Ayn Rand


Ayn Rand was born in St. Peterburgh, Russia in 1905 and named Alissa Rosenbaum. Her father was a chemist named Zinovy. Her mother Anna, was the daughter of a successful tailor.

At the time of the Russian Revolution, her father’s chemistry shop was closed and young Alissa (the future Ayn) witnessed the social upheaval of what became the Soviet Union. Her father was forced to find work in the Soviet shop system. She studied history and graduated with the highest honors from the University of Petrograd in 1921. Emigrating to America in 1926, she changed her surname to a portion of the company’s namesake stamped on the typewriter she used; the company name was Remington-Rand. Reminton-Rand owned the world’s first super computer, the Univac, in the 50’s. It was developed for military purposes and then expanded its abilities to be used for census and data retrieval and compilation.

From 1926 to 1949 Rand stayed in Hollywood and moved through various positions of the movie industry, including her start in script writing. She worked for big names like RKO Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. With Hal Wallis Productions she contracted to work for the studio for six months and the remaining six months of the year was dedicated to pursuing the completion of her own writing. Her first best-selling novel, The Fountainhead, became a movie in 1949.

Rand first married an actor Frank O’Connor in 1926, and soon became a naturalized American citizen. She loved her adopted country, capitalism, and the pursuit of happiness for self. She was an atheist, philosopher and leading intellectual who did not approve of the social state that offered welfare to the unemployed. She adhered strictly to capitalism and dedication to self esteem and self preservation. She hated altruism–the sacrificing of self for the happiness of another. “Altruism is suicide,” states Rand in an interview with Phil Donahue in the late 70s. She loved Aristotle, the philosphical father of reason–and hated Plato.

Her complicated opinions left many scratching their heads because of her atheistic belief. She certainly leaned toward Social Darwinism–and survival of the fittest. One of her greatest complaints was the billions of dollars given to handicapped children who would never contribute to the progress of humanity, and the neglected opportunity of also giving funds to gifted children.

Rand wanted less government–no taxes, not health care, and certainly, no welfare. The ability to produce a product should bring one enough capital to exist–without the altruism of a socialistic system.

One of Rand’s favorite television shows was Charlie’s Angels . She desired human perfection with perfect government that allowed the individual to excel in the venue of lives, and life styles, chosen. She couldn’t stand the ideas of big government, god, socialism and totalitarianism. Mussolini had her work banned in fascist Italy.

The observation of reality was the standard of existence–not the hope of a godly impact on your life. “You are destroying your own mind–when you believe in God–you are denying your own ability to reason. It is giving your life away, hoping that there is a world after this one,” states Rand.

“You are going against reality,” Rand reasons, “You are going against the nature of reality when you give up your existence on the hope of a supreme being as the guide for your life. I hate the people that conceived of the idea of God. I know that there isn’t a god, because there is no evidence. However, I have no right to hold people to my belief system.”

Rand’s conclusions about religion include the facts that most people are born into a faith or are emotionally moved to join a faith. “It is not logical to follow a being that has no evidence of existing. In the philosophy of logic–we can not prove a negative–so, for me to prove that God does not exist is impossible–one doesn’t prove a negative in the school of reason. I have no evidence that he does exist, therefore he doesn’t. It would be an illogical task to undertake–an impossibility.”

Ayn Rand’s dogmatic conclusions found many enemies to her world of pure logic and intellectualism. She was very critical of President Carter during his term in office, declaring that his eternal smile was an altruistic front that would only lead to insanity. She felt that the right needed more leadership in creating a more American reality for the individual.

The fascinating paradox of her work is that it required all people of a state, nation or country to think intellectually, logically and objectively at the same time. It was an utopian dream. If a nation could come to the point of atheistic reason by eliminating religion a major tenant of freedom would be eliminated–the right to the freedom of religion.

What Rand wanted was freedom from religion. To each individual the right to come to a philosophical belief that would result in various methods of prosperity without the guidance of an invisible, non-existent entity guiding the people. The success or failure of an individual’s philosophy would be indicated by their ability to create capital, ie. make a living.

She will continue to be a major force in philosophical circles even though she passed into the great beyond almost thirty years ago. If she couldn’t prove the existence of god during the course of her lifetime–most theologians would proclaim,”She knows now!”

Advertisements
Posted in 1. Leave a Comment »

Nietzsche, Ubermensch and Superman


In the coming days I’m going to write  a short dissertation on the eloquence and irrelevance of Nietzsche.  The poor man never had a chance and was a product of his environment–and education.

If he had gone out and procreated, versus sitting alone and contemplating the meaning of life–poor Nietzsche may have enjoyed his short, eternally re-occuring life.  He may have stopped dreaming of the evolution of humankind and really lived.  It is what he ultimately describes in his writings.  Live, for god’s sake, live.

I think you’ll enjoy my short bio on Friedrich Nietzsche–too many of us are scared to even discuss his dissertations.  It’s alright, he was deep, but not that deep.

The untermensch discusses the Ubermensch

Posted in 1. Leave a Comment »

Greta Garbo just wanted to be left alone


     Greta Lovisa Gustaffson was born on September 18, 1905 in Sweden. She was to become a member of Hollywood royalty, placing fifth in all time rankings for greatest actresses by survey, but her beginnings were humble and fraught with poverty and a longing to become a member of the theatre. For her visiting the Biograph (theatre) on evenings as famous players exited and young Greta dreamed of being on the famous actors and actresses elevated plane of existence–her dreams would one day be realized–but they would not always carry the joy and happiness that Greta hoped for.  The Guinness book of World Records would one day report that she was “the most beautiful woman in the world.”

     In Sweden, the days of silent movies were a grand era and Greta’s home nation was renowned for great screen work and direction. Men, like Mauritz Stiller, who would ultimately become Greta’s mentor and champion and short-time lover, would move to Hollywood, only to find a different kind of system that they may, or may not, be able to work in. The Hollywood ego was huge from the very beginning and careers could be made or broken if the movers and shakers of Hollywood didn’t like an actor or director.

