Ever since I read The Coming Global Superstorm
(published in 2001) some years ago, I've been interested in the idea of the current global warming trend actually leading to a new ice age. As counterintuitive as that sounds, the science behind it is sound and it is, as presented in the Superstorm
book, pretty frightening.
The basic idea is that a warming climate melts the earth's ice packs (the North Pole, the Greenland ice sheet, Antarctic ice sheets, glaciers, etc) and so floods the north polar Atlantic ocean with fresh water which slows and then stops the thermohaline circulation
(current pulling warm gulf waters to north polar waters). This removes a climate barrier that allows cold arctic air to fall south and smash into warmer air and produce really big storms. If this keeps up, the colliding air can produce a monster storm that covers the whole of the northern hemisphere (superstorm). If this occurs in the winter and the storm drops enough precipitation to freeze into vast ice sheets, and if it is enough to not melt over the following summer, then the ice will reflect sunlight back into space and so cool the earth and encourage the formation of more ice over the winter (a feedback loop). And so you have an ice age that lasts for a hundred thousand years or so.
That's the simplified version of the scenario. There are many other variables involved (like the activity of the sun at the time of the superstorm, the amount of methane hydrates released, etc) but in recent years, scientists have verified the warming-before-ice-age process from ice cores, though the superstorm part is controversial.
This process, that I call the superstorm scenario, is the foundation for the setting of my coming Dentville
novels. It is also the premise for the 2004 move, The Day After Tomorrow
Now, with all that in mind, I was interested to see an article this week on the Geoengineering Watch website
that asked the question: "Are The Climate Engineers Attempting To Shut Down The Gulf Stream?" The article stemmed from a study published by a number of climate scientists in Nature Climate Change
where they report on a substantial weakening of the Gulf Stream (the thermohaline circulation) across the twentieth century, and say that its weakening since 1975 is unprecedented. See also the writeup on the report on Whitley Strieber's website (he wrote the original Superstorm book with Art Bell) here
The Geoengineering Watch article notes that the climate manipulation process that has been ongoing over the US for years, could very well be mimicking (or exacerbating) the processes that create the superstorm scenario. In the article's words:The incredibly anomalous cold zone in the Eastern US which extends into the North Atlantic is completely engineered and thus completely unnatural. In recent years precipitation has been consistently robbed from the Western US and pumped in to the Eastern US to help fuel the engineered cool-downs there. This constant flow of precipitation along with the unprecedented flow of meltwater from Greenland is reducing the salinity and thus the density of the surface waters in this critical area of the North Atlantic which are normally very saline and dense in this region.
Why would the geoengineers want to bring on an ice age? The article suggests:Could this be their final attempt to slow the catastrophic thawing of methane on the seabed of the Arctic (which is a risk to all life on Earth) by cutting off the flow of warm ocean currents to that region?
If this sounds crazy to you, I would suggest that the world is largely run by crazies that would not hesitate to sacrifice the well-being of billions if it would keep the earth habitable for themselves. Check out the links I've provided and do your own research.
Beyond that, here are some of the week's happenings against the backdrop of the War of the Damned
: A Global Research article
reports that the horrendous California drought has left the state with only about a year's worth of water in its reservoir reserves. The state's only contingency plan, according to a JPL scientist, is "praying for rain." But it seems that while the geoengineers like to play God, they are not so moved by prayer, at least not the prayers of the thirsty masses. They are more likely to keep up the drought and so promote the privatization of water supplies for the profit of Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, etc.Ukraine
: The US House of Reps passed a resolution
urging President Obama to send offensive weaponry to the Ukraine army. This is something that Obama has been threatening to do (though not fast enough for many US congressional hawks), and that the European Union leaders (especially Germany and France) want him NOT to do. It seems that, while the EU leadership is fine with ethnic cleansing in Donbass, they would prefer it not happen at the expense of getting nuked themselves. This has been a growing sticking point between Washington and the EU and it seems to have finally prompted Obama to back off on the saber-rattling. In a significant move
this week, he backed the Ukrainian junta President (Poroshenko) over the hand-picked (by the US) Prime Minister (Yatsenyuk) in a dispute over heavy-handed tactics in some political maneuverings. Obama, in essence, gave Poroshenko permission to be rid of Yatsenyuk. He also put his plans for sending weapons to Ukraine on hold. It seems that, for now, Obama is willing to forgo war with Russia to preserve the US alliance with the EU.Greece
: Greece remains under pressure from the EU Troika to continue implementing austerity policies in order to continue to receive loan money. Greece requires that money in order to avoid default. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has been making the round of summits and meetings with EU leaders and all have warned him to commit to austerity (in the face of Syriza's mandate to abandon austerity). In spite of being forced to balance servicing EU loans and providing for the country's needs:...the Tsipras government passed a “humanitarian bill” in the Greek parliament, at a cost of just €200 million. The bill provides free electricity and food stamps to some families in dire poverty. Under constant pressure from its creditors, Syriza had already drastically scaled down the humanitarian program from a still inadequate €1.8 billion euros.
The European Commission saw the Greek parliament's support for this bill as a "declaration of war." Even so, senior Syriza leaders have said they will consider approaching Russia as an alternative source of funding. This apparently prompted a visit to Athens from the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Vitoria Nuland. Ms Nuland, you may recall, was instrumental in facilitating the US coup that overthrew the Ukrainian elected government and installed a puppet regime. See here
. Watch out, Greece! The b---h is back!Otherwise
: Dimitri Orlov posted a blog entry
where he provides a fascinating overview of the evolution of a feudal hierarchy to a capitalistic hierarchy to an anarchistic (after collapse) hierarchy. I've always found Dimitri's observations of current events, and their historical precedents, to be right on.
