The Liebster Awards!

Thank you and Introduction

I am so proud and humbled to be nominated for this lovely award! Thank you so much, Vulture. It is very affirming to know that someone has found my crying out in the wilderness to be worth some attention. This nomination has challenged me to grow as a blogger and to search out my inner purpose. I greatly appreciate the opportunity and the perspective that this event has brought, and I hope to share that experience with future generations of Liebsters.

Here is the award.

liebster5

Thank you for the applause. 🙂

In execution of my duties as a recipient of this prestigious award, I present to you the following: Answers to Questions, Arbitrary Facts, 5-11 Nominees, Questions for the Nominees, and the Rules. The nominees will be notified of their nominations forthwith.

Answers to Questions

1. Imagine the following scenario: Someone, somewhere inside the United states government has decided to kill you before you can talk. Why did they make that decision? How many killers get sent? What weapons do they plan to use? What is your planned response?

Following reception of the Liebster award, my blog went viral. Growing numbers of people began to disengage from the dominant economic paradigm and engage their communities and society according to the 5 principles of Global Weirding. One governmental agency or another approached me with the idea to use my blog to disinform the public in exchange for considerable benefits. I refused.

“So I turned around and forty thousand headmen hit the dirt
Firing twenty shotguns each and man, it really hurt
But luckily for me they had to stop and then reload
And by the time they’d done all that I was heading down the road”

Forty Thousand Headmen, Traffic

2. Do you have one or more declared “favorite” things that you don’t make time to include in your life? E.g. this applies if you say classical music is your “favorite” type of music, but you rarely (or never) listen to it.

I have a very hard time to pronouncing anything favorite, at least to the exclusion of other things (which is pretty much the definition of favorite). Strangely, I often forget to list the Beatles in my collection of favorite bands. But none of this really gets at the substantive issue. Until recently, urban agriculture is something that I had claimed as a favorite thing, but I was not actively engaged in its practice. There are likely other, similar examples…

3. There is some topic of which you have considerable knowledge, but it is inconvenient for you to teach this topic to other people. What makes it inconvenient?

My career is somewhat inaccessible to many people. As a civil engineer, some aspects of my daily work experience require a great amount of technical background that is difficult to communicate within a charming anecdote.

4. Of the various reports of paranormal phenomena you have heard, what makes the least credible different from the most credible?

In my view, the more credible paranormal phenomena are those I have witnessed. The least credible are squarely categorized among those I have not witnessed.

5. What is the most impressive depiction of the game of chess in a work of fine art? Does this remind you of other pieces of fine art?

I lack the experience to do this question justice.

6. How much experience do you have with computer games?

Not a great deal, especially in recent years. In my youth I spent hours playing Myst, SimCity 2000, SimAnt, SimEarth, SimTower, Civilization, and Master of Orion. If I may stretch the genre to include the previous generation of gaming consoles, I immensely enjoyed Red Dead Redemption and the Undead Nightmare expansion, as well as BioShock, BioShock Infinite, LA Noire, The Simpsons, The Walking Dead and Plants vs. Zombies.

7. What is an indulgence that you genuinely don’t enjoy, but other people always think that you do enjoy?

Conventional vacations/tourism. When I get some time off work, the last thing I want to do is bind myself to a rigid itinerary in an unfamiliar environment. Often, I’ll take vacation and just stay at home with my wife and kids. Maybe go to the park or something. When I do travel, I rarely visit the popular sites. I prefer to just BE in a novel city or landscape rather than touring it. I want to experience the life of the locality, not look at it from the outside.

8. How many years do you think will pass before the USA has a major currency crisis?

2d4+1

9. Have you ever experienced a truth so deep that you feel you shouldn’t try to explain it?

My answer to this question is so deep that I feel I should not try to explain it. Not out of fear that the gray-faced goons of the Corporatocratic State of Oceania will declare me an enemy combatant and attempt to silence me before I succeed in publishing this post. No. rather, I lack the articulation, nay, the eloquence to properly communicate the experience of this truth. I will sound foolish and so undermine the truth whose beauty I seek to share.

10. What is it that makes furry animals cute?

I protest that furry animals are not necessarily cute.

One night as I walked alone in the night returning home from a friend’s house, I heard a rustling some dozens of feet away that stopped me in my tracks. I turned to see a rat enchanted with gigantic growth. Its red eyes glowed brightly from the shadows as it sat upon its haunches, forepaws held near its gnarly-toothed muzzle. Seized with fear, I groped vainly at my irrational brain to generate a phantastic explanation. Then I realized it was an opossum. Opossums (or is it Opossa?) are furry, but not cute.!

