Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Old Pipes

One of the technologies I half expected, that didn't materialize to much degree (yet), was the DwellingMachine or JavaDome (programmed in Java).  No, it wouldn't have to be a dome.

Stewart Brand is happy to see most timeline hours spent swept up in some city, a concentration of humans that's relatively easy to feed and doesn't sprawl out all over the place.  That would leave more absolute wilderness for the pure nature lovers.

You really could still get away from it all and, more to the point "it all" could be more free of you and your impacts.  Those "sapiens" (self named) created radio-toxins in signature quantities and that last a long time.

Patrick has volunteered to saw into my pipes so we can snake them from a different angle.  I find myself whining about the lack of home optic equipment for snaking pipes.  The gizmos are still too expensive to buy at Home Depot.  Maybe rent?  Anyway, I'd like to see what I'm up against.

In that Other Tomorrow wherein people were smarter and cared more for one another, we would have all those pipes in the DwellingMachine docs.  You'd have lots of diagrams and could grow up studying house wiring / internals, getting a sense of the aerospace level technology that we'd be applying.

Our homes would be made by Boeing and like that (companies you've never heard of).  We'd be at peace enough, like on Star Trek, to be able to focus on civilian dreams.  The big extravaganza killing of ourselves as "extras" (to some egos for sure), would be getting people imagining a brighter future for themselves.  Smart houses would arrive.

This Jetsons-like reality was not really to be, though in other ways it was.

My wood frame home was built in 1905 and if an upgrade were done to make it more of a "node" (the Blue House has some institutional responsibilities, helps with various series shall we say, like manga and/or anime, we would want to treat the old wood with respect.

An Art Deco layer was added, the hemi-cylindrical bookshelves and black tile fireplace, flush to the wall (no mantle).  Then came the 1950s steel countertop Diner look, with vinyl surfaces (walls and ceiling).  We still have this, in light pink and blue, yellow and white.  What the throwback.

The place where Patrick would cut is already sawed out.  It's not like there's no flow at all, just that it's somewhat microscopic.  The smart thing would probably be to... we'd have the CSN architect-engineers keeping themselves busy.

City codes need to be respected.  We're not zoned to be a commercial TV studio and that's not what I'm suggesting.  More turnover and throughput maybe, as more houses came on-line.  Students are always coming and going in the Global U.  We could ramp it up slowly.

Congratulations to Cleveland High School for the sweep at Willamette University, far and away ahead of the pack.  That school is a phenomenon and Tara helped stir the pot, in starting the team, now objectively Oregon's best -- but I say that only to encourage rivals to have their own surprising successes.

Gonzo writes:
We finished October with a first time Overall Sweepstakes Award at Willamette University by a huge margin.  Most of the 26 schools finished with between 20 and 40 points.  A few reached 70. Lincoln and Sprague just broke 100.  The [Cleveland] Cannibals earned 187 points.
These debates could become more international in flavor.  Not model UN, not model NATO.  Other formats.  Invent them.  Watching really thought out debates is educational.  There've been some communications barriers to overcome.

The fantasy of an overhaul of this dwelling unit thanks to some education-related scenario, is an old theme in these blogs.  Lots of near future believable science fiction weaves in and out, creating some just around the corner feelings.

That's a common technique in writing, and in life, and beats always painting bleak pictures, landscapes drained of much hope.  This idea of some obviously good things happening is always appealing.

Humans feel drawn to improve their own lot, versus wallowing in despair.  Fuller attributed to Einstein, in his mind a great philosopher-scientist (mine too), the tug of longing versus fear.   That's a really important axis about which the world turns, thought Bucky, and I tend to agree.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Circuit Designs

What's somewhat ungainly about Quakers is membership in the global community is usually through one's local meeting.  You join a local chapter (they're not called that) to become a recorded member of the Religious Society of Friends.

That may sound fine on paper but what of the discontinuities?  You may feel called to Quakerdom, but in your mind that means a proudly isolated esoteric lineage that might not even be Christian (which you feel good about, Christendom being violent, perhaps unsalvageable).  Ah, but the local meeting would never accept a heathen-pagan like you.  Fat chance you'll ever get to join the Religious Society through any "door" within a radius of five hundred miles, not with those beliefs.

Likewise, what happens if you're already a member of the Religious Society but then either get disowned by your meeting, or you resign because of changes in local policies.

