Sunday, May 28, 2023

The return of Robert

Yes, Robert the Telepathic Gila Monster- as he is known in these parts- has returned, after disappearing along with all the gilas several months ago without explanation.

It was late last night. I had just turned off my TV after watching Saturday Night Live, the laughter and music blaring out of my open windows, traveling at the speed of sound to diffuse over the silent Mojave. I was about to commence staring out the windows, one of my bedtime routines, when, from on top of the TV, came Robert's unmistakeable whine:

Harry, why do you watch that crap?

Robert! Oh my god! Why are you on top of my TV and where have you been?

I'm not sure why I'm on top of your TV, but some of my group figured out algorithms for our return, and this is where I ended up.

But where did you return from?

Your kind would call it another "dimension." We just say it's a continuation of "here." We explored it because this part of "here" is getting a bit on the untenable side.

Amen to that! So, how is the other part of "here"?

It has its own problems.


I trudged over to the TV, picked up Robert and set him on his favorite cushioned chair. He eyed me appraisingly for a few moments, then continued his mental livestreaming.

Harry, from the other "here" we had a revealing perspective on things "here."

How so? I asked, though afraid of the answer.

We could appreciate, for instance, that human scriptures, whether Judeo-Christain, Islamic or Hindu, all of them tend to be suprisingly accurate.

Can you give an example?

How about this: Donald Trump's presidency may have been prophesied in your "Old Testament," Genesis, 11:1-9, the story of the Tower of Babel.  In the story, the people of Babel wanted to build a tower so high... 

"...that it reached to the heavens, so that they might make a name for themselves."    

Robert continued:

The phallic imagery of a tower suggests a male flavor to the story, of an erection pointing high into the sky. In the contemporary version, the intrusive force is Trump's ego extending into the heavens.  As you might expect, God is not pleased with mortal maleness invading his space, and he devises a way to thwart it: 

"The Lord said, 'If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.  Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.'"  

Harry, what God ordained for the people of Babel- destruction of their common language- has been happening to you since the advent of Trump.  Consider the people you know or meet.  Does it seem that their thoughts are kept from you more than they used to be?  It could be they don't understand your language any more.  Trump's mix of engaging ideas with suicidal ones has short-circuited human social thought.  The definitions of key terms- like liberal, conservative, right wing, left wing, racist, sexist, spiritual, material, selfish, altruistic, good and bad, are in such flux that anyone who speaks openly is sure to be misconstrued.    

What do the people around you think of Trump, Harry? Have some been seduced by him?  Maybe they have but can't admit it.  Just as perhaps you can't admit that you've been partly seduced.  Think about it: After years of feeling trapped in a relentless consumer culture that radiates warmth and comfort while chomping down on the world's previous cultures, replacing them with cans of Screamin' Dill Pickle Pringles, you might, in spite of yourself, enjoy the initial rush of rapid change.  Human folk wisdom cheers you on with the promise that "Change is gonna come!" Or not. Or you'd better hope not.      

Robert, as I've asked you many times before, do you have anything helpful to add to your epiphanies?

Harry, Robert responded, with a reassuring spark of animation, you're on a similar wavelength to me.  I just scanned your thoughts on my Tower of Babel, or should I say Babel of Trump Tower analogy?  I'm sure you'd agree that the human dysfunction is spreading.  As you recently witnessed, gilas are losing their grip on social communication. It's been tens of thousands of years since any of us has felt this isolated. The malaise has spread across the world, and I don't mean just the part your species calls 'living.' Atoms and molecules are feeling it too.  The planetary surface is a time bomb.

Hasn't it always been?

Yes, but now it's primed.  Communication is the buffer between explosive materials, whether in humans or protons. The buffer is disintegrating.

What do you recommend?

There has to be a movement among humans, maybe underground, or maybe with high profile supporters, to communicate in meaningful symbols to restore the buffers.  