I'm working hard on my first Dentville
novel and have made significant progress. I hope to have the manuscript developed to a point where it is ready for editing within the next couple of weeks. That should facilitate a publication date sometime in the late summer or early fall of this year. While this is a labor of love for me, it is definitely a labor. I agree with George Orwell (see photo) that no one would engage in such an undertaking without being driven by some demon. So mine is at work and it drives me to make these journal entries as well (and fills me with ideas for books and short stories that I will seek to bring to fruition as long as it's possible for me to do so).
Now writing fiction is definitely an art and I have long said that I am far more of an artist than a technician. Therefore I appreciate and enjoy the creation of a story (or an essay) as a work in itself and strive to make that act of creation aesthetically, technically, and inspirationally, right. I believe that, like a painting or a savory meal or a fine wine, a piece of writing should be pleasing in the consumption. My aim is to make my work just that.
At the same time, however, I have, in my latter years, become more and more politically aware. That is, I've striven to look outside my bubble, even as I've struggled to survive and provide for my family, and see the world as it really is. As I've gotten older I have become less and less able to be satisfied with the consensus of what reality is (especially in the US) and with the conceit that everything is OK, will be OK, our leaders wouldn't do that, and that the future will be like the past. There is too much serious stuff going on and I have to speak of it and point it out, though I be pilloried in the effort. My demon will have its way.
Integrating these two impulses--art and social commentary--is the challenge I cannot avoid. I just have to work out how best to do it. In my writings, I want to inspire and entertain readers, and also say something. In his brilliant essay, Why I Write
, George Orwell described his own struggle with expressing art and making comment:
So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose and style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information...The job is to reconcile my ingrained likes and dislikes with the essentially public, non-individual activities that this age forces on all of us.
Yes. Exactly. Mr. Orwell got it right on so many levels.
One of the activities this age forces on us is The War of the Damned
as I mentioned in my last journal entry. Here are a few updates for that war from this past week.Ukraine
: Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (installed as PM in last year's coup by the US) announced the resumption of war
with Donbass (ethnic Russians in eastern provinces of Ukraine who are a self-proclaimed independent republic now). Yatsenyuk says: “Adequate financial resources are available” now to retake Donbass. He's referring to material and financial support from the US and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). I guess that means the cease-fire is over.Greece
: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras assured the Greek people
that they will not return to the policies of austerity, "despite pressure from European lenders." He also spoke of "...an honorable compromise..." that requires the recognition that "the previous policy of extreme austerity has failed." While that's certainly true, his language sounds like he is still depending on a reasonable negotiation with the Troika, which I believe won't happen. The same article noted that the European Central Bank (ECB) would be opening a new headquarters building in Frankfurt later in the week and that the Blockupy
organization planned a mass demonstration there. That demonstration
happened on March 18 with about 10,000 demonstrators taking part. There was some violence that the Blockupy representatives distanced themselves from. This is typical with such protests and, considering the organization being protested, makes one wonder about agent provocateurs.Philippines
: There were demonstrations in the Philippines against the government acting at the behest of the US to assassinate two FBI-wanted terrorists that led to slaughter of a Filipino commando unit. The operation
, which was apparently US planned and meant to be a "surgical" killing of wanted terrorists in the midst of the Moro rebel army, was botched when the Moro caught the commandos in the act and a firefight ensued. The Moro rebels cut off the commandos escape by attacking the army unit charged with covering it. About 44 Filipino soldiers were killed.Weather/Climate
: A government climate scientist published this article
on the Truth-Out website, explaining the persistent weather pattern over the US of serial "winter storms" in the east and record heat/drought in the west and midwest. Compare the article to this one
on the GeoEngineering Watch website that takes the same data and views it in the light of verifiable, obvious, and ongoing Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering (SAG) operations. Also, the National Snow and Ice Data Center has confirmed
that Arctic sea ice is at its lowest volume ever recorded. This shows that the earth is warming and NOT cooling in spite of the "winter storms" that have marched through the eastern US and left record snowfall in Boston. They also confirm (along with numerous studies) that "2014 was the warmest year ever recorded." All this is further confirmation that humanity is in deep doo-doo as dramatized here
.Syriza in the US
?: The most hopeful article
I read this week was one by Chris Hedges about Kshama Sawant, who is a member of the Seattle city council representing the Socialist party. That she was elected at all strikes me as a miracle. She is up for reelection after a year of some legislative successes. Mr. Hedges tells us:...she has helped push through a gradual raising of the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Seattle. She has expanded funding for social services and blocked, along with housing advocates, an attempt by the Seattle Housing Authority to allow a rent increase of up to 400 percent. She has successfully lobbied for city money to support tent encampments and is fighting for an excise tax on millionaires.
All this has earned her the enmity of the political establishment, including the Democratic Party. A lot of corporate money will oppose her reelection. Progressives are gathering around Sawant's campaign and I wonder if it could be the nucleus of a real, representative party arising out of the morass of corruption that so burdens our citizenry. This is the amazing scenario that happened in Greece with the rise of Syriza to power. Sawant lent support to that hope by saying:
"Our campaign needs to be a launching pad for something bigger. It needs to be about building a mass movement, a viable radical alternative. This is what is happening in Greece and Spain.”
* * *
This is an overview of what's going on around us and is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. I expect that George Orwell is watching all this somewhere and its all very familiar to him--just bigger in scope.
I recently watched the final season of the Starz series, Spartacus: War of the Damned
. My wife and I had become fans of the series back in 2011 and we watched them all except for the last one (moving and cable changes lost us our Starz subscription). When it finally became available for streaming on Netflix, we jumped on it.
