Tuesday, January 02, 2018

In time all walls fail.

In 2006 I wrote a blog about walls. From walls of flowers and love, walls built out of fear, walls with peep holes and the strongest walls of all -- the invisible walls.

Seeing a new wall this past week made from two of the materials mentioned therein -- men and plastic -- in, of all places, New York's Wall Street section, I have reposted that blog below.

It was interesting to see a plastic wall being held by police officers surrounding Wall Street protestors. The nice thing about that kind of wall I suppose is, with their hands busy holding up a plastic wall, police officers are not able to use their clubs or pepper spray. Not to worry, however, their supervisors took care of that part.

(revised from original August, 2006 edition)

I'd like to devote today's blog to walls. Walls are everywhere, but I seldom think about them. So let's start with one of my favorite walls. This one is one of many great walls in Taos, New Mexico, that are made of adobe. It's simple, yet elegant. I took this picture a couple of years ago when I thought it was in danger of being torn down. But thankfully it wasn't. It was just repaired and remains intact. I like it. (A 2010 visit revealed this wall has been torn down; a new faux adobe wall stands in its place.)
The job of this particular wall is to delineate private property from public property. As you walk along outside, it tells you, "Stay the hell out!" yet allows you to peek inside. That's nice.

Speaking of peeking through walls, there are new dressing room walls springing up at one of the stores of the English boutiques chain by Ann Summers. They sell lingerie among other items. This newly updated store will intentionally have walls with holes in them.
According to an "Evening News" article, "cubicles in the new-look store will have small spy hole windows at eye-level. The idea is that women can throw open the peep hole, allowing their partners a peek at what they have to look forward to, without having to step out in front of other shoppers."

That's a nicely conceived wall. If they succeed in attracting more men into their stores as hoped, you can probably expect walls with holes to begin popping up eventually in American stores like Victoria's Secret.

There are walls designed to keep you out for your own protection. They keep you from getting too close to dangerous animals or falling into deep, sometimes sharp or hard places and killing yourself. As unbelievable as it may seem, there exist some people who still insist on feeding the bears by hand through such walls or leaning in just a little closer over them for a better shot of the canyon.

Walls can be made from many different things. Like the adobe, metal and sheet rock ones above, but here's an example of a wall made of much, much weaker and cheaper material which has proven to be far, far tougher than most walls. It'll remain that way so long as people have faith that yellow plastic ribbon with the word "Police" inscribed somewhere on it is very tough material. Thus far it has been.
Another material often used in walls is people. These can be very strong also and usually prevail in protecting things like democrats and republicans while holding conventions behind walled gathering centers.

On an even larger scale, human walls can be used to save the nation from undocumented immigrants coming through Mexico across our southern border. These have been far less successful. Maybe that's because immigrants are more passionate about their needs and less caring for their safety should they get caught in pursuit of those needs than their more comfortable and passive
American counterparts.

Oh sure, there were a few times when the human walls came close to failing here in the U.S. One such harrowing moment that immediately comes to mind is the 1968 democratic national convention in Chicago. There, unruly mobs gave police all they could handle. In 2004, a couple hundred thousand demonstrators outside the republican national convention, while unnerving in number, were basically peaceful, thus allowing those inside the convention to continue their agenda of ignoring popular demands.

Recently our southern border has been strengthened by employing a human wall. In scenes not unlike these, thousands of our national guardsmen are sent marching off towards Mexico. The human border wall's been a wall with lots and lots of holes. Bush is trying to patch them with more people mortar.

While conventional walls of steel and concrete are strong, they are rigid and inflexible. Human walls are more fluid and unlike their non-human counterparts, can shoot guns. And when necessary, they can even "fall back" rather than be over-run.

However, it may help to remember in time all walls fail. It's just a question of when.

The biggest wall failure in recent history was the Berlin Wall which collapsed in 1989.
While it was originally designed and erected to keep people in, it also made a nice canvass for budding artists in need of self expression who were left "outside."

Most walls are built to keep people out. The most spectacular example of that, of course, would be the Great Wall of China. Built in the Third Century, B.C., it stretched across 1,500 miles of China's northern border to discourage invaders from entering. But it failed in that purpose.
Today, however, the wall succeeds when used to draw people in--as a big old tourist attraction. It also continues in another unintended purpose, that of a source for construction workers to raid for building materials for other smaller walls and use in roadway paving.

Here's a couple examples of walls on far smaller scales. These that follow are similar to the Berlin Wall, i.e., designed to keep people in, not keep them out.
Here's a common, everyday prison. Prisons continue to propagate across the American landscape likes hordes of rabbits. As they expand in number, so does the percentage of Americans who have taken up residence behind their walls.

While our current government often hides behind White House, Pentagon and congressional walls and halls to keep people away, more and more of the public is hoping to one day see these same government servants behind prison walls. To keep them away from us!

On an even smaller scale, there are the following little walls:Scattered throughout America in corporate offices that have yet to move worker's jobs offshore are the walls of the fabled cubicles. (Sadly, this photo is from an office that has gone to India.)

I was fortunate to escape my job in corporate America before cubicles invaded our office. So I'm not sure what their exact purpose is. I really have no idea. Unless it's to dehumanize the workers behind them.

In my brief look at walls, these are probably the most touching ones. They are the walls erected to honor those who are no longer with us. Some represent policies of folly that took loved ones from us because of our national hubris.Other, less permanent walls, spring up immediately after a tragedy. Often made of flowers, notes to and photos of lost loved ones. The wall born of grief after 9/11 being the prime example.

But I want to make a brief mention of probably the most prevalent walls of all. They are the strongest but often the most subtle of all walls. And they are very difficult for most to see. Not so much because they can't be seen, but because those living behind them are often very blind. Sorry, I don't have any pictures of them. They are the walls of dogma.

