call Putin, “Say Vladimir? How did that Afghanistan thingy work out for you, anyway?” I’m sure that President Putin recalls the grisly daily details of his – he was very much around then – failure in Afghanistan and shortly thereafter the demise of the Soviet Union. Look: Various clans, people, nations, and
social clubs, even, have tried to take control of Afghanistan and/or Iraq for Millenia without success. We don’t even live in the neighborhood...

And yet, many of you believe that winning a war in Afghanistan is possible, notwithstanding that we have supposedly repeatedly
won the war in Afghanistan and Iraq many, many times already beginning with the simple words of the very simple GW Bush, “Mission Accomplished.”

“Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue.”

For fourteen years, in various articles and publications, including this organ, and in our film,
The Abduction and Trial of George Bush, we have argued that this was an insipid, stupid, destabilizing, mindless act by those best relegated to their chthonic roots, including the idiot now in charge.

Yes, I had vowed to abandon politics herein…

C’mon: just one for the road.

Read, Kurt Vonnegut,
Slaughterhouse-Five. Short of Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun – by far the most engrossing of books examining the reality of war – an epic, in fact, Vonnegut’s insight as a Dresden survivor is enthralling.

Another Father’s Day
Joseph Warren, Editor

“Children are basically a pain in the ass.”
- Warren, Herein

“They are not sorrows, so much as terrible things.”
– Ernest Hemingway, Islands in the Stream

It’s Father’s Day again
which gives us an opportunity to feign caring one way or another that our progeny exist, unlike the many who may have, could have, and perhaps do dwell unrecognized on this planet with my (or your) DNA streaming through their cellular material and driving the continued concatenation of who I am (or you are), thanks to many previous iterations, farther into the future for as long as we continue as a species to exist.

To be clear, I was not a good father by the formula prescribed by society from the 1970s onward in which it was manifest that fathers are to be involved in the child’s day-to-day life: experiences, learning, maintenance, emotional maturation, achievements, recognition. My view of fatherhood was more parallel to that of an ibex.

To be sure, I always maintained my financial support, albeit begrudgingly so periodically, long after the legal duty to do so ceased, extending to this day as they approach retirement themselves, or perhaps it just seems as though they ought to be…

My view of fatherhood was, as I learned from experience as one being fathered, one of remoteness and periodic chumminess interspersed with severe reprimands for behavior that was found by the
supreme council to be less-than-desired (mother). As it was on television back then in the 1950s, so it was in my house, Wait ‘til your father gets home.

Prophetic words, given that he was periodically absent for one or two weeks at a time drinking and whoring:
OK, I can wait…

One of the few
Fiction-Lite writers I’ve always enjoyed reading is Nelson DeMille. From, The General’s Daughter came the line, “My father was a drunk, a gambler and a womanizer. I worshipped him.” He was, and I did, for the better part of my younger life.

Is it any wonder that as an adult my goal was to do what I needed to do to make this very short linear experience fulfilling, notwithstanding what Kurt Gödel had conjectured in his various calculations, best described in the wonderful book by Palle Yourgrau,
A World Without Time?

It’s probably helpful to understand that throughout my life I have done many things, as many of you have too. One of the most rewarding (and yet unsettling aspects to my life for those around me) was several years at sea, moving to the level of Merchant Captain – US Merchant Marine Ship’s Master. It took me away for prolonged periods of time, and it changed my personality from someone who had
some potential for being a relatively acceptable father to one whose expectations could not be met by anyone. So it goes.

I lived sometimes remotely shipboard. Sometimes with companionship. Never with children in mind, unless that included 18 year-old women.

Before and after, my life was filled, as it was for my father, with a variety of experiences and education, added to my academic achievement that left little room for much else, including (and most especially) trying to adapt to being the evolving model of what
fatherhood has, for the most part, become today: androgynous.

Nowhere else in the Animal Kingdom is there a comparable example to that of the human experience today in the United States. Society’s expectations of those who father children have become counterintuitive and violate basic premises of evolution. Yet, it’s the supposition: silly and unrealistic and it violates the very path of time
and evolution.

