Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Developments


Lots happening.  The city is proposing to move R2DToo (Right to Survive Too) closer to OMSI.

The South Campus refugee camp, closer to MercyCorps, and Dignity Village near the airport, could be involved in prototyping dymaxion lifestyles (my storyboard).

DSCF0823

An individual may not live this way through many chapters, but in any chapter, many may be living this way.  Ibrahim was understandably skeptical on KOIN.

I've been location scouting the area for years.

Regarding telecommunications, Blue House Studios, a source of Synergetics videos, has no need of the 1000 Mbps speed bandwidth, tested for a month.  I've scaled back to 40 Mbps down, 12 up, plus Prism TV on the side.

If we need rack space with fatter pipes, that will not have to be to / from the local campus, at least not in the near term.

CenturyLink sent an engineer over this morning, changing the POP connection to DHCP (technical) and adding a TV box.  My Samsung is on order -- or was.  The model I'm seeking is hard to find.

At the same time R2DToo is coming under pressure to move, the property owners around Hinson Baptist Church are once again agitating to shutter the rain shelter, inhibiting social services.

Food Not Bombs is not the problem.  We're well behaved and beloved by churches, temples etc.  We're the darling of charitable causes.

But FNB only uses said pavilion one or twice a week for a few hours. What else goes on?  The neighbors have their stories.  They're worried about property resale values.

So I suggested via the FNB listserv that we think about thinking short term and long.  The church itself might be open to our petition to help refugees on cold dark days.  They have a beautiful facility that stands idle much of the time.  Or Parks and Recreation could give us a key to the rain shelter.

As for the OMSI serving, with R2DToo's houseless as "astronauts of the future" (testing products and workflows for dymaxion living), that's an idea that'd need more buy in to fly.   

Dignity Village (EPCOT West), closer to the airport, should be part of the planning process.

Glenn wrote a good letter to Southeast Examiner, published this May 14, asking if earthquake preparedness might include maintaining one of the world's best gravity-powered city water systems, already paid for an operational.

If we loose power in an earthquake, like at Fukushima, having the Mt. Tabor reservoirs at the ready makes plenty of sense.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Occupy Revisted


To review, buried in obscure web pages, as is my wont, I analyzed the Occupy movement in terms of recruitment potential, not for terrorists mind you, but of think-ahead problem-solver types not afraid to try new things.

The parks were a showcase of concentrated talent, if one could only discover them and keep track of them, to match with future opportunities.

Although I agitated to park on the periphery and scout it out, my role was more in the realm of food supply and retreat logistics, after the initial takeover.

Now we're again faced with "sudden communities" in need of services, forced encampments, as a result of war.  Civilians are fleeing the theater, where those in charge of ordnance have chosen to use it.  I'm sure we'll be seeing more statistics.  We already know the size of the populations on the move is more than a few rubber boats can handle.  We've seen boat people before.  This is not a new pattern.

During Occupy, we had the luxury of staying put long enough to experiment with self government.  We did not have a complete ecosystem, plop in the middle of a city like that.  Rajneesh Puram didn't get it right either.  There's maybe no such thing as an insta-village, plopping people down willy-nilly and expecting a civilization overnight.  OPDX did not achieve that either.

However, suppose one rescued and transplanted an entire set of families who already knew each other and had established businesses?  Do we not have the bandwidth?  Is Survivor really more urgent?


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Some Family History

Slide Show
:: Tom, Maureen, Chuck ::

Today I had an opportunity to join a small group at the Boltons, for a focus group on Great Britain.  Tom and Celine had been touring there in June, from London to Edinburgh, back to London by train, then West Sussex, Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral, by rental car.

We hooked Tom's laptop to the Vizio 40" by VGA (=RGB) cable and went through the slides, Tom narrating, with comments from Celine.

Tom Gihring has been in my blogs before, as a fan of Henry George the economist.  While in London, they met up with another Georgist who gave them good advice on where to tour, including Canary Wharf and surroundings.

The slides covered a lot of the hot spots:  Kew Park, Victoria and Albert Museum, Globe Theater (reconstructed), Greenwich, the British Museum, Westminster Cathedral, Trafalgar Square... and that's just for starters.  They had a month to kick around.

Charles Bolton, professor emeritus of sociology at PSU, is in his 90s, but still lives in his family home, taken care of by extended family.  The Boltons had three girls, all married and all with children, some of whom have had children who've had children.

When I returned to Portland after kicking around on the East Coast for some years, post Princeton, I moved into the Bolton's basement and started looking for work.  I was in my late twenties.