Overall, it was a fitting finish to the series and included those elements that impressed me from the beginning: subtleties of character (including the young Julius Caesar), setting and costuming realism (mostly), pseudo-shakespearean dialogue, some solid nods to history and legend, and some capable actors (but a shame Andy Whitfield succumbed to cancer after the first season, although Liam McIntyre did well in taking over the lead role). I wrote of my thoughts on the series in a 2011 journal entry
The series prompted me to thoughts about its socialist theme. Indeed, the legend of Spartacus became a socialist (populist) inspiration over the centuries and cannot be understood outside of that theme. So I was pleased to see it expressed in dialogue by the character, Crixius, shortly before his heroic death scene:
We built their mighty republic, with our hands and our blood and our lives. And we can see it fall, at equal cost. You opened my eyes to this, Spartacus, do not ask me now to close them.
That's the realization of awakened slaves (both chattel and wage) to the way things really are. They understand that their labor is being used (until the laborers are used up) for the enrichment and gratification of monstrous rulers (basically, the 1%) in a hierarchical system that favors monsters (psychopaths). And when the slaves resist, they fight oppressors that do not value human life and so will only fight to the death. This fight is often referred to as "class warfare." The "all or nothing" nature of it is what motivated Spartacus' army. Once they set on the path of rebellion, there was no other alternative for them.
This conflict is at the heart of all conflicts among nations and has been going on for some ten thousand years--ever since humans quit hunting-gathering, became farmers, and built cities, since Cain slew Abel, since we cast ourselves out of Eden. Some smart people have identified this change in human society as the Agricultural Revolution. I put some study into that and wrote this journal entry
Though this class warfare has been going on constantly since the beginning of civilization, it seems to me that it has only come to actual, head-to-head, fighting on a very few occasions. That is, when the struggle was between the oppressors and the oppressed and both sides recognized it for what it was.
Spartacus' rebellion was the first such fight (at least that we have record of). Though there had been other slave rebellions, his was the biggest and the knowledge of it has persisted to our time. And though it was put down after years of fighting at great cost to the Roman empire, it had the result of easing the institution of slavery in Rome a tiny bit. I believe share-cropping was introduced to work the empire's fields rather than sheer slave labor. I think our rulers have been seeking ever since to find that sweet-spot of maximum labor exploitation short of armed rebellion.
Another point of conflict in this war may have been the Paris Commune
of 1871. This seems to have been a time when workers were able to use the distraction of the Franco-Prussian war (the French army suffered some defeats and the French government had fled Paris) to establish a government ("commune") in Paris based on cooperation and democracy (i.e., socialist). It only existed for a few months before the French government was able to reassert control of Paris in a week of bloody fighting with the communards.
Of course there was the Russian revolution of 1917 but I think that revolution fared little better than the Paris Commune. Though it was certainly a battle between workers and rulers, it was soon coopted by a state-run capitalism that degenerated further into a totalitarian system that only paid lip-service to being a workers' state.
Then there was the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). This fight was very obviously a struggle against slaveholders (called "fascists" by that time) and freedom-loving people from around the world joined in the fight against them (but not their governments; western governments favored Franco and his fascists). Probably not since Spartacus' time have slaves fought against masters as they did in the Spanish Civil War. Once again, the slaves lost, though the memory of what they tried to accomplish has persisted, and is commemorated in Ernest Hemingway's classic novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls
You may have noted that in these ruminations I've left out the American Civil War. That's because I don't see that war as being oppressed against oppressor, but rather a conflict between two oppressors over who and how to exploit.
What about today? Are there any points of conflict today that continue the War of the Damned? I believe there are two notable ones.
The first is Ukraine
. This conflict began as an attempt by US/NATO to capture a place of rich resources and further encroach on Russian borders (and punish Russia for stopping western plans for escalating the fighting in Syria; see this article
by Prof John McMurtry writing for Global Research). Using provocateur agents, US/NATO toppled the elected president of the Ukraine and installed a puppet with a cadre of neo-nazis who promptly began a cleansing (murder) of the eastern Ukraine (aka, Donbass) of ethnic Russians.
Seeing what was happening in Donbass, the province of Crimea overwhelmingly voted to solicit annexation by Russia (actually a return to being part of Russia) which was granted them. This is the only thing that stopped the western Ukraine government (based in Kiev) from letting their ethnic cleansing extend into Crimea.
The Donbass region of Ukraine also wanted to be taken into Russia, but the Russians declined in the apparent belief that such an action would be seen as a provocative encroachment giving NATO an excuse to attack. So the people of Donbass began to resist. With their only choice being to fight or be killed, they took up arms against the army of Kiev and began to steadily beat them (no doubt supported by Russian volunteers offering expertise and weapons; shades of the Spanish Civil War). There were mass defections in the Ukrainian army to the point that Kiev gave orders to shoot deserters. They also started conscripting children. And it seems the nazi units were better at lobbing bombs from a distance than fighting face-to-face.
Now the western corporate press had gone to great lengths to vilify Russia and President Putin in all this, with exaggerated (at best!) claims of "Russian aggression." In fact, they have generally accused Russia of doing everything that NATO has done. Still, I don't see Russia as representing the oppressed in this conflict. Instead, I see the people spontaneously rising up against the (corporate, fascist) oppressors (wannabe slaveholders) as being the people of Donbass (also refered to as "rebels" in the media). Their "no other choice" determination to fight to defend their lives, families, and homes puts them in Spartacus' army.
I pray the Donbass "rebels" don't suffer the same fate as Spartacus' army. I'm sure, though, that they will fight on, even in the face of US military aid
aid to Ukraine.
I believe the other current battle in the War of the Damned (perhaps even more so than Ukraine) is the fight of the people of Greece against the European Union banks.
