Sunday, December 23, 2018

Redressing the Betrayal

The time has come. The calm before the storm is expiring. After Christmas 2018 will begin a whip back toward realigning USA, Inc. with its foundational center, the real United States of America. The parasites who have sucked the life and liberty from America will soon meet the righteous rage that is their due via the swift justice of martial law and military tribunals.
Although their deceit and treason can be traced back to Babylon, the far left penetration of the West had begun in earnest with the European revolutions of 1848 that sought to unseat its aristocratic monarchies. (The pedigree of that rabble finds its roots about a half-century before in the leftist bloodletting known as the French Revolution.)
In America, Andrew Jackson purged the central bank control over the purse strings of our government. This, however, would prove only a temporary setback for bankster forces. They relentlessly set to work to re-establish their financial primacy. And their handiwork would culminate a generation or two later in the so-called American Civil War. That war, like all wars, was a purging of a nation’s hardiest souls and a drain upon its resources while initiating further steps of cabal intrigues along the way.
The aftermath of that war saw carpetbaggers aplenty, those early leftist demonizers and destroyers of Southern culture. It saw new amendments to the U.S. Constitution passed while the nation was under martial law. The aftermath of that war unleashed upon Americans the bankster class of industrial magnates that presaged the heyday of multinational corporations. These would become known as the corpocracy. Beginning in the late 1800s, by manipulating the U.S. Supreme Court corporations began to amass, by designed stealth, the same unalienable rights as the common American.
By the turn of the century a full scale plan had already been devised to capture the soul of America. The Bolshevik takeover of Russia in 1917 marked a pivotal success by the same forces that were eating away at our own republic.
Through Woodrow Wilson (and Bernaysian propaganda efforts that soon followed) America began its modern-day transformation via a triple whammy of (1) legal acceptance of the unholy banking cartel known as the Federal Reserve, (2) a sleight-of-hand, unlawful income tax, and (3) World War I.

The Jazz Age and easy money quickly followed until the crash of 1929, engineered by the same parasites that had now ensconced themselves within a fascist alliance of government and financial interests. These enemies of the People bought up America at fire sale prices and further secured themselves as masters over them.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt completed the transmutation of our republic into USA, Inc. by seizing the gold, manipulating the People into a legal status as enemies of the state, and otherwise selling this country out via his socialist agenda. The icing on that cake was World War II—another sapping of the People and its resources.
The banksters of the Wall Street financial class were responsible for instigating both world wars while financing both sides. This pirate banking titan class is to be distinguished from the traditional American Main Street economic model. It is this latter economy that is more closely associated with the common man and has struggled mightily to survive against the Goliath onslaught of globalist Wall Street over the past century.  
The aftermath of WWII saw the rise of the national security state, and erosion of the dollar, along with the winnowing of our precious liberties. Soon, America was under the thumb of the CIA, British intelligence and other intelligence agencies. Endless wars were sold as being necessary to ensure our freedoms. The world suffered then, as it does now, while the privileged class of sell-outs grew more comfortably wealthy, influential, safe, and secure. (Now, desperate to retain control, these forces are tilting their NATO minion army toward egging on Russia into World War III.)
This is the same class of anti-Americans who killed Kennedy, kept various military actions, contrived crises and instabilities going, underwrote 9-11, and swept-in their globalist minions into positions of (unelected) administrative power. In general they eviscerated a U.S. Constitution that had already, de facto, been made irrelevant by the covert stratagems and soft coup of FDR.
With the ascendancy of George H.W. (Scherff) Bush, the country has since been treated to a succession of CIA clowns either behind-the-throne or actually occupying the White House. Our former republic was thereby overrun by a Zio-Anglo-American axis, a New World Order thugocracy, a psychopathocracy that has been enjoying a worldwide dominion.
Those content with comforting lies are in for a great awakening. Those who cannot recognize that their blessed nation has been infiltrated and subverted from within by malign forces, following the Communist-fascist playbook of a Saul Alinsky, are simply blind. The gutting of the family, reason, morals, facts, science, Christian values—all of this was meticulously planned out in advance and has been proceeding almost unchecked for 30 years. It has now reached its hyper-zenith of audacious irrationality, entrenched as it is by far left indoctrination centers called universities and a babbling, propagandist, Soros-media circus of lies, brain-washing, and mind control nonsense.
Enter Trump, who refreshingly provides the American people with the unvarnished, unpleasant truth. In contrast to his globalist predecessors, Trump has been pumping up Main Street economic might. It has been nothing short of an economic miracle, with unemployment at record low levels and other economic good-news indicating that the economy is bouncing back. After two years of mistreatment by societal malcontents, seditious corruptocrat pedophiles, and a treasonous Uniparty, now begins the real work of reviving our nation. Get ready. The show is about to begin.

At the moment, the greatest threat to America are these domestic, far left enemies, But, contrary to what General Mattis seems to believe, an equally grave threat comes from those who pretend to be our allies: England and Israel, for starters, whose agents get the gold star, interfering with elections in the U.S. for years. And let's not forget that while all this false Russia hysteria is playing out it dangerously distracts from realizing that America's primary foreign threat is from our greatest, most formidable adversary, Communist China. 
What side are you on? Get into the appropriate line, citizen-serf—start the long comeback to a realization of who you really are and what has been taken from you; get acquainted with The Matrix, then channel your righteous anger toward reconstructing ourselves as a People, revitalizing our families, and reconstituting ourselves as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all—as we watch those elite, effete traitors get their come-uppance.
While it promises to be the Greatest Show on Earth (orchestrated by perhaps the world’s greatest showman), it will not be an easy time. There will be great suffering and hardships, as the Deep State resists with its predictable, Gladio-style terror attacks on the People. We must hold fast and endure and maybe our nation can yet be that Shining City upon the Hill it was always meant to be—if the many mortal sins committed in our name by odious traitors are to be forgiven.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


Laying down our bones and giving up the ghost is what we are talking about here. How is it that you wish to go out? Consider it, because The End is near and a worldwide economic and social (and perhaps physical) collapse is imminent. Those with any foresight at all will want to approach the end of their days with a certain decorum, a certain elegance-of-exit strategy.

