Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Tao of the Ninja Mennonite: III

So it would have been in the late 50's or so when my Grandfather, a rather devout, even dogmatic sort of Mennonite farmer--plowed up a nest of dinosaur eggs preparing some new farm ground. The eggs are at a natural history museum in Spokane now. I've got half of one, cut and polished. I wasn't there, but I can imagine the scene a bit. It would have been the era, of course, where the whole creation vs. evolution(fight, you can't call it a debate) was probably hitting the mainstream in rural America. My grandfather wouldn't have been the kind of guy who would have spent a lot of time worrying about it, as wheat farming gave him all the worrying he needed--as he would have figured that if he was supposed to care, he'd probably be "encouraged" to do so. Well, here was encouragement to think about it--in the form of a half dozen perfect, oddly shaped eggs.

Now I can very much imagine his thought process. He was not particularly educated, but was a experienced and keen observer of nature. He would have known for sure that the size of the eggs were far too large for birds, and the shape was all wrong anyway, having seen plenty of snake eggs. He might have heard some of the hyperbolic explanations from the more evangelical sorts: explanations of how the dinosaurs were created on day one and the extinguished, or died in the "flood" or some crap like that, but I'm sure the fact that these were eggs would have held some sway, and a nest, which spoke of creatures living their lives rather than some exhibitory divine freakshow. He would have known also that it wasn't unusual to find other sorts of fossils either, stuff that couldn't possibly co-exist with big lizards, like mastodon tusks or dire wolves--and if anything to try to believe that all this stuff had happened in a week just a few thousand years ago was simply implausible. He wouldn't have needed to be a research scientist to known this, he was a natural scientist who had enough life experience and eyes in his head to think that a bit of a stretch. Creation was a revelation of God, after all, and it wouldn't lie to you. Besides, while he was familiar with his bible, for sure, he was familiar enough to understand that the "word of God must be read with guidance by the small, still voice of the Holy Spirit"-- meaning, that you just can't take everything in there verbatim, but you must practice a certain amount of cautious, thinking discernment. Jeez, how sensible. . .

See, being a bit of a bible scholar myself, having studied the thing cover to cover in my youth, I can promise you in there no-where is a commandment that one must be a dumb-ass. Science was encouraged in our household, for sure, as much as bible reading, as both, with guidance by that that "small, still voice" were was of understanding God. Ultimately, for me, I was far more persuaded by the likes of Issac Asimov or Carl Sagan-- perhaps also Hegel, Schopenhauer, Jung, on and on--Marcus Aurelius and Gung Fu Tze: these satisfied the answers of my "small, still voice" than did the various zealots from the dark ages. . .that's the path of growth, and how it happens. Does that "small, still voice" still speak to this atheist? Sure.

Contrasting now for a moment. . .just for giggles. Nervous ones.

Michele Bachmann?  This woman probably hears voices, but I doubt they're "small, still ones." For fuck sakes, she's running for president and getting somewhere trying. Mind you, she believes 1) The earth was created in a week some 8000 years ago 2) Climate change not just not happening, but is a hoax 3) Her homophobic husband is actually straight.

Some video fun. There's much more along this line if you follow the links. Be careful, if you haven't heard this kind of stuff be prepared to pick your jaw up off the floor.

So just how do people get to be this stupid? It's really worth a question, and education or lack of it isn't the issue. What it is, as far as I see it, the causal element is privilege, mostly the privilege to live your life in evasion of any facts or details that might challenge your selfish preconceived opinions. It gives one the option of being removed from the details that make up what most of us call "reality." But that's good old Michele and to a large degree describes the overfed pin-heads that support her. Privilege? That's not my background, for sure, nor my family, and so we have a tendency to adopt a critical eye especially towards things we want to believe. One can find oneself in a position where one cannot afford the luxury to believe foolish things for comfort, nor the risk of being wrong. Lack of privilege demands pragmatism, and objectivity--not dogma or idealism-- it might surprise people that that my Grandfather sold his farm in 1976, because of climate change. He would have been unaware of the research, but he was wholly aware of the level of the water in his well and the dates he had planted and harvested over the previous 50 years-- that would have convinced him far more than any scholarly study.  But we that work with our hands can't have our head, ahem, in the clouds.

