In a 2013 radio interview, Graham Nash recalled visiting Neil Young in 1972:
The man is totally committed to the muse of music. And he’ll do anything for good music. And sometimes it’s very strange. I was at Neil’s ranch one day just south of San Francisco, and he has a beautiful lake with red-wing blackbirds. And he asked me if I wanted to hear his new album, Harvest. And I said sure, let’s go into the studio and listen.
Oh, no. That’s not what Neil had in mind. He said get into the rowboat.
I said get into the rowboat? He said, yeah, we’re going to go out into the middle of the lake. Now, I think he’s got a little cassette player with him or a little, you know, early digital format player. So I’m thinking I’m going to wear headphones and listen in the relative peace in the middle of Neil’s lake.
Oh, no. He has his entire house as the left speaker and his entire barn as the right speaker. And I heard Harvest coming out of these two incredibly large loud speakers louder than hell. It was unbelievable. Elliot Mazer, who produced Neil, produced Harvest, came down to the shore of the lake and he shouted out to Neil: How was that, Neil?
And I swear to God, Neil Young shouted back: More barn!
Asked in 2016 whether this story was true, Young said, “Yeah, I think it was a little house-heavy.”
[With the advent of Ken Burns’ history of Vietnam I’ve been thinking more and more about that fading conflict that defined in so many ways my youth. Then I recalled this short story I wrote in the 1980s. A few bits and pieces are true, or could have been.]
Around the cleared moonscape that enclosed Firebase Delta, the jungle dozed silently while the sentries relaxed. Their flak-jackets reeked of sweat and chaffed at their skin, but they believed in them. They had less faith in the hedged of concertina wire that coiled like huge snakes around the camp, and they had reason. If they loved anything, they loved the full moon that was falling down the sky. They’d be sorry to see it duck behind the vine- choked trees in the distance. Then they wouldn’t be so relaxed. It was when the dark rose up out of the jungle that men died.
Second lieutenant Gary Murphy, halfway through his tour and twenty-three, lay on his bunk in his half-buried sandbagged hootch reading, for the fourth time, a letter from Sally Goines, who swore she was still in love and couldn’t wait until he came flying home for their wedding. “…After the game, the gang went over to Shakey’s for some pizza in Jean’s car. It was great until these longhairs (you don’t have them in Vietnam, do you?) came in and started acting funny. Not funny ha-ha, ” Sally wrote in the rounded script that irritated Gary,” but drugs or something worse. They tried to order from Fred and kept asking for pizza with everything and kept laughing as they added ingredients like penguin dust, I think one said. And this other one tried to play the jukebox but didn’t put any money in it an, big surprise, it didn’t work. So I politely, and I mean it, told him that he had to put money in it. He took out a twenty dollar bill and began to tear little pieces of it off and stuff them in the coin slot! Can you imagine? That took the cake and Fred came out from behind the counter with the baseball bat he kept ….” Gary felt the ground under him shake gently.
Folding the letter and slipping it in his shirt pocket he got up and, after dousing the light, drew back the blanket that covered the entrance to his hutch.
The ground continued to shudder. Far off to the west Murphy could see explosions of light like a host of gigantic flashbulbs popping on the landscape. “Arclight,” he thought, “Arclight.” Arclight was a new tactic to crush the Cong. It was a high altitude air strike featuring B-52s and hundreds of one-ton bombs; an attack that came from planes so high up you couldn’t see them or hear them. Upon arrival there was a dense pattern of bombs that probed the earth like a Titan’s fingers searching for crouched packets of flesh they could transform in an instant into fountains of blood and bouquets of bones.
From over nine miles up, B-52s plowed death into fields of rice where a navigator’s co-ordinates crossed on a map. Those co-ordinates were given by some man examining abstract photographs in a windowless room near Saigon; by someone who had seen a tendril of smoke where there should be no smoke, a rock that cast a suspicious shadow, the pale oval of a face turned up against the darker foliage. Something. Anything that might indicate that Charlie was at those co-ordinates when the photograph was taken and might still be there. Whatever the sign was it was enough to send the bombers and the bombs to obliterate that point on the map. The Americans in charge of the Vietnam war thought, if they did it all the time they would, sooner or later, kill the Cong, kill the VC, kill Charlie and then… then everyone could go home.
