Things Americans Believe

Things Americans Believe

by Minna vander Pfaltz

TopTenz:- Mr. White must be believed because he speaks at 200 wpm or he won’t be able to get all the information in. There are too many “specialists” on the Internet who offer up their opinion in the name of knowledge.

America and Americans are better than anyone else on the face of the planet. The Brits once believed this. “Britain first” didn’t exactly get them any friends, either.

Guns. Real guns. Big guns. Bang bang rat-a-tat-tat guns. The solution to every problem–not only at home but internationally.

Americans do not believe in the Second Amendment because they’ve never read it.

America’s problems are all due to mental illness, a belief that smacks of mental illness itself.

Curling is a game.

Pop culture does not influence society.

Bigger is better–including that something is too big to fail. All of the giants died out.

Reality TV is real.

Rap is music.

Aliens will visit here first. . .and then destroy the rest of the world. Notice: this belief implies the US is the most deserving of first destruction; that is, the most dangerous place.

Kansas is flat. This is true if you discount the eastern half of the state where there are hills and valleys and marshland and some trees that have miraculously survived the rampant real estate boom. And second. . .that you discount the land rising steadily from about mid-state from a few hundred feet above sea level to about 4,000 feet above sea level at the Colorado border.

The Quakers were ever tea totalers. I guess this is why there’s an alcoholic drink known as the Dead Quaker. 18th century. Out in the woods. A follower of The Penn walked into the tavern and made a bet. He won. He stood up to receive his prize. He died. No. He was not the one who turned ’em.

Columbus discovered America.

The flat Earth theory.

We liberated Texas from the Mexicans.


There’s a dark side to the Moon.

Freedom of religion means I get to impose my religion on you, God damn it. Actually, the document reads, in paraphrase, “the freedom to worship” the religion of your choice. Of course, there has been down through history religious worship that imposed itself on others that included sacrifice, usually of slaves or captured others. And practiced exclusionary behavior. . .like witch hunting. Who is it will gainsay history, God damn it?

A foetus smaller than the very point of an extremely sharp pencil is a viable human. What, in fact, is life?

Americans believe the world, especially diseases, accidents and air, is against them. Sometimes those enemy aliens are so small you can’t see them. That is to say, America is paranoid. . .you might say too careful.

Teaching STEM is the answer to all of America’s needs. And the humanities?

There’s something inherently wrong with the poor. They are a drag on society. But it is the über-rich, the people who hide their money elsewhere or become involved in external money making who are a drain on the economy because they are putting nothing back into the country’s economy that allowed them to get so rich. They are using resources that others are paying for.

Economics and economic efficiency are The Way, the answer for making everything work better. But, in fact, economics is like casino gambling. Remember Hurricane Sandy that flooded NYC? And Wall Street did not function at all for two weeks? Guess what happened to the US and the World economy during that time? Answer: nothing. Nothing at all. A bunch of slavering greedy company proxies gambling. Economics cuts the human right out of the equation.


The Dive Into Tyranny

The Dive into Tyranny

by James L. Secor &

Minna vander Pfaltz with

柳不是 (Liu Bushi)

While everybody, especially the newscasters, are busy fact checking Trump and going on about his language, his verbiage and his mental faculties, no one is bothering to look at just what is happening to the US. All are to blame for what’s coming, for they did not hinder the inevitable–because even with Trump gone, his replacement is of the same mind. No. It will not be Pence; he’s far too involved, if only because of his lying. Better that he be a ventriloquist’s dummy, for then the lies would be someone else’s. But they are his and he’s raising money for his legal defense.

So. . .who’s next in line? Seriously, folks? You don’t know?

Well. . .it’s Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, an ideologue who sees no responsibility for his actions other than the money he begets on his handlers, the already-rich and über-saving. What is over-saving? This is superfluous wealth belonging to the permanently idle that sits still and produces nothing at all. “The owners of superfluous capital. . .want profits without fulfilling some real social function. . . .” (Hannah Arendt, On The Origins of Totalitarianism, p. 150; also p. 149, for more discussion–the entire chapter, though, is about imperialism, which is applicable to the present situation as much as it was 2-300 years ago: money making money overseas.) Arendt considers these people menaces to society. Why? They take their money and send it overseas thus denying their own country the benefits of their wealth. In today’s world, they take their money and put it in off-shore tax havens and then spend it elsewhere: money making money and nothing else for nobody but “me.” At the same time, they use the country’s resources and don’t pay for them. The general run of the people and especially the middle class pay their way. With fewer and fewer jobs and less and less taxable income, there is nothing else to happen but collapse, destruction. Ergo, the superfluous money holders, the über-savings people, are menaces.

Falling in line with this ultimate destruction is the tunnel-visioned ideologue Paul Ryan who is no better than Mao who, despite his rhetoric, was government for government’s sake. Everyone works for the government–everyone has to work for the government. AKA slavery. Mao’s idealism killed about 45 million people to begin with (another 30 million or so later on). He destroyed his country. For present-day America, that would be around 7.5% of the population. Children are not excluded in the death toll. He will begin this march to despair later this year by slicing and dicing Medicare (want to bet he’s not going to want to support his parents and grandparents?) and Medicaid (he has a Malthusian belief that the bodies of the poor pave the way to success for the upper crust) and Social Security.

Obama made it possible for Social Security to be hacked at. Oh, no, no! Not such a good man! When you people whined about the mandated 14% FICA tax that fed Social Security and kept it in its own bag, if you will, he cut your payment by 2%. Y’all cheered. Ya-aaay? But. . .the 14% is mandated. That means the government has to make up the 2% you didn’t pay and that money is a government expenditure and that puts part of Social Security in the budget and, therefore, it can be manipulated, snip-snip, to help balance the horror the Republicans passed under the rubric of “tax cut.”

Tell me, were you looking forward to retirement? Don’t. And don’t gamble with the market, as Wall Street wants you to. Wall Street and “financial services” benefit from your gambling your savings, your Social Security, away. Las Vegas ain’t got nothin’ on the Wall Street fixers!

Y’all are responsible, whining aside. Y’all are responsible because you didn’t bother to pay attention to your government, your life, your well-being and just let some elected officials do. . .whatever. That is, fuck you for their benefit.

Surely you understand simple math: put less in, get less back.

Wasn’t it some time in the 1960s that high school social studies became passé? Of course, any such course was taught by uninterested, uninteresting teachers so you got 50 minutes of boredom and, in some cases, incorrect information. (Jimsecor didn’t take such a course but his social activism and disability work carried him over; Minna has dual citizenship and was in Holland during high school; Bushi is Chinese–she it was who saw the incorrect information, e.g. all good and all change comes from the government, which she says is Communist doctrine.)

Communist doctrine? Here in the US? Look. . .the Republicans call “their” America–they say this is “your” America–Red State America. The only other Red States in the world are the USSR/Russia and China. (There are other Communist countries but only these two call themselves Red State.) Uncanny, no? But there’s more!

When it comes to Paul Ryan, it is known that in 2012 when he was involved in aiding Republicans in winning elections in Florida, he became involved with the early Russian invasion. It is an open question as to whether he is the mole, the insider feeding information on our electoral system to the Russians, for it is impossible that they could have such an intimate and nuanced understanding by remaining on the outside. That is to say, is Paul Ryan the engineer? Here is where you can wonder about Trump’s intellectual abilities: he has no idea he’s being played.

Once the population is won over or subjugated, the people are of little interest to the government. Which raises a question Marx was never able to answer. He didn’t have the highest regard for people but people had to rule the land. How do you get better people than people? (Cf. Norman Geras, Marx and Human Nature.)

But the world, the country Ryan and Trump are trying to establish, is of a different sort. It is a dictatorship, perhaps a tyranny. It is the end product of Marx’s utopia. To get there, as H.G. Wells and George Orwell wrote, it doesn’t matter what is said. It’s not important that it’s not the truth. What’s important is that it’s out there in public and people are paying attention to it. What’s important is that no one is countering his verbiage, his lies and truth-bending because they are too involved in proving him wrong and making fun of him. People are too invested with proving him demented–and Wolf, a sleazy slimy man if ever there were one, only muddies the water with gamey rumor mongering that not even Hedda Hopper would engage in, in order to deflect the public and the media from the issue itself.

Trump’s mind is unimportant. It’s what he’s doing when he says what he says, often enough doing without any relation to what he says. He lets his minions, his lesser helpers, the people we already hate, do things. They take responsibility, not him, and then he fires them if their actions don’t turn out right. Damn incompetent people!

While the news reporters and the pundits and political historians cash in on just how many Secretarial posts are not filled, no one at all is looking at what this means. If there is no appointee, then Trump is the decider. He is the boss. He is, in effect, the dictator. Who’s to stand in his way? That’s right. Trump owns the running–or not–of the country. No Justice Department? No problem. Trump makes the law whatever he wants it to be.

Trump keeps firing people who get in his way. He replaces them with ass lickers. . .if he replaces them. In either case, he owns the country. Nobody can stand up to him, especially with the media telling him what to do; e.g., if he wants to fire Mueller, says the news media, he must get rid of Rod Rosenstein because Rod Rosenstein is Mueller’s boss. Guess what? Next thing you know, Rod Rosenstein is under pressure.

Obstruction of justice? Yes, you bet. How many more times can he engage in obstruction? Will it out? Nah. Like Lady Macbeth’s bloody hands, it’s a permanent spreading stain. The House of Representatives is ideologically Republican, come hell or high water. Any call for Impeachment goes before the House of Representatives. What are the chances, eh?

These secret phone calls to Putin. . .are they instructions to Trump? How long do you think Trump will last when he comes out on top of the same heap God gave Job? For Putin, Trump is an incompetent, a fall guy. Will Putin come here? Not a chance in hell. He doesn’t need to. His agents know better than to fuck up. Cold as it is in Siberia, it’s colder still in the grave.

But we’ll be living in a dictatorship nonetheless, Trump or not. And we are responsible, for we saw it happening, beginning with massive round-ups before even ICE became involved. We saw it with the new racism (victimization–you have to have someone to play scapegoat). We saw this in the violence and brutality of policing protests. We saw this in the caging of the First Amendment. We saw this with the targeted assassination program put into law by Obama, including of US citizens (none in the US yet); and allowing the CIA to spy on its citizens in violation of its mandate, again given us by Obama.

The many non-Trumpians who are leaving office are only hastening the process as, being gone, they cannot stand in the way of Trump’s destruction of the country. Every little bump in the Trumpian road is a success. But these deserters are more interested in themselves than the country, as Karl Jaspers noted in his The Question of German Guilt. He includes himself and all others who ran for their lives as guilty. Not everyone can be a hero, it is true, but even fewer reach the status of martyr, as did Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Fewer still are any people who have a belief they’d be willing to stand up for. For Christians, it’s God’s will for whatever the hell happens. For Muslims, Allah be praised. For Jews, I told you the world was a shit place. For Buddhists, it’s your karma (read “your fault”). Actually, it’s just not paying attention. It’s not reading and knowing your history. It’s not acting. It’s delegating your responsibility to narcissists. But we should be able to trust these people; we’re paying them increasingly exorbitant salaries, yeah? Machiavelli, the ultimate cynical, practical politician, would say “should” has no place in the discussion.

So, what are we going to do about it? Might I suggest Chalmers Johnson’s Revolution and the Social System (first edition) followed by action?

In the meantime, Minna has a second home, she’ll probably go there for awhile; Jimsecor is over 70, he’ll probably go elsewhere to finish out his days; Liu Bushi is in a bind, being an immigrant and not wanting to return to Xi’s China. She has, though, pushed for all of us going to some isolated island to live and die in peace. We, none of us, are heroes.

But, then, with all the recent volcanic activity and Yellowstone’s blowing steam when it oughtn’t maybe there will be a major world catastrophe that will change the course of history. Nah! Can’t count on that.

