Radically Inept
Saturday, October 23, 2004
  Rick Eddy on the Temple of Doom (Part Five)

The final climatic end of "Rick Eddy on the Temple of Doom". Alright, it ain't really the end, and you can decide for yourselves whether or not it's climatic. I've just always wanted to use that line - THE FINAL, CLIMATIC END TO OUR STORY - or somehtin' similar. Anyway, expect all five parts to get a serious re-edit in the comin' week. It needs it, but quit your bitchin', this is hot off the press...

I grabbed the briefcase and the sports bag, and headed to the front desk. I had a little time before I’d have to get out to the private airport for the flight back to NYC. I cashed my chips out and got on the cell phone to Jack – you remember Jack? The guy who was nice enough to let me use his laptop in the pub? Well, I called him on his cell and luckily, he wasn’t in a meeting or anything. I asked him if he could do me a big favor, and that I’d pay him well for his time. I told him I ‘d arrange a rental car in ‘my’ name, but that I needed it picked up and moved to an hourly lot, because I was going to be on a tight schedule when I was ready for the car.

He had no idea how tight a schedule. I told him I’d make it worth his while, that I figured it would take him a couple of hours to do it, and I was willing to pay $500 an hour for his time. Even an honest guy has a hard time questioning a $1000 windfall, so he agreed. We decided on a rental place and hourly lot close to where he worked; a supermarket where I’d wire him his money; where to hide the car keys, and I got his information to make him the second driver on the car. Like I said before, sometimes you have to enlist people in your war, and Jack was my first. It might suck for him, but at a $k he was cheap.

I headed to the front desk, and got them to wire the money to Jack, and wire enough money to the hotel in NYC to take care of all existin’ charges, and to hold the room open for another night. Then I went to the concierge and asked him to make arrangements for the rental car at the lot Jack and I had agreed on, and take care of the rental I’d used for the trip to LA. I also got him to set up a hotel limo ride to the private airfield, so I could catch the flight back to NY. Again, the advantage is money – presumed or real – money cuts down on questions if you know how to spread it and I tipped the concierge a couple a’ hundred for his effort.

Then I stepped into the lobby restroom, went to a stall, put the phone on the floor and crushed it under my heel; if you can say a flat-soled shoe like a tennis shoe even has a ‘heel’. Paranoia can save your life. I dropped it in the lobby fountain on the way out. Let ‘em try to get the fuckin’ info off it now. I got in the limo, and headed for the airfield. I raised the privacy panel ‘tween me and the driver, smoked a doob’, had stiff one, and did a line of crank for good measure. I know he could smell the weed, but limo drivers don’t. I tipped him a hundred, grabbed the briefcase and sports bag and got on the plane. I was the only one that got on in Vegas, so those that were already on the plane figured I was special since the plane had made an extra stop just for me. See, that’s the problem. The plane didn’t make an extra stop for me – it made the extra stop for the briefcase of money, I was just a high paid errand boy.

I grabbed a seat, grabbed some of Murdoch’s whiskey, and fired up one of Murdoch’s fine cigars from the re-supply the crew had put in somewhere along the way. Actually, I wasn’t even sure if this was the same plane. I had no clue how many planes Murdoch had at his disposal.

Now I had sometime to think. You might think I spent some time thinkin’ about the money in the briefcase; I didn’t. Tweren’t any of my business. Hell, I never counted it. The stuff was vacuum sealed, and had no idea how much I was carryin’. Okay, by weight and size and denomination of the bills, I had some idea, but that wasn’t a Rick Eddy problem and it wasn’t what I get paid to do. I’d already been paid, and any discrepancies, as long as the seal was intact, weren’t my problem.

No, what I was thinkin’ ‘bout was what was goin’ on. It’d dawned on me that we were seriously headin’ for a “Brave New World”. That had to be it. Some people who read it, found the idea of a genetic caste society abhorrent, but this crowd – the crowd I was currently dealin’ with – well, hell, they probably thought it was a great idea, and were just workin’ on implementin’ it. Why else would the American edu-ma-cation system have been in a steady decline since the sixties? Hell, we had a population that wasn’t smart enough to analyze a commercial. We had a society caught up in workin’, and spendin’ money on things they didn’t need under the the fuckin’ con that it was good for the economy, and they lived suckin’ up government prescribed drugs – soma-like – for the depression. Well, shit. What’d you expect if you thought your whole purpose in life was to buy stuff, and you couldn’t afford to buy it? Them moral values that the preachers always shout about seemed to have all been replaced with greed and materialism, haves and have nots, and nothing else.

Personally, I didn’t care as long as I could live outside the system, and that used to be easy before the ‘information revolution’. You could always stay below the radar before, if’n you were smart, but that’s pretty much changed, and continuin’ to stay below the system’s radar was getting’ pert near impossible. I figure now’s the last chance. If you let ‘em alone for ten more years, it’ll really fuckin’ morph into a Brave New World, and I’m sure Huxley’d be disappointed that we hadn’t paid no attention his warnin’. Well, if ‘tweren’t too late, I was gonna’ try and stop it. A fuckin’ stagnate, orderly world was no place I wanted to live. I don’t figure there’s anywhere to hide for long, so it must be time to fight – or accept, and acceptance ain’t an option. Stagnation was death; the world needs chaos or it dies – at least I’d die.

Funny thing, though – I didn’t know how far off the mark I was ‘til later that night.

When the plane landed, there were a couple of cars waitin’, and it turned out I was the only one headin’ to the Garden, so I got my own car. There was a new security badge and matchin’ ID waitin’ on me in the back seat. They’d even used one of my old aliases, Ed de Crepe, and they were top-drawer access. I whadn’t gonna have no problem movin’ around the convention with this stuff. Murdoch’s minions were as efficient as he paid ‘em to be.

