The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

RIP George Carlin

I like John McCain's idea of a national science contest for energy efficient cars, and high-capacity batteries. Not sure that that's the exact right pressure point, but it's a good move. Can't help but think that if we'd gotten seriously started on Solar when Jimmy Carter was in office, we'd be in a far better place now. But one thing about rising gas prices: eventually, the price will get high enough to make alternative fuels cheap in comparison. Then, the petroleum companies will be in trouble.

But we'll never run out of oil. The last barrels simply will be too expensive to bother pumping from the ground.

I personally think it will be electricity and liquid hydrogen, generated from a dozen different sources (geothermal, petrochemical, nuclear, coal, tidal, thermal differential, solar, etc.) and converted to hydrogen or kilowatts. Swarm the problem, with individuals putting up solar panels and selling back to the grid. Love to think that the energy monopoly could be broken.


Hear about the rising obesity stats in Japan and China? Lifestyle shifts are a bitch. Environment combined with the genetic propensity to store calories against a rainy day equals an expanding waistline. They'll deal with it. They'd better, or they'll miss their chance to be at the top of the heap.

One reason I'm looking more deeply into the Tibetans is that they seem to be a GREAT way for the sedentary to bump up their metabolism in the morning. We all know that the same amount of exercise will accomplish more, weight-wise, done early in the day, right? But the same people who watch 20 hours of TV a week supposedly don't have fifteen minutes a day to exercise. What a bad, bad joke. On ourselves, and our children.

If you are VERY lucky, your children will model your good habits. You have virtually no chance of getting your kids to do as you say if that is very different from what you do. I think that most people's deepest disappointment in child-rearing is that they can't hide their flaws from their kids, and that too often the little angels begin to manifest our flaws in uncomfortable ways. This is a LOT like what happens in relationships, when we don't like the quality of the men or women who are attracted to us...without being able to admit that they mirror our own flaws.

Anyone who doesn't have ten minutes a day to connect with their bodies is body-phobic, and needs to address the issue directly, not lie to themselves with an avalanche of excuses. Your children are watching, people. Childhood obesity turns into adult obesity. People are dying. It's not your fault, but it is your responsibility.


Every time you exercise, you should be working on something just a little different: hand positions, warming up different muscle groups, differential tension...once you enter the internal world, there is literally no end. Anyone who says exercise is boring has never found a way to connect with what's really going on in there. We're never the same on any two days, and the purpose of a Good Morning stretch, meditation, or exercise is to re-discover ourselves.


Hey Frank! McCain's got a chance! I recently read a script review of "Tonight, He Comes", which is the original title for Will Smith's "Hancock." And while there seems to be some kind of off-screen "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" reference to a superhero's inability to connect sexually with women, there is only a platonic romance going on. I can see why Big Willie was attracted to the project. If Smith can't get laid, Obama can't get elected...

I hear they did lotsa re-shoots on the project, and there are buzzes that it may not be good. You know my thought: it's like Peter Parker said in the first Spider-man: "This story, like any good story, is about a girl." The energy of love and sexuality is at the core of 99% of the great stories of all time. Removing that element leaves the artists floundering trying to fill the hole.

So...I guess it's over. The dream of the first black President is over. Sob.


I've got 48 hours to get the copyedited manuscript to "In the Night of the Heat" back to the publishers. T and I are already working on the outline of the third one, "From Soweto With Love" which deals with the kidnapping of a celebrity adoptee. And the fourth, "Absence of Alice" will deal with the possible murder of Tennyson's first love. The fun thing on both of them is that I'll start integrating some of the info on the Intelligence community I've been fortunate enough to gather over the years, due to them "associations." I'd love to create a Bourne-type franchise.


Did I say that I know the guy who choreographed the last "Bourne" movie? Jeff Imada was a quiet, laid-back almost surfer-dude type guy at the Kali academy back in the 80's. He was a good friend of Danny Inosanto (probably the most knowledgeable martial artist I've ever met. Or heard of. With an astounding memory. I hadn't seen him in 20 years, and heard he was teaching a workshop in Portland. I walked into the room, and he was teaching some complex stick applications. He turned around, and the instant his eyes focused on me, he said: "Hi, Steve!" Guy's had thousands of students. What kind of mind is that?)

