Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Debt

This article suggests the U.S. gvt. is an unwelcome oil oligarchy, entirely supported by either weapons trade or oil taxes. It should lead the world in education related to STEM fields but that involves a long approach of preparing students for engineering from an early age and basically requiring them to become engineers (which I support). It's disappointing that with all this income there is still going to be a $20 trillion debt. Maybe when professional lawyers, accountants, and economists are elected to represent 300 million people and they manage to get $20 trillion in debt it's safe to say there has been a failure in education or else massive corruption. Even Mexico is 'only' $35 billion in debt. Think about it. Not even $1 Trillion. Not even half a Trillion. More like a 30th of a Trillion. A 30th!! A Trillion is 1000 Billion. So $20 Trillion is 20,000 Billion...and Mexico is only $35 billion in debt. And the US will soon be $20,000Billion in debt.  $20,000,000,000,000.
How can we take anyone seriously who is that deep in debt? I get anxious when I'm $180 in debt. I guess the answer is by not taking debt seriously, which makes me wonder if debt actually exists or if it's a manufactured concept to manipulate fear in the populace. The only way that's getting answered is with a global economy collapse...and history suggests that's in the near future. So this bickering about politics and taxes will all be irrelevant soon.
My advice for 2015: Put all your savings in oil when it reaches $30 a barrel. Bankrupt all the small energy companies, bankrupt Russia, Saudi Arabia, consolidate all your investments in ExxonMobil.



They were only $16,000,000,000,000 short. hahahaha

I was going to start a campaign to pay off the debt but someone already tried that. It's definitely the worst campaign video I've ever seen and is amusing. I think it's funny that people take the government seriously when it's $20 trillion in debt. You've got to be a total asshole to obey anyone that deep in debt. At what point do people take notice? What level of illegitimacy does Washington have to reach in order to be voided? I think $20 Trillion is beyond any rational limit. Who is more crazy: Asshole A who over-spent by $20 trillion or Asshole B who pays attention to Asshole A on matters of finance and social reform? If I bought 10 Lamborghinis and was $1 million in debt, would you take me seriously? No, Oggy has $0 debt and he's considered a slimy ignorant piece of shit. Ok. That makes sense. I need to buy a $200,000 mortgage before I'm an adult. Ok.

2015

A long way from Pecos, Texas

It's a cliche to wish people a generic happy new year. You get the life you deserve for the most part, the life you earn with effort. Ain't nothing handed out in life, even food stamps are a full time job to obtain. I've been crippled by back spasms recently and can barely walk to the kitchen for a banana. My routine of twice daily ventures to the gym has been interrupted by Guatemalan holiday vacations and that left my spine to decay back to it's normal crippled state.

terraza view of Xela to the Northeast
I'll write a 2014 year in review one of these days. It went by fast, didn't it?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Guitar Chords With Roots on Every String




I decided the video was insufficient to demonstrate what I'm talking about. I only went through this trouble because I had not yet encountered this particular method so maybe it's novel. In the Levelland jazz class I took I learned the horizontal chord voicings, taking a GM7 on the 3rd fret and then moving to the GM7 on the 5th fret, then a GM7 on the 8th fret and then a GM7 on the 12th fret, and finally the 15th fret is the same as the 3rd. There is also one on the 10th fret but for some reason we didn't do much with that voicing, which I didn't care about because it was the one voicing of the Maj7 that I already knew. I feel this vertical method is as important as the horizontal method.


This was painful to make so donate to the SPCA if you find it useful

The main breakthrough that this method helped me reach was learning all the notes on the 3rd and 4th strings, which were a little hazy above the 7th fret because I simply did not play chord voicings that had roots on those strings/frets...and that's how I memorized all the other strings. I've heard one simple method for learning notes is to find all the BC_D notes and directly beneath then are the EF_G notes. It's at least something to start with but I've found knowing the chord shapes with root notes on all the strings really helped me memorize the notes....and furthermore, this particular skill, playing these 3 chord qualities with roots on any string...is actually a portion of the jury exam that one must pass to graduate. I tried to write a computer program that would simulate this exam but I couldn't do it. I think there are random string generators online that you can program with music note names and qualities and string number but the easiest thing would be to make three stacks of flash cards. One set has all the note names on it Ab, A, Bb, B, C, Db, D...etc. The other set has three qualities, Major 7, Minor 7, Dominant 7. And the last set has the numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6. Shuffle and Pick one card from each set and play that chord. D...... dominant 7.......root on the 3rd string. It would look like the Bb7 in my picture, except played on the 7th fret. See, everything is movable but if you don't know the actual names of the strings then you are either relying totally on your ear, which makes you more awesome than Oggy, or you only play the chords in the voicings and positions that you've always known and you never venture beyond that comfort zone. I played the 5th string root Maj7 formation exclusively for about 13 years. I got so sick of shifting 7 frets when I needed to play a maj7 chord that I broke down and drove to God-forsaken* North Texas to learn how to play better. This diagram is a way to push yourself into some different positions and it's definitely how professionals think, and you won't have to live in Levelland if you study hard enough.

This is by no means exhaustive, as there are voicings up the ass, high, low, drop 2, drop 3, 11th extensions...diminished, augmented, etc. But these three qualities and these limited voicings should give you something to work on.  One hint that I've learned is the professionals don't play these complete voicings. They simplify them to maybe two or three notes and concentrate on rhythm. They know what the whole formation looks like but speed and instrumentation make them simplify the chord shape.

One of the exercises I did was to play iimi7 / V7 / Imaj7 in any key and any position, and it's really not complicated because all the voicings you see in the picture are within a fret of each other when played in a particular key. It's a different lesson so I'll save that for later. I probably saw this lesson half a dozen times before I finally understood what it was demonstrating. It's merely a way to revoice the same chord so your comping can have some kind of momentum and variety. Western Swinger guitarist Eldon Shamblin made a career out of revoicing the same chords to make it sound like he was playing some complicated arrangement, when really it was just Shamblin who was complicated.

There's also a formation at the 10th fret but for some reason these 4 grips are the main ones for each chord quality.


*Considering Lubbock is the "city of 200 churches" this depiction is wrong. God has totally occupied North Texas. I mean it is flat and windy and everyone is white and wears cowboy hats and their "frontier days" parade is almost identical to a normal day. North Texas is like a huge boring theme park for Baptists where you don't ride on a hay wagon unless you pitched all the hay onto the wagon first. And you study animal husbandry or petroleum engineering. People in North Texas think Los Angeles is a fictional place invented to demonstrate the horrors that happen when you stray from God. It's noteworthy to point out that Los Angeles requires North Texas for survival, but North Texas would not blink if all of Los Angeles vanished. The most radical thing that happened in the history of North Texas was a Bluegrass music program was started at a community college. My arrival there is still discussed in coffee shops. In all my travels I've never met someone from North Texas outside of North Texas. North Texas is the only place in the last 20 years that I've been able to go to a street called Main Street and have a cup of coffee and slice of pie made by Ma at a cafe called "Ma's Cafe" next door to a western wear store whose owner is the cashier, across the street from the city hall/jail/courthouse where every week business owners play old country songs in a gazebo on a lawn. If you are under 30 years old then you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. 
I was driving to New Mexico way up in North Texas and honestly my road map got sucked out the van window. It took me a minute to get the van under control and turn around and go back to get the map, laying in the middle of the road. As an experiment I decided to wait to see how long before another car came and forced me out of the road. Another car never came. Finally a rancher drove slowly along his fence line and asked if I was ok. Probably thought I was stoned. I said I was fine and he nodded and went to check on his cattle. I finally got bored and started driving west again. I could see New Mexico about 40 minutes before I got there.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Soap Box