Hand that stupid fool a shovel-- she might learn something.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Tao of the Ninja Mennonite: II

Following on the last post, it's worth putting some time and effort considering the implications of the "yoked" terminology. It's a much more refined view than one hears from many "empowerment" camps--who might otherwise use terminology such as dispossession, or exploitation, or enslavement-- see, the term "yoked" is important-- as within Anabaptist tradition one realizes that the "yoked" animal puts its head into the harness willingly, and performs work against its own better future for the short term gain of a couple of handfuls of feed. 

The wisdom of this tradition is to understand that one has personal culpability in the bearing of a yoke.


See, personal responsibility is central to these people. There are no innocent bystanders in this world view. Sure, you'll find kids around the world in terrible situations, but in a lot of cases the fault for that child's condition and the villain can be capably lain at the feet of not only some oppressing elite class(a growing and currently favorite) but also the kid's parents, and grandparents, who stuck their head in a yoke and empowered the exploitative force by their own efforts to seek an easy handful of feed. And I think there's a good point, if not an absolute one, there: most people find themselves in the positions of "dis-empowerment" not by exploitation by others, but by selling out to them.

Cognitive Dissonance seems to me to be the critical flaw of most progressive movements I value: no wonder, our culture has high expectations of maintenance. Few are willing to carry the burden of remaining independent, and we have found that the most effective way of controlling a herd isn't bullwhips but to feed it well. (Alert! Feed sack is running empty, and bullwhips must suffice in such environments!) It's little wonder to me as to why we see such little progress being made-- using climate change again as an example -- of all these organizations "battling" climate change all the while "yoked" to funding, support, media access, even expectation of lifestyles--on and on, coming from sources that have absolutely the opposite goal in mind. End result? Losing ground, of course.

Look, let's be clear: there is no way to preserve "spotted owl" habitat and hunt Californian Perky-titted Golddiggers.  Any of us who would want to make a change for a better world will need to be damned careful in what we do, how we live our lives, what our expectations are, who we work for, if we're serious about getting some traction on the issues we care about. The temptations to stick one's head in a "yoke" are strong, and opportunities ubiquitous. It may in fact be that at the moment it's all but impossible to operate effectively within mainstream--or even semi-mainstream society-- and keep one's values and benevolence intact. I expect that's the case. This is an extreme moment in history, and I see very few options left but stepping aside, washing one's hands of the whole business, and living in quietude, separation, and independence as much as possible-- until the season changes. There's a message here, but the corn-fed don't want to hear it yet. Once the whips come down, I expect there will be a renaissance of interest. 

That's hardly powerless, after all. Enjoy the moment. Preserve your strength.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Tao of the Ninja Mennonite

Well, some of you don't know this, but the whole Mennoite thing is my Mom's family. Sure, I grew up around all that. And honestly, hardly a bad thing. Almost hip, really. It's not really such a big stretch to be an atheistic Mennonite really. Nor ninja. Fits me nicely., in fact.

Some people think-- stupidly, frankly, that the Anabaptist movement(meaning, re-baptizing people from ignorance into enlightenment, some time ago) has today some anti-technological element to it. Horse-shit. Mind you, these are the people that invented refrigerators. Or Issac Babbitt, who invented the modern alloy for bearings. Or a chicky-poo cousin, Tabitha-(a her, again. as Anabaptist guys like powerful girls that do things. . .) who invented, guess the first radial blade circular saw? Her? Eli Whitney's first business partner? Anti-technological? Well, they were anti-patent, rather than anti-technological--- and that's why they aren't household names. If you find yourself your average Amish, or Mennonite, or Hutterite master of technology you'll find a guy who could build you an engine out of iron laden sand. No kidding, and has respect for all of it. Any of you whizkid IT punks want to try that? No, motors are not built with a mouse click--I'm not kidding-- and by the way, you still need those kinds of motors to run servers, in case no one taught you that in school. The anti-technological Anabaptists?  They have if anything the most profound respect for technology, meaning, that they understand both its values and its dangers. The real issue, basically, when adopting a technology, is whether or not by the usage of the technology you'll become "yoked"(important term!) to a world view you find inherently destructive. Well, Anabaptist or not, that "metaphorical test" is worth some time thinking about, because it seems to me most people I know aren't merely "yoked" but in fact "imprisoned" by that they're dependent on.