Established dogmas exist as unassailable beliefs. They are walls erected specifically for defense against anyone skeptical enough to question or doubt the belief systems (BS) they protect.
I recently heard Naomi Klein refer to such walls as "intellectual police lines."

Perhaps the heartiest (and most significant) of these dogmatic walls are maintained by
religions and their churches. I'll not focus on those here because of the heated passions they can provoke. If your passions are aroused by the mere mention of these institutions and my refusal to devote time to them, whether believer or cynic, you illustrate -- and should appreciate -- my point.

Religious dogma is closely followed by governments and their political party subsets, increasingly, multinational businesses and, not least of all, educational institutions and the academic experts who populate their hallways.

Governments give us pretty flags of colorful cloth to swear our allegiance to. Symbolizing our particular BS, if challenged to the extreme, one is obligated to kill or die for it in its defense.

Business provides us logos to wear on clothing or sport on the ass ends of our vehicles to proclaim our allegiances to them. Sometimes, as an arm of their government, they help write the national BS. Taken to the extreme like here in the U.S., business determines our BS by promoting fear and our reaction to it--wars -- but, hey, it's good for business.

Political parties give us symbols, like elephants and asses, and formidably exclude serious challenges from third parties and extremist views of members within their own. Mainstream media protect the BS of all of these.

And finally, educational institutions write our histories for us. Histories constructed under the prevailing paradigms of the day which in time congeal and harden into BS's of unassailable dogma such institutions purport to exist to refute.

While there are all kinds of walls, these are a few that come to my mind. From the most obvious to the most subtle and hardest to see. While serving many different purposes, in time they all will perish. Perhaps we should give thanks.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Climbing the Franklin Mountains State Park's "Cardiac Trail" (3-2-13)

This past Saturday, as Sam and I climbed higher and ever higher, we paused to rest, to look back from where we'd come. It was then I recalled an old saw I'd coined some years earlier; "The past is behind us and will stay there until we turn things around."

Going but a short ways further, I looked down at Sam. He seemed to be saying,"Let's go back." And so we turned around, toward whence we had come.

But when we got back, I realized my mistake. The past was no longer the same. What we had left had changed too!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Good news! Bad news!


The Paris-based International Energy Agency says "the United States will surpass Saudi Arabia’s oil production by around 2020 with the aid of controversial techniques such as 'fracking,' tar sands extraction and horizontal drilling. Much of the oil in question is tightly concealed in rock formations that may be blasted with chemical-laden fluid and drilled into horizontally as part of the extraction process."


El Paso-based Dada's Dally says, "the United States will surpass all nations in its need/importation of drinking water by around 2020. Those nations with drinking water not trading it to the U.S. will be "democratized" (by military force, of course)."

On another BAD NEWS! note, Dada's Dally also foresees the potential threat from energy hungry nations China, India, and others invading/liberating/"democratizing" [colonizing] the U.S. (by military force, if necessary, of course) for its oil.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Picture of the day

As Sam and I were walking on "our beach" with a friend yesterday, he mentioned the sad news of the three Israelis killed so far. Here are four of the 100 Palestinian dead.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Breaking our silence

 Mid July, 2012, Dada and Sam "find their beach" in the 
middle of the vast 140,000 square mile Chihuahuan Desert

After more than four wonderful months of reconnecting
 with the *real* reality  here  in The Last Lane, editor 
Sam  and  I thought we'd break our silence with a little...


Monday, June 18, 2012

Changing my mantra!


Dada, the art movement of the early 20th Century, was born out of a negative reaction to the horrors of World War I. While it faded into Surrealism and then obscurity with the outbreak of peace, Dada still exists in a festering state of its hybernating progenitors 'neath rocks, in the sewers of Paris, the moon's backside and other dark places where small enclaves continue to abhor World War I (and II), the Spanish Civil War, Korean, Vietnamese, all Middle Eastern, Eastern European, Central and South American and pointless  North American, American wars (not an all-inclusive list).

Dadaism, in a state of dormancy among its underground societal extremists, awaits its cosmic moment for rebirth, which will perhaps be signaled by the awakening of Chicago Cubs, Tiger Woods, American Dream fans, etc., from their ever-eternal, yet fading, unrealistic optimism/hopes for a comeback.

For forty plus years Dada has been singing the mantra, "...give peace a chance." Obviously, it's not working. As a result, I've decided to take a new tack; an opposite tack, as demonstrated by the debut of my new wardrobe illustrated above. While not expecting much of anything to change, as a former student of "the dismal science" I am pinning hopes on my old economics-as-teacher ally and its collapsing global economy, to give *reality* a real boost precisely where the world needs it most.

A contrarian is a person who takes up a position, no matter how unpopular, opposed to that of the majority (such as the anti-war -- yeh, "anti-war," right!) somnambulistic American public. Contrarian styles of argument and disagreement have historically been associated with radicalism and dissent. ***********************
               All I am saying, is  Give War A Chance!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Inspired by yesterday's statistic that food stamp recipients in
El Paso have increased by 28% in the past year, I thought it
would be nice to run an occasional visual aid to illuminate
the (recurring) economy we are now enjoying.

(click to enlarge)

Obviously, with stressed citizens paying for 2-3 (soon to be 4-5?) losing wars and needing more and more help via increased public assistance just to maintain a basic level of subsistence (a cost our government can no longer afford), while war profiteers continue enriching themselves obscenely, something has to give. Let us cut public subsidies for food, housing, unemployment, public education, health care, Social Security, national infrastructure, etc. These are luxuries that we as a nation can no longer afford!

