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The Renewables Revolution tipping point

Mostly real progress is slow.  It took decades to end slavery (which gave way to wage slavery in many places).  It took longer to get even some of the most basic rights for women in this country.  It took a decade of protest to end the Vietnam War.  Decades for gay marriage.  I am doubtful multi-partner marriages will be legalized in my lifetime.

Early in my clean energy campaigning career (the 1990s), a renewables expert explained that they preferred we not call it “alternative energy” because this was not our long term objective.  And for decades we have heard “wind is not ready from prime time” or “solar is too expensive for utility scale application”.  But when someone says that to you these days, you should respond with the same incredulity you would if someone suggested we strip women of the right to vote.  “Hey, have you been living under a rock?”

Germany has made the shift

Germany has made the shift

The triple meltdown at Fukushima hit the accelerator for clean energy solutions in a number of countries.  Perhaps most dramatically in Germany, where parts of this shift have been underway for decades.  If you stay closely on top of the German energy transition (called Energiewende) you will have no doubt heard that in the early stage after closing reactors after the Fukushima disaster the country was actually opening more coal fired power stations.

germany gdp and ghg graph

GHGs are down again, to their lowest level in decades in Germany

But as the bar chart above shows, the “Fukushima means more coal in Germany” story is old news.  These distortions were caused in part by their being a number of incomplete high tech coal plants in the pipeline when Fukushima hit and distortions in the European carbon tariffs which (hopefully temporarily) were favoring coal.  As the longer term graph above shows, unlike many countries, Germany is serious about reducing it’s carbon footprint.  Central to it’s success is that more than half of the renewable investment in Germany in recent years has been from individuals (including farmers) rather than large utilities or governments.

Japan is arriving later to the party, but is still showing up in significant ways.  Most recently there has been an explosion in the number of companies registering to sell electricity.  These include Honda Motors, Panisonic, Softbank and some giant Japanese homebuilding companies.  This is critical, because unlike Germany, Japan has 10 nuclear power utilities which have had a monopoly on electricity sales.  The government for it’s part has (like Germany did) created above market pricing for power which is generated from renewables.  Even before the opening of the market, Japan has seen a surge in home/business electric generation for personal/industrial use.  The Japanese court just handed anti-nuclear activists a rare victory in stopping the restart of 2 reactors.

Japan, unlike the US, does not have a single authority to restart it’s currently closed 48 reactors.  Even the newly restructured safety authority is telling the Abe administration that they need to check with local governments before restarting reactors, even if the safety authority says it is okay.  Recently elected anti-nuclear provincial governor Taizo Mikazuki of Shiga prefecture on July 13th, indicates that the Abe governments plans to restart reactors are far from secure.  The longer Japan continues to function will all of it’s reactors off and without blackouts, the less plausible the utilities arguments are that they are completely necessary to run the country.

Japan's solar growth is impressive

Japan’s solar growth is impressive

Germany has the solar profile of Alaska. Japan has very few conventional energy resources.  Both countries are using tax structures, market mechanisms, feed in tariffs and public education campaigns to change the ways they produce energy.  Germany is ahead of schedule to close all it’s reactors by 2022. Japan currently has all its reactors closed.  These were the number 3 and number 4 nuclear countries in the world (after the US and France).

 

Is there a trend here?

Is there a trend here?

It is far form a done deal, but the above graph shows an important trend.  It is worth pointing out that at a 25% capacity factor, the installed wind power worldwide represents the equivalent of 35 full size reactors – which is still a long way for replacing the almost 400 operating reactors worldwide, but if you compare it to 6 reactor equivalents in place in 2009, you can see that this real progress in energy is moving right along.

 

 

 

Can Polyamory Help Destroy Rape Culture? [re-post]

Comrade Tikva has penned a great piece for Elephant Journal [Which posted my review of the Movie Wanderlust]  If you want to see this article on EJ , with it’s links (and odd image) it’s here.  She also does a brilliant comic on polyamory.

Objectification is at the center of rape culture

Objectification is at the center of rape culture

 

Many romances begin with wordless flirtation, stolen kisses and vague communication.
In a culture where disinterest is often interpreted as shyness or “playing hard to get,” men are encouraged to think women need to be skillfully interpreted and convinced, instead of taken at their word. Even the clearest “no” is still up for debate.

I’ve had men tell me I was “asking for it” by making eye contact with them on the street instead of averting my gaze. And when they discovered that my polite smile was not a request for sex, they reacted in outrage as if I was purposefully leading them on.