As I had the car to myself, I told the driver to take me to the restaurant where I’d done the ‘pest control inspection’, and wait on me. I was hopin’ the guy that opened up wasn’t there, but if he was – so what? I whadn’t like I was plannin’ on eatin; I was way too cranked up for that. I took the bags with me when I went inside, and found the coat check room. I talked to the check girl on duty, and told her I was gonna’ be goin’ to the convention that night, and I was wonderin’ whether they were still gonna be open when the festivities ended. She assured me they would, so I went ahead an’checked the sports bag with her, took the stub she handed me, and pre-tipped her a fifty. When I came back through, I’d likely be in a hurry, and I was payin’ for prompt service. If anyone asked her later? Yeah, she’d remember me, and they’d know I came this way, but so what?

What I was countin’ on, was they didn’t know ‘bout the hotel room in Friday Dawg’s name, and nor’n ‘bout the rental car at the pay lot. Those were the two most important pieces of info at this stage of the game. Dependin’ on how it all went down would wind up dictatin’ how much effort they put inta lookin’ for me, and on that front, I was countin’ on them figurin’ I wasn’t worth the effort – yet.

So, I hit the restaurant bar and ordered a drink to kill a little time when I remembered you can’t smoke in these yankee restaurants no more! Just how pussy was that? That’s how you could tell things were goin’ wrong with this country. You could pollute the air like a mutha fucker as long as you were payin’ the big boys for gasoline, but you couldn’t smoke at a bar in a restaurant – like there was any clean air within fifty fuckin’ miles of the city – no, hell, like there was any clean air left anywhere on the entire East Coast.

So, I pounded the drink back, and headed back out to the limo, got in and headed for the convention proper. I did another line of crank, in the time it took to go ‘round the block to the VIP entrance. The last thing I did, was use the limo phone to call the Miami PD to let ‘em know that there was five kilos of pure crank comin’ in on a private jet from LA.

Yeah. I know. The call would eventually be traced back to the limo and me, but hell, I’d declared war, and I wasn’t gonna be able to hide for long, no how. I just had to hope I had the timin’ right. I had to hope the LAPD couldn’t get Hickey before he got on the plane; that he brought his tennis gear with him; that he hadn’t found the stuff already, and that he wouldn’t arrive in Miami until the festivities here at the convention were ‘bout done. All that, and hope the shit didn’t hit the fan ‘forin’ I got a chance to high tail my ass out of the Garden.

The driver must ‘a called ahead, there was someone waitin’ to personally escort me up when we got into the garage. Fuck. See, I almost made the same mistake I was bitchin’ about earlier; it wasn’t me that was bein’ escorted – it was the fuckin’ money.

Anyway, we rode the elevator up and got out on the same floor as last time, and headed to the same pressroom. When I walked in, Murdoch was getting’ a blow job from O’Reilly. Alright, it wasn’t actually a blow job, but it was damn close. O’Reilly was actin’ like one of my dogs at feedin’ time. You know. I love you I love you I love you it’s feedin’ time right? It’s feedin’ time right? I love you I love you It’s feedin’ time, right? Shit, I was waitin’ for O’Reilly to like Murdoch’s face, or somethin’. Yeah, he was a real dog of the people.

Murdoch saw me, and nodded to the back wall where there were a buch of briefcases and bags. I went over and set the briefcase with the money down, and no better’n O’Reilly, I wandered over ‘round a bit, waitin’ for the master to give me my treat. Difference was, I was plannin’ on bitin’.

One thing I noticed while I was waitin’, was these TV twits wore as much makeup as Georgia hunters where camo-grease. Difference was, the hunters wore the shit to hide, the guys wore it to look pretty. It didn’t work all that well either case. The game worked off smell, so the camo didn’t work. And these guys, hell, it just made ‘em look more pussy.

Finally, Murdoch was ready. He gave me a nod. Man, that’s how I got my dogs trained – with a fuckin’ nod. This was gonna end. Right quick. We left the same way we left the last time, and wound up in the same posh power room as the last time. This time when we entered, no one paid me no mind. [Brief aside here: I can talk yankee if I want to. I can talk Mid-Western if I want to. I can even talk Left Coast surfer when I feel like it. Hell, I can even speak academic when necessary, but there are real advantages to talkin’ Southern – most important is the fact that people think you’re slow, mentally. They ‘mis-underestimate’ you. ‘Sides, it’s a lot more comfortable, an’ people don’t figure you’re puttinj’ on airs. Okay, truth is, I the edge it gives you.]

Anyway, when we walked in, some guy I didn’t know, said to Murdoch, “It is time.”

Murdoch replied in a tone that might not be called deferential, but it certainly seemed to acknowledge that he was lower on some hierarchy I didn’t know. He said, “Ahh, yes.” Like I said; it was in the tone.

We all took seats ‘round the tables in the room, and the guy who had spoke to us when we came in, stayed the center of attention. Everyone faced his way, and he stayed standin’. He made some signal, and three waiters went ‘round the room poorin’ tumblers of somethin’ from an unmarked decanter. I figured I was in for some primo shit.

While we were waitin’ for the waiters to hit everyone, I looked around the room to see who I knew. I knew a fair bunch from readin’ the real ‘who’s who’, and they weren’t all American. There was at least one Rothchild, and someone I knew was a relation to the Krupp family and a sprinklin’ of European royalty. But there was also couple of Waltons there, a Ford, Scaiffe, of course, a Rockefeller, and some I didn’t know. One sign of power is not ever showin’ up in People Magazine or the tabloids. But an even bigger sign of power, to me at least, is if you were this powerful, and I’d never heard of you. There were some in the room like that. Real power doesn’t show itself. You had to really have power to not even show up in the lit that I kept up with. Anyway, there was ‘bout twenty-five of us in the room, and I knew I was THE token. Everyone else belonged.

