“As great scientists have said
and as all children know,
it is above all by the imagination
that we achieve
perception, and compassion, and hope.”
– Ursula K. LeGuin
On some occasions in the past, it has been the habit on this blog, here at the beginning, to engage in either fictional, or personal, or public subjects, in order to fulfill the inherent function of an introductory passage, to wit: provide a from here to there, with here being the space to be filled after the word, “Ffolkes,”, and there being our first section, regardless of what might, or might not, be in that segment…. It sounds simple, but, as I’ve found in the past 3+ years, it isn’t as easy as it sounds, or looks, or IS…. and, GOD! I love my magic cream!!!
Having thus removed all the possibly advantageous trust and belief in the seriousness we had so engagingly presented as our first offering today, with one short expression, we see the meaning, and relevance of the old proverb, “The reputation built up over years may be destroyed in the blink of an eye.” So much for literary plot devices, eh? There I was, setting up a rather nice, simple discussion on the process of writing this, or any, blog, when the pain in my shoulder got so intense, I paused to apply some magic cream; within seconds, the pain was receding, and my fingers took over my brain in celebration, again proving the truth of another old saw, “Never let a Bozo shine your shoes!”…..
Well, perhaps that wasn’t the exact wording of the one you heard, but, you get the picture, I’m sure…. We are all Bozos on this bus, (thank you, Firesign Theater…), but, our backgrounds may vary, according to the mental outlook of each one’s parental units, and what we hear as we watch our noses grow, is that every Bozo has his own color nose, so, tolerance should be our first watchword, right after the words, ‘rubber ducks’…. It’s all in the manual, in case you’ve forgotten those first, bright days in Bozo School, otherwise known as Brooklyn….
Well, that was interesting, though somewhat confusing, I’ll bet, for the reader. Hell, I’M confused, and I wrote it…. For the life of me, finding word to put here at the front, at least for this morning, has been an exercise in futility, if not downright suicidally depressive; nothing came into my head that would work, even after the infusion of some Mozart with my coffee… Hence, the semi-existential treatise you see above, with no actual connection to reality, or even, for that matter, this blog…. but, on short notice, which is only kind I get, it’s the best I could come up with…. and, apparently, it’s good enough….
Look, over there…. see that? Yep, it’s a rather aggressive looking #4 emergency method, and it’s looking like it wants to charge…. and, wouldn’t you know it, we’re without our charge machine, so we can’t run any, even a MasterCard/Visa, much less the one most of them carry, American Express…. when we got the new card reader, we got rid of all the old paper slips to use as backups…. Man, they get pretty riled when they aren’t allowed to charge…. Maybe we should just,…. wait. Look out, here it comes! Hold on!….. BLAM!!!….. Okay, it’s all good now, it’s been tranquilized…
Whew, just in time, too…. If we hang around this intro section any longer, we’re going to see our insurance rates go up again, so, I’m using this #4, even if it IS unconscious, to get us out of here…. You can watch if you want, but, don’t blink, whatever you do….
Shall we Pearl?…..
“Thou seest how few be the things, the which if a man has at his command his life flows gently on and is divine.” — Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 AD) — Meditations, ii, 5
For those unpracticed at translation, from an English translation of a Greek or Roman philospher’s original words, (said translation usually performed by an over-educated, stuffy, pompous scholar of undetermined age, yet certainly not less than required to initiate calcification of the brain), into a more modern version of English, allow me to express the idea Marcus is stating, in a simpler way, into a more modern speech pattern…. It is an idea which, indeed, can be quite useful in formulating one’s approach to living… I’ll use the most simple, modern format, used by many organizations to teach this lesson…. you may have heard it previously…. The above quote from Marcus, in modern terms, means this:
K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple, Silly, or, as we curmudgeons like to say, to provide the proper degree of motivational anger, Keep It Simple, Stupid/SFB/SF/YI/Einstein, take your pick….. To avoid prosecution for public display of vulgar taste, you can supply your own meanings for the acronyms…. I’ll tell mine to anyone who requests them in the comments, but, will only send them via email…. At least those, since I started using the Tor network, are a secure form of communication….
Now, if I could only learn to DO that…. keep it simple, that is…. SIGH…..
“A very ancient and fish-like smell.” — William Shakespeare (1564-1616), The Tempest — Act ii, Sc. 2
Want to feel enraged, disgusted, and spiritually soiled? If this article doesn’t do it, nothing will… I felt it immediately, that outrageous sense of entitlement displayed by the big corporations, such as PG&E, or, any modern corporation large enough to spawn a bureaucracy, in support of their oligarchy that is modern society….
