Tree Houses and Returning to the Womb

treehouse 4I often find pictures of beautiful tree houses on my facebook page and they usually look something like those pictured here and the comments are all ‘Oooh, I’d like that’ and ‘I want to live there,’ and it’s true, I would, too, it’s sort of a fantasy.treehouse 1

They are a far cry from the tree houses we used to build as kids, which consisted of a few boards sawed into short lengths nailed up the trunk to form a ladder, and a few boards or maybe a pallet or two spread across two branches and nailed down.  They were tree platforms, a far cry even from the box with a door sawed into it which is the traditional tree house of films and cartoons, and those are a far cry from what’s pictured here.

These stand as proof that everything in life gets upscaled.  For everything that is even slightly desirable, there is a luxury version.

It makes me wonder, however, what is so appealing about tree houses?  Outside of the obvious, of course: a place to withdraw from society and the pressures of every day life, a romantic place to bring a date back to, the wonder of being on the same level as the birds and having squirrels for neighbors, a magnificent view, plenty of shade and a cool breeze.

treehouse 2I have a theory.  Just as they say that from the moment a man is born he spends the rest of his life trying to get back into the womb, perhaps tree houses are an attempt on the part of mankind to get back to our original roots.  We are descended from creatures who descended from the trees, who traded all those fruits and nuts for the privilege of walking upright across the plains and maybe getting killed by lions.treehouse 3

The long term benefits of that choice are undeniable.  Nonetheless, there might be a small voice in the back of our heads reminding us of the paradise we left behind, and crying out to go back.

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The Aliens Don’t Actually Want to TALK to Us

I’m watching a program about  people who’ve seen UFOs, or in some cases actually been abducted, or claim too.  It’s the kind of psuedo-science program real scientists complain about, it’s The National Enquirer wing of The Discovery Channel, but some of these stories sound awfully convincing to me.  Especially the one about the school in Australia, the whole school saw it, and their teachers.  About 200 people.  That’s a whole lot of witnesses to discount.

What do they want?

What do they want?

But, some of these people could just be nuts.  Especially the ones who talk about being abducted, and strapped down to a table, and probed in various ways.  It sounds like they’ve made up a schizophrenic fantasy to block out some childhood horror.  And there’s no way of knowing, just by  listening to somebody talk, whether they are a normally level headed person or whether they are totally bonkers.  Especially not when they are talking on TV, and they have as many takes as they need, and sympathetic cameramen and film editors.  You’d have to know the people a little bit better.

The problem is, all of the abductees tell a real similar story.  The aliens don’t always look exactly the same.  I saw one recently where the alien looked sort of like a cross between an ant and a centaur.

If even half, even a tenth, even one of these stories is actually true, that is just as good as all of them being true.  It would mean there are aliens out there, capable of visiting Earth.  So, why haven’t they come out in the open?  They certainly can’t fear us.  Having traveled across  several light years of space, surviving outside of the realm of their own sun, they are millenia ahead of us technologically.

They probably don’t want to wipe us out, or steal our planet, because they  could have done that by now.

Why haven’t they said to anyone “take us to your leader?”  Why haven’t they just landed on the White House lawn?

My guess is they are just sizing us up, analyzing us as we would a rare species of Amazonian mosquito.

I hope that some day we can change that perception of ourselves, but I don’t see it happening soon.

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Hey, NSA – Are you reading this? Good.

A friend of mine posed the question on facebook, (and I paraphrase) “Do people refrain from commenting on articles about Edward Snowden because they are afraid the NSA might be taking down names?”

It’s a legit question.  I know there are a couple of topics I hesitate to comment on because of the backlash.  If I see a ‘Jesus Loves You’ type post, I do one of two things.  If I don’t know the person in real life, I just defriend them.  If I do, I just ignore it.  I have learned from experience (and some of us require more experience than others to learn this lesson) that there is really no point.  edward snowden

But, that’s another topic.  My position in favor of Snowden, Assange, Manning, Greenwald and anyone else releasing secret government files is well known.  As long as governments have secrets, governments will start wars.  As long as governments have secrets, they will steal from the people.  As long as governments have secrets, there is nothing to stop them from doing whatever the hell they want and that just might include knocking down buildings when there are still a lot of people inside them.