Greece was on the edge of bankruptcy in 2010--people were out of work and the ATMs were empty. Being a member of the European Union (EU), Greece's neoliberal "solution" was loans from the Troika (i.e., the triumvirate of financial/political entities: the European Union (based in Brussels), the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)). Their multibillion Euro loans refloated the Greek banks, but with draconian strings attached to "ensure repayment."
Those strings were the neoliberal (functionally equivalent to "neoconservative") policies collectively referred to as "austerity." They are commonly imposed on countries who make IMF loans and include things like the privatization of public works (utilities, lands, prisons, schools, etc), slashing wages and pensions, workforce layoffs, cuts in social programs, and so on. These policies are defacto thieft as they effectively move a nation's wealth from its people to the loan sharks (banks, oligarchs).
The consequences of the austerity policies on the Greek people are described by C. J. Polychroniou in an article
for Truthout:Wages, salaries and pensions were slashed by as much as 40 percent; public services and social programs were stripped to their bare bones, which included hospitals running without adequate equipment and medicine and schools functioning without heating oil in the winter months, unemployment shot through the roof (currently standing at nearly 26 percent, and over 50 percent for those 15-24 years old), poverty became a reality for one out of three people, and suicides became endemic in the early years of the crisis.
People took to the streets to protest, but earned only police repression and no relief from the unsympathetic Troika. Finally, on January 25 of this year, they elected a political party into office that consists of a coalition of left-wing elements and goes by the name of Syriza. Syriza took power on a platform of opposing austerity (where previous governments only cooperated with it) and immediately went into a month long negotiation with agents of the Troika. Their goal was to establish a four month extension of the loan agreements (which required renewal, or reaffirmation--like a loyalty pledge, by the new Greek government) without the austerity measures and so provide time to work out a permanent agreement that would raise revenue to service the loans by prosecuting tax evaders (which would be a huge source), taxing the rich, etc, and also abandon austerity and privatization.
The Troika, however, rejected all of Syriza's proposals and threatened to fail the Greek banks by suspending loan payments. They also stopped accepting Greek state bonds as collateral for ECB loans. In effect, the Troika threatened to toss Greece out of the EU if they refused to cooperate in austerity. Syriza conceded to the pressure. Its leadership is far less radical than the Greek people and they have no desire to leave the EU or not repay the IMF loans. They simply want to abandon austerity as an irrational policy. They found, however, that EU bankers have no sympathy for the jobless and the starving, and will not negotiate.
All this has led to a backlash from the Greek people and the more left-leaning members of the Syriza coalition who feel their leaders should have taken a stronger stance against the hated Troika and been prepared to take Greece out of the EU (aka, "Grexit"). It even led to a national hero (and member of Syriza) to apologize
for Syriza's performance and affirm that "...between slaves and occupiers the only solution is Freedom."
So what happens next with Greece? The factions within Syriza seem to be fighting over that question, but they need to stay together to have any chance at opposing the EU bankers. If Syriza fails, Greece would either return to a compliant government or, worse, to one led by extremists such as the New Dawn (basically, neo-nazis).
Prophecy scholar and seer, John Hogue
, has predicted that the Grexit (Greece leaving the EU and returning to public banks using the drachma for currency) will happen:Watch Russia and China come to Greece’s aid when it abandons the Euro Monetary Union between now and 2015. Russia will set up a naval base in Greece. Both Russia and China will shore up the Greek economy.
(John Hogue, Predictions for 2013-2014)
I expect such a scenario would be the best one for Greece, but it would also be a firming of the line being drawn between east and west (BRICS vs NATO). And that line is a battle-line as much as it is cultural and political demarcation.
Most observers fear that a Grexit would be the spark that unravels the neoliberal financial system presided over by the world's oligarchs. That may be, but I believe that unraveling is inevitable. And there are other sparks glowing among people struggling under the heel of the oligarchs. Populist parties similar to Syriza are rising in Spain and Ireland. The question is: how far will these parties be able to go, working within the neoliberal political system, to truly represent the interests of the citizenry?
Actually, there are many places around the world where battles in this war are being fought. Venezuela, for example. But it looks to me like Ukraine/Greece is where the pressures are strongest that will lead to the inevitable fallout.
In the real world, the War of the Damned continues.
This is the most dire time for humanity in the whole of its history upon the earth. Perhaps only once before have we, as a species, faced extinction. Scientists point to a time when human numbers were down to (I believe) the thousands and our survival then was a very near thing. Today, our numbers are comparatively vast (some 7 billion) but the threat to our habitat (the planet earth!) is just as vast in scope, and more certain than an asteroid hit, because it is a deliberate program of destruction.
That program is Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering (SAG)
that is in constant operation over our heads at all times. It is the reason you see jets flying at high altitudes leaving vast trails of particulate materials that last for hours and lead to overcast skies. Even "clear" days are only a milky-white, pale blue. And these particulates (metals with various carrying agents and chemical adjuncts) are toxic to all life on earth.
There are multiple reasons for governments (in the thrall of supragovernmental elites) to carry out "the program." The biggest reason is sheer control of the weather. That control results in the weather channel's named winter storms that have been blasting the US northeast (and also causing drought and record heat from Alaska through California and the southwest).
There are deep dimensions to this that are easily found with Google searches. Using honest discernment of the results returned, you can find the credible data, and confirm it with careful observation of the sky. It is a chilling activity, but one that will certainly burst our common bubbles of delusion as to how things truly are.
The best source for information on SAG is Dane Wigington's website: GeoEngineering Watch
Dane periodically puts out short videos on the status of earths climate as it is manipulated by SAG. His most recent is an excellent overview of how SAG is being used on the US right now. You can view it here
. It's only about 9 minutes long. Dane's presentation is based on NOAA and GFS weather maps that you can easily find for yourselves.
