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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Party Like It’s 1699

Party Like it’s 1699

“Your season draws nigh, as the north wind blows.”

                                         Chasing them down to take a picture seemed gauche and distasteful,
                                                so I went back to town and bought a quilt
          Above is an Amish buggy I was trying to take a discreet picture of. Its way off in the distance and I was starting to feel like paparazzi trying to get a good picture. I tried to take a picture of one of these buggies while driving, but you know how that goes.
    I’m visiting the city of New Holland, Pennsylvania in an attempt to parachute into Amish Country to check them out for myself. A song came to mind, "Never was heard, a discouraging word and the skies were not cloudy all day."
        A parade route was filled with lawn chairs reserving their spot for the harvest festival to begin that next Wednesday. Clever front yard mini-landscapes, and some very hip, thrift shop owners.

         I Noted some really good vibes just outside of town too,   Amish children playing and locals respectfully going around the horse and buggies of the Amish. While wary of strangers, they seemed unaffected by technology, happy in their ways, purposeful in their tasks.  Quick too, their horses were really hoofing it and they didn't cause any traffic problems.
        I'm a little skeptical about the "technologically impaired" aspect of the Amish when I see rubber tires and such and I wonder what kind of Smithing was needed to make their bicycles. I know for a fact that carriage wheels are handmade and the carriages are made locally, but I was wondering about the part in the weird al song "Amish Paradise" that goes... 
              'I take a look at my wife and realize she's very plain
                      But that's just perfect for an Amish like me,
                     You know I shun fancy things like electricity."
       Now if I was the typical tourist I would cynically note that the best way to find the Amish was to follow the horse poop in the roads. However, their patriarchal system aside, I have some real respect for them now after having taken a closer look.
          Around the time of the vengeful hysteria of 9-11, when Saudi hijackers created a war in Iraq,  America was out for blood. A flag-waving Muslim hating minority vowed revenge. but at the same time there was a mass shooting at an Amish schoolhouse.  Shocking the country, they forgave the shooter.  I thought, wow America … the bloodthirsty tyrants of mass destruction, here’s how real christians act. What part of ‘turn the other cheek’ don’t you understand? Why did the Amish lack the bloodthirsty, vengeful hysteria of George Bush's America?
Big rocks and small yards

         I walked a good deal around New Holland and there were no scuffles or people rushing or upset ...(except a bicycle riding Amish dude trying to make the green light, who gave the skank eye to a boneheaded tourist that got in his way as the light turned yellow). ‘An Amish with a ‘tude’ is not unheard of’, and they most certainly know about Weird Als “Amish Paradise.”
New Holland Pa.
         They talk with outsiders and they are not deaf, dumb and blind. A friendly merchant, a grain salesperson, a potato wholesaler, or the driver taking 500 pumpkins to Florida. The working people all talk with each other, the Amish know a good deal more than they are given credit for. Remember they don’t watch TV and conversations is where they learn the most about the outside. Different sects have various strictures and freedoms with the strictest of them living in less accessible hinterlands.
       I found it amusing that they hung their clothes to the electric pole by the street. All kinda laundry drying outside and fields full of
       Do you kind of get that they are actually Anarchists and  Preppers and SUrvivalists?  They follow the rules that they have to, such as stop lights, but have cut off all ties with the US government. They think Satan is the tapeworm eating America and they plan to outlast Satan.  
      They are a country within a country, like the Basques in Spain or the Kurds in the middle east but not wanderers like the Tinkers or Gypsies. The Amish are a community that allows their young to decide their future by living among the outsiders during the wild oats phase. Would the common sense of their youth translate into a desirable future within the community? You may have watched the TV series about the Amish and found them cautious and thoughtful   when the rules are broken.

         During this period, they will be deciding on having an adulthood that is filled with non-stop chores during the daylight hours, or they may choose a life among the capitalist Americans and the vicissitudes of the market and the inherent cruelty of capitalism.  Not having a job to do is unheard of in their world.  Alone in the world like Moby with no real community.   
Note lawn chairs saving a space for the parade on the right

