The Big Weekend

It is fortunate that society still is stable enough for most of us to have a life experience that is not based on daily news. Mariner and his family had a respite from global reality over Memorial Day weekend when he and his wife were visited by their son’s family replete with babies, dog and cat and also visiting were two of his wife’s nephews.

The rosebushes perked up for the event and were in full bloom; two colors of hydrangea were in bloom. Spiderwort, a permitted wildflower, too, was showing off. Miracle of miracles it didn’t rain the whole weekend!

Needless to say, the cuisine was upgraded with special (and expensive) foods, the grill was turned on and meals were served al fresco. Table dialogue was unusually diverse. Fortunately no one cared to be reminded of the outside world.

Mariner’s household usually is a quiet, two-person home but for the weekend, it was raucous, noisy, and a joy to actually be face-to-face with loved ones. Facetalk can do only so much.

In face-to-face contact, both conversation and behavior reveal the three-dimensional reality of each person, revealing how they’ve changed or how their lives have been modified. A large amount of subconscious processing takes place. A family that comes together stays together.

As instantaneously as it went from an old people’s home to a zoo, it has become hushed, quiet and mariner and his wife linger in the memories of the weekend.

Ancient Mariner


Ready, Aim . . .

An article from The New Statesman, a British publication, has a different slant on the US obsessive gun dependency:

“US gun violence is not just a domestic political issue. The failure to take action is a gift to Chinese and Russian propagandists. Shortly after Joe Biden took office in January 2021, he delivered a major foreign policy speech setting out his vision for the United States’ place in the world. He vowed to rebuild the country’s alliances and restore its moral leadership after the tumult of Donald Trump’s presidency.

“America is back,” he declared, and he promised that the United States would “again lead not just by the example of our power but the power of our example”.

“Yet the power of that example has been repeatedly undermined by the failure of US political leaders to tackle the country’s domestic problems, including racial injustice and worsening gun violence. This plays into the hands of American adversaries like China, whose propaganda highlights the deaths of young children in American school shootings and the police killings of Black Americans to advance the Communist Party’s agenda and what it claims are the comparative advantages of its own political system.”

Mariner surmises that guns are to this disheveled nation as opiates are to a drug addict. How does one detoxify a gun addiction? As with all other virtuous ideals that have disappeared, it seems having a gun is more important than continuing to be the world’s moral leader and key advocate of democracy.

It isn’t just guns that tarnish our national image. A dysfunctional Congress and the attacks by red states on open elections also have been noted – especially by European sources.

If the United States loses its moral leadership advantage, it will lose the economic battle for economic supremacy in an emerging global economic system.

Mariner’s solution: When it comes time to vote and the candidate is running for reelection, give serious thought whether the candidate deserves another term; if the candidate is over 55, do not vote for that candidate; further, give precedence to women, nonwhites, and candidates not supported by a national PAC.

Detox is not a pleasant experience.

Ancient Mariner

About the orange

Sorry for the pessimism. For many decades mariner has been sensitive to an imbalance between humans and the biosphere. In all of Earth’s history, life has been dependent on a global balance between the provisions of nature and the needs of the species – whether microbe or elephant. Today, mariner is extremely aware of the blatant disregard humans have for this balance.

Even ants have war between colonies and there are predators galore for every species but these confrontations are part of the balancing act. Nature didn’t expect a nuclear bomb; nature didn’t expect overpopulation because a species eliminated the balancing act between age, disease and deprivation; nature didn’t expect the disrespect for hundreds of thousands of species going extinct because of human intentional and excessive abuses; nature didn’t expect the violation of basic atmospheric rules or poisoning the land. In short, humans have trashed the biosphere for nothing more than convenience and disrespect for nature’s rules.

Mariner is accused of being a Luddite. Perhaps but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Two popular personalities were Luddites as well, condemning the disrespect that humans possess – Mark Twain and Will Rogers.

Evolution didn’t expect nuclear families; in the name of convenience and under the terms “We do it because we can”, transportation has created new meaning for the word ‘migration’. Two-footed, 4-wheeled humans travel farther and more often than the Humpback whale.  The security found in extended families is now replaced by expensive life, health and property insurance policies. There’s a human trope, “Anything can be fixed [or ruined] with money”.

Mariner can go on and on about doing injury to the biosphere. But this attitude is part of a bigger problem that spans the developed world – and the wealthier the nation, the bigger the problem.

For focus, mariner will address only the United States.

