Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bash or Bass?

Bashing out bad business brochures for the boss
I realize I would rather be
Bass fishing with some bold babes in bikinis
But instead I'm babbling boyishly on by blog

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Keeping Your Photo

I’m keeping your photo next to my heart
Although I can’t say I remember who you are
I saw you
I sawed through you
I held your heart close to mine
You probably do not remember who I am
But in my mind I can still see you shine
I’m keeping your photo next to me
Although I can’t say it captures
The true heart of you
What else can I do?
Your golden glue
Keeps leaking through
My photo of you


Cred: Poet & Collagorist
Idiot: Jay Larsen
Credit: Liquor Thrill

Monday, April 27, 2009

Such Nice Girls

Joy is not happy with me
Faith doesn’t believe what I say
Dawn keeps me up all through the night
Hope keeps praying I’ll just go away
Eve makes me wait until early morning
Charity won’t even give me the time of day
Chastity, however, always shows me a good time
Such nice girls
Jay loves them all
In his own way


Credit: Poetry and Collage by Jay Larsen

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ready For The Sun

Sunshine has arrived in the Seattle Area
Normally reliable coworkers have developed unusual ailments
Who wants to be at work, when you can be in the sun?
Pull out the allergy pills and the sunscreen
Mow that grass
Restring that fishing pole
Sit on the porch
Let the dogs and children run
You only get so many glorious days
Like this in the Seattle Sun
Here's hoping it lasts all weekend
Credits: Poetry and Collage by Jay Larsen

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sex, God, Rock ‘n Roll!

Stuart Davis has a new TV Show--Sex, God, Rock 'n Roll!--on HDNet, but you can also watch full episodes on his website.

Have not seen any of the episodes yet. But HDNet, the same network that is home to Dan Rather by the way, has the show on late at night, so it promises to be raunchy. But it is not on Showtime, so it won't be too raunchy. The first Episode is on Late Sunday/Early Monday, April 26th/27th depending on what time zone you are in.

Stuart is a fabulous musician and he had the enviable pleasure of having dinner with my lovely wife and me last year.
Good Luck with the new show Stu!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

End Prohibition

As 5:00 p.m. rolls around my interior clock starts chiming. I'll have an ice-cold, bone-dry martini, thank you. Jalapeno olives and a twist. If the occasion calls for it (temperatures in the twenties, a hot political debate on the tube) I may substitute two fingers of Kentucky sour mash. Four-twenty? Doesn't resonate. But with April 20 approaching and Waldos of the world gearing up to celebrate their favorite day of the year, it's not a bad time to consider, yet again, the pluses and minuses of alcohol vs. cannabis.
First, a disclaimer: I am a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, but I don't officially represent the organization in this forum. That said, I can't very well check my affiliation, or beliefs, at the keyboard when I sit down to blog for HuffPost. We at LEAP are current and former cops and other criminal justice practitioners who have witnessed firsthand the futility and manifold injustices of the drug war. Our professional experiences have led us to conclude that the more dangerous an illicit substance--from crack to krank--the greater the justification for its legalization, regulation, and control. It is the prohibition of drugs that leads inexorably to high rates of death, disease, crime, and addiction.
Back to booze vs. pot. How do the effects of these two drugs stack up against specific health and public safety factors?
Alcohol-related traffic accidents claim approximately 14,000 lives each year, down significantly from 20 or 30 years ago (attributed to improved education and enforcement). Figures for THC-related traffic fatalities are elusive, especially since alcohol is almost always present in the blood as well, and since the numbers of "marijuana-only" traffic fatalities are so small. But evidence from studies, including laboratory simulations, feeds the stereotype that those under the influence of canniboids tend to (1) be more aware of their impaired psychomotor skills, and (2) drive well below the speed limit. Those under the influence of alcohol are much more likely to be clueless or defiant about their condition, and to speed up and drive recklessly.
Hundreds of alcohol overdose deaths occur annually. There has never been a single recorded marijuana OD fatality.
According to the American Public Health Association, excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of death in this country. APHA pegs the negative economic impact of extreme drinking at $150 billion a year.
There have been no documented cases of lung cancer in a marijuana-only smoker, nor has pot been scientifically linked to any type of cancer. (Don't trust an advocate's take on this? Try the fair and balanced coverage over at Fox.) Alcohol abuse contributes to a multitude of long-term negative health consequences, notably cirrhosis of the liver and a variety of cancers.
While a small quantity, taken daily, is being touted for its salutary health effects, alcohol is one of the worst drugs one can take for pain management, marijuana one of the best.
Alcohol contributes to acts of violence; marijuana reduces aggression. In approximately three million cases of reported violent crimes last year, the offender had been drinking. This is particularly true in cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, and date rape. Marijuana use, in and of itself, is absent from both crime reports and the scientific literature. There is simply no link to be made.
Over the past four years I've asked police officers throughout the U.S. (and in Canada) two questions. When's the last time you had to fight someone under the influence of marijuana? (I'm talking marijuana only, not pot plus a six-pack or a fifth of tequila.) My colleagues pause, they reflect. Their eyes widen as they realize that in their five or fifteen or thirty years on the job they have never had to fight a marijuana user. I then ask: When's the last time you had to fight a drunk? They look at their watches.
All of which begs the question. If one of these two drugs is implicated in dire health effects, high mortality rates, and physical violence--and the other is not--what are we to make of our nation's marijuana laws? Or alcohol laws, for that matter.
Anybody out there want to launch a campaign for the re-prohibition of alcohol? Didn't think so. The answer, of course, is responsible drinking. Marijuana smokers, for their part, have already shown (apart from that little matter known as the law) greater responsibility in their choice of drugs than those of us who choose alcohol.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Once Mighty Technological Achievments

