Thursday, October 28, 2010

Crunch Time

Reading through my last blog entry, I thought, "What?" I shouldn't be blogging if I can't be thoughtful. Why am I blogging now? I don't know. I just opened the door at Monster Halloween, Thursday morning before Halloween, four days that are sure to be interesting. Yesterday, really, it began, a record in sales for the partners. I could hardly step away from the till most of the day. It's fun, actually, interacting with people, greeting them as they come in, trying to offer them some kind, generous an joyous word before they leave. Most people are in a good mood, many are excited. Some are sleepy, some are angry, some are simply goat faced. I try to tease a smile out of them all. If they giggle, I know I've done well. Hundreds of people. Exhausting, but fun.

Biked to the house I'm watching for friends who are in New Zealand, last night. Sat up contemplating the day. I even watched a little TV. Oprah, her interview with Jane Fonda. I've never given much thought to either woman. I was impressed. They spoke about knowing oneself, the work of the examined life. No easy thing, that, particularly in this culture, where we are fed an abundance of information from birth, almost none of it having to do with the truth of who we are, most of it designed to steer us away from the truth. That, and the astounding information that 1 in 3 women are sexually abused as kids, 1 in 6 men. America, the beacon of freedom, light and justice. We have no idea who we are.

How about that Hurricane that covered half the North American continent. Apologists for the Market will say it's no big deal, that it's just another storm, that there have always been such storms and you can't prove there weren't because we've only had Doppler radar for a few decades. A category three hurricane with the eye at the center of the continent, at the beginning of winter. Not a hurricane by technical definition, but if you saw the radar, you know. Global Climate Change, anyone?

Very busy. I'm bouncing back and forth between blogging and scanning people's Halloween choices. An older couple just bought a pair of Zubaz. Many of the ladies seem to like the fetish costumes. Other ladies call it slutty. I say, it has more to do with how you wear it. Another woman came in to return a wig. The exchange policy ended on the 22nd. She didn't want to hear that. I tried to explain, the parties started last week. If we don't deny returns, we'd be deluged with returns after the party. She didn't care. I was friendly, and immovable as a stone. Not everyone will walk away happy. One customer recently bought five items. Three were marked wrong, lower than they were in the system. They were overcharged 12 dollars on a 57 dollar bill. They caught it. I normally would, but for whatever reason I was distracted and I didn't. They did not likely walk away thinking we are honest people. But we are.

Gotta go. It's getting crazy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Contemplating the fierce weather that is supposed to be approaching, wondering how that will affect sales, wanting on one hand for things to slow down, on the other, for sales to improve. Sales have been strong, the pace relentless at times, but not so strong that the fear of failure dissipates. My attitude from the start has been, we are going to make money. It has only been the last few days I have thought, at times, if these friends I serve do not make money, what a failure as Manager of this establishment I will be. Add it to that long list, those failures of mine. Of course, that is mostly nonsense. We are going to make money. Are we going to make enough money to transition into a party supply store? We are going to need one hell of a push. Anything could happen. We will be mentioned on KARE 11 three times this week. People keep taking pictures and video of me dancing in the street. Maybe one of those videos will go viral. Maybe Americans are just really bad procrastinators and we will do 3 times the sales the last three days as we have done in the last six weeks.

My whole world right now is this store. I turned on the radio recently and heard something about the vote. It sounds like the Republicans are going to make heavy gains across the nation. We have become such a foolish people. It was only four years ago the Republicans were in control. Should they gain control again, they will only set about the work of sky gods, the establishment of American Aristocracy. Then, four years from now, should there still be a Republic, we will vote them out, because four years of lax oversight and free-market genuflecting will result in another collapse of whatever bubble. Not that Democrats have much of an answer for anything, except to spend money that does not actually exist. Both parties are exceptionally good at that. GW arguably spent more unnecessarily than O'b has, relatively speaking. Whatever. I may or may not vote, in the election. I vote every single day with my dollars.

