Subsidized pets never rust…..

Ffolkes,
If there is one place in the world I would prefer to avoid during the month of July, Bakersfield would be that place. Hot, dusty, and ugly were the three adjectives that came to mind as I walked out of the bus terminal. The grimy faces of tired, old buildings lined the street, harsh neon lights looking pale and wan in the harsh, oppressive light of the sun. Nobody else appeared to be out in the midday heat except yours truly, acting the part of either mad dog, or Englishman, for the entertainment of whatever gods happened to be watching.

I knew of at least one goddess who would be doing so with rapt attention, for she is the one who sent me to this godforsaken hole in the wall of the universe, and she will want to know what I’m doing at all times…. The gods aren’t the most trusting of employers, but they pay well for success…. Of course, what I’ll do with all these old drachmae, I don’t know, but I’ll worry about it later…. Being the private eye on call to Olympus isn’t the easiest gig, but I like it, even if some of the major goddesses can be a bit testy about their entitlements…. As long as the money is good, I can put up with a lot of foolishness….

I might take this a bit further, but I just realized that this idea has been done already…. almost. “The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul” by Douglas Adams, tells the story of a PI involved in a case with a number of the old Norse gods…. Odin, Loki, and the like. I didn’t realize it until I typed “drachmae”, which is not Norse, but still reminded me of the adventures of Dirk Gently in a hostile universe that Adams put out. Not wishing to plagiarize his idea any further, we will leave that story right where it is, to die a long, painful, and horrible death, alone….. good thing I have no emotional attachment to it, or I’d feel some guilt….

Here’s a good piece of advice for all you youngsters out there…. Never….. wait, that’s too long…. okay, try this….. Always…. No, that’s the same thing, just backwards…. hmmm…. Sometimes…. there you go, that works….

Sometimes, you win, and sometimes, you lose. Sometimes you’re the bug, sometimes you’re the windshield. And sometimes, it all makes sense, until it doesn’t, and reality resumes its inevitable march toward our own personal doom…. so don’t sweat it. The end of the road will get here when it gets here, and not a moment before. We may as well enjoy the time while we’re waiting, eh?…. So be it…

I don’t know about y’all but I thinks that’s about enough of that nonsense for one morning…. Shall we Pearl?…..
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“Friendship is the only thing in the world concerning the usefulness of which all mankind are agreed.” — Cicero

Okay, let’s see…. I can agree with the part that says “Friendship is”…leave out some words leading up to “concerning the usefulness of which all mankind are agreed.” Obviously, I am contesting the “only thing” part, yes? Okay… so, let’s see if there are any other useful things “concerning which all mankind agrees”….

Honesty?…. Well, I think this one would probably be acknowledged as being useful by everyone asked, but I’m also pretty certain that many of them would be lying, which kind of negates that whole idea, doesn’t it? Yes, it does…. nod your head up and down, and let’s go on….

Loyalty?…. Hmm… I think this one would most likely run about the same as honesty. Everybody is going to say that they believe in loyalty, but some of them aren’t going to be telling the truth about it, not if 25,000 years of history are considered as evidence.

Love?…. I don’t think there would be any sort of consensus here; too many folks have had bad experiences with love, or more accurately, bad experiences from NOT having being loved, or given an opportunity to love. This would definitely NOT be a subject on which all would agree…. not even close….

Compassion? Fair Play? Opera?  Nope, I don’t think any of these would come close to being a consensus choice, much as some of us would like them to be, or not be, in the case of Opera….

Crispy bacon?  This, I believe, comes as close as anything else to being universally agreed upon. Of course, a lot of vegans and other cholesterol fanatics would SAY they disagree, but you know that deep in their hearts, they really, really WANT that bacon….  :-)

Okay, so maybe Cicero had a valid point. There doesn’t seem to be much of anything that all of mankind can agree upon, which is hardly a surprise, given the stubborn individuality most people cling to like a life-saver in a storm at sea. In fact, this innate insistence on being unique is part of the problem, as it makes it hard for people to accept that other people may feel the higher emotions, such as compassion, or honesty, when they are seldom present in themselves. They do not trust themselves, so they cannot trust others…. only when they are in the presence of a real friend can these virtues be shown….
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My Fancy

I painted her a gushing thing,
With years about a score;
I little thought to find they were
A least a dozen more;
My fancy gave her eyes of blue,
A curly auburn head:
I came to find the blue a green,
The auburn turned to red.

She boxed my ears this morning,
They tingled very much;
I own that I could wish her
A somewhat lighter touch;
And if you ask me how
Her charms might be improved,
I would not have them added to,
But just a few removed!

She has the bear’s ethereal grace,
The bland hyaena’s laugh,
The footstep of the elephant,
The neck of a giraffe;
I love her still, believe me,
Though my heart its passion hides;
“She’s all my fancy painted her,”
But oh! how much besides!

Lewis Carroll

Here is something a bit different from Lewis Carroll, whom we all know and love from “Through the Looking Glass: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. I think this poem tells a lot about the British culture of the time in which he lived, as I find a lot of pieces from that time that echo the sentiments described herein. At any rate, it’s a fun read, and brought me a little smile at the end, so I hope you enjoy it, too…..
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“We may not be able to persuade Hindus that Jesus and not Vishnu should govern their spiritual horizon, nor Moslems that Lord Buddha is at the center of their spiritual universe, nor Hebrews that Mohammed is a major prophet, nor Christians that Shinto best expresses their spiritual concerns, to say nothing of the fact that we may not be able to get Christians to agree among themselves about their relationship to God. But all will agree on a proposition that they possess profound spiritual resources.  If, in addition, we can get them to accept the further proposition that whatever form the Deity may have in their own theology, the Deity is not only external, but internal and acts through them, and they themselves give proof or disproof of the Deity in what they do and think; if this further proposition can be     accepted, then we come that much closer to a truly religious situation on earth.” — Norman Cousins, from his book “Human Options”

Mr. Cousins speaks in a very even-handed manner, with respect for all of the philosophies, religions, and churches he mentions in his statement. Though it is possibly too complex for the average follower of any religion to take in at one sitting, it does make a reasonable allegation, and leads the reader on a quite logical train of thought.

What fails to stimulate complete agreement in me is the question, “why do we make the assumption that what we need on earth is “a truly religious situation.” (whatever THAT means… I mean, really…. a religious ‘situation’? And who defines ‘truly’?…)  It is always a puzzle to me how people can use so much mental energy to chase themselves into a maze with no exit……

First, define a ‘religious situation’, and tell me who gets to decide when it is ‘truly religious’…. second explain why we need it on earth…. third, well, never mind, we’ll get to the abuse later….  Anyway, it puzzles me, how someone who can make the above argument, which shows a knowledge of religions which is at least wide, if not particularly deep, can also make such an unwarranted assumption.

I understand one purpose of such a statement, which would be to at least TRY to infuse some unifying connections between the various modes of thought, to get them to see other views, at least hypothetically. That purpose is a good one…. but trying to make the intuitive leap to a melding of religious thought is asking too much of people who, by the very nature of their beliefs, are unaccustomed to that kind of acceptance.  Indeed, one of the primary identifying characteristics of almost any “worshiper” is an extreme resistance to thinking….at all…. much less thinking about acceptance of another religion’s validity.