Limited Mentality

Limited Mentality by Minna vander Pfaltz

Minna vander Pfaltz again. Jimsecor is sidelined with hip problems that portend re-replacement. His inability to get around makes him irritable, so I’m doing this all by myself–not for the first time.

There is an unredeemable characteristic of the American mind: limited thinking. Not only not thinking past the present moment (or incident) but of the love of the ignorance thereby engendered, as might best be described as either looking out a window and only seeing yourself or being so enchanted with the frame that you don’t even bother looking out the window.

This is, at present, most notable with Donald Trump and the Presidency. Until mid-October 2017 no one was looking past Trump to the next president. No one is still. Typical reactionary American behavior: let’s only approach one problem at a time, this problem. Let’s not think that there might be consequences down the road. Even the news media jumps aboard this wagon. People are now seeing Pence as the replacement president. This runs in the face of Pence’s intimate involvement in the Russia corruption via his constant lying, at least. He is simply unfit to be president (Twenty-fifth Amendment). Yet no one seems to be bothered about this. As if to say, let’s bother with that later, when the problem arises, even though it is already right before our faces. Reactionary thinking.

Who is next in line? The Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. He hates everyone but the rich, his friends and his benefactors. He will kill us all and ruin the country economically. Why? Because he is an ideologue and ideologues can never ever see past their obsessive-compulsive attachment to an idea. Repercussions are not important. He is very Communist in his attitude that if you can’t pay for your health care, you deserve to die that Rand Paul first put forward. Communist doctrine is that if you don’t work, you don’t deserve to eat. A tad more humane and based on human actions, i.e. working for the State. Indeed, all for the State, an idea Ayn Rand deplored. A very Communist doctrine. . .or that of slavery. And Paul Ryan is involved in the Communist hacking from near its inception in 2012.

There are other parallels/indications of Communism with him and the Republicans, but that frightening picture is not immediately in question, though it should be. Indeed, it should have been way back when the Republicans began calling their area of influence Red State America. The only other Red States in the world are Communist states. Everything for the government, everything for the State is the ethic.

So, why is no one thinking past Pence for replacement president? They ought to be, dammit. Does anyone know the chain of replacement? Who comes after Ryan if he is found unfit (because when the presidency is offered to him, he will jump at the chance)? Answer: President Pro Tem of the Senate Orrin Hatch. After him, if he decides not to accept? It becomes a free for all with the Cabinet: first one who says yes is it. Want to guess who would jump at the chance? Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III anyone? But, then, he’s out of the picture already. His cookie-making tree was built on shifting sand. Tillerson, a man after enriching himself and his friends? A man who’s used to being in control? A man who’s got business ties with Russia?

But, hell, why think ahead, eh?

America is in love with the adage “don’t sweat the small stuff.” In fact, if you take care of the details (the small stuff), then you do not have a large problem to take care of later on. But, hey, it’s better and more exciting to be reactionary. Limited thinking.


Some people are in love with their ignorance, like Cory Britton who, when confronted with a correction to his limited thinking, replied to Jimsecor, “James Secor shut the fuck up troll.” And then blocked Jimsecor’s e-mail. Despite many people saying the Internet is a hateful place, Jimsecor and I had never met up with it. He was nonplussed. It’s possible Cory Britton does not read; yet much of the information is available online at reputable sites, not just in books. Cory Britton is one of those people who is so in love with the window frame that he doesn’t bother to look out the window. He also obsesses over the myriad euphemisms for whore, listing them for an entire minute. He is, of course, not the only person who is in love with his ignorance. Sadly.

Trump, Ryan, Sessions–in fact all of the Republicans.


Agents, literary agents, are, judged from the Confucian division of society, at the bottom of the heap. Bottom dwellers? Not exactly. They make their money from the hard work of others. From a group that represented authors so the writers got the best deal, lit agents have taken to themselves the role of arbiter of all (publishable) literature. The single major criteria? Profit. Not only do lit agents charge the writer and then add on all office expenses (which they take off their taxes as business expenses–known as double dipping), they charge the publishers. What a scheme!

But agents are out of touch with reality. The “new” reading public, the people between late teens and 40s, have a short attention span. They don’t have the energy to focus on reading books of 50, 60, 100,000 words. But they can manage 30-40,000 words. 30-40,000 words is the rule and regulation lit agents use to class 30-40,000 words, a novella. Well, that’s fine. They can classify all they want; but the “new” reading public can only deal with this shorter length of book. So, why don’t they look for and sell fast moving novellas? If they had any historical sense, they’d recognize that the immensely popular pocket books and pulp fiction of days gone by were 30-40,000 in length.

This would help Jimsecor alot since he’s been pumping out books of this length lately. Thinking on the part of lit agents would aid us in living a better life. But ignorance via rules rules the day: I like my frame, it’s really cool.


Vegans. What can I say? Nowadays, they have the choice to eat what they want. Way back when, they’d not have had the choice–and they’d not have had the supplements (chemicals) to maintain a healthy life as they must today. Peasants and merchants died young. Vegans aren’t protesting cruelty to animals, other than rhetorically; they are avoiding the issue altogether. They vociferate energetically against killing animals in general–animals being living things–without realizing they are killing living things by ripping them out of the ground by their roots; eating them raw (still alive), boiling or frying them alive.

Once we have people who can’t see past the moment, past themselves, past their ideology, like. . .if you stop killing the animals in order to stay alive–in favor of killing plants to stay alive–what are you going to do with all of those animals running around all over the place? Let the people of Alaska and Wyoming shoot ’em down by helicopter? Vegans don’t like this now.

And what about those people who cannot eat a vegetarian diet? Like Jimsecor. He has no ileum, no cecum and no right (ascending) colon. When he eats vegetables, he needs to carry a port-a-potty around with him. Alas, Vegans are as single-minded as Evangelical Christians and consider it their right to impose their worldview on non-Vegans. As if cannibalizing vegetables is the saving grace. “I trust in Veggies” as I drive?

My advice? Go back to Vega where you came from.


Brown rice. Only in America.


People who make rules. Rules for everything, even being normal. Americans like such rules, as if to say, “I can’t live without them.” You know, no ability to frame a life or make decisions without being given explicit, delimiting guidelines. Rules of right or wrong that go beyond legal jurisprudence. There are rules for fucking everything! Look at the proliferation of how-to books. Jimsecor used to ghost write these books but he told the editor to stuff it. A bunch of ignorant charlatans selling shit from the back of a wagon. One man sold his how-to-get-rich as the end product of a quasi-religious Way! Although it was good money, I watched Jimsecor become increasingly irritable until he said, “Fuck it” and told the editor no more, lest it be to his specialty.

People don’t understand. . .if “this” was the way to riches, why are these people spending so much time writing (playing like they are writing) books about getting rich?  If they were doing it, they’d have no time to write about it–or want to limit their gaining power.

At the same time, I can’t fault people, for the economy of this country is not one that allows of success to working people. Of late, life takes them down, down, down and down at the bottom they find the social nets have really big holes and nobody likes them the more.


Economics. Economic efficiency. Efficiency experts par excellence. You older folk: remember Spencer and Hepburn in Desk Set? You younger folk: watch it. Economic efficiency has nothing to do with human efficiency. Humanity is a different animal. heh-heh The business model of efficiency–the business model of anything–cuts humanity right out of  the deal. This is most apparent in medicine; and, there, in hospitals, especially ERs where the presence of doctors, who treat people who expect to be treated by doctors, are not in evidence. They’re expensive. Replace them with Physician Assistants who, like ancient Chinese Eunuchs, pass along their idea of what’s going on to the doctor hiding somewhere so as to get the answer she wants. PAs are cheaper. Female PAs are the cheapest. Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs) know more. If humans are seen to by doctors, even after the PA fact, they feel better about whatever is ailing them. Why? They are being paid attention to. Human “economics.” Does it cost more? Yes, in greenbacks. Is it better for the general populace–and the financial economic world? Indubitably. But when you have a business running the medical profession, you have no medicine, no person. Eventually, the business model is going to be sued into oblivion if it just doesn’t die a prolonged, nasty death.

Some doctors get around this by taking up the viciously Darwinish Concièrge Model of Medicine: if you’ve got the money, I’ll treat you. (Poorer people ain’t got it.) And if the illness or injury or anxiety or whathaveyou is serious, the doctor puts the sufferer in the hospital so the hospital foots the bill. Cool beans.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital: a monopoly. One hospital, lots of little pieces of hospital everywhere. They even own, via umbrella, all but one of the medical group practices in town. That one is adamantly independent–good–but just as adamantly practices the business model of medicine. So does the hospital, albeit some doctors have a higher ethic.


Limited thinking: Now, now, now. And Bill Maher. Bill Maher believes we should not be concerned about exploration of space because we’ve not got the technology. He would have held up sea travel and exploration centuries ago. The only thing wrong with space exploration is that it is seen as space exploitation. Jimsecor would go. Jimsecor would go to Titan. And as Jimsecor is considered too old and a useless appendage to society it would be good to get rid of him.

Voyager I and II are not examples of limited thinking. Taking funding away is. Unfortunately, soon they will run out of energy. Why doesn’t NASA tell us what they’ve found so far?


Universities. The first thing universities want to do when they get a hunk of money is to build buildings. Which means hiring administrative and support staff. Fuck the students and professors, which are what a university is all about. Fuck investing the money to make sure it continues to flow in. Buildings don’t draw students or professors.


University of Phoenix.


Law enforcement. Which is more akin to oppressive control and intolerance.


Zero tolerance. Very limited thinking. Zero tolerance is INtolerance.


Utter Stupidities

Utter Stupidities

by Minna vander Pfaltz

Republican Red State America.  Look at the map. Listen to such people haters as Paul Ryan. Why does no one see? Red State = Communist state. Red State America = Communist America. However, it’s not just Ryan, it’s all Republicans who want nothing for the people and all for themselves and their big corporation handlers. Having lived in Russia–outside of the big cities–I can tell you that the people have nothing while the government thrives for itself. Which is just what the Republicans want: Government for itself. Small government. What can you expect when they don’t pay their taxes, engage in money laundering and fraud? Is there something fucking wrong with people’s minds? Can they not think? Why is it they cannot see what is tossed up right in front of their faces? Utterly stupid.

China is responsible for North Korea. A totally ignorant idea. But, then, it comes from Trumptydumpty who fucking knows nothing. This idea comes from the belief that all Communism is the same and all Communist countries are collusive. Utter bullshit. Chinese Communism is nationalistic. Vietnamese Communism is nationalistic. Russian Communism is international, believing it is their right to impose their ideas upon everybody and everybody is wrong. Which means, of course, that the wrongers can be done away with, a policy of the Catholic Church for millennia. The Russians withdrew from Grandpa Kim, as did the Chinese, because of the policies and practices of Grandpa Kim. And Grandson has continued the perverted policies. North Korea stands on its own. For Trumptydumpty’s USA to place the responsibility for action onto the Chinese is typical of him: he accepts no responsibility. However, it seems everyone else in the administration follows him in this.

Did anyone but me notice that while NYC, including Wall Street, was flooded after Hurricane Sandy that the country’s economy, much less that of the world, continued working well? So. . .how important is Wall Street?

While Trumptydumpty continues to investigate the crookedness of Hillary Billary’s campaign, the rest of the Kings Men are out proving that the Russian cyberattack was the cause of Hillary Billary’s loss. Unfortunately, Hillary Billary won the popular vote. So. . .was the Russian hack brilliant via its knowledge of how to affect the Electoral College? Thus, while Trumptydumpty is investigating how it is he won, the rest of the King’s Men are investigating how Trumptydumpty won.

Doesn’t Jarhead Schlepner’s voice sound magnificently macho?

I find it quite amazing that Jarhead Schlepner owns the Devil’s Office Bldg.: 666. However did that happen, the Devil is owned? Not even God has been able to accomplish that!

If Flynn was compromised and could be blackmailed by The Putinsky, can you imagine The Putinsky threatening to call in Trumptydumpty’s debts?