Almost every dollar I spend goes to a locally owned business, unaffiliated with any corporate elite. That is the great beauty and character of our business, that we do not have to answer to anyone unconnected to the reality on the floor. Many people appreciate that. It is clear, many make no distinction between us and any of the generic corporatized Halloween outlets. They see it as saving a few dollars. I see it as ill-advised, un-strategic support for people who don't give a damn about the health of my locale.

We are going to need that local infrastructure, particularly as it pertains to food. Ultimately, however, the strength of community is in the ability and character of its people. As fossil fuels decline there will be little more important than local infrastructure, which is why it is incredibly important to vote with my dollars now, for people with tangible skills and abilities in my locale.

Why is that important? Consider for a moment American's preoccupation with the macabre, torture and ghoulishness, primarily evidenced in film, otherwise on display in Halloween stores. I have no attraction to the macabre, I am even repulsed by it. I pushed against having a local master of the macabre set up a haunted house in our basement, or otherwise having anything to do with the set up of this store. Still, we have plenty of the macabre on the floor. Why anyone wants to display a severed, skinned leg on display in their house, I have no idea. But they sell.

That and our preoccupation with violence. Not one person of the tens of thousands to pass through here has commented on my toy gun sculpture, except to ask if the guns are for sale. One of the partners has begun to dismantle it, to sell the guns. Why do I even bother, I've been asking myself. Because, I do. I foresee a bloody time in America, if we do not ....

Oh, forget it. I just had a bomb drop in my lap. A special order that we have had a very hard time finding, that came in, and one of the partners sold to someone who did not order it. Gotta go.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Few Things

Preparing for the last ten days before Halloween. Traffic through the building has been near-relentless. A few things that come to mind, from the last several days:

A year ago, had you said I would be working in a retail store today, I would have called you crazy. Had you said I would be managing a retail store with a staff of 25, I would have said something like, "Not in this lifetime." I recently sent an informal email to the partners: should you stay in business in this location, I will manage the store for you.

We have an agreement with the Scottish Rite Temple, the Masons next door, to park in their parking lot. Thursdays, we have only the twelve spaces against our building, of the 130 spaces in the lot. The first Thursday in October, Masons took 11 of our twelve spaces. I went over there to confront them, they said they would take care of it. We lost more spaces the following Thursday, we lost five last night. I went over to confront them again. I was very friendly about it. I said, "I am William Hunter Duncan, and I would like to speak to the assembly." They said no. I asked if they would suspend their meeting next Thursday, so we might have the entire parking lot, three days before Halloween. They said not a chance. One of the guys stopped by late last night and said I was no longer allowed in the building. I told him I'll stop by for dinner, the Thursday after Halloween.

A little boy, about four, was watching me as I spoke with his mother, while I scanned their merchandise. I had just returned from an errand, so I did not have a costume on, or the white mad scientist/Einstein wig I often wear. I was simply dressed as I always dress. The little boy scrutinized me silently, intensely, as little children sometimes do. He turned to his mother, pointed at me and said, "He's a pirate." That's right, kid. Thanks for noticing.

We will probably do three times the business these last ten days, than we did the first six weeks. Americans are such procrastinators. Canadian sales reveal that Canadians are not such procrastinators, sales remaining steady without the equivalent explosion in sales the last few days before Halloween. We are likely to do as much in sales the last three days as we will have done the previous seven weeks.

It's getting busy. More and more people through the store, and an increasing percentage of them grumpy. What! You don't have that obscure costume I want? Too late to get it? Grrrrrr. Many grouse about our prices. I give as many of them as I can a brief tutorial on modern economics and economics of scale, wondering why, but not saying, why do so many people think it is a problem to pay ten dollars more for a costume that is right in front of them, in a small, locally owned business, rather than driving 20 miles to the suburbs to a corporate joint, where the staff is not very interested in the job, the manager is in his position because he talks up to the corporate elite and down to the staff, where most of the income flows to that corporate elite - and then thinking nothing about dropping ten dollars on two drinks at the bar?

