Purpose of this document:
To record for posterity the terrible events of the Great Catastrophe. To get an early start while it's still easy before everything goes to shit.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: How is this different from previous efforts, such as The Bible, the
Domesday Book, The Norse Sagas, The Dresden Codex?
Question: What has posterity ever done for me?
Chapter one: Too busy to water the plants.
Another day of driving and another cluster of stripmalls and suburbs. The radio
says "we've gotten 40 million people to pray for the president."
Well God frickin Bless America. Who are these horsemen anyway? Let's see what the Gideons gave us:
"When The Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!" (Revelation 6:5-6)
What would that be like? By laboring for a day during a biblical famine you'd
get 7812 calories worth of barley or 2508 calories worth of wheat. Why would
they bother with wheat? They were used to living on bread and wheat is the only
grain containing gluten. Gluten is needed to rise with yeast and make bread.
If you had a family to support you'd eat boiled barley. If you were single you
could eat some bread too. The USDA RDA diet recommends 2900 calories/day for
men and 2200 for women. People were smaller in biblical times so that measure
of wheat is exactly what the laborer would eat in a day. Doesn't seem too bad,
except the work was seasonal and they had to share with their families. They
were hungry while working with olives and grapes and couldn't eat them.
Here's the arithmetic, source facts from the USDA
1 bushel = 32quarts
60 lbs/ bushel for some kind of wheat
Barley 651 calories/cup, four cups/quart, 2604 calories/quart
wheat 627 calories/cup, 2508 calories/quart
That's famine. How does that compare to now? In May 2003 wheat is $3.20/bushel
at the elevator ( $0.053/lb ! ) and the federal minimum wage is $5.15/hr which
will get you 1 million calories of wheat per day's labor, enough calories for
a whole year. In a biblical famine it would take you 412 days of labor to earn
this much. No wonder gluttony and sloth are the major killers in this country.
Heart disease in other words. The book "Hunger Disease" reveals that
a population on an 800 calorie diet (the Warsaw ghetto) is completely cured
of cardiovascular disease very quickly. No sign of atherosclerosis was found
in any autopsy there.
My relatives grow corn instead of wheat. It's not worth as much but they get a lot more of it per acre. They've got black dirt and plenty of rain most years which is what corn needs. Corn is priced higher than usual at $2.50/bushel in 2003. The fields give them a place to dump the manure from their dairy cows and they don't have to buy much fertilizer. Sometimes they burn corn in the winter because it's cheaper than wood. When it's below something like $1.60 a bushel.
In one of those years minimum wage was $3.25/hr x 8hrs = $26/day
1 days labor buys 16.25 bushels = 520 quarts of corn per day's labor.
If you had a cash job anyway. If you were a farmer you worked hard for more than 8 hours every day and lost money. So lots of farmers who couldn't get a government subsidy moved to town for cash jobs. Field corn's got 2400 calories per lb. x 58lbs dryweight/bushel = 139k cals/bushel or 2.26 million calories for a day's labor. In a Massachusetts prison they'll feed you a 2000 calorie diet. That day's corn would last 1129 days, exactly three years. Since then the day's wages and corn have both gone up a bit. Usually less than an hour will get you a more than a bushel which would feed you for two months if you're taking it easy, and why wouldn't you?
Grandad Lackey used to tell a story about soldiers starving to death in a cornfield. The point had something to do with ignorance, which he was opposed to. The soldiers were hiding in the cornfield and didn't know people could eat it because they'd only ever seen animals eat corn. Turns out people can eat corn, but they'll eventually die of pellagra which is niacin deficiency. So maybe the soldiers did eat the corn and the war lasted a lot longer than the story made it seem. Look up the symptoms of pellagra to turn this into a really horrible story.
If you run some water through wood ashes and soak the corn til it pops out of the skin, that's called hominy, and it's what the indians ate before they taught us to grow corn, we stole all their land and killed most of them. The Great Seal of most states has an Indian on it. Usually it looks like he's handing a white guy a club to beat him with. Hominy has plenty of niacin and you'll stay plenty fit on it. In Guatemala on the switchbacks you'll see streaks of white earth and caves dug into them. That's limestone or soft coral on its way to becoming limestone. The Mayan Indians there still dig it out and put it in the fire til it's good and hot and turns into lime. Then they drop chunks in water so it hisses and disintegrates. They soak their corn in that before grinding it for tortillas. The lime releases the niacin and gives them calcium too. So they're burly and have good teeth. Their corn is amazing. It's ten feet tall and they grow it on steep hillsides with a machete for digging and everything else. Sometimes it's so steep they use ropes to climb their fields. I rode all over that country in "chicken buses" and never saw a tractor or another implement. Lots of machetes though. The smiling tiny granny in the embroidered costume gets off the bus, puts a cloth ring on her head, and the guy sets a V-8 engine or ten bags of cement on her head and she trots up the trail holding her giggling granddaughter by the hand. The little girl's got a briggs+stratton on her head and wears a miniture costume just like granny's. Those costumes can take a long time to make and just the blouse could cost $300. I had a nice time talking to those two on the bus. She only spoke as much Spanish as I did. She spoke "Mum" or somesuch Mayan dialect.