     Greta’s story would be filled with drama, romance, sensuality, mystery and overwhelming popularity that would one day see her say, “I just want to be left alone.” Perhaps, it is with this phrase that we, the people of the world, have come to look at Garbo with severe disdain or pained passion. We may think, how could anyone retire at 36–in her prime–and never see the silver screen again?

     Greta remains somewhat of a mystery long after her death on April 15, 1990, when she suffered renal failure and finally exited life’s stage after recuperating from a bout with “the old man’s friend,” pneumonia. Most reports claim she died of natural causes, but others claim she had become dependent on alcohol during the 80s which attributed to her health problems. She also survived a battle with breast cancer–during the course of her hermitical last years.

Who was Greta?

Greta Garbo documentary Pt. I video at this link…it’s a nine-part documentary from Turner Classic Movie channel.

Early Career

     Greta, at fourteen years of age, began her working career as a lather girl in a barber shop when her father died of nephritis–she would also lose her beloved sister to lymphatic cancer by the time Greta was twenty-one. These early tragedies for the future star may explain a great deal of her personality in regards to men, women and her personal relationships. Her natural beauty and desire to become a model and actress soon found her working at a local department store selling fashion items to the women of Sweden.

     She was asked to participate in a short commercial reel in which a famed Swedish actor, Lars Hanson, made a cameo–Greta would one day work as his romantic interest in a future Swedish film. You can watch a glimpse of this reel in the video above. You may notice thick, unplucked eyebrows on the plump Greta Gustaffson–it has been reported that she lost 25 kilograms once she arrived in Hollywood.

     Greta’s first film came in 1922–it was called Peter The Tramp. Mauritz Stiller enters her life to bring her early success by the age of eighteen. Stiller also assists in creating the future icon of the feminine mystique’s stage name–Garbo –and by 1926, when Stiller was asked to move to Hollywood, by Louis B. Mayer of MGM, to attempt his hand at directing in the American cinema–Garbo was at his side. Mayer’s interest was more skewed to the talents of the young actress than Stiller’s direction.  Her first arrival to America at New York’s port came with little fanfare and only a lowly industry assistant arrived at the docks to greet Stiller and the future superstar.

     Her statement after a short time in Hollywood, “Here, it is boring, incredibly boring, so boring I can’t believe it’s true.” California had none of the seasons that Garbo so adored in her youth–in Hollywood, it was brown and green. After her first movies–and the films’ grand successes–Garbo would threaten to leave with the simple phrase, “I think I’ll go back to Sweden!” With this statement, studio heads would do everything in their power to fulfill Garbo’s every whim.

     In 1928, Mauritz Stiller returned to Sweden after being fired by the Hollywood machine. He died at the age of 45, shortly after arriving in his homeland. Garbo was devastated by his passing. She’d only known him a short time, but he may have well been the greatest influence the young actress would ever have in life, acting and love.

     “If you’re going to die on screen, you must be strong and in good health.” Garbo once stated–she likely gave credit to Stiller for this brief oxymoron. Four years after his passing she revealed much of the importance this Swedish director had played in her life. She said, “Stiller’s death was a great blow to me. For so long I had been his satellite. All Europe at that time regarded Stiller as the most significant figure in the film world. Directors hurried to the projecting rooms where his prints were shown. They took with them their secretaries and, in the dim silence, they dictated breathless comments on the wide sweep of his magnificent technique. Stiller had found me, an obscure artist in Sweden, and brought me to America. I worshiped him. There are some, of course, who say it was a love story. It was more. It was utter devotion which only the very young can know – the adoration of a student for her teacher, of a timid girl for a master mind. In his studio, Stiller taught me how to do everything: how to eat; how to turn my head; how to express love – and hate. Off the screen I studied his every whim, wish and demand. I lived my life according to the plans he laid down. He told what to say and what to do. When Stiller died I found myself like a ship without a rudder. I was bewildered – lost – and very lonely. I resolutely refused to talk to reporters because I didn’t know what to say. By degrees I dropped out of the social whirl of Hollywood. I retired into my shell. I built a wall of repression around my real self, and I lived – and still live – behind it.”

Life and Art–Twins of a Superstar’s legacy

     Timing is everything. For Garbo, who couldn’t speak the English language upon her arrival in the mid 1920s–silent pictures were a boon. So was the medium of black and white film that exposed her beauty dramatically. The contrasting revelation of black and white upon Garbo’s face, along with specialized lenses, was serendipitously fortunate and created the world’s first great superstar actress.  She would have to travel across America, and the Atlantic Ocean, under pseudonyms to stop the constant hounding of photographers, the press and the public.  She was one of the first actresses to receive this sort of constant attention–even though the world, or term, of paparazzi had yet to be realized or coined.

     Her first films in America, Torrent (1926); Flesh and the Devil (1926) and Love (1927) brought her $400/week, $600/week and $5,000/week respectively. We can begin to see the effect Garbo was going to bring to the world–and her own pocketbook. In 1931, during the early stages of the Great Depression Garbo was asked to portray the tragic heroine in Anna Christie–her salary was a whopping quarter of a million dollars–imagine what that could buy during this dark era in American history. By 1936, Garbo commanded a half a million dollar fee for starring in her favourite film, Camille, directed by George Cukor. In 1941, at the making of her last film, Two-Faced Woman, her wage earnings dropped to $150,000. However, over the course of the next fifty years there would be million dollar offers to bring the acclaimed actress back to the screen–fortune never smiled on any of these projects.

     Garbo’s life saw the introduction of John Gilbert when she made Flesh and the Devil–Gilbert portraying the dashing hero.  The pairings love scenes steamed with sensuality and life soon imitated art.  Gilbert and Garbo began an on again, off again love affair that had Gilbert reportedly asking for Greta’s hand in marriage three times.  She finally accepted his proposal but never showed up for the ceremony.  The pair never married but a torrid affair lingered for years until Garbo went the way of Garbo–it may have foreshadowed the slow demise of Gilbert’s career.

