Sunday, November 29, 2009

Colgando En Tus Manos – Hanging in Your Hands




Lyrics to Colgando En Tus Manos :

Quizá no fue coincidencia encontrarme contigo...
Tal vez esto lo hizo el destino...
Quiero dormirme de nuevo en tu pecho...
y después me despierten tus besos.

Tu sexto sentido sueña conmigo,
se que pronto estaremos unidos.
Esa sonrisa traviesa que vive conmigo.
se que pronto estaré en tu camino.

Sabes que estoy colgando en tus manos,
asi que no me dejes caer.
Sabes que estoy colgando en tus manos.

Te envío poemas de mi puño y letra.
Te envío canciones de 4:40.
Te envío las fotos cenando
en Marbella y cuando estuvimos por Venezuela.

Y así me recuerdes y tengas presente,
que mi corazón está colgando en tus manos.
Cuidado, cuidado, que mi corazon està colgando en tus manos.

No perderé la esperanza de hablar contigo.
No me importa que dice el destino.
Quiero tener tu fragrancia conmigo.
Y beberme de ti todo lo prohibido.

Sabes que estoy colgando en tus manos,
asi que no me dejes caer.
Sabes que estoy colgando en tus manos.

Te envío poemas de mi puño y letra.
Te envío canciones de 4:40.
Te envío las fotos cenando
en Marbella y cuando estuvimos por Venezuela.

Y así asì me recuerdes y tengas presente
que mi corazòn està colgando en tus manos.
Cuidado, cuidado, mucho cuidado, cuidado.

Marta yo te digo me tienes en tus manos.
Cuidado, mucho cuidado.

No importa que diga el destino quedate conmigo
cuidado, mucho cuidado,

Lo quiero todo de ti
Tus labios, tu cariño, lo prohibido.

Te envío poemas de mi puño y letra.
Te envío canciones de 4:40.
Te envío las fotos cenando
en Marbella y cuando estuvimos por Venezuela.

Y asì me recuerdes y tengas presente,
Que mi corazon està colgando en tus manos
cuidado, cuidado...

Que mi corazon està colgando en tus manos
que mi corazon està colgando en tus manos
que mi corazon estò colgando en tus manos


Hanging On Your Hands

Maybe it was not for coincidence
that I met you
sometimes these things are made by destiny
I want to sleep again on your breast
and then I want your kisses to wake me up

your sixth sense dreams of me
I know that we'll be together soon
this sleeping smile that lives here with me
I know that I will be on your way soon

you know I'm hanging on your hands
so don't let me fall
you know I'm hanging on your hands

I send you poems in my own hand
I send you songs 4.40 minutes long
I send you pictures when we were
dining in Marabella and
when we were in Venezuela
so that you can remember me
so that you take account of the fact
that my heart is hanging on your hands

be careful, be careful
I won't lose the hope to be with you
All the forbidden, it's all I want of you
I want to wake up kissing all your tenderness
My baby, my life, I need you.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Boutique Journalism - WTF - Beware!


You have got to be careful about what you think you see on news lists on the Internet. You might see a story as being posted under a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) or the New York Times (NYT) and you might assume that the story will be of high quality. There was a time when the WSJ and the NYT were considered the Rolls Royces of Journalism. But looks can be deceptive these days. Look under the hood.

There are very well known ritzy department stores in New York that have a decades old name for quality and they bank on it for tourists to visit. I was surprised when somebody told that the floor space on the main floor of one of these famous named stores, a lot of the counter spaces and racks of clothes were auctioned off to individual companies to sell and supply perfume and fancy clothes.

The ritzy department store is like the old indoors farmers’ markets and renting stalls to individual retailers. The ritzy store gets upfront rent and or a percent of receipts as recorded off the online cash registers. This new Boutique Retailing is not like the original smallness and intimacy of the traditional Boutique retail outlet. Such is the modern world. - And you get to take your stuff home in a ritzy label shopping bag.

Borrowing from the new Boutique Retailing of some major department stores, so too once fancy ritzy reputation newspapers seem to be renting stalls or their columns to outside retailers or in this case “Journalists”.

One such example I believe is this put down of American workers and their wages.

American Wages Out of Balance

That compared to overseas deregulated labor:
The global wage gap has been narrowing, but recent labor market statistics in the United States suggest the adjustment has not gone far enough.

One indicator is unemployment, which has risen unexpectedly rapidly. The 7.3 million jobs lost are more than triple the 2 million during the 1980-82 recession. Some of that huge increase reflects the sharp decline in gross domestic product, but there could be another factor: the recession shows that many workers are paid more than they’re worth.

And

The big trade deficit is another sign of excessive pay for Americans. One explanation for the attractive prices of imported goods is that American workers are paid too much relative to their foreign peers.
Real comforting to see something like this on the business page of the New York Times.

But if one looks closely you can see that the three “reporters” are not employed directly by the NYT but Breakingviews.com – is this a subsidiary of NYT or is the NYT merely renting a stall in its indoor farmer’s market of “Journalism”?

I have been caught in eye-catching headlines marked WSJ – Wall Street Journal on the Internet only to be disappointed by a blog or opinion page – not journalism but opinion on right wing conservative political topics. The punditocracy is everywhere. Facts do not count anymore. It is all paid for opinion.

