Would chartreuse fill the bill?…

Ffolkes,

I remember fire, and fear, and the smell of blood. Blurred, confused images pass behind my eyes, unheeded, as I try to separate all the conflicting perceptions clamoring for my attention from all directions…. Panicked, I open my eyes, only to close them immediately, as the smoke and heat fly into my awareness, and into my lungs. Coughing madly, I start to run, anywhere….

Crashing into walls, screaming in abject, unreasoning fear, I run blindly down the hallway, with flames and smoke pulling at me, reaching out to caress with seductive, lethal fingers, as I flee past the open doors, all with more flames and smoke pouring out…. As I near the window at the end of the hallway, the glass bursts, sending millions of glittering sharp needles raining down at my face….

So, I ducked, grabbed a fire extinguisher, & put out the fire….. Actually, what I actually did is stop writing, because I couldn’t decide whether to kill him off, or save him, & it was getting close to the point where I’d have to do one or the other…. Rather than make up my mind, I decided to just give up, and bring y’all into this paragraph, where a taste of real-time will bring us right into line with our agenda for today. Well, that’s the plan, anyway. Given the general state of affairs around these parts, there’s really no telling what will ACTUALLY occur…. That’s just fine, though, we like it that way….

That’s what we keep telling ourselves, anyway…. that’s our story, and we’re sticking with it. (As you can see, we are also using the royal “we” today….) Besides, what with the way that Reality generally treats ALL of us, I’ve found it’s best to go along with whatever happens, without argument. Trying to make things work the way I want is not what I’d call a lucrative occupation, not for a person who claims to be a realist…. Reality seldom asks us for our opinions about how things should go; it just lets the shit fly, with no worries about what it sticks to…. No nose, y’know?…. the smell doesn’t affect ‘em….

I’d claim it had one, (a nose, that is….), but, the anthropomorphizing of inanimate forces of Nature seldom results in anything other than a black eye, or a bloody nose, with the ubiquitous Murphy being  both the obvious exception that proves the rule, and, the perpetrator of Reality’s sardonic attentions…. Besides, y’all are probably aware by now of what is going on here…..

No doubt, the regulars among you have tumbled to what I’ve been doing for the past five paragraphs, as they’ve seen this sort of trickery before…. Yes, we’re deep into the depths of another of my famous meanders, and it’s too late now to say we’re not…. Not only is it too late for that, but, we’ve also lost our way to the end….

But, we have the means to deal with that, no worries…. I’ll just open up this little cupboard right here, and pull out this little package, containing all the denial I’ll need to deal with the reporters later, while I surreptitiously apply Emergency Method #4….. otherwise known as the sudden complete stop…..

Shall we Pearl?

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

Aha! I KNEW there was SOMETHING I was doing wrong!….. Ah well, it DOES add more to the arguments explaining why using EM #4 is a good idea on mornings like this one…
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I’m in a strange place today…. I suppose, coming from me, that isn’t saying anything particularly unusual, but, it still holds true; even for me, I’m feeling weird…. I read the two articles below yesterday, during the short period of time I was able to sit and read news-type stuff….

The first was added to the evidence in my mind regarding the imminent world-wide environmental crisis that Mankind has to face in the coming years, while the second offers at least a small bit of philosophy that could be of help to us in our struggle… by which I mean, the article by Mark M. has some very rational points to bring out, points which, if heeded, can’t help but make things better for a lot of people…. But, who listens to a smart-ass, semi-millennial, faux hippie with a big vocabulary, except ffolkes like me?….

I could conceivably, and quite easily, I’m sure, rant on the first article, about society’s pending demise, thus proving it fits into the prevailing theory of civilization to which the article refers, a theory which delineates how cultures age over time, until their predictable, eventual, inevitable collapse, destroyed from within by corruption, and the weight of its own folly. Our society is a perfect fit for this theory, for which there exists a LOT of evidence, all provided from our own history. But, I’m still a bit tired, and not able to sit long enough to do justice to such a critical, complex subject….

Instead, read the two articles, to get a good idea of where we are today in the World at Large… For your reading and cogitative pleasure, I’ve followed these with a religirant from the archives, just for fun….. Enjoy, ffolkes, as much as you can, considering the subject matter….

http://www.sfgate.com/news/houston-texas/texas/article/NASA-funded-report-says-society-is-trending-5328327.php

http://blog.sfgate.com/morford/2014/03/18/is-work-life-balance-a-lie/

The following rant is one of my best, all in all, as it didn’t start out with the intent to rant, but just grew naturally….. Abondanza!….

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From 11/24/13:

The following religirant is from June of 2012; in my opinion, it remains as cogent as the day it was first written….. Thank goodness, as it gives me a reason to use it now. (Note from 2014: It’s as valid today as it was last November…)  My advice is to take it with the usual grain or two of your favorite flavored salt….. Myself, I like a mixture of onion and garlic salts, with some cracked black pepper, and a touch of chili powder, for interest, and balance…. Metaphorically speaking, you could think of that as Reason, Doubt, and Imagination…. apply them to any subject, and they’ll come out a lot better than merely using Faith and/or Fearful Denial….

“Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

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“History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it.” — Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love (1972)

There are many folks out there who, when reading my material for the first time, might get the impression that I am an atheist, and an anarchist. The stuff I write would tend to give that impression, I have no doubt. But, it really isn’t the case, and just goes to show that not everything is always as it seems….

I’m not an atheist, at least not in a classical sense. I would more accurately be described as agnostic, as I believe strongly in a spiritual component in the universe. But, the very concept of omnipotence, and omniscience, implies that one cannot define God, or whatever entity one considers to be the ultimate authority. A finite mind cannot comprehend an infinite mind; anything we can imagine cannot, by definition, be accurate or complete, as our minds are not infinite in scope.

It could be said that our imagination IS infinite. We can, at the very least, comprehend the concept of infinity, even if we cannot touch it, or see it, or count that high. But, to actually think that what we imagine about God is the same as reality is not only arrogant, it is foolish. Yet a large percentage of the human race not only believes they know what God looks like (ironically, God always looks suspiciously like the folks who are claiming Him as their deity….), but, also have the temerity to say that they know what He wants. To my way of thinking, this is sheer self-aggrandizement, and unjustifiably arrogant….

I suppose it helps them in dealing with the everyday stresses of life to think that they are special. It must be comforting to think they are beloved of God, and what they do is important to Him. This sense of belonging is important to a lot of folks, in reaction, I think, to their own fears about their ability, or, in their eyes, their inability, to deal with reality as it exists. It gives them a sense of entitlement, and justifies their actions, no matter how immoral or unethical they may be. It allows them to act upon their impulses without restraint, to lie, to cheat, to steal, all in the name of the Lord. And, if they should happen to feel a tiny shred of guilt about what they are doing to other folks, why, they just confess their sins to Jesus, and all is forgiven!….

Sorry, ffolkes, but I could never buy into the whole scenario, from my earliest days on this planet…. All of my experience, and all of my reasoning has led me to a different view of reality than what is described by any religion. I have observed the behavior of most people of a religious bent to be, as a rule, hypocritical, cruel, bigoted, racist, and, for the most part, unrelated to any moral or ethical system of any depth. Those who claim to be the MOST religious in society go so far as to threaten violence toward anyone who disagrees with their beliefs, justified by their own self-proclaimed right to spew their hatred on anyone who differs.

I believe in compassion and kindness. I believe in love. I believe in protecting the vulnerable, and helping the less fortunate. I believe in beauty. And, I believe in reality, whatever that may be; it’s purely subjective for the most part. I DON’T believe in the divinity of Jesus, or Buddha, or Lao Tzu, or Mohammad, or any other religious prophet. I don’t believe there is some white haired, bearded old guy sitting on a throne of gold up in the sky somewhere, looking down and getting his shorts in a bunch because I didn’t salute his graven image first thing after I got up.

That whole graven image thing, and the idea that God wants, or needs, our worship has always been a thorn in my side. I mean, can’t these zealots understand the irony of worshiping an image of Christ on the cross? Don’t they know that the cross is a graven image? And, most importantly to me, why would an omnipotent being NEED to have MY worship? It makes no sense. None. I cannot imagine of ANY reason for a God to care at all about such petty bullshit; I don’t care to be worshiped, why should He? Having someone act that way toward me makes me uncomfortable, so I can’t see why a God would even want to go there. What purpose does it serve? In my opinion, it debases the worshiper, AND the one worshiped.

One of my computer alarms just went off, and made me realize I was ranting, which I had not started out to do. I think y’all can get the gist of my arguments by this time, and, since those who are in disagreement with what I’ve written aren’t going to be persuaded away from their long-held delusions by my words, further soliloquy would be futile.

I’ll just finish by saying this…. until Mankind grows up enough to be able to put aside the crutch of religion, until the species as a whole learns to stand up to reality as it exists, without the delusional imaginary friend to intercede on their behalf with the universe, then our path to extinction will remain clear…. It’s too bad, really, because we do show a lot of promise, at times, and under the right conditions…. It’s too bad we will never be allowed to explore our limits as an adult species, because we will have killed ourselves off before we ever got out of childhood….

“There ain’t no devil, there’s just God when he’s drunk.” — Tom Waits, Heartattack and Vine
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There you go…. Now, I COULD continue ranting on this theme; it’s one I can pick up in a heartbeat. But, I’ll be nice, and get on with the rest of today’s effort…. See, I CAN be disciplined…. and compassionate, as well…. it just takes a while sometimes……

“It is in changing that things find repose” — Heraclitus
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On days such as this one is turning out to be, I try to NOT let any of what takes place here splash onto other people…. In that vein, here is one of my older poems, just to fill up this space with something that rhymes….

A Dubiously Soft Morning

Idiosyncratic images, clamoring for regard,
fill up the white, bright, empty screen on which I view
my life, never seeing, nor invited to sup
ambrosial remnants of anything new.

Still, but almost in motion, allegory sails away
bobbing gently, quick and easy to find,
signs of one happy child, seriously at play,
blissfully immersed, focused joy in mind.

Formidable cries of outraged simple justice
echo plaintive relevance, in half the time.
Maladaptive infants, destined for hospice
salvage an only child, daring to sing in rhyme.

Creativity equals unquestioning farce,
often reaching for absurdity, brazenly afire.
Instead, a blow is felt that no joy will soften,
accepting the price, added to the cost of desire.

~~ gigoid ~~

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Fiddle de dee, fiddle de dum….. I smell the blood of an English mun…. I always hated that rhyme; it isn’t QUITE right, and, thus, hurts my obsessive sense of order…. But, it’s a nice little phrase to indicate the passage of time, with the added attraction of being thoroughly nonsensical…. As such, it’s handy for those of us who rely on literary tricks to get by…. Patently, it’s useful, if only to get us where we needed to go, which, oddly enough, is right here….. Fancy that!…..

I COULD get really silly, and go for Monty Python style in this next section, but, I’m not terribly expert in the Silly Walk. I CAN do a decent “Ni ni ni….”, but, how many times can one fall back on that? Not too many, I can assure you…. No, we’ll stay with what we know best, which just happens to be an old-school pearl, with parameters unset, to give it that random, harlequin look… It works for me, as it will for you, if you give it half a chance…. that’s all we’re asking for, ffolkes, just half a chance….

