Long Live the Dead

Watch this 97-minute Netflix documentary now released for free viewing in YouTube (or catch it on Netflix if you have it), “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom.”  It is about the 2014 Maidan (or The Maidan Revolution) by fearless, relentless, unstoppable, unarmed, non-violent protesters against ruthless militarized police forces and brutal mercenaries in Kyiv, Ukraine when the president sold out to Putin instead of signing an agreement with the European Union as promised to a People yearning to build upon the freedom they claimed when they declared their independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 (is this still a sentence?).

This is a story that we can learn from, if we are to defend our freedom when our time comes, and it seems to be coming sooner than I ever believed it could.  Democracy in the United States is at greater risk than ever.  I know people don’t get it, don’t think so, can’t believe it.  They just don’t know, because, like Putin’s duped citizens, they can’t.  Some others may have to die because of it, if we are to succeed.

Watch this documentary and see what the dead can do when they know the truth and fight for it, when their courage inspires victory for the living, when they find out just how fragile democracy can be, and how precious, and give their lives for it.

Don’t waist your brain energy calling me pessimistic.  It doesn’t matter anymore.  Whether I am pessimistic or not, the warning must go out.  Whether my efforts are pessimistic or not, I must continue, especially because so many others will not prepare for the trouble we so likely face.  The Autocracy Party has just about all the guns, and the willingness to use them for delusional reasons.  Are you ready for that?

I am preparing for the fall of democracy in the United States.  You should, too.  You have nothing to lose by being prepared, and a free nation to gain.

My truly optimistic take on it says that with preparation and dedication to protecting our civilization, we can succeed.  Otherwise, we go into something like a Dark Age.  An optimist looks ahead and sees ways to succeed, not ways to act in the future, or to hope to do, but ways to act now for the sake of the future.  Preparation is optimistic.  It says there is a way, so take it.  Optimism is not merely about hoping for the best.  In fact, that’s just stupid in many instances.  Hope can be stupid.  I am preparing, not hoping.

Now, in 2022, Putin wants to take away from Ukraine what they earned in the past, what death bought for them in 2014.  Watching this documentary, you’ll see why they will NEVER let him take it from them, and they will continue fighting from the grave that they do not fear.

Me neither.  My grave is not something to fear, except by our enemies.


Slava Ukraini!  Glory to Ukraine!  Learn from them to never give up!

Long live the dead.

Olena was wounded on February 24, 2022, the day Russia invaded Ukraine.  She and over forty-four million Ukrainians and other residents there need our help.  Helping them helps us.  It may even save us from ourselves.

Wounded Olena Kurilo in Kharkiv Feb 24, 2022 color pencil

Wounded Olena Kurilo in Kharkiv Feb 24, 2022. (Color pencil derived from photo.)


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Telling the Times; Carl Sagan and many others warned us of the shining city in a ditch.

Call this scribblement pessimistic if you must, but calling it so does not change anything.  Optimism begins with noticing, not with self-delusion.  It may begin with noticing self-delusion, too.  I want to point out some things we’ve been told about the soul of a nation and democracy in peril.  I want to tell of their telling, and tell of my seeking, and suggest yours.

If, however, a reader wants to use their idea of pessimism as an epithet, read on and enjoy your conviction.  Just give yourself the benefit of the doubt by reading.

Call this scribblement didactic if you want.  That doesn’t change anything either.  Try responding to something in it, optimistically.  Try acting on it, even if only in words.  That would be a change.

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Marvel of Modern Science

TIME OUT FROM COVID FOR CLASSICS

I don’t know why I can’t watch this without laughing, my also being a marvel of modern science.  This is a 20-second clip from a five-minute video:

Link to the video: https://youtu.be/3nE4WngsOrs

Doctor:  Do you think there’s anything wrong with your mind really?
Randall: Not a thing, Doc.  I’m a goddam marvel of modern science.

From One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) for which Louise Fletcher (Nurse Ratched) & Jack Nicholson (R.P. McMurphy) won Oscars.  You knew she had ratcheted up the Academy’s attention by ten clicks with her strangulation face …

.

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Endangered Animals Dreaming and Singing for OUR Future

If you liked Les Mis, you’ll love this.  Or absolutely hate it.

I suppose this post is about my faith in art to shape the future.  It is also about my often daunted faith in humanity to gradually see itself more as it really is, not merely as it is in dreams and delusions.  It is also about faith in the good in humanity, the humanity of humanity.  After all, somebody made this art about humanity, this video of listening to animals singing about a broken dream, a shamed belief, a shattered hope.  Somebody saw our place in that process.  Many people do.  So there is hope for us yet.  If you watch this 3-minute flick with an open heart, somebody is you, because we are what we eat. Continue reading

Longfellow Deeds’ Beautiful Hiking Companion Girl

“I used to hike a lot through the woods, and I’d always take this girl with me,” said Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper) in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, 1936, opposite Jean Arthur’s sneaky, conniving two-faced Mary.  Enjoy the rest of Mr. Deeds’ romantic speech in this one-minute clip.