These are those companies, and, to a great extent, governments, who exist in this world, according to the evidence of their actions, and their words, for the sole purpose of continuing their own existence, with the caveat implied, or, in this case, expressly stated aloud, that, what they do is so important, they deserve to be allowed to do that HOWEVER they please, because they are ENTITLED to be above the laws that regulate the rest of society, and, to make as much money at it as is possible, simply because the function they serve is one society cannot do without. The subtext, and implied threat, is the expressed intimation that, if the public, the common man, wishes to maintain a quality of living that includes shelter, electricity, heat, and water…. four things that are essential to every individual alive, then, those who control those items MUST be allowed to have free rein, without suffering the indignity of being questioned about their methods, or their performance….
PG&E is one of the largest energy sellers on the market, as large as any other in the entire world… Mostly larger, in at least one respect; there are other companies to rival their size, but, few of those are as focused in one area of the energy market as this particular behemoth, required to cover several of the parts of the energy grid that need the maximum available power at all times…. Nor, by any standards, is there one that has been LESS regulated, over the entire time since the early twentieth century, when the company saw its beginning as the major public supplier of gas and electricity to much of the western half of the US…. For that entire time, they have pretty much had things completely their way, as they have built what used to be called a practical monopoly for the products and services in which they deal….
For the last hundred years or so, they have been allowed to charge as much as they want for their energy, in order to maintain a certain profit for their “shareholders”…. not for the public, whom they serve, but for the few who own their stock…. Along with that, as evidence now shows, not only have most of their costs for doing business been passed along to their customers, for all these years, billed as “improved services”, thus increasing their profit each year, but, they NEVER ACTUALLY SPENT ANY MONEY ON IMPROVEMENTS, AND THEN LIED ABOUT IT TO THE PUBLIC, hiding their lack of safety upgrades to lines and equipment, and their lack of concern for improving services, deliberately, KNOWING they were increasing risk to the public, for the sake of increased profits….
But, according to their lawyers, they aren’t receiving, and I quote now from the above article, “the credit they deserve,…” for the money they have recently spent on improvements, a mere couple of billion dollars worth, compared to the 75 YEARS of not spending ANYTHING, for what the public now knows are improvements LEGALLY REQUIRED BY LAW….. which, I might add, they only paid, to perform the improvements due decades ago, AFTER they were caught, a couple years ago, when an unsafe line, ( a line typical of MOST of what they have in place. due to their decades of cheating, and overcharging the public), blew up, due to flaws they already knew about, but, had not fixed…. a blast that KILLED eight innocent people, injuring dozens more, while destroying most of an entire block of individual homes….
According to these same lawyers, who belong to the corporate slugs at the huge bureaucracy that is PG&E, the arrogant assholes who run the company not only want us to give them a little slack, (direct quote: “They deserve more credit for the money they’ve already spent…”) for ponying up a FRACTION of their profits, AFTER they were caught red-handed lying about what they’ve been doing for 50 years, but, they have the damn gall to want us to believe they’ve, first, actually MADE the improvements they SAY they’ve made, in spite of having lied about that very thing for over 50 years, and, second, to give them a break, and let the money they just spent count toward their fines….. Next, they’ll tell us they’re raising prices again, to be able to pay for these fines they’re so unjustly being held accountable for….
Now, later today, I also read that there is one politician, already, who wants the money from the tiny little fine amount, (a mere $1.45 billion, a drop in the bucket to this huge money machine….) which, by law, is suppose to go into the State’s general fund, for the general benefit of the people of the state…. Of course, politicians believe it is their money, too…. but, this one politico, no doubt a PG&E supporter, with a number of large plants and utility facilities in his district, meaning a lot of voters work for the company, says the money should be used to make even more safety improvements, which will supposedly, somehow, help make up for the years of not getting those upgrades.
I don’t suppose he even stopped to consider that this act gives the fines right back to PG&E, to use, allegedly, for improvements…. It occurs to me, the company is the one who decides that the work is done, or not, and when, and where…. because, hey, they’re the ones who know, right? But, who’s to say they’re telling us the truth about what is needed? They’ve got a long history of lying about that very thing, already…. What guarantee would there be that this money would actually be spent for that? Is someone going to stand over their shoulder, to see that it goes where it should? Would any corporation allow that sort of oversight, especially one who believes it holds a monopoly, and thus, a stranglehold on society? One who already has lied to the public, cheated them with overcharging, for services and work that was never done, for decades? Get a grip, ffolkes….
Now, do you believe me? Now can you see how ubiquitous, and dangerous, is the sense of entitlement held by all these corporate snakes, (and, their flunkies, politicians….) who live to lie, and cheat, and do whatever they must to make more and more money, even if it means placing in danger the lives of millions of innocent people, either by neglect, or design, and then, turning around, and whining about it, as they stall, and appeal, and do all they can to wiggle out from under the weight of any responsibility for their own actions?
