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Thu May 6, 2021, 03:03 PM

The Sounds of Silence




A water main breaks every two minutes somewhere in the United States. Many of these can be repaired with relative ease. But others create a more serious problem for those who depend on it for water. By no coincidence, these tend to be those in urban neighborhoods, that date back from approximately 1930 to 1955. The "life expectancy of the best of those pipes is 75 years.

There is a curious delay in most cities to repair these breaks, or replace the systems. This often involves differing opinions about if such projects should be funded by the city, state, or federal government, or any combination of the three. This has a negative impact on the residents of neighborhoods without water. The residents of such neighborhoods are overwhelmingly non-white human beings residing in "low-income" neighborhoods.

One would be justified in considering if repairs might be considered more urgent if it supplied a wealthy, white neighborhood. You might even go so far as to speculate that this alone is strong evidence of systematic racism.

Poverty, as Gandhi noted, is the worst form of violence.

An old friend called me, saying that he had never found an Indian artifact, asking if I could take him out where he might find one. I met him at the "walking trail" in the village he resides in. He assumed that this did not involve finding artifacts, so much as talking, when we began our stroll. The few other people out walking easily passed us -- two old men hobbling along with walking sticks -- as a light rain began to fall.

Bill was talking about how he, as a grandfather, was worried about the country's future. He is very happy that Joe Biden is president, but recognizes that the Trump cult is a growing threat to democracy. Has has "un-friended" about half the guys and gals we grew up with, because they are toxic. Likewise, he has cut off all communications with a number of family members.

"You seem to keep more balanced with the assholes," he said. "How do you manage that?" I said I usually just post youtube videos on facebook of the great musicians we were raised on. Even the cult members tend to like them. This leads to discussions -- not often "public" -- about how when we were young, we saw social injustice and tried to confront it. The older generations told us, "No! No! No! You're wrong" (especially when I was a boy, listening to John's "She Said, She Said". But we had believed in something, just like this younger generation of Black Lives Matter." For, as Malcolm X taught, if you want people to act differently, you must first help them to think differently.

"Holy shit!," my friend said, as he picked up an arrowhead along the path we were walking. Soon, I picked up a mighty fine one myself, and we headed, slowly, back to our cars. History is right there, under our feet, in the earth.

On the ride home, up until when I started writing this, I have been thinking about the teachings of the Iroquois prophets, Sapling (circa 2000 bc), the Peacemaker (circa 425 ad), and Hiawatha (circa 840). In each of their eras, there was social strife and violence. I think about the hours that I spent talking about these things with Chief Waterman.

And I think about my late friend Rubin Carter's teachings. Today is his birthday, and I find myself wishing that I could talk to Chief Waterman and Rubin about the strange society I am inhabiting in my old age. Then I laugh, as I hear them saying, "We've already told you."

Peace,
H2O Man


"Silence is the true language of cosmic adoration." -- Gandhi

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Arrow 41 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Sounds of Silence (Original post)
H2O Man May 6 OP
bahboo May 6 #1
H2O Man May 6 #2
NBachers May 6 #3
H2O Man May 6 #6
NBachers May 6 #25
H2O Man May 6 #30
NBachers May 6 #32
H2O Man May 6 #33
panader0 May 6 #4
H2O Man May 6 #7
femmedem May 6 #5
H2O Man May 6 #8
lunatica May 6 #9
H2O Man May 6 #18
Saoirse9 May 6 #10
H2O Man May 6 #19
Saoirse9 May 6 #31
H2O Man May 6 #34
h2ebits May 6 #11
H2O Man May 6 #20
Nevilledog May 6 #12
H2O Man May 6 #21
spanone May 6 #13
H2O Man May 6 #22
BarbD May 6 #14
H2O Man May 6 #24
DemUnleashed May 6 #15
H2O Man May 6 #26
BobTheSubgenius May 6 #16
H2O Man May 6 #27
BobTheSubgenius May 7 #36
H2O Man May 7 #37
BobTheSubgenius May 8 #38
H2O Man May 8 #39
BobTheSubgenius May 9 #41
DENVERPOPS May 6 #17
H2O Man May 6 #28
blogslug May 6 #23
H2O Man May 6 #29
Martin Eden May 6 #35
H2O Man May 8 #40

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 6, 2021, 03:19 PM

1. thanks for this...a great read....

