Saturday, April 22, 2023


"Maybe this world is another planet's hell."
 - Aldous Huxley
"What if when you die they ask, "How was Heaven?"
~ Author Unknown

A truly terrifying thought...

"Economic Hell Isn't Coming, It's Here; You Will Get What You Deserve"

Jeremiah Babe, 4/22/23
"Economic Hell Isn't Coming, It's Here;
 You Will Get What You Deserve"
Comments here:
Tell me again, as you have so very often, "Oh, that could never happen here!"
Now watch in horror as it does...

Musical Interlude: Peder B. Helland, "A Dream"

Full screen recommended.
Peder B. Helland, "A Dream"
"Beautiful Relaxing Music • 
Norwegian Nature & Violin, Flute, Piano & Harp Music"

'A Look to the Deep Heavens"

Full screen recommended.
"The Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 3D"
A Universe of 2 Trillion Galaxies"
"In 2016, a study published in The Astrophysical Journal and led by Christopher Conselice of the University of Nottingham using 3D modeling of images collected over 20 years by the Hubble Space Telescope concluded that there are more than two trillion galaxies in the observable universe."
"In this galaxy, there's a mathematical probability of three billion Earth-type planets. And in all of the universe, 2 trillion galaxies like this. And in all of that... and perhaps more, only one of each of us."
- "Dr. Leonard McCoy"

"The Most Precious Gift I Have..."

“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - life itself.”
- Walter Anderson

"Each Of Us..."

“Each of us inevitable; Each of us limitless -
each of us with his or her right upon the earth;
Each of us allowed the eternal purports of the earth;
Each of us here as divinely as any is here.”
- Walt Whitman
"We all know that something is eternal. And it ain't houses and it ain't names, and it ain't earth, and it ain't even the stars... everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you'd be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There's something way down deep that's eternal about every human being."
- Thornton Wilder

The Daily "Near You?"

Gilmer, Texas, USA. Thanks for stopping by!

The Poet: Mary Oliver, "There Is Time Left"

"There Is Time Left"

"Well, there is time left –
fields everywhere invite you into them.
And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul?
Quickly, then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!
To put one's foot into the door of the grass, which is
the mystery, which is death as well as life,
and not be afraid!
To set one's foot in the door of death,
and be overcome with amazement!”

~ Mary Oliver

“There Is No Reality Anymore…”

“There Is No Reality Anymore…”
by Thad Beversdorf

“I‘d love to change the world, but I don‘t know what to do,
so I’ll leave it up to you…”

“What a great lyric that is from the late 60′s, early 70′s English band “10 Years After.”* I believe this describes that uneasy feeling of discontent that sits deep in the stomach, beneath the day to day exteriors, of so many people today. The world is like a black hole in that it seems to be getting smaller and smaller as the years go by but also heavier and heavier with each passing day.

When I was a teenager and my friends and I were taking reality obscuring substances, one of my buddies (this means you Nichol) would stop us at certain points throughout the night for a reality check. This was just a few moments where we ‘d all gather our senses to make sure the world was still right and then we’d venture back into obscurity. I feel that reality is an old world term. There is no reality anymore. With advances in technology came unending possibilities of if you can dream it they can make it so. The ubiquitous flow of information ensures that the truth is always available but never known with certainty. It means there is no such thing as a reality check. It’s like that dream inside a dream inside a dream. Which reality is real anymore? How deep does the rabbit hole go?

We are raised with pretty standard ideals of what the world is meant to be but these ideals seem to take place only in the movies. It must be incredibly difficult for our young people to reconcile the two worlds, I know it is for me. That which they learn as a child and that which they find has replaced it as a young adult. Our leaders are despicable, arrogant and egotistical fools who pretend we elect them because we don’t see them for what they are. But we elect them because we feel we have no choice. We know what we want the world to be. We know what it should look and feel like. And we know it is not the world in which we live today. I know I’d love to change the world but I don’t know how and so I’ll leave it up to you. And so we continue to move forward down this path, each step uneasy as though something ungood is lurking just around the next corner.

We are able to put that feeling out of our minds for the most part but our subconscious is always aware that things are off. We have all kinds of self help books and new age theories that attempt to make sense of it all and explain why we just aren t happy the way we envision happy should be. Perhaps the only reality is the reality that the world isn’t what we had hoped it would be and we don’t know how to make that right. I’d love to say that if we just stand up and do the right thing, act from our hearts and have good intentions that it could change the world. But quite honestly there are ill-intentioned people that are constructing this new world in which we sub-exist.It is them and us, but they’d never say it that way. Certainly though their intention is not for us to co-exist along side them.