Our kinship system is a little strange. Everyone's a cousin. Even if they're a hundred years older. I said something to my old cousin Irma about how hard it must be to make a living as a farmer and she said "If you're a poor farmer you're probably just a poor farmer." Which in the audiotape version of this book clearly means that skillful farmers are prosperous. I asked my dad about that and he said his old cousin two generations previous had said the same thing and it was a family saying. Then he launched into the family tree and the history of the farms involved. The richest of the farmers made their money selling farmland to be paved for subdivisions. The farmers who went broke lost their land and quit using the family sayings so freely. They also quit being farmers, so in a way the saying is true, you've got to be pretty prosperous to be a farmer in this country. Not everyone can afford it.
In the 1800's Robert Owens in the upstate NY town of New Harmony established a system of "labor notes" which were used as currency there. "I owe you an hour's labor, signed So and So" is what it said, and everyone made their own as they needed them and struck their own bargains for exchange. Doctors ended up getting more for an hour than laborers, but not as much as in the other towns. Utopian communes always have a lot of doctors and lawyers and not enough plumbers. "Too many chiefs and not enough indians" they used to say. An hour of unskilled labor got you a bushel of corn, which was close to the regular wage and price in other towns. That corn/wage relationship stayed that way for about a hundred years, even after the town succeeded and the use of labor notes fell by the wayside. Not due to any real problem with them. In the civil war when federal taxes started the government accepted these handwritten notes as tax payments.
Farmers here are working hard to grow corn that costs them $1.49/bushel to grow so they can sell it for $1.60 if they're lucky. They've got computerized tractors with GPS to dose out the fertilizer and pesticide just right. The harvester makes a map of yield and that's used to program the other implements. Those Mayans are climbing ropes on hillsides to grow corn with machetes. They don't bother to learn Spanish and they wear shirts worth $300. In the morning at dawn the women come into town with basins of soaked corn on their heads to be ground at the gaspowered mill. They leave offerings at a little shrine like a doghouse in front of the church and light candles. Every basin of corn is a different color. They've been saving their seeds for thousands of years and every field has a different variety. In spring when the flying ants appear they have to plant corn. That's their religion. If they're fighting a war at the time and the flying ants appear on the battlefield, they have to desert to go home and plant. Which is a good thing because corn seeds only last a year. If you skip a year due to war you won't have live seeds and you'll have famine. US Civil Defense was really worried about nuclear war wrecking enough crop years to make corn extinct. Then we'd really be in it. It can't sprout after millennia in a sarcophagus like wheat.
Corn depletes the soil of nitrogen so our farmers cycle the crops, alternating between corn and soybeans. The soybeans are inocculated with nitrogen-fixing bacteria that live in root nodules on the beans. The Mayans plant black beans at the base of their corn. It provides ground cover that keeps the weeds down and climbs up the cornstalks. They cut the cornstalks over their heads with a machete so it flops over and they can reach the ears. The corn takes the nitrogen out, the beans put it back in. The corn gives them half the aminos, the beans supply the rest. It's a perfect system. I got a real craving for it. Everywhere I went I tried to order "tortillas con frijoles negros" and the restaurants never had it. I couldn't figure it out til someone explained that it was like trying to get a peanut butter sandwich in a restaurant here.
A cornpicker is an implement that's pretty good at jamming up and ripping your arms off when you try to fix the jam. It also scatters a certain amount of corn back into the field. Deer, raccoons, mice, and birds scatter more corn. If it sprouts the next year it's called "volunteer corn". When you plant soybeans you have to spray a herbicide to kill these volunteers. In most of corn country that creates a perfect environment for ragweed. Ragweed pumps out more pollen than any other plant. In the summer when the newspaper publishes the pollen count, most of it is ragweed. If you drive through a soybean field there'll be a lime-green dustcloud behind your car. Ragweed is a scruffy little version of Amaranth, which is grown in S.America for food. Ragweed makes a fine salad when it's young. It makes my throat itch a little because I'm allergic, or because I'm not used to eating so many vitamins. My Uncle John is allergic too. When he was growing up the ragweed was moving north at 20 miles a year. Every summer he had to go away to somewhere further north. Eventually he had to go to Hayward Wisconsin, which is on Lake Superior and is north of the corn. When I was his age the ragweed had gotten to Canada already. From the first hot day til the first freeze I was cryinng and sneezing most of the time. Nothing like it for toning the abs. It also put scars on my eardrums. My ears are plenty sensitive when it's quiet, but I can't tune out loud noises or hear well in a restaurant or any other loud place. I also have a network of fine cracks on my teeth from all that clenching and convulsing. My dentist has a little video camera hooked to a big monitor so he can show his patients things like this.