But Charlie, Gary Murphy knew, was never at those co-ordinates when the bombers came.
Charlie didn’t dawdle around in the bush waiting for some slick American jet-jockey to bomb his ass. Charlie had better things to do. Charlie had a tight schedule. Charlie kept his ass in gear, traveled light, and killed young Americans.
Killing American’s was Charlie’s job and he was good at it. Charlie was a pro. And Charlie also had patience. In Vietnam, the Americans owned the day and the cities, but Charlie owned the night and the villages and time. Charlie used all three to kill Americans. Five Americans killed today, three slaughtered tomorrow, seven more dead or one more dead during the next week. It didn’t matter how many or when. Charlie’d just keep killing Americans until Americans got tired of being killed and left. It was that or be killed until they were all just slightly greener patches of the jungle with plants growing where the eyes had been.
To pass the time while waiting to be killed, Americans amused themselves by playing with high technology and bombing the jungle. And so every evening Gary was entertained by a distant Arclight strike; a high-tech, high-explosive light show with no dead Charlies to show for it.
“One is so apt to think of people’s affection as a fixed quantity, instead of a sort of moving sea with the tide always going out or coming in but still fundamentally there: and I believe this difficulty in making allowance for the tide is the reason for half the broken friendships.” – – Freya Stark wrote that in a letter to Venetia Budicom on May 20, 1934.
Consider more closely where this IKEA dresser and its underlying substance came from. That story begins at a logging camp somewhere in the world — quite possibly in an illegally harvested old-growth forest in Russia or China. (It is impossible to say exactly, since IKEA has torpedoed laws that would require them to disclose their sources.) The loggers in this mystery forest fell trees of various sorts and pass them on to a logging company that might manage scores of camps. The logging company then sells the trees to a sawmill which gathers material from several dozen logging companies and cuts them into boards. Several sawmills in a region then supply the lumber to a larger board-mill that cuts the wood into even smaller pieces. Small suppliers buy the board from several board-mills and transport a portion of it to large suppliers, which in turn gather and pulverize the various materials in a chemical soup and press it into lighter, cheaper chunks. IKEA then buys this “composite material” to cut into the components of a Malm or Hemnes, sorts it into boxes, and distributes it to over 300 stores around the world, leaving the final assembly to the customers. Even a simple desk or dresser contains, by IKEA’s own admission, at least 26 different species of wood from at least 18 different countries — and usually far more. The result is a sleek but crumbly piece of furniture, sure to camouflage into any new apartment. Jennifer and Jason use their dressers every day without a thought as to the work or the materials that made them.
We must not sneer at Jennifer and Jason, many readers are sure to point out, for choosing IKEA. Their incomes, though high in the global scale, are likely to be lower than their parents’ were, and they often have to move in order to climb the employment ladder. It is only reasonable for them to buy something inexpensive, transportable, and replaceable. IKEA fulfills an important niche in the middle-class market — for cheap furniture that still retains a semblance of respectability. The company has exploited this market to become the global empire that Sweden never had, a kind of Viking revenge on the modern age.
