© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Today, a young boy saved a toy bear who had spent the evening fighting an angry raccoon. The bear had wrapped himself in a plastic blanket and hid himself in a woodpile but not before leaving clues around the backyard of the house to help his young friend find him. The boy and his aunt and uncle and father had been alerted to the plight of the bear, named Guy by a text message Guy had sent from the cellphone he took off the angry raccoon before the angry raccoon had fled into the night. Now that the boy and his bear are reunited, all is well. Aho.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Adopting traditions made popular abroad, the people of the Glorious Republic of Grigovia today express their gratitude. They're thankful for food and bicycles, health-care and archery, rainbows and chocolate cake; they celebrate by sharing food with needy neighbors; they visit one another to say their thank-yous; they contribute to food pantries and charities, and assemble care packages that they then send to refugees of imperialistic overreach living in Turkey, Palestine, Europe, and North Africa. But unlike in the West, where wage slaves must show up at their jobs on a day called Thanksgiving or lose them, in Grigovia only emergency service personnel are allowed to work. Huzzah, then, for the gracious Banoyend, and let thankfulness reign.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Some people have no official business to attend to on a regular basis and they choose to sleep in until noon and do little more with their lives than eat and shit and sleep. Other people have no official business to attend to on a regular basis and they choose to fill up their lives with activities such as yoga, writing, drawing, bicycling, and reading books on topics as apparently unrelated as medicine for mountaineering, the etymology of English, Andean fairy-tales, and the history of modern China. Is the one type of individual better off in the long run even though everything that is alive at some point dies? Can a person be happy in a state of lethargic ignorance or does joy come from living in enlightened and self-respecting effortless activity? These questions will likely persist through time, and at the end of the day they must be answered by the person himself without undue outside influence.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
For the fifteenth time since its self-liberation from the Union of Soviet Socialist States in 1988, the Glorious Republic of Grigovia balanced its national budget and imported exactly as much as it exported. “We consume no more than we make, our economy is modernizing rapidly, and our population is swelled with 20,000 refugees fleeing the crises in Syria,“ said Dr. Eleyina Uourendt, chief economist at the Grigovian Foreign Trade Council, a think-tank. “We are in a good spot, I think.” Researchers estimate that measures designed to dial back the nation's political and regulatory systems to levels conducive to the full exercise of Liberty have spilled over already into the economic sector, with a free market determining supply and demand in this Central Asian nation of some 4 million souls. “It is a lucrative and an efficient time to be doing business in Grigovia,” said Henri Rousseau-Riyennd, a French-Grigovian professor of macroeconomics at Pylta the Terrible University in Pyltagrad. “To us who call the Yiptlong home, the Global Recession is merely hypothetical.”
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Building on the success of his Second Pouch line of sew-on sweatshirt additions, local inventor and entrepreneur Eugene B. Hsu recently patented the X-Tra Pocket. Critics denounce X-Tra Pocket a just a rectangular piece of cloth with a zipper sewn into one end that consumers buy and then sew onto the pair of pants of their choosing, and that if these seamstresses are already sewing bits of other cloth onto their clothes they can just as fucking well include their own zipper for a tenth of the cost, of which Mr. Hsu was having none. “We use only the finest zippers made using the highest quality materials,” the man said while typing away furiously on a battered laptop. “Plus, our zipper is configured to provide the consumer with efficient and noiseless access to the contents of her new pocket, therefore cutting down on the number of bags she has to carry and making her life more simple.” As part of a demonstration, the inventor yelled at a girl sitting at a sewing machine nearby in a language other than English. The girl shed a single tear and then quickly affixed using green thread an orange-colored X-Tra Pocket (complete with aggressively-styled logo and a prominently-placed copyright symbol) to a pair of maroon corduroy pants. Not wanting to further upset the visibly irate Mr. Hsu further, all in attendance clapped politely.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Last Tuesday, I watched 12 Years A Slave, a film adaptation of the autobiography of Solomon Northrup directed by Steve McQueen. Never in my life have I been closer to the reality of slavery, to its horror and misery, to its psychopathy, to its cruelty and incessant malice, than while watching this movie; the two hours and fifteen minutes of the movie's length afforded me a glimpse into a period of American history that lasted more than two hundred and fifty years, a short and comfortable look at a wrong done to innocent humans, at insanity beyond reckoning, at the very worst mankind has to offer. Since last Tuesday I have had nightmares about being myself a slave, and I have caught myself at work looking over my shoulder to make sure someone wasn't sneaking up on me with a bull-whip so as to hurt and rend my flesh. The image the movie portrayed of a life lived in slavery reminded me of growing up in the same house as an alcoholic parent and living in a world populated by a sociopath who struck without warning, who took and punished rather than giving and rewarding, where one was never safe from rebuke or threat or injury and where one could never be good enough because one was seen as having no intrinsic worth. While I was a teenager living in Germany our Gymnasium made all its students walk down to the theater and watch the movie Schindler's List as soon as it released, and in my opinion America's schools would do well to show this movie to everyone in employ and attendance. The Constitution of the United States of America doesn't even ban slavery, it merely relegates it to a form of legal punishment known today as prison. My name is Platt, and I'm a slave from Georgia. Oh, brother, I weep with shame.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
The following events are true.
Thai Airways flight 794 from Bangkok banks away from the approach vector that planes coming from the west normally take when landing at LAX. It passes over Hollywood and around Downtown to approach the airport from the east. The stewardesses are tense, and the mood within the plane is hostile. The craft lands well, all gears touching smoothly, nary a flutter along its long axis. It is 9:15 in the evening. We taxi for an unusual amount of time as police cars escort us with lights blazing to a secluded section of asphalt.