The terrorists are no longer terrorists and should be called out for what they are in the media: murderers. Mass murderers. I doubt any truth speaking will happen based on Rachel Maddow’s book Drift (a very good read) that maintains the war machine just kind of drifts its way into non-military areas, some of them quite silly. Why? If the media calls terrorists what they are, murderers, they will lose DOD credibility, ratings and money. Ratings and Money = News as Entertainment.

The epidemic of Zika Virus in the US is now one. Nevertheless, we must all be afraid. Thank goodness my friend Jimsecor is already pregnant! His little puchy belly is so cute! I’m toying with the idea of buying him a Baby T-shirt, arrow pointing downward. He doesn’t worry about mosquitos: they do not like vitamin B-12. Neither does a hangover.

The cat goes out nightly, sometimes to hunt. He brings back rabbit mostly, cute little bunnies. They are not so cute the following morning. And yet, the cat hides whenever anyone unknown comes to the house. He also steers clear of squirrel.

It used to be that literary agents represented writers so they got the best deal. Now they own the market: nothing gets published but by their recommendation. With this change in the dynamics of art, the material available to the public, which the agents see as intellectually wanting, has deteriorated in quality. Profit is most important. And a simple, Face storyline, nothing of depth. As if to say that not only has Literary Vehicle disappeared but Metaphor has been slimmed down to no more than a piece of grammar. These people, the agents, suffer from a textbook case of Dunning-Kruger Syndrome (editors of literary journals do as well). In the Confucian social system, the agent is at the bottom as they are people who earn their living off of the hard work of others. Not only does the agent charge the author–including standard office activities that are tax write-offs as “business expense”–the agent charges the publisher.

Marianne Humainette.

Hellecchino, trickster hero.

Jimsecor just had 4 ½” taken off his long, long hair–and it is still below his shoulders! Good deal–still long enough to grab hold of.

From a woman’s point of view, teeth are our way of letting men know who is in control.

When Trumptydumpty goes, Pence the Pillsbury Doughboy is up for the Face of the Nation; however, he’s mired in the La Breia Treason Pit, so it’s on to Paul Ryan, the ultimate vaudevillian villain. This people hating Communist Tyrant in Shep’s clothing is dangerous. Why is no one thinking past the fall of Trumptydumpty? How about if we keep Trumptydumpty as President but limit him to days in the White House signing documents he’s told to sign and playing golf on his own golf courses while responsible people with some kind of intellectual veracity actually run the country? (Or, as Americans like to believe, run the world.) Trumptydumpty is, after all, easily controllable: 1) praise him; and 2) don’t criticize him. Otherwise, you can talk about anything you want. This is the recipe of the abuser.

Communism was a late 19th century utopia.

Other than for war, there has been no new technology in America for many years. What we have are variations on a theme.

Justin Bieber = utter stupidity. As is the idea that plastic fantastic Beyoncé can dance.

Taylor Swift.

Can you imagine how ISIS could remain a thing if the Mafia were sent to the Middle East? After all, the US Military and its vaunted technology is unproductive. But. . .what can you expect when all of  their support is privatized? Privateers are only interested in profit, not productivity.

Academics–academic academics–who believe they know it all, write outside their area of expertise and then get pissy when criticized. There are, in America, a slew of such PhDs. More’s the pity, for any advancement in critical interpretation and understanding is not possible. Academic academics live in a closed society where the conventional and the traditional reign supreme.


The Wall

The Wall

by James L. Secor & Minna vander Pfaltz

Buck limped across the street, calling out, “Hellecchino! Hellecchino!”

It was a bright sunny day, as per usual in Chokepointe Piste, or anywhere in the Brazos River Basin, where the rain rarely came tumbling down to cleanse the air and the land. Acid rain here was disallowed. It had been comfortably moved northward to Dallas and Houston and southward to San Antonio and Mexico. This very point allowed the PR firm of Yabu & Son–there was no son but it sounded good and made for an increase in business, for it dripped respectability–to sell tourists on the “sun all year round”-ness of the country and the temperate climate conducive to tan and wind and open range freedom. The pitch hadn’t caught on yet but what’s time when profits are involved?

So. . .Buck was perspiring by the time he reached the boardwalk on the other side of the street from The Lone Star Inn & Bordello and began stumping–rump-TUMP, rump-TUMP–along the loose boards until he turned into The Hotel, where he raised his breathless voice again, “Hellecchino! Hellecchino!”

The desk clerk dumbly watched him. Anything was a welcome break from routine. Buck peeked into the lounge. No Hellecchino. Buck peeked into the restaurant. No Hellecchino. Buck peeked into the bar-salon. No Hellecchino. Each time, he called out, “Hellecchino! Hellecchino!”

Buck ran–ker-PLUNK, ker-PLUNK–up the stairs and knocked injudiciously on the door to Hellecchino’s room. No answer.

Buck descended the stairs and stood before the front desk catching his breath. Finally, he said, “Where’s Hellecchino?”

And the desk clerk answered, in all truthfulness, “He ain’t here.”

Buck nodded and stumped out of the hotel. He looked both ways before he stepped out onto the boardwalk. It was difficult to decide which way to go, right or left. So, he turned right and continued plunking down the boardwalk toward Fancy Dan’s where he knew Hellecchino liked to indulge in lip-smackin’, finger-lickin’, chin-dribblin’ bovine costae with generous dabs of Arthur Bryant’s Masterpiece Barbeque sauce shipped direct from wild and wooly Kansas City via Yabu Transport and thus an extravagant item. Import duties made sure that any competition to the famous Yabu Cactus Barbeque Sauce remained beyond the capabilities of the common man while the ribs themselves were cheap at half the price.

And sure enough, that’s where Buck found Hellecchino, face covered in a clown-like smile of reddish-brown sauce dripping from his chinny-chin-chin down onto a checkered bib, supplied by Fancy Dan’s as part of the dinner packet. After all, rib juice and barbeque sauce stained, and stains would limit Fancy Dan’s business drastically. But, he covered his ass, Daniel Bunesci did, by also owning and operating the Italian Ristorante a la Mexicali and the Chinese laundry that conveniently did a big business removing spaghetti sauce evidence. Wives and mothers were eternally grateful. So was Daniel Bunesci.

“Hellecchino! Hellecchino!” yelled Buck, clunking up to Hellecchino’s table and plopping himself down in the chair opposite his mentor and hero.

“What’s up, Bucko?” inquired Hellecchino, smacking his lips and showering Buck with little pinpoint splatters of sauce. “Better get a napkin,” suggested Hellecchino. “Oh, boy! Another napkin, please.” He snapped his fingers, sending a shower of sauce and juice into the air.

The napkin was brought. Buck wiped his face.

“So. What’s up, Buck?”

Buck wiped his face again. “Yabu’s back in town.”

“His town. No news there.”

“No. We got trouble.”

“We’s alahs gots trouble, Bucko. It’s de name o’ de game. It’s what brings me to dis part of the world.”

Buck wiped his face. “But he’s just back from seeing his guru.”

“You mean Master Hiram Evananda?”

“You know about him?”

“Shore do, Bucko. Ain’t nothin’ I don’t know ’bout. I’m a hero, y’know.”

“An’ yore magic,” chortled Buck, wiping his face yet again.

“Oh, boy!” and Hellecchino snapped his thickly wet fingers again, again spraying reddish sauce hither and yon. “I’m finished. Bring me the handiwipes and take this stuff away.” When the boy had done his bidding, Hellecchino said, “Put it on my bill. Now. . . what is it that couldn’t wait until I finished my noonday repast?”

“Well, Yabu’s returned from Big Chief Buttons Compound out on Merengue Montaña. An’ he’s shoutin’ and carryin’ on about bein’ enlightened.”

“What so new about that? So damned many people return from Peyote Pete’s Big Rock Candy Mountain claiming the same thing.”

“Ain’t none o’ them Gyorgy Yabu.”

“Well, now. There you have a point. What’s he on about this time?”

“It’s reported–”

“Who’s reporting this?”

“McTortle. He keeps a keen eye on these kinds of things.”

“Hmm. . .always some kind of shell game, eh?”

“That’s exactly right. How’dja know?”

“I’m a hero. I keep tellin’ ya, Buck. Don’tcha ever listen?”


“What did McTortle have to say?”

“Yabu’s enlightenment is about separatin’ good from bad.”

“Wowzer! He’s got a way to tell the difference?”

“Seems so. He’s gonna build a wall to keep the bad out.”

“Oh, my. . .that’ll cost a bit.”

“Not so, Hellecchino. Master Hiram Evananda has ties to the asphalt and concrete business down the road at Ocee and he owns the grease and oil business out on Country Road 317 on the way to Old McGregor’s Farm.”

“I see. . .”

“So, we got a problem, Hellecchino. Let’s get to work and save mankind.”

“I think you’re being a bit hasty, Buck. What if mankind don’t wanna be saved?”

“Yore shittin’ me!”

“No. I’m not. We gotta wait til people start complainin’ and seein’ the error of Yabu’s ways. Y’know, if’n it ain’t in yore backyard, it ain’t worth doin’ nothin’ about. It’s the rules o’ the game.”

“Ain’t Chokepointe Piste yore backyard?”

“In a manner of speaking, yes. But people tend to shrink the term ‘backyard’ to personal, private dimensions. Let me tell you a little story–”

“We got time for stories?”

“There’s always time for a story, Buck. It’s in stories that knowledge is passed along, as Wredgranny says.”

“Who’s Wredgranny?”

“An old Indian woman. An elder. A storyteller.”

“She fat?”

“Buck, I’m surprised at you!”

“Why? Ain’t all Indian old women fat?”

“You ever seen an old Indian woman?”

“Hell no. They ain’t allowed in Chokepointe Piste.”

“So, what do you base your opinion on?”

“The pitchers in hist’ry books.”

“Well. . .let me tell you, Buck. Those books are written by white men who don’t like Indians and so the pictures are what they want you to believe is the truth.”


“Right down the road there is the Educational Research Analysts, led by Mel Gabler, Hedda’s distant relative. Deborah L. Brezina rents the building out of which Gabler and the Educational Analysts regurgitate history. Y’see, Buck. All you know of fat old Indian women is what this organization tells you. They stereotype the Indians. Fat old women are not welcome in this part of the country, no?”

“Well, I’ll be hornswaggled!”

“That’s right, Buck. You’re the victim of political propaganda.”

“Old Indian women aren’t fat?’

“No. Not necessarily. The only thing that all old Indian women are is wrinkled.”

“Well, hell! That comes with age.”

“Indians are people.”

“Well, sure. But. . .ain’t they all got big noses?”

“You mean like Italians and Polish?”

“Sure. Like that.”


“Ain’t stereotype something that comes outa two sides?”

“Buck. . .let me tell you a story.” Hellecchino pushed his chair back and crossed his hands over his flat belly. “To stereotype is to fix in lasting form.”

“Kinda like sculpture?”

“In a manner of speaking, stereotypes are writ in stone. Howsomever. . .a stereotype is also something constantly repeated without change–”

“Like a prayer!”

“Will you just let me get to the bottom of this?” Buck subsided, hung his head. “Alright. As I was saying. . .stereotypes come in phrases and X and factoids. . .”


“A factoid, etymologically, is ‘something like a fact.’ ”

“So a stereotype is something like a fact but it ain’t.”