But so we carry on and we, move forward, to the best of our abilities. We accept the good with the bad and acknowledge that everything is a trade off. We believe that if we go to college we stand a better chance in life and so we borrow our first 10 years of post college wages to get an edge over the next guy who is doing the same. When we get out of school we know that it is time to buckle down and get serious. We put our lives on hold in order to focus on the future with the idea that one day we will be sitting on the porch with the person we love, the one we put on hold for all those years, and we will then enjoy our life’s work then.

But then we get further in debt because we need a sleeker car and we need a bigger house but it’s ok because we can just work a little more. And then the kids come and as far as we got to know them they are great, I think. But it’s ok because they just finished college and now they’ve moved back in as the job market is tough out there and so we’re paying off their student loans. Eventually they get away and begin their life’s journey and they take their debt with them. And then we realize, god I’m almost 60. But it feels great because that means soon I’ll be there on the porch getting to know the one I love again and life will be grand at that point.

But then we turn 65 and we realize all those policies that were implemented by all those well-intentioned decision makers have actually left us with very little. And we say it’s ok because we’d be bored anyway just sitting on the porch. And so we take a job waving at people in Walmart but feel like OMG how did I get here. But the shift ends and we go home anxious to spend time with the one we love because, although it’s a terrible thought, we are aware we’re both getting long in the tooth. And so we arrive home only to realize the one we love is now sick and that it’s too late for our days sitting on the porch getting to know each other again. We do everything we can but we cannot afford to help that person who stood quietly behind us all those years as healthcare costs are unrealistically out of touch with reality. And then it hits us that despite taking all the right steps to ensure we have a great life we failed to ever really be happy, to really love and to really accept love. And then it really hits us, this world provides but one shot.

Well, then that feeling of uneasy discontent that shadowed us when we were young is now an intense pain in our heart. And we look out at the world and we ask ourselves how could this have happened? I did everything they told me I was supposed to do, I did everything right! And it becomes clear that life was a chance to change the world, but we didn’t know what to do, and so we left it up to…”

"Unbelievable Price Increases At Kroger! Be Prepared! Stock Up!"

Full screen recommended.
Adventures With Danno, 4/22/23
"Unbelievable Price Increases At Kroger!
 Be Prepared! Stock Up!"
"In today's vlog we are at Kroger, and are noticing massive price increases on groceries! This is not good as we are also seeing some empty shelves! It's getting rough out here as stores seem to be struggling with getting products, and also charging extremely high prices!"
Comments here:

"How it Really Is"

"No Ways Tired in A Sea of Lies"

"No Ways Tired in A Sea of Lies"
by Chris Floyd

"I think we are living in a world of lies: lies that don't even know they are lies, because they are the children and grandchildren of lies. One of the hardest things to accept is that the reality of our world is buried under so many layers of official deception and well-cultivated public ignorance about our history and our political system. Even if you break through somehow, momentarily, and hold up a fragment of the truth, most people have no context for dealing with it. It's like a bolt from the blue, they can't process the information. And so the sea of lies closes over us again, and again, and again. And yet the reality of our future appears on the horizon, denial be damned, an irresistible tsunami of change and destruction, changing all our lives forever.

These are the facts, and they can't be altered. But how to respond to this catastrophe? Shall we weep, moan, rend our garments, cover ourselves with sackcloth and ashes? Shall we sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of republics? Shall we cower in the shadows and sing glamorous dirges for the Lost Cause, for vanished glories and broken dreams?

Or shall we come out fighting, unbowed, heads high, laughing fools to scorn, rejecting at every turn the moral authority of murderers and thieves to rule our lives, determine our reality, act in our name? Let's dispense with lamentation - give not a single moment to that emotional indulgence - and get right back to work, more determined than ever to bear down harder, dig deeper and excavate the radioactive nuggets of truth still glowing beneath the slag-heap of ruin.

Let's fight, let's reject, let's resist - without violence, the weapon of the stupid, the hormonal secretion of evolutionary backsliders in thrall to the chemical soup in their heads, dull primitives dressing up their ape-lust for power with scraps of religion, philosophy and cant. Let's fight these pathetic, malfunctioning wretches who lay their hands on our world and rape it like beasts in a mindless rut. Fight them with the truths we find, exposing their crimes and deadly hypocrisies to the people they've suckered, perverted and betrayed.

This is not an insurmountable task, no matter how impervious the Machine - that monstrous conglomeration of judicial bagmen, Congressional rubber stamps, psychopathic media moguls, dopehead radio ranters, sex-crazed theocrats, war profiteers, think-tank bleaters, Wall Street sharks, and oilmen might appear at the moment.

I don't know what else we can do, except to keep on telling as much of the truth as we can find, to anyone who will listen: reclaiming reality, fragment by fragment, one person at a time. It's an endless task- maybe a hopeless task- but the alternative is a surrender to the worst elements in our society- and in ourselves. It's worth the fight. Let's take it on. In the words of the old spiritual, let us be in no ways tired. The road back to sanity starts now."

