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Circa 1948

1948

We break the taboo tonight and de-segregate the post-war Blues era, co-mingling  syncopations signaling a broader tolerance, “a world in which there shall be an equality of opportunity for every race and nation.”

But I do fear a social conformity will take hold with all this fear-mongering and witch-hunting!

PLAYLIST
In The Hall Of The Mountain King – Will Bradley-Ray McKinley Band
As Time Goes By – Arthur “Dooley” Wilson
One O’Clock Jump – Count Basie & His Orchestra
Butterfly Strut – Ziggy Elman And His Orchestra
Artistry in Rhythm – Stan Kenton & His Orchestra
Jersey Bounce – Benny Goodman & His Orchestra
Boogie Woogie – Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra
Flying Home – Hamton, Lionel & His Orchestra
Drumming Man – Gene Krupa
Tschaikowsky (And Other Russians) – Danny Kaye
Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition – Kay Kyser & His Orchestra
I’m My Own Grandpaw – Guy Lombardo
You Keep Coming Back Like a Song – Dinah Shore
Don’t Get Around Much Any More – The Ink Spots
Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah – Johnny Mercer and The Pied Pipers
Besame Mucho (Kiss Me Much) – Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra
Brazil – Xavier Cugat And His Orchestra
Heartaches – Ted Weems & His Orchestra
Ciribiribin – Harry James & His Orchestra
C Jam Blues – Duke Ellington & His Orchestra
Canned Heat – Chet Atkins
That Lucky Old Sun – Frankie Laine
Deep In The Heart Of Texas – Horace Heidt And His Musical Knights
Riders In The Sky – Vaughn Monroe
Pistol Packin’ Mama – Al Dexter and His Troopers
Detour – Spade Cooley
Move It on Over – Hank Williams
Cool Blues – Charlie “Bird” Parker
Sophisticated Lady – Duke Ellington
I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm – Les Brown
Bebop – Charlie “Bird” Parker
Elmer’s Tune – Dick Jurgens And His Orchestra
Snowfall – Claude Thornhill And His Orchestra
Stardust – Artie Shaw & His Orchestra
Do You Dig My Jive – Sam Price and his Texas Bluesicians
Mean Old ‘Frisco Blues – Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup
Knockin’ Myself Out – Lil Green with Big Bill Broonzy
Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby – Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five
Open the Door, Richard – Count Basie Orchestra
I Wonder – Cecil Gant
Laura – David Raksin
Nature Boy – Nat King Cole

Stranger in a Strange Land 2013-03-09: Circa 1948 by The Stranger on Mixcloud

The convention of Americans for Democratic Action was winding up today in a lather of resolutions giving scant sign of enthusiastic support in November for President Truman. The ADA, heavily representative of the old Roosevelt New Deal group, gives the back of its left hand to the Wallace third-party people the back of its right hand to the Taft Republicans. Yet in three days of debates seemed to bury Mr. Truman in censure rather than praise him. A phrase borrowed from Europe may have political significance here, “the third force” which is used to describe the non-communist left, intellectuals opposing “both the tyranny of reaction and tyranny of Communist totalitarianism.”

While Senator McGrath of Rhode Island sounded off against Henry Wallace’s third party, saying “a third party has as much place in American politics as does a third party on a honeymoon” adding the Wallace campaign and supporters “will either waste their votes or give aid and comfort to reactionary candidates.”

Speaking of those Reds, the Communist Police State Action in Czechoslovakia was legalized as the Czech President accepted the Red Cabinet and their brutal plot, who will not be working with any opposition parties, whose ministers turned in their resignations last week. New Cabinet members told foreign reporters that the events of last month giving Communists controls were the ‘will of the people.’ There are no numbers on how many persons in the former government got the bum rush from their positions/arrested as “reactionaries”. Legal elections have been promised the Czechs by Communists, but many other grand promises to workers and farmers have also been made by the Soviets.

Finland, conversely, has turned down Stalin’s request to join a Russian Defense Pact Ring, fearing a loss in their liberty.

The pressure, many Washington correspondents in-the-know fear, may quicken the pace towards a shooting war, and a military pact aimed at Russia.

So while the US has written off Czechoslovakia, here at home Gov. Arthur Coolidge of Massachusetts charged that Russian agents are busy in Hawaii. He claimed to have evidence, but hasn’t spilled it to the public as of yet.

(We remember well how) Soviet diplomats obstructed the UN founding meeting in San Francisco, dormy spy rings uncovered…

Meanwhile, the United States called for nation-wide elections in Korea in defiance of a Russian boycott. China immediately joined with the United States in the proposal laid before the United Nations little assembly. Both powers agreed that steps toward establishment of a free and independent Korea were of utmost importance to world peace, and that Soviet non-cooperation should not be allowed to stand in the way.

(As for Russia, I do highly recommend reading ‘A Russian Journal’ by John Steinbeck with photographs by Robert Capa of that country’s reconstruction, a special correspondence with the New York Herald Tribune).