At first I got by with some temp agency work, however David Lansky discovered at an EMO event that I was looking for something more lasting, and he knew Carol Slaughter was in need of assistance with a government contract to teach computer skills to older workers, 55 and older -- a category I myself fit in today.

David was with Center for Urban Education (CUE), which also helped manage government contracts aimed at refugee resettlement post Vietnam War.  That funding came to an end soon after I joined the organization, and that proved fatal to CUE in the end.

My wife to be, who had joined as a bookkeeper, went on to take on multiple nonprofit bookkeeping clients, and I became a free lance programmer, also mostly for nonprofits.  Dawn Wicca and Associates was launched, in 1990.

Dawn and I moved in together when forming our partnership, on Rhine Street in Portland's Brooklyn neighborhood.  We married in 1993 and our daughter Tara was born in 1994, by which time we had moved to the Hawthorne District.  Dawn's daughter Alexia by a previous marriage was likewise a part of our household.

Harold and Maureen Long, and their two boys, Patrick and Erin, now fully grown men, got to know me through the Boltons, as did Tom and Celine and their two boys, Patrick and Daniel, also grown.  We've been getting together now and then ever since.  Mary Bolton died in 2012.  Celine was born in Hong Kong and first moved to the US in her twenties to pursue her studies in St. Louis, MO.

My mom Carol and Mary Bolton were both active in WILPF (Womens International League for Peace and Freedom) which Maureen has also since joined.  Maureen's ex, Harold Long, studied with Frank Lloyd Wright and was an architect.  We're still in touch as well.  Harold got to meet my friend Ed Applewhite, likewise very interested in architecture, when he visited Portland with his wife June in 1998.

Speaking of WILPF, mom and I are now off to a WILPF dinner at Hoda's (Lebanese cuisine) on Belmont.  Saturday is another WILPF celebration.  We're thinking of Mary quite a bit.

DSCF0588

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Encoding and Projecting

Party Face

In psychological literature, "to unconsciously project" is almost a redundancy, as "to project" is to unconsciously engage in something, namely casting a troubling inner demon into the persona of someone else and tuning it in as this "other" (perhaps beyond one's control) rather than as a manifestation of one's own psyche (perhaps also beyond one's control, which is scarier).

At the other end of the spectrum is what many writers do, of science fiction or other genres:  they project with the intent to encode, meaning they're actually consciously working on some "inner demon" challenge (e.g. rejuvenation or reconciliation) but they're using an alien (foreign, otherworldly) backdrop as a premise.

Ed Said talks about this process somewhat in his famous Orientalism, which I've been reading off and on since my visit to Earlham College in Indiana.  Some readers might be surprised how imbued middle America is with matters Oriental, NIU's Center for Burma Studies a case in point.

Westerners have a habit of projecting (back to unconsciously again) on Native Americans (Indians, as in Indiana) and Asians (Orientals) in much the same way, or used to (times have changed).  The melodrama of virtues versus vices would play out in these romantic idealizations, ala Avatar.

That's a two way street of course, projecting fantasies on the other, in that "the other" may project right back, which tends to further the spiral and make shared theater happen.  The protagonist and antagonist egg each other on, it's built right in to the language.

Ayn Rand, living in Russia, had a dream of the West, somewhat Made in Hollywood, and in her case her American Dream came true.

The lesson here is projections are not always of inner demons, but of inner angels.  In seeing someone's deep intelligence, we're actually in touch with our own (or how would we see it?).

But we're more often better off when there's a conscious element, i.e. when we're projecting on purpose, and know that's what we're doing.  That's why we came to the opera, or whatever.

Take The Beatles and their era of live and recorded experiences with Ravi Shankar.  The blending of world music is of course a metaphor for the blending of cultures more generally.  This blending was undertaken consciously, with intent, much as Paul Simon later reached out towards Southern Africa.

In The Pound Era by Hugh Kenner, there's a chapter on the "invention" of China.  Echoes of Said.


However again we have a sense of conscious intent, of inventing China on purpose in order to work through various issues and contradictions in peoples who had never set foot in China and spoke not a word of Chinese.

We might as well use Oz, but it's more work to invent a whole world.  Why not make do with an existing culture, or an historical one?  Or brew a blend, as did Orwell in 1984 or Gilliam & Rushin in The Zero Theorem.

When one consciously and willfully takes part in literary / filmic invention: that's more what I call "encoding".

One may see the process with the so-called Islamic State, variously abbreviated.  Demonization (projection) is working in every direction, creating a veritable Halloween of horrific characters.  By the same token, the encoders use this Gothic vista to engage in some internal dialog.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Investigating How Things Work


I was yakking with my physical therapist today about how in Roman times, before the Empire, a so-called Fable of the Belly persuaded Plebes and Patricians to hold it together a little while longer.

