Eye of the Spud: Hitching and freedom etc in Australia

Goodreads Review.

A delightful find, picked up in barn close to the Eumundi Markets. Read the last page 1st, or whenever your bookish enthusiasm wanes. Hitching is the core of the book, it persuaded me to adopt much of the authors attitude and so without further ado;

Laconically, assume a mob of 2 000 Hitch for a week. This will immediately improve a lot of problems, just a little bit. If the 2 000 mob consists over time, a catalytic chain-reaction would begin.
Example: less cars on the road as Ride-sharing is more acceptable (think: free Uber) therefor less traffic and less pollution and less traffic jam and less road-rage because there is less time spent on the roads.
People get locked into a headspace when driving. Their personal space expands, which helps to drive well, but leads to road rage and a sense of entitlement to a personal set of driving conditions which never quite match those taught or graded by the government (who are to be relied upon for this function of communicating & maintaining etiquette). This larger headspace would become pliant if a mostly-stranger was in the car. This hitcher could indulge the drivers motormouth, or begin their own monologue on any topic. There is more to write, but it has already been written so well by the author I fear to disrupt a better way of doing it.

This book is a dynamic book, in which a passion survives longer than the leaded petrol & DDT antagonisms.

The author is a little anarchist, (but mostly Kent State type of hippy, in my opinion) and believes that people are good not because they have been taught all the laws which they obey. Indeed, Mr. Mahoney asserts that most laws are obeyed out of apathy rather than righteous passion. Nevertheless, he accepts a core tenet of Capitalism, blood & sweat & tears (A.K.A. work) should be rewarded and never locked into relationships like a feudal serf or political dogma or religious obeisance.

I award this book 5-stars and may the Powers that Be have no mercy for you if you do not read it.

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Political Ideologies.

Goodreads Review.

Loaned to me by my atheist god-mother.

Passion of Mr. Mussolini, the nameless hope of the New Left, a proud inheritance of the Conservative tradition, Mr. Kropotkin’s respect for the dignity of man, holism of an American Indian and so on so forth.

Expect an eclectic collection of essays on the subject of politics. Edited well, without any over-bearing interference from those who assembled this collection of essays. The original authors speak for themselves, unadulterated proof being when CAPITALISATION OF LETTERS IS ABUSED. Censorship would have been as simple as providing an initial definition of politics, and pruning as apt.

Food for thought, the Nazi Party wanted all War Debt to be forgiven, would this clash with the Black Panther demand of slavery reparations? (Trivial Tidbit on German Nazi’s; Africans-Germans were never targeted for systemic extermination, Slavs [root word of slave], Jews, and Romani people were. [of course, an interracial marriage would have been an obscene affront in that time & place.]) Perhaps the leader of the American Nazi party, who has an essay in this book, discussed that very possibility with the militant blacks whom he met.
Really though, is it enough to know that that genocide of peoples was more complex than “Kill the Jew, Kill the Jew, all we want to do is Kill the Jew”?

Mr. Gandhi’s literal foray into international war has only whet my appetite, which now hungers for development of Satyagraha in relation to the passionate intensity of a sublimed blood-thirst or vengeful hatred.

After reading the finale essay, which asserts that ubiquity & lack of friction indicate an ideology has lost traction in the world, one’s mind may layer it back onto the Technocracy essay. Without a debate, an ideology lacks expression, and so Technocracy is a modern Sisyphus, but forever rolling downhill… Or is it just me?

Quotations of Mr. Kropotkin.

Made without permission from the publishing house or whatever, in tribute to the Anarchist tradition, as an internet pirate, I feel guiltless.

“Socialists know what is meant by protection of property. Laws on property are not made to guarantee either to the individual or to society the enjoyment of the produce of their own labor[sic]. On the contrary, they are made to rob the producer of a part of what he has created, and to secure to certain other people that portion of the produce which they have stolen either from the produce which they have stolen either from the producer or from society as a whole. When, for example, the law establishes Mr. So-and-So’s right to a house, it is not establishing his right to a cottage he has built for himself, or to a house he has erected with the help of some of his friends. In that case no one would have disputed his right. On the contrary, the law is establishing his right to a house which is not the product of his labor[sic]; first of all because he has had it built for him by others to whom he has not paid the full value of their work, and next because that house represents a social value which he could not have produced for himself. The law is establishing his right to what belong to everybody in general and to nobody in particular. The same house built in the midst of Siberia would not have the value it possesses in a large town, and, as we know, that value arises from the labor[sic] of something like fifty generations of men who have built the town, beautified it, supplied it with water and gas, fine promenades, colleges, theatres, shops, railways and roads leading in all directions. Thus by recognizing[sic] the right of Mr. So-and-So to a particular house in Paris, London or Rouen, the law is unjustly appropriating to him a certain portion of the produce of the labor[sic] of mankind in general. And it is precisely because this appropriation and all other forms of property bearing the same character are a crying injustice, that a whole arsenal of laws and a whole army of soldiers, policemen and judges are needed to maintain it against the good sense and just feeling inherent in humanity.”

