........................................................................................AS - ANOTHER - SUMMER - DIES..........

..................................................................The BEATS ................A Mad World of Enforced Labour



Climate (below) & War (2½-min youtube video)



From an article by Stephen Leahy
Published on Thursday, September 15, 2011 by Inter Press Service

Record Arctic Ice Melt

.Permafrost has been slowly thawing for the last two decades and the rate of thaw is accelerating with rising temperatures, world expert on permafrost Vladimir Romanovsky of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks told IPS...
"This will have profound impacts on human populations around the globe. According to figures from the Global Governance Project, by the year 2050, the world will have 200 million climate-displaced refugees on its hands, the majority of them from low-lying coastal areas, as a result of rising water levels."

While this climate change calamity gains momentum, the U.S. and most of the industrialized world have been distracted by the relatively trivial threat of terrorism and have spent trillions of dollars on defence and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The U.S. could generate 100 percent of its electricity from wind, solar, tidal and geothermal for much less than it has spent on defence and wars in the last decade, said Richard Heinberg, energy expert and senior fellow at the California-based Post Carbon Institute.

Posted Comment:
There is methane in the permafrost… also an enormous amount of methane in the form of marine clathrates (undersea methane ice) ready to thaw and bubble up into the atmosphere. And there's at least one urgent scientific mission into northern regions right now to assess the scale of the problem….

Methane (CH4) is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. The size of methane deposits is staggering. These deposits have accumulated from biological activity for many millions of years, sequestered by polar freezing. The amount of CH4 in marine clathrates alone has been estimated at around twice the size of all other hydrocarbon

If it starts to bubble into the atmosphere, we'll likely have no way to make it stop before it's all been discharged. Anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are on the verge of triggering a release of "natural" GHGs which will dwarf human emissions.
the momentum of heating which is currently in the system is probably enough to carry us over the methane-bomb tipping point. There's a lag in the system. On a similar issue, an oceanographer recently said: "We've mailed ourselves a package, and it's impossible to cancel delivery."

(my emphasis - Phil... and it's precisely articles like the above that led me to begin writing the dystopian 'CLASSIFIED'...)




If you REALLY want to know what's actually going on in the world politically, then you could hardly do better than watching - or just listening to - Michael Parenti... no lecturer could make it clearer and more self-evident than Parenti's (6.9.11) videos...recorded from Mo's Bookshop, Berkley, San Francisco. Parenti explains how the elite conspire in their usual underhand brutal way, how they are spreading the 'Empire', and how we ( ~99% of us) are exploited to further this process. Libya now is a prime example (See: BILLION DOLLAR BILL -youtube), but so too is that it takes two incomes to support a household these days compared with 5-decades ago when one was enough...

But whether or not you bother to view outstanding sources like these, you only have to glance around, or just reflect, to see how everything is geared to make the rich richer, the most powerful even more powerful, the poor poorer... : witness the vast increase in and growing number of billionaires in the world, and likewise those in poverty.

I know when looking back on some of the articles on this site that I must seem like one of the most smug clowns on the net. "You smug, smartarse little prickhead!" I detect being voiced at me for some of my articles. Well, I'm one of the first to admit that in truth I'm really quite thick. Loads of things that are obvious to many people take me a bit of concentration and thought to understand. Maybe that's why I write about stuff: because it helps me understand it better, forces me to think and look into reasons and causes that are not always immediately apparent?

If I have a theory of why something is as it is, I like to test it out, see if I'm right - and if not then to discover what the true or most likely answer is. That's how I learn, and I think it works quite well. The only problem might be in the discerning, discriminating, selection of sources, and how critically I examine them. Parenti, for instance, in his first video, mentions how people like Chris Hedges and Chalmers Johnson - widely regarded as liberal intellectuals, highly critical of Empire - have actually (wittingly or unwittingly, who knows?) fallen 'victim' to these conspiring elites by 'justifying' them in certain ways... But people like Chris Hedges represent what's to me a crucial 'stepping stone': they articulate the bare unbiased facts from which someone with a brain like Parenti can draw their profound and inevitable conclusion(s).