No one to my mind personified fatherhood better than Hemingway in his ultimately posthumous,
Islands in the Stream. Here was an example of a man, Thomas Hudson, who could not seem to achieve reconciliation with his children…either. Hudson was busy with life. I understand that. He was not enamored with what his children were on the road to becoming…either. Disappointment seemingly abounds on both sides of the fence of fatherhood. I’m sure it was what my father must have felt from time-to-time, just as it was for every father who ever fathered.

If you are or were a father like me, recall the axiom: One can’t choose to whom one is related. But one can choose with whom one associates.

there are terrible things that sometimes happen in life: but they are not sorrows, as Hemingway said. To better understand the ultimate meaning of life, from my perspective, I would add a quote from Shakespeare, To thine own self be true. Besides, if Gödel and Einstein were right, we are, each of us, doing all this again, many times over, at this moment (now) in possibly an infinite numbers of universes. Well that’s depressing...or, maybe not.

Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway. It is an epic and a legacy lending insight into his life and his relationships to friends and family. Much in the way of drinking and womanizing: a cornucopia of fatherhood role modeling.

The General’s Daughter by Nelson Demille. It’s just good trashy fiction, witty and involving for an escape after you read:

A World Without Time, by Palle Yourgrau who takes you through the Gödel-Einstein long-time relationship at the Princeton Institute exploring Gödel’s mathematical models of Multiple Universes (infinite episodes of “Now”) and his growing (and ultimately destructive) psychosis. You do not have to be a physicist or logician to enjoy this well-written biography; you only need be inquisitive.

One more thing:
Happy Father’s Day fellow normative failures (unless you’re one of the new indeterminate types).

Aberrance, Social Media, and Gustave Le Bon
Joseph Warren, Editor

Crowds are influenced mainly by images produced by the judicious employment of words and formulas.
- Le Bon

Nothing is more dysfunctional than the will of the group when bent against acceptable normative standards suggestive of an evolving species, and no one did more to help us understand the direction, impetus, motion and force of the group – for better or for worse – than Gustave Le Bon. I’d like to say that I’ve read everything he wrote, but I haven’t, settling for his most engrossing work, Psychologie des Foules, more popularly known in English as, The Crowd, Study of the Popular Mind, published in 1895 and now under various public domain publishing houses such as my copy from Aristeus Books: a clean, easy to read font on good stock.

The Crowd, Le Bon lays bare the group-think mentality that pervades America today, and America in 2003 as we set about to invade Iraq; America in 1941 after Pearl Harbor; Germany in the 1930s following the appointment of Hitler as Chancellor; Russia in 1917 as the revolution sparked executions and a complete palingenesis; and an array of other events throughout history where, always in hindsight, we (or they) ask, What were we thinking?

Simply put, we weren’t, and neither were those immersed in the events of the time that drove sanity from their midst and allowed people to do the wrong things: sometimes evil things at the behest of a master, a cause, a dictator, a deluded leader, a tyrant, a chimerical ideal founded on a truncation of logic, false belief, or harbored hate.

Le Bon’s epic work is (and was)
an inspiration to those who through Le Bon’s words become skilled in the manipulation of crowds and crowd mentality. People like Hitler and Mussolini lingered on his treatise measuring its proven effectiveness by the varied and many examples history has to offer, incorporating into their diatribes (Mein Kampf, as an example) the smoldering fire of irrationality that secretly simmers within each individual of us, waiting only for the gathering of a crowd, around us in reality or virtually. (Although he garnered the momentum for the Iraq invasion masterfully, I doubt that GW Bush ever read Le Bon, but I feel certain that Mr. Cheney or Mr. Wolfowitz has.)

Why am I writing about Le Bon? I’ll get to that in a minute, but for now, let me assure you that few books have helped me to understand why we do what we do more than
The Crowd.

My habit when reading is to use the “little colored sticky arrows” that escrow companies use (“sign here”), to make a brief note and stick it to the page on the paragraph worthy of note. Kind of an “NB” margin note on a document (Latin,
Nota Bene for “note well” a habit I developed when working in legislative analysis far more than 30 years ago).

After reading an LA Times article today the connection between Le Bon and today’s Social Media manifested itself: one of those moments of clarity when a nexus seems so apparent that I’m disappointed that I hadn’t thought of it earlier. The article concerns a neo-Nazi Crowd Funding website that raises money for Hate. You can grab the details of it at the link. It’s a well-written article looking at the events surrounding this particular hatemonger’s rise to prominence through…Crowds. I think that’s what finally triggered the avalanche in my mind – the literal connection between Social Media crowd behavior and Le Bon’s epic work.