Most people who come through here enjoy the space and the experience. We have a great time, the staff and I, and those "consumers" who are open to it, feel it, and love it.

Totally unrelated - did you know the United States is threatening to sue China in International court, for China subsidizing Chinese renewable energy projects, because, America says, that is against International free-trade agreements. What? One might ask, Why is the subsidizing of renewable energy projects against International trade agreements? One might ask, why is America trying to prevent China, one of the dirtiest economies in the world, from cleaning itself up? There are no doubt various tortured rationals for this. Tortured, every one of them, ostensibly to protect the health of the economy, in direct contravention of Health.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Such a Strange Day

Yesterday, a curious day, a strange energy. Cool in the morning, not uncomfortably so, not necessarily speaking of the winter to come; yet the body knows. Death is forthcoming, all around. The weather has been a nice respite, pleasant, warm days and nights; leaves in the wind, collecting in the street. No dark news from any part of the globe standing prominent. In fact, everywhere the astounding news from Chile, 33 men(a prescient number) drawn from the depths of the Earth, after 69 nine days below. How important is communication! One imagines the ordeal, had there been no communication with the surface, and shudders. What they were doing down there is another question. The stories they will tell. I look joyward to the books I hope will follow.

In the afternoon, I danced in the street, in the Wacky Jacket Jenkins wig and the wackiest jacket I could find, a knock-off Mad Hatter; orange, black and white checkered; a green, blue, black and white checkered, faux-vest; purple breast, purple and yellow cuffs.

Thirty-three of 40 automobiles, the occupants didn't look at me. Three in 33 people smiled. I danced first to a radio station without commercials, a voice for the community, but all I heard were black dudes whining to a woman, or women generally, that said black man could not be whole if not for her/she/you. Not really the Wacky Jacket Jenkins vibe.

I tried to burn a CD, but the disc was scratched and most of the songs skipped. Four of the six buttons on the costume fell off. A guy on a bike, one of those masters-of-the-universe, small-city mid-western types, said to me, as he blasted by, "Get off the fucking road!" A tough day, a tough crowd.

In sales, we tracked below projections by more than half. The last two weeks, Monday-Thursday, Monday's have been the strongest day, sales weakening as the days progress, which I think is a matter of fatigue. We often have an abundance of energy, coming out of the weekend; this modern way of life, with all of its attendant concerns, dragging us down as the days trail on to Friday. The energy emanating out of those automobiles yesterday, Thursday, was downright glum.

We're still well above sales from last year. Which means it was a weird day. Two weeks and three weekends before Halloween, anything could happen. We could break even, we could sell all that we can provide. There is only preparation for the latter. I think I'll begin to comprehend all that has gone on here, about the same time we have to tear it all down. An exercise in zen, in presence, in the cycles of life and death.

Reading the Hagakure, the way of the samurai, it is said the Way is in the relinquishment of self-interest in service to one's master. I'm inclined to think every man should be his own master, in service to friends, family, community and the Earth, that all sorts of mischief occurs when a man relinquishes his responsibility to the health and well-being of people and the Earth, as if some master somewhere can hold that for him.

I'm contemplating such things, with the likelihood that I will not have a day off from Monster Halloween the next three weeks. I've found, it is best to let go of all but the most basic expectations I have for the fulfillment of my own needs, day to day. I eat little, sleep less. Two solid nights of sleep in a row and I lose momentum. I've taken to wearing a woven grass hat - we have about five or six hundred different kinds of hats - in the style of a Southeast Asian peasant, or a Taoist sage, some days at the till. There is a purple witch who keeps an eye on me at my station, mostly as a reminder about whom I serve, beyond the partners and the staff in-house.