Body-based metaphors sometimes go a long way in making sense.  We each have one after all, and know health is a function of each part doing its job.

That got my therapist thinking about the analogy between human bodies and governing bodies.  We both agreed that both are complicated and knowing something about how they work really helps with developing effective treatments or even cures.

My next observation was about this English word "corruption", which comes up so easily when a set of rules is not followed.

People dream up a bunch of rules, a game, and seek to have this game played as envisioned, but then in practice these rules often get bent or broken.  The response, rather than to accept the rules might be inappropriate or the game poorly designed (insufficient checks and balances), is to claim "corruption" is destroying whatever, and that there's no point looking for "fixes" until we might first end said corruption -- a prescription for paralysis.

More apropos than moralizing or pointing out all the criminal behaviors, would be the Anthropology of it all.  Anthropologists are trained to wade into a culture without exuding moral judgements.

For one thing, it messes up the data when the observers are putting out strong signals, being judgmental and commanding about their expectations, what they hope to find.  That's not anthropology, that's missionary work.

I grabbed a bus home, not wanting to overdo it with the ankle and having some work to attend to, but the train of thought continues...

We have a way of probing animal bodies and discussing their various pathologies, without moralizing a lot.  We also have ways of describing biological systems (ecosystems) without necessarily deciding which of the natural process is "out of line" and/or "corrupting".

If we have a definite goal, say a maximal yield of some cash crop, then of course we'll have some cues as to what needs curing.  We get out the insecticides and go after the bugs.  We enter the scene with the intention to fix known wrongs, to effect repairs.  But have we done enough homework?

In other cases, where we're not so vested, the analysis isn't so biased.

What's needed, in world development circles, is more of an ability to describe without applying a lot of premature judgements, our minds already made up about what "the rules" should really be.

One often finds the police, criminal investigators, detectives, becoming "corrupt" and/or "jaded" as they come to understand how the game imposed in the first place, from on high, was in some ways unplayable from the get go.

They lose some of their initial ethnocentrism, these police.  The criminal underworld has its own codes, its own rules.  Such cops become more like go-betweens, explaining and interpreting the underworld to more ideological audiences.  Some will say they've become corrupted, and become servants of the devil.

Prohibition was a lot of crock to begin with.  Of course bootlegging was going on.  Many police on the beat could see that.  One could even buy their cooperation.  Police like to drink, off duty.  It's somewhat unworkable to be busting your friends, the ones who watch your back on the day job.

This pattern applies to diplomats as well. Of course policies X and Y beget side-effect Z.  It's our language that calls them "side effects" usually meaning "effects other than intended".

Another way of saying "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" is that "hell is all the side effects to which those good intentions gave rise" (so much corruption, right?).

Nietzsche was onto something with his "beyond good and evil" approach.

He wanted to dissect and investigate the way language actually works, without the overhead of "should" and "ought".  He wanted moralizing to get out of the way and stop hogging so much bandwidth.  He subsumed the Will to Truth to the Will to Power.

One might agree to define Power as that which actually does occur, as opposed to what we Wish and/or Command to occur.

When people say "absolute power corrupts absolutely" what do they mean?  How about "the way it is is not at all how we think it should be".

Lets start with how it is, suspending judgement.

R. Buckminster Fuller introduces his poetic science fiction, Critical Path, saying he has "no good or bad people" in his account.  He's not looking for saints to worship.

J. P. Morgan gets his attention, but not because he's some saint or villain.  He's simply powerful, good at making a difference.  Powerful people come off more as rule makers than rule followers sometimes.  Rather than playing by the rules, they come up with new games.

Anthropology need not begin with moral judgements, whereas religion seems to always want to go there.

If we want to understand how things work, best to investigate without too much prejudice.  Unless we can do that, we'll just see "corruption" and not how things are actually getting done in some circles.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Compare and Contrast

I would agree that the language of mathematics is about making generalizations, but also making them precisely enough so that they hold universally thanks to some clear stipulations.  Minus the clear stipulations, one just gets dogmas (poopy belief piles).

In some of the Google Groups, such as mathfuture, I suggest abetting ordinary XYZ vector mathematics, an arithmetic of sorts, with what I put forward as a sidebar "IVM vector mathematics", with an apparatus some might claim is a parody of XYZ but which I'm happy to take quite seriously.


In comparing and contrasting the two approaches, we come to see what commonalities apply.  The two arithmetical games have the same operations.

"We use a Caltrop in place of a Jack" is one of the ground rules, differentiating respective language games.

The XYZ "jack" divvies space into eight octants whereas in Quadrays, the "caltrop" divides it into four.

