Sunday, February 21, 2016

Goleta Pier

FROG HOSPITAL -- Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016 -- unsubscribe anytime
Goleta Pier
By Fred Owens
The fishermen on Goleta Pier are Transcendent Beings. They live on a higher plane than us earth-bound folks. The fishermen wait  -- that's what they do.
In America, stillness is likened to prayer and religion, to be guarded by rituals and contained. Meditation is suspect. Doing nothing is a crime called vagrancy. Notice what the cops say, "Sir, what are you doing here.?" Nothing is the wrong answer and you gotta move along.
But fishing is doing something. You take the same man sitting on the pier doing nothing and stick a fishing pole in his hands  -- ta da! -- he's fishing, an honorable pastime.
And of fishermen, the pier fisherman is the highest order of transcendence because he waits.  The guy with a boat and a net chases fish all over the ocean, burning gas, killing dolphins, smashing into turtles. The guy on the pier throws his line in the water and he waits.
The highest possible level of doing is that doing which is closest to not doing. The man on the pier is doing that not doing. He sits, or he stands. He might lean against the rail. He might listen to the ball game. But he doesn't read  -- reading creates mental static. He waits. He checks his line, he puts fresh bait on his hook. He might drink a beer.
Fish are attracted to structures -- rocks and reefs, oil well platforms, and the stately underwater columns of a pier. The fish are lured to the pier and they mouth flashing objects, or bite them, and they are caught and heaved up on the deck of the pier, flapping madly. It's a cruel thing to watch, and they kill it with a bang and put it in a bucket. A dead fish.
The fisherman baits his hook and puts his line in the water again. Waiting.
El Nino.  The weatherman is waffling. He said El Nino is coming and El Nino would bring strong winter rains. Everyone believed him here in Southern California. We bought rubber boots and plastic tarps. We did soil control projects on steep hillsides. We broadcast seed for new plants to stabilize the soil. We stockpiled sandbags. And we wanted it to rain so badly. The weatherman enjoyed the power of telling us what we wanted to hear and we made him a hero because he knew El Nino was bringing strong rains.
The ocean warmed up, just like he said, but it did not rain. Here it is almost March and there has been scant relief. Today the weatherman has another explanation, but why should we trust him? I would fire the weatherman if I could -- and give him six months picking up litter on the freeway in an orange vest. He's a disgrace. We all wanted to believe him.
Prophets. Poets. Pioneers. Pays Poorly. Occupational hazards abundant. Find some other way to make a living. Never be the first.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They won this weekend, so you can imagine them as nominees and possible Presidents. Picture Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton giving the Inaugural Address on the steps of the Capitol. I wouldn't vote for Trump. I have a personal dislike for Mrs. Clinton and her husband, but I would vote for her. I think she would take a measured but strong response to Middle Eastern threats, which is the most important thing.
The Court. I want to downplay the importance of the Supreme Court. The best changes are made in the Congress and the states. It's too easy to go to court with a dispute, when it should be the last resort. If you cannot get a victory in Congress, you probably deserve to lose. And don't get smart with me and point up some good court decisions -- of course, and they have been good because they were necessary. But don't go to court. Walk away. Take a loss. Compromise. Forgive. Wait. Wait. Suffer. And only then go to Court.
Apple. Apple is the biggest, strongest, richest corporation in the history of the world, and yet we love it. Not me. I fear Apple and all its power. We feared the railroads when they were almighty. We feared US Steel and its power. We feared the Union Pacific. We feared General Motors and then IBM and even Microsoft  -- because they had so much power.
But we love Apple (and Google). That is so frightening -- to place an innocent trust in such an enormously powerful being. We fear the Catholic Church, rightly. We fear the power of our federal government, rightly. And we trust Apple? That cannot be. Never has a corporation been so powerful and so popular.
Do you notice Bernie Sanders attacks the banks, but he never touches Apple, Google, Amazon or Facebook? It could be that  it's safe to attack the banks, but it would take courage beyond Bernie's abilities to challenge the Tech Masters.

Griping. Isn't griping wonderful? What a country.

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