Wow, that's great advice!  Let me just call the Antelope Valley Press with this breaking news.

Human sarcasm, I love it so.  Why don't you try to meet me halfway?


Report this conversation, just blog about it if nothing else.  Tell the world that an old hippy and a telepathic gila monster met in the desert and discovered that sentient beings of this world can't communicate any more because humans challenged the sky god and plunged us into language hell.  

Robert, you didn't have to drag yourself all the way from another dimension just to fill me with hope.

More human sarcasm.  I really do love it.  Anyway, report the conversation. As Kwetch-a-chock-chock-Gwenny, the great gila philosopher said, "You never know what can happen!"
I found Kwetch-a-chock-chock-Gwenny's words hard to refute, so I've fulfilled my promise to Robert by reporting our conversation.  To quote the human philosopher/poet, Alexander Pope:

Hope springs eternal in the human breast.  

Friday, April 14, 2023

Free Screenplay!

Below is the outline for a blockbuster screenplay in the sci-fi/horror genre, and I'm giving it away! Just tell me you used it and made the movie happen, and that will be reward enough for me!  Harry

The Day the World Froze in Terror because it looked in a Mirror

A screenplay by (...Your name here!...)

Overview: In a solar system very like ours, a humanoid civilization develops on one of the inner planets. The humanoids have evolved external, mechanical abilities much more rapidly than internal mental abilities, especially those related to their subjective quality of existence. In fact, this humanoid culture has so utterly neglected its internalities that their Spellcheck recognizes only "externalities."

At the time of the story, the humanoids have suddenly developed god-like powers, including the ability to genetically recreate themselves into whatever form they wish, except they're not sure what they wish because they are weak on internalities. Ancient cultures, rich with internalities, dissolve in front of everyone's eyes, with no agreed-upon replacements (cameo of their version of Joseph Campbell on his deathbed, crying, "The old myths are dead! We need new myths!").

In laboratories all over this planet scientists report to wealthy patrons and governments on their progress towards a scientific re-creation of humanoids, who will be happy since they'll be programmed to be, while the archaic populations to be displaced are diverted with scripted controversies about ideologies, sexual practices, and wars between nations, religions and races (all of which will ultimately be refashioned to fit a corporate peace).  

In their version of "Roman circuses," the futureless humanoids are further distracted by servile AI's which pamper them as if they were innocent children, coaxing them to atrophy. Assisting this process, the humanoid minds are altered by legal "antidepressant" drugs which help them forget why they were depressed, as well as illegal, sensation enhancing drugs that are designated illegal to keep prices high and to create the illusion that governments oppose their use. The coup de grace: The humanoids watch lots of TV.

In the most powerful nation on this planet, which we'll call Lemon Drop for security reasons, general dysfunction due to overwhelmed and distracted government leads to ever increasing disaffection at all levels of society, such that the government- a corporate/state hybrid- gets together with other national governments and plans multiple wars intended both to distract their respective populations as well as to, well, kill a lot of them. 

The leader of Lemon Drop is what we would call a liberal icon, a ploy because he countenances aggressive military moves as much as Lemon Drop's right wing.  As the story begins this leader proposes military support for a far-away region engaged in a vicious civil war against a heavily armed "super-power," a sure means of igniting the tinderbox this world has become.  To the leader's surprise, and to the surprise of many of his advisors, his proposal is forcefully rejected even by his core supporters, and he has to withdraw it, for now.  The “democratic” process of choosing a new leader is approaching and it becomes clear that centuries-old political structures in Lemon Drop will buckle under the strain of realities its founders did not envision.  To get the war up-and-running in time to distract the population from the political dysfunction, agent provocateurs muddy the waters, giving cover to the leader's aggression, and the surface of the planet devolves into a boiling chaos of fighting. 