American Society has no soul. It has no beliefs. It has no identity. There is not one truth that every American will abide. There is not one social grace that represents the United States to the planet and its biosphere or to the billions of individuals living in that biosphere.

Ever wonder why we can’t discern the future? It’s because we don’t believe the present; what can we build future faith on? The nation believes nothing works, nothing is worth commitment, nothing is meaningful.

So the country runs on two things: money and ego – there is nothing else. The American Society today has no seeds to grow the future. Hence the seedless orange.

Ancient Mariner

Demise is becoming a possibility

Another tragic mass murder of children. It is within reasonable odds that the reader and their children will be shot before winning any state lottery. Yet, like an internal cancer, guns and gun ownership have become an irresponsible characteristic of American society.

Similarly, racial bias not just against blacks but against Chinese, Latino, immigrant and Middle Eastern races remains entrenched. Despite protest, like an internal cancer, racism has become an irresponsible characteristic of American society.

Similarly, homosexual differences and sexual discrimination against women prevail. Like an internal cancer, they have become an irresponsible characteristic of American society.

Similarly, the wealthy prey on more and more human lives, expanding the number of poverty-stricken families and forcing a drain on financial stability from governments, jobs, housing, and diverse productivity. Yet, like an internal cancer, trillions of American dollars continue to be hidden away and represent an irresponsible characteristic of American society.

Similarly, giant corporations have cornered freedom of speech. Lack of privacy, free thought and lack of accountability to the public, like an internal cancer, have become an irresponsible characteristic of American society.

Similarly, Federal and state governments have turned against democratic voting and pursue a totalitarian plutocracy. Like an internal cancer, self-interested governments have become an irresponsible characteristic of American society.

Similarly, the advocacy of religious institutions for the equal well-being of every individual has vanished and has been replaced with vile accusations, prejudice and endorsement of violence. Like an internal cancer, the spiritual base has become an irresponsible characteristic of American Society.

Some may scoff and recount the many counter-movements that fight these cancers. But the movements lose. The cancers abide within the core of the nation’s ethos.

Mariner is reminded of an old orange that has lost the shine of its rind. Soft shades of green begin to appear over the orange – then grey mold and sunken flesh appear. The orange approaches demise. There is no hope for this deliberately bred seedless orange.

Ancient Mariner

An unusual find

Mariner often shares his father’s penchant for chopping human behavior into little pieces with simplistic names like ‘who people, what people and how people’ and of course the ultimate Myers-Briggs test – all grouped under the term ‘pop psychology’.

Whenever mariner uses these terms he warns that none of us are pure examples of any pop phrase and therefore do not be too judgmental nor, as many Myers-Briggs folks do, brag about one’s uniqueness. The best example in a long time that proves pop psychology terms may be a bit tongue in cheek and that culture may influence our identity more than we know is the contractor who just today re-shingled mariner’s garage roof.

He and his team of three stripped the roof in one long hot day and finished the job the next day by Noon. They did an excellent job! The team was comprised of lifelong laborers accustomed to working all day at notable speed; they were heavily tattooed and in physically toughened shape. From a distance of ten feet, the business owner-contractor also looked toughened and tattooed.

As the job neared completion, mariner and the contractor had a chance to talk. The contractor was proud of his family heritage when it came to being accountable for a sound work ethic. His grandparents had a farm where the entire family worked long days; his father, a laborer, preached responsibility and hard work to the contractor and he in turn has made sure that his two sons regularly do physical work.

His conversation, however, told a different story. The contractor was erudite, showed interest in abstract issues, listened to podcasts, watched only selected news specials rather than daily news, understood the role of labor from an external perspective and otherwise demonstrated a mind that was interested in intellectual subjects. Yet he was a laborer by choice and belief and looked every bit a laborer. Mariner had to like him; he blames smartphones for the failure of work ethic in our society. He commented, “I can’t find any young help; two hours on the job and they quit!”

The insight mariner took from his conversation with the contractor, besides the unusual mix of a physical work ethic and an intellectual mind, was that everyone during their youth is shaped more by their culture/family than they may think. The contractor is in his mid-thirties; two generations before him were disciplined laborers; while financially stable, his family never had incomes that would suggest college and further could not allow time for college because there was work to be done. It is obvious in conversation with him that another profession is of no interest.

Mariner doubts the reader will run into the contractor in the metaverse.

By far the most important revelation that mariner took from his visit with the roofing crew is how important Labor is to a mature, sound and successful American society. Since the Reaganites dropped required underwriting of full retirement by manufacturing corporations, since the passing of the Great Society politicians (Ted Kennedy, Bob Dole, et al), since the continued disrespect by the electorate (mostly college snots) as one respectful element after another was cast aside – especially unions – Labor has suffered a forty-year history of disengagement from societal respect.