USA, Inc.—NOT the United States of America—is the “Great Satan.” I write from within its borders.
USA, Inc. is an arm of the swampish Deep State, covertly run by the Brit Queen’s Privy Council, its corporate arm, SERCO, the Senior Executive Service, and all the rest of the loyal servitor traitors. Joined-at-the-hip to USA, Inc. are the other NWO conspirator nation-clones: Rothschild Israel, Communist China, and the European Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (incl. all of each’s respective satellites). Intermingled among nation-players is the stateless corporate technocracy, with its intelligence agency implants in every industry worldwide, who have access to the latest mind control techniques and directed energy weaponry—and of course, secret societies and Satanists.  
What’s a regular old American to do?
What’s anyone in the world to do when confronted by New World Order fascist swamp-dogs?
Two options present themselves: prep or hide out.
To “prep” means to prepare ahead of time—with weapons, ammunition, plenty of survival gear, and food and water to meet, head-on, the expected savage ordeal of a collapsed society.
To “hide out” means to relocate to a remote, off-the-grid, sparsely-populated area (in or outside of one’s own country) to survive the doom-that-awaits from the coming collapse, perhaps only delaying the inevitable for a while longer. 
Self-preservation is a strong instinct of all living things. Human beings accept this as an axiom. Why?
We grasp and claw to remain in the familiar; to retain a certain modicum of comfort, safety and security of body and mind. If we are conditioned to accept the physical reality of being, i.e., materialism, as our benchmark of identity, then that is what we seek to preserve. Even the craving for the exercise of mental calisthenics (philosophizing, figuring, or gaming) is a reflection of the materialist in us—an all too prevalent reality mode, unfortunately. (Beware, oh essayist!)
Prepping or hiding-out are the fight-or-flight reactions to our lives being threatened. A person need not be ashamed of taking either stance. Other than collaboration, these are normal, human responses. (And yet even collaboration, if undertaken with the right motive and perspective, may be a valid third option that is worthy of honor in the end.)     
In the preceding essay, The Spiritual Logic of Containing Bloodlust, the idea is put forth that the more time the body and soul remain as one, weathering adversity, the higher the probability that the soul might purify and perfect itself. If this essay holds any element of truth, then it provides a more altruistic reason (though likely a more intuitive or subconscious one) for desiring to preserve one’s life.  
The degree to which people have apprehended and identified with the spiritual dimension of their being is the degree to which they are able to reconcile themselves to the reality of their circumstances. However seemingly placid or grim one’s environment may be, a living being is probably never quite satisfied with his or her degree of “completedness”—viz., we can always do better. And our notions of “doing better” vary wildly among us. Still, there is a certain calm that descends upon those who nourish their souls.
Conceptions of valor are only as cogent as the premises upon which they are grounded. The only maxim is: Be brave, not cowardly—while being as sure as possible about one’s precepts. Surety fixes an honorable end.
As the body passes away, going the way of all flesh, give thought to the transit of one’s soul. However you wish to go, do not be heedless. Take care of your souls, oh human beans!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Spiritual Logic of Containing Bloodlust

We are ensouled beings; souls with bodies.
Souls are immortal.
Death causes the soul to separate from the body.
If the above is accepted as being true, then what are the implications for the killing of innocents and for the execution of the guilty? Victims of murder, war and abortion are one thing; executing traitors like the Bushes, the Obamas, and the Clintons, Cheney, Comey, Brennan, Clapper, et al., requires even deeper diving.
And so, before being able to answer, certain clarifications are needed.
Once a soul is freed of the body there are speculations as to its continuing odyssey. Theologians hold varying beliefs about the exact nature of a disembodied soul’s journey.
Whatever the theological hypotheses may be, contrast them to case studies of children who remember being someone else in a past life. There are many documented-yet-unexplained instances of this phenomenon. These cases provide evidence of, and thereby lend credence to, the reincarnation hypothesis: that at least some souls are regenerated into new bodies.
Now if that is true, the speculation is that this occurs because the soul is on a journey to perfect itself. This would suppose that, ideally, with each embodiment the soul learns certain lessons so that it can improve and purify itself. Logically, then, as long as the body lives, the soul is afforded the opportunity to make better choices and thus to become a wiser, purer, “better” soul.
Accordingly, if the body perishes so ceases the ability of that body’s soul, in that lifetime, to have the potential to improve itself. This, then, leads to the hypothesis that the violation of the commandment, Thou shalt not kill, prevents a soul from improving because it cuts short a lifetime during which it has the potential for purifying, perfecting, i.e., “bettering” itself.
Lessons are often presented to us through adversity. Human beings have free will to react to adversities in any way they wish. Some challenge and overcome them, and some buckle under the pressure and allow themselves to be consumed by them. Presumably, in the former instance the soul inches forward on its “journey of apprehension” toward improvement and purity; in the latter instance the soul remains in stasis and fails to learn (at least as to that adversity) and may possibly fail to improve further in that particular lifetime as a result.
Adversities can be blatantly obvious or subtly deceiving. However they present themselves, they are temptations that appeal to weaknesses inherent in a particular individual’s spiritual development. For example, adversities may appear as opportunities to engage in lust or gluttony; these are really challenges to the soul because they are meant to appeal to a human being’s sensual, bodily pleasures rather than to the grace and goodness that feeds that being’s soul. These can be looked upon as the notion of “temptations to sin.” Again, falling into sin presumably stymies and deteriorates the soul’s development, while avoidance of sin helps to further the perfection of the soul. (Indeed, lust and gluttony are known as two of the so-called “Seven Deadly Sins.”)
However, when the body dies and (if) the soul is reincarnated the speculation is that it has yet another chance to rectify its past mistakes and failings.
The question to be pondered about such a soul is this: Is it an “improving soul” or not? That is, is it learning from its mistakes and failures or is it compounding the errors of its ways in lifetime-after-lifetime?

