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2,060 total views, 1 views today

Thanks and Updates

What, I haven’t posted here since January? I’m composing this offline in 24-point bold. I’ve had a serious vision issue since last August. It wasn’t correctly diagnosed until October. We have almost eliminated the main issue, and then we can talk about vision changes, cataract surgery and and new eyeglasses. Still, I’ve been inattentive to summitlake.com when I could at least have posted some of those little “card” quips I share o Facebook.

My real social world is on Facebook, where, with visual aids and text-to-speech, it’s all too easy to read and share information and personal life with friends all over the country. Many years ago here on Summitlake.com, I tried several :Chat” and comment plug-ins for WordPress which all proved vulnerable to hackers and spammers. Keeping up with the swarm of daily deletes , for the sake of the few legitimate posters, proved too high-maintenance. I ditched the experiment completely.

I do still use the built-in “comment” system. It queues all posts for an administrative approval, and that’s me. I’d like here to thank the legitimate folks who leave helpful comments and information, wondering whether their comment will ever post and if someone will think to reply and thank them.

I have a lot of legacy content on my site, plan to add new content, and to keep Summitlake.com online for a long time to come.



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“Hey, I’m Clark”

… A clever ad I heard on Pandora. Who has never had a shopping experience like this?”

Hey, I’m Clark. I work at the drugstore, and I hate my job. Everyone’s asking me these annoying questions, like will this soap dry my skin, can you unlock the razor case, will you please ring me up? I’m not like a soap padding ring-up key-master wizard OK? Just buy all your bathroom stuff at Dollar Shave dot com. They’ll deliver all your bathroom stuff so you don’t have to come in and bother me while I’m texting my girlfriend’s friend.”

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What Liberals and Conservatives Need to Learn

Interesting New York Times article: Liberals Need to Take Their Fingers Out of Their Ears. I thought about it and write this:

We should not apologize for defending “absolutely unfettered freedom and diversity; acceptance and promotion of multiculturalism; allowing retention of separate identities; maintenance of separate communities, lifestyles and values; permitting open criticism of leaders, authorities and institutions; unrestrained free expression (of what many will consider offensive/outrageous/unacceptable ideas); strict prohibitions on government intervention in ‘private’ moral choices.”

Equal rights for everybody may be offensive to some, but we should not apologize for defending Constitutional guarantees. Red States may not realize it, but they comprise a large percentage of our neglected and scorned minorities, who live from generation to generation with no realistic opportunities for hope.

The DNC and we – its constituency – should not focus on civic harping. We need to show how the values we defend and promote apply to everyone, not “just” persecuted minorities and inner city poor. The problems faced by the “less densely populated” rural areas are very REAL, and they are not just a rural problem or a Red State problem, they are a national problem. Poverty and neglect are not defined by population density, they are defined by education, jobs, a living wage, a path to a better standard of living – and hope for all of those values.

The Right will get nowhere in trying to deny rights, and the Left will get nowhere trying to pretend that the poor and uneducated who voted Republican created their own problems. The current GOP, which bears little or no resemblance to the old Big Tent party, has no solution for either inner city or rural poor other than continued expansion of a permanent underclass. We need to provide those solutions – for all.


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After ‘The Wall’

In the next Administration, we can set up grandstands on both sides of the border at a safe distance, spacing dynamite charges every 25 yards or so along the whole border. Naturally worldwide TV and cable networks will be invited too, because this won’t be “fake news.” Then, after the all-clear sirens, similar to computer controlled fireworks displays, we can detonate the charges all the way down the line to the timed beat of “Shave and a hair cut, Bay Rum.”

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C.Bear’s World – PUBLISHED!

“C.Bear’s NEW Story” appended to my book and uploaded as an Update over the weekend as promised. Readers who previously purchased our book can download the free Update via iBooks! Hey, we have our own cat now, too! – C.Bear, June 24

Alex has written a bunch of stories about us, mostly without askin’ us. After years and years on the web, they’re published on the Apple iBooks Store. He promises he will finish “C.Bear’s New Story” and upload Edition 2 as a free update to your book (epub) soon!

You can click this link to my book on Apple’s iBooks Store, where you can download a free (abridged) Sample of my book, or buy the whole thing for a whopping $1.99!

You can still find all my stories listed and linked on the web on our Writing Page sidebar. But we find they are easier to read in bed, all in one place and one book, on our tablet!

