Rattling the Monkey Cage

It was quiet… a little too quiet on the night of April 11th, in this most wretched year of our Lord . I sat with friends in our usual booth in a nearly empty restaurant. Someone a little familiar caught my eye, as he made his way toward the side of the bar. I used to work retail. It was awful. I’ll tell you more about it some other time. I remembered the guy from when he came into my old job with his mother. I was there long enough that I could still remember him as a kid. I remembered the boy as a polite, considerate young man. I didn’t know him very well.

Then… he spoke. Not to me, but to those around him. More people started to flood the restaurant. They’d gotten out from a recent Trump rally on the other side of the river. They were excited. Rhetoric is the same no matter when or where you hear it. It’s a simple equation: Insert belief + Nonsensical Conclusion + A lot more belief = Fuck it we’re bad at math anyway. They could say it with smiles and jeers and as if it made sense. They gave a toast led by the young man I’d known from my retail days. He lifted his glass and said “We’re gonna build a wall!” I laughed, but they were being serious. They were dead set. That bothered me more than the rhetoric. They believed that an issue as complex as immigration could be handled by building a wall.

We left early, because… why not? There were more taglines thrown around, but I couldn’t stomach much more. That one tagline about building a wall always got to me and I still can’t wrap my mind around it. Then, I realized I was thinking too much. It was a simple solution that would have catastrophic consequences, but my problem was… I was thinking too much. These people aren’t thinking of any more than what seems right (in their minds). They see the issue: people enter our country illegally. They see the solution: build a wall. Simple, logic in its most archaic form. The complexity of immigration isn’t something they were built to handle. They don’t care that the people you want to keep out of this country build massive underground highways. They don’t care. Then again, I’m thinking too much. I’m thinking they don’t want the bad immigrants, like the drug lords that are helping to keep Mexico in chaos. That’s too much thought. They just don’t want brown people in this country. They don’t want to think of who’s good or bad. They just want the good thing done (building a wall) so the bad people (all immigrants) can’t ‘ruin’ our great country.

Another idea I heard was that they’re gonna have all the illegal aliens shipped out of the country. If building a wall doesn’t bankrupt us this idea definitely has the potential. Then, it doesn’t matter the cost; it matters what’s right.

I could ignore their madness up to this point, when I watched bits and pieces of the Republican National Convention and was amazed at what I heard and saw from the ‘Grand Old Party’. It’s something I realized that struck me in the point where my heart should be, somewhere there, poking at my gut. Mr. Trump is an obnoxious little cunt that sits in the pit of my chest, just below the cavity where my heart should be… and just above my gut. He’s a worm, but that doesn’t matter. He’s embedded into the future of America. He’s rooted like a tapeworm in our digestive tract. It isn’t going to matter if he wins. I doubt he will… sincerely, I doubt, but it no longer matters. He’s exposed something that America hasn’t accepted about its true nature. It’s a legacy of racism and simple-minded ideals. America is a country of idealists that take all shapes and sizes. We believe in fair market, while corporations bleed the world dry. We believe in saving the planet, while we destroy it.

We’re at capacity for foolish, sincere, idealists of all breeds. The ones that follow Trump are a particular strain of antiquated racists whose gram-pappies founded this country. They seemed relatively docile, dormant and, dare I say, serene around the turn of the twentieth century. They had no more armies, although they still clung to their rotten ideals. The ones that follow Trump aren’t going away if he doesn’t get elected, because they’ve been here since time unremembered. They’re here to stay. They’ve always been here and now they have a voice. It’s an old troll with tiny sausage fingers and a horrible (HORRIBLE) Toupee… and yes, there will be… ‘hell toupee’…

What I’ve learned from eight years of Obama is that the diluted gene pool of the inbreeding white supremacist has suddenly taken on myriad forms. It’s become more of a Ocean of Life. Where once it used to be entrenched in its bunkers out west waiting for the day the government sends the black helicopters to take their land, now it’s in our backyards. Obama struck a nerve for these people. They would’ve hated him no matter what he did. They hated him for what he stood for (in their minds). He was a symbol of racial decline. They were losing power. To them, he became a symbol of the final nail in the coffin for the dominance of the white male in this country. They cling to their guns. They cling to their traditions. They don’t accept change. Change means the collapse of something their ‘gram-pappies’ built. Obama exposed it simply by being who he is; there is a cult that went unnamed in America made up of white, Conservative Christians. It wasn’t spoken of before, because it wasn’t real. It was just a bunch of people with the same ideals who weren’t a unified group.

Even if Donald Trump doesn’t become the president, he still serves a role that is more fitting. He’s a figurehead. He’s a relic. He’s like the ‘spear of destiny’. When the Crusaders found the spear, they charged toward Jerusalem and killed everything in sight. Zealots only need a rallying cry. They don’t need scientists telling them the planet’s on fire. They don’t need economists explaining how currency works. They don’t need the logistics of building a wall, deporting millions of people and plunging our country into greater debt. Thought is the enemy. They live off of belief. It pollutes them, like toxic waste, telling them that all is well. You see them close their eyes and worship within, seeing the void and something deeper. They have something that calls them to a place of eternal peace. They hear a soothing voice channeling them to the center. It calls them unto a world without violence or strife or ‘coloreds’. The voice belongs to Donald Trump. He’s in their minds now, but he’s always been there. It just never had a name.