Let us tremble with fear at the threat of terrorists and their endless determination to bring the country to its knees while the real danger, the real terrorists to the nation continue to prosper, to walk freely among us disguised as pillars of our community. Folks like politicians, Wall Street financiers and speculators, bankers too big to fail, scientists manipulating your food supply, energy giants contaminating your air and water, decimating Nature on land and sea alike.

Perhaps we should not abandon hope, however, for this is an election year. Another chance for real change! Pay close attention to the candidates as they debate your reproductive rights, question your religious beliefs and explain how they will save you from the rest of the world as domestic security measures increasingly invade your vanishing privacy, be it with drones flying overhead or probes violating your cervix/rectum, seeking your lost Constitutional rights.

A kid on a beer run or man caught with a joint is thrown in the slammer as MF Global's Jon Corzine, who bilked his investors of billions, walks freely among us. Yes, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose indeed!

But it's an election year, right? Giving us another chance for something we can really believe in -- change. "Yes we can!"

(* Dada finds it difficult to believe with soaring gas prices threatening to climb higher, adding more stress to an already overstressed population and reversing any real (or "imagined") progress toward an economic recovery, we are hell bent on war with Iran. (If we think gas is high now, just wait.) It's as if our government leaders don't really give a fuck. But I suspect this speaks to a greater basic human genetic flaw. A kind of built-in lunacy. While reigning supreme at the top of the food chain, we have proven ourselves survivors of the fittest -- against all. Except, that is of course, ourselves.)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

These colors don't run...
...they just fade!

In Taos earlier this month, at an inn where we used to stay (since purchased by a major chain and converted into time shares), I couldn't resist taking photos of this flag adorning its entryway. Pausing not once but twice over two days to photograph it, I noticed on a third visit there the faded, bedraggled Old Glory had been replaced with a vibrant new flag!

Visible from the check-in desk in its expansive lobby, Dada couldn't help suspecting he may have played a role in the replacement of the tattered banner, brought to the attention of the staff as I had photographed it.

I am sad to report that the brand new flag, which replaced this one, is tattered and faded as well. It's just that many Americans, displaying it proudly this weekend, still don't see it as such. Don't see what it's become.

Happy Memorial Day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Cynic's Choice

Another even year divisible by four. And our baseless addictions once more rear their ugly heads. In the form of our faith in a *democratic* national election to decide the country's direction for the next four years. Denial is a beautiful thing!

I recently read somewhere, "Do not confuse irony and cynicism." I suppose Dada falls among the latter of these two. Whereas, irony, according to it's author, "is animated by hope -- for a better, more just, freer world, all of whose inhabitants share ethically in its abundance." I'm all for that, but...

...I would submit that irony is the trait of our presidential choices (again!) for this upcoming fall's election. Where the mere opening of the candidate's mouths drown us in oceans of hypocrisy. In that vein, I nominate  Dada's choice for the Cynic's candidate with the following qualification from a political scientist who suggested if you must partake the addiction of voting in the belief it makes a difference, vote for every third party or write-in candidate choice you can instead.

You may argue that's wasting your vote. Granted, bad habits are hard to kick. But Dada says, "So go ahead, continue this nation's drunken binge of voting for an Obama or a Romney." (And hope the least of the worst will be better than the worst of the least.)

 The Cynic's Choice

For us little people, ignored by politicians, but who are courted every four years by them and suddenly lavished with glowing promises (lies), only for us to resume our role as 'nothings' the day after elections (this year on Nov. 7th), comes "Nobody!" -- a candidate we all can believe in.

Sunday, April 08, 2012


"The Tsolakoglou government has annihilated all traces for my survival, which was based on a very dignified pension that I alone paid for 35 years with no help from the state. Since my advanced age does not allow me a way of dynamically reacting, although if a fellow Greek were to grab a Kalashnikov I would be right behind him, I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance. I believe that young people with no future, will one day take up arms and hang the traitors of this country at Syntagma Square, just like the Italians did to Mussolini in 1945."

Dimitris  Christoulas, 77-year-old Greek pensioner despondent over his financial situation committed suicide Wednesday morning in Athens with a pistol, shooting himself in the head in front of the Greek Parliament in Syntagma Square.

Thankfully, that can't happen here!

OR CAN IT? (silly question)

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


"Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress...--that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.” (B. Obama)

Yes, Obama, isn't overturning duly constituted law the job of a "democratically elected" group of people instead, in defiance of the majority's wishes? (Dada)

Saturday, March 31, 2012


Common Dreams?

As a kid, I would have this recurring dream. It would happen unexpectedly.  Any time.  Like at the end of a beautiful day when, under cloak of darkness -- suddenly -- here they would come again: those ominous dusty grey aircraft flying low overhead, wings clutching tenuously to crimson tipped bombs, just waiting their release upon an unsuspecting populace  below.

That was my Cold War childhood nightmare. And it was prompted by the politics of the time,  articles in Popular Mechanics on how to build your own backyard bomb shelter (the debate of which was actually the subject for my college freshman English 101 research paper) and those memorable grade school rehearsals of sudden terror driven dives under my desk to save my ass from being fried. Things like that.

Thankfully, those dreams eventually faded. Until just recently when a funny thing happened!

Pleasantly picnicking with others on a grassy knoll fronting a massive governmental edifice, serenity was suddenly shattered when puffy white clouds parted to herald the return of those decades old dreaded bombers of my youth. And they were heading straight for us! Facing certain annihilation, my only  escape was a sudden retreat to consciousness.

While a curiosity, I  didn't think much about that dream other than as a kind of time piece from an earlier era. Until a few weeks later when I had the opportunity for a pleasant evening with Dwight Eisenhower.