Once we all had a full tumbler in front of us (hell, since I referenced A Brave New World earlier, might as well call the main man Alpha), Alpha raised his glass, and said, “Gentlemen…and Ladies (He smiled at that last part, and there were a couple of women, includin’ one of Walton’s daughters), tonight we progress one more step on the road to attaining the ultimate power. It will be entertaining, but more importantly for us, it will move us that much closer to our goal. So, raise the ambrosia that has been placed before you, and drink deeply to further consecrate our pact, and ‘May the best – win’.

Everyone, ‘cept me knew to respond with, “May the best win,” so I intoned a little late, but I intoned. Hell, I am the best. Fuck these fuckers.

I lifted my glass with the rest of ‘em, but I waited ‘til I saw Murdoch drink ‘fore I started. You ever read that phrase – drink greedily? Well, that’s ‘xactly what they did. The greed shined in their eyes while they drank this stuff.

And, it was good. Really. It was damn fine. Smooth. And it hit quick! I could feel it startin’ to work. I followed everyone in getting’ up, and goin’ through one of those doors ya’ don’t see ‘til someone opens it. It opened into a large elevator. Probably, it was normally used as a service elevator for other Garden functions, but now it was decked out posh. We all got in and road down.

I was standin’ in the elevator close to Murdoch, an’ I got this wild hair up my ass, and asked loud ‘nough for a lot ‘a people to hear me, “Hey, what was up with that anthrax attack on Stevens from the American Media Corp in Florida?”

Yeah, I know, it should have been the American Media Industries, but man, I got ‘that’ look from Murdoch – ‘What the fuck do you know’; ‘why are you askin’ me’, and ‘what the fuck makes you think I’d answer?’

It was a hell of a look, but I knew there was somethin’ there I’d have to look into later. That, and everyone standin’ around Murdoch gave me pretty much the same look.

When the doors opened on the opposite side, we all got out, and squeezed (yeah, squeezed, especially those that that were challenged by their height to weight ratio) down a thirty foot corridor, and walked into ‘room’ a mite smaller’n the stage that I knew was overhead. Yep, we were in the space below where the convention speakers were speakin’.

When we walked in, there were already people sittin’ in theater like seatin’, and they all had risen ( I was last in line, so for all I know, they were seated ‘til we showed up) as Alpha, who led the pack (pun intended) entered the room, like a five star general, or more like an emperor. Everyone in ‘my’ group ws directed to seats ‘down front’, ‘ceptin’ me. As soon as I walked in, Murdoch pointed to a back aisle seat. Yeah, I was the field slave at a Masters’ party. I was there, but Murdoch’s crap about usin’ Radically Inept to break a story to discredit it, no longer rang true. Somethin’ else was up, but man, whatever that ‘ambrosia’ was, just kept hittin’.

I sat down where directed, and started lookin’ ‘round at the crowd. The group that had already been in the ‘temple’ – ‘cause now that I looked at it, it did look like a temple of some sort – were, like, lesser flunkies. Hell, I saw Ashcroft close to the front. Poor SOB. You could see it in his ‘hang dog’ posture. Here was a guy, who’d lost to a dead man, and still wound up THE United States Attorney General, and no one allowed him to have any fun. I mean, what? His most news worthy work was bustin’ whorehouses in N’Or’lens (New Orleans, for those that don’t speak Southern/Cajun), and bustin’ Tommy Chong for sellin’ bongs. Poor guy. Ya’ could see itin his demeanor. Here was a guy that thought when he got the job, he was gonna have as much fun as Janet Reno. But no. No one in this administration wanted to hear about domestic terrorism. They didn’t want the things Ashcroft had dreamed of – his own Ruby Ridge; his own Waco. The chance to beat and torture Americans. No, the Baby Bush administration had tied his hands.. They didn’t ‘allow’ him to make the news. Hell, if the felon wasn’t muslim, or at least brown, no one wanted to hear ‘bout it. Here was a guy, just hopin’ for a chance to prove he was tougher than any fuckin’ dyke, and he was stuck sittin’ on the bench.

I didn’t feel sorry for the bastard. But man, I was havin’ a hard enough time just keepin’ my head together. Ambrosia my ass. This shit was hittin’ hard. Every muscle in my body was contractin’ at it own pace – an’ my spine! Shit, it wasn’t ambrosia like I figured ambrosia. It was more like someone had cut this shit with strychnine. If you ain’t ever been exposed to strychnine, well, hell…Just imagine every muscle in your body fightin’ the ‘xact same opposin’ muscle. It sucked.

‘Bout then, shit got weird. These ‘wide screens’ dropped down around the room, an’ no shit, they were showin’ Baby Bush ass fuckin’ some brown-skinned twelve year old kid. Man, he wadn’t even smilin’. He was smirkin’. And. He kept hittin’ this kid on the ass with a cowboy hat, and yippy-I-ayin’, an’ smirkin’ for the camera. Poor kid was bayin’ like a calf lost from its mother in a thunderstorm. The more the kid cried out, the faster Baby Bush thrusted. And in the background, were these two guys, all in black with hoods coverin’ their faces, holdin’ some screamion’ woman. The more she screamed, the more Bush beat the kid’s ass with the hat.

The crowd cheered. Really. The crowd in this room was laughin’ and cheerin’. Hell, I looked over at Ashcroft, and the son-of-a-bitch was playin’ fuckin’ pocket pool. It looked like he was havin’ the most fun he’s had, sinced getting’ the job of lockin’ up poor people.

But, somethin’ else was happenin’. I was startin’ to see shit. Specifically, I was startin’ to see the room – ‘glow’ is the wrong word – ooze this aura. I could feel it.