“Exactly.” Hellecchino leaned back, looked up at the ceiling and began his story. “The blowback on stereotypes is that some people begin to believe ’em. That is, if you’re told something enough times, you begin to believe it. Like a fox. Foxes been told they’re cunning tricksters for centuries and they believe it now. But the trap is. . .it ain’t necessarily true. Now, somehow or other, Fox got his fellow woodsy denizens to work for him harvesting his fields. Fox, of course, was wily enough to get out of most of the hard work. But, along about mid-morning, Rabbit got a thistle stuck in his paw. He started hoppin’ and jumpin’ around and shoutin’ enough to wake the dead. You know how over-excited rabbits get. Anyway. . .Fox came trottin’ down the row Rabbit was workin’ and saw the thistle. ‘Well,’ he says, ‘go on over t’ the well and put some cool, clear water on it. But don’t be gone too long, y’hear?’ Rabbit didn’t say nothin’, just hip-hopped outa the patch and through the woods to the well. Well, when he got there, he found that the water was way down in there. He dropped a pebble into the well an’ it took some time to find bottom, as it were. There were a couple buckets sittin’ on the edge o’ the well, so Rabbit figured he’d just ride one down to the water, dip his paw in the water, take a little drink, it bein’ a hot day an’ all, and then ride right back up. So, he jumped in a bucket and fell downward, landin’ kerplop in the water. It was pretty cool down there but Rabbit knew he’d better get back to the vegetable patch before Fox came a-lookin’ for him. But when we pulled on the rope, the bucket up top lodged against the pulley and. . .Rabbit was stuck down the well. ‘Holy cow paddies,’ he said to himself. ‘I’m in for it now.’ There wasn’t anything he could do but wait for Fox to come stormin’ after him. An’, sure enough, Fox appeared at the top of the well. He knew all along that Rabbit was jus’ tryin’ to git outa work. ‘Hey! What you doin’ down there?” Fox shouted. ‘I’m fishin’,’ answered Rabbit. ‘Some fine fishin’ down here.’ ‘Really?’ ‘Really. Come on down ‘fore they’s all gone. Easy pickin’s,’ Rabbit encouraged Fox. How stupid of Rabbit, thought Fox, ‘to let me go down there an’ git all the fish while he’s up here starvin’. Okay,’ he said. ‘Just jump in that there bucket,’ suggested Rabbit. Fox did and he flew to the bottom, passin’ Rabbit on the way up. Rabbit waved at Fox, smilin’ kinda big, like a Cheshire cat. ‘I’ll come back later, when the farmin’s done,’ shouted Rabbit and hopped merrily along. Well, o’ course Rabbit didn’t come back an’ there was wily ol’ Fox stuck in the bottom of the well. Didn’t take him long to figure out who outfoxed who, let me tell you.”

Hellecchino paused.

“That all?” asked Buck, sitting up in his chair.

“Yep. Old wily Fox got himself stuck thinking he was outfoxing Rabbit.”

“Did he ever git outa that well?”

“Sure did. A thirsty hunter came by and hauled up a bucket full of water–only he got a bucket full of Fox. Well, Fox lit on outa there before he got a behind fulla buckshot.”

“Didn’t git no fish neither.”

“You ever heard of fish in a well?”


“Pretty dumb Fox, eh?”

“An’ foxes are s’posed t’be so cunnin’.”

“Yep. Fox believed all that hype about foxes being cunning and got himself trapped.”

“So that’s how a stereotype works! An’ I was right to begin with–a stereotype is somethin’ that’s got two sides. There was two buckets there at that well. Boy! Yore ingenious, Hellecchino!”

They sat quietly at the table for some time, each thinking his own thoughts. Finally, Hellecchino got up.

“Okay. I’m digested. Let’s go out into the sunshine and see what Yabu’s up to.”

“There you are!” shouted McTortle from down the street. “I been looking for you.”

Along with McTortle was a young woman, tall and willowy with long, flowing black hair, black eyes and thin but ruddy lips. She was dressed in calico. Her hips jerked right and left as she hurried after McTortle.

“Lookie there! There’s my sister.”

“You got a sister?”

“Shore. Ain’t only Mexicans got sisters, y’know.”

“She always chase after McTortle like that?”

“Nah. McTortle’s married. Harriet’s her name.”

“Might pretty lady, your sister.”

“Yep. I s’pose so. Y’want I should interduce ya?”

“Don’t think you’ll have much choice.”

The sprinting couple came to a panting halt but a few inches from Hellecchino and Buck. They leaned over, hands on knees, trying to catch their breaths. Both spit into the dry, dry road dust. Both held up their hands, as if to speak. . .and then subsided into heavy breathing once more. Finally, McTortle straightened up. “Yabu’s done done it this time,” he said. “Don’t know how much longer I can put up with this.”

“How much longer have you put up with it so far?” asked Hellecchino.

“Oh, hell. I don’t know. Perhaps 10-12 years.”

“Where would you go if you actually ever decided to got?” Hellecchino seemed genuinely interested in McTortle’s dilemma, leaning in and peering at McTortle’s reddened face.

“Don’t rightly know. Haven’t given it much thought. My home is here. I’m kinda settled in. . .if y’know what I mean.”

“How are you, Miss Harriet? I’m Hellecchino, local hero,” smiled Hellecchino as he smiled down on the diminutive lady and held out his hand.

Harriet gripped his hand rather more forcefully than he expected and said, “You don’t look much like a hero.”

“Appearances are deceiving.”

“I’ll say.”


“Buck. . .what the hell you know? You’re drunk half the time.”

“No, I ain’t. More like two thirds’ the time.”

“And you’re braggin’?”

“Cain’t brag ’bout my leg, yknow.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t wanna talk bout it, alright? How many times I gotta tell ya, huh?”

“How come you chose Buck to be your sidekick, Mr. Hellecchino?” Harriet asked sardonically.

“He asked.” A bald-faced truth.

“Well. . .I guess that explains it.”

“Explains what?”


“Have I got a piece of land for you!”

“I thought you was a hero.”

“I am.”

“So, what you goin’ about sellin’ land for?”

“Seemed like a good thing to do with Yabu’s wall going up.”

“You know about that?” startled McTortle chortled.


“How could you? We haven’t told you yet.” Harriet creased her brow, one line between her eyebrows, and tilted her head off to the right.

“Harriet. . .I’m a hero.”

“I’ll be damned!”

“I doubt it. You’re too pretty. Care to take a walk?”

“Where to?”

“Does it matter?”

“I suppose not, all things considering. . .”

“You’ll take care of McTortle, right Buck?”

“Shore thang.”

“What about Yabu’s wall?!”

“What about it?”

“He’s gonna build it through town keepin’ out all the bad tings. The things he don’t like.”

“Just things?”

“No. People too, more’n likely.”

“I ‘spect so. But, tell me. . .is it built yet?”


“Well, then. No worries.”

“But we gotta keep it from bein’ built, damn it! It ain’t right.”

“Why ain’t it right, McTortle? He was given the task by his guru, Dr. Hiram Evananda, Master of the race. Surely, Yabu believes in whatever he’s told.”

“But it ain’t right, shuttin’ good people out.”

“No, I s’pose you’re right. But Yabu doesn’t consider them good people and that’s what’s important.”


“Well, people don’t have to buy into it. If he thinks it’s important, let him build it. He’ll stop sure enough if nobody else thinks it’s important. I think what y’all oughta do it take up a collection to help him finance the building of his wall. He’s precious protective of his own money, y’know. Getting someone else’s to do the job would be mighty pleasing, don’t you think?”

“Ain’t that self-defeatin’?”

“Nope. If you donate to the building of the wall, you get to know where the wall’s going before it’s gone there and so you can organize yourselves. After all, sooner or later he’s going to need supplies, right?”

“Yeah. I ‘spec’ so.”

“Well. . .here’s a stack of money,” and Hellecchino dipped into his back pocket. “I want you to go on over to the real estate office and buy up a strip of land just outside of town. . .like right where the Chisholm Trail bends round to come into town. You buy up the land so it crosses that road. A half mile on either side and 100 yards wide. When you got title, come and find me.”

“Whatcha gonna do with a piddlin’ piece o’ land like that? Can’t hardly build a house on it.”

“Why you gotta keep throwin’ up blockades to success, Buck? We don’t have no need of a devil’s advocate here,” scolded Harriet, putting her hands on her shapely hips.

“I’m only tryin’–”

“You stop tryin’. You’re tryin’ to second guess a hero here. You can’t know what he’s thinkin’.”

“Yeah, but I wanna. Any harm in that?”

“I’ll tell, ya, Buck,” said Hellecchino, putting his hand on Harriet’s left hip hand, “if I tell ya what it is I’m up to, you’ll know too much. If you don’t know why I want a stupid strip of land for, so much the better. But it’s your land, Buck. And you’re already known for being kinda mindless, right?”


“Well, the agent will just put it down to another stupid Buck move and think nothin’ of selling you a useless bit o’ land ’cause his goal is to make money.”

“Y’mean. . .what I don’t know won’t hurt me?”

“In this case, yes. Though it might be more to the point to say what you don’t know won’t hurt me and alot of other folk.”

“Damn! I never knew ignorance could be so useful!”

“Y’don’t know everything, Buck.”

“Goddamn it, Harriet! Why th’ hell you always comin’ down on me?!”

“Come on, Miss Harriet, let’s go for our walk. I’d like to see the cemetery.”

“Which one?”

“There’s more than one?”

“Sure. One for us and one for Yabu’s men and one for the Yabu family.”

“Whatchu wanna go to the cemetery for on yore first date, Hellecchino?”

“‘Cause it’s quiet.”

And with that, Hellecchino steered Harriet down the street and around the corner, despite her quiet insistence that they needed to go the other way. Hellecchino told her, soto voce too, that there was more than one road to take to get somewhere and there was no more arguing. Buck when on to the real estate office, another DIY operation, while McTortle was left in the middle of the street spluttering and turning in circles over nothing getting done to solve the problem of the wall. Finally, he scratched his head and went on home, thinking that some heroes are really weird. . . and perhaps not worth their weight in salt.

Hellecchino, meanwhile, was banking on history. And psychology. How many walls have been built down through history to keep certain kinds of people out? Hadrian’s Wall. Didn’t keep the Picts out. The Great Wall of China. Didn’t keep the Xiangnu and other northern barbarians out. Flodden Wall. Didn’t keep the Brits out. Jericho’s walls. They came tumbling down. The Berlin Wall. This one came tumbling down, too. The Israeli Roadmap to Peace Wall. It was difficult to tell whether this was keeping its own in or out. Prison Wall. Nope. No good. Prisoners still got in. The Southern Border Wall, really a huge electrified barbed wire concentration camp type affair keeping Texans in and Texans out. It weren’t no good neither. So, what was one more wall? Certainly couldn’t be no worse than Frost’s Fence!

Well, Hellecchino had a plan. As all heroes do. It had to do with logistics.

Here are some questions to consider:

1) How’s Yabu going to get his wall built?

2) What’s Hellecchino going to do with Buck’s piece of land?

3) What if Yabu makes a mistake?

4) Does it really matter?

Well. . .a few days later, Buck found Hellecchino and Harriet sitting under a tree k-i-s-s-i-n-g. And he was waving a piece of paper.

“Hellecchino? Hellecchino?”

“What is it, Buck? Can’t you see I’m busy cementing social relationships?”

“But I got the land. Here’s the title.”

“Good boy. Now go build on it.”

“Build what?”

“A block house. Cinder blocks. A door and two windows.”

“One on either side of the door?”

“Yes. So it looks like a mouth and two eyes.”

“And then what?”

“Move in.”

“But I got a house.”

“This is more than a house, Buck. This is a business. When you’re done with the house, you build a little three foot high pedestal alongside of the road, one on either side of the road, and you get a pole made that’ll fit into the slots you made in the tops of the pedestals. But you don’t use it yet. You keep it behind your house, where the ladder to the top of the house is.”

“What I need a ladder to the top of my house for?”

“Because up there you’re going to build a little garden with a little table and a couple three chairs. Maybe even an umbrella or something.”

“You want me to do all this?”

“Yep. I ‘spect there’ll be lotsa people wanna help a crip do himself up good.”

“I guess so. But. . .I don’t like pretendin’ and whinin’ an’ such.”

“The hell you don’t! Just gowan out’n do what you’re told for once in your life!”

“Now, Harriet, don’t be so hard on the guy,” soothed Hellecchino. “Look,” he turned to Buck, “you want to build this yourself?”


