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October 02, 2014


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Al Mike's!
Thanks for the reminder. I don't miss much about Charlotte, but I do miss uptown. The buildings - not all slabs of glass, thankfully - were light catchers, constantly changing with the times of day and the seasons.

Good Bones
A desert Oasis where Camels can refill and their riders can dwell in the shade are my idea of good bones.
Good bones does not bring to my mind edifices constructed by the temporary human dwellers on the planet earth. Good bones are the mountain ridges and valleys, the great rivers and gorges, the ever moving sand dunes. Nature is the only true artist, the only great engineer. “Manunkind” makes puny attempts at duplicating the impossible. Want great music listen to the wind as it speaks to you among the pines or on the flat plains.
Phoenix once upon a time was a nice “town”. Now it attempts to be a big decadent city of darkened streets enclosed by tall ugly buildings. A place for the rats to come forth at night. I just returned from a trip that included the shifting White Sands of NM. The High plains of Estancia and Magdalena. Human towns with good solid bones can be found there. Small villages that are in tune with and hug the ground and do not try and erect Babel Towers to the sky.
Even a non-believer in the tooth fairy, like me, feels the presence of a mighty force, a force creating universes in a huge rain storm on the high plains.
May Gabriel blow his horn and may your cities of rotting decay fall in upon themselves.

Cal from the great Sonoran desert, What’s left of it.

Good Bones require people who care about history and aesthetics. Otherwise, it's just pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

I think of the 1970s and '80s as the nadir of skyscraper architecture. Downtowns across the nation gave up their local vibe in favor of corporate sameness. Lookalike towers replaced trusted friends whose scale had permitted relationship and connection. The new development in tandem with a drive-only transportation system, made cities inert, blenderizing them as it were for modern alienation. Virtually every city in this country was damaged to the point that they could no longer perform their historic function. Phoenix fared much worse than most, losing not only its soul but its economic rationale. Once there was no center, the periphery took over. Phoenix, in this respect, is the jellyfish of large American cities. It has no central nervous system, no organizing principle that tells people who they are and what their purpose is. I left Phoenix last year because of that deficit. An unloved city is not something you can compensate for in your private life. It taints everything with visual despair and civic confusion.

Architecture is a servant of economic forces that transformed the nation. When America was busy gutting itself of the past, architects were there helping bury the corpse. They are usually portrayed in the culture as benign daddy figures, sensitive but manly men who brave the scorn of philistines on behalf of their vision. That vision looked good on paper but it nearly destroyed us.

Good bones are the scaffolding that permits sustainable growth. A city that guts itself of its old building stock is no longer alive. It can't be. New York City shows how this works in much of its midtown where modernist skyscrapers sterilized a once vibrant area. The city still lives only because it had so much to begin with. In downtown Los Angeles, a boom is underway. However, its not in modernist Bunker Hill but in and around the old core that had not been torn down. In San Diego, the preservation of the historic Gaslamp district has led to an explosion of nightlife and condo towers. In Denver, the preserved warehouse district has midwifed an epic boom around the ancient Union Station. In Phoenix, nothing but crickets among the ruins.

We want to boil arguments down to core principals but if there's one here, it's not to oversimplify human culture to the point you no longer respect it. Historic preservation can't - and shouldn't - save everything. But it needs to save enough to keep
organic civic life viable. You don't replace a Woolworth's with a Louis Vuitton boutique without making sure there are people with money living close by. The build-it-and-they-will-come mentality is almost brazen in its contempt for human complexity. It's why Arizona Center doesn't work. Downtowns are not pretty postcards anymore than a stick figure is a human being.

I will probably never deserve to call Portland "my hometown". I have done nothing to earn the love it bestows so freely. But here I am, like thousands of other newbies, marveling that it somehow survived the worst of post-war America to now take center stage as possibly America's best mid-sized city. Good bones? Check. Good transit? Check. Creative citizens? Check. Solid urban planning? Check. It's not pristine by any stretch. Life isn't like that. But it is alive.

Excellent Soleri, good to hear your voice!
I would note that even Portland has erected tall buildings blotting out the view of great snow capped mountains for historic home dwellers.