Maxim? So, use it, if it doesn't use you.

Easy, huh? Just that a lot of modern stuff doesn't pass that muster.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sailing and Self-reliance as Empowerment

So, how did I get involved in sailing? Only a dream really. I tell people as a kid from southern Idaho I grew up on prairie schooners, ha ha-- but that's not the case. I didn't grow up in the social class where people owned boats, and sailing lessons were completely out of the picture in terms of affordability. I bought books on sailing, used ones because they were cheap and read voraciously. I couldn't afford a sailboat, so I talked myself into building a little 12 foot skiff out of lumberyard culls, and, 6 months or so later launched it, having built sails and all, and I was pleased to discover it sailed. The first time I ever set foot in a sailboat was that boat, and the first time I ever went sailing was in that boat. It worked. I was so green that when I discovered it sailed upwind I wondered if I discovered something, it was utter magic. Got to say that sense of magic hasn't gone away.

One thing led to another as I was absolutely hooked. I also was, however, unknown to myself, a becoming a complete relic, a sailing iconoclast.. See, I started learning from sailing by reading books written in the 1920's in the pre-motor, or pre-yachting era. I figured, as the people in the books informed me, that self-reliance was everything-- that motors especially were unnecessary and if you learned how to sail, you wouldn't need one, but if you started sailing while depending on motors, you'd forever be dependent. I believed them. Since I didn't know anyone in “yachting circles” I didn't ever meet anyone to talk me out of that until later on once I had some skill under my belt-- then I was shocked to discover that I was doing something radically counter culture-- well, like something for real. Go figure. I really had no idea that the idea that one should rely on self-reliance and personal skills rather than technological aids was so crazy. I guess if you grow up in a poor community that comes natural to you as you is all you've got-- you can't buy solutions. Within the “yachting industry” the notion of doing without the newest modern aid to “navigation” or “safety” is tantamount to heresy. Facts have nothing to do with it. The statistics that confirm that the single most significant cause of fatal injuries or deaths in the sailing world (behind drinking) is engine and gear related failures, stuff you're dependent on, which then fail you and leave you hanging-- this is what kills people. Not storms, not whales, not sinking, not getting lost in the fog. But facts have nothing to do with it. It has to do with dogma, and the reality that few people will put the time and effort in to really learn the skills sailing requires, and engines and electronics provide a tidy way of covering up the fact that one's skills are actually pretty minimal. So obviously, they're popular.

But learning those skills, admittedly, can be tough work—not just physically but psychologically as well. You'll get a lot of heat from people when you try to really achieve something with an honest long term goal, especially if your efforts make theirs look silly. Especially people with 9 figure incomes. It's worth it anyway. I've got news for you, once I got to the point where I was making passages in my own 52 foot rescue cutter, no engines, a boat I had designed, built, rigged, sewed the sails for and the whole bit-- and my time was my own and I was king of my own domain, for real--I mean really, for real-- let me tell you that underway in the company of blue whales off the California coast going wherever you wanted to-- let me tell you that few people ever have the privilege of understanding the kind of “empowerment” that such an experience can give you. It never goes away. It changes you. You're different now, and always will be. But that cuts both ways.

