Friday, October 31, 2008

The Old Rotary Dial

Bakelite plastic from the 50s
And grime just as old and hard to penetrate
Made this phone a solid
Testimonial to an age when things
Where made to last
Instead of a dial tone
I half expected an operator to speak
When I held the receiver to my ear
It was hard to keep track of the numbers
As I spun the old rotary dial
My fingers so used to punching ten key pads
Instead of a friend or a trusty bail bondsman
I ended up talking to an elderly woman
Watching late night television
She was sick of all the political calls
Intruding on her peaceful home
In the old days salesmen went door to door
There was one brush salesman in particular
That she remembered fondly
I’m sure there was a story there
If I could have gotten her to confide in me
But I had caused enough trouble for one night
She asked me why I had called
All I could tell her was, “Wrong Number”

I asked the officer if I could try again
“One phone call only,” he said
Credits: Poetry and Collage by Jay Larsen

America is Waiting

America is waiting for an answer of one sort or another.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ode to the Undecided

This is a critical situation
You must be considering things deeply
Weighing issues from multiple angles
To still be undecided at this late date

Or there is another explanation
For your continued consternation
You may be lacking the critical faculties
Needed to make decisions

I would hate to be the clerk
Who helps you to pick shoes
Or have you even decided yet
Whether you need shoes or not?

Shrug your way through the emergency
Most times it is useless
To show a gold piece
To a cat
Credits: Poetry and Collage by Jay Larsen

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cliff Hanger

Don’t leave me hanging
We have no time for a history lesson
Just give me the Cliff Notes
That’s all I want from you
I’ll make a decision
After we get done shopping

Why the stony silence?
Where do you go
When you get like that?
Who are you now?
What makes you leave?

Cliff face
Chiseled by glaciers
Cracked by epochs of time
Can’t make a phone call
Before the invention of telephony
Can you still change
After they turn on the dimes?

Don’t leave me hanging
Taking geology lessons
By Braille
Don’t leave me hanging
Cliff face of mine
Credits: Poetry and Collage by Jay Larsen

Monday, October 27, 2008

Catch That Wave

Catch That Wave
World exploding
Won’t catch me
Lying down beneath rubble
Catch that wave
Ride it soul brother
We are learning to fly
Credits: Poetry and Collage by Jay Larsen
If that hole is getting deeper, quit digging

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bring Me a Wrench

Old paint has gummed up the works
There will be no budging
These frozen nuts
Original purpose
Yet resolutely clinging
To old methods
Of villainy
Bring Me a Wrench


Credits: Poetry and Collage by Jay Larsen

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Who Knew?

Not one, but at least two people have recently found Jesus.
But not in the way people ususaly find Jesus.
They have found him in Cheetos.



Worship all you want, they'll make more?

Freudian Scarf?

Many people are making lots of noise about Gov. Palin’s RNC sponsored shopping spree.
I don’t want to talk about that. Joe, John and Barack the Senators are all wearing $2,000 suits.
But has anyone asked Sarah the Governor why she is wearing a scarf encouraging people to vote Democrat? Unless those are moose and not donkeys.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ain’t No Way

Make a fist
Strike the air
Make a fist
Strike a rock
Make a fist
Strike my face


Why is there no cry of pain
From the air
Or the rock?

I have no answers
Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen

No perfect choices, yet choices must be made

I had some interesting feedback from my last post.
Just for the record, I do not believe Barack Obama is a perfect candidate.
The Democratic Party is not a perfect party.
I consider myself an Independent Voter.
We don’t always get perfect choices, but we do have to make choices.
With that said, I am casting my vote for Barack Obama.
I hope you all make the best choice you can.

What I am most interested in is this: What are you going to do after the election?

I think much of what has gone wrong with our government in my life time is the result of an uninterested, under-informed, unengaged population of citizens. We have allowed the institutions and representatives of the people be influenced and purchased by corporations. It is going to take a lot of work for us to reassert the rightful place of the people in this representative republic of ours. But it is work that must be done to protect our lives and the future of our children and generations to come.

No matter who gets elected in November, we have to commit ourselves to the same task: We have to strive to be better informed and more active in monitoring the actions of our representatives, and we must do a better job of informing our government of our core beliefs, interests and desires. Only then can we hold government accountable to the will of the people.

