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September 13, 2012


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Jon, keep up the good work. We "real" (native Phoencians) need a voice of truth. You should check out Arpaio's latest TV ad. The man shows just how hypocritical and arrogant he really is.

Almost 44 years ago, I gladly adopted Phoenix as my home town and embraced Arizona as my home state. I was overjoyed at having escaped the frozen, flat, feature-less environment. So I resent what's been allowed to happen to both.

When the Midwest transplants ask me "where you from?" I say "HERE"!! Whereupon they're often stuck for a reply. So few are really invested in HERE, often waxing eloquent about "back home" in places like Cedar Falls and Rockford.

Jon's right . . once you get sand in your shoes, it never totally goes away.

Thank you for your heartfelt sentiments, Jon. I needed to hear them today. Speaking the truth does not necessarily come with financial or social rewards. I've learned that over the last year -- again. I wonder if it's possible to effect change here without riding the hype machine, to be merely tolerated by what passes for progressive leadership in this town. As of this moment, I have my doubts. I've been reading "First Rate Madness" -- an excellent read about possible mental illnesses among leaders that make them extraordinary during times of national crisis. The author describes both Ghandi and MLK as "negative realists:" idealists who could not answer to anything but the dictates of their conscience, which ultimately led to their martyrdom. Oddly, it's provided a solace not unlike that I find in this blog. Thank you.

Whenever I have a passenger arriving from Phoenix, I always ask "what part?" So often the answer is "Peoria" or "Sun Lakes" or some such.
I tell them that we ended our move to California in 1950 and settled in a Phoenix with lemon, orange and grapefruit groves bordering our back yard.. and Chandler and Peoria were quite distant (and certainly not Phoenix).
They don't believe me telling them what a wonderful place it was to grow up....... and I always give out the name of your blog.
Keep up the great writing and the history lessons.

and Mr Mapstone ????

Jon, I am giving some thought on my response in between taking care of a person that I care for, Mucho. So for now I will leave you with this.

Check out the quote a few paragraphs in.


I'm working on the new Mapstone book now.

"...'tis our fast intent to shake all cares and business from our age;
conferring them on younger strengths, while we unburthen'd crawl toward death."

Rather good, Mr. Talton, rather good. No poofery here (and that's a remarkable accomplishment in itself). We are, so very fortunate, that your misfortune with the Arizona Republic brought you to us, without gatekeepers standing in the wings, shaking their grey-cowled heads, their fingers twitching to apply the blue pencil.

"I am unable to understand how a man of honor could take a newspaper in his hands without a shudder of disgust."

-- Charles Baudelaire

As for lies, it's rather difficult, even for the well-intentioned, to tell the whole truth all of the time:

"So, then, in general metaphysical terms, our expression is that, like a purgatory, all that is commonly called "existence," which we call Intermediateness, is quasi-existence, neither real nor unreal, but expression of attempt to become real, or to generate for or recruit a real existence. . . Or a dreaming mind -- and its centaurs and canary birds that turn into giraffes -- there could be no real biology upon such subjects, but attempt, in a dreaming mind, to systematize such appearances would be movement toward awakening -- if better mental co-ordination is all that we mean by the state of being awake -- relatively awake."

-- Charles Fort, The Book of the Damned

Regarding "burn-out":

Be always drunken.
Nothing else matters:
that is the only question.
If you would not feel
the horrible burden of Time
weighing on your shoulders
and crushing you to the earth,
be drunken continually.

Drunken with what?
With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you will.
But be drunken.

And if sometimes,
on the stairs of a palace,
or on the green side of a ditch,
or in the dreary solitude of your own room,
you should awaken
and the drunkenness be half or wholly slipped away from you,
ask of the wind,
or of the wave,
or of the star,
or of the bird,
or of the clock,
of whatever flies,
or sighs,
or rocks,
or sings,
or speaks,
ask what hour it is;
and the wind,
clock will answer you:
"It is the hour to be drunken!"
― Charles Baudelaire, Paris Spleen

Meanwhile, according to ASU's Monthly Report for the Greater Phoenix Housing Market for July 2012 (released September 6), the year over year stats for single-family home prices, for normal resales, are as follows:

Average (mean) sales price: Down 6.1%

Median sales price: Down 2.0%

Average price per square foot: Down 1.7%


This is the second month for which normal resale prices have been down. One wonders what August will show when the report is finally issued?

Emil - until I got to the attribution at the end of "drunkenness" poem, I was sure that it had been written by the great Sufi poet/mystic Rumi. :)

Rumi: Poet of the Heart

My interest in reading this blog comes from morbid curiosity not from a personal connection to Arizona. I've never set foot in AZ, though I imagine the Grand Canyon and the desert are very much worth a visit. I shouldn't wait too long if AZ is a harbinger of things to come. 'The future goes South!' one could say.
By the way, Gail Collins with her new book "As Texas Goes..." seems to labor in similar trenches.