A stranger misinterpreting our smile as an open invitation to our body sounds ludicrous, but watching any romantic comedy will show us how our culture views consent.

no more rape culture

How many times does the woman turn the main character down before he grabs and kisses her—and doesn’t she secretly want it all along, perhaps without even knowing it herself, until he figures out how to prove that they are meant to be?

It may be entertaining to watch awkward fumbling and forceful passion on the screen, but this kind of indirect communication seeps out into our actual romantic encounters far too often and can be very dangerous.

When men identify with that main character who wins the girl in the end, they feel cheated when their own efforts aren’t achieving the same results. They can sometimes decide to take it forcefully if the woman isn’t catching on quick enough, because “no” just means she hasn’t been convinced yet that this is what she really wants.

Most women have encountered men who feel entitled to have access to their bodies. Just look at the recent gruesome events involving Elliot Rodger and the resulting stories on Twitter with the hashtag “#YesAllWomen.”

Clearly there are a lot of men out there who think they deserve the girl, regardless of what she has to say about it.

In polyamorous relationships, unclear communication will have us drowning in a sea of interpersonal drama much more quickly than it would in a conventional, monogamous relationship.

One reason for this is that monogamy is the expected norm, so if we’re monogamous, it’s pretty easy to coast through the beginning of our relationship without putting any effort into communicating our intentions or expectations.

If we say nothing at all about what we want, it is assumed that our eventual goal is a monogamous until-death-do-us-part with someone. Polyamorous relationships are more complex and less understood, so therefore require explanation right from the beginning and skillful communication throughout.

Poly folks will often discuss their specific intentions with people they are attracted to and even sit down with everyone’s other partners and discuss it with them as well, way before the first date is even considered. It is very likely that a first kiss won’t come with a silent assumption of consent, but after it has been discussed with everyone involved instead.

Clear communication is a must for long-term poly relationships, so this is a skill that gets exercised often.

But what does this have to do with rape culture? Rape culture is fed on silence and assumptions. By insisting on communicating clearly every step of the way about any intention of sex or romance, we kill those old ideas of romance being about silent flirtation and stolen kisses.

We make consent sexy.

yes means yes

We might think that clear communication is overkill, boring and that it will stifle the romance—but the opposite is true. When people are open and vulnerable in relationship to each other, expressing the full extent of their desires and (most importantly) wanting to hear and understand the desires of their partners, there is absolutely nothing sexier than that.

I used to think that stolen kisses were sexy, but now I see them as a sign of emotional immaturity and dissociation. I would much rather my partners be obviously interested in what I want than trying to see what they can get out of me.

When can kisses be "stolen"?

When can kisses be “stolen”?

I would much rather be telling them what I want than waiting for them to guess.

Margaret Atwood’s quote, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” illustrates why it is more important that men take on the task of communicating clearly and receiving consent, but it is incredibly empowering to take on the task as a woman as well.

girls kissing

We don’t need to be in a polyamorous relationship to get our clear communication groove on, obviously. But if we’re in a polyamorous relationship we need to communicate impeccably, just to keep up with what’s going on.

Making clear communication and consent sexy is a huge part of what’s needed to feed the revolution of consent culture. So whether we are monogamous, polyamorous, monogam-ish, or poly-curious, we need to push ourselves to communicate more openly with everyone and see how it affects our romantic life.

Author and Muse (R to L)

Author and Muse (R to L)

 

The Dark Side of the World Cup

Most days i am blissfully outside of the influence of nationalism*.  But my Dutch wife gets very excited about the World Cup and i recently watched the Dutch surprise victory over top ranked Spain.

They are fantastically talented athletes

They are fantastically talented athletes

And there are important problematic aspects to this event which should not be ignored.  This post is a quick summary of my findings.

Evictions:   US$11 billion is being spent on the stadiums and other support for the Brazilian World Cup.  Construction project in cities across the country have resulted in 250K evictions and thousands of destroyed homes.  In many cases there was little or no warning of the planned evictions.  But even in the best cases, displaced persons are living in state subsidized housing with a fraction the value of their previous space.   Promised public assistance projects have all but vanished.

simple economics

simple economics

US$2 billion has been spent on security alone for the event.  Much of this is going to the 100K troops and 57K police deployed over the event.   In demonstrations across the country, millions of Brazilians have protested.

Stand your ground

Stand your ground

Corruption/Bribery:  The behemoth construction firm Andrade Gutierrez gobbled up nearly a quarter of the $11.5 billion in building contracts connected to the World Cup  thanks to a whopping US$37.1 million election contribution spending spree in 2012.