I've barely started my research into the history of Guatemala but what I've read so far confirms my suspicion that U.S. foreign policy led directly to the conditions that required Guatemalans to flee north, where the same country that undermined their democracy in the '50s because it had hints of social welfare programs, would later condemn them for fleeing the civil war caused by the aforementioned foreign policy. It's blatant, but I'm also close to a breakthrough on the mentality of jingoism. By pointing out injustice I can be accused of "rooting for the opposition" and dismissed. This suits the agenda of the political elite because it negates debate and allows them to avoid justifying their actions. Noam Chomsky is often accused of anti-American sentiments. If criticizing government policy makes you Communist then Bill O'Reilly is one of the biggest Communists in media. One response of Chomsky's was, "We should abide by the rules we agreed to." another comment was "I listen to the population." He's not pro-statist but I don't think he's anti-statist; he's more like a political agnostic. As politicians can not yet be trusted, democracy is not possible, so statism always becomes elitist and rife with special interests the voting public had no control over...thus it's not a democracy. If you go to get your car painted red and it's returned to you as a green van, then that's a problem. It's not a question of anarco-libertarianism being better than democracy, because democracy is only how textbooks define America and isn't really true. So, do we want a transparent film of "democracy" covering a bleeding scab of special interests or do we merely want anarchy. The population has chosen the former because it basically helps avoid civil wars and I think the collective fear of war is stronger than the collective desire for some ideal form of government. We'd rather slowly creep toward idealism than make any sudden moves.

Well, in 1954 and then in 1982 Guatemala tried to make two extreme lateral moves on the political spectrum and those two events, both involving the CIA, are still causing problems.

Chomsky listens to the population. Whatever country is in question has a population, not the elite, not the media, not the politicians, not the military but the population and those are who he listens to. And that's the difference because the population can not write a press release the "words" he hears are open to debate. He interprets them one way and someone else refuses to even hear them because the media or politicians have a neat package that explains everything. The population is dismissed in favor of a guy in an expensive suit who is on television. It's ludicrous, but maybe it's a desire of trust in the media that some people rely on because to distrust the media would leave them in the hellish world Oggy lives in, and that's distasteful so they cling to the known, even if the known may be lies.

Remember Harry Wu who was imprisoned not because he was anti-state, but because he was not blatantly pro state? That's the kind of rhetoric I hear directed at Chomsky. He is never anti-America, but he is routinely not pro-America. He waves no flag, and that's traitorous in the same way Chairman Mao demanded aggressively loyal subjects. It seems this loyalty trait is not confined to China.

The lesson here is that I've landed in a country that politically is like the United States in 1880, still recovering from a long (30 years) civil war that basically started when Jacobo Arbenz was overthrown by Eisenhower's thugs and progressed through several awful regimes involving leftists, rightists, anarchists, Mayans, guerrilla groups, communists, and several coup d'etats. It's way more colorful and complex than the North vs South 1862 U.S. civil war. For instance, the B actor turned politician Ronald Reagan authorized full support of Efrain Rios Montt and Montt was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity as recently as last year. Montt had his own brand of ethnic cleansing fully funded by Reagan's CIA and ignored by everyone who wanted cheap bananas. President Clinton had to formally apologize for the previous President's support but for some reason probably involving utter irresponsibility on the part of America, Reagan was not charged with any crime. If it were up to me Ronald and Eisenhower would be charged posthumously with crimes against humanity. Why? Because I'm Anti-American? Because I'm a Liberal? Because I smoked pot? No. Because it's true.

I'm still learning about the details but the evidence strongly supports the conclusion that America twice aligned itself with a brutal, genocidal military regime, twice enabled widespread massacres and destruction of sovereignty and then immediately detained the refugees who crossed the border seeking refuge from the death squads who were trained by the CIA. It reads like a bleak novel where the villain is this fictional country called "The U.S." and by the end of the book it will be exposed and overthrown to great celebration.

But it's not a book and it's not fiction. They are still digging up bodies with Israeli and American bullets in them. It seems that all of Central America's conflicts arose from a U.S. effort to eradicate any hint of socialism, again, because socialism would raise the price of fruit cocktails. So the question is if pointing this out makes me anti-America? Another complaint about Chomsky is that he doesn't offer solutions and it's true that his lectures usually involve history and facts, not the future. But I feel the solution is unstated because it's obvious: justice. Listen to the population and facilitate justice for the population. That's all. The details are complicated but if we start with that simple premise then we'll make progress. Chomsky likes to say that one either defends state violence or denounces it and if I'm going to polarize the debate then that's a pretty good line to draw...either you approve of state violence like the overthrow of Arbenz, who was born in the city I live in now, or you denounce it. If we differ on that opinion then everything else is impossible. No discourse can begin. One of the great regrets of the future will be that we squandered the intellect of someone like Chomsky by requiring him to explain to us what just happened. It's pretty sad when we need smart people to analyze current events for us. He can write essays about the future but I think he knows that the details will require someone to be alive to see the plan through so his recommendations today will all sound a little off when we finally get around to implementing them after he dies. And it's obvious we have not all agreed to denounce state violence so the future is still imperiled.

And I would point out that one of the main conservative attacks on Chomsky is that "He profits from his lectures, so he's a special interest hypocrite." Ok, BUT WHAT DOES THAT MAKE ME? I guess I'm a tree hugger bleeding heart idiot who laps up all the drivel that Chomsky pukes out in his quest to misinform and manipulate everyone into hating America. Sure. But I don't hate America; I hate injustice; I hate the injustice America is responsible for. I denounce it. Chomsky did not fund and openly support a genocidal military dictatorship in Guatemala...and if he did I would denounce him. In this case Chomsky denounced it and was ignored while the highest elected official in America, who would get re-elected and honored and revered...but was actually a poorly cloaked global villain....enabled Mayan genocide. Those are the unpleasant facts, and if you approve of disguised* state violence then your response is a shoulder shrug or maybe pointing out that Reagan's whole strategy was to bankrupt Russia so everything he did was justified. But if you denounce state violence then you demand justice. Sadly, all this involves education and when the state controls the media then that's impossible without being proactive and also skeptical. I know people who voted for genocide when they voted for Reagan, but they would not feel responsible because they didn't know the facts, and now it's too late so it's pointless to argue about it.

*For the record, Reagan claimed Montt was "improving the conditions for Guatemalans" and if by Guatemalans he meant the elite ruling class then he was telling the truth and Montt was justified in slaughtering 3000 Mayan farmers a month. I, however, include the Mayans in the category of Guatemalans so Reagan  therefore enabled Genocide with his propaganda. In a just world Obama would not need to proclaim a moratorium on undocumented immigrants who fled Guatemala in 1983 because any decent person would understand the situation and immediately offer refuge to them instead of detaining them to ship back to the death squad. Any decent person would defend said refugee from a detention squad because state violence can only be healed by state mercy.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Choosing Words Carefully

I've been having weird dreams lately. One dream involved my riding on top of a freight train, the train stopped way in the middle of a broad desert and I got off and walked around...and then I saw that another train was coming down the track...and I waved the train down and it was being followed by a path of fire...and the second train was actually being pushed by a 2nd generation Ford Econoline, a different color and style than El Conquistador but it wasn't on fire; it was setting everything on fire around it. And another dream involved internet comments and in the future everyone is only allowed a single quote that they can use for comments. I mean that you only get one quote and that's the only comment you can make on internet content. Some people have signatures to their internet identity, and this is an extension of that except all you get is your signature. You can not expand on your signature. Your signature quote is the only comment you can make. And it's strange but also not much different than people repeating themselves with different words. In the future you won't be given different words, you only get a certain quote to use and that's all. So maybe in 2015 I will only use a single quote...to stay ahead of the curve. And I have 6 days to decide on the only comment I will be able to make for 1 year. 
I doubt I'll be able to limit myself but it will be a game. Is there a quote that summarizes every comment I could make?

