Thursday, August 25, 2016

Our Cucked Election

The only reason I ever debate politics with anyone is because the imp of the perverse has taken hold and I wish to wind that person up into a frothing frenzy for no good reason.

But this election year something is wrong, nobody really wants to play. Both Hillary and Trump camps will come out slinging some wild punches but there is no real feeling behind it.But really,
how can anyone still take this political process seriously?

I have been a political cynic since Bush stole the election. I voted for Bush that year but even as I watched the hanging chad farce I knew the fox was in the henhouse and it was the last time I voted in a presidential election.  My suspicions were confirmed years later watching Karl Rove lose his mind on live T.V because his hackers got hacked and they lost Ohio during the following election. Read here. The fact that I cannot find one major news article that even covers the possibility this happened speaks volumes about how we got to this point.

A cynic never truly wants to be right and it’s a sad day when he looks around to find all the faithful are gone.

What is scary about this election is that the powers that be cannot be bothered to hide the corruption any longer.  Both sides blissfully do not give a shit about how bad a show they are putting on. It’s as if they already know what is going to happen and they really don’t care if anyone votes for anyone.

Everyone voices the wrongness of this presidential election but nobody seems to be able to clearly speak the devils name.  Of course Trump is a mockery of a candidate but look past the seemingly unscripted insanity on stage and there is something of a sinister circus feel to it. Is that bear riding a unicycle Russian?

Of course Hillary is a criminal and by all accounts a horrible person.  She proved with shocking clarity in a single FBI press conference that her long-standing political power puts her above the law.  She doesn’t even bother to hang her skeletons up in the closet any longer, just don't try point out the obvious or you too can become part of the bone pile in the corner.

Bernie proved without question that nobody uninvited gets to crash the party. Even those who deplored Sanders political ideas sighed deeply as it became evident that it is all but impossible for change to happen under the current power structure.

The American public is a spouse being cheated on but who can’t afford to leave.  The cheaters have all the credit cards, deeds, income, insurance and illusion of security.  If we as a nation dare file for divorce from this sham of a union it will be messy and probably bloody, but if the politicians cannot even give us a believable illusion of a democratic union then they do not leave us much choice.

Spouses will put up with almost anything as long as they have a pretty picture to post on Facebook that will help convince themselves and the rest of the world that all is well.  If you take that away from them then you give them no option but to break away no matter the cost.

We are not even asking for the power structure to fix anything at this point, just give us back a semblance of pride in our democracy.


Adam Chandler

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hemingway Pulls Us Too Far Out.

 (The Old Man and The Sea, Buena Vista Social Club)
(The Old Man and The Sea, Buena Vista Social Club)

Whenever they give you a book to read in school you know there will be more to the book than just the story in front of you. You know they are trying make you understand that there can be story below the story.  Sometimes it works and children can make out the shape of that meaning the way one person points at a cloud and asks if you see the same shape they do. Maybe you can make out the figure in the clouds but its only a shape and a shadow and soon will shift away and be forgotten.

For a person to truly get that moment of intimate understanding, it is necessary for that person to have at least some understanding of what that vague shape could look like in real life.

It would be like me pointing to a cloud and saying. “See it looks just like a Giraffe.” And you saying, “I have never seen a giraffe.” Then I would have to explain what a giraffe looks like and you would nod and say that you see exactly what I see if only to get me to shut up.

When I first read the Old Man and the Sea  I was a sophomore in high school.  How could I know why that story was so special?  How could I understand what Hemingway was trying to say till I had at least glimpsed that great shadow of a fish he was trying to show me.

I am sure anyone reading this will know already that the story is about writing but I just had my first moment with the dead drunk legend and I wanted to share it. If you were a writer and you did not know this then you may steal this moment and this narrative to save you from feeling the idiot the next time someone mentions Hemingway’s greatness and you have nothing to add to the conversation.

The story is so simple, the characters number three if you include the fish but the narrative is strong and the current it takes us on is stronger.

I will not bother with a synopsis of the story but it is simply about an old fisherman who goes to far out to find his catch. He hooks a big idea, he hooks the biggest idea and he is so far out and alone and he must wrestle this story alone in the ocean of his mind. There is no one to help him, land is out of sight and now the story drags him as he hangs on for the life of both him and story.