‘Bout then, curtains in front of the room, that I hadn’t seen before opened. And there was ol’ Zell (Zell Miller), standin’ there lookin’ doe eyed. Worse. His eyes looked like the eyes of fresh roadkill. Fuck, he looked like a fuckin’ Zombie. He walked like a fuckin’ zombie. Right to the center of a slightly raised platform I hadn’t noticed a’ fore.

Wow. My muscles were just doin’ their own dance, and it was hard for me to even stay in my seat. When I looked ‘round, no one else seemed to have the same ‘symptoms’. Hell, they all seemed to be into the whole scene, but I did notice Murdoch turn ‘round from his seat down front, and give me one of them quizzical looks.

While Zell did this zombie walk to ‘center stage’, the crowd started some sort ‘a chant. Tweren’t in no language I’d ever heard before, but it sure as hell was a chant.

And I watched this red, black, oily – I don’t really know how to describe it, ‘ceptin’ it was pure evil – rise up from below the platform. And, it seemed to engulf Zell. Like it was enterin’ him through every orifice of his body, an’ then some.

And he changed. His eyes went from ‘not there’ to a look of ‘I can eat babies’.

Alpha got up, and walked to the front, and faced the crowd, with ol’ Zell behind him, and he started talkin’ ‘bout the times a’ fore Christ, and the long wait, and how it was all comin’ together, but my mind was gettin’ blurry. And, the muscle spasms, well, I was just lucky I’d been poisoned before, and was used to doin’ serious drugs. ‘Cause I could handle it…Sort’a.

Then Alpha turned to ‘Zell monster’, an’ said, “Oh, (somethin’ garbled) delver our message to the masses. Tell them WE know what is best. Tell them to worship us. And through worshipping through us, they will worship you.”

The fuckin’ ooze was fillin’the room. The whole room was a haze of evil. And then, Zell seemed to just rise through the floor, at the same time the wide screens showed him walkin’ onto the stage.

Then the wide screens went blank.

I saw him walkin’ from nowhere, to the platform. Cheney. He didn’t have no blank stare. He came in lookin’ cold, hard, and confident. And when the ooze (new ooze), rose from the platform to enter him, it merged. Hell, it was a fuckin’ symbiotic relationship. Cheney’s eyes turned a little red, and he went from being cold, to bein’ the malevolent entity we all know an’ fear. Least wise, I’ve always feared him. But the point is, this wasn’t anythin’ new to him – he welcome the devil that took control of his soul(?).

And then, it was like he merged with, an’ matter fact, under this fuckin’ ambrosia shit, I can tell ya’ – he merged with the force of evil. Whatever. It wasn’t some corporatist plot. Hell no. Even with the drug, I knew, it wasn’t ‘bout greed and profit. It was ‘bout being able to disembowel people for fun. It was the joy of watching someone slide down the iron horse. It was the ecstasy of slowly dismembering a lifeform over an extended period of time. It was the joy of cookin’ hebes in the ovens. The thrill of rapin’ a serfs daughter while the parents watched – helpless.

I understood through the miasma of the ‘ambrosia’. This wasn’t about creating a soulless ‘Brave New World’. This was ‘bout settin’ up Hell on earth. It was the ‘Island of Melbourne’ from the Elric Saga.

And, I knew somethin’ ‘ad gone wrong. I waddn’t ‘aspposed ta’ see this with revulsion. I was ‘aspposed to embrace it. The ‘ambrosia’ wasn’t workin’ on me like they planned. In a moment of clarity I understood. They’d never figured on me being polluted on something as crass as crank. The ‘Ambrosia’ wasn’t chemically compatible with somethin’ as base as crystal meth. They’d fucked up.

Two things happened in quick succession right then. I realized that the drug wasn’t affedtin’ me like it was supposed to. And they realized it wasn’t effectin’ me like it was supposed to. I could tell by the look on Ascroft’s face – disappointment, coupled with a certain glee. Disappointment that the drug didn’t work. Glee, cause I’d probably wind up somewhere where he could play with me.

Between the muscle spasms and the overwhelmin’ sense of just pure evil, I was lucky to keep my last meal down. Hell, I was lucky my last meal was a breakfast in Vegas almost twenty-four hours past (who the fuck knew, with the time changes?). And it dawned on me…I was supposed to wind up like Zell. The ‘ambrosia’ was supposed to turn me fuckin’ doe-eyed and mindless, and only the crank was savin’ me.

I watched Cheney rise up from the platform through the ceiling. I watched Zell on the wide screens walk off stage, at the same time he sunk through the ceiling to the platform. Who the fuck knew at this point what was drugs and what was real? But, I watched evil incarnate, in the personage of Cheney start his speech on the stage above.

Then I saw some mother fucker walk down the aisle and whisper somethin’ to Murdoch. And I saw Murdoch give me a look; a look that I knew Hickey had been busted. Even then I knew it wouldn’t make the news, but I knew I had to get out.

Luckily, they’d sat me in the back. I got up, and pushed the bar on the metal door, and hit the narrow corridor knowing that those fuckers back in the ‘Templeof Doom’ weren’t gonna follow me. Naah. They didn’t do their own dirty work if there was any chance of resistance. They’d be there; they’d probably all be there, when I was tied down at their mercy. But for now, my problem would be getting’ past the minions.

Well, I remembered we’d come in from the left, from the elevator, so I turned right. I just made turns, and wandered based on some inner sense of dirction, and soon found my self walkin’ up a staircase to the main floor.

I was now amongst the crowd of cheering and delirious idiots that are voters. But I also saw the evil wasn’t all pervasive. Not everyone in the crowd was about evil. Under the influence of whatever was in the drug, I saw evil; I saw greed – lots ‘a greed – I saw neutrality, and I saw the auras of people who were basically good, but docile, hell, even cheering, under the spells of whatever demons had possessed Zell and Dick.

