Wednesday, May 18, 2016

FROM WHENCE DID WE COME?














God is never Wrong, but
after reading the first few chapters of Genesis, I noticed that God doesn't mention macroscopic eukaryotes.

(He doesn't mention measles or computers either.)

Before God made Adam and Eve, however, eukaryotes were holding on to rocks in the seas.
I don't know what God was doing.
Maybe He was baking some Divine lasagna.

I am not criticizing our Father Who Art in Heaven (and Everywhere else), nor am I saying that humans evolved from eukaryotes.

But then again, who can say?

God doesn't.



IT'S ABOUT RENEWABLE RESOURCES AND EUKARYOTES



Wednesday, May 11, 2016

MEN IN BLACK AND THE CORN KING


Henry Mullins "The Corn King"

I was fifteen and working as a sweeper and bag boy in a big grocery store.
The manager was a strict German who charged 5 cents for every piece of paper that I missed when I did my sweeping.
I don't think I ever had to pay a nickel.
In the winter I was given the honor of starting his car.
But it wasn't on his watch the night that robbers paid the store a visit.
It was another younger manager on duty.

I was looking down at the floor as I pushed the big broom.
Then the broom bumped into two pairs of shiny black shoes.
I stopped and looked up.
Black pants, black suit coats, black ties, black sunglasses and black hats.
And two shiny guns.

The holdup men made all employees go to the back of the store.
Then they made us lie face down on the cold, concrete floor.
I lifted my head and one of the thieves pointed the shiny pistol at me and said not to raise my head again.
I didn't.
The two men left us and went with the manager to the cash registers.

And then an unbelievable thing occurred.
One of the employees got up and ran to the upstairs office to call the police.
But just as he reached the top of the stairs the men in black were coming back.
Our would-be hero was back in a flash and back down on the floor with us.

We were then escorted to the large room where the incinerator was located.
The two robbers told us to put a tall ladder against the heavy metal door.
They warned us not to come out.
We stayed inside for about ten minutes.
Then the manager went out and took a look.
He returned and told us that they had left.

My other experience may not seem as exciting.
It was the same day that I accidentally bumped the cart where eight cases of dill pickles were sitting.
Not too many jars broke, but the smell was still quite strong.

It was this same day the Corn King visited.
I can't remember now whether it was bacon or vegetables that he was promoting.
All that I remember is that he was A VERY TALL PERSON WITH HUGE FEET!
I think the Corn King shocked me more than those two robbers.



IT'S ABOUT RENEWABLE RESOURCES

Thursday, May 05, 2016

A NIGHT AT THE BEACH BAR WITH GREYHOUNDS AND EDGAR ALLAN POE






Spiderman never told me what he did to the guy who knocked me out.
Spiderman wasn’t his real name, but it matched his tall, lean and muscular body, and that’s what everyone called him.
Spiderman said, “Don’t worry, I took care of him.”
“But what did you do?”
“You don’t want to know.”
And I didn’t.
I had been at this particular beach bar before, but I had always gone home before the sun went down.
I parked my gold, muffler-less ’64 Impala, walked to the open-air bar, sat down at a table, and started drinking.
I don’t remember what I was drinking.
It was probably beer with tomato juice or Tabasco sauce.
I know, yuck.
It was a phase I was going through.
(For all of you grammarians, I know that I’ve broken one of your cardinal rules, and have ended a few sentences with a preposition.
I hope it doesn’t bring you too down.)
It was Saturday night, and early, so there weren’t too many people yet, but gradually the beach bar filled up.
After sitting alone for about an hour, a couple walked up and asked if they could sit down at my table, and I said
No problem”.
No, the problem would occur momentarily.
They told me that they raised and sold greyhounds.
Right after that I excused myself and went to the restroom.
The beer was talking, and I knew that I wanted to get home.
On my way back to the table I saw this guy with black hair and a curved nose sitting by himself at the semi-circular bar.
I thought to myself, “He looks like Edgar Allan Poe.”
I must have taken too many looks, because it was he who came over and hit me.
It was a “sucker punch” on the right side of my head.
The punch knocked me unconscious.
When I woke up, a policeman was standing above me.
“Are you O.K.?” he asked.
“I think so. What happened?”
“Someone hit you and you passed out. Do you have a car?”
“Yes.”
“Do you want me to give you a ride? You can leave your car here and pick it up tomorrow.”
“No. I can drive. Thanks.”
I drove home.
I had a bruise on my face.
I wondered how long I was out.
I forgot to ask anyone.
It was a few days later when I was sitting at the bar inThe Rose & Crown that Spiderman walked in and told me that he had taken care of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe.
I thanked him.
IT'S (STILL) ABOUT OIL AND RENEWABLE RESOURCES!