     Gilbert’s transition to talkies was difficult.  It may have been a manipulated tactic caused by Louis B. Mayer upon an incident in which Garbo’s name was slurred and Gilbert accosted the movie mogul verbally and physically.  Gilbert’s voice was recorded in a manner that raised his natural baritone to a squeaky scale that made test audience’s laugh–Gilbert’s career suffered a slow, painful demise with several comeback attempts–he played opposite Garbo one last time in Queen Christina (1933).  In the film’s roll of credits–Garbo gets top billing, while Gilbert’s name appears after the title–a visual slap to the actor’s legacy.  Gilbert died in 1936, at the age of 38, due to complications from alcohol abuses–a heart attack ended what should have been a much more successful career.  Marlene Dietrich and Gilbert were set to appear in the film, Desire, at the time of his death.  Dietrich, a nemesis of Garbo, was involved with Gilbert before his premature demise.

Who was Garbo…really?

      She was born into a poor home in Stockholm, and by her own admission, a tomboy at heart.

     Rumours, innuendo and written biographies tell stories of bisexuality, lesbian affairs, depression, illness, alcoholism and strange disciplines and dietary habits being a part of Garbo’s life.

     The astonishing success of a poor, uneducated girl who grew up to be admired, hated, loved, adored and pursued by the lowliest public citizens of the planet and the elite rulers who controlled world events should be evidence enough to conclude, “GG (this was a nickname) was a smashing hit for all of humanity that lived with quiet dignity and aplomb.  She tried, under ludicrous circumstances, to excel at her craft–and in her life.”

     A wonderful biography written by Karen Swenson entitled Garbo: A Life Apart shortly after Garbo’s demise gives us an inside look at the character and charm of a woman who was pursued by the world upon her entrance into adulthood. 

     Garbo succeeded with her Bohemian, tomboy, yet sensual, charm in confusing and mystifying detractors and admirers alike, but when looking at the comprehensive sketch of Garbo’s wisdom provided by recorded quips, comments and events in her life–we see a well-developed, thoughtful and mature woman who wanted to live life to the fullest.  Sadly, Garbo admitted, life wasn’t easy and certain portions of life’s pie she was not able to enjoy a slice of.  Marriage, childbirth and perhaps, real sincerity, in all of her personal and professional relationships that may have been experienced with an average life.

     At one point in her world travels, Garbo sits with Winston Churchill, his wife, Clementine and Aristotle Onassis aboard the shipping tycoon’s yacht sipping at the cocktail hour.  It is unknown what the conversation may have been that fine day, but when one thinks of power, fame, civility, beauty and wealth all sitting at the same table, perhaps it isn’t difficult.  Perhaps, they all wanted a break from dutiful lives and told each other jokes of an innocent nature?

     During the course of Garbo’s retirement she often asked advice of business leaders and art aficionados.  Garbo was very frugal and remembered the poverty of her youth.  When she died attended to by her loving extended family Garbo’s estate was found to be worth over fifty million dollars.  The small apartment she lived and died in for the last decades of her life were decorated with impeccable art and decor that exhibited a life well lived.

     She once answered when asked about secrets, “Every one of us lives his life just once; if we are honest, to live once is enough.”

To do it well and be remembered for things one has done decades before is immortality–and that, too is enough.

Posted in 1. 1 Comment »

Social Darwinism–an old reality in our new world order?


Herbert Spencer

     Do you watch Survivor, American Idol, Big Brother, and The Bachelor/Bachelorette?
If you said, “Yes,” to anyone of these shows and others like them are you becoming a fan of Social Darwinism?
     What is social-Darwinism?
     According to BusinessDictionary.com it is;
Theory of social selection that attempts to explain the success of certain social groups. Based on the laissez fairedoctrine with heavily racial bias, it interprets ‘survival of the fittest’ concept to mean that only the best adapted (those already well off) survive the ‘natural conflict’ between social groups and thereby enhance the survival capacity of the remaining society. Popular in the 19th and 20th century Europe and USA and embraced by the Nazis, it has nothing to do with the English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-82) or his theory of natural selection, and precedes the publication of his book ‘Origin Of Species.’

     The philosophy that was soon defined as Social Darwinism was initally dicussed by Herbert Spencer, a 19th century philosopher who loosely tied his theory discussed in Progress: Its Law and Cause to Darwin’s Origin of the Species, although Spencer published three years before Darwin, but in no way can the two terms be described as similar. The two terms explain very different theories in very different fields of study. Darwin’s theory explains the processes of the natural world–while Spencer’s theory of social behavior is relegated to the philosophies of the world’s societies. Spencer was not described as a Social Darwinian until after his death–his publication only discussed theories of social practices that would create superior human beings. Other originators of the theory were Thomas Malthus and Francis Galton.
     Darwin did not abdicate the purification of the races or humanity in The Descent of Man when he wrote, “Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil. … We must therefore bear the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely that the weaker and inferior members of society do not marry so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage, though this is more to be hoped for than expected.”
      One doesn’t have to look too far back in time for historical examples of Social Darwinism. The Dutch Boers of South Africa took it upon their own understanding of the Reformed Dutch Bible to separate the races of black, brown, yellow and white to obey man-made laws of “apartheid;” laws of apartness or separation during the 20th century, which the Afrikaner Boers attributed to being “God-breathed.” Many religious sects and denominations still practice this sort of racial separateness, but in the end find very difficult judgment calls and few, if any, cases of civil, and moral, examples of generosity, charity, hope, or humanity.