Climate change exacerbated by SAG is the backdrop and all-encompassing limit to everything we do. The distant horizon cannot be a symbol of dreams of escape-from-the-commonplace, when it is littered with aerosol trails.
* * *
Here is another link to Dane's video report.
I've written a lot in this journal since late last year about our move to South Carolina. In my last entry, I said the move was complete and we're working on settling in. That's still true. My wife is settling into her new job, dealing with the challenges it presents. I'm also settling into mine with its challenges. In the last couple of weeks I've done some solid edits and rewrites on my first Dentville
novel (Power of the Ancients
) as well as some supporting writing and research. All that's good. Still, we are in a new place, a long way from the only home we've ever known. I'm not homesick (though I miss our sons). Indeed, I'm glad of our changed environment and look forward to exploring it more. It just that making such a big move prompts pauses to consider.
Tomorrow marks our first Valentine's Day in our new home and I want to mark it with wine, roses, and my love and appreciation to Donna for the bold move she's made, and her belief in me. A friend told me this move would at first be "You and Donna against the world." He was saying we'd feel really alone in this new place until we became accustomed to it and made friends. He went through a similar experience some years ago. And he's right, but then again, it's always been she and I against the world in a lot of respects.
Now the world is hard thing to struggle with, especially at this point in human history. I've alluded to a lot of that in this journal and will have more to say about it. Indeed, I had thought to write a longer, more intense entry this time about the current state of world affairs, but decided to hold off on that and think brighter thoughts. It is a long weekend that begins with Valentine's Day, so, let's lighten up...for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself
May St Valentine's blessings be yours, and may the love of family and friends fill your life.
And if you're fortunate enough to be sharing your journey with your soulmate, let them know you're glad they're with you, and that you wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
In the words of one of my favorite Disney songs:I'll be there
When the storm is through
In the end I wanna be standing
At the beginning with you.
Omigosh. I'm here. At my new home. Once again, my wife and I have packed up, lock, stock, and tomahawk, and settled elsewhere. This time, six hundred miles away to the eastern US coast. Donna started her new job here at the first of last December. I finished up my old job, tied up loose ends, and have now joined her in Columbia. I've been here for two weeks, and they've been weeks of intense settling in.
I've made the drive out here three times, and once back to Mississippi (I flew one time, and this last time, I've not gone back). The drive is grueling, taking about ten hours, though it is a straight shot down Interstate 20. It's not a particularly scenic drive, just typical Interstate travel through patches of pine forest regrowth and varying levels of suburban sprawl. But there are some interesting vistas from some pretty high hills (Appalachian foothills?) at elevations up to 1000 feet starting around Birmingham, Alabama. They level out by the time you reach Georgia.
One of the drives out was most memorable for being sheer, gut-wrenchingly, awful. That was when I went to spend Christmas week with Donna and take a first load of our stuff. I towed a uhaul trailor behind a borrowed Toyota Tacoma through the cold dark and constant rain with stormy stretches. Often I couldn't see where I was going. The trailer slowed my truck's progress and made it unwieldy on slick roads. I had to pay close attention as I often couldn't see very far ahead because of the dark, the rain, and the constant stream of warehouses-on-wheels (trucks). I was "flying by instruments" most of the way--relying on my GPS (Global Positioning System) device to keep me on track. Very often, I followed the GPS graphic as much as the actual road.
I've never owned a GPS until I bought one to make this trip and to guide us around Columbia. It's an amazing little box that strikes me as the pinnacle of human technology. It knows the roads to everywhere and can detect elevations and speed limits. Sure, you can find the fuzzy limits to what it knows, but the very fact that there is a humongous area of nonfuzzy info is just barely short of miraculous. Based on a street address, or sometimes just a business name (or even long/lat coordinates) it will guide you with voice and graphics to your destination. If you take a wrong turn, it will make the adjustment within seconds and guide you from where you are. It has taken me all over Columbia and the surrounding region and greatly hastened my learning my way around. Yes, it has short-comings. It is ultimately toxic to the environment like all digital technologies. It propagates the life-shortening pollution of microwaves. It is a tracking device for the NSA. People take these devices for granted and give no thought to what's behind them--they're just too useful to abandon (which could be humanity's epitaph).
Forgive me, I digress.
So my arrival at our little rental in Columbia filled the house with boxes of our essential stuff. A lot of my two weeks since has been unboxing it all. I've contributed a lot of boxes to the local recycling effort, which seems to be a good one and I give them credit for that. I would like to have saved the boxes, which mostly came from a Wine-and-Spirits store (boxes just the right size), we've no room to store them. In fact, there is little room in our rental that is dedicated storage space. That means we share our living space with our stored items and it has led to some creative setup in the house. It works, though, and makes me think it's better to pay less for a smaller space and make good use of drawers and cheap storage cabinets.
My computer made the trip successfully and I've setup my study/library/office so I'm online again. Of course, there have been the myriad details to attend to, like getting new driver's licenses and car tags (and fighting the bureaucratic inertia of such) and making the required adjustments for car and renter's insurance. But we're mostly through all that now, and I can pause and think about what I want to do for the first time in over two months.
South Carolina is a lot like Mississippi in ambiance. It's still the US South. There are subtle differences, however, that probably come from influences filtering down from the northeast. Like wine and spirits being more openly acceptable. It seems every store, from grocery to furniture stores, has a decent wine section. The quality and number of good restaurants is also impressive.
The mar in all this is that the SAG spraying
overhead is horrendous. It is far worse than what I saw over Mississippi and that was bad. On a "clear" day you can see as many as five jets in the same area at very high altitudes, flying in crazy, overlapping patterns as they release thick plumes of aerosols. I suspect this is partly in support of Winter Storm "Juno"
the geoengineers have created for the northeast. Geoengineering is the consummate horror of our times and my work will always include activism against it.
