........................................................................................ - a weBlog by Snowy and me.

Monday, 31 December 2012

Let Them Eat Chips

'The American dream' masks very well
the permanent division between rich and poor.
By shouting to all 'You can all can make it to riches' 
nobody gets to escape the advertising pitch.
The message lumps the fool get in with the wise.
Those born with money feel sure they will keep it,
those born with less will see money as attainable.
What both refuse to guess is how much growth,
and new wealth, takes away from old money.

The last U.S. election campaigns cost $18 per person,
or $6 billion dollars overall. The U.K. and Canada
spent £0.50 and $8 canadian dollars per person
on their elections, considerably less.
But then Americans spent $7 billion
in the same election year on potato snacks,
and $8 billion on Halloween. The dream
of continuous conspicuous consumption
may be better value,
compared with choosing leaders, than we thought.

The Second Amendment Never Looked More Healthy

With thanks to thisisnthappiness

Progress And Reason

'The reasonable man adapts himself to the world;
the unreasonable man persists in trying
to adapt the world to himself. Therefore
all progress depends on the unreasonable man.'
-George Bernard Shaw, 1903.


Sunday, 30 December 2012

In The Truth Olympics

the gold medal for honesty was claimed by many, but awarded to none.
Everyone who tried for it had to be refused by the sponsors.
The only contestant fit enough to receive the prize,
who had trained his soul to be lighter than a feather couldn't enter the event.
If he accepted being put forward then the award would be too heavy
for him to own, and for him to have the life he'd trained for afterwards.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

In The Age Of The CD And MP3

This is what modern music seems to be reduced to.

A Choice Of Dystopias

Are fairytales the original rural dystopic narratives
that we cannot avoid living out,
in spite of our being tamed by city life?

Better still, make that what we discover
through reflecting on living.

Friday, 28 December 2012

The Ease

with which we cease
to feel each others pain
continues to astonish me.
Still, I count my surprise
as proof I am still alive.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

How Like God

to make his Omniscience appear to be multi-tasking.
And then niavely ask man to do like him,
look after the stock in the garden.
How like man, for whom it proved too much.
For all he knew he knew and wanted nothing-beyond obedience.
How like Satan, God's chief of secret police,
who with his fellow rebellious angels,
to take so well to the idea of knowing more
than everyone except God, for them to try to imitate God.
Though Satans act was similarly multi-tasking.
Like all secret police down the ages,
the nearest Satan and Co got to genuine omniscience
was to have others, like Eve, do their bidding.
Which gives them sound alibis
to cover for the time when the crime was committed.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Signs Of Greater Age (12)

1)Going into record shops, and seeing
on the racks CD reissues of albums
popular in the counter-culture of your youth,
40 years ago. As records back then
they were poorly distributed and hard to find,
available only on easy-scratch vinyl.
Now they are remastered to sound clearer
than ever before, and to fill out their
78 minutes they are stuffed with extras.

2)Looking at copius sleeve notes
of the reissued disc to rediscover
what you are buying, only to find
you need a microscope to read the writng.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Genetic Modification;

war engineered between genes-intensified.

Some Old New Years Resolutions Worth Renewing

'Don't be reckless with other people's hearts,
don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don't waste your time on jealousy,
sometimes you 're ahead, sometimes you are behind.
The race is long, and in the end it is only with yourself. 
Remember the compliments you receive,
forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how."

- Kurt Vonnegut

Sunday, 23 December 2012

My Last Christmas Card Of 2012

It came with a pleasing round-robin and six ways to reply. 

Where Fascism

takes root it first inhabits the flag.
In Christian countries it hides behind the cross.
It is equally calm inside David's star,
and the crecent moon and pentagram.

Make Do And Mend

I learned very well how to make do and mend,
to repair the splinters of adulthood my family left me.
But by the time I was done we had all moved on-
making amends with them after was beyond me.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

What God Thought

of Adam and Eve and the rebel angels
as he expelled them from Eden....
'They treated this place as if it were a hotel'.