The U.S. may also remain isolationist regarding the Palestine issue, declaring it firmly stands for diplomatic peace; this despite a recent bomb plot in the Holy Land admitted by Arab hatchetmen. The United Nations is holding special sessions to consider and cope with the crisis. The surprise resolution moves that a council be formed to set up a committee to study the advisability of such a special assembly. The Jewish Agency for Palestine had no comment pending a full study of the speech, but there are those contending that a Palestine partition and peace are inseparable. The British, for their part, have declared that they will fire upon both Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land.

So support the United Nations as they punish future aggressors before they launch WWIII. See “a world in which there shall be an equality of opportunity for every race and nation.” (Wendell Willkie’s One World)

All while Truman chops are busted by segregationist southern governors who came to Washington to protest civil rights legislation. Here is the exchange from the stenographic record, Gov Strom Thurmond: “Will you now, at a time when national unity is so vital to the solution of the problem of peace in the world, use your influence, as chairman of the DNC, to have the highly controversial civil rights legislation, which tends to divide our people, withdrawn from consideration by the congress?” Senator McGrath: “No.”

Just who is dividing the people, and on whose terms is this so-called unity, and whose problem with peace? Our strength is in democracy, a spiritual strength that derives from our freedom, fair-play, tolerance, and the guarantee of civil rights in our Constitution. Though we have not achieved these things completely, that is the ideal we raise before the world. What would the world say if we went backward as that chiseler Governor Thurmond suggests? We can only move forward, even if slowly. Who is dividing the people; those who want to realize our ideals, or a few noisy Southern politicians and a minority of southern people.

The Dixie Democrats are hopping mad over at least four of the 10 points in Truman’s proposal, and began serious talk of convening a split from the Democrats on the civil rights issue. (1. federal anti-lynching law, 2. permanent fair employment practice commision, 3. and end to Jim Crow laws and 4. outlawing state poll taxes). The remainder of the points were a permanent commission on civil rights, a joint congressional committee on civil rights, a civil rights division of the justice department, toughening of existing civil rights statutes, home rule for the District of Columbia, statehood for Alaska and Hawaii, equalization of naturalization opportunity, settlement of evacuation claims of Japanese-Americans (who got a bum rap). The program is in particularly hot debate due to the election year.

But I worry that the conservative con to brand New Dealers out of touch, arrogant bureaucrats is a short hoof from labeling them Communists! How soon they forget! Look! Truman didn’t keep government-built or backed plants at the war’s end! They went right back to private owners.

You’ll remember how Daddy Warbucks was revived, gloating at the corpse of FDR!

And the fix is in, government contracts were rescinded, plants closed up, flat soldiers come home expecting jobs instead to join picket lines against fat head moneymen. Gallup polls show 62% of the public fears another Depression in the next ten years.

“Yet once the war is over its backwash smears over us, and the nation succumbs to greed, fear, ineptitude, fumbling of the morning hopes, shoddy dispersal of the evening dreams. That in late 1946, the two most painful and pressing shortages in the land should be the most primitive necessities of life; food and housing, is evidence enough of the disintegration, no matter how temporary these shortages may turn out to be… Does show that to become efficient this country needs the stimulus of war? Does it mean that 295,000 Americans have to be killed in order to give us true effectiveness as a nation?” -journalist John Gunther, 1946

So Truman places a $15 billion ceiling on defense spending, bolsters social welfare. Truman; small-business populist, anti-monopoly, distrusting of Big Trust, Big Labor and Big Business.

Indeed, 1947 had seen a boom set off by the savings of both war worker and war profiteer, pent-up demand and rising wages! And demand means more jobs! Hundreds of houses built in a day! But it’s not all silk!

Truman lifted price controls on meat when conservative businessmen raised prices and fears and turned up the heat. He blamed “reckless group of selfish men”, the same group that “has opposed every effort of this administration to raise the standard of living and increase opportunity for the common man.” By appeasing them, Truman tipped his mitt again, his policies gummed up by cheap flimflam! Inflation accelerated, cost of living up, special interests feeding frenzy, prices raised by the greedy.

Federal subsidies work when directed and divested correctly; housing, swimming pools, playgrounds, baseball fields, suburbs accessible by highways… Mortgages guaranteed by the GI Bill.

Hayek (free market anti-socialism enthusiast) and Keynes (that economic interventionist) both agree that antitrust laws and minimum wages are necessary!

Blind ‘stereotypes’, referred to by head shrinks, are fixed attitudes towards an idea, event, or person. A blind spot in the mind, the cause of which is emotional and irrational, disallowing the person’s attitude to change with changes in factual evidence pertaining to the object of prejudice. Pertinent illustrations such as race prejudice, an extreme sort where individuals are vilified in generalities incorporating all the evil traits which may have ever been found or imagined in any one past member of the race. Attitudes expressed about the late President Roosevelt and his ideas often fall into this same category. His name has been slandered with such intensity and emotion that one could almost feel the murderous hatred in their hearts; there is nothing analytical or thoughtful in what they say.

It’s an excuse to ally political highbinders with big business high pillows and their dough, fear-mongering the pliant into cheesy loyalty, making chop suey of the rest. Right-wing groups are firing off their ‘confidential’ (re: unsubstantiated) dope to HUAC and the FBI, fueling Hoover’s inquisition. Now we’re grilling not only union leaders but teachers, book reviewers, social workers, and librarians. the Chamber of Commerce is demanding that authorities ban whomever they deem too pro-Communist off of radio airwaves. Even social gospel ministers ousted from their pulpits! No totalitarianism or infringement on freedom of speech here, my friends.