I had a clue from this early one. I was at the dock one day, working on some project on the boat and this grand old lady stopped by. The sculling oar had caught her eye, surprising to me as few people knew what it was. “Well, Son, you're serious” she said. I don't remember her name but she grew up with a family on a sailing boat back in the 20's and 30's, and had been most everywhere at one point or another. She had plenty of stories, for sure, and good ones. As she was about to leave she said, “consider this” rather pointedly and told a story. She spoke of remembering in great detail the first time that she stood watch on the yacht on an ocean passage, at night, in the central pacific while the rest of the family slept. She was about 7 or 8 years old at the time, and said she could remember the night in compete detail, even though it might be 70 years ago. She said she knew full well what she was doing, and that her job was critically important to the safety of everyone she loved, and that her job mattered. Her role mattered. She mattered. There's that empowerment I'm talking about again. Upon finishing that she warned me “it will make you different, Jay, if you keep it up. You will do things, and think things, and know things that other people never will. And you'll find some loneliness in that. See, most people never get the courage to think or do anything. They can't, how could they?.”

Yup, she was right.

You see, my natural tendency with is blog really was to come here and blast readers with a pile of facts and figures about climate change, or resource depletion, or our seeming intractable debt issues, or all the rest-- as that's the kind of stuff I research incessantly, and it's how I think. I'm a sailor, after all, and good sailors keep eyes to weather all the time. Thinking ahead, always being a step ahead, always anticipating problems, always being prepared is the central skill of seamanship, and once learned, you just can't shake it. These things matter, especially if we're going to try to pretend to empower ourselves and our community we can't possibly do that if we don't have a good working idea of what kind of world we're empowering people to be empowered within. But you know, in thinking about it, I realized that all of you here are smart enough to have seen and read through all of that stuff, and probably wouldn't care a bit to see any more evidence of how tough the future is likely to be. Many of you will simply be turned off in an immediate knee-jerk reaction the second I would start to talk about any of it. I understand. See, without a certain level of “empowerment” such information like that isn't of any help at all. In many, if not most cases, people in our society really don't have the skills, or the sense of self-reliance, or confidence-- empowerment, right?, to really cope with what might be coming their way, and thinking about these things, even if they're critically important only produce as feeling of helplessness, anxiety, and despair and of course that's hardly helpful. See, rather than talk about the “bad” stuff, I understand what I really need to be doing is empowering people, give permission maybe, to take on a lifestyle of independence, self-reliance, and personal meaning—you don't have go sailing, of course, that was my path—but if you do you'll earn the right and develop the courage then to look at these issues squarely and adopt an empowered stance-- not one of hopelessness and fear, but one of bold heroism in the face of danger. Maybe in the same manner that a skilled captain, whom we all culturally respect, on seeing the barometer falls knows what's coming, and immediately and confidently makes preparation to ready the ship.

So while we respect in some manner the image of that Sea Captain, an embodiment of skill and experience, always looking out for the ship, always taking the conservative long term perspective, always willing to make the hard decisions-- boy, I tell you, our current society in fact couldn't be further from that ideal. Independence? Hardly, most of us are completely dependent on our jobs, careers, or checks in the mail and we're often completely beholden to where-ever the come from. That's hardly empowering. It's expected you've got to get expert advice, permission even, a lot of time for even the most mundane matters of life. That's hardly empowering. Self-reliance? Hardly, our lives are filled with the requirement of being dependent on a whole host of widgets and devices, cell-phones, computers, skype, whatever that we've no real idea how they work and have the tendency to just crap out suddenly and leave us hanging, often utterly helplessly. Even our icons of “independence” and self-reliance have largely become gutted of that. Custom motorcycles? You go now and buy a “custom motorcycle” off the shelf? Didn't guys used to build them for themselves—oh god, you need an expert now to do that for you. Oh yeah, born to be wild. . .be sure you get a safety check. . .And of course the sailing world, which I'm obviously familiar with, and how old Captain Piddlemarks can blab on incessantly about what kinds of equipment must be found aboard the properly equipped yacht. He sells that stuff after all. Geez, and of course we see where this all ends up: a society of co-dependent—not interdependent—people making a living capitalizing on the lack of empowerment people feel, making a living off the fact that people are trained to be to timid to think or do things for themselves. Boy, this does not make for a society of heroes. If anything, it makes for a society of victims-- and then we're surprised why it seems we can't possible tackle the simplest of issues, let alone--issues like climate change. We can't. We're too defendant on getting that next paycheck to pay for the services of others we need to get that next paycheck. No wonder our strategies are so shortsighted, because even if a solution might be offered that would be for the greater good of all, for the future, but that might threaten next weeks paycheck—we've immediately got to reject it. Even with our big incomes we're too impoverished to care about the future or very often each other.

