Tag Archives: prose

Drill, Baby, Drill!

     Dear Friends, Foes, Freaks and Fuzzies,

     It looks as though some progress is being made on the domestic oil front, with the 4/8/11 ‘rig and drill report’ noting that Hercules Offshore Drilling, an american company in the gulf, has been granted two drill permits.  Hercules will be drilling for oil monster Chevron, but at least we are seeing a gulf-based company get some long-awaited business.

     CFYSA has set up a charitable trust, which includes american oil company stocks in it’s portfolio.  It also has solar power, wind power and water desalinization companies, as well as a uranium mining company.  We believe in covering all corners.

     Having actively attended the very first Earth Day in 1970, we are very much aware of the implications of using oil.  We know it is not a good thing and that alternative sources must be found.  Five years ago, scientists said we had five years to get the carbon emissions issues in order before we hit the tipping point.  Well, looky-look, because we are now at the tipping point and have still done nothing.  Some people believe that their elected officials have an eye on this and will not allow constituents to die of pure pollution, like those people in NYC back in the 60s.  Good luck on that!

     We all know that solar, wind and nuclear energies are the best ways to get us off of the petrol diet.  What many people do not seem to grasp is that major change often reaches the transition step by step.  We cannot simply stop using oil and switch to solar and wind, or even nuclear energy.  Grids need to be set up, infrastructure put in place and lobbyists fom the alternative energy companies need to find elected officials they can pay off to vote for their products.

     We see how we are bound by foreign oil…or do we?  Is it the oil or our appetites?  In the first decade of this century, everybody from Tony Soprano to your grandma drove an SUV.  We worked in offices at the time and three quarters of the people drove trucks or SUVs and had no reason to do so, aside from the fact that it was cheap and easy to get a car loan.  Who is willing to cut their own consumption?

     Maybe a ban on gas-powered recreational vehicles, like ATVs, jetskis, outboard and inboard motorboats and mini-bikes would chip away at the total of consumed fuel.  It would be nice to include motorcycles but some people do use them to get to work and school, so that is a bit harder to do.  You have to wonder about the brain of a person who gets thier biggest thrill from burning gasoline noisily.  It is one thing if you are under 16 because children do need to play but why not find a form of recreation that does not consume fossil fuel or make a hell of a racket?  In the 1970s, when we grew up, bikes were cool and so were the people who rode them, generally.  Now, any ignorant ass with an extra few thousand dollars and a fat wife has one parked in the yard.  It is like what George Carlin said about tattoos and ear rings…to paraphrase him, it was something like, “In the old days we had these things to piss off the squares; now, it is the squares who have them.”  This is especially true in the case of tattoos and Harleys.

     But we digress…the main point we would like to make is that, yes, oil is bad, mmkay?, but we need to use it wisely until we can transition to other energy sources.  The fact that the first ‘hybrid’ car was built in 1900 and the concept subsequently hidden for a hundred years shows how good we are at transition.  We are not.

     Who wants to try?

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Michaelmas and ‘Featured Abuser’ Arthur Rimbaud

     Hello, Abuserinos!

     As today is Michaelmas, our favorite Feast Day, we are having trouble wrapping our collective minds around a suitable topic for the ever-scintillating subject of abusing ourselves.       

     Michaelmas, not really celebrated in America, honors the Holy Saint Michael the ArchAngel, who gave old God a hand by throwing Satan into Hell. It is the only ‘Mas’ you will find in the english dictionary aside from Christmas. Christ and I have the concession on the Mas business. When collecting free birthday drinks at various wateringholes, I often throw in the fact that me and Jesus are the only two guys with our birthdays in Websters, which usually leads to an argument and results in me getting yet another free drink when I hold my driver’s license up and match the date with Webster.

     In England and Ireland, the Michaelmas Daisy is blooming right about now, a fact that brings me great solace.

     But enough of that. I am nothing. Twenty or thirty years and I will be lost to obscurity, even moreso than I am now. That did not happen to Arthur Rimbaud, though. He became more and more popular after he died.

     Born in 1854, he was a passionate and bright young man who astounded his teachers and, in his teens, set 19th Century French poetry on its ear. He won awards, won acclaim and quit writing poetry before he was twenty, in favor of gaining personal experience – the ultimate goal of the poet. He ended up running guns and slaves in Africa, losing a leg and dying at age 37 – done in by cancer.

     His mother found him trying. He exhibited great genius from an early age but also drank alcohol, stole from shops, cursed and wrote foul, scatalogical verse. He took great pride in having no pride in his appearance. Dirty, disheveled, smelling of drink, one day somebody told him he had lice in his hair. Acknowledging the presence of the itchy mites, he replied that he cultivated them in his scalp and kept them handy so he could throw them on passing clergymen. He ran away from home often, to escape the wrath of his mother. He usually ended up on the streets of Paris.

     Once, he was taken in by Paul Verlaine, a leading Symbolist poet who’s talent was soon eclipsed by that of his young friend. Though Verlaine was married, he entered into a sexual relationship with the boy. He left his wife and the two poets moved into a basement together (as is mentioned in Bob Dylan’s Tangled Up In Blue). 

     They shared a love of hashish and absinthe and shocked the society of poets around them with their frequent indulgence. The relationship, as Rimbaud, was highly volatile and ended with Verlaine shooting Rimbaud in the wrist at a hotel in Brussels. Verlaine ended up in prison for two years and Rimbaud returned home to write A Season In Hell, a book of prose poetry which established him as a master, a pre-eminent writer of the Symbolist Movement. He is also known as a leading writer of the Decadent Movement, the Beauty Movement and subsequently influenced Dadaism and Surrealism, to the extent no other man achieved. He finished writing at age 19.    

      In Rimbaud’s poems, we see the first fusion of word and colour – the absinthian dream that certain sounds lay inert in the Word and had the power to invoke those colours in the mind of the reader, when repeated. This is something LSD users caught onto a hundred years later. Speaking of which, we hear many infuential artists speak of the debt they owe to Rimbaud. If the hippies were “Woody’s Children” (see Woodrow Wilson Guthrie), then who were Rimbaud’s children but Bob Dylan, John Steinbeck,  Patti Smith, Jim Morrison, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William S Burroughs, Jeff Buckley, Leonard Cohen – his influence is almost too deep to be felt, all these years later, but the fibre of his spirit hides in the cloth of all true art produced today.

     Here are a few good quotes from Arthur Rimbaud. His birthday will be soon, October 20…

     “Genius is the recovery of childhood at will.”

     “I played sly tricks on madness.”

     “Morality is the weakness of the brain.”

     “Life is the farce which everyone has to perform.”

     “I have stretched ropes from steeple to steeple; garlands from window to window; golden chains from star to star, and I dance.”

     Please read more about Rimbaud. This blog was not nearly enough to do him the justice he deserves. He will enrich your life and make you see things differently. He is a drug.

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