For nearly an hour we sit. About half of the passengers are from south-east Asia. Elderly Indian women make frequent sorties to the restrooms, but any time a man threatens even to rise from his seat, the stewardesses – thin, elegant Thai women – scream at him to sit back down. People begin to ask questions, demanding to know what is going on, requesting an explanation for our unexpected and unexplained delay. I am near the rear of the aircraft. Since I have not used the restroom in more than seven hours, I am in considerable need of making water (I purposefully dehydrate myself during flights to cut down on disturbances to my neighbor, in this instance a strange older man whose English sounds non-native.) I find myself digging around in my right cargo pocket (where I always keep a pen and at least one permanent marker), but not knowing what is going on, I instead pull out and switch on the portable gaming device I keep there.
Finally we begin to deplane. I bow to the stewardesses on the way out, thanking them in their native tongue like a good boy who has learned his manners. Dozens of U.S. federal agents line the mobile staircase asking each man as he passes to see his passport. "Are you Russian?" one agent asks me as he scans my documents rapidly. I say no. A helicopter flares its rotors low over our heads. We pass through a phalanx of airport police, TSA agents, and people wearing FBI counter-terrorism jackets, to board buses that we hope will take us to the distant terminals.
I am in the back of the third and last bus to depart. My hair is poorly kept and bleached nearly blond from three weeks of oppressive Thai sunshine. My clothes, of which I only brought one pair, are ripped and stained with sweat. The tattoos on my arms and chest are clearly visible. My bag, a cheap Nike knockoff purchased in Chiang Mai, is also ripped. We are packed tightly in the bus with TSA agents sewn heavily among us. The men are hyper-aware, scanning faces with wide and greedy eyes, looking frantically from person to person as if trying to puzzle out who is looking at whom, changing location at times to get a better view of whomever they are trying to find. A man behind me asks when we will have the chance to use the bathrooms, as we were not allowed to on the plane, and as there are none on the bus. The TSA agents answer sporadically, sometimes not at all. Having no knowledge of what is going on, and knowing that speaking unsolicited to law enforcement is a bad, bad idea (because it is the job of law enforcement officers to punish citizens, not to help them), I stand quietly between a short man with bad breath and the window, and enter a semi-trance so as to pass the time and to control the pressing need to void my bowels.
After nearly another hour we are allowed to leave the bus for a terminal building. Agents shout angrily as they direct us toward a bank of metal detectors, through which we pass, jostling with other passengers who are eager to board their departing flights. More agents direct us through a maze of narrow hallways into an apparently long-abandoned waiting area. As one of the last to enter, I have no seat, but I find a space against a wall where I stand at parade rest (legs shoulder-width apart and arms clasped above the buttocks) with my torn bag at my feet. I reenter the semi-trance, eyes fixated on the far wall. I do my own time, as they say in prison, minding my own business as would a good boy who has learned his manners. FBI agents rush back and forth clutching clip-boards and generally stirring the mood into a confused lather. They are normal-looking, often unattractive people one would never be able to pick out of a crowd.
A tall man with a concave chest approaches me, sweating under his counter-terrorism wind-breaker. "Did you notice anyone acting strange on board? Was anyone visibly upset?" he asks me. "I can't say I did, sir," I respond. "Someone wrote a threat against the airline in one of the bathrooms," he says. "So I need to know if you saw anything suspicious." I tell him I was asleep most of the flight, and that I cannot say I saw anything. He nods and walks away. At that moment I it dawns on me that I have just become am the primary suspect. The realization churns my innards but the semi-trance holds, and I resume to wait patiently for whatever is going on to end. I ramp up my peripheral vision and enter Type '81, that state in which I see everything but appear to look at nothing.
A graceful, lithe female approaches from my right. I allow her to pass before I glance at her perfectly-shaped rear end. She talks with the concave-chested agent who had approached me initially and glances over as I am staring inappropriately through the fabric of her immaculately-tailored gray suit at her buttocks. "Would you come with me?" Concave Chest says. "We need to ask you some additional questions." I am led to a secluded area piled high with rows of discarded airport seating. The TSA agent, whose name I shall not here mention, introduces himself politely. He asks me about my life, about my travels in Thailand, about my primary source of income, about my activities on the flight, about any past military training, and about where and how often I went to the bathroom on the plane. I answer his questions; we chat amicably. After nearly twenty minutes, the lithe female with the perfect ass walks over, waiting until we have concluded our pleasantries.
"Where did you get those tattoos. Were you in the military?" she says in a condescending tone. I tell her that I wasn't, but I do not explain why I have an American eagle and a Shield of the Union inked boldly into my left forearm. (It is because I love my country, because I am a Son of the American Revolution, and because I consider myself a patriot.) "Why are you so calm, and why were you standing against the wall like that," she asks. I explain that my father was a Navy man who taught me how to stand correctly. I explain that I strive always to act like a gentleman. I also mention that, as an unofficial American ambassador to the Thai nation, I had been on my best behavior throughout the trip. "Oh, well, sweet tatts," she says before turning on a heel and storming off.
"Do you have any writing instruments on your person?" my TSA guardian asks. I remove the permanent marker and pens from my pocket. "Oh," he says upon seeing the marker. A wide and joyous smile threaten to fill his features. "You had better sit down and get comfortable – this is going to take a while." The bathrooms are right next to where I am sitting, but I decide against asking to use them. The agent asks if I have had any trauma in my life recently, and I tell him that my father died not long ago. "You must still be pretty upset about that," he says. I tell him No, but he does not seem convinced. Soon thereafter, Concave Chest and a uniformed airport policeman walk over and ask me to follow them.