Anyway, it's Friday, a new day. A beautiful day. Should be a beautiful weekend, and very busy. A change in the weather is imminent. The veil between life and death is thinning. I think I'll dance again tonight. Hopefully, people will be in a better mood. I expect they will. It really is more fun when other people are having fun, smiling, bouncing around. Blessings.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


It is quite astounding how many people come into Monster Halloween to buy toy guns. Almost all of them, Mothers, buying toy M-16's and Uzis, asking for Ak-47's, though I used most of the stock in my statue, "Black Heart".

A woman came in today, asking on behalf of her ten year old son, "Do you have any of the guns for sale you have in the display?" I told her that it was not a display, that it was a sculpture. I said I built it because young boys kept grabbing the guns off the shelf and running around the store shooting everything and everybody in sight. She looked at her son, who seemed affected by what I said, and said, cheerily, "Sounds like you, Huh?" She bought an Uzi and a Tommy gun.

More guns in America than people, a trillion dollars or so dedicated to the War Machine each year, all ostensibly to keep us safe. A cowards weapon, the projectile fired by explosive material. Used by men, in every Nation. No greater tool to instill fear, to rule, to wreak havoc, to plunder.

From the perspective of race, the gun is justified. From the perspective of nations, the gun is justified. From the perspective of the individual, the gun can be justified. From the perspective of species, the gun is contemptible, immoral and unjust. The species designation transcends all others, though not more than a few of the seven billion Homo sapien sapien on Earth know it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


About five-thousand people came through the door at Monster Halloween - Minnesota, Saturday. Almost all of them looking for make-up, fake blood, liquid latex and latex prosthetics resembling open wounds, cuts and bullet holes. From ten-thirty in the morning until eight in the evening, there were a hundred people in the store at any given time. Several of the staff were zombifying clientele, by the front door. We were all zombified, the staff and I. I was a zombie monk in a Jedi cape, my wood swords held by my sash. I danced in the street awhile, this way, though I didn't unsheathe them. I'll need the right music for that.

Halloween, once Samhain (pron. sah-win), then All-Saints Day, has long been considered a time when the veil between the living and the dead is thinned. What better way to symbolize that, than ten-thousand-plus Homo sapien sapien dressed up as the dead, getting drunk in West Bank bars?

We had a few zombie killers buy plastic machetes and toy guns, one guy with an Airborne tattoo, with a sash full of hollowed out grenades. He was terribly disappointed to find out, the bandoliers I ordered last week wouldn't come in 'till next Wednesday. I sold him a water gun Uzi and a Bottle of Blood. He shot streams of blood all over our front sidewalk.

In the afternoon I put on the Wacky Jacket Jenkins wig and danced in the street. A few hundred people honked, waved, a few thousand smiled, some took pictures, some took video. I think I'll make a practice of it and dance every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening, hook up the big speakers outside and bust a groove.

Everybody seemed to have fun. Most people seemed to enjoy themselves, the staff and clientele. Actually, it was one of the funnest days I've had in a long time. And, we handled more transactions than the partners did in their previous location in St Louis Park, last year, on Halloween, when they had lines fifty people deep, with the same amount of registers. The conversation with the CEO I blogged about a few weeks ago led directly to a few simple changes in the check-out process; the line for all three registers was never deeper than twenty people, whom we cycled through without much difficulty.

I think the partners remember my contribution, maybe; the CEO doesn't, even though that simplification must have been apparent in every Monster Halloween, in Canada and the UK. In a recent email he said something about sticking it where the sun doesn't shine. I didn't take it personally. He is stressed. He thinks a competitor payed the Russian mafia to attack our point of sale system; It failed about a dozen times last week. It did not fail, Saturday. I'll have to call him and tell him, good work! He probably won't read my emails. Funny, the CEO thinking I am condescending.