This is why self-reliance is so critical to empowerment-- you, by becoming progressively less dependent upon a system, earn the right to think for yourself-- as the luxury of your independence guarantees it's something you can now afford to do. This is why I might suggest that a person who has a skill set developed enough to successfully make a go of it on a 4 figure income in fact, be well be far better equipped to provide real empowerment to people than any pep talk by some guy, though fabulous, no doubt, earning the big bucks and well spoken, but still firmly entrenched within a co-dependent system, and well rewarded for it.

So, self-reliance as a means to empowering oneself? What can one do? Well, anything one learns to do for themselves which they couldn't do before is empowering, of course. But, your ship will only be as secure as the weakest link in the anchor chain-- and it's best we focus on that link first-- something we're often very reluctant to do. We must always strive to challenge our comfort zone, not only in what we do but with the thoughts we're willing to entertain. You'll also find certain lifestyles, or professions, makes becoming self-reliance much more effective as they demand it. Others, frankly, don't, and discourage it. For example, you'd find if you took on learning real sailing, well, you'd find yourself in conditions all the time that challenges you, and the environment is always, always, trying and expanding your skill-set, your confidence, and with it, your relative empowerment. That's great. For this very reason I focus on teaching the skills of “sustainable homesteading”--as the same conditions apply. So go for it! How empowered to you want to be? Make that decision and set sail! How empowered do you need to be? You'll only discover that mid voyage, once you've learned the skills to properly read charts. But one thing leads to another, inevitably, and if one sticks with it's all but inevitable that one will get there. You will find indeed that one can become captain of one's ship, master of your fate. And please do, because I need like minded companions—fellow commanders-- who will join me in the task of building an armada to sail on the soonest tide, boldly, heroically, to confront the threat that now lies just beyond the horizon.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Unexpected rise in jobless rates"

Unexpected by whom?

One may ask, how is it that "experts" or economists get it wrong practically every time?

Well, who do they work for? The news agencies that select them as "experts" perhaps?

And who do the news agencies work for? Their advertisers perhaps?

And  how interested do you think GM would be in dropping a million dollar ad spot, pimping the new 2012 Chevy Tahoe or some such, into the middle of a news broadcast reporting 1) Current manifestations of climate change 2) Mounting resource depletion 3) and the generally crappy/negative outlook for the world economy?

No wonder the American people are so clueless. They've been sold.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Willful Ignorance.

This very interesting study released earlier this year: Yale's Six Americas Report. It's really worth a look over. . .

The scope of the report:

This report extends and updates an ongoing program of research analyzing Americans’ interpretations of and responses to climate change. The research segments the American public into six audiences that range along a spectrum of concern and issue engagement from the Alarmed, who are convinced of the reality and danger of climate change, and who are highly supportive of personal and political actions to mitigate the threat, to the Dismissive, who are equally convinced that climate change is not occurring and that no response should be made. The Six Americas are not very different demographically, but are dramatically different in their beliefs and actions, as well as their basic values and political orientations. The groups were first identified in a nationally representative survey conducted in the fall of 2008, and were re-assessed in January and June of 2010. The current report is the fourth in the series; in it we provide new insights into the informational needs of the six groups, their understanding of the health impacts of global warming, beliefs about current environmental impacts of global warming in the U.S., and support for local adaptation and mitigation policies.

The crux of the issue, as I see it:

Of the Six Americas, the Dismissive were the most likely to say they are well-informed about global warming, with 91% saying they were very or fairly well-informed. Among the Alarmed, 85% said they were very or fairly well-informed, followed by two-thirds of the Concerned the Doubtful. The Disengaged were most likely to say they were not well-informed, with only 2% saying they were very well-informed.

Take the time to work through it. Unless, of course, you're one of those who already knows everything there is to know about the issue. . .