and Now?
I'd like to act my age
But what age are we living in exactly?
Purchase your tickets for the space shuttle
They are retiring them all soon
Lately I just want to take a nap
By the time the clock reaches noon
Pass me those headphones, Comrade
Stuff by Jay Larsen

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Christian Mistake

A Christian Mistake, from Newsweek Online

By Jim Wallis
The Religious Right was a Christian mistake. It was a movement that sought to implement a “Christian agenda” by tying the faithful to one political option—the right-wing of the Republican Party. The politicizing of faith in such a partisan way is always a theological mistake. But the rapid decline of the Religious Right now offers us a new opportunity to re-think the role of faith in American public life.

Personally, I am not offended or alarmed by the notion of a post-Christian America. Christianity was originally and, in my view, always meant to be a minority faith with a counter-cultural stance; as opposed to the dominant cultural and political force. Notions of a Christian America quite frankly haven’t turned out very well. But that doesn’t mean a lack of religious influence--on the contrary. Committed minorities have had a tremendous influence on cultures and even on politics, just look at all the faith-inspired social reform movements animated by people of faith. But Martin Luther King, Jr. did not get the Civil Rights Act passed because he had the most Bible verses on his side but because he entered into the public square with compelling arguments, vision and policy that ultimately won the day. Those faith-inspired movements are disciplined by democracy, meaning they don’t expect to win just because they are “Christian.” They have to win the debates about what is best for the common good by convincing their fellow citizens. And that is best done by shaping the values narrative, as opposed to converting everyone to their particular brand of religion. Rather, they are always looking for allies around their moral causes, including people of other faiths, or no religion at all.

The story of Christianity in America in the coming decades will be defined by a multi-cultural shift as well as a generational one. “New” Evangelicals and Catholics, along with Black, Hispanic, and Asian churches will now shape the agenda. But also included are the millions of American’s who say they are “spiritual but not religious,” finding homes in non-traditional churches, mega-churches that teach that true religion is found in care for “the least of these.”

Making a real impact on the values and directions that a democracy will choose is, perhaps, a more exciting kind of influence than relying on the illusory and often disappointing hopes of cultural and political dominance.

The shift that Jon Meacham describes may be the best news in a long time.
Credits: Story by Jim Wallis.
Collage by Jay Larsen.
I have always found Wallis to be one of the more interesting modern Christian writers. Speaking for one "spiritual but not religious" American, I am willing to forgive the Christians their right-wing political mistake. I just hope the emerging Christian movements will focus more on Jesus' original message of caring for the poor, the sick, the underprivileged, and the sinner; and stop trying to legislate mote removal when there are so many beams in so many eyes making it so hard for us all to see clearly. God obviously put more than just Christians on this planet, so we all must have a part to play.
Peace and Compassion.