"Chastity In A Whorehouse..."

"People do not expect to find chastity in a whorehouse. Why, then, do they expect to find honesty and humanity in government, a congeries of institutions whose modus operandi consists of lying, cheating, stealing, and if need be, murdering those who resist?"
- H. L. Mencken

"Who Do You Believe? Get Ready"

Full screen recommended.
Dan, I Allegedly 4/22/23
"Who Do You Believe? Get Ready"
"The United States government may default on its debt obligations. People are defaulting on mortgages. There are so many issues in the economy that cannot be ignored. Who do you believe?"
Comments here:

"There Comes A Time..."

"I make no bones about being partisan for my country. I also feel no shame whatever because of it. I absolutely disagree that "great thinkers don't let that affect the thoughts". I would say exactly the opposite: someone who refuses to let love-of-country affect their thoughts is a moral cripple irrespective of their intellectual prowess. I can look dispassionately at the situation, and I have done so repeatedly. But I will never forget which nation I love and support.

We Americans have a saying: “It’s more important what you stand for than who you stand with.” I do not rely upon peer opinion to decide what is right and what is wrong. I make those decisions for myself, and even if I discover that every other human alive chose differently, that doesn’t mean I was wrong.

There comes a time in every man’s life when he has to choose sides. I have chosen my side. I am comfortable with my decision. I do not think everyone on my side is a saint, but I know that those on the other side are much, much worse.

Sometimes a man with too broad a perspective reveals himself as having no real perspective at all. A man who tries too hard to see every side may be a man who is trying to avoid choosing any side. A man who tries too hard to seek a deeper truth may be trying to hide from the truth he already knows. That is not a sign of intellectual sophistication and “great thinking”. It is a demonstration of moral degeneracy and cowardice.”
- Steven Den Beste
“Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and unexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may.”
- Mark Twain

"Gut Check"

"Gut Check"
By Tim “xrugger” Stebbins

"What does it mean to be a free man anymore? Am I truly free when the money I pay in taxes goes to support the excesses of a profligate, overreaching, and immoral government? Am I truly free when the scum that make the rules do not abide by them? Am I not free then to ignore the rules?  Am I truly free when some cowardly dimwit at the grocery store looks askance at me for not wearing a filthy rag over my face? I know he is having an internal debate about whether he should confront me. My hope is always that he decides in the negative, as I have had just about enough of this crap. 

The highest court in the land turned a blind eye to the egregious theft of the Presidency itself. Marxists across the nation celebrated the final nail in the coffin of the American Republic. Democrats held it. “Conservatives” have hammered it home. The outward forms of ordered liberty are dead and there is no recourse for the redress of grievances. It is time for every patriot to face the situation, without illusion or reservation.

If we would recover our liberty, then we must look inward and assess our own desires, motives, and abilities. A time of choosing is upon each and every one of us. What do we owe and to whom do we owe it. What follows is an attempt to answer those questions for myself and myself alone. Others of a similar spirit may take what they wish from it and leave the rest.

The Indefensible Nation: What do I owe to my country? Its central government is thoroughly and irredeemably corrupt. It is bankrupt both fiscally and morally. As of this writing, its judiciary has shown itself incapable of defending the Republic against the depredations of leftist rabble. The tentacles of its bureaucracy reach into the lives and wallets of the productive class “eating out the substance of the people” exactly as Jefferson warned. Yet still, with the stench of corruption and theft pervading the country, this government  assumes my loyalty.

What, pray tell, has it done to deserve it? Mobs of the indoctrinated expect that we should all just “get over it” and “come together to heal” as if the gangrenous clot of necrotic tissue that is the political culture of this nation will ever heal. Our rulers, our media, and half our “countrymen” piss down our backs and still insist it’s raining. The fealty of helots is what the Lords of Washington expect. They will not get it from me.

The loyalty of free men is reserved for a government of equals, not an aristocracy of reptiles. The latter is what we suffer now. The former we once possessed, but it lies now in the dust of history. The outward form and function remain, but the spirit of liberty, which animated it, has gone. The ties by which free men bind themselves voluntarily to any form of government have long since been sundered by the actions of those who have chosen to rule rather than govern. I will not suffer those ties to become shackles.

Since my forbears bequeathed to me a form of government that no longer exists, I am released from further obligation to the abomination that has replaced it. My loyalty, like my liberty, belongs to me and me alone. It is mine to give or to withdraw as I see fit. I owe the rulers of this land nothing: not life, not liberty, not the pursuit of my own happiness. These things are mine from my first breath to my last gasp. They cannot be abrogated, regulated, or terminated by the denizens of a distant city who presume to know what is best for me. These…people (I do not have the words for the contempt I feel for them) have polluted our forms of government, destroying what they can, dismantling what they cannot.