Indian Bones

I’m not good with words. I just like this photo. I stole it from another blog, but I can’t remember which one… otherwise, I would’ve included them.

When I look at this photo, I think of the two extremes of overabundance and debilitating poverty. It makes us wonder if the existence of one is dependent on the other, as if one creates the other. One must create imbalance. It makes me question everything that has established our society, in so much as it can create heaven and hell within a few feet of each other. It makes me question faith, belief and everything I hold sacred. Really, I just like this photo. It doesn’t need words to make it great. It just is. So are we… for at least a while, until the imbalance is restored and everything crumbles back into the dirt. Silly, to imagine this system falling apart. Maybe imbalance is as permanent as time. This photo gives us a lot to consider. Maybe, upon further consideration… it’s time to tip the scales.

Epidemic Infrastructure

Not about my town, but more about every town in this country. There’s a widespread epidemic of abandoned buildings that have no use and in this new age is the opportunity to change the purpose behind them. It’s time to get creative.

The epidemic in this country is the infrastructure and it’s about time we found a cure.


Ghost Boxes: Reusing Abandoned Big-Box Superstores Across America

No Fracking In The Wasteland

Empire Generating Co.

Empire Generating Co.


Controversial 178-mile-long parallel pipelines proposed for NY’s Hudson Valley/Northern NJ

Background Details

Ever since I was young, I knew that Somalia was a shit-hole. I’ve never been there and its existence has no bearing on my life, but I knew it. It was something that stuck in my mind, although I couldn’t explain my reasoning. I just knew, without any idea of the history or culture of this far away place. I was young and it was easier to plant ideas in my head, even stupid ideas, which I would politely accept. I had a lot of questions, because at that same time I was only curious about the place because the United States had to intervene in the area. When that intervention turned ugly we left. That’s about the breadth of my knowledge.

Aid still filters into most countries that we helped destroy. Money is one of the great Band-Aids of our history. I never knew that either as a boy.

Why am I discussing a third-world country in reference to a small town that nobody knows within the United States? Because it’s a prime example of what happens once those in power have what they want. This isn’t a Somali problem. This is happening in our backyards… MY backyard… LITERALLY. They come, like conquistadors, as in the Spanish to the Aztecs, who claimed to be ‘blessing’ the heathen indigenous cultures with Christianity, before they perpetrated the most extensive genocide in history. They’ll claim to be ‘providing opportunities’, but their “opportunities” are akin to those that a shark brings to the Pilot Fish. They’ll enter your town, like a virus infecting a healthy cell. They’ll devour everything vital and leave your town as a hollowed-out husk. Somalia is a reminder that some corporations will do anything to maintain profit-margins, justifying their means, but for surrounding areas it means stealing and corrupting everything that makes you vital.

In North Dakota, (where the link at the top opens) the expeditions for Bakken oil have led to the expulsion of 275,000 tons of methane per year.. http://www.noaa.gov/north-dakota%E2%80%99s-bakken-oil-and-gas-field-leaking-275000-tons-methane-year  For those who don’t know, methane is bad. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060829-methane-warming_2.html

In Hoosick Falls, New York just a few months ago Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International perpetrated the same injustice and the city hasn’t been able to use their water without the fear of infecting themselves with harmful carcinogens. https://www.epa.gov/ny/hoosick-falls-water-contamination  The company, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International, manufactured plastic in the region. The same chemicals to manufacture plastic went into their water. It’s troubling, because we assume we’re safe and don’t suspect that those putting chemical agents into our water are our own corporations and government! I could put another link for Flint, Michigan, where the government and corporations were culpable in poisoning their people, but we should all know by now… and I’ve put too many links already…. and really… there are just so many links that deserve to be shared.

Walking Columbia Turnpike, you see two steam towers behind a red-brick building with busted windows and graffiti painting some of its walls. The building is still functional, but doesn’t look like much. It belongs to B.A.S.F., one of the few companies remaining in our city. Behind it is Empire Generating Co, where they use natural gas to generate energy between Rensselaer, East Greenbush, Albany and Troy. Before today, I didn’t know much about them. They were just there, in the back of the city and in the back of my mind. It’s too quiet in this place. Traffic is mostly tankers and eighteen-wheelers. They carry over another bridge into what remains of our ‘industrial park’, where the remnants of once great monoliths still stand.

