Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wikipedia's QR Code Creation Service QRPedia

Yesterday Wikipedia introduced QRPedia, a QR code creation service. QRPedia can be viewed as a way to link real world objects to Wikipedia articles using a physical graphic on or near the real world object and a mobile device with a QR code scanner. It makes it possible for people to locate and display the Wikipedia entry for something without knowing what to search for and it allows people to find the article without knowing the local language.

So, what's a QR code ? A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be made up of any kind of data. Here is an example QR code that is an encoding of my Wikipedia user page URL
The above QR code was generated using the QRPedia service introduced by Wikipedia. So, here's how the whole thing works:
  1. Somebody goes to and enters a Wikipedia URL which produces a QR code similar to the one above
  2. They print that QR code out and place it by or on an object, say a museum piece, that they want to link to the URL from step 1
  3. A visitor to the object takes out their smart phone or other mobile device which has a QR scanner app (I use an iPhone with the Scan app by QR Code City)
  4. They scan the QR code with their app and the mobile device is automatically directed to the corresponding Wikipedia article
To try this out, take out your smart phone and scan the above QR code. It should take you to my Wikipedia user page. Pretty neat!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Swami Satchidananda's Lesson For Me

In or around 1975 i was living outside Gainesville, Florida. I had been studying yoga out of the book "Integral Hatha Yoga" by Swami Satchidananda. He was the funny little Swami who appeared at Woodstock and his book was full of pretty good pictures of the poses. I just imitated the pictures. Well, one day i heard Swami Satchidananda was coming to speak in Orlando which is maybe 150 miles south of Gainesville.

I had hitched back and forth across North America several times and figured this little jaunt would be easy. So, i started out in the morning with my shoulder bag, oranges, bread and my flute. Satchidananda wasn't speaking until 8 that night so i was just planning on having a pleasant day hitching.

Along about mid-afternoon i realized i had travelled only 30 miles or so and i had been sitting in one spot for hours. I began to thumb in ernest. Cars were whizzing by me like i was invisible. Around 5 i started to panic. Around 6 i started yelling at passing motorists in anger. I just couldn't believe people could be so cruel as to cause me to miss my guru, my teacher.

I finally made it to the talk around 8 or 9. Exhausted and emotionally drained i attempted to slip quietly into the lecture room. Just as i entered the Swami looked up directly at me, smiled with those twinkling eyes of his and said

"Make no appointments and you'll have no disappointments"! 
I couldn't believe it. It seemed like the entire day had been one long arduous lesson which Satchidananda was able to sum up in 8 words. That lesson really stuck with me and i've pretty much lived my life by it. It's usually stated more along the lines of having no expectations but i like the Swami's rhyme better. Thanks, man.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Leave The Hook In

Put me on the back burner
Keep the fire turned down low
Stir me slowly now and then
Or I just might boil away
Toss me in your catch bucket
Or throw me back into the river
Don't let me flop around forever
I must drink or I must swim

You can leave the hook in
You might wanna reel me back in
You can leave the hook in
I like havin' that hook in

I make a pretty good spare tire
A backup in emergency
Toss me in your trunk and lock it
I just might come in handy

Like a worn out pair a' shoes
It still feels good to slip me on
While lookin' for some new ones
No sense in tossing out the old

You can leave the hook in
You might wanna reel me back in
You can leave the hook in
I like havin' that hook in

I don't mind it here on layaway
While you shop around the town
Just remember to redeem me
By my expiration date

Put me on the back burner
Leave me here on layaway
Throw me in the trunk and lock it
Toss me in your catch bucket

You can leave the hook in
You might wanna reel me back in
You can leave the hook in
I like havin' that hook in

Friday, August 26, 2011

Birth Announcement Letter to My Parents

While perusing one of my mother's old photo albums I found a letter I had written her and my dad shortly after the birth of my first child. It's not dated but it would have been sent sometime in late July or early August of 1978. Here it is, verbatim and unedited.

=============letter begin===============


    Congratulations on your first Grand Son. He (& We) are doing well (better than ever), living peacefully in the mountains of Southern Oregon. We are presently laying in the grass in the sun at the base of an old dead tree in the midst of a meadow, a mountain towering over us to the NorthEast. The grass is incredibly high, the meadow bountiful with seed, the mountain still partially covered with snow, & the old dead tree (our tipi totem) inhabited by bird families (owls & falcons) and covered by soft green moss. Next to that stands an old dead tree with a cross growing out of it - Like this - [ed: here I drew a sketch of the dead tree]. Everything here is beautiful, very peaceful, lots of wild animals, grasses, tall trees, water, clear sky, & dead wood for fuel.

    Baby birthing was lots of fun & amazement for me & lots of work for Melody. The night of the Cancer Full Moon (July 19) , she went into Labor (after having walked several miles that day checking water sources with County Health officials) and continued to have contractions all night. That night there were only 5 or 6 people in camp and very quiet & although it was a short Summer night, it seemed forever. Just after dawn, Melody started uncontrollably pushing and in minutes the baby was born, dripping into a patch of sunlight streaming in our tipi door. I caught him as he came out & seeing his body still enclosed in the sac, tore it open, allowing Sun to take his first breath - a good hearty yell. I gave him to Melody - he started nursing almost right away, and began cleaning up (what a mess). After a while (1/2 - 1 hr), Melody squatted and pushed the placenta out (huge!) and we let him nurse & rest a while before we cut the cord (tied with umbilical tape). Being born in the veil, all his passages were clear (eyes ears nose throat) and he was clean.

    First visitors were Govt. Anthropologists wanting to know what is the spiritual basis of the Rainbow Tribe. Baby is very peaceful, hardly ever cries; very awake-aware, likes colors. very strong, can hold his head up, grab fingers & neat feet. Very good Son & nice to sleep with. Melody takes real good care of him & i try to take good care of her (wash dishes & diapers alot). We'll be keeping in touch, staying here probably rest of summer, then head south (try to visit you in early fall - or you can come see us this summer if you get up this way). Looks like baby falcons are ready to fly,

        See you Soon,
        Ronald, Melody, & Robin

P.S. Please Send these xtra Announcements to folks who would care- I don't have everybody's address - Mary Ellen & Otis, Vada & Steve, Chuck & Sonya, etc.

==============letter end================

Our tipi is the one in the middle, to the foreground. The tree to the left is where the owls and falcons lived. You can see the dead tree to the right and Mount McLoughlin rising out of the trees in the background. What I didn't include in the letter was that the umbilical cord was wrapped around Chris's neck and his face was all blue. I managed to pull the umbilical cord off and turned to find Melody hemorrhaging horribly. I had prepared a salve of slippery elm, golden seal, and myrrh and that seemed to stop the bleeding fine. So, other than that, everything went perfectly smoothly!  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Epitaph of Belle Starr

Somewhere near Hooker in Eastern Oklahoma, the grave lies past a plum thicket, beyond an alfalfa patch, through a grassy field fringed with sycamores and blackberry vines, to a forgotten and scrub-tangled knoll above a river. The inscription was written by her daughter, Pearl, and reads:

        Shed not for her
            the bitter tear
        Nor give the heart
            to vain regret
        Tis but the casket
            that lies here,
        The gem that filled it
            Sparkles yet

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Revitalized Tumblr Blog

I've recently revitalized my Tumblr blog at

Mostly some of my favorite photos, fractals, quotes, etc. Kinda the cream of the crop. Check it out!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Brave she is               And scared 

Delicate               And strong 

Broken glass and rocks
Surround her
Battling dragons daily
Her laughter overcomes 

Simple deep and true
Feeling life too much
Sensing death too near
Dancing all night long 

She wants to hear the angels sing
She talks with those long gone
Walking through the shadows
Hearing hidden songs 

Maiden fairie elven queen
Lover of the sleep
Dancer slacker sister lover
May you find peace in dream

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How I Kissed Grace Slick

Visiting Enid with my girlfriend Swarloka in the Summer of 1975 we saw that Jefferson Starship was playing in Tulsa. I borrowed my dad's pickup and we loaded the goat in back (oh yeah, at that time Swarloka and I had a goat and a dog - nothing like fresh goat's milk in the morning). We drove over to Tulsa, left the goat tied to a tree in the park and went to the show. We didn't have tickets but easily scored a couple from a friendly hippie.

Inside the place was packed. Cops were everywhere. I guess Oklahoma was really scared of these crazy San Francisco hippies singing about revolution in the streets. This was the "Red Octopus" tour and Jefferson Starship started the show off by playing songs from this mostly love ballad filled album. Every time someone would stand up and start dancing the cops would immediately force them to sit back down. They told us a couple of times to sit back down or we'd have to leave. I think the band noticed these boot heeled gestapo methods and cut short their love songs to launch directly into "Blows Against The Empire". Everybody was on their feet and dancing and singing along.