Everywhere is grift and graft. They have taken nearly everything, yet they still want more. They want my body shackled, my spirit humbled, and my mind enslaved. They try to steal the very breath from my body with their filthy rags. They have trampled upon my God-given rights, indoctrinated my children, accused me, threatened me, and silenced me. Now they have stolen even my choice from me. This government and its leftist appendages have betrayed my trust and half my fellow citizens treat me and mine with undisguised contempt. My loyalty to them and to their government is at an end.

The Shenandoah Syndrome: What then, am I to do personally in the face of this betrayal?  My mind often comes back to the old Jimmy Stewart movie “Shenandoah.” In it, Stewart plays the patriarch of a family trying to stay out of Lincoln’s War. He hopes to keep his family intact and neutral in the conflict. He wants no part of it and sees no reason why he, or his sons, should choose sides in a war that is, in his view, peripheral to the concerns of his family and the life they have built. It is only when rape, murder, plunder and the other accouterments of war destroy the precarious balance he has maintained, that Stewart realizes that the choice has been made for him.

I know that, in the end, what is happening in this nation will come to blood. I know too, that I and mine cannot hope to be left untouched while the nation tears itself apart. My one hope is that, by virtue of where we call home, we will see the tenor and scope of the destruction before it touches our lives directly. Perhaps that small grace will allow us additional time to prepare, though I believe I have done all that common sense demands and limited resources allow in that regard.

What remains to be done is the taking an intensely personal inventory. Will I fight, run, or hide? Will I be able to lead and defend my family when the crunch comes? Would I be willing to leave them behind to engage in some broader defense of my own and other’s liberty? Do I wait for the storm or go to meet it? At 63 years of age, am I even mentally or physically capable of such an effort? My fervent wish is to be left alone to live a peaceful life. I know many like me wish the same, but Jimmy Stewart was just an actor, and my “Shenandoah” a bucolic dream. The fight will be forced upon us all. The choices we make will define us. In Lincoln’s words, “No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.”

The Refining Fire: I am a peacetime veteran. I served a three-year hitch in the eighties, half that time with the 2nd Ranger Bn. in Ft. Lewis, Washington and half with a line infantry company. I do not count myself among the many chest-thumpers who are overly certain of their own intestinal fortitude and are not afraid to expound upon their warrior attributes in any number of internet outlets. In my limited experience, those who talk the most usually run the fastest. I do not include in that company those who have seen war and its desolation first hand and who now seek to educate and guide those of us who have not. I’m talking about the posers who crow about “taking back the country,” and explain in detail their future exploits in the battle for freedom.

Personally, I am certain of only a few things:  I know what it is like to exit an aircraft more door bundle than man and land in a heap in the Alaskan snow. I know how dark it gets in an equatorial jungle and what it’s like to sit in the rain for days on end. I know what trench foot looks and feels like. To my everlasting embarrassment, I know the feeling of waking up with my own .45 (in the hands of a very angry platoon sergeant) staring me in the face because I fell asleep guarding a pallet of live ammo.

I know what it is like to catch multiple fragments of a 7.62 mm ricochet in the face due to the negligence of a range safety officer and the stupidity of a member of my M60 crew. I know that face and scalp wounds bleed a lot. These are some of the things I know, but they are the experiences of long ago and comparing them to the trials of actual combat would be like comparing regular roulette to the Russian variety.

I do not think I lack personal courage, but the simple fact is that I know what I do not know, and anyone who has not been in a fight like the one coming can say no different. Any man who claims a virtue not yet tested by the fight we face is a liar and a fool. As a young man, I would have welcomed the test. Now, decades on, I ponder the depth of my commitment, the strength of my arm, and the clearness of my mind. Is the man I am now fit for the fight? Only the fight itself will reveal the truth of it. I simply do not know how I will behave when the shooting starts and to claim otherwise is the height of hubris. At the least, I hope that this old man will give good account for blessings received while on this good earth.

Hope: No good thing ever achieved by man remains unsullied by the grasping hands of those who seek to exploit it. So it is with these United States. Time, trials, the certainties of fallen human nature, and the machinations of the unprincipled have accomplished what they always accomplish. This nation will crumble and the ensuing chaos will engulf us all to one degree or another. Something good, either a restoration of the old or the institution of the new, will rise from the blood and ashes. I pray that I do not love this life so much that I would live it as a slave or be unwilling to expend it for the sake of those to come. That, at least, is my hope."
 "A man who does not have something for 
which he is willing to die is not fit to live."
- Martin Luther King Jr.

"I Can See It All Very Clearly..."