Adjourning to a post-dinner parlor, I was really looking forward to visiting more intimately with our former President; of getting his impressions on the military industrial complex of which he had warned us, our current point in history and perhaps his take on where everything is headed. I would write it up and post it here on my blog. What a scoop that would be!

It was a setting that also included, besides Ike and myself, former Representative Gabby Giffords seated between us, and either John F. Kennedy or J. Edgar Hoover (I'm not sure which) across the room. But my much anticipated visit with Ike was unexpectedly interrupted when glancing out the window I saw with astonishment those same damn bombers returning again!

Arcing high overhead as they turned southward, there soon arose a glow on the horizon accompanied by the flourishing blossom of mushrooms from distant explosions.

But our terror of the bombers was suddenly replaced with a greater urgency: dodging the bullets from flocks of F-16s dropping from the sky to strafe us. Their underwings bearing the distinct markings of our very own United States Air Force! (Apparently the bombers had been our own as well.)

While I didn't manage to get my much anticipated interview of President Eisenhower, I reflected on my common dreams separated by six decades.  But I didn't miss the metaphor. Nor did I miss its meaning.


Addendum: Further evidence of the surfacing of a mass cognitive dissonance?

In one weeks time following this last dream, I had the following three interesting encounters, perhaps portending a foreboding future from the collective unconscious:

1.) During a visit to our family physician of many years, he took a first time departure from his always professional demeanor to ponder the fate of his patients dependent on prescription medications should "the channels of supply breakdown" from a sudden economic collapse. (I found this a curious aside from our usual conversations of prostates, colons and cholesterol.)

2.) Two days later in a routine visit to my dentist, whose professional demeanor always includes talk of markets and investment in them, he asked if I had read Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis ("Currency wars are one of the most destructive and feared outcomes in international economics.... At worst, they degenerate into sequential bouts of inflation, recession, retaliation, and sometimes actual violence")? Saying I hadn't, he went on to reveal his recently growing economic pessimism.

3.) This past Monday,  overheard in a grocery store from an employee restocking produce shelves to a customer, "I wanna be around to see the end of the world." Irresistibly curious, I inquired: "Ooh, and when does that happen?" He responded, "Four, five years maybe," mentioning war with Iran, chaos of the impending global financial collapse.

Sharing common dreams?

Friday, October 01, 2010


After working 30 years at one of the country's premiere national scientific laboratories, Johnnie Meier took  an early retirement. I don't know exactly what kind of work Johnnie did as a scientist up at the lab. What follows is what I like to imagine he did at the lab: he developed better detonation triggers for nuclear weapons with which to blow up stuff.

That's what I imagine anyway, only because in retirement, Johnnie's now doing the exact opposite -- salvaging and preserving a segment of Americana being ever more rapidly consigned to and consumed by the dustbin of history.

 Four of the many, many preserved gas pump lights at the Classical Gas Museum, Embudo, NM

What follows is a short clip of Johnnie's latest project: restoring a prefab diner like so many that sprang up across the country 60 or 70 years ago. It's Meier's plan to have this beauty fully restored, operational, and open for business by the spring of 2011. But artifacts of Route 66  in need of salvation take heart, i.e., note Johnnie's business plan at the conclusion of this brief video! 

Video by Dada

Dada's Diner Notes: As Meier told us, the diner being restored in the video was made in the 1950s by the Valentine Diner Company of Wichita, KS. I grew up at a time when these little gems were far more plentiful.

All my life I mistakenly thought the word 'diner' applied to any little eatery smaller than a decent sized restaurant. But it was during my visit with Johnny Meier I learned the only true diners were those prefabbed elsewhere and shipped to their final destinations. The diner pictured below is an example of a Valentine Diner similar to what Johnnie's may look like by next spring when fully restored.

After World War II, diners were seen as "an attractive small business opportunity." As Answers.com tells us, "From the mid-Twentieth century onwards, they have been seen as quintessentially American, reflecting the perceived...egalitarian nature of the country at large." 

McDonald's, Burger Kings, et. al., likely explain why so many little diners have vanished, along with our egalitarian delusions. 


Sunday, September 26, 2010


 Graphic background - glass balls, courtesy of 
Jackalope  Santa Fe and photographer Dada. 

Received some great bumper stickers last night during dinner 
with  friends just back from Guerrilla Graphix in Albuquerque.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

On the road to Taos: Stopping in San Antonio, NM for a green chile cheese burger and a hot dog.

"Would you mind if I just made a general announcement to the whole restaurant instead?" was Mrs. Dada's question after the waitress suggested she visit each table of hungry lunchtime diners there, seeking to taste firsthand the reputation of a world renown green chile cheeseburger.

"Yes, that will be fine," the waitress consented.

Meanwhile, outside Manny's Buckhorn Tavern, the parking lot's asphalt was absorbing the mid-day heat as its overflow cache of cars played catch with the sun's rays, bouncing them between their metallic surfaces in an increasingly frantic game of hot potato. I was sitting in one of those cars, attention focused on a black topped Colorado convertible with windows rolled tight, waiting for Mrs. Dada's return. Fortunately, she had left me some water to drink.

Back inside, Mrs. Dada located a central spot in the Buckhorn from which to launch her message to all present. "Excuse me," she began, "but someone here left their dog in a car outside with its windows rolled up." She continued, explaining, for travelers unaccustomed to the fierce heat of the desert, that could mean a sudden end to a beloved pet.

Moments later in my rear view mirror, I watched as a lone man exited the Buckhorn, heading toward the black-topped Colorado convertible. Next followed Mrs.Dada shortly behind him. She had just finished a brief 'conversation' with the female companion of the man enroute to his sealed convertible.

"I left the windows down," the woman said, perhaps more to save face than dog. "Besides, I left him some water," she added.

