Saturday, March 29, 2008

Day 2 winding road map

This is taken from Highway 20 between Willitts and Fort Bragg.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Trip to California, Day 4

Day 4

Today's excursion involved another 200+ miles of driving. As with Day 2, there were some crazy, windy climbs and falls out of Clear Lake Valley. I felt like I was a professional test driver with the repeated 15-25 mph corners. The nice part is that those climbs result in some spectacular views. Here is Clear Lake from the top of the hill:

Here is an example of the turns on Highway 175:

Once we passed the initial driving course, we joined up with Highway 101 and headed south. Passing through Hopland, CA, we drove past the Real Goods Solar Living Institute. We turned around and came back to check out this place we'd read about on their web page.

The place is a small working lab for alternative energy, sustainable farming, and equitable capitalism. In addition to gardens and solar panels, there was an air of the Oregon Country Fair about the place where the utility of these methods was explained on painted signs such as the one that said "Weird Bathrooms" and others which explained or pointed out various features of the place. At the center of it all was their store (of course) as well as a central water feature (shown below) that displayed a water distribution and non-grid based pumping mechanism.

Democrats and Republicans alike can see the value in living with the planet instead of exploiting it.

After spending a few bucks on a few store items, we moved on to the south trying to outrun a bank of clouds approaching from the Northwest. We turned east from Santa Rosa and headed towards Sonoma. We were getting hungry, so we stopped for lunch at Doce Lunas Restaurant. The orders included a wonderful shrimp & salmon bisque, a Ground Sirloin, Onion, Spinach, and Egg Scramble, a burger, and an herbed chicken breat sandwich. It was apparent that this is a higher-end quality place with the preparation and presentation of the entrees. I could live off the bisque in need be.

From there, we headed up the hill from Glen Ellen to check out Jack London's humble several hundred acre ranch. Ok, maybe not as humble as our 1/4 acre here in Stumptown but anyway. It is now a State Park. As tragic in its own way as London's "To Build a Fire," London and his wife lived in a small cottage at his ranch while their dream home was being built only to see it destroyed by fire when it was nearly completed. Perhaps it is no coincidence that London died only a couple years later. Here is a view from the ranch down into the Sonoma valley which is now becoming increasingly filled with vineyards churning out world-class wines (and the cheapies too).

Clicking on the picture below provides a little more of a historical picture of the park.

From there, we ventured onward towards Sonoma where the clouds, wind, and cold (but thankfully not the rain yet) caught up with us. The Spanish Catholics in pre-USA California set up a 21 missions and Sonoma is the home of the northernmost mission, Mission San Francisco de Solano. Here is another plaque:

Here is a part of the mission (can you tell I whizzed through without paying attention?)

Here is the historical city hall:

This is a mural depicting how the whole area is turning into a giant vineyard:

This was ground zero for unique shopping experiences, so this was the most expensive day of the bunch (along with the wonderful restaurants). We finally settled on The Girl and the Fig for dinner. We were not disappointed (though our wallets beg to differ). We started with a goat cheese plate with cheeses from Oregon(! Bend), California, and Colorado. They were served with sliced baguette bread, some sweetened nuts, and a fig chutney that was quite tasty. For dinner, we ordered rainbow trout, venison, and a ham and cheese croques monsieur and all reports were excellent. I ordered the venison (sorry Bambi) and it was Wo-hun-derful. For dessert, the crew ordered profiteroles (cream puffs filled with tahitian vanilla bean ice cream in a pool of bittersweet chocolate sauce).

Evening was coming on, so we headed off towards another way home, hopeful that we could avoid another twistifest (I have that term trademarked, so back off Stephen Colbert). We passed the greater Napa metroplex towards Calistoga to the northwest. I honestly don't understand how an economy can support so many different winery tasting rooms and restaurants. There were literally dozens along a 30 or 40 miles of highway. Anyway, we turned northward at Calistoga up a windy, but much preferable (and even occasionally forested) highway up and over the ridges surrounding Clear Lake. It was here we encountered our first rain and it stayed with us nearly all the back to our home base. Our last 5 months in Oregon of nearly constant rainfall were training enough for this small smattering of precipitation.

We got back after dark and we were definitely ready to "hit the sack." The falling temperatures highlighted the fact that our furnace was having problems, but we were able to use the faux-real fire gas fireplace to keep it warm enough to get us through the week. What a great day! (My internal accountant was saying, "What a horrible day!")