I have my preference for who gets elected this November. I doubt everyone I vote for will be elected. But all of those elected, be they president, governor, congressman, or city councilperson, have a responsibility to represent all the people who voted. And we have a responsibility to be aware of what they are doing and what they plan on doing. We have a responsibility to communicate with our representatives as clearly as we are able.

And that means you have a responsibility to know what your core beliefs, interests and desires are. If you don’t, then you need to figure it out. And if you don’t share those things with your representatives, how can you expect them to represent you?

So no matter who is president in January. I hope that we can all be better citizens than we have been.
---------Jay the Citizen
Meanwhile, check this out:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

So you want to save the Republican Party?

I have a lot of conservative friends and relatives. I have lots of liberal friends as well, but this is for my conservative friends.

I don’t have a huge audience on this blog, and I probably won’t say this as well as the concept deserves, but I’m going to give it try because I think it is important. I wondered after 2000 and 2004 if I could have done more, if there were people I could have reached out to but didn’t. So this election season I have been trying to talk to everybody I can. So here goes.

Real conservatives should not be very happy with the Republican Party and its leadership right now. The Republican leadership is decidedly pro-corporate and pro-Wall Street. They use traditional conservative language to carry conservative voters but their actions are all about big finance and big business. They are only socially conservative at election time. Just look at the recent Wall Street “bailout” to see how real this split is.

Democrats have the same problem. The Democratic leadership is very pro-corporate and pro-Wall Street. And they only are socially liberal during elections. The “bailout” reveals this split as well.

So how can traditional conservatives save the Republican Party? Vote for Barack Obama!

This is where I need you to stifle your knee-jerk reactions and actually think about this a little. The Republican leadership does not respect traditional conservatives. They have abused their power, let Wall Street and the huge corporations run wild. And then they offer up John McCain as their new party leader? Conservatives have never trusted McCain. He has only started to “talk” conservative after he lost the 2000 election and bowed to the Rove-Cheney pro-corporate machine that put George W. Bush into office. McCain has done everything he can to become the heir apparent of a pretty questionable group of big business interests. He doesn’t represent traditional conservatives. Yes, he brought on Sarah Palin to try and bring in the conservative voters at the last minute. But the administration John McCain will put into place will be the same pro-corporate administration that we have had for the last eight years. It will not be a conservative administration. And most importantly, the leadership of the Republican Party will have be reassured by a McCain victory that traditional conservative voters will keep on checking any name with an “R” next to it as long as they pretend to speak conservatively at election time.

“I don’t like John McCain, but how can I bring myself to vote for a Democrat?” Good question. Remember, the Democrats have the same split as the Republicans: pro-corporate leadership versus true ideological voters. The Democratic leadership did not want Barack Obama as the Democratic candidate. They wanted Hillary Clinton, an inside member of the pro-corporate Democratic leadership which has been ruining the Democratic Party for decades. But Obama got enough new voters involved that he was able to squeak out a victory over the Democratic establishment. Obama is a Constitutional law expert who knows how to build an old fashioned political campaign based on voter support instead of corporate support.

Is Obama the perfect candidate? No. But he is the best one we have in the race right now. And I am sure that his administration will not look like the same old Bush era or Clinton era pro-corporate administrations we have been suffering under for the last twenty years because his campaign has not been a typical campaign. He is more likely to put a team in place that will respect the Constitution and clean up some of the mess. Those are the reasons I am voting for Obama. And I genuinely believe that the best thing that could happen to the Republican Party would be for them to lose the White House this time. This would give traditional conservatives a chance to reassert themselves and throw out the current leadership. I believe a healthier and more conservative Republican Party will emerge after an Obama victory. But if McCain wins, the same failed leadership will stay in charge behind the scenes and in every administration appointment. McCain owes the current leadership too much to really get in and make the changes America needs right now.

Obama on the other hand will not have won the White House because of big business or the traditional party leadership. A lot has been said about the unusual amounts of money Obama has raised in his campaign. Keep in mind that he raised that money from lots of ordinary people not lobbyists for big companies. So while Obama is putting Washington agencies back on a constitutional footing, Republicans can clean their house as well.

I believe this will result in two stronger parties that are more responsive and representative of the actual ideologies of more voters, conservative and progressive. And that is more democratic and more American than what we have now, where a few rich corporations and their owners have too much influence over the leadership of both parties.

So think about it. And I encourage anyone who wants the values of actual voters to be better represented in Washington to vote for Barack Obama. It might just save the Republican and the Democratic Parties.