I do fear a social conformity will take hold.

The jingle-brained conservatives are enjoying a counterrevolution with William Jenner, John Bricker, William Knowland, Joseph McCarthy, Richard Nixon… even the once pro-New Deal Hollywood liberal Ronald Reagan is espousing more conservative malarkey, see what they know!

Texas Tom Clark (Attorney General) architect of the list of subversive organizations, making guilt by association a national security policy.

And Adolph Menjou (Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals) spilled to HUAC last year, “I am a witch hunter if the witches are Communists”.

They dress it up as a Christian crusade to despoil your children. But they’re putting the screws on the working man, gunning for all of us, with the convenient moniker that they’re protecting us from the reds, when they’re really putting us behind the eight ball. One of HUAC’s loudest mouths, John E. Rankin, is a notorious racist and anti-Semite, as are several other committee members. That’s why they’re spending so much energy giving the up-and-down to Jews who escaped Germany. It’s all pretty hinky, I tell you.

After all, unemployment for blacks is three times that among whites; their pay only 30-70% what whites make.

So the fat cats have ginned up big support for their Crusade, even though a few short years ago in 1945, Americans sick of war, some 70%, opposed a “get-gashouse” approach with the Soviets, lousy with post-war blues: triumphalist despair. But ever since Dean Acheson said we have to be on ‘permanent alert’ against some unknown phantom forces, resources and scratch are diverted to purely military industry. They see their support now against the Communists as an egotistical Holy War to save Christianity and Civilization. There are those who don’t believe the War ever ended. We’re being given a Hobson’s choice between appeasement and containment, disarmament and military strength- ignoring all diplomatic alternatives. They’ll use the crack-up in Czechoslovakia as a crummy excuse to drop atom bombs on more babies.

And that means there’s little bumping gums for progressive programs without a crisis. Truman’s campaigning on the messages of national health insurance, federal aid to education, and civil rights. He may be in the right, but he’s in real Dutch if the guys in graft tell him to take it on the heel.

It doesn’t seem like much of the Fair Deal or New Dealer policies have much tooth any more, the final being the GI Bill. We still do not have an Economic Bill of Rights.

Gin up Solidarity among veterans, workers, the common man. The saps.

1947 Gallup poll shows one-third of veterans feel estranged from civilian life, either in a jam or off their noodle, and 20% feel ‘hostile’ to civilians. War Department survey replicates this; one in five is “completely hostile” to civilians. Survey finds there are 15.8 million vets, average age 29, 80% of them under the age of thirty, 33% went directly into service from school, only 25% finished high school. Veterans and their families make up one-fourth of the population.

The divorce rate today is more than twice that of 1939. But the marriage rate and birth rate are also spiking. So is the homicide rate, as any of these Joe Palookas could go off the track in a moment!

HUAC and the blacklists has made it impossible for any picture to get made taking the side of the workers, who for their part have seen hourly drops in pay since VJ Day.

And Truman himself overestimates the power of the unions to make his points. He wants to draft men who strike during peacetime, as in Germany or Russia! That’s the crop of it! He seized the mines after criticism that he was too pro-labor. Most unions are on the square, hostile to Communists, fearing it damages their cause.

A late challenge to the Taft-Hartley law is entering our courts. The act restricts the activities and power of labor unions. Named after sponsors Senator Robert Taft and Representative Fred A. Hartley, Jr., overcame Truman‘s veto last year; labor leaders called it the “slave-labor bill” while President Truman argued that it was a “dangerous intrusion on free speech”, and that it would “conflict with important principles of our democratic society”. The latest orderly and properly challenge is by CIO News and its president Philip Murray, trying it in the courts in a democratic manner. Mr. Murray said he and the CIO were acting in complete respect for the “law of the land” and not in a spirit of “defiance or bitterness.” This refreshingly constructive and calm way of tackling the issue hits on all eight, and may end up in the Supreme Court, a matter on which Congress will be called upon to expand, condense or clarify.

In Chicago, the National Lawyer’s Guild charged in a policy statement that there is a ‘co-ordinated and unrelenting’ attack being made against civil liberties in the U.S. Over 200 delegates to an annual meeting voted their approval yesterday calling upon Congress to repeal the Taft-Hartley law and abolish the House Committee on Un-American Activities, for violating four amendments to the Constitution. Benedict Wolf, New York lawyer, read that recommendation to Congress to investigate the Federal Bureau of Investigation itself.

This is the Age of Distrust – engineer enemies for the upcoming election; if the Nazis and Japanese won’t do, use Communism. Without recommending an advocation of the tenets of Communism, one does not need then to fly into the arms of right-wing fascism or “narrow nationalism” (Wendell Willkie’s One World). Upton Sinclair warned us that it can happen here. Fears of totalitarianism abound when there are disingenuous geezers in charge! Hard facts have a way of melting into the shadows of ambiguity.

Ah, TINSEL TOWN!



Stay tuned for all that plus hokum, bunkery, science and more! On this time-displaced episode of a Stranger in a Strange Land!