Regarding my work, I'm ready to get down to it, revamp my web presence and put out at least two books and all the other writing I feel the inspiration and need for. Stay with me.
So we're here, and life has changed. I hope to settle into a life more literary and engaged, write my books and create an infrastructure to support them. And maybe learn something in the process that I can share with you.
I have posted a little review of John Hogue's ebook, Ten Predictions for 2015
on Amazon.com. The book is actually a prelude to a much larger work, Predictions 2015, which is due to come out around the first of February. Mr. Hogue has delayed the released of the larger work because he says it grew in scope as he worked on it.
I have a special interest in the book because he includes a section on climate change that addresses the possibility of a new ice age in addition to a couple of other possible climate futures. Even though the earth has just set a record for the highest global average temperature in human history, another ice age is possible. Judging by the fossil record, it's due, and they are always preceded by a period of global warming. It is that scenario that I use for the setting of my coming novel, Dentville: The Power of the Ancients
Actually, Mr. Hogue addresses another issue that relates to a planned novel of mine, regarding the 2016 presidential elections. It looks like the big contest will be between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. That is, it will be a big contest as far as the mainstream media is concerned. Both are servants to the ruling oligarchs and they may have already determined the "winner." Nevertheless, Mr. Hogue sees Hillary as having a "destiny to be president" and that might tie in nicely with the novelization I would like to do of my short story, Madam President
Mr. Hogue sees 2015 as the year of "last chances." That is, astrologically speaking, it is the last time period where changes can be made that can alter events in the following epoch. That implies 2015 as being a pivotal, watershed, year. I recommend you get Ten Predictions for 2015
for more on what this scholarly seer sees for the coming year (it's only $2.99).
2015 will be a turning point year for me and my family as well, as I've indicated in the last few journal entries. In fact, this upcoming week will be the time I make the big move from here to our new home in South Carolina. It is there that my wife has launched into a better job, and there that I will launch my new career (or at least my attempt at such).
Starts imply endings and departures. Certainly, that is part of my story, even with some bridge burnings. But sometimes that's necessary.
Here's to looking ahead and beyond in the coming year. I hope it goes well for you.My Amazon review of Ten Predictions for 2015
Christmas 2014 has passed and the new year of 2015 has begun. I see the last two years as a growing momentum that has brought me to now, where I see and am actively pursuing my personal legend
. At Christmastime I considered my recent past in the season's celebration of the hope for redemption. I see my own redemption and renewal in this time's passage. Now I will look ahead to where I'm going and where the world seems to be headed; well no, not quite yet.
I do want to make a journal entry about predictions for the coming year. Not so much my predictions, but rather, I'll offer some commentary on predictions made by others whose opinions I've come to hold in high regard. I'll also talk then about my plans for 2015, but first, I have to say something about my recent watershed event.
Dec 31, 2014 was my final day on an 8-to-5 job of 13 years duration. It was an IT job (Information Technology) and the culmination of a 34 year career that saw me move from a 24-year-old operator of a computer that filled a large room, to a grizzled network administrator of systems that don't physically exist. There's probably some lesson in that about moving from something to nothing, but I don't want to deal with that now.
No, the job I just left, I began in November of 2001--a scant month after the world's watershed event (9-11) of terror. That world event does not move me to patriotism, but rather to disgust at seeing in it the manifestation of a great evil. Still it was a turning point in human history, just as my job start was a turning point in my personal history. It was the start of my last mainstream job (so far as I know) and I held it longer than any other.
That employment began with a world-altering event and lasted through many other world-altering events. But my job was little affected by any of them. That is, the machinations and work of the job went on as if nothing else was happening in the world, or at least the effects were subtle and never acknowledged. But then, that's the way the western world's economy works, with people having value only as units of production and as "consumers." They are well trained for this life and do their work without looking up. I don't think it will be that way for much longer, though. World events will intrude and people will have to acknowledge that the monumental powers that move western civilization and even alter the very forces of nature, affect them as well.
In the last 13 years, I think that only happened at my job when hurricane Katrina breezed through town.
What happened instead, was 13 years of routine--getting up before daybreak, making an hour's commute, checking computer systems, updating work statuses, filling out virtual timesheets, appraising staff, drafting documentation. There were a few special projects that alternated between earning me praise and censure. There were problems that drew from management the moral equivalent of righteous indignation. At times, there were celebrations of holidays, birthdays, and even vacations (presentations with slides of a manager's trip). Those grew steadily less over the years until there was nothing but the job. Pleasure and pain were bound in the daily routine that sometimes stretched into the nights and weekends, diluting compensation, and offering only the reward of the faithful servant.
That's how it all seemed to me after being a cog in the capitalist machine for 34-plus years. Early on, I was motivated by the joy of the geek playing with computer technology. That lasted for some years until it became not enough. That "not enough" grew and became visceral for me in the year of 2013. I think my spirit guides just brought me to the point of finding old inspirations and applying them to that present time and their contrast with the way I was living was just too great. You can trace that process in my journal entries from then (an exercise for the Reader) and, I hope, find some inspiration.
And it all came down to now; to this time when my soulmate found employment in another state and local holds were relaxed enough to allow us to leave. We acted on that opportunity and it brought me to that last day of 2014, when my resignation of employment became effective.
I had spent the prior weeks tying up loose ends at the job. I gave final instructions and suggestions, and shored up the voluminous documentation that would be my voice when I was no longer there. On that last day, I attended a reception held for a fellow employee who was actually retiring, and for myself, who was just quitting. Slices of a fine chocolate cake were passed around with kind words for us, the departing. Many people expressed warm wishes towards me (and towards Donna, my wife, as well). Though I've been thoroughly jaded towards the daily, crushing, grind of 8-5 employment, I was very touched by the loving-friendliness extended to me by some human souls on that day. Thank you so very much.
