Maggie, I swear that penguin winked at me!….

And then, I woke up….. wobbly. That’s wobbly, in the Doctor Who, Tardis-like sense, as regards Time and Space, not the old, rusty bicycle wheel type, that has only to do with one’s progress down the road….. In this sense, wobbly assumes new meaning, much deeper and more relevant to reality than its previous incarnation as a word of note. In this case, wobbly means….. well, wibbly-wobbly.

I know, it’s early for silliness, but, what else can one do when one awakens all giddy and bemused, from having slept to a decent hour, indicative of a number of positive life-events?…. I was so rested and relaxed, I was able to get in a full-body stretch, without falling into a paroxysm of back spasms and leg cramps, for the first time in recent memory, recent being defined as about five years….

Since the universe seems to be in such a positive alignment, I should probably take advantage of that, and see what kind of stuff I can do today to support that trend. Once I’ve spewed out this morning’s Pearl, I think I’ll take a bit of time to do some planning…. As I’ve gotten older, and older, and older, and…. sorry, got stuck….. any who, I find, as time passes, that the more time I spend planning, if I am thorough in my plans, the more efficiently I can get things done.

I don’t end up as often, somewhere on the other side of town, only to find that what I went to do is impossible, as the place I didn’t call isn’t open, or some other such foolishly impulsive activity that would add to my day’s frustration, especially if  I was already in pain. Engaging in a constant war keeps one on one’s toes, so to speak, and my war with gravity is as unrelenting as it is unavoidable…. C’est la vie, though, so I try not to whine about it; I’ve merely learned to think further ahead…..

Now that I’ve completely bored y’all, perhaps I should get on with today’s dive for oysters, in that ocean of data we know and love, called by even the most cynical, the world wide web of knowledge…. which is, when one stops to consider, merely an extension of our minds, suspended in a cloud of electrons held together by sub-nuclear forces of great delicacy, and a bit of glue here and there where the plastic breaks…. Perhaps I’ll find something inspiring, or uplifting…. chances are slim, but not impossible. Perhaps something  humorous; that always goes over well. Whatever it may be, it will be a surprise today, because I’m heading out with no real preconceived notions of where to go, or how to get there….

Of course, some might point out that this is not a particularly unusual event, in the case of this blog. And, they would be right in saying so, because it IS so. I can’t let that affect me, though, or I’d never work up the nerve to publish, knowing what I know about where all this stuff comes from, and where it’s been…. sometimes, it’s not very savory, or polite, or even clean…. But, a real pearl diver doesn’t let stuff like that get in the way of finding, and sharing, the best of what is down there to find, so I’m going to just stop blathering now, and get on with it….. Shall we Pearl?…..

“I’m an atheist, and I thank God for it.” — George Bernard Shaw

:lol:  Trust Mr. Shaw to get to the heart of a matter quickly, eh? I suppose I’m feeling brave today, to pick a subject like this right off the mark, but, this was the first idea of note to pass in front of my mind’s eye on my search, and I had to do as the little icon is doing (if you are viewing this on WordPress… if not, this line will make no sense to you… so go look at it online, for goodness sake!… ), and laugh out loud….

I’m NOT one, you know, not strictly speaking. An atheist, that is…. I suppose you could say I’m more agnostic than atheist, as there is very little hard evidence of any kind that corroborates either the idea of a single, white haired, benevolently vindictive old man up in the sky passing judgments on what everyone is doing and thinking, or of the idea of nothing like that ever happening. Since there isn’t, it’s a bit premature, and unscientific, to make up one’s mind without reservation….

I guess that is the most polite way of saying I don’t buy into any of the delusional material that makes up the dogma, history, and/or tenets of ANY of the major religions of the world. As far as I can see, they all are constructed for the sole purpose of improving the lot of the preachers, and little to do with actual religion, or metaphysical philosophy. When they do drift into trying to explain their delusional interpretations of such ideas, it tends to become either extremely fanciful, or hard-line ignorant. I’m sorry, I don’t tell them what to say, they just say it, and I am not responsible for the fact that NONE of it makes any sense, to me, anyway….

