~~ Marcel Proust ~~
As my steps echoed through the still night air, a pale half-moon trailed after me, like a faithful dog following its master home. The stars, few, but bright in the thin air so high in the mountains, fell like freckles across the unclouded sky. Though the night’s beauty lay all around me, beckoning me to stop, look, and feel, my thoughts remained far too dark and heavy to give me such a boon…. Those thoughts…. darker and more terrible even than the blackest depths of night, hid completely all the sheer magnificence I could comprehend….
It pains me to say this, but, I’m not taking this any further; it’s too good. By that, I mean, it’s too well done in one respect, anyway, which is that it had so much promise, it scared me….. I thought for a minute there, it was going to actually pull me into the story, locking me down into a trance-state, one from which I wouldn’t be able to escape…. Trying to decide what those dark thoughts might be is what saved me; it was just confusing enough to let me wiggle free of the grasp on my throat, which the concept had applied with the line about the dog….
Now, many of y’all, and this would include me, in most cases, would think I’d sacrifice a lot to have a good concept like that take hold of me…. But, in my case, at least, a good concept like that could lead right to a book, or a short story, or something else I’d be compelled to try to sell, and get published…. all more of a hassle for me than it is worth….. How is that?, you ask…. Well, let me tell ya….
No, wait…. I don’t think I will tell you…. you’ll just have to learn to live with disappointment. We all do, and we all hate it, but, there you go, you know? You don’t know? Ah….. well, that’s okay, now you do, and there’s no further excuse for any such childishness, is there? Nope….. So, just get in line with the rest of the bozoids, and we’ll get in, get strapped down, and get this slow on the rode….
Wait, I forgot about the changes to the routine….. Oh, right, never mind…. Y’all don’t really NEED to know all that; it was just something the cruise director mentioned as a possible afternoon activity, one we call “Let’s legally limbo!”, where we all get together to see who has the most frivolous idea for a law suit to throw at the nearest megacorp polluters…. But, once we actually ran it by the legal experts in shipping, it got nixed, since their calculations indicated it was too much fun for Caucasians….
Rather than having to fall back of some random sub-routine, I think I’ll look around here for some way to get us….. Oh, good, there’s one of what I was looking for right over there….. It’s a way out, which, we, as the dutiful Pearl Drops we are, shall proceed to use, as directed by the signage so helpfully posted on the nearest bathroom wall…. If you’ll step up to the edge there, I’ll give you the required shove….
Shall we Pearl?…..
“In a word, neither death, nor exile, nor pain, nor anything of this kind is the real cause of our doing or not doing any action, but our inward opinions and principles.” — Epictetus (c. 60 AD) — Discourses, Book i, Chap xi
“Watchman, what of the night?” — Old Testament — Isaiah xxi, 11
Per our official policy, (We shall abandon no rant, until it no longer holds the power to offend an asininnie….), and our unofficial habit, of addressing the Second Amendment to the US Constitution on a regular basis, here is a politirant from a couple years ago…. I’ll be editing mildly, to correct anything I missed back then, but, it’s all still the same old story, brought to up-to-date by lighting up the proximity fuse…. which is easier than trying to hit that little thing with one bullet….
“Guns don’t kill people… bullets do.” — Smart Bee, being a smart Alexi….
Of late I’ve been reading a number of old articles, new items, and posts about gun control, and/or the concept of nullifying the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. The main argument seems to be centered on the obvious fact that society has changed since the Founding Fathers wrote the amendment, and the conditions that prompted its inclusion among the other basic rights they wished to secure are, supposedly, no longer present, or are no longer valid reasons for leaving it intact. Their arguments point to the number of killings and crimes that involve guns, and how much of a plague on society the guns are, how we’d all be better off, and somehow safer, if we took away all the guns from the American citizenry.
I could easily scoff at such naiveté, were it not so dangerous. Dangerous to me, and whether they wish to acknowledge it or not, dangerous for them. So, rather than scoff, I will first acknowledge the presence, if not the accuracy, of their statistics on how much guns contribute to crime. These statistics are, in and of themselves, fairly scary, but, they fail to take in to account a couple of very important considerations that tend to skew, or even nullify, the accuracy of their claims.
For one, these statistics never seem to include the number of deaths and injuries caused by guns IN THE HANDS of POLICE; they only seem to account for the civilians who use guns to commit crimes. I’d say the numbers would increase dramatically, if the times the police use their weapons inappropriately are included…. and, given the smaller total number of police, in relation to the number of publicly-held guns, I would wager the percentage of police incidents of causing death is higher than that of the public.