But, I think the reason people don’t talk about these issues as much as they should (and we definitely don’t.  If we were reacting to this as  we should, we’d have burned the White House down.  We’d have stormed the Capitol and be holding Congress  hostage, with snakes.)  is not fear.  It’s resignation.

We know they are spying on everything. We know there is nothing we can do about it.

I take some solace in the fact that this massive amount of data, these random thoughts that are bouncing around the internet like popcorn, like pinballs, like a spray of rubber bullets in a concrete bunker are too numerous and diverse for the people of the NSA, no matter how numerous they are, to comprehend. They can hurt individuals in real space (Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange are definitely paying the price for us all) but they cannot stop The Thing. The internet, the hive mind that is emerging, is vast, complex, swiftly mutating, and ultimately democratic for better or worse. We cannot stop them from spying. We should flood them with brilliant repartee, great writing, beautiful pictures, amazing videos. Let them be buried in an avalanche of brilliance.

We can do that.  There are enough of us.

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Don’t Squish the Fucking Bread

I am going to head out in a bit for a night of Karaoke, something I haven’t done for a long time so I’m really looking forward to that.  Not just because I love Karaoke, although I do.  People like me, who love to sing but are bad at it, have a legitimate excuse to get up on stage and let it all out, because raising your voice in song is a good thing, a sacred thing, it lets out the bad,  it raises your spirits, it gets you vibrating in synchronization with the universe.

Danielle Wolf and Daughters

Danielle Wolf and Daughters

No, it’s just good to get out, which  I almost never do any more, but Sam’s away at football camp and Helena and Izzy are in Slovakia with Helena’s mom, and cousin,  and Izzy’s cousin Natalie, so I’m free and it would be a shame not to take advantage of the opportunity to see some people face to face for a change.

To tell you the truth, I’ve become habituated to my facebook relationships, that’s how I order my day and, while it may be less personal, it’s easier.

So, a bit about the news of the day.  A woman in South Carolina got arrested in a supermarket because another shopper overheard her telling her kids to stop squishing the fucking bread.  The police later let her go.  A police spokesperson said “We realized after a while that it was a fucking stupid thing to arrest her for and we’re just going to fucking let her go before we become the fucking laughing stock of the fucking internet.”

The woman pointed out that she wasn’t even talking to her fucking kids, she told her fucking husband to stop squishing the fucking bread.


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My Day at the Dentist

I was sitting in a deck chair, just a bit reclined, on a beach.  It was a long, wide, sandy beach fringed with palm trees.  I took a sip of mango juice and looked out at the ocean.  There were just a few boats, their white sails bobbing along.  There  were beautiful  women  sunbathing.  There were people playing frisbee.  Everybody was very fit.  I was very fit, which was strange.  There was a tall, skinny man with dreadlocks playing a steel drum, a fun, little, happy tune.  Some people were dancing.  There was a group of children, riding unicorns, slowly crossing the beach.  Suddenly, I realized that I didn’t know where I was, or who I was, how I’d gotten there or how long I’d been there.

Is it safe?

Is it safe?

“Hmpf,”  I thought.  “I’ve had this before.  Drugs will wear off and I’ll remember.”  I sat back and soaked in the view, and the sounds of the day.  Still, it bothered me.  In the  movies, when somebody can’t remember who they are or how they got to where they are, it’s because they’re a secret agent with mad martial arts skills, and that would be cool.  But, in real life, it’s usually disassociation caused by some traumatic incident.

Either way, no hurry.  I waited a few more minutes, then I signaled a passing waiter.  “Excuse me, this may sound like a strange question but, how long have I been here?”

“Just about 15 minutes.  You’re done now,” and he  reached over and touched the middle of my  forehead and it all was gone.

“That’s it,” the  dentist said.  “Come in for a checkup in 6 months.”


That’s the scenario I imagined while I was actually in the dentist’s chair today, gripping the edges of the chair like a first time flier gripping the armrests, white knuckled with fear, hearing the whirring of the drill and having flashbacks to ‘The Marathon Man’ and the dentist I had as a child, from as young as I can remember until the time I left home and in that decade and a half  the guy definitely should have retired at some point because his hands shook and that is really, seriously not a good thing for a dentist.

Can’t complain.  Although I’m terrified of dentists, it wasn’t so horrible.   She replaced two fillings that had fallen out, one more than I’d been aware of, it did only take about 15 or 20 minutes and, this being the Czech Republic, it didn’t cost me anything.