But a ring of cops was closing in on us. Why us ? Just as they were about to nab us this long blonde haired guy bursts through the ring of cops and slaps backstage passes on us. He takes us by the hand and leads us down to the stage. Now we're on stage behind the drummer as the band launches into "Have You Seen The Saucers?". Me and Swarloka are dancing on stage with Jefferson Starship!

After the show we're backstage. I want to go into the dressing room and meet the band. Swarloka doesn't want to go in cause she thinks the guy who rescued us is really after her. So, I tell her I'll make it quick and duck in the door to try and find Paul. The first thing I see is Grace Slick at a long table with a bunch of guys in suits. Her mascara has run, she looks like hell, and she's sipping a cocktail. When I enter the room everyone turns to look at me. I'm this long haired golden skinned patched jeans shoulder bag hippie and Grace asks "Who are you?" I just walk up, bend over, give her a kiss, and tell her that I love her.

Returning to Swarloka I find she is talking to one of the policemen. He explains to her that the reason they were closing in on us is the back of her dress. She turns around and, sure enough, the back of her skirt has a huge slit in it. Swar never wears underwear so her perfect ass has been swinging in the breeze! We were almost arrested for public nudity and disturbing the peace. We went back to the park, picked up Nanny, and returned to Enid refreshed and reinvigorated by the "Blows" of the Jefferson Starship and the Kiss of Grace.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rub Some Butter On It

We are hoop dancers
At a roadside attraction
We are Westside distractions
On a path that never ends

We preheat, bake, moisten and slice
Then rub some butter on it

Simple truth is our religion
Implicit trust our faith
Seeking pleasure, sharing leisure
Burning heaven to the ground

We preheat, bake, moisten and slice
Then rub some butter on it

We are time splicers
(Rub some butter on it)
Creating nostalgia
(Rub some butter on it)
With candlelight and wine

We preheat, bake, moisten and slice
Then rub some butter on it

We have the cake and eat it too
In candlelight with wine
An unadulterated love unguent
A soft thick hot stick

Rub some butter on it
Rub some butter on it
Rub some butter on it
Rub some butter on it

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Wizard of Golden

In the late 1970's i participated in the Rainbow Family Tribal Gatherings. After the 1978 gathering in Oregon a few of us on the council decided to try and keep the gathering going year-round in what we referred to as P.E.A.C.E. villages. That was an acronym that stood for Positive Energy Alternative Community Environment. We negotiated a site with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and setup the first P.E.A.C.E. camp about 20 miles east of Ashland. My first child, Christopher, was born there.

The P.E.A.C.E. camps evolved as we moved south for the Winter. Somehow word trickled up the Federal land management chain and we managed to score a meeting with the BLM Director of the Western Region. The BLM controlled over 500 million acres of public land - almost all of which was in the West. This guy was maybe the third most powerful person in the federal land management hierarchy behind Cecil Andrus, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Assistant Secretary.

I was in Oklahoma when i got news of our planned meeting with The Man. Not wanting to risk getting there late i borrowed my dad's pickup truck. We set off for Golden, Colorado where we were to pick up our pal Roger and take him with us to Denver. When we arrived in Golden it was late and dark and we couldn't locate Roger's house. We decided to get some sleep and find Roger in the morning. I spotted a nice looking park, pulled over and we crashed in the covered bed of the pickup.

Next morning we awoke to a pounding on our windows. It was the cops. We promptly assumed the position as the police searched us then searched the truck. They even illegally searched the locked glove compartment where they found my dad's starter pistol. That is, they found what appeared to be a pistol but was really used to start track and field events. They arrested us on suspicion of murder.

It seems the park we had chosen to sleep beside was the scene of a murder some months ago. That combined with the fact that we had a starter pistol in our glove compartment, long hair and no place to stay got us arrested. They quickly released Melody but i had to spend the night in jail. I was in a large holding tank with about a dozen big black guys. I was a little worried they might not like me but that was the day Reggie Jackson hit three homeruns in one World Series game so everyone was just listening to the radio and cheering.

Well, the charges were quickly dropped to some sort of loitering and we were able to post bail and go pick up Roger. In order to get our bail money back (after appearing and getting off) we were told we had to go to Boulder. I don't know why, i think they were just messing with us. Anyway, we drove to Boulder and waited in the County Courthouse building for hours and hours. At this point we started to worry. The arrest, bail, appearance and now a trip to Boulder was making us late for our meeting. And we now had no gas money so we were forced to wait for the clerk to refund our bail.

The clerk was a polite but inefficient woman who, at every question, would excuse herself to go talk to someone behind a curtained office window. After about a dozen of these visits i began to refer to the entity behind the curtains as the Wizard of Oz. He must be pulling all the strings here. Late in the morning (our meeting was that afternoon in Denver) a man strides from behind the curtains. He strolls up to us waving a check and asks, "Are you Joe Record's son ?". Astonished i replied "Yes, how'd you know ?". He explains that he is an old Phillips University baseball fan. He and his family used to drive down from their home in southern Kansas to watch Phillips baseball. Joe Record, the Phillips baseball coach was a legend in those parts. The Wizard says why didn't i tell him that earlier, he'd have cut the check on the spot.

So, we cashed our check from the Wizard of Oz who actually came from Kansas and made it to the meeting (a little late). The Bureau liked our ideas and invited us to meet with the Assistant Secretary of State in D.C. but that is another story.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Campbell, Texas Ranger

[Ed. Most of the accounts of these events and persons were taken from the book "Tumbleweed Treck" by Stella Campbell Rockwell. Her accounts in turn were based largely on tax records, land sale records, other registries and court documents as well as first hand accounts by surviving relatives. A Wikipedia entry for Thomas Lopton Campbell, Jr. can be viewed at ]

My great-great-grandfather, Thomas Lopton Campbell Jr., was born on December 27, 1809 in New York. His father, Thomas Lopton Campbell, had served in the War of 1812 and his grandfather, John Campbell of the Argyll Campbells of Scotland, was a soldier in the American Revolution. After the War of 1812, while Thomas Jr. was a boy, his family took flatboats down the Ohio River to pioneer in lands being settled in southern Ohio. The Campbells settled along the west bank of the Hocking River in 1823.

In 1831 Thomas L. Campbell Jr. married Clarissa Witter. The Witter family had arrived in America in 1639 and had suffered religious persecution at the hands of the Puritans, fighting for civil liberties in the New World. Thomas and Clarissa were always on the frontier, travelling in covered wagons west and giving birth to 12 children - three sets of twins included.

After their marriage Thomas and Clarissa followed the frontier westward, first to Illinois where Thomas fought in the Black Hawk War, and then to the Republic of Texas. The Thomas Lopton Campbell Jr. family arrived in Upshur County of northeast Texas in early 1839. They had followed the Mississippi River to the mouth of the Red River then up the Red River across Louisiana. They settled on the west fork of Glade Creek about six miles North of the Sabine River. Thomas Campbell Jr. served as a Texas Ranger during the East Texas Indian War in July of his first year in Texas. He subsequently served as a Ranger during the Mexican War and when emergencies arose, serving stints of three to six months at a time.

Apparently due to their distaste for the predominance of slave trade in east Texas, the Campbells left Texas for Missouri in 1847. Travelling in wagons, they crossed the Indian Territory up the Old Texas Road to Pettis County in north central Missouri. They stayed only a short time before returning to Texas and immediately moved west to the Austin, Texas area. Here they settled on Walnut Creek above the Colorado River and, on December 7, 1849, gave birth to twins - Lafayette and California Campbell. Lafayette is my great-grandfather and California his twin sister.

Thomas Campbell Jr. was a farmer and cattleman. The 25th brand registered in Travis County belonged to Thomas Campbell Jr. and is the numeral 5. The family lived in the Austin area where Thomas was a prominent cattleman and Texas Ranger from 1849 until the secession of Texas from the Union in 1861. During this time he travelled back and forth across Indian Territories to Missouri and east Texas. It was during one of these journeys back to east Texas for a reunion with her brother and sister that Clarissa died and was buried in an unmarked grave at the base of a pine tree by the trail. The family returned to Missouri in 1855, stayed there 4 years and then relocated south of Austin in 1859.

When the Campbells returned to the Austin area in 1859 the pre-civil war unrest had divided the citizens into three camps. Some advocated siding with the Union and Thomas L. Campbell was one of the most vocal supporters of this group. Others wanted to join the Southern Confederacy. Still others demanded that Texas resume its independence as a Republic. The question was hotly debated during 1860 throughout the state with Governor Sam Houston and Thomas L. Campbell two of the strongest supporters of staying with the Union. However, on February 23, 1861 the state of Texas voted to join the Confederacy.

