Restringing Your Guitar

This is a necessary task for any guitar player, from time-to-time. It’s time-consuming & tedious, but also delicate & important, and one that can’t be rushed– otherwise the instrument becomes less playable. The best person to do the restringing is the owner/musician.

Serious musicians are intimate with their instrument, therefore if they are to master it, they must be able to properly maintain it. Anything more complicated than restringing, including electronics and repair work, can be deferred to a trusted professional. But restringing needs to be done by the musician, because it allows them to own their instrument.

Start by slackening the strings, and then pulling the wire off the headstock for all 6 strings. Once the old strings are detached, use a pliers to remove the pegs/pins past the bridge (above in white). Keep the pegs in order, so they can be placed back into their respective pin holes.

Be professional, by cutting the old strings into small lengths with a wire cutter, so no one gets stabbed later. Any guitar player should always have an extra set of strings & a multi-tool instrument as part of their rig. No excuse for a ruined gig, because you couldn’t change a string.

An acoustic guitar has a fixed bridge, which makes restringing and tuning to pitch a little more arduous. You have to be patient, and commit yourself to several days of guitar downtime, as the strings need to stretch out. Temperature & humidity also matter, the main point is to try to keep things stable.

The strings (and your guitar) will not respond well to cranking everything up to pitch all at once. Most decent acoustics have an adjustable truss rod these days. It’s always better to set the truss rod correctly at the initial stringing (and it’s best to let a professional do that, if you are not experienced), and then maintain it thereafter.

The clip-on tuner is one of the great modern troubleshoots in popular music. Restring right & left, from bottom-to-top on the headstock, meaning outside strings first (low E & high E),  next the middle strings (A & B), then finally the inner strings (D & G). This keeps the tension more even across the neck & bridge, to prevent warping.

Put the wire button and bridge pin in first. Push the pin down as far as you can. Then feed the other end of the wire through the tuning machine, and then use a pliers to grab the string tight against the headstock, as you begin to turn the tuning pegs. Pulling the string tight with a pliers in tis manner, prevents loose windings or kinks in the string.

A loose (or poorly positioned) winding can be corrected– if caught early. Just loosen and then re-tighten. Any kink, even past the nut, kills the string. You should have an extra set of strings on hand, in case this happens.

Be patient. Keep tuning up to pitch, and then let things “breathe” for a few hours. The strings need to be gently stretched, for best playability and longest life. After a day or two, you’ll finally get near the proper pitch for each string. At this point. the strings will tend to detune quickly, or a peg may pop up– slackening the string. Continue to push the pins down, while tuning the string up to pitch.

Practice lightly when pitch is finally held. Barre chords and riffing are the best ways to test out the new strings. Notice that your guitar sounds different!  Each stringing has it’s own unique set of qualities. Once the guitar holds pitch consistently, snip the excess wire as close as possible to their tuning pegs, and you’re good to go.

Maintain better life in the strings by making it a habit to wipe them down with a cotton rag after each playing session. Otherwise, the oils, grease & sweat from your hands will corrode the strings. This is intense, but it makes sense– not dense…

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Ambidextrous Tennis

Two forehands beats one. That’s the philosophy behind ambidextrous tennis. This means eliminating the backhand, and hitting with a right-handed AND left-handed forehand– depending on the situation. Nothing in the game of tennis has as much revolutionary potential as this style.

Firstly, why take up ambidextrous tennis? For me it was a right elbow injury that caused me to put down the racket. Like most athletes, I couldn’t sit still, so I decided to try the racket in my left hand. I quickly discovered that I had more power on my left side than my right! That really got me thinking… and now here we are.

In this video below I demonstrate the basics (& a few nuances) of ambidextrous tennis. The advantages to hitting this way are multi-fold. Ambidextrous tennis provides: 1) More power & higher spin rates; 2) Better court coverage with less effort; 3) Better attack angles while closing off windows-of-vulnerability. 4) Numerous openings to close in on the net, and finish.

I predict (in the future) that ambidextrous tennis will outlast everything else, and become the dominant style among top professionals. The advantages of this style are too apparent, and eventually some ambitious young boy (or girl) is going to master these concepts and win a lot of tennis majors. Why? Because two forehands beats one.

Does this mean that I can now beat Roger Federer? Of course, not. I’m too old, and don’t have his ability. What the ambidextrous style will do is raise the level of anyone’s game, just by becoming more aware of the other half of one’s body. As a footnote: I wouldn’t even want to imagine Roger Federer with two forehands [!], he’s good enough already.

The point is, few of us have anywhere close to Roger Federer’s ability. Imitating his style can help to an extent, but you aren’t going to get better than him by copying him. He’s the best. If young tennis players want to consistently break through Federer-Nadal and the rest on the men’s side (and Serena Williams on the women’s side), then they are going to have to be extraordinarily talented– and still think outside-the-box. The top players are the best for a reason, because they have the talent & dedication, and it takes a lot to get past them.

Ambidextrous tennis (when mastered) gives anyone the tools they need to attack & defend against the best players. Most tennis player’s are taught to attack an opponent’s backhand. In ambidextrous tennis there is no backhand, thus most opponent’s strategy is foiled before they even step onto the court. This is a frustrating style to match up against, and many people I’ve hit with, have disappeared over the years. People generally like to hit against people they can beat, so many of your ‘tennis friends’ will bail on you, once you get good at this style.

Final tips: It’s what your body is doing during pronation that counts in tennis. If you don’t pronate, while maintaining vision & balance– then you’ve got nothing. Consider the racket as a sword, and the tennis ball as a bullet. You are always protecting your head & body while being ready to move in any direction, for any required shot. Ambidextrous tennis allows quick & efficient movements, combined with controlled power.

Light feet skate. Keep everything in-line– from eyes to toes. Stay low and get lower as you approach the net. Stay down until the point is over. Ambidextrous tennis conserves energy, which makes all this easier. The best reason for playing (and mastering) ambidextrous tennis, is that you will have no weaknesses.

