Piper w sunglasses

First, my old sunglasses

I can remember when I first bought a pair of nice sunglasses. I bought my first good pair of sunglasses before going to prison. Set to serve five years.  Told I had to serve at least two years of the five year sentence. I was a “drug dealer,” convicted for possession with intent to sell a bunch of pot. There is a very limited list of things one is allowed to bring into prison. 

On that list of things allowed to bring into prison were sunglasses. Since sunglasses were one of the few things that I could have, it felt important to have something nice from the world of choices.  Prison was located in La Tuna, New Mexico, which is not far from the Mexican border. Deep in the American Southwest where the sun does get rather hot and bright. If you’re going to be outside, having sunglasses is probably a pretty good thing. 

I had given up on sunglasses before. Sunglasses were never something I wore. I don’t particularly like to wear something on my face. When I first tried to wear sunglasses I would lose them or they would get scratched. I hate having scratches in front of my eyes. I find that extremely distracting. Keeping sunglasses clean or unscratched, I learned, was really not easy for me. It wasn’t worth it. Therefore, early on I adopted hats, to protect my head and eyes, instead. 

Then came a hat.

I wear a wide brim hat. A wide brim hat provides a good deal of sun protection and the ability to shade the eyes avoiding glare. For me, having a wide brim hat was at least as functional as sunglasses. Not allowed a hat at F.C.C La Tuna. Hats weren’t on the list.

Back to the old ones.

Anyway, back to those sunglasses. I was able to keep them through prison. They were Revo sunglasses. I can remember spending well over $100 for them. That might not sound very significant now. Except this was back in 1986 and spending well over $100 for a pair of sunglasses was definitely more than I had ever considered. But since I knew I was going in to prison for a long time in a bright area, and the only thing I could have was one of the few things that would be mine. I decided I’d go for the best pair I could. They ended up being Revos. At the time, they had a lifetime warranty.
I thought that was rather cool and that sealed the deal for me. 

Those Revos served me well in prison. Sort of set me up with the elite class of prisoners, comprised mostly of cocaine dealers. They were a status symbol the hacks didn’t seem to recognize. Even though I was a lowly pot dealer, I was still a dealer. I was on that team. There weren’t as many there for pot, in fact I was probably the one of the only pot dealers that was in there at the time. Most of the guys in for drugs were in for cocaine or heroin. It was in the 80’s, Reagan was cracking down on pot as a gateway drug. Same time Nancy was running the Just Say No campaign. 

I don’t know what happened to those sunglasses now that I think about them, but then again I’ve had a house fire and lost all sorts of stuff over time. All just a different reality. 

That was then…

Why am I telling this story about Revo sunglasses from the way back prison days? Because I just bought my first pair of sunglasses since then. I decided these aged eyes need all the help they can get. A big reason is that I was sailing a bit this summer. I noticed that there were times where the glare was really hard on my eyes. It would have been nice to have a good pair of polarized sunglasses. That stayed in the back of my head and these cold days have me thinking about warmer weather. I’ve been keeping my eye eye out for sale, or a good deal, anything along those lines.

REI is a sporting goods Co Op I belong to. They sent an email about a warehouse sale a couple of days ago that prompted me to order a pair of Native Eyewear brand sunglasses.  

Native Eyewear sunglasses

As I wrote, the brand is Native Eyewear. They have a lifetime warranty and replaceable lenses, which I still think is great. I went to the website and checked them out before ordering. I really liked their presentation. They proclaimed a strong sense of corporate responsibility. The frames are made from recycled plastic. Native Eyewear sunglasses are made in the United States. That is also a really big plus for me as I prefer buying things that are made in the United States, anytime I can. At less than half price, I said okay, these are them. 

Once I got them, I checked them out, and yes they definitely help with the glare. It was a nice bright sunny day today and the sun was hitting off the water. I went out to the end of the dock and stared right into the glare across the bay and enjoyed those wonderful rippling diamonds on the water. I was able to still make out the boat that’s out there. Features along the shoreline and things like that were definable. My vision is definitely improved with these polarized lenses in bright sunlight. They felt comfortable, so I’m very happy. 