“Well, then. . .play on your disability to get all those people who don’t really care about you to help you.”

“You think they will?”

“Anything to get you outa their hair. Besides. They’ll consider it fulfilling a debt to society.”


Buck hobbled off into town.

“What have you got up your sleeve, Hellecchino?”

“Buck owns that strip of land and the road running through it. He’s going to have to control traffic if he’s going to live a quiet life. So. . .once Yabu starts building his wall, Buck sets up a traffic gate and charges toll to get past.”

“So not only does he create a problem for Yabu, he makes a livin’ on his own.” Harriet smiled broadly and then kissed her hero. “My! You’re amazing, Hellecchino. Why didn’t I think of that?”

“Because you were looking at the wall as a problem for you when, in fact, it’s a problem for Yabu. When people are the centre of attraction, they tend not to be paying attention to the periphery of life.”

“So, what happens next?”

“I think we outa get outa this heat and into some place more private and. . . comfortable.”

Some days later, there was a town meeting held out in the worker’s part of town. To be exact, in the minority meeting hall. Buck and McTortle organized it. Hellecchino was the featured speaker. It was all kind of hush-hush but that really didn’t matter as Yabu and his men stayed out of this section of town. It was considered not a good section of town. Especially not one to get into at night. Even the law stayed out. Although most people saw this as a slap in the face by a big three-fingered prejudiced hand, it was actually a very empowering situation. Hellecchino had a plan.

“Because certain people don’t like you and look down on you and could care less about you, you have power,” Hellecchino began. He was shouted and hooted but he held his place, held up his hand in time and continued on. “Y’all can organize. Y’see. . .these certain kinds of people don’t do the work themselves.” Murmurings of agreement on that, for sure. And then Hellecchino laid out the plan. It was very simple.

First, they hired themselves out, the unemployed or under-employed, which was close to 25% of these kinds of people, to build the wall. Being as there were always rabble rousers and unruly teenagers who liked to destroy things, they were to be enlisted in dismantling part of the wall every night, carefully restacking the blocks and whatnot alongside the wall. This way, it would take literally forever to finish the job. Yabu’d be terribly frustrated and would turn his energies to stopping the delinquency while the workers would be employed and making some kind of living, albeit, if everything when as per usual, not much of a one. But, then, something is better than nothing. . .and there was more to come. When the heat got up, the devilish social reprobate teenagers would cool it down and leave the wall building alone until vigilance became relaxed in the face of no threat and calm–and then they’d strike again. Only this time, they’d dismantle the beginning of the wall. There’d be enough work for everybody.

The next move was to move the shopkeepers’ families up to of their shops if their shops were going to be on the good side of the fence. This would force Yabu into rerouting his wall to exclude those particular shops–or buy them. In this latter instance, the shopkeepers were to bargain for the best price possible and then take the money and run, never to work in that shop again.

A few of the old boys began chuckling over this.

“Soon,” one of them said, “he gonna be needin’ what we got.”

“Exactly,” said Hellecchino. “If you’re on the wrong side of the wall, he isn’t going to get what he wants–”

“Or he gonna hafta rebuild his wall,” said another worker.

“An’ we ain’t gotta work if’n we been bought out,” said another faceless worker.

“An’ he ain’t got no bizniss sense,” shouted out a worker woman in the back of the hall.

“Shit! He kin jest import it,” countered another.

“Buck’s got a tollgate out on the Chisholm Trail. He owns a great stretch of land that the road runs through,” offered Hellecchino.

“Damn man! We set.”

There was a chorus of approval at this point and the evening was brought to an end.

Sometimes, all a hero’s got to do is kind of look at things a little askew.


Justice Matters My Ass

Justice Matters My Ass

by James L. Secor, Ph.D. & Minna vander Pfaltz

“If we consider the purity of the Christian religion, the sanctity of its moral precepts, and the innocent as well as austere lives of the greater number of those who during the first ages embraced the faith of the Gospel, we should naturally suppose that so benevolent a doctrine” would have filled and comforted us with due reverence and that its works would shine, strengthening the imperative of justice, thus making a city where such justice “rolls down like a mighty river”–and what better place than the arrogant little town of Lawrence, Kansas, albeit in the name of the world.[1]

And so it is that Justice Matters, a conglomerate of myriad Christian denominations purporting psychological knowledge, has set about solving the mental health crisis in, first, Lawrence and Douglas County, and then purportedly the nation. Justice Matters believes that the Christian way knows the right way to solve psychological suffering. Indeed, Christianity believes it has the answer to every sort of suffering. A befitting arrogance, as Justice Matters considers itself a Nehemiah action.

Nehemiah was a builder–a re-builder. It is believed that he rebuilt the walls of Israel but, in fact, he only rebuilt the walls of the southern Hebrew kingdom of Judea (capital at Jerusalem). Apparently, the northern kingdom of Israel was somehow not worthy of consideration.

A great man? Perhaps. But he was arrogant and boastful: “I beseech thee, O Lord, let thy ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant. . .and give him mercy. . . .” The Book of Nehemias I:ii. “The hand of my god was good with me,” II:18. “Remember me, O my God, for good according to all I have done for this people,” III:19. “Remember me, O my God. . .and wipe not out my kindnesses, which I have done. . .,” XIII:14.[2]

The more so arrogant because he was eunochus and not oinochoos (cup-bearer). A later re-interpretation saw eunuch as not so highly thought of? Within the text itself we have proof he was, though: 1) he appeared in the presence of the Queen, not to be done if he’d been a “real” man; and 2) he would not, without great rationalizations–especially to his heroic status–cross over the temple threshold which, as eunuch, he could not cross over. A taboo that even the possibility of death could not override.

Ergo, the Justice Matters leaders fit their Nehemiah namesake for arrogance: religious leaders expecting God to praise them for their doings. But Justice Matters’ arrogance is worse, for while Nehemiah knew what he was doing, Justice Matters is pretending to knowledge it does not have. The religious organizers know not the psychology of mental illness but pretend to. And they pretend to help while they are not the least interested in admitting to their number, much less listening to, the mentally ill or the social activist. Why? Justice Matters knows better, that’s why. Über-arrogance.

But the situation is considerably more tarnished and twisted. For this, the Justice Matters people are in denial, denial of their Janus-faced behavior, in denial that they do not know psychiatry and mental illness and organic brain disease and in denial that the mentally ill are not helpless and do not know themselves. The Justice Matters people believe they have the answer while propagating the old and conventional belief in hospitalization, belief in isolation and separation–and medication. They even use the nomenclature of incurable illness that is, in fact, old hat and, in the rest of the western world, has been found to be inappropriate.

This attitude is unsupported by science and empirical evidence, unsupported by the Hearing Voices Networks and the alternative methods so popular and successful in Europe; unsupported by the personal testimony of the “sufferers” themselves. “Sufferers”? Only in that psychiatry and society has made them suffer in their ignorance, for neither listen.

Justice Matters is correct–by jumping on the bandwagon–that jail/prison is not the best or appropriate place for the mentally aberrant; aside from lack of knowledge and treatment, criminalizing “mental illness” equals no treatment outside of abuse. Something more and better is, indeed, needed.

Otherwise, Justice Matters is not the least bit interested in making their professed belief in what needs to be done happen. There is no plan of action. For, with their very successful fundraising drives, nothing has been done with the money raised. Nothing at all. As the money raised by donation to a religious organization, there is no accounting. No taxation. Where is it going? Certainly not to the realization of their vision.

“We’d like to get concrete expectations on where we’re moving,” says Ben MacConnell, an organizer for Justice Matters. Doesn’t he already know? This is akin to a general going into battle without any plans to fight.

“Our scriptures speak of a powerful, loving God when matters of justice arise. So, let us go upstream–as one body–and trust in God to help along the way” (Justice Matters website). So, they really have no plan, only God. And. . .if God’s away on business? Then what? “St. Peter don’t call me ’cause I can’t go, I owe my soul to the company store”?

There seems to be no innocence of motive here. Moral precepts are sidelined in the push to appear great in the eyes of their God and the world. Look at me! Look at me! So very Nehemiahan: remember me and bless me for I am good, full of good intention. Halleluiah! The humanity necessary to support and succor the poor and homeless, the disabled and mentally ill has all but been squeezed out of existence leaving an empty, rotting shell.

You miss the garden,
because you want a small fig from a random tree.
You don’t meet the beautiful woman.
You’re joking with an old crone.
It makes me want to cry how she detains you,
stinking mouthed, with a hundred talons,
putting her head over the roof edge to call down,
tasteless fig, fold over fold, empty
as dry-rotten garlic.
She has you right by the belt,
even though there’s no flower and no milk
inside her body.
Death will open your eyes
to what her face is: leather spine
of a black lizard. No more advice.

Let yourself be silently drawn
by the stronger pull of what you really love.[3]

There is no more purity and benevolence left in religion. The truth of this assertion billows into a black and boggy Garden of clinging choking vines nursed by Christians’ practice of intolerance and hatred and a love of war and their demand to discriminate and refuse to serve those who don’t fit their brand of righteousness, of their social Darwinian precepts. So much cruelty and violence–abuse–is meted out these days, rationalized by citation to the holy book, rationalizations that are, in fact, not there. The Christians are lying to themselves as they lie about the world and lie to the world in order to get. . .what? What is the pay-off? Simply to get ahead? To earn indulgences so to sit on the right hand of God? Nehemiah arrogance to be sure.

Theocracies are ever of this ilk.

In an abusive society, no one is truly interested in helping (Cf. R.D. Laing). Abusers have lost all sense of proportion and all innocence; there is no austerity to their lives, which would give them some sort of compassion. As others in need are found wanting, so the religionists themselves are wanting. Better to talk and paint exquisite pictures than to engage in practicing the espoused higher virtue of their way, The Way, while they wonder, loudly, how it is the world has become such a horrible, gruesome place; for with people of such worthiness as themselves abounding, it is inconceivable that we are living in the end times.

Since Christians are doing nothing and, of course, since nothing is happening, everyone must pray. A pray festival–with donation–is the answer, a vital need. Cry out unto the Lord!

Praying is too slow. And Portugal is too small and too far away. . .and not American.

Justice no longer means or involves transformation. It is now all about feelings of satisfaction of a job well done. Nothing profound. No transcendence. Just me and my ideas. Me and my survival. Legally, any more, justice means vengeance with laws built around someone’s disgust and shaming. It is also about hiding facets of civilization that are disturbing to have around for their evidence of society’s inhumanity to man.

Before continuing let us remember a few things:

  1. He who can name the way does not know the way; and
  2. Beware the do-gooder; and perhaps
  3. The way to success is to correct oneself.

One could, at this point, add, “alas and alack.” For wisdom does not seem to be part of the Christian canon. Not to be wondered at as none of the wisdom writings of Christianity were included in their New Testament. None. That is to say, they–the Wisdom Writings–are non-existent but in the Old Testament where we find a warning of the self-proclaimed wise: “Let us therefore wait for the just, because he is not for our turn, and he is contrary to our doings, and upbraideth us with transgressions of the law, and devulgeth against us the sins of our way of life” (Wisdom II:xii, in which the self-proclaimed wise are upbraided). And “He boasteth that he hath knowledge” (Wisdom II:xiii). Ignorance is vain reckoning. And yet again, “He that rejecteth wisdom. . .their hope is vain, and their labours without fruit, and their works unprofitable” (Wisdom III:ii, in which the truly wise are extolled).

Other than “become not unwise” (Ephesians V:xvii), look to the Nag Hammadi and you shall see the wisdom books, considerably more “books” (45) than make up the New Testament.

“Desire without knowledge is not good. . .to have desire is fine; but to have desire and act upon that desire without knowledge about it is ignorance” (Proverbs XIX:2) because “I would not have you ignorant” (Romans I:xiii). Perhaps Justice Matters should heed the question put to Job: “Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words?” (Job XXXVIII:ii).