Wednesday  2-28-18—  P.S on endorsements:  I’m going on the record in saying, I would love to have a shoe deal. I would obviously need a manufacturer as a partner. Today, most athletic footwear sold in stores, is junk. It only enriches the corporate manufacturers, and the handful of celebrity athletes endorsing their signature series. Poor materials, bad design, and shoddy construction are major issues with athletic shoes– especially considering their price tag.

Since most shoes are sports specific, and already have top-athlete spokesmen/women, I would propose to design a shoe that works for serious amateur athletes. That’s a big demographic, hungry for innovation. Tennis is a good model, because you can wear any kind of footwear you choose, as opposed to other sports, which have restrictions on style & design of the shoes.

If I wasn’t blacklisted, I would surely have been contacted by now, after posting “Ambidextrous Tennis.” This only proves (once again) that there is now no room for outside-the-box re-thinking, anywhere in the capitalist market. Censorship bites everybody.

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What Happens to a Snowflake?

This article is satire, which forms ideas. See also: Snowflake– ice crystals (Wikipedia).

This is a snowflake.

A snowflake is a single ice crystal that falls through the Earth’s atmosphere as snow.

A snowflake doesn’t just form out of nothing, it must nucleate around something. In nature, a dust particle in a supersaturated air mass (clouds), freezes water vapor into crystal. In society, snowflakes form in a similar manner, around whatever is convenient.

In nature, the cohesive forces that form snowflakes are primarily electrostatic. ALL snowflakes are precipitated into formation by strong outside forces, then left to develop their own brand of uniqueness– in a supersaturated environment.

Snowflakes (evidentially) have eight broad classifications, and at least 80 individual variants. I did not know that.

The shape of a snowflake is determined primarily by the temperature & humidity (ie- the conditions) in which it is formed. These environmental factors absolutely & completely determine whether a snowflake will even form, its characteristics, and when it will fall.

No two snowflakes are perfectly identical, although they are difficult to differentiate upon casual inspection. You must look very closely (and very quickly) at a snowflake to notice everything that is unique about it. It’s the definition of an impossible task, if you know what I mean?

Snow appears white in color despite being made of clear ice. This is due to physics & diffraction of light. Some people try to assign unscientific reasons for snowflakes appearing white. These people are called reactionaries & political opportunists.

If snowflakes could speak, they would insist on everlasting reverence to their unique & fleeting beauty. Can you imagine EVERY snowflake screaming this?! That would be one helluva blizzard!! You would need more than a shovel and a good pair of boots to handle that snowstorm.

In nature, snowflakes are always silent, and once they hit the ground they coalesce into snowpack. At this point the snowflake no longer exists, as a dialectical change [!] has occurred. The snowflake’s uniqueness (that once was so fascinating), has now congealed into a more sustainable (albeit transitory) form. In order to prevent complete rapid melting, the snowflake must become part of the pack, to save itself.

With global warming kicking in big-time, the remaining snowpack doesn’t stand a chance for very long anymore. Spring springs earlier every year now, which quickly heats up into longer summers. Eventually the pristine imagery of snowflakes & white drifting snow, melt into muddy slush. The snowflake becomes reclaimed water, which drains into the ground for filtering & recycling.

That’s what happens to a snowflake.

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Art: Explained by an Artist

What is art? How does it happen? What’s it’s role in human society? These questions are now more important than ever. They demand immediate & correct answers. Here they are.

Art is how we express our inner essence. It’s the best we have in us, as art applies to any profession, passion, or endeavor you choose. It has traditionally been achieved through paint, music, film & pen. Art moves minds. True art is revolution, embodied in its form.

Oscar Wilde was correct when he said the public needs to become more artistic. Most people still try to tell you it’s the other way around, for whatever reason they may have. Everyone has it in them to be artistic. Applying this instinct is a primary tool in defeating fascism. Conversely, ignoring & desecrating art, leads directly to fascism.

Attempts to wipe out art are futile & hypocritical. Recall the Nazi’s of Germany who ruled Europe from 1933-1945, they were infamous art thieves & hoarders. Much of their booty is still maintained in private collections around the world, stolen from persecuted Jews in WWII.

Science, technology & ideology always impact & define art. When revolutionary ideas become embodied in art, it becomes very powerful. Art impacts society as soft power, enveloping an era in its influence & vision. The ruling class always fears this, as art unites the oppressed workers with the youth, who see no future in the current set-up.

Art can jump outside that box, as Pablo Picasso, the Surrealists & Andy Warhol are 20th-century examples of artistic geniuses transforming society. Once their ideas exploded into mass consciousness, society was forever changed. It’s often waxed in social terms as, “no longer being innocent.”

The Beatles were revolutionary artists, who abandoned their teeny-bopper beginnings, and became 1960’s counter-culture. Psychedelic rock & transcendental meditation side-trips became cultural oddities, that eventually transitioned into an anti-Vietnam War movement. Rock music had been sanctioned art, by the creation of Rolling Stone magazine in 1967, with John Lennon featured in its inaugural issue.

That watershed moment was the birth of rock music criticism. Art spawns criticism, which seeks to influence art. Generally speaking, critics are a bureaucracy meant to represent the ruling class in art. Often lawyers, guns & money aren’t enough, so controlling the narrative becomes the purpose of criticism.

For eons, humans have been creating art, and others have been judging it. What’s different today, is the level of expertise & authority these self-sanctioned critics reserve for themselves. Today Rolling Stone magazine remains a powerful force in American popular music, with sterilizing everything as its corporation mission.

In contrast the leader and revolutionary genius of the Beatles, has been dead for nearly four decades. He was murdered by a reactionary psychopath, with full approval of the ruling elite. John Lennon had been a target of the FBI since Nixon was president, as later revealed in declassified CO-INTEL-PRO and other documents.