I round the partition to a sea of staring faces. Every single person who was on the plane, flight crew included, is staring at me. Some stare with the after-affects of shock, but most look at me as I were wearing a necklace strung with severed baby's feet. Flanked by federal agents, I fix my gaze on a point at the far end of the long hallway and walk calmly and steadily toward it. A unmarked door opens, and I am led into a large room. Two burly and armed men sit along a far wall with their elbows on their knees looking at me with poorly-veiled blood-lust. "This way," someone says, leading me into a smaller, glass-walled room that sits within the larger room. Seven FBI counter-terrorism agents are waiting for me, including Lithe Female. I am directed to sit in a cheap folding chair at a cheap folding table.
“This is federal property," Concave Chest says, gesturing at the four walls. "This room is wired for recording, and we can search anything we want, here." "Fine by me," I say, shrugging. Since I have not yet passed through customs, I know that I am in international waters where I have few, if any, rights. I stay calm and control my breathing with the remnants of the semi-trance. My mind is utterly still and focused to a razor sharpness. Every passing second bears tremendous weight, and as the agents lean toward me with pens poised above notepads, I relax in the knowledge that I have done nothing wrong.
Concave Chest says his name and the name of another agent, a short, ugly man whose face looks like that of a Tolkien troll. I force myself not to laugh at the absurdity of the situation, since my mind is constantly comparing the agents in front of me to every beautiful, dashing agent in every spy movie I have ever seen. "Do you have a camera?" Concave Chest asks. I give him my camera, and as he is rifling through it, the Tolkien-Troll-looking man asks me which cities I visited in Thailand, with whom I associated, where I stayed, if I met any shady or unsavory characters, and if I participated in any sort of military training. I answer truthfully while forcing myself not to look over at the three agents who are emptying my torn Nike bag and carefully fingering its seams.
"You have a lot of pictures of graffiti and tagging in this camera," Concave Chest says. "Thailand is chock full of amazing street art," I say. "I never would have thought that there would be so much beautiful graffiti there." My zeal has little impact on their stony demeanors. "Have you ever done any tagging yourself?" he asks. I say that I have not. "Are you willing to answer that under polygraph?" I say that I am ready take a lie detector test at any time. "Well, the thing is,” he says, “we have your customs declaration here, and, while we're not handwriting experts (those guys will be here soon), we do see a fair bit of this sort of thing, and, again, we're going to have to run this past the handwriting guys, but the way you wrote the letters O and P on your customs form is very similar to the Os and the Ps used to write the note. Again, we're not experts, but when the Os and Ps are similar, it pretty much indicates a match."
"OK," I say, nodding and waiting for them to proceed. "Did he have any writing implements on him?" Concave Chest says. Before I can answer, my cordial TSA guardian pulls my marker from his pocket and places it on the table. Concave Chest's face lights up with excitement. "So," he says, "we have the pictures of graffiti in your camera, and we have your marker, and we have the handwriting match on your customs declaration. It would be best for you to just get this over with now. If you admit to anything later on, before a judge, things will go far worse for you. So, you should probably just get it over with now."
Variables flash through my mind and I think, 'Shit, if I mess this up, I am looking at three to five years in a maximum security federal prison. Just. Stay. Calm.' I nod and look around at the assembled agents leaning forward expectantly. Concave Chest repeats himself, again telling me that I should just get it over with now before I reach a judge. "Look," I say, pointing at the items on the table, the camera and the marker and the form. "I realize that all these things probably indicate to you that I am somehow involved with…" (here I pause, for the agents have all perked up and leaned forward and are straining their ears to hear exactly what I am about to say, thereby indicating just how important my next words are) "… that I am somehow involved in Whatever Happened On The Plane, but I refuse to confess to a crime I did not commit."
"That is your right, here in America," Concave Chest says, thus enveloping me in the awesome and comforting blanket of the Bill of Rights. "Will you repeat your preceding statements under polygraph?" "Absolutely. I've been on a plane for sixteen hours, and my internal clock is way off sync,” I say, “but if you need me to polygraph tomorrow morning, at eight a.m., I shall be there. I went to the bathroom once, just once, on the right-hand side of the plane forward of my seat." "So you didn't go to the bathroom on the left-hand side of the plane?" he says. "No, I did not. I did not even set foot on the left-hand side of the plane. I was in seat number ###C. Compare the fingerprints on that seat to the fingerprints in the bathroom. You will find none of my prints in the bathroom where whatever happened occurred. You will find my prints in the bathroom nearest to my seat, on the right-hand side of the plane, and in the vicinity of that seat, but nowhere else."
"Will you repeat these statements under polygraph?" he says. I again assert that I am ready to polygraph at any time. Again he tells me to, "Just get it over with now because it will be better for you in the long run." Again I tell him that I refuse to confess to a crime I did not commit. "As a matter of fact," I say, "take my permanent marker. Run a chemical analysis on the ink in my marker against the ink used to write the note. You will find they are not a match." I sit heavily into the chair and stare at the assembled feds while I force my breathing back to normal and the anger within me to abate.
"Well, we have your phone number, and we know where and for how long you'll be in Los Angeles, so, we'll be in touch," Concave Chest says, rising to his feet. "Do you have a criminal record?" he says, offhand. I shake my head and say No. His eyebrows rise incredulously. "Thank you all very much for your time," I say politely as I turn to follow an agent back out into the waiting area. I sit next to an elderly Japanese gentleman. He looks at me and says, "What is going on?" "They think I am a terrorist," I say, smiling. He laughs until he shakes in his seat.