Same as Mrs. Dada had done for me. Too bad they didn't leave the engine running with the air conditioner on too. Just like I had been enjoying while waiting for my master to return.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Let's quit pretending. Just abolish Labor Day!

America 2010: There'll always be a need for custodial services jobs
 if you're not fortunate enough to have one in the defense industry.

Of all U.S. holidays celebrated, Labor Day is the one I find most offensive.  Not because it celebrates the hard fought for (and many won) concessions by America's organized labor forces, sometimes at extreme sacrifices to include lives, but precisely because of  the exact opposite -- the total vilification and decimation of the American labor movement that fought for such benefits as higher wages, employer-provided health insurance, pensions, holidays and paid sick leave. In its heyday, the gains made by unionized labor pressured non-union shops to increase same for their workers, resulting in a strong, secure middle class. A middle class now in a state of putrefaction.

Deliciously ironic is many, many of those Americans celebrating Labor Day with friends and family in backyard gatherings or at parks, waterfronts and mountains around barbeques and mini beer kegs this weekend are folks who agree with such polls as a 2007 one conducted by Gallup that ranked Ronald Reagan as the 2nd greatest president in U.S. History -- just behind Abraham Lincoln! Ironic because Reagan himself, twice president of the  Screen Actor's Guild union and supporter of Poland's Solidarity union led by Lech Wałęsa, was big Kahuna as buster of the U.S. Air Traffic Controller's union, firing 13,000 of its members in 1981 and giving encouragement to all industries struggling under the yoke of American middle class enhancing unions to follow his example.

From the heyday of organized labor that once represented 1/3 of all private workers in the U.S. in the mid-20th Century, unions today represent less than 8% of those workers. Unions are dead and the middle class is following them in growing numbers in a grand march to graveyards across America.

So as we celebrate another holiday this coming Monday, let's cancel once and for all the hypocrisy of hoisting a tall cool one before that second game of family beach volleyball played amidst wafting aromas of burgers and ribs in some phony pretense of honoring labor. The Labor movement  is dead!

Call it by its rightful name, whatever you decide,  be it a tribute to deregulation, free markets, free trade, "Wall Street Day," or a  recognition of tax cuts to the rich that supposedly benefit their less fortunate underlings with the trickle down jobs that still remain after those that have fled offshore; jobs for lower pay and less benefits. But please, please (!), don't call it Labor Day.

Oh, and  by the way, it'll be a holiday without pay! It's what we've earned. It's what we deserve.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

"There's a monster on the loose"

"America, where are you now?" 
line from Steppenwolf's Monster, 1969

"Our cities have turned into jungles
And corruption is stranglin' the land
The police force is watching the people
And the people just can't understand
We don't know how to mind our own business
'Cause the whole worlds got to be just like us
Now we are fighting a war over there
No matter who's the winner we can't pay the cost
'Cause there's a monster on the loose
It's got our heads into the noose
And it just sits there watchin'"

Ah, an' for a wee bit o' nostalgia, 
please click on Hit & Stay below.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Update on zombieland: America's roving street scanners. Or, "Bend Over, Let Me See You Shake a Tail Feather!"

"People are dying in bunches everywhere but here." (Frank Quinn, the undertaker in the movie Get Low being released nationwide in theaters today).

But what if Frank Quinn is dead wrong? What if those Quinn mistakes for living are already dead? As in a nation of zombies? My newest inspiration for such thought is an item from "Full-Body Scan Technology Deployed In Street-Roving Vans". It's just another morsel upon the growing heap of snowballing evidence for such.

Seems body scanners appearing in airports this summer have met with no resistance from an insouciant public re their vanishing constitutionally guaranteed rights and liberties. Taking it to the streets by local security and law enforcement agencies seems the next logical step. Body scans from roving vans of unsuspecting citizens will probably meet with similar nonexistent public opposition.

Maybe I'm over estimating the grisly state of the American mind. Maybe instead of a nation of zombies we're but a nation of frogs. As one commenter to the aforementioned article suggested, "Is this not the boiling frog syndrome? It’s the gradual erosion of the rights of law-abiding citizens."

Well that brought to mind another Dada Redux from "The First (and last) Annual  International Blogfest  of Past  Dada Dalliances." Entitled  "Reconnecting with the fine art, the  slow cooking of Frogs and hats as a statement of fashion (or other stuff)" and written nearly four years ago under the Bush regime, it appears as relevant, if not even more so, now under the Obama regime. If you haven't seen it before, might I recommend it, if only for the stunning look at the French symbol for revolution, the Phrygian cap,  as modeled by yours truly at its conclusion.

And now, just in case my comparison of Americans as a nation of zombies was spot on, I'd better go. The sun's coming up!

Monday, August 23, 2010

We come "in peace and friendship"

....Over the weekend, Iran unveiled its new Karrar drone bomber that can be armed with two 250-pound bombs or one 450-pound guided bomb. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calling it an "ambassador of death," went on to assure all that what should be taken from this newest Iranian weapon is its "main message of peace and friendship."

Iran's Karrar will join other unmanned aerial vehicles (UEV's) such as Britain's "Taranis" (named for the Celtic god who rained down thunder upon the Earth in the accompaniment of lightning )...

...and the United States' Hellfire missile armed, peace inspiring, "Predator" and "Reaper" drones (or as Dada likes to think of them, "Democracy by Death").


It is Dada's only hope we can fill the skies globally with these ambassadors of "peace and friendship" before humanity blows up the whole damn Earth.

(Oh, and here's wishing one and all much "peace and friendship!")