Anyway, I never really saw Jeff "go for it" until one day we were doing an exercise where two fighters stood on opposite ends of a narrow strip. Danny threw two knives into the center, and each fighter scrambled to get one, and the fight was on. Well, on this day, Danny threw two knives--and Jeff's opponent got BOTH of them. Well, for an instant, Jeff turned it on. He was literally a blur of arms and legs, flat on his back, attacking his opponent's base. It looked like dropping a cucumber into a blender. Amazing. Then, he went right back to Surfer-Dude mode. He's a very nice guy with a sophisticated nervous system. About half the time you see a close-up of someone opening a butterfly knife, that's Jeff making the mortgage.


I remember when Bush entered office, I looked at all the oil connections, and thought that this was going to have an effect on gas prices. I wondered what that effect would be. Well, I guess now we know. If you looked at the people one step removed from Bush and Cheney, between the rise in oil prices and the war in Iraq, I wonder how much money has been transferred to their hands? Between actual oil and the oil infrastructure, sales and speculation, and all of the privatized support in Iraq as well as weapons sales...just how much money are we talking about? I would LOVE to see an estimation, and my guess is that the total would be utterly nauseating. Correlation doesn't establish causality, of course...


Meditation this morning definitely suggested internal confusion. Let me try to explain. Look at the Chakras, as a vertical string of vortices. I can look at them for clarity, and see schumutz. Then I can float up above my head and look down the channel. From this position it look like a series of concentric rings, like an archery target. Or like the rings on a tree trunk. I can look at it as all the ages of Steve I've ever been, and every one of them is still there.

That's what George Carlin (RIP--a good man.) said in one of his last interviews--that every George he's ever been: 66, 50, 40 and 3 (especially 3, he said) is still inside him. When you can line up all of your "selves" so that they are congruent, there is a gigantic amount of energy released. Your goals should, to paraphrase Uncle Harlan, be adult expressions of your childhood dreams. When your goals, values, and emotional charges all pull in the same direction, it's gold, sheer gold. And most people will wonder where in the HELL you get your energy from.


Then I rotate the chakra string so that it is laid out like a pipe, similar to Tad James' Time Line. This represents temporal reality. My major goals are represented with images or sensory packages. Can I clearly see what I hope to attain? Or hear the congratulations? Or feel the positive sensations that will come from accomplishing it? Can I feel my own emotions, and see if they support the thousands of daily choices that lead you toward or away from my bliss? And when I look at the intertwined life path and see if I believe that the attainment of these goals will be good for me, my family, the world.

These are all "complex equivilences", ways of getting my subconscious to reflect a gigantic amount of data and speculation in a form I can access visually or kinesthetically. What it tells me right now is that I am in major transition. And there are small, quiet voices that assure me all is well, that I'm going in the right direction, and that my faith in myself, my companions, and God is justified. I can live with that.


My question for the day is: What was your favorite line by George Carlin?


Anonymous said...

It would be hard to pick one favorite line from so many good ones but the first that comes to mind is this:

-- "We will never be an advanced civilization as long as rain showers can delay the launching of a space rocket." --

Oh... and here's another really good one that I first saw just a few weeks ago:

-- I love and treasure individuals as I meet them; I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to." --

Steve Perry said...

"There are seven words you can never say on television ... "

And as for McCain's stimulus to create a better battery? That's a throwaway -- everybody and his kid brother is cranking on that at all speed right now. Three hundred million dollar prize will just be a drop in the bucket for the group that pulls it off, because the structure for delivering electric power for cars is already in place, no need to build a network of filling stations.

You see the Tesla? Hundred grand electric car? Goes like a house afire, looks cool, and runs on six thousand linked computer batteries, six hundred mile range before recharge ...

Brian Dunbar said...

: What was your favorite line by George Carlin?

In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.

In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! - I hope I'll be safe at home!

Josh Jasper said...

The amazing thing about Carlin is how much he was misquoted. Check for a list of the words people were trying to put into his mouth.