The quotes I'm leaning toward are these: 

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.” F. Nietzsche

"It is men who take ventures who make the world. It is courage the world needs...launch out into deep waters. Half measures, trimming the shore in shallow waters, never pays anything."  Sir William Grenfell


"The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people. "
Cesar Chavez 


Those would look a little strange on an article about baseball but there's a lesson in that. I probably wrote something worth repeating but to find it I'll have to reread everything I wrote and that's not going to happen. 

A Christmas Card From A Gypsy in Guatemala

Actually this Tom Waits song is called A Christmas Card From A Hooker in Minneapolis. It's the kind of song that requires personality as it's being sung from the perspective of another person, down and out and in jail, lying about themselves like everyone seems to do nowadays on their status pages. No one wants to be in rehab or depressed so we dress our egos up in elf suits with a silk tie wrapped around our false smiles. A video is out there that has Waits start off and end with Silent Night and I ripped that approach off because I can't improve on it.



I can't really sing loud because the apartment building I've landed in actually has occupants and it's this open central courtyard and I know my piano echos through the halls and makes the Guatemalans wonder who is playing Barry Manilow or Nat King Cole. (I like to the everyone I wrote Some Enchanted Evening.)

I seem to remember being stuck in the mud in Northern Louisiana last year at this time, somewhere near Shreveport, where a new salt water disposal facility was being built. I tolerated it in hopes that one day I would be in Guatemala with a piano and a year later that has come true. The path is clear that I should only play jazz standards at fancy restaurants or cruise ships. I could play Ain't Misbehaving for hours consecutively and the pain in my neck is always worth it.

I have almost exhausted my bucket list. If I can spend a little more time writing about Santa Cruz then maybe I will silence my demons and finally have a silent night.

Merry Christmas to all.

Xela, named by Mayans after 10 peaks...and that's one of them. It's located over 7000ft above sea level which is why I must wear a coat.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Only Google Sent Me A Christmas Card This Year


Because I'm not already media saturated Google decided to quit edit my uploaded photos into a slide show and even added music. This kind of creeps me out because I know a person did not actually compile this slide show, so it was all a computer browsing my photos of Alligator swamp lizards in the high Chisos Mountains and Santa Elena canyon and my endless maintenance of my van. This is interesting because I've seen all and shared most of these photos but what's depressing are the photos and memories that Google is not aware of and thus virtually don't exist. You would think that watching this slideshow that you are witnessing my year in review but there were many pivotal events that I could not write about nor photograph as they were emotionally personal. I remember crossing the border into Mexico from Texas and giving spare change to a man with a club foot. Many people are bilingual near the border and we discussed my van. That incident is not in this slideshow. Nor is the 60 amp fuse that I blew because I didn't wrap a wire splice with enough electrical tape.

So this is the generic Oggy's 2014 Review as compiled by a loveless computer. It's incomplete, and yet, it's something.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Thinking Outside the Gridiron

This won't happen any time soon but as an example of a non-intuitive approach to problem solving I have a theory that the way to make pro football more safe is to double the schedule and have teams play at least twice a week. Maybe even three times a week. Instead of 16 games, the schedule would be 48 games long in the same time period from Sept to January. My theory is that like basketball and baseball which have 82 and 160 games respectively, the NFL players will pace themselves, the physical nature of the hits will have to be turned down. Every week you can decide to play utterly fatigued because you went all out during the last game, or you pace yourself, like NBA and MLB players. The reason the NFL is so violent is because the players have 6 days to lift weights, replenish their energy and they know they will have 6 days off after the game so they give 100%. This makes for a high impact/energy game but it's clearly too violent even for the taste of the owners as more and more rules are being made to protect players. Well, what the fuck? The rules aren't working because it's rarely a dirty hit that causes the injury and the hits that get the flag aren't the ones that cause injury. The extreme nature of the game has not changed at all because the players themselves have no incentive to go easy. The only way to give them an incentive is by punishing them with more games so they physically can not be as violent and careless because they know in three days they have to do it all over again. That is exactly how MLB and NBA get through their seasons, they pace themselves. The teams that don't pace themselves are without key players late in the season.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Bordering On Madness

“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
 
Imagine this scene with my van somewhere in the middle of it
This will be my summary account of crossing the Mexico/Guatemala border at the El Carmen "Talisman" crossing a week or two ago. In addition to my fictionalization of the drama I will try to include some factual information of what anyone foolish enough to attempt this in the future will need. I accept no responsibility for what happens to you if you attempt this crossing. If you want to read a good concise description of the process without profanity go here.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Songwriting Masterclass

This is the stuff that makes me smile. If loving the band Bread is wrong then I don't want to be right. James Griffin was a strong songwriter and singer with Bread but David Gates got the spotlight. It's sometimes hard to tell which high alto singer is Gates or Griffin. This is a tune Bread released but the studio version is too complicated with some kind of synthesized horn sound ruining the simplicity. I like this song even though it blatantly and repeatedly misuses the word "just", which is my pet grammar peeve, but I feel in lyrics it is permissible. It's also permissible as long as you are wearing leather pants* and a denim shirt with embroidered flowers and playing a grand piano and can sing the shit out a song like Griffin.  I like Jackson Browne's solo stuff too but they are probably pressured into a production room because there's more money in a band. Griffin flubs the very last piano note so you know it's real. Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters by Elton John, and For A Dancer by Jackson Browne are high on my list of excellence. In Your Eyes by Billy Squire is up there too so Rock can be represented.

*There is another video of Griffin's set on The Old Grey Whistle Test program and he's wearing shiny black leather rocker pants.

Catching Up

Seriously Large monastery somewhere in a place no tourists visit.
Leaving Atlixco was unnecessary and probably foolish. It's paradise on earth. But my goal was to write my Santa Cruz epic novel and that floundered amid my punditry and online wars with other pundits....a failing I blame on my moral weakness.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Windshield or Dog?

No harm was done to this dog.

I´m almost beaten by the change in misfortunes. I told the man at the Mx-Guatemalan border that because I had no solution for his situation that I was going to pray for him and he should also pray. Indescribably bleak, like Karachi or Sao Paolo. My prayers were kind of answered by a short term solution involving a guide cooperative at the border to offer services to those crossing by vehicle. I write the whole process out in English, translate it to Spanish and then set up a booth where the guides can be hired to facilitate the process. That makes sense even if it probably won´t work. Right now the situation is beyond hopeless and is getting worse and violence is soon to follow. 100 people fighting over a bone that is still on pig´s leg walking around. But all my notes for that project soon were lost on the streets of Queztaltenango. I hunted for them but could not find them. So what kind of a sign am I to take from that?