Then for the final time, I submitted my timesheet and shut down my workstation. I left the network area and locked the door behind me. I turned in my keys and my badges, said some final goodbyes, and left the building. Out on the street, in the mid-afternoon, I scanned the downtown with nostalgic eyes. It was cool and as clear a day as the geoengineers
will allow. I was thankful for that and got into my car and drove away with a joy at leaving the rat race, but with an ache at the closing of a chapter. Indeed, that chapter closed the second act.
It is often said that the problems a person has with a given job are usually not with the work, but with the people. I also find that when I remember a given job, I remember little about the work, but mostly about the people. I've just left another bunch of people who are fellow pilgrims on the camino
of this physical plane. I wish them well even as I move on.
Christmas time has always been a mellow time of conclusion for me. The warmth of hearth fires to dispell wintry chills, the smell of evergreenery, chocolate, spiced cakes, wine, cheese, colored lights in the night, festive decoration, classic music of the season, fellowship in celebration, all contribute to make special that time of year when the night is longest and goodwill is dispensed on a scale wider than at any other time, because it comes from a shared, religiously expressed, hope for salvation at an emotional and spiritual, level. It's a good time, at the end of the year, to consider where you've come from and where you are, before looking ahead at the new year.
This has been a pivotal year for me and, I believe, for the world. For my part, I can trace my year's evolution through my journal entries. It's appropriate that it began with an entry inspired by Ben Stiller's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
movie. It's my most-liked journal entry
and I've referred to it many times. I simply found it inspiring, especially with its theme of travel as being the portal through which the protagonist reconnected with reality and living his life. This came to me after the previous year of journal entries where a desire for travel and "breaking free" was a growing motivation.
I felt, however, that the cost of breaking free for me (and all wage slaves) was nothing short of death. Our world system is simply that harsh and unforgiving for workers. I expressed this feeling in a short story I called, What I Call Life
(taken from a quote by Henry David Thoreau). I wrote about what that story was to me in my second journal entry that I called, Life Cost
. In a nutshell, it was my own situation expressed through a protagonist who "...reaches the end of his rope on the job, receives his "bolt from the blue" offer, and makes his decision." Little did I realize that this story would play out for me in reality (if less dramatically) within the year.
Then there were some positive distractions that prompted a number of journal entries. I took a course on self-publishing at a local college that made me feel my goal of publishing novels was attainable. It inspired me so that I made a restart of my Dentville
novel, making use of a novel-writing program I found (WriteWay
). Using this software, I was able to get the initial draft of the book completed.
Another distraction was an education on wine brought about by my sons' entries into the sommelier field. I made a comparison of the wine passion to literature and wrote a number of journal entries about it. I came to appreciate how the subtle sophistication of a good wine can enhance a moment or occasion.
On the literary side, I expressed my breaking free desire in a "literary expedition" through reviews of several books that spoke to me on one level or other. Most notable among them was Daniel Quinn's The Story of B
, which rounded out his Ishmael
trilogy and that, along with Riane Eisler's The Chalice & the Blade
, enhanced my knowledge of civilization's beginnings and helped explain to me, what happened to us.
That expedition into learning about humanity's history came from a darkness that grew alongside my desire to abandon the rat race. I learned more, through alternate news sources and the writings of some smart people, about the true state of the world. I saw ever more clearly the ominous coming of devastation from global warming as exacerbated by Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering (SAG) and the mad plans of the oligarchs for world domination. This tainted my hopes for a better life, and I struggle with it. But in my literary expedition, I realized that others struggled with it long before me, though the threat was not as imminent for them. Ernest Hemingway, for example, saw the nature of things and expressed it in For Whom the Bell Tolls
. The inspiration of that book led me to breach the subject myself for the first time in a journal entry (We Fight to Live
The last half of the year was a contest between the desired inspiration of a wider world (Another Dreamer
, Moving vs Traveling
) and the certain horror of our situation (The Passage we must Transit
). I expect that contest won't be worked out, but rather, I'll have to explore both sides to be honest with myself, my loved ones, and my fans. Even so, I found some solace in reconnecting with an old friend that reinspired my literary ambitions (The Booksigning
All this led up to the biggest event of the year and watershed of my life. When my wife and soulmate, Donna, found a job that would take us away from Mississippi to South Carolina, it led me to take a slightly early retirement from IT work and for us to move across the country to make a new start (Moving Forward with Courage
). Donna has already made the move and I'm still in the transition--finishing my 8-to-5 job and concluding other ties.
This is the event that I said mirrored the action in my What I Call Life
story. I am way past being ready to move on. The spirits and my wife provided this opportunity, and I am acting on it. I pray it will be for the better of us both. And I pray it will be for the better of you who are following me, in that I'll produce work that will help you.
Looking back over the year, it seems to me that Paulo Coelho may have been right when he said in his wonderful little book, The Alchemist
:...a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend...It's a force that appears to be negative, but actually shows you how to realize your Personal Legend. It prepares your spirit and your will, because there is one truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it's because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It's your mission on earth...And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.
So I'm pursuing my personal legend, as is Donna. The way may be rocky, very rocky, at times, but it's the only way to go.
Here's hoping your Christmas is a joy enhanced by the nearness of loved ones, faith, and the realization of the pursuit of your personal legend.
Donna and I have made the trip to Columbia, SC, that I spoke of in my last journal entry
. She has begun her new job there and I have returned to Mississippi to wrap things up.
A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no or where to go
Or say we're only dreaming...