When this capitalism crap shits the bed, guess who won't even notice

       So I’m in one of the large thrift shops and I see a partial quilt that I really liked and I talk to the lady whose mom was an Amish. She showed me something her mother made and it was quite nice, and then we looked at this piece that caught my eye. 1903 1904 and women's names. The corner of a quilt where they quilters signed their names. Cut from a corner of an 8x8 foot quilt? Fascinating stitching and colors.
       With the ladies 100 years dead, I thought I had gotten myself a bit of an antique, but it was also time to listen.  She said the price is negotiable and I was going to say 25, but it was obviously worth more than that, so I said thirty and I had it. In the meanwhile, I love when people volunteer information I’m looking for, and I followed the banter between the co-owners and I learned a lot more than if I asked stupid questions.
       As I went to leave to go to Hershey Gardens , I stopped at a farmstand.  Finally an Amish in full regalia I could talk to. I didn’t know if they were brainwashed zombies like christians and Islamos  so I didn’t know what to expect. I wanted to get seed potatoes from the Amish which on my itinerary from the git-go, but there was nothing sprouted, all perfectly beautiful Kennebecs.  
        I keep eating them and six weeks later only five had sprouted. “This is when we plant them in Florida," I told her. It can get cold and slow the growth down some years, and we harvest in April, mostly from containers.

         Luckily no customers came along for a bit and she told me about how they specialize. Different people have different talents and tools and she hinted on how their barter system works.
         My planning was extensive for my trip, even growing a mustache-less semi-beard despite having a Mediterranean face that has no sideburns. Here I look like a stern Amish smiling his fool head off belying the frown lines
        So whatever it was, this Amish maiden was so real and open and fun to talk to, I’m thinking, you know, these people are probably pretty cool in actuality.  Use your head and don’t mess with them with stupid 'get er done' redneck miasma. Instead, bond with people about agriculture. Considering we eat three times a day, a thousand times a year, an important part of the revolution is food. 
      If you treat them like fish at the Atlanta Seaquarium like the typical ugly American tourist, don’t expect any warmth or confidentiality. Talk about the guy that cuts the silage at the end of the growing season, or discuss tricks of the trade regarding tomatoes and potatoes. Not, why do you hang your laundry in the front yard, like a city slicker libtard would?
      The energy hog we call the dryer, gives most people an automatically bigger carbon footprint than any of the Amish.  Do you think the Amish were worried about Hurricane Florence damaging gasoline refineries? We shouldn’t be either, and now ask yourself how many pipelines do you need to supply your community with gasoline. 
       It’s not just smoke in the air, but the entire mining and processing of fossil fuels that has compromised our ecosystems. Thousands of pipelines crisscrossing the country (that will be abandoned when we switch to safer technologies) that have created a silent slaughter of billions of animals who were unable to migrate, unable to find food. Traditional wetlands for millions of years wiped out in several generations of short-sighted sycophants of capitalism. Carpetbagging trumps, looting someone else's resources.
      I see Deplorables in line with a mountain of pork chops at the register and this is somehow more civilized than an Amish root cellar?  That’s right, I didn’t see many fat Amish. I can also see the Amish understanding Bioregions(#3) far better than some city slicker libral could.
      Now imagine this type of independence coupled with a less superstitious and strict religion of the earth. Hunter-gatherers, harvest gleaners, taking 50 cent Amish squash and selling it for a dollar in Florida. Wholesale Vermont Maple Syrup and making pints to sell, a whole new independent crop of survivalist hucksters will emerge and it will be a good thing.  People living in their cars, camping not homeless. Maybe make our own internet, and corporations and governments can be told to take a hike. Talk to the hand Fascism.  Banishment for all POS businessmen as the Amish banish those they want to ban.
      Horse and buggy isn’t the answer to your beguiling question, but real, actual energy independence is what we’ll be doing in our spiraling autonomous communities when gasoline gets to about $4.50 a gallon, then all the alternatives will come on line. Production of slower vehicles and an infrastructure project for safer traveling will boost the economy. The frantic fracking of the last ten years was to keep the Petroleum  Plot
      The people of New Holland and the nearby Amish community seem to do parallel play pretty well.  Amish carriages never seemed to hold up traffic and they also seemed intent to get things done that Saturday. Trucks with bales of hay going thru Main St and harvests with gales of surplus in the country that wastes 30% of the food they buy.
      Why does capitalism seem like an incompatible marriage of humanity and money? People flummoxed they can’t have unlimited cheap fuel but every gallon that goes in your tank, takes from somebody in the future. Capitalism stinks and Market Socialism is the answer.  

The Amish knew this a long time ago. They will survive. They won't even notice an economic collapse and it seems only cockroaches are tougher than the Amish. 

Sunday, October 7, 2018


Perfect Storm

Staycations are fine, but I was long overdue for a real vacation.