Furthermore, and beside the point, cute animals are not necessarily furry. Have you ever seen a young maiasaura? No? Me neither. But I have seen forensic reconstructions and they are cute, but may not be furry. I find it fascinating that cute features are somewhat universal among the youth of charismatic macro-fauna and is quite possibly a form of self-defence.

11. What is the truest ghost story you know about?

See responses to #4 and #9.

11 Arbitrary Facts

I have learned more about dinosaurs in the last 3 years than I knew by the age of 11. This is directly related to my oldest son, who is –well, I don’t want to say obsessed – but, he’s – let’s just say – interested in dinosaurs. Incidentally, he is 3 years old. While he was watching Dinosaur Train, I’d be over here on Wikipedia reading further into whatever the topic of the episode was. Now, he pretends that he mainly prefers the more sophisticated documentary-style dinosaur shows, and the teenage Dino Squad, but we both know there is a special place in our hearts for Dinosaur Train.

I understand paradox to be the keystone of existential experience.

I have a strong inclination to eat spicy foods. I probably eat something spicy every day. I have decided to take a break from capsaicin for a little while. It hasn’t been easy, but I must say I have enjoyed some flavors I would otherwise have missed. The break is only temporary and this weekend I am planting several nightshades, including a few varieties of pepper. Mmmm… Peppers…

I think it’s good when my middle son, 18 months, gives his older brother a hard time.

I enjoy vaping. I had quit smoking for some 7 months or so when a whole bunch of heavy $#¡+ went down. I started smoking again. One day, faced with a $#¡t or get off the pot scenario I pulled into a smoke shop and dropped $50 on a vaporizer and some liquid. That was over a year ago. I had one cigarette late last September while drunk outside (couldn’t smoke inside) a bar in San Lorenzo de El Escorial. I did not enjoy it (the cigarette, of course, drinking at a bar in San Lorenzo de El Escorial was a blast!)

I just went out on my patio like an old man to see what all the hootin’n’hollerin’s about: bunch a young whipper-snappers up to some foolishness, I reckon.

I really appreciate my children providing me cover to act childishly in public.

I sometimes realize that labor, though a consequence of original sin, is not only a punishment, but a mercy which may keep us safe from sin.

I like to leave quotations from books, songs and movies in places where they are likely to be encountered unexpectedly.

I look forward to being an eccentric old man.

I am waiting in anticipation to meet my third son in a few months!

5-11 New Nominees

Goddess, Guitar, Government

Obsidian Oblique

Notes on Liberty

Melanie’s Life Online

Appalachian Son

Data Distributist

11 Questions

What is one concrete action you can take to live with more integrity?

Have you ever communicated with someone outside your native language?

Have you ever left behind everything familiar on a challenging adventure of personal growth?

What would you think if I told you that Machiavellian types are more likely to believe conspiracy theories?

Do you see the fnords?

Is there a game that you would love to play if only you could find others who wanted to play it too?

What is your experience with public speaking? That is to say, literally speaking, in front of a large group of people, many of whom you do not know well personally.

Do you regret more things that you have or have not done?

What is the Answer?

What is the Question?

Which was more difficult: 11 facts or 11 questions?

Rules

Here are the rules of the Liebster Award:

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

1. thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2. display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)

3. answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

4. provide 11 random facts about yourself.

5. nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)

6. create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

7. list these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

End the War on Poverty!

I actually drafted this 2 nights ago and was thinking to hold onto it for a dry spell. Then I saw the Daily Prompt: Groupthink, and thought, “Sure, why not?”

We have a problem with poverty in the world: there are too many poor people. When we have a problem, what do we do? Wage war on it! War on Poverty! Don’t poor people have enough problems without having war waged on them?

The left says…

L: The problem with poor people is they ain’t got no money. We need to do something about this before they rise up and take us out of power.

R: You’re right, but we can’t just give them money.

L: We could loan it to them…

R: They can’t pay back the loans – that’s just giving it away.

L: Ahhh… We’ll loan the money to the government! The government will spend the money on social programs and entitlements and levy taxes to pay back the loans.

R: Now you’re talking. But about these social programs – they are not gonna work. We can make them look great and all, but if they do work then the programs will end and we won’t be lending money to the government anymore.

L: Sure, fine! We just need to pass some legislation with neat acronyms and big dollar signs. It’ll be fine.

R: Of course it’ll be fine. The government can’t pay back the loans either, but when they default we will own everything! Mwaa ha ha ha haaa!

L: Right on! But hey, the folks are getting restless again. Maybe we could pay them some more, tax them some more, and spend some more borrowed money, huh?!