“Nature didn’t make us perfect so she did the next best thing. She made us blind to our faults.” — Grit

This is not to say I don’t appreciate what the churches have done to for humanity over the centuries…. Just think, we have them to thank for, oh, human sacrifice, goat sacrifice, lamb sacrifice, virgin sacrifice, and, oh yes, martyr sacrifice. We can always remember with fondness the crucifixions, and the mutilations, and the torture that those martyrs underwent, because they were all for the good of the church, and society, right? Then there were the religious wars, that continue to today’s world between the Muslims and the Christians, the Hindu and the Sikh, the Tamil, and the Balinese, between the Lutherans and the Methodists, the Catholics and the Protestants, and the Fundamentalists with everybody else alive…. In the immortal words of Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?”…..

“Expertise is gained by investigating why a system doesn’t work.” — Smart Bee

In this sense, I can consider myself an expert, at least when it comes to figuring out why these systems of belief don’t work, and, essentially, never have worked the way they were intended to work by the prophets and philosophers who originally inspired the ideas behind the churches. I’m not entirely convinced that all of them were assholes and wicked perpetrators of scams and con games on the rest of humanity; a few of them weren’t, I’m sure. Jesus of Nazareth seems to have been a smart guy, all in all, though he was handicapped by  having to deal with a group of humans who had about a 5% literacy rate, and life was hard enough that any system of belief had to be kept simple, to allow the constituency enough time to do those things needed to survive, which, those days, took up a LOT of time….

Put most simply, they don’t work because they are wrong. The assumptions all these religious belief systems make, regarding the structure of Reality, is, plain and simple, incorrect, not in any way able to be either corroborated, or demonstrated in real time. No matter how often they claim the opposite, nothing of what they profess to believe has any demonstrable proof that it actually happened, or that it is substantially real at all. They will profess the absolute logic of their faith, and will repeat their lies directly into the face of anyone who dares challenge their delusional assertions, accusing the unbelievers of speaking under the influence of some mythical force of evil intent, rather than the actual tone, or rational content, or spirit of reason being demonstrated by such doubt.

Kindness, compassion, honor, integrity…. These, to me, are the most important characteristics of a human being. Virtue comes from how we act, not from what we believe. No system of belief automatically brings a state of virtue to those who choose to believe in it; only the act itself is important. How we treat others, how we approach life, and other forms of life, are much more valuable to the universe than any lip service to a deity that seems to worry more about being worshiped than taking care of his creations.

G.I.G.O. means ‘garbage in, garbage out’, and is a term, and a process with which I am very familiar, as might be construed by my user name. My study of the major, and many of the minor, religions in the world has led me to conclude that most, if not all, of them are operating under a false set of basic assumptions, and reality dictates that doing so can only produce results that are incompatible, in the long run, with the normal state of reality. This, in turn, can only lead to what we call in the scientific world, “bad things all around”, or, “Oh, shit, it blew up again!”….. Entropy WILL have its way, given half a chance, and starting one’s whole approach to living with a false set of assumptions, is awarding it free rein to send life out of our control….

And people still wonder why the world is so screwed up……

“The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

After a rant like that, only one poet will do…..

Whispers of Immortality

Webster was much possessed by death
And saw the skull beneath the skin;
And breastless creatures under ground
Leaned backward with a lipless grin.

Daffodil bulbs instead of balls
Stared from the sockets of the eyes!
He knew that thought clings round dead limbs
Tightening its lusts and luxuries.

Donne, I suppose, was such another
Who found no substitute for sense;
To seize and clutch and penetrate,
Expert beyond experience,

He knew the anguish of the marrow
The ague of the skeleton;
No contact possible to flesh
Allayed the fever of the bone.

Grishkin is nice: her
Russian eye is underlined for emphasis;
Uncorseted, her friendly bust
Gives promise of pneumatic bliss.

The couched Brazilian jaguar
Compels the scampering marmoset
With subtle effluence of cat;
Grishkin has a maisonette;

The sleek Brazilian jaguar
Does not in its arboreal gloom
Distill so rank a feline smell
As Grishkin in a drawing-room.

And even the Abstract Entities
Circumambulate her charm;
But our lot crawls between dry ribs
To keep our metaphysics warm.

~~ T.S. Eliot ~~


Today has been somewhat traditional, in terms of format, so we’ll stick with that, and go old-school for today’s third offering…. These are fresh pearls, chosen just after writing this, so, it’s pot luck again…. enjoy….

“Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.” — J. R. “Bob” Dobbs

“Only the mediocre are always at their best.” — Jean Giraudoux

“Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.” — Harry Emerson Fosdick

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” — Carl Sagan

“Little girls, like butterflies, need no excuse.” — Lazarus Long, from Robert A. Heinlein’s “Time Enough For Love”

Now, that is an almost perfect group of pearls! But, I think there may be a couple more that would finish it off nicely…..

“In fact, one thing that I have noticed . . . is that all of these conspiracy theories depend on the perpetrators being endlessly clever. I think you’ll find the facts also work if you assume everyone is endlessly stupid.” — Brian E. Moore

When the dream came, I held my breath with my eyes closed.
I went insane, like a smoke ring day when the wind blows.

—  Neil Young

“By God, for a moment there, it all made sense…” — Smart Bee

Okay, so it took three…. But, you will note, please, it is a damn near perfect pearl, even with eight, instead of the classic seven…. I love it when a plan comes together….

I did it. I was up at such a good time, and slept so well, I wanted to make it all as fresh as I could…. so I did. Let’s see how it holds up…. Okay, well, that’s not half-bad. I’ll take it…. Wrap it up and send it over to my hotel, would you? Thanks….. That having been said, all is right in my world, and I’m off to go play in it….  Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..

When I works, I works hard.
When I sits, I sits loose.
When I thinks, I falls asleep.

Which is Why….

Sometimes I sits and thinks,
and sometimes
I just sits.



Acres and acres of obsolete dreams….

Patterns of light, both bright and fearful chase each other madly ’round and ’round, mad peals of laughter shrieking through the cool night air. Ghostly figures of unheralded regrets vie for position closer to the oddly shaped harpsichord in the foyer, while the thief of lost hope and his cohorts silently steal away. As the outer walls grow nearer, madness fades, and the silent myrmidons forge ahead, further into the day, further from the night’s insanity, until reality assumes a more familiar form and face, and faded regrets hold no more power over the hearts of the unmindful……

As is often obvious, reality can be pretty fluid in my world. I don’t insist that it stay in familiar patterns just to make me more comfortable; that never works in any case. Also, I find that reality becomes more palatable, more amenable the less one tries to have any influence over it; it seems to resent, and resist, any such foolery, and has been known to revolt altogether when attempts are made to make it conform to any preconceived notions. And to be honest, I don’t blame it at all….. let’s see what’s in the hopper for us today, shall we?…..

“Some people write to please, to soothe, to console. Others to provoke, to challenge, to exasperate and infuriate. I’ve always found the second approach the more pleasing.” — Edward Abbey   (Me too! Obviously….)

Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;
He who would search for pearls must dive below.
— John Dryden (1631-1700)
— All for Love, Prologue

When I first thought about what to call the results of this process that I put myself through to create the email Pearls, and now the blog posts, I had a hard time finding an appropriately accurate yet whimsically irreverent name. Letting my subconscious mind loose on the problem finally produced the title I have kept now for over 12 years, to wit: Pearls of Virtual Wisdom, considered as a subset of the ongoing experience of Exploring Consensual Reality in which I engage. Now I can see where the inspiration for that had at least part of its roots; it is entirely possible I must have come across this sometime in my wanderings through the Unending Forest of Books. No matter, really, I just got a charge out of finding it again, as it’s one of those wonderful little nuggets of truth that make such an addictive snack for the ever-voracious mind I call home. Short, sweet, and deep as the deep blue sea…

Since I’m in the mood for whimsy, here is some, attached to a nugget of truth…..

“A person is not given integrity. It results from the relentless pursuit of honesty at all times.” — Anonymous, aka Unknown

Anonymous was a Greek philosopher extraordinaire, often confused with Aristotle, who lived during the same period of history. This was written, according to the crumbling document upon which it was transcribed, in the year 89 B.C., Thursday about supper time, in the early spring… or so it says. Honest…. that’s what it says. What do you mean? Why would I make it up?….. Trust me…..

Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.  (Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.) — William of Occam, Occam’s Razor

Just in case you ever wondered where it came from…… okay, end of this segment of silliness in the guise of wit. Back to the serious stuff….

“Agnosticism simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that for which he has no grounds for professing to believe.” — Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895)

I wish fundamentalists and proselytizing sects could, or would, understand this point, and not take it so damn personally when their faith based platforms are not accorded privileged status in someone else’s world view. I mean, it’s not as if hordes of agnostics are going door to door, trying to destroy anyone’s faith, or convert anyone to their own beliefs. Nor are they taking out ads espousing agnosticism, or actively recruiting anyone to join them in their interpretation of reality.