         Hurricane Florence,  however, seemed to have a similar path in mind.  Her track was going to take her 75 miles south of where I planned to go. Just three or four days before I did.  
The first leg of the vacation was the long journey to Raleigh, en route to my destination, The Blue Ridge Parkway. 
       There were many hurdles to overcome 
trying to plan the longest vacation of my adult life. Timing and money at the very least, but my deepest worry was getting the rental car.
                     I had heard that they check your credit score first, and I didn’t have a car good enough for a long trip so, a rental was the only way this vacation was going to happen.  I was worried that all the planning I’d done would be for naught. Standing in a line at Budget RentACar, I was presuming this is where it all ended, and another staycation was in store.
         The lady in front of me went out to the parking lot to see if she liked the Jeep Patriot. “If that’s all ya got.” He then checked her credit report and motioned for her to come behind the counter. He pointed and (mumble  mumble), out the door she goes without her Jeep. 
         Here was the last hurdle, could I get a rental, with what I presumed, was a shitty credit report? Without a credit card that could pay for it at that time, on top of it all. Imma pay for it when I got back on the 9th, and social security drops into the trough that day, ya know.

This was it. Months of planning and arranging would come crashing down, but I’m used to disappointment. As I braced myself for rejection, he was handing me the keys. “White Jeep in the third row.”
         I wasn’t looking for advice or suggestions, so I had only told the four people directly involved. Sissy and Dottie were welcoming and warm and I stayed 6 days at their houses. Shaun buddy took care of the business. My two spiritual advisors said go go go.
"The whole state is shut down” said one overly dramatic friend.
        “The Parkway is closed,” said my AAA auto service rep. Oh oh! It seemed really bad. “I 95 is still closed.” Now that seemed unbelievable because interstate highways are usually way above the land nearby and are only closed for construction and repair. All that traffic was being re-routed thru the middle of the state.
The week before, as Florence approached, the conditions were ripe for a HUGE natural disaster. Warm ocean temps and no wind shear. A cold front began to descend into the states, then went back up. 
        Florence was predicted to be as strong as Hugo, wet as Harvey. This was not going to be a glancing blow, but a direct hit like Hurricane Andrew, and a potential twenty-foot tidal surge. Then the storm would plow a slow path west and then more quickly north astride the Blue Ridge Parkway.         

My Buddy Vigo

Tabacco Museum

        I remember Hurricane Frances and how it ground its way slowly across Florida at a leisurely 3 MPH, and tore every leaf off of every tree, and it appeared that Florence was going to do the same to northern South Carolina and southern North Carolina.
                        Florence headed for a heavily populated area and there are many people without vehicles who were unable to evacuate. I remember Hugo that hit South Carolina with the devastating wind. 
I was driving down to Florida in  ’89 and the sight of hundreds of Pine Trees completely flattened is etched onto my memory. This was an eye-opener for me, who had never seen the impact of a large hurricane.

With images of fish flopping around on the interstate, I drove off. How long was an otherwise 11-hour drive to Raleigh going to take? At AAA,  I was shown all the road closings and only one road was open from the south to get to Raleigh. 
Everything south of there was a wreck but I made the trip in 10 hours and 52 minutes. 666 miles of white line fever, “In a quarter mile, take the next left” then right and another right. Twisting and turning like the Blue Ridge Parkway, I ended up on Rt. 1for 60 miles. Route 1 is inland  for some reason in North Carolina.

 Good news I heard in Raleigh North Carolina that day, they were going to open the Parkway. Therefore, its path over the Parkway couldn’t have been as devastating as portrayed. Finally, I was going back to the Mountains. 



     Here is the world broken up into             Bioregions. How will this help us to 
rule ourselves, employ ourselves?

