Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Visiting

My boy is living down in the San Fernando Valley, working in the music biz and flying drones in his spare time. Me being such a Google-Earth birdseye-view aficionado, of course I had to look up his address and "walk" around the neighborhood, seeing just how I might go for a visit via Amtrak and Metrolink......


Chatsworth. 9-12-2008

If you 'fly' over it now you can easily see where the track has been replaced after it was torn up in the wreck.  Use the little underpass with the people standing on it as a visual reference to orient in the birds-eye view.
Coordinates 34.271090, -118.600184

 I followed this story as it happened, and have kept up with it, a strange fascination. I remember it was a warm sunny afternoon, was listening toNPR when the news came - there was some live broadcasting that I've not been able to find record of since - reporters themselves losing it on the air, horrified at the sheer carnage of a locomotive telescoping  and crushing back into a loaded passenger car after hitting a freight-train head-on.

The Metrolink engineer was texting and blew through a signal. He died. So did 24 other people. Others have been left mangled for life. 

Who is that lifeless corpse? I don't know, but it's one of the tamer visuals, from reports I have read. If you do doctorspeak, you know terms like avulsion, evisceration, hemicorporectomy, exsanguination due to traumatic bilateral amputation of both lower extremities.....


I want to visit this site. I don't know why. But I do. It's just a few train stops from Z's house on the Chatsworth line.

I guess i believe that monuments to human stupidity and suffering are just as important to contemplate as museums and concert halls.





Saturday, March 19, 2016

Eugenics and crime - an enduring and controversial question.

Looking at the Lane County Mugshots page for the last week i notice something very weird - - - pretty much all the folks on there are actually very unattractive in the classic sense - unsymmetrical, badly proportioned faces, uneven ears that stick out, malformed jaws, eyes pointing different directions. I know, these are mugshots, not boudoir photos, but the fundamental architecture of these faces is often very awry, beyond the picked skin, missing teeth, facial tattoos, unkempt hair and occasionally, cuts and black eyes from resisting arrest. Now, I don't expect more than 2% of the population to look like models ( that's supposedly the official number that do), but these people are BAD looking.
Makes a guy wonder, right?
By the 1910's, the eugenics movement was really a popular thing in the USA, and all sorts of theories about what made people criminal or "feeble-minded". A group of "scientists"  did all sorts of studies and tried to make correlations based on race, ethnicity, appearance, habits; would these predict crime, vagrancy and general anti-social tendencies?
 On my great-uncle's intake form for the Iowa State Hospital at Clarinda (nuthouse) there are all sorts of really weird questions (in beautiful 1921 fonts) about the family as well as the inmate/patient, probing for the roots of his illness in the very "germ plasm" of the family. Uncle Freeman's official death certificate read "exhaustion from manic-depressive psychosis". The intake forms recorded the official's opinions that the family were "vicious",  "uncooperative"  only concerned with hunting and card-playing. They dwelt on brown hair and muddy-colored eyes. They noted that no one in the family had skilled labor and that there was "indigency".
I get very angry reading those old papers. I see the times. I also see my own judgments of the mugshot people. Ugly, worthless, a drain on society. I get angry at them. I get angry at me. I see some truth in what's being said in all of it. I feel ashamed. I too sometimes wish all the stupid, violent leeches would just be sterilized, stop breeding more troubles. Isn't a farmer a good steward  when he culls the herd of the weak and unfit, only allowing the calm, productive and beautiful to breed? Why shouldn't the thieving meth-addicts be sterilized? Their kids are nothing but more trouble on the way up..... right?

People were forcibly sterilized by the US government in the 1920s and beyond. The educated, the wealthy, the concerned, the community-minded all joined to clean up the gene pool. The birth-control movement sprang out of this effort, which was certainly a good thing. Women's right to plan their reproduction is a HUGE step in the right direction of reducing poverty and ill-health in the population. But they went too far. They sterilized people on reservations, in hospitals, in jails, they took people from mountain communities and sterilized them without telling what was being  done. They threatened families with prison and removel of existing children if they did not comply. Non-whites and poor whites, the disabled, the unemployed, the illiterate..... anyone who did not "measure up" to standards that had been developed. Anyone seen as a "burden" was sterilized.
 Many people already know that Hitler's racial policies owe a lot to the good doctors and scientists of the USA.  He took their ideas and developed them into something far......larger.  Just being the wrong color, culture or religion was enough to be "unfit".  He went beyond sterilization to organized murder, and he got a whole nation to go along with him, because at first, they saw the wisdom of a cleaner gene pool..... But Hitler himself was genetically unfit. And he knew it

Killing went too far. Taking people's property and jobs went too far. The net was too wide, the politics too deep, the motivation too murky.
But i still think habitual criminals and meth addicts ought to be sterilized. Ticks must be picked off the dog or the whole dog suffers.  Bad brains run in families like big noses. To deny that is to deny science.  It's pretty obvious who the criminals are, in and out of jail over and over, stealing, wrecking, destroying. Why let them keep breeding?
Right?
Wrong?
You're conflicted too?
This is a hard subject that I think about a lot.
To read more about American eugenics - i highly recommend Edwin Black's incendiary expose - "The War Against the Weak"
http://www.waragainsttheweak.com/