"There are a multitude of fuses affixed to dozens of powder-kegs and little kids with matches are on the loose. I don’t know which of the fuses will be lit and which powder-keg will blow, but someone is bound to do something stupid, and then all hell will break loose. It could happen at any time. One military miscue. One assassination. One violent act that stirs the world. And the dominoes will topple, setting off fireworks not seen on this planet since 1939 – 1945. I can see it all very clearly."
- Jim Quinn

"It's Over And NATO Is Finished"

Full screen recommended.
Redacted with Clayton Morris, 4/22/23
"It's Over And NATO Is Finished"
"NATO is looking for a way out of Ukraine according to recent reports. These claims come on the heals of mysteriously time document leaks showing the war in Ukraine is unwinnable for NATO unless it wants to launch WW3. The news also follows recent independent reports showing that Russia just destroyed a heavily fortified underground bunker that housed over 300 top NATO and Ukrainian leaders. Why is the media silent on this story?"
Comments here:

Friday, April 21, 2023

"The Unthinkable Is About to Happen: A 2023 Timeline of Nuclear War"

Full screen recommended.
Canadian Prepper, 4/21/23
"The Unthinkable Is About to Happen:
 A 2023 Timeline of Nuclear War"
Comments here:

"I Tried Warning You, Now The Repo Man Took Your Car; Americans Drowning In Car Debt"

Jeremiah Babe, 4/21/23
"I Tried Warning You, Now The Repo Man Took Your Car;
 Americans Drowning In Car Debt"
Comments here:

"20 Retailers Collapsing Right In Front Of Our Eyes"

Full screen recommended,
"20 Retailers Collapsing Right In Front Of Our Eyes"
by Epic Economist

"The carnage in the retail sector does not stop. Even established names that have been with us for centuries are now starting to fall apart all around us due to the toughest economic environment we have seen since the 1970s. Consumers will lose some of their favorite stores this year, according to data provided by several sources familiar with the matter. From Starbucks to Disney, from apparel retailers to department stores, everyone in the industry seems to be on the edge, and mass shutdowns are already happening as retailers grapple with the impact of declining sales, inflation, and huge debt burdens at a time of increased financial volatility and higher potential for disaster.

For example, David’s Bridal, known as the Walmart of weddings, just filed for bankruptcy and announced that it has plans to lay off 82% of its staff, or around 9,200 workers. The company was in distress for several months before seeking Chapter 11 protection. That marked the second bankruptcy in five years. CEO James Marcum revealed that in case the company does not find a buyer soon, all stores may be closed by the end of this year, an announcement that sparked anxiety among brides-to-be from all over the country.

Similarly, 99 Cents Only Stores has already restructured its debt multiple times out of court. But it hasn’t fixed its underlying financial problems, and persistent inflation and higher operational costs are worsening its internal issues. The company has over 350 locations in four states, but consumer demand is falling steadily as prices complain about rising prices. Experts note that 99 Cents Only Stores are at a "competitive disadvantage" compared to larger retailers that have a significantly bigger network of suppliers and market leverage to keep prices low. The discount chain also reported negative cash flow for three consecutive quarters. Its low ratings are also an indication that more trouble is ahead for the company.

Kohl’s, the former department store has been in trouble for years. When it was founded in 1946, Kohl’s entered the market as a supermarket chain. But over the course of two decades, the industry changed and the company started to be crushed by bigger names in the grocery sector, leading its executives to rebrand it as a department store. Unfortunately, department stores were and still are the biggest victims of the retail apocalypse, forcing Kohl’s to exit the sector in 2022 and restructure its operations to retail fitness, athleisure, and denim clothing. However, data provided by Insider shows that for the past seven months, Kohl’s retail sales have dropped. The company’s thin margins coupled with a nationwide decline in discretionary spending are financially eviscerating Kohl’s, which is now on Moody’s Analytics’ bankruptcy watchlist for 2023.

Brick-and-mortar retail is being threatened by a myriad of problems that continue to pile on. Their greatest challenges, as we enter another economic downturn, is to prove their relevance in an era of rising e-commerce retailers as well as how to attract customers back into stores amid a trend of slower spending due to the soaring cost of living. If these retailers do not find ways to increase their revenues, balance their debts, and differentiate themselves from other emerging brands, sooner than people realize they will be gone for good. Today, we decided to compile several companies that are fighting for their life in 2023. Only the strongest will keep standing, and you should check this video out to see if your favorite brand is on the bankruptcy watchlist."
Comments here:

Musical Interlude: Ludovico Einaudi, "I Giorni"

Full screen recommended.
Ludovico Einaudi, "I Giorni"

"A Look to the Heavens"

"To the eye, this cosmic composition nicely balances the Bubble Nebula at the right with open star cluster M52. The pair would be lopsided on other scales, though. Embedded in a complex of interstellar dust and gas and blown by the winds from a single, massive O-type star, the Bubble Nebula, also known as NGC 7635, is a mere 10 light-years wide. On the other hand, M52 is a rich open cluster of around a thousand stars. The cluster is about 25 light-years across.
Seen toward the northern boundary of Cassiopeia, distance estimates for the Bubble Nebula and associated cloud complex are around 11,000 light-years, while star cluster M52 lies nearly 5,000 light-years away. The wide telescopic field of view spans about 1.5 degrees on the sky or three times the apparent size of a full Moon."