Resource Mal-distribution:  Brazil has made gains over the last 3 decades in raising citizens out of the most desperate poverty.  But many see this expensive soccer event as a distraction from more pressing infra structure solutions the country really needs.

Sex trade: Prostitution is legal in Brazil and the age of consent is 14.  The World Cup with it’s influx of tourists is sparking a sex trade explosion.

brazilian prostitutes

Pimps in Brazil are purchasing children from their parents for between $5K and $10K.   This combined with drug addiction of sex workers continues to oppress locals and breeds misogyny.

 

What you focus on affects your journey.

What you focus on affects your journey.

As i close this post, i am not sure what the “ask” is.  I will look into who is recommending people concerned about the conditions do what.

indigenous people fight back

indigenous people fight back

* It would be completely reasonable to argue that no one alive today is outside the pervasive influence of nationalism.  And this is not what i am talking about.

Celebrating the Tea Party victory over Eric Cantor

In 2005 and 2006 i managed the catastrophically failed congressional campaign of Radical Honesty author and advocate Brad Blanton against Eric Cantor in the 7th district of Virginia.

Blanton arrested in Congress in 2012

Blanton arrested in Congress in 2012

During this campaign i learned a lot about Eric Cantor and how completely corrupt he was.  Quoting the Urban Dictionary,Eric Cantor is “possibly the most immature douchebag ever to grace the halls of congress.”  Last night in a stunning Tea Party upset, Cantor lost the Republican Party primary by 44% of the electorate to 55%.  That is a spanking.

One of the political encyclopedias declared district 7 to be the safest Republican district in the country.  That was written back when there was just one Republican Party.  The district is so politically red, that Cantor ran unopposed for one of his 7 terms.  Tonight a challenger with less than 1/10th the campaign funding of Cantor’s routed the second most powerful politician in the party.

VA District 7 a classic Jerrymander

VA District 7 - a classic Jerry Mander

This represents a fantastic political miscalculation by Cantor who won his last election by a margin larger than the total number of votes cast in this weeks primary.  Cantor spent too much time out of the district campaigning for other Republicans and raising money.  But before we forget Mr Cantor, who’s political career may blissfully be over.  Let’s look at how he performed as far as rating groups are concerned.

  • 0% rating from Alliance of Retired Americans (ARA), indicating an anti-senior voting record
  • 7% from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which means he is anti-civil and constitutional rights
  • 0% from the ALF-CIO indicating he is anti-labor
  • 0% from League of Conservation Voters (LCV), which means he is anti-environment
  • 92% from the Christian Coalition – a fundamentalist right wing group.
  • An “A rating” from the National Rifle Association (NRA),
  • 0% from The Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE), which means he wants more nuclear weapons and less control on their use.
  • 0% from National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), he opposes abortion.

More disturbing is that Cantor had a 98% identical voting record with corrupt and convicted Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

Look, we know we screwed up when we were in the majority. We fell in love with power. We spent way too much money – especially on earmarks. There was too much corruption when we ran this place. We were guilty. And that’s why we lost.

Cantor on why Republicans lost the Presidency and Senate 

And as terrible as David Brat is, i am thrilled he won.  For several reasons.

The Tea Party is Special

The Tea Party is Special

It means Tea Party is not dead, despite having done much more poorly this election cycle than in the last one, with this notable exception.   Which means the Republican party is still in danger of civil war.

It also means mainstream Republicans will not touch immigration reform (which was the hot button issue at the center of Cantor’s defeat).  This in itself if bad for the country, but it will likely cost Republicans at least the increasingly Hispanic state of Florida in the next presidential election, which could well cost them the White House.

It means that an entrenched, corporately controlled, corrupt, powerful politician has fallen and will be replaced by an extreme but freshman member of the House of Representatives, which bases much of it’s power structure on seniority.

Curiously, Brat’s opponent in the November election will be another professor from the same college.  Brat’s is expected to easily beat Democrat and sociology professor Jack Trammell.

Good bye Eric, you won’t be missed.

 

Unmeasurable antidotes

I have a complaint about science as the current principal truth model.  For science to function you have to have repeatable experiments and you have to be able to measure things.  For many things which i think are important (revolutions and romances jump to mind) both repeatability and measurability are impossible.  There are no good metrics and they are often chronologically unique.  This does not make science in itself bad, but it certainly causes distortions, where we focus on less important things because we can “get more truth” over there.

