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Toronto: A Big East Coast City, But Clean

 

Toronto is gorgeous.  (Wi-fi, however, is awful.  My picture of the city refused to upload.) I am fundamentally a city boy, far more comfortable in the looming crowds than the blank emptiness of small towns. We only spent a day here and I said to my wife even before we got to where we were staying, “Hey! Let’s move here!

The city is immaculate. There is almost no trash blowing around the streets (and that only the result of missing the trash can–which also, the trash cans, are free of caked on filth and grime.) Cars stop for pedestrians with a friendly wave. The pople mostly smile at you too (although fellow Americans remain pushy, and the numerous visitors from throughout Asia come across so touristy that they lose awareness of anything outside the shimmer of their cameras).My son and I took in a Blue Jays game at the beautiful Rogers Field:

Our seats were tremendous:
Even the public restrooms were clean.  In a stadium.  With 25,000 people present.  We were rooting for the Jays, who would up being 2-hit by a Mariners pitcher I have never heard of, losing 7-0. And yet it was a worthwhile experience. My son claims that he wants to eventually visit every home stadium of every team in major league baseball. Presently we are at merely six, all east coast save last year in Seattle.Food was good in Toronto, although our single day limited exploration. Now, presently, we are en route to Montreal, still about 4 hours away.

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Niagara Falls (a travel promotion?)

I took lots of pictures around this scene, most of them saturated. We took the Hornblower trip towards the numerous falls and were drenched. It was awesome; this was perhaps my favorite vision of nature in my lifetime.

Niagara, Ontario, Canada itself is more like a New Jersey boardwalk town (only clean): ice cream, game rooms, casinos and haunted houses and wax museums and all other other over-priced bullshit that tourists like my family and myself gobble up in gift shops. But I urge you–please please please!–if you have the opportunity, please check out Niagara Falls. Just the vision itself makes it wholly worthwhile.

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Our Struggle on Vacation

 

Hello.  I have been mostly absent for the past two weeks or so, outside of an angry rant on guns or some bitter screed about how stupid I think people are.  I have been wallowing in a negative zone for this stretch of time mostly because I fucked up my left foot, but also from the considerations of family and household repair.  Our children spent the first four weeks of summer away at sleepaway camp, freeing my wife and I to lounge around, spend some time together, have a few outings, and sleep, while paying some people to completely redesign one of our bathrooms.  Of course once the children returned, chaos erupted.  They are both well into their obnoxious years: selfish, lazy teenagers demanding something new every second of every day, having no understanding of reality or financial considerations, and arguing about literally everything.  “Take the trash out, please,” turns into something so outrageous that you begin to understand why the mild parental beatings of the past may have some merit.  And while this has never been me, that anger the grows and grows sometimes explodes into my own irrationality, causes me to realize that, after all, they are still only children.

 

Parenting is exhausting and anger never works.  It only teaches them to be angry people themselves.  I have learned to keep my mouth shut after giving instruction and simply take away things that they want, reduce their freedom, add onto the chores, or force them to perform tasks they truly cannot stand.  It is a far more subtle torture, and far more effective, I have found, than shouting and outrage.

 

Anyway, the children have distracted me from my professional responsibilities (and I am not talking about this, but the work-for-payment projects that allow me to make a living).  They yammer away, no matter how many times I take them out to swim, or on hikes, and whatever other activities they eventually earn, and I am constantly interrupted and cannot think clearly, the rhythm broken, the words gone stagnant, the point lost, the purpose finally meaningless.  I have numerous abandoned pieces on here that will likely be recalled next year when I do my second “blooper reel” (check out the first one if you have time.)  I am exhausted.  I need a vacation . . .

 

Tomorrow our family is going out of town for a week, a tour of eastern Canada, from Niagara Falls, through Toronto and Quebec and Montreal.  We are all very excited.  Last year we went to Alaska and it seems to now be our family tradition to take a trip before the next school year begins.  As a result of this, of course, I will be further incommunicado on this site.  I do not like the pieces I have written on my phone, the jagged language and typos displaying both my stubby fingers and tremendous lack of patience.  They all seem very irritable and sloppy to me in hindsight.  Perhaps there will come a brief update on the trip, or a comment about something specific, but other than that I will melt into the family that seems to have otherwise been annoying me since I have been injured (walking is going to be a problem for long periods of time on vacation, but that will be dealt with as it comes.)

 

Anyway, my audience here (and on the other handful of platforms: Medium, Pinterest, LinkedIn) continues to grow, recently rather significantly, and for this I thank you.  It makes one feel pretty good to know that there is a limited interest in a few of the things I have to say (whether pro or con is meaningless, because negative reviews are every bit as important as positive, allowing me to believe that my words have some sort of impact.  People who think what you are saying is shit, backed up by an emotional attack, tend to be your most regular readers.)

