Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Do you know what you are?
You are what you is

You is what you am

(A cow don't make ham . . . )

You ain't what you're not

So see what you got

You are what you is

An' that's all it 'tis

--You Are What You Is
, Frank Zappa

She's come undone

Too many mountains

And not enough stairs to climb

Too many churches

And not enough truth

--She's Come Undone,
The Guess Who

Oh lord!

Is there nothing more anybody can do?

Oh oh whoa lord!

There must be something you can say

--Another Day in Paradise, Phil Collins


While navigating my small town rural southern life Ranger heard the following: "Come on now, get undid!"

He has no idea what this means, but it was too representative of this area to pass it up. This is the same town in which a high school teacher was overheard to say, "We be testin' today." A town in which a double-Masters member of the school board spoke of "testology"referring to the same phenomenon in a letter to the editor of the local paper.

This is the same town that also exceeds the state's illiteracy, STD, AIDS, and infant mortality rates, and also has a large drug problem. Then again, is it a problem if you can buy them anywhere?
It suffers the concomitant problems of teenage pregnancy and absentee fathers.

This is the same county in which a 14-year-old dropped a baby in her closet and then burned the corpse on a backyard trash pile, with nobody held to account for the event. Another local girl was delivered of her baby in the school toilet, where it was later discovered by a janitor. Hey, it's just a dead, burnt baby, and replacements are cheap enough.

The same county that lacks mandatory garbage pickup as well as general-use dumpsters, so the county is always plastered in trash.

This may sound like bitching, but it isn't, because Ranger realizes that this little town is just another one of many bypassed on the road to modernity. Just another little bastion where working for Walmart, Burger King or McDonald's is the only career track.

This is a slice of a certain type of small-town life in America, that does not look like the verdant hills on the side of a Ben and Jerry's carton. The concept of civic duty is far down on most of these resident's radar, and the quality of life is deficient as a result.

It is just another town where city and county commissions pretend that they know what they are doing, while everything continues to cycle down the drain.

Yes, somewhere along the way we done got undid.

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Blogger Terrible said...

Don't let them "verdant hills on the side of a Ben and Jerry's carton" fool ya! You'll find plenty of the same behind those picture postcard images. Maybe not to the same level but it's there.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 1:43:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

keep on rockin' in the free world....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 8:35:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

because one good neil deserves another

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 1:15:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

When the dogs take over then we'll be barkin in the free world.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 8:53:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous RangerHazen said...

A legacy of the Reagan Revolution...One Potemkin Village after another as the tax coffers are drained and public services are turned over to "more efficient better managed" private contractors

The result...Our economic heartland is slowly turning into a wasteland as the Wall Street Republicans vacation in the Caribbean fat off the fees they made managing the public trust into the ground unfettered by New Deal Era regulation.

Here in California The Debt Bomb has exploded and still folks like Meg Whitman think they can run California like a company and offer the same old platitudes of "lower taxes" and "cutting spending" and she's prepared to spend two to three hundred million of her own money just so she can screw us up even more.

Even in LA thousands of public workers are getting laid off and I can't even begin to imagine how bad it is in the small towns of the San Joaquin Valley or the Inland Empire.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 1:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Choloazul said...

Take that and multiply by thousands, and you have Memphis... an even larger blivet cluttering the way to progress.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 5:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Please allow me to to see Vermont as a fairly progressive state. I still feel that, in comparison to FLA, it is. [You live there, after all :)]


Yes. Privately-contracted, if they remain public services at all. You point out the great divide in our nation -- the obliviousness and indifference -- toward how others live.


Blivet -- I could not have said it better.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 5:22:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

yeah, the california situation is horrible.

the citizens of our state have referendum our way into nearly total ingovernability. revenues are allocated by law almost as fast as they can come in. the wiggle room that they have for adjusting spending is minimal.

the requirement of a supermajority to pass a budget also means that every year our state is held in thrall the to craziest republican from orange county and the looniest liberal from berkeley. they always seem to put themselves into the position as being the one vote needed to pass a budget and they make that shit pay off for them.

back in the salad days i used to do "stay put" investments in california state and muni bonds. the returns weren't wonderful but the tax benefits were generous and the viability of the bonds was solid. it wasn't a big time money maker but the risk was minimal and the interest usually kept a decent pace with inflation.

now, according to dunn and bradstreet's latest ratings, california bonds rank below khazakstan.

i'm calling borat to congratulate him.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 6:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Borat will be happy that you reside with him for the united make benefit of Khazakhstan and CA :(

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 7:15:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

since we're running with scissors... how about i propose that our governance is Corporate Plutocracy, essentially dominated by transnational corporations, that actually don't give a rat's behind about the American People.

now, having said that, understand that laissez faire (highly unregulated) capitalism is essentially slash-and-burn.

these two factors together suggests a business calculus in which it really doesn't matter if America prospers.

THEY (the holders of capital, i.e. transnational corporations) can continue to prosper even if the major American export becomes labor, and the only thing it actually manufactures are lead pencils.

what does it matter if the migrant workforce of the UAE is Pakistani or American in the big scheme of things. the objective is to profit by minimizing labor costs and avoiding accountability for environmental impact.

as long as you can manufacture cheap overseas and use America as a the market place, you can make money.

when the wealth bubble shifts elsewhere, America is bankrupt, export the cheap American labor abroad to follow the capital.

one might say that America is being punished for creating a high standard of living for its workers post WW II, increasing labor costs, and insisting that industry doesn't pollute our air, land and water.

they showed us.... they went elsewhere, and are now squeezing the American middle class like an orange until every last drop of capital has migrated into their profit margins.... pension funds, wages, insurance... what have you....

just some thoughts. i hope i'm totally wrong.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 8:26:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

that Neil Young clip was awesome, by the way, MB.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 8:28:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...


Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 8:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


It is good to run with scissors at times.

Your scenario sounds plausible, and the middle class can't take much more, I would think.

But think of how working abroad will internationalize our wardrobe: saris, yak caps, etc. etc. ("Always look on the bright side of life, da dum, ....)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 8:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

must say, that is a more upbeat way to look a it. :)

i feel much better now, thanks!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 9:24:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

the part that those "the business of america is business" crowd misses, is what abraham lincoln said succinctly (and he was paraphrasing adam smith)

Labor is prior to, and independent of capital; . . . in fact, capital is the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed; . . . labor can exist without capital, but . . . capital could never have existed without labor. Hence . . . labor is the superior . . . greatly superior to capital.

Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 12:43:00 AM GMT-5  

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