"ALL NEW FOR 2009!"......no, it's not a car, silly.......  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Well, so far, so good. I received several positive comments concerning the new face of Pendragon Hold, that is, before I screwed up one of the URLs and had people beaming out into the neither regions of Blogger. Hopefully, I fixed the problem, and ALL of you have had a chance to experience this new template. Unless I run into further problems, I am going to go with this one and continue my posts here. If you look up there ^ right over "The Chronicles of Pendragon Hold", you will notice the titles to several of my older blogs, including TTEM, which will link you to them if you feel the need to visit. Think of them as links to the past, a chronology of my journey from a Blogger novice to the world famous Harper of Pendragon Hold that I am now. OK, maybe world famous is a bit much. Would you believe slightly familiar?

Anyway, I hope you all like the new look for a new year, and that you will continue to visit us here at the Hold, and that YOUR new year holds much more promise than that of a pink slip, a foreclosure, or a trip or two to the local soup kitchen. I have faith in our new president, and I hope you can lend him your support during our nation's continuing visit to the Hard Time's Cafe.

Oh, and while you're here, could you all be so kind as to push that "follow" button so that I can get your cute little pics back in the followers gallery? THANKS!

Blessed Be!

An Experiment in Expression  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

It has taken awhile, but enterprizing web site designers have taken on the new Blogger format and come up with some fascinating and beautiful page designs. This one caught my eye and I am playing around with it to see if I can make it my own. If I feel comfortable with it I might translate the entire blog over here. Wish me luck, and your comments are always welcome!

The Twilight Zone  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

These days, especially since I gave up Christianity for Lent, the worst thing I hate the most about the Christmas season is waiting for it to finally end. It's bad enough that they seem to be kicking off the X-mas shopping frenzy right after the Fourth of July Fireworks have hit the ground, but you have to wait till after New Years for the music (oh that fucking music!) to finally go away. The lights, the tree, it all stays up till then, nobody willing to give up on that warm, fuzzy, now-we-declare-bankruptcy feeling. But, it has to end sooner or later, and I prefer later, thank you. OUR holiday of Yule happens ONE day, the 21st, and then it's over, till the next Sabbat comes around, and no shopping is required. I know I was BORN Pagan, I just wish somebody had told me.

And yes, we did exchange gifts, although only a very few. As far as gifts are concerned, we tend to more or less get what we want when we want it, or rather when we can afford it, and sometimes just because we think the recipient deserves it, for being so damn special, no special date required. This arbitrary waiting till some special day with magical permission to receive a gift is, well, arbitrary. I think that you yourself might have noticed that you have gotten yourselves all kinds of goodies without any special day excuse to get it, on TOP of all the stuff you buy yourselves on Christmas, so you are just as "guilty" as we are.

Just remember, though, that it's the AFFORDABILITY factor that's most important. If you are putting any of this stuff on credit, then maybe you have a problem. Buying things like washing machines and cars and homes and such require we use credit, because they just cost to damn much to just dish out that kind of money out of one paycheck, at least that's the reality for most of us. But going into debt just for STUFF, well, that's just stupid. If you can't afford it, don't get it, and I promise you, you will survive. Really, you will. Save up for it. You'll REALLY love it then!

So, we are waiting for the non-resident loved ones to make their way back home so that we can lavish our love on them (they couldn't be here for Yule) and THEN the holiday will be over as far as "the holidays" are concerned. We'll be looking forward to seeing how many more inches the grandkid has grown, and man has this kid been collecting the inches! Another words, he's really getting tall.

While many of you have been wading through some incredible amounts of snow, we here at Pendragon Hold have been experiencing almost tropical weather, with days getting up into the 80's, so you can imagine how out-of-synch it seems to be down here. All over the nation Mother Nature has been having a field day, with ice storms and blizzards, snarling ground and air traffic, and cutting off power to millions of homes, while down here.........damn it's nice! You hate us, don't you?

The Palestinians just HAD to goad the Israelis into attacking the Gaza Strip again, and I am beginning to lose all empathy for these people. You want peace ,you want the "Occupiers" to leave your land and grant you a homeland, and what do you do? Shoot rockets at them? Are you genetically predisposed to acting STUPID? Then fine, if you insist, if I were an Israeli, I would shoot back too. So just fucking shut up about it while your towns and infrastructure are being reduced to ruble, all because you JUST CAN'T STOP PROVOKING them. And all those "innocent civilians" that are being caught in this stupid crossfire? YOU killed them.