Still, I wouldn’t have minded the hypno-holodeck experience and I hope the dentists of the future have it.

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I hate this.  A cop in Ferguson, Missouri, suburban St. Louis, shot and killed a teenager Saturday, in broad daylight, for the crime of looking suspicious, by being black.  He was walking with a friend, to his grandmother’s house. I hate that this is not a new, or even unusual thing.  I hate it that there seems to be no solution to this continuing problem.

Oh, I can think of solutions:  Don’t give the police guns.  Fire any cops who act like total jerks when they are dealing with people on the street.  Make it so the police are actually subject to the laws.  Just no solutions that are likely to be adopted.

They sure don't look like  the good guys, do they?

They sure don’t look like the good guys, do they?

There have been protests over the last couple of days and it’s turned a bit violent a couple of times – how much of that was caused by police provocation is hard to tell.  Two sides to every story.  But when the police hit the streets in huge, armored vehicles carrying military style artillery, when they break up peaceful protests for no reason, when they flood the streets with tear gas, when they start targeting news crews and vehicles and arresting reporters, when they refuse to release the name of the officer who did the shooting (it’s unlikely that he’s even been suspended, because if he had been, they’d say so), it’s pretty easy to see who the real bad guys in this movie are.

American cops are looking very much like the cops in Hunger Games, or  Soylent Green.  They actually seem to be yearning for a bizarre, fascist dystopia with high tech weapons.  They are insane.

I don’t know how this is going to play out, but the power is definitely in the hands of the police, so it’s their move.  They can continue with their oppressive tactics, but their public support is eroding and things will only escalate.  This may end very badly for the police – they’ve got the guns but we’ve got the numbers, as the saying goes.  Or, they could try to de-escalate,  which might actually do a great deal of good.  Nobody wants a police v. people civil war.  Except for, perhaps, for those few who actually ARE yearning for a plice v. people civil war.

The usual people are saying the usual things.  Obama said it was ‘heart breaking’ but stopped short of saying “Out of line cops, gotta be stopped.”

One who has surprised me on this issue is Rand Paul.  He came out and said this is about race and anybody who can’t see it is a moron, and something needs to be done about it.  It’s a very impressive statement because it’s not likely to play well with the right wing of the Republican party, i.e. his base.

It’s either a moment of rare political courage or, he thinks the libertarian elements of his party will outweigh the racist elements.  I think that’s a gamble he will lose, but it’s still a sign of courage and, if he’s right, the payoff for him could be huge.

Has Hillary  Clinton weighed in on this issue yet?  If so, I haven’t heard about it.

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Just How Stupid IS Sarah Palin, Anyway?

This is already a couple of days old but, since I haven’t written about it yet, here we go.

I never thought I’d say this, but I feel a bit sorry for Sarah Palin.  Sure, her politics are seriously ugly and just her candidacy had the effect of lowering the level of political discourse but, fortunately, she lost, taking John McCain (who would have been a disastrous president) down with her.  She will probably never be elected to another public office again, which is a very good thing, but it’s also why I feel safe in feeling sorry for her.

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin

Also, I would like to point out that, contrary to popular belief, Sarah Palin never said “I can see Russia from my house.”  That was Tina Fey.  What Sarah Palin said was that one can see Russia from Alaska, which is actually true – on a clear day, you can see the easternmost Siberian island from the westernmost Alaskan island.  That is the kind  of interesting trivia that the governor of a state might very  reasonable want to bring up.  But, shit happens in politics.  Al Gore never said he invented the internet, either.

But, in this video you can actually see a point where her brain stops, the old motor of her mind just seized up, the donkey stopped stock still in the middle of the road and said ‘I ain’t gonna pull this cart no more.’  Still, Sarah bravely carried on, making sure she got in all the buzzwords: liberals, liberals, fast food, purgatory, something.

The weird thing is, it was not an interview like that time Katie Couric caught her off guard by asking  her what newspapers she read and she couldn’t think of any.  It was not a hot mike moment, when she thought nobody was listening.  It was not  even a public speech, where it is easy to forget your lines, or screw them up.  I’ve done that myself.

No, this was a taped speech, that she then put up on her internet channel.  So, not only was it an incredibly stupid speech, but she was not even aware that this was an embarrassingly stupid speech.  That is one seriously mind-boggling level of stupidity.

I take it back.  I don’t really feel sorry for her.

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