Real glamorous night in Tapantepec, Mexico 

The difficulties soon began after crossing the border as the verticle climb out of the border valley is a sheer cliff that El Conquistador bitterly tackled. A sailboat can technically navigate a reef or rocky shoals...and technically El Conquistador can handle this terrain. But in both cases one mistake and it´s a long ride home on a bus full of broken dreams. I felt this way in Labrador, that I´d pushed the limit of the van and myself, no funds, no support, tires falling off, the wolf soon extinct, but I pressed on. Now I feel that it´s a one way trip, that no one could navigate the van backwards. One problem will follow the other until the final straw sends the van to the bottom of a cliff.
The second casualty of Guatemala
One night in Guatemala and the funnel(cap) to my spare fuel tank vanished while I slept. I wish they had taken the whole tank as it cracked in the sunlight. Why steal the funnel part? Pointless. Then I lose all my notes for saving the economy of Guatemala...The moped would not start in my desperate attempt to avoid driving. The plugs were fouled...maybe the altitude of 8000 ft is the problem. I drive off and the rear view mirror falls out of the frame and cracks in half on the ground...
I find a place that is flat to properly get my hands dirty fixing the moped....spend two hours cleaning everything....it starts at the exact moment near dusk that a large dog is struck by a truck about 30 feet away from me. The dog´s leg flies off like the animal had stepped on a landmine. I see the leg arc through the reddening sky,...the animal has broken back, no leg, motionless, starts to whine. A volcano nearby has erupted but the busy highway brings no serenity. I think, ¨travel means fixing petty bullshit in exotic places.¨

There are thousands of stray dogs here..that make the Mexican stray dogs look as healthy as Odie and Marmaduke. To make my point about 15 stray dogs came out to bark at the dying, 3 legged dog in the road. Maybe they were mocking him. But to see one maimed and killed in front of me still pained me. It whined pitifully until it was run over repeatedly by another truck or two. I kicked the tires of the moped in futile anger, unable to help. I had no resources to drag the dog to the side and didn´t want to risk my life for a dog corpse. And I was disappointed in myself and the world. I should note that Guatemalans like Mexicans and other Central Americans have a high tolerance for stray dogs. much higher than Americans. Americans think that by rounding the dogs up and executing about 90% of them that they are more humane. How the fuck is that more humane? Well, dogs run free and wild in Central America and locals do not mistreat them and do try to avoid hitting them with their trucks and buses. But in this case it was getting dark and the dog was dark and picked a busy time of day to dart across the street...so it died. No one tried to kill the dog and it was probably dragged to the shoulder when traffic died down. Locals do not deign to interfere with dog survival. It is more a "live and let live" situation. In some towns there are so many stray dogs that their corpses are burned to generate energy. Imagine 200,000 stray dogs. I should also note that people approach me daily who are undernourished. I'm wearing a ridiculous Mayan bracelet that I had to buy out of pity. Guatemala is not like Haiti, but someone from Haiti might just prefer to stay in Haiti if they were offered the option to immigrate to Guatemala. My point is that resources are stressed here and dogs obey the Pope too so the result is rough.

All the signs pointed for me to get away but there is no away. Oggy has come to the end of the road and he can´t go back. Surrounded by volcanos.

Of course it´s my fault for trying to find a culture that isn´t poisoned and I accept that. I´m hungry now and can not adequately type on this broke ass internet cafe keyboard. Now I remember why I like my own computer.

My advice is to Pray.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Desperation

Now I have arrived at the edge of darkness, the lawless land. I met a toothless coyote bringing 4 Honduran teens north. they had only small backpacks...the coyote had nothing. they had no papers so could not drive so they walked and jumped the train and took the bus at night so they could pretend to be asleep at the checkpoints.
Ï ask who is in charge, and no one answers.
this is a desperation that wakes me up. it´s hot, I´m sweating and thirsty and many people are hungry. Lawyers, guns and money would solve all my problems.
 the resources in Chiapas are stressed to breaking. The coyote said,´once, this was Guatemala.¨and he´s speaking of Chiapas...so now Guatemalans recross the border that was once somewhere else as this story plays out repeatedly in history.
This is beyond changing, it is human nature. so is the part about villanizing people struggling to survive. the coyote was toothless and he was escorting teens to the northern promised land, but I had a nice conversation with him. I think he was an American citizen...somehow, spoke english, he seemed a bit of a philosopher and a student of life.
I need a quesedilla.

I will try to write a detailed essay of this particular scenario but it requires some time to digest. But for now I want to warn anyone approaching Guatemala and Central America in general that things are kind of desperate here. grown men ride bicycles far into the mountains to pick up wood, small branches and then bicycle back to town with the fuel for their Mezcal refineries. It´s good mezcal, espcially the jamaica flavored, but my point is the lengths we will go to survive. that´s the issue really. Only innocent Oggy would go to Guatemala to look for work while thousands flee because of lack of work. I am resourceful, but more than that I can´t tolerate the level of manipulation I´ve seen in the north. it´s pure poison, obviously debilitating to mankind, but because it produces sales it is allowed. I want a place that does not tolerate slimfast garbage and that makes me a fundamentalist, a pilgrim, a religious refugee...the exodus of one in a 45 year old mayflower.

do what you will do but when you approach Guatemala hide your valuables, don´t hand your paperwork to anyone without a visible gun....don´t believe anyone who is walking...only converse with individuals in an office in a uniform. be prepared for chaos.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Detour

Rough day of driving....like crossing a parking lot full of tire curbs and simply driving over all the curbs one after another for hours
Crubs? No problem, just drive over them...for hours.
I made one mistake after another, got so lost I didn´t even bother asking the people where I was...it would`ve been embarrancar. I had some musing that basically involved an outline of a person....and every day is a pencil line in filling the person´s outline up. and the pencil lines are richness...but not necessarily riches. There is a fine difference between the two. Richness is watching the sun set, smelling flowers, breathing mountain air. Riches is importing fish, drawing blueprints of a garage, programming an animated dog.

More on that later.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Sign From Aztec Gods?


Tranquility

So, my last day in Atlixco, packed, even woke up before noon, a final picture of El Conquistador between the volcanoes and the cloudless sky, the Paso de Cortes right around the smoke stack.

And then about 40 seconds later...



A sign?



Moments after turning around to get out of town the volcano erupts. It´s active and usually puffs ash but not during the 30 seconds I happen to have my van in front of it. Even if you don´t believe in signs this will make wonder....a van called El Conquistador has about a 120 second window of opportunity in front of two volcanoes named by Aztecs...like 400 years after the Conquistadores existed...and the volcano erupts at that exact moment?

I took it as a sign to turn south...head toward unknown lands.

Atlixco Survived
I was curious so I cheated with this compilation


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Futility

American news looks more and more like a soap opera that is going to get cancelled.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Screenshot Trivia #3

Screenshot #1
Too easy but kind of obscure. I think you can deduce the movie from this screenshot. But it will hopefully inspire some to revisit this fine movie.

Pipeliner


This song is finally in the ballpark for a demo version complete with my vocal effect unit that makes me sound like Kermit the Frog. It sucks having the soul of Jackson Browne and the the voice of Pee Wee Herman but the good lord may shine his love upon me one day and inspire a pretty, popular artist to record one of my songs.

Pipeliner was intended to get me thinking outside the box, a love song from the wife of a dead pipeline welder, a tribute to the working man from the female perspective. I demonstrated my ability to write totally noncommercial novelty songs but Pipeliner is as commercial as I can make it: pro oil, pro capitalism, pro working class, pro traditional family...(I'm still working on a lyric about his dog and truck but I made up for it with a line about his Lincoln Welder)...except I'm a man singing it for my gay welder husband. Damn it, please let Taylor Swift hear this and record it and put "Written by Oggy Bleacher" on her platinum album! Please GOD LET THAT HAPPEN so I can retire to Belize with the royalties of this cheese fest. Is that asking too much?

And lest ye judge me need I remind you of the years spent in the oil field freezing with no fat on my ass, nothing to protect me from the Louisiana hippie haters and mud up to my balls trying desperately to inject the earth with poisoned frac water.
The flood lights aren't up, because I haven't put them up yet.
I work next to these pipefitters, welders, electricians, concrete form setters, engineers. Fucking 4 stories in the air with a bitter wind in my face on an extending crane swaying in the breeze with a giant light assembly dangling from my lips. Many die, many widows are made, many lunches and next to work boots that will never be worn again. In fact, the work boots I own are from a man who could no longer walk after a life in the oil field. He could not put the boots on...so he sold them. IF THERE IS A GOD THEN HE WILL LET TAYLOR SWIFT RECORD THIS SONG! AMEN.

tree shadow

Hhahaa, I just realize the whole song should end with 'Amen' because that's even more American than a widow of a pipeliner singing a song to her dead husband. The Pipeliner Tribute Song.


ps. my piano lick is inspired by, but not an exact rip-off of, Jackson Browne's Birds of Saint Marks. So he doesn't get writing credit.