Oh, remember that nagging problem I've been having with the Focus, the idling problem that I can't seem to fix on my own? Well, I broke down and took our beloved conveyance to the Ford repair place and after paying almost a car payment for the diagnostic and repair, had the problem resolved, problem amounting to simply an L-shaped connection to the PVC valve having a hole in it. I COULD have done the job myself for practically nothing, only I couldn't figure out where the problem was or what part was involved, thus the experts stay in business. I truly look forward to the day when we have electric vehicles without these engines with 2548 parts, all designed not to keep you running except to the repair shop.

Thus you have enjoyed yet another episode of the Chronicles of Pendragon Hold, where now the days grow longer, the love grows stronger, and life goes on much as it has for thousands of years, only in new and interesting ways.

Blessed Be!

And So This is Christmas  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

"And so this is Christmas....
and what have you done?
for the near and the dear one's,
and new ones just begun......"

Today is Christmas, the supposed birth date of "The Prince of Peace", Jesus Christ, AKA the "Son of God". It's a date I have struggled with every year of my life. Of all the days we celebrate something, this one is certainly the paradox of them all. Whole armies, if somewhat of the same religious persuasion, have halted their killing on this date, while in modern times, it has become a day of rest after a month-long orgy of spending, usually putting families into debt at the same time, while business has come to rely on this one day to put their balance sheets into the plus zone. One day out of 365. On this day the depressed will often be pushed to suicide, and homeless people will be ushered into gymnasiums for their biannual guilt feast, the other one being Thanksgiving. If anything, the "Prince of Peace" has taught us that how we usually treat each other is not right, by any moral standard, and thus we try, at least, on this one day of the year, to act as though any of us really care what he tried to tell us all those thousands of years ago.

"So Merry Merry Christmas,'
and a happy New Year....
let's hope it's a good one,
without any fear.....?

Winter Solstice/Yule 2008  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Well, there goes another pleasant, stress-free Yule. Once again we concentrated on saying goodbye to the long night and welcoming back our Father Sun. Once again I was spared possible death/paraplegia putting up Christmas lights on the roof, another one of those energy wasting practices we could do without. And once again our budget was not strained to the breaking point going on a shopping orgy. We traded a few simple gifts between those closest to us, and many of those were hand made and thus very special. Now we can sit back and watch nervous Christmas Shoppers try and pull us out of our economic version of the Titanic, and fail miserably. Anything that puts us into a 'sustainable consumption" mode is all right by me.

THE Resident Twin got an iPod Shuffle, which forced her to download Apple's iTunes music program to her PC. When it commenced to do everything easily without blowing up her computer, she couldn't keep the smile off her face, no matter how hard she tried. Her sister is a much tougher nut to crack, however, since her employment usually depends on Windows PC's, either fixing them (LOTTSA work THERE! hehe) or working with them.

I received another Beatles poster print to add to my "Shrine" wall dedicated to the Fab Four. And, THE Wife got herself an electric throw, so that she can NUC her side of the bed while keeping mine tolerable. As you might imagine, she gets cold easy.

So after engorging ourselves on our Yule turkey and ham, we held a celebratory circle for Winter Solstice, and asked that our families be protected from the lax economy. Ours are but small voices in this wilderness, I know, but the tiniest candle can be seen in the darkest of nights.

So what was the BEST gift I was given this Yule? Look over < at my sidebar showing all the bloggers on my blog roll. Having had the opportunity to get to know, in various degrees, each and every one of them. THAT has been the best gift of all. And better yet, it's a gift that keeps on giving!

May longer days bring more and more light to any darkness you may have to deal with...........Blessed Be!

You've come a long way, Baby...........  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

There were once frontiers, new vistas to explore, new lands to settle, always some new place for pioneers to stake a claim to. Well, those days have long passed, and the world has shrunk to a size that has almost become claustrophobic. As our population keeps increasing at exponential rates, more and more virgin landscapes are being ravaged and paved over to accommodate more and more human habitations of all sorts, as well as strip malls and all those support structures we need such as schools and sports stadiums and airports and on and on. The marginal land suitable for these purposes has all been occupied now, and what remains are ecologically delicate areas we need to keep intact unless we wish to sacrifice entire ecosystems altogether. We are even removing farms, those areas necessary to feed this growing population, and replacing those with huge gated communities from which will venture more carbon-spewing automobiles on their way to work in the cities, places which are no longer affordable to live in unless you are comfortable with gang-infested slums. We continue to build as though there is an infinite supply of new land while at the same time we allow old properties to fall into disuse and languish, empty and unused, wasted land adding to urban blight.