Thomas Malthus

     Another experiment of Social Darwinism was performed with Hitler’s Nazi Germany. The delineation of German white/superhuman purity versus the “impure” races of Semitic, Asian, African, or “mongrels” to quote historical claims.
We have seen genocidal acts in Rwanda, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan, and America over the course of the last two hundred years–and sadly, in very recent decades–all relating to the structure or structures of Social Darwinism. Survival of the fittest, richest, whitest or darkest, or faithful versus handicapped, poor, uneducated, “unbeliever,” or simply, different from “us.”
Nietzsche, the German philosopher, had a little to say of weakness and strength. He was not of the opinion that only the strong should survive.
      “Wherever progress is to ensue, deviating natures are of greatest importance. Every progress of the whole must be preceded by a partial weakening. The strongest natures retain the type, the weaker ones help to advance it. Something similar also happens in the individual. There is rarely a degeneration, a truncation, or even a vice or any physical or moral loss without an advantage somewhere else. In a warlike and restless clan, for example, the sicklier man may have occasion to be alone, and may therefore become quieter and wiser; the one-eyed man will have one eye the stronger; the blind man will see deeper inwardly, and certainly hear better. To this extent, the famous theory of the survival of the fittest does not seem to me to be the only viewpoint from which to explain the progress of strengthening of a man or of a race.”
Nietzsche’s claim of strength coming from human physical weaknesses, or handicaps, should be well taken. Immunity can be created by overcoming a viral flu, or illness, making the host stronger and more able to fight sickness by creating a stronger immune system. A man like Stephen Hawking, with severe physical disabilities, has been able to dedicate his life to trying to understand the creation of everything by thinking, postulating, theorizing and discovering from within.
     “Outlast. Outwit. Outplay,” is the survival of the fittest motto of the popular game show, Survivor. This may be wonderful for a game show in finding the one person that can make it to the end of a difficult survival odyssey, however, when the rules of society become a blueprint for everyday people, with everyday problems, can we see a weakness in logic: A problem with the final outcome of humankind’s future societal structures?
     In the last 25 years of global economic policies we have seen a transfer of wealth from the poor to the wealthy occurring at an alarming rate. The rich are becoming richer, and fewer, as the poor become more in number and poorer.

Francis Galton

This has occurred through policies of trickle-down economics, de-regulation and survival of the fattest, (in this case, survival of the most intellectual financiers) or wealthiest. Money means power and influence—and these powerful players, existing at the top of the Social Darwinism construct have created rules, policies and procedures to make them richer—and to hold on to their wealth through less taxation of the wealthy, an increase of interest rates to the needy and less access to social programs, education and healthy lifestyles and dietary routines.
The results of these social and societal experiments in the last forty years have created the world we live in. Michael Moore, the film-making documentarian, evidences these changes as the creation of a “plutarchy” in America. The creation of unregulated credit, and then the increased interest rates of credit card companies and mortgage holders have created a whole new class of working poor, middle-class Americans with no homes, no employment, no health insurance and little hope.
     This type of plutarchy in America has eliminated the existence of the American Dream. The new American Nightmare has created global crises and a very uncertain future for the planet unless we step back from the abyss of Social Darwinism.
If it is the goal of the few to destroy the masses through starvation, poverty, poor health and a dark future for all but the very elect of wealth and health; this evil concept has succeeded. Unless the masses, accompanied by those with generosity, humanity, goodwill and kindness turn the tsunami created by the comet splash of survival of the fittest back into the oceanic abyss where it belongs—humanity’s future may very well be at great risk.

Posted in 1. 3 Comments »

Bridalplasty–the new vanity that makes you want to turn away.


As social commentary goes; we get to stand on a podium and shout out our disgust–so for a new low–I have to discuss a new reality series that makes one want to hurl chunks, perhaps from past athletica bolemia battles or present alcoholic overdoses, but more than likely over the new generational loss of self esteem.  And I am not a proponent of the “self esteem” propaganda that brought North American academic scores to a new low back in the 80s and 90s–that, was just bad schooling practices.

I’m talking about the self esteem one should have in the early flower of youth when one can look in the mirror and see some sort of benefit to being who you are–as nature created you.

This new television series, called Bridalplasty, is not only distasteful to watch as each new episode’s winner gets to undergo some unnecessary elective surgery–they get to lay back and heal from their surgical wounds–while gossiping about the character of each of the girls who become “bottom brides,” because of contests of taste, fashion or style.  C’mon, girls, why don’t you get on your bikes and ride?  Freddie Mercury, of Queen, c’mon you can remember–the little bisexual fellow with the big voice?  Even the showman of the ages might laugh at the ludicrous lengths these girls, many of whom are absolutely gorgeous just the way nature made them, will go to acquire the “perfect wedding day.”  Poor Freddie didn’t care about his overbite–he just let the show go on.

Even the hostess tells the eliminated bride of each succeeding episode that “she will not have the perfect wedding–tho’ her wedding day will come.”  That final farewell might be enough for one of these girls to jump off a bridge and not into matrimony.  From Wikipedia we read, “A 2007 Swedish and US longitudinal study found that women who get cosmetic breast implants are nearly three times as likely to commit suicide as other women. No notable increase was seen in the first 10 years after surgery, but 10 to 19 years after, risk was 4.5 times higher, and six times higher after 20 years, compared with the expected suicide rate.”

Is it not enough that we have to watch these easy to produce, cheap replacements to good story writing, television series without having to watch young brides-to-be battle it out for the most surgery in these social Darwinistic showdowns?  Survivor, Biggest Loser, American Idol and all of the rest of these “survival of the fittest” serials are not helping our society.

It has become a dog-eat-dog world on “reality” television and now it’s biyatch on biyatch bride in a pursuit of percieved perfection?  Someone needs to counsel these poor girls about the droopy paths that overblown, plastic breasts will take as they reach into poverty and can’t get back on some game show for the reconstructive surgery after a few years pass them by.

Honestly, body sculpting, shaping and improvement can occur with a little hard work in a gym, on a hiking path or in a pool.  Get some shape by working out instead of requiring some high-paid surgeon who has no interest in saving lives, but rather in making a mighty dollar quicker.

Check out the first surgical stories of pumping up the tatas at http://www.articlesbase.com/plastic-surgeries-articles/history-of-breast-implants-794934.html or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breast_implant

  The cast of Bridalplasty.