Based on this weekend, I conclude, people who shop for Halloween paraphernalia are fundamentally good, generally. We may not always make the best choices, like the woman with the densest, longest receipt I think I have ever seen, from Wal-Mart. I didn't see the total price but it must have been 1000+. She pulled the receipt out to show her friend, and I think, me, as I was ringing up the thirty dollars of merch she brought to the check out. I wanted to say to her, do you know there are thirty members of the Walton clan worth more than one billion, five worth more than twenty five billion? What are you doing, American, supporting Aristocracy? But she also had a Wal-Mart issued credit card; and I am not in the habit of being confrontational, especially not with clientele.

Good people, respectful and friendly. Whatever one might think about the Zombie Pub Crawl craze, it was an opportunity for many people to come together with a common purpose, to enjoy themselves, in a culture in which ritual and celebration have been subsumed in the morass that is Market commercialism. Some people were skipping to the check out, they were so excited. Most everybody was smiling.

Comparing the numbers to last years sales, I think we need to prepare ourselves for a crush, Oct 28-30, two to three times greater than Saturday's. The difficulty will be in merchandising to accommodate. We are at the mercy of vendors, almost all of whom have a problem filling orders. Whispers about Chinese manufacturing buildings going ghost overnight, no one even to answer the phones. What a change that will be for our culture, when we cannot reliably get cheap goods from China. How much more difficult it will be to sleep walk through life, when there is not the cushion of affluence provided for so many Americans by global trade.

Meanwhile, as for Halloween, dressing up as a zombie, a pirate, a super hero or a fetish-ized French Maid, you just might feel more alive. You don't really have to buy paraphernalia to act like any of these. But if you do, I encourage you to buy from us, rather than a big-box retail store, which is little more than a vacuum funneling energy out of the community, into the accounts of a very un-American, neo-aristocracy somewhere else. Who, in case you haven't noticed, don't care any more about the health of people or the Earth than they have in any Age. Who have a vested interest in people living like zombies, asleep and disconnected.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I was riding home late last night, practicing my breathing as I peddled. I rode past a house burning wood in a wood stove, thinking of a day when that was the norm, how foul the air was in the city, and how short the life span. Thinking of the new stoves that burn most of the heavier particulates and so, burn much cleaner. Smelling elsewhere, leaves burning, smoke filling the roadway, thinking how much more affective leaves are as a mulch than ash, particularly when shredded and slightly composted; and speculating about their use, in bags, as a loft insulation. Also, how unpleasant the city smells so much of the time, and how important life in all its variation is to cleansing the air.

Then I came to my house. Within fifty paces of the corner of my lot I was enveloped by the smell of grapes, both fresh and fermenting. A sweet and pleasant smell. Softening. I smiled.

My house was in fine shape, though I'd forgotten my key at Monster-Halloween. Crawled through a window protected by an ancient tea rose and a web of morning glory vines, the latter still holding my feet as I lay on my sun room floor. I danced awhile, dreamt a fine dream about the fairy, and slept for eight full hours. In the morning I gathered the front yard squash and placed them in the musty basement. I'll have to clean this house well before any fairy will enter. I called out to the Goddess to protect my house, before leaving.

On the way to work, leaves falling, whirling in the street, that essence of Autumn in the air, that fond feeling, I thought about a class. I think I'll call it, "Awaken to your Dragon, Homo sapien sapien." Charge on a sliding scale. I know of a venue, home to a troupe of radically feminine martial art practitioners.

I have bills to pay, a house to transform into an off-the-grid marvel, a woman to impress, and it's the only thing I can think to do that involves the making of money, besides writing (at which I make a great deal of satisfaction), that makes me happy.

I know a guy who leads a dragon training. If he can do it, I can.

At Monster Halloween, we are preparing for this weekend's Zombie Pub Crawl. As of Tuesday there were nearly 10,000 zombie-wannabes registered. Some of the staff will be at the U of M, dressed as zombies, Thursday and Friday, handing out fliers. We have a guy in-house who's done makeup for 40+ zombie films. I'm going Uptown to the clubs, full-on zombified, Thursday night. I'll stumble in, find a place to dance, and stumble out, placing a few hundred fliers in peoples hands in the process.