Stranger in a Strange Land 2013-03-09: Circa 1948 by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

Alternate Reality

alternaterealityWell, the quantum experiment failed, and I’ve been so depressed about the results of the election that I haven’t done a show in two weeks. Of course, when things change, it’s not always for the better, so we’ll be looking at what dystopic world now surrounds us, and if it was really that different than the indefinite, extra-judicial despotism we were bound for, anyway.

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012-11-24: Alternate Reality by The Stranger on Mixcloud

PLAYLIST
In the Hall of the Mountain King – Duke Ellington
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out – Bessie Smith
Offertorium: Terra tremuit et quievit – Anonymous
Village Green/Village Green Preservation Society – Ray Davies
All Thoughts Are Prey To Some Beast – Bill Callahan
On A Good Day – Joanna Newsom
Meditation of the Night – Benjy Wertheimer
Sunshine Of Your Love – Cream
House Of The Rising Sun – The Animals
Went Home Today – Merriday Park
Flame Sky – Santana
Lucky Man – Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Kid Charlemagne – Steely Dan
Where Have All The Good Times Gone – David Bowie
Looking for Safety – Steve Roach
Rockets – Cat Power
Lachlom – Yael Naim
Troubles Will be Gone – The Tallest Man on Earth
Prayer – Kow Otani
Rusty Cage – Johnny Cash

With glitches, screw-ups, and assorted shenanigans galore, this ended up being the most expensive election ever, a whopping $6 billion. Millionaire political donors still ended the night with far more influence than the American people. Make no mistake about it, the Big Money won big, and inequality in political wealth undermines the principle of “one person, one vote” and threatens our very democracyTwo thirds of winning House incumbents outspent their opponents by a factor of nine.

As we saw on election night, Karl Rove made some absurd prediction about Ohio, which inexplicably turned out to be true! While looking at his ipad, he claimed the vote would turn out drastically different than the exit polling. At the same time, many members of Anonymous were raided by police, even as they had threatened to release proof that the election was rigged. They are not being granted interviews or media access at this time, and their computers or DOX kept under lock and key.

The results are indeed being challenged, as Voting and civil rights activists claimed that Pennsylvania’s voter ID law was causing mass confusion across the state as people tried to go to the polls. Voters waited in lines for hours, many asked for photo identification, and some were even turned away, despite a judge ruling that this was illegal.

“We’ve definitely gotten reports about voters being turned away,” Eric Marshall, co-director of the Election Protection coalition, told TPM. “We’ve had reports of people who have shown up, been asked, and when they didn’t show ID they were turned away.”

Examples abound of how easily the entire election could have been rigged, with not much more than a few dollars’ worth of parts from RadioShack.

“It’s a classic attack on security devices,” Roger Johnston tells Popular Science. “You implant a microprocessor or some other electronic device into the voting machine, and that lets you control the voting and turn cheating on and off. We’re basically interfering with transmitting the voter’s intent.”

Americans need to look inside ourselves, reflect on our values and question: why do we allow our fellow citizens’ votes to be discounted? Why do we put up with this?

Long lines were the story for in many poor neighborhoods across the country, while Florida’s Governor Scott Brown reduced early voting times. Neighborhoods of color were disproportionately affected, a repeat of 2008:

The AFL-CIO study tracked with similar findings in other recent elections. An MIT survey of 10,000 voters in 2008 found that waits for African Americans were more than twice as long as those for white voters for both early and election day voting.

With the number of problems with the provisional ballots and inconsistencies with the exit polling in Ohio, many progressives are alleging fraud:

1. Claims of Fraud
2. Voter Suppression
3. Obama Wasn’t Progressive Enough!
4. Rich People are just going to vote for the Rich guy no matter what because he gives them free stuff!
5. There is no God.
6. The Conservative Media

But now we have to contend with the unskewed polls, that Karl Rove was right. The rich are vindicated by their love of money over country.

Fully 89 percent of Romney’s 2012 voters are non-Hispanic whites. And they rule the country. They want to shut down the government like they almost did in 2011. They want people to die from not having health care. We must not bow down to them yet.

Republicans, triumphant and spiteful, are already promising to throw us off the fiscal cliff.

In an exclusive statement to the  far-right Brietbart.com , McConnell promised conservatives that he wouldn’t be willing to raise taxes at all to avoid the automatic spending cuts and tax hike trigger that will otherwise go into effect

Now is their perfect time to make severe cuts to popular programs in the social safety net; Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, disaster relief, food assistance, housing and other threatened programs, so they can happily grant big handouts and tax breaks for major corporations.

And then there are the extremist ingrates, far-right radical Republicans that think Romney isn’t severely conservative enough. In many ways, the election did not change anything.

This year, neither presidential candidate focused on blasting a do-nothing Congress or, in Obama’s case, “Republican obstructionism”. I think it may have been this lack of energy, this satisfaction with the status quo, that lost him the vote. He wasn’t progressive enough.

Because the right will keep on moving righter now. Via TPM:

The head of Maine’s Republican Party defended himself on Thursday over comments he made about black people committing voter fraud in his state. he still insisted it was “unusual” to see so many black voters at the polls in an overwhelmingly white state.