Still, there is a good chance that Jennifer and Jason actually like their IKEA dressers, and prefer them to the old oak chest that their grandparents tried to foist on them. Indeed, the extraordinary popularity of IKEA testifies not only to its convenience but to its ability to appeal to the middle-class self-image. Jennifer and Jason are drawn to IKEA because it reflects who they are: they too are modern, movable, and interchangeable, their wants satisfiable in any neighborhood with a food co-op and a coffee shop. More fundamentally, Jennifer and Jason are untraceable, a “composite material” made from numberless scraps and pieces. They have a long catalog of home towns, and their accents are NPR neutral. They can probably rattle off the various nationalities in their family trees — Dutch, Norwegian, Greek, and Jewish, maybe some Venezuelan or Honduran for a little color. From these backgrounds they retain no more than a humorous word or phrase, a recipe, or an Ellis Island anecdote, if that. They grew up amidst a scramble of white-collar professionals and went to college with a scramble of white-collar professionals’ kids. Their values are defined mainly by mass media, their tastes adorably quirky but never straying too far from their peers’, and like the IKEA furniture that they buy in boxes, they too cut themselves into manageable, packaged pieces and market themselves online. They are probably “spiritual but not religious.” They have no pattern or model of life that bears any relation to the past before the internet. For all intents and purposes, they sprang up de novo in the modern city. Whereas the Veneerings’ high fashion covered over an essential vulgarity, Jennifer’s and Jason’s urbane style masks a hollowness.
It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers “When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is—fucking fall. There’s a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash.
I may even throw some multi-colored leaves into the mix, all haphazard like a crisp October breeze just blew through and fucked that shit up. Then I’m going to get to work on making a beautiful fucking gourd necklace for myself. People are going to be like, “Aren’t those gourds straining your neck?” And I’m just going to thread another gourd onto my necklace without breaking their gaze and quietly reply, “It’s fall, fuckfaces. You’re either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you’re not….”
Mayflower departs England – Sep 16, 1620 In a difficult Atlantic crossing, the 90-foot Mayflower encountered rough seas and storms and was blown more than 500 miles off course. Along the way, the settlers formulated and signed the Mayflower Compact, an agreement that bound the signatories into a “civil body politic.” Because it established constitutional law and the rule of the majority, the compact is regarded as an important precursor to American democracy. After a 66-day voyage, the ship landed on November 21 on the tip of Cape Cod at what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts.
After coming to anchor in Provincetown harbor, a party of armed men under the command of Captain Myles Standish was sent out to explore the area and find a location suitable for settlement. While they were gone, Susanna White gave birth to a son, Peregrine, aboard the Mayflower. He was the first English child born in New England. In mid-December, the explorers went ashore at a location across Cape Cod Bay where they found cleared fields and plentiful running water and named the site Plymouth.
The expedition returned to Provincetown, and on December 21 the Mayflower came to anchor in Plymouth harbor. Just after Christmas, the pilgrims began work on dwellings that would shelter them through their difficult first winter in America.
[ My people, the Ralph Wheelocks, came soon after, in 1636, with the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the Great Migration. We’ve been knocking about this land since then.]
We come on the ship they call the Mayflower We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age’s most uncertain hour
and sing an American tune
But it’s all right, it’s all right
You can’t be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow’s going to be another working day
And I’m trying to get some rest
That’s all I’m trying to get some rest
Humanity on its raft. The raft on the endless ocean. From his present dissatisfaction man reasons that there was some catastrophic wreck in the past, before which he was happy; some golden age, some Garden of Eden. He also reasons that somewhere ahead lies a promised land, a land without conflict. Meanwhile, he is miserably en passage; this myth lies deeper than religious faith. — JohnFowles, The Aristos
How fares the good ship America during this, the 241st year of our voyage? Many would say that with its new captain setting a new course it will weather the current tempests and sail on into fairer days and calmer waters . Many others would say that we tack between Scylla and Charybdis with a more than fair chance of being driven onto a lee shore by the gusting headwinds. All would agree our present position was unforeseeable even two years ago and that our present passage is fraught with danger.
Dangerous passages are nothing new to the good ship America. She’s weathered many but never one quite so close run as that of 1860 to 1865 when a fire in American minds burned so hot it required the blood of 620,000 men to quench them. We did not sail into that maelstrom in a year or so. We were bound there, some would say, from the founding.
“Now small fowls flew screaming over the yet yawning gulf; a sullen white surf beat against its steep sides; then all collapsed, and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.”