I believe Mr. Cousins is right to wish that everyone, of whatever religion they are, would open themselves to the idea that other religions have the same right to exist as do they, even though those beliefs are different from their own. A little bit of tolerance for the other fellow’s ideas can go a long way toward keeping the peace between nations, or people….

It’s a small thing, but with very large effect on how people treat each other…. It is also the most needed change to human nature that I see, the one that could lead the way to other changes to morality and ethics, thereby providing mankind with the tools needed to survive…..

You cannot face it steadily, but this thing’s for sure,
That time is no healer: the patient is no longer here.
— T.S. Eliot
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Homer: “Marge, is this a happy ending or a sad ending?”
Marge: “It’s an ending. That’s enough.”
— The Simpsons

I know exactly how Marge feels…. and it’s enough…. 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!

Savage knickers at the seashore….

Ffolkes,
Last night, a Friday, in my younger days, I would have stayed up late, playing some guitar & having a deep philosophical discussion at intervals between songs with both Tom, my playing partner, and either John or James, (Daniels & Beam, respectively…), whichever we were entertaining that night as monitor for the session. A few other like-minded individuals may have been in attendance, and the air would have been rife with speculative, joyfully creative flights of imagination, music, and Life. Such nights fueled much of the rest of the week back then, providing impetus for making it to the next week’s jam….

Ah, but, those days are gone now…. not forgotten, obviously, but gone, only accessible by memory. Such memories, however, are the soul food for the present; they provide me with ample reason to last another day. Lasting another day, at this point, has assumed a more immediate relevance than any previous time in my life, as the effort to do so becomes greater, seemingly more so each day….. I still try to put some speculative, joyfully creative moments on the agenda, but those moments are definitely fewer, and further between, coming as they do in the mornings when writing these Pearls…. My guitar, alas, is currently in gaol at the pawn shop until I can break it free….

But, I do have to say, although the occurrences of moments of value happen less frequently, they are no less uplifting, and continue to provide me with reasons to last another day…. if only to post another Pearl…. shall we get on with doing so? I think that would be best….
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My life, described in six words….

“Looked for love, found it everywhere.” — gigoid, to KDFC DJ Hoyt Smith, 2009….

While listening to the radio one day, the DJ was talking about a meme activity he had received via email, earlier that day, from a listener. The challenge was to describe your life in exactly six words; he gave several examples of those who had already responded, and asked the listening audience to call in with their own. After a couple of moments the above six words floated to the surface of my mind, almost unbidden, so I called in, and, to my surprise, my call was taken, and my quote was put out over the air.

For life, with all it yields of joy and woe,
And hope and fear (believe the aged friend),
Is just our chance o’ the prize of learning love,–
How love might be, hath been indeed, and is.
— Robert Browning (1812-1890) — A Death in the Desert

Considering that what I said in those six words is as true as the day, it felt kind of good. Fortunately, it didn’t lead to any more than 15 seconds of fame, the time it took to say my name, and my contribution…. not that I was hoping it would lead to an appearance on Letterman or anything, but it did feel pretty good, as I am proud of the quote….

Of course, I’ve never found the secret to getting love to stay, other than the love between friends that is so important. Our culture, so tenuous in its support of monogamy, provides people with so many ways to leave a relationship without penalty, no one seems interested in making them last an entire lifetime any more. It’s like, “Oh well, that didn’t work… there’s lots of fish in the sea….”, and off they go into the dating world again…. Frankly, it makes me dizzy….

I can’t say I know what the problem is in society that dooms relationships these days; if I did, then it wouldn’t be a problem, as I’d know what to avoid…. What I do know is that on five occasions in my life, I’ve given my heart to a woman, and spent all my energy giving my all to that relationship, faithfully and fully. On all of those occasions, the woman eventually decided, for their own personal reasons, that they didn’t want to continue, and left. I guess they like Will Shakespeare more than I do… as they seemed to take on his attitude…

“I dote on his very absence.” — William Shakespeare  (With all he wrote, even he came up with something coherent occasionally….)

I’ve been fortunate, I guess, in that of those five times, only three were painful in their intensity; two of them were relatively amicable breakups. But, it hurts when a woman I’ve loved for 23 years, and intended to die with, decides she’d rather pursue other options;it hurts, and it hurts a lot…. It also hurts when a woman has said she loved me for ten years, and has been lying the whole time…. that kind of betrayal brings a very lasting pain, and is slow to pass…

I hear you reproach, “But delay was best,
For their end was a crime.” Oh, a crime will do
As well, I reply, to serve for a test
As a virtue golden through and through,
Sufficient to vindicate itself
And prove its worth at a moment’s view!
.     .     .     .     .     .
Let a man contend to the uttermost
For his life’s set prize, be it what it will!
The counter our lovers staked was lost
As surely as if it were lawful coin;
And the sin I impute to each frustrate ghost
Is–the unlit lamp and the ungirt loin,
Though the end in sight was a vice, I say.
— Robert Browning (1812-1890) — The Statue and the Bust

Pain is an old friend, though, in all its various guises, and I know it always passes in time. Now I am looking for love again, in my own time, still trying to find that one woman who can be both loving and honest. The ones I’ve known so far have all had a problem with that last part…. it’s not something our society teaches well. But, until I find her, I’ll have to make do with the pain….

I know she is out there, somewhere….. There’s got to be some woman who would enjoy being worshiped by an old, fading, but faithful, romantic curmudgeon with a soft spot for dogs, cats, and kids….

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
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The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character.
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all beings.
— The Buddha

I can’t think of a single thing that needs to be added here, so I won’t….. As Nike says, “Just do it….”
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“Strange, because they are so frankly and hysterically insane — like all dreams: a God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave his angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice and invented hell — mouths mercy and invented hell — mouths Golden Rules, and forgiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man’s acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him!” — Mark Twain, _The Mysterious Stranger_

Perhaps it’s lazy, perhaps it’s stealing…. but my comments here wouldn’t add anything that would make this more accurate or more  effectively true, so again…. just take it in, and hold it alongside all the nonsensical tripe you hear for balance….
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One day, I’ll find a way to make this process less haphazard…. today it seemed as if the pearls kept following the discussion, popping up to say, “Oh, look how perfectly I fit here!…” while I’m looking for a new one to use for the next pearl. And then, finding pearls that don’t lend themselves to discussion, being too perfect as they are…. Ah well, I can’t complain, I guess…. it’s done. And done fairly well, so it will have to fly as it is, once again…. 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!

Old~new dogs~tricks…..

Ffolkes,
Good morning, I hope…. let’s jump right in….