Stated differently: Is this a soul that has mastered itself at a certain sound, foundational level and is simply striving to overcome more petty shortcomings that tend to short-circuit its purity and perfection?—or is this a soul that must sink to the lowest levels of depravity (viz., “bottom-out”) in order to learn its lessons?
Understandably, we may ask ourselves whether a certain soul is simply “incorrigible,” i.e., so firmly rooted in evil and incapable of reform that it has become an irredeemably evil soul. It may be. But who among us has the capacity to know this?
As we learn from the gospels of Jesus: “Judge not lest you be judged; let ye without sin cast the first stone.”
The killing of innocents includes the following: 
Aborted babies, and;
Any persons killed (especially those killed without lawful due process and without receiving a just sentence), not the least of which include casualties of war.
The killing of the guilty refers to those whose sins condemn them in the eyes of the just, who take it upon themselves to execute them after lawful due process and the imposition of a legal death sentence.
And so, the rationale for believing that capital punishment is an anathema is this:
Whether innocent or guilty, a soul is thereby prevented from perfecting itself any further in this lifetime.
Who knows what the ramifications of this are? Could prematurely separated souls be detrimental to society and the world?
Are those souls who are, one might say, “pre-disposed toward goodness,” somehow put off by a sudden, untimely death and their soul’s journey is set back as a result or perhaps put on the wrong track?
Are those souls who are, one might say, “pre-disposed toward evil,” regenerated with a raging hatred still burning in their craws toward continued evil-doing, thus perpetuating evil in the world?
Can we afford to take the chance that either of these outcomes might be nurtured by killing and execution?
Besides being arguments against abortion and war, the above reasoning is a strong argument against capital punishment. Instead of "hanging 'em high," the better course is imprisonment (viz., separation from society) but with opportunities afforded for reformation of the soul until the body dies a natural death. Whatever the period of incarceration it can also be a time for contrition, for a wrong-doer to reflect upon his or her past life; and not only a time for repentance but also a time for those who had been injured by the convicted evil-doer to come to terms with the injury and to learn to forgive their trespassers.
It is a Christ-like way forward: just as he listened to the crucified criminals to his right and to his left, and forgave the one who showed true repentance—even for a lifetime spent in doing evil—it is in the imitation of Jesus that we can find our own and the world’s salvation. Perhaps this means that the traitors and felons among us might spend  their “next lives” doing restitution for those wrongs instead of perpetrating more devastation in the world-to-come (if indeed the world survives their wrongdoing).

Such is the spiritual logic of containing bloodlust.       

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Panama (Part 2)