I knew I had to move, and move fast. I figured luck had got me out of the room I was supposed to have been sacrificed in, and got me here; I’d let luck guide me out of the Garden – and it did. Security was keeping’ Americans out, it wasn’t really set up to stop an asshole from leavin’. You weren’t supposed to be there if you weren’t an idol worshipper, so, security wasn’t lookin’ for someone tryin’ to leave. They especially weren’t lookin’ to stop someone who looked like he was gonna puke his guts out at any minute. Fuck no, they got out of my way.

The spasms hit a real fuckin’ crescendo when I hit the streets, but at the same time, the air with out that level of concentrated evil felt good. I found my way over to the parkin’ garage. I knew the cameras were on me, but I also knew, they wouldn’t be lookin’ at the tapes for a while.

I high jumped and pulled the security guard jacket off the parkin’ attendant’s booth, and dumped the sports coat I was wearin’ to put it on. There wasn’t no chance of hidin’ who I was – hell, my DNA was on file. So, fuck the cameras, and the high tech facial recognition systems. I had to use distance.

I headed up the stairs from the parkin’ lot to the floor with the bathroom where I’d hidden the electrician’s shirt. I made it that far, and dumped the white shirt. The slacks and shoes were a little to high dollar to complete the affect, but I had to keep movin’.

If it sounds like I was paniced, well hell, I was. I’ll blame it on the fuckin’ AMBROSIA. But I was able to get myself calmed down enough to wall down the hall to the elevator; take the elevator down to the ground floor, and walk out past the security guard and out the buildin’. I even had presence of mind to wave at him. He looked a little startled, but than, security guards, ‘specially $10 an hour guards, are trained to keep people out, and don’t have a fuckin’ clue ‘bout what to do ‘bout people leavin’.

When I walked out of the buildin’, I was half ass calm. The panic was gone, even if the muscle spasms persisted. I looked up and down the street ‘fore I headed to the delivery dock of the restaurant.

The city glowed. I’m not talkin’ ‘bout it glowin’ neon or with other lights; I’m talkin’ it glowed evil, good and neutral. It was like I had some sort’a DnD detect alignment spell. Hell, it wasn’t like that – it was that. I could spot evil, good and neutral. And the city glowed in evil, good and neutral. Mostly neutral, a lot of evil, and little good, as far as I can recollect.

On the way to the restaurant’s delivery dock, I spotted him. I didn’t see him as much as I saw the evil radiated by him. He was dressed the same way the guys holdin’ the woman downin the Baby Bush video. It didn’t take much actin’, but I put on a little show of bein’ fucked up. I quit fightin’ the muscle spasms as I was walkin’. I stumbled down the alley to the dock, keepin’ an eye on the evil aura. I also loosened the collar of the shirt, and when the spam was right, I pulled the paint stirrer stiletto out, and cupped up against my forearm.

He came up, smilin’. He knew he was gonna have fun fuckin’ with me.

He never saw it comin’. He raised his arm, in that halt kind of motion, and I drove the stirrer in deep, below his arm, and above the line of his body armor, and twisted. I wasn’t gonna be able to pull it out; not with out spendin’ too ;much time. But as my right hand drove the blade in, my left hand caught him on the jaw line and I broke his neck. [Don’t try this at home. Coordinating these strikes, even not under the influence, is hard enough, but makin’ sure the kill is quick and sure…well, ya’ need a certain amount of experience.] I dragged him into the shadows. Again, I know, the fuckin’ surveillance in this place caught it all, but all I needed was a little time, and I was hopin’ that security was arrayed to makeit hard for them to respond to someone ‘escapin’’, instead of intrudin’.

Now I’d lost my weapon. It was stuck in his body, and like I said, extractin’ it would take to much time. So I did what they don’t do in most movies – I took his. I took his assault weapon, 9 mil Uzzi, and tossed it into the shadows. It’d just be a huge hunk of metal for the detectors to find. I kept his ID, badge, and whatever was in his wallet. This kind of shit is worth an Uzzi anyday, ‘ceptin’ in a fire fight. I’d ‘a liked more of his stuff, but he was bleedin’ all over it. So, I moved to the dock, swapped the electrician’s shirt for the pest control shirt that was stashed there, and headed to the coat check girl.

I stopped in the bathroom in the back to make sure I wasn’t covered in blood, took a quick snort of crank and moved on. My head was startin’ to come together, even if I was still seein’ the alignments of the souls, and havin’ serious muscle spasms. I don’t know what effect the crank had, but it seemed to dull the spasms.

When I got to coat check girl, she recognized me, and sure was curious ‘bout the outfit I was in. I told her to pass me the bag, and gave her another $fifty. The questions stopped, and the smiles came back.

I moved quickly to the hotel, changed, and headed to the placed Jack had left the rental. Two cabs and a subway, and I was headed home…Via Albany, Buffalo, Canton, Louisville, Memphis, Birmingham, and Pensacola. I’ll go into details later…
  Tin Hat and PBS - the war we lost?

I'd be interested in whether any of my USA based readers have noticed any discrepancies in tonight's programming by their local PBS affiliates...

I supposedly live in a progressive city - at lest as far as the South-East is concerned. I live in Atlanta, and we are 'served' by two separate Public Broadcasting (PBS) channels. Often, both of them show simultaneous programming, or the same programs in different time slots. Both of them show NOW with Bill Moyers on Friday nights. Georgia Public Broadcasting - Channel 8 airs it in the ten pm to 11 pm slot, and
Public Broadcasting Atlanta - Channel 30 shows it at 10:30 pm to 11:30 pm, and Channel 30 shows Speaking Freely immediately following NOW.