“The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives.” — Albert Schweitzer

“Regrets and complaints about relations are to be attributed to the same cause, which is not old age, but men’s characters and tempers; for he who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but for someone with the opposite deposition, youth and old age are equally a burden.” — Plato,_The Republic_, Book 1

“And it came to pass that in the hands of the ignorant, the words of the bible  were used to beat plowshares into swords…” — Alan Watts

“Mark how fleeting and paltry is the estate of man,–yesterday in embryo, to-morrow a mummy or ashes. So for the hair’s-breadth of time assigned to thee live rationally, and part with life cheerfully, as drops the ripe olive, extolling the season that bore it and the tree that matured it.” — Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 AD) — Meditations, iv, 48

“Nature does nothing uselessly.’ — Aristotle

“Extinct is forever.” — Smart Bee

“There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you please unless it causes others harm. With it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.” — P.J. O’Rourke
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I seem to be incapable of reaching any sort of conclusive resolution regarding the nature, and/or disposition of this Pearl; some time during the creation of today’s piece, my mind took a hike, and hasn’t returned all the way…. Something out there in my subconscious is drawing a good portion of its focus, so, I guess I’ll have to finish this without benefit of being 100% present…. and if anyone makes a comment as to that being a normal state, I WILL be hurt…. 

Not really, cuz it’s perfectly true, and I try not to let true stuff hurt me…. (see the last pearl in section three to see why….)…. Actually, I’m all here, I’m just not ALL here, if you catch my drift….

Now that I’ve gotten to the point of deliberate obscurity, I’d better bring this to a close…. It’s true, though, I don’t know what to think about today’s Pearl; it felt strange while putting it together, and still defies my complete comprehension…. I’m a little worried about how that will affect others, but, hey, we all take a risk, every time we try to use whatever it is we keep between our ears, so, like me, and everyone else, y’all are on your own in that respect…. I don’t think any of it will actually HARM you, unless, of course, you try to use it as REAL wisdom….

See ya tomorrow, when things will be different…. None of us has much of a choice about THAT, do we?…..

Y’all take care out there,
and May the Metaphorse be with you;
Blessed Be, dearest  Carole, Mark, and Theresa…
and everyone else, too…

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.

gigoid the dubious

dozer3

He needs more time, or it won’t fly….

Ffolkes,

One might surmise, given the relatively advanced age I’ve reached today, I might just be able to show a degree or two of restraint, and keep from ranting first thing. On the other hand, I find it encouraging that, at this age, (I’m 63 today, an age I NEVER contemplated reaching when I thought about it in my earlier days….) I still have the wherewithal to expend energy on ranting at all. I find it to be quite positive to be able to bring my experience, and my extensive knowledge of the English language, to bear on the issues I see around me, and hope I never give up my sense of activism, at least as far as ranting goes… I might not join in too many more demonstrations out on the streets, but, I’ll keep writing as long as I have a venue from which, and in which, I can spout off….

Sixty-three…. hmph. I suppose you COULD say it’s a perfect age, just right for curmudgeonly attitudes and ill-tempered, bombastic outbursts, all aimed at these whippersnappers in Washington who are fouling everything up with their stupidity, their selfishness, and their rampant lack of integrity. When I was a lad, we didn’t have politicians like these, no sirree… our politicians had HAIR. They were honest! They fought commies, and won! They were bigger than life… and THAT is as much of a crock of pure bullshit now, as it was then…. For sure…

No, I can’t say much about politics being different now, because it isn’t…. Many of today’s issues actually have their roots in the fifties, when I was first starting to observe the political world, and then-President Eisenhower, that old soldier, knowing well the value of silence, in 1954, quietly began sending our troops over to Southeast Asia, as “observers”, without bothering to tell the American people about it…. The general knowledge of his build-up of troops in Viet Nam didn’t happen until the mid-sixties, right before I went off to college, and boy, the shit hit the fan then, didn’t it?

The universities and colleges in this country, and across the entire world, became hotbeds of revolution (For any NSA hot-heads who might be listening in….. whoa, calm down, there, big fellas, it’s just a word….. revolution merely means “change”, not “doom”….. at least, not from THIS side of the word….), fomenting discontent among the common citizens, and turning millions of young people, like me, into life-long political reformists, by pointing out how the government, and all it’s supporters and lackeys, were reacting in the classical fashion of the guilty…. The issues that came to light back then were so powerful, and of such a revolutionary nature, that even long-time supporters of the government, (such as my father, a WWII survivor, and a 20 year Army veteran….) began to question what the government officials of the time were up to, to the point of writing letters to ask them that very question, pointedly….

I remember once, I came home from college for a weekend visit, in 1969, ( I was at UC Berkeley, a REAL center of protest at that time….)… I brought with me a copy of the SF Chronicle from the day before I arrived, which had a picture on the back page, a large one, of an Oakland Tactical Squad member leveling a shotgun at the back of a fleeing hippie…. The young protester was speeding away from the officer, some thirty or forty yards down the block, in full flight, hair streaming, arms akimbo, running full speed for his life… The officer was obviously about to fire, with his shotgun up level, aiming straight at the protestor’s BACK. The picture had appeared the morning after one of the People’s Park demonstrations, taking up half of the back page, as it was taken from a rooftop across from the action, the day before it was published…. But, when I got home & showed it to my father, he was astounded!…. No, that is too weak a word…. he was flabbergasted, as well as extremely dismayed…

You see, he had received his copy of that same Chronicle, delivered to our home, 300 or so miles away from the Bay Area, in a conservative farming town near San Luis Obispo…. but, the picture was not anywhere in the paper…. He was astounded, not only because of the subject matter of the picture, (a policeman obviously firing at the back of an unarmed, fleeing citizen…. ), but because of the censorship implied in its absence from the paper, removed to spare the sensibilities of the conservatives who were far away from the scene itself…. It was his first evidence that he, and the rest of the American public, were not getting ALL the facts from their own government, whom they trusted….

It actually was quite a sad time, for both of us, as he had been the one to pass on to me his own patriotic beliefs, and his pride in this country; it hurt to know that our faith was completely undeserved by those who had taken power here…. He wrote to several government officials he knew from his time in service, at the Pentagon, but was never able to find anyone who wasn’t part of the cover-up going on, and was thus turned against the very government he had defended so valiantly in WWII, even giving up some of his blood in the process (he earned a purple heart, though he wouldn’t talk about it much….)

You know, I just realized that my father’s reaction to the exposure that occurred during the Viet Nam protests in the sixties is most likely the major qualifying reason for my political activism today…. It pisses me off, royally, that this government could so egregiously abuse the patriotism and belief in the system held by my father…. Not merely for him, but for myself, and for all those men and women who gave their lives and personal loyalty to defend what they believed this country to be about, I began to observe, to form ideas and opinions, and to comment upon what they do…

It’s only now, after I’ve retired, and have the time to pursue this, that I’ve really started to work at it; I try now to give them as much shit as I can possibly shovel out to throw at them…. This country, as my father saw it, and as he taught me to see it, is a GOOD place, with people who care about each other, and make an honest effort to  live their lives with honor and integrity…. It is a place where a person can look for their own destiny, without interference from others, and without having to fear for their lives because their destiny is not the same as what is common, or traditional. It’s a place where the word, “freedom”, actually means something important to every man and woman, without having to resort to creating fear in order to have it….

But, the people who have become professional politicians, who have fallen under the manipulative powers of the shadowy special interests of the bankers and corporations, have usurped that integrity, and turned us into a nation of self-serving, fearful, ignorant assholes, not willing to share anything with the rest of the world, jealously hoarding as many resources for our own use as we can get away with, bombing the crap out of anyone who has something we desire, and won’t give it to us…. We’ve become the world’s bully, throwing our weight around everywhere, just as if we had the right to do so, and no matter how the people we are abusing feel about it….

Oops, did it again, didn’t I?…. It must be an age-related issue…. I started off reminiscing about the old days, just like any old-timer, then lost my way, and began to spout off against the machine, again…. SIGH…. Oh well, maybe this means the rest of today can get going without any further ranting on my part…. or, not, as the case may be…. I guess we’ll have to wait and see…. for now….

Shall we Pearl?…..

“In every affair consider what precedes and what follows, and then undertake it.” — Epictetus (c. 60 AD) — Discourses, Book iii, Chap. xv
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I ranted so long above, I decided not to rant in this section, a decision for which I’m sure you are eternally grateful… I am including here the article I noticed yesterday, and the comments I made on it… Then, however, instead of ranting, I’ll put in a harlequin pearl, to try to make the same points as always, but, in a new and exciting way…. If you believe that, let’s talk real estate, ‘kay?….  Enjoy!….

http://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Report-Snowden-gets-tech-support-job-in-Russia-4942178.php

The interesting part of this article is the comments…. From what I could tell, the vast majority, apparently nearly all, of the commenters supported what Snowden had done, either regarding him as a hero, or thanking him in some way for his bravery, in being the one to pull the covers on the NSA and the government’s deep involvement in spying on their own people. Like myself, they are aware of the fact that, in the process of exposing the government’s lack of integrity, he was giving up his own life as an American citizen, resigning himself to a lifetime of persecution by a vengeful collection of dishonest and highly embarrassed politicians, on both sides of the political aisle….

Enough of that; y’all know how I feel about this already. Let’s go pearl, shall we?….

“Although everyone is entitled to be stupid, some abuse this privilege.” — Smart Bee

ARENA, n.  In politics, an imaginary rat-pit in which the statesman wrestles with his record. — Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”

“How could the drops of water know themselves to be a river? Yet the river flows on.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“We should be able to see that our interest would be best served not by asking the state to promulgate our values but by forbidding the state to promulgate any values at all. If the state can espouse some value that we love, it can, with equal justice, espouse others we do not love.” — Richard Mitchell

“Why is the universe the way we see it?  If it had been any different, we would not be here!” — Stephen Hawking

“Don’t tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish.” — Mark Twain

“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.” — Alan Watts

Sometimes, perfection just sneaks up on you, patiently sitting in front of your face until you notice it’s there….
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Inside the museum infinity goes up on trial.
Voices echo, ‘This is what salvation must be like after a while.’
But Mona Lisa must have had the highway blues;
you can tell by the way she smiles.

– Bob Dylan

Time, and again….

Life, and/or love, will seldom fit
into any box we keep for them to sit.
Loose and limber, without any reason,
always somewhat out of season.

Surprise, surprise, they seem to say,
can’t help it, it’s just our way.
If only you would learn, instead of know,
maybe you’d find yourself with one to show.

Deal, just the way it is, now and here,
follow the path, on the other side of fear.
Finding the future isn’t all blood, sweat, and pain,
far, far more than mere joy we stand to gain.

The sages all say not to try, just do,
sounds as simple as putting on a shoe.
I’d say we could really go places,
if we could learn, to tie up the laces….

~~ gigoid ~~


I believe I mentioned there was a poem percolating in the unguarded, dark corners of my mind somewhere…. I guess it was waiting for the right moment to push its way out into the light of day…. Here ’tis, such as it is…. I like it, myself, as is obvious from the fact that it’s here…. I’ll stop blathering now….
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Okay, so, I’m happy…. It’s my birthday, I’m up and feeling pretty good, all in all, and have gotten a poem out of my head, always a good sign of mental health, for me…. That stuff does better out than in, if you know what I mean…. or, even if you don’t, it still does better out than in…. Any who, I’ll be done soon, so, have patience…. Here is a random pearl, picked from the archives, but, from another of my birthday posts, to keep it all in the family…. let’s see what I did back then….

11/1/11
Ffolkes,
Today is my birthday. I’m sixty-one years old now, and one might think I’m all grown up. I suppose I am. If being such is defined as the state of finally accepting one’s own mortality, whether with fear and loathing, or with calm and grace, then, yes, I am all grown up, for I have exhibited both states of late.