To add insult to injury to the American Worker on the above mentioned Boutique Journalism article about how “American Wages (are) Out of Balance”, The Pundit Boutique Journalists go on to say that no crimes were committed on Wall Street with the collapse for the Wall Street Ponzi. Some mere mistakes were made by honest but gullible Hedge Fund Manager types.
The case against two former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers, Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin, was the closest anything came to a trial over Wall Street’s role in the financial crisis. Their acquittal suggests that blame is not easily apportioned — and that mistakes, not conspiracies, offer the more likely explanation.
Bullshit and propaganda I can understand in a rag like the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) now that is owned by Rupert Murdock. But the New York Times – The New York Times – ??? Geez!

These Boutique journalists – their webpage describe themselves as :
Breakingviews.com is the world's leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. Breakingviews.com has 22 correspondents and columnists based in London, New York, Hong Kong, Paris, Washington and Madrid. Our aim is to become the lingua franca for the global financial community.

"Our real-time subscription service currently reaches around 15,000 financial professionals such as investment bankers, senior corporate executives, hedge fund managers, lawyers and private equity professionals. We reach a broader audience of nearly 4.5m investors and opinion-formers via columns in the following influential newspapers and magazines: The New York Times (USA), The Telegraph (UK), The International Herald Tribune, Le Monde (France), El Pais and Cinco Dias (Spain), Handelsblatt (Germany), La Stampa (Italy), NRC Handelsblad (Netherlands), Nikkei Veritas (Japan). Caijing (China) The National (UAE), The Business Times (Singapore), The Business Standard (India) and L’Agefi (Switzerland)."
Journalism in America appears to have been outsourced like every other honest real job that used to be on this soil. Now we only have “opinion-formers” for the MBA types in this case.

This piece about wages in America being too high comes just before Thanksgiving and the need for management to consider Christmas Bonuses and raises in the new year.

With a quotation from the New York Times telling management that wages are too high and Americans are paid too much - this will not justify even a 1% raise for the Bob Crachits of this world. These quotations above from a “NYT Article” in Boardrooms will no doubt ruin many a Tiny Tims’ Christmas.

Have a nice day. Humbug!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Glory of Old Penn Station NYC





























I never saw the late great Pennsylvania Railroad Station in New York City.

I have heard stories from people who used to travel through the old station. It was a memorable experience we are told. I have seen pictures in books. I have heard how the efforts to save the old station failed. This effort to save Penn Station was the stimulus for the creation of a New York City Landmarks Preservation Committee that was instrumental in the saving of Grand Central Terminal from the wrecking ball shortly after the old Penn Station’s demise in 1963.

Perhaps the old Pennsylvania Station is more in myth now than it ever was in reality. I think not. I will describe some aspects shortly.

Old Penn Station was opened in 1910. It was designed by the legendary architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White. General design of the great building was Beaux Arts which was a specialty of these architects. This style evolved around a distinctive Parisian style, which was a mix of many classical forms, and was more popular in the United States than it was in the rest of Europe.

Two existing New York City examples of the Beaux Arts style, can be seen in Grand Central Terminal and the New York Public Library building.

Having arrived in New York City by train some thirty years ago, I arrived in the present Pennsylvania Station that is little more than a subterranean maze of corridors, shops and stairs leading to tracks. All in all the function of that train station is a good thing if you factor in the street level office tower above along with the sports arena Madison Square Garden.

Madison Square Garden (MSG), "The Garden", is the fourth incarnation of a sports arena, the first two of which were located just off Madison Square starting one hundred and thirty years ago from 1879 through 1924 and thus the reason for the name tag.



The east face of the original Penn Station was classical. Its tall Doric columns met Seventh Avenue with a dull thud from all the photos I see at street level. The long roll of columns in a straight line reminds me of many European cities of the nineteenth century with similar grand but dull exterior architecture. The street architecture may be grand but they did not understand classical architecture then from a desired perspective. The lack of steps leading up to Penn Station in front is I think the only negative I have to say here in this posthumous critique.

The front was divided into three portals of entrance. The central main entrance at 32nd Street was flanked on 31st Street and 33rd Street by grand carriage ways running the length of the building. These carriage ways were built as a first class entrance and waiting area for horse drawn Brougham carriages already obsolete in 1910. Servicing the aristocracy and their needs seems to have used a great deal of ground space potential of the building which began preliminary excavations and construction starting in 1902.



Photos I’ve seen of these carriage ways show 1920’s taxi cabs. There is a stone arched walkway above the individual carriage way and leads into the main waiting room from the side street entrances. On a grand scale and in term of today’s architecture, this whole tangent of architectural endeavor is both impressive and space wasteful.

Into the main entrance, the walking pedestrian trying to catch a train has to pass through a long Arcade Hallway. On scale it would look to be fifty feet in height and capable of handling thirty to forty people abreast rushing back and forth at rush hours in the morning and evening. The Arcade is lined on both sides by at least a dozen store fronts to serve the public’s needs the same then as now in terms of any transportation hub. This Arcade hallway is bathed in natural light by semicircular arched windows from above. I begin to think of this hallway as an early form of crowd control leading into the staging and production areas beyond.



At the end of the arcade hallway is the arched entrance leading into the Waiting Room. In all photos I see this as the ticket buying area. I see no benches in the traditional setting of a waiting area being used to sit in the waiting process.

Also as we enter this great, grand and spacious vaulted area of the waiting area we are descending steps going down and enlarging the grand space. This is the opposite of the classical definition of Beaux Arts with steps leading up into all dramatic architectural settings. From all photographs and hand painted postcards this Waiting Room was in its time the most grand and behemoth interior public space in America. Two huge Corinthian columns stand guard on either side of the grand arch and main entrance from Seventh Avenue. Above is a vaulted ceiling and semicircular arched windows bathing the space in natural light.