Another proponent of my disgust issues an opinion with more pictures and sadder tales at http://www.cracked.com/blog/bridalplasty-new-reality-show-that-proves-were-doomed/

Something’s Coming for All We Like Sheep Who Dream Electric Dreams


The Official website created by the offspring of Philip K. Dick

 Nick Ruckard sat in the ergonomic position that had become so familiar to him since becoming a cult killer, strapped into it like a pocket rocket hover cycle, reading the blinking screen.  His eyelids blinked in unison with the gentle blue screen bruised black with the two simple words.

“Something’s Coming.”

That was all that blinked in Copperplate Gothic Bold font.  Ruckard had not always realized the fallacy, and phallic, of the world’s great mind-controlling orders.

He hadn’t even been a cult killer when he brought down the biggest one.  The 800 million followers had all fled their faith in one day—when the truth came out.  Ruckard had simply been a time pilot with a journalist’s degree which had given him the pole position in the search for fact.  The Historical Veracity Project—the new funders had called the project that Ruckard helped pioneer.

During his studies at Berkeley, before his marriage to Aliyah Ewe, all he had ever dreamed of involved waves that had fallen thousands of years before his own birth.  He thought it a memory of birthing or a premonition of future growth.  He had surfed out of his mother’s birth canal on that first big amniotic wave feeling his destiny—his need for discovery—but not knowing the path his voyage would take.  That was true.  They had called him an Indigo baby—back in the day when it was en vogue—that had been 2002.  He was now well into his mid-life at 71, but when you live to be 500 who really cared, and still just an indigo child.

“Something’s Coming.”   The screen’s lettering ticked in a larger font.

It was his electric dream of waves, flotsam and jetsam, that kept the synapses popping every moment of his life—even in sleep where he would dream of electric sheep with waving wool and bleating euphoria.  The year 2073 was a good year.

Here at the beach house, he and Aliyah had spent marvellous days, bobbing in the waves and wash, floating under full moons and enjoying the refurbished air.  The smog fog had been removed after the monstrous oil disaster of 2010 in the Gulf had required the planet’s greatest minds to finally cut off the citizens’ dependency on liquefied vegetation from eons gone by.

The Los Angeles Basin had become a Garden of Eden, a very real paradise, without the yellow leviathan’s breath constantly inflicting cancers on its populous.  With the elimination of disease and respiratory illnesses the corporations realized the need for new job creation, new methods for creating profit—and the clean air and garden produce created longevity in humans as the enduring optimal result—but the corporations had realized this new reality too late.

The Historical Veracity Project had been but a step on the staircase that was bringing mankind to fuller self actualization.  The benefits of the return to hunter/gatherer status had created electric power from walkers, roller bladers, skateboarders, wheelchair recipients, even gardeners and every human physical action caused a reaction that created more power.  It was the discovery of sustainability in its purest form. 

It was Einstein Witcomb, aptly named for he bore the same child-like blue eyes; starkly staunch white coiffeur and genius of his namesake, though it was a genius of a different variety, who discovered the only rechargeable energy factory any human being would ever need.  His bust lay on the mantle of every freed cultee’s fireplace around the world.  The factory was a small storage cell with the infinite ability to store energy created by any kind of friction, muscle movement (spasm or voluntary) that only required a pad to be placed in the vicinity of the action causing the reaction of stored power.

Witcomb had brought the formula to begin all formulas to the world.

 Energy Equals Human Animation (E=HA), and the whole planet could with the drop of a single foot generate power for the future—no drilling, no oil and a planet without scars but from the processes of the natural universe and pyromaniacs who participated in the criminal activity of arson.  Most of said arsonists brandished their Sectarian roots in fire—for that is what they wished—Apocalypse Now. 

British Petroleum had been the first fatality, then Exxon—then all of them.  The dinosaur corporations had their bones picked cleanly and the only fossils that remained were the glass skyscrapers of corporate offices that gleamed silvery in the clear skies of a renewed earth.  The funders filled the empty cavities of the glass behemoths’ office teeth and started to go to work with the new technology.

That was over 50 years ago.

“Something’s Coming.”  

The pica count was growing in size.  Ruckard slid out of his embryonic position and stood upright.

“Liyah, you home?”

His wife usually arrived home during the middle hours of the day.  Her’s was a life of floristry and fauna.  She loved creating new hybrids of rose, hyacinth, rhododendron, and tulip.  It allowed Ruckard the luxury of never having to bring his equal half, for there were no betters now, any bouquets of flashing flora—she was never impressed by the arrangements he had delivered during the first five years of their union.  He had stopped bringing flowers anymore because there was no point.  She didn’t seem to mind.

“Yeah, Nick-bits, I’m here in the kitchen.”  She purred back at him.  “What’s up?”

She strode into the office/bedroom wearing nothing but bra and mini-skorts for it was the way she was.  There were times she strode in nude simply to keep things saucy between her and this man—the love of her life—for Ruckard was.  She loved his stories after each return from the past—not everyone was married to a man who had saved the world from black Simon after all.

The glass vase filled with a dozen blossoms of her newest graft, Rosedendrons crashed on the obsidian tile that tied the alcove-mirrored entry of their master suite when she saw the flashing words on her lover’s screen.

“Damn,” she swore, “that’s the same shit that sent me packing for home.”

“That’s why I called for you,” Nick replied, “What do you think it all means?”

“HellifIknow, but it can’t be good if it’s on my screen and your screen and every frackin’ screen in the world.”

Ruckard scratched the top of his black shroud of locks—he liked wearing the Jamaican dreads—and muttered the French equivalent of manure.

“Merde, Merde, Merde and Scheize.  Liyah, this is not good—or it is good and I’m just not seeing it.”

Aliyah knew from previous dilemmas that her mate would figure it out, or at least he always had, but she didn’t like the shit that always came with it.

“Just figure it out—you always do.”