Well, I confess. On Friday nights, I play the Fantasy Five lotto game. I try to play it between 10 pm and 10:30 pm - as close to drawing time, where I think I get 'luckier' on the numbers (see remote viewing). Regardless, it is because of the NOW show time difference between the two stations (since I really like NOW) that I usually make the move to buy my night's numbers between ten and 10:30 pm.

Well, I left the house at ten tonight, came home and caught a few moments of the first half of NOW on Channel 8, while waiting for the complete showing of NOW on Channel 30. But Channel 30 was still playing their version of Wall Street Review, PBS | News & Views | Business (it might have been Wall $treet Week with FORTUNE . In the News | PBS), or whatever. But NOW did not start at 10:30. So, I flipped to the TV Guide channel (which I loathe but use), and all of sudden the schedule was different. The TV guide channel said that NOW would show from 12 am to 12:30 pm, followed by Speaking Freely. So, I finished watching the second half of this week's NOW, and when I flipped over to Channel 30 again, they were in the midst of the first half on the NOW program (all about small towns and Walmarts and class warfare).

So, I figured Channel 30's programming had drifted off by 10 or 15 minutes (not all that unusual with PBS stations), and I watched the remaining first half of the NOW program.

That's when things got interesting. [OH. I had tried to call the station, Channel 30, earlier to complain about the programming change, and both numbers for the station in my phone book were no longer valid - one rang an unused number at Emory Hospital, and the other, the Atlanta School system???? I was using the '02 to '03 phone book, for what it's worth]. But right where I had come into the second half of the NOW program on Channel 8, and the discussion revolved around class warfare, and a corporate takeover of America, the same program on Channel 30, suddenly switched to last week's second half programming of the NOW show, which was on election fraud. Now why would that be? Why in mid sentence would this week's program be switched to last week's program? I mean, I can't believe in this day and age, that it had anything to do with someone screwing up on a reel change. Those days are over. If you have this week's show, you have this week's show, right?

But then, all of a sudden, another programming change - they weren't showing Speaking Freely tonight. Why? It was in my hardcopy TV guide that I get from my paper. It showed up the first time I checked programming on the TV Guide channel. Why all of a sudden would they drop the programming they had promised me? Who owns this station?

Oh, but it went down hill. No really,after all of that, it went further down hill. They advertised that a new 'reality show'. WHAT THE FUCK!!!! PBS is now showing 'reality shows'?!!!

I hate Newt Gingrich. He won. During pledge brakes they show 'noninfo-mercial' info-mercials. What else can you call it, when the program spokespersons spend most of their time hawking show products? PBS is dead. No more "The Six Wives of Henry the Eighth". NO, instead I'm expected to endure a Dr. (not even a doctor) Phil program, or a health food (read sell products) program...Newt won.

A&E Television started off as an almost valid commercial alternative to PBS. They went to shit. Then Discover (should be Discovery not Discover) came along, and replaced A&E, but now they mostly show car chases and a disfunctional family building motorcycles - hardly programming for the mind.

But than, when ESPN started, they swore they'd never show wrestling and the like.

Corporate greed, intentionally or unintentionally (I suspect an intentional effort, hence the tin hat), has resulted in me watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (he'll be on Sixty Minutes on Sunday) for news, and Sponge Bob Square Pants for entertainment. It's pretty fuckin sad.
Friday, October 22, 2004
  Two from Chocolate Morphine

These were sent to me via Chocolate Morphine - Political Bohemian Rhapsody and my favorite, Voting in Florida.

The second one may be experiencing heavy traffic, as I couldn't get the page to open. Hopefully it will work later. I'll check back 
  All information is free

This post is sort of a continuance of the posts listed at the end of this post. I hadn't realized how many posts I had done in this 'area'. Now that I've gathered them together, I will try to put them in a grouping over on the side bar.

They are all connected in that they look at the value of information or attempt to define value. They do tend to ramble, and they often repeat specific ideas or overlap, but they are [obviously] reflective of the way I approach this kind of problem. I once heard a line in a movie, TV show or documentary, and I wish I could remember where so I could cite it appropriately, but the line was to the affect, "I am a sloppy thinker". I can think linearly, but some problems require 'sloppy thinking', which I sort of define as continually re-examining the problem from a variety of starting points, and trying to find common threads and/or patterns, and hope they somehow move the dialogue forward toward a 'solution'.

So I am going to start this post with a quote by "Nooper", whose homepage, scratchings, means either that Harry is using yet another alias, or someone is pretending that it's their page. On the otherhand, you should check out the discussion going on in the comments at scratchings: Character assassination is fun!.

The quote:
Value, measured in the narrowest sense, exists only for the individual contemplating it. That's inherently bogus for community creatures like us.

The TV on in the room downstairs is also broadcasting information to others. The man upstairs is missing out and wasting money, but the lack of an audience in one place doesn't diminish the value in others.

'Course, the show could be absolute crap and that creates anti-value. Much like the reverse Midas Touch of Bush the Lesser.
Which was in response to my post, How do we value: value?. I agree with his statement, "Value, measured in the narrowest sense, exists only for the individual contemplating it." And in a way, it makes a good starting point, or continuance, of my ongoing look at information and value.

However, all information is derived from an exchange of energy in the form of electrons/photons. If their is no energy exchanged, whether between individuals and groups, or individuals and their environment, than there is no information. In the case of individuals and groups, the exchange has two sets of values to start with. The value of the information as determined by the sender, and the value placed on the information by the receiver. These values are all filtered through the sender's and receiver's individual information filters. But further, there is often a feedback loop.