Why do I say Justice Matters is ignorant? Again, they do not wish the so-called mentally ill in their organization; nor do they read anything other than the accepted status quo diagnoses and treatments and, therefore, have no knowledge that hospitalization and drugging are not the best or most productive of treatment methods. Justice Matters is stuck in 19th century mode. Perhaps they should read history and the horrors of 20th century hospitals. Perhaps they should heed the words of the knowledgeable, the “mentally ill.” Willful ignorance is a sin against God.

Romans I:xiii, “We would not have you ignorant.”

Thus it is that these people with a belief system and their leaders with degrees in Divinity–a devilish conundrum–have no knowledge of psychology or of mental illness yet believe they do because God is on their side and they have a desire to do good. I wonder. . .does this mean their belief is that people are mentally ill due to disbelief in their creed? And that, as of old, the heathen, pagan disbelievers who are (obviously) mentally ill must be isolated from the rest of Mankind and drugged into the oblivion all non-Christians are deserving of for fear of contamination?

Most telling–and without damning commentary–is Justice Matters’ lack of knowledge of modern, more humane approaches being applied outside the US, including a non-illness approach; after all, the organic brain disease approach was a diagnosis of Emil Kraepelin, from the late 19th century; and it is known that a major component of mental illness is socio-cultural: quite simply, if you take away the anxieties, you ameliorate many of the symptoms. Then, one must deal with handling the problem, which is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Peer-to-peer gives more applicable and useful options. Perhaps, though, reading is not a thing the Justice Matters ministers do, despite their religion’s reliance on humanity and human rights.

These more humane and more successful means of treating “the mentally ill” are not obscure or hard to find. In fact, as research goes, discovering this information is all but effortless: it’s on the Internet, to begin with.

The oldest involves the people of Geel, Belgium, from the Middle Ages where the mentally ill were given a home and work and the mental illness symptomology decreased, even disappeared.

There is the vast–except in the US–Hearing Voices Network, one of several peer-run approaches that are accepted in the health insurance industry of other countries. Peers: no doctors, no nurses, no social workers, no family or friends. By, for and of the people who hear voices. Or, for that, matter any other “mental illness” sufferer–including those who have liberated themselves from the system to find a real life. How many artists have ended their lives secondary to in-hospital treatment, especially that horror known as ECT (Electro-convulsive Therapy, aka Electro-shock Therapy). For more on artists see Kaye Redfield Jamison’s Touched With Fire.

But, again, reading about mental illness does not appear to be high on the list of Justice Matters’ things to do. Perhaps I ask too much (Cf. Romans I-xiii). “We” In this moment means the mentally ill. To not listen to these people is to continue the practice of modern-day psychiatrists who also do not listen, just hand out drugs like good pushers. “God damn the pusherman,” sings a popular rock band. Why? Because the pusherman doesn’t give a damn what the drugs do to you, as long as he gets his money. Are not these psychiatrists akin to the money changers in the temple? The temple of the mind.

The Norwegian approach that does not use drugs–unless the individual wants–and then at the level each person finds comfortable. (Cf. Robert Whitaker, The Door to a Revolution in Psychiatry Cracks Open.) This self-assessment is important, for the Big PHRMA-set therapeutic levels are often enough inappropriate. Often, the side-effects to anti-psychotics and anti-depressants are passed off as “just what you have to put up with.” Drooling, involuntary mouth and tongue movements, problems swallowing, dull affect, inability to think or speak, agitation that never abates and has, itself, a diagnosis (akathisia). And the therapeutic level can itself be an overdose, as with Lithium (LiCO3). Overdose of Lithium results in behavior and symptoms similar to those of a stroke, called encephalopathy–and occurs at “therapeutic level” in some people. The sooner caught and treated–cessation of Lithium–the better. Sometimes, these people go on to suffer TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack; colloquially, a small stroke). If a less than “therapeutic level” works to control symptoms, it’s good, Big-PHRMA be damned. But psychiatrists prefer the dogma.

Look, too, to the Finnish.

How much better if doctors listened to patients who say, “Oh, yes. This is enough.” But US psychiatrists–and Justice Matters, as already noted–don’t listen to the mentally ill; they simply administer drugs and then damn as non-compliant the imposed-upon individual who won’t take the drugs due to effects and/or side-effects. Some of these nut cases are told it’s all in their head. (Oh, the irony!) And hospitalization, wanted or not. This is the wrong way to deal with the problem. This is hiding it and attempting to make it go away, as with the homeless people, as embarrassment to the abuses of modern civilization.

Imposing isolation and drugs on people is unconstitutional: it is a restriction of freedom.[4] In the House of Representatives, there is a man who has attempted over several years to have a bill passed into law that would require forced hospitalization, drugging and other treatments for anyone with a mental illness diagnosis. His name is Murphy. The House has passed his bills; the Senate, the lawmakers, has not. If passed, there would be no artists of any kind on the streets, on the stage, in the movies. Truly a Murphy’s Law.[5] What a dull, second-rate society we’d live in. . .and one mirroring a Fascist state: utilitarian and intolerant.

Justice Matters utilizes diagnoses found in the DSM-V, a diagnosis by committee booklet that medicalizes everything that is not considered normal–even women who cannot achieve orgasm are mentally ill, according to this book. This book is the only way to get symptoms covered by the health insurance industry. It is extremely unpopular amongst practitioners: “In recent years, clinicians and researchers have started to question the very diagnostic paradigm that once gave them so much hope. Mounting scientific evidence has indicated that DSM– and ICD-based categories do not reflect patterns of mental distress found in both clinical and general populations.” Indeed, it is generally thought that there are “built-in assumptions of homogeneity within diagnoses, purported to occur as a singular, one-size-fits-all process [that] leave[s] no room for the heterogeneous reality of mental health experiences” and result in “the pathologizing of sociopolitical deviance.” This is what the DSM-V is all about.[6] (Aside from money.) The health insurance industry in the US is, “If you can’t afford it, you deserve to die” and mental illness is all but dis-included as unworthy even of the limited coverage given to the physically ill, despite the ties the mind has to the body.

Who, then, it seems to be right to ask, is the true mentally ill person?

The mental set of Justice Matters is old hat and not fully accepted within the psychiatric field. Justice Matters approaches the situation from one of disease, indeed, incurable disease. This is just not so, for there are times–often years–when symptoms are not present. The disease model sees this as “remission”; the human (humane?) model sees it as normalcy because the symptoms of mental illness are not continuous forever and ever diseases, aka organic brain disorders, or permanent and irreversible chemical imbalances. Nothing in the brain is static. Indeed, the mind, the mentality affect of the brain, is not the brain. Science doesn’t know where it is, much less what it is. Which would make mental illness an undefined unknown.

Mental hospitals were done away with because of their ineffectiveness, abuse and even worsening of the mental situation. The replacement was supposed to be local acute care clinics. Not one state in the US bothered to institute such clinics. The “mentally ill” were left to wander the streets; to be arrested and jailed. Though Justice Matters notes it is interested in acute care clinics, the organization has done nothing to help bring this about, despite the money collected in one fund raiser after another. Ergo, Justice Matters isn’t interested at all in the mentally ill other than as a means of enriching its “leaders” and making its constituents feel good about themselves for becoming involved in some kind of human interest do-gooding.


If Justice Matters were serious about what it says it wants to do and if Justice Matters was in touch with what’s going on in the city, they’d know there is a place for establishment of an acute care clinic. But Justice Matters is out of touch with reality and more interested in face and money. That is, they chose a social action that turned out not to be easily attained nor easily understood. Justice Matters entered the fray in ignorance and has continued in ignorance, perhaps believing their God-given desire is all that’s necessary. Yet, Proverbs XIX:iii has it that “Desire without knowledge is not good. . .to have desire is fine; but to have desire and act upon that desire without knowledge about it is ignorance.”

[1] Quotes are from Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and the Justice Matters website.

[2] The Holy Bible, John Murry & Co., publisher, 1891.

[3] The Essential Rumi, trans. Coleman Barks.

[4] Cf. the Fourth Amendment. Quarantine is a different matter.

[5] Manic-depression occurs eight times as often in artists than in the general population. Indeed, it was once known as “the artist’s disease.” And it has a genetic component. Nowadays, under the rubric of Bipolar I or II, it is a diagnosis for anyone who has mood problems, including those with severe anxiety problems and borderline personality people, genetics be damned. But the confusion is good for the psychiatric pocket book.

[6] Although the quotes from this article, “Psychologists Push Back on Psychiatric Diagnostic Manual” can be found variously on the Internet, it first appeared in The Journal of Abnormal Psychology and alongside another article looking at alternatives in The Journal of Humanistic Psychology.


What Have We Got So Far

What Have We Got So Far

by Minna vander Pfaltz

  1. A President the Chinese call “The Clown in the White House.”
  2. A man who, indeed, does know words but not many of them and not much knowledge of grammar. Proof positive that privatized education is somehow wanting?
  3. A man who has no humor and does not understand humor yet, however, can make the press and other officials laugh.
  4. Stories of Chaos.
  5. Behind the scenes, we now once again have coal slag being dumped into our rivers.
  6. The House passed these three bills: HR 424 Removes Grey Wolves from the endangered species list and removes protections of the Yellowstone Habitat. And HR 717 Alters the Endangered Species Act of 1974 to allow Dept. of the Interior and Dept. of Commerce to deny endangered species status to a species if protecting them and their habitat would impact the economy. And HR 69 Repeals restrictions on recreational hunting of prey animals in Alaska wildlife refuges. All will now go to the nefarious-minded Senate full of Republican ideologues who will rubber stamp them before The Donald rubber stamps them.
  7. Treason. Traitorousness. So much penetration by the Russians into the US political and intelligence systems that it makes our intelligence not porous but sieve-like.
  8. A president who proves again and again that he lives a life of denial and is delusional.
  9. A president who lies so much it is impossible to figure out what he’s talking about when he says words. An “unreliable narrator”?
  10. A president who likes muchly the destructive nature of nuclear bombs–and wants more.
  11. A president who is in violation of the Constitution and the Laws of the land;

11a. A Senate full of Republicans who are not only frightened but ideologues intent  on remaining loyal to the Republican ideal while letting the country slide into the crevice.

  1. A Senate Oversight Committee that is, indeed, overlooking just about everything.
  2. A Duke Political Science major, son of a Jew who sounds like Hitler’s speech writer and policy maker. Goebbels becomes Gobbles.
  3. A president who makes decisions at the dinner table where everyone can overhear him and everyone is taking pictures and posting them on line yet complains bitterly about the incompetence of the country’s intelligence system.
  4. Apuleius’ Golden Ass has jumped off the page and into modern American life.
  5. News agencies so taken by the chaos and irrationality of The Donald that many more newsworthy happenings in the world go unreported or under reported. Which makes me wonder just what else is going on behind the scenes that is bad for us and the world. Will there be another Wag the Dog movie?
  6. Two possibly positive decisions: Gen. McMasters and
  7. The Mexican government must be thrilled to know that not only will unwanted emigrants be tossed back into the mix but that the US is dumping its petty criminals into Mexico. This is only humanitarian. Why petty criminals? ICE can’t catch the other kind.
  8. The Donald has produced a nation of activists and their Republican representatives are frightened. Not frightened of their lives per se but of losing power, the results of greed and respectability.
  9. Whew! I’m getting short of breath!
  10. If California doesn’t fall into the ocean, it will become run-off into the ocean. Due in no small part to wiping out the beaver population, building dams, diverting the rivers, diverting water for farming to the cities (thank you, Arnie), deforestation of the mountainsides so rich people can build glorious mansions and the LA Lakers turning into losers to match the SF 49ers.
  11. The swallows have not returned to San Juan Capistrano.
  12. Nostradamus perhaps prophesied the demise of the US with the coming of The Donald. Nostradamus is notoriously difficult to decipher so he could also mean Pence or Paul Ryan, each is in line for taking over the reigns of government. There is also the possibility of a hugely big massive earthquake, a prediction that seismologists have not ruled out. Nuclear war, not a distant possibility with a man who finds such destruction likable. Of course, just because prophets prophesy doesn’t mean the prophecy will occur. Nostradamus had a caveat. They are all Fake Newsmakers according to James Randi who assumes if they were truth-sayers, they’d be 100% correct, like magician’s magic.
  13. Whethercocks, Petulant Frenzies and a Brazen Hussy does a pretty good job of capturing the state of the art of government in the US at the moment.



