Pale Blue Dot

Inspired by the late Carl Sagan, late this evening, I composed the following poem. We can only hope that it is not too late to save our world… not too late to save humanity.

 

Pale blue dot,

You are all we’ve got,

You ARE our only shot,

In our time, which you allot,

We beat you to a blot,

Be we grownup, teen or tot,

Humankind’s a sorry lot!

 

Pale blue dot,

During mortal folks’ time slot,

Against you we do plot,

Greenhouse gas has made you hot,

Fracking always HITS the spot,

The wounds we’ve caused won’t clot,

Our actions noble? NOT!

 

Dot pale blue,

The life force, you can’t imbue,

Laws of nature, now unglue,

Can’t we see your sickly hue?

Left ignored; problems accrue,

But we prodigals miss your cue,

We’ll be forced back home, it’s true!

 

Dot pale blue,

We do not heed your clue,

Venerate the smokestack flue,

Mutate the double helix queue,

Frustrate escape’s avenue,

There’ll come the day we rue.

Our accounts are all past due!

 

Blue dot pale,

Absent sweet scents; rose, hay bale,

Your food / water rank; air stale,

Unfit to eat, drink and inhale,

Not fit for eagle, man and whale,

Warning signs now on grand scale,

Freakish floods, snows, rains and gale!

Blue dot pale,

You writhe; are far from hale,

Do we stand on hill or dale?

On pinnacle or in swale?

On solid ground? Soft shale?

How do you end your tale?

With a whole schmear must go sale?

 

 

X P.M. John Howard’s Dystopia

Yesterday, I blogged re the 20th anniversary of Australia’s Port Arthur Massacre and how, in the 1996 aftermath, (then) Prime Minister John Howard had ushered in strong gun control laws… those efforts creating a dramatic reduction in mass shooting incidents.

Originally I had (naïvely) thought, “Wow… what a great man!” I mean what could be more dramatic than ZERO such incidents over the past two decades?

Well… long sigh… as it turns out… re Howard… there IS a lot of drama… and none of it good. More about that in a moment.

The first order of biz, this day, is my shout out to a fellow blogger who hails from Australia. His comment on yesterday’s posting alerted me to the fact that gun control is the ONLY good thing Howard ever accomplished during his tenure as P.M.

As for the second order of biz, I decided to dig deeper into Howard’s ideology. And, folks, unless you’re in the habit of inviting Big Brother over for a political cup of tea, I strongly recommend that you have an airsick bag within reach.

While you’re readying that receptacle… check out this video…

Political analyst Tony Kevin now adds his voice:

“I have a bleaker view of the Howard years. Only time will tell if my case is overstated. I see Howard as a disruptive and dangerous national leader. His rule is steadily degrading the values of our society and corrupting its political institutions. The longer he stays in power, the more the checks and balances of our society will crumble. We will continue our slow slide towards an Australian model of fascism.”

“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That is why checks and balances are crucial to the health of democratic systems. They are the grit in the gears of government machinery, preventing excessive concentration of power.”

The 10 Specific Lowlights to John Howard’s Dystopia…

1. Howard exploited the war on terror just like George W. Bush had… fear mongered his people into xenophobic paranoia. Since he kept these citizens in the dark and fed them a ton of BS, one Deputy Prime Minister referred to this as “Howard’s Mushroom Club”.

2. He deployed Australian troops to fight in W’s (provoked on flat out lies) Iraq War. Just like W, he posed in photo ops with soldiers for political gain.

3. Howard jailed innocent women and children refuges behind the barbed wire of Hell-hole concentration camps and deported Australians. His “One Australia” had been mere window-dressing for his vile white-supremacist movement. He enforced social and cultural conformism… denied Aboriginal people their universal land rights. Indeed… in his narrow vision… only those who did not clash with the bleak, homogenized Howard motif need “apply”.

4. He called all the shots… decided what issues would / would not be brought up for national debate. Dissenting Parliamentarians risked ending their carriers. He also stacked the court system with likeminded, mindless, spineless, political hack judges.