I didn’t go into a lot of thought about eye frame design or anything like that. Price and other factors mattered more. They have a rather standard frame. I crossed my fingers and hoped that they would fit my face well enough that they would feel comfortable. Buying things over the internet and through mail order does always present that kind of challenge, but I was very happy to find that they fit well they seem to stay on my face. I will get one of those eyeglass chains for sailing. Don’t want them blown or knocked off. That just makes sense. I need to have some way to hold them on. Just like I have a string that holds on my hat.
Okay, there’s a little bit about my new native eyewear polarized sunglasses. That I will be wearing occasionally. 

Thinking about spring.

Why am I buying sunglasses in the dead of winter? I definitely don’t ski. I’m thinking about spring! I have my seeds already, but that’s another story (not going to be stuck with whatever’s left like last Spring). Now have a pair of sunglasses for Spring, as well (that I need to keep from getting scratched).
I have them in their case now. I’m looking forward to being able to be out there, sailing with them on.

I still prefer a hat and will continue to wear it. 

I grew up during the Assassinations. 

Cannabis Prohibition was the window to my awareness of the hypocrisy behind the PTB [Powers That Be] and the degree of social manipulations being imposed on all of our programming. Being arrested and held in a cage at 17 for a pipe in my pocket made it clear. Cannabis was the Gateway to an Awareness that allowed me to question what Freedom really meant.

The Vietnam Nam War helped with that awakening. Knowing that fellow students were being forced to go to another country to kill people living in jungles with napalm was abhorrent to my young sensibilities so I joined my brothers and sisters in the streets and gloried in the sweet anarchy of US, and the true power of the people. My faith in US was established.

I met my first vegetarians (read “Diet for a Small Planet”) while on the streets in Albuquerque. Before Sunshine and Maggie I hadn’t thought much about what I ate. Wonder bread, any meat and canned vegetable, with some pasta and cereal from boxes pretty much covered it, until those folks blew my mind with what can be done with rice and beans. I realized that even our diet had been “programmed,” (to suit the industrial interests of western beef producers). AMERICA became more clear to me. I took responsibility for the impacts of my diet and helped start a food co-op and supported a few buying clubs.

Then I met Jack Herer and “The Emporer Wears No Clothes,” and the extreme manipulations of the social consciousness, around Cannabis made the depths of how we are all manipulated to whatever suits the interests of the PTB – which over the last 100 years or so has been wrapped up in the Oligarchy, very clear to me. We have been manipulated into compliant support of the AMERICAN machine, as oil barons and tech giants decide the Nature of the Future for US, for all of US.

That’s not Democracy and it sure as heck ain’t Natural.

Remember when in this Pandemic we were told to NOT wear masks –
(Why? because there weren’t enough for the healthcare workers – nothing to do with what’s best for US or even the pandemic)
Were we told to make our own? Eventually – but not until they felt sure there was enough for the healthcare workers.
These sorts of manipulations of the Truth and What Is are based on distrust and disdain for US and the sole purpose of maintaining AMERICA for the corporatists. AMERICA can never be great again until it learns to listen to US.

And that will never happen until we learn to Love US, again. The disdain the citizens of this country have for EACH OTHER is abhorrent and sad.
When it comes down to survival and whether or not we love our Children, there is no Left or Right.

Democrats and Republicans are just boxes they’ve created for US, and we have a choice to be in them, or not. They have both played the roles of liberation and persecution throughout American history- they have become tools to manipulate US. They use Celebrity and Demonization to pull and push US, lately it seems at will.

As Nature prods US to slow down and become more aware of our hands and our faces, and how much each other means for US and our happiness, it is my hope and prayer that many will find a new way, a new priority for their existence. One that is so much less dependent on the toys we acquire, and much more on the Life we share. We need to respect and be responsible for the STUFF in our Lives. Think about the waste we create and the pollution we pump into the environment.

