If White, a "Patriot;" If Black, an "Outside Agitator"

When bunch of gun-toting white people congregate from all over the country in Bunkerville, NV, to intimidate BLM law enforcement agents enforcing a legal contract with Clive Bundy as well as a federal court order, they're "patriots."

But when black citizens travel Ferguson, MO, to stand up to the oppression of the state against militarized police, they're "outside agitators" and "looting tourism."

Bundy had the "sovereign citizens" movement on his side, who claim the United States has no control over them at all. The black community gathering in Ferguson attracted the New Black Panthers, who just ask to be equal partners in the American play.

Ferguson: Who are the outside agitators entering the fray? (+video) - CSMonitor.com http://ow.ly/AwugI

One Riot, One Ranger in Ferguson, MO

The Difference between Policing a Community and Occupying a Community:
Courage,   Dignity,   Rights,   Respect  

Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol marches with protesters in Ferguson, MO

St. Louis County SWAT team arrives to Occupy Ferguson, MO

Texas Rangers are legendary for their hard-nosed law enforcement, as well their sense of justice and fairplay, as famous for taking on corrupt sheriffs, prosecutors, and judges as taking on bad guys.  Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol gets my vote for Honorary Texas Ranger for demonstrating exceptional intelligence, dignity, and dedication the rule of law as well as the exercise of the rights of citizenship.   

"terrorist" creep? I'd call the Brooklyn Bridge Skateboarders Heroes

Somebody, possibly skateboarders, replaced the American flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge with white flags.  The President of the Brooklyn council called it "an act of terrorism," in an NPR radio interview.  

Terrorist?  Really?   These young men --there's grainy video-- are Heroes of New York City.  They demonstrated a weakness in the defenses of this vital artery.  No one was hurt, few were frightened, and no real damage was done.  These heroes risked their lives to show a genuine  lapse in security at the Brooklyn Bridge.  

Sure, the police were embarrassed.  Too bad.  But that doesn't make these kids "terrorists." 

White-flag incident is the latest terror scare at Brooklyn Bridge - NY Daily News http://ow.ly/zya3E

Memento Mori

Coffee that was beans 5 minutes ago. Yogurt, honey and blueberries from my own labors. Flat surfaces piled with cukes, squash, okra and tomatoes. A barrel of basil next to the door.  

A good read under the trees next to the fountain, my own Walden puddle...with frogs!  Dove hunting through the Blackeyed Susans. Cairns scooping out cools spots under the Camellias.  

Gayle and I glance across the skeeter ditch at the lush green cemetery beyond.  A living memento mori we don't have to mow.  

Today I am the happiest, richest, most contented man in the world.  A very Jeffersonian feeling.  

43 Gals of Black Gold

Harvested the worm compost yesterday.  The worms turned one year's kitchen waste into 43 gallons of Black Gold:  

  • discarded lettuce leaves,
  • vegetable trimmings, 
  • soft fruit,
  • vegetable peels, 
  • coffee grounds, 
  • tea bags, 
  • moldy peppers, 
  • slimey lettuce,
  • old bread, 
  • onion & garlic skins,
  • even the crumbs in the bottom of the cracker box.

We shred newspapers and junk mail for bedding and to add carbon.  I also add a shovel full of shredded coconut coir every now and then for tilth.  

We almost NEVER put our garbage can out for the collectors.  

Today I'll use some of that Black Gold  to amend the garden for our okra sprouts and then side-dress all tomatoes and peppers.  

Make your own worm composter: 

Build a Raider-Proof worm composting bin from a food grade barrel video - GardenFork.TV Cooking & DIY Videos : GardenFork.TV Cooking & DIY Videos http://ow.ly/xBXbw 

Eric has a bunch of DIY worm composting information on the Gardenfork.TV site: 

Search for "worm" - GardenFork.TV Cooking & DIY Videos : GardenFork.TV Cooking & DIY Videos http://ow.ly/xBXF8

Jupiter, Mercury & a Priest walk into a Theatre

Queen Mary 2, Sunday, 11 May 2014

Second Day at Sea

I wonder what symbolist Robert Langdon would make of it.  Catholic Mass is being held this morning in the Illuminations Theater. 

Worshipers must enter the temple of Illumination, the Queen Mary 2's planetarium & the only planetarium at sea, between giant bronze  statues of Zeus on one side and Hermes on the other.   

Since the British were much more interested in the ancient Roman Republic than Athenian, and this is a British ship, I suppose the statues are actually of Jupiter and Mercury.  

Flanking the old Greek Gods are goddesses, I think of them as the Fates, juggling orbs of light.  Suns.  

Lonely business being a priest on a cruise ship at 0700, it appears.  

art queen mary 2

Paying the Poor Tax in London

Craven Terrace, London  Thursday, 08 May 2014

Paying the Poor Tax in London

I'm propped in the linted corner of a laundromat writing this note and paying the poor tax. 

Being poor is expensive.  

I always forget how expensive until Gayle & I run out of  "small clothes."   And when we find a Laundromat I'm immediately reminded of every set of military orders and every Laundromat we've ever suffered through between duty stations.   I think I've done laundry in at least 20 countries now, plus innumerable loads at sea or in various ports.  

Laundry on the go, it's my superpower.  

At best, though, my superpower is a rather blunt instrument.  So if Gayle's clothes are involved, close supervision is required when i wield my power.  