Gawker, of all the news outlets, has a well sourced article here which details the community authority (Home Owners Association generally), acting contrary to common decency and simple common sense.

 

“Yet there is one fact concerning this head which at the present time is thoroughly established; the severity of punishment does not diminish the amount of crime. Hang, and, if you like, quarter murderers, and the number of murders will not decrease by one. On the other hand, abolish the penalty of death, and there will not be one murder more; there will be fewer. Statistics prove it. But if the harvest is good, and bread cheap, and the weather fine, the number of murders immediately decreases. This again is proved by statistics. The amount of crime always augments and diminishes in proportion to the price of provisions and the state of the weather. Not that all murders are actuated by hunger. That is not the case. But when the harvest is good, and provisions are at an obtainable price, and when the sun shines, men, lighter-hearted and less miserable than usual, do not give way to gloomy passions, do not from trivial motives plunge a knife into the bosom of a fellow creature.”

System of a Down treats this subject here. Although the lyrics lack a melodic quality they are honest words. Study after study has shown that drug treatment is more effective than more police.
Alternatively, one can research how much food is thrown away by their local supermarket chain, tonnages being the common answer. I have no easy solution and admit this protects the consumer from food poisoning.
However, how hungry are the poor in Syria?
In your nearest hobo hotel?
The law dictates and protects the smooth functioning of business. Please follow me as I construct a hypothetical situation; in the week of expiry all food products are freely distributed to the 2 lowest classes of society (prisoners and work-fit unemployed). Subsequently, private profit would be reduced, taxation would be reduced, food poisoning would increase and the citizens of Hypothetical Land would be climb up Maslow’s Hierarchy.
Who doubts that homeless men, women & children would happily sign a waiver voiding their right to sue if the food was contaminated? Assuming it wasn’t deliberate.

Newes from Scotland – declaring the damnable life and death of Doctor Fian, a notable sorcerer.

Freely available online, which is to be respected. It is what you would expect after reading the Wikipedia page & no better or worse, and hence, 3-stars.

A gruesome & grotty dose of horrible history. I have no doubt that a great many of the contemporaries of this debacle were naive. Naive enough to believe the women and sorcerer would only confess if it was true and had no other reason for the confession except it was The Truth.

Let us now dive into some gruesome & grotty details. Who knows what pelliwinkes are? Would you be surprised to learn about moonlit orgies? What if I told you that devotion to the Devil requires you to physically kiss his butt-cheeks? Or that the King, in a fit of ignorance, demanded to hear the music of the Devil played on a Jew Harp? & for the pedants, when did the letter ‘v’ replace the letter ‘u’? ‘s’ & ‘f’ stopped being interchangeable?

Read on…

Land and Sea Tales: For Scouts and Scout Masters.

Goodreads Review.

A collection of tales, with a little bit of language difficulty due to the time gap. Freely available at Telelib. I recommend it to anyone who has significant involvement with scouting, Rudyard Kipling via The Jungle Books is already well known to the Scouting Movement.

A poem is the last chapter and it is very well done. Putting something new into ‘Eenie, meenie, mainee mo’ is quite hard to do. It is of course my most recent impression of the book. I enjoyed it all, some much more than others. Jim, from ‘An Unqualified Pilot’, would be outraged at the actions of J. Conrad’s Lord Jim, and they may even have heard of each other.

Reminiscences of Captain Gronow, formerly of the Grenadier Guards, and M.P. for Stafford: being Anecdotes of the Camp, the Court and the Clubs at the close of the War with France.

Goodreads Review.

Available freely online at Wikisource.

 

The title is accurate. Reading through this book gives the sense of aristocratic people standing around conversing, akin to cocktail parties. This is the strongest impression it left on me, an impression of oral story telling transcribed. Alternatively, it is a dose of the reality before the ‘meritocracy of modernity’ held social apogee, because although a bad businessman is described, it is an uncritical description. Perhaps the 1st 3rd of the book was rather good, after that it declined into small witticisms about forgotten celebrities. Some readers are surely curious about certain poets; Lord Byron, Shelley and others are discussed by their contemporary Cpt. Gronow. Old-fangled language can be collected, quidnunc has entered my own vocabulary. Brevity of chapters enhances a light reading, which is the approach I recommend.

War & Peace.

Goodreads Review.

 

If you read this great work of literature, you will learn about Mr. Napoleon. Not too much, this is a Russian book. You will be following the lives of various aristocrats and some military persons. Most of the characters were real people, so to were the events. The people who actually tend the farms (muzhik’s), are not characters so much as tiny non-essential cogs in the narrative & nation. Some landlord characters care for them, other landlords dismiss them and everybody else ignores them. Merchants are more completely ignored, as is to be expected of a feudal society.