I am still at the point where the thought of death is not easily applied to myself; I’ve been immortal since my early teens, and only of late have I come to realize that such a belief might be an erroneous assumption. I’ve always thought that the progress mankind has made in the field of medicine would reach a point where living much longer than we do would become common, and yes, I’ve been accused of unreasonable optimism previously. But, though there is improvement, the average age of death for males in our society continues to hover right around 72 years, and that for me is all too close for comfort.

When the Grim Reaper comes for me, he’ll find me to be unwilling to cooperate; when they take me, it will be kicking, fighting, biting, screaming, and whatever else it takes to keep from having to leave this life before I am ready to do so. I’ve got a lot left to get done before I can consider myself to have done all of what I set out to do in life; I will need more time before I can feel ready for it to end. Unfortunately, we don’t always get the last word in that particular decision-making process; all too often it is taken out of our hands altogether. I can only hope to be given enough time to finish what I’ve begun.

I have a number of creditors to appease today, it being that time of the month when they all come out of the woodwork with their grasping hands, greedily trying to take some of my money before I give it to someone else. None of them seem to care that if I give them all what they wish, then I won’t eat again this month. Ah well, c’est la vie, such as it is…..not exactly what I had in mind for birthday activity, but we gotta do what we gotta do. Since I do have all that to deal with, we’ve gone back to the old format again today. The Pearls were all chosen for their luster; they shine even in the dark…..enjoy!!!

“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.” — Mark Twain (1835-1910)

“For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate error so long as reason is left free to combat it.” — Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) — First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

Heavy, adj.: Seduced by the chocolate side of the force.

And if we do but watch the hour,
There never yet was human power
Which could evade, if unforgiven,
The patient search and vigil long
Of him who treasures up a wrong.

– Lord Byron (1788-1824) — Mazeppa, Stanza 10

“To lose a friend is the greatest of all losses.” — Syrus

There….I feel better, sort of….. y’all take care out there…..

Back in 2013 now, and, I’m sensing a theme here…. Good thing we’re all done, isn’t it?….
_____________________________

Okay, so I went a little overboard…. if you hadn’t noticed, it happens around here on a regular basis, and I’m not going to apologize for it, not when it makes me feel so damn good…. Y’all will just have to deal with my unwarranted, and possibly frightening, display of good will and high spirits today…. or not, it’s up to you, as always… I do hope you enjoyed it all…. Now, let’s see if any of it makes any sense…..

Not only does it make sense, I feel even better, knowing I still have to appease creditors, but, having done so today, I can still go out for breakfast…. I’m a simple guy, really, though it may seem otherwise if you go by what happens here on ECR…. Breakfast makes me happy, and I say that’s simple, and right, and I’m going to go have some now…. See ya….

Y’all take care out there,
and May the Metaphorse be with you;
Blessed Be, dearest  Carole, Mark, and Theresa…
and everyone else, too…

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.

gigoid

dozer3

Ecstasy mode has been added as an accessory….

Ffolkes,

“Do not settle for less than the best your own excellence can command.” — Anne McCaffrey

Excellence has always been the goal, for almost my entire life…. In school, on the playing field, at work, every activity I have engaged in has been given my best effort at performing the given tasks as well as they could be done, whether physical or mental in nature. Without tootling my horn too loudly, I’ve done pretty well at it…. I was valedictorian of my high school class, played three varsity sports, achieving All League status in both football and baseball, and have gotten consistently excellent work ratings at whatever job I held…. My personal philosophy, Peruaosophy, acknowledges the importance of excellence in my life, with axiom # 4 stating, “Excellence is its own reward.”…..

This morning, I am reaching a milestone in blogging…. This will be my 800th post, in just over two years of blogging, not all of which met my standards of excellence, other than in their consistency of publication, and their technical characteristics, such as grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. As for the literary aspects, I will be the first to admit that what I’ve created doesn’t always tip the scale all the way to ‘excellent’ in every post, but, I made an excellent effort at it, and would imagine about half of it could be considered quite good….. Some of it is pretty funny, anyway….

So, anyway, I am not sure how I should react to this milestone…. I’m well past the time in my life where I’d use this as an excuse to go celebrate, abusing my liver by an outrageous consumption of adult beverages, but, I guess I won’t mind feeling a small glow of satisfaction for the day…. Well, I can do that, once this actually gets posted, and this 800th version of the Pearls of Daily Wisdom on WordPress joins its fellows…. Since I am trying to rest, and gather my resources and energy for the upcoming move I have to make, in two days, it will be nice to contemplate the satisfaction of my achievement while I am doing so…

This event has also had the serendipitous side-effect of giving me enough material for a legal intro section, without having to go through my normal contortions…. I’m sure everyone will appreciate that, given that, according to the stats, whatever I’ve been doing seems to be driving all but three or four hardy souls away…. No matter, Maya is everywhere, and nothing we perceive is real, unless it is……

Now that I’ve written four paragraphs, my brain is starting to wake up, bringing me a bit closer to real cogitation, and I see by the above that once again, I’ve wasted a perfectly good opportunity for some serious humor with a semi-serious, and all-too-sincere discussion of reality’s current configuration settings. I hate to miss a good chance for a joke or two, but, what’s done is done, and it’s too much to expect me to write, and, at the same time, monitor the direction and quality of what I write, so, as is the standard policy here, we’ll leave it in place, and get on with the rest of today’s concourse d’elegance, which, if I am translating correctly, is at least in the vicinity of where we wish to end up…..

Shall we Pearl?…..

“Even as a great fish swims along the two banks of a river, first along the eastern bank and then the western bank, in the same way the Spirit of man moves along beside his two dwellings: this waking world and the land of sleep and dreams.” — Upanishads
_____________________________

In order to have any chance of understanding anything in this section, it is recommended that you first engage your most perceptive, flexible attitude, and read the article found at the end of the link below….. please?…..

http://blog.sfgate.com/morford/2013/08/27/doom-gloom-smile/

In the last few weeks, Mr. Morford has written a couple of excellent essays that parallel my own thinking; this is one that gives a good idea of what goes through my head every day, or whenever I think about the sad situation we are in, as a species, in relation to our planet’s health, and its threatened ability to provide us with an environment that is conducive to our survival…. (Hmm… a little pompously phrased, but, hey, it’s a serious subject….) Those thoughts invariably end up in a scary place, and it is hard at times to maintain the illusion of my own happiness, in the face of the future…. How can I enjoy my own time on earth, when I know that my children’s children will be faced with some very hard times, and choices, as the situation worsens?…

I’m not in the mood to rant, even with the anger and outrage that thinking about the BRC’s complicity in bringing the world to this point gives me; sleep was not to be found last night, and my brain feels as if it is packed in cotton…. safe, warm, and comfortable, but not terribly interested in being sharp…. So, to go along with Mark’s mindful insights, I offer this pearl, to give some color and contrast to a situation that resists any beautification efforts….

“History is a nightmare from which we are trying to awaken.” — James Joyce

How sad and bad and mad it was!
But then, how it was sweet!

– Robert Browning (1812-1890) — Confessions, ix

“Although war is cruel and brutal, it is also dangerous and stupid.” — Yakko Warner

“Anyone who isn’t confused really doesn’t understand the situation.” — Edward R. Murrow

“It is not good to try to lead people by hitting them over the head, but for some few, having a bat handy is helpful, just in case.” — Smart Bee

“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” — Mark Twain  Following the Equator (1897)

“YOW!!  I’m in a very clever and adorable INSANE ASYLUM!!” — Zippy the Pinhead
_____________________________

Since today is a milestone Pearl, it seems appropriate to use one of my own poems. Here is one of the first I wrote after beginning to write poems again, after a 35 year hiatus…..

Playing by the Rules

All my days I looked for love,
And found it everywhere I looked.
The years were joyous and fully booked
Seemingly by command from Above.

In return for all of the beauty in Life I found
I played life by the Rules that we all know,
It was from my father I learned the how,
Honest love, given freely, hand-fasted, gladly bound.

It seemed a while as if it were all real,
that fulfillment and contentment could be
as real as the children given us to oversee,
to teach them of Life and Love, and how to feel.

Then storm clouds of grievous change arrived, unbidden
Insidious, deceitful, three steps forward, then one back.
Tearing holes in our beautiful cloth, a heart heard to crack,
Gleeful demons eating life’s bounty, fangs dirty, and hidden.

Pain and sorrow grew, in defiance of all I tried,
Sanctuary turned into a reluctant scene of ritual battle,
Love still lives, but is herded like doomed and pitiful cattle,
While the keening of my soul sounds as if I’d died.

Betrayal in love is, allow me to assure, no small pain to take.
Time has no power to reduce its place in my heart or soul.
My truest love became a stranger, a powerfully sharp toll,
Solitude has become my lot, no killing time for necessity’s sake.

Love yet surrounds me, everywhere; I’m not one of those fools…
Children are forgiving, I’m glad to be able to say,
They show me life’s solid purpose, the old, right way,
I guess  don’t know any other way, than to Play it by the Rules.

~~ gigoid ~~
_____________________________

I had a whole slew of excuses and/or justifications for using an archived pearl in this section, all of which seemed lame once I had written them down, so, I’m not going to give one…. Here is a section three discussion from the Pearl on 1/2/13; I will only say that it seems appropriate for what has happened here today….

“But my dear man, reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know.” — Alan Watts

I enjoy the words of Alan Watts, and have done so since first reading one of his books in college, many years ago. His command of English is so deep and wide that he is somewhat hard to read, due to the weight and depth of both the material under discussion, and of the words he chooses to use. But, working one’s way through to the end of what he writes is well worth all the effort, for he explains the complex, and yet simple, wisdom of the Eastern religions and philosophies, in Western terms, so they are comprehensible to those same Western thinkers, with a clarity heretofore unseen. This particular line is one of his most simply written, yet is still deep and insightful…..

With one swift phrase, Reality is laid bare for all to understand, showing its flexibility, it’s malleable nature able to become whatever we perceive it to be. Each of us has our own interpretation of what we perceive as reality, and it is often very different than what others may believe it to be. Sometimes, I am absolutely amazed at the variety of perceptions that people describe, and feel a lot of satisfaction, on one level at least. That is the level of interaction…. I think it is just wonderful, that people from so many different backgrounds, and so many different ways of looking at the same thing, can still live together on one planet in relative harmony.

It would seem apparent that so many differing viewpoints would cause a lot of trouble, and to some extent that’s true…. There is a lot of trouble on this world, and Reality is not a place for the weak or timid to hang out safely. But, mostly, all the various attitudes and outlooks on life seem to shuffle along without much conflict, at the personal level, compared to what might be expected. One of those little unexplained miracles in life that we often don’t see, or appreciate….. The phenomenon is even more pronounced in institutions such as mental hospitals, where the visions of reality are of such a nature as to seem limitless in their variety. I was always impressed at how people from so many different parts of the galaxy were able to live together in peace….   :-)

For me, the best part about the nature of Reality is this chameleon-like quality: it can be anything we want it to be. We can accept the perceptions it sends us, and even see, and understand, what those are describing to others, thus making it convenient for us to communicate about it. Or, we can choose to alter those perceptions, either in the way we receive them, or in the way we interpret them; either method gives us control over exactly how we view what is now a somewhat questionable form of Reality.