Thinking of my grapes, I hope they are what the big man with the white bull dog was thinking of, when he said I was going to have some visitors this week. I encourage those kind, who want to smell grapes.

My grapes and boulevard wildflowers

My front yard amaranth and potatoes

My front yard squash

My front door.

Hey, it's welcoming to the birds and pollinators. And I hope, to a fairy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Home from work Sunday night at about 8:30, there was a man standing on my sidewalk, with a white pit bull or bull dog. A big man, 6'6" or more, 300 lbs plus. I nearly drove my bike onto the sidewalk before I saw him. I passed him in the street, rode into my driveway, opened the gate, walked the bike to the back door, parked it, began walking toward the door, and he was still on the sidewalk, where he had been when I first saw him.

He called out across the grape vines, "This your house?"

"Yep," I replied.

He paused. "Uha. You're going to have some visitors this week." He walked away.

I didn't take it to mean he would be stopping by with a bottle of scotch. I took it to mean he didn't like the state of my yard, which, after six consecutive 100-hour work weeks, looks a bit wild. I assumed he meant he would be calling the city about my yard, or, more likely, he would be dropping by with a couple of his cronies to fuck me and my house up.

I stood in my house a long time with my swords in hand. But I was very tired, and not really very afraid, so I went to bed, sleeping well, even for the dream I had about a building and the deep, dark hallways I stumbled into, but was afraid to explore.

I awoke early to meet the city worker scheduled to fix my water meter. A good man, driving 70 miles a day home to work and back, to live on five acres in a berm house, which, being mostly underground, never gets below 56 degrees. He is like a hobbit, actually, which is to say he is compact, hairy, and direct. "Everybody thinks we get great retirement benefits. I pay the union 34 dollars every month, but it doesn't do me any good. The retirement benefits are a fake."

I have water now. Though I didn't bother to open the valve to the house. I'm sure there are burst pipes and I won't get to that until November.

At work I told a fairy I know - not the fake kind but a real one - about the man on my sidewalk and his threat. She looked at me skeptically. I told her about the neighbor I met on the street who works for an environmental organization that buys biologically sensitive land to return it to a wild state. I speculated to that neighbor that I find it interesting I can be threatened with violence for letting my yard go wild, when people everywhere spray poisons and few say much about it. She replied, "Yeah, but those poisons sure make things look beautiful." I told the fairy my neighbor was only contradicting me because she does not appreciate my yard, that her concern for the Earth is not greater than her devotion to convention. She looked at me, skeptically.

Sometime around noon I filed a police report. I am not in the habit of filing police reports. While I'm not concerned for my safety, I am worried about my house. I want a record of the threat made to me. I'm afraid I'll return to my home and find it trashed, knowing as I do, all the time and money that would be involved in fixing it.

As the afternoon progressed, I began to see my fears from the fairy's perspective. Maybe the big man appreciated my wildflowers, and he expects others will as well? I didn't ask him. Maybe my neighbor was being facetious. There is a difference between a person's energy and my projections. I'm not always right. Maybe I'm prone to seeing everything lately from a negative perspective?

I do know, I'm impressed by that fairy.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


A dear friend of mine recently asked me to dinner. It turned out, he had a "charge" against me he needed to resolve. He challenged me even before he finished his first beer. He had taken umbrage to what he called my "holier than though" attitude about theft, and my accusation that the wealthy in America are not modeling healthy behavior. He is privy to information many are not. Two years ago he challenged me similarly, outside the world headquarters of the Behemoth, which I was about to quit to follow a remarkable woman to California on my bicycle. In quitting, I was also walking away from my house, and $23,000 in credit card debt. His attitude was and remains, in quitting my agreement with the bank and credit card companies, I am taking money away from him.