Something like half the crops in this country have been genetically engineered. The pollen is live, blowing around, and fertilizing "heirloom" crops. In some states like Nebraska it's impossible to grow non genetically engineered crops at all. The seeds will have fish dna and square kernels and built in pesticide molecules and any random thing those geniuses decide to graft onto it. It blows in and gets in your crop flowers and you're growing it whether you want to or not. We didn't create corn. The Maya did with help from their religion and it took them a long time. Any time we have a problem with low yields or or a new disease we need resistance to, our scientists scamper down to the Maya and start collecting their seeds. Not unlike that scene on the state seal. Because then our best and brightest graft weird dna onto it and let the pollen blow where it will. USAID tries to get everyone to grow American seed crops made by Cargill et al. It crosses with the indigenous heirloom strains and contaminates them. The Maya religion is to protect the corn. Not to goof with its DNA. Looks like yet another genocide to me. While we're at it let's just put up a giant equestrian statue of Hitler since we love genocide so much. It's profitable and we don't have to see it up close. For extra credit look up Black Mesa and watch the movie about it to see what Gerald Ford did to the Navajo for a few bucks.
How can our farmers afford to sell corn for $1.50/ bushel? Our government subsidizes them enough to keep doing it and then dumps the food on foreign markets. We call this "free trade". Poor farmers in other countries don't get the subsidies and can't compete. They go broke and move to shantytowns around cities in hopes of cash jobs. There are many good documentaries about the terrible effects American "free trade" and other "assistance" has had on our near neighbors.
Chapter 2: What about plague?
"When The Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living
creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider
was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power
over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild
beasts of the earth." (Revelation 6:7-8)
That has a nice ring to it, but it's kind of vague.
Every year I look at the kitesurfing accident database to see what sort of
dangers I should watch out for. One thing I've learned is that we're still primates
and have some instincts. One of those is the "white-knuckle" instinct.
We just love to cling to branches or anything like a branch. The more scared
and impaired we are the more we cling. One guy passed out and got dragged for
twenty minutes just hanging onto the control bar. They kept diving out of the
chase boat trying to tackle him. No one ever dies on the first bounce. Some
rigs are unsafe and difficult to release, but the deaths are mostly caused by
being dragged and being unable to overcome the urge to cling. One guy got dragged
through rocks, over a giant wall into a freeway and got hit by cars and finally
killed. A "rational actor" could have let go any time, but we aren't
rational actors. To be safe you have to practice throwing the kite away.
After my girlfriend and I broke up and after the depression I started to think about dating again. So I got on the cdc.gov website and checked out what sort of hazards might be involved. Fascinating. The stats for year 2000 are now out for this country. HIV killed 11k men and 2600 women. 3600 women were killed by cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is caused by genital warts aka Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Various types of HPV contribute varying numbers to this total. The deadliest types are invisibly small and are undetectable in men. HPV isn't stopped by condoms, isn't curable, and there's no test for it. It kills more women than HIV. 75% of sexually active adults can expect to catch it and the number is increasing. Why wasn't I told? In other words, there's a deadly incurable disease for which there's no test and I may be contagious. So how could it possibly be ethical to have sex with anyone? We're supposed to be open and comfortable with our sexuality and explore and all that, but it doesn't seem like the technology really supports it. Genital Herpes is up to something like 30% if you keep reading stats til you find a really high number and can have asymptomatic carriers. Western Blot and a couple of other antibody tests detect it. So you shell out a buck for condoms and eighty bucks for an immunological assay and proceed from there, but what about the others? There's chancroid, a disease I never heard of for example. Maybe in a couple of years there'll be a saliva antibody test and you'll just lick it and compare stripes before you leave the cafe. In the mean time howabout monogamous marriage of virgins? That would wipe out all the VD in a generation or two and then promiscuity could be ethical again even without a technological breakthrough.
Other interesting facts: HIV hasn't been cured, because no virus has ever been cured. Ever. So it's not an easy job. And there hasn't been a new antibiotic in twenty years. "What do you think the next plague will be?" people sometimes ask. HIV is so bad in some parts of Africa that there's no one over 30 and the kids are all orphans. Sound like a plague yet? A rumor got out that sex with a virgin would cure you and now all the little girls are rape victims with AIDS. Think we should distribute condoms yet? Our leaders don't think so. It might encourage immorality.
