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Jacky's Last Fishing Trip

Castaways – Part 2 – February 2012

Captain Jack (Jacky Jack Jackson) had had enough.

Cap’n Jack was sealing the deal on the last vessel he would command on any waterway, a 15 foot runabout with a battery powered trolling motor. A fitting downgrade from any other vessel he had been aboard, given the downward spiral of life events that placed him here on the shore of his own depths. From the gunwales of this magnificent boat, Jacky Jack was sure to catch his last fish – even if it killed him!

It is a long way out to Apache Lake, even from where Jacky lived. You see, the string of Salt River Lakes from Roosevelt Dam down to Saguaro Lake, near Phoenix Arizona, follows Arizona Highway 88, The Apache Trail. At least half of this road is undeveloped, rugged dirt road and at points, the trail hugs tightly to cliff sides as it drops down into deep canyons. The road was cut into the canyons back in 1914 under the administration of then president Theodore Roosevelt to lead the donkey carts loaded with bricks to build Roosevelt Dam at the northern stretch of these lakes. Jacky Jack enjoyed the second lake along the river – Apache Lake.

Bounded by Horseshoe Dam, downstream from Lake Roosevelt on the Salt River, Apache Lake runs deep and narrow along a canyon northeast of the Superstition Wilderness in central Arizona, just east of Phoenix. This is the area made famous by the tales of bountiful gold and the Lost Dutchman Goldmine. There are stories of current day prospectors – crazy mountain men – still inhabiting the surrounding wilderness, lurking and menacing stray campers and hikers while in search of legendary gold. But, this is Jacky’s lake. He comes here all the time. And he’s never caught a fish.

Jacky says: “here’s the thing. I’m gonna spend a week at the Upper Burnt Corral campground. I’m gonna live off of what I bring and I’m gonna fish from my little boat every day.”

After camping and enjoying the solitude and silence of living in the wilderness, Jacky decided that it was enough to tell his children goodbye, that they had not wanted contact from him and that he was not going to continue in the current pain he was experiencing. With that, Jacky Jack boarded his new boat and paddled offshore.

As he tossed the cinder block anchor over board, Jacky looped the rope twice over his wrist and was pulled into the depths of Apache Lake and to his surprise, as his final breath escaped; he saw hundreds of fish in the very lake he swore had no fish!

Amy and the rest of Club 27

Did you hear about Amy Winehouse? So sad. A beautiful voice is now silent.

She is the latest member of Club 27 along with Kurt, Jimi, Janis, Jim and Brian (Jones - original Rolling Stones) she was talented, as were they all, but deeply troubled, as were they all. The news hit me kinda hard this morning. I hate that Club... I mourn the losses. The world is poorer for the lack of their talent. I am also fascinated in the most macabre way as if there but for the grace of Buddha would I go - and yet I have not the meteoric talent of any of them - that I have lived almost twice as long. So much for my living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse. Not that I didn't try, I suppose. Nor that any of them were beautiful in death - especially Kurt.

I cried openly to hear that she was finally consumed by her demons and feeling the oppressive weight of my own.

Find peace now, Amy and say hello from me to my friend Kurt.

I miss him. I will miss you as well.

50 Foot Tall American Gothic

Check out this crazy sculpture that landed on Main Street in Mesa Arizona just two blocks away from my humble abode. It is so hilariously awesome, I had to take a closer look.

So you take a closer look and at 30 seconds in get my take on the installation.

If the player doesn't work, here is a link to the source.

Fourth Falls From FISA Foolery

Friends know that I am passionate on this subject. Maybe you saw this entry earlier this year. Shit, I personally called Congressional representatives and Senators from my state to voice my stand and my wishes for their votes to reflect my view of yet another incremental whittling of our rights. Our Constitutionally protected right to privacy.

(Read Arizona's 6th District Representative, Republican Jeff Flake's response to my phone call asking him to vote against the bill)

The 4th amendment to the United States Constitution which reads:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
has been dramatically sidestepped in the passing of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reform bill in both houses of congress earlier this month. A bill that retroactively grants immunity to phone companies that broke the law at the behest of the Bush Administration and gave phone records to the White House and DoJ without court-ordered warrants as mandated in the 4th amendment's protection against such unlawful seizures. All the while assuring that such practices will become the commonplace.