The sender sends the information to the receiver, and since it requires the expenditure of energy on the part of the receiver, one can presume that the sender expects/anticipates/desires a response on the part of a particular receiver or group of receivers. Hence, part of the value of the information on the senders part, is the anticipated reaction on the receivers part.

The receiver in return, often filters the incoming information with the knowledge that some sort of energy/information is expected in return on the part of the sender.

And, in the case of a 'dialogue', the loop can have many iterations.

Additionally, it is often the case that the sender expends energy in hopes of receiving a 'greater return' on their expenditure. This greater return would be determined by the sender's [now receiver] own set of 'values'.

I will try this as an example: The Baby Bush administration desires to go to war. They expend energy {the senders} to deliver information to the American populace {the Receivers}. Whether or not the information is true [truth has no greater inherent value than lies], the Baby Bush administration gets America to go to war, cause the death of civilians, and has America assume the costs of the war in terms of American lives and money. The amount of energy that the Baby Bush administration expended in transmitting its information is slight in comparison to the energy they received or were able to elicit. They received huge returns on their minimal investment.

This applies to any marketing campaign. The desire on the sender's part is to receive significant return on their energy investment.

The value of the information must be determined from both sides of the equation. The sender's initial energy output to send the information, and the receiver's output of energy in response to the sender's, and the sender's [now receiver] return.

Both sides, as I stated earlier, have filters. These filters can amplify or retard the flow of energy on both sides of the equation. For instance, my filters are set to start with the premise that anything this administration says, is a lie. Other individuals have their filter set, so that not only do they receive the information, they act upon it - expending far more energy than the administration does in sending it. The problem, form my view point, is that there are either too many positive receivers, or not enough negative information retarders.

Of course, I can expend as much energy in trying to counter the energy put out by the other group. And now we have to consider that in our equation. Multiple individual receivers, each operating from their own filtered view, bring a huge complexity to the receiver's side of the equation. And, the return that the sender's [now receivers] realize.

So, then you get to aggregating it all.

I'm going to change tacts. As you can tell from the number of previous posts I've linked to below, you can rest assured I will come back to this at some point, for greater exploration. But for now...The reason I titled this post "All information is free".

All information and energy is free. Regardless of whether you believe in the 'Big Bang', Inflationary Cosmology, or the myth of a supreme deity, all point to free energy and information.

No one creates energy. We at best can be considered to transmute existing forms of energy into other forms, but even the energy used in the transmutation is free.

For instance, your life is sustained, ultimately, by basic organisms converting energy provided to them by our sun, into energy that is used in life. The sun's energy costs us nothing. Oil already exists, we expend no energy in creating the fuel, we only expend energy on it's extraction and transmutation into a form we determine to be usable.

Why do I bring this up? Well, again, as I have in previous posts, I am trying to get my mind around the idea of how our economy, and especially the capitalistic form, came into being. I have discussed things like how we 'value' entertainment and aesthetics, on a footing equal, or at least apparently equal in some ways, to utilitarian objects that we need for survival. That, and $55 dollar/barrel oil and what that will ultimately do to our economy. I think.

For instance, we are fighting a war to get at something that is 'provided' for free. The oil exists. And its existence costs us nothing. Its use costs us a great deal, especially if one factors in environmental damage. Further, we use this energy, in part, to power neon signs that sell us non-utilitarian and/or 'overpriced' goods. For instance, in my opinion, status branded goods provide no greater utility than non-status branded goods, but far more energy is 'expended' to market these goods.

So, I guess we are back where I started. The senders of information concerning the status branded goods hope to see a greater return on their energy expenditure, and they therefore must discount the 'value' of the energy source, and I guess the war...and the people dying...I guess...

Well, I have other things I must now attend to, but I am left, and I leave you, with this line of questioning - Can we achieve a complex, sustainable economy without energy being used to market products - branded or otherwise? If one starts from the premise that all energy and information is ultimately 'free', how much energy (spent in transmuting free energy) is worth how much entertainment? Can the equation be brought down to Energy = Information = Entertainment = Aesthetics =...And, surely, survival and the survival of the species, should somehow be factored into our equations...

Anyway, below are the previous posts that have led me, if tangentially, to this point of reasoning. And remember, my idea is to get as reductionist as possible, and than to analyze information, value and energy within systemic frameworks. Obviously, I am having a somewhat difficult time, separating the reductionist from the holistic analyses. Sue me...

If a tree falls in the woods...

How do we value: value?

Continuing down the rabbit hole contains some very interesting definitions of value.

Lack of a value free viewpoint

Would Major Nelson play the Lottery?

'Real' Truth questioned

Questions I ponder, and perhaps a little progress

Explaining Everything II

Explaining everything

Wherein I confess my complete ignorance of 'common knowledge' - Or, Maybe you'll bear with me on this one II.

Death, Pain and Atheism

Maybe you'll bear with me on this one

Related posts from Rogue Analyst:

The photon economy, or what is the value of a license plate

Information Metric

A look at some of the costs of secrecy, or Newtonian Secrecy: Analyzing Secrecy in Public Policy Decisions 
Thursday, October 21, 2004
  Admin: Light posting explained

Well, as regular readers know, I'm on the job hunt. Sadly it is distracting me from things like blogging. I have several posts in mind, but by the time I get the time to write them up here, several will be too old to bother with.

I received an unsolicited email from a headhunter outfit for a contract/job opening. I think this may be the first one I've received that is for a 'real' job, and NOT for selling insurance and the like. In fact, that is what I've spent most of the day doing - trying to compose a decent cover letter. I have no problem writing until it comes to things like cover letters. I never know how badly to strain my arm slapping myself on the back while trying to cover all of the points raised in the job description.

The job sounds like something I'd love to do, and the end product might actually help save lives. That would be cool, as opposed to the other job I applied for yesterday - tax examiner for the IRS. Not that I have a problem with the IRS, it's just that the job I applied for basically consists of repetitive work and requires attention to detail, but no real problem solving or anything intellectually engaging.