Anyhow, at the risk of appearing even more smug (or otherwise conceitedly self-satisfied), I'd like to mention - as elsewhere in several places on this site - that it was more than 2-decades ago when I first realised with blinding clarity some of the key issues Parenti spells out in his videos. At the same time I was discovering several other aspects of the world, of life in general and so on, from various authors. Well, consequent to all this, I decided to extricate myself from the mad situation I realised I was in: in particular of being trapped in a rut of perpetual lifelong toil. What was the point, I remember asking myself, of spending this short life as a slave when instead I could be really living - like wiser members of the middle-classes have for centuries? As it was, I was obliged to work till I'd be almost too old to enjoy the benefits of being free from work, and yet would be scarcely better off for it in any way. And that work was, ultimately, for an elite whose bills the money from that work enabled me to pay. What a crazy treadmill, I thought... time to get the hell off!

Once I was off - and it was almost a year before my brain kicked-in again following a period of ecstatic freedom - my next thought was: Can I really get away with this? Is it as simple as just stepping off a treadmill? Won't the bastards sooner or later catch-up with me and haul me back into line? As a kid I'd often daydreamed of this kind of freedom: free from going to school, or going to work or whatever, of having to do this or that. What the hell, I wondered, was it all for? What was the point? Well, if Parenti had been around in those days making little speeches like the one on the above link, then I might have gained the confidence to make some rather different decisions than I did.

As it turned out, I was in my late 30s by the time I woke-up to these things. I saw my own predicament as clearly as the one that emerges from taking the broader world-perspective. Life was very comfortable for me in those days. To have described my position as a 'predicament' would have seemed inappropriate. Yet somehow the decision to change my circumstances wasn't difficult. Better late than never, I remember thinking... one has to move-on, life is about moving-on. Even so, it took me perhaps a year of rumination, of weighing the various practical arrangements, before I mustered the courage... if that's what it was, though I suspect it was more a case of overcoming lethargy... to make the actual leap. So it was that at the age of just under 40 I finally resigned and stepped undaunted into the mysterious void I called freedom. It was truly exhilarating... (like Carl in my very weird story 'Zen Among the Asteroids' who finds that being launched into a vast endless arena of stars and galaxies is enormously thrilling). And I soon began to make very good use of it.

Later, a year or so following that initial 'thrill' - and for some years afterwards - I went around with half-an-eye over my shoulder, waiting for that little: "Excuse me?" But it never happened. I felt like a fugitive who has no idea who is pursuing him. What I'd failed to notice was that I was just one, amongst millions of obedient conformers... I was a negligible detail in the 'grand scheme', a lone insignificant individual, statistically irrelevant... since very few people (in those days at any rate) decided to opt-out like that, no-one bothered. I'd actually escaped! Even people with loads of money remained 'voluntarily' in the system, slaving at some lousy task they'd come to 'enjoy' as if locked into some weird ritual or routine that had over the years transformed into a kind-of drug they couldn't face life without.

And I don't include there people involved in truly worthwhile or engaging 'work' which they'd still do if the income from it was at subsistence level. There are a few jobs I might have opted for in that league, instead of opting-out as I did, had I thought I stood a chance of getting one... but that's another story.

These days, 22-years on, I reflect contentedly on that auspicious decision to scarper. Somehow, by luck to some extent, I landed on my feet. Part of the secret is in refusing to aspire to increase material wealth and possessions, refusing to acknowledge the old niggle of always wanting more. Who doesn't want a brand new Ferrari? But then, who needs one (when an old Rover is fine)? If someone gave me the money for a Ferrari, would I actually spend it on one? I doubt it... in fact almost certainly I wouldn't...


The . B E A T S


FIRST- find a book:

A BIG advantage of having loads of books (I have ~3000 here, at a rough guess), is to be able in a dull moment to browse around and pick one out... at random, maybe, or at a whim, from an attractive spine or title, or from suddenly noticing anew some long neglected subject or author. Then, seraching around, there's always a chance of locating several related tomes... novels, biographies, critical analyses... revealing a further masterpiece or gem of inspiration to dig into... or just dig.

