Wow... Mark Morford of the SF Bay Guardian pulls no punches. This is a pretty bleak article and if I didn't have a beautiful happy son, I'd swallow this whole. It's still an interesting article, though opinionated. Read it HERE
Burners are good people for the most part. The burners who've been volunteering on the Gulf Coast and in Pearlington have taken the Ethos of Burning Man and brought it out into the world. It's a beautiful thing. They are entirely funded by donations and by their own cash. Many people have opened their wallets to help support what they're doing. You can do this by sending money via Paypal, via check/money order, or you can buy some schwag HERE. Also, there are other things they need that you can donate if you have them.
I've been so inspired by these folks that I'm going to be heading down to Pearlington in the next week or so (hopefully) to add my $.02 of help. I will attempt to blog my experiences there when I get home so stay tuned. If you're interested in getting your hands dirty with some pretty awesome people and making a real difference, check out Burners Without Borders. If you can't get away, toss them some cash, they need it.
THIS map shows where they are right now.
I've always been a fan of Kurt Vonnegut Jr,; just like fine wine, the man just gets better with age. My grandpa Skip forwarded this article on to me.. though I'm a member of CommonDreams.org, I'd missed it. It's excerpted from A Man Without A Country: A Memoir Of Life In George W Bush’s America. BTW, in case anyone ever looks at the link, please notice I DIDN'T use amazon's link of the book. "WHY" you ask?
- Because I worked for this bookstore (Book Passage) and even though much of the bureaucracy I had to put up with in working there irritated the hell out of me, it's an INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE, and many of the EXPERIENCED staff there KNOW their shit. They can actually HELP you. Of course, the younger staff has traditionally had a much higher turnover rate, so if you walk in to BP, look for the oldest employees you can find. Chances are, they've been there for at least 3-5 years, some as long as 10-15 years. The turnover rate has been due to management issues for the most part, as far as I've seen.
- Amazon gets enough business.. they don't need to get it ALL. I don't know about you, but I'll trade selection for service any day. That's not to say Amazon has bad service, it's just that buying something as personal as a book (and many don't feel this way, but I do) should be a visceral, hands on experience. I say "personal" because a book is something you're going to spend some time with, get to know, become intimate with. It's kind of like buying a bicycle or a piece of clothing... it's something you need to hold, touch, feel and grok before you buy it... I dunno.. maybe I'm old fashioned sometimes. That's not to say that I haven't bought things from Amazon and online in general. Online shopping is my preference for the most part. If there's a book that I already KNOW for 100% certain that I want, I've been known to get it at Amazon from time to time. Just don't forget the INDEPENDENTS!
- Independents are the reason that many of the great books that have been published are there in the first place! Independent bookstores give authors a chance when big publishers often won't. They are willing to take chances on people and invest in their community. They have readings, author events, community events. True independent bookstores also keep their MONEY in the community, which is not something that can't be said of places like Amazon, Borders or Barnes & Noble. Their money goes back to a corporate HQ somewhere... straight out of your community. Oh sure, they pay taxes like anyone else, but other than that, the money is gone. Sure, they create jobs as well, probably more than an independent could (though there are some notable exceptions e.g Powell's in Portland, OR), but you have to look at the pay, benefits, working conditions, employee satisfaction, and turnover rate as well.
Look, I got way off subject here, but I have an inkling that KVJ would agree with me here: support you local independent bookstore, and if they've all been driven off, try the library! Remember those? The LIBRARY? BIBLIOTHÈQUE? BIBLIOTECA? BIBLIOTHEK? Don't feel bad.. I haven't been into a library in... well, actually I can't remember the last time I was in the library. Probably when I was in college... so... like... 8 years at least... sheesh! If you want to be super ultra cool in my book, ride your BICYCLE to the library... no fossil fuels, and virtually no consumption required.. though it might start making some people think you were a COMMUNIST... what with all the NON-CONSUMPTION and SHARING of ideas (smirk)
Read the article, it's awesome.
If ever there was a time to impeach the entire Bush administration, it's now. That and an instant repeal of the Patriot Act. What a crock of SHIT!
I found this link though another blogger member, killtown.
Check him out at killtown.blogspot.com .