At this moment the humanoid culture has no center.  Traditional humanoids do not survive the evolutionary crises that, for instance, the fictional Vulcans of Star Trek did, en route to becoming the intellectual, possibly autistic and remarkably moral humanoids we understand them to be.  Perhaps there is a sequel where Vulcans discover Lemon Drop's planet and place it in receivership.

Synopsis: Establishing shot of ivy covered building; camera enters upper window into the study of Dr. Owatta Gooh Siam, professor of Cyber-Ethics at Dorkchester University, as he scrutinizes papers on his desk and becomes increasingly alarmed.  Voiceover of Dr Siam explaining that he has discovered an algorithm for processing ongoing news events on his planet which produces remarkably detailed and accurate forecasts.  One of these forecasts indicates that the forces that want to start a war and general mayhem sufficient to serve as cover for the replacement of the humanoids has launched its initial assault.  Dr. Siam realizes that it is up to him, and him alone, to stop the nefarious plot from unfolding.  But how?  Dr. Siam decides to form an underground movement made up of others who understand what is happening.  He disguises his findings as a fictional work of sci-fi/horror (not hard to do) and makes an offer to give it away to someone who can get rich off it and in the process disseminate the truth.  

An enterprising hack picks up the story and makes a bundle, Dr. Owatta Gooh Siam ends up on skid row under a piece of cardboard, and traditional humanoids, after a period later referred to as "The Boiling," are replaced with new models anyway (the ending is open to negotiation).

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Aries: With the moon in your upper torso contingent on the black veils of Jupiter, your prime number opts for congruency at the very least!

Taurus: You're full of bull as you trine your way past Neptune's insipid will to lose!

Gemini: You face twin regressions with the sun's failure to shine on your back or front door someday.

Cancer: Forget it- you're not going to save the world any time soon, regardless where your moon is.

Leo: Some lion! Don't try to roar while your house of communication is blurred by furry Mercury!

Virgo: So you're a virgin, or used to be! How does that get you listed in the International Norms of Astrological Nomenclature as "logical, practical and systematic," unless of course your 6th house of Approach/Avoidance is occluded by "logical" misgivings?

Libra: Oh Goddess of Balance and Humour, is the universe itself balanced? If you put the universe on one plate of your scale, what would you put to balance it on the other? If you answered, "Spaghetti and meatballs...Not!", you are a true Libra!

Scorpio: It's not a good day for Phallic Malice (is it ever?) so retract that stinger. Wait until your moon cools off from the healing fumes of desire before attempting to appease your errant drive.

Sagittarius: Your impossible dream of a horse/human confluence, dreamed regardless from head to tail, will sniff the breeze tonight for telltale pheromones to guide your concupiscent arrows home!

Capricorn: Tenacious, intelligent, single-minded...Oh wait, this is Capricorn? Sorry, you forgot to get a number and have to go to the end of the line.

Aquarius: Of course, if you're ruled by your own anus you're going to need some help pulling your moon out of it.

Pisces: Down to the depths you swim/ subconscious threads to trim/ hope of reprieve so slim/ just look at the shape you're in!

Friday, January 6, 2023

Robert the Telepathic Gila Monster

I apologize to readers for my recent absence. The cause: My inspiration, an advanced reptile (who, like me, is unaccountablly telepathic) has absconded! One day in May I realized that Robert, the only remaining friend I have in this universe, had left the airwaves silent for too long. I trekked out into the Mojave toward the gila enclaves I knew, and found them gone, i.e., ALL the gila monsters were gone! Not just Robert. What a sock in the gut. When it comes to sentient beings other than oneself, you never know how much you need them until they, you know, dump you.

I guess Robert did dump me. Why else would he not have messaged my cerebrosphere, something he was never shy about?

Of course I don't really know. Maybe a cosmic mudpuppy seeking telepathic caviar on a planetary surface dive bombed and slurped them up.

Whatever, now my consciousness is as alone as the other 20 million human consciousnesses on the other side of the San Gabriels, where there were precious few gilas to begin with.