“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly.  It should be thrown with great force.” — Dorothy Parker

Fortunately for all concerned at this point, I haven’t. Yet. Written a novel. I’ve written enough in the past 10 months to fill the pages of at least three of them, all about 400 pages, but, it’s not a novel, nor, as I think of it now, is it very novel…. sorry….. But, that right there, that pun, even though it wasn’t deliberate, is a good indicator of what I feel right now, in re: what Ms. Parker said above, if applied to my novel of Pearls over the last near-year. In looking over the previous efforts this month, I note a distinct decline in quality. You may not have noticed it, but it is there, to my eye….

Said decline may or may not be connected to the concomitant increase in the personal nature of what I’ve chosen to write; it’s hard to tell without a full introspective overhaul. Sometimes though, going with what is felt, without too much close examination, doesn’t seem such a bad choice upon which to base bending to change….

I mean, change will happen, no matter what choice I make, so it seems a good idea to be proactive, in a sense, and make some changes in myself, or in my approach to certain matters. After all, I’m the only one who can change me, and I am also the only thing in the universe I can change. May as well take advantage of those immutable principles….

Hence, I’m changing the face of the Pearls of Virtual Wisdom. Again. It isn’t the first time; over the 12 or 13 years I’ve been putting them together on a pretty much daily basis, first while at work,then from home, I’ve gone through several procedural and structural morphs.

It all started with one pearl, and one short comment a day, and has grown to an average of 1800 words a day, with five pearls as base material. I think I’ve reached the maximum benefit I can derive by making them so long each day, so I’m cutting back a bit, starting today, and will present only three pearls a day, and give them my best shot, whatever form that may take, prose or verse….

In addition, pearls will be expanded to include more pictures, some with text, some with, well, other stuff…. about which I will either say “Aww!”, or write a haiku, or a short essay, or a rant, or whatever strikes me (not a change, but a change in stimuli….)…. No harm in trying to add some color to my day, and yours…. So, Gentle Reader, settle back, and gird your grid for a new experience…. at least, new to this blog… Shall we explore consensual reality together?…. A’Pearling we shall go….
___________________________________    Friendship is a wonderful thing; saying so is pretty obvious and trite, but nonetheless true for that. And we all know that to have a friend, one must BE a friend. This attitude, of being open to the kind of things that friends do, is especially important when one is in a place far away from those friends, when they are not there to lean on, or to help…. In life we travel, we drift apart, we follow our own paths, but our friends are always with us, even if only in our hearts… And in those times we are alone, being open to friendship can save not only your sanity, but your life….    I have friends who would do all of the things listed under the real friends category; not just would do, but have…. It’s been a while since I was in a dog pile with them, and doing so now would probably put us all in traction, but the rest of it is all true and has happened in the not so distant past. It feels good to know that I am still in touch with at least five people who used to call my folks Mom and Dad…. Mitt Romney can keep his $250 million net worth; of the two of us, I am the truly wealthy one…..
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“…it still remains true that as a set of cognitive beliefs about the existence of God in any recognizable sense continuous with the great systems of the past, religious doctrines constitute a speculative hypothesis of an extremely low order of probability.” — Sidney Hook

Mr. Hook gives us here a long-winded, Shakespearean statement about the existence of God that probably would better have been left at “Not bloody likely!”…. Both get the same point across, but the latter has more punch, as the listener doesn’t have to spend all that time trying to first figure out what the hell he said….

It is a very good statement, in its way; accurate, logical, and with a proper reservation of judgment, proclaiming the idiocy of buying into such an implausible story without being snide about it. But, as mentioned, it reminds me of a certain author, who shall now remain unnamed, who had the same habit when he wrote, to wit: “HEY! Lets cover up what this means with a bunch of extra words that will make the reader’s head spin with admiration….”.

Now, as one who writes (or types, anyway…. who’s to say whether it is writing?….), I tend to agree with Twain’s method of prose, which is spare, and attempts to pare down what is written to its barest bones, leaving nothing but meaning and style; as with golf, one is trying for the lowest score. Twain, Hemingway, Steinbeck, all believed that good writing should be accessible, and clear, without having to be translated, or put into simpler terms, and Mr. Hook would have done better, I think, to keep that in mind. The idea he is promulgating is one that does need to be spread around, and should stimulate discussion. In its present form, it will only do that amongst the few readers and folks who can easily make out what he is talking about in this over-blown statement….

The idea he is expressing here is one that is generally discouraged by those in leadership positions in modern religions. Discussing the veracity of the claims that religion makes is not encouraged by any of the sects I know of; in fact, doing so tends to produce some rather volatile reactions, to put it mildly. Most folks have a hard time maintaining their cool when their religious beliefs are challenged, due, I think, to the strong emotional connection they add to those beliefs.

Their feelings are so tied into those beliefs that, in their minds, questioning one is the same as attacking the other….. Not logical, but true nonetheless, and not a good thing to leave out of one’s calculations; I never discuss religion without being rather heavily armed…. and not only with knowledge….

Here’s the thing that bothers me about the whole concept of an omnipotent entity…. How can we, who are not omnipotent, claim to understand either the actual form of a God, or the motivation of such a being? How can we claim to be certain that this omnipotent entity, capable of creating an entire universe, not only looks just like us, but actually wants us to bow down and worship Him, or Her, or It? Even when I was five years old, nobody could, or would, answer that question, other than to say, “because it’s in the Bible.” Even then, I recognized when I was being put off, and it just made me wonder more….

Certainty is only a symptom of lack of imagination. — Smart Bee

Over time, as my knowledge of the world grew, I came to realize that the entire system is just another man-made institution, with the whole purpose of taking advantage of, and controlling, the general run of folks who are just trying to get by in life. I learned that the louder a person proclaims himself to be a Christian, the less like Christ they act. Being “safe in the arms of Jesus” is the perfect excuse to deny any responsibility for one’s own acts of immorality; Jesus forgives everything, right? Well, he does…. it says so right here in the New Testament, so it must be true….

“Our father who art in heaven..  I sincerely pray that SOMEBODY at this table will PAY for my SHREDDED WHAT and ENGLISH MUFFIN.. and also leave a GENEROUS TIP…” — Zippy the Pinhead

I don’t claim to know God. I don’t know how God looks. I don’t know what God thinks, or even if what that entity does can be called thinking at all. I’m not omnipotent, so I have no frame of reference from which to approach such a question. I do know this, though…. whatever anyone says about God is bound to be wrong. It has to be; there is no way for us to understand anything about such a creature, not if we are to assume they are truly gods. If they are gods, or God, then I refuse to believe that what is important to me as a human is important to them; it just doesn’t make any logical sense. None….

ZEUS, n.  The chief of Grecian gods, adored by the Romans as Jupiter and by the modern Americans as God, Gold, Mob and Dog.  Some explorers who have touched upon the shores of America, and one who professes to have penetrated a considerable distance to the interior, have thought that these four names stand for as many distinct deities, but in his monumental work on Surviving Faiths, Frump insists that the natives are monotheists, each having no other god than himself, whom he worships under many sacred names. — Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”

Looking at a Universe without God doesn’t scare me…. I think it is quite beautiful, no matter how it came to exist. Knowing one way or another how it was created, or happened, or evolved, or whatever, isn’t important to me, in either the short, or the long run. Learning about it, experiencing its joys and trials, appreciating both its gifts and its penalties, these are much more important. Do your Duty. Honor the Truth. Respect Life. Share your Love. I don’t think that God needs my approval, or my worship in order for the universe to carry on…. it’s just fine the way it is…..