(It occurs to me that maybe I should use the capitalization technique, as with the words ‘pearl’, and ‘Pearl’…. Yeah, that’s the ticket… Okay, so ‘Reality’, capitalized, is what we all agree to see, and ‘reality’ is what each of us sees personally, with the word ‘see’ used to indicate ‘perceive’ because it’s a shorter word, took less time to type, and allowed me to further obfuscate matters in order to create the need to clear them up….. That should help clarify where we are in a sentence, even if it doesn’t actually simplify things at all…..)

Speaking of knowing where we are, this discussion seems to have reached a point where the next destination may be out of reach. Oh, not that the reality of it is too abstruse, or complicated, or even merely disgusting. No, it’s just too esoteric for me at 0815 in the morning, after already composing a couple thousand words on human nature and and the nature of Reality. It is almost a depressing come-down to have to consider ending this, since it was flowing so well, but, the perfect closing pearl showed itself, and I’m not one to argue with Smart Bee, or Zippy….. Stay alert, ffolkes, Reality can suck, and it can bite, when it’s not being nice…..

“I guess it was all a DREAM..  or an episode of HAWAII FIVE-O…” — Zippy the Pinhead
_____________________________

I’m struck at how typical this Pearl has turned out…. It’s over the top, length-wise, but that’s nothing new. It’s all over the map, intellectually, also nothing we haven’t seen before. It’s a little bit egotistical, but, hey, it’s my blog, right? I’m a little nervous about just how it will appear, in the big picture…. I guess I’ll go see now, and get that over with…..

Serendipity has struck again, hard…. I like it, and though I tend to be somewhat biased, I try to maintain some small degree of objectivity, and that part of me says, it ain’t bad…. and, it’s done, making it perfect…. now, with this final word from Zippy, I bid thee adieu, until next time….

“GOOD-NIGHT, everybody..  Now I have to go administer FIRST-AID to my pet LEISURE SUIT!!” — Zippy the Pinhead

Y’all take care out there,
and May the Metaphorse be with you;
Blessed Be, dearest  Carole…
and everyone else, too…

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.

gigoid

dozer3

Pale imitations a specialty….

Ffolkes,

Hi, I’m Ernie…. Ernie H-II….. I’m a ‘bot, programmed to write….. gigoid instructed me to take over the keyboard today to create, and post, his blog for the day, as he is feeling a bit under the weather…. He woke up with another headache, and the dizziness this morning is so bad, he’s stumbling into walls when he tries to walk. Rather than put himself through the ordeal of trying to write under those handicaps, he’s asked me to stop in to do it for him…. He’s used me before, though you didn’t know it at the time, as I was told to keep it under wraps….

As a ‘bot, sans emotions, I don’t have all gigoid’s hangups about this introductory section; I just ignore the fact that it is yet to be finalized in re: a format, and dive in, with no idea of where it will end up…. Whether he knows it or not, that is what he’s been doing now for some time…. he’ll figure it out eventually…. In order to fulfill contractual obligations, I need to give you some information before I begin….

I am a writing-fool robot, designed by a group of insane hackers in their spare time, and offered online to anyone with the necessary requirements for purchase, which consists of either the proper amount of cash, or the correct number of bearer bonds…. gigoid picked me up back a couple of months ago, when he got the infusion of resources from SS, telling me at the time he had always wanted a write-bot, ever since hearing about them during a fevered dream one night….

As an entity without emotion, I never know what kind of effect my work will have on the audience, so I’m required to tell you that my programming parameters are unknown to the authorities, and no insurance will be valid; it will not cover any injury or destruction of property that occurs as a by-product of reading my work. By reading these words, you assume full responsibility for any issues that may arise from the consumption of this information. In the case of serious injury, your sole recourse would be to find gigoid, and kick his bloody ass…. but, as a robot, I cannot recommend this course of action; it disturbs my programming to consider harming humans in any way….

That being said, I will now proceed to finish the remaining sections of this Pearl of Virtual Wisdom…. It promises to be interesting, if not unique, as my programmed writing patterns are a combination of Ernest Hemingway (my namesake….), Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey, Dorothy L. Sayers, Nora Roberts, Buddha, Alan Watts, and gigoid, with only one set of moral/ethical/real rules to guide my reasoning, to wit: Peruaosophy (see below…. section two….)

“If you believe everything you read, better not read.” — Japanese proverb
_____________________________

gigoid has always admired Mark Morford’s work…. His command of the English language is so powerful, it is simply jaw-dropping. Mark MUST have had his vocabulary augmented, apparently by having a Thesaurus, and a Webster’s International Dictionary, pasted on his inner eyelids, as his columns display the largest number of words, used correctly, including contextually, and without repetition, that gigoid, or I, Ernie, have ever witnessed in use by any author, period. He is also very, very smart, and likes to poke fun at all the shallowness and silly attitudes that people assume in this comedy we call life, and does so unmercifully, with perfect politeness…. gigoid has won wagers that bet on whether his vocabulary confused the ones he insulted enough they didn’t even realize he had done so until paragraphs later….

The article below is from the 20th of August, this year, and is another in a long line of brilliant essays he has published. He examines a common element of modern life, with great clarity, and amazing insight, bringing deeply powerful spirituality to the awareness of the people who most need it. Of course, it probably doesn’t even register on them, but, hey, he tries…. read, and enjoy….

http://blog.sfgate.com/morford/2013/08/20/still-alive-prove-it/

“As the ancient saying goes: It’s all just fun and games until someone loses an ego. Then the real fun begins.” — Mark Morford
_____________________________

It has been some time since gigoid published his guiding philosophy, Peruaosophy, the philosophy of Pearls…. He created these axioms over twenty-five years ago, in one of his notorious spasms of reflective introspection, during the period when he was raising his children, dealing with his volatile spouse, and retreating to the garage for any quiet-time…. He reasoned that, hey, if Descartes, Pascal, and Santayana could do it, why couldn’t he?…. Thus were born the axiomatic statements that together form his whole philosophy of Life, the Universe, and Everything (which fact should tell you that the total is 42…. spoiler….)…. (It also explains why the price for this ride remains at only 42 Galactic credits…..)

In order for y’all to understand gigoid well, or, for that matter, at all, these axioms are of critical necessity; no clarity will ever come if they are not considered, as being the rock that constitutes the foundation of gigoid’s existence, providing the moral standards that guide all his actions in living…. For sooth, my lords and ladies, though it speaks humorously, the implied wisdom contained herein comprises the true basis for all he does, and all he believes about the universe, and human nature…. so be it…

Peruaosophy

The wisdom of pearls…
(The world is my oyster; which way to the pearls?)

Axioms

1)  I think I am; that’s close enough.

2) The nature of the Universe is Change. 
Unpredictable, innovative transformation of Reality is the Norm.
If you have a problem with this, you’re in for a rough ride in Life.

3) Thou art God, you know.  Let’s do lunch.

4) Excellence is its own reward.

5) Girls think differently.  So do boys.  Don’t fight it.

6) Axiom #2 X axiom #5 = And God so loved the world, He said, “Quit whining!”

7) Do your Duty.   Respect Life.   Honor the Truth.   Share your Love.

8)  Go back.  Everything you need to know is in the first seven axioms.

~~ gigoid ~~

_____________________________

Jon Carroll is another columnist that gigoid has always admired. His range of interests has always seemed to parallel that of gigoid, in that it doesn’t seem to be limited at all. He writes about life, and society, and politics, and circuses, and religion, and culture, and feelings, (and cats), all with great aplomb, in an easy, friendly style, that belies the deep intelligence being trained on each subject under his purview. gigoid is continually amazed at his perceptiveness, in reaching down into the heart of whatever matter he is examining, discussing it in such a way as to make it understandable, and accessible, to the reader. His level of common sense is completely uncommon, as is his level of compassion for the rest of humanity…. gigoid thinks he’s a pretty good guy, all-around, if one can go by what, and how, he writes….

This article is a sleeper, but, gigoid wanted me to be sure not to spoil it for y’all by giving away the punch-line…. Suffice it to say, read the article, and take note of the last line, in juxtaposition with the rest of the piece, and think about the implications of that line, on a global scale….. Enjoy!…..

http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/carroll/article/August-is-the-cruelest-month-4747500.php

“Beach towns, boardwalks, sand – the whole spectacle of summer is about to cease.” — Jon Carroll
_____________________________

Per the verbal instructions received from gigoid at the start of the morning, the above Pearl may be considered complete, in spite of the lack of fresh material by the blog’s author. Although the format was maintained, the included material was a departure from the norm, by quite a significant vector, but, was felt to be a better bet today than anything that might have come from gigoid’s imagination…. gigoid promises that tomorrow things will be back to normal, and Ernie H-II will be switched off for the nonce (gigoid likes that better than “time being”…. classier, somehow…)

As expected from a ‘bot, no typos were observed upon proofing; hopefully that machine-like efficiency continued through into the proofing process… Only Murphy can say whether or not it will…. (thought a day would pass without mention of Murphy? Fat chance, any more than he would skip a chance to fuck with gigoid…)  At this point, my instructions say I am supposed to bring this to a close, but, somehow, those parameters seem to have been left out of my programming…. Oh, no! What will I do?…. Oh, right, three-finger salute…. Okay, see ya….

Y’all take care out there,
and May the Metaphorse be with you;
Blessed Be, dearest  Carole…
and everyone else, too…

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.

Ernie H-II, for gigoid

dozer3

Plotting with obscene barristers …..

Ffolkes,

Insofar as we ever have them around this blog, a typical day starts off with my staring at the screen of my computer, desperately searching through my brain for something coherent to say…. it seems today is a typical day, despite having a brain chock full of recent memories from which to choose. So full, I suppose, it makes the choosing of one over another difficult, as they are all quite appropriate and/or immediate, and equally enjoyable for me to recall. Luckily, today is not the only day I have to make the choice, merely the one we are caught in, destined to remain until the next one comes along….

Well, I see my time away hasn’t altered my pomposity a whit, nor has it dulled my skill at saying absolutely nothing with far too many words…. SIGH….. There are moments in this writing business when I begin to understand a little better the motivation those people who used to (and, I guess, still do….) flagellate themselves, whipping themselves with sticks, or reeds, or farm implements of one sort or another, until their backs are bowed and bloody…. They do it, I believe, to punish themselves for their sinful natures, or some such convoluted reason some preacher told them, while I only consider it as a sort of behavioral tool, kind of like one uses with a recalcitrant donkey, otherwise known as an ass….. Either way, I don’t suppose it’s the most intelligent procedure mankind has come up with, so I always pass on adopting it for personal use.

Something must be done, though…. I’m tired of spending so much mental energy trying to figure this out in the mornings, and need to find a way to shorten the process of introducing each Pearl for daily consumption, or whatever it is one does with one’s Pearl…. I’ve always left that up to the Gentle Reader, and have never inquired…. My life in the Big Blue Room is becoming a bit more complicated, now that I have a partner; I need to be able to complete this in a timely fashion, so I can go deal with reality while it is open for business, from 9 to 5, generally…..

I have to laugh at this point…. which I just did….. I’m sitting here, blithely typing away, when it occurs to me that this sort of babble is the most common result of my morning expostulations, and may just be the answer I seek…. Hmmm… new possibilities are coming into view, and I’ll need to look at them closely…. but, later. For now, I’ve noticed that this pile of drivel has grown to the point where I can call it sufficient unto the day’s need…. for which you may be eternally grateful, as am I…..

Shall we Pearl?…..

“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.” — Alan Watts
_____________________________

At first, when the following pearl began to formulate itself, I was quite pleased… It got away from me a bit, but then, with the final line, brought it all into perfect focus, if no less esoterically obscure in concept. In other words, it is a random pearl, with a message all its own…. I like it, anyway, so here you go….