It’s obvious, I know, and we talk around it a great deal in the media remarking on how Twitter, Facebook, and the rest all have the very important mechanism that allows people of shared interests – from pedophiles to coulrophobics to “the lonely” to the
networker to those staying in touch with family to the criminal to the businesswoman – to “Link Up” with others. Some of those on Social Media sites expand their networks to include those who share the same vile, racist, ignorant interests further gathering rationale and fomenting greater and deeper hate, just as those who use Social Media to advocate on behalf of radical Islamic thought – Daesh (ISIS) – as an example, inculcating the simple minded, lonely, intellectually frustrated with their now shared belief.

It lends “synergy” to the otherwise
obstructed of thought, a word co-opted by Management Consultants and others to explain the alleged benefits of team-based problem solving, as an example. (I have never seen an advantage to team or group derived problem solving either in private sector, and certainly not in government. It is however an effective means of sharing blame when the unavoidable likely happens.) The word is used in both the real and social sciences regularly. From a Crowd perspective, it explains a lot.

Le Bon’s
The Crowd (and the word “synergy”) explains why in a movie a group of cowboys drinking in a bar can suddenly decide to lynch the ne’er-do-well cattle thief; it explains why a gathering of white men in the south in our not-too-distant-past, all of whom are wearing sheets, can surmise that hanging a black man is a righteous act completely consistent with the doctrine of Jesus Christ; it is a testament to the power of Adolf Hitler who could arouse anti-Jewish sentiment to such a degree that millions of people were executed in full-view of a country’s population without substantial revolt; it belies our professed sense of humanity by allowing the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman failing and impotent empire, the Turks today; it is the fundamental impetus to our continued and substantial involvement in two wars in the Middle East, and our emerging immersion in many more.

The Crowd describes why, today, Hate in America is on the rise as the crowd of like-minded intellectual neophytes gather around their computer monitors in the evening on Facebook and share their stories of, Why we must hate the blacks, the Jews, the Muslims… and from this the synergy builds to what Le Bon termed a Group Mind prepared to take whatever action, no matter how depraved and counterintuitive, at the suggestion of the Crowd’s leadership. And in America today the Crowd’s leader is a very emotionally precarious and not very bright individual.

When I pulled my copy of Le Bon’s work off the shelf I was amazed at the number of “Sign Here” arrows I had used when reading it. Each has a single word written on it as a mnemonic cue to direct me to a point I thought was very salient a few years ago. I was looking for the perfect quote – something I had read that was very memorable and fed into my syllogistic string of thoughts. Here is what I think sums it up quite well:

A crowd is not merely impulsive and mobile. Like a savage, it is not prepared to admit that anything can come between its desire and the realization of its desire. -Gustave Le Bon

That crowd today is
virtually everywhere. Read, The Crowd: Study of the Popular Mind by Gustave Le Bon.

The Theory of Everything
Joseph Warren, Editor

He who desires to philosophize must first of all doubt all things… he must proceed according to the persuasion of an organic doctrine which adheres to real things, and to a truth that can be understood by the light of reason.
- Giordano Bruno

Theory of Everything? I don’t have one. But I have given it much thought in a protoscientific sort of way. Protoscience? Yes. That’s the word that defines what people like you and I do (if you too are a non-Scientist) when we think about some aspect of Science – allow our minds to wander about, visualizing the possibilities – but largely ignorant of the mechanics: the Math, the Quantum or Cosmological Physics associated with the area about which we are thinking.

It would seem, then, easy to dismiss any conclusions associated with protoscientific speculations; but that would be wrong.

Let’s take Albert Einstein, as an example: a protoscientist of the highest renown, remembering that he labored very long and hard, facing failure after failure, shunning after rejection after sometimes ignoble response, to A) eventually gain his Doctorate, and B) get a job, being relegated to tutoring and other menial positions, relative to his eventual status. He also had a very difficult time with Mathematics – Algebra and beyond was virtually foreign to him. That’s why he recruited Marcel Grossmann as his tutor and Math Wizard.

All the way through his development of
Special then General Relativity Einstein struggled desperately with the calculations. Marcel Grossmann was not deficient in this area, and through him Einstein achieved his revelationary visions.