"My boyfriend says I should tell you this funny VD story. I hadn't had sex in a million years, not even a handshake. I felt kind of itchy and looked down and there were these little things crawling around in my pubic hair. Like this. (makes crab crawling gestures with hands.) I'm like "This really sucks." I had crabs and I hadn't even had sex. So I put all my stuff in plastic bags and left them in the sun for a couple of weeks and shaved my pubic hair. Have you ever done that? I hadn't had a bare crotch since I was like 11 and it was really irritating. And I used lice shampoo and washed all over with it. They were funny looking. They were about as big as two commas and had clear bodies but they had black arms and black mittens on the end. So how did I get it? I thought about it and my towel was sometimes damp when I used it. I'm like "OOOooh it's that skanky guy." My suitemate had this really skanky guy staying in her room. What did he look like? He was Pakistani or something and always carried around this wooden samurai sword. He had curly hair that was really greasy and you couldn't go anywhere without him hitting on you. So I threw that towel away." Anonymous informant, age 21
When I had giardia the first time the doctor looked at me and said "you don't look like you have parasites". They're pretty good with 3d imaging here, but they're not so good with the contagious stuff they don't see every day. Much to her amazement I had no trouble producing a stool sample. Ease of crapping is after all a symptom of the condition. When the results came back there was a message on the machine "You're absolutely right Mr. Anderson..." Over the next six months she gave me three increasingly severe rounds of Ciprofloxin, none of which harmed the giardia. It did taste bad, give me zits, and make my arms weak. What crap. When our military anthrax leaked into the postal system and we were supposed to stockpile Cipro against it, I giggled but didn't smile. Finally she wrote me an Rx for Albendazole aka Flagyl. Great stuff. Tastes good, has no side effects, doesn't kill your gut fauna, and Ta Daaa! kills giardia and all kinds of worms. I asked her why she didn't just give me that right away. She said "We always start out with the least powerful stuff first." Meanwhile our farm animals get the same diseases we get and they're given the most effective drugs right from the beginning. When a disease crosses from them to us it will already be resistant to the drugs the doctor's going to give us when the first ones don't work. Extra credit assignment: What's wrong with this system?
Chapter three: What was that first horse again?
It seems that first horse is "false religious belief."
Driving across the country I discovered that there aren't a lot of people in Wyoming and not a lot of stations on the dial. In some spots there are as many as three public radio stations and nothing else. Makes those few people seem pretty well educated. Some other spots in the country there's so much religious radio you'll drive out of range before "autoscan" brings you back to that first emphatic yokel "magnifying" and "praising" and doing all he can to push some all-powerful diety on people. As if an Omnipotent God needed any assistance, or hadn't made them ignorant of Him for good Omniscient reasons of his own. Education erodes Faith for good reasons. If you can think critically about what all these words mean it makes it possible for some of them to be untrue. Or all of them. You don't have to give up the health benefits of prayer and so on, you just have to give up some Faith. It'll do you good, because by the way, your plan of being "Saved by Faith" is called the "Gnostic Heresy" and could well get you cast down into "Hellfire" with a bunch of other "Elect".
Christian Fundamentalists take two different approaches to the State of Israel. Pat Robertson and his "700 Club" would like to be "Raptured". That happens late in the book of Revelation after the Temple is rebuilt. So they're raising as much money as they can to settle Russian and other Jews there and rebuild the Temple so the prophecy will be fulfilled, the world will end after a bloody war(that might actually work), and they'll be raptured away to the Good Place. The same Book warns against trying to fulfill prophecy but that hasn't stopped anyone yet. Meanwhile on the other end of the dial are the Schismatic Birchers, Oklahoma City Revisionists, and various intellectual heirs of Henry Ford. He once required all Ford dealers to distribute the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion". They oppose Zionism and anything Jewish because "The Global Jewish Conspiracy" is working to create the "One World Government" which Revelation calls the "Reign of the Beast." That's early in the book and is the long slow painful path to the end of the world. The "End of the World" is something almost everyone wants. While driving through Brooklyn I tuned in a station that sounded very familiar and seemed out of place in such an urban environment. After about twenty minutes of fiery preaching I realized that they were trying to bring on the FIRST coming and would favor the use of any amount of violence to do it. It was called radio Kahane and when you read about someone shooting people in a mosque or trying to burn one down, chances are he's one of these guys, and an American citizen. My family was almost killed in '76 while riding in an Arab taxi when a truckload of settlers shot at it for being a Mercedes. The Jewish taxis were Fiats. The shooter might have been American.