I take a bottled water from a passing pushcart and, after a few minutes, walk with the rest of the passengers through a warren of forgotten passageways to the customs area. While I am waiting in line (and getting stared at constantly by hovering federal agents), my unpleasant neighbor during the flight keeps giving me strange looks from where he is standing a few lines down. But before I can make anything of his glances I am called to the customs desk, where a stone-faced agent dutifully stamps my passport. Having no checked luggage, I walk calmly through the baggage retrieval area toward the exit, but, halfway there, my former TSA guardian, he whose name I shall not mention, stops me short. "You don't have any checked baggage? You traveled alone, to Thailand, without checked baggage?" "I like to travel light," I say, "it cuts down on time and all but eliminates the likelihood of airline error." He attempts to engage me in conversation, but I have had enough; I keep my answers short and my eyes fixed on the ground. It is nearly one in the morning. He bids be farewell and I exit into the main arrivals hall without further delay. After urinating for what seems like an eternity, I call my lawyer to let him know what just transpired. Forced to remove cash from a highly-priced ATM (because both my prearranged ride and the cheap bus have stopped running), and sick of being shadowed by uniformed officers, I count my twenties, hail a taxi-cab, and speed off into the night, a free man.
p.s. If a law enforcement agent tells you to confess, claiming that it would be better for you to "Get it over with now rather than later," he or she is bluffing, he or she wants you to sacrifice your rights, he or she is your enemy and an enemy of Liberty, and he or she wants only to send you to prison. Please do not ever – EVER – forfeit your rights and protections. Thousands of good Americans have died to guarantee those rights. Educate yourself, and fight tyranny and oppression wherever they might raise their ugly heads.
p.p.s. I never received a call, and I have been neither questioned nor approached since.
mentiri factorem fecit – 場黑麥
As happens often in this land of shifting mores, America is stretching long-held notions of marriage to the breaking point. More than half of all marriages in this country end in divorce, and homosexual couples from coast to coast are demanding the same rights as their heterosexual fellow countrymen. Among the many reasons we are in this mess is because marriage was long ago contaminated by religion. Now, instead of functioning as a secular affair designed to protect offspring and safeguard common assets, it is all too often clothed in the coarse, restrictive mantle of one organized belief system or another.
In general, Americans have little patience for old and outdated things; in the last sixty years ours has become more a nation of shoppers than one of fixers, or menders. If a car stops working the way it should, the average Ynki gets a new one. If her computer isn't fast enough, she trades it in. And if her husband turns out to be someone other than the person she thought she was marrying, she divorces him. Armed with a better understanding of what she is and is not looking for, her chances at finding a new spouse more to her liking on the open market are greater than they were before she wed.
Marriage should be a beneficial affair, one rife with Happiness, trust, and love mutually enjoyed. Often, though, people remain in broken or abusive marriages out of fear that willfully terminating them will cause their souls to be cast down for all eternity into mythical pits of mythical hellfire. If we could but free divorce from it negative moral and religious associations and celebrate it for the positive effect it can have, suffering Susan might yet escape the clutches of combative, callous Cal; through education and an different attitude, her soul could soar once more. When marriage is freed from the shackles of religious conviction, all involved win (except, of course, pastors and religious zealots who scream regularly for this author's blood). Please help end state-sanctioned inequality by signing this petition, today. Huzzah.
mentiri factorem fecit – 場黑麥
The Glorious Republic of Grigovia recently joined a growing number of nations protesting America's ongoing policy of killing people using unmanned aerial systems, or drones. Concurrent with its formal application to United Nations membership, Grigovia signed the Pact of Peace amongst Prosperous Peoples (PoPaPP), which censures the government of the United States and calls for it to stop its drone strikes immediately. “Given the illegality of these attacks and a proven American willingness to bomb the citizens of nations with which it is not officially at war, we call for America to forget hatred, anger, and fear and return to the table of friendship,” said Piendoyast Tormund, deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for the state of Grigovia. “It is illegal, inappropriate, and rude for a big kid to go around with a bucket of his own tears drowning the smaller kids who live down the street.”
Since assuming world hegemony after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, the federal government of the United States of America has donned a mantle it once sacrificed so much to overthrow: that of petty, spiteful tyrant. “Fewer than 70 years ago, the U.S. fought to free the oppressed people of the world from the tyrants Hitler and Hirohito,” said Biel Nourdegast, professor of 20th Century history at Pylta the Terrible University, in Pyltagrad. “Now, however, it spirits people from the lands of their birth and tortures them in secret prisons around the world while also using its unmanned aerial systems to watch, track, and kill persons it merely suspects of wanting to do it or its people harm. Such behavior is estimable to tyrants only.” In 1776, a group of non-conformist Americans operating in the 13 original colonies cried foul of King George's ongoing torture and intimidation of his own subjects; they rebelled, using terrorist tactics to topple a corrupt and murderous hegemon. Now, though, in 2013, their ancestors torture and intimidate peaceful peoples the world over, fomenting anger and spreading hatred one drone strike at a time.