Everyone appreciates some form of art. The problem is when too many people become too narrow in their tastes & definitions of art. There’s a whole lot out there, that you aren’t even aware of, and it’s criminal to short-change yourself in not appreciating as much of it as you can. Art depends on an audience, otherwise society is condoning cultural vandalism.

Great art doesn’t just happen. It is deeply thought-out, planned, and worked through in great detail. What the public sees as the final work, is often years of hard work. Creating new material and staying ahead is the most challenging task. It often involves going to very dark places in your mind. This is emotionally exhausting, and involves personal sacrifices in health & happiness, which is why so many artists burn out.

It is necessary for artists who truly love, to understand how these ruling sociopaths think & act. They are manipulating the levers of power, which affects the ability for art to be shared, and therefore they have very rational reasons for their psychotic behavior.

The most obvious example today is media & Internet censorship & blacklisting. This reaction is sweeping through sports, entertainment, and politics like a swarm of locusts. The only force that can resist witch-hunts & fascist goon squads, are a united youth & working class, armed with revolutionary socialism.

Marxism, and more specifically Trotskyism, is the most reviled political tendency in bourgeois politics. Any mention of Leon Trotsky is proscribed in the mass media. If his name comes up, there is an immediate hysterical reaction from fixers & political heavyweights– who are always monitoring. This is because Leon Trotsky was the most artistic & influential political figure of the 20th century.

Today this repressive apparatus which involves the corporate-intelligence deep state, has launched an all-out, multi-pronged attack campaign on art. When Hollywood actors are witch-hunted, and their careers destroyed by a #MeToo campaign of right-wing feminism, then artists know the official political spectrum has tipped completely to fascism.

As much as art is universal to the human experience, we all sense it uniquely. Example: Stevie Wonder! That is the mystery & magic of art, which is challenges & seduces all of us. Understanding & embracing art is how we avoid being manipulated by hidden interests with evil intentions.

Art in the hands of a united working class, with revolutionary consciousness, can internationally transform society into a global community with socialist foundations. My music & albums are on all the major streaming services, and those songs are meant to be anthems for revolution. The more that ideas such as these are expressed, distributed & absorbed, the closer we get to a revolutionary scenario, where the working people of the world can come together & win.

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Hurricane Irma Diary

Thursday evening:  Here’s my hurricane readiness, take a lesson. I go on with my normal life until Saturday, as it doesn’t hit us until late Sunday/early Monday. I don’t go shopping, because I already have everything I need. In fact everyone should be using up existing refrigerated & frozen stock, in case of an extended power outage, unless you have a backup generator. That’s a costly & wasteful mess to avoid, and panicked last-minute shopping contributes to it.

A gas generator just isn’t practical (cost or living circumstance-wise) for most. During extended outrages, most likely you’ll run out of gas, even with siphoning from your vehicle. It’s for refrigeration and fans, as central A/C can’t be run off of most generators.

Crises bring out the best and worst in people. This means many acts of selfless heroism, mixed in with stealing and other acts of selfishness. I can tell you that if you’re caught looting in Florida by the owners, there isn’t a good ol’ boy anywhere that won’t shoot you dead, or worse.

Inland (Orlando,FL) means no storm surge, so the dangers are water damage from accumulated rain (expected 10-15 inches here) & high winds. I gassed up the car last night, as prices were increasing & supplies diminishing. I never met an oil company that didn’t exploit a crisis situation. I don’t expect to have to go anywhere, but I’m ready if I have to. I’m done working for the week and holding plenty of good bud, so that’s the best I can do…

      1. Rolling Stoned - Ric Size

 

Friday: A major reason Florida is so hurricane unready & vulnerable to catastrophe is its low tax rate. Seniors move down here because of the weather & low taxes. They largely don’t care about things like schools (their kids are grown up) or long-term environmental consequences (global warming), since their outlook is mostly self-interested & short-term. These “snowbirds” also have the money to leave during the heat waves & hurricanes of the summer months. They are watching all this from their homes in Ohio, New York, Michigan, etc… The elderly who live here permanently, are the most at-risk during a hurricane.  They are also the most difficult to evacuate. From a business standpoint, Florida has been completely deregulated. These are unique contributing factors to what’s about to unfold in Florida.

Saturday 11:00 AM:

This song is for all those living ocean front in the path of the eye of this hurricane. Storm surges predicted on BOTH sides of Florida, which is unprecedented. This “natural disaster” is global warming under capitalism. If allowed to continue much longer, Florida will eventually have to be evacuated, as it will become increasingly uninhabitable until finally submerged by the rising oceans due to arctic ice melt.

Out west, wildfires burning out of control out. It’s the hottest year on record I’m told.

11:50 AM: Right now in Sanford, FL the air is heavy with moisture. Low-hanging clouds are swirling in the breeze over head. The outermost bands have finally reached us. The ground is already soaked from weeks of heavy rain. I went outside earlier and said out loud, “if the eye hits here, we’re fucked… just so everybody knows.”

12:50 PM: Just got my last glimpse of the sun, for what will probably be several days. It hadn’t yet peaked in the sky (due to daylight savings), and quickly was swallowed up by the ever increasing & descending swirls of clouds. Still no rain, but there’s no doubt about what’s coming. The birds have finally stopped their chirping, and have either taken shelter or moved on. The cicadas are at it now, as the breeze is beginning to pick up. Usually they wait until dusk to rule the evening with their incessant buzzing, but even the insects sense today is different.

A feral cat grooms itself in front of my parked car. This reminds me to lay out catnip. I need all the luck I can get. I quickly slip inside, grab the can in the cupboard, and return to my porch to pour out a pile in its sight. It takes notice and continues grooming itself… then disappears behind my car. She then appears from under the closest car and presents herself as a female. Nice! She walks to within a few feet of the catnip, then turns away and moves on out of sight. Just like a woman…

The apartment complex I live in is modest, to say the least. I picked it for its location, as I work in Lake Mary– about 20 minutes away by car. There is an international airport just up the road, so there are many flight attendants here. Most live in “crash pads” with multiple people rotating in & out. Right now, they’re all out.