Sunday, May 01, 2016

ALL IS VANITY



All Is Vanity by C. Allan Gilbert




Leonard Cohen



It (and All) is Vanity I suppose.
Here are a few pieces of Vanity.
They are my brushes with greatness and some name-dropping.
First, a short preamble of ramble.

I've had the good fortune to meet some interesting non-great (i.e. non-famous) persons in my life.
I have also been quite fortunate not to have died in the many scenes of my life where I have played a part and encountered:
Danger.
Adventure.
Romance.
Amazement.
A few peak experiences.

After I had gone to college for four years, I finally picked my major (I had been a distributed studies major...well, really just a lost liberal arts major).
If my philosophy professor Dr. Weir had not been walking down the steps of the university's library just as I was coming up them, I might not have become a teacher.
With his pure white beard, Dr. Weir glided down the stone steps with his usual nonchalant manner and inquired:
"What are you going to do?"
"What do you mean?", I asked.
Professor Weir replied,
"What are you going to do when you graduate?"
"I don't know", I said.
"Why don't you get paid to read books?"
And so in my fifth year I loaded up on Education and English courses.

Now to some name-dropping and brushes with greatness.

I met Anais Nin.
She was an aging but still beautiful woman when I met her.
She was dressed completely in white.
Either way she seemed a goddess in my eyes.
I had read her Diaries.
I told her that I had had a dream with her in it.
I think she said something like "I hope it was a good dream."

I went on a date with a girl named Joan Bliss to listen to Allen Ginsberg read his poems (and play his little harmonium).
When he was finished I walked with Joan Bliss to say hello to him.
I extended my hand to shake Mr. Ginsberg's hand, but he kissed it instead.
That was an embarrassing brush with greatness.

I got hit on my right knee with John Prine's guitar when he walked by me on his way to the stage.
That brush didn't hurt my knee.
That same year I went to hear Leonard Cohen in the same small nightclub.
He didn't hit my knee, but I still felt that I had been brushed by some greatness.

At a concert in Denver I bought one red rose for Bob Dylan.
I gave it (in its vase) to the person who accepted such things to forward to Mr. Dylan.
When I handed this person the rose (with a card) I asked,
"Will he be sure to get this?"
And I was assured that he would.
Years later Dylan's Shot Of Love album came out.
On the back cover is a photograph of Dylan smelling a rose.
My rose?
Not quite a brush;
not quite a bouquet;
just one red rose.
ALL IS VANITY.

PostScript:
I actually met Allen Ginsberg three times.
Once while walking down Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado.
I wrote about this encounter and a publication called The Straight Creek Journal published it.
I have tried to locate my letter in archives without success. Maybe when I'm famous others will do it. In the letter I wrote how I was treated by this (in my humble opinion) not so great poet.
He accused me of having scrambled brains and of being just one more hungry fish who wanted his poetry to be recognized (and famous I guess) like Mr. Ginsberg's.
The other encounter was more mundane.
I had him sign a couple of his paperbacks. 


 IT'S ABOUT RENEWABLE RESOURCES




Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy Earth Day!





THE FIRST EARTH DAY


"We only have one earth, so we need to take care of her."
That's what Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin believed. He was disturbed that an issue as important as our environment was not addressed in politics or by the media, so he created the first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970. An estimated 20 million people nationwide attended festivities that day. It was a truly astonishing grassroots explosion, leading eventually to national legislation such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.


I remember that first Earth Day.
I was living in Boulder, Colorado.
The most salient memory is of the many Geodesic Domes.
All of those triangles interconnected!
The dream-come-true of any hippie!
A couple of years later, when I was living alone in a quiet one-room "cottage" along Boulder Creek, I had an experience that truly put me in touch with the Earth.
It was a frosty white winter evening.
I was driving my Datsun truck and saw two people asking for a ride (their thumbs extended).
I stopped and asked where they needed to go.
They pointed ahead and said "Sugarloaf Road".
"Get in", I said.
His wife's name was Heidi. I forget his. But I won't forget his huge, red beard that was almost down to his knees.
When I stopped, they invited me to visit their home.
We walked through the snow-laden forest for about quarter of a mile.
"It's over there", said the long-bearded husband.
"Where?", I asked.
"That round circle on the ground", Heidi replied.
Her husband lifted a "door" and they invited me to come in.
Inside this hole dug into the earth was their home.
It was Z-shaped.
A small mattress sat on the top part of the Z. I sat here.
A treadle sewing machine was at the bottom of the Z.
"We put a Tepee on top when winter ends", Heidi said.
Then Heidi's husband showed me a round object covered with colorful "strings".
The strings were copper wires.
The round object was a small bicycle wheel.
"What is it?, I asked.
"It's this", he said.
And he handed me a small metal box.
"It's a bio-feedback machine".
I stared in disbelief at both objects.
"My company is called Psionics", he said.
It was the very first biofeedback machine. I felt honored.
I didn't stay long.
Heidi and her husband walked with me part way down the path from their home.
I was walking back to my truck astonished, when out of the cold blue evening sky a bolt of lightning struck just a few feet in front of me.
This thunderbolt out of Heaven was as remarkable as that meeting in the Earth.