XYZ (jack): (+ + +)(+ + -)(+ - +)(- + +)(- - +)(- + -)(+ - -)(- - -)

IVM (caltrop): (+ + + 0)(+  + 0 +)(+ 0 + +)(0 + + +)

Per any point, one direction stays passive in Caltrop arithmetic, with positivity (or zero) in the other three, sufficient to reach all points in a quadrant, with four quadrants spanning space.

Cartesian coordinates (also invented by Fermat) employ a "jack shape" of six spokes whereby space is subdivided into eight regions, designated by permutations in sign, positive or negative.

Tip-to-tail addition, 180 flip for negation, scalar multiplication (if allowed) works the same way as with "Jack vectors" such that all points have 4-tuples instead of 3-tuples, and negatives are not needed.  We have an isomorphism between them.

The Americans have apparently said "no" to any such curriculum for now, if we're to judge by Common Core, but then who says that's what to judge by?  Common Core actually forbids nothing, being an affirmative document in a "what to include" format, so lets not assume "verboten" where "not mentioned" is more the expected norm.

Common Core is like a cake with no frosting, or staircase with no carpet.  The frills are missing, leaving bare bones.  In adding spice with the IVM, in addition to XYZ, we're going beyond what's required.

In other words, if you're the teacher and you find introducing Quadrays to your classrooms catalyzes more productive thinking about "vectors" in general, then you have the right, as a freedom-loving American (or whatever) to say "yes" to the sharing of these ideas, if only for experimental purposes.

However, you may feel you need permission from your "church" or from whatever various designated religious authority sub-geniuses, however intriguing you find these ideas personally. It's not necessarily your call, where the education of innocents is concerned, whether to venture outside the lines or not.  Not every teacher is a wannabe rebel.  I encourage you then:  follow your conscience.

Besides, I've had a free hand to teach this stuff for some decades now, so I'm not about to complain about censorship.  I maybe don't always reach the most receptive age group, as vectors are usually saved until college and my Saturday Academy classes were more middle school on average.  That's a different issue.  The past does not dictate the future in any case.

No, I think the reason IVM mathematics makes so few inroads in America has more to do with complacency than with censorship, with the XYZ people thinking "why should I share the road with some johnny-come-lately, and what's a 'caltrop' anyway?"  The NIH ('not invented here') syndrome is prevalent.

caltrops

Nobody recognizes "Quadrays" as a brand of anything (correction:  there's a flashlight by Nitecore), let alone as a geometric something, which means the whole language game might as well be from Mars.

In an age that rewards people for being "mainstream", anything out of the ordinary (i.e. "extraordinary") is left to "circus freaks" or whatever "out cast" of underdogs.

We're more likely to learn of Quadrays from wandering egoists "sirfessing" in Hobo Colleges [tm], than from Pearson or Springer-Verlag.

Speaking of Mars, that's a segue to Wittgenstein, the movie, wherein the young LW's alter ego and / or imaginary friend, is likewise a Martian -- played by Nabil Shaban, a Facebook friend (introduced to me by Trevor).

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Another Study Period

A Private Sky

I've been studying history as well as working in IT waters.  IT has a timeline (a history) too.

Studying what you ask?  You want to know?

I won't be able to cover all of it in one blog post, but let me review.  Even if no one were to read this, Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics says "doing a recall" is a good idea.

To review circumstances:  I'm care-taking for a family pet who needs a fit assistant.  Instead of hiring someone, I'm doing the job myself, as sitting kicked back in an easy chair with a relaxed mutt is in many stereotypical scenarios one of the best places to be.  People want this, especially with the gigabit fiber optics and BBQ out back.

Why should I act aloof (haughtily above it all) when I enjoy such privilege in Scenario Universe (non-simultaneous and eternally aconceptual)?  In addition to these physical comforts, I have the benefit of friends and family, pets.

So what am I complaining about?  Nothing, not for me, lets go take care of those refugees.  "First world problems" means "well taken care of" by world standards.  Now lets raise those standards for everyone, which means a global safety net, like the UN has been working on providing (FAO, WHO... UNICEF).

When people feel safe enough to change jobs, then those miserable in their current service might find where they better fit, and a happier population makes for a better experience for all of us aboard our shared Spaceship Earth.  A safety net means having time to learn, to study, to catch up.  People need that.  We're reprogrammable, but not in an instant.  Retraining takes work.

Then of course there's that eternal insecurity of not knowing tomorrow (as big as today, which is huge), as if omniscience were ever an option (or would help).  We all have our existential issues with mortality, even when a next meal looks like a pretty sure thing.  Alan Watts wrote about this stuff, as did Paul Tillich and many others.