In fact, a laborer is as critical as a college professor. One is not better than the other. In fact, a laborer could no more handle the life of a college professor than a professor could handle the life of a laborer – let’s have some mutual respect here!

It is a familiar lesson. Every human being is a homo sapiens in good standing. Each is living, breathing, experiencing and surviving reality. No matter how different we may seem – each of us is the same, even identical in the larger measure of existence.

Ancient Mariner

Let’s trade

It is the habit of the electorate, and with good cause, to blame politicians when things go wrong. The United States, along with other nations, has suffered severe shortages of food, medicine, numerous grocery stock items and industrial components. In large part, the shortages were caused by pandemic interference with the shipping and processing companies that ship products to retail outlets. The politicians could do little more than watch.

In a PBS broadcast of NOVA last night, a viewer becomes aware that the supply chain itself is vulnerable to mishaps that can cause worldwide shortages. Container-carrying ships of massive size (as long as four football fields) carry unbelievable volumes of goods; for just one of these ships to fail in delivery, many smaller businesses can fail because their shelves are empty.

The NOVA episode analyzed the impact of one of these container ships blocking the Suez Canal. The Suez Canal is located in Egypt and is a key link between Asian shipping and Mediterranean shipping. Unfortunately, it is only one lane wide. If something blocks the Canal, hundreds of ships are held up at both ends – hence shortages on retail shelves. In the NOVA piece, one ship runs aground and stops all shipping, perhaps a thousand of these large container ships.

The reason this caught the interest of mariner is because ‘shipping’, aka ‘supply chain’ is the verb in the future of global economics. In the last century the concept for international trade was based more on trade agreements, e.g., “I’ll swap you two sheep for ten chickens and if you give me any trouble, I’ll slap a tariff on you.”

Needless to say, communication technology in this century has made the delay and overhead of trade agreements too expensive and too subject to circumstantial politics. What has become possible, however (if ships don’t run aground in canals), is an international arrangement where each nation can collaborate at the production level – thereby speeding productivity and increasing volume such that world markets may be available instead of piecemeal nation-to-nation deals.

A comical metaphor but perhaps it can clarify the new advantage: Nation 1, a large, rich nation that acts as an anchor to the supply chain, says to nation 2, the chicken producing nation, “You can grow chicken feet faster than I can but I can grow chicken heads faster than you can. We can save 25 percent of the time it takes to grow chickens if you send me your chicken feet. Then you’ll have room to grow even more chicken feet.” The anchor nation plays the additional role of an insurance company by covering market shifts, weather, etc.

Understanding this model, a move toward global economic domination, explains why China, the US, India, the European Union, South America (resource rich) and the Pacific Rim nations (Australia, South Korea, Japan et al) are jockeying hard to monopolize supply chains.

Except for Putin. He doesn’t understand the principle of sharing. It is important to know that Trump and his cronies don’t either.

Lest we forget, there is only one issue that will dominate world economics even more than global supply chains – global warming.

Ancient Mariner



In a recent post mariner wrote about the idea that democracy requires a start with the individual and an individual’s sense of what is real. Yet, our society, indeed every society today, is controlled top down – the individual is told what is real. Profit is more important than individual wellbeing; skin color and sexual behavior are more important than individual wellbeing; political allegiance is more important than individual wellbeing.

Mariner is reminded of a sermon he gave many decades ago. As was frequently the case, mariner drew his premise from the Synoptic Gospels, frequently referencing the Sermon on the Mount and appropriate explanations provided by Jesus in his travels. To reduce a 20-minute sermonesque monologue to a few sentences, he offers a truncated interpretation:

The one premise Jesus advocated – the ONLY PREMISE he advocated – was that the holiest thing in existence, and the number one interest of God, is a single individual’s soul. Jesus says as much in the beatitudes: The poorest, ignorant, lost person is the focus of God’s interest. One person at a time; every individual is supreme in their own existence as a child of God.

God rejects individuals who put their own interests first, even if they are sympathetic. Placing divine value in earthly values is a no-no. Reality is a one-person experience.

In short, a healthy, thriving society will always act for the betterment of every individual, every individual’s existential reality, and every individual’s need. God did not invent nor advocate groups, corporations, class discrimination or totalitarian interpretations of an individual’s sense of reality. It is the job of each individual to execute God’s will at a person-to-person level. Amen.

