Archive for November, 2010

Our demise

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Most excellent, you see.

Back when I was growing up, my parent’s house had a back fence lining the perimeter that was covered with ivy. Ivy grows thick and dense. It appears leafy and verdant from a distance, but it is nothing but gnarled and tough thickets wrapped and intermingled in a mass of coiled branches providing dark, cool shelter from the outside world. It’s like soil. I knew this because one of my chores as a youngster was to trim the ivy which basically involved cutting the leaves clear and leaving nothing but a mass of brown tendrils which were the innards of the ivy. Like peeling its skin.

Naturally, the ivy played home and host to a multitude of wildlife. Insects, lizards and frogs. Frogs, so many of them back then. I used to go to the ivy fence during the warm summer days and easily nab a frog or three.

I don’t remember when, but in the ensuing decade, the frogs simply ceased to be.
Gone.
So suddenly, and also, considering the fact I was older and no longer possessed the boyhood fascination with shiny amphibians, I barely noticed they were gone.

It was not until years later, reading stories, commonplace now, speaking of the mysterious global frog “die off.” Frog populations have dwindled precipitously and there are as many theories as there are scientific schools of thought purporting to diagram Earth’s death rattle.

I will honestly state that I don’t know why the global frog population is reatreating toward the realm of extinction. I can estimate, I can guess. But I don’t know.

I was reminded of the strange disappearing frog phenomena while reading this yesterday. This post asserts another theory…that global warming is to blame for the disappearance of frogs. Specifically, that global warming has fueled the voraciousness of a commonly occurring fungus, chytridiomycosis, which has spread globally and unkindly decimated the global frog community. Keep in mind this is but one of many conjectural schools of thought postulating the origins of the frog’s demise. Inherent to the theory, however, is the pernicious effects of global warming. In all fairness, the post makes it clear that the cause of the frog’s descent into extinction is attributable to “many factors,” but points out chytridiomycosis represents one of the most grave causes.

Actually, I don’t dispute the seriousness of global warming.

However, global warming has become a strange and intractable focal point over which liberals and conservatives focus all their attention on and it has become the fulcrum by which society spells out whether or not mankind is killing his own world. I find it impossible to believe that mankind’s civilization and encroaching technology doesn’t have an effect on the global climactic health. Considering the tons and volumes of emissions that we eject into the atmosphere on a daily global basis, how can anyone argue that our biosphere is able to ward off these unprecedented levels of toxicity and human abuse by virtue of its size?

And the big “however.”

However.

The pathogen which causes chytridiomycosis, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, “Bd,” has been demonstrated unable to survive in environments where the temperature rises above 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, its scarcity in tropical environments but preponderance in higher Colorado-like altitudes. Thus the confluence of “global warming.” This is an eminently valid point and I am not seeking to disqualify it. I can’t, and refuse to, minimize the wrath of global warming.

But I point to one passage from a scientific journal linked in the post:

Amphibian populations are declining across the globe at an alarming rate, with over 43% of species in a state of decline. In addition to long-recognized threats such as habitat loss, overexploitation, and exotic species introductions, amphibians in all biogeographic regions face several new threats, including climate change, emerging infectious diseases, and chemical contaminants.

The bold highlight is naturally mine :)

Chemical contaminants.
This is the greatest scourge mankind has ever known.
It is the most insidious killer of life.
It is the most pervasive and deadly form of artificial civilization. Yet it only ranks #3 behind infectious diseases and climate change. Climate change has become the left-wing cause celebre hoisting the doomsday machine of modern society into the public spotlight.

Chemical contaminants, why does no one pay attention to this. These?

Amphibians, physiologically, are environmentally very susceptible to deviations; and its tendency to express “unnatural” traits. Global warming certainly qualifies as an encroachment on the natural order which affects the hardiness of frogs. However, the climate in Los Angeles has not changed dramatically in the past 2 or 3 decades. I can attest to this. We still have balmy, mild weather year-round. It’s frequently over 82 degrees, and below occasionally, just as it was back in the days when frogs swarmed our backyard ivy.

By the way, lest I rely too much on my ivy lab environment, I also remember visiting local parks with my friends and scooping tadpoles out of local ponds. Where did the tadpoles go?