Einstein: His Life and Universe, by Walter Isaacson. You will absolutely love it.

After reading Isaacson’s biography four times over a couple of years, sometime after the second reading I mentioned to GL Hill, our Publisher, that, like many of you, when I was a child I had some of the same thoughts as Einstein regarding the quirky, seemingly inconsistent nature of the Cosmos, and really, had I of known “a” Marcel Grossmann instead of “a” Stuart DeShera,
with whom I grew marijuana, I might have taken a much different path in my youth. (Although I haven’t spoken with Stuart for decades, I’m pretty sure he feels the same way.) As Vonnegut said, So it goes.

Protoscience has shaken the world many times imprinting itself on the Sciences, and bringing about a shift in thought that has led to new and astounding applications, (sometimes very profoundly, thinking of Giordano Bruno, for which he forfeited his life in the most miserable way possible after years of torture in the Inquisitor’s prison in Rome, following what must have seemed like a vacation in retrospect in Venice’s Inquisitorial detention center).

Bruno’s writing was vast at a time when it was not appropriate for an ordained Dominican to ponder and then articulate thoughts that extended far beyond the apotheosis of heresy, notwithstanding his earlier separation from the Church.

Bruno seized on Copernicus’ ideas (himself a Heretic-in-waiting) at a time when Aristotle’s various treatises, badly flawed, and Ptolemy’s (absurd) model of the Universe were the norm. Bruno visualized a different universe: one filled with other inhabited planets - an infinity of possibilities each perhaps worshipping their own gods by whatever means - a polytheistic melange completely contradictory to the canon of Catholicism painfully and carefully accumulated since the Church’s legitimate inception in 325 AD. Who was Bruno to meddle with this machinery and the manufactured magnificence of the Church?

Read, Michael White’s,
The Pope and the Heretic. Few books capture the essence of Bruno as well as Mr. White’s thoroughly immersing look at Bruno’s life throughout the most important, last, documented ten years of his existence prior to being Burned at the behest of the Pope, Clement VIII.

So what is my Theory of Everything? Well I don’t really have one, exactly, but I have some thoughts that I believe will come to pass. Paramount among them is that there aren’t separate laws governing movement and behavior on a quantum level from those on a cosmological level. There can’t be: God would not do that. It is, after all, only a scale difference of very small to very big.
In an earlier article in this journal, we had opined:

In retrospect, it seems to me that Einstein was caught in the elevator of a 60-story building, somewhere between the 26th and 34th stories presuming that the 26th was the lobby and the 34th, the Penthouse. It’s the same analogy Abbott had (unintentionally and) successfully made in describing the two-dimensional nature of life for the Flatlanders in his epic work, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. And I think that Einstein, too, failed to look beyond the immediacy of his 26-to-34 floor existence and apply his very considerable intellect to the possibilities that may exist beyond the immediate.

Reluctant to embrace the seemingly erratic nature of the Quantum world whose workings didn’t follow the simplistic nature of the cosmos at the 26th floor as they did on the 34th, he chose to not hypothesize further into the depths of matter - into its “lower” levels – into the very fabric of Quantum composition. And why would he? Beyond and below what could be understood at that point would be nothing more than philosophy, or today what we call, Science Fiction. (Most of what we see around us today would have been science fiction 50 or 100 years ago. Today, reality.)

Likewise, his mathematical conjectures were confined to this Universe as being, in sum, the extent of our celestial reality, with only the passing nod to existences beyond and even within that level, dimensionally and otherwise. He was a victim of his early Positivist “upbringing” and was, therefore, trapped in the realm of what could be touched or observed in the world of Physics – too Machian for his own good and to his detriment.

Had he of looked below and above, he would have seen what physicists are seeing today – arguably philosophically, but also mathematically and experientially: dimensions and universes within and without all perhaps linked by a unified system of motion and behavior of such awe and magnitude and mystery, it leaves some/most/all traditional religions in its wake. 

How big
is big, and how small is small? Will we ever devise a Theory of Everything? To do so may require thinking on a scale that is inherently beyond the capability of the finite human mind. Perhaps when we become one again with the universe, following what we call death, we’ll know: I believe we do.