There are some hopes that a repeal could be affected. The ACLU and EFF are filing lawsuits to challenge the law. And there is something We The People can still do as well. We can run ads.

That's right, run TV ads, to be specific. Check this out:
For as little as $6 you, too, can run a real-live political ad on your local cable TV market. Tell people that you want liberty to stand for something other than fear and domestic spying. You see, privacy is not about having something to hide. Privacy is our right to live safely WITHOUT fear of our own government peering over our shoulder or listening to our phone calls.

Vote like your life depends on it this November. Tell Washington DC that they have no business in your business.

Quite Possibly the Best News in 8 Years!

This news today made me squeal with delight! Finally, some members of congress have found their spines and have drawn articles of impeachment on President George W. Bush.

Thirty-five articles of impeachment brought to the house by Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio:

"Resolved," Kucinich then began, "that President George W. Bush be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate. ...

"In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and to the best of his ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has committed the following abuses of power..."

The first article Kucinich presented, and many that followed, regarded the war in Iraq: "Article 1 - Creating a secret propaganda campaign to manufacture a false case for war against Iraq."

Haven't heard this? Not surprising, since none of the mainstream media is covering it. Perhaps it is because Kucinich is seen as some sort of kook. Or, simply that economic woes make better headlines?

Kucinich supporter John Kusumi responded angrily at OpEdNews, writing, "The most important thing going happened on Monday night. An event that matters greatly to the course of history and to all Americans. Did you hear about it? Did ABC, CBS, and NBC break into normal programming with special coverage? Are there special alerts and bulletins on the cable news networks, where people can see them? No, no, and no!"

What's the point? Why impeach Bush in the last few months of his administration? It is important that the congress stand up and denounce the criminal wrongdoing of Bush, Cheney and the like. When it was Bill Clinton in front of congress for impeachment, there was not a day that went by that headlines weren't screaming out the tawdry details of what, by comparison amounted to frat-boy hijinks in the Oval Office. Bush's high crimes and misdemeanors need to be heard and deliberated, no matter the late date.

History will be made one way or the other.

Dr. Phil Ruined My Life

How stupid are we, you and I?

“Well, I’m not so sure about you, but I’m…”

Of course, no one thinks that they are stupid. And we most certainly are not.

Insert Dr. Phil voice over here: “So how’s that workin’ for ya?”

…goddamnit, I hate that man. I swear it was the pop-psychology tag-team of “Dr.” Phil MacGraw and his bitch-goddess-overlord, Oprah Winfrey that shattered what tenuous hold I had on an already “iffy” marriage. Tore it all apart. Gave her all-new definitions of what was fundamentally unsound in our relationships together, with ourselves, with our parents and as parents ourselves. Then shoved it all into her head.

She believed in “The Big ‘O’”, my beloved children’s mother (the children being the loved – mind you - their mother, the “b”). There was no utterance, no guest utterance, no Mega-Multinational, Planet-Destroying, Police-State-Promoting, corporate sponsor that could ever be less than 100% accurate, correct, or perfectly pure than those contained within the visionary 60 minutes of the Oprah Winfrey Show. Here was Gospel, spelled out in unquestionable manner to unquestioning mom.

That is until the Dubious Doctor made “Truth” last for two hours on the television.

When “Dr.” Phil squirmed into his own sponsored 60-minute psychodrama, Goddess “O” and her Acolyte Disciple Doctor accounted for enough bullshit-brainwash, armchair psychiatric gibberish to convince women like my kids’ mom. With the extra hour of “programming” they were able to create unholy, Manchurian-Candidate-Moms, ready for the subconscious trigger to snap to attention and fall in rank with the Zombie-Robot-Housewife-Army. This is the ever-enlarging mass of awning-wearing women who have already destroyed such treasured heritage as lawn darts, super-explosive firecrackers and BB guns.

“OH!” they cry – forearm to forehead, feigning fainting, “won’t someone think of the children!”

And there it is, baby. There ain’t nothin’ that’ll sell it to the cheap seats like Dead Babies!

You give her one Dead Baby and Oprah will give you ONE THOUSAND angry mothers!

Fuck! Nestlé be eatin’ that shit up!

“So, O’ Honey, you telling yo’ sponsoring corporate interest, that every baby they kill give them 1,000 activated viewers? Who you tryin’ to kid? Shit, mama, that some serious dope yo powerful ass be bringin’.”