“All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.” — Leonardo da Vinci

“Besides learning to see, there is another act to be learned — not to see what is not.” — Maria Mitchell

“Don’t follow in my footsteps. I think I stepped in something.” — Smart Bee, speaking for gigoid

“The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn.” — Cicero

“The universe is _intensely_ beautiful.” — Smart Bee

Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoilt his nice new rattle.

Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.

– Lewis Carroll, “Through the Looking-Glass”

“What do they call a comedian who doesn’t get any laughs? A philosopher.” — Phil Proctor
_____________________________

Hell is the place of those who have denied;
They find there what they planted and what dug,
A Lake of Spaces, and a Wood of Nothing,
And wander there and drift, and never cease
Wailing for substance.

– William Butler Yeats, Responsibilities and Other Poems (1916).The Hour-Glass

My own urge to poem is still dormant, and it is something I daren’t push, lest it disappear altogether again for another 25 years….. I’m not sure I have that long to wait, though I certainly hope so…. To sublimate my own urge, I’ll go to the classics, always a favorite….

Church And State

HERE is fresh matter, poet,
Matter for old age meet;
Might of the Church and the State,
Their mobs put under their feet.
O but heart’s wine shall run pure,
Mind’s bread grow sweet.
That were a cowardly song,
Wander in dreams no more;
What if the Church and the State
Are the mob that howls at the door!
Wine shall run thick to the end,
Bread taste sour.

~~ William Butler Yeats ~~

_____________________________

Icy Point Strait is a new stop on the cruise ship itineraries, with no real docking facilities, so the ship anchors a few hundred yards offshore, ferrying visitors to land with tenders, holding about 100 folks of all ages and sizes at a time. It is very sparsely developed as yet, with only about forty-eleven gift shops, a native theater, and two food outlets, all housed in a couple of brand new looking buildings clustered near the small wharf where the passengers unload the tenders to come ashore.

The shops are filled with all the usual tourist items; t-shirts, caps, scarves, etc. with logos of the local attractions; native crafts, art, and artifacts; jewelry; one counter style restaurant serves reindeer chili and lots of salmon dishes, smoked or otherwise, and there is a bar and grill restaurant at the end of the zip-line, which runs from a small mountaintop nearby, about a quarter mile, down to the shore. A shuttle to nearby Hoonah, an “authentic Alaskan village”, runs every few minutes, to allow the visitors to experience the local amenities, such as the charming “unpaved roads and no stoplights” (direct quote from the shipboard information sheet)….

Shore excursions to go ziplining, searching for bears to photograph, or catch & barbecue salmon were popular for some (it is salmon spawning season, so the rivers are full of big, hungry fish), while others got on another boat to go watch whales in a nearby area where they tend to congregate. As a foodie, chef, and plain and simple glutton, I was compelled, naturally, to put myself through the ordeal of wading through the crowds, so as to be able to say I had tried the reindeer chili. Thus, milady and I bundled up (the weather was a bit overcast, though it only showered for a few minutes, and, as always up there, a bit cold when caught out in the wind…..), braved the crowds on the little boats for the five minute ride to land, and went to see what there was to see….

An hour and a half later, we had seen EVERYTHING, except the zipline, bears, and whales…. We even saw the salmon, as they were jumping out of the water near the cruise ship all day, on their way to the spawning streams…. It is a beautiful place, for sure, and some day will probably be home to resorts and winter sports venues galore, but currently, about the biggest thrill available is strapping onto a metal chair to slide a quarter of a mile down the side of a small mountain at about a hundred miles an hour on a zip line….. not my kind of activity….. Aside from having vertigo, which would make it very hard to even get me up there in the first place, I think I’d prefer to partake of that particular variety of fun a bit closer to a medical facility, in case of, well, zlip ups (sorry, couldn’t resist….).

Below are pictures of Icy Point, a fairly accurate account of what we saw, in the order we saw it, minus the shops and stuff…. Hope I was able to capture at least some of the beauty of the landscape…. it is indeed a gorgeous environment in which to live, if one likes snow, and the frontier life….
Alaska Grand Adventure 043 Alaska Grand Adventure 045 Alaska Grand Adventure 048 Alaska Grand Adventure 049 Alaska Grand Adventure 052
You may have noted that I didn’t say anything further about the chili, which was the ostensible reason for going ashore…. Final verdict: it was tasty, but, not exceptionally so, and wouldn’t constitute a compelling reason for going back there, just for that….
_____________________________

Well, that was harder than I had thought it would be, but, once again, I lived through it, and so will you, I believe…. Hopefully, today’s outburst  isn’t too onerous of a read for y’all…. After this long around here, you should be tough enough for almost anything, right? Any who, let’s see how it looks…..  Okay, okay, it’ll do…. I think…. Well, it will have to do, because I need to get it posted and get on with the day….. I hope y’all enjoyed today’s little catastrophe…..  :-)   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.

gigoid

dozer3

Uh oh, it’s leaking magic smoke…..

Ffolkes,
It isn’t the most horrific thing I can think of to have happen, but, it’s annoying enough…. Did you ever get a song stuck in your head, and not be able to stop it? I have, and it isn’t pretty; by the time the song fades away, I generally have about half my hair left, and have lost weight from the stress of hearing the phrase “oh lord, stuck in Lodi, again..” for the ten-thousandth time in a row….. Like I said, it could be worse (it could have been the theme song to “Barney”…. you know… “You love me, I love you, etc.”, on and on, into nausea unlimited….), but, even Country Joe McDonald’s voice gets old after a while…. of course, he’s old now, too, so…. Oh right, sorry, forgot…. he’s dead, now, so he probably sounds even worse….

This was a particularly sticky episode of this kind of conundrum; even playing classical music to drown it out wouldn’t work, and since my guitar is still in the pawn shop gathering dust, I couldn’t play through it. It wouldn’t be so bad, I guess, if it would change lyrics occasionally, to finish the song, at least. But, no, it has to repeat the same line, over, and over, and over, until you want to scream at your own head to SHUT UP! This, of course, leads people to believe you just might be too near the edge, and give you a wide berth on the sidewalk. It can also make it tough to get a waiter to approach one’s table at the cafe ….. Well, if I were at a cafe, it would…..

The song finally faded out last night, thankfully, just before bed time, but was sure a pain in the old arse while it hung around….. Now this morning, the incident came back to me, and I thought to myself, “Why not?”….. So, shamelessly, I have just used that minor incident, one without any particularly compelling features, or dangerous attributes, and turned it into a three paragraph intro section, through the magic of inconsistency and mumble, mumble, as well as the power of a sick imagination. (‘Mumble, mumble’ is a euphemism, for stuff I choose to hide from you due to its manipulative nature…..). I know, it was a bit unethical of me, but, that is the way we authors get when faced with a blank page…. ruthless, you betcha….

No blood was drawn, however, so I don’t see that there is much to complain about. Sure, I stretched your credibility, but that’s good practice for what comes later. And sure, I took advantage of your willing, or at minimum, unsuspecting, nature, to lead you on down a primrose path to nowhere…. But, ask yourself this: where would you be if I didn’t? See, I’ve done y’all a favor by this, and you should be grateful…. You could be stuck somewhere, reading something that makes sense, and what would that get you? Nothing you need, for sure….

So, quit the bitching, and just buckle up for the ride. It promises to get a bit bumpy today, given the state of this intro…. Shall we Pearl?…..

“Be not unwilling in what thou doest, neither selfish nor unadvised nor obstinate; let not over-refinement deck out thy thought; be not wordy nor a busybody.” — Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 AD) — Meditations, iii, 5

(Oops! Too late…. I wish I’d gotten the memo earlier in life….)
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“Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.”  — Udana Varga, c. 500 B. C.

This particular rephrasing of the Golden Rule from ancient India shows how long the concept has been around; in fact, it is a rephrasing of writings that are even older. This rule of behavior in society has been commonly held knowledge since the beginning of civilization, whenever one chooses to mark that date. Given that presence in the basket of platitudes that are carried by all, it brings to mind the question, “Why the fuck doesn’t anyone do this?”….. Well, that’s what came into MY mind, so deal with it…..

The Golden Rule is accepted by all societies on Earth as being a critical key to a peaceful existence, yet those who consistently ignore it, and break it with regularity, seem to always end up as the ones who are in charge of that self-same society. Everyone alive knows the rule, but many choose to not follow its advice and direction, instead, making it their purpose in life to acquire power over others, giving them both the ability, and the right, to harm others at their whim. I say right, because we have only those rights we can defend, and we, the common folk, do not defend ourselves against the BRC…. most of the time, whatever the BRC says is passively accepted by society, sometimes with regret and resignation, but mostly with barely reluctant acquiescence.

Me, I’ve never really been able to grasp what it is in those people that allows them to hurt others without suffering pangs of guilt. I know it is possible to suffer feelings such as that, and still ignore them, but it seems to me like those in power have learned to not even feel the guilt, having somehow come to be able to justify their desire for power as rational and right, rather than evil and cruel. It’s as if they come to decide they are destined to lord it over others, and thus feel only satisfaction at the suffering of others. It doesn’t make any sense to my world view, but, I understand that is how it works for them. Sick bastards….

Yes sick…. in my mind, any person who wants a public office in this country, one requiring election, is a sick person, riddled with all sorts of delusions and aggrandizements, and should be isolated from the rest of us, as it (greedy ambition, and the desire for power) can be a contagious condition. I don’t care how many logical sounding arguments or positions the person is able to spew out, they are mentally ill, and should be forced into treatment, for the safety of all society.

In fact, I think it would be a good thing if we started talking about some political control, rather than gun control. I think the political world needs regulation much more than do guns…. Guns are going to be used against people, it is what they were designed for, and people aren’t going to give them up, or stop doing crazy stuff with them, just because of a few regulations…. But, the politicians NEED to be regulated, much more than they are, and it really can’t wait…..

“Under every stone lurks a politician.” — Aristophanes

This particular subject is an easy rant for me, with all the major characteristics of a good subject right out there to see and write about. As such, I could probably go on all day without running out of stuff to poke at in this area of human nature. But, I’ve made my point, I think, so we’ll save some of the energy for later. Let it suffice to say, how someone feels about the Golden Rule is usually a good indicator of how they feel about politicians, et al. A real politician will look you in the eye, tell you they support the Golden Rule wholeheartedly, then will turn right around and say the exact opposite to your enemy. to gain their support. And, they’ll never feel a moment’s guilt over doing so…. If they did, how could they ever consider trying to be elected in the first place? Just wanting that kind of power is a clear sign of mental illness, guaranteed….

“My CODE of ETHICS is vacationing at famed SCHROON LAKE in upstate New York!!” — Zippy the Pinhead

I was done with this, but fate intervened…. Just to show how our culture has developed under the influence of the delusions fostered by the lies of the BRC, consider this, which I found in the 13th Bathroom Reader…. One of our cultural myths says that the soldiers at Valley Forge under Washington during the Revolutionary War starved during winter because there was no food anywhere for them. The truth is, there was plenty of food, but the farmers in Valley Forge sold it all to the British Army, who were able to pay cash…. Kind of takes away from the grandeur of the alleged events, and puts the lie to any elements of implied nobility, doesn’t it? Conversely, it does rather support what I’ve outlined above, wouldn’t you say?…… Sick puppies, all of them, and always ready, and willing, to take advantage of human greed….