“The reason I said it, ‘cause I don’t know where you live, but where I come from in rural Maine, it’s a small percentage of the population. I think we’re the whitest state in the country. So if you go to the polls and see people who are black, it’s unusual. And when you see a lot of people who are black, like six or eight or ten people, you think, ‘Wow, where do they live?’ That was my point.”

“Everybody has a right to vote, but nobody in (these) towns knows anyone who’s black. How did that happen? I don’t know. We’re going to find out.”

And of course, those Anti-American secessionists who are fed up with “Progressives” like Obama, and apparently even “Moderates” like Romney.

Thousands of petitioners from seven states (many headed by race-baiter Matt Drudge) are demanding the White House let them secede from America. Thousands more are petitioning the White House to just kick them out already and be done with it.

Despite President Obama’s defeat, one petition demanding the administration “grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government” has secured over 83,000 signatures. The White House has said it will respond to any petitions that receive backing from 25,000 people or more.

Meanwhile, George GOPers are claiming that there has been an ‘Obama mind-control conspiracy‘ growing over the last four years. A “conspiracy to transform America from the land of the free, to the land of the collective,” and lawmakers there say that “our own governments are doing this. Our own local city councils and county commissions – they’re doing this.”

Other lawmakers in Wisconsin are backing a bill that would declare the Affordable Care Act illegal, and allow law enforcement to arrest any federal officials who try to implement it.

Many businesses are vindictively taking a stand against Obama’s health care legacy (which is going to be hard for Republicans to repeal), but threatening to cut worker hours.

  • Papa John’s CEO plans to slash workers’ hours so he doesn’t have to cover them. It’s one of the nation’s 50 biggest low-wage employers.

(You know who not to take seriously when they say they really want everyone to have health insurance and ‘it’s a shame’ Obamacare isn’t the right way to insure more people? People who run businesses where only a third of workers are insured. And do you really want potentially sick people making your food?)

  • Applebee’s New York CEO says he’ll ax jobs because of Obamacare. Zane Tankel, another so-called “job creator” who’s threatened to fire employees and freeze hiring.
  • Small business owner in Georgia says he fired workers who voted for Obama. “Yesterday I called all my part-time employees in and said because Obamacare will be enacted (despite Romney winning) I was cutting their hours from 30 to 25 a week so I would not fall under the Obamacare mandate,” said the man, who identified himself only as Stu. “I had to lay two full-timers off to get under the 50-person cap. I tried to make sure that the people I had to lay off voted for Obama.”
  • Las Vegas businessman says he laid off 22 employees after election night. ~Las Vegas business owner to radio host Kevin Wall on 100.5 KXNT, after firing 22 of his 114 workers yesterday.
  • Coal company lays off 160 workers because of Obama’s “war on coal.” Claims they laid off workers who had voters cast their ballot for the president. This is illegal, for one thing, but also idiotic. Obama’s policies had only benefitted the coal industry.

Yes, we will continue to live in an economy where most of Americans toil their lives away with few options, little upwards mobility, fewer and fewer rights, all in the servitude of the American wealthy ruling elite class. The CEOs want us to work longer hours for fewer benefits.

Lloyd Blankfein – CEO of Wall Street behemoth Goldman Sachs — told CBS News’ Scott Pelley that he believes the retirement age needs to be raised because “in general, entitlements  have to be slowed down and contained

Even federal judges want people to work without wages!

The corporate masters seem to have forgotten they depend on working people for their own survival.

Yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. As for Obama’s legacy, hastily handed over to someone slightly more conservative but with less foreign policy knowledge, it will be a dastardly one.

It really makes you think that, no matter what Alternative Reality had happened, we’d still be screwed.

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012-11-24: Alternate Reality by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

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Status Impossible

I have long thought about the status bars in my life, and the appropriate relative comparisons made to video games like the Sims and Grand Theft Auto. And beyond some simple Tetris effect, as we enmesh with technology even more concretely, these descriptions become even more applicable and important.

Jesse Schell (When games invade real life) has made some excellent points about this, as well as NY Times technology blogger Nick Bilton, in his book I Live in the Future & Here’s How it Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted.

Game achievements and status completion in games can reflect what we do in our newly augmented reality; downloads of content, how much of the entertainment you have consumed, work progress, to do lists, all of it can be broken down into percentages and infographic representations. At one point, I even made little bars for my bookshelf, so that I could be reminded how many of those books I had read, and how many I still needed to crack open.

At the same time I think about my purposefully created memories in this temporary experience:

I have formed my memories by accident.
Though some I have made my own.
They stick out in a swampish sea floating like bouys against a throng
A waving flag in front of the Federal building in Pittsburgh, PA
As I was about to sign my life away
The yellow halo of a girl’s auburn hair
knowing she could never be mine but in that moment didn’t care
The evening I lost my virginity, the look in her eyes
And not knowing the role I would be doomed to reprise
Stuck in a ditch on a field trip, mud sucking at my shoe
hoping to not get caught, my friend not knowing what to do
A tree during recess, its sun-dried leaves pockmarked and empty
the hard carcasses of bugs left as the wind grew cold and wintry
A stolen toy, an unfelt guilt, a growing phobia, unheard accusations
Maroon and brown, like wood grain,
pulpy wet and bright, popping, blaring pain, light.
Or perhaps I’ve never remembered them, but simply a broken reference link,
I’ve fooled myself into remembering that I did remember them.

and how your free-roam experience in sandbox games is sometimes enhanced most by mere urban exploration. And though the work of these video game designers today is mind-boggling, it still pales in comparison by many orders of magnitude to the level of detail still available “IRL”. Geocaching, foursquare, and yelp are all allowing us to interact in new ways with terrain, businesses and environments that may have previously been background, to see more of the NPCs that make up our cities and staff its shops and restaurants.