The journey to Columbia was long, some 600 miles eastward on Interstate 20, but the day was sunny and marred only by the ubiquitous SAG trails
cutting through particulate-laden, glary skies. That's an oppression I constantly feel, but even so, we both felt a release from old ties that receded with the miles. For we must get on with the business of living, especially when the tide in our affairs reaches a crest that we must sail, despite cloudy horizons. So with months of planning and preparation as our bulwark, we drove on, anxious, but less so than would have been the case in our inexperienced years. Now, anxiety from the unknown was tempered with the knowledge of how things work, with confidence in our capabilities, and with the decision made to do
We spent some 10 hours on the road. It would have been more had we stopped to eat at restaurants. Instead, Donna made sandwiches and we carried traveling snacks with us. This allowed us to take our meals at rest stops and save much time. Even so, guided by our Global Positioning System device (GPS), we rolled into Columbia after dark.
Even with the GPS, it took us a while to find the Extended Stay motel we had booked. We found a very nice place with a big 'E' over its door that seemed much nicer than we anticipated. It was. The 'E' stood for "Embassy Hotel." Our place was next door and it was not so nice.
The Extended Stay was a basic, two-story, box of rooms. The "extended" aspect was from a mini-fridge, burner-plate, and microwave in the room. The microwave didn't work, the bed covering was ridiculously thin, and the noise from the nearby Interstate kept us awake all night (along with the meanderings and primal calls of our neighbors). We checked out the next day.
We found another Extended Stay dump closer to town. Its microwave worked, though it was a mess, and the bed was a bit more comfortable though the bedding was filthy. The faucet in the bathroom sink barely released a trickle and we shared the room with roaches (small ones in the bathroom). The shower head didn't disperse the water stream so it was like showering with a garden hose. But we were pressed for time and the place was cheap (relatively) so we stayed there. We washed the beddings at a Laundromat and bought some cheap shelving and groceries to get us through the week.
And it was a very busy week. Donna started her new job and that was the brightest point. She was welcomed and quickly valued. While she worked, I searched for a rental house for us. And it had to be a house with a fenced yard for our dog.
Our extended dump had no wifi so I had to take my laptop PC to the city library to do my Internet searches for rentals. I liked the library. It was big (3 floors and a basement) and had tables with electric outlets in the floor beside them. It struck me as an excellent place to do research or just find a quiet corner and write. I'll make use of that place when I'm settled. So every morning, I would drop Donna off at work, drive to the library, pick a table, set up shop, and start searching. I generated a list of properties to search and then packed up and hit the road, letting the GPS take me to all the potentials.
Our first thought was to live in an in-town neighborhood to greatly shorten Donna's commute and be close to the downtown (which is congenial in ambiance and full of neat cafes, restaurants, and shops). In the course of the week, I visited hundreds of houses-for-rent in and around Columbia. All were old and most were dumps or just not suitable for one reason or other. Many neighborhoods were obviously popular for renting to college students (the University of South Carolina is in the south part of town) and that was fine, but college students tend to have lower expectations in housing that we do. By Wednesday, I was very discouraged.
Then I found a house that seemed adequate. It was in a popular neighborhood, was in good shape with hardwood floors throughout, a covered back porch, nice deck, fenced back yard and a storage building. I was hopeful it was the end of my search and had Donna look at it on her lunch break. She liked it too, but after some thought, decided that the master bedroom being in the attic was something she didn't want to deal with (slanted walls making it tough to place furniture and a very steep stairway climb to get to it). So I kept looking.
In the meantime, we did enjoy a couple of nice meals at a cafe and restaurant in town. Michael's
is a cafe off Main Street with a wonderfully mellow atmosphere. That day's special was a pizza with salad and a bottle of wine for $20. It was all great and the wine was a good little pinot noir called Nightfall
Then on Thursday night, a couple of Donna's coworkers treated us to dinner at California Dreaming
downtown. This is an upscale restaurant housed in a an old converted train station. The menu was California-oriented and everything on it was great (by reputation). I know the Knob Chicken was great, and so were the seafood nachos. The wine list was Californian and I had a very good cabernet sauvignon called Main Street
. There was live entertainment (a guy playing guitar and singing) and a large bar. This place is very popular with the locals and is a great place to entertain. I highly recommend it.
Our house search extended to Friday. This was my last day there and I was feeling the pressure. I found a couple of places that might suit and took Donna to see them at lunch. She wasn't thrilled with them, but while out, we found a neighborhood of patio homes with fenced back yards and a couple were for rent. We called the phone number on a sign in one of the yards and spoke with a property manager who suggested we come into town and get keys to three rentals her company managed. We did, and the second one turned out to be very suitable for us. It was a patio home in the city's northeast section, close to much shopping and the type of support places (grocery, restaurants, etc) that we are used to. The house was very clean with a modern kitchen and a washer/dryer.
The agent fast-tracked our application and we signed a lease that day. Donna was able to move out of the fleabag and into the house the next day. With the purchase of an air mattress and a few items, she is all set to live there until I return with our furniture and the dog.
I flew back to Mississippi the next day (appalled at the SAG spraying seen from the air). Back home, I crashed into a midnight migraine
as a I unwound from the week's exertions and stresses. It took a couple of days for me to recover, but I did, and now I'm tying up loose ends and preparing to join Donna in Columbia and setup our house.
I've resigned my IT job of 13 years and that in itself is a major life event for me. I'm glad about it. It is surely time for me to move on to another phase. I described my writing plans in my last journal entry and I look forward to implementing them.
I've had a number of new starts in my life. In many ways, this is the biggest. I feel very positive energies about it; also gratitude that I have this opportunity at this time in my life to break free, to some extent, from the chains of the Taker
culture that darkens our collective futures...I'm like a shooting star
I've come so far
I can't go back
To where I used to be...
...and that my soulmate is with me....Let me share this whole new world with you.