The Civil War first loomed on the horizon during the rise of Transcendentalism in New England. That period began in the early 19th century and flowered during the literary period of 1850 to 1855 that is known as the American Renaissance. Transcendentalism was the first secularGreat Awakening and perhaps its most enduring. Emerson and Thoreau are the chief avatars of the movement as it is known today and much of contemporary American progressivism bears the marks of those two men.
I’m not interested in them at present. Although entrancing to me as a young man, both Emerson and Thoreau have come to seem softer to me of late. Both have taken on the consistency of store-bought bread. Instead I’d like to look at the more rugged work of an outlier of transcendentalism, a prophet who came late to the dance, Herman Melville.
Melville was, unlike many other transcendentalists, the very opposite of an intellectual dilettante. He was an Abraham in a land of Lutherans. Melville was a man with a harsh experience with ships and how they fare upon stormy seas. Melville was a man with rough hands. Melville was a man that, having voyaged further out, did – for a few years at least – see deeper in. And in seeing deeper in and leaving behind a record of that vision in his masterwork, Melville still has something to say to us today about the state of America, the experimental nation.
Long sea voyages have strange effects on writers as the mystical and melancholy work of Conrad shows most clearly. The same effects, at first submerged, were to surface in the work of Melville in one gigantic book and then submerge again raising only ripples on the surface of his subsequent writing. Prophecy is a harsh task master and more often that not consumes the vessels through which it speaks. So it was, in the end, with Melville.
As a young man Melville stood many long watches on the long nights in the dark oceans in the early 19th century. Decades later, those voyages and night watches would haunt and inspire Melville as he struggled to finish the career-ending vision that had gripped him in transcendentalist New England in 1850. At first, his book was to be just another adventurous sea story like Typee or its sequel Omoo. In this case, however, the destination was not to be the exotic south sea islands, but a whale as big as an island. Indeed, Melville in contemporary correspondence doesn’t refer to his book as Moby Dick but The Whale. It was only in the last stages that the book’s title became Moby Dick, a variant of a monstrous real whale of the time Mocha Dick, for reasons that Melville never clarified. Perhaps he just liked the sound of it.
Melville’s first books had been successful and, I imagine, that at some point Melville imagined that The Whale would be as well. It was not to be. In his lifetime the book was to earn him only a bit over $500. Moby Dick was not a formula novel. It was not, as they say in publishing, “the same thing only different” that his readers were expecting. It was just plain different, and therefore unpopular. Although he no doubt intended at the beginning for Moby Dick to be a rousing whale hunt on the high seas ending in tragedy, it seems that at a certain point something else, something other, took over the writing of the book and drove Melville before it. In the process, the book broke him financially, spiritually, and physically. As it was finally written, Moby Dick was to be and become many things, but “commercial” was not among them.
We had the experience but missed the meaning,
And approach to the meaning restores the experience
In a different form, beyond any meaning
We can assign to happiness.
— Eliot, The Dry Salvages
Following a memory of my own, I “found” this video shortly after it was posted to YouTube over ten years ago. It struck me then as powerful in that offhand, out-of-left-field way that found objects can be. The power of this short window into 1977 is that it captures, without intent, the elements of memory. It melds the plaintive almost psalmic acoustic hit by Kansas with an imagery whose sheer faded quality adds to an overall impression of other times once lived and now gone beyond recall. It is the essence of “time in a bottle.”
Ordinary when made the film has aged into something beyond itself. Our better memories do that. They seem, if we think of them at all at the time we have the experience we will later remember, to be just barely beyond the cusp of the work-a-day patterns of our lives; of the ordinary. Often we don’t even discover them as memories until years later when they emerge, not as they were, but as they have become – – as our aging souls expand enough to value what we thought at the time was dross — become the real gold of our lives.
The fact that it was viewable by me at all was one of those strange conjunctions of love and fate that the Web has made possible. The video is under the YouTube account of “uselessdirector” who has in the years since he posted this posted only two other personal bits in his account. The response to those is what it should be. Negligible. But the response to this video is now above 3,640,0006,277,000 9,363,832 views with fresh comments still coming in almost hourly.
