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
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!….
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….
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
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….
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….
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,
I just sits.