The Old man must use every trick he has learned to work the idea up and up into something he can even see.  There are day’s on end of being dragged out further, the body and mind cramping as he holds fast, the old man slowly subduing the massive fish through force of will and diligence.

But he is so far out and he must navigate this story back to shore through dangerous waters leaving a bloody trail.  The sharks come. The doubts, the critics, the minutia and they rip the great fish to shreds and you are half dead from the fight and fending off the sharks but you lose and then you are lost and it is because you went too far out.

You make it back home in the night and leave the mangled fish you loved there on the beach, crawling to your bed with torn back and bleeding hands. In the morning they will see what you had, they will know what a great fish it was but there will be no meat to sell and you will buy your coffee on credit.

Only when you have gone that far out can you even see the outline of what Hemingway is talking about. Its not that you have to have completed this epic journey to understand what he means but you have to at least have been far enough out to know there was danger and to feel that loneliness. To understand that the best you can hope for after you broken yourself bringing this story to life is that the people who see it will know how big it was from tip to tail. Maybe they will get the scale of the beautiful thing you subdued but that will be it, they will never taste it and they will never see it full of color and alive they way you did.  If you are lucky there will be the boy, or someone who understands and you will miss them too because you are too far out.  

This is what I knew to be the truth of this story. This is the prize that any writer who has ever taken a boat out that far hopes to come home with, the hope that someday, even after you are long dead, that someone will understand what you saw and in the fullness of how you saw it. 

I am sure there are lots details that I do not fully understand, the lions on the beach, the birds, the boy and what they all mean. I am sure there is a English professor somewhere who can fill me in.

Hemingway always struck me as a ego maniac who spent his life building a swashbuckling façade, but I appreciate him for this and I was glad I got see his great fish. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Spider For Your Thoughts

Almost every morning this summer I have been the witness and happenstance accomplice to the death of a spider.  I always promise myself that I will find some meaning in the daily event but before I reach my first stop, I have, without fail completely forgotten to give a damn about the spider.

In my time on earth I have killed untold numbers of spiders. To ease my own fears as well acting as an executioner for the request of others. If a respectful distance can be kept I do not go out of my way to slay the much maligned but very necessary arachnid but I would still make a very bad Hindu.

This summer of spider miseries is not my fault.  I just have a front row seat to two minutes of terror and then the eventual death but  I feel like I should at least learn something from it.

It happens like this. Every morning, I get into my car with workout bag and computer satchel slung over each shoulder, a cup of coffee gripped in one hand and the keys in the other. By the time all this stuff has been hurled into the vehicle, the coffee secured, and the Iphone synched, I have no brain capacity left to do anything but crank the damn thing and back out of the driveway.

It is not until I reach the first stop sign two hundred yards up the road that I notice a spider has made a web in-between my rear view mirror and the door.

My car coming to a stop and the silver spider web jiggling always draws my peripheral vision and I am again reminded of what is about to unfold.

The spider is usually smallish but sometimes bigger, either way it can find no refuge from the wind as I pull from the stop sign and start picking up speed.

They always make it to the stoplight before the main road. Visibly shaken, they have a chance to regain their wind scrambled wits if they are lucky and the light is red, if it is green. Their ride is almost at an end.

As I turn out onto the main road and the speedometer clips over 35 all they have built starts coming unraveled. There is the briefest second where the spider is blown right beside my window and as the car hits 40 they cling no more and are gone.

I assume they die,  but the little bastards probably just shake it off and go on being efficient bug catchers while also acting as the ultimate squatters.  Even if they don't die, it looks like a horrible way to start a morning.

I always spare a moments thought to ponder the recurring tragedy, but a moment is usually all I can manage. I also refuse to feel any level of guilt for just driving my car without malice or spider killing intent, but I also feel a bit bitter at the spiders for putting such power in my right foot.

The fact that this keeps happening over and over is what I should be learning from this.  Apparently, my driver side rear view mirror is prime spider real estate, and they must line up, draw numbers or battle each for the right to weave their delicate trap every balmy night in between my metal door and plastic mirror.

I know they are just spiders and probably never consider that the guy that was there the night before is never there for a second night but I would think us humans would be able to make such a connection. Somehow I get the feeling we can be just as shortsighted.