In terms of gas, a decrease in global demand would relax the prices somewhat, but we need to get it in soon, and jsut having energy efficient cars on the marketplace isn't going to do it. People still choose Hummers over hybrids because Hummers are "cool". We need an attitude shift in the American people. That will require some personal responsibility for the collective environment and global economy that we've not been demonstrating as a country.

The rest of the world perceives Americans as greedy and wasteful. They're not too far off.

Brian Dunbar said...

And as for McCain's stimulus to create a better battery? That's a throwaway -- everybody and his kid brother is cranking on that at all speed right now.

Prizes and competitions never hurt.

What would be _nice_ is for the throwaway to be a teaser to see if the idea of Prizes catches the public's eye.

We could use a series of prizes for all kinds of things - first private company to orbit a pilot and passengers, establish a base on the moon, etc.

Oh, yes, and mundane stuff on the ground, as well. Like batteries and a solar power sats.

Anonymous said...

A paraphrase. "Cocaine made a new man out of me. The trouble was the first thing the new man wanted was another snort of cocaine"

Brian Dunbar said...

People still choose Hummers over hybrids because Hummers are "cool". We need an attitude shift in the American people.

I don't drive a Hummer - that kind of excess isn't my style. I'd much rather spend the money on paying off my mortgage. And, since I've clearly got some cash, buying a really nifty state of the art desktop from Apple.

In my dreams. But I really like a bigger car; I'm on the tall side and while I 'fit' inside my Escort I'm very much wearing the car. This isn't fun if you're driving for more than an hour.

Were gas more affordable and/or I had more disposable income, I'd buy an 'SUV' or at least a car with headroom. Not for the coolth but the comfort.

Daniel Keys Moran said...

I put a couple of clips up over on my blog about Carlin.

Many years ago I was listening to a local radio host, Frank Sontag. Good guy, bright, runs a good call-in show where people talk about Issues, both global and personal. I fell asleep listening to him one night -- and woke up to a call from this woman who was just sobbing on the radio about how we were killing the planet. The despair in her voice ... I was groggy, half-asleep -- hit me hard. She sounded like a woman who'd reached her absolute limits. Under normal circumstances, barriers up, I'd have listened, wished her well, and turned the radio off. No need to carry stuff like that around with you.

But I was sleepy and disoriented and this shit went straight to my hindbrain. For years afterward I'd flash on this poor, scared woman, sobbing over the planet's death ...

And then I heard Carlin talk on the subject. I've felt better ever since. "The planet will be fine."

Anonymous said...

"Prizes and competitions never hurt."
Remember, it was the Ansari X prize that got Spaceship One up there and Charles Lindbergh, pursuing the Raymond Orteig Prize made history in his Spirit of St. Louis.

Anonymous said...

Japan is making fatness illegal...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the U-Tube post with Carlin discussing the planet. It's a good reminder that humans are barely a comma in the long winded dissertation that is the history of the Earth.


Frank said...

Can't help but think that if we'd gotten seriously started on Solar when Jimmy Carter was in office, we'd be in a far better place now.

Actually we did. Research into Solar Energy electricity generation brought the efficiency down from 100 USD/watt in 1971 to 7 USD/watt in 1985.

As a result of the Bush Administration's Solar America Initiative (SAI):

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alexander Karsner has announced that with DOE funding, a concentrator solar cell produced by Boeing-Spectrolab has recently achieved a world-record conversion efficiency of 40.7 percent, establishing a new milestone in sunlight-to-electricity performance. This breakthrough may lead to systems with an installation cost of only $3 per watt, producing electricity at a cost of 8-10 cents per kilowatt-hour, making solar electricity a more cost-competitive and integral part of our nation's energy mix.

We're making progress, but this kind of technology takes time to develop. And it's mostly a manufacturing issue rather than an engineering one.

However, I should note that if we had started more drilling back in Carter's term (or even during Clinton's) we wouldn't be paying such a high price at the pump today and we'd still be making progress in renewables.

Love to think that the energy monopoly could be broken

Every "Oil" company has now diversified to renewables. They have as much interest in seeing it succeed as anyone.

If Smith can't get laid, Obama can't get elected.

Hey wait. You said if Smith can get laid a "Black" man can get elected.

