The Men That Don’t Fit In by Robert William Service

There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,
A race that can’t stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain’s crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don’t know how to rest.
If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they’re always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: “Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!”
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.
And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It’s the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that’s dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.
He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life’s been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He’s a rolling stone, and it’s bred in the bone;
He’s a man who won’t fit in.
                       Jim Baker, Trapper, Scout and Guide
“We choose the right to be who we are. We know the difference between the reality of freedom and the illusion of freedom. There is a way to live with the earth and a way not to live with the earth. We choose the way of earth. It’s about power, Ray.” — Jimmy Looks Twice, Thunderheart 1992
Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Alexandria (Burning Man 11)

Blankly she stared at the traffic below rushing away on 395 even though it was almost 3 am. The news had hit her hard and was totally unexpected. She had listened to the recorded message from the Paris hospital three times. She truly regretted never giving her father her cell phone number and now he was gone. A stroke had taken his life. Never again would she be able to defend her politics to the expat.

Margaret’s father was a veteran of the Korean war. He had been in the United States Air Force. He was a lieutenant and had served as a B-29 navigator in many bombing missions during the conflict. He was a stubborn man with strong political convictions. When she was young she loved to listen to his rambling stories of the decent republican president, good old ‘Ike’ Eisenhower. Her Father had worked as a defense contractor when he returned. A civilian consultant for the defense industry. Plenty of work fighting the cold war in those days. Lots of money to be had for the military industrial complex as it was known around their house in McLean Virginia.

Shortly after Margaret had been born the Watergate scandal occurred. This and maybe all the antiwar protests had changed her Father for good. When she was four she remembered her Mother and Father having world war three in the parlor. It was sadly one of her earliest memories and as far as she was concerned the beginning of the end of her parents’ marriage even though her Father had stuck it out until she was thirteen. Their political battles were never ending. Her Mother ever increasingly Republican and her Father a liberal Independent. Not surprising in fact because her mother had come from old southern money and her Father had come from a New Hampshire farm.

In 1982 her Father had moved to Paris to work for UNESCO. It was a change of pace for him but something he truly believed in. She had stayed behind in McLean. After graduating high school she had been accepted at Georgetown. In fact although she had traveled extensively her home had always been in the nation’s capitol. She knew the city well. K street was her domain. The American Petroleum Institute payed her grandly. Her Mother was very proud, but her Father had disagreed with her decision from the very beginning. She had turned down an offer from the CIA.

She reached down for the bottle of Pinot on the glass table and refilled her tumbler. The pack of Benson & Hedges was half gone already. The first cigarette had tasted okay and took the edge off the bad news but now she was smoking and trying hard not to think about the pain that was building inside her. It was her first cigarette in seven years. The first time she had listened to the message she had run downstairs to the Korean market at the base of the apartment building and bought wine and cigarettes. The owner, whom she had know for years knew this was not the regular Margaret. The wine was relatively normal but the cigarettes meant something was wrong. He had sensed the pain in Margaret’s face but he had kept his silence in the intuitive fashion of the orient.

She wondered about the funeral arrangements. Since her Father was a veteran would he be buried at Arlington? She wasn’t sure he would’ve gone for it. She had remembered one time when he came to visit he befriended the store owner downstairs. Despite the fact his Korean wasn’t very good he still managed to have a decent conversation making friends for life in the process. That was her father. He could make friends standing on the platform at the train station. He was too friendly for DC. She wiped a tear from her eye. So much to do now. She dreaded the call she would make to her Mother. Had she heard already? She just wasn’t sure.

She closed the sliding glass door to the balcony and sat down on the couch carefully placing the bottle and glass on the coffee table. She had left the cigarettes outside. She might be smoking but she detested the smell of smoke inside. The big screen TV blared the endless news of the day. Something about the missing plane, maybe it had been found. Tomorrow she would make plans to fly to Paris. She had the name of her Father’s attorney on her cell phone. She scrolled through her extensive address list. There it was, Marcel Lemieux Avocat. She began to sob gently. She still couldn’t believe she hadn’t given her father her cell number but here she had his attorney’s number at the ready.

Australian authorities had maybe located the plane. The blaring TV had jolted her out of a half sleep. She grabbed the remote and turned it off. Her mind drifted. Australia, just the name stirred something inside her. She didn’t know why. Tomorrow was another day. She fell asleep on the couch. A siren wailed down 395.