R: I like the cut of your gib. However, to raise minimum wages, we’ll need to raise prices to cover the costs.

L: Whatever you need, man! Just raise the prices slowly, after the minimum wage legislation takes effect, and they’ll barely notice.

R: I’m getting bored. Let’s build something. How about a stadium? Or we could tear down someone’s country and re-build that…

L: That sounds great! We’ll build a temple to the goddess Nike who will bless us our plan for victory over the world! Or at least distract these poor bastards a little longer.

R: Yeah… whatever. Ummm… we could save some money by building it where all those poor folks live.

L: Perfect! That’ll increase tax revenues so the government can keep paying on that interest. Of course the folks living there now can’t really afford to move, so they’ll need government assistance. That means more loans.

R: I’m tired of making loans and collecting interest. I want everything now! The government has borrowed enough!

L: If you don’t loan more to the government so they can pay on the other loans and we, or they… whatever… default, the markets will crash and lots of money will simply vanish.

R: Good point. We’ll crash the market, then loan the government a bunch of money to bail us out. Plus, I can look more conservative by railing against government debt, spending and all that.

L: Brilliant!

The Kingdom of Heaven is like…

A growing number of persons are coming to realize that human societies and economic modalities are on the verge of radical, fundamental change. This change will occur with or without the consent or intention of anybody. On the one hand, if the dominant economic paradigm persists on its current course, the resources fueling the economic engine will be so depleted and the planetary biosphere will become so poisoned as to trigger a shocking “correction”. On the other hand, a slim probability exists that people may change their individual and corporate behaviors so as to mitigate the inevitable damage.

Faced with this grim realization, various individuals and groups are endeavoring to develop strategies and tactics to either avert this disaster or prepare for it. Others accept, even champion, the idea that the human race is, and even should be, doomed. I am not so optimistic that the disaster can be totally prevented. Nor am I so pessimistic as to accept that the human race will be annihilated in the absence of any effective effort to change course. I am of the opinion that the changes necessary to achieve sustainability are so incompatible with the existing societal and economic structures and the time to implement such changes before the cataclysm is so short, that the reforms themselves would be catastrophic.

The notion of a top-down solution has been championed by many. This is a delusion. The entities in power at the top depend on the status quo as the foundation of their power. If world leaders betray their real constituents, the corporations and investors perpetuating the problematic economic modalities, they will be removed from power by any means necessary. If a concerned party were to attempt to seize power by force, they will be met with unimaginable resistance which all but guarantees a swift defeat or protracted, devastating bloodshed and destruction. The so-called “War on Terror” has excused our leaders to terrorize their subjects into accepting a legislative-judicial-executive complex capable of suspending due process to quickly and quietly halt any such activity.

Even if an organized revolution were successfully carried out, history teaches us that the new powers will serve their own interests over and against those of many, even those who supported their rise. Besides, our social and economic systems are so bewilderingly complex no person, group or machine can possibly fathom the myriad effects of any singular policy, directive or restructuring much less a comprehensive program for change.

Our singular, collective hope for positive, meaningful change rests on a critical mass of individuals independently exercising their liberty to disengage from the dominant economic paradigm and dynamically engage society. Several seemingly insuperable challenges are immediately apparent. First, a great many people will have to break their addiction to consumerist candy. The very act of abstaining from the consumer culture isolates a person from society-at-large. In response to this isolation and societal pressure, participants will desire to gather together for mutual support. This assembly would attract the attention of powerful adversaries. The powers will exert their influence to infiltrate, disintegrate and marginalize the newly-formed community. Any resistance by the community to these efforts will be used by the powers as evidence of their dangerous and potentially “terroristic” character.

How do we disengage from the dominant economic paradigm? Grow and eat good food. Go on a media diet. Perform a consumerism cleanse. These activities are mutually re-inforcing. The effort and expense of producing or otherwise acquiring local, organic produce will make it more difficult to have time to watch mainstream media garbage. The time and expense of good food and the break from advertising will promote better purchasing habits. How do we dynamically engage society? Raise awareness of the corporatocracy. Have fun! All the doom and gloom of the challenges we collectively face can be a real downer. Learn to take seriousness humorously; sometimes take humorousness seriously. Laugh, learn and love!

Persons interested in disengaging from the dominant economic paradigm and dynamically engaging their society must remain geographically dispersed. They must seek support from those of like mind through media such as the internet and independent press, through horizontal networks, and small gatherings. They must seek to educate and raise awareness among their friends, neighbors, co-workers and the public without raising flags of any color. They must be like “a little leaven hidden in three pecks of flour.”