Lack of love we can measure

Lack of love we can measure

Similarly, the mainstream promoted values of self reliance and independence have negative side effects.  The commercial interpretation of self reliance and independence is that you need to uniquely own everything you need to survive and thrive.  This leads to tremendous idle capacity.  Which leads to the accelerated degradation of the planet.

Trust me, there are lots of alternatives

Trust me, there are lots of alternatives

Some years back the globalization fans were fond of calling it a TINA proposition. There is No Alternative.  This is a catchy name for a profound failure of imagination. Globalization is the current flavor of industrial capitalism which feeds our insatiable need for stuff.  When i talk with mainstream audiences, the idea of affluent people consuming less to save the planet for future generations it goes over pretty poorly. Even the most radical of audiences think that voluntary austerity is an anti-gravity proposition.  But then i pull out my trick question.

“What if i told you that you could work less and have access to more wealth and resources (and save the world as a secondary side benefit)?  This often gets people’s attention.  Especially busy people, who are already pressed for time, think this might be a lovely solution and they want to know more.

Where can i find more time?

Where can i find more time?

 

The principal thing which stops people from living this more luxurious lifestyle is trust.  Because we are generally unwilling to trust other people with your stuff, everyone has to have their own everything.  And almost all of it sits idle almost all the time.  If alternatively we can trust each other, then we can share.  This is not a trivial proposition.  There is logistical leg work, like avoiding brittle sharing agreements, including scheduling and routine or catastrophic repairs.

And this is where community comes in.  More important than any of the products of our cottage industries make, communities are trust building engines.  We are not perfect, certainly and some are much better than others.  But at their core communities share things, both socio-cultural and material.  These cultures help us share and build trust.

We don’t have units to measure trust.  There is little critique of “self reliance” and it’s associated idle resources.  But there is an alternative.  If you are interested in this low hanging fruit of a better world, i would encourage you to strongly consider coming to this years communities conference. August 29th thru Sept 1, 2014 at Twin Oaks in Virginia.

Aliens- The Truth- The New Activism Frontier

I believe in Aliens.

There I said it.

As you may know, I am pretty open about a wide-variety of things, including, but certainly not limited to my polyglamorous relationships, my obsession with twerking, and my desire for some radical heteronormativity in my life. (while of course still maintaining my polyglamorus status.)

I must come out of the space ship, although I hold some reservations about coming out of the space ship. I feel like I will be judged negatively and that the anti-nuclear activists and the communities movement will shun me, that I will have gone too “woo woo” or maybe people will think I’ve simply gone of my rocker. Perhaps if this was just a small part of me people would understand.

images

But, its not.

I think spreading the truth about Space Aliens and their involvement on earth is some of the most important activism we can do. I want to be the Chelsea Manning of Extra Terrestrials. The information NEEDS to be out there and people NEED to know that aliens are among us.

You may be thinking “wow paxus has finally snapped.” As if I haven’t already, excuse me.

The rest of you are thinking ” gee, I wonder why he thinks this.”

And a small number of you, the true truthers, are thinking “yes I believe too, please go on.”

I will gladly tell you the story of how I first became aware that Aliens are real AND living on planet Earth. I am especially excited because this is not one of the stories that I tell on loop at every event ever.

When I was in the Czech, protesting nukes, I met a women named Eleanora. Eleanora was, well, odd to say the least. Her diet is one example, she specifically like invertebrates. She always said in her weird, practically indistinguishable accent “It es so much easeiar to eat dah invertabras, you do not eben ned to peek meat off das bones! You jest squeese it out.” Of course I found it to be ridiculously adorable and we spent many nights together, discussing the protein humans are missing and how nukes may destroy the planet, you know, typical radical type stuff. Another odd thing, she introduced me to twerking, before twerking was a thing, she shared a great love for it.

One night we had plans to spend time together in one of the downtown areas of the czech, she called me and told me that she could not come out that night, she didn’t feel very well. She sounded like she had been crying and I asked her if maybe I could just come over instead. After some conversation she agreed.

When I got there she complained about feeling “allown on dis planet.” and feeling like “All the odders like me have jest given oop and become followers.” At first I thought this was just your typical activist breakdown. You know “The worlds gone mad! Nobody cares!”

But, I became fascinated about how often she used the terms “on dis planet!” and finally it escalated into her practically yelling “And dere destroying the galoxy for the rest of us!”