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Response to bahboo (Reply #1)

Thu May 6, 2021, 03:22 PM

2. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 6, 2021, 03:29 PM

3. In working with a couple of guys even older than myself, I've used common ground

to conduct “stealth propaganda” dialogue and get them to unwittingly agree with my leftist perspective. They’re not flaming shitheads, so they can be friends, despite my leftist opinions.

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Response to NBachers (Reply #3)

Thu May 6, 2021, 03:39 PM

6. Very good!

It's funny sometimes, in a sad way. I've known my friend's wife since she was a little kid. Very nice lady, nearing the end of her career as a public school teacher. Her best friend -- who I've known since she was a teen -- used to be involved with our group of regional political activists. She moved out of state, and her and her husband would visit my friend & wife literally every year for the past 30 years. But in a phone call recently, she told my friend's wife that they were no longer comfortable being around Democrats.

I can talk to the area red necks about how the environment has changed here since when they first started hunting, fishing, and trapping. Yet they do not "believe" in climate change ..... as if it requires a belief system rather than science and common sense. Still, I continue patiently.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #6)

Thu May 6, 2021, 06:23 PM

25. You know, it's funny, I was just ruminating this morning about prized Stone Age artifacts I'd found

Last edited Thu May 6, 2021, 06:55 PM - Edit history (1)

The train used to run through my Erie Canal home town of Spencerport, and, of course as kids, we’re either on the canal or down at the tracks. The trackbed had lots of flint rocks, and I found a good sized triangular pointed tool, and a rock with a sharp edge that was shaped to fit my hand as if I had grown into it. Of course, as a kid I saw vicious Stone Age battles in which these implements were used to bash in heads and draw gushing blood. But really, I think they were just tools. But I could hold onto that blade stone and it fit me so well that I could project myself back to the person or people who made it and used it.

We were going through the horrible chaos of moving, and I set these implements together with my trilobites and told my ex-wife,”These are not to be thrown out. These are to be saved.” When I came home, she had done nothing except to throw out my prized implements and fossils. And in reflection, I look back and see these as the most prized possessions of my life. I still regret their loss.

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Response to NBachers (Reply #25)

Thu May 6, 2021, 07:43 PM

30. I've always found rocks fascinating.

Fossils first, starting as a little kid. I liked watching the National Geographic specials with Louis and Mary Leakey. Years later, I became good friends with a doctor who had been with Louis & Mary at Olduvai Gorge. Today, I have the 40 artifacts that my late friend found. I have one Neanderthal artifact from a cave in France, and an El Adam blade from Africa. Plus a nice collection of upstate New York artifacts I've gathered. Only one of my four children is extremely interested in the collection, and expanding it. Fortunately, he is the one willing to carry a heavy heavy stone up a steep path for a third of a mile for me. Plus his eyes are much better than mine are now. Even on days we don't find anything, just the setting lends itself to great conversations we value.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #30)

Thu May 6, 2021, 07:49 PM

32. The shale stretching down from the shore of Lake Ontario is known as a good trilobite bed.

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Response to NBachers (Reply #32)

Thu May 6, 2021, 08:16 PM

33. Interesting.

They are not common in these parts of the state, so the only ones I have I bought.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 6, 2021, 03:31 PM

4. I have a friend here in SE Az that can find arrowheads everywhere it seems.

Nice relaxing post, walking (hobbling) along with you and Bill.
Interesting that Rubin and Willie Mays share a birthday.

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Response to panader0 (Reply #4)

Thu May 6, 2021, 03:41 PM

7. One of my good friends,

who was an opponent in the ring many years ago, also shares it, as does a good friend's grandson. One of my son's birthday is tommorow. When Rubin met my boys, he kept calling Darren "Darwin." I said that was because he thought my short-haired son was more evolved than my other son and I. Rubin thought that was hilarious.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 6, 2021, 03:33 PM

5. Thank you, H2O Man. Your posts are always among the best on DU.

And this one is no exception.

