Postcard from Wolf Country — Detritus for the New Year

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Trump channeling Yeats rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem to be born. WAPO Photo, with Image Flip By Allynna McCleod

 Orange Genital Wart haunting the Oval Office!

Must We Burn the Resolute Desk to remove the haint?

Being a goddamned degenerate pussy-grabber with a lifetime of adultery, venality, and dishonesty is not one of the core tenets of the Christian faith — Rick Wilson

See that you keep a cheerful demeanour, and retain your independence of outside help and the peace which others can give. Your duty is to stand straight—not held straight. Marcus Aurelius, Meditation Book 3.5

Been away, haven’t seen you in a while
How’ve you been, have you changed your style?
And do you think that we’ve grown up differently?
Don’t seem the same, seems you’ve lost your feeling for me?
So let’s leave it alone ’cause we can’t see eye to eye
There ain’t no good guy, there ain’t no bad guy
There’s only you and me and we just disagree
“We just disagree” – Dave Mason

Century Plant Blooming,Farrell, Barstow, November 2019

The summer was not kind in Wolf Country. The California High Desert got a horrendous amount of rain last year and into the spring. As a result, the spring ended with a really green and overgrown desert. Lots of plants some of which you don’t see very often popped up, among them a giant stick sticking out of one of overgrown agaves. Which it turned out is a century plant, and these things rarely, bloom and then they die. Fortunately, Agaves and Century plants grow by calving – just spreading really like a plague of Trump Forever Republicans – or when they reach their peak by dropping seed pods which if it’s windy may end up someplace entirely. Or, it’s calm when they’re dropping a few, they may end up just next to the current one.

So, the plant that bloomed was really one branch of a larger plant. When it dies, time to get out an axe and just chop away the dead part and chop up the 20 plus foot sprout. Circle of life, and all that. If I had a wood chipper, I’d compost it, but I have desert landscaping – rocks, sand, cactus, weeds now and then – so who needs a wood chipper? The desert is an excellent self help composter.

Also, when Mother Desert is green, those of us allergic to desert flora and dust tend to spend the summer snorting, choking, coughing and damning Meth Cookers who made it harder to buy Pseudophed -based products so they could poison the local junior high kids and their buddies and the environment and various animals. So that was largely how I spent the summer…coughing, sneezing, gasping and so on.

But, the major thing that happened to keep me from writing was the Ambulatory Orange Genital Wart camped out behind expensive cheap gold drapes and the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist pre-Trump and now an unaffiliated kind of conservative, Never Trumper, wrote a book about the first two years or so of this clown driven horror show called “Everything Trump Touches Dies.” In general, the reviews from places outside of Fox News and the Incest Springs and Baptist Gazette down in Incest Springs, Florida were positive. The Guardian’s review had a number of lengthy quotes. Here’s one that speaks to Wilson style – Floridian take on Evelyn Waugh perhaps but heavily influenced by Hunter S. Thompson – as well as the problem at hand.

The creature that emerged after Sarah Palin crawled from the political Hellmouth in 2008 kept growing, hungry not for policy victories … but for liberal tears, atavistic stompy-foot rages, and purity over performance … we fed the monster and trained it …Then Trump came along … The monster is out of its cage, and its new trainers (both here and in Russia) encourage only its dumbest, darkest, most capricious, cruel and violent behaviors.

There have been a lot of books like this published since the that January Day marked by “American Carnage”, crowd sizes so exaggerated as to be delusional, and George W. Bush with the phrase of the day following the Inaugural Address. “That was some weird shit” he said to his fellows trying to get off the stage and away from this madman and his lackeys.





I’ve read several of those books and lost interest. It’s like an old Roger Miller lyric that goes on for a while repeating, “Lou’s got the flu and he’s laid up! Laid up! Laid up! Lou’s got the flu and he’s laid up! Has to get well pretty soon tho!” Repeat 30 times. (They call it three chords and truth. In fairness, Roger did a lot of diet pills and sleeping pills, which is probably why he died a lot earlier than he should have.)

So, I’ve been away, spiritually and metaphysically. Doing the Candide thing, cultivating my roses and cursing life, old age, and the fact that the universe allowed Trump to live but killed Roger Miller and Guy Clark. Then, like in the old Fortune Teller song, something happened.