The leap into human tribal tendencies must always abide by a primary interest in every individual’s need. In politics, an individual’s perception of need comes before any organized presumption.

The need to vote begins at home for home’s sake.

Ancient Mariner


SHOOTINGS. When there are 300 million people around, statistically a few thousand are crazy. That’s the way it is. The real problem is that there are way too many guns!

200 Mass Shootings in 2022

PUTIN. The Nordic nations have opted to join NATO plus a division of the Ukraine army pushed the Russians back into Russia plus world sanctions have plummeted the Russian economy plus Putin’s behavior has strengthened the West and has given it raisons d’être. Putin may not be winning despite war crimes. Today, bullet wars are too expensive.

NORTH KOREA. Mother Nature has joined the fight against President Kim. The nation, not known for humanitarian aid, is under attack by Covid.

PRIMARIES. Five states vote next Tuesday: Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Idaho, Kentucky and Oregon. The mix is thorough with republicans, democrats and trumper candidates all in the mix. Watch for trends.

SOLAR SYSTEM. Mariner had a front row seat to a clear and unobstructed view of the solar eclipse of the Moon. The geometry between the Sun, Earth and Moon is impressive. What adds wonderment for mariner is the amazing speeds at which the eclipse happens. The Earth travels around the Sun at 67,000 miles per hour; The Moon travels around the Earth at 2,288 miles per hour; The Sun is moving through the Milky Way at 536,865 miles per hour. Catching that Moon eclipse is one hell of a cosmic selfie.

Ancient Mariner


Know your Representative – for now

Mariner has read three sources that cover gerrymandering. The cycle goes like this:

Party 1 draws new district lines.

Party 2 sues.

The courts throw out the new gerrymandering district, leaving the old gerrymandered district in place.

Everyone goes home.

In short, gerrymandering is de rigeuer. So what?

In 80 percent of the cases, Party 1 controls the legislature. Unfortunately, it will take a majority of the legislature and the blessing of the Governor to create a non-partisan commission, supposedly politically neutral, that will draw district boundaries.

To be absolutely, theoretically pure about it, the only measurable virtue is that each district should have the same number of voters. It is a trial and error process to look at maps then lay in a grid that approximates equal numbers of voters in each district. The rub comes when these innocent grid lines ignorantly cross right through a neighborhood that reflects race, may or may not have decent income, may be liberal or conservative, dense or rural. Mariner speculates that this pure, innocent arrangement will never occur.

Imagine that the reader’s neighborhood is generally white, conservative and financially comfortable. However, a grid line cuts your neighborhood in half – in fact, between you and your next door neighbor. Seems innocent until the conservative neighborhood turns out to be the minority in two districts that are black and labor class. Mariner speculates that this pure, innocent arrangement will never occur. Even independent commissions know better.

What commissions will be required to do, given moral turpitude, is pursue solutions that, where practical, favor equalizing the influence of both parties; not so much with an eye toward political value but in an effort to respect the independent nature of grid lines. One can imagine the turmoil – something akin to conflict over Roe v Wade.

The prize at the end of this process is the number of Congressional representatives who will represent each party’s opinions. In many cases regionally, all the gerrymandering in the world will not diminish party priority but as the reader knows, Congressional representation is so close to a tie today that just a few districts realigned can turn over dominance in Congress.

Now let’s examine state, county and local redistricting. Perhaps not.

Ancient Mariner

Metaverse News

Mariner just read that in the metaverse there is a clothing store that will sell clothing fitted to your avatar. Mariner weeps quietly as he remembers going shopping at the nearby discount department store – now closed.

He has conceded that the new culture is not interested in genuine human interaction. He is waiting for the metaverse to celebrate the first birth of a young avatar bred solely through avatars. Mariner speculates how many nanoseconds labor will last. Mariner understands that instinctively Homo sapiens knows the future doesn’t look bright for the species. The reader surely knows there is an active real estate market for metaverse property, right? Better bring your crypto coin with you – it’s a bull market.

There is a new application available through smartphones and Alexi that will provide psychological counseling. Mariner doesn’t understand this offer. Isn’t an avatar to the metaverse as a pinball is to a pinball machine?

Will the proprietors of the metaverse be able to move your property to a poorer neighborhood if you don’t pay your bills?

Will the metaverse provide pornographic services? Will there be vicarious human elation when the avatar has climax?

Good luck with Zuckerberg, folks. Mariner is going to see his Mother-Nature-approved pony.

Ancient Mariner