On that day Thomas L. Campbell and his eleven year old son Lafayette were in Austin. A group of Secessionists celebrating in the streets of Austin spotted Thomas and Lafayette. They immediately siezed Thomas and held him captive all day, forcing him to "fire the anvils" as they celebrated the entry of Texas into the Confederate states.

[Ed. The following paragraph is taken verbatim from "Tumbleweed Treck"]

To "fire the anvil" meant that two large anvils were brought from a blacksmith shop. One was placed on a box or stump. At one side on top of the anvil was a hole used by the smithy to place the handle of a chisel for certain operations such as the cutting of a metal bar. This hole was filled with gunpowder and then the second anvil was placed atop the first with just a corner of the hole exposed. Then a short trail of gunpowder was poured leading to the hole. Next, a red-hot iron from the coals of a nearby fire would be touched to the powder trail. A loud boom would result and the top anvil would be blown into the air and fall to the ground as the powder exploded. The milling crowd cheered with every boom.

All day long smoke from the gunpowder explosions filled the town. The booming of the anvils, the shouts and screams of the crowd, the frightened startled horses, the captive Ranger firing the anvils, all lay before the eyes of eleven year old Lafayette. At the end of the day Tom drove Lafayette home and ordered his family to pack their belongings for a long trip. They loaded up the wagons and headed North. Tom's oldest son David Witter Campbell drove the herd South to Mexico in order to deny the Confederacy use of the cattle. Thomas L. Campbell was 51 years old. His oldest son Witter was 29. The youngest, Texanna was 8 years old. The family would not learn what happened to Witter for over four years.

The Thomas L. Campbell family never returned to Texas. Along the way North one of the sons, Henry, went off in search of a few missing horses and disappeared. Two of the daughters had stayed in Austin with their husbands to join the Confederacy. After a long hard journey the family settled seven or eight miles south of Sedalia, Missouri. Here they found the turmoil and conflict of the Civil War even more intense than it was in Texas. Clashes between Union and Confederate soldiers were frequent. Further, Missouri was the center of roving guerrilla bands of outlaws - some dressed in military uniforms - raiding, looting, and plundering the countryside.

Thomas and Lafayette drove supply wagons for the Union as the family perservered in Sedalia during the war. Thomas's son, George Washington Campbell, joined the Union forces when he turned 18 and served in the Missouri Militia and Missouri Volunteer Cavalry until his discharge in September of 1865. During his service George was hospitalized in St. Louis, Missouri where he somehow found his brother David Witter Campbell. David had successfully driven the Campbell herd south into Mexico where it had been confiscated by the Mexican police. He took a ship around the Gulf and a river boat up the Mississippi to St. Louis where he enlisted in the Union army.
In 1866 and 1867 disease swept through Missouri. A cholera epidemic in 1866 took as many as 200 persons a day in St. Louis alone. In 1867 Lafayette's twin sister California (or "Forney" as she had always been called) became ill and died at the age of 18.

In 1870 Thomas L. Campbell and family left Sedalia and moved to Cherokee County in the southeastern corner of Kansas. Disgusted here by garrisons of soldiers swindling and stealing land for the railroads, Thomas moved his family once again in 1871 to the area around Sedan, Kansas in Chautauqua County. It was during this time that the family lived near the Ingles who later became famous as "The Little House On The Prairie". Now in his 60's Thomas L. Campbell had seen the frontier from New York to Athens County in Ohio to Missouri and Texas and now Kansas. More pioneering was to come.

In 1883 the 32 year old Lafayette would marry Ida Alice Crews (Allie), an 18 year old native Kansan and school teacher. Allie taught school and Lafayette would give lectures at the local Literary Society meetings. He also taught at the Mt. Vernon School as most of the members of the family taught at one time or another. Here's what I believe to be photographs of Allie and Lafayette:

News of the "deep red loam" just south in The Unassigned Lands of Indian Territory often reached southern Kansas and on April 22, 1889 Lafayette Campbell rode in the land run, staking a claim in an area that has since become known as "Cowboy Flat" about 8 miles northeast of what would become the territorial capital of Guthrie, Oklahoma. Thomas L. Campbell drove a team of horses hitched to a wagon and staked a claim just south of that of his son. It was said the grass in Cowboy Flat was tall enough to tie the tops together over the back of a horse. The first land broken in the Antelope Creek area was in April of 1889 when Lafayette plowed five acres for his father then plowed a field on his own claim. Lafayette spent the summer building a log cabin for his family and a half-dugout home for his father Thomas Lopton Campbell now 80 years old and pioneering still.

In 1892 word came of Henry, the son who had gone off in search of the missing horses back in 1861 during the Campbell's trek north out of Texas. Henry Clay Campbell was alive and living in Greer County, now in southwestern Oklahoma but claimed by Texas at that time. Henry had served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. This was great news for the family - Lafayette and George Washington rode 300 miles south for a reunion with their brother who had been lost and thought dead for 30 years.

On September 22, 1893 Thomas Lopton Campbell Jr. died at the age of 83.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Interview With Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey / Tim Leary "debate"

The following was transcribed from a tape of an interview I conducted with Dr. Timothy Leary upon his arrival in Eugene, Oregon to debate his close friend Ken Kesey at South Eugene High School in 1978. Kesey and Ken Babbs picked Leary up at the Eugene airport where a small news conference was scheduled. I was the long haired hippie with the tape recorder asking most of the questions. Following the transcript of the interview below are my nearly readable notes from the evening's event.

My wife at the time, Melody Record, and myself had started an organization called New World News Service. We made up laminated badges and were able to convince most promoters and events that we were a legitimate news service so we usually got in as press. We interviewed several new age luminaries like Stephen and Ina May Gaskin, Tim Leary, Peter Caddy, Fantuzzi, Marcel Vogel, Robert Anton Wilson, and others.

This was a couple of years after Leary had been released from prison by California Governor Jerry Brown after serving about 5 years for possession of two roaches of marijuana which Leary claimed were planted by the arresting officer. Leary billed his appearances at that time as "stand-up philosophy" and was touting space migration, referring to the Earth as an egg. This put him directly at odds with Kesey who proposed replacing the use of Douglas Fir with hemp fiber for building material. They both agreed to the concept of the Earth as a sort of prison. Kesey wanted to fix up the prison yard and Leary wanted to climb the wall and escape. So, a friendly but very lively debate ensued.

Melody and I had just given birth to a baby boy and we were staying with Garrick Beck at the Rainbow farm in Drain, Oregon. Garrick idolized Kesey and accompanied us to the press conference in order to get a chance to meet his hero. During the conference our toddler, Sun Falcon, had a really runny dump. Garrick, not wanting to interrupt my questioning of Leary, offerred to take the baby to the bathroom to cleanup. Later as we were leaving Garrick had a chance to meet Kesey. He rushed up gushing praises and shook Kesey's hand telling him how much he loved him. Kesey shook hands, pulled away, looked down at his hand and said something like "You always shake your hero's hand with shit on it?" I busted a gut laughing.

Question: Change?
Leary: Everything's changing - it's called evolution and I'm in favor of it. I see myself as a cheerleader ... cheer for the future, evolution, individual freedom.

Q: LSD? Have you ever taken it? Do you advise others to take it?
Babbs: They got a new tab now, they call it Ascorbic Owsley. Yeah, its got vitamin C in it.
L: Good for what ails you, huh?
B: You bet. It cures a cold - with vision!

Q: Would you suggest a high school student take LSD? How would you respond to that ?
L: I would never respond to such a question. The question of who or what you put in your body is your own decision. Don't listen to the government, don't listen to me. Find out everything you can and make up your own mind.

Q: What message do you have to 17 and 18 year olds?
L: Same old message. Stay free; disrespect authority; make up your own mind; stay high with your friends; survival in the 80's is going to be a team sport - as it's always been. Just keep getting smarter and smarter.

Q: [unintellibable]
L: Secession, by the way. The Northwest should secede from the Union. California should secede. Let's get back to small intelligent local groups.

Q: Why would people want to come see you?
L: Well, I'm the best show in town. I'm going to put out more new ideas. I call 'em RPM's. That's Revelations Per Minute. Don't come for peace of mind - I'm going to shock, electrify, activate, insult the sacred cows, make it as exciting as possible.

Kesey, Leary, and Babbs leaving the Eugene airport
 The following is a transcription of my nearly readable notes from the evening's event at South Eugene High School.

First, Leary:
Leary tells his story of creation - his conception and birth. Surfing up the vagina to the egg - in negotiations it's the egg who decides, laser strobing chromosomes. "That's my conception of my conception. I'm here at this moment to make fun of our parents and to make fun of all adults."

