Culture, Musings

Why I Support My Local Shops

I patronize my local businesses and avoid Amazon whenever I can. The only thing I’ve bought from Amazon in years are mp3 downloads of single songs. My thinking here is: Jefferey Preston Jorgensen (aka Jeff Bezos) doesn’t live round my neighbourhood and doesn’t know or care if my local shops go to the wall and my neighbourhood is gutted. The man is worth north of $20bn and lives in Beverley Hills. Good for him. However I live here and I care about here. I will pay that extra pound to support my neighbourhood.

The excuse I often hear is “But it’s so cheap and so convenient”. It is and also so dreadfully shortsighted. If we want vibrant successful communities we have to pay for it. Everything has a price. If you want to get paid well you must be prepared to pay others who do a good job and who have good skills well. An economy only works when money circulates around as many people as possible and does not accumulate with the top 1%. If we don’t reform we’ll all end up living in Dickens’ Coketown (aka Preston, England), ironically the same name as Mr Bezos.

History makes us aware that societies that end up with the 98/99% enslaved (crap jobs, too much debt, no possibility of social climbing) end up only one way: Revolution – politically or militarily. This revolution will be televised.


What Is An Okie From Muskogee?

These lyrics are damn funny and the melody never fails to put me in a jolly mood
But what or who the hell is an Okie?

by Merle Haggard
We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee;
We don’t take our trips on LSD
We don’t burn our draft cards down on Main Street;
We like livin’ right, and bein’ free.

I’m proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
A place where even squares can have a ball
We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
And white lightnin’s still the biggest thrill of all

We don’t make a party out of lovin’;
We like holdin’ hands and pitchin’ woo;
We don’t let our hair grow long and shaggy,
Like the hippies out in San Francisco do.

And I’m proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
A place where even squares can have a ball.
We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
And white lightnin’s still the biggest thrill of all.

Leather boots are still in style for manly footwear;
Beads and Roman sandals won’t be seen.
Football’s still the roughest thing on campus,
And the kids here still respect the college dean.

We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
In Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA.

Culture, Musings

The Monkey

In the year 1685 two hundred thousand little Englanders gathered round Tower Hill in London to gape and gawk at the execution of Sir James Scott. It is said that it took five or seven or eight blows to sever the head of this Pretender to the Throne. Eight! As each blow hit the head of the poor man people craned their necks to get better views and oohed and gasped as blood splattered all around. To this day we humans, vile as we are, enjoy a bloody spectacle. How else to explain the gory computer games our youths love so dearly or our fascination with wars and bloody thrillers? The happy sound of men chuckling as Bruce Willis went bullet spraying in the film “Looper” still reverberates in my head.

One thing is certain about a man: he is quick to the Jovian swagger when he has a gun. He walks around, bull-headed, with his balls in his hands, intimidating and terrorising others; hurling fire bolts if provoked. Why? Because he can. Put the same man in a fetal position absent his weapon and point a gun at his head and he whimpers, pisses in his pants and swears he’ll do good if he’s spared or may his mother get cancer. Men, lacking grit under pressure, only come from Mars when things are going their way. When a man has a (good) job and money in his pockets he is the big shot. But if he loses that job he promptly falls to pieces. Frequently, it’s then the woman, psychologically and emotionally tougher, who does whatever it takes to keep home. Let’s face it: a man is a monkey, nothing without his banana.


Smart Ass, Dumb Ass

It’s clear then that there are three kinds of people in the world. Smart asses: they really get it, really fast; can spot life’s lacunae and opportunities in split seconds; have read The Fountainhead; boastful and deluded heroes; leap into frays without cause causing wars, smashing obstacles, stepping over people, making money, grabbing power and feeling really smug about it. Next up are Dumb asses: they don’t get it except “it” fits on their prix fixe menu of preconceptions and prejudices; read nothing; always banging on about tradition; the “I am what I am and bricks and stones can’t shift me” sort and really smug about it. Finally there are Us people: the ones whose brains objectively ping-pong conflicting ideas and decisions between outcomes and consequences for what seems like eternity. By the time Us people have taken their best courses of action the Smart people have already moved leaving Us people to clean up the mess. And that, people, makes me mad.