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dada Redux, or the first in the First (and last) Annual International Blogfest of Past Dada Dalliances

I don't know how many years men across the nation have had the option to buy an electric shaver with settings for 15 different skin sensitivities. I don't imagine any of us has ever seen seen anyone with 15 different faces that would require such diversity in a shaver. Granted, we've all known a few that are two-faced....

Continue reading Awaiting the triple seal of freshness

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Quote of the Day

Support for global warming is seasonal. ~ (thanks to R.H. for this one)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back to the Stone Age

From the Union of Concerned  Scientists:  "Well, it's August 9. The people who are supposed to be representing our interests in the nation's capitol have gone home for the summer, and they've left us, once again, with no plan to rein in our country's global warming emissions. It's unlikely, given the November elections, that the Senate will take on this issue again come fall."

To which Dada would only add:  "And don't expect them to do anything after the November elections either, owing as they will be to those who got 'em (re)elected, i.e., the monied special interests they will again go to Washington to serve.

(Note: August has become Dada's favorite month. That's because it's the month I feel safest from  terrorists  who do me grave harm, i.e., my "elected" representatives who are on a month long  recess.)

But lest I appear too harsh the critic of our government, let us stand in august admiration of defense secretary Robert Gates' proposal to slash $100 billion from the Pentagon's budget bloat over the next five years that he has come under increasing criticism of from someone -- I don't know who -- Americans out  of work, out of homes, out of hope? (I don't think so.)

Gates plans to cut civilian personnel and contractors saying "he also will terminate other Pentagon agencies, impose a 10 percent cut in intelligence contracts and slim down what he called a 'top-heavy hierarchy' by thinning the ranks of admirals and generals."

Not to get too excited, however, trying to decide where to spend those defense cuts dividends, like for schools maybe, affordable health care, desperately needed  infrastructure repairs and upgrades, etc., etc. No? Why? Well, as we learn, much of  Gates' freed up savings will go instead toward the purchase of more troops and weapons!
I think it important that we look at our government as a mega corporation, its most profitable product being the production of misery and devastation,  not just overseas, but domestically as well. That seems to be the last best thing we manufacture here anymore.

As Rachel Madow opened her Monday night's show saying something like, imagine commuting to work at 120 mph on your Chinese bullet train while reading of American communities tearing up the pavement of drastically deteriorated roads they can  no longer afford to repair and reverting them to gravel or, as "Purdue University's John Habermann, who organized a seminar about the resurgence of gravel roads titled it 'Back to the Stone Age' " in a recent Wall Street Journal piece.

Dada enjoys our government's  inability to move forward and address the future, a dire and darkening one, that so desperately demands action but which instead goes largely ignored by our impotent representatives in favor of endless partisan squabbling for political advantage instead of confronting it with hard decisions and difficult actions so desperately demanding to be made as our event horizon called extinction bears down upon us faster than a Chinese bullet train.

Meanwhile, this past week we got advice from Stephen Hawking that if we are to survive, humanity must leave the Earth within the next hundred years! That's pretty damn arrogant, coming from the species endangering or massacring all life on Earth, including its own.

Considering the outside possibility we came here from Mars -- or  maybe not -- we should leave Earth as it becomes what Mars already is -- a burnt out hulk that may have been a former life giving garden. For what, the next planet that might support our survival until we trash and destroy it too?

Well, I have news for Hawking and others with such high-minded advice: Don't look to this nation to lead us where you think we should go. It's a tad too late for that. If we were ever even capable of such a grandiose scheme, it's now off the table. As Russia burns, smolders and smothers and China, India, and Pakistan drown, while we slowly and surely poison our wellspring of life on Earth, the seas, and world hunger grows, we're too distracted fighting one another and jockeying for political position to care.

Oh, yeh, and reverting paved roads to gravel ones.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Taking It To The Streets, part deux

Mrs. Dada's been very busy the past two weekends, remembering!

Last weekend Mrs. Dada was in Santa Fe on Friday and Los Alamos on Saturday to attend events preceding the 65th anniversary of the only commercial-industrial strength use of nuclear weapons in war: those dropped on Hiroshima, August 6, and three days later on Nagasaki, Japan, August 9, 1945.

Below is her YouTube video of (Col..) Ann Wright, retired, most noted for having resigned from the State Department in protest of the U.S. March 2003 invasion of Iraq, speaking in Los Alamos last Saturday, July 31st.

This past Friday (8/6/2010) Mrs. Dada was in downtown El Paso, outside the new federal building remembering the victims of Hiroshima.

On Monday, a remembrance ceremony will be held in the same place  for the 65th anniversary of Nagaski's devastation.

Taking It To The Streets, part I

How I spent my Saturday: Picketing along with Mrs. Dada the Family Dollar store's abuses of their employees and their worker's rights.

Eric Murillo, organizer, with brief statement of the purpose for
Saturday's demonstration at a local El Paso Family Dollar Store.
(Video courtesy of Mrs. Dada)

Dada outside El  Paso Family Dollar store (photo by Mrs. Dada)

Editor Sam meets his maker

Sammy Cincos attended Saturday's Humane Society mural unveiling where he "met his maker," terrific artist and muralist Stephanie Conroy.

Held in conjunction with the Humane Society's annual fund raising telethon, I'm still having to convince Sam his contribution to the very successful fund raiser was but a small part of -- not ALL of -- the over $110,000 raised by this event! 


Congratulations to our HS's director, Betty Hoover and the El Paso community, for a most successful effort on behalf of the many dogs and cats in need of homes!!

Sam (and Dada) with Stephanie Conroy after the unveiling of her
Humane Society mural. (Sam was very pleased with his placement
in the art work among all the wonderful dogs and cats depicted --
right in the center! ~photos by Mrs. Dada)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Russian humor to help us through

As more and more of us awaken to the fact the brief, *glorious rise* of our upstart American nation, from an 18th Century pack of rabble rousing revolutionaries to 21st Century empire in utter collapse (save for our unwitting leaders hell bent on charging head-on toward the oblivion of unforgiving history), I thought it might be nice to take a step back for a moment, to distract us with a little humor as we slide from most envied nation on Earth to nation most feared or hated.