Cal, I straddle that fence when it comes to high rises. A densely-woven fabric of five-story buildings would make my heart sing. But I don't think public opinion is there, and certainly not the real-estate industrial complex. The debate is ongoing in Portland which has dramatically upgraded zoning in most of its urban core. It takes this issue very seriously because it wants to be a city and not just a gentrified collection of lovely old houses. Most of these houses, by the way, don't have "views". That's not their appeal, at any rate. My 11th-floor apartment has a great view of Mt Hood (on those days - like today - when it's not socked in by clouds). My 14th-floor condo I'm moving to in a couple of weeks has an epic view of downtown and the Willamette River.

Vibrant cities change and evolve. Portland's bet is that it can retain the charm and beauty of its streetcar suburbs while creating a much denser core. The old-timers are not happy, of course. They want their parking protected, their taxes lower, and their streets reserved for cars only, no bicycles. I read the online comment threads of the local newspaper and it almost sounds like it was in Phoenix. The anger at "elites" for taking away their God-given right to drive and park anywhere is intense. But the love for the city is still in evidence. Most citizens know Portland has a global reputation for planning and quality of life. They take justifiable pride in that.

The world is not going to give up cities anytime soon. If it does, there would be a cataclysmic reason for it, say mass starvation. Seven billion people will have smaller carbon footprints in dense cities with good transit than they would in the Mad Max scenarios of some post-apocalyptic Ed Abbey. We need to love this world the way it is even as we make heroic efforts to change the toxic paradigms of environmental recklessness. Cities will better preserve this planet than Earth First! daydreams.

One of the few television programs I regularly watch is Pawn Stars (History Channel), which centers on the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas. At its best, it's a fascinating cross-sectional view of history using artifacts from former periods and many countries (which are then dickered over).

I mention this because one of the pawn shop employees (minor partner) once complained on the program that Las Vegas has nothing old: if it gets old they "blow it up" and build something new.

That's not altogether true, of course -- if it were the city would look good instead of containing so much blight outside the Strip -- but it does seem to encapsulate a development philosophy which has dominated the city for decades.

The current downtown revitalization project seems to be the work of one billionaire, who spent $350 million on 60 acres and who has been developing his own school, medical clinic, restaurants, and, not coincidentally, venture capital fund.

Oddly, this miniature version of a town owned by a single magnate has been coupled with an eccentric and largely unintelligible philosophy called Holocracy which purports to be devoid of leadership (bosses, titles, and hierarchy) and depend entirely on "circles, links and tasks". It's like some weird, autocratic political cult where the paranoid leadership considers anonymity and the erasure of traditional outward lines of command as the best insurance. (If they don't know who the leaders are, they can't be assassinated; if leadership control is camouflaged, it's harder to sabotage.) You can read more about it here:


Destruction and rebuilding need not spell the end of a city, obviously; the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 destroyed the "bones" of the central business district; it was rebuilt even grander with brick and stone structures, whose enduring nature preserved the new bones for later restorers to work on, long after the "flesh" and "guts" of the buildings had fallen into neglect and disrepair. Stone masonry was by then at the height of its (modern) development, and the architectural techniques it required as well as the classical and romantic sensibilities of the era encouraged artistic flourishes (q.v. the Seattle Hotel).

Incidentally, the iconic Seattle Hotel was destroyed in 1961 to produce a parking garage now known as "Sinking Ship", an act justified with the label "urban renewal".



An aside:

Seattle seems to have benefitted throughout its history from a few very narrow but very lucrative industries.

It started as a timber town. (Fascinating trivia: the road Yesler Way became known as "skid road" for reasons relating to timber transportation techniques, which seems to have morphed into the term "skid row" when the area later became depressed; and this usage spread to other major cities to describe the derelict districts.)

After timber, Seattle became a transportation hub for miners bound to and from Alaska and the Yukon, also supplying and outfitting them.

After that, Seattle relied largely on shipbuilding for a while (though it also became a Vaudeville mecca).

After WW II its savior was Boeing Aircraft, which still has its manufacturing facilities there (though it moved its corporate headquarters to Chicago in 2001).