Click on the article title or HERE
My son cracks me up. Yesterday at the park he was running up the play structure and DIVING down the tube slide headfirst at full speed. His dismounts got progressively weirder: on his last couple of trys he would pull himself out until his head was on the ground and then throw his arms out to the side. It looked like a circus act, and it was hilarious. His other new trick is running down the grassy hill and throwing himself down with the intent of making it look like he tripped. I've dubbed him "stunt clown" at this point, borrowing the name from the clothing manufacturer.
Back in November 2005, Bushgreenwatch.org published this report. In a nutshell, the EPA wanted to cut it's reporting of toxic emissions by manufacturing facilities to once every 2 years. Hmm... seems like yet another giveaway to corporate special interests. I don't know about you, but this REALLY puts my hackles up.
In the January issue of bushgreenwatch.com they talk about how the opposition to this proposal was surging.. YEAH! Read the article HERE. The comment period is over at this point, and I'm hoping the EPA took the hint. Keep an eye on this folks: increased toxicity could be coming to an area near you, and your warning may come 2 years... too late!
Every man on horseback is an arrogant man, however gentle he may be on foot. The man in the automobile is one thousand times as dangerous. I tell you, it will engender absolute selfishness in mankind if the driving of automobiles becomes common. It will breed violence on a scale never seen before. It will mark the end of the family as we know it, the three or four generations living happily in one home. It will destroy the sense of neighborhood and the true sense of Nation. It will create giantized cankers of cities, false opulence of suburbs, ruinized countryside, and unhealthy conglomerations of specialized farming and manufacturing. It will make every man a tyrant. —R.A. Lafferty
I've been thinking a lot about car culture vs. bike culture. Jessi and I own 3 cars between the two of us, and I'm beginning to look at them in a whole new light: an almost unnecessary evil. Don't get me wrong, I like to go fast. I enjoy the act of driving a car when there's no traffic. What I've come to realize though my readings and my ruminations inside my own head is that car culture isn't culture at all. There's nothing very friendly about a car, there's very little about it that promotes community (and if you counter this with car enthusiast clubs, I'm going to laugh b/c the number of people you're talking about compared to the total of car owners is FRACTIONAL) and act of driving often brings out the worst parts of me. I don't feel BETTER when I drive somewhere... with the rare exception of a drive on a deserted country road, it's about GETTING there, not the journey. This is diametrical to the experience of traveling on a bike. It's ALL ABOUT the journey. I felt awake, alive, and connected when I ride my bike. My stress level drops and I feel happy. Granted, I am fortunate enough to have a nice bike to ride and the means to upkeep and upgrade it. Still, bicycles can be had for next to nothing: people throw away working bicycles all the time. The problem isn't getting a hold of a bike, or even being in shape to ride. We are car culture, and every institution we have is geared toward car culture. Our streets, buildings, businesses, schools (with a few exceptions), and government all are firmly and heavily entrenched in car culture. TV, Radio, Movies and even the internet are all heavily influenced by car culture. I'm starting to see this for what it is... and I feel like I've been walking (or more appropriately; driving) around blind since I got my drivers license. To quote Todd from the entry on his blog that inspired this post:
August 1st, 2005 at 8:30 am
Thanks Paul. I just found this:
Science fiction author R. A. Lafferty wrote a seminal short story back in the late 1960s called “Interurban Queen.” It describes an alternative world in which certain wealthy American investors chose to put their resources into light rail instead of the automobile back at the turn of the previous century. It’s enough to make you cry for what could have been. If you can’t find it under the author’s name, try looking for it in an anthology called Orbit 8, edited by Damon Knight.
I’ll edit the post to correct the attribution date.
It does make me want to cry sometimes. Honestly, I'm ashamed of how little I've done in my lifetime to make some sort of difference in the downward trajectory of human culture. I feel like the older I get, the more I "wake up", and the more there is to do. As a father, there's a whole set of values I feel the need to teach my son inre: stewardship of the earth. There's not nearly enough of it going on, and that needs to change or we're headed for an extinction level event; nature's forcible cough that ejects humankind from the ranks of the living. I've lost all faith in religion, though I find it somwhat comforting to believe in a "higher" power. If there was a higher power though, it's not paying any attention to us. I think our perception as humans is still too small and limited to understand what's really going on.
Yeah, I just wandered out of bounds again.. thankfully no one edits me but me, so I apologize to anyone who might actually read this.