The chords are the standard C/ami/F/G...the chorus is F/G/ami and the bridge is ami/G. I rewrote the lyrics from what I sing but this is what I've got so far:

Pipeliner
By Oggy Bleacher

It's 4am, I'll make the coffee.
You can sleep a little more.
I'll put your lunch
with your work boots
beside the kitchen door

chorus: Pipeliner, when are you coming home.
You've been gone so long
I'll be waiting for you when the day is through
I'll be waiting here for you.

In the field the work is hard the day is long
your Lincoln Welder is your pride
Another bead around another mile of pipe
you're never satisfied

chorus

bridge: you and I we had so many years together
you were a lover and a friend
now the days are long, the nights are deathly quiet
and in the morning I pretend

It's 4am, I'll make the coffee
you can sleep a little more.
I'll put your lunch
with your work boots beside the kitchen door

chorus.

It's simple, a video of Taylor Swift singing and a sepai-toned widow making coffee for her dead husband, a dog waiting sadly at the door next to some work boots, an American Flag. That's a Platinum record right there courtesy of Oggy Bleacher. No, let's have more booty jiggle videos. yeah. I'll go ahead and starve to death.

Slap in Face

America: the country where you can be considered too mentally ill to execute after murdering your in-laws, but you can be lawfully murdered by the police for selling loose cigarettes.

The best comment I read about the state sanctioned street execution of Eric Garner was when one Conservative scumbag wrote, "Garner wasn't exactly the picture of health."

A bleeding-heart Liberal kiss-ass responded, "Yeah, a healthy person could have survived the beating."


Hahaha.

Comply or Die!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Poll

A Most Important Poll

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Oggy Learns A Lesson

My joys in life are writing things that make me laugh and fixing my moped. The other day I wrote a simulated call and response between myself and two conservatives. That dialogue ended with this:

Oggy: Which of you fucking cunts gonna make me? What army from Bubba-stan could even find their fat fucking Whataburger ass under all those rolls of cheese colored ass, putrid illiterate Big Red drinking jock strap losers? You guys sit on your ass and beat off watching Honey Boo Boo prance around Bubba-ville in camouflage panties.

I seriously laughed for two days after writing that. It's offensive on so many dimensions.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Moped Porn

1974 Vespa Ciao and Popocatepetl

Vespa Ciao with Popo and Itza

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Villa Illuminada

It took some work to get this picture.

I was thinking about this Jose Alfredo Jimenez song all day. "Si Nos Dejan"

 "If we leave,
we will want a lifetime,
if we leave,
we will live in a new world."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

When The Music's Over

Oggy crouched on the sandy uplift above the nude beach pondering the cascading waves and ant colonies of the crumbling bluff, dual activities that could hold the mystery to life. The sun appeared to descend toward the sea; intuitively, the sun set, but science had proved the sun does not move, it is stationary in the universe, at least in the immediate solar system, and the Earth revolves and also orbits, a circle within a circle, possibly within an even larger circular revolution of the solar system among other systems, in relationship to a mysterious center, ever magnifying Man's misfortune. Intuition was incorrect...and this failure of perception was a topic that haunted Oggy's cold nights. What other propositions, he wondered, had his perception misled him on?  What other mistakes had his undeveloped ape senses made in favor of the easy answer, and a hard question?

"What have they done to the Earth? What have they done to our sister?"

Oggy heard this distant question, asked years earlier by Jim Morrison, recorded and reclaimed, preserved and inherited by the new generation. A stereo played a magnetic memory. Morrison's anger was honest in that stoned and newborn mind sense of the 1960s...and also naive, sadly perplexed, inaccurate, metaphorically imprecise...these accusations are enunciated so clearly that the presentation became as important as the message. Gone was Connie Francis, The Virginal Fleetwoods all dressed in white, bloodless black and white images, the grey and sepia, Johnny Horton, the major key marching eunuchs of the Eisenhower Autumn.

"Music is your only friend. Until the end."

Read between the lines of poetry, the butterfly's scream is as loud as the last ray of light from the sun shining on cypress branches in Freedom Park, the shadows push the homeless east against their will, back to the shelters of despair, the surplus bus lockers, the dirty newspaper alleys, storm drainage to the levee where the damp darkness absconds on distemper horseback, little paws leading back to the source of all misery....long cold nights in the forest, the lizards and banana slugs recoiling in cold blooded survival from the night. Moths fly to the flame but humans lack wings so sink into the  deep sleep. We would soar to the sun as well with rockets on our backs, to drink the heat and evaporate in the blinding gases of our glorious source.

"Cancel my subscription to the Resurrection"

LDS missionaries knocking on doors So trite, so flippant. The resurrection is not an invitation you can decline, it's not a magazine sold by priests

A driftwood beach fire was being extinguished as the nudists found their sandy peasant skirts and the ocean doused the blackened wood...smoke then spinning up the bluff to Oggy's creepy perch. Woodfire smoke was an assault on Oggy's sense, a primitive reminder of danger and warmth. Rabbits raised in captivity nevertheless cringe when they see the shadow of a raptor on the ground, though the shadow is a cardboard cutout the lab scientists use to prove their point. The rabbits have never seen a real hawk nor do they know what the claws would feel like in their neck, but they still hide. What genetic atom carries that information or is it intuitive...like the false orbit of Morrison's embattled earth?

These topics were the primary colors with which Oggy then mixed and blended searching for the unifying amalgam that would solve the torment he had inherited from Morrison like the Rabbit seeking shelter when fake raptor shadows danced on the lab floor...Oggy also bounced celestial checks when trying to renew his subscription to the apocalypse. He mixed the colors, he mixed on a mental palette because intuition suggested these were all unrelated, coinciding only in Oggy's troubled mind, but intuition was wrong; had not the sun proven intuition untrustworthy, wasn't there a mystery in the multi-colored array of these mystical topics? So, with distrust as his booster fuel, Oggy mixed the white woodsmoke with the dark brown of the cypress bark....alas too tender and vapor-clouded a result, intangible, caught by the foggy updraft. So he took the blue from the peasant dress worn by the woman climbing up the bluff with the yellow on the roller coaster car....resulting in a green found in small specks on the screaming butterfly wings...which was closer to the source of everything but exclusive, not a unity. The missing tint was a tone found on faded photos from 1963, grainy, torn, mixed with hounds tooth gabardine. A man on the beach wore a purple linen shirt and Oggy thought hatefully that he must be from San Jose, that loathsome city to the East, forever hidden in the shadows of the Santa Cruz mountains, spared the fog of the ocean, drinking the residue from the ion implanters, the safety laser locks, poisonous high tech soup, the...Oggy's concentration had slipped, his peace was shattered by that damn linen shirt. Oggy wondered why he couldn't wear a linen shirt and look good. Even a normal color, not even purple. But no, he'd never look as comfortable as the man on the nude beach partially hidden behind the white smoke from the extinguished fire. Did ants feel vanity? Did the roller coaster altitude undulate with the same regularity as Oggy's self-esteem? Were the waves correspondent or harmonious?

"I hear a very gentle sound, very near yet very far."