Lets admit that in boosting physical well being, we're not pretending to resolve all metaphysical conundrums.  That's not to ignore metaphysical issues, just to stay humble and admit a smartphone or even smartcar may not supply the meaning of life, although these phones get pestered with that stuff daily.  Even bankers and financial advisers are smart enough to know they don't have all the answers, most of 'em.

I understand about data hog smartcars being attractive, even if not in auto-drive.  I should have posted this in BizMo DiariesLots of e-stuff, on the road.

However smart places to stay put in, shelter, need not have wheels, let alone wings.  Having swipe screens in the kitchen with apps and videos, however mounted or built in, makes as much sense as on the dashboard of a smartcar.  But what does the village look like?  Hillary said it takes one.

I think of the Blue House as a big wooden tent, complete with furnace and furnishings.  City blocks are like RV hookups, where you connect to services, including data, sewer, electricity and whatever.  RV camping and living parked in a non-mobile home, is more a matter of degree.

I'm camping, just with a heavier rig that's not designed for the open road, let alone the rolling waves.

I speculate that we're still waiting for something more to come out of Camping / Scouting that preserves a lot of the DIY ethic, but takes more advantage of bandwidth and other space program developments.

Science / research teams that show up (they have before in these blogs), live in and sample an environment (might need to have airlocks if mosquitoes are a serious threat), then leave with a plan to remove their equipment, including dwelling units, once the studies are complete.  What did these units look like?  Biosphere 2?  Lost in Space?

Since the units are designed to be moved, cleanup is not perceived as an onerous duty but as a logical completion of a project.  We get into weight (as in tonnage) as an issue, and the "more with less" phenomenon, which is what camping is all about, even if other types of architecture are more about being super heavy (bunkers, banks... fortresses).  Helicopters play a role.  An oil rig is a village.

Of course some of these pioneering villages will "stick" and grow over time, perhaps reaching a constant size rather quickly, then extending through time for quite awhile.  The map of how villages may shrink or grow is already a long one and that's not what I studied.

I was looking at the US stock market and all the scary news, and no it wouldn't surprise me if risk markets were skittish in the face of an uncertain future.   Where there's a dip in August you often see another one in September, I get that.  Nothing I can do about it either, like the weather.  Flap my butterfly wings?

Many Americans live in fear of exotic attacks, the like of which TV and Hollywood have already graphically depicted.  In a world in which humans were just not so crazy, didn't deliberately drive the bus off the cliff, we could relax more.  It'd be more like DisneyLand, where yes, accidents happen. But then Americans have made lots of enemies, they're told that too.  The world doesn't love them any more.  What happened?  No time to reflect given fantasy rules the roost.

Sketching more than just a smartcar but something like a lifestyle behind it, would please many investors, unsure what they're buying when robot cars are unveiled.

What's the future gonna be like?  Some giant crazy war?  Should we be saving to retire to a resort casino lifestyle or what?  Will the golf cart drive itself?  Or are we talking "virtual golf"?

People don't wanna be fooled (blindsided) by a future they didn't see coming.  I get that.

Like, sure, sure, we'll drink Pepsi and Coke, but then what?  Like in WALL-E maybe, the movie? That didn't look so bad, on that space ship, right?  A lot of us would be happy with that, no?  Those were self driving cars / chairs were they not, complete with Big Gulps.  Why did they go back to Earth again?  Something about not enough vegetables?

I think that's the easy chair talking.  The lullaby of the recliner.  This is how many Americans sit, watching TV.  I need to hike Mt. Tabor after this (just a small hill, but I've cut back since the heel problems).  Update:  maybe tomorrow.  I'll have a beer.

So much screen programming is just the engine running idle, turning over in fantasies, faux versions of professions invented for the big screen.   The not-real doctors treat not-real patients.  Not-real mathematicians help not-real police.  The answer:  "reality TV".  A bunch of games.

And they all have such superpowers compared to us, those fictional characters, or a lot of 'em do.  We can't hold a candle to fiction.

The "reality component" in people's fantasy lives is tough to gauge but even so, is an important variable through time.  Are they scared?  What do they see as inevitable?  Prophesies can be self-fulfilling you know.  Thomas Paine was at pains to remind us of that fact, reminding us that to prophecy was to songify, to auto-tune the news.

Televangelists of all stripes create some amazing illusions don't they, with that smoke and those mirrors.  Illusions jump start realities, just like The Turk (chess playing automaton, supposedly, in Napoleon's day) "proved" the possibility of chess-playing automatons, and now we have them.

I've also been studying demented cartoons, on advice from a lawyer I know (still practicing).  Thanks to my immersion in another season of Squidbillies (easy to find on-line) I found myself late to a lunch I'd been looking forward to.  I popped out of the Matrix just long enough to remember I have a life.