Je peux compter jusqu'à 10!
(I can count to 10!)
Joseph Warren, Editor

“The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues…”
Erich Fromm, The Sane Society

Actually, in French I can count until I don’t want to count anymore. Many of you can too, I’m certain. In French. In Spanish. In German. In any language other than your primary.

Surprisingly, I can still sing the chorus of
Sur le Pont d’Avignon. At 67 years of age, given that it was a song I learned more than 55 years ago, that’s impressive…but not really. It’s the way the young mind works. It’s a vault, a trove, an inescapable confine in which what we learn is locked up (I believe) forever. It’s a wonderful thing.

No, it’s not: it’s now a horrible thing. Today what many of our children pack away into their fortress of knowing is much different than that which we – the older among us – did.

Seemingly, every day there is a news report regarding some horrific video, online game, posting on the Internet that is so crude, base, obscene, violent, it is the very opposite of what our normative standards dictate (and common sense mandates) for advancing a healthy, nurturing, evolving species into a more developed human state capable of meeting the challenges we face environmentally, societally, spiritually. That is the problem.

We are not going forward. We are devolving. Our laws and expectations are changing asking us to be more progressive, less vile, kinder, more tolerant, holistically advanced in our perspectives, as though we have been around for a few thousand years and have learned from our mistakes. Mistakes like Hate, War, Theft, Greed, Avarice, Sloth, but we have not.

The word,
Atavistic came to prominence a few hundred years ago to describe what our perspective ought to be regarding primitive behaviors, but how can that be when acts characterized as Atavistic are merely the common descriptor for what we do on a day-to-day basis?

On television or in the movies during the 1950s and 1960s when someone was shot they fell down. There was no brain matter blasted against the wall; no graphic portrayal of intestines draping across the floor; no palpitating heart in the hand of the murderer; no shower of blood splashed against the body of the assailant; no disemboweled corpse suspended from shackles. It was understood that the person shot was dead: we figured that out by ourselves without the graphic visual aids. Movies and television then were more akin to Doré’s illustrations of Dante’s vision of Purgatory and Hell, being led arm-in-arm by Virgil to witness the tortured souls adrift in the Styx.

The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri with illustrations by Gustav Doré. Many reprints are available at a reasonable price. A First Edition, aside from being published in archaic Italian, is a bit pricey.

In today’s visual media, our children rarely get a glimpse of Heaven, either as a reality, or as a concept, or as an ideal, or as a state of living in significant harmony buttressed by love. Rather, our children are taken on a peripatetic jaunt through a chamber of horrors that is held forth as what life is.

Is it any wonder that aberrance is on the rise?

Violence against women. On the screen – Big and Little, including YouTube and other purveyors of unregulated content – Violence is not a component of entertainment; it very often is the primary element of the plot introduced to meet today’s approach to screenwriting. Rape is commonplace. Beating is typical. Murder is assured. Animated shorts and features abound on YouTube rolling along under the guise of Children’s tales espousing these acts, and not subject to parental restrictions (as if that were an effective tool for controlling a child’s sensory and memory input) are routine.

In our colleges, the CDC reports that 19% of our female children – young women – experience attempted or completed sexual assault:

Videos of these assaults sometimes find their way onto the Internet. For our children to see. Facebook. Other “Social” Media, defying the definition of the word. Prurient material is everywhere and trafficked to your child’s
e-door without restriction.

In a published report last year by, on average children are 12.2 years of age when they receive their first mobile device – smart phone, including any of those available – capable of accessing the Internet anytime, anywhere.

91% of teenagers (13 – 17 years of age) access the Internet on their cellphones, tablets (iPad) and other mobile devices. Something very near to 100% have access at home, mostly unfettered by parental influences since it’s apparently so bothersome to regulate what our young people are watching.

YouTube says:

YouTube has over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.

YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.

More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices.

Of course, they also say, “As of July 2016, YouTube has paid out $2 billion to rightsholders who have chosen to monetize claims since Content ID first launched in 2007.”

In other words, content publishers on YouTube make a great deal of money by driving traffic through to their “channel”. It behooves them to push as much traffic through as possible without regard to restrictions on age and content.

YouTube is only one site. Many others exist. Some are not as regulated as YouTube and provide no parental controls. Time-after-time YouTube’s controls, though, have failed when content is manipulated to circumvent the parameters safeguarding our children.