Its aircraft manufacturing titanism has of course since been supplemented with software manufacturing titanism in the form of Microsoft, though in fact the company has its headquarters in nearby suburban Bellevue. (Still, with Seattle available for automobile commutes across either of the two main bridges, and the incestuous financial links between the two cities, Seattle has undeniably benefitted.)

The existence of one or two economic powerhouses is what has provided the funds for all of that rebuilding, repair, and revitalization, as well as the regional light-rail system (which was approved for extension to Bellevue in 2008, though not yet connected). It is also what has provided the anchor for much of the city's secondary economic development.

Ebola may bring us a "Mad Max scenarios of some post-apocalyptic Ed Abbey." Ebola will love the density of the big city. I'll take a Ed Abbey or Henry David Thoreau any day over a Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.

14 stories up? Roof top Garden for pot?
I will pass, as I watch, the several hundred birds that show up every morning and evening, outside the windows of my grounded but mobile 320 square foot home. My small garden 6 feet away from my door blossoms colorful nutriment.

I like small old towns with old small houses.Places where man generated light does not shut out the stars. Does Portland have street lights and garish commercial lighting?

The day will come when man is reduced to small berry gathering tribes and small peopled caravans riding camels will traverse the planet, stopping to rest in the Oasis shade.

And then one day the dogs will sit around the campfire and discuss if man existed or was just an old dog myth.

How to kill good bones.

Note: Boeing's Renton Factory (where 737s are manufactured) is not in Seattle proper, though at 11 miles southeast of Seattle's downtown, it's essentially an extension of metropolitan Seattle; ditto the Everett wide-body plant, 25 miles north of Seattle.

To see just how dependent Seattle was on Boeing, consider the famous Boeing Bust of the late 1960s and 1970s, responsible for the infamous billboard "Will the last person leaving SEATTLE -- Turn Out The Lights".

The real-estate agents responsible for the billboard said that their out-of-town clients "were amazed that Seattle wasn’t a ghost town with weeds growing in the streets. We wanted to counteract that attitude with a little humor".


cal lash wrote:

"Ebola may bring us Mad Max scenarios of some post-apocalyptic Ed Abbey."

It won't: I've seen that movie before. Wish I could remember the details, but I do know that they were anti-climactic for the United States (and for CNN's breathless continual hype of the story). I guess it could happen differently the second time, but I doubt the main details will change to that extent.

Bones as described by Charles Bowden
"This house is built of bones. Bone people mix life and death. And do not divide lust from thought. There is no line between me and the others, the beasts of the forest and deserts, the birds of the air, the fish in the waters, the trees storming out of the ground, I hear the night cries of the swamps and deserts. I go down to the wild places. I am of the bone people. I will explain.
My house is built of bones."

I think we are in rats' alley
Where the dead men lost their bones.

Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around...

Cal, I'm not averse to apocalyptic thoughts, particularly where climate change is involved. We have, nonetheless, a moral duty not to give up if only because the lives of other people make that claim upon our free agency. I would not want to live through the rapid disintegration of industrial civilization for that reason. Even if we are doomed, we need to "act as if". To do otherwise would drive us to insanity.

BTW, maybe this is just me, but this we're-all-going-to-die hysteria about Ebola seems almost conveniently congruent with the right's favorie pastime, i.e., blowing racist dog whistles. Black people carrying a deadly virus almost seems tailor-made for a Karl Rove mind fuck. Election day is one short month away.

Portland has garish signs, naked bike rides, vegan strip clubs, tattoed Millenials, and a Republican running for the US Senate loudly proclaiming her support for gay marriage. The marijuana vote will be close, but advocates have a big money edge. Still, it's interesting to think that hippies may be politically triumphant in a state that is also making their lives less mellow. Portland's big moment has arrived and it's bringing in lots of yuppies and boomer retirees like myself. The hippies cultivated this garden of Eden and we're casting them out with unaffordable rent increases. There are only so many great places on Earth, of course. They tend to be few, expensive, and oversubscribed.

Emil, "Some of the dead are still breathing"

OK cal, duelling banjos it is:

Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.