5. Howard dispatched thought police to quash the freethinking nature of universities and think tanks… marginalizing any and all voices of differing POVs.

6. He dominated the actual police forces and bestowed totalitarian powers upon them… with zero oversight they could not / could never be reined in by anyone. All department whistle blowers were vulnerable to punishment… naysayers escorted to the exit signs. Career advancement was based solely on being a good little toady.

7. Howard allowed only token dissenters to maintain the illusion of a fair and balanced MSM. With everyone else on board with tapping into Orwellian concepts, mendacity ruled.

8. He went on expensive overseas junkets while excluding the press corps from his aircraft.

9. Howard busted up labor unions and dismantled the eight-hour day, pensions and other benefits.

10. He implemented teach to the test and “values” lessons within public schools (an idiotic lesson he had also learned from mentor/moron W).

You can read more in depth about those above 10 items…

Check out the blogs by political analysts John Pilger and Peter Charlton ~ Tony Kevin.

Now, to once more quote Kevin…

“Here is the real story of the Howard years. We no longer live in a healthy, self-correcting democratic system, but in an expanding, albeit still “soft-authoritarian”, system of corporate national power. While leading elites remain mostly quietly complicit, dissenters look on in horror as our national pride is devalued and our freedoms are dismantled.”

About all I can add to those sentiments…

That Howard put an end to mass shooting incidents is to be commended. True that has saved lives… but it can also be argued… and I might add convincingly so… that those who remained alive were not / are not really living. To quote Randy California’s song lyric…

“Just where will you be when your freedom is dead?”

To tap into that lyrical Spirit… hear out the rest of California’s sentiments…

Remembering Port Arthur, Tasmania

On this day 20 years ago, a murderer went on a rampage for 20+ hours in Port Arthur, Tasmania… at a former Australian prison colony and now popular tourist attraction. Armed with a Colt AR-15 SP1 Carbine and L1A1 SLR Battle Rifle, he opened fire…

Dead 35… Wounded 23…

For committing one of the deadliest mass murders the world has ever witnessed, his punishment was 35 life sentences (1,035 years) without any chance for parole. At present, he is currently doing his time in the psychiatric wing of Risdon Prison in Hobart, Tasmania.

While imprisonment of that nature may’ve made society rest a bit easier… one has to wonder… are this killer’s victims truly resting in peace?

btw, I’ve decided not to identify the perpetrator, by name, because any publicity runs the risk of breeding / emboldening copycats. Also absent from this posting will be name naming vids and links. For inquiring minds, Google searches can flesh out my skeletal blog.

So… what’s a national leader to do?

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, via the National Firearms Programme Implementation Act of 1996, managed to usher in strict gun control… and ever since then?

Mass shooting incidents have dropped to  ZERO!

Now… if only President Barack Obama could convince the NRA dominated, mostly GOP, knuckle-dragging, knuckle-headed Representatives and Senators to pass no-nonsense legislation… America could become a far less deadly place to live.

Just to be clear here…  nobody is saying that hunters should be denied the right to shoot critters for their dinner tables. A legal crackdown should only involve those who are mentally unstable and/or seek excessive firepower and/or intend to train their weapons’ crosshairs upon human beings.

Yes, I’d love to see a world where there were Zip-ZERO-No guns at all… but in our gunsick society… we’ll have to settle for taking baby steps.

That all duly noted, let’s now return to our own President’s woes. Considering how those gridlocking, DC legislators are so bigheaded and pigheaded, it’s a forgone conclusion that by the time Obama leaves office?

Zip-ZERO-Nothing of major significance will have become the law of the land.

It would appear that, unless there can be some change we can believe in… “We the People” will continue to go through life with big, blood-red bullseyes pasted on our backs… and…

The future of America is… figuratively… and quite literally… shot to Hell!

A 21 (+ 1) Verse Salute To History

Every now and then I do love to wax poetic. I now invite you to do a little time trippin’ with me. To help keep everyone from straying off course… to this post… I’ve inserted temporal, subheading guideposts.

