Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Another Black Friday

By SJ Otto
Each year I write about Black Friday, that fabricated holiday that corporate and capitalist leaders came up with to promote an orgy over gift buying. To be honest, many people take part in Christmas mostly out of a combination of tradition and religion. I have nothing against tradition. I'm not a Christian, although I do like to celebrate the day of Christmas but as an Epicurean and I celebrate Winter Solstice rather than Christmas. For me that is a holiday that allows for the same traditions. (they were taken from early Pagans and the official religion of the Roman Empire). Christians adopted these holidays for a number of reasons and It made sense to combine the holidays of their new religion with present traditions. Today my only request is that these religions respect those of us who do not believe in the Christian religion. But the massive holiday shopping is another story.
Gift giving has been a part of the Christmas traditions almost since the Roman Empire established the holiday more than 1,500 years ago. As a child, I understand the joy of getting new toys on Christmas day. Many of us do. But as I get older I realize that trying to fulfill my needs, wants and desires from this season are mostly good for the capitalists who make all the money providing these things.  And let's  be serious folks. A lot of what we are enticed to buy is useless crap that most people don't need and may not even really want.
As American capitalism developed, (the nation and the economic system) the ability to use the tradition of gift giving has gone from a quaint little custom to an orgy of greed, ostentatious putting on airs and a way to make a lot of money for the various businesses that exist in the US and other predominately Christian countries. People by iphones, computers, cars and luxury items that way exceed the simple gift giving traditions. I'm sure many people who but the cheap bargains early on Black Friday are actually buying a lot of it for themselves. The basics of Christianity do not include the idea of greed and exorbitant  gifts to impress our friends and relatives. The reality is that capitalism really isn't totally compatible with Christianity. But our corporate leaders encourage this orgy of buying and spending. Few of those who go along with this tradition, which is totally rooted in retail sails, is not part of any kind of Christian tradition.
It becomes spiritually frivolous. Rather than promote brotherly love and a spirit of giving, it promotes greed and a need for opulence and extravagant showing off.
Each year my family and I spend less time on shopping and gift giving. We all give to our children because they deserve a few pleasures on this holiday. But as adults such buying just contributes to the crass commercialism and the profit margins of this holiday.
I'm not a fan of Black Friday and I don't take part in it at all. It's the day after Thanksgiving. I sit back, drink a few beers and take it easy.
So this Black Friday keep in mind that this is a holiday designed specifically to make a few capitalists rich. And they get that by manipulating the public through the mainstream news media and commercials on the radio, TV and print media. Stay home, sleep in and find more meaningful things to do this Friday.

Uncle Bernie's Farm

Image result for naughty santa images

Monday, November 20, 2017

Another Thanksgiving- more mythological fun

By SJ Otto

Today, Thanksgiving is seen by many as a "politically incorrect" holiday. The pilgrim forefathers took advantage of the Indians. And some people believe that it is barbaric to plan a holiday over killing a turkey. Still there are my relatives and I probably won't tell them how bad their holiday is, at least not until after we all eat. So I print this so all may know the truth.
There was a “first Thanksgiving” dinner, but not likely turkey or the fixings we see today. The original meat was fish and deer.  The turkey became part of Thanksgiving about 1857. It is supposed to be of foods native to the New World. It became a national holiday in 1941. The traditional fixings came from a women’s magazine in the 1850s.

However, many of us will go to a holiday feast with the intention of celebrating time with our families and/or friends. We are thankful in life for some things. Most of us have either accomplished something of success in our lives or we may like our relatives—spouses—or our friends and lovers. Since I’m an Epicurean and don’t believe in praying to god, I will simply be thankful. I also won’t dump a guilt trip on my relatives for the sins of their ancestors or the fact that they are eating a murdered animal.