AMERICANS purpose for existence has been CONSUMPTION. It’s not sustainable. We need a new purpose.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all of US became much more concerned about LIFE and how we live it?
I want LOVE to Rule US.

AMERICAN Evil must end – and Evil is a real phenomenon that must be confronted and in some ways the current administration is emblematic of the Evil we must face and transform into a force of Love on the planet. There is a very good treatise on this in the book “People of the Lie” by M Scott Peck.

“According to Peck, an evil person:[7][8]
is consistently self-deceiving, with the intent of avoiding guilt and maintaining a self-image of perfection
deceives others as a consequence of their own self-deception
projects his or her evils and sins onto very specific targets (scapegoats) while being apparently normal with everyone else (“their insensitivity toward him was selective” (Peck, 1983/1988, p 105[8]))
commonly hates with the pretense of love, for the purposes of self-deception as much as deception of others
abuses political (emotional) power (“the imposition of one’s will upon others by overt or covert coercion” (Peck, 1978/1992, p298[7]))
maintains a high level of respectability, and lies incessantly to do so
is consistent in his or her sins. Evil persons are characterized not so much by the magnitude of their sins, but by their consistency (of destructiveness)
is unable to think from the viewpoint of their victim (scapegoating)
has a covert intolerance to criticism and other forms of narcissistic injury
Most evil people realize the evil deep within themselves, but are unable to tolerate the pain of introspection, or admit to themselves that they are evil. Thus, they constantly run away from their evil by putting themselves in a position of moral superiority and putting the focus of evil on others. Evil is an extreme form of what Peck, in The Road Less Traveled, calls a character and personality disorder.[7][8].”

From Wikipedia –

AMERICA has been a force of EVIL on the planet for too long – and I’m confident that LOVE is the answer – and the challenge.
Community is the vehicle for that Love and I sit in gratitude and appreciation for each that read these words.
I’m working at Loving US.

CBS showed a report about veteran and entrepreneur Jake Wood and the organization he’s created, Team Rubicon recently. The work the organization is doing and Jake’s motivation for starting it struck a strong connection with me. I’ve been thinking about this type of problem this civic problem for our society for quite a long time. It’s one thing to be “anti-war” (since Vietnam). It’s another to develop a reality that is Pro-Peace. And I think Jake is right on point in terms of the primary issue veterans face, and what causes a lot of the malaise and difficulties of readjustment and the manifestations that we see, suicide and social disease, especially among our veterans, actually extends to our whole society.

Everything Jake says about the abrupt lack of real “purpose” applies perfectly to veterans [making sure your buddy makes it back to base is massively purposeful motivation, while selling the most whatever just doesn’t have the same immediacy and value]. I think it applies to every, one of us. Not every one of us, I shouldn’t say that. Because some of us actually are born with a sense of purpose. But not having an abiding sense of purpose is the fundamental cause of most human dysfunctions. Having felt a strong sense of purpose, and then loosing it can be devastating.

I have known individuals that, for some reason, seem to know from the beginning, from their earliest days, what they want to do. They feel compelled to move themselves in that way. They study or learn to participate in that type of activity. They are self motivated their whole lives and they become experts. They have no question about what they’re doing and they are truly doing work that they love.

We all know that when doing work that you actually love, you’re really not “working” at all. You’re living a life. And it’s the best life you could possibly live, because you’re living a life of purpose, and of service. You feel like you’re getting something done. You have connections to people. You’re a part of the bigger whole, society, and the super organism of humanity. In being so, you feel fulfilled. That’s what it is to be human. You’re happy. Maybe that’s all there is, but at least it feels good. Maybe that’s all we can ever hope for in our lives, is to feel good, and I don’t think that’s such a terrible thing.

