The Friends of California Libre...

19 October 2006

The Inner Oktoberfest

Greetings, friends,
The Santa Ana winds are right on global warming can steal that from Southern California. Hot and dry, the blue sky over the Silver Lake hills clear and sharp...lips cracked and my head aching. Last night the desert wind, full of negative ions, drove everyone into the street, heavy traffic at 10 PM, Jan's diner packed with ancient ghosts, Pinkberry with a line to the door. Pinkberry is our new hipster ice cream parlor on Melrose, with only two flavors, green tea and "original"...loud rave music and full of beautiful twentysomethings. I don't feel old, just recycled. Haven't we seen this before? Was it October only a year ago?

This October I don't feel that German oompa spirit, none of Halloween's romp...isolated in my apartment, sealed in with plastic (the landlord is painting my building, goodbye to the familiar 1950s blue-on-white, hello to the 21st century merlot-on-goldenrod) I feel more like an Egyptian pharaoh, cut off from friends and family, waiting for my sun-chariot to carry me into the afterlife. Yikes. Plus it's hot, dry, and toxic, sitting undressed in the dark and waiting for nightfall. I thought August was a bummer, but to put it mildly, this month is just half-done, friends, and giving August a run for its money. Most of you are too wrapped up in your own business to know what I'm talking about...too bad...enjoy your splendid isolation while it lasts. I don't even feel cold shoulders any Kramer said in "Seinfeld" about his move to LA, hand slicing the air, "In my mind, I'm already gone." I'm looking through the plastic on my windows with the same resignation.

Speaking of the ancient past, not one but twenty Octobers ago (which soon comes full circle into the future, hint), I've finally finished a rebuttal to The Green Book, the history of the UC Berkeley co-ops where I lived from 1984-1987. This might only interest my friends from Barrington Hall, although I welcome all of you to read these documents to learn about a remarkable place & time in our lives; the history and my rebuttal are here:

I would ask that someone (Monde?) forward this site along to our appropriate comrades...I don't want my response to George Proper's libel against us to be the only one. Send in your own rebuttal! I know SOMEONE will have a beef with mine. And with Mahlen Morris MIA and the Barrington Hall website ( likewise MIA, the house now exists only on Wikipedia, a sorry fate for such a vibrant place:
If you do write something, you can e-mail it to the webmaster of the site above, John Nishinaga, a real gentleman.

Okay, for the rest of you, I've also recently jumped on the YOU TUBE bandwagon, where you can peruse some of my short video creations, including my recent trip to Mardi Gras, the 2004 "Christmas Tree Bonfire" at Dockweiler Beach, and if you really want to get arty, a 30-minute lecture delivered by my friend and associate Raymond Pettibon in Venice Beach; Una, you especially check it out:

Speaking of homemade video, here's how our friend Mark Norris did it in New York City, using his mouth to give life to "Dictator Island":

Okay, and as we get down to a librarian, I rarely recommend books even professionally; I like to have people browse the shelves and select from the variety that is our wonderful literary output. When people recommend books to me (and they often do) I apologize, but I almost never read them; I'm backed up three books at a time and have dozens more in my own collection. But I'm going to make an exception for the most remarkable book I've read since The Holographic Universe in 1997; it's called 2021: The Return of Quetzalcoatl by Daniel Pinchbeck. I've been pushing this book on friends, strangers, random teenagers, anyone who might be able to comprehend his very personal interpretation of the end of civilization, which we all know is coming in some form or another. Rather than try to sample or summarize this very deep, dense work, I'll just copy out the last part of Pinchbeck's introduction:
"I find it very strange--yet strangely familiar--to be making this investigation. I grew up a secular atheist in Manhattan. As a journalist in my twenties, I drank to excess at cocktail parties and wrote magazine profiles of celebrities, shoe designers, and artists. I never imagined I would recover a mythic dimension to existence. I never expected to be fascinated by visions and dreams and synchronicities, to seriously scrutinize biblical passages and indigenous prophecies as if they were the hottest of stock tips during the dot-com boom. Often I have felt less like a person than a convenient intersection for ideas to meet and mesh, a magnet or strange attractor, compelled or fated--perhaps tragically misguided--to draw together Jungian psychology, quantum paradox, Frankfurt School critique, anthroposophy, and Mayan mythology with explorations of such seemingly outré subjects as crop circles, alien abductions, Amazonian shamanism, and the end of time. Whatever the fate of the world, I feel grateful--as well as humbled--to have received this chance to explore such awesome mysteries.
"I offer this book as a gift handed backward through space-time, from beyond the barrier of a new realm--a new psychic paradigm that is a different realization of temporality, a reordering of thought that embraces prophetic as well as pragmatic dimensions of reality. My aim is to help the reader share in my understanding. But a text can only act as a scaffolding of concepts, a ladder for others to climb. Real knowledge of what I am saying must be earned, and lived, by each individual, in his or her own way.
"If we were to conclude, after careful consideration, that our modern world is based upon fundamentally flawed conceptions of time and mind, that on these fatal defects we had erected a flawed civilization--like building a tower on an unsound foundation that becomes increasingly wobbly as it rises--then logic might indicate the necessity, as well as the inevitability, of change. By closing the gap between science and myth, rationality and intuition, technology and technique, we might also understand the form that change would take. Such a shift would not be the 'end of the world', but the end of a world, and the opening of the next."

