Sarah Palin and the Amazing Aquasaur

Yesterday I saw something bizarre on the news that made my brain go to one of those last straw places you go to when your jar is filled with last straws and yet here is somehow another and it’s even more kinky twisted than the straw before it.

“Oh,” you say, “certainly you’ve seen some beyond crazy stuff in your life and are little surprized by the insanity that passes as piece of country pie good neighbor normal.  What about the last eight years of so-called democracy and free world righteousness?  Huh?”

I know, I know.  Still, Palin about sunk me when she appeared on the world stage.  There was something new and very wrong.  She was like a nail tossed in the blender.  On purpose.  In the hope you’ll be so overcome with horror at the sound of splintering metal you’ll automatically cover your ears and run screaming from the room.

But then there was the Sarah Palin look-alike in Iowa, standing right behind McCain at a rally.  With the do and the glasses.

McCain:  And thank you for your support of Sarah Palin as well…

At which point the woman touches her chest and bows her head humbly.

McCain:  I’m very grateful that.

People cheer.  Fake Sarah Palin says “Thank you” and waves to the crowd.

Rachel Maddow (I love her, she’s great, she and Olbermann have me watching television for the first time in uhm…like…decades) treats it here as intentional mockery, an amusing wolf in sheep’s clothing that’s managed to slip in with…well…all the McCain/Palin raging wolverines.

I’m not sure. I think if she was planted by anyone it was by McCain or his people.

Like the green people miniature happy faces camouflaged in the broccoli florets.

A paste-in with subliminal intent. Remember Steve Martin’s “The Lonely Guy” and the party that’s all life-size cardboard cut-outs of celebrities? No? The only reason I remember is because I watched the film for the first time on Netflix three nights ago, because my brain has rotted and I no longer believe in creativity, if you’re not making money it’s just another useless spinning hamster on the wheel (just kidding…kind of), which is what happens when you’ve spent your life writing and writing and painting and painting stuff (yes “stuff”…blank stare) that you hope will communicate, in which you’ve invested your soul, and about the only piece that people come looking for on your website, via Google, is something you wrote about the “amazing aquasaur”.

Past is Prologue, Certainly

Because of this I now have Mary Poppins on the brain.

The hosts of Fox and Friends are concerned that a program in Ohio which allows same-day registration and voting could provide opportunities for voter fraud or manipulation. “Before you could try and actually prove where they actually live,” complained Gretchen Carlson, “if they’re actually residents, or they’re just Mary Poppins.”

I don’t like where it’s coming from and the direction it’s going, but “or they’re just Mary Poppins” has a certain lucky genius to it.

So, on Thursday (what a lovely day) I was now thinking about Mary Poppins and how the bank wanted Michael’s trifle of pocket money so clutching bad that Michael fled in terror while the Bird Woman sat on the steps of St. Paul’s begging pennies to feed the pigeons, there was a run on the bank by Michael demanding his tuppence back which somehow came to be called a defaulted loan and caused panic, banker daddy realized he worked for soul-stealing gluttons, reflected upon Poppins’ medicine and eased all cares with the admonition that all should just go fly a kite.

Trouble is I watched Fellini’s “Satyricon” Wednesday night, not having seen the film since it first came out, and then located The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter at Gutenberg online books and had been reading that off and on Thursday afternoon (and been bored reading it), and so all these things were colliding in my head, the Big Bail Out and Mary Poppins and Michael and the bank and Satyricon.

