The world is always ending for someone

April 15, 2018 and the world is covered in ice, at least where I live. An ice storm is rolling through and we are stuck in the house for the day after a busy couple of days. My fiance’s father died yesterday and the days leading up to it were busy with a lot of driving, finding babysitters, and losing several hours of sleep. fortunately the last on we are professionals at dealing with. As of today I am two episodes behind on my podcast and this is the first post for a while, I haven’t kept track.

While Sarah was spending her time with her dad, trying to maintain his care, I was busy with several projects. During the day I am the primary care giver for my daughter. While I have her I try to do some productive things while keeping her entertained. On Friday night i returned home from work to hear the news that we, as in the united states, had bombed parts of Syria. This had me worried and a few hours later i received the call that Sarah’s dad had passed away after a long fight with cancer. The next morning, while Sarah stayed in bed catching up on sleep, I took Zoey with me to the store and filled a cart with non-perishables to load into the pantry. This was more for my personal feeling of security than anything. Did i think we were heading for war, hopefully not, but I did worry that things would move into a direction I didn’t want to imagine. For the sake of my family and myself i loaded up the car and carried everything into the basement while Sarah slept. she still has no idea how much i bought or added to our stockpile.

On Friday, I took Zoey with me to my house and dug up a few Iris and Tulip bulbs. Sarah had been looking forward to her yard being cleaned up and I wanted her to have some flowers to look forward to. I planted the Iris and tulips in appropriate spots along with some sunflowers that I hope will fill the space along the fence in the backyard.

While I try to plan for the unexpected Saturday was a rough reminder of how things may not turn out as you expect. Sarah’s dad was a young guy, only 58 when he passed. While I can look at my family’s history and see the long lifespans that preceded me I can’t expect to be that lucky. Religion teaches us to look towards the end times while ignoring the day to day events that are in a sense a personal apocalypse. This will be the second funeral that I will be attending this year. My Grandmother passed away a few weeks ago and she was buried on St. Patrick’s Day, finally giving me a reason to drink on that day. I have been to plenty of funerals during my life. Many were the result of self inflicted ends of one kind or another, some natural causes, either way these should remind us that everyday life is a danger in itself and that the end could always be closer than we expect.

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Mosin vs. Voting (or) Who Really Won the Coldwar?

I own not one, but two, Mosin-Nagant rifles. At one time i thought this was the ultimate symbol of winning the Cold-War. The spoils heading to the American market at a cheap price and sitting in the racks of the victors. That was how I used to think about this.

It has become apparent that while the Berlin Wall fell and the USSR fell apart the repercussions have been the revenge of using free market capitalism as the ultimate weapon. While the US trades stocks, bonds, commodities and people in the free market the Russians have learned how to manipulate every aspect of our system. let’s step back for a bit.

In most of the world the governments of most countries will dictate policies to protect the welfare of the people and companies. Countries like China and Russia are great examples, who have the ability to directly manipulate markets at a moment notice. When the Asian markets crashed in 2009 the Chinese government stepped in and dumped a ton of money into the market, devalued the Yen, and balanced the loss in less than a day. meanwhile, in the US, congress had to rush together, debate a bill, kiss the ass of Wall Street, and eventually do something that would eventually work, over the next 8 years. This is the difference between a functioning government and a country taken over by a religious idea. That is what the free market is, a religious idea. With the rise of the conservative right during the Reagan years, the idea that the markets need to be unregulated and left alone returned as the survivors of the Great Depression died off leaving a group of adolescent buffoons to run the country. These ideas ruled the day before and created the greatest economic disaster the world had ever seen. Sadly, Republicans don’t read much, not history and not the bible.

The national debt hit 21 trillion dollars this week, the first time ever in the nations history and every day is a new total debt that is a first in our history. this is not an amount that will be paid back by my generation or the next but my grand kids will still be trying to pay off this huge pile of festering feces. 21 trillion dollars and what did we get out of it? 2 wars. thousands dead and that is just on our side. Bailed out banks. The list goes on and on. While following this religion of free market capitalism we were blind to see the soft underbelly that we had created. the supreme court declared that corporations were people and could use their money has free speech. I think Putin was listening. companies were hired, adds were placed, fake accounts were started, and like the suckers we are we voted for the worst possible choice on the ballot. so while I sit here with my Mosin-Nagants thinking we had the spoils of war the real spoils was beating us at our own game. Globalization and free trade came crashing down around us and we were powerless to fight it. The system is broken and the people in power are the same ones that continue to say it will correct itself. “Just leave it alone and it will straighten out.” I have never had a car with a strange sound just straighten itself out. Eventually there is a louder noise, a crunch or whining sound, then the smoke appears. Our car is slowly coming to a stop on the side of an abandoned highway with no one in sight to helps us. We will be stranded on the side of the rode because we let dad, who isn’t a mechanic by the way, drive the car and continue to tell us nothing is wrong. all of this after stopping at a commie gas station, hey it’s a free market after all, and Putin put sand in the gas tank and drained the oil from the pan.