Friday, 21 December 2012

The Wisdom

that comes from learning
how easily I misunderstood myself in the past
improves how much I misunderstand myself in the present.
And helps me forgive more of the misunderstanding.

Hubris Heights, As Seen From Below

Often, when young, I was told 'know your place'
by the people who owned the physical space
I was forced to exist in.
As their property I went where they wanted me.
What I misunderstood in the past, and see now,
is how my instructors were talking not about the ground  I took up,
but about my lack of social class, my zero status.
As a child I had no value, therefore no place around them.
Even though they were my, yes my, parents.

I was their adjunct, and as an adjunct
I was to be talked at, without being heard.
At the time I thought that I was being addressed,
albeit incoherently, and therefore I had value.
I was blind to how I was unesteemed.

Now I can count that lack of sight as a blessing,
as a life my past felt like a very hard very long falling down.
Had I seen and known in full how I was actively devalued
sooner than I did, it would have hurt much, much, more.

Things are better now. If I am to be the object of derision
I know it is better to honestly deride myself for my limits,
before my tormentors begin, and to be firmer with myself
than my tormentors could ever know how to be with me.
That is the power of Self Knowledge in action.
It stops me passively absorbing other peoples cheap anger .

Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Freedom

of free spirits-and their familiars-works
because they like to appear to be self reliant
whilst discreetly accepting gifts.
This is not a paradox,
this is respect enhanced by distance.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Optimism (1)

is that immaturity of being some way off the fulcrum
-not yet seeing how, in the longer term,
that gain has to match loss on the scales of life.

We All Host Ghosts

when we are young and unaware.
They are the source of our zest for life,
our restless. Even as we think we alone
will change in the world, it is their fight
against being inside us that causes us hope.
With maturity the flesh thickens
and improves how it imprisons and hosts.
Our guests kick less against the pricks of their containment.

The more they settle the less they dance,
and the less we dance and change with them.
Until the flesh wears so thin that the ghosts
find release, inviting their former host
to join them in their quests and travels.
To find other bodies to be give life to.    

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Signs Of Greater Age (11)

1)Approaching ticket machines at railway stations with caution,
as if they were like the fruit machines you never played when younger,
because for the life of you, you could never win against them.

2)Learning that working slowly is not just the only way you know
how to work, but enjoying being at ease with what you do, for being so slow.

3)Seeing others having 'senior moments'
and being patient with the person having them.
These moments are prophetic.
You know that you are going to face similar times.
Your hope is that the empathy you show now
will be shown to you, by observant others, then.     

Monday, 17 December 2012

An Argument Towards Improving Democracy

The Ancient Athenian view of citizenship
was that mostly adult males who completed military service
could have it, though there were exceptions.
But it was absolute that in that direct democracy
that every vote represented the voter, nobody else.
Some women and children were citizens
without the vote. Slaves and foreigners
took part in nothing beyond their chattel-dom.

In my city state the right to vote,
implied in  full citizenship, would not
be about what one can take for oneself,
nor based on the anatomy and status you were born with.
But it would be built on how much rubbish you remove
from public view, how many trees the citizen has planted,
for the betterment of the area, and beyond.
What support anyone gives to the most poor
and needy, and lastly how much anyone contributes
to positive public debate. This is voting by doing and living,
and makes the actual act of voting a token well paid for in advance.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Plastic Life

It is common to western societies to accept money
being lent with interest, it is as if advanced usury
was integral to The Enlightenment.
Just as easily accepted is seeing the currency reduced
to a plastic card with a code, as if the card defined
the social mobility. But each card is backed by a legal
agreement written in very small print.
Often this text is only available online, and its length
will be between 10,000 and 30,000 words.
The user has to sign to say they have read
and accepted the terms thereof.
Few read what they have signed up to,
in full or in part, and far fewer than that few learn
what those words mean, and appreciate
how the words offer less support to the customer
than they appear to.