“There are no physicists in the hottest parts of hell, because the existence of a hottest part implies a temperature difference, and any marginally competent physicist would immediately use this to run a heat engine and make some other part of hell comfortably cool. This is obviously impossible.” — Richard Davidson
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Okay, enough of being serious…. here we have another find from Facebook, where all of today’s images were found…. it needs no explanation….___________________________________

There you have it… the freshest Pearl you can find, just for you…. I love it when a plan comes together…. Well, sort of together…. it’s still over 1800 words….SIGH….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!


Pliable, yet soapy, it burned quickly….

Ffolkes,
Whew! It’s going to be an interesting day….. I’ve been up only about 15 minutes, and have at least three comments from yesterday that will require some heavy thought in order to respond adequately. The good news is that the blogger friend I was worried about last night is fine, and my worry was unnecessary; his poetry was simply too real, and I bought it…. very powerful piece…. So, all is good, and I have lots to keep my mind occupied (as if that were ever a problem around here…..).

That being said, we should probably just get on with it, so…… let’s Pearl….

All of the above is out-of-date by 24 hours, so just pay it no mind…. As I explained yesterday, this was written on the 15th, but before I realized I was writing it into the template for the next day….. The nose grew bulbous and red, and I honked it, for sure….. I had to start over, and shall proceed to do so again this morning…. be right back….  (Why not just delete? That would be cheating….)

It has been a full day since I wrote that, and the above introductory paragraphs are hereby declared to be null and void. This procedure will now resume its normally scheduled activity…. as normally as it ever gets, that is….. and to avoid any further nonsense, we will go directly to the task at hand, i.e., we shall now Pearl……this way, please, and watch your step…..
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Deal with others as thou wouldst thyself be dealt by.
Do nothing to thy neighbor which thou wouldst not have him do to thee hereafter.
—  _The Mahabharata_, c. 800 B. C.

I feel a google coming on….. yep, it started even earlier than this…. According to Wikipedia, the earliest mention of the concept we now refer to as The Golden Rule is to be found in the Code of Hammurabi, first codified and set down in the year 1780 BC. Though the majority of Christians believe that the teachings of Jesus were the origination of this idea, almost every religion and philosophy in every country in the world has made a reference to this ideal of reciprocity in human relations, dating probably from before the time of Hammurabi.

Once again, the mathematician in me takes over, and we will now emulate The Count, from Sesame Street.  1780 + 2012 = 3792. That is 3792 years, approximately (I don’t imagine they know the day of the week it was published; it’s not THAT accurate a computation). That is a lot of days. Even more hours. It seems like, and is, a long time, at least in relation to the sum total of written human history, which has been been recorded for only about 5 or 6 thousand years… not too much longer ago than this first appeared.

These figures, in my mind, beg the question: So, how are we doing on that? Do we all treat each other according to the underlying principle of this piece of societal knowledge, well known to even the most ignorant of our brethren? Is this the basis for all our laws and moral standards?  Have we made any progress at all in nearly four thousand years during which this has been a part of the tool kit that humans possess to deal with reality?

I don’t think so.

In fact, it seems clear to me that our society pretty much acts in a manner completely OUT of harmony with the principle of reciprocity between men and women, of seeking harmony between all members of society. There is NO reciprocity present in modern day life. The attitude of self-service first is prevalent in the beloved ruling class, and trickles down naturally to infest and infect every level of society, from top to bottom, reaching into every nook and cranny, soiling each soul it touches and ensnares.

Each and every one of these people whom we have elected into office, as well as a significant number of average society members,  will tell you with a straight face, and a firm belief they are telling the truth, that they strongly support the Golden Rule, and use it in every area of their life. These same people will then steal your wallet while you aren’t looking, then offer to help you look for it. Then, they will ask you for a reward for helping you find it, right where they dumped it…. and I’ll bet everyone reading this has a story that fits that scenario, at least in the essential points….

Is there an answer to this issue, to these questions? Yes, it has already been made, and is in place now. This is the way it is; it will not change, not until human nature changes also, and that is just NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, PEOPLE!  I’d suggest you get used to it, and polish up your armor….. There are not many of us left who feel like what is below…. most folks don’t feel at all…. but trying for this at least can make our own journey a bit more tolerable…..

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves. — Irish blessing

After that explosion of cynicism, all I can say to you all is….. Blessed Be, and maybe I’m wrong…. We can hope…. In fact, here is a proposition…. If the world will adopt the Golden Rule, I’ll break myself of my habit of using all these dots in my writing….. that ought to be worth something in the larger picture, don’t you think?  It’s worth a shot, nothing else seems to be working very well…..
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“Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other “sins” are invented nonsense. (Hurting yourself is NOT a sin–just stupid.)” — Lazarus Long, from Robert A. Heinlein’s “Time Enough For Love”

I first saw this quote when I was about 23 or so… I had been reading Heinlein’s work for many years already, and my philosophical growth was still in its expansion stages, not yet having settled on the final format that I eventually found suitable. This statement, part of the collected “Notebooks of Lazarus Long” was one that almost seemed as it it had been part of my being for many years. It wasn’t a feeling of deja vu that I got from it; it was more like a feeling of , “Well, of course! That’s obvious!”  It was quickly adopted into my own philosophy as a good way to view reality, to my way of thinking….

It quickly came to my attention that this sentiment is not exactly a popular one amongst the more religiously oriented folks with whom we share space in this reality. The year 1973, when this book was first published, was a time when the gay movement was just gaining some attention in the news, and, I believe, may even be when Anita Bryant first began her misguided campaign against homosexuality.

A lot of social mores were being challenged by the hippie culture, and the rules, and sins, as promulgated by the established religions, were under constant attack from the left side of the political spectrum. The noise and outrage from the conservative fundamentalists was deafening in its panicked frenzy (a state of mind that persists to this day when fundamentalists are reminded of the laws that now exist…. it makes them absolutely CRAZY to think that their worst nightmares are now legal acts…..), as they thrashed around the public arena, shouting out their dogma to whomever they could persuade to listen.

But, as I did back then, and continue to do now, I pretty much ignore the crap that gets flung in my direction whenever one of these religious zealots hears what I believe, or is confronted with the evidence of their own foolishness. It’s the only honorable way to deal with them… They are not sufficiently well-armed to make a battle of wits a fair proposition, and beating them to a pulp is frowned upon by my peers, as well as the fundamentalists themselves…. It costs them a lot in bandages and aspirin when they are silly enough to try to engage me in debates on this subject, and carry on to the point where my patience snaps…. it isn’t pretty…. but it sure is fun!…..
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C:\> erase c:\reality.sys; copy a:\pern\*.* c:

Yesterday’s little contest had a winner, cowgirliz, (http://cowgirliz.wordpress.com/) who slipped in the correct answer late last evening, about 2 minutes ahead of the second place winner,  Rohit, (http://quest4knowledge.wordpress.com/).  Both of them correctly interpreted the above DOS command, and have won this fabulous prize….. four minutes of fame, here on gigoid’s folly….. This prize, it must be added, has no cash value, and is only worth as much as you give it, so, give until it hurts…… or at least go check out their blogs; both of them are well worth reading….