What I have envisioned is to take Team Rubicon to the next level. Beyond recognizing that all of these veterans still have commitment to service, having crossed that line, to make a commitment to the greater good of the United States of America, recognizing all of US have the same need for a sense of purpose. There’s never going to be a lack of things that need to be done. Services that can be performed in the name of our country. In fact, it seems to me that that could become the purpose of our country, to be a service organization for the planet. Instead of the police organization we see as our predominant foreign policy standing.

How do we do that? What would we do that with? The recognition is that purpose is what we all want, what we all need. People need to have a sense of purpose. And that purpose could well be the remediation of natural disasters, and working for the improvement of human condition. I envision our Military Industrial Complex being totally retooled and repurposed. The need is all over the place. Doesn’t matter whether climate changes are anthropogenic or not, at this point infrastructure and agriculture are already being impacted. Our Military could be more engineers than soldiers.

Nature’s still gonna keep challenging us. The cosmos will still entice us. That’s a dance that humans have to deal with, that humanity has had to deal with since we became aware. It’s part of what moves our intelligence forward. We don’t need war to do that. We have that that that dance with nature is enough to fulfill the readiness and technological functions provided by having a Military. There are things like pathogens and viruses that require guides and aids to deal with, not soldiers. That we will be using soldiers to distribute COVID vaccine will make this disfunction clear.

Truth of the matter is we could possibly suffer from an asteroid impact, like life on this planet has suffered previously. So there’s all sorts of potentials, and improvements that we can make to our living condition. if we were focused on the notion of developing what Buckminster Fuller would refer to as “Livingry,” instead of all the efforts our nation puts into weaponry.

What we need is a National Service of Team Rubicon available to every citizen. Take the military budget that we have now and redirect its focus. Repurpose all of our infrastructure. Mothball the guns and ammunition, and start repurposing some of the other equipment for construction and remediation efforts. Flint still needs a water system. High Speed Rail could be added to all Interstate Corridors, transforming those web established corridors into avenues of High Tech Innovation and American ingenuity.

Retask, repurpose, and redeploy many of our current military that wish to to volunteer for this service. And I believe that they just as many as there are willing to volunteer to kill others, there would be even more, willing to volunteer to do good work and to help people in the name of American goodwill. Some may say what about a defense? of course, we need to have a defensive organization that is able to rise to the defense of our nation in our interest around the world, and in the interests of our allies.

In our current Military, the biggest point of training is teaching people how to work together. The Military’s greatest impact is creating a cohesiveness, teaching human beings how to work together as an organization. Functioning as a unit, with a goal and a task to achieve. A Purpose. Yes, there’s some tool usage in terms of armaments, the Tools of Destruction. How to drive a tank isn’t that different than any track vehicle. If a person can use a hammer and power tools, using a gun is not hard to figure out. Most Military techniques and tasks are directly mappable to constructive things as well.

The primary need of a Defensive organization is the ability to get a mass of people working on the same task, whatever that is. If that is repelling an enemy, then that’s what people will do the using the tools necessary to do that. If you know how to use any sort of construction tool set, it’s not that hard to learn how to use a gun. Guns aren’t that difficult of devices. If the nation is being attacked, if there’s an obvious reason for defense, the motivation to kill doesn’t need to be taught. It shouldn’t need to be taught. The threat must be real, not some abstract notion of potential calamity. That sort of rational is what has propelled the threat Eisenhower warned US to watch out for and prevent.

If there is a real threat to our Nation or our allies, we’d have the full complement of personnel to apply to it. I trust America. They’ll be able to use the tools that they need to use. It’s not that hard to train somebody how to shoot a gun, how to operate, especially most of the military equipment today. It’s more training the will to do it. Once organizational unity is established doing things that are positive, when it comes time to do something militarily, it would be done. There wouldn’t be any problem. People that have been trained well would follow those orders.