1,500 farmers commit mass suicide

1,500 farmers commit mass suicide

This would be all the networks talked about for a week if the farmers were in Iowa. But these farmers are in India, according to The Independent, a UK paper:

Over 1,500 farmers in an Indian state committed suicide after being driven to debt by crop failure, it was reported today.
The agricultural state of Chattisgarh was hit by falling water levels.
"The water level has gone down below 250 feet here. It used to be at 40 feet a few years ago," Shatrughan Sahu, a villager in one of the districts, told Down To Earth magazine
"Most of the farmers here are indebted and only God can save the ones who do not have a bore well."
Mr Sahu lives in a district that recorded 206 farmer suicides last year. Police records for the district add that many deaths occur due to debt and economic distress.

Here is another article from Abu Dhabi Media:

Since 1997, 182,936 Indian farmers have taken their lives and the numbers continue to rise. According to a recent study by the National Crime Records Bureau, 46 Indian farmers kill themselves every day – that is roughly one suicide every 30 minutes – an alarming statistic in a country where agriculture is the economic mainstay.An estimated 16,625 farmers across India killed themselves in 2007, nearly one fourth of them in the state of Maharashtra. Farmer suicides are particularly endemic in villages such as Baggi in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, an agrarian belt once renowned as a prosperous “white gold” or cotton-growing region, but now infamous as “suicide country”.“Farmers across India are in distress and despair,” said Kishor Tiwari, a farmer rights activist, “but Vidarbha is the epicentre of farm suicides”.Vidarbha cotton farmers’ yearly costs – for genetically modified seeds, pesticides, fertilisers, electricity, water and labour – continue to rise, while the price of cotton has been declining with decreased productivity and quality.Scant rainfall last year has exacerbated the crisis, giving rise to drought-like conditions, not favourable for the genetically modified seeds, which require twice the amount of water compared to traditional seeds. A dearth of irrigation facilities has made matters worse, farmers complain.

I have not seen similar stories in US papers yet. Probably because these stories should have the word “MONSANTO” in every other paragraph. Monsanto has been selling India farmers genetically modified seeds for cotton that uses more water and does not produce usable seeds. So the farmers must buy seeds from Monsanto every year.
See for more details.

We have some serious problems with basic life-supporting systems, like water and food, on this planet and the "civilized" West seems more interested in propping up bankrupt economic systems. We need to start applying some human compassion, empathy and support to our global situation or we run the risk of turning the whole world into a lawless, warlord and pirate infested, post industrial wasteland. We have the means if we set our priorities correctly.

Peace. Compassion. Cooperation. Education. Evolution. Before it is too late...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Shouldn't We Be Doing This Ourselves?

SIX BUSH OFFICIALS TO BE INDICTED BY SPANISH PROSECUTORS: Human Rights lawyer and Daily Beast contributor Scott Horton reports that Spanish prosecutors will announce today that they are moving forward with the indictment of six top Bush officials who are charged with providing legal cover for torture.

The investigation deals specifically with the case of five Spanish citizens who were detained at Guantanamo Bay and allegedly tortured there. The Bush 6, as Horton calls them, are former attorney general Alberto Gonzales, former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, former Cheney chief of staff David Addington, Justice Department officials John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, and Pentagon lawyer William Haynes. The State Department has been in constant contact with the Spanish government since the case was initially filed on March 17. During a meeting at the American embassy in Madrid, "Spanish prosecutors advised the Americans that they would suspend their investigation if at any point the United States were to undertake an investigation of its own into these matters." Horton reports, however, that when "pressed to know whether any such investigation was pending," they received no answer. Still, Obama faces the ongoing issue of Republicans "promising to 'go nuclear' and filibuster" his legal appointments if he authorizes the Justice Department to release the torture memos written by the Bush 6.
-- citing an article by Scott Horton

All we have to do is announce a US investigation and the Spanish courts will drop this case. But we can't even agree to investigate this stuff. The Bush 6 worked very hard to "legally" define a black box where normal rules of justice and due process do not apply, a place where torture is legal and soldiers and operatives of the US government can hold any person identified by the President for any length of time with no review or consequence. I guess it worked. Because even the new administration doesn't seem willing to investigate these charges.
If Americans won't investigate torture and war crimes, then I guess it is a good thing that some other countries will.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Shaft of Gold When All Around is Black

"Creating your own blog is about as easy as creating your own urine, and you're about as likely to find someone else interested in it." -- Lore Sjöberg

I found this quote on somebody else's blog, one that I frequently find interesting. So what does that say about me? Granted Lore (if that is a real name) puts in the weasel phrase "as likely to" into this declaration. So if we can figure out the odds of someone finding someone else's urine interesting, then we will know what the odds are of creating a blog that other people find interesting. I also wonder if the opposite is true? If we figure out the odds of creating a blog that other people find interesting, have we then discovered the odds of creating urine that others will find interesting?