With the nearly endless number of businesses, buildings, and public spaces in your metropolitan area, how could you ever hope to traverse them all (of those allowable), or even provide a statistic or percentage? Subdivide your map and think about how many you might reasonably explore and learn, so that when you walk by them in the future, they may each hold a particular experience or fleeting memory of this experiment.

Could you traverse or trespass every square foot? How long would it take you to fill that bar? To get that achievement?

Because after all, it all may turn out to have been a video game experience all along…

Alien Intelligence

As a child and adolescent, paranormal threats would frighten and obsess me more than any ghost, vampire, or irrational phobia. The most nightmare-inducing movies for me were the Day the Earth Stood Still, Fire in the Sky, and even Mars Attacks! I was addicted to the X-Files continuity, and to books like Communion by Whitley Streiber. I kept my ear glued to Coast to Coast AM, long before the befuddled yet charming (much like my father) George Noory, during the smoky-voiced Art Bell years, managing to handle ridiculous claims and speculation with both eyebrow-raised incredulity and eager thirst for woo.

Listening to it still, but with an older more skeptical mind, it’s amazing how much hardcore paranormal believers reveal about what exactly is happening in the brain by what they say. A number of them describe alien, ghost, shadow people, and old hag encounters that, regardless of the character in place, are apt illustrations of hypnagogic dreams in action. Numerous callers, and the Mothman Prophecies author Jim Keel, claim that when supernatural forces “notice you noticed them” presumably continue to act out further for that enlightened person’s benefit. They are quite closely describing their own confirmation bias, seeing the very thing they are keyed up to look for, for that very reason. Utilising the mechanism of the brain that builds patterns out of nothing, and holding firmer to their position out of fear of their invested belief being wrong, and rewarded by the childlike part of the brain that endorses mythology, animism, imaginary friends, and religion.

Their conspiratorial-minded community reinforces that they are wiser and more enlightened for having gotten in on the secret(s). Believing their information to be factual and superior, they consider themselves the truly critical-thinking ones, because their minds are open to accept such outlandish claims. Many claim a healthy mixture of open-mindedness and skepticism, and then use this justification to heavily land in the former. Mythology is interesting stuff, and perfectly healthy to delve into, but only when recognized as perfectly false.

How can anyone really be sure that their minds, through various combinations of hypnagogic sleep states, pareidolia, or confirmation bias, aren’t fooling us into supernatural superstition no different than those in the past? Jim Kieth, himself a paranormal investigator, inadvertently revealed some of the weaknesses in his Casebook on the Men in Black, explaining how we have always had some cultural awareness of (as Terence McKenna calls it) “the Other”. Men in Black used to be iterations of Old Scratch, the devil himself, or else the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague. Greys used to be any number of various little green men, fairies, goblins, or demons. And if one doesn’t accept the more grandiose implications of a Jungian collective unconscious (used to support a metaphysically telepathic astral plane of nightmarish archetypes), but simply the deeply ingrained set of socio-psychological beliefs, then the disconnects only seem to hurt the credibility of the phenomenon being an external physical force, more than mere mental construct. One can make the argument that these phenomena actually have been observed as a constant but simply described (I would argue, widely) differently. That the inter-dimensional or mystically quantum nature of these objects and beings make them ephemeral spirits, manifesting differently. Even if this is the case, it only lends to the unfalsifiability of the whole matter.

At least with accounts of Bigfoot, the reporting and sightings throughout history are fairly consistent.

What is surprising is that even when skeptics, astronomers, astrobiologists, xenobiologists, and philosophers suppose the existence of alien intelligence, it is usually described as autocratic, organizational, and would probably have mathematically subcategorized our sector. At least partially or wholly integrated with machine, they would be cold telepathic drones, more like one giant organism than many, frightening in their passionless drive to accomplish hive goals. The commensurate measures that led to cellular life growing more diverse, apes to be social climbers, and humans to be the planet’s most winningest species, might certainly have allowed a space-faring race to survive in the perpetuity necessary for interstellar travel. Their motives would be so far removed as to seem malevolent (but in actuality no moreso than the automatic slapping of a mosquito), their technology like the ‘magic’ of Gods, their thoughts unknowable, their abilities seemingly without limit. One thing would be certain, they would have their own limits and needs, beyond our comprehension, but as important to them as ours are to us. It is frighteningly coincidental how this model fits the described greys and their behavior. Listen to any specific person on the matter, however, especially those that receive mental messages from our astrological space brethren, and you’re in for a world of intellectual hurt.

Even the Catholic Church now believes in our brothers from the stars, also saved by the Judeo-Christian God. This may not help either argument much.