Things need to change, and if the gun control debate has shown us anything it’s that congress has no plans to change anything any time soon. The Cold-War never ended. the names changed and the players may have new faces but the old problems of the last century still haunt us today. the only difference is that the Russians continued to learn and became better at this game than we have. While the US has continued playing checkers all over the globe the Russians continued to play a long game of Chess and had their checkmate with the 2016 election.

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Can I get a Ramen? (or) Stocking up for the Apocalypse

My grandmother died on Tuesday. A morbid or uncomfortably personal announcement to start out with, but one to set the mood for the rest of this post. She was 79 years old and i was only able to meet her four times during my life. I found out her health had declined and that she might leave us soon just before the weekend. the next day i came down with the flu that had me out of commission for four days. On day number four, the one that i was finally starting to recover I received the call that she had passed. Times like this come as a reminder of how quickly our life can change. One moment we think about retirement and the years ahead for a goal that we may never reach. the next moment someone we know is hit by a bus and we say “fuck it, I’m eating this bacon and enjoying that beer because YOLO.” I don’t know where the balance is and this is something I have always struggled with. At the same time all of this crazy business is happening my girlfriend’s dad is in the final stages of colon cancer. The world is changing all around me. The polar vortex that keeps all the cold air at the north pole can no longer stay where it belongs because all the ice is gone. Russia is using chemical weapons in foreign lands. Trump is meeting with Kim Jong Un to discuss which country has the best porn stars. Congress is willing to vote on saving puppies in planes but not on gun control to save the lives of children. the list of crazy goes on and on.

I’m stocking up. I have my list ready. Canned goods and non perishables are on there of course. Ramen supplies to keep my hobby going during the apocalypse is on there as well. .45 APC ammo since my supply has dwindled from practicing. And baby food, lots and lots of baby food. I don’t know what the future is going to bring. I watched a documentary called LA 92 on netflix and the damn thing freaked me out. I kept thinking “well if that thing with trump…” “If a cop shoots a black kid here…” “If this global warming thing kills the crops this year…” Ya, I’m not too positive about the future. Having a child changed a few things. Now I worry about her having food. I think about the world that she will be growing up in. I live in a small city that thinks it’s a big city. We had the Uber shooter and the Cyclists that were run over by a drugged out douche bag. We had a giant oil spill in our river and the city’s response “let’s brew beer.” I know we are not immune here from the problems of the world. I know that whatever the future brings my daughter will have to face it. In the meantime I will keep the basement stocked, just in case, and when i’m not thinking about the end of the world you can find me in the kitchen making ramen. Maybe that is what the world needs. Momofuku Ando, the creator of instant ramen said “feeding the world will bring it peace.” So maybe, if we all try a little harder, and clean off our pots and pans, we could bring some peace to world by making some ramen and slurping away our problems.

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Unleash the Books

My reading list has grown over the years. When I finally think I’m putting a dent into find that the list has grown beyond where it was. Last year, according to Goodreads, I read 176 books. My reading list grew from about 250 to 500 books. That is a rough estimate considering my buying habits at the local second hand store in the basement of the public library. (insert shameless add for Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library here)

The last two books I read were directly influenced by the recent election. Drift by Rachael Maddow and It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis.

Drift was published in 2012 when the world was supposed to end according to a dead culture and at the start of the second term for the Obama administration. Maddow discusses how the authority for starting war was transformed from Congress needing to declare it and the president doing whatever he wanted, thanks Reagan. Four years later I came across a first edition and picked it up curious about what she had to say about our military situation. It ended up being a warning that was never heard and now we have to face the repercussions of a system that was never fixed and a madman in office.