The scale of these Corinthian columns is I think matching those outside the 30th Street Station building in Philadelphia, the then headquarters of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Thirtieth Street Station is a still standing Art Deco marvel from the grand age of train travel. The austere exterior FDR era Fed Reserve (fascist) style architecture of the time is accented by classical behemoth Corinthian columns. No doubt the architects of 30th Street Station had the original columns of Penn Station’s interior in mind as models and something on the wish list from the board of directors in the building of this new, in 1933, Philly station.

Before further describing this space of the Old Penn Station, let us back up a little and say that elements of one of the Grandest Baths in ancient Rome, the Baths of Caracalla, are the inspiration for this Old Penn Station architectural model. To get a sense of an idealized visual in its day, of the Victorian Era's spin on the past, we can turn to an artistic rendering of the Baths of Caracalla. There is one 1845 watercolor I favor in the Royal Academy of Arts in London collection by C.R. Cockerell which says it all in terms of a visual standard.


This Cockerell Victorian watercolor would seem to be what was available and could be compared with a modern day equivalent of a computer composite rendering of those once Roman baths. The watercolor as the recreated interior of those ancient roman baths served as a probable direct inspiration to the McKim Mead White team in their Penn Stations design project. The 1845 watercolor Baths of Caracalla Rome, shows the interior of the Tepidarium. The Tepidarium was the central grand hall of the baths and hub of all other bathing facilities within that building complex.

Stepping down two grand sets of thirteen stone steps with a brief landing in the middle of the staircase, you find yourself at the bottom of those steps on the main grand floor or waiting room of Old Penn Station. Ahead of you is another grand archway leading into the glass covered vaulted Concourse area with stairs leading down to platforms next to tracks.

Staying here in the Waiting Room you do a 360 degree clockwise turn. The archway ahead is also flanked by giant Corinthian columns with full columns in all four corners of the room. Above is a vaulted ceiling. Three large semicircular sets of windows bath the room in light from that side of the room. Turning right a similar semicircular window is under the arch formed by the vauted ceiling above a doorway entrance and downward set of steps leading from 33rd street. The lower lever of the waiting room has ticket windows on all four sides of the room.



Turning back to the entrance archway from Seventh Avenue there are niches on the walls within the archway, added I think in later years, for the modern equivalent of demi-gods with statues of Railroad Presidents and the like.

Without any specific measurement to present to you I give you my impression of scale from photos alone and hope you have been in the presently standing Grand Central Terminal ten blocks north and three avenues over east on the New York City street grid. I would say that the Old Penn Station is about two thirds of the present floor space of Grand Central is you define floor space as immediately below the blue constellation covered vault above. Height of the Old Penn would appear to be one third higher than Grand Central’s main hall.



The final turn in the old “Tepidarium” Penn waiting room sees another side entrance on 31st street and round back to the entrance to the Concourse of legendary fame.

I believe there are snippets of the old Penn Station Concourse in movies. It was often imitated and reconstructed on movie lot sound stages with the Penn Concourse as the departing and reunion point of many loves during WWII. There is a short video on the Internet by filmmaker Stephen Kellam showing the Concourse in computer animation and as part of that previously mentioned Penn Station as the center of many loves and heart breaks. I invite you to search it out and no doubt there are countless other photos and reproductions out there.



From the main waiting room we exit through small scale glass doors into the Concourse which is where there is seating for people waiting for trains. I suspect that the ticket buying waiting area was heated in winter. Off camera from the main waiting room are two smaller designated waiting rooms, one specifically for Women and one for Men. These two rooms are entered through doorways opposite each other within the archway leading to the track platforms. Waiting there in the warmth was I suspect better than waiting in the what I suspect was an unheated area in winter and depending on body heat only to warm you in the Concourse beyond.


Through the glass doors and into the Concourse is like Alice slipping through the looking glass. In a sense and from the street on Seventh Avenue and the main entrance, we have come through the twentieth century Arcade or shopping mall into a magnificent interpretation of a third century Roman bath’s main hall. From here we are transported to a glory of modern man, an amalgam of the industrial age reaching its zenith into the age of mass produced steel and glass.


From the direct or muted tones of natural light in the Waiting Room we reach into the total light of a vaulted cast iron and steel framework with a roof totally sheathed in glass panels. Standing at the entrance way into the Concourse one sees the grand clock and its roman numerals and we get to see, imagine, the Crystal Palace of 1851 and Kew Gardens' conservatory combined in a magnificent space to accomodate and perfectly accent the power of the age of the steam train engine.


With my limited travel experience, I can only say that in terms of the nineteeth century’s grand tribute to the train travel, Victoria Station and Gard du Nord are good tries but the Old Penn Station got it right in many categories of magnificent effort and effect on the emotional and sensual level of the every day traveler, the commuter. Compared to Old Penn’s Concourse, Victoria and Gard Du Nord's train areas are merely train sheds with some glass panels in the train shed roof.


In, under, this lighted space of the Penn Concourse are people coming and going in all directions and through four entrances. There are people waiting on benches. There are newspaper stands and snack stands. There are the stair entrance ways to several tracks below. In an imitation of modern energy flows, the Concourse area is Grand Central, Broadway, and JFK airport all in one ball of architectural wax.



The Old Penn Station was truly the Versailles of Train Stations with its interior spaces. It’s loss made, makes, many of us keenly aware what was ultimately lost. The so called space demands of New York City was a poor excuse for tearing down this Wonder of the Modern World.


These days, a MSG could be built as a Sports Arena on the Hudson River next to the convention center. There is such a thing as too dense a population of people even by Manhattan standards. The calming effect of an oasis of grand public space in the middle of all the chaotic energy of everyday NYC would be greatly welcome these days.