That being stupidly late pushed me to run which proved I still could, and brought me back to my days as a jogger, exiting my dorm window, golf course level, and running through the woods around Princeton's Institute for Advanced Studies.  Cue fall colors.  Make me look handsome.

Hyuk.  Squidbillies is pretty funny.  They're squid hillbillies see, and they have hatred for "Chalkies" (white people), at least in some episodes.

I saw where Putin of Russia was extending more of a hand to Greece, Orthodox Christianity being a bond between them.  This was old news by now i.e. I was going back to a different debt crisis.  Now we're looking at the US's again, another thing I studied.

People who don't read a lot of history probably don't appreciate what a house of cards it's always been.  Humans, like chimps on a chimp island, have a glimmer of what intelligent institutions might be like, but follow-through is somewhat difficult for this species and besides, the puzzles are really tough to work out.  We only came up with arithmetic fairly recently, in geological terms.

In Gnostic and some Christian lore, the Angels are downright mocking of Man for being such a ditz-brain, can't get it together, always flat on his face, saying to God (in some Gnostic gospels a She - I'd advise we let It pick It's own pronoun) that God ought not waste too much time with these backwater hick squidbillie humans of Planet Earth.

In today's terms, these "Angels" are some ET race that's just jealous for some reason.  At however many billion we should take a moment to pat ourselves on the back.  Malthus never imagined we'd make it to such numbers, which show signs of leveling off.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Labor Day 2015


The day got off to a bumpy start in that Carol, my mom, world class activist, was supposed to join a national call.  Instead she was confronted with a disaster of sorts:  our arthritic dog, unable to exit the house without assistance, had done her best to give warning.

Carol can't lift a forty pound dog down the front steps.  If the dog tries it herself, she tumbles, though she will come in on her own steam OK.

I put the picture together in the rear view mirror.  I'd been there the whole time, but upstairs snoozing.  I finished the cleanup but Carol was unable to join her call, a system notorious for not being friendly to cell phones.  Frustrating.

The second occurrence, less intense, reminded me I should work from the Chair of Computer Science (where I am now), not from the red office upstairs (it had been aquamarine).  When I'm a floor away, I'm not alert to the dog's cues.  She's not happy alone anyway.

The better solution was to have the dog join me outside on the patio.

"The patio" is a primary Place in the Pattern Language of middle class lifestyles.  One engages in ritual BBQ, especially on Labor Day, and that's exactly what I did, buying some choice meats from the supermarket, open on this flag flying Monday.

Glenn came by, bringing potato salad.  Life seemed less grim by late afternoon.

The radio and TV are full of stories of refugees and their battle with the prison-state system.  Nations have the right to bomb, or assume they do, or civil wars break out and nations bomb themselves.

People leave their nations, their homelands, and become part of a diaspora.

How friendly is the rest of the world, to wanderers?

This continual re-shifting of populations is not about to "settle down".

People on the move is the norm.  We're not livestock in feed lots.  I'm not saying humans bombing themselves is normal (I see it as pathological), however fleeing from disasters not Made By Man [tm] will remain a priority and human right.  If your place to live floods or burns, gets hit by a hurricane, you get to move somewhere else, perhaps to an "Old Man River" city (ala OMR).

There's some chatter on the Thirsters list.  I'm looking into New York City's recent history from the point of view of a Village Voice journalist, digging into it.  This was some time ago, before the 2015 electoral vista in the US.

The meeting room was quite packed at our Thirsters last meeting, with the facilitator kindly making more room at the table for me.  I'd arrived rather late, coming from a Python User Group organizers' meeting at Rentrak on Alder.

NPR is previewing a large number of upcoming films.  Some perked my interest.  All of this before Thanksgiving.  Then another Star Wars.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Orgazmo (movie review)

Thanks to my film instructor, I was immediately clued to the historical links twixt this film and South Park Studios.  Writer-directors Trey Parker and Matt Stone (uncredited as a writer -- both play characters as well) sketch a comical clash, twixt Utah Mormon and LA Filmmaker subcultures (porn filmmaking more particularly), that in many dimensions mirrors the culture wars covered in the movie reviewed below, Best of Enemies, about the Vidal-Buckley TV debates of 1968.

Those of us with fancy educations are more likely than most to associate the sometimes demonized "Liberals" of US political vista fame, with the so-called Vienna Circle that grew up simultaneously with Nazism.  Given I have a fancy Princeton education, that's not surprisingly my spiel as well.

The folklore or "volk-lore" of Wagner's melodramas rode the wave of anti-Semitic German nationalism, based in faux mythologies, including Social Darwinism popular in the US, to somewhat eclipse the whistleblowers who prophesied what was coming (not pretty).