And on the homefront, MomZombie – politically activated for the first time in her narcissistic life – holds court over the family dinner:

MOM: “So, I saw on “Oprah” today, where horrible accidents in the home kill untold many children every year!  In fact, bear foot-traps, baited with American-made ketchup – the very stuff we put on our “French” fries – has killed at least THREE CHILDREN inside their family homes in rural India in the last seventy-five years!!!”

DAD: “Well, dear, India IS the second most populous country on the planet. Three children out of several billion is statistically insignificant, especially extrapolated over the 75 years…”

MOM (screeching hysterically): “Well it’s three too many, mister! And I aim to do something about it! From now on there will be no ketchup in this house! How could you be so cruel?  IT COULD KILL THE CHILDREN!!! MY GOD! WON’T YOU THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN?! WON’T SOMEONE THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN?!”


MOM: “I know, honey. That’s why we need government regulation of the ketchup industry to keep us safe! Until then, mommy has this DNA cheek-swab and fingerprint kit for all of us. Oprah is collecting them all and sending free RFID chips for us to implant under our skin. Just until the government-issued “Homeland Security Tags” are issued.”

FAMILY (in unison): “OH, BOY! THANKS, MOM!”

MOM: “Thanks, Oprah!”(Winks).


Later that same night, in the same home, with the precious children safely asleep under video-surveillance-camera-protected, hypoallergenic, flame-retardant beds, mom and dad negotiate:

DAD (conspiratorially): “So, hey there, HotStuff, you wanna fool around some, before we knock off? The kids ARE asleep…?”

MOM: “You know, I watched Dr. Phil today, and he was talking about men who want sex from these womenFrom their WIVES, you sick fuck… I think you need help. I think you need to admit that you have a serious problem here. You need to admit that you are a sick, perverted, weirdo – who wants sex with the mother of your children! Ohhh! – YOU MAKE ME SICK!!! (Slams bathroom door).

DAD: “Did you say “Doctor Phil??”  Oh for fuck sake, Honey, I am sooooo sorry. I swear, I never realized how sick I was… Please help me!!! I never meant I wanted sex with YOU!!! Oh, God, what have I become?!”

So. How stupid are we? Hopefully not as stupid as  the above mentioned "family" (umm, what makes you think I am being autobiographical? Really?)

I am going to ask you to consider this one thing before answering. Consider not consulting only one source for credibility of intellect. I ask you this not to discredit your own intelligence, but in order that we all agree that we have not included disingenuous material from disreputable sources: disregard disinformation distributed depressively.

“Dis” Oprah & Phil. It is they who are  the stupid ones. You  include yourself only when you sign on to their bullshit.

And I think you can do better than that.



I have been busy the past couple of weeks, researching, obtaining materials and finally, building a working table-top etching press. I have posted a photoset over on Flickr showing the thing coming together and working:

The entire project is built of salvaged materials -rollers and gears from two, old, Epson dot-matrix printers, a cheap, bathroom counter top of 3/4" laminated particle board, a laminated, "hang-it-yourself" shelf, Rollerblade bearings, a pulley fan from an evaporative cooler and assorted lengths of all-thread, aluminum tubing and plumber's epoxy and polymer clay. Most of these items were scavenged at a local second-hand store called Deseret Industries - affectionately known as "The Mormon Thrift Store". This is, after all, Mesa Arizona, a major Mormon enclave with a very large temple. So, those guys do good work and fund outreach programs through their store. And I score big on quality off-cast material for little coin.

I have worked in the printing industry all my life but for two, brief attempts at "real jobs" (two years as a bicycle messenger in downtown Seattle and two more selling spurious nutritional supplements over the phone), not to mention a stint in my father's ice cream parlor when a mere tot of 13. Even then, the local newspaper editor contributed to my long and infamous career in the "Black Arts" by allowing me to sweep the pressroom until out, of pity - or state labor regulations - he had to put me on the payroll. And while still welcome at family functions, hopes that Jeffry would ever "make something of himself" were dashed that day. I still love the art and the industry of printing.

You can find plans to build your own press at Doug Forsythe's website. He'll charge you $25 Canadian for a set of plans. Looks like a good press, but I decided to wing it. I guess you could say I have a feel for what is needed in a press like this. I've built and rebuilt presses over the years, made fine paper to print on in those presses and taught paper- and print making classes. And even though my job by day is in a specialty print house, this press marks the return of Papiermeister to the art of fine print.