Beyond all of this, of course, is Facebook, a haven for murderers, thieves, spies, counterfeiters, pedophiles, rapists, perverts,
and grandma and grandpa.

I used to think that I was a terrible father so many years ago now. Perhaps I was: sitting them down in front of Sesame Street to occupy their time to some extent so that I might think about other things or do other things in close proximity to them while they vegged out on Ernie and Bert. How many times may a daughter be required to watch a beta-format tape of
Pippi Longstocking before it becomes tantamount to waterboarding? To this day I don’t know: but I do know that if the world were such as it is today, there would be no unguarded technology in my house and online activities would be restricted to academic searches and no social media.

Why? Isn’t it obvious?

Many years ago as a matter of academic requirements I read much in the way of Sociology and Behavior. One of the most enlightening, right along with Sartre’s
Anti-Semite and Jew, was Fromm’s The Sane Society exploring the normative relativism of behaviors. I still have a paperback copy on my shelf: it is ever-awakening. I led with part of a quote worthy of repeating in full:

“The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane.” – Erich Fromm

The Sane Society and make certain your child remembers traditional songs in other languages when he or she is older, rather than eviscerated and mutilated corpses, and forced sex acts. Maybe we can find a way out of this labyrinth of ignorance.

Selling Addiction
Joseph Warren, Editor

It’s what we do, and because of it, we don’t have a chance for survival. We sell addiction to those who feel pain, prescribing marijuana and opioids. We sell addiction to the weak of spirit, to the tired, the lame, the forgotten, the oblivious, the unclean, the unsaved, the obese, the neurotic, the destitute, the black man, the white woman, the young child, the spiritually void, the man who cannot walk upright, to the woman with cramps, to the old woman who is nearing death as we all are, and someone is making a lot of God damn money from it.

And so are those who have assigned themselves to mitigate addiction through medical intervention. Those who “rehabilitate” the addict. Those who arrest, prosecute, judge, defend, sentence, incarcerate, evaluate, counsel, formally discharge and likely accept back some short time later given the better than 80% recidivism. Statistically, 95% go back to drugs after release. Many go back to crime.

Heroin, pot, crack, speed, cocaine, Prozac, Zoloft, Lamictal, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Symbyax, Celexa, Lexapro, bourbon, vodka, (just two little glasses of) wine, codeine, ketamine, methadone, you name it.

We sell addiction both in the most forthright way
and under-the-table, depending on the drug and how clever the user and pusher may be, or if he wears a suit or a Doctor’s Smock. Wrack and ruin is always the end for the user, the father, the mother, the child: all of us.

100 years ago addicts died. End of story. Period. Gone from our lives one way or another and just a sad bitter memory and a lesson to those who remained, “Your Great Uncle Ed – we don’t like to talk about it, you know, because it was just so unlike our family – died from a heroin overdose.”

Not any more. Today we
hard sell you on the idea of addiction, mostly for the sake of our GDP, and leave you to wander through America’s Magical Mystery Tour of hospital intake, rehabilitation centers, courthouses, jails, alleyways, whorehouses or street corners, psychologists’ offices, court-mandated counseling rooms, back-alley pushers and, maybe eventually, for the good of the rest of us, morgues.

Anything prescribed by either a physician or a bartender is acceptable. Now, today, the process of instilling addiction has become even easier as companies bring alcohol to the workplace, when the place of work has nothing to do with alcohol. Here’s an excerpt from a
BBC article exploring this fairly recent phenomenon:

A growing number of companies are offering happy hour in the office. Twitter, for example, stocks complimentary beer and wine in fridges at its San Francisco inner city office. Yelp has craft beer on tap from kegs for staff and guests, while DropBox offers its workers free spirits on its “Whiskey Fridays”.

PR firm Hill and Knowlton has 
a bar and terrace at its new London officesSaatchi and Saatchi boasts an in-office pub for its staff, while advertising agency J. Walter Thompson’s office in New York has a 50-foot-long bar. Other workplaces like London-based marketing firm BSC Agency and Yahoo’s Chicago office have drinks trolleys and beer carts that trundle around the office at the end of the week. The demand has also given rise to companies like DeskBeers, which delivers beer to offices.

(Note that if you light a cigarette while consuming alcohol on the job you’ll probably face termination. Drugs that distort reality are acceptable: those that do not, are prohibited.
How long will it be before a civil action is filed against one of these employers for conspiring to promote a life-threatening addiction?)