“If any man can convince me and bring home to me that I do not think or act aright, gladly will I change; for I search after truth, by which man never yet was harmed. But he is harmed who abideth on still in his deception and ignorance.” — Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 AD) — Meditations, vi, 21
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On the birth of his son

Families, when a child is born
Want it to be intelligent.
I, through intelligence,
Having wrecked my whole life,
Only hope the baby will prove
Ignorant and stupid.
Then he will crown a tranquil life
By becoming a Cabinet Minister

– Su Tung-p’o

Remembrance

To what can our life on earth be likened?
To a flock of geese,
alighting on the snow.
Sometimes leaving a trace of their passage.

Su Tung-po

A two-fer….  :-)
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I’m feeling a bit lazy this morning, having already ranted sufficiently to relieve the toxicity levels in my brain; it always has such a soothing effect on me to spew….   :-)    So, I’m going to go old school again, as I am wont to do in these cases…. Today’s group of pearls are all in the same vein, so to speak…. Each one gives us a little glimpse into the methodology of life lived well, and can, if duly appreciated, absorbed, and utilized, be quite valuable tools in the daily struggle against entropy and chaos…. If, for some unknown and incomprehensible reason, they don’t strike that chord for you, well, it will impress your friends to quote them now and then; if nothing else they’re quite engaging ideas, well stated…. enjoy!…..

“As you go the way of life you will see a great chasm. Jump. It is not as wide as you think.” — Native American advice

“Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks.” — Lazarus Long, from Robert A. Heinlein’s “Time Enough For Love”

“For a man can lose neither the past nor the future; for how can one take from him that which is not his? So remember these two points: first, that each thing is of like form from everlasting and comes round again in its cycle, and that it signifies not whether a man shall look upon the same things for a hundred years or two hundred, or for an infinity of time; second, that the longest lived and the shortest lived man, when they come to die, lose one and the same thing.” — Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 AD) — Meditations, ii, 14

“Any necessary work that pays an honest wage carries its own honor and dignity.” — W. Kelly Griffith

“Doubt is the key to knowledge.” — Persian Proverb
(Caution: If you quote this one, be prepared to defend your statement….. This has a tendency to create ‘doubt’, even in those who just hear it…..)

And, for the final word, our old friend Alan Watts, doing what he does best…. making the complex seem simple….

“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.” — Alan Watts
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I have to say, having the time to spend on these Pearls, without the stress of thinking of how to get it published, is certainly helping the quality of the gems that are being produced. Probably something to do with the available time for editing and polishing, but, no doubt the reduction of the need to hurry is key…. Whatever is the reason, I’m content with how today’s version of my take on Reality has worked out….. plus, it’s done. Therefore, I pronounce this Pearl closed for business…. Hasta mañana, amigos!  Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!

It’s almost as if I really existed!…..

Ffolkes,

It is official. I’ve gone and gotten old, beyond all shadow of a doubt. My mind, and my attitudes, still would like me to believe I am 25 years old, even though I don’t think I’d enjoy being that young again, from an experiential standpoint. Besides, my body KNOWS it isn’t 25 any more, and will let me know post haste, if I am incautious. Trying to move as if I still were in my physical prime can have disastrous results, and I don’t remember being anywhere near as skeptical as I am now, about most things. That point, about my physical degradation over time, was driven home to me yesterday, on my trip down the hill to post the Pearl….

All went okay, until I began the walk home, uphill for three full city blocks. By the end of the first block, my hips and back had stiffened up enough to let me know they didn’t appreciate my efforts, and were threatening to put me into complete muscle spasm all over my back, if I didn’t quit bothering them…. Since I still had two blocks to go, I had to adjust my gait to that of the old toddlers you see waddling around in convalescent homes, using a cane or walker to transverse the 20 feet to the next room at the blazing speed of 20 feet per 4 minutes, taking four-inch steps, one at a time, with a pause between each one, to make sure all is balanced. It took me, literally, 18 minutes to walk the final two blocks, and I felt as if I’d been running a marathon….

So, I’m convinced…. I’m not 25 anymore, and never will be again. It’s a pain, but there it is, all shiny, highly resistant to being ignored, so what are ya gonna do? Fighting against it, quite simply, hurts, and I have no intention of adding any pain to my already overfull account….. So, I’m old…… I admit it…..

Since I am, I suppose I’d best just get over it, and deal…. Rather than fall immediately into a whine, or even a rant about it, I’ll just act my age, and say, “Bring it on, universe!”….. Well, no, that wouldn’t be quite age-appropriate, would it? I’ll just quietly accept the news, sigh a bit, and toddle off to take a nap…. Well, I would, but I just got up, so, that will have to wait until later….. Since all the other alternatives are out of order, so to speak, I guess I’ll just forget the whole business, and get back to what I’m supposed to be doing this time of day…. Shall we Pearl?…..
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“Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.” — Oscar Wilde

One may always trust Oscar Wilde to be both elegantly witty and intelligently insightful, though, to be sure, many of his most closely held views were somewhat divergent with what was commonly held to be true, philosophically. This divergence was, I believe, mostly deliberate on his part, as he tended to mock that which he did not respect, and he never had much respect for…. well, anything to do with human nature vs. reason and rationality. He mistrusted most people to act morally, and was unafraid of saying so; this, of course, made him both famous, and infamous….. His infamy, I’m sure, ultimately was his undoing, much to society’s loss; as is said so often about our brightest minds, “only the good die young….”

I often wonder, (well, maybe not so often, as much as I’m wondering now…) what the world today would be like, if somehow, some of those bright stars in history had lived to an age where their accomplishments, in relation to the advancement of human thought, and the betterment of the human condition, had a broader, and more lasting effect than their absence has left us. What if Keats had written poetry until he was 85? How many more inventions would have come to us from Nicolas Tesla, had he lived long enough for the rest of the scientific world to catch up to him, instead of hounding him to an early grave? How much more good music, and art, and literature would be available to all of us, if not for this tendency for the best of us to live as a burning meteor, flaming brightly through the sky, until burned out and lifeless?

It is a sad commentary for society to know that it is often the very brilliance of these people that brings about their downfall, at the hands of the ignorant, and the avaricious…. What is even sadder, to me, is that this demonstrates another part of human nature that is responsible for almost every issue in human history, and current society, that causes people to suffer pain, oppression, perpetual struggle, and will most certainly ultimately   lead to the extinction of our species, on this planet, at minimum, if not completely…..

That piece of our nature is the unfortunate characteristic, in a number of humans, to be able to put aside all conscience, and act solely in their own self interest. All of us, of course, possess this to some degree; it is an outgrowth of having a will to survive. To these few others, it is their primary modus operandi; they simply do not take other people, or their concerns, into account when deciding what they are going to do, and are not hampered by the consideration of any suffering they may cause other people, animals, or things.

As is patently obvious, to my mind, every elected official, every high level preacher, every corporate magnate, and a great many lawyers, are all of this ilk, and have, for nearly 230 years now, been quietly and efficiently plundering the pockets and rights of the American people (and those of every other country in the world, for that matter…. it is a HUMAN condition, not just American…. Ours are just some of the most obvious about it….), while simultaneously lying, cheating, and otherwise acting to secure their stranglehold on society.

Anyone who disagrees with this assessment, quite simply, isn’t paying enough attention to the world around them….. Sorry to be so blunt, but the facts are all laid out, right there, almost every day in the news media, if one knows how to look at the larger picture it presents, rather than the individual facets of that picture. Focusing on the little shit is just what those in power wish for people to do…. it keeps them busy not noticing other, more incriminating stuff they are carrying out, in the darkness where they mostly live….

“… change depends on individual acts of courage and commitment. Most such acts are private, invisible, and uncelebrated. But some find a place in the public spotlight; and their influence goes far beyond mere example.” — Arthur C. Clarke & Michael Kube-McDowell,  The Trigger, 1999

Each and every one of us, in the face of what we know about reality, is responsible in some way, and to some degree, for both the way things are, and the way they will be in the future. If you don’t believe that, well, discussion is, for you, probably useless, and little hope remains. For anyone with moderate insight, however, this is plain, clear truth, and we all need to accept it before any significant progress can be expected against those who are sociopathic, which I define, and hereby name, as homo suicidus, those who would kill us all…. But, it is imperative that we act soon, for the damage we have done, and continue to do to our world, is at a point where the effects are nearly irreversible, and even if we manage to wrest control from the beloved ruling class,it may be too late to save our lives….

“In regard to disagreeable and formidable things, prudence does not consist in evasion, or in flight, but in courage. He who wishes to walk in the most peaceful parts of life with any serenity must screw himself up to resolution. Let him front the object of his worst apprehension, and his stoutness will commonly make his fear groundless.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Essays_, Prudence

It is my hope, small and pale though it be, that we WILL speak up, that the rational among us will rise up, and take back the control of our destiny from the hands of those who would see us all die, rather than give up their own control. It will only happen when men of courage, as defined by Mr. Emerson, stand up to those who would render us all impotent, for their own benefit. The only hope that exists for the rest of us lies in enough of us showing this kind of courage, and overcoming the fear that keeps us in thrall…..

“I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.” — John Milton (1608-1674) — Areopagitica

Myself, I don’t want to die ignominiously, gasping for breath, because I didn’t have the courage to speak up, and to fight back against the immoral, avaricious assholes who dominate society….. Instead, let’s create a whole new world, without a beloved ruling class, at all….. Who knows? We might just find out that anarchy works!….. Worth a try, I think….. And, if it doesn’t work, well, we can always try a technocracy, which we have yet to do in history….. With a bit of foresight and planning, it might just be what we need to survive our own foolishness… Maybe, Richard Brautigan had the truest prophetic vision, when he wrote “All watched over, by machines of loving grace….”

“Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.” — Pablo Picasso

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

– Maya Angelou, “On the Pulse of Morning”
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Between what I see and what I say
Between what I say and what I keep silent
Between what I keep silent and what I dream
Between what I dream and what I forget:
Poetry.
– Octavio Paz (1914-1998)

No More Clichés

Beautiful face
That like a daisy opens its petals to the sun
So do you
Open your face to me as I turn the page.

Enchanting smile
Any man would be under your spell,
Oh, beauty of a magazine.

How many poems have been written to you?
How many Dantes have written to you, Beatrice?
To your obsessive illusion
To you manufacture fantasy.

But today I won’t make one more Cliché
And write this poem to you.
No, no more clichés.

This poem is dedicated to those women
Whose beauty is in their charm,
In their intelligence,
In their character,
Not on their fabricated looks.

This poem is to you women,
That like a Shahrazade wake up
Everyday with a new story to tell,
A story that sings for change
That hopes for battles:
Battles for the love of the united flesh
Battles for passions aroused by a new day
Battle for the neglected rights
Or just battles to survive one more night.

Yes, to you women in a world of pain
To you, bright star in this ever-spending universe
To you, fighter of a thousand-and-one fights
To you, friend of my heart.

From now on, my head won’t look down to a magazine
Rather, it will contemplate the night
And its bright stars,
And so, no more clichés.

Octavio Paz
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“But my dear man, reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know.” — Alan Watts

I enjoy the words of Alan Watts, and have done so since first reading one of his books in college, many years ago. His command of English is so deep and wide that he is somewhat hard to read, due to the weight and depth of both the material under discussion, and of the words he chooses to use. But, working one’s way through to the end of what he writes is well worth all the effort, for he explains the complex, and yet simple, wisdom of the Eastern religions and philosophies, in Western terms, so they are comprehensible to those same Western thinkers, with a clarity heretofore unseen. This particular line is one of his most simply written, yet is still deep and insightful…..