There is no key character. Count Bezukhov is the closest, and is absent in person and in the discourse of hundreds of pages. Nor does it expound Christian theology, only a little ideological facade is proffered by Count Tolstoy. Nor does this epic tale focus on the year 1812, which was the peak aggression of the French Empire. Nor does it focus on a single conundrum. A fantasy contrast of rich & poor, which is present in a shallow form in Alladin does not fill these pages. A major exploration of the upper crust during a time of turmoil, it is an epic tale in diversity of characters and in the length of time covered from 1st page to last.

Larrikins looking for hi-jinks are better off reading Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy. For such a reader, the high point occurs in the first hundred pages or so, with the tale of the policeman & the bear. Meathead bookworms looking for violence are better off reading something by Marshall Macao. Pitched battles occur several times, not more often. Armchair philosophers (& generals) seeking a schema for regular application on the evening news will find a little. Skip to the epilogue and appendix to read Mr. Tolstoy expound on the chaos inherent to all major human organisation.

It has earnt 4 stars. Reasons are numerous. To gloat about this experience requires an aware audience. My philosophy is sharpened from having read it. I am less ignorant of the events preceding WWI & pursuant social upheavals. Madness of crowds and the cult of celebrity prior to fast communications and fast transport is a fascinating subject. Unveiling of the hidden ugliness of times past is lacking. Rag on a stick method of hygiene for example. All the varieties of clothing would be less attractive when one can & does not dress oneself and everywhere itches. War would have been less deadly with the un-rifled barrels of the time, so there would have been more safety for heroism when opposing battalions can stand in eyesight of each other, fire all day and less than a 1/4 of the soldiers are dead at the end. I digress.

If you do read this book, pay attention to the French language. The preface forewarned me as I do you now. The appendix post-warned me, in a rather oblique manner. With careful application of French, Count Tolstoy develops a theme. Whether this theme is historically realistic, which it might be from the authors extensive research, or if it is a personal whimsy, I do not know. Alternatively, I recommend reflecting on the concept of nation and of the power of a single person during the days or nights you read. Many reviews on Goodreads are pleasant, only afterwards.

I read this book. Every. Single. Page. It is a, big, big book with, small, small letters. Pleasure shall be brought to me, when guests of my house see it in an alcove, mounted on a pedestal, near to the front door. Lit from below, with candles to flicker shadows across the pages as my fingers once flitted across them. The pedestal shall stand in the nook made from the slow curl of a grand staircase. The wicks of the candles shall be made from the hair of the illiterate and the floor tiled with the bank cards of the innumerate. I digress & apologise for wasteful words.

Occult Japan.

Goodreads review.

Available here at Wikisource.

A longer read than is pleasurable. Sometimes funny, such as describing the French as monkeys with cringe-worthy sansculotte (pants-less) institutions.  Within are details of ritual possession (which the author concludes are entirely real), the childhood development of the attitude, the dominant religions & their quarrels, the powers of possession, the pilgrim troop, journey & destination, the analogue of business cards that the pilgrims distribute, and so on. There was a momentary surprise to find an author so implicitly derisive of the Japanese culture & people to be aware of the Christian tendency to baptise any tradition to strong to be dismissed or daemonised.

The author appears sincere in investigating the psyche of the Japanese nation. Indeed he believes himself to have determined the origin of the possession ritual, as well as locating prehistoric religion / attitudes passed down through generations and lost to the confusion between Shintō, Buddhism and Ryobū. A confusion locals could only overcome by leaning on the author’s own strong, Western personality, to make explicit a certain ugliness of this book.

At times it reads as a tourist travel guide, it begins with the author climbing the Ontaké mountain peak, witnessing  a three-wheeling possession of monks. It discusses various attractions, with a tilt towards those favoured by locals instead of those most accessible by foreigners. & of course it mentions the cherry blossoms.

The last 100 pages or so are not worth the paper. I’d rather wipe with them to be honest. If you are interested in reading my words about his words about someone else discussing the mental processes behind difficulty in getting out of bed, you are a strange breed of ape. It is in these later pages where the authors racial pride really shows itself. I feel it has degraded my soul to read so many pages denigrating the Japanese. [To be clear, I believe there are inherited traits and do not favour a total Blank-Slate theory of human nature. A complex interplay of nature and nurture exists, of which this Mr. Lowell is occasionally aware.]

In the Penal Colony.

Goodreads Review.

 

Short enough to quickly read on the train, the narrative flows linearly. A simple twist at the end, one I failed to anticipate, despite ruminating on it during the train change. Mr. Kafka anticipates & predates the Saw film franchise, the Hostel film franchise.

The author, & this work particularly, seem to have acquired some respect, although precisely how this impression came to me, I do not know. However others attach metaphors, whatever it demonstrates about absolute commitment to justice, it is torture porn in literature format.