All of a sudden, your unprogrammed meeting gets the itch to go pastoral, and the chairs get rearranged.  You feel plenty alienated and promptly resign, but not because you want to separate from Quakers as a whole.  You just can't abide this local change in flavor.

Some groups in Indiana do things around water that would scare the bejeezus out of so-called Liberal Friends.  So what if you're hungry to join FGC style Quakers, or College Park Association descendents (Bean, Brinton... Hoover) and there's no branch of that type in your area?  Up a creek without a paddle?

I might propose the term Limbo Quakers for those caught with no Monthly Meeting, for one reason or another.  Disownment, resignation, or never achieving clearness in the first place, on the part of the meeting maybe, could all be reasons for remaining a Limbo Friend.  Your meeting was not ready for your "relationship" or your "family".

Like on American Dad:  there's an ET in that family, what does the Bible say about ETs?  Can ETs become Quakers?  No human being is illegal (AFSC's contention), so all aliens must be legal aliens, unless they're not human.

There's a Catch-22 in all this.  Someone is convinced they're a Quaker of exactly the type described in the Faith and Practice of meeting X, but meeting X is far away, and one of the criteria for membership in meeting X is geographic proximity.  You need to participate in the life of the meeting, get to know the folks, before they welcome you with open arms.  There's a process.  But you need to be there.

Suppose a family moves close to meeting X (like choosing a school district) precisely to access the Religious Society through this chosen front door, only to relocate back to wherever?

And there's no friendly meeting where they go back to.

Must they surrender membership in meeting X then?  Not usually.  Hand-offs are to friendly meetings.  Limbo Quakers are left alone, as "isolated Friends".

That doesn't mean local Quakers are unfriendly (though it may).  It might mean there simply aren't any local Friends.

Friends are obscure, especially the non-pastoral variety (are they even Christian? -- it's not all or nothing).  Why should there be Friends locally?  It's not a given.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bluetooth Connection

The connection is slow, however it's a milestone for me.  The Droid brick kindly lent me by Steve Holden was the first in its series.  I re-upped with Verizon with a newer brick, a Razr / M, and now have it tethered, so I can tap into my blog with the Mac Air.

Widmer Brewery on Interstate (not an inter-state) has a guest airport, but the password wasn't working for me.  Time to test the new capabilities.  They're working.

I learned something about the court of Louis IVX today.  His most legitimate grandson had fallen in with the Quietists, related to Quakers I think.  That made him too "inner light" oriented ("sanctimonious" from the outside) and he was poisoned.  His partner too -- tell me more about her.  This is all according to Saint Simon, not really a saint, but a faithful chronicler of courtly life in that era, attuned to the intrigues.

I learned all this in chauffeur mode, which has its perks.  A routine doctor appointing.  I'm basically following the TRP model (Transportation Reaching People) but for Friendly Care (Anne Sharp is my boss then).  I've lost tack of Tom Connolly.

nearby billboard, uploaded from Raz/M

Monday, October 15, 2012

Farewell (movie review)

This is a French title, which you might think hard to find in my neighborhood.  Not so, given Movie Madness.  Filed under French, amidst the Thrillers.

That said, it's PG-tame and thankfully not bloody, not too horrific.  In that sense it's a good kid-friendly non-shocking intro to Spy vs. Spy (ala Mad) with the French caught between superpowers, trying to preserve some sense of family values and humanity amidst the monsters (CIA and KGB).

The French engineer wasn't asking to be involved in espionage, but given the setting, the French Residence (embassy) in Moscow, this seems hard to avoid, especially when an idealistic Russian spy (the worst kind) decides to change world history for the benefit of his engineer son.

Like the dad in Breaking Bad, this Russian dad has trouble communicating about his world to his offspring, let alone to his wife.  The sense of subterfuge,  of dad being up to something, pervades the French family as well, though those kids are pretty young to be following any adult plot.

The movie purports to be to be based on true events, but we have to decide for ourselves what that means.  Given how far Willem Dafoe is from William J. Casey, both in appearance and character, we can push the dial pretty far into fictional.  "Feeney" at least rhymes (no doubt the intent).