Emil, as I said before, Mad Max was a B movie at the best. But I liked it and Phxsunfan didnt but he liked Mel Gibson. I have difficulty hooking the movie Mad Max up with Ed Abbey and or Dave Foreman. Monkey Wrenching and Earth first stuff in my mind were about slowing down the destruction of the planet and its inhabitants. I think I like the word conservationists as to environmentalists. For another view of this a new documentary called "Wrenched" has been released. A few days ago I met with some of the old Monkey Wrenchers, they say Salt Lake developers continue to rape the landscape and increase the pollution.

Emil, No thanks
Your Rapier is too sharp for my wit.
Your T.S. mind is too quick for my Will Rogers thought process

So as not to leave out the rest of the folks
here is Emil and I getting it on,


Emil. Pawn Stars?

soleri. Vegan strip clubs?

Sharp analysis....and you forgot to mention Los Angeles, a terrible zombie apocalypse zone in the 1980s which is today experiencing a residential and "cool kid" boom because its quirky flapper-era office cubes were largely left alone. Now they're being rehabbed and flipped at an astonishing rate. You've also got three subway lines, new first-class restaurants, an art house theater, a huge bookstore, hipster hotels and a wonderful main library branch. All this makes downtown L.A.'s most livable neighborhood (by far!), which is something of a miracle in light of the last forty years.

LA the city that is killing California.
"The Water is coming, the Water is Coming"

Tom hows China Town?

Dem Bones? I'm sure that must refer to the great comeback of the state of Israel and the great city of Jerusalem?

"Petro said, "Go for it. Just be sure to include your "com on folks I know U all got an opine about the Urban Zone?" provocation first."

I had sent Petro an email suggesting that since he has become an Urban body he must have some comment on this blog, He said he didn’t have anything to say because,

"The prevailing opinions are so lush and diverse that I have nothing to contribute.

Seriously, it's about personal conditioning and the consequent preferences. Of course, on the abstract, "objective," and philosophical level, cities are an abomination. Yet, as soleri has pointed out, they are a popular choice in these times, and while I find his observation that populations concentrated in cities have a per-capita carbon footprint smaller than a dispersed population of the same numbers a bit specious, it is certainly easier to *feel* greener with the opportunity to use mass public transit to haul your ass over distances that would not be necessary - or even reasonable - without the economic infrastructure that makes us scurry the rat race of wage slavery. And if he was referring to *recreational* ass-hauling, well, then a pox on him (of course I am just now using soleri's observation as a general characterization - not being personal, of course. He is one of the good people.)

That said: Personally, I prefer an Urban Zone. But I am not proud of that. I have been contaminated by 20th Century Growth Utopianism, and while I know that it is a bad path, I can't shake the nostalgic pleasure I get from participating in the grand illusion. Mind you, I will always be honest about and stump for something more tribal and sustainable - but I am an aging person who can still "enjoy" the sins of the last century. Not proud, I repeat.

OK, I guess "nothing to contribute" was a bit off.


Cal (and Petro), philosophy aside, where would all the people go if we give up on cities? Take Arizona, for example. Imagine six and a half million Ed Abbeys, driving the highways, throwing their beer cans out the window, and living like rugged individualists on their personal acre of Sonoran Desert. The problem here, if it's not obvious to you, would be the complete destruction of an eco-system. It's why I couldn't take Abbey seriously as a social/political thinker even as I admired his nature writing. The disconnect between his values and his politics was too jarring.

There are seven billion people on this planet. For the purists, this is probably six and a half billion too many. So, what do we do? There's something called the real world we must respect. There's also something called humility we must bow to. Your theories must be more than the celestial musings of too-good-for-this-world angels. What do your values mean in the face of these hard facts? These seven billion people want to live just as much as you don't want them to. I would agree that human beings are the kudzu of primates, wreaking environmental destruction wherever we go. But if there's going to be death camps, they're far more likely be constructed by the people who dislike us. Environmentalists disrespect power politics to their own detriment.

This is my one year anniversary of living without a car. I can do that in Portland quite easily. In Phoenix, it was nearly impossible. I live with less square footage. I vote in league with people who are not insane with greed and cruelty. Oregon, while far from perfect, is like an earthly paradise by comparison to Arizona. We are not going to beat the environmental rapists with smug superiority. We're going to beat them by making our science more persuasive than their propaganda, by making our ethics more appealing than their mindless mayhem. It's hard work. Let's start now.