In a way he is right. Not paying my debt means higher rates for everybody else. How egregious is this behavior of mine is hard to quantify, as I paid the credit card companies more than the balance in interest and fees. Eventually, I settled with Bank of America, which by virtue of their gobbling up of MBNA, owned the debt on both cards. We settled at $3,600 (they sent me a piece of paper declaring the balance as income, which Government charged me $2,540 for. On April 15 of this year I was in possession of exactly 36 dollars.) In total, I have defaulted on, I estimate, approximately $50,000 of debt. Literally, it hasn't cost my friend a thing. The cumulative affect of hundreds of thousands, millions of defaults like mine, certainly has.

Honestly, I don't feel very bad about it. I don't feel good about it either. In fact, I'm torn between counseling Americans not to take on any debt, and counseling my fellow citizens to take on as much debt as the Government and Financial Institutions will give them, and default on every penny of it. Either counsel is treason, from the perspective of economists and the sky gods of Finance; neither path is the complicit support of Empire, though both strike me as a quintessentially American way of going about things, in the ideal. How about, we all take on as much credit as we can, from Governments and Financial Institutions, default on every penny of it, and then never accept credit from anyone ever again?

Spending a few minutes on is instructive in this matter. As I write this, the total US National Debt stands at 13.537 trillion dollars. This debt is climbing, by my informal count, at a pace of about $100,000 every three seconds. US Gross Domestic Product, which is not increasing $100,000 every three seconds, stands at $14.560 trillion. Even more instructive is the US Total Debt, "including Household, Business, State and Local Governments, Financial Institutions, and the Federal Government ," which stands at $54.675 trillion.

The past several decades, there has been a shift in America away from manufacturing tangible materials, toward the manufacture of illusory wealth based on the maintenance of debt. Economists, the Federal Government, and Financial sky gods encouraged the taking on of credit by state and local governments, and by individuals, as a means to generate an ongoing fiscal servitude in the form of interest and fees paid by the debtor. This seemed like a great deal, when the economy was hot and money seemed to be falling from the sky; who doesn't want an influx of massive amounts of money? Now the economy is not so hot, the debt feels like a great burden, and local governments and people everywhere are in danger of default. Yet somehow, at the end of the last recession there were more billionaires in America than there were at the beginning of it, and currency and derivatives are now valued at $622.271 trillion, or 607.710 trillion dollars more than the nation's Gross Domestic Product - which one-thousand-three-hundred families control twenty percent of.

It is all so absurd it's almost impossible to believe, how delusional we have become collectively, as if this situation is in any way tenable long term. We as a nation are like rock stars, who open up the pathways so wide they burn up in the intensity of the flow, unable to control it. Even those who are aware the party is coming to an end want to believe it will be a long - if painful - slide through de-industrialization, and not an all-upside-down systemic collapse. I'm not so sure. Even in the face of another potential recession and the pending collapse of the Euro experiment, we are burning pretty damn hot. Burning up the resources of future generations, really. Market worship has a tendency to blind.

My friend challenged me, I listened, and then we had two more beers each. He taught me an old Scottish tune about a Highlander who had no trousers; I told him about a bar named Merlin that stocks one hundred different kinds of scotch, and suggested we go there sometime and get drunk, and hopefully, sing songs and dance. He agreed that was a fine idea. After all, just because The Party is coming to an end, that doesn't mean the partying has to stop entirely. In fact, it is best if we get together, talk about the coming Great Contraction, drink if you like, and most importantly, sing and dance, which the beer and the scotch can help facilitate, at least in the giving of oneself permission, if not in the actual singing and dancing. Though I am not necessarily advocating drunkenness, or the deliberate, broad scale bleeding of the Market. All things in moderation, said the Oracle at Delphi. Every wine will get you high, said Rumi - sample wisely (widely), and choose the purest. Which goes for credit, just as well as scotch.

*******On a Different Note*******

I made it onto TV, though I'm definitely not the star. Check out the "In Person: Magic Mama" video at