"That's How Life Works..."

Never, ever forget that nothing in this life is free. Life demands payment in some form for your "right" to express yourself, to condemn and abuse the evil surrounding us. Expect to pay... it will come for you, they will come for you, regardless. Knowing that, give them Hell itself every chance you can. Expect no mercy, and give none. That's how life works. Be ready to pay for what you do, or be a coward, pretend you don't see, don't know, and cry bitter tears over how terrible things are, over how you let them become."
- Ernest Hemingway, "For Whom the Bell Tolls "

“'Because We Say So': The Case for Cultural Authority"

“'Because We Say So': 
The Case for Cultural Authority"
By Fred Reed

"Parents of bright children learn the futility of argument over ill-advised desires of their offspring. A daughter of fourteen who wants to go to what predictably will be a drunken fraternity party will argue that they are really nice boys and daddy, you are prejudging, It isn’t fair, you don’t even know them and she will come home early and…The correct answer, promoting her wellbeing, is “No. You are not going to a frat party. Why? Because I said so. We have finished talking about it”

While anything can be argued, certain things are known to provide better outcomes than others. This is as true of societies as of raising children. The answer equally should be “Because we said so.” A healthy society enjoys a dominant culture that sets limits on behavior, especially regarding sexual expression, manners, crime, and societal obligation - and enforces them. By what authority? “Because we say so.” Everyone then knows the rules and plays by them.

Imposed authority - because we said so - is essential. It can be remarkably hard to argue against, say, pedophilia. Children are sexual beings. They play doctor, don’t they? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. The only reason being fondled by a caring adult upsets a girl of six is the inculcation of out-moded Victorian, etc. Or: Why should I not ride a city bus stark naked? We have all seen naked people. What is the problem? It is a form of political expression against prudish norms…

The correct response to pedophilia is not legal theorizing but: Twenty years, no parole. We all know viscerally that sexual relations between adults and little girls are wrong. We know that public nudity would be unpleasant for most people. So it doesn’t happen.

“Because we say so.”

Healthy societies enforce many such prohibitions. For example, when I was a stripling many moons ago, foul language was not tolerated in mixed company. Period. There was no argument. It certainly wasn’t allowed on television. In high school boys never said, “F*ck” or “sh*t” around girls. There was no prissiness in this. The girls knew the words and body parts as well as the boys and used the Anglo-Saxon terms among themselves. But such speech was regarded as being like picking one’s nose or farting loudly. They were not done, or tolerated, in mixed company.

Saying “F**king this” and “f**king that” and “Sally’s f**king Bobby” can be defended on First Amendment grounds. It is, after all, speech. The correct response should be, and for many decades was, “No. Because we said so.” And, remember, the First Amendment was intended to protect political speech, not vulgarity.)

Over the centuries, sexual curiosities, once called perversions, have characterized decaying cultures. The Weimar Republic comes to mind. Read Juvenal’s "Satires" on ancient Rome. There is something ridiculous and, often, revolting about men in lipstick swiveling and lisping, or priests regarding the private parts of little boys as popsicles, or people of one sex pretending to be of the other, or hobbyist S&M groups piercing the body parts of others with hypodermic needles, or wife swapping.

All of these have been around forever and so can be regarded as “natural.” (So can hemorrhagic tuberculosis. Is this a recommendation?) A healthy culture may regard the libidinal curiosities practiced behind closed doors as nobody’s business if not involving children, behind closed doors is where they belong. Because we say so.

Because we say so.

There is such a thing as the tone of a society. It matters. Violeta watches international series on TV, chiefly from Korea, Japan, and China (though, she says, the last have been pulled from YouTube now that China is a designated enemy). These, she says, deal without scatology or lubricity with people who find moral solutions to life’s problems. In the America series every third word is “f**k,” and the series deal heavily with homosexual and “trans” matters, often treated as comedy. Widely ventilated on the ever-present screen, this gives society the tone of a costume party in Caligula’s basement.

All of this can be defended. Why not show explicit copulation on television? It’s natch-ur-al. Everybody knows about it. Most have done it. Our parents certainly did. Why should children not learn about this central activity of existence? Why the unnatural repression? Why not show people on the toilet? Think of the comic value. It’s artistic freedom. Why not?

Because we say so. Except we don’t.

In my pre-Cambrian youth, having on-line porn, available to children of nine, of a tied-up young woman being whipped bloody or screwed by a German shepherd would not have been tolerated. Today it is allowed because the Supreme Court mistakenly thinks it is expression protected by the Constitution. (The Constitution says “speech,” not “expression.”)