I don’t know if the Waiting Room of the old Penn Station will ever be recreated. I can however see the grand Concourse area being resurrected in some great airport, spaceport or other transportation hub of the future. The Old Penn Station is a classical standard of the gilded age and worthy of a classic revival in the future.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Philadelphia 30th Street Station - 1933/Present - Interior and Exterior


Interior - 30th Street Station Philadelphia









.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Melbournian Candidate - Roger Ailes


Almost as an insider’s media industry joke, the idea made the rounds last week of Roger Ailes, head of Fox News of the Murdock Media Noise Empire, was considering a run for the presidency in 2012.

If he was younger, I would say that he or anybody the Fox Propaganda Machine would endorse could go the distance in the American Political Process. Ailes could carry or make a decent showing in the Primaries. Huckabee would have to be sabotaged (a minor task) if Ailes wanted Iowa.

This is all speculation, a joke, comic relief, after Ailes and Obama media right hand David Axelrod could not discuss gentlemanly rules of engagement over tea at the White House.

Ailes cut his teeth or more accurately make his name and media reputation in selling a recycled bag of political shit aka Richard Nixon to the American People and making them like it in 1968. Of course it was the George Wallace campaign and the split in the Democratic party that year that gave the Republicans a squeaker victory in 1968.

One has to wonder at the ego of politicians and media moguls born in Melbourne and how games can be won and profits realized on the national and global stage.

The power of the media is immense. Like a Derivatives Compiler or Manager of a Hedge Fund, the novelty of the new Fox journalism has worn off in recent hard economic times. These are times for retooling the American Mission Statement for itself and to the world. Fox fades away or resets the definition of normal for decades to come.

Journalism in all its forms are in the marketplace. The more traditional hardcopy newspaper may be on the wane but it is not dead. There always is a market for a quality product. There also is a market for hucksters and their street wares.

The media as the background sound of the demos – the mob – has been there since before the Republic. The sounding board of ideas and egos, private and public are all welcome.

Roger Ailes will make an excellent stalking horse for Rupert’s real candidate, whoever he or SHE is in 2012.

(P.S. Just substitute the word Iraq or Afghanistan in every slot using the word “Vietnam” below and get a taste of the potential media tsunami coming our way in 2012, that could be recycled out of old political propaganda trash courtesy of classic Ailes and Associates archives.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The New WSJ - Where are the Tits?


I used to remark some years ago that the only thing that keeps The New York Time from being a truly great newspaper was that it lacked a “funnies” comic strip page. Yes, rather droll humor.

I used to remark that I had no need for the New York Post anymore – my canary died.

Going back at least twenty five years ago I was walking from the Village, down Broadway on my way to the Ferry. I was a walker back then. It was a Sunday afternoon. I ran into a tourist. He was middle aged and as it turned out Korean. From his limited but well mannered English he was asking me “Where do I find the Wall Street Journal building?” I kind of scratched my head. This was before they had a whole building at the World Financial Center across from the old World Trade Center.

He may have had an address or I got the address out of the copy of the WSJ he was carrying with him. It was late and I wanted to get home. But the dignity of this Economics professor from South Korea made me want to be a perfect temporary surrogate American host to this tourist. We talked as we walked and as I guided him to the address in downtown Manhattan. This man was in awe of the “greatest newspaper in the world”. Wow. He had come to see and pay homage to something he had worshipped from afar.

I don’t know if we did find the right place. The WSJ had no iconic building in those days. What we landed at was an entrance to the building next to the New York Stock Exchange. Perhaps they rented some floors in the building. The professor seemed a bit disappointed and I was too in that I could not satisfy this tourist’s request to touch the “greatest newspaper in the world”.

“The greatest newspaper in the world” is still an elusive title for any newspaper these days. When I see articles these days in the Internet, I see WSJ or Wall Street Journal next to the article listed. If I click onto the article I am not likely to get any sound economic advice or spin on world economic business, I am more likely to get the Opinion Page - or a featured blog article - and having little or nothing to do with the traditional business of Wall Street.

I have had to restrain myself lately, train my eye to stop seeing WSJ as a mark of quality based on a century of Journalistic Excellance that permeated even to South Korea in its day.

I ran into a FOX defending article today on the Opinion Page at the "WSJ" internet site. It was interlinked with a blog attacking Obama’s strategy against Fox News. I don’t know who the blogger really is or how he gets paid. What does petty politics have to do with economics or the stock market in any pure old fashioned “classic WSJ” sense of things?

I knew that when Murdock bought the Wall Street Journal that it would lose its shine.

Rupert, the one thing these days missing in the Wall Street Journal – WSJ – that keeps it from being a truly great newspaper. It has no Page Three. There are no tits?

Rupert? Where are the tits?

Please raise the standards for "the Journal" back up - perhaps even up to those standards of your flagship newspaper - The Sun.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Unicorn - Unbound


It’s true!
The Unicorn is bound.
Magic and Mystic
Chained to a tree
Waiting.

Doubting for a moment
(or is it a thousand years?)
Before his heart is stirred again –
Awakened by a light
The sceptered spectrum
And flight.

1-17-80

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The GOP - the Party of "family values"



Oh how the mighty have fallen!

When you put yourself on the pedestal of Holier Than Thou - the only place to go is down.



Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Chapter - Creating Communities of Peace



May goddess flow again through
The dried-up riverbeds of human minds.
May she well up once more from the
Blocked springs of human hearts.
May she dance with courage in
Office blocks and railway stations and
Through virtual space around the world.
Dissolving hierarchies and creating
At last a genuine deep equality for
All members of the human race.