Casey's tenure marked an apogee in CIA-KGB understanding (like Apollo-Soyuz), with the USSR not "too big to fail" after all (a not ungraceful exit, for a country that size). Russian spies would slip in for dinner in DC, then slip loose from their handlers, a thawing of the Cold War.  Perestroika, Glasnost.  Fast forward:  Litvinenko, the Russian spy in England, fighting quasi-solo against corruption, a saint.

But one could say all of the above is consistent with Farewell, in the sense of there being some high level coup that enabled the USA to "go dark" for awhile.  You could spin that as a rupture in security, with plans for the space shuttle, submarine routes, test plans, all sloshing out in the open, to the embarrassment of the spied upon.

In retrospect, Emir Kusturica's character, Sergei Gregoriev, the Russian, is like another Manning, treated as a traitor by his contemporaries.  The illusion of stopping the leaks would lead Reagan to take bold action -- is what this storyline infers (and the rest is history).

I tried Battlestar Galactica again as a part of this same rental.

The first two disks were enough to remind me of the fantasy, its many borrowed elements.  It's a put-together interior, a mental vista, an invisible landscape, not unlike this French embassy in Moscow, a thinly veiled dollhouse of a world.

Like we're really looking into the minds of the dollhouse's (meetinghouse's) overseers, perhaps young boys as these are also "action figures" (if "dolls", as in "idols", are a problem for some reason).

Looking good in uniform, in silhouette perhaps:  it's a lot about dressing up and acting the part.  In spydom too of course, fashion matters, plus there's the car you drive.  James Bond's has a defibrillator.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

More Grist for the Mill

Comment originally posted here, hyperlinks added.
Kirby Urner October 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm #
Another approach to doctrinal openness is to actively involve compatible attenders in the life of the meeting where, in some cases, these attenders clearly and openly are not considering membership in the Religious Society.

Yet their ways are compatible, they celebrate Quaker testimonies and contributions in the world, and their skills are considerable. If such a person practices among Friends year after year, in our meeting they might eventually be nominated to Oversight.

Indeed, I don’t think our operating manual (Faith and Practice) specifically forbids the clerk from being a non-member.  Follow-up: I stand corrected, the nominating guidelines do specify this position is member-only, meaning a member of our meeting in particular (some meetings allow for "affiliate membership" and have permitted affiliate members to serve as clerk).

By state requirement, we need an identifiable membership and should be able to point to our officers. Nonprofit structures, churches included, have no “clerk” in any case, so maybe the Assistant Clerk is “executive director” for the state’s records, while the Clerk is a non-member, perhaps a visiting rabbi of great compassion and repute.

The Meeting recognizes what a golden opportunity this could be and after a little seasoning, Business Meeting gives us the green light. Let this rabbi be clerk for a couple years, why not? We know and trust this person. Doctrine is not an issue.

This may sound far fetched, but lets remember how the AFSC is considered a “Quaker organization” and yet depends a great deal on non members. Meetings may be the same way.

Some of our longest term most dedicated participants are not seeking membership. They don’t feel it’s a requirement to be among Friends at the deepest levels. That’s probably in part owing to our not reserving any corner of the life of the Meeting to members in particular (other than the process of becoming a member).

Think of rides at a carnival. You may become a member of the carnival (get a card in the mail), but the rides stay open to all. You may become a member of an art museum. That doesn’t mean you should close off some rooms and make them “members only”. That somewhat defeats the purpose of an art museum, which about sharing art with the world, more than stroking member egos.

Likewise, a Quaker Meeting is not about denying a seeking public an opportunity to experience Quaker community — including its committees, other events. Members have no special secrets. We’re not Masons or Mormons or Illuminati (even if there’s some overlap, among attenders especially).

I’m not saying just anyone should be able to walk in off the street and jump on any committee. Nominating has a real job to do, and getting the right balance of attenders and members on every committee is a kind of alchemy. Some attenders are especially good at it.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

A Night with a Pro

IPG Talk

We enjoyed an excellent presentation at Multnomah Meeting this evening, by a pro photographer, Skip Schiel, who works with Quakers and the AFSC.  He's up on some of the latest non-violent campaigns to restore a modicum of sanity into the Hellish Land (aka Holy Land, aka Israel-Palestine-Gaza).

Interestingly, these latest campaigns focus on the Grunch (Caterpillar, HP... Motorola) and less on aging institutions like the State Department or United Nations.  I could hear Bucky echoing in my ears:  "the once proud nations".  Yes, soldiers still put themselves in harm's way, but as Smedley "Fighting Quaker" Butler put it:  war is a racket.