These assholes will be the death of us all, ultimately, and, you can be sure, all the way to the door of Hell, these foul, gibbering demons from the nether regions of that address, masquerading as human beings, will be trying to figure their angle, to see if the Devil can be manipulated into some sort of profit making venture…. and, they’ll enjoy it, especially if they can screw somebody else while doing so….
Okay… I’ve run out of steam on this; nobody ever listens, and, if they do, they are either like me, powerless to change it, or, feel the same sort of resigned frustration, causing us all to look the other way, until we can find something to feel better about, or, let time purge it from our awareness, if not our memory…. In closing, here is a short, five-star pearl, with some thoughts on what I’ve related above….
“Only the brave deserve the fair, but only rich, fat, cowardly merchants can afford same.” — Chinese Proverb
“Admit nothing, deny everything, and launch counter-accusations.” — Excerpt from the PG&E manager’s training manual, page 2, on dealing with any request for service from the public, or for handling questions from the media…. Honest, ffolkes it’s right in there…. I’ve seen it….
Our ignorance of history makes us libel our own times. People have always been like this.”” — Flaubert
(S’truth, too…. ain’t it a damn shame? ‘Cept, now, it’s probably too late to even hope for any changes, before we’re all gone….. gigoid)
“In the words of Shankarachaya, “All impossible things can be made possible save the bringing of the fool’s mind to the point of truth.” — Hazrat Inayat Khan (Sufi writer)
(The truth of this is why the quote from Flaubert is so relevant…. and so true….)
“And sometimes the bear eats you.” — Everyone’s feeling of resignation, upon receiving their monthly bill from PG&E
“Please hold. A service representative will annoy you shortly.” — An excerpt from another PG&E manual, this one for phone technicians, with lists of the approved recordings. for frustrating anyone who calls with a question, about anything…. These are the statements that are officially sanctioned by the executive board, as suggested by their legal department….
‘Ere you go, ffolkes….. deal with it. We’re all going to have to, one way or another, very much more shortly than anyone believes, I’m afraid…. I hate to be a cynic, but, ever heard of permafrost?…. Look it up, if you’re in the mood to feel some real, visceral terror for the future of mankind, and all the other animals, and most of the plants & tiny organisms, on this planet….
There MAY be SOME sort of life now extant, that will be able to adapt to what is coming…. but, if so, we don’t know what it may be, because, while smart enough to cause our own demise, and smart enough to actually see it coming…. we don’t seem to be smart enough to do anything about it, or to know exactly what will happen; only that it will, and we can’t stop it…. So, according to all the evidence, we WILL die, and sooner than we ever thought…. I guess it’s what you might call a surprise ending for mostly everybody….
The Hollow Men
Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long
Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
For Thine is
For Thine is the
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
~~ T.S. Eliot ~~
After that, only one poet exists for me, other than Teddy E…. Since my need for the soothing properties of a poem is great, and Emily’s poems tend to brevity, we’ll go with a two-fer…. Enjoy, please…. I intend to….
A Day! Help! Help! Another Day!
A Day! Help! Help! Another Day!
Your prayers, oh Passer by!
From such a common ball as this
Might date a Victory!
From marshallings as simple
The flags of nations swang.
Steady—my soul: What issues
Upon thine arrow hang!
~~ Emily Dickinson ~~
I died for beauty
I died for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.
He questioned softly why I failed?
“For beauty,” I replied.
“And I for truth – the two are one;
We brethren are,” he said.
~~ Emily Dickinson ~~
“Some students drink at the fountain of knowledge, others just gargle.” — Brilliant Bee
Some times, when I’m sitting here, as I am now, with more than usual the amount of energy, in a relatively pain-muted state, I’ll do as I am now…. I got an email, advertising the latest Grateful Dead CD release, with a link to listen to one of the live cuts, from a concert on Long Island in 1989, of the song, “Deal”…. so, I clicked over to listen, turning my new speakers up to their not great, but adequate maximum level, take out my ponytail holders, to free my hair (now down to my mid-lower back….), laugh loudly& long, and, then…..
Then, sitting down, I will take a hit, or three, lean back, and begin to rock out in my chair, as much as I can without creating more stunning pain, essentially immersing myself in hedonistic memories of days past, when I was young, actually AT the concert I’m listening to, dancing my ass off with some twenty-something like-minded goddess, with no inhibition or restraint…. I do that, because, all my life, I’ve believed in the above, in gulping down knowledge, and, LIFE in general, in great big bites, refusing to gargle ANY of it, unless it was actually toxic for me to consume….