There are some "groups" that oppose all government including the One World Government without necessarily wanting to end the world. They may zero their varmint irons at the same range as the others but they value freedom above all else and their organizations are shortlived. Their varying beefs with the Feds include powerlines across their land (see Black Mesa above) flouride in the water, farm foreclosures (see savings and loan scandal), pornography on TV, sex education or evolution or lack of prayer in the schools, federal snipers shooting their dogs, children, and wives(see Oklahoma City Revisionism). A major beef is the federal attempt to "take their guns away." This stuff has been going on a long time. When I was little there was a story in the paper about some ATF agents raiding a Posse Comitatus(named after the law forbidding federal troops to be used for law enforcement.) meeting. The Posse shot back and outgunned the feds, who retreated in reduced numbers. They tracked one of the Posse to a house in the woods. They set the house on fire and shot the guy when he came out. His name was on some of the literature and they decided he was the "bad one" and didn't go so hard after the others because the warrants were weak in the first place. Unlike the FBI, few ATF agents are lawyers.
Chapter four: America Loves Suicide Bombers
"When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" And out came another horse, bright red; its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that men should slay one another; and he was given a great sword." (Revelation 6:3-4)
I used to work next to a ROTC office. They had display cases in the hallway with portraits and obituaries of Congressional Medal of Honor winners from the air force. A surprising number were suicide bombers. "Though his plane was badly damaged, he managed to crash it into the bridge of the enemy destroyer". The gallery of heroes went on and on. Who knew that suicide bombing was such a noble American tradition?
In the '91 Gulf war most American casualties were "Friendly fire" from other Americans. Our forces used up so much ammunition and bombs it took fleets of forklifts to load it all up. Forklift accidents were the second biggest cause of casualties. Eventually the "unavoidable fallout of war" will beat these two. That includes Gulf War Syndrome, uranium poisoning from radioactive minigun projectiles, poison from all those chemical plants we bombed, suicide, alcoholism and drug abuse, spouse murders and other violence because "you don't just turn that shit off" as some sweaty beefcake said in a movie just before crying and hugging someone. Or maybe shooting them. I can't remember.
I haven't paid taxes in three years and I'm damn proud of it. This stupid government of ours is stealing our money to kill Arabs to steal their oil and then some greyhaired suits stand in front of a backdrop and say it's all about Freedom and Democracy. They don't believe it themselves and neither does anyone else. Paying your taxes is paying for murder. Paying for murder is murder and if you don't like to hear it you're a coward. I'm sick enough of seeing pictures of dead arabs without knowing I'd killed them. Like we weren't getting enough of their oil already. Those piles of blackened corpses don't look like Freedom and Democracy will do them much good. Our so-called leaders really blew it a few years ago when those bloodthirsty assholes knocked the towers down. We could have risen above revenge and done the great stuff America would like to be known for. Instead we've got this stupid bullshit borrowed from the Roman Empire. It's hard to keep count because our press is such a bunch of militaristic cheerleaders, but now we owe somebody another five or six skyscrapers full of innocent civilians. Jeeze Louize.
And why don't those kids full of clusterbomb fragments come here and get even? Why didn't those palestinian orphans I played with beat the crap out of me? How come Americans were safe in Tripoli after our terrorists bombed a few blocks of their city? Why don't a few Vietnamese sappers come wipe out a few hundred people each? Because believe me they could and they know it and our military knows it too after learning it the hard way. They'd have plendy of good reaons to do it too. Look up "Operation Phoenix" if you want to cry and feel ashamed. How come our victims are such better people than we are and forgive us when we don't forgive them? Read up on the battle of Iwo Jima to find out how a 500lb bomb can be launched off a truck and flatten, say, a whitehouse. It doesn't happen because no one feels like doing it. Just like I'm safe on the street because no one feels like hitting me on the head or jabbing a sharp stick in my gut. Not because I could do anything about it. The DC snipers proved that any semi functional psychopath could drive around killing at will in the heart of our "Defense". We'd call the DOD "Department of Attacking the Weak" if we had a taste for the truth. If our hated enemies "The Base" wanted to, they could have a big party, say a "Patriotic American Awards Ceremony", invite a bunch of people they didn't like, and hit them on the head with rocks. That would work fine but it's not their style. Just like when our Secretary of State has a mosque in Beirut carbombed and kills eighty civilians we call it "statecraft" or somesuch. That's our style. (The joke in Beirut was "Only the CIA could kill eighty people and miss the one they were after.")