Trip to California, Day 3


Trip to California, Day 2

Day 2

We all slept in (though Ladybug was up early enough to snap the picture below), ate a bowl of cereal, then headed west toward the coast.

We wound around the grassy hills proceeding to Highway 101 and towards Willitts. There were many examples of headward erosion in the reddish soils along with several landslide zones that the state had obviously worked hard to shore up. The weather was clear with some high clouds and the traffic was light. At Willitts, we took Highway 20 west through the mountains towards Fort Bragg. It was only 33 miles, but it probably took us over an hour to navigate all of the 30, 25, and even 20 mph curves as we quartered up and down hills and wound around with the path of creeks. The redwoods started showing up along hillsides and it wasn't long before they dominated the scene. Some thickets covered the sky so well, it felt like we were driving through a dark cave. I half-expected to see a party of hobbits at any time.

We reached Highway 1 on the southern end of Ft. Bragg and decided to head towards Mendocino. We ate lunch at the historic hotel there and it was tasty but the "upscaleness" added substantially to the prices. I will let the pictures tell the story of Mendocino...

Don & Grandpa in front of downtown Mendocino

Ladybug and MiniSnab rest near a very offbeat and fun garden

Across the street from the shops is a park encompassing the nearby headlands

The wise man built his house upon the rocks

You need to work for the right to play in the sand here

MiniSnab flies a "pocket kite" I bought for her

We interrupt this travel documentary for the following political announcement:

It turns out that the "liberal media"/"corporate media" was wrong. Hillary Clinton was not lying about her death-defying visit to Bosnia. See the proof here:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Trip to California, Day 1

Day 1

The alarm went off at 5am on Easter Sunday. Ladybug's Dad spent the night on the couch so we could save some travel time. It was a good idea since our destination was 578 miles away. We packed the car in a steady, cold rain and got on the road at about 6:30am.

We ate breakfast at a Denny's restaurant in Eugene, OR at around 8AM. The food was nothing special, but we have a history at that Denny's revolving around our yearly pilgrimage to the Oregon Country Fair. For us, a breakfast there conjures up memories of tie dye shirts, saris, and a festive atmosphere.

As we continued on, the rain grew lighter by degrees until it ended near Roseburg, Oregon. Other than a light shower in Medford, that would be the end of the rain on this drive. Siskiyou Pass right before the California border beautiful as snow graced the surrounding hillsides. Before long, Mt. Shasta dominated the view ahead. This was nice because all of the Oregon volcanoes were obscured by clouds.

We stopped in the city of Mt. Shasta for lunch. Lily's is a nice restaurant with an eclectic variety of dishes as exemplified by our choices: Moroccan lentil soup, Seafood tostada salad, asparagus & crab crepes, and a caesar salad. We grab a copy of the regional new age periodical for fun and continued on.

Before long we were traversing the Sacramento valley. The wet winter and spring made for a green drive through this ve-herry long valley. There were washes of yellow in the fields where small patches of flowers bloomed. Groups of daffodils appeared here and there along the roadside for no apparent reason.

We finally turned at Williams and headed up into the coastal hills to the west towards our destination. 11 1/2 hours after we started, our journey ended in Nice, California along the shores of Clear Lake. The steady rain seemed a distant memory as we hauled our luggage into our room under a clear sky in dry air.

We had dinner at the Boathouse restaurant in Nice. Locals hung out in the bar and we were the only people at our table on the dock platform. We ate standard barbecue affair including burgers, steak, and Easter ham. Our waiter was a very nice young guy who gave us some background on his life in the Clear Lake area. We bought groceries to save money on food costs and headed back to our rooms.

After a long day, sleep came quickly for all of us.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Time to End It

Thanks to Dean Wormer. Click the picture to join the swarm.

2008: The Odyssey Ends

"Life is just one big banana. Science fiction allows us all to peel open the reality and discover the yellow truth inside." - Arthur C. Clarke

Classic sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke has passed away. He was 90.

Although mainly known for the "Space Odyssey" series of books and movies, classic novels of the sci-fi genre such as Rendezvous with Rama and Childhood's End, and a whole wealth of short stories and non-fiction works, Clarke was a visionary who was both way ahead of his time and rarely credited for ideas of his that became reality. He is widely considered to have been the first to suggest communication satellites in geosynchronous (i.e. stationary) orbit, but he never received a penny for it. (He said he never patented the idea of communication satellites because he never dreamed it would become a reality in his lifetime...a decision he said probably cost him millions of dollars.) He was also an avid scuba diver and aquatic researcher who ran a diving school in Sri Lanka, where he lived from the late 50s until his recent death.