You're a gifted storyteller.

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Response to femmedem (Reply #5)

Thu May 6, 2021, 03:44 PM

8. Oh, thanks!

Your kind words reminded me of 20 years ago, when I was speaking to high school students in Binghamton, NY. At the end, the teacher who had organized my talk said, "You are a gifted storyteller. That's an art." And here I was thinking it was the Irish DNA.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 6, 2021, 04:02 PM

9. I saw Simon and Garfunkel in a concert in college

That video could have been taken then. Their songs are still powerful! Still multilayered in meaning and significance. I can still sing along!

Thank you for the video and the walk! I love tagging along with you!

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Response to lunatica (Reply #9)

Thu May 6, 2021, 06:00 PM

18. Very nice!

When by youngest daughter and her boyfriend visit, he and my oldest son begin discussions that prevent them from hearing anyone else in the room. It gets funny. My younger son started singing that classic song, and now we all do when they ignore anything contribution we might attempt at joining their conversation. The funniest thing is the two of them never notice!

I would have absolutely loved to have seen Simon and Garfunkel in concert! That must have been great! (I don't get out to concerts much these days, but a few years back, the boys brought me to see Ringo, then Neil Young and Willie Nelson. I was in heaven!)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 6, 2021, 04:04 PM

10. Lovely story!

I can empathize with your friend Bill.

I am in a Cold War with 3 siblings and some cousins. We don’t argue. We just don’t talk. If I take a peek at their social media I want to hit back at them and prove them wrong. One of my sane sisters can usually talk me out of it.

I am hoping the tiny bit of progress we’ve seen with the DOJ snowballs and when there has been justice they will calm down.

I am not counting on it though .

Anyway dearest H thanks for taking us in your walk with you!

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Response to Saoirse9 (Reply #10)

Thu May 6, 2021, 06:07 PM

19. Families. What can you do?

I told you about a second cousin who told me to "fuck off" after I sent him something about Bandy. Being so old that I remember Lenny Bruce saying "fuck you" should only be directed at those you love ..... but I still think the kid was attempting to insult me. What do you think? Was he combining "fuck you" and "beat off"? Maybe I shouldn't have thought him a jerk-off.

I'm supposed to spend about five days with my old dog Kelly, who accompanied and enhanced numerous walks with me over the years. Darren and his lady are going on vacation, and Kelly resides there. But he is old and in poor health now. Darren just picked him up from the vet's, and he looks terrible. I hope he lives until I can hang out with him, but I have my doubts.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #19)

Thu May 6, 2021, 07:47 PM

31. Oh no I'm sorry about Kelly

I hope you do get to spend time with him. Old dogs are the best dogs. Especially special dogs who you love and have history with.

Dogs are always a blessing. Our rescue is 10 years young, survived a horrific knee surgery last year, and still runs around like a lunatic.

If he has his way he doesn't walk anywhere. Always runs, even in the house.

He's a happy boy and I hope we have a long time with him yet.

Give Kelly a pet for me. Rub his tummy.

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Response to Saoirse9 (Reply #31)

Thu May 6, 2021, 09:44 PM

34. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 6, 2021, 04:31 PM

11. Thank you.

What a pleasure to read your writings on DU.

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Response to h2ebits (Reply #11)

Thu May 6, 2021, 06:08 PM

20. Thank you!

I appreciate that!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 6, 2021, 04:32 PM

12. Love reading your posts.

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Response to Nevilledog (Reply #12)

Thu May 6, 2021, 06:08 PM

21. Well, thanks!

I'm glad you enjoyed this!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 6, 2021, 04:33 PM

13. Thanks H2O Man!

👍🏼K&R👍🏼

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Response to spanone (Reply #13)

Thu May 6, 2021, 06:09 PM

22. Thank you, my Friend!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 6, 2021, 04:34 PM

14. Beautifully written

As we look back on the way we fought against injustice in the world, it is important that we keep on communicating with the young by encouraging them and telling our stories. Story tellers like you are rare. Thank you.

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Response to BarbD (Reply #14)

Thu May 6, 2021, 06:16 PM

24. Absolutely!

I was talking to my daughter in Boston today. She works for the city's council, and I am hoping to be able to tell a story about something important she's accomplished recently. Anyhow, along with getting back in the recording studio, to complete her first CD that Covid put on hold, she joined a new group. She explained she prefers working with women overall, and likes the new people, one of whom she's recorded with before.

Anyhow, as the conversation went along, I said that one thing I've always wondered about is based upon my time at Onondaga Nation Territory, and watching documentaries. In Native society, when women get together to work, they sing. The Elders are teaching the young generation the songs associated, for example, with planting their gardens. Our culture has lost that, and at least in my opinion, that is not good. (I have worked in offices, of course, where that isn't possible.)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 6, 2021, 04:40 PM

15. 2 Thank You's to you!

1st Thank you for posting such a beautiful story

2nd Thank you for posting Sounds of Silence...one of my all time favorite songs. I love Simon and Garfunkel and watch a few songs from their Central Park concert just about every week!

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Response to DemUnleashed (Reply #15)

Thu May 6, 2021, 06:29 PM

26. Thank you!

It is a hauntingly beautiful song! I've loved it since the first time I heard it, way back when. Actually, it was way, way back. (grin) I love it to this day.

In many ways, I know I am a product of my generational experience. Ali remains the greatest heavyweight champion. The Beatles and other musicians' works from that era were the very best. The Vietnam war was wrong. At the same time, I am frequently very impressed with the young people I know -- my children, relatives, and their friends -- on social and political issues.

Thank you again. I often write something, then question myself if it is worth posting here or rather is it the nonsense of an old man. So I'm glad that I did decide to post this.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 6, 2021, 05:12 PM

16. What a great story - with little expansions.

Thank you. Sounds of Silence is one of the very, very best folk songs, and one I like very much. PS' poetry is exquisite here, especially the line "the words of the prophets are written on subway walls, tenement halls."

I'm just happy I don't have to deal with cult members here. (Victoria BC) At least, very, very rarely. Another blessing for which I am happy.

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Response to BobTheSubgenius (Reply #16)

Thu May 6, 2021, 06:40 PM

27. I like that line!

The whole song, of course, but that is one of my favorites. It reminds me of a book a friend gave me back in the mid-1970s. His father was a cab driver in NYC, and one evening, a lady left her diary in his vehicle. He had hoped to return it, but never saw her again. The woman worked in the sex trade, and had a tough life. In parts of the book, her thinking was very impressive, fascinating really. In other parts, it took a much darker turn. Our society marginalizes, even incarcerates people like her, never recognizing their human value.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #27)

Fri May 7, 2021, 12:12 AM

36. Wow! That must have been an amazing read!

What an insight into a life we know nothing about. That is a great parallel to PS's line.

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Response to BobTheSubgenius (Reply #36)

Fri May 7, 2021, 12:14 PM

37. Indeed, it was!

It was a haunting read.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #37)

Sat May 8, 2021, 12:06 PM

38. Did it change your opinion(s) in any way?

My views on prostitution are a little motley. Suffice to say that I think society's approach is mostly wrong. I'm not positive I endorse the "Amsterdam" system, either, but it is a hell of a lot better.

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Response to BobTheSubgenius (Reply #38)

Sat May 8, 2021, 01:40 PM

39. Living in very rural

upstate New York, I had no opinion of prostitution before reading the diary. So reading it was eye-opening, to say the least. At the time, I remember thinking that she was stuck in a life that was crushing her spirit. It was never clear if she worked for a pimp, though it seemed very likely. And, at least in my opinion, that allows for the ultimate in human exploitation.