Image result for turkey thanksgiving

Pix by

Alien Sex Fiend - Stuff The Turkey

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

My dad represented a past generation—Like him it is gone now

May dad just passed away and that means it's time to look back on our relation ship, which at times was strained and at times was very happy. My dad was born in 1926, an early part of the 20th Century, in St. Louis MO. He was about 27 years old when I was born. He went on to have five other sons. We all lived in St. Louis until I was 13. Then we moved to Wichita KS where I have lived most of my life.

My dad grew up in the generation that witnessed World War II. The war ended a few months before their plans to ship him off to the Pacific theater. One of the things we have in common is that we both missed fighting in combat. The draft for the Vietnam War ended less than a year before my 18th birthday. One difference is that dad fully intended to fight the Japanese when called on. I on the other hand wasn't sure what I would do about the Vietnam War. I had mixed feelings and if I really wanted to get out it, I believe I could have. My dad was glad he didn't see any action. As with me he had no love for the idea of shooting at other people while they try and shoot back.
My dad and I represent a clean break from one generation to the other. My dad liked music by Tommy Dorsey, Henry Mancini and he liked Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. He liked the big band sound. He grew up in a time when that kind of music was very popular. I grow up as a rock and roll child. That is the music I grew up with and my culture was very different from my dad’s. His culture had actors such as Sammy Davis Jr., Henry Fonda and Kirk Douglas. Most of those actors and musicians are dead now, as my father is. My dad and his generation drank alcohol and avoided any other kind of recreational drug use. My generation adopted pot and LSD. So his culture differed greatly from that of mine which was mostly set by the 1970s.
I have spent a lot of years in the peace movement trying to stop most of the USwars. My dad worked with military secrets. He helped design the B-1 Bomber.
My dad was a Republican in his younger years. He became a follower of that party back when most of my other relatives, including my mother, were Democrats. That doesn’t mean they were all that left-wing. The Democratic Party at the time was more of a middle of the political spectrum party. At times the Democrats were quite conservative. As a child, both my parents admired John F. Kennedy and as with most people of that time period, he was anti-communist and anti-socialist.
I was always to the left. As a high school student I was interested in both socialism and anarchy. Much of socialist inspiration came from Salvador Allende. In my 20s I was a liberal. I slowly drifted in to Marxism as I got older. My dad will never understand my fondness for the Marxist left. But he is way more liberal than he used to be. I can remember having lots of arguments with dear old dad over many different things, from life style choices, (such as my first wife and how we lived together before marriage) politics and such things as using his property when I still lived at home. I used his 22 riffle once without permission—boy was he MAD!
I was a practicing Catholic until my 30s. That was one thing dad and I had in common. But I broke with that religion over political reasons and Christianity as well. I adopted agnosticism and I now consider myself an Epicurean. My dad stayed a life-long Catholic. His funeral will take place in a Catholic Church. Ironically none of my brothers are practicing Catholics. Some of us are Catholic but don’t practice the religion and others simply don’t value religion at all, (agnosticism or atheism). He may be the last of us to be buried in a coffin and the last to have a funeral in a Catholic Church. At times I feel sorry for both my mom and my dad that their religion of choice, which we all grew up in, is dying out in this family.
A point to much of this is that we represented two separate generations. Still, there were times when we had plenty of things in common.
As the years passed by my dad and I mellowed out and in the last 30 years we hardly ever argued things, even politics. We had found more in common with each other and my dad moved farther to the left. He is not a socialist or Marxist, but he is liberal and supports a lot of liberal positions. By the time he died we had way more things in common.
Not long ago my dad told me that I was more of a pro-family person—that is someone who takes an active roll in supporting various family members, than his other sons. I took that as a compliment. I do think that family is important. I do try to be supportive of other family members. I feel family is maybe the most important aspects of our lives. After all we can’t count on the government or society in general to support us. So maybe family is all we have that we can count on when we need help. As the mother of that show “The Middle” says—“you do for family.”
Politicians such as Donald Trump have helped bring my family together. My dad hated Trump, as does my wife and brothers. My dad and I have that in common.
My dad was 91 years old, so he got a lot out of life. He had a supportive wife, Joan, who is now deceased, had has six sons, of which Paul is now deceased and most of us have been fairly successful in life.
He had a good life. We can all be grateful for that. As with my favorite dead person quote: 