The Panama property purchased by Clyde Whelen consists of three separate parcels that line up one on top the other from the road on up the ridge. It is sandwiched-in between two cattle paddocks. To get to his home you need to go up a very long, steep driveway for about a quarter of a mile. It is situated in the middle parcel. There’s a sign at the bottom indicating that only 4x4s  are allowed because only four-wheel drive vehicles can make it up the whole way. It looks to me as if this land was of least value to the rancher; it’s rocky and there is no creek in the upper area. So it was not surprising that it was sold off to foreigners wishing only to build a home-with-a-view.
This property had been developed by a Brit couple: he did the building, she did the landscaping. They began the work at least seven years ago. He was apparently a knowledgeable and experienced builder; she planted lots and lots of fruit trees. Like its neighboring plots, this too had been formerly a grassy (mostly treeless) paddock used for cattle grazing. Now, the trees that had been planted have grown up. And along with the trees were lots of overgrown grass and brush. And so the property had reverted back to a sort of forest when Clyde arrived here last August (about the same time I started working in Somerset). Since then he has been spending considerable man hours weed whacking and thinning out the unkempt growth. He has been working side-by-side with his hired hand (Abél, a local, 70-year old campasino) making sure that the fruit trees could get sufficient light and space to grow and yield abundant fruit. There are mango, guava, and avocado trees here, along with a few banana and palm trees.
According to Clyde, the couple had told him they had lived here about five years before deciding to relocate to the Caribbean side of Panama, the impetus being that there was better paying construction work to be had over there. They had begun moving out and putting the place up for sale for about two years before Clyde came along.
There may be a creek at the very bottom parcel. It is quite overgrown there and it is hard to penetrate into that area to investigate it. But to use a gravity-based water system the source of the water must be above its intended destination, not below it. And so Clyde’s water source is above his lot yet not on his property at all. The original owner had allowed a PVX pipe to tap into a spring-fed creek on his adjacent property. That pipe either lies on top of the ground or is buried a few inches below the ground as it cuts across the rancher’s land and enters Clyde’s property just above the middle parcel. As long as the pipe is properly protected from cattle hooves the system is efficient and reliable, and the supply of water is endless and free. 
The Brit had built a garage just off the road at the entrance. Its walls and roof are constructed of corrugated steel. Here he stored his tools and materials and had used it as his workshop. Clyde uses it for the same purpose. He bought a commercial grade generator on its own trailer and stores it there, along with various items from storage that he had brought here.
Clyde’s house is off the grid. Electricity is generated by two solar panels mounted out of sight on the roof. Electricity is stored in two batteries whose amperage level is indicated by a monitor and can be read at any given time. It uses 110, just as in the states, and the outlets accept the U.S. type of plugs. Other than lights, the electric system powers a washing machine and dryer, though Clyde does not use the dryer. There’s a small swimming pool that probably has a need for electricity for its pump system. However, I was disappointed when I arrived and saw that the pool had been drained. (Clyde told me at the time that he didn’t want to bother with the maintenance because he was too busy with too many other things—he’s anything but a multi-tasker. But later I discovered that it was the roommate here who didn’t want to be bothered with it and had drained the pool before Clyde arrived.)
The stove, refrigerator and hot water heater are powered by bottled propane. These tanks are periodically refilled as needed and only need to be placed out on the road where they are picked up and exchanged for fully charged tanks on a certain day of the week.
The framing of the house was done in welded steel. There is cement board for the walls attached onto commercial, light grade steel channels. There is some wood used in the casements of windows and doorways but not much as wood deteriorates and gets infested with pests in this warm, humid climate. The siding is a pre-painted cement product.
By Panamanian law the foundation and pillars need to be constructed of concrete, according to prescribed amounts and placements. Floors are all tiled, both inside and out on the porch. So you can walk around the house and there is no creaking floor whatsoever. The roof is done using red-colored concrete sheets of mock Spanish tile, with typical mortared caps along ridges and hips. Ceilings, soffits and fascias are all done in white vinyl. (OK, enough of this second wave of tedium.)
While here, I have discovered what retirement means: to sit with a good friend and chat the day away while time just slips on by. That’s mostly what I have been doing with Clyde. A few days after I arrived I suggested to Clyde that I clean the pool and fill it with water; that we could laze around in there and when I leave the water could just be drained out, watering the grounds nearby. He gave his OK (after all, water is free!) and I did just that. It took 10 hours to fill it with a garden hose. It was heavenly delight. And I finally got some sun on my face and shoulders while chatting away as usual.
On the weird task front, so far we have undertaken two, with a third still pending. There was a huge steel boom attached to the top of his generator that held lights (the kind that are used to light up a work area). He asked me to help him pick that up and hang it against an outside wall of his garage. It was incredibly heavy—two heavy for just the two of us. Still, we managed to get it into place using a primitive lever system and got it tied up as planned. Next, we dug out about 50 feet of ¾" PVC pipe, freeing it up for a repair he plans to do. That repair, if we get to it, involves adding a T and an extension and installing a valve. The third and final weird task will involve draining and leveling the water tank to which this same pipe is attached.
Since arriving here we have only made one side trip in his truck. On Saturday we visited Los Islotes, a new development being built now for well-heeled foreigners looking for a beach house get-away. Go here for a look-see at its slick marketing:
When Clyde purchased and moved into this property there was already a fellow living here. His name is Martín (Mar-teen), who is the engineering supervisor for development of the infrastructure at Los Islotes. Of course I met him when I got here and we hit it off, despite the language barrier. To make a long story short, Martín invited me to visit there in order to get an appreciation for his work. The idea was to check out Los Islotes and then go for a swim.
Clyde kept Martín on as a roommate.  Martín’s girlfriend, about 20 years his junior, stays with him here. Her name is Julissa (You-lisa). Julissa’s family runs a restaurant just outside the gates of Los Islotes. That’s how they met. She’s a shy local girl.
So on Saturday off we went and found Martín at the restaurant. It’s currently undergoing a face-lift and he was obviously doing some work there. After a few preliminaries he jumped in the truck and got us through security at the gate. Then we all drove around the grounds. He pointed out the three houses that have been built there so far and the high overlook with the superb view of the islands below. The beach on the left of the islands belongs to Los Islotes and the beach on the right is a public beach called Playa Plaza. We noticed the streets and curbs with sewer pipes installed in culverts, which were all our friend’s handiwork. Then we drove down to the beach, stopping before a massive gate while Martín got out and unlocked it. We drove in and he locked the gate behind us. Then we trekked down to the bit of beach front development there: a big bar with a roof and a long table with a thick, natural wood slab for a table top, two outdoor showers, and other amenities that beach-goers usually look for when lounging around at a beach. I had my swim suit on underneath my pants and I stripped down as soon as I saw the waves.
By myself I walked a long way out into shallow water until it was about waste deep. The sand beneath my feet was smooth and firm. Then I sank into the water and paddled around some as the waves broke over me. It was nice to cool off. Clyde and Martín went walking along the beach. I wasn’t in the water long and soon came back to join them, changing back into my pants.
Then we doubled back to where we had parked and headed out in the other direction onto Playa Plaza. It was low tide. We circled around toward the nearest island. There was a bit of water to wade through and we rolled up our pants legs to get over to that island. While traversing the island my right sandal broke. I later fixed it, but it was a drag walking around for the bit of time that remained of our tour. Martín took some photos of us.
After this trek we returned to the car. Next on the agenda was a quickie tour of a mangrove swamp that was relatively dry. I stayed behind due to my broken sandal and my companions soon returned. That appeared to be the end of the tour. We exited through the same gate. The security officer there asked for Clyde’s last name and had him sign his name. This was to be, and in fact already was, a gated community. I believe I heard they are planning to build something like 250 houses here. 
We quickly found ourselves back at Julissa’s restaurant. I met her sister and her father and they offered us some cold beer. Julissa brought out some chicken soup and plates of rice. There are many rice fields right around this area and I was told that this rice had been grown right here. In fact they grow and harvest rice three times per year. Last August tractor trailers were hauling rice out of here, according to Clyde, and now in December that is  happening again.