So, you’re asking, what the heck does it mean?  Okay…. first, you need to know about Pern….  Pern is the name of a planet that circles a star much like that of Earth’s, approximately 200+ light years from Earth, in the direction of the constellation Draco, suitably enough…. It is a fictional world, created and written about by Anne McCaffrey, an Irish author of science fiction and fantasy novels. The novels about Pern are a combination of the best of both of those literary worlds……

Humans came to Pern, in giant spaceships, from Earth in the twenty-second century, seeking to colonize a planet using new ideas of government and societal structure that the colonists believed would be an improvement over what now existed on Earth. When they arrived on the planet, from which they could not return to Earth, having used all their available resources to get to Pern, with not enough to spare for a return trip, they found it to be welcoming, if challenging. Except for one thing…. Thread.

Thread was a life-form that originated on another planet in the same system, a life-form inimical to carbon-based life, such as humans, plants, the animals the colonists had brought with them, and those indigenous to Pern. Thread fell from the skies above Pern, after traveling across the intervening space between the two planets during the closest approach in their respective orbits. It would then voraciously attack and consume any life form it touched, producing a painful and not quick enough death.

In order to combat the menace, the colonists performed bioengineering on a life form indigenous to Pern, called fire-lizards. These flying lizards, resembling small dragons, the size of a cat, had two characteristics which the colonists needed to fight the Thread as it fell on them from above. First, they could fly, and in addition, had the power of teleportation; they could almost instantly move from one point to another on Pern, taking only the time it takes to draw two breaths to get anywhere else on the globe. Second, they could breathe fire….. But, cat-size, they were too small to be an effective weapon against the Thread, so the colonists altered their DNA, making them larger, the size of the real dragons of human myth, but keeping the abilities of flight, teleportation, and breathing fire….. thus making them effective at eliminating Thread before it reached the ground, fighting with their bonded human riders, who feed them the mineral needed to produce the flames…

Over the course of numerous books, the history of Pern is laid out, over a three thousand year period following the first arrival of people to the planet, showing readers a number of interesting cultural changes to society, caused in part by the new form of self-government the colonists established, as well as the effects of having a new sub-culture, that of Dragon riders, within the main culture of the planet. It is a very popular set of books, with new ones being added by enthusiastic fans writing in the same universe as Pern, as well as other fantasy and sf authors who have collaborated with Ms. McCaffrey to create more books on the same subject. The culture of Pern, as described in the novels, is almost Utopian in its attitudes, and the planet serves as a modified version of Heaven on Earth, as it fulfills several human dreams that our current society either represses or ignores, i.e. a peaceful society based on respect for others, and Dragons, too!

Now, the DOS part…. DOS is an operating system, a mathematical model that is used to give computers the actual commands that cause it to perform different functions, such as opening files, viewing contents of the files, word processing, or printing files. The commands are written in a specific format, a language, as it were, that tells the computer exactly what files to seek and use, or to copy, or move, or whatever; it is the details of the actions the computer will be asked to perform.

Using the common format for such commands, the above command line can thus be seen to instruct the computer to delete Reality, and to then, using a file on a floppy disk in the a:/drive, to open, and start, an alternate Reality based on the Pern universe… in other words, replace today’s Earth with Pern… and all of its wonderful advantages……including Dragons!  Bonus?  No tax day!

See? A bit of modern cultural mythology, a bit of fantasy, a little technology, and a lot of whimsy…. it always works for me….. thanks for listening…..
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“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not.” — Epicurus

So simple, yet this remains as the root cause of much of the unhappiness that people experience in today’s world, both directly, and indirectly. Often, losing what we have is a result of letting go of it to chase after an illusion of what we believe would be somehow better than what we already possess. We all remember the story about the dog with the big bone in his mouth who, on spying his reflection in the water of the river, opened his mouth to grab the bone the other dog had, and lost the one he had….. So obvious, and a lesson we all are taught from a young age, no matter what our educational level. This story crosses all such distinctions, as it is easily seen as universally relevant by all who hear it, save those few who are cognitively incapable of more than rudimentary thought (Certain politicians come to mind…. okay, I’m sorry, that was a cheap shot, totally unnecessary, and out of place in a serious discussion…. but, it still is true, it DID pop into my mind’s eye; the image is still there…   :-)   )

In light of the above paragraph’s implications, the question that begs asking is this; What the fuck is wrong with people?  I’m serious. The entire world seems to be locked into a pattern of behavior and attitudes that consistently contradicts the concept under examination, in short, material desire. Everyone, from the leaders and public figures at the supposed apex of society to the poorest miserable resident of the ghetto, seems to be chasing material advancement, both for personal benefit, and in relation to others, instead of being happy and content with what is spiritually and compassionately beneficial that we may possess in plenty, no matter what our material status, just by making the inner decision to let go of the desire for what is ephemeral, and holding on to what is eternal…..

To my mind, it is incomprehensible… I know that I possess many advantages over some folks, in terms of what I have been blessed with between my ears…. though it hasn’t made me rich in money or property, I am fabulously wealthy in terms of the things I consider to be essential to life, such as love, honor, truth, and compassion. Whatever I may achieve, or acquire, beyond those things, can be considered to be a bonus, in some cases, and a challenge in others…. either way, I try hard not to let any of the extra stuff detract from my appreciation for the four pillars of my existence, as stated above……

It is hard for me to not feel compassion for any who are so lost, or out of touch with themselves, or just misled, such that they cannot see the advantages of learning to embrace the sentiment expressed so well by Epicurus. It arouses my compassion, and makes me wish I knew how to get through to all those people, so they could share the joy in living that I do…. As painful and difficult as my life can be at times, I know it will all be well in the end, that the Universe is proceeding as it should, and that contents me…. most of the time….
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Halfway up the stairs
Isn’t up,
And isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in the town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head:
“It isn’t really
Anywhere!
It’s somewhere else
Instead!”
— A.A. Milne

You know, when I found this, I had an immediate reaction that I knew would make a good pearl…. Now that I look at it again this morning, that thought is gone. Phtt! Nowhere to be found. Too bad, really; as I recall, it was an interesting thought.  But, so much for the best laid plans, etc.

You know what else? This is good enough to stand alone. As I look it over again, it is echoing, growing deeper and more complex as each minute passes….. of course, that could just be the moldy cheese I’m eating, too…..  No, really, it is a pretty deep little Pooh-ish sort of thought, isn’t it? Almost sounds like Emily D. might have said it, in one of her more whimsical moments….. Nonetheless, I’m going to just leave it alone, and leave any further contemplation of its depths to the Gentle Reader….. where all such musings belong…
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I was noodling around in my head last night, as is my wont, and the following popped into my head. Now, if I was a paranoid schizophrenic, I would think, and most likely be right, that this is what is referred to as a thought intrusion. I might, if I were so diagnosed, and inclined, think that someone else had planted this in my brain, or that another of my hallucinations had telepathically forced me to think it. But, not being any subject to such silly ideas, (my brain chemical balance seems to be holding up just fine, thank you…), I just felt a small glow of mild achievement, as one does when one turns a phrase nicely, or makes a clever play on words, as in this case….. I like it…. What do y’all think? Is it worth using, as an alternate sig file? Or is it just okay, slightly amusing but not on the cutting edge of clever?  I need some feedback here, please…. thanks…..

