Sunday, December 21, 2014

Solstice Drift

Calhoun's Cannons for December 21, 2014

Hog on ice, but without the ice.  This last year has felt like being in a waiting room without any hope of an appointment. Becalmed, but before the storm.  Clocks ticking, time wasting that we do not have to waste.  The world's carbon reduction deadlines are again ignored when there is no wiggle room left to head off the worst of what's coming. Then American voters elected even more legislators who are wholly committed to King Coal and Oil.  It takes a peculiar kind of suicidal lunacy to step on the gas when you're at the cliff's edge.  

In my own little world, global warming is arriving in the form of drought that is changing an already stressed landscape, with more to come and none of it pleasant.  All because we value political expediency over our very survival. Surely the coming generations will curse our names. 

So I drift in this odd, airless year that hovers like a shoe about to drop.  Should the United Nation's most recent report on climate change cause immense sorrow or gales of bitter laughter at what we have done to ourselves? We are bad stewards of God's Creation with no good excuse for our folly. Surely, that's a recipe for comedy? Except for the polar bears.  And butterflies.  And our great grandchildren's lives. 

And so it goes.  Drift in a disordered world.  Neither tears nor laughter matter any longer. We have tied the knot, set the noose.  And now we wait.

In my small back yard, the earth's troubling oddness is writ small, but writ: The great Roger's Red Grape Vine is both going into winter's crimson sleep and sprouting new spring growth.  If a sudden, unseasonable frost hits, the vine will pay dearly for its confusion. The hardy native chaparral is game but looking weary.  The weather changes are coming too fast and in the wrong form for much successful biological adaptation.  So everything now waits for the great winnowing that is coming.  

For the dogs, of course, it's all drift all the time. Disordered world? Where's supper?

And no drift in my vegetable garden.  There it was all ferocious focus: Kentucky Wonders that spun off green beans in an unstoppable supply, and zombie zucchini that didn't know when to quit and had me trooping around to the neighbors with full plastic bags only to find hastily scribbled signs over their doorbells: "No Solicitors.  No zucchini. We've moved to France."

Now, December has come and instead of an icy solstice moon with frost covering the ground, the late brief rains have created an out of sync carpet of spring wildflowers starting their race for the sun. Winter is half over before it's begun, while I'm still in my summer shirtsleeves.  

But I dutifully get the  Christmas nutcrackers out of their boxes to once again stand guard in the night, and garland the house in lights, even though this year it all seems rather like caroling on the Titanic. 

Still, there will be laughter, feasting, song and lights on this silent night.  In a disordered world that's adrift and heading for a hard future, we will still need hope and joy and love.  And the dogs will always need a walk on a fine Christmas morning. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fifty Years Late

Ploop! Ploop! The noise you hear is the heads of old right-wing, conservative, reactionary anti-Commies exploding as President Obama single-handedly loosened some restrictions on Cuba.

Well, it's long past time is all I can say.  That economic embargo was ridiculous from day one. Embargos rarely work unless you have all hands on deck and this one had only our hands on it so of course it wouldn't work worth beans, except to make common Cubans miserable while leaving Castro untouched.

What we should have done is welcomed Castro down out of the hills, and immediately started selling his people Levis and Coca-colas and later satellite dishes and iPods.  Connection, baby.  Connection and engagement is what it's all about.  In a wired world what's needed is MORE wire, not less.

We didn't learn that in Vietnam on account of right-wing, conservative, reactionary anti-commie old poops either.  Did Vietnam want out from under the yoke of the French? Fine.  Did they want to organize their country as a communist/socialist structure -- distribute the wealth, reorganize their country as they wished?  Fine also.  Start selling them Levis and TVs and millions of people wouldn't have had to die.  Just give people time and the seductiveness of American/western culture and goods and the benefits of controlled capitalism becomes clear to everyone.  Even China, with our engagement, is slowly turning towards "modified" capitalism. Commie China now becoming a capitalists' wet dream. That's how powerful the jingle of a few coins in the pocket are.  

And Iran?  All those young Iranians with designer jeans under their robes?  Seriously?  Engage, engage!  More wire! More wire!