It Can’t Happen Here, was written in 1936 when people saw what was happening in Germany but nobody thought it would get to the point of ovens and world war. Lewis maps out how a fascist was able to win the hearts of the American public during the great depression with the promise of making life better by punishing the banks and politicians. Things start out that way until camps are started and people are forced to work more than they did before. Executions are common and often throughout the book much like the Nazi policies in Germany. Things don’t turn out well, once a dictator is in power its difficult to get them out of power.

A few weeks ago I read This Side of Paradise, F Scott Fitzgerald’s first book that made him famous had an interesting scene towards the end where two men are talking about the current political climate and the friction between the rich and poor. While listening to the conversation one can easily forget that what they are talking about is the early 1920s. a hundred years later it is easy to see that nothing has changed.

Some of my pepper seeds have started to sprout and I dug into my boxes of books to find all of my organic gardening material. I thinned out this section a few years ago by giving away books to close friends, I hope they still have them now.

I watch the protest and here the beats of war drums in the distance. The current climate has me wondering what life will be like in the spring. Will I still have a home? Will this still be a country? Will we still be here? With the increasing speed of technology and communication could the end of this country be sped up, what once took years could be crammed into a few months, or possibly weeks. I plant seeds with the hope of harvesting the food in the future and preserving it for next winter. Other people in this country have other plans. The current book list I am working through are things I read before. Gardening guides, how to grow herbs, composting, permaculture, square foot gardening, and much, much, more. The upside is that once the garden is going, the plants grow and do the majority of the work. That frees up time for other things. I’m not sure where this experiment is going. Adaptation is important for surviving in constantly changing circumstances. I have plans, but it feels like every day that goes buy something else is said or done by a certain person in power that might make that reality a fantasy.

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The Cat is Out of the Bag

I had lunch with a friend yesterday who is worried about the current world situation. Bob and his wife (names have been changed for safety) have started to buy food for storage and try to figure out other things they might need for surviving the Hitler… I mean trump administration. By the time we left the restaurant, we still had not heard about the threats made towards Iran or the friction between ourselves and one of our greatest allies, the Australians. What we did know was that Trump had ordered a raid on a house in Yemen that resulted in the deaths of 9 women and children and one 8 year old girl who was a US citizen. Keep in mind we have not been in Yemen since early 2015. When the white house was asked about this they stated it was “collateral damage.” There it is. The status of humans in this country or others doesn’t matter to the president of the united states. While others would have pretended to care this guy does not give a shit. That is what scares the hell out of me.

I found out a few weeks ago, that I am going to be a father. While many would say “there is never a good time in life to have a child” my question is: what about a time in history? The scientist that run the doomsday clock have moved the minute had to the closest time ever set even beating the height of the cold war. My long term concern of climate change has been something I always thought would be something I could teach my kids to adapt to and survive.  Now with the crazy nut job that the few in this country elected I don’t know if any of us will be around more than a few years from now.

My friend Bob has a right to be concerned. His daughter is old enough to remember the good old days and still adapt to the new world she will be growing into. My kid however, all of this crazy shit, will be normal. Maybe that’s for the better. There won’t be a chance to deny what is happening or a longing for what we once had.

With the new year, and a new job title that I will have in the coming year (dad) I started to take some steps to try and adapt to the new world. I cleaned out my house taking several boxes of items to the local goodwill. After all the things you own end up owning you. I took out the canning jars from the basement and sorted the seeds I would be planting in the spring. Currently I have four lights focused on tomato and pepper seeds for future planting. My closet was cleaned out and books thinned out to make space for those I would read and concentrated on those that are important and educational. By important I mean classics, anything pertaining to survival.

While my girlfriend and I have discussed moving in together there is one thing that stands out, both of us are upside down in or mortgages. Neither of us can sell. The upside is that I have a huge yard that I can grow food for us in, and I can use several square feet of the house as a tax write off for a personal business. Eventually we will get tired of paying so much for two houses we don’t need but then we have to figure out who’s credit is ruined because of the mistakes made by Alan Greenspan and George W Bush.  The world is changing and my life is changing with it. the garden I hope will relieve some burden from that stress while providing organic healthy food for the three of us.

If I had a child during the bush administration I would have told my child not to join the military, a large problem solve with a simple statement. These days I will have to teach all of the material from my books plus some extras. Camping, fishing, hunting, gardening, shooting, archery, trapping, and much much more. The world of my books, a science fiction/ fantasy world of dystopian rule has become reality. Thanks Trump.

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