“On many levels, the American government's actions violate its founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution” said Ula Ouliffant, a political science student at Eastern Grigovia University, in Gar Nuuzsh. “When president Obama authorized the Hellfire missile strike that killed the son of Anwar al-Awlaki, he violated the XIV Constitutional amendment by depriving the boy of life without due process of law [i.e. without first fulfilling the young man's right to a trial by his peers]. Any sane person will agree that the president of a republic who destroys its founding document by violating its clearly worded text should be removed from office as quickly as is possible.” Grigovia has expelled the American diplomatic mission until such time as drone strikes stop. Despite ongoing international efforts, neither presidents G.W. Bush nor B.H. Obama will likely ever be tried in The Hague for their crimes against humanity.
mentiri factorem fecit – 場黑麥
During the past year, the conglomerated media outlets that self-identify as National Public Radio (NPR) committed major errors. First, it participated in the blackout campaign waged against Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, the main third party candidates contending against Mitt Romney and Barack Obama for the presidency. (Regardless of the media's efforts to stifle the free flow of information, Johnson received more than a million votes, Stein roughly three hundred thousand.) In the weeks leading up to the election, NPR consistently and repeatedly referred to the Republican (Romney) and Democratic (Obama) candidates as the only two persons running for our highest executive office; not only did NPR not cover the two separate third party presidential debates hosted by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, it didn't even mention that they took place. (Such is the complicity of today's media in maintaining and perpetuating our anti-American and undemocratic two party system that the second round of third party debates aired only on Russia Today, after aljazeera.com one of the most courageous and professional news organizations operating today.)
The second major error committed by NPR is that it reports in detail on most bombings and violent attacks carried out by non-military (insurgent) forces but ignores the daily assassination undertaken against innocent Afghanis, Somalians, Yemeni, and Pakistanis by Americans operating unmanned aerial systems. (Innocent in that the persons killed were never convicted in a court of law.) By tacitly supporting the absurd notion that the American government has a right to conduct and could ever win its War On Terror (terror is a state of mind, and nothing else), NPR perpetuates the lies and misinformation our government needs to keep its citizens ignorant of its regular and enthusiastic violation of international law and the Geneva Convention.
NPR will occasionally speak to a specialist or elected official who has knowledge of the American federal government's drone program, but it rarely airs reports critical of it. Not long ago, National Public Radio was a force to be reckoned with, an upstanding and self-respecting organization that provided the People with information from myriad sources that they could use to make well-rounded decisions. Now, however, NPR has lost much of its journalistic integrity as well as most of the respect it once deserved. Woe be unto us – veritas delenda est.
mentiri factorem fecit – 場黑麥
Reluctant to lose the collective knowledge of its aging generations, the Glorious Republic of Grigovia recently established the Wisdom & Heritage Institute (WHI) at Queen Pylta the Terrible University, in Pyltagrad. At the Institute, knowledgeable persons older than sixty years are invited to share their wisdom and talents with the general public in a structured, scholastic environment. “We have much to learn from the people who came before us, from patriots who fought for their freedom against both Nazi and Soviet,” said Derogast Olyindt of the Center for Graceful Aging, a private charitable organization. He continued, saying, “For too long have we let them rot away, alone and sad, in elder-care facilities. I applaud efforts currently under way to engage with individuals of such value.” Classes will be held on the campus of WHI, a refurbished former industrial site on the Yalung River with spectacular views of the distant, towering Yiptlong massif. “These our latest efforts were born primarily from American and European studies,” said Dr. Hueiyue Yen, head of geriatrics at Grig's own Yündlennd Healing Hospital. “Additionally, numerous meta-studies show that when an older person is valued by his society for more than his ability to die slowly in a nursing home, he leads a healthier, happier, and more independent life, right up until its end.”
A majority of the curricula at the Wisdom and Heritage Institute will focus on vanishing native arts such as basketry, storytelling, animal husbandry, and celestial navigation. A few senior citizens have signed up to teach martial arts, wilderness survival skills, yoga, cat-burglary, and bicycle repair on-the-fly. (The Institute apologizes that these courses filled up within hours of becoming available; it invites elderly persons with experience in these fields to come teach.) In addition to classes, WHI will hold workshops in which older mentors will be paired up with and guide their younger counterparts along life's twists and turns. Once again, the organizers of the Institute mined primarily American and European studies for methods to combat mental decay and physical atrophy among older citizens.
Classes are provided free of charge once applicants submit detailed declarations of purpose written on no fewer than three pages (single-spaced and using the font type Heraldic New). The Institute aims to build camaraderie amongst all strata of Grigovian society while serving as a breeding ground for new ideas and a safe place to test them out. “Students should not expect formal testing, rote memorization, or chalk on blackboards,” said Mrs. Hilde Wendoyend, PhD., head of the Ministry of Education, a co-sponsor of WHI. “What they should expect is the unexpected: making blood stew from goat freshly slaughtered or learning how to pick a pocket while juggling, skills the average person can use on a daily basis.” Donations to the Wisdom and Heritage Fund, which helps to finance the WHI, can be made On-line or dropped off at any branch of the Grigovian National Bank. For more information about being a student or teacher at WHI, please contact your local censor.