Friday, August 12, 2011

Unemployment numbers:

Speaking of adopting new paradigms on how the future is going to work. . .

Jobs? Forget jobs. The role of whatever government we have isn't to create jobs, it's to allow for opportunities.  And there's our problem with policy now-- we've the worst of both worlds, where job creation is impeded by lack of support, and opportunities are impeded by institutional restriction.

Now all of this serves big corporate interests very handily, as high unemployment makes for cheap labor when you need it, and you get away with offering miserable terms. Restrictions are also very helpful-- as anti-competitive practice -- as it's only the biggest of the big who can afford to bear the burden of compliance. Thus it's cheaper, and considered safer, by policy makers to ship a cage raised frankenchicken, butchered by slave labor in a prison camp in Alabama, 6000 miles around the world to an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean-- and out-compete local poultry farmers.

It works nice for Tyson Foods. Now of course Tyson is a big, big contributor to right-wing nut case causes, like Koch, or Coors-- But seriously, you really think a company like Tyson Food wants small government? Baloney--big government is critical to their profitability. If it wasn't for the existence of the regulations on the books from whatever host of various institutions at all levels-- keeping moderate producers out of the market-- there is simply no way they could dominate the market like they do. Small government my ass-- that's just code language for "insuring the biggest players enjoy the privilege of socialized costs and private profits, oh, and pay no taxes at all."

Makes you really wonder what kind of sucker can buy some of the rhetoric out there. . .

It may seem inevitable on the current trajectory our economy and policy seems to be following(anybody read "Gravity's Rainbow?") an age of austerity is more likely than a pot of gold. Maybe. It's worth considering, as the wealth our our society continues to be raided, that a certain amount of liberty is gained with the impoverishment of various institutions--and while clearly in such an economy jobs may be scarce but opportunities may abound.

Just thoughts.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Opinion vs Agenda:

There's an interesting thought experiment that comes to mind here.

Imagine a 1000 people were giving the task of adding a column of a 100 numbers. Everyone turns in their results. We'll assume average math skills.

A certain percentage, maybe 70 percent(wild guess) will get their numbers right. Their results will be in agreement with each other.

A remainder will make errors here and there and get independently wrong results. Mistakes happen, and we should expect a random distribution of error results.

What would be really unexpected, however, is when/if you get a group of people who all make the same mistakes and all come up with the same wrong number--and insist it's right. This can't actually happen in the world of mathematics, it can only happen if you have some central outside influence, one that wants wrong answers, and that tells people what result they're supposed to get before they start adding and they make the necessary mistakes to get that desired and predetermined answer. Does this sound like Congress?  There's a hell of lot of this kind of figuring going on right now. The debt debacle and the resultant downgrade by S & P is a great current example, but plenty of others exist, and while they certainly don't hold a monopoly share, mostly this crap is coming from the same camp-- those who claim to believe in a "right to life," but don't give a shit about the biosphere. They believe there's infinite resources of oil in the ground but also believe the Battle of Armageddon is just around the corner and we probably don't have the time to use it all up like we should. They have invisible friends and expect the rest of us who grew out of that phase of development respect them for that. They think there's no evidence for climate change, but there is evidence of the "virgin birth." Right down the line, it's a very handy convenient world view that nicely absolves one of  any responsibility to the rest of humanity, or the planet, or even one's own children while maintaining a veneer of smug, entitled, self-righteousness. . .how nice for them!

I think that veneer has been about polished through, 'bout now.

See, I think people can tell the difference between "opinions" and "agendas." Opinions are positions based on one's current understanding of the applicable data. Opinions change on occasion. Agendas, on the other hand, are pre-conceived preferences defended by cherry-picking data or even outright fabrication. Here we have a pretty good track record of respecting each others opinions. Agendas, well, I think we're all a little chapped when it comes to hearing that stuff all over again.

Feel that one's opinion is unjustly labeled an agenda? Without a doubt, an honest, forthright, good faith willingness to look and discuss the facts at hand in a fair and objective manner goes a long way to creating the necessary good will to maintain a constructive dialectic.