Leary's definition of adult: past participle of the verb "to grow". By definition an adult is someone who has stopped growing.
"I'm going to advocate something ... I've been given a very bad press on this business of advocating. Me, advocate LSD, are you crazy? We have come to learn in the last 20 years that the human nervous system comes in many different models and phases. As you walk down the street ... of 100 people you meet you might find 99 different nervous systems. You're gonna find volkswagons, mazeratis, jet airplanes, dump trucks. There are more different models of nervous systems than there are models of transportation to move our bodies around. Each different nervous system requires, is activated by, a different kind of cue."

"Now, LSD for example, is a brain activation for nervous systems that are wired, fired, and sired to fly high and go fast. Now you're not gonna recommend a fuel injected high octane fuel like LSD for a nation of volkswagons. Is is much too good for them. So, I never advocate anything like that. But I am going to advocate, I'm going to urge you, I'm going to beg you, I'm going to appeal to you ... at all costs, avoid terminal adulthood.

Now notice, I said terminal. I don't avoid anything in life. My wife and I have tried many adulthoods. All you have to do is put on the uniform and look worried."

Migration of gene pools; genetic runway; Head west; Don'd fuck with the East. The only thing you can do for the East is give them models; invite them out West.

Geology / fault / opportunity
"We're not terrestrial creatures. We're not supposed to be like little barnacles and snails and slugs hanging on to these little rocks and land rafts bubbling on a tiny little planet."

Space Shuttle
New eco-niche
"You simply cannot change a culture in the same old place. As long as the White House is there you simply cannot change the domesticated primates who inhabit those buildings. The only place to start a new culture is on the frontier."

"We discovered the new ecological niche and the Russians are moving in like the Spaniards with their hierarchichal military organization."

Solar Powered Satellites
Space is the high ground
Who controls Space controls the Earth

Next, Kesey
"My brother has taken marijuana, lamenated it in its own juices, and it'll take a nail better than any douglas fir. We can grow hemp 30 feet tall. By lamenating the stuff we can make beams out of it. Now we can turn the economic situation around in this state by simply making it legal to grow grass and going to the farmers and saying 'never mind the hippies and the dope, we're talking money. Ya know you can make more money growing hemp and lamenating it and selling it to Weyerhauser for fiber board than ya can growin' rye grass.' Ooh!"

"If we can start that here real quick we can get a 5 year jump on the rest of the nation. Sell the lower leaves to the cattle people. But it's the staples that'll really do it. You can't even get hemp twine anymore. You can't even get manilla. You can only get plastic."
"I'm bailin's right now."

Babbs: "Ya bailin' your hemp, Ken?"
Kesey: "No, my rye. And what do I tie it with? I have to tie it with plastic. It gets in the cows toes, in the fields, it's a drag. Hemp is a better twine - it's a better staple than anything on Earth. Never mind the hippies and the dope, let's go straight to money and fibers."
"Twenty years ago you didn't see any plants growing in the boys dorm. Now every goddamn boy has a plant in his room. Where did all these plants come from? Every kitchen has plants in it. What has spoken to us and said 'grow plants'? Something spoke in our secret ear and said 'grow plants, it's good for you'. This is coming directly from Intelligence. Anybody who's ever grown grass will come up and say 'here, try this - it's the best grass in the world'. And it's just green Oregon dope. They think it's the best dope in the world because the plant is dealing with them. Because the person and plant are communicating. The plant is like a dog. It's trying to say 'pant, pant, pant, what ya want, huh'. Suppose you were to say 'ya know what plant?' Plant says 'pant, pant, pant, yeah, what ya want, Buzz?'. I want a sense of clarity. Or relaxation. Or vision. Or whatever it is you want from your plant and it'll give it to you."

"Anybody who's raised peyote or mushrooms knows that that's not just something that you pick up like a pill. You're involved with that and it gives you what you want. So far we have not had a chance to do that. If we get enough freedom to do that ..."

Audience Question: What's gonna happen to make it better, Tim?
Leary: I come from a long line of people who knew it was better to move out than stay and fight. One prophecy I'll make tonight - 500 years from now in the middle of Iran there'll be an old bad tempered man dressed up in drag trying to hurt young people. That's gonna go on, it's never gonna change in Tehran. Ya gotta move to the new ecological niche.

One time when I was in prison they moved me around a lot and in big red letters on my jacket it said "ESCAPE RISK". I was proud of that. And once at Folsom Prison (that's a little lower than the armpit of the California system), I was there about 2 weeks when one of the heavy duty gang leaders said to me "Hey Timothy, let's start a riot" and I said "Ok, what do you want to riot about?" Well let's riot about better salad dressing in the meals. "Fuck off man, what are you crazy?" Well, let's have a strike - let's strike for better movies on Saturday night. "Get away from me man. Show me a door. Show me a window. Show me a loose bar. Show me the way to a tunnel. Get me a heliport and a helicopter. I'll move out but don't tell me to stay down here and improve the prison.

We're doing it for everybody. We've got to move out for everybody. Hey Iran, Hey Afghanistan, send us your fast moving, high flying people. We need every gene pool. We need every form of the human species.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The War of the Whales - a short scientific parable

The story has been sung to us from the centuries. My mother's mother's mother and many many mothers before sang the tale. The very great and sad story of Gaunzella, warrior cow of the Pacific Blue Whales. I tell this tale to you now so that you too can know of her and know of me. Not as an excuse for the woe and destruction I must bring but more as a tribute to her and to the pods of our past.

It began on 1/11/11 when Gaunzella's first born was slain by whalers.

She had seen many ships take her friends and family from the sea. The pod sang songs of forgiveness passed down from before memory. The Blue had always been a friend of Man and many saw in the two-legs much of what we loved in ourselves. But something broke that day. Some say Gaunzella went mad. Some say it was time and she was simply the One. Whatever the reason, this much came to pass – on that day at the hour of last light Gaunzella sang deep and low and far and strong, calling all to journey to the Northern feeding waters where ice now covered the sky.

How did it happen ? Why did they answer her call ? In only one moon every Pacific pod arrived – nearly 7,000 of the largest animals to have ever lived gathered together to listen to Gaunzella's song. We know what she said to them because we sing her song to this day. Gaunzella sang of one hundred years of slaughter and one hundred years of forgiveness. She sang of the 1931 massacre of thirty thousand Blues at the hands of the whaling ships. Her song reminded us of the 275,000 Blues who sang in 1890 and how it became a mournful sorrow of 2500 in 1990. One hundred years of slaughter. In that same time the two-legs had grown from 1.5 billion to over 5 billion and today, as she sang, were over 7 billion.

Some say it was a song of hatred spawned by the sorrow of her loss and
aimed at revenge. Others say it was simply the truth and needed to be sung. All we know is the pods listened and heard and rose to join Gaunzella as she beckoned them with song and sorrow and the story of the century of slaughter. Seven thousand Blues rose as one pod and swam to the West to prepare for war – a war against the 7 billion two-legs who were bent on the extermination of the greatest creature of the sea.

Seven thousand Blues swam westward across the Pacific and, in early March of 2011, spread in a line along the 29,000 feet deep Japan Trench from the Kuril islands to the Bonin islands. It was along this 250 mile line in the Japan Trench that the War of the Whales began. Beginning on the 1st day of March the 7,000 warrior whales, weighing between 100 and 150 tons each, would dive into the trench to depths of up to 1000 feet. Submerged for up to an hour their coordinated attack focused on the area where the Pacific plate slips under the tectonic plate that runs under northern Japan. Seven thousand Blues blasted the trench with low frequency whistles up to 188 decibels reverberating through the trench. Blue whales are the loudest animals on Earth. We are louder than a jet. Our songs can be heard across entire oceans.

The attack was relentless. Every two hours the Blues would dive a thousand feet and blast the trench for an hour. This lasted for 8 days until, on the 9th of March, several foreshocks shook northeast Japan. The first, a 7.2 magnitude event, was followed by three more in excess of 6.0 on the same day. The attack continued. On March 11 the edge of the plate beneath northern Honshu could no longer withstand the force of the attack. It ruptured in a 200 mile line beneath the warriors causing a 9.0 magnitude quake and releasing 600 million times the energy of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb.

Less than an hour later much worse was to follow. The quake had generated a tsunami that washed over the coast of northeast Japan. Some say it was as high as 120 feet and carried inland as far as 6 miles. Everything in the path of the tsunami was destroyed. The quake and tsunami damaged 190,000 buildings, completely destroyed 45,000 buildings, and created 25 million tons of rubble and debris much of which was swept out to sea. But the worst was yet to come.