I might try to get a substantive post in later tonight. Otherwise, it will probably be tomorrow. 
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
  The value of not informing

COL Spock sent me this piece "Project Censored: Censored articles to Email to the Hypnotized" by Deanna Zandt and Evan Derkacz from AxisofLogic/ Activism, News and Comment, which contains ten examples, egregious all, of stories that have not been reported or have seriously been under reported. It also fits in with my ongoing personal analysis on the value of information.

Here is one of the ten stories:
6. Sale of electoral politics. Sources: In These Times (12/03); Independent/UK (10/13/03); Democracy NOW! (09/04/03).
As much hope as electronic voting offers (ease of use, access for the disabled etc), it offers just as many reasons for skepticism and fear. A look behind the curtain reveals that the programmers and manufacturers of the machines are a combination of defense contractors and corporations headed by staunch Republicans whose programming codes are dangerously faulty and whose results are impossible to verify.
Still, despite the partisan nature of the manufacturers, the problem could be solved with paper receipts and nonpartisan audits. But thus far, bipartisan attempts to require such receipts and audits that would ensure popular confidence in our Democracy haven't been a priority for the Republican-led congress. What possible reason could there be to prevent receipts? Are these questions being debated on "Hardball," "Nightline," in the pages of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, or anywhere else?
And what do we have to show for electronic voting's record so far? And why do we have to go to London to learn it? Writing for the London Independent, Andrew Gumbel informs us that Roy Barnes, Georgia's Democratic incumbent governor, held a 10-point lead shortly before the 2002 election, while Max Cleland held a 2-5 point lead over his opponent in the state's senate race. The results, in this first all-electronic election, greatly contradicted all available polling and demographic information. The governor's race swung 16 points to the advantage of the Republican challenger while the senate race swung from 9-12 points - also to the Republican challenger. But few, if any, in the media sought to investigate this coincidence. And Republican upsets didn't end there; according to Gumbel: "There were others in Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois and New Hampshire - all in races that had been flagged as key partisan battlegrounds, and all won by the Republican Party."
Now, here's the kicker: "The vote count was not conducted by state elections officials, but by the private company that sold Georgia the voting machines in the first place, under a strict trade-secrecy contract that made it not only difficult but actually illegal - on pain of stiff criminal penalties - for the state to touch the equipment or examine the proprietary software to ensure the machines worked properly."
Here, from the same report, is a story begging to be told on network news: Sen Chuck Hagel, $5 million investor in ES&S - one of the larger voting systems manufacturers - "became the first Republican in 24 years to be elected to the Senate from Nebraska, cheered on by the Omaha World-Herald newspaper which also happens to be a big investor in ES&S...80 percent of Mr. Hagel's winning votes - both in 1996 and in 2002 - were counted, under the usual terms of confidentiality, by his own company." That just ain't the American way.
I chose this sample because it raises the question I have been asking since the election: How the fuck did Sonny Purdue win?! The part of the story that the above sample does not get into, which I find adds to my question, the 2002 election was the first election, since I don't know when, where there was no exit polling. Isn't that convenient if the race was in fact stolen? Absolutely no way to check.

Anyway, many of you will already be aware of many of the other nine cases cited, but you may not be aware of all of them, and it's always kind of nice to see a laundry list to be reminded of how bad things have gotten with the media in this country. 
Monday, October 18, 2004
  Wired on the jukebox

Something is going on with blogger. I'm not sure what changes they are making this time, but the interface is very different today, and many of the functions I've gotten used to using, don't appear to be available today. In fact, I'm resorting to manually inputting html, which was scary for a second there - I couldn't remember how to do quotes.

Anyway, this, The Long Tail, deals with a topic I've posted on here before, in The 'nickel transaction' and the 'penny transmission' and Back to the nickel transaction cost, though this is definitely a more well researched piece than my previous ramblings on the subject. It definitely goes into depth and explains much of the economics in it's five pages, and it is worth the read.

I particularly found these numbers interesting:
What's really amazing about the Long Tail is the sheer size of it. Combine enough nonhits on the Long Tail and you've got a market bigger than the hits. Take books: The average Barnes & Noble carries 130,000 titles. Yet more than half of Amazon's book sales come from outside its top 130,000 titles. Consider the implication: If the Amazon statistics are any guide, the market for books that are not even sold in the average bookstore is larger than the market for those that are (see "Anatomy of the Long Tail"). In other words, the potential book market may be twice as big as it appears to be, if only we can get over the economics of scarcity. Venture capitalist and former music industry consultant Kevin Laws puts it this way: "The biggest money is in the smallest sales."

The same is true for all other aspects of the entertainment business, to one degree or another. Just compare online and offline businesses: The average Blockbuster carries fewer than 3,000 DVDs. Yet a fifth of Netflix rentals are outside its top 3,000 titles. Rhapsody streams more songs each month beyond its top 10,000 than it does its top 10,000. In each case, the market that lies outside the reach of the physical retailer is big and getting bigger.

When you think about it, most successful businesses on the Internet are about aggregating the Long Tail in one way or another. Google, for instance, makes most of its money off small advertisers (the long tail of advertising), and eBay is mostly tail as well - niche and one-off products. By overcoming the limitations of geography and scale, just as Rhapsody and Amazon have, Google and eBay have discovered new markets and expanded existing ones.

This is the power of the Long Tail. The companies at the vanguard of it are showing the way with three big lessons. Call them the new rules for the new entertainment economy.
The rest is at The Long Tail.

Well whatever was going on with the system seems to have corrected itself in the time it took me to post and comeback for a quick re-edit. hmmm... 
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