      The natural health of the soil in the United States has been stolen so a couple generations of Americans could overeat.  
The GOP has the beating heart of America in their hand. Or do they? I took a long vacation to see if I could find the heart of America and got to really know The Blue Ridge Parkway. Well, I discovered it wasn’t the people, it is the land that is the heart of the United States. The land that has been sliced and sold like cheap luncheon meat.  
We have to seriously protect our wild areas and Appalachia is one great place to start. 
The Blue Ridge Parkway campground I stayed at, was flourishing with life, arachnids abounding. If you don’t like spiders crawling everywhere, this is not the place for you. Ten minutes after parking, I went to take the Superbrella out of the back of the Jeep and there were spiders everywhere. All different ones. The first Daddy Long Legs I'd seen in years was crawling on the back hatch. Somehow in ten minutes it had crawled up the tire and the side of the vehicle to meet me at eye level on the back door. It reminded me of the early days in my life and the abundant insect life I observed. 
A Tussock Moth spent one rainy night on my hat under the Superbrella. A Beetle sat next to me on a towel I had laid on the wet stone bench.    For hours I kept looking next to me at this unknown Beetle as I read a book about the Teapot Dome scandal,  and there it was, for like, two hours. Then this insect below hung around with me the next night.
In the 1920’s when the environmental zeal of the older generation at that time, had ebbed, there was still an effort to open up as many places as possible for recreation. The National Park System kept growing, preserving the best of the best. Preservationists continued to battle with the Oil and Gas Industry, the logging conglomerates and the ranchers raising cattle on arid lands looking only for the profits of one generation, instead of thinking about the next one thousand generations.
The Teapot Dome Scandal in the 20's let the nation know the oil and gas industry were crooked predatory acquisitionists and were back worse than ever. but the demand for gasoline was dramatically rising and the unprecedented resource extractive insanity continued until the present day.
The BIG farms will have taxation that will increase their  costs and cause inflation and I call this the float up theory of Economics. Wages go up around the world as people begin to make a thriving wage, causing even more inflation.                                                                                                                                                                                                   When everyone makes more, there is more everywhere.   “United we stand together we rule.” In the end, however, the rich have less and the poor have more, of the world we would all share in  a truly loving world.  and all goods would be valued for what they are worth, not what they could be worth. Food is like a gambling chip, speculating like Wall Street with its gambling and Pork and Soybean futures. 

The River Trout alone ...  are more important to the permanence of the land than any dam or human manipulation of nature for profit. People are temporary, nature not so much. Now that people are waking up to the fact that the rich got theirs by stealing from the resources needed in the future, they wil see the need to tax this illegitimate wealth.. 
Nature has been ravaged and despoiled for far too long and Rednecks curse the environmentalists and call them environmental wackos because the golden microphone repeated that phrase ad nauseum and he even claims that there are more trees now than when the Europeans invaded this continent. This intellectual sleith of hand fools most people most of the time and they go "yeah, there are more trees now than ever before, stupid environmentalists."
The problem is that the great Prairies which covered one-third of the country five hundred years ago, are now filled with suburbia and non-native trees.  The Short and Tallgrass Prairies were two important bioregions. Unfortunatly only 5% of it remains. He also equates one 8 inch sapling in a Georgia Pacific tree farm to a 200 foot tree that was sawn down a long time ago when all the forests were ancient forests. The forests in the entire state of Connecticut were cut down by the charcoal industry in the mid-1800’s.
The mountain people were great hunters and Phil Robertson claims to own them. The gentle giant of the south, the Indigo snake, was portrayed as a dangerous monster. To a rattlesnake nestling perhaps, as the Indigo Snake is one of the few snakes that will go into a rattlesnake nest for its breakfast. Now that’s badass. 
I remember a book on reptiles I was reading as a kid, and the Indigo Snake was depicted as this scary, black, eight-foot colossus you might find hiding in the shed one day!

          All these NGO’s( non-governmental organizations) are nice, but there is a lot to consider with NGB’s.  (Non-governmental bioregions). Farmers and growers would become important again and they will regain the voice they lost during the Industrial Revolution.   There are myths and mistruths that get are there to subtly fool you.  “Small farms could never feed the world” you are told over and over in trade magazines.  
You can reply with “Agribusiness has stripped 50% of the topsoil in the United States, how do you plan to grow anything when there is none left? "  Wooosh we become the Moon.

The Appalachians are the first great tectonic disruption of activity several hundred million years ago. What I discovered was they are still full of life 600 million years later. Sitting at my stone table a tiny bird started feeding nearby and soon ten others joined her and I got to thinking about climate change and still wondering how will the birds survive?
I try to make people comprehend how fragile the existence of the small birds is. When I’m trying to convince someone to use native plants in their yard I tell the story of the little four-ounce bird that has already flown from South America and arrives in Indian River County, Florida. She flits here and there and finds no fruit or seeds in one yard and goes to the next---same thing.  It starves in this totally fake landscape that overpaid landscape architects design.
The heart of America isn’t the people because our lives are short compared to a giant watershed or a forest.  People 1000 years from now will still need an intact environment, they’ll want clean and clear running streams to catch trout.  Clean aquifers below ground. 
Then one day Jeb was shootin’ at some food and up from the ground came a bubblin’ crude. Southerners like to hunt for their food as did the Native Americans, but with a paucity of wildlife these days, they end up shooting squirrels or whatever else is left in a damaged ecosystem.
This is when I wonder if the heat and humidity of the south affects their brains. They vote for the people who have profited from destroying the streams and forests. The carpetbaggers today trying to steal the one thing they have left --- their vote The Native Americans were forcefully moved to the driest, most desolate western lands. Lands the ranchers didn’t want. Return their easter hunting grounds and let them steward some new National Parks.
Keep in mind that it’s the birds that will carry seeds and moss and fish eggs northward in a rapidly warming world.
Plants at the Town Hall to match the local native bioregion