mentiri factorem fecit – 場黑麥
From the marshes in the West down to the sands of eastern borders we of old and ancient blood do treasure all our soils. Rich in traces rare and true, mountain-ranges high and blue do hide the vastness of our wealth, we who share with all who need it, we whose skills are speed and stealth. Every sifting pans a mint now, every spadeful yields a trove, liquefied or still in nuggets, all are gifts from Yennd above. Now our mines do sing with labor, now they form a deadly tomb, years of toil wrought in iron, plentiful the earthen womb. Soil loamy, filled with promise, crops that leap to skies above, rich and endless is the feasting, livestock fattens in the stables, rain-soaked patterns paint the dirt. Oh fair Mother, endless giver, take this paltry offering, drink of blood and tears and sunshine, think of us when next you quiver, shaking mountain, bluff, and plain. Yours is mercy, rot and ruin, yours is fame and quick delight, you we praise now, Earthly mistress, see us through this one last night. Soon enough our bones we'll give you, soon enough we'll turn to ash, feeding then the creeping critters, we all merge with you at last. Keep us humble, founded, giddy, hold us when the skies turn gray, slay our doubts and ancient troubles, guide us on the smoothest way.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Often, people become entrenched in their ways to the point that they are incapable of making meaningful change. Once one has determined this to be the case, however, all one really has to do is keep playing into the person's hand in order to keep them feeling as if they were in charge and on top of things. These people dance to the tune played by an outside force; they have allowed themselves to become puppets of entities outside of their immediate control; and their lives progress to rhythms other than those dictated by the shifting circumstances of life, which is in a constant state of flux. Such is its changeability that the only way to really thrive in it is to be on one's toes, to keep the head on a swivel, and to be wary of falling into the rut of the comfortable and the familiar. Huzzah then, and mahalo.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Long she rises short she rides, she whose face now wax now wanes whom we all hope will sail again through inky even blackness. Here her face deep red does shine, there it sports an orange hue, as her cheeks with steady glowing through the shadows gladly pierce. Crisp the contours of her chin that one can follow with a glass, tracing patterns, mare to mare, from impact spot to ancient sea that surely she once cherished. Bright in day as through the night she trumps in power ocher Sol, shining always down upon us, never resting, never dull. How she does it we know neither, how her surface keeps on shining when her back is to the sun, how she does it in square rhythm, none can fathom, not a one. Cease with vexing thoughts and patterns and lay back to watch her work, spy her ferry shipwrecked souls straight back to harbors whence they came. In her glory she surpasses all the other bodies bright, for her tugging keeps our oceans and our rivers running right, oh elusive mu'untha darling, in your clockwork course of old, shelter with us hopeful mortals, silver-faced and always watching, never late and never due, always shining, always new.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
In the past couple of weeks, three different beautiful women have waltzed into my life only to promptly waltz back out of it. In response to this good fortune I stayed polite, was well-mannered, and acted in no way aggressively. Consequently, I wrote down no telephone numbers, got no new names, have no new leads, and continue to go to bed without hugs or snuggles or kisses goodnight. On some level it is rude of me not to pursue these women and honor the urges and desires that surge through me when I cast my eyes upon them – the universe was kind enough to thrust these beautiful creatures into my path, and I am savvy enough to pick up on the possibility of them maybe liking me enough and finding me attractive enough to want to spend time with me, and it is in some ways insulting to the Fates and to God herself for me to stay mum, alone, and silent. But on another level I refrain from acting because I understand that when I pursue something, when I grasp after an external goal, that thing nearly invariably eludes me, and on another level I simply cannot fathom how anyone could be attracted to me sexually. My perceptions, then, are what are keeping me back more than most anything else, and it is my brains that prohibit me from experiencing something akin to a healthy and happy sex life. So many synapses mixed and entwined, slow is the process of changing the mind. Huzzah.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
From Pyltagrad to Gar Nuuzsh, from Pryaghdoyest to Iysh, Grigovia blossoms and blooms. In the dead of winter, through the fiercest of wind, when the sun is barely shining, somehow the babushkas of the Banoyend coax life from the dark and the loamy soils. They eschew chemical fertilizers, using instead rotted leaves and manure; they do not weed but use ground cover, preferring to stop unwanted plants from growing instead of killing them after they have already sprouted. They are industrious and shrewd, resourceful and clever, humble and conscientious. If there is a better way to celebrate the Second Day of National Independence than by feeding oneself from one's own blessed soil, we have yet to discover it. Huzzah.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
For most of my life, indeed from a young age, I was taught to avoid failure at all cost. As a younger man I encountered failure in the form of poor marks at school and rejection from the pretty girls whose orbits overlapped with mine. In my twenties and early thirties, failure was still something to be avoided, only that it had grown and morphed into a concept of monumental and cataclysmic disintegration of career and independence, the idea that my entire self-worth hinged upon my ability to meet some arguably low expectations and pay my bills on time. Since having started exploring a virtuous and simple life of yoga and meditation and writing and just being Me, however, my understanding of failure has changed dramatically. On some level, I know that I am indistinguishable from the Great Omnipresent Knowledge that is everything we know and see and everything we cannot fathom; some part of me understands that I am the Deity, the Chosen One, the Kwisatz Haderach, and, therefore, on a cosmic level, nothing I do will ever be wrong, and nothing I have ever done was a mistake. For the time being, though, I inhabit a human form, and my human form lives in a society of other humans, and the others call themselves Americans, and with this common Ynki horde I share certain mores and customs, traditions and habits, dreams and hopes and fears. Instead of looking upon the concept of failure with disdain, however, I am learning how to embrace it, redefine it, use it, cherish it, and harness the its power to achieve the spiritual calm and personal fulfillment that I never managed to find in success. As I stand before the precipice of grand and life-changing decisions I find myself acknowledging the dozens of little failures I achieve every day, things such as not holding a yoga pose for as long as I could have held it or letting my thoughts dictate my actions instead of breathing and taking a moment to become clear. I am adept at seeing my shortcomings but nearly blind to recognizing my own success, and instead of continuing to bash my head into that thick brick wall I am trying to trick myself into a positive state of mind by cherishing failure, that ubiquitous bogeyman, that damaging wraith. Ultimately, I am learning how to give myself permission to fail, which is perhaps one of the greatest of all of life's lessons. Aho.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
In an apparent effort to clear his own name and that of the NFL franchise he owns, Daniel Snyder announced plans to change the name of his Washington D.C.-based team to the White Nazi Rapists. “Polling shows that the new name is just about as unacceptable as its predecessor – the Redskins – which some indigenous tribes said offended them to the extent that the word nigger offends the black,” he said openly and without visible dismay at a press conference earlier this afternoon. “It is my hope that, as a Jewish person, using the word Nazi to describe the team I own will show my impartiality to racial slurs, and my general lack of racialist tendencies – it's OK to be racially insensitive so long as you're doing it against your own race, right? Furthermore, I wish to own a team called the Rapists, a term and a concept hated universally.” “This whole thing just went from bad to worse,” said Ray Halbritter, spokesperson for the Oneida Nation, which filed the objections that led to the current conversation about the use of objectionable names by professional organizations. “Not only do sports team continuously slander us and our fellow First Peoples by using names such as Chief or Brave or Indian, the ur-dick owner of a certain local team now appears to be doubling down on his absurdly senseless offensiveness.” During the press conference Mr. Snyder revealed a preliminary sketch of the logo for his newly renamed team, which shows a slack-jawed Caucasian man in a swastika armband holding a length of rope in one hand and a pipe-wrench in the other whose pants are straining to contain his visibly swollen member. “People freaked when a pretty girl kissed a nerdy boy in a commercial during the Superbowl last year,” said Kandace Franko-Jaice, spokeswoman for Protect American Values in Sports, a media-in-professional-sports watchdog group. “I can hardly wait to see what happens when they hear about the, uh, the Washington White Nah... until they hear about Mr. Snyder's plan to rebrand his team.”