A new national service could be established. Keep the Spaceforce, but create a Peace Force. Transition all the current enlisted populations into that Peace Force. A Peace Force able to mediate all sorts of international and national disasters, able to deploy with ships and helicopters rebuilding infrastructure with the most modern technologies possible, developed in the United States. Instead of Belts and Bridges (or what ever China’s doing getting countries invested in Chinese technology and Chinese economics). The United States of America could be engaged similarly, except maybe demonstrating the value of egalitarian Democracy. That would seem to offer a much more prosperous possibility for the role of US on the planet.

If America is to be policing, police the resources consumed and the rates Americans are consuming them. Wasting the Earth’s resources by dumping them in the ocean or burning them into the atmosphere must end.. We’ve all got to recognize that we can’t do that anymore. We’ve got to become more self sufficient. We’ve got to join with China in developing an ecological economy. An economy that is based on ecological principles, that looks at source, material, preservation and utilization, maximization of utilization, from beginning to end. From source to purpose to repurpose, repurpose and repurpose until eventually there’s maybe a point where it is considered waste, but as we know in nature, there is no waste. Everything in Life at some point comes back around and gets recycled.

I strongly believe the best way to honor veterans is to recognize the horrors they had to endure and work to develop structures and culture that help US to avoid it in the future. We have so far to go.

You can’t live in Albuquerque, or any part of New Mexico without coming across the apparently ubiquitous green chile. This pepper can be quite spicy, but in general is one of the milder paper plants that I’ve come across. Because of the limited assault on the tongue, this spicy pepper has some subtle, almost sweet, counter notes that are apparently addictive. The most famous growing region for these chilis is around the Hatch area of New Mexico.

That said, this gringo had to learn (as apparently does anyone not familiar with spicy peppers) not to touch my face after chopping chilis. There is something about the oils that get everywhere and have a persistence of presence that is downright undeniable. Especially if they get anywhere near a mucous membrane, or eyes.

Well it’s been decades since I’ve lived in New Mexico – and up until recently it’s been that long since I’ve been around any quantity of fresh chili peppers. I’ve grown a few Anaheim and Jalapeño in the new Growing Love Community Garden over the past two seasons, but never had this problem. This year I’m getting a bumper crop of Portugal Hots (I bought the plants at Bayles Garden Supply). They are not as fleshy as Anaheims but quite spicy

Today is Friday so, for reasons beyond explaining here and now, I chopped a couple of peppers and sprinkled them on a Newman’s Frozen pizza before putting it in the oven. While this sounds so simple – all I needed to do is wash my hands real well at that time, it turned out to be a most painful mistake. Put the pizza in the oven and wash my hands, all I had to do.
No – couldn’t bother to do that.

So it was about 30 minutes later, I had finished all but the last slice of the pizza, when I first experienced the tinge of discomfort. It seems I had wiped the sweat from my brow and in that process had deposited a broad swath of capsicum heat. And that sweat was still in production. I didn’t realize what was happening at first. It was that tingling feeling, and of course I wiped at it and then the feeling got stronger – and that’s when I realized what I had done. By this time sweat had carried heat to my eyes and I’m in the head flushing my face with soap and cold water.

There are still cells on my face that are inflamed, I’m sure – but all in all I survived with that lesson once again fully reinforced.

Wash your hands after chopping Chili!

What I find most aggravating about the AMERICAN reaction to COVID is all the certainty. It’s this, or it’s that. Must be a hoax, just like a fu – we know what to do, no one expected to contain it. It will go away in time. Never before have Americans been encouraged to wear masks (look at the pictures from 1918). Freaking unbelievable.

All Arrogant Ignorance. I understand not trusting experts – I don’t understand trusting Corporate solutions over Social ones. To blame a described and admitted competitor [China] for not preventing a pandemic in our own nation seems so damn infantile.

We are still learning about this virus – more than we should have had to learn. It was possible to contain and eliminate the virus within our borders. Other nations have done so, and many more well on the way to doing so.
But not US.
Instead our POTUS is investing millions on a vaccination, instead of on prevention and Health. And to still read about healthcare workers without protection to help US is disheartening.