“What do you think of the fellow in the freedman’s place? He has a good front, too, hasn’t he? And he has a right to. He saw his fortune multiplied tenfold, but he lost heavily through speculation at the last. I don’t think he can call his very hair his own, and it is no fault of his either, by Hercules, it isn’t. There’s no better fellow anywhere his rascally freedmen cheated him out of everything. You know very well how it is; everybody’s business is nobody’s business, and once let business affairs start to go wrong, your friends will stand from under! Look at the fix he’s in, and think what a fine trade he had! He used to be an undertaker. He dined like a king, boars roasted whole in their shaggy Bides, bakers’ pastries, birds, cooks and bakers! More wine was spilled under his table than another has in his wine cellar. His life was like a pipe dream, not like an ordinary mortal’s. When his affairs commenced to go wrong, and he was afraid his creditors would guess that he was bankrupt, he advertised an auction and this was his placard:




I guess Petronius was something like the Thomas Wolf of the time. I don’t know. But there is something about “Satyricon” that at least recalls the spirit behind the “Bonfire of the Vanities”, except the hero isn’t charged with running anyone over. No, the hero becomes impotent. More on that in a moment, but “Satyricon” became a whole lot more interesting to me as I read along.

So, I had “Satyricon” on the brain.

Then we watched the debate Thursday night.

Biden was what I expected him to be and I was impressed with how there was no trace of condescending in his manner, which was sadly pronounced by Palin’s tendency to smirk, which I think she realized after a while was going to go badly for her and she toned it down a bit. One of the surprises of the evening for me, however, was when he spoke of his experience as a father, and I thought it was as much a surprise for him, the anguish that struck him as he referred to his wife and child dying in the wreck and his two other children being critically injured. He recovered mid-heartbeat, that quickly. And then a subsequent surprise was when Palin blazed on without acknowledging what had just happened. As I watched I knew she’d hit uncharted territory, something for which she’d not been coached, and was trying to imagine what the wheels of her brain were dictating, Palin driving on her own.

Both Biden and Palin had just been asked what each their respective Achilles Heel was. Palin did not divulge her Achilles Heel. She instead chose to speak of strengths. Biden instead acknowledged that he may be said to have a lack of discipline as his Achilles Heel, and added excessive passion as well. Then, as Palin had spoken about her being a concerned mom, referring to it as a connection to the heartland of America, Biden reminded it isn’t just moms who have the job of parenting and feeling for their children, and a bit of his intimacy with passion slipped through in the form of anguish.

Palin was at least coherent and was very Palin, she doing very well at being the feisty outsider, the Alaska pioneer. And that’s one thing, but she was exhibiting a problem with answering questions, and though that’s come to be expected it’s still frustrating because she is so good at deflecting that about ten words into her responses you could forget what the question was that had been asked and few would fault you as senile, just as one can’t fault Palin as exhibiting senior moments in her lack of relevance.

Not two seconds after I remarked to Marty that she wasn’t answering questions, Palin said “I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear” and, well, that did it for me for the moment, Palin having announced a non-debate, a commercial of talking points instead, and I got up and left the room for a bit and listened from the kitchen. But I returned, though it was physically painful listening.

I gazed amazed as she winked. And winked again.

Whenever Palin referred to herself as folksy Main Street I found myself flashing to “A Mighty Wind’s” faux folk band the New Main Street Singers.

As a matter of fact (if I remember correctly) Jane Lynch, as Laurie Bohner, the grand dame of the New Main Street Singers, does a fair amount of winking.

Of course, Sarah Palin might not appreciate the comparison with The New Main Street Singers. Though curiously Young Republican, the leads are also members of WINC, “Witches in Nature’s Colors”, who at one point in the film do honor to flame, which represents the light and the dark, the uncertainty of life and its delicacy….”and the penis”.

(Yes, I’m about to go *there*. Because I just must. But I think I do so tastefully, examining a few of the archetypes parlayed by the McCain-Palin campaign, if only to remind of the archetypes that have been embroiled with politics and leaders since, I bet, almost forever, as humans count time.)