Degraded culture drives out healthy. Part of the culture of my youth were respect for girls and teachers, reasonably grammatical English, avoiding violence, obedience to the law (though not always involving obsessive regard for liquor laws or speed limits) and matters of dress. For example, boys didn’t wear their pants halfway down their butts. There was no rule against butt-hangers. None was necessary. If it wasn’t in the culture, it didn’t happen.

Because we said so.

Civilized behavior must be defended without discussion, since, after all, any of it can be questioned. If one group are allowed such lyrical expression as, “Dat muhfuh be dumbsh*t,” it becomes impossible to require English of anyone. Teachers cannot protect themselves against the muscularly animalic. In a healthy culture they don’t have to.

In particular, a culture that won’t defend itself will not last. The dominant culture needs to enforce its rules on others impinging on it. In the US, many of these are close enough in civilizational values as to cause only minor friction. Many of the Asian cultures, for example, and Latinos. But when incoming Afghans want to beat, grope, and rape women, they need to be slapped down, hard, or shipped back where they came from. When Moslems engage in female genital mutilation, the answer is twenty years, no parole. Because we say so. You are not going to do that to women in our country. Get used to it. Or get out.

Because we say so.

Now, every aspect of American culture as it was can be attacked as a restriction on freedom. But that is why culture exists. What have we created by eviscerating the authority of the culture? Miserable young without aim or purpose. A nation awash in drugs to alleviate the malaise. Hundreds of thousands dying of overdose. High indices of suicide. Growing semiliteracy among whites. Unwillingness to control a degree of crime unheard of in the advanced countries. Profound disunity.

Add mass shootings, metal detectors and police in schools, active-shooter drills, sharply declining academic standards, hundreds of thousands of opioid deaths, ambushes of policemen, massive nation-wide riots, high illegitimacy, fascination with sexual confusion among the young, rapidly tightening censorship, and what appears to be widespread misery.

None of this happened in, say, 1960, when a healthy culture could say, “No. Because we say so. Deal with it.”

The Daily "Near You?"

Burnley, United Kingdom. Thanks for stopping by!

Free Download: Henry Miller, "Tropic Of Cancer"

“The monstrous thing is not that men have created roses out of this dung heap, but that, for some reason or other, they should want roses. For some reason or other man looks for the miracle, and to accomplish it he will wade through blood. He will debauch himself with ideas, he will reduce himself to a shadow if for only one second of his life he can close his eyes to the hideousness of reality. Everything is endured – disgrace, humiliation, poverty, war, crime, ennui – in the belief that overnight something will occur, a miracle, which will render life tolerable. And all the while a meter is running inside and there is no hand that can reach in there and shut it off.

All the while someone is eating the bread of life and drinking the wine, some dirty fat cockroach of a priest who hides away in the cellar guzzling it, while up above in the light of the street a phantom host touches the lips and the blood is pale as water. And out of the endless torment and misery no miracle comes forth, no microscopic vestige of relief. Only ideas, pale, attenuated ideas which have to be fattened by slaughter; ideas which come forth like bile, like the guts of a pig when the carcass is ripped open.

Somehow the realization that nothing was to be hoped for had a salutary effect upon me. For weeks and months, for years, in fact, all my life I had been looking forward to something happening, some intrinsic event that would alter my life, and now suddenly, inspired by the absolute hopelessness of everything, I felt relieved, felt as though a great burden had been lifted from my shoulders. At dawn I parted company with the young Hindu, after touching him for a few francs, enough for a room. Walking toward Montparnasse I decided to let myself drift with the tide, to make not the least resistance to fate, no matter in what form it presented itself. 

Nothing that had happened to me thus far had been sufficient to destroy me; nothing had been destroyed except my illusions. I myself was intact. The world was intact. Tomorrow there might be a revolution, a plague, an earthquake; tomorrow there might not be left a single soul to whom one could turn for sympathy, for aid, for faith. It seemed to me that the great calamity had already manifested itself, that I could be no more truly alone than at this very moment. I made up my mind that I would hold on to nothing, that I would expect nothing, that henceforth I would live as an animal, a beast of prey, a rover, a plunderer. Even if war were declared, and it were my lot to go, I would grab the bayonet and plunge it, plunge it up to the hilt. And if rape were the order of the day then rape I would, and with a vengeance.

At this very moment, in the quiet dawn of a new day, was not the earth giddy with crime and distress? Had one single element of man’s nature been altered, vitally, fundamentally altered, by the incessant march of history? By what he calls the better part of his nature, man has been betrayed, that is all. At the extreme limits of his spiritual being man finds himself again naked as a savage. When he finds God, as it were, he has been picked clean: he is a skeleton. One must burrow into life again in order to put on flesh. The word must become flesh; the soul thirsts. 