 

In the beginning…

 

The dawn of Earth… our land pristine,

Bright skies of blue… lush fields of green,

Clear crystal streams … air sweet and fresh,

Realms where life teems… fins, feath’, fur, flesh.

 

By day we toil… oft gather… hunt,

Too soon for words… we blather… grunt,

By night we gaze… at starry sky,

Moon waxes… wanes… we stare and spy.

 

We seek shelter… from rain… thunder,

Our minds wander… we oft wonder,

Time marches on… each passing year,

We start to ask… “Why are we here?”

 

As eons pass… our world revolves,

Hard to support… our life evolves,

Hard to deny… the glum, grim truth,

Oft humankind… is cruel, uncouth.

 

Of course, we do… what we do best,

Poor stewards all… muck up the nest,

We mark our turf… with foul piss,

Reptile brains aim… how could we miss?

 

Each time our foes… do not Keep Out!

We wage our wars … maim, murder, rout,

Those who feel fright… tuck tail… take flight,

Those who fight back… face deadly plight.

 

Floods and famines… plagues and scourges,

Minor chorded… gravesite dirges,

Millions perish… deep-six buried,

To Heaven’s gate… souls get ferried?

 

For those who spurn… “Thou shalt not kill”,

Take headfirst plunge… in Satan’s swill,

To get ensnared… in his dark spell,

Condemns these fools… casts them to Hell.

 

Dark Ages die… no need to mourn,

To take its place… Renaissance born,

New ways abound… proliferate,

No holding back… minds liberate.

 

Movers shakers… and inventors,

Robust thinkers… shrewd, sage mentors,

In full bloom… noble notions,

Skyward soar… sail minds’ oceans.

 

Explorers sail… the deep blue seas,

Find strange new worlds… spread their disease,

Some come in peace… some conquer all,

Some are welcomed… some hit brick wall.

 

America’s beginning…

 

America bound… Englishmen flee,

Eschew their roots… brew Boston tea,

Common sense rules… puts up good fight,

New nation forms… by dawn’s early light.

 

Once more, we do… what we do best,

Can’t coexist… conquer Wild West,

Force Native A’s… off their own land,

Vile facts of how… “We” would expand.

 

Greed breeds true… retrogression,

Nothing great ‘bout… Great Depression,

Lust for money… bricks of gold,

Stagnates nation… folks’ lives on hold.

 

World War-II fought… fraught with errors,

Nightmares / horrors… A-bomb terrors,

Clouds of mushrooms… islands torched,

Flesh burnt to crisp… possessions scorched.

 

Commie witch hunt… McCarthy, Joe,

No need for facts… he says it’s so,

He who disputes… is a dead duck,

Think you can win? Good night. Good luck!

 

More recent America and onward…

 

Lessons not learned… new rivers red,

Korea / Nam… soldiers are bled,

Foolish theory… the domino,

Deploys the troops… where they shouldn’t go.

 

One – Nine – Six – O… the ballots cast,

J.F.K.’s win… doomed not to last,

One – Nine – Six – Three… a bullet blast,

Blew off his head… left us aghast.

 

Nixon… Reagan… Bush Times Two,

All Autocrats… with scruples few,

Unions busted… Freedoms shredded,

War crimes… torture… got embedded.

 

No place to hide… Big Brother sees,

We are all watched… by our TVs,

Landlines get tapped… we’re GPS’d,

Mouse clicks get logged… we all get stressed.

 

In the not too distant future…

 

In days ahead… deep trouble brews,

If voters vote… for Trump or Cruz,

Chickenhawks both… need I remind?

They lust for war… the nuclear kind.

 

Post bomb blast scenes… horrific fright,

Crawling amidst… the nuclear night,

The tough old bug… that now encroaches,

Our world overrun… by the cockroaches!

R U Dying 2 B Thin?

