Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Little People......

In Ireland we believe in another world......well, several....that co-exist with that which we see before us.

Saint Patrick's Day brings out the friggin' lephrechauns.....prove positive that racism thrives in America.

But we also have the sidhe, pronounced "shee", the most famous of which are the ban sidhe...the female spirits. Banshees.

Then there are the Tuatha de Danaan.......And the underground pre-historic giants who link up with the Greek gods......

Before you laugh at any of this......come by my place on a full moon in summer.....preferably during the Perseid meteor shower.

My first date with Amanda was during the Perseid meteor shower thirteen or fourteen years ago. Ignore the fact that her birthday is right around there.....and I try not to think about meteors hitting Earth and Kryptonite and all that.

We walked up the mountain in the moonlight.....blissfully ignorant of our resident mountain lions....until we got up on top at Bob McDonald's old ranch. The view south was of ridge upon ridge climing up to Elephant Mountain, to Uncle Sam Mountain, and all the creeks, washes and valleys that fall into the Carmel River watershed.

My favorite episode of Twilight Zone (Rod Serling was an Ithaca guy) was the one with the stopwatch. A guy finds a stopwatch, and when he clicks it.....all time stops except for him. He can walk around, swipe stuff, peek in underwear, etc.....and when he clicks again, life starts again.

On the mountain that night, I felt like I had that Rod Serling stopwatch. When we reached the high meadow at Bob's ranch....the hills to the south were actually gilded in silver from the giant full moon. It was almost blinding......it more reminded me of altar boy days, when there was stuff you weren't supposed to look at to protect your mortal soul....and you did anyway.

Regardless of the searchlight moon.....the Perseids were firing all around us. It was like being attacked by Stellar Mosquitos.

Boys are way better than girls at making all those whizz bang sounds. Pow! Whoosh! It is our only skill when push comes to shove.

This was: Whoosh! Pow! Zzzzzzsssss......Slam!

I was already in love.....and now the wound was cauterized. I was fucking DONE.

And, then.......despite the Searchlight Moon, and all the WhizzBang shit firing all above us.....we sat on the dry crinkle grass up on top of Bob's hill and looked south into the mountains and valleys of the Carmel watershed....

And realized that the light was not coming from above......it was radiating up, out of the valleys and canyons and filling the sky. It was cities of busy folk all lost in the crooks and crannies of the wilderness of Big Sur.

I turned around to double check against the Salinas light (Cornell engineer, mind you). Salinas paled by the light of our busy little fairy valleys.

So.....don't talk to me about alternate universes.

Tonight, after a long day on the road, I got an email from Nike's social worker thanking me for whatever it is we do for her.

A public servant, at the public trough....much vilified by the Republicans......emailing me at 8pm on a Thursday night. I am a Union guy, and 8pm is long after work rules if you start at 8. I emailed her back that we did not need thanks, we were just smart enough to know when the the rainbow started at our house, and the little people actually left a pot of gold.

I walked outside to check on our Ould Dog.....and immediately the Other World was right on me. It was a nearly full moon, clear skies......and it was raining all about me. The leaves rustled, the ground stirred, the trees shook, and......

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

But, there were no clouds......and no obvious source of the rain.......

It made no sense.......

Then, I came inside, and saw on my computer that despite a 57-40 dominance of the US Senate, the loan bridge to the US auto industry had failed.

GM will now go down the tubes......

Not to be too sentimental.....but GM follows another hundred, thousand, ten thousand.....businesses that the Republicans have forced out of business by outsourcing, and selective "free" market practices..

At first blush......200, 000 GM jobs gone. All union.

The residual.........Two million.

That is the direct effect.

I am no fan of the US carmakers. I have been a foreign car guy since 1967........a year after I got my license. GM, Ford, etc continued to make giant, stupid, inefficient beasts until.......well, last week.

When we go to Spain every year, we rent an Alfa Romeo 147. Diesel. Gets 60mpg. Costs around $24k. Five door, five speed, goes like a bat out of hell, and has nineteen airbags......as if any airbag designed by man could save me in a collison on a Spanish highway. But in Spain they don't have torts, either . You fuck up, your problem. In Spain, they don't have body bags.....they have body boxes, which neatly double as coffins. Hey.....don't fucking crash, OK?

GM meanwhile spent the last 40 years and millions and millions of dollars lobbying against the exact kind of vehicles that the public and the planet wanted. There was an actual cry of victory last year when the Viagra dependent Democrats supposedly in charge now crowed about getting a new CAFE standard of 35 mpg in like 2025.

35 mpg? That is a giant, armoured limo in Europe......With large dudes hanging over the top with big machine guns. Caterpillar D9's get 35 mpg in Europe.