All the emotion faded from her face, realizing she had said a bit too much. I could see it in her face and me desiring transparency asked her to please explain herself. She took a deep breath and told me that she was a Extra Terrestrial from a somewhat nearby Solar System and that she was hear to try and stop humans from poisoning the universe. She said that her species is somewhat related to hers, but that they had blue hair and some other traits.

Suddenly it all made sense, why Eleanora was constantly buying brown hair dye, while being upset about using such nasty chemicals, and why we never played with her genitals. I didn’t complain because I rather enjoyed all the fellatio I was receiving.

How "in over my head" I felt about Eleanora after she first told me the truth.

How “in over my head” I felt about Eleanora after she first told me the truth.

This led to years and years of Eleanora introducing me to her underground ET politcal groups and explaining to me the various species of aliens, some being related to humans, some being shape shifters. Cats are aliens that take advantage of humans parental instincts.

Remember when I hitchhiked on boats?

Well the whole reason was so that I could get far enough out to sea so that I could get picked up by a spacecraft to and go visit Eleanoras family on the celebration of some religion from their planet.

Inflatable_aliens_at_Anonymous_protest

I have more information, but I have been to space and back multiple times since then.

This information needs to be out.

I know this is a lot to spring on all of you, but I swear it is all true. Its as true as my love for twerking.

Transparency is my favorite thing and this is no different.

Adieu.

Political Imagery

Is bling the new chains?

Is bling the new chains?

What Santa really looks like

What Santa really looks like

One stop cleaning

One stop cleaning

Well be okay without the artists

We’ll be okay without the artists

Facebook lets me see everything

Facebook lets me see everything

Stay warm til we figure out a way out of here

Stay warm til we figure out a way out of here

Who is your filter?

What is your filter?

quality political discourse

quality political discourse

"it okay, i will clean it myself"

“it okay, i will clean it myself”

Exporting democracy

Exporting democracy

nukes are the future

nukes are the future

our great leader will show us the way

our great leader will show us the way

For the complete set of 29 drawing in this style go to The Mind Unleashed

Best.Kid.Present.Ever.

Some years back political cartoonist Stephanie McMillian did a visitor period at Twin Oaks and I had fantasies of one of the communities new industries being radical humor.  She is a clever, quirky, cartoonist with an impossible message to deliver and just the right tool to do it.  Her latest salvo in this on-going public education and activation campaign is on target and at exactly the right price.

Your kids deserve this book

Your kids deserve this book

I discovered Stephanie’s work while I was staying at an amazing squat in Barcelona called Can Masdeu.  The squats library had a copy of the book she illustrated, As the Word Burns: 50 simple things you can do to stay in denial.  Which is a quick read, if it does not cause your brain to explode.

Uncomfortable reading for liberals

Uncomfortable reading for liberals

Her  impossible message is that all of the individual efforts to make things better (recycling, getting off grid, even sharing with your friends) don’t make any difference if you don’t take on the structural problems of capitalism. This is the acid test for radicalism.  Either you believe that you need to step out of your comfort zone and fight for systemic change against quite impressive monsters or you think personal positive actions are enough.  [If you think things are just fine as they are, you have somehow stumbled onto this blog by mistake.]

Just who do you believe?

Just who do you believe?

Stephanie is hardly a one trick pony.  Using satire and the powerfully accessible format of cartoons, she lures you into a critique of the status quo which is inescapably tight in it’s reasoning while still amusing.

And she writes on my issues also

And she writes on my issues also

Like most good propagandists, Stephanie is prolific.  With an impressive list of books and serialized cartoons.  Above are a couple from her Code Green series which focuses on the ecological issues and how corporate media twist perceptions.  Below is an image from her upbeat activist daily affirmations cartoon series.

Mcmillan evidence over dogma

And because I am confident that you have read to here, because the cartoons keep drawing you farther down this post.  Here is the link so that you can get Stephanie’s latest coloring book for kids, priced at what ever you can afford – I paid $25.  Or if you are looking for the longer, more adult version of the story (without coloring), you can order the full length hold-in-your-hands physical book here.  Or for those who are fully digital these days, you can get the adult version of the eBook here, again at the price you choose.

I want my son Willow to understand this stuff, and the only thing more important than that, is that we adults act on this knowledge now.

One of the pictures from Capitalism Must Die Coloring Book - this one is already colored in

One of the pictures from Capitalism Must Die Coloring Book – this one is already colored in

 

 

 

International Workers Day

Because it is states which create legal holidays, there are not many which celibrate anarchists. I only know of one, which is May Day, International Workers Day.