By Jocelyn Chaplin, Teacher, artist, and psychotherapist, England

Prayers for a Thousand Years, edited by Elizabeth Roberts & Elias Amidon, Harper San Francisco c 1999

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tests




For five hundred years the public has seen an image, the Mona Lisa, in one pose.

The artist Leonardo supposedly dyslexic, seeing images backwards, may have seen Mona Lisa completely different from the rest of humanity.

Which of these images is the accepted public pose? Which is the pose that the artist saw? Which do you prefer?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Leonardo's Dyslexia - and the American Economy







There are many ways to look at things - things like the new economy that must rise out of the ashes of the recently clumsily made, deregulated and failed thing.

The most famous portrait in the world is the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci.

It occurred to me many years ago that if the great artist was truly dyslexic, that perhaps for five hundred years the whole world saw this portrait one way.

It also occurred to me that if you reverse the pose, you may see what the artist saw when he first started to paint this item five hundred years ago.

Just a thought.

Perhaps the way American business has looked at business for decades is not the quite correct way to look at the economy now or into the future.

Looking at the above photos can you tell for certain which is the correct pose and which one has a warmer, not enigmatic, smile?

Whose Point of View (POV) is better? Which is the best view? What did the artist see?

Did he know that he had a handicap or did he know that he had a great gift?

What do you see?

What is your perspective of the view - of this picture and the economy?

I hope you see a bright warm smile.

I hope you see the future as well.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

451 Disease - An American Affliction?

-


Did you miss Tropicana Orange Juice when it went off the market? Did it go out of business? I hadn’t heard but then again I only occasionally drink orange juice and I have no addiction to brand names. I usually buy what is on sale or cheapest.

Well Tropicana did not go out of business. It changed its packaging to a bright new design above. Sales plummeted. The strange thing is that people apparently, like functional illiterates, do not read in a supermarket. They go for recognizable symbols.

Pepsico which owns Tropicana also came up with new packaging that the public did not recognize as “Pepsi” and are changing back to the old recognizable symbols of these two products. Perhaps the real reason “New Coke” got dissed by the public a generation ago was not because of the new taste but because of the new packaging.

It is scary. It reminds me of the novel and movie Fahrenheit 451 whereby the government bans all reading and writing. Symbols and memory are important and the screen in the living room feeds you all necessary information.
In human beings,"disease" is often used more broadly to refer to any condition that causes extreme pain, dysfunction, distress, social problems. Wikipedia

I define this laziness or disability to read in Americans as the new 451 Disease. I do not know if it is local or global and I have to wonder why we are wasting trillions in education if our children who can master tests, tests, tests (which by the way are nothing more than full of symbols, symbols, symbols) and they or their parents cannot read a carton of orange juice in a supermarket.

Common sense don't count no more. We are surely doomed as a civilization!

No doubt they will soon be advertising prescription drugs on TV commercials to cure this new disease that I have just discovered and labeled.

Have a nice day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Johann Pachelbel - Canon



Music to help you forget politicians and bailouts!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. - no Othello!

The tainted from the Clinton Era Justice Department A.G. spoke rather lamely and ineptly the other day in one of those forced attendance for government worker's Black History Month Lectures. "Cowards" - the word - was a poor, extremely inept and definitive place marker on his "experience" and his inability to lead and or deal with civil rights in this country. He is already blaming us for his future failures! His Stats!

I sat through one of these awkward lectures in Tucson about fifteen years ago. Of course the speaker was an African American female working in government. What was wrong with the picture then and in that particular HUD/FHA satellite office was that no African-Americans were working there.

I found out rather in a weird way that HUD/FHA, being the weird PR organ of Big Mortgage Companies that is was/still is, that the regional headquarters in San Fran had listed me as African American on its stat sheet to Washington, to balance in a PC fashion the race, ethnic stats going to DC. At the time I thought that if HUD/FHA spent as much time wasted on this stat bullshit, and dealt with real issues, that maybe HUD/FHA could make a difference in the American scene. It is just another government dinosaur sucking the life out of the planet and especially after it helped so generously and ineptly in the mortgage ponzi scam of the recent past.

Mr. Holder's remarks about people afraid to talk about race should start at home. I remember years ago a quote of the film director Spike Lee that he could not make a movie about slavery in US history because African-Americans did not want to touch upon the subject. I am glad to join in any reasonable discussions.

Don't talk about using a big stick to resurrect the Civil Rights division after it had been the Bush-raped in the last admin. Be a big stick. Lead by example and charge up the hill holding the battle banner. A theoretical Casper Milquetoast academic paper read in boring lecture does Jack Shit for me and or the nation in its present difficulties.

Mr. Holder's poor performance of Othello does not mean that he cannot become a great actor one day. My gripe is that why does he have to learn on a learning curve on own time and our dime. How many decades will it take to restore the integrity of the U.S. Justice Department while he understudies the role via mail order acting and or mail order Attorney General correspondence courses??? Is he the best of the best Obama promised? NO!!!

Obama may be African American but he has no roots in slavery unless his mother's family has some black blood in them. I have black blood in me, maybe 1/32nd or 1/64th. Big deal. My immigrant from Ireland great grandfather fought at Gettysburg to help free the slaves. Big deal.

Good luck discussing race while the economy collapses Mr. star understudy Holder! Don’t leave me any free tickets at the box office for your future performance.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Enough of Lincoln - He was a Railroad Lawyer!


They have a temple to him in Washington DC - out sixteenth president. He is a demi-god in the grand Roman tradition. The temple, the Lincoln Memorial, is of a scale fit for Jupiter and or Zeus. We in this secular culture have as close to a secular saint or god (small “g”) as you can get in Old Abe. Hey we are a democracy of sorts. There are no ground rules. We have, in some ways, evolved like the old Roman Empire.