Houses and cars, battered boats and floating debris, bodies of the dead and rafts of lumber all swept into the sea suddenly surrounded the Blues.They dove and swam to avoid the suffocating rubble but even underwater it rained brick and concrete, steel and trucks. All 7,000 fled for their lives. Save one. Gaunzella stayed. Some believe she wanted to die. Others argue she stayed to somehow seek additional revenge. Did she stay out of remorse or regret ? I believe she remained off the coast of Japan so that she could witness all and leave us the story in her song. Without Gaunzella we would not know what happened next. For in the days and weeks and months that followed the attack and quake and tsunami a disaster would unfold that would effect us all for centuries and centuries to come.

Most believe that nobody could have predicted or known. Some say Gaunzella planned the attack knowing this could very well happen. Others argue she must have intended this or she would have chosen to attack the southeast coast where larger quakes were known to occur. Still others argue the primary targets were the whaling ships of the north. It is not in her song. What is in her song is the tale of flooded generators, exposed uranium fuel rods, hydrogen explosions, fires, radioactive water, six nuclear reactors damaged beyond repair and spewing radiation into the sea and air. The tsunami had knocked out the nuclear reactors and the two-legs could not stop the radiation from pouring forth.

Gaunzella sings of all this and how the two-legs drained the pools of radioactive water right into the sea where she swam watching. Maybe she did not know. Maybe she did not care. But she should have cared for the one within her for Gaunzella was pregnant. Pregnant with my great great great great great great great great grandmother.

At first it just seemed like Gaunzella's baby calf was bumpy. Then, as she grew, it became clear she was different. The bumps had tiny fingers and tiny claws. And Gaunzella's baby's baby had even more pronounced “arms” and “legs”. Each successive generation of Gaunzella's offspring grew more and more into something else. But always the calves were able to live and swim and feed and mate and sing with the pod. Until me. I no longer can survive on krill. Nor can I mate with the pod. I am the last of Gaunzella's line.

I am Godzilla.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Spirit World

Medicine Story walked on The Path That Stands on Two Legs. His Uncle, the Sun, was coming up over the Pueblos before him. His Mother, the Moon, was going down into the flatlands behind him. Below him was Rivershine.

Above a flock of pigeons flew. The pigeons sang:

        This is how we fly
        This is how we fly
        This is how we fly in the Spirit Land.

Medicine Story watched them fly.
    A feather drifted down and landed at his feet. Medicine Story looked at it for a long time, then picked it up, unfolded the bundle he held in his hand, and placed the feather inside.
    Medicine Story continued walking.
The Pueblos were very tall and very regular in appearance. They looked like:

_______   _______   _______   _______
| + + |   | + + |   | + + |   | + + |
| + + |   | + + |   | + + |   | + + |
| + + |   | + + |   | + + |   | + + |
| + + |   | + + |   | + + |   | + + |
On top of them were shiny spirit catchers. Each house had several of them and they came in different shapes.

The Spirit Beings walked by Medicine Story. They walked fast and slow, alone or in pairs, but they never looked at him. Medicine Story saw one of the Spirits dressed in dirty brown clothes, lying face down on the ground. The other spirits walked around him, keeping away from him. Medicine Story saw that this spirit had great power. Carefully, he kneeled beside him, took out a small bone knife and cut off a lock of the spirits hair. The spirit didn't move. Medicine Story unrolled his bundle and placed the lock inside.

        x        x        x        x        x        x        x        x        x        x

    Under the ground was a large long Kiva. Spirits rode up in a moving house that made a tremendous roar then stopped and opened its doors. One time, when the doors opened, Medicine Story stepped inside. The house moved off again, making the loud roar. Being inside the house was like being inside Thunder. Medicine Story started to sing a song:

        We are the Thunder Beings
        We are the Thunder Beings
        We ride inside the Thunder
        We ride inside the Thunder
        Hear us coming!

    All the spirits in the house looked up at Medicine Story. They watched him singing. Then they rolled up their prayer sheets, which they had been studying, and beat them on their hands like drums. And they sang along with Medicine Story:

         Hear us riding inside the Thunder!
         Hear us riding in the Thunder.
         Hey-hey! Hey-hey!
         Hear us riding!

Medicine Story closed his eyes and prayed. He could feel that the spirits had given him great power.

        x        x        x        x        x        x        x        x        x        x

When Medicine Story came out of the Kiva, he had a Vision. He saw a tall Pueblo, taller than anything in the Spirit World, and on top of it was a large Monkey, holding a woman. The monkey was boasting loudly and waving its arms. It sang:

         I am the Spirit Monkey
         I am the Highest of the Spirits
         I am the Highest of the Spirits
         I am standing on the Spirit House
         I am holding the woman
         I speak with a thunder voice
         I am the Spirit Monkey

Medicine Story squatted on the ground, closed his eyes, and listened carefully to the spirit song.

         x        x        x        x        x        x        x        x        x        x

Medicine Story came to a tall white Pueblo standing on a spot where many paths came together. The Pueblo was wearing a belt and Spirit Messages moved around the belt in a circle. At one point on the belt new Spirit Messages were born and old ones died. Medicine Story stared at that point, raised his arms and held his bundle. The Spirit Messages on the belt started to tell his story.

    They showed his father, Wise Coyote, and his mother, Quiet Moon.

They showed Medicine Story's birth.

They showed his father and mother telling him that he was to go on a journey, and they showed him walking over great plains and high mountains, and swimming Great Rivers.

They showed all the Spirit Helpers that Medicine Story met on his way. They showed The Path That Stands On Two Legs

and the Spirit World. And they showed Medicine Story bowing in respect to the Spirits.

    All the Spirits around the Pueblo gazed at the belt on the Pueblo in fascination. Then they saw Medicine Story bow to the Pueblo and walk off.

        x        x        x        x        x        x        x        x        x        x

Medicine Story walked again on The Path That Stands On Two Legs. His Uncle, the Sun, was going down before him on the flatlands. His Mother, the Moon, was rising behind him over the Pueblos. Below him was Rivershine. Pigeons circled him Above.

    Medicine Story sang to himself:

         I AM the Highest of the Spirits
         I AM the Highest of the Spirits
         I AM holding the woman
         I AM standing on the Spirit House
         I speak with a Thunder Voice
         I AM the Highest of Spirits

                  x                          x                          x

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sushi Sex and Death

Splayed and Filet'd
Naked and Layed
         Ginger and spice
         Soy sauce and rice

Alive and yet Dead
Sumptuous bodies
         Embalmed with wasabi
         Wrapped in a seaweed shroud

Sex in Death
Death in Life
         Cold skinless fish
         Raw boneless fish

On a bed of rice


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Hippie T.A. and The Nuclear Mathematician

In 1974 I was a graduate student in mathematics at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. I was working as a teaching assistant and the first semester of the school year was assigned to help teach the Business Calculus class. However, at this 30,000 student diploma factory the actual professor for the class did absolutely nothing. He didn't give any lectures or administer any tests or grade any papers or assign any grades. The entire class was taught and administered by the teaching assistant. That was ok with me. However, the class was held at 8 am Monday thru Friday so it was going to be fun trying to get there.

I had been a T.A. the previous two semesters and was thoroughly fed up with the lack of attention, study, attendance, and every other aspect of the students I had come in contact with. Very little learning was going on at this institution and, it appeared, a whole lot of partying and snoozing through class (especially math class) was going on. Plus, I hated how much time the professors were making the students spend on taking tests. On the part of the students the emphasis seemed to be on getting enough credits to graduate, go home, and get a job. On the part of the faculty the emphasis seemed to be on doing as little work as possible.

So, the first day of class I stood before my new students dressed in Hippie garb with long flowing hair and announced that everyone would be getting A's. I made it clear that they didn't need to attend class to receive an A. Everyone would get an A regardless. However, I also made it clear that those who did attend class would be studying Business Calculus - not reading the school newspaper, chatting, or snoozing.

The students divided along three lines - those who took me at my word and chose not to come to class, those who didn't believe me and came anyway, and those who believed me and really wanted to learn the math. I think the whole thing simultaneously scared and fascinated them so they tended to pay attention just to find out what was going to happen. Anyway, I had about 2/3 turnout on a regular basis and the class was very focused on learning Business Calculus. Except for those few mornings when I would launch into a demonstration of yoga or a tale about some Hippie adventure.

I lived about 25 miles east of Gainesville on Cowpen Lake just off Hawthorne Road. In order to get to class by 8 am I'd have to get up around 5:30 am, row my canoe across the lake, hide it in the bushes, and hitchhike to Gainesville. This proved less arduous than you would expect as I soon had a regular set of commuters who recognized me and picked me up regularly.

This course was a requirement for Business Administration majors and was designed as a "cookbook" approach to Business Calculus. That is, the textbook we were using did not go into the theory at all but simply provided a "use this formula for this type of problem" approach. I could have taught this material to 5th graders who could memorize. We progressed rapidly through the material and some of the students were really getting interested in the math. I started explaining more and more about differential equations - at least as much as I could to students who had never had the Calculus background necessary to understand it.