As Robert Heinlein taught us, via the vehicle of The Notebooks of Lazarus Long,
“Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks.”
I first read the Notebooks, or, this part of it, in my early teens…. When I left high school to attend UC Berkeley, in 1968, it was my full intention to do just that…. to take big bites of Life, to savor each one of them, with delight, appreciation, and gratitude….. So, I did, every day from then, until now…. Having also adopted another of Lazarus’ quotes as a life rule, to wit: “No regrets, ever. When the ship lifts, all bills are paid. Life is too short to hold on to the past.”, I have never regretted a single moment of my past…. ANY of it, even the bad parts…. Nothing lasts forever, “but the earth and sky”, as the song says, and it’s true; so, since they, too, shall pass, the bad parts only make the good parts that much sweeter, when they come back around….
I could, conceivably, talk/rant about this one for a long while, as the concept forms a large part of my philosophy of life (See axiom #1, # 2, #3, well, actually, all eight of the axioms have this running through them, in a way….), Peruaosophy…. but, I think I’ve already made the point sufficiently well, that an old-school pearl, with this idea, of “drinking deep of the Empyrean fields”, as the focus of parameters, should suffice to finish the thought, without having to listen to me spout off any longer…. See, I CAN be a nice guy, when I work at it a little…
“Death to all fanatics!” — Bumper Sticker
(Just a small demonstration of “irony”….)
A transient, horrible, fantastic dream,
Wherein is nothing yet all things do seem:
From which we’re wakened by a friendly nudge
Of our bedfellow Death, and cry: “O fudge!”
– Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”
“The bird of passage known to us as the cuckoo.” — Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) — Natural History, Book xviii, Sect. 249
I see my life go drifting like a river
From change to change; I have been many things -
A green drop in the surge, a gleam of light
Upon a sword, a fir tree on a hill,
An old slave grinding at a heavy quern,
A king sitting upon a chair of gold -
And all these things were wonderful and great;
But now I have grown nothing, knowing all.
Ah! Druid, Druid, how great webs of sorrow
Lay hidden in that small slate-coloured thing!
– William Butler Yeats, “Fergus and the Druid”
“A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly,
science into superstition, and art into pedantry.
Hence University education.”
– George Bernard Shaw –
In the desert a fountain is springing,
In the wide waste there still is a tree,
And a bird in the solitude singing,
Which speaks to my spirit of thee.
– Lord Byron (1788-1824) — Stanzas to Augusta
(Augusta was Lord Byron’s sister…. There are lines, such as these, that solidify my opinion of him as one of the two most passionate masters of metaphor, and, one of the two most insightful poet to ever put pen to paper…. as well as being known as one of the most adept romantic poets to ever wear the name… He wrote incredibly beautiful, deeply insightful, cunning, delicate, yet, powerful poems, in his tragically short life, that still stand as some the finest ever written, and will never be forgotten….)
“Nothing in the world is more flexible and yielding than water. Yet when it attacks the firm and the strong, none can withstand it, because they have no way to change it. So the flexible overcome the adamant, the yielding overcome the forceful. Everyone knows this, but no one can do it.” — Lao-Tzu
Ffolkes… this is a very fine, very subtle pearl, deep in metaphor and spiritual feeling, yet, all of the pearls bear good advice for living, or, demonstrate a valuable skill to be learned…. I couldn’t be prouder of Smart Bee, for coming up with such an excellent group of gems, lustrous and shiny….. Plus, bonus round; for the price, it’s an unbeatable bargain….
For some unknown, and ungodly, reason, the sleep I got yesterday seems to have completely screwed up my system’s routine…. I had so much energy, I was up until after 10 PM, which meant, even with only five or six hours of sleep, I would be a bit late getting up… not a big deal, but, I hate making myself feel rushed, which I do, every time, in spite of the fact there is no deadline, other than my own feeling of wanting to get it done, and posted between 6 and 7 AM…. which, this morning, is well within reach, but, doesn’t feel like it…. go figure…. I guess that much sleep at once is a message my mind, and body, which tend to work together when I’m not watching, a message they don’t like, and refuse to acknowledge….
SIGH…. it’s tough, when your own mind actively works against you… But, forewarned is forearmed, so, I know what has to be done…. which, right now, entails finding just the right note on which to leave you, happy, but wanting more…. and, I think I just found it…. See y’all tomorrow, ffolkes…. Keep your shoes shiny, and your nose clean…. it honks louder that way, and the cops will know you care, because of your shoes…. Don’t overthink it, just wave bye-bye now, and go home…
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.
gigoid, the dubious
PLEASE STOP READING THIS MESSAGE NOW.