---Your friend, Jay Larsen

Friday, October 17, 2008

Not in my house you don’t

Sit down and act normal
Just for once
Can’t we be a happy family?

The camera doesn’t lie
But it adds pounds
Of fleshy misery

Strike up a conversation
Avoid the peeling paint
Or the pealing laughter

Pour a stiff drink
Load a paper plate
With a cargo of casserole

The young remember
The ankles and broken pelvises
Of their elders

Knock off that monkey business
You will ruin the carpets
Despite the plastic covers

Say cheese already
Family portraits have a way
Of haunting guilty and innocent


Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen

It's never lupis on House

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bath Water Baby!

You can’t step into the same
Hallucination twice
Head like a jelly fish
Tail shaking like blind mice

You can paint all the seascapes
And sailboats you like
Who hears the waves crash?
Who gives up without a fight?

You might save all mankind
Even the fabled man on the street
Fifty years of belly fat
Plastic sandals on his feet

You might not have a method
But you never admit you’re wrong
Determined and stubborn
Doesn’t make you strong

You can call black white
With motives ignorant or Orwellian
They wouldn’t kick out of bed
But they’ll let you take a bath again

Bath water baby
Better throw it all out
Bath water baby
Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen

Say What Sarah?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pause this track, then play

Pseudo Elitist Vagueness
Prince of the puff of smoke
Pause this track
Product of Midwestern temper
Purveyors of black pears
Pity the swing of extremes
Pendulum’s steady trace
Pander poison
Prickly species relations
Performance anxiety enhanced
Pubic utilities
Press Play
Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen
To Suzanne Vega for making MP3s better
To all those spammers that want to make my manhood bigger
To the Play Button

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Shadow Ink

Like an eraser
In a cartoon factory
The shadow of your monolith
Leans and looms over me
Like gravity
On a lead balloon
So heavy
We all feel it
Try to catch it
It’s not there
Breath catches
In my throat
Like the gap
That throws the spark
What Now?
Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen

The Contessa Will See You Now

Sugar and plastic
Funny cigarettes
Empirical yes
But not evidence

Moving and halting
We gotta stop
Meeting this
Vivid repose

Actual and fictional
Funky vibraphone
Never the same
Twice in a roll

Shield and claw
Trivet baguettes
Royal bellies
So imperious

Alley and market
Waiting desperados
Diamond soft
Complicated lead

The Contessa will see you now
Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen
"Power is the shadow cast on society by big business" by John Dewey

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Can’t Blame a Boy for Trying

All my subtle irony
Is lost in the brassy wail of perpetrators
Lost in the face of blunt force trauma
The gap-toothed face of willing victims
Spilling blood and drool
On no-iron collars and once-white shirts
Lost like an allegory
In the land of the dinosaurs
Facts are rubber
Prejudice like glue
Oh, the irony of lost irony
Pierces me to the heart
Fuck you, assholes
Quit asking for more
Daddy Warbucks doesn’t love you
Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen
Secret Herbs and Spices by KFC

Friday, October 10, 2008

Who is to Blame?

Who is to blame?

When things go badly and when we get hurt we want someone to blame.
This economy thing (I know, what economy?) is really starting to hurt everybody (or at least to really scare everybody). So we want to blame somebody. I want to blame somebody. So who do we blame? Wall Street, Banks, Fat Cats, who?

Wall Street? Well they have been greedy bastards, and they have made tons of money collecting fees as the market went up and down. So we can criticize Wall Street for being greedy bastards. But that has been Wall Street’s job description, at least during my life time. Wall Street is set up as a capitalist playing field and they have been playing the game.

Banks? Traditionally banks make money slowly and conservatively by collecting more money than they loan out. Recently they got the rules changed and gave into pressure to make fast money. They should have known better, but they have been playing by the new rules.

Yeah, the fat cats on Wall Street and in the Banks are greedy capitalist bastards who should be watched very, very carefully. But the guys who set the rules and enforce the rules are just as much to blame and maybe more to blame. Greedy people are out there. It is the rules and the umpires that are supposed to keep the players as close to honest as possible.

Over the last several decades the people in charge of the rules have bent over backwards to change rules the players don’t like. That is called deregulation. And they have looked the other way and refused to enforce the few rules that are still officially on the books. That is called dereliction of duty. You can’t have a safe or clean game if the umpires are dirty or just not there. And the umpires have been predominately Republican appointees during my lifetime. So they are to blame, probably more so than the Wall Street players and Banking manipulators and the Real Estate speculators. They should be taken to task. They should be held responsible. And the last thing we ought to do is hire another batch of the same people who have done such a miserable job and let the system get so out of control so that they can keep this cycle of dishonesty going.