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
For most of my adult life, I have delighted in others' misfortune. One part of my tendency to find joy in the sadness of others comes from having been educated to a high standard in the German gymnasium system, so that now I have the capacity to intellectually browbeat most persons I meet. Also, I am a multilingual American mutt raised by a self-loathing, genius-level, alcoholic country pastor and his codependent, artist wife; one of the things I am good at is reading another person's weaknesses and relentlessly exploiting them to my own short-term personal gain. Furthermore, I stand about six feet four inches tall, with a muscular and athletic build, and I am accustomed to using my physical presence as a means to tap into deep-seated fears that many people have of persons taller than they are. More than a dozen years ago, however, I began to follow a path other than that followed by most of the people I meet, a method for living codified in five hundred Before Common Error by a warrior-scholar named Lao Tzu. Chapter thirty-one of his book contains a simple guideline for living a virtuous life: If one is bound to action, proud of victory, or delights in the misfortune of others, one will never gain a thing from this world below Heaven. Over the years my ability to understand and practice this lesson has changed and evolved, but my recent dedication to a daily practice of yoga and meditation has greatly strengthened my grasp of the deeper meaning of the Tao Teh Ching. In modern American society it is difficult not to delight in the misfortune of others – the tendency to do so is popular among hosts of television and radio programming, so much so that it is unusual for these role-models to treat the people around them respectfully and with feelings of universal love. How can one avoid finding delight in the misfortune of others? By breathing instead of speaking, by staying silent instead of hurling that delicious verbal barb, by rooting out the source of one's own dissatisfaction and desire instead of blindly following the knee-jerk reactions that pettiness and neediness demand. Not one thing slips by the Great Aether, not mine nor yours nor those guys' either. Huzzah.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Six months after officially declaring that access to yoga instruction is an essential right of Grigovian citizenship, the first dedicated yoga institute opened this week, in Grig. Built around the notion that persons who practice yoga properly tend to lead healthier, happier, and more productive lives, the Grigovian Institute of Yogic Studies (grinyost) is dedicated to training yogis from around the world to teach this ancient art to the Banoyend. Housed in refurbished warehouse space adjacent to the Yalung River and mere blocks from the newly refurbished Liberty Illuminating the World, grinyost offers a dozen large rooms for classes up to fifty people, smaller rooms for groups of up to fifteen, and private quarters for one-on-one training. The organization's main meeting hall can seat five hundred persons and accommodate well over two hundred fifty yoga practicing yogis. All rooms have wooden floors and access to fresh air and sunlight. The building is certified environmentally friendly, with the majority of its electricity coming from roof-mounted solar panels and wind turbines; it has a full acre of rooftop gardening space, an osmotic wastewater treatment plant in the basement, and in-house laundry service. The top-most floors have been converted into short-term, dormitory-style living areas for traveling yogis, and its location in Grig's main backpacking quarter means that visitors can access affordable lodging and lively entertainment without traveling more than a few blocks. As part of its incentive plan to attract skilled yoga instructors from around the world, the Glorious Republic of Grigovia is offering a year's worth of room, board, and airfare into and out of the country to the first one hundred qualified individuals to sign up the grinyost website. Thank you for reading, and huzzah.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
A desire has gripped me this winter – to be comfortable, and warm. When arriving home from a shopping trip or bicycling adventure I don thick woolen socks and finish outstanding business quickly then throw myself onto the couch and crawl under a well-padded blanket. Since we turned our clocks back a few weeks ago, this desire for warmth has seen me falling asleep before 8 p.m., as I tend to snuggle into the covers after dinner instead of chasing away the deep cold of my unheated house by making a fire; once my feet thaw out my eyelids begin to droop and I slip unwittingly into Morpheus's embrace. By following this pattern I write less and sleep more, which has me sitting by myself after my seasonal job trying to come up with interesting and useful things to write about here and on my other blogs. On some level, it is easier to get warm using my own body heat than it is to use wood or oil – it costs less, it produces fewer greenhouse-gas emissions, and it runs solely on the food churning through my guts. Guests change my house's heating dynamic entirely, especially guests young, attractive, and female, of which there are however few. So long as I keep the peeps away and stick to my lonesome this winter season, wiling away the evenings in a heavy-lidded stupor, my carbon footprint will be as low as my self-esteem. Huzzah.