What if…

Many of my conservative friends used to tell me that the government kept secret kill lists and secret tracking lists, following us by our cell phone GPS signals and Internet usage so the government could arrest or kill us at any time — I would either keep quiet and think they were being a bit paranoid or try to reason that it was too costly for the government (let alone private companies like Google) to track so many people.

The Snowden leaks proved them right and me wrong.

What if the other things my conservative friends and family tell me are true?

For instance:

  • Are Bill and Hitler Clinton longterm Soviet communist/socialists sleeper cells?
  • Is President Obama secretly following a Black Panther/Islamic agenda?
  • Is Ronald Reagan the greatest U.S. President ever?
  • Are we living in an Animal Farm world where some pigs think they’re more equal than others now that they’re on the podium, getting there by promising a more equal world until they got their hands in the till?
  • Will the banking and financial sectors, which were barely slapped on the wrists for causing the Great Recession, cause another economic meltdown because they feel invincible now that they’re “too big to fail”?
  • Are urbanites planning to steal land from the ruralites, incarcerating and killing those that get in the way of corporate greed to own all the means of food production and oil/mineral reserves?
  • Are corporations like Monsanto trying to own all the seeds that feed the people, in cahoots with a “star chamber” to control the whole population?
  • Was Obama brainwashed by Chinese communism when he lived in Indonesia?
  • Do we live in a dystopian technocratic society where our leaders with no formal military ethics training kill their own people using push-button, remote-control drones without getting blood on their hands?
  • Do cell phones cause longterm cancer?
  • How exactly does fluoridated water work on the brain?
  • Are cell phone towers secretly sending massive brain control signals?
  • Are mosquito control spraying programs the localised version of “chemtrails”?
  • Do the FBI and CIA create false files on people so they are kept in constant fear that they can be arrested at any time for any reason whatsoever and shipped to secret torture sites out of the country and out of the view of the American public, thus making the American people more accepting of socialist programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act?
  • Do large corporations purposely keep employee wages so low that they’re forced to rely on the government for food and thus unwilling to revolt against a suppressive government?
  • Is there a list of more conservative fears I could find to investigate these questions I never took seriously before Edward Snowden opened my eyes to the reality that “just because you don’t believe they’re tracking you doesn’t mean they aren’t”?
  • Does the UN stockpile weapons in your city in anticipation of largescale riot control when food and water become scarce, driving prices out of reach of most people?
  • Are government scientists secretly developing a Soylent Green program to convert huge numbers of incarcerated people, arrested for the flimsiest of reasons, including being upset because the police raided the wrong apartment/house, into food when the time is right?
  • Could a teacher really be so drunk on vodka that she could get by with walking the school hallways wearing no pants?

In this Brave New Post-1984 World, anything is possible, even the repurposed use of Pinkerton-type “detectives” to track and keep people in line. Anyone think the Anti-Pinkerton Act is valid anymore?

Thank goodness I know that Richard Nixon was the greatest U.S. President who ever lived!

On days like this, finding ways to entertain myself is endlessly fun!

[On a side note, while typing this up, I got a call (“Hello. This Rachel from cardholder services…”) that the Caller ID said was from my own phone number.  How funny is that? (And how easy it is to create your own Caller ID info, if you know how.)]

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HHGG on CD

My life right now: feeding a microwaved mix of canned food and sliced “deli-style” turkey to a cat that cycles through days of sneezing blood and mucus interspersed with days of just-plain gargled breathing; I type with my left hand on the keyboard while in the right arm cradling my little velveteen feline buddy as he falls asleep into the cat dream world of his, sawing branches with his snoring.

Thus, I am not alone.

I eat leftover popcorn and watch “The Giant Mechanical Man.”

I ruminate on stories about PE ratios and declining middle class wealth.

I masticate.

I expectorate.

I do not like deciding the fate of others but I go ahead anyway, stirring the pond’s waters and redirecting the pebbled waves I quietly dropped in my monklike meditation.

It — the mysterious two-letter word that commands attention at the beginning of this sentence — is no easier now to order the elimination of labeled beings we train ourselves to see as the Others, “them,” as it was the first time I let peer pressure push me to end the life of a being that could not live in the hustle and bustle of so-called modern society.

I is one letter less than it.

I am this artificial label for a relatively dense set of states of energy we sometimes say is a human being.

A head concussion in high school split my brain apart.

Ever since then, I have reconstructed the universe in small quantities and big ideas.

Something about my corpus callosum bothers me.

Gray matter matters, too.

I have stopped drinking alcoholic liquids/beverages.

I have dedicated at least one book each to my parents, my wife, Monica, Ann P., Maggie and who else?  I have not finished the book I plan to dedicate to Jenn.

I can say what a book is not but can I truly, really say what a book is?

Twenty-one days since I last checked the Mars countdown calendar.

My next book to read: Sagittarius Rising.

Admission of Guilt?

Bill Kling, Huntsville City Council member, as well as the entire state of Alabama, admitted guilt today in the contribution toward global warming and use of herbicides/pesticides to reduce the bee/bird population by reiterating the demand (a/k/a Ordinance No. 86-294 entitled “The Huntsville, Alabama, Grass and Weed Ordinance”) that residents maintain an inedible crop of grasses at a certain height that does not allow the grass to produce flowers and thus seeds all for the sake of “a way to help keep the community looking its best.””