Fashion runway models, pop divas, Hollywood film stars… with an assist from Madison Avenue (m)admen / (m)adwomen… all conspire to “sell” their thin is “in” mantra to overly impressionable young women and girls.

The problem here is we’re not talking about a glow of good health thin. We’re talking walking cadaver type thin… deadly thin… what the medical profession diagnoses as an eating disorder a.k.a. anorexia.

Having worked in sales / management for two big-name, retail clothiers for thirty years, I must’ve sold, literally, thousands of pairs of jeans. And, amidst that immense blur of store patrons, I had actually waited on a young woman who, in all likelihood, had been brainwashed into an eating disorder by that abovementioned, pop culture cast of characters (or perhaps even by a parent and/or other family member).

It is the memory of her, which, to this very day, still tends to haunt me. I cannot help but wonder… what ever happened to her? Did anyone ever get to her in time? Is she even alive today?

I’d now like to tell you how our paths crossed. While I never got to know her by name, let’s call her Harriet.

I was working the day shift when Harriet came into shop. Letting her browse a few minutes… she eventually wound up in the jeans section. I approached and, after we exchanged the “Hi, how are ya?” pleasantries, I described the various fits in our product line. From years of experience, I already had a pretty good idea which one would best compliment her slender physique.

Since she was short and those smaller sizes were (where else?) on the top shelf, I fetched two pairs down for her. I then escorted her to a changing room. A few minutes later… she emerged. She had nailed the perfect pair of jeans on her very first try!

The only problem was… between the two of us… I was the only one who had thought so. Harriet didn’t even need to say a word… I could already tell from her long face. In a sad tone of voice she then said…

“I really need to lose more weight before I buy new jeans.”

I was so stunned I didn’t quite know what to say. As she went back into the changing room, I thought to myself… why would anyone who fits perfectly into a “size one” even want to lose one single ounce?

Not taking the time to try on the second pair, Harriet soon reemerged. In my usual low-pressure selling style, I told her that she REALLY had found the perfect jeans… and added (with a chuckle) that I wasn’t “just saying that” to make a sale. She smiled slightly… yet… wasn’t ready to either buy my pitch or the jeans.

I then offered to put them on hold… to give her more time to think about it… and she reluctantly agreed… adding that if she wasn’t back in an hour… I could put them back on the shelf.

I then reached for our denim brochure, took out my pen, circled the fit she had just tried on and then handed it to her… telling her that if she didn’t make it back that day… at least she’d know what to ask for the next time she shopped with us.

Well, off Harriet went back into the mall and off I went on my lunch break. An hour later I found her jeans still sitting on the hold closet’s shelf. As I put them back out onto the selling floor… again I wondered…

Why would anyone who wears a “size one” want to lose more weight?

The outcome of unresolved anorexia is never good. I can only hope that someone in Harriet’s life got to her in time to save her very life.

As for putting an end to the totally unrealistic body images being portrayed in the media / pop culture…

We’ve Only Just Begun… as sung by anorexia sufferer, the late Karen Carpenter.

Ageism/Racism: The Unattractive Reality

Our appearance. It’s how others judge us. More to the point… oft summarily prejudge us. To say the least… exhibiting THAT type of behavior is NOT attractive. To say more… real life experiments have exposed this oft-ugly side of human nature.

In late 1959… author John Howard Griffin, managed to successfully pass himself off as a black man after first taking massive, oral doses of the anti-vitiligo drug, methoxsalen, and spending 15 hours per day under an ultraviolet lamp.

Then, for six weeks, he proceeded to travel throughout America’s, racially segregated Deep South by Greyhound Bus and by hitchhiking. To summarize the story, which he related in his book Black Like Me, he had faced down the typical, brutal bigotry, which the region of that era had been known for.

More recently… actress Roxanne Pallett had successfully passed herself off as a ninety-year-old woman, courtesy of a four-hour process where she was fitted with Hollywood type prosthetics and had applications of special makeup.

She then faced the public… and long story short… had experienced the ill-mannered indifference and ill-tempered impatience of those younger than she.