When I think of Somalia now, ages from where I was when the United States first intervened, I think of desperation. You can look now to the facts: 13th worldwide in death rate per year, 3rd in maternal mortality rate and infant mortality, male life expectancy at 50.Around the same time that I learned about Somalia, I also learned about the glorious history of the Hudson River. General Electric poisoned that years ago, dumping polychlorinated biphenyl, which was once used in most coolants, for which the dredging has only just begun. Corporations tried to kill us years ago and have been tirelessly trying to kill our species for years. In a new effort to put the final nail in the coffin of our fair city, the ‘Pilgrim Company’, has proposed constructing a 178 mile long pipeline from New Jersey and up through New York state.

Background Details

Then, again… maybe this is too desperate a thing for a simple-minded person like myself to understand. There’s so much information to sort through. I just heard about this pipeline and my mind went wild. I don’t even know HOW I got on the subject of Somalia. I’d hate to judge it from the outside… I’m sure it’s GREAT. Then again, experience is the greatest teacher. But… if that’s the case… when do we learn to stop treating the world like a toilet? Maybe that’s the lesson… the world is your toilet!


Lost Cultures of Columbia Turnpike (Ongoing study)



Central Warehouse, Albany, NY.

The decline of the Industrial Age in America has blessed us with another form of pollution than the one we’re used to discussing. The remains from that golden time, the busted structures, falling ruins of factories, businesses covered in graffiti and shattered windows, has had a devastating effect on this city and all over the country. Manufacturers and businesses of old have crumbled and are presently rotting in our backyards. You can see them rotting all over the country, but here, in a city where industry never boomed, but was all we had, it’s a horrifying reminder of the fallen age of American Industrialism. In this ongoing study, we’ll examine the decline of this industrial age, as it pertains to its effects on this city, as well as the hieroglyphs and forgotten tombs that remain. We’ll examine what we worshipped in that long-since forgotten age and how those beliefs somehow fell out of practice.

Give a close look and see the decline of this decadent age. In this city, it only takes a CTdown the street. We’ve yet to see the birthing pains of the future, which promise to give us another age to adhere, much like the fallen industries of that forgotten time. This city, if we are to make it to that age, must pull away from that dying time. We can’t hold onto the boon of our ancestors. Their temples dedicated to the Industrial age have stood for generations, but all that they meant is long forgotten.

Industry brought on a golden age of ‘American exceptionalism’, which brought about the height of our empire. The World Wars left most of the industrialized world in disarray, leaving us as the heir to the ‘Imperialist Age’, for which we would profit. Within the past sixty years, steadily that empire has fallen apart.

Industrialism in America has disappeared; it’s fading from our lives, as well as our economy. Industrialism in America isn’t dying. It’s dead. We’ve entered the age of decline, a transitional state, before we either collapse into our dying infrastructure or create something better for the future. Still, this infrastructure is all around us. We’re surrounded by the reminders of industrialism. Massive structures that used to house hundreds of workers look out from cul de sacs around the city, but even more abandoned monuments survive around the country. They’re massive, brooding monoliths of a forgotten age, decaying into the ground, rotting between generations. We’ve grown up around these monuments to decadence. They’ve shadowed generations of Americans, who could hear the wind rustling through busted windows, shattered doorways and frames and blame ghosts, specters, forgotten souls lost in oblivion. We dared each other to enter these places, certain we’d find treasure or some accursed relic of the Ancients. Our grandparents or even great-grandparents worked in these places, but to us they’re just massive structures rotting into the backdrop of our cities. They’re all around us and although they don’t hold the same significance, still, they hold great significance.

-Why are they still here? Many relics and reminders still stand of ages passed. We make memorials for wounded soldiers from wars from which we only have stories. There’s plenty of curios of different ages that somehow remain in our time, even though they’re outmoded and serve only as a quaint reminder of a ‘simpler time’. In the case of the ruins left by the Industrial Age, there’s just no feasible means to dispose of them. The industries for which they stood will never return. Even if they did, the age has passed. These buildings have been rotting for decades and will require years of reconstruction. They’ll have to be torn down and made anew, which is an expense in itself that most cities that harbor these fallen monuments can’t afford. The answer is this, nobody can afford to put these statues dedicated to industrialism out of their misery. We can’t afford to bury them in the past. Our age is the age of decline, decay, the rot of Industrialism. We’re left with the shells of foundaries and manufacturers that made this country great. In order to survive into the future, we need to tear them down and rebuild. The falling infrastructure is one of the great modern struggles, for with their furtherance there’s a fear that America will continue to cling to past idols and not attempt to make any for the future. This is the generation, where we’re stuck with the idols, not of our fathers, but our great-great grandfathers. This is the age where every generation since that time has taken cover in the shadow of these monoliths, without any benefit to their being in our way.

It seems the time of transition is our only hope for salvation, as we reach that paradigm where we either cling to the past and die with it or move into the future. Technology is changing, as well as the industries arising from this age of consumerism. The area is becoming something different from what I remember. We’re entering a time where we’re the ones creating the monoliths. I wonder, still, if this city will create some that will stand for all of time, not as a burden to future generations, but something to inspire hope and prosperity. We’ve inherited the responsibility to care for the ruins of our ancestors and what we do with them, this will come to define our future.