The thing is, we’re all on the inside of a false centre looking out at all the things that are when we aren’t even sure what “are” means.

Ultimately, it all comes down to faith. Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard believed that taking that leap of faith (be it a god or love) was ultimately scary and could prove to be wrong, and therefore should take courage. No such evidence could ever be enough to pragmatically justify the kind of total commitment involved in true religious faith or romantic love. Faith involves making that commitment anyway. Kierkegaard thought that to have faith is at the same time to have doubt. So, for example, for one to truly have faith in God, one would also have to doubt one’s beliefs about God; the doubt is the rational part of a person’s thought involved in weighing evidence, without which the faith would have no real substance. In essence, those who try to use science to prove their faith do not have real faith. Faith and scientific method are mutually exclusive. You cannot use phenomena to explain or justify itself, or rely on mostly unreliable witness testimony. Proponents or willing adherents to the supernatural should try like the dickens to falsify their own hypotheses.

This surely works the other way, and die-hard skeptics should explore the evidence of outlandish claims, if for no other reason than it is fun. Similar to theologian Tim Mawson’s claims that atheists should attempt prayer for some period of time, to strengthen their disbelief. Wouldn’t their logic would supersede any patterns of magical thinking? And how would one know which God to try this with? Of course many skeptics would argue that the burden of proof does not lie with those that posit something’s nonexistence.

What interests me most about all this is this; Why is it much more difficult to accept the existence of God or UFOs, than a pig (which you have seen before but are not looking at right now) or Japan (which you may have never directly observed)?

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Eclectic Electric Experimentation

2010-07-03

Experimenting with the waves of vibrating air particles entering your aural canal and interpreted by your neuro-chemical transmitters, tonight is an audio tribute to sound itself. The sounds of the street, the sound of music, the sounds of heavenly bodies and theoretical particles, digital, stereo, analog, reversed, phased, and modulated… you will be enslaved by sound waves!

PLAYLIST
Terraon – In The Hall Of The Mountain King  – Terramix
The X-Ecutioners – A Journey to Sound  – Uilt – Scratch (2001)
DJ Osiris – Listen  – Ropeladder 12
Projection – Intro/Abstractions  – Dusty Fingers
Jaylib – Champion Sound (Instrumental)  – Champion Sound – Complete Set
Cut Chemist – The Audience is Listening Theme Song  – The Audience’s Listening
Life Rexall – Surround Sound Table (Instrumental)  – Frequency Response
Bonobo – The Plug  – Animal Magic
Beastie Boys – The Sounds of Science  – Paul’s Boutique
De La Soul – This is a Recording 4 Living in a Fulltime Era (L.I.F.E.)  – 3 Feet High and Rising
Lord Finesse – Slave to My Soundwave  – Funky Technician
DJ Shadow – Fixed Income  – The Private Press
Gorillaz – Sound Check  – Gorillaz
Lamb – What Sound
The Human Expression – optical sound  – Optical Sound
Man or Astro-man? – The Sound Waves Reversing  – Made – Technetium
Shadowy Men on A Shadowy Planet – Malfunction  – savvy show stoppers
Seatbelts – Piano Black  – Cowboy Bebop
David Bowie – Sound and Vision  – Low
PJ Harvey – The Radio Oh Oh  – Uh Huh Her
Suzanne Vega – Blood Makes Noise
The Cars – Moving In Stereo  – The cars
The Residents – The History of Digital Music  – Liver Music
Frank Zappa – The Radio is Broken  – The Man – Utopia
Joy Division – Transmission  – Substance
The Pixies – Planet of Sound  – Death To the Pixies
Human Instinct – Stoned Guitar
Gong – Radio Gnome Invisible  – Best of Gong
The Shakes – http://www.crapcore.net  – Good job! keep on doing what the TV says!!
Man or Astro-man? – Stereo Phase Test  – Experiment Zero
Terry Taylor – Sound Effects Record #32  – Neverhood Songs
Hardy’s Jet Band – Selected Sound
Len Spencer – First Recorded Promotional Message  – Edison Records

Stranger in a Strange Land 2010-07-03: Eclectic Electric Experimentation by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

“I give pleasure to all!”

BRESHViC’s STAGEs of CRUNKeD

An intoxicating thought experiment or sobering self-reflection? Either way, the culmination of many years of incredibly stringent, incredibly onerous, and incredibly fun research. Though, as a high-brow high-society social drinker and a low-functioning low-class drunk, each situation dictates varying percentiles. I can stop any time I want. But for science…

1% is not very crunked at all, but has nonetheless started to consider the stages of crunked.

2% just wants to socialize, have a good time, and relax.

3% requires music. This is not an indication of crunkness, since that is always the case, so much as a slight increase in urgent tenacity.

4% knows how to control himself and thinks about each thing he’s going to say before saying it. Has plans this night to not get too fucked up, and will responsibly follow them.

5% doesn’t know which bag belongs to him.

6% has gotten amazingly MORE charming and witty and persuasive, if one can imagine, the most artful storyteller and cunning linguist.

7% feels pretty good, wants to meet new people and do new things.

8% looks down his nose at alcohol snobbery, and will try anything once.

9% has got to break the seal, gets shit for doing it so early, but knows there is no correlation between urination and crunkness.