What is the provenance of this video? Uselessdirector states only, “Filmed in 1977 by my dad, this music video nearly became “dust in the wind” until it was restored from its failing 8mm format.” His role was to see the film as it was made, 8MM or 16MM, and to save it as a video before time faded the film to invisibility. He caught it just in time and in doing so caught time itself. Then, because he knew it had a value beyond itself and because he could, he placed it on YouTube where, in time, it was discovered.
From the video itself, we learn the names of the “Cast” in the credits and also see a list of “The Tribe.” Aside from that there are other hints to the spring or summer in which this was made. We discover it was made in Findley Lake, New York, a small rural community up near the shore of Lake Erie. Was “The Tribe” a group of friends or a small commune of the kind that were still common in those years? Did the young man and young woman paired as “Adam” and “Eve” have a relationship outside the film or was it only for the purposes of the film? Somehow I doubt it was the latter.
Looking a little deeper into the Net I found a few things worth noting. For one thing it is possible, through the odd but wonderful Google Street View to compare “Then” with “Now” and confirm, as if we did not know it with every cell of our being, that “Nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky.”
An interesting exercise in contrasting the present to a memory. But “interesting” is pretty much the finish of the exercise. In mere aesthetic terms it is obvious that the “Then” as evoked by the film image is far superior to the glimpse of “Now” gleaned by a Google Street View car sweeping by and capturing a slice of that particular road during the particular minute it passed that otherwise nondescript place on the edge of Findley Lake. The former is gold, the latter dross.
What was the memory I was following when I first found this film? It was my own memory of that song heard first in the summer of 1977 somewhere in London, New York, or Burgundy in France. I loved the summer of 1977. It was one of my favorite years. ’77 was one of those luminous years when everything in my life seemed to fall right and come together into something you could assign to happiness. After ’77 I’d wait 26 years for the next one.
I heard the song once again in memory. It was in a suburban mall parking lot in Connecticut on a chill winter evening during one of those years in my life when it all went smash.
If I have to choose between memories I’ll take the one contained in this ineffable bit of short film saved from the fade and the fog of time. It’s one of those strange artifacts that evokes — among those alive in the time it was made — the cliched thought, “Dear God, were we ever that young?”
Made on a whim during an afternoon, the film answers, “Yes, you were. Yes, we all were. And in time, with the grace of God, we will be again.”
Sitting down by my window
Honey, looking out at the rain
Sitting down by my window, looking out at the rain
All around that I felt it
All I can see was the rain
Something grabbed a hold of me
Feel to me, oh, like a ball and chain
When I knew her she had a place outside of town, over the Golden Gate, with rooms that seemed to be covered in shingles on the inside. Tiburon maybe. Or maybe not. There was a lot from those days that got lost in the smoke of the world. She had bad skin that she was sensitive about and slathered on a lot of pancake. And she was…. well… small. Almost tiny. Almost elfin. Until she turned her voice on and blew off the back wall of whatever joint she was lighting up. Danny WhatsHisName from the teen magazine told me she was dead. We were backstage at the Winterland. I don’t remember who was playing. I just went home.
So I’ll meet ’im later on
At the place where ’e is gone—
Where it’s always double drill and no canteen.
’E’ll be squattin’ on the coals
Givin’ drink to poor damned souls,
An’ I’ll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!
Yes, Din! Din! Din!
You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
Though I’ve belted you and flayed you,
By the livin’ Gawd that made you,
You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
– –Gunga Din by Rudyard Kipling
How (Not) to Run a Modern Society on Solar and Wind Power Alone First, we could count on a backup infrastructure of dispatchable fossil fuel power plants to supply electricity when there’s not enough renewable energy available. Second, we could oversize the renewable generation capacity, adjusting it to the worst case scenario. Third, we could connect geographically dispersed renewable energy sources to smooth out variations in power production. Fourth, we could store surplus electricity for use in times when solar and/or wind resources are low or absent. As we shall see, all of these strategies are self-defeating on a large enough scale, even when they’re combined. If the energy used for building and maintaining the extra infrastructure is accounted for in a life cycle analysis of a renewable power grid, it would be just as CO2-intensive as the present-day power grid.