We are learning that it infects many human systems with impacts to each of them. Now that we have so many infected, we get to see all the varied manifestations of viral impact. Some of the impacts are long term, and while not lethal (yea the death count is decreasing?), they can be debilitating. Still we have people arguing we should let it go wild and “see what happens,” trusting another hypothetical.

I feel blessed I am able to almost completely self isolate comfortably. I understand many are challenged, especially economically. Other nations are dealing with the same challenges – Socialized medicine and strong social welfare structures (what we call Socailism) are minimizing the impact of COVID there, while we get to be the virus’s playground. The more and longer vectors of viral propagation offer greater possibilities of mutant expressions. Who knows what will happen to US?

I do know we’re already being quarantined throughout the planet. Mexico may pay for a wall to keep US out…

Treating a Novel Virus as just another germ is pure foolishness.

I realized a while ago the I can be quite the selfish and lazy mother fucker.

Now this can cause some consternation – especially as I’m approaching Death.

I mean – do I really want to be on my death bed regretting what a selfish lazy mother fucker I’ve been? Would you?

Though I also realize that at this late stage in my Life – there’s probably not much I can do about it…
I’m pretty set in my ways…

So, I’m getting a little worried about not being happy while I’m dying…

You have to understand – I’ve done a lot of acid.

I had some sort of vision that at the end of my Life
I would have come to some point of existential Bliss and accept the “transition” with grace and dignity

Like Leary…

(I’ve heard stories that it wasn’t all that cheery – but there are not many that really know.)

(there’s more to the joke – I’ll write later – I’m feeling lazy right now….)

I was in the neighborhood of the Brooklyn Bowl last night enjoying the evening and the area until the concert started. I went into Brooklyn Brewery for a beer, but there was a private event. Across the street there is a vintage clothes store, Beacon’s.

Not generally a “shopper,” but I had nothing else to do, so I went inside to check it out. I went to the men’s section and focused on the coats, looking for something exotic like tuxedo tails or something else for dancing in.  I was looking through the rack when I got the impression I was invading someone else’s space. The well groomed guy on around the center rack had what I felt to be a nervous, or uncomfortable vibe, so I excused myself and satisfied there were no tuxes went on my way.

A while later, I was just down the street from the Brooklyn Bowl, standing on the corner having a smoke (my kind). The young hipster looking guy I had seen in Beacon’s was coming across the street, with two shopping bags stuffed with clothes. Seeing as we were in neutral grounds, I complemented him on his scores. He seemed very pleased with himself, but then burst into even more excitement when he started explaining what he was doing when I saw him by the coat rack.  He started raving about the coat that he was looking at when I showed up. I hadn’t seen it – because apparently he was being coy with it, not that I would have noticed. He went on about this fine classic coat I really should consider buying. He said it was too large for him, and he was tight on cash – or he would have bought it himself.

He explained that it was a classic Burberry full length trench coat. On he went about how he used to work at a Burberry store and he met gentlemen that had their coats for 20 years and were still raving about them. That this coat had the full button in lining and was in great condition and was worth over $2000. And on top of that – Beacon’s had a $49 price tag on it.  Now I was not in the market for a trench coat. I owned a London Fog, that my mother bought for me as a congratulations present for my first corporate job, but other than that, a trench coat was not on my radar. Neither have I been particularly flush lately, though $50 would not break my bank.

But the fact that this nice young man had felt so adamant about what a great coat it would be for me, i had to check it out. It wasn’t hard to find as it was the longest coat in the rack – honey colored, and when I pulled it off the pole – it was impossible not to appreciate the great weight of the thing. This was more than a coat – it could be a home. I tried it on, talked to a couple of other customers for reassurance that it fit and looked OK and put my money down

I wrote this is 2013 – it is now 2020 and I think it’s time to retire the Burberry coat…