And you are reading this on my blog. So what does that say about you? And do you find this interesting?


Collage and pissy ramblings by Jay Larsen

Quote by Lore Sjöberg the editor of the Brunching Shuttlecocks and the author of "The Book of Ratings." His hobbies include doubt, ennui, angst, regret, uncertainty, resignation, and puppetry. He lives in Oakland, California.
Lore Sjöberg's Homepage where he has a blog. Interesting! What does that say about Lore?

Title from a Monty Python skit:

WHISTLER: ... Your Highness, you are also like a stream of bat's piss.

PRINCE: What?!?

WHISTLER: It was one of Wilde's. One of Wilde's.

OSCAR: It sodding was not! It was Shaw!

SHAW: I... I merely meant, Your Majesty, that you shine out like a shaft of gold when all around is dark.

PRINCE (accepting the compliment): Oh.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Full of Empty

Full of Empty
Shattered like trash
Take a bath in monkey’s milk
To wash away this glass

Full of Empty
Beard of world trees
Pack the bag with bubble cake
In case of wobbly knees

As our time slows down
No time for baths, beards or cake
Only carry the essential
Spiral stair static clown
Chip on shoulder
Chopping block
Time crawls now
Over burdened
With all that emptiness
You’re soaking in it now
Arise fool
Full of Empty
Credits: poetry and collage by Jay Larsen

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Brand Name or Generic

I feel decanted, like a pharmaceutical product.
Perhaps in my youth, or some long lost (never was) Eden of the past
We were at least deposited together en mass into one large America bottle
Like aspirins—all manufactured by the same machine, but together, rubbing shoulder to shoulder in daily contact with our fellow citizens.
But today, or at least in what passes for the present moment,
We, in our desire for disinfected security, find ourselves living in sterile blister packs
Separated from our fellows by individually-sanitized-for-our-protection bubble wrap
We can go for days, weeks, months or years without any real contact with other people.
We catch glimpses of each other through the plastic film that divides us
And we do not get each other dirty.
We do not contaminate each other.
Only the corporate broadcasts get in
Because each individual serving of consumer comes with screens:
LCD, plasma, TV, film, cell phone, game boy, iPod, computer, everywhere we look
We have been wrapped in screens, filmy plastic screens
And the broadcasts are the software within which we learn how to function
We learn to function as good corporate citizens, consumers first and last
But everything we purchase, everything we touch in this plastic bubble
Is just another screen swimming with software
We are so used to the corporate environment that we don’t even notice it
Like fish do not think about water
We swim in corporations, eat corporate products, shit corporate shit, love corporation love, speak in corporate language, argue corporate arguments, dream corporate dreams
We even die corporate deaths
The fact that I am saying this does not mean for one corporate minute that I am somehow above it all, immune or inoculated.
I am just as corporate as you as I tap on my corporate keys
Broadcasting words on my corporate blog
To be displayed on your corporate screen
It is just the way it is
It is the way we have chosen to incorporate
But the smell of plastic gets to me once in a while
Paper or plastic?
Brand Name or Generic?
Credits: Rant and Collage by Jay Larsen, Inc. LLC

Monday, April 06, 2009

Joy is Not a Toy

War may be inevitable
Strife might be the teacher your profess
Will these lessons prove to be creditable?
You speak two words, “I confess”

Happiness may be a warm gun
Contentment could be all you said it was
Finally the clouds make way for sun
You speak two words, “just because”


Credits: Poetry and Collage by Jay Larsen

We finaly got some sunshine this spring

and the temperatures finaly went above 60

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Head Smack Rewind

I know it might seem unkind
but here is the same smack to the head
remix and rewind
a good smack to the head
is still a smack to the head
I drew it. Nothing to it. Jay

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Moving Forward

Moving forward
We will be making some changes around here
Moving forward
Your health benefits will be cut and your hours extended
Moving forward
Your wages will be adjusted to match third world workers
Moving forward
We will be laying off a few thousand of you
Moving forward
The remaining workers will have to pick up the slack
Moving forward
Ranting about issues will replace arguing about ideas
Moving forward?
I’m not sure, moving forward, means what it used to mean

Credit: Poet and Collagist Jay Larsen

Paradoxicallogist and Truther, Echo Round His Bones