Some Arrogant Things in This World

Some Arrogant Things in This World by Minna and Jim

Religions. All religions. Especially the Chosen People religions. Why? Whatchayall done? The rest of us are shits? God has more than one Chosen People? And they all hate each other? Pretty damned whimsical God, no? Pretty damn awful Chosen People, no? And then all those Chosen People start arguing and fighting and killing amongst themselves–and since that’s not satisfying enough, they begin arguing and fighting and killing everybody. The banner of war is always the same: I GOT THE ANSWER! Follow me! Follow me or die! Arrogant it is to maintain you’re the best when you murder, mutilate, rape and commit genocide. And. . .their God approves of this.

That the Earth and Earthlings are so very important, the only important one in the entire fucking universe for aliens to visit–and, according to some, direct our development. Well, you sure can’t say that any help given has led anything other than utter disaster. At least, they’re not gods, these aliens; though I understand some folks think so. Kinda fits: what’s unexplainable is either God’s doing or the Aliens’ doing, for humans are really dumb fucks. Sounds like a sounder of Luddites. Why can’t it be that we just don’t know it all yet?

Donald Trump.

America is the Greatest Country in the World. Shall we count all of the prior greatest countries–who were great–before America’s self-proclaimed pre-eminence? Great Britain? The Spanish? The Normans? The Nation of Islam? The Persians? The Romans? The Greeks? The Babylonians? The Mycenaean’s? The Egyptians? The Chinese? The Japanese? Actually, the only “greatest” are perhaps the Sumerians who seem to have started it all, in the West (Middle East). Just about everything else that we have comes from the Greeks and the writers and philosophers whom the Roman rulers disapproved of and the science the Muslims gave us. Nah. America is arrogant in its self-assessment.

The consortium that created the DSM V. After coming to the decision that everything about human behavior is a mental illness, they forgot to include themselves.

Literary agents. Literary agents also happen to be the lowest form of life on Earth. They make their money from the hard work of others. They not only charge the artists for their “representation,” they charge them for office expenses that are then deducted from their tax liability as a “business expense.” And then they charge the publishers for getting them manuscripts of no depth and moderate literary ability. Any wonder people don’t read any more?


Me when I’m manic. . .or very, very defensive.

Steven Pinker, arrogant stupidity. Not a linguist by degree. America’s greatest pseudo-intellectual. He is so knowledgeable and wonderful that not one international linguistics researcher or journal mentions his name, not even to show how ludicrous some “thinking” is.

The owner of Youtube who believes her desire for money is more important than the product she offers. Thus it is we have adverts in the middle movies, videos, documentaries and music, sometimes more frequently than found on TV. There is no pleasure for us in this arrogant greed of hers that interrupts music and documentaries and movie action in the middle–even recorded live performances. How arrogant of her to impose her greed and ill-judgment on us.

Pinterest. Imagine. . .someone’s idea of knowledge–or actual knowledge–and someone’s collection of whatever being so priceless as to not be accessible except to those within the clique. La!

Utopias and their makers. Akin to religions who teach “My way or no way.” In the modern world, this would be Marx’s Communism: a perfect place. Utopias ride on the idea of they’ve got it all and, so, no change is necessary. No change. Change upsets the balance. Which is a violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (that most do not understand). If there is no change, if nothing is going on, if there is perfect balance, there is death. The “chaos” that entropy leads to is total balance: no change, no development, nothing. If our bodies, if organic life, got to this point, we are dead. In death, the only change is from the outside. See Chance and Necessity by Jacques Monod. Balancing, like a seesaw, is constantly going on: 2H + O2 = H2O is not a done deal. Chemistry puts a double arrow going both ways  in there because the reaction is constantly going back and forth and includes various other combinations, like H2O2, HO, H3O, H, H2, O, H3 and they’re all in flux. If it stops, you gots nut’n. A seesaw perfectly balanced (without no one on it), is dead, there is no life, there is no potentiality. Unchangingness = no life. But don’t tell that to Utopians. Utopians not only believe they are right, they believe they know it all.











What’s My Story

Here is one of our favorite little stories. While it is a satire on the character oriented story–that any good story is built solely on a character (who never changes)–in that the protagonist has no character; it is a feminist piece because it is men who give her her character. I (Minna) was arguing with the editor of a now defunct feminist zine about the necessity of a character-centred story and set out to prove her wrong: she snapped up the story because of its feminist bent and totally missed the satire/slap in the face: the protagonist has neither name nor character.

 What’s My Story?

by Minna vander Pfaltz

Crashing flash! Throbbing pain. Burning. She held her breath. And then tried again. This time, little by little. She opened her eyes. Oh, lord, did that hurt! Screeching whiteness. No. She couldn’t maintain it. Closed her eyes again. In the pulsing darkness, she felt her body. She was lying on her back. Whatever she was lying on was hard. Very hard. There was a lot of noise around. Jarring her bones. Making her ears bounce and hurt a little inside. Great rumbling noises made her body vibrate–and then they were gone.

She rolled over onto her side and pushed herself up. She listened a little longer. The vibrations were not so drumming. Then she opened her eyes again.

Still bright. But there wasn’t so much pain. She put her hand over her eyes, shielding them from the brightness above. Where was this?

These. . .things moving, moving. Going this way and that. Big ones and little ones. All making noise. The big ones bigger noise. And blaring D-flats.

She was getting a headache again.

She was the silent one, the still one in this mass of movement and noise. Around her, paying her no mind, were people. People moving helter-skelter. Great masses of heaving color that hummed along. Clicked along. Lights flashing.

Over there. Trees and grass. A bench. A place to sit.

She got up and walked–stumbled would be more accurate–to the bench and sat down on its warm wood, feeling the spaces between the slats. Not a very comfortable place to sit but better than lying on the–street? pavement?

Where the hell was she?!

Wherever she was, it looked like something she recognized. Something that was similar to something she remembered. Something. . . .

But where did she remember it from?

She creased her brows.

Who was she?

Ahh. . .now there she was on firm ground: she couldn’t remember who she was. She didn’t know who she was.

Was this an alternate universe?

Was she one monkey waiting for 99 more?

She had to get away from this noise! It was making her hair shake.

So she walked. The more she walked, the longer she walked the easier it became until she was moving along rather fluidly. But where was she going? No direction. Anywhere.

No. This was not good.

She looked up at the sky, searching for the brightest glare.

How did she know to go to her left? Without thinking, she did it. And then asked herself this question: How did I know to go to the left? This place wasn’t anywhere she knew, despite the vast similarities, so how could she be sure left was the right way? This place, this world could be exactly the opposite of her world. The world she came from to be here.

How did she get here?

She didn’t remember falling. She did remember a thud, though. And then she was here. In this place. As if she’d been dropped into this world.


What was she doing here?

Who was she?

Lord!–she had to get to a quieter place so she could think.

The glaring sky told her nothing. The world around her blurred. Her body kept on pounding along. Numbed. Apprehending nothing. Just moving. And then suddenly the noise stopped. She kept on going. She kept going until she felt the difference in color around her. She stopped. She looked around. She turned back the way she had come. All the noise was over there, in that hazy bulging upward, vertical mass of. . . spires?

And she sat down. On the green. Grass? She didn’t know. She didn’t know if that’s what it was in this place but somewhere inside her it was grass. So she called it grass in her mind. She felt it. It felt the same as usual. Usual? How did she know it was usual, this touch? This kind of softness with hard edges. Pointy. Kind of cool. Was she feeling it make noise? She put her ear down to it. Leaned down. Ran her fingers over its roughness. Comforting noise.

How did she know it was comforting?

“Hey! What are you doing?”

She looked up. A man stood at the bottom of the hill.

She looked at him. She squinched her eyebrows together.

“I said, what are you doing?”

“I don’t know. Sitting on the grass.”

“I can see that. Who gave you permission?”

“I need permission?”

“You’re not from around here, are you?”

“No. I don’t think so.”

“You don’t think so?”

“No. I’m not. Where am I?”

“Here. In Havenwood.”

“Oh. Where’s that?”


“Are you alright?”

“I’m not hurt, if that’s what you mean.”

“How did you get here? I mean, the way you’re dressed, you’re not usual, you know?”

“I’m not?”


“I feel like I was dropped in.”

“Maybe you better come with me.”

“Can you help me?”

“I can take you somewhere.”


She got up and walked down the hill. When she stood next to him, she found he was very much shorter than she was. Perhaps head and shoulders shorter. She’d never felt so tall before.

“You’re tall. We don’t make many tall women here. We don’t make many tall men, either.”

“You make people here?”

“You know. Not make as in machines but, you know, grow.”

“Like plants?”

“No. We get born.”


They continued walking along in silence. He led her into a squat reddish building with greyish lines running up and down, isolating little squares of color. Flat glass doors like a mouth. Flat glass windows like eyes. The doors swallowed them up. The eyes did not change their expression.

“Where’s this?”

“The headman lives here. He’ll know what to do.”


“You know the headman?”

“No. I don’t now anybody.”

Silently they walked through some halls.

“I’m tired. I’d like to rest. I’ve been through alot today. I think I came from over there.”

“Okay. He’ll find a place for you to stay.”

“Good. I’d like to lie down.”

And then they were in a small room.

“Hey. I’ve brought you someone.”

“Hey. Where did you find her?”

“Sitting in the park.”

“The park?!”

“Yeah. Imagine that. No one gave her permission.”

“Hey. Who are you?”

“I don’t know.”

“Where do you come from?”

“I don’t know. I just woke up and found myself here.”

“She said she felt as if she was dropped in.”

“Dropped in, eh?”

“Yes. And she’s tired.”

“Hungry, too?”

“Yes. Hungry, too.”

“We should let you rest and eat first.”

“Thank you.”

“Hey. Take her to Na’s place. She’ll take care of her.”


“Then come back here. I’ll call the elders for a council.”


* * *

Shoulder to shoulder around the oblong table the men sat. The Headman and the elders. And the finder man.

“What are we to make of this, then?”

“It is very strange. Very strange indeed.”

“There have been no strangers in a long time.”

“No. She’s very tall.”

“She dresses. . .differently.”

“She talks a little off.”

“And her skin color. . .”


The heavy ticking of the clock pounded the walls. They looked around the table. A few coughed. A few looked elsewhere. The headman looked at the finder man.

“I think she’s the one,” said the latter.

“How can she be? She’s a woman.”

“Yes. There has never been a woman before.”

“She is a very tall woman.”

“Larger than life.”

“Where is she from?”

“That’s a mystery. She’s not saying.”

“She just. . .appeared.”

“Right when we need her.”


“Yes. That seems to fit.”

“Fate is a funny thing, you know.”

“You can never be too sure.”

“Are we to continue as we are?”

“We cannot remain passive,” said the headman. “I am for taking action on this.”

Pause. The elders looked around at each other.

“Will she go along with us?”

“Why should she not? She is here. Nothing happens without a reason.”

“She may put up a fight.”

“Deny herself.”

“It’s part of the pattern.”

“She’s already denying who she is.”

A collective, “Eh?”

The headman and the finder nodded.

“Well, then.”

“We must proceed, it seems.”

“Tomorrow morning at Na’s. She has a nice courtyard in the back.”

* * *

She sat facing the group of men. She frowned and held her breath. This gathering was definitely unbalanced. She didn’t know who she was. She didn’t know where she was. And now she was confronted by this. . .tribunal. How was she supposed to act? She shifted in her seat. Crossed her legs. Crossed her arms. These men were obviously here to tell her something. Could it be they knew something about herself? She could only wait.