The collected writings of St Paul clock in at about 30,000 words,
but even with all his tautologies and legally buttressed arguments
his summary of the plasticity of life that credit cards is brief-
'The love of money is the root of all evil'.
Because behind the love of money is the love of comfort,
and behind the comfort is our dis-ownership of the process
of how, materially, what we have comes to own us.
In our attempted dis -ownership of what we are owned by
lives our sloth, our incuriosity, our lack of integrity.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

The Cruelty Of Choice

It is frequently said of foie gras
that cruelty is integral to how it is made,
by forcing open the beaks of ducks
and geese, feeding them through a funnel
until their livers swell with unhealthy fat.
Recently I learnt that only the cheapest foie gras
is made this way and the best, most costly,
 foie gras does not involve the use of funnels.
Still, can it be fun, funnel or none,
that animals lose choice and quality of life this way?

But then I see how employees do the most demeaning jobs,
for the least amount of money and the weakest job security.
They stick at their work in spite of the shrunken reward
and the inherent instability of 'the market for work'
into which they are entered, practically captive.
I note how with the drive and talk of full employment,
that the virtue of cheapness is how well it pays employers
to pass so little on of what they make.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Turn On, Tune In, Fade Out....

As I ate out last night I marveled at the couples.
At how whilst waiting between courses
they detatched from where they were,
and from each other, with such ease.
They both looked into their blackberries
to see what news the world had sent them,
as if it had changed since they had last turned them off,
Or more likely set them to 'silent'.
It certainly set the couples to silence.

When I was young I knew the level of disdain
my father had for whoever knocked at the door,
whilst he was watching television.
If the caller had no call on him,
say they were my social worker
or Jehovah's Witnesses he would lean against
the door and brusquely slur 'Not Today Thanks'.
As if another day he might have regard for them-
as if he could say which day he might be recieving.
If it was money was owed he would let people in,
but the television sound would be reluctantly turned down.
But never off. E.g. for people like assurance agents.
But for his family who were in all the time,
and his for the owning, the television was there
to screen us out of his existence.
He turned off the set for his brothers
as we were shoo-ed out of the house,
the better for them to share bitter nothings.

On seeing these unknown couples tuning out
of each other via mobile phones I wondered
at the ease of detachment in 'liberal democracy'.   

Monday, 10 December 2012

My Fifth Christmas Card of 2012

Ferdinand Hodler, Lake Thun 1905, Geneva Museum of Art.

In Light Entertainment

there is no pain, and ultimately no pleasure.
The scale of audience to performer dictates
that all the life in the presented act stops at the recording.
In our media saturated age the entertainers
become 'legends', almost minor secular saints,
through the repetition and distribution of their faces.
Real people know each other by sharing their foibles,
in the process of ageing, but actors, dancers and presenters
only live after their death, when their foibles can be picked over.
Because their lives are dedicated to the art of freezing
pleasing media moments that will live forever,
in moments that empty with repetition.
These entertainers in light become pale ghosts
who whiten with age, just like their audience, for watching them.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Long Sightedness....

....means accepting unhappiness as the gift above all gifts.

For The Best Relief Of Executive Stress

And the best of it all is that in depressions it works even better
 at benefiting the few, and disadvantaging the many. 

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Good News

is that poverty is highly survivable
if you have the right neighbours.

In God We Rust

The paradox of the apocalypse is
that whilst it once appeared to be widely believed,
because it was central to the churches
message of healing and respite, it did not happen.
Not because it could not, or would not-
it still could happen if we could be genuinely
indifferent enough towards each other.
It did not occour because whilst the churches
saw the mote of Hell blinding it's enemies sight
in an eternal suffering they could not stop,
they missed how the beam in their own eye
obscured their view of the true light of Heaven.
When the blind lead one another both will fall into the pit.
A millennium later, and the pitfall we are in is our plans
for the planet, in which our unawareness
is the seed, the greedy weed of contrariness,
in the mix. Ours is the iron will to be 'free',
by destroying all contentment..