 

This will be the 328th piece I have published here on Recording Editorial History, and I have been very encouraged lately by the many of you who have decided to backtrack and read some of the older essays.  Several of of them that I believe to be worthwhile have yet to be revisited and a number that are frankly crap have had a number of recent peeks.  But, if nothing else, I hope that this site as a whole provides you with a bit of a wavering picture of the current trends in belief systems raging throughout the world, with some historical precedence offering partial explanations, and with a point-counterpoint opening to discussions that all of us really need to have, forgetting about the petty frustration and anger that people such as myself sometimes foolishly vent upon one another, and trying to understand, simply, a different point of view–not accepting it, not even reconciling it with your own staunch moral code(s), but learning to accept one another regardless of how stupid and worthless we ultimately deem one another to be.

 

Please check out the “Elsewhere” series, the “Excuses” series, several of the commentaries on the current crop of Democratic Presidential candidates, a number of the pieces of satirical nastiness on Donald Trump, and the very serious discussions I try to have on both animal cruelty and climate change, scattered throughout from nearly the very beginning in June of 2018.  Thanks again, and until next weekend–

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Something a Little More Pleasant

 

 

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I have been challenged to write about something less dire and depressing than my usual fare.  I understand the request from a mostly loyal reader.  My focus is terribly bleak and my outlook even worse.  My quest seems to be to dig deeper and deeper into the mire of hatred and human failure and expose the secrets we invent to justify the misery we blame on everyone other than ourselves.  Yeah, regular readers have heard this all before in one way or another, covering just about every subject both past and present, as well has my vague prophecies for a future that might literally not exist.  Yes, I want to write about something more hopeful, about certain aspects of beauty that can often overwhelm us and put our dark thoughts into a brighter place (the lovely photo of the field of poppies above is meant as a joke for the one person who made the request,and it is very specific to our dialogue.  I hope tomorrow to give you a rather dense history of the use of the poppy throughout time, superficially expressing hope before sinking into the horror of drug cartels).  But I can’t quite muster it, at least not today.  No, one of my primary subjects has drastically arisen again and I feel the need to comment.

 

I have been a collector of conspiracy theories since I was in high school, more than thirty years ago.  These alternative stories on “the way things actually are,” provide an interesting backdrop to the so-called “official versions” that drone through textbooks and the meekest sort of fact collection history.  Of course most conspiracy theories are silly, the deranged ranting of someone both so angry and so out-of-touch with reality that they can only find comfort in the supernatural, or in visions of totalitarian evil so well organized and intense (often since the dawn of time) that it is a wonder that this brave individual has managed to peek into the veil clouding our assumptions.  Or . . . or are they merely just another agent, spreading misinformation in order to throw the rest of us off the trail of the truth?

 

There are, inevitably, some real conspiracies, some hazed in the darkest shadows of nightmare, the questions unanswerable and an industry of possibilities sprouting up around such never-ending mysteries.  The JFK assassination comes to mind, certainly a sketchy event with an improbable solution offered, something either being covered-up or simply lost in the panicked confusion over the death of a controversial President.  Certainly there were people pleased with this murder, and of course there are those who responded with increasingly exaggerated assertions about their political opposites, pointing fingers and blaming without anything beyond questions to back up their beliefs.

 

And yet the JFK assassination is no longer a historical constant (like 9/11 to our subsequent generation, although that is a story I do not wish to get into today, with other priorities on the narrative.  To say nothing else I only wish to ask a question: for those “Truthers,” people who consider George W. Bush to be among the most profoundly stupid and incompetent leaders in United States history, how did he mastermind this attack if he couldn’t even understand the working natures of those who supposedly benefitted?).  The JFK assassination has grown into a massive cottage industry, theories proliferating from every side of the spectrum.  It has generally been accepted today that more than just Lee Harvey Oswald was responsible for the crime (and to those who claim Oswald was not involved at all–come on!  Of course he was one of the shooters!  There are few people in recent US history with a more questionable background than this low-level conspirator).  And yet should you trove a section on theories of who is responsible you will find a collection that crawl across the political spectrum and beyond.  Here are just a handful of examples (and by handful I minor a very tiny selection):

Plausible Denial: Was the CIA Involved in the Assassination of JFK?: Lane, Mark

Appointment in Dallas: The Final Solution to the Assassination of JFK: Hugh C. McDonald

Who Really Killed Kennedy?: 50 Years Later: Stunning New Revelations About the JFK Assassination

Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination: Waldron, Lamar; Hartmann, Thom

Triangle of Death : The Shocking Truth about the Role of South Vietnam and the French Mafia in the ...

Deadly Secrets : The CIA-Mafia War Against Castro and the Assassination of JFK: Warren Hinckle; ...