Rest in peace, Mr. Clarke. May your final odyssey be a good one.

"I want to be remembered most as a writer - if I have given you delight, by all that I have done, let me lie quiet in that night, which shall be yours anon." - Arthur C. Clarke

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Honey, I'm home. Oh, gotta go.

I am back from Philly and meetings at work. I am cramming a lot in this week before going on vacation next week, so I am glad that Moody decided to put a post up here to keep things from looking too dead.

Have fun!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Little Inner Peace With Your Tea, Sir?

Kaldi Coffee Farm is a chain of stores that sell imported food products as well as their own line of gourmet coffee. I know of two in Narita and one in Mito that have been in business for at least the past three or four years. Ever since they opened they have been regular shopping stops of mine to get such things as Quaker oatmeal, Bac-O's, Betty Crocker cake mixes, and all manner of imported candy, dips, sauces, and canned foods. Their coffee is comparable in quality to Starbucks or Tully's but is considerably cheaper. They also have an interesting selection of herb tea, and that is the inspiration for this post.

One very interesting line of herb tea that they sell is Yogi Tea. The packages not only have interesting pictures and titles, but each type is indicated to have some sort of specific benefit, such as a natural sleep aid, memory enhancer, and so on. I got some out of sheer curiosity and found them to be quite enjoyable. However, what really intrigued me was the discovery that the Yogi Tea company is based in Eugene, Oregon. It is actually affiliated with the Golden Temple of Oregon, also located in Eugene.

No, it's not a cult. The Golden Temple of Oregon is officially of the Sikh faith, but it apparently caters to any religion. Sikhism is a monotheistic religion, but it is a very open-minded one. One of its underlying principles is that God speaks to different cultures through different voices, hence the strong and inclusive tolerance of other faiths. What makes both Yogi Tea and the Golden Temple of Oregon even more interesting is their connection with Yogi Bhajan, a Sikh activist and yoga master who came to the U.S. in the late '60s. Sikhism is anything but dogmatic, and Yogi Bhajan was mainly interested in helping introduce yoga to the West. His doing so was actually kind of ironic; not only is yoga traditionally affiliated with Hindu rather than Sikhism, but the Sikh people in India have long faced discrimination at the hands of the Hindu-dominated government. In fact, when a movement of militant resistance arose among certain Sikh groups culminating in a showdown at the main Golden Temple in India and a subsequent massacre of Sikhs by Hindus in the 1980s, Yogi Bhajan was one of the chief moderating voices that helped bring an end to the crisis (though he couldn't prevent PM Indira Ghandi's subsequent assassination at the hands of her Sikh bodyguards).

Anyway, whenever Yogi Bhajan conducted a yoga lesson or seminar on healthy living he would always conclude it by offering his students his own homemade herb tea based on ancient Indian traditions. His tea, which came to be called "Yogi Tea" by those who drank it, became quite popular, and as more and more people asked him for supplies of it to brew at home, the idea came about to market it. Hence the Yogi Tea company was born.

I thought the tea itself was intriguing! However, regardless how you feel about herb tea, natural healing, yoga, Sikh, or Eastern religions or philosophy in general, the Yogi Tea website is interesting and kind of fun. At any rate, I thought it a nice break from the darkness permeating the internet these days. The web site for Kaldi Coffee Farm is pretty funky, too! Check them out!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Spreading the Meme

Time to engage in some nepotism and allow Snabulus Blogrollers Dean Wormer and Overdroid to spoof Hilary Clinton's silly 3am ad...

Monday, March 03, 2008


Update: Fantastic news! It cost me $50, but I was able to use something called Partition Table Doctor to make the partition table readable again. I am currently booted into Ubuntu Live backing all the most important stuff up onto DVD before taking any more action. I am still unable to boot into any OS from the hard drive, but I can reinstall the GRUB boot program from Ubuntu and hopefully get back to where I was before my fateful mistake last night. Another lesson learned.

Update 2: Thanks to The How-To Geek's article "Reinstall Ubuntu Grub Bootloader After Windows Wipes it Out" (beware: I found faulty advice on the first link I Googled), I was able to get back to my original Ubuntu installation. I am basically back to where I was night before last. Windows still won't boot, but Ubuntu does. Screw Windows. I backed up a DVD worth of data before restoring GRUB (another advantage of having the whole OS on a CD) and I will leave it at that. Whew!