And in the middle of all this we celebrate the 18th (Yes, that's EIGHTEEN) child born to the Duggars, a God fearing Christian family who live according to some supposed directive from the Almighty that one family can't have enough children. The more the merrier. So many mouths for one couple to feed, the entire family has become a corporate entity with one mission; to support itself and prosper in a world where millions of children go hungry simply by virtue of having been born in the wrong place to the wrong people. They, like the Duggars, would probably love to breed like rabbits in order to foster their own workforce to work their meager farms, only starvation and ever-degrading resources have put a brake on that idea.

I suppose the Duggens have never seriously considered how much impact they make on the resources necessary to keep them housed, fed, and clothed. To think that they take NOTHING from others in order to remain well-fed is a selfish illusion that makes this kind of mindset just one of the many nails we as a species continue to drive into our coffins. Folks, there is only so much shit to go around, and just like the herds of deer who overpopulate their territories and have to be culled by hunters, we already are experiencing our own culling overseas, and that very blind sort of natural justice WILL visit itself upon those of us in the Western world eventually, and then the Duggens will be facing hostile families with two children who think perhaps the bread is being broken into much smaller pieces than were necessary.

Yuletides and Economic Tsunamis  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Yea, I know; where the hell have I been? Right here. With not a lot to blog about. Sometimes I get 'bloggers block" and rather than whipping out yet another brilliant post, I'm staring at an empty text edit box with nothing whatsoever to put in it. That's where I've been.

It's not as if there's not really ANYthing to blog about; the economy alone is the frankenstein monster sitting in the corner smoking a joint. In my particular situation, health care, it would seem as if I am pretty much immune, but I can't expect that we could possibly be immune to all this. I keep asking my manager if there have been any noises concerning cutbacks, and she insists she's heard nothing, but the truth of the matter is that where layoffs are concerned, you don't get subtle warnings, you get blindsided, just like on Survivor. So, being the at the bottom of the hospital food chain, if I'm gonna get axed, it will be swift and merciless. I try not to think about it.

So, all one can do is slow down the spending, try very hard to put some green aside, and hope for the best. Trouble is, EVERYBODY is doing just that, slowing down the spending, which is only adding to the problem. However, what really pisses me off is the fact that the banks, those "special" institutions who have had bags of money thrown at them to keep them afloat, have been hoarding all that money (except for the good portion of it that they have been awarding themselves in compensation for being such wonderful people) and not lending it to people who six months ago would have been loaned the money no questions asked for any reason whatsoever. Now, people with perfectly acceptable credit are being denied loans to buy cars, cars are sitting on lots unsold, and it all goes merrily down the drain, and why in the FUCK is the government allowing this to happen? Is THIS what FREE enterprise is all about? Then FUCK free enterprise is all I have to say!

Tomorrow night is THE Wife's work's X-mas party, which will be held at a swank local establishment. I'm amazed that there will even be one this year, but these girls do deserve it. Last year the party was held at one of the partner's homes, a nice mansion on the river. The optical field has been very, very good to some.

I had to cut down one of the small oaks in the Goat's pen, but from the tree came this year's Yule Log, which will be used to celebrate the Winter Solstice, OUR holiday for this season which has nothing to do with supernatural virgin births or fat guys flying airborne sleighs out of the North Pole. Most of us can't seem to get entirely out of the gift-giving habit, though, so that has been kept as part of the holiday, and hey, as long as it's kept within reason, I might as well not complain. So, in the spirit of the shortest day of the year, after which the hope of new life springs forth from the coldest days, I wish all of you, my fellow bloggers, the happiest and safest holiday, in whatever form you celebrate it, and may you reap all the good things you have sown.

Blessed Be!