Well it worked!
Great response Soleri
Thanks Mike for your great post.

Zollener, Suzzane, and anyone else want to jump back in here?

If you would like to see Ed Abbey Tearing down the desert roads in his red caddy, see new documentary, "Wrenched."

I can imagine Phoenix as an tight knit Oasis in the desert supporting about 170,000 folks and their camels.

I totally agree with Soleri.

One of Arizona's many tragedies is the almost willfulness of destructive land use. How else can one describe the abortion of Prescott Valley? It makes me think of Centrally Planned Ugliness.

The real roots, of course, are feral greed and lack of love for the place (you can love your "retirement home" and sunshine yet still not appreciate or love the place. And the car and all that is built for it, taken to extremes.

But the result is that I can barely stand to travel outside central Phoenix. It is too painful. Sedona is no groovy vibe for me. All I see is the crap they laid down to profane one of the most beautiful places on earth. The same is true of the astonishing sprawl along the Rim and similar destruction all over. Bullhead "City." The exurbs of Kingman. What's happening in Wickenburg and now, god help us, in what was relatively pristine high grasslands southeast of Tucson.

Washington state is not blue. Take out Seattle and a few other precincts and it would be Idaho. But the land use is remarkably better. There are actual small towns, clearly defined, farmland and lovingly protected wilderness. The population is slightly larger than Arizona's. Oregon's land-use restrictions, although weakened, have produced wonderful results in many places (although there's plenty of car-based crap surrounding Portland). You drive or take the train from neat town to neat town...not drive along an endless highway shopping strip.

Prescott and Flagstaff have good bones within their historic cores. But both places have been ravaged by sprawl. Globe once had good bones, but lacked the money or creative class to save and restore them. Bisbee is a little better (for now) thanks to its remove from Phoenix.

Anyway, I love my car-free life in downtown Seattle. If I need a vehicle, Zipcar has lots all around. But I rarely do, because transit it abundant (if inadequate for the future, in my view). The convenience of everything within a few blocks is great. And it's my little bit to preserve the wild and lower my carbon footprint.

A few years ago, my "front yard" was a spectacular view east up into Capitol Hill and a sliver of Lake Union. Thanks to the boom here, that's all gone. I'm two blocks from Amazon's new headquarters towers and a few blocks more from its groundbreaking urban campus.

That's fine. A vibrant city is always changing and all the new residents here ensure even more city options and support for downtown. A small park sits in front of our building and beyond that, across Fourth Avenue, is Paul Allen's restored low-rise Cinerama. The result is a square surrounded by high-rises. A bit like Gramercy Park in New York.

But downtown's boom wouldn't have been possible without good bones, generations of stewardship and a real economy. And finding ways to make quality cities — and instilling urban values in people — is our only hope to save the last wild places.

Nowhere have I advocated the abandonment of cities. I agree, soleri, that it is empty Utopianism, and that any serious effort to do so (impossible) would be ecologically destructive - given current population levels especially.

I would like to separate myself from such Utopian opinions.

One thing I did say is that I enjoy the aesthetics of urban life.

What I mean when I say that cities are "an abomination" refers to the oil-fueled process that created the super-cities of the 20th century. The current skyscraped manifestation of the "world city" would be absolutely impossible without the frantic disinterment of carbon of centuries last - the mother of all "complete destruction[s] of an eco-system."

I am also acknowledging a guilt I have - that I think all urbanites should share - is that I am basking in a magic-that-should-not-have-been, that I am acculturated to an abomination, that I have surrendered to my sin, that I have only a passing relationship with Nature, with my mother Earth.

Part of the reason for this surrender is my own ignorance and inability to live outside of human-made systems (part of this is psychological, so spare me the survival tips,) and part is the balm provided by the observations made by soleri, justifying the status quo on practical (anti-Utopian) grounds.

But I will not deny my denial.

I meant to add:

The clock is ticking down on these cities, as they will downsize and crumble on their own, no "eco-warrior" activism required.