May Day 2014 Indonesia

May Day 2014 Indonesia

What is curious about this holiday is that it is very widely recognized around the world, often officially, but it is not recognized in the US, which is it’s country of origin. According to the Industrial Workers of the World (aka the IWW and “the wobbilies”) it is a commemoration of a labor protest which happened in 1886 in Haymarket Square in Chicago.

May Day 2014 - Italy

May Day 2014 – Italy

On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States walked off their jobs in the first May Day celebration in history. In Chicago, the epicenter for the 8-hour day agitators, 40,000 went out on strike with the anarchists in the forefront of the public’s eye.

May Day 2014 - South Korea.  The signs sat "We deserve a better president"

May Day 2014 – South Korea. The signs sat “We deserve a better president”

The city was braced for violence, but the strikers did not bring it on. And so it was peacefully for two more days and the crowd in Chicago swelled to 100K protesters. After the last firey speech two detectives encouraged the police to rush the podium which they did thru a thining crowd.

May Day 2014 - Turkey

May Day 2014 – Turkey

Someone threw a bomb at the police and not surprisingly the police opened fire on the protesters. No one knows who threw the bomb, it was almost certainly not one of the eight arrested anarchists. We know his because five of them were not even at the event and the other three were in plain sight. None the less, five were sentenced to death by a jury that was composed exclusively of business leaders. Three others would serve 6 years in prison before the governor pardoned them all and went on to publicly lambasted the judge on a travesty of justice.

May Day 2014 - UK

May Day 2014 – UK

The fight for the 8 hour day and 40 hour week were won. Child labor was banned.  But as these pictures clearly show, there is much to do around the world for workers everywhere.

"Don't Mourn, Organize"

“Don’t Mourn, Organize”

The Tanks are Rolling Out …

It is one of my oft told life stories.

Rabbit and Paxus

Prof Rabbit and his unreliable student

In the late fall of 1989, i was in Hawaii and i got a call from Rabbit, who said

They have just had revolutions throughout Eastern Europe.  We need to go, as soon as possible, we need to talk with the revolutionaries and find out what really happened.  Because soon they will write the history books, and once they are written, the truth will be lost forever.

So, in the summer of 1990, Rabbit and i went to Eastern Europe and talked to revolutionaries and discovered some precious pieces which would never make it to the history books.

I tell this story often when introducing myself.  It is one of my life stories which helps move the characters along.  Gets me from being an affluent ocean engineer living in a condo on Oahu to an oft homeless anti-nuclear activist in then Czechoslovakia.  Just one problem, the story’s not true.

Oh, parts of it are true; Rabbit and i did go to Europe.  We talked a bunch about the political changes in the world and the fall of communism, especially.  But we went to Southern Europe, Italy, Greece, and Turkey, which we had planned for months before the revolutions of 1989.  We had a wonderful thought-provoking adventure, it just was not to the east.   The urgent invitation conversation never happened, but it should have.  And thus the story.

Rabbit would spin off and head home to San Francisco, and i would do Eastern Europe by myself, because i was just figuring out what to do with my life.  And i would soon fall in love with Czechoslovakia.

I arrived in Prague on a hot August night.  I slept in Hlavni Nadrazi (the main railroad station) which is normally not possible, but because it was the day before the big Rolling Stones concert, the station was packed all night and the police had bigger fish to fry.

The next day i walked around the city where i knew no one.  Had you told me at the time i would spend most of the next eight years in orbit of this place i would have been curiously surprised and delighted.  When i walked through the central city, i found a curious thing.  It was a pink tank.

not quite my pink tank

not quite my pink tank

It was on its side, having been flipped by the locals when the Russians had tried to maintain control eight months earlier.  Once the protesters had uprighted the tank, the artists came in and had at it.

oink tank with grafitti

I timed my visit to see the inexpensive Rolling Stones concert.  It was being held in Strahov Stadium, which was (and technically still is) the highest capacity stadium in the world, seating between 220K and 250K people.  When it was an active sports arena it could house seven simultaneous soccer games.  Trouble is there are not many times you want the capacity to hold seven parallel soccer games or 220K people.

The first Rolling Stones concert in a recently liberated country, however, is exactly one of the times you need a stadium that size.

Strahov Empty

Strahov Empty

The posters for the concert read “The Tanks are Rolling Out, the Stones are Rolling In.”

More exotic Czech political art

More exotic Czech political art circa 2012

[Edited by Judy Youngquest]

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