Nietzsche in particular was driven to insanity by what was to become Nazi culture, his descent into madness roughly coinciding with the date of Hitler's birth.  His legacy was then twisted to fit the Nazi mold, which must have occasioned some intense grave spinning.

Liberals, such as Freud and Jung, thought repression of bawdy topics, banning open investigation of human sexuality and so on, only came back to bite one in the butt big time in the form of guilt and other pathologies, mostly dealt with by norms-enforcing religious orders and their secular / sponsored states.

The price of censorship, at both the individual and societal level, would be sick and twisted mob psychologies, an abhorrence of diversity (xenophobia), and increasingly fragile / defensive egos, feeling besieged by temptations (guilty pleasures, pornography) on all sides, plus a propensity to project fears on scapegoats, supposed puppets of dark and sinister forces.  Good against Evil in other words, Saints against Vices.

Those power-nesters seeking to cultivate a morally wholesome G-to-PG spectrum for their children feel threatened by uncensored R, NC-17 and MA materials available through adjacent magazines, TV channels, URLs.  Even TV-14 scares the G crowd sometimes.

Freud was saying unless humans gave vent their fantasies, their unconscious anti-egos would pretty much take over, which leads to outward wars and mob psychologies.  Better to let people explore the inner vista, as consenting adults, than pen them in and pay the piper.  Allowing Dante to tour Hell, in the Italian vernacular no less, made him, and his readers, more adept in the skills of enjoying life without getting trapped in its anti-patterns.

With the invention of broadcast television, the Liberals were especially feared in light of there only being three major networks in the USA at that time.  What if they put orgies on right after the news? With so few channels to choose from, the stakes were high.

How about gun violence fantasies right after the news?  Those are less of a problem for most cowboys, though to a tractor-driving Quaker like me, equally pornographic (pulling out a gun in public is considered immodestly forward in Quaker circles, not really for polite company, whereas actually using one as a weapon is beyond the pale crude).

The still nascent EU was far behind in terms of channels back in 1968.  UHF and cable were still in the future.  The real explosion in LA porn filmmaking would await the invention of VHS and asynchronous (non-broadcast, not real time) television, and later the Internet.

I was a fan of Freud's as early as 8th grade, plus was at the time living in Rome, Italy where sexuality is less inhibited (La Dolce Vita and all that).  Rome is frankly cosmopolitan and young ears and eyes hear and see plenty, even if I wasn't engaged in much risky behavior myself.

Cultivating judgement is a part of growing up, and one loses one's sense of what to watch out for if penned in by only PG.  Not a new insight, I realize.  Eat dirt if you want antibodies (but not in huge amounts).

Rocky Horror Picture Show covers a lot of the same territory.  I'm also going through some episodes of Bob's Burgers having delved into Archer (lead male actor the same in both).

These latter qualify as "naughty cartoons" but are not considered "pornographic" by Media Mogul standards.  They're typically guarded as Free Speech protected under the US Constitution, just like Vidal's books.

Animation (anime) as a technology covers the full spectrum from G to MA (what used to be called X-rated).

When it comes to teaching important lessons, the literary device of analogy, akin to the mathematical concept of iso- and homomorphism (mappings), allows fairy tales and dream sequences, other fantasy genres, to allude more than rub in.

Given teachings are about generalized principles sometimes, there's no real satisfaction in the special cases anyway.  The sense of completion (getting the teaching) is in connecting the dots, not in the dots themselves.

Some of the most effective andragogy involves "leaving things to the imagination" sometimes with the added layer of needing to crack the code in the first place.  Freud was saying something similar in that how the unconscious works is to encode or layer (cite Interpretation of Dreams, an 8th grade favorite).

Norman O. Brown had more to say on all this in Love's Body.

DSCF0144

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Best of Enemies (movie review)


I was but ten years old at the time.  Now, at fifty seven, don't picture me as having the puzzle all put together, everything figured out.  On the contrary, they keep dumping more puzzle pieces into my vista, this documentary a case in point.

ABC is behind in the ratings, the low budget wannabe, so with less to lose, risks a new scorpions in a jar format, arch conservative, William F. Buckley, versus a likely nemesis, Gore Vidal.  They hate each other and that makes for interesting television.  The format paid off, boosting ABC's ratings and the other networks followed suit.  Punditry pitting opposing viewpoints, along with the hosted talk shows, the host sometimes highly opinionated, would carry us forward as standard fare.