Friday, 7 December 2012

For The Heaviest Smokers Only

The packaging looks more attractive than the new Australian
 cigarette packs but the effect of lighting up is just as lethal.

Thursday, 6 December 2012


is the elusive concept of saying
less than you mean through false optimism.
It defines the ambiguity that has made the mass media
successful for the last century.
We see it easiest when it is spoken
through individuals (usually politicians)
whom we know to disbelieve
before they open their mouths.
Otherwise it hides behind blandness.
Generalities, legalese, and statements
written in the 3rd person impersonal
where who is doing what to whom,
and how, is hard to determine.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Detachment In Communication

In the U.K.the young are now more likely
to text each other than listen to each other
on the phone or want to see the person they text.
With their multiple functions the newest mobile phones
are the swiss army knives of modern communications.
Their users can navigate the (digital) world, via satnav,
then get poked by facebook, or twitter away,
then fill their sound world with an ipod,
and finally fob other people off with emails,
rather than welcome one another as sentient live examples
of the same species as themselves.
After pressing that many buttons
and doing all the machine lets them do,
the users are too tired to care.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Signs Of Greater Age (10)

1- finding it is not heart disease
to find the pleasure in hope deferred,
instead it seems natural, almost mature,
to delay the gratification of the senses.

2-finding music that is more melodic
and quieter than the music you grew up
with is easier on the ear than you expected,
and the music you once knew seeming noisy.

3-Finally finding the joy of shared silences.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Patriotism Is The Father Of Schadenfreude

The absence of war does not mean
the outbreak of calm.
Since World War II (1939-45)
and the end of rationing (1939-57)
the U.K. has had a financial crisis once every decade.
Each crisis was reported as if there had never
been financial shrinkage before, except during war.
Hindsight has taught me how patriotism
is the father of schadenfreude, thus combining
press and public ill will towards other peoples abroad
and the poorest at home who end up being scapegoated.
It took me a long time to mistrust the message,
but far longer to mistrust the messenger.

Lord Justice Leveson announced through his public
enquiry into the devalued morality of the British press
that there has been seven public enquiries into press values
since the 1950's. If ever the press offered the public
more than fake prurience about sex in lieu of morality
(which used to be the job of The Church, no wonder
the churches feel put out), then they would tell the public
about the inherent instability of post-war economics,
and put the demos back into democracy, rather than report
with blind purity the virtue of the accumulation of wealth.    

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Who's Policeman Do You Want To Be?

I have heard it said by self described 'gay atheists',
never the happiest of souls in their qualified shades of indifference
towards others, that their main reason for proclaiming
'There is no God' is because they believe the church
'wants to police their sex life' and they want to resist that.
They talk as if sex is their greatest freedom
ever to be had, and for that to be free at their point of want
they have to police themselves.
I would empathize more with their fear
of external coercion if I felt that sexual technique
mattered more than the ability to form a bond.

As it is, I don't.

I see life for rich rich liberal atheists as the right
for others to have no god or guide but them,
which is like the emperor claiming the right
to censor everyone, whilst dancing naked
before his courtiers, and denying he is doing so,
dishonestly forbidding them the same choice.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Asbent Leadership

is  what teenage boys accuse adult males of
when the boys hope of adulthood
becomes the parental fear of adultery,
and youth rebels against the emptiness that formed it.
These accused un-leading men collude with women
who prefer detachment over co-dependence.
Thus inertia consistently avoids directing
its offspring. The young from gangs
to 'compensate' and 'lead themselves'.
That the majority skin colour in this errant
self leadership is not white
is a merely observing the obvious.

I was always pale,  now I am bald,
and I was never gang material.
But I felt my father disconnecting from me
well before my words struggled to explain him.
I now see my absence of being lead
as my having arrived. There is nowhere further
to go and nobody else to take me there.
Wherever I go I must lead myself.