If you do decide to take it on after reading that, good luck and call me later.

Another great metaphysician, Robert Anton Wilson, is apparently indigent and needs our collective help (thanks, Geri):
Pass it on...

And sadly, like Barrington Hall, some parts of our collective experience have already passed along into the ozone (thanks, Mike):
Rock 'n' Roll High School
CBGB'S shuts down this weekend.

Pinchbeck and Hell are not the only ones who recognize this collective experience, which I hand to you as an Oktoberfest present:
David Korten The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community
"In these turbulent and often frightening times, it is important to remind ourselves that we are privileged to live at the most exciting moment in the whole of the human experience. We have the opportunity to turn away from Empire and to embrace Earth Community as a conscious collective choice. We are the ones we have been waiting for," writes David Korten.

But the problem is that we, the citizens of the United States, have a responsibility to bring our country into the world that our government rejects:
Anger at US Policies More Strident at UN
By Glenn Kessler
The Washington Post

Not only rejects, but frankly would have no compunction about obliterating:
Bush's Nuclear Apocalypse
By Chris Hedges

The solutions to the crisis on our planet have already been worked out by reasonable men:
Solving the Korean Stalemate, One Step at a Time
By Jimmy Carter
The New York Times
Abbas: Palestinian Government Will Recognize Israel
By Khaled Abu Toameh
The Jerusalem Post
Five Former Soviet Republics Give Up Nukes
By Aaron Glantz
OneWorld US

And some not so reasonable, but worth listening to:
Give Iran the nuclear bomb

This speech, for example, was ridiculed throughout the American press, but I found it quite refreshing and, for a UN speech, entertaining:
Chavez Address to the United Nations
By Hugo Chavez
Common Dreams

If anything, it's nice to see someone put his money where his mouth is:
Chavez to Double Energy Subsidies to Needy in US
By Maggie Farley
The Los Angeles Times
The Little Tramp's Classic Labor Lesson
By Chris Kraul
Venezuela's socialist government is using a 1936 Chaplin film to educate workers about their rights. Employers are not applauding.

Again, there is a parallel for the implosion of American hegemony in ancient history; in 68 BCE, pirates attacked the Roman port of Ostia, an equivalent act to 11 September in the Roman mind. The long term result, as they fought their own "war on terror" 2000 years ago, was the downfall of the Roman Republic and the rise of dictatorship, the Roman Empire:
Pirates of the Mediterranean
By Robert Harris
The New York Times

All around us we see the chaos of unreasonable men:
World Trade Talks Collapse
By Richard Waddington and William Schomberg
Gaza Sliding Into Civil War
By Rory McCarthy
The Guardian UK
Palestine on the Verge of Civil War
Le Nouvel Observateur/Reuters
US Threatened to Bomb Pakistan, Musharraf Says
The Associated Press
Thai Military Launches Coup, Backs King
By Grant Peck
The Associated Press
** EU-US airline data talks collapse **
Talks on sharing confidential airline passenger data between the US and EU states have broken down, the EU says.
< >

The American response has been aggression and blind optimism, which have brought us to the sorry state we find ourselves in today, called the devil, told to leave the party and kicked out the global Oktoberfest; take, for example, the money we set aside for the "victory party" in Iraq and Afghanistan, a party we may likely never throw:
In Bill's Fine Print, Millions to Celebrate Victory
By Thom Shanker
The New York Times

Our voice in the world government finds itself ridiculed and silenced:
White House Seeks a Way to Keep Bolton at the UN
By Peter Baker and Dafna Linzer
The Washington Post
GOP Senators' Bid to Confirm Bolton Is Called Off
By Jonathan Weisman
The Washington Post
Wolfowitz Reined in by Ministers
By Gary Duncan
Times Online UK
U.S. ties with Seoul fray over North
By Choe Sang-Hun
International Herald Tribune
Surrounding the South Korean president's visit to Washington Thursday is a widely held perception that the U.S.-South Korean alliance is bogged down in deep mistrust.
** Conspicuous in its absence **
The most alarming aspect of the proposed U.S. missile site in the Czech Republic is the lack of public debate. Should we allow foreign soldiers and missiles to be based on our soil? This significant question now confronts Czechs, yet it has not received substantive public consideration.