Mike, we are "nature", too. That's good and bad in that we have become co-creators of our world. The bad part is obvious: we do things like dump gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere. We're good, however, in that we recognize the consequences of these actions. Humans, like the planet we're changing, are not static. We can change, and if we want to survive, we will. The planet, regardless, will prevail with or without us. It's up to us whether we want to be continue to exist as a species in its dynamic biosphere.

The "bad humans, good nature" duality of many environmentalists is awash in its own pessimism. It assumes that if we were more modest primates, or that if natural forces held us in check, that the planet would be a static Eden, that Gaia would continue indefinitely as this blue pearl in a mostly hostile cosmos. But life is now a geologic force. It's not merely the benign efflorescence of sexed-up amino acids, but actively changing the physical form of the planet itself. We are the most obvious manifestation of that, but we're not the only one.

I would suggest we take this trip together instead of imagining an alternative existence where human beings are something other than what they are. Yes, we are frustrating, stubborn, pig-headed, and greedy. But, this is just our evolutionary history, something to be aware of but not be paralyzed by. We're not going to wish this history away by thinking we would be different in only we agreed to worship Gaia, or live like idealized indigenes in a mythic landscape. As you probably have already surmised, there is, at best, limited progress in persuading people to live like noble savages. Let's keep our heads up and our minds clear. We need to take drastic action on the climate front. We need to stop overutilizing the planet. We need understand the biosphere's limits. And we need to work with ourselves, a stubborn and pig-headed species, in doing all that. Let's do what is possible instead of romanticizing a story in order to feel superior to others. That story will change nothing.

I assure you, I have spent much meditation on the "Human vs. Nature," "Human and Nature," "Human or Nature," and "Human is Nature" question.

I have resolved that while, yes, human beings are plainly as natural as wild hickory nuts, there is a mysterious circumstance that arises with self-awareness. Call it reflexive narcissism or whatever you like, but we become entranced with the layer we've put between our direct perception of the world (which is pretty filtered already) and the model of the world in our heads that we actually interact with. This is so powerful that it imbues entire populations with the notion that it is absolutely normal to have flush toilets, fields of grain, and shopping malls. This is visceral - there are people who will kill themselves as these become increasingly luxuries.

My point is - there is a line that can be crossed in self-awareness. I think that's what "original sin" is trying to articulate. My personal view is that if there is evolution of consciousness, we are collectively in a late adolescence, the most dangerous period of development. If we don't crash Dad's car and die, then we will go on to maturity.

Now I am aware of the very reasonable position that consciousness evolving is bullshit, but two observations are to be made. Firstly, if one has not experienced or observed the evolution of consciousness, then it is incumbent for one to be skeptical of the idea. Secondly, I have experienced it, and I am here to tell you that if what happened to me happened to a tipping-point number of people - probably a few generations out (if we don't crash the car) - then it would make one hell of a difference in our collective behavior.

Thank you for the conversation.

I just don't think we have enough Ebola infected persons in this country. We need more. A lot more.

I proclaim October " bring an Ebola infected person to the USA" month.

Let's set a goal of 100 infected persons per major metro area by Halloween.

We seem to have an over abundance of arrogance in this country.

Let's put our arrogance up against one of mother nature's no none sense viruses and let's see who wins.

Mike, we see this "evolution of consciousness" everywhere in our daily lives. In the past two generations, it's become unacceptable to degrade women, abuse children, despoil the environment (at least to the extent we can see the damage), disenfranchise blacks, force gays into the closet, or let the elderly and disabled suffer in poverty. Et cetera, et cetera.

For those of us on the left, this can seem frustratingly slow and uneven. For folks on the right, it's met with resentment and anger. Yet, for the most part, we are winning.

I don't think we disagree about the goals at all. But I do think we disagree when it comes to working out necessary changes politically and socially. I'd prefer to see people move to cities, for example, rather than worrying about them continuing to use flush toilets. The very fact younger people are driving less and less, preferring cities to suburbs, and broadly accepting environmental responsibility is something to celebrate. It's too slow given the exigencies of climate change but at least we're advancing the ball.