Hmmm, well, actually, come to think of it I do believe that same flame has its place in McCain-Palin’s campaign strategy. I’d watched the 1931 “Cimarron” Wednesday night and as I’d watched (personally, I think it is a remarkable film and deserving of a blog post) it was reconfirmed for me that part of the appeal that’s being sold via Palin is returning the American people to frontier hopes, “go west young man” becoming “go north to the land of the melting permafrost” and billions and trillions of barrels of oil, as many as the stars that sparkle the Alaskan nights (a state that has less than a million inhabitants), America once again offered as a land of infinite resources ripe for the picking, and Palin one of the gutsy individualistic pioneers who’s paved the way, turning and crying from the far edge of civilization, “Follow me, folks! Leave behind the decaying husks of the fathers and the effete silver spoons with which they feed their decadent selves! I, Sarah Palin, from the last outpost of maverick frontier spirit, a gun-toting wilderness woman down the line of the Unsinkable Molly Brown, will reinvigorate the wet and flaccid leather of the American Dream! I will save, from their accursed political and energy impotence, the citizens of the Titanic Lower 48 with, did I mention, the billions and trillions of barrels of oil the new Molly Brown is sitting on? Shall I mention again the billions and trillions of barrels of oil I’m sitting on and that we are the foundling twin of Texas and are ready for take-off, Houston!!?”

I’d already observed Palin being sold as frontier woman and a Molly Brown sitting on the pot of oil gold, but it had slipped past me that McCain was the new Priapus and just how literally we should take Palin as his political priestess, winking so feisty about that fertile frontier she commands.

“Drill, baby, drill!” as she said.

The chant is “drill, baby, drill.” And that’s what we hear all across this country in our rallies because people are so hungry for those domestic sources of energy to be tapped into.

They know that even in my own energy-producing state we have billions of barrels of oil and hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of clean, green natural gas. And we’re building a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline which is North America’s largest and most you expensive infrastructure project ever to flow those sources of energy into hungry markets.

Encolpius, the hero of “Satyricon” (if you could call him a hero) also suffered from impotence. He had troubles, thus, satisfying a woman named Circe.

In “The Odyssey”, Odysseus was by Hermes warned about a sorceress, Circe, that she would entice him to bed but steal his manhood. Circe had invited his crew to a feast and turned them into pigs. Odysseus won them back by having Circe promise she would not steal his manhood, then becoming her lover. When he seeks to leave, learning a year has passed rather than just a matter of days, he is told he must first visit the Underworld, a port that no ship can reach.

In “Satyricon”, Encolpius’ virility restored simultaneously (it seems) with a friend of his (Eumolpus) enjoying the virgin daughter a fortune hunter had given him as a student, that fortune hunter (named Philumene) having hoped to obtain some part of a legacy, we immediately after have Eumolpus, the man with the legacy, reading his will to a number of legacy hunters. The will reveals that if they wish to procure their fortune then they must feast upon him at his death.

Though the legacy-hunters were horrified, Eumolpus died shortly thereafter.

…the Crotonians, furious because the old fox had lived so long and so sumptuously at the public expense, had put him to death in the Massilian manner. That you may comprehend what this means, know that) whenever the Massilians were ravaged by the plague, one of the poor would offer himself to be fed for a whole year upon choice food at public charge; after which, decked out with olive branches and sacred vestments, he was led out through the entire city, loaded with imprecations so that he might take to himself the evils from which the city suffered, and then thrown headlong (from the cliff.)

Another Eumolpus was the son of Poseidon and Choine, and he, as one of the first priest of Demeter, was also one of the founders of the Eleusinian Mysteries. I did a quick Google and didn’t find, at least in the top search results, anyone making a comparison between Satyricon’s Eumolpus and the Eumolpus of the Eleusinian Mysteries, which surprised me. In other words, there’s probably no scholarly validity in comparing the two? But I must! I think they’ve quite a bit to do with each other and that there’s more going on to the suggested cannibalism of Eumolpus by the legacy hunters than first meets the eye and makes people go, “Eeeeeew!”

Anyway, we humans are funny creatures. We’re in a time of crisis and a lot of us humans are on record as viewing times of crisis as a dysfunction in the fertility department. Good leadership, or at least leadership upon which the gods smiled, was observed through good crops and a proud Priapus. Bad times and failed crops meant a challenged Priapus and sometimes required a scapegoat, a fattened fool imitating the king.

Palin several times decried looking to the past.

Say it ain’t so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let’s look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future.

Preferenced? Never mind.

Biden reminded that past is prologue.