She looked at the group of men. They looked back at her and then away to each other. Focus came to the headman. She looked at the headman. He looked at her.

“I trust you had a good night.”

“Yes. Thank you.”

“You are rested from your journey?”


“Good. Good.”

She uncrossed her legs and crossed them the other way.

The finder coughed.

“We know who you are.”

“You do?”

“Yes. Yes. We do.”

“Who am I?”

“You are our hero.”

She uncrossed her legs. She uncrossed her arms. She beat on her thighs with her hands. She laughed.

“Surely you jest! I am no hero.”

“How do you know?”

She looked sharply at the finder. “Yes. You are right.”


“Yes.” She leaned forward and looked at these men who seemed to know more about her than she did. This was perhaps reassuring. “Could this be illusion?”

“No, no, no. Nothing of the sort. What in the universe is not true?”

“We have dreamed of your coming?”

“So I am a dream?”

“Come true. A dream come true.”

“Dreams are part of life. Of the universe.”

“I could be a bad dream–”

“Not at all! You are just what we asked for.”


“So, who am I?”


“Our Hero.”

“What an odd name. Hero.”

“Odder still as that is what you are.” The headman giggled a little.

She smiled into the silence. A breeze disturbed the leaves. Gave them voice. Gave itself a voice, for otherwise it was just air. The passing of air was ever accompanied by a voicing. Without something standing in the way, the wind has no voice. Nor do the trees. Rain, too, is nothing until it demolishes itself upon trees and people, houses and streets. The sound nevertheless surrounds you like an orchestra and carries you away, protects you. All the world is one. Then. It was not one for Hero.

“I am who I am and I am what I am?”

“Why, yes, that’s the way it is.”

“My name says it all.”

“Yes. Exactly.”

“The name you gave me.” Pause. “The role you give me.”

“Do you have a better one?”

“No. But–”


“I don’t feel like a hero. I’ve never done anything to be considered a hero. What is a hero?”

“A hero’s life is in the making.”

“In the future.”

“I can’t do anything.”

“I told you! Didn’t I?”

“Shush! This is to be expected.”

“What is to be expected?”

“Well,” the finder began hesitantly, “you meet the criteria.”

“I’m getting a headache.”

“Na,” said the headman.

Medicine was brought. Everyone sat silent and still for a time.

“Do you feel better now?”

“I’m sure it will go away.”

“Yes. Havenwood is known for its drugs. We can even make a sick dog feel better.”

Nervous laughter.

“Tell me how I fit the bill when I don’t even know who I am?”

“We know who you are.”

“But I don’t feel like Hero. I don’t even know where I am or where I came from.”

“That is the way it is.”

“Heroes come out of nowhere.”

“When they are needed.”

“And they are more than we are.”

“You mean my height?”

“Yes. Of course.”

“But I am no one. I am not up to this.”

“You can be no one without others.”

“I have no character.”

“We are giving this to you.”

“What if I don’t want it?”

“Heroes usually do not. . .it is said.”

“You see. . .there are historical precedents.”

“I see.”


“What is it I’m supposed to do?”

All of the men sat back heaving sighs.

“You are here to save us from ourselves.”

She laughed.

“Yes. It is laughable, isn’t it? But it’s true.”

“We have become inundated with a particular kind of pandemic. Passive Ignorance Insensitivity Syndrome. PIIS.”


“No, no. In our tongue when there are two i’s in a row, the first is long, the second short. We say, then, Peye-us.”

Oh. I see. You are Peye-us. And who has visited this upon you?”

“An alien.”

“An outsider.”

“Not one of us.”

“His name is Gnome Nervt.”

“How do you know?”

“He has done this before and. . .”

“He leaves traces.”

“I see.” Pause. “I must rid the world of this. . .evil Gnome Nervt.”


“Well. I suppose I have nothing better to do,” she said. She thought, though, that perhaps she might also discover her true self, her true identity now she had something to do. “You must give me some context.”

“Here is everything you need to know. Tomorrow we will come again.”

“And if I am not your hero?”

“You will fail and we will build another martyr’s monument in Memorial Park Cemetery.”

“But you will not fail. The life and well-being of thousands upon thousands of Havenwoodniks are riding on your shoulders.”

And then she was alone with herself. Whoever she was. To these men she was someone. She had a frame into which to fit. There was just one nagging question: What did a hero do? That is, how did a hero act?

Was fiction becoming reality?

An unanswerable question since she didn’t know what was real. Rather, she only had this reality to go on. Could she then live up to her given character?

She shook her head. Identity was a funny thing. How do you know when you’ve got it? And when you’ve got it, how do you know it’s yours?

There are some places where people are born with no identity. Later, they can buy one from the identity brokers. But, then, you may still ask, who is this character? All you have is a label. Made up by another. A handle upon which to hang a history. A history with no character to identify it is no history at all. So where does it come from?

This is a question I cannot answer. I am only a writer. I am a writer because I write. . .and because you read me. Therefore I have character because writers have a particular character, right?

I find myself much in the same situation as the girl in this story.

(c) 2002, Minna vander Pfaltz



Murder Most Foul

ICE is all about rounding up hundreds if not thousands of “illegal immigrants,” people who have crossed the border (the Rio Grande) without permission–as if they don’t come from elsewhere. All, in fact, have been, and are acknowledged so, running from violence and oppression in their countries. That makes them refugees. But as they are Latino–every country south of the Rio Grande unto the southernmost tip of Patagonia is Latino–they are illegal immigrants. Illegal Immigrants are The Unwanted. ICE is not doing this alone, Homeland Security is involved, giving it the ultimate sanction of government approval, and the FBI and local police forces–and probably these guns for hire known as Private Security Companies. All of these, as it is difficult and trying to figure out where and when someone is going to be some particular place. Surveillance is the key. These people will be immediately deported, they say. Which means they will be sent back to their countries to face death. This is murder by proxy, a kind of Münchausen disorder. If we, via ICE, the FBI, Homeland Security, et al., send these people away to be murdered, our hands are clean. “We” because “we the people” do nothing about it. Hell, we don’t even say anything about it! But this wholesale rounding up of Unwanteds (Latinos are not the onlys; there are drug addicts, petty criminals, the homeless, the mentally ill, the Muslims) is not a new thing. It is a commonality, as common as the SS and the Fascists rounding up Jews or. . . just about anybody rounding up so-called dissidents. We did this with the Indians; we did this with the Japanese; we did this with the. . .you name it, all coming to us by way of our European heritage. This kind of behavior is expected of oppressive regimes. Of dictatorships. Of Tyrannies. We see it in the modern era in the Fascists, the Communists, North Korea and, now, the United States, Land of the Free. Yes!–we have engaged in this behavior often in the 21st century, to the tune of several thousand at a time. The result? No one is safe. Some definition of a kind can be manufactured to encircle any number of people and imprison or immolate them. You. All of the Yous out there. And now the common everyday police: Murderers.

The Pro-Lifers are, in fact, murderers, though other people and situations do the deed. The fetus is vital and important and needs to be saved; but the life outside the womb is of little import. By refusing abortion, they are putting the child alone on the superhighway of starvation, neglect, abuse; and if the child survives, then he and she is fodder for the War Machine. The Pro-Lifers support and encourage the War Machine. They encourage guns. They do not apologize for the violence their members XX upon Planned Parenthood. Once again, Murder by Proxy, that old Münchausen disorder.

The Pro-lifers are not deep thinkers.

The movie Gaslight.

Christians who turn away or ignore people it’s tenets disapprove of. As if Christians and the Church are free of sin and corruption! Duh! This includes those pharmacists who maintain they cannot dispense prescriptions ordered by doctors because such drugs are against their religion. Included in this group of cretens, irresponsible humans are those who do not “believe in” vaccinations. Vaccines have saved the lives of 10 million infants and children since their discovery by Edward Jenner and their institution as standard treatment in the US in 1969. The lives saved could be double this if vaccines would be used for all childhood diseases. . .and those that do not manifest themselves until adulthood. These virulent Christians also include those who have withheld the drugs necessary to alleviate HIV-AIDS to African citizens. Why? HIV-AIDS is still seen as a disease of the gay, the fucking sinful faggots who engage in buggery, that is sodomy–a sexual act that, of course, no heterosexual ever engages in–and, being the result of sinful behavior, is but the God-given punishment meted out for ill-got behavior. Murder.  In the name of their loving God. To be fair, God may be loving but his people, i.e. Christians, are not. The narrow-minded tyranny that the Enlightenment philosophers and practitioners wished banned. Murderers.

Health insurance, as it withholds drugs and treatment that might save lives because people don’t have health insurance. The going aphorism today is, if you can’t pay for it, you deserve to die. Which is a very much coarser statement of common Communist doctrine: if you don’t work, you don’t deserve to eat. At least Communist doctrine gives you an out!

The movement against universal health care is based on one item only: money. How much is a life worth? Depending on the professional nature of the job, you can buy a “hit” for $500. The cost to save lives from childhood diseases rose from $10/child to $385/child in 2001. Not so much due to the cost of living as to the egregious practices of Big PHRMA, where profit trumps life every time. For administration of the injection, $11.85, though health insurance coverage does not reimburse enough to cover this. Doctors lose, children lose = deaths. But, of course, the Health insurance companies don’t pay anything. Ergo, life is worthless.Murderers.

Doctors’ offices who vet prospective patients to “make sure” they are acceptable. And doctors who refuse any, even private, insurance at all, the so-called Concièrge Medicine practice. Health and well-being are only for the acceptable and the affluent; the rest of the people can just die, get sick and die. For there are some privately owned hospitals that do not accept people without insurance. Some of these doctors chose medicine as a profession as a Calling. From being God-driven, they have fallen to Murderers.

Modern day American movie heroes.

Utility companies, because no one has a right to be warm or cold except in summer and winter, respectively.

Sam Brownback and the Koch brothers.

The entire American round table of the Chiefs of Staff of the US Military who not only kill others in emotionless righteousness but kill our own, much like the Muslim Terrorists or the frantic hysterical Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution or Deng Xiaoping at Tiananmen Square. Political murderers but murderers all. The modern version of the Thirty Tyrants of Athens post-Spartan quashing?

Mitch McConnell and his ogre minions in the Senate. Passive or passive-aggressive murder is still murder.


Pinterest, for Pinterest murders intelligence by withholding information for a buck, as it were, you must be a member of a select few. The Internet version of Social Darwnism?

My cat, Hextor, for tripping me up at 4 a.m.–attempted murder, for I survived. He did tried to hang me from the left ankle. However, the other night he did kill and eviscerate and rip off a hind leg of a bunny tother night, leaving me a present right at my door.

Watching the TV series Buffalo Bill, Jr. Even worse, Two Broke Girls. But that would be suicide, right?

The NRA. For money. That’s the death penalty in some states, like Brownbackistan–I mean, Kansas. Kansas. . .the centre of the American continental shelf. The geographic centre is in a pig farm in Lebanon. That’s right, folks! We got the middle east right here in the mid west. This is the place to bring your children if you don’t want them any more, as Brownback steals money from public education and gives it to his rich cronies; this includes closing down lunch programs. Jee-zus! At least Marie Antoinette let ’em eat cake. Murder most foul.

But, hey!–why stop with children! Get the lazy, ignorant horde that live on a handout, aka Welfare and other misnomers. Take it all away. No more support. No more food. No more health care. Of course, this type of murder is not solely to be found in Kansas. It is also found in Houses of Congress. Murderers.

HFCS, high fructose corn syrup.

Dr. Oz, who no longer saves hearts. Selling trash is better.

Allowing a rapper into the Rock’n Roll Hall of Fame, for it murders music’s good name.

The City government of Flint, Michigan.

The Third Rock from the Sun via earthquakes, tornadoes, thunder storms, hurricanes/typhoons/cyclones, heat waves, cold snaps and, like, whatever.

Alas and alack.

Minna binna do-bee