An Ill Wind  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Tonight, evil will paint the landscape of an increasingly lawless Mexico, as the drug gangs kill each other and the innocents caught in the crossfire. Another journalist who hasn't already gotten the message will be assassinated, the public reminded that what goes on in the Kremlin, stays in the Kremlin. A ragtag navy of amateur pirates will ply the rich trade routes of the Arabian gulf and blatantly take another ship and it's crew hostage. And a Jacksonville Police officer will once again be forced to return fire on a desperate young black man who has lost all respect for life, including his own. This is the ill wind that blows thru the land of men.

Tonight, the leaves still hanging desperately to the limbs of oaks growing from the sand of Pendragon Hold will be not-so-gently encouraged to relinquish their hold and return to the good earth from which they will be reborn. A meteorological phenomenon brought about by differing pressures within the atmosphere of this planet will have it's effect upon the Earth and all that reside upon it, with no ill will or evil intent, which may or may not instill some tragedy upon those caught within it's fickle embrace. The wind, my friends, does not know fairness, or good, or bad, but is indifferent, as all of nature must be, for it is within this indifference that goodness and light must learn to thrive, or perish, no helping hand lent, no cosmic cheerleaders on the sidelines to root for the "good guys".

As this cold front passes through the trees of Pendragon hold this night, I want to wish the very best upon all those who via this blog have shared our hearth, our hearts, and our joys. An ill wind is visited upon us, created by us, and can only be undone by us. But remember, the leaves upon that ground had their season, they knew the brightest green of spring, the grandest green of summer, and the valiant yellows and reds and browns of fall; now it is time to come home, for spring will come, as will the rain, the sun, and some purpose under heaven.

Blessed Be!

A Final Solution to Final Solutions  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

I came across this news report concerning how rough and loud rock music is being used to break prisoners in Gitmo and other American military prisons, often driving these men mad. I love the Beatles, but even I know one could only take so much of "Helter Skelter".

Musicians protest use of songs by US jailers

Continually I come across one new outrage after another concerning the methods we employ against captured insurgents in this new "war on terror" that Dubya introduced to us when we should have simply marched into Afghanistan and solved the problem on day one. Instead, thousands of American and foreign lives and more money than any of us could hope to count has been flushed down the toilet of sickness that too many so-called civilized and "patriotic" people call national security. We have made so many enemies in the last six years it's amazing that the rest of the world hasn't outlawed US, much less the Taliban and Al-Quida. And to think that on that fateful day when the twin towers fell, an entire planet of people were not disillusioned with us, but stood with us.

Don't get me wrong. I am all for national defense. I am all for ANY sovereign people's right to defend themselves against aggression. World War Two was the perfect example of a free people finally saying "enough is enough" and turning its full force and fury against a true axis of evil. Even then we did things we should not be proud of having done, but in the heat of war, no nation has been noted for having adhered to the high road, and those white hats WE wore bear the stains.

But then came this sense of "anything we do is necessary, no matter how egregious" mindset we thought we had earned by defeating he Nazi's. Even now, there are reports of atrocities having been committed either by Americans or under the watchful eyes of Americans in the Korean conflict, stories so horrible I would dare say had they been brought to light during the war, might have brought a president down. By the time we got sucked into the quagmire of Vietnam, we were convinced that WE were the God-appointed guardians of freedom and liberty throughout the world, and we didn't always want to know exactly how it was being done. Out of sight, out of mind. Isn't THAT special?

So, since we can't seem to perform such an uncivilized job in a more humane fashion, I say we just pull the gloves off altogether, get real honest about warfare altogether, and just say up front that once it starts, anything goes. That's right, folks, if we insist on getting into wars with other people for whatever reason, I say we just do it right, and kill each and every man, woman and child within whatever border it was that pissed us off so much we want to kill people for it. No sneaky toxic time-bombs like agent orange, no "surgical strikes" at key targets that usually just kill scores of innocent bystanders anyway, no occupation and humiliation of a populace......nope......enough of the dishonest bullshit, just DO it, get it over with, end of story. Carpet bombing, nuclear weapons, hell, who cares, just use the most efficient methods of large-scale production style murder our military/industrial complex can come up with.