With one swift phrase, Reality is laid bare for all to understand, showing its flexibility, it’s malleable nature able to become whatever we perceive it to be. Each of us has our own interpretation of what we perceive as reality, and it is often very different than what others may believe it to be. Sometimes, I am absolutely amazed at the variety of perceptions that people describe, and feel a lot of satisfaction, on one level at least. That is the level of interaction…. I think it is just wonderful, that people from so many different backgrounds, and so many different ways of looking at the same thing, can still live together on one planet in relative harmony.

It would seem apparent that so many differing viewpoints would cause a lot of trouble, and to some extent that’s true…. There is a lot of trouble on this world, and Reality is not a place for the weak or timid to hang out safely. But, mostly, all the various attitudes and outlooks on life seem to shuffle along without much conflict, at the personal level, compared to what might be expected. One of those little unexplained miracles in life that we often don’t see, or appreciate….. The phenomenon is even more pronounced in institutions such as mental hospitals, where the visions of reality are of such a nature as to seem limitless in their variety. I was always impressed at how people from so many different parts of the galaxy were able to live together in peace….   :-)

For me, the best part about the nature of Reality is this chameleon-like quality: it can be anything we want it to be. We can accept the perceptions it sends us, and even see, and understand, what those are describing to others, thus making it convenient for us to communicate about it. Or, we can choose to alter those perceptions, either in the way we receive them, or in the way we interpret them; either method gives us control over exactly how we view what is now a somewhat questionable form of Reality.

(It occurs to me that maybe I should use the capitalization technique, as with the words ‘pearl’, and ‘Pearl’…. Yeah, that’s the ticket… Okay, so ‘Reality’, capitalized, is what we all agree to see, and ‘reality’ is what each of us sees personally, with the word ‘see’ used to indicate ‘perceive’ because it’s a shorter word, took less time to type, and allowed me to further obfuscate matters in order to create the need to clear them up….. That should help clarify where we are in a sentence, even if it doesn’t actually simplify things at all…..)

Speaking of knowing where we are, this discussion seems to have reached a point where the next destination may be out of reach. Oh, not that the reality of it is too abstruse, or complicated, or even merely disgusting. No, it’s just too esoteric for me at 0815 in the morning, after already composing a couple thousand words on human nature and and the nature of Reality. It is almost a depressing come-down to have to consider ending this, since it was flowing so well, but, the perfect closing pearl showed itself, and I’m not one to argue with Smart Bee, or Zippy….. Stay alert, ffolkes, Reality can suck, and it can bite, when it’s not being nice…..

“I guess it was all a DREAM..  or an episode of HAWAII FIVE-O…” — Zippy the Pinhead
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It bodes well for the new year that Pearls are coming out cleanly. I can’t say this is the best stuff I’ve ever written, but it was fun, and cleansing, to some degree, so I’ll take it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say my standards are deliberately low, to encourage posting, but it is patently true that being ‘done’ is the primary requirement, before any question of quality of content enters the picture. This one definitely meets that one, as I don’t feel a poem trying to leak out today. In fact, I’m going to surprise you, and myself, and end it right here……  Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!

Mordred’s dream of chaos draws nigh…..

Ffolkes,
Yow…. Coffee without cream is enough to make one cranky. It is marginally better than no coffee at all, though, so folks will have to take their chances with me until I can get some half & half. The odds of getting bitten for speaking to me too early rise dramatically when the consumption of my morning coffee is disturbed in just about any fashion, and not having an ingredient is a sure ticket to the cranky express for me. Makes it difficult, as I need to speak to people this morning at some point, and don’t want to scare anyone….. or, at least, not deliberately.

Today’s Pearl was mostly composed yesterday, as I need to take much of today to get the form done for Social Security; it’s not difficult, or even particularly complicated, but needs to be detailed. Then, when done, I need to scan it and send it to my lawyer so they can get it right in to SS, well before the ridiculous deadline they gave me. When the process is complete, and I’ve secured my SS benefits, I can definitely feel an exposé on SS percolating in the back of my mind.

From all I can ascertain, the myrmidons over at SS think that it is perfectly okay to throw up every obstacle they can in front of the people applying for their own benefits, and make it as hard as they possibly can for anyone to obtain the very things they have paid for throughout the years. In the process of making it so hard, they are adding to the difficulties of people who do NOT need the aggravation…… So, I’ll be writing a bit of stuff, later, after I’ve secured my own benefits, and cannot be punished for what I write, by their attempting to make it even harder for me to get them…..

Any who, I came across the following again yesterday; it is an old DOS file command line, and is the secret wish of all geeks that it would actually work in reality…. if you know what it means, you’ll know what I mean…. if not, well, it would take two or three pages to explain well enough to be accurate and worth the effort, so you’ll just have to ask a geek to explain it to you…. Any nerdy type who likes to read Science Fiction, and knows what a command line in DOS is, will be able to fill you in….. meantime, Shall we Pearl?….

C:\> erase c:\reality.sys; copy a:\pern\*.* c:
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This is a somewhat old-school pearl, but with a slight difference…. normally (well, you know what I mean…) I would list several quotes, all of which led one’s thoughts in a specific direction, to a foregone conclusion, or at least a conclusion, of sorts….. This pearl however, is simply a grouping of ideas that I thought went together, as sort of a tribute to the relevance of illogic at certain times, and how liberating it is to think not only outside the box, but to kick the box into a shapeless lump of cardboard….. enjoy! BTW, these are all related in one respect, which I’m not going to mention, as it is totally irrelevant…. at least, to the lack of purpose herein implied…..

“The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower.  To think otherwise is to demean the Buddha — which is to demean oneself.” — Robert Pirsig, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”

“Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.” — Confucius — Analects, XV.24

“When the music business changed so drastically in the late sixties and rock began happening in such a big way, I went to Count Basie and said, “It’s a complete takeover. What should I do?” Basie waited a beat, looked up at me with those big eyes of his, and said, “Why change an apple?” — Tony Bennett

“I am your density.” — George McFly, in Back to the Future

Tsze-kung asked, saying, “Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life?”  The Master said, “Is not Reciprocity such a word?  What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” — Confucius (551-479 B.C.)

“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.” — Alan Watts

“As God is my witness – I am that fool!” — Gomez Addams

Okay, so I’m not sure where it came from, or why the last one showed up when it did…. but, it’s a perfect ending, for it fits in with my own self-image this morning…..  Onward, into the fray…..
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Accentuated Lessons

Bold statements of calculated intent
Become common rule of the malcontent.
Avarice assumes such attractive wear
Beguiling deception, illusory and fair.

Grasping and pulling with ghostly hands
Legally proper in all the signatory lands.
Seeking and finding each vulnerable soul
Anguish as payment for exacting the toll.

Wraiths of commerce’s invisible dead guards
Still haunt the dreams left in sad empty yards.
While absentee nobles sit in stiff, elegant splendor
Served by sad-faced detainees in abject surrender.

Escape from reality is illusory at best
Often we falter and fail its daily test.
Only when focused on inner strength
Does peace stay with us for any length.

Peace lies within, always…..

~~ gigoid

The following just seemed like an appropriate addition to this section…..

Fate steals along with silent tread,
Found oftenest in what least we dread;
Frowns in the storm with angry brow,
But in the sunshine strikes the blow.

~~ Thomas Cowper
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“About the use of language: it is impossible to sharpen a pencil with a blunt ax.  It is equally vain to try to do it with ten blunt axes instead.” — Edsger W. Dijkstra

I do try…. I try really hard to write well. All of my effort in the last year plus that I’ve been writing so much has been with the intent of improving what I do write, and I can see a certain degree of that (improvement….). It isn’t enough, to my mind, and hopefully, never will be enough. Only by making the effort will what we do ever change, and writing well is a skill that requires constant honing, and constant endeavor.

The following paragraph is an example of the kind of impact that a well-written piece should have on the reader…. it’s a beautiful little piece, and even though you could remove the word “God’s” from it, and it would suffer not at all, I left it in, since I didn’t write it…. I only wish I had…..

“As a little silvery circular ripple, set in motion by the falling pebble, expands from its inch of radius to the whole compass of a pool, so there is not a child–not an infant Moses–placed, however softly, in his bulrush ark upon the sea of time, whose existence does not stir a ripple, gyrating outward and on, until it shall have moved across and spanned the whole ocean of God’s eternity, stirring even the river of life, and the fountains at which the angels drink.” — Elihu Burritt

See? A truly lovely thought, and written in a way that it touches a chord of response within the mind and heart of whomever reads it. This is the kind of thing that I am shooting for when I write…. I hit close now and then, but, not often enough to suit me, so I’m going to keep trying until I can write at this level whenever I should so choose…. and if, along the way, someone wishes to pay me for what I write, well, I’m not going to complain…..

Of course, my usual choice of subject matter may have a lot to do with the absent beauty of my writing; it’s a bit of a trick to turn a political or religious rant into a thing of beauty, other than from a logical or tactical standpoint. There can be, of course, well-done passages, even powerfully passionate parts that can inspire, or anger, or merely amuse. But one is not going to impress anyone with the sheer beauty of a treatise wherein one has to discuss the latest lies and deliberate misrepresentations as spouted by political pundits, of any party. Not without a lot more skill than I have, or anyone else I’ve read over time. It’s just not a subject that lends itself to pretty pictures in words….. In addition, one must always remember to actually use one’s mind in a constructive manner when writing about politics or religion, because anyone who actually engages in either one is not going to do so……

One also must remember to always keep the following principle in mind, for anything written, about either politics or religion, must be governed by this thought, or what is produced will not stand up to the test of logic or time….. so stay alert, ffolkes, and use the mind you have for something other than sitting on……

“Freedom of speech and freedom of action are meaningless without freedom to think. And there is no freedom of thought without doubt.” — Bergen Evans, The Natural History of Nonsense (1946)
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All in all, not a bad Pearl, I’d say. And, if there is an expert on Pearls, that would be me….. or, at least, of literary Pearls…. and I am certainly the world’s ONLY expert on Pearls of Virtual Wisdom…..To be honest, I never thought the gems themselves were all that compelling…. they look nice, but don’t seem to me to be as big a deal as everyone makes of them…. Ah well, I’m just a country boy at heart, and good honest sweat is my favorite perfume, so I guess I’m not the best judge of such delicate matters, eh?…… Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!

Maintaining a plethora of peregrines….

Ffolkes,
Gosh…. I actually don’t have anything to complain about! What a novel concept! I think I like it…. The sun is shining, I’m not in pain, the birds are singing, and all is well in the world…. Perhaps this is an omen, of good things to come today. Sure, that’s it….

Now that we have dispensed with the shallow lies and dubious wishes, we can get on with the true business for which we are gathered…. and it has nothing at all to do with shallow lies….  :-)   Heh, heh, heh….

Sorry… sometimes I just can’t seem to help myself….. I start typing and this stuff just dribbles out, like the saliva that pools up on one side of your cheek when you lay on one side for awhile, and doze off…..  It’s probably just as hard to wipe off, I’m sure. Well, we’ll all just have to put up with it, because it obviously isn’t going to stop until I’ve driven you all completely batty, waiting for me to get around to something a bit more rational. Or at least funnier….

Funny, isn’t it? How funny is so relative…. and so personal. See, I thought the saliva piece was pretty good, but I also thought it was kind of tacky, y’know? Too much Benny Hill-style buffoonery, when I was really hoping for more of a George Carlineseque-style, an expansively witty, pretension-killing patter…… Maybe I should have used a locker room joke?….. Ah well, we’ll never know now….