Past is prologue, which is why today I’m so struck by a few of the archetypes that seem to be smiling through the seams, archetypes that are exhibited in how we humans work and are thus also employed by humans both unconsciously and consciously. They aren’t always very clear in every day life but we sense their presence and appease them with ritual that gives boundaries to those archetypes and seems intended to keep them from breaking out of their shadow realm into the every day.

Art serves the purpose, too, of reminding us of the energy, of the force of archetype, while containing it.

These are seriously troubled times.

They are also interesting.

I would have it they weren’t quite so interesting.


Three cheers for the internet as a last great bastion of democracy in America. And doesn’t it feel good to know you’re a part of it?

From the interview with Elliot Cohen, The Last Days Of American Democracy? up at AlterNet:

The Internet is really a great bastion of democracy. If we didn’t have the Internet we wouldn’t even know about the Downing Street Memos, for example. Because the mainstream didn’t cover it. And so what we’re up against is, if we can hold on to the Internet, then we still have a source of a democratic press. But the problem is, it’s being encroached upon just like mainstream media and it’s in danger of becoming really an arm of these large corporations who are now dominating the Internet. And this started in 2000, well, well before. But in 2005 there was the landmark decision by the Supreme Court, which was the Brand X decision, where the court essentially turned over the pipes that send the information down the Internet to these large corporations.

…the Supreme Court said that that is no longer the case with the Internet. The Net’s not going to be seen as a telecommunications system but rather it’s going to be conceived as an information system just like CNN or Fox cable. And what that does is open up the door effectively for various modes of control, and one of the ways in which these large corporations like Comcast are trying to control the Internet right now is through setting up these tollbooths where they are instituting, or want to institute — and there’s a lot of powerful lobbies in Congress to try to do this — they are trying to set up these tollbooths which will regulate how much, what kind of bandwidth different Internet sites can have, depending upon how much they are wiling to pay. So we have a pay-for-play system where the bandwidth will determine how quickly you connect then, and whether or not you end up spinning out in cyberspace versus reaching lots of people. And obviously those corporations with the deepest pockets are going to be able to have the best connectivity. What that means is money is going to control truth.

Kubrick’s 2001 comes to mind, the astronaut spinning off into space, all flailing arms and legs.

This past weekend, AT&T censored a Pearl Jam concert lest America be alarmed by the lyrics,

“George Bush, leave this world alone”


“George Bush find yourself another home.”

Will the corporations and govt win yet again, or is there a possibility that netizens can Save the Internet.

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The news Friday is that Gen. David Patraeus is saying we’ll be in Iraq for, well, around another decade:

Gen. David Petraeus told a congressional delegation visiting the Middle East that success in Iraq will require a U.S. military presence there for about a decade, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said Friday.

The commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, who will deliver a highly anticipated progress report next month, said the U.S. “will be in Iraq in some way for 9 or 10 years,” according to Schakowsky. The general also highlighted progress in Anbar province, where former Sunni insurgents have turned against Al Qaeda extremists in recent months.

Source: The Hill

What I want to know is what’s the big f***ing surprise about this? And don’t tell me, “It’s not where the real war on terror is, that’s why the surprise,” because everyone SHOULD HAVE PAID ATTENTION TO WHAT BUSH SAID ON SEPT 20 2001, which forecast exactly what he was going to do and scared the hell out of me as I stood listening to his address to the “Joint Session of Congress and the American People”.

Here’s a refresher. He said…

Americans are asking: How will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command — every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war — to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network.

This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen.

When Bush said that it would be a lengthy campaign “unlike any other we have ever seen” I took him at his word. That he was going to launch us into an unwinnable, go-where-he-or-whomever-wants, VERY long war. I heard something down the order of at least 15 years in my brain. I was thinking, “Hell, he’s talking sci fi epic war! He’s talking sci fi epic war where from now on everything radiates from 9/11 with it as the excuse for anything and everything, where 20 years from now our children will be living 9/11 like it was their birth date and certainly their house, because it’s going to replace every wall, floor and ceiling we know with an intelligence gathering network, and everything inside and outside the US is going to be the enemy. In the name of the People and 9/11, they will make every single one of us the enemy.”