If we hold this progress hostage to the complaints that it's insufficient, or compromised, or tainted by impure motives, then we're being narcissistic. I want people to be better than they are, but not impossibly so. Or, as the clichê goes, let's not make the perfect the enemy of the good.


The evolution of which I speak is a break, not an incremental modification of what is. I'm not saying anything original - Krishnamurti is the inscrutable koan that dedicated his life to this message. It was an intellectual exercise for me, until it wasn't.

I'm not against the progressiveness that you describe - hell, I advocate it. I'm just saying there's something more, and it is vital.

I would like to note, with affection, that it pains me that we seem to be at odds at times, when the truth is that I am happy that there are some people such as yourselves that walk the earth. And I don't mean to sound patronizing, because your intelligence exceeds mine in many ways, because of your positive engagement with the status quo. Compared to you, I am a very petty human being - not "was," but am. Your trenchant compassion is a model for me - I have long given up on being as good as some of the people that I have encountered.

In other ways, I have a leg up only because of a gift of perception that I cannot take credit for - it's like a crap-shoot. I may come off as arrogant because of my certainty, but I assure you that the humiliation of seeing my own error counterbalances it.

Mike, I have a gift of self-deception, so I make no claims for psychological acuity let alone spiritual attainment. I am, by nature, combative and impatient, which in turn makes me overestimate the importance of rhetoric. I have to leave this forum from time to time for that reason. What wound is being exposed? I'm never sure. Perhaps it's the false pride in shaking one's fist at heaven that ultimately serves to reveal the emptiness of the gesture itself.

Because of those personal flaws, I want to advocate for realism in relationships and politics. We can't see everything but we can distort nearly everything by simply seeing one's judgments as definitive. That's human nature: to be lost in a funhouse of convex mirrors and infinite projections. We need each other for that reason. The people I respect (and many have been teachers like Krishnamurti) caution against believing anything to the point of identification.

We're going to row this leaky boat across a rough sea. Not everyone will help and not everyone can. Some of us will endure the effort while others will insist on its futility. One way or another, however, the boat will arrive on the far shore. Flawed as I am, I want to be part of this transition, to see the wholeness of the human drama and its redemption.

Wow good stuff. It will take me months to try and understand it all. I will work hard.
In the meantime per Albert Camus,
"With rebellion awareness is born"


Your contributions here are invaluable. So take part when you can. Thousands who value reality, who love Phoenix and Arizona, count on this blog and, yes, your writing.

With the best information available, with humility and open minds, we make a stand. I am honored to make it with you all. And I don't have all the answers, not even close.

Urban agglomeration
the future

Nice Bones

About Ebola: I am not sure I should believe the reporting on how there is no danger, because I know a bit of history, but one thing I do know, the Republicans are using this as a club against President Obama and Africans and the Dominionists among them secretly hope for its uncontained spread so as to kill the nonbelievers and bring about the Kingdom of God.

but Jerry it's all gods fault.
from an "ATHEIST all dressed up (by a mortician) and no place to go."

The whole problem with the World is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubt!

This question has been nagging at me for a while so I need to ask it.

Why are there little to no comments made on Arizona Eagletarian, Destructing the Manifest and Democratic Diva?

Why did Jon Talton move to Seattle?
Because its a visionary city!
(with indigenous bones)


I would imagine it had more to do with a job!

WHAT ???

Columbus was the "hired help" on a Spanish ship.

Spain discovered the new world.

Columbus couldn't have found the Americas if he had a ship with OnStar.

The nerve of some people.

Dem Bones, Dem Bones.
The Spanish are once again leading the way to extinction of the human race. First The Mayans, the Aztecs and the indigenous folks of what is currently called America wiped out by diseased Spaniards.
Planet Earth moves forward in it's elimination of the human pestilence.


Tom G wrote:

"The whole problem with the World is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubt!"

Are you sure about that?

Cal, I don't like Mad Max either. But the Road Warrior is awesome.

Emil coming soon

Good Bones are educated people with intelligence and good taste who care about long term value. Vegas and PHX are full of BONEHEADS. That is why we departed; am I right, Mr. Talton?

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