Our society can exist with a difference of opinion. But sure as hell it's becoming increasing difficult to accommodate agendas, as they are inevitably --inherently-- divisive.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Practical Solutions: XT500

Some months ago watching fuel prices rise I decided I'd better be proactive--even though I drive a relatively new Toyota Tacoma frankly it's not infrequent that my work outside the farm doesn't require such a vehicle, and while it can still get 25 or better MPG one could do a lot better. A friend had this old beater Yamaha XT500 that had been wrecked and left in the rain. I figured by the time I got the 100 pounds of rust ground off of it, it would be lighter than stock, fast, and it might be a fine machine. LOL.

It's coming along. This will be an utterly stripped, utterly practical back roads rager designed to run on E85 or higher with a bit of pre-heat(a wick wrapped around the fuel line, high tech!).  Magneto, wholly. Banana juice goes in and smoke comes out. That's it.

All in all these were very fine machines, very ahead of their time and robustly built. Certainly equipped to breathe in an old school kind of way. In the process of lapping the valves out here. The seats cleaned up fine.

Actually, a very exceptionally well built machine--a Paris/Dakar winner back in the day, and perfect to my needs. The gauges and controls actually worked/were rebuildable, which was a minor miracle. The handlebars were bent, but that was fixed with the mapp gas torch and some dinking around. The head stock had a pretty good twist in it but I cut the whole works off with a dremel tool and stuck it back on square to the frame with the wire feed. No sweat! Took a tiny amount of rake out. Am trying to talk myself out of adding some length to the swing arm(and of course the 575 big bore kit--shame on me for even thinking about it! LOL Oh, and the cam, oh and the 49mm intake valve, etc.,) In reality at some point I'll need to replace the stock piston (8 to 1) with a higher compression unit (probably 10 to 1) to be serious about the high E formulations, but one thing at a time.

Hopefully will get new rings and a couple of seals in the mail this week to get the thing running. The spokes on both wheels are complete trash but the rims are passable. These are on their way from KEDO in germany, stainless steel this time around, as well as an oversized jet kit to run on back yard ethanol blends if need be. It's no trouble to get the permit to brew one's own E100, it does take some tinkering to build machinery to process it but certainly doable-- that and an acre or so of bananas or cane will keep a guy on the road in a cost effective manner for years to come. I'll have about a grand in it to have it running. It would be pretty trick for 1500. It would be radical for 2000--restraint! Restraint!

More conversation here. There's a place for a rally of such kinds of bikes. Hows that for hopeful fun?

So What's the Hold-Up?

Continuing, obliquely, with the topic at hand. . .

So, why has the "sustainability" movement been so ineffective at initiating real change? Come'on, we've got to admit that-- by any metric, we're only losing ground.

The answer is in the "P's," I think.

Sustainability is most effectively achieved by altering paradigms. The primary paradigm which is in need of alteration is that the expectation of "economic growth" as a means to prosperity remains a viable world view. In a world of constraints, where we obviously find ourselves now, the only avenue left to increasing prosperity is through altering "process"--to ever more efficient, beneficent and higher real value return activity. Old timers call this frugality, and simplification of lifestyle and expectations is the fast track to achieving it. A vegetable garden isn't a bad example.  Process, adopting this paradigm, leads to progress. Unfortunately, the bandwidth of the cultural consciousness is still captivated not by progress, but by profits, and the "sustainability" movement is no exception here. Profits aren't accessed by efficient process, but rather products--and yup, here is the hold-up.

There are those that will tell you that you can transition to a "sustainable" world by adopting solar PV's, high tech batteries, LED lighting, smart chargers, electric hybrid cars, triple-pane thermally active windows, etc., etc., which is all neat stuff, no doubt, except the problem is you'll never ever be able to afford any of it if you actually do something for a living that's "sustainable." Is pimping inherently unsustainable "sustainable" product a sustainable means of earning a living? Phat chance!

Here's it's more the message of-- turn off the lights, wear a sweatshirt. Take the bus. Funny but there's no money in any of that. . .of course if you adopt the process of progress you'll find have less need for profits anyway.