The man in the purple linen shirt turned the music off. Waves plundered the shore like pirates on a blood rib. The distant lighthouse cast a gazing ray toward the approaching fog, before the long shadow cast by the drowning stars and that golden artificial ray was white like rabbit fur and friendly as a lab technician's coat fabric. Was the light turning around the peak or was the world revolving around the pure straight beam? These colors combined into the concrete aggregate found in the sewage drains, the interior of the bus lockers where Oggy's folk songbook lay with his socialist literature. There were similarities found everywhere and none of it was intuitive so Oggy embraced the trance. He could solve the puzzle of a thousand faces, the colors losing their turf to the darkness except for the periodic moment the lighthouse orbit favored them. The music was over but the music had now begun.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Senor Oggy

"God, Glory, Gold" the motto of the Conquistador
The motto is a translation of "Dios, Gloria, Oro." And I think it's suitable.

The next craft project is a punch pin embroidery landscape of the history of the van to use as a dashboard cover. Good thing I'm retired or I couldn't enjoy my retirement. The main problem I see with using acrylic paint is that in 8 hours of direct sunlight the hood gets so hot that the paint begins to soften. I don't know if it's fully dry or if the heat will always soften the paint. It doesn't come off with water but I can feel it getting tacky in the sunlight. Maybe there's a clear coat transparent spray I can finish the hood off with. Or maybe I will leave it alone and let the elements have their way.

There's a jigsaw panoramic picture Ernesto put together in the first days of my Mexican journey in the van back in 2008/2009. That picture is in the heading montage at the top of the blog. I remember the van was called "Long Distance Voyager" after a Moody Blues Album but we were talking and I said, "Maybe El Conquistador is a better name." Ernesto put that in the panoramic photo he made and I knew it was the right name. Almost 6 years later I finally painted the name on the hood.

Screenshot Trivia


Movie?
This is a two part trivia question. First, the average people will get the right movie, but I want to give an additional $5 Oggy bucks for describing exactly why this particular screenshot is important to the movie. There are two important details that are not coincidences that they are in the shot. These were deliberate choices with symbolic meaning. What is the meaning.

Only this most recent viewing revealed to me how airtight this film is, everything is textbook, generic and totally awesome. Football games are not won primarily on trick plays....fundamentals win football games. Execute the fundamentals and you win. Maybe one score will be a trick play, but if you don't execute the fundamentals then one trick play score will not win the game, it'll merely get you on the scoreboard. This movie executes the fundamentals and that's why it wins. No trick plays. It was based on a book, which explains the plot, but the performances, editing, sound effects and what I consider a quadruple climax ending is why this is a historic movie and always enjoyable to watch.

Good luck.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Alcoholic Blues

I tried to rewrite this so it would be relevant to the current marijuana prohibition but I gave up. If anyone wants to send me some alternate lyrics I'll try to sing it. It's a novelty song with the music written by the brother of songwriting great Harry Von Tilzer, Albert.

Words by Edward Laska
Music by Albert Von Tilzer
1919
Key: F Major

Oggy The Conqueror

The first paint I used was something called Tempura Gauche. It was in the children's art section at Soriana Grocery Store and turns out to be cheap watercolor paint that wiped off easily with water.

Only the helmet remains
So I had to hunt for enamel paint, which is called esmalte in Spanish. And I could only find spray paint. What I ended up getting was the white and gold metallic acrylic craft paint. I love the gold metallic finish because it's the metaphoric color for the Conquistador's quest. While it's not as permanent as oil or enamel, acrylic at least dries water resistant and can be scraped off with a knife. The sun is rough on paint in the desert and the tropics so I'm curious how long before it fades, but it really doesn't matter because it's a small task to retouch with the paint as long as it doesn't dry out.

I was worried that it wouldn't be legible in the end but now I'm afraid it's too legible. I could scrape it off and put a smaller version on the side but this is the boldness suitable for the van. Right on the hood...no missing it. Every military checkpoint is going to have to comprehend a second Spanish Invasion in a 45 year old American van. If I'm going to name my van El Conquistador then that's about as bold as it gets. The Mexican Flag colors ultimately detracted from the simplicity I wanted...it was kind of a mixed message and also nationalistic. This is a simple statement.

I'm right around the 'A' in Aztec

I wonder if there's interest in a quest for the lost gold of Hernan Cortes while retracing his journey to Trujillo Honduras from Mexico City in a van called El Conquistador? It is the 490th Anniversary of his original trip.This is no small detail as I'm certain Cortes was in this exact valley, maybe this exact hotel room, since the pass between the two volcanoes I see out my window is called "Paso De Cortes" and he had a title 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca, which is where I am right now. All these villages, Tochimilco, Huaquechula, Cholula, Atlixco, Puebla, Tianguismanalco, Tlaxcalancingo, etc. were populated in 1520, so Cortes undoubtedly passed this way to inspect future monastery sites and pillage the gold stores and seize female concubines. It looks like he visited La Paz in the Baja too so I only need to go to Cuba and Spain to retrace his entire adventure.

4 Years To Go

Now that Mexicans who have been in The United States for more than 5 years will not be deported I figure I only have to hide out on the beaches of Mexico for 4 more years and I'll be allowed to stay in Mexico. It's only fair. If the Federales question me I'll tell them that I'm the negotiating chip; Obama said, "Take Oggy, and we'll allow 5 million Mexicans to stay in America." I'll forge Obama's signature. I'm sure it will work.

It's a bittersweet announcement as I've met a number of people here who were either deported or voluntarily left The U.S. because they couldn't work legally, although they had lived there for 15 years. One guy graduated high school and college in N.Y., but because his parents brought him there when he was about 7 and weren't citizens he never got citizenship or a work permit so he decided to leave. Now that he is here he realizes that Obama's announcement actually applies to him, but he now has to return to the United States and pretend he never left. I try to argue that the only reason the economy up North is good is because it's based on unicorn tears and fairy farts. "None of the money exists," I insist. "It's all a fantasy." There are something like $20 Trillion reasons to avoid the United States but the general conclusion is that they would rather have $50 fake dollars in their pocket than $200 real pesos. I saw a poll that 1 in 3 Mexicans would emigrate to the U.S. but that doesn't fit my own experience in Mexico. No one I've met particularly wants to go to Chicago or San Antonio or El Paso. They talk about those places kind of like prospectors talked about The Yukon Territory in 1896. The desire to "Be American" couldn't be further from their thoughts. It's purely about exploiting a fantasy economy for their own short term gain since their country's economy is not as ripe since their sovereignty was destroyed by Eisenhower and Nixon.

It occurs to me that deporting about 10,000 business owners from America to Central America would probably do more good in the long run than any border reinforcement. Like, take Bill Gates or Rex Tillerson, and deport them to Honduras, the idea being to adapt the Spanish Colonization model, except with industrialists instead of missionaries. That's insane. Forget that idea.

This topic of immigration is awful because it is purely political, political boundaries drawn in the sand with swords, usually while bodies rot nearby...awful. Why is there not a large population of Canadians hiding in the shadows of St. Paul, Minnesota? Because American foreign policy did not deign to exploit Manitoba to the point of fracturing its sovereignty.
It's a divisive topic that, like homelessness and poverty, usually is misunderstood because the people debating the topic have never done any research on the topic. Oh, they might read a poll and visit a shelter a few times, shake some hands, wrap some turkeys to hand out...oh yes. But immigration is bigger and more complicated than a border and flags. Or maybe it's simple and I make it complicated. These words of documentation and legality and aliens are not the right words. I don't know what the right words are but I know we're debating the wrong topics. In fact, it appears to me that most people debating this topic have an investment in the debate itself, not even the conclusion. A politician actually has no motivation to find a solution because his or her career depends on the endless debate. Take Mitch McConnell for example. He's been a Senator since the Civil War ended and Kentucky was readmitted to the Union. That's a long time and there are no limits. Ted Kennedy was a Mass. Senator from 1962 to 2009. 47 Years! How many times can a guy debate in favor of Pro-Choice laws? I'm divided on term limits because I think politics is like Hollywood: the longer you remain there the more you understand it and by the time you are really skilled then you should be quarantined for the safety of humanity. Guys like Ted Kennedy or David Mamet would only wreck havoc if allowed to reenter civil society. I try to avoid political punditry because it's a sickness; in order to write good spin I have to believe I make a difference, and that's crazy...and if I don't think I make a difference the spin won't be good. Punditry is also reaching critical mass...the weight of pundits debating immigration is beginning to outweigh the actual immigrants. I'm sure pundits were more animated than those migrant workers Obama was directing his message of reform at. I was eating pork neck in mole at my favorite Comida Corrida restaurant when I heard the news on the Spanish station and I can say the reaction was not overwhelming. But the political pundits went berserk. Heck, some pundits devoted a whole ten minutes of their day to this topic.