C.Bear’s World

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Earth Day

The planet doesn’t care whether we’re rich, poor, run a global conglomerate or a septic service, are conservative, liberal or other. In fact, the planet doesn’t care at all.

It’s all up to all of us. Living together is not always easy, but human life itself should be everyone’s priority.

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The Axiom of Political Promises

It is quite right to be distrustful of any politician who promises to gut programs designed to support and foster health, education and the general welfare, and it is quite unwise to trust that same politician who also promises what, on the surface, sounded like a good deal benefiting us personally.

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Capitalism (2)

Edited from my 3/2 Facebook post

I was trained in econ, finance and business, and I lean towards economic conservatism. However: if there were no government regulation, we’d have to take every burglar to court for redress, every fraudulent business, every adulterated or dangerously mislabeled meds manufacturer, every cheat, crook and swindler … the courts would be swamped, but only with claimants able to pay for the mushrooming army of litigating attorneys.

The system we have now needs reform, but it’s still cheaper, more impartially administered, and accessible. Everybody supports the government, but few can afford redress through the courts every time we’re wronged or harmed. Think about that for a while.

I don’t understand how political “conservatives” rant and rail against “repressive government over-regulation” of corporations and businesses, as if you can’t just go and dig up the Grand Canyon looking for uranium and minerals, or manufacture a drug that kills people, — yet they press for more and more regulation controlling how you and I can pray, marry, make love, read a book, go to the movies, or vote.

Meanwhile, the 1% get richer, and the rest of us get poorer. I can certainly understand why the Swedes and Norwegians love their robust, healthy, happy “socialist” economies. I can understand how they’re happy with the economic, social and standard of health and living conditions for all. We can certainly understand how barbaric early laws sanctioned between business and worker gave rise to experiments with socialism. They became popular, and we’re starting to live in those  desperate times too..

I could successfully argue that the capitalist system of economics could work better, but we don’t have that now, and really never did. The notion that you and I need to live under one enforced system of common laws proscribing violations of the rights of others, but that businesses don’t, is truly insane.

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Modern Capitalism In a Nutshell

I don’t understand all the fuss about the new President-Elect who refuses to relinquish personal control over his corporate empire. Critics call it a “conflict of interest.” This shows a basic lack of understanding of the finer points of “evolved” modern capitalism.

  • You can’t make money off of other people’s money. They have to consent to give it to you.
  • If they won’t give it to you, con them out of it.
  • If they won’t be conned, pass laws so you can legally just take it from them.

There are corporate exceptions, of course. They stand out like shining beacons on a rocky, stormy shore.

What happened?

Modern “Capitalism” scarcely resembles that “laissez-faire” Capitalism originally envisioned by Adam Smith and early followers, who saw value as the product of labor, not money and influence. They saw economic prosperity as the result of free trade within the same fabric of existing laws and courts that we live under, not as an end-run around them. Most of those pioneer economists would undoubtedly have been horrified to see what we have done in their name.

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Convincing People They Were Duped By Fake News

Me, from a Facebook thread:

I’m not sure that’s possible. Like the flat-earthers, it’s not a question of fact, but what they want to believe. Look at the science deniers. It doesn’t matter what they hell we tell them or show them. It doesn’t even matter if sea levels are rising and their homes are being destroyed by freak hurricanes, tornadoes, tidal surges and earthquakes (fracking).

Speaking for myself, I’m about done with “convincing.” The time I’ve wasted on Facebook alone has demonstrated, once again, an old adage I hated when I was a kid: “Those convinced against their will, are of the same opinion still.” We are trying to communicate with other-world beings with the best logic, facts, reason and standard English available. It is like shouting at a stone.

Sarcasm and humor seem a little more effective sometimes. The stone rolls a little way down the hill until it hits a bigger obstacle and again comes to rest, but a few loose flakes of dead weight chip off in every dangerous brush with the law of gravity.

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Prime Minister Abe at Pearl Harbor

I listened to Abe’s entire speech tonight. It was a sincere moving tribute to the men who died in the attack while defending our country, to their bravery in defending Pearl, to the families left behind, and recognition and gratitude to a country big enough and morally strong enough to help the defeated build democracies from the ashes. There was nothing hollow, insincere or contrived about it. Neither nation has ever “apologized” inasmuch as “I’m sorry” or “We messed up” is a shallow, trite slap in the face to the many millions who died so horribly in that war. I have no use for people who carp “He didn’t apologize,” obviously having neither heard nor comprehended what Abe, and then President Obama, actually said. Words are inadequate. What counts is not what we said but what we did, and Japan and America have proved exactly that.