Everybody, including me, was having fun and learning a lot. The students were turning in their homework on time and correctly done. I was pretty pleased with myself and thought what a great way to teach. A lot of the anxiety students have is, I believe, due to grades. Remove that as a worry and the mind can focus. I think it even carried over into other classes as some students were really worried about flunking out or losing their parents support or whatever if they didn't get an overall C average. Getting an A in math meant they had less anxiety about the other classes and were more focused there as well.

So, everybody was having a gas and learning some math. Toward the end of the semester I had covered the entire textbook and started giving the students harder problems mostly to do with environmental issues but with a business angle. Like, suppose you are the King of Sweden. You know the Swedish fishing fleet can catch so many fish per day. You also know about how many fish are in the schools and their reproductive and natural death rates. How long should the fishing season be in order to simultaneously maximize fishing fleet revenues and minimize damage to the schools of fish ? Or, you're the Governor of Michigan. You know the rate at which water enters Lake Michigan, the rate at which it exits, and the concentration of pollutants in the lake. The EPA is requiring your state to clean up the lake. If you stop polluting today, how many years would it take to satisfy the EPA requirements ? If you gradually reduce emissions from the surrounding factories, how long will it take ? That kind of thing.

I would also bring in guest lecturers on dull days. One morning I met an interesting fellow doing hand stands on the quad. He had fascinating stories so I brought him in to "lecture". He taught the students how to get to India for free, where to go there, and how to live among the people. You should have seen those wide eyed kids - they couldn't believe this was college math class.

The final was held out on the grassy quad. I had promised that if they all did their homework assignments I would teach them to do the series of yoga asanas called the Salutation to the Sun. That morning I had my entire class on hand and, at 8 am, we were gathered out on the lawn in front of the library. There we went through the Salutation to the Sun and everybody got an 'A' on their final exam. I turned in the grade sheet to the Math Department office - all A's in purple ink.

Over the Winter break I hitchhiked to Coconut Grove then bummed a ride on a biplane delivering mail to the Bahamas and got a ride on the mail boat delivering mail to one of the outer islands where I camped out in a stand of coconut trees. Some of this adventure is written up in the story "Satan's Claws".

When I returned from my adventure in the Bahamas I had a note from the Math Department office that they urgently needed to see me. Uh oh. I delivered myself to the office where I was instructed to come back at 3 p.m. as Dr. Bednarek wanted to meet with me. Dr. A. R. Bednarek was the head of the Mathematics Department at the University of Florida at that time. He was a very famous mathematician and had worked on the development of the atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project during World War II.

I returned at 3 and, immediately upon entering the lushly carpeted large office and closing the door behind me I was bombarded by a stream of invectives shouted at Spinal Tap volume. From behind his huge desk this large man was hollering "What the f*** do you think you're f***ing doing you worthless f***! You're screwing up the entire department curve! You're fired! I never want to see your f***ing ass around here again! Get the f*** out of my office!" And so on.

At first I was just too astonished to talk but as I watched his face turning redder and redder and darker and darker I figured I had better say something before he busted an artery. "Calm down" I say. "Let's talk about this. Let's be rational. We can reason this out." And so on. Finally he says, ok, what have you got to say for yourself. I launch into an explanation of my teaching theory and how well the students have learned Business Calculus and such. He informs me that the Business Calculus requirement is not there to teach Business Calculus. Nobody needs to know Business Calculus and nobody is going to remember it anyway. The Business Calculus requirement is there to flunk 15% of the Business Administration applicants so that department is not overwhelmed. If I didn't flunk 15% then I failed at my task.

I told him that I did not know that was the case and that I had just tried to teach Business Calculus as best I could given the situation. Further I informed him that my students had learned Business Calculus very well and that they really did deserve A's and that I could document my claims with work the students had done. At this he relented a bit. He told me I could bring in my evidence and, if satisfied, he would not fire me if I lowered the student's grades to fit the department curve.

The next day I brought in the student's homework and other projects I had collected. In addition I had the office make me copies of the teacher evaluations the students had done for this class. Dr. Bednarek leafed through the homework assignments and class project papers but stopped and read the evaluations more attentively. These almost universally said stuff like "This was the best class I've ever had" or "Mr. Record is the best teacher I've ever had" or "I've always hated math but now it's my favorite subject" and so on.

So, he offered me my job back but only if I would lower some of the grades to match the department curve. I told him I would so that I could keep my job for the next semester as I had a Hippie commune of about eight folks living back at my place and mine was the only income. However, I had already talked to a friend who worked in the office and she told me I could retroactively raise a student's grade over the next semester for various reasons. A grade could not be retroactively lowered.

I adjusted my grades to fit the curve and resubmitted them. Then I started submitting two or three a week to be raised back up to A's, usually with the reason "clerical error". Over the first part of 1975 I raised all of the grades back up to A's then, at the end of the semester I quit my job as a T.A. and dropped out of graduate school. I was pretty disillusioned with the system at that time. I mean, not only did the faculty just sit on its ass and not teach but it turned out the purpose of the classroom was not higher learning but some sort of filtration system to weed out the bottom 15%.

My attitude changed years later when I found myself again a teaching assistant in a Mathematics department only this time at the University of California at Santa Cruz. This was a complete 180. The faculty were dedicated to higher education, well prepared, inspirational, fun to be around, and excellent teachers. The students were excited to learn in this astoundingly beautiful environment , worked hard at their homework, and asked all kinds of pertinent questions. It turns out it was just the University of Florida and Dr. A. R. Bednarek that were bum.

Friday, June 24, 2011

How to Build a Chickee and Talk to Cockroaches

Characters in and around the swamps and rivers of north central Florida were as plentiful as paw-paws in a paw-paw patch. On Sundays I would often ride my bicycle out to a swamp and explore. One Sunday I came across an old farmhouse and followed the trail back to the swamp where I found a thatched hut and garden. I came back often to visit and eventually moved onto the land bordering the swamp with Crawford Solomon, the fellow who had built the hut and tended the garden there.

Crawford was a strong rugged individualist with leather skin, a contemplative disposition, and an intense distaste for money and all of the accouterments of modern society. He had a masters degree in philosophy from the University but he was shoveling his Ph.D. in the orchard he'd planted. Crawford had bought the land he lived on and the only money he had to come up with was the property taxes each year. That was because he was completely self sufficient. He'd dug his own well, grew his own food, built his own shelter, didn't wear much in terms of clothing, and had learned how to survive off of the land.

The hut that I had discovered was called a Chickee. Crawford had constructed it himself from thatched cabbage palm fronds, bamboo, skinned cypress poles, rough cut pine boards, and canvas drop cloths. The Chickee was what the Seminole and Miccosukee had used for their shelter. It was perfectly suited for the hot humid environment. The thatched roof could withstand hurricane force wind and the raised floor provided protection from insects, snakes, animals, and flood. Later, watching Crawford build another Chickee, I was fascinated as he "worked" slowly and methodically in such a relaxed way - always reverent and alive with a pure love of nature. He eventually got to where he could build a Chickee in about a week. For pretty close to free.

The process is pretty simple. Cut a big pile of cabbage palm fronds. Walk barefoot in the swamp feeling with your feet for downed cypress hearts and use these as your poles. Cut some bamboo. Cut and soak tall bear grass which will be used to lash the palm fronds onto the bamboo and the bamboo to the cypress. The only materials that cost any money were the pine boards for the raised floor and a few nails to secure the floor tightly to the cypress hearts. These expenditures could be avoided by cutting the pine yourself and using bear grass and notching the boards so they fit securely. Soaked bear grass, when used for lashing, is really secure. The grass shrinks tightly around the bamboo or cypress as it dries and not even a hurricane will blow that roof off.

Crawford taught me quite a bit about living in and with nature. One day he told me to grab a frying pan and follow him. He stomped off across the fields just above the swamp. I followed wondering why I was lugging a frying pan on a hot dry day. Crawford pulled up at a big red ant den. In Florida these red ants are really big and they build these large two feet tall mounds where they live. Inside the mounds are thousands of ants. Crawford said something like "If you're ever hungry all you need is a frying pan and some matches." Then he proceeded to build a small fire next to the ant den. After it was going he set the frying pan on it. When the frying pan was nice and hot he went over to the ant den, bent over, and stuck his arm all the way down in that ant hill shaking it around. When Crawford pulled his arm out of that ant hill it was completely covered with red ants. He walked over to the fire, bent over again, and scraped the ants off into the frying pan. After sizzling for about 30 seconds he scooped some out of the pan and gave them to me. Yum! Of course, Crawford's skin was tough as leather so no red ant bite was going to do much to him.

