After Byzantium… The New Way

I’ve been reading a book titled, The Battle of Lepanto… It is about a naval battle between the Ottoman Empire and an alliance of western powers. It is cited as the beginning of the ascendance of Europe over these eastern empires. One tidbit attracted my attention… when the Ottomans conquered Constantinople in 1453, they had been a land power… with the taking of this capitol of empire, they were thrust into a naval world. Constantinople sat at the confluence of land and water routes, a commercial giant for centuries. And water routes accelerated and extended a societies reach by a force of ten. However, when the Ottomans, with their new navy, met the Venetians in naval engagements, they needed at least a force of two to one against the tiny little city state of the Republic of Mark. Why? Because naval technology and culture, naval skill-craft, took centuries to develop. Just imagine all that complex rigging just to move the sails about, and then consider the enormity of natural phenomena to negotiate–without even taking into consideration naval battle strategy and tech.

When I think about our culture… I am constantly transported to the idea of Machu Pichu. A place where centuries of societal refinement battled the scarce resources against the threat of starvation and societal collapse by ingeniously managing the element most vital to that communities survival, water. Every drop was guided and diverted and utilized in a complex of labyrinthine tiered garden beds the elegance of which is enough to mirror the Cathedrals of Europe. But eventually, these ideas return me to the stark contrast posed against the backdrop of our own society. It is the circus and marketplace which seem to be the alters of worship behind the veils of ego and kitsch.

Our naval skill-craft, our horticultural elegance is expressed in tricking a young man to hawk cars to his own neighbors by manipulating their vanity and pressuring their sense of consideration into capitulation for the wealth of a far off corporate headquarters more concerned with putting out 23 useless versions of a financial ball and chain to burden the citizenry into spending much more than is necessary for a necessity of life–conveyance to and from work. If we had 5 car types from each company and highly regulated technology introduction… cars could be on the market of the lot for as little as 5 thousand a piece rather than an average cost of $33,000.

Our communities look like cookie cutter wet dreams of rag and bone men.. six lanes of traffic bounded by acres of unused treeless parking lot, where the only green space is easement between lot and street, for big box stores which leave behind little more than the ability to work a cash register and funnel the wealth out of our communities nickle and dime at a time to far off accumulations used to elect our leaders and sway public policy to assure that societal elites have a greater share each quarter to keep them in their gated communities, with private police forces for each of their eighteen homes! It’s not just absurd… it is simply idiotic.

Meanwhile, they pay the way for economists who are so clueless about their own “science” as to lack the basic understanding that capital to wages and salaries requires a regulated balance to fend off economic crisis! They may as well be wearing pointed caps adorned with crescents and stars, donning long cloaks and waving wands about for all the use they are!

It is enough to make a guy want to sink his head into a bottle, bowl or ass!

But then I come across these simple permaculture videos… and I see simple, sincere, forthright young men and women… not entirely unwittingly, laying the ground work for the new Christianity to supplant the barbarity of Rome with simple thoughtfulness and effort. blazing a trail, embarking on the development of cultural strategies to remove the hand of Mammon from our shoulders and throats… and in such a way that those foul minions will never see you, (us), coming. Who knows what strategies and forms your, (our), efforts will one day produce?

Thanks guys.

CF Jurgus

Hallelujah / Leonard Cohen ~RIP~

Hallelujah / Leonard Cohen

Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew her
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken HallelujahHallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah


Don’t Go Home w/ Your Hard On / Leonard Cohen ~RIP~

Don’t Go Home w/ Your Hard On / Leonard Cohen

I was born in a beauty salon
My father was a dresser of hair
My mother was a girl you could call on
When you called she was always there [Repeat: x5]
Ah but don’t go home with your hard-on
It will only drive you insane
You can’t shake it (or break it) with your Motown
You can’t melt it down in the rain   x3
I’ve looked behind all of the faces
That smile you down to you knees
And the lips that say, Come on, taste us
And when you try to they make you say Please
When you try to they make you say Please  x3