But for some reason (not unknown, merely not pertinent here), they cannot do that; it is beyond their capability to entertain two separate concepts at the same time, without making a judgment on both; yer either fer us, or yer agin us….. there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground between their reality and that of anyone else. I’ll confess, I’ve never been able to understand, or get on board with, this particular brand of denial. I’ve found that reality is much more predictable and pleasant when taken as is, and not as we would like it to be. Fewer headaches, and no ulcers, ever…..

Good-nature and good sense are usually companions.

I like that. It makes perfect sense, on the planet I inhabit. (Sorry, couldn’t resist…)  If one takes a moment to think about what makes this statement true, and how it applies to reality, one comes to the illuminating notion that “balance is everything”. Knowing where one’s center is, and allowing that knowledge to direct one’s responses to the unpredictable nature of reality, is a valuable tool, one that is essential to a healthy approach to life.

By healthy, I mean it is a natural and sustainable condition, which fosters a continuous state of growth in one’s strength, integrity, and compassion, improves the chances of survival, and teaches eloquently the importance of choice, of not letting fate have everything its own way.  In other words, our world is what we make of it, and that kind of freedom allows good sense and good nature to co-exist in harmony, makes food taste better, can sometimes get you free tickets to Disneyland, and is guaranteed to turn you into a chick magnet…. well, maybe not the last two…… Sure would be cool, though, huh?…..

If thou are rich, thou art poor;
For, like an ass whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear’st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee.
— Shakespeare (1564-1616) — Measure for Measure, Act III

As I’ve said before, Shakespeare isn’t one of my favorites; though I acknowledge without shame that he was a sheer genius at what he did. As such, he occasionally comes up with something that meets all my standards, and compels me to include it in a post. This is one of those that jumps out and administers a ringing blow to the side of one’s head, as reality is wont to do. It’s a simple concept, but one not designed to create any feelings of empathy for the trials of the rich, or sympathy for the suffering of the poor; it merely reminds us of how our own mortality makes all our stature and posturing irrelevant.

I’m reminded of an aphorism related by Alan Watts in one of his books, which says: “If you wish to have a lifetime of trouble, fill your house with treasure.” Young as I was when I first read it, the clarity and truth in the saying was obvious, and it has stayed with me through all my life, allowing me to enrich my life with love, compassion, and good memories, rather than gold, silver, or precious gems….

God’s   Problem Now:

His wife’s graveside service was just barely finished, when there was a massive clap of thunder, followed by a tremendous bolt of lightning,  accompanied by even more thunder rumbling in the distance.  The little old man  looked at the pastor and calmly said, “Well, she’s there.”

Priceless….. any man who has been married for more than say, 10 years or so, can relate perfectly, on at least one level… can many wives married the same amount of time….. at least, the ones with a sense of humor can; humor is a characteristic of wives that is not consistently present; a significant number of them end up without one, or lose it in the hustle and bustle of modern existence.  According to a friend, and fellow WordPress blogger, Linda Vernon, those women all tend to work at Pottery Barn.

That might be true, I don’t do either gardening (completely black thumb), or knick-knacks, so I can’t hold an opinion about that; I do know that I can always spot the ones who didn’t get one, or have lost the one they were issued, by the unique expression they wear in public, sort of a demonic, red-eyed, clenched jaw sort of look. Dead giveaway, if you know what to look for…. and trust me, 23 years of marriage to a woman with a powerful personality left me with a very keen eye for the signs of developing trouble in the female face.

And they all share that face; I’ve seen it elsewhere as well, on the faces of other women in a relationship. It’s hard when people lose their sense of humor; they tend to lose connection with the positives, and concentrate on the negatives that are part and parcel of any human interaction, ultimately driving away the very person they formerly wanted to stay…..

So much for that….took a lot of effort today, but, hey, I had nothing else to do this morning. Funny, I’m in a semi-fugue state, mere millimeters from complete unconsciousness, yet the visual world is bright and clear in my eyes, the refrigerator noise is as loud as ever, and the chair hurts my butt as usual. Odd feeling, to be sure….. I’ll go feel my way into the day now….. y’all take care out there….

Sometimes I sits and thinks,
and sometimes
I just sits.