Gayle splashes with me down to the Laundromat, dragging our rolling carry-on stuffed with smelly clothes, wheels throwing tiny twin rooster-tails in the rain.  Once she gets both me and the laundry properly sorted, I'm on my own.  Gayle zips off on the Underground.  Kensington Palace today and afternoon tea in the Orangery.  

I've got the watch.  

The Poor Tax (1.6 USD to 1£), 
4£ per load.  (we run three),
20 pence for soap (3),  
50 pence for 5 measly minutes of drying (a pocketful of silver), 
And don't forfet the soul-numbing time suck...unless you happen to be a reader.  

This morning none of my fellow inmates seem bookish.  So they fidget. And gossip. And fiddle with their phones.  And criticize everything.  

Almost immediately I'm inducted into the London Chapter of the Order of the Laundromat when a petite black-haired Slovakian girl corrects my drying technique.  

"You're wasting money," she disapproves in barely accented English (want to annoy an American? Speak multiple languages).  Uninvited, she then proceeds to instruct me in how to stretch each pence of drying time. 

I immediately adopt the local custom of letting the clothes "rest" for 10 minutes between each 50 pence, 5-minute load.  According to The Order, this allows the clothes to soak up the residual heat in the dryers, evaporating as much water as possible between each coin drop.  

I know I'm doing it right when the attendant, Indian perhaps (that's Indian with the dot, not Indian with the arrows), sallies forth from his cubby to periodically glare at the members of The Order and all of his dryers unprofitably "resting." 

Serves him right.  Getting change out of him is like obtaining an interview with the Raj.  

"How many loads?" 
I don't know, three maybe four.  
"How many drying?"  
I don't know, how good are your dryers?  
"20 pound note is too much change."  
What do you recommend?  
"Maybe 10 pounds this time, then you come back."  
All I have is a 20. 
grumble, grumble. grumble.

The universal rule of laundromats:  If the attendant is unhappy, you're doing it right.  

My washday victory is short lived, however.  The attendant punishes me with a coat pocket full of coin worthy of poor, twisted-lip Huge Boone.  Still, somehow, I feel as if I "won."  I just don't know what.  In the end, it's just two old guys at the intersection of East & West, both pissing against the wind of time.  

I am lonely as cloud.  And, hauling my pocket load of coppers & wash back up to Sussex Gardens, as water sodden as a cloud too. 

Actually, today is a good day to pay the poor tax.  London is suicidal grey, rain the color of molten lead.  Soaking.  Unrelenting.  Despondent.  

I admire Londoner's their stoicism as they trudge past me on their way to the underground.   Worn faces, even the young ones, lined like Shar-Peis, streaming water and Churchillian determination-- blood, toil, tears & sweat.  The great wars might be long passed, but modern Londoners face this latest bombardment of raindrops with nothing less than the grit of their grandfathers.

Tomorrow we board the Queen Elizabeth 2 for America.  

Better to salvage a washed-out vacation day by catching up on laundry now than wasting a day aboard ship doing laundry when we could be doing absolutely nothing, but doing absolutely nothing with grand style. 

BTW, if you want "Fish & Chips" just take a can of peas down to Long John Silvers.  

Slaying the Internet Attention Monkey: My name is Rick, & I'm addicted...

Use these programs to get back to work without that Monkey on your back


My name is Rick, and I'm addicted to novelty & conflict.  Or at least I'm the Temple Grandin of the internet: too easily distracted by...everything. 

[in her book, The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum, Grandin writes about having her attention permanently derailed by even a simply computer screen saver.  Personally, I can't sit in a restaurant within sight of a TV without becoming engrossed in the action.] 

On the Internet, intellectually "shiny things" are my downfall: novelty, curiosity, drama, conflict (that's me in the xkcd comic above), all of which the internet provides in spades.  In short, over the last several years my productive output has slowly spiraled to almost nil, although I've never been busier.  

Right now I've got about half a dozen creative projects that are just inching forward --stalled, really-- just because I can't resist the rabbit hole of fun, conflict, novelty and drama rushing at me across the fiber.  Internet diversions are a lot easier and a lot more fun than the work of reading, learning, thinking, creating.     "What then shall we do?"  

A meditative exercise, the foundation of all contemplative practices whether engaged in meditation, silent prayer or some other reflective  practice, is what Buddhist tradition refers to as "calming the Monkey." 

The Monkey is the distracting inner turmoil of our increasingly ADD minds.  The Monkey is the playlist of past failures, humiliations, hurts, slights, conflicts, worries and DRAMA that loop over and over and over again inside your head.  It is only once the Monkey is calmed that can you finally hear the "still, soft voice" of whatever wisdom or creativity comes your way.  

But with the Internet, stilling the Monkey is made even more daunting when amusements fall so easily within it's hairy reach.  I admit that my addiction to "diversion" is so strong that I have now taken drastic action: I have purchased two program.  

The "secret" of both of these programs is that they force you to go to the pain of rebooting to cancel them.  Works for me.  Give them a try, and get back to work without that Monkey on your back   ($20 for the bundle, saving $5) .  

  1. Freedom shuts off the entire internet for any interval between 15 minutes and 8 hours (your choice, but can be configured to allow internal inTRAnet communications). 


  2. Anti-Social  for those who need internet access for research, web design, etc.  Anti-Social will shut off selected sites ( mine are: facebook, quora, twitter, feedly, & amazon) and the program also has the option of shutting off email as well for between 15 minutes and 8 hours. 


Both programs require you to reboot your computer if you want to cancel the program before the allotted time is up.