And so, as we become increasingly more irrelevant, I thought I'd turn to our friends and former enemies, the Russians, who experienced the collapse of their Soviet Union on the heels of their tragic failure to conquer Stone Age Afghanistan a mere two decades before us; to borrow from them some of the wonderful humor of our nascent Russian family members who were still able to laugh despite their impending doom.

What follows are a few old Russian jokes I've taken the liberty of modifying for current American relevance (or, as previously noted, irrelevance?). With apologies if they're not as funny as the joke the United States is becoming globally. Transitions such as we are undergoing can make humor a wee bit difficult. But it's important, I believe,  we retain  a sense of it much as our Russian brothers and sisters during their demise.

Here, then, they are:

How do you relate to the government in Washington?
Like a wife: part habit, part fear and wish to God I had a different one.

Two Gulf Coast citizens meet while strolling on a tar-balled beach.
'How's life?'
'Do you read the papers?'
'Of course! How else would I know?'

What sort of a job should you take, so as never to be unemployed?
Climb up on the Statue of Liberty and watch for its return.

In 2008 a man ran through the streets of Washington shouting: 'Cheney is a swine!' He was seized and given twenty-one years: one year for defamation, and twenty years for leaking state secrets.

Okay, so it's typical Russian humor born of their historical flirtations with seemingly endless pessimism.  Finding the humor in it is their talent.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Are you paying on a house you bought for $300K that's only worth $210K (for the moment)?

Shadow inventory. The shadow inventories of repossessed homes banks are holding is the total number of homes foreclosed on (seized by banks) minus the number of repo'ed homes the banks are  actually trying to sell or unload on the market. Example from table above: As  of 7/16/2010 Cook County, IL (Chicago) had a total 28,829 bank repo'ed homes. Of those, 1,292 were actually on the market. The difference equals a shadow inventory of  27,537 homes sitting idle, off the market.

Can you imagine what would happen to housing prices if all those shadowy houses were put on the market by banks? The government can. The Fed can. And the banks especially know. Many of them would face insolvency.

Meanwhile, as foreclosures for 2010 are on a pace to exceed one million homes, the article by Mike Whitney entitled, A Decade of Declining House Prices claims,  "The housing depression will last for a decade or more."

"This is by design...The bursting of the housing bubble wiped out the middle class...baby boomers are not nearly as wealthy as they believed. We're a nation of paupers."

Indeed. This is by design.

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Top pickup artist shares secrets of flirting," or Dada's blending of the old in-your-face with the simplicity of modern sincerity

Let me preface what I'm about to say with this: Later this month, Mrs. Dada and I will celebrate our anniversary. This will be another of those landmark ones. Our 40th! I love her dearly and I know of no more perfect mate for me. So Tuesday evening, to celebrate her mother's 86th birthday, why was I out back in the parking lot of the Italian restaurant we'd chosen for the occasion hitting on a perfect stranger? It was an innocent accident. Really! At least let me try to explain.

I don't think the article in that morning's newspaper entitled "Nation's top pickup artist shares secrets of flirting" had anything to do with it. Well it didn't resonate with me on a conscious level anyway, at least, while reading it over my second cup of coffee. But maybe later that evening in the parking lot out back of the restaurant -- on at more subtle, subconscious level -- the article reared its ugly head?

Whatever. With the author's pronouncement the age of the consummate pickup artist and his "ridiculously horrible" flirtatious lines is dying, he concluded the best opening line is becoming one of genuine sincerity; a simple "Hello, my name is .... " is gaining acceptance as the curtain falls on the "anti-gimmick, anti-pickup line era."

So, as the trash bin of hackneyed pickup lines overflows toward the event horizon of its own demise, Dada may have accidentally stumbled upon one last great opening for the desperately disconnected among us. It went down just like this:

We were to meet friends for dinner. Of the six of us, three had birthdays within four days of one another. Being a long walk from the parking lot to the restaurant, I dropped Mrs. Dada and her mother off near its front door. I then went to park the car out back and rejoin them inside.

After parking the car, I scanned the lot for our friends vehicle. Looking for their new car, a Kia Soul, I concluded they hadn't arrived yet. While I'd never seen a Soul before, I knew it was something on the order of one of those cool, unusual looking 'cars' ala a Nissan Cube that has people who encounter one for the first time asking themselves, "What the HELL is that?"

But I didn't have to wait long. Spotting a quirky looking vehicle pulling into the lot, I immediately turned my back on it as I quickly extracted my Flip video-cam from my pocket. As the car pulled into a parking space, I whirled around aiming my camera directly at it as I approached, waving to our friends inside while recording  their reaction. As I grew closer, however, I seemed to remember the new Kia Soul was white, unlike the copper colored one I was approaching. Closer, I could see an "H" logo on its front (as in Honda; as in Honda "Fit").

The three friends I was expecting were but a lone female, now being accosted by a stranger with a video camera! I quickly stopped recording, gasping desperately for apologies in the deep ended pool of humility.

In a wonderful blend of old and new, i.e., those tiresome forward, sometimes bordering on aggressive, advances versus their modern successors of honest sincerity, Dada went from (video cam) in-your-face bold to the humblest groveling for forgiveness (sincerity) within the same second.

And it worked! "You didn't seem threatening or dangerous," was my victim's reassurance. Very greatly relieved, we walked to the restaurant together sharing  pleasant conversation.