This can be done on the net, of course, and to much greater extent - the range these days is massive: HERE for example, or HERE... both as mentioned in my weird little essay 'How I write Stories'. Plus always there's the brilliant Wikipedia, and who-knows how many other excellent sites...

How I write stories, though, and how professional writers write them is a key quandary for me. Quite probably I and they have nothing in common - I say this because despite telling a few people about this weird site of mine, I know only one person who likes my stories, or says they do, some at any rate... and no prizes for guessing who; after all, it was Rod who put me up to this mad site-writing stunt in the first place.

So much for 'self-education', I conclude, when I reflect on my random whimsical approach (as seen all around this site - except in what's nicked), and the equally random reading over the decades. But who gives a rap? The truth is, altogether it's been pretty sensational, a great little 'arty' diversion... certainly better than any kind of structured course... and 'random' to me means free and spontaneous - or as spontaneous as it's possible to be under the numerous limitations one finds oneself landed with: of background, chance encounters - or failures to encounter - of knowns and unknowns... etc... (avoiding insane Rumsfeldian confusions... otherwise, and more correctly (I recently learned), known as Johari Windows).



OK, The BEATS .... they're enough to get anyone - even a less than half-adventurous dunderhead - hooked, and striding along with them... because their aspirations and aims were quite NEW and the outpourings based on experience were pretty much ALL non-fiction... OK, there are augmentations, and restraints... one fact that's emerged in recent years is that actually there was very little restraint: just censorship as ordained by original publishers who were more concerned with making dough than promoting risqué avant-garde art/literature which, to be fair, was yet to be tested on general readers. Which can't be said of Henry Miller's first publisher (of his groundbreaking 'Tropic-of Cancer' 'autobiography' all of two-decades earlier) who was, as if anyone wouldn't have guessed, French.

Who were The Beats, though? There were roughly between 10 and 20 of them, going by all the (now identified) pseudonymous characters in the various novels and poems... and depending on precisely how you want to define the term. Kerouac was one more than any, but also Ginsberg, Burroughs and especially Cassady.... who maybe was the chief catalyst in creating that fantastic Beat literature which swiftly evolved as might a perpetual improvised jazz that ticks and jolts along like a wild crazy machine - imagine here Ken Kesey's weird psychedelic bus 'Furthur'; Cassady (who else?) at the wheel - yet you can't make yourself get off, can't put the book down... because you're there in those pages careening along, not out of control - quite - but wayward and free and it's f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s... like floating in a mad luxuriant sea, splashing with intoxicating elixirs that hit you in the brain with random ecstatic zaps.

Reminds me of me as a kid with no adults around, charging down hills like a maniac on a six-wheeler soap-box cart I made out of a couple of old prams back in the 50s... and for ever after was blamed for depleting my dad's nail box. Then discovering some crazy old neglected half-destroyed house, across fields miles from anywhere, way beyond anywhere I'd been before, exploring the lethal stairs, the even more lethal cellar...

HERE's an amazing extract from Gerald Nicosia's huge 767-page masterpiece biography of Kerouac 'Memory Babe', which I read about a decade ago, a tome my hand removed from the shelf almost involuntarily the other day while on one of those occasional whimsical perusings mentioned at the start of this commentary... and which perchance fell open at page-336:

The only way out of self-conscious art, he [Jack] felt, lay along the lines of modern musical composition, as in the work of Bartok and Schonberg. Jack wanted to discover "the basic tones of existence" as they were embodied in both characters and the human character generically. With those tones he would organize variations as in jazz, using his "knowledge of the 'IT' of feeling." Such writing would comprise large amounts of dialogue, and the endless talk would be structured by the classic jazz pattern of "18 bars, bridge, and take­out 8 bars." If one character got to really "blowing," Jack would let him keep taking further "choruses" until all his emotions were spent. By bringing different combinations of characters together in discus­sions, he could achieve the effect of instruments responding to one another in a band. As he explained the technique to Ed White: "When No. 1 talks to No. 2 and No. 3, it is not the same as No. I talking to No. 2 alone, or 2 and 3 discussing 1, or all three silent together, or 3 alone in his eternity." When all the characters fell into a silence, the author's voice would take over as a "choral hymn" or "oratorio."