“May the metaphorse be with you.” — gigoid, Sunday, 2012

Thus does another Pearl of Virtual Wisdom draw to a thrilling conclusion. Or, well, at least a screeching halt….. hell, I think we’d better jump before this thing goes over the cliff there….. look out!….. Nooooooooo! …… NO CARRIER

Hmph… I always seem to end up going for the cheap laugh at the end. When will I ever learn?  SIGH…. Well, y’all take care out there….


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!

Zero is a hard row to hoe……

Ffolkes,
Having decided to forgo the usual nonsense, there will be no introductory section this morning. Yesterday’s near-disastrous hijacking of my keyboard has put me on edge, security-wise, and I think it is best if I just leave this section out, and go right into today’s dive….. oh. Wait. Hmm…… this is already an intro, isn’t it? Well, so much for that idea….

Well, since I can’t say, “I love it when a plan comes together!”, I guess I’ll just have to say, “WTF?”  (See? I AM capable of tact….. I could have spelled it out, couldn’t I?…. all part of the service…..) The latter is more honest, at base, and expresses my normal state of mind in the morning much more accurately. I’m finding that displaying such personal foibles is preferable to humanity’s normal policy of insisting all is well, everything is fine, nothing to see here, move along….. if nothing else, it garners more sympathy votes, which, though demeaning to accept, nonetheless help to stuff the ballot box. Cheating is, after all, the American Way…… if you doubt that, you really need to pay more attention…..

I’m not sure exactly what all that has to do with pearl diving; it sounded more as if I were just clearing my throat, mentally speaking, and really doesn’t say much of anything at all. Well, the last line is pretty pointed, but I didn’t jab very hard with it, so it doesn’t really count. At this point, once again, it would most likely be our best course of action to run to the end of the dock, and just dive in…. it would probably put the best end to a bad start, and may even save lives….. on that note, we are outta here….. let’s Pearl, like we did last summer…..
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Ralph Barbieri fired as radio announcer at station KNBR in San Francisco, 4/10/2012…. link to article:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/11/SP8G1O1SLU.DTL

I first heard Mr. Barbieri’s voice around 1984, when he first joined KNBR and the SF Bay Area sports scene. I have to say, right off the bat, his voice grates on my ear like fingernails across a chalkboard; there is a reason he has always been known as “Razor Voice Ralph”. It has always stood as an obstacle for me to listen to him for very long, as my nerve endings just start to vibrate along with his voice after a few minutes.

However, that being said, I also must add that I have always admired his work, in spite of his delivery. From the start of his career, he asked the tough questions, and never settled for a fluff answer from anyone, big star or not. If he believed in something, he was a passionate crusader for that cause, as indicated by his campaign to keep the Giants in SF when the team was considering a move to Florida. His involvement was a big part of the success of that campaign, during which he was tireless, making his love of sports, and particularly the Giants, plain for all to see. He always prepared and researched thoroughly, and was expert in almost any sport’s details. Though his voice and rough-hewn personality were difficult to ignore, he nonetheless remains a stalwart and professional example of a competent, and popular, sports reporter, for that is what he really is.

Ralph was fired in a manner with which I can empathize very closely. It took my employer about 15 minutes to accomplish what his company did with him in 7, but the net results were identical, right down to the blocked voice mail. I did manage to rate an escort off-grounds by hospital police rather than management, so I guess that is one small difference. Otherwise, me and Ralph, we’re twins on this….. so, I know somewhat of what he feels right now. Given that knowledge I must commend his reasoned initial public response; I’m afraid that, given his media exposure quotient, I would have been a lot more forceful in my response to such chicanery, and would no doubt have caused my lawyer no end of wincing and wringing of hands at my inflammatory public ranting.

But, the saddest part of the whole affair that I found was in the comments section after the article on SFGATE, wherein readers have the opportunity to sound off on the news articles on the site. One has to register to comment, but it’s free, so they have a pretty huge online community that comments on EVERYTHING.  I spent a little time after my initial comment, which kind of paralleled what I wrote just above, reading over some of the other comments.

I was shocked, to say the least, by the number of responses that were not merely sympathetic to the company that did the firing, but actually expressed outright glee at what had been perpetrated on Ralph by a company where he proved his value over 28 years. In only three pages I viewed to to gather some numbers, the responses that were viciously petty toward Ralph, or merely resigned at the company’s behavior, were approximately 65-75% of the total number I saw….. it was absolutely astounding how many calloused, uncaring ignoramuses had spoken up to display their complete lack of humanity.

“Nadie tiene mas imaginacion que la realidad.” — Miguel de Unamuno, “El Espejo de la Muerte”, 1941

It isn’t often I’m prompted, or stimulated, to write several hundred words on a sports story. I’m a fan, yes, but it isn’t a big time-consumer in my life, just an occasional trip into vicarious thrills and fond memories of bygone days. But the sheer number of petty, self-absorbed, even downright vicious responses was a surprise to me. Yes, me, the complete cynic when it comes to human stupidity and bigotry. But even I had no idea that the state of public morality had fallen into so deep a pit as is indicated in the responses to this issue, one of no particular cosmic or even national significance.

I am now going to excuse myself, and go finish drawing up my plans for what I’m going to do when civilization comes to a crashing halt…. I have a sinking feeling I don’t have as much time to get ready as I had previously believed…. so, I’d best get to it…. I suggest you think seriously about following my lead on this. We may not have a lot of time left….. if this is any indication, very little at all…..
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“I like Wagner’s music better than any other music. It is so loud that one can talk the whole time without people hearing what one says. That is a great advantage.” — Oscar Wilde

It’s been quite a while since these pages were blessed by a visit from Oscar; he is, and shall ever be, one of my favorite historical and literary figures, not only for the wit and charm of the verse in which he spoke, and wrote, but for the very picture of Life he painted with his every act. It was a picture of defiant genius, of incredible beauty and charm, a picture of towering intellect faced by the mundane restrictions of a repressed society. He was a man of the Twenty-first century as far as his ideas and his outlook, trapped and miserable in the Nineteenth century, completely misunderstood by all but those who flocked around him, ever anxious for any part of his charm and attention.

On this subject, i.e., opera, I have to side with Oscar. I love music, and just about all types. There are few genres that I don’t particularly care for, but the one I care for the least is opera. Strange actually, because I love classical music very much, and find the human voice to be perhaps the most compelling instrument mankind has ever produced. But, most of what I’ve heard in the operatic genre produces in me the same sort of reaction described here by Mssr. Wilde.

