Monday, August 31, 2009

On Secession


At least 5,000 racial, ethnic, linguistic and cultural groups are lumped together into only 189 nation states. Most of the world's violent conflicts are related to struggles for dominance within or independence from some large, multi-national nation state. A large percentage of the world’s people (especially in populous India, China, Indonesia and Africa) would choose to secede from their respective nation states if given the opportunity.

Not to mention states and provinces themselves splitting up. This is how West Virginia, for instance, formed.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I just recently returned to the library a good book on accents by Robert Blumenfeld, titled Accents: A Manual for Actors.

What I found interesting was that accents change over time, and the late-nineteenth-century/early twentieth-century accents used by the American and British upper classes are all but extinct. Two CDs accompanied the book, and there was a sample of such an American accent, in which the speaker pronounced Philippines as Philippins, and abdomen as abDOmen.

I plan to post more later.

One post here mentions the accents of George Plimpton and William F. Buckley.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

In Memoriam

On this date nine years ago my maternal grandmother died.

Monday, August 03, 2009

An excerpt:

Too many disastrous things are lined up in the months ahead to insure that we're entering a new phase of history: The Long Emergency.
Government at every level is worse than broke.
Our currency, the US dollar, is hemmorrhaging legitimacy.
Inability to service old debt at all levels or incur new debt.
Bad (toxic) debt lurking off balance sheets everywhere.
The housing bubble fiasco is far from over.
Unemployment rising implaccably.
So-called "consumers" unable to consume consumables.
Crucial energy import supply lines fragile.
Food supply subject to energy problems and climate abnormalities.
A world full of other societies who would enjoy watching us fail and suffer.

When The Long Emergency was published in 2005, I said then that the greatest danger this society faced would be its inclination to gear up a campaign to sustain the unsustainable at all costs -- rather than face the need to make new arrangements for daily life. That appears to be exactly what has happened, and it didn't happen under the rule of some backward-facing, right-wing, Jesus-haunted crypto-fascist, but rather a "progressive" party led by a dynamically affable young man unburdened by deep cultural allegiance to Wall Street. Barack Obama has been sucked in and suckered. "Change you can believe in" has morphed into "a status quo you will bend heaven and earth to hold onto."

Whatever else you might think or feel about Mr. Obama's performance so far, this strategy on the broader question of where we go as a nation pulses with tragedy. What's remarkable to me, to go a step further, is the absence of comprehensive vision -- not just in the president, but in all the supposedly able and intelligent people around him, and even those leaders not in government but in business and education and science and the professions.

History is clearly presenting us with a new set of mandates: get local, get finer, downscale, and get going on it right away. Prepare for it now or nature will whack you upside the head with it not too long from now. Attempting to maintain anything on the gigantic scale will turn out to be a losing proposition, whether it is military control of people in Central Asia, or colossal bureaucracies run in the USA, or huge factory farms, or national chain store retail, or hypertrophied state universities, or global energy supply networks.

And Kunstler acknowledges Kauai blogger Juan Wilson for his post about R. Crumb.