The worship of mother Earth has usurped all discussions regarding our species-wide self-immolation. Mother Earth has blinded many to the true catastrophe befalling the Mankind. This is our true desiccation.

Forget Mother Earth and the ravaging of her pastures.
Consider another horror.
We are polluting her innards, her briny branches, those which lurk beneath the leaves, and poisoning her from inside out. We are injecting chemicals of every sort into everything we eat, breathe, drink, touch; our dermis is stretched to the limits with all that it must expel. Frogs, such fragile creatures, expel less vehemently. They are struck down by our chemicals quicker than us.

But we are struck down.
Witness every sort of disease and syndrome that afflicts us as a race. I guarantee you: the result of chemicals. Frogs killed off by environmental toxins in the matter of a generation or two. We are facing the same fate, but we are slightly more hardy. The process will take several generations. We are killing ourselves with poison in a span of time that is but the blink of an eye in comparison to the span of time it will take global warming to kill us. Toxins in our food, our medicine, our water, our air, kill us now; global warming will kill us in the thousands of years it takes the sea levels to rise beyond heights imaginably safe to the welfare of mankind. The toxic environment greets us now.

Why the fascination with global warming but the reluctance to hoist the most vicious of all curses upon the altar of true death?

Global warming presents a macro sort of death, of grandiose scale of doom.
Sharing of fate, so to speak.
Chemical contamination is limited to your own private sphere of death. Chemicals contaminate you, they kill you. They strike you down in your day to day present life. Chemical contaminants are less romantic and more sturdily utilitarian. We want something more glamorous. We want our world to die with us. Hollywood style.

In The Cemetery Looking Out

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Am I the only one, someone please tell me no.
Tell me you too have experienced this.
You’re out and about. Doing your thing. Whatever it is you do during your day-long slumber called work or life or existence. Walking around, acting purposefully, yakking it up, bursting through crowds or traffic. A moment alone, not talking on the phone, not texting, not BSing on Facebook…a real moment alone.

When you’re alone, you think, you talk to yourself, you ruminate.
Sometimes, thinking so deeply and disconnectedly, so removed from your ego and consciousness, thoughts and images protrude unannounced right into your psyche. Shocking you with images that you never intended. Their abrupt presence jolts you. Confuses you and rocks you.

These thoughts and images, so random and unannounced, yet born of your deepest thoughts, are frightening for they seem to portend a deeper truth which perhaps you don’t understand, or worse yet, see. A reality that exists on the outskirts and which you typically ascribe to the psychic or unknown. The premonitory.

I’ve had so many instances like this.
Going about my normal routine, drowned in the inconspicuous thoughts of casual existence, when something flashes through my mind.
Dropping in like an restless intruder.

These images are brief and fleeting, but horrifying. Horrifying but not in the explicit manner of their offering. No.

Horrifying in their subtle innuendo of a future undone.
Horrifying for what they portend. Symbolic personal doomsdays.
If I was superstitious, these would have done me in by now.
These visions.
Random visions of unstated damnation which visit me during the day.

I can’t remember.
Today. This morning, I had one.
Fleeting and so brief as to be invisibly incomprehensible.
But full of intimated fates.

So I don’t remember it.
But I was doing whatever it is I do, when suddenly an image fluttered through my mind.
An image of a wrought iron fence.
Weeds, forlorn and unkempt, yellowish, grew and writhed up the solid thick bars of the fence. Wiry weeds.
And in the foreground, lush green grass.

That was it.
Three seconds of an image.

And in the moments immediately after the image retreated from my mind, I knew it was a cemetery.
I was in the cemetery viewing outwards..
I was captive within the cemetery.

My spontaneous sighting took place from within a cemetary.
What to make of this?
What to guess?

I’ve had worse.

Is this a matter of mind mimicking life, or vice versa?

Extrasensory intrigue walks the precarious line between logic and confusion.
We seek to attribute meaning to our experiences which have none.

Those people who flee the Void

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Who are these people?

Well, that’s sort of rhetorical.
Actually, I know who many of them are. That’s not the puzzle.

The puzzle is, who are these people?

What makes them tick?
What drives them. What propels them forward into their frantic life of unabashed and constant activity…an unending hum of aimless movement? Who are these people who never rest?