On Veterans Day, 2018,my old Lieutenant, Amador Cantu, posted a video on Facebook, and he decided to post it again for Veterans Day, 2019.  He’d  left the service to go to graduate school in Chemistry and then did a variety of other science things until he decided to go to Medical School in his early 50s. His girlfriend and he went off to a Osteopathic Medical School in Fort Worth, and then they did a variety locus tenens assignments all around the country. But, prior to that, Amador had kept his attachment to the Army, and stayed in the National Guard. He retired from the Guard as Colonel Cantu, and went to work for an unnamed Federal Bureaucracy as a physician on various installations. Did enough time to accrue another retirement. His wife, the Osteopathic School Girl Friend, had already started a separate practice in a small Idaho town; they’d bought a small ranch, and he’d spent vacations and weekends working on the ranch, farm, whatever. He has chickens, various vegetable and fruit crops, maybe some bees, depending on a couple of cats to keep order among the critters. He always was an optimist, although a very cynical one.

That video was about service and the importance of military service as a way of getting your ticket to ride the Great American Experiment  Theme Park Ride. Some people try to skip over that service, like the present incumbent at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. After almost three years of being President, he has yet to get it — that the job is not about DT Trump, Sociopath and Happy Idiot. Others among us are desperate to belong, and strive desperately to get the opportunity to earn their ticket.

This is the story of Doc Cantu’s Papa, a infant refugee from the Mexican Revolution, brought to United States by his grandmother with four older sisters so they wouldn’t get killed.  Another Amador, he enlisted to serve in World War II because he saw himself as an American and he wanted to be able to pay his own way on the American Experiment Fun Ride. He wanted to have papers, those silly things that indicate you are here and it’s fine with the rest of us that you are.  He served in Europe, got out, got married, had kids, worked in South Texas for the rest of his life and I suspect he raised a flag at least on holidays, maybe belonged to a Veterans Group, and taught his kids a few things about duty and service along the way. Amador recalls his dad saying “We have nothing in this country. The only way we can validate ourselves here is by serving.”

Mama Cantu seems very cool as well. She used to loan Amador her Honda 250 Rebel when he needed it for transportation. I suspect he learned a bit from her as well. I don’t think she’s still riding the Honda, but hard to be sure.

At the break of day, when you are reluctant to get up, have this thought ready to mind: ‘I am getting up for a man’s work. Do I still then resent it, if I am going out to do what I was born for, the purpose for which I was brought into the world? –Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 5, 1-1.

 

Author Biography
Michael is a Retired Army First Sergeant, retired Corporate HR Executive, Occasional Adjunct Professor of Management, Organizational Effectiveness Free Range Consultant, Stoic Philosopher of sorts, Proud Heritage Irish Catholic Apostate…

He went from turning down fellowships to Graduate School after Holy Cross to Fort Jackson and a guy with few teeth from Georgia screaming at me to move his ass! And he enlisted after the draft ended. Twenty-three years active duty from 1974 to 1997 flipping between duty as REMF-Unit designated Grunt to Grunt Unit designated Smart Guy.

Last ten years either an Operations Sergeant Major (4 years) or First Sergeant (6 years). Made the CSM list a week after retirement papers went in.

He went into Human Resources because people said it was like being a First Sergeant.

Michael is retired these days, with time to think, write and occasionally enjoy life a bit. He reads five papers every day, lots of books on what interests me and pays attention. He has basic Socialist leanings. He is also a musician – fifty years plus with a guitar. Ex-marathon runner now lifting weights and grunting a lot to stay sort of in shape.

Michael is deadly serious about the issues but he likes to present with a lot of dry humor and satire. He discomforts the rich, offends the powerful and laughs at the pompous. So, stay awake and pay attention, or you’ll miss the jokes.

He refers to himself as a Progressive with an anarchist tendency. Think Bobby Kennedy Democrat at home with Sinn Fein; either a saintly advocate of sweet reason and justice or an arrogant self-righteous SOB with a traditional First Sergeant’s vulgar mouth and dislike of anyone’s rules but his own. That’s Michael Farrell


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