As my friend  Mike Two Hawks talked about many times in the 80's                 "Earth Bats Last". 
“Mother Nature is on deck swinging two bats to warm up. We've got bases loaded with The Greens on third, Anarchists on second and people sick of this shit on first. Republicans at the plate.”
 "republicans are batting .133 in two out situations Curt, they need to do something here, they tend to choke...they need to do something, anything...'s a called third strike. Two outs now. Mother Nature approaches the plate and taps her cleats, and goes into her tight stance."
"She doesn't let much get past her Curt."
"No she doesn't Phil, and she is batting .380 in clutch situations. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and behind 9 to 5, the people of earth are counting on her. "
“She doesn’t really want the humans to go extinct.”
“No she doesn’t Phil, This second hurricane across the Southern United States is hopefully another well heeded warning. Hold on, the Anthropocene coach has called a time out and is coming to the mound”
“Curt, if you could with this time out, run down some of her recent lessons”
“Well there was Irma that managed to give both coasts of Florida hurricane-strength winds. There was Wilma, hit the west coast at 80 MPH and came out at 90 MPH---the first hurricane to increase strength over land. Then recently we had Florence ready to hit a populated coastal area that collapsed quickly over land and devastating Michael maintaining 100MPH winds well into Georgia. Harvey was a wake-up call to many and with Florence’s 30 plus inches of rain, we can expect more of these. 
Hurricane Sandy was her message that coastal erosion is going to become severe as oceans rise.”
“It looks like we got a relief pitcher coming out of the bullpen. Coal is hitting the showers after a sloppy performance and it looks like “Toxic” Contamination is coming to the mound.”

""That's right Phil, with President Obscenity in charge, he's been busy this year."
"As he goes into his windup Mother Nature is staring him down with her skank eye and she's ready." 
"The crowd seems quiet." 
"Way too quiet Phil, they need to do something. Throw those carpetbagger POS corporate criminals least make some noise." 
"It's the wind up...aaaand....the pitch.”

Why couldn’t American furniture makers compete in the 70’s? You don’t compete with 25 cent an hour workers in Asia. Therefore, an important part of Market Socialism would be to boycott companies that don’t pay, not just a living wage, but a thriving wage, as it’s been said.
Ironically it was American corporations  that threw American workers under the bus by moving factories overseas. The Left was stuck on the chalkboard Utopia of communism and its Stalinist sideboard.
Market Socialism is the road to anarchy. Not a chaotic anarchy as you’ve been brainwashed to think, but anarchy as self rule. Managing ourselves in our various communities, while keeping common markets open for small business and household industry.
But anarchy cannot last with the predatory fascists looming nearby and would not be permanent. Therefore Market  Socialism is the best economic system that can exist for the majority of the people when we are in our bioregions.
The rules?  No monopolies, and tax the rich till the national debt is paid. The higher minimum wage for larger companies. Fight for a living wage for all of the workers of the world, and in the end it will inspire future generations to punch as the perpetual toxic tide of corporatism could creep back into their world.
Self-government is where Socialists and Capitalists fear to tread.  How do you do it with the superstructure of excessive government in place and a placated public happy for the status quo.
Down here in the underpaid working world we have adjusted. We go to thrift stores, in a world awash in clothing manufactured by 25 cent an hour workers, to buy much of our clothing. I buy three dollars shirts and pants on the regular.   We go to Dollar Stores.  The whole scene is changing from below.  I noticed on my 3300 mile journey to find America, most local gas stations sold local products. I bought a Pumpkin Turnover to die for and Apple Butter at a reasonable price that I noticed standing near the register.  Fresh Amish bread and potatoes. Market Socialism would have each person exempt from taxation for the first 10,000 dollars of income and we would lift the cap on social security from $106,000 to $a gazillion. We have been challenged