Alternate Link to this YouTube video.

“Pet trees,” he said.

Right then, in that touching moment, he made an imaginary girl become real, but neither of them knew it.

I’ve done it, and knew it.  We had a good time.  Then she went away and I got another imaginary girl.

Longfellow sounds like a Balsamean-kinda’ guy.

This post is for the laughter it gets in an office 26 miles from here.  If anyone else enjoyed it, get the movie.  It’s fun.

Snow Falling from Trees Awakens

560 words, 18-sec. video, 2 photos

After half a foot of sticky, soggy snowfall overnight, today the temperature at Balsamea rose well above freezing.  Along our trails, rapidly thawing snow showered from the trees everywhere in these dense woods, especially from the pines and firs, those bearers of great snow-loads.

Click pix for full size images

It fell in droplets, spoonfuls, cupfuls, bucketfuls and barrowfuls. The still, windless air said nothing while each of these sizes played their particular sounds, all around me patting, drumming, shushing and thumping their way through tree limbs, branches, twigs and evergreen boughs, then concluding each phrase with a strike on the snow on the ground.  They formed an unusual percussive symphony unique to this particular circumstance, in a special variation playing upon atypical conditions in the fresh snow cover.

When or where can you hear nature using trees and snow as instruments to drench the still air in sound this way, with a variety of visual effects, too?  When do you get to sit in the middle of the orchestra as it plays?  It filled the air within a great dome surrounding me, simultaneously at every volume possible to my ears.  Some notes played a few feet from me, ranging out to ones played barely within hearing.  Some struck funny notes on my ball cap and shoulders.
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To Build a Fire

When in doubt, have a campfire.  It has straightened my bent condition many times.

Balsamea Campfire 200512

Yours truly tending a winter campfire at Balsamea in 2005

My favorite passage from the 1908 short story, To Build a Fire by Jack London (1876-1916):

“Working carefully from a small beginning, he soon had a roaring fire, over which he thawed the ice from his face and in the protection of which he ate his biscuits. For the moment the cold of space was outwitted. The dog took satisfaction in the fire, stretching out close enough for warmth and far enough away to escape being singed. When the man was finished, he filled his pipe and took his comfortable time over a smoke. Then he pulled on his mittens, settled the ear flaps of his cap firmly about his ears, and took the creek trail up the left fork.”     Continue reading

Way – Scribblement 20121222

Saturday, December 22, 2012.  The second day of winter.  I meant to write something yesterday, to celebrate winter solstice, but I exhausted myself out in the woods being The Balsamean, celebrating for real, not just on paper.  Er … I mean, in pixels.  (That’s trite, isn’t it?)

If ever I lose the ability to walk in the woods as much as I do, maybe I would use the time to write a book (about what, I have no idea).  Unfortunately, most of my best inspiration arises while walking in the woods, the flow of creativity juices increasing proportionate to the time spent walking.  No walking, no writing.

Here on the second day of Winter 2012-13, finally we have some genuine winter weather.  On our morning walk, we had a beautiful 25 degrees and steadily falling snow, adding to the half-melted and re-frozen crunch-bed of snow underfoot.

Viewed from the window in front of me as I scribble, the snow is not falling so much as driven horizontally by strong winds roaring in from the west.  Deep in the woods, where the wind lives mainly in the treetops, the snow floated peacefully down to me during our morning walk.  (By the way, proper making of scribblements at Balsamea is with a window in front of you, if not outdoors.)

This morning, in addition to meandering through some passes and paths, Buddy took me on our usual walk around Balsamea’s perimeter trails.  He tends to want to go clockwise, beginning on Balsamea Way, to the west terminus of Stumpy Way, then Stumpy to the northeast half of Kiefer Loop, then across the east side of Beech Loop, around the southeast corner of Birdsong Loop, and back to the house via Whitetail Way.  Today we also ambled through part of Aranyaka Maze.  We walked about half of the entire trail network.

I cleaned yesterday’s crusty, icy accumulation off all the fireplace and woodpile covers.  This is a routine activity on every walk after snow.  We have large rock fireplaces (that’s large fireplaces made with large rocks) at five locations: Camp Balsamea, Turkeyfoot, Tettegouche, Silviden and Kieferhaven.  This year I made permanent covers for the fireplaces, to keep snow and ice out of them (I use all of them year-round).

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