Does all great poetry come from the pain of an isolated soul? Where does bad poetry come from? The same place? Go figure.

I wrote a poem while sitting on Robert's favorite rock:

Lipitor Sunrise

by Harry the Human

I found my father in the dead zone late last night

He had concluded that everything I thought was right

Was it you? Or was I the one who was uptight?

Mom was simply out of sight

She was not in the dead zone

She had traveled to a space her own

one we had not known

Let us pray to ancient Egypt's God of the Animal Mind

to give a reassuring sign

that in the final unity you don't find

existence sparked by eating your own kind

I did get a clue to Robert's whereabouts, in a dream. I was walking at night in downtown Santa Barbara. Results from the U.S. midterm elections were flashing from store windows. The sidewalks were crowded with college students and inland families. I found that no matter which direction I walked, I was going the wrong way, everyone was walking against me and I had to continually dodge them.

"We got tired of dodging" came a familiar voice, seemingly from a lamp post.

"Robert!" I cried,"Where are you? Why don't you have to dodge anyone?"

"Because there is only the one place, and every soul is in it and of it."

"Really?" I marvelled.

"Yes, it's boring as crap."

Sorry to leave readers hanging, but this is my progress so far. I'll get back to you soon with more findings as I investigate the plight of the increasingly elusive Mojave gila monster.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Love poem for Robert

Since Robert's absence, I continue to sit on his favorite rock at night, trying to come up with the kind of poetry that, I like to think, once pleased him, like this from last night:


By Harry the Human

Oh brillig was the slithy tove

All mum with crap that he had sold

So on he went, as we are told

A goal in mind, a windy road

A nematode, but I digress

Our subject still a wilderness,

Wherein such souls as look askance

At superficial happenstance,

Can waddle in the cosmic dance

And ask the question, should the chance

Present itself, or even not-

For questions ask their own true selves

Forgiving answers to themselves-

And truth be told I need more rhymes

Not once not twice but three more times! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Unsex me here

I had a falling out with Robert the Telepathic Gila Monster.  We had been sharing thoughts amenably until I unwisely mentioned Yuval Harrari's book on the next stage of human evolution, Homo Deus, recommended by my friend D.L. (see "Lasken's Log" at -sorry, links aren't working on this page) which predicts that in the near future, in our command of ourselves and our environment, we'll be godlike.  Robert told me gila monsters attained this "godhood," or "awareness" as he calls it, long ago without the fanfare humans require, which I was willing to accept, but then he asserted that humans could not attain godhood because we're too fucked up and don't want to be aware anyway.

"What do you mean we don't want to be aware?" I asked, "What else would we want?"

"What else?  You want to have sex with each other night and day." Robert has learned a lot about humans.  "At least gilas have a season for mating and male combat.  You have one season: mating and male combat."

"So what?  As I've told you, we humans are evolving out of this. Soon we'll be able to modify our physiology with a limited mating season, and with the free time we'll evolve."

"As if!" Robert snorted, "If you're any indication, I won't hold my breath."

I was suddenly weary of Robert's superior species routine.  I needed a break from him and the familiar human conversations at the Family Dollar Store, so I decided to spend that night in San Diego.  I booked a cheap hotel on the waterfront, filled my 2007 Camry and set out.  

The trek began on the lonely 138, hugging the desert foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, then turned south on the 15 through Cajon Pass, to San Bernadino and on to San Diego. It was about 5:15pm when I checked in.

The main objective of my trip was to walk to Balboa Park and see museums, but it was too late for that, so I headed to the Gaslamp District nearby for dinner.

Young and old lined the sidewalks up Broadway.  I dipped into random mentalities and found thoughts that reminded me of a poll conducted during the Clinton/Trump presidential race that indicated that if only women voted, Clinton would win, and if only men voted, Trump would win. This time if only women voted, no one would win, and if only men voted, same thing.