I am glad that Ubuntu has a Live CD or else I wouldn't be on line right now. When I installed Linux, it created a boot program that allowed me to boot into either Linux or Windows. Unfortunately, the Windows partition gave an error that the MBR was incorrect and would not boot.

I followed some faulty advice from the Ubuntu forums and tried to use the Windows Fixboot feature to reset the MBR to run both OSs. Now none of my partitions are recognizable and I may have lost many GB of data and I can't access either system. Luckily I backed up the family pictures a couple months ago onto a DVD, so we should be good in that category (haven't had a working digital camera for a while). The way things are now, I will probably lose some older data unless I can get those partitions repaired somehow.

You know what they say about free advice? It's worth what you paid for it. I am paying for it.

The Invisible Civil War Within: Part IX

Can We Wake Up From the Nightmare?

That is a good question and the answer is, "I don't know." The answer will be "No" if the American social and political environment don't change, but it will take years to repair the damage done just in the last seven years and really for the last few decades. Regardless, I kind of feel like I've been waiting for the cavalry to arrive but they aren't coming because they all got slaughtered right over the next hill. That leaves the task to us.

Some people out there have done some good things and supporting those people is worthwhile. Here are a few:

Floating Down Denial - This is a great site for learning about what is going on with Peak Oil and for focusing on local solutions for gearing up for the coming crunch on resources.

David Ray Griffin - Griffin is a theologian turned into a 9/11 sleuth. Although some people are trying to make a business from the omissions and lies surrounding the 9/11 attacks, Griffin is relentlessly trying to get at the truth of it. Even for those who don't buy his thesis, his research is worth looking into.

Peter Clark - My old glaciology professor at Oregon State is presenting people with the evidence and the future impacts of global warming. He is a very smart guy and he is worth listening to.

EFF and EPIC - The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Electronic Privacy Information Center are both tireless advocates for keeping the Internet "Net Neutral" and protecting individual freedom in the electronic realm.

Current and Former Representatives and Senators: Barbara Lee, Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, and Russ Feingold - These people have been the minority representing the majority when it comes to sanity regarding American Iraq policy and defending individual freedoms. Their numbers are small, but their voices are important.

I've been thinking about what a person can do when the Republicans have gone crazy stuffing their pockets with money with DoD dollars and the Democrats do the same with corporate money and both seem oblivious to our actual problems as a nation. I've got ideas. I don't know if they are good ideas or bad ones and I confess I haven't acted on them, but I am going to throw them out there anyway and see what you think.

1. An Antiwar Rally for the Rest of Us - Raise money, advertise, and get prominent speakers for an event or several of them focused on getting a plan on Iraq; a sort of Call of Competence. Rather than a parade through the streets, this would be in a central location that solely focused on the single issue of getting out of Iraq. Speakers would run the gamut with a minimum of a military strategist, an Iraq veteran, an Iraqi (if we could get one over here) and with someone from the Democratic and Republican side who could present the case that it is time to get out. No guerrilla street theater, no skateboard anarchists, no defacing public property; just people that are trying to get a task accomplished. Done properly, I could see a 6 digit attendance even in fairly small cities like Seattle. Unfortunately, I could also see about 50 because I have no experience with this kind of thing.

2. Engage the Authorities - Stand outside your local precinct or the FBI/CIA/Federal Court building and hand out flyers to state that human rights violations and spying on your own countrymen is immoral and criminal and suggest ways for them to stand up against it. They have our freedom in their hands. We should ask them to use it wisely.

3. Mass mail marketing - Raise some money and buy a list of mailing addresses in your local area. Raise the issues of Peak Oil, 9/11, Global Warming, Iraq, and Civil Liberties in the mailing. One issue per mailing. Get neighbors thinking and talking along the lines provided. Maybe they will start waking up.

4. Start a think tank to get things going around the nation - Nationalize the local efforts found above. Start the Center for American Reality or something like that. State the principles up front so you can't be controlled by political venture capitalists (the old money or the new).

5. Live differently - Plan for the future ahead so it doesn't ruin your life. Untrain the tendency to consume and work towards living in ways that promote your neighbors and don't require energy. A million drops in the bucket fills the bucket.

Wow. It is over a month and 9 parts later. For those who slogged through this whole thing, thank you for caring enough to hear me out. I think most people I know are struggling with at least some of these same issues and, just like the Blues, it helps to get them out there so we can walk in each other's shoes for a while. I was tired of keeping it all bottled up, so now I can move on.