"I've never set foot in AZ, though I imagine the Grand Canyon and the desert are very much worth a visit. I shouldn't wait too long if AZ is a harbinger of things to come. 'The future goes South!' one could say."

Awinter put one foot in front of another and go, as soon the Grand Canyon will be covered over with cement and the air will be unbreathable.

Well I hope the Grand Canyon is not cemented over until after I consult the cosmos at Shaman's Gallery in Tuckup Canyon!

I'm working on the new Mapstone book now.

How about one where a fat rightwing radio jockey (Addicted to Oxycodone and Viagra) gets both barrels of a shotgun in the face from one foot away.

A retried lefty history professor is hauled in as the prime suspect. A professor that Mapstone actually liked back in the day, who had since then, retired to Phoenix, after doing a teaching gig at Az State; and who happens to have been screwing the shock-jock's rebellious daughter...

[insert the rest of the plot here]

Turns out the real murderer was actually another rightwing radio jockey who believes in "free markets" and was motivated to murder because the other radio guy was cutting into his market share (and his gunrunning operations to Mexico were being suppressed by Big Damn Government and so made the murder morally necessary).

But that's not the end...

The final paragraphs of the book lead to the next Mapstone book. Somebody with ballbearings and explosives pulls the ripcord at a Scotsdale meeting of rightwing billionaires, and takes out a few American carbon Kings.

The suspect (blown to bits) is a gay mexican in this country illegally whose boyfriend happens to be the rightwing sheriff of nearby county. Hmmm....

[insert the rest of the plot here]

Stopping Rogue mail would be a great loss for those serving a life sentence in Arizona.


I can see how the text of the poem would be consistent with Sufi mysticism (not specifically Rumi, but not excluding him either).

My knowledge of Sufi is limited to two books:

(1) The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in the Fitzgerald translation, fifth edition (1889). Note particularly the 49th through 51st stanzas of that edition.

(2) The Way of the Sufi by Idries Shah, a sophisticated, annotated overview of all of the traditional Sufi schools of thought with examples of various kinds of text (e.g., teaching stories, poems, lecture quotes, and so forth) taken from the classical period or golden age of each. The translations were first-rate.

The story of The Horrible Dib-dib was particularly amusing; I recommend Shah's version over the bowdlerized or otherwise seriously inferior versions which seem to be circulating on the Internet.

I've read a few (equally few) books on Christian mysticism and Jewish mysticism, and my conclusion is that they all share the same central goal (and often general methods): either a union or merger with God, or (as in the case with a minority of Sufi teachers) "becoming" God (a kind of apotheosis).

However, as a metaphysical solipsist who believes that the universe is a manifestation of my own mental resources (albeit, a severely corrupted manifestation), and that I exist in an altered, impaired state of consciousness which is remediable by regaining my full spectrum of consciousness and powers, the distinction between this and "becoming God" might conceivably be characterized as quibbling.

The idea of wanting to be worshipped (much less demanding to be under pain of eternal hellfire) strikes me as both absurd (particularly in an advanced being) and an example of "satanic pride" (speaking figuratively, of course, since I don't accept the Christian mythos or other religious myths). I have to regard religions in which beings want or demand worship as a form of diabolism. That includes religions which accept or demand the sacrifice of the innocent to atone for the sins of the guilty (e.g., the sacrifice of lambs in the Old Testament, or of the human "lamb" in the New Testament).

The demand or acceptance of worship seems to be the main quality separating the idea of "God" from qualities that are not intrinsically religious (e.g., creator).

morecleanair wrote, “Jon's right . . once you get sand in your shoes, it never totally goes away.” I was thinking something like once you get stickers in your toes and sand in your butt. But then, I don’t live in Phoenix, my home is in the far east valley. Either way, it has something to do with grit and the reward that never totally goes away.
Thank you Jon, I enjoy reading your blog and the comments from your faithful friends.

My, my, Emil - you are full of surprises.

I concur with your feelings about worship, and the anthropomorphism that created the God of these religions.

And solipsism's not a bad place from which to begin the journey, either. Honest inquiry is the only thing that matters.

Since you've shared some of your hypothesis, I'll just add my speculation that the "me," the self, the ego is only manifest in this one incarnation (and shifts and reconstitutes even during this time,) and has no agency beyond my mortal existence.

Hence my urgency in wanting to experience divinity as much as I can before the lights go out.

Are we off-topic? :)

Phoenix is a great place to start your career and it is fairly easy to make a living and start a family. Then 30 years later,you start noticing that there is no there there and you have been taken in by the Disneyland-like sets that are absurd in the middle of the desert. (Think tudor-style homes on man-made lakes)
You notice that we don't solve problems in Az.,we just move away from the city center. You realize the water is not inexhaustable, the smog is getting worse, and the traffic congestion is nerve wracking. What happens when the infrastructure starts to deteriorate as it is in Ca. and we face rolling blackouts in the middle of August and water costs skyrocket or is rationed as the heat island effect makes life even more hellish?