The demographic is all races, and defined economically as working poor, or living poor. The flight attendants here are mostly male and (FYI) notoriously gay, so I get stared at and whispered about a lot. There’s very little savings, and few have possessions that are of much value, as this is considered a transient area– a way stop to wherever anyone is going next. Most don’t think about the future very much, as it’s day-to day survival & partying going on.

I knew the biggest risk was flooding from a major storm when I signed this lease. I still have just about everything in boxes, if that tells you anything. It all off the ground, but I’m not sure it will be enough to keep everything that is essential, dry. I’m sticking it out.

There’s only so much you can do, as you can’t run from a hurricane if you live here, because you don’t really know where it’s going to go.  You can make things MUCH worse by panicking. Too many people are still driving around, just adding more global warming & energy to this massive system, for it to throw back at all of us.

The garbage men just came this morning and cleaned out all the bins (thank you), and yet there are people throwing their new trash into them and walking away like it’s cool, when it’s really just more litter for everyone to clean up after it’s washed out & blown away. It’s quite remarkable how little people are respecting this hurricane, and how blissfully unaware they are of it’s causes & consequences.

2:40 PM: The cicadas (bad-ass punk rockers) continue their songs, and A/C units hum as background noise. Getting your home as cool as possible is recommended, before the power goes out. I always leave mine off during the day. The air has begun cooling due to the moisture buildup.  Residents here are not allowed to board up their windows, and there are no storm shutters. This busy two-story apartment complex is about 2/3 empty now. We are right next to Lake Monroe, which is a large body of water connected to the St. Johns River– which outlets to the Atlantic Ocean. Storm surge could impact us from that side.

This complex was built on swamplands and is surrounded by water. It has a huge pond in the middle of it that is connected to Lake Monroe through an underground spring that runs under Highway 17-92. Residents enjoy fishing there, even though it’s mandated catch-and-release. This is NOT the place you want to be for the most violent hurricane ever recorded, but I’m here at ground level because I need to protect my home & its possessions.

That’s why you stay. This could get messy if the waters start to rise quickly. I believe you have a responsibility to protect where you live (if you are able), unless you are called out to work. The Central Florida Regional Hospital is right next door, which is good. That’s always a priority area, and this complex gets some benefit from that due to its proximity.  Every little bit helps. I just saw another glimpse of the sun, then it disappeared…

And why am I talking about the cicadas so much?  Maybe it’s because knowledge of entomology becomes important in flooding, as you can see in this memorandum I found taped to my door last Tuesday.

Interestingly, it doesn’t mention alligators, so I will. “If you ain’t a gator, you’re gator bait,” is the local color expression. Also note that fetid waters contain filth & disease. Mold and other microorganisms cause the most damage from flooding.

4:00 PM: Watching the wheels go round, listening to the VU & Nico while I still have electricity.

At the first thunder & lightning, all non-essential electric goes off. The lights aren’t on, and won’t be used except as needed. Charged old Ipod for music, unless I feel like strumming the guitar– and I don’t expect I will. Cell phone needs to stay charged so text only, unless an emergency. Computer use will have to be intermittent, if at all by tomorrow evening.

6:00 PM: My record collection is organized alphabetically, with Simon & Garfunkel – Warren Zevon on the bottom. When I pulled out the banana album, I switched all my Velvet records with a few Beethoven box sets, located up top in the classical section. I hope I don’t have to switch any others.

Pictured above is the record that changed my life, when I first heard “Heroin.” I found it at a used record store in San Jose, CA in early 1986. Their albums were only then being re-issued, after being unavailable (deleted) for over a decade. Can’t lose that.

Hygiene tips: All recyclable waste is placed into a bin, and kept to a minimum. All food waste is stored in the refrigerator, as usual. We have no composting here, which is another mistake no one notices or mentions. Rationing food intake is advisable, as what goes in– comes out. If the power is cut, the toilet soon stops working. Water should be rationed in the same conservative manner. Essential intake only to minimize waste, which will contaminate flood waters.

People shouldn’t run their electrical above what’s needed, as lowering the overall stress on the grid reduces the chance (slightly, but significantly enough) for brownouts & blackouts. Falling asleep early is the best scenario, as this could be the last night of A/C for awhile. I’ll listen to the NASCAR race (Richmond) on my laptop, as that puts me to sleep nearly every time.

I expect to wake up with high winds lashing rain at my windows in the morning. My ground-level next door neighbor left with her elderly mother to seek refuge in a public shelter. She left a few poorly-placed sandbags at her outside doorstops. Those will get stolen by those in desperation, if it comes to that. My neighbor above has visitors moving in for refuge. The first sprinkles have arrived, and they evaporate away invisibly making the air heavier with water by the moment. The outdoor ambient temperature is at least 10 degrees below what it normally has been this time of evening. The cicadas continue their audio dominance from the trees of the swamp behind us, while the pile of catnip remains undisturbed save for the moisture absorbed. Time to pack up my folding chair and call it a day. This is the calm before the storm.

7:30 PM: The sun becomes most visible in the sky at sunset, producing a rainbow on the opposite horizon.

…a miracle of physics.

About to get underway at Richmond, so signing off for the evening…

Sunday 8:00 AM: Slow drizzling this morning, with no wind & gray skies. The eye currently is spinning just south of Key Largo, FL. This slow-moving system is supposed to turn north today, and track the west coast of Florida. It’s now watch & wait.

The local airports stopped flights in & out as of 5:00 PM yesterday. The roads are now mostly empty. On Friday, I bicycled to my local produce stand and picked up some fresh fruit & veggies. I have enough food (perishable & non-perishable) to get through the week without spoilage. Hopefully it won’t come to that. Brita pitchers are filled, with spare water in buckets. At this point, you need to have a plan every time you open the refrigerator, as rationing & conservation of refrigeration will be the priorities.

10:30 AM: Back from my daily 3+ mile walk. Isn’t it funny how you can see something different every day, if you just take the time to notice?  Not too many walkers out this morning. The first one I encounter is a gay man, dressed sharply, eying me hard all the way as we pass by. I even turned away and then glanced back at him– still staring in. Boy, he was SERIOUS– LOL!

The next person is an woman in her forties carrying an umbrella, with it at full snap blocking only half the wind & rain coming at her. She’s in a cotton t-shirt, shorts, running shoes & socks, while holding on to her bumbershoot for dear life when the wind gusts.

Next is a younger woman taking her dog out to relieve itself. It’s a terrier and it’s owner has already picked up the poop, and is anxiously waiting for her dog to finish piddling. I give her a thumb’s up as I pass, and she returns a smile. Pets are a problem, just like everything else, during an emergency situation. You have to be able to take care of them, while being responsible to others. Many aren’t, so it’s nice to see someone doing the right thing when it counts most.

Next is a gay couple, or at that’s what it appears to be. They pass in a different direction, then suddenly appear across my path again a few blocks later. Yup.  And this is on a slow day, wearing a slicker & hood, with a hurricane coming!

The roads are less busy, but filled with the same stupidity that exists daily. People not signaling, slowing down for no reason, tailgating for no reason, driving recklessly with no purpose, pretending they’re a gangsta, etc… Burger King & McDonald’s are closed, so you know almost nothing else is open. Just a few gas stations & stray convenience stores, so none of these people really need to be out driving. They’re “checkin’ it out,” because they’re too lazy (or afraid) to walk. They will be the first ones to turn into wild animals when things go bad. It helps to recognize them and prepare yourself mentally, since you can feel it coming. It’s way worse than the storm itself.

The sprinkles have now turned into a steady light rain, with gusts of heavier moisture. It never completely stops. When the rain lightens by evaporating into an ultra-fine mist, the cicadas begin their drones. The sidewalks & streets are already puddling up with water & moving streams. This is how Lake Monroe looks at 9AM:

The ducks seem to be enjoying themselves in front of the community pond,

This is only the prelude.

For all those fashionably conscious hurricane survivors, I recommend walking in poly-nylon (waterproof) shorts and leather sandals. Strip off the outer layer when arriving back home, and hang them inside to dry out. Your t-shirt & underwear will be dry, which is most important. You can’t afford to get yourself sick at this time.

11:45 AM: My folding chair is out on the porch, and I’ve already seen the feral she-cat again. She looks at first at me, then the soggy catnip before cautiously slinking by. You know you want it.  Cats don’t like to get wet, so she’s probably more interested in rummaging a meal from one of the open dumpsters. I’m sure she’ll find one too. Who knows where the container will end up?

I like cats, so I mess with catnip. You have to be hard AND playful with cats, if you want to master them. That’s not an easy balance, and that’s just to earn their respect. They also require patience & persistence, as they are always on their own time. They are also very possessive & territorial. Like I said earlier, just like a woman.

Sirens are beginning to become more frequent. As I mentioned, there’s a hospital next door. Only a few of it’s windows are boarded up, and there’s minimal staffing, as can be seen by the relatively few vehicles in it’s parking lots.

1:00 PM: Rain is now moderate-to-heavy, continuous, and starting to lash more. The cicadas are silent, while the wading birds are having themselves a day gorging on grubs, snails & stink slugs. I’m hoping I don’t see any of their favorite meals, up close & personal in the next day or two. I’m probably living somewhere between 1-2 feet above the water table. Last forecast I saw was for 8-12 inches of rain. I blaze up outside, because it’s officially “Smoke ’em if you got ’em.” time. It’s also time to pack up the chair and move inside.

3:00 PM: Rain is getting steadier & heavier by the hour. No thunder or lightning, just water.

I lived in Mount Dora for 20+ years, including 2004 when 4 hurricanes hit Florida. Hurricane Charley missed Lake County, while Hurricanes’ Francis & Jeanne both left our home (and many others) without power for several days. For some it was weeks & months. We were lucky that was the extent of our inconvenience. A few privileged people tried to prove to others they had learned their lessons, and installed backup generators or converted to solar– for themselves. Unfortunately that’s not good enough, as it will take everyone converting to solar power for us to have any hope of alleviating global warming. In the Sunshine State & everywhere else, there is no coordinated & progressive solution to our energy needs, and there never will be under capitalism.

Among the 2004 storms, Hurricane Irma most resembles Ivan, which was the most destructive of the four. Irma is of even greater intensity, and it’s going to level everything in its path and then flood it. This is an irresistible force of nature, compounded by human arrogance & short-sightedness. Politicians and their mass-media accomplices are already preparing their best PR campaign yet, so be prepared. CNN-to-Fox will be all about: “Donate & volunteer: no politics” while militarizing the disaster zone to punish the population and keep those who can most-help out. The truth of what’s unfolding will be censored, as the ruling class seeks its next narrative to jump on to.

This is the face of class war in 2017. Little material aid (government or otherwise) will reach those most-impacted & most in need. Coastal area residences & businesses will be drenched in seawater & rain, windows shattered & roofs torn off. In short, horrifying– if you are caught in it and live to survive. They’ve got saltwater crocodiles & Burmese pythons to boot down there, so you better have (at least) a sharpened machete on hand if you’re sticking out the aftermath. For those who make it through, everything is gone, or ruined. Insurance says they won’t pay for “Acts of God,” which this is always defined as. Or they go bankrupt, to limit their liability, allowing them to start anew elsewhere. No one asks, “How can anyone rebuild here, when these super-hurricanes are assured to happen again & again?”

It appears Orlando will be lucky, and miss the eye. Knock on wood. It’s still too early to know, as this storm has a mind of its own, and will go wherever it pleases. What is certain is that an east coast storm track would have smashed O-town which (like the rest of central Florida) is surrounded by lakes & rivers outletting to the Atlantic Ocean. Storm surge would have been much more of a factor, with devastating consequences even this far inland. I’m not celebrating, even if it does miss us, and we stay completely dry. Luck is two-sided, and for every good fortune, someone else is ruined. This is only the beginning. Hurricane Jose’ is out there, and even it that one misses, there’s another & another… until eventually it’s our turn.

The moral is: people don’t want to live with a gun to their head. They don’t want to have to make choices that sacrifice their safety & material well-being, just to make a living. We all are being forced to do this by an irrational economic & political setup. Each crisis is a disaster, but also an opportunity to learn and plan for something better. It’s the only way we’ll survive.

6:00 PM: The bands are really starting to pick up in intensity and rainfall. My catnip pile is now soaked from the concrete below, but still intact. I’m guessing it’ll be gone by morning– either washed or blown away. It’s much darker at this hour than normal, due to the clouds completely blocking the sun. No cicada buzz either, just dragonflies feasting on mosquitoes. There will be quite a hatch for awhile, which is another issue.

The “eye of the hurricane” is often used in cliché. Let me describe what it really is. If you’ve ever stood outdoors in the eye of a hurricane, it is one of the most shocking experiences you could ever imagine. The violent winds & rain which have been mercilessly beating down have miraculously ceased– almost instantly. Dead calm, with clear skies. If it’s daytime you can see the sun again, and if you didn’t know better you would think it’s all over. A well-defined eye has only a few minutes of calm until the counter-rotational winds start up again, depending on how fast the system is moving. Everything that was bent one way, is now blown in the other direction. Even though the velocity of the winds are slightly less than the front of the eye, this is the most dangerous part of the storm. It’s when all hell breaks loose, and you just hope you can hang on. You’re that helpless.

The eyes of Hurricanes’ Francis & Jeanne weren’t as well-defined as Irma. There is no one who should attempt to stand in the eye of Irma, as the flying debris & flood waters in its wake are deadly. When an eye of this magnitude passes, everyone instinctively freezes. The biggest fear is if it turns in your direction, because you won’t be able to outrun it. Florida is a peninsula, and you are basically trapped here in a hurricane. Either get out early, or you’re in for the duration.

An eye looks at you.  An eye passes judgment on you.  An eye for an eye.  Everything that gives you religion comes up in a hurricane.  Can you see this in you mind’s eye?

To be continued…

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Diagnosing Orlando’s Pulse

One year ago Omar Mateen went into the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, FL at ~2:00 AM, and killed 49 patrons– wounding 53 more, before being killed by the police after he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terror group. It was the worst mass shooting in US history. Since then there has been no serious investigation of this tragedy, because all signs point towards US military & intelligence involvement.

The most suspicious figure remains Omar’s father, Seddique Mateen who is most likely a CIA asset with complete diplomatic immunity. He can do or say whatever he pleases, and there are no consequences, as long as he’s playing ball the Uncle Sam, which it appears he is. Seddique Mateen (below) hosts a California-based satellite television show aimed at ethnic Pashtuns from Afghanistan living in the United States. The funding for this is probably covert US intelligence. Here is the timeline of events for Seddique Mateen around the Orlando massacre, as reported by the Miami Herald:

On the morning of June 12th, about 15 minutes before the first gunshots went off at Pulse, he posted a video featuring himself, dressed in military garb and seeking to inspire a sense of urgency among his 10,925 Facebook followers: “To the revolutionary people in Afghanistan, country is in danger,” he wrote.

On Sunday at 8:11 p.m., as further details of the tragedy were starting to emerge, he posted a photo of a t-shirt emblazoned with his own image and a phrase in Pashto that made reference to his name and Afghanistan.

On Wednesday at 1:30 a.m., perhaps feeling the pressure of the mounting national attention, he posted a photo praising the United States for its involvement in Afghanistan, in contrast to criticisms he leveled in earlier videos. He had told reporters outside his house on Monday morning, “Taliban are the ones that destroyed Afghanistan” — a dramatic change from earlier videos.

On Wednesday at about 2 a.m., a few hours before he would tell reporters camped outside his Fort Pierce home that his son’s widow, Noor Salman, was no longer in town, he reposted a photo of himself standing alone outside the closed door of a Capitol Hill basement office — the U.S. State Department Liaison Office. The Liaison Office mainly helps members of Congress organize their overseas travels and processes their passport and visa paperwork [1].

Seddique Mateen came to the United States ~1980, just as the CIA was escalating its funding for radical Islamic terror to fight against the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. It’s clear by reporting that Seddique Mateen does nothing productive, and that all his income is most-likely a pay-off from US intelligence.

In his new career as a traveling salesman, he was “required to drive an automobile great distances, travel up and down stairs, bend, stoop, sit for extended periods of times [sic], and visit individuals at their homes and businesses.” Eventually, he was injured in a car accident and filed for disability. He said at the time his salary stood at $100,000 per year. Corporate records suggest he also dabbled in other businesses, including real estate, a beauty salon and art dealing. [ibid]

Why isn’t Seddique Mateen even investigated for his role in the Orlando massacre? Because he’s protected by the Black Hand.

Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer (above, with governor Rick Scott left), “Were we going to be known as the site of the worst mass shooting in history? Right out of the box, we said we wanted to be defined as something different than that. We will not be defined by the act of a cowardly hater. We will be defined by how we respond and how we treat each other.” There’s Florida politics for y’all: heartfelt delivery of empty bluster (in which everyone is supposed to hug each other at the end), and then throw up your hands & go home.  The flip side is a shortage of relevant facts and well-directed inquiries from the media [2].

The US government cover-up plan is clearly to have Omar Mateen’s wife take the fall for everyone.  It appears Noor Salman (left, with Omar Mateen) had at least some knowledge of Omar’s intentions. She also claims to have been abused and threatened by her husband. They had a 3-year old daughter at the time, for context.

On January 16, 2017, six months after the tragedy, the FBI arrested Noor Salman at her California home. The charges against her include aiding and abetting Omar Mateen’s attempts to support ISIS, and obstruction of justice [3].

One year ago I published my account of this massacre, from the information available at the time. One year later the public has been told only a few more facts, from what was known then. More to the point, it appears the existing facts are being ignored & erased.

Speaking as a resident of the greater area, there is much genuine anger and desire for answers from the people of Orlando, because whether you knew someone directly affected by this tragedy or not, it was so awful in scale & ugliness that it can’t be ignored.  The problem is that any impulse towards genuine truth always gets diverted into safe bourgeois channels, such as ‘official investigations’ and identity politics (above).

No justice (and therefore no healing) will come to the people of Orlando, as long as they continue to turn a blind eye to the root cause of this tragedy, and the many others that occur daily around the world. Those truly responsible must be held accountable, or else they’ve gotten away with it.

 

      1. Who Are They ? - Ric Size

 

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Videos: Over & Out

These are the three official videos for Over & Out.  All are edited & produced TomP.

“DDSeuss” features images from NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) archives:

In “Many Miles,” images were gathered (Google) to portrait one of the great jazz artists of the 20th century:

“Sun-Wind-Bird” features the outstanding photography of Bill Haley, (the few Florida photos are RS):

A complete archive of his photos can be found at Bill Haley-FHPhotography on Facebook.

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Over & Out (2017)

Tom Pearce recorded the last Ric Size studio album on Tuesday, May 16th– with everything you see in these photos:

It took ~ 3 hours total, with set-up & teardown. All photos, scans, layout & design by TomP & Ric Size. These are the tracks:

 

      1. Birth of Song - Ric Size

 

      2. Up Around The Clock - Ric Size

 

      3. You Are My Brother - Ric Size

 

      4. Ddsuess - Ric Size

 

      5. Who Are They ? - Ric Size

 

      6. Tased - Ric Size

 

      7. Many Miles - Ric Size

 

      8. Yes / No Wave - Ric Size

 

      9. Waves - Ric Size

 

      10. You Drinkin A Beer? - Ric Size

 

      11. Permanent Revolution - Ric Size

 

      12. Sun Wind Bird - Ric Size

 

TomP did all the sound set up, miking, engineering, etc; while I provided the guitar, songs & performance– in my spare bedroom.  It was a LOT nicer than the Hwy 19 & Main St. studio, to say the least. Those are actual cardinals chirping on “Many Miles.”  Work with what you’ve got.

Tom Pearce recorded, edited, produced & delivered Over & Out in under a week. Photo below is his home studio, running Studio One 3 Pro mastering plug-ins. Have I mentioned the importance of a producer who is an artist and can finish?

“Yes/No Wave” was self-recorded/produced on a Fostex 4-channel cassette recorder, in 2001.  It is the only multi-track recording on this album. Note the higher pitch in my voice.

Fan note: We are still working on Re-Magnified. That project has taken a new & exciting creative turn, and we look forward to getting definitive versions of those songs produced sometime soon!

When care is taken to observe the immutable principles of sound dynamics, a producer’s job becomes much easier.

Also note, this gets product (new songs) to market quicker. If this sounds like the way you would like to record, then contact Tom Pearce at Last Minute Productions in Tavares, FL for all your audio recording needs!

Any promotional tour for Over & Out will depend on the money.  Haven’t seen any so far, and if that maintains, then that’s it.  All I ever wanted to do was share my songs. I did it on my own terms, paid the price, became profoundly influential, and survived. As they say in showbiz, that’s a helluva run!!

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Kansas: Danica Violently Wrecked; Aric Almirola Hospitalized

Does NASCAR want this?

Absolutely! Otherwise it’s a boring race and the sponsors get itchy.

Just read the tags on the address links:

http://www.foxsports.com/nascar/story/danica-patrick-joey-logano-aric-almirola-violent-fiery-crash-kansas-speedway-nascar-051317

http://www.espn.com/racing/nascar/cup/story/_/id/19377982/danica-patrick-aric-almirola-joey-logano-fiery-crash-kansas-speedway

Makes you want to view it, huh?!

EVERYONE sent well wishes & concerns to Aric Almirola, who plowed into Joey Logano after his front-right ‘mechanical’ failure. Logano should have turned himself into the SAFER barrier, instead of right-rearing Danica Patrick into the wall at nearly full speed–  the most dangerous type of oval crash. It is a driver’s first responsibility when feeling the blowout, to not wreck (endanger) others; you deal with this wreck on your own as much as possible.

It is also up to other drivers to slow down when there is a fireball ahead. Almirola was going WAY too fast (completely out of control); he had time to veer from the wreck, but instead slammed into the pile. Since he’s so badly hurt (fractured T-5), no one mentions that.

The only driver who mentioned Danica Patrick in their ‘tweets of concern’ was 7-time champion Jimmie Johnson (above).

So the driver who made no mistake here (and was nearly killed) is ignored, and shouted down as “selfish” by the haters. My advice to Danica: skip the All-Star race (for which you have to run qualifiers!), and save yourself the headaches.

What Drivers Said after Kansas Cup race

Danica Patrick — Finished 36th: “We were having a really good race and having fun out there and had a lot of speed. I kinda felt like Wonder Woman for a little while. All I know is that I all of a sudden crashed. I definitely had a feeling it was the 22 and I am sure that the doctors in the medical center checking my neurological abilities are glad to know I was right that it was Joey. When he said he had a failure I can’t say it made me feel that much better in the moment. I am just frustrated for the lack of breaks I get. It seems like every time things are going better and something happens I get crashed or am in a crash. Especially a place like this, a brake rotor, when we are using 200-300 pounds of pressure seems odd. Unfortunately there were two of us that got collected and while I am okay, one of these times one of these really big accidents someone is not going to be okay. Aric (Almirola) is not okay and his car looked the best of everybody. You never know when it is going to be the wrong hit. I have a team that works hard and put another car on the track and I hope we are saving up for a really good run of good luck.”