Like the spider, all we want is fertile soil to sow our ambitions. We are all looking for the prime spot to set up our wares or weave a web of interest that might ensnare someones attention long enough to glean some sustenance from them. How many of us are getting taken for rides we never saw coming and how many of us should have known better?

The thing that made this morning different was not once seeing the spider nestled in the rear view mirror because trust me, like clock work, a spider was there.

This morning was different because the sun caught the dew of a great web that stretched out in a tree above my car. The webs brilliance and beauty was only noticeable for a fading moment before the morning sun moved a breath and the silver strings vanished. In that moment I saw a master applying his trade as he sat in black and yellow majesty among the center of his shimmering kingdom.  The nights profits snugged away safe in woven silk and from the sheer size of this spider king it was easy to tell that he ate this well every night (HE might be a SHE I don't know).

The thought occurred to me that this spider had this web stretched out over the  tree for a long time. If spiders can laugh I am sure this fat bastard laughs every night as one of his brethren weaves their own coffin and he says not a word.

Overcome with the need to start this day off with something significant I walked into the garage. Picking up a broom with satisfaction on my face I strode out to the web and wrecked that fat son of a bitch's empire and brought him low. I mean literally low, like right in front of my face and then I was not smiling anymore.

Being the nimble man I am I skidded back into attack position with this monster dangling two feet in front of my face. I was prepared to end him but the fact that he just hung there without trying to shimmy up into the tree or jump onto my face soothed my righteous anger. That and the fact that I was not sure how long it would take kill this beast and I did not have all morning.

I decided verbal abuse would at least make me feel better so I called him an asshole and swatted him with the broom. He went gently hurtling into the trees where a sparrow caught him in mid flight without so much as a thank you. So much for nature and mercy.

Hopefully some other guy will get a shot to weave his web across the tree. Maybe that guy won't be so smug and might even be willing to help out the spider who fancies my alluring window of death this evening.

Its a nice thought, but my coffee is empty and I feel certain I will witness more ambitious spiders having bad mornings.  Perhaps there are some other lessons to glean from this observation, but perhaps spiders are just stupid and I should pay more attention to the road.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Google Glass. A future so bright you will have no place to hide.

Before reading any further I would encourage everyone to click THIS link and follow the instructions.

Everyone wearing the fashion essential for the twenty first century? Good, onward we go.

I should say first off that I love technology. I love living in a age where the impossible becomes the mundane every other month. I love the coolness of gadgets and all the great things they allow us to do. I also have been slightly terrified of machines since seeing Terminator.

My affair with technology is like dating a exotic girl that is always full of amazing surprises, yet you know she is perfectly capable of setting fire to the bed while you sleep in it.

I have been reading about Google Glass for a long while now and the buzz has died off a bit but the beta testing goes forward and we are less than a year or two away from seeing and using them on a regular basis.

My fascination with this technology is largely due to author Daniel Suarez's fantastically entertaining book's  DEAMON and FREEDOM. These books lay out an amazing display of new technology being used in ways I had never dreamed, but now seem all but reality.

The books being several years old are uncannily accurate at describing Google Glass, and while fiction, it turns out that there is very little fiction involved in the technology and its possibilities. If anyone has actually read these books you will understand why my heart froze in awe and terror when I first saw a blurb about Google Glass.

The recent outing of the NSA has proven that the privacy paranoids had more than a little merit and the relative weak outcry from the general public has proven that most of us really don't care all the much about privacy. I mean we kinda care, but we don't care so much that we are actually going to do anything to change the comfortable status quo.

I guess what I am saying is that the America of today does not care in the same way that the original founders of America cared. Can you imagine how the news of government spying on private citizen emails would have gone over with the same group of people who overthrew the worlds biggest power over some taxes on tea?

"So let me make sure I have this strait Mr Government Official. Every letter I send to anyone for any reason will be opened and read by the government we just got all bloody to create because we thought the last one we had was a bit too hands on."  Inquires the citizen.

"Yeah, but we just have to make sure no Natives are planning a scalping party and stuff." Says the Government Official.

"But what about all that stuff in that document that listed all these rights we are all supposed to have?" The citizen further inquires.