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The Hollow Crown: Richard III

Great Performances

The Hollow Crown: Richard III #4011
Sunday, December 25, 08:30 pm on 8.1 Duration: 2:26:46

Description: Richard plots and schemes his way to the throne. His brother, the king and the young princes each present an obstacle. With Benedict Cumberbatch, Judi Dench and Phoebe Fox.[PBS]

Synopsis: Richard III is a historical play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in approximately 1592. It depicts the Machiavellian rise to power and subsequent short reign of King Richard III of England.[Wikipedia]

I caught this PBS special last night without realizing how long it was, nor how grippingly horrible the plot. I was in the game for the incomparable Judi Dench (“M” on the Bond 007 films, “Jean” on As Time Goes By) as a bitter old matriarch, and Benedict Cumberbatch (the incomparable new PBS Sherlock) as the insanely malevolent, plotting murderer King Richard III. I was not disappointed in the great acting.

We read a number of Shakespeare plays in school, though I don’t think this was one of them, and I was, at best, never a Shakespeare enthusiast. My beef with Shakespearean English is that no student alive today can give a credible recitation that sounds like what might be normally spoken English of any era. The entire PBS cast gave authenticity of dialect a light touch, preserving Shakespeare’s lines while making them sound credible to a modern listener. Cumberbatch was stunning.

As a senior adult in the TV audience, I found the script performance strangely compelling, as the moth to the flame, or as the psychiatrist hearing out a patient who is stark raving mad but who makes perfect sense if you can suspend judgment of his horridly perverted sense of morality.

And I was horrified! I can tell you that it was a riveting two and a half hour performance, and I can recommend you try to catch it if you are into history and feeling up to a test of your psychological endurance.

The laundry list of murders is absolutely appalling, including most of the members of Richard’s own family and entourage. The most despicable was his murder of his two very young nephews, Edward V aged about eight, and The Duke of York, aged about seven. He had them killed in the Tower of London with the utterance “I want the bastards dead. And I want it done right away.” Richard III had previously dispatched their father, Clarence.

The only death actually depicted in the performance is of the villainous Richard III himself, ending a short and horrible reign in a very tumultuous period of English history. I cheered!

As I said, I recommend the performance with my stated reservations. Be prepared to be horrified and mesmerized at the same time, as if staring into the cold red eyes of the striking cobra. I don’t think you will ever forget this fine performance.

I warn you, don’t watch it just before turning into bed for the night.

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Christmas Eve Sunrise with ‘Blind Joe Death’

I can stream music into my living room home entertainment system now. First thing this morning, I restarted an iTunes playlist with popular sixties tunes, and went to make the coffee.

The first songs of the morning were some old songs by John Fahey (1939-2001), an American guitarist of the period with a steel guitar technique that borrowed from bluegrass and folk. He had a distinctive and unique style that anyone who knows the genre can instantly identify. He had a serious drinking problem ending in three divorces, poverty and complications for other health problems.

He was tagged with the nickname “Blind Joe Death” by friends, perhaps because of the cryptic and gloomy themes he often explored. It took me a long time to learn and like Fahey.

When I emerged from the isolation of Army life in 1964, my youngest brother was experimenting with Acid at UC Berkeley and raving about some local musician named Fahey. I formed an instant and very distasteful opinion of this Fahey person. That state of affairs lasted over forty years, until I discovered his music a few years after his death of complications from heart surgery.

While making the coffee this morning, I sensed there was something different about the song currently playing, a somewhat joyful medley of what I had always taken to be trad folk tunes. It’d only taken me one and a half decades to catch on.

It was “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” and “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” in Fahey’s own inimitable style. It was a delightful surprise!

And a most happy holiday to you all!

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Conservatism to Totalitarianism

From Moyers: “Ultraconservative powwow –> “The leader of the Austrian far-right Freedom Party has signed what he called a cooperation agreement with Russia’s ruling party and recently met with Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the designated national security adviser to President-elect Donald J. Trump of the United States,” Alison Smale reports for The New York Times.”

Interesting how the new “conservatives” are increasingly sidling up to the totalitarian regimes, yes?

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” ~~ “Animal Farm.” George Orwell (1945)

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