“I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures.”                 — Geronimo

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Our Lonely Electronic World

amazing street art 16 Amazing street art from the village of Doel (34 photos)

Bring back the town hall meeting! In our ever increasing electronic world humanity has fell quite literally out of touch with humanity. We now shake hands electronically. We sign our new mortgage loans electronically. We “friend” people over the internet, people we may have never met, perhaps people we knew years ago. Many of us will go for days without any real human contact. Of course we see people at work everyday but are these actually people we would share our true feelings with face to face? How many times have you pictured the new Norman Rockwell portrait with everyone sitting around texting others who aren’t even in the room? The new American, even the new international family fits this description quite nicely.

We take pictures of everything! Literally everything since now we no longer have to go to photomat. We can delete what we don’t like, enhance what we want click and send! Look at all the cat and dog pictures! Our new celebrated celebrities. Most of us don’t go for a single day without giggling at some newfangled animal in the perfect ridiculous pose for our amusement. Hell we’ve even replaced the need for human contact to an alarming degree. Sex? Yes of course! Just seek out your new electronic fantasy the venues are virtually limitless. No birth control necessary, no awkward moments the next morning, free from STDs and any emotional investment.

amazing street art 22 Amazing street art from the village of Doel (34 photos)

We seek and choose our news. Don’t bring us down with the real world. We need our paradoxical utopia. Please don’t unplug our game! We have important tasks to complete! We started sorting those bricks, killing those aliens and eating those ghosts and now we are killing mutant zombies, destroying hostile villages and tilling imaginary fields vicariously living our existence in fantastical imaginary cities. Life is wonderful, life is great, our painless reality why should we wait? Disconnected? Not at all! Just pick up the controller and join the ball!

Which brings us to our inherent loneliness. Our huge disconnect with the physical world. We ignore reality at our own peril. Bring back the town meeting. We need face to face contact and human interaction. We need oxytocin. We need to feel like a valuable part of something but not electronically. If we don’t seek to embrace each other in the true physical sense our world is in serious peril. Sure our vicarious existences can be very cool but in the long run we need the real embrace of true friends! Bring back recess to our grade schools first thing in the mornings. Let the kids run around and interact with each other before sitting them in a chair. Watch the incidence of ADD go down, naturally!

We disagree with each other all the time. In our electronic world we bitch and insult constantly. How much more might we accomplish by coming face to face to discuss our differences? We need to break down our huge disconnect with other people living in different ways. After all is said and done we are quite human everyone. This of course comes with quirks and limitations but it’s better to recognize them and deal with them than to pretend that they don’t exist and continue to ignore each other. The human condition should be a cause to gather and celebrate rather than one to build walls and destroy. Spread the Word!

amazing street art 2 Amazing street art from the village of Doel (34 photos)

“Share your opinion. Don’t be shy. Just pick up a Dr. Seuss book and bastardize it to make your speech. Can’t think of anything creative? Just choose you own reality. Ignore the scientific facts.” — Jake Shween

“Criticism is always easier than constructive solutions.” — Jaron Lanier

Share this video: Just 20 Strangers

Screw Healthcare; Buy a Gun!

If more people owned guns the great citizens of the United States could do away with the need for healthcare altogether. After all when a horse becomes lame it is usually shot to death. Certainly the cost of a bullet is much cheaper than a statin drug, an aspirin, chemotherapy or any of the drugs prescribed for depression. Heck a bullet cost less than a stalk of broccoli. Just think of the billions of dollars that could be saved if we simply shoot people who are ill or depressed.

Perhaps the Supreme Court should enact a law that to be a citizen of the United States one must own a gun. (After all they pick Presidents don’t they?)  There could be classes in schools where we could teach our progeny to shoot first and ask questions later. If there were any unfortunate accidents in this process we could simply say that we were “decreasing the surplus population” just like the famous character of Ebenezer Scrooge did in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Now there was a man ahead of his time!

Imagine what a better place this country would be. The waiting lines everywhere would become so much shorter. No more listening to drug ads ad infinitum on your favorite television shows. Instead we could listen to the testimony of a husband who cured his wife’s depression with a single shot from his brand new .357 magnum:

“She started complaining again that she felt like the walls were closing all in around her. I just went to my gun case and whipped out my shiny pistol and gave it to her right between the eyes! The silence was golden! I think grandpa is next, his Alzheimer disease is rubbing me the wrong way! God Bless America!”

So listen up and stay ahead of the curve. If you have any spare funds invest them immediately in arms manufacturers. Take to the streets and extoll the virtues of guns and live ammo. The world could be such a better place without all the sickos walking around! The new slogan is “Bullets not Broccoli!”

Malala. #gunviolence #gunsafety #gunsense

“If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience—by experience.” —- Mr. Bumble in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist

“You can make people buy broccoli!” —- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween