The temperature outside has plummeted to sixty-five degrees, it’s raining, and I am feeling like it is a good day to stay home. I’ve got the electric heater fired up and the door closed off to my 3rd floor study so that I can continue to work dressed in my customary house garb of boxer shorts.

And yeah, I know – I am just f**king with you. What a great word/idea/ironic/bullshit thing to say, given the circumstances to say ‘plummeted’ in the context of temperature when places like the north central US just got slammed with an early winter storm of historic proportions. My buddy up in Marquette just emailed me to say that by tomorrow they’ll have 35″ of snow on the ground. And it’s only the 11th of November!

That still doesn’t change the fact that I had to put on long pants for the first time in almost a year and don my rain jacket before heading down to the Mercado this morning. And give me a break here. Back in ’78 I was as sensible as that recently released free-range chicken; once that cage door was opened I fled Marquette at the first opportunity.

So moving on to a more pleasant subject – food. I had a nice spicy breakfast of beef in green chili sauce, beans, and hot tortillas. Mexico still remains pretty much confused like the rest of Latin America about the whole coffee thing so I have to make mine at home. Nescafe is widely available but for the real stuff you either have wait for the two trendy little places in town to open up or better – make it yourself.

I thought it best to pick up some supplies as I felt my soaked through sandals precluded a second trip out. So I bought 20 pesos worth of locally made chorizo – the primero seco variety, a kilo of the local unpasteurized white farmer’s cheese, 2 full chicken legs, and half a kilo of dried yellow beans. And btw, I learned last week just why the some of the chickens here have such lovely yellow skins – the birds at some point are fed marigolds. Who would have ever guessed?

I already had a kilo of tomatoes and onions, some fresh chilies, as well as a pair of avocados. And the fridge is full of a cheap but tasty Milwaukee produced lager. The pantry is stocked with tea and the bar has an adequate supply of locally produced mezcal; more than enough to get me through this housebound stormy day. And yes, denizens of Marquette – stormy is relative. And ‘braving’ six months of winter doesn’t speak to tough, it speaks to insane.

And there are plenty of new books to read including Francis daCosta’s ‘Rethinking the Internet of Things: A Scalable Approach to Connecting Everything’, Adam Shostack’s ‘Threat Modeling: Designing for Security’ and James Howard Kunstler’s ‘History of the Future’.

So I am sitting here putting off doing real work, listening to the soundtrack from the movie ‘Puerto Vallarta Squeeze’; which is mostly guitar and violin with some light percussion. It captures the south of border feeling much like Miles Davis nailed the soul of Spain in his immortal jazz work ‘Sketches of Spain’. And btw, the movie sucked but the novel of the same name by Robert James Waller was quite brilliant.

Anyway – to upshift to the day’s more serious news – I stopped to visit with my very wise friend, Pancho yesterday. I really only stopped by for some information, as in to ask where exactly in El Rincon did they make that exceptionally smooth mezcal that I just recently became acquainted with. But a conversation developed around local current events as to why the town was relapsing back to its days of violence. Meaning, commerce was once again grinding to a halt. People are once again not traveling into town to buy, eat and drink.

During the violence everybody knew who was who and what was what. Now nobody knows. Prior to the big shootout at Los Cruces (sounds like a movie doesn’t it?) a few months back, one side ruled. Then immediately after, the balance of power shifted. But even then everyone knew who was in charge.

He called it right when he told me a couple of weeks ago that the outfall from the Iguala, Guerrero incident – where the 43 students were murdered – would be that eventually two or three people would be arrested and charged and then – poof – the whole incident (and the real culprits) would disappear. And that appears to be what’s happening. And that’s much like the local violence here. It is still happening but no one (and I mean no one) is talking about it.

I asked, ‘So what’s the solution? If you were Enrique Pina Nieto what would you do?’ He told me. And what he said was absolutely and inarguably right. Given the entrenchment of lawlessness and corruption; the solution would be a very (very) extreme version of Marshall Law – like shoot all the bad guys. But as we further discussed, that solution creates an even bigger problem because the government then assumes tyrannical control.

So given the real big top down kind of problems: like violence, corruption, equality, a more equitable distribution of resources, as well as improved access to education and other necessities like clean water and nutritious food, how do we affect positive change?

My opinion is that the real solution – as I pointed out in a previous post – isn’t to be found in technology, government, military, or revolution. And there is no historical evidence that any of the aforementioned ever provided any fixes that addressed the core issues anyway.

Sure, the plumbing might be a little bit better today, but that’s nothing to brag about as the ancient Romans’ tempered their sword delivered civilization with better infrastructure too. And so while some citizens might be more comfortable today, I would hazard to say that for a good part of the rest of the us, 2014 AD is probably as dangerous and as f**ked up as 2014 BC.

No, the real solution in my humble opinion lies in the way of Thoreau and Gandhi and their self-sacrificing path of civil disobedience. And for each and every one of us to get some real skin in the game.

Example. You want to see less belligerence coming from mainland China? Then quit buying their shit. You want to see a less f**ked up Middle East? Then let’s get rid of our eight-cylinder cars, drive less, so we can quit buying so much of their oil.

You want to slow down the growth of government and restrict their reach? Less tax dollars equals less mischief. So we need to consume less. Make do with less. Be our own sources of entertainment. Buy local. Act local.

And certainly don’t think that your vote is going to affect change. The incumbents merely change places.

And I think it is pretty fair to say that they’re all pretty damn happy with the way things already are.

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