I know the pro-embargo crowd is even now crying about what an awful man Castro is as a reason to continue the boycott.  Phooey.  We have been in bed with an endless number of murderous thugs when it benefited us to do so.  Including Saudi Arabia, some of whose citizens, if you recall, flew planes into the World Trade Center.  Castro is no different. 

Instead, I'm sure the old right-wing, reactionary Republicans will make sure when they take over in January that the new Embassy in Havana won't be funded and they'll pull all kinds of tricks to shut the door again. Stupid.  Let's hope cooler heads prevail in the Senate, but I won't hold my breath because Americans -- especially old right-wing reactionaries --  just don't ever seem to learn anything

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Reason # 29482023094891 Why I Love Los Osos







Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Nation of Laws

Dick Cheney was a frightened man.  Deeply shaken when the twin towers fell. His fear fed his own  harsh proclivities, it clouded his mind, as fear always does, and too easily lured his heart's own longing for the dark side.

Dick Cheney was not alone.  Too many Americans shared his mind frame. The only difference was that Cheney was the Vice President of the most powerful nation on earth.  He was also the inside man, the man with full access to the CIA, the man who got things done, the fixer, the enforcer.  And standing in his way was a nation that prided itself on being a nation of laws, laws that required that we "keep the gloves on" at all times, because that's who we think we are.  For Dick, however, gloves were always an unwanted impediment to his powerful sense of realpolitik.  His fear and 9/11 was the perfect excuse he needed to take them off.

From that, all else followed.     

And so, here we are.  What was known-but-not-known is now beyond denial, except for those whose jobs and reputations and legacies depend on their continuing The Big Lie. It's a tactic that will work because it always does.  Which is why the most discouraging thing about the recently released report on the CIA and Torture is that we can all be sure that nothing will be done.  There will be no accountability, no consequences, no perp-walks, no war-crime trials, no Truth and Reconciliation hearings,  no nothing.  Just a massive report which will be denied by those who administered the program, then put on a shelf.  Then . . . nothing.

Except we will once again start piously declaring to ourselves and the world about how America is a nation of laws.The rest of the world will snigger up their sleeves.  They know better.

America tortures.  America commits war crimes.  Just like a lot of other Thug Nations that America publicly decries.  But America gets away with its murders because Power and Expediency, not Law, not Justice, is what America is a nation of. 

So we regularly go through this sad dance of faux "Accountability," throw a few low-level folks under the bus, declare ourselves My Bad, write, then shelve a big thick report, and then The Great Forgetting will set in . Until next time.

I have no doubt that some very angry jihadists will use this report to engage in some war crimes of their own.  Murder always calls out for more murder.  And already the foxes are defending their chicken coops while a whole gaggle of politicians are diving under their desks in a fit of forgetting as to what they knew and when they knew it. This will play out in the 24/7 news media, and partisan politicians are already starting to change the narrative: The 9/11 "mood" of the country made us do it.  After all, everyone knows that torture works and war crimes are O.K. . . . . if you're angry.

In no time, that narrative will prevail and we'll be back cocooned inside our comforting belief that we are exceptional and so did no wrong because we are, after all, America -- a Nation of Laws.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Coffee’s Up


Once again, SLO Roasted Coffee Company in Los Osos had it’s annual Holiday open house yesterday.

Santa guarded the rows of glass coffee cups waiting the guests.


Who showed up to sample coffees , including the darkly sweet and delicious Ethiopian Yirgachieffe.  The Yirgachieffe  shows up for a limited time and then, Poof!, gone , so if you like that roast, better get your Christmas list and head over to the warehouse.

And, with coffee, came the holiday cookies.


For those of you who love SLO Roasted coffe but only have Keurig coffee machines, now you can have your SLO coffee and drink it, too. They've got a new item: Single serve Pods!


As they did last year, there were raffles and a coffee roasting demonstration.  Great chance to visit friends and neighbors, get some fabulous coffee and support one of our very own Los Osos small businesses.

All watched over by a small, festive coffee bush in front of the massive roaster that is waiting to be fired up for an aromatic run.