I visualize immigration like the lunar tides; only fishermen can predict them with any accuracy and anyone calling a high tide "unfair" would be correctly considered an idiot. These are the same people who believe God made them run out of gas. The causality of immigration is so complicated that legislation to control it is about as effective as building a time machine. Labels like "illegal" are immaterial and say more about the pundit than they do about the pundit's opinion on the topic. It's an unenlightened perspective that persists to impede a resolution...and the only conclusion is probably going to be something like a lunar tide chart: a total surrender to a higher power followed by mature preparation.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Working Class

I guess I lied when I said my TV writing career ended with my Simpson's script. I wrote a pilot for a sitcom I created called Working Class, in which a young man tries to locate his lost father, who is living and working on skid row in Los Angeles. Yeah, the executives at CBS were just rolling on the floor with laughter over that subject. Alas, my Good Times meets Glengarry Glen Ross was not produced. Let me tell you that the 4 years of research into this setting was pure torture. Here it is:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Return of El Conquistador

This may not make the cut. Spanish helmet and Aztec eagle. I feel it's reclaiming power but it could be seen as putting a Red Sox "B" on a pinstripe uniform.  I'll probably remove the eagle.


I still feel the van will not become an art canvas, but it's time to permanently name it.


Carbon Paper under the tracing I made on the computer screen

Oggy tracing letters

I stopped when I realized I was using the wrong kind of paint.







.

Drink More Duff!

I made this Gif of one of my favorite Simpson's Episodes. Season 4/16. So funny! "Can't Get Enough Of That Wonderful Duff." It's a Duff commercial and demonstrates that Duff has the power to transform "feminists" into party girls. These parodies within parodies are the stuff that made Simpsons so popular. The vintage episodes are an onslaught of stabbing attacks on modern culture and what I see with modern episodes are limp references to our own habits that aren't even vilified. I wrote a Simpsons spec episode once but when I showed it to a Simpsons expert he tore the timeline and characterizations apart. The details of my script were all slightly wrong. And it didn't include any embedded parodies. Thus ended my television writer career.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Book Review: Freedom By Adam Kokesh

Adam Kokesh wrote what he calls a "book" entitled Freedom. He calls it "The Most Important Book Ever" so I downloaded it intending to read it and review it, maybe learn from it, or at least proofread it, and thus grow as a philosophical thinker. Alas, as with most manifestos and pundit excrement, I can't read it. I simply can not force myself to trudge through the wasteland of cyclical philosophy. I can't read my own manifestos either, or Ted Kaczynski's or Manson's or the long one by Moses, so Adam shouldn't feel bad. The thing about manifestos is how dull they are, how self-certain, how boldly arrogant. My blighted days in Hollywood taught me at least this: the words must play. Unless your name is Alexander Hamilton and you are about to enter a duel with a Vice President then do not rely on dusty platitudes to communicate your message. Mel Brooks is a better role model for the majority of people, not James Madison. This bit of wisdom comes with experience. Jon Stewart understands it; Bill O'Reilly understands it; William F. Buckley understood it. My beloved Thoreau understood it but stretched the boundaries of humor with his submission, Walden. These are the pundit elite whose manifestos are widely embraced. I suspect Adam Kokesh understands it but has not written enough to be able to economically embrace it. Kokesh is mildly entertaining in his derivative live podcasts, but he should really assign the writing jobs to other people, like me, for instance. He's a dynamic personality but young and abrasive without much new material. The world needs another pundit like it needs another piano tuner.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Tochimilco

Coil springs spacers on the front.

Looks photoshopped, but it's real.

Aqueducts and a volcano

It's hard to describe how to find the bus to Tochimilco. There is no green door and no green bus. And they all park hidden away near a triangle that isn't easy to find. I went back and forth asking strangers where Tochimilco buses were. To make matters worse, there is a town called something like Tochimilcingo...and it's in the opposite direction of Tochimilco. The bus area is near the corner of 11 Poniente and 11 Sur.

This town was named after rabbits but I didn't see any.

Awesome door.

Another monastery I can't enter

Oggy Spoils Interstellar

Interstellar is a damn stupid movie. It doesn't even pass the Point Break test.* Did Christopher Nolan read the script? It's like someone watched a hundred Twilight Zone episodes in a row and then wrote the beginning and the end of a movie....and kind of scratched their ass for the middle 93 minutes. "Well, if we maintain a constant drone of strings in the soundtrack, like as loud as possible sustained constantly, strings always make people think something relevant is happening."

If I were writing a script analysis I would write this:
Plot Summary: Life on earth is endangered as it becomes impossible to grow crops....cut to humanity on a space station near Saturn. Yeah Humanity! The End.

HOW THE FUCK DID THEY GET THE SPACE STATION OFF EARTH?

Oh, that's all hidden in the esoteric equations that are related to the mystery of quantum mechanics that a Lost in Time spaceman communicated to his daughter via Morse code on a watch. What?
Lost in Space and also lost in time. Both. Time and space. But he's saved magically because in this movie nothing changes.





Again, the problem with Time travel is that ANY IDIOT WOULD GO BACK FAR ENOUGH IN TIME TO DO SOME GOOD. This guy doesn't even technically go back in time, he's simply able to access the time he left...like that makes any sense.
Motherfucker! You are given a portal to all of time and what the fuck do you do except magically send binary messages to your daughter to allow her to compute how to defy gravity and propel a Spacecraft the size of a state off the planet....but you neglect to A) Solve the pressing problem of food and climate on Earth. B) Go back to a fucking time when you might be able to mitigate the climate problem. So dumb. So neglectful. Oh, but keep those droning incessant strings going hard core all the time like you want to make an homage to Stanley Kubrick but alas leaned heavily on quantum mechanics and pretty chins (McConaughey is gone from Earth for over 100 years yet fails to grow a beard).

If your script involves quantum mechanics that can not be explained in 180 minutes then maybe rethink your script. And if your "victory moment" is Humanity being forced to escape earth to live on a most certainly unsustainable gigantic space station (on which apparently no minorities were allowed) then please burn your script. You are telling me that a scientist can manufacture a space station big enough for all the survivors of earth (except minorities) and that space station can magically escape the Earth's gravity....and sail to Saturn....where humanity will thrive....BUT THE SAME SCIENTIST COULDN'T BUILD THE SAME ARTIFICIAL ENVIRONMENT ON EARTH?


That makes absolutely no sense. None. If the space station can support human life near Saturn then I'm pretty sure it can support life on Earth. Why Not LEAVE THE FUCKING SPACE STATION ON EARTH?

Oh, because then there would be no reason to send a pilot into a wormhole on a futile mission to find an alternate planet to populate....where he ultimately finds a time portal inside a black hole...and communicates to his daughter the secret to defying gravity....to lift the space ship off Earth even though that isn't necessary.

Have I mentioned that it is totally unnecessary to lift a space ship off earth if that space ship is itself a self-enclosed life support system that can support humanity? Why not bury the space station? Oh wait, IT IS ALREADY BURIED!