While we finished up the father brought out Rosetta, his big, green parrot, and set him down near us. We toyed with the parrot for a little while, though no one could get him to say anything.
As for birds in this area, there are parrots, hummingbirds, frigate birds, toucans, falcons (yellow-headed caracara), cattle egrets and vultures out and about. At night you can hear howler monkeys that let loose with a loud sort of cacophony of vicious-sounding “barks.” Clyde and I spied a family of about six of them up in the trees near Playa Plaza.
For some reason I was feeling low-energy after lunch (which was really my breakfast) and I was content to return back to our hilltop perch. My mood soon lightened up and we spent the rest of the day as we spend most days, chatting away. 
Clyde is a font of knowledge on a variety of topics and an articulate fellow. I have a few stories myself and we are never short of material to discuss. He has worked in optics and lasers for Boeing and has also worked for Microsoft. He’s got an aptitude for techno-scientific detail. He knows about building, agriculture and bee keeping and participated in 4-H programs as a kid. He has worked various types of jobs: factory jobs, volunteer jobs as far away as New Zealand. And Clyde is a truth seeker and truth teller. He’s been married and divorced twice, has one daughter. He grew up in Southern California, just west of LA, and has lived and worked around Seattle, WA. He’s 67 now and fully retired.
All this to say that Clyde is very different from me. We both value truth. This is what brought us together and this is what our friendship is founded upon. I don’t know if I will buy into his dream here in Panama. I suppose if it is meant to be it will happen.
Ah, the tropics! It is tranquil here, so far from the daily grind of humankind. There are no chemtrails in the sky, no horns honking, no TVs and sirens blaring. At night the background pounding of the surf and the many stars above make this a ponderous place to be. Much more needs exploring and this is a beginning.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Panama (Part 1)