I was at my little playmate's house in Ramallah one day and the door rang. It was a couple of blonde kids, American missionaries. My friend's parents invited them in and offered them excessive amounts of tea and other delicacies. The missionaries were very serious and explained their cause. They wanted my friend's family and all the Palestinians to move away to make room for Israelis. That would fulfill prophecy and cause the end of the world. An actual discussion ensued. I was trying so hard not to cry I couldn't say or hear anything, but clearly my hosts were saints and supermen. Already one of their sons had been reduced to a twitchy recluse by a week of torture in the Israeli prison. "Read this report from Amnesty International" people were always telling us. The Israelis had M16s from Connecticut and halftracks and jeeps from Detroit with giant recoilless rifles on the back. Their boots were made in America. Probably the spotlights and razorwire around the prison were too. My dad's taxes paid for this stuff. When the Israelis wanted some land they didn't try to buy it, they just bulldozed (Caterpillar. Tennessee.) a village of pretty domed stone houses and if there were any old people who refused to leave, they bulldozed them too. Then they put up reinforced concrete apartment towers for Russian Jews (Pat Robertson) and Falashas (American arms sent to Mengistu, communist dictator) with rifle slits in the first two floors and sentry posts on the roof. Recently an American girl got fed up and got in front of an Israeli bulldozer. Maybe she'd seen the famous picture of the Chinese boy carrying groceries who stopped a row of tanks by standing in front. Or the five videos on MTV that used the footage. Or the twentysix news shows that used it in their intro flying montage sequence. Pop Quiz: She is now A: Dead B: Smarter C: How do I get to China?
Around exam time the students got really political. They went on strike and protested until the Israelis came and started rounding them up. They parked a tank in the neighbor's yard with a clear shot at the school and the Palestinian police station next to it. The Palestinian police had guns, double-action Webleys in flap holsters with silk lanyards, probably from the British times. You couldn't see any brass because of the flap, even if you were a kid and it was at eye level. So I don't know if they were loaded or not. It was very wise of the Israelis to allow the local police. No one wants to intervene in domestic disputes, least of all an occupying army. The military governer put the town under curfew. He was active-duty military and got rotated. Sometimes it was a bad guy, sometimes not so bad. Either way the Palestinians couldn't do anything about it. Curfew means house arrest for the whole town with breaks every few days to buy bread. My friend and I were in some bushes hiding from an Israeli patrol. They were marching in formation without much gear. Being trained? I said "I bet you wish it was still Jordan times." He said "I don't think it was this good in Jordan times." Wow. Pretty philosophical for a fifth grader. I'd seen a few movies and knew bad guys when I saw them. They came to your town with guns and abused people. The Israelis were bad guys and if you were a good guy like in the westerns it meant you had to fight them even if you might get yourself killed. They'd never done anything to me, just to other people. I had no power to forgive that. Only the victims could. People who are actually wronged can forgive and usually do. "Living well is the best revenge" is a good proverb. Violent justice makes good film but wrecks your health from stress and you'll accidentally blow out the neighboring floors and your bullets will hit bystanders and your car will hit that fruit stand every single time. So real victims forgive and let us live with our peace and prosperity while we dish out pain and poverty and talk about high ideals. Those tower bombers were rich Saudis who'd never been victims of anything. Their money came from American oil companies and their relatives were kept in power by American arms. Terrorists are always privileged. They hate their own privilege and hate the guilt they feel for it. They see the injustice and are powerless to forgive it. They are groomed for great things and are too ambitious to work slowly for change. So they become bloodthirsty assholes. Eventually there are enough victims that everyone has earned the power to forgive. Otherwise the positive feedback around the revenge amplifier pegs it to the rails and one-legged Nicaraguans would be chopping our heads off in church.
Speaking of which, there are plenty of "Great Men" who are always afraid. Listen, Great Man, if you aren't, maybe you should be. Great power and profit comes from somewhere, and on the other side of the mirror can be victims whose daily frustrations come from you. The owner of a monopoly. A developer. A politician or beaurocrat. These are not people whose actions can be avoided or ignored by those who can't flee. Great Man, look around in the costs-to-others area of your wealth machine and find something to apologize for at least once. Otherwise and it might be too late already, some guy's going to eat bland food and roll in dirt till the dogs can't smell him, slither into your Greatsville Mansion and poke you with a sharp stick. I don't cultivate weirdos anymore but I hear fantasies like this all the time. I'm talking about clean normal people with nice kids. Hypocrisy and greed may look great from a distance, but it's a hassle to hide from good people and fill the lanes of fire with bodyguards before you can walk down the street.
Chapter five: Americans Cheer for Torture and Laugh at Prison Rape
The movie cop smacks a guy, throws him against the wall, and jams a gun in his mouth. He asks him some questions. The victim denies any knowledge. The cop hits him some more, threatens him some more, and now the guy's all dirty, his clothes are ripped, and he's bleeding from a cut on his forehead. The cop drags him to a toilet, shoves his head in, and starts to drown him. If you're in a theater and the movie's any good there will be cheering in the audience. The cop keeps alternately drowning him and asking him questions. He says "You'll go to prison and be the bitch! They'll sell your ass for cigarettes!" The audience laughs. Guy tells cop what he wants to know and cop burns rubber off to massacre other bad guys. I've seen a lot of action movies and learned a couple of things: 1: Prison rape is hilarious. 2: Torture is great.