On whatever crumb my eye fastens, I will pounce and devour. If to live is the paramount thing, then I will live, even if I must become a cannibal. Heretofore I have been trying to save my precious hide, trying to preserve the few pieces of meat that hid my bones. I am done with that. I have reached the limits of endurance. My back is to the wall; I can retreat no further. As far as history goes I am dead. If there is something beyond I shall have to bounce back. I have found God, but he is insufficient. I am only spiritually dead. Physically I am alive. Morally I am free. The world which I have departed is a menagerie. The dawn is breaking on a new world, a jungle world in which the lean spirits roam with sharp claws. If I am a hyena I am a lean and hungry one: I go forth to fatten myself.”
- Henry Miller, "Tropic of Cancer"

Freely download "Tropic of Cancer", by Henry Miller, here:

The Poet: Theodore Roethke, "The Far Field"

"The Far Field"

"I dream of journeys repeatedly:
Of flying like a bat deep into a narrowing tunnel
Of driving alone, without luggage, out a long peninsula,
The road lined with snow-laden second growth,
A fine dry snow ticking the windshield,
Alternate snow and sleet, no on-coming traffic,
And no lights behind, in the blurred side-mirror,
The road changing from glazed tarface to a rubble of stone,
Ending at last in a hopeless sand-rut,
Where the car stalls,
Churning in a snowdrift
Until the headlights darken.

At the field's end, in the corner missed by the mower,
Where the turf drops off into a grass-hidden culvert,
Haunt of the cat-bird, nesting-place of the field-mouse,
Not too far away from the ever-changing flower-dump,
Among the tin cans, tires, rusted pipes, broken machinery,-
One learned of the eternal;
And in the shrunken face of a dead rat, eaten by rain and ground-beetles
(I found it lying among the rubble of an old coal bin)
And the tom-cat, caught near the pheasant-run,
Its entrails strewn over the half-grown flowers,
Blasted to death by the night watchman.
I suffered for young birds, for young rabbits caught in the mower,
My grief was not excessive.
For to come upon warblers in early May
Was to forget time and death:

How they filled the oriole's elm, a twittering restless cloud, all one morning,
And I watched and watched till my eyes blurred from the bird shapes,-
Cape May, Blackburnian, Cerulean,-
Moving, elusive as fish, fearless,
Hanging, bunched like young fruit, bending the end branches,
Still for a moment,
Then pitching away in half-flight,
Lighter than finches,
While the wrens bickered and sang in the half-green hedgerows,
And the flicker drummed from his dead tree in the chicken-yard.

- Or to lie naked in sand,
In the silted shallows of a slow river,
Fingering a shell,
Once I was something like this, mindless,
Or perhaps with another mind, less peculiar;
Or to sink down to the hips in a mossy quagmire;
Or, with skinny knees, to sit astride a wet log,
I'll return again,
As a snake or a raucous bird,
Or, with luck, as a lion.
I learned not to fear infinity,
The far field, the windy cliffs of forever,
The dying of time in the white light of tomorrow,
The wheel turning away from itself,
The sprawl of the wave,
The on-coming water.

The river turns on itself,
The tree retreats into its own shadow.
I feel a weightless change, a moving forward
As of water quickening before a narrowing channel
When banks converge, and the wide river whitens;
Or when two rivers combine, the blue glacial torrent
And the yellowish-green from the mountainy upland,-
At first a swift rippling between rocks,
Then a long running over flat stones
Before descending to the alluvial plane,
To the clay banks, and the wild grapes hanging from the elmtrees.
The slightly trembling water
Dropping a fine yellow silt where the sun stays;
And the crabs bask near the edge,
The weedy edge, alive with small snakes and bloodsuckers,-
I have come to a still, but not a deep center,
A point outside the glittering current;
My eyes stare at the bottom of a river,
At the irregular stones, iridescent sandgrains,
My mind moves in more than one place,
In a country half-land, half-water.

I am renewed by death, thought of my death,
The dry scent of a dying garden in September,
The wind fanning the ash of a low fire.
What I love is near at hand,
Always, in earth and air.

The lost self changes,
Turning toward the sea,
A sea-shape turning around,-
An old man with his feet before the fire,
In robes of green, in garments of adieu.
A man faced with his own immensity
Wakes all the waves, all their loose wandering fire.
The murmur of the absolute, the why
Of being born falls on his naked ears.
His spirit moves like monumental wind
That gentles on a sunny blue plateau.
He is the end of things, the final man.

All finite things reveal infinitude:
The mountain with its singular bright shade
Like the blue shine on freshly frozen snow,
The after-light upon ice-burdened pines;
Odor of basswood on a mountain-slope,
A scent beloved of bees;
Silence of water above a sunken tree:
The pure serene of memory in one man,-
A ripple widening from a single stone
Winding around the waters of the world."

- Theodore Roethke

"And When It Happens..."

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
- Louise Erdrich