Folks, I’ve seen this ageism, first hand, too, in the grocery store checkout lane. I watched a woman, ahead of me in line, slowly writing out a check… her noticeably arthritic fingers having a tough time holding onto her pen. Then, after she had left, as the younger cashier rang up my purchase, she rolled her eyes, shook her head and said, with unforgiving, under her breath scorn, “Some people…” She never finished her sentence… not that I had ever really wanted her to do so.

I, too, have undergone my own transformation. True, mine merely involves my normal, day-to-day physiology / aging process doing its thing. But… I can certainly attest to much of what Pallett had related re her own experiences.

Shopping while gray ~ I’ve oft experienced store clerks’ “special treatment” / their “looking right through me” stares. I’ve practically heard their internal voices, bouncing about within their cranial abyss, saying…”Eh… who needs him?” OR “He’s just an old geezer who’s gonna kick off any day now!” OR “He probably doesn’t have a lot of money, anyway, so who needs him?” OR “Ignore it and maybe it’ll go away!”

It was only after I grew my hair to shoulder length that, all the sudden, I started finding the store clerks rushing up to me to cautiously, nervously “offer” me their “help.” Truth is, they’re wrongfully suspecting that I’m going to rip them off (read more here).

Imagine how demoralizing and frustrating it is to be perceived to be someone you know you are not. Perhaps, you don’t need to imagine?

Racism and ageism wrongfully punish us for our physical appearance… for traits that (unless one is part of some sociological experiment), one has no control over. Melanin content is in our DNA. So is how soon and how fast the wrinkles and other signs of aging manifest themselves.

Superficial characteristics have absolutely nothing to do with who we actually are… who we oft are wrongfully being judged to be.

Those who think small have yet to realize that we all begin aging on the day we are born… that, someday, they, too, will feel the heartbreak of being unjustly perceived as “not-valid” human beings.

Go-Green-Lean-Clean: A Reader Participation Blog

Welcome to Earth Day 2016. My question to all WordPress readers:

What are you doing to prevent Earth from becoming an ecological disaster area?

My comment box awaits your replies.

While you are typing away (input, here, is totally optional) if you have specific info to show that what you are doing is making a difference, include that, too.

ADDENDUM: Saturday, April 23, 2016 9:23 a.m. ~ Since every day should be Earth Day, I still am interested in your comments… be your posting them to tell us about the ways you Go-Green-Lean-Clean in your day-to-day lives OR to discuss, in general, any other issues of the environment important to you/ to us all.

PS… my thanks to all who have already commented and clicked my “Like Star”.

To get the comments rolling…

Here are a few of my Go-Green-Lean-Clean ideas:

1. I only plug in my laptop and printer when I’m using them… this saves 365 kilowatt hours annually. Compared to my past usage… it’s as if my power company is now billing me only for 10 months each year. For even greater kWh savings I also unplug audio / video gear when not in use.

2. I recently had more insulation blown into my attic and have installed energy efficient windows and entrance doors. The reduction in my monthly electric/gas bills has been dramatic.

3. In the winter, I keep my furnace’s thermostat set at 62 degrees by day / 55 by night. Staying warm is not tough… that’s what long johns, bulky sweaters and extra blankets are for. In the summertime, I’ve totally stopped using AC.

4. With my insulation backed curtains drawn shut, this keeps heat in when I need it / out when I don’t. And since nobody can see inside, during summer it’s clothing optional (OK… that last tidbit probably was a bit more than you needed to know… but… hey… LOL… it’s all going towards the Go-Green-Lean-Clean greater good.

5. Rather than drive… I power walk to nearly all my local destinations (yes… fully clothed). This not only saves gasoline but is great exercise. Btw… I only have 40,000 miles on my car, which I’ve owned for 17 years.

Well, it’s now your turn…

I’d love to hear about your own Go-Green-Lean-Clean ideas. The goal, here, is for us to make this list as long as possible. My comment box is standing by…

Oh… btw… even if you’re not adding to the list… per se… I still welcome your comments / observations…