Getting back to Old Abe. I was surprised to read that President Zachary Taylor had offered Lincoln the post of Territorial Governor of Oregon around 1850. Think about how history would have changed if he had taken that job.

The truth of the matter was that Lincoln was a railroad lawyer. He got paid the big bucks and when he went to Washington, his estimated wealth I once read was about $100,000. I think the statistic then was that there were only something like six millionaires in America before the Civil War.

I do not want to downgrade President Lincoln’s place in history or how his CEO abilities were taxed in trying to find the right generals to mop up the Southern Mess. While on a tangent, just remember that Robert E. Lee was married to Martha Washington’s great granddaughter and step-great granddaughter of George Washington. The landed gentry of Virginia were living in a aristocratic bubble supported by an obsolete inefficient cruel system of slavery. There was no easy way to convert old wealth, land and slaves, to the new wealth, factories and railroads.

There was class warfare going on between the progressive states that banned slavery and the old dying economic culture of the South. There was one blip on the radar however. In 1860, 51% of all foreign capital coming into the US was from cotton. The south in many ways could have converted that wealth in a few number of years into a modern economy that could have rivaled the north’s factory wealth. More likely, the aristocracy would have just bought more oriental rugs for their ante-bellum mansions.

The prize in those days for the northern states or the confederate states was the untapped wealth of the western United States in the form of territories waiting to be settled and admitted to the political structure of the United States Congress.

The wealth of southern landowners, slave owners, could not compete with the western movement. Slavery and the landed aristocracy were doomed in a matter of years, not decades.

Nobody in the south thought Lincoln a fool. Lincoln was a wealthy man with an eye on the future. That future was railroads and the west. The other guy who had his eye on the west was Jefferson Davis, one time son in law to General Zachary Taylor and Secretary of War under President Zachary Taylor. One of Jeff’s pet projects was several feasibility studies for the positioning of the proposed, envisioned, needed Transcontinental Railroad. What to tell Congress? That the best route of the taxpayer subsidized railway was the southern route and not the northern route???

The history books paint Abe as a saint, martyr, visionary, emancipator etc. They rarely mention his railroading job skills. Can you imagine if Booth had not shot him. Can you imagine Lincoln as head of one of the New York based railroad empires stretching from NYC to San Francisco? Picture Lincoln’s mansion on Fifth Avenue, 120 rooms, and fifty servants. Picture the probate of his twenty million dollar estate etc.

It is all right and good for a republic to have its iconic figures but put them back into human scale sometimes.

All in all Lincoln was a giant among the pygmies of his timeline group peers.

Happy Two Hundredth Birthday Mr. President Lincoln!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Perswayzon - It's the new Grunt!

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Perhaps this is a bit of middle aged gripes and sour grapes. The aging generation laments the simplicity and or the golden age of the past. I do not. The past was simpler in some ways and in others it sucked. In a way, back then, the population in general were on the same page. One or two local television and radio stations and one or two local newspapers delivered the news, fashions and norms, politically correct speak (PC for short) and everybody knew their place in the general scheme of things.

Having taken some business psychology courses in college that were geared to improving communication and sales I look at everything with perhaps too critical an eye.

What this old fart would say about the discommunication in America today is that too many bubbles of intelligence exist that do not touch or interface elsewhere on the planet. I would say the best example of this is Doctors. They talk and think anatomy and chemistry all day long. That if you interface with them, they want you to describe your pain or ailment which they translate into their own little medical correct speak.

When I try to explain to a doctor how mail order prescriptions work and the various international laws involved and my need for a new prescription, I get the same blank stare as from the teenager in the mall behind the counter who doesn’t have a clue about what I am speaking about when asking about some retail items - hello - you sell this? - what kind of warranty etc do I get - excuse me - could you turn down your earphones - I would like to purchase - no never mind - I guess I didn‘t need or want the item that much from you - let me find a store that caters to human beings and not texters on the other side of your blackberry ---.

The doctor and the nurse and pharmaceutical giants all communicate correctly with each other but ME? - I am out of the loop. It seems that the disease of discommuncation in America is an acceptable disease and probably treated by some newly invented drug. This is not miscommunication.

Miscommunication connotes an effort to communicate. Discommunication is talking and understanding within the bubble and egnoring everybody else. A very old concept had to do with thinking outside of the box. That has to be retranslated in case anybody in today’s world is listening or cares. The bubble is the new box. How do you find a corner on a bubble to estimate or leverage yourself out of a bubble? To think? Differently? Duh! - It is a conundrum of sorts.

The girl at the mall, her lack of manners and or good customer skills is perhaps a local matter of the culture. I have traveled and the local thing is all over and perhaps global. The public schools in America do not teach manners or courtesy or things like acceptable social interface that once got drilled into the heads of us fools from the past that were on the same page concerning these matters and related to one or two radio, televisions stations, newspapers. In the old days, it was the religious institutions, the parochial schools, Sunday schools that put the polish on a child’s civilized life skills education.

But going back to doctors and the college educated, their educations do not touch upon manners, courtesy, customer skills or interface with the rest of the planet.

It used to be the totally uneducated who grunted a lot. Now with the advent of cookie-cutter bureaucratic education systems, a grunt is all that is needed to get through a day. The cookie-cutter tests of our youth get measured to satisfy the cookie-cutter bureaucratic requirements of state and national employed for life cookie cutter education authorities.

What came first? Education or the Student Loan Industrial Complex?