10% is convinced the bartender is into him.

11% is tired of your drama, and will tell you so.

12% has suddenly and inexplicably gained encyclopedic access to every inane pop-culture reference ever.

13% needs you to be his wingman.

14% know how many drinks he has consumed, what they were, the last time he felt this way, and where that puts him in the universe. It is enjoyable to think about.

15% will talk sports now.

16% doesn’t mind the butterscotch Schnapp’s, despite disliking both flavors independently.

17% has somehow gotten better at darts and pool.

18% has to be in charge of the jukebox.

19% will mix you a new drink you have never heard of.

20% requires philosophy.

21% wishes ALL his friends could be here; then wishes all his friends lived in an island village with their own language and system of government and awesome things to do and giant turrets to protect them from the outside world.

23% has trouble with numbers.

24% must check the mirror again to make sure there isn’t shit on his face.

25% could use a cigarette, despite not being a smoker.

26% suddenly doesn’t mind the gossip, and would like to hear more.

27% is making sure to visit and talk to everyone.

28% always has time to flirt.

29% finds it preferable, nay, requisite, to rest his forehead against the cool wall and close his eyes for a moment while at the urinal.

30% doesn’t need a wingman.

31% would like a new place to drink.

32% doesn’t mind telling you how pretty you are.

33% would tell you his secret identity.

34% is convinced that looking into his eyes would make you fall in love with him, and takes precautions accordingly.

35% has decided that ‘snakebite’ is a good idea.

36% must splash water in his face.

37% has taken to yelling.

38% is annoyed at what is on the jukebox, uncharacteristically frowns.

39% is thinking about the inexorable march of time, the deep dark origin of the universe, the quantum secrets of matter, and the electric pulse of being and self.

40% is vaguely wondering what stage this is…

41% thinks nachos are a good idea.

42% is prepared to not only micturate in public, but proudly declare such fact as ‘marking territory’

43% will talk to anyone… ANYONE.

44% wants to help the other people who are getting sick or passed out too early.

45% is sexually attracted to you, but not more than to self, and could look at he mirror forever.

46% wins every argument with loudness.

47% remembers the good times.

48% clearly doesn’t need to wear these glasses anymore.

49% wonders if this is what he’ll do at his ten-year high school reunion.

50% notes who is more drunk, unruly, and with poorer judgement than himself, purely for comparison, and certainly not for comedic value or ego inflation.

51% realizes he hasn’t done this in a long time, with equal parts regret, delight, bedevilment and relish.

52% is shit-talking you.

53% can’t remember if it’s ‘beer before liquor’ or ‘liquor before beer.’

54% could live this way forever.

55% doesn’t mind the mint schnapp’s despite outright loathing mint

56% would eat a sealed bag of potato chips out of a dumpster.

57% laughs at every inside joke, even the ones he’s not a part of.

58% can (and shall) recite a whole movie or tv series with your help.

59% enjoys every single thing on the jukebox.

60% feels pretty good, wants to do new people and meet new things.

61% doesn’t care whether you’re impressed with him or not, aren’t you impressed by that?

62% is getting claustrophobic and needs fresh air.

63% has rediscovered his cellphone and the numbers of people he hasn’t seen in ages, or the people who said they were coming out drinking tonight but didn’t.

64% doesn’t want to make any more decisions… ever.

65% is about to tell off that one jerk.

66% misses all the dead homies.

67% is perplexed and confounded by simple things like mirrors.

68% would pee on a church with his buddies and laugh triumphantly.

69% doesn’t mind being licked.

70% would eat an unsealed bag of potato chips out of a dumpster.

71% wants you to save that empty jug as a “trophy of this conquest”.

72% has superpowers.

73% may just have to start dancing and singing.

74% debates both the quality and veracity of this beard and haircut.

75% has given you a new nickname.

76% doesn’t understand you, but just nods and listens, allows you to finish, and then tells you he didn’t understand you.

77% is, at this point, so fucking sick of this shit.

78% can’t remember every drink of the night, but tries in vain anyway.

79% is pretty sure he can get home okay.

80% needs to slow down for a minute, just until the ground stops moving.

81% frowns trying to remember that thing that he was so close to remembering from earlier that must have been so important to still remember that it desperately needs remembering.

82% isn’t very likable right now.

83% needs to pee again, convinced it is the only thing that can help.

84% cannot pronounce real words, so just yells out syllables like “WOO,” “FOOM,” “PO-DAM,” and laughs hysterically.

85% hopes the whole neighborhood heard that, the fuckers.

86% has no more interest in flirting.

87% would sleep in the potato-chip-bag dumpster.

88% has lost motor control in his legs and mouth.

89% doesn’t remember any of this.

90% thinks some things, but then thinks better of them.

91% is scared of mirrors, and whatever dwells within.

92% finds video games and television to both be BAD ideas.

93% for some reason, thinks the sink is the best place to do this…

94% is angry and disappointed.

95% needs a shower.

96% tries cleaning the sink.

97% just needs quiet and darkness, not unlike a filthy cockroach.

98% though passed out, is congratulated by party-goers for “knowing how to party.”

99% can definitively be described as crunked.

100% is dead.