Our best ally in the world is likewise suffering their affection for us:
Move to Britain? They're all drunks and psychos
Where eastern Europeans went - and how the EU is responding
As ministers plan a work permit system, not all Bulgarians are seduced by the UK
Luke Harding in Sofia
The Guardian
Standing outside the British embassy in Sofia yesterday, Rozalina Boeva admits she wants a better life. After three years she has had enough - of Britain. She is coming home to Bulgaria.,,1863395,00.html
Blair Devastated as Army Chief Savages His Approach to Iraq
By Colin Brown, Terri Judd and Andrew Buncombe
The Independent UK
New Labor MPs to Call on Blair to Resign
By Patrick Wintour
The Guardian UK
"Deluded": Extraordinary Attack on Blair by Cabinet
By Francis Elliott
The Independent UK
Blair Says He'll Resign Within a Year
By Beth Gardiner
The Associated Press

Even our language is being rejected:
Native English losing power
Read This News ::
Across Latin America, Mandarin Is in the Air
By Juan Forero
BOGOTA, Colombia -- Elizabeth Zamora is a busy mother and executive. Still, for three hours every Saturday, she slides into a battered wooden desk at Bogota's National University and follows along as Yuan Juhua, a language instructor sent here by China's government, teaches the intricacies of...
To view the entire article, go to

I really enjoyed these images of protest by the British artist Banksy:

And since it is Oktoberfest, I was also happy to see how our German friends are recovering their sense of humor after their own break with the collective world, and bringing their cities back to life:
New Book on Nazi-Era Humor: “Did You Hear the One About Hitler?”
A new book about humor under the Nazis gives some interesting insights into life in the Third Reich and breaks yet another taboo in Germany’s treatment of its history. Jokes told during the era, says
the author, provided the populace with a pressure release.
By David Crossland,1518,434399,00.html
Subject: Dresden Reborn
Please click on the link to see the corresponding content:

I am still convinced that the European model is the way to go; here's an article (in French) about their hopes and ambitions for a more global, unified world:
You can access it at the following url:

And how they might deal with the migration into their corner of it:
You can access it at the following url:

Not that Europe is perfect:
Columbus Day No Reason to Celebrate
By Mary Annette Pember
The Salt Lake Tribune
La Suisse illégale en Europe
Pour le consulter, rendezvous à l'adresse suivante
French police thwart joint-rolling world record attempt

But just about; these articles really made me miss my lovely Paris in autumn:

Balzac's Paris: A Guided Tour

This site provides a virtual "promenade through the monumental heart of Paris in the time of Balzac, as described through some of his works, and as documented in maps and engravings of The Vernon Duke Collection Special Collections Department" at the University of California, Riverside. Also includes a brief biography of French novelist Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) and a bibliography.
Subject: Paris mototaxi
Please click on the link to see the corresponding content:

And here's two tours along the Seine in Paris, first the restaurants, yum:
and then the interesting sites not necessarily for tourists:

Again, we see the world coming together all around us:
UN Needs Base Facilities
You can access it at the following url:
Gibraltar Conflict and the EU
You can access it at the following url:
Russia plans to launch first flight to the Moon in 2011-2012
Russia plans to conduct its first manned flight around the Moon in 2011-2012, the president of a leading spacecraft company said Thursday.
Permanent article address:
In Africa, Women Stride Into Power
Sweden and Norway once claimed the world's highest percentage of female lawmakers. Now that distinction belongs to an African nation: Rwanda.
Subject: Eurozone economic growth hits 6-year high
The eurozone clocked its fastest growth since the heady days of the boom in the second quarter as powerhouses France and Germany enjoyed a burst of strength, official EU data showed Monday.

While our own prospects grow more bleak (although now I can afford to live in San Francisco again, so for me, gravy):
Panel of experts agree: U.S. economic outlook is grim" on the Rocky Mountain News Web site:
Is America headed into recession?
Gavyn Davies does the math
The Guardian
Is the American economy about to collapse into a recession? This is one of the most important questions that macro-economists might be expected to answer, but it is not one they find very easy. Large econometric models with hundreds of equations tend simply to forecast that GDP growth will slowly return to its long-term trend, from whatever starting point happens to be in place at the time.,,1882689,00.html
Subject: Global Economy in Collapse
You can access it at the following url:
Puerto Rico, Bankrupt American Island
By Laurent Mauriac
The numbers behind the lies
US about to go bankrupt
"U.S. home prices in peril"
Housing Collapse
Click the following to access the sent link:
New home sales slump continues to worsen - Aug. 24, 2006*
The Bubble About to Pop
Getting real about real estate - Aug. 25, 2006*
The Case for Breaking Up Wal-Mart
By Barry C. Lynn
Harper's Magazine

Well, we could always run away for Oktoberfest:
Nothing is rotten in the state of Denmark...

Vive le screed!

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