I am interested to hear of resources and people you know about that fit the half dozen or so main issues addressed in the extended blog post. Wider and wider the circle expands, Viva la compagnie.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Invisible Civil War Within: Part VIII

Like Alice in Wonderland, But Crappy

There is a single word that describes my feelings about the last 6 1/2 years and that word is "Kafkaesque." For the who have not read or heard of Franz Kafka, you can get an idea from Wikipedia...

"Kafkaesque" is an auctorial descriptive which is used to describe concepts, situations, and ideas which are reminiscent of the literary work of Prague writer Franz Kafka, particularly his novel The Trial and his novel The Metamorphosis.

The term, which is quite fluid in definition, has also been described as "marked by a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity: Kafkaesque bureaucracies" and "marked by surreal distortion and often a sense of impending danger: Kafkaesque fantasies of the impassive interrogation, the false trial, the confiscated passport ... haunt his innocence" — The New Yorker.

It can also describe an intentional distortion of reality by powerful but anonymous bureaucrats. "Lack of evidence is treated as a pesky inconvenience, to be circumvented by such Kafkaesque means as depositing unproven allegations into sealed files ..." Another definition would be an existentialist state of ever-elusive freedom while existing under unmitigatable control.

The adjective refers to anything suggestive of Kafka, especially his nightmarish type of narration, in which characters lack a clear course of action, the ability to see beyond immediate events, and the possibility of escape. The term's meaning has transcended the literary realm to apply to real-life occurrences and situations that are incomprehensibly complex, bizarre, or illogical.

One of my oft-used aphorisms which I employ when describing the current situation to others is as follows: "Kafka and Orwell were giving us warnings; the current government thinks they wrote User Manuals."

It is really true. There are debates on television about whether torture is torture, whether criminals are criminals, and whether human rights abuses are human rights abuses. YES THEY ARE! There is no need to navel gaze over whether waterboarding is torture or whether torturers are criminals. Our conscience knows they are even among the most irrationally scared of us or those who can't face truth. The laws and treaties we are ignoring say they are. THEY ARE.

Spending six years looking at Iraqis as targets instead of people on the news (never any names other than main villains or cabinet members) and nameless people milling around on the screen betrays our moral stature. There are multiple determinations by credible sources who put the death toll in Iraq at over one million human beings. You won't see that in our free mainstream press except to bring in a bevy of military and civilian talking heads who claim numbers we surpassed in the first few weeks. Basically lies. One million people. We did that. Not just Bush. Not the instrument he used called the military. All of us did it because we are Americans and it happened. The crazy thing is most people don't even know it. To those of us who do, it is freaking creepy to know that fact. People know there was a war and that Iraq is in bad shape, but that is about it. American Conservative contributor Justin Raimondo has often referred to this state of affairs as Bizarro World (after the anti-Superman and his cube shaped planet from DC comics).

Here is the thing though. We can carry on as if nothing is happening. And we do. A beautiful spring day is just that. In 2002 and 2003, for some of us, the whole situation weighed heavily on our minds like an anxiety that wouldn't go away. Even those who feel the gravity and enormity of the bloodshed can't carry that load forever when ease and comfort are close at hand and the weariness of news of far off death can be turned off.

The options for the common man to turn this around were and are limited. For a while, peace marches and protests were staged in the hope that the collective voice of the people could change the tide. However, the government no longer fears its constituency and they summarily ignored the hundreds of thousands of protesters as if it had never happened. Kind of like Woodstock with no bands. It also didn't help that most of the rallies were organized by a fringe leftist political group called ANSWER. The ones I went to seemed to be splintered by fringe causes that had little to do with the stated mission (Iraq). Marches were more like parades where people would dress the part of 60s era protesters and chant the old chants. It was a new war, but there wasn't much in the way of current ideas or focus.

We can blog and I do. It is nice to know that some people agree with me, unfortunate that some don't but understandable. Unfortunately, we seem unable to tackle our national problems head on. Blogging can point out problems, but it doesn't solve them. If our elected leaders aren't pandering to some special interest group or whoring out national sovereignty to multi-national corporations, they debate meaningless junk like drugs in baseball or whether we can erect a big tribute to Veterans while offering them horrible mental and medical care. Congress and the President don't seem to ever see a way to consolidate power and suppress freedom they don't like: (un)patriot acts 1 and 2, protect America (from freedom) act, signing statements, not enforcing laws against law enforcement criminals, etc. etc.