“This is different,” Ruckard began, “because this is ‘something’ this isn’t just any old thing, or way of thinking, this is something big, sweets.  I’m hungry.  Do you wanna fix something up or should I?”

“Let me clean this mess up.”  Aliyah replied.  “And I want to take a sprower—you wanna cook?”

“Yep.  Chicken ala Strawberries it is.”

Ruckard put a wet slimy lick on his woman’s lips and proceeded to their Eatchen.  He pondered the trips of the past and how he had seen the origins of Vatican and Khan, Buddhism and Mormonism—he’d been sent to all origins and kept his cool through vaudeo record.  The auditory and visual had proven the truth to the planet.

The Catholics had seen and heard the deception by the father of simony.  Simon Magus had proclaimed himself Simon Peter and birthed the faith of Inquisition and witch hunts.  The Buddhist calm had seen nothing but anger and temper tantrums thrown by an overeating only child—the Mormons had seen and heard the murdering, lusty, drunken son of a snake oil salesmen who was tired of being poor and wanted as many wives as old king Solomon.

Ruckard had cleared the muddy waters and brought a new clarity to the waters of faith.  It was here he knew that his destiny had been aiming.  His way of being right had been narrow and his swath of destruction had been wide.  It was why he loved the waters, the waves and the sensation of floating in warmth and bliss.  He had found the narrow path for the world with the help of the funder’s time travel program.

This is different, he thought, as he eviscerated the skin from chicken flesh and chopped strawberry from stem.  He whiffed the scent of his woman—she always sprayed lavender and peaches in just the right places to catch his attention.  He knew she did it for him, but he also knew she did it for the pleasure they both knew in the waves of their satin bedding, that billowed during the dark times of the day tho’ certainly the bright light of day often saw similar waves of love and lust.

“How’s supper coming?”

“Almost ready to laser the bird, strawberries are done—want rice?”

“Whatever—you decide.”

“Li, do you know what phildickian means?”

“Nope.”

“Philip K. Dick was a 20th century storyteller.  He died really young—only 53—but the man had some sort of…how do I say this…connection.  Well, he called it a ‘Pink Light that transmitted directly into his consciousness.’”

“How do you know this stuff—gawd, why do I ask—indigo boy?”  Indigo blue had always been her favourite colour so when she called him out on his abilities—it was a love-love kinda thing.

“Okay, you’re feeling me then.  Photographic memory boy is squawking from the box.  Dick experienced a bunch of visions, not like bogus Mormon boy Joseph Smith, this guy actually saw these things, I went back and checked, Li.  I went back to March 16, 1974 and watched this man come to a peace.  His kids had it, back in the day, on his official website, and it read, ‘released me from every thrall, inner and outer.  Through its power of perception I saw what really existed, and through its power of no-thought decision, I acted to free myself. It took on in battle, as a champion of all human spirits in thrall, every evil, every Iron Imprisoning thing.”

“I saw him go through this crap, Li. But I didn’t want to believe it.”

“What are saying—that this something’s coming is from some whack job sci-fi writer from the hippie days of neverlore?”

“I didn’t report it, Liyah.  I never spoke of this crap because I didn’t want to believe it myself.  Li, this could be the end of the funders, this could be something completely different.  This could be the end of us!”

“Oh stop it, Nicky boy.  It will never be the end of us—for Man Jesus’ sake, we’re only in our seventies.  We have another few centuries of indigo child’s play left.”

“Aliyah, you are not FEELING me!  The last years of Dick’s life were filled with 2-3-74 numerology trips and one of his last quotes read ‘I speak of The Restorer of What Was Lost The Mender of What Was Broken.’ Think about that, would ya?  What am I saying?”

“You mean, The Jerusalem Project, don’t you?”

“Aha moment, you’re listening, finally.”

“Nick, remember that fuddy, duddy old flick we watched the other night?”

“Coccoon?”

  Aliyah Ewe Ruckard went on to explain the scene in which Steve Gutenberg is unveiled to the most amazing sex in his life with an extra terrestrial without the need of touch, taste, smell, sight or sound.  Aliyah explains to Nick that if all his worries come true—so what—what can he do about it?

Her Indigo man cannot be consoled and Nick explains that someone has done the unthinkable.  He walks over to their Eatchen screen and says, “On screen.”

“Something’s Coming.”  

The font had doubled in size since their chat in the boudoir. 

“Do you see this, Li?  This screen is plugged in—my screen upstairs?  That wasn’t patched into the 3W—I wasn’t working with the worldwideweb.  I was on the funder’s most secure system working alone and writing a report.

“This had no business being on my screen.  Sugar, something isn’t just coming…something is here.  Not just here, it’s everywhere!”

Aliyah looked at the laserwave oven and voiced it off.  She took the chicken platter out of the self-cleaning alcove and started to nibble on the white, steaming meat.  She started thinking about the super secret project that her man had decided to discuss with her one night after the throes of passion had been sated.

“Someone went back to Jerusalem, Nicky?”  She asked calmly.

“What?  You think that someone on the program had the balls to take that chance?  You think that apple was so irresistible that someone had to bite?”  Nick wiped his forehead with a dry towel and realized he was perspiring uncontrollably.  “How can you sit there eating that chicken?”

“Easy.  I just pluck,” she closed an index finger and thumb around a white strand of fowl breast and opened her plump lips, “tuck,” shoving the lilting white flesh behind the two rows of perfectly whitened teeth, “and suck.”

Nick turned away and gaped at the screen.

“Something’s Co

        “’March 18, 1974: It, from inside me, looked out and saw the world did not compute, that I – and it – had been lied to. It denied the reality, and power, and authenticity of the world, saying, ‘This cannot exist; it cannot exist.’  Dick wrote eight years before his death, Liyah.”  Nick continued explaining the offsprings’ revelations of their father’s work on their official website.

“Dick thought it was all horse hockey, but he was wrong, Li.  He was the first time pilot, sweetie.  On March 20th of that same week he wrote of being lifted ‘from the limitations of the space-time matrix’ and saw the world for the dust that it was.  He called it ‘cardboard’ and ‘a fake’ and then he ‘took on in battle, as a champion of all human spirits in thrall, every evil, every Iron Imprisoning thing.’”