This complicated form derived from Jack's perception of the small number of character types any writer has to work with. He was looking to expand literature beyond the limited range of possible plot situations, just as bop musicians had broken free of the reper­toire of swing melodies by reaching for a broader harmonic spread. What is often missed—and Jack discussed this fact with Tom Livornese—is that bop derives its interesting quality not so much from its immediate conception as from its larger musical base. Quite simply, a bop composition has more tones available to it to build from. Creating an equivalent to bop in writing depended upon the au­thor's ability to find new ways of looking at old things. Jack now had a form for this literary music—what he called "Organized Variations on a Theme on Existence"—but he lacked the content: the "tones" themselves.

…it was Neal Cassady who finally gave him a clear answer. On December 30,1950, Jack received a 23,000-word typewritten letter from Neal, which Jack pronounced "the greatest story" he'd ever read by an American writer. In the letter, Neal poured out his heart …the subject of the story was, most remarkably, the develop­ment of Neal's "soul."

Jack was astonished that Neal had found a way to write about intensely real things like miscarriages and dwarfish cabdrivers, which were too sordid, grisly. or improbable for most literature. These were things he himself hadn't yet learned how to organise into a single narrative, though he considered them the most important things to tell about. Jack thought Neal's letter a "novelette" that "outmatches Céline, Wolfe; matches Dostoyevsky in its highest mo­ments; has all of Joyce at its command. . .” No writer before had made him know so completely the thoughts of a young homeless man in jail, or made him feel so deeply a motherless man's vast need for women or a jailbird's haunting fear of arrest. Above all, he was mortified by the humility with which Neal produced such a masterpiece, for Neal didn’t even consider himself a writer, whereas Jack truly believed him "a much greater writer than I am.”

Though Jack doubted that either Brierly or Giroux [publishers] would acknowledge Neal’s genius, he saw the letter as a watershed in literary history, marking the start of an "American Renaissance." Not only did Neal now "belong to the world," but Jack predicted a wave of American writers would follow in his footsteps. Outcasts and mad­men, rising "from the streets and the land with a language," would give the nation "a vision all their own, eloquent, confessional, sublime and pure."

...Jack thought it ranked with Dostoyevsky's 'Notes from Underground'...

(...which sends me straight to my Dostoyevsky section - to re-read that amazing novella Kerouac refers to.) But add to this the impressive account revealed in his friend, John Clellon Holmes's 'Go' (1952), which perhaps forms the literary forerunner of Beat literature as in most of Jack's works, esp 'On The Road', and Ginsberg's groundbreaking poems, and you have a toxic brew of a brand new sensational breakthrough in literary art, the equivalent of which is yet to be repeated - though perhaps the astonishing unique art of Gabriel Garcia Marquez is an exception, especially his 'One Hundred Years of Solitude'.

Well... I could dish out several pages of extracts and perspectives on various intriguing gripping styles and approaches from many a random pick from the numerous bookshelves here. But as ever, if I didn't restrict myself to a mere glimpse - as above - I'd never get around to REALLY living... like right now: the sun's crashing in, there's a gentle breeze, no clouds, the tide is high, the sea-water's crystal clear (never known it so clean here as this year)... and I'm all ready to SCARPER!

But before I do, I should mention, needlessly I guess, that after going the rounds, Cassady's 23,000-word 'masterpiece' ended up with some hapless dude on an ancient houseboat which sank rather suddenly... and in a rush to escape drowning the famed document was forgotten... so like Gogol's 'Dead Souls - part-2' yet another 'great' art-work becomes lost to posterity.

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