I’ve always known of people like this, but generally found it easy enough to ignore their maddening busy habits while avoiding consideration of the slow buzz which heralds the presence of their undeterred lifestyle. I used to be able to avoid it. But now, in the age of Facebook and Twitter, where we know each minute annoying thought and fart that everybody must announce to the world before they commence, I’m flabbergasted by the crazed incessant drone of activity many people drive forward as they indulge in this never ending stream of perpetual motion. A stream of uninterrupted and externalized amusement. And they never stop.

These people are like damned human bumblebees. Or humming birds.
They never land, they never stop, they never breathe, they never allow themselves to wade peacefully upon the idyllic surface of life. Hell no. These people do not stop fluttering about, buzzing and swooping along the cluttered pathways of an overly busy and distracted civilization. They seem incapable of introspection or accepting, peacefully, the sense of nothing. Nothing is important for people to consider and absorb into their hectic lives.

Nothing is something. It is the void center of life, the void is an element of life. To attempt to fill it with symbolic and obligatory activity is to not be human. But no, these people, they are afraid of the Rest, of the Sleep, of the Nothing. They fear the barrenness in their own minds and they fight it. Afraid to stop moving for more than 3 seconds, it’s as if they are afraid that stopping the locomotive train of their racing life will forestall further heartbeats. They will find themselves helplessly mired in stillness.

So to defeat the emptiness and the void, they do things. All the time. They clutter each moment with stuff.
They are everywhere at all times, eating, playing, escaping the void; their life is spent fleeing.

They are fugitives from the inescapable confines of life.

It’s difficult for me to relate or understand. The confusion is likely mutual.
Someone like me never seeks escape from the void. Someone happier lingering in the solitude and silence of his own mind than roaming sidewalks teeming with loud people and louder children. Someone who welcomes the void, and rather than flee it, chases it down with a hungry embrace. I can’t understand those who seek crowds, those who seek sensory overload. Those who fear restraint.

I know people who pride themselves on always being out, being somewhere, doing something. They value large social circles, flocks of acquaintances, inflated “friends” counts. They love to eat and celebrate and greet their self-driven helplessness to sensual cravings.

The void.

Such people are fond of boasting that this is how you “live life to its fullest.” Living life to its fullest, is equivalent, in their minds, to literally “filling” one’s life with events and people and other meaningless detritus. Hence the semantics. “Fill.” By “filling” your life you are essentially insinuating that filling, which is an opposite concept of emptying, is the only option available to leading a fulfilled life. When in reality a fulfilled life springs from within, not from without. A fulfilled life is one which sates our sense of purpose and peace. A goal which must be envisioned before one can live an appropriate life. In the presence of non-stop distractions, there can be no comprehension, and thus, no attainment.

The irony is that in the quest to dampen the void in one’s life through the collection of idle diversions, such people shoulder the delusion that they are living the utmost life, when in fact, through the aversion of the simple void that is central to life and living, they are truly failing to live. A day brimming with trivialities is one less day one needs to reckon with the necessary horrors of life. And that is life.

Generalizations about Chihuahuas

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

A new installment in the Generalization Chronicles!
*****

They are yappy and nervous.
Snappy. High-strung. Undersized.
Like some humans, really.

Ill-tempered.
And defensive. Hair-trigger sense of righteousness.

If you walk by a yard with a Chihuahua, many times it will not bark at you.

Then, like the cowardly little piece of shit that it was bred to be, it will begin yapping up an exaggerated stream of high-pitched machine-gun yelps once you’ve passed the yard’s boundaries. If you were to double back and approach it at this point, the little runt would most likely run screaming in fright like the pussy dog it is.

They are freaks.
Man-made, genetically-designed and -bred freaks. Because man has created Chihuahuas. For whatever Godforsaken reason. Who the hell thought it would be a grand idea to breed down the original dog line, to filter out and filter in, all the personality and physical traits of the modern Chihuahua?

They are useless. Other than to give you a headache and leave your ankles chewed up. They serve no purpose other than as a strange cosmetic and/or fashionable augmentation for those seeking to make their peculiar statement.

Chihuahuas are a symbol of man’s dismal attempts to claim godliness. When man learns to shape life and control physiology, he turns to a child acting out nonsensical whims by transforming a virile brute animal into a barking rat. Man’s unleashed ability to mold life turns into a mockery of life.