(For the math challenged: If there are a million publicly-held guns, (there are a LOT more, of course….), and they cause, say, 10,000 deaths/serious injuries a year, that’s a 1% ratio…. If there are only 10,000 police guns, in a force that polices that million people and more, (there are a lot of people without guns, too…. They also get shot by police….), a 1% ratio would be only 100 deaths a year…. I’d wager that same money I just won, doubled, that the true number for that number of police guns is MUCH more than 100 deaths/injuries per year…. and, I’d win again, too…. )
Second, the statistics do not compare the number of incidents to the total number of guns that are owned by citizens. I would, in the absence of hard figures, estimate that the number of incidents of crime involving guns is a very, very low percentage of the number of guns that are actually out there in the hands of private citizens. All the quoted figures are bloated to make them seem larger than they really are in comparison to the whole; the by-far largest majority of gun owners do not use them at all, unless threatened. Most never use them at all, keeping them only for home protection, and most of those have neighbors who probably don’t even know the guns are there.
Then, after addressing these two key issues that are not accounted for in their quoted numbers, I would ask a simple, but key question of those who believe we, as Americans in a modern society, that we citizens should not own guns. That question, simply put, is this: Do you honestly believe that the people to whom we would be entrusting our safety are going to give up their guns? Do you really trust those of our beloved ruling class to all of a sudden stop lying to us? Do you believe, even for an instant, that they would not be laughing all the way to the bank, at you, me and the rest of the American general public? I would say to you, as gently as I can, that you are then ready to put on your collar, and admit that you are willing to be their slave, because that is exactly what will happen….
Our beloved ruling class is NOT going to give up their guns; no matte whether the public agrees to ban private guns or not, they WILL NOT disarm their police forces. They aren’t going to do it…. If you don’t believe me, ask them; it’s one of the few queries to which they’ll give an honest answer. And I don’t care how much you may argue to the contrary, I don’t believe for a nanosecond that anyone in our government, and that includes Saint Barack, can be trusted to hold my best interests in their lying, cheating, sociopathic hands.
Nope, I’m 61 years old, (oops, now 63!…), and have sufficient experience in these matters that I can honestly say, with every assurance of being correct, that those who either seek office, or are in office in this country, are NOT people to whom I would give that kind power over me; not for anything, If you want to label me a NRA Nazi, well, feel free; it’s still a free country, for the present. I should tell you, though, I’m not in the NRA, and I think many of them are just plain crazy…. but, for the most part, they have the right of the basic core idea….
But, if you convince enough citizens of this asininity, and the guns are actually made illegal for citizens to own, it’s not going to be a free country for long. And, if you are naive enough to believe the lies the Powers That Be are handing out re: their trustworthiness, well, then, you will deserve the consequences…… But, don’t expect, for even a second, that I will ever consent to give up my right to own a gun, as I will dispute that to the death. Yours, mine, that is immaterial; if we play that game, it’s to the finish.
I’ve never been a member of the NRA, nor do I feel I have a lot in common with its vocal proponents, but I agree with one of their statements of purpose, to wit: you can take my guns, all right, from my cold, dead fingers, but no other way….. I’m NOT giving up my guns, and letting the assholes in charge of this government keep theirs…. Uh uh, nope, ain’t gonna happen in my lifetime….
“Hollow point ammo – the ultimate in feminine protection.” — Smart Bee
“A society that lacks the patience to read, and loses the ability to do so, is rendered defenseless against its most profound stupidities. As an example, consider the ease with which Americans came to regard a president known for his inaccuracy and imprecision as the great communicator, and by the tendency of American elections to give victory to the candidate who can afford the greatest number of 30-second TV spots.” — Mike Schmoker
(THESE are the people I’m supposed to allow to hold me at gunpoint? Snort!….pathetic….)
That they could freak out in Kansas
Who could imagine
That they could freak out in Washington D.C.
Everybody’s clean, it can’t happen here, no, no
And they thought it couldn’t happen here
They were so sure it couldn’t happen here
It can’t happen here
~~ Frank Zappa ~~
“Poetry–even bad poetry–may be our final hope.” — Edward Abbey
One side effect of not having internet service this week is that I can’t go look for anybody else’s work; all I have on tap is my own, and the one in there percolating isn’t ready yet to open up a vein…. So, here’s another of my older poems, which I hope you enjoy…. In fact, here, take two, they’re small, compared to most of what I do here….
Memories are all we have sometimes
to keep our sanity intact,
with learned phrases and subtle rhymes
lessening life’s vicious, vibrant impact.