So, They could just invite humanity to populate the space station, set up their solar lamps and set up the barbecue. No, instead they blast off somehow (with some magical equation sent from a time portal in a black hole) and GO TO SATURN...where the days are something like 10 hours long. Never mind about any of the details of how to live on a space station. All of that is ignored. This is like a Sherlock Holmes episode where Holmes goes from scratching his head and smoking a pipe, wondering how to stop a crime, to nabbing the criminal at the last second. How does he do it? He winks at Watson, who nods sagely. The End. Wait, the whole point is Holmes revealing how he figured it out. Apparently Nolan isn't a big mystery fan because his denouement is completely absent. Oh, he think he has a climax when the space man communicates to his daughter, but that's technically not the climax because only the characters in the movie are privy to the mysteries of the universe. The audience is left as ignorant as they started, which means there is no catharsis, no climax, no resolution, no emotional investment, no denouement...FOR THE AUDIENCE.

What a dumb movie. Every modern film hangs so much importance on a hook. Sixth Sense did more harm than good to films because now every asshole who thinks they "have a good ending" can make a movie. Christ. You have a dumb movie if all you have is a good ending. And this isn't a good ending; the ending to Interstellar is simply baffling. It has the elements of interest but is essentially stupid, it doesn't pass the sniff test, it's irrelevant that this space man can communicate the mystery of quantum physics via an analog wrist watch from a time portal in a black hole. IRRELEVANT. The central question posed by the movie was previously asked by many good movies: "What is the meaning of life?"
That's a good question to ask. Ok, you have my attention. And then immediately lose my attention when you embark on insane voyages and betrayals and accidents and desperation and ultimately have all the physical aspects of the movie negated by sloppy handling of the science fiction genre. And because you realized this too late you opted for a sentimental hand job in the dirty movie theater that I didn't pay for and demonstrates you never pursued your original question. Oh, the meaning of life is that people are great! HAHAHAHA. Why don't you go fuck yourself if you think that? It's generic, tired, uncinematic, lazy. Where is my lap dance, you ticket whore? The movie is thought provoking but then the plot collapses when I think about it.

The heart of humanity is displayed to be under examination, but when the movie is over all we got is a skin deep glamorized version of a NASA commercial. Interstellar is Christopher Nolan's answer to The Notebook. Schmaltz, cheese, sentimental garbage all highlighted with expensive special effects. Humanity lives on with cliche Dylan Thomas poems read to every White Christian American. I stopped counting American Flags after the tenth one. While every other culture on the planet strives to maintain balance, American culture apparently is determined to lay waste to the planet and then abandon it on the wings of fantasy. GREAT MESSAGE!

These apocalypse movies make little to no effort to answer the compelling issues that are regularly reinforced by current events. Interstellar makes no attempt at all to answer the question of who got left behind and if Humanity had learned any other lesson than the all important crap: "Fathers love their daughters." puke!

I want everyone to go to a production company in Hollywood and say, "I've got a good movie idea where a father learns that he loves his daughter." We could replace fossil fuel power with the energy generated by the laughter you will hear. Yet, somehow, Christopher Nolan made such a movie and needed $165 Million dollars to make it because it involved outer space. With that money you could buy everyone in America a birthday card with a cat wearing a colorful hat printed on it and get the same effect.
Happy Birthday. Life is great. Now give me $165 million.

The movie is not horrible to watch, I did finish watching it, (something I can't say about the atrociously generic/gratuitous Walk Among The Tombstones) but it collapsed under the slightest examination. Even as they were preparing to lift off in the little ship I was shouting at the screen like the guy later shouted at his daughter through a time portal worm hole anomaly, "Why don't you just move into the space station right now. If you can grow vegetables in space then start growing them right now! In the space station you have already built. HEY, MICHAEL CAINE! YOU ALREADY BUILT THE SPACE STATION. DON'T ASK McConaughey TO FLY OFF EARTH. THERE'S NO NEED. HAVE PEOPLE LIVE THERE IN THE SPACE STATION YOU ARE STANDING IN. WHY ARE YOUR CHANCES BETTER NEAR SATURN?"

I was waving my arms but Michael Caine ignored me. Too bad I didn't have a wrist watch so I could transmit in Morse code back in time to Christopher Nolan to tell him that 3/4 of the movie did not need to be filmed since the actors were already standing in the solution. He reached for the stars but grabbed a bucket of greasy popcorn.

"We used to be explorers and pioneers," says the hero, "Now we're a generation of [miserable, worthless] caretakers."
THAT'S A LINE THAT NORMALLY COMES FROM THE VILLAIN.

Furthermore, you guys failed as caretakers so don't break your neck sucking your own cock. A species gets what it deserves, and if NASA can mobilize the resources to escape Earth with a bunch of White Christian Americans then God Speed. And if they mobilize those resources by plundering the Earth and hastening the decline of the climate then they are villains, not heroes. The End doesn't justify the Means, despite Nolan's insistence, it just adds another hegemonic devourer of planets to the long list of selfish monsters who pursue their goals at the cost of life. My conclusion in these scenarios is always the same: humanity that plunders the planet and exploits other humans to survive is not worth survival. It's not moral. It is abhorrent. Leave me to die on the planet and you "heroes" can go to hell.

The movie tries feebly to be about "something bigger" but fails because it runs out of emotional originality about 8 minutes into the script. The whole film is unoriginal...except for the parts that have no relevance or are unexplained. And the very worst part of a movie like this is that it considers it a victory to abandon Earth for a space station near Saturn. "Because we survived"
And then the space man ultimately abandons the space station to go on a futile hunt for another space woman who is surely impossible to find. But he leaves because it's more important to try to find her than live without her. Well, that contradicts the whole point of helping the human race survive. Speaking of survival, why is the hero's daughter allowed to reproduce like a rabbit? Isn't there a limit on number of children in this perilous future or is she special because she is white?

The movie Contact is a good example of how this hybrid drama/scify movie should be approached. Go extremely light on the specifics of the science, give only what the audience needs to know, and save your best work for the drama. Interstellar did the exact opposite by going extremely heavy on the science part, inviting skeptics, and then using generic clips from a soap opera (hospital bedside farewells) for the drama. Terrible terrible. Speaking of time distortion, watching this 3 hour piece of shit felt like I spent 3 months on a vacant, oxygen-deprived planet populated by killed off T.V. actors rehearsing for Schmaltz King: The Musical.

Which is more important, love or survival? Nolan desperately tries to have it both ways...which is his worst mistake. You can't have it both ways, that's the whole fucking problem with the climate. Everyone wants easy phone calls, easy google searches, easy blowjob videos, easy this and that...and no one wants the consequences of lithium and diamonds and gold and colton mines and plastic blood on our hands and hurricanes and sea levels rising and fish all dying. Interstellar contradicts the whole environmental mess it's trying to celebrate.

Here are some official taglines:

Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.
The end of Earth will not be the end of us.
Go further.
Mankind's next step will be our greatest. 

I submit my own tagline:  

Humanity destroyed a planet...and got away with it. We didn't change a fucking thing about ourselves. We just got on a space ship and magically started our petty wars in space. Nothing changes.

Only the droning strings in the soundtrack that rise to annoying volume for no reason bear any similarities to Kubrick's 2001. Everything else is a tired, shiny penny in the pocket of the same old asshole. Basically, if the same humans are on the space station then it's life expectancy will be about 6 years. So, big deal. Mankind survived for 6 more years and perished in space. No big surprise there. We're pretty clever but got what we deserved in the end. Interstellar doesn't pass the Nerd Test and it doesn't pass the Critic test and it doesn't pass the Point Break test. It sucked.

*Would I prefer to watch Point Break? Yes.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.