I spend more and more time in Munds Park at 6000 feet where I appreciate the slow pace of life even more than the cool,clean air. Thanks Jon for your insights and thought-provoking blogs.

Mike say hi to my friend Dottie and my old running Buddy Ben that both live full time in Munds. My folks help build the small chapel at Munds park. Personally I dont care for the forest.

"you have been taken in by the Disneyland-like sets that are absurd in the middle of the desert."

To quote a native Arizonan and a quintessential philosopher,
"I'm convinced Phoenix is done, that it will only get worse, and that all the analysis and breast-beating won't change our destiny. Human nature is what it is. Phoenix's fatal flaw was an accident of history and geology. We won't fix or change it. "

Burn out takes many forms. For my wife and me, it was the health-related need for a summer escape . . from mid-May thru mid-October. We miss our families and I miss my "in network" medical coverage, but overall it has been a good decision. In some respects, it exacerbates the burn out because we continue to read about our odious politicians . . as we tire of trying to explain how/why the KOOKS have taken over.

Petro wrote:

"Are we off-topic? :)"

Yes. Nearly everything I write at Rogue Columnist (and elsewhere) is in the spirit of the as-ifness of things. I broke my own rule with the last post.

My views differ from those expressed in your last comment, Petro. There is no need to argue over it. However, the Secret Chiefs have authorized me to make the following Revelation (for those with eyes to see):


My name is Daffy Duck,
I worked on a Merry-Go-Round,
The job was swell
I did quite well
Till the Merry-go-round broke down.

The guy that worked with me,
Was a horse with a lavender eye,
Around in whirls, we winked at girls
Till the Merry-go-round broke down.

Up and down and round we sped,
That dizzy pace soon went to my head,
Now you know why I'm dizzy
And do the things I do
I am askew (or "a screw") and you'd be too
If the Merry-go-round broke down.

"Kasich created JobsOhio, a private entity whose president is Mark Kvamme, a venture capitalist from Silicon Valley. In order to finance this nonstate agency with state money, he came up with a scheme so creative and convoluted it would make the Medellín cartel envious."


"Vowing that "today the rubber hits the road," Gov. Jan Brewer and Jerry Colangelo assembled and introduced 35 state leaders representing diverse backgrounds for the inaugural board meeting of the Arizona Commerce Authority.

"The private-sector board will work to align diverse assets and opportunities within the state to compete economically in both domestic and international markets to create high-quality jobs for the Arizona residents."


I keep seeing the same agendas enacted by Republican governors in states all over the country: private jobs development corporations funded with public money; attempts to restrict the rights of public union workers to collectively bargain; etc..

That didn't just happen by coincidence. There is a group that spreads these ideas and even writes model legislation: the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Any possibility of a Rogue column covering the agenda of this group and the results of its activity, particularly vis a vis Arizona?

Just a suggestion.

Incidentally, that first link (to a recent New York Times Magazine article about the recovery of Ohio's auto sector) makes a number of very interesting, broader points both about the economy, Obama's stimulus, and the administration's mousy failure to communicate its successes effectively.

"It’s not hard to imagine Bill Clinton, faced with similar circumstances, creating the perfect, poll-tested metaphor and tirelessly selling it. But Obama’s campaign this time seems to be long on hope and short on audacity. After much indecision, White House aides informed me that neither Obama nor Vice President Joe Biden was willing to make the case about how their policies had helped Ohio. Nor does the president’s campaign have any leading politician in the state to do that for him."

. . . "There’s no reasonable way to look at the state and not agree that Obama took steps that stabilized Ohio and made it possible for the state to find its footing, even if the expansion hasn’t been robust or pervasive. But if the candidate himself can’t make that argument effectively (or if he won’t even assume the risk of trying), then his vindication may come not at the ballot box this November but in some reconsideration of the data years into his retirement."

Sigh. It's depressing when one defaults to interpreting the sharing of an idea as an adversarial tilt. You might want to double-check the tint of your glasses.



Here's a news item sure to warm the cockles of your heart. Actually, it was among the public notices in Friday's Arizona Republic.

"Maricopa County is constructing a new Maricopa County Sheriff's Office complex in downtown Phoenix, Arizona.

"Construction of the complex will require removal of a few graves from what was Phoenix's first cemetary that was used between 1871-1884. . ."

There's never an ancient indian burial ground around when you need one; and I was really looking forward to Arpaio, eyes closed, repeating "I do believe in spooks! I do believe in spooks!"