Every year in America more than 42,000 people kill themselves directly getting it over with as quickly as possible, while thousands-upon-thousands choose a slow and costly death through some form of addiction that was
sold to them by someone at sometime, somewhere for some reason.

And you know why: Money, profit, “bottom line” and to thus perpetuate the machinery that keeps many hundreds of thousands (millions, in fact) employed in industries and professions fabricated to give career addiction people a reason for waking up in the morning and a sense of fulfillment by relegating others to a lesser position, compared to them. Sartre made this pretty clear decades ago.

Being and Nothingness.

I am responsible for everything…except for my very responsibility. - Sartre

We are not born thinking “I need to get high.” We decide it after talking to someone who says what we need to hear, what we decide thereafter is right, by television shows, by films, by family, by friends, by medical doctors and psychologists, by pushers, by Big Pharma. We come to addiction by a thousand different roads – some masked and subtle, some overt and beguiling - and someone is making a lot of God damn money from it.

Who are they? You know.

Who ultimately carries the financial burden? You know.

Here’s a billboard that appeared on our main thoroughfare some short time ago. It says everything there is to say about our affinity for drugs.

Ketamine resize

Ketamine came to my attention years ago as a horse tranquilizer: It’ll knock a thousand-pound pissed-off stallion off his hooves for whatever reason the injecter may deem appropriate. Subsequently I understood that it had become a recreational drug for some at raves and events. Subsequently, again, I’ve learned that it is being used to treat Depression…given the faces of the smiling family embracing whomever the Ketamine drug user is in this image, it must be effective.

It isn’t. Ketamine, like any other drugs designed to address the nausea of life, the existential despair of being, is a useless attempt to bring the façade of meaningfulness to a life otherwise devoid of significance.

A caution from a Ketamine abuse source:
The biggest concern (are the) so-called psychotic effects of ketamine, which include lethargy, euphoria, illusions, hallucinations, delirium, a sense of separation from the body, and bright dreams intimidating or sexual in nature.

As painful to those who remain it may be, let them
go if suicide is their desire: We are at more than seven billion in this world of (to some extent, the) crippled, lame, fat, lazy, retarded, and stupid who are being spoon-fed life to sustain the machinery of commerce. If they want out – and many of us can understand that from time-to-time - let them go.

But, if the urge to embrace life remains, teach them to think, to act, to exercise, to read books, to become involved, to turn off the television, to dump Facebook, to become something more than a marker in this vastness of humanity and to do – something, anything, anywhere, anytime, now, today, next week, but, ultimately, live by learning and doing, whatever it may be. In some way, by some accounting, they will make the world a better place, at the very least by not being who they are right now.

One of my favorite writers of the Beat period was Jack Kerouac. His writing style, although it is not widely known I think, blossomed to a large extent on the inventiveness of William Saroyan whom he admired greatly for poetic technique and flow – the flow of his words and thoughts and sense of reality and the way he embraced America unlike no other writer when we were sunk in the depths of financial ruin in the 1930s and faced insurrection and complete collapse. Really, Saroyan’s poetry in the guise of prose.

A close friend to Kerouac was William S. Burroughs who occasionally dug Kerouac out of one of his many difficult moments, while Burroughs slithered simmering and spitting in his own pit of blackness.

Burroughs wrote much that, like many others, I’ve read.
Naked Lunch, Junkie and a host of other “depraved” Beat what-passes-for Literature, today. But Kerouac was a true writer. A master of the genre. Read, Desolation Angels.

Still, nobody summed up the subject of this brief article better than Burroughs:

“Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your ass the result is the same: addiction.” 
– William S. Burroughs

Erdogan Directs Attack on US Citizens
Joseph Warren, Editor

In a first the President of Turkey, Recep Tyyip Erdogan, from the comfort of his limousine, save for a few moments exposed while surrounded by bodyguards, directed an attack by Turkish Security Forces along with counter-demonstrators on the streets of Washington DC against US citizens. Certainly an interesting historic development at a time when Erdogan is under fire in his own country by those seeking to overthrow his authoritarian regime.