Anyway, without going on about what irks and gripes me. I must say this. That the more one is educated in America, the more degrees added to your name, the narrower the range of communication possible with the outside world. Outside World? Me. Perhaps with you as well.

Get a MBA in business and you can destroy business. Cookie-cutter education sense is no sense - nonsense - for many in this world these days. How do we reach out to the new ignorants - ignorance - of this dying nuclear age?

That perhaps the only communication the young or the highly educated do is in a day of taking grueling scaled down cookie-cutter tests is to order a number one or two off Mickey D’s cookie cutter menu.

Like the fingers on one hand is the flow of possible avenues of communication between our new modern educated elites and us mere obsolete humans down here on the ground.

Grunt. Fart. That’s two avenues explained.

You figure out the other three. Have a good day discommunicating with the planet and with the new perswayzon methods of the next generations.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Price of tin gods ( Discounted! )


John Thain in his excuse for giving out bonuses to Merrill Lynch hacks in the middle of a corporate meltdown was that top talent would march to other companies. Sure. Go ahead. Tired, broken, worn-out Reaganesque style obsolete American corporate talent - walk - look for comparable employment - welcome to the real world!!! (It’s a bitch!)

President Obama in an attempt to restore reality ( sanity would be too much to ask even from him ) to the corporate boardrooms in America, set a maximum salary cap for senior executives in failed corporations. If your bankrupt hack company wants a government handout - guess what - the talent that caused the meltdown is not worth millions a year in salary - just thousands. What a refreshing breeze has whofted over the land of America suddenly.

As for talent, a few MBAs got decent salaries for their slide rule approach to ransacking corporations and putting it all neatly onto a spreadsheet to act as ponzi cover to quarterly reports and paper profits, bonuses, corporate jets, Caribbean weekends, drugs and hookers!

The quarterly report scam thing has been going on for over a quarter of a century. Can’t we just keep up appearances for a few more quarters? “Hell I even had money with Madoff!” goes the line of many sad songs on the corporate penthouse world built not on factories but more like Blow.

I have a pint of air. I invest in that pint of air and declare that it has increased in value to half a quart. I declare a dividend. Borrow money from giant useless banks to pay the dividend and I am in business. Bring on the last few remaining state and municipal pension funds to invest in my air corporation. Not many suckers left to fleece in America or globally.

Oh the Pubs fucked up real bad when they couldn’t get the Average American Joe to break off from Social Security and invest his government nest egg in Wall Street.

Bush dropped the ball on that one. The American people will sort of go along with national security and wars in the middle east but don’t touch my privates - my Social Security thingy.

It is still a mess in America with many more quarters before real corporations declare real profits and start hiring native born Americans back at a living wage. But one thing for sure is that the Tin Gods of Wall Street just got a deflationary wake up call as to their Titanic views of themselves and their supposed talents.

It is a new day dawning in corporate America. I can smell the coffee above the pollution free future of electric cars on the newly built highways, solar power on my roof and a realization that reality starts with real things and not theoretical corporate spreadsheet profits, Keating, Lay and Madoff style.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Age of Uncertainty


It is an age
Of uncertainty.
A hundred years
From where men
Knew how to invent
Plant crops
Count blessings
Grasp the soil
Sweat and toil
And fix one’s own
Plumbing in a
house he built
himself.
A hundred years later
Youth stare at
Electronic boxes
For satisfaction.
The human condition
Decays. To touch,
To feel are freaky things.
The real thing or
At least once it was
The real thing - wavers
Needs a cheat book
To figure a higher score.
Life is plastic not sane
Built on shifting sand.
The changing time.
It is an age transiting
One age and into next
Uncertain age pending.
Today subtlety mixes
Not in understanding
Is lost with sarcasm.
It takes intelligence
To understand
Experience too
And learn by it.
From it what is it
Common sense
Once horse sense
Or farm sense is
Lacking.
Colleges like plagues
Spread not education
Or human sense
As much as diplomas -
The new manure from
The new factories.
Good for what crops?
Great minds can build
Futures.
Diplomas can kill
Wall street -
The future as well.
No balanced view
Of brain or heart
From the ruling class
Anymore – Pot, pot,
Pot! Blow!
Send more comfort
Sage-d China.
The new land
Cannot make bricks
Or roads or ideas
Anymore.
The starving land gets
Fed poison. The food
Is industrial waste spun
From magic and leaves
A poisoned trail.
Consume, consume.
Consume.
The sound of locusts
Destroys the crop of
The future.
And God-obsolete
With toil lies idle
Amid desolate quarters
In shame.
No points there in
The game.
Life is a game
Inside the box.
The future is simple
Indeed.
Provided that nobody
Switches off the
Electricity.
Made in U S A ?

Friday, January 23, 2009

John Thain - Nihilist in Chief - goes Bye Bye

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Merriam-Webster on-line definition for Nihilism:

a:a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless b: a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths…”

Maybe I am just mortal or I live in a scale of things that does not match reality on the lofty heights of Olympus where large corporate CEOs play with virtual reality spreadsheets instead of inspecting authentic reality factory assembly lines.

The abstract world of numbers and corporate spreadsheets has eliminated the human factor out of all corporate equations for decades.

When I read about outgoing Merrill Lynch chief or is it thief awarding 3-5 billion dollars in bonuses to corporate sycophantic louts before he dumped the Merrill Lynch toxic waste portfolio onto Bank of America I am not shocked especially when U.S. taxpayer money is being used to prop up this drunken nihilistic behavior. This drunken frat house nihilistic behavior has been going on for decades in corporate America. Congress will not change anything. Get real.