Ah but don’t go home with your hard-on
Here come’s your bride with her veil on
Approach her, you wretch, if you dare
Approach her, you ape with your tail on
Once you have her she’ll always be there
Once you have her she’ll always be there [Repeat: x4]
Ah but don’t go home with your hard-on
So I work in that same beauty salon
I’m chained to the old masquerade
The lipstick, the shadow, the silicone
I follow my father’s trade
I follow my father’s trade
Yes I follow my father’s trade
Yes I follow my father’s trade
Yes I follow my father’s trade
Ah but don’t go home with your hard-on
It will only drive you insane
You can’t shake it (or break it) with your Motown
You can’t melt it down in the rain [Repeats]

Trump’s Appeal is Psychological, Not Ideological

I grew up in Oak Park which borders Chicago on the west… except for a stint in the military… I’ve lived my whole life in and around Chicago until just a few years ago. There are ~13 million in the state of Illinois, ~10 of which live in metro-Chicagoland. I now live in central Illinois.

I went into the Farm and Fleet the other day wearing my Hillary pin and the kid behind me in line was openly glaring at me and muttering under his breath angrily. I said something about how I suspected the trend in micro-homes and RV’s seemed somehow to coincide with the rise of the Billionaires and the woman at the register chuckled a bit and vowed never to go back to a double-wide.

Though she was polite, I am sure she was a Trump supporter. I stopped a moment to chat with an older woman waiting for her husband and picked up the thread of conversation we had been having about Billionaires in politics, our Governer Rauner has held up a state budget for over a year now demanding cuts which would put pensions, funding for services such as psychiatric outreach, not to mention schools and educational programs, at risk. Companies have gone under waiting for checks from the state. Educators and other state workers live in a limbo of insecurity. state colleges and universities are drastically cutting curricula. And people like this woman I stopped to talk too say they are voting for Trump because they don’t trust Hillary.

Not wanting to cause any unpleasantness with this, otherwise, nice woman, I steered the conversation to an unacknowledged crisis we are having here in Bloomington. In the first 5 months of 2016, in a town of 79,000, $8.6 was spent in video gambling machines. I spoke about how one third of that money goes to the video gaming vending co. and how there are no jobs of any substance created by this business even while so much money is being siphoned out of our local economy. I was speaking to this woman but facing and projecting my speech to the lines of people checking out. I saw only one potentially attentive and sympathetic smirk at my point.

I ended with, [these business people are running a business which takes advantage of people’s hopelessness to the detriment of the entire community.] She excused herself as her husband had showed up with the truck and I said good day to her… leaving the dangling conclusion that Trump was just this sort of person. These are scary times, there is no convincing people. Trump’s appeal is psychological, not ideological.

Russian Propaganda on the Syrian Crisis

Youtube video titled… “EXCLUSIVE: Who are actually “Assad mercenaries” killing “innocent Saudi tourists” in Aleppo, Syria?” (posted by Russia Insider)

Propaganda from, surprise, Russia. And in support of whom? That’s right, a foreign strong man.

Russia is playing games with other peoples lives merely to extend their own influence and agenda. They operate, state and industry, like a criminal enterprise. You might say the same of the US, except there is a difference. Our industrial power-capabilities DO manage to subvert the agenda of our government at certain critical turns in the road, but this is because our electorate has not gained the cultural awareness to contend with a tragic power vacuum at the lowest levels of the society. Because of the size and extent of our influence, our citizenry has a disproportionate effect or consequence when it is misinformed.

This is the price of democracy… it is something many of us are aware of and we are finding ways to change this situation. The only alternative is governance by a strongman. Such not only stifles human development at all levels of human endeavor… technology, social harmony, industry, culturally, in the arts, in the recording of history, in the teaching of our youth, but politically. One of the toughest things to get right in a society is the handing over of power from one leader to another. This is why Syria has so much devastation right now. There are no mechanisms for differing groups of people to be heard and represented in government.

This is also why Putin needs war, at home and amongst his neighbors. For him, the more strife the better. If there were peace among his neighbors, the UN and EU would focus their attention on Russian gangsterism, subverting of foreign governmental processes and outright war-making. And Putin can’t afford to lose power because of the way in which Putin handles governance. If Putin loses power, he will either end up in prison or dead.

Meanwhile, in the US, we are in the midst of an election campaign which will see a legacy of over two centuries of nearly violence free transition of power from one leader to another. However, as long as one nation is enslaved, no nations are free or safe. And we here in the US with some sense of historical context can see that we are not untouched by this maxim.