Find the province of Veraguas. It is the only province with exposure to both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Find its bottom panhandle or tail. Follow that down almost to the bottom tip. I am there, on the west side of the peninsula atop a high hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
My plane had landed on a balmy Tuesday afternoon around 2:00 PM. I cleared immigration and customs with perfunctory nods and caught a taxi to Grand Terminal de Transit, near Albrook Mall in Panama City. The driver had asked for $35. I said I’d give him $30, and off we went.
Once at the station I went to the window labeled “Santiago” and purchased my express bus ticket for $9. Panama uses U.S. currency. The country mints its own coins (though I understand they accept U.S. coins as well). Getting to Santiago was the first leg of my journey; my friend would then pick me up the following day to complete the second leg of getting to his place, located in a remote area.
I was directed to the right bus, checked my bag, and climbed aboard, sitting in the front seat across the aisle from the driver. It seemed I was the first one on the bus. This meant a wait of perhaps 20 minutes while a handful of other passengers trickled in. Soon we were off, pushing westward through the city traffic.
When the bus started off the boy attending the driver asked me if I was going all the way to the station. I answered that my destination was the Hotel Plaza in Santiago. I didn’t know at the time if the bus stopped wherever a passenger wanted to get off. Neither did I know if our bus passed my hotel on its way to the Santiago station. So I had prepared something in Spanish ahead of time: “¿Pasamos el Hotel Plaza?” (Do we pass by the Hotel Plaza?—if the answer was yes, then I would say—“Por favor, indique el Hotel Plaza cuando lo pasamos.” (Please point out the hotel when we get there.) I’m not sure the attendant understood. But after I repeated “Hotel Plaza” a few times he wrote something down. So I thought he finally understood my final destination.
Santiago is the capital of Veraguas Province and is located more or less just above the top of the tail. The “express” bus traveled down the PanAmerican Highway, two lanes going each way divided by a median strip. It would pull off to various stops along the way to pick up more passengers. And indeed, the bus would stop to let anyone off at pull-offs if they wanted to disembark before the Santiago station. My friend here had told me that I might wear something warm because the air conditioning can get a bit chilly. So I kept my light green Peters jacket with me. Sure enough, I had to put it on later during the four-hour ride.
There was a window curtain. I pushed it forward to watch the scenery go by as we barreled along. It varied, from thick leafy greenery to dusty bus stop corrals set amid jumbles of roadside shanty-businesses or weathered and stained concrete structures. As the bus would stop I’d watch the folks, searching their faces, and I looked to see how they moved their bodies and reacted to things around them. Of course I had an eye for the ladies.
At one stop stood an exceptionally beautiful girl with long, black, flowing hair. She wore blue jeans and a white and pink, floral-patterned halter top, exposing her lovely shoulders. She smiled a few times acknowledging our driver (no spring chicken). They seemed to know each other. The driver soon asked her if she was coming aboard and she replied in the negative, adding something I could not decode.
There were children too, some in school uniforms, and parents carrying sleeping kids in their arms. Young guys hung out here and there or walked along, streetwise and very aware of their surroundings. Everyone was just going about his or her daily business. Sometimes hawkers would come aboard the bus trying to sell dried banana snacks or agua while passengers loaded in. In most of them I sensed a solemn, work-day routine. They seemed simple and relatively carefree, exhibiting a sort of floating sociability among their compatriots. And I saw no purple hair or tattoos or body piercings. These people hardly went-in for such pretentious frivolities.
I sort of sat there in a daze watching it all go by. I had eaten no breakfast (except of course my tall steel mug of coffee) and I declined the airline snack-food along the way. I had a bag of almonds in my bag (along with two pounds of Quartermaine’s finest house roast) but these were packed away and stowed. I had decided to fast throughout the day. It was a good thing I had because there was no bathroom on the bus and it made no comfort stops during its four-hour journey.
Around 6:00 PM the sun was setting. The bus traveled on for maybe another hour. By my estimation we were quickly approaching Santiago. Sure enough, as I looked out from my perch I suddenly noticed some large letters that spelled out SANTIAGO. Then, not but a few blocks after that, my eye caught the sign of my hotel, Hotel Plaza. Obviously the bus was moving on. So I blurted out to the driver, “Aqui, señor!—Hotel Plaza.” He was unprepared to stop but slowed down considerably and inched over to the next pull-off. He seemed a bit irritated. The young attendant came forward and he too seemed a little confused. Of course I was confused too because I thought they knew where I had wanted to get off. As it was, I got off, picked out my bag but from the stow area, then had to walk back about a quarter mile, feeling lucky that I had seen the sign at all. The boy said something in Spanish while giving me my bag. I had no idea what he was saying, so I just said “Adios!” and humped my bag back along the road.              
Winding my way down the long entranceway I felt relief that I was about to check in. I had already dug into my bag for a few mouthfuls of almonds but I was looking forward to a good supper. I entered the officina and handed my pre-printed reservation and passport to the woman there who smiled warmly and welcomed me in Spanish. She booked me into Rm. 4, then handed me the key and the AC and TV remotes. I thanked her and gladly handed the TV remote back to her. Non merci!     
It was no hi-rise. The room was the fourth in a long line of cabañas, each with a driveway for parking. All of them were on ground level. It was all white inside and very clean. On the wall between the two double beds hung a framed picture of a pink lotus flower. I settled in a bit, then set out for the restaurant. (I’ll try not to get bogged down in tedious details.)
I entered the hotel restaurant, sat at the counter, and began a conversation with the waitress. She handed me a menu and I ordered a cold beer and something that looked interesting called chiletas, I think. It turned out to be two nicely prepared pork chops with a sweet orange sauce, thick potato fries and a small salad. I soon ordered another beer as I noticed the wine. Soon I chose a cabernet from Mendoza, Argentina. It cost $18. I asked her if she would like a glass. She answered, “No puedo.” I can’t.
As I worked through my plate of food the waitress seemed interested in trying to communicate with me. There were no other customers there. Her English was about as good as my Spanish. I learned that her name was Ilka. She was 30-years old and a single mom with a six-year old daughter. She asked me how old I was, guessing that I was maybe 50. I said that I am an old man. But she said I didn’t look like an old man. The more wine I drank and the longer she stood there doing some paperwork while we shared our thoughts, the more I began having “thoughts” about her. About then, a fellow came out of the kitchen, the cook maybe, and was fiddling around nearby. She said that they close at 9:30. Before long it was closing time. I finished the bottle and decided to turn in. I paid the check, tipping her well, and then, wishing her well, I turned around and left.
The night was spent in clean fresh sheets under a white comforter. I slept like a dead man until about 4-something. Then I got up and took 600 milligrams of ibuprofen. I would have made my coffee but I had no hot water kettle and no cream. So instead I went back to bed for a few more hours. Around 7 AM I made my way back to the restaurant where they filled my 16 oz. stainless steel mug with steaming coffee.
My friend, Clyde Whelen, wouldn’t arrive until about 10:30. Until then I surfed some of my usual sites and went for a walk. I felt kind of suspended, with pangs of alienation (being in an alien nation) and I wanted to get out of there as soon as I could to begin my planned adventure in Quebro (pronounced “kay-bro”). That’s the name of the district where my friend had established his homestead-far-from-the-coming-catastrophe. 
I was wondering whether I’d recognize Clyde. We had only hung out for a few days back in late March of 2015. That was in Cuenca, Ecuador. We were both using the same dentist there to remove our mercury dental fillings. In talking we had discovered that besides being attuned to this particular insidious form of poisoning we shared other interests concerning how humanity has been hoodwinked and enslaved. So we had kept in touch by email over the past three+ years.
I had been privy to the discovery of his property from the beginning. Here’s the realtor’s old link to the property: And here is a link to the seller’s own website that had advertised the property:
The initial sale price was $340,000. Clyde got it for $210,000. He had asked me to come in with him in a kind of joint venture to further develop and live on this property. I had offered a very guarded and conditional “Yes.” This trip was for the purpose of exploring the property and the area with a view toward considering it as my own place of refuge. But please note: It is not for myself that I would do this but for future generations of loved ones: my granddaughter, Faith, and my nephews and nieces (and their progeny). Should the state of things get so bad that life become intolerable in the states (and especially near any big cities) this place might offer a much needed refuge. (That, of course, presumes that it would still be possible to find air transportation out.)
When a white Toyota Hillix 4x4 truck pulled onto the hotel grounds and passed by the officina where I was sitting I knew it was Clyde. When I saw this wiry frame-of-a-man climb out and saw his face I immediately recognized him even though we had met only briefly. After a hearty handshake a few words, I wasted no time throwing my gear into his truck. Off we went to buy some staples at a supermarket named Rey and home improvement items from Panama’s version of The Home Depot, called the Do It Center. According to Clyde he intended to stock up on stuff in Santiago that he can’t otherwise get closer to his home.
At the Do It store we had an awkward encounter with a clerk when Clyde was trying to determine the best insecticide for ants. He was a young guy and slow to respond to our pigeon-Spanish prompts. We eventually managed to settle on what seemed like the optimal choice. After a few other items we were just about ready to check out.