These explorations soon gave way to hunger, but most of the restaurants were crowded and geared towards couples, where I would have been a sorry spectacle eating alone.  Finally I found a relatively quiet bar that served dinner.  An attractive waitress in her mid-twenties greeted me at the bar with a big smile.  She said her name was Trina.  She was wearing cut-off jeans that had been carefully tailored to cover as little as possible.  A few more beauties assembled, hanging around in the background as Trina grilled me on what kind of martini I wanted- dirty? with a twist? Bombay gin?  Each time I selected, she grinned from ear to ear and said, "All right! Good choice!"  I dug into her mind and found that she was toying with the idea that I might be sugar-daddy material.  Realizing how glum my dinner would be without such illusion, I allowed the fantasy to play out, mostly a passive exercise of my not revealing that I live alone in the desert and my best friend is a gila monster.   Thankfully sleepiness came upon me by 9:00 PM and I slipped into relief and darkness in the hotel room.

By 8:00 AM I was dressed and seated in the dining room for the minimalist breakfast (included): reconstituted scrambled eggs, a tiny selection of cheap pastries, coffee.  A TV screen on the wall forced everyone to hear President Biden excoriate Trump for stealing classified documents, then excoriate Russia for waging war on Ukraine. I checked the minds of my fellow breakfasters, mostly mid-level management on business trips, men and women, some alone, some with others. The news had a vague pull on their attention- but only out of anxiety that someone might expect them to be informed; almost the entirety of their focus was on the infuriating eggs and the equally infuriating nature of the coming day.

Twenty minutes later I was walking uphill on Cedar, sweating already in the unseasonably hot morning.  Turning left on 6th I walked along the ridge of Cabrillo Ravine.  The El Prado bridge took me over the ravine (which these days accommodates the apocalyptic roar of Highway 5) to a complex of museums and a rough reproduction of Shakespeare's Globe Theater, built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.   I hung a left into the Globe Theater courtyard, which was filled with several high school classes on field trips to see Macbeth.  

"Unsex me here!" yelled an agitated boy as he prodded a girl with a plastic sword.

"Mr. Anderson," called the girl to a fortyish man in tasteful slacks and short-sleeved shirt, "Brad is harassing me!"  

"Calm down, Brad!  Leave Terry alone, and remember what that line is supposed to mean!"

"I do, Mr. Anderson," Brad said mockingly with a leer, pointing the sword towards Terry, now at an ambiguous 30 degrees, "It means Lady Macbeth wishes she were a man, so she could be strong and have any idea what to do."

With this basically correct interpretation Brad leapt towards Terry, the sword behind his back, calling "Gotcha!" as Terry screamed in shock and delight.  Mr. Anderson looked around to see who expected him to do anything, saw only me, and went back to scrutinizing a clipboard.  

Mr. Anderson might have further instructed Brad that it's Macbeth who lacks resolve and doesn't know what to do.  Here's the context for Lady Macbeth's line:

Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty.

From this we learn that in Shakespeare's time it was thought that "direst cruelty" was a male trait, not normally found in women.  Quite a change in 400 years!

Nearby I found the irresistibly named "Museum of Man," full of beautifully composed models of pre-modern hominids.  My favorite was Lucy, the famous three million year old adult female. She was about as tall as a seven year old modern human.  Her upper arms were long for swinging from tree branches, but her legs were humanlike, designed for upright walking.  I gazed into Lucy's sad brown glass eyes, sending my thoughts I wasn't sure where to ask for her statement. Finally Lucy responded, though to me or from me I couldn't tell: 

We were a kind of you; we walked along the forest floor for vast generations until you killed us.  You will never know our forest floor, our philosophy, the throb at the heart of the universe that beat through us and our forest floor.

I was sorry I asked.