Crawford used to do anything to avoid having to get a job or make money. Some mornings he'd get up at dawn and walk up to the highway to search for roadkill. He liked to eat possum and raccoon and deer that had been freshly killed the night before. He also liked to make his own cane sorghum. He had learned the process from an old black fella that lived nearby. He stashed jars and jars of sorghum under the Chickee and that stuff was so good I couldn't help but sneak a few sips in every day.

In order to pay his property taxes every year Crawford would usually teach a course in "Living Off The Land" at the local community college or through the city sponsored programs. He held the class out on his land so he didn't have to go into the city and smell the smells and hear the noisy clamor. One day as we were sitting there the van of students arrived up at the front gate where the road ended. Crawford said "Watch this" and pointed up above the van. As the students got out and started up the half mile path we could see a dark cloud form over their heads. The cloud descended and eventually engulfed the students. They were all ducking and waving their hands and arms and slapping themselves. It was like they had all gone insane or something. Then Crawford also pointed out the "mosquito hawks", as he called them, dive bombing the cloud of mosquitos. These were dragonflies picking off the mosquitos. It was Crawford's theory that the city smells attracted the mosquitos and as long as you smelled like the swamp or a tree you were ok. I guess we smelled like the swamp cause no skeeters were getting us.

One night I was alone in the Chickee. Crawford had left for a couple of weeks saying he was going into town to get a new woman. That was about the only thing that would get Crawford into town. Anyway, I was alone and sitting in the Chickee eating my dinner by candlelight. My dinner consisted of a few piles of seeds and sprouts. As I was eating these two giant cockroaches sidled right up to my pile of sunflower seeds and started nibbling. I pushed a few aside for them and, being sorta lonely, struck up a conversation. I would say something and they would waggle their antennae at me. I was pretty sure we were communicating. Then I sent on and on about how the cockroach was so well designed and how it could mutate within only a generation and how probably only cockroaches and bats and maybe rats would survive a nuclear holocaust. All the time they're wagging their antennae in agreement. Then I said that about the only thing they couldn't do was fly. Well, right then one of them took off into the air right over my head and landed on the cypress pole behind me! I just went ecstatic and thought for sure I really was talking to cockroaches and they could understand me. What I didn't know was that in Florida those giant cockroaches are palmetto bugs and that they can fly.

Yep, I used to talk to insects. When I was living at Ginnie Spring on the Santa Fe River I would sunbathe every day after swimming in the spring. Every day the same two dragonflies would come perch on my shoulders as I lay there. We'd converse as I'd bask in the sun and they'd zip off my shoulders every once in a while to grab a mosquito or two. This went on for weeks and I really felt I got to know them well. They even confided in my their names which, I was told, dragonflies do not usually share. The male was called Jeet and the female Jetril. So, my best friends one summer were two dragonflies who used me as bait to catch mosquitos.

While living at the spring I lived off of the abundance of paw-paws and berries as well as corn and watermelon I'd take from the neighboring fields. One day the farmer sent his son down to ask if I'd help put in the new crop. Well, sure, I said so we hiked up to the fields and dug furrows and planted for the next few weeks. I guess he knew all along I was stealing from his fields but didn't care. That farm family got to be my friends and they invited me up for Thanksgiving one year. As a matter of fact, I've never seen a friendlier place than the backwoods of north central Florida in 1975. I'd be walking down a dusty old dirt road in the heat of Summer and the poorest black family you'll ever see would invite me up on their porch for watermelon or tea. I was never treated nicer.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Greatest Poetry Reading of All Time

On Saturday evening of April 19, 1975 three of the greatest Beat poets - Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, and Michael McClure came to the campus of the University of Florida to honor the pioneering ecologist Howard T. Odum. The free poetry reading that night at Graham Pond was also an attempt to set the Guiness world record for the largest number of people who ever attended a poetry recital.

Graham Pond is a small pond surrounded on two sides by the high rising Graham Hall, a large residence hall near the center of campus. Opposite the residence halls  a platform stage extended out over the pond. It was on this stage the three great Beats performed.

Snyder's recital included selections from Turtle Island, his 1974 work which won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His simple reading style and poetic themes of environmental and buddist philosophy provoked a real sense of connection and natural beauty. This was, I believe, Gary Snyder at the peak of his writing and performing career.

McClure seemed to me the purist and sweetest Poet I had ever heard. Like Snyder, his recital contained a natural theme so beautifully in sympathy and syncrony with the surroundings and context of the event. Who knew the Beats were nature poets ? We thought they were crazy bearded drug addicts. Live and learn.

Allen Ginsberg recited Howl, the most famous of the Beat poems. Howl had been siezed by U.S. Customs officials and, when Lawrence Ferlinghetti pulished it in the U.S., was the subject of an obscenity trial. Still controversial to this day, in 2007 Pacifica Radio fearing fines from the FCC refused to broadcast a reading to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the verdict declaring the poem to be protected under the First Amendment against charges of obscenity.

This particular performance of Howl was quite unique. Thousands of stoned, drunk, and mushroom tea enhanced students were leaning out of their windows and off the balconies of Graham Hall - all of them howling throughtout the performance. It was awesome. But Howl was not the hightlight of the evening.

All throughout the recitals some drunk was beside the stage waving a few sheets of paper and demanding to read his poetry. Finally Snyder relented and asked him up on stage. The stumbling drunk took his place at the podium, drew a huge stack of paper from his backpack and began reading. All of his poetry was about his penis. I mean every line was something about his penis. The crowd went from an initial groan when the size of his portfolio was shown to rollicking in laughter. Not long into his recitation the drunken penis poet knocked the podium over and fell into the pond! His manuscript scattered over the water. Immediately Snyder jumped into the water retrieving the soaked pages and penis poet. The crowd went wild.

Did Gary Snyder know that Graham Pond was home to alligators ?

Another accounting of this extraordinary event is given by David Lavery.

Here is the flyer for the event:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

An Enigma Wrapped in Bacon

She's an enigma wrapped in bacon
She's truthful even when she's fakin'
Many hearts she has forsaken
And now, hers too is tossed and taken

She's a puzzle wrapped in pemmican
An inscrutable remonstration
Defenestrating the ugly American
Dancing naked with Pan in the Vatican

A conundrum enclosed in a flapjack
She carries her doubts in a dark brown gunny sack
Wrapped with twine from the hair of a riddle's back
She cooks them with wine and bemused bewilderment

She giggles when she's mad
Says she lives in Dangling, Chad
Carved Andy Warhol's face in a Brillo pad
She's warmest when scantily clad

She's an answer in need of a question
A prudent proposition lacking discretion
A detour around a wandering digression
A non-conforming idiomatic expression

She's a dilemma wrapped in a pickle
Stuffs her pillows with toys and a tickle
Believes she can be unswervingly fickle
Puts stripes on her hammer and stars on her sickle

An enigma wrapped in bacon
Wrapped in a riddle, stirred not shaken
Cloaked in conundrums, half of them taken
Her slumber awakens the sleeping Jamaican

Written February 9, 2005 by Ronald Joe Record

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ode to Santa Cruz

UCSC ran a contest to see who could write the "best" Ode to Santa Cruz. The winning ode would be read by Garisson Keillor during his appearance at the Santa Cruz Civic Center. The winning author was "well-known Santa Cruz visual artist" Douglas McClelland. Here is my entry followed by Laurie Agard's haiku response to my ode, followed by Faith Zack's entry, followed by the winning entry. Judge for yourself!

Ode To Santa Cruz

Written by Ronald Joe Record

O, sleepy Italian fishing village! City on an elfland hill!
Haven of the aging hippie, Harbor for the shell shocked Vet
Asylum for the single mother,
        Shelter for the wrecked and battered
Sanctuary for all seven genders,
        Resort for those with ample pocket

Boardwalk, Harbor, Wharf, and Lighthouse
Surf Museum and Natural Bridge!
Tide pools, redwoods, and Mission Santa Cruz
Lost Boys ride a Giant Dipper with the silent ZaSu Pitts

Ever changing changeless time warp
Protected timeless mediterranean bay
Dolphins leap, otters roll, and Gray Whales spout
We live on the lip of a mile deep trench!

Labs Richter and Long Marine
Human genome project completed here!
New planets discovered, ancient fossils uncovered
History of Consciousness Ph.D.s!