GM put their chips on the red when the ball landed on black.

So fuck GM. Well, actually....fuck GM management.

GM workers.....full on Union guys....are now paid less than Toyota and Nissan folks in the deep South where the Republican Senators live who just torpedoed America's last, best hope.

GM marketing and sales guys? Obviously the best in the world....since they have been selling us shite we didn't need for decades.

So, GM is going South.

The Market Speaks.

Bankruptcy will be good for them....... It will force them to reorganize.

Yeah, when was the last time you shopped at K-Mart....who went through Chapter 11?

Never.

America is about winners. We don't patronize bankrupt fucks. We all go to Target, at best. K-Mart? Puh-leeze.

Like GM......

This is what the Republican Senators don't get........

Their own states have been giving away tax benefits to encourage car companies to build plants in their states.....and costs go to typically $200,000 per job. The locals defend this practice because the jobs will be permanent, and two hundred grand amortizes out over generations......

Fifteen billion dollars is less than one month in Iraq.

Fifteen billion dollars works out to around 75 grand for a permanent direct job, at GM only. It works out at around two grand a job for all the ancillary businesses that will go broke around GM.

Bumfuck, Egypt would pay that in tax incentives for a new whorehouse, much less a hundred year old manufacturing enterprise.

Who, by the way, actually saved the Free World on a number of different occasions through their energy, efficiency, loyalty, dedication......workers, management, the whole magilla.

The last disaster of this magnitude that I know about....indirectly by eight years....was the bombing of Pearl Harbor. My grandpa was the marine surveyor of Honolulu Harbor......and he was pissed.

Correct me if I am wrong......didn't we drop an atom bomb on those fuckers?

Look out, Alabama. Look out, Tennesse.

Grandpa is even more pissed off now. He was a Chevrolet/Auburn dealer in Portland in 1930. And he will definitely nuke your ass, you dumbass Republican Senators from Southern states with Toyota and VW plants trying to fuck with GM.

But it goes beyond that.......GM, and cars, and gas stations, and repair guys, and body shops, and parts houses, and delivery folks, and sales folk, and financing folk.....are a central part of our culture.

My oldest and best client is a GM guy.....Donny Brascoe. He has a dealership in town that dates back to the origins of the auto industry. He is the grandson of the founder back in Kansas.....and his son and my son tread the same trails and fight the same psychic battles.

Donny B is further to right than Attila the Hun.....and I am further left than Ozzie Osborne's cavemen ancestors would tried to figure out the junction of rock and stick.......and we deliberately don't talk politics so that we can still be friends.

Still.....twenty five years ago, when I mis-stepped and wound up laying on the ground in the rain with police pistols at my head......and lots of terrible headlines....

Donny B made a special trip to our kitchen after we made bail. He walked in, all 5'11" of Stanford trained business dude in perfect Brooks Brothers attire.....and made a mesh of the fingers of both hands and peered through it.

"Jeez, guys......I didn't recognize you without bars in front!"

And booked a party......when no one else in Christendom would even meet our eyes on the street.

So......tonight when I hear that a handful of Republican Senators from the South....who hate Unions.....have decided that The Market rules, and GM must die.....

Not just GM....but all that GM means and GM stands for......

I think back to Amanda and I on the mountain back on that magic day.....and the light from the fairies shining up from the valleys of the Big Sur wilderness.......

Which is more real........Fairy light?.....or whatever these douche bags are pushing?

Fuck these guys.

Give me the fairies every time.

I don't know what I can do. I think I am gonna go downtown and try to buy a car.

2 Comments:

Blogger azazl said...

I have a certain misplaced affection for American cars. Thats all we had when I was a kid-Ford, Mercury, Dodge and even an International Travelall. The best, most reliable car on the property belongs to my father and is one of the most maligned cars in modern american history- a 1974 Ford Pinto hatchback. Honestly- the damn thing runs perfectly. I frequently drive it as my Ford monstrosity money-pit is always in the shop. And I have to say the best thing about the Pinto is the smiles it puts on people's faces. People honk and give me the thumbs up and recently, during the last election , somebody called me a maverick...and it wasnt a derogitory comparison to the republican ticket :)
Well, next time you go gazing for evidence of Faerie...check this side of the valley out. We have Maeve the Faerie queen and her brown bull too and they can frequently be seen frolicking about an old Triumph Spitfire that graces our garden ;)

3:55 PM  
Blogger Eva Noel said...

Dad and I just read this, he asks that you do not forget the sisters of mercy in Australia...and their famous koala tea...which is not strained...

3:50 PM  

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