Take a break to look some websites:
Human Rights Watch(HRW) and Stop Prisoner Rape(SPR) document our "rape camps".
Remember when we bombed Serbia because THEY had "Rape Camps?" It "Sent a strong message". Meanwhile our own rape camps got bigger and bigger. Now we've got about a million men locked up in them. Hypocrisy has many advantages. It means our air force didn't have to bomb DC to "Send a strong message". We were told that Milocevic was "a lot like Hitler". He was also a lot like Abraham Lincoln. Both presidents fought wars in attempts to keep their countries from breaking apart.
If you read those prison rape sites you need a break. Moving right along.
Chapter six: Fetuses aren't Chickens
"Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." ( Genesis 1:28 )
The command has been fulfilled. Quit multiplying now.
The earth has been filled. It's subdued. It's trampled and owned and tilled and fenced and burned and paved and poisoned. It's OVERPOPULATED. It's all we've got and is plenty if we could quit spawning so much. The Bible doesn't say "And he saw that it sucked. God said to them, "Breed incessantly and burn a lot of stuff. Poison the water and pave the scenery. Goof with DNA. Exterminate a species every day and on the Sabbath wipe out two."
It sucks to be smart in a stupid world. Being sane in a crazy world is hard too. Fortunately there are drugs that can treat both conditions. Soon you too can be stupid, crazy, and possibly happy. But in an immoral world it's trickier. Paying some taxes and making babies are now evil, for example.
Chapter seven: Pave Everything
Henry Ford wanted "to bring the pleasures of the countryside to the working
Before he died he had many regrets.
Here's a short list:
1: His automobile had done terrible things to both the countryside and the cities.
2: His son Edsel died of brucilosis from unpasteurized milk from Henry's own farm. Edsel was sickly and Henry subjected him to all kinds of abuse to "make him strong" but the root of the problem was his own contaminated milk. Many farmers still oppose pasteurization(see "various beefs" above).
3: Distributing that anti-Jewish literature. Some of it got to Hitler who spread it even further. Hitler idolized Henry Ford. Henry apologized after seeing pictures from the vernichtungslager. Apologies are nice. What else might he have done?
Chapter eight: Living Small. Low Impact Living
Some national parks encourage "low impact camping". "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints." Even footprints are being reduced now. No vibram lugs. Raised walkways. Step on rocks, not alpine tundra. "Pack it in, pack it out." Once you've packed out your trash what do you do with it? How about not creating trash in the first place? Let's practice Low Impact Living all the time.
The No Plastic Diet:
Don't buy any food in plastic packaging. Bring your own bag so they won't give you a plastic shopping bag.
I tried this and it was amazing. It forced me to eat cheap delicious fresh food instead of the overpackaged crap I was addicted to. If you have to buy something in plastic, unwrap it there and leave the packaging there. Maybe a miracle will occur and they'll stop covering everything with plastic. My friend Axel just read this and said "The no plastic diet worked really well in Germany. People are leaving all their garbage at the grocery store and the stores had to provide extra recycling barrels for it. They have a thing called the "green points" system for recycling. You have to buy a plastic shopping bag for thirty or sixty cents. They don't just hand them to you at the register. They also sell cloth bags for a dollar that you can use many times."
The Garbage Diet:
When fruit and vegetables get fully ripe they develop spots and blemishes. They don't all ripen at once, but once a few pieces are off the grocery store will throw out the whole rack. Once they've put it in the dumpster it's very difficult to realize that it's still food. The Modernists taught us that the gallery or museum has the power to transform ordinary objects into art. When we enter the "church of art" we apply a heightened aesthetic sense and experience the objects in a new way. We are heirs of modernism in many ways. The dumpster for example has the power to transform ordinary objects into garbage. In my hometown is a "Jean Donovan House." Jean Donovan was a nun killed by a US backed death squad. It's a regular house where Catholic Worker Movement people live. Their food comes from dumpsters and donations and anyone can sleep there. That's where I learned to eat garbage. It wasn't easy at first. I leaned over the dumpster and looked at the apple. I looked at it from different angles. It was in a crate of apples and only touching them. I reached in and took the apple. I looked it over and rubbed it on my shirt. My stomach turned. I was nauseous. I took a big bite. It was delicious. I finished it and ate another. I grabbed the whole crate. I jumped into the dumpster and rooted around. I got all kinds of vegetables and some loaves of multigrain bread in plastic. For the next two weeks I ate nothing but garbage. It was the healthiest best food I ate all year. The stores had different styles. The most expensive stores had the worst garbage. They stack the fruit in pyramids and patrol it culling one piece at a time. Then they sweep the floor and throw that in. A store called "warehouse market" was the best. They never unpacked the boxes the food came in. When it got a few blemishes they threw it out a crate at the time. My girlfriend at the time really got into dumpster-dining. She took lots of food home for her family without telling them where it came from. I thought that was a bit wrong, but she loved it.