But that doesn’t mean you and I are off the hook. We had responsibilities too. We were supposed to be informed and active citizens. We were supposed to monitor the actions of our representatives and make sure that they were enforcing the rules and protecting the country and its citizens. So I think we get some of the blame here too. We hired (or at least rubber stamped) these people. We have not clearly articulated our goals, desires, and standards for participation in our economy and our society. We have not told the politicians NO. They have not told the corporate capitalists NO. And now we all get to pay the price.

So let’s take a deep breath. Admit that it took years to get things into this state. And get ready to spend years getting out of this mess. I need to live on what I make. You need to live on what you make. And we need representatives that will make government, Wall Street, the Banks, and businesses large and small live within their means. We need rules that are fair. Rules that will keep greed in check. Rules that will protect the most valuable assets and aspirations of this nation. The “Free Market” is a failure, a twentieth century concept that never worked as advertised, a social experiment of huge scope and frighteningly huge consequence that produced a very few winners and made most of us and our natural environment losers. So how about an organized and regulated market where everyone knows the rules and knows they will be penalized for breaking those rules instead? What if we quit voting against our own self interests? What if we admitted how undemocratic corporate structures are? What if we enacted rules that held people and the environment to be more valuable than capital? What if…?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Ryan Heart Sharpton

Ryan was obese as a kid
He wasn’t just large or fat
There was so much of Ryan
That his skin stretched tight
Threatening to burst

Young Ryan Heart
Was forced to play accordion
By his Teutonic mother
Ryan took every opportunity
To leave his instrument lying unattended
Hoping someone would steal it
But no one ever did

Mister Sharpton
Was convicted of murder
He stole a pack a cigarettes
And a man’s entire future
Ryan left five dollars on the counter
And a screwdriver in the clerk’s skull

Ryan is happier in prison
They won’t let him play accordion
And his cellmates’ chatter
Drowns out the sound of his mother
Who sealed up Ryan’s room
Keeping it just the way he left it
Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen
(Don't worry, I'm feeling fine)

Because We Need Some Fun

NOTE: My attempts to embed this video have been a failure. Click the link below.

Our 401K's may be falling in value.
But we can still laugh.
This guy took an annoying 80's video and changed the lyrics of the song to match the action in the video. Pretty funny, especially if you lived through the original.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Psychology of Perception

Citizen Ignorance
The backbone of democracy
Ideology makes men predisposed
To reject facts that counter
Their political beliefs
If a fact is worth thinking about
It is probably worth disputing
But arguing the facts
Just strengthens the misperceptions
Of the most strongly committed subjects
Trapped by the ping-pong format
Of the modern pundit media
Exposure to information
Running counter to tightly held
Political preference
Just makes the believers
Support their original opinion
With more fire and anger
So much for facts
So much for informed participants
Reasoning moderated by hidden motivations
The broken backbone of democracy
Self-imposed ignorance
Subjects not citizens
The psychology of politics
Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Why Question?

Are answers better than questions?
Is faith better than doubt?
I don’t know about you, well I don’t know ALL about you, but I have found through experience that it is questions and doubt that keep me moving forward.
Questions are the fuel that keeps me moving into the unknown.
Answers tend to make me complacent and my ass gets stuck in certainties.
Nothing corrupts like certainty and absolute certainty corrupts absolutely. Doesn’t it?
So how do questions help?
And what kinds of questions are the most helpful?

Who is asking?
What do I know?
What are others telling me?
What is the dominant version of events?
What “facts” are presented as certain and inevitable?
Who benefits from our cooperation with the dominant version of the story?
Where have we heard similar stories told before?
Are there alternate “facts” and stories that are being ignored or marginalized?
Do I know this thing from personal experience?
Have I listened to the stories of people who have personal experience?
Does this narrative contradict things I have experienced personally?
Will this action cause pain or suffering?
Can I do anything to reduce or avoid pain or suffering?
Are there better questions?
Does this challenge my assumptions?
Is this the outcome I expected?
Would I want others to do what I am doing?
What are my motives?
What can I do?
What next?
Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen

Monday, October 06, 2008

Alive in the Sky

Excuse me
Have you seen this cat?
Do you remember
Ever seeing a sky quite like that?
Can you tell me why
You refuse to kick up your heels?
Pardon my curiosity
But why is the skin on your bongo so slack?
Hate to ask
Do I have to draw you a map?
Did I hear you say
The sky is falling down?
Can you spare a dime?
For a sister
Who is alive in the sky?


Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Fool Induction

Hemisphere headers
Hot pants under the hoody
Tight on the curves
Burning rubber
Burning trees
Headlights flashing
Truckers on Benzedrine
Seems kind of dodgy
Dodgy to me


Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Guitar Boy

Play me that killer lick
Lay down a groove
Split my head wide open
With your lightning moves
Try to wrap my head around it
Anticipate the next change
Take me to the edge of control
Something I can’t drive
Strike a lucky chord
Feed me back into the board
Angels sustain you
Demons guide you
I’m just along for the ride
Until the final note has died
Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen

Friday, October 03, 2008

Van the Graph Generator

Van and I used to travel
Trips near and far
Now Van is gone
And I write programs
For the info highway
I still travel
Not so sure about Van
His results may vary
But I wish him well
Van was the generator
Of many of the tales I tell


Credits: Words and Collage by Jay Larsen

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Crisis Capitalism Puts Off A Particular Aroma

The US Economy is in a mess. That pile of crap has been correctly identified by any and all observers not suffering from olfactory fatigue of the worst kind. What has not been correctly identified by all the news cowboys out there is which bovine dropped this particular pile of crap in the middle of our living room.

There are a lot of reasons not to pass the “bailout plan” that Congress rejected once and the Senate approved (plus a load of pork). There may still be some good reasons for passing it, but I have not heard or read any of those so far. The part that makes me nervous is the language being used. Congress’s rejection of the “bailout” is being called a “catastrophe” a “dire mistake” that is going to freeze up the American Economy and force us all to roam the desert with crossbows fighting over the last tanker trucks full of gasoline, aka Mad Max.

The fact is that the Bush Administration wants this “bailout”. The Congressional and Senate Leadership wants this “bailout”. But lots of citizens and some brave representatives like Dennis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb and a bunch of old-school conservatives as well have declared this plan a farce and an unmitigated power grab. In other words the Corporate Politicians want this bill despite what citizens want. And Corporate Lobbyists and their representatives want to push this bill through under the threat of dire catastrophic consequences.

The Leadership is claiming their failure was not controlling the language being used to describe the bill. They aren’t changing the bill, they just want to use better marketing terms to get us to swallow. And they say their biggest mistake was calling for a vote in Congress before they knew it was going to pass. In other words, never call for a vote if you don’t already know the outcome. Makes you wonder if the outcome of our vote in November is already known by the Leadership?

Every time the Corporate Politicians and the Bush Administration in particular start saying “You must pass bill X or horrible catastrophic things will happen.” We should all become very suspicious. Especially when the timing puts the vote right before an election. Previous examples of X include: Authorization to invade Iraq; the Patriot Act; Authorization to bailout Fanny and Freddy; off-shore oil drilling. In each case something horrible was going to happen if the bill wasn’t passed, huge amounts of power were shifted to a handful of individuals or agencies, and promises were made that they would never actually do any of the excessive and dangerous things that critics were warning about. In each case the bill was passed, the threats turned out to be overblown, the power was firmly seized and used, and all the things critics warned about happened. We invaded Iraq, we conduct warrantless surveillance of US citizens, we bailed out Fanny and Freddy, and we repealed off-shore drilling bans. Have no doubt, if this “bailout” passes the Treasury Secretary will become one of the most powerful men in the world, he will use that power, and he will cause many of the problems we are being warned about now.

This is Catastrophe Capitalism at its worst. Scare the hell out the population to get power you could never claim on a calm day, power that rational and informed people would never give up normally. Use the shock and awe of a disaster to take advantage of victims and potential victims. Naomi Kline has outlined this pattern powerfully in her book, The Shock Doctrine.

I’m just hoping we don’t have to repeat the cycle again. But only an informed population of active citizens and honest representatives can stop this power grab. And realistically, I don’t see that yet. There are still a lot of Catastrophe Capitalists out there. The have lots of Lobbyists. They have bought a lot of politicians. And lots of citizens are still woefully uninformed. So we have a lot of work to do.

This particular pile of crap comes from a predictable source, so we either need to corral these bulls or start wearing taller boots. Or we can just keep forgetting the lessons of history. Look into the flashy news device please...