Clyde also wanted 10 bags of Concrete mix to build a pad for a water storage barrel. Each bag was 80 lbs. In my broken Spanish I asked a clerk to help us get it loaded in our truck. Next I offered to fetch the truck and Clyde hesitated to hand me the keys until I reminded him I was a professional truck driver. I soon had it parked out front and we loaded it in with the help of the clerk.  I tipped the guy $3 and we then re-parked so we could head into the Rey.
In the supermercado I was elated as I browsed the aisles. I wanted to buy some postcards (tarjetas postales), asking a clerk or two whether they had any—no luck. Then I needed some cream for my coffee. There was no half-and-half, as I had expected. There was only milk and whipping cream and nothing in-between. I again asked a clerk about crema por el café. That clerk involved another clerk. Then they brought me first to the powdered milk aisle and then to the condensed milk aisle. I had some fun with them. I finally returned to the buy the whipping cream saying “Fresca es mejor.” (Fresh is better.) Next I found a tooth brush and some toothpaste, both of which I had forgotten to bring. I more-or-less found them on my own. All this time Clyde was putting some choice items in his cart. Finally, I purchased a plump piece of filet mignon from the butcher. And as I placed it in the cart I told Clyde, “We’ll eat like kings, at least while I’m here!” Clyde smiled and we soon finished up and headed for the cashier.
The trip to Clyde’s homestead was two hours down a pot-holed road. Just over half way we stopped in a town to buy a few more assorted food items. Clyde told me the grocery store is owned and run by a Chinese family who had been here since coming to work on the Panama Canal when it was first built. We soon scooted out of there and continued on our way another 30 or so miles toward his home-on-a-hill. So far, so good.        

Friday, November 30, 2018

Male Elders

My Dad had class. His kind of star quality shined quietly and sure. Throughout his life he met all challenges, intelligently, dispassionately. Whether it was dealing with Mom’s deterioration, various traumas visited upon him by his kids (not the least of which was me), or financial strains, he always kept his poise and equanimity. His patience, like his hospitality, was legendary. I never heard him complain about the psychedelic music blaring on the radio as he drove me somewhere; and to my friends he was ever the accommodating and cheerful host. He was a man of great faith—a faith that showed he knew his own limits, a faith that knew how to unblinkingly dispatch unnecessary worry to a power greater than himself. Never preachy, still, he displayed an ethical certitude about things in a way that epitomized and defined his generation. His voice came through to me in the letters he wrote to me over the years. It was a voice that was an eternal flame of hope and kind encouragement, as I bungled from one venture to another.

Yes, in the late ‘60s and ‘70s I proved to be quite the bungling fool as I inched my way forward in life. Our whole family was coming apart then due to Mom’s Alzheimer’s. And this was occurring at the exact same time society was unraveling. By the early ‘70s, I for one was on a rough and rocky road indeed. 
In early August, 1974, President Richard M. Nixon resigned. At that time I was half renting/half squatting in a room at a beach house on 7th Street in Bethany. It was being rehabbed by Chris Minnick, an upper classman I had known at Gonzaga. As I recall, I had ridden out there on my blue, 350 Yamaha YR1 motorcycle. It had recently rained. On the way, as I was crossing over some railroad tracks, my bike skidded and I almost lost control. I think I threw my leg out to keep from falling over—or maybe I just threw my weight to the other side. Anyway, I could have been severely injured but I managed to right myself and just kept on going. Such were the haphazard, care-free days of this 20-year old.

Nixon had been the adversary of our family hero, John F. Kennedy. For the Susses Nixon represented everything that was old-fashioned and stupid. And in 1974 I remember taking sides against Nixon regarding the Watergate fiasco. Like almost everybody I knew, I unthinkingly believed the media narrative. (At the time, only insiders could have known any better.)  And so Nixon’s resignation seemed like a good thing to me at the time, though I was also kind of “ho-hum” about it. Beach bum that I was, I was too distracted at the time to dwell on it much.

I recall that in the foyer of Minnick’s beach house were a bunch of discarded paperbacks. I picked up one, Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and really started getting into it. I remember identifying somewhat with the Karamazov brother named “Alyosha.” I was about the same age as this character and I admired in him the same sort of ideals to which I too aspired!  As a result, I couldn’t put the book down. But it is a long novel (as all of Dostoevsky’s novels are) and I still had a long way to go when I returned home.

When I got back, my grandfather asked me if I would drive him down to Orlando, Florida. He wanted to check on his house down there and also wanted me to help him with any repairs it might need. I agreed and within a day or so we left, with me at the wheel of his black 1965 Lincoln Continental, albeit without a radio. (My grandfather had disconnected the radio right after he bought it; I thought it was because he wouldn’t stand for the “noise” of what was being broadcast, though he never admitted any particular reason to me for doing so other than saying he “didn’t like it.”)     
As with my own father, my grandfather McGuire also had a certain class, though it was a class of another sort. We grandchildren called him “Grandpap.” His hard, hidden strength of character shone in your face none-the-less. In fact it almost blinded you. And yet I knew him only in his elder years. By then, the vagaries of life had softened him somewhat. Still, he was hard-boiled—the product of a no-nonsense boyhood spent on the family farm. He still chewed tobacco—Mail Pouch Tobacco—(and of course spit tobacco juice) until the day he died, about four years after our excursion together. I remember that as a child I had fallen on the street and skinned the palm of my hand while running around to get into the car. When I climbed into the back seat where Grandpap was, he took hold of my palm, looked at the scrape, then spat some tobacco juice on it and rubbed it in. The shock of seeing him spit on me staunched my tears immediately.