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Shuttered in the final days of Communist rule by bureaucrats fearful of looting, the Douyriyest Aandt cave system in eastern Grigovia reopened this weekend. Refurbished by a group of investors with financial help and guidance from the National Artifact and Treasure Restoration Loan Society (NATRLS), the caves are once again open to the public. Featuring many sights including the Wizard's Spire, a 50-foot-high stalagmite that glitters in the beam of a bright flashlight, Douyriyest Aandt is on this year's short list for the Treasures of the Banoyend, a regional list of protected landmarks, an its inclusion into the UNESCO system of World Treasures is pending approval with that body. “Although we do not have any of the size or sheer volume of, say, Karlsbad Caverns, in New Mexico USA, our caves are rumored to be the prettiest and most glittery in all of Central Asia,” said John Ulloyest-Randall, one of the businesspersons directly involved in the project. “The Douyriyest Aandt cave system is less than an hour drive south-east of Gar Nuuzsh; it and the Great Dune Sea make for excellent road trip opportunities.” For tickets to see the caves, please visit the website for Grigovair, Grigovia's regional airlines. Flights leave daily from Tehran, Tashkent, Damascus, Kabul, and Islamabad.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
On the radio tonight I heard that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) of the federal government of the United States of America (the fed) is planning to ban trans-fats from foods. I learned something from one of the specialists on the news program: trans-fats are bad because of their tendency to clump and harden within blood vessels, which can cause heart-attacks and disease. We are long overdue in this country for a serious reconsideration of the continued legality and general public acceptance of alcohol as the drug of choice for weddings, funerals, cookouts, romantic encounters, fraternity parties, afternoon outings, Christmases, and New Year's Eves. Deaths in America resulting from the consumption of alcohol outnumber those resulting from the eating of trans-fats by a ratio of 10 to 1, yet alcohol is still legal. Alcohol is involved in most reported cases of domestic violence, yet sports teams across this land proudly play in stadiums built and named by Coors and Busch and their ilk, drug manufacturers and drug distributors who profit from continually undermining the foundations of an orderly and safe society. When soldiers return from war with post traumatic stress disorder, they often reach to alcohol, thus compounding damage already sustained and confounding efforts toward recovery: we owe it to our mentally challenged servicepeople to provide them with treatment and help in their time of need, and the last thing we should be doing is standing idly and feeding them fifths of Beam by as they crawl down the rabbit hole of chronic alcohol intoxication. One avenue for the fed to consider is the Swedish model, which involves making alcohol prohibitively expensive to purchase in the hopes that sticker-shock will keep people from drinking; the other paths for the fed to take is to deregulate and legalize all drugs and get the fuck out of the personal business of 337 million Americans, which however would mean admitting that its meddling and its guidelines and its nitpicking were total crap from the get-go, and that it used tens of trillions of taxpayer dollars to build a massively bloated, heavily armed, hyper-paranoid nanny state. Fuck that noise; it's time for anther motherfucking revolution.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Following a centuries-old Grigovian tradition of feting any person who successfully locates and masters all eight Challenges of Skill & Mastery, the Glorious Republic of Grigovia today celebrated Yuoyest Uouiyind, aged 14, of Pryaghdoyest. Located each year at different spots around this landlocked Central Asian nation, each Challenge of Skill & Mastery can be reached only on foot or horseback, and participants have from All Hallow's Eve until Second National Independence Day on November 20th to locate and beat them. The final act of each Challenge is to symbolically pierce a veil, which in times past meant using a sword or dirk to cut a hole in a piece of hanging cloth but which today involves not cutting but hacking into one of several websites listed at the individual locations. Ms. Uouiyind is the youngest contestant ever to win the title of Skilled Mistress of Challenges; she studies neurobiology and mathematics at the Che Guevara Secondary School for Biology in her hometown in southern Grigovia. Reports speak of impromptu parades across Grigovia in the young lady's honor, although the state parade is scheduled for noon on this coming Saturday along the Avenue of the Victims of Imperialistic Oppression in beautiful downtown Grig.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Last week, on Thursday, I finished the Embodying Enoughness (EE) series by Turbodog Yoga, Chicago. For persons who use yoga to heal themselves body and soul, I recommend completing two full rounds of EE in six weeks time, with classes four times a week. Using but a handful of meditations and just six different classes made up of Hatha yoga poses in the Forrest style (with some exceptions thrown in), the people at Turbodog Yoga helped me rekindle a feeling of wholeness and spiritual calm that I have not felt in years. Due perhaps to the great strength of my newly rediscoverd feelings but mostly to my tendency to try to operate in isolation, however, soon after completion I engaged in the harmful practice of excessive and habitual consumption of the sweet sweet sticky, which since completing my training I have been largely able to avoid. And, lo!, I am now laid up, sweating through two nights of fever-dreams and aching in muscle and bone, one molar infected and confidence in self and abilities wavering. Perhaps the lesson here is that the practice is the goal, and that few things come easily that are worthwhile. Healing oneself from psychological damage and harm done in the past is a lifelong endeavor, something one would do well neither to rush nor judge too harshly. Through practice man reaches god. Huzzah.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
blog updated Fridays, usually
I bicycle, write, surf, and the rest.