Presently all seems composed and intent
in stark contrast to hollow day,
forlorn patchwork emotions of unheralded bent,
fill up night’s bower, leaving hell to pay.
Such vigorous and elevated temper
brings us rare moments to ponder,
filled with lessons all need to remember
lest base perception lose valued wonder.
Laugh loud when entropy sticks fast
leaving shameless anger in its wake.
Let bygones pass quietly into the past
reaping only what is left to take.
Final words of wise imagination
tell us living well’s the best revenge, it appears
ever eluding choirs and congregations
finally finding home, never buried in tears.
~~ gigoid ~~
To many, who will not see beyond their nose
the world becomes a dangerous place,
a bullet in every gun, a thorn with every rose,
no magic comes to save us, reality leaves no trace.
Minds closed, wrapped tight in manufactured fears,
men become clay, easily molded into complacent form.
No chains needed, held in thrall for years,
lies become gospel, when dishonesty is the norm.
Shed the chains you wear in durance, in kind;
Oh, ye of little faith, and much doubt
Strength is found in an unfettered mind,
Cry “freedom” with a great shout.
No help from any gods can hinder so much
as our own lack of confidence;
finding the light within, knowing it as such
confirms us, becoming consequence.
~~ gigoid ~~
Kirk: “Spock, comment.”
Spock: “Very bad poetry.”
– “Catspaw”, Stardate 3018.2.
(Okay, what wise guy let THEM in here?…. Sheesh! Everybody’s a critic….)
As you know, this week’s Pearls are being composed at various times, during the day, when I have the impetus, wherewithal, and relative space from the reality of my body’s issues, so they are ready to post first thing in the morning, after I’ve wended my weary way to a Wifi spot, where I can connect to WordPress and my email…. I should be all done with that in about four days; for now, the routine I’ve evolved is shot to shit, so, this is what we get…. I spent some time perusing SB for some pearls, & after organizing them by category, I found that I had put together at least one pearl group to go along with the rant above, not as support or addition, but, as contrast and balance….
This means that the politirant above is to be weighed against, and with, the religipearl (yep, new word…. gotta keep up with the technology, right?) you see below. It’s a freshly plucked old-school pearl, with comments, advice, and/or insightful insults that are, of course, aimed at concerned with religion, and the ubiquitous perversion of dogma at large….. Enjoy, ffolkes, I DID try to make it light-hearted, if no less sharply pointed….
“The following is not for the weak of heart or Fundamentalists.” — Dave Barry
“By all means, take the moral high ground — all that heavenly backlighting makes you a much easier target.” — Solomon Short
THEOSOPHY, n. An ancient faith having all the certitude of religion and all the mystery of science. The modern Theosophist holds, with the Buddhists, that we live an incalculable number of times on this earth, in as many several bodies, because one life is not long enough for our complete spiritual development; that is, a single lifetime does not suffice for us to become as wise and good as we choose to wish to become. To be absolutely wise and good — that is perfection; and the Theosophist is so keen-sighted as to have observed that everything desirous of improvement eventually attains perfection. Less competent observers are disposed to except cats, which seem neither wiser nor better than they were last year. The greatest and fattest of recent Theosophists was the late Madame Blavatsky, who had no cat.”– Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”
– How many Islamic fundamentalists does it take to change a light bulb? 300 million — one to take out the old one, the rest to look for Salman Rushdie in the dark. — Smart Bee
“If there is no Hell a good many preachers are obtaining money under false pretenses.” — William A. “Billy” Sunday
“I think they will be very effective in keeping Catholic legislators away from the Communion rail.” — Idaho Senator Mike Blackbird, about ecclesiastical sanctions against politicians
(I’m really not sure just what that one means…. I just couldn’t resist a pearl that shoots at both politicians and preachers at once, by example, with one of them shooting their own foot in the mouth, or whatever that tired old cliche says….)
REVELATION, n. A famous book in which St. John the Divine concealed all that he knew. The revealing is done by the commentators, who know nothing. — Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”
“This is not my home world!” — I don’t know who said it, other than Smart Bee, and I can’t currently get to Google, but, I feel this way a lot of the time these days, even if that line IS a bit over the top…. Regardless, it’s still the way I feel, especially when I see how much of humanity treats each other, as a matter of course… SIGH…..
But, then, I’m a creature of great complexity, even to myself, and there are many such ambiguously cynical feelings to which I am subject; it’s part of being who I am, I suppose…. And, on that little note of introspection, we’ll leave you for another day; I’ll try to get to any comments each day, once I’ve posted….. See ya tomorrow, ffolkes, as long as I’m still standing….
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.