I have listened to a lot of it; I try to be fair before forming an opinion. But the majority of what I’ve heard was obscure, complicated beyond necessity, and in general, enough to induce sleep in a bipolar roadrunner in his manic phase, or, alternately, more than enough to keep one awake when we desperately want to be asleep…..

Oh, even opera has its high points. The aria that played in the movie “The Shawshank Redemption”, when the hero took over the warden’s office, and played it over the loudspeakers, is a stunning piece of music; that voice would raise the dead with such power and beauty. A couple of others come to mind as well, like one of the arias sung by the female lead in Aida.

Mostly, though, it all sounds like what my old pal Noah would sometimes sing when he particularly liked what Tom and I were playing on our guitars (Noah was my dog, for those who haven’t stopped in before; he was very social, and loved to join in whatever was going on….). Enthusiastic, but not particularly gripping, to be nice about it. Sorry, but that’s my opinion, for what it’s worth. As far as I’m concerned, we could lose every opera recording ever made, and I wouldn’t be troubled over it at all, at all…..
___________________________________

“You’ve got the brain of a four-year-old boy, and I bet he was glad to get rid of it.” — Groucho Marx

Perfect! I have found the exactly right comment to make to my list…. you know, the list. The one we all have….. the one where we put the names of those folks in the public eye who continuously make comments that curl your hair, and cause you to run and make sure your ammo is dry. The folks who, every time they open their mouth to spew, make us wish for a return to the good old days of the Inquisition. The ones who speak out every day and prove the old adage about never opening one’s mouth to provide proof of being a fool.

So, the next time I am confronted with one of these pimples on the face of society, I will have the perfect opening line….. In the spirit of indulgence of whimsy, I will now display the first 6 names on my list of folks the world would do better to fit with a permanent mouth plug….

Ann Coulter (to my mind, no amount of verbal abuse would ever be enough for this one; it would take a lot to balance all the vitriol she has spewed on some quite nice folks…..)
Rush Limbaugh (rapidly losing his grip on reality, which was never very strong….)
Willard ‘Mitt’ Romney (the new spokesperson for Flip-Flops…..)
Pat Robertson (a familiar voice on these pages…)
Michelle Bachman (Minnesota Mickey’s been less prominently featured of late, but continues to amaze with her chutzpah….)
Sara Palin (One word….. weasel…..)

There…. I feel better now, though it was a struggle to confine the list to six names; there are a lot of folks who make a strong case for their inclusion. For now though, I’ll just bask in the glow of thinking how much fun it would be to give one them Groucho’s razor sharp barb…..

“I am treated as evil by those who feel persecuted because they are not allowed to force me to believe as they do.” — Smart Bee
___________________________________

“Beware the man of one book.” — St. Thomas Aquinas

Possibly one of the most ironic statements ever made, yet the irony of it is never a subject of discussion. I can understand why those of a dogmatic nature would be leery of examining such an already, in their eyes, controversial sentiment, as it puts the lie to their entire system of belief. But one would think that those not as severely hampered in their thinking might have noted the irony, and wondered about it enough to say so aloud. But, I can’t think of a single instance of this; though I cannot claim perfect knowledge of religious philosophical works, I have read pretty widely, and have never come across anything that hinted at such a novel idea.

Where is the irony, you ask? Well, to me, it’s pretty clear…. here is a statement that warns against those who would place all of their faith and trust into what is included in only one source. But, the statement is made BY a man who was a high-ranking member of the church of his time (well, they did canonize him…). And the church of which he was such a valued member is the same one that puts the Bible on a pedestal as the only book Mankind needs, or should want, to provide the answers to all of their questions.

In short, St. Thomas was blaspheming the choir, rather than preaching to it. Sometimes I’m surprised that the Pope of the time of St. Thomas didn’t de-canonize the lad for his arrogance. Kind of gives one a clue as to what God wants, doesn’t it? If that is your thing…. Me, I’m going to go read a book….
___________________________________

“All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.” — Federico Fellini

Whew! I guess that settles the question in everyone’s mind as to whether or not this process of creating the Pearls of Virtual Wisdom, that we engage in every day here at gigoid’s blog, can be called Art. Or even art. Sr. Fellini can, I think, be considered as enough of an artist to warrant an opinion, and according to him, this is art, if not Art. So, I guess that makes me an autobiographer, in a weird sort of way…. hmm. Well, it’s not what I had thought I’d be, but I guess it will do….. I have to say, it is nice to know that my efforts here are, if nothing else, not a complete affront to the sensibilities of the Muses…. I can always offer them pearls……
___________________________________

GASP! I have reached the ostensible final segment of today’s offering, and just noticed there is no poetry! Can’t have that…..

All I know of Love
is that Love is all there is.
–Emily Dickinson

There… I feel better now. I’d have hated to start the day with a gaffe like that. But, it worked out well, as Emily is a fitting close to any day’s work. It’s Friday the 13th out there, and it’s always a good day for us Scorpios, so I’m going to go do something unusual today… I’m going out of town for a while to visit a friend.

I’ve been stuck here in my house for about oh, five months or so, and I’m looking forward to surrounding myself with some different colored walls for a time….. plus, my friend and I will no doubt take some time to play some music, so it will be a day of sheer pleasure for me…. music, change of scene, and clean laundry, all in one shot. A good day in the neighborhood, to be sure…..  Y’all take care out there…..


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!

The Plight of the Stumble Bee…..

Ffolkes,
Unable, or unwilling, to enter the door, the clumsy-looking, shabbily dressed man, in a grimy overcoat that had seen better days, stared hungrily through the window toward the lights inside, a look of quiet determination crossing his face for an instant. I watched, then, as he straightened his shoulders, drew himself up to his maximum height of about 5’3″, and strode purposefully to the door, yanking it open with a fierce pull, banging it against the porch railing, hard. The ensuing deafening crash had the noise of the diner falling silent, as everyone crowding in the booths, and lining the counter, turned to look, startled, toward the noise.

The small man, now trembling with the force of whatever deep emotion held him in thrall, stood quivering in the doorway, moving his eyes from face to face, starting on his left, and working rapidly around the room. As his eyes came to rest upon a party about half-way down the aisle between the counter and booths, just being served at a table by the window, his expression hardened, and he started toward the object of his search, now appearing to glare at the people at the table with the sheer intensity of hatred and loathing.

I, along with the rest of the diner watched in rapt fascination as he came to the table, where he stopped, gazing down at the four well-dressed men who sat there, looking up at him with expressions of polite disinterest, somewhat incongruous, considering the drama of the small man’s approach, and the threatening, hateful visage that he now presented. For a long moment, he stared at each face in turn, then, in a surprisingly soft, lilting voice, he spoke, “Zo! You would send your assassins to the house of Giaccomo, eh? Your trained killers, zo dangerous, no? I will show you dangerous!”