The Last Ghost of War

Imagine the advantages to this approach. First off, the planet REALLY comes out ahead by having such a large volume of parasites removed from it's infected skin. Then there's all that pressure off our farmers to feed all these people. Less workers to steal OUR jobs. The benefits of total war and all-out genocide are more than I could think of in a blog post. AND, not only do we enjoy the immediate benefits of TOTALLY removing our enemy, but there's the wonderful aftermath of all this horror in that there IS no aftermath. No rebuilding, no costly occupation, no refugee camps, no trials of war criminals (theirs OR ours) and no birth defects or environmental disasters to have to deal with decades after the fact. NONE, NADA, truly the END of the argument. AND, we get to write the history, about how noble we were, how evil THEY were, and how we were chosen by God himself to bring all those sinners to Jesus. That's right, folks, if we could kill a commie for Christ, we can kill ANY class of people for ANY deity, we need not be picky. I mean, after all, when was the last time God objected to anything anybody did in HIS name?

The Taliban and Al-Quida already embrace this concept, and the only thing preventing them from engineering the idea to its full potential is the fact that, well, they are all idiots. Religious fanaticism tends to lower the IQ fairly drastically, thank God.......(THAT is the best pun I have accidently come up with YET!!!) However, WE depend on our rocket scientists, who happen to be mostly secular in their mindset, to develop OUR weapons of mass destruction, so the "Baptist effect" our own military suffers from right now is not to much of a problem; they could still get the job done if we wanted them to, especially if we convinced them that God was on OUR side, which we've been doing successfully for a couple of centuries now. Yes, thanks to GOD, we have this inner peace about our killing that puts every other divinely driven army to shame. And, true to form, some ass-wipe decides that it's a brilliant idea to kill a large number of Americans in one fell swoop, like Pearl Harbor or the Twin Towers, thus learning once again, the hard way, that when you've pissed off AMERICANs, you've pissed off GOD!

And the Israeli's think THEIR God is a bad-ass.............

A Perfect Film for the Holidays!  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

"If the Earth dies, you die. If you die, the Earth lives."

This is the chilling pronouncement made by an alien emissary to the Earth in the remake of the Sci-Fi classic "The Day The Earth Stood Still".

Which is why I very much look forward to seeing this movie. I have always envisioned what it would be like to have a superior intelligence visit us, take one look around, and come to the very obvious conclusion that some serious pest control needs to be done around here. It would stand to reason, to me at least, that any species surviving their own evolution long enough to discover space travel would take a very dim view of the possibility of the human race stumbling across it's own way off this planet and spreading it's brand of sentience across the cosmos. Of course, I really do believe that if there really IS a way to cut across interstellar space lickety-split fast enough to make it practical, we are going to kill ourselves off before we get anywhere near discovering it, unless it turns out that it happens to be so simple even a human could figure it out. Or, maybe the universe will just get lucky and that big rock will find us before that happens.

You probably think I have no loyalty to my own species whatsoever. Well, as downright treasonous as it seems, I have met the enemy, and he was in the mirror. If sentience has done anything for me it's given me the ability to observe and reason based on those observations, and I have not observed much concerning my own species that I find comforting. I mean, think about it, when the best strategy you can employ against a tribe of humans is to simply let them alone long enough and they will take care of themselves for you, then you know something just isn't right. So how could evolution have made such a big mistake when it came to choosing us as the top predator? Well, trial and error sometimes screws up, and apparently that's what happened with us, just like it happened many times in the past when certain creatures reached an evolutionary dead end.

Yes, I know, many of you reading this think of yourselves as perhaps different, as a kinder/gentler version of this nasty creature that does genocide so well. And, relatively, you are probably right to some degree. But you know and I know that each and every one of us is fully capable of doing some VERY nasty things, and all the intelligence and love and empathy we can muster simply cannot make up for those moments of madness we might find ourselves involved in should the right button be pushed. Do you honestly think that all those shoppers amassed in front of Walmart that morning thought they were capable of KILLING somebody simply because they got in the way of low, low prices? Do you think that any of these drunk drivers started off the night plotting exactly how they were going to get wasted enough to take out a mini-van full of children and not even suffer a scratch for their efforts? No, I didn't think so. Our monsters lurk deep within, and we are shocked how easily we can let them loose, not out of malice but out of intellectual laziness.

So go watch the movie, and may I suggest you think long and hard before you start rooting for the "good guys". Do you really think they are US?

At least we got to see Paris. We'll always have Paris.

Another Day of Another Week  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

There's another "reality" show coming up that appeals to our prurient interests, further proof that these rocket scientists out in Hollywood are flat out of ideas when it comes to decent television. It has something to do with beauty queens being judged by the show's experts (?) on their "inner beauty"................somebody please vacate the airspace over my head while the concept zips right through it.