Lots of maps, good profiles, updated information.  I felt like I was back in Samsara in some ways, enjoying the beautiful landscapes, some impressive engineering.  That train looks cool.  It felt good to update the brain bank with more recent images.  I hadn't visited in Ramallah since the 1970s.

Interestingly, Jeanne at our lunch today asked directly if I were Swiss.  She married a Swiss guy and so knows the lore of the place, understood about Uri.  I don't encounter people familiar with that namespace all that often.

I asked Skip later if he knew about Albert Einstein's views (thinking of OMSI, but also this bio I have).  My understanding is he thought nationalism was for the birds but didn't think those birds would be relinquishing control any time soon, certainly not in his lifetime.  He turned down a chance to role play a president.

The bird-brained reflexes associated with knee-jerk nationalism go back to knee-jerks of even deeper reptilian origin.  Religion ties in through the limbic system (or one of those) and voila:  crazy humanity. Self-organizing?  We wish.

I'm sympathetic to Rabbi Lerner's idea of a "no state solution".  Once two cars have a head on collision, or two trains, you don't always try to sort them out too carefully.  There was a train wreck of sorts, and whatever others want to say about it, I think nationalism itself became a self parody in this smash up, its own casualty. 

"Nations" were mostly in the belief systems of "little people" anyway, right up there with Santa Claus in the Tooth Fairy.  The European royals saw more in terms of marriages (family) and warring ideologies (Catholic vs. Protestant etc.)  Do a little homework, and the nations fade in with the other psychological complexes, more programming, the operating system.  It keeps morphing.  The Chinese parade dragon, twisty turny, is its sometime avatar.

No, I'm not expecting the pomp and circumstance of nations to disappear, not even over the long haul.  Could be we'll see many more of them, including under the oceans.  We still have shades of the Roman Empire to this day, so why should we expect anything so neat and obvious as a Fuller Projection, intelligently nationless, except in the occasional meeting, board or classroom.  History isn't like that.

People live in the past (the after image).  We don't all get the news at the same time, although global telecommunications is time crunching us more than usual, getting us in some "present".

In 2045 or sooner, someone with the requisite academic "weightiness" may argue the USA had effectively left the world stage by the 1980s, some "withering of the states" phenomenon (all of them) amidst a new world order (predicted by presidents, not just Lenin or Marx, the Promised Land of the Illuminati?).

It'd be one more Youtube, perhaps cogently argued.  As science fiction, it makes sense today.

Trillions of dollars of annual deficits?  A desk-bound military helpless to not buy tanks it doesn't need?  Where is there a "USA" in this picture except in cartoon form?   Does anyone really believe all this crappola?   You can fool some of the people all of the time eh?

We've seen a lot of movies and know how to suspend disbelief.   Nations live on in our suspended disbelief.

Their withering didn't stop us from having some interesting theater though.

We've inherited from history (duh).  To some degree, we're puppets, machine-dolls -- that's what karma is all about, and Samsara (the movie).

Whether we believe in these nations or not, we're compelled to go through the motions, acting them out somewhat unconvincingly.  As NPR put it, Romney is "plausible" as president and so of course is Obama.  That's talent we can work with, as screen writers, as we dream our lives away (you've gotta believe in something, right?).

I also asked Skip if AFSC had asked him to photograph the US-Mexico wall as well, a somewhat similar project in many ways.  It hadn't (yet), though others have done so.

The swallowing of North American real estate by a Federation of States (like in Switzerland) is another partially overlapping historical narrative, with many of the same plot elements (poor treatment of the natives, zealotry, bigotry, land grabbing and greed).

Wave upon wave of "true believers" made America what it is today.  Ozymandius was here.

Ozymandius was Here

Monday, October 01, 2012

Portlandia Skits

I'm thinking how Junior Friends (young Quakers) often stage little plays, sometimes with morals to teach, like parables.  The Bible is of course full of these, as are many traditions.

At the Food Not Bombs meeting last night, I conjured this image of a consummate jerk, tattooed with "Food Not Bombs" and downtown egging cars, yelling at "meat loaf eaters".  "The rest of us might not be too enthusiastic about this guy" I dead panned.  People laughed.  Kirby's funny.  Especially at the egg part as what's up with a militant vegan protesting by throwing meat and dairy at people.  That's not the kind of food fight this is.