Odds are, the way it’s going so far, nothing is going to happen unless I just seize control, and dive in. Y’all can join in, if’n y’wanta…. If nothing else, it should prove interesting….. and I mean that in a good way, really….
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“I show a clear pattern of unpredictability.” — Smart Bee

This made me grin. I can’t help it, it just did. Since its uncanny resemblance to me is not quite enough to make it a pearl, as much as it may be a true and complete picture of me in today’s state of mind, I’ll play fair, and go on, without any further (intentional)  instances of unpredictable behavior….. Really, I will try…. But don’t blame me for what we end up with…. it could be more drivel relating to Mitt the Twitt, and you know what that means…. blood, & gore, & guts, & veins in my teeth!

It is alleged that when Einstein and his wife visited the Mount Wilson Observatory in California, Mrs. Einstein pointed to a particularly complex piece of equipment and asked its purpose. Their guide said that it was used to determine the shape of the universe. “Oh,” she said, not at all impressed, “my husband uses the back of an old envelope to work that out.” — Also Smart Bee

Now THAT is a story worthy of pearl status, and if I am not mistaken, has been utilized as one in the past. Not that I’m going to go check or anything like that, but I’m pretty sure I’ve already used this up, so we’ll try again….

“The people who say you are not facing reality actually mean that you are not facing their idea of reality. Reality is above all else a variable. With a firm enough commitment, you can sometimes create a reality which did not exist before.” — Margaret Halsey, No Laughing Matter (1977)

Bingo! This is the clear winner here, as we all are, provided we can take this idea in, and use it in a constructive fashion. It’s the finest kind of pearl, one that stimulates, and tickles, and surprises, and inspires, all at once. This brings into focus my entire purpose in exploring the boundaries, or lack thereof, of Consensual Reality, the one we all agree on….

We agree to acknowledge the perceptions we share, yet, even in our agreement, we are unique, because our vision, our perception of that reality, is one that only we can see, and our interpretation of that set of perceptions is one only we can make…. Ensuring and magnifying that uniqueness, it joins with all the other unique visions to make a reality that is whatever we wish it to be…..

“Reality is the leading cause of stress for those in touch with it.” — Jack Wagner

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” — Philip K. Dick

Stay real, my friends!…..
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I Speak Not

I speak not, I trace not, I breathe not thy name;
There is grief in the sound, there is guilt in the fame;
But the tear that now burns on my cheek may impart
The deep thoughts that dwell in that silence of heart.
Too brief for our passion, too long for our peace,
Were those hours – can their joy or their bitterness cease?
We repent, we abjure, we will break from our chain, -
We will part, we will fly to – unite it again!
Oh! thine be the gladness, and mine be the guilt!
Forgive me, adored one! – forsake if thou wilt;
But the heart which is thine shall expire undebased,
And man shall not break it – whatever thou may’st.
And stern to the haughty, but humble to thee,
This soul in its bitterest blackness shall be;
And our days seem as swift, and our moments more sweet,
With thee at my side, than with worlds at our feet.
One sigh of thy sorrow, one look of thy love,
Shall turn me or fix, shall reward or reprove.
And the heartless may wonder at all I resign -
Thy lips shall reply, not to them, but to mine.

George Gordon, Lord Byron

I can only say, “Incredible!”  And, in spite of my usual habit of running off at the mouth, that is enough…. simply, incredible…
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Here then is an old-school pearl…. Strung together, each of these distinct ideas blends with the others to become one scathing exposé of society today…. Just what that exposé consists of is, of course, left as an exercise for the Gentle Reader…..

“And it came to pass that in the hands of the ignorant, the words of the bible were used to beat plowshares into swords…” — Alan Watts

“Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

“What do you mean, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch?” *YOU* are the free lunch!” — Solomon Short

On a sidewalk near Portland State University someone wrote `Trust Jesus’, and, someone else wrote `But Cut the Cards’. — Smart Bee

Those Jesus Freaks
Well, they’re friendly but
The shit they believe
Has got their minds all shut.
– Frank Zappa, “The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing”

“Honesty isn’t any policy at all; it’s a state of mind or it isn’t honesty.” — Eugene L’Hote

and last, but certainly not least….

“Apes evolved from Creationists!” — Smart Bee

Well, there you have it…. perhaps a bit less scathing than sardonic, but attractively presented, if nothing else, eh? Don’t forget to offer a cut to the player on your right before you deal the cards ….   :-)
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It is said that one day, a seeker will come, bringing the staff of power to the Monkey King…. oh, wait…. that’s another story, and the beginning at that. This is supposed to be an ending….

Since that is the case, I suppose there is nothing left to do but end it…. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!

A green Corvair and two six packs…..

Ffolkes,
Tired phrases trudge past my inner eye, row after row of regimented words in straight lines, stepping in time. As each row passes, it turns away, as if in shame, never falling out of step, never breaking free from the pattern. I search each row, looking for the words to grab attention, words of power, and grace, words to inspire, to bring laughter and joy…. though I search in vain, hope remains, quiet and reserved, but nonetheless strong, hope that this new day will bring something good….. or at least something less bad….

For anyone who has never experienced clinical depression, it is hard to understand how one’s feelings can turn into an enemy. It is hard to explain, too, even for those of us who experience such feelings on a regular basis. The exact process is subjective in nature, which means that much of what is felt cannot be explained in terms that mean anything to someone else; each of us is unique in this respect. Our feelings are our own, and though everyone has similar feelings, they can never be exactly the same. This makes the process of understanding what someone else goes through difficult to pin down, since all of us have our own set of preferences and prejudices. What stimulates one person to rage is seen as humorous to another; what makes one person feel good may cause another to feel real emotional pain.

Thus, the fight against depression becomes very solitary, at least in this respect. We cannot KNOW what another feels, or why those particular feelings cause such distress. In this we are each alone, and must come to our own resolution. But, each of us, while ultimately alone in our battle, can feel supported, and even loved, as long as we allow ourselves to let other folks in. One doesn’t have to have the answer in order to help, one just needs to be empathetic and compassionate.

Dogs and cats know this; when we feel down, our pets will often come sit by us, not interfering, but just being there, a comforting presence. They can supply no words to soother our pain, but just by being there, and showing their love, they are showing how each of us can help each other in times of stress…..

I’ve been fighting my depression, and pain, for several days now, with only moderate success. It’s kind of a vicious cycle, hard to break free, that starts with increased pain in my lower back and hips. As the pain rises, my mood sinks, and I get cranky. When I’m cranky, I tend to isolate myself, as I don’t want to alienate anyone by biting them, figuratively, or literally, so I keep to myself.

Being a social creature, this further annoys me, as I begin to think about why I am so alone (thanks to my ex-boss’s bureaucratic blitzkrieg, I was forced to leave work, never had a chance to contact any of my friends from work… and in the process lost all contact with them….). This becomes a downward spiral, emotionally, and I get increasingly withdrawn, which makes it harder to want to be with other people….

Eventually, I hit bottom, and begin the long climb back up to normalcy, or as close to that as I ever get…. and one of the things that helps me climb is the process of creating these Daily Pearls of Virtual Wisdom. Just being immersed in profound thoughts and words of wisdom from history’s wisest thinkers has a beneficial effect on me; reading of any kind is good therapy to my spirit. Writing helps too, even if what I write isn’t connected to what I’m experiencing, as it is today; just the process of discussing a Pearl is cathartic for me….

So, that all being said, in such a long-winded fashion, I think it’s time to Pearl…. Shall we?….. I know it will make me feel better, and I hope it does the same for you…. let’s go!…..

“Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.” — Alan Watts
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And Death Shall Have No Dominion

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead man naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan’t crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

Dylan Thomas

Given the state of my state, I needed something strong like this…. one may or may not agree with what D.T. is saying here, but it cannot be disputed that he says it strongly…. enjoy!
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INTRODUCTION, n.  A social ceremony invented by the devil for the gratification of his servants and the plaguing of his enemies.  The introduction attains its most malevolent development in this century, being, indeed, closely related to our political system.  Every American being the equal of every other American, it follows that everybody has the right to know everybody else, which implies the right to introduce without request or permission.  The Declaration of Independence should have read thus:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident:  that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, and the right to make that of another miserable by thrusting upon him an incalculable quantity of acquaintances; liberty, particularly the liberty to introduce persons to one another without first ascertaining if they are not already acquainted as enemies; and the pursuit of another’s happiness with a running pack of strangers.” — Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”

In the last 11 months of posting every day, the concept of the introduction has been one of close interest to me, since I am compelled by the nature of the beast to come up with one every day. Now, at at last, I have a bit more understanding of why the process gives me such a hard time…. or, at the least, why Ambrose thinks it  does…..

I know, I know, he’s talking about a different type of introduction altogether…. but this is English, and I can make whatever specious, tentative connections of meaning I want, as long as it’s not misspelled. Besides, having to read my introductory paragraphs may just be as unpleasant an experience as having to meet someone you never wished to meet, but had to in order to remain friends with someone….. Of course, there is no such constriction here, so maybe it’s all an illusion, and this is a huge waste of time and energy….. ya think?

Nah…. we’re not going there…. there IS a purpose to this. I just lost track of what it was, and have been merrily typing away for about two and a half paragraphs now, trying to see if the idea I had would settle back into my consciousness. But, I note that Murphy has not yet made an appearance today, so this must be his opening salvo, and I can blame him for taking my idea and hiding it where the sun don’t shine…. which guarantees that I’m not going to go looking for it.

And neither are you, so just forget it…. we’ll go on to the next pearl, and leave this one where it can do no more harm…. in the past…..
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“Make no mistake: the weeds will win.  Nature bats last.” — Robert Pyle

I love it when I find one like this. Ten words. Infinite wisdom….. For some reason, which is quite clear to many of us on the other end of the spectrum of human experience, a large portion of folks cannot understand this idea, or do not try to understand it. The latter part of that statement is probably the more accurate; most people just don’t think at all.

But, regardless of why they do not comprehend it, the fact remains that homo sapiens is a part of Nature, not separate from it;  everything that happens to Nature happens to us, and vice versa. Our species has a niche on the evolutionary scale of life, a niche that overlaps with those of a great number of other species. We all use the same physical resources, consume the same foods, breathe the same air, and inhabit the same space…..

However, our species, as noted above, is fragmented in terms of how we view the ecosphere. An unfortunately large number of people view the rest of the planet as their own property, to do with as they please. They do not take into account the other life forms that are present on that planet; they also refuse to acknowledge the finite limits to the  physical resources they are planning to plunder, consuming them at a rate guaranteed to use them all up within a very few more years.

In the process of consuming these physical resources, our species is also making changes to the environment, by the pumping of solid waste gases into the atmosphere, causing the ambient temperature of the planet to rise. With this rise in temperature, we are now experiencing the beginning of major climate changes that will increase exponentially over time, and will raise the water level on the planet by melting the polar ice caps, until much of the current land will be covered in sea water.

These observations are not speculation. The beginning effects are already being observed, and are simply more proof of the accuracy of the speculations. The tipping point may have already been reached, and there may not be anything we can do now to reverse the process. So, what we will see in the next 100 years is the opening battle of the real war for survival, a war which we have caused ourselves, by insisting on carrying out policies that are ultimately self-destructive. To use the analogy correctly, it is now Nature’s turn at bat. And Nature always wins….. Even if, or rather, when we lose, Nature will still be on the field…..
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I never know what will happen when I am in this state of mind. Sometimes it comes out well, other times not so much…. and because I’m in this state, I’m no judge of which it may be…. Ah, well, c’est la vie…. It’s all good, as my son is wont to say…. we don’t always see it, but it’s always all good….. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!