I'm not quite on board with the thesis that having just the three networks was a Golden Age.  More bandwidth, not less, keeps diverse memeplexes alive, some we may not appreciate, but need as surely as elemental protein.  That we're all more on our own and alone in our stitching it together (piecing it together) from a variety of sources, is more like detective work, less off the cuff, more reflective, less mob-like.  I'm not nostalgic for the older economy, however I do appreciate the vitality of the debate format and appreciate what ABC attempted, as an experiment.

Lets be fair, the ABC anchor was the first to say "Nazi" in comparing flying an emblem associated with Ho Chi Minh's army, against which soon-to-be Nixon's forces were arrayed.  Wasn't that deliberately provocative, like flying a Nazi swastika, the newsman asked?  He'd let that meme out of the bag, and Vidal made it land in Buckley's lap with the spin of "crypto".

What never happened was any rational discussion of how like or unlike the WW2 example, was the flying of said banner in a Chicago park, amidst acts of police brutality.  Nixon-Kissinger would be carpet bombing Laos soon.  Even Twain had mocked the Republic for becoming an Empire.  Been there done that.  We'd all studied Roman History, so the US was to be another cliche then?  Vidal mocked the Manifest Destiny crowd.  Seeing the former US ally against Japan, a Jeffersonian democrat, as a Hitler, did indeed seem far-fetched.  Carpet bombers with B-52s seem more Fourth Reich to me (shades of Spain), with the benefit of hindsight.  What a bizarre analogy, I'd suggest to ABC.

However instead of delving into history, educating his audience per usual, Buckley lost his cool.  Gore got his goat, in front of millions.  This documentary rubs it in.  That Buckley was so bothered by this episode helps define his character as usually taking some high road, at least in his own mind.  He'd gone below his own moral standards, in a blow to his own ego.  The threatened physical violence maybe seemed idiomatic, but calling Vidal a queer just reeked of feeling out-gunned.

I think his taking it hard that he lost his temper helps establish the guy's having a moral compass, which Vidal would have us doubt.  In any case, conservatism would become fashionable in the wake of Buckley's pioneering example, so whereas Vidal may have scored, the culture at large was ready to surge to the right.

Vidal predicted this during the 1968 convention, saying he smelled jingoism in the air.  Having become an atomic superpower, the need to show the world who its new boss was, was becoming an overwhelming need for some, especially in light of a perceived best time to act being short lived, and already over by the end of the Kennedy administration.  By 1968, the Cuban missile crisis has proved there's no winner-take-all strategy, and the Cold War is well under way.

Speaking of ABC and TV ratings, I coincidentally have a meetup at Rentrak tonight.  That's a company that performs a lot of the same services Nielson used to, but with newer technology.  Just a Python organizers meeting, followed by Thirsters.

After the movie I stopped by Yard House, getting soup, salad and ESB from the gracious Shannon behind the counter.   Then I walked across the Hawthorne Bridge, stopping here and there as I made may way back up the hill to my neighborhood, a good test of the healing ankle.

Uber-Cowards Attack!
:: national geographic ::

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Opting Out

:: behind an Iron Curtain ::

KOIN TV (CBS affiliate) has been reporting that Oregon State is getting nervous about how few students are electing to take the new Common Core Standards test, administered by the Feds.

If not enough students in a district take the test, loss of federal funds could be a result.

I'm one of those who goes around telling parents that, even if we do need a Common Core, the one they've come up with is probably not the one we want to go with, if at all interested in maintaining the quality of our Silicon Forest economy, largely nano-tech based.

The mathematics purveyed by Pearson, a British company, discriminates against Americans, an inventive people who came up with some twists on EU-style geometry, which the latter suppresses as "verboten" math.

We feel behind some Iron Curtain in that respect, with our designer memes nixed by powers that be, powers out of touch with We the People.

For example, we have a way of valuing volume that anchors to a shape other than the cube (a tetrahedron) and its all 90 degree angles.

No, our memes do not shove the cube off stage or commend it to the ash heap of history, but you'd never know that given the hostility and defensiveness with which Cubists meet what they perceive as defiance.  We merely wish to share the road.

Any questioning of the authority of these awkwardly insecure partisans, and the barriers go up, like a wall across New Mexico.  The "not invented here" syndrome is very strong among the road hogs.  We get forced off the road every time, unless we refuse in some way.

The State of Oregon is not directly a member of NATO, is only dragged along, unwittingly, by an incurious and incompetent Washington DC, which commits us to one disastrous policy after another.

That our core is neglected, theirs always hyped, is a disparity and double standard we (a lot of us) will no longer accept in Cascadia.  Taxation without representation has never been our cup of tea.

The loss of federal funding is a relief actually, given all the strings attached.  Detaching from the brain dead is a good investment if our purpose is to serve the welfare of Oregonians.