Today was not a typical Sunday in the Unit. It was just an inch short of crazy, death paid visits several times, and I went home with aching legs. But, I was in good company, and together we all made a difference, even if perhaps that fact was not apparent to some family members. I don't personally want to die in this place, but there are no finer people I would rather die in the company of then these nurses.

The wife may have given up the ways of Christian Christmas, but she never really abandoned the joy that the idea imprints upon the Westerner who has grown up with this tradition. She is busy trimming the "Yule Tree" (which in many ways is the actual Pagan forerunner of the Christmas Tree) and I have to admit that it does look rather beautiful in it's monochromatic way. The family is still intent on sharing gifts, in the "Yuletide" tradition, which is fine with me as long as I don't have to risk paraplegic injury putting up Christmas lights on the roof anymore. However, I WILL have to say something if the gifts start piling up beneath this tree, ala' "consumption-mass". Frankly, I've had my fill of it, and I think that American Capitalism needs to embrace something other than this month long spending frenzy to support the retail markets profits for the entire year. Maybe this recession/depression will put a serious damper on this stupidly shallow custom of ours.

While I was slaving away serving mankind at the hospital, THE Wife and the Resident Daughter decided to spend the day in St Augustine enjoying the shops, combing them for anything with pagan flavor. They were quite dismayed to see that the bad economy has already taken a heavy toll on many of the shops in the nation's oldest city, many of them boarded up, victims of previously high gas prices and now a deficit of tourists with anything to spend. Exxon/Mobile started this mess, greedy mortgage brokers pumped it up, and I would be very pleased to see each and every one of those greedy bastards put in stocks and mocked by the populace in the streets of Jamestown and St. Augustine, just like they were in the olden days when your honor was something that meant something to you.

Just another Sunday here at Pendragon Hold, weathering the economic storm just like all of you, and hoping to still be here when the winds die down and the waters recede. Blessed Be you all.

Choking on Consumption  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

I think one of the major problems facing this economy, one which may prove to make a full recovery impossible, is our burgeoning population. Our economy has depended upon the full-tilt spending of the largest group of consumers the world has ever known, which includes all those Indians and Chinese, and when all those people suddenly can't spend like banshees anymore, a chain reaction begins which just any one fix, including throwing "money" at the problem, can't overcome. It's very much like the environment, in which removing one species from the web of life has a detrimental effect all throughout the system. Case in point; the wood products/paper industry in the Pacific NorthWest is in dire straights, not simply because there is less need for wood to build houses, but because there is less demand for cardboard to wrap up all these goodies with, such as electronics (oh, and that includes the plastic packaging that you need scissors to break into) and all that stuff that Amazon.Com ships. The housing collapse effected all of the construction trades, such as carpenters, electricians, plumbers, plus all those people who deal with real estate and it's associated paperwork, then you head down the line to those who manufacture sinks, ovens, refrigerators, pvc pipe, concrete, etc, etc, etc.............

OK, now all THOSE people are out of work, not only not spending their paychecks, but now drawing on unemployment, food stamps, or whatever program they can to try and survive. Those of us still working pay for all of that, as did those who once held tax-paying jobs. It keeps getting worse......now all that money that used to be spent on groceries, clothing, rent, car payments, health insurance premiums, etc, etc, etc, is now gone, so those whose jobs depend on on that now lose THEIR jobs. No, don't worry, unless the whole company goes under, the CEO's of those companies will never suffer....hell, only in America, they will probably get a raise for laying all those people off. We might have defeated the British in 1776, but we never defeated royalty.

Now, you say, fine, you got laid off, too bad, quit whining and go out and find another job. Oh, really? WHAT job? And, even if you DID meet the requirements for another job, so do a whole new crop of people who are in the same boat as you, and only one person gets each job that MIGHT be available. Besides, an economy that is going down the tubes is not creating new jobs, except perhaps in foreclosure departments..

So, one wonders how all this gets turned around and everybody gets to go back to work and try and pick up the pieces. Well, IF and when a recovery occurs, all the new jobs that people find to replace the old ones will pay less, offer fewer if any benefits, and all that experience and seniority you once had is just flat gone; you are starting from scratch just like everybody else. If you're lucky, you will get to return to the very place you got laid off from, working for the same board of bastards that shit-canned you and then gave themselves all raises. Isn't that SPECIAL? Oh, and hopefully, the rent you are paying for your new apartment won't be much higher than the mortgage you were paying for the home you lost to foreclosure.