One caution to anyone taking inspiration from this incident to hook up with someone before they even make it out of their car in  the parking lot: Note, my accidental victim did not call police on her cell phone. She did not arrive with a boyfriend or husband! Nor, and probably most important, she was not packing heat. (Or at least didn't see fit to use it.) Attempt this at your own risk!

***** CODA *****
**Once back home, I went to view the video of this incident. To my surprise I learned the camera didn't actually activate when I turned it ON! Hence, when I discovered this woman wasn't our friends I mistook her for, lurching quickly for the camera's power button to shut it OFF, I actually turned it ON. The result being a record of our conversation as we walked to the restaurant during which I learned, among other small talk, she was from Idaho, got 40 mpg doing 85 mph in her Fit  I'd mistaken for her 'Soul.'**

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Shrinking World of George W. Bush

A gaunt, worried Dana Perino is booked, fingerprinted
and mug shot in Minneapolis. (photo by Dada)

14 September 2009

WHERE: Minnesota

WHEN: Midnight

WHAT: A state issued war crime indictments law becomes effective. Following the January, 2008, lead of tiny Brattleboro, VT - the first - "to draft indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution," Minnesota becomes the 19th in a list of cascading states to enact similar legislation since Bush's departure from office on January 20, 2009.

(During his presidency, Vermont is the only one of 50 states George Bush never visits.)

Minnesota's new law, similar to the those of Massachusetts,
New Mexico, Oregon and Washington, is expanded to include indictments against Bush cabinet members and staff as well; as accomplices aiding/abetting in the commission of acts of high treason and international war crimes.

WHEN: 12:37 a.m

Concourse B, Northwest Airlines gate 19, Minneapolis St.Paul International Airport, Minnesota

WHO: Dana Perino, fourth and final White House Press Secretary for George W. Bush

departure of her flight to Denver, CO. Due to inclement weather, the flight has been canceled.

WHERE: At the Northwest Airlines check-in counter, an alert NWAL employee and life-long democratic party member, accidentally spots the name "Dana Perino" on canceled flight 137's passenger manifest. She promptly alerts airport security to a possible fugitive on Concourse B.

1:37 a.m.

Minneapolis Police Headquarters: A gaunt and physically shaken Dana Perino is booked on suspicion of high crimes and treason. She is finger printed. Her mug shot is not exactly a glamor shot.

WHEN: Later that day. Bush, Cheney and others learn of Perino's Minnesota detainment. Bush smirks, laughs, and is heard to say, "Caught where she shouldn't have been, huh?" It's one of his jokes that will become increasingly rare in the months ahead.

WHAT: Encouraged by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's (D-RI - "yes, I know, ironic last name, isn't it?") independent criminal review of activities of the outgoing Bush administration since the new legislature convened in January, plus the first state's arrest of Dana Perino (there will be three more in states she got caught visiting she shouldn't have, eighteen more states enact war crime and treason laws against the former Bush administration.

Is the U.S. slowly regaining its former reputation as a "nation of laws"?

(* Watch for possible future arrests as Dada is able to channel them.)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Survival of the fittest, or "culling the idiots"?

Please, please -- Gulf Coast  beach goers -- endanger your own health if you must, but don't injure or kill your kids  prematurely. They have their whole lives ahead of  them. The following WKRP (Channel 5, Mobile -- Pensacola) news video should be required viewing for anyone  planning a beach visit!

WKRG.com News

See HERE for further discussion re toxicity levels (parts per million) discussed in this video. (Unexplainably, the last water sample exploded before chemical analysis could be completed. High concentration of methane offered as a possibility.)

It's that time of year again....

As has become my custom each year when another 
birthday rolls around, I take out the following  and read
it again. It's become a ritual. It's meaning remains intact.*

Fisherman's Wharf,  Monterey, acrylic on canvas

On my fiftieth birthday, I walked along a beach in Monterey,
unable to assimilate the impact of living a half century. It was a
lovely morning. The jagged coastline matched its white sand
and massive rocks against the reverential green of the pines
high on the hills behind me, and shifting breakers seemed able
to translate designs of the past into the present. Misery and
mistakes of the past were flushed by the foam into forgiving
visualizations-long, ironic progressions from the Depression
years of the 1930s through the forty years of economic recovery
that followed, almost a historic lottery of opportunity. Out of
all that had happened in the fifty years, war and technology
were the most memorable. In my life so much had come so
soon and often that I was never able to completely assess, only
adjust to change no one seemed fully to understand. I realized
how, decade after decade, in the wake of revolving prosperity
and cultural upheavals, I had come to resent Prophetic
pronouncements that I was entering a glorious Space Age. It
was a promise that permeated everyone's thinking, though few
knew what it meant. Too many forces were beyond public
control and there were too many paradoxes: industrial waste
seeped out of the ground, yet responsible officials often
disguised the cause. Futurists promised extraterrestrial
colonies, yet rail and bus transportation were deplorable.
Trillions of dollars were spent on militarism that afforded less
and less protection; murder rates doubled; school systems went
bankrupt; and farm yields exceeded historical record, while
millions suffered from a lack of wholesome food or any decent
food at all. I could never decide if this was the fallout of
progress or the sins of vested interest. Whatever the source, it
couldn't be ignored. That day in Monterey, I was not only a
disenchanted liberal but a fifty-year-old figure on a beach who
instinctively knew that in order to do more than just survive, I
would have to guard the hope of larger life and avoid the
invisible suppression that threatened to bury me in ambiguous
submission. There on one edge of the Pacific, I realized
ordinary journeys were over. The only new
frontier was within.

* With apologies to the author of the above whose identity 
I have failed to find. It's in a book somewhere in the house.
Should I locate it, I shall properly attribute this piece. ~Dada