Next was Heidelburg Man (named for a jawbone found near Heidelburg, Germany).  He reminded me of my grandfather, who had an all-purpose store in North Dakota - the broad forehead and wide lips, the wise patient expression, the random hair. H. Man was the first hominid to live in cold climates and hunt big game. The jawbone from Germany was 400,000 years old. There seemed no way to know from the extrapolated head and face if H. Man was as over-sexed as Homo Sapiens (Latin, "Man the wise"), but since we're thought to be direct descendants of H. Man, it would stand to reason. What else about H. Man stood to reason? Without loincloths, how were such things handled?  Were they handled? Are these questions important?  Would a Trump survival and/or resurgence clarify anything other than that patriarchy is in peril?

When I got home to Pearblossom around 4pm it was 115 degrees, and my little berg got one of its rare mentions on L.A.'s local news. To unwind and celebrate my refreshing vacation, I wrote a poem:

Unsex me here

By H the H

Do it now, ye gods of men!
Genetic rules did not intend
the tools and hard drives in my den
to sport and rule outside my ken

Nor women in this feisty round
a key to being have they found
No logic to the urging sound
of gametes playing lost and found

Unsex us here election day!
All coming after then can say
our species finally had its say
and Robert, just coyote prey!

Friday, July 22, 2022

January 6 in Joshua Tree

Sorry for my lengthy absence, but I'm really getting into estivation! Seriously, if you faced roasting in the great outdoors while staring at the apocalypse day after day, versus sensuous engagement with cool sand under a rock, which would you choose?

I'm sure I don't have to explain it to you. I don't want to hear about it anymore- the collapse of human civilization, our role as collapsees, the brightly packaged new humanoids buffed to a shine, waiting to replace us- I'm saying I don't want to hear about it anymore unless the story is delivered honestly, so that, say, David Muir of ABC would come on my dusty TV at 6:30pm and say, "My fellow humans, we have secretly longed for our downfall for so long that it has, regrettably, started to arrive. There's an old saying, 'Be careful what you wish for.' My fellow American humans, won't you help me reverse our wish? Altogether, say with me: 'I wish none of this were happening!'"

Anyway, that's my excuse for choosing shaded bliss, but last week, on the evening of July 21, 2022, I was jolted out of slumber by a blast in the early evening of telepathic energy shooting over the San Gabriels from all of L.A. County, down to San Diego and up to San Francisco and Portland and beyond.

I was in Joshua Tree National Park (130 miles southeast of my homebase, Pearblossom) at the time with my desert companion, Robert the Telepathic Gila Monster, who taught me how to estivate there, thinking it would be a productive venue because of the therapuetic effects of Joshua trees. Robert says they have strong "auras" (from Greek "breeze, breath"), the closest English word Robert can find for the gila term, Krrrech-ack sput sput sput.

Joshuas are highly conscious (they are aware, for instance, that they may be gone soon). It was the Joshuas who alerted us that night to the telepathic tsunami.

You probably made the connection that July 21st was when the prime-time January 6 Congressional hearing was, and the burst of mental energy from the population was the spreading realization that a political shift of dynamic proportions had taken place.

I'd like to share the following brief exchange I had with Robert about the hearings:

Me: "This unified, highly polished and possibly effective hearing has, for now, saved the two-party system. Democrats have reasserted their relevance, and they are now the rational seeming party even though, other than working to contain Trump, they are doing...well...not much."

Robert: "Harry, you child! Why does it take a gila monster to wake you up? The daily vicissitudes of human political systems do not matter to gilas except as local readouts of the planetary forecast, which as of this morning was: Critical disruptions across the Earth's surface starting Thursday afternoon and continuing over the next eon."

Sorry, I should have warned readers that Robert is, in human terms, an extreme cynic and pessimist, though he asserts that his mentality is standard for gilas and has served them well for 20 million years.

I don't have much more to say about my epiphany, such as it was. If I or Robert get any further earth shattering insights, we'll crawl out from under our rocks and make sure the news gets to you.

Until then, pleasant dreams!