An ode to Vise-grips If one needs a single tool, Vise-grips are it. On a motorcycle I have used one as clutch or shift lever or attached to a broken throttle cable.
19 Girls Have Worn The Same Dress On Their First Day Of Kindergarten In The Last 67 Years For Colorado-based mom Jenny Hirt, a dress sewn by her great-grandmother in 1950 is the core of a heartwarming tradition. The dress was first worn by Hirt’s aunt, Martha Esch, on her first day of kindergarten, and is still being worn by each girl in the family for the same occasion 67 years later.After having previously sent her own daughters, 4-year-old Caroline and 6-year-old Ally, to school in the symbolic yellow smock, Hirt’s niece recently became the nineteenth person to wear it – Hirt herself was the fifth! The garment has traveled between 7 States throughout the years, yet has only had to be minimally repaired by recipients. Considering most families can barely make a sweater from the 70’s last a couple generations without falling apart, this is an astounding feat.
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus and Caesar: what should be in that ‘Caesar’?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name;
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with ’em,
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar.
— Julius Caesar SCENE II. A public place.
Since you, and all other Americans who are not DemoZombies, are “Never. No. NO. NO! Not NEVER!” going to read the tedious tome of the world’s most self-humiliated woman, here’s the often odious (but lately less odious) Piers Morgan on Hillary Clinton’s What Happened? book. His main job is to catalogue her blame game so you don’t have to.
The list of people and entities that Hillary DOES blame is so long, it’s frankly laughable.
It was James Comey’s fault: ‘If not for the dramatic intervention of the FBI director in the final days,’ she wails, ‘we would have won the White House.’
It was Vladimir Putin’s fault for waging a ‘personal vendetta’ against her. ‘I never imagined that he would have the audacity to launch a massive covert attack against our own democracy,’ she rants, ‘right under our noses – and that he’d get away with it.’
It was ‘odious hypocrite’ Julian Assange’s fault for supposedly aiding and abetting Putin. She says of the Wikileaks founder: ‘I had to face not just one America-bashing misogynist, but three. I’d have to get by Putin and Assange as well.’
It was Barack Obama’s fault: ‘I do wonder sometimes about what would have happened if President Obama had made a televised address to the nation in the fall of 2016 warning that our democracy was under attack,’ she snarls. ‘Maybe more Americans would have woken up to the threat at the time.’ She also slams Obama for telling her to ‘lay off’ Bernie Sanders: ‘I felt like I was in a straightjacket.’
It was Sanders’ fault for ‘resorting to innuendo and impugning my character’. Hillary spat: ‘His attacks caused lasting damage, making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary’ campaign.’
It was also Sanders supporters’ fault for ‘harassing my supporters online’ with attacks that were ‘ugly and more than a little sexist.’
It was GOP leader Mitch McConnell’s fault for putting partisanship ahead of national security: ‘McConnell knew better,’ Hillary slammed, ‘but he did it anyway.’
It was the mainstream media’s fault: ‘Many in the political media can’t bear to face their own role in helping elect Trump,’ she fumed, ‘from providing him free airtime to giving my emails three times more coverage than all the issues affecting people’s lives combined.’
In particular, she says it was the New York Times’ fault for reporting on her emails in such a relentless way that it ‘affected the outcome of the election.’
It was Today Show host Matt Lauer’s fault for grilling her during a NBC presidential debate about her emails to the extent she was ‘ticked off’ and ‘almost physically sick’.
It was Fox News’ fault for ‘turning politics into an evidence-free zone of seething resentment.’