An attempt to oust Erdogan late last year resulted in the arrest and conviction, and probably summary execution, of several of those involved. At present, other trials are ongoing and are being met with demonstrated approval by Erdogan supporters. For an in-depth look at the events that day in Washington, read the
Daily Caller’s report here.

Yet, when I think of Turkey I don’t think of Erdogan (or try not to, anyway). Rather, I think of Orhan Pamuk’s very memorable and enlightening,
Istanbul; Memories and the City. Pamuk’s prose reveals an epic history of an empire fallen and society resurrected through a tumult of political upheaval and cultural Westernization.

Walking with Pamuk through the book he leads you to the past and present of Istanbul, the remnant Ottoman, along the Bosphorus, through the lascivious and sacred quarters of the city, and makes you a guest in his house when he was a child and through his formidable years. You will come away feeling as though you understand Istanbul at its most interesting times. It’s a delight to read. It’s an immersion, and at times such as these, it helps...

“The first thing I learned at school was that some people are idiots; the second thing I learned was that some are even worse. ” -Orhan Pamuk

The Future of Europe Project
Bruce Janigian

I participated recently in a “Future of Europe” project for the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and thought some reflection might be suitable for readers of this journal, especially because their focus extends globally.
An appropriate starting point is where humankind appears to be heading at a furious pace through the interventions of science and technologies which are about to overwhelm traditional human identities, including cultures and religions, with all the turmoil this entails. The starting point is much broader than Europe, and we must grasp it before we can address the particularities we seek to address. Ultimately, the question becomes one of how Europe might adapt to retain some key qualities through the coming upheavals.
Humans will be changing into life forms closer to what might be viewed today as science fiction characters. Bioengineering is starting with treating major diseases, but will soon be adapting all the major benefits other species enjoy ahead of humans, before advancing further. This will include increased sensory perception, brain function, and physical strength and agility, and longevity to include relative immortality. Who will gain these characteristics and benefits and who will be left behind? These are questions that transcend regional or national interests.
I used to opine to graduate students and business executives that Islam has replaced Communism as the faith of the downtrodden and excluded. Just as Communism sought to share wealth and end exclusion, the tenets of Islam are similar. When I was counsel for the US Agency for International Development in the 1980s, we anticipated the coming North-South wars and the invasion of Europe from North Africa. We sought to delay it as long as possible. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the catastrophic decision made in the West was failing to seize the historic opportunity to shift Cold War military spending in favor of massive assistance to the developing world to create jobs through inward investment. I recommended assistance to Russia to make it a partner with the West in this historic endeavor. Instead, the West reduced foreign assistance budgets and actually increased intelligence and military spending. In my opinion, it also reverted to the old Great Game of shunning accommodation with Russia in favor of resource exploitation in the newly independent states. I have written a factually based novel on the subject:
Persona Non Grata: End of the Great Game by Avery Mann, my pen name.
So the immediate questions that face the planet deal with inclusion and exclusion. If we seek maximum inclusion, it comes at the price of job creation and education and providing incentives that can only come at a considerable cost to the West. Is there any option? In my opinion, failure to increase foreign assistance has resulted in the neglected recipients arriving in the center of Europe. The excluded will seek to destroy or make excessively costly technological or medical progress that bypasses them. Thus, exclusion comes at the price now felt in Germany, Sweden and elsewhere, and leads to a rethinking of the social welfare net and cultural liberality that has sustained the modern European ethic following the Second World War.
Does Europe feel a greater cultural threat from Islamic migrants or from a closer relationship with Christian Russia, which shares many of the same concerns? Does focusing spending on military resistance to a non-threatening Russia make more sense than stabilizing North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia? This is another aspect of my book. Looking to the larger historical context, does the division of the Church and the traditional East-West division make sense in a world challenged by a North-South dynamic and Western moral relativism squared off against a violently rigorous interpretation of Islamic fundamentalism?
The world is changing quickly and Europe must adapt. The recent election of Emmanuel Macron may have saved Europe’s ability to deal intelligently with its future. I would like to see it anticipate what is coming and choose suitable partners to help it face what lies ahead. Blindly reacting to instability it has itself engendered by intelligence and military adventurism in the developing world would be continuing to react with a flimsy bandage instead of facing up to a costly, but perhaps culturally life-saving, prescription.
Mr. Janigian is a
Writer, Lawyer, Professor, Reader, and International Business Leader. You may learn more about him by visiting