"Living is transformed into dying, lifeless matter is transformed into living beings. I propose that when people over the age of 50 die, a party should be held to celebrate, for it is in inevitable that men should die- this is natural law."[1] 

And here is a good song about dying:

Elvis Costello-God's Comic

[1] "INSTANT WISDOM: BEYOND THE LITTLE RED BOOK," Time, 20 September 1976, Vol. 108, No. 12, p. 38.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Graham Nash & Stephen Stills - Military Madness (Live)

Dedicated to Veteran's Day. This message is as relevant today as it was in May 1971. The Vietnam War was still being waged back then. -SJ Otto

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween/Samhain

By SJ Otto
Our present day Halloween comes from the ancient Samhain celebration. Prior to the Christianization of Europe, this Samhain day of celebration was both a holiday for the harvest season and a time when people believed spirits could come back to Earth. To prevent being harassed by evil spirits people put out jack-o'-lanterns and dressed in scary outfits to scare away the demonic spirits. Pumpkins were not known to the old world back then, so turnips and other vegetables were carved instead.

Here are some dandy songs to go along with this Holiday:

Killer Klowns From Outer Space

Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi's Dead

This is Halloween

And Halloween by Marilyn Manson 

Ramones - Pet Cemetery

This is an eerie musical, because three of these band members have died and in this video they are burying themselves.
A little more than eight years after the band broke up, the band's three founding members—lead singer Joey Ramone, guitarist Johnny Ramone, and bassist Dee Dee Ramone—had died.
It’s creepy to see them burying themselves knowing that.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

First Glimpse of Colliding Neutron Stars Yields Stunning Pics

Telescopes all over the world and in space were busy on Aug. 17, when scientists made the first-ever observations of both light and gravitational waves from a single cosmic event. Here are some of the stunning images of the event, including some from the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as artists' illustrations that give insight into the complex workings of this energetic collision.
The eruption of light and gravitational waves (ripples in the universal fabricknown as space-time) was produced by an event known as a kilonova, or the collision and merger of two neutron stars, which are the dead cores of stars that stopped burning fuel. This is the first time scientists have directly observed a kilonova eruption, scientists said during a news conference today (Oct. 16). 
Astronomers at today's news conference said that this detection of both light and gravitational waves marks the beginning of the era of multimessenger astrophysics, which means studying the cosmos with fundamentally different types of information, such as gravitational waves and light. [Gravitational Waves from Neutron Stars: The Discovery Explained]

For the rest click here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Tom Petty- sometimes a great musician

It's a big los for me to see Tom Petty die. He was a great musician and he was sometimes progressive. Here is one of my favorites:  -SJ Otto

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers- Something in the Air

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - So You Want To Be A Rock and Roll Star


Monday, October 02, 2017

Hugh Hefner did some good—but he was not a saint

By SJ Otto
Hugh Hefner was a revolutionary of sorts in his early days. He wasn't on par with such heroes as Malcolm X or Martin Luther King Jr. But he did bring down some of the more repressive rules controlling the US press. His magazine, Playboy, was the first major publication with nude pictures and articles about sex. Hefner ran his own recipes for his version of the sexual revolution. He also gave controversial public figures a voice.
He challenged US puritan laws and attitudes. That needed to be done and Hefner did it. There have been plenty of efforts over the years to ban Playboy, but no court ever deemed it pornographic. Vigilante groups tried using boycotts to stop the magazine. But it prints even today, even if they took out the centerfold. Groups such as the National Federation of Decency and Jerry Falwell's Liberty Foundation campaigned to persuade the 7-Eleven chains to stop carrying Playboy and other similar magazines.[1] But Playboy was always available somewhere.
Hefner built up his own philosophy on sexuality:

"Aiming to target the more cosmopolitan and intellectual male demographic, Hefner spent the several years developing and promoting the Playboy Philosophy, a manifesto on his ideas on politics, and governance as well as free enterprise and the nature of man and woman." -Yourstory.