Oh, and at the first whiff of an economic upturn, gas will head rapidly back up to about $5 a gallon, so let's hope you are not still stuck with that SUV you were tooling around town in before the Depression hit. Not that you'll be able to afford a Toyota, Nissan, or Honda hybrid which have cornered the market with the bankruptcy and disappearance of all of our own auto manufacturers. Boing and Northrop Grumman will go on the block next. Who will be buy our tanks and destroyers from then?

Our entire economic, political, and social system, both here in the West and those of other "persuasions", is self-destructive due to it's reliance on consumerism, and the way that most all of us have to support ourselves. If ever a species needed to learn how to live WITH it's surroundings rather than becoming expert at using it all up, we do. It's quite simple, actually; when deer (prey animals) are not held in check by wolves or hunters (predators), they overpopulate, strip the territory of food, and starve to death. Despite all our wars, natural disasters, and other threats, we continue to increase our numbers with no checks or balances, with the same consequences. We here in the West have never had to face those consequences the way they do in the third world, thus we have ignored the ever-increasing peril we put ourselves in when the system that is straining to sustain us starts to collapse under it's own weight. This intricate weave of goods and services is becoming so complex that none of us entirely understand how it really works, and there comes a time when all the PHD's and bailouts will not put Humpty back together again.

There are so many ways to actually simplify this system we rely on it's not even funny. Smaller farms serving local markets rather than supporting an endless army of middlemen is one example. Locally produced organic and much safer and healthier produce, will raise the income of the people who actually grow the stuff while lowing the cost and carbon footprint. Elimination of pretty manicure lawns in favor of zeroscaped properties would cut down on all the pesticides, herbicides, and over-fertilization that is killing our rivers and ground water. Providing sane alternatives to baby making such as safe and effective contraception, parenting classes, universal health care for those who take responsibility for themselves and their own heath with healthy diet and exercise, genetic screening and counseling, and other measures can drastically reduce the cost of health care and support of children without good families to raise them. But, I think the best thing we can really do is ask all of ourselves a serious question; does owning more and more things really make me happy? Just because one COULD buy something (providing a demand for it) does not necessarily mean one SHOULD buy something, as if simply the very ACT of purchasing some piece of crap is another form of "getting high". The fashion industry is one of our worst offenders, with an endless stream of clothing and assesories such as women's shoes and purses having to be replaced and sent to the landfill just because you owned them for three months. Heaven forbid you get caught wearing a pump that is "soooo yesterday"!

No, really, if you don't understand just how selfish and self-centered that behavior is, as well as the unseen consequences on the whole environment, then you are personally responsible and equally guilty of committing slow murder of everything around you. Remember how previously I described how intricate and interwoven this economy based on consumption is? That bag you payed far to much for that is suddenly out of style.....well......people made that bag and now that it isn't "IN", they lost business and might lose their jobs, just because you, YES YOU, were so fickle about your purse preferences. And to think those people might have been well employed making good, sturdy clothing items that lasted and were affordable.

Another misguided aspect is our failure to promote cooperation between industries to provide the best products for the least cost while employing the most people with the best kinds of jobs. Instead, it's out and out competition, companies pandering to the lowest common denominator in order to "defeat" the competition and steal more market share. As I once said, the REAL reason any business or industry exists is because that's how people support themselves.....NOT because rich people want to plant a money seed and grow a money tree so that they can buy a whole fleet of lear jets. So, instead of falsely claiming to be concerned about how well investors are served (when the truth of the matter is how well the CEO and his board buddies make out), management of ANY company should be comprised of those whose blood, sweat and tears MAKE that company work, and whose choices have a direct impact upon their own fortunes. A worker in a car factory is going to want to make the best damn car he can, because THAT will satisfy the customer and insure the worker a better standard of living. If the WORKER doesn't work hard enough and takes an excess amount of compensation for his labors, then HE will suffer the consequences and only has HIMSELF to blame, not that blood sucking CEO or his supposed concern for "investors". The stock market is a sham that is actually more responsible for economic downturns than any other instrument in the whole process. So, until we eliminate the whole concept of corporations and their boards of entitled royalty, there will never be economic justice and the endless cycle of economic downturns will continue.

But, that's just me..........what do I know?