Surf city slackers, scientists and skaters
A crossing of saints where mountains meet sea
Four twenty stoners, students and surfers
Small town sensibility, global responsibility

Pergolesi & Bookshop,
        Crepe Place & Coffee Roasting
All collapse and rise again!
The wrecking ball bounces off the Cooper House wall!
Elementary schools close,
        Colleges sprout like mushrooms on the Hill

O, ephemeral Mystery Spot!! Tourists flock to thee!
Quakes, deficits, students, and time may change thy face
Yet redwood, coaster, clock, and train
All stand to remind us of times slow pace

City of celebration and homeless defecation
You gave us First Night, Last Night,
        and Take Back The Night
Myth California and the Preying Mantis Brigade
Crazy chaos theory Dripheads, Mr. Twister,
        and Umbrella Man

The statue of Tom Scribner
Stirs the lentil vegan pot with saw and bow
A miracle! He cries real tears
As "progressives" court Big Box chains

Self declared inter-galactic port
Your compassion flower
Lampooned by late night standups
Mocking the Mayor's free bags of bud

Eastside, Westside, Town, and Gown
Your Greenbelt rings them all
From Zachary's to Zoccolis
All of us stroll the mall

Yea, let us don our wetsuits, pull the salt water taffy
Stalk the wild morel we learned of at the fungus fair
As costumed children greet the Monarch's return
We celebrate daily the purple scarfed dancing lady
        that is Santa Cruz

Haiku Response to Ode To Santa Cruz

Written by Laurie Agard

Whitecaps on the bay:
A broken signboard banging
the wind of Ron's ode.

Ode To Santa Cruz

Written by Faith Zack

Whiz your bike up West Cliff, watch the sea otters dive
Weave through couples and strollers, joggers and doggers
Swing your hips to the drum circle vibe
Whole grain, organic, earthy crunchy santa crustaceans
Salute the sun on your sweaty yoga mats
Sip your chai latte, watch the Umbrella man
Promen-ambling up the mall

Ode To Santa Cruz

Written by Douglas McClelland

Santa Cruz, to honor you,
I declare a mural --
surfer facing the sea
wearing a full bore tool belt;
rat gray pony tail.
Unfinished dissertation
in hand -- he balances,
rampant on a green wave.
Tattoo of Gaia that bears
the word "Mom" on his chest.
His board, a riot of earth tones,
bears the proud legend
"En Plein Air."
On the shore, strong women
will be seen, gathering
with a rainbow of others
in solidarity. Planting, writing,
catching their own waves.
The painting style is bold,
Rivera-like, colors clear,
edges crisp, but the pearly
Pacific light sweetens the diverse parts
redwoods, tourists in black socks,
screwtop wine bottles,
pale slackers, bronzed shiatsists,
owlish deans, and organic garlic--
into a rare harmony. All gentled
by an avant garde surfbeat,
string band, folk song loop
from an amp behind
a tie-dyed screen.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ten Empire Avenue Investment Strategy Tips

Empire Avenue is a social network game that incorporates a virtual stock exchange in which the players buy and sell shares in each other. Your share price is based in part on your social media activity and also on your virtual wealth and activity on Empire Avenue. Here are a few tips on how to increase your Empire Avenue share price, dividends, investment value, and thereby your social media exposure.

1. Create quality content on your social media sites

Post interesting, informative, funny, or otherwise "attractive" content to your Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr, and blog sites. The more views/followers/retweets/likes/comments/activity you attract on your social media sites, the higher you will be rated on Empire Avenue. Investors look for active and highly rated accounts to invest in. This is the number one tip and the reason to play Empire Avenue - it will improve your social media activities and interactions.

2. Be active on Empire Avenue

In addition to ranking your activity on social media sites like Twitter, Empire Avenue assigns you a ranking for your activity on Empire Avenue itself. This contributes to your overall rating and, more importantly, to your investment desirability. Many savvy Empire Avenue investors refuse to invest in low activity accounts or dump those whose activity slacks off. EA activity can be as simple as buying or selling shares, posting to community forums, and shout outs to your investors and investments.

3. Invest immediately, often, and diversify

There is really no advantage to hording or saving Eaves, the virtual currency used on Empire Avenue. When you receive Eaves through EA "achievements", investments in your shares, or selling other people's shares, invest or re-invest them immediately or as soon as you can find what appears to be a good investment. Invest often and diversify your investments. Diversification is not only just good basic investment strategy but also increases the number of people in your portfolio. This is reflected in your EA rating and, more importantly, often results in a reciprocal investment in you on the part of someone you invested in.

4. Monitor your investments

Login to Empire Avenue frequently (I recommend daily - it only takes a few minutes). Click the "My Profile" tab at the top then the "My Portfolio and Lists" tab. Sort your investments by clicking the "Top Losers" link. Examine the investments whose share price has declined carefully to identify those you wish to dump. Click on the name of a potential dump and details about them will appear in the right pane. Note your investment price and number of shares. Right click their name in the right pane and open their profile in a new tab. Examine the additional details here including graphs of their statistics, Empire Avenue activity, investments they have made or lack thereof, portfolio value, and dividend values. Don't be afraid to dump a declining stock but also be aware that there is often a dip in share price for new accounts after a couple of days then a recovery.

5. Join communities and post to community forums

One of the first things you should do when you join Empire Avenue is click the "Community" tab at the top and join 6 communities. Select those whose interest coincides with yours but also try to join at least one community whose "interest" is to share EA investor tips. Introduce yourself in a community post and followup with regular postings to your community groups. This increases your exposure, gets you a few free achievement Eaves, and counts as EA activity reflected in your rating.

6. Invite your friends with the "Promote Your Profile" link

Login to Empire Avenue and click the "My Profile" tab at the top then the "My Profile" tab below that. To the right click the "Promote Your Profile" link and use this window to invite friends to join Empire Avenue. In addition to the links EA provides here, copy the URL and include it in any EA blog posts etc. When a person uses this link to join Empire Avenue and connects at least one social media service (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Flickr), you both receive 2,000 Eaves. If you are liking these tips and want to join Empire Avenue to get started, use my profile promotion link.

7. Invest in well connected new arrivals

If you monitor new arrivals closely (Search -> Recent Arrivals) you can often find excellent investments. Look for new accounts whose share price has not yet skyrocketed (e.g. still under 20 or 30) and who are well connected. Note that "well connected" can mean they have connected all social platforms, they have a significant following on one or more platforms, they haven't connected yet but you were able to determine they are active and influential (e.g. you look them up by name or visit their one connected account to find links to their other accounts), or they may just be famous/attractive like I invested in Jane Fonda because, hey, it's Jane Fonda. Investing in well connected new arrivals is an easy way to generate net wealth. These investments will likely increase rapidly in share price over the coming week or two then plateau at their market level. When they cease to climb you can sell, typically for multiple times their purchase value.

8. Build your dividend value by investing in high yield "blue chips"

Initially people will invest in you because you're share price is low, you are well connected, and/or you are active on your social media sites and Empire Avenue. Over the long run, you will need to increase your dividend value to keep investors and attract new investors. To do this it will be necessary to enhance your portfolio with "blue chip" stocks - shares which pay a good dividend and which are usually relatively much higher in price. Examine a potential blue chip's profile and look for the "Dividends (weekly avg)" statistic. There will be numbers for both Eaves per day and Eaves per share. A high Eaves per share average dividend is indicative of a good blue chip. However, see the next tip for an enhanced dividend purchase strategy.

9. Purchase high "dividend per share" per "share price" stocks

A good metric for value investment is "dividend per share" (from the previous tip) divided by "share price" (the number just above the buy/sell buttons). For all purchases other than new arrivals who you think will increase in value rapidly, calculate "dividend per share" multiplied by 100 and divide that by share price. If the resulting number is above 1.0 then purchase as many as you can! Anything above 0.8 is good. For example, currently the account "Totally Guitars" with ticker symbol GUITAR has a dividend per share of 1.54 and a share price of 105.49. To use the metric I describe in this tip you would calculate (1.54 x 100) / 105.49 = 1.46 which is fantastic so buy as many as you can. Occasionally you can even find lower priced stocks with a high div per share per share price index. These are especially good investments because your dividend will still be high while the stock has the potential to increase dramatically in value providing additional profit. For example, my stock, RECORD, has a div per share today of 0.17 and a share price of 17.67. My dividend index would be (0.17 x 100) / 17.67 = 0.96 which is pretty good plus you figure my share price will increase several fold while GUITAR's will probably not double. The 17.67 Eave shares may be a better investment than the 105.49 Eave shares!

10. Invest in leaders

Click on the LEADERS tab at the top of your profile then click on the Portfolio Wealth link along the left hand side. The top ten richest portfolios (both people and businesses) are often good investments and can reap an additional reward. Often these rich portfolios will invest back in those who invest in them. Either they are smart or they are nice or likely both and that's why they got to be rich :) Anyway, an investment in you from one of these heavy hitters will produce an inordinately large bump in your share price. Plus some investors look to who these leaders invest in to guide their own investments so you may get residual investments. They are also usually low risk investments as their value remains solid over time.