Along with ideas on sexual liberation Hefner's publication gave interviews on controversial public figures who rarely got treated fairly in the US mainstream media.[2] People such as Timothy Leary, Malcolm X, Fidel Castro, Madalyn Murray and the Sandinista leadership of the 1980s, were all given lengthy interviews. 
Gloria Steinem and other feminists attacked Playboy for being sexist—and the magazine was guilty of that.
Hefner made millions on his magazine and one time he had Playboy Clubs all across the country. He built an empire. He was a bourgeois liberal and liberal on many issues. But he was not a radical, nor was he a selfless hero who lived for any real cause. He lived the life of a $ multi-millionaire. He lived the good life and he lived it up.
He was not a great hero like Malcolm X. He was not really all the far to the left. But he did contribute to press freedom on several levels. He was a sexist pig. His magazine did not treat women and men fairly. He treated women as sex objects.
Like many public figures Hefner was a mixed bag. He was right about some things and wrong about others. I don't agree with those who have condemned him solely on his treatment of women. He did some good for the country and he deserves to be remembered for those things that he did right.
He is gone now. Today his magazine would almost seem timid compared to others that have sprung up since Playboy began, such as Hustler magazine. Today there is nothing really that controversial in Playboy, with or without the pictures. In the 1950s when Playboy began, the US was way more conservative. Change was needed and today we have more choices, culturally, politically and visually. For some of this we can thank Hugh Hefner.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Patient Zeros play at Kirby's

By SJ Otto
The Patient Zeros played their own unique brand of rock music at Kirby's Saturday night. The group played mostly acustic and experimetnal rock music.
Scott Knost (below) also played both  acoustic and some experimental music with some electric devices. 
I mostly drank Mickey's Malt Liquor.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

I will miss Jerry Lewis—a comic genius

By SJ Otto
I was a small child when I first went to see Visit to a Small Planet, back in 1960, my first Jerry Lewis movie. I was only 5 years old. I thought the movie was screamingly funny. But my taste in humor has changed a lot since I first saw that movie. Years later I saw the movie as an adult and I still found it to be humorous. There were parts of the movie I still found funny. There was humor I probably didn’t get as a child and some things I laughed at as a child were no longer so funny.

Lewis was probably the first adult human movie star I took a liking to. He was not animated like Popeye the sailor, another person I liked watching as a child. So I was seriously affected when Lewis died last month. He is no longer my favorite adult movie star. But I still like him and consider him an important influence on my life—not because he was a great philosopher, or a great meaningful hero, but because as a child I thought he was funny. Even today I feel like Lewis was a kind of comic genius. That’s not to say all his movies were great. He put out some real stinkers. Some of his early movies really sucked. But he was an innovator. He experimented a lot with humorous ideas. That meant that some of his films missed badly. The one I found really disappointing was Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River. And most Lewis fans probably agree that his master piece is The Nutty Professor. The latter movie turns the story of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde on its side. Instead of the Professor turning into a monster, he turns into the kind of sophisticated and dominating person he always wished he could be. The movie is more than just funny. It takes up the issue of people wanting to be someone they are not and, with the magic of chemistry, the professor is able to become all he wants to be. So it is a movie that raises issues and subjects more than just mindless slapstick. Even Visit to a Small Planet has some satire in it.
It took a while, as a child, for me to realize that Lewis had been a part of the team of (Dean) Martin and Lewis. When I first saw some of those movies I thought they were pretty good. I especially liked Living It Up. But I think Lewis did his best work after he left Martin.
It’s been almost a month since Lewis died. He was 91 so he got a lot of years for himself. He made the best if his life—making movies, and many of us are glad he did.