There can be only one!

In olden days, beauty pageant winners demonstrated their singing/dancing talents in addition to answering a question about today’s popular issues in the news.

Not anymore.

This year’s winner of the Miss Kingsport contest had to be the last one standing. Literally.

Kingsport-Times-News-2014-07-06-Miss-Kingsport

We’ll let the rulemakers, the “Members of Amtgard,” describe the new contest requirements:

A blow to the arm or leg and you can no longer use that limb.  A blow to a kill spot and you are out.  The last two contestants have to battle it out until one beheads the other.  The last one standing is the winner.

Congratulations to Sullivan Central graduate Kylie Burkey for the surprise, last-second victory over Jacquelyn Crawford, the presumed winner who, although she won the the Jean Hilton Memorial Swimsuit Award and the Evening Gown Award as well as took tops in the talent contest by performing a graceful classical ballet dance to “Via Dolorosa” by Sandi Patty, lost her head in the final battle.

In 2013, Burkey became the first in Sullivan County history — and the first in at least the recent past statewide — to win gold at nati0nals.

When asked for comment, Crawford choked on her words but humbly admitted defeat.

When asked about her future plans to take other crowns such as Miss Tennessee or Miss America, Burkey said, “Right now, I’m just focusing on King.”

All contests are designed, run and judged by industry using industry standards.

Before losing her head, Crawford replied about her successful rise to the top of the program. “This is my first year being completely in charge of the Church Hill program, and it’s a really big responsibility,” she said, in regards to the Feed The Needy Program that believes no one in the community should go hungry during these times of heavy underemployment in the area.  “We feed nearly 150 to 200 undocumented immigrant kids a day to the homeless and homebound elderly.”

Barbara’s bartering banter

Barbara, tell us your story:


Bartering as a Lifestyle

I’ve learned to live on very little money in order to support my lifestyle as an artist. I haven’t had medical insurance since 1985 and luckily I’m very healthy but whenever I have needs, such as dental work, and once, a doctor, I asked around and found someone I could barter with. I’ve bartered for airline tickets, amazing places to live, places to stay while I’m traveling overseas and this continent, and car repairs. I usually barter my art, but I’ve met people with skills such as massage, hairstyling, jewelry making, and bookkeeping, to name just a few, who have done well with barter. If you are willing to work, create art, or have something to trade, then you’ve got something you can barter with. I’ve found that there are many times people might not want to spend money but will barter.

When I quit my systems analyst job and didn’t want to be stressed out about money, as a single person I learned that caretaking other people’s property allowed me the freedom to make my art. This lifestyle has landed me in extremely beautiful places, with my rent, utilities and, depending on the situation, food, salaries, vehicles, and use of swimming pools, as part of the deal. On this blog site I intend to tell my stories as well as those I’m collecting from other people, and pass on some web sites that will help you meet up with other people interested in bartering.

In my twenties I traveled around the world and found wonderful opportunities for work exchanges along the way. In Australia I lived for a couple of years in the outback where I rented a house on a two hundred acre farm for the low rent of $80 a month in exchange for keeping an eye on my landlord’s cows. In Bodh Gaya, India I spent a couple of weeks in a Thai Buddhist monastery, in exchange I spent an hour a day helping one of the monks with his university studies. In Israel I lived on a kibbutz for three months and did a variety of jobs in exchange for everything I needed. I learned that honest, loyal, hard working people were really appreciated and could get jobs anywhere in the world.

In my thirties I finally settled down and worked as a computer programmer until I sold two of my short travel stories to a magazine and a piece of art that I’d created was accepted for an important juried show the City of Los Angeles was sponsoring. I quit my job and began looking for ways to survive as an artist, which in L.A. meant long-term house sitting and scenic painting for movies.

In my forties my first creative work exchange was as a scenic painter for the New Hope Theater in Pennsylvania. I spent the summer painting sets in the Pocono Mountains while living in a beautiful resort hotel. I stayed for two months in an apartment in Venice Beach, CA in exchange for doing all the black and white still photography for a video project an artist friend was working on. On vacation in Jamaica I met a woman who lived in a beautiful villa on a hillside overlooking the Carribean and ended up house sitting it for a week when she had to go away. While there I learned wood carving from a local artist.

One of my favorite work exchanges was for a real estate investor in Bel Air, CA. For three years I worked two days a week as his office assistant in exchange for a salary and a nice little apartment in one wing of his house. I had full use of the grounds and swimming pool. It was while living in Bel Air that I began carving large sculptures for the Treepeople Park in Beverly Hills. I finally left Bel Air to do a summer work exchange at the Avondale Forest Park in County Wicklow, Ireland where I carved a large sculpture (see photo above) from a famous tree that had died. After this experience many of my work exchanges were art related.

Several times a week I will update this site with these stories and many more. I’m hoping to interview Ryan McDonald of The One Red Paper Clip fame, have a piece on house swapping, do an article on business barter sites, and much more. Don’t get me wrong, money is great, but if you don’t have much, there are alternatives with bartering. World travel, living in millionaire homes, the sky’s the limit on what you can manifest.

You can see some of my work on these blog sites:
barbarayates-sculpture.blogspot.com
woodenbooks.blogspot.com
barbarayates-photos.blogspot.com

If you have questions to can contact me at: byates3347@gmail.com

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Barbara’s Bartering Blog