There's a kind of role playing that goes on.  Where do you intercept a healthy food supply on its way to some disposal route?  Is it begging?  Is a favor being asked?  To the extent a society is agreed that minimizing waste is a good thing, and that teaching logistics, urban survival skills, cooperative cooking is a good thing, it's easier to get the wheels turning.

I've been looking at municipal converted warehouse and school zones where the vocational jobs of food prep and cooking, food handling, might be practiced.  Yes, that means knives.  So much of school is about filing junior away in a proto-cubicle, a "desk", where nothing can happen.

Vocational studies, home economics, peeling potatoes, that's too blue collar for white collar junior here -- according to concepts and categories that crush with their nonsense.  What insanely dumb ideas.

Anyway, SE chapter should not be required to change its character, just because FNB commercials are popular in Polish and Lithuanian.  Some of the exchanges going on are intra-Europe.

To what extent they're doing this in Turkey I don't know.  My impression is less gets wasted in the first place.   Food gets processed and prepped, a lot of times by women living indoors, while the males ply the streets, foraging in various ways.  How do bicycles fit in?  The answers are cultural.

I told Rick at meeting that I wanted some historical record showing our awareness of the tensions among cultures, and ways to help resolve them short of war (neural breakdown, wigging out).  Hawo's Dinner Party was screened at AFSC during the last major meeting, where Yearly Meeting reps come from all over.  I was there for the North Pacific Yearly Meeting.

Hawo's Dinner Party is about Somalis, being transplanted from Africa to North America, and working to make a go of it.  Some of the marriages aren't taken under the care of the USG or the states, because too many people are involved.

As Friends, we understand that cultural divide from the Native American experience.  The Warm Springs tribe well documents in its museum the heart breaking chapter in its history, when the children were programmed with Christian dogmas (in boarding schools), over the objections of grandparents, and made to feel only "nuclear families" made any sense.

"Nuclear families" in an "Atomic Age" -- that was what was being offered as the American Dream at one time.  A kind of "White Christmas".

I think we're over that, a lot of us, whether we have atomic power or not.

We no longer lionize or deify the nuclear waste makers.  Plutonium cookers are caught in a cruel web, like the meth lab cookers, ensnared in a crooked, monied gangland, a wilderness of mirrors and marginal governments, deeply into eco-crimes while insisting Congress keep the people looking another way.  However, a congress, any congress, has limited powers to persuade, even if Cicero himself is one of its orators.

Sisters of the Road might be a kind of role model institution, when it comes to helping with rehab for prison industrial complex engineers.  A first step is to discover a better life.  Too bad that Rajneesh Puram thing turned into such a circus.

The idea of boarding school type operations, better than prisons, not institutions for punishment, could replace the grim facades we have now.

"Human warehousing" (prisons) need not be this profitable.  Competition would be a godsend to many, including to those forced to imprison others for money.

A civilian service with options for lifetime careerists, like the scouts, with some big toys, might succeed in pulling its weight as a morale booster.  I'm not talking mindless nationalism here.  This is a mingling, an exchange.  We trade around.

Visit Portland, experience working on some of our projects, then move on.  Relay what you've learned.  Help us stay up to date.  Teach, show videos.  Lightning Talks.  Occupy & Ignite.  Burning Man.  Stage some skits.  Act it out.  Help us to understand the story.

From My Facebook Profile

  • Kirby Urner 

     From emailed response:

    Advanced practitioners of world religions should organize co-venture brands e.g. an official JewBu temple (or franchise), then something Islamo-Catholic.
    With the right architects, it could be done.

    Then the services would be deliberate / designed blends as well. Minaret calls to prayer, allusions to the Tower of Babel (one of my faves). Lots of incense.
    12 hours ago · Edited · Like

  • Kirby Urner  

    Islamo-Catholic facility could be around appreciation for science, astronomy in particular (Vatican has official observatory), the fact that Arabic languages saved Greek knowledge during Dark Ages in Europe. These could be themes of a Christian-Islamic friendship enterprise, one of many collaborative undertakings the world religions could be designing. The world could use more Parliament of World Religions type "getting along" (not just "tolerating" which is a low standard).
    about an hour ago · Like