Question: Don't they poison the food before they throw it out?
Answer: Yes they do! They spend millions every year developing garbage poisons that are undetectable. There's a sign by the back door saying "don't forget to poison the garbage". Just kidding. It doesn't happen.
If you ask nicely for "donations" and come back when you say you will they'll happily save food for you. People in the food business are proud of their products and feel bad about throwing away so much of it. They'd much rather donate it somewhere.
The Mormon Diet
"In my dream, behold, I was standing on the bank of the Nile; and behold, seven cows, fat and sleek came up out of the Nile, and they grazed in the marsh grass. Lo, seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ugly and thin, such as I had never seen for ugliness in all the land of Egypt; and the lean and ugly cows ate up the first seven fat cows. Yet when they had devoured them, it could not be detected that they had devoured them, for they were just as ugly as before. Then I awoke." ( Genesis 41:17-21 )
A lot of Mormons aka Latter Day Saints (LDS) live Salt Lake City Utah. A big city on the edge of a desert. They take the possibility of famine very seriously. Their history of migrations and persecutions taught them the value of stored food. Each Mormon is encouraged to store a one year supply of food. In the early days it was more. They know more about bulk buying and all aspects of food storage than anyone else. Check out their resources. Doing it their way costs a lot less, wastes a lot less, and will save you years of your life going to the store whenever you're hungry.
The Yacht Diet
Yachties and LDS both eat a lot of sprouts. When you sprout seeds they magically make vitamins and amino acids they didn't have before. They make enzymes that cut the starch into shorter sugars that humans can digest without cooking them first. Humans aren't too impressive as physical specimens. If animals were allowed to compete we wouldn't win many sports. We've lost the ability to synthesize amino acids and vitamins. Most other animals can. We've got these huge brains that have enabled most of us to eat whatever we want over most of our history. Degenerative mutations have cost us a lot of enzymes because all the stuff we needed was already in the food and we'd eat fifty different things in a week. So no one got de-selected for being a few enzymes short. Lentils aren't such good food. 1500 calories/lb dry, 527 calories/lb cooked. No wonder I got dizzy and tired in the afternoon after eating as much as I could hold in the morning. But when you sprout them they magically turn into a salad! They look dead like little flying saucers. (or lenses. our word lens comes from lentil.) And you've got to eat them because they keep growing and you'll have too much of it. You could live well on sprout salads, wear old clothes, and hardly feel guilty at all about being alive.
"Sailing the Farm: Homesteading at Sea" is still a good book.
You don't have to look like a bum, but you can if you want to! No one's going to fire you for it if you don't have a job. Cardboard is very comfortable stuff to sleep on. Kind of like a tatami mat. It's also the best surface to breakdance on, which means it's very friendly to the human body.
Chapter nine: The Cure is Worse than the Disease.
I once heard in a lecture "Only recently has western medical intervention been less harmful than the diseases themselves." In another "At that time American Indian medicine was far more advanced than that of the colonists."
The terrorists have won. New security measures at airports require us to get
there an extra hour or two early and wait in lines. This has already destroyed
more aggregate hours of human life than all the terrorist attacks. Unless you
count bombing FROM airplanes as terrorism. That will take longer. Or unless
you count waiting in airport lines as a humane way of life. Most people wouldn't.
Now the name on your ID has to match your ticket. You used to be able to buy
a round-trip and sell the other leg to someone else in the want ads. Now the
airlines prevent that and gouge us yet another way. The airline counterman told
the guy, "I'm sorry, your wife will have to buy a new ticket. we cancelled
hers when she didn't take the first leg of the flight. That will be $700."
Guy: "But I bought her a ticket already. She had to go to the the hospital, missed the plane, and took the bus instead."
Counterman: "Just because you bought a ticket doesn't mean you can get on the plane."
He really enjoyed his job. He tormented that couple with such glee we all hoped they'd lose it and beat him with the wife's wheelchair.
I forget what airline it was. Fly Aloha Airlines whenever you can. The ticket costs the same at the airport and they like being nice to people. There are also other airines like this.
This information hasn't been fact-checked yet, so do that before you go on
TV or jump out of an airplane with it.
Copyright Tim Anderson 2035