The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ (Paperback): Roger Stone

You might recognize a few names of the authors–notably Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone, who have roles in the Russia/Trump conspiracy.  More on this later, not so much on the Russia thing, but on the fact that serious conspiracy theorists revolve around the President of the United States in the present tense.

 

There are compendiums offering a variety of theories collected, confusing the matter further.  These books are more “popular history” tomes of their specific genre:

Crossfire: Jim Marrs

Not In Your Lifetime: The Assassination of JFK (Paperback): Anthony Summers

JFK Assassination : The Facts and the Theories: Carl Oglesby

Each of these has a different conclusion.

 

Other theories focus on single individuals and how their stories expose the hidden truth:

ON THE TRAIL OF THE ASSASSINS: GARRISON, JIM

The Man Who Knew Too Much : Richard Case Nagell and the Assassination of JFK: Dick Russell

And of course there are the conspiracy debunkers, those who themselves become a part of the plot, presumed “disinformation agents” who promote a lie to deceive the public.  These range from suddenly questionable government officials to partisan hacks pompously trying to clear up the mystery.  Sometimes they even refuse to doubt the government, no matter how questionable the assertions:

The Warren Report: The Official Report on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: The ...

Conspiracy of One: The Definitive Book on the Kennedy Assassination: Moore, Jim

Case Closed : Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK: Gerald Posner

Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy: Bugliosi, Vincent

Some attempt to strip the culture of the mythic element and try to prove or disprove reality with a handful of numb debates:

The JFK Assassination Debates : Lone Gunman Versus Conspiracy: Michael L. Kurtz

or scientific evidence:

Assassination Science : Experts Speak Out on the Death of JFK: Fetzer, James H.

Reclaiming Science: The JFK Conspiracy: A Mathematical Analysis of Unnatural Deaths, Witness ...

And, of course, there are the raving lunatics attempting to tie everything bad that has ever happened together into one grand conspiracy:

The Reality of the Illusion of Reality (Paperback): Bret Burquest

For Nobody's Eyes Only: Missing Government Files and Hidden Archives That Document the Truth ...

Jfk & Ufo: Military-Industrial Conspiracy and Cover-Up from Maury Island to Dallas (Paperback):...

The Obexlanders: And the Assassination of JFK (Paperback): TES

Kennedy's Last Stand: Eisenhower, Ufos, Mj-12 & Jfk's Assassination (Paperback): ...

And so the purported “truth” of conspiratorial thinking ultimately complicates the matter, creating even more division in the culture as the very essence of reality gets subsumed under cynicism, paranoid rants and a complete lack of trust in what appears before our eyes.  In fact, should the “actual truth” ever be exposed, with all the ideas that have overwhelmed the discussion, it would be written off as “just another theory.”

 

Which brings me to Jeffrey Epstein.  A pedophile, a hideous scumbag whose wealth enabled him to get to know a great many powerful people, his suicide in a prison cell after the final capture for his crimes has exploded into a spiraling mythology that, on the most part, makes no sense at all.  Sure, there are suggestions and considerations about what may have happened simply on the basis of who the man knew: the current President, a former President, multi-millionaires and billionaires of industry and international prominence.  The fact that Epstein was involved in such horrible things of course manages to rub off all over his associates, on the most part unfairly.

 

Do I think that a sleazebag like Bill Clinton was fucking thirteen year olds in Epstein’s home?  No.  Do I believe he screwed some of-age prostitutes there?  Possibly.  Donald Trump?  Not a pedophile.  Certainly a whoremonger.  Were either of these two powerful men aware of Epstein’s proclivities?  That is a question that should perhaps be explored, but it seems pretty doubtful.  For all of the wicked and vindictive cruelty of both men, I do not believe that either Clinton or Trump would tolerate child rape.

 

And yet the conspiracy theories abound.  Clinton, you know, say several of his froth-mouthed opponents, had Vince Foster (another suicide) murdered to cover up some crime, and some claim that Hillary Clinton was running a sex-trafficking factory out of a pizza joint in New York City.  And while the second theory is absurd, one side’s paranoid hatred of the Clinton’s give rise to these ideas, plus the fact that we happen to have a history, we humans everywhere in the world, of watching our leaders murder inconvenient people.

 

Which brings us once again to Jeffrey Epstein.  Some think Clinton must have done it, tying it into other conspiracies and deeper ideas, falling into a concentric abyss with no bottom.  They even understand the reasons (and have no sympathy for Epstein whatsoever), about what sort of dirt this monster might have to say (whether truthfully or not has never been relevant).  Donald Trump, one of the most prominent conspiracy theorists in the history of the world, is ravenously promoting this theory–the Clintons–what did they know?  What did Epstein know about them?  I have the Justice Department at my beck and call.  I am President.  I can tell them what to turn up and what to fabricate.  This is what conspiracy theorists do, you see.  When reality does not fit their perspective, they invent what they believe to be true and pile on until their version of reality gathers a following.

 

As for Trump’s involvement,

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it seems unlikely that the man would even waste his time murdering Epstein; not because there is nothing incriminating, but simply because he has evolved into such an expert at draining the truth of all substance that he has no reason to bother.  Of course, one of the chief attributes of a conspiracy theorist is their ability to “get them before they get you” if they actually have the influence to pull this off.  Something mysterious becomes very easy to blame on somebody else, further dividing the people.

 

If we really want to consider the death of Jeffrey Epstein I ask you to take a deep breath for a moment and try to put yourself in the man’s head.  This is something a character sketch writer such as me tries very hard to do, even if the mind is as poisoned as creature like this.  Okay: you are unbelievably wealthy and have lived a perverted life as you pleased.  You could get away with anything.  You even went to prison before, although spent a single day a week there, the other six in your magisterial spread in New York, claiming to still be working at your amazingly profitable industry, for some reason not even cut off from the greedy motherfuckers still willing to work with you.  You have it made.  You finish your time in jail and go right back to it, running underage prostitutes, fucking them as you please, finding other pedophiles, part of the NAMBLA cult, and profiting off of this too.  Rich people with children as sex objects no doubt are willing to pay a lot.

 

Anyway, suddenly your charmed life is over.  You know it too.  You will never have what you used to love.  All of your toys, every fantasy you tried to fulfill . . . gone.  You have no future outside of prison.  The hatred the whole world now directs towards you–especially in prison, the guards indifferent to your first suicide attempt, the taunts and the fear imposed causing you, ultimately a weakling whose wealthy arrogance sustained you prior to the fall, now overwhelming you.  You look at the corners of your cell.  You understand that you may never see daylight again.  Certainly, since the DA has no sympathy and cannot be bribed this time, you are going to be trapped in a terrible, terrible place, filled with murderers and rapists and drug kingpins and Nazis and every single one of them might one day rape you.  You know that someone will rape you and this has never been one of your fantasies.

 

What would you do?  Perhaps not kill yourself, sure.  But I understand it.  You do too.  Quit politicizing everything.  Jeffrey Epstein killed himself and the only reason he succeeded is because no one there to keep an eye on him cared whether he lived or died.  Do any of you?

 

 

 

 

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So Many Disasters to Choose From

 

There are a lot of things that should scare us:

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Of course there are plenty more valid things to add to such a list, but many people are far too distracted, mythologized, and prefer to see the world as something more fanciful than it actually is:

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There are tragedies every day of varying degrees, ranging from individual

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to global

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and yet people seem to react similarly.  Or, otherwise, they ignore the truth until it comes home to bite them, personally.

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we say–and so many people truly believe it!

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Here’s a hard truth, stated in several different ways:

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It would be easy to claim that all of us are selfish and that we are the cause of the rise in misery, in murder, in chaos and disease, but if we were to actually study human history we would see that this is merely a constant.  People have always been consumed by fear and hatred.  We have always resented one another and violently reacted when someone states something we do not believe.  All religions have persecuted other believers.  All political ideologies have oppressed their rivals.  Wars come not just out of a quest for land and wealth, but from a profound and insane desire–a need to control the idea of an uncertain future.  Arrest those unlike you, paint them as monsters, impose fear as the law of the land.  Identify the enemy, no matter who or what it is–

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There are endless examples of such petty hatred, such a childish blame game to evade responsibility for our own impact on the larger world.  Some people honestly believe that “my voice doesn’t matter.”  That is only true if you believe it.  It is only true that the enemies are Jews or Muslims or Blacks or Whites or Catholics or Atheists or Gun-tottin’ Rednecks or Gender-denying Liberals or any of the other labels we like to plaster upon one another if you believe it to be true.  To paint an entire group as some sinister cabal, all aligned with one another in order to specifically undermine the one thing most important to you is insanity.  It’s crazy.  It is fundamentally absurd.  And yet we have coddled ourselves into such a paranoid stupor, no longer truly experiencing the world, and merely listening to the angry blather of other people who profit from their cowardly rage.  And we see these images above.  They cloud through the mists of our deeply suppressed prejudices and plant a new seed, blossoming into a bold tree, reliving the horrors of the past again and again and again.  We never learn.  They say that “those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.”  This statement in itself is an example of history.  All this rampaging anger and fear and distress is nothing new.  I wonder if this is just who we are, the defining characteristics of humanity: uncertainty, doubt, dread, fear.

 

There are so many things for us to be afraid of.  Know what the first one on anyone’s list should be?  Yourself.