Petro wrote (apparently to me):

"Sigh. It's depressing when one defaults to interpreting the sharing of an idea as an adversarial tilt. You might want to double-check the tint of your glasses."

Sigh. It's depressing when one defaults to interpreting the sharing of an idea as an adversarial tilt. You might want to double-check the tint of your glasses.


Old Testament? Operating Thetan? Ordinary Time? Osmium Tetroxide? Oberer Totpunkt? Orquesta Tipica? Or (my favorite) Organisasi Terlarang?

A rather interesting column by Mr. Talton here:


Possible further developments:


And see here for a more personal overview of the topic:


"/OT" = "End of Off Topic."


Hate mail of the week from my Sunday column:

Men, the answer is men.
From unions to your own article ( And if your now tempted to to flee in anger to the sports section?????? what wrong with the arts and leisure) everywhere you say the word people you should revise it to be "men"
Nothing in this nation or economy is about women.
It would be interesting to see where we would be today if anyone had thought to include the silent 1/2 of the economy that has been systematically excluded from any support in the workplace.
Men love to vote salaries, bonus' benefits etc to other men. fairly offer the same agenda to women? hah! its never happened and never will
I dont see how you can pretend to your "insightful look at the financial crisis" when its always been a crisis for women.
Obama stole the election from Hilary. We are supposed to be all excited about the 1st black president.
More to the point would have been the 1st woman president after all these years of men hogging the White House and bungling it up with their constant search for pussy more important to them than governing the nation.
Keep at it, your kidding yourself. If you where a woman what would you think about who stole the American dream? The same bunch who has stole everything from us, men? We just keep on getting paid 1/3 less than men without the opportunities routinely offered to those of us with a penis.
Your an idiot

And another:

It's one thing to be a conservative living in an area teeming with the "radical left," but it's another thing altogether to be continually bombarded with the tripe we find in today's column. It seems to me that you are attempting to present this material in an unbiased manner, but the reality is just the opposite.

The author you cite in your piece claims to have delved into his research after making a "conscious decision to follow the story where it took me," and that "I didn't have my mind made up." This is nothing but a load of crap, because he then proceeds to do nothing more than list a bunch of liberal talking points about how evil corporations and the "radical right" have done nothing more than make a conscious attempt to bleed the middle class dry. Nobody paid a 92% tax rate under Eisenhower and claiming they did is not only disingenuous but an out and out lie.

The fact of the matter is that Mr. Obama has led us down a path of incredible out-of-control spending and mind-boggling deficits. How is continuing these "policies" going to get us anywhere but broke? If his administration has been so successful, why isn't he running on his record instead of slinging mud at Mitt Romney? Because he can't. Barack Obama needs to go away and take his failed administration with him. It sure hasn't worked so far, and since no president history has had a more successful second term than his first, most Americans, myself included, are ready to cut ties with this incompetent boob.

Mr. Smith's book is nothing more than liberal tripe and it he that has the agenda, not the evil rich. He didn't research squat, he just stuck his finger down his throat and puked up the same ol' stuff. I hope the book goes in the tank.

John Batinovich
Federal Way

Jennifer appears off her medication.

John B would feel right at home in Maricopa County. The unfortunate matter for John would be that he would likely be jobless or making 25% less in right wing Maricopa County than he would be in "leftist" King County.

The letter from Jennifer demonstrates the perils of identity politics. She wouldn't be happy with anything less than a feminist critique of politics, and probably not then unless written by a feminist.

Mr. Batinovich scarcely makes ANY substantive criticisms. The only objective assertion he makes is erroneous:

"Nobody paid a 92% tax rate under Eisenhower and claiming they did is not only disingenuous but an out and out lie."

In fact, the top marginal personal income tax rate was 91 percent under presidents Truman, Eisenhower, AND Kennedy (the latter was assassinated in 1963 and the rate was lowered to 77 percent via the Tax Reform Act of 1964).


As a marginal tax rate, it was only paid on income above the margin (which changed over the years and depended on whether taxes were filed singly or jointly); as for schemes to reduce taxable income so as to avoid the top marginal rate, they were (then as now) legion; but those who reported income above the margin applying to the top rate had to pay it, and did.

"In 1963, for example, only 501 returns (of 64 million filed) reported taxable income in the 91 percent bracket, and that taxable income generated only $62 million in income tax revenue, or just 0.1 percent of the $42 billion total reported. Of course, many more returns reported taxable income in the other high brackets in 1963, and reported taxable income in many of these brackets raised significant income tax revenue."


While I don't have the generational advantage of RC (1st AZ born in my case), its home. My family (mostly), friends, and career are here. Its worth dukeing it out as much as I can, but really I don't feel right anywhere else. The dry heated air, the saguaros, the smell of rain-soaked creasote, the dust storms (please no haboobs) is part and parcel of me. A few weeks away from AZ and I don't feel well. I'll outlast the Kooks.

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