I know much of this was happening before, but a look at history shows that a lot of this is different. In other wars, wartime powers were granted for a period of time and then revoked, but this PWOT (phony war on terror) is going to last forever, so the freedoms are gone forever. In addition, technology allows ever more powerful means of consolidating personal data and habits that most people haven't begun to grasp. TV shows like CSI and movies are conditioning us to the fact that those in authority have and deserve just about any detail they want about somebody, no matter how personal.

I can only hope that the American people can get our nation, our moral compass, and our freedom back. Those one million lost innocents in Iraq is going to haunt us for decades once we move past this mass denial. Enough about that.


Freedom is good stuff. It isn't to be doled out like a doggy treat when we've sufficiently performed our national duties. We have truths that are held to be self-evident and a Bill of Rights to remind us that individual freedom is an important part of who we are. Sure, there are taxes and sometimes we get drafted and we aren't allowed to kill our neighbor if we disagree and we consent to these things because they are functional and allow our basic freedoms to exist. I remember a much more free time. I am glad I am not growing up today and I am sad for what my daughter will inherit. In the battle against Fear, we are being routed. Let's just review a few freedoms no longer available whether through coercion or voluntary behavior.

  • The freedom to be alone: I remember many times when I was young when I was on my own with nobody watching me. No cameras, few satellites, few eyeballs scrutinizing and gosh darn it if I didn't feel the best during those times. It might have been in my own back yard or out in the woods. It could have even been at the store or walking down a crowded street. It was getting harder and harder and since 9/11, billions are being pumped into personal surveillance. It will save nobody but it will continue until sanity returns, if it ever does. It isn't just that though. We are so afraid of serial murderers, rapists, and child molesters that people are hiding themselves and their children away from the wonderful freedom to act unencumbered by constant supervision.

  • The freedom to do business: Remember tickets to shows with little or no "convenience charge" or banks without a charge for every little thing? Company picnics? Small, independent stores with the best selection of their specialty? It was possible to advertise without worrying about who owned the media or whether you would offend one of the hundreds of companies and product groups under their monolithic control. Things change, sure, but 30 years of mergers have perverted the basics of business. The government helped, but business basically did this to themselves. It is a loss of freedom when nobody takes responsibility for what they are supposed to provide and the mindless, amoral corporation sees everything as a PR maneuver instead of a problem that needs to be fixed.

  • The freedom to mind your own business: At one time you could plunk down cash and get on a plane to anywhere and nobody would even ask your name. Now you need a driver's license and credit card to stay in a hotel. Your calls may be monitored for "quality assurance purposes." You pay a premium for grocery store items if you don't let them track you with a store loyalty card. Businesses would safeguard their customer data from intrusion by authorities unless a search warrant was issued. Oh yes, and the term Mind Your Own Business actually meant what it said.

  • The freedom to dodge some of the rules: Did you ever record a vinyl album or radio program onto a cassette tape? Did you have a pirated version of Lotus 1-2-3 on a DOS machine back in the day? Did you ever get caught drinking when young and the police just poured your beer out instead of banning you from all driving for 5 years? Did you ever censor yourself on your blog because some of the rules you bent bear closer scrutiny from the NSA or CIA even though you were just screwing around and having fun and not hurting anybody (except occasionally ourselves)?

There are many more and feel free to add more in the comments. I understand that some of this might seem like "pinin' for th' old days" but it isn't that. Things are drastically different now and people seem content to move forward with their paranoia and fear and risk aversion overcoming some real living. Perhaps it is no wonder that so many Americans take solace in too much food or drinking when their entire life is a string of meeting compliance for schools, parents, governments, and businesses.

With our national morality failing and our own freedoms under attack, this ought to manifest itself in some very overt ways and be right out there for all of us to face head on. It does not. We wake up in the morning without any visible evidence of one million dead people and no jackboots walking up to doors taking away people in the night (at least none in my neighborhood). We laugh at humorous jokes and do our standard routines. People don't talk straight out about the war or the consequences without first making sure it isn't going to turn into a dualistic argument. Yet there are signs that something is wrong and that we are only okay as long as few enough people try to call attention to it. Yes, just like something out of a Kafka story.

In the next and last section, I will call an armistice to the Civil War within and provide some modest places to go and strategies for fighting the injustice and wrongness without.

One of the Better Campaigns Ads Out There

Most people know that my least favorite candidates for President of the USA are, of course, the ones remaining. Nonetheless, this is a pretty entertaining and well-done ad (and about as true as a typical advertisement; you know what I mean):