This was Danica Patrick post-race last week, after getting caught up in the ‘Big One’ at Talladega (again):

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr (above) looks pretty happy with his girlfriend standing beside him– like she should.  That begs the question: what does Ricky have to say about his girlfriend getting violently wrecked more than any other driver in NASCAR?

      1. Haters, Step Aside - Ric Size

 

Last notes to NASCAR faithful: since Kansas is a boring oval, make it a road-coarse race.

Why do so many NASCAR die-hards hate Danica? The reason the haters go off (as best I can tell) is because they are ugly, and she would never look at them in real life. It’s a vitriolic cry for attention, which they rationalize with selective nonsense. Shout them down!

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Medical Marijuana & Florida Politics

Amendment 2, which legalized medical marijuana was approved by 71% of Florida voters on Election day 2016.  but it never had a chance of become reality. The Florida legislature had 60 days to pass this amendment in law, and willfully ran out the clock in defiance of the voters of Florida.

Before this amendment was publicly passed, Republican party machinery worked behind the scenes to make sure that widely-available legal marijuana never happened.  With backroom deals made to venture capital & hedge fund investors, Florida is being setup as the new model for legal marijuana under corporate control.  “Vertical integration” is the term that keeps being bandied about in the local media (and in Tallahassee, photo below), meaning monopoly control for a few hand-chosen cannabis distributors.

Background: In 2015-16, twenty-four nurseries applied for the five (5) to-be-available state licenses for medical marijuana, in a secretive process by a board appointed directly by Florida governor Rick Scott, with each coughing up a $60,000 non-refundable application fee.  Licenses were awarded to Costa Nursery farms of Miami, Knox Nursery of Winter Garden, Hackney Nursery Company of Tallahassee, Chestnut Tree Farm of Alachua and Alpha Foliage (Surterra Therapeutics) of Homestead.

Click on any of the five hyperlinked entities above, and you will notice that none of them grow marijuana!  For example Jake Bergman (photo above) is the CEO of Surterra Holdings, Inc. a cannabis-based therapeutics company, seeded by Wall Street hedge fund firm Vakyrie Capital. Surterra has a well-documented history of using pesticides (medically harmful), and their plants have been denied and returned by the State of California due to pest infestations. [1]  Alpha Foliage is simply a Florida-based shell company which gets Surterra their coveted license. Marijuana growth & production will be outsourced to behemoth cannabis cultivator MJardin.

What MJardin offers to the Florida growers is a turn-key cartel service to licensed Florida cannabis businesses. The five license holders merely partner with this Colorado company that steps in and puts the operation in place– for a healthy piece of the action.  Rick Scott (with Trump below) and the Florida legislature provide political protection to the five ‘growers,’ while MJardin monopolizes the Florida marijuana market. [2]

Florida legislators have engineered regulations that shut out small businesses, and prohibit personal home cultivation.  In states like Colorado and California, where the industry was developed before legalization, the medical market was initially served by thousands of small farms. This allowed patients access to a more genetic diversity and a much wider range of product offerings, which led to the discovery of the medical utility of CBD in the first place. When home cultivation is banned and genetic diversity is not allowed to flourish, the true medical potential of marijuana remains hidden in favor of cartel profiteering.

The legislative debate over medical marijuana is an instructive example of capitalist politics overriding democracy and the will of the electorate. The original Florida House of Representatives measure banned smoking, eating, and vaporizing; which meant that despite a constitutional amendment, Floridians would have been banned from actually ingesting marijuana!

After public pressure, the House backed off and authorized vaping and edibles, but still banned smoking & home cultivation. The Senate haggled on their end, and then came back with more edits… back & forth until time ran out.  All this murk makes it difficult for most people to understand who’s to blame, much less what actually happened?

After the annual legislative session closed, pro-pot advocates began turning on each other, in an attempt to shift blame & avoid the political fallout.  Orlando-based trial attorney John Morgan is the one who bankrolled Amendment 2.  Morgan is a longtime Democrat, with ambitions for governor in 2018. He also has a bit of a drinking problem as revealed by his past DUI record, and this idiotic tweet (since deleted) late Friday (May 5) evening:

The next morning Morgan stated in a interview, “Ben Pollara fucked the patients. The first thing I am going to do is make sure the people who helped me pass Amendment 2 know not to give Ben Pollara another red nickel,” Morgan said.

Ben Pollara (above, left) was the campaign chairman for Amendment 2, and the political brains for the entire operation. Pollara told Sunshine State News, “The cartel’s position was unlimited dispensaries for themselves and their investors. Their lobbying team was very successful at holding that position. They got what they wanted and the bill died. My instructions to my lobbying team today were to get a bill – any bill – passed.”

Amendment 2 now moves to the Florida Department of Health, to implement without direction of the Florida Legislature. It has until July to put rules into place. However, the department is under Gov. Rick Scott’s control. Scott is anti-marijuana, so expect no further progress, and this whole mess likely ends up in court.

The silliness of all this is the fact that Florida has been growing some of the finest kinds of marijuana for generations, and yet it can’t legalize it due to bureaucratic ignorance & corporate greed.  The reason being legal marijuana is a major threat to distilleries, breweries, tobacco, and big pharma.

Those are major industries with serious political clout, which stand to lose billions in revenue, perhaps even threatening their very existence. Marijuana is a weed, which means you can grow it anywhere. In many ways it is the most ‘socialized’ plant, ubiquitously used– recreationally and medically.  In many ways, the fight for legal marijuana is a necessary attack on the entire capitalist healthcare system which favors monopolization, and that is why it is hated & feared by so many bourgeois politicians.

Thanks to Orlando Weekly for covering this issue intensely, as much was revealed in only their reporting.

See also: Medical & Recreational Marijuana

      1. Rolling Stoned - Ric Size

 

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