"Yeeaahh about that. I mean we wont use anything against you as long as you are not planning shenanigans." The government official says with an assuring smile.

"Yeeaahh,  I think we are going to have to get bloody again." The citizen replies stuffing powder into his blunderbuss.

As ridiculous as that bit of dialogue is I cannot fathom the reaction to such a government invasion of privacy going any other way in that day and time.

Regardless of how much we care, privacy is an illusion. At the moment it is a good enough illusion that we would all rather play along but it seems we are tiptoeing toward the line where even this most complacent of American generations will no longer see fit to play along.

The real question of the future is not whether or not your information is private but just how many people and what kind of people will have access to it.

Google Glass brings to the masses technology that will redefine privacy. The hardware combined with existing facial recognition software and access to islands of databases that we have all happily contributed too makes some amazing things possible.

In Daniel Suarez'es book Freedom groups have formed what he calls a darknet. Member privileges of being in the darknet include a stylish pair of sunglasses that sound just like Google Glass. The heads up display offering up amazing bits of information about the world. The people you see through the glasses offer up their medical charts, credit ratings, criminal records and bank account info among other things and the ability to make use of such sensitive information in real time has some disturbing possibilities.

We already live in a world where government hackers and black hat hackers have become the new priesthood, our secrets open to their curiosity and discretion. Now imagine a world where that on the spot information can be used in face to face scenarios and not just via the internet.

Then there is the fun possibilities of people basically recording every waking moment of their day and the places they go. They are also taking in the people and events that happen in those places and just consider the massive amounts of data that can be extracted from such a fully documented day from just one person in a single location.  Actually, oncoming reality gives way to another modern Sci Fi writer of note, Neal Stephenson. In his book Snowcrash he describes what he called gargoyles.

Gargoyles, as Stephenson described them were people whose job consisted of loitering about public spaces,  loaded down with cameras, microphones and other real time data collecting tools. This massive amount of seemingly random bits of sound and video would be uploaded to the network for sell to news outlets, governments or anyone else willing to pay. This form of news gathering has already become the standard, the only difference is that all the idiots on twitter are happy to just give them the information instead of being compensated for it.

If anyone is holding out on the notion that anything you do online is private then you have about the same notion of reality as the record executives who think they can actually stop people from downloading songs for free. That is not a topic even up for debate, what is unknown is how people gathering real time information on people outside of the digital world will further degrade the publics privacy.

When it comes to the internet it is easy for people to delude themselves that privacy actually exist, because those intrusion often go unseen. It is when people start to realize that their real world is being recorded not just by "authorized" government networks but by literally everyone and everything around them that the facade of privacy really drops away.  It will be at this point that change will come and hopefully it will be a sensible and measured change, but black powder and blunderbusses are always a possibility in America.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


College football is here and for my Clemson Tigers it kicks off this year with an epic bang. The level of give a damn is as high for a game as I can ever remember. Playing Georgia should be our birthright and  I am not going to lie, I miss being an SEC fan.

Both sides of my family are from Alabama and I grew up the son of an Auburn grad. It was not till I was a student at Clemson that I made the switch and even then it was hard. I did not want to let go of that attachment I had to not just Auburn but the SEC. It was more than just football to me and everyone else.

As a kid in the eighties I remember not being all that proud of where I was from. Everyone around me was loud and proud but I always got the feeling it was a pride born out of insecurity.

Make no mistake about it, the south to this day still suffers from the toll of post civil war reconstruction. It is only in the last twenty years that the South has begun to see real economic and social progress throughout parts of the region. Still,  if you want people to instantly underestimate your intelligence just speak with a southern accent anywhere north of Virginia and west of Texas. There are some awesome things about being from Dixie but growing up in the south, especially the rural south leaves you with a good many hurdles to overcome.

However, there was one thing that would make my chest swell with pride, Bo Jackson and Auburn Football. I knew that it was impossible that any football game could be as well played or cared about more than the Alabama Auburn game. I knew that Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Florida and Tennessee were evil, vile institutions supported by the scum of the earth but I also knew that they were the only teams who had the ability and the right to challenge my Auburn Tigers.