Thursday, February 18, 2016

MORE MORE MORE

Irritated, overwhelmed - again. TOO MUCH STUFF.
Standing knee-deep in clothes, shoes, hats, doo-dads in my Airstream. Time to purge again.
 Dear friends and family. I am a devotee of minimalism. It is a long path from my previous place as a "packrat" and hoarder of useful things and pretty textiles. Minimalism is the antitheses of the usual American pursuit of MORE and DIFFERENT.
Minimalism. That means i do not want or need any more "stuff", unless it's consumable; food, drink, smoke, soap, stationery, stamps, candles, etc.....
Every trinket, cute thing, pretty shirt that comes into my life has to find a place to be. The personal spaces available for my stuff are; 176 sq ft in the Airstream, 96 sq ft in the Train Room, 60 sq ft in the chicken coop. Warby's trunk is not being counted. Total; 330+ square feet, the size of an average American dining room.
My life fits me just as it is. I seek balance.
I don't need or want anything else.
Please stop giving me things.
Yes, it's cute. Show me a picture.
Yes it's pretty. Show me a picture.
Yes, the cat needs a home. Not mine.
Yes, it's useful, but i don't need it.
I feel bad when i come across a gift or some kindly bequeathed item that i haven't used and don't need. Someone put time and thought into that, but i simply don't have the brainpower or physical space to deal with it. Everytime someone gives me a me a bag of clothes, a coffee table, a lamp - "i thought you could use these". No, i can't. And now i have to find a dry place to put it until i can go to St.Vinnie's and drop it off, which is what i have to do to maintain any space for living.
Please take your nice unwanted stuff to the thrift store yourself.
I'm trying to do other stuff like record, write and think. And if there are bags of stuff waiting to go to Goodwill in my way, it's another drain on my brain and pile to trip over.
Please people - i love you, i know you mean well, and country places with so much land and so many people could always use another broken lawnmower than only needs a spark plug.....or something......

Monday, February 15, 2016

Welfare check.


I receive a government grant in the amount of $1056 per month.  It breaks down as $733 cash, a $73 food card and state-paid health insurance valued at $250. Government grants like these come from taxes paid by working American people and honest businesses.

As a grateful recipient of this award, I believe the American people should get a contribution of energy that I can give back as a return on this investment.

The US Government has developed and funded programs for people like me to insure a basic American subsistence income. Unfortunately these programs are too often inaccessible to the very people who need them, because of some combination of documents/ paperwork/organization/social interaction.
By age 40, I had not yet found a way to participate in the market economy consistently enough (if at all) to support myself, even at a very simple level.

Understanding of neuro-biology has taken great leaps forward in my lifetime, In 2003 we first encountered the words "Asperger's autism" and found a name for my kind of queer.  My retired (US Gov't NPS) mother patiently researched my case and navigated the Social Security and legal mazes on my behalf for EIGHT YEARS to get that formal diagnosis of what made me ....  like that.

No parent wants to leave their weird kid hanging after their gone. My heritage is not of the "investment class". Dad left a long time ago, twice: Once when he left, and again when he died. I did get some tools from his estate.
At age 50, thanks to Mom's persistence, the Government granted me Social Security Disability. I understand this to be a type of funding that pays for work that can't afford to be done.  It's a responsibility I accept.

So I work.

I work where I work best; at home on a computer, on stage behind a bass guitar, and on the streets of other planets, with folks like me.  I report bird movements, rainfall, evapotranspiration and other weather observations to scientific organizations that use this data to model forecasts and climate change.

 I read. I write. I listen. I comment constructively. I hit PLAY and RECORD. I roll tape.  I move information from here to there - information that opens minds and creates bridges. Information that leads to understanding. I am a nexus, a content generator, a networker. I move ideas, I move emotions. I give weird kids a role model. I talk to parents and grandparents online and sometimes in person (at Kindtree autism camp every summer)  about what it was like to be a queer autistic kid, because it gives non-clinical human insight and a time-frame to their understanding of what could be next on this road less-travelled.

Sometimes I pick up trash.

I work a 30-hour week.

Thirty hours of workable focus, give or take depending on the weather, is all my autistic neural net can do before it flutters off like a flock of soft, cooing pigeons - needing space and time to run the TWITCH-REWIND and REGEN-AWAKE and REPAIR-ASLEEP programs. I need a lot of time alone, like a fish needs water. Non-negotiable.

I was curious, so I added and multiplied and divided ( I do OK at 5th grade-level math) and it comes out that my pay rate is $8.80 an hour.

So in closing, I'd like to thank my fellow Americans for this opportunity to participate in meaningful work.

Sincerely,
TR Kelley.