On the last words, he reached into the pocket of his grimy coat, and pulled out a small, indistinct object. “Here….I give you back your assassins, both of them!” With that, he threw down what he held onto the table in front of the four silent, now grim-faced men. They looked down, shocked eyes wide, to where lay two human ears, covered in dried blood, looking a bit worse for wear. “Next time, send more! You will need them, and my garden can use the fertilizer!” Before they could move, the man swept the flatware, dishes, and glasses into the laps of the seated men, who reacted not at all, but merely watched, silent and still, as the small figure turned, and walked out the door, into the night. Inside the diner, silence held reign……

Once more, my manic-depressive Muse has taken over my fingers, to lay out the preceding paragraphs for your reading pleasure, or confusion, as the case may be; I’m tending toward the latter. I hope it does give pleasure, though… because it’s a little weird, having to sit here while words go down on screen that have never passed through my creative filter…. an odd feeling to have one’s subconscious mind playing tricks like that so early. I barely got a sip of coffee down before the Muse just took over, so I’m going to take a short break to soothe my nerves…. be back shortly…. I wonder who Giaccomo is?…

Okay, all better now…. I sure wish I could get my subconscious to quit doing that; it’s a bit disconcerting to have one’s volition so rudely usurped in such a cavalier fashion. It’s not like I wouldn’t share screen time….. ah well, I guess it will all come out in the wash. Let’s Pearl, shall we?……
___________________________________

“The ideal life is in our blood and never will be still. Sad will be the day for any man when he becomes contented with the thoughts he is thinking and the deeds he is doing — where there is not forever beating at the doors of his soul some great desire to do something larger, which he knows that he was meant and made to do.” — Phillips Brooks

I’ve been pushing this quote forward every day for a week, since I found it and copied it here for discussion. I keep putting it off. I haven’t figured out why that is, but I’m sick of dealing with it, and it’s too good to throw out, so…. deal with it, Ned…

I think the problem here is that I agree with this, and really couldn’t say it much better. And, it’s such a great little piece of insight disguised as a homily, it doesn’t need any expansion to increase or enhance its positive direction. So, I’m going to use a bit of cosmic Judo, and go with the flow… just enjoy it, and its message, which is, essentially, “Carpe diem, as soon as you recognize which diem you’re in!”…..
___________________________________

“[The artist] speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder, to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives; to our sense of pity, and beauty, and pain; to the latent feeling of fellowship with all creation — and to the subtle but invincible conviction of solidarity in dreams, in joy, in sorrow, in aspirations, in illusions, in hope, in fear which binds together all humanity — the dead to the living and the living to the unborn.”     — Joseph Conrad

I can state, with some confidence, my belief that this is what most of us are shooting for as artists. Few of us can express how we approach our Art, or why, or easily answer any such pertinent questions, but all of us can feel what we wish to share, impatiently waiting for our keyboard/camera/computer program/clay/other artistic medium to be applied to the task at hand, giving to the Universe a small piece of our Soul, pieces that cry out for release, eager to be off to be consumed by other ears, other eyes, other minds.

For some of us, it is therapy. For others, it is the creative impulse. For still others, it is ambition, or outrage, or pride of accomplishment, or the desire to be understood. For a million and more reasons, our Art forces its way past our fears and denials, to find the light it must seek in other’s eyes. It is, to me, more proof of humanity, for the impulse to create Art is proof of our innate need for each other, and our need to be acknowledged, and loved. This is why we place our hearts, and souls, firmly in our work, and then give it away, gratis……
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“I wanted a perfect ending … Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.” — Gilda Radner

Why do the best of us have to die so young? “Delicious ambiguity.” What a brilliant summation of a wonderfully wise statement! One wouldn’t normally expect a woman known for her comedy to have such insight into Life, but then, there certainly are precedents for it. Will Rogers, Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Lily Tomlin, Dick Gregory, even Steve Allen, all were best known as comedians, and justly so. But all of them are also some of the most lucid, intelligent, and erudite social critics that ever lived, and they were certainly the most accurate, and important voices of that genre in the last century.

It makes one wonder, what our world would be like, if the love of humanity, the brilliant political and social conscience, and the acerbic wit, shown by these few masters of innuendo and sarcasm were to be set as the rules governing society at large. I know one thing for sure…. there would be more smiles seen everywhere, on the faces of children, adults, and elders, and it would be considered a social faux pas to darken another person’s attitude with sobriety…. much healthier for all of us, don’t you think?……

How he lies in his rights of a man!
Death has done all death can.
And absorbed in the new life he leads,
He recks not, he heeds
Nor his wrong nor my vengeance; both strike
On his senses alike,
And are lost in the solemn and strange
Surprise of the change.
— Robert Browning (1812-1890) — After
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…I’ll sulk for the rest of your days and make your life a living hell. So there.

Wait a minute! Who let my ex- in here without telling me?….. ah, okay, it’s only a random memory stim….whew! I thought for sure I’d gone back to Hell on Earth, where I resided for several years prior to her dramatic departure….. I never did get what I did to her that pissed her off so much, but I guess if I had a clue as to that, things would be different….no sense in living backwards, is there?….

But it does bring up a subject not often discussed, or even considered, due to its volatile nature; the impulse to hurt others, for perceived injuries of whatever nature, revenge, at its most petty. I suppose it is mostly a natural response, arising from the basic instinct to preserve life, but it seems to me it gets carried a lot further than necessary; the responses are usually much more powerful than the initial events that cause the perceived injuries.

For some reason, an attack on personal beliefs or self-image is less easily dismissed as are less personal affronts, and there seems to be no limit on the degree of intensity one may use in these instances. For example, it seems a bit harsh to me to throw silverware at someone’s head as a response to being asked “How are you this morning?”, or to scream uncontrollably at someone for being tardy for a meal by less than a minute, because of having paused to pick a flower for the screamer (both of which I have been treated to on more than one occasion….) But, maybe it’s just me….

“We need to talk.” — The scariest words known to man…. as engraved on the Tomb of the Unknown Husband….anonymously, of course….

SIGH… I guess it just goes to show, that everyone has their own idea of what love is, and finding someone who feels exactly the same is still a matter of chance. I’ve always preferred to approach it from the direction implied by the following little piece of common sense…. (well, it’s common in my world…..) It is a sentiment that naturally predisposes one to avoid those sorts of things that one would potentially need to be sorry about….

“There is never anything to feel sorry about with love. Never.” — Robert Heinlein

Curse on all laws but those which love has made!
Love, free as air at sight of human ties,
Spreads his light wings, and in a moment flies.
— Alexander Pope (1688-1744) — Eloisa to Abelard, Line 74

Weird….sometimes after I finish a discussion, a number of good pearls on that jump out at me in the search for the next… hmph! Good thing I’m easygoing…. wait, no I’m not!….. oh well, screw it….
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Boop Boop Bee Boop – Betty Boop

I saw a werewolf drinking a piña colada at Trader Vic’s; his hair was perfect.–from “Werewolves of London”

Some things are just perfect the way you find them…. and serendipity is real!

“I just can’t help myself!” — Standard disclaimer — Babs Bunny
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Well, I’ve probably done enough damage for one morning, and I’m running out of hit points, so I’ll bring this to an end here…. timing, as we know, is everything…. Y’all take care out there…..


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

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!