It was Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s fault: ‘There were more than enough Stein voters to swing the result, just like Ralph Nader did in Florida and New Hampshire in 2000.’
It was men’s fault: ‘Sexism and misogyny played a role in the election. Exhibit A is that the flagrantly sexist candidate won.’
It was women’s fault, especially those who joined anti-Trump marches after he won: ‘I couldn’t help but ask where those feelings of solidarity, outrage and passion had been during the election.’
It was white people’s fault: ‘He (Trump) was quite successful in referencing a nostalgia that would give hope, settle grievances, for millions of people who were upset about gains that were made by others…millions of white people.’
It was black people’s fault, especially Black Lives Matter protestors who questioned her commitment to their cause and heckled her at events. Hillary accuses them of being ‘more interested in disruption and confrontation than in working together to change policies.’
It was former Vice President Joe Biden’s fault for saying the Democratic Party ‘did not talk about what it always stood for’ in the campaign, which was ‘how to maintain a burgeoning middle class.’ Hillary seethes: ‘I find this fairly remarkable, considering Joe himself campaigned for me all over the Midwest and talked plenty about the middle class.’
It was her aide Huma Abedin’s husband Anthony Weiner’s fault for the teenage sexting scandal that blew up just before election day – forcing the emails back into public focus.
It was the ‘godforsaken’ Electoral College’s fault because she won the meaningless popular vote by three million.
Finally, it was history’s fault: ‘The problems started with history,’ she insists. ‘It was exceedingly difficult for either party to hold onto the White House for more than eight years in a row.’
Summing things up, Hillary asks herself: ‘What makes me such a lightning rod for fury? I’m at a loss.’
Hmmm, where do we start?
The truth is that everyone knows exactly what happened.
Hillary ran a diabolically elitist and blinkered campaign that basically boiled down to this mantra: ‘Trump’s disgusting, his supporters are a basket of deplorable idiots, I’m a brilliant woman, my husband used to be President, and I have lots of rich, famous friends – so vote for me.’
Jerry Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people:
First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.
Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states thatin every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.
It’s hard to sum a person up that you know only from their books and their blog, but more and more that’s what the world requires. I first came across Pournelle in his Byte Magazine column back in the years when my first computer was an IBM metal cased monster with a dual floppy drive boasting a green cathode monitor hooked up to an insanely loud dot matrix printer. For an internet connection in during that Techno-Stone Age I used an RCA dumb terminal with a 300 baud modem that made a sound like what crack could feel like hitting your backbrain. I got it for ten bucks new in the box at a garage sale because nobody, including me, knew what it was.
In those days I knew nothing, but I knew enough to buy a magazine on computing. That would have been Byte which, in the early years, had few pages that were intelligible to me. One of those was Pournelle and his monthly rendition of his adventures in computing; adventures which alway put my fumbling aggravations with computers to shame. In Pournelle’s world at Chaos Manor his computer foo was far beyond mortal computer foo. His foo was epic. Indeed his column’s stock and trade was his endless diddling and dicking around with hardware or software, and why it was always going haywire. Chaos Manor was the Fibber McGee’s closet of computing. He’d no sooner get one computer or system up and running than he’d blow it all up by adding a component here and upgrading some software there. Nothing, but nothing, ever ran smoothly for long in Pournelle’s “Chaos Manor.” And they kept not running smoothly right up until the end because Pournelle could never let any of his computers and systems just be.
“At over 1,000 feet above ground level and on broken window ledges, for how long did these poor souls contemplate that unimaginable fall? The human desire to live and hold on was slowly extinguished by soaring heat, smoke and hopelessness. Eyewitnesses from adjacent towers describe seeing some victims making the sign of the cross before jumping, others victims were seen jumping one after the other, in small groups a few seconds apart perhaps choosing to die together. All of these innocent victims of terrorism should never be forgotten and their families deserve our eternal sympathy and understanding.
“God bless them and God bless The United States of America.”
Tell all the truth but tell it slant by Emily Dickinson
Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —