Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ode to golden parachutes...

"Men Wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success."

~Ernest Shackleton

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Preemptive steam release...

I want to say that communication is harder than it seems. In addition to delivering information, it can also represent an attempt to regulate the chaos of existence into something palatable for the communicator and the perceived circumstances that gave rise to the communication.

I want to say that while the mass rise of goods and services makes perfect sense to me, the mass rise of business does not. As far as I can tell, the unstated purpose of business is to generate profit for a small group of people who distinguish themselves by having disposable income and by not belonging to the lower classes. That, and to feed a mass global obsession with an ever-growing money based economy.

I want to say that I'm feeling way over policed in Los Angeles. The presence of countless cops and security guards and all-seeing cameras makes one feel like a child always on the verge of doing wrong. It's a horrible way to live, and I don't believe that these public servants even know what "order" they're protecting. Most of them seem bored and power-starved, thus eager to intervene in strangers' lives.

I'm interested in systems that let us do our lives, not ones that stymie and stifle our will to live.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Primative problems...

Seems to me we won't advance as a species until we learn how to make broad decisions that sidestep lust for short-term profit, false data, political and media pressure, personal interest, and identity insecurities. The influence of these and other factors on people who have the power to make decisions almost guarantees their failure and our stagnation.

Returning to Los Angeles, I'm struck by an attitude that I can only describe by adapting a thuggish voice that says, "No, ME!" A man who wants to turn into a parking lot of a popular sandwich shop pulls across three lanes of traffic in his expensive sports car. He know that the entrance to the lot is filled with cars waiting to get in, but it doesn't matter. He wants to get in to that parking lot, and so he chooses to block the forward motion of hundreds of vehicles. Of course the blocked cars start expressing their displeasure. Honk! The offending party just tells everyone to go "F" themselves, and he sits there with a triumphant look as we all wait for him. Two minutes of this is an eternity.

Many places in the US promote varieties of extreme self-centeredness as an accepted (even desirable) means of survival. "No, ME!" is celebrated and rewarded, and so we become a nation of super-assholes each of whom is the star of their own movie.

On a related note, I hear that Obama is considering hiring the former head of Netflix as his new National Economic Council Director. Makes sense in a world where everyone's lost in the plot of their own movie.

(Tanuki spoil the day again...)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The kinds of dreams you have when you're jetlagged...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Food was never meant to travel...

Winding down the trip. Inadvertently, we learned a great deal about food and eating in Crete. Our Greek friends are thoughtful eaters. Together we enjoyed long, beautiful chemical free meals of local origins. You might eat a goat brain (I did) but it's going to be a fresh goat brain. In this ancient culture there's really no such thing as a grocery store - just daily markets where fresh local meat and produce and breads are sold. There is no sucralose, no factory farming, no nothing that we accept as part of eating in the US.

Although all I really want to say here is that food wasn't, isn't, and will probably never be made to travel, I have to admit that I'm willing to seek out and pay more for imported delicacies (i.e. wine) that come from places where they know what they're doing.