Grandpap had a playful side too that bordered on the poetic, as evidenced in some of the letters he left behind. (Go seek them out and ye shall find this to be true.) He enjoyed a good belly-laugh. Often he would chuckle, finding humor in things when it suited him. But more than anything else, what comes to mind when I think of Grandpap was that he was simple and sensible. And he was essentially a moralist. But, like Dad, he wasn’t preachy, at least not all that much, though his temper wasn’t as controlled. If provoked he might easily bark at you. Notwithstanding his seemingly cold, hard exterior there lurked a beautiful goodness that shined through. Others I know might not agree, but I always thought so. Maybe it was the Irish in him, confounded by that stern Germanic blood also running through his veins that made him a bit of a walking contradiction. I preferred to simply think of him as “old school” in his outlook.

And so we went on our journey to Florida. It was the one and only time we ever spent together, just the two of us. I drove us down there. Then the daily work began. He organized things and sort of supervised from his fold-out chair. I remember doing some painting and some screen repair. I’ve always enjoyed staying busy and I liked feeling useful to him. In the evening I’d have a beer or two (that he would buy, of course).

Grandpap forever had his nose in a newspaper. And while he read his paper I was slogging through The Brothers Karamazov. One day an old friend of Grandpap’s by the name of Paul Onda dropped by. Onda was a stump-of-a-man, a broad-faced, hard-working dynamo. I recall he had a ready smile and a ready wit. I understood immediately why Grandpap found him to be pleasant company. I imagined Onda felt the same way about Grandpap, who also knew a lot about building and working hard and who also enjoyed a good laugh. We spent an evening or two in rambling conversation. Although I was more of a spectator than a participant, it seemed like good fellowship all the way around.

Coming back home we were traveling on a typical two-lane rural road of the type you often find in Florida, with deep culverts on either side of the roadway, i.e., drainage ditches. There was very little shoulder. It began raining hard. In fact, soon it became quite the tropical downpour. I, of course, put the windshield wipers on. But as we proceeded along, the wipers suddenly stopped working! The whole windshield became one big blur. I couldn’t see a thing. So I decelerated, and as I did so, I put on the emergency flashers and pulled gently over to the side of the road, being careful not to fall into the culvert but trying not to stick too far out into the road. As luck would have it, no one slammed into us while we waited for the rain to let up.
Grandpap pulled out a map and told me to head for a nearby town, pointing out the way as we went. We soon pulled into the town and found a garage. Grandpap got out and talked to the mechanic, and the next thing I knew the car was in the bay and Grandpap was in there overseeing the mechanic as he worked away on the wipers. It wasn’t long before he finished up. With the wipers fixed we started back on our way. Grandpap told me to continue on, away from the direction we had come. I said, “But Grandpap, we came in from the other direction,” and I headed back that way. In his inimitable, hoarse, scolding voice he exclaimed, “Stop the car!” So I stopped, then made a U-turn. Sure enough, he was right. The highway going north picked up on the other side of town.
When we arrived back in Maryland and pulled up to his house he reached for his wallet. He took out the remainder of the cash there, perhaps $30 or so, and handed it to me. I heard later from my aunt that he told her, “You know, Jack’s not as wild as I thought he was.” That was the nicest thing I ever heard him say about me and it made me feel good to hear that.
I can’t say I ever had a similar one-on-one trip like that with my Dad. After all, I was one of eight kids, he was a busy professional man, and most trips we took were back to his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts, where his mother and siblings still lived.
My father was a Democrat, a liberal; my grandfather was a Republican, a conservative. Neither of them talked much about their political sensibilities. But I recall my father’s admiration for Franklin Roosevelt, while Grandpap thought Roosevelt was a curse upon this country (as I do). And I remember asking my Dad what left wing and right wing meant. I think he used the typical, well-worn Commie vs. Nazi analogy in the end. And when I asked him where he stood, he said that he thought it was best to stay somewhere in the middle. I don’t think I ever asked Grandpap that same question, but now I wish I had.
During his lifetime Dad worked mostly for the federal or state governments; Grandpap worked in the private sector, eventually for himself. They were both good men but also different men whose distinct life paths shaped their visions and values. Their lifeways were also shaped by what they were personally able to do.
 As mentioned, Grandpap was knowledgeable about building; he had studied engineering in college and had built a few structures in his lifetime. Then he went into business, saved his money, kept his credit, invested in the stock market, and eventually became a wealthy, self-made man who often stated, "Your grandmother and I have lived under the poverty level all of our lives and we've never wanted for anything." In other words he eschewed easy credit and his life remained always simple, the antithesis of conspicuous consumption. And Grandpap's values never strayed far from his humble beginnings.
Dad, being the son of Lebanese Christian immigrants, came from humble beginnings himself. He exhibited basic and solid carpentry skills and he had a natural ability to draw. (I know this because of the soap box derby he built for me and my brothers, among other things, and the drawings of stuff he would do for us kids upon request.) He was a U.S. Naval Officer, a government and anti-trust lawyer, and retired as an administrative law judge for the State of New York. The home he made for us was not grand, by any means, but was a suitable testament to his professional station in life.
They both shared an appreciation for humor. Neither one shied away from working or complained about much of anything. They each loved their wives and were completely dedicated husbands.
In the final analysis, what I can say about them both is this: In their own ways they shined while the sun shone down upon them and I loved them. Even if it was by loose association (osmosis) I learned a lot from being around them.
In these days when the power of women is ascendant and the power of men is demeaned and downplayed it is more important than ever to recognize and revere one’s father, grandfather(s) and one’s forefathers as far back (and as much) as it is possible to know.