Archive for October, 2011

Quote of the Day

October 22, 2011

I’m reading a book by Morris Berman called A Question of Values. In the book, Berman quotes from a study called Growth Triumphant by Richard Easterlin.

In the end, the triumph of economic growth is not a triumph of humanity over material wants; it is the triumph of material wants over humanity.

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Progress Report #68

October 16, 2011

I’m back up and running with my new book Street Song. I’m working on the final structure of the outline before launching into the final draft. I’d been hoping to have it finished by the end of the year, but after having been sidelined in bed for so long, that may be optimistic. The outline is divided into 12 periods and I’ve finished the basic outline work for the first five. (I still have to fine-tune that work, but the essentials are laid out.) After period 5, there is a big change, and that’s the period I’m getting into now. I may have said this before, but as I go through the periods I see that the book is not simply the story of my life on the street, but also very much about the chain of events and beliefs that led me from a typical middle-class, suburban youth to a life on the streets. I think of myself as having lived on the streets for 14 years. I’ve been off them longer than I was on them. Yet those years are still vivid and immediate to me. It doesn’t feel like it happened all that long ago.

Judy and I  own a home together that’s completely paid for. We have a little joke between us about one of my reactions to that. I’ve never known anything about home ownership, and one day I told her about my sense (not quite my belief) that the men in the business suits are able to buy your home out from under you whether you want to sell or not. I don’t know where I got that feeling. Judy assumes it comes from a vulnerability that I picked up during my long period of homelessness. Maybe. But I see the powerful as having the system so rigged in their favor that I’ve never been sure where it stops or if it stops. Whenever I see businessmen in my neighborhood (it doesn’t happen often) I always become very suspicious. I stop and watch them. It’s the exact same reaction that most people have when they see homeless people.

So, on to period 6 where I valiantly struggle to actualize a dream that was completely wrong for me. A recipe for disaster. And it was…a disaster.

Occupy Wall Street

October 10, 2011

I’ve been busy getting my work on Street Song back up and running. But I do want to take a moment here to offer a word of support to the Occupy Wall Street people and all the brother and sister movements. There are two main criticisms I keep seeing. One is that they have no clearly defined agenda, and the other is that they are not mainstream. As for not having a clearly defined agenda, a person in danger of drowning yells “Help!” first. Then the details get worked out. That’s perfectly fine and natural. As for not being mainstream, it was mainstream ideas (or what became mainstream after Reagan) that got us into this mess. People have to leave the mainstream behind. It’s not working and it’s never going to. We need a change in the way we live. And whatever that change is, it has to be humane.

One more thing: There’s an excellent opinion piece about Occupy Wall Street in today’s Paul Krugman’s column in the New York Times.

 

One Last Health Update

October 7, 2011

Although my stomach flu/fever broke awhile back, I’m currently dealing with caffeine withdrawals. Before I got sick, I’d been heavily into coffee. I couldn’t drink it while I was sick, and since I made it through the headache of the initial withdrawals, I decided to kick completely. My body has been relying on the stuff to keep going, so I’ve been feeling extremely lethargic as I adapt to life without the junk. I’m back at work on my outline and I’m also working on a new post. But my endurance isn’t strong right now. Mostly, I want to sleep…In any case, I’m feeling a little better each day.

Protest Sign

October 3, 2011
Protest Sign

Sign at an anti Tea Party March