Obama won't lose because he is Black, he'll lose because he's not ready for prime time: Because he's too Liberal.

But I wonder: if Colin Powell or Mike Steele ran for President, would he get the same support from Blacks as Obama is getting?

Or would they get the "treatment"?

I remember when Bush entered office, I looked at all the oil connections, and thought that this was going to have an effect on gas prices. I wondered what that effect would be. Well, I guess now we know.

You do understand that there is a single market for oil wherein the commodity is auctioned, right? And you also realize that one way, one immediate way to depress oil prices is to get Iraq to go full tilt boggy in producing oil.

In fact, leaving Iraq precipitously would likely result in what oil they are producing (currently about 2.5 million barrels per day) to go off the market tightening supply.

In your scenario, leaving Iraq would benefit the oil companies not hurt them. So why wouldn't Bush have left Iraq last year when we could have depended on chaos for years to come?

But getting Iraq to the point where they are producing to capacity would decrase oil prices.

My question for the day is: What was your favorite line by George Carlin?

I myself am more of a Bill Cosby fan than I was a George Carlin fan. But some of his stuff was funny.

Like this:

I'm tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren't enough bicycle paths, people trying to make the world safe for their Volvos. There is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The people are (bleep) -- difference, difference. The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. It's been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We've only been engaged in heavy industry for a little more than 200 years.

Two hundred years versus four and a half billion, and we have the conceit to think that somehow we're a threat, that somehow we're going to put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that's just a-floatin' around the sun? The planet has been through a lot worse than us, been through all kinds of things worse than us, been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sunspots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles, hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages, and we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn't going anywhere. We are! We're going away.

Anonymous said...

Cheney being VP may or may not have had anything to do with it.....but let's just say that Halliburton has made out like bandits these past 8 years.

Josh Jasper said...

It's not just the Halliburton profiteering that gets me. It's the sheer incompetence of awarding a multi-hundred-million dollar contract to a crooked 22 year old thug wannabe from Miami who uses that money to illegaly purchase decaying antique Chinese ammunition in order to supply it to our alleged allies in Afghanistan.

To top it off, the US Ambassador to Albania (the one European nation where Bush is liked) and the Albanian government colluded to hide the sale. Involvement of the State Department is suspected. Condi Rice has been requested to appear before Congress to testify.

This isn't an isolate dincident, it's *typical* of the Bush administration.

If McCain wants to win, he's going to have to burn Bush in effigy to get rid of the taint of how closely they've been working together, and the general mismanagement of the Bush administration.

If the Obama campaign starts really using these crimes as a way to show people that you just can't trust anyone who's been working with Bush on the same team, they'll have a field day. I'm amazed they've stayed quiet so long. At this point it's not avoiding a negative campaign, it's not focusing on some of the real serious damage to America's honor and credibility.

Steve Perry said...

I'm sort of the mind that somebody who looks up and thinks "Wow! there's a prize for making a neat new battery!" is behind the creative curve.

Certainly there are still solitary inventors with crooked viewpoints trying to make fusion in a mayonnaise jar out in the garage and they can't be entirely discounted. (I know a guy who says he can completely replace home air conditioning units for what they cost now, and they'll never need any help from the power company, they'd be entirely self-contained, and it's old technology. Would have been done long ago, he says, if Big Oil hadn't been buying up or stepping on anybody who tried it ...)

But the race to find the Energizer Bunny who can push your SUV as a fast and as far as a tank of gasoline can, and be discharged and then recharged for the life of the vehicle, has been on for a while. People like GM and Ford and Chevy have allowed that if somebody does that, they'll switch production from internal combustion to electric faster than a sailor can shuck his suit on shore leave after six months at sea. He said alliteratively.

If such a prize is offered, somebody will eventually claim it, but I had to bet, it won't be some Menlo Park eccentric who pulls it off down in the basement workshop. This is a societal-changing technology and I'd bet that whoever does it is already working on.

McCain's offer is part and parcel political. This is the same guy who thinks that offshore drilling is the way to go, or a temporary drop of the federal gas tax, remember. He's looking for every vote he can find. He'll say anything to get the job.

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