IT'S ABOUT RENEWABLE RESOURCES!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

EVERYBODY'S MAD AT SOMEBODY BUT MAY PRINCE REST IN PEACE





Kelly Ripa is mad at Michael Strahan.

Kim Jong Un is (always) mad at the United States.

Russia is mad (again) at the United States and vice versa.

Saudi Arabia is going to be mad if the missing pages from the 9/11 report are released.

Donald Trump is mad.

EVERYBODY'S MAD AT SOMEBODY!

But may Prince Rest in Peace.






IT'S ABOUT RENEWABLE RESOURCES!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

ON THE NINTH FLOOR





Washington, D.C.
The Jefferson and Lincoln Memorial.
The Washington Monument.
And Sibley Hospital.
I was told by an accompanying psychiatrist and the Peace Corps nurse that I would be here only for observation.
That sounded ominous to me, but I smiled my acknowledgement (certainly not my approval.)
I signed some papers (I guess to give permission to everyone to do anything that they wanted or had to do to me).
I said goodbye to the nurse and Mr. Psychiatrist.
In London he had asked me to tell him what some riddles meant to me: A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss; People Who Live In Glass Houses Shouldn't Throw Stones; and others I forget).
I don't know if I gave him the correct answers.
But apparently not.
I "checked in" at Sibley.
I was on the Ninth Floor, which is (I guess) the traditional floor on which psychiatric patients stay.
I sat down in a room with a jolly fellow named Sarge.
He asked:
"Why are you here."
I said that I didn't know.
Sarge said:
"You'll be out of here in no time."
I soaked in a bath, and then took a shower.
I was on one side of the ninth floor where IN/OUT patients had rooms.
On the other side were patients who were too dangerous to have permission to leave their side of the floor or to leave the hospital.
Remember the movie One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest with Jack Nicholson?
I did the same thing that Jack did: I pretended to swallow my medication, but then threw it down the toilet.
My medication was called Thorazine and it made me feel terrible.
So I stopped taking it.
But that didn't stop the public announcements TO COME AND TAKE YOUR MEDICATION.
I met some interesting people.
I met a relative of William Faulkner (a niece I think).
Then there was a lawyer employed by the U.S. government.
He said that his insurance paid for him to come here, and he came to meet and talk to interesting people. He said it was like a vacation for him.
One of my neighbors had tried to commit suicide.
I never asked why.
I believe her name was Karen Johnson.
She told me that she had just interviewed the actor Robert Blake for Playboy magazine.
She and I went on a walk one day.
We were planning to go see the movie Coma, but we never made it.
We got lost.
We did stop for a brief visit at the national headquarters of N.O.R.M.L. (National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws).
The director asked me if I wanted some herbal tea (no...not that kind), but I said no.
She walked to the back with the director.
As I looked out the big window of the office, I watched as a plainclothes policeman took out a police dog from the back of his truck.
They didn't come into the office.
Karen and I finally left, and returned to the hospital.
Another time I took a walk with a very sweet elderly woman.
I think she told me the same thing as the lawyer: she came here to relax!
It was hard to believe!
She told me that Michael Fox lived next to her.
Not Michael J. Fox.
This Michael Fox wrote books about cats.
Anyway, I went with her to a restaurant.
I remember that I ordered a Reuben sandwhich and some kind of mixed drink.
When we finished our lunch, she had to go somewhere else, and so I caught a bus to return to Sibley.
I remember that the Denver Broncos were playing in the SuperBowl (1978).
A radio on the bus had the game on.
Suddenly, I felt horribly sick, and needed to get off of the bus.
I asked the bus driver to stop because I was about to throw up.
He did, and I immediately did so in some bushes.
I was quickly released from Sibley Hospital when I started turning yellow from the Hepatitis that I had.
If you ever want to get out of a psychiatric ward quickly just get hepatitis.
I went to my mother's home to recover from my Hepatitis and to gain some weight from her home cooking.
But I liked my 32'' waist so much that I didn't want to eat too well.
One day I visited a friend in a hospital.
But she was in the hospital to have her appendix removed.
In her room the TV was on and at a low volume, but I could still hear Walter Cronkite say in his indelible voice:
"Today President Daud, president of Afghanistan, was killed..."
Mr. Cronkite also announced the suicide of Freddy Prince.
It was Afghanistan's first coup which made Russia feel it was necessary to intervene and invade.




IT'S ABOUT RENEWABLE RESOURCES