“You didn’t answer my question, hun.  Do you think someone went back to seek out Jesus?”

The Jerusalem Project was the most confidential file that any of the time pilots had been briefed on.  Even only the top three members of the funder’s community knew of its existence.  These three, the eight time pilots and Aliyah made twelve human beings that were in the inner circle of this tight ring of knowledge.

Phildickian was a term rarely used to describe current events that had strange twists and turns like much of Dick’s works.  He often wrote of inner, outer body and hive mind experiences with strange conclusions to his sci-fi stories.  He was like a king to the ‘oh, henry’ ending.”

“You think Philip K. Dick spoke to Jesus, don’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Nicky, that was 100 years ago.  You said these visions happened in 1974—you saw them.”

“No man knows when the coming of man shall be.  Liyah, that was always the great mystery of the book.  That’s what made it work—no one knew when or if Jesus was coming back—it’s what allowed all the cults to grow until we started filming the bogus realities of their origins.  That was too much for people and the kingdom of heaven was no longer at hand, game over, play something else.”

“But we live in paradise now—when people saw what we were doing to the earth and changed with the technology of our saviour Witcomb—it all changed—we got to eternity on our own, Nicky, with your help, the time pilots help—we found world peace.”

“It changed, Li, but numbers don’t lie and no man ever found out when the Lord of Book would return—except maybe for Dick.  He died in 1982, was born in 1928.  Same numbers right?  His visions occurred in 1974.  Add up the numbers.

“Twelve.”

“Dick was a mirror, duality, circular reasoning kind of schizophrenic freakish writing fool.”

“What’s your point, hun?”

“Add up 2073, Li.”

“omigod, twelve.”

“How many disciples did Jesus have—twelve.”

“But 1928 doesn’t add up to twelve…and neither does 1982, for that matter.”

“That’s the mirror darkly thing—it doesn’t have to add up—it just has to be complete.  Add 20 and 20 and you get 40.  Forty years in the wilderness, forty days in the desert, forty days on mount Sinai—the numbers always work—you just have to work them, sweetie.  That’s how both Einsteins did it.”

The two turned to face the screen.

Somethin

“Okay, Nicky you got me thinking now, but I’m still not scared—why are you?”

Nicholas Philip Ruckard turned to look out the wall of clear glass that overlooked the Pacific Ocean for the last time as a sentient human being—his wife did the same.  A few palm tree fronds fluttered on the late afternoon breeze and far on the horizon an event was beginning.

“Do you see it, Li?”

“I see it—I love you.”

A pair of white doves, the love birds were the only pets that Nick and Aliyah ever wanted, flitted in the large clear cage as one—merging in flight—mirroring wings.  A line of pink evanescence stretched from north to south rising like a tsunami from the ultramarine blue sea.  It rose steadily as it seemed to digitize the clear ocean and send it nevermore—evermore—out.

“I love you, too, Aliyah.  Something’s coming.  I’m not scared anymore.”

                                                                       

I have written this as a memoire to one of the least lauded sci-fi writers of the twentieth century.  Philip K. Dick is the author of many short stories that have become movies in the last 28 years of his non-existence.  Total Recall, Blade Runner, Minority Report are but a few of the movies that have been created by Dick’s complicated mind.  You can see a more in-depth report of his life at the official website created by the three offspring of Philip K. Dick.

                                                            http://www.philipkdick.com/

Posted in 1. 2 Comments »

Jed Like Me or Funerals for Friends I Hardly Knew


And Edgar Allan Poe is Nevermore

(A true Fiction)

My name is Jed. 

I haven’t enjoyed this year too much, but each year brings peaks and valleys.  It began with my winter of discontent, when I got laid off from work, but as it’s progressed I’ve watched winter sports that began with the death of a 19-year-old athlete who was quickly accused of being inexperienced.  That funeral for a friend I never knew bothered me when watching the video only once and hearing the sickening thud of flesh and bone colliding with iron and steel.  How can a man, young though he may have been, be inexperienced at flying down the sides of mountains, on manmade tracks, at speeds of incredulity, with his body in tip top condition, not be experienced?  It was an act of terror in its own right without the need of a human being strapped to a bomb.  I mourned for this friend unmet, but his experiences seem more consequential when compared to the sliders who only waltz through life at a metronome’s pace…tick tock…tick tock…tick tock, and 1…2…3, 1…2…3…tick tock…tick tock.

It was my winter of discontent, but now I have content.  When Nodar Kumaritashvili flew into eternity, like a moth into a flame, his life was extinguished but his passion will not soon be lost on the world, or his Georgian homeland.  His was the flame of life that burns in us when we are young, or not so young, even when we are old.  The flames of life we carry sometimes burn out or like so many of us they just smolder like old sex and cigarettes.  

We had to suffer the loss of a World War II veteran grandfather, who’d known many from their births, midway through January.  I never knew that he was at the holocaust camp of Dachau when its captives were returned to liberty till I read his obituary.  I should have seen it in his eyes—for when visiting the camp twice myself, once in ’84 and then again in ’86, my own glare into the orbital spaces of eyeballs and ovens should have been enough to realize the he had seen them personally right after their freedom was reclaimed.  But some things we don’t talk about and some things we don’t explain—and some things we just hold on to by a thread because it is by that thread that we hold on to ourselves—the thin line that keeps us attached to our realities.

Then in February an old girlfriend, who is still a friend, called me up early on a Sunday to take her to the hospital.  It was a gold medal Sunday for a Canadian hockey team but a man that I never knew, having only met him for a short period of minutes, couldn’t be found to take his girlfriend to the ER…so I did it.  I found out two days later the man I never knew was lying on the floor of his laundry room—he, too, had hit his proverbial wall and a vessel burst and an old girlfriend’s heart was broken.