These days, I think that prostitution overlaps two areas -- the overall strange hang-ups our society has about sex, and workers' rights. As long as sex involves two (or more) consenting adults, I have no judgements to make. If it involves force and/or adults with minors, I am obviously for reasonable legal consequences. Yet I remember a case I became involved in, and got help from Rubin's legal team .... a guy who had just turned 18 got a blow job from a girl who was one week shy of the age of consent. Being black, although this was his first legal offense, he was given a life sentence. A repeat offender who molested children was, in the same month, given a three month sentence in county jail by the same judge. The 18-year old spent a year in Attica before we could get him out.

The sex trade is expansive. If a 20 year old college student suppliments his/her income as an "escort," for example, my only problem with that would be if there were not other options for income. (With pot now legal in NYS, my "job" from the 1970s isn't likely to remain an option! I could only dig ditches in the summer months, after all!) At the same time, I think there are people being exploited by those who convince them that they have no other option.

Interesting topic. I'm not sure my answer is the clearest.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #39)

Sun May 9, 2021, 12:41 PM

41. No, it was quite clear.

NOT that I disagreed with any part of it, really, but the first part of your second para - right up to "consequences" dovetails exactly with my feelings on the subject. I like to describe myself as a civil libertarian, but otherwise, not a libertarian at all. That second part is not part of my self-description, but was meant for this post.

"Consenting adults" covers a huge amount of behavior that makes the Moral Majority, or whoever their successors might be, foam at the mouth. If it doesn't hurt anyone else, have at it. Other people's sex is only interesting to people that aren't getting any of their own.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 6, 2021, 05:13 PM

17. The reason so many of our utilities

are breaking down, is that the Public Utilities Commission has become Hand Maidens to the Quasi-Governmental Corporations that have taken them over. And Corporations mantra is: PROFITs above all else, including replacement or repairs.
The PUC people in States have been pro corporations for DECADES. Worsening, and getting away with, ever lessening repairs and replacement, because that would undermine profitability.

Look no further than Texas most recently..................

We have experienced it, and continue to experience it in Colorado with Xcel Gas and Electrical, Century Link, and even Denver Water and Denver Metro sewage here in Denver.......
.
I laughed at the whole Texas Debacle, but then, last month, Xcel slapped everyone here in Denver for a 600 $ surcharge, realizing the huge amount of money that Texas utilities had so easily gouged out of THEIR customers. Here in Colorado, there was absolutely no reason for the surcharge, we were experiencing a normal winter, and already had even had a colder (normal) winter period a month before, with no surcharge......

I am just waiting to see if our Colorado "PUC" lets them get away with this surcharge scam for no reason what so ever.....

The merger of Government and Corporations is defined in the dictionary as a merger of Government and Corporations.
We just came within a millimeter of the U.S. becoming a Corporate Fascist Dictatorship on January 6th.
Look forward to them succeeding next time, and the U.S. being renamed UCA, United Corporations of America, doing away with the United States of America and Kissing Democracy goodbye for all time.

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Response to DENVERPOPS (Reply #17)

Thu May 6, 2021, 06:47 PM

28. I agree 100%

There is a great book that came out in 1991, "In the Absence of the Sacred," that details exactly what you are saying. By no coincidence, the author includes a lot of information from his conversations with Faith Keeper Oren Lyons, who sat on the Onondaga Council of Chiefs and the Iroquois Grand Council next to Chief Paul Waterman. I haven't seen Oren in over a year, in part because of the virus, and partly due to his being in his 90s and not getting out as much. While you most likely already have, I recommend watching some of Oren's speeches that are on youtube.

Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 6, 2021, 06:11 PM

23. Happy Birthday!

A Taurus birthday in the Year of the Ox - that's pretty cool

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Response to blogslug (Reply #23)

Thu May 6, 2021, 06:48 PM

29. Rubin was intense.

I really miss his only being a phone call away.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 6, 2021, 10:47 PM

35. You can talk to them.

They live inside you.

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Response to Martin Eden (Reply #35)

Sat May 8, 2021, 01:42 PM

40. Thank you, Martin!

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