Man, given God’s reigns, works diligently to create a foolish world which thumbs its nose at the cold, ruthless equations of evolutionary efficiency. Man creates not in his image; he stumbles into a portrait of confusion and awkwardness.

I have a favorite Chihuahua story. Everyone should have one.
Chihuahua stories taunt human fallbility.

I was trying to explain the degree of a certain person’s homosexuality. Not all homosexuals are as clearly homosexual as others. There is a range of homosexuality. A bell curve, so to speak. In terms of behavior and affect. I sought a clever metaphor which would best poetically describe the extremity of one’s gayness.

I thought of a mutual acquaintance who is rather gay.
Extremely gay acting.

“He’s gayer than a pack of wild Chihuahuas,” I quipped.
Ha.

Gayer than a pack of wild Chihuahua’s.

Give it some thought. How gay is that?

Who cares about holidays and birthdays?

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

You know what?

Screw holidays. Screw special days, screw birthdays, screw Hallmark days. Seriously, just screw them all. I can’t stand any one of them. Never have, honestly. I will admit the only time I ever greeted a holiday with a smile was done entirely out of self-interest when, as a child, I looked forward to gifts and all their mysterious and colorful packaging which brought me great measures of greedy little happiness.

I’m goddamned 46 (today) and I have no use for such ridiculous mementos of cultural commemoration.
Holidays are BS.
Trivial symbolisms of a disingenuous nature which afford folks the opportunity to make blathering phony pronouncements of questionable gravity and sincerity.

Thankful…we’re all so fucking thankful.

Merry Christmas.
Have a Happy New Year’s, let’s make some meaningless and ill-fated resolutions. Let’s make a string of hollow promises to ourselves which we have no problem breaking because we utter them from one corner of our mouth while simultaneously rationalizing our inherent failures out the other.

Holidays are BS. Meaningless blocks of 24-hours spans that are nothing but ridiculous artificially dictated peremptory displays constructed to make “special” statements which really, if we are honorable and conscientious and caring beings, are made every day of our life in a variety of mundane manners and gestures.

Father’s and Mother’s Days are seriously a bunch of garbage, aren’t they? Is it tolerable to ignore your mother every day of the year except for that random day in May when you squeeze your whole family into that fatass temple of gorging, Hometown Buffet?

Aren’t we thankful every day of the year for what we have? Or shouldn’t we?

If not, maybe we need to reconsider our attitude and forget the turkey. Really, doesn’t Thanksgiving usually degenerate into nothing but a gluttonous, drunken feast which dissembles any coherent tribute to fate’s kind and generous hands. It’s all bullshit.

Birthdays are also bullshit. I like birthdays for obvious reasons, but I hate what they represent to us in terms of idle celebration. I try to ignore my own and expect most others to do the same. My birthday is difficult to ignore today since it is also Thanksgiving. A two-fold sucker punch. I try to lose myself in the flood of egregious helpings of turkey and every other festive and seasonal accoutrement possible surrounding me at the dinner table. You know why? Cause I’m a pig and I’m always thankful. I should have been dead about 5 1/2 years ago and each day is a “gift.” Yeah, a fucking gift and I’m thankful for that. I realize and understand the concept of thanks pretty damned vividly. I don’t need a stinking cold November day to remind me of my humble role; I really don’t want to remind anyone, either. Just give me my cake, let me eat and enjoy the empty symbolism which our society rejoices in.

Yesterday, someone asked me if I don’t like receiving gifts and hearing “Happy Birthday.”

I said I don’t not like receiving gifts, but if I really want something, I”ll just buy it. I’m pathologically practical. It means much more to me if the people closest to me wish me Happy Birthday in a simple phone call than getting gifts in coquettishly wrapped packages or eating an exaggerated dinner out.

Most of all I, despise the disruption of the normal day.

When I’m president and/or unqualified dictator of the world, all, all, holidays and aforementioned so-called special occasions will be outlawed. Banned. Violation punishable by a seriously overstated mode of punitive justice. Days of commemoration gone for good! Calendars will henceforth be nothing but rows of boxes parading by in series of seven and demarcating time’s march through the rest of the year. No days to be named after saints or relatives or national anniversaries or religious icons. Fuck all that.

Life will be pure and simple.