Heaven help us all... 

Tibetan New Year Observance in Sedona

The lunar new year observance -  Losar - observed at the Amitabha Stupa in Sedona, Arizona, with prayers and offerings of 1,000 lights and flowers. The film and production is by Sedona's Skip Thomas.

This is my sangha of Kunzang Payul Choling and my own children are seen here lighting candles and placing flowers on the stupa.

May all sentient beings benifit viewing the video and hearing the Dharma.

May all prosper in the new year.

Om Ah Hung!

Certainly, this is not the first time this argument has been forwarded, but very simply put, I cannot stand the idiocy that rules everyday commerce in today’s society no matter what level. Relaxation of personal responsibility has ruined public discourse and changed forever thoughts of right and wrong, and – more importantly - who is responsible when something goes awry. It may be the easy shot to aim my righteous anger at the likes of such mass-media circus ringleaders as “Jackass” Jerry Springer, “The Dubious Dr.” Phil McGraw, “Dame-Baroness-Her-Majesty” Oprah Winfrey, “Idiot-Ideologue”, Sean Hannity, or the “Grand Wizard”, Rush Limbaugh. Yet these assholes are no more than high profile symptoms of a much wider malaise.

This societal malady exhibits as one-sided intolerance, coupled with an aggressive, confrontational, “shouting down” of differing opinion – even if not entirely unlike their own. In this model, discourse and debate equal a verbal football match with points scored by the number of “slams” – humiliating observations pronounced by one side or the other, usually of a descriptive racial, ethnic or gender bias – or by sheer volume, tenacity or vulgarity of arguments for disbelief. This type of “conversation” is not representative of real demographic opinion. That should not be difficult to see.

Or at least I thought…

Have you ever found yourself a part of some “Springer-esque” gladiatorial play where an audience, thirsty for the blood of an innocent, screams out loud for blood to be drawn? This is the very scenario that plays out all too often when allegations are leveled and “Dr. Phil-Limbaugh-Winfrey” justice is administered via the public opinion. What is even worse is the change in public perception – without any due process of law – that occurs because the supposed victim is somehow sympathized. So what if this confederate affront, with absolutely no knowledge of the legal process – after shouting you down in a barrage of profanity you could not match with imagination – then turned the tables and had the Mesa Police come knock on your door and ask you what the Hell you were doing to provoke your saintly [m*tha-f*ckin] neighbors when all they do is join hands and sing joyous godly songs of reverence.

I did ask a neighbor, downstairs from me, to be quiet when pounding on the door to the flat directly under me. She replied with words I would not have my children hear.

My children not in range, I replied in kind: she asked me if I was threatening her, I said, “Yes, I am threatening to call the police if you don’t shut the fuck up…”

If I describe the woman as immensely fat and yelling profanities at me in what can only be described as a “Robert-DeNiro-Taxi-Driver” delivery, I may be leading. But not by much. But what pisses me off is that the “Shoot-First-&-Ask-Questions-Later” Mesa Police come to knock at my door to ask me what has transpired since the report of my alleged harassment.

Nothing, Officer.

Nothing at all.

Idiots surround me.

I Wish To Remain Silent, In Keeping With My Rights To Do So.


Good Riddance

I, for one, am glad it was George Bush's last State of the Union address to the combined houses of Congress and the American people. I find it extremely difficult to listen to this president. I can clearly hear in his voice his full awareness that he is lying. And it makes me angry. It is no surprise then, that each time he has delivered the address, he has done so with lower and lower approval ratings. Each year lower than the year before.

No previous administration has done more to undermine the Constitutionally-granted liberties of the American people. Never have the rights of privacy and rule of law been so eroded as under the Bush presidency. And yet, even at his lowest approval rate, this president still argued for extending his policy of warrantless spying - listening in on private phone conversations on millions of Americans. Bad policy compounded with insult to intelligence. The insult that would come in the form of this quote from President Bush last night:

"So long as we continue to trust the people, our nation will prosper, our liberty will be secure and the state of our union will remain strong."

If you trust us, why do you need secret-squirrel domestic spying? Why manufacture threats designed to invoke fear for our security?

If only the people could trust you, George.