Now, General Lute is saying that reinstating the draft is on the table, but that Bush doesn’t want it. And Americablog (link above) is saying, “Just because Bush says publicly the draft isn’t necessary doesn’t mean anything. Bush lies.”

Well, in a way I hope he’s lying. Because as far as I can tell, reinstating the draft is perhaps the only thing that’s going to get us out of this mess. Why? Because I seriously believe there’s no way in hell that America’s kids will go along with it. A reinstating of the draft will get kids and their families in the streets protesting, as in the 70s, “Hell, no, we won’t go!” The government could deploy all the remaining National Guard here against the protesters and they’d still be out in the streets because they’re not going to want to come home from the desert in a body bag. And the National Guard having been treated as roughly as it has been, I wonder just how many of the National Guard deployed against protesters would join arms with them instead.

Listening to that speech on Sept 20, 2001, I literally went dizzy. I was standing in the living room of the place we were renting in Decatur, and I literally went dizzy contemplating and foreseeing everything that would happen…as it has happened since then. I thought, “Hell, and the American people are going to go for it because they’re all, even people I thought were sane, out buying flags and putting them up everywhere. They’re not listening. I don’t know why but they’re not going to be listening to what this man is saying. Lengthy war against whomever, wherever, and all of us rooming in the house that Information Gathering Jack Built. And because they’re not listening, several years from now the American People are going to be asking when is the war going to end?”

In the meanwhile, the coffers raped, we’ve got individuals responding to today’s NY searches of vehicles for dirty bombs with…

“This is fine. In fact, it’s great…They’re protecting us from all the bad things that could happen…I have no problem with it. It’s keeping us safe.”

Right. Protecting us from all the bad things that could happen. Keeping us safe. The economy is for shit for the 90 something percent of us who aren’t members of the super rich getting richer, America’s infrastructure is collapsing and no effort is being made to address the catastrophe of global warming.

A draft? Sure. As Bush says, “Bring it on!” How many kids do you know who will show up at boot camp?

So just what branch are they under?

Via Think Progress

Bush claims he’s not part of the executive branch.

Vice President Cheney has exempted his office from a presidential executive order designed to safeguard classified national security information by claiming that the Office of the Vice President is not an “entity within the executive branch.” Today the LA Times reveals that the President has also exempted himself…

Well, I’m glad they got that cleared up before H.o.p. and I got into Civics, because I’ve lived all these many years falsely believing that the Offices of the President and Vice President were part of the Executive Branch, and I would have erroneously passed along the same info to H.o.p.

Can someone tell me what branch they are under? I’m serious here. I would really like to know.

Why the bass player cried that night

Five or six years ago I tried blogging. We lived across the RR track, right next to the RR track, our too picturesque view of the world being the RR track and beyond it the large warehouse of a large dry cleaning establishment into which I never saw a single customer walk, which let the letters of its neon sign evaporate into the ozone one by one before closing up shop, and as part of an old edition of Bigsofa I made a page called Across the RR tracks then decided to convert it to a blog. I had worked up a nice graphic of a RR track and a decent layout. I set up the blog at Blogger. I got up maybe two or three mundane posts with great difficulty as Blogger didn’t like to work for me, and then couldn’t get it to work again, which a number of people were complaining about at the time, that Blogger had completely broken on them or they could only get it to work occasionally. It was then a fairly unreliable service. I tried again for a little while but was uninspired also by the blogging community. Either I didn’t know my way to certain parts or what I was looking for just wasn’t there yet. If there was a progressive political closet I didn’t find it and six years ago there weren’t many doors to knock on. Saying I was unimpressed sounds judgmental when the situation was that the usual subjects weren’t any I felt moved to link to, or follow or comment upon. I see a couple of the same voices out there doing politically-based blogs now but they weren’t blogging politics back then.

Who were the archibloggers in progressive politics?

Continue reading Why the bass player cried that night