Friday, March 23, 2012

Great Ad for "The Heirloom"

Duncan Crary of the Kunstlercast has, despite a ravaged throat, produced a pitch perfect ad for "The Heirloom." Of course, the Kunstlercast is a must visit site regardless of my literary ambitions. Every week Duncan and James Howard Kunstler, of "The Long Emergency" fame, get together to talk about the topic du jour and interview guests about the ongoing collapse of the industrial world. The show is lighthearted despite its weighty topic and has more laughs than moments of pathos. Between Duncan's interesting asides coming from a different generation and Jim's often hilarious wit bombs, the show is over all too soon, making one itch for the next episode.

The banner ad on the site looks great as well. I'm not sure what all I need do to get this book in front of people, but I'm doing everything that seems reasonable. Everyone I've met, except one crotchety old judge, has loved it, even the literary types seem to not hate it. I hope you will too.

But, of course, the irony lies in the collapse of civilization making an ephemeral project such as a novel about the collapse of civilization a seeming race against time. If you believe the fast crash crowd, then this is a silly gesture, and the energy spent writing would be better spent building a farmstead. If you believe the slow, economic stair-step crash scenario, then anyone still in the business of writing (or any venture) would face a steadily deteriorating audience, both in number and in physical, spiritual, economic, and mental health.

I must imagine that all of the peak oil prognosticators, pundits, and commentators, not to mention authors, both non-fiction and fiction, have at some point thought of the deep and troubling irony of both working within the system to get their voices heard, to build up their brand identity, to sell themselves and their products, and working to get out of a system that they may see in a range of lights from evil but doomed to awesome but doomed. Obviously, I am facing that right now.

For those who are on the "industrial society is evil but doomed end" of the spectrum, such as myself, the mere thought of all the paper needed to publish books, the metal that goes into the printers, the electricity consumed, the entire knock-on chain of industrial cause and effect, makes me cringe and fret that my little book is the anti-christ, that no one needs to read anything that light! Everyone should immediately buy a copy of "One Straw Revolution," or "Endgame."(Does Derrick Jensen wrestle with the same demons? Ruh-roh, I introduced a meta-irony loop by mentioning his book, "Endgame!")

What about books made of electricity? Unfortunately, these involve computers and all their rare earth metals, the plastics, hell, the aluminum for the Mac, the energy and the misery of the labor force. The ebook hardly seems a lesser evil.

What to do? I could opt for the cynicism du jour, both lamenting the state of the world and making knowing snarky asides. I could weep, wail, and gnash. I could take up arms. I could even fill out petitions and spend time with protestors.

But, after much thought, I've decided I will write and paint. These two things are what I do best and most enjoy. If any of my work inspires or impels someone to action or to a better understanding of the crisis, then I consider myself as having a life well spent.

For the enjoyment of anyone who has not seen my paintings, here is one from my upcoming show.

Thanks, and enjoy the book.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Radio Can Kill the Death Star

A recent ruling by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has done more to undermine the rightwing stranglehold on media than anything since Limbaugh got called out on his slut comments. The ruling got rid of thousands of repeater station applications that have allowed the national wingnut media conglomerate a cheap way to spread their daily helpings of rightwing hate and misinfo without the bother of doing anything local, like actually reflecting the political and moral leanings of the community.

This ruling clears the way for President Obama's Local Community Radio Act signed in 2011that will allow local communities to set up low power FM radio stations without interference from the giant media conglomerates and their uniform messages of hate and wingnuttery. Imagine! Local people broadcasting local information for local people. The same old tired corporate playlists will vanish. Local artists will be heard.

But, most importantly, the beginnings of a local post oil network will be formed. The one thing about radio is its simplicity. Low power radio is decidedly low tech, relatively speaking. If you've ever built a crystal radio as a kid, you know what I mean. This is practically at the level of finding the right rock and a bit of wire and hooray! you have a radio. Of course, broadcasting will take a bit more technology, but the good news is that it lasts. Once set up, and if it is cared for, that radio equipment will last for decades.

What does that mean? In a resource constrained world, local people can get market information, weather warnings, local news about local events, and a sense of community. It also means that we will benefit by ridding the local community of the terribly divisive noise we get from the national fascist media. No longer will people from outside the community go unchallenged.

Every town and neighborhood in the country needs to set up a rudimentary low-power broadcast station, preferably powered by solar panels and batteries or even a windmill or waterwheel. With that distributed network of local stations, the centralized powers that currently choke the airwaves with garbage designed to keep the people uninformed and hooked on wingnut insanity will no longer have that power. This network will help prevent regionalism and tribalism from fracturing the country too quickly when the oil emergency comes.

Get busy! Find out how to apply for a low-power radio license. Apply. Do it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rats and Ships, Brokers and the Economy

In the past two weeks a couple of Wall Street insiders, one of which was particularly highly placed, came forward and blew their whistles. Wall Street is corrupt!!


What the headline should read is, "Wall Street Corrupt, Working Hand in Hand with the Government, Looting the Country, We've Always Known It, and the Rubes Don't Give a Shit."

That this group of craven berserkers are ripping out the economic heart of the country has been in plain view since 2008. The press can care less, and what coverage they give is not unlike their coverage of torture. They don't call it a war crime or even torture. It is enhanced interrogation. The coverage of the greatest economic crime of the millennia is similarly watered down--so much so that the government has treated these criminals to huge wads of cash and immunity from the perp walk. So, if we've been perfectly capable of ignoring and not reporting (Except for notable exception Matt Taibbi at The Rolling Stones magazine) the ever more disgusting revelations of massive fraud, theft, and chicanery for the past six years, why do we suddenly see this huge shot across the bow?

What may be happening is that someone who has been at the heart of the beast for some time and who has been witnessing this Grand Larceny with no qualms, finally saw something that scared even their black heart. Doesn't that send goosebumps up your spine? Imagine that, a Wall Street broker so disgusted that even they cry foul.

So, what is it that they saw? I imagine them finally getting up the nerve to sneak down that hallway where at its end pulses a breathing door, hellish red light streams from the threshold, smoke curls out, and strange guttural noises are chopped short by whip cracks. They open the door and see something so heinous, so frightening, that they know, finally know with certainty, that the jig is up and that they must tell someone before the beast is loosed. One of the traders mentioned a trillion dollars in hidden derivatives, something we've known about for some time with little coming of it, but he or she seems to think that the timer is off and running, that we are about to be overwhelmed.

Well, now what? Every responsible person with a voice has begged for an investigation. None came. Will we see a sudden and intense reflection on our sins? I doubt it.

The problem is, the rubes could care less and the powers that be know it. They know they have the hapless geeks by the short hairs, that the citizen rubes are only focused on day to day endorphin management through recreational shopping. But, hold on!! Wait a minute! Perhaps in knowing this only too well, they also know what will happen when the consumer binky is popped out of its pouting baby orifice and the hoi polloi no longer have that pacifier to quell the beast known as existential angst.

Riots! Crime, perhaps directed at the one percent! Taxes!! Real Taxes!!!! Rotten cabbages hurled at them as they roll by in the tumbrel to their destiny!

We can only hope so.