We knew that football in the south was the best in the world and this was at a time when the national sports media was hesitant to recognize it. Sure, they might give Alabama some props from time to time, but it was obvious that they wanted to talk about Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State and Southern Cal. But as more games became available to watch by everyone in the nation it became evident where the best football was being played and more importantly who's fans cared the most.

All those teams I hated and fan bases I loathed, those people were also the only ones who understood how important college football was to our identity as a people and a place. It was truly the only thing we could put in front of the nation and say "Nobody does this better than us." This chip resides on the shoulder of almost every old school SEC fan and binds them into more than just a football conference. What has always made the SEC the best football conference is not the quality of the teams but the passion of the fans.

There are plenty of years when the SEC is not the best or even second best conference from top to bottom in terms of football but with the exception of  Kentucky every other fan base loves college football and their team with everything it has. Old Miss, who has never actually been that awesome at football is one of the best tailgating experiences in college football. There are never any half empty stadiums or Saturdays that don't matter in the SEC. Everyone cares.

This is what I miss about being a fan of a SEC school. I miss opposing fans that give a damn. As a Clemson fan we have Florida St, Georgia Tech, and NC State as the three teams on our conference schedule every year who give a damn. It does not matter how good or bad Duke, Wake Forest or North Carolina is. They will not bring more than a couple thousand fans on the road and the Clemson fans traveling will literally take over their home stadium. To have a conference where everyone is invested in football from top to bottom is what makes the SEC the best conference in football.

ESPN discovered this fact about fifteen years ago and has invested itself heavily into the future of the SEC and manipulated the landscape of college football to further that agenda.

I am not a fan of NASCAR but it is also a regional passion that has been watered down by popularity and expansion and SEC football will soon see the same fate I am afraid. The fire that fueled this passion was having this level of excellence and uniqueness in a place full of struggle in a region looked down upon. It will not survive the pedestal that ESPN has put it on. It will not endure the Johnny come lately fans that come with all the swagger but lack the chip on their shoulder of the long time sufferers. It will break apart as it spreads itself thin, into areas of the country that have nothing in common with one another and it will be a great national treasure eroded.

For now, and from its inception the SEC has been the standard for what the college football experience should be about and whenever Clemson gets to play an SEC school we get to be a part of it and it feels like coming home.

Friday, June 14, 2013


Human nature gives mankind an instinct to leave something behind, to make a mark on the world. Most of us fail at this completely but some manage to leave an imprint in ways they never expected.

People create buildings that inspire and their legacy lives on in the brick and mortar. Others write books and their ideas and words keep going forward long after their own pen has been stilled. It is rare however that we attach a person to the symbols we take on as part of our own identity.

Most people could not tell you the names of the men and women who created the symbols that make up our lives. That guy who drew the fish in the sand at the early Christian marketing meetings gets no credit whatsoever but what a simple and lasting thing of beauty he created.

John Antonio is a name most people do not know, but he recently passed away. He was a talented designer at the Henderson advertising firm in my hometown of Greenville South Carolina. He was also the man who designed the tiger paw logo for my Alma-matter, Clemson University.

John Antonio's tiger paw logo, now a widely known and copied symbol is held dear to the hearts of many people. They wear it on shirts and hats, they tattoo it on their bodies and paint it on their cars. It is a symbol people wrap part of their identities around. It is a powerful legacy.

The full story of how that design came to fruition can be found at several web sites.

I actually had the privilege of interviewing him in 1998 when I was a intern at a local T.V station and I remember being entranced by how he described his craft. listening to him taught me to see the beauty and effort that goes into the simple symbols that are all around us.

This is a nod to all those talented people drawing fish in the sand,  and apples on computers. Most of use will never know the names of the people who created them but there is a trail of paw prints all over the world that lead back to a man, his name was John Antonio and he left an imprint.


Monday, June 3, 2013

The Red Wedding washes the internet in tears.


Link to Artist

When I came to this part of the book several years ago I had to just put the book down and walk away for a couple of weeks. If there was ever a more soul crushing moment in modern literature I have not found it.

I have not seen the episode yet but looking over the internet this morning they have succeeded in bringing that same shocked devastation to the audience last night. Congrats to them and woe to Winterfell and anyone fool enough to become emotionally invested in a George RR Martin character.