My name is Jed.  Jedediah Willcome.  I never liked my Christian name–Jedediah.  Till I looked up the origins of Jedediah; the meaning of my name.

Last week, I sat at the computer and putzed around on Facebook.  I did a little IMing with an old friend, who is not old, only to discover that she had gone skiing in March with her beloved of many moons.  He hit a tree and, much like the somber ending of Sonny Bono so long ago, her beloved died on impact.

I was left with only condolences and kindnesses to say, for I knew how happy she had been with this love of her life.  It has been through this yet another addition to this parade of endings that I have learned to befriend, behold and be attentive to—with kindness and gentle calm for the broken survivors who must carry on.

It was right about here that a tune started repeating in my head.  I don’t know why. 

Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died.

(Lyrics by Jim Carroll August 1, 1949-September 11, 2009…another friend who died, died.)

I don’t usually roam about the Net looking for reasons why these ideas, songs, feelings of hope and loss tie themselves together but I remembered that the lyrics that were slamming like a freight train coming down a mountain, clickety clacking in my head and I wanted to know why friends and death were wound so tightly together.

I found out that the song Jim wrote was initiated by a friend poet, a contemporary of his named Ted Berrigan, who used the same line in his poetry that keeps putting the nails in the coffins in the song’s refrain.

I like the idea of synergistic creation.  One wrote the poem, another evolved it to become the renowned punk song and silver screen theme music.  Friends working as one passes to the next creating a quintessential memory for all our friends who’ve died.  Perhaps I can put it into prose again.  What the hell, everything is cyclical.

Jean was the frail 89-year-old mother of a friend of mine whom I’d met on a few occasions at the family home.  I never got to know who she really was till friends and family spoke eulogizing her and remembering a strong woman who during her days was a vibrant, disciplined voice and piano teacher, a successful and memorable drive up burger joint co-owner with her long passed husband and choir director to seniors and youths alike.  I hardly knew Jean until a few of her friends through voice and video showed me a life’s montage.  The sliding tick tock of time had only caught up to her in the waning years of her long life.

My name is Jed.  The reason I never liked my Christian name was because it sounded like Dead, Dead, Die AHHHHHHHHH!  JED DEAD DIE AAAAAhhhhhhh!  I could hear the Grim Reaper bobbing his head every time my mother shouted my name out from the front stoop.  I would turn to look and see if the darkened shroud was stalking me as I ran to the supper table.  It took me years to break my mother of the habit and just call me Jed.

When I took another moment to look into the history of my name well into my college career I learned something.  My name derived from the Hebrew dialect, even though my parents were staunch members of the First Baptist Evangelical Church, and I discovered it meant Beloved Friend of God.  Of course, my last name being Willcome the research was unnecessary, and I took a whole new outlook on the handle my folks had pasted on me since my birth.

I was a beloved friend of God who will come—whether it’s the funeral of a friend, a friend I hardly knew or an appointment I’ve made with beloved friends to create a future memory.  I will gladly come.

I have learned to like being Jed like me.

It was on my thirtieth birthday when my father approached me calmly and said, “It’s time.”  My father was constantly away on business when I was growing up and as life became busy in college and work, women and song that my reason for being came to its final revelatory fruition.

“Do you know who you are?”  My father began.

“I am Jedediah Morte Willcome.”  I responded.

“Do you know who you really are?”  My father questioned once more.

“Well, I know what my name means, the only dilemma I had in figuring out Morte was easily solved when I googled it only to find it is the 70,770th most popular name in the ol’ U S of A.As far as number of people with that name it’s like a one in a million name.  Arithmetically, the order of the letters in that number add up to a fine prime of 71 which makes it mathematically comparable to words like Amazing, Flashy, Smart, Tough, Vigor, Trained, Prised, Exalted and Acheiver.  You know what Jedediah means and Willcome is easy. So I know what my name means—and at this point in my life I think I know who I am as much as anybody.  Why?”

“You don’t know who you are.  However, you are correct about your middle name.  Remember now the day you read Morte D’Arthur, the English tale of King Arthur’s end.  Morte is a word in Portuguese, in Spanish, in French—it is a universal word in many languages—as you are universal…or soon will be.”

“Okaaaay, Dad.  Who am I?”

And this is when it got weird.

“You are my son—in whom I am well pleased.  But you are much more than you are now.  It is true you are a beloved friend of God.  But, and I mean a big but, you are not who you think you are.

“You are every man’s, and woman’s and child’s friend when they need you most—or rather you will be—for so have I been since the time my father passed the family business to me.”

“What family business, Dad?”  I queried with no understanding that there ever was a family business.  We never talked shop.  We talked sports and weather, politics and taxes but we never talked about bills being paid or money earned.  This was pissing me off.  I just knew he was about to tell me about his dreary life of being a travelling mortician—and I wanted no part in that kind of family business.

“Every four hundred years from the beginning of time, my son, each of our forefathers has had one seed to plant and many plants to harvest.”

“We are not farmers, Dad, what the hell are you talking about?  You’re never home—you’re out and about taking care of business, whatever business it is, I know that.”

“You’re right, we aren’t farmers but we are harvesters.  We gladly reap what God has sown.  We are His friend and we are the last I hope of an old order.  An order that has been carried out for as long as there has been life.  In the book it speaks of us… “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

“Man, you sound awfully grim—delusional actually…what…”

“Do not interrupt the Grim Reaper, my son—for behold you are the firstborn son of Morte itself.  Death has become you—and I hope you are the last in this long line—for my time has come.  I have served my four centuries and even death has to take a rest.”

“But, Dad—this is crazy talk—and I don’t…”

He never let me finish that sentence.  He just turned and in the twinkling of an eye I was draped in an obsidian shroud with a scythe in my right hand—my father walked into a splinter of brilliant lightning that swallowed him whole.

That was my tutelage—and I am coming for you, my dear reader, one day until that final day comes that this old order is done away and tears will flow no more.

God, I hope I never have a kid.

 

 

Posted in 1. Leave a Comment »