A microcosm of Thain’s ego and acceptable lack of morals in the business world is his million dollar office makeover in the past year while the company is losing money, hemmoraging it in fact. Nero fiddled while Roma burned. Thain and others redecorated. No doubt this was to improve one’s mood and to enhance positive attitude toward a future pickup in profits.

In his little cocooned privileged world of American business he managed to spend $87,000 dollars on an area rug for his office. This sounds outrageous but here is the good point. Bank of America can take a two year rapid depreciation on a nineteenth century antique Persian rug. That saves money. And in Thain’s contract he probably has exclusive bidding rights on obsolete property in his office. When he bids $10.00 and drags away the obsolete rug, he is being green. The Persian rug will not be dumped into a landfill.

Oh they say that American business can’t hack it in these tough days ahead. Just look to Mr. Thain for examples of courage and nihilism and antique corporate rugs rapidly depreciated from the federal government’s virtual reality spreadsheets.

Good riddins to obsolete corporate trash!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I vote No on Paterson's Obesity Tax !

Nobody these days seems to sit down and calculate the consequences of their actions. In the case of Food or Soda Pop or Obesity many ideas have come along, we have made adjustments to our lives, and nobody reexamines the reason we are doing things.

The local New York State Governor has proposed an obestity tax on soda pop. The theory is that soda pop has replaced the amount and need of the consumption of water in many people’s daily calorie intake. Calories make fat and fat makes obesity. Obesity likely leads to diseases such as diabetes that has increased dramatically in the population in the last decade or two.

Interesting idea for a tax to immediately tackle a possible health hazard. It is not unlike the tax on cigarettes here in New York City. Cigarettes are selling for something like $9.00 a pack these days. The tax will supposedly drive down demand and make people healthier in the sugar and tobacco departments.

Of course more government in our lives to collect taxes is not a great idea from my point of view.

I look at the bottle tax that has been in effect for several decades and wonder where does all the redemption money go if the consumer does not want to stand in line and cash in empty soda and beer containers. Does the supermarket pocket the unredeemed money or does the state? This bottle tax is a nuisance tax and was instituted before mandatory recycling in most local communities nationwide. The state does not review or revoke useless or obsolete taxes especially when it pockets the monies to waste on other government boondoggles.

Going back to the late 1960’s was when soda pop marketing and packaging produced an excess of glass and plastic that overwhelmed trash collections and land fills. The bottle tax was a good idea at one point in time. It is now a regressive and unfair tax on the consumer.

Which leads me to the concept - a green concept - that a lot of restaurants and consumers are going after and that is to consume farm goods produced a small driving distance away. Less driving means less gasoline wasted in transporting food. I do not know how well the theory of this works in the everyday practice of the idea but this green thing almost seems like a religious experience for some. I think it should be considered and used if it works both to reduce gasoline consumption and encourage a redevelopment and expansion of local farms and local labor needed to process local food and produce a local profit.

Last thought. This is a full circle. Maybe just maybe, before the Masters of Business Administration started shaving fractions of penny profits for the food industry over the past few decades, maybe the original give and take of local production and local processing of food and beverages and recycling etc - maybe a smaller soda pop with real sugar and no chemicals, produced locally, is a better way to go for beverage consumption than a temporary, never to be repealed, state tax on soda.

Maybe with a high cost of energy, some old models of production and consumption are viable and indeed profitable and lead to a better way of living in the future. These classic model processes certainly are worth examining and reexamining in the scheme of things.

Maybe even GLOBAL has a limit or point of diminished returns.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Who Runs the U.S. Government?

(Who is running the U.S. Government? - is this a state secret?)

Bush, a supposed conservative, expanded Washington bureaucracy with ease and no discomfort. Agencies like HUD/FHA, SEC, Commerce, Justice are just decorative buildings. Abilities of many life long bureaucrats are an optional thing. Both Bushes are prime examples of that.

Obama’s recycling of Clinton Era wonders means that nobody to going to clean up the financial, regulatory and Social Security mess for the next four to eight years. It is too big a mess for any politician to want to handle.

I have worked for the government. Who runs it? The Real government I mean. The one that makes decisions and ultimately hopefully protects us from them whoever they currently are. The Real one that probably keeps micro-managed tabs on the worldwide distribution of bomb grade plutonium. The Real one that keeps the list of foibles and bribes of any and every public official on the planet.

Hey we have computers. The capacity to do what I am saying is there. Why do we need millions of pencil pushers in DC? It (the chicken) wanted to cross the road. Not a good answer but the best punch line of all times and it surely fit’s the joke of Washington DC.

They want to put a pencil pusher at the CIA-Leon Panetta. Add CIA to the totally obsolete, useless Government agencies behind HUD/FHA, SEC, Commerce, Justice and on and on and on.

The theory is that these recycled hacks have experience to maneuver through Washington bureaucracies. Yeah right. These are just no show jobs. A place to hang out until tee-off time. Washington can’t do jack shit anymore about anything except war and that on a very costly basis.

Washington is the problem; not the solution.

Who runs the U.S. government? And don’t tell me the government is being run out of store front in the some desert retirement community somewhere. Or is it???

And don’t tell me that The Social Security Trust Fund has been invested with Madeoff and Sons. That is far too believable. If Congress had let SS go Wall Street, how big would the Madoff ponzi scheme be right now? Three hundred billion dollars? Four hundred billion dollars?

I can be stupid and naïve at times but I don’t think I am as dumb as the phony fronts